This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Scheduling classes with Homeschool Spanish Academy

***links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for your support!***

Madison and Mikayla each now have four weeks of Spanish lessons with Homeschool Spanish Academy {HSA} under their belts. Things are going really well for both girls and today I wanted to tell you about how easy it is to schedule your classes. HSA offers high school level classes for credit for children aged 14-18. It is recommended that students seeking one high school credit should take the 50 minute classes, two times a week. 

There are other course offerings at the high school level including a one semester option with 30 classes that is good for .50 credit or the 15 classes for .25 credits if you just need a bit of a refresher. Once you decide how many lessons you will require you can begin the scheduling process and start picking your days/times and teachers.

HSA offers a first come, first serve online scheduling system. This means you are able to look at all the teacher availability for any given day, time, or month to pick what works best for you. It is recommended that you schedule your classes as far out as possible to guarantee time slots with your preferred teacher because teacher’s do fill up quickly especially right at the beginning of the semester.

I am a creature of habit, so we tend to stick with who we know and fill in our whole 60 classes based off the schedule we have. Once our competition schedules for gymnastics and softball come out I then go back in and make necessary day/time shifts where needed. Having the classes already scheduled out makes it easier on me to see when and where I can make the necessary substitutions. Over the course of time that my children have studied with HSA  since the summer of 2012, we have never had any issues with any of the teachers. So really just pick and choose who fits your schedule. And don’t worry that if you do need to skip around with teachers that they won’t know where your child is at in lessons. The program is so fine tuned that everyone is on track for each child. 

HSA offers such flexibility in their programing that it is the perfect companion to our families foreign languages studies. Being able to pick and choose which days work best for our schedules, which just happen to be Tuesday and Thursdays, is priceless for us.  If you are looking for Spanish instruction for you or your child, whether they be high school or elementary school level look no further that the one-on-one instruction found with a native speaker from Homeschool Spanish Academy!

WorthyKids/Ideals: The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series ~ a TOS review

I love sharing great books with you my readers and friends in real life! Today I have a great set of books to share with you from WorthyKids/Ideals called The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2). They are both apart of the The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series.

Both books are penned by M.J. Thomas and present Biblical truths in a fun, fictional way. The target audience for these books are for children in grades 1-3 or ages 6-9. With just over 100 pages each they are perfect for kids just hitting the chapter book level. The pages of each of these paperback books are filled with black and white kid-friendly illustrations that add detail to the story but don’t distract overall.

McKenzie, who just turned 8 years old and is in the 2nd grade, read these books aloud to me. As soon as I saw them I knew they would be perfect for her especially since she is just starting to get into chapter books. Another plus is that we are studying Creation in our history program so being able to tie in these literature books to our history has been fabulous! Let me tell you a little about each book.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

In book one, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning we are introduced to siblings Peter (9) and Mary (10), who along with their dog, Hank, are sent to stay with there Great-Uncle Solomon who just happens to be an archaeologist. Once they settle into their new surroundings Uncle Solomon shows them the Legend of the Hidden Scrolls and that discovery transports them back through Bible history.

Can you imagine being taken back to the time of Creation and experiencing each day? That’s exactly what happened to Peter and Mary, but with a special twist. They are charged with solving the secret message of the scroll or be trapped forever in time with no hope of returning home. Now, it doesn’t sound too bad, right? Especially since they got to meet the angel, Michael, ride on elephants and rhinos, and even battle the sneaky snake of the Garden!

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

The action continues in book two, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark as Peter, Mary, and Hank travel back to the time of Noah. The adventure begins as the siblings and their dog find themselves outside the wicked, old city ruled by the Dark Ruler who lives in the Temple of the Snake. Dark Ruler rules with an iron fist and has one specific rule for his subjects; you must not talk about God. 

The angel, Michael, makes an appearance again and tasks the trio in solving the secret scroll. During their adventures they follow a set of paw prints surrounding them. Upon following the paw prints they are face to face with Noah’s son, Shem, who we learned during our history studies is in the line from which the Biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob come from through Terah. With just six days to solve the mystery scroll the kids help fill the ark with the animals and also meet Tubal-Cain along the way before the flood waters come.

