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.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ten Days of Biblical Parenting Giveaways

Ten Days of Biblical Parenting Giveaways

Here is a new blog from will have character building projects, as well as parenting and bible study tips/ideas/information. It is having ten days of giveaways as they introduce their new blog.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Reading Kingdom

I was given the opportunity to review an online reading program called Reading Kingdom. It is an online program that teaches children ages 4-10 how to read and write to a third grade level. It customizes itself to each child who uses the program. Reading Kingdom says it’s the only system that teaches all 6 skills needed for reading and writing…sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension. Reading Kingdom was created by Dr. Marion Blank, who is a leading expert in literacy.

I got the following information about the program straight from the Reading Kingdom website…

{ How the Program is Organized

The Skills Survey The program begins with your child taking a Skills Survey. Through simple, game-like activities, it reveals the skills a child has and does not have so that the program can start at exactly the right place to encourage the greatest success.
The Teaching Once the Skills Survey is completed, the teaching begins. The program is organized into six levels.
Pre-reading Level Teaches the Visual Sequencing and Keyboarding Skills that underlie reading and writing. A child goes through one or both of these programs if the Skills Survey shows that these components are needed.
Level 1
Gets your child reading, understanding and writing meaningful ideas by teaching key nouns (kids, girl, bird), verbs (actions such as eat, walk, fly) and "helping" words (the, some, is, can, are). Once a set of words has been taught, the child gets to read a book containing those words, along with words previously taught. As in all subsequent levels, there are six books in Level 2.
Level 2 Greatly expands the range of ideas your child reads and writes by adding new nouns (puppies, man, water), verbs relevant to those nouns (run, fix, move, including words that convey motivation such as need, want, like), pronouns (she, I, we), additional "helping" words (that, also, both, of) and question words (who, what, which).
Level 3 Enhances your child's ability to tell and understand stories by teaching the words to convey past tense (was, did, were), along with increasing the range of nouns (ground, rocks), verbs (push, think, hurt), "helping" words (most, on, any), and adjectives (sad, happy, nice, -y as in dirty, rocky).
Level 4
Gets your child reading subject matter that is different from typical stories and essential to school success. It introduces a wide variety of objects and beings from the natural world (animals, rainbow, moon, tongue, group, people, earth) and higher level question words (why, when, how). These are then incorporated into books that convey science type information.
Level 5 Has your child reading rich stories which provide a sense of fun while teaching complex cause and effect relationships by expanding the range of nouns (computer, letter, fish) and verbs (change, know, float), and introducing a set of complex ideas (luck, true, never, change, sure).
Keeping Track Within a few weeks, many children are using the program totally on their own. Even though you may not be there during the lessons, you'll have no trouble keeping track of how your child is doing. After a session is completed, you can open a link that offers you a summary of how the session went, where your child is at, what's happening next and so on.
Progress Check The Reading Kingdom has been designed so that a child moves ahead only if the learning is solid and secure. At regular points, a child is given a brief Progress Check to see if there is mastery of the material that has been taught.
If the Progress Check shows that your child is doing well, in the next session he or she moves on to new material.
On the other hand, if the Skills Survey shows some weaknesses in the learning, then in the next session, your child starts a set of review lessons that enable him or her to get past any difficulties. The review process may take one to two weeks to complete. Once it is completed, the child returns to learning new material. }





Being a visual person, I like the colorful graphics. I also like the fact that it is teaching multiple skills that every child needs to be successful at reading. I like the hands-on that the computer gives to the program. My kids like to use the computer, though I heavily restrict their use.

