June 4, 2023

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style by Cathy Duffy

Review by Laurie Bluedorn from Trivium Pursuit

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum:

Choosing the Right Curriculum

and Approach for

Your Child’s

Learning Style

by Cathy Duffy

We just got back from the Indiana state homeschool convention — what a vast array of curriculum in their exhibit hall! It was just the place for Moms and Dads to look at what’s new and compare with the old. There is so much new curricula on the market today that for many, especially those new to homeschooling, it can be rather confusing and overwhelming. Cathy Duffy’s newest book 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum has come along at just the right time to help us sort out all our many choices.

I love Cathy Duffy’s dedication at the beginning of this book: To the thousands of dedicated homeschoolers who have resisted the impulse to imitate “real school” and have chosen instead to figure out what is best for each of their children, even if it meant writing their own curriculum. You have made the world of homeschool curriculum far richer than the most well-funded schools in the world.

Read the rest of Laurie Bluedorn’s review here:


‘Battle at the Gate’ by Jenny Jenkins

‘Battle at the Gate’ by Jenny Jenkins

Battle at the Gate is a kids history book written about the last battle of the New Zealand wars, the Battle of Gate Pa, Tauranga. It is written by homeschooling mum, Jenny Jenkins, and published by Penguin, and teaches the character qualities of compassion and forgiveness.
In 1869 British warships began landing soldiers in Tauranga, and local Maori built a pa to defend themselves. On April 29th almost 2000 soldiers attacked the pa after it had been shelled all day by heavy artillery. The 200 Maori inside the pa were mostly Christians, having had a resident missionary for about 30 years. They beat back the British charging into the pa, and won the battle.
That night a Maori woman risked her life to take water to a dying British officer.
A poignant story stunningly illustrated by award winning artist, Bruce Potter. Suitable for ages 7 to adult. Great story for Home Educators, Bible in Schools, Sunday School and Good News Clubs.

‘Mind Your Brain’ tour of NZ with Terry Small.

The Firelight Foundation proudly presents the

‘Mind Your Brain’ tour with Terry Small.

Terry Small a.k.a. “The Brain Man” is described as Canada’s #1 Learning expert and is touring NZ for the first time ever in March! An experienced teacher of all ages through to adult level, Terry is a sought after International speaker who will leave you astounded at the wonders of the human brain while giving practical tips to help your brain work more efficiently. Over 175 000 people have attended Terry’s seminars worldwide and he comes highly recommended by those on the USA speaker circuit. Scroll down to the bottom to read a short article by Terry.

Registrations are due to go live next week so if you haven’t already, send an email to firelight@learnex.co.nz and you will added to the mailing list. Terry will be speaking in Auckland, Palmerston North, and Christchurch.  The “Learning with the Brain in Mind” tour is brought to you by the Firelight Foundation, a not for profit organisation committed to bringing quality international speakers to New Zealand. Past speakers have included: Steve Demme, Dr Jay Wile, Sally Clarkson, Jim Weiss and Andrew Pudewa.

Pricing will vary from centre to centre but has been dramatically cut for this tour as Terry has been willing to waive his standard appearance fee for these homeschooling events (after some arm twisting!) which means his loss is our gain. : –  Further information will be posted next week. Save some supervisory allowance if you haven’t already spent it on violin lessons!

Volunteers needed

The Firelight Foundation is a not for profit organisation which aims to support home educating parents so this is an opportunity for  you to give something back and help organise an event in return for reduced or  free entry.  Last conference had 400+ attendees so we simply cannot function without your help!

Available jobs:

Registration coordinator for Auckland – computer skills (Word, Excel & email) and adept record keeping are a must for this


Helpers on the day (Auckland) – kitchen roster (this is an excellent job for teenagers!) carparking attendants, handing out notes, AV desk, welcomers, registration desk etc.

Cleaner (Auckland) – this is a paid position

If any of these sound like you (or your teens), please email fusfam@learnex.co.nz


Tours of this magnitude cost into the tens of thousands of dollars so we are currently looking for sponsors for all three events. You may choose to sponsor all three centres or just one centre. Sponsors will receive publicity on all outgoing emails, web links and/or email links, acknowledgement in the printed programme, verbal mention at the venue and wall display space/powerpoint. Please contact me off list to discuss this if you are interested or know someone else who would be. We are limiting the number of sponsors so don’t miss out.


