Friday, October 19, 2012

TOS Review: Crossbow




Our most recent review product came from Crossbow Education. We received their set of Reading Rulers

I had heard about these types of color overlays in the past and wanted to give them a try. My son is dyslexic and supposedly they are beneficial for dyslexia and vision issues.

In my opinion dyslexia and visual weaknesses are two separate issues. My son doesn’t have any visual weaknesses, to my knowledge. But, being a mom who would do anything to help her son read better, I wanted to give these a try.We used them a few times but, they seemed to distract him more than anything so we had to set them aside. I really wish they had worked better for his reading issues but they just didn’t. I believe these would work well for a child or adult who had eye teaming or visual strain issues but not necessarily for the child with dyslexia.

If you feel that your child may have trouble focusing or suffer from eye strain, perhaps these could work wonders for him. They come in a pack of ten different colors and, according to their website, their purpose is to reduce page glare and dancing or blurring text.


They are made of hard plastic and offer a narrow window at the top or a wider window at the bottom. The narrow window would help the older child or adult who is reading books with smaller print while the wider window works with larger print.

The cost for all 10 rulers is $16.95 or you can choose a pack of 5 for $9.95. They come in the following colors: pink, celery, sky, magenta, grass, yellow, aqua, purple, orange, and jade.

In addition to the Reading Rulers, Crossbow also has a selection of other learning aids such as Phonics Games and Junior Learning Products. Also on their website you can try their Virtual Color Overlay for free.

If you’d like to see what other members of the Crew thought of this product, you can read more reviews on this Schoolhouse Review Post.

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

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Molly Crew Review: Everyday Homemaking


The Schoolhouse Review Crew has a new review team known as the Molly Crew. As a part of this crew I will be trying out products that aren’t necessarily home school related, but rather home life related. Want to learn more? Visit this Molly Blog post.


The first product I was given to review was from Everyday Homemaking. They offered our crew two items to choose from, both were books. The Everyday Family Chore System (spiral bound 19.99) or Everyday Cooking (spiral bound 100pages, 17.99 or eBook 14.99) or you can purchase both for $34.98 (this is a sale so I’m not sure how long they’ll offer this price). There are samples on the website so you can check it out before you buy (I ALWAYS take advantage of the samples), there are even some sample recipes!



I chose Everyday Cooking. I love cookbooks, probably because I struggle to find something my kids will eat. My husband and my children are simple eaters. They like meat and potatoes. They don’t care for any veggies and they absolutely hate casseroles. They prefer to have their food not touching so it’s best not to “throw everything in a dish and pop it in the oven.” I feel like I cook the same 7-8 meals all the time, over and over. They like it that way, I don’t. I like trying new things, but since it’s 5 of them and only 1 of me, it doesn’t usually go over well when I try. Therefore I always welcome a new cookbook to help me find something to add to my repertoire. Everyday Cooking did not disappoint.

Everyday Cooking is more than a cookbook. I would describe it as a cooking manual. There are lots of instructions on things other than just cooking. Such as, shopping, storing food, and multi-tasking in the kitchen. Things that you would teach your daughter (or son) as she works alongside you in the kitchen. Some examples are: how to cook beans by soaking them overnight and how to cook them if you forgot to soak, ideas on freezing meat to make it easy to pull it out of the freezer and have it ready for the meal, substitutions when you don’t have what you need, lots of breakfast ideas to give you a healthy breakfast with little effort, and much more.

I found a couple recipes that were easy and my family actually liked (Porcupine Meatballs was one) but what I liked most about the book wasn’t the recipes. It was the tips. There are hundreds of tips scattered throughout the book that teach you things that, if you grew up in the kitchen you probably already know. But if you didn’t grow up in the kitchen, these are basic how to’s that will make your cooking experience so much better. I loved those tips!!