McKenzie and I both have enjoyed these books tremendously and think you should definitely check them out to see if they would be a good fit for a young reader in your household. We can’t wait for the next installments of the books to be available. Oftentimes, finding good quality literature is hard to do, but this series from M.J. Thomas has us excited to read more! Be sure to see what my CrewMates thought of these two books by clicking the banner below.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}

 Product ~ The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series: The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) AND The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2) 
Format ~ paperback books 
 Price ~ $6.99 each 
 Ages ~ 6-9 year olds, recommended reading level is grades 1-3

Social Media Links: 

Facebook @WorthyKidsIdeals  Instagram @worthypub  Twitter @worthypub      

Crew Disclaimer

©2008 - 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Heirloom Audio Productions: Captain Bayley's Heir ~ a TOS review

One of the best parts of being a part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, besides the friendships I have made with my fellow CrewMates, is that our family gets exposed to so many new products to test out. Way back in 2014 we were introduced to the Christian audio dramas produce by Heirloom Audio Productions. We have reviewed all of their titles thus far and I am so excited to tell you about their newest audio adventure today called, Captain Bayley's Heir.

Heirloom Audio Productions is passionate about bringing history to life in exciting and engaging audio dramas. With a passion for bringing history to life through high-quality audio dramas that are exciting and wholesome entertainment for the whole family you will be hooked right from the beginning. The masterful story-telling of G.A. Henty is full of virtue and daring, and this adaptation provides an “active listening” adventure experience with award-winning cast and composer, and realistic sound effects. With their newest release title, Captain Bayley’s Heir, the have continued to set the bar high. The company outdoes itself with each audio production and we are always excited to hear the next story.

Over the last few years we have come to appreciate audio books more and more. I spend a good amount of time driving the girls here and there and during gymnastics and softball meet season we are always on the go. These CD’s are our go to listening cd’s. Because, this mom can only take so much of the popular children’s radio station.

G.A. Henty’s adventure books became popular during the 19th century. His books became well known for emphasizing traits of courage, high moral character, diligence, and perseverance. With Heirloom Audio Productions newest released title, they have truly set the bar high and it does not disappoint one bit.

Captain Bayley's Heir

Captain Bayley’s Heir tells the adventures of Frank, an 18-year old, who lives with his Uncle, Captain Harold Bayle, his cousin Fred, and his uncles ward, a girl named Alice. Frank leaves his school at the Westminster School in England to voyage to America when he is falsely accused to stealing money from a teacher. To prove to his uncle, Captain Harold Bayley, who is often sad and mad at times, that he can make his own way Frank runs away to America.

While making his way in America, Frank experiences many trials and adventures alike. All the while, Frank is finding his courage, integrity, and faith tested to the depths of his being. Throughout his journey, Frank learns to lean on and accept God’s loving grace and to extend the same grace to others he meets. As the story progresses we find out that Uncle Bayley has discovered that his long lost daughter, Ella, is in fact dead. But the best part is that Uncle Bayley has a living heir! I won’t tell you who the heir is because I really think you should listen to the story yourself, but you will be so excited as we were. As the story wraps up, we find out that all ends well for Frank and his family. He is cleared of the hideous charge of thievery.

We received the two disk CD set and access to the Live the Adventure Club which includes the original G.A. Henty novel in eBook form, an MP3 download of the official soundtrack, a cast poster, desktop wallpaper, hymnal poster, and access to the official study guide and discussion guide. Since we are on the go almost every day of the week we strictly listened to this while traveling to and from. I really appreciated having access to the digital version of the story. Over the summer I finally figured out how to get audio files to my iPhone.

We were able to listen to the story directly through our Big Boy Gibby’s {our van} speakers. My children sat is absolute silence as to not miss a single detail of the story. Sometimes we would stay in the van until a chapter had ended just so we could hear the end of the story. I really like the fact that the stories where numbered so we could find our spot quickly. And if we really did need to get out of the van we could easily pick up the story through my iPhone.

The included Study Guide and Discussion Starter is a full color eBook with learning guides to help tie in the story as a whole. Background information about the story and G.A. Henty himself are included in the eBook along with a list of cast members. It includes sections for comprehension, vocabulary, and Biblical references to scripture as well. Comprehension questions are broken down by disc and track on the CD which is very helpful.

The “Live the Adventure Club” includes many bonus materials and activities and games for your family. As well as a listening library, you have access to all the audio dramas you have purchased and more. Online you have access to interactive comprehension questions along with quizzes about the story are also featured in the “Live the Adventure Club”. If you like to follow along with the reading you also have access to the audio drama script. When you complete all the activities you have the choice to print a certificate of completion too.
Heirloom Audio Productions
There are several purchasing options. You can order directly from Heirloom Audio Productions including:
 • $19.97 for an audio MP3 download that gives you instant access. 
 • $29.97 plus $6.95 shipping gets you the two CD set plus the two bonuses above and the MP3 soundtrack download 

All of the prices listed above come with a 90 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied but you’re not going to need it! You will be hooked from the opening chapter.

