Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Hunger Games…Are you letting your kids see it or read it?

The Hunger Games…Are you letting your kids see it or read it?

I see posts on a daily basis on Facebook about whether a parent should let their child go see The Hunger Games movie which is coming out this Friday. Moms are asking me at the library and our homeschool co-op about the books.  I read them.

Funny thing is…I didn’t want to.  My husband was reading the first book and asked me to read it.  I don’t have time, I told him.  He asked me to read the first chapter.  I obliged and next thing I knew I had finished the book.  I had all 3 books finished in less than 10 days.  They are good.  Great.  Thought provoking.  Violent.  Have romantic undertones.  And in my opinion I wouldn’t let my children read them…or yours!

I really don’t think that they should be considered Teen fiction…or at least parents should take note that is TEEN not preteen, not 3rd, 4th and 5th grader reading. Our society is allowing our children to be introduced to violence at younger and younger ages.

Parents you should read these books and see the movie BEFORE  YOU ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO DO SO!  You are the best person to decide if it is something you want your child exposed to.  Just because everyone in their class or youth group is reading them or going to see the movie on opening night DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO!  You are going to be held accountable, you are the one responsible for what you allow your children to do, see, read.

The last time I responded to the question posted on Facebook I left the parent with this…“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2. Please don’t succumb to the peer pressure of your children’s friends and their parents.  Read the books yourself, see the movie BEFORE you make a decision for your kids.  You know them the best!


BOOK REVIEW: The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex

BOOK REVIEW: The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex

(And You Thought Bad Girls Have All the Fun)

Sacha’s<25: Whether you’re about to get married, newly married, or still figuring things out, this book will show you why good girls have more fun!

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars
Is it worth the money? 8 stars
Is it useful to me? 8 stars
Practicality- 10 stars
Quality- 10 stars

Can you believe it?  I’m doing a review of a book about sex!  The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex  just hit bookstores, but I got a chance to review it before that happened and I get to share it with you!

The secular world has turned sex into something that is raunchy. It has become a taboo topic within many Christian circles. It shouldn’t be that way!  So, this review will break the ice here at Home in the Trenches.

This book tastefully covers everything and anything under the sun to answer your questions.  Sheila’s writing style is so fun and laid back that I felt like I was having a conversation with an older sister. I’ve been happily married for over 15 years, yet this book still gave plenty of great insights and ideas!  I would highly recommend this book for engaged and newly married couples (and even those who are like me).  This book would also be perfect for anyone struggling to gain a right understanding of what sex should actually be for a couple.

Topics include:

The Beauty of Sex: How Good Girls Think About Sex, How Good Girls Understand Good Boys

Physical Discovery: Fireworks- Lighting the Fireworks, Beginning the Journey to Very Good, From Fizzle to Sizzle for Her, From Fizzle to Sizzle for Him

Spiritual Discovery: Bliss- Learning to Make Love, Not Just Have Sex, A Pure, Holy, and Hot Marriage

Relationship Discovery: Laughter- Becoming Best Friends, The Sex Circle:Learning to Give

Putting it All Together: Hungering for Each Other

This book was such a breath of fresh air to read.  I appreciated many of the insights that Sheila shared regarding men and their thought patterns and women and ours!  We are different, but God paired us up together.  What does that mean for our marriages and sex lives?  Sex is to be a vital part of marriage.  She made a very interesting point that if you aren’t having sex often in your marriage that it usually means that there are other issues in your marriage. Your sexual relationship is often a barometer for your relationship as a whole.

Sheila also shares about how sex is a spiritual thing.  God created sex. Sex is a NEED.  Yep, I said it….your husband needs sex.  And so do you.  It just takes many married women longer to realize they need or want it!

For engaged and newly married couples the sections related to “how to’s” are well explained. Not only will you find out all about him and what makes his toes curl, she also explains your body and how it works and what makes it tick.

Throughout the book there are “Good Girl Speaks” sections with quotes from married women about sex. She also shares “Good Girl Dares”– little things you can do to make things a bit more exciting in your relationship….the way you undress, text him, and talk can all get your husband wanting to come home early from work!

She interviewed over 1000 men and women about various aspects of sex, and from that she came up with many fascinating observations.

