Part 2 of an Interview with Amberly Neese,
Author of of The Belonging Project

In The Belonging Project, speaker and comedian Amberly Neese combines Bible study with delightful humor to create a refreshing and engaging experience that will encourage and equip women to pursue deeper relationships and true belonging by loving and serving one another. She describes The Belonging Project as an exploration of the New Testament as it pertains to biblical community. “God has designed us to live in mutually beneficial relationships and has given us the blueprints to do so in his Word. The study is designed to encourage, empower, and equip participants to thrive in the community to which God has called them,” she shares.

Neese provides biblical and practical help for cultivating meaningful relationships that glorify God through an examination of the many “one another” scriptures throughout the New Testament. She groups more than fifty of them into themes in order to lead readers on an exploration of how to:Find One AnotherFellowship with One AnotherForgive One AnotherFortify One AnotherHaving women in our lives to help us grow in our capacity to love, serve, and forgive is always important, regardless of what is going on in our lives and our world around us. However, now, more than ever, we’ve become keenly aware of the need to pursue and build an authentic tribe. She shares more about that in the interview below.
Q: We’ve been in the midst of social distancing for what seems like forever now. How has this period of time made meaningful relationships all the more important?
Social distancing has made us painfully aware of the pangs of loneliness and disconnection. Zoom parties and drive-by encouragement are wonderful, but they are no substitution for sitting knee-to-knee with a friend, sharing our hearts. In addition, for some, having a house full of family in quarantine can be fun (and loud), but it may not be a conducive place to be truly seen and heard.
The time away from others has helped us see the need for others in our life. Biblical community is more important than ever as we rebuild from the quarantine. One of my closest friends lost a child during this season and the inability to hug her family, have a service for her sweet daughter, mourn collectively, and support her clan in this tragedy have been salt in her wounds for sure.
The Belonging Project highlights some ways to love and serve others from the comfort of one’s living room as well as the sweet discomfort of sitting with a friend in her pain. Social distancing may put a damper on connection, but there are ways to encourage others without breaking quarantine. I am a hugger—more like a tackler—so this time has been hard for me, but it has allowed me the opportunity to explore new ways to comfort, encourage, and connect with others.
Q: Sometimes social media is the only way we keep up with our friends. How can social media be both a help and hindrance to our friendships?
Social media can serve as a wonderful way to stay in touch, but it can also serve as a source of discouragement. It is easy to get caught up in the “compare snare”—the heartache of being left out and/or comparing oneself to the feed of others. It is easy to believe that someone else’s feed, their social media gallery, is an accurate picture of their lives. I rarely see dirty dishes, marital discourse, unemployment, bad hair days, or depression on Facebook or Instagram. We only share good stuff and only after it has gone through a filter to remove our wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
We should avoid comparing our real life to the “reel” life of others because it begins to give us a false sense of reality, and we can suffer from envy, disappointment, and dissatisfaction—mindsets that erode a biblical community.
Recently, I found out on social media that many of my cronies (an old school word for friends) had started a Bible study. Without me. To try and keep the numbers reasonable, they had made a list, and I wasn’t on it. It crushed me. The ironic thing was I had already started writing the Belonging Project, my attempt to encourage women to seek community with others in Jesus’ name, and I was not invited. It took me a little while to recover, but my husband and I have also since started a Bible study with an amazing group of folks who were hungry for community as well.
Q: What can we learn from the life of Jesus about living in community? How was this so different from the political, social and religious culture of the day?
Jesus was counter-cultural as he set an example of including others that others cast aside. He loved those who were hurting, broken, and vulnerable. He chose to invite twelve others to do life alongside him and paved the way for us to do likewise.
Throughout his time on earth, Jesus said things that seemed revolutionary (and downright crazy) to his contemporaries. He broke through cultural, political, and social barriers during his thirty years of life and three years of public ministry. His followers (including the apostle Paul, who penned many of the letters in the New Testament) followed suit. Their behaviors, practices, and words often flew in the face of the culture and helped shape history.
