Category Archives: current affairs

God’s World News . . . A T.O.S. Review

For several years now, I have planned to subscribe to the magazine God’s World News, and then for one reason or another, just never did. So, when I found out it would be up for review by the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I of course requested the opportunity to review it with my four boys.

God’s World News Magazine, as it turns out, is a very good value for the cost. For a full year (10 months) subscription to the age range of your choice, you pay only $28.00. There is also no charge for regular shipping and handling.
With our subscription to the News Flash

we also received a 20″ x 30″ world map, which coordinates with the Map It! Locator maps in many of the magazine articles, allowing my kids to then look up where in the world the story is taking place. At my husband’s suggestion, I purchased a poster frame to put the map in, along with dry erase pens. That way, the paper map stays nice (I DO have all boys, you know!), plus, if they want to, they can now mark it up as we are learning, and the dry erase marker will wipe right off!

You can see the boys checking out the map below . . .

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God’s World News is available at several grade levels, all the way through high school.

I chose the News Flash edition because I thought it would be a good mid-range that all four of my boys would enjoy, and I was right. News Flash is actually written for kids in the 3rd – 4th grade range, and I have kids who range in ability from about kindergarten – 2nd grade all the way up to early high school level.

The various God’s World magazines are written to help your children build a biblical world view, when looking at stories in the news, at current events, and also at things in our history.

From the website:
News Flash emphasizes News, Knowledge and Wisdom while focusing on specific skills for students in this age range.

•Age appropriate stories illustrate for young students the truth that our merciful and sovereign God is active in the world.
•Lessons in the magazine and online use news stories as a springboard to teach concepts from Civics, Geography, Economics, Worldview and more.
•MAP-IT! Locator maps correspond with a full-sized (20″ x 30″) world map sent in September to each class, homeschool teacher, and homeschool group coordinator (five maps sent to homeschool groups).
•Creative puzzles build alphabet, number, sequence, and other skills.
•Grade-level website expands the God’s World News experience with ever-changing stories, editorial cartoons, and lots of downloadable activity sheets .

Our full year subscription included:

Ten, full color monthly issues (no issue in December or May), the afore-mentioned children’s website access, a weekly email newsletter for parents and teachers, which includes answer keys to the magazine quizzes and puzzles, and biographies and topical lessons to download and print, with quizzes and answer keys.

We have so far received the August, September and October issues of God’s World News Flash, and the boys are very much enjoying it! We have been reading stories about why people move (which discusses people who are illegally going into other countries to live, and the dangers when they do so), stories that teach some geography, stories about various animals and what they can do (for example, I did not know that dolphins use echolocation!).

There is often a “Bible2Life” section at the end of an article, like the one at the end of one of my boys’ favorite stories, “Hank Aaron: Natural Born Ball Player”. The article gave us two pages filled with his story and history, and then in the Bible2Life section at the end, talked about how God has plans for all of us. It used the verse Jeremiah 1:5, which tells us that the Lord knew us before we were even formed in the womb. The Bible2Life section of this story talks about how God “consecrates” us (and explains that to consecrate means to set apart for a special purpose), and asks the reader to think about what his or her special gifts might be, and how God wants him or her to use those gifts. Many stories in the magazine have a Bible2Life section, which helps the reader in developing a biblical world view, even when they move on to reading or viewing news stories from other sources.

You can download a sample issue of News Flash, a sample answer key, a sample lesson, and a sample of one of the biographies that are archived on the website

As you can see below, “The Batman”, “The Artist”, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are all enjoying both the News Flash Magazine AND the large world map!

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I also received a copy of “World Magazine“, which is the adult version of God’s World News. There are articles dealing with things such as the government shutdown, the death penalty, common core in education, marriage longevity, etc . . ., and my husband and I are enjoying it very much!

To sum it up, I believe that at $28.00, God’s World Magazine is an excellent value, especially when you add in the online extras that come with the subscription. I also feel that the News Flash edition is a very good fit for my kids. They are all interested in things that are being talked about in the news, but we really try to be careful of what they watch and read. There are often stories in the newspaper and on the news which we don’t want them to see, feeling that either the stories themselves, or the way they are treated in the news, are not appropriate for our children (or any children, often-times!).

