Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Schoolhouse Expo Online - October 4-8 2010

It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes.

Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.

You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!

A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.

Don't forget, MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket.

Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16.

The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.

If you cannot make the Live event, then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!

You can visit either of these links to get more information.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Lobster Network

If you want it, chances are someone else already has it, and they may be willing to lend it, sell it, trade it or even give it to you. Give LobsterNetwork a try!

Wow! What a concept! Invented by a Canadian Homeschool Family... Here is a FREE site where you can keep a home inventory online (including pictures!) for either your own personal use or have available for others to be able to borrow. You can post things to sell and you can buy things with the option of searching for items by locality.  Did I mention all of this is free?

All you need to do is set up your FREE account and you are good to go! One thing we need to do is to get the word out.  If we can get people locally to try this out - we can share amongst ourselves.

This is a great place for homeschool resource centers and libraries to post their items that are available.  You can then share items among your own group locally. Also great if you lend out a lot of your homeschool material - you can keep a record of it to recall at anytime.

I think the ideas on how you can use this are endless.  But we need to get the word out about this so we can have things to borrow and someone to buy our stuff, LOL!

TOS Crew Review: Keyboarding For Christian Schools

One of the greatest and most useful skills I ever learned was touch typing. It was mandated at the high school I went to, that everyone must take it. It should be mandatory for all students, in my humble opinion!  I have used this skill nearly daily the past 10 years. My children are amazed at my "talent."  I have purchased several typing programs for them, but the problem is the content.  While I haven't found anything specifically offensive in them, they just don't have a purpose. Imagine being able to type and copy passages that contain biblical truths!  That is where this program comes into play.

There are two version of this typing curriculum, one for elementary and one for grades 6 and up.  The elementary version contains just the basics for getting started in 31 lessons.  This covers all the letter keys plus the number and top row keys (@%&) you use with the shift key and the number pad.  For practice Psalms are used to copy as well as using "how to have a personal relationship with Christ."

The upper level curriculum has 43 lessons. This curriculum covers the same topics above more quickly and then goes into business letters, bibliographies, works cited, envelopes, etc. that you would normally be covered in a high school level keyboarding class. There is also emphasis on timed typing.  What I really appreciate is the Christian topics that are used for typing exercises.  For example for report writing a report is presented on "The test of true discipleship."

This course presents typing the way I learned with the same introduction I used. This is an effective traditional way to learn to type.  Along with discipline and practice, this method works.

Monday, May 31, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Super Star Speech - Super Star Games

I was given the privilege to review these great games created by Deborah Lott, who is a licensed Speech language pathologist a with Master’s degree in Education/ speech pathology and author of Super Star Speech. She is also a homeschool mom of 16 years. Super Star Speech is a speech therapy program you can do at home.  I have not reviewed the product but if you go to you can read reviews of Super Star Speech or visit the Super Star Speech website by Clicking HERE.

I am reviewing several games produced by Super Star Speech.  These games are full color and cover various topics.  They are quickly downloadable in PDF format so that you can print them out and use them with your children.  Topics for the games include: Parts of speech, Science topics (plants, insects, animals, etc.) history topics (colonies, revolution,etc.), geography (continents.)  The grade level depends on the topic.

We reviewed the following games:

All About Animals - which is a animal classification game.  Includes directions for older and younger students. They don't have to be able to read to play this, but someone should be able to read to ask the questions. This is for grades K to 5.

Insects - this is a fun build an insect game.  You ask questions and you get build your own insect. Need someone to read to them, but any age can play.  Geared to grades 2nd to 6th grades.

Covering the Continents is a geography game geared for ages 6 to 10.  I really appreciate this game because I have been having difficulty with this specific topic with one of my children. You do need someone to be able to read these to the student, but overall the game is not difficult to play. The object is to answer the most questions and obtain tokens so you can "settle" a continent. There are seven questions per continent. A very fun game to play while learning the continents.

Colony Quest is a history game based on the 13 original colonies is geared to grades 3 to 5. Similar in play to the Continents game, object is to answer questions correctly to "settle" the colony.

The last game we reviewed was Road to Revolution.  Road to Revolution is geared towards grades 3 to 8. This American History Game contains 48 multiple choice questions and a game board to move around. You must get the question correct to move forward in the game. Answers are on the cards so someone else must read the question aloud other the person whose turn it is.  Included in the cards are some "loose a turn cards" and  "move one space cards."

The games are full color and fun. They all include instructions. You may need to supply a die with some of the games. You can easily print these out and give to your child to cut out and set up.  You can purchase these at CurrClick and have them instantly as a download for $3.50. To goto the CurrClick website to purchase these - CLICK HERE.

To see what other games are available or to purchase click HERE.

