Monday, February 28, 2011

Academic Success For All Learners TOS Review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent a reading program created by the company "Academic Success For All Learners" found HERE. The program is called "Reading for All Learners Little Books" and is based on research that began over 30 years ago. According to the company the program directly addresses the five essentials of reading instruction:
1- phonemic awareness
2- phonics
3- fluency
4- vocabulary
5- comprehension

The program consists of 141 decodable readers or "Little Books"  each book is made up of two parts. The first part is an introduction to new sounds, new words and word practice. The second part of the "Little Book" is direct application of the new sounds and words by reading a story. The stories are cute and include many animal characters.
The program is used for children reading at a K-3.6 grade level. Each set costs $30.00 and includes Little Book sets, Success Certificates, Learner Progress Tracking Charts and the instructor guide. There are also videos available to view on you tube titled iseesamdotcom

I think that the price is great for the quality material that you get with this program. My children enjoyed the stories and even though they did use flashcards along with the program it was way more enjoyable then the phonics program we had been using. They felt much more accomplished because they had an actual "book" to read (with help from mom!) I also think this program is great for large families since the materials are not consumable. The website offers other products from this company such as a spelling program as well as a math program.

If this sounds like a program you might be interested in using, check out the you tube page as well as the website which offers other videos. You can also visit the TOS Crew Blog found HERE to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of this program.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Math Rider TOS Review

My oldest daughter HATES math facts and math drills. When she needs to complete a math facts worksheet, her joy all about disappears. When she gets the 100 facts and gets "timed"  it is difficult to even talk to her. We are working on having a right attitude while doing work we don't enjoy, and knowledge of basic math operations up to number 12 is not an option. So when I received the down loadable math game called "Math Rider" to review for the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was hopeful.
You can check out and purchase Math Rider HERE for $37.00. Math Rider was easy to download from the website and we were able to begin playing right away. My daughter was given a quest and she was able to pick her level of difficulty ( we chose the "easy" level to begin with). She was then given basic addition facts from 0-12 to answer, if she answered correctly, her horse would clear the hurdle. If she answered incorrectly, her horse would stop at the hurdle, the program would then say the problem out loud and then the game would continue giving her the missed facts more frequently.
The game offers 4 basic math operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Each operation requires four quests to complete before mastery is achieved. The horse speeds up or slows down depending on typing speed and how fast the facts get answered.
She never felt pressured from being timed and she didn't get frustrated if she missed the question because it would just give her the answer, so she never felt like a failure. It took Emily about 15 minutes to finish one quest. I don't know if that is a normal amount of time or not, but I would have her do one quest per day.
As a parent I liked the fact that I could access her results and see how she is doing. She will be continuing with this program even though our review period is over. I see her practicing her basic math facts and she is gaining the skills she needs to improve her knowledge, without the drudgery of a fact worksheet.

After initial use, Math Rider uses stats from previous games to customize the program. The goal of Math Rider is "maximum impact from practicing in minimum time, while keeping difficulty at an appropriate level".
After using this game, I think they have achieved that goal. The game is also good for multiple users, which is nice for a large family.

Math Rider is downloaded from the website to your computer and is able to work in windows, mac, osx, and linux. They even offer a 30 day risk free guarantee.

I am very pleased with this program. It is reasonably priced and user friendly. I notice an improvement in my daughters' math skills without additional grey hair, that is always a plus in my home!

Don't take my word for it, please check out what my fellow TOS Crew Mates have to say HERE

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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kidscoop TOS Review

What is worse then having a child who hates math? Answer: a child who isn't interested in reading. I am an avid reader and my motto is "readers are leaders". In my opinion, once a child can read and read well, the world will open up to them. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, some children just don't like reading. As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent the "Reluctant Reader Solution" to review along with the January edition of "Kid Scoop News" from .

Being on the newbie side of Homeschooling, was not a company that I was familiar with, but I am sure glad I know about them now. So far, in our homeschool, we have two fluid readers and one emergent reader. My children don't give me a hard time reading, but I can totally see us incorporating the Reluctant Reader Fun Sheets into our homeschool day. So what is the deal with this program? Let me share with you all the details and then I'll tell you why I like it and how I use it.