I had two of my kids work with this program…my newly turned 8 year old daughter and my 10 year old son (yesterday turned 11) work on this. My daughter is already at a third grade reading level, but I had wanted her to do it anyway to make sure all needed skills are there. My 10 year old, who has some learning difficulties, is at least at a third grade reading level, but lacks confidence in his reading ability. First off, I want to say that this seems like a really great program and this is in no way a negative review. The following is from our experience only thus far. They each started out doing the skills survey to begin customizing the program to their ability…and unfortunately haven’t moved much more than the pre-reading level. It seems as if it is either our computer or the program that doesn’t always register when they would actually do as instructed. They would hit the keys or click the mouse and it didn’t seem to register that they did anything…the lady would then speak and say how to do what was instructed as if they hadn’t just done it. Needless to say they got frustrated. I also think that their lack of experience with using the computer could have something to do with it. I think that once they get past the beginning stages they will actually really enjoy the program…we have graciously been given a wonderfully long subscription, so we will keep plugging along at it. My son is a visual-kinesthetic learner so this is perfect for him. As is also good for audio-visual learners, like my daughter. I believe I would still recommend this program regardless of our beginning experience because I know my kids would enjoy doing the program once they got farther along.

Pricing---You will receive a free 30 day trial. After that, subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month (with no monthly minimum), or $199.99 per year. You can cancel your subscription at any time.
If you would like to read other TOS Crew reviews on this product…click here.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Math Rider

I was given the opportunity to review Math Rider, from a company based in Australia.

MathRider Math Game Package

It is currently on sale for $37 with a normal price of $49.95, it is an instant download software.
Click here for system requirements.

Here is the company’s own words about it’s product…

{ Latest Generation Math Game, using Artificial Intelligence

Ride your horse on noble quests through the magical MathLands. MathRider combines fun game play with a highly sophisticated question engine that adapts to your child. The game propels your child to mastery of all four math operations using numbers 0 to 12.

MathRider was developed from personal need, because we wanted to help our own children who were struggling with fundamental math. }

I had my 3rd grade son start off using the Math Rider program. He has had a lot of fun using it.
This is what he had to say about it…
“I like that the stories are illustrated by kids.”
“I like the noble quests in the magical Mathlands, it’s rewarding to see how far my rider has traveled on the map.”
“I like the graphics.”
“I like the challenge it gives me.”

He had one thing that he didn’t like and that was only due to the fact that he missed some “jumps” because he didn’t know the answer fast enough…he felt like it didn’t give him enough time. The rider adjusts its speed as you answer the problems. I think he froze and was not thinking about the problem but instead was looking at the horse reaching the jump.

I think this is a terrific program for any child who needs to work on math facts. It hits all the learning styles, especially the visual and hands-on learner. It keeps any child challenged enough and with the noble quests it keeps it fun.

It is broken up into each math operation and then further divided into easy (#’s 0-5), medium (6-10) and then advanced (11-12). There is a statistics section so that the parent and child can see their progress. It gives top challenge problems and you can click on any of the numbers and it will show and say the problem. I would definitely recommend this to any family who needs help mastering the math facts. I don’t know yet, as my son hasn’t completed it, whether it has any review options. I think it would be grand if when you complete a full quest that it gives you an option of another quest, a review of sorts, intermixing all the problems of the different levels within a math operation.

A statement…I have one son who struggles dearly with remembering his math facts, so I have been reluctant to have him try it. I feel as if tears would ensue if the horse was not slow enough…I know it adjusts, but how much?…I need to try it out with him. I have had him working on another TOS review program as I don’t like to overload him, but I will see how he likes it and how well he does with it. He is a slow learner, needs tons of repetition and is such a hard worker. I will update this review as needed.

A sample of Math Rider

If you want to read more TOS crew reviews on this product, click here.

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Curiosity Files

I was given the opportunity to choose one of the Curiosity Files from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. We chose Zombie Fire Ants. They are priced at a reasonable $6.95. However, some of the Curiosity Files are on sale right now for $1.00…WOW…I bought 4 of them. The Curiosity Files are studies on interesting animals or phenomenon. These studies are intended for kids 8-13 years of age…but of course they can be geared for younger and older by making adjustments.

