Monday, January 31, 2011

Last weeks plans…

Okay last week I set up some goals for myself so let’s see how well I did:
  • IEW papers were definitely started, but certainly not finished. IEW is one of those subjects (like History) that I love but never find enough time to do as much as I really want to do.
  • Barton Lesson 10 was started and we got through several sections, but even more important, I’m realizing, are the read alouds I just bought for him. He really likes them and they are very helpful with learning site words and one syllable words. The best part is, even though the books are kind of easy, the story lines are for an older child. The books are from Vangar Publishers
  • Lucas is progressing nicely with Reading Kingdom.
  • We are finished with our math review and Jordan has picked back up in Math U See. Not sure how fast we’ll get through these lessons in order to finish by the end of May, but I he’ll get it I’m sure.
  • We had a lot of fun in History this week. We spent the majority of one day learning about President McKinley and Roosevelt. The plan this week is American Literature and a little Mark Twain. This should be fun Smile
  • My Side of the Mountain  was read some nights but not every night. It seems our evenings are just too busy to get it every night. I guess that’s a good thing because we are enjoying life.
  • The snow was a miss and we made it to Campus Life (but Wednesday night church was cancelled because of ice)
  • Gym was great
  • Review’s are done. have a couple more I need to get done this week.
  • F, M, and B are still being reviewed. Lucas knows them but Shiloh still mixes them up a little. We’re going to start an ABC notebook this week and add these three letters. Then next week I’ll move on. She’s only 3 so I see no point holding him up for her. She’ll get it.
  • Shiloh is still skipping 16, lol. Lucas is doing good though.

Although I didn’t achieve all of my goals I believe I got more done than I would’ve if I had no goals at all. I think I’ll try this again every couple weeks, just to keep myself on track. It was a good week! Smile

Blog Walk Week 14


Check out these homeschoolers:

1. Homeschooling In Nova Scotia, Canada
2. Clever Title TBA
3. Until the Day Dawn Weblog
5. Smooth Stones Christian
6. Clothesline Musings
7. Four Little Penguins
8. Laurie's School Days
9. Sunshine to Flowers
10. One Big, Healthy Family

TOS Review: City Creek (Times Alive)




City Creek Press is an amazing company that has put together some products to help children learn their, sometimes boring, addition and multiplication facts. One of their many products is called Times Alive.

Wow what perfect timing Times Alive has been for our family!! My 8 year old is learning his multiplication tables, and doing an awesome job, but  having a little trouble with the 3’s and 6’s. So how did Times Alive help? Take a look at this video:


Times Alive by City Creek Press

Times Alive is a fun way to help kids learn and retain their Multiplication facts. They use fun and memorable stories, pictures, and catchy jingles to introduce and/or reinforce the facts.


When your child first logs in there is a spreadsheet type screen and they can choose which facts they want to work with. Each fact offers a variety of activities to choose from such as Movie (like the cartoon above), Song, Paint (they can paint a picture using the numbers in the problem) or a Guessing Game.

After completing the activities they will take a quiz. The Quiz is timed but you do have the option of printing it out. The spreadsheet also shows them which activities they have started and which they have completed. It is very easy for them to work independently. There is also a nice progress report that you can use to keep up with their progress.


We used the downloaded version of Times Alive, which costs $44.95 or you can purchase it on CD ROM for $48.95. The company that makes Times Alive is called City Creek Press and they make several other products to help learn math facts. From Magnetic Boards and singing CD’s to Activity Workbooks and Spanish Books. They have kits for Homeschool’s, kit’s for Schools, and kits for Special Education. All though they specialize in Addition and Multiplication they do offer some cute Division Cards for $9.95.

If you would like to see what other homeschoolers are saying about Times Alive, click here.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mighty Book Jr: Free 1 Year Subscription worth $99


I was reading over at Hall of Fame Mom’s when I ran across this lucky find Smile

Mighty Book Jr is giving away free subscriptions for a year ($99 value). All you have to do is enter the code “learntoread

It’s an online reading program (I know nothing about it, yet Smile) and it’s for ages 5-10. I do know it reads animated books to them, which is always helpful for busy moms! And it’s for English, Spanish, ESL, and Special Needs students.


Get your free subscription now because I don’t know how long it’s going to last.

