Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Book Club: Book Review of The Bible Recap Journal

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo: Book Club: Book Review of The Bible Recap Journal


I received a COMPLIMENTARY copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.


Do you enjoy Bible journaling? Perhaps you are looking for a new way to journal with your Bible? Bethany House Publishers has released a new book by Tara-Leigh Cobble to accompany The Bible Recap: A One-Year Guide to Reading and Understanding the Entire Bible. The Bible Recap Journal: Your Daily Companion to the Entire Bible is based on a chronological reading plan for you to record what you learn as you read the Bible. 


A Mom's Quest to Teach: Book Club: Book Review of The Bible Recap Journal; cover of The Bible Recap Journal


About the Journal 


The Bible Recap Journal is a 384-page paperback book where each day of the year has one page devoted to it. It opens with instructions on how to use the journal and additional tools you can use while you journal through the Bible.

It is recommended to start at thebiblerecap.com and then complete the following steps each day: 

  1. Complete your daily Bible reading. 
  2. Use the journal during your reading – write down where you see God's attributes in today's reading. 
  3. Use The Bible Recap Study Guide (find my review here: Book Review of The Bible Recap Study Guide).
  4. Listen to the podcast or read The Bible Recap book (read my review). 
  5. Use the weekly discussion guide.
I don't think you need to follow all these steps to be able to use the journal, but the more steps you accomplish or complete, the deeper you can dig into the Bible each day. I think the two most important steps are reading your Bible and using the journal. Those things alone will help you as you read God's Word.

Each day in the journal provides you with space to focus upon three parts: 
  • Things I loved/learned/noticed 
  • Questions/things I want to research 
  • God Shot (where you see God on display in your daily reading) 

inside The Bible Recap Journal with a page filled out




There is also space for you to write the date. And each page has either a quote from the Bible, a short prayer, or something to encourage you on your Bible journaling process. There are also a few pages of additional journaling pages in the back to write down more ideas and thoughts. 

My Thoughts 


I really like the idea of The Bible Recap Journal, but I am not sure if it is the right book for me to use as a Bible journal. I like the idea of looking for how God is on display in each day's reading. I do not know how easy it will be for me to fill in all three parts each day in the journal. Instead of being so open-ended, I would prefer to have more direction in the journal or none at all. But that really isn't the focus of The Bible Recap Journal. I think the journal will meet the needs of many who wish to dig deeper into the Bible on a daily basis. As you work through each day using The Bible Recap Journal, you will spend more time in God's Word.


A Mom's Quest to Teach: Book Club: Book Review of The Bible Recap Journal; three books and inside The Bible Recap Journal


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Book Club: Book Review of The Bible Recap Study Guide

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo: Book Club: Book Review of The Bible Recap Study Guide

I received a COMPLIMENTARY copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing The Bible Recap: A One-Year Guide to Reading and Understanding the Entire Bible by Tara-Leigh Cobble. This year, I have been reviewing two additional books that accompany The Bible Recap

The Bible Recap Study Guide: Daily Questions to Deepen Your Understanding of the Entire Bible is a softcover book of 379 pages that takes readers on a 52-week journey to read the entire Bible. The Study Guide provides information on how to use the guide itself: 

  • Pick a reading plan 
  • Use The Bible Recap Journal
  • Use the study guide 
  • Listen to the podcast or use The Bible Recap book 
  • Visit thebiblerecap.com for weekly discussions and more information

A Mom's Quest to Teach: Book Club: Book Review of The Bible Recap Study Guide book cover


Tara-Leigh Cobble writes that you don't have to use all the resources, but they will complement each other. Personally, I used The Bible Recap book this year and the reading plan on YouVersion but did not venture to the podcast or website. This year I would like to incorporate The Study Guide and the journal into my daily Bible reading. 

The Study Guide is very easy to navigate and to use. Each of the 52 weeks of readings is broken up in the table of contents by days and provides the Bible book and chapter number. So even if you aren't reading the Bible in its entirety using The Bible Recap chronological reading plan, you can find each Bible reading easily. 

