Monday, May 24, 2010

The Cleaning War!! Will It Ever End??

This is the story of Private I Do Not Like to Work, Private I Demolish It, and Private They Did It Mom. If you know my boys and can put the name with the know our household very well.

Sergeant Homeschool Princess left the house on a Girl Time Mission and left the three privates and General What Is Going On at home for the day. General What Is Going On got an important phone call from President I Got the Answer. They had important business to discuss and the two young privates were actively engaged in a televised Spongebob Training Mission. Private They Did It Mom was working hard on his Achievement Medal by working on a electronic virtual training mission.

Private I Demolish It was looking for a specific toy weapon in the Edwards armory (i.e. playroom). Said weapon was at the bottom of the box, so over it went piling the toys on the floor. Private I Do Not Like to Work was in the middle of his latest and greatest creations and had K-Nex from one end of the living room to the next. Private I Demolish It got bored with his first toy and wanted to build a great fort with his blocks. He created a masterpiece that any proud momma would want to display to the world, unfortunately this great masterpiece was karate kicked by a soldier guy and pummeled to the ground. The rubble remained as Private I Demolish It looked for his next project.

Private I Demolish It and Private I Do Not Like to Work decided that they wanted a snack. They ran down to the Edwards Camp Mess Hall and found microwave popcorn rations. One ration was not enough so they prepared two bags and ran up to the living room. Unfortunately for the boys the popcorn bags had grenades in them as they exploded all over the living room floor. Not an inch was spared in the Edwards Living Room as popcorn pieces and seeds were found everywhere.

Sergeant Homeschool Princess arrived at the war zone and engaged Operation Cleanup. Unfortunately for the Sergeant, the three privates had formed the Non-Cleaning Coalition and were not going to clean up the war zone at any cost.

The first battle was lost as Sergeant Homeschool Princess nicely asked (well actually yelled at) the three privates to clean up the mess. Private They Did it Mom insisted that it was not his mess as he was actively working on his electronic mission to conquer the Electronic Enemy Forces and he did not see them make the mess. He was sent downstairs to work on his Written Mission Work (homework). Private I Do Not Like to Work suddenly had to go to the bathroom, was hungry, and was thirsty. Private I Demolish It told Sergeant Homeschool Princess that he would work, but when she left the room he found a box of toy bugs and snakes and hurled them unto the floor.

Sergeant Homeschool Princess asked for a special meeting with General What Is Going On. She explained the details of the situation and showed him ground zero. General What Is Going on ordered that the privates lose computer and electronic game station privileges until the living room and armory (toy room) were back in order. TV privileges were not revoked yet as the Non-Cleaning Coalition had made a treaty with the Sergeant and General that they would clean as they watched TV. The young privates broke the treaty and were told that new sanctions would begin in the morning.

The privates were then told the next morning that their television privileges were now revoked. This didn't phase the young privates as it was nice outside so they made a covert operation and snuck outside to play. General What Is Going On caught the young privates and ordered them back to ground zero to clean. Sergeant Homeschool Princess then supervised every move of the young privates refusing to back down Parental Forces and eventually the Non-Cleaning Coalition surrendered to Parental Forces and ground zero was cleaned. However in a retaliatory mission the Non-Cleaning Coalition rejoined forces and again attacked the Edwards Household again!!!

Lobster Network - Share your stuff!!!

The Crew was asked to review Lobster Network, a site that allows you to share your items for sale, trade or borrowing. Homeschool networks and friends can set up networks to easily exchange items between each other.

I think this site has a lot of potential to be a great place for families to exchange their homeschool and other items. I think that once there are more users on this site and more of us list their items for sale that the benefits to this site will be absolutely incredible. I do wish that within the communities that there were chat boards or a main chat board to interact with each other.
Today when I was searching on the site, I was able to find a few items that would work for my two boys and I believe that as the word spreads about this site that I will be able to find even more great buys!!

Go to to sign up for your FREE account.
There are more videos about this site here.

Kregel Publications - Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure

Author: Susan K. Marlow Binding: Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8254-3352-8 Price: $7.99
When innocent horseplay temporarily lands Andi and her friends in jail, they decide that a trip into the mountains will leave their troubles far behind. Accompanied by big brother Mitch and armed with a map showing old gold diggings, they can’t wait to strike it rich. What could be better than two weeks of camping and horseback riding? But instead of gold they find heaps of trouble—trouble that leaves Mitch gravely wounded. Andi needs help fast. But who can she trust? And what good is a bag of gold when her beloved brother lies near death in the middle of nowhere?