TOS Crew Review: Ideal Curriculum - Early Learning

Wow! This is a very complete curriculum for early learning that is extraordinarily complete.  This is an all in one curriculum in that everything you need is included in your purchase.  These are available for purchase in monthly units as digital download and eventually in print.

What is great is that this curriculum can be used either in a relaxed manner or with a more structured routine.

From the Ideal Curriculum Website:

All of our products are based on current research. They are based on music and games, so they are designed to be used for individual children and small groups as well as in classroom situations.

•Letters and sounds- Learn letters very fluently; upper and lower case, quickly and accurately, recognize letters from different fonts and sizes

•Learn basic sight words- There are about 30 level one sight words that provide the foundation for reading and writing. There are about 100 sight words that build reading fluency.

•Exploring the ability to write- Develop motor skills and hand strength, gain a concept of themselves as a writer, learn to write their own name, learn to write the letters and move into writing sentences and stories.

•Be able to hear, recognize and manipulate sounds of language- Develop skills in rhyming, breaking sentences into words, breaking words into syllables, breaking syllables into onset and rime, breaking words into individual sounds or phonemes and blending them back together

•Oral language and vocabulary- expanding their vocabulary, understanding concepts, increasing their ability to express themselves using higher level language structure.

•Science and social studies- Developing concepts of how the world works.

•Math- Build and use a mental number line, master rote counting (counting in order, forwards and backwards), one to one correspondence (be able to touch and count pennies or m&m’s), cardinality (how many), adjacent values (what is next to 7? 6&8), basic Shapes, number recognition.

•Calendar- Learn basics of scheduling and remembering and learn parts of the calendar .

This program, like I said is complete.  It comes with the audios, which we found to be very fun tunes children like to sing along with. Each audio teaches a specific goal set out in the program and enhances it. The author recommends doing an assessment before starting the program to see where they are at.

They include teachers manuals for Science, Literature, and Math. For all three the activities are broken up by week. For Math and Science it is by week only.  Where the literature one is done by day. Several activities are repeated over the week to help with retention and as not to overwhelm the student with too much information for this age level. Activities include dramatic play, experiments, shared writing, and more.

The student pages are full color.  There are printable pages and reading pages all done in full color.  You will probably want to print out the read aloud books.  The one I have includes "Print it is all around us." Which is a neat story which points out print in all forms that we may come across through out the day, helping us to see why learning to read is necessary.

I love that this can be as formal as informal as you would like. This is a little more formal then I like, but easily adaptable to fit all styles.

 Units are purchased by the month and will soon be available to purchase as a hard copy verses downloadable form now available, for an additional cost.

To learn more or to purchase, visit:
There is lots of good reading on the website!!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Cerebellum Corp. / Standard Deviants: History US AP

Preparing for college level exams can be difficulty.  The AP exam is one exam you can take that helps you to test out of college level course work in many different subject areas.  Cerebellum has several videos in this series to help give an overview of the topic and test taking skills.  The video we received was History of the U.S.  This is a quick sweeping history of the United States.  The video tells you what the test is made up of, types of questions they ask, and where to spend your concentrated time studying. Then they give you more specific test taking skills specific to the test being taken.  There is also a cd-rom with worksheets, etc., that you can use as you study for the test.

Having seen Standard Deviants videos in the past, I was more impressed with this video.  The video is hosted by several teens. They are more serious then the Standard Deviant videos.  Sometime the Standard Deviant videos can get foolish, but they are meant to capture an audience of teens. Maybe teems like them more, but I did not care for them.  However I did not see any of that in the video I watched.  This video is more serious and straight forward in its teaching, but I do believe it has the ability to keep the attention of teens as well.  There is lots of great information packed into this video that even if you were not taking the AP exam you might benefit from this overview this video takes.

Here is a sample of the video:

To purchase or to find out more info visit:
As of this blog post there is a spring sale going on with 25% off.

TOS Crew Review: BeeYoutiful - Tummy Tuneup

I was introduced to BeeYoutiful through the crew.  Taking a quick look at their catalog and website I found tons of health building information. I was impressed by the mounting information available that tie in the use of supplements, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Often one is used in the absence of the others, which somewhat helpful but is not complete. BeeYoutiful encourages people to take personal responsibility for the health.  Yes, doctors are necessary and we should seek out one that is willing to work with us and complement natural approaches to health.

The product I received was Tummy Tuneup. This a "carefully engineered blend of eight natural intestinal bacteria."  The capsules are specially coated so that protect the bacteria from being destroyed in the stomach by stomach acids. What is great is that this product can be stored at room temperature and travels well.

