*I received the Master Clock for free in exchange for my review. No further compensation was received.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
*I received the Master Clock for free in exchange for my review. No further compensation was received.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. Luke 6:48
At our house, my middle daughter is our 'writer'. She's only 12, but for years she has been writing poems, short stories, etc. She has book after book filled with her words. Therefore when we received the package from The Write Foundation she was super excited. Thank you TOS for allowing us to review this product. We believe that writing is a pillar of a good education.
"The goal of the Write Foundation is for students to become well thought-out and organized writers which will help them be more effective communicators and therefore better prepared for other classes and life."
1. The Writing Process- the fundamental writing skills of brainstorm, outline, rough draft, edit and final copy.
2. Writing Structure-incorporating structured organization in writing.
3. Word Usage-basic grammar and figures of speech used to enhance writing.
"Repetition is the price of knowledge."-Keith Lamb
All levels can be used in a homeschool setting with 1-3 students. They can also be used in a co-op or classroom setting with multiple students. Schedules for both are included in the package.
Age levels are any where from 11-17; it depends greatly on your student's maturity, writing experience and interest in writing. Each level can easily be adapted to a 2 year format if needed.
There are 3 levels:
Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing
Level 2: Paragraph Writing
Level 3: Essay Writing
Poetry is taught too for several reasons:
1. for teaching grammar
2. to teach structure
3. to learn to work with different parts and figures of speech to incorporate into paragraphs later
4. just for their enjoyment!
We chose Paragraph Writing which includes the following:
The entire Paragraph Writing Curriculum for teacher and student by Rebecca Celsor includes:
Spiral-bound Teacher Instruction Manuals with Lesson Plans (about 160 double-sided pages)
1 set notebook-ready Worksheets (about 200 pages)
1 CD with additional resources
Grading Record Sheets
Teacher Presentation Sheets
Extensive Reading list
Prices for the program vary depending on what you feel would work best for child and for you.
Curriculum Package 1: Paragraph Complete Lessons 1-30 $100 + tax/shipping.
Spiral Instruction Manual Lessons 1 – 15 & Lessons 16 – 30
Student Worksheets Full Set Lessons 1 – 30
Paragraph Additional Resources CD
Curriculum Package 2: Paragraph Lessons 1-15 $65 + tax/shipping.
Spiral Instruction Manual Lessons 1 – 15
Student Worksheets Lessons 1 – 15
Paragraph Additional Resources CD
Curriculum Package 3: Paragraph Lessons 16-30 $65 + tax/shipping.
Spiral Instruction Manual Lessons 16 – 30
Student Worksheets Lessons 16 – 30
Paragraph Additional Resources CD
These are used to help develop the student's organizational processing. They learn to think logically by working puzzles. Most students love Mind Benders. The use of Mind Benders is optional.
Overall The Write Foundation is a very thorough, easily adaptable writing program that in my opinion is a very good product for the price. You can read what other TOS Crew Members thought at:
The Writing Foundation for free. My review is based on my opinion of the product only. No additional compensation was received.
Friday, November 5, 2010
As an avid reader and homeschool mom, I have tons and tons of books. Unfortunately some are duplicates. It happens to even the best of us! LOL! I see a good deal and suddenly I can't remember a thing. Fortunately for me I got to review Collectorz book collectors for free (thanks to my favorite magazine, TOS). I'm soooo happy! Finally a way to organize all my books!! I'm a happy girl.
Not only can you keep an accurate home inventory of book collections(the whole family's- from the toddler to dad's) with Collectorz.com but these programs assist with insurance records and general home organization.
The programs are perfect for people interested in keeping an accurate list of their belongings and also for those who are a little more serious- wishing to keep detailed records for each item in their collection.
What costs are involved?
*Standard format $24.95
*Pro format $49.95
*Barcode scanners are available from the Collectorz.com website to make entering data faster. Options include a simple scanner for $19.95 or a deluxe laser scanner for $139.95.
Why use Collectorz?
*Large collections of books can be worth a lot of money. Having an accurate way to keep track of them can be beneficial for insurance purposes.
*Having a list like this can help people like me keep from purchasing duplicate copies of books. It also helps you keep up with who you've loaned to.
*Book Collectorz makes keeping up with your book collection easy.
For more reviews on Collectorz, check out: The TOS Crew Blog
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
PG Key is a unique device that plugs into any USB port on a PC and gives parents the tools they need to manage kids using the Internet. I received this really cool tool to review for free thanks to TOS.
It works with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7
There are also no annual fees. Just a one time purchase price of $49.99
10 Tools in one little device:
*Access Control Control computer use by inserting or unplugging PG Key.
