Friday, February 27, 2015

In Freedom's Cause- Schoolhouse Crew Review

Do you have a history lover in your home?  How about a kiddo who loves audio dramas?  Me?  I have both.  Actually, I have several kids who love both.  

Enter, In Freedom's Cause Single Package, a historical audio drama produced by Heirloom Audio Productions.  Yes, we were blessed by the second release from this God centered company, our first being Under Drake's Flag, which we had the pleasure of reviewing last year. With over 2 hours of exciting adventure, In Freedom's Cause will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and sometimes holding your breath! As one of the producers says, "This is the God story behind Braveheart."

Based on G.A. Henty's book by the same name, the true story William Wallace and Robert the Bruce is told with riveting accuracy!  It is a story about how an ordinary man, but one of intense faith, changed the course of Scottish history.  It is a tale that will inspire and enthrall you and your children. While the recommenced age is from 6 to adult, I firmly believe that this is a family friendly production.  However there are some pretty intense scenes, so if you have a sensitive child, you may want to preview it first.

Many will recognize the vocal talents of favorites in the film industry such as Joanna Froggatt from Downton Abby, Billy Boyd from  Lord of the Rings, Skandar Keynes from Chronicles of Narnia and James Cosmo from Braveheart.

Our experience-
We listened to In Freedom's Cause on yet another car trip.  Hey, it is the one place we have a captive audience with minimal interruptions.  Like our previous experience with Under Drake's Flag, after our family listening time, the CDs were whisked off to my son's room.  It has become a favorite, though I must say probably not the best bed time listening due to the intense scenes and excitement. ;)

Why do we love this?
  • These CDs are top quality!  
  • They bring history to life and make learning fun.
  • They tell the story from a Christian perspective.
  • They are just good, clean entertainment.
  • The study guide can be the start of a family conversation, or be a unit study for a homeschooler! This 44 page downloadable guide includes Scotland history, 3 Bible studies,comprehension questions, vocabulary and more. (answers are NOT included in the study guide)

The In Freedom's Cause Single Package includes-
In Freedom's Cause 2 Disk CD Set
In Freedom's Cause Study Guide  Free Digital Download
In Freedom's Cause Soundtrack MP3 Download
Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace. Digital Download

In Freedom's Cause Review

Crew Disclaimer

34 weeks of Clean! Week 9- Books!

Hi, my name is Michele and I have a book problem.  I love to read and I love books.  OK, that is not really the problem.  The problem is that I like to buy books, keep books, and oh, buy more books. After 13 moves we realized we had a book problem.  (Yes, we are a little slow.) 

It may have been the packer telling me that all of our weight was in the books.  Luckily for him I did not take it personally. But my husband took it seriously and we have since scaled down. It was hard and my oldest even blogged about it.

However, since then, someone (probably me) has bought a few more books.  Plus, read- this is my excuse, I review a lot of books so they sneak their way into my house.  Add that to the fact that when we moved we had to scale back and move out two bookcases.  Less space, fewer books.  I know, I know - boo hiss.

But here is the deal.  Books take up space. Books not being read collect dust.  Books cost money.

Libraries are full of beautiful books.  I can read them without owning them.  I can also store more on other devices taking up less space.

So this week's goal - Organize your books throughout the house, get rid of those you do not love and decide which ones you MUST keep, and clean off those bookshelves. In every room they reside in your house!

  • Take all of the books off the bookshelf.  Sometimes once you actually lay your hands on them, you will decide you really don't need that particular one.
  • If you are a little OCD like me, you can categorize your books! ;)  If I am looking for a certain book I can usually locate it pretty quickly.  Except for that one series I cannot seem to find on ANY of our bookcases.  I am praying they will show up the next time we move.