From the website:
How it works: Our stomachs normally contain both good and bad bacteria. When the two are in balance, the good guys win—even when viruses attack. But the balance can get thrown off if we eat too much processed sugar and white flour or take antibiotics, which indiscriminately kill all bacteria. Tummy Tuneup delivers a blast of 4 billion reinforcements from eight vital strains of friendly bacteria. This shock and awe against the bad knocks stomach bugs—and the accompanying indigestion and nausea—out of the fight with the first few Tummy Tuneup capsules. Tummy Tuneup is a pro-biotic (in favor of good bacteria) as opposed to an anti-biotic (against all bacteria.)

Tummy Tuneup is very simple to use.  Just take one, one to three times a day. You can take it with a meal or just before a meal. That simple.

BeeYoutiful has a large selection of quality vitamins, essential oils, other supplements that are reasonably priced. They are committed to proving a quality products that they use themselves at a reasonable price. This is a family (husband and wife) run company and you get that from just looking at the website and catalog.  There articles in their catalog and on the web pull from a wide variety of impressive "experts." So grab a cup of tea an read through some of the articles. I know that is what I am going to do!

To learn more about BeeYoutiful visit their website at:
To read more about Tummy Tuneup visit:

FDA Disclaimer: * This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Sue Gregg Cookbooks - Breakfasts!

I have been a fan of Sue Gregg Cookbooks for more then 10 years. These books really help make a smooth transition to a whole food diet.  She has a complete series with books introducing whole food cooking, Breakfasts, Lunch, Main Dishes, Desserts and more! These are more then cookbooks. Each book includes different topics to help transition to whole food diet. This series would be a great course for any teenager but specifically young women preparing for their future.  There are several different sample recipes with pictures available on the website.

The book I specifically reviewing is "More than Breakfasts...with Blender Batter Baking & Allergy Alternatives." This book contains the "famous" recipe for blender batter pancakes, that our family loves.  What is great about this recipe is that you can use fresh grains and you don't have to have a grain mill.  Specific directions are given for use of different grains. You only need a good blender (Oscar ones works well) and your off.

We prepare the blender batter recipe the night before, so in the morning there is little we have to do. There are also other recipes for coffee cakes, crepes, muffins, and waffles, using the blender batter recipes.  The procedure is so simple and the pancakes are so good! I recently got a box of pancake mix on sale because I was feeling a little lazy about making breakfast.  After years of eating these recipes, the box pancakes had NO TASTE.  Just bland! I was so disappointed with them. Plus they were not healthy for us.

This cookbook also has recipes for fruits, eggs, and homemade breakfast cereals.  They give specific directions for many grains so even the beginner will feel confident. Each recipe has complete instructions that "talk" you through the entire process. 

There are also chapters on Milk and Milk Alternatives, Planning for Breakfasts, Special Occasions, Menus, and my favorite: "A Window on Weight Management." There is also a chapter with Breakfast Menus with calorie counts and food exchanges for both him and her. Also included throughout  are shorter articles on topics such as Apple Cider Vinegar, flaxseeds, and so much more.

This is such a great series for the veteran as well as the beginning chef. I love these cookbooks.  The book I am reviewing I choose because mine was so worn out and stained, I wanted an updated clean version, LOL! There is a plastic cover to help with most spills.

To find out more about Sue Gregg cookbooks, to try some recipes with detailed instructions, and see a lesson or two visit:

Friday, May 21, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Classical Legacy Press - Great Latin Adventure I

Latin revisited! This Latin course was "birthed" by the author Katherine Birkett after teaching at Christian schools and not liking the material already available to teach Latin.  Later many were requesting to use her program, so after a few revisions, I hold in my hand the outcome of her labors.

This curriculum can begun with bright 8 year olds or 9 years old and up. No prior knowledge of Latin is required for the teacher or the student. This is not a video curriculum or self teaching curriculum.  It does require some teacher preparation and participation.  A detailed introduction on how to use the program is included.  Plus the author goes out of her way to give precise directions and descriptions so that it is unlikely you will have any questions. There is also a pronunciation cd that accompanies the set.

There is a Master Chapter Plan that gives detailed info on how to implement the program.  She includes a sample 9 day lesson plan, but states it may take longer then 9 days to complete a chapter / lesson, depending on different factors. There are 12 chapters all together.

Worksheets and quizzes are already copied for you so that you don't have that extra step.  Answer keys are also included with the teacher's manual. One of the first activities you will do is make a set of flash card. The student will also make their own set.

From the website:
In addition to the bi-directional translation, GLA also features

•unusually extensive derivative work

•study sheets for each chapter

•teaching notes for each chapter

•two quizzes for each chapter

•classical pronunciation

•Christian content

•no mythology

To Find Out More or To Purchase - Click HERE!

Monday, May 17, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Kregal Publications

Reading is a past time in our house, so having to read this book was a non-issue for my children.
"Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure" is part of a series "The Circle C Adventures Series"  by Susan K. Marlow.  This is book 5 in the series. We had no problem picking this book up in the series and reading it as a stand alone, without having read the others. There is an introduction in the beginning that gives you a little background of the story.