From the Publisher:

Do bad girls really have more fun? Surveys say no. The women who are most likely to enjoy sex are married and religious. In other words, they’re Good Girls! But good girls know that making sex great isn’t about acting trashy. It’s about recognizing what God really designed sex for, and then learning how to reap all these benefits and joyfully enjoy your husband. Frank and contemporary, The Good Girls’ Guide to Great Sex will give the newly engaged and new brides—and some veteran wives—a Christian resource to answer their most intimate and embarrassing questions. In a conversational style, with lots of humorous anecdotes, the book will show that sex isn’t just physical: it’s also an emotional and spiritual experience. Along the way we’ll learn why commitment in a Christian marriage is the perfect recipe for a sex life which is out of this world!

About the Author:  Sheila Wray Gregoire is author of such books as Honey, I Don’t Have a HeadacheTo Love, Honor, and Vacuum; and How Big is Your Umbrella? She is a frequent speaker to women’s groups and marriage conferences. When not writing, she is homeschooling her daughters, Rebecca and Katie, or knitting. Sheila lives in Belleville, Ontario.


The important information:

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (And You Thought Bad Girls Have All the Fun)

by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Published by:  Zondervan

Order from

Price: $14.99 



Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.

Progeny Press Literature Study Guide-The Cay: A TOS Review

Progeny Press Literature Study Guide-The Cay: A TOS Review

Progeny Press Literature Study Guide-The Cay: A TOS Review


Sacha’s<25: A literature study guide to go along with The Cay to help teach your children how to study literature from a Christian perspective.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 10 stars
Did it help us learn? 10 stars
Is it worth the money?  9 stars
Is it useful to me? 10 stars
Practicality- 10 stars
Quality- 10 stars
Kid Rating- 9 stars

From their website: Progeny Press has over 100 study guides for literature, covering kindergarten through high school. Progeny Press study guides concentrate on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. Our goal is to teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!

Our Experience:

We were given the Progeny Press Literature Study Guide to go along with The Cay as a download.  This is recommended for middle school students.  There are so many cool features with this product that make it a winner in my book.  This title, like many of their other titles, can be interactive.  This means that your student can actually answer all of the questions (multiple choice, short answer and essay) on the computer within the lesson.  While we didn’t use this option, I thought that many families would find this to be a useful feature and it saves on the amount of paper you have to print out! (see below for the different version options when ordering)

The questions in this study guide range from vocabulary to in depth discussion questions to do with your student.  There are a few different sections within each portion of the guide.  Our guide was divided into chapter chunks.  For example, chapters 8-10 were put together into one section of the guide.  I would have my 3 kids (6th, 5th and 2nd grade) listen to the chapters on CD that were listed together in the guide and then they would work on their study guides.  I had my 6th and 2nd grade boys work together (I knew that it would be too much for my 2nd grader to do by himself even though he is reading at a 5th grade reading level).  My 5th grade daughter did the guide by herself.  After they listened to the assigned chapters on the CD they would work on the vocabulary sections by themselves as well as the questions that checked their reading comprehension.  After these sections there is a section called “Thinking About the Story”.  These questions aren’t just for recall of facts, as students are asked to give a short explanation about why a character acted a certain way or comparing 2 different situations or character traits from the story.  After that section is the “Dig Deeper” portion of the guide.  I would go over these verbally with the kids.  I LOVED THIS PORTION OF THE GUIDE!

Here is an example of one of the questions:

“Briefly describe Phillip’s attitude toward work in Chapters 8 and 9.  Read Acts 20:34-35; Colossians 3:23-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12; Titus 3:14.  According to these verses, what should our attitude toward work be, and how should we behave?”

What an awesome way to apply what they are reading for “school” into the lives of our children?  I had once hear Sonya Shafer speak at a statewide homeschooling convention and she spoke of the impact of the books she had read: specifically of how certain character’s lives changed her own life.  We need to make sure that what we allow our children to read will either have positive examples of how they should live or use those characters as teaching moments in our children’s lives.  This literature guide does just that! Thank you Progeny Press for making these for us!  I have reviewed many products for The Old Schoolhouse magazine, and this products ranks up there as one of the really special nuggets I have discovered this year!

