Friday, December 28, 2012

On The 3rd Day of Christmas.... toys, games and crafts!

Today we had a delightful time with the kiddles~ 

Youngest received more pieces to go with his playmobil fire engine, Middlest received a full-size version of Mastermind (we only had a travel-sized version...), and Eldest received a bulky roll of yarn to finger crochet into a scarf, and coordinating raw materials for me to knit/felt into a new pair of mittens, and possibly a hat (with ear flaps? I'll try!) :) 

While Middlest and I were out shopping (He still needed to get Daddy a gift...) Eldest captured a shot of the amazing moon as it rose over the lake. My camera is very "point and shoot," so I'm fairly impressed that this came out so nicely! 

Dinner tonight? Potato Soup with Ham.... love remaking leftovers into something new! :)  Happy Third Day of Christmas


2nd Day of Christmas 2012 (Thursday)

The Second Day of  Christmas brought a very lazy day here at the house. Since we weren't getting snow, but lots of rain and sludgy yuck, it was a good day to stay inside!

 After breakfast, presents were opened and enjoyed.Youngest was almost as excited to open his package, as Eldest and Middlest  were to give it to him...

They went in together to get him a playmobil fire station. Eldest received new owl PJ's, and Middlest got a new yo-yo that lights up. Wish there was a way to show just how cool that yo-yo is! Might have to take some video in the dark at some point. :) But not right now


An out-of-the-ordinary occurrencewe went to a JV and then Varsity hockey game~ with 2 neighbors playing JV, and one on the Varisty team. Fun stuff! 

(Notice the math problem on the jerseys~ 23-13=10 (goalie's #) :) 


Finishing up the evening, we watched "The Polar Express".... forgot just how long that movie was!  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The First Day of Christmas 2012

For the record..... 

The 1st Day of Christmas brought reading material to the kids~

Eldest had the 4th book from the Mysterious Benedict Society The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (The Mysterious Benedict Society) on her wishlist... in paperback to match the others on her shelf~ sadly, it isn't published yet, so her brother gave her a "pre-ordered" bookmark... it should arrive in April sometime... :) 

The other two books are Ten Out of Bed  and The Disappearing Stranger (Adventures of the Northwoods (Mott Media Paperback), 1st in a series by Lois Walfrid Johnson, author of our beloved Viking Quest Series (Raiders from the Sea (Viking Quest Series)). 


Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! 

We had a lovely Christmas Eve.

Service at church and then delightful evening spent with friends. We've shared Christmas Eve with them for YEARS, since BEFORE the girls were born! Yummy food, Charades, Mad Libs, Presents and Laughter! 


Christmas Morning.....  The stockings were laid on the love seat with care.... :) 'round about 7am...

And the presents surrounded the tree....

Eldest (Who was a very helpful elf) decided NOT to go to sleep @ 7am for fear of missing the whole day, and spent some time sending out electronic greetings and chatted with friends who were just getting up!  (She did manage a 3hr nap from 5pm-8pm...)
Now for the traditional shot of the kids at the top of the stairs... (Please ignore the red-eyes... I edited them out in iphoto, but google+ didn't keep the edits for some reason! :(  ) 

The PJ's aren't misleading on eldest, as you can see in the first photo that she put them on Christmas Eve (Even if she didn't actually SLEEP in them!)
More video taken than photos on Christmas morning, but I did get one good shot...

