Homeschool Encouragement

Homeschool Encouragement

Homeschool encouragement is something every homeschool mom needs.  Face it, the days are long.  Somedays you don’t know that you’re doing the right thing or if your children are learning at all.  Other days you’re ready to throw in the towel and maybe even didn’t do school.  And yet, there are those days where everything clicks and falls into place where you know this is what you’re called to do.

 

Homeschool Encouragement

 

So how do you get the homeschool encouragement you need?  There are several ways but it all depends on your needs.  For me, a major factor is having other mom friends who homeschool.  We encourage each other.  It’s important to have homeschool mom friends who have homeschooled longer than you as well as ones new to homeschooling.

The variety in your homeschool mom friends is needed so that while you are being encouraged, you are also encouraging.  Doesn’t make sense?  Think about it.  You are encouraging the new homeschool mom because you’ve stuck with it and are at a place in their future.  Likewise the mom who has homeschooled longer than you is now encouraging you.

Homeschool encouragement can also come from reading blogs like mine and all the other TOS crew members.  We share some of the nitty gritty of our days so you know you’re not the only one struggling.

I have to say my greatest homeschool encouragement doesn’t come from a fellow homeschool mom.  It doesn’t come from my family.  In fact, it doesn’t come from a mom at all.  My greatest homeschool encouragement comes from a good friend.  She’s single, she has no kids, but she knows me and she knows the challenges I face.  She lifts me up and encourages me while also making me laugh and view myself as a person separate from just a mom or just a teacher or just a homeschool mom.  I have an identity all my own and she makes me remember that.

I do also talk to homeschool moms.  Also, I love going to a local homeschool conference every year.  This year I’m going by myself sort of.  My youngest will only be ten months old so he’s still a nursling and will be attending with me.  It’s such a wonderful encouragement to go and hear other homeschool moms talk about their journey and answer questions that I might have.

Each of us will need a different level of encouragement.  We may need several homeschool mom friends.  Maybe we need to read several blogs or homeschool help books.  Your greatest encouragement might be seeing the love of learning ignite in your child’s eyes.  I have to say that is definitely a wonderful thing.

The Beginner’s Bible {Crew Review}

The Beginner’s Bible

Homeschool Review Crew

 

The Beginniner's Bible

 

Do you use a Bible with your youngest children?  We love The Beginner’s Bible from Zonderkidz and recently received a copy of their new and improved version through the Homeschool Review Crew.  This Bible is geared towards ages 4-8.  It’s to be used as a read aloud with ages 4-6 and children ages 6-8 can read it independently.

Why a redo of a great classic?  Well, it’s the 25th anniversary of The Beginner’s Bible so they redid it to include new three dimensional artwork.  How cool is that?  My girls are loving this new Bible.  It’s great for our read aloud time.  The girls I have using this are ages three, six, and six.  One of my six year olds is able to do some beginning reading on her own.  She’s been reading us some of the stories with a bit of help while the other two just listen and enjoy the new art work.

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
 

So, how are we using this new Bible?  I find that The Beginner’s Bible is amazing added to our school day.  As we start our day I do a devotional with the kids after breakfast.  While the younger girls can sit and listen they rarely take away any of the big picture that the older children get from the devotional.  I wanted something that they could understand and also glean something from.  Something that was going to stick with them.  

Enter The Beginner’s Bible.  We read one story a day as we start their school.  I use one curriculum for my older kids and one for my younger girls.  There are just the three younger girls in their curriculum so I work with them first.  We read a story from our new Bible and talk about what the story means and how we can apply it to our lives.  Next, it’s easy to step right into our school lesson.  I particularly enjoy it when I can match a Bible story with what we’re learning that day.

My older kids even like our new Bible!  They had the original edition as part of their school curriculum when they were little and are loving comparing the artwork in the two editions as well as reading it straight through like a chapter book.  I’m blessed with kids who love to read so I’m not going to discourage them from grabbing this Bible geared to younger kids and reading it quickly in a sitting.  Who knows what they might pick out from a story that they didn’t understand all over when they were younger?

