Friday, August 31, 2012

Uncover Exciting History Ebook

Amy Puetz's Golden Prairie Press recently sent a variety of ebooks to 100 reviewers from the TOS Review Crew.

We were chosen to review Uncover Exciting History. The short description from the Publisher's website says that Uncover Exciting History is "Revealing America’s Christian Heritage in Short, Easy-to-Read Nuggets" in 184 pages.
There are stories of patriots and events that are well known as well as those that may be lesser known, but equally worth learning about.

To give you a sense of what is included, here is the Table of Contents
  1. Christ Bearer: Christopher Columbus    1 
  2. Settling the New World    7 
  3. The Lost Colony of Roanoke    13 
  4. The Pilgrims’ Legacy    19 
  5. The Great Awakening    25 
  6. The French and Indian War: The Struggle for Mastery of North America    31 
  7. Freedom Founded    37 
  8. Crossing the Delaware: A Turning Point of the Revolution    43 
  9. The Making of a Republic: The Story of the Constitution    49 
  10. To Kentucky and Beyond: America Begins the Push Westward    55 
  11. To the Shores of Tripoli: The Barbary Coast Wars    61 
  12. The Lewis & Clark Expedition    67 
  13. Miracle at New Orleans    73 
  14. The Second Great Awakening    79 
  15. Daniel Webster: Defender of the Constitution    85 
  16. The Mexican War: America Expands in the Southwest    91 
  17. The Oregon Trail: Road to the American Promised Land    97 
  18. The Pony Express: Uniting the East and West    103 
  19. A Tale of Two Generals: Biographies of General Lee & General Grant    109 
  20. The Spanish American War    117
  21. The Klondike Gold Rush    123 
  22. The Great War: America in the First World War    129 
  23. The Legacy of Alvin York: American Hero of the First World War    135 
  24. The Great Depression    141 
  25. The Navajo Code Talkers    147
Bonus Chapters
  • The Hand That Rocks the Cradle: Mothers Who Changed the World Through Their Children    155 Medieval Explorer: Marco Polo    163 
  • Evangelistic Explorer: David Livingstone    169 
  • Daring Explorer of Antarctica: Robert Falcon Scott    175
What we liked: 
  • The stories and people that were featured and mentioned~ made *me* interested in learning more about some of them.
  • The Christian worldview presented in each chapter presents the firm foundation our country was built upon before God was taken out of the equation in some of the more revisionist textbooks. 
  • The availability of the book in a variety of electronic formats (pdf, epub, and mobi) as well as printed and audio.
  • The Dig Deeper portions at the end of each chapter that help to solidify and/or extend the learning.
What we didn't like:
  • While the stories were good, the writing felt a little "Choppy" to us. There were not great transitions between paragraphs~ seeming to jump from topic to topic within the chapters, so that I occasionally felt more like I was reading a series of interesting encyclopedia entries aloud to my children rather than a narrative (not quite what I expected).
  • To go along with that, sometimes the phrasing seemed a little archaic~ However, if you are used to reading to your children from older literature (written more in the 18th and 19th centuries), this won't come across as odd. 
  • I felt that there was information included that doesn't seem terribly relative to the topic. For instance, in the chapter entitled  "To the Shores of Tripoli", we are introduced to a number of naval commanders. One of them appears to have been rather uninspiring, and was therefore only mentioned 3 times. In fact, he was only afforded one complete sentence: "Captain Samuel Barron lacked initiative and also suffered greatly from a liver problem." I just wasn't sure what the liver problem had to do with the man's naval career....???
To get a taste for yourself, you can download a sample chapter (Chapter 8. Crossing the Delaware: A Turning Point of the Revolution) to see if the writing style fits well with your homeschool.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
My basic feeling is that the stories bring out some of those 'nuggets' of history that might not be so obvious to today's mainstream culture, but can have a huge impact if more people know about them.  Uncover Exciting History is one of those books that could inspire you and/or your children to look into some of our history on a deeper level. However, "great literature" it is not.
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say about this and the other books up for review from Golden Prairie Press:
Heroines of the Past Bible Study e-book
Ten Girls from History e-book
Costumes with Character e-book 

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."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Apologia~ I don't have Faith Enough to Be an Athiest

Have you ever had one of those conversations (In real life, on facebook, or maybe through the comments section on a blog or other forum)? You know... the kind that talk about how there must not be a God, because so many bad things happen to good people, or that religion is man-made, or truth is relative... Well, I have. Those sorts of discussions tend to take over my life when they happen~ it's kind of exciting! Because I had a fairly decent foundation in Christian Apologetics (thanks Dad!), I was able to make relevant, logical arguments. I want the same foundation for my children.

I think it is highly important in today's world, with all the PC-ish attitudes that leave God out of the equation, for our Christian young people to have the ability to reasonably and logically answer  some of life's major questions: 
  • Where did we come from? 
  • Who are we? 
  • Why are we here? 
  • How should we live?
  • Where are we going? 
The answers to these questions will vary widely, based on worldview.  Just in case you aren't quite sure what worldview means, here's a little chart from the introduction that might help~ is God's hand holding up the world, in the world, or not evident in the world at all?

One of my favorite comments for years has been that it takes a lot more faith to believe in Evolution than in Creation (personal opinion here), so I totally appreciate the title (and the content~ which tackles those 5 questions right from the introduction) of my latest review item from the TOS Review Crew,  "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, and the accompanying curriculum published by Apologia. What a fabulous resource! 

This is NOT a pick it up and read it in a few sittings sort of book. This is a really well written Christian Apologetic Text with so much content that it is best taken in small morsels. There are interesting dialogues and examples throughout the conversational text, with great little quotations introducing each chapter. 

My daughter's interest in this book was piqued by the fact that Apologia was offering it, and she really appreciated the way big questions like that were answered in the Apologia science texts. Although she hasn't had much opportunity to have this sort of deep discussion with her peers (Secular or otherwise), now is the best time to start preparing. 