Hoping that you and yours are enjoying celebrating the love and light that came down at Christmas!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Concert Selections (AKA High School Holiday Concert)

We just spent one of our favorite evenings leading up to Christmas last night. My eldest's best friend sings in her high school Ladies Chorale and "Singers." While I don't have video of their concert, I did decide to look up as many pieces as I could on YouTube to share with you~

"Chamber Choir" and "Chorale"~ 
Lining the aisles of the auditorium, holding lit candles, and facing one another, they started with

Adam Lay Y Bounden by Boris Ord
Followed by
Out of the Orient Crystal Skies by Richard Zgodava

The "Chorale" treated us to 3  selections:

I Saw a Maiden by Edgar Pettman (Or possibly Jeff Smallman)

All My Heart This Night Rejoices by Johann Georg Ebelin  

The Angels and the Shepherds

The "Chamber Choir" presented:

Resonet in Laudibus by Z. Randall Stroope

Lute-book Lullaby by W. Ballet

Kumah Echa arranged by Alice Parker

Good Ale by John Rutter (just for the FUN of it.... ;D)

A Merry Christmas arranged by Arthur Warrell

Deck the Halls arranged by David Willcocks

The "Ladies Chorale" sang:

Personent Hodie arranged by John Rutter

The Blooming Bright Star of Belle Isle by Eleanor Daley
(This was lovely! A Newfoundland Folk Song...)

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Noel Regeny and Gloria Shayne

The "Singers" finished off with

Come to the Music by Joseph M Martin (Loved this one!)

Evening Prayer from "Hansel und Gretel" from the opera by Englebert Humperdink ~ 
They dedicated it to the victims and families of Sandy Hook Elementary (Teary-eyed)

Baby It's Cold Outside by Frank Loesser ~ 
This one is cute, but would have been hard to accomplish with the stage full of risers and singers...

The Very Best Time of the Year by John Rutter 
(This recording is rather quiet, just FYI)

The Finale 
A Tradition.... 
every year they invite alumni and friends 
to join the choir on the stage to sing 
Hallelujah from "The Messiah" by G. F. Handel

The Lord Bless You and Keep You by Peter Lutkin

So... now I hope that you've enjoyed this recollection of our evening, albeit without the live energy and joy of the young people in the auditorium last night.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Revisiting Ooka Island and Save up to 30% off!

Hello Friends! 

Looking for a gift idea from the grandparents? Want to pick up something educational that doesn't take up space in your house (Just on your hard-drive)? Here's an idea for you~ an annual subscription to Ooka Island, a Learn-to-Read Adventure for 3-7 year olds.

I have received a special offer from Ooka Island to share with my readers. I reviewed this program with Littlest last fall(2011), and he still talks about it, over a year later! That's a pretty good indication of it's uniqueness and interest value. I also know that many of the things that he learned "Stuck" which is great!

I realize that everyone is at a different place economically, and we tend to be in a "bare-bones" sort of place ourselves (one reason that being part of the TOS Review Crew is such a blessing!), but I can say without reservation that if Ooka Island fit my budget, I would definitely purchase a subscription for my boyo. It's a solid program with some fun bells and whistles! :) With 30% off it is made more affordable, which everyone can appreciate!

 Just click the graphic to learn more. :)
Share to get up to 30% off Ooka Island!
Disclaimer: I received free product in exchange for posting this special. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Week Before Christmas Menu Planning (Easy/Pleasy)

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMy~ I've taken a wee bit of a hiatus from all things bloggy this early December~ Working more "offline" and trying to get things in order for Christmas and "Vacation" with the daddy at home (yay!). I also am having "Storage" issues on my computer, so picture taking and uploading is at a bit of a minimum at the moment.

Now that you've heard some of the "why" you haven't seen me here (Although, I will admit that I have been on facebook a fair amount...), I'll get to my semi-menu-planning for this week. The theme this week is primarily "Easy... please!" Thanks, orgjunkie for hosting the linky!

Monday~ today we had a "make-it-up-as-we-go" sort of soup~ Started out wanting to make a potato/sausage soup, ended up with more of a brothy/tomato-base~ very potato/veggie with sausage (Of the breakfast link variety! That was what I was wanting... YUM!), and a little bit of rice thrown in for good measure. The verdict was thumbs up all around the table. :) Very much a warm up your insides sort of soup~ perfect for our snowy, sludgy day.
Goes great on slices of french bread, or with the bread torn to pieces and dropped in to sop up the liquid~

Tuesday~ Well.... I made a pretty huge pot of that soup, so we're bringing to our friends' home to share with them before heading out to DD's BFF's High School Christmas Concert. It was amazing last year, and we're looking forward to it this year!

