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The Resurrection from Grapevine Bible Studies ~ Review

This post is our honest review of a product that we received for free. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

When I pulled out the latest Bible study lessons from Grapevine, there were literally cheers around the table. Last fall we worked through The Life of Joseph, drew stick figures, and our family fell in love with Grapevine studies. This spring we’ve been using The Resurrection Bible study and the kids {and I} have been loving it.


What’s Included in The Resurrection Bible study?

The study starts in the Upper Room and works through the events surrounding the Last Supper, the betrayal by Judas, through the trials and into the final hours of Jesus’s life. We used the Multi-level study which includes 11 lessons. Although it is for ages 7 and up, we used it with all four of our children ages 5-10. Lessons include:

  • The Last Supper
  • The Six Trials of Jesus
  • The Crucifixion
  • Jesus’ Death and Burial
  • The Resurrection
  • The Ascension


  • The multi-level teacher’s manual has lesson notes, timelines, full-color stick figure drawings, vocabulary terms, a map, lesson goals & key points, memory verses, as well as review questions & answers {ebook $8.95, 3 ring punched $10.95}.
  • The student book includes lesson pages, timelines, a map, verse memorization and more {ebook $8.95, printed $10.95}.

In addition to the teacher and student books, you will also need a Bible, colored pencils, a whiteboard {or large paper} and colored dry erase markers.

How We Used The Resurrection Bible Study:

We divided the lessons up over a 3 week period. At the beginning of each lesson we did a quick review and then worked through the passages in that lesson. Our girls would take turns reading the accompanying Bible passage {we use the NIrV Discover’s Bible} and then complete we all would complete the drawing to go along with that passage.

We have a large whiteboard easel that I would draw on using our BIG colorful pack of Expo dry erase markers so all the kids could see the pictures. As I read and we talked about it, they would copy the pictures onto their lesson pages. The varying colors of the figures and things used in the lessons are a great tool. For example, Jesus is purple throughout all of the scenes, making it easy to identify him in the study.

Although we didn’t do the Bible memory verses that Grapevine suggested, the kids decided to sing one of the verses that we read and we used that verse throughout the study since we know it from our Seeds Family Worship cd’s. {Note: I do appreciate that it is included in the study, but we just opted not to include it at this point especially since the kids are doing a lot of memorization with Awana as well}.

Here are a few things that we like specifically about Grapevine:

  • Four-square layout for the studies ~ saving lots of room a20120131-IMG_4209nd printing! The kids illustrate the ‘scenes’ with specific characters. I draw the scenes on our easel whiteboard and they copy them down as we talk about the passages from the Bible we are learning about.
  • Multi-colored stick figures ~ the variety keeps the kids really involved in the details of the drawings, even though the drawings are based on stick figures
  • The ebook works PERFECTLY on my iPad ~ I didn’t have to print it out! I can honestly say that this has changed my opinion of ebooks!! {and yes, it would work well on my laptop too, but I have a tendency to get distracted, so the laptop if off during school time!}.
  • It IS multi-aged focused ~ the fact that Kaleb can draw his cute little stick people along with us makes my heart so happy {you have to love those big eyes on the stick figures!}. Here’s a peek at Kaleb’s work ~ upside down and all… Even though his illustrations aren’t as great as his siblings, he is recalling facts and learning along with us, and THAT I love.



If you’re interested in any of the other studies and levels from Grapevine Bible Studies, you can download sample lessons from many of their other studies here. They have a variety of studies including Old and New Testament, Esther, the Birth of Jesus, the Life of Joseph, and Biblical Feasts.

I was provided a e-copy of this study from Grapevine in exchange for my honest review and opinion. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own. I do not have to return my review copy ~ thank goodness.

All About Reading Program Level 1 Review

We received this product at no cost in exchange for our honest review. All opinions expressed are solely mine.
You all ~ the wait for All About Reading Level 1 program has been so amazingly worth it.  We loved the All About Reading Level Pre-1 program and this is a wonderful next step in the reading process with Kaleb!

