Current Events

What is your current study as we head into November? The Election? Veteran’s Day? Thanksgiving?

Notebooking Pages has notebooking pages for you! And even better yet, it has FREE sets for all 3. Take your pick and get started on your current events studies. Or do them all.

Veteran’s Day Notebooking Pages from

Free 2016 USA Presidential Election Notebooking Pages from

Thanksgiving Notebooking Pages from

Lisa @ Me & My House

Notebooking Pages Birthday Bash

It’s Notebooking Pages 8th Birthday and YOU get the gifts!

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May 6 from 7-9pm EST.

Prizes include $25 gift cards plus prizes from Bible Road Trip, Katie’s Homeschool Cottage, & The Old Schoolhouse

Don’t forget. Click on over tonight, May 6, 2014, 7-9 p.m. Eastern time to enter for Prizes. AND to get your Lifetime Membership for ONLY $50!

John Knox {Review}

John Knox - Christian Biographies for Young ReadersYou may not think the life of a tutor or pastor sound very adventurous, but John Knox’s life was filled with more dangers, risks and turns of events than most of us would want.

John Knox was a small, unassuming man, who began his career as a notary, probably a quiet job and life. Next he became a tutor for 3 boys from 2 families. Knox had, about that same time, heard the good news of salvation through faith alone, and although this was during the troubled times of the Reformation, there was some freedom and peace in his home country of Scotland at that time.

But his quiet life didn’t last long. Scotland stopped the freedom the Protestants had been given, but that didn’t stop the Protestants from proclaiming the gospel. George Wishart was a prominent preacher at that time, and Knox became a bodyguard for him. After Wishart was captured and put to death, Knox went on to take refuge in a castle that got bombed, become a pastor, get captured and serve 19 months as a galley slave. And this is just the beginnings of his story. Later in his life he flees the country, confronts a queen, and is almost assassinated.

Simonetta Carr does a great job of telling Knox’s story in her brief biography for children. Several features, in addition to the story itself, make this book a great addition to your home library. Before the story, a colored map show the key places mentioned in the story, so you can follow his life’s travels. After the story, a timeline of his life helps you see the sequence and time frames at a glance. I love the “Did you know?” pages with paragraphs of additional information about Knox, other key people of that time, and life at that time. Like the other books in this series, John Knox is a beautiful hardback with great illustrations and photos throughout.

John Knox is the seventh in Ms. Carr’s series of Christian Biographies for Young Readers. My children and I have enjoyed reading all the books in this series, and I highly recommend them to Christian parents to introduce their children to, not only the life stories of Christian leaders of the past, but also the roles they played in key events in the history of the church. From John Knox, they will learn from his example how to stand boldly for the truth of the Word of God, how to trust God through great trials, and much more.

*Note: I received a complimentary copy of John Knox in exchange for my honest review of it. Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews, the author Simonetta Carr, and the publisher Reformation Heritage Books.

Purchase from CBD:

782890: John Knox - Christian Biographies for Young Readers John Knox – Christian Biographies for Young ReadersBy Simonetta Carr / Reformation Heritage Books

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ThanksGiving Study Sale


thankscoverTime to get your ThanksGiving Studies under way. Whether you choose to spend 1 day, 1 week, or this whole month studying about the foundations of this Holiday, as well as the attitude of gratitude, we’ve got a great guide to help you in your studies.

Freedom & Simplicity™ ThanksGiving Study covers:

  • HisStory: His Word on Thankfulness
  • HisStory: The Pilgrims
  • HisStory: Thanksgiving Day
  • HisStory: In Your Life

This guide covers what to study, how to study, and how to document your study. Free online resources are included along with great print resources.

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Order by November 15, 2013 for $5 off!
Use the Coupon Code: THANKS

Flying By the Seat

We’ve entered a new season of lessons/book work after our suddenly-extra-extra-busy-summer. (Our daughter got married). But due to that suddenly-extra-busy, a summer spent leisurely writing lesson plans never happened–and still hasn’t. But we are faithfully doing the next thing, and God is in control.

