Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs...For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:1-2, 5

Friday, May 27, 2011

Read for the Heart

I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review the book, “Read for the Heart”, by Sarah Clarkson. I had the privilege of listening to her speak at a The Old Schoolhouse Expo last year. She has a wonderful way with words and is an inspiration to me in reading whole books to my children. This is my very last review for the TOS Crew…I have enjoyed this year tremendously.

Read for the Heart is a guide for choosing whole books for wholehearted families…

Interested in seeing a sample chapter of the book…click here, then click on “sample chapter” or “table of contents”.

The basic set up of the book…
3 chapters that speak about Reading to Live, Reading Lost, Life by Books…read them…they are very enlightening!Smile She then describes how she set up the remaining chapters of the book. The remaining portions of the book are chapters on books of all ages and subjects, from picture books to classics to poetry to history…it also includes appendices of certain series or medalists, as well as, alphabetical indexes by authors and titles of books, in which she gives a little summary of each book or series by the author. It's priced at $17.00.

This is a really great resource to have in your homeschool repertoire or any home environment that love books…and not just any books, but books that mean something, books that have heroes and heroines, books that have good moral teaching, books that you can live by. I highly recommend it!

"A story-formed imagination is naturally driven to real-world action. The great point of excellent stories is to wake us up to beauty, dress down our pride, and teach us how to live with courage, compassion, and creativity. Life is an epic, true story. The heart of my message is that reading prepared me to live as nobly as any hero or heroine in a storybook and that it will do the same for your children."---Sarah Clarkson

Do you want to read more TOS Crew reviews on this product…click here.

Disclaimer: I was given this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mad Dog Math

I was given the opportunity to review a product called Mad Dog Math. There are two, well actually 3 products you could get for HOME-USE from Mad Dog Math. One is a downloadable software (Windows PC only), which is what we received, the other two are the choice of either a binder or CD-ROM that is the full extensive instructions and tips for success.
Slightly modified from the website about their product...
{        Why Choose Mad Dog Math?
- Created and produced by a veteran educator
- Fun, exciting, motivating, and challenging
- Students, parents, and teachers, LOVE it
- Goes above and beyond California state standards
- Helps to improve standardized test scores
- Backed by 30 years of success in the classroom
- Supplements any math curriculum
- Eliminates math phobias
- Proven success with remedial students
- User friendly materials teachers/parents can use immediately
- Each mastery program builds on the previous one to ensure a strong math foundation in early elementary
- Improved teacher satisfaction
- Systematic, organized, easy to implement

The clip is a a basic preview of Mad Dog Math being used in a classroom setting, but it is also a preview of the Home-Use binder/CD-ROM version of Mad Dog Math, because it is basically the same thing.
Since I received the the download version I will tell you what I like about that particular program...
it covers all fact families (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)
there is also a challenge section
it is super easy to use
the time-frames are 2 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds and no limit
the kids can earn club stickers for each passed fact family in both sections...either addition/subtraction or multiplication/division
no paper or pencil is is all done on the computer
Ruff, the dog, keeps track of where the child left off
there is a Progress "bone" the parent or child can click to see their progress
the cost is $19.99 for a one year license, $29.99 for a 2 year license and $39.99 for a lifetime license
there are only 20-24 math facts to answer depending on the level

One of the key things that was mentioned was consistent daily practice and use of this system...which I have not been with my children...but I am determined to have my kids be "Top Dog" with knowing their math that means me being more consistent with them using this fun, easy and great program.

If you would like to try this software for yourself...
Download a free trial version and bring the fun of Mad Dog Math to your computer. Two versions are currently available, based on your operating system.
To find out which version of the software you need, please go to:
Download Mad Dog Math – at Home (Free Trial 32 bit Version)
Download Mad Dog Math – at Home (Free Trial 64 bit Version) 

If you would like to read other TOS Crew reviews on this product click here.

Disclaimer---I was given this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I was given an opportunity to review the online fitness and nutrition program called GoTrybe.