All About Reading Level 1 Kit     Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit

Program Basics

All About Reading Level 1 is a program for beginning readers. It picks up where the Pre-1 reading program ends ~ when children know their uppercase and lowercase letters as well as letter sounds and are ready to put the sounds together to make words. If you aren’t sure where to start your child, you can use the Reading Readiness Checklist to help you decide.

All About Reading focuses on phonological awareness, decoding skills, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. Similar to the other programs from All About Learning Press, the Teacher’s Manual includes step-by-step directions, so there is no guesswork in what you need for each lesson or how to teach the concepts covered.

Each of the 49 lessons include hands-on practice using letter tiles, word cards, fun games, and activity sheets to go along with the day’s lesson. Lessons can be tailored to meet the needs of your child ~ review concepts as often as you need to in order to know that they are being retained.

All About Reading Review-1    All About Reading Review-2

{playing letter sound bingo}

Each lesson takes about 20 minutes to work through and then another 20 minutes of reading to your child is recommended. We usually divide up our time and read at different points during the day, instead of doing it all in one block of time.

All About Reading Review-4

Sight words are incorporated in to the program {so far Kaleb has learned ‘the’ and ‘a’}. They are treated as ‘Rule Breakers’ and given special treatment. :) Kaleb has loved this part of the program, to the point that he came running into my bedroom early one morning and woke me up when he found ‘the’ on something that he was playing with ~ ‘It’s a rule breaker!!!’

All About Reading Review-6

And the moment you want to do a happy dance {and actually do??}. When your child picks up a book, sits down with you and reads a real, honest-to-goodness story to you for the very first time. It just makes a mommy’s heart happy and there is much rejoicing to do!

All About Reading Review-5

I have also been using the reading program with Zachary {2nd grade} to help increase his reading fluency. Reading has never been a favorite part of his day, but his fluency has already greatly improved in the weeks that we’ve used it and it’s also built up his confidence in his reading abilities. He’s on the ‘fast track’ through the program, but part of his motivation has been seeing his younger brother start doing things that he was more recently complaining about {grins}.

Quick tip: Not sure if you should start out with All About Reading or All About Spelling? While the two programs go hand-in-hand, children generally move ahead more quickly in reading, so I recommend starting with All About Reading first.

The All About Reading Level 1 Kit comes with the following items: {Regularly $107.70, currently on sale now for $99.95}

  • All About Reading Level 1 KitTeacher’s Manual
  • Student Packet {includes word cards and an Activity Book}
  • Run, Bug, Run! reader
  • The Runt Pig reader
  • Cobweb the Cat reader

imageYou will also need a Reading Interactive Kit to complete the program. Choose between the Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit {$48.95} or the Basic Reading Interactive Kit {$28.95} ~ or buy the pieces individually. The reading kits are a one-time purchase and will be used in all levels of the program.

Quick Tip: If you currently use any of the All About Spelling programs, the letter tiles are the same, so you may only need a few additional components to complete the kit.

A Few More Thoughts…

One thing that we all look at is the initial price of this children’s reading program, and while it is a bit more, it truly is worth it. Here are a few of my thoughts on it:

  • The bulk of the components are non-consumable {only the Activity Book and the smiling star stickers cannot be used again}. This means that you can use the program with children coming up through the ranks or eventually re-sell it to another mom.
  • The program is completely laid out and lessons are scripted, so you can just relax and not worry about planning!
  • Minimal prep-work. The word cards are perforated, but need to be torn apart and the letter tiles need to be assembled with magnets. Once that is done, you can grab your manual and go.
  • The Go Ahead and Use It One-Year Guarantee’. You and your child have a full year to try out the program! If you find that the curriculum does not meet your needs, simply return the materials at any time within one year of purchase for a full refund of your purchase price.

I can honestly tell you all that we have all of the products from All About Reading and All About Spelling, use them daily, and love them tremendously. Their curriculum is one of the first that really got me excited about teaching and I KNOW that they are getting solid teaching using the programs!

Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station Books ~ Review and Giveaway


Our family has a HUGE love for all things that go along with the Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station from Focus on the Family. We have all of their audio cd compilations and they have accompanied us on all of our road trips…or just going to town trips. And don’t tell the kids, but I’m just as hooked on the adventures and characters as they are!

