The kids were in bed, the lights were down, and the popcorn was popped…movie time!
The extra special element about this film is that it was produced by a homeschooler! Isaac Alongi, homeschooled from grades 1-12, was 11 when he started producing his own backyard films. Today Isaac attributes his successful career to his homeschool education. He says, “Homeschooling allowed me to pursue things I was passionate about – in a way that would be far more difficult in a traditional educational setting.” Pretty cool, right?!
Intruiged, I pushed play…
About Trust Fund
I received the DVD version of the Trust Fund movie. It is rated PG for “mild thematic elements and brief smoking”. Suggested audience is 12+. I decided to watch this movie alone for the first time. I wanted to watch for any immodesty or inappropriate scenes before watching it with my family.
Trust Fund follows the Donahue family, especially younger sister Reese, an aspiring writer, as she discovers a secret – her deceased mother left her and her sister millions of dollars in a trust fund.
Although Reese’s father encourages her to get a job and find her own way in life, because he’s been a permissive parent and has continued to loan Reese money, Reese can not fathom the idea of getting a job. Instead, Reese decides to take matters into her own hands. After she manages to log in to her father’s bank account and transfer her inheritance money to her own account, Reese packs up immediately and runs away to Italy.
As you might imagine, a host of trouble awaits her in Italy as she tries to navigate life on her own. She makes plenty of mistakes, trusts her shady live-in boyfriend, and ends up losing her entire inheritance. But as the prodigal story goes, when Reese wants to come back home, her father welcomes her with open arms.
Meanwhile Reese’s older sister, Audrey, has been diligently working at her father’s publishing company and is the picture perfect, dutiful daughter. Throughout the movie we see how she deals with the pain and frustration of how her sister’s wrong doings affect her.
This movie is all about a parent’s unconditional love and forgiveness. And although it isn’t mentioned in the movie, Christians quickly recognize that God sees us just like this. When we come to the end of our rope and have nowhere else to go, as long as we are truly repentant, God welcomes us with open arms and He takes us in, just as we are, no matter how far we’ve fallen.
With beautiful scenery, lighting, angles and superb acting, this movie is an easy and enjoyable watch. So many Christian films today feature terrible acting and they are pretty cheesy, too. Trust Fund is definitely in a class all its own.
I’m glad I watched this film alone for the first time because the movie opens with Reese in a nightie that exposes more than I feel comfortable with. There is also a scene in Italy where Reese wakes up and greets her boyfriend, so they are obviously living together. Reese and a friend are also seen in bathing suits. I’m a little more conservative than most, so these scenes probably won’t bother most families.
A few parts of the storyline seemed a bit disjointed. For example, the father goes to the hospital for heart trouble but nothing ever comes of it and that part seems unrelated to the rest of the story. It also felt strange that Reese went from loving her boyfriend in Italy to loving another guy in her hometown so quickly and easily. I think I would’ve enjoyed the romance parts more if we had been introduced to this hometown guy in the beginning of the film, before Reese flees to Italy.
Some parts were a bit unrealistic, too. For instance, after just a few tries, Reese is able to hack into her father’s bank account by merely guessing at the password. In real life, a financial password would be far too complex for a young girl to just guess at.
I definitely related to the older sister, Audrey, throughout the movie. She was by far my favorite character…especially enjoyed all of her chocolate nibbles! I thought the movie did a good job of helping us feel what the older sister was going through, as she too had to deal with her sister’s failures, not just the father. In fact, I felt that the father was unfairly more harsh with the older sister than with the younger sister.
Audrey doesn’t forgive her sister right off the bat. It takes time. And I think that’s so true in real life. After stealing money from the family and betraying them, a little apology isn’t going to mend everything. Not by a long shot. But as the sisters’ relationship is allowed time, it begins to heal and they become friends again.
It was hard for me to relate to Reese or the father. Bringing Reese back into the family without any kind of punishment or discipline is hard to swallow, but this is the story of the prodigal son and that is how God takes us back. He doesn’t give us what we deserve. He gives us grace and forgiveness. I really wish that nugget of truth had been brought out more in the movie. Trust Fund doesn’t have any references to God’s love for us or any Christian references at all. I think without that missing piece, this story comes off as being a little unbelievable. Because in real life fathers don’t always extend so much grace to their children and abandoned friends won’t just start right back up where things left off. In fact, a responsible father would show some tough love to his child and there would certainly be consequences to Reese’s entitled and disrespectful behavior. She would likely have to repay those she hurt in some way.