Wednesday~ planning on wrapped sandwiches/salad for a quick bite before I take the kids to the last youth group meeting for 2012.

Thursday~ need something fairly easy, light but filled with protein before heading out to the last dance class of 2012~ I'm thinking Quiche is in! :) That is a family favorite!

Friday~ Haven't had much time to discuss with DH... too much overtime, not enough home time, but it's his first night of vacation for the rest of the year, so he might want to do something special. If not, we'll cozy in with some baked mac & cheese and salad.

What does your menu look like this week?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Melissa & Doug Giveaway~ Winner!

 Thank you for all of your entries!

I waited to announce the winner until I heard back from her. 

Congratulations to Ashley S. for her winning entry~ 
a tweet about the giveaway.

Keep your eyes open for another review/giveaway soon! :)


Saturday, November 24, 2012

IF you are shopping~ Some good Homeschool and "Natural" goods sales

I didn't do ANY Black Friday Shopping (although I did do a lot of online browsing...;D ), but I DO intend to go out today and support a couple of local Small Businesses for Small Business Saturday.

In that vein, there are a couple of "Small Businesses" that are offering some great deals for homeschoolers and those interested in more "organic" type items, so I thought I'd write up a quick post for them. :) (disclosure~ I am an affiliate for some of these companies, and I do appreciate your purchases through my links~ Bills need to get paid!).

    compass classroom black friday sale
First, one of our favorite Latin programs is on sale through Monday. Not only the Latin program but ALL of the curriculum and products at the Compass Classroom are on sale. I haven't checked out the economics program yet, but I've heard good things. The American History and Film Making curricula are both brand new products, so you might want to check them out! Click the Banner to visit! :) 
One of the products I reviewed recently, Activity Bags, is running a sale through Sunday, the 25th: 

EVERYTHING IS 1/2 off!!!
Use Coupon Code: happy at checkout!
Sale ends November 25th, 2012
Preschool Activities in a Bag

Science Experiments in a Bag

Math Games in a Bag

Reading Games in a Bag

Travel Games in a Binder

Daily Activity Journal  

I'm a new affiliate with a company, Abe's Market, that offers natural and organic goods. I purchased a few things from them this last spring and was very happy with the quality of the items. 
They are having a 25% off sale on select items through Monday. They are also planning a Cyber Monday Sale, so keep your eyes open for that banner (Heads up, the deal is Spend $50, save $15).

I was just offered the chance to pick out some product for free. In my quest for a really good, all natural deodorant, I chose a few different ones to try (Look for a post in a few weeks). However, I can say that I have found one so far that I am very impressed with. Looks like the inventory is running low for this particular fragrance, but there are other options.
All Natural Lavender Deodorant Cream - $12.00
from: Abe's Market


One more~ If you are in the market for a live Balsam Christmas Wreath, please consider checking out Wreath's of Maine. Here is her "Spiel" It's that time of year again!!! Christmas is in a month and a half, and "Decorating" begins even sooner! IF you are going to purchase a fresh wreath for your front door, please consider supporting me by purchasing a "Wreaths of Maine" wreath, using my seller ID # 4547 at checkout. I am raising money to help fund my New Irish Dance Dress, and I appreciate every bit. Thanks =) Our Wreath Collection - only $3.95 shipping per item! 

OK, now I'm off to go visit some local small businesses before they close this afternoon!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Voice Lessons (From the Comfort of Your Own Home)

PSA:  This is my last review for the TOS Review Crew for the 2012 year (I'll be back in 2013 with a whole new batch of interesting products to share)~ Now on with the review!