Our kids also love to read and when we saw there was a new book series based on the Imagination Station, I was on Amazon immediately to check them out. We ordered the newest book, Problems in Plymouth to read together and were hooked!

The Imagination Station books were written to introduce early elementary readers to the world of Adventures in Odyssey. Because there were very few Christian children’s historical fiction series focused toward that reading level, it seemed the perfect target audience. The result was pure fun, imagination and entertainment mixed in with a bit of history and learning!

aio collage
The two latest books in the series, Showdown with the Shepherd and Problems in Plymouth have been much fun as read-alouds and individual reading in our house. One of our girls has been reading us a chapter {or more} a day at lunchtime so we can all be part in the historical adventures.

Showdown with the Shepherd takes place in tenth century BC and follows Patrick and Beth as they try to find a stolen ring. During their adventure they see firsthand the story of David and Goliath unfold and learn more about the importance of Faith. In Problems in Plymouth, Patrick and Beth travel back in time to the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. During their trip they meet several key historical figures including William Bradford, Miles Standish, and Chief Massasoit.

Our Thoughts

While we did start reading with book six, Problems in Plymouth, the kids liked going back to the beginning of the series to see how it all unfolded. Each of the books can stand alone, but knowing how the adventure all began made the books even more fun.

Each of the books has around fifteen chapters with black and white illustrations throughout the story to help keep children’s attention. Sentences are shorter in length and focus on a younger reading level {ages 7 and up} to help reluctant readers.

I love that this series incorporates history, adventure and imagination all from a Christian perspective. Our kids have enjoyed similar non-Christian series {Magic Treehouse}, but as the other series progressed there were elements that we really didn’t like so we stopped reading them. Knowing Focus on the Family, their beliefs and their other products, I’m happy to add these books to our reading library and continue to support their company.

Find Out More

Parents and children can also visit TheImaginationStation.com to find out secret words, family devotionals, parent guides and more that tie in with each of the books in the series. The website also lists what is true and/or exaggerated for each of the books along with additional links to characters in the stories.

The Imagination Station books are available for purchase through Amazon and are reasonably priced at $4.99/each. These are definitely books that we will continue to add to our library as they are released. The books are intended for the ages 7 and up, although we read them out loud with our kids and enjoyed them as a family {ages 5 and up}.
There are two new books coming in early 2012 as well ~ Secret of the Prince’s Tomb  {available for pre-order} and Mystery of Starlight Island.

New AIO books

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I received a set of books from Tyndale to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not paid for this post and do not need to return the books. Prior to receiving the books, I had already purchased two of the books for my own personal use.

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We Choose Virtues Character Building Tools ~ Review

We Choose Virtues

As parents we all realize the magnitude of a job that we have to instill values in our children. I am often overwhelmed thinking of the many things that there are to cover and appreciate the wisdom and insight that parents who have ‘been there and done that’ offer to me.

My biggest struggle? Being positive ~ instead of approaching discipline or other issues from a negative aspect. When we received some of the We Choose Virtues program to use with our kids, I was immediately drawn to the colorful characters and the positive approach to character building that is the core of the program. Not only has it been a great for our kids, it is a constant encouragement and reminder to me as well!

The We Choose Virtues program is a character-based education program that provides you tools to help build Biblical virtues and character traits in your children. It covers the following character traits, all starting with the phrase “I am” ~ …Attentive, Content, Diligent, Forgiving, Gentle, Helpful, Honest, Kind, Obedient, Patient, Perseverant, and Self-Controlled.

My FAVORITE Part of We Choose Virtues

My favorite part of the program are the full-color Teacher’s Virtue Cards {$34.99}. There are 12 full-color cards {8 1/2” x 5 1/2”} that feature one of the Virtue Kids along with the virtue/character trait that they represent. Everything your child needs is on the front of the card and everything the teacher needs is on the back of the card.

Virtue Card Front

Each card provides a visual from the story help trigger kid’s memories when they see the characters. On the above card you see Cake Jake ~ he wants MORE choices than the 20 cake flavors in the bakery and needs to get his ‘wanter’ under control!

