Asia: The Peoples and History, a review

* the following post is a review of a book. I have received no compensation for reviewing this book, just an electronic copy, used for the purpose of this review*


Book:  Asia: The Peoples and History

Genre: Curriculum

Situational Uses: Home Bible Study, Sunday School, Children’s Church, Homeschool

Author: Bonnie Rose Hudson


E-Book available at: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine  for $6.95

Kindle Version available at: for $6.95

Print version is coming soon!

We used this book as a family devotional.  Each week, we broke from our usual family time and we would read a story and answer  the discussion questions from Asia: The Peoples and History.  My husband and I want our boys to have an understanding of other peoples and cultures. Life is so different when you live outside of the United States. We want them to know that not all the world has three or four Bibles to read or church buildings to meet in each week. Living in other cultures can be very difficult.

We are involved with a mid-week children’s ministry with our church and have been studying the missionary journeys of Paul in Acts. Our study of Asia: The Peoples and History helped us see that the need for the gospel hasn’t changed since the time of Paul. People today still need to know about Jesus.

Bonnie Rose Hudson uses vivid imagery to help your children experience what people in Asia experience each day. You will learn a bit more about the history of each country you study. There are also activities to help reinforce learning about each country and answer keys are included.

This book has studies on the following countries: Laos, Bangladesh, Napal, China, Iran, and Vietnam. If you were to follow a weekly study program the book would cover sixteen weeks worth of lessons.

My boys (ages 11 and 7) enjoyed the stories and activities each week.  They were always a little sad when a story ended, they wanted to hear more about the characters! My husband and I enjoyed listening to the boys answer the discussion questions. It was exciting to hear how they are growing and interpreting the world around them.  I think the best part for me, was hearing how they incorporated these lessons into their prayers.  With each new country we heard them include requests with their nightly prayers. It is a blessing to hear your child pray for people and places that need the Lord.

I encourage families to think about purchasing this book as a devotional study. It is a fantastic way to help your children learn about the people of Asia.

As a family, we decided to offer up a list of countries for Ms. Hudson’s next book.  We were thinking we would like to know more about the people and believers in the Philippines, Japan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Kazakhstan, and North and South Korea.  What countries would you like to know more about? 


An Upcoming Review

I am excited to share with you something that a very dear friend of mine wrote.


I will be using this book with the boys in the weeks to come and you can learn more about it by going to Bonnie’s website.

The book is available February 24, 2014. Sign up here to receive information on pre-orders, discounts, and all the information on where you can purchase a copy.




Hands-on History

How many times have you studied history with your children and just wished you could dig a little deeper?  Maybe history is one of those “boring” subjects for your kids and you need a way to bring the subject alive. 

If either of these thoughts have crossed your mind…. let me take a moment to introduce you to a solution that will take care of both issues.

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Home School in the Woods has compiled everything you need to dig deeper and incorporate hands on fun into your studies.

Hunter and I had the chance to explore one of their great elementary school offerings; The Great Empires.

This year we have been studying World History and The Great Empires completely expanded and enhanced our regular textbook study.

When it arrived we were just beginning to study Ancient Greece, so, that is where we began with The Great EmpiresHome School in the Woods provides informative supplemental text that went deeper than what our textbook provided.  It was easy to read and kept Hunter engaged. After reading about Greece we used the map and key to plot and record the placement of the ancient cities.

Our next activity was decorating Greek pottery.  This way by far Hunter’s favorite activity.  We researched different styles of pottery on the internet and printed out a few examples to use as reference.


Hunter then drew his design and painted his very own piece of pottery

Our study continued, with designing our own shield, and making hummus, a yummy Greek treat.  We also read seven books ( all provided in each empire’s project list) to better understand the culture. The books were very easy to locate either electronically and free for my Kindle, or at our local library.

With all the in-depth study, visiting the provided links and reading the books,  our study of Ancient Greece lasted a little over three weeks.  

Our next  stop in our study of The Great Empires has been Ancient Rome. We followed the same path as our study of Greece and read the provided material and mapping the ancient cities. We are just wrapping up all of our reading choices, and as soon as I can gather the materials, we are going to paint our own fresco!

