Heroes of History Series - Thomas Edison ~ REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Guess what?  I have a new addition to our Heroes of History series from  YWAM Publishing, we received the book on Thomas Edison.  I have been thrilled with every single book we have ever read from them.  We have books from their Christian Heroes: Then and Now series too.  We have always enjoyed unit study lessons and whenever we can add real living books and Biographies we jump at the chance.
YWAM Publishing offers so many amazing quality biographies and unit studies on Christian Heroes and Heroes from History. 

Christian Heroes: Then and Now
Betty Green, C.S. Lewis, David Livingstone, Lottie Moon, Gladys Aylward, Jacob DeShazer, Isobel Kuhn, Eric Liddell and many more.

Heroes of History
Christopher Columbus, William Bradford, Captain John Smith, William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Meriwether Lewis, George Washington Carver, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harriet Tubman, Douglas MacArthur and so many more!

What I love about these books and study guides is the ability to really make these our own.  Having a child on the spectrum I am used to customizing and supplementing our curriculum.  The study guides are filled with comprehension questions, geography/maps, research topics, timeline, hands-on projects, art, writing and more included in these study guides. 

The Study Guide was easy to retrieve digitally, it was simple and easy to follow along while reading the book and most importantly for me it was well organized and the layout was neat.  I thought it was great that there is a thorough explanation of how to use the Guide in a Classroom, Group or Homeschool setting.  The needs and opportunities for the children in these three settings are all so different.  So, it was nice to see that they were each given great thought on how to successfully use this guide and book.

So, let's talk about the book...we have studied many articles and books on Thomas Edison.  This book takes you all the way back to his curious childhood days.  We learned that he was called by a nickname from his middle name Alva.  We had not heard that before, so that was interesting.  Kaden's favorite thing though was learning about Morse Code.  We played around with that for days.
Another interesting thing was a specific part in the book when he needed to cash a check at the bank.  He had always been paid in cash, so this was new to him.  The secretary helped him sign the back and cash it.  Kaden looked at me and asked me, "did they not just have direct deposit back then?"  We got a huge laugh from that one. :)

I don't want to ruin the reading experience for you, but I will say we were touched to read his experiences and trials that gave him the strength to endure and literally surpass what others thought was his potential growing up.  Very encouraging to read and makes me love this series that much more.  

I suggest you connect with 
YWAM Publishing on Social Media and click below to see what other families had to say about other books in this series.

32 Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}


The Action Bible Anytime Devotion ~ REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I'm sure you have heard of the Action Bible by David C Cook.  Recently we received his new book, The Action Bible Anytime Devotion 90 Ways to Help Kids Connect with God Anytime, Anywhere, illustrated by Sergio Cariello, Brazilian comic book artist.  This amazing book offers our kiddos specific ways to not only connect with our God, but how to apply it to our lives every single day.  I'm talking about how to have and implement courage, love, trust, hope, faith, kindness, service, and strength. 

Learn God’s Word with an action verse
Apply it to what’s happening in your life
Relate it to real people from the Bible
Think about it to help you grow
Talk to God with a quick prayer guide
Share with others using questions and simple actions
Take it further by going back into the Bible

The Table of Contents makes it super easy to find a particular topic you may be struggling with or wanting to learn more about  by showing you the Title - Topic - Scripture.   This book is recommended for kiddos in the 8-12  range, but I can see it used with even teenagers. Let me tell you how Kaden used it.

Most mornings he is up and waiting for breakfast at the table so this book has been a happy addition to his waiting on Mom routine.  I would come downstairs and he would be reading.  Besides the actual stories he said he enjoyed the life applications.  He couldn't relate to all of them, but he was able to put the lesson deeper in his heart because of the extra bullet points at the end.  They offered ideas on how to put what you just learned into action, prayer starters, situations to contemplate and writing exercises.  One in particular that stood out during this day in time is an exercise that told Kaden to refocus our thoughts on God right away and pray when we find ourselves in a tough situation.  
Kaden also said he liked that they were fairly short reads.  Just a simple 2 page spread that made them easy to read.  Daily he would read 2 or 3, so he has completely read all 90 of them and has actually continued by rereading them.  I think we will need to get the NIV Action Study Bible for him ASAP.  Just to completely share what each devotional consists of.... the 2 page spread is illustrated in a colorful graphic novel style and begins with an Action Verse, the actual real-life situational story/devotional, the life applications that Kaden liked so much and then ends with a Take it Further section that gives additional scripture reading.
We loved this book and if you are looking for an easy to read devotional that your kids will want to read this is one to buy.  Top of my list for sure!  Connect with David C Cook on Social Media today and click below to see what other families had to say about The Action Bible Anytime Devotion

The Action Bible Anytime Devotions {David C Cook Reviews}


LitWits ~ REVIEW

We read a lot of books, I mean a ton of them every month.  But, sometimes it would be nice to linger over a book a little longer then zipping to the next one.  That's where LitWits Kits from LitWits comes in at.  We recently were given 4 kits to go along with 4 books we had that were on our list to read next.  I was a little more excited then Kaden because he says he doesn't like fussy stuff like crafts.  :)  But, the show must go on folks....here we go.