The Reluctant Reader Solution was created by Vicki Whiting with the goal of giving a child reading activities in a fun format to help them become enthusiastic, life-long readers. It contains 365 fun sheets which you can use weekly or group them by theme. The program suggests parents/ teachers use the "Ask, Do, Review Lesson Model". 1. Ask your child a question that he/she can answer by reading the fun sheet you selected.  2. Do- Once they answer the question, all the activities should pique their curiosity and they will want to begin working on the activities. 3. Review- re-ask the original question to reinforce comprehension as well as  "What did you learn from doing this page?"

The program was developed to meet  state standards. Since this month was February, we chose to review the Valentines themed fun pages. It is 6 pages long and the theme was "Valentines Fitness". The fun sheets contained "make your own good-for-you valentines day cards"  along with physical activity games. The kids were even able to proof read sentences that had a love/ heart theme to them. If you want to see what I am talking about  download a free sample HERE. Each themed fun sheet sells for $2.99 (for a download) or purchase the reluctant Reader Solution for $97.00 and receive 365 fun sheets plus 12 online issues of "Kid Scoop News"  ( $55 value). All the products are downloaded onto your computer to be printed out by you.

I was also sent the January edition of "Kid Scoop News" which contained 20 pages of fun activities plus information on a range of topics from Martin Luther King, Jr to science, math, grammar as well as recommended books and web sites. There was even a page for my youngest reader titled "Early Learners" containing rhymes, tracing, coloring pages. The pages are colorful and beautiful to look at.

So here is why I like this program. I can use the fun sheets to expand on a specific topic while using a unit study. I also use a work box system and these fun sheets are a great way to have my children engaged in school and doing independent work while I am with a sibling. If you have a child who is struggling or not too excited about reading, this program is one that I would encourage you to look into. The company offers a 365-day money back guarantee if you are not happy with the program. I would encourage you to check out the website

If you would like to hear what my fellow Crew Mates had to say, go HERE.

As amember of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this product at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Curiosity Files- "Red Tide" TOS Review

I have a Masters Degree in Science, specifically Health Education and I love any science based curriculum (especially one with a Christian world view).  As a member of The TOS Review Crew, I was able to review a really awesome unit study called "The Curiosity Files" The subject that I reviewed was "RED TIDES".  This was right up my alley and The old Schoolhouse once again created another quality product. The Curiosity Files are a unit study based curriculum that can stand alone or be used to compliment a science study. For example,  the "Red Tides"  unit is 93 pages that can stand alone as a unit or be a wonderful compliment to an ocean unit study.

The Curiosity Files are geared towards children ages 8-13 but can easily be adapted towards younger or older students. Currently there are 9 topics in the Curiosity Files and they cost $49 for a CD of the 9 studies or $46 for the E- Download. You can purchase them HERE from The Old Schoolhouse Store. Each study is between 80-100 pages.

Professor Ana Lyze walks us through the study with the goal "to educate children about subjects they would never find otherwise.To get them thinking creatively and give their minds some exercise." With these studies you will find out "everything you never wanted to know".

The "Red Tides" study contains awesome photos, Spelling and Vocabulary words geared towards Elementary children and another geared towards Junior High students.  There are word searches and crossword puzzles. Children are asked to write descriptive essays or persuasive essays. There is a quiz to see how much you have learned as well as lots of hands on activities.  It also contains a book list and many links to videos and articles to further the study. There is even a song that my younger kids enjoyed since  music is such a great tool to teach with!

There is copywork in script and print and even a board game to print out and play (our favorite game!!!).
I love when we actually apply information, especially with my children ages 5, 7 & 9. We can take the facts given and then apply them with the activities (a great way to get the younger ones to understand the concept and help make it relate-able for them). For example, we discussed the sea and the food chain and what comes from the sea. We made a food chain ect... but we took it a step farther and looked through our pantry for food that contained ingredients we just learned about. LOVE THAT!! That is just one example of the many hands on activities contained in this study.

The kids even make their own file to put their completed work in called "snippets". I could gush on all day about this study, I was very impressed and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys doing unit studies with their children and using lots of hands on activities to drive home the topic. Don't just take my word for it check out what my fellow Crew Mates had to say HERE

As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew I was given this product at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.