I personally recommend this Bible and think that The Beginner’s Bible makes a great gift for the young children on your gift list.  Whether it be for Christmas or a birthday or a just because they’re going to enjoy this book.  Definitely a book I feel should be on every homeschool library shelf and every little kid Sunday school shelf.

Want to learn more about this new Zonderkidz edition of The Beginner’s Bible?  Check out the main Blog Post where everyone has linked up their reviews.  You can also find them on facebook, twitter, pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.  

 

Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer

Our Large Family Laundry Routine

Our Large Family Laundry Routine

I know lots of large families.  And they all have different laundry routines.  I finally settled on our large family laundry routine and wanted to share it with you.  After all, I didn’t have it all together and I know some of you don’t as well.  You’re looking around trying to find what will work for you.  If you’re like me you’ve tried so many different things you’re ready to settle for mediocre while wanting fabulous.

I found fabulous ladies!

 

large family laundry routine

 

So what do I do?

First, I found a laundry detergent that works for our hard well water, washing my husbands dirty oily greasy work jeans(he’s an electrician and you don’t want to know some of the places he’s crawled through), as well as my sweet little ones diapers.  Let’s face it, very few laundry detergents can do all of these things.  I though Charlie’s Soap was going to be my go to, but alas it couldn’t handle our well water.  My clothes started to smell, and the stains wouldn’t come out of my husbands jeans. 

So I turned to my essential oil company.  I love their products.  But I’d never tried the laundry detergent.  It was worth a try.  I told myself it couldn’t hurt.  So I went for it.  And now I will never go back!

If you haven’t found “the one” laundry detergent yet make sure to give this one a go.  You’ll love it.  Trust me.

What next?

Okay, so after I found the perfect laundry detergent I needed the perfect routine.  I already has a quasi routine.  Each of the kids bedrooms plus the bathroom has a hamper.  There is a child assigned to bring each hamper to the laundry room and my oldest sorts the clothes.  Clothes are sorted out by jeans, towels, whites, coloreds, and delicates.  Simple.  

I do at least one load of coloreds daily.  Jeans and towels are done every other day on a rotating basis.  So say Monday I do jeans, Tuesday I’ll do towels, etc.  Whites are done once a week or whenever I can get a full load.  How often that is depends on how many breast pads I go through and how many blankets and burp rags the babe spits up on.  Delicates are done whenever needed or every other week.  That’s about the most amount of time I can let them sit on the shelf where they collect without it driving me nuts.

Diaper Laundry too

Cloth diapers get done daily or every other day depending on the weather.  I always line dry my diapers.  When we bring them in at night I like to give them an air fluff in the dryer.  This just takes some of the line dried stiffness out so that they’re super soft on the bitty baby bum.  Check out my post on cloth diapers to learn what kinds I use and why I love them.

Speaking of the dryer.  The only things that get dried in the dryer are my coloreds and whites.  I hang dry the jeans and towels.  Previously I’d hang dry the coloreds and whites as well, but I only have one clothesline.  We use the fence that surrounds our yard to hang out the jeans and towels.  There just is not enough room on it to hang out all the coloreds and whites. Plus some of my kids are old enough they don’t want their unmentionables on the fence for the whole world to see.

Anyway, back to the dryer!  I like to use dryer balls in my dryer instead of dryer sheets.  Artificial smells are not good for you or your clothes.  Instead of those stinky dryer sheets I put a few drops of essential oils on my dryer balls.  Our clothes come out smelling clean and fresh without any harsh chemicals.  Win win for all!  I particularly like using citrus scents or lavender on my dryer balls.  Occasionally I spice it up with peppermint or cinnamon bark.

Where does it all go?