The Crew had the privilege to review Andrea Carter and the Trouble With Treasure. It was fun to join Andi and her friends in all their misadventures and to see how they would get themselves out of trouble in whatever situation they found themselves in. I was especially excited about how they handled things when they were held captive by the mean deputy Hugh Baker.

I think any young girl would love this book and probably the entire series. I find myself wanting to read the other books in the series because this was such a fun book to read. I also loved the character Jenny in this book. She reminded me of a childhood friend of mine that was always wanting to do wild and crazy things that most girls wouldn't even think of doing. It's perfect for the girl that is not into all the typical girly girl fiction books.

Visit the Kregel Publications to get your copy of this fun novel as well as other amazing books that this publisher has to offer.

This book was provided free to me by the publisher as part of my membership in the TOS Homeschool Review team, the opinions are mine after I have reviewed this product with my family.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beeyoutiful - Review of Berry Well

Our Crew was asked to review various products from Beeyoutiful. Our family was asked to review Berry Well.

Berry Well is a pleasant fruit-flavored syrup designed to boost an individual’s immune system function through elderberry juice, raw honey, bee propolis, echinacea and raw apple cider vinegar.

I had used elderberry with my middle child Jonathan when he was around 9 months old and was having colds/fevers every time he was getting a new tooth. She suggested I try the extract and I was actually surpised how well it worked in relieving the symptoms. I haven't been able to find it anywhere and was thrilled when this bottle arrived in the mail.

The taste is absolutely amazing and it's perfect for little ones that do not like the harsh taste of over-the-counter cough syrups. While I still am an advocate of going to the doctor if you have a sick child who isn't responding to normal at home remedies and medicines, I highly recommend trying Berry Well.

You can purchase Berry Well on the Beeyoutiful website for $18.00.

This product was provided to me as part of my membership in the TOS Homeschool Review team, the opinions are mine after I have reviewed it with my family.

Ideal Curriculum

I was asked as part of my membership in the TOS Homeschool Crew to review a kit the first unit - Transportation from Ideal Curriculum. This site has created a preschool curriculum that covers Literacy, Math/Calendar, and Science/Social Studies.

I absolutely love this curriculum and wish I would have had something like this when Josiah was in preschool. The books are absolutely amazing filled with gorgeous colorful photographs that capture your child's attention. I'm a photographer and found myself going through each of the pages admiring the photographs and know that any parent or preschooler would love them too.
I especially loved the printouts and was thrilled with the assessment sheets. It's a perfect way to see where your child is and what they still need to learn. Even though my youngest is a Kindergartner, I plan to incorporate some of these items into his lessons next year.
I highly recommend this for any parent that is looking for something for their preschooler. Preschoolers love unit studies and this curriculum does an excellent job of incorporating everything so that learning is not only effective but fun for your preschooler!

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 Visit the Ideal Curriculum website to purchase your kit and get started today!! Your Preschooler Will Thank You!!

This item was provided to me as part of my membership in the TOS Homeschool Review team, the opinions are mine after I have reviewed this product with my family.

Cerebellum Corporation/Standard Deviants - Chemistry

Crew members were asked to review Advanced Placement Program DVDs from their Light Speed video learning program. Each video includes a digital workbook with a course outline, notes, practice questions, games, and quizzes. Our family was asked to review the Chemistry DVD from this series.

Even though my oldest homeschool student is only in the 3rd grade, I immediately saw the benefits that this DVD has for them in the future. All three of my boys including my oldest who is in 8th grade public school are very scientifically and mathematically oriented and will probably need to take the AP tests in the future. The video was very detailed and informative on how to prepare for the AP Test as well as going through the various elements of Chemistry. I would also recommend it for your high school student who is not taking the AP exam and is taking Chemistry in a public school or at home. It's a great way to review the various concepts to prepare for a final exam.

These Advanced Placement DVDs are available for the regular price for $14.98 each.

This DVD was provided to me as part of my membership in the TOS Homeschool Review team, the opinions are mine after I have reviewed this product with my family.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Math Galaxy - A Fun Way to Do Math!

The homeschool crew was asked to review Math Galaxy. Our family had an opportunity to review the workbooks, worksheet generators and programs that are provided by this amazing website.

Our favorite was the The Math Galaxy Whole Number Riddles eBook. It is an eBook in pdf format that contains 130 of the printable riddles that are in the Whole Numbers Worksheet Generator software plus standard worksheets for those who would prefer an eBook. It sells for $12.95 on the website. My middle guy loves to solve puzzles so this was the perfect math format for him.

