Thursday, July 30, 2015

TX Summer Fun!

Just a couple of quick pictures... a long, detailed blog post of our life and death adventure will be coming soon...

TX is hot, and this is one of the funnest ways to cool off ever! (If you don't mind losing a few kiddos every now and then in the "Tube Chute"  ;-)

 This was our entire group on our "tube train" - I guess we needed a reminder of some of those physics lessons on force as we all were sucked down the tube chute and rapids!  I'm happy to report, we all made it out alive...some with tubes, some with not and everyone under 18 wanting to "DO IT AGAIN" and again...and again...

If you're in New Braunfels TX  - check out Prince Solmos Park!!

With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions: A TOS Crew Review

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
 The third exciting dramatization,  Heirloom Audio Productions hits another home run with With Lee in Virginia .  
 This 2 1/2 hour CD tells the story of fifteen year old Vincent Wingfield, based on the novel from GA Henty (one of our all time favorite authors!).   He finds himself in a unforgettable, Civil War adventure  as he fights with many of the most famous Confederate generals, including Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Told from the eyes of a Southerner in the Civil War, this is a thrilling story of duty and devotion that will leave them begging for more!
There are several purchase options for With Lee in Virginia:
  • The Family 4-Pack—4 copies of the CD (great for gifts), study guide, free e-book of G.A. Henty’s original book of the same name, and other bonuses ($99.97)
  • 2 CD set, study guide, and bonuses ($29.97)
  • MP3 Download and study guide ($20)

The Bentz Test Laboratory LOVES these "Active Listening Audio Adventures".  You need to visit this page, and read their story so that you understand the difference between your average "audio book" and these "Active Listening Audio Adventures".  These stories are designed and produced to draw the listeners into the story.  The sound effects, action packed plots and memorable characters make the story really come alive!

This is a star-studded cast with high quality production featuring Kirk Cameron, Sean Astin, Brian Blessed, Chris Anthony, and many more.

My testers and I listen to these in the van (a captive audience...)  Under Drake's Flag, and In Freedom's Cause left us anxiously waiting for the next Heirloom Audio Production!   They are so well done, that we frequently found ourselves listening long after we arrived at our destination. These are the perfect resource to take along on your summer road trips.

In addition, we received several bonuses: a downloadable soundtrack, poster, MP3 version of the audiobook, a printable copy of a quote from Robert E. Lee, and a beautiful color version of the GA Henty novel in eBook form and a downloadable 52 page PDF Study Guide. This is another opportunity to catch their interest, and sneak in a little learning too ;-). The colorful study guide is very well done with pictures, maps and background historical information. Some of the sections you find:
  • Listening Well - comprehension style questions to ask to help with what they remember
  • Thinking Further -  questions that require some research or deeper thinking to answer 
  • Defining Words - vocabulary studies
  • Bible Study - 2 short Bible studies on duty and loving your enemy

 This is exactly how I love to teach history!  These audios make it come alive.   It's hard to find role models, especially for our boys. GA Henty adventures are filled with admirable heroes.  The Christian worldview woven into the characters lives makes them some one our children can look up to.  These stories will inspire your children, without a sermon.

We can hardly wait for the next adventure, Do NOT miss these!!

I'll leave you with a quote from Robert E. Lee:

"Do your duty in all things.  You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less"


With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 27, 2015

Giveaway: Parent Training Center Giveaway for Churches

I'm super excited to be part of a team that is introducing this new resource.  You will want to stay tuned as I share more, but for now... I have an exciting GIVEAWAY for you to check out!

A Parent Training Center is a church that intentionally trains parents, providing resources and tools both for discipleship of believers and for evangelism to families in the community.