I had hoped to finally get my children involved in a local Homeschool Chorus, as this was the first year that the practices were on a day we had open. However, that was the ONLY day we weren't already out of the house for one reason or another, AND given that my kids had a horrible cough/virus that lasted for weeks and weeks, it was determined that this wasn't the year for us. What a blessing to be on the review for Vocal Coach ~ an opportunity for me to prepare my children for the possibility of entering a choir NEXT year! :D

Crew members were sent either Vocal Coach Singer (Download MP3 version or physical CDs) or Teaching Kids to Sing (Physical CDs). I was blessed to receive the CD collection for Vocal Coach Singer that you see pictured below. This is quite the thorough series of "coached lessons" produced by one of the top Vocal Coaching teams around, and it is suitable for teen and adult use.

Some background information on Vocal Coach creators, Chris & Carole Beatty, that I have found on the Vocal Coach website, as well as a couple of others when I was looking them up. "Chris and Carole have taught and coached thousands of singers, young and old. They have taken the best of Vocal Coach around the world through workshops, in private session and now Online. With over a million products sold world wide, Vocal Coach training has been instrumental in developing and preserving the voices of all categories of singers from beginners, to award-winning touring artists and speakers like Dan Hazeltine of Jars of Clay, Caedmon's Call, Country singer Pam Tillis, Cheri Keaggy, Pastor Jack Hayford, Steve Green, Twila Paris, Dallas Holm, Kim Hill, Tony Vincent, The Second Chapter of Acts, Steve Archer, The Continental Singers and many others." 

It is apparent that they are highly qualified and sought out as instructors and vocal coaches, so to have this resource to use in our own home is rather amazing.

The Vocal Coach Singer includes:

7 Training CDs:

  • Getting Started
  • Complete Breathing
  • Complete Warm-Up
  • Complete Tone
  • Complete Expanding Your Range
  • Complete Diction
  • Complete Performance

4 Workout CDs:

  • Daily Workout High Voice 1 & 2
  • Daily Workout Medium/Low Voice 1 & 2

Plus these great educational tools:

  • Guidebook – Full-size Instructional Guidebook to Ensure Success
  • Printable Lead Sheets – each exercise in our course, plus track lists
  • Personal Singer's Journal (Getting Started Journal & Workout Journal) to Track Your Progress
  • Vocal Coach Song Evaluation – Evaluation form to enable you to make more intelligent song selections

From their Teaching Style and Method page: “So What does Vocal Coach teach?” you may be wondering. Good voice technique based on the knowledge that the voice is a physical, mechanical and acoustical instrument and that good foundations will equip you to sing any style you can honestly relate to.

Some of the highlights that I'd like to mention~ 
The foundational lessons included in the first 3 instructional CDs are sure to become a regular part of the serious student's daily practice time.  Even the less serious student (like my children at this point in time) will benefit from learning the practical information on these CD's. There are a few catch-phrases that I can just mention, and their posture changes (for a little while, at any rate!), as well as their tone.  The lessons on each CD are inter-related with the others, as there is a definite cross-over among breathing, warm-ups and tone. 

Complete Breathing  teaches correct breathing and posture with some physical as well as vocal exercises. This really brings out how PHYSICAL singing and speaking really are!  
Complete Warm-up  talks about warming up and cooling down your voice, just like any other athlete warms up and cools down their muscles as well. Again, a focus on just how physical vocal work is with more about Breathing and Posture, in addition to a variety of other tips and hints on things that can help or hinder.
Complete Tone~ Discover and use your best vocal sound~ some interesting information on the science behind tone, as well how tone feels.

Each of these CD's includes a number of vocal exercises to reinforce the lessons being taught. The rest of the training CD's follow a similar style~ learning specifics about the topic, followed by exercises. 

The Workout CDs are filled with vocal exercises in the appropriate range.
"Two of Carole Beatty’s favorite phrases really apply here. Practice Makes Permanent and Muscles Have Memory. In other words, if you start replacing bad habits with good ones the good ones will start to take over. As you apply Vocal Coach training your muscles will start to automatically become more efficient. It just happens. And that’s when things get really exciting. And, it’s not magic. It’s just good training."