God has designed us for community. In fact, Jesus was so passionate about community that He not only chose disciples—twelve guys of varying backgrounds, personalities, and gifts, to walk with him in his journey. He also instructed them to do likewise with others. He invited a myriad of others, including many women, to partner with him in ministry along his path. Through his teachings and the teachings of His followers, we have a blueprint for the community that he has designed for us. This blueprint can be found in the phrases in the New Testament that include the words one another, such as love one another, encourage one another, serve one another, forgive one another, and many more. Some of these concepts were certainly counter-cultural in the time of Jesus and are today as well. Jesus spoke these words in times of political, social, and religious tumult and they are so applicable in our current context as well.
Q: What are some tips on finding your tribe? As we search, what are some things we also need to find within ourselves?
Despite what we see in movies and magazines, where personal strength and winning are celebrated, we are created for community. We are meant to encourage one another, walk ahead of and behind one another, and create connections with one another. Yet even as part of a church, we often fall prey to societal patterns of comparison and competition and miss out on true community.
To find one’s tribe, we should first pray about it and ask God specifically for people alongside whom we can grow, serve others, and be willing to step outside of our comfort zone.
We need to make sure, however, that we also are willing to be vulnerable, humble, and a safe place for people. Biblical community is not for sissies. We are a broken people, and even when made holy by the blood of Jesus, we sometimes make broken choices. We speak unkindly, we act unfairly, we give grace unequally. Community with other believers can be challenging and can take a lot of faith, but it is a gift and it is worth the hard work of extending and embracing forgiveness.
Q: The last week in the study focuses on fortifying one another. What does that look like in a practical, daily way?
It can take all shapes and forms, but first, one should commit to spending time to find a body in which you can grow in your knowledge of God’s word, stretch your faith muscles, and be built up by other believers.
If we are going to find our tribe and learn to thrive, we need to be committed to encourage others. Not the “Oh my, what a cute dress!” encouragement (although that is always fun, not the wearing a dress part, but the compliment part), but the encouragement of others in their walk with Jesus. Ask yourself: How can I encourage someone in his or her spiritual walk today?
We live in a discouraging world. The political climate, the tragedies all over the nation, the starvation of children all over the world, the disregard of the value of human life, the threat of war, the rise in stress and anxiety—it is overwhelming. How do we keep our perspective? By focusing on Jesus and encouraging one another daily. Do one small thing today to encourage another believer. One could also consider encouraging someone you know who has left the church with a text, call, email, or letter.
Finally, one can easily develop a habit of gratitude through daily practice—perhaps by writing down all the things one is thankful for each day. Find a friend with which to share that list. It becomes a blessing to both parties!
Q: How is The Belonging Project designed to be used? What are the components of each week’s study?
The great thing about this study is its versatility. It can be done with a few friends or with hundreds of ladies. The format is designed to be easy and enjoyable—five days of lessons each week for four weeks.
There is a daily lesson, memory verses, calls to action, and questions to grapple with for each week’s teaching. The lessons are designed to be completed in about 20 minutes. Each day starts with a “One Another” verse, which sets the tone for the day, includes a scripture focus and questions for reflection, and ends with a Call to Action.
Since each of the days in the study covers another “one another” from the New Testament, if those doing the study have extra time, they can also read through the entirety of the chapter from which the verse comes to get a more full picture of the context in which it was written.
Then once a week, you’ll gather with your group to watch a video, discuss what you’re learning, and pray together. The session outlines, which provide options for both a 60-minute and a 90-minute session, include discussion questions, activities, prayer prompts, and notes for the video segment (available separately). You’ll find the outline for each session at the end of the personal lessons for that week.
About the author
Amberly Neese is a speaker, humorist, and encourager with a passion for “GRINspiring” others. As a featured speaker for the Aspire Women’s Events and the main host/ comedienne for Marriage Date Night, two popular Christian events that tour nationally, she enjoys touching the hearts and minds and funny bones of people all over the country. The Bible says that laughter is good medicine, and she has found it’s also like glue—helping the truths of God’s Word to “stick.” Neese loves to remind women of the power and hope found in Scripture. Through a flair for storytelling and a love for Jesus, she candidly opens up her story alongside God’s Word to encourage others in their walk with Him. She is also the author of the women’s Bible study, The Belonging Project.
With a master’s degree from Biola University, Neese serves as an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University. She and her husband, Scott, have two teenagers and live in Prescott, Arizona, where they enjoy the great outdoors, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars.
For more information, visit her website She is also active on Facebook (@Amberly Neese – Comedian/Speaker), Twitter (@amberlyneese), and Instagram (@amberlyneese).