The National Center for Biblical Parenting offers resources, and practical support to help you become the Parent Training Center God designed. The Equipping Program contains a number of mobilization tools to help you advance to the next level in your parent discipleship ministry.
With this program you'll interact with experts as well as other pastors and church leaders. Receive personalized guidance for your unique church situations. Use resources that will equip your parents to reach their children's hearts.
Parent Training Center Giveaway for Churches

To introduce your church to the Parent Training Center concept, we are hosting an awesome giveaway that includes some of our best church and parent training resources, along with a $100 gift certificate to the National Center for Biblical Parenting store. Here's what your church could win: 

Parenting Is Heart Work DVD Church Kit ($199.95 value)

Equip parents to touch the hearts of their kids with this biblically-based, practical training program. Parents and teachers of children 2-18 years will benefit from this life-changing curriculum. The Parenting is Heart Work Church Kit includes: • Eight 35-minute video sessions • A Leader's Guide with reproducible pages for attendees • A copy of the 256 page book Parenting is Heart Work
The videos were filmed before a live audience of parents and children. Using drama, Bible stories, and lots of illustrations, Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN will energize you and provide you with tools you need to strengthen your family. Use this eight-part video series in your church, small group, or even in your own family. Many times parents have to change the way they parent in order for children to change the way they live.

The Family Toolbox DVD Church Kit ($179.95 value)

he Family Toolbox has 8 lessons for parents, teens, or both in a small group setting. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue among parents and a 10-minute teaching session featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away.
As the group works through the lessons parents learn:
• How to focus on the heart instead of just behavior • The cues you give that tell your children when you mean business • Practical ways to remove conflict from the problems of family life • How to end correction times with impact • A tool for maximizing heart change in the correction process • The value of teaching kids to accept no as an answer • Ways to reduce anger episodes in children
The Family Toolbox is designed for families with children ten years old and up and is an excellent resource for small groups. Each lesson can be done in 20-30 minutes, but could also lead to discussion and dialogue lasting an hour or more.

Coupon to purchase resources in the NCBP Store ($100 value)

Visit the NCBP store to discover a plethora of church and parent training resources. 


To enter, please use the Rafflecopter below. a Rafflecopter giveaway Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to residents of the U. S. only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.  Entrants to this giveaway will be added to the email list for the National Center of Biblical Parenting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages by Home School in the Woods: A TOS Crew Review

Home School in the Woods Review
Home School in the Woods Review

Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages by Home School in the Woods is a digital downloadable history unit study.  It includes items to print out, audio files, and instructions for you to teach this study. You can also get it on a CD-ROM if you choose. It will work with both your Windows and Mac programs.

Following a traveling theme, there are 25 stops in the Middle Ages - 400 AD to 1500 AD.  Depending on your style and schedule - it could take  6-12 weeks to complete.

Some of the lessons cover:
  • Laying the Foundation (Setting up notebooks and studying the Barbarian invaders and fall of Rome)
  • Everyday life
  • Business
  • Science and Invention
  • Education
  • The Arts
  • Medicine and Disease
  • The Church
  • The Crusades
  • Knights and Chivalry
  • The Vikings
  • Battles, Wars and Conflicts
The Bentz Test Laboratory loves history and anything that is not out of a textbook.  Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages fits us perfectly!  My tester is a 9 year old, "squire-in-training."  He's currently enamored with all things knightly.  The perfect way to capture his interest and sneak in a little learning this summer just arrived from Home School in the Woods!

This is a unit study, you download it and need to plan to spend some significant preparation ahead of time before starting.  You'll need printer paper, colored cardstock and a stockpile of printer ink!  I do have to caution you, if you have a dinosaur printer like me, or don't like buying ink - you may want to carefully consider this one...

Each stop features "Guide book text" - which you can read to your child, this is where the lesson is.  Usually only a few pages long, they are packed with info.  Additionally, there are printable projects, timelines, newspaper writing, postcards, etc.  They have intentionally included a large variety of options (over 50 in this study!) so that you can customize it to you and your family.  The finished project of study becomes your personalized "Scrapbook of Sights".

The "Travel Itineraries" gives you a detailed overview of what supplies you need and how to prepare for the lesson.  This is a very teacher friendly program (except the volume of printing).

They have done all the work & research for you, and even include diagrams and pictures of finished projects.  Being so visual, this is another great help for me!

