Friday, February 27, 2015

Awesome Adventure with In Freedom's Cause {A TOS Review}

Last year our family was introduced to the awesomeness of Audio Theater Dramas with Under Drake's Flag thanks to being a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. We are thrilled to be on the Crew again this year, and even more thrilled that one of our first reviews finds us reviewing the next CD in the Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series from Heirloom Audio Productions, entitled "In Freedom's Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce."


In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review

We received In Freedom's Cause Single Package, which is a 2-CD set with over 2 hours of audio theater entertainment. In addition to the CD's, we were given the In Freedom's Cause Study Guide (digital download), In Freedom's Cause Soundtrack (MP3 download), and a Printable Copy of The Prayer of William Wallace (also a digital download).


Printed in the case is an additional copy of The Prayer of William Wallace, which is the 23rd Psalm from the Latin Vulgate Bible. 



As I mentioned, these audio dramas from Heirloom Audio are theatrical audio adventures, not just a mere audio book. To me, it is like listening to a movie, but getting to make your own pictures in your head. The sound effects and music are wonderful, and the cast is composed of a wonderful group of actors. The one that caught my eye is Billy Boyd, because we love The Lord of the Rings in our home. Joining him in this adventure are Joanne Froggatt, Skandar Keynes, Cathy Sara, James Cosmo and Brian Blessed resuming his role of Mr. George, along with quite a few more.

As the story opens we are reintroduced to Ned and Gerald, our old friends as they meet up again with Mr. George aka G.A. Henty. G.A. Henty is the real life author of these historical stories that Heirloom Audio has been bringing to life. Though it is wonderful to meet up with Ned, Gerald and Mr. George and we can reminisce as Mr. George shows them a model of the Golden Hinde, the stories of Under Drake's Flag and In Freedom's Cause are not connected to each other in any other way.

This is the true story of Scotland's fight for freedom from the tyranny of England in the late 13th, early 14th centuries. Both William Wallace and Robert the Bruce played a part in liberating Scotland.  William Wallace paved the way for King Robert the Bruce to finally be victorious after Wallace's death by the hands of King Edward I.

The story is told from the view of Ned Forbes, who we are first introduced to as his mother reads Psalm 23 from the Psalter to him. Dame Forbes finally decides it it time for him to know the truth about his father's murder and the details of how they were allowed live in their own castle after Sir John Kerr killed his father. This sends Ned on a quest to become trained in swordsmanship so he can exact revenge on Sir John Kerr. However, he becomes embroiled in the fight for the freedom of his county after learning from master Sandy Grahame that Scotland had lost its freedom thanks to the betrayal of the Scottish noblemen. Some time after banding together with his friends as the "Scottish Avengers," he is introduced to William Wallace and joins the cause of Scotland.

Through the years that he is with William Wallace, he is shown to be a faithful friend. Wallace explains the Celtic Knot to him, emphasizing the pledge to "Stay true to God, stay true to your brothers and stay true to Scotland!" He also shares the secret to his success, which isn't his famous Claymore but his Psalter, the Word of God. England's army always outnumbers Wallace's, but Wallace is able to lead his men to victories until they are betrayed in July of 1298 by Sir John Comyn.

 After this defeat, Wallace leaves Scotland, in the hopes that his absence can unite the nobles and the common people against the King of England.  Unfortunately, the nobles signed a treaty with the king of England which wasn't in the best interest of Scotland.  Wallace returns after several years away and again takes control. However, Scotland wasn't free until after his death, which is where Robert the Bruce comes in. You'll just have to listen to the CD for yourself to see how this story ends, because I don't like to give away endings.

The majority of the time we listened to In Freedom's Cause in the van, the same way we did with Under Drake's Flag. There were times we listened at home during rest time.


We don't spend a lot of time on reviewing the material as the children are young, and I prefer for these dramas to be fun for the children to listen to. However, we did spend some time in the Study Guide, just so I could see if they were retaining any information. There are Listening Well questions, Thinking Further discussions, and Defining Words.  I tend to use the Listening Well question, as the Thinking Further discussions are a bit deep for the children. I also really enjoyed looking up pictures of the defining words to share with the children. For instance, we looked up Claymore, Celtic knot, and Golden Hinde. As the children get older, I can see digging deeper and really using the study guides to get some great insights. 

Toward the end of the Study Guide, there is a page of information on the History of Scotland that leads up to the beginning of the story of In Freedom's Cause. Additionally, there are 3 little Bible Studies. These Bible studies look at the themes in the story. 