The curriculum workbook follows the text chapter by chapter. The beginning of each chapter tells you which pages to read, gives an overview of the chapter (Key Topics), vocabulary used (Key Terms), and a Road Map that shows which of "the twelve points that prove Christianity is true" will be covered in that chapter. There are also profiles of important people (both Christians and Atheists~ for instance, the introduction offers profiles of Carl Sagan and C.S. Lewis) which help to make the material more relevant.

The curriculum then breaks into 4 sections:
  • Hook: Reminder of the content and a few warm up questions
  • Book: Deeper into the specific issues covered in each chapter
  • Look: Check out the information yourself~ (The "assignment" portion of the workbook)
  • Took: Summary and application of the material
As I mentioned earlier, this is a very in depth text. When I first opened the book, after perusing it a bit, I was surprised at how much information was jam packed into just the introduction, not to mention the chapters! I was relieved to see that one is expected to take 2-3 weeks to cover each chapter. :) It took us about that long to cover the introduction.... and yes, the introduction follows the chapter format in the workbook and has its own sets of questions and assignments.

The Table of Contents

Foreword by David Limbaugh    7 
Preface: How Much Faith Do You Need to Believe This Book?    13 
Acknowledgments    15 
Introduction: Finding the Box Top to the Puzzle of Life    17
1    Can We Handle the Truth?    35 

2    Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All?    51 
3    In the Beginning There Was a Great SURGE    73 
4    Divine Design    95 
5    The First Life: Natural Law or Divine Awe?    113 
6    New Life Forms: From the Goo to You via the Zoo?    137 
7    Mother Teresa vs. Hitler    169 
8    Miracles: Signs of God or Gullibility?    197 
9    Do We Have Early Testimony About Jesus?    221
10    Do We Have Eyewitness Testimony About Jesus?    251
11    The Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament    275 Writers Told the Truth
12    Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?    299 

13    Who Is Jesus: God? Or Just a Great Moral Teacher?    327 
14    What Did Jesus Teach About the Bible?    355 
15    Conclusion: The Judge, the Servant King, and the Box Top    377 
 1: If God, Why Evil?    389 Appendix 
2: Isn’t That Just Your Interpretation?    402 Appendix 
3: Why the Jesus Seminar Doesn’t Speak for Jesus    409 
Notes    412 
General Index    436 
Scripture Index    442

You can download sample chapters of the book and the workbook to get a feel for I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. I appreciate the logical fashion in which the material is presented in these books, and am looking forward to continuing this study through the year. I could totally see this being used as the spine for a high school or college youth group series, as the content lends itself to that sort of discussion, but it works well one on one also. I would caution again, that this is NOT a book to just sit down and read. It needs to be taken in small bites, ruminated upon, and fully digested before moving on to the next bite~ otherwise one might become overwhelmed. I am liking it! :) My daughter is enjoying it also. Much of that is because she appreciates conversational word pictures that are not only memorable, but are also logical and rational. I sense some interesting conversations coming up this year.

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, August 20, 2012

VocabularySpelling City Website

I have used the free version of VocabularySpelling City in the past to help my children practice their spelling lists, particularly when their spelling books have gone "missing" for reasons that are yet unknown {rolling eyes}, or when trying out a new spelling curriculum that lacked some of the more interesting activities.  This is also one of my "most recommended" resources in one-to-one conversations with  homeschoolers, so I was pleased to be included in the group of TOS Review Crew members who received a one year premium subscription ($29.99 value) for the purpose of review.

My kids enjoy spelling in general, but they really like the "Games" that go along with spelling. VocabularySpellingCity has  "traditional" spelling games (hangmouse, unscramble, wordsearch, match the sentences), as well as sentence unscrambles and interactive "Teach" and Test" features. These are all free!
Here is a list of the activities grouped under "Free" and "Premium"

In addition to more games and activities, the premium membership has the advantage of offering record-keeping (Assignments and records), no advertisements, vocabulary learning/testing, and the ability to "group" your students or lists. This might seem more tailored to a classroom setting, but consider~ you can enter and group lists for history, science and literature, as well as regular spelling and vocabulary. It makes staying organized much easier!

Vocabulary/SpellingCity has also recently come out with an app for mobile devices, which made me very happy, as we don't have a computer for every child, but there is a mobile device available for every child to use.

I enjoyed being able to target problem areas and look up published lists. Homonyms, for instance, can be an issue, as is obvious when one considers the number of there/their/they're and your/you're mistakes one sees published. In order to help my Middlest with these troublesome words, I assigned him to practice some of the lists. While he was bopping around on the site he decided to check out the SAT tests, which I thought was rather cool since he's only 11. I was disappointed that he received this message : "The list you are on does not belong to any of your teachers. VocabularySpellingCity will only store activity results for lists that belong to one of your teachers." I would really like to have ANY activity that a student works on show up under their "Activities" tab, so that credit can be given for work outside of the assignments.

The video below gives an overview of how VocabularySpellingCity works, for those who need a more visual, interactive introduction.

Although VocabularySpellingCity is listed as being for all ages, I was having a hard time finding activities that my 5 year old could handle, but everything works very well for my 11 and 15 year old (And even me!). This coming school year I plan to input my 7th grader's spelling words from his workbook for extra practice, and create some spelling lists for my 10th grader using Spelling Power lists, as well as having her work on some SAT vocabulary.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Company: VocabularySpellingCITY
  • Product: Yearly subscription to Premium online game-based study of literacy skills using any word list
  • Ages: Elementary, Middle, and High School
  • Price: $29.99/year for up to 5 students
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."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thomas Jefferson Education

I have heard about a A Thomas Jefferson Education  (TJED) for awhile now, and been intrigued by the concept. I mean, what exactly is A Thomas Jefferson Education? I was recently given a chance to find out as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. We were given a subscription to the online resource This Week In History, one of the offerings of Oliver and Rachel DeMille, founders of  A Thomas Jefferson Education.

The basic concepts behind TJED are utilizing classics, and mentoring~ the style of learning/teaching that many of our founding fathers were raised with. Those familiar with Charlotte Mason's style of education will recognize many similarities, I think.