We really can’t wait to start our next ancient adventure.  Hunter has so enjoyed our extra study time that he want to invite the neighbor kids over to study with us this summer!  He is looking forward to learning more about Viking Coins, I am excited for Koi Fish. :)

We chose to use The Great Empires as an in-depth study.  We used all the resources they provided to help us learn more about the subject. If you wanted to just use the activities, you could do that as well.  There are no set rules on how to use the study.

The Great Empires will help you and your children learn more about 14 of the great empires of history.  For a detailed list of the empires that are covered go here. The cost is $18.95 for a downloadable version, and $19.95 if you would like a CD.  We used the downloadable version and it was easy to unzip and use.

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My prep time for each study was about an hour and that was mostly to locate the books we would be reading.  The projects have been easy to gather materials for in my local hometown.  I would recommend this curriculum to any homeschooling family, I do not feel that it would conflict with any particular curriculum or learning style, it would only enhance it.


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Faith, what do you use it for?


Whatever worldview you ascribe to, and I know that for some of my readers that means that you do not believe there is a God, takes faith. Maybe not faith in the religious conotation of the word, but a faith that takes the things understood about a subject and forms them into an opinion that you are willing to live your life according to. That is faith. Faith is a belief in things that you can not see.  We all use faith everyday.  The questions is, what do we use it for?

In their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Norman L. Giesler and Frank Turek, explore an issue of faith.  They ask you to consider if you have enough Faith to be an Atheist.  Their conclusion after much study is announced in the title of their book. But, how did they get there?  What did they study?  There must have been a process by which they came to this conclusion.

Geisler and Turek do not shy away from explaining other worldviews.  They address what it takes to be an agnostic, a skeptic, the difference between eastern logic and western logic, and importantly; how we can know what truth is. 

This willingness to tackle and explain what other beliefs are out there was a big selling point to me.  I don’t want a book that explores the issue of faith; to just tell me to have faith and be done.  I don’t want it to tell me that everything but this one thing is bad….  believe what I say and move on.  That isn’t a book I would read.  One of the biggest reasons this book was so interesting to me was that it took the time to present opposing views, present a counter argument, and trust that I will think critically to reach a logical conclusion.


Meant to be much more than just a great book to read, but a catalyst to help you better understand the how and why of what you believe; I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist comes with a 279 page workbook that turns a great read, into a curriculum.  This workbook creates an in-depth learning experience for your High School aged student, or perhaps as a great adult small group study. The workbook presents you with supplemental material, study questions and activities that will encourage personal reflection, discussion and build writing skills.

I found myself pondering before answering the workbook questions.  They weren’t the standard regurgitating comprehension questions that we are so easily pacified with in bible studies.  This workbook is WORK!  You must engage your mind to reap the full benefit of it.  The answers are not yes or no, true or false….  They are questions like:  Why is it important to understand the origin of life?  ( pg. 90) or C.S Lewis wrote, ” Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance.  The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”  Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Why? (pg. 209)

The supplemental reading in the workbook is very informative!  I never knew a David Hume. ( I thought Hume was a lake in Fresno, Ca.!) or what in the world empiricism was.  Let alone pronounce it…. But I have learned, and understood and I feel more informed and better able to defend what I believe because I have read this book.


Above you can view the table of contents and see that the topics are presented and discussed in a very engaging way.  It is not the intent of the authors to lose you or your child in  technical terms and hard to understand jargon.  They clearly define the terms discussed in each chapter and walk you through the arguments step by step.  This isn’t a book that you or your student will read without reflection.  It is meaty and I have found myself chewing on the morsels through out the day.

Whether you are looking for an in-depth Bible Curriculum for your High Schooler or a personal study for your own quiet time, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist will keep you busy for a nine month study.  I have enjoyed my weeks with this book and I look forward to more hours with it in the months to come. 

The book is priced at $16.00*, the Workbook at $33.00.  I enjoyed reading the book and using the work-text.  I feel that both items are very worth the investment.  The folks at have hit it out of the park with the debut of an Apologetics Curriculum for High Schoolers.  Having used this curriculum in my personal study time, I feel that any students would be well prepared for the variety of worldviews that will be discussed during their college years and beyond. 