Friday, January 28, 2011

TOS Review: Ten Marks Math


My 10 year old (5th grade) son and I have learned to be flexible this year when dealing with his math because we’ve been given the opportunity to review some very diverse programs. It has made me a little apprehensive at times, as math is one of those subjects that I don’t like to tamper with. But it has also shown us that perhaps the program he is using now (although a wonderful program) isn’t the best for his learning style (it would work great for my style, Smile).

So our latest lesson in flexibility is called TenMarks.


  TenMarks is an online math program that can be used as a supplement to your main math program or as a stand alone program.

~~~Now here’s ‘the long and the short of it’~~~

‘The Long of it:

You begin by taking the assessment which basically just places your child in his/her grade level and assigns curriculum to fit your state standard. You will be given a parent account and your child will be given a student account.

The next step depends on how involved you, as the parent, want to be. You can determine what concept (the concepts are called “Albums”) to introduce and then assign worksheets or you can allow TenMarks to determine concepts and assign worksheets.  An email is sent to you each time worksheets are assigned, keeping you posted on what your child is learning. If you start out letting TenMarks determine the order in which concepts are introduced you can always change the order later. Everything is very flexible.

After the ‘Album’ (concept) is determined and worksheets assigned, your child will log in to his student account and receive his lesson plans. The lesson will have a video for him to watch before doing the worksheets. The video is optional; if he knows the material he can go straight to the worksheets. It will be evident as he progresses thru the worksheets if he didn’t quite know the material as well as he thought, and he can then go back and watch the video. Once he is sure he understands the material he starts working thru his worksheets.

The worksheets are assigned 5 at a time and they have several days to complete them. Each worksheet has 10 problems. This was a lighter load than what we are accustomed to so he was able to ‘fast track’ (this means he finished the worksheets before they were due) through his worksheets many times in order to earn his rewards. Rewards? Yes, there are rewards. As they work through the worksheets they unlock games. Games? Yes, there are games. LEARNING GAMES! Yay, we all love learning games!

It is also possible for you to set goals and rewards for your child to earn, in addition to the ones TenMarks offer.

Now about the concept Albums. Within each concept Album there are many different topics, also known as tracks. They will cover approximately 3-7 tracks each week. Below you will see a screen shot of some of the main concept Albums and then a shot of the tracks under one of those Albums.

This is what you as the parent will see:

TenMarks Screenshot 2

And this is what you will see when you click “Show Track's” :


TenMarks SS 3

There will be a video and worksheet for each of these tracks and a test for each Album

This is what your student will see:

TenMarks Screenshot 1

Notice the My Rewards box. This is a reward that I set up, not one of the automatic rewards that unlock games. The name of this reward is A New Car and he will receive a small NASCAR toy when he completes the 5 worksheets.

As I’ve mentioned before, the worksheets have 10 questions and they are allowed 3 hints per question. If they request a hint their ‘grade’ will reflect it in the concept strength bar. I can tell each time he had to ask for a hint and also each problem he missed. When he misses a problem he can look at the solution to see where he went wrong and/or watch the video that explains how to work that problem.

There are practice sheets they can work through, then they have assigned sheets, and assigned tests.  I had a little trouble with the tests. I didn’t know he was assigned a test until he had several (like 5) that he hadn’t done. I received emails about his worksheets being assigned, and could go online and check those, but I never received an email or anything notifying me about the tests. Once you know where the tests are it’s easy to check to see if they’re being done, however I would prefer to have a notification letting me know when he needs to take a test.

There are many, many things that I like about this company. My son loves them, they are reasonably priced, and it’s very easy for me to stay involved with his work and yet not have to ‘teach math.’ But there is one thing I don’t like. The questions are multiple choice.  Many people don’t mind it but, for me, I don’t really like multiple choice in math because it’s too easy to guess-timate Winking smile  I wouldn’t mind having some but from what we’ve seen in the 5th grade level, it has been all multiple choice.

‘The Short of it:

TenMarks is geared for 3rd-10th graders, is set up according to your state standards and is very reasonably priced:

  • $10 per month
  • $49 for 6 months
  • $89 for 12 months

