Friday, December 17, 2010

Tiny Planets Review

When I first became a new mom, I was surprised at the amount of children's programing available even for the youngest children. This was back about 9 years ago when we had cable TV. We have since discarded the cable subscription and have never regretted it! One program I remember my children enjoying was called "Tiny Planets".  "Tiny Planets features the cosmic adventures of Bing and Bong, two whimsical aliens who travel the Universe of Tiny Planets together on their gadget-loaded plush sofa. With Bing and Bong, children are encouraged to think for themselves, assume social responsibility, take care of our planet and learn about the mysteries of space."



As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent a link found Here to a website called Tiny Planets. The site offers games, and educational lessons, books and short episodes of the "Tiny Planets" show among other things. It is basically an online interactive version of the TV show. You can upgrade the site and purchase "keys" which allow you to upgrade your spaceship and watch more episodes and gain access to more features in the site. Children who really enjoy space will like this site. There are games, puzzles and activities for children to play. Adults are welcome to use the lesson plans and keep track of their little space cadets. To begin using Tiny Planets, you create a "Cadet Account" for each child. The site is protected and you are not able to live chat with other players, so it is safe for children to navigate. It is also "ad free" and according to the site is geared for children ages 4- 12.

My preschoolers/ non- readers were very limited with this site. They can watch the episodes but to navigate the site was difficult for them since reading was required and the directions on how to fly the spaceship and what the mission was for each Cadet was written out and not spoken. My 9 year old was a bit too old to enjoy it because she watched them when she was in preschool, and just associates Bing and Bong with entertainment for "babies". My first grader (currently age 6, soon to be 7) seemed to be the perfect age for this site.

The site is beautifully put together, the graphics are stunning and it has won many awards from others in the industry, but I am not sure it is something that we as a family would use very often. As I said earlier, we no longer have a TV so we really try to avoid watching it even online. My personal philosophy to teaching my children social responsibility/ interaction is to be out in the real world actually engaging socially with real  people, not sitting home playing video games on the computer. I will say, considering the site is free, it is worth a look around to determine for yourself if it would be a good fit for your family, just go to: Tiny Planets and check it out.

My other TOS Crew Members were also sent this site to review, so I would encourage you to go to the Crew Blog and see what they had to say.



As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this link at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

North Star Games, Wits & Wagers Family

Once December 1st hits we put our home in full Christmas mode. Our family has a tradition where each day our children get to pick a special treat out of our little December calender. Sometimes the treats are "stay up late" or "go to the Library" or, "bake cookies". One treat that we especially enjoy is "play a board game". Each night is different, and the children really enjoy this special tradition.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent a board game called "Wits & Wagers Family" made by North Star Games, and I knew it would be a good treat to include in our December tradition. The game, found HERE, is geared for ages 8 and up, however, I included my 5 & almost 7 year old and they enjoyed playing it very much. Once the package was opened, it was very easy to learn the rules of the game and to set it up. We did a practice round and then started playing. The game can be played with 3-10 players, but if you have more players than that you can divide into groups.

The overview on how to play the game from the company says it best "Wits & Wagers Family gets family members of all ages involved in the fun! Play individually, or divide into teams. Each player (or team) writes down a guess to a question and places it on the table. Feeling confident about your guess? Place a meeple on it. Think mom knows better? Place a Meeple on her guess! Place your Meeples correctly and win points. The first player or team to reach 15 points wins!"

The game was a fast set up and to play one full game took about a half hour. I loved that even my 5 year old didn't have to know the right answer. She could participate and even win points just by guessing. I loved that it did have a slight educational value to it since they were guessing trivia facts, such as how many Teaspoons in a Tablespoon? 

North Star Games also produces other family games and can be found HERE. If you are interested in purchasing this gift for Christmas (it would make a great family gift) look HERE. It retails for $19.99 and can be found at local toy stores and retailers such as Target. My fellow Crew Mates also reviewed this game and if you want to see what they had to say about this product go HERE.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent Wits & Wagers Family at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Morning, God TOS Book Review

If someone I knew was looking for a sweet bible study to do with young children, I would recommend the book Good Morning, God, published by Apologia Press, written by Davis Carman. It retails for $14 and is beautifully illustrated. You can purchase it HERE or follow the link to simply read the product description.

The book is suited for children 1-8 years of age, however, there are many ways to adapt the book to allow slightly older children to enjoy it with the rest of your family. For example, we read the book straight through as if it were a story. The end of the book contains questions and activities to do with your children. Apologia also offers a companion coloring book to go along with the story for $4.00.

You can also use the book as a bible/ unit study with your children. We follow the main character in the book from Sunday through the following Sunday. Each day has scripture listed for us to reference based on the activity that the main character of the story is doing. For example, on the first Sunday in the book, the main character is worshipping God at Church , the activities for that day include reading Revelation 21: 1-7 and asking questions such as " What is the Church?".  Then you discuss it with your children. This particular Sunday that I am using for my example has 8 questions, scripture readings, or activities to go along with it.

This book is a wonderful and engaging way to teach even our smallest children about our Creator and Father in Heaven. It also allows the literal application as a parent of Deuteronomy 6:6-7 where we are told to impress these commands on our children's hearts and talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

I love this book and hope to see more like it. Don't just take my word for it, check out what my fellow TOS Crew Members had to say about this book HERE


As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this book at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Smart Kids Productions, Nanuq Book Review

As a member of the TOS Crew, I was sent a book called Nanuq, A baby Polar Bear's Story. The book is published by Smart Kids Publishing, inc. found here. The Nanuq book is part of a series of books called My Animal Family which allows the reader to learn about the animals and watch them in their native habitats. The My Animal Family Series is a storybook/DVD package with an interactive website, designed for children. Each package includes a hardcover book, a DVD featuring footage of the baby animal with an original song, and a secret code card that allows kids and parents access to the My Animal Family website www.mfakidsclub.com
The book can be purchased at this website on sale now for $10.39.

At first glance, the book is lovely, it has a nice hard bound cover and the story is engaging as we learn about Nanuq's adventures with his brother Suka. Suka likes to get into mischief and play even when he is supposed to be learning how to survive in the Arctic (the theme really tied in well with our unit on responsibility; we also used this as our science topic). The story is wonderfully illustrated. I was surprised to learn some interesting facts about polar bears as well!