Now I feel that I should tell you about my laundry set up.  First, I have never had a brand new washer or dryer.  We buy used.  Mostly from auctions or friends who decide they want to upgrade.  My husband is a handy man and has rigged up my washing area to allow me to have 2-3 washing machines!  Yeap you heard that right.  I normally have at least two washing machines in running order.  Having two makes it so easy to do laundry.

I used to be overwhelmed with laundry.  Creating a routine really helped but I’d often forget to go switch out loads.  Or I’d go hang up the first load and forget to start a second load.  The biggest problem though was the cloth diapers.  They take a while to wash because you have the first wash cycle with an extra rinse cycle(the first wash I use detergent) and then a second wash and rinse where it’s detergent free.  That’s two full wash cycles with extra rinses.  It takes a while and by the time they’re done and on the line the next load doesn’t have time to get dried on the line.

I’m so lucky.

Enter my amazing husband and his mad plumbing skills.  It’s not pretty but it’s functional guys.  He rigged it up for a second and even a third washing machine to help make my life simpler and to ensure he had clothes to wear to work.  There may have been some times earlier in our marriage where laundry got put on a back burner but that’s a story for another day.  Our large family laundry routine has come a long way from six kids ages 3 and under with four in diapers let me tell you!  Those were the rough days.

Dryers.  I have one dryer.  With two washing machines this might not sound like a good fit in our large family laundry routine, but it is.  It doesn’t get used as much as it could because I do hang out over half of our loads of laundry.  But it does still see some use.  In the winter I don’t use it except for a fluff cycle on cloth diapers because we hang our clothes up from the unfinished ceiling in the basement near our wood stove.  But during the summer when clothes don’t dry as well inside the house and unmentionables on the fence cause tween angst, my dryer gets some miles put on it.

Let me know if you want to know more about our large family laundry routine!

Pursuing Gold {Litfuse Review}

Pursuing Gold 

 
pursuing gold

 

About the book:

Pursuing Gold (Elk Lake, October 2016)

With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis.

With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue goldon behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2gCb1pb

 
About the author:
 

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over thirty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. She’s a columnist for Leading Hearts Magazine and she directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference. Cyndi has a heart for encouraging women in today’s crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and teaching with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the Year. She co-founded Homeschool Answers and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio.

 
 
 
 
 
My thoughts:
 
I love historical fiction and so I knew I wanted to read Pursuing Gold.  It’s a great book about a “border” area during the war.  The journeys of one man and one woman are chronicled as they try to maintain true to what they believe without landing themselves in loads of trouble.  Plus add in the fact that her father makes him vow to marry her and it just gets better.  Oh and there might be a Confederate officer trying to get Peter to invest in a scheme while also trying to court Mary Beth.  It just gets better and better.
 
I wanted to comment on the cover as I’ve read some negative reviews about it turning people off on the book.  I’m here to say that if you like history you’re drawn to this cover.  Civil War buff here and this cover drew me in.  It’s a period piece and the way the cover is done reminds me of other works that are biographies or letters from the war.  i immediately knew I had to read this one!
 
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The Most Wonderful Time of The Year {Litfuse Review}

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

About the book:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Abingdon, October 2016)

Celebrate 31 days of a Christ-filled Christmas season.

For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year‘s Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2frWQG8

 
About the author:
 
 
Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.
 
 
My thoughts:
 
I really liked how positive this book was.  It’s full of positive uplifting stories to help us celebrate and remember the true meaning of this most glorious time of year.  I’ve enjoyed reading this book outloud as a family.  My youngest children don’t understand or glean a lot from some of the stories, but the older ones do.  It’s a great thing to read aloud during a meal and then encourage discussion about. 
 
I highly recommend using this as an alternative to Advent or alongside Advent for a new tradition.  Growing up I did not do Advent but I’ve enjoyed learning about it with my children and watching them learn and grow during this season.  This book shall remain on my shelf to be used over and over again.
 
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Trust My Heart {Litfuse Review}

Trust My Heart

 
Trust My Heart
 
 
About the book:

Trust My Heart (Waterfall Press, October 2016)

Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible.