The worksheet generators and programs are also excellent and perfect for supplementing any math curriculum. What I loved the most is that they are challenging and address higher math levels which is sometimes really hard to find as your children get older. Many of the programs I reviewed on this website are just a bit to high for my 3rd grader, but I know that we will definitely be using them as soon as he gets to that level in math. The programs and worksheet generators run $24.95.

I am a big advocate of making learning fun and so this website and the programs are perfect for making math fun especially for older elementary students.

Visit the Math Galaxy Website to see even more information and get started on making math fun and challenging for your children.

This review was done after our family was given workbooks, worksheet generators and programs as part of our membership in The Old Schoolhouse review team. The opinions are ours after we had a chance to try out the various products and implement them in our daily homeschool activities.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Time 4 Learning - Preschool

The Crew was asked to review the Pre-K online program by Time 4 Learning. This is a really fun site for any preschooler and is perfect for teaching the basics in a fun way that will have your little guy or gal running to the computer every morning to do their lessons. Even though my youngest is a Kindergartener, he loved playing the games and exploring the sites. He even was finding out things that he didn't know in some of the sections and it kept him entertained for over an hour.

Here are some of the screenshots of the website:

The navigation of the website is very easy for a young child and the graphics and games are high quality. My boys have watched a lot of education television programs and DVDs so its important for any computer program to grab their attention, otherwise they get bored quickly. It wasn't the case with this website even though most of the material was review to Josiah.

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.
The review is mine after my five-year old had a chance to review the site with me. The service was offered to my family as part of our membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team.

All About Reading - What Am I?

My youngest loved the first book that we reviewed from this series and was even more excited to see another one arrive for review. He is still a beginning reader, so I reviewed the book and also had my 3rd grader read the book as well. Once again the reader has very exciting stories that grab a child's attention and get them into the book.

I also am becoming quite fond of the black and white illustrations as well as the boys seem to get into the story rather than getting wrapped up into the pictures. Before this series, I had always purchased our borrowed books from the library that were colorful and bright to try to get Josiah into the story. Now I will be a little more careful about judging a book by it's cover or illustrations.

Check All About Spelling's website and purchase your copy of this amazing reader for $19.95.

This book was provided to our family as part of our membership in the Crew. The review is mine after my boys and I have had a chance to review the book during our daily lesson plans.

Children's Bible Hour Ministries

We absolutely loved this series that was provided to us as part of our Crew membership!! The stories are so captivating and relevant today's children.

My favorite was the Braving the Storm story. It was really relevant to our family who has also been going through a hard time with my husband's railroad furlough and how we had to struggle with our finances and had to give up a lot of things to be able to stay in our house and make it month by month.

My son's favorite, was Seventy Times Seven. He liked how it talks about forgiveness and thought it was a very important thing to learn about. He said it is important to ask for forgiveness when you do something wrong like the boys did when they broke the window.

The books come with an audio CD which makes them even more entertaining for younger children. I really loved this series and it will be something that will be cherished for a long time in my family.

The Seasons of Faith series have been adapted from the classic Children's Bible hour radio scripts. I had never heard of the Children's Bible Hour so these were absolutely new and exciting to our family

The softcover books retail for $10. When you use the code FREESHIPAPR15 between March 17 and April 15, 2010, you can receive free standard shipping with the purchase of the 4 book set. There are also free study questions available for parents and teachers.

Here is a little bit more information about each of the books from the back covers:

The Seasons of Faith illustrated books encourage children to learn about their faith in God. Based on CBH Ministries' treasure trove of radio scripts, these stories teach core truths of the Bible so that kids can easily apply them to their lives. Each book focuses on a season of faith-development.

Spring: This is a time when people experience new life in Christ. Faith develops and Christians begin to share the Salvation message.

Summer: The season when faith grows under God's love and care. Fruit is witnessed and triumps are gained through applying His Word and striving to be the best we can be in Christ.

Autumn: Times of struggle and temptation, peer pressure, making mistakes, and scary transitions happen in this season. Even though it might seem like nothing good can come from this time, God has promised us He will be there. He will teach us how to forgive.

Winter: This season is the most difficult. Deep struggles, mourning, trying to make it through difficult times, or the death of a loved one can pull us away from God. He teaches us to lean on Him for comfort and peace.

It's a great way to teach values to your children in a fun and illustrative way. I recommend you add them to your home library.

