The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Growing Up Wild

growing up wild

Missionary stories. My kids love to listen to and read stories about the lives of missionaries around the world. So we have been fascinated by watching Growing Up Wild DVD’s.

Growing Up Wild is a DVD series featuring the four Wild brothers who are growing up in the wilds of remote jungles in Indonesia. There are five DVD volumes with 3 episodes on each DVD. Each episode is about 15 minutes in length and focuses on one aspect of their lives. On a separate CD included in each set, is an activity guide that corresponds with each volume. The guides are designed as a “jumping off “ point to further the fun and learning based on the videos. The goal of the Growing Up Wild DVD’s is to testify to the greatness of our God and how He is working in remote parts of the world.

ClarkClan Experiences

We received volume one and volume four of Growing Up Wild. Volume one introduces the Wild boys and includes the episodes: 1)Home Sweet Hut 2)Supply Trip 3)Sun and Water. Volume 4 continues the adventure and includes the episodes: 1)Amazing World Around Us 2) Adventures in Culture 3) Tribal Calling.

Ben and Rebekah were fascinated with the videos. Each episode brought new ideas to talk about and discuss. I liked using the activity guide along with the video. It brought a greater depth to what they were seeing on the screen. On the first episode we filled in a Venn diagram of what was different and the same between our house and the Wild brother’s hut. This discussion was continued even after we were done with the worksheet. Ben and Rebekah kept coming up with differences and what was the same for the rest of the day. Another activity was building a Wano house like we see in the DVD. Ben really took to this idea. He spent a long time outside trying to figure out how to build a house out of sticks.

When I asked Ben and Rebekah what their favorite episodes were they both stated, the Sun and Water episode from Volume One. They liked the idea that all electricity was solar powered. Ben was fascinated by how the water system worked.

I feel one of the best parts of these DVD’s is that they show what real life is like for them. They show their house and how supplies are received. They show the problems with bugs and mice in their hut and how they attempt to solve some of these problems. They also show how they assimilate into the Wano culture while still also maintaining remnants of American culture. One of the best study guide activities, in my opinion, is the “Culture Worksheet” comparing our culture to the Wano culture. I feel the Wild family truly showed us what it is like to be a missionary in a foreign land.


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Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew mates also reviewed the Growing Up Wild DVD’s. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the video series.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received 2 DVD’s of Growing Up Wild for free from Growing Up Wild in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Apologia—Journeys of Faithfulness

apologia logo

journeys of faithfulness book cover

About the Book

Journeys of Faithfulness is a devotion book written for women. It is a book that is easy for mothers and daughter from about age 12 to go through together. It is also appropriate for study by yourself.

Journeys of Faithfulness takes the life and faith of five women from the Bible draws you deeper into their stories. The book is written in the style of historical fiction. It takes the true story as found in the Bible, but adds the background details and characters. Sarah Clarkson captures the feelings of each of her chosen women. You can really feel the irritation of Martha with Mary. Feel the joy and concern of Mary as she tells her family of the visit from the Angel of the Lord.  Esther and Ruth round out the Biblical character studies in this book.

The book is divided in to four parts. Each part has three chapters. At the end of each chapter is a devotional and a short bible study. The Bible study is easy to understand yet has enough depth for both young women and adults alike.

ClarkClan Experiences

Sarah (15) and I enjoyed reading this devotional book. I, at first, wondered about the appropriateness of adding thoughts and words to the Biblical characters, but then decided that it added depth while not taking away from the true meaning of the actual Biblical account.

Due to our move that took place during this review period, I have used this book differently than I originally had planned. I had planned on doing it together. But with all the activity I had going on, we ended up each reading the chapter and devotion, doing the Bible study and then coming together to talk over what we had learned. This worked fairly well, but I am hoping for part four, to do a little bit more together.


