Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls {TOS review}

We reviewed Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls by New Liberty Videos. The DVD was created for a general audience.

New Liberty Videos Review

New Liberty Videos presents Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls that covers three interwoven topics, Dead Sea Scrolls with Joel Lampe, Hebrew Word Pictures with Dr. Frank Seekins and The Forbidden Book with Dr. Craig Lampe. The video toots the following: “A treasure unearthed over 60 years…Our journey discovers it is 6o minutes.” There is a lot of information that is presented in the 60 minutes, but Lampe, Seekins and Craig manage to leave the viewer with a wealth of knowledge. They also present the topics in a manner that holds your interest. For me, that may be primarily due to my interest in the subject.

Although they could have probably created a DVD that discusses each topic in greater length, the amount of time they spend on their topic makes it more appealing overall, especially if you have younger viewers. There is just enough for you to learn something and not too much to overwhelm you.

New Liberty Videos Review

The Dead Sea Scrolls discusses the background of the scrolls, which were discovered hidden in a cave. It was a while before the discovers realized the value of the find. The scrolls contain history on several pieces that brought clarity once reconstructed.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Dr. Frank Seekins does a good job in his presentation of ancient Hebrew. He is entertaining. Did you know you read Hebrew from right to left. That is one of the points you learn during his presentation. Hebrew is also a picture language and Seekins shares several examples of this process and you are able to see how that process allows the Bible to come to life.

The Forbidden Book
Craig Lampe walks the viewer through the several translations of the forbidden book. it is amazing how many people and the ways in which they sacrificed to bring the Bible to life. If it had not been for the many translations, then so many people would not have come to know of or about God.

The Bible went from a feared and forbidden book to one that was deeply desired. With men like Erasmus, who was born 13 years after the printing press was created. He was the head of Greek studies department at Cambridge University. He was teaching young boys using his Latin version of the testament. Erasmus desired to provide textbooks to the students to use in the classroom and translated the first testament into Greek. Martin Luther came later in 1521 with the same desire. A warrant was issued for his arrest. Luther later translated Erasmus’ Greek/Latin New testament version into German 1522. As a result of the efforts of both men, many became Christians.

William Tyndale also made significant sacrifices to bring the Bible to the people. Tyndale was a 10 year old freshman at Oxford. He left his family and friends to write under Luther. He chose the picture languages of Hebrew and English to write the versions of Bible to share.

My older children (12 and 10) sat together and watched the DVD. We were three people sitting and learning together, because I still consider myself an early biblical learner. We also discussed the value of the Bible and the amount of effort it took to make it one we could easily understand. The DVD provided a good educational experience for my children and me. I cannot imagine life without the book.

The Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls is available on DVD for $19.95.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

Middlebury Interactive Languages {TOS review}

We reviewed Middlebury Interactive Languages Spanish Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2 by Middlebury Interactive Languages geared towards children in grades kindergarten through second without a teacher.


I am one who believes language (foreign or domestic) is something that can and should be taught to children at an early age. Believe it or not, their little minds really can handle it. Of course, you should begin with your native tongue, but adding a foreign language to the learning they experience may do them some good.

Middlebury Interactive Languages offers foreign language learning in four languages that include Chinese, French, German and Spanish. They have curriculum for children in kindergarten through twelfth grades, even offering an AP credit option to high school students. Middlebury Interactive Languages also offers an Arabic language program with eventual consideration as an online option.


Spanish is the only language they offer to kindergarten through second grade students. In the ninth through twelfth grades, German fluency is not offered and AP credit is not offered for Chinese or German in those grades.

It is typical to find a foreign language program for older students (fourth grade and above), but often finding a language program for younger children results in lessons that are extremely elementary or one with lessons for an older student that have been tweaked to appeal to a younger child.

Middlebury Languages is an immersion program that has your child scheduled to complete a one semester course in six months. During this time, the student is introduced to the language and vocabulary, which is done by the presentation of actual stories (legend or myth) from the Spanish culture. Students also play games, sing songs and complete activities to help reinforce what they are learning. There are 35 lessons with the suggestion students work through the material two days per week to finish the course within the semester period. So, there is a little bit of history, social studies and language arts mixed into the learning.

You may see more videos about Middlebury Interactive Languages.


The interactive feature is what makes it so appealing to Canyon (and me). The activities are also fun for him to complete. In the picture above, he was able to color the picture by making the required selections.


You can see how the page is filling with color. The student clicks on the picture, the phrase is stated, the picture colors when clicked on and the student is to say the phrase. This is just an example of some of the interactive activities included in the program.


