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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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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Progeny Press Sarah Plain and Tall Interactive Study Guide Review

We believe in literature based curriculum so we were quite delighted to be reviewing Progeny Press Sarah, Plain and Tall Study Guide as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Progeny Press Review
Progeny Press is not new to us as we have reviewed one of their products, Frog and Toad Together, last year. Progeny Press produces study guides for classic literature and popular novels from a Christian perspective. Their mission is to let the children think clearly, understand literature and to rely on the scripture for truth and values and enjoy themselves. The study guides are categorized according to these levels:

  • Lower Elementary
  • Upper Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School

The Study Guides are available through physical books, CDs, and E-guides. Some E-guides are interactive, meaning the student can type in their answers directly to the PDF file and save it. You need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader to use E-Guides. If you want to print the PDF file, you may also do so using the print feature of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The Study Guide for Sarah, Plain and Tall is recommended for students in grades 4-6. My daughter who is currently in 6th grade is the one who read the book and worked on the study guide. The study guide is 43 pages long. It costs $17.99. The recommended time to complete work on a single guide takes 8-12 weeks but it could take lesser time depending on your child’s capability.

Progeny Press Review

I had my daughter read the book Sarah, Plain and Tall written by Patricia MacLachlan. Then I had her work independently on the Study Guide. She opened the document and read the information on the author, synopsis and the background information on the setting of the story. She checked out the Before You Read Activities and found that she was recommended to write to a penpal. Since she was already sending letters back and forth to a friend in Canada, she understood what it was like to write and send letters to someone who is on another continent in the world. There were several other activities like history research, map work and reading aloud another story, but she wasn’t keen on doing them. So she just moved on to the next part.

My daughter liked the story of Sarah, Plain and Tall as it focused on family life in a prairie setting. She realized how different life back then was, as they didn’t have modern communications and had to rely on newspaper ads and letter writing to communicate with another person on a different part of the country. But she also noticed that even if times were different, the basic needs of people are the same. To have a joyful family was clearly important back then as it is today.


The study guide was divided by chapters. The first part was focused on Chapters 1-3, then there were vocabulary words, questions about the story and questions that made you think and then questions related to the story but put in the context of the scriptures. There were activities like  word search, crossword puzzle and after you read activities too.

My daughter was able to finish the study guide in 3 weeks but still is working on the after you read activities. She enjoyed working on this study guide as it helped her analyze the story more and appreciate the details of the story. She also liked the part where she worked on similes. She can be a voracious reader but using Progeny Press study guide helped her to slow down, and dig deeper into the richness of the story.

Going through the study guide, we were also able to have discussions on what is important in a family, where to find your life partner and what to look for in your life partner.

I would highly recommend this product if you  want you children to dig deeper on the literature that they read. Because in the end, it is not about how many books you’ve read but how many books you’ve understood.

For more reviews on the different study guides from Progeny Press, check out the posts from other Schoolhouse Review Crew members. Follow Progeny Press on Facebook at, on Youtube at and on Twitter at

Progeny Press Review

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Fascinating Education’s Fascinating Biology Review

Fascinating Education brings science lessons to a higher level by offering online science curriculum for high school students. They have 3 different Science courses: Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Our family was given a full year access to Fascinating Biology as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Fascinating Education Review
Fascinating Education uniquely explains science concepts learned in middle school and high school through the use of everyday life observations and colorful illustrations. Appealing to the right hemisphere of the brain, the online curriculum uses audio visual technique to help students learn scientific principles rather than just memorize facts and terminology. The material is presented in a way that students with no background on the specific subjects will understand the concepts. At the end, the student should see how learning Biology can answer some real life problems.

The teacher through out the lessons is Dr. Sheldon Margulies. He has 35 years of teaching experience and is a neurologist. He has attended medical school and law school and has authored 3 educational text books. He aims to inspire the youth to love and understand science, hopefully, pursue careers in the science field.

This is purely an online science curriculum so you only need to have a computer with a web browser and a stable internet connection to access the lessons.

Fascinating Education Review
Fascinating Biology focuses on the basics of biology. The lessons included are: What is Life,  Chemistry Review, The Cell Membrane, Take in Nutrients, Take in Energy, Grow, Reproduce, Homeostasis, Adapt, Prokaryotes, Protists, Animals and Fungi and Plants.

The lessons are made for high school students but middle school students can easily understand the content of the Biology course as well. As recommended, studying the Chemistry course is a pre-requisite for the Biology course. If your child has not yet studied chemistry, you can get the subset of the Fascinating Chemistry course for an add-on fee of $20 only. This is advisable to get since majority of biology centers on chemistry of cells.

The subset of the Fascinating Chemistry course has 6 lessons only. It introduces chemistry concepts to help appreciate biology lessons later on.


For Fascinating Biology, there are 18 lessons in all and each lesson takes about 30-45 minutes to complete. At the end of the lesson, there is a text file of the lessons which you can opt to print out and there is an online quiz at the end to see how much of the lessons the student has actually understood and retained. The quiz can be retaken as many times as needed. The results are not stored. Should you want the PDF versions of the test and the answer key, it is also readily available using a secondary password.

Fascinating Education Review

Upon starting a lesson, you will see a menu on the left side of the screen with the contents of the lesson. Dr. Sheldon Margulies introduces each topic and continuously moves down the content until it reaches the end of the lesson. As each lesson contains many information, there is a “What You Know So Far” at the end to summarize the important facts the student has been taught.

fascinating biology

If there is any information that you want to repeat, you can easily scroll through the menu and click on the topic you are interested in. There is also a glossary where you can see scientific terms and its definition.

Should you exit in the middle of the lesson, you can continue the next time you login. The p$79 for 1 year of access. This product can be used as a supplement to your high school students Science lessons and is fit for homeschoolers, public or private school students who wish to understand science concepts more deeply and thoroughly.

What We Thought of the Product

My daughter is 11 years old and is currently in 6th grade, she went through the lessons but because she is not science oriented and I believe is a bit too young to fully appreciate the depth of this product, she gives this product an average rating. She feels that the lessons are a bit too long and too many information is included in each lesson. She noted however that the lessons are clearly explained by the teacher and likes the various photos as she is a visual learner.

As a mom, I thought that this online science curriculum is good for its price. It is a nice supplement for high school students who need to see Science in a different light. I also liked that it used real life examples in explaining science concepts. I also like the easy way to navigate through the entire course and the simple English instruction used by the teacher all through the videos. This product doesn’t support Biblical views of creation but it presented its views informatively.

You should check out what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew thinks of this product and the other Fascinating Education products as well.

Fascinating Education Review
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