Category Archives: Bible

The Beginning of our School Year…Assessing Priorities and other Ramblings…..

The Beginning of our School Year…Assessing Priorities and other Ramblings…..

As many of you know because we review items almost year round there is always some kind of learning going on in our house, even during the summer!

This year was no exception.

This decided this year to ease into the school year. I highly recommend it. It sure does help to not have a full school day be such a shock to the system. Mid August we started with Science and Math. We did this while the kids were still studying very hard for the Bible Bee Competition.

Once the Bible Bee was over and we took a couple days to recover and get the rest of our school stuff ready we started our full days. We did that on a Wednesday this year. Kind of a weird way to start full swing.

I am a little bit bummed, we never had a real official start day so I never got my first day of school picture in or the usual traditions of sticks of gum in some of their school work as a pick me up and my writing on their bathroom mirror.

Now we are really back into the swing of things and our co-op has started as well.  I even forgot to take a picture that day!  Where has my brain gone?  I am going to not beat myself up for this!  Can I just take an unofficial first month of school picture? LOL!

Well whether you homeschool or not I hope that you are back into your school routine and things are going well. We have been overly busy this September and I am still assessing to see if our choices were wise ones.  We have kids going multiple different directions, which is something I normally try to avoid.  Time will tell, but I won’t be afraid to assess after this crazy season and decide if we should do this again or not.  Maybe it will work occasionally for us as a family.  I just refuse to get tied up into the American culture of having our kids involved in so many things that there is never time around the dinner table as a family.  I will not sacrifice our family time for kid or adult activities on a regular basis.  The best place for kids to learn and grow in the Lord is with their families and this can’t be rushed or hurried or crammed into a 30 minute window between ballet and soccer or school and drama.  You get the idea!

I didn’t mean this post to become a rant about the American culture of busyness but please take a step back and constantly reassess how your family is functioning and if it is what God wants for you…..

Do you have plenty of time to take this command to heart?

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Thoughts After the Bible Bee

Thoughts After the Bible Bee

Bible Bee logo

We finished the Bible Bee!  I don’t know how many people really even understand what that statement completely means. This year was our first year, we didn’t even completely understand what it would take to finish strong!  It was hard!  Summer lends itself to lazy days, distractions, friends, vacations, camps, swimming, theater productions….the list goes on and on!  Just in our little local group 35 contestants quickly dwindled to just 9 and we ended up merging with another group!

I am so super proud of our kids!  They finished strong.  Out of the 24 passages of Scripture they were asked to memorize my kiddos had about 20 of them perfectly and the others they had much of those in their minds! They finished all 12 weeks of Inductive Bible Study on 1 John.

Last Saturday they competed in a local Bible Bee.  These scores were then tallied and awards were given on the local level.  These scores were then ranked nationally as well.  The top 120 kids in each of the 3 age groups would be invited to the National Competition in November.  They took an hour long 200 question test.  And they had to say 20 Scripture Passages in front of 2 judges in 10 minutes.  Nerve Wracking?  YES!!!  Stressful?  YES!!!

If you asked me last Saturday if we would do the Bible Bee again I was ready to say no.  The stress leading up to the event had taken a toll on the kids.  It was stress they put upon themselves.  However, now that it is over and we are a few days away from it I would stay yes.  I think my kids would say yes they would like to do it again.

That stress caused them to work hard and hide God’s words in the heart, it had them study God’s words in a way they never had before.  It helped all of us in the family memorize more Scripture and become more deliberate about studying His word than we had before.

And guess what?  The kids did well.  (They were very glad to not have done well enough to go to nationals this year.)  Andrew placed 1st in the local competition in his age group and 10th in the state!  Joy and Matthew did very well too, although they were a bit sad they didn’t place in the local Bee. Joy made the comment tonight after seeing the National Rankings that she would like to do it again and try to go to Nationals!  She was #388 in the nation in her age group…top 120 go to nationals.  She wasn’t that far away!

Bible bee 2013

I would highly suggest participating in the Bible Bee next year!  Even if you don’t have your kids compete it is worth it to have them study God’s word and hide it in their hearts!  And I really loved the family aspect of studying the same book of the Bible together!

