Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tektoma Review

As a member of the TOS Home School Review Crew, I was sent access to a website called "Tektoma" to review. I have never heard of this company, and the name really wasn't giving me any clues, so off to I went to check out this new product.
Tektoma is a website that teaches children ages 7- 17 how to create video games. This site is awesome for children who are very technology minded. I can see the value in having a site like this for a child who wants to pursue a career in computers or who want to broaden their knowledge in this subject.

The site offers a 14 day free trial and you can earn free membership time by referring friends. If you try the site out and your kids fall in love with it, the price monthly for membership is $14.95 or $140/ year. This will give you access to all tutorials as well as moderated secured online forums. The site monitors for appropriate content, language and graphics, so even young children can partake a bit independently.

The site offers tutorials on how to create and develop video games in different genres, such as, Racing Games, Arcade Games, Platform Games, Fantasy Adventure Games. The tutorials are progressive and offered at different levels, so kids can learn at their own pace. If your child is not sure what kind of game they want to create the site offers example games that the children can play.

This site was fun, but my children were just under the bar for being interested, I think my husband would have had a blast! I would suggest checking out the site and trying the 14 day free trial, especially for kids who really enjoy computers and technology. It is a great teaching tool and could be very valuable.

Maestro Classics Review

Have you ever heard of Aesop's Fables? Chances are, if you are a mommy of a preschooler, you have heard one of their stories, even if you haven't realized where it came from. Take for instance the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare"; Ahhh light bulb moment, see now you remember. As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I was sent a CD titled "The Tortoise and the Hare" from the company Maestro Classics. I was in the car when I picked up the mail, so I popped it in the CD player and continued on my way. The kids enjoyed the story. The music was conducted by Stephen Simon and played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Pretty Impressive.

After the story was told, I really expected the CD to end. Much to my surprise, it did not. Actually, I was very impressed with what happened next. Additional tracks were included on the CD that taught the history of Aesop's fables, the point of the story as well as the composers thought process through the story to add musical details (my untrained ear did not pick up on, so I am sure my kids did not catch it either). Once the educational/ informative tracks ended, they retold "The Tortoise and the Hare", which was much more interesting to listen to given all the background information. I had fun listening closely and pointing out where the conductor put little musical details into the story line. The CD also came with an informative activity booklet.

Maestro classics stated that the Cd I was given is for ages four and up. I would concur with that and add that even my 8 year old was very interested. I would recommend this product to a family that loves music, especially quality, educational music that tells a good moral tale. It would also be a nice compliment to a unit study on music, or Children's literature. Maestro Classics can be found at Each set costs $16.98 and that includes the CD, story, activity booklet and the educational tracks. They are offering 3 sets for $45.00. In addition to The Tortoise and the Hare the company also offers Cd's titled "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel" (a favorite story in our house.); "Peter and the Wolf"; "The Story of Swan Lake" just to name a few. Worth a look!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

All About Spelling TOS Review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent Level one and Level two materials from the company "All About Spelling" to review with my children. At first glance, I was impressed with the nice manipulative's and teaching tools All About Spelling offered with each Level. The materials are colorful and the teachers manual is clear and easy to understand. All About Spelling is a spelling program that teaches your child how to spell if you are just beginning to teach them, or if you have a child that needs remedial help in this area.

I use a very comprehensive spelling/ reading/ phonics program, so my daughter Emily flew through the information. I have great respect for the company and after checking out the website, I am looking forward to more programs they will be rolling out soon. I didn't feel that this particular product was necessary for our homeschool, we were not in need of remedial help in this area. I do see the value in it for a parent that is looking for help in this particular area for their child.

The program uses a multi sensory approach to teach spelling and it contains spelling lists that follow a logical order. The program is also mastery based, not grade level based, so a parent would be able to tailor it to a specific need a child may have. The program offers a continual review and contains scripted lesson plans that make teaching the information easy for a homeschooling family. All About Spelling offers a one year learning guarantee and if you visit the website at www.ALL-ABOUT-SPELLING.COM you can watch a video that will tell you what you will need to order. To use the program, you will need a starter kit which contains Letter Tiles, magnets, and a Phonogram CD- Rom and costs $26.95. You will then need to purchase a level which contains the teaching manual and one student material packet. Each Level ranges in price from $29.95- $39.95. All About Spelling also sells additional student material packets if you have more than one student at a level. If you think this product would be of help to you, I would recommend it, especially if you have a struggling speller. I plan on keeping my eye on this company, I would love to see them put together a comprehensive reading/spelling/phonics program.