We love reading! Christian historical books are a popular genre with us because they not only bring history to life, God is included in the story. I like that. Another genre I like are Biblical guides that are inspiring and enriching.

Hal & Melanie Young are the chief publishers of Great Waters Press. They are the authors of Raising Real Men, recipient of the 2011 Book of the Year award by Christian Small Publishers Assoc.

This book is a wonderful guide for families with one boy or many. It is "A Practical Guide to Equipping the Hearts and Minds of Boys without Losing or Breaking Your Own". 

Hal & Melanie have homeschooled their 8 children (6 are boys) from the beginning and have also been involved in "parenting, political commentary, writing and homeschooling from coast to coast". They have been serving The Lord for many years through these involvements and Great Waters Press is just one of the wonderful areas they are serving. Great Waters Press "focuses on Making Biblical Family Life Practical". 

Great Waters Press has 2 new books coming out soon. Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have had the opportunity of reviewing these books, and I had the privilege of choosing
A Cry From Egypt, by Hope Auer. It is geared for readers 8yo and up.
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Hope is a recent homeschool graduate and has been writing since childhood. She has "developed a passion for history and telling stories which eventually culminated in the writing of “The Promised Land Series,” and
  A Cry From Egypt is book one. 

"Adventure, excitement, love, and faith come together
when Jarah and her family find themselves at the culmination of four hundred years of history"
This is a book about a young girl, Jarah, and her family, set in the historical period when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Through Hope's education and studying of Ancient Egypt, she was able to define the characters with great authenticity, and creates a setting that is, not only factual, but amazingly accurate. You are drawn into Jarah's life: her fears, her joys. . .her reality as an Israelite girl enslaved in Egypt. As each of the plagues fall upon Egypt, we see Jarah and her family's experience as it might have really been. And though the people are fictitious, the facts are Biblically correct.

From the back cover of the book "Jarah was a slave in Egypt. It was a dangerous place to be. Her work was exhausting and her family was torn between the gods of the Egyptians and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And her brother… would his Ada be given in marriage to an Egyptian in the palace? Would they ever be free?".

What We Thought: This book is incredible! I was really impressed with the amount of time that was obviously spent by Hope in preparation for writing it. I was drawn in to the story from the very first paragraph and didn't want to put the book down. As each event unfolded, I found myself imagining being there, in Egypt, watching Jarah's experiences, feeling her emotions, and yearning to help. Even though she is a fictitious character, Hope personified her as though she were real, and her story was already written down. Reading A Cry From Egypt offered a different perspective of the Book of Exodus, and it was profound. Both of kids loved the book, too. My daughter reads quickly and had it done before I could blink, I think. She was also moved by the intensity of it. Knowing Exodus and all that happened is one thing, I think, seeing it experienced by this young girl is another. My son enjoyed the adventure the most.

A Cry From Egypt offered by Great Water Press is an excellent book and I know you will not be disappointed in the content. 

An advanced copy of A Cry From Egypt is available from the publisher for $12.50. 

Other members of the SRC reviewed this book or Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship was written by Curt and Sandra Lovelace. You can read more reviews by clicking below.
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Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after reading it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
 
 
"Consistent exercise, and certain types of specific exercises,
can both temporarily and permanently affect the way your brain is able to focus,
its ability to deal with stress and anxiety, and its ability to learn … 
Exercise is like fertilizer for the brain … it’s so good, it’s like Miracle Gro
”. 
- Dr. John Ratey, Harvard Brain Researcher 
Gym. What's the first thing that comes to your mind reading that word? Maybe activities or exercising? Maybe changing your clothes in smelly locker room filled with too many other people? Or going back to class after running around and wishing your gym class was at the end of the day so you could go home and shower? Or maybe your memories are a combination of both. Whatever your memory of gym class is, I'm sure it consisted of at least one "Ugh!"

As homeschoolers, we have the luxury and responsibility to bring some form of activity into our home for our children. Sadly, the luxury often becomes more of a chore and the responsibility becomes optional. We start out with the right ideas: on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday we'll walk, and on Tuesday & Thursday we'll ride our bikes. But usually when Monday morning comes, you actually thinking about all the work that didn't get done the week before, or the housework that didn't get done over the weekend, and Monday's walk doesn't happen. Then, because of the weather, or chores, or appointments, or. . . whatever, the rest of the week's scheduled exercises are interrupted, delayed, or cancelled. 