The story centers around the main character - Andrea AKA "Andi" (around 13 years old.) The story takes place in 1881.  While playing Andrea falls into the horse trough. The new deputy, walking by and seeing her,  arrests her and three friends for no reason. Andrea's brother (Justin) comes and bails them. While Justin is bailing them out the bank is being robbed.  Looking for fun, Andrea, her brother Mitch and two friends venture on a camping trip on horseback to do some treasure hunting. One of her friends, Jennie, got knocked down by her horse when her horse was spooked by a snake while she was saddling the horse. Jennie, sustaining a gash to the head, got stitched up in the next town. On their way they came upon a cabin inhabited by two men. This leads to a gun fight with Andrea's brother, Mitch, caught in it.  I could go on but I don't want to give up the plot of the story and ruin it for you.  But as you suspect, good conquers evil.

This book is a good read for the 10-13 year old crowd (8 to 12 is what the publisher actually recommends).  It is easy to read and does not contain any bad language. They are all just friends in the story (no boyfriend / girlfriend relationships.)  There is a gun fight in the story, so if that bothers you then you might want to preview this book before your children read it.  My teenage daughter says that it did for the most part keep her interested and wanting to read the next page. My 9 year old (almost 10) really enjoyed the book and would not put it down until it was finished.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Lesson Planet

Lesson Planet is a paid search engine for teachers. It puts 150,000 lesson plans and 75,000 worksheets at the click of a mouse. Here is a video description of this website.

Using the search engine, I was able to find lesson plans and worksheets for our current topic of study.  There were many different websites suggest from textbook companies to school districts. Lesson plans also came from State council of art, among many other resources. I had 66 choices for my topic: Great Depression. There were also 15 pages of worksheets.  I had already narrowed my choice to ratings of 3+ stars and for grades 3 to 5.

Because I teach nutrition classes to adults, I decided to try to find out what I could find for that. There was 3 pages of links for grades 9 to adult. I found several worksheets that I thought would be helpful such as worksheets on proteins, carbohydrates, and liquid sugar (soda). I also found over 70 worksheets on the food guide pyramid and over 1000 lesson plans.

I really appreciate the ease of use of the website.  You can narrow your search as well as see previous searches right on the page you are on.  My only complaint, and it is really minor, is I wish the pages I went to from this website would open in another window or tab. Sometimes you surf around a site of lesson plans and then decide it does not have what you want and then you have to find your way back to your search result. I know this is easily remedied by right clicking and telling it to "open in another tab."  The other thing is that the content of the lesson plans are from secular sources.  You would expect this, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

Overall I think this site is very useful. I was able to find lots of resources for the topics I am studying. Cost per year is $39.95 a year, which is cheaper then another I looked at in the past. You can also try it out for your self with their free trial.  Just check out their website below:

lesson plans


Thursday, April 15, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Family Mint

Many children are not being taught how to save and manage their money. They don't have motivation to save and quickly spend what they get. This program seeks to instill proper use of money and to manage it so they can learn how not to go into debt when they want something.  They can use an envelope type system so they can put their money into different categories to save.

This program currently is free in its "Alpha" form. This online program sets mom (or whoever is the designee - like dad :-) up as the bank - the keeper of the money.  This is a virtual bank, so no money actually is stored anywhere, except in mom's possession. So no one can hack your "computer" and take your money.

You can set your bank up to accumulate interest and match deposits to certain funds, such as college. I like that you can categorize the money to go to different areas. For example if the child is saving for a new MP3 Player, they can put money directly towards that in the bank. If they want to tithe money, they can have a separate section for that.

Children can access the program to make changes to their accounts which the parents must approve. There are videos demonstrating this once you sign up for the free program. The program is quick and easy to learn and set up.  It should take less then 10 minutes to do so.

To learn more visit THE FAMILY MINT by Clicking HERE.

TOS Crew Review: Graphics Toolbox Software

Graphics Toolbox Software is software used to make computer assisted graphic design.  This program is easier to learn then other programs, but it does take some experience and playing with it to get used to it. They have an excellent 80+ page manual that you can read and follow along with.  It has excellent pictures that explain the program in detail.

This program can be used for many things including enhancing educational projects as well as learning some graphic design using the computer.  Mom may want to use it to make scrapbook pages or enhance web pages. Dad will like that business presentations can also be made with ease.  There is a comparison on the website on how this program compares to MS Word and Power Point.  To see features of this program CLICK HERE.

There are video tutorials on how to do the program using several different project ideas. You can see the variety of sample projects available by CLICKING HERE.  Also, if need be, they do provide personal tutoring for a fee.

