Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Phil Vischer presents What's in the Bible? -- A Review

     Phil Vischer of VeggieTales fame has created a new series that is loads of fun with a heavy dose of theology -- all for kids.  What's in the Bible? uses live animation and puppets to combine good, solid Bible teaching and storytelling in a quirky, silly, fun way that appeals to adults and kids alike.  These DVDs are designed to survey the entire Bible from beginning to end. Volumes 1-7, In the Beginning (Genesis) through Exile and Return (Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther), have been released so far.
     The cast of characters include:  Chuckwagon, the singing cowboy, The Sunday School Lady who is NOT as old as the OLD testament, Michael, the kid in the car watching the DVD (‎"I’ve got a question! Why are they called 'testa-mints?' Do they give you fresh breath? Because I licked one and it didn’t work." -Michael, age 8), Brother Louie, Buck Denver, 2 old ladies who remind you of the old guys on the Muppet Show, and many more.  Every character, from my understanding, is performed by Phil Vischer himself.
     Two of my favorite special segments include:  the Pirates Guide to Church History -- you know about Jesus and Billy Graham; well, the pirate fills in the stories in the middle, and the Popsicle Stick Theater -- where God is a cloud because a heart makes God look like a Valentine and fire is too scary.
    According to the very first segment on Volume 1, the Bible tells the story of God and what He's done for us, making the Bible the world's most important book.  From that point on, Phil takes two things very seriously:  teaching children Bible truths and having loads of laughs.
     Just so you can have a taste of what these videos are like, Volume 1:  In the Beginning, answers the following questions:  

*Why do Orthodox and Catholic Bibles have more books than the Protestant Bible?
*What does inspired mean?
*How can we trust the books of the Bible if we don't know who wrote them?  (Because God inspired the process AND the writing)
*How old is the Earth?  Who is right?  ("We don't know, and sometimes that's ok.  The Book of Genesis wasn't written to tell us the HOW of creation but the WHO of creation. 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.'" -- Phil Vischer)
*What is sin?
*Why didn't God just change the rules so Adam and Eve could be with Him again?

     These are just a few of the questions that get answered in 25 minutes, but the real kicker is that you will hear the answers to these tough questions while giggling and cracking up at the puppet's antics.  I can't think of a better way to learn what's in the Bible, can you?

     To learn more, visit whatsinthebible.com.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Praise Your Children Consistently and Often: A Reminder

     When my children were young, it was so easy to lavish them with praise:
     "'Mama!'  That's right!  He's a genius!  He said 'Mama'!"
     "Oh my goodness!  What a big boy you are!  You went pee-pee in the potty!"
     "Wow!  What a great reader you are!"
     "Yes!  Three grapes plus one grape is four grapes!  You are so smart!"
     "Look at you!  You're riding your bike all by yourself!"
     "What a good sharer you are!"
     Somewhere along the line, it gets harder.  I'm not sure why, and maybe it's just me, but it gets harder.  For one, by ages 9 and 12, they are most certainly putting their pee-pee in the potty.  Furthermore, as a homeschooling mom, I'm trying hard to help my children succeed by pointing out their mistakes -- on math, grammar, spelling, writing, etc.  As a Christian mom, I want my kids to become more Christ-like by pointing out all the ways they are not acting like Christ.  Do I spend an equal amount of time pointing out when they ARE showing the fruits of the Spirit?
     The middle-school years are full of insecurity, and I need to remember to praise my boys MORE as they get older, not less.  Kids need their moms and dads to praise them sincerely for effort, hard-work, integrity, Christ-likeness, and the things they do right.  
     So, take a minute and look for a reason to praise your children today!  Make it a habit. As your children get older, don't forget it.  They need it more, not less.
     That's my prayer for today and for the future -- that I will become better at praising my boys -- consistently and often.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Drive thru History with Dave Stotts: History - Fast and Fun!

     The Drive Thru History series with Dave Stotts, produced by ColdWater Media, is, as the cover suggests, history - fast and fun!  Each DVD has three epidsodes that last about 30 minutes each, with the exception of the Foundations of Character series.  These quirky, often silly, videos take you on location to several important historical sites and introduce you to many historical figures, famous and not-as-famous.  Christian history is not left out and neither is the humor.  Drive Thru History is definitely educational and equally entertaining.
     This series, however, is not a history curriculum on its own.  It should be used as a supplement to the history curriculum of your choice or just for fun!  My boys and I laughed and giggled at the fake teeth, the car rolling down the hill, and the Pilgrim fashion show.  
     I recommend this series for ages 8 and up simply because some of the younger children may not get the humor.  My sons are nine and twelve, and they love these dvds.   Furthermore, if you like your children's education to be serious, don't bother buying this series!

     For more information, see www.drivethruhistory.com.  

Drive Thru History  (Ancient History)
Greece and the Word
East Meets West  (Asia Minor)
Turkish Delight
Rome If You Want To

Drive Thru History:  American History
Columbus, The Pilgrims, and Early Boston
Soldiers, Jamestown, and Heroes of Virginia
New York, New Jersey, and Washington's Warriors
Patriots, Penn, and the Freedom Trail

Drive Thru History America:  Foundations of Character  (90 minutes)

Drive Thru History:  Holy Land Series  (Brand New)

Drive Thru History is from Focus on the Family and Tyndale Entertainment.