So, what’s the bottom line?! We were so excited when this new audio CD arrived in the mail! We love this CD and the values that are represented from the company and the CD. I would recommend this product to any and all looking to add a bit of family friendly audio / radio drama into the home.

We are especially excited for the next adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions! See what my CrewMates thought of this Christian audio drama by clicking the banner below.

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

Format ~ physical CD set with access to digital products and the “Live the Adventure Club” 
Price ~ Instant download at $19.97 or $29.97 for physical two-disk set 
Ages ~ 6-16, but adults enjoy these too!

Heirloom Audio Productions

Social Media Links:

Crew Disclaimer

©2008 - 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wordless Wednesday

©2008 - 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Imagine...The Great Flood by Barbour Publishing ~ a TOS review

Today I have an exciting book to share with you! It’s true we have read a lot of historical fiction over the years, but nothing compared to the new book Montana just read called Imagine…The Great Flood by Matt Koceich. She was kept on the edge of her seat while reading this Biblical Fiction for kids from Barbour Publishing.

We are no stranger to the clean books for kids that Barbour Publishing produces. A few years ago we were introduced to our first Barbour Publishing book when we received Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story . Imagine…The Great Flood was created by Matt Koceich, a schoolteacher, who wants to bring the Bible to life for curious kids aged 8 to 12.

IMAGINE... The Great Flood

For this review, my 5th grade daughter, Montana, read the book. I initially scheduled the book out so she would read it over the course of a school week because it tied in with our history programs study of Noah. To my surprise she was so into the book that she finished it in just one day! Below are her words to describe the story.

The story is about ten-year-old Corey who is about to move to Florida from Texas. While he was chasing dog, Molly, he falls and bumps his head on a tree branch. When he wakes up he is surrounded by two lions! 

Noah’s son, Shem, saves him from the lions. Shem then takes Corey back to Noah’s ark where Noah and the rest of the family are gathering the animals inside. Along the way they are attacked by giants, who are trying to stop from taking two of each animal to the ark. Everyone is against Noah and his family. They don’t believe what he is doing by gathering the animals and tries to do everything in their power to stop him and his sons. An evil man named, Elizar, who has magical powers like a wizard works with the giants to try and stop Noah. 

Throughout the story Corey learns that he needs to trust God and that he is real and protecting him through his move like he did with Noah. I liked this story because it was interesting. I was already familiar with the story from reading and hearing about it in my Bible but I liked this take on the story of Noah’s ark. I recommend this story to other kids. My assignment after reading the book was to draw a movie poster for the story. I like art so this was fun to me. I can’t wait until the next book, Imagine…The Ten Plagues in March 2018. 

Just imagine what life would be like to live through a biblical event! This book does just that. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this book by clicking the banner below.

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}

Format ~ paperback book 
Genre ~ Juvenile Fiction / Religious / Christian / Action & Adventure 
Price ~ $5.99 
Ages ~ 8 to 12 year olds

Barbour Publishing

Social Media Links: 

Crew Disclaimer

©2008 - 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wordless Wednesday

©2008 - 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Unathorized by Chara Games ~ a TOS review

I am so excited to share with you a new game from Chara Games called Unauthorized. Do you love playing board games at your house? We sure do! We are a board game loving family so it shouldn't surprise you to know that we loved playing Unauthorized during a few of our family game nights. Let me tell you a little about it because you are in for a real treat. 

Chara Games LLC was founded by Katherine & Patrick Lysaght in 2014. Together they desired to design and publish innovative and fun tabletop games with Christian themes. Chara is the Biblical Greek word for “unshakeable joy”. They want to help you and your family experience joy through their relationships with God and other people through playing games to help build and foster relationships through shared, joyful experiences.

Like the other games, Commissioned and 3 Seeds that Chara Games has made, Unauthorized is a social deduction or role-playing game designed for 6-12 players. With that number of people playing it may sound like it takes a long time to play, but it just takes 30 minutes. The game is intended for players who are 12 years old through adult.

The game contains:
~ Rule Book
~ Role Cards
~ Dealer Reference Card
~ Player Reference Card
~ Experience Cards

This game takes you into the world of the underground church. Will you help build the church or ruin it without blinking an eye? The game is played by each player being assigned a role that has specific abilities and every game has a Pastor and a Police Officer. Other roles include a Teacher, Merchant, Rebel, Musician, Clerk, Thief Counselor, or Matchmaker.

