The Brinkman Advevntures Season 3 Review

Brinkman Adventures brings us exciting and true to life audio missionary stories and they have just released The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3. As part of this year’s Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family was given the digital copy and an opportunity to review it!

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

The Brinkman Adventures is not new to us. We’ve reviewed the 2nd season last year and we immensely enjoyed it. The 3rd season brings episodes 25 to 36. Amazing stories of missionaries and God’s faithfulness in each of their lives in different circumstances. The stories actually come from real life but some names may have been changed and some details are dramatized too. But there is one story where the real name of the person is used (Steve Saint) and he even played his own character!

If you are not familiar with The Brinkmans, they are a modern-day missionary family. They have a blog where they write about the different missionaries they meet around the world. They are still the lead characters of the season but there are several stories which doesn’t include them or doesn’t center on them. The different characters face life threatening adventures and challenges which allow them to discover the very character of God and allow them to know their life’s mission. The stories  happen at different parts of the world from Ecuador to Kashmir and Africa to Alaska.
Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

Season 3 includes 12 exciting episodes. Every episode is about 25 minutes long so you will receive around 5 hours of audio drama. As we received digital files, we used the software VLC Media Player or Windows Media Player on my laptop to listen to all 12 episodes.

The episodes included in this season are namely:

Ep. 01 – God’s Mule

Ep. 02 – Mountain Mover

Ep. 03 – Silent Ambassador

Ep. 04 – Translating Trouble

Ep. 05 – Man-Up

Ep. 06 – Acorns & Oaks

Ep. 07 – A Saint’s Story Pt 1

Ep. 08 – A Saint Story pt 2

Ep. 09 – Untouched

Ep. 10 – Busy Bees and a Bullhorn

Ep. 11 – Missionary Tourist Pt 1

Ep. 12 – Missionary Tourist Pt 2


We listened to one episode each day after lunch. This was our usual read-aloud time so listening to The Brinkman Adventure during this time was perfect for our family. My 11 year old daughter and 8 year old son sat close by and listened to the stories with anticipation. As they have listened to the previous season last year, they still remember some of the characters from the Brinkman family. They looked forward to hearing the familiar voices! There were also some recurring characters from the previous season like Mr. Benti and

After every episode, we discussed briefly the main lessons  we learned from the stories. Some of the lessons we learned from the different episodes were:

  • God is all-powerful, not limited to what our mind can conceive!
  • We need to obey the Lord’s instruction and step out in faith then God would show up when we least expect it!
  • We can never do everything on our own. We need to help one another so we can achieve what God wants us to do.
  • Even through painful situations in life, God can still use us if we are sensitive to His leading.

We also used the stories behind the stories guide from the webpage to know which part of the story were true and which were fictional.

My son’s favorite episode is “Man Up” because it was action-packed and exciting and Ian Brinkman was in the story! I guess he identifies with him. While my daughter’s favorite episode is “Acorns & Oaks” because it was truly inspiring to hear the story of the Ice Cream money Camp!  My favorite episode is “Busy Bees and A Bullhorn” because I sometimes am like Susan Brinkman, trying to do it all when I shouldn’t really be!

If you haven’t listened to The Brinkman Adventures, I recommend that you listen to the stories as a family. It gives every family some hope and encouragement that God can use each person to touch another life. It can even give your family a head start on becoming a family rooted in doing what God has tasked you to be!

You can get the CD version for a suggested donation fee of $27.99 and the MP3 downloadable version for a suggested donation fee of $17.99.

For more on The Brinkman Adventures, follow them on their Facebook page at The Brinkman Adventures Facebook.

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review


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Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we were blessed to be given an opportunity to review Standard Deviants Accelerate.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

Standard Deviants Accelerate or SDA is a secular curriculum supplement which uses fun, lively and comprehensive pre-recorded videos of a full-year of academic lessons for middle to high school students. The actors in the video are young students themselves and use the comedic approach to make the lessons interesting and easy to understand.
Each course includes 30-40 hours of content – video lessons, review activities, quizzes, writing assignments, and tests. Each course costs $24.95/month only.

