Sunday, December 27, 2009


Earlier this year, as part of the crew I reviewed the Discover Career Planning  program from ACT, Advantage
(review here)
they have also provided me with the EXPLORE and PLAN tests to review.

What are EXPLORE and PLAN?  They are tests based on the ACT, but designed for 8-9th graders, EXPLORE, or 10th graders, PLAN. These tests are shorter than the ACT, but will give you information to see how your child is doing in four areas: Math, English,
Reading and Science. There is help in the back of the book for scoring and understanding the test results. These tests were designed to help you get an early indication of how your child will do on the ACT.

These tests are a great way to help your children and you see how they are doing and see were there are any areas of weaknesses.
Sometimes as homeschoolers our children are not as exposed to the "pressures" of testing, nor just the experience of the testing situation these test are a great help in that preparation.
If you are planning on having your child take the ACT. I highly recommend PLAN and EXPLORE.

PLAN and EXPLORE are available from ACT, Advantage for $22.95 each.

If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say please click HERE.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Maestro Classics

Maestro Classics  is the publisher of a series of CDs that put orchestral music together with classic stories. This award-winning classical music series for children and families from Maestro Classics has done an outstanding job of combining music appretiation with great stories.

I received a CD: The Tortoise and the Hare to review as part of the TOS Crew. The CD contains several tracks,  the story with music, information on the story, Aesop, and fables and a discussion of the moral, an explanation as to how the music was chosen to fit the story, and a sing a long song.. There is also colorful activity booklet that comes with the CD with great information on instruments, the orchestra, notes and time signatures,crossword puzzles and more.

I was really impressed with this CD. The narrator was excellent and the music fantastic. My kids listened to the CD willingly enough, but after the explanations were eager to listen again with "new" ears! Though all my kids listened to the CD, my youngest ones 5-10 enjoyed it the most and have in fact listened to the CD many times.

Maestro Classics has several tiles available including:
                                   The Story of Swan Lake
                                   Peter and the Wolf
                                   Juanita, the Spanish lobster
                                   Juanita, la langosta espanola
                                   Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel
                                   Casey at the Bat
                                   The Sorcerers' Apprentice
With new titles to come!

Check out the Maestro Classics website they are having a sale 3 for $45 with free shipping
Regularly $16.98 each

If you would like to see what my CREW mates have to say about Maestro Classics click HERE.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Math is my most challenging subject to teach. I group the children together for unit studies in most of our school, but in math each child is on their own level and with 6 kids in school and 3 starting into school that is 7 levels!   We have struggled through several different programs over the years. Most of my kids drag their feet to math lessons.
As a member of the homeschool crew I received a 45 day subscription to Mathletics from 3P Learning for the purpose of reviewing.
Mathletics is a web based math service that allows children to work through age specific lessons that include step by step animated teaching, and live challenges, were the children compete with other children from all over the world. The student accumalates points as they go through the lessons, play games and do live challenges. With the earned points the students get to go shopping for clothing and backgrounds for their character, which they create at the begining set up.
Mathletics also has games that the students unlock as they progress through the lessons, and additional games are available through access to Rainforest Math.

At the Parent Center, parents can view each childs progress, print workbooks at each level and even set it up so that your child must complete certain activities BEFORE having access to everything!

3P Learning states their Mission as "to engage every student everyday with a personalized, responsive and intelligent resource that inspires a delight in math and an innate drive to better results."

