Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Expanding Our Homeschool Library with Wonderful Materials from Library and Educational Services LLC {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know we are a family that loves books. I love to read and love that my children are also becoming little bookworms. And it isn't just fiction books that capture their attention. They love books about animals and science, books about coding and writing. Amelia really enjoys reading about history. I love that our core curriculum has such an extensive book list for the different topics we learn about. There is always reading going on in our home, whether school related or not. Of course, with all that reading, it would be awfully expensive to obtain the books if we didn't have such a wonderful library system. As much as I would like to, it isn't always possible to add books to our home library. However, thanks to the Homeschool Review Crew I have been introduced to a company that will help to make this more of a possibility. Library and Educational Services LLC is a wonderful, family-owned company with a huge selection of materials, from books and Bibles, to CD's and DVD's and more. They are a wholesale distributor that has been around for over 40 years, selling not only to schools (which includes homeschools), but to libraries, resellers, specialty stores, churches, missionaries, and more.

I was amazed at the generosity of Library and Educational Services when it came to this review. We were allowed to choose one title from the Who Was...? series, one title from the Lifehouse Theater CDs series, and approximately $60 worth of books from their Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction selections. And let me tell you, there are a LOT of books available. Of course, this made choosing the books quite a challenge in and of itself. With four children with varying interests, plus a mom who had her eyes on different books for various reasons, it took a while to choose the books we wanted.

Thankfully the ordering process was simple. All I had to do was create an account, choose the books I wanted, and use the gift code they emailed to me. They even offered to let us purchase additional books that we could pay for and get the shipping for free as they would be included in this shipment. However, as much as I wanted to, we couldn't justify the expense at the time. But I know some of my fellow Crew Mates took them up on that offer.

I was thrilled when our shipment arrived with all these wonderful books, plus the CD. Here's what we ended up choosing.

For our Who Was...? title, we selected Who Was J.R.R Tolkien? by Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso.

With over 150 titles to choose from it was a bit tricky narrowing this down, especially because we could have also chosen from the What Was...? and Where Is...? series. The biography books are listed in alphabetical order by the person's first name. I just scrolled through, wondering if I wanted to have the children and I read about someone in history we had learned about in the past, or someone we would be learning about this coming year, or perhaps someone famous they may (or may not) have heard about. When I came to the name J.R.R. Tolkien, I was intrigued. We are huge fans of the Lord of the Rings movies and I thought it might be interesting learning more about the author of these books. I admit, I love that he is pictured sitting outside a hobbit hole. So, I put it on my list of possible choices. Then I read the list to my husband. As soon as I got to Mr. Tolkien's name, all other choices were off the table. It seems my husband was also interested in learning about him. 

The 105 page, paperback book begins with a short introduction that focuses on the fact that he was an expert in ancient languages and was a professor who didn't earn much money, so he was grading paper at Oxford University where he taught to earn more money. We learn that he was a daydreamer who one day scribbled a sentence on a student's blank essay book that read, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

There are then 10 chapters which tell his story, from his birth and extending beyond his death. Almost every page has a black and white illustration to help tell the tale, which means this book was a quick read for me. I finished it in less than an hour. I loved learning about his growing up years, though I was sad to learn that he lost his parents at a young age. It was quite intriguing to learn about his love of languages and how different places he lived played a part in his writing. I think one of the things that I enjoyed the most was realizing that Gandalf was based on an image on a postcard that he bought on a hiking trip in Switzerland before he went to Oxford University. My favorite part was learning details about the process he took in writing The Hobbit and getting it published, along with how the sequel, The Lord of the Rings came about. 

The book concludes with two side-by-side timelines and a bibliography. The first timeline is a timeline of his life, the second is the timeline of what was going on in the world during his lifetime (and beyond). 

For our Lifehouse Theater CD selection, I asked the children which of the seven available titles they would be interested in listening to. Several years ago we had the opportunity to review Trapped in Aesop's Fables, so I was quite excited to have the chance to listen to another of these audio adventures. We decided to go with a tale set in America's past titled Hiding In Plain Sight

This 70 minute program is based on a true story of runaway slaves from Georgia. A husband and wife named William and Ellen Craft embark on a dangerous journey to freedom, using a plan that centers around Ellen's lighter skin to help them avoid detection. There are most definitely suspenseful and intense moments in this tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Additionally, there was a scene where a slave who attempted to run away was punished with not just a whipping, but the breaking of his feet. However, that is the extent of the violence in this audio adventure, and it was brief. 