E-Book: The Curiosity Files™- Zombie Fire Ants

Here are all the Curiosity Files available…

  • Blue Diamond

  • Dung Beetle

  • MRSA

  • Puffer Fish

  • Red Tide

  • Zombie Fire Ants

  • Blue-footed Booby

  • Cicada Killing Wasp

  • Quicksand  

  • {Zombie Fire Ants will keep your kids occupied and answering questions like these:
    • What is God’s plan for controlling the number of fire ants?
    • When out of control, how can scientists restore balance to the natural world?
    • What’s so special about phorid flies, and how do they fit into the ant equation?
    • Okay, so how does a fire ant morph from a hard-working colony participant into a zombie-like creature?
    • If regular fire ants cause havoc, why create a zombie version?
    • Does history tell us anything important?
    • What can we grasp from the Bible?
    • And a whole lot more!}

  • The Study includes…
    • Bible study, discussion ideas, and memory verses
    • Math, history, and geography investigations
    • Literature and suggested book list
    • Writing, spelling, and vocabulary activities
    • Beautiful copywork pages (manuscript and cursive)
    • Science observations, projects, and experiments
    • Discussion questions
    • Art, crafts, and drawing and coloring pages
    • Lapbook/notebook pages and helpful lapbooking links
    • Special needs, hands-on discoveries
    • Internet resource and video links
    • Complete answer key 

      Click HERE to view a sample.

      I read through all the information about the Zombie Fire Ants to the kids and we did most of the worksheets that come with the study together. I really liked that they included a Hands-On section specifically for special needs children. We don’t have any ants right now to make an ant farm, but as the weather warms up, I think we will make the one that is shown in the study. After reading about the fire ants and phorid flies, my youngest, who is 3 1/2, got out our plastic ant and fly toys and played with them…how cute is that!

      We found Zombie Fire Ants to be FASCINATING and you will too! We are certainly looking forward to doing the other Curiosity Files I purchased. I would highly recommend them!

      If you want to read more TOS crew reviews on this product or the other Curiosity Files the other crew members chose click here.

      Disclaimer---I was given this product for free in exchange for my honest review.
    • Monday, January 31, 2011

      Times Alive!

      I was given the opportunity to review a download version of Times Alive! from City Creek Press. It cost $44.95.


      { The old method of “drilling” math tables using flash cards is familiar to most of us. A few students find it successful, but most consider it boring and frustrating. For students with dyslexia or other learning disabilities, it is often impossible to learn in this way.
      The Fun Way approach to learning math tables eliminates the need for rote memorization. Instead:
      1. It presents every math equation as a story to be told, allowing students to attach meaning to the numbers.
      2. It attaches a variety of clues and information to the number facts, making retention and retrieval of the information much easier for students.
      3. It presents math in a fun and interactive storytelling medium that uses lively imagery and narrative to entertain and inform students.
      Through the Fun Way method, students approach the subject of math with renewed interest and attention, making learning a joyful experience for students and teachers alike. }

      Stories to Read 
      See the movie (see an example of Times Alive! in action)

      Pictures to Color
      Pictures to Color 

      Times Tables Test
      Sample Test (from lesson five)

      My kids really had fun using this program, as you can see from the above examples there are short little videos with catchy songs, fun activities, and then a test at the end of each lesson. They would work on it for as long as I would let them…having a little competition to see who could get farther in the lessons. I liked the program as well, though I think my kids may need to go through each lessons again to remember the little catchy songs or to get the picture in their minds. I thought my oldest would have an easier time learning with this program, but I wonder if he is having a difficult time with connecting the catchy songs and the everyday practice with his regular math work. He needs so much repetition that it has been a slow process for memorizing even all of his addition and subtraction facts. Repetition is key! I plan on continuing our use of the program with my kids. This program is great for all learning styles…you get the auditory, the visual and the hands-on kinesthetic. Overall, I would recommend this program, it is a fun, catchy and creative way to memorize the multiplication facts.

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

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

      Wednesday, January 26, 2011

      Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for kids

      I was given the opportunity to review the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for kids given to me by Lifeway Christian Store. The hardcover book is reasonably priced at $14.99.