Having watched the White Collar TV series, it was fun to see the familiar face of Willie Garson, playing the detective Audrey hires to find her sister. We find out later he’s also a friend of the father and he is the one who brings Reese safely home again.
I didn’t receive the book, but Love Was Near is a book designed to accompany the Trust Fund movie and is recommended for girls age 12 and up. This book goes behind the scenes in the movie and delves into some deeper topics. There is also a free study guide for the movie that goes into more of the meaning behind the movie. It features lots of discussion questions and scripture references. This would be an excellent study if you are planning to watch the movie with a young teen or small group.
Overall, the movie was a fun watch. I don’t think it is family movie quality based on the inappropriate parts I mentioned earlier, so I can’t really recommend it to families. It is a fun movie but I think it is probably better suited as a girls’ night out movie with your adult girlfriends.
We had a big hail storm this afternoon, along with some flash flooding. The trees in our front yard were standing in probably 4-6 inches of water from all the rain. It was crazy.
The hail, some as large as foosballs, damaged lots of squash and cucumber plants in our garden. Hopefully everything will come back in time. They look pretty sad right now, though.
However, when it’s dark and stormy out, I love to cuddle up with my kids and knit. I decided to pull out my farmhouse shawl and knit on it a bit…and I’m loving it!
Because I’m using a worsted weight yarn it’s moving along quickly, which makes this a really fun and satisfying knit. And I looooove this shade of pink. It’s a light blush pink, probably my very favorite color. It is so feminine and delicate.
I cannot wait to get this shawl off my needles. It gets chilly here in the evenings and I look forward to evening walks with my mom when I can wrap this around my shoulders.
- Petal by Madeline Tosh in the worsted weight
- Farmhouse Shawl by Cabinfour
- Addi Turbo Circular Needles US 9
I finished my first shawl! So exciting!
I had just barely enough yarn to finish the picot binding…it was nerve-racking! So glad I made it to the end.
Here it is…all blocked and ready to wear.
- Free Your Fade by Andrea Mowry Designs
- Addi Lace Needles US 4 (32in circular)
Never before has my son described a book he’s read by saying, “My friends are in there,” but those were his exact words after reading the Freedom Seekers Series by Lois Walfrid Johnson.
Set in 1857, this six book collection takes young readers on a historical adventure during the time of the Underground Railroad. The six titles, Escape Into the Night, Race for Freedom, Midnight Rescue, The Swindler’s Treasure, Mysterious Signal, and The Fiddler’s Secret, are geared towards children ages 10 and up, but these stories can be enjoyed by adults as well. Filled with danger and suspense, this historical fictional series brings to life many real people, places, and events. Homeschoolers will appreciate the added study guide included in each book with vocabulary, comprehension questions, field trip ideas, and ways to dig deeper into the time period.
Readers join thirteen year-old tomboy, Libby Norstad, as she moves from living a pampered life in Chicago with her aunt and uncle to living a new adventure with her father, Captain Norstand, on his Mississippi River steamboat, the Christina. Caleb, the cabin boy, has secrets and curious Libby is determined to find out what he’s hiding. Libby discovers that Caleb and her father work together in the Underground Railroad, helping escaped slaves like Jordan. Naive at first, Libby goes through a change in character as she realizes the physical and emotional devastation that results from slavery.
The series continues following Libby and Caleb as they help Jordan find and rescue his family, even as his cruel master, Riggs, is on their heels. In their effort to help other fugitive slaves, Libby is fearfully aware that just one word or action could thwart the cause and put lives at risk. Adventure awaits as Libby and Caleb try to rescue slaves before the slave catchers arrive. It’s a mission of life or death.
Throughout the series the author touches on the people and events that led up to the American Civil War. Readers learn about significant figures in history such as Elijah Lovejoy, who was killed for printing anti-slavery materials, and Deacon and Mrs. Theron Trowbridge, who used their home to hide escaped slaves.
Strong Christian themes are found throughout the Freedom Seekers Series. Jordan, the escaped slave, has a strong faith in God and believes in the power of forgiveness. Instead of hating his cruel master, which he says would rob him of strength and make him blind, he chooses to forgive because he believes it’s the only thing he can do. Libby’s father explains that he chose to protect runaway slaves because God tells his people to “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Other character building traits are brought out as well, such as honesty and the importance of standing up for what’s right, no matter the cost.