7 Keys of Great Teaching according to Oliver DeMille (Italics are my comments)
  1. Classics not Textbooks (including original sources when possible)
  2. Mentors not Professors (Discover strengths and weaknesses and tailor the learning experience)
  3. Inspire not Require (Light the fire, don't fill the bucket)
  4. Structure Time not Content (Slightly unschooling concept here)
  5. Quality not Conformity (for years George Wythe University utilized a two-grade system: “A” and “DA”, which mean Acceptable andDo it Again.)
  6. Simplicity not Complexity (If you, the teacher have a hard time figuring out the curriculum, you've already lost the student... KISS~ Keep It Simple Sweety)
  7. YOU not Them (Model YOU learning, and they will be inspired to learn alongside you)
So, with some of "What exactly *is* TJED?" out of the way, let me tell you a bit about the resource This Week In History 

This Week In History is a monthly subscription.  It is a daily resource accessed via a weekly email, or directly on the dedicated TWIH blog feed at It touches on most subjects through a historical lens. There is no actual scope and sequence per se, but once subscribed, the year's articles are searchable by date, topic and keyword, which is handy if you are using this as a resource, and following your own scope and sequence. Otherwise, it can simply be an exciting journey each day(or week) to see what comes next.

There are usually 2-3 entries per day, with a little synopsis of the topic(s), and then a number of links to explore them further. To get an idea of what it looks like, check out this sample week.

One of my favorite entries this week dealt with Annie Oakley, the "Wild West" sharpshooter. I enjoyed learning a little more about the real lady, as my children are very fond of the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" which is based on her life. One of our disappointments in the musical has to do with a line in our favorite song, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better." In it Frank Butler sings, "I can drink my liquor faster than a flicker" and Annie replies, "I can do it quicker and get even sicker." This would not have been true to either of them, as Frank Butler and Annie Oakley didn't drink spirits.

While I'm not ready to throw my chosen curriculum or method out the window, I find that TJED has been a good  resource. It has been handy for starting discussions, and inspiring *me* to look up more information about various people and events, which in turn plants a little seed in the minds of my children. It's also nice because I don't have to really organize anything to use it. I am signed up for the emails which come a couple of days before the the current week ends, so that I have time to peruse it and see if there is anything I want to know beforehand. Otherwise, I just keep the link open in my browser and visit each day to check out the daily topics and resources.

If we don't know history, we can certainly never learn from it, be inspired by it, or seek to change the present course by avoiding the mistakes of the past. This Week In History is one way to gain a wide base of historical knowledge, from many disciplines. It comes packaged in that electronic form that seems to be so interesting to many of today's wired kids, and is easy to use and implement for mom. :)

*Many of my readers, I am sure, will appreciate being made aware that the founders of TJED hold to a Mormon worldview, which hasn't come into play so far, but is worth noting.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty
Company: A Thomas Jefferson Education
Product: This Week in History (Pictures, Videos, Links)
Ages: Appropriate for all ages, with parental guidance
Price:$9.99/month subscription

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say about This Day In History. 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."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Healing Love, Amish of Webster County (FIRST Book Tour)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Whitaker House (September 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***


Laura V. Hilton, of Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas, is a pastor’s wife, mother of five, author LVHilton1210and book lover. She’s got a degree in business but her passion has long been the mission of Christian fiction. Her first series, The Amish of Seymour from Whitaker House (Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another) earned praise from critics and fans for originality and authenticity, thanks in part to Laura’s Amish grandmother who taught her Amish culture at a young age, and her husband Steve’s family ties to the Amish community in Webster County, Missouri, which has been helpful in her research. Laura is the author of two novels for Treble Heart Books and a contributor to Zondervan’s It’s The Year Life Verse Devotional. She’s a member of ACFW for whom she writes Amish reviews for the magazine, Afictionado, and a long time reviewer for the Christian Suspense Zone. Laura is a stay-at-home mom, homeschooler, breast cancer survivor and avid blogger who posts reviews at:

Visit the author's website.


Shane Zimmerman, a young veterinarian and widower, is first person on the scene of a serious buggy accident buggy in Webster County, Missouri. He rushes Amish midwife Kristi Lapp, been badly injured in the crash, to the nearest hospital. The two discover they’re next door neighbors and a friendship develops as Shane helps Kristi with her high-energy Siberian husky, Chinook, for whom she can’t properly care because of her leg injuries. Shane hopes to further develop their relationship, but Kristi is leery and discourages him at first -- Shane isn’t Amish (although his grandparents were) and Kristi’s father would prefer she marry any aged Amish widower rather than an Englischer – even one with ties to the community who is close to her age. Despite the forces that would keep them apart, the strong attraction Kristi and Shane have for one another grows stronger. As their on-again, off-again relationship persists, Shane must come to grips with his identity and reevaluates why he’s Englisch.

Product Details:
List Price: $10.99

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603745068
ISBN-13: 978-1603745062


Chapter 1


Kristi Lapp flicked the reins impatiently. “Kum on, Samson. ‘Slow’ isn’t the only speed you’re capable of, ain’t so?” She needed him to pick up the pace. Silas Troyer had banged on her door earlier to alert her that his frau, Susie, was going into labor, and then he’d raced down the lane in his horse-and-buggy to notify their family members of the imminent birth.

Kristi was especially excited about this boppli. Susie had four girls, all of them a year apart, and she’d been expecting to have a boy this time, based on how different it had felt carrying him. Mamms usually sensed these things. And Kristi predicted she was right.

Several deer stepped onto the road right in front of Kristi, none of them even glancing her way. Smiling, she pulled the reins slightly to the right to direct Samson away from them, over to the side of the road. A similarly sized herd had meandered its way through her family’s backyard the other day, and she’d always admired the animals for sticking together as they did.

She tightened her grip on the reins and gave them another flick, hoping to encourage Samson to move more quickly.

As the deer were crossing the center line into the other lane, the powerful roar of an engine broke the serenity of the setting. A red sports car crested the hill up ahead, barreling in Kristi’s direction at a speed she’d never witnessed on this road. She heaved a breath of exasperation. Any idiot would have noticed one of the several signs that read, “Watch for Buggies.” They were impossible to miss, and Kristi had passed four of them in the last mile alone.