The kids moaned at the thought of another math "thing" they would have to do. I spent an afternoon setting up their accounts...the process is very easy I just had 7 to set up! My grandson was watching me and got very excited so he was the first to try it out, I could NOT get him off!  He just wanted to do one more lesson, and that was before I even showed him the games. OK he is 6 and just starting  out he loves school, even math. What did the other children think? This program was a hit with all my kids!!!! Yep ALL
They can spend time doing their lesson on the computer ( they all like being on the computer) and if they are not sure about something in the lesson they click on the ? and an animatted explanation comes up to help them. They each are encouraged as they go through the lessons as their earned points go up. Best of all they have individual lessons that are challenging and captivating and that respond to their individual strengths and weaknesses. If I am busy with another child they can still move forward with math using this program, they do not have to wait for me to introduce the next lesson or wait when a question arises. Yes I did have to stay involved there are always those questions that need a little bit more help or work to understand, but Mathletics has allowed us to keep moving forward at a faster pace for each child as they can log into their lessons and go through them even if I am with another child or otherwise occupied .OK "gulp" do lessons at non school time!!! Yes this did happen, Mathletics gave us this ability and freedom for my children to do their math when they wanted and I would not have been able to "do" a lesson. Best of all they enjoyed working through the lessons so they could play the games. My children were cautious at first about the live challenges, but quickly found them fun. I see that the challenges help them really grasp their learning.

Mathletics is an internet, subscription based product with a price of $59 per student per year. If you know the Human Calculator's favorite number (hint: 9 ) and you enter that when you check out you can purchase a single child subscription for $49.95 per year.

Bottom line for us with 7 and really 9 children wanting this program it is just to much right now, that does NOT mean it is not good this is an EXCELLENT program.

If you are interested in what my CREW mates have to say about Mathletics please click here.

Friday, December 11, 2009


As part of the Homeschool Crew I was given a 3 month membership to TEKTOMA to review.
So what is TEKTOMA?
TEKTOMA is a website that offers video tutorials to teach game programming. These tutorials require a free version of gameMaker software from YoYo Games, that you download for free. Children ages 7-17, (and even us adults), can learn to create computer games using these very friendly and easy to understand video tutorials.
The tutorials will teach varying skill levels from beginner to those with more experience.
The complete game tutorials include:
Racing game
Arcade game
Memory game
Platform game
Fantasy game

My 12 year old son who loves playing computer games, was excited to try this out and make his own game. Once we downloaded the required free resources and watched the tutorial: "How to watch the tutorials" he was ready to go on his own. He decided to create an arcade game which is for all skill levels and 1 hour 37 minutes long. He spent more than this time, working through this as when he was overwhelmed he would walk away, then come back and "see" easily what he was supposed to do. The video tutorials are really very good and each step explained well. Though this child decided playing is much more fun than creating! I have another son wanting to try this now.
I was really impressed that these videos take you through this process of programming a game
and made it very easy to understand with the result being the reward, your own game!

Membership to TEKTOMA is: $14.95 per month or $140 per year

If you are interested to see what other CREW members had to say please click HERE

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Promise

Tonight a friend has lost her beloved husband and my heart is grieving for her and the children. Yes he loved his savior God with all his heart and he is dancing before the Father, but we are left asking WHY? so suddenly, no idea that this morning was the last time they would see each other on this earth. YES they have the HOPE of eternity. I know that this is a fallen world we live in and death is part of that. I know that this makes no sense to a hurting heart....
the Father God used my daughter to bring this song to me...

"This is what it means to be held
how it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
and you survive
this is what it is to be loved and to know
that the promise was when everything fell
we'd be held"

My friend you and your children are held tightly in our loving Fathers arms and I pray that you feel those arms in this overwhelming time.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

All About Spelling

I received the starter kit , level 1 and level 2 of All About Spelling for review. Now I should tell you I was very excited because I have heard that this is a really good program, and we were struggling with the one we had, and my children were not exactly pleased with the thought of yet another spelling program. We are all very pleasantly surprised and happy with this awesome program!

I have to say that All About Spelling is working for us, the lessons are scripted so I have to just fallow the book, all the set up of this program is in the beginning before you start. the starter kit contains all you need except a file box, and magnet board (we use a big cookie sheet!). In this kit you get all that you need, yellow phonogram cards, red sound cards, blue key cards and green word cards. These go into a file box and are placed behind the appropriate divider, review, mastered or future lessons. I love how organized this makes my lessons. You also get colored letter tiles that are laminated you just have to cut them out and put a peel and stick magnet piece on the back.
We decided to start at level one with all the kids to catch any gaps and just go through each step as quickly as possible. This served two purposes to get the children used to this new program and catch any gaps they may have.
All About spelling is not just about memorizing lists of words and rules it is learning and understanding. MASTERY.
I really like this approach to spelling and better yet my kids like it and are "getting" spelling.