What is great about this program is that you can try it out for 30 days and decide for yourself if this is for you or not.  You can download the program by CLICKING HERE.

I think that this program will be a great tool to use for years to come.  I look forward to the projects I can make with it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Seasons of Faith Illustrated Book Series (CBH Ministries)

"The Seasons of Faith illustrated books encourage children to learn about their faith in God. Based on CBH Ministries’ treasure trove of radio scripts, these stories teach core truths of the Bible so that kids can easily apply them to their lives. Each book focuses on a season of faith-developing topics." (Quote from the website.)

My children have just loved this series. I am so glad that there are books available that are wholesome and point them to Christ. This series is from the Season of Faith Illustrated book series from Children's Bible Hour Ministries. This is the ministry that has produced Keys for Kids and Down Gilead Lane. The books include a CD with Uncle Charlie narrating the story. Descriptions of each book in the series can be read by clicking HERE.  Each book clearly teaches the gospel at level that children can understand.

The story "Seventy Times Seven" teaches about forgiving others and how if we don't forgive others, God won't forgive us.

In "You Can't Come In," Adam shares his faith with his new friend Zack and invites him to church. Clear gospel message and excellent description of how sin separates us from God.

"Race With Midnight" Becky shares her faith with her cousin Sarah. Using a horse as an object lesson, Becky shares how we can put our faith and trust in God.

"Braving the Storm" Thomas needs to learn how to trust and rely on God during difficult times. Shows a loving relationship between a Grandfather and Grandson. Great analogy of putting our "roots" into Christ.

You can order these directly for CBH Ministries by Clicking Here.
If you order these before Apr. 15th you can get free shipping if you use code: FREESHIPAPR15

TOS Crew: Math Galaxy

I have been really impressed with this product. It seems so simple, but my children enjoy it and are learning from it.  We downloaded a few of their products for this review. My children's favorite has been the Whole Number Fun. They are grades 1, 2, 4, and 9. They say it is challenging but fun! They like to do lots of problems so that they can earn robots (and I believe some other things, but I am not sure what) to give them "lives" to play some of the simple (think Atari) like games. My children love them.  This supplies motivation (complete and get the answers correct) to do the math problems so they get to have fun.

You can see samples on their website of how this all works:

These games lack sound, but that has not been an issue for us. They do look simple, but my children really enjoy the games and doing the math problems. They will play this for hours at a time, if I let them.

These programs are available from early math through algebra.  They seem to have similar formats. These are available for $24.95 including shipping. Also available are PDF format e-books for each series that you can print out.

Lots to preview on the website - go take a look by clicking HERE.

Friday, April 9, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Homeschooling in the Woods - US/World Maps

I just love the thought of "homeschooling in the woods."  Well that is almost what we do here!!!  I downloaded the Old World US and World Maps from Homeschooling in the Woods. They were in WinZip format.  They maps then come in PDF format.  Each map is then available labeled or not labeled . I love the variety of maps available.

The US maps come as individual state maps.  They show all the major waterways in the state and the bordering states.  You can label yourself, or you can print off the blank version of the maps. There are also maps available throughout American history, such as colonial maps, civil war maps, and current political maps.  Homeschooling in the Woods encourages us to use maps as we teach history.

Also included are notebooking pages for each US state.  You are given a page where you can include info on state flower, flag, bird, history, etc.  An answer key for these are included.  Each page includes pictures of the state flag, bird, and state flower are printed on each page. The flag is in color.

The world maps are many as well.  They are broken up into ancient history and modern history. They also come labeled and not labeled, so you can decide what way you want to use the maps. There are 18 ancient history maps and 28 world maps.  Then there are three version of each map. The also include notebooking pages for the world maps.

These maps are great quality and beautiful.  They print out very nice and easy to label by the children. Homeschooling in the Woods always has high quality items that we love!

To find out more or to purchase, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Critical Thinking Press - Language Smarts C

Critical Thinking Press is the publisher of a Language Smarts, Level C.  This consumable workbook is a huge book of over 300 pages arranged by its many topics. This book can be used either as a core curriculum or  used as a supplement. The company states it covers all of grade 2 standards for language arts and some 3rd grade topics. What is great is that this also teaching critical thinking and helps prepare students for standardized tests (if you use those.) 

After the introductory chapter covering various topics found in the book, there are sections covering vowels/phonics, rhymes, contractions, compound words, high frequency words, nouns and verbs, nouns or pronouns, word usage, subject/verb agreement, suffixes, prefixes, sequencing, compare and contrast, ordering, subject and predicates, sentences, capitalization and punctuation, friendly letters, inferences and facts, setting, and  more. For a complete list of what is covered CLICK HERE.