As the car whizzed toward her, the herd of deer scattered, darting in different directions. The driver swerved sharply into Kristi’s lane to avoid them, and she gasped, frantically trying to steer the buggy over toward the shoulder. A chill ran up her spine at the sight of the steep embankment and deep ditch below.

One of the spooked deer pivoted. Made a mad dash straight toward her horse. Samson reared and immediately took off at a run, straight toward the ditch.

“Whoa, Samson!” Kristi planted her feet against the front of the buggy and pulled back on the reins with all her might. Leave it to Samson to shift into high gear at the worst time.

The car sped past, but Samson wouldn’t slow down. He was heading straight for the side of the road. Panic surged through Kristi, constricting her breath. Should she try to jump out? She dropped the reins and scooted to the edge of the seat.

She was too late. The buggy lurched as Samson ran headlong over the embankment. As the vehicle tipped, she was propelled out the side. Hours seemed to pass before her body collided with the ground and pain engulfed her.

Teetering on the edge of consciousness, she thought briefly of Susie. How desperately she wanted to be there to assist with the birth of her boppli! Especially considering the problems she’d had with her first delivery…. And then she blacked out.


Shane Zimmerman flipped on his fog lights to illuminate the low-lying clouds, which created interesting shapes and shadows against the dark backdrop of woods lining the rural Missouri highway. He scanned the area for deer ousted from their natural habitats by hunters. Of course, rutting season also brought them out of hiding. Not that he hunted. He did treat many a pet that had been injured accidentally by a hunter, such as the Great Dane boarding at his clinic while she recovered from the surgical removal of an errant bullet.

Shane reached inside the console for a CD—the latest release from LordSong—and slid it into the player. As the uplifting music filled the car, he flexed his shoulders in an effort to relieve the tension of the busy day behind him. He looked forward to getting home and kicking back to read his Bible and watch the evening news.

As his Jeep crowned the hill, he tapped the brakes at the sight of a wrecked Amish buggy. He scanned the area, but there was no sign of horse or driver. The animal must have been released and carted home. Or put down, if its injuries had been severe enough.

Returning his gaze to the highway, he slowed. A young buck lay on the road, still alive yet struggling.

Shane pulled his Jeep to the shoulder, put it in park, and clicked on the hazard lights. Leaving the keys in the ignition, he got out, his heart pounding in time with the obnoxious dinging sound of the car. Cautiously, he approached the deer. Its brown eyes fixed on him, wild with fear. The animal lurched to a standing position for a second but quickly collapsed again on the hard pavement, where it remained. Its labored breaths intensified. Whoever had hit it had driven off, leaving it to die. Was the same person to blame for the buggy accident? He’d probably never know.

“It’s okay,” Shane spoke softly.

The deer flicked its ears and struggled to its feet again.

“I’m here to help you.” Shane stepped closer, keeping a wary eye on the rack of antlers. It was hardly the biggest he’d seen, but even small antlers could do hefty damage.

With another flick of its ears, the buck struggled to a semi-standing position and limped off to the edge of the road and into the forest. It would surely die, but Shane couldn’t do anything about that. He wasn’t about to chase an injured wild animal through the woods. He didn’t carry much medical gear in his Jeep, anyway, aside from a few larger tools used for treating farm animals.

He started back toward his vehicle, but a glance at the buggy lying on its side gave him a strong urge to check it out. No point in hurrying. He rubbed his eyes, weary after a long day at the clinic, and surveyed the scene. The buggy appeared to be abandoned.

Then, he moved to the edge of the embankment and gazed down the leaf-covered slope. Something caught his eye. A woman? Shane squinted. Sure enough, there was an Amish woman, wearing a maroon dress and a black apron. Gold hair peeked out from underneath her white prayer kapp, and a black bonnet hung loosely around her shoulders. “Hello?”

No answer. His breath hitched. Had she hit the deer? Or had the deer hit her? He frowned. Accidents caused by deer affected more cars than buggies, by far. Where was the horse?

Heart pounding, he scrambled down through the brush into the ditch. As he crouched beside the woman, his nose caught the metallic odor of blood. The brilliant red on her dress wasn’t part of the fabric. He lifted the hem just enough to spot the injury. Her left leg lay at a weird angle, with a bone protruding from the skin. Definitely broken.

His heart sank. He couldn’t help her. His expertise was limited to animals.

But he was the only one there. And she needed help—urgently.

“Hey.” He touched her left hand. It felt warm. He noted the shallow rise and fall of her chest. His fingers moved down to her wrist, feeling for her pulse. Alive but unresponsive. He reached into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed 9-1-1. When the dispatcher answered, he said, “I’d like to report a buggy accident. We need an ambulance. The woman is unconscious and bleeding with a badly broken leg. Looks like a serious injury.” He added their approximate location.

Glancing again at the bone sticking out of her skin, Shane shuddered. Animals, he could handle. Humans were too easy to identify with; their injuries hit too close to home. He leaned down and gently pushed her hair away from her neck. Her pulse was extremely rapid and weak. He breathed a prayer that help would arrive quickly.

As he studied her face for the first time, recognition nearly knocked him off balance. This woman lived right next door to him. What were the odds of that? Her backyard was overrun with weeds, a stark contrast to her meticulously maintained garden in the side yard. He’d seen her working there many a time. She had the most beautiful dog he’d ever seen, a Siberian husky. And the thought had dawned on him, more than once, that the dog’s owner was more than usually beautiful, as well.

She wasn’t married, as far as he knew. The only other people he’d spotted next door were an older couple, presumably her parents. Their last name was Lapp, if the stenciling on their mailbox was current.

Shane would have to stop by the house to let her family know about the accident. They would probably be worried sick when she didn’t return.

The young woman moaned, drawing Shane’s attention. He saw her eyelids flutter slightly, and then her eyes opened.

“It’s okay,” he said, gazing as calmly as he could into her grayish-green eyes. “Help is coming.”