It truly appeals to all learning styles too.  Some stops include audio clips that we listened to while working on projects.  Check out some of the crafts that you can choose to make (or not...)  My tester loved listening to the audios ,  reading about the knights.  and coloring the well-done timeline figures.  My tester, however, is not one of my crafty kids :-)  My daughters could not wait to dive into them.

From mapping the Barbarian Invasions, Famous People of the Crusades, Medieval Weaponry & Armor, The Coat of Arms, Illuminations, Pilgrims & Pilgrimages, and more you get to experience history in a hands-on, unforgettable way!

This is why I love this approach.  Our kiddos are all different, and a boring dusty textbook could NEVER accommodate their varied interests or learning styles.  This is a perfect fit for anyone - because you can customize it directly to them. Additional resources of books, videos & music you can add to your study are included as well. 

If you want to make history really come alive for them, don't be afraid to grab a passport and take an adventure.

Be sure to check out a Sample of this study for yourself.

Other titles reviewed:
Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt  & Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation

Home School in the Woods ReviewHome School in the Woods Review

See what other members of the Crew thought here
Home School in the Woods Review
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bible Bee and my Littles

You probably have heard me rave about the Bible Bee.  If you want more info...visit their website!  It's never to late to participate in one of the studies!

We are in our 5th year, and it is a huge blessing to our entire family.  A summer filled with in-depth Bible study (at age appropriate levels), family discipleship and Scripture memory.  My children have grown so much spiritually through this investment.

The study this summer is on John 1-6


This year, the 2 youngest are getting to be actively involved with their own level (called the Splashers).  I LOVE this study!!  It's just the right amount for them. 

And, it has easy-to-do, hands-on activities too!


They earned "tickets" through our local Bible Bee meetings.  Guess what they used them for?  They used ALL their tickets to buy matchbox cars for us to take to India in August to give to the children there.

This is a great investment of a summer...don't you think?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Writing

Do you want to keep your kiddos writing during the summer, but don't want to make them cry?

Me too...

So,  I did a quick search and found these neat printable journal quotes.  Printed them out, stuck them in a jar, and bought everyone a cute (or cool for the boys) new notebook.

Then,  I put this out in a visible spot... the side table in the piano room, and told everyone to pick a journal prompt from the jar each day.

I only want them to write 3-5 sentences, and I promise... NO RED PEN CORRECTING!  However, you do need to proofread your own writing to make sure they are "real" sentences :-)  Once you've done your journal prompt, put it in the box so we can "recycle". 

I'm surprised by how much the "surprise" of what prompt you pick is motivation to write. 

This has been a HUGE hit!  No tears, no struggling, and they are all writing...  Plus, I get a cool journal of their thoughts.

Why can't school be this easy all the time?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Prasso Ministries - Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual & Teen Prasso Homework Manual: A TOS Crew Review

Teen Prasso Review
Teen Prasso Review
Teen Prasso Review
Prasso Ministries - Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual & Teen Prasso Homework Manual
“Prasso” is a Greek word that means to repeatedly, continually, and habitually practice.
The Bentz Test Laboratory is knee deep in teenagers (and middles, and littles...)  With this age group, we have new challenges and adventures, as well as, new needs for our daily Bible Study.  I can't just teach the stories of the Bible anymore, the teens are ready to dive deeper.
I was super excited to get a chance to review Prasso Ministries - Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual & Teen Prasso Homework Manual.  My tester for this is going into his SENIOR year of High school (yes, you can hear me hyperventilating!!) 
Teen Prasso is a 13 week, meaty Bible study, designed for groups, that covers some topics that many teens are dealing with.  Just take a peek at the Table of Contents:

 Lesson 1: God Your Heavenly Father
 Lesson 2: God’s Love
 Lesson 3: Why Doesn’t 1+2 Add Up in My Life?
 Lesson 4: It’s All-Out War
 Lesson 5: The Enemy’s Lies…And Where They Lead
 Lesson 6: Pressure!
 Lesson 7: Anger
 Lesson 8: Forgiveness
 Lesson 9: Two Brothers – Pride and Selfishness
 Lesson 10: Refocus
 Lesson 11: Prasso, Putting It All Into Practice
 Lesson 12: The Journey
 Lesson 13: Eternal Eyeglasses
 The Teacher's Manual contain outlines you can use to customize this study for a group.  This would be an excellent upper level Sunday school or small group study.  There is a very engaging, on-going storyline about a couple of brothers working through past and present situations as one of them is about to head off to college (getting kinda close to home!)  My tester read through the Teaching Lessons, since the story is not included the Student Journal, before starting each week's work in his Student Journal.  
The Student Journal is where my tester focused his time.  Each teen will need their own copy - so he worked through this independently.  I would love to add more Student Journals, and make this a family study with my teens! 
Each lesson is broken down into 5 days of questions, Scripture copying and Bible study.  On "Day 6" - there is a space to reflect back on the previous week's work.  Group Discussion questions are also included.  Since my teen was doing this on his own, we used these as mom/son discussion starters.  Excellent conversations are sure to take place...just be ready to be surprised!  This study aims at their hearts.
My tester really enjoyed this study, and plans to continue it throughout this coming year.  Several of his comments:
  • "I like copying Scripture - it makes me think about it more carefully"
  • "This is a study for teens that want more than just a Bible story"
  • "It challenged me"
  • "You should have my brothers do this one..."
 That's actually quite an endorsement from a teen BOY, I'd say.
 I'm impressed.  It's a solid, scriptural study that is relevant for teens today.  It's simple to use, and could easily be used for groups as well as home.  It will get your teens diving into their Bible, and give you plenty of discussion pointers. 
Two thumbs up!!
See what other members of the Crew thought here
Prasso Ministries Review
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

CursiveLogic: A TOS Crew Review

CursiveLogic Workbook from CursiveLogic

CursiveLogic Workbook from CursiveLogic is designed for ages 7 to adult. It contains 94 pages of logical, cursive instruction, handwriting practice, and three additional pages that are dry-erase for extra practice in a spiral bound book .  It's just $29.00.   We were also given 3 downloadable PDF's of practice pages for The Psalms, The Gettysburg Address and The Declaration of Independence.

The Bentz Test Laboratory still teaches cursive!  Yes, even though many public schools have dropped this from their teaching, we are hanging on to it.  Why, you ask?  Cursive has many benefits actually.  It trains your brain, it increases focus and memory skills, and it's a creative outlet. 

However, my 3rd grade son, and tester might disagree :-)  Handwriting is simply a chore for him, and not something he's eager to do,  brain benefits or not. The process of learning an entire new way of writing...cursive, seems like a daunting, time stealing task.    The CursiveLogic Workbook from CursiveLogic is a streamlined, logical approach that makes sense...even to him!

Instead of a rote memorization approach, CursiveLogic teaches all the letter "shapes" connected into a letter string.  Teaching these four basic shapes allows all the similarly formed letters to be taught in the same way at the same time. The entire lowercase alphabet can be taught in just 4 lessons.  

Stringing letters together right away allows your student to begin connecting the letters right from the start to write real words. My tester loved this part, he could master this in "no time."


By using color cues for the letter shapes and “verbal task analysis,” or saying an action verbally as it is performed manually, aids in the development of muscle memory, and gives them a mnemonic they can return to over and over.  CursiveLogic helps engage their senses for better memory.

After mastering all the letters and strings, students then practice cursive by tracing and then writing famous historical sayings.

For additional practice pages, you can subscribe to the CursiveLogic newsletter and get them delivered via email.

This is a surprising simple and painless way to teach cursive writing. It has no teacher prep required, all of the instructions are included in the workbook.   My tester's fear of cursive disappeared when he realized he could master it in just four lessons!   Breaking it down into logical steps has proven successful and letting him set his own pace has proven a winner. 

Find CursiveLogic on Social Media:
 See what other members of the Crew thought here
CursiveLogic Review
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July from the Bentz Bunch Beauties!