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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vocabulary Cartoons

I received a book titled, “Vocabulary Cartoons” from a company called New Monic Books to review. I perused the book when I first got it in the mail and laughed at the fun cartoons.

Vocabulary Cartoons, Elementary Edition (click this link you can also see samples and the complete word list in this book)

{ 3rd - 6th Grade Level
Excellent teaching resource for students of all abilities, particularly visual learners, ESE, ADD & ESL. Contains 210 words every grammar school student should know presented in an easy to read format. Also includes 21 review quizzes with matching and fill in the blank problems. }

The inside page of the book says, “Building an Educated Vocabulary with Visual Mnemonics”, and that is exactly what it does.

The book is $12.95, which I think is a completely reasonable price.

My oldest son, who is deaf with a cochlear implant and needs a lot of visual teaching in different kinds of ways, will greatly benefit by going through this book. My other children will as well because it is simply an easy and fun(ny) way to remember vocabulary.

We started the book and my kids laughed at (and learned) through the first few lessons…we will definitely finish this book.

Here are some examples not only from the Elementary edition I received, but also from the SAT Word Power books that are available…


I skimmed through the pages to see if there are any inappropriate pages and there were some (about 6 pages) with a ghost, a monster under the bed, vampires, Frankenstein, and Jason from Friday the 13th (though my kids would have no idea who this is)…simply skip those if they are inappropriate for your family.

If you want to see other TOS Crew Blog reviews or reviews on other homeschool product reviews...TOS Crew Blog

Disclaimer---I received this book free from the vendor in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, September 24, 2010


 Schleich Katalog 2010

We received a box full of Schleich animals for me to review…

This was an easy one! I love these animal figures! I love how realistic they look and how durable they are. These are German made and can be found at specialty shops as well as Target and Toys R Us stores. Prices vary. The prices may seem a bit more expensive, but if you want quality and durability it is worth it.

Here’s something interesting…                                                  
{ each toy mould is precision engineered by a German master craftsman who works on the finest details for up to six weeks. After finishing, the figurines are all painted by hand---meaning each toy is absolutely unique.}

{ The “Schleich way to play” offers an ideal bridge from early learning books to creative play without the need for explanations or instructions. All our toys are natural and accurate copies of the animals, people, historical periods and fantasy worlds they represent.}

Here is what is available from Schleich.

World of Nature
Farm Life
Wild Life 

Prehistoric Animals (the company titled this, not me:)

The World of Knights

The World of the American Indians


The Smurfs
We had previously gotten some of the wild life animals for a gift for my youngest son, so I knew what kind of quality I was getting. My kids love making a zoo for all the animals. I think that the accessories look rather fun too, though we currently don’t have any of those.

If you want to read other TOS Crew reviews on this product or other products go here…TOS Crew Blog.

Disclaimer---I received the products for free from the vendor in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salem Ridge Press

I was given the wonderful opportunity to review 3 books from Salem Ridge Press .

Here’s a little about the company straight from the website…

{ Salem Ridge Press is a publishing company, established in 2005, dedicated to bringing back quality children’s books of the 1800’s and early 1900’s for a new generation of readers. We strive to republish wholesome "living books" for the whole family, and we hope that you enjoy these books as much as we have!

How we choose our books

Here at Salem Ridge Press we know how challenging it can sometimes be to find wholesome books for your family. Well-written books that teach godly character and high moral values are hard to come by. Many books written during the late 1800's and early 1900's fit this criteria, but it still takes time to search them out and preview their contents. We purchase many old books, often using leads from old catalogs, and carefully evaluate each one, republishing only the best of the best.