“The pain…my head…my leg….” She winced as tears filled her eyes. “Who are you? I’ve seen you before.”

“I’m Shane Zimmerman. Your next-door neighbor.” He reached for her hand, hesitated, then folded his fingers gently around hers. As their skin connected, he was startled by the jolt that shot through his fingertips and gained intensity as it traveled through his hand and up his arm. He had no explanation, other than his being overly tired. “You’ll be fine,” he assured her.

She only moaned again and closed her eyes.

Shane stared down at her bloodstained skirt and saw that the fabric was saturated. He grimaced. She needed help fast, or she’d bleed out. Animal or human, he didn’t want death on his hands tonight.

God, help me. Shane let go of her hand and yanked his sweatshirt up and over her head. He lifted her skirt again and pressed the garment against her wound, knowing he could be introducing harmful germs. But there wasn’t a choice. He tried to make her as comfortable as he could without letting up the pressure. Even though she didn’t rouse again, he explained every measure he took, from applying pressure to strapping his belt as a tourniquet around her leg. Then, he sang a couple of Amish songs, the ones he remembered learning from his grandparents. His father had left the Amish as young man, choosing to marry Shane’s mom, who wasn’t Amish. But Shane had often spent entire summers with his grandparents.

Time hung in the air as he waited for help to arrive.

Finally, there was a screech of brakes and a rumble of gravel on the road above, followed by the sound of a vehicle door opening.

“Down here!” Shane called.

Seconds later, an EMT carrying a medical bag peeked over the embankment. “Ambulance is right behind me. You didn’t move her, did you?”

“No. But she’s bleeding profusely. I did what I could to slow it down.”

The man half climbed, half slid, down the slope toward Shane. “I’ve got some emergency flares in the back of my truck. Mind setting them out while I take a look at her?”

“Not at all.”

Shane did as he’d been asked, then walked over to the buggy to inspect it more closely. The leather harness straps dangled with frayed ends, indicating that the horse had broken free, possibly when the buggy tipped. He checked the immediate area and even wandered a ways into the woods for signs of a wounded animal, but no clues turned up. The roar of sirens in the distance beckoned him back to the site of the wreck.

In his Jeep, he found a rag and wiped off his bloody hands while he thought out the statement he’d make to the police.

An ambulance screeched to a stop beside the pickup, lights flashing, and a police cruiser pulled up alongside. It wasn’t long before the ambulance wailed away again, spiriting its nameless passenger toward the hospital in Springfield.

After Shane had finished answering the police officer’s questions, he started the two-mile trip home, keeping his eyes peeled for an injured horse. He passed his own small plot of land without any sign of the animal.

He pulled into the driveway next door, hurried up to the house, and pounded on the front door. No response. After several moments, he knocked again. He knew that the Amish generally kept their doors unlocked, but he didn’t feel comfortable opening the door and hollering into the hallway of a stranger’s house. He rapped one more time, just to be sure.


Shane turned around and saw a man on the front porch of the house across the street.

The man started down the steps. “Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for Ms. Lapp’s family. She was in a buggy accident.”

The man came closer. “She hurt bad?”

Shane nodded. “Bad.” Would she survive the trip to the hospital? His heart clenched.

“Donald Jackson. Me an’ the wife live here.”

Shane stretched his mouth into a tight smile. “Shane Zimmerman. Neighbor on the other side.”

“Oh, the new guy. Vet, right? Welcome to Seymour.”

“Thanks.” It hardly seemed appropriate to exchange pleasantries when someone’s life was hanging in the balance. Shane shifted his weight. “Does she have any family?”

Donald shrugged. “Everyone has some. See her parents and other people around from time to time. Sometimes lots of buggies over there. Besides, ain’t the Amish all related? Heard that somewhere.”

“Seems that way sometimes.” Okay, this man was no help. A howl from the backyard reminded Shane about the Siberian husky. “I’m going to check on the dog.” He strode down the porch steps and made his way around the side of the house.

Donald trailed him. “Barn’s always unlocked, I’m pretty sure, so you could get the dog’s food. I never see her lock it, anyway. But then, I don’t watch her twenty-four-seven or anything.”

Shane raised an eyebrow. This Donald apparently watched her often enough to know about the barn door and the dog food. “Nice meeting you, Donald. I’ll just make sure the dog has fresh water, and then I’ll go.” He needed to find someone Amish to notify.

Seeing the red and white Siberian husky in a large kennel in the backyard, Shane opened the gate and went in, shutting it behind him. The dog whined and jumped up, wrapping him in a sort of canine embrace. Shane hugged her back. This breed was so affectionate. He rubbed her neck, then stepped back, picked up her metal water dish, and headed for the outside spigot, which he’d spotted on his way to the backyard. The dog followed closely at his feet, growling in a friendly way, as if she carried on a one-sided conversation. At the spigot, Shane filled the dish with cold water, then checked the barn door. It was unlocked, as Donald had said it’d be.

Shane stopped and scratched the dog behind her ears. “I’ll be back later to get you some food.” He hesitated. “No, I’ll do it now.” He turned back to the barn and slid both wobbly doors open, going into the darkness. He paused, wishing for his flashlight, then remembered that his Amish grandfather had always kept a lantern near the door. He turned back and groped along a shelf, finally feeling the familiar metal base of a lantern. Next to it was a book of matches, one of which he used to light the wick. It didn’t seem right, being in a stranger’s barn, but the dog would be hungry.

He found the dog food and bent down to scoop some into the dish. Then, he straightened and looked around. This was an Amish farm. There’d be other animals to bed down. Cows. Chickens. Horses. He sighed.

A nicker sounded, and Shane turned to the door. Ah, the prodigal buggy horse, dragging the frayed strands of a harness. Shane spoke softly to the animal as he grabbed hold of one of the harness straps, and then he led it back to an empty stall. The dog followed, whining all the way. Shane gave the sweaty horse a rubdown, checking it for injuries. Nothing seemed amiss, other than the wild look in its eyes and the way it kept tossing its head, probably responses to the trauma of the accident.

