Category Archives: Book Reviews

What is your Story?

ECI-bookThink about life for a moment.  Don’t “we often insist on living as if we are the beginning, the origin, the primary character?” Yet science tells us the opposite, that I’m “a small, little person in a massive universe that doesn’t really notice” me.  How do I attempt to reconcile these extremes?  I “need a story, and a God, that can make sense of my little life in this big universe.”

These quotations come from pg. 28 of a new book The Big Story: How the Bible Makes Sense out of Life” by Justin Buzzard.  His conviction, after examining numerous worldviews and philosophies is that only the Bible is a big enough story to make sense of the world without dealing with plot gaps and unanswered questions.

Whether you’re a believer or not, I think you’ll find something new in his rendering of the Bible’s message.  He doesn’t look at the Bible as merely a book of rules and regulations, nor does he get lost in the intricacies of the 66 different parts within it. Rather he looks for the overall message and the unifying parts which he puts into the context of a play in five acts.

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Homeschool Tiger Teacher

I’d like to coin a new term – the Homeschool Tiger Teacher.  It starts from the now commonly accepted concept of a Tiger Mother who is, per “a mother who is overly strict with her child in order to foster an academically competitive spirit.”  The verb variant is to “shape one’s behavior by yelling, forcing, insulting, name calling, and other hard-line tactics, bordering with emotional abuse.”

What does this have to do with homeschooling?  Don’t some people homeschool for the very reason of escaping the competitive spirit fostered by Tiger Moms?  Isn’t homeschooling more focused on developing the uniqueness of your child instead of trying to remake him or her into something more like someone else?

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Book Review: Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in your Boy by Dannah Gresh

So many books have been published recently about raising boys and helping them develop into young men living out a Christian view of masculinity.  But they’re all directed to men, to fathers!  While the major responsibility of passing on the mantle of manhood does belong to the dads, we moms still share child-rearing duties with them.  And homeschool moms, especially, spend an inordinate amount of time with our boys.  This book is a refreshing look from a mother’s point of view about ways we can work alongside our husbands in raising our boys.  Dannah’s husband Bob is a contributing author and shares his ideas throughout most chapters.

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Book Review: Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in your Girl by Dannah Gresh

I was first introduced to author Dannah Gresh when I began to search for purity and modesty resources to help me through the teen years with my daughter.  I devoured several of her books then.  So I was delighted to find one of her newer books, Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl when a mom of a younger girl asked me for recommendations recently.

Dannah is not just writing from her personal experiences raising two daughters.  She has researched child development, brain biology, and morality/values formation.  Additionally she has interwoven comments and experiences from her years of touring the country while speaking to moms and daughters as a best-selling author.  This book represents a good blend of solid research and personal testimony, all explicitly stated within a Biblical perspective.

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DVD Review: IndoctriNation produced by Colin Gunn and Joaquin Fernandez

Should Christian parents shelter their children from the public school system or should their kids be carefully placed in the system to be salt and light to a needy world?  That is the question this full-length documentary film seeks to answer.  IndoctriNation is a series of interviews conducted by Colin Gunn, a homeschooling father from Texas, as he traveled around the country in a big yellow school bus seeking to discover the origins of the public school system and the status of Christians within the system today. Continue reading

Book Review: Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy

This book came recommended in several catalogs so I ordered a copy, hoping it would be one for young women along the lines of Do Hard Things by the Harrises. Though it doesn’t really fit the purpose for which I was looking, it is still a good read and one that I would recommend (with some qualifications as I note below).

In this book, Leslie describes her reason for writing it: “God has challenged me in this past few years, at a much greater level than I would have thought possible, to rise above the typical mediocrity of modern-day womanhood and walk a road that is narrow, rocky, and misunderstood by the masses.” (pg. 5) Continue reading

Book Review: Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning by Joyce Cooper-Kahn, Ph.D. & Laurie Dietzel, Ph.D.

Originally published in The Hope-Full Homeschooler, April-May 2012

Learning disabilities are receiving a lot of attention in the media and in the modern education world.  But what about the child without any apparent learning problems, but who struggles to keep his world in order?  You know — the one who can’t find his soccer cleats when it’s time to leave for practice, the one who can’t manage to keep his room in order no matter how many times you re-organize it into easy-to-find bins and containers, or the one who is never ready to do whatever you’ve planned even when you’ve given him several countdown reminders.  According to authors Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel of Late, Lost, and Unprepared, this child may be suffering from executive dysfunction.

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Book Review: Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed and The Light Across the River by Stephanie Reed

Originally published in The Hope-Full Homeschooler, January 2010

Written for the young adult reader, these 2 novels are based upon a real abolitionist family: the Rankins who lived in Ripley, Ohio.  Their home, high on a bluff across the river from the slave state of Kentucky, is the first step in the Underground Railroad for many slaves trying to reach Canada.  John Rankin is an anti-slavery preacher who practices what he preaches.  He enlists his older children in the “family business” and all take on roles helping slaves escape.  Both books are full of intrigue and adventure – the family is followed, their home is searched, the barn is burned, and several attempts are made on Pastor Rankin’s life.  Continue reading