SDA covers several core Homeschool courses which includes:

  • Arithmetic, Grade 3+
  • Fundamental Math, Grade 4+
  • Earth Science, Grade 6+
  • Nutrition, Grade 6+
  • Biology, Grade 7+
  • Chemistry, Grade 9+
  • Algebra, Grade 7+
  • English Composition, Grade 9+
  • US History, Grade 9+
  • AP Biology, Grade 11+
  • AP Chemistry, Grade 11+
  • AP American Government and Politics, Grade 11+
  • AP US History, Grade 11+
  • AP English Composition, Grade 11+

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review 
Since the program is entirely online, SDA is easily accessible through any laptop or tablet as long as there is a stable internet connection. Just log-in and the student can start going through his lessons or the parent/teacher can check the progress of the students anytime.

My son who is currently in 3rd grade helped me in reviewing the Arithmetic program. He used the lessons 3 times a week as a Math supplement.


The parent and student has separate log-in accounts. The parent creates the user account for the child. The parent account can access:

  • Grade Reports
  • Red Flag Alerts
  • Editable Scoring Rubrics
  • Progress Indicators

My son works on one lesson each time. The lessons under Arithmetic includes: Whole number and the number line, addition and subtraction, multiplying whole numbers and word problems, dividing whole numbers, understanding decimals, understanding fractions, line shapes and sizes, measurement and patterns and graphs.


SDA delivers their lessons in small chunks, with each lesson averaging of about 10 minutes. The concepts in each lesson are thoroughly described. There is an abundant use of visual representations to help the student visualize the lesson.


After watching the video, there is a section where the student can review vocabulary words learned throughout the lesson, then a diagram section where students apply what they have learned through drag and drop the answers to the questions. Then there is a quiz section and written answer section. The quiz isn’t very long and the student have an option to print the questions. In the written answer section, there is a standard question asked, “what is the most basic concept underlying the subject of arithmetic?” Critical thinking is encouraged

Most of the quizzes are automatically graded. Should the student  fail the quiz or have some items which are incorrect, they can watch the video again and relearn and retake the quiz later on. Based on this, SDA customizes the review questions based on the questions the students had missed.

What We Thought of the Product

My son liked SDA. He said that the lessons are simple, concise, engaging and interesting. He liked the video lessons but found the critical question at the end too deep.

I personally liked SDA because it is a great help to parents since I didn’t need to prepare much for this program. SDA did everything for me already. I also liked how the course was able to rouse the curiosity of my son in Arithmetic by introducing some topics he has yet to study. I would like to believe that SDA has attained its goal of teaching in a pro-active, approachable, comprehensive and fun environment.

To know more about SDA check out their Facebook page at :, their Twitter:, Google+: and

And to find out what the rest of the Schoolhouse Review Crew says about SDA, click on the banner below.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

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My Day at the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015

I was at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura last October 17, 2015 to attend the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015: Ready for the World event by Manila Workshops, HAPI and The Learning Basket. It was my first time in the venue and I was quite impressed. There were many people filling up the seats by 8:45AM. And soon, the conference started with Mr. Edric Mendoza, president of HAPI or Homeschoolers Association of the Philippine Islands welcomed everyone to the venue.


The first keynote speaker is Mr. Michael Donnelly, Director for Global Outreach of HSLDA and GHEC 2016.  He shared how homeschooling in such a time as this is not only helping your own families but answering a call to be part of a homeschool movement globally. His message was encouraging as he reminded us that nothing is really neutral, either they are used for God’s purposes or against him. He also reminded the audience to defend their families and culture and not to lose the right to teach their own children, as some countries like Germany and Sweden have banned homeschooling already.
IMG_4979 IMG_4978He summarized what homeschooling means to parents. He said “Homeschooling is the most effective way for parents to fulfill the role of stewards of our children to help them understand who they are and to be able to serve God.”