There are a couple of things that I think could be improved upon~
  • The tracks on the CDs are titled on the front of the CDs, but when I play them (in itunes, specifically), they are only listed by number. It would be much easier to choose specific exercises if they showed up titled on my computer as they are on the CD itself. 
  • Regarding the exercises themselves, although there may be a perfectly good reason for them to be in the order given, we found that there were frequently more difficult exercises right away that were just too hard for my kids to follow. I even had difficulty with some of them, and I had years of choral vocal exercise type stuff. I don't have an issue with the "Difficulty" itself, just the order in which they exercises are given. *The lead sheets for the exercises are helpful here for those who can read music, but less so for fresh beginners. They are a great resource to grow into.
Speaking of those vocal exercises, here's a little light-hearted experience for you. Anyone familiar with choral singing, or vocal warm ups is acquainted with "mee-may-mah-moe-moo, "hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee," and the like. I am VERY grateful that my children's first adventures with those and many of the other exercises took place in the privacy of their own home. Oh my! The tears (of laughter!!!)!!! Keeping a straight face was impossible, and would have created quite the disturbance in a choral or other group setting. :) Once they became more comfortable with the exercises the hysteria faded, but it was rather amusing!

Finally another quick word or two about  Chris and Carole Beatty and their website.
They are homeschool friendly, and have a great homeschool page with suggestions on how to implement their courses in your homeschool as well as some Q&A.
They offer a Free Singing Resource Page, which also links to their Blog. The Blog offers numerous articles and even more Q&A. Very much an excellent resource to check out if you or anyone in your family is interested in improving your vocal quality.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.
Disclaimer: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Review Crew Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, November 12, 2012

IEW (PAL Reading and Writing) for grades K-2

We really enjoyed our experience with Institute for Excellence in Writing's teaching Writing with Structure and Style and Student Writing Intensive a couple of years ago with my oldest (you can read that review here).

What a joy to discover that IEW has an early elementary Reading and Writing program ~ Primary Arts of Language or PAL.
This is a fantastic program, and I hope that I am able to give you a reasonably adequate picture of what it is, and how it is working in our family. However, if you have about 12 minutes, Andrew Pudewa gives a much better introduction than I could to the entire program in this video:

The first component is the Reading Program~ It comes packaged (complete with all that you see pictured below), or individually, but I really recommend the package! The philosophy here is a blend of phonics and whole words used by Anna Ingham in  Blended Sound-Sight System of Learning.  The major items in this program are:
  • Primary Arts of Language: Reading Teacher’s Manual  The manual is well laid out, so that anyone can use it. The various pieces of each lesson are laid out for the teacher, so that nothing is forgotten. Each lesson includes a poem (That is repeated for many lessons, with a different emphasis each time) as well as a number of Phonetic games in each lesson and a new sticker or two to add to the Phonetic Farm sticker board.
  • Primary Arts of Language: Reading DVD-ROM  Contains an Instructional Video by Jill Pike, a number of MP3 Audios by Andrew Pudewa and Anna Ingham as well as the PAL Reading Student Book (which is a PDF e-book~ all of the pages required by the student can be printed from this disc) You can check out this video by Jill Pike to get a good feel for some of the specifics (When I was researching this prior to receiving the program via the TOS Review Crew my youngest wandered by, and watched for a minute or two. He turned to me and asked "Mommy, can we get this?" He was particularly interested in the Phonetic Farm, as well as the games.... ;D ):
  • Primary Arts of Language: Phonetic Games The games used throughout the lessons in  the teacher's guide are an integral part of the program. The Phonetic Games book includes all of the playing pieces, printed on cardstock and the "Game Boards" which are to be cut out (Sometimes) and pasted into manila folders. Because my son likes a bit of color I copied some of the game boards onto colored paper, keeping the game pieces plain. ***Just a quick note here... I glued envelopes onto the back of each folder to hold the game pieces, and in the MUGS game featured in the above video I just made sure to place the envelope right behind Mugs' mouth, so that when the bones are fed, they end up in the envelope~ no clean up required! :D 
  • Primary Arts of Language: Phonetic Farm folder with Stickers This is a favorite piece of the program, and because I have the tools... I laminated the "Stickers" and used clear velcro "dots" for each piece. That way we can "Review" the phenomes, and the stickers are "Reusable" which is a nice bonus (even if this is my last student~ nice to do things up for him sometimes like I did his older siblings).  You can't see the clear velcro on the white back of the farmer (er) sticker, but it's there (You can kind of see the little circle of velcro on the silhouette "Template" space where it goes, and some of the half-circles on the 'o' silo for future stickers).

