YWAM Publishing Abraham Lincoln Book Review

As part of the TOS Review Crew, I was given the opportunity to review Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom, and the accompanying study guide, which is part of the Heroes of History series from YWAM Publishing.

Abraham Lincoln Biography

I’ve had the privilege of graduating two students through homeschool, so far. Some of my sweetest memories are of the early years when our mornings centered around cuddling on the couch with a read-aloud. We’d get up, do our morning chores, have breakfast, then cuddle up and read, read, read.

And much of that reading time was centered around the Heroes of History series from YWAM.  I cannot not say enough good things about this series. These books can be a backbone of any history study.

There’s nothing like being transported into another time through the pages of good book.


~YWAM Publishing Review

The Heroes of History series from YWAM is made up of no less than 20 individual books and sets. Each individual book is a focused, encouraging biography of an important figure in history. They cover inspiring individuals from Abraham Lincoln, to Milton Hershey, to Clara Barton, and more!

Each book is thoroughly researched, accurately written and extremely entertaining.

If you’re looking for inspiring Christian Heroes, they have that too in their Christian Heroes: Then and Now series. Be sure to check out both series to round out your child’s education and entertainment.


YWAM Publishing Review

As I said before, the Heroes of History books are encouraging and entertaining. Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom is no exception. This is not a dry, boring, biography.

Authors Janet and &Geoff do an amazing job of weaving together a living story. Lincoln’s life is covered in charming detail, displaying the political events, and personal experiences that shaped the man who was to become our 16th president and leader during the civil war.

Tough topics are tackled with grace and age-appropriateness. Your reader (or listener) is sure to be entertained.

Since I used this book with my 8 year old emerging reader, I used Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom as a read aloud. My son, who is definitely a wiggle worm, was entertained by the story, which kept his attention.


Lincoln Biography

I didn’t utilize the study guide as much as I would have liked; it was just a bit above my son’s level. However I can see that it is a valuable resource that can help extend and solidify the students knowledge of Abraham Lincoln.

Every study guide, can be bought as a physical book or an easy download. Every study guide includes work and information on correlating vocabulary, geography, critical thinking activities and more.

I would highly recommend getting the study guide for your Heroes of History books. They take the reading deeper and help drive home the morals of the stories in new and exciting ways.


Be sure to read what other reviewers had to say about the Heroes of History series as well as the Christian Heroes: Then and Now by clicking the Schoolhouse Review Crew image below.

Also, follow YWAM on social media below:

YWAM Publishing Review

Dig-It! Games Mayan Mysteries Review

As part of the TOS Review Crew I was given the opportunity to review Mayan Mysteries from Dig-It! Games. Below are my thoughts about this online game that was created to be both fun and educational.

Mayan Mysteries Game

What do homeschoolers always say?  That learning should be fun! Right? So why is it we often have an aversion to online or video games? I don’t know. I think maybe it’s just the stigma. You know, from back in the day when video games just meant eating pac-dots.

Now games have so much more to offer! Dig-It Games takes you on an archaeological adventure and into the Mayan civilization through a series of puzzles and clues which help the player solve mysteries. It’s critical thinking and history combined.

What I Liked

Historically Based

Dig It! Games Review

After the player navigates a series of common-day challenges they are transported back in time. While there is a fun storyline and adventure, Mayan Mysteries Online Game has done a good job of sticking to what is know about Mayan life. Players get to explore what we know about the daily life of the Mayan people. They learn about social structure and the political culture.

This is all done with a “broad brush” and fun fashion. However, I like this approach because it’s easy to tie in the game with our other studies.

“Dig” Deeper

Online Mayan Game

As I was saying above, it’s easy to tie in this game with other studies to dig a little deeper (see what I did there 😉 ) into this fascinating period in history.

Dig-It Games provides an in-game encyclopedia which includes over 450 interesting tidbits for the player to use and expand. In addition to the encyclopedia, you can take advantage of provided maps and quizzes. So, this can truly be incorporated as part of school.

So ahead, assign your child to play Mayan Mysteries Online Games for an hour. That’ll teach them a lesson! For real.

Affordability and Convenience

Dig It! Games Review
Mayan Mysteries Online Game is available to play online, or you can download it on your iOS device. Your child has the ability to play wherever they can get online. I personally think this would be a great way to keep kids busy learning when mom is busy – like when you’re waiting for other children to finish up at co-op.

Or when you need a quiet moment to balance the checkbook. Just sayin.

To download this game for a single user, the price is only $3.99.  That’s highly affordable!  Even large families can’t argue with that deal.  However there is also a classroom edition for $189.99.  This could be a great investment for a school or co-op.