In the picture above, he was to put the story slides in the sequence in which it occurred. The activities were age-appropriate and challenging enough for him.

Along with the learning instruction for the student, there are some helpful tools for the teacher (parent) too. The Welcome section is very helpful and an area you should go through before your student begins the program.


I was able to print the vocabulary words covered in the different units, either collectively or by individual unit. The English translation is also provided.

Middlebury Interactive Languages has created a program where your younger student may “take control” of his learning experience. Although I sit near, Canyon is able to work through independently clicking through the lessons. The course is self-paced, which allows the student to take his time and not have to worry about keeping up with anyone other than himself.

We will continue using Middlebury Interactive Languages. I do wish, especially for the younger children (K-2), that the one semester was longer than six months, so the student would have time to go through and review and take the program at a slower pace and still be able to finish timely. I guess that is the point of immersion. So, be sure that when you register your student that you are ready to get down to business and learn a foreign language.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Spanish Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2 one semester course is available for $119 without a teacher or $294 with a teacher. If your student is as young as mine (seven years old), then I would suggest just purchasing the curriculum without the teacher. If your student is older, like in fifth grade or above (especially in high school), then a teacher would be of great assistance. Your student will have someone to work with him to ensure he is learning properly and also pronouncing the language correctly.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

Apologia Educational Ministries: iWitness Bible study {TOS review}

We reviewed iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness and Old Testament iWitness, which are written and designed by Doug Powell and published by Apologia Educational Ministries. The books are appropriate for children 11 years old and older.


Whenever I review a product from Apologia, I always feel like I need a disclaimer, because I love Apologia. If the opportunity if presented where we are able to review an item from the company, I pretty much know I am going to like it.

Graphic designer, song writer and Christian apologetics author Doug Powell has created the iWtiness apologetics book series. Currently, there are three books, iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness and Old Testament iWitness that are in the series.


The Old Testament iWitness gives readers insight into how the Old Testament was developed. Powell also presents contrasts between the Old Testament and Hebrew Bible, while also noting how both books contain the same content, but are arranged differently. I took a Hebrew class in college. This book was similar to some of the lessons we studied. The fact the topic was a college course gives you an idea about the level of the material that is presented. Despite this, Powell has managed to present the material, so that younger children are able to understand too.

The New Testament iWitness gives readers a better understanding of the books in the section and the authors who wrote them. The process was meticulous to ensure the information was properly presented.

In iWitness Bibllical Archaeology, readers learn about archaeological artifacts that help support history revealed in the Bible. Often people need something physical to see to confirm their beliefs (or to believe). Powell presents discussions on many items like the Siloam Inscription (discovered in 1880 Jerusalem); Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (discovered 827 BC in Nimrud – Iraq); and the Lachish Letters (discovered 597 BC in Lachish, Israel). Of all of the iWitness books, this one was the most interesting to me, because I did not realize there were so many pieces that exist proving the history spoken of in the Bible as true. I have just used the Bible as a resource for my proof. Powell also includes pictures of many of the artifacts. We also spent some time online looking at additional pictures of some of the artifacts.

If your child likes graphic novels, then he will already be drawn to the books in the series. Each page appears like a collage, as if you are reading over the notes Powell used to write the book. The books are filled with glossy pages that have pictures (some drawings and others, actual pictures) of the covered topic. The use of a variety of fonts helps to break up each section of discussion, so the reader can hone in on what he is reading.

Powell takes pride in the fact he is able to combine his apologetics training and graphic design skills to present advanced ideas in thought that are attractive to all ages. Rather than present “scholarly material” in many pages of text, Powell, takes the information and uses pictures/documents and walks the reader through a journey of the Bible. He explains more about its origin rather than the stories (even though the Bible is not a story of history book) we read and study in the Bible.

Although the books are recommended for children 11 and older, I believe this series is better as a family read-a-loud. I knew my older two children, especially River, would love the books if it were not only for their graphic presentation. What I knew they would especially like was discovering the mystery that unfolds. The topics are intense, meaning there is a lot of information that is crammed into those little books. I say that only to note they are topics that should be discussed together, because I’m figuring if I don’t quite have a handle on the material, then they may have some questions also; and I did.

The books can be read on the surface, but have so much more for someone who wants to know more details about the books of the Bible and how everything came together.

We use Apologia’s What We Believe Bible series and this series of books will compliment that study.

The iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness and Old Testament iWitness books are available for $14 each. Although it is not necessary to purchase all three books, they work well together to tell the story.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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