The object of the game is to sway players to your side. Setting up the game includes shuffling the Role cards and dealing one to each player. Game players must pick a side and place the role cards face up in front of themselves. Then Experience Cards are dealt with Police getting 7 red cards and Pastors green cards. The remaining Experience Cards are shuffled and dealt to the other game players.

These cards will tell whether or not a player is loyal to the state or the church. Next, do your job as a player and persuade and convince other game players to be on your side. With four rounds of play the game can get intense at times when you are trying to convince people to join your side. We played this game as a family when my oldest was still home from University. With her, my husband, myself, and older three daughters we had just the minimum of six players needed to play the game. My younger two children just watched even though they really wanted to play.


This is a great game and leads to many discussions as to why some people are not free to worship their God freely and how some countries and people are not friendly to Christians or the Gospel. We recommend this game to any family looking for a quality family game to play. Definitely check out the instuctional video, it is very helpful in explaining the game in greater detail. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this game too by clicking the banner below.

Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}
Company ~ Chara Games 
 Product ~ Unauthorized 
 Price ~ $14.99
 Ages ~ 12 to adult

Chara Games

Social Media Links:

 • Facebook    • Twitter @Charagames   

Crew Disclaimer
©2008 - 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Carole P. Roman books ~ a TOS review

Remember when I told you earlier this week that our family has a fond affection towards good books? Well I wasn’t joking! Yes, I try to fill our bookshelves full of good books as well as check them out from the local library, but I get really excited over getting new books in the mail.

Carole P Roman
My bookshelves may be overflowing with books, however, I always welcome more. Some people like shoes or maybe even purses or fancy cars. For me though, give me a quality children’s book any day. I love them! We are so excited to share with you today about four new books we have received from Carole P. Roman. Let me tell you about them. We received:

Books by Carole P Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In…Egypt helps you learn why the Ancient land of Egypt is often called “the cradle of civilization.” As you travel down the Nile River you learn of all of Egypt’s secrets that make her a fascinating time in history.

Books by Carole P Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In… Ancient Greece tells about the lifestyle and mythology of the Ancient Greece people. Like the other books, the main focus is on a family. You learn all about the daily life and my children especially enjoyed the fact that the Ancient Greeks did not use napkins when eating. Instead they wiped their hands on bread and then fed the bread later to their dogs.

Books by Carole P Roman

One to Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day tells the story of Squirrel who accidently tips and loses all of her acorns while running on a tree limb one day. While she I angry and frustrated, she meets her friend, Rabbit, who gives her solid advice. Simply rate your problem on a scale of one-to-ten. This is a cute story that helps you see the big picture in life.

Books by Carole P Roman

Oh Susannah: It’s in the bag is a new chapter book that tells the story of Susannah Logan who is having a very bad day. Starting with homework trouble and an invitation to a sleepover at a creepy house her day goes from bad to worse. Instead of facing her problems head on, Susannah stuffs them into her backpack to hide them away. But how much can her backpack carry before her troubles come spilling out once again? Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons and has penned a new groundbreaking nonfiction series about living in different cultures around the world. With what started out as a dare has led to more than 35 children’s books, and over 100 book awards for Mrs. Roman. Including turning the fun game she played with her grandson into her first book “Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life”. By combining her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us, she has given us the reader a chance to explore "If You Were Me and Lived in..."
The first two books are apart of the If You Were Me and Lived In series. The books in this series are most appropriate for children aged 8-15 and give you a glimpse of what it would be like to live in another country. These two books are perfect for our family because we are currently studying Ancient times. I was able to use these books for my younger two daughters during our history studies.
Each book is choke full of fascinating information of the chosen time period so you get a firsthand look at life. At the end of each book a list of famous people of the time period is provided. There is also a glossary at the end of each book and it provides pronunciation for words that may be unfamiliar. The pictures in the books are bright and eye-catching making you want to know more. We have happily read and re-read all of these books over the last few weeks. My children have been asking me questions and really digging into the books.

We have compared life back then to now and especially enjoyed the name section by brainstorming up what our own names would be in that time period. These books are geared towards young kids and I know that my young ones (and older ones) have enjoyed reading them. I love that they are affordably priced at just $10.99 - $11.99 each. Any of the books in this series would make a wonderful addition to a unit study.

 Once again we have truly enjoyed the books from Carole P Roman! Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of all the books being reviewed by clicking the banner below.

Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

Company ~ Carole P. Roman

 Format ~  paperback books
Price ~ from $10.99 - $11.99 each
Ages ~ 8-15 years old
Carole P Roman Blog
Social Media Links: 
Facebook  ~ Twitter  ~ Pinterest ~Good Reads 
Crew Disclaimer

©2008 - 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.