This series was provided to our family for review as part of our Crew membership. The review is mine after having a chance to enjoy these books with my sons.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Homeschool in the Woods - Olde World Style United States & World Maps

While many of my crew mates had heard of Homeschool In the Woods, I was a newcomer to the amazing resources available to homeschoolers through this company. Our family was asked to review the Olde World Style United States & World Maps for the Crew. I am absolutely blown away at the quality and depth of these maps. As many of my readers know, I'm all about printing in black & white to save on color ink, so these maps were absolutely perfect for my family. We have been studying the United States as a whole and next year will be studying each state individually, so these maps will absolutely be instrumental in supplementing our lessons.

I highly recommend these for any homeschool family as I have been looking for something like this for quite some time and now have all of the maps together in one convenient place.

You can order these sets individually in a download from the Homeschool in the Woods website for $18.95 each or you can order them together in a Combo-Pak download for $28.95.

And they are now available CD! Each set on CD is $19.95 or you can get both sets on one CD as a combo for $29.95

These maps were provided to our family as part of the Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed here are mine, after our family has had a chance to review the materials.

Critical Thinking Co. - Balance Benders

Our family reviewed the Balance Benders book from the Critical Thinking Company. At first I was a little confused by the book, since I'm not exactly a math whiz, but my math savvy husband explained the concept to me and we let our middle guy Jonathan give the book a try. It was a little difficult for him to grasp the concept, but once he did he kind of like the book too. The purpose of the book is to introduce your child to pre-algebraic skills, which is probably why it was a little more difficult for me since algebra was never one of my best subjects.

The Balance Bender book is $9.99.

Find out More Information Here as well as see other books they have to offer!

This book was provided to our family as part of being a member of The Old Schoolhouse review team, the opinions expressed here are ours after we have had a chance to review the book as a family.

Artistic Pursuits - The Elements of Art Composition

Our family reviewed Grades 4-6 Book One - The Elements of Art and Composition by Brenda Ellis for the Old Schoolhouse Crew. My middle guy Jonathan is a budding artist and was absolutely giddy when this book came the mail. He has absolutely love doing the lessons in the book and I have seen a vast improvement in his artistic skills since we have received the book.
The books are $42.95 and the best part about them is each book lists the materials that you will need so that you can have all the right things to do the lessons. Visit the Artistic Pursuits website, where you can find more information on each of these products.
Here are some quick links to each of the grade levels of this series:
This book was provided to our family as part of being a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew the opinion expressed in this review are mine after reviewing this book with my family.

The Terrestria Chronicles by Ed Dunlop Review

Our family was asked to review two books for in The Terrestria Chronicles series by Ed Dunlop. I have to say if your children like the Chronicles of Narnia, then they are really going to like this series as well. Josiah is an absolute lovable character and the parody of our walk with Christ in this book is very captivating and helps put you into the books. You can see yourself as young Josiah removed from your burdens of sin and guilt by salvation and how it feels to be free from all of that once you become one in the Kingdom of God. I found myself pouring into the book trying to find out what was going to happen to Josiah next.

Here are some summaries of the two books that our family read.

Book One: The Sword, The Ring, The Parchment

In book one, readers are introduced to the Kingdom of Terrestria and its inhabitants, meet Argamor, an evil blacksmith, and Josiah, his slave, and follow Josiah as he is freed from slavery and becomes Prince Josiah, son of King Emmanuel. Readers will be drawn into the Kingdom of Terrestria and into young Josiah's quest to truly understand what it means to be a child of the King. Book one includes a glossary, a castle facts guide, and an ABC guide to salvation.

Book Two: The Quest for Seven Castles

Book two begins one year after Josiah was freed from slavery by King Emmanuel. Josiah has grown considerably during his time at the Castle of Faith. King Emmanuel has decided that it is time for Prince Josiah to go on a quest. His quest will take him to seven different castles: The Castle of Virtue, The Castle of Knowledge, The Castle of Temperance, The Castle of Patience, The Castle of Godliness, The Castle of Brotherly Kindness, and The Castle of Charity. Along the way, Josiah faces many dangers and trials. King Emmanuel has provided everything Josiah needs for the journey. Josiah only needs to use the tools that have been given him...

The Terrestria Chronicles series is available for purchase from the website for $47.99. If you prefer, you can also purchase each book individually for $7.99. I recommend getting the entire series for your family as once you have read one, you will want them all. There is also a spiral bound study guide that is available for $5.99. If the children are active learners like my boys are, they can use the free coloring pages from the website as well.

This review is my opinion after our family has reviewed the books for The Old Schoolhouse Crew.

Super Star Speech - Review of Inventor Game

My family loves playing games and is always looking for educational games to help suppliment the boys education. We were so excited when we were asked to review Super Star Games for the Old Schoolhouse Crew. I will be doing seperate blogs for each of the games that we tried in order to give the boys more time to enjoy each game and to see the growth in their memory and retention of facts from each of the games.