Personally I like hands on activities and Kaden generally does too.  I think there are times in a book when you can pick up little life lessons and character gems by immersing yourself in the literature your reading.  Right now LitWits has almost 50 different kits to choose from that reaches the whole reading spectrum.  These kits save the parent hours of searching online for activities and materials to go along with your current book.  I'm talking about these fine gems right here:

  • sensory prop ideas:  see, hear, smell, and feel what the characters did
  • bookbites ideas:  taste what the characters ate
  • creative project ideas & instructions/templates:  make what a character made
  • kinetic activity ideas & instructions/prompts:  do what a character did (or might/should have!)
  • academic handouts:  learn the story’s narrative arc, vocabulary, setting, and more
  • creative writing handouts: write what a character wrote or felt
  • takeaway topics:  know what the characters knew
  • learning links:  learn more about what the characters’ world was like
  • audiovisual links:  see and hear what the characters’ world looked and sounded like
  • CCSS alignment:  check off lots of boxes!


Thinkwell ~ REVIEW


I promised Kaden no more new Math programs for awhile.  And literally two days later I find Thinkwell fall instantly in love with their 6th to 8th Grade Math and had to tell Kaden with a cupcake that he would be working on a new 6th Grade Math program. :)  
I know that sounds bad, but we have tried so many over the years.  But Thinkwell right off the bat checked off all the right boxes for us.  Kaden has huge struggles with sensory input, so online programs tend to be too overwhelming for him.


God's Mail Vol 3 ~ Review

Sometimes you just need a little encouragement, some hand holding and a hug during a long day.  And most of those days I find myself here at home alone knee deep in laundry with Kaden melting down in another room.  Instead of tumbling down a sad destructive rabbit hole I usually try and grab a cup of tea and read something spiritually healthy.  These past several weeks I have been using the God's Mail Volume 3 written by Ron Hardin from God's Mail.  This book has been a perfect mix of encouragement and inspiration.  I love that this book hosts a collection of poems that touch on many struggles and issues we may face.  And on the opposite page there is a list of scriptures from different Bible versions to go along with each poem.

So, here is what I thought..... I would not say these are average poems.  To me these are spiritual correspondences between the Author and God.  I do this every single day.  I talk with him daily, his words and work show up in my art and personal writing that I keep tucked away for only my eyes to see.  I flipped through this book and wasn't looking for beautifully written poems, but conversations, realizations and eradication of broken hearts, bodies and minds.  And I could feel this connection between the Author and God....this is what spoke to me.  That is what had me pulling out my own Bible and reading further into the message I received from the Author's message he received.  I hope that makes sense. :)

I've read most of the book and I would make 2 suggestions.  One would be to lose the art behind the writing.  And the other thing would be to group the poems into categories in the table of contents so it's easier to find what you want or need to read quickly.  Would I recommend this book?  I would with the understanding that these are the Author's communications with God through poetry.  The style is not typical.  I would take a look down below at what other people said that reviewed this same book.
God's Mail: Volume 3 {God's Mail Reviews} 
 Crew Disclaimer


Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series ~ REVIEW

We just love reading and sometimes finding family friendly books that's also filled with exciting adventure is sometimes hard to find.  Lucky for us, we found Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books.  One of the best things about her books we've realized is that you can learn a thing or two and not have to settle on a boring read.  Her books caught our hearts in the first chapter.  Let me share a little about each one of them.
Day and Night
Dusty's Trail
Golden Sunrise

Each story is set in early American history during various time periods.  We get to experience it through the eyes of the horses in each book.  This series is intended for ages 8-14, but even I was hooked from the beginning.  Kaden loves horses, so this was an easy series to get him to read.  He also liked that in the beginning of each book is a little section filled with new words you may see and their meanings.


Surviving the Day After Halloween

The day after Halloween may find you legs up ready to give in when your dealing with little candy monsters on a sugar high.  That's ok I have a few tips to deal with the Halloween Hangover.  First off we start with some yummy oatmeal, lots of water and our supplements.  I like to start their day with warm bellies, then we tend to get out for some much needed sunshine and fresh air. 