Reading God’s World News gives them an opportunity to learn about, and discuss, world events, current events, etc . . . within a safer environment, and from a biblical world view.

The only thing I would change (and I bet my regular readers know exactly what I’m about to say, lol!) would be that I wish the Bible references would be from the Authorized King James Bible, which is the only version our family uses. While I realize other versions have become very popular, it does seem to me that if nothing else, it would be more cost-effective for publishers to use the KJV, as it is my understanding that there is much less of a copy-write issue when using the King James Version of the Holy Bible than when using other versions.

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Filed under Bible Study for kids, Christian faith, current affairs, education, family, God's World News, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Kids, News Flash Magazine, Politics, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Review, Ultimate Blog Challenge 2013

A “Real World Lesson” For My Kids

Yesterday, I posted a review of a book about George Washington that my boys and I are using as a read-aloud. Today, I want to talk about a conversation we had when reading about the Boston Tea Party, and breaking unjust laws.

Last year, when my cousin Kathy and her boys visited us, we spent several hours walking around in the National Petroglyph Monument Park, right here in Albuquerque. You can see below some of the pictures from that day . . .

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Today, because our esteemed President is deliberately attempting to make things as uncomfortable for as many people as possible, and refusing to negotiate with those who do not agree with him, we cannot go to the National Petroglyph Monument Park. It is shut down. Now, please, be aware that I have no issue with shutting down the visitor’s center, it does cost money to staff that. However, in the entire time we were there last year, that was the ONLY place we saw any government paid employees. The rest of the place is simply open area where people were walking, or sitting and quietly enjoying the scenery.

Today, they are paying people to keep us out of the park. It is likely costing more federal funds to do that, then it cost to pay the person in the visitor’s center, because there are several entrances into the park, and they have to make sure nobody enters through any of them, I guess.

We talked about this, and we talked about what the WW2 vets did in knocking down the barricades around their memorial.

All the while, the President’s federally funded golf course remains open . . . the National Mall, closed to American citizens, is being opened solely to permit a rally for illegal immigration reform, etc . . .

If nothing else, I guess I can thank the President for the fact that I had a “real world” example from current events to bring to life what we were studying from over 200 years ago . . .

Gee, thanks, Mr. President 😦

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Filed under current affairs, education, family, George Washington, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Politics, Ultimate Blog Challenge 2013

The Presidential Game . . . a T.O.S. Review

OK, so I’ll be honest, back in the beginning of August, when I requested to be chosen as a reviewer for The Presidential Game,

it was primarily because it looked so interesting to ME. I love to follow politics. I have, however, been trying over the years to teach my boys about elections, and several years ago “The Batman” and “The Artist” even did a lapbook about the presidential election (this was before we adopted “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler”, so we’ll probably do it again during the next big election”).

When the game arrived and I got a good look at it, I got a little nervous, I was at that point unsure if my boys would be able to “get” the concept during game play. I also wondered about the price, and what my husband would think of that. More about that later, however. 🙂

The Presidential Game is a board game, with an online component. The game itself is VERY sturdy and well made! I’ve seen (and had!) a number of board games which were very cheaply made, the fold up boards coming apart, the boxes coming apart. The Presidential Game is going to stand up to a LOT of wear, I think, which is a good thing, because my family is enjoying it very much!

I told you that at first, I was unsure whether my boys would be able to “get” the process of playing this game, because of their various special needs. I guess my friends who keep reassuring me about what home-schooling is doing for them are right though, because it didn’t take very long at all for all four of the boys to start strategizing to try to win the game.

The Presidential Game is intended for players age 11 and up, and for at least two players. We are a family of six, and play it in teams of three players.

This is from the back of the box:

“Think you have what it takes to be America’s next president? The Presidential is a fun and exciting game of strategy where two teams, Democrats and Republicans, battle for control of each state to ultimately gain 270 electoral votes or more. An entertaining and educational family game – it’s great for both students (11+) and adults. Enjoy the thrill of playing to win the most powerful job in the world!”