Anyways, after the Dig Deeper questions there are also some optional activities listed that you can do with your student.  I will definitely be using Progeny Press Literature guides in the future!  I could also see them being a great class in a co-op situation (you would want to make sure that each family purchases their own copy of the guide!)

Progeny Press suggests taking 8-10 weeks for each guide.  Wow, I am so used to having to speed through books with one of the other curriculums I am using!  This is a really nice change of pace and I think the kids are getting so much more out of the book — because of this guide!

What I liked:

  • Ease of use.  Totally age level appropriate questions.
  • The answer key is included with the guide and even gives you a guide as to how the dig deeper questions could be answered.
  • The application of the Bible!!!!!
  • The discussion questions were awesome.  I enjoyed doing them with my kids!

What I didn’t like:

  • Nothing!  However, if I am being really nit-picky…..when I printed out the guides on the side of each page it printed out in red–”This is a Progeny Press Interactive study guide.  Sale of any copy or any form of this study guide, except on an original Progeny Press CD, with original sleeve, is strictly and specifically prohibited.” It is a waste of my red ink.  I understand why they do it, I just wish people would be more honest in their use of curriculum.
  • The kids thought there might have been too many vocabulary questions.  However, I have them doing other vocabulary work every day.  If I was using these guides on a regular basis, I don’t think I would have them doing extra vocab work.

To sum it up: This guide was a winner!  The kids begged to listen to more of the book and were willing to do the guides without any complaining!  I enjoyed the time I had with them discussing the more in depth questions (isn’t this part of what homeschooling is about?  But even more so being a parent?)  I would recommend these guides to everyone and anyone (and my friends have already heard so much about them!)  I would also recommend these to any parent of school children who would like to do something with their kids over the summer or in the evenings!


The important information:


Published by and order from:  Progeny Press

Price: There are a few different ways to order this and all the other literature guides:



CD and Booklet-$21.99

Email attachment-$16.99

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.


Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.

St. Patrick’s Day traditions for your family to try…..

St. Patrick’s Day traditions for your family to try…..

This is from a post I did last year on St. Patrick’s day Ideas to do with your family…..ENJOY!

I wanted to tell you about 2 quick and easy ideas of fun things to do for your family for St. Patrick’s Day.  Key words being: QUICK and EASY!  I am all about that.  If something gets too complicated I am most likely not going to do it.  I have limited time in my day but like to do fun and special things for my family.  When I ran upon these two ideas I had to share them with you.  I hope that you will choose one of them to do for your family. I know they will love them.  I also have realized that these types of things are what traditions are built on and how much they can mean to children.

Green Ice Cubes! (make sure to make them a day ahead)

Make green ice cubes using food coloring.  Once they are frozen you can drop them into a clear glass of Sprite, 7 Up or water and watch the drink turn green as the ice melts!

Copycat McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes


2 cups of vanilla ice cream

1 1/4 cups of 2% milk

1/4 t. mint extract

8 drops of green food coloring


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. If necessary stir with a spoon to help blend ice cream.  Pour into cups.  (Makes 2 – 12 oz servings)


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope you choose one of these for your family’s NEW St. Patty’s Day TRADITION!

The Art of Argument: A TOS Review

The Art of Argument: A TOS Review

The Art of Argument: A TOS Review


Sacha’s<25: A wonderful way to teach your 7-9th grader how they are bombarded on a daily basis with fallacies from media, advertising and others and how to recognize them!

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?  9 stars
Did it help us learn?  9 stars
Is it worth the money? 9  stars
Is it useful to me? 8 stars
Practicality- 9  stars
Quality-  9 stars
Kid Rating- 9 stars

From Classical Academic Press’ Website:

Junior high aged students will argue (and sometimes quarrel), but they won’t argue well without good training. Young teens are also targeted by advertisers with a vengeance. From billboards to commercials to a walk down the mall, fallacious arguments are everywhere you look. The Art of Argument was designed to teach the argumentative adolescent how to reason with clarity, relevance and purpose at a time when he has a penchant for the “why” and “how”. It is designed to equip and sharpen young minds as they live, play, and grow in this highly commercial culture. This course teaches students to recognize and identify twenty-eight informal fallacies, and the eye-catching text includes over sixty slick and clever, “phony advertisements” for items from blue jeans to pick-up trucks, which apply the fallacies to a myriad of real life situations.