 The DVD is narrated by a child's voice and uses amazing footage by the BBC Library. When we first got the book/ DVD in the mail we read the story first, then watched the DVD. We enjoyed watching the DVD and then watching all the bonus educational facts and footage that was on the DVD.

The My Animal Family Program includes a revolutionary interactive game web site. Children will explore the online animal habitat of the baby animal character featured in the book they are reading. The habitat is full of games, activities and an Art Studio that will both entertain and educate pre-readers and young readers alike. The book contains a secret code to access the web site. I can choose what age group I want to have use the website, so my preschoolers are able to color etc, while my third grader can play games based on her skill level.

My children really enjoyed this review! I think it would make a great gift for cousins or for a book swap. You don't have to take my word for it, check out what my fellow reviewers have to say about this product: TOS CREW


As a member of the TOS Crew I was sent this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 19, 2010

KBTeachers Review

Did you know that today is Gettysburg Day? Were you aware that tomorrow is Peanut Butter Fudge day? To think you may have let Peanut Butter Fudge Day slip by without so much as a piece of peanut butter fudge. How do I know all these little fun facts? From the Website kbteachers.com

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given a year membership to the online site that I believe,  is a dream come true to a homeschooling mom like me! The site is really neat, they have many awesome features that are so helpful in providing supplements to me to use with my curriculum.

One feature I fell in love with was the worksheet generator. I was able to custom make worksheets for my preschool aged daughter who is learning how to spell her name and address and phone number. I can create handwriting sheets in either script or penmanship specific to letters that my children are having trouble with. I can do the same thing with math. I can create worksheets that highlight specific math concepts that my children may require extra help in. For example, we are just beginning to learn how to tell time and so I can print out some worksheets just for my first grader to practice on.

I am due with a baby in about 4 weeks and we will be having a few "substitute teaching days". I plan on taking the subject matter that we will be working on and making each child an age specific folder that they can do while I am at the hospital and they are with Grandma. The website offers a wide range of subjects as well as a wide range of ages, so you will be able to find this site useful for many years.

The site also offers information and activities on Social Studies. We will be studying Early American History after our Christmas break, and I plan on printing out some of the Early American printable pages to use to supplement our studies. I can do the same with science and biology.

The site offers seasonal activities and right now they have many Thanksgiving themed activities for my children to do while I am cooking our Turkey! Premium members also have access to free clip art and unlimited downloads. You pay a flat yearly rate regardless of how many downloads or worksheets you print out. The price for a yearly membership is $29 or $49/ two years. The website also offers a free trial and if you do purchase a membership, you have up to 30 days to cancel it for a full refund. I think the site is well worth the money and would at least recommend the free trial so you can test it for yourself.

You can also check out what my fellow TOS Crew members thought of this product here.



As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given the year membership to kbteachers.com for free in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Corps of Re-Discovery Review


The Corps of Discovery was the name President Thomas Jefferson gave to Lewis and Clark’s party as he commissioned them to find an east-west water passage to the Pacific Ocean over 200 years ago.  Their goal was to explore what lies around the next river bend, to seek out new life and new cultures, to boldly discover what had never been discovered before. The Corps of R-Discovery is a business started by a homeschooling family: Husband and Father, John, wife and mother, Katie, and sons Eric, Nicholas and Joshua. This family had the opportunity to travel cross country and experience so many learning adventures first hand. It is a fascinating story and if you follow this link you can read more about it: http://www.corpsrediscovery.com/pages/About-Us.html

As a result of their travels, The Corps of Re-Discovery has found and created great project kits to enrich your studies of American Indians, Frontiersmen and Pioneer Americans so you, too can "re discover" America. The kits are made in the USA by John, Katie, Eric, Nicholas and Joshua. As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent the Cornhusk Doll Kit to review. According to the product description on the website,  the Cornhusk dolls (also known as faceless dolls) were introduced to the white man by the Iroquois Indians. Because the pioneers and colonists had limited materials, they were happy to find ways for the children to play.

These cornhusk doll kits include everything you need to make and dress your own doll.
Each kit is sold separately and costs $4.50.

I had my 9 year old daughter Emily try out this craft and she did require my help with the directions and assembly. I think a child a bit older, who is used to assembling crafts would be able to do this project solo. We enjoyed working on the craft together and she was very proud that in an afternoon had actually made her own doll. The product came at just the right time for our family, since we are studying how the pioneer children made their own toys out of materials found around the home. The kit included complete directions, cornhusks, fabric and all the materials required to make one Cornhusk doll. We did need to have scissors and a needle and thread handy to complete the dress and apron.

I am planning on purchasing the Pioneer/ Colonial Craft pack to use in January for our upcoming unit on Early American Colonial Life. We will make homemade ink, our own candles and many other fun projects. I love the Corps of Re-Discovery and the fun/ educational kits they offer because workbooks get boring (especially in the dead of winter), and I love to wrap up unit studies with hands on learning to help cement a concept with my children.

If you would like to read about the other projects that my fellow Crew members were able to review please click  here .


As a member of the TOS Crew, I was sent this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Collectorz.com Review

Does row after row of organized books, listed by Author, genre or ISBN make you drool? Do you consider yourself a "type A" personality or at least wish you were? Are you an avid collector of books with an awesome collection that you like to share (or at least brag about)? Then I have found a website that will rock your world. www.Collectorz.com offers a service that allows you to do all the things mentioned above.

With Collectorz you are able to:
 
Catalog and share your book collection online.


Automatic book details and cover images,

Just scan ISBN barcodes or enter authors & titles.
 
The company even offers a free 30 day trial on their website.
 
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent the Book Collector Pro Version for my PC (they also have one for Mac.). The Book Collector Standard Version costs $24.95, while the Book Collector Pro Version costs $49.95.
 
Once you have the software needed, you can begin to catalog your books. All you need to do is to scan ISBN barcodes or enter Authors and Titles, the website will add the book details and cover images. If a book is old and out of print you may need to add the details yourself. You can even keep track of your  collection and who you have lent books to. I know as a homeschooling mom, this program can be a very valuable tool. Especially if you can create a network of homeschooling friends who would be willing to pool resources for everyone's benefit.
 