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was the tips! Didn’t I just say that's what I loved about this book? Yelp! It was a love hate kind of thing. What I didn’t like about the tips was, they weren’t listed in the index. As I stated before, there are tips scattered throughout the book and they’re usually placed close to a particular recipe where they are most applicable. That’s great. But I had a hard time finding some of the tips later. I’m probably being picky but, I encountered this problem several times. When I first got the book I started reading through it and later when I was ready to cook and wanted to go back and find something I had read, I couldn’t. It was hard to find it because the tips are just scattered here and there. I think they need to be listed in the index so we can find them more easily when we’re not looking at the recipe they’re dealing with. I will say this, they have them in a shaded box so that did help me as I was scanning for a particular tip.

Okay so now you know how I felt about Everyday Cooking. If you want to see what others thought of it and Everyday Family Chore System visit the Crew's blog.

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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Mom Voxbox Arrived!


With our school year being so hectic I chose to step down from TOS Crew this year so I could focus more on the subjects we enjoy and need to succeed in, without having to add in the review products (oh how I love some of those products. I will miss it).

So in an effort to fulfill my desire to try new products, I decided to join the Influenster team. I had no idea I would be chosen so quickly (I feel blessed), but I was and I received my very first Voxbox this week.

A little about Influenster, straight from their website:

What is an Influenster?

Community of trendsetters invited to share their lifestyles and show off their influence to qualify for personalized product shipments, special rewards and exclusive deals from the brands they love. Members love testing the latest products, giving insightful feedback, and spreading the word on their favorite finds!

If you’d like to know more or if you’re interested in registering, click here. Be sure to tell them mom244now sent you Winking smile










My Mom voxbox included:

Language Learning video

Stash Tea

Nektar Honey Crystals

Dentek for Kids

Dentek for Adults

Ivory Soap

Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookie

imPRESS nails

There were also a couple coupons included, that always makes me Smile

So over the next few weeks Ill be trying this out and posting my opinion and reading to see what others thought of their items.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Homeschool items For Sale

I've been cleaning out my school material and have added some additional items for sale. If you don't see what you want here, check out TIME TO SALE I have more listed there.

ALL PRICES ARE NEGOTIABLE (I really want to get rid of it all)

Lots & Lots of Fire Trucks  DVD & Book $12.00 + shipping

George Washington Carver DVD $12.00 + shipping

See the Light Art Class DVD VOL 1  $7.00+ shipping ( I also have a DVD with preview clips that I'll let you have with this)

Super Star Speech R&L $10.00 + shipping

Go Science VOL 3  Magnetism, Engineering, Electricity, & Design $5 + shipping
Go Science VOL 4 Chemistry, Life Science, & States of Matter $5 + shipping

I also have a brain training curriculum from Learning Links If you have a child with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia etc and you'd like to give brain training a try just make me an offer. This has 4 CD-Rom/DVD's that contain instructions, copies off all the print offs and videos to show you how to do the exercises. have printed off the pages and have them in a binder with plastic covers (they use a dry erase pen to do the exercises).

I accept PayPal
Please email me at if you're interested in any of these. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

TOS Review: Go Science DVD



Go Science is a DVD  series with 6 volumes:

Volume 1: Motion & the Laws of Gravity

Volume 2: Simple Machines, Sound, Weather,

Volume 3: Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering, and Design

Volume 4: Chemistry, States of Matter, Life Sciences

Volume 5: Air, Flight

Volume 6: Water, Space, Solar System

These video’s are recommended for ages 6-14 years (see my opinion below) and last approximately 1 hour each. If you purchase from Library and Education’s website you can purchase them for $8.97 per video or you can purchase all 6 for $47.95 (this is a substantial savings off the original price of $14.95 per DVD and $79.95 for the set).


 Library and Education is a company I’ve used in the past and value greatly because of the wonderful savings they offer. They have tons of items at a fraction of the cost you’d pay from the original retailers.

The DVD’s that we received were Volume 3 and Volume 4. They were definitely fun videos to watch and required no parental involvement, unless we wanted to duplicate an experiment, which in this case my children never requested. The host of these video’s is Ben Roy and his goal is to teach teach the children about God through Science, in fact after each lesson he says “Every time we learn something about SCIENCE, we learn something about our CREATOR GOD!” 

