Thursday, July 21, 2011

So You're Thinking About Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel

As a matter of fact, I am. And, after reading this book, I'm thinking more seriously about homeschooling. This book transforms homeschooling from the daunting, unknown into feasible and attainable.

Lisa Whelchel (a.k.a Blair for those of us who grew up in the 80s) has put together conversational encounters with 15 homeschool families, including her own homeschool story. Each chapter is devoted to one family. The family describes their homeschool situation and the method they use. The family circumstances vary from Dad as teacher, to grandparents as teacher, to traveling the country in an RV. Each family uses a different method, such as, the principle approach, traditional textbooks, classic approach, unschooling, and others.

What I like best about So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling is how real it is. That sounds strange but I felt like I was meeting these families face-to-face and given an opportunity to see what homeschooling really looks like. Whelchel doesn’t gloss things over or paint a rosy picture attempting to win you over. This book introduces you to people who approach homeschooling very differently and who teach very differently. Everyone decides to homeschool for their own reason and everyone settles into a way of “doing school” that fits their family.

Whelchel chose the perfect writing style for this book, conversational, not confrontational. The format of meeting a new family with each chapter worked well with the subject matter. As I read I could easily determine aspects that would fit our circumstances, methods that would suit or kids and other details. When I completed the book I felt like I had a better sense of what homeschooling would look like at my house. Homeschooling doesn’t seem like such a scary thing anymore.

I highly recommend So You're Thinking About Homeschooling to anyone who has even had one minute thought about homeschooling. This book would also be good for those who tend to be critical of homeschooling or who don’t understand homeschooling because it presents many approaches and lifestyles.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Bug Collection DVD Box Set

By Max Lucado
Published by Tommy Nelson
Includes: Buzby and the Grumble Bees, Hailey & Bailey's Silly Fight, Milo The Mantis Who wouldn't Pray

Tommy Nelson has put together a fine collection of fully animated DVDs for children. "A Bug Collection" is approved for all ages by The Dove Foundation and kid tested to prove enjoyable. Each film has a separate DVD with additional features, including songs and games.

Buzby and the Grumble Bees addresses behaving, Hailey & Bailey's Silly Fight teaches getting along and Milo the Mantis Who Wouldn't Pray speaks about prayer. Hermie is the main character in Lucado's children's videos but one (or more) of his friends also takes center stage in each story.

These DVDs are of the same caliber as Veggie Tales, not the old school videos I grew up with. Other than the characters being talking bugs, they move and act as bugs do and are fun to watch. I enjoyed the music in these videos—very peppy and energetic. The voices are well chosen, as well as, well known (Tim Conway, Richard Kind and Victoria Jackson, to name a few).

“A Bug Collection” does not push Biblical language or even mention the Bible, per say. The focus of the story is a worthy trait or moral and supports what the Bible teaches without coming across preachy. The lesson of each story is obvious enough for kids to recognize but flows naturally. For example, in Buzby and the Grumble Bees, the viewer sees how unpleasant it is to be around someone who is always misbehaving. Children then see the positive side of choosing to behave as the story resolves.

This collection is a great addition to a child’s DVD library. I can feel good about my children watching these films, knowing they may learn a thing or two about being a Godly person. From a parent’s perspective, you can’t go wrong with Hermie and friends.

I received a complimentary copy of "A Bug Colelection" from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a participant in their book review blogger program.