I shared one of our Providentially ordained lesson tie-togethers in my newsletter. This week brings another unplanned (by us, but ordained by the God that holds all past, present and future in His hands) lesson. We “just happen to be” studying Columbus this week.

Thank you God for directing our path, even when we aren’t sure where we are going.


Books, Books. The Conclusion

oldbooksFinishing up this series of posts on cataloging your Library, let’s review and also look at some extra features of my chosen app.

Whether you have many or few books, now is the time to start cataloging them.

  • If you have few, start now while it is easy to get them all cataloged.
  • If you have many, start now before you accumulate more and the chore becomes more time consuming.
  • Get them organized in a much easier, more reliable method than just writing or typing a list or table. And much, much easier way to access and utilize the info in many varied formats.

What can a Library Cataloging app do for you?

  • Keep track of what you have. Whether you have primarily physical books, ebooks, or audiobooks, or a nice mix of all, cataloging them will help you know what you have at a glance. It’s importance is magnified if you do have a mix, since they are not all stored together and all seen at a glance. A full list of why it’s a good thing to know what you have would be too long to post here, but here are three good reasons:
  • insurance records,
  • not buying duplicates,
  • planning ease (for reading them).
  • Keep track of what you’ve loaned. When friends and family borrow your books, they may be out of sight, out of mind. Know what you own even when it’s not on the shelf.
  • Keep track of what you want. Home educators and bibliophiles alike usually have book wish lists, whether that be the “school” books you need for the coming year for your children, or a good book a friend or another resource mentioned that you aren’t able to get yet, a cataloging app is a better place to keep track of this than several small scraps of paper floating around.
  • Allow you to view and organize that info in ways that are most helpful to you.

What apps do I recommend?

  • After trying several, I chose Bookpedia and it’s companion PocketPedia for iOS. These are inexpensive and have great features and work very well (easier to use and work better than others I’ve tried and used.) They are only for Apple.
  • For those on Windows, I suggest trying Book Collector. While it didn’t work for me, it looked like it may be a good choice for those on Windows and perhaps for those with Android devices. It has much the same look, the authors of the app were helpful, but I could never get it to work right on my Mac.
  • There are many, many others you could check out. I did. Google it. I was not overly thrilled with any of the others. Booxter is what I used for many years. It was OK, but does not have the capabilities of Bookpedia that I love. Many were too “light” to have truly helpful features, or designed for other needs than I have (such as comic books).

What features does a good app have–and what additional Bonus features are in Bookpedia?