I can appreciate a computer program like this and would one day love to be able to organize and catalog all my books (they are currently in cardboard boxes while I wait patiently for books shelves). The reality is this: I cannot dedicate time right now to cataloging my books online (they aren't even organized in real life). I am 8 months pregnant and my two year old literally escapes if I take my eyes off of him for one minute! It is just not the season for online book organization at Camp Corbett. One day I will have a clean house, hung book shelves lined with alphabetically ordered books, and fit back into my college jeans. So in the interest of full disclosure, I don't think is is a program that is a good fit for our family right now. Collectorz.com is an excellent program, just not one that is needed in our family right now. I love the concept and think it is brilliant, but I need to work on real life organization before I can accomplish virtual organization.
 
I do know that my fellow Crew mates used and loved the program, so please click on this link to see what they have to say: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783319/
 
 
As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent the product at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Brill Kids "Little Reader Basic" TOS Review

As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent the "Little Reader Basic" program from the company Brill Kids: found here: www.brillkids.com

The Little Reader Basic is a reading program designed to teach your  3 month old- 3 year old how to read. The program uses a variety of methods to reinforce the new words. For example, when your baby begins to learn to read the word "dog" he/she will see the word in a different color and font, a different picture, different voice, a different video and be prompted to interact in a different way.
The program also offers the opportunity to personalize your lessons. You can put your own pictures or use your voice in the the program. Using the word "dog" again as an example, you can use your voice to say the word and put your own dog pictures into the program.

The curriculum is ready-made and ready to use. Parents are required to be involved in this program but the total time needed is 10 minutes 1-2 times per day. If you choose the one year program, your child will see over 1,000 words in more than 140 subject categories. One word has 5 pictures, 3 pronunciations, 1-2 videos and 2 picture commentary audio files. In fact, the Little Reader program offers over 2,500 reading lessons in 27 subject categories and more than 2 dozen languages, most available for free.
I was sent a link to the download basic version of the program which sells for $149 for a six month subscription or $199 for a one year subscription. For more information, please check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu4B8h0p-m0 to see how the program works. Brill Kids offers a free 14 day trial, so if you like what you see, you can give it a try before you invest  any money in the program.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was unable to actually use this program. I was sent the Little Reader Basic download and installed it onto my computer. The program would not open and after talking to customer service, I had to uninstall the program and then re-install it. The program would then open up for about 5 seconds and then shut down. I was a bit frustrated since I was interested in seeing how the program works and having my 2 year old use it with me. To see what my other Crew Mates thought of the program, please go to the TOS website found here: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783250/




As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Read, Write & Type by Talking Fingers, Inc. Review


As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent a users License from Talking Fingers, Inc. to use their online version of  their award winning program Read, Write & Type found here: www.talkingfingers.com .

I had never heard of this company before (big surprise, right?) but once I started checking out the website, I was impressed with the philosophy of the program and the credentials of the people who created it. This program is appropriate for children on a grade K-3 level, (or ESL students) however I used it with my almost 5 year old as well as my 6 and 9 year old and they all LOVED it! Prices vary depending on the number of users but the online version starts at $35/per student.

The philosophy behind this program is this: the program by associating each speech sound with a finger stroke is a very powerful teaching strategy that incorporates motor memory. This program lets children use a range of senses; sight, sound, mouths & fingers to learn phonics while writing whole words and sentences.

I loved that I could keep track of each child's progress and that my children are sent back to activities they need to practice. They are given Hall of Fame Certificates to show what level has been completed, and there is a Power Fountain that keeps track of keyboarding speed and accuracy.  I felt that although much of the activities were the same for each age, the skill level and speed of the program changed depending on the child's responses. For example, the program progressed way faster for my 9 year old then for my 4 year old.

I thought the program was a great review tool for my 9 year old, it  reinforced her phonics and reading skills while giving her a great beginning on her typing skills. My 6 year old is in an emergent reader so this program is a great teaching tool which allows her to practice what she has been learning recently. We just began a phonics program with our 4 year old (she will be 5 in a few weeks) so this program has been such a help to go over the concepts she just learned at our dining room table. The best part was, all three children enjoyed the program and were asking to use it after our "school day" had ended. Once a child does that, you know you have a winning program in our house! To see what my other TOS Crew Mates thought head on over to the main Blog: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783204/



As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Digital Field Trip Series Review

I got to explore The Wetlands, The Rainforest and The Desert without having to pack a diaper bag! As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent a DVD (interactive for use on my computer) from the company Digital Frog International www.digitalfrog.com .  Digital Frog International is the creator of natural science software which includes dissection and anatomy and ecosystems.

The Digital Field Trip Series includes The Wetlands, The Rainforest, and The Desert and costs $125 for a Home License or purchase each disc separately for $60. The series includes workbook materials for teachers and students in various formats to make the series as educational as possible. To purchase the material you can visit their website www.digitalfrog.com and you can check out the other products that the company offers.

For the purpose of this review, we chose to focus on The Desert portion of the DVD. We were able to choose from 5 different North American Desert locations to explore, such as, Saguaro West, Big Bend, Painted Desert, Black Rock and Death Valley. We had traveled near the Painted Desert on our trip this summer and saw much of the landscape, so I thought it would be fun to dive a little deeper. According to Digital Frog "each location contains photos, videos, animations and interactive exercises". Children (and adults) will "learn about such topics as adaptions and homeostasis; desert types and mechanisms, desert plants and animals and impact of humans on the diverse ecosystem."

I was impressed with the amount of information the program contained, you really could spend a lot of time exploring the various habitats as well as learning about all the animals, plants etc. For example, if there was an animal that  you wanted to learn more about, you could click on it and another screen would come up with more detailed information. This program would be excellent for a child who loves science and is very computer savvy and is able to read well. Younger children would enjoy looking at the pictures and watching the videos, but a parent would have to sit with them to navigate the program as well as read all of the information. Unless you are willing to commit the time to walking a younger child through this program, I would say don't use it with children under a Grade 4 level.