The suggested age range for these video’s is 6-14 years old but I must say I think 4-10 years old would be more appropriate. My oldest son age 12 didn’t enjoy these at all. My 10 year old was a little more interested but still not truly engaged due to the childlike manner in which they were presented. If you notice the cover of the video, you’ll get an idea of what I mean. Everyone is dressed alike with this cheesy backdrop, almost like Captain Kangaroo from day’s gone by. It’s important to look past these things in order to get the meat offered in these videos. It was just a little harder for my older kids to do that. If you’re kids aren’t used to watching shows like Man, Woman, Wild (one of my kids favorite shows and a far cry from Go Science) then they may really love these. But for us, it was just slightly more juvenile than what they’re accustomed to at ages 10 and 12. My 5 & 6 year olds seemed to enjoy them a little more.

We used these DVD’s as a simple way to expose ALL of my children to some basic Science information. With the younger kids we typically learn Science by following our interests and just picking up facts here and there as we go. This fit in to that way of learning greatly. My expectations were not particularly high so I was not disappointed. The experiments Mr. Roy shared were very neat and he was wonderful at explaining the Science involved.

If you want to read more reviews for Go Science and Library Education, visit this TOS Blog Post.

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

Tyndale Review: Busy Mom’s Guide to Family Nutrition


Tyndale and Focus on the Family have teamed up to bring us another “Busy Mom’s Guide” this time it’s all about Food and Family (two things I personally LOVE).

Busy Mom

This is a 192 page paperback book with only 6 chapters, making it a quick and easy read or a nice little handy dandy resource guide.

  • Chapter 1 Nutritional Basics (Read the 1st Chapter HERE)

  • Chapter 2 How to Make Healthy Food Choices

  • Chapter 3 Vitamins and Minerals

  • Chapter 4 A Weighty Problem

  • Chapter 5 What about Diets, Medications, or Surgery?

  • Chapter 6 Help for the Overweight Child or Teenager

This book was most helpful to me because it was put in simple to understand terms and, instead of offering an excerpt from every study available, the information was presented quickly and to the point. I learned the importance of reading labels and also what makes foods healthy/unhealthy.  I’ve always struggled in the area of nutrition (and I’m sure I will continue to struggle  to a point because this just isn’t top priority in our lives right now) but this book has made it a little easier to make the right choices.

The cost of this book is $12.99 and can be purchased HERE

**I received this book free of charge from Tyndale, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, April 23, 2012

TOS Review: Amazing Science


Science and sent us Volume 1 of their Amazing Science program. There are 23 science experiments that my boys found to be truly AMAZING. You have two options for purchasing the program: 1) You can download it for $17.99 or 2) You can receive the two DVD set for $19.95

The boys enjoyed all of the experiments they watched and they also tried many of them with no difficulty at all. I love that they were able to do most of them with little to no assistance from me (they actually allowed their younger brother and sister be their ‘assistants’). They were quite impressed with what they could do with ordinary items from our house. Our favorites so far are Lift an Ice Cube with a String, Matchstick Speedboat, and Cloud in a Bottle.



Jason Gibson is the Science teacher in these videos and he shows you step by step what to do and explains the science behind why it works. You can then do the experiment yourself if you wish, but it isn’t required. By watching the video you will have learned all you need to understand the science, but my kids weren’t happy with just watching, they wanted to actually do the experiment themselves. The video’s are pretty short, about 10-15 min each, as you can see from their demo HERE.

Science and also offers video’s for Basic Math, Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus as well as Chemistry and Physics.

I would suggest Amazing Science as a great supplement for any Science program and even a stand alone program for the younger children who really don’t require a lot of science instruction.

Visit Amazing Science and sign up for a free experiment delivered to your inbox. You can also find a list of all the experiments on these DVD’s.

If you would like to hear what other TOS Reviewers thought of Amazing Science please visit the blog here.

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


Monday, April 16, 2012

TOS Review: Christian Kids Explore Biology



Our family has been slowly working through a new Science program by Bright Ideas Press, and so far it is passing the Pickrel test for ease of use. With me, Science must come easily or…well, it just doesn’t come at all. 

