Monday, September 18, 2017

Books With Bean ~ Peter Pan

This is the second installment in Arlene's Books with Bean series. Find her review of Pride and Prejudice here.

Books with Bean, Peter Pan, book reviews by teens

Peter Pan

Author: J. M. Berrie   
Published: 1813   
Genre: Children’s Fantasy  

Summery & What I liked about it: The classic children’s tale is well known, Peter is the boy who never grew up. The story has been adapted and retold many times with one of the most famous versions being the 1953 animated Disney version. But when I saw the book at the library booksale I decided to get it to see just how the original story went, after all Disney movies are good, but being for children they can be quite different from the original stories. 
I found however that in the case of Peter Pan the movie was quite actuate, Peter really was quite the annoying character. He is full of himself and selfish, but that comes from the fact that since he hasn't grown up he doesn't understand anything more deeply then his simplistic child like mind can understand. 
However I think that in spite of this there is much to be learned from the story especially about growing up. As someone who read this the first time as a teenager and being “Grown up” to some degree it was interesting to read Berrie’s representation of the innocence and the naiveté of childhood in Peter. Because while Peter is definitely a child and his actions reflect that, Berrie also shows us that those same actions are also seen in other characters, even ones that are considered “Grown Up”.

Language: none that I can remember as I write this

Romance: Wendy does have a small infatuation with Peter  but it is not a major part of the story.

Violence: Peter has a sword fight with captain hook but nothing gory.

Magic: There is magic in Neverland of course, there are fairies, mermaids and the magic than keeps people from growing old. I view it more as the magic of childhood then anything that might be considered heavy or questionable.

Recommended Age: I would recommend this as a book that is best read a few times as you grow up. Once as a smaller kid sometime between 8-10 and then maybe again every few years. Even if you never read it as a kid I would still recommend it to read if you are older.

Books with Bean, Peter Pan, book reviews by teens

Friday, September 15, 2017

Character lessons from the Powwow ~ Part 1

character lessons, godly influences, prayers, humility

Experiencing a different culture in-depth is one of our favorite parts of attending  Native American Pow Wows. Our younger daughter and I recently attended a small Inner-tribal Pow Wow near our home. We have been here many times before, and always enjoy the opportunity. As I sat watching the pageantry and grace of the various dancers in their regalia, God started nudging me to listen more closely to what was being said by the emcee and other speakers between the dances. There were four character lessons that were repeated throughout the day. Today I want to share with you just the first one, and how God is using it to remind me that He wants it to be a character trait of our family and homeschool.

We are honored to be asked to do something

The character trait of humility is one that I need to remember to cultivate both for myself and for my children. We have worked in our family to eliminate the word pride from our vocabulary because pride brings glory to man, while humility brings glory to God. Feeling honored when someone asks you to do something shows humility. You do not expect the honor, it is given to you.

The first time this was mentioned at the Pow Wow was when one of the elders of the northern drum was asked to pray to open the ceremonies. He said he was honored to have been asked. He remembered growing up and hearing other elders pray before a Pow Wow would begin. He ended his prayer "In Jesus' name." A simple, heartfelt prayer for God the Father to bless the weekend, and also to bless any who were there who needed to know Him and His peace. He had not lost his culture when he accepted Jesus, he had enlarged it, and God had honored his faithfulness.

Heart check: how often do I feel honored when I am asked to do something instead of annoyed? 

Mom, can you tie my shoe? 

Honey, can you call the bank for me today? 

Can you help serve at our event?  

If humility is winning in my character, I can feel honored that these people trust me enough to do these things well for them. If humility is not present, I just get discouraged or annoyed that they would be asking for help again. We cannot expect our children to grow up and learn the character trait of humility if they never see it in our own lives.

If we are homeschooling because we think we already know everything, and this particular teaching style or curriculum is the only and best way to teach our children, then we are operating from a place of pride, not humility. This home education journey takes a lot of hard work, a lot of prayer, and a huge dependence upon God to lead us. Understanding our need for God humbles us. Better to be humble than prideful.

If this is your first year homeschooling and you have not yet had a day when you cry out to God for His help right this very moment, let me assure, it will come soon enough. Parenting takes time, and so does education. If your goal is to equip your children with Godly character, there will be struggles along the way. Some struggles will be small, others will be huge, but they will all be real. This goal of ours, to train our children to walk in the footsteps of Jesus is more important than which math book they use or whether or not they ever learn to diagram a sentence. This is training them up for the life eternal. Remember Jesus’ words in Mark 8:36? “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” (ESV) 

The next time you are tempted to feel annoyed because so many people are asking you to do something, check your heart. Let God remind you to be humble, to remember this is an opportunity to serve Him by serving others. May you feel honored when asked to do something for others.