Our Standards

I feel very responsible for the content of books that we republish and if I am going to bring a book back into print, I want to be able to stand behind it with no reservations. Very early on we realized that we were going to have to decide carefully what was appropriate in our books and what was not. I sometimes joke that our number one rule is, "No Kissing!" While many books from the 1800's and early 1900's are no problem at all this way, in several cases we have slightly edited passages which included a brief kiss or embrace. We want to be an encouragement to young people to maintain the highest standards of purity in their relationships. We have also edited out some derogatory comments that we felt were unnecessary or offensive. On several occasions the illustrations have presented a challenge and so we edited them to keep things modest and appropriate. Most of the changes that we make are very minor but I think they go a long way towards upholding our standard which is found in the Bible: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8)."

Daniel Mills
Daniel Mills

     Daniel Mills, the founder of Salem Ridge Press, lives in Pennsylvania with his family.  He is a homeschooling graduate who loves the Lord and desires to serve Him and other people, especially other homeschooling families, through his business.  In his early teen years, he read two particular old books, At Seneca Castle by William Canfield, and Our Fellows by Harry Castlemon, that so impressed him with a desire to see them republished that the idea was planted of someday doing that himself.  
     Daniel graduated from high school in June, 2003, and pursued training in Disaster Relief and Search and Rescue at the International Alert Academy in Big Sandy, Texas.  Graduating from Alert in November, 2004, he then spent the first ten months of 2005 serving in two different ministry opportunities and also working for a family friend. In November, 2005, he began his republishing business. Daniel firmly believes that what we read matters and what we take into our minds is a major factor in forming our ideas and character.  His goal is to be a blessing to others by providing reading material that fits the qualifications outlined in the Bible. While not every title that Salem Ridge Press publishes is explicitly Christian, all of our titles have strong moral values and encourage positive character. }

Can you say WOW?!

I was sent 2 e-books…Mary Jane’s Her Visit and The American Twins of the Revolution and one physical book titled Soldier Fritz and the Enemies He Fought.

Mary Jane - Her Visit

{ Mary Jane Her Visit--- In this story, the second book in the Mary Jane series, five-year-old Mary Jane has more happy wholesome adventures, this time at her great-grandparents' farm in the country where she hunts for eggs, picks berries, finds baby rabbits, goes to the circus and more! }

I thought this book was a very sweet story…my kids enjoyed listening to it. I think I would love to live on a farm!

Soldier Fritz

{ Soldier Fritz and the Enemies He Fought---Young Fritz wants to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther and be a soldier for the Lord, so he chooses a Bible from the peddler’s pack as his birthday gift. When his father, the Count, goes off to war, however, Fritz and his mother and little sister are forced to flee into the forest to escape being thrown in prison for their new faith. Disguising themselves as commoners, they must trust the Lord as they wait and hope for the Count to rescue them. But how will he ever be able to find them? }

I totally loved this book…Fritz learns how to be a true soldier for the Lord and aren’t we all, as Christians, trying to do this? He had such a “proud and passionate heart” and when I say passionate I mean a quick temper, full of anger. Through reading this book we get to see the life-changing transformation of a family who come to know the Lord and who are changed by His grace. His mother was such an example of someone who taught her children from God’s word and showed the love of the Lord to those around her. Excellent book, I can’t say enough about it. It teaches about Church History of Martin Luther and the Reformation.

The American Twins of the Revolution

{ The American Twins of the Revolution--- General Washington has no money to pay his discouraged troops and twins Sally and Roger are asked by their father, General Priestly, to help hide a shipment of gold which will be used to pay the American soldiers. Unfortunately, British spies have also learned about the gold and will stop at nothing to prevent it from reaching General Washington. Based on a true story, this is a thrilling episode from our nation’s history! }

I am looking forward to reading this story in just a few months to the kids, as we are studying American History this year. I read a tidbit from it and it looks like another great story. I love reading historical stories.

Now that I told you about the company and the books they sent me. Let me tell you what I love about Salem Ridge Press…

I love what it stands for…

I love that we can read these books without worrying about something offensive…

I love the language and vocabulary…they even have the synonym of a word that may not be used nowadays at the bottom of the page

I love that is was started by a young man who wanted to republish old books because he had enjoyed them as a kid…

I remember awhile ago I had seen this website before and looked at some of the book options (mind you it was only the bookcovers I looked at) and thought hmm they don’t look all that interesting, but now that I have read about the company and have had the chance to read some of the books…I have a different view. The bookcovers and illustrations may look old to you or your children, but the old adage applies,
“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

If you’d like to read other TOS Crew reviews on this Company or other reviews go here…TOS Crew Blog.