There are several Christian Kids Explore Science choices to choose from: Chemistry, Earth & Space, Physics, and Biology. We received Biology.

Christian Kids Explore Biology is a 291 page, paperback text. It is laid out very simply for the parent OR the child to read a small amount on a particular topic (“Teaching Time”) and then do a hands on activity that ranges from a full blown experiment to a simple diagraming assignment (“Hands-On Time).


It is broken into 8 Units and each Unit has 3-6 lessons for a total of 35 lessons. The lessons are broken into Teaching Time and Hands-On Time.  It really is as easy as it seems. Our homeschool is very busy these days and I really can’t do anything overly complicated, but we have very easily been able to do this. And we’ve ALL enjoyed it. It’s written for 3rd-6th graders but even my kindergartners have sat in on some of the lessons and enjoyed the coloring pages. There are lots of extra’s in this books that you can use to make this more in-depth. The coloring pages are part of that option.

Everything you need is in this one book for $34.95, but if you would like a digital of all the reproducible pages you can order that here for $ 7.95. There are plenty of instructions to help you get the most from your text, including instructions on creating a Science Notebook and examples of how to schedule your day/lesson, and material lists for each Unit. Although there are plenty of instructions, I want to say there aren’t TOO MANY instructions. Sometimes, when I open a book and see pages and pages of instructions I just want to close that book and leave it on the shelf. I need quick and precise. That’s what you get with Christian Kids Explore. I LOVE it.

If you would like more information about this program or any of the other Science programs mentioned above, just visit their site here. You can view samples, which are always helpful in giving you an idea of what is covered and how a lesson looks.

The quick and to the point version:

  • Paperback (291 pages)
  • Christian Kids Explore offers Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Earth and Space,
  • $34.95 (for Biology)
  • 35 Lessons, makes it easy to complete in a year
  • Simple to do lessons and hands on activities

Want to know what other homeschoolers thought of Christian Kids Explore Biology? Visit our TOS Blog post.


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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time to Sale

ALL PRICES ARE NEGOTIABLE (I really want to get rid of all this)

-Phonic's Pathway $10 + shipping

-Sylvan Learning Reading Skills Builder 1st & 2nd Grade (1st grade has 21 lessons and we used 11 of them 2nd grade has not bee used) $6 for both + shipping

-This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall $20 + shipping(I believe this is a suggested spine for Truth Quest)

-Exploring American History by McHugh and Montgomery $8 + shipping (I believe this is a suggested spine for Truth Quest)

-Little Pilgrims Progress (by Moody Bible Institute) $5 + shipping

-The World at Her Fingertips the story of Helen Keller $5 + shipping

-Abeka’s Pilgrim’s Progress, simplified $3 + shipping

-Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers (Books 2 & 3) includes answer key for book 3 $5 + shipping

-Cocoa and Company: A Civil War Classic $5 + shipping

Christian Light Grade 3 Reading $10
+ shippingTeacher's Guidebook
Doors to Discovery (hardback)
Light Unit 310

Christian Light Grade 3 Language Arts $5
+ shipping
Teacher's Guidebook
Light Unit 310

-Preschool or Kindergarten Kit  $99 + $8 Shipping
Included in this sale: Explode the Code items:Teachers book for books A,B, & C, Phonics letters with pic, letter, and pic/letter combo, and ETC Wall Hanger with activity book. Wiki Stix activity set, Phonogram cards that help you teach the letters as well as phonograms, Phonics activity kit, molding clay, dry erase sentence strips, Alphabet match game, numerous letter and number cards, Winnie the Pooh numbers with words and objects offers a puzzle to help learn numbers and counting, Mother Goose activity book, Alphabet Art, Weather chart, days of the week and month, mini incentive charts, books include: God Made Everything Weird & Wacky, Sometimes I share, Choice Stories for Children, Did you Know devotions, Andi's Scary School Days, One Day in the Alpine Tundra, I can Read Golden Book, Eyewitness Explorers Weather Book, The Night Sky, Read Aloud Treasury, What is a Bird, Things that Go Trains & Planes, Sunflower Life Cycle, What is an Insect, Liz Looks for a Home, Treasury of Literature "Hold on Tight" and "Blue Waters" I have also included some wall charts to go along with this.