This is an online subscription for a fitness program geared for kids ages 5-18, but of course adults can use this as well. Using the GETFIT promotional code you can get a free trial of GoTrybe, If you decide to continue using it after the free trial period, the cost of a one year membership is $19.95 (regularly $39.95). 

There is much to the GoTrybe website…when you join you get to create an avatar, learn about nutrition, wellness or get motivation and take quizzes daily to earn points, create and do your own workout or choose a GoTrybe workout to do to earn points, have GoTrybe “friends”, finally “buy” clothes, shoes, and accessories with your points for your avatar. 

This is what I did for the purpose of this review…I made an avatar for us as a family (okay so it looked like meSmile), though I could have made one for each of my kids, but it was easier to have just one. We then would work out together using a workout I created. Honestly speaking we only did this a couple times…but I did go through the website to see what was available and earned points doing some of the other things. I looked at many of the workouts to see what intensity or what it focused on. Making the time to exercise is the hardest thing for me…

There were many things I liked about this program…

I liked that it was real people…adults and kids doing the workout. 

I liked that you could find a workout for warming up, cardio, strength training, and flexibility.

I liked that as you create a workout it gives you a total time of the workout.

There are a lot of workouts to choose from…so it keeps you going with variety.

One thing I wish were a little different is that as you go to create or choose a workout is that it was categorized better…for example when you choose your cardio stuff you have to scroll through a long set of pictures and pick and choose by hovering your mouse over it…I think it would be easier to pick workouts if they were labeled and categorized more specifically on in sections or something…sorry, I guess it is hard to explain what I mean.

Overall, I think this is great for anyone, but especially a great option for those who have a hard time getting their kids to exercise or to get and be active. 

Remember if you are interested you can get a free trial by using the code GETFIT at GoTrybe sign up.

If you want to see more TOS Crew reviews on this product click here.

Disclaimer---I was given a free 3-month subscription in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Circle C Beginning books


I had the opportunity to review this book from Kregel Publications. My daughter, who is 8 years old, read this book to help me with this review. Along with this book, Kregel has a free activity guide with each book in the series. Circle C Beginnings has a website for your daughters (or sons) that has coloring pages, the above mentioned activity pages, and puzzles to do at Below is a book trailer of the books from the Circle C Beginnings Series.

book trailer from the Circle C Beginnings Series

The series are chapter books geared for ages 6-9 about a girl named Andi, who lives on the Circle C Ranch in 1874. My daughter said she  liked the book…she mentioned liking the part when Andi climbed the tree at school…my daughter does have 3 brothers what can I saySmile.

It is a story about a young girl named, Andi, going to school for the first time…when all she wants to do is stay at the ranch. She gets into a bit of trouble, but ends with her thinking school isn’t so bad after all.

Some things I liked about this book was…

a “New Words” page in the beginning of the book defines some words used in the book that may be new to the child

at the end of the book is “A Peek into the Past” page that teaches a little bit about how life was back in 1874

there are lovely sketches throughout the book

a simple story, but yet, not too simple sentences

There are six books in the series and when your child gets into the 9-14 age reading range, there is another Circle C Adventure Series about a girl named, Andrea.

Be sure to click here…the TOS Crew members who participated in the review received different books, so if you wondered what the other books were about read some of the others.

Disclaimer---I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

31 Days to Clean ebook

What it is about...
{ 31 Days to Clean is about the “why” and the vision and the heart for taking care of our domains. Each day I encourage you with some thoughts and ideas, and then we put those ideas to action.
After each days reading, you will be given two challenges:
  • The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart
  • The Martha Challenge – Specific cleaning tasks
Friends, 31 Days to Clean is a faith journey towards ruling, subduing, and loving. We are forgoing perfection; we are choosing life. }

Friday, April 22, 2011

See the Light

I was given the wonderful opportunity to review See the Light Art Class Volume 1: Art Lessons 1-4 DVD, from See the Light Shine.

image    The DVD is wonderful! 
My kids loved watching and learning from it. She is easily engaging for children and adults. 
Volume 1 is about the basics…
Lesson 1 Tools of the Trade         
Lesson 2 It all Starts with a Line   
Lesson 3 Contours and Composition              
Lesson 4 Draw What You See                 
The following pictures are from my daughter who is 8 years old…she drew these while watching the video for the very first time. I think she did an amazing job.