We heard a wonderful message about being doers of the word and not just hearers at a final closing Awards ceremony and worship time at the end of our Bible Bee competition day.  It was a great conclusion to our first Bible Bee experience!

Because You Are Strong (Bible Study for Boys): A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Because You Are Strong (Bible Study for Boys): A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Sacha’s<25: A study of Godly strength, designed for boys ages 10 and up, which helps boys learn different methods of studying the Bible.

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? 9 stars
Practicality- 9 stars
Quality- 10 stars

As a mom of boys I am always looking for great ways to get them excited about the Bible while teaching them more than just Bible stories. I want them to learn the Bible and how to apply it to their lives! I was very happy to get to review Because You Are Strong (A Study of Godly Strength for Young Men) from  DoorpostsI simply love this company  and all of the different products they have to offer.  If you haven’t checked out their website or seen them at a homeschool convention you should definitely take some time to peruse their website.  Their mission is to provide Bible-based parenting and character training materials! They want to come along side you as you serve God by raising up godly children who love and obey His Word. Their goal is to provide you with tools that make your job easier.  Can I say, “Thank you, Doorposts!”?  We have used many of their products already.

If you are looking for a Bible study for yourself I highly suggest Thirty Days of Bible Study for Busy Mamas, which focuses on the book of Colossians.  I was able to do this study a while back and really enjoyed it.  (It is on sale as well right now!)

My Experience:

I was super excited to get my hands on this study! I have found that is isn’t very easy to find Bible study materials that are age appropriate and engage my kids, as well guide them in how to study the Bible.  I loved that even though this is written for boys there are optional discussion questions for girls in the back of the study guide.  So even though it is written for boys you could have a sister tag along and use those discussion questions when the others wouldn’t apply to her.  

This study is written with 2 goals in mind:

  • to gain a biblical understanding of strength
  • to learn and practice Bible study skills

I love that this study is teaching different methods of Bible Study.  This wasn’t something I learned until I was in college!  It is so important to me that kids learn different methods that I taught a whole Bible study for girls on how to study the Bible at our homeschool co-op.  This would be a really awesome study to do with boys in a co-op setting as well.

This book is written with 10 studies divided into daily segments.  There are 74 days worth of study within this book but with all the additional ideas at the end of the studies you can really stretch this study to cover almost a whole school year! (I’m not sure I would stretch it that long, but it offers it as an option!) Each of the daily studies should take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to complete.


With this study your children will need a few additional Bible study tools: Nave’s Topical Bible as well as Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (if you don’t have those things the study offers suggestions on how to look up information online).  It would also help to have a Bible (duh!) and some colored pencils to mark your Bible.

The 10 main chapters include studies by topic, word, verse, chapter, actions, and book of the Bible.  The 11th chapter reviews everything learned about strength through the study. Through this study boys will learn how to use a concordance, study original Greek and Hebrew words, learn how to understand and use the marginal notes in the Bible as well as learn how to use online Bible study tools.  Due to the timing of this review I read through this material myself because my boys were tied up in an in-depth study of 1st John for the Bible Bee.  I enjoyed looking through this material and am excited to have my sons (almost 14 and 9) work through this study now that the Bible Bee ended this weekend!

What I liked:

  • Kids will learn lots of different ways to study the Bible.  It really gives them a great sampling of methods and keeps the pace moving with variety to stay away from monotony.  
  • I love the boxes in the side bar with other info, helpful tips, ideas for additional studies, etc.
  • What a great topic to get boys interested in as well as learn about!
  • I appreciated all of the application questions to help boys understand how to be doers of the word and not just hearers!
  • Now I know this is going to sound silly but I have to share this.  I love how the book lays flat while you are working on it.  There are nice wide margins where you can add extra notes and it makes it easy to answer the questions in the book because you aren’t dealing with the pages bending weirdly in the middle of the book.
  • The study leaves plenty of rooms for the boys to fill in answers.  I hate when I am answering questions and there isn’t enough room to finish my thoughts!

What I didn’t like:

  • Not a deal breaker, but the book used King James translation of the Bible.  It would be awesome if they had different versions for different Bibles.  We really prefer ESV and I find it easier for the kids to understand.  (I understand why they did this because the study tools use King James).