My son was well impressed with it and would like very much to switch to TenMarks as his full math curriculum. As for me, I need more time in thought and prayer before I will switch math programs. And as I mentioned above, multiple choice is a big drawback. I think with math, sometimes it’s very easy to make an accurate guess. I would prefer no multiple choice or very little. But I must admit, he never complained about his math and I know exactly what concepts he needs to work on, whereas with his current program, I have no way of really knowing what he needs to practice and what is already mastered. Perhaps there will be a place for TenMarks in our future…

To learn more about TenMarks and what other homeschoolers thought of this program, click here.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TOS Review: Lifeway’s Holman Bible Dictionary



Lifeway has a new Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids and my family has been blessed with our very own copy! Smile This dictionary is based on the Holman Bible Dictionary and Holman Pocket Bible Dictionary that have been around for years.


The first thing to grab my attention was the beautiful pictures. They are so colorful, and although some are cartoon type illustrations, many are actual photographs which really help bring the Bible to life. When you can see an actual place it makes it more real than when you only see a drawing all the time.

In addition to the pictures and illustrations there are charts, reconstructions of cities and buildings to show the child how they may have looked in Bible times, pronunciations guides for hard to pronounce words, and numerous maps to help you understand the layout of the land.

It didn’t take long for me to see how easy and straight to the point this dictionary was and how simple (and quick) it was to learn. The facts are stated without a lot of extra information that tends to bog a child down and cause him/her to lose interest. For example the Definition for Emperor simply states:

Emperor: Word The New Testament uses to refer to a Caesar of Rome. Acts 25:21, 25, 26; 1Peter 2:13, 17. (Below the definition is a picture of a statue with the caption): Trojan was probably the Roman emperor (A.D. 98-117) when John, the last of the twelve apostles, died. (If you would like to see for yourself, click here for a PDF sampler).

The layout of the dictionary was something else that I found quite charming. Down the side of the pages you will find a colorful alphabet with a letter that is highlighted to let you know which section of the alphabet your viewing. This makes it very easy to find what you’re looking for.

The skinny:

  • Great resource for home, church, and/or ANY library
  • 212 pages
  • Large, colorful, Hardback $14.99
  • Designed for kids ages 5-10, but I learned something the first time I opened it and I’m no where near that age
  • Over 750 Bible terms with more than 500 illustrations

Wanna know what other’s had to say about the Homan Illustrated Bible Dictionary? Click Here!

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Plans for the upcoming week…

I never feel like I get it all done, I think there’s just too much that I want to do. One day I’ll learn to limit my expectations and set more reasonable goals so as not to be disappointed when we don’t get to everything. So for this week I decided to just make a bullet list of the things I want to accomplish, these should be obtainable. Then at the end of the week I’ll look back to see how much I accomplished:
  • IEW papers started and possibly finished
  • Begin Barton lesson 10 and get at least half way
  • Lucas to work on Reading Kingdom at least 4 days
  • Jordan to get back on track with his Math u See after reviewing some excellent math curriculums (we may have found a new curriculum for him to use next year)
  • History! History! History! We usually do lots of history but not this year! There have been more important subjects that have demanded my attention and I have sadly let History fall, somewhat, by the way. They have learned a lot thru videos and some reading but not what we usually accomplish. We love history so it shouldn’t be to hard to jump back into it. I miss doing our History and Science the Charlotte Mason way. Perhaps next year we’ll be able to come together as a family and spend more time reading great living books.
  • My Side of the Mountain every night!
  • Campus Life club, we’ve missed because of snow lately and it’s calling for more snow this week so we may miss again Sad smile
  • Gym Thursday! We have snacks this week so I’ll have to remember to pick up some healthy stuff for the students.
  • Two reviews due this week Ten Marks and Lifeway’s Holman Bible Dictionary
  • Review F, M, and B for the last time with Lucas and Shiloh. Maybe we can move on this week (hoping, hoping, hoping) I don’t want to rush them if they don’t remember the letters but I really had hoped we’d get all the letters learned this year. It’s not going to happen. It’s okay though since they’ll have all next year to learn them. No hurry really. I’d rather go slow and teach them both to read together than to have to teach them separately.
  • Count to 30 without mistakes. Shiloh seems to skip 16 every.single.time! If I can get her to 20 she’ll be able to go to 30 easily!
Okay I believe that’s enough. I’ll print this out and see if it makes a difference. I’ll post this weekend what I was able to accomplish and what was too ambitious Smile

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jane Austen Challenge