Find, Fellowship, Forgive and Fortify One Another

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

It’s been a crazy couple of months, am I right? While we have done our best to set up and maintain some basic routines and order, sometimes we need to switch gears just a bit. As a family that really believes in nurturing a love of learning in our kids, this means we have to be creative sometimes. Other times we have to be willing to do something new. One of those new things is the HelpTeaching Pro Subscription we received from This is definitely something fun and flexible to give our kids a break from the same old work. With the Pro subscription you can set up a Test Room for up to 500 students (I don’t think i even know that many kids) as well as create and schedule tests, worksheets, and lessons. If you want to get really fancy you can even upload images or use their image library and questions in the materials you create. You can then download them as a PDF or assign them to be completed online. Talk about flexibility. 🙂

Just imagine… endless possibilities.

I admit, I wasn’t really sure quite where to begin when we received this. I mean there is just SO much to explore. But my younger daughter was the first to get curious (she is five) so I let her look at some of the things recommended for her age/grade. She loved all the videos because she is ready to seriously read and write. There were even practice questions for her to answer after her video. And if we weren’t sure where to go next, there were suggestions for us to click on. So my youngest spent a bit of time on their phonics lessons. She also enjoyed quite a few science videos, mostly related to animals and insects, some birds and how plants grow!

My older boys (10 and 14) are taking a summer astronomy class so it was great to see resources here that they can explore even more. Plus, I find my younger son tends to learn so much better when he is taking notes (or filling in worksheets) so quite a few of these really helped him to gain a better understanding and appreciation of things. We may need to invest in a nice telescope in the near future.

My eight year old daughter loves animals. She also loves to garden (although she has not had much opportunity as of late) so she really enjoyed exploring science. She and her brothers are currently caring for a few toads they found in our yard – What a great tool this was to learn about habitats and environments.

What could possibly be better than unlimited access to tests and lessons and worksheets for everything from K-12? Wherever your kids interests lie, you can almost guarantee they have something for it. Search by subject, by test, worksheet or grade – there are lots of different ways to locate all sorts of materials!

While we are still mostly homebound – waiting for things to really get going again – it is great to have a resource like this so we can study at home and on the go. It’s super easy to make your own tests and worksheets so you can minimize screen time (that’s a big deal for me).

As we work through history we can explore the wars that have taken place; we can explore place value through math stories – there are even a variety of materials to use in regards to world religions. As my kids get older, I feel it is important for them to understand what the basis is for all of these other faiths. I always think of Paul, saying in the Book of Acts, as he spoke of his encounter with the eunuch, we need to begin where they are at. What a difference it can make it our witness when we can speak to them, knowing who they say Jesus is.

With an election coming up we can all explore lots of materials on the U.S. Government and the Constitution, as well as critical thinking because, we need to have lots of that when it comes to understanding politics and history.

I got really excited myself to see a whole section dedicated to life skills – money management, banking, finance, driving. I have one who is soon to be started his drivers education and another who has his own business doing lawn care this summer. As you can imagine these materials can be so very handy! And there are vocational education materials too so our trade school wanna be kids can get a start at technical reading, writing, and mathematical skills and the specific vocabulary and content for different areas. Meal planning and international breads; pickling and Indian cuisine (I think these might be for me).

How can you not love all of that? The variety of material is unbelievable. For every age there is something great to help pursue the many curiosities that we are bound to have as we explore and learn about the world we live in.

Whether you use this to supplement materials already in place, use this to give your kids a little freedom to choose in their learning, or just have fun exploring the site together there is so much to learn and do! We are definitely planning to continue using this one (especially all of the life and vocational sections).

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There are so many other members of this Review Crew that used this site too so be sure to click on the banner below and read all about their experience with this amazing website!

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HelpTeaching Pro Subscription {Review}

These words were spoken to me while was at our house of worship yesterday.

Feeling disconnected. Feeling frustrated. Feeling the Spirits within those present.

Seeing those devils about us..feeling the darkness, the heaviness in the spiritual realm.. these are they that plant the seeds of fear, discontent, anxiety…

What do you see?

God reminds me, it isn’t what I feel but what I see that needs to be focused on. What do we see? Right now.

Do we see violence and hate and “racism” or do we see what it really is? Principalities and powers of darkness. Brokenness, ignorance, lack of truth.

We cannot be who God calls us, who He sets us apart to be, until we can see clearly.

Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the Lord ’s declaration. Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with My words….
Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah? ” I replied, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
Jeremiah 1:11

What Do You See

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We have been a part of the Homeschool Review Crew for quite a few years now and I have to say this has been such a blessing in so many ways. We continue to learn and explore various materials and organizations that we may never have, if not for this great group. One of those is The Critical Thinking Co.™ and whenever we see their materials available we get pretty excited because we all enjoy their materials. Right now we are practicing our critical thinking skills with Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving. We received a physical copy of this book but it is also available as an e-book. This is recommended for grades 6-9 and has ten chapters full of great problems to solve!

This book is full of brain teasers, word problems involving algebra, topology, ratio, number theory and lots more. Not sure about your ability? This is one of those books you can hand to your kids and then watch them dive in. I know the older I get, the more I feel like critical thinking is not my strong suit – I mean, some days I don’t remember what I had for breakfast! ha

Great advice!