This is a great story to listen to, especially if you are learning about early American history or have one (or more) children who are interested in the Civil War and/or the Underground Railroad. 

Speaking of American history, the fact that we will again be learning about early American history this coming year is what helped me decide upon two of the Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction sets that I chose, along with the children's input. 

The first is from the What You Didn't Know About History series. 

The three books in this series are 24 pages in length and is recommended for children in 2nd-5th grade. I had both Tabitha and Amelia read one of these books, so I would say the grade range could easily extend to 6th or even 7th grade, though they are definitely a quick read for older children. 

These books help the reader look behind the stories that are typically taught to children in schools. They are picture books, with text on one side of the double-page spread and full page, color pictures on the other. We learned details about Pocahontas (whose real name was Amonute and was sometimes called Matoaka) and the Powhatan people, the Underground Railroad, and The Transcontinental Railroad. It didn't surprise me that Tabitha chose to read about the Underground Railroad, as she has shown an interest in this topic before. Amelia was quite interested in the book about Pocahontas. She tends to lean toward biographies. Plus, she does enjoy the Disney movie. 

Here's a look inside this book.

I found the True or False? information to be quite intriguing.

I was a bit disappointed to realize that there are at least nine more books in this series, but they aren't currently available from Library and Educational Services LLC.

In keeping with the "American" theme, and knowing that my children enjoy reading about animals, I decided to choose the "How Animals Shaped History" set.

These books are also 24 pages in length. They are recommended for children in grades K through 5. Once again, I do feel they are a great read for the older girls. Amelia and Hannah both chose the book about Beavers. The books are full of full-color photographs and other illustrations. You will find maps showing where these animals live. 

Plus there is a timeline showing some important dates for each animal.

For my final selection, I was able to choose the "Eye to Eye with Animals" set. 

These books were quite a hit with the younger two, especially Harold who was known to have the books up in bed with him. They read them individually, but I also took the time to read a couple of them (of the children's choosing) out loud. We took turns reading and looking at the details of the different animals.

These books are all 32 pages in length, and are full of great information and full-color photographs. They each start off with an introduction to the general animal topic the book focuses on, then there are four pages of information on several different animals that fit in the category.

 In addition to the lists of facts and text, there are little inset boxes with information.

And maps that show where you can find each animal.

All of the books we chose for this review were great hits, as was the Lifehouse Theater CD. There are so, so many books that Library and Educational Services LLC has available, that I can't wait to have the opportunity to order some more books, perhaps for the children for Christmas. I would love to expand our home library, and this company seems like it would be the best way to do just that. There selections are 30-70% off retail prices. I love that you can get hardcover, library bound books for the price of paperbacks.

I had so, so many book sets in my sights when I was getting ready to order our books. The majority of these were history books focused in the time periods we have been learning about this past year in our Rome to the Reformation studies with our Core Curriculum. The set of 4 Ye Yucky Middle Ages sounded like something the children would enjoy, especially Harold. I really thought the children would enjoy the set of 5 books on Histories Greatest Warriors. The books focused on Gladiators, Knights, Ninjas, Samurai, and Vikings. They also have a set of 6 books titled Incredible Explorers that would be great for this coming school year as we will be learning about Exploration through 1850. And that isn't even getting into all the book on American History that I would love to add to our library.

Also, I would be remiss if I neglected mentioning their wonderful customer service. I'm not sure if you noticed in the first picture of the books that the Who Was...? book was damaged. I did my best to flatten in out for the picture. But somewhere in transit, the box had gotten crushed on one side, destroying the Who Was...? book and damaging the case to the CD. I used the contact information to contact the company and they replied within hours. They then had new materials shipped out the next day. I was quite impressed. 

So, between the wonderful savings, great quality books, and awesome customer service, I can definitely recommend this company to you. Oh, and to add a little icing on the cake, so to speak, the books they distribute are carefully selected to ensure they are not contradictory to Biblical standards and values! Yeah, highly recommended!

You can find Library and Educational Services on: Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about this company.

Wholesale Books for Your Homeschool {Library and Educational Services LLC Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

1 comment:

  1. I love your choices! The Who was Tolkien is on my list of ones to read/purchase for our family.


Thank you for visiting my blog today. I love to read your comments, so please leave me one if you have the time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails