Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amazing Bible Timeline Review

As part of the TOS Review Crew I was sent "The Amazing Bible Timeline" from the company Bible Charts and Maps, LLC. They can be found at www.BibleTimeline.NET . The product is, well, pretty amazing. It is large, 37" by 45" and can be hung as a wall chart or put on a flat surface. The Bible Timeline is put together in a compact circular format and the timeline goes in a clockwise direction. This timeline is a great way for visual learners to put the people in the Bible in order and can add historical clarity to a Bible study. It is priced at $29.97 and comes with free interactive maps of the Holy Land and a digital timeline for the computer.

The Bible Timeline shows order, and overlap in generations and history. For example, Daniel and Confucius lived at the same time. I loved seeing that Adam was still alive at the same time as Noah's father. When I was sent the timeline to review, I started looking at it with my husband. That weekend we had friends from our Church over for dinner and we pulled out the Timeline and really enjoyed looking at the chart and pulling out our bible and looking up different topics. I wanted others opinion on this product, especially since it refers to the Bible and I am not a Biblical scholar. My friends were impressed with the product and really found it fascinating. They were asking me for the website information and were considering purchasing charts for their homes as well. That following Monday, I was surprised to see an email from the company responding to some concerns that other TOS Crew members had regarding this product. As I said, I am not a Biblical scholar so many of the concerns raised were not even on my radar, however, I feel that I need to share this information with you so that you can make an educated purchase. The Company does offer a 60 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product. To be honest I was disappointed to hear other reviewers had issues with it, I thought it was a great product and could be used as a good teaching tool. I have decided to copy and paste the body of the email from the company here so that you can read and decide for yourself if this product may be right for you:

"Response to the LDS Question and Ussher's Table"
We have been questioned about the following:The Native American belief in a White God who would one day return. This is historical fact. You can find it in the Complete Idiot's Guide to Native American History - a condensed version of history. If it makes that book you know it's standard historical fact. People have known that Native Americans (north and south) believed in a person they called either the White God, The Great White God, The Fair God or The White Bearded God "who would one day return" since the Spanish first showed up in America. Not only did Cortez take advantage of it, the Spanish priests constantly commented on it. This is history not Mormon doctrine.

Every quote on the Amazing Bible Timeline referring to that fact is from highly regarded historians such as the Harvard trained historian Prescott.No serious historian disagrees with this. The disagreement arises over whether or not this has anything to do with Christ or whether or not any Native Americans (north or south) are related to the lost ten tribes. Cortes used the belief in the return of a Great White God to defeat the Aztecs by either claiming he was that God or at least not denying it. Sources: The Complete Idiots Guide to Native American History by Walter Fleming page 52 - you can read it online. You can also reference the following: "Letters and Dispatches of Cortes," translated by George Folsom (New York, 1843); Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico" (Boston, 1843) which is referenced on the Timeline; and Sir Arthur Helps's "Life of Hernando Cortes" (London, 1871)Common Christian Belief that the Great White God, The White God, The White Bearded God or The Fair God refers to Christ. Sources for Christian belief that this referred to Christ. Note that none of these are LDS and there are tons of them besides these few. This is historical fact, like it or not. The only question is, who was this person really? And are the Native Americans related in any way to the lost ten tribes? "History of America before Columbus VI : According to documents and approved authors" (Philadelphia 1900) Dr. Peter de Roo"Most ancient and modern authors agree in saying that the Christian religion had been taught to the Indians in pre Columbian days. Bastian establishes this opinion by the numerous analogies he points out between the religious belief and practices of the Christians and those of Americans aborigines. Von Humboldt admits the parity to be so striking as to have given the Spanish missionaries a fine opportunity to deceive the natives by making them believe that their own was none other than the Christian religion....Quite a number of ancient writers, such as Garcilasso de la Vega, Solorzano, Acosta and others are equally explicit in asserting that several Christian tenets and practices were found among our aborigines." Pages 423-424 (some of his books are on line but not VI.
Also note there are many references to writings by early Spanish Catholic priests writing about the legends of the White God and the teachings of same and their similarities to Christianity. ) William Prescott (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Prescott) The wiki article mentions his access to unpublished documents in Spain and that he was considered a fair and impartial historian. In his book" Conquest of Mexico" (referring to the Fair God) Prescott says, " In a preceding I have noted the popular traditions respecting Quetzalcoal, that deity with a fair complexion and flowing beard, so unlike the Indian physiognomy, who, after fulfilling his mission of benevolence among them, embarked on the Atlantic Sea for the mysterious shores of Tlapallan. He promised, on his departure, to return at some future day..... That day was looked forward to with hope or with apprehension, according to the interest of the believer, but with general confidence throughout the wide borders of Anahuac."
The statements regarding historical belief in similarities between ancient people in America and Jewish people and temples It is historical fact that this similarity was noted and widely accepted throughout the Christian world long before the LDS church began. (see Radin's book and his footnotes on the Timeline) Since the DNA evidence this is now in dispute. We removed most of these statements before the 2008 reprinting. We did it without trying to rewrite the historical fact that for centuries many people, Christians and non-Christians alike thought there were similarities between Native American peoples and cultures and the Middle eastern peoples and cultures.As we have reprinted the timeline we have removed most of the references to any interpretations of history that are no longer accepted by the majority of Christians and will continue to do so on future updates but refuse to rewrite history including historical beliefs.

Why is there an LDS version of the Timeline? We began working with the Amazing Bible Timeline in 1975, forty-four years after its first printing in 1931. 1975 was a time when Christians were committed to building greater unity or cooperation among Christian faiths, very different from todays time of Bible bashing and rejection of any Christian whose faith does not exactly match our own. The contention among Christians today is appalling to us and we don't support it. (We were asked to provide primary references that there was such a time and attitude. Fair enough. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/178836/ecumenism)

To answer the question, we were asked to provide an LDS version. We did it and we still provide it today. None of the original Timeline dates were changed and no LDS dates were added to the original Amazing Bible Timeline. A separate version was made. The two timelines have separate copyrights and ISBNs. When the North and South American history dates were added (Olmecs through Mayans and more) they were taken from archaelogists working in those areas. After that was done, not before, Book of Mormon dates were added to the LDS version.

Does the Timeline have an LDS slant? We don't know how it could. The original Timeline on which ours is based does not have an LDS background. We added dates from 1931 to 2000 so unless you think there's some LDS slant to WWII or the first astronauts on the moon there isn't one.
Bill and Margaret both come from varied religious background. Bill attended a non-denominational church throughout his youth and young adulthood. Margaret attended Baptist, Presbyterian,Episcopalian and Catholic depending on where she lived or which relative she was visiting. We feel we have a broad understanding of Christian doctrine.This is not a platform to proclaim our variety of Christianity (other than our belief in Christ as our personal savior) but a stewardship to an ongoing project. We hope it outlives us as it did the original author. We don’t feel it belongs to us any more than Ussher’s chronology or the King James version of the Bible belongs to us. We do everything we can to keep ourselves out of it and to present it as the history it is intended to be.We feel strongly that the Amazing Bible Timeline should be just as accessible to all Christians as is the Authorized King James Bible and Ussher’s chronology. The Timeline is used by Non-denominationals, Baptists, Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, Friends Churches and more. Therefore, we willingly and happily answer questions about Bible history on our site.

We do not answer doctrinal questions. We do our best to ensure there is no doctrine on the Timeline (other than a belief in the Bible and it's history) and to make sure it is historically accurate. If you find something you believe is more doctrine than history, please let us know. Also if you catch any errors in spelling or dating please let us know. This is a huge work and even after years of checking we sometimes find an error. After researching it we are happy to make changes before future printing.

Why do you keep talking about Ussher’s Chronology. What does that have to do with the Bible dates?If there are dates printed in the margins of your Authorized King James Bible they are from Ussher’s table not the other way around. The original Hebrew texts on which the Old Testament of the Bible is based didn’t come with dates although it does mention time frames. The dates calculated by Bishop Ussher were added to the margins of the Authorized King James Bible in 1701 ninety years after it's first printing. Many Biblical scholars still believe Ussher's Chronology is the most accurate. We hope you enjoy using The Amazing Bible Timeline as the tool it is intended to be –
to see the order of Biblical events
to visualize the length of time between Biblical or world events
to coordinate Biblical history with secular history. If you have more questions you are welcome to either call us at 877-966-7300 or
email us. "

That is the email that was sent to me and I copied and pasted it. I felt obligated to share it out of fairness to the company to give them an opportunity to explain and back up their product and also out of fairness to any potential buyers. I personally liked the product and I will hold onto it and use it as a reference that it was intended to be.

This has been as TOS Homeschool Crew review. As a member of the Homeschool Crew, we are given homeschool related products and asked to write an honest review. The items are provided to us by the companies, but we are not paid for our reviews.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Educaching Review

Hey everyone! As you all probably know by now, I am a member of the TOS Review Crew, and I was sent Educaching Curriculum to review. In case you need a little background information on what "Educaching" is, let me ask you if you have ever heard of Geocaching? It is a pretty popular "sport" right now. You plug Coordinates into a hand held GPS device to find hidden treasures located in various locations etc... there are many groups online that you could join if you had time and enjoyed the adventure. Actually, some reality/ adventure/game shows have also incorporated Geochaching into their shows; so word of this is spreading.
I have a GPS, mostly because I don't like to get lost, especially with 4 little kids in my car. My husband also commutes into NYC and a GPS comes in very handy when he needs to visit a new job site.
SO, back to Educaching (pronounced educashing). Educaching is a GPS Based Curriculum for Teachers (home school or classroom). The book was written by Jason Hubbard, a 5Th grade teacher himself. The teachers manual is well put together, and really for the price ($32.00 plus $6.95 shipping & Handling for a hard copy, 3 ring binder plus CD with customizable Templates or pay just $32.00 for the exact same electronic manual) it is a great curriculum. You can find it at www.educaching.com

The 128 page manual is broken down into 5 Sections and covers everything you need to know to implement this into your school curriculum. Section 1 includes: teacher training, lingo, and equipment and gear. Section 2 includes lesson plans ranging from beginner to advanced. The author has also included National Standards and how the lessons taught meet those standards. Section 3 includes Field Sheets (and instructions on how to use them). Section 4 provides information on how to acquire a GPS through fundraising or grant writing and what questions to ask when purchasing one. Finally Section 5 is titled beyond the basics and covers how educators can take this information and really run with it! Home school groups, church youth groups, boy scouts, girl scouts etc... can really have a great time.

I am a fan of unit studies and Educaching is easily incorporated into that style of teaching. Every lesson plan spells out in detail the objectives covered, materials needed and step by step procedures to follow. Even the "electronically challenged" among us can follow along. As I read through the manual, I was impressed with the curriculum, but I have to admit, I didn't actually physically go Educaching. The curriculum has a target age of 4Th- 8Th Grades. My oldest daughter is in second grade and it goes down from there, so it was over their heads. Honestly, if you have kids in 4Th- 8Th grades (or are learning at that level; mine are not), and this is something that you think would be fun and educational, go for it! This product is well put together.

This has been a TOs Homeschool Crew Review. As a member of the TOS Crew, we are given home school related items and asked to write honest reviews. The items are provided to us by the companies, but we are not paid for our reviews.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Sarah's Wish" Book Review

As part of the TOS Review Crew, I was sent an autographed copy of the book "Sarah's Wish" to review. Jim Baumgardner is the Author and describes "Sarah's Wish" as such: "Twelve year old Sarah Smith is the star. She is a likable protagonist, a girl with grit, a young lady with steel in her backbone. She loves people; hates injustice, and fights for the underdogs- who are the runaway slaves in the Sarah books. In chapter one her mother dies and suddenly the responsibility of moving the runaways along the underground railroad rests upon her shoulders; at least she thinks so. Sarah's Wish tells of her quest for a family while ever mindful of her duties as a conductor and agent on the railway."

Since the story is told from a 12 year old girls perspective, it held my daughters attention and piqued their curiosity. The book led to many conversations on slavery and American History, topics that I didn't expect to talk about to my 3, 5 & 7 year old but grateful for the opportunity. The book offered a glimpse into 19Th century pre-civil war life. I even enjoyed reading it. The Author also offers a free Sarah's Web Newsletter. It comes by email and it's free! Go to sarahbooks@cox.net enter "send newsletter" in the subject line. The newsletter is a great way to expand on the topics and information learned in the book. The Books and Newsletter are a great way to supplement a unit study on this time period in history (way more fun than text books!).
The books also come with a link to a free audio Book Download, download it to your computer or I-pod etc... you can listen to the story.

The Author Jim Baumgardner is a Christian and his writing clearly shows the good guys vs the bad guys. FUN FACT: the author is the great, great, grandson of Doctor Baum, the Town Doctor in Sarah's Wish.

Here are all the juicy details: There are three books in the series so far: Sarah's Wish; Sarah's Promise; Sarah's Escape. If you go to www.sarahbooks.net you can purchase all three for $39.95- shipping and handling are FREE, and the author will autograph them for you. You can also purchase Sarah's Wish for the sale price of $9.99 also Free shipping and autographed.

This has been a TOS Homeschool Crew Review. As a member of the Crew we are given homeschool- related items and asked to write honest reviews. The items are provided to us by the companies, but we are not paid for our reviews.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Guardian Angel Publishing E-Book Review

As part of the TOS Review Crew, I was sent 5 e-books from Guardian Angel Publishing to review. Guardian Angel Publishing can be found at www.guardianangelpublishing.com they sell picture books, early readers, storybooks and chapter books and come in e-books, print and paperback, Cd's and will be selling book video with sound DVDs for your TV. The cost ranges depending on which format you choose. The e-book downloads that I reviewed cost $5.00; the e-book CD cost $9.95 plus $5.95 for Shipping and Handling; Print versions of the books cost between $10.95 & $11.95 (depending on the book) plus $6.95 Shipping and Handling. The DVD option I find interesting, we have a built in DVD player in our car which we rarely use and on long car rides we will often listen to books on tape, I may purchase a few DVDs to use for our next car ride to offer a change of pace. Three of the books that I reviewed were going to be offered as a DVD book video for $9.95 plus $5.95 shipping and handling.

The first book I reviewed was titled "Andy and Spirit go to the Fair" by Mary Jean Kelso, pictures by K.C. Snider. This book was the second book in a series of three. The story is sweet and the main characters Andy, a boy who is in a wheelchair, and Spirit, an albino wild horse, are an unlikely pair, each with their own unique differences. Together they are able to accomplish great things in spite of their obstacles. This story is great for all families and children who are interested in horses or involved in 4-H will enjoy it. The end of the book contains an information guide as to how wild horses are managed in the US.

The second book was titled "Earthquake." The book was informative and had excellent information all about earthquakes and emergency preparedness. The illustrations were great and the book was filled with factoids. I think this book would make a great addition to any unit study on Earth Science. The book won Honorable Mention in the Wild Card Category at the 2009 Green Book Festival.

The next book was titled "Maybe we are Flamingos" part of the Safari Sue Series and was written by Safari Sue Thurman the artist was Kevin Scott Collier. The main characters are flamingos and once hatched, are not the same color as the other flamingos in their flock. They finally work up the courage to ask their mom why they look different and their mom explains how they turn pink (diet). Much to their relief they begin to make silly pictures about what they would look like if they ate tacos, broccoli etc... the moral of the story is, it is not what is on the outside that counts but what is on the inside. This book is cute and really appealed to young children especially when the flamingos start to draw the silly pictures.

"No Bones About It- Sum of our parts Series" written by Bill Kirk, artist Eugene Ruble is a fun rhyming way to learn the names of the bones of the human body. I also had the pleasure of getting this book to review. The pictures are funny and will hold the children's interest. The book also contains factoids, a quiz and mystery bones. This book would be an nice addition to a science lesson or a health lesson.

The final book that I reviewed, and easily my favorite, is called "Rainbow Sheep". The author and Fiber Artist is Kim Chatel. The book is about a character named Genevieve who shares her gift of a great imagination with a sad rainbow who winds up cheering up and laughing so hard he cries tears of joy. The tears drip down splashes of color onto Genevieve's sheep and changes them to rainbow sheep. The story is sweet, but the pictures are the highlight of the book and are beautiful and different. At the end of the book the author shares with us information on how to do Felt For Fun and comes with activities and projects. Children who are artistic will love this book.

I was impressed with the wide variety of books offered by Guardian Angel Publishing for ages (0- 12), if you check out the website, there are a few free books available to download.

This has been a TOS Home school Crew Review. As a member of the Home school Crew, we are given home school related items and are asked to write honest reviews. The items are provided to us by the companies, but we are not paid for our reviews.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nature Friend Magazine

As part of the TOS Review Crew, I was sent the August & September 2009 Nature Friend magazine to review. As a newbie to the homeschooling world of products, I of course did not know of this one, so I did not recognize it when it came in the mail. My first glance at the cover led me to believe it was one of my husbands photography catalogues. After I took a second and read the title, I realized what it was and was immediately intrigued!

The photographs used throughout the magazine are breathtaking! There is something special about Nature Friend, it is different than other commercial publications. For example, on the cover is a beautiful photograph of Gods creation. The cover is uncluttered, there are no featured stories plastered all over the cover to detract from the beautiful picture. The Nature Friend title is at the top of the cover and under that is this statement: "Helping Families Explore the Wonders of God's Creation". SOLD! How refreshing to read those words in today's world. The magazine lived up to it's promises. Every article, picture, letter and educational tool, lived up to that description.

Nature Friend magazine publishes 12 issues/ year, 6 of which are "gently nudged" towards the older family members. Even non readers can enjoy looking at the photographs contained in Nature Friend. Nature Friend began in 1983 by the Stanley Brubaker Family. Their desire was to encourage children to believe in God as their creator and to seek out, recognize, and appreciate His handiwork. Nature Friend is now Published by kevin and Bethany Shank.

My children enjoyed the 'invisibles' section of Nature Friend. This is where you try to find the small objects hidden in the big picture (IE: I Spy). Also another monthly feature is the "Wondernose" article. A "Wondernose" is a Pennsylvania Dutch phrase to describe someone is curious about everything around them. Each issue contains a new topic that "Wondernose" is curious about.

Nature Friend also offers a Study Guide subscription in addition to the Nature Friend subscription. The Study Guide, in my opinion, is a must for home schoolers. It meshes with the Nature Friend magazine and once ordered, can be found in the center of the magazine. It is a great way to round out and reinforce the information contained in the magazine. The exercises in the study guide may be photocopied for multiple children to use. Each study guide contains crossword puzzles, True/False questions, an acrostic, fill in the blanks etc... all covering and reviewing the information contained in the magazine.

You can order from the Nature Friend website at http://www.naturefriendmagazine.com/ or toll free at 877-434-0765. The cost of the magazine is as follows:
1yr subscription- USA- $36.00
2yr subscription-USA- $68.00
add the study guide for $2.00/ issue
Nature Friend is currently offering a promotion, BLOG93 can be used to save $3.00 off of any new subscriptions and this promotion is valid until November 30, 2009.

At first the price seemed a little much, but I think, you get what you pay for. I used to pay $70/ month for cable to watch TV. We cancelled it because we felt it wasn't worth the money. I can get a two year subscription to a magazine that teaches science based on Biblical truths and is way more edifying than anything on TV, for what I would have paid for one month of cable. Worth the money, or add it to the Christmas wish list and ask family members to order a subscription for your children as a gift. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!