I was a bit disappointed in the viewing screen size. You can enlarge the screen, but the picture just becomes grainy, so working with more than one child at a time would be very difficult. It is also a secular program, which means it does not give credit to God for His creation and has an evolution slant. I would still use the program, but I would make sure that I was there to guide my children correctly.  Lastly if the price seems a bit high to you, grab an encyclopedia and log onto google Earth and you will be able to see pictures of the different locations for free.

Overall, the program is stuffed with loads of information and teaching tools. If you were unable to physically visit places and your child really had a natural bend towards this type of science dicipline, then you would like this program. Don't just  take my word for it though, head on over to the TOS Crew Blog http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783186/  and see what my other Crew Mates are saying.




As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Schleich Review









As a member of the TOS Homeschool  Review Crew, I was sent 8 different animal figures from a company called Schleich. The package arrived the day before we left for our cross country tour of the USA, so it was a perfect box of toys to bring along with us while we traveled. The company is headquartered in Germany and Schleich products can be found around the globe in a variety of stores such as Toys "R" Us. If you go to www.schleich-s.com you can see the list of the many stores that carry their products as well as an overview of their products (they have over 500 items available).

My husband was very impressed with the quality and beautiful way the figures were made. He stated that they are "exceptional replicas" of each animal. The above picture is one of a Przewalskis Horse, we were sent this figure to review and my children marveled at how the horse looked so real. They enjoyed playing with the figures and I really enjoyed the care and detail each one had. According to the Schleich Company "each toy mould is engineered by a German master craftsman who works on the details for up to six weeks. After finishing, the figurines are all painted by hand, which means every toy is unique. This product offers an ideal bridge from early learning books to creative play without the need for explination or instructions. Each toy is a natural and accurate copy of the animal, people, historical period or fantasy world they represent"

I have to agree with the companies claim about their product, my children LOVED them and we are studying animals in science right now and I am able to grab a few different figures as the topics arise and give them an accurate model of the animal. Prices vary depending on store and what you wish to purchase. To find out what my fellow Crew members thought of this product please click on this link: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783079/






As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent the Schleich product for free in exchange for my honest review.



Monday, August 30, 2010

Peterson Directed Handwriting Reviw


As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I had been  asked to review a printing handwriting program created by the company Peterson Directed Handwriting. Peterson Directed Handwriting is a personalized handwriting program. I was able to work directly with Rand Nelson from Peterson Directed Handwriting to tailor a course that will be personalized to my children. You can find the website here: http://www.peterson-handwriting.com/

My family and I are traveling throughout the USA this summer on a four week tour of the different sights to see in this beautiful country. I had planned the four weeks of curriculum that we would be taking with us on our trip and I included the Peterson Directed Handwriting printing curriculum for my first grader and my preschooler. I adapted the preschool program to use with my daughters' phonics program. For example, our first phonics letter was the letter L. So I printed out all the Ll worksheets so she could practice her handwriting along with the letter sounds. I was pleased with the adaptability of this and was happy to not have to lug along a thick workbook on our vacation. I only printed what I needed and the teaching tips are on the worksheets, so there is no need to lug around another teaching manual.

The prices range depending on your needs, so if you are interested in purchasing this, you can go to their website and plug in the different products to fit your family. The website is very interactive as well, and contains teaching helps and tips. Overall, I liked this program. I liked the fact that I only need to print out the pages I need, and unlike a workbook, I can have the same program for my younger children as they get ready to use them.

Please see what my fellow Crew members have to say about this program: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/



As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given the printing version of the Peterson Directed Handwriting to review for free in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

October HomeSchool Expo


It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes.



Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.



You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!



A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.



Don't forget, MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket.



Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr.

Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!



Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16.



The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.



If you cannot make the Live event, then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!



You can visit either of these links to get more information.

http://www.homeschoolexpo.com/


or
http://bit.ly/aWHFiL


I attended the Spring Schoolhouse expo and the free gifts you get at regristration and the knowledge shared by all the speakers made this such a wonderful expo. It is well worth the price!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Put on your Denim Jumper Ladies and Grab your 2010 SchoolHouse Planner for the Best Homeschool Year EVER!






What? You don't have a 2010 Schoolhouse Planner? As a relatively new homeschooling mom, one of my first purchases was the 2009 Schoolhouse planner and I was so impressed with the amazing amount of information provided. The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner is over 600 pages and includes great features such as forms that are customizable so you can type details right onto the forms and print your own personalized forms.
It would take all day for me to tell you everything that is contained in the planner, so follow this link to see for yourself:


The cost is $39.00, which is so reasonable considering how impressive the planner is! No need to print the entire planner out, only print what you need and keep the rest on your computer for quick reference.
A few of my favorite things included in this planner are:


monthly articles (24 total; 2 per month)


Charts for attendance, assignments, science lab sheets


Preschool planner with tips and activities for the little ones
A Teaching Supply and Inventory List
A Daily Schedule, weekly schedule, marking period schedule (so no matter how you plan, there is something for you!)
Grocery List
Home keeping lists
Recipes
Bible Study Guides
Pages and Pages of miscellaneous Educational Information for easy and quick reference
I love this planner, not only does it help keep track of all my homeschooling details, it helps me to organize our family life so our home and school can run smoothly. From one homeschool mom to another, take the time to visit the link above to see for yourself how awesome the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner is.
Disclosure: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I recieved the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner in exchange for my participation to write this as a Sell Sheet, as part of a contest. and I hope I win.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travel Kits e-book Review




This summer my husband and I are planning a vacation, our first one in 10 years!! We are going big, planning a cross country trip with children ages 2, 4, 6 & 8. My toddler is potty training and I am pregnant. We plan on hooking up the RV to the back of my truck and heading west. Did I mention we have never camped before, don't have the RV just yet and will need to plan the trip in about 2 weeks! Sounds like the trip has the making of a very funny reality show, right?

I was asked to review an E-book from The Old Schoolhouse titled "Travel Kits" A Simple Way to Bless Others written by Donna Rees. The 93 page e-book has 14 chapters chock full of great gift ideas for family and friends who may be traveling. You can purchase the e-book for $12.45 here: http://www.theoldschoolhousestore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191_201&products_id=15670 TOS has a wide selection of e-books on many topics and is a great resource.


