Friday, November 20, 2009

GyMathtics DVD

In today's world where it's extremely hard to get your children to exercise, it's hard to find something that grabs their interest and gets them excited about working out. We had the incredible opportunity to review GyMathtics by Explormania. The 30 Minute video gets your children pumped up using math concepts to not only make the workout fun, but very educational as well. My five-year old especially liked this video as he likes math and is at the age where television or videos have to be exciting to grab his interest.

The video is $29.95 (free shipping and handling with a current promotion). There is also a second video available.

Find out More About the Video Here

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AVKO - Educational Resource Foundation

AVKO Educational Resource Foundation is a non-profit organization that has been helping parents, teachers and researchers since 1974. The Crew was given a year membership to review all the various resources on this website.

For $25 a year, AVKO basic membership includes the following benefits:

  • Discounts on AVKO printed materials
  • Hundreds of dollars worth of FREE e-books (PDF)
  • The Patterns of English Spelling (All 10 Volumes) with Word Families in Sentence Context
    To Teach a Dyslexic
  • Starting at Square One
  • The Teaching of Reading & Spelling: a Continuum from Kindergarten through College.
  • The Reading Teacher's List of Over 5,500 Basic Spelling Words
  • Access to the Member Only section
  • AVKO Newsletter with freebies, discounts, resources, and promotions
  • Access to Don McCabe's most popular workshop recordings in MP3 format.
  • Supplemental Curriculum Materials including word games, worksheets, activities, and more!
  • Access to Pretests and Placement Tests
  • Access to the Answer Keys for the Unscramblers and Family Reunion exercises of the Engaging Language Kits
  • And More!!

I would have to say that my favorite part would be The Reading Teacher's List of Over 5,500 Basic Spelling Words because of the current spelling curriculum that we use. Most of the other items currently do not work for our family because of age and/or the curriculum that we are currently using, but would most definitely work for other families looking for creative and successful ways of teaching their children.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The Crew was asked to review Tektoma which is a site that teaches kids how to make their own computer games. This is an absolutely outstanding website for anyone that has a child that is remotely interested in computer programing or video game designing. While my oldest child (who is in public school) would have loved this site, my eight-year old who is a more artsy guy did not take interest in it at all. It was a little above his head right now, however when he gets a little older I am thinking it is something we might try in the future.
Tektoma offers you this:
  • Engaging video tutorials for ages 7-17
  • Tutorials of varying skill levels and topics
  • Learn at your own pace in the comfort of your home
  • Natural progression helps develop technical skills
  • Customize your learning experience
  • Low monthly membership fee gives access to all our resources
  • New curriculum available monthly
Price: Just $14.95 per month or $140 per year gets you access to all the tutorials as well as online help via the forums.

Free Membership Opportunities:
• Free 14-day trial
• Earn free membership time by telling your friends


Mathletics -- An absolutely fun way to practice math!

We had the extreme privilege to review Mathletics by 3P Learning for 45 days. My son Jonathan was absolutely thrilled with this website. He said it was so much fun playing the math games and said it was the best math website ever. The website service is only about $2.00 a week in cost and provides a fun math education for children in Kindergarten all the way up to the 8th grade.

Mathletics also has a yearly competition called the American Math Challenge. We just missed the deadline for the American Math Challenge so he was kind of bummed. My oldest had participated in the event before and thought it was so much fun. Children get to compete with other students from all over the world and solve as many math problems as they can.

The annual subscription per student to this service is $59.00 per year. If you have children that love to learn their subjects on the computer, this curriculum and website is perfect for your family.


Our family was provided this free trial as a part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions are ours after having a chance to try out the service.

American Heritage Foundation

We received a CD from the American Heritage Foundation which had an abundance of history materials for homeschoolers from Kindergarten all the way up to High School. I was absolutely amazed with the content and worksheets on this CD and my boys loved playing with the cutout words to learn the Pledge of Allegiance. We used the elementary version of the curriculum. I took time to also review the middle and highschool versions as well and have to say that I was very impressed. The most impressive part of this that it is FREE!!

Visit The American Heritage Foundation Website Here

ABC Teach - A Homeschool Worksheet Heaven!!

When you are a homeschooler it's sometimes hard to find a worksheet for unit studies or to supplement your children's curriculum. You spend hours searching the internet trying to find that perfect worksheet or diagram to fit the lesson. ABC Teach is the perfect website for moms like me who want a one stop shop to find all the worksheets that we need.

While I have been using the FREE worksheets from the website for years, I had an opportunity to try out a full membership as a part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. I was absolutely amazed at how many worksheets and resources were available at my fingertips!!

There are worksheets for every grade level and subject. I even found worksheets for reading books that we were doing this year which was extremely helpful as I was not going to have to sit down and write out my own worksheets. The ABC Tools section is even more helpful as you can use their customized worksheet generators to make your own personalized worksheets.

A yearly membership to this site is $40.00. A big savings from having to buy several workbooks to supplement your child's education.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ACT, Inc. - College Readiness Standards Packets

We received the EXPLORE and PLAN test packets from ACT Advantage to review as part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew team. We were absolutely thrilled to get these materials.