Disclaimer---I was given these products for free from the vendor in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I See Cards---PyraMath

I was given the fun opportunity to review a set of PyraMath cards from I See Cards.

The Website says...

When children play PyraMath, they know they're having fun, and you know that they're learning!
PyraMath is a comprehensive interactive arithmetic lesson that gives your child unlimited practice at their individual level. Each brightly colored card displays four basic mathematical symbols on the back, and the number along with English, Spanish, Chinese, Roman, French and Arabic translations and symbols on the front. Players quickly identify the numbers on their cards and add, subtract, multiply and divide to finish their pyramid first! Whoever is the first to finish their pyramid by using their mathematical knowledge wins!
Ensure the mathematical success of your children with PyraMath!

PyraMath Cards Help Make Learning Math Fun:
  • Language Skills
  • Fundamental Mathematics
  • Second Language
  • Memory Skills
  • Eye Hand Coordination

The cards are only $6.95 and you can play with one or two players. It comes with a little book to learn the rules to play, plus go here for other games to play with these cards.

We had a fun time playing this game…we love to play games of any kind…even more perfect are educational games. It can work for any age child or adult as long as they have some basic adding and subtracting knowledge, you don’t have to use multiply and divide if your child isn’t there yet. So this game is perfect for multiple math level families.

I See Cards has at this point two other math card games as well…Frac Tazmic and Prime Bomb. I guess we will have to try those as well and get a little fun (and learning) in!

Definitely well worth the price you pay…

To see other crew member reviews of this product or other homeschool products that have been reviewed go to TOS Crew Blog.

Disclaimer---I was given this product free from the vendor in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, September 10, 2010

America’s Math Teacher

I was given the opportunity to review the online program
America’s Math Teacher from Math Essentials.

This is what the website says…

So many benefits to this program, and it really works!

America’s Math Teacher will make each topic simple, and easy to understand. Students learn lots of math and have lots of fun while doing it! America's Math Teacher is perfect for home schooling, and educational institutions. Our video lessons don't include distracting sound effects, animations, or graphics, just simple one on one instruction to teach concepts and increase retention.

Use the evaluation exams to see where the skill level of each student is. Each course is complete with printed exercises and excellent quizzes, and final exams. Each course has it's own learning center where everything you need is available on one web page!

Easy to Use!

1. Work along with America’s Math Teacher as he guides you through a lesson
2. Complete the written exercise
3. Check your answers in the solutions section
4. Take a quiz after each section
5. Take the final exam after each course.

    It is that simple!!

    Learn at your own pace which means you won’t get behind, plus you can always go back and go through a lesson a second time.
    • No huge, boring text that does nothing but confuse and distract.
    • No more taking notes on lectures that you don’t understand
    • Available 24/7

    Grades 4 through Algebra

    Even if you have always struggled with math, America’s Math Teacher will explain concepts in a way that will make you realize that math can be easy, fun, and exciting!
    Excellent for:
    • A stand alone curriculum with built-in homework assignments
    • Intervention programs
    • After-School Programs
    • Adults who are returning to school
    • Struggling students who need to catch up
    • Students who want to get ahead in math
    • English language learners
    The price is $195 for a 1 year subscription to America’s Math Teacher from Math Essentials, here is the Pricing link for homeschoolers. And this price is for as many students as you have in these levels of math, which may seem like a costly program, but it really is just over $16 dollars a month.
    What I liked about this online program…
    online speed drills…I sat and played this and totally loved it! Oh and yes my kids loved it too:)

    printable worksheets…with those super fun speed drills on them

    simple videos that are not super fancy…my son said that they were helpful for him, I found them helpful too.

    easy to navigate website

    This would suit all the learning styles…visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visual because the problem is being solved on a white screen with only the numbers (in black and red) and possibly the order of operation to solve a problem, nothing distracting. Auditory because he is speaking aloud how to go about solving the problem, explaining anything that needs to be explained or defined. Kinesthetic because he asks the student to physically solve the problem as he shows you how.