When Shane had calmed the horse as best he could, he glanced around again. He knew the basics of managing an Amish farm, thanks to the years he’d spent helping his grandparents, but it was more than one person could handle alone. Another Amish family would probably take on the rest of the chores.

Still, he wanted to go to the hospital to check on Ms. Lapp. Why did she still weigh so heavily on his mind? He’d done his duty to her, a stranger.

His decision made, he returned the dog to her kennel. Before closing the door, he gave her another rub behind the ears. “I’ll be back.”

The dog flopped down on the ground with a reproachful whimper, as if he were abandoning her in her time of greatest need.

“Your master was in an accident, but she’ll be okay,” Shane explained. “I hope.” He crouched down to the dog’s level. “I’m going to the hospital right now to check on her.”

With another whine, the dog lowered her head to rest on her front paws. Apparently, she had resigned herself to his departing.

Shane drove home for a quick shower, then got back in his Jeep to head to the hospital. First, though, he stopped by the farm on the other side of his property. The mailbox there also said “Lapp,” and he figured the residents had to be relatives of the injured woman.

Seconds after he pulled into the driveway, a man came out into the yard. Shane introduced himself and asked for confirmation that this family was related to the other Lapps, specifically the young woman with the Siberian husky.

The man frowned. “Jah, we’re family. I’m Kristi’s onkel. Timothy. I’m caring for their livestock while her parents are visiting family in Sarasota. I was getting ready to head over there.”

Shane proceeded to tell Timothy about the accident. For a relative of Kristi’s, he processed the information rather stoically, Shane thought.

“Can I give you a lift to the hospital?”

Timothy took a step back. “Nein, I’ll contact the bishop, and he’ll get the word out. And I’ll make a call down to Florida to tell her parents.”

Timothy headed back to the barn, and Shane drove away, wondering why was he was taking the time to go to the hospital and check on a woman he didn’t even know. He probably wouldn’t find out anything, thanks to the strict privacy policy. But still, something drew him.

At the hospital, Shane went directly to the emergency wing and approached the front desk. “Kristi Lapp, please.”

The receptionist nodded and checked something on her computer. Then, she looked up with a sympathetic smile. “If you’ll take a seat in the waiting room, a doctor will be out to talk with you in just a few minutes.”

She must be in more serious condition than he’d thought. Shane went down the hall to the waiting area, where he was relieved to find a coffeemaker. He poured himself a coffee and watched several minutes of the sitcom playing on the TV mounted on the wall overhead.

As the only person in the room, he had his choice of seats. He selected a chair in a corner and picked up a magazine from the end table next to it. However, the contents didn’t appear to be any more interesting than the drama he was caught up in, so he put it back. Instead of reading, he prayed for Kristi and for the doctors working on her. It felt strange praying for a woman he didn’t know and waiting for an update from the doctor, as if she meant something special to him. But it seemed she did, even though he’d just met her. Did their brief interaction even count as a meeting? He wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he hadn’t felt this strong a connection with a woman since Becca. Immediately he dismissed the thought.

He was glad he’d found out her name. Calling her “Ms. Lapp” seemed so wrong. Plus, he probably wouldn’t have been permitted to see her if the hospital staff thought he was a stranger.

Several people came into the waiting room and exited again during a period of time that felt like hours.

At last, a doctor came into the room. “Family for Kristi Lapp.”

Shane blew out a breath. Family he wasn’t, but he was the only person there for her. Hopefully, the doctor wouldn’t ask how he was related. He got up, feeling a twinge of guilt at his act of impersonation.

The doctor led him into a private conference room and gestured for him to sit down. “She’s in recovery. We’ve given her a blood transfusion, and we’ll be monitoring her hemoglobin and hematocrit—that is, blood values. As soon as we’re sure they are in the normal range, she’ll be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for a procedure we abbreviate as ORIF: open reduction internal fixation.”

Shane nodded. He was familiar with the procedure, but the doctor was probably accustomed to having to explain it, so he continued.

“Open reduction—that’s how we put the bone back in the position it’s supposed to be. And internal fixation is how we stabilize it—with a rod down the center of the bone and plates on either side, to keep it in the position it’s supposed to be in until nature takes her course and it heals completely. The plates may be removed later, as long as the bone heals well. Also, her femoral artery was nicked, but she’ll be fine. Lost a lot of blood. We had to give her three units. She’s going to have substantial bruising and probably be in considerable pain.”

“Has she regained consciousness?”

“Not yet. But brain activity is normal, and we expect no complications.”

“Thank you.” Shane stood up and started for the door.

“If you want to wait, I’ll have a nurse come and show you to her room.”

Shane stopped in the doorway. “I’ll come in tomorrow.”

The doctor frowned. “I’m sure your wife will want to see you when she wakes up.”


Kristi woke up in an unfamiliar room filled with odd beeping noises. Straight ahead, a television was mounted on the celery-green wall. To her right was a beige-colored curtain; to her left, a big, dark window. The hospital. How did she get here? Someone must have found her. What about Samson? What had happened to him?

Had Susie birthed her boppli? Kristi groaned and shifted on the bed, noticing the bedside table with a plastic pitcher of water and an empty tumbler. And…flowers? She smiled at the vase holding six pink rosebuds, a cluster of baby’s breath, and some other greenery. Who would have sent a bouquet? Maybe the person who’d found her.

With great effort, she reached with her right arm toward the table, pain washing over her anew. It seemed every part of her body ached. Despite the discomfort, she extended her arm just far enough to snatch the white envelope from the plastic forklike thing tucked into the bouquet.

Her left hand had an IV needle stuck in it, taped down. She grimaced at the sight. She’d have a bruise there, probably, but that would be the least of her injuries. Even with her pain-blurred vision, which made it seem as if the room was spinning, she could tell from the shape of the blanket that covered her legs how swollen they were. Her left leg, in particular—that’s where most of the pain radiated from. Wincing with effort, she tore open the envelope and pulled out a plain white card. The message written inside was simple:

You’re in my prayers.

Shane Zimmerman

Sweet, but it must have been intended for another patient. She didn’t know anybody by the name of Shane Zimmerman. Or did she? Her head pounded as she tried to figure it out. No one came to mind.