The EXPLORE program is designed for 8th graders for assessing their academic progress and preparing for the ACT exam. The PLAN program is for students in the 10th grade to also access where they are academically and to have enough time to prepare for college or the workforce. It also helps them to learn very essential test taking skills that are needed for taking the ACT. I participated in a similar program in public school in the 8th grade and was very happy to see that the same materials are available to homeschooling families.

It's so important for students to prepare for college entrance exams and the ACT. The higher the score the more likely that your student will qualify for scholarships and get into the top schools in the country. Starting at the 8th grade gives you and your children plenty of time to fill in the learning gaps and practice for the real ACT exam. It also serves as a very big indicator of where your child stands academically with other students in the same grade.

The EXPLORE for Homeschool packet includes the following items:

  • Testing booklet titled Sample Test Booklet and Answer Sheet
  • Using Your EXPLORE Results brochure—a brief overview of score results and the process
  • College Readiness Standards handbook—a handbook that provides ideas for progress in each subject to prepare students for college or the workforce

Price: $22.95 each

The PLAN for Homeschool packet includes the following items:

  • Testing booklet titled Sample Test Booklet and Answer Sheet
  • Using Your PLAN Results brochure—a brief overview of score results and the process
  • College Readiness Standards handbook—a handbook that provides ideas for progress in each subject to prepare students for college or the workforce

Price: $22.95 each

VISIT THE WEBSITE TODAY to start giving your children the college advantage!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Virginia Soaps & Scents

Our Crew had the opportunity to review the products of an amazing home based family business. The awesome part about this family business is that it was started by a fellow home school family and everyone in the family works together to make this business venture so successful.

We received the following to try out in our home:
in 3 different scents (Oatmeal, Milk and Honey, Coconut Lemongrass, and Fresh Orange )
Ginger Lime scent

Handcrafted Olive Oil Soap
I absolutely loved these soaps!! I had never tried handmade soaps before and so this was a new adventure for our family. The way that the Oatmeal, Milk and Honey bar made my skin feel after using it was absolutely amazing! I also loved the scents of these bars and am hoping to try even more of the different fragrances that they have available. We received the 1.75 ounce Bed and Breakfast sized bars the normal sized bars are 4.5 ounces. They are only $4.50 per bar. They even have a cookies and cream gourmet bar that I would love to try!!

Shampoo Bar
I was so excited about the concept of having shampoo in a bar and was excited to try it. Unfortunately after several tries, it wouldn't work for my hair. I have really fine and often oily hair and it left my hair feeling like it had residue on it. I tried to use it several different ways and just could not get it to work. They do have a shampoo bar for oily hair and I think it would be interesting to try that to see if it worked in my hair. The shampoo bars are 5.5 ounces and are $5.50 each.

Laundry Soap Kit
This was my second favorite item in the trial package that our family received. It was so much fun and because we received the smaller kit, I made it a little differently than recommended. I mixed it up as directed and then poured it into an empty laundry detergent bottle. I then shook it as it cooled and then shook it before each use. I absolutely loved this soap and so no difference in the way it washed our laundry. I also have extreme allergies to certain types of laundry detergent and had no reaction to this product. If you get the larger size kit, I recommend doing what I did and using empty laundry detergent bottles. It was great for storage and I already had my "measuring" cup on the lid saving me time and space in my small laundry room.
I could go on and on about this amazing company and all the products that they have available. Other than the shampoo bar, our family was absolutely impressed with the quality of this product.

Visit the Website

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bright Ideas Press - Mystery of History II

If you ever wanted to find a history curriculum that takes the Bible and Christian history and melds it with historical facts and information, The Mystery of History Series is perfect for you!

Last year we went through The Mystery of History I by Linda Lacour Hobar. This book covered Creation through the Resurrection and my three sons absolutely loved it. We made clay animal creations and learned so much about cultural and Biblical history.

This year as part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew, we had the opportunity to review The Mystery of History II which covers The Early Church up to the Middle Ages. While I loved the first volume, this one was even more exciting for our family as we learned what happened to the Christian world after Jesus was resurrected into Heaven.

In this volume your family will learn about the beginnings of Islam, the Crusades, and the Dark Ages. They will travel the globe learning about the history and culture of various civilizations during this time period.

The nice thing about this particular curriculum is that it works as an individual or group history curriculum. Activities are divided into three different grade levels. At the beginning of each section the students take a Pre-Test to see what they know about the upcoming lesson. It was neat to see what my children have picked up from watching the History Channel and from their previous history classes.

The supplementary section in this particular volume was absolutely outstanding. There were so many activities, worksheets, maps and other materials to enhance the lessons. The one thing I like about this curriculum is how the activities draw the children into the lesson and allow them to take what they have read and explore the lesson even more.

Volume II is currently offered on the Bright Ideas website for $49.95. There are currently three different volumes in this series and there are numerous options for resources and supplemental books and CDs available for purchase as well. I strongly recommend this to any family that would like to explore World History in a fun and exciting manner that will have your children running to the table for History class.

Find more about The Mystery of History Here!!

The Mystery of History was given to our family to review as part of being a member of The Old Schoolhouse Crew. The opinions expressed here are my own after my family has had a chance to review this product together. To get more perspectives of this curriculum, please click on the Crew button at the top left of this blog to see what other members thought.