There are a lot of bloggers out there doing different reading challenges this year.  From reading the Bible in 90 days to reading 52 books in a year. These challenges are just too challenging for me. I love to read and I usually try to read two books at a time.Typically I read a fiction and a non-fiction together. The fiction book is for evenings and the non-fiction I read in the mornings jane-austen after reading my Bible, if I have time before the kids get up. But to finish a book a week, no way! But then Debra, over at Footprints in the Butter offered a new challenge. Read SEVEN books in a year! But not just any seven but Jane Austen's seven! Oh yeah, now we're talking! I've wanted to read these for quite awhile but just kept getting sucked into other books before I could get to these. I don't know that I'll get to all of them, but hopefully this year I'll mark at least some of her books off my list of books to read.
I placed Sense and Sensibility on hold with my Bookmobile, but then it snowed and the Bookmobile only rides thru once a month so I started another book. Then I stumbled on this Jane Austen website! I can actually read her books online for FREE! I'm in the middle of a book right now and trying to finish up the movie EMMA by Masterpiece Classics, but as soon as I'm done, this will be where I spend my evenings. My only question is what kind of tea should I have? :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TOS Review: Maestro Classics Peter and the Wolf

My family has been blessed with a beautiful copy of the Peter and the Wolf story by Maestro Classics and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This is a delightful story as most of you probably already know, but what makes it even more special is the musical instruction that you receive from Maestro Classics.

Along with the CD you will receive a short booklet that includes many many neat learning tools. Such as:

  • Pictures of all the instruments used in the musical selection you purchase
  • A ‘test’ to see if they paid close enough attention to remember which instrument represented each character
  • Dot-to-Dot’s
  • Background information on the composer, conductor and some of the musicians
  • and much much more

The CD itself includes:

  • An introduction to each instrument and the story.
  • Information on the history of Peter and the Wolf and how it came to be, as well as information about the music itself
  • Two versions of the story, one with narration and one instrumental only
  • Russian Peter
  • Invitation to Grandfather’s Party/Kalinka (another musical selection)Peter and wolf

Maestro Classics Peter and the Wolf retails for $16.98. Some of their other titles include:

  • The Story of Swan Lake
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
  • Juanita The Spanish Lobster (also available in Spanish)
  • Casey at the Bat

All of these titles alone are $16.98 or 3 for $45. If you have a real music lover in your family you may wish to purchase a Gift Set ($24.99) or a Family Gift Set ($29.99). These sets have lots of fun ‘extras.’

Another important thing Maestro Classics has to offer are Lesson Plans to go along with some of their titles. Visit their website to learn more. While you’re there be sure to listen to their Samples.

To read more about Maestro Classics and to see what other’s think of their products click here.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Squirrely

My big manly little boy, went squirrel hunting the other day, something he and his brothers LoVe to do. But this time, he actually killed one. Well I shouldn't say it like that, it wasn't his very first. He spent alot of time sitting on the edge of the wood, watching, listening, and waiting. Patience is not his strongest virtue but, when it comes to hunting, he realizes it's a must!  His patience paid off later that afternoon.

073  074

His younger brother seems to be so proud of him

My kids are of the picky nature so I never dreamed I'd hear him say, "will you cook it for me, mama?" My reply: "ah, yeah, sure I'll cook it for you." My thoughts: "why on earth do you want me to cook something for us to look at. No one will eat this thing!" My husband and I had tried squirrel before and we didn't care to have it for dinner. But to please my son, my husband prepared the squirrel for cooking and I set about fixing our real dinner. The squirrel needed to soak a bit so I just left him soaking while I finished dinner. When we sat down to eat, my son asked "where's my squirrel?"  Oh!  He was serious about having squirrel for dinner? When I realized he really expected it to be on the table, I jumped up, battered and fried it, then what happened next shocked the socks off me. You'd have to know my family. My kids wont eat normal stuff!  But maybe because he had ownership in it, or maybe he's growing out of his picky-ness, for whatever reason, my son had squirrel for supper that night. And he seemed to enjoy it fairly well.

According to him it tastes like chicken  


He sucked those bones dry, I couldn't believe it!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

TOS Review: The Curiosity Files: MRSA

My eight year old son and I are getting ready to embark on a new scientific adventure with the help of The Old Schoolhouse's new product entitled The Curiosity Files.  I allowed him to make a choice between the following topics:
I was secretly hoping he would choose MRSA and he did!
