Book Review ~ Parenting Unchained by Dr. James D. Dempsey

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I had the opportunity to review Parenting Unchained: Overcoming the Ten Deceptions that Shackle Christian Parents by Dr. James D. Dempsey. This is a 5-1/2 x 8*1/2 soft cover book consisting of 191 pages. It retails for $14.99 but the Kindle edition will be on sale for $0.99 from December 8 – 12, 2014.

Let me start by sharing that I am not a big “Kindle book” person…I like to hold the actual book. So when I got the Kindle version first (while we waited for the real thing) I thought…well, I’ll check it out real quick and then wait for the book to arrive. Well, as it turns out, I liked the book so much that I read over 100 of its pages via the Kindle version. For me, that is HUGE!

So…on to the book…what ARE “the 10 deceptions” he discusses? Let me share them with you:

  1. It’s all about your kids: Your character doesn’t matter
  2. You’re capable; You can do this
  3. God only cares about rules
  4. You can be a parent without investing much time
  5. Teach the right information is enough
  6. Why and how you discipline don’t matter – just make them obey
  7. You don’t need to talk about your faith
  8. Children should choose their life course (You don’t need to help them)
  9. It’s all about consistency (You don’t need to adapt)
  10. Life should be easy

Well, I’m guessing that list is a bit different than you were originally thinking? The reason…it isn’t the normal list you see around but it IS a list of EXTREMELY IMPORTANT things parents deal with as they are parenting children. One thing that has always irritated me as an animal lover – it seems there is more direction provided for taking care of animals than for taking care of children. THIS is a resource EVERY parent can use – even if you’ve already “been there done that” or if your kids are older…there is something for EVERYONE here!

Not only are the topics wonderful but the way the book is written is “easy to digest”. He doesn’t ream us as parents for having incorrect thoughts but he gently instructs what what SCRIPTURE says we should be doing – showing examples from Scripture. AND not only that but he offers suggestions on ways to improve! Are you getting the idea that I love this book? If so, you are correct!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I hear many religious people endorse the loving Jesus of the New Testament, while rejecting the vindictive God of the Old Testament. Yet much of Jesus’s teaching was simply the Old Testament rephrased and illuminated;” p. 121

If you want to convey a clear belief system to your children, you must be able to state what you believe and why. p. 112

The beliefs your children adopt will one day determine the children’s outward actions. p. 109

George Barna, America’s statistician and social trend researcher, estimates “that a century ago parents spent about 54 percent of their waking, married hours in activity related to raising children. Today, the estimate is just 18 percent.” Expressed in hours that translates to a drop from 17.28 hours per day to only 5.76 for two parents. Is there enough quality to replace such a drastic loss of quantity? p 57

Once we prioritize parenting at its proper level, only then will our everyday decisions about how to spend our time be appropriate. p 56

As parents we must put a relationship with our children even above our justifiable goals for their obedience. Whatever goals we have for our children, if we want to pattern our lives after God, relationship must come first. p. 38

“The foundation for all things in life, including parenting, is your character, and that’s determined by your relationship with God.” p. 23

As you can see…things aren’t ‘sugar coated’ in this book…so if you are looking for something that is going to make you ‘feel better’ about your parenting – this isn’t the book for you. However, if you are looking for something to challenge you and help you to step-up as a parent – I HIGHLY suggest this book.

If you have time, you may want to join the Facebook Party scheduled for this Thursday (12/11/14) at 9pm ET/ 8pm CT / 6pm PT…there will be lots of discussion as well as giveaways!

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Movie Review ~ Rumors of Wars

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I had the opportunity to review a new movie titled Rumors of Wars. This film runs 89 minutes and is rated PG-13 for violence that may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13. (I know we did NOT let our almost seven year old watch it.)

My 18 year old son and I watched this movie together and we both enjoyed it. I definitely would agree that it is not appropriate for younger children. It is not intensely gory or anything but there are several spots where violence is involved that would be difficult to explain to youngers.

Curious what it is about? Well, basically it is about the end times of the earth as shared in the Bible. We need to remember that this is a FICTIONAL movie and is not portrayed or promoted as being “biblically accurate”. With that said, there was only one part that stood out to me as a definite inconsistency with scripture and that is when it says that “it could be on their forehead or in their right hand” – I believe Scripture only says on their forehead.