Maybe this mystery man would come to the hospital to see her.

She pressed the card to her chest and closed her eyes, imagining a tall, handsome Amish man. Hopefully, when she fell asleep, he would visit her in her dreams.

Healing Love is a pleasant Amish novel with a little bit of a twist. This time the hero is not Amish (although he is a widower...which seems to be a somewhat common theme with the Amish novel), and it is interesting to read from a that point of view. 

I always enjoy a good story with characters who have character, which is how I felt about Shane and Kristi, particularly Shane. He's a regular guy who happens to care about others. Since you have the synopsis of the book and the first chapter, I won't tell you any more.

*Note: I received a pdf version of this book to review.

Disclaimer: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the FIRST Wild Card Review 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, August 10, 2012

King Alfred's English~ A History of the Language We Speak And Why WeShould Be Glad We Do

Have you ever thought that maybe English has gotten the sort end of the stick? The mongrel of languages, difficult to learn, hard to understand the rules, and difficult to spell? Are you interested in the history of words? Are you disappointed when your dictionary doesn't include the etymology of the words? Well, have I got a book for you!
Enter  King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak And Why We Should Be Glad We Do, published by The Shorter Word Press. The back of the book tells us that it was designed for students Grades 7-12 and Curious Adults, and I'll tell you that I fit right into that "Curious Adults" designation. What a fascinating read!
There are so many little facts and bits of information included in this book (for instance, I now understand why a Contemporary Christian Band would choose to call themselves Caedmon's Call), that I found myself sticky-noting pages with snippets that I wanted to remember.

Something interesting to note~ King Alfred’s English is the only book that covers the history of our language for students below the college level.

 A couple of things that are emphasized throughout the book:
  • Any language that is being spoken (A Living Language) is going to change and move along with the culture that speaks it. Consider that each year new words are added to the dictionary. Some recent additions to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary are "tweet," "boomerang child," and "helicopter parent."
  • Living Languages always simplify over time~ This is interesting, as I would have assumed that English became more complicated over time. The grammar itself is simpler (We now use  simply "you" when previously we had to choose between "thee," "thou," "ye," or "you"~ better, no?), but "the rules have become more numerous and exact." 
There is also a staggering amount of words in the English Language. The book gives this comparison:
French Dictionary: 100,000 word entries
Russian: 130,000
German: 185,000
Oxford English Dictionary: 615,000 word entries.
Wow! That's kind of crazy, but somewhat expected when England was such a melting pot of languages....

For the purposes of this review, I simply enjoyed reading (And sharing snippets with others) the book myself. A perfectly good and pleasant purpose for this book. However, please recall that the book was intended for students in 7th-12 grade as well as adults.  King Alfred's English is a "light course" in four subject areas: History, English Literature, Linguistics, and The English Bible, so is a great option for at least 1/2 semester credit for your high school student (I have yet to figure out keeping track of credits... YIKES! Time to get a handle on it, with a rising 10th grader!). maintains a student page with resources for each chapter including links to images, articles, videos, primary sources, and literature related to each chapter– and a teacher page with worksheets for each chapter and 3 tests covering the information in the whole book, as well as answers for each one.

This is another one of those marvelous review items for which I have nothing negative to say~ it's all good in my book! :) I shouldn't forget to mention that this is written from a distinctly Christian worldview and the Bible features in the spread as well as the life of the English language.

You can download and read the first chapter of the book. I warn you though, once you do, you will probably be hooked! :)

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty
Company: The Shorter Word
Product: King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak And Why We Should Be Glad We Do,
Price: List price is $16.95, but The Shorter Word has mentioned that it can be found for less at the following sites:
Grace & Truth Books ( $14.50)
CBD ( $14.89),
Rainbow Resource Center has it for $14.95
The Kindleprice is $5.95

As always, I hope that this review is helpful to you as you choose where to best spend your homeschool budget. Be sure to click on the banner below to read more reviews.

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."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Create Better Writers

While *I* enjoy writing, teaching writing is not something with which I am extremely comfortable. My children don't particularly enjoy writing, so I'm always interested in trying a different approach, to see if something different will "Click" with them.

The latest offerings for The Schoolhouse Review Crew are from Create Better Writers.  The books we were sent are part of a complete writing system, although they certainly can be used on their own. *Note: We were sent the ebook versions to use, but they are also available as soft-covers.

A path for teaching is set with The Homeschool Writing Action Plan , which walks the instructor through each of the resources that are offered. It starts with a pacing guide (Implementing the Action Plan at the 3rd, 6th, or high school level, depending on your circumstances), and then moves right into the road map, starting with How To Teach the Paragraph (Yes, the cover says "How to Write a Paragraph" but it's the same book). The Action Plan summarizes the key concepts taught in the book, and includes Follow-Up activities for when the student has mastered writing a properly constructed paragraph.

How To Teach the Paragraph is a 22 page book that offers a method of teaching the paragraph in 11 steps, from the basic "Five Parts of a Paragraph" to "Paragraph Assessment" to "The Perfect Paragraph." I liked the simplicity of the method, and the way that it was presented. Although my children still groan when I tell them it's time to write a paragraph, they now have an idea of what is expected from them, and at least the Eldest is becoming more proficient(as I expect Middlest will with more practice this fall....).

From here the Action Plan moves on to  Sentence Building, focusing on books that were not included in the review~ Writing Tricks Plus, and 2 chapters from The Complete Writing Program. The Action Plan includes a number of examples of Writing Tricks and the basic process of the Writing Tricks/Show-Not-Tell System, which are further fleshed out in the books mentioned(The system can also be used with your current LA program).

Next, Vocabulary Practice is covered, (The Complete Writing Program has a chapter with more strategies and worksheets) with various vocabulary building activities that can be used with your own LA program, if so desired.

The Action Plan then discusses Writing Assessment, with some guidance on developing your own assessment rubrics. If you prefer not come up with your own lessons and rubrics, I understand that The Complete Writing Program has lesson plans ready to be taught.

