Wednesday, May 25, 2016

REVIEW: Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of the Ancient Past

I was recently given the opportunity to review Amy Puetz's latest history curriculum, Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History. Amy herself is a homeschool graduate, with a passion for history. She's the owner of Golden Grasses Press, where she publishes her history curricula as well as other books for Christian families. She's also a columnist for Homeschool Enrichment Magazine. You might find her at your local homeschool conference this summer! I reviewed her American history curriculum a couple of years ago, and I really liked it.

This new ancient history offering is just as good. For $98.99, you receive a complete year's history curriculum (30 weeks, 150 lessons), geared for grades 1-6. The same price will get you the printed version or the digital version. Here's what's included:

  • Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History, parts 1 & 2: These are your spine books, each containing 75 lessons. (TOC & Sample Pages) The first book covers from Creation through Alexander the Great, and Part 2 covers from the Hellnistic Age through the Dark Ages.
  • Additional Materials CD: SO much great stuff here! Picture study, printable games, crafts, timelines, and more. There are even pronunciation audio files, so you can figure out those tricksy ancient names. Ankhesenamen, anyone?
  • Ancient History Historical Skits: Fun skits of some of the stories for children to act out. These would be great for a co-op situation!
  • Listen to some Ancient History: Readings of various things, such as a portion of the Code of Hammurabi, Bible passages, and writings from ancient historical figures.
  • Sing Some Ancient History: Recordings of songs you can learn as you go through the curriculum. This is a particular favorite of mine.
For the purpose of my review, I received a copy of the digital version, and I really like having that. I lose books all the time, but I can usually find my iPad, so I just put the spine books and audio files on there. The other reason for doing so is that each spine book is roughly 300 pages long, so those are some hefty books to print. If you must have the printed books, I recommend ordering them from Amy and saving your printer.

What I like about the curriculum:
  • The narrative style of the spine texts: History is much more engaging through a story. I love that some of the readings are tales from the cultures being studied, such as Sargon of Akkad, and Queen Semiramis. 
  • Lots of biographies! 
  • The multiple learning styles incorporated in each lesson
  • Included activities: I can remember spending a lot of time searching the internet for the kinds of activities included here! My son loves to play the games, and anything hands-on is a hit.
  • The organization: Each lesson has suggested activities and notes the location in the course materials. 
  • Lessons are noted that might be too intense for some children, and there are alternative readings for those if you feel your children aren't ready.
Things I liked less:
  • The readings are separated into 1st-2nd-grade readings, which are somewhat simplified, and 3rd-6th-grade readings. Personally, I would just use the readings for older children. 
  • Five days per week for history is a lot, particularly when each lesson takes between 30-60 minutes to complete (including activities). However, since it's written for 30 weeks, you can certainly spread it out a bit and still finish in a school year. Other subjects come into play, too, such as picture study and geography.
As a side note, the Bible readings are from the KJV, but once you're finished with Creation, they are listed as references most of the time, for you to look up and read if you wish.

If you're looking for a complete history curriculum for Ancients written from a Christian perspective, this program is worth considering. Amy's passion for history shows in every bit of her program, and it's obvious she put a lot of thought and care into its design. Also, until May 27, 2016, you will receive free shipping on the printed version. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the digital curriculum from Amy Puetz/Golden Prairie Press in exhange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Motivated Moms Mother's Day Sale!

This post contains affiliate links.

It's really no secret that I am, as my friend Tauna puts it, "domestically challenged." I can clean really well, but there's a lot of clutter around here, so cleaning anything takes longer than it needs to because of all the picking up that has to happen first. Can anyone else identify with this scenario?

A few years ago, I learned of the Motivated Moms planner, and it has changed my life for the better. It started out as a printable ebook, and now they have both Apple and Android apps, too.

What is Motivated Moms? Well, let me tell you a bit about it. It's a daily list of tasks to help keep you on track with your home. There are daily tasks, weekly tasks, monthly tasks, and annual tasks. If you complete the lists every day, you will find your house takes shape fairly quickly and stays that way. There are things on the list that I would never think to do without a reminder - like cleaning the globes on ceiling fan light fixtures.

The lists in the apps are customizable. You can color-code chores to assign them to family members, and then sync across devices. This feature has worked really well for me, because we are a techie family and my kids all have iPads. Here are some views from my app:

I used to prefer the printable planner, because I like having the visual reference right in front of me. Unfortunately, it was easy for me to misplace it. I would move it, or someone else would, and it just didn't stay front-and-center as I'd hoped. I was resistant to the idea of depending on an app, but once everyone got used to it, I found it worked really well.

Another nice feature of the app is, if you don't happen to complete a day's list, the next day's list appears the following morning. There is no guilt! I do try hard to get my lists done, but it doesn't always happen. Just keeping it real here, folks.

The best thing about the Motivated Moms planner is that it really helps keep me on track throughout the day. I am easily distracted. I might go to start a load of laundry, see that a cat threw up somewhere along the way, stop to clean that up, realize I should really vacuum the entire floor, see the shoes someone left out that should be put away... and then realize, after all that, I never did start the laundry! I'm also prone to being in a muddle, as my mom likes to say; at loose ends, so to speak. If I find myself unsure of what I should be doing next, I just pull up my task list.

The best news? The annual Mother's Day sale is happening RIGHT NOW! From today, May 5, through Monday, May 9, all MoMo products are 50% off!

  • Apps - iOS or Android,  including 2 months subscription - Regularly $1.99, now $0.99
  • 1-year app subscription, including free ebook - Regularly $7.99, now $3.99
  • Ebooks - Choose from black & white or color, full-page or half-page, with or without scheduled Bible readings
  • "Lite" apps  - 2 weeks' worth of tasks so you can try before you buy! (iOS/Android)
Please note that the free ebook offer is only valid when the subscription is purchased through the Motivated Moms website. It won't work if with in-app purchased. 

If you already have an app subscription, purchasing now will add a year to whatever you currently have. 

I really, really love the Motivated Moms planner. I hope you will check it out, if you're looking for something to help you manage your time better during your days. I can certainly use all the help I can get, and I appreciate the good habits my MoMo app is helping me develop.

Disclaimer: I received a free year's app subscription in exchange for offering my honest review.