You can contact me by leaving a comment or email me directly at
I accept PayPal

Monday, April 9, 2012

TOS Review: Write with World

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Crew, my family was given an opportunity to review Write with World created by God’s World Publications, publishers of God’s World News and WORLD Magazine.
I was given year one of a two year program, it included a student manual and a teacher’s manual. The teacher’s manual was an exact copy of the student text with a side margin listing some extra details and hints. There are 16 Lessons (4 Units) and each lesson is broken into 5 sections (called Capsules) making it easy to complete a capsule per day usually. Here’s a Sample Lesson to give you a better idea.
This program was designed for middle schoolers but can actually be used with 6-9th graders. While Write with World is loosely linked with it’s magazines and can be used very well with either one or both of them, but according to the publishers, it is not necessary to have the magazines in order to use this program.
The publishers list several reasons for creating this program on their website, including the need for “Christian’s to be heard in this era of conflicting worldviews.” I found this very interesting because, just today I was talking with my son about how difficult it is to get the actual truth from any media outlet. Our family enjoyed a membership to two of the God’s World News magazines last year and I really enjoyed hearing current news from a Christian perspective. If we can get our children interested in writing, while teaching them current news, we’ll be accomplishing so much more than just preparing them to write well for college. Not only that, they will be equipped to discern what they are reading in all media outlets. I think it’s a wonderful idea and my son loves the program!
When I asked my 11 year old his thoughts on the program, this is what he had to say: “Write with World helps you see the potential of a story in everything around you. I really like it.”
He has been used to using a pretty complex writing program so this seemed like a breeze to him, I guess. My problem with it was, yes it was fun and interesting, but it didn’t translate well. In other words, I saw very little actual writing. Perhaps I wasn’t monitoring him closely enough or we didn’t get far enough in the program. Another problem I had was being able to easily glance at the book and know what was going on. It’s written in paragraph form so you really have to read to get the jest of the lesson. There isn’t a bullet list or a “What You Will Learn In Lesson _”  to give you an overview of what to expect. There is a “General Overview” and a “Detailed Overview” in the teachers manual, but even the ”General Overview” is just paragraphs. I need short and to the point.
These are just personal preferences and shouldn’t stop you from checking out this program. There are plenty of good things about Write with World that I hope will encourage you to give it a try such as, your child learning current events from a Christian perspective while applying these to writing. Also, unlike what I grew up with, the variety this course offers in each lesson is fun and keeps them interested. Write with World doesn’t toss out a thought/topic and expect your child to write a couple paragraphs about it, which is exactly how I was first introduced to writing, in 7th grade. We had a journal and the first 5-10 minutes of class we wrote about whatever topic the teacher had on the board. For example “This weekend I plan to…”  It was very dull and ineffective.
The cost of this program is $95 for one year or $165 for two years (you receive a teacher and student manual for each year). Also, Write with World is in the process of creating an online site that should be ready in September. This site will have 3 primary functions: 1) provide additional prompts and subject matter for the child to work with, 2) allow students to submit their writings for publication, and 3) offer a place for students and teachers to discuss what their learning and provide feedback to Write with World.
If you are interested in reading more reviews on Write with World, please check out this post.
**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. All opinions are mine. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

TOS Crew: Amazing Animals by Design

Amazing Animals by Design was written by one of our fellow homeschool moms when she discovered there were very few intelligent design books written for younger children. Not only is Debra Haagen a fellow homeschooler she is also a crewmate with TOS! I was so delighted to hear about and receive her PDF e-book. (You can choose PDF 7.99 or paperback for 8.99)
I downloaded the book three times on my nook color but each time it disappeared, I’m sure it was probably something I’m doing wrong. She has tried to convert it to e-Pub and MOBI for nook and Kindle but she didn’t like the format after the conversion.
The book takes you to the zoo with John, Sarah and their parents. As they visit each animal the zookeeper informs them of the animals ‘special features’ that must have been created just for them.