I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was not only for families as they travel but contained many creative gift giving ideas for all occasions. The e-book even gave tips on how to wrap "theme" presents, for example, a gift with a beach theme can be wrapped up in a beach blanket. These tips were so helpful for someone like me who is not blessed with creativity!


By definition, Travel Kits is a collection of items that will entertain and/ or delight passengers (especially younger ones) thus making the trip more pleasant for everyone. The introduction gives the reader the highlights and general way to use Travel Kits and then the remainder of the e-book goes into detail on how to carry out those ideas. If you are pressed for time, you can easily read the intro and then go straight to the topic you want to know more about, or read it straight through for excellent ideas. I specifically enjoyed the tips on creative gift ideas as well as tips on preparing your vehicle for a trip and tourism websites as well as tips from fellow travelers. The book is very useful and for our family could not have come at a better time! If you want to see what some other TOS Crew members thought of this e-book follow this link: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/782824/

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given the e-book to review for free but was not paid for my review.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TOS Review- "Travel the World E-Book" (June 2010)


I sit here at my computer on a HOT rainy Monday morning in the North East typing my first TOS Review of the 2010-2011 Crew Year and so Thankful for educational activities that I can do inside with my children on days like this.
I was given the opportunity to review the June 2010 module e-book, titled "Travel the World" as a member of the TOS Review Crew. I love these modules, I have used other modules since I have the 2009 School House Planner and this one was just as excellent as the others.
"Travel the Word" is 56 pages of homeschooling fun!
The module contains topics such as Geography, Continents, Land and Water, with additional websites for further study. Your children will have fun doing topical copy work, fill in the blanks, word scramble, word searches etc...
The module is for a wide age range and even has topic expansion for High School students. The June module costs $7.95 so, it is a great deal, especially if you have wide range of ages in your homeschool. You can purchase the module here: http://www.theoldschoolhousestore.com/ or check out the other products from The Old Schoolhouse.
There were a bunch of fun activities contained in this module, for example, there is a cute song to the tune of "He's got the whole world in His hand" that is used to teach about the continents (my 2 year old enjoyed this!)
The module contained beautiful colored maps which I do the following:
print two copies,
cut one out,
laminate them both and use it as a matching game or a memory game.
They even put in recipes for us cooks!
If you would like to see what other TOS Crew Members are saying, click on this link: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/782810/
The "Travel the World" June 2010 Module is sure to please and worth the price, go check it out!
As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I was not paid for this review, but was given the material free.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Lobster Network Review



I am new on the homeschooling scene, but I have noticed a common trait amongst homeschoolers. They are a resourceful bunch! For example, ever since I was asked to participate on the TOS Homeschool Crew, I have had the opportunity to ask many different questions on our TOS Crew online forum. The questions ranged from topics on curriculum, to books, to different companies, or just plain life advice. What a wealth of knowledge I have found from other homeschooling families. I say all of this because I just found out about a really neat opportunity to network with other homeschooling families on a website I was asked to review.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was asked to review a website called LobsterNetwork.com found here: https://www.lobsternetwork.com/


According to the website, LobsterNewtork describes itself as:


LobsterNetwork is a social networking utility that helps you keep track of your stuff and, if you choose, to advertise it within communities of like-minded people or friends. You can use it to borrow a movie from your friend, and it will help you keep track of the loan. Or you can lend your items out to other people. Similarly, you can use it to buy, sell, trade, or give items out to other people.
Some people even use it as an offsite inventory list for insurance purposes.


LobsterNetwork stands for:



I had an easy time setting up my FREE account with LobsterNewtork (it is free to join for everyone). The TOS Crew created a "Community" on the site so we can better pool our resources for those who choose to. You can invite your friends to join as well. I think this was a great idea. I can see the value in this site, especially for a homeschool co-op, church groups, MOPS groups etc...
The only aspect of the site that may get a little time consuming is uploading all your inventory with descriptions, but I think you will find it time well invested. Since I am new to homeschooling, I do not have much to share or sell just yet, but as the years roll by I will be posting up many items. I am going to ask my husband if there is any house "stuff" he would like to see put into the LobsterNetwork site. I highly recommend this site, there are instructional videos to teach new members how to utilize the site and it is very easy to set up and begin using. If you join, please friend me, my user name is katiecorbett. Happy LobsterNetworking!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ideal Curriculum Review




I love Unit Studies! Mostly because I enjoy an interesting topic and pulling all areas of study, reading, language, spelling, math, writing, geography, history etc.... into one topic and Ideal Curriculum has done just that with a Curriculum aimed at preschoolers.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent the month long "transportation" unit study and I was very impressed with the material. I know my son will enjoy it tremendously when he gets a bit older and can do more of the work, and my 4 year old daughter enjoyed a few of the lessons, especially the music and games. I enjoyed the daily lesson plans and all the extra tips and teaching helps for us moms to use. All of the prep work was done for me, all I had to do was print off the material I needed. If you have a printer, you can download the material yourself or order the print version for a few extra dollars. The unit studies are a month long, and are on fun topics that preschoolers will enjoy (my son loved the beautiful pictures in the transportation unit study).

According to the website:

They have created a program that covers Literacy, Math/Calendar, and Science/Social Studies.
The program is made up of nine monthly kits, including such themes as Weather (unit 3), A Healthy Life (unit 5) and People in My Community (unit 7).

Each month has three sections:

Literacy: The program teaches letters and sounds, introduces approximately 100 sight words, works on developing motor skills and other writing skills, explores phonemic and phonological awareness, and develops oral language and vocabulary. Included in this program is music and games along with the print-based materials.

Math: Ideal Curriculum works on basic math concepts such as the number line, rote counting, one-to-one correspondence, cardinality, adjacent values, an basic shapes and number recognition. The Calendar portion works on various concepts of time. The plans include a weekly math lesson and a weekly calendar lesson.

Science/Social Studies: Each unit has a different theme involving science or social studies. Within the theme are included picture books, sequencing stories, vocabulary lists, suggestions for library books to supplement the study, and lots of oral language and vocabulary activities. There are lots of hands-on suggestions in the daily lesson plans.