Next time, character lesson #2

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Unauthorized from Chara Games ~ a Crew Review

strategy games, history, board games
Do you enjoy playing strategy games? Are you wanting a game for your teens to play with their friends that does not last 3 hours? Are you looking for a fun pocket-sized game that can entertain a large group of people? Then let us introduce you to Unauthorized from Chara Games! We received Unauthorized, a strategy card game for 6-12 players ages 12 and up to review for the Homeschool Review Crew.

There is a bit of a learning curve while playing Unauthorized with new people, but it is worth the effort. Since the entire game only takes about 30-45 minutes to play, it is easy to play more than one game in a sitting. We found that with a larger number of players it ran 45 minutes, while playing with only 6 players was nearer the 30 minute mark. The game is recommended for ages 12 and up, but could be played with mixed ages as well. I think it would work best with ages 10 and up, as there is a lot of strategy involved. While there is an exception to play with only 5 players, one of them playing two hands' worth of cards, we found it worked much better, and was more fun, if you had at least 6 players. 

Unauthorized is a social deduction card game, based upon the experiences of the underground church.   In the game, each player assumes a role, either for the church, for the state, or as a neutral player, depending which of the role cards they are dealt. Play begins with each person having seven experience cards which will tell the neutral players if they are either for the church or for the state, all depending on how the cards are dealt. The pastor (there is always at least one) begins with all church cards (green experience cards) while the police begin with all state cards (red experience cards.) Inside the rule book you will find a handy chart telling you how many pastor and how many police cards to use based upon the total number of players. As the game progresses, you will use your cards to try to influence others and win them to your side of the struggle. There are also wild cards which give you more options.

Christian board games, history, strategy

During our favorite afternoon game of Unauthorized, the girls had friends over and there were a total of 8 players, so there was one pastor, two police, and five neutral players. The goal is to sway the players with different loyalities over to your side by how you play your own cards during the four short rounds of the game. Each of the Role cards includes a special role power that they can exercise to influence others, of course, if you are imprisoned, who you can influence is limited. When the girls played with their friends, the policemen decided to use the public execution option... and it backfired on them ... the player they "executed" used her final words to sway two players for the church.

history, strategy, board games

There is an  instructional video on Chara's website that helps you understand the basics of setup and beginning play for Unauthorized. I would suggest watching it once, playing the first time, and then watching the video again. Once you have played a few times it gets easier and the game flows better.

We had a question about the fourth and final round. I contacted Patrick at Chara Games, and got the information I needed. If you end up with questions, use the Contact Us tab on Chara's website. They are really good about quick responses and giving more details if needed.

So how interesting is Unauthorized? The eight teens played the entire way through and I did not see anyone pick up their phone. There was a LOT of laughter, and smiling, and scheming, and laughter. Definitely one to get and play with your friends. Or, get it and invite over some new people!

This is the third game we have been blessed to review from Chara Games. You can read our reviews of Three Seeds and Commissioned to learn more about the first two games. These are all quality games that have found a place on our game shelf for game night. I wonder what they are working on next?

Connect with Chara Games on Facebook or Twitter.

Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

2 Corinthians 3:18

2 Corinthians 3:18, Scripture Writing

Friday, September 8, 2017


This week's writing prompt from Kate is: work

work, five minute friday writing prompt

What work have you done this week? This week we started back to school - well, Arlene went back to her books for her senior year of high school, so I guess that's as close to back to school as we home schoolers get. :)

Work, a necessity in life, and something we can choose to either enjoy or regret. I want to choose to work with joy, to do my best, as in service to God. I want to find contentment in my work, whether that is in writing, in mothering, in working outside of the home, or just cleaning off my desk. While I know it is difficult to change my attitude on my own, I know that God can change my attitude about work. I often pray for the help I need to appreciate being able to work. 

If you are struggling in your workplace, wherever that is, ask God to help you appreciate your position, and to do your work with joy. Life can be rough, but God is big enough and loving enough to want us to find joy in all of our lives.

Work: today I wrote a newspaper column, I shopped for groceries, and I spent time editing photos. Tomorrow will hold something new, may I be ready, willing, and with God's help: able - for whatever work I find to do!