The first game we are reviewing is The Inventors Game. This game was outstanding and the best part was that it was simple enough that even my five year old was able to play. I had so much fun with my eight year old playing this game. Rather than doing two piles like the game suggested, we did a huge memory game with the invention (with the inventors name) and the inventors and then tried to match them. It was so fun watching Jonathan get excited when he knew what invention went with an inventor and where it was on the floor. My five year old isn't quite ready for the game since he is just starting to read, but since we used the invention cards with the inventors name, he was able to "match" and remember the matching name.

I highly recommend this game as it is perfect for teaching your children about inventors and their amazing inventions. It also created quite a dialog with each other as we were discussing some of the inventors that were new to us.

The downloads for the games are only $3.50 and do not have a lot of pages for printing. I also like the graphics and that it was very easy to print them in black and white since we do not use our color cartridge.


This game was provided to our family for the purpose of reviewing it for The Old Schoolhouse Review team the opinions are mine after having a chance to review the product with my children.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Graphics Toolbox by Great Software Tools

The Crew was asked to review Graphics Toolbox by Great Software Tools.

When I first opened up the program, I was a bit confused because it wasn't like my current graphic design programs. The tools are not at the top and so it took me awhile to figure out what each graphic on the side was and how to use the tools.

I admit I'm not very good about reading manuals, so I just tried to wing it first off and found out that sometimes it's very important to go through the manual first. We also had the amazing opportunity to have a class with the designers (the tutorials are now on the website for everyone to see). I have to say that it was at that session that I finally started realizing the potential of this program.

While this program will not do everything that my current graphic and photo editing program can, it has features that I absolutely fell in love with. I especially love the frames and ribbon features on this program. As you can see from the two examples I did below, You can make fun edges on your photos like you would with scrapbooking scissors. by making the background the same color as your "frame". This is something I will definitely be using as I get into digital scrapbooking. I also loved the extra large work area and how you could drag elements to your main graphic. Another amazing feature is the capability of changing the colors in your backgrounds and elements with the click of the mouse. Once you get used to the graphics on the side, it's actually a very easy program to use.

There were some things that didn't work for me. I was unable to get the font as large as I wanted as it only let you get up to 72 point. I'm used to being able to make my fonts any size I want and manipulating them a little more so it was a little limiting for me. I also didn't like the history part and the fact that you couldn't undo all the way to the beginning of a project. I had to start he same project over and over and finally decided that what I was trying to do was not going to work for this particular program as what I was trying to do needed to be done in a vector program.

If you are wanting to do digital scrapbooking, fun photography projects and worksheets for your children, this program is perfect for you. It's also perfect for making brochures, business cards and fliers for your home based business. Not only is it easy once you get the hang of all the features, it creates amazing items. I'm definitely going to use it to supplement my digital scrapbooking and business documents as there is no program that I have found out there so far that does the framing that this program can do.

You can purchase a one-user license to this amazing program for only $149.00. Better yet, you can try this program out for 30 days for absolutely free. There are tutorials as well on the website and the designers of this program are incredibly helpful and very willing to answer any questions that you have about how to use the program.

Visit the
Great Software Tools Website to learn more and try out this program today!

I was given a licence to this program in exchange for my honest opinion of this program after I had reviewed it with my family.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pandia Press - R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey - Life

Our family was asked to review R.E.A.L. Science Life Science Curriculum by Pandia Press. Science is one of my boys favorite classes so it was easy to dive in and enjoy this amazing book.

The worksheets and lab sheets are all right in the book and ready to copy and hand out to your children. I really love the labs in this book as they are very easy and cost efficient to do and they help your child to discover their world by exploring it hands on rather than feeding them with the answers. Each lab gives you a list of everything that you need and most of the items are things that you have already on hand at home or can get at any craft store or larger department store like Walmart.

The book comes in a packet like package and you just need to get a three ring binder for storing the pages. This is especially handy for copying and handing out the pages to your children. I have pointed this out with other curriculums, but once again these pages are in black and white so it's very easy to print and you do not have to waste color ribbon or worry about things being blacked out when you photocopy them.

If you are looking for a fun science curriculum that will not break the bank but will educate your children far beyond what you ever imagined, I highly recommend that you look into the R.E.A.L. Science series. There are currently three different options in Level One:

Life (Grade Levels 1-4)
Chemistry (Grade Levels 2-5)
Earth and Space (Grade Levels 1-4)

There will be additional levels available soon for your older students. You can find out more information about this series and their other curriculum by visiting the Pandia Press website.