The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.

After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.

The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2fg7WKG

 
About the author:
 
 

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post’srésumé reads as if she hasn’t yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children’s publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn’t writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

 
 
My thoughts:
 
I really enjoyed this book.  I wasn’t sure at the beginning whether I would or not.  The cover is nice but nothing really caught my eye.  But then, I began reading and I didn’t want to stop!
 
Jami has finally got a job she wants. She’s convinced her lukewarm boyfriend that she won’t marry him(now if she could just convince everyone else she’s not planning a wedding).  Finally she’s getting a great article to write.  Only problem is her subject wants nothing to do with a journalist and really doesn’t like them in general.
 
The characters are so fun and lovable.  You become their friend(or really don’t like them) and cannot wait to find out what happens next.  Or at least, that’s what happened to me!  I loved this book and couldn’t wait to read the next page and the next.  Also the adopting of two dogs.  Swoon.  Who doesn’t love dogs?  And rescuing is amazing.  That’s how we’ve gotten all of ours!  Nothing not to like about this book.
 
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Sentence Diagramming for Beginners {Homeschool Review Crew}

Sentence Diagramming for Beginners

Homeschool Review Crew

I personally love English and grammar, but I’m not the best teacher.  I’m so grateful to The Critical Thinking Co.™ for the help with sentence diagramming with my children.  We received a copy of Sentence Diagramming: Beginning in the mail to review through the Homeschool Review Crew.

 

Sentence Diagramming

Sentence Diagramming: Beginning is geared for grades 3-12.  I’ve primarily been using it with a 5th grader and a 3rd grader.  Personally I think this could also work with some 2nd graders as well.  

Learning grammar rules truly doesn’t have to be a fight when you use this curriculum.  I have a few kids who don’t like grammar.  Language arts is a struggle for them.  They love to read though!  While I’m grateful for their love of reading, I needed to make them see that sentence diagramming was useful too.  Not only is it useful, but it’s necessary.  It’s a hard truth to sell to the kids though when you don’t have a curriculum they enjoy and want to use.  

 

 

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}
 

About the Curriculum

When you think of sentence diagramming I’m sure some are filled with dread.  I’m not one of those people!  I happen to be the weird kind of person who gets happy.  For me, this was an easy part of school that I look back on with fondness.  It might not have been the most thing I did, but it wasn’t hard.  Teaching this to my children, however, has proven more difficult.  This is where Sentence Diagramming: Beginning from The Critical Thinking Co. ™ comes in.

This paperback lesson book contains 12 lessons.  You work through one lesson per week.  It’s geared for grades 3-12+, but with all curriculum this can be adjusted and such to fit your needs.  Answers are in the back of the book and there is a review as well.  The pages for the lessons are perforated so that you can tear out those answers if you have a child who likes to peek.   

Lessons covered in this curriculum are: simple subject, main verb, direct object, adjectives, adverbs modifying verbs, predicate nouns, prepositional phrases(adjectival), prepositional phrases(adverbial), compound subjects, compound predicates, compound direct objects,  and compound predicate adjectives and nouns.   Each of these has their own lesson except for simple subject and main verb which go together for the first lesson.

What We Thought

When you’re the teacher you have to look for your student input.  Kids in schools don’t seem(in my personal opinion) to get as much input into their lessons as kids who are homeschooled.  My children give this more stars than any other their other grammar books which is good!  I can’t say they love it though.  I love it for teaching them as it’s set up in a way that doesn’t require me to be pulling my hair out.

Let’s talk lesson 1.  It’s simple.  The kids simply are fixing sentences.  It might be that the verb and noun are switched or maybe they didn’t capitalize or use punctuation correctly.  Students fix those errors.  Then they have to write and diagram their own simple sentences.  Little more complicated but not that hard. . . yet.