*At the writing of this review Apologia is currently out of stock on the BOOK.  They have stated that their inventory will return in September for those of you who wish to use this curriculum in the 2012-2013 Academic Year.

As with all curriculum advice I share on this, my little corner of cyberspace, don’t just take my word for it.  Over a hundred families reviewed this product.  Visit the link below to see how other families enjoyed it ( or not ) in their homeschool environments.

I was sent a copy of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, and the corresponding Workbook by, solely for the purpose of this review.  No other compenstation has been received.  All the above opinions were formulated by actually reading the book, and using the workbook in my personal study time.


Learn with Zane

We were a little tickled when we learned that we were chosen for this review.  We knew it would be an easy name for us to remember, Hunter has a great friend named Zane.  :) 

Now, after this review, I feel like we have two friends named Zane, and one of them has the last name Education.


What is Zane Education? 

Zane Education is an online learning website created for the whole family, especially those with visual learners. It is also helpful to those who have families with special needs. Learning can will happen away from the textbook with Zane Education.

Zane Education combines informative video clips to watch, and online interactive quizzes to help parents determine if their child is understanding the subject matter.

This video learning site is quite extensive.  Our review period has barely afforded us the time to view all that is available….. the video catalogue is 41 pages long!

There are videos available in the following subject areas and for the following grade levels:

We enjoyed watching the subtitled videos, all the videos…. even those that weren’t in our age range.  We watched lots of Science videos that were geared for older students, we loved them and even tried to take a few of the older tests.  Let’s just say that these tests are not wimpy tests.  I had to step in and finish taking the test for Hunter, and I flunked them…. there were words on that quiz I couldn’t pronounce!  When your children pass these online quizzes, they will really know their stuff!

All of the videos contain subtitles to help a child with their reading skills.  I understand the idea of that………  but something tells me that for my kid…. he isn’t looking at the words….. he is just watching the show.  I guess the theory is that just the subliminal sight of the words helps to improve reading.  I am not sure I completely buy into that theory for my child, but if you would like to read more research and decide for yourself, you can go here to read more.

Zane Education is committed to bringing a complete and comprehensive educational choice to homeschoolers for an affordable price. 

With the exception of the online subtitled video library which is a Premium Service, all of the other resources/ videos provided on the website are free to use after a user has completed the Registration form for a free Basic Membership. And yes, even the Math videos (without subtitles) are free to use.  This Basic Membership Level would be a great place for you to begin if you would like to experience the website for yourself.

They offer the following Membership Levels:

  • GOLD MEMBERSHIP provides access to the videos for all topics at just $17.99 per month or $197.89 per year.
  • SILVER MEMBERSHIP provides access to the videos for all topics in a particular Age/Grade at just $12.99 per month or $142.89 per year.
  • BRONZE MEMBERSHIP provides access to the videos for all topics in a particular Subject at just $8.99 per month or $98.89 per year.

Each Membership Level is good for use with your ENTIRE family, regardless of how many students you have. 

Zane Education is currently offering a  35% discount on the purchase of any annual 12-month Gold, Silver or Bronze Membership subscription.  This discount is valid through until the end of August 2012.  Use the coupon code:  ZE643HSM  at check out to obtain your discount.

Overall, we liked using Zane Educations Visual Learning Website.  It was easy to navigate, videos were easy to find by grade or subject level.  It was a great way for use to have learning through the summer months without having to plan, organize and teach the lessons myself.  During the school year I can see us using the site as a resource to learn additional information that might not be covered in our usual studies.

Please visit the Zane Education website to see the extensive resources that are available to help you and your child succeed.

Disclaimer:  I was given access to Zane Education’s full premium website ( Gold Membership) for one year, free of charge, for the express purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received, all of the above opinions are based on the use of this program within our homeschool environment.



Learn to type with Keyboarding for the Christian School

Hunter is always after me to be on the computer.  He wants to play games and to type, trouble is, he isn’t very good at the typing part.  We had a nice time using Keyboarding for the Christian School a complete typing curriculum created to help you teach your children how to type using today’s technology; the Keyboard.