Palmerston North (combined with Curriculum Fair) – Thursday 11 March

Reformed Church, Ruahine Street

Times & contact details to be advised

Auckland – Friday 12 (evening) & Saturday 13 March

Details to be advised (venue will be in Manukau City)

Christchurch – Wednesday 17 (afternoon & evening) & Thursday 18 March

Full childcare programme available. Further details to be advised.

Further Information

Further information about the topics covered in each centre as well as registration details will be posted next week. In the meantime, please circulate this information to your home education networks. We’d like to offer the opportunity to home education families before opening this up to the wider public.


The Mind Your Brain tour is brought to you with the help of the following organizations:


Superior Resources to Excel in Learning


Suppliers of Singapore maths and more


Below is an article written by Terry to whet your appetite.

By Terry Small a.k.a. “The Brain Guy”

Family Concern recently completed a study involving three groups of young people. One group was consistently praised for previous performance, another group was criticized, and the third group was ignored. Those who were praised improved dramatically, those who were criticized also improved (but not as much), and the group that was ignored barely improved at all. Charles Schwab said, “I have yet to find the person – however exalted his or her station – who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” By the same token young people who are raised in a spirit of praise and approval are going to be happier, more productive, and more obedient than those who are constantly criticized. We become, in large part, what we think about. Therefore, the input into a teenager’s mind is very important.

Here is a great tip: The two most powerful times for this input is early in the morning and late at night. Some psychologists have estimated that the first encounter of a significant nature that you have each day has more impact than the next five encounters as far as your thinking and your attitude are concerned. With this in mind, it is extremely important that these first and last encounters of the day with your kids be positive. These are great times for specific, well-earned praise

Congratulations on learning something about your brain today. The Brain Bulletin goes out to almost 20,000 people worldwide and is committed to help to do just that. If you missed any Brain Bulletins you can find them in the Brain Bulletin Archive:

Brain Bulletin Archive

Something great and ongoing for your brain:

Follow the Brainguy on Twitter:

You can join Terry Small’s 400 followers for free on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/terrysmall

The Adventure of Missionary Heroism

The Adventure of Missionary Heroism

Authors: John C. Lambert and Joshua M. Wean
Format: Hardback (374 pages)

I think there are also a lot of parents who want to expose their children to the stories of missionaries. We’ve come across a book called The Adventures of Missionary Heroism. This is a hardback story book that includes a number of compelling accounts. These are great stories of men and women who risked it all to bring the good news of Jesus to other people. This would be a great book for parents to read aloud to younger children or you could assign this book to your older readers and have them read a chapter or a different story each week. This would be great summer time reading or great for family worship. —Bob Lepine of FamilyLife Today

Among the annals of missionary service around the world are countless true stories of intrepid men and women who are little known today but who endured innumerable dangers, toils, tragedies, and triumphs for the sake of the Gospel. These are not make-believe narratives or fictional tales, but stirring adventures of godly men and women braving wild animals, shipwrecks, and savage natives — all for the sake of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Welcome to The Adventure of Missionary Heroism! Originally published in 1907, this book will become a favorite family read-aloud as you discover thrilling accounts of missionaries facing hardship with courage and unwavering faith in their Lord while they explore new lands and share the Gospel with fierce pagans.

Travel with Dr. Chamberlain on his medical journeys through the jungles of India as he outwits tigers and serpents, or live with Stephen and Mary Riggs as they labor among the Sioux Indians. Follow Alexander Mackay through his extraordinary efforts in darkest Africa, or set sail with the intrepid James “Tamate” Chalmers and stand bravely by his side among the headhunters of New Guinea. May the stories of those who have gone before and been found worthy of eternal glory inspire Christians, young and old alike, to give their all for Christ. Certain to fascinate old and young readers alike!

Information from:  http://www.visionforum.com/booksandmedia/productdetail.aspx?productid=74642&categoryid=29

To order do one of the following:

send email to sales@hef.org.nz with visa number

post cheque or visa number to PO Box 9064, Palmerston North

fax: 06 357-4389

phone: 06 357-4399

order here:

Trademe (fees added):  http://www.trademe.co.nz/Members/Listings.aspx?member=2366144

Sella (No added fees):  http://www.sella.co.nz/store/4ym9qg/hef/display-80/

Save 50% on Henty Classics Library, Plus 3 Books Free!