The Curiosity Files are e-books, so once you decide what you would like to study you download the e-book and you can start right away. I don't typically print mine off, but some choose to print the entire book. I only print pages that I want him to keep as reference pages or pages that require him to write. Our MRSA book is 92 pages of informative, fun, learning.
The Curiosity Files are suited for a wide age range and would work well for any one ages 6-14 years and possibly even older or younger depending on the child.  You can work these into your family with very little effort. Although I am doing this alone with my 8 year old, this would make an excellent Unit Study to do with the entire family.  The cost of these e-books are $9.95 each or choose any 3 for $23.
So what exactly is included in The Curiosity Files: MRSA? There is something for everyone and it all begins with a question and answer session with your top notch Scientist extraordinaire, Ana Lyze (get it? Ana Lyze...analyze). She answer questions about MRSA, where it came from, what it means, what causes it, how to prevent it, and how to treat it. At the end of the Q&A there is a glossary to help you remember what you've learned, and a quick review 'quiz.'
After gaining some background information and obtaining a general understanding of MRSA, you begin to apply your knowledge using the different topics, subjects, and activities listed below:
  • Bible There is a short Bible study that deals with sicknesses in Bible days, specifically leprosy.
  • Math The metric system is explored using hands-on activities, equations are implored to teach the rate of growth in bacteria, and word problems are included as well.
  • Writing Prompts and diagrams are given to help you along as you write you're very own paper on MRSA
  • Spelling and Vocabulary There are lists for Elementary and Junior-High school and activities that go with each
  • Copywork There are five scripture verses in manuscript and the same five are also offered in cursive for the older students
  • Experiments
  • History/Timeline "Major Events in the Fight Against Infections" You can create a new timeline or simply add to an already existing timeline.
  • Geography "Superbug" game
  • Art Create a Warning poster to let others know about MRSA (could be hung in a public area such as a nursing home or hospital) or fix get well cards.
  • Music Fun clapping rhythms are used for remembering difficult terms and important facts
  • Get Moving A game of tag is adapted to teach the spread of germs and how to avoid being infected
  • Mini books, lap books, etc Information and supplies are provided to get you started
Also included are a book and website list for kids who want to learn more and additional research projects for older students

If you would like to see what other homeschoolers thought of this product, click here.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website

Monday, January 10, 2011

TOS Review: Easy Classical

I’ve been looking over an Early Modern History schedule that was created by Easy Classical. I must admit when I’ve tried to understand a Classical education in the past I always felt it was a bit to, eh, classical, for us. But I have thoroughly enjoyed looking over this schedule. I love doing my history and science as a family but this year we split up and I allowed my older two boys to do something different for Science, and as for History this year, we haven’t gotten very far. Not really enjoying what we’re using.
Easy Classical
Easy Classical is a company that was created by and is ran by a homeschool family in NC, the Williams family. Their website offers information to help get you started in your Classical homeschool. One of the neatest things about their website is the link tab. They have links for Science and History, and they’re there for anyone to use, even if you don’t purchase a product.
They offer several different schedules to choose from and also a few choices in curriculums, such as Modern History with Geography and complete curriculum’s for grades K-6 (each requires you to purchase suggested books separately).
The product that I reviewed was the schedule for the Early Modern History curriculum. Although I had a little difficulty figuring out how to understand some parts of the website, such as the schedules and curriculums and how the fit together, the actual schedule itself was very easy to understand.
Early Modern History takes the kids from Explorers thru 1820 in 36 weeks. As with any homeschool item you can tweak it or use it as is. Each week there’s a person, battle, or some other important event studied in depth using individual reading, read aloud’s, writing exercises and/or copy work, a variety of geography exercises, including Geography Songs, and History Pocket projects. The books needed are listed in the front of the schedule and if you visit their website there are links for each book that will allow you to purchase it from a couple different sources or check it out of the public library.
Also at the bottom of the weekly schedule there is a list of discussion questions to help summarize and hopefully concrete the information in their minds. And at the end of the week there is a quiz that includes all of the questions you’ve discussed during the week.  Also for tEarlyModern_ProductPicturehe artsy student there are several step by step drawing projects to supplement their studies.
The Early Modern History Schedule is 106 pages with everything you need to guide your study of early history, using geography, writing, and reading. You can purchase the Notebook version which includes a 3-ring binder, for $35.95 or the digital version for $29.95.