  • Automatically add books via ISBN number or bar code. Bonus features!  Keyword search is a plus. Highlighted text in other resources can be sent to Bookpedia through the Service Menu in many apps or dragged in. Bookpedia can very easily scan bar codes; my previous library app could not. I usually tried several times, then gave up deciding it was easier to type them in.
  • Manually add books that can’t be found in the online book databases. Great for old and obscure resources.
  • Add books of any format. Ability to indicate any format you want. Bonus feature! Adding links to the digital books/resources on your computer, as well as, for any resource, to the URL where the information was added from.
  • Add ebooks by simply dragging the book over the app icon. This automatically adds the info and includes a link to the ebook’s location on your computer, to open and read the ebook. Another Bookpedia Bonus feature!
  • Import books and other resources from other apps. Such as Audiobooks from iTunes–including links to the files, as for ebooks above. This is a Bonus feature for Bookpedia! (Book Collector was not able to import my previous library. Bookpedia did, and imported my Calibre and my Audiobooks also.)
  • Autofill. Avoid repetitious typing with autofill of often used info, such as author’s name, publisher, genre, etc.
  • Easy addition of images. Bookpedia has by far the easiest way to add images to those entries missing them, with a built in browser using Google images or any other URL you specify.
  • Edit multiple entries. When several entries need to have the same info, change them all at once. Very helpful when you purchased several on the same day from the same place, or are adding several by the same author, or in the same series, etc.
  • Rate your books. Note what you loved, what was only so-so. Add other Comments and Notes also.
  • Adding Collections and Smart Collections to organize books into folders in the way most helpful to you! Smart Collections automatically add books that fit the criteria you predetermine. Very handy for Genres, Authors, Series, etc. Folders are helpful for specialized lists (without specific search criteria) for each of your children’s reading list for the year, or your current review list, etc.
  • View duplicates. Know whether you have more than one copy of a resource, or if you’ve mistakely added something more than once.
  • Track loaned books, wanted books, and books you are selling. Other Bonus features from Bookpedia. All the info you need for these things, at your fingertips. Bookpedia will automatically send an email reminder when a book is due; can include the purchase link for books you want; and all the info you need for selling your books, including the purchaser’s info.
  • A companion iPhone/iPad app to take your books with you easily. Bonus feature! Very easy to sync the 2 together–wirelessly. Again, not a super simple process on my previous app, so I’m thrilled that this one works completely with just a touch of a button, and syncs both ways.
  • Customization. More Bonus features on Bookpedia! Aspects/fields can be rearranged, customized, new ones added and more. There are enough Preferences that can be personalized to make this app work the way that best suits you! Changing Genre categories to suit my classifications is a must. 🙂
  • Print your Library and Collections. Bonus feature! Bookpedia allows several different formats for printing, again much more flexibility and nicer looking print out than my previous app.
  • Format for bibliography. Bookpedia can automatically transform entries into MLA style bibliographies. By dragging, instead of copying and pasting, a link will be created back to the Bookpedia entry. A feature I wasn’t looking for, so truly Bonus.

Desired features? Cons? I’d like to see manual entry additions possible on PocketPedia. For those not on Apple, you will need to find different apps.

In this series I’ve given you plenty of reasons for getting your books and other resources cataloged. What are you waiting for? Get started today to have this project completed (or well under way) before the new school year starts. It will make your life easier. Bookpedia is a great option at a great price. You won’t regret it. If you don’t have a Mac or iOS device, sorry. I hope you can find something you are as pleased with as I am with Bookpedia.

Have you started cataloging your books yet? Answer below.


Books, Books. On the Road

oldbooksWhat can an book cataloging app do for you? As I continue my series on cataloging your home library, today we’re looking at taking your Library Catalog on the road. We’re looking at BookPedia and and its companion, PocketPedia. Other cataloging apps may have a companion app and these same or similar features.

Now we get to the really exciting part of a Library Cataloging app. It’s great to have this all organized on your computer. But it’s even better to be able to take all this info with you! There are two ways you can do this. The old fashioned way and the techy way. 

Let’s get the boring old fashioned way out of the way first. Then move on to the fun way. The old fashioned way is to print out your catalog. You can print either the entire Library or individual Collections. You can print them out as either lists, covers, or by various Templates that give other layouts and options. These can be handy. But there is a better way.

pocketpediaLogoLargeEnter PocketPedia.

PocketPedia is the companion app to Bookpedia for iPhone/iPad/iPod. One touch of the sync button, and all the information you’ve put into Bookpedia on your computer is transferred to your mobile device. You can view and search your Library and all your Collections, sorted by title or author, on PocketPedia. You can also create new Collections and move books to them, rate books, and mark books as Borrowed or Returned.

Although the options aren’t as varied for adding books, you can add books on PocketPedia 2 ways, either through Pedias’ own Doghouse database by ISBN or keywords, or by scanning the bar code of the book with your device’s camera. You can also send the scans to Bookpedia on your computer, for more expanded search capabilities. Being able to add books in these two ways enables PocketPedia to be a stand alone app, if you don’t want to get Bookpedia (or don’t have a Mac computer but do have an iOS device.) Just realize that you can’t add books manually if the searches don’t come up with your book, and you don’t have the same editing options.