      { The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids helps children ages 5 to 10 better understand more than 750 Bible terms through vivid design and clear, concise definitions. More than 500 of the featured words are paired with full-color photographs, illustrations, maps, or reconstructions to enhance comprehension. }

      I love this dictionary…it is so visual, it is easy for kids to understand what the words mean. This is especially helpful for my deaf son who often has a difficult time with vocabulary. It makes it easier for him to grasp the concept or word being defined. I love the colorful illustrations, charts and maps. It has a scripture reference with almost every word where that word or concept can be found. It includes some really fantastic features, such as, the Names of God, Jewish Feasts and Festivals, Names of Jesus, Plants of the Bible, Foods of the Bible and much more. I think this would be an excellent reference book for any home library. Any child (and adult) will love it!

      If you want to read more TOS crew reviews on this product click here.

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

      Friday, January 21, 2011

      Speekee TV


      I was given the opportunity to review SpeeKee TV, a spanish immersion online program. It is for ages 2-10. The online program has 10 episodes with songs, animation and puppets. There are free downloadable activity worksheets you can print off for reviewing the spanish words learned. You can have English/Spanish subtitles on the screen or choose not to.

      A subscription to Speekee TV is $7.50 per month and the first two weeks are free.
      Subscribe securely using PayPal, and unsubscribe at any time - there's no minimum period.

      What SpeeKee says about their product…
      {10 Reasons to choose Speekee for Spanish
      • Great fun and extremely effective
      • Created by specialist linguists and musicians
      • Accelerated learning methodology for natural success
      • 100% in Spanish (English and Spanish subtitles available)
      • Simple presentation style
      • Lively, engaging characters
      • Real Spanish children in real Spanish locations
      • Concise, essential Spanish vocabulary, with lots of repetition
      • Catchy songs
      • Highly acclaimed by our customers!

      So far, I am just having my daughter who is almost 8 years old watch the episodes…she likes them. My boys ages 10, 9, and 3, also like it since they stand behind her and watch it, but they are not actually hearing anything because she wears headphones so she can hear the words better.

      What I like about it…

      it is reasonably inexpensive at $7.50 a month

      it really is a simple presentation style

      each episode is based on a theme…such as a café, zoo, house, etc.

      repetition of the vocabulary being learned

      that fact that it is completely Spanish, but yet you can have the subtitles (for me it is helpful for pronunciation to have the Spanish subtitles)

      it seems that you can get a good base of the Spanish language through these episodes

      my daughter likes them and is entertained by it at which is fun for her

      that the subscription can be ended at anytime and paid through paypal

      I would recommend this online program for an easy and fun introduction to the Spanish language.

      If you want to read more TOS crew reviews on this product click here.

      Disclaimer---I received the online program for free for a period of time in exchange for my honest review.

      Wednesday, January 19, 2011

      Maestro Classics

      I was given the fun opportunity to review Peter and the Wolf from Maestro Classics. It is priced at $16.98. It is performed by the London Philharmonic Symphony and conducted by Stephen Simon.

      First of all, I want to say this reminds me of my childhood. I remember listening to this story when I was younger and enjoying it very much.

      What I love about this CD is that it includes more than just the narrator/symphony version of the music. It includes an introduction to the story, about the composer-Prokofiev, a Russian Peter (Trio Voronezh-three Russians musicians perform the Peter tune), about the music, instrumental version of the story, an invitation to Grandfather’s party, and Kalinka-dance along (a Trio Voronezh performance). There is also a little activity book that comes in the CD case.

      Maestro Classics has quite a few more Stories in Music, some of which I am looking forward to purchasing.
      My children and I enjoyed listening to the music as well as learning about the composer and how he came about writing the story and music.

      I would highly recommend these Stories in Music CD’s to anyone; those who are new to classical music and those who already enjoy the the symphony. It would be a favorite with any age group---baby through adult.

      If you want to read more TOS crew reviews on this product, click here.

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

      Monday, January 10, 2011

      Easy Classical

      Easy Classical

      I was given an Early Modern History 36-week schedule to review from Easy Classical. It is for studying the Explorers through America 1820. This is just one of the many schedules that Easy Classical has available. It is priced at $35.95 for the notebook version and $29.95 for the digital version. It can be used for K-6th grades. The schedule is 106 pages of learning for your child.