One of the first themes that comes up in the opening scene is that of Fearing No Evil. Ned couldn't understand how God could be a loving shepherd to his sheep if he would let them die such horrific deaths before their time. He didn't see how God's mercy was following him. His mother explained that God may not keep us from evil or from death, but he will be with us, even in the shadow of death. After William Wallace's death, Ned has a chance to share these same insights with his friend Gerald who couldn't understand how a loving God could allow a faithful servant to die such a horrendous death as Wallace did. 

The second Bible Study focuses on Vengeance and Forgiveness. This was something Ned and William Wallace needed to work through as both had wanted revenge for wrongs against their families. Wallace learned we need to trust God to make things right as He is the one who can exact vengeance. He wanted to make sure Ned was fighting for the right reasons.

The third Bible Study is about Freedom, which is a theme that is found throughout In Freedom's Cause.

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to In Freedom's Cause. It is a wonderful way to learn about history. This is a story I never remember learning about, so I was quite intrigued. My mother is from England, and my uncle lived in Scotland for a time with his wife and children. It was while they were living there that we visited when I was a child. We even have pictures of us visiting a castle, though I have no idea which one.  This has really ignited a spark in me for wanting to learn more about my English heritage.

Though the children enjoyed listening, I would really recommend this for children who are in upper elementary school and above. Obviously with the subject matter, there are going to be a lot of battles. As I said, they would listen when the story was playing and were paying attention, but they didn't seem to have as much anticipation for wanting to listen to it another time. When I asked Tabitha why this was, she said it was "harsher" (she was comparing it to Under Drake's Flag, which they do ask to listen to a lot). I also think they might have had a bit of trouble at times following the dialogue when someone was speaking with a heavier Scottish accent.  As they get older, and we find ourselves learning about this period in history, I am sure they will enjoy it more.

You can find out more about In Freedom's Cause by following on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Don't forget to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of In Freedom's Cause and how they enjoyed  it with their families.


In Freedom's Cause Review

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #36: February 26, 2015

Welcome back to... 


I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around February 26th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook. 

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. 

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Originally posted February 28th, 2013
Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen #36: Strawberry Pretzel Salad



Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Jen from Chestnut Grove Academy shared:



To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

If you would like to help spread the news:

Tots and Me
Happy Throwback Thursday!

IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America {A TOS Review}


I remember when I was growing up, I loved school. I couldn't wait to send my children to school, to be there to help them with their homework, to see them learn and grow. Fast forward many years. I did get to send my three older children to public school, and it was not the dream I was hoping for it to be. All three of my children struggled through school, and without going into any details, I just want to share that it was more of a nightmare than a dream. 

Schools are not what they used to be, and my husband and I knew we wanted, no needed, to keep our young ones out of these schools. We have many reasons for homeschooling our children, and every day when I see a new headline I realize we made the correct decision, which strengthens my resolve to keep going on a stressful day. Just recently, thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given a product that once again confirmed our path.  My husband and I have been viewing a powerful documentary DVD by Great Commission Films called IndoctriNation


This 102 minute program, begins with a glimpse of the nightmare that public education has become. Through clips of news stories, we are reminded of how schools in America are failing. We are then asked whether this is a place we, as Christians, should be sending our children. Colin Gunn, homeschool dad, filmmaker, and creator of IndoctriNation, took it upon himself to help settle this debate. He took his family on a little road trip across America, ironically in a big yellow school bus, to try to find out the truth. He asks, "What is it that parents can expect by putting them on the bus today?" The results should concern you.
The road trip begins with a reminder, that even in one of the top schools of the county, there is so much wrong with what the children are being exposed to. Should we really be sending our children to schools full of sexual sin, drugs, and violence? Do Christian children belong in a place where they are pressured to give up their Christian values and deny Christ? The problem is, people seem to feel that bad things can't happen in their schools. They feel their school is one of the "good" schools. They are confident that their children are being taught by Christians. Unfortunately, this just isn't reality.

We would like to believe there are Christian teachers who are shining their lights and being examples for our children in these schools. Yes, they are there; however, we discover it isn't really possible for them to be the lights they desire to be. Though teachers try to be examples, they are unable to boldly confess their Lord as Romans 1:16 tell us to do.   They have to teach subjects contrary to their beliefs, such as homosexuality and evolution. There isn't much they can do while the foundation is crumbling. In fact, this DVD shows that school employees have actually lost their jobs for proclaiming the name of Christ, for refusing to continue to live in a way that they feel they are denying their Lord.

There are Christian leaders who feel that we can't abandon the schools. They feel children should be there as salt and light as well. Franklin Graham would love to see one child in every classroom in America, trained as a witness for Christ. Unfortunately, even students are being censored and kicked out of class for quoting the Bible. As mentioned above, they are pressured to give up Christian values and become spiritually broken. So much for the thought that sending our children to public school to be salt and light is a good idea.  