  • Only keep what you LOVE!  If you just enjoyed it, pass it on and let someone else have a turn enjoying it.  Hospitals, nursing homes, and health clinics welcome donations.  Even some hotels will accept book donations to have for their guests.
Just a few of the books we took off our shelves to move out!
  • Use a hair dryer to dust off the pages of books that have been sitting for a while.  Even our allergists warned us that books are a collector of all things dusty.  Old books can even be set outside on a warm, sunny day to air out.
  • Dust the bookshelf, top to bottom and even the outside.  Think spring cleaning here, not just your weekly fly-by dusting!
  • Replace the books you decide to keep and enjoy the empty space.  You do have some empty space, don't you?  If not, start at the top and do it again! ;)
  • Got another bookshelf?  Or two? Or more?  Find the next one and start the process over again! Psst- homeschoolers- hold off on THOSE books! ;)  But, yes, even go through the books in your children's rooms.

If you head to more than several rooms with this project, be careful not to get distracted.  Stick to books only this week.  Promise?!

For those of you who love to lend out books, sometimes never to see then again, Kemi from Homemaking Organized has created some beautiful book plates for you to add to your books!  They would also make a great gift to print out and give to a friend!

Ok, get to work...I am off to read a book.

Before you leave, let us hear how you are doing taking back YOUR house and feel free to add your posts to the linky!  We love seeing other's progress!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday! (mostly)

Happy Home Day Colby!  6 years ago today we were blessed to bring this little man home.  Every day is an adventure!  We are so very thankful to God, his foster mom who raised him for the first 21 months of his life, and to CJ's birth mom for choosing life and allowing us to make him a part of our family.

Linking up with some friends-

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont


IndoctriNation- Schoolhouse Crew Review

The reason this blog first began was so that I could review homeschool materials.  Yes, I am a homeschooling mom.  And yes, I love curriculum.  Actually, the truth is I love anything that benefits, blesses, and supports families.  Homeschoolers or not!  Because I try hard to keep my finger on the pulse of families and family related products, I had heard of IndoctriNation (produced by Great Commission Films) a while back, but just had not gotten a chance to see it.  This past month I was blessed with the opportunity to receive and watch the DVD of IndoctriNation.  I am not sure exactly what I expected, but I sure got that and more!

IndoctriNation is the brainchild of film producer and homeshool father, Colin Gunn.  Scottish born Colin boards a "big, yellow bus" along with his wife and children to travel to various parts of the United States in an effort to research "public schools and the decline of Christianity in America."

He interviews big names such as R.C. Sproul, Voddie Baucham, Israel Wayne, and Ken Ham, as well as a public school graduate, principles, teachers, and various leaders in government.  The film is also sprinkled with quotes from authors, historians, and men of the faith.   By examining where the public school concept actually came from, (you might be surprised!) Colin seeks to answer the question, can the system be fixed or do we abandon it altogether?  He covers the areas of sexual sin, violence, abortion, drugs and alcohol, and the governments involvement in the classroom.

This 102 minute DVD is for adults, mainly Christian parents, and again, does talk about sensitive issues such as abortion, homosexual relationships, drugs, violence, and alcohol.  I watched it by myself the first time and then with my older children the second time. This gave me time to gather my thoughts first, and then allow us to discuss what we saw, heard and learned together after they had watched the movie.  Yes, it contains some pretty hefty subjects, but IndoctriNation provides a good starting point for some serious family discussions, that while we may not want to have, we must if we are going to send our kids out equipped and ready to face a secular world that is often anti- Christian!

My thoughts-
Wow.  This DVD rocked my world.  I was surprised by facts and percentages.  I was surprised by the quotes.  I was surprised at my misconceptions.  I was surprised at how saddened I was by what I heard.

This movie truly does not come off as an attack on public schools.  It is not a hate film or some paranoid society propaganda.  It simply is a presentation of the facts and opinions of many people out there - even everyday people like you and me.  It explores the reasons that over 70% of people say that public schools are not good, but think that their child's school is somehow the one that is different.  Or that people argue that Christian kids need to be salt and light in schools and yet if those same kids (or teachers for that matter) mention the name Jesus, they will be kicked out.