As I have traveled around New Zealand and in Melbourne recently several people have asked me about good books for boys.  Here is a great set and the free books are fantastic to. You can get a lot of these books at second hand stores, book fairs and garage sales etc.  Or you can get a nice set. If this seems like a huge outlay (it is for me) then why not find a few friends to go in with you to buy a few books. This is what I do and by doing it this way I have been able to collect a few books I have not been able to find at garage sales and book fairs etc.

Save 50% on Henty Classics Library, Plus 3 Books Free!

Henty the Indefatiguable! Best Price in America this Week
on Classic Boys Literature

Dear Friends:

For one week only, Vision Forum is pleased to offer you the best deal in America on one of the most important libraries of classic historical adventure novels in print today — the 20-Vol. Henty Best-Sellers Library!

Two Free Ballantyne Books!

My sons travel with me often. The books one usually finds in my eldest son’s pack include the Bible and a stash of Hentys. As a practical matter, G.A Henty has been a tool of the Lord to cultivate in my sons a ferocious passion for history and to impart to them an amazing retention of the facts of hundreds of key events in history. On dozens, if not hundreds of occasions, the Henty series has afforded me opportunities to engage my teenage sons in rich, meaningful conversations about the greatest events in history, the men behind the events, and the theology which drove those men. Whether the subject was ancient Egypt, the fall of the temple at Jerusalem, the Crusades, or the British colonization of India, the Henty historical fiction novels have been a source of never-ending blessed discussion in our home.

As a home-schooling father, I am deeply grateful for the role Henty has played in the lives of my sons. Henty books are fun, fact-filled, and downright manly. In my view, boys who read Henty are more inclined to love history and to aspire to manliness — two crucial needs in our present generation.

Henty-Inspired Bravery

G.A. Henty helped me survive the campaigns across Europe against Nazi Germany.
—Sgt. Clarence Cluff, Survivor, Juno Beach, D-Day

Two Boys, One Hundred and Forty Hentys!

Vision Forum staff historian Bill Potter interviewed Sgt. Clarence R.Cluff, a home-schooled boy who grew up to be one of the many heroes to hit the beaches fighting on D-1 during the Second World War. Cluff explained that, when the Germans counterattacked, he thought of the heroes from the many G.A. Henty historical fictions he had read — how cool they remained in combat, and how they never panicked. He knew if he kept his head and used common sense, the enemy could be defeated, even when his unit was outnumbered. With this in mind, he made his platoon construct firing slits in the sandbag defenses rather than just pile them up and shoot over the top. When required to only dig one-foot deep slit trenches, he made his men dig three feet. They complained every time about all the extra work, but they “were still around after the battle and many of their comrades who shot over the sandbags or only dug one foot trenches were no longer there.” His command had the lowest casualty rate in the regiment. He proudly declared: “G.A. Henty helped me survive the campaigns across Europe against Nazi Germany.”

Save 50% on 20-Vol. Henty Best-Sellers Library —
Sale Ends October 20th

20-Vol. Best-Sellers Collection

Now through October 26th, Vision Forum is pleased to offer the 20-Vol. Henty Classics Library at the best set price in America: 50% off the regular retail price! Purchase the 20-volume set and pay just $220. (Full retail value is $440 — $22 per book.). Additionally, the full 70-Volume G.A. Henty Library is also available at 50% off — only $770.

Offer good only while supplies last, and is not applicable to mail orders. Sets will ship in 10-12 days. Sale ends at midnight (CDT) on October 26th, CST.

70 Vol. Henty library_large image

Extra Bonus When You Purchase During This Sale!

As an extra bonus, each purchase of the 20-Vol. Henty Best-Sellers Library, or the full 70-Volume G.A. Henty Library, will receive a free Guide to G. A. Henty, and will also receive two free books in the R.M. Ballantyne Adventure Library — The Gorilla Hunters: A Tale of the Wilds of Africa, and The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean. That’s a $54 value!

Offer good only while supplies last. Sets will ship in 10-12 days. Offer ends at midnight (CDT) on October 26th, CST.