      Week 1: America Before She Got Her Name
      Week 2: Prince Henry the Navigator
      Week 3: Christopher Columbus
      Week 4: Magellan
      Week 5: The Spanish Conquistadors
      Week 6: French Explorers
      Week 7: Sir Walter Raleigh and the Lost Colony
      13 Colonies
      Week 8: John Smith and Jamestown
      Week 9: William Bradford and the Plymouth Plantation
      Week 10: Massachusetts Bay Colony
      Week 11: Roger Williams and Rhode Island
      Week 12: New England Colonies and King Philipʼs War
      Colonial America
      Week 13: Middle Colonies
      Week 14: Salem Witch Trials
      Week 15: Southern Colonies
      Week 16: Plantation Living
      Week 17: The Great Awakening
      Week 18: Benjamin Franklin
      Week 19: Colonial Trading with England
      Week 20: Washington and the French and Indian Wars
      Road to Independence
      Week 21: Taxation without Representation is Tyranny
      Week 22: Boston Massacre and the First Continental Congress
      Week 23: Paul Revere and the Shot that was Heard Around the World
      Week 24: Washington Commander in Chief of the Continental Army
      Week 25: The Battle of Breedʼs and Bunker Hill
      Week 26: John Locke and Isaac Newton and the Idea of Democracy
      Week 27: Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence
      Week 28: Washington at Valley Forge
      Week 29: Benedict Arnold
      Week 30: Cornwallis Surrenders at Yorktown/Franklin and the Treaty of Paris
      Week 31: The Constitution
      Week 32: Washington the First President
      Week 33: Napoleon Bonaparte and the Louisiana Purchase
      Week 34: Lewis and Clark
      Week 35: James Madison and the War of 1812
      Week 36: Slavery and The Missouri Compromise

      A few thoughts from me…

      If the classical approach seems daunting to you, Easy Classical has made it quite simple. As with any classical or charlotte mason approach it uses living books. It also has review questions and quizzes for each week. There are fun little icons that remind you of what is happening that particular day. Visually speaking the schedule is very easy to read and follow. They have also put a “sticky note” on it to note any materials needed for the next week. NOTE: the main reading appears to be all on one day…Monday, but for some families that may be too much, so I suspect that you could easily spread it out over 1-3 days. Easy Classical knows that you may not get all the assignments finished each week, so they say to be flexible and do what you can.

      Learning styles and this schedule…if your child is a kinesthetic learner do more of the hands on projects, if they are more of a visual learner use as many pictures and map projects to aid in learning. If he or she is an auditory learner make sure you do most of the reading that is scheduled.

      Want to see samples of this product? Click here. The schedule is broken down into sections…history books and veritas card, writing, geography, project, and literature read alouds. It gives you the list of all the resources to either purchase or get from the library. The writing portion is based upon their curriculum…Writing with History, which is used in conjunction with Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW) style and structure. Some of the geography portion is also based on their curriculum…Geography with History.

      Overall, I think that anyone who teaches using the classical method or even the charlotte mason method and need help with “putting it all together” would greatly benefit by using this schedule or any of the other schedules Easy Classical have put together. They even have complete schedules that include science.

      You can read other TOS Crew reviews of this product here.

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

      Friday, January 7, 2011

      See N Read Reading Tools


      I was given the opportunity to review See N Read reading tool products from CadenaSmith Enterprises. I received 4 See N Read reading tools…1 each of the two different See N Read sizes,          
      1 MemoryMark, and 1 eSee N Read.

      See N Read is reasonably priced at 1/$2.99, 3/$8.99 for the 5 1/2” (book) size and 1/$3.49, 3/$9.99 for the 8 1/2” (document) size…you can also get them in combo packs of one each of the two sizes 1 combo pack for $5.99, 3 combo packs for $17.99.

      If you notice in the above picture this cool tool allows you to read a book or document and underline or highlight that section of text. MemoryMark is sized and priced the same as the above See N Read.

      eSee N Read is priced at 1 download for $29.99, 3 for $69.99.   
      You can also get a 7-day free trial of this…go here.