All About spelling starter kit sells for $26.95, level 1 (teachers manual and one student materials packet) sells for $29.95, level 2 (teachers manual and one student materials packet) sells for $ 39.95.

If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say please click HERE

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Professr In A Box...Financial Accounting

Learn financial accounting in 4 easy steps!

Watch the lectures
Complete the homework problems
Check the solutions
Take the exam

Professor in a Box, Financial Accounting by Michael P. Licata, Ph.D is the first accounting course for high School homeschoolers.

"Any homeschool high school student interested in a career in business or in someday owning their own business will benefit from this course.

All course content is incorporated into the lecture slides for each chapter. There is no textbook and no 40 page chapters to read. The course is comprised of 12 chapters which are covered in 28 lessons (including exams) and can be taken in either a semester format or over an entire academic year. Each chapter’s lectures include a discussion of important concepts and demonstration problems featuring step by step illustrations of how to work through the various types of accounting problems covered.

Course Objectives
The objective of Financial Accounting by Michael P. Licata, Ph.D. is to introduce students to the study of accounting which is known as the language of business. The main purpose of financial accounting is to measure and report the performance of a business to interested parties both outside and inside of the business. These interested parties use accounting information to make a variety of decisions such as:

  • Investors - Deciding whether to purchase or sell a company’s stock.
  • Bankers - Deciding whether to lend money to a business.
  • Managers – Making day-to-day business decisions such as whether to increase inventory levels, or to spend more on advertising.
  • Students will learn to prepare and interpret the four basic financial statements - income statement, balance sheet, statement of owners’ equity and statement of cash flows. See below for detailed Learning Objectives by Chapter.
  • Any homeschool high school student interested in a career in business or in someday owning their own business will benefit from this course."
I received this course free to review for the Homeschool Crew.

This course is a kit with 4CD's, a syllabus, pencil, calculator and a list of course contents.
Professor in A Box is designed primarily for high school students who have a basic math understanding, and an interest in learning accounting.
The lectures are a slide presentation given by Michael, who has a pleasant voice. These presentations are clear and understandable. They are lectures and we did get bored, and interest wondered, we solved this with note taking to keep us on task...after all this is what will be done in college! :)
Now I am no math wizard, or even into accounting, but in my opinion Professor in a Box is a REALLY GOOD course!
After you complete this course you can choose to take the CLEP test, and if your student passes they will have 3 college level credits!

To view a sample chapter click HERE
To view the lesson plan go HERE

Professor in A Boxis currently on sale ( as of 11/29/09) for $134.99, regularly $149.99. Free Shipping!

If you would like to see what other crew members have to say click HERE

Friday, November 20, 2009

Exploramania: GyMathtics DVD

AS part of the CREW we received the DVD GyMathtics for review.

Exploramania uses exercise mixed with learning for a fun multi sensory approach.
The Gymathtics DVD is a 30 minute exercise routine that incorporates math facts and learning into the routine. It includes four sections:
  • Shape Stretches Warm Up: Stretch your mind and body with line, circle, and polygon stretches.
  • Counting Calisthenics: Aerobic movements work your heart as fun counting concepts work your brain.
  • Pattern Power: Growing and repeating pattern exercise combination's challenge minds and strengthen muscles.
  • Well-Being Wind Down: Relaxing stretches cool down the body and open the mind to think about healthy lifestyle choices including the Nice Wave Stretch and Big Dream Stretch.
  • My youngest ones 2, 5, 8, and 10 really enjoyed this DVD! They were challenged with the exercises and they are still enjoying the program! I love hearing them repeat the math concepts long after the DVD has been put away!

    Here is a video that shows it best.

    The GyMathtics DVD sells for $24.99 And it is well worth it!