Though this was certainly not our intention, exercise soon becomes a "fun day activity" or just free-time play. Our days then consist of school, music, maybe a sport, and laziness. YUCK!

We all know how important exercise is to staying healthy, so how did we, as homeschooling parents, who love our children and want the best for them, allow this to happen? 

Well instead of worrying about what should have been, I've got a great product to help you change what will be. The above scenario often happens because we just don't know enough about teaching a gym class. This product can change that.
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Fitness 4 Home School Core 1 Curriculum K-8  by Family Time Fitness is a wonderful homeschool fitness program for kids K-8 (but good for younger and older, in my opinion) that is designed to be done right in your own home or yard. You don't have to be a gym teacher or exercise guru; you just have to be a mom or dad that wants a great phys. ed. program for your kids.

From Family Time Fitness: "Our program, designed by experts in fitness training, nutrition and body movement, is designed to suit every age and ability level while affordably fitting into your budget. Our program combines flexibility and fun with a comprehensive curriculum to give your children a foundation for strong bodies and minds." 

You may still be asking yourself why does it matter? "Why do I need a structured physical education program for my kids? Isn't any form of exercise good enough?"

You may even believe that because, while searching for homeschool curriculum, you didn't see any for "Gym" or "Physical Education", that it must not be that important. That's a mistake, though. We don't see any programs because there just aren't many out there, and especially one that is focused on teaching "spatial awareness, body awareness, environmental awareness, enhanced neurological development, mind-body coordination, stress reduction, social engagement, poise and confidence" (Family Time). 

Take a look at the comparison study done by Dr. Chuck Hillman at the University of Illinois. It's very obvious to see the energy patterns that are stimulated and changed with just 20 minutes of walking. 

And, according to Dr. John Ratey (quote above), exercise can increase your brains ability to focus, handle stress & anxiety, and learn and retain what's learned. 
Isn't that what we want for our own children?
So what does Fitness 4 Home School Core 1 Curriculum K-8 offer? 

* There's a Start up/Training Guide for parents that will walk you through the different elements of physical education, what to expect from the program, safety info, and most importantly, how to fit this program into your daily curriculum.

* There are 260 planned lessons, that include step by step instructions and a link to a video that demonstrates that actual exercise. Each lesson includes 30-45 minutes of physical activity.

* One page summaries of each lesson to allow for easy printing

* Video Demonstrations to help refresh your memory of your gym class days : ^ 0 Just kidding, lol. The videos show actual children doing the exercise so that you and your children can see the exercise in action. There are over 200 videos and you will have guaranteed lifetime access to these and all updates.

* Assessment Tools are available to help track progress. There are also downloadable nutritional logs and meal planners to use to maximize your family's fitness.

* Encouragement Emails for encouragement and motivation. These include tips & reminers, too. 

* Online Webinars are also available to you for additional instruction.

This incredible curriculum is available for just $57. You will not be disappointed! 
You can view the scope and sequence here. Below is a video that gives a sample of what this wonderful program includes. 
What We Thought: This is a great program! I am so impressed with all that Family Time has included. Each lesson includes warm ups, several exercises, cool down, and outdoor activities. And though many are simple exercises that I remember from my childhood, they are not necessarily easy. Each lesson uses muscles that may have not been used in a looooong time, : ^ ) and I definitely found myself a little sore afterward. No pain, no gain, right? Not really, but having a little soreness after not only helped me realize I am really not in shape, but also gave me the encouragement that the program was working and my body liked it. Both of my kids liked it, too. My son is already active and in acro, soccer, and luge, but I can tell you, some of these exercises weren't easy for him, either. My daughter has never really been the sports girl. She likes dance and a few other things, but likes reading and academics more than exercise. So, like me, a few of these exercises did cause a little bit of discomfort after. But she liked being able to do them. We all did.

I was very pleased with the choice of music that was dubbed in on each of the videos. It was pleasant to listen to, offered no words, and just was nice. The video clips are not long (each are less than a minute, that we could see), but very helpful. 

