Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Cat of Bubastes

Our family is excited every time we review a new audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions. They have easily become one of our favorite companies as their audio dramas are some of the best we've ever heard.

Our schooling is very literature-based. Our family loves read-alouds and will often sit together to read various novels for hours on end. I love reading my kids quality literature and sharing that time with them. Not only does it teach them life lessons, it also introduces them to new vocabulary. Along with that time spent together, we love to incorporate audio books and dramas into our days. Whether we're folding clothes, driving in the van, or just needing some downtime, audio books are perfect. The Cat of Bubastes has easily become the newest "favorite" in our house.

The Cat of Bubastes is a theater-quality production based on the novel with the same name, written by G.A.Henty. We've listened to many different audio books and dramas, and none has ever compared to the quality of those by Heirloom Audio Productions. If you close your eyes, you feel as if you're there in the story. Think of it as watching a movie, but with no picture. The music, the actors, the sound effects--they all make the story come to life. You hear the stone door opening and closing, the birds tweeting, an angry mob shouting, swords clanking, horses neighing, fire crackling, a crocodile grunting and you feel as if you are there in Ancient Egypt as one of the characters of the story. It is that realistic. The narrator, Brian Blessed, has a rich, powerful voice that makes the drama exciting to listen to. We were immediately pulled into the story.

The story takes place during the times of Ancient Egypt. It follows the life of Amuba, a prince whose father was killed in battle and had been taken captive by the Egyptians. He and his servant are bought by, Ameres, a high priest in the land. Ameres treats them both well and befriends them. Amuba and his son, Chebron, quickly become friends. Together, they learn to trust each other and they experience many obstacles. They learn of a murder plot, save an Israelite woman from a hungry crocodile, accidentally kill their "sacred" cat, and flee and then fight for their lives. They learn of the one true God and trust in Him. Along with the non-stop action and exciting adventures, there are plenty of morals and Biblical truths taught along the way.

The Cat of Bubastes single package costs $29.97 (+ shipping and handling). Along with the 2-CD set, you will receive 3 bonuses:

  1. The Cat of Bubastes eStudy Guide (digital download) -- This complete guide is used to enhance your learning and complement your study. Each section, which correlates to the tracks on the CDs, is  filled with review questions (Listening Well), ideas to get you thinking deeper (Thinking Further), and vocabulary words (Defining Words). There is more information about G.A. Henty and Moses; multiple Bible studies that coordinate with the story, many pictures from the times, and much more historical information. 
  2. Printable Copy of Bible Verse (digital download) -- "Oh Jehovah, there is none like Thee, neither is there any god besides Thee." I Chronicles 17:21. This inspirational verse can be printed and framed to remind you of God's omnipotence.  
  3. The Cat of Bubastes Soundtrack (MP3 download) -- Our family loves soundtracks. This beautiful music was written by Emmy-winning composer John Campbell (creator of the original score for C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Adventures in Odyssey, and more). We've enjoyed listening to this moving music while doing school, cleaning house, and folding laundry.
There is also an option of a family four-pack. For $99.97 (+ shipping and handling), you get 4 copies of the 2-CD set and the bonuses listed above, along with additional bonuses: Live the Adventure E-Newsletter; G.A. Henty's original The Cat of Bubastes e-book with colorful graphics; professionally designed, printable promotional poster; and a behind-the-scenes documentary featuring the cast and crew.

 Here's what my kids had to say about the story:

"It was cool. I didn't want it to end!"

"It was kinda funny when the guy fell on his own knife and was killed."

"It was awesome!"

"I didn't expect the arrow to deflect off a branch and kill the cat."

"I thought Perrrrrmotep was funny."

The 2+ hour audio production is ideal for ages 6-adult, but our entire family enjoyed listening to it. My kids love learning about Ancient Egypt and seeing how it correlates to the events in the Bible. (Even Moses makes an appearance in The Cat of Bubastes.) We used the study guide questions to review the story and tackle difficult topics. The kids and I especially enjoyed the sections teaching about Egyptian slavery, language, diet, hieroglyphics, mummification, and pyramids. There's even information about the importance of dung beetles and crocodiles, and a recipe for ta'amia.  The kids laughed as we talked about King Snefru, because names were so different in Ancient Egypt. Of course, the little ones didn't quite understand everything, but it's never too early to introduce quality literature. This will be a story that we reference throughout the years. The Cat of Bubastes is a wonderful resource to have. 

You can connect with on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of this production on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Things That Make Me Smile 8/12/16

Jake (10½), Alyssa (8), Zac (6½), Tyler (4), Nicholas (1½)

This week, the kiddos wrote songs for their music class, searched my brother's farm for buried treasures with a metal detector, and spent time with some out-of-town friends. 

1. Jake, sad: "Aw, a new jar of mayonnaise isn't as impressive as a new jar of peanut butter."
2. Tyler, looking at pictures from a few years ago: "That's the baby version of me." 

3. Tyler, watching the Olympic 50m freestyle: "I can swim faster than every people."
Me: "Really? Even though you don't know how to swim?"
Tyler: "Yep!"


5. Tyler calling hymnals "singing Bibles."

6. Tyler, after I held up a shirt for him to wear: "Yes! Aw, that is so cute."

7. Alyssa, eating: "Nicky wants a bite from Jake now."
Jake, playing off of Rock, Paper, Scissors: "Cuteness doesn't beat stomach."
Me: "Love should beat stomach though."
Jake: "Love isn't in this battle." 