The activities include puzzles, creative writing, filling in the blanks, solving secret codes to get the answer, filling in charts, and lots more. What is nice is that the pages are not overloaded with endless problems to solve. The pages are very doable in bite size pieces.The pages are also in great bright colors and the pictures are inviting to children. They look so much like fun!  The website states also, that the licence on this is reproducible. There is also a downloadable answer guide available online.

My children were just a little too young for this workbook (or too old) but I do plan on using it as a supplement next year for two of my children.  It is probably best if the child can read before you attempt this workbook.

To learn more, look at sample pages, or to purchase, CLICK HERE.

Friday, April 2, 2010

TOS Crew Review: All About Reading...What Am I?

All About Reading just came out with a Level 2, Volume 1 reader for their All About Spelling (AAS) program.  Just like their past reader, the beautiful black and white photos are throughout the book. The stories correspond with level 2 of the All About Spelling program.

Stories are fun, mostly animal stories. They also include a robot and elf story and some poems. The stories are interesting, keep the child enjoying reading, and give much needed practice us moms like. When we are done with our reading lesson, we like to curl up in bed or on the couch and have the children practice their reading to me. The stories are just at their level so it helps them to feel more confident with their reading.

This book is part of their new All About Reading Program to be released later this year. This reader can be used stand alone or be used after level 1 of All About Spelling. There will be two readers for each level and each cover decoding, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, etc.

This book is to be released April 1st, 2010.  To find out more visit the All About Spelling website (Click Here.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Dollar Homeschool

A Complete K-12 math curriculum, from counting to calculus.

"The Ray's math series begins at a preliterate level with counting; then takes the child through addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and so upward until calculus, teaching concepts with thorough explanations followed by ample problem sets. The Ray's series provides a very full-bodied course of mathematics" quoted from website:
Ray's arithmetic CD contains 12 core textbooks, teacher guides, answer keys, and several other books that are math realted, for a total of 38 books.  The books come in PDF (ADOBE - which is available online for free if you don't have it.) format so you can print what pages you need at what level you need. This is textbook format, so once you print them out, you can keep them in a 3-ring binder or something similiar for your next child to use.
These textbooks date back to 1865 and were used exclusively until 1915. This texts were written by the best of the best in their fields at this time. There is a Welcome file which should be read first which gives tips on where to start and how to progress through the books.  It also has some frequently asked questions.

I looked over the Ray's Primary Arithmetic to start.  The lessons begin with counting and reading numbers one to one hundred. They then progress to oral exercise, including oral word problems.   "How many are one and one?" "How many are three take away one?" As you move through the lessons word problems include: "How many birds are two birds and five birds?"  "Francis had two cents and his mother gave him one cent, how many had he then?" "Jane had ten cents: if she gave 8 cents for a book, how many cents does she have left?"

The core of the program are word problems.  The focus early on is addition and subtraction then moves onto multiplication: "If one dozen apples cost nine cents, how many cents will 8 dozen cost?" So if you don't have a strong reader at this level, most will be oral.  But it is very doable for a first/second grader to get these concepts.

The next book in the series is Ray's Intellectual Arithmetic (and the last one I am reviewing).  It begins with a review for those who may not have covered the topics in the first book or need more practice. I found the concept from this level challenging for myself.  Yes, I could do it, but wow, made me think. For example in lesson 5 (V) you are instructed to start at 8 and goto one hundred four by adding 4 (to 8) successively. (8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 68, 72, 76, 80, 84, 88, 92, 96, 100, 104- phew - done!) Fractions, measurement, interest problems, and percents are also thoroughly covered at this level, and yes, using word problems!! 

This program is advanced, so you will have to look carefully over where your children are at, and possibly back it up a little to make sure they understand all the topics covered.
This is a great program.  One downside I see in it is that the pages require a lot of ink.  I did run the pages on "fast draft" and they were very readable, so that is an option. This is an economical option in that pages printed can be saved for the next child. The other downside is that work most likely will have to be done on another piece of paper, such as a notebook. My children balk at this.

To Find out pricing or for more information about this product and other products offered by Dollar Homeschool Click Here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TOS Crew Review: KinderBach (2010)

Kinderbach is an early learning (about ages 2 to 7) piano course, founded by Karri Gregor. She was looking for an age appropriate music program for her young children, unable to find one, she started teaching her own lessons. 150 students later, she had to give up her lessons after her husband lost his job and they had to relocate. Later, after digging up some old tapes of the lessons she decided to start up again. Using her husband's wise advice, she stared the DVD program so more could be reached. The rest is history. You can read her bio here.