We reviewed Keyboarding for the Christian School, Elementary Version, the cost is $12.95 and is designed to be used for grades K-5.  We learned the basics of Keyboarding with the help of Miss Mabel the ladybug.  The Elementary Version is available in both regular and large print.

I liked the pace of the lessons.  We did not feel overwhelmed with what they were asking us to type. Hunter was able to move through a lesson in about a half an hour….  the last exercise of each lesson being the one that took the most time.

It was a blessing to see my child typing more than just rote words, but verses and biblical truths. This is a curriculum we will use over and over through the elementary years to help build speed and typing fluency.

If you have older students that need to learn how to type, or perhaps just improve their speed, Keyboarding for the Christian School, costs $15.95 and was created to be used by students in the 6th through the 12th grades. You may view sample lessons HERE.

Please visit the Keyboarding for the Christian School website to see the Teachers Tools and other courses they have available to help your child type and understand how to use their computer keyboard.

Keyboarding for the Christian School is an e-book.  That means you download it to your computer and can use it over and over and over.  We printed out the pages for the lessons we would work on that day.  I think it was very beneficial to Hunter to learn how to type from a piece of paper and not just something from his own head.  I have heard that other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew used their e-books in a variety of ways over the past weeks.  To find out more about how each family used this product in their own homeschool follow the link below.

Click to read Crew Reviews
 ***** Disclaimer******

As a Schoolhouse Review Crew member I was given a download of Keyboarding for the Christian School, free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All opinions above were based on our use of this product in our homeschool environment.


Lightning Literature and Composition ~ A High School Course

Photobucket Great literature unfolds a page at a time….. and so should the lessons. I have thoroughly enjoyed using Lighting Literature & Composition ( recommended for grades 10-12) by Hewitt Homeschooling.

We were able to review their British literature: Mid-Late 19th Century Student Guide and Teacher’s guide. We focused on the poetry section in Lesson 1 by Alfred Lord Tennyson, since many of the selections were included in the book. As I write to you we are in the midst of doing Lesson 2; reading Silas Marner by George Eliot.

The student text begins with a very healthy introduction, which I recommend you read. If nothing less, it will be a refresher of what you may have learned in your own literature studies and it will help you to brush up on your terms and how to apply them as you teach your student. Reading the Poetry section was especially helpful to me. College was a long time ago, I had forgotten things like Assonance ( the repetition of vowel sounds) and the section on Meter ( the measurable rhythm of the words) was a great help.

The introduction on writing a paper gives the student a clear and concise target to shoot for as the write. There are great guideline questions to help them self edit and re-write. My daughter found the pages on Fluidity of Language and Pronoun Confusion helpful. It helped her understand why some of her college professors were marking things differently than others as she had turned in her papers last year. I helped me as a parent to know how to better critique my younger students and offer assistance to them as I read what they write and prepare for college papers.

The Teachers Guide has a nicely organized schedules for you to use, both semester and weekly for a full year long course. There are grading tips and sheets, as well as all the answers to the comprehension questions throughout the student text. I will keep it real and let you know that I am very grateful for comprehension questions, especially where poetry is concerned. Some times I read through a poem and then say… ” What? What did that just say?” and having the questions in the student text helped us through the poetry.

We are very much enjoying reading through Silas Marner…… we are reading it aloud and going through the discussion questions as a family. Discussing them as we meander through the summer, staying indoors to read and escape the near 110° heat. Even my younger children are learning the finer points of plots and sub plots and better understanding what a climax is within a story.

I look forward to continuing on using this literature guide through the summer. I think we will purchase the Early- Mid 19th Century book next! I would highly recommend this course to those who are looking for an affordable comprehensive High School Literature course. All the guides and books are available for $52.86. Just the Student and Teacher guide alone are available for $33.90.

Please take the time to read the other reviews on the many different products that Hewitt Homeschooling has to offer by clicking the link below.  

As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received Lightening Lit and Comp from Hewitt Homeschooling, free of charge, for the purpose of this review. No other compensation has been received.


leave the textbook behind and read a book!