If you’d like to hear more about this product, click here.
**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Friday, January 7, 2011

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing review: Love & War

Love and War is a book written by married couple, John and Stasi Eldredge. The Eldredges openly admit that they are two imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world, trying to have a perfect marriage. Is it ever perfect? No, of course not. But they have learned to understand one another's differences and have been willing to make adjustments in their own lives in order to build up their spouse. They have learned what it means to “spend and be spent” (2Corinthians 12:15) for another’s soul.Love and War And they have learned that “you can have the marriage you’ve always dreamed of.”
Love and War is a couples devotional in which they share what they have learned by the Holy Spirit’s growing them in their 26 years of marriage. Neither John nor Stasi came from a perfect background but they have discovered that God can take what is freely offered and make it beautiful. They have offered their lives up for us to see and learn from thru their books, Wild at Heart (for men) and Captivating (for women). This devotional is an offspring of those two books. It worked out very well in my family because my husband discovered Wild at Heart over the summer and in the fall I began Captivating, then as a couple this winter, we sit down to read Love & War.
The book itself is 134 pages, broken into eight week long devotions. There are five devotionals for each week and each day there is a scripture verse, a short devotional to read together and then a prayer prompt to offer together to the Lord. At the end of day 5 there is an exercise to complete. The exercises are simple yet hard. They require something from you that you may not want to give.
The Eldredges address many hard subjects including your prayer life as a couple, the enemy who wants your marriage, and intimacy in marriage. If you desire more for your marriage, Love and War is a great place to start. Believe that you can have the marriage you desire, then trust the Lord to bring it to pass thru your obedience to Him and His Word. To pick up your copy today, visit WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

TOS: See-N-Read

I recently received three items from a family owned company named See-N-Read. This is a fairly new company that is run by Dr. Sylvia R. Smith who has her Doctorate in Instructional Technology, her Masters in Curriculum and Supervision,and her Bachelor of Science in Special Education. She is highly qualified and has been endorsed by a leading Neuropsychologist and ELL Specialist.
The goal of See-N-Read is to help students and adults focus on what they are reading so they can use their energy to understand what they’re reading instead of wasting energy trying to keep their eyes focused. If you or your child are prone to line skipping, or if your eyes jump ahead when reading, this would be beneficial to you. It is also recommended for people with dyslexia.  The way it works is there is a piece of plastic that has a grey/blue tint to it, all except one long piece that is clear. You place the clear part over the sentence you’re reading and then just move down as you read.
The items we received were called the See-N-Read Tool (the Book size and the Document size) and the Memory Marker. They also offer an electronic version of See-N-Read and it’s called eSee-N-Read (cost is $29.99 for the e-version).
The See-N-Read Tool comes in two sizes, the Book size (5 1/2” x 3”) and the Document size (8 1/2” x 3”). The Document size is ideal for younger students because it works well with picture books.
The Memory Marker is made like the See-N-Read Tool only the clear part is actually empty, no plastic. This is so you can highlight, underline, or mark any way you like. It would be ideal for Bible study or school. It also comes in the Book size and the Document size.
The cost for these items are:
See-N-Read (click here to order):
Book Size $2.99  Document size $3.49
Memory Marker (click here to order):
Book size $2.99  Document size $3.49
There are discounts when you purchase more than one.
I tried this product with both of my boys and it didn’t seem to work too well for them. My oldest son is a very good reader and just didn’t like having to deal with moving the See-N-Read down the page. My younger son struggles to read and it just isn’t something he needs right now. I think it’ll be beneficial to him when his reading has progressed to chapter books. I used it for myself because a lot of times as I read I get carried away when the book gets good and I’ll have to force myself not to look ahead. This helped but the grey/blue wasn’t dark enough and I could still see the words thru the tint. As I stated before I think the product will work, when there is a need for it. As of right now, we just don’t have a lot of trouble with eye tracking, or focusing.
If you’re interested in seeing what other homeschoolers thought of this product, click here.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

TOS Review: Math Facts Now




My eight year old and I have been working thru the multiplication facts and he is doing so well. I was very pleased because I thought it would be more difficult for him since he doesn’t really do well with rote memory type learning.