When my copy of The Study Guide arrived, I was on about week 49 or 50 using The Bible Recap chronological reading plan. It was very easy to pick up where I was in the study guide. I really like how the two books complement each other so well. I can sit with each and my Bible to answer the questions. 


A Mom's Quest to Teach: questions in The Bible Recap Study Guide



What Are the Questions Like?


There are some questions that require outside research, such as Day 345: Romans 14-16, #2
"Look up the word used for 'keep' (14:22) in a Greek lexicon and write down what you find. How does this help inform our understanding of this verse?" (page 357) 

There are also some questions that are repetitive but not in a bad way. As you start a new book in the Bible, The Study Guide asks: 
  •  Who wrote the book?
  • "To or for whom was it written?" 
  • "When was it written?" 
  • What is the literary style? 
I like that we are asked to think about individual authors as well as put the books of the Bible into context while working our way through the reading plan. 

There is plenty of room to write one's answers in The Study Guide. The pages are of a nice quality, but I can still see my writing showing a bit through on the reverse side. (I don't see this as a distraction, though.) I like that the cover design is the same as The Bible Recap. They all look nice on my shelf. I do find the material of the book covers tends to grab dust if the book sits on the coffee table a day or two untouched. 

What Do I Think? 


I think if you are looking for a study guide to help you deepen your understanding of the Bible, this will be a welcome resource. The questions go beyond just simple identifications and ask you to think critically. You can write your answers in The Study Guide or your own journal or Bible. I think teens to adults would find The Bible Study Guide to be helpful. I look forward to using it as I continue to read through the Bible year after year.  

If you would like to learn more about The Bible Recap, please read my review here: Book Club: Book Review of The Bible Recap.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Book Club: Book Review of The Whole Bible Story

 A Mom's Quest to Teach logo: Book Club: Book Review of The Whole Bible Story on green background

I received a COMPLIMENTARY copy of The Whole Bible Story from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

While I feel nothing is better than reading the Bible itself, sometimes it is useful to have a lighter version or youth version to read with our children. Once you move away from the storybook Bibles, where can you turn for an edition that is geared towards ages 8 to 12? Bethany House recently released a new book in the category of Young Adult Bible Stories called The Whole Bible Story: Everything That Happens in the Bible


About The Whole Bible Story 


This is a 302-page paperback book where Dr. William H. Marty with Troy Schmidt tells the stories of the Bible with explanations that will help the young readers understand what the stories are actually all about. The nineteen chapters are all set up in a similar fashion. They include: 

  • Who's who?
  • Where are we?
  • Interesting Stuff in the section 
  • Retelling of the Bible Stories of references to the Bible chapters 
  • What's the Point? (a summary) 


Interspersed among those parts are black-and-white illustrations that bring the Bible stories to life. And occasionally, there are other key points pulled out in boxes for the readers to focus upon.


A Mom's Quest to Teach logo; The Whole Bible Story book cover and page from book


My Thoughts 


The Whole Bible Story is a great resource for your young children as they navigate the Bible.  I handed our copy of the book to our eight-year-old son to read during the review period. He finished reading it in a few days. I would say the book was a hit based upon that fact alone. 

Our son shared the following when I asked him his thoughts: "The Whole Bible Story has details that can be hard to find in the Bible. I liked how there were funny parts at the beginning of each chapter. For example, 'Isaac - Abraham and Sarah's son born whey they were in their eighties and nineties!' I also liked the pop-ups or inserts where facts were shared. Specifically, I liked the part where Zacchaeus doesn't like big crowds." 

After our son finished reading the book, I handed The Whole Bible Story to our six-year-old daughter, so she could read it, too. She is working through the book more slowly but loves to talk about what she has already read with me. 

Our daughter told me, "I like the little gray parts (these are the facts pulled out for focus in each chapter)." One of the stories that stayed with her was the story of Jacob and Esau. "The story of Jacob and Esau shows us how to forgive others because Esau forgave Jacob," she said when I asked her what she learned from the book. "I think it is very interesting."  


