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

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.