serious training, a trip, + a traveling lifesaver named JP

After our little home anniversary trip our week was full of good things, right up until the minute we left for our kid vacation on Friday morning. :)

On Thursday I attended my first and second Classical Conversations orientation. Both were super informative, and our Essentials (writing/grammar) tutor hosted a lovely dinner orientation for us:

Yes, that's a big, beautiful stack of papers and assignments you see there. :)  I actually brought a metal crate just to carry all my books. Just keep telling me I have no reason to be scared (?!)... it will all be fine, right? :D

On Friday morning I turned in my big project, gave the boys haircuts, and then we finally hit the road. Our first stop, appropriately, was for sugar, carbs, and coffee at the original Collin Street Bakery:

We only had to travel a few hours, but the kids had no problems thanks to these audio adventures- I think they might have been their favorite part of the whole trip:

At our CC practicum bookstore in June, I just happened to overhear two moms discussing how much their families loved Jonathan Park audio stories. They were both agreeing how wonderful they were, and sharing how they used them regularly as a part of their schooling. Of course, being the new CC mom in town, I made a mental note to look them up. :)

Then, not even two weeks later, the makers of the Jonathan Park audio adventures asked if I would be willing to review it for them! (#perfecttiming) :D  I was a little nervous because we're really picky about what we listen to, but with those glowing reviews from real moms in the wild my interest was piqued. :) 

I knew they were educational, but I didn't even realize that they were science-focused. :D The ones we've listened to were all about seeing science through a Biblical perspective, along with character instruction and even a presentation of the Gospel (my favorite!).

But I feel the need to tell you this secret little problem I always have: the one thing I really dislike about most Christian audio, books, and video series is how the story is often focused on an over-the-top, ill-behaving main character who has to learn right behavior the hard way. I can't explain it exactly, but I have little desire to consume media with arguing or ugliness just for "teaching" purposes. And I definitely don't need my kids to learn more ugly words or ways to misbehave and sin by any means. They already know enough on their own! :)

The only problem I have is that it's impossible to get away from sinful behavior entirely in books and media because it is human. And of course, I understand because my kids are very human and I know the author is usually just trying to convey reality. I just hate hearing or seeing people act out sin. It's a predicament that, in the end, makes us very cautious about the media we consume lest it feed into and reinforce our own sinful tendencies.

So you can maybe see why I was little bit nervous to review something new like this. :) Thankfully, in Jonathan Park, behavior is not the main focus of the series- the scientific adventure is. But attitude is still important to me.

In the first episode when the main character was less than thrilled to do what his dad said, you can imagine I was so happy to hear his dad correct him right away. :D

It's so rare to hear immediate, right correction like that, even in Christian stories! I was so grateful they included it (and continue to include it in the following albums we listened to). The few times it happened, the parents didn't let poor behavior go, but they continued to correct them biblically with Scripture and from the heart.

I loved that the stories weren't at all focused on the negative behavior, but when it happened, it didn't get left unchecked. And you could really focus on the story and the science facts without that lingering wrong attitude. (I know I'm strange, but that made me so happy!)

And as far as science content, Rob (our in-house science/creationism guru) has been listening to every episode along with us. Here's what he had to say about it: “It’s the best audio book series I’ve heard in my life. It’s teeming with factual information, so much so that if you would listen to it a few times you would be able to defend your faith in scientific discussions. It’s really well done and entertaining."

He LOVES the science of it. Over and over he told me how glad he is that we found out about it. One time he even stopped the CD just so he could tell me how much he loved it. I've really never seem him so excited about something like this. :)

I was fascinated by how they could teach you facts and show you how evolution doesn't coincide with the Biblical creation account, all while keeping your attention. :D Maybe the rest of school needs to be an audio story too. :)

Don't tell the kids, but we are planning to buy the next series and I want to include them once a week in our homeschool day as a science activity. They're going to be so excited! :)

Here's a little preview:

And since I reviewed it here, the JP team is offering all BH blog readers a 25% discount off their first series through August 31! 

You can find out how to get your discount here, or just use the code BIBLICALHM25 at the checkout! :)

{The sale for BH readers ended, but you can still find out more about JP here (affiliate link).}

It was so much fun to listen to our new friend on the way to this little piece of Texas heaven:

Lord-willing, I'll tell you more about where our own little adventure took us tomorrow! :)

Disclosure: the above review was sponsored by the makers of Jonathan Park and my affiliate link is included, but all opinions are my own (and something I would share with my friends!). :D

Have you ever heard of Jonathan Park before?
I can't believe I have an almost 13-year-old and a science-loving husband and hadn't before!

How do you like to pass time when you travel?
We also worked on our history timeline on this trip because we're so behind. :D And we like to sing songs. I like to blog or work on a project. And while I can't, most of our kids can read in the car without getting sick. :D

What's your favorite item to get at the bakery?
I used to be a 100% cake all the way person, but icing feels like so much sugar now that I may like cookies better? Who even am I anymore? I don't know.