The print version of these amazing books are available at Rainbow Resource for $38.50 (retails for $48.00) or as a download directly as a PDF from Pandia Press for $38.99.

This book was provided to our family for review from Pandia Press as part of our Crew membership. The review is my opinion after our family had a chance to review the materials during our daily lessons.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Math Mammoth - Grade 1

Our family reviewed Math Mammoth Grade 1 for the Old Schoolhouse Crew. Although my 5 year old is still in Kindergarten, he is advanced in math and we were looking for something to challenge him. This e-book was perfect for him and we are thankful we had an opportunity to try the books. I especially like the fact that the graphics and pages are simple so it doesn't take a lot of ink to print them out and also that you can print out pages as you need them.

I have mentioned before that the one thing that I do like about e-books that allow you to print one or two pages at a time is that it allows you to budget your ink cartridge cost. It also helps to keep away the clutter around the house and with three boys and two of them homeschooling, e-books help keep down the extra books and paper laying around in baskets and on shelves.

My little boy absolutely loved Math Mammoth and continues to work through the workbook.
The Light Blue Series is $29.70 for the full set or $15.50 to purchase the books separately. You can also purchase supportive materials for only $14.00 which includes answer keys, tests, cumulative reviews, worksheet maker, and Soft-Pak. There is also the option to purchase printed copies which is great for families that do not have access to a printer or who like having books rather than e-books for homeschool materials.

Math Mammoth has FOUR options for workbooks (from the Math Mammoth website):

The Blue Series
Worktexts with both explanations and problems.

Each book is on a particular topic, such as clock, multiplication, or geometry.
Cover topics in grades 1-6.

The Blue Series books contain explanations of the topics and are like a textbook & workbook in the same book. They can thus be used for many situations: for initial teaching, remedial teaching, or for review.

Each book in the Blue Series concentrates on a few topics only, such as addition & subtraction, multiplication, clock, fractions, division, geometry, etc.

Light Blue Series
Covers grades 1-5.
Emphasizes conceptual development in a logical sequence.

Practically self-teaching - only a little teacher involvement needed

Math Mammoth Light Blue books constitute a complete mathematics curriculum for grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Just like the Blue books, they contain explanations of the topics and are like a textbook & workbook in the same book.

The Light Blue series covers all topics for a given grade level. Each grade level includes two parts of a worktext (A and B), tests, cumulative reviews, answer keys, and a worksheet maker.

The Golden Series
For grades 3-8, organized by grade.

Contain problems only

The Golden Series books are worksheet collections by grade-level (from grade 3 through Algebra 1), and provide variable problems in a convenient one-topic per sheet format.

The Golden Series books do not teach the topics, and thus suit best teachers or tutors. They are great for classwork or homework, for general review, reinforcement, or practice material.
The Green Series
For grades 3-7, organized by topic.

Contain problems only

These are worksheet collections by topic, and provide very variable problems in a convenient one-topic per sheet format.

The Green Series books do not teach the topics, and thus suit best teachers or tutors. They are great for classwork or homework, for general review, reinforcement, or practice material.

There are not very many math series that give you these four amazing options to fit your families needs and at the price, you get an amazing curriculum that not only challenges, but creatively teaches your children math concepts.


Family Mint

The Crew was asked to review the Family Mint website and set up a family account. Within a few minutes of setting up our account and playing with the service, I knew that it wasn't going to work for our family right now.

Our family is still recovering financially from my husband's railroad furlough so our boys are not given a weekly allowance. When they are given their own birthday money they manage their money by themselves. Our oldest last year asked to open his own savings account to save for a car. I imagine as the younger two reach their teens, they will want to do the same. If we are able to start giving our boys an allowance, this program would actually be perfect for us to show them how a bank works and how to keep track of their spending. I think however I would let the boys open their own "banks" and manage their own money.

The program basically sets your family up as the bank with each of your children being "patrons" and setting up their own accounts to make deposits and withdrawals. The children can set goals and you can set up interest rates for them. It's a really neat program and I think if you have a really big family where you need to keep track of each child's allowance or if you manage your children's money, this program would be perfect for you.

It's the most creative way that I have seen to teach your children how the banking system works and it keeps track of their available balance the way a bank would do which I thought was really a neat feature. I even tried to "withdraw" more than my balance to see what would happen and just like a personal bank account it told me that I did not have enough funds.

The best part about this service, is that it is free to everyone. I encourage my readers to try it out and see if this program will work for you.

