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"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men." ~Luke 2:14

~ 2007 ~
Best Christmas Gifts for Homeschoolers

Looking for educational but enjoyable Christmas presents to give this year?
Check out my Christmas gift recommendations for homeschoolers of all ages!

Preschool * Elementary * Middle School * High School * Dad * Mom * Family * Friends

PRESCHOOL (ages 2-6)

Veggie Tales

If you haven’t watched Veggie Tales in a while, you should definitely give them a try. I didn’t really care for Veggie Tales very much when they first came out, but they’ve come a long way since then and now I love them! The overall quality of the script, music, and computer graphics in the newest Veggie Tales DVDs can be compared to Pixar’s computer animated feature films. They are that good! Like Pixar and unlike most Saturday morning cartoons, the clever details in these Veggie Tales DVDs are enjoyed by adults as well as children of all ages. Even teens will appreciate the good-natured spoofs of Lord of the Rings (“Lord of the Beans”), Indiana Jones (“Minnesota Cuke”), and The Wizard of Oz (“The Wonderful Wizard of Ha’s”). These are all extremely witty and hysterically funny. Young children may miss some of the more subtle references, but parents and older kids familiar with the movies and books upon which they are based will find much at which to smile and laugh. The Veggie Tales studio also made a parody of Rocky (“Sumo of the Opera,” featuring the Italian Scallion), Sherlock Holmes (“Sheerluck Holmes”), Star Trek (“Are You My Neighbor?”), and Dr. Seuss (“A Snoodle’s Tale”) in addition to more traditional Bible stories. The Larry Boy superhero episodes are kind of like Batman with a moral message. In fact, the Biblically-based lessons taught in these videos are great, and even adults can learn from them. Larry Boy and the Bad Apple sure got to me with its focus on chocolate temptation! The Veggie Tales episodes are so entertaining that the kids like to watch them over and over again. In addition, the DVDs are jam-packed with extras such as silly songs, audio commentaries, hidden “Easter eggs,” fun games, interesting interviews, educational content, and assorted activities so you really get your money’s worth. Veggie Tales DVDs are available in many places, but Library and Educational Services has the best selection and cheapest prices.

ELEMENTARY (ages 4-8)

Home’s Cool Kids Books


Home’s Cool Kids is a set of refreshing new picture books written by a Christian homeschool dad, featuring homeschool kids as the main characters. Homeschooled children will be glad to finally have a set of books about kids like themselves. Homeschool parents will appreciate the stories for their accurate, down-to-earth portrayal of homeschool families. The first two titles in this series are Baby Kong and Grumpy Mr. Grady, both of which are amusing stories that teach a valuable lesson. Biblical references are included in a gentle, non-preachy manner. I recommend getting the set of two books, because once you have one you will definitely want the other. These are high-quality, full-color hardcovers of 24 thick glossy pages each. Jim Hunt’s colorful cartoonlike illustrations perfectly complement the clever text in these fun read-alouds. I can’t wait till Scott Stroud comes out with some more of these great stories! Read my complete review at or take a peek inside each book and order yours at

MIDDLE SCHOOL (ages 9-13)

Dangerous Book for Boys (and The Daring Book for Girls)

This eclectic collection of practical projects, interesting facts, and old-fashioned activities will be enjoyed by boys as well as their dads. It is written in a friendly, conversational tone with a sense of humor. The book appeals to a boy’s natural desire for adventure while cultivating their curiosity, keeping them busy learning new skills, and upholding the ideal of respectfulness for others. There are chapters on tying knots, coin tricks, skipping stones, marbling paper, setting a splint, writing in invisible ink, talking to girls, making a bow and arrow, fishing, hunting, ancient wonders of the world, extraordinary stories, geography, astronomy, the golden age of piracy, the game of chess, making a periscope, brief history of artillery, role-playing games, measurements, famous battles, Navajo Code Talkers, latitude and longitude, the Declaration of Independence, grammar, poetry, Shakespeare, literature, Latin phrases, etc. (While The Dangerous Book for Boys does mention the age of dinosaurs in millions of years, what sold me on this book was the chapter on the Ten Commandments in which the authors state: “What compilers of modern versions of the Bible sometimes fail to appreciate is that the language of the King James Version has a grandeur, even a power, that their versions simply lack. It is no hardship to “walk through a dark valley.” On the other hand, “the valley of the shadow of death” is a different matter. Frankly, the rhythm and poetry are part of the effect and not to be lightly cast aside. We can find no better example of this than the Ten Commandments themselves.”) I would say that the only danger in The Dangerous Book for Boys lies in its political incorrectness! Every family with one or more boys needs this book, especially in today’s digital generation. The Dangerous Book for Boys is a great guide for fathers and sons that will prompt them to spend time together focusing on training rather than entertaining, with dad acting as the primary instructor while also nostalgically letting him rediscover his own childhood. I have three boys and no girls, but The Daring Book for Girls looks like it’s probably just as good as the one for boys – with chapters on female heroes in history, secret note-passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, Double Dutch, Cat’s Cradle, etc. I’ve seen both of these books at Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Amazon.