    If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say please click HERE.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    AVKO Membership

    AVKO is a non profit organization that was founded by Don McCabe. AVKO specialises in helping with the teaching of reading, spelling, writing and typing especially those with dyslexia. AVKO creates materials and books using a multi-sensory approach, combining the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic approaches. By using all of the sensory styles AVKO products can teach to any type of learner.

    As a CREW member I received a membership to the AVKO site for review. Membership opens up a lot of resources especially for those using the sequential spelling program, which AVKO also sells. I did not receive this program, just the membership, and we currently do not use this spelling program. This site contains a great deal of helpful information like the book STARTING AT SQUARE ONE which will:
    • Teach your K-1 students reading, spelling, handwriting, and keyboarding (optional) as the alphabet is taught.
    • Lay the foundation for your student's literacy: phonemic awareness and word attack skills are learned from the very beginning of the reading process.
    • Teach your older students the phonemic awareness and word attack skills that they never fully learned while first learning to read and spell.
    • Use the completely decodable words as the letters are taught for additional practice in
    • handwriting, reading, and spelling.
    Other benefits to an AVKO membership include:

    I would most likely not purchase the AVKO membership. this website might be of greater value to those families that need additional, support, information, and resources for their special needs learners, or those that may be using the sequential spelling program. It is definitely a good value for all that you receive, it simply does not meet any needs in our household.
    The cost for a one year membership to the AVKO website is $25.00.

    If you would like to see what other CREW members had to say please click HERE.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    American Heritage Education Foundation

    American Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty is a FREE American history curriculum offered by the American Heritage Education foundation. I received a copy for review for the CREW.

    The American Heritage CD contains lesson plans for K-12, divided into 3 levels, elementary, middle school and high school. These lessons are based around the themes of freedom, unity, progress, and responsibility. Each of the lessons focuses on an event, person, icon or document to demonstrate one of the themes. This is a supplemental curriculum so it has a lot of games, activities and worksheets, but not a lot of information. These lesson plans were written more toward a classroom setting so the activities are really not practical to a home school. Though a homeschool could easily use the worksheets and puzzles. Also since this is written to public school teachers there is a section at the end of each level that discuss how to teach religious expression in a public school!

    We homeschool to be able to give our children a history that is God centered, so these lesson plans were not the best fit for us.

    If you are interested at seeing this curriculum you can get the CD or an instant download at their website for FREE.

    If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say please click HERE.

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Bright Ideas Press

    I love science and music they are probably my most favorite subjects, but teaching them has been really difficult for me....that is until now!!! I received as a gift from BRIGHT IDEAS PRESS, Christian Kids Explore Biology and A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers to review.

    Christian Kids Explore Biology is user friendly, hands-on, elementary science curriculum, that includes all the kids 3-6th grade to study together and with a bit of adjusting you could even include the younger ones. The teaching lessons are done in a conversational style that is engaging and interesting to the children. All you need to teach is in this book. The lesson, which has beautiful coloring pages, are not simple coloring pages but beautiful works of art! Also included are review sheets, writing assignments, vocabulary lists, memorization lists, supplemental book lists and at the beginning of every unit a materials list of all you'll need to do your hands-on projects. Plus many more in the appendix.

    We are really loving this biology program. First it is truly Christian and the kids are learning about God's world from a biblical worldview. There are 35 weekly lessons with teaching two times per week. We spend the first day teaching the lesson and doing any of the "Discovery Zone" which are little extra ideas or thoughts to help the kids understand the topic, I then would suggest some of the books from the supplemental resource list for our library trip or any we had at home. There is an included daily reading sheet that the children fill out as they read and research on their own. For my little girls 8 and 10, the year long Animal Kingdom Book that they are making is the highlight so far! For me its that they are LOVING biology so much that they beg me to do it DAILY!!!!!

    If you would like to see a sample week click HERE
    The Table of contents HERE

    Christian Kids Explore Biology book: $34.95

    We are also using A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers.