*Time Allowance Decide the amount of time the computer can be used daily.
*Content Filtering Eliminate unwanted results from innocent searches.
*Site Blocking Block sites you decide are inappropriate.
*Activity Tracking Review all activity on the PC with a DVD-like interface.
*Activity Notifications Be informed via text message or e-mail of any flagged activity.
*Chat and E-mail Logging See both sides of chat and e-mail conversations.
*Computer Configuration Properly configure all users of the protected PC.
*User Name and Password Logging Keep track of user names and passwords.
*Inappropriate Activity Evidence Use video recording to show obvious or suspected inappropriate activity.
PG Key is one of the best products I've seen. It's fast and easy to use yet gives you so much peace of mind. You can read what other crew members thought of it at:
Friday, October 1, 2010
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation"
One thing I've learned with having 3 children is that you can't be too careful about what they put into their minds. I've always told them that what goes in through their minds ends up in their hearts. One particular incident I recall happened a couple of years ago. We were preparing to go on a trip to Europe. One of the first things we think about is having a book or books to read on the long flight. We went in a local (small town) bookstore and asked for advice on books for the girls. They took us to the appropriate section for their ages. First they tried to push the 'vampire' books on us. The girls politely declined, much to my relief. Next was the ever popular 'witch craft' books. Once again the girls said that was something they weren't interested in. Finally a series of books that had been made into a movie was presented. Because the store was about to close and our flight was leaving early the next morning, we purchased these books without reviewing them thoroughly. Much to my dismay, halfway through the book, my daughter brings to my attention not only inappropriate language, but also totally inappropriate content. I was devastated that I had let her put those things into her mind. From that point on, my husband and I decided that every book our children read would be first approved by us or someone close that we trusted. Our children's minds are just too impressionable to allow anything to enter them.
A few weeks ago I received the book "The Peleg Chronicles" by Matthew Christian Harding. TOS asked me to read and review it. The first thing I did was flip to the back cover where I read "No Magic, No Evolution, No Humanism". Immediately I thought this was going to be a good book!
"I wanted to write books of fiction for our youth and adults that
would strengthen these beliefs, and give another platform from
which to excite and exhort our children to believe the Bible
literally - every word. I also desire to give them exciting stories
that help train them in Godly character.
I believe the Peleg Chronicles will give you another venue for
speaking truth into your children's lives. Just look at the
repetitive bombardment of evolution and humanism our families
are exposed to. We can't be neutral in our approach towards
false ideology, or our culture will dictate what is taught by
default. And reading works of fiction are one of the powerful
ways that learning occurs. That's why we must be cautious and
purposeful in choosing what our children are reading"
~Matthew Christian Harding
This 256 page book, priced at $11.95, is written for ages 10 and up. It's classified as Historical Fiction-mine and my oldest daughter's favorite. This early human history weaves a web of entertaining and imaginative heroes who depend on the Lord for help. Faith in God is the core of what the story is about. The characters (dragons, giants, false priests, the death hunt, an under-city of the dwarven brotherhood, and many more) are brought to life by Harding. The story begins in the time period of Peleg ,after the flood of Noah, soon after the tower of Babel dispersion. "Foundlings weaves together the Biblical principles of chivalry, truth, courage, duty, faith and love within the framework of Genesis, and a bold adherence to its historicity." The Peleg Chronicles is a book I proudly read in our home and let my girls read on their own. It's so refreshing to find good literature in today's world that not only is exciting, but glorifies our Lord. I highly recommend Peleg Chronicles and hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
*For the purpose of this review, I received The Peleg Chronicles for free. My review is based on my opinion of the product only. No additional compensation was received.*
Friday, September 24, 2010
Friedrich Schleich founded the company in 1935. Each figurine is engineered by a German master craftsman who works on the finest details for up to six weeks. Each one is hand painted-therefore they are all unique. Even though I no longer have toddlers around the house, it's important to me that all our toys are safe. All Schleich products are thoroughly tested by in-house experts at the German headquarters in Schwäbisch Gmünd. That means they are durable and safe.Did I mention that these figurines are absolutely beautiful! They are simply miniatures of the real thing. I guess that's why not only toddlers enjoy them (only the larger pieces that can't cause a choking hazard), but older children and even adults like to collect them. There are so many(over 500) to pick from that boys and girls can find something they like.
Schleich makes a wide range of figurines which are divided into the following categories:
The World of Knights
The World of American Indians
The World of Fantasy (including Bayala and the Smurfs)
Price range varies depending on the piece-anywhere from around $6.00 up to $50.00+. The Schleich website can help you locate a dealer near you.