PocketPedia also works with the other Pedia family apps. It’s a great bargain for having your entire library catalog with you at all times, for only $3.99 in the iTunes App Store.

Stay tuned for the Conclusion and review in the next article of this series.

How do you carry your lists of books you own with you–to places like homeschool convention, used bookstores and such?


Books, Books. Viewing Books

oldbooksWhat can an book cataloging app do for you? As I continue my series on cataloging your home library, today we’re looking at Viewing and Organizing features. Many apps have these same or similar features. (Bookpedia is only for Mac computers. Look for a similar PC option if you aren’t blessed to own a Mac.)


Now that you have all your books added, let’s take a look at them. Some apps just have a basic list view, others have various views–much like iTunes.


List view, with details

With Bookpedia you can view your books as a List, displaying whichever attributes/fields you like and sorting by field to display in that order. You can also Search (top right) all aspects, or limit your search to Title, Author, or any other specific aspect. To the far left of an entry you may see one of 4 icons. A person shape indicates the book is loaned out. A star indicated that the book is on your wish list. A paper clip indicates that a file is linked to that entry. A Quicktime logo indicates that a movie is linked to that entry.

Grid view, with selected cover

Grid view, with selected cover

You can also view as a Grid, displaying the covers. You can adjust the size of the covers to display as many or few as you like. Borrowed entries are indicated by a colored bar across the bottom of the cover, noting days till due or overdue.

Or in Cover Flow mode, displaying larger covers in a scrolling manner.

Cover Flow - no details

Cover Flow – no details

Within each of these views, you can choose to display the Details of the book selected or not (shown in List view above). There are several display options for these Details, and you can also set which fields you want to display in the details pane, and in what order. (By entering Edit mode, by double clicking an entry, you can see all details, in addition to editing details.) Another option you have is to view selected cover or not (shown in lower left, in grid view image.)


Full Screen

Lastly, you can enter Full Screen cover flow view, if you want to see all your covers in all their glory.


In addition to the basic sort and search features above, there are other options for organizing, sorting and displaying your books, that is using folders to organize them into Collections.

Folders. You can make folders to organize your books in anyway you want. Create and name a folder, then individually add books to that folder by dragging them in. These work like playlists on iTunes. This can be handy when you want to make a folder of each child’s reading for the year/term or such. Or perhaps a Collection of the books you need to review would be helpful.

 Smart Folders. Or you can make SmartFolders with specific criteria for automatically adding books to it, such as by Genre or Location or reading level, etc. For anything that you can define what you want added to it, based on your fields, smart folders are the way to go. I have smart folders for each main genre (i.e. main subject) as well as main types–physical books, ebooks, audiobooks, dvd’s, etc. Other smart folders I have are: certain authors (Henty), series (Landmark), or publishers (Lamplighter).

Your Library folder holds all your books. Your Collections (the folders you create) are smaller subsets of your entire library. You can add and remove books from Collections, without affecting their presence in the Library. (Like moving them from one bookcase to another, while still keeping them in your home.) There are also Borrowed and Wish List smart folders in Bookpedia, to keep track of the books you’ve lent out to others, and keep a list of books you’d like to get. Each folder gives you a number count of files in it.

A Status Bar along the bottom displays the total count of books in your Library (or Collection selected), number of books you have lent out, your total page count (if you’ve added page count for all your books) and the value of your library and total you spent on it (again, if you’ve accurately recorded that for all your books.) These values, as well as the list itself, can be helpful for insurance purposes.

I’ll mention one more handy display feature. Display Duplicates. This is handy for 2 things. 1) To see that you have entered a book more than once. In which case you can delete the duplicate. 2) To see that you really have purchased multiple copies of the same book. Now that you have them cataloged you can avoid that in the future. Avoiding adding a book to this list is worth the $18 that Bookpedia costs. Get it in the Mac App Store or from

In the next part of this series we’ll look at taking your library on the road.

Have you ever mistakenly bought the same book twice?