      { See-N-Read® is a practical reading intervention tool....designed to help readers seamlessly see, focus, and remember what they read. It reduces word- and line-skipping and pattern glare.
      See: See-N-Read® helps readers to concentrate on and track the text being read while smoothly transitioning between the words that come before or after, thus helping readers to increase their fluency (the capacity to read text accurately and quickly) and comprehension.
      Focus: See-N-Read’s clear reading window is surrounded by a non-glare tinted transparent finish that helps readers to focus on manageable “chunks” of information in each line of text.
      Remember: See-N-Read® provides readers with a clear reference point that helps control smooth eye movements across the text on a page. Smooth eye movement from left to right and smooth transitions from line to line ("sweeping") enhance retention of information.
      See-N-Read’s flexible material makes it easy for readers, young and old, to hold and use it as they read. }

      Two of my kids, whom have a harder time reading, are using the See N Read tools. They both like using it and seem to have an easier time reading and tracking the words. It makes for a great bookmark, too! Just make sure that you or your child have remembered to take it out of any of your library book(s).

      The eSee N Read is a nice tool to use when reading a document or book, it helps with the glare of the computer screen. There are some cool features with the eSee N Read like changing the size to suit what you are reading, the “window” as the cursor, create multiple ones for use while reading multiple documents at the same time, changing it for vertical reading and the ability to move the readbar within the See N Read "window”.

      I would definitely recommend these tools and they are well worth the little money spent on them, also I think they would be great tools for anyone whether they had difficulty reading and tracking or not.

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

      Disclaimer---I received these products for free in exchange for my honest review.

      Wednesday, January 5, 2011

      Math Facts Now!

      I was given the opportunity to review the Math Facts Now! software download version. System Requirements: Runs on Windows 2000, ME, XP, Vista and Windows 7. 4.5 Mb of free hard drive space required. It cost $15.95 for the download version or $15.95 + $3.95 for shipping and handling for the CD-rom version. It is not available for Mac or Linux systems. The website says…Guaranteed effective or your money back.

      { Do you want your child to have instant recall of the math facts?

      Look at how Math Facts NOW! helps you to reach that goal!
      • You choose which function and which specific numbers to drill (ie: multiplication tables, 8's).
      • You choose how many problems to be given in a specific session.
      • You choose how much time your child is to be given to complete a problem.
      • You choose how many times the child is to repeat problems that he/she made mistakes on or took too long on.
      • Math Facts NOW! remembers which problems your child is having difficulty with, and automatically presents them back to the child with greater frequency!
      • You choose to enter a reward for the completion of a lesson with no errors.
      • You choose to print a list of your child's weak areas. }

      I really like all the features it offers and it is really easy to get started making lessons. I named mine funny names like…easy peasy, skipping ahead, or easily take it away. My kids don’t get to use the computer often, so my kids have fun doing it, which makes it easier for me to have them work on those tricky math facts. Originally it had a 50 correct answers to finish minimum for each session, but we all found that to be a little too much, so they updated the software for us, lowered all the way down to 5 correct answers to finish…all of mine are at 25. One thing I wish was different is choosing whether to go up to just 10, because it goes up to 12 (ex. 4+10 or 4+12). I would say it of course works well for both visual kids and kinesthetic kids…it could work well for auditory kids if they were told to repeat the problem out loud before solving it. The perfect age range would be probably grades 1-6…a child needs to at least have a basic understanding of addition to start using this program and it will be used for a number of years since it goes through division. Multiple children at different levels can use this software…that is the great thing about it. I think $15.95 is an inexpensive way for a multiple child family (or only child) to get their math facts down. Remember that you can try it for free, before you buy it. Other than creating the lessons, which is very easy, that is all that is required of you…except if you choose to do a reward. We have only been using it for a relatively short (inconsistent) time so I can’t say how long it will take your kids to learn their facts, but I think consistency is key. One of my children has a much harder time learning so patience, consistency and repetition is key for him.

      If you want to read more TOS crew reviews on this product click here.

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