A Mom's Quest to Teach: Book Club: Book Review of The Whole Bible Story book cover on green background


Personally, I begin reading any book that retells the Bible very thoughtfully. The written Word of God is best read in the Bible, but I do believe there are occasions when we can look elsewhere for assistance in bringing the Bible to life for our children. I will admit that, when I began reading The Whole Bible Story, I was unsure if I would share it with our children. In the Who's Who section, Adam and Eve are identified as "the first couple ever created; they run around naked," and Mesopotamia was identified as "some country that is hard to spell" (7). This caused me to pause and read through the first several chapters thoughtfully and carefully. It wasn't till after I had read chapter seven or eight, where we read about the judges and the kingdom under David, that I felt comfortable passing the book to our son. 

If you are looking for a way to talk to your children about the stories in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, I would recommend you check out The Whole Bible Story. As with any book, you should preview it before you share The Whole Bible Story with your children, but I do feel the book will open up many discussions about the Bible and its events with your children. I can see this book being a useful part of our homeschooling journey for years to come.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Book Club: Book Review of 3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo:  Book Club: Book Review of 3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect with colorful leaf background

I received a COMPLIMENTARY copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.


In this busy world where we live, it is nice to be able to step away and find solace in the Bible. Sometimes, we don't have time to sit down and read long passages for inspiration. So, it was wonderful to read 3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect: Lighten Your Load and Brighten Your Day by Christopher D. Hudson and Stan Campbell. 


About the Book 


There are 90 devotions in this 192-page paperback book from Bethany House Publishers. Each devotion written by Christopher D. Hudson and Stan Campbell is accompanied by a black-and-white illustrated cartoon by Dennis Fletcher. The devotions each begin with a Bible quote and then a reflection upon one topic, such as self-denial, wants and needs, church membership, being welcoming in the church, participating in the church, reading the Bible, and more. 


A Mom's Quest to Teach:  Book Club: Book Review of 3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect with cover of book


My Thoughts 


3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect is not like other devotions where you can use the chapter titles or skim them to pick out topics you wish to read. The devotions are written in such a way that I found I had to read and reread them to reflect upon their messages. The cartoons provide a laugh, but the book is full of wisdom and deep thoughts. 

As each devotion opens with a Bible quote, I liked to have my own Bible with me as I read 3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect. It was nice to read the quote in context after reading the devotion. As I was reading the book, I found many devotions I wanted to share with my family, friends, and co-workers. The devotions made me think and reflect upon the word of God and my relationship with Him, my church, and others. 


A Mom's Quest to Teach:  Book Club: Book Review of 3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect Cover of book and cartoon


Some of my favorite devotions include: 

  • Something in Your Eye? – A look at how social media, restaurants, televised talent shows, and more ask us our opinion and for our judgment. 
  • Future Shock Absorbers – Clinging to God's love instead of being afraid. 
  • What's Your Number? – Examining our obsession with popularity. 
  • What Would Jesus Tweet? – Keeping the personal connection and touch. 
  • Welcome to the Priesthood – Doing our part for the church. 
  • Joyful Noisemakers – Making all welcome in our church, including noisy children. 
I would recommend 3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect to those who are seeking to reflect upon the teachings of Jesus once a day. This book would be a welcome addition to most coffee tables, bookshelves, and libraries. 

I previously reviewed The Most Important Stories of the Bible by Christopher D. Hudson and Stan Campbell. Please check out my review here: Book Club: Book Review of The Most Important Stories of the Bible.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Critical Thinking and Supporting History: A Review of U.S. History Detective® Book Two

Critical Thinking and Supporting History: A Review of U.S. History Detective® Book Two with cover of book and A Mom's Quest to Teach logo

I received a COMPLIMENTARY copy of this book from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

While I am not one to find studying history boring, I realize that many do not share the same love of the past that I do. Bringing the subject alive and making it memorable while helping students build critical thinking skills is an important part of education. When teaching history in our homeschools, we also have to keep in mind that there are so many different areas of history that we can teach. How can we expect our children to remember all the details?


Provide our children with quality and engaging resources to help children learn about the past. 


The Critical Thinking Co.™ publishes U.S. History Detective® Book Two, which is part of the Nonreligious 2021 Ninth-Grade Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle. This 312-page paperback book is a perfect addition to your homeschool US History course. It starts with the Gilded Age and moves all the way through to the Obama Administration. There are both black-and-white and color illustrations, maps, political cartoons, photographs, and more, which add to the beauty of the homeschool history book.