So, keeping in mind that this is not shared as something that is to be taken as exact biblical truth – it is a very intriguing movie about what could be the coming of the final days here on earth. This is a movie that definitely held our attention and kept us wondering what was going to happen next.

This movie shares two different stories at one time – flipping back and forth. Initially you have to figure out who is associated with which story and once you have that it is pretty easy to follow along. One life is a young college student who decides not to “get the chip” the government is requiring of everyone and she records everything that happens in her diary. The other story is of a later time (20 years maybe?) when her diary is found as there is war raging against the government requiring the chip and the religious folks who are running from the government. Unfortunately as they get caught throughout the movie many are tortured and needlessly killed. (This is the violence cautioned for youngers.) The entire movie is not filled with violence but it is quite suspenseful. As a turning point in the movie, one of the men from the army finds the girls diary, starts to read it and to believe. This causes more curiosity of what is going to happen. But, I won’t spoil the fun for you!

There are several actors you will recognize in this film if you have watched some of the other fairly new Christian movies out. Actors such as Eric Roberts, Ben Davies and Shannen Fields.

Overall this is a movie we would recommend to others (and again, we would recommend youngers NOT watch it).

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this movie in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

eBook Review & Giveaway – All Natural Mom’s Guide to the Feingold Diet

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We had the opportunity to review an all new book on the Feingold Diet from Sheri Davis over at All Natural Mom. The title is “All Natural Mom’s Guide to the Feingold Diet“. It is estimated at 183 pages.

Have you ever heard of the Feingold Diet? If not, it is a way of eating that has been around for A LONG TIME and has been proven to be of great help for those with ADHD (and other things). I ran across it a couple years ago when we realized my son has behavioral allergies to red food dye. However, it was a bit overwhelming so I pretty quickly moved on to other things. *grin*

The Feingold Diet is a non-profit group that is now continuing to keep updated information available to its members about different foods available. You see, the Feingold Diet has two stages of eating – the first which gets the target (the ADHD sufferer) to ‘baseline’ (what would be considered normal or tolerable behavior). Once that is obtained then they move to Stage Two where different foods are added back in to see what is or is not reacted to. Sounds fairly simple right? Well, unfortunately the real problem lies in the products where different things used may be “hidden” – for example, a preservative used with hamburger. It may not be IN the food but it is used on that little piece of “paper” under it so it keeps it fresher. THAT is a known issue for some ADHD sufferers. THIS is what being a member of Feingold is about…being kept up on changes with different products.

So…back to the book…Sheri and her family have been doing the Feingold Diet since 2005 and she started a blog in 2008 to help share information. And now she has put it all together in one amazing resource! THIS BOOK I ABSOLUTELY LOVED! The Feingold Diet can be EXTREMELY OVERWHELMING and quite confusing. This books walks you through it step by step reminding you to just breathe the entire time. I really appreciated the ‘down to earth’ tone used as well as the ‘you aren’t stupid because you don’t understand’ tone. Something newbies involved in different programs can often hear. This book brought me a HUGE sigh of relief.

From her book:

The purpose of this book is not to make parents feel guilty about what they are feeding their kids. I want to inform above all else. I hope this book helps you answer the questions, “Do I want to start the Feingold Diet for my family?” or “Do I want to make some different choices in the foods that I buy?”

And that is exactly what she does! She does NOT make you feel guilty but walks gently along side you to help guide the way.

More of what she wants:

I want to raise more awareness about the many behavioral issues caused by artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. I want the concepts of the Feingold Diet to be on every commercial on children’s television programs. I want every parent to know exactly what is in the foods they are feeding their children.

And if you are looking for a mentor…she says this…

And for the record, I’m not a doctor , nutritionist, professional writer, researcher, scientist, or expert. I’m a mom who has over nine years of experience with the Feingold Diet. I am simply sharing what I have learned.

And to top all this wonderful information off…she is a Christian who shares her beliefs throughout her book. Ahh, another breath of fresh air!

If you or anyone you know is considering the Feingold Diet, I cannot suggest strongly enough to GET THIS BOOK!!! It talks about how to start the diet and gives many suggestions on how to go through the process. She even shares recipes! I am a research-aholic and in my opinion this is THE BEST Feingold resource ever!

With that, I have two exciting things to share…the first is…I get to offer a FREE ebook copy of this away to one of my readers…enter below! The next is that this will soon be available IN PRINT! (She is hoping December 1st.) Additionally, the price of the ebook is going to be going up December 1st so if you are interested in this…it may be in your best interest to purchase it now while it is only $2.99.

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Movie Review ~ Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

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I had the opportunity to review Kirk Cameron’s new movie Saving Christmas. Honestly I didn’t watch any kind of trailer before agreeing to review this movie…I just saw “the cover” and heard things like “watch it with your family” and thought it was going to be a fun kind of Christmas movie. So our entire family sat down to excitedly watch…unfortunately I was wrong. For starters, this is not a movie younger kids will enjoy in any way…it only took a few minutes before our six year old was off doing other things.

We were only allowed 24 hours to watch the movie once we started it…and since we watched it Saturday evening and have church for the majority of the day on Sundays we didn’t have enough time to watch it a second time in order to be better prepared for this review. So forgive me if I am unable to provide a lot of specifics…I didn’t realize I was going to need them as I was originally watching it…so I didn’t take notes. I did ask to be allowed time to watch it again but that time was not provided.

So, my review…

First, I suppose I should have taken in to account Kirk’s two other movies I have watched, Monumental and Unstoppable, both of which have a ‘documentary’ feel to them and are mostly Kirk sharing his personal thoughts on different subjects related to the Bible. They do offer some good information but they also offer some false information. Saving Christmas is no different.

As I post this review, I feel it is important that you be aware of my overall preference of things related to the Scriptures…I prefer there be no guessing stated as truth. This film, unfortunately, does exactly that. If you are assuming or presuming…I think it MUST be stated in one form or another and not shared as an exact truth. Unfortunately that is not done here.

With that…the main thing I got from this movie is that it is trying to convince Christians who take the Scriptures literally and hold them as very important in their lives and tell them that their opinions and feelings are wrong. But, not only that, but that there are Scriptural reasons as to why those opinions are wrong. Now, I am always open to being corrected and to having my understanding of Scripture challenged. However, I am not at all impressed with someone using the Scriptures out of context to attempt to prove their point. This can be extremely damaging in many different ways. This is a perfect instance where we should check our Bibles for what people are saying. We don’t need to just check to confirm it is in there but we need to check for content, wording, placement and meaning…THAT is what matters.

The movie starts off by saying ‘the time was when the soldiers were killing all the babies at Herod’s command’ as in to the relation of when Christ was born. In actuality, Baby Jesus was TWO when that happened. May sound like a “little thing” but it is presented as a big thing that is accurate in the movie and having that time difference makes what the movie is saying completely wrong. Needless to say, this immediately put us “on guard” for other doctrinal inconsistencies.

Kirk then relates the swaddling cloths from Jesus’ birth to that of His death. We do not know if this is accurate or not. In this movie they are making assertions that this is true without having proven it in any way. Again, something that makes us leery of what is yet to come.

It talks about Santa (aka St Nick). Kirk shares about the history of St Nick, where he “came from” and how it all started. All great things…but still…NOT the point of Christmas. He talks about the good that “St Nick” did and how he gave away presents and how the Lord gives us presents and how giving gifts to our children is a good thing. And feasting…that feasting is good and right and celebrating the Lord. Sorry…not seeing it. Basically just saying we should be happy and think about the the Lord and that is how we are celebrating Him. Although true to an extent, in actuality, it is wrong. THAT is the danger of this film. It is right on the border line of at least being true in one sense but the entire overall point is way off.

He also discusses the tree and how it is meant to be a symbol of Christs death on the cross not something people worship. He talked about the snow globe of the nativity that is ‘shoved in the corner’ and instead of saying how it should have the forefront of the room he shares that everything else going on is celebrating Christ. I don’t know…overall, to us, it was just someone trying to put a “secular twist” on to Scripture. Quite honestly, I was offended.

So, what did we like? We cannot say we do not appreciate a celebrity openly talking about Jesus. That is VERY important. (But we are afraid that people will believe what he is saying just because he is a celebrity.) We did enjoy that there was humor mixed throughout the movie; there were several times that we all broke out in laughter.