This picture depicts Lesson 2---She teaches about lines and the differences in how a line is drawn depending upon how you hold your pencil. The picture and the following two pictures shows Lesson 3 about contours and composition. She was told to draw an apple without looking at her hand. She was to draw just strictly looking at the apple. Lesson 3 also teaches her positioning items in your drawing or “composition”, such as the two apples. The picture on the left shows how my daughter positioned them in the center, but put a line to show they weren’t necessarily floating.

The next picture shows Lesson 4---She was told to get a shoe and draw what you see, not what you know. She was to only draw what she could see.

I really am thrilled with this product…I would love to get the other DVD’s.

image This set of DVD’s for $99.99. Apparently you can also get a monthly online subscription that is $10 a month. Here is some info I gleaned from our TOS forum…

{ With your initial subscription you'll receive access to the first four lessons. Each month thereafter your subscription unlocks the following four lessons while still giving you access to all the lessons you've already worked through!
So, essentially you are getting one DVD's worth of lessons each month.  You will still have access to the lessons you have already worked through as long as you continue your subscription.  So, at 4 lessons a month (or 1 DVD's worth) at $10 a month for 9 months (in order to get all the lessons from the 9 DVD's) you will pay a total of $90 to get all the lessons. }

So it is $10 cheaper, but you will only get 4 new lessons each month…so it would take 9 months to get all the lessons, but a great option for those who can’t pay the $99.99 at once.

image click here for a FREE copy of Volume 1

Also, the following links will take you to a free view of lessons 1-3

I would completely recommend this DVD Art Lessons Series…especially for a budding artist who wants a more professional approach to art. I have several budding artists who would love to do more art…and this seems to be a great way for them to do it…being taught by a master artist, for which I am not.

I am going to save my pennies (or dollars Winking smile)  to purchase this set.

If you want to read other TOS crew reviews click here.

Disclaimer---I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I received the opportunity to review an online program called Kinderbach. It is a preschool piano program, for ages 3-7.

I had my 3 1/2 year old son start doing the program and he really loves it. He enjoys doing the activity sheets that go with it and placing Dodi’s house behind the keys. The levels are slow, easy and a fun way for children to learn how to play piano or at least introduce them to the music notes, beats, and the keys. I think that this would be a great addition to a music-loving family where you want even the youngest member to love and learn music.

Meet the characters of KinderBach!

Each level has 10 weeks of lessons and there are 6 levels. I do believe, if my memory serves me, which most of the time it doesn’t :), they are in the works of making a level 7. Within each week there are 4 sessions with an introduction to what they will be learning and any tools or activity sheets you might need. The sessions are very short…good for short attention spans, but I was able to do more than one session each time with him. As I mentioned there are activity sheets you can print and have your child do along with most of the sessions. I personally know nothing much in the way of reading or playing music, so this is teaching me as well. Also this program can used with a keyboard or a piano, as long as you have access to a computer near whatever you will be using. We have a piano and a laptop, so I just placed the laptop on top of it. This program works well for all learning styles… 
Are you interested? click here for a free trial.

Online Membership

{ * Access to all web lessons (over 240 sessions!)
* Accompanying downloaded PDF pages 

$7.99 a month - Billed in a one time annual payment of $95.88
(Great Value! Save 60%)
$19.99 monthly subscription - Billed monthly for a year
(12 separate payments)

Simply Discover Piano Online!

The Year Membership gives access to 6 Levels of entertaining music education for 3 to 7 year old children through about 22 hours of video and interactive coloring pages. Miss Karri introduces preschoolers to the keyboard characters, as well as the Grand Staff clefs. Kids will enjoy playing simple songs, identifying music direction, learning new rhythm notes and their beat value. Level 1 to 6 covers proper hand and finger position for the music scale, as well as staff note reading by pattern for voice, and keyboard. }

If you want to read additional TOS Crew reviews on this product, click here.

Disclaimer---I received a free subscription in exchange for my honest review.