This book was written for Pre-K through 3rd grade, but in my home this book was way over simplified for my 4 (almost 5 ) and 6 yr olds. They already knew what a Caracal was, they understood why elephants had trunks, and ostriches hide their heads in the sand, none of this was new to them. There was only one animal, the Barbary that they’d never heard of and thus was able to learn how the creator designed him special.
But if you have a child that hasn’t spent much time learning about the hand of God in the animal world, this will be a very good place to start. A very good place! And, Debra plans to write more in this series, so stay tuned!

links to help you

Facebook Page:
  If you would like to read more Amazing Animals by Design reviews, visit our TOS Blog Post.
**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. All opinions are mine. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.  


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: The Woodcarver DVD

I was blessed with a copy of The Woodcarver, a family friendly Christian film from Christian

ABOUT THE WOODCARVER (taking from the Christian Cinema site)

Matthew Stevenson is a troubled kid from a broken home. When he vandalizes the local church to get back at his parents, Matthew has to repair the damage to the church to avoid criminal charges. While working at the church, he meets Ernest, an accomplished wood carver who created the intricate woodwork decoration that Matthew destroyed. Ernest has become something of a hermit, but reluctantly comes out of reclusion to help repair the church. Now Ernest and Matthew must work together to preserve the church's beautiful antiquity, and along the way, they also manage to restore their faith in God and in life

You can purchase the DVD today for $10.92, just click here

Disclosure: I received one of the products mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, March 19, 2012

TOS Review: Action Alert



We’ve all heard of the dangers allowing children to ‘play’ unsupervised on the internet. Action Alert is an organization that is working hard to help parents protect their children. They have used feedback and knowledge from parents, children’s and family psychologists, law enforcement, internet security experts, and educators to come up with a program known as Action Alert. They have received quite a lot of attention recently from some pretty big names. I was lucky to be given a chance to review for them.

Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucket

What impressed me was that they offer a Free Version for those who really want to protect their children but aren’t able to spend the money for the Maximum Protection version ($29.99). This convinced me that they weren’t out to simply make money, they really had our children’s safety in mind when offering this program.


There seems to be very little difference in the Maximum Protection and the Free Version. From what I’ve learned, Action Alert seem to want their customers to try the FREE version and then if need be, upgrade. Some kids will need more supervision and protection.

To get a better idea about the difference between the two versions I’ve listed what I know about them below:

The Free Version sends a message or text to your phone when an alert occurs, offers a web filter to ensure safe searches, website blocking that prevents access to a constantly updated list of websites (you can even add your own list of sites), time controls to ensure your child doesn’t linger too long on the internet, and free tech support.

The Maximum Version offers everything the Free version offers with added tools to help trace your child’s steps and/or a wrong doer who may be targeting your child. One of these tools is something like a DVR so it’s sort of like watching a recording of what your child has done while online.

So if you don’t have a protection in place, head to Action Alert and try their Free Version today. I will caution that this is a fairly new program so there may be a few kinks but remember they offer free tech support so make use of it.

If you’d like to read more reviews of Action Alert from my fellow TOS Crew members visit the review blog.

**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, March 12, 2012

TOS Review: Progeny Press


Do you love to read to your children but worry that reading them that wonderful novel, so rich in history and insights into the human soul, just isn’t enough? Do you ever get up from your family reading time and feel like there needs to be more, something’s missing, but what?

Progeny Press has the answer. They offer study guides for all kinds of wonderful literature and they cover grades K-12, so there’s something for everyone. When I first heard about them I thought they would just offer some questions to prompt discussion (which would’ve been great) but I was wrong, very wrong. They offer so much more.


The study guide I received was for the novel Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt. I read this book to my children at the beginning of this school year, before I had heard of Progeny Press unfortunately. This novel turned out to be one of our favorites this year (so far, we still have three or four to go) so doing this review has been a real joy, reminding me of all the laughter and sorrow we shared while being absorbed in this book.