And the quotes!  Here's one for you-

"Is there anything more radical in the history of the human race than turning your children over to total strangers who you know nothing about about and having that stranger work on your child's mind out of your sight for a period of 12 years?"

Yep, speaks truth to me!

I will have to say that one of the most compelling parts of the movie for me came near the end with the interview of a father of one of the students who was killed in the Columbine school shooting.  As he recounted the last conversation he had with his son, how he heard about the shootings, and how he learned of his son's death, I was moved to tears.  One of his comments was, "I'm the one who put him there. And I am the one responsible for his death."  Heartbreaking for anyone to hear.  Eye opening as well.


We are all parents who love our kids.  Who want them to be safe.  Who want them to get a good education.  IndoctriNation compels you to look at all of the facts and make an informed decision.  Not by the world's standards, but by God's.  I would encourage you to do the same.

You can purchase IndoctriNation DVD for $19.95.

You can find IndoctriNation on the following social medias-


IndoctriNation DVD Review
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sabbath Week Schooling

Did you know that every homeschool schedule looks different?  Really.  There are no right or wrong ways to homeschool as long as you are following the laws of the particular state you reside in.  I know people who unschool, those who school classically, and some that love unit studies.  I know families that love textbooks and some that have never cracked open a textbook in their lives.  And believe it or not, we have done a little of all of that to some degree through the years.

When you have been homeschooling for over 16 years, you tend to change and morph what your schooling looks like.  Add to the fact that you have 4 kids with different learning styles and personalities and yes, we have changed our ways more than several times.

This year is another example of that!

For a while I had been hearing of this Sabbath Week Schooling idea.  It intrigued me so I spent some time doing some research on it.  I am a homeschooling mom, after all.  Research is important. ;)

What I found was that there were no clear rules for Sabbath Week Schooling, but a lot of ideas and thoughts.  The basic was this - school for 6 weeks at a time and then take the 7th week off.  Repeat.

Quite honestly, I am not really sure I could have told you what made me decide to try it initially, but due to our current situation I now know it was a gentle nudge from God!  We needed this schedule at this time in our journey and I am happy to say that God's plans are best!

For several years we schooled based on my college student's schedule.  When she was on break, we were on break.  It worked.  But since we were no longer tied to that kind of schedule, I was free to try something new.

Because I knew that I wanted to have the week of Thanksgiving off, I actually started my schedule there and counted backwards to determine when we would "start" our new year.  Keep in mind, we tend to school year round but we do use a lighter schedule in the summer and begin a new grade in the fall.  We began August 25th, schooled for 6 weeks, took a week off and began again.  The only hiccup we found was that once we got to December we only schooled 3 weeks before I wanted to take a break.  No biggie.  We took a few weeks off and then started again with week one in January.

Here's why I like Sabbath Week Schooling-

  • It gives us a time for rest.
Watching a movie together

  • It gives the kids something to look forward to.  Yes, they can tell you what week we are on.
  • It gives me time to lesson plan and re-evaluate our school plans.

  • It gives us a free week to schedule outside appointments, (think dentist, haircuts, oil changes in the car, doctor appointments, etc.) and keeps us at home more during school time.
  • It gives me a week to concentrate on the house and other projects that are harder to get to during schooldays.

  • It gives us time for play!  Like this past week when I took the kids out of town for the night to shop, eat out, play in a pool, and sleep in a hotel.  Just a simple 24 hours, but one that gave us a break in the normal action, allowed us some quiet family time, and rejuvenated us to begin again today with school!

No matter how you decide to school, I would encourage you to take a break from your schedule occasionally and just enjoy family time.  One of the reasons I love homeschooling is that we can spend time together as a family for extended periods of time.  Making sure we do that outside of "schooltime" is important as well!

Enjoy your families!

My Joy-Filled Life

I Choose Joy!