The front of the card shows the short “I am” catchphrase with the and the go-along antonym {I am NOT}. Along the bottom of the card is a tie-in Scripture verse {NIrV} that you can learn together during the week.  The trigger picture {above you see Cake Jake} also starts with the same letter as the virtue that child represents ~ content/cake.

Teacher Card Back

The back of the Teacher’s Virtue Cards go into more detail for teaching. Each card includes:

  • teachable moment ideas
  • a challenge for the day {or week}
  • what would be appropriate to say if you are wrong in the situation
  • a short story about the Virtue Kid

The Kids Virtue Poster {$14.99} is a great daily reminder, or a snapshot, of all of the virtues represented in the program. It shows a small picture of the Virtue kid, the catchphrase for the virtue and the antonyms to go along. The poster is 11” x 17” in size and would fit on the front of your refrigerator or in a smaller space.


How We’re Using We Choose Virtues

Over the last few weeks since receiving the We Choose Virtues Teacher’s Virtue Cards and Kids Virtue Poster, we have been talking about one virtue a week, and adding a new virtue each week as we review the past ones. We’ve incorporated it as part of our morning calendar time.

We Choose Virtues

I cut a page protector in half and added it onto our board so that I can slide in the weekly virtue for the kid’s to see and review. At the beginning of the week we talk in detail about the virtue and throughout the week we do some fun activities to go along with it.

Next to our morning board, I hung the Kids Virtue Poster so that we can review the virtues that we’ve already studied. It is a great way to see all the virtues at a glance.


There are quite a few different package options for purchasing the We Choose Virtues program, including sets for classroom and home use. We are using the Teacher’s Virtue Cards and the Kids Virtue Poster and I’m really happy with them. The only other thing that I might add to it is the pdf Virtue Kids Coloring book, since our kids enjoying coloring and it would be fun to add it to our ‘learning’ time.

The catch phrases are definitely sticking with the kids and I can hear them reminding themselves {and others} of the different virtues we have talked about ~ but in an encouraging and helpful way because of the “I am” starts to all of the traits. This has been a great addition to our day and we are excited to continue using it with our family.


I received the Teacher’s Virtue Cards and poster to review in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions in this post are mine. I do not have to return the products and was not paid for this post. Also linked to Hip Homeschool Moms giveaway post!

WordBuild® Foundations ~ Dynamic Literacy {Review}

We received this product at no cost in exchange for our honest review. All opinions expressed are solely mine.


At our homeschool convention this year I had a chance to talk to the people at the Dynamic Literacy booth about one of their vocabulary programs called WordBuild® Foundations. I left with an armful of product and was so excited to start using it this year during our school time.

The program does not focus on drilling words and vocabulary into children but teaches them HOW words are built and put together. Just because a child can read and sound out a word {phonics} doesn’t mean that they can understand and interpret what it means {morphonics}.

The WordBuild program is divided into two series: Foundations and Elements. Foundations does exactly what the name implies ~ builds a vocabulary foundation with prefixes and suffixes. Elements then takes what children have learned in Foundations and builds on it, including more complex root families.

Based on the simple formula WORD = (prefix) + root + (suffix), WordBuild® is fun, easy, and effective.


The biggest question for me ~ “Would it work and would our children enjoy it?”  For the last two months we’ve been using WordBuild® Foundations and can honestly say that we are enjoying it! Want to know why?

~ Ease of use: One of the things that really attracted me to the WordBuild® vocabulary program was how easy it would be for me to implement it with the kids. I didn’t need to carve out a huge chunk of time from our already full day. All I needed was the teacher’s manual, activity books for the kids, and 15 minutes a day ~ tops.

Some days we work right up to the 15 minutes and other days take much less. Even if we have a word or two left to do, we stop and move on to the next section the next day. This is something that the publisher recommends ~ stop at 15 minutes!!

~ Fun exercises and variety: Each of the units follows the same format so once the girls became familiar with the layout, they jumped right into the routine. The word search and magic square are favorites in this house {and sneaking in some other learning too!}.