Overall, we were very disappointed with many aspects of this movie. This movie will be in theaters for two weeks starting on November 14, 2014. Unfortunately we do not recommend going to the theaters to see it but if you are interested in watching it rent it from the library…but make sure you are prepared to answer to your children as to the questions presented…make sure you are ready to give accurate account of what is mentioned because there are major discrepancies presented as fact.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Disclosure: I received a link to view this movie via the internet for 24 hours in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Schoolhouse Review ~ Out of the Box Games #hsreviews

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We had the opportunity to review Snake Oil – Party Potion by Out of the Box Games. This game is recommended for ages 8 and up consisting of 3 – 6 players. Approximate game time is 20 – 30 minutes. It has a recommended sale price of $14.99.

So…first of all…let’s discuss the name “Snake Oil” so we can move beyond that small part. *grin* Yes, we all agree that this is a VERY UNUSUAL NAME for a kids game (or ANY game for that matter). So I’m sure you are wondering, as my family did, how they came up with such an interesting name. Although I am not completely sure how exactly the name came about, here is a little of what the company has to share about ‘The True History of Snake Oil': It acutally did exist and was first introduced in the US in the 1860’s by Chinese laborers. It was rubbed on sore muscles. It is still used today by some herbalists. Then in 1917, a sample of Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment was tested and found to contain no actual snake oil. As a result of swindlers making false product claims and using misleading labels, the phrase “Snake Oil Salesman” was born. So, now that we have discussed that…let’s move on to the actual game (after you have read my entire review…the name will make more sense…so keep on reading…).

This game comes with a plastic three section card holder, 14 Customer Cards (28 Customers) and 112 Word Cards.

Game Set up: put out tray then everyone draws six of the “Word Cards”.

Step One: Choose one player to be “the customer”. Anyone can be the customer. They then choose one of the “customer cards” and look at both the front and the back and choose which of the two customers they want to be. (Some examples are: Waitress, Fisherman, Dog, Snowman, Robot, Wizard, Doctor.)

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Step Two: All the other players choose two of their six cards as their item to “sell” to the customer. For us, we decided everyone needed to pick their two cards before anyone started selling. (The game just says that whoever is ready first can go.) This is the most hilarious part of the game! Our six year old LOVES games like this (and actually does quite well) so I knew this game would be a hit with him when I saw it came up for review). This is where you get to see people’s personalities shine (and it can be a “communication learning tool” for those who aren’t so good at sharing their thoughts with others).

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Below is a sample of cards one of us had during one of the games we played.

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Step Three: After all the players have pitched their item they are selling, the customer picks which one they liked the best. (Sometimes if we had a hard time deciding we would take one of each of the ones we liked the best and would just randomly pick one – that one then became the winner.) Whoever wins the sales pitch gets the customer card – this way you know who is winning.

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Below is just a picture of us playing one of our games…it shows the tray and some of the cards.

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Our family really enjoyed this game and the time and laughs it brought as we spent time together. Our only suggestion to the makers of this game would be to add more customer cards…which actually they do say you can combine this game with the regular (first) Snake Oil game they made (recommended for ages 10 and up) which would provide additional customer cards.

So I guess we can put “two and two” together and understand from this where the name Snake Oil comes from. Closure is good. *grin*

You can watch this short YouTube video which creatively explains how to play the game. (Which is actually where I got some of my pictures from.)

Out of the Box Games offers MANY other games as well, hop over and check out what all they have to offer!

If you are curious about how some of their games match Common Core Standards, click HERE.

Other ways to stay up with what is going on with Out of the Box Games:

Facebook 
Twitter 
YouTube 

Read more Out of the Box Games reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

 

 

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Six Word Saturday ~ 11/8/14

This post is linked to ShowMyFace – click the link to see how creative other folks got…or, to join in!

~ Time to ‘Get Back At It’ ~

It seems I always need about a month of “very little blogging” once a year and then I am ready to get back at it. Coming out of that time now and ready to “get to it” again. Feeling refreshed.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Schoolhouse Review ~ IXL #hsreviews

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We had the opportunity to review IXL an online Math and Language Arts Program. It covers grades PreK-12 for Math and grades 2-8 for Language Arts.

If you have been homeschooling for any length of time, you have probably already heard of IXL. They offer a free program (limited access that will only allow you to use it for a limited time) and they also offer a paid program (unlimited access to everything). We received one year of full access to the PAID program for both IXL Math and IXL Language Arts for this review.