    A User-Friendly, One-Year Curriculum for Grades 4–8

    Christian, Creative, Chronological

    Why take the time to “Crack the Code” of Classical Music?
    • Music is from the Lord. He created it, and He created us with the ability to both make and appreciate music.
    • “Classical” music is uniquely part of our Western civilization.
    • Research suggests that both listening to and playing classical music aids brain development.
    • Even rudimentary exposure increases one’s level of enjoyment and understanding.

    This course provides a close-up look at famous composers, their music, and their times, with special attention to character traits and Christian testimony (or lack thereof). Even the musically challenged will enjoy this course! It’s perfect for grades 4–8 but is easily adaptable for younger and older students. Minimal teacher prep will return maximum enjoyment!

    • 32 Weekly Lessons
    • 26 Bios of Famous Composers
    • 6 Eras of Music Explained
    • Easy-to-Use Comparative Timeline
    • Easy-to-Use Maps
    • Composer Info-Cards & Game Directions
    • Note-taking Pages
    • Quizzes
    • Answer Keys
    • Listening Suggestions
    • Intricate Coloring Pages
    • Resource Books

    I love music it is a big part of our lives, but I know very little "about" music and especially the composers of classical music this book is awesome! We started in Ancient music and music in the Renaissance , then moved on to cover the Baroque Period. As we study our composers we are creating a Folderbook as suggested in the introduction, this is a great hands-on project that allows the kids to keep 'track" of their work, and have a convenient review of what they are learning! The kids love creating their composer info cards (kind of a composer trading card) . The lessons are meant to be taught on day 1 which utilizes a selection of the composers music (there are selections suggested) then through the rest of the week we listen to these selections of music and work on our cards, maps and folderbook. This is a very easy to follow curriculum, and we are learning so much. Again I have to say this is a real hit with us and we will continue to follow the rest of the musical periods.

    If you would like to see some sample pages click HERE

    Paperback book: $34.95
    CD-Rom book: $29.95

    If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say about these programs and other Bright Ideas Press products that are being reviewed click HERE.

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009


    Everytime we think of you, we thank God,
    and pray for you with prayers of joy.
    For God began a good work in you,
    and will complete that work in years to come.

    Our prayer for you now is this:
    that your love grow richer
    in knowledge and insight of every kind,
    that you learn by experience
    what really matters,
    that on the day you appear before God,
    God welcome you as a flawless gift,
    a rich harvest of praise,
    through Jesus Christ. Amen.

    (cf Philippians 1)

    May the Lord bless you and keep you;
    May the Lord shed his light upon you,
    May the Lord look upon you kindly
    and give you peace.

    We love you so much!!!!!!

    ACT Advantage Discover program

    I received as a member of the CREW a gift from ACT Advantage their Discover Program To Review.
    The Act Advantage Discover Program is:

    A career planning system developed for professional career counselors and used by millions of students to develop a comprehensive career path.

    DISCOVER is jam packed with career tips and uses a proven developmental guidance process to help students:

    • Assess interests, abilities and job values.
    • Explore occupations, majors and schools.
    • Build an education plan that relates to career plans.
    • Improve job-seeking skills and develop a resume

    I used this on my oldest daughter 17, we were rather curious as to how this would work because she has felt the Lord telling her to remain under the cover of her Father till she is called into a mission Field, her hearts desire. So she started with the assessments, then she looked into the careers that came up as high interest for her. It revealed what we would have guessed at and some that were not at all "her" idea of interesting.

    This program has so much information contained within it, everything from a "birds eye" view of finding a career down to the details of resume writing! It can be daunting at first few looks but they have all the help/guides you need to focus and find out about the career choices available, what each one will take education wise and the colleges to choose from!

    My daughter had fun seeing what careers this program thought she was suited for, but in most cases it was far from her personal interests. Unfortunately this software and company are secular and there was little there that was faith-based career wise. We also believe that GOD has a plan for our lives and that he is leading and directing her steps even in a "career" choice she only needs to listen and follow Him.
    ACT Advantage Discover is a helpful resource but it is not the only thing we would rely on.