Here’s a look at what each day looks like in a week’s plans {you can view a sample lesson here}:

  1. Prefix square ~ build new words by putting the center prefix word in front of each of the words surrounding it
  2. Affix adder ~ create new words using the affix, write what you think the word means and use it in a sentence
  3. Magic Square ~ match the words to their definitions and they all add up to a magic number
  4. Word Search ~ find and circle words within the grid
  5. Review ~ a review of the words/concepts from the week

~ Solid lesson plans: Nothing makes me happier than well-laid out plans. Each unit gives objectives, hints, materials needed, week-at-a-glance, discussion ideas and more. View a sample lesson here.

~ It’s working! The kids are carrying over what they are learning into everyday life. When we were talking about compound words in the introduction booklet, they made up games for us to play in the car together…and the learning spilled over into everyday life.

~ Humor: As we were talking about compound words and I was trying to help Zachary come up with words that started with the word ‘head’, I pointed to my head and said “This is something that Mommy gets a lot.” His eyes got big and he said, “OH! That’s right! Head lice!”  More like headaches…but he did get a new word, right?

~ A great guarantee {and discount}: If you aren’t completely satisfied, the company will refund your money {including s/h}, no questions asked.

As an added bonus, Dynamic Literacy is offering Homeschool Creation readers a 25% discount until 12/31/2011 when using the code HSC2011.

Recommended Ages

If you aren’t sure where to start, Dynamic Literacy has a great placement chart to use. Their rule of thumb ~ always start with Foundations Level 1 or Elements level 1 regardless of age {and I agree!}. You can also view samples of both the Foundations and Elements levels here on their website.


At first I thought we would be able to pull Zachary {Grade 2} into this with us. While he did understand the concept behind much of what we were doing and was able to complete the introductory booklet for Foundations Level 1, once we started into the actual student workbook, he was really in over his head. His reading and writing comprehension level are definitely not at the same level as the either of the girls {4th and 5th grade}, so we will be holding off on the workbook for him at this point.

Find Out More

Visit the Dynamic Literacy Homeschool site to find out more information about the program. I’ve also included a few more links for you to check out.

~ Informational video about the WordBuild® program

~ Scope and Sequence and State Standards information

~ Purchase information {don’t forget to use the code HSC2011 for 25% off your order!!}


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I was provided this curriculum by Dynamic Literacy in exchange for my honest review and opinion from our family’s use. All opinions expressed in this review are my own {and my kid’s}.

Pick and Draw ~ A FUN Review!


The last few weeks around our house have been void of technology for the kids and one of the FIRST games that our kids pulled out to play was Pick and Draw. Although it looks like a simple deck of cards, it is actually a drawing game for children {and you} that shows how to draw faces and think creatively.

About the Game {and Rich Davis}

Even if you don’t think you can draw, you can play this game! The Pick and Draw deck has step-by-step instruction cards, 45 sturdy ‘drawing’ cards to use while playing, and comes in a hard plastic storage case. The game itself…

  • uses basic shapes that anyone can draw {even Kaleb, our three year old tries to play along}
  • is easy to play ~ we were playing in less than 5 minutes
  • needs only basic tools to play ~ a pencil and paper
  • gets the creativity flowing!
Pick and Draw game 
One of my favorite things about this game is one little card inside the deck that talks about the Greatest Artist ~ the One who made each one of us. From the card: 
“I have made this Pick and Draw game so that you and I can draw together. I want it to be fun for you and I think you will be surprised how well you can draw. Your ability to create is a gift from God. So grab your paper and pencil and let’s draw!”
~ Rich Davis

Playing with Pick and Draw

Pick and Draw deckEach deck of cards {$10} has five different colored card sets for different parts of the character you will draw ~ face, nose, eyes, mouth, and hair. All of the cards start out face down and then one card from each category is flipped over {one at a time} and you draw that piece. You can choose to draw each ‘piece’ as large or as small as you want, making it your very own character.
When you are done creating your characters it’s time to name them and tell a little story about each of the creations. It would be a great {and sneaky} way to add some language activities into your school day along with a little creativity!
Pick and Draw face

If you want some great stocking stuffers and gifts for extended family this Christmas, you can purchase the Pick and Draw game for your family directly from the Pick and Draw site.

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Disclaimer: Thank you to Rich @ Pick and Draw for providing the review and giveaway products. This review is based on my own experiences and gives my honest opinion.