That brings me to my first opinion (meaning you may disagree but this is how I feel about it) concerning Progeny Press. I’ve been looking over their online catalog and from what I’m seeing the books they choose are all very literature rich without a lot of fluff and puff. I like a book that doesn’t leave my heart and mind when I put it back on the shelf. The books we read are not one sided and I truly don’t want them to be. I want my children to view the world from all angles in order to discover error in worldviews that go against our truth measuring stick (The BIBLE) thus allowing the Holy Spirit through the truth in His Word to guide them to the path they should take (with their mom prodding them along ever so gently…gently? yeah right, lol) This is not to say that Progeny Press doesn’t promote a Christian worldview, it does, but Progeny Press teaches them how to think and come up with these truths on their own.. They explain it this way:

“At Progeny Press we are committed to teaching good cultural literature, examined from a Christian perspective. We believe in the equation "Biblical Truth + Cultural Relevancy = Effective Christians." Take away biblical truth and Christians become no more than a religious subculture-- salt without saltiness. Take away cultural relevancy and Christians become isolationists with no impact on the world-- lights hidden under bushels. We believe in looking at the world clearly and openly with the Bible firmly in hand.”


So what is a Progeny Press study guide? It is a list of questions to go with each chapter, as you would assume, but it also includes background information on the author, activities for the child to do while reading the book (they recommend reading the book the first week then diving into the guide), vocabulary, introduction and use of literary techniques, Bible study, creative writing assignments, history study, geography and map work, and so much more. As I said, I was truly amazed at all that was included.

If you enjoy doing Unit Studies, than you will love Progeny Press because to me, it’s like a literature unit study. I love it. I’m not sure how/if I’ll be able to incorporate Progeny Press into my homeschool schedule next year, but I’m seriously considering it as my history curriculum as well as a supplement for several of my other subjects, including creative writing and grammar. The money it will save me is astounding! Plus we’ll become much more involved in the subjects we’re studying. I’m not 100% sure I have enough faith in myself to drop the curriculum I’m using now, but as I said, I am considering it.

A few things you need to know:

  • In addition to the study guide students will need a good dictionary, thesaurus, Bible, concordance
  • Typically it will take 8-10 weeks to do one guide (elementary level is shorter) which would give you time to complete 3-4 study guides per year 
  • There are options available for testing
  • Most Christian high schools have assigned a value of one-fourth credit per study guide and this also seems to be acceptable to colleges assessing homeschool transcripts
  • If your child would rather type than write, order the PDF version. It’s interactive and they can type their answers right in

I received, through email, a PDF version of Across Five Aprils study guide and it included a total of three files: a read me file, the actual study guide, and an answer key. (It did not include the actual novel).

They offer most of their guides in the following formats:

--> Paperbound booklet (reproducible) $18.99
--> PDF file on CD (opens with Adobe Reader, interactive files can be completed on computer or printed)$16.99
--> PDF file emailed directly to you (opens with Adobe Reader, interactive file can be completed on computer or printed)$16.99
All formats include full student text and complete answer key.
--> A booklet/CD combo set gives you both the booklet and CD formats of the guide for classroom use. Print what you need when you need it. Refer to your booklet copy at any time. Substantial price savings buying both formats together! $23.99

Progeny Press offers many guides to choose from and the TOS Crew reviewed these six:

  • Across Five Aprils
  • The Cay
  • The Bronze Bow
  • The Screwtape Letters
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Julius Caesar

Visit the Crew to read reviews on each of these study guides.


**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, February 27, 2012

TOS Review: K-5 Learning



We’ve been using an online program as a supplement to my 4th grade son’s reading. It’s called K5 Learning and I was introduced to it through the the TOS Homeschool Crew.

K5 Learning isn’t an all inclusive program, it is meant to be a supplemental program that helps children who are struggling in the areas of reading, math, or spelling. It’s just a way to give them a little extra boost by helping them focus on the area(s) in which they’re struggling. Kind of like an afterschool tutor, only cheaper and more convenient. Since it’s web based it’s available whenever your child has the time or desire to spend working on it. Also, It’s fun, so they’ll enjoy it while learning, instead of just feeling like they’re doing more school!