IXL has made a pretty impressive online learning supplement! Their mission: passionate about creating and supporting the best educational technology possible; developing first-of-their-kind products used by millions of learners, from children to adults and deeply committed to solving the real-world challenges faced by students and teachers around the planet.

IXL offers visual representations, listening exercises and interactive activities so as to utilize both the right and left sides of the brain. The site has vibrant images and awards and certificates that are hidden throughout the site. There are hundreds of virtual awards that reflect kids’ favorite animals, foods, places, and hobbies. Within IXL math, each grade level has its own themed game board, filled with hidden prizes, so practicing math is like one big treasure hunt.

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We spent the majority of our time reviewing the Kindergarten through Second Grade Math items but my older son did mess around with Algebra 1 a little and I did hop around in several different areas within the program.

With IXL you are only provided one login name and password. When you login you then pick which person is working on items at that time. You can also switch between users without having to login out and back in again. This is handy when you have several users. The program does not track where you left off or remind you of where to start and every user has access to all items. This could be confusing for younger learners but help from the teacher easily fixes it. (Since P is only six I sat with him the entire time he was working with this program, not only to be able to provide an accurate, knowledgeable review but also to help him navigate around.)

The one thing the program does offer for knowing where you have or have not been are little bars to the side of the options…they are darker if you have visited that area and “whited out” if you have not – as shown below.

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There are many things we appreciated about this program. For example, in the picture below, the student actually MOVES the ruler so they can find out how long the given item is…we thought this was a very impressive, really fun, interactive way to learn about measuring…since that is how it would work in real life.

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Notice the green “speaker boxes” to the left of the sentences above. These are where you can click and the sentences will be read out loud for the student. LOVE this! I am amazed at different online programs that do not offer this for lower elementary learning – so we really appreciated that IXL offers this. [Audio is available for all math items for grades PreK through Fifth.]

Every screen you are working in shows the chart on the right above. It shows problems solved, time elapsed and what their score is out of 100. One thing I would have liked is to have the option to change the number of problems necessary. My youngest felt an average of thirty problems per section was a bit much (but he’s my ‘never wants to sit in one spot for more than a couple seconds’ kid).

The picture below is from eighth grade language arts. I thought it was really neat and fun how I could actually highlight (the green part below) within the text they provided on the screen. Simple but interactive. Nice.

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Below is another eighth grade language arts item. (You can tell what area you are in by looking at the top left of the screen…where the red box is.) In this one I was able to change the verbiage underneath the sign to say what the correct wording of the sign should be. Again simple – but very effective – interaction.

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This program is meant to be used as a supplement or as a review. The reason it is considered a supplement or review item is that it doesn’t TEACH the concepts but only tells how something is done if a WRONG answer is submitted. We didn’t really understand that at first so things weren’t going very well for us initially. But once we realized that it is more for review – it changed everything and we really enjoyed working with it. As you can see below we weren’t sure what answer they wanted submitted so we received an incorrect answer. You can see that it shows the correct answer and then explains how that answer was obtained. My youngest found this frustrating but we were able to talk through why it does things like this so it wasn’t a huge thing for us.

The example below is from my oldest using Algebra 1.

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There are such a huge amount of topics covered in every grade for both math and language arts that I would not be able to list them all here. Head over to their site and check them all out by clicking HERE.

In addition to learning, IXL also offers a “report” area which is found under the “Parent” account. Here are the report choices which offer pretty much everything you could be looking for.

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Below is a sample report. Although they do offer a lot of reports, you have to select each thing for each report: student, grade, subject, etc. It is a little tedious but does provide the necessary information. For me, I would prefer a more simple way to receive a complete report of what each student worked on…something a little less detailed maybe…but that’s just me.

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As you can see this is a very comprehensive online program that just about everyone can get something from.

Additionally, although we didn’t utilize them, they do offer online apps for the iPad, Android and Kindle.

Now…the cost breakdown:

    • Math (PreK – 12) is $9.95 per month or $79 per year.
    • Language Arts (Grades 2 – 8) is $9.95 per month or $79 per year.
    • BOTH Math AND Language Arts is $15.95 per month or $129 per year.

Each additional child is $2.00 per month or $20 per year.

An interesting tidbit, I thought, they offer programs for the following countries: United States, Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and United Kingdom…that’s a pretty impressive list! If you have any questions about which edition is right for you, contact them at any time at orders@ixl.com.

Now hop over and Read more IXL reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

 

 

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