Then I went to SMX Convention Center Rooms and attended the workshop “Getting Your Children Ready for the World Through Independent Homeschooling” by Ms. Ched Arzadon.  I arrived a bit late as I passed the exhibit hall to check out what items were being sold and had to look for the venue. It was a very informative talk. She gave a brief history of mass schooling, alternative to mainsteam schools and last half of her talk was all about independent homeschooling. She gave examples of varied approaches and even discussed how and where to get Dep Ed accreditation tests and exams. She mentioned the A&E Test, PVT and PEPT.

For someone who is interested to know more about independent homeschooling in the Philippines, it was a must-attend workshop! I am so glad that she gave out hand-outs to the participants, so I can go back to the details if needed.

I attended the 2nd workshop entitled “Give Me One Good Reason to Homeschool” by Mr. Davis Carman. He is the husband of Rachel Carman and is the proprietor of the Apologia Educational Ministries. IMG_4998

He shared a fun list of reasons you’d want to homeschool your children which includes never missing the bus, cooking can count as learning, reading the Bible and praying aloud is allowed, wearing pajamas all day, student can do school work with their pets close by, kids can play outside, Lego playing is counted as learning…. but then he also shared a more serious list of reasons why you’d want to homeschool your child.

It’s a walk of faith. Teaching from a Christian worldview. Kids can explore creation outdoors and it births a love of learning in the kids. The family can do a lot of reading together. Individualized instruction. Positive social context of family and academic excellence.

Though I have been homeschooling for the past 6 years now, I am thankful to have attended this workshop. It reminded me why we are doing what we are doing and that we should carry on until God leads us otherwise.

The last workshop I attended was a forum facilitated by Mr. Edric Mendoza and the guest panelists are from Dep Ed and the principal of The Master’s Academy. The guests from Dep Ed were undersecretary Umali and the NCR deputy. The topics discussed revolved on accreditation, requirements to be a homeschool parent and K-12 specifically Senior High School.  At the end of the discussion, Dep Ed said that they would like the homeschool providers to submit to them their plans for Senior HighSchool and see if it will match what Dep Ed wants. Because as of today, there are no accredited homeschool providers for Senior High School yet.

The last keynote speaker for the day is Ms. Rachel Carman. She is the author of best-selling books and is a sought after speaker across the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. She talked about “Teaching Foundational Truth”.

It was a super packed talk and I just had to capture it in photos to remember key points.


She discussed what truth is and how the world has been changing its very definition.

IMG_5007 IMG_5005 IMG_5004 IMG_5002 IMG_5008
Truth can only be found in the Word of God and it gives us all the information and truth that we will ever need. She also shared some resources we can use to know more about the truth.


The whole conference exceeded my expectations and I was certainly grateful that I was given the chance to attend. For someone who has been homeschooling for the past 6 years, this conference was a breath of fresh air. It was also equipping to know the global perspective of homeschooling and how to homeschool independently.

Even the exhibit was quite different from previous years and a lot bigger as well. I am also happy that there were workshops for children happening at the same time too. Hopefully, in the future conferences, there will be more curriculum vendors too!

It was a day off well spent! Homeschooling in the Philippines is getting bigger and I am grateful that God allowed us to be part of it!

Brookdale House’s Drawing Around the World: Europe Review

My 11 year old daughter has a keen desire to learn more about the different countries in Europe so I was looking forward to reviewing Drawing Around the World: Europe from  Brookdale House with her.

 Brookdale House Review
Brookdale House provides homeschool resources using the Charlotte Mason Method. The company values educators, children and education and believes in child-centered learning. They produce materials that engages the child and help them connect what they learn to their world. They know that teachers have limited time so they produce products that accomplish more than just to give head knowledge to the children. They also produce multi-level homeschool curricula to make learning more efficient.