One of the main "Beginning Tools" are the "Letter Stories." I am really impressed with the way the letter sounds are presented~ Letters which start with similar strokes are presented together, so the first three letters (and sounds) learned are 'a,' 'c,' and 'o.'  If you check out the video below you'll get a taste of the Letter Stories (that portion starts at about the 3 minute mark), and find out why 'c' is happy and 'a' is angry. :) 

Now that I've segued into the Writing Program...  let me quickly mention that the writing portion covers letter formation, copywork, spelling and composition.  The items pictured below include:
  • Primary Arts of Language: Writing Teacher’s Manual Again, everything is pretty much spelled out in the manual for those who need that~ it's fairly easy to pick up and go, once copies are made of the student pages... The lesson starts with writing in a journal (I tend to take dictation, since my guy is still working on letter formation), Printing (Yup... that "just mentioned" letter formation), Reading a story with comprehension (Starting to learn the concepts of character description, setting, plot, crisis, climax, and then moving into "What might have happened after?" and a "clincher" or moral to the story). Finally a Spelling Test can be given "at the whiteboard" covering the sounds learned thus far.
  • Primary Arts of Language: Writing DVD-ROM Includes another Instructional Video by Jill Pike (like the one seen above), more MP3 Audios by Andrew Pudewa and one by Adam Andrews(!),  Bonus MP3s  by Shirley George and Richelle Palmer, as well as the PDF Writing Student e-Books.
  • All About Spelling Basic Interactive Kit and  All About Spelling Level 1 (Teacher’s Manual and One Student Material Packet) By Marie Rippel (My littlest isn't at this point yet, but you can read my review of All About Spelling from 2009, when it was pretty much brand new).   
Before I go any further, there is one thing on which I must be absolutely clear~ there is a bit of prep work involved with this program. The Phonics games and the pieces are all included, but they must be assembled... this will take a little bit of time. All About Spelling is also fairly teacher-time intensive, but I feel it is extremely worthwhile.

That being said~ I'll tell you a little bit more about how this is working in our home.

Youngest LOVES doing the Journal. I am perhaps not the most consistent with it (I've never been able to keep a diary or journal of my own, so this is not terribly surprising), but we manage to fill it out 2-4 days a week. He gets a big kick out of "his book" and he has even been "sharing" it with the neighbor kids. It will be fun to see how it changes throughout the year (especially as he begins to write in it himself). He enjoys the games, and asks to "feed Mugs" on a semi-regular basis.

When learning to write his letters, we've been utilizing the "whiteboard" app on my iPad, which has been very useful, and fun (As well as kind of pretty!) You can see partial screen shots of 4 of his practice sessions here:

The letter stories have helped youngest to recall not only the sounds (He knows that the angry letter says "aaaaa" (with a short 'a' sound) because somebody pulled her hair, and that 'u' says "uh" because it wants UP!), but also some of the letter formation. Remembering that 'd' is a dog, and 'b' is a bouncing bomb or ball has made all the difference in which direction he writes them!