This book includes a few pages of introduction and guidance. Starting with a quick reading about, What is Problem Solving and moving on to discuss ways to find puzzles more fun. The goal here i to help our kids develop strategies and confidence in their ability so that they see how fun the challenge of the puzzle can actually be! There are even some tips for mom and dad so if our kids do struggle, we can help encourage them along the way. As you progress through the book, ideally, you are learning how to gather information, visualize and solve all sorts of complex problems.

My boys were curious when this book came in the mail. My oldest son tends to be very reluctant when it comes to books of any kind and while his brother loves to read, he also tends to require a bit of a push to do something new. Yet he is has a curious mind; likes to know the inner workings of things, so in the long run it really wasn’t hard to get him involved. Of course it helped him a lot to keep an eye on the questions the book listed along with their General Problem Solving Strategies.

A good word problem in mathematics requires some thought process beyond a quick arithmetic solution…It can be a puzzle, brainteaser, game or any problem that engages the reader in using a strategy.

My oldest son has always enjoyed debating, logic and philosophy. Anything that gives him the opportunity to think outside the box. He has one of those minds that just works in an unusual way. He also tends to be very stubborn and resistant to typical academic work so there are many times that these sorts of materials become a huge blessing. It often takes awhile for him to get into a book, but when he does, I like to think that he is really getting something out of it. Aside from the practice of mathematics, reading and critical thinking there are so many other benefits to be had. These benefits are even discussed at the beginning of each chapter.

We may not always think about the different ways that just one thing can really impact our kids so it is a wonderful reminder to see it notated throughout the pages of this book. Relationships of one to another – knowledge of verbs and adjectives – patterns and sequences. As our children work through these pages, hopefully, they are seeing how these things can relate to problems outside of the pages of this book. Careful reading and critiquing help as they go along, developing a greater ability take care in what they read and develop a deeper power of observation. As my boys learned, sometimes the struggle to solve the puzzle comes from simply slowly down and paying more careful attention to the details given. Going too fast will make it all the more difficult. What a great way to encourage them to slow down and take their time in things.

Honestly, we have so many great materials from The Critical Thinking Co. We love them all! If you want to try them out be sure to sign up for their free weekly puzzle delivered right to your inbox. They have these for grades K-8 and this is a great tool to encourage our kids in their thinking. What a great way to inspire that out of the box thinking in them all!

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Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We just love art around here. I have four kids from five to fourteen and every one of them enjoys drawing and painting. A couple of them even enjoy sculpting and metal working. I have one who is trying to figure out how and when to build a small forge in our backyard. Since I love to encourage them in their creativity, I am especially fond of Artistic Pursuits Inc. and their elementary art curriculum designed to engage the mind within various time periods. Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance is one of the many books available for beginning a student’s journey of learning.  This is recommended for kindergarten through third grade but honestly, my older boys really got involved in this one too. There is always something to learn!

We received a hardcover copy of the book which included Blu-ray and DVD disks. These are also now available as an online course. The pages within this book are full of amazing illustrations, both of student works and also famous artists from this time. With 18 lessons that tell the stories of artists who shaped so much of the world we know today we learn and apply their understanding to create their own ideas and works of art. Isn’t that a fun way to learn a bit of history? 🙂

The materials needed for throughout this book are listed right at the front – honestly we had everything we needed minus a quality watercolor set. They provide recommendations for great, and affordable, materials too so we were able to get started while we waited. While you don’t have to do the lessons in order, it does help to keep organized, if you (like me maybe) struggle with keeping it all together. Each lesson only takes about ten minutes too so for the littlest ones, don’t worry, they can totally do this! My five year old did!

My younger son loved how this started out with a map showing the area the Renaissance began in. He appreciates being able to see where it all was – we even looked it up on Google Maps so he could see what it looks like today – super fun!

I confess, there were many artists within the pages of the book that I just did not know. And here I call myself an art teacher (mentor). Cimabue was one of the many we learned quite a bit about. I did not mention that this guy used to skip school to watch the masters at work – of course can you blame him? Real life is so much more exciting and such a more involved way of learning. Get in there and get dirty. 🙂

As we explored the different works of art, there were questions for consideration. In some cases there is an item to count, in others we are asked to consider the emotions seen or not seen on the faces of those in the work of art. How do gestures show feelings? I have been looking for ways, encouraging my children, to be more aware of the body language and facial expressions of others.

As we explored Limbourg, we enjoyed a story of brothers who painted for a special Duke. This was especially fascinating as it went into detail regarding the making of the brushes used, the blue paint made from crushed lapis lazuli. What fascinating things to explore! I admit we don’t often consider how or where are materials are created. History can be so exciting.