It was nice to be able to add in exercise to our daily routine. I will be honest and say it doesn't happen as often as it should, still, but we are working on it and excited to "keep moving forward". 

I am certain you will enjoy this program as much as we did. You can try it for free for 2 days here.

Family Time Fitness offers programs for schools and co-op's, too.

The Fitness 4 Home School Core 1 Curriculum K-8 is now available for just $57 (web price at this time). It can be quickly downloaded as a PDF file. Other members of the SRC also reviewed this program. You can read their posts by clicking below. 
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Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
 
 
History has not always been one of my favorite subjects. Too many dates and names to memorize and not enough excitement - or so it seemed to me while in high school. Homeschooling has changed my opinion of history and opened my eyes to incredible adventures and wonders. One of the many interesting stories that I was able to rediscover is that of Lewis & Clark: their expedition into the unknown western frontier, the fears they must have had, the struggles they faced, and the wonders of the land they were able to experience. In today's fast paced world filled with computers, 3D T.V.s, and the ability to get from one side of the country to the other in a matter of hours, Lewis & Clark's journey is almost inconceivable to us.

Unfortunately, reading the story in a textbook doesn't give the journey true clarity. What did they really see when crossing uncharted land? How hard was it, really? What's the big deal?

Let me tell you about a video that we recently reviewed that may help you answer these questions, and maybe even a few more : ^ )

The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark – We Proceed On! by Marshall Publishing, takes you on the same journey that was traveled over 200 years ago.    
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You will be introduced to Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the Corps of Discovery. Because their expedition was well documented by both Lewis and Clark, you will hear excerpts from their diaries that can immediately place you right beside them in their journey. 

Throughout the video, you will find actual footage of the trails taken by Lewis & Clark, as well as photos, maps, & live re-enactments. The scenery is beautiful, with mountains, rivers, bison, and so much more. The music that is played in the video is pleasing to listen to and appropriate for the particular situations. If there was a dramatic scene, the music was dramatic, if the storyline was peaceful, the music was, too. 

This video was originally produced by Kaw Valley Films Production and was copyrighted by Marshall in 2009. It is approximately 35 minutes long.

You can purchase The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark – We Proceed On! for $19.95. (a $5 discount). And if you use the code TOS27, you will get FREE SHIPPING (I love free shipping).

Marshall Publishing is a multi-faceted media organization that has been in business since 2007. Their goal "is to provide lots and lots of media fun for everyone through award-winning DVDs, Books, CDs, CD-roms, and broadcast and internet programming that will amaze, amuse, entertain, and educate" (Marshall Publishing). Their products include "AS SEEN ON TV" products and "LOTS & LOTS of" brands. Their DVD's have been endorsed by The Dove Foundation, Kid's First, NAPPA, Coalition for Quality Children's Programs.  For more than 30 years their management team has produced and represented over 35 t.v. shows & programs that have aired on network and PBS channels.

What we thought. We enjoyed this video. We were impressed by the amount of information that was packed into 35 minutes! We learned that the expedition took them through 18miles of prickly pear cactus, and what an unpleasant 18 miles it was. We learned that Lewis & Clark were advised by indians to not travel a certain way, but they chose to anyhow. Which wasn't a good idea. How often do we not listen to sound advise? This was a nice point in the movie to have a life lesson. I love being able to use these situations that pop up. The Lord uses "coincidence" well. We also learned that "Hungry Creek" was named because this is where the group survived with no food, in the cold snow. 

I liked that the life stories of Lewis & Clark, and other members of The Corps of Discovery, were given during the movie. And especially liked that Lewis' dog "Seaman" was taken along for the ride. I love Newfie's. They are such a beautiful breed.

The one thing that we didn't like was that the footage seems dated. It was "crackly" according to my daughter, and it was. The sound seemed old. I wasn't sure if this was intentional to get the viewer more into the time period. It was still an enjoyable video and I do recommend it. 

If you are studying this time period or would just like to watch a good, historical video,  The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark – We Proceed On! is a great one to choose.

The SRC members reviewed other products from Marshall Publishing, as well. To read those reviews, click below.
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Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after viewing it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.