We tend to keep things low key.  Usually this means lots of reading and time for hobbies like carving, knitting, beading or painting.  
Kaden tends to read and this Halloween he has been hooked on the new book written by Allan Woodrow, The Curse of the Werepenguin from Penguin Random House. Middle Grade (8-12) You can read about this new book down bellow.


A Little Bit of Me Time.....

Have you heard of Self Care?  I had never heard of it before until a few years ago when our Family went through a crisis and my world came to a crashing halt.  That's when I first heard about Self Care.  I learned that it's true what the flight attendant always tells you at the beginning of your flight.  If you don't put the oxygen max on yourself first you wont be able to help your traveling partner beside you that's gasping for breath. 

Every single day I make a point to practice Self Care.  I have this bag I put together filled with lotions, a candle, nail polishes, books, journals, pens, candies, cards with affirmations on them, pictures of Family and I have a list of things to do for myself.  On that list I have meditation, walking, art, writing, facials, hair masks, soak my feet, read, watch a movie alone with Pop Corn, 5-10 minutes of intentional deep breathing, take a bath with essential oils, make up a scrub or oil combination, make a cup of tea or coffee and drink it outside.  There are so many things that you can add to your special list.  I usually take one to two times out of my day to do one of the things mentioned above.  

Some days it may be just lighting a candle, clicking on Spotify and enjoying my morning shower with my favorite podcast playing or drinking my tea outside while deep breathing....the point is to take time for yourself and stop putting everyone's needs before your own. Especially if you are a parent to special needs children or have underlying health issues.  For me it's my Lupus and mental wellness that needs protecting while we ride this parenting autism roller-coaster with Kaden.  I know if I'm not right with myself, I'm not going to be able to be there mentally and emotionally.  

Take some time for yourself this next week and watch the difference it makes.


Online Math with Smartick ~ REVIEW


We have been using a new to us online Math program from Smartick.  The Smartick program is an online subscription like no other I have seen before, by combining math with reading comprehension, logic, and reasoning.  The program adapts to your child's learning style and customizes your child's needs regardless based on their performance.  The program is geared toward children from ages 4-14 and takes only about 15 minutes per day.  Kaden received a 6 month free subscription and we have tried to use it consistently, but it's been a struggle do to a few of his limitations.  


Homeschool Flow

So school has been doing actually pretty awesome.... dare I say.  Are we doing everything I want to do?  Is Kaden begging for more and we are skipping hand in hand in some meadow?  No, not even close.  But, we are creating a routine....a routine people. 

Here is what we worked on this week:
Life Skills

Hygiene has been so hard for him because he is extremely sensitive to tastes, touch and basically anything to do with his head so brushing teeth and showers are like pulling teeth.  But, I have found a tooth paste that he actually can tolerate that is not filled with a bunch of crap.  Burt's Bees fluoride free fruit fusion.  We have tried so many it's insane.  And bath time we have it down to every other day after lunch.  Which is a game changer if we are out and about and we have to do it in the morning or heaven forbid the evenings.  He has set rules in his mind that he finds painful to break and the struggle is evident when he has to work through a change in plans.
Math we have been using an online program and Singapore Math.  Grammar is on Khan Academy right now ...he loves Khan for all subjects.  Life Skills we did some baking, went to the grocery store where he helped pick out items from a list.  He loves to compare prices on anything....I mean LOVES it!  So, it's like a playground in there for him.  As long as nobody makes eye contact with him or heaven forbid try and talk to him.  He will straight up ghost you right there in isle 5, dropping whatever was in his hands.  Yes, this has happened.  Also for life skills we worked on making a schedule.  I love getting his input and he loves sharing his opinion on things.
As for Reading, it's been hit or miss this week and that's weird.  He reads all the time, but because we have a new schedule in place I noticed for him to find comfort he reads and rereads his special books, books he has read 10,000 times.  I haven't pushed him to read anything different because obviously he needs these specific books and I can live with that.
So, that's the low down....I plan to do this every week because I want to track our progress better.  And I will be adding more academics to his plate every single week.


Soundsory ~ REVIEW

As you know Kaden has Autism and Mahala has ADD, so our days are filled with instructions being told a million times, pure confusion, anxiety and meltdowns all before we leave the breakfast table.  This has played a huge roll in how we operate our school time together.  We modify almost every program we use and always allow extra time.  Mahala has never really sought out any therapy or medication for her ADD, but Kaden has spent several years working through ABA therapy. 
Both kids were willing to give this next review item a try, Kaden is 12 and Mahala is 19.  We have been using Soundsory from Sound for Life Ltd.

According to Sound For Life, Ltd., “Soundsory can help people with:
  • Motor delays, Balance and Coordination
  •  Autism spectrum and Developmental delays
  • Sensory and Auditory processing disorders
  • ADD and ADHD”