As our oldest son graduated recently, we used this history resource differently than we might have done in the past. I wanted to continue his education – especially as it relates to U.S. History and developing his critical thinking skills – while he decides upon his future path. Having the opportunity to review U.S. History Detective® Book Two fit perfectly into this plan.

U.S. History Detective® Book Two can be a stand-alone textbook, provide supplemental activities, or act as a review book for your child grades 8 to 12 and up. We used it more as a review book as I let our son pick and choose what he wanted to read about and complete.


Critical Thinking and Supporting History: A Review of U.S. History Detective® Book Two; cover of the book; A Mom's Quest to Teach


About U.S. History Detective® Book Two 


There are two books available for print or eBook form from The Critical Thinking Co.™, and you can find both as paperbacks available from Timberdoodle. In Book Two, there are nine sections which include 56 lessons. These lessons focus upon individual passages where students must provide supporting evidence for their answer choices. The questions about each lesson consist of multiple-choice, short-answer, and short essay questions.

Section 1: The Gilded Age: 1870-1900

Section 2: Imperialism and Progressives: 1890s-1910s

Section 3: The Great War: 1914-1919 

Section 4: The Roaring Twenties: 1920-1929

Section 5: The Great Depression: 1929-1939

Section 6: World War II: 1939-1945

Section 7: The 1950s

Section 8: The 1960s

Section 9: 1970s-2016

In the Introduction to Section 6 and Lesson 30, students will read about World War II, review a timeline of key events, read about the rise of dictatorships, appeasement, the start of World War II, and the third term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and examine a political cartoon by Dr. Seuss. This is followed by nine multiple choice and short answer questions and a written response question: "Use complete sentences to explain why President Roosevelt and Congress were reluctant to involve the U.S. in the war against the Axis Powers in the late 1930s."


text from U.S. History Detective® Book Two about the Populist Party


Questions from  U.S. History Detective® Book Two


Question from  U.S. History Detective® Book Two


How Did We Use U.S. History Detective® Book Two in our Homeschool? 


As our son has graduated, I used the book as a review source for him. At the beginning of the review period, I handed it off to him and asked for it back to complete my review. While he did not complete as many lessons as I would have liked if he was still "in school," I also understand he has many responsibilities as a graduate. If we were using this as a part of our homeschool curriculum, I would assign two to three lessons a week along with primary source and secondary source materials to read. The written response questions would provide homeschool students and parents with excellent starting points for discussions. They could also be developed into essays or research papers with a little bit of work.


My Thoughts 


I have had the pleasure of using several products from The Critical Thinking Co.™ over the years, and they have never disappointed me. They do help our children use critical thinking skills and reinforce key ideas such as fractions, vocabulary, and events in history. U.S. History Detective® Book Two is wonderful because it does not require a lot of parent involvement. While you can easily discuss each lesson and examine the supporting evidence for each question, you can also allow your child to work on it by themselves.

I really like how the U.S. History Detective® Book Two encourages readers to use their critical thinking skills to find evidence to support historical conclusions. The book provides both primary (first-hand accounts) and secondary (materials written by historians or others who were not present at the event) sources to help students reach conclusions about what they have read. Each passage has the sentences numbered so that students can mark their answers with the supporting evidence. A key part of upper-level history courses is also drawing inferences and conclusions based upon historical events and evidence. This book helps students practice and hone those skills which will help them in future essays.

Having taught Advanced Placement U.S. History when I was a high school teacher, I could see this being a very useful resource to assist students in their preparation for the AP Exam. As each lesson is short, they could review the material, complete the questions which require them to critically think about the subject material, and write essay outlines for the written response questions. This homeschool resource can help students on their journey to bring together, compare, and contrast historical information and present clear arguments. 

I would recommend U.S. History Detective® Book Two for any family who is studying U.S. History II. I think the grade recommendation by The Critical Thinking Co.™ is accurate (8-12) and the placement in the 9th Grade Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle is also good. It provides a compact look at U.S. History while helping your child develop their critical thinking skills.

 

Cover of U.S. History Detective® Book Two and written response page

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