Each lesson adds more to what they’ve learned.  So, you really want to make sure they have grasped the content taught before they move on or they’re not going to be able to understand the new concept.  It really gets moving when you get to lesson 7 where you’ve got lines going all over the place!  Lesson 7 talks about Prepositional phrases(adjectival).  This one required more help from me.  I had to do several more sample sentences before my children really grasped the concept enough to do this on their own.

How We Used It

We did two lessons the first week since they were simpler. After that it was easier to go back to the one lesson per week.  Each lesson is meant to take a week if you follow the guidelines.  I think that’s fairly accurate for the time you’ll need to master each concept. 

A tip.  Have a notebook for each child using this so that they have extra pages.  There will be erasing.  We decided to work out of a notebook so we didn’t have to erase and had room to show and work through the whys.

Learn More

Make sure to check out the main blog post on the Homeschool Review Crew blog to see what all the other reviewers thought of this program and the many others that we were offered for review.  You can also find the company on facebook, google +, and pinterest.

 

Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer

Christian’s Hope {Litfuse Review}

Christian’s Hope

Christian's HopeChristian's Hope
 
About the book:

Christian’s Hope (Herald Press, October 2016)

When Christian Hochstetler returns to the Amish after seven years in captivity, he finds that many things have shifted.

Captured as a child during the French and Indian War, Christian has spent much of his life among Native Americans, who cared for him and taught him their ways. Now that Christian is home, his father wants him to settle back into their predictable Amish life of farming, and Christian’s budding friendship with Orpha Rupp beckons him to stay as well.

Yet Christian feels restless, and he misses his adoptive Native American family—who raised him as their own son. When faced with a life-altering decision, will Christian choose the Amish identity that his father desires for him? Or will he depart from his family and faith community yet again?

Christian’s Hope tells the story of the younger brother of Joseph and son of Jacob, whom readers have come to love in the first two books in the Return to Northkill series. Based on actual events and written by a descendant of the Hochstetler family,Christian’s Hope brings the sweeping epic of the Return to Northkill series to a soul-stirring end.

 
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2eAZmVi

 
 
About the author:
 
Ervin R. Stutzman is author of Jacob’s Choice,Joseph’s Dilemma, Tobias of the Amish, and Emma,A Widow Among the Amish. Born into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa, Stutzman based the Return to Northkill series on the life of his ancestor, Jacob Hochstetler. He has been featured on TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are?
 
 
 
 
 
My thoughts
 
This book.  I almost don’t know what to say.  It’s an amazing piece of literature.  I’ve not read anything quite like it.  Based on real facts and events but with a spin all it’s own this book is truly a work of historical fiction but centered around the Amish of days gone by.  
 
You’ve got a boy captured by Indians when he was very young and raised as one of them.  But then he’s told he must go back to where he was captured from and become a white man again.  Not just any white man, but an Amish white man.  Those two lives are about as different as they come.  Christian struggles with who he is and where to make his place in this world of his.  He has an ally of sorts in his older brother who was captured with him but his father and step mother still perplex him.
 
Will he come to terms with who he is or will he forever be a part of two worlds?
 
blog disclosure
 
 

Pirate Unit Study {Homeschool Review Crew}

Pirate Unit Study

Homeschool Review Crew

Were they pirates?  Or were they really privateers?  That’s what our newest unit study from Homeschool Legacy is asking.  Once-a-Week Micro-Studies Pirates or Privateers: You Decide has been so much fun for us!  Keep reading and you’ll find out what my kids decided using this pirate unit study we received through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Pirate Unit Study

The unit study we chose to use is titled Pirates or Privateers: You Decide.  There were so many awesome choices it was really hard to choose just one.  This happens to be a time in history that all of our family likes though so it is the one that won out.  

Micro Unit Study

Technically this is a micro unit study.  This classification comes from the fact that it only should take four weeks to complete.  It’s geared towards grades 1-8.  This meant for me that all of my children got to be included in the unit study.  Well, almost all of my children.  My youngest is 5 months so he really didn’t care about the unit study.  My three year old loved learning about pirates and playing sword fighting with her older siblings though.  The 5 month old got lots of laughs and giggles from this!