The thing is, I had always assumed that public schools started out as a positive idea for this country and they have been corrupted over the years. I liked what Franklin Graham said about taking the public schools back. Little did I know that the entire history of public school in America is fraught with an anti-Christian philosophy. In fact, even Mr. Gunn is asking, "How could the school system get this bad? Didn't America start with clear Christian convictions and practices? What happened?" Throughout a majority of the documentary there is an animated timeline showing how government schools were influenced by socialism, Marxism, and more. Compulsory education can actually be seen as an attack on the Biblical family. 

This was the most eye-opening aspect of the DVD for me, and I wanted to share it in some more detail. The time-line is shown as being drawn on a blackboard with a little animated bus driving along the bottom. As the bus passes specific years, details are written on the board and occasionally an influential person in America's educational history will jump on board. 

Here is a sneak peek at what you will find on the timeline.
  • We begin the journey in the 1600's, a time when lessons in the curriculum were tied to the Bible in Puritan common schools. We also see that in early America homeschooling wasn't an alternative option, but a primary way of schooling. 
  • It wasn't until the 1820's that there was a public high school or a government run teacher's college. 
  • In 1825 we see the first person hop on the bus. Robert Owen, who brought his education philosophy over from Scotland, believed that all our problems stem from religion, so children needed to be taught without religion from an early age. 
  • Horace Mann jumps on in 1837, and we discover that the idea of compulsory education isn't even an American idea. 
  • In 1848, Karl Marx came along with his Communist Manifesto.
  • Of course, 1859 brought us Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. 
  • In 1889 G. Stanley Hall introduced age segregated, peer and grade based classrooms, which I was shocked to find out were based on evolutionary theory.
  • There was a lot of psychological experimentation going on at the end of the 19th century, which did end up playing a part in the way children are taught. 
  • The turn of the century brought progressive, socialist education with John Dewey playing a major role.
  • Around the same time 2 Christians were speaking out regarding public education being anti-Christian. 
  • 1925 brought the Scopes trial
  • The 1960's saw the start of court cases and laws against Christianity.
  • And yes, it has just gone downhill from there.
Throughout the documentary there are interviews with such influential people as John Taylor Gatto, R. C. Sproul Jr., Michael Metarko, R.C. Murray, and Ken Ham. 

In light of all that I learned on this DVD, I found the following quote intriguing:



IndocriNation should be a wake up call to the Christian world. Parents and church leaders alike need to watch this documentary to see why it doesn't make any sense that 90% of God's people send our children to these pagan institutions. In viewing this DVD, you will see that it is not fair to send our children into these schools in an attempt to be "salt and light," when school teachers themselves struggle to be that example. Because, without the ability to mention the name of Christ, how can they stand firm. 

I wholeheartedly recommend IndoctriNation for Christians who have their children in the public schools, for churches who want to lead their flocks in the right direction, and for homeschooling families who are doubting their choice to homeschool. Be aware, that this documentary is not recommended for young children as there are subjects being discussed that are not suitable for children. There is a warning at the beginning of the program.
 
IndoctriNation can be purchased for $19.95. Additionally, there is an eye-opening companion book with the same title available for $14.95. The book/DVD set can be purchased at $10 discount for $24.95. The DVD can also be purchased in bulk quantities for significant discounts. 
You can find IndoctriNation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Vimeo.
IndoctriNation DVD Review
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: February 25th, 2015 (w/linky)- First Eye Doctor Appointment








Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.

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Workbox Wednesday- February 25, 2015

Welcome to Workbox Wednesday! 

Before we took a week and a half off of school, we celebrated our 100th day of school.  We had a great time, and even went out to see Disney on Ice as part of our celebration. The time off of school was nice, but I have to say, it was nice to get back into a routine. In fact, I have changed our schedule and our routine is working so much better. The children are getting 3 of their workboxes done before lunch, leaving only their Bible Story and Notebook workbox to do after lunch.

I do have to confess, I forgot about that fact that because we were done with our number of the day, I hadn't even thought about what they were going to do in place of their number of the day/hundred chart workbox. Then I remembered the Learning Palettes we reviewed last year. Amelia had been asking to use them, so I decided they could have that as some hands-on learning, which had to go to the wayside when we added the Bible Notebook.

In case you have never heard of Learning Palettes before, they are put out by Learning Wrap-Ups. There is a base, cards, and discs that are used to find the correct answer. Once a child has answered all the questions, he or she can flip the card over to see if they were right.



You can read more about the Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups by reading my review.

If you use workboxes, tot trays, or anything similar, feel free to post a link to your blog post or a picture (pictures can be from facebook, but please make sure they are PUBLIC so we can see them, or use a host like photobucket.com to get a URL for your photo) that shows WHAT IS IN YOUR BOXES!