We previewed the online web video edition, also available at the website, as a less expensive option then the DVDs. My children, boys, ages 6,7, and 8, watched intently each lesson and completed the associated worksheet. With the use of a basic keyboard, we followed along with the lessons learning about Dodi's house, the train station, simple music theory, sing along songs, and some percussion instruments.
The lessons are short (around 5 minutes) and complete one objective at a time. There are 4 short lessons a week. The intro lesson lets you know what you need each week. The pages with the various activities - color, cut, and paste mostly, are right on the lesson page. Karri's sweet voice sings the songs in the program. The program slowly builds concepts as it is meant for younger children. My older boys were able to complete a week at one sitting.
Not being musically minded, we all enjoyed the lessons and did learn quite a bit, completing only level one. The activity sheet are easy to use and have age appropriate activities. The curriculum is 2 years long or 60 lessons. You can preview the first two lessons for free online.

NEW THIS YEAR! Is a craft book to accompany Level 1.  Included are great items to reinforce the lessons. The crafts are meant to be done by the parent as object lessons for the children.  These were created with the home teacher in mind and use simple to obtain material: card stock, Velcro, pictures for a collage, etc.

A copy of the syllabus is available at:

To learn more about Kinderbach and to try out the first two lessons online for free, CLICK HERE.

TOS Crew Review: Homeschool Library Builder

"... Homeschool Library Builder, your resource for literature-based homeschooling. We offer quality new and used living books at bargain prices -- selections recommended by your favorite curricula such as Five in a Row, Sonlight, Beautiful Feet, Veritas Press, Tapestry of Grace, Ambleside Online, and others."

I am always looking for a place to get great prices on books for our homeschool. One place that has a great selection of books is Homeschool Library Builder. This online store was started by homeschool moms who obviously love books.  They carry new and gently used books to go with many of the common homeschool companies mentioned above.  Books are sorted by, age, subject, and by curriculum.

Another great thing is when you purchase books you earn points toward more books. You can also earn points other ways - by getting your friends to sign up (free!) and make a purchase, linking your blog to their website, etc.

So if you have not checked them out yet - go for it! There selection changes often as they buy and sell new books - so come back often! You can sign up at their website to be notified of sales and promotions!

To Visit Homeschool Library Builders CLICK HERE.

The Schoolhouse Expo!!

School House Expo

If you're looking for homeschool encouragement, resources, and fun, check out all that is going on at The Old Schoolhouse!

Right now March Madness and Win Big are going on in the Schoolhouse Store. During March Madness, over 240 items are 10 to 40 percent off!

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Then, if you're customer 139,000, 139,500, or 140,000, you will win over $348 in prizes. Prizes include a 5 year subscription to TOS (U.S.

only), Scripture Sleuth literature series, guitar lessons on CD, and more! Hurry, they are just past customer #137,818.
The BIGGEST news of all--The Schoolhouse Expo is coming in May!

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Are you intimidated by the idea of teaching middle school and high school?those dreaded, advanced courses? Would some encouraging words and motivational Scripture help you on your way? Get answers when you attend The Schoolhouse Expo, an 3-day, online conference, presented by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse® Speaker?s Bureau.

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School House Expo

TOS Crew Review: Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling - Debra Bell

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell, is just what the title says - it is the ULTIMATE Guide!  Where ever you are on your homeschool journey, from just thinking about it, to a many year veteran, The Ultimate Guide will give you a vision for homeschooling. It will encourage you to press on, help you out a rut, and give you many ideas on how to homeschool.  This book gives you practical examples to help you actually take action - it gives you the hands and feet to homeschool, with out being preachy or "you must do it my way" attitude.

Sections Include:
Homeschooling - Is it for you? (Includes a family quiz to see if homeschooling for you.)
Choosing a Curriculum (Includes learning styles, homeschooling on a shoestring, tons of recommendations)
Organization and Planning
Preventing Burnout
What to Teach:  When and How (Includes quotes from experts in the field.)
Homeschooling Teens (Planning, college options, college admissions, college at home)
Computers in Homeschool (Do I need to include computers in our homeschool?)
Creative Solutions (Toddlers, transitioning from school to home, motivating the reluctant learner)
Measuring Success
Resource Lists

Favorite quote:
"If you've potty trained, your qualified (to homeschool.)"

This book includes an excellent foundation for getting started homeschooling. While written from a Christian perspective, this book contains plenty of useful info for any homeschooler. Recommendation are for both Christian and non-Christian materials. The author also has an excellent sense of humor through out, which makes this really an enjoyable read.

This is a big read, 509 pages plus an index. You can pick and choose what you need first and go from there, reading the chapters as needed, or you can do it the old fashioned way - reading from beginning to end. This book has recently (2009) been updated, so it contains all the current contact and website info throughout.

If I was rating this book - I would easily give it five stars for books in this category. This book should be in every library! I really enjoyed this book. It is helping to remind me why I started doing this in the first place, and giving me many fresh ideas.