Units are available for $30 (download) or $55 (print version), and it is also possible to purchase portions of the curriculum. In May, Ideal Curriculum is offering TOS Homeschool Crew followers a 10% discount on a first purchase by using the code: welovekids

Monday, May 10, 2010

Beeyoutiful Tummy Tune Up Review

This past winter consisted of a few snow storms and my small children with many upset stomachs. In fact, I threw in the towel mid February when a stomach bug had made it's rounds through my family for the sixth time since November. I was one unhappy momma, and I was bogged down with laundry. As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew I was sent a product called Tummy Tune up to use and review. The company "Beeyoutiful" found here: http://www.beeyoutiful.com/ makes Tummy tune-up and many other natural products. The company motto is: "Healthy Living for the Real World." Beeyoutiful’s owners believe that each person’s health is his own responsibility, and their company offers a variety of natural products to "aid others in obtaining and maintaining good health."

Of course, since we had such a rough winter with illness, I was more than willing to review any product that promised better heath. The product I was given to try out is called Tummy Tune-Up and is made up of capsules that deliver an especially potent blend of 8 different strains of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, designed to restore intestinal balance and promote health. 4 billion active bacteria per dose.

I had the opportunity to use it with my older daughter immediately. She had been on several different anti-biotics for strep and was complaining of an upset stomach. I was thrilled when, after a few days of taking "Tummy Tune-up" her stomach stopped hurting. I think the company offers quality products and they have a full line of health and wellness products to choose from to meet your families needs. I plan on stocking up on products this coming fall to prevent illness, rather than medicine to take after we all fall ill again. I hope to have a better winter next year by using more Beeyoutiful products.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lesson Planet Review



Lesson Planet is a really awesome website, found here: http://www.lessonplanet.com/

As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent a three months subscription to this site for the purposes of the review. I live in what the HSLDA would label a "green light state". That means that I do not have to keep detailed information on my homeschool curriculum. I also happen to use a "package" curriculum, as a new homeschooler, I wanted to be sure I covered "everything" necessary this past year. I also have a Masters in Health education, so if the need ever arose for me to write a lesson plan, I was able to do so. I am so glad I had the opportunity to review this site, because I don't think I would have ever stumbled on this little gem otherwise.

Lesson Planet offers: 225,000 online lesson plans and worksheets to search through.


The search-engine site began in 1999 and was designed specifically with educators in mind. It is an advertising free site, relying solely on member support. Memberships are available for teachers, homeschoolers and even an entire school district.


Lesson Planet provides numerous ways for teachers to refine and narrow their searches for online curriculum resources, including:

*Searching by keyword, grade level and overall rating
*Clicking the Narrow, Related or My Recent Searches keyword options
*Browsing for reviewed resources by Subject, Calendar or Theme
*Exploring relevant State Standards, matched to each member’s state
*Utilizing Advanced Search to narrow by duration, method, technology, and more

Lesson Planet has a 10 day free trial to allow teachers and parents to try the site with no obligation. After the free trial, membership is only $39.95/year, which is very reasonable considering the amount of time you save by not having to put together the lesson plans or resources yourself.

I like that you can go beyond the lesson plans with this site. For example, my daughter is studying the pioneers this week, when I checked out that time period in history, so many great ideas came up to "stretch" the lessons and make them so much more interesting then I could possibly do on my own. It is with a look and a visit to the site and try the 10 day free trial.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Super Star Speech, Speech Therapy Made Simple" Review

My four year old daughter, Mary, has a bit of a hard time saying the letter "S" sound clearly, it often is articulated as a "TH" sound. It is not a major concern for me at her age, since she otherwise has excellent speech. When the opportunity came up for me to review "Super Star Speech", Speech Therapy Made Simple as part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I selected the manual with her in mind.

I had owned and operated a Child Care Center and at one point I had 63 students enrolled in my program. I often had speech therapists visit a few children at the school as part of an early intervention offered by the public school system. I was often amazed at how simple the speech therapy was. Typically, the therapist spoke clearly to the child and engaged them in conversation, modeling proper pronunciation. They would often play games or tell stories. Now, the children who had the speech therapy did not have major speech delays or medical conditions resulting in the need for the therapy, just minor speech issues. I often wondered, if the parents just spent time talking to their children, how much can be simply corrected?

Super Star Speech is a parents answer to minor speech problems. Deborah Lott, a Speech Language Pathologist, created Super Star Speech, found here: http://www.superstarspeech.com/


The manual contains:
*An articulation test that assesses speech sounds in all word positions and compares errors to developmental norms.
*Specific instructions and tips for teaching every sound.
*240 picture cards.
*Games and activities for enjoyable practice and drill.
*Reproducible lesson plan forms.

I loved the information and activities and games provided in the manual. I haven't had to formally sit Mary down and "do speech" I have taken the tips offered and used them during normal conversation. I would recommend checking out the website if you have any speech concerns and see if they offer any products you may find useful.

Monday, April 19, 2010

ALPHABET BEATS Review

I have three children who are either: learning how to talk; learning how to form shapes, letters and numbers; or learning how to read. I am thrilled to find a non-consumable teaching product that I can use with all three. As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent an Uppercase DVD titled "Alphabet Beats" by the company The TV Teacher.

The DVD contains all the letters in the Alphabet broken down into individual letter chapters (the dvd will not continuously play). Each letter chapter is 5 minutes in length and is led by "Miss Marnie", a charming teacher who loves writing her letters. Each chapter has a visual demonstration and a letter chant to teach proper letter formation. It also contains 8 vocabulary words (LOVE THIS)! The pictures are nice to look at and each chapter can be viewed and then reviewed at your choosing. The company does not recommed watching more than 2- 3 new letters per day as that can become confusing for a young child.

Each Alphabet Beats DVD (uppercase or lowercase) costs $35.00 and can be purchased from www.thetvteacher.com . I have also purchased the lowercase DVD to add to my preschool curriculum for our family. I was impressed with my 4 year old and her improved writing after viewing the Uppercase Alphabet Beats. She is forming about 5 letters very well and we will continue to use this until she can master the remaining letters. All my children enjoyed viewing the DVD, my 8 year wanted to know if they make a DVD for cursive handwriting! My 2 year old enjoyed the DVD and I love that he is passively being introduced to the Alphabet.