Please don't forget to visit my co-hosts at Chestnut Grove Academy and Line Upon Line Learning.

Visit others that link up, leave comments, follow, etc. The favors will be returned! Feel free to grab a button too, so others can find the link up and join in the fun!

What is in your workboxes?

Chestnut Grove Academy
 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Silikids Gift Pack Giveaway

I am thrilled to be able to join with Conservamom and some other great bloggers to bring you this giveaway. Though I have never heard of this company before, I am quite intrigued, and I think you will be too, after you read what she has to say about these products. 

silikids 

 The Silikids line of products has quickly become a sensation with parents. This fun and versatile line is not only incredibly adorable and fun to look at but made with such quality and care parents are falling in love with it! Silikids is the first mom-founded brand focusing on children's products made entirely of silicone and glass. Silikids® combines need-based innovation with the technological advantages of SILICONE. This brand focuses on designing safe, modern and practical products that offer superior function, while being really easy to use and clean. Their mission is simple:"bridge the gap between great design and affordability". Have you tried Silikids line of products out yet? Here's your chance! One lucky winner will get a gift pack of the 3 top favorites below!    

 Siliskin® Sippy 8 oz.-New and Improved! 

  silikids2 

 Silikid’s stylish sippy cup offers a new take on sippy cups and features a new and improved extra shock absorbent design. Where form meets function, the innovative design makes the Siliskin Sippy a breeze to use, and it’s not plastic. Safety and beautiful design have come together at last. The Siliskin® Sippy A new and improved extra shock absorbent design is featured with a thicker and more elasticized Silitop and Siliskin® completely encasing and protecting the glass. Silicone grips the glass and air suction keeps it in place. The Glass is dishwasher safe and the Siliskin® and Sippy Top can be boiled to sterilize. Available in Tart (8oz. glass) Recommended retail: $12.95 Recommended for ages 24 months and up.   

Silibib®
  silikids 
 Silikids popular Silibib® is back with a new look and improved functionality. Silibib® is ergonomically designed to lie flat and features a convenient hidden pocket that easily flips forward. The bib can be worn either flat with the pocket flipped behind or with the pocket pulled forward. Silibib® is soft and comfortable for baby, dishwasher safe (can be boiled to sterilize) and hypo allergenic. Available in two colors: Spice and Fresh Recommended retail: $11.95 Recommended from age newborn and up.

Silimap
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 
 This fun and portable silicone placemat teaches kids about the U.S. with a map of the United States. Kids can draw on the Silimap too with non-permanent marker and the map easily wipes clean. Pre-sectioned panels allow for Silimap to fold easily and compactly making it perfect for travel or for any diaper bag.! Silimap is dishwasher safe and can also be wiped down and cleaned. Available in two colors, Free and Sea Recommended retail: $14.95 Recommended for 6 months of age and up.

So head below to the Giveaway form and enter to win this fun pack and give your little ones some silikids fun!

 Giveaway open to US only and ends on 3/12.
Disclosure: All opinions are 100% mine. This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network.All opinions and experiences are Conservamom‘s. Open to US ,must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor will be responsible for product fulfillment to winner(s) of the giveaway. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions or to see your product featured in an Event you can contact Elia At Conservamom

Toddler Ideas Tuesday: February 24, 2015



Welcome back to Toddler Idea Tuesdays! I hope you will join with me again in sharing the fun activities, crafts, and lessons that you are doing with your young children. 

The children and I have been looking at some poetry with our Poppins Book Nook theme this month. I posted my Animal Poetry Fun post yesterday, and I wanted to share what we did as a continuation of those lessons. Though I really spent time with Tabitha and Amelia doing the poetry, Hannah joined in to make Rhyming Books yesterday.

I like to use Google to find coloring sheet pictures of images I would like to use. Then I shrink them down to about 2 inch wide images so I can fit a lot on the page. So, I found pictures of 6 different animals, then I found a picture of a rhyming object for each animal. I cut construction paper into quarters to make pages for the books.


Then I had them glue on the animals, one per page, before I allowed them to see the rhyming pictures. They had to decide which pictures to add to each page.



The decorated their covers and chose a title, then I stapled the pages together. 


Though all three girls made books, I will only be sharing Hannah's book as this is the Toddler Idea post. The older girls wrote their own words next to each picture, but I wrote them for Hannah.



Now onto:


Toddler Idea Tuesday Features


On my last Toddler Idea Tuesday post, there were 4 wonderful posts linked up. I will be picking two randomly selected posts to share as there were no clicks last week.

This week's randomly selected post is:





This week's 2nd randomly selected post is:





I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your toddlers and preschoolers? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on my Toddler Ideas board and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up. Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our toddler time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your toddler, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Sunday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.

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