Drawing Around the World series teaches children geography simply and efficiently. Drawing Around the World : Europe is the first book in this series. Children will learn the different countries included in Europe and mapping them. Children will be tracing the country on the map, locating them and labeling them They also will learn more about the country by completing a country fact table. Information like population, cultures, major religions, climate, and resources need to be filled up.

 Brookdale House Review
The geography drawing series has a recommended schedule of 4 days a week. This way, students will remember the location of each country in the continent and be able to recreate their own maps by memory based on the relative locations of each country. Upon knowing the locations of the countries, the student will appreciate history lessons all the more and be able to relate to the current world news as well.

On the first day, students gets introduced to  the new country by completing the fact table and tracing the outline of the country. Locate the country on the European map, draw and label it on the dashed, black and white map. On the second and third day, draw and label all the countries that have been learned so far. On the 4th day, list from memory all the locations and draw them on the map as well.

There are some weeks which features only one country and some weeks where the student will study 2-3 countries.


This product is available in physical and eBook format. We received a PDF file which can be opened using the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. Then I printed out the pages, there are roughly 250 pages in the entire product. The beginning part of the document consists of detailed instructions on how to  use the product and additional resources to help the students in remembering the information better. They suggest using coloring pencils, timed drills and extra drawing practice. It took my artistic daughter less than 10 minutes to complete tasks assigned each day. She just followed the recommended daily tasks.

We both give Drawing Around the World: Europe a thumbs up! My daughter personally liked this product for the following reasons:

  • Ease of use. Tracing and drawing the map is not complicated and instruction is simple enough to do on her own.
  • Not time consuming. Each session only takes a few minutes each day.
  • Effective. After 4 weeks of usage, she still remembers the lessons she studied on the previous weeks.

I liked the product for the following reasons:

  • Price. With the reasonable price of $22.95, this product is worth its price.
  • Ease of use. The clear instructions give me an overview how this product will help my daughter in her geography lessons. It fosters independence as she learns different countries on her own. It only takes few minutes each day.
  • Flexible. Even with the recommended usage, my daughter can go faster or slower on her lessons each day because each session is flexible enough. It can also be used as a springboard to learn more about each country and launch a full study too. We have conversations about each country every time.
  • Engaging and fun lessons. My daughter is artistically inclined so she loves to draw and finds this product interesting. I personally am not, but I also find this product engaging and fun.

To know more about different Brookdale House products, check the reviews of other Schoolhouse Review Crew!

 Brookdale House Review
For more information on Brookdale House, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, PinterestGoogle+

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OMF Literature’s The Secret Story of Shy Shelly Review

I’m an introvert.

So when I saw Justine Hail’s debut book, The Secret Story of Shy Shelly, I knew I had to read it. Thanks to OMF Literature, I am given an opportunity to review The Secret Story of Shy Shelly. I received the eBook through Buqo app.

Shy Shelly

Reading the story, I am reminded of my own childhood. You see, Shelly is 8 years old and in 3rd grade, and she dreams of having friends but she needs to overcome her shyness to make her wish a reality!


Shelly never raises her hands in class and she walks unnoticed in the campus.  But there is so much more to Shelly. She is kind and loyal. She likes to make things such as paper stars, and she loves strawberry cupcakes too. She even shares how to make these with the readers too.

Shelly Paper Stars

So, what would happen to Shelly? How will she have friends? Eventually, she did overcome her fears, by making friends, standing up to bullies and recognizing and admitting her mistakes.


I loved this eBook. I totally remembered my own childhood and all the struggles I had with friends and stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m an adult now but the memories of friendship and learning how to make friends are instilled deep in my heart. As I read this book, I am reminded of my struggles and realize that I need to share this book to my own children who maybe experiencing the same struggles.

Shy Shelly inspires me to be a difference and to take that first step. Not to stay scared but to be courageous.

shy4 Shelly Paper Stars


Go and get your copy of The Secret Story of Shy Shelly! It is now available as an ebook. You can buy it through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Buqo, iBooks (international only), and Kobo.