We used chalk pastels. We learned and designed our own scratch paper. My girls enjoyed landscapes and fresco paintings. In each project we are asked to consider the colors, the background. What are we seeing? How do the colors go together?

Consider the location, what those in the work may be doing or thinking. I especially love these things throughout the book that encourage us to go beyond seeing and creating – to consider the story behind the art. I know my youngest daughter always has the most wonderful stories to go with every drawing and painting she makes. And that is most definitely a fun part of the art of creating.

For those of you wanting to get your feet wet and see what Artistic Pursuits is all about, they are offering a free video each week this summer. Be sure to get yours here. All sorts of fun for every age.

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Be sure to click the banner below too and read more reviews from members of the Crew. There are eight book in all in this series and we had quite a few to choose from. I am sure you will find one your kids would love!

Art Through The Ages & Art for Children {Review}

Perhaps I am hard hearted. Maybe I am hateful but all of this insanity has to got to stop.

There is no good reason to EVER hurt or destroy people and property. Looting. Rioting. Destruction. Spewing hateful words. It is wrong. Always.

We live in a broken world. It’s so clear how wrong the hearts and minds are of many today.

Long ago I wrote a dissertation, its premise being the creation and the deception of racism, sexism and all of these other things designed to cause people to hate and destroy. Why don’t we see?

I don’t believe the media.

I am sure there is more truth that we will never know. And while terrible tragic things happen and my heart breaks for so many, this is wrong.

We need to call it what it is. Pain, anguish, hurt feelings … there is a way that that is right.

All this violence and hate needs to stop.

We need to stop believing the lies that are fed to us.

There is no difference between any of us, we are all created in His image. We all were formed for His pleasure and His good works.

Let us stop allowing other people to create things that tear us apart.

I lived and worked in the inner city most of my adult life and I never feared anything. I was safe and I was known not as a white girl or a chick but as a helper and friend.

Racism isn’t real. Refuse it. Deny it. We imagine it to be real but it was only created by man. To divide and conquer.

We can’t live for God when we are so wrapped up and believing the things made by man whether in or out of a church building.

Neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, we are ALL are ONE in Christ Jesus!

We are One

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor compensated in any other way.

Making math fun and engaging!

With four children of varying ages and abilities when it comes to math, we are always looking for materials that will both be enjoyable and also enriching. I still remember (not fondly) math classes when I was a child. If I am honest, I use my fingers to do math to this day, I want my kids to all have a greater mastery with math than I did. Also, with kids who have so many skills and curiosities, they can go so far, if they are able to have a good, strong relationship with math. We have been looking for something; having the chance to use a variety of materials from Page a Day Math was a real blessing. For our family we chose to obtain digital downloads of the Pre-K Math Starter Kit along with the Review Book Bundle: PreK, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division and the CURSIVE and PRINT Handwriting Packs.

Love when I can print pages as we go.
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My kids really aren’t big fans of worksheets. Can we say, lots of grumbling and complaining? They were not thrilled to hear that I had math and handwriting workbooks for them to do each day. Not until they saw all those cute doggies! My kids love animals so anything including them, is a real win for them all!

We downloaded all of the workbooks right away and my kids got started. My youngest daughter (5) worked through the Pre-K book. My older daughter (8) started with addition. My younger son (10) wanted to work on multiplication. My oldest son (14) decided to work on firming up his division. He is starting Algebra right now and really struggling with some things so we are glad to take some time and go back a bit if that will help.


My daughter LOVES Flo ❤

There are so many opportunities for our children to explore that all require a strong understanding and ability in math. As my children become involved in welding, carpentry, building and design they see how great in value math really is. WIth a budding veterinarian, engineer and welder we need to ensure that they have the skills that will be needed to move forward well. A Page a Day ensures that our kids our not just solving math equations but also mastering those facts which are the foundation for all things to come.

Just a page a day is all it takes, front and back. Tracing and solving problems as they go along. I think my kids took about ten minutes a day to complete the page (that includes any corrections they needed to make). With all the adorable illustrations on each page, and plenty of fun and encouraging sayings, this is a great way to learn and grow in math fact fluency.

You are becoming a super math student! Hurray!

Even my youngest enjoying working through the pages in these workbooks. Just one a day. Slow and steady. From basic addition to subtraction, multiplication and division, these are a wonderful way to encourage our kids and get them to a place where they maybe even enjoy doing math.

We also used a number of the handwriting books since I have a couple kiddos that really need to work on their handwriting. They have both cursive and print – we made sure to have both so that they could choose. My older daughter really struggles but also loves how pretty cursive is so it was nice for her to learn as she goes along. The very first one we chose was Being Grateful (it’s been an issue here lately). My younger son really loves science so I thought it was a great way for him to learn some of those basic words (he looked up definitions too as we went along) for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. We also have handwriting ebooks for Sight Words, Merry Music and Scenic States to work through.