VISIT THE FAMILY MINT and set up your family's account.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Homeschool Library Builder

If you are looking for a great site that has an abundance of homeschool materials, but is small and run by homeschooling families like mine, Homeschool Library Builder is the perfect site for you. There are tons of books in all categories that are perfect for building up your home library.
In February there is a 20% discount on all purchases!!

Some benefits that this site offers from the site owners are:

· Books. We offer new and gently used books for all ages at affordable prices, giving others an opportunity to build their own home library. We stock titles used in literature-based curricula (Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, Ambleside, Five in a Row, Beautiful Feet, and others) as well as those useful for unit studies for all interests and grade levels.

· Book Search. If a customer needs an out-of-stock book or a title we’ve not previously carried, we are happy to search for it.

· Product Marketing. Wow! Marketing is expensive! For a small company like HSLB or others who want to launch a newly-created product or service, purchasing ad space in magazines or on the internet oftentimes just isn’t an option. The HSLB Market Place offers the opportunity to get the word out about a “homegrown” product or service through our website as well as our monthly online newsletter. This is a free service offered to our HSLB members.

· Spotlight on the Season. Throughout the year we preview and select sites for the current season or holiday, so our customers can eliminate searching and filtering, and enjoy that special time of year with their children. We also provide links to some of our favorite homeschool resources.

· Helping Hand. Through the Helping Hand program we have had the opportunity to raise money for those in need, such as a young autistic boy living near the Alaskan wilderness who needed a service dog, Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child or the victims from the Chinese earthquakes or the Gulf hurricanes. Currently our Helping Hand program is focusing on Haiti. We have a specially designated category of books whereby all money goes to helping others. Oftentimes HSLB matches the amount raised for a particular cause.

· Frequent Buyer Program. When a customer becomes an HSLB member (free of charge, of course!) we offer incentive programs through our book points program. Fifteen book points equals one dollar for use toward future purchases. These points never expire. Points can be earned a number of ways:

Purchasing Books (one book point is earned for every dollar spent on books)
Referring friends to HSLB
Linking HSLB’s Website from the Customer’s Website or Blog

Start building up your library for next years homeschooling season, visit the Homeschool Library Builder Website

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wordtoons!! You will never see Words the same again!

Our family was asked by the Wordtoons creators to review their new book. The author takes ordinary words like the word dog and turns it into art. This was a perfect item for our family to review as my two youngest sons love to draw.

The boys had so much fun with this book and even started doing their own wordtoon characters!! They would draw the wordtoon and then add backgrounds and other items to their drawings. The directions are so completely easy to follow that even my five-year old was making wordtoons right away!

The e-book is $17.00 and can be purchased on the
Webtoons Website

Our family was contacted by the publisher to review this product. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has reviewed this item.

Zezok Publishing - Stephen Foster/Edward McDowell

Often when one thinks of famous composers, they think of Beethoven, Chopin, and Handel. We do not realize that even in America's history, we have some amazing composers that wrote songs that we have sang over and over and never even thought of the person that wrote them.

The Crew was asked to review several different composers and when I received a set about Stephen Foster and Edwards McDowell, I have to admit I had no idea what they had composed or who they were. Once I started reviewing the materials, I was excited to learn that these two were American composers.

Stephen Foster grew up in the South and started showing interest in music at the age of two years old. One of the things that I loved about his story was that he played the flute like I do. He wrote songs such as Camptown Races and Oh Susanna.

Edward McDowell grew up in the North and also showed a profound interest in music at a very young age. He was taught and mentored by some of the most famous musicians of the time. He wrote songs such as Duet from Hamlet and Ophelia and Visit of the Bears.

I received two storybooks and review guides for each of them. I also received a CD with music from the two composers as well. I love the way that the author tells each of the young men's stories. The books are so captivating and put you right into the time period.

The set of two books, two study guides and CD is $35.80. You can purchase the items separately, but I would strongly recommend getting the entire group as you will not be disappointed.

See the Great Musicians Series at the Zeezok Publishing Website

This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.

All About Spelling - Beehive Reader

Our family received the Beehive Reader by Marie Rippel from All About Spelling.

My five year old son, who has just started reading, was in seventh heaven with this book. The stories are exciting and fun and perfect for a beginning reader. What excited him the most was that it had several different stories in the same book and that it was the same size as his older brothers' chapter books.

The illustrations in this book are amazing and bring the stories to life. This was the perfect addition to our children's library and I highly recommend it to any family that has a young reader.