Versions I’d Like To See

At such an affordable price, and the wealth of educational material, it’s hard to pick any drawbacks for this game.

However, I always give balanced reviews so if I had any constructive criticism it would be that I’d love to see a less reading-intensive version for younger learners. Or, a version that would better cater to struggling readers.

The Mayan Mysteries Online Game was created more for upper elementary students. While my 8 year old, new 3rd grader can enjoy the game itself and the myriad of activities, I would love to see a version he could play by himself with little prompting from mom. And I know he’d enjoy it too!

Learn more and follow Dig-It! Games on social media:
Dig-It! Facebook
Dig-It! Twitter
Dig-It! YouTube

To see what others have to say about Dig-It Games Mayan Mysteries and Roman Town Games, click the Schoolhouse Review Crew image below.

Dig-It! Games Review


The Conversation | A Book Review


I’m always excited about the items I get to review as part of the TOS Review Crew. There are so many great books and studies out there. However this book had me squealing with joy. I couldn’t wait to dig into The Conversation by Leigh A. Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations.

Why do you ask? I’ll tell you. But first, let me share the premise of this great read.

What is The Conversation?

The Conversation was written to challenge, inspire and encourage families with high school aged children. So many families quit homeschooling at high school. Some times there are valid reasons. Other times it’s out of fear or misconceptions about what high school requires.

For some, quitting at high school – just when our children are becoming critical thinkers and conversationalists – means we miss out on opportunities for deep conversations and stronger relationships.

Why Was I So Excited To Read This Book?

The Conversation

My answer is really two fold. First (drum please)…we’re starting Classical Conversations in the fall!!!! I am beyond excited. Classical Conversations is something I considered for my eldest, but never got around to “trying out”. Now, I’m jumping in feet first with my 8 year old, Bram. The Conversation is the peek behind the curtain I was looking for.

It gave me insight as to what to expect in our Classical Conversations journey. I could see the grand vision, of what I’m working toward. I loved that.

Second, I just came out of the fun but sometimes tumultuous years with our “first round” of kids. We had three teen boys at once. Hello. Did you hear me? Three teen boys.  Yes, I will gladly accept that glass of wine… 😉

While I loved my time with them, I know I could have done a better job. Two are now out of the house, and the third will soon be married and off on his own as well. I know I did a good job, but there’s always room for improvement, right? The Conversation gave me the encouragement and building blocks to up my game for the “next round” of kids as they grow into high school age.

There are a lot of amazing nuggets in this book!

Bits of Wisdom

Allow me to share some of my favorite quotes from The Conversation with you. Here is just a sampling of what really grabbed me and shook me as a mom and home educator. I love a good quote, don’t you??

We must teach our students to be both wise and humble as they attempt to separate truth from lies and persuasion from manipulation.

Hello? Does that not ring with truth? Especially in this day and age! I want, desperately want, my children to know the truth when they see it. And to have discernment so they won’t be lead astray.

When we have difficult days, I don’t give up and let someone else have the privilege of leading our children. Instead, I recognize that difficulties are promised to each of us and avoidance doesn’t lead to sanctification.

Ohhhh, my spirit is groaning with this one. Yes, yes and amen! I am 36 years old and I am just now learning this deep down in my heart. I’m finally (finally!!) beginning to understand that life challenges are just that. Challenges, not the end. And, that challenges don’t mean I’m an awful person, it means God is refining me in the fire.

Parents who have worked with their children in high school will agree: we have failed, we have won, we have died, and we have grown. We realize homeschooling classically as Christians had little to do with our children and much to do with our own sanctification, and we are grateful for all of it.

There isn’t anything I can add to that truth. It just is.

Why Should You Buy It?

Classical Conversations

Well, if the above wasn’t enough to convince you, let me say that if you are a Classical homeschooler, even a little bit, you NEED this book. It does a fabulous job of dispelling the idea that this style of learning is simply memorization, it’s so much more. It gives you hope for homeschooling the high school years and the road map to quality conversations with your children.

Not only is the Classical method clearly explained, The Conversation demonstrates how to weave this method into your everyday life.

If you’re one of those parents (like me) who often feels you’re not doing enough, you should read this book. It’s about Classical learning, simplicity, effectiveness and glorifying God in all we do. It’s about looking for Him in all we see.

Now, I’m even more stoked about beginning Classical Conversations this fall!!

If you’d like to see what others are saying about The Conversation, click the image below. Or, you can order your own copy now for only $12.00 (it’s on sale!)

Classical Conversations Review