HIGH SCHOOL (ages 14-18)

Signs & Seasons:
Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy

Jay Ryan has done for astronomy what Jay Wile (Apologia Educational Ministries) did for the other sciences, by writing a Creation-based user-friendly curriculum designed with home learners in mind. Once upon a time, everyone from common folks to scientists knew how to read the God-given signs in the sky (Genesis 1:14). However, somewhere along the way this knowledge was forgotten and is now neglected or even omitted in contemporary classrooms and curricula. Signs & Seasons provides a golden opportunity for Christian homeschoolers to rediscover the astronomical heritage of a bygone era. Signs & Seasons would be a great elective or educational supplement, but this Biblically-based self-study guide to the sky is enjoyable to read and it doesn’t seem like a textbook at all. Even the introduction and appendix are interesting! Signs & Seasons is packed with fascinating facts about the history of astronomy, as well as practical information useful for astronomical observation. Jay explains everything in great detail from a logical point of view, with Biblical references. Perhaps even more importantly, Signs & Seasons sets the record straight about supposed “pagan influences” in astronomy, and offers challenging Biblical and historical explanations that distinguish the legitimate science of astronomy from the ancient superstition of astrology. In addition to the main text, Signs & Seasons also includes extensive Field Activities. Signs & Seasons is an 8˝ x 11” heavy hardbound book, 280 pages in length, lavishly illustrated on thick glossy paper, with an eye-catching full-color front cover. The superior quality of this book means that it would make an excellent gift for the stargazer in your family. Read my complete review at or take a look inside the book and order a copy at

~ DAD ~

Evidence Bible:
Irrefutable Evidence for the Thinking Mind

The Evidence Bible by Ray Comfort is a slightly modified version of the Authorized King James Bible that reduces archaic word usage and makes it easier to read, while remaining true to the original without any paraphrasing or deletion of text. But that’s only the beginning! This Bible is filled with many extras including commentary from Ray Comfort (who co-hosts the award-winning television show "The Way of the Master" with Kirk Cameron). Ray Comfort wisely uses insights from great scholars throughout the centuries to confirm the truth of the Word. However, this is not a comprehensive theological study Bible, but rather a learning resource and a tool for evangelism. Study how to share your faith with your relatives or at your workplace, and learn how to show the absurdity of evolution. See from Scripture how to prove God’s existence, and discover how to prove the authenticity of the Bible through prophecy. See how the Bible is full of eye-opening scientific and medical facts. Read fascinating quotes from Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Sir Issac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Stephen Hawking, and many other well-known scientists. Read the fearful last words of famous people who died without the Savior. Learn how to refute so-called "contradictions" in the Bible. Learn how to speak with an atheist, a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Moslem. Find out why the Dead Sea Scrolls are relevant to the Bible. Read amazing quotes about the Bible from presidents and other famous people. Find answers to common questions and objections such as: Where did Cain get his wife? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why did the dinosaurs disappear?…and many more. The Evidence Bible is available in softcover, hardcover, and leather-bound editions. It’s a must-have resource for parents, students, pastors, and anyone who desires to share their faith with others as Jesus commands us to do. My husband and teenage son were both eager to get their own copy of this Bible. Order yours direct from or click on the Amazon link above.