With a lot of these, we tend to do the worksheet and then find some fun videos or books to help understanding. My kids are definitely visual learners so it always means more to them seeing what they are learning. Especially with the States, it’s an adventure as we write and explore Yellowstone, Bison, Everglades and all sorts of other fun things related to the different States.

Since we tend to be more “unschool” as of late these were all just great ways to get some work done but also stoke those embers. We cannot let the fire go out. It’s been a crazy time all over the place and I think it is good to have things like this to help encourage our kids to learn and see the good things that are out there. Even the numbers.

I love how some as we completed various pages in these ebooks, my kids would get curious and begin exploring how and when the Golden Gate Bridge was built. Where and why the Everglades are so special. They spent time learning about Chickadees and figuring out what an Aloo Gobi is. As we wrote our way through Fabulous Food, we have found quite a few new things we plan to try in the near future.

My kids really enjoy these because they know just what to do each day. One page a day. I love that they not only are practicing necessary skills but that so often things they are tracing and writing spark a desire to know more. We need more things that encourage our children to live in a way that embraces learning all sorts of things. These are fun, simple and perfect ways to get our kids focused so that they really can be, they want to be.

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I encourage you to read the reviews of other members of the Review Crew who used their Math Kits, Math Review Books and Handwriting books.

Page a Day Math {Review}

The pursuit of what the world perceives as the “perfect life” leaves us feeling depleted, disappointed, dissatisfied, and disconnected. If we would be open and honest with those around us, we would discover we are not the only ones tired of being lonely and left out at work, home, church, and online. God created each and every one of us with a hunger for true community, deeper connection with him, and friendships that are greater than “likes” on social media.
As she was touring the nation, speaker and comedian Amberly Neese found this sense of loneliness and disconnect to be present for women across the board—single or married, rich or poor, with or without children. That is the reason she set out to write The Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to ThriveIn this four-week study, Neese provides biblical and practical help for cultivating meaningful relationships that glorify God through an examination of the many “one another” scriptures throughout the New Testament. She groups more than fifty of them into themes in order to lead readers on an exploration of how to love, serve, build up, strengthen and forgive one another.Part 1 of an Interview with Amberly Neese,
Author of of The Belonging ProjectQ: Tell us a little bit about the central theme of your new Bible study, The Belonging Project.
The Belonging Project is the exploration of the New Testament as it pertains to biblical community. God has designed us to live in mutually beneficial relationships and has given us the blueprints to do so in His Word. This four-week study is designed to encourage, empower, and equip participants to thrive in the community to which God has called us.
I started writing The Belonging Project because as I toured the nation speaking and doing comedy, I just kept hearing women say that they were lonely. Single or married, rich or poor, with a zip code of kids or not, women are feeling disconnected and depleted. Technology has provided us a million opportunities to “see” into the lives of others, but it seems we are actually IN one another’s lives so much less.
To address some of those issues, I explored the more than fifty uses of the term “one another” in the New Testament. Phrases such as “love one another,” “pray for one another,” and “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” are incredible puzzle pieces in the full picture of what biblical community is designed to look like.
Q: Why is community often difficult for women to find and maintain?
Women are busy—overextended with activities, responsibilities, and obligations. Community takes intentional prioritization and a desire to grow alongside others. But it is no easy trick—schedules are full, the pull of busyness can be a real struggle, and community takes time and availability.
Availability also means we must bring our authentic selves to relationships, and that is not easy. Many of us have created a facade of “I’m okay,” but such inauthenticity undermines finding a tribe and learning to thrive. If we are not okay, we should have a safe space to share that, but we also should be creating that safe space for others.
I also think we can get caught up in “Pinterest-envy” or the desire to keep up with the Pinterest boards. It may not be that we strive for every aspect of our lives to be picture perfect, but mostly, we are trying to keep up with our perception of the lives of others. That envy can block us from seeing who people truly are and take our eyes off Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Only when we focus on Him and ask Him to use us to bless and serve others will we drop the envy and start living and thriving in authentic relationships.
Q: What are the four categories of “one another” sayings from the New Testament you examine in The Belonging Project?
The phrase “one another” is derived from the Greek word allelon, which means “one another . . . each other; mutual,” or “reciprocally.” Appearing more than one hundred times in the New Testament, this concept forms the basis of all true Christian community and has direct impact on our witness to the world. As we read in John 13:35 (NIV), “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 
In the Belonging Project, we examine some of these “one anothers,” grouping them into four themes:Find One AnotherFellowship with One AnotherForgive One AnotherFortify One Another In each week of the study, we focus on one particular theme and explore relevant “one another” scriptures and related passages to help give us clarity on how we might live a life in a community that is both fulfilling and fun. Together, we will dive into how to handle life when we feel dejected, disconnected, and dissatisfied so that we can find our tribe and learn to thrive. 
Q: Typically, in the church when we hear the word “fellowship,” we think the word “meal” should follow. What is true fellowship within our community?
True fellowship is when believers are willing to celebrate together, mourn together, support one another, love one another enough to speak the truth in love, and hold one another accountable. Such living is not easy, but it is rewarding and fosters spiritual growth in all involved.
In Romans 12:13, we are told to “share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” I am glad that Paul used the word practice when it comes to hospitality, because I am still practicing. There are people in my life who find great joy and fulfillment in opening their homes, hands, and tables to people, no matter the hour. Although I love when people come to visit and break bread with us, I need advance notice—and that is not hospitality in its purest form; it is the desire to impress others.
I used to believe that hospitality was limited to opening one’s home to others, but I have come to realize that, indeed, this is only a fraction of hospitality. Hospitality can be defined as serving others with love and without complaint, taking on the expense and tasks with joy.
Q: What is something about forgiveness and grace that we often misunderstand or get wrong? How does humility fit in?
Forgiveness has the word “give” in it. It is a gift to both the one forgiven and the one forgiving. We are called to forgive one another, knowing that we will eventually hurt one another as imperfect people. It is to make right. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same— it takes one to forgive and two to reconcile. Forgiveness does not require reconciliation; sometimes it is not possible or practical, but forgiveness is always the right thing to do.
Grace is the next step, not just make right, but make better! Grace can be defined as “undeserved favor.” If we continually recognize the grace given to us in Christ Jesus, humility certainly follows, and relationships with others more easily exist. Grace is what Jesus modeled for us and what God extends to us. God does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10). Instead, we are given grace. We sometimes focus on what we deserve because we work hard, go to Bible study, or because we declined a cookie. We rarely focus on the fact we deserved condemnation and instead we were given love. We deserved death, and we were given life.
Q: What are some ways readers can creatively come together to do the study as a group, even if they aren’t able to meet in person?
First of all, Zoom and other technologies like it are a great way to connect. Schedule a time each week to discuss the study at length, covering the questions at the end of each lesson and share them with others in the study. In addition, one could easily watch the videos, complete the study, then discuss the answers over the phone with others in their lives. The hard part is finding a tribe with which to do the study.
Ask God to show you how you can add to your community of friends, even at this time of quarantine. Pray that God would prompt you to think of others who might be hungry for connection and would benefit from such a study. Call at least one person in your church and or neighborhood and ask how you can pray for him/her. Pray with him/her on the phone and ask if they would like to be part of The Belonging Project with you. Make a list of people who might be good additions to your community of friends and to the study. Include people from your church, workplace, and neighborhood or area. Pray for each of them—not only that they might become your friend but also that God would bless their study of his Word.The Belonging Project – Online Bible Study Facebook Group