According to the website, the company will be releasing a DVD titled "Number Beats" in the summer of 2010. I sure hope they ask TOS Homeschool Review Crew to review that product, hint, hint.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time 4 Learning Review


As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew I was given a free 30 day membership to the Time 4 Learning website found here: https://www.time4learning.com/curriculum/index.html

I was asked to review the newly released Pre-K program, and I was more than happy to do it! I have a four year old and a six year old, so I was able to let both children use the program for the purpose of the review.

The Pre-K level of Time 4 Learning uses high-interest topics to keep young children engaged. Each topic offers a variety of activities from short videos, matching games, stories, puzzles, and other appealing activities. Young children will enjoy the colorful graphics and interesting characters.
My children enjoyed the program VERY much! I was impressed with the scope of topics and the ease of use. My children could navigate the site on their own and choose which topics they wanted to learn about. There are pictures next to each topic name so that even my non-reader knew the subject covered. Once a topic was completed, a check mark would appear over it. This gave my girls a sense of accomplishment.

I thought the site was great and was a useful teaching tool. There is also a parents forum where you can connect with other parents. One aspect I did not like, was the fact that this site is not a Christian site. I am very careful with what I have my children read/ watch and there are secular teachings like evolution (not balanced by creation), as well as, witches and sorcerers (this was in higher levels, I kept my eyes open during the preschool level and didn't find anything too objectionable). There is a thread on the parents forum for Christians and it lists all questionable material, and once aware of it you can decide if you choose to have your child use that particular lesson. I would LOVE for this company to come out with a Christian based curriculum, I think they would gain many more customers!

Time 4 Learning offers access to their pre-K to 8th grade programs on a month-to-month basis. The first child is $19.95 per month and each additional child is $14.95 per month.

Monday, April 12, 2010

All About reading- What Am I? Review




Earlier this year I was introduced to a great spelling program called "All About Spelling" and was given level one and two to review for the TOS Homeschool Review Crew. A few months later the company sent a reading book that would work to compliment the spelling program. This reader was titled Beehive Reader 1 (which, has since been renamed "Cobweb the Cat" same great book, different title), and coordinates with All About Spelling Level one.


This second reader was just released on April 1st, titled "What Am I?" and coordinates with All About Spelling Level two.


It can be used whether or not you use All About Spelling. Plans are in the works to introduce a brand-new All About Reading program late this year. All About Reading can be used as a stand-alone program, but it will coordinate perfectly with All About Spelling. After Level 1, each level of All About Reading will contain two readers. All About Reading will include decoding skills, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and lots of reading practice.
This second reader costs $19.95 and can be purchased here: http://www.all-about-spelling.com/
Once again, my daughter Jessica, who is my emergent reader, enjoyed the hardcover book. I think it makes her feel so special that one of her books is so well made, even though it is an early reader. She and I enjoyed reading the stories together. She is not all the way through the level one reader, so she required help with the second level reader. The characters are likable and the stories are funny and interesting.
I am grateful for the opportunity to review these products from this company. I am most likely going to begin using this program exclusively with my four year old daughter, Mary, as soon as I think she is ready to begin.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Critical Thinking Company Review




I'm nerdy, there I said it. I love the Internet with all the information flowing at my fingertips. I can look up how to make perogies and then price tickets to the Bronx Zoo for our field trip next week. I love researching and learning new things. One thing I love more than the Internet is real books. My favorite part, besides reading the book, is opening the book for the first time and hearing the satisfying crinkle of the binder. I love when I am sent a book to review and I can hold it and flip through it and smell that new book smell. Critical Thinking Company, apparently a well known name for all you seasoned homeschoolers, sent me a product titled "Language Smarts Level C" to review as part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew. The big new book showed up at my door and after I opened the package, smelled that new book smell and heard the first crinkle, I was ready to dive in.


My daughter Emily is in second grade right now, so this book was perfect for her. According to the company, the book I was sent is a "fun, mind building book to teach standards based language arts and develop critical thinking skills. It can serve as a core curriculum for language arts or as a supplemental resource." Topics include vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, reading, and writing skills. The teacher does not need to do any prep work and each section introduces a specific topic, followed by practice and then application activities. The pages are colorful and the activities are enjoyable.


The book is 320 pages and costs $39.99 and is full of activities. I chose the Rhymes and Riddles section of the book to use with Emily for the purpose of the review. She enjoyed it tremendously. I am looking forward to using the rest of the book over time with her. She enjoys language arts so this was an easy winner for her. The website, found here http://www.criticalthinking.com/
is worth taking a look at. Apparently many a homeschool mom has heard about this company and the selection of products they offer in many subject areas. I plan on looking through the catalog when I plan out our curriculum for next year to see what else we can purchase from this great company.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Family Mint Review






Considering the current statistics that the average American Family is actually spending more money than they make each month, and since this country is now in the midst of the current "credit crisis" the Company "Family Mint" could not have come at a better time. The company, Family Mint, found here:
http://www.familymint.com/ offers a free website that parents can use to teach money management and fiscal responsibility to their children.
I was sent the link to Family Mint to review as part of TOS Review Crew. I loved the fact that the site was free, but even better, the site offered actual relevant financial information.
Family mint allows you to set up accounts for each child and you act as the bank using either real or virtual money. You set up goals with your child to help them save for desired things such as a new bike or an investment. As their interests change so may their savings goals. This teaches fiscal responsibility as well as delayed gratification (I may send this link over to Congress). Since the parents act as the "bank" they can approve or deny deposits. The personal information is safe on the site. The site uses "virtual money" and you can choose to set up an envelope system at home to mirror the transactions.
I love this site. A child of any age can begin to benefit from learning money management for a life long skill that is so lacking in our culture.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Math Galaxy Review

I am fairly confident in my first and second grade math skills. I can put counting bears in an AB pattern like no ones business, and I personally think I rock the geo-boards, if I do say so myself. So when I was sent free games and curriculum to download from the company www.mathgalaxy.com I was not too excited to do another math review (but totally excited about free things).