The Action Plan  moves back to the books we received for review as it covers the Research Report. The basic idea is to Teach the Paragraph(if it isn't yet solid), and then move on to How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay, applying it to a Mini-Research Report. When this is solid the students will use the skills they have learned to write a Research Report.

Because of our limited time to use the program, we did not move into How To Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay, but in skimming through the book I came up with an analogy. How To Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay is kind of like a basic cookie dough or bread dough. Once you learn the basic recipe, it is easy to make adaptations to the recipe (or to "tweak" it), to create something that is just a little bit different.  Create Better Writers does the same thing with the Five-Paragraph Essay~ giving a regular vanilla flavored structure to start with, and then teaching adaptations to create persuasive, cause/effect, narrative, and problem/solution essays. I am looking forward to continuing this as we start up our official school-year this fall.

Continuing through the Action Plan (Nope.. it isn't done yet.. ;D) Narrative Writing is summarized, with examples of elements and literary devices, and the final portion talks about SAT/ACT College Exam Practice, drawing on the skills learned in How To Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay.

What I liked:
Simplicity~ one basic idea is carried throughout
Cost~ very reasonable for the product
Organization~ easy to use, with all of the tools right at your fingertips
Efficiency~ I'm a huge fan of learn and adapt~ Very efficient! :) 

What I didn't like:
Kind of drawing a blank on this one. For a basic "Learn-to-write-creative-paragraphs-and essays" program, I think the Create Better Writers has a simple but winning recipe.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty
Company: Create Better Writers
  • The Homeschool Writing Action Plan $15.95 ebook, or $19.95 softcover
  • How To Teach the Paragraph   $7.99 eBook Only  (Free with the purchase of How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay or The Complete Writing Program)
  •  How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay eBook $17.95 (free with the purchase of The Complete Writing Program) / Soft Cover $22.95   
  •  The Complete Writing Program (Not reviewed, but mentioned enough that I figured I should add the price in for you all) currently on sale for $54.80 eBook, or $59 softcover. 
  • Please check the site, as there are many bundles offered that may be more cost efficient for you, depending on your purchase choices.  
Ages: 3rd grade and up

As always, I hope that this review is helpful to you as you choose where to best spend your homeschool budget. Be sure to click on the banner below to read more reviews.

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."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Visual Latin "Back-To-School Sale" 30% off through August 8

Hey friends~ just a quick note to let you know that my most favorite elementary/middle school Latin Program is running their last big sale of the year. If you haven't picked up your Latin Program just yet,  this could be a good time! All VL products are 30% off until Wed, August 8. In honor of the first emperor, use the code AUGUSTUS at checkout to get your discount. Tell your friends!

If you are new to my blog, you can read my review of Visual Latin from last fall, and see if this might be something your child(ren) would enjoy! 
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."

Zane Education Videos

Supplementing traditional learning is something homeschoolers understand very well, as do many other-schooled families. Many of my children's friends have parents who are effectively taking on their children's education themselves "After-school hours," as they explain the math, help stimulate ideas for projects, and read the text aloud for those who are more audio learners. For those who are interested in some sort of supplementation, particularly audio/visual, Zane Education is worth a look.

Zane Education offers online educational videos for all of the subjects you see listed in the chart on the left. There are 1544 videos that cover 384 topics. That is a LOT of information!
In addition to the videos themselves, teacher resources are provided in the form of Lesson Plans and quizzes.

The videos tend to be narrated stills, and each one is entirely subtitled. The subtitles are what Zane Education calls the missing piece. From the managing director of Zane Education: "The typical child finds the opportunity to learn visually much more fun, interesting and compelling – and it often helps motivate their desire to learn. However for those children with special abilities and special educational needs, it offers an opportunity that the more traditional text-based style of learning often does not, or cannot satisfy. Similarly, if you are the parent of a child learning English as a Second Language, you will quickly find the difference it makes.

The benefits of the audio-visual nature of video combined with the essential subtitling should not be ignored."

I will admit that the range of videos is rather stunning, so it is rather helpful to utilize the array of catalogs and user guides that can be downloaded (note: scroll down the linked page to locate the user guides).  It may also be wise, when contemplating Art, Science, History and Health videos to use parental discretion(Nudes in the art section, evolution in Science and History, and sex education are topics to be aware of).
What we liked:
  • The vast array of topics, particularly history, music, and science!
  • A variety of narrators
  • Number of resources available beyond the videos (quizzes, guides, etc...)
  • The range of ages for which videos are available
  • Availability of a Christian Learning Guide written specifically for the Zane videos which helps to present the Christian Worldview. This is most useful for high school aged students, and parents.
What we didn't like:
  • The inability to enlarge the screen
  • The icons on the screen that don't appear to do anything
  • Inclusion of the aforementioned "PG-ish" and/or humanistic topics, although they could be good springboards for discussion if you determine your children are the right ages for that. 
  • The slightly dated feel of some of the videos (Not a deal-breaker, just not current in visual appeal)
To sum up, I feel that Zane Education Online Videos are a little bit like having an audio-visual encyclopedia at hand~ great for introducing, supplementing, and researching MANY topics. 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty
Company: Zane Education
Product: Online educational videos and quizzes
Ages: K-12
  • Basic Membership~ Free (Access to unsubtitled math videos and other non-video resources on the website)
  • Topic Taster One Month Subscription~ $5 (All videos within one selected topic)
  • Bronze Subscription~ $8.99/month or $98.89/year (All videos within one selected subject)
  • Silver Subscription~ $12.99/month or $142.89/year (All videos within one selected grade level)
  • Gold Subscription~  $17.99/month or $197.89/year (All videos, all subjects, all grades)
Zane Education is running a special through the end of August for readers of my blog.  A 35% discount on the purchase of any annual 12-month Gold, Silver or Bronze Membership subscription using the code ZE497HSM. Insert the code in the shopping cart to receive the discount.

As always, I hope that this review is helpful to you as you choose where to best spend your homeschool budget. Be sure to click on the banner below to read more reviews on Zane Education!


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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