To purchase or to find out more, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Math Mammoth Light Blue - Grade 3

Last year I reviewed some products from Math Mammoth.  You can see that review by clicking HERE.

This year I decided to review a complete years math curriculum.  After reviewing the placement test with my fourth grader, we decided to go with grade three.  He did not yet have a good foundation in multiplication and division, which was required for the fourth grade level. You can see the placement tests by clicking HERE. Having completed several weeks of lessons, I have no regrets with that decision.

Grade 3 description from the website:
"Third grade is a time for learning and mastering two (mostly new) operations: multiplication and division with single-digit numbers. The student also deepens his understanding of addition and subtraction, and uses those in many different contexts, such as with money, time, and measuring."
For detailed description of each grade Click HERE.

This program requires little teacher preparation. The most burdensome thing I find with it is printing out the pages. I remedied that by printing off several lessons at a time, so I only have to do that twice a month. I was able to use the "fast draft" feature on the printer and still obtained quality copies. The pages are in color mixed with black and white. Sometimes I will use only the black ink cartridge for printing projects, but for this math program, I kept the colored pages as is.

Lessons ran about 3 pages in length with frequent repetition and just enough problems to get the lesson point (not to much, not to little). A few different topics are covered in each lesson. I appreciated that the program stresses mental math. Most of the time descriptions are easy enough that my son can work independently. Other-times, a simple explanation is all that is needed. Fun puzzles are sprinkled throughout the lessons. Mastery is definitely encouraged. There are some basic manipulatives used with this curriculum, but are basic things we have at home (measuring cups, rulers, etc.)

My son is really enjoying this program, so he is going to continue to use it.  This program is currently available for grades 1 through 5 with grade 6 coming out this year. You can purchase this as a download or printed by

To learn more about Math Mammoth CLICK HERE.

TOS Crew Review: Zeezok: Presidential Penmanship

The product I have received is Presidential Penmanship Italic Style Complete Program on CD-Rom. This is a supplemental handwriting skills program for first through senior high. This is copywork type program - where the students copy quotes from presidents.  The quotes come from speeches and from books such as George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent. It comes in six different handwriting styles (see below.)

The quotes are shorter for younger grades and progressively get more difficult as the student progresses through the program. By the end of sixth grade the student is expected to quote the Gettysburg Address.  In high school the passages are smaller in the beginning and progress to longer passages. Quotes are also taken from Declaration of Independence, Lincoln and Reagan's Inaugural Addresses. All the quotes are excellent for memorization and civics studies.

This is a supplemental program since it does not actually provide instruction for the individual letters. It is assumed you have a basic understanding of writing the letters in the version you choose. You can choose the grade level that best matches your child's ability or you can do it based on subject matter. For example, the 5th grade level discusses manners and that might be a topic of interest for you.

For the earlier years you are expected to trace the letters and stay in the lines provided, then you copy and trace the quote on top of light grey scale letters. Then you are on your own to write out the quote on the lines provided. The child would have enough to do one lesson a week for 36 weeks. As you get in higher grades less practice is given and more lessons per week are expected. In third grade 108 lessons are provided.  Extra lined pages are included for you to print out as needed.

The quotes are great discussion starters and my children enjoyed copying the verses. The only difficulty we had was with a child with a visual impairment being able to stay in the lines while copying and seeing the light grey print.

What is great about this is that you only have to print out as much as you need and you can use this with multiple age households, inexpensively. You do need to provide paper and a printer to print off of the CD-Rom. Using "fast draft" to use less ink, as a printer option, did not effect the quality of the print compared with using the "normal" option.

To learn more visit:

Friday, February 26, 2010

TOS Crew Review: AAS Beehive Reader 1

I originally did a review for the "parent" program, All About Spelling (AAS), that goes with this reader.  It can be read HERE. This reader can be used with this program or a supplement for any other phonics reading program.

The Beehive reader follows the schedule for All About Spelling and you introduce the story after reaching certain points in the program.  What I really like about this hardcover reader is that the stories go beyond most readers and actually tell a story the child can relate to.  Also, there are excellent pencil drawing to accompany most pages in the book, that add to the child's delight in reading the stories.  There are also some questions that are available separately in PDF File format that you get with purchase, if you choose to use them.  I like to have my children tell me the story back in their own words for reading comprehension.

My early reader loves to read from this book.  We always get this one out to practice with on a regular basis.  This book has a "home-y" feel about it that may become a children's classic.

To look inside, CLICK HERE.

From the website:

"Your beginning reader will delight in finding out what happens when…

…a busy cat lives in a windmill

…a sleepy bear cub takes a nap

…a grumpy duck demands a snack

…a singing bat befriends a lonely king

… a curious boy shrinks from tall to small

… and much more! "

"Beehive Reader 1 correlates 100% with All About Spelling Level One."

For more info: Click Here.