I think at the moment his least favorite thing is practicing some of the letters on his worksheets (he's a perfectionist, so I have to prod him to "move on, and just do the next one, don't worry about erasing." I think the iPad whiteboard is an excellent tool!) , and reading the poem is just starting to draw him in... it took awhile. Take that as encouragement not to "give up" if something doesn't seem to click right away, because it may just take some getting used to. Oh, and BTW, there isn't anything that he hates or is mulish about, these were just his least favorite. He asks when he can do his reading, so he definitely likes it, he just has an occasional frustration (like trying to get the top "leg" on 'k' to kick on a sharper angle than his wont).

Finally, the Student books include other "Activity pages" that are used to reinforce each day's lesson. If you have a cut and paste kid, there are often pages that require just that, so rejoice! If your child is glue-phobic... you could paste them in (yup... I've had one or more of each) for him/her.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
Final thoughts~ 
I know that we have been working on reading readiness a fair amount over the past year (because my littlest showed interest), and I have seen him taking pieces of the things we've covered in PAL Reading and Writing, and use them in his daily life. I also know that we haven't even covered the tip of the iceberg in the PAL program, so this is rather exciting!  Please do be sure to click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say, especially if you have a 1st or 2nd grader, as there are reviewers whose children are older and further along than mine who will have more information to share on the more advanced portions of the program.

As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.
Disclaimer: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Review Crew Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Your Child's Profession of Faith (Book review)

TOS Review Crew members were sent a selection of books to review from Grace & Truth Books books. There were 10 books or sets of books, fictional selections as well as a number of "relational" and "parenting" helps ~ a large variety, so be sure to check them ALL out (click the banner at the bottom of my post to see more)!

I received a book for parents: Your Child's Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersen. "If a small child tells us he thinks he's saved, do we take his words at face value? How do we test his profession, especially without seeming to doubt the child and discourage him?"

As a very young "Convert" myself (Preacher's kid) married to another young convert (also a Preacher's Kid), raising our children in church, with AWANA and various Bible studies, and stories for the younger ages (and seeing young conversions in our children), I didn't know what to expect from this book, but was curious to see where Pastor Gundersen would go with this.

The first chapter ends by summing up the intent of the book: "This book is all about taking time, in their younger, tender years, to cultivate their profession of faith into something mature and well-founded that they will not later look back on with doubts and fears, wondering if it was genuine after all. Or worse: having a disingenuous profession which they never doubt at all."

Throughout the rest of the book I felt like I was reading something of a mixed message~ "Yes, young children can come to a pure profession of faith in Jesus and a confession of Salvation." BUT "Children coming to faith is never directly mentioned in the New Testament." AND "Jesus uses terms to describe commitment to him that children cannot understand, and therefore cannot commit to" (I'm paraphrasing a bit on that). My perception is that regardless of age, a commitment is made on the level the person is at, and it grows as their understanding grows.

Given the title of the book, and even the description, I was taken by surprise as I read. The majority of the chapters (3-9) focused on the appropriateness of child baptism after a confession of faith.  Chapters 3-6 were recommendations not to baptize a child prematurely, and Chapters 7-9 dealt more with determining whether a child has really committed, and at what point baptism is appropriate.

While I agree with much of what was written, I found it somewhat troubling that there seemed to be such a great emphasis on the changeableness and instability of children, with numerous Scriptures quoted to back that up, but I didn't see a balance of the Scriptures that speak of the child-like faith,  or mention of Timothy, who was taught as a child, and a reminder that "For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven," or even the fact that God called Samuel to serve Him at a very young age.

I think there are a number of very good points presented, that are worth considering (especially if you are concerned about peer pressure, or in the case of a pastor, parent pressure). I particularly thought the last bit of the book was useful~ it has some very helpful "Interview" questions that help to nail down exactly where a child stands and whether a child is ready for baptism. It finishes with the first 3 chapters of Andrew Murray's book from the 19th Century "The Children for Christ."

Final analysis~ most helpful for those who work with children in larger churches or groups who might run into overzealous parents, or see children who are more likely to suffer from peer pressure.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say about this, or one of the other 9 products reviewed from Grace and Truth Books. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.
Disclaimer: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Review Crew Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



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