I love to read books.  Even more, I love reading books to my kids. 

A major component of our Curriculum over the years has been the reading lists from Ambleside Online.  I prefer real live books to textbooks, any day.

The trouble with booklists on the internet, is the finding of the books.  I have spent HOURS, upon HOURS searching for books in print, or for the correct downloadable format for us to read.  When my Kindle came along, I would search and search the free book lists to find the ones that we might need in the right format to download.

Heritage History eliminates the need for all that hunting around on the internet.  Many of the books we have searched for are easily accessed on these discs.  I appreciate how they are broken up into themed collections, making it very easy use.


We reviewed the Young Readers Collection.  These books are meant to be started in the 4th grade, especially if you are going to be using Heritage History through the High School years.

Do not be afraid to use this collection with younger children as read aloud material. My Four Year Old enjoyed listening to books from this collection.



Being the introductory collection, the selections are easy-to-read and cover many historical periods, providing a broad introduction to Western Culture.  You will find short stories from American, European, Ancient, and Biblical history.

Disk Includes 86 books, Recommendations, and a Teacher’s Guide

Both the Recommendations and Teacher’s Guide were helpful, there were a few tips in there I hadn’t thought of.  I appreciated that the disk contained more than one version of the book.  I could read it in PDF on my laptop.  I could sync it with my Kindle and read on the go, and if we ever get an iToy, I can use that version as well. 

If you are a lover of living books, these collections will be invaluable to you as you teach history to your children.


Young Readers Collection sells individually for $24.99, a very reasonable price for the time it will save you in hunting around the internet.

The entire 5 volume set ,The World History Collection, is available for $99.99, a savings of $25, over individual purchases.

You may visit their website at for more information and to see the extensive library they have available.

TOS Homeschool Crew Members reviewed portions of the entire World History Collection.  To read about their experiences, click here.

****** Disclaimer******

As a TOS Crew Member, I was selected to receive the Young Readers Collection from Heritage History, free of charge, and for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All of the above opinions are a result of using this curriculum in our homeschool.


He is learning to love writing

I just love. love. LOVE. Write Shop Junior.



Every-so-often something comes along and you just know it was tailor-made for your child.  That is how I felt with WriteShop Junior, Book D.  This writing curriculum just clicked with our 4th grade son, Hunter.  It was easy to understand and prepare for, and easy to comprehend and learn from.  It instilled a sense of confidence in Hunter, who up until 6 weeks ago would have run from the table, as if on fire, if I had asked him to write a paragraph, let alone a page.

This curriculum was created for 3rd, 4th and the reluctant 5th grade writers in your family.  Lessons are clear and concise.  I never felt lost in the Teachers Book.  It was clear where to begin each day and what days of the week to cover the work on.  Each daily lesson is divided into 30 minutes segments to teach.  They are fully scripted to ensure I would cover all the bases.  Prep time would run me about 30 min to an hour (depending on how detailed I was), every two weeks.


The most time consuming portion of the program, for me, was setting up the Grammar Folders.  I did them all in one day, and it took several hours to get them trimmed, stapled, labeled and the bookmark portions laminated.  That said, Hunter loved those things, I had trouble keeping him from filling them all in at once!

The main stumbling block to Hunter’s writing has been his spelling.  It is pretty bad.  He always seems to get papers handed back to him covered in corrections.  This has always been discouraging for him.  WriteShop Junior, Book D, involves him in his editing.  No longer am I the big, bad, evil, wielder of the red pen.  He starts each editing project out by looking for the excellent work he has done and this softens the blow when he starts with his red marker on those spelling mistakes.  With each lesson he spells a bit better each time.

After all the editing, he was so proud of his published papers, he would tell us all 6 kajillion times what each and every sticker signified on the finished product.

Thank you, WriteShop for revolutionizing writing in our home.