When your game arrives, it will include the following in the box:

1 20″ x 30″ game board
1 score pad
3 blue dice
3 red dice
80 politics cards (some of these are truly funny, too!)
150 Republican votes (red chips)
150 Democrat votes (blue chips)
1 electoral webmap calculator
Access code for the webmap calculator

Using the interactive webmap calculator was great fun, it helped the boys catch on very quickly to how fast and frequently the lead can change during an election campaign! 🙂

The very first time we set up for play, it took only a few minutes to get started, and the learning curve was slight, much easier than I had thought it would be, as I said above. We played as two teams. My husband, “The Batman” and “The Puzzler” were one team, with “The Artist”, “Mr. Loquacious” and myself being the other.

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We got right into the game, which is played as a series of campaign “weeks”, where each team is either fundraising or campaigning. We decided to alternate. Week one (the first found) we decided both teams would fundraise, and on week two (round two) we would campaign, and so on through the game. In your fundraising round, you must choose which one of four states (California, Texas, New York or Florida) you will be going to in order to raise money. You then get to roll your three dice. Whatever your total roll, one half of that number must remain in the state where you chose to fundraise, so for example, if you roll a 12, then 6 votes (chips) in your color are stacked onto that state. You may, of course, put all 12 on your chosen fundraising state, or you can divide the other half between any other states you like. That’s when strategy begins to kick in, because sometimes you can regain a state your opponents control, or gain a new state.

During campaign rounds, your team chooses and must announce three states in which you will campaign. Your team then rolls your three dice, and must allocate your votes (chips) according to the numbers on each dice. For example, if you roll a 3, a 5 and a 2, you must put 3 votes on one of your chosen states, 5 on another, and 2 on the last of your chosen states, but you get to decide which of your chosen states get what number.

The politics cards are fun! Your team gets to draw a politics card from the deck during your fundraising turn. Most of the cards can be used right away OR held to play later, although some will say “play immediately” on them. You can use only one card during a turn, though, so it won’t help to hold a bunch in order to get extra votes! Here is a politics card that my team drew, and used. I thought it was hilarious, because we are originally from Michigan, and the topic on the card was very much in the news during a political scandal in Detroit only a few years ago. 🙂

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The counts on the board change frequently, as votes (chips) are stacked on states and taken away because the other team gained or re-gained that state.

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As you play, you can keep score of the electoral votes gained by each team either by using the score pad (a lot more work!) or by using the online Electoral WebMap Calculator (a lot more fun!) The online map is visual, and the boys could see immediately how quickly things change and turn around during an election, because at any time during play, states were being won and lost.

This is what the Electoral WebMap looked like when we started the game . . .

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And these shots will show you how quickly things can change during a campaign!

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It really didn’t take very long for any of the boys to pick up on the strategy of the game, and they got very good, very quickly, at figuring out which states to fundraise and campaign in, and how to best allocate votes (chips) in order to either take over a state or at least turn it neutral again, if the opposite team currently controlled it.

“The Batman” and “The Artist” . . .

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“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” . . .

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The Presidential Game is available to purchase here for $35.00, which both my husband and I feel is a good price, especially considering the online component.

Our family is truly enjoying this game, and will absolutely put it into the family game night rotation!

To read about what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of the Presidential Game, please click the graphic below!

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Filed under current affairs, education, educational games, family, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Kids, Politics, Presidential Game, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Review

My Thoughts on the Steubenville, OH Rape case . . .

As a rape survivor myself, when I was an 18-year-old girl, it still, some 37 years later, brings tears to my eyes, and a gut wrenching pain to hear of cases like this:

http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2013/03/23/opinion/its-unbelievable-no-one-stepped-in-for-rape-victim.html

In my case, I was not a 16-year-old girl who was passed out drunk, or drugged. I was an 18-year-old virgin who was raped by a young man I had gone out on a date with. Some things match, though. He was popular. By the time my case went to court, my family had received many phone calls from people in his family asking what it would take to “just make this thing go away”. The prosecuting attorney pushed me to allow a plea bargain, saying that my little brothers had to go to the same school with this guys younger siblings and their friends, and life would be made difficult for them. I finally agreed, but then, his attorney decided to continue the trial and force me to cross-examination. It was one of the most traumatic times of my life.