For more details and to reserve your spot in one of the small group discussions,
go to the authorAmberly Neese is a speaker, humorist, and encourager with a passion for “GRINspiring” others. As a featured speaker for the Aspire Women’s Events and the main host/ comedienne for Marriage Date Night, two popular Christian events that tour nationally, she enjoys touching the hearts and minds and funny bones of people all over the country. The Bible says that laughter is good medicine, and she has found it’s also like glue—helping the truths of God’s Word to “stick.” Neese loves to remind women of the power and hope found in Scripture. Through a flair for storytelling and a love for Jesus, she candidly opens up her story alongside God’s Word to encourage others in their walk with Him. She is also the author of the women’s Bible study, The Belonging Project.
With a master’s degree from Biola University, Neese serves as an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University. She and her husband, Scott, have two teenagers and live in Prescott, Arizona, where they enjoy the great outdoors, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars.

For more information, visit her website
She is also active on Facebook (@Amberly Neese – Comedian/Speaker), 
Twitter (@amberlyneese), and Instagram (@amberlyneese).

Find Your Tribe and Learn to Thrive

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Reading Kingdom is a well known name in our house. We have used this throughout the years, for our now 14 year old son, as well as our 10 year old son and eight year old girl. This time around it is all about five year old Baby Girl who loves books. She will sit and practice writing letters for hours on end some days. She already loves books and I want that to grow. So what better way to encourage her to slowly develop in her skills, in a way that is super fun, but to begin using this with her too? We received a twelve month subscription to this program which should not just get her reading but also help her to see how fun it can be.