WriteShop Junior, Book D sells for $39.95, and included the student worksheets, and all the pages needed for the Grammar Folders.  The Teachers Guide is $34.95.  You will want the Teachers Guide, Trust me…. it is where all the teaching comes from, you would be lost without it. Another item, and it is listed as optional on the website….  but in my opinion is the biggest time saver in the world…  The Time Saver Pack.  It sells for $13.95 and it is worth every penny.  Printed on sturdy colored card stock, all you need to do is cut and use or poke and play…  No hunting for paper and hoping you have the ink.  It will dramatically reduce the prep time you will need before every lesson.

WriteShop has graciously offered up a discount to you if would like to purchase their curriculum before the start of the new school year.  To receive a 15% discount on WriteShop Primary, and WriteShop Junior products (including e-book versions) use the coupon code CREW15 at checkout.  This coupon is valid until June 15th 2012.

We reviewed the product in it’s traditional print version, some of my fellow Crew Mates reviewed the e-version of WriteShop and share their opinions on our Crew Blog.  Be sure to stop by and read the reviews to see if there is a level of WriteShop that will work best for your family.


As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of WriteShop Junior, Book D, and the Time Saver Pack from the WriteShop, free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review.  I was in no way obligated to gush fervently about their product.  That happened naturally in the course of using it daily and seeing results with our student.  I don’t receive any extra special stuff, or monetary compensation (rats!) for writing a nice review, just the satisfaction of a job well done, and the ability to keep an amazing product for our personal use.


Writing for the real world



It is one of those things that we want our children to do well. Have any of you run into a child that just detests the written word?  You know, the child that cries, whines, feigns the flu, begs to clean their room, ….. anything to get out of having to write you a well formed sentence, or heaven forbid, a paragraph.

This aversion to writing can creep up early and for my son (4th grade)  it is because writing something down takes too much time.  He would rather be playing than writing me a paragraph about the book he just read.  I remember with my older two children that in the middle school years we spent many hours learning how to write.  My goal was for them to be able to articulate themselves well upon their arrival into college, and with one in college at 16, I guess I did alright.

I would like to share with you my experiences with a new writing curriculum, geared to students in the middle school years.  The publishers of God’s World News and WORLD Magazine have developed a very engaging writing program.


It does something that other writing programs miss.  It engages the students by allowing them to write about real things they experience everyday.  This isn’t a curriculum that has them writing about bugs, or the weather, or their favorite color; this curriculum has them writing about what messages an advertisement is trying to send them.  Rather than teaching adverbs and adjectives by just explaining the written words on the page,  Write with WORLD uses pictures and asks the student to describe what they are seeing as specifically as possible…. then building to the point where sentences are used to create vivid visual images for the reader. It approaches writing from a journalistic point of view, while teaching grammar and mechanics in a very conversational style.

If you would like to see the full table of contents the curriculum covers, you may find it here.

I used Write with WORLD with my 4th grader.  He has very little writing composition skills.  The material that we covered together was a bit of a reach for him in some areas of reasoning, but he met the challenge head on.  I might have had to rephrase a few questions for him from time to time, but with discussion and working together he was learning, and excited to learn more….  he would often say, “ Mom, can we do the writing one now?”

I think that this curriculum would be great for those families with children in grades 4-9.  It would be very easy to work on this curriculum as a group.  The daily capsules (lessons) are quick, and require very little pre- prep time.  You could spend about a 1/2 hour a week prepping for the weeks work, and it would be easy for you to ask an older child to skim through the teachers book and gather what might be needed. The book often refers a student to find an article in WORLD magazine to work from, we do not subscribe to that magazine, and had no trouble at all finding alternate articles or photos from other sources.

View a Sample Lesson

I would like to offer a suggestion to the creators; providing a table of contents or a materials list for the teachers book stating how many articles or other things we might need for each lesson, would certainly improve it’s functionality for busy homeschool parents. 

Pricing is currently set at $95.00 for the student and teacher book.  Both are NON- consumable, a student uses a separate journal to record their work.  Non- consumable books tend to take the sting out of the price, you know you can use it again with another student or sell it later to recoup some of the cost.

I encourage you to wander over to the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog, and see what other parents are saying about their experiences with Write with WORLD.



as a TOS Homeschool Crew Member, I was sent Book 1 of Write with WORLD’s middle school writing curriculum.  I was sent this book free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received. 

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