This text comes in a workbook format with clear explanations and many updated illustrations and examples to insure understanding and mastery. The text aims at the practical application of the informal fallacies through an analysis of current social, commercial and political issues, which are discussed and evaluated. This practical application should insure that students continue to evaluate arguments, detect fallacies and reason well long after the course is completed.

Students master 28 fallacies (such as begging the question, the straw man, ad hominen, et al) by studying many pertinent examples. The text features a variety of:

  • Dialogues
  • Worksheets
  • Real-World Applications
  • Phony Advertisements
  • Dialectic Discussion Questions
  • Tests
  • Fun extras such as a humorous skit for students to perform, and the famous short story, Love is a Fallacy by Max Shulman

The Art of Argument has been revised to include:

  • Improved chapter and unit organization for greater ease of use
  • Fallacy explanations rewritten for clarity
  • Many added and updated examples
  • Ten new and revised advertisement illustrations

Parents and teachers beware–students may use these skills against you!

The Art of Argument Teacher’s Edition and The Art of Argument DVD Set are also available. The greatly expanded Art of Argument Teacher’s Edition now includes the entire student text, answers to all exercises, and new chapter and unit tests. The DVD Set features three experienced logic teachers and four capable, enthusiastic students discussing the 28 fallacies with contemplation and humor. Each discussion seeks to make a practical application of the fallacy to student life, advertisements, political speech, and various kinds of ethical and philosophical debates.

Our Experience:

I have a strong willed child.  He likes to argue and tends to talk in circles so that by the time we are done talking to him about an issue we have no idea what we were talking about.  I was very excited as soon as I heard that I might be able to review this item.  Matthew is in 6th grade this year but I was hoping he would be able to handle this material.  He was thrilled when it arrived in the mail and jumped right in.  

The beginning of the text is all about what logic actually is.  We then watched the introduction to the DVD.  It held our attention.  My only complaint was that the man speaking is wearing glasses and when he is speaking into the camera the light is reflecting off of his glasses.  A bit distracting to me, but really a minor problem.  I am all for DVDs though.  I really am starting to appreciate them more now that we are hitting middle school.  I like being able to have someone else explain things as well as myself….they might do it in a different way to make it concrete in their heads.

From just flipping through the pages of the student text I could see that we would be learning a lot from this curriculum.  There are plenty of different styles of teaching….made up advertisements, dialogs, worksheets etc.  Click here to check out a sample PDF.  This sample includes the entire table of contents and about another 40+ pages of text!  A great way to see what you would be getting!

The teachers manual is really nice!  I like that it includes the complete student text.  It drives me crazy when one of my kids asks me a question about something but I have no idea what they are actually asking about because it isn’t printed in the teachers manual.  This way I can see exactly what they are looking at without having to stand over them to see it!  In addition it also includes answers to all exercises, and new chapter and unit tests.

What I liked:

  • It looks fun and hip.  I know this seems silly, but that’s important if you want your kids to be excited about something.–It is graphically pleasing to look at, just the right amount of photos, drawings, text etc.
  • Matthew was eager to do it.  If something goes up to his room I know that it is a hit!  He will spend time on it late at night even if it isn’t assigned.
  • The text is showing how these fallacies are used in everyday ways/situations.  It makes it very relevant to the early teenagers life!

What I didn’t like:

  • I mentioned earlier the glasses on the DVD. (see above)
  • I wish I had more time to review this.  Due to mix up I didn’t have The Art of Argument as long as I would have liked before this review needed to go up.  However, the company has been great to work with and they even had me keep the product that they had sent in error!

To sum it up: We live in a crazy culture and are bombarded all the time with TV, ads, media, politicians, and other people telling us things that aren’t true.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to teach your 7-9th grader how to detect a fallacy?  This is it!  


The important information:


Order from: Classical Academic Press


The Art of Argument, An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies–$21.95

The Art of Argument, Teacher’s Edition–$24.95

The Art of Argument DVD Set–$54.95


The Art of Argument, Basic Bundle–$88.95

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.


Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.