~ MOM ~

Learning for Life: Educational Words of Wisdom

Learning for Life Book

This may seem like a shameless plug for my own book, but Learning for Life really is a unique, hard-to-find gift for the mom who has everything. It contains nearly 3,000 quotations by more than 1,000 people on teaching, learning, and the pursuit of knowledge. This treasury of classic and contemporary rhetorical gems will inspire and encourage you in your day-to-day teaching. I’m always looking up quotes in it myself, so I know that it’s a useful resource. I bet that once you start browsing through it, you won’t be able to put the book down. But don’t take my word for it! Consider what others are saying about Learning for Life:

“Veteran homeschooling mom and writer Teri Olsen has packed her years of research into this handy, enlightening, and valuable book.” ~Kathy Davis,

“This wonderful inspirational an amazing collaboration of time-honored quotes from history's great men and women.” ~Helene Charles, homeschool mom

“The book...will inspire a person and in turn give wisdom. It is not only for home educators but also for all educators. I found myself immersed in reading them and saying "this is so true."” ~Margaret E. Bradley-Simard, Retired School Psychologist/Psychometrist

To order Learning for Life, find out more about it, and/or read additional endorsements, please go to this page:


Sugar Creek Gang DVD series

"Revival Villains" - - it's my favorite!

If you are looking for some good, clean, fun family films, be sure to check out the “Sugar Creek Gang.” This DVD series is based on a set of books published in the 1940’s to 1960’s by Paul Hutchens, which in turn were based on the author’s own childhood experiences. These nostalgic stories tell about a group of children growing up in 1950’s rural America along the banks of Sugar Creek. Published by Moody, the books remain popular with homeschoolers today because of their Christian values. All ages will enjoy these movies, from young children to senior citizens. Georgia-based production company Kalon Media did a great job bringing the beloved Sugar Creek series to life. They really capture the sense of innocent old-fashioned adventure from the books, and the child actors are very genuine and fun to watch. You can tell that everyone involved had a blast making these movies! Titles (in order) include: “Swamp Robber,” “The Great Canoe Fish,” “Revival Villains,” “Secret Hideout,” and “Teacher Trouble.” Each episode in the series can stand on its own, but the story lines are also interrelated. So it would be best to have the complete collection, but if you only get one of them it should definitely be “Revival Villains.” Although the title may not sound quite as exciting on the surface as the other ones, it is by far their finest masterpiece. The haunting music, beautiful imagery, Biblical message, and touching storyline will stay with you long after the movie is over. The Sugar Creek Gang films are faithful to the original stories, but they also contain some plot and character changes as is usually the case when bringing a book to the big screen. Nevertheless, fans of the books will enjoy these films, and fans of the movies will want to get the books. We have the whole set of DVDs and we like viewing them together as a family, while our 7- and 12-year old boys also watch them over and over again by themselves. Read my complete review at For more information and to view the movie trailers, visit


The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

The Old Schoolhouse magazine is written by homeschoolers, for homeschoolers, with a Christian worldview. It is full of practical ideas, timely information, and a wide array of resources which encourage and strengthen homeschoolers to persevere in their calling to educate and disciple their children in the home. Each comprehensive issue contains something of interest to veteran homeschoolers and new homeschoolers alike, as well as anyone considering homeschooling. The Old Schoolhouse features many excellent columns, and contributing writers include several notable authors whose names you may recognize such as Dr. Ruth Beechick, Ken Ham, Christine Field, and Diana Waring. There is a Show-and-Tell department where readers share their own homeschool stories, methods, and curriculum choices. A plethora of unit studies, art lessons, interviews, how-to’s, field trip ideas, recipes, product reviews, cartoons, contests, additional articles and resources are also included. Each quarterly issue of The Old Schoolhouse magazine is approximately 200 pages printed in full color on glossy paper. It’s an attractive magazine that always features a gorgeous photo of a schoolhouse on the cover and is suitable for display on a coffee table. The Old Schoolhouse is fun to read and has a homey, warm feel so that when it arrives in your mailbox, it’s like getting a letter from an old friend. Speaking of which, The Old Schoolhouse is a perfect gift for your friends who homeschool or are considering homeschooling. Right now you can take advantage of the Buy One Get One for $5 sale. If you buy a one-year subscription for yourself, you can get another one-year subscription for only $5 for a friend. Now you can give yourself and a friend this wonderful gift for Christmas! Read my complete review at


These pages are a continuous work in progress.
Copyright © 2000- by Teri Ann Berg Olsen
All rights reserved.

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