    Act Advantage Discover: Price: $19.95 for a three-month license, $24.95 for a six-month license.

    If you would like to see what other CREW have to say about this program please click HERE.

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    ABC Teach

    As a member of the homeschool CREW I received a one month, free trail membership to ABC Teach.
    ABC Teach is an online resource for tons of printable worksheets, activities and tools for the homeschool Mom! They have ABC Tools that will help you generate custom worksheets like:
    Word Search
    Crossword Puzzles
    and may more!
    Some of the things you can search under are:
    Clip art
    Learning Centers
    and that's just a few!
    There was so much to offer at this site I spent hours browsing and printing! I found fun worksheets that my 3 little guys did for learning the alphabet and counting, cut and paste, and learning their colors. I found Ancient Egypt in the themes section and a mummy crossword to go along with The Magic Tree house book one of the kids had gotten from the library, and a pyramid math game that they enjoyed. There is just so much this site has to over!!

    A one year membership runs $40 and you can print out as much as you want. The materials run from Preschool to 8th grade level. This is well worth the $40 for a year and they are always adding new material. Some of the material are free for you to try.

    If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say about ABC Teach please click HERE.


    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    My Access Online Writing Program

    I received as a gift a one year subscription for 6 students from Vantage Learning to their MY Access!® Home Edition to review.

    MY Access!® Home Edition, by Vantage Learning, is an online writing program designed to guide students through the writing process with engaging and interactive writing activities, self-guided instruction and motivating feedback.

    Each 12-month subscription to MY Access!® Home Edition includes one parent account and your choice of three or six student accounts.
    • MY Access!® is completely Web-based, so there's no software to load and it's accessible anywhere you have a computer and Internet connection—at home, at school, or at the library.

    • 90 pre-loaded writing topics for three different distinct age groups (8-10, 11-14, and 15-18) encourage students to begin writing immediately.

    • Parents can easily enter their own writing topics to make writing across the curriculum a reality.

    • Self-paced and interactive lessons guide students through the writing process: planning, organizing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.

    • Graphic organizers and other printable resources help students plan successful essays.

    • Essay scoring and individualized feedback is available immediately through a powerful, award-winning artificial intelligence scoring engine

    • Detailed, prescriptive revision plans focus students' revision activities on the key traits of writing: focus, content development, organization, language use, and grammar.

    • Individual progress reports are easy to access and share with others.

    • A writing portfolio enables students to monitor their own progress and easily share their writing with family, friends, or teachers.

    • Dozens of annotated samples of actual student writing help students see the potential in their own writing.

    • A word processor with editing and writing tools including a thesaurus, grammar-checker, spell-checker, and word bank lists help students vary and develop their vocabulary.

    I used this with my kids 8-17 , it was very easy to set up our account and get each one of the kids started. They really enjoyed earning the points by doing lessons and aiming for their personal goal. I knew this would be a challenge for my youngest ones as our focus is on reading still so writing is still a beginning endeavor for them, but they did enjoy trying and watching the improvements they made. The older kids could move through this much easier and with less of a struggle. I like that its self paced and that each child could move at their own pace.

    That being said we did have some difficulty with the point system as the kids figured out that they could get points for doing work without very much effort. Also my 16 year old worked very hard on one of her first essays for well over 45 minutes and had to leave before she was finished and we could find no way to save her work except to submit it before she was finished. The corrections the children received were too vague for them to be helpful, with comments like "write your sentences correctly" or "run on sentences" leaving them frustrated.

    With that being said, I still believe that this is an excellent program, and that it's best use would be as a tool for intermediate writers.

    Each 12 month subscription to My Access! Home Edition includes one parent account and your choice of: 3 students at: $99.95
    6 students at: $129.95

    If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say on their review of this product and others please click here.

    Amazing Bible History Timeline

    When history and Bible are taught as separate subjects we may not see the interconnectedness of them. After all History is God's story so the two really are inseparable... We study the two subjects together to see God's hand at work in all of history, so when I received the Amazing Bible Timeline to review I was really excited.