When he began cross-examination, I was asked by the defense attorney while I was on the stand, why I had allowed him to take me out, if I had no intention of going to bed with him. I said, under oath, that my mother had not raised a prostitute, and that taking a girl out is not payment for sex. I was asked if anyone in my family had known I was going out with a guy who was black (both of my parents, and my little brothers, were at home when he picked me up, so yes, they did).

The defense attorney tried in every possible way to shake my testimony, and failed. He was, in fact, overheard saying to his client that if he had to rape someone he shouldn’t have chosen someone who could hold her own on the stand. After that, he came back and said they were taking the plea deal, which turned out to be legal at that time. I don’t know if it would be now.

The biggest difference in these two cases is that in the Steubenville, OH case, the rapists were star athletes, the girl was either drunk or drugged, she was unconscious, and there were tons of witnesses, who took video and still pictures of the entire crime, who posted these images to the internet, tweeted them, and did further unspeakable things to humiliate this girl.

In my case, I was an 18-year-old virgin, who fought back, and was had finger print bruises around my neck for weeks afterword from being choked.

In the Steubenville case, a girl went to a party with the “popular” kids.

In neither case was rape in any way excusable.

No, she should not have been drinking, or at a drunken party. But you know what? that is NO excuse for what was done to her! Staying out of a situation like that, dressing in a way as to be completely unnoticed as a female, etc . . . does NOT protect you from being raped. I was not dressed immodestly at all, when it happened to me.

Rape is NOT a crime of passion, or of lust. It is a crime of violence. It is a crime of power. It is a crime of control over another person.

No matter what choices this girl made, to go to a party, to drink, or whatever, these boys had no right whatsoever to do what they did to her, and it is SHAMEFUL that of all the other young people there, not even one tried to help her, tried to stop these boys. That an entire school system, and apparently at least half a town, would be so afraid of going against the popular star athletes to do what is right, speaks volumes.

Parents, please do not JUST teach your girls to stay away from situations where they can be raped. They can be raped in ANY situation, including going from a store to their car, or having their home broken into while they are there. Provocative dress does not make a girl or a woman “responsible” for a crime of violence being perpetrated upon her. If that’s all it took, old ladies and little children would never be raped. I would never have been raped. Being drunk doesn’t make her responsible, either, in fact, under the law when one is drunk or drugged, one cannot legally give consent to anything.

Yes, I still think we need to teach daughters to be careful, and to be wary. We still need to teach them not to advertise their bodies. Not to keep boys or men from attacking them, but because it’s right for them to not advertise their bodies to anyone to whom they are not married.

However, we also, at least as much, if not more so, need to teach our sons to RESPECT girls, for then they will respect women. We need to teach them that they too, would best be served by waiting for intimacy until they are married. That they need to respect THEMSELVES enough not to think a girl is “easy” just because she may wear something a bit tight, or a bit short. We need to teach them what is biblically right, that they are to PROTECT women, not take advantage of them (which, by the way, includes taking advantage of the fact that a girl is being deliberately provocative, which yes, of course, is sometimes the case). We need to teach them that REAL men do not take advantage of women, or girls. Real men are not afraid to stand up and say NO! when their peers are victimizing someone like this. REAL men risk losing the popular crowd, but REAL men are the men we should want our sons to be, and should want our daughters to end up with. A boy who would do what these boys did, and get away with it (as many do), will be a man who abuses his wife and children, if he ever has them.

The responsible parties here are these “star athletes”, along with the coach and the town that raised them on such a pedestal that no matter what they did, or who they hurt, it became better to punish the VICTIM, instead of expecting them to face up to their own choices. And yes, what they did was a CHOICE. It was also a CHOICE for the coach, the school system, the other “kids”, and a good part of the town, to demonize the victim of their attack, and to defend the criminals. This trial did not ruin the criminals’ lives, the very choices they made ruined their lives. And I believe that any and all people who took videos and pictures and posted them to the internet, should be on trial as well, along with each and every person who threatened the survivor of this vicious, violent attack.

I pray this girl gets help, and that one day, like me, she will come to see that she is a SURVIVOR . . . but society needs to understand, we all need to understand, what was done to her will NEVER leave her. It has been 37 years for me, and I still have fears that hit me, which are directly attributable to what was done to me . . .

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