Happy beginning reader

Reading Kingdom uses whole language and phonics. The program is designed for ages 4-10 (grades preschool-3rd) and can also be used for struggling readers. This program is full of learning, as they read and “write” their way through lessons. As my daughter works, the program customizes itself to make sure she is getting just what she needs. By the end of each lesson she could read, write, spell and show mastery of specific words.

Each lesson is about 15 minutes long – turns out this was a challenge for my daughter (5) interestingly enough. Thankfully the program sent out a friendly email asking that I sit with her for a few lessons to see what’s going on. So after watching her and seeing that she just didn’t have enough time to complete each task, we were able to change her settings so that she now has plenty of time to respond. And that makes her pretty happy!

When beginning with Reading Kingdom you have the option to start at the very beginning (which is what we did) or you can take an assessment to see where your child should start for best results. According to this program there are six skills every child must have in order to be an excellent reader. These include comprehension, sequencing, writing and phonics. As each of these is mastered our children are able to gain greater ability and that of course leads to greater enjoyment.

This program is just so full of fun ways to encourage our kids as they develop their reading and writing skills. My daughter loves all of the games that she plays as she learns to read. From popping bubbles to filling in letters and words to complete a sentence, she is not only beginning to read and write but also gaining an understanding of how it all comes together. In other exercises she needs to listen carefully to hear the sounds and fill in the words. Best of all there are lots of great images that have fun, colorful characters to help reinforce the meaning of words being learned.

My daughter loves how this is “her” work and she can do herself (she really can); I love that this is one little step towards growing her independence because it’s nice when they are able to work on their own sometimes.

Don’t take myword for it though; click on the banner below and read reviews from other Crew Members who used this. There is also ASD Reading which is a reading program designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) teaching them how to read, write and comprehend. We have reviews for that program too. Be sure and check them out to see how great these are. 🙂

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Reading Kingdom & ASD Reading {Reviews}

Reading Kingdom {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I am not a fan of technology. At all. I have so many issues when it comes to just the basics. It is funny, I admit it. My boys on the other hand are all about computers and gaming. They love building online, creating games and doing coding activities. While I don’t necessarily like it, I know they can greatly benefit from this sort of thing and what better resource for them to have at their fingertips than a book? The Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook, published by Workman Publishing and written by computer science education expert Grant Smith, is a must have resource to help maintain, and even grow, that foundation.

This is one of many Big Fat Notebook books and these are all so good!

This book is recommended for middle schoolers but my high schooler found lots that was quite helpful in the pages of this book. If you are familiar with BrainQuest, this is from the editors of that. If you have kids who want to understand computer science (or you really want them to) this is a definitely what you need to help it all make sense. Some of the topics included are:

  • Computing Systems
  • Algorithms
  • Binary Code
  • Cybersecurity
  • Web Development

There is lots more to explore too! Want to learn CSS or HTML? You can also work on creating in Scratch and Python. My oldest actually took a course at our local library last fall designing games in Scratch so this was a nice introduction for my younger son and a great refresher for my oldest. All of the good stuff is packed into eight units.

We love the fun images to help bring the lesson home.

Sound like too much? Trust me, every page in this book is “nice and neat” my son says. He loves all the boxes, uniquely highlighted on the outside keeping every page clean. It all begins with a question. Each chapter defines clearly right away, the topic at hand. Key words are highlighted and boxes along the sides include information that is “super important” my son says.

I loved my son giggling as he read over the pages in this book. He loved this one especially:

Computers are powerful but they really aren’t that smart.

At the end of each chapter is a section to Check Your Knowledge and this is a wonderful addition because, maybe it’s just me, we can read and still just not get it. My son isn’t big on writing in books; this looked too nice for him too (he is a tad bit OCD about some things) but he was glad to bring me the book so I could ask and he could answer the questions at the end. And of course because momma doesn’t know all the answers, it’s a blessing that the answers are on the next page.

This was so helpful for me so I know that he is understanding (maybe me too)

The one downside is that a lot of the programming language is very basic. So this is great for anyone looking to get started but if you want to go deeper you will definitely need to find additional resources. That could be a really cool addition to this book; recommended materials for further learning. But even without all of that this is still going to help our kids get started and so long as they get started if they loved it certainly they will seek out more themselves. For my boys anyway, they have definitely become quite resourceful as they seek to learn and create more.

Both of my boys enjoyed this book quite a bit and said they really felt like they learned a lot about technology. My oldest definitely liked the refresher, which also inspired him to get back to coding (he would love to build an app or game at some point). He is my son who always wants to be on a screen and if there is a way to make his screen time more meaningful I am all for that.

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Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook {Review}