The book is $19.95 at the All About Spelling Website

This book was provided to our family as part of The Old Schoolhouse Review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family reviewed the book and implemented it in our daily homeschooling activities.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Math Tutor DVDs

The members of the Crew had an opportuntity to review to wonderful math DVDs this month.

The first DVD was The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor. It basically gives your homeschool student the opportunity to learn how to do word problems with an instructor who breaks the problems down piece by piece and then shows them how to solve them. It's not filled with a whole bunch of graphics, music or hype which helps the student focus more on math rather than on being entertained. My middle child viewed this with me and since he's very good at math like the rest of the males in my family, he was kind of bored when we reviewed the lessons that covered what he is learning in 3rd grade math. I think as his math gets more difficult though, this program will be helpful to guide him through the more complex story problems that are covered in this 8 hour program. It's a great way to help your student who is struggling with story problems like I did as a student! The DVD is $26.99.

The second DVD was my favorite of the two!! Oh how I wish I still had a young toddler in the house as this DVD is absolutely perfect for children from birth to age 5! As a photographer, I was absolutely captivated with the stunning photography in this DVD!! It makes me want a DSLR and a bazillion lenses even more! I also like the use of classical music in the DVD as well. I would have definitely used this video when my children were infants and toddlers. The DVD is $24.99 and is a perfect addition to your DVD library if you have small children. If you have seen Baby Einstein videos and love them, you are going to absolutely adore this video!

Math Tutor DVD Website

This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.


If your children are working on learning their facts through flash cards or other programs, they are going to absolutely LOVE this website! Factsfirst is a fun website that not only teaches your children addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts, but drills them to learn how to answer them quickly.

The program starts out by explaining to them the facts and the answers and then runs them through a series of drills of the problems.

It is progressive and as your child masters the facts it moves on in difficulty. My five year old absolutely loves trying to beat the speed!

Visual learners will like the chart to the right as it shows them what they need to learn and whether or not they have mastered the fact. If they have red, it is a fact they are having trouble yet. If they have yellow they know the fact but are slow to answer. If they have green (which my five year old loves to see) they have mastered the fact. A full green screen means that your child has master all the facts.

One of the most exciting features is the avatar creation part of the website. Your child gets to create an avatar that is their player for all the activities!! They get to choose hair, eye, and clothing color as well as choosing fun accessories to personalize their player. I think it really gives this site a personal touch that really grabs your child's interest and puts them into the game!

Then after your child has been drilling, they get to go to an "arcade" for five minutes. Even though the games are "fun" they still work on the facts that your child has just been working on to help reinforce their learning.

The crew was given a free 90 day trial to try out this website. A yearly membership is $49.


This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keyboarding for the Christian School - Elementary Version

With the increasing use of the computer in today's world. It's even more important that our children learn how to use the keyboard quickly and accurately without finger picking. There are all sorts of programs out there to teach your children some with big fancy programs and others that are down to earth like Keyboarding for the Christian School.

Our family reviewed this product for the author Leanne Beitel and was very impressed with how amazing this book was. I especially loved the use of Bible verses in the lessons. To me that made this book even more valuable as not only would my children be learning how to type, they would be meditating on God's word as they were learning!!

This amazing e-book can be yours for only $12.95 and is designed for children K-5 grade. She also has other e-books for older children as well.


This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kinderbach is Music to My Ears!!

Bang, Bang, Bang went the piano and up went the mom's frustration as she tried to show joy in her child's interest in music. She wanted to teach the child to play the piano, but most of the piano books just were too difficult for her budding musician to understand. She searched and she searched until an e-mail came in from the Crew that saved her aching ears and set her little boy into the start of his musical journey.

Our Crew had the amazing opportunity to review Kinderbach an online keyboarding lesson program. I have to say that this is absolutely the best piano/keyboarding program that I have ever found.

I took piano lessons as a very young child and even then, the books were boring and the notes and where they were on the keyboard were really difficult to understand. Kinderbach takes those hard to grasp topics and puts them in terms and visual pictures that children can understand. I absolutely love the associating the keys on the keyboard with animal friends!!

In addition to the great workbooks above, Kinderbach has fun and exciting videos for your children to enjoy. Fun characters and bright graphics draw your child's attention into the screen and the best part is you can hook your keyboard right up beside the computer and let your little musican learn at his heart's content.

Online lessons are available for $7.99 per month when you purchase a year’s subscription in one payment of $95.88 for the year. Or, $19.99 per month when billed monthly for a year. You can try this amazing program out for two weeks for absolutely FREE! I highly recommend it if you are like me and would like the pounding on the keyboard to become music to your ears!


This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.