8. Zac, after talking about the longest verse (Esther 8:9) and the shortest verse (John 11:35): "What's the mediumest verse in the Bible?"

9. Me, getting ready to go to the store by myself: "Are you guys going to be good?"
Jake: "Is that a rhetorical question?"

What made you Smile this week?

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Friday, September 9, 2016

CHSH-Teach Review

Homeschoolers are known for their abundance of printing. We go through paper and ink (and laminating sheets, of course!) like crazy. There are so many resources online to incorporate into your study. Whether you're needing letter formation practice for your kindergartner or a study of Emily Dickinson for your senior, you can find it. But while the resources are accessible, they're not always easy to find. Who has time to search for hours for a book to teach your little one step-by-step to draw flowers when you have children to school and a house to keep in order? That's when a subscription to the CHSH Download Club makes perfect sense.

Christian HomeSchool Hub, or, is a collection of materials to aid in your homeschooling journey. The site was created by Lynda Ackert, a Christian wife, mother, and educator of 20+ years. Because of her passion for teaching and creating educational materials, she began this homeschooling community online. Her motto is "Every child is a Masterpiece!" offers many freebies on their site, like Abraham Lincoln worksheets and US states nomenclature cards, but the bulk of the resources are found their the download club. It boasts over 50,000 pages of educational material. Fifty thousand. That's a lot of homeshooling resources found in one place! Not only that, but the materials are organized in a way that makes it simple to find exactly what you need. Resources are divided by subject, grade, months, organization, and miscellaneous

There is a vast amount of topics that are included, but I will list a sampling.

  • Bible -- verse memorization, flashcards, puzzles, games, sermon notes
  • Languages -- Spanish, French, Italian, American Sign Language
  • Arts, Music, & Crafts -- instruction, drawing, knitting, embroidery, quilting, carpentry
  • Language Arts -- creative writing, handwriting reading, English, grammar, spelling
  • Math -- numbers, time, money, fractions, Roman numerals, multiplication, charts, graphs
  • Science -- experimentation, classification, biology, astronomy, chemistry, ornithology, botany   
  • Social Studies -- map skills, geography, government, US presidents, time periods, civilizations
  • Electives -- architecture, character studies, social issues, safety education, Jewish history
  • Health -- dental health, digestive system, skeletal system, general health, brain/nervous system  
  • Treasures from the Past -- McGuffey readers, literature, poetry, music, home economics
  • Fun Pages -- coloring books, individual coloring pages, word searches, puzzles
  • Lapbooking & Notebooking Units -- living things, people of the Bible, early America

Since is a whole community of homeschoolers coming together, it offers a wide range of not only topics of study, but styles, as well. There are full ebooks, individual worksheets, flashcards, forms, organizational tips, awards, and more. Individual members can upload content to offer to others. This, along with the forums and blog, keeps the community thriving.

I have found so many resources that I want to incorporate into our schooling this year. Because there are full books included in the download club, we can truly deepen our learning of some of the subjects. My oldest is interested in the Learn How to Play Guitar book. My daughter wants to read the American Girls Handy Book published in the late 1800s. The little ones will enjoy the nomenclature cards and flashcards for various subjects.

While I plan to include some of those full books into our days, the past month I've focused more on the individual pages. I print pages for the kiddos to complete during our annual vacation. I always prepare goody bags for each child to keep them busy and happy during the drive.  Each bag contains a folder with fun learning pages (hey, I've gotta be a good homeschool mom and include some learning, right?)

We've been learning Spanish, so I included some of those, like the months of the year, parts of the body, food, and animals. There is also a full Spanish curriculum with teacher's guide along with many other related pages. The kids always like Bible resources, so I printed games from that section. My oldest is interested in learning about the inner workings of the body, so I made sure to add pages that describe body systems. As always, I found some coloring pages to include, too.

The kiddos were excited to find the pages from There was such a variety that it kept them busy and entertained. I, personally, appreciate the variety and ease of use. The site is very well organized and offers so many materials for teaching every grade. I anticipate making good use of our CHSH Download Club membership over the course of this year.

You can connect with on the following social media sites:

You can see how other homeschool families used this subscription by reading the reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Things That Make Me Smile 8/5/16

 Jake (10½), Alyssa (8), Zac (6½), Tyler (4), Nicholas (1½)

Happy Friday! This week we experimented at Maker Faire Detroit, the kiddos had fun playing in rain, and we made many memories.

1. The kids and I were playing Go Squish, a Spanish Go Fish game from Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids.
Jake: "Alyssa, do you have Grande y Pequeña?"
Alyssa: "No, go squish."
Tyler: "That's because Mom has it!"

2. Tyler, randomly in the middle of church: "Good thing you don't have chest hair, Mom."

3. Me: "Who loves you?"
Nicky: "Daddy!"
Me: "Yes, but Mama! Mama loves you."
Nicky: "Mama. Da-ddyyyy!!!" 

4. Me: "Is everyone ready to go to Gramma's?"
Nicky: "Meeeeee!" 


6. Me talking to Alyssa: ". . . So if it doesn't work then it's pointless."
Tyler: "So, you can't point if it's pointless?"

7. Alyssa, watching me cook: "You don't measure anything? And you always make the best food!"

8. Alyssa: "Can we do that again?"
Me: "Maybe."
Alyssa: "Yay! Maybe's not no."

9. Tyler, coloring: "Yellow and pink make orange. That's creepy."

10. Me, praying: ". . . Amen."
Tyler: "Nicky kept his eyes open!"
Me: "And how do you know that?"
Tyler: "I was peeking a little bit."

What made you Smile this week?

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