I would recommend Journeys of Faithfulness from Apologia.Sarah Clarkson has a beautiful gentle style of writing I enjoyed. I found this to be a study that applied to both myself and to Sarah. Each of us found that we enjoyed reading the chapters and the devotional pieces. I know, for myself, that reading the devotional for the second chapter resonated with what I am feeling in my life. Sarah told me she really enjoyed each chapter and really liked the style of writing. She said it made the Biblical accounts of these women come to life for her.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew members also reviewed the book Journeys of Faithfulness. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they and their daughters thought about the book.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the book, Journeys of Faithfulness for free from Apologia Ministries in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Activity Bags


“Where Fun and Education fit in the same bag.”



  • Math Games In a Bag
  • Designed for elementary age children
  • 33 games with instructions
  • $15.00 available as an e-book

About  the Product

Activity Bags began by the creativity of two ladies, Sherri MacLean and Paula Reetz. Both of these ladies homeschool their children. In 2002, Paula was wondering how to keep her 3 year old busy during the older kids school, while also having fun and learning. She called her friend, Sherri, and they got together and brainstormed ideas. From this small meeting of two mothers, Activity Bags came about and has been growing ever since.

Not only did they come up with the idea of creating bags filled with fun, educational activities, they also figured out how to create a swap with other mothers.  These swaps quickly became very popular.

A swap occurs when one person takes the lead, distributes the instructions, and sets a date to meet for the exchange. Then each mother gets instructions on how to create one activity. They make this activity as many times as they have participating in the swap. On Swap Day, everybody brings the activity they prepared. Participants will then exchange their bags so each person participating will go home with many different activity bags.

ClarkClan Experiences


We were the happy to be able to review the e-book Travel Activities in a Binder as well as Math Games in a Bag. I was given opportunity to choose which books to review. I chose the travel activities e-book because we tend to spend quite a bit of time in the car. I thought the math games would be a fun way to review basic math facts.

When I received the downloads for the e-books, I quickly downloaded them.  I encountered  no problems while downloading and saving to my computer. Then I set out to read the e-books and see what these books were all about.

I first checked out the Travel Activities in a Binder book. This e-book contains instructions and printable pages for over 40 activities. It was not hard to follow the instructions and, using colored cardstock, print out the various activities. Then I took an extra binder we had on hand, as well plastic sheet protectors. It took me about an hour to print and put together the activity book. I added the square of felt called for to erase the pages, two dry erase markers and two dice. Then the book was complete

I gave the book to Rebekah (9) the next day when she had to wait by herself at bell choir rehearsal. The book was a big hit instantly. She loved the variety of activities and spent the entire hour trying new things. Then I took the book back, and kept it for the next time we had to wait somewhere.

Ben (10) became so interested in what Rebekah  was doing that he quickly joined in most of the activities and liked them just as much as Rebekah. They loved to play “ad libs” and hangman together. The wide variety of activities was a pleasant surprise. There were, some two person games, some single games, scavenger hunts, mazes, road sign crosswords, blindfold drawing and many more activities to keep this book from getting boring.

Math Activities in a Bag also provided a much needed respite from the ordinary math drill. I made up about 4 of the 33 bags to choose from. We played a multiplication toss game with dice and beads. It also helped Rebekah solidify her math facts using another of the games made with math fact triangles. When these bags have served their purpose,  I  plan on putting together new bags to keep things fresh and fun.


I would whole heartedly recommend these e-books. They were simple, easy to use and easy to put together. Rebekah and Ben have really enjoyed using both the travel binder and the bag games. The bag games gave them a little bit of fun before we started our regular math for the day.  The travel binder took about an hour to print and put together, but has been well –used. They take it along on long car trips and other times they need a quiet activity while I am at a meeting.

I did not hold a swap, but read through how it is done. It looks fairly straightforward and easy to put together. If you are part of a co-op or have many homeschooling friends, a swap would be a great way to get all the activities with minimal effort on each participants part.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew members were able to review many different Activity Bags books. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they had to say about these books.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received two e-books, Travel Activities in a Binder and Math Games in a Bag, for free from Activity Bags in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.