All it takes time wise for this pirate unit study is thirty minutes three times a week.  That doesn’t seem like much at all really.  And it’s not.  This pirate unit study is really simple and fun.  I’ve used unit studies before(most from this same company!) and have to say that this micro unit study is even simpler than the normal ones.  It’s easy to use and doesn’t take a ton of prep work.  I like that idea!

My kids loved this unit study and really begged to do it on the days we weren’t using it(three days a week, thirty minutes per day) so I did some digging and came up with some books to use on those off days.  I created a book basket full of books on this time period both at sea and on land.  So we learned about the monarchs of countries, what wars were going on, what they were wearing and eating, etc.  Such fun!  My kids loved having new books in their book basket and I loved that they were spending extra time reading and learning.

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}

A note from a mom to a mom.  

This unit study gives you an optional read aloud suggestion of Treasure Island.  We read this.  It took over one of our read aloud spots for the day so we were reading it daily instead of just on the three unit study days.  We finished it rather quickly so we then added The Swiss Family Robinson to our read aloud time for the remainder of the unit study.  There are also some movie night suggestions.  One of our favorites to watch is Muppet Treasure Island so we made to sure to watch that on one of our normal movie nights during the course of the study.

A couple other Micro Studies that piqued our interest and are on our must try to purchase list are the Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims micro study and Victoria and Her World Mico Study.  They’re both also geared to grades 1-8 and look like loads of fun!  Another unit study that is on my list is Christmas Comes to America.  Both Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up so these would be wonderful to study RIGHT NOW!!

Want to learn more about this unit study or some of the other unit studies offered through Homeschool Legacy?  You can find all of the blog reviews linked up on the Main Homeschool Review Crew page.  Also find Homeschool Legacy on facebook.  

 

Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer

Amish Style Christmas {Litfuse Review}

Join me for an Amish Style Christmas

Join me in an Amish Style Christmas through two great new Amish fiction books.  You’re going to love them as much as I do!

Amish Style Christmas

 
About the book: 
 
An Amish Family Christmas (Avon Inspire, October 2016)

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love.

Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.

But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true . . .

Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually . . . perhaps even sharing her life with him.

Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together . . . in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.

 
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2dYRwqr
 
About the author:
 

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

 
 
 
 

My thoughts:

I have loved this series(book three below) and love this family.  I really enjoyed this book and taking a step into an Amish family Christmas.  The sense of family that follows this group of young people around and their love and care for each other are real.   Well to me at least!  They are my friends and I love how this author weaves her stories with just the right amount of mystery and suspense.  Her characters are real with real problems that they have to overcome.  In overcoming their problems they grow and become even more lovable.  Definitely recommend this book and the entire series.

 

And the second book that is part of this set!  It’s actually book 3 in the series and I did read it before An Amish Family Christmas but it seemed a bit more appropriate to place it in the second slot as we gear up for the holidays.

 

 

Amish Style Christmas

About the book:

A Sister‘s Wish (Avon Inspire, September 2016)

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get . . . but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.

Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past . . . unless it pertains to Amelia.

He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love . . . but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.

Purchase a copy:http://bit.ly/2e2XBTQ
 
My thoughts:
 
This third book in the Charmed Amish Life series is just as good as the other two(and the Christmas book).  I have loved getting to know the family and their ins and outs of fears and insecurities.  Poor Amelia feels she’s been smothered and babied and protected long enough.  It’s time for her to make decisions on her own.  But will her older brother ever let her?  Will the man she loves let her decide that he is worthy of her love?
 
Great read!  I loved this one and how quickly it read.  I fell in love with the characters all over again.  They are like family and as such I wanted to knock a few of their heads a time or two but all in all I love how it turned out and hope we’re not bidding them farewell for good.
 
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