The cost for K5 Learning is $25 monthly ($15 for each additional child) or $199 yearly ($129 each additional child). I would recommend that you take advantage of their 14 day trial just to see if this will benefit your child.

K5 offers four reading and math programs

K5 Reading covers phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension

K5 Spelling is an advanced vocabulary program with a database of over 150,000 words

K5 Math aids student in learning math concepts in multiple areas  including time, money, algebra, data analysis, and geometry

K5 Math Facts uses mastery to help child retain all the important facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division

(All four of these are all included with your single subscription)



In my opinion this program is perfect for busy parents because it’s 100% independent and its safe. No chat, ads, or external links. My son worked with K5 Learning but not nearly as much as I would have liked. He is really working hard with reading these days and he felt like this was just more work. However, I’m not giving up on K5 Learning. I will still encourage him to log in and work as often as possible, especially on days that I can’t invest a full amount of work on his reading program. I think K5 is a good option for any child needing a little extra work in one of the above mentioned areas.



If you would like to see what other TOS Crew members 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.


Friday, February 24, 2012

TOS Review: Reading Eggs


My kids have been spending quite a bit of time on the computer lately. In fact, lately, they are choosing the computer over the TV more often than not. So what’s got my kids situated at the computer with mom happy to have them there? Reading Eggs!

Reading Eggs is an online reading program designed to help children ages 3-13 on their reading journey. They do this through many activities which include songs, games, and rewards.

There are several pricing options available for Reading Eggs but the best value is $75.00 for 12 months. You can check out the other options available including a month by month plan, by visiting the pricing page.


My children were able to complete two maps which means they advanced past 20 lessons. Each map has 10 lessons and offers different areas to explore and learn in each. In all there are 120 reading lessons and 96 spelling lessons. These lessons are designed to be played more than once, since repetition builds fluency.


Reading Eggs begins with learning/reviewing a few of the letter sounds while building words, and practicing them until they become automatic. They also learn to put the words into sentences and by the time they finish the second map (20 lessons) they have covered several sentences and even a couple site words. Below is a screen shot of the ‘test’ they are given before advancing to the next map.


I really like the method Reading Eggs uses to teach reading because they break the words down by sound and have the child build the word(s) using different methods which engage the child's eyes, ears, and hands (I don’t know if this is considered an Orton-Gillingham based program but it definitely incorporates portions of it.)

So I’ve already mentioned that my children LOVE Reading Eggs. They BEG to play it daily, hourly even. In fact when I opened it to begin writing my review, they came running. However, that in and of itself, isn’t enough for me to put my badge of approval on it. But, I found nothing offensive about this program and thought they did an excellent job teaching and reviewing the concepts. I give it a thumbs up!

All of that being said, I will now give the ugly part of my review. Reading Eggs, for some reason was not very effective with helping my children learn to read. In a way I feel like it’s more my kids than the program itself. I didn’t use it as a stand alone program, instead I used it as a supplement to their reading lessons. My daughter is only 4 years old so I don’t really expect her to take off and start reading right now. I know some do, but mine probably won’t. My son is 6 years old but is really struggling to blend those letters into sounds into words. I’m not pushing him too hard, and am really hoping eventually Reading Eggs will be the fun nudge that moves him into the land of reading. And although they still aren’t sounding out cvc words with ease, they are able to sound out some and they can actually spell more than they sound out.

After all the time they spent on Reading Eggs and with me doing their regular reading lessons the only word they seem to get (without sounding it out) is c-a-t spells cat! They can read it and spell it. It’s a little disheartening but I know every child learns at their own pace. Well, I take that back, they both know *at* and *am* pretty well too. We’ve only been at it about 3-4 weeks so I’m hoping things will improve with time. I know Reading Eggs can’t hurt them and I’m hoping it’ll work it’s magic and every thing will click into place soon. The key will turn, the light will come on, and BOOM they’ll be reading chapter books! I’m probably a little dreamy but I prefer that to reality sometimes Smile

Would you like to try before you buy? Click for a FREE TRIAL.

Would you like to read some of the other reviews? 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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