Thursday, May 7, 2015

Firmly Planted Gospels Part 1 by Real Life Press (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

I'm always on the look out for a good family devotional.  As a huge fan of Real Life Press already, I was excited to be selected to review Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 1.  

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I received a PDF of the Family Study Guide and of the Student Workbook.  These two books are only available as downloadable books.  The good part of that is it makes printing sheets from the workbook very easy.  Plus, I can print a page for each of the boys.

We started our devotional on a Monday night.  As we sat down together, I would read from the Family Study Guide as the kids listened.  I first read The Seed, which is the core idea for the week.  It was followed by Planting the Seed, a Bible verse relating to the core idea.  There is an additional Bible verse labeled Additional Planting the Seed for ages 11 and older.  Then, we moved on to Watering the Seedling.  This part was a narrative of the Bible selection presented at the beginning of the weekly section.  

On Tuesday night, we headed in to Day One of the Study Guide.  First up in the daily activities is reading a Bible passage.  Then we move on to Digging Deeper with some explanation about what was just read.  Up next is Taste the Fruit.  In this section, I read some thought provoking questions for the boys to think about and answer.  We finished up our reading with a word of prayer.  

Ok, let's pause here.  If this was the only part of the books that we had received, I'd honestly be a little disappointed.  The selections were a bit difficult for my young sons to grasp and they had a hard time understanding what was happening.  I felt like they really stopped listening early on in the reading. I had already decided to save the workbook pages until the following day because I thought it would be a nice addition to our homeschool activities.  Plus, it would give us the opportunity to discuss what we had read the night before.

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What a huge difference!  The Student Workbook pages were incredible!  There were icons to guide us through the workbook.  Again, we had The Seed, Planting the Seed, Planting More Seeds (for older kids), Nurturing the Sapling, Bearing Fruit, and Digging Deeper.  The activities were great.  Word searches, crossword puzzles, mazes, maps, coloring pages, nature studies, copywork pages, fill-in pages, and so much more.  

We started with a word search.  Right away, my middle son was recognizing words he heard in the story the night before.  I was so happy!  He WAS listening!  Even better was the fact that there were two word searches, one a little more difficult than the other, so my oldest son could do the same activity but with a challenge.  We started discussing some of the words we were searching and why those words would be included.  

Together, we worked on the question and answer worksheets.  Sometimes, the would need a bit of encouragement to remember the correct answer.  By the end of the week, however, they needed less and less of my assistance to fill in the blanks.  The boys have a love for maps, so any activity with a map was a big winner for us.  We also colored pages together, helped one another with crossword puzzles, and followed Theo Logy through the student workbook.  

While I thought they weren't listening the previous night, or that they didn't understand what was going on, I was wrong.  They got it.  We continued on the same way through the week.  I read at night before bedtime and we did worksheets together the following day as part of daily studies.  I was apprehensive when we got started, but that feeling faded quickly.  This is an awesome devotional study for families and if you are looking for one, I highly suggest Real Life Press and the Firmly Planted Series.  In fact, this link is my affiliate link so if you are considering a purchase, I'd love it if you clicked through my link. 

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