Math Galaxy describes their program as "unlike most math textbooks, which throw a mass of material at the student, Math Galaxy focuses student attention on concepts sequentially and interactively, based upon the ideas behind math manipulatives (such as counting blocks) and connecting new concepts to familiar experiences. Unlike most math software, it goes beyond simple games, low-level operations or rule memorization to link familiar and concrete experiences to higher-level processes. It goes beyond physical math manipulatives by linking each physical operation to its mathematical counterpart at each step, and by allowing manipulations that are difficult to do with physical manipulatives. It stresses concepts that run throughout all of basic math to provide basic understanding rather than memorized rules. Our goal is to provide students a foundation for analytical thinking in the modern world and for higher-level math and science.
The key to learning math is consistency. It is best taken in small doses but done consistently. Even ten minutes or ten problems a day will improve your child's understanding of math if done consistently."

I like all the "big" words they used like "sequentially" and "higher-level processes", the nerd in me was "intrigued". I was impressed with the amount of material the company offers, a child can use the range of materials offered from Kindergarten through 12Th grade, throughout their formal schooling years as a nice supplement. The product that I chose to review was Math Galaxy Whole Numbers Fun and it covers all of whole number operations plus Time, Money, and the sections of Length, Area, Volume, Pictographs, Bar Graphs and Probability appropriate for grades 1 to 4. It also includes the whole number sections of the Word Jumbles, Riddles, and Bridge the Swamp games and the Labyrinth mazes. Price is $29.95 includes Free shipping.

I had a hard time trying to get my daughter to play another math game, so my husband and I sat down to play. I thought the games were fine, perfect for a child struggling with math concepts. If you are looking for action packed and noisy, this is not the math game for you. If you do want quality and repetition, you may want to check it out, the company does offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Children's Bible Hour Book Review


"Mom, how much is 70 times seven?" my daughter Emily asked me tonight. I quickly did my math, which is about as good as my art skills. "490", I replied. "WOW, that's a lot" she stated. "Yes, Emily, God is gracious and forgiving towards us and he expects us to treat others the same way." I was able to say, "That is why it is so important to show forgiveness to your sisters even when you may not want to."

Our conversation continued for a few minutes longer, as they tend to do at bedtime, when all the problems of the day are expressed and solved. I credit Children's Bible Hour Ministries for the series of Seasons of Faith illustrated picture book series I was sent to review as part of the TOS homeschool Review Crew. We had the pleasure of reading along with four excellent books, "Seventy Times Seven"; "You can't Come in"; "Race with Midnight"; and "Braving the Storm". Each beautifully illustrated book also contains a CD with a recording of Uncle Charlie narrating the story.




Each story contains a wonderful Gospel message and at the end listeners are given the opportunity to ask Jesus to be their Savior. I loved these books. I put the Cd's in while I was preparing dinner and my children followed along with the book. The books cost $10.00 each, are soft covered, and are sized 10 x 8.5. If you order the Seasons of Faith book set from the website http://www.cbhministries.org/ between March 17- April 15, 2010 you can get free standard shipping, just use the code FREESHIPAPR15

Monday, March 15, 2010

Artistic Pursuits Review

One area that I am very intimidated by is teaching my children art. I do not have an artistic or creative bone in my body. In fact, I have drawn pictures with my children and others assume the children drew them because the skill level is that of a four year old. I am laughing while I write this, but I am very serious.

I was excited to learn that as part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I would be sent an art curriculum to review. The company is called Artistic Pursuits and can be found at: www.artisticpursuits.com

The Curriculum comes in three levels:
Preschool: "The way they see it", A book for every parent about the art children make

Grades K- 3:
Book 1: An Introduction to the Visual Arts (Ancient - 1300's)
Book 2: Stories of Artists and their Art (1200- 1800's)
Book 3: Modern Painting and Sculpture (1850's- today)

Grades 4-12:
Book 1 at each grade level covers drawing basics
Book 2 at each grade level covers color theory

I chose to review Grade K-3 Book 1 since I have two children who fit into that age range, and my four year old can follow along. I enjoyed this book very much, my children were interested in learning about the nuances of art and how and artist views their subject and then creates art from it. The book does not require any preparation from me to teach the children. The book is in full color, which is beautiful to look at. It is a great first exposure to art as well as the artists who created them. The book contains 32 projects ranging from drawing, painting, paper craft, clay, printmaking, sculpture etc...

I think we will incorporate this art curriculum into our homeschool next year, and do one lesson per week. The book I reviewed cost $42.95, which I think is a reasonable cost for the caliber of the curriculum. We enjoyed it and I learned alongside the girls. My art work still looks terrible, but I know so much more about how art is created.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Homeschool Library Builder Review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I went sent information about a homeschool website that is FREE to join (happy Dance!!). Not only is the website free to use, but it is a website created by Gayla Weatherford and Julie Huffman, homeschool moms who love great books. They wanted to help homeschoolers and others who use excellent literature to educate.

I enjoyed using the website and have joined as a member, for free, and will be notified of discounts and sales at the site. The site sells new and gently used books at affordable prices to build your home library. This is neat because I really love books and while I enjoy the local library, I have 4 young children and I can't take the pressure of keeping a library book in pristine condition while it's in my house! I also love to have rows and rows of books, but it can get expensive, that is when you turn to Homeschool Library Builder: www.hslibrarybuilder.com

Homeschool Library Builder also offers a book searching service for an out-of stock book. They have an online forum called "The HSLB Market Place" where members can get the word out about their own new business or service. Members can do this through the website and it will also be posted in the monthly newsletter. HSLB also offers a "spotlight on the season" where they preview and select sites based on the seasons/ time of year. They will provide links to some of their favorite homeschool resources.

HSLB also has heart and raises money for those in need, it is called "Helping Hand". Another advantage to becoming a HSLB member is the "frequent buyer program" where you can earn points from books bought. Every 15 book points = $1.00 for use toward future purchases and the points never expire.

I am happy to have learned about this sight. I use a literature based curriculum and am always watching my budget, so right now I am making a list of all the books that I will need for next year and see what I can purchase through HSLB.