PhotobucketWe used several different methods to learn his multiplication tables and one of those methods was Math Facts Now. It was very simple to use. I downloaded their product then I created an account for my son with different lessons for him to practice. A lesson isn’t something that is taught, but rather a way to practice what you already know. It works just like flash cards, only with a computer.

I created him a lesson on subtraction because that’s still a little challenging for him and I also set up a lesson on the multiplication facts that he’s learned so far. When you set up a lesson you can determine how many facts they must get right before they’re finished and how long they have to answer each problem. If they get it wrong they must retype the problem and solution. You determine how many times they are required to retype them. I chose two times for my son. You can set up lessons in Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, or Division. If you’d like to see for yourself exactly how this works, they do offer a free trial.

You can set up multiple students and have them do multiple lessons, but for us I only used it with one student. There is also a progress report to help you see at a glance how he’s doing. It gives you the percentages for correct and incorrect answers as well as how long it took to ansPhotobucketwer.

.The cost of this program is $15.95 for the download or $15.95 + $3.95 shipping  and handling for a CD ROM. We used the download version and it worked perfectly.

If you’d like to see what other homeschoolers thought of this program, click here.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Monday, January 3, 2011

TOS Review: Positive Action for Christ


Our family was blessed to be chosen to review Positive Action for Christ Bible study.  I’ve been searching for a Bible study for my 5th grade son but nothing seemed to really fit. Everything we tried was either too simple, required too much handwriting, or was too in depth. Positive Action for Christ was none of the above. This study was very age appropriate for my 5th grader. It has nice colorful pictures (something we both LoVe), and it required only a moderate amount of handwriting.
I received the Teacher’s manual ($33.95), student’s manual($12.95), and packet with teaching suggestions and some back ground information to help get me started. The program was designed for a school setting but can easily be adapted for a homeschool setting.
The Teacher’s manual is in a sturdy 3-ring binder and it includes 282 pages of instruction, strategies for teaching, quizzes, tests and the complete student text with answers.
Also included in the teachers manual:
  • A Scripture memory program complete with a chart to help you keep up with the memory verses.
  • A music curriculum that allows you to learn a hymn and/or 3 choruses per month.
  • A schedule to show you how to use the program with a 3-day, 4-day, or 5-day week.
This program can be as simple or as in depth as you desire. For us, we only utilized the Bible portion because my son is using AWANA for scripture memorization, and music is not something we usually do as a study.
Positive Action for ChristThe Student book is a full color, 189 page work book. The student book has 35 lessons and each lesson includes Vocabulary, Life Principles, Character Trait Activities, and Life Application sections, as well as plenty of Bible study work. The lessons are broken down into bite sized sections and my son works 1-2 sections per day, finishing a lesson per week. 
The program we used was entitled Possessing the Land. It began with a timeline from Creation to the end of the Old Testament. The first lesson teaches students about the importance of the Bible being God’s inspired Word and it’s ability to change a heart. The second lesson lays a foundation on sin and redemption. After these two very important precepts are studied the old testament progression begins. Lesson three begins with Abraham and Isaac and lesson 34 finishes with the minor prophets (lesson 35 is a review lesson, there are two review lessons).
The lessons each week offer lots of variety.  Sometimes there will be crossword puzzle's, charts, maps and other fun ways to learn. There’s always several questions that must be researched (simply by looking up scripture references) and answered, but my son has never complained and that’s kind of unusual because he never likes to write. It’s really not an overwhelming amount to do, and it’s very doable. 
This program calls for a teacher but for us I used the teachers manual and done the sections during my morning devotions, that way I would know exactly what he was learning and I would be ready if I needed to answer questions or have discussion time. I never really ‘taught’ a lesson.
Other Programs by Positive Action for Christ: (click any link below to go to the products page)
School Curriculum (grades k-12)
Church Curriculum There are 7 different studies to choose from
Pro Teen Clubs
The Positive Action for Christ website has lots of nice downloads if you’d like to get a closer look at Possessing the Land, or any of their other products.
If you’d like to know what other homeschoolers thought of this program, click here.
**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.
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