"When deciding on licensing products such as comic figurines we pay careful attention to their character and the message they carry. Educational aspects play a more important part than possible sales potential."
Wow! How many companies would say that? I guess you can tell that I like these cute little guys and so does my daughter. I can see her playing with them for many more years. We've already planned to order some of the characters from Bayala. I have to have some Smurfs too because they bring back memories of my childhood J. Schleich figurines are perfect for almost every age range, interest and imagination. Safe, durable and most of all just pure simple fun.
You can find out what the rest of the Homeschool Crew thought at the blog.
*For the purpose of this review I received free Schleich figurines. My review is based on my opinion of the product only. No additional compensation was received.*
Thursday, September 9, 2010
- It's web-based-no books to carry around.
- Your child can go at her own pace.
- The videos explain/teach the new concept
- No grading on the parents part
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Want to take a peek inside our school room:
I've mentioned before that one of my goals is to learn to quilt. It's been a slow process for me. At times...very slow. I made this quilt top almost 7 years ago. Our pastor's wife taught a weekly class at our church. Because I had a very fussy infant at the time, I wasn't able to go to the last classes. This was where she showed everyone how to actually 'quilt'. So, I've kept this top tucked away for all these years.
While moving into our new home, I was able to organize all my sewing things. I have much more space and can actually see where everything is. Once again I came across that little log cabin quilt top. I decided that would be my next project. Only one problem-I still didn't know how to quilt it.
I spent tons of time online trying to just decide what pattern to quilt it with. After all the time I spent sewing the top, I surely didn't want to mess it up. Finally I settled on stippling. There's something about the look of stippling that I love, love, love! More experienced quilters will do this freehand, but I had to trace the pattern.
(the fabric on the back is a street map of Paris.)
I'm absolutely thrilled with the finished product. It's not perfect by any means...but it's finished. If you like the fabric, it's from Moda. It's called Paris Flea Market by 3 Sisters. I can check the log cabin quilt off my to-do list. Now...what else do I have to finish?
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The girls and I have been doing lots of cooking lately. One of my goals this summer was to finally try all of those recipes I'd been saving. Another thing I've always been curious about is cake decorating. Fortunately for us, we have a dear friend who is an expert at decorating cakes. She came over for a visit one day and surprised us with tiny cakes of our own to decorate. She was so patient instructing us on all the different techniques. Cake Boss makes it look so easy but it's really not! LOL! This is definitely an art!
I don't see us going into the business anytime soon, but we certainly had an enjoyable day. Only one problem...after all that hard work none of us wanted to eat our cakes!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I've always been the type that loved to read and write. In elementary school, I won a couple of different writing contests. In high school I was on the yearbook staff and always in advanced English. It was never work for me but pure enjoyment. When it comes to teaching the technical side of writing…I fail miserably! Therefore I literally jumped for joy when I found out we received a free trial of Vantage Learning's My Access! Home Edition. ( A big 'thank you' to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for allowing me to be a part of the review crew.)
What's included in the writing program? For $99.95 for up to 3 students or $129.95 for up to 6 students you receive:
- A completely web based writing program for 12 mths
- Immediate scoring and feedback
- Editing and writing tools
- Individual progress reports
- Self- paced and interactive lessons
- 96 preloaded writing topics for 3 age groups- (8-10),(11-14) and (15-18)
As a parent I was able to set up student accounts for my girls-assigning individual projects for each. I could also schedule rewards and receive progress reports. Instruction is given in how to write narrative, persuasive and informative essays. The student's writings are assessed by their Focus, Content and Development, Organization, Language Use and Mechanics & Convention. They are then given a score on a scale of Below Proficient, Proficient and Advanced Proficient. There are also activities that the student can complete to help strengthen areas that need improvement.
The My Access! Home Editon website takes a bit of getting used to. With a little practice we were able to find our way around. Also, on their first assignments the girls were slightly confused with the grading and how to correct their mistakes. They quickly got the hang of it. One daughter loved that the website was so bright and fun; the other liked the idea of pretending she was an author and her work was being 'edited' before getting published. I liked knowing that my girls were finally getting a writing course that was concise, engaging and motivating but best of all that had non-subjective grading.
"The ability to write well is one of the most practical and useful skills that we can teach our children." –John Fallon, Vantage Learning
My Access! Home Edition makes it easy for me to incorporate writing into our day by taking away the stress of planning and grading and giving my children something they can enjoy and learn from.
*For the purpose of this review, I received a free membership to My Access! Home Edition. My review is based on my opinion of the product only. No additional compensation was received.*
To read more reviews on this product and others, visit The TOS HomeSchool Review Blog.