After finishing the entire series in just a few short weeks, my son assured me that Lois Walfrid Johnson was his favorite author. With attention to detail and a knack for developing characters, Johnson weaves an exciting storyline into real history in a way that truly captivates readers. Homeschoolers will appreciate the strong values portrayed throughout the series as well as the educational value in Johnson’s historical accounts. Children won’t know they’re learning history as they enjoy a wholesome fast-paced read.
My son and I highly recommend the Freedom Seekers Series to homeschool families. Enjoyable for both boys and girls, these books are a wonderful addition to our library. They’ve helped my son learn about an influential time in American history in a most entertaining way. A book series that manages to transport my son to another place and time with such intensity that he misses his friends after turning the last page is a treasure indeed.
-Product Review by Leah, The Old Schoolhouse ® Magazine, LLC, July, 2016
Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” We all want our children to become strong leaders, but what if you have a child who would rather eat Brussels sprouts than get anywhere near a book? If you’re like me and have a child who would rather eat green things than read, what do you do?
Reading is an essential part of life. It helps develop vocabulary, brain connections, concentration, imagination, language skills, writing skills and so much more. Children who excel in reading are on their way to excel in all academic subjects.
Some children have learning struggles that make it difficult for them to learn to read. My son struggles with dyslexia, and this has made reading a difficult chore for him. To him, reading was laborious, frustrating, and unrewarding. I found some great resources that helped my son with his challenges, but I wanted him to realize that reading wasn’t just a school assignment. I wanted him to see joy and adventure in reading. I wanted him to discover the amazing worlds within the pages of a book.
It took us some time, but after a few years of trial and error, I am thrilled to say that my son is an avid reader in spite of his learning struggles and dyslexia. Here are some of the ways I encouraged my son to find joy in reading.
8 Ways to Help Your Child Find Joy in Reading
- Read Aloud
Reading aloud removes the frustration your child may feel about books and allows him to enjoy the story. Reading to your child rather than making him read for himself may seem counter-productive, but it isn’t! As your child listens to you read, he is expanding his vocabulary, learning how to pronounce new words, learning grammar and sentence structure, and so much more. Reading aloud, even to older children, is very beneficial. In fact, I think we should read aloud to our kids for as long as they will let us!
- Select Books of Interest
Books hold so much excitement and adventure! Find out what your child’s interests are and select books that excite him. My son loved the idea of being a detective, so I gave him lots of Encyclopedia Brown books by Donald J. Sobol. He loved them, and his reading took off without any prodding from me!
- Use Picture Books
Picture books aren’t just for preschoolers. Many picture books are actually geared towards older children. My son is a visual learner, so the pictures really helped make reading more enjoyable for him.
- Subscribe to Magazines
When my son was struggling with reading and had no desire to pick up a book, he did still pick up magazines. In particular, he enjoyed Clubhouse Jr. and High Five. Magazines encourage reading by making the activity easy and relaxing. The short articles, stories, and jokes put the fun in reading! Subscribing to a magazine lets your child look forward to a new reading adventure every month.
- Select Books with Short Chapters
When your child is ready to start reading chapter books, it’s important to get books with short chapters, to avoid overwhelming him. Books like Sarah, Plain and Tall contain only about four pages per chapter. Even when we read a book with longer chapters, we would only read four to five pages in one sitting.
- Choose an Appropriate Level
I learned that a child should know about 95% of the words in any material he is reading. If he knows less than 95% of the words, reading becomes too frustrating. Although I used readers that were at my son’s reading level for his school work, I gave him books that were under his reading level when he was reading on his own. This turned out to be a great decision! Since he was reading books that were easy to understand, he found reading to be fun and started reading on his own, for his own enjoyment.
- Share the Load
If your child is struggling through his reading lesson, you may want to help him by sharing the load. I found that if I read sections of my son’s readers with him, he felt less burdened. My son and I would take turns reading pages or even paragraphs.
- Use Incentives
Summer reading programs have helped my son get excited about reading. Local libraries and other organizations offer great summer reading programs with some fun incentives. I have even come up with my own incentives, such as $5 gift cards, to help motivate my son to read.
These are a few ways that I have encouraged my son to love reading. I hope that you will find some of these suggestions beneficial for your children, as they learn the joy of reading. Maybe your children will become the next leaders through reading!
Leah is a wife, homeschooling mother to two, and part-time blogger who lives in the great southwest where the lizards crawl and the rattlesnakes slither. She manages to sneak away from beneath the dinner dishes and laundry piles to share new discoveries she’s made in her journey through life. You can find her writing at: Ponderings From My Heart and on Facebook.
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