To sum it up: Wow, I am really excited that this Bible study is available for boys. The awesome folks at Doorposts have one available just for girls as well.  And if you are a busy mom there is one for you…30 days of studying Colossians.    Oh, and if you still haven’t made your way to their website please take time to check out all the awesome resources they have to help in Biblical parenting.  They will be a blessing to you and your family!


The important information:

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Because You Are Strong

Order from: Doorposts

Price: The softcover book is currently on sale for $12. (All of their Bible Studies are on sale until 8/31)The ebook sells for $10.

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Some of the crew reviewed Beauty in the Heart a Bible study written for girls.



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25 Truths: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

25 Truths: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

25 Truths graphic

Sacha’s<25: A quick read of 25 truths important to living a successful and happy life with discussion questions.

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

Is it worth our time? 8 stars
Did it help us learn? 7 stars
Is it worth the money? 8 stars
Is it useful to me? 9 stars
Practicality- 9 stars (see note below regarding reading this with kids)
Quality- 9 stars
Kid Rating- 6 stars

We received 25 Truths from Ed Douglas Publications to review.   Each chapter covers one important truth which the author, Ed Douglas, feels is important for life.  Mr. Douglas throws in a lot of personal examples from his life to explain each truth along with quotes and Scripture.  This book is an easy read. Mr. Douglas has a very interesting biography.  If you would like to read about him click here.

I was originally going to read these short chapters to my kids after lunch a few times a week.  However, I found it better to read the chapter ahead of time and then paraphrase (or read portions of the chapter ) to cover what I felt was important to tell my kids.  (My kids are in 4th, 7th and 8th grade). Then we would use the discussion questions at the end of each chapter to spark conversation about each topic.  There are some great truths that are important to discuss with your kids and were things I may not have just thought of on my own. These truths are also great to read and think about as an adult!

I found some of his examples to not be something my kids could relate to.  However, I would not put it aside because of this.  I found the 25 Truths included to be very valid to everyone and his examples just relate better to high school and above ages. I even found my husband sneaking quick reads!

For example, Truth 3 “Watch What You Say, Do and Write” includes examples of Governor Mark Sanford and his extramarital affair.  I really didn’t feel that this was something I needed to include in the conversation with my kids.  I did appreciate his other positive example of Billy Graham not ever being alone with a woman.  I had no problems with this book from an adult standpoint.  It was a great read and very thought provoking on the types of things I want to make sure I uphold in my life and instill into my children.

Some of my favorite Truths include:

  • Watch What You Say, Do and Write
  • Utilize Compound Interest: The Eighth Wonder of the World
  • Be Quick to Apologize
  • Set Goals and Write them Down
  • Commit to Love one Person Forever

I would recommend this book to anyone, whether or not they are a Christian.  It pertains to everyone.  At the end of the book there is even a page with a prayer of salvation. In fact, I think this would be a great book to get into the hands of non-believing friends to use as a conversation starter into topics relating to Christianity.

What I liked:

  • Easy to read.  The chapters are no more than 4-5 pages a piece.  Just a perfect size for a busy mom or dad to pick up and read.

What I didn’t like:

  • Some of the examples used just didn’t relate to my kids. In fact, I felt a few were just not necessary for kids.  However, they were really pertinent to adults!  

To sum it up: This book is a great read.  Quick, thought provoking and full of truths! Highly recommended to read and discuss with high school and up.  Also great to read as a parent and then discuss the ideas presented with your younger kids!


The important information:

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Order from:  Ed Douglas Publications

Price: Retails for $15.50 but order from the above website and it is $12.50

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.



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Bible Bee Week 4 Update

Bible Bee Week 4 Update


Bible Bee week 4 update

This was a fun week for our family with the Bible Bee.  We had our first group meeting with other families who are participating in the Bible Bee in our area!  A huge thanks to the family who had it on their heart to act as hosts for our area!

Saturday we got together with with about 10 other families and saw some old friends and met some new ones.  We had a few fun games to play to get to break the ice!  Then the kids got to have a really laid back version of a mock competition by answering some questions and quoting verses they have memorized so far.  It was fun to see that we aren’t in this by ourselves.  There are other families who are taking studying God’s word together as a family seriously this summer.  What a great way for us to hold each other accountable and encourage one another.  Finally we all ate ice cream together!

Here are a few pictures taken during our games:

bible bee week 4 collage