    My son is just beginning 4th grade level math, so we really only used the basic math and a a little advanced math sections. I mainly had him watch some of the videos and do speed drills.

    When I was in school and we learned a new concept, by the time I came home to work on my homework I would sometimes forget how to work a problem and just reading the textbook on how to do it didn’t usually help me. So having the videos with virtually every topic needed to solve Grade 4-Algebra math problems would have been very helpful for me.

    If you want to read other reviews on this product or other homeschool products go to TOS Crew Blog.

    Math Essentials is the company that made the America’s Math Teacher online program…it has workbooks and DVD’s that you can purchase as your core curriculum or I suppose as a supplement to help a struggling student.

    Disclaimer- I was given a free trial period of America’s Math Teacher in exchange for my honest review.

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Time 4 Learning Review

    t4l_preschool_logo.jpg picture by homeschoolcrew
    I was chosen to do a review for the Time 4 Learning  Preschool age group, which is a web-based educational program. I worked with my at the time almost 3 yr old, Starfish. I was a little worried that he was a little young for it, but we found lots of things we could work on together. Since he didn’t quite know how to operate the computer mouse yet, he just sat on my lap while I controlled the mouse. He just pointed or told me what he wanted to do and what the correct answer was during each of his sessions. My son’s favorite themes were the animal ones. After the first time he played, “Das him, Das him!”, is what my son said as we logged on and he saw the mouse character.

    Time 4 Learning covers Preschool through 8th grade. Time 4 Learning is not just for homeschoolers…it can be used as a supplement for a child who goes to public or private school, or for a child who needs extra help in certain areas as well as for review during the summer months. The Preschool section has 2 levels in it PreK 1 and PreK 2…which could probably take you up to or through kindergarten depending on the child. The website has lesson demos that you can try prior to purchasing to see if it is right for your child. It is organized into themes such as…colors, at the zoo, on the farm, shapes and food to name just a few. Within each theme they have different games for the child to play like matching, patterns, storybook, puzzles and rhythm.

    Here’s what the website says about the program as a whole…
    {“Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today's technology. It's a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.
    The online language arts and math comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.
    Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. The Time4Learning educational teaching program gives students independence to progress at their own pace.
    Parents like that Time4Learning tracks progress and helps students advance along individualized learning paths. Students master the skills and concepts needed for academic success.
    Have a child with math and reading skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.”}

    The cost is $19.95/month for the 1st child and any additional child is $14.95/month.

    There were many things I liked about Time 4 Learning Preschool…

    no preparation

    colorful animation

    a fun way to learn

    easily engaging

    my son loved learning with it

    all the themes  (about 20 themes per PreK level)

    easy to navigate the website

    it would work very well for visual and auditory learners of course…and maybe a little for hands-on
    great for hand-eye coordination…navigating that mouse and clicking!

    and if your child was able to do it on his/her own then you can either print a detailed report or look at his progress right there online

    they also have a “playground” for them to play different web games (of course these are very child-family friendly) in a timed session

    I can only imagine that the other grade levels are just as fun and engaging as the preschool level…I can’t wait to see what the reviews are like for the older kids.

    For me personally, the cost would really be the only inhibitor in using this program, with 4 children I wouldn’t be able to afford this program for all of my children to do at the same time, but I suppose if one of them needed extra help or maybe for summer review for a couple months for the older 3, I would probably do it. Though as the website does say some families use it for their core curriculum, so the cost could balance out depending on what you would normally use for those subjects.

    If you want to see other reviews on this product or other homeschool products go to TOS Crew Blog
    Disclaimer: I was given a free trial period from the vendor for my honest review.