    "The Amazing Bible Timeline pinpoints the relationships between seemingly unrelated events. Which prophets, kings and wars were linked and how. The ability to view it all at the same time clarifies connections. If you want an in depth knowledge of religion and history you will benefit from having The Amazing Bible Time-line to view and study.

    See the Whole Bible At Once!

    Using the Amazing Bible Timeline you will easily grasp the timing of the major Bible stories, peoples and events. You can readily see the flow of major events, the timing of the stories in the Bible in relationship to each other as well as other nations.

    Jam packed with information!
    You have over a thousand references at your fingertips. All the important historical events of the main religions and world cultures are indexed and outlined in one simple to understand format. It's color coded so you can track families, nations and related events easily."

    We are studying Ancient history right now and we are loving this timeline, The kids have made some great connections by going and looking at the timeline and being able to see not just what is going on in ancient Egypt, but in other parts of the world at the same time has really enhanced there understanding and enjoyment of history.

    The timeline comes with two free downloads, one is a PDF version of the timeline, and the other a neat interactive layered map of the holy land from 1850 BC to 4 BC. This timeline can be found here for $29.97.

    If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say please click here

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Sue Patrick's Workboxes

    Specialized and Structured Teachingsm
    Sue Patrick's Workbox SystemSM
    An effective teaching system to reduce your organizational time and increase your child's self-control, independence and learning.

    Iam so excited to have been chosen to receive this book from Sue Patrick!
    I have been browsing through many blogs about this system and thought" that is exactly what I need" This book Workbox System Users Guide explains in detail all about this phenomena that has been on so many homeschooling blogs. Sue explains what exactly the workbox system is, who this system is for and how it works.
    The workbox system is actually a physical structure of 12 boxes that you divide your child's work into along with some of those projects, or work we never seem to organize into our daily schedule. This is actually a "physical" schedule your child fallows that has order and allows the child to see his/her progress towards finishing his work goal for the day.

    There is a great video at Sue's web page that explains the workbox system... please click here

    The author, Sue Patrick is pretty adamant in her book to do things exactly the way she explains it, well with 6 kids in school and 3 kindergartners and 1 preschooler.....12 boxes each mmmm that's 120 boxes AND a place to put them, now our house, nor I could handle that many boxes! BUT I saw the potential and I knew that this system could revolutionize our school day so, I did what homeschoolers are so very good at... I tweaked it to work for us!

    The 4 crates on the top shelve are the big kids' workboxes (aka: files)
    The plastic shoe boxes will be what the 4 youngest ones will work from.

    So far I have the 6 oldest kids using the "workboxes" and I am setting this up for the youngest this week. So how did I get this to work for us? We used a crate for each child then instead of boxes they have 12 hanging files. These files are set up the same way as the boxes and this is working for us. This workbox system has made such a positive difference in our school day, the kids feel like they are accomplishing so much more and they KNOW what it is they have to do. No more "forgetting" some of the assignments, or misplacing what they were supposed to do its all in their crates and files! We are getting so much more work done and that's encouraging to the kids and ME! I have also been able to schedule into their days those things we had just not been able, Lego Technic, art, oh I have so much that I am excited to be able to finally find the "time" to do!!!! Yup to say that this has really helped us is an understatement.
    The kids love it,
    I love it.

    I Do really recommend getting the book to get the best picture of the way this system can work, plus Sue has some wonderful ideas for centers!

    Sue Patrick's Workbox System: Users Guide $19

    If you would like to see what other CREW members have tosay about Sue Patrick's Workbox System please click HERE

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Virginia Soap and Sents

    I received a wonderfully exotic smelling package in the mail from Virginia Soaps & Scents. We eagerly opened the package which contained soaps, shampoo bar and a laundry soap kit to review. Quickly these soaps found homes other than my bathroom:)!!! I had to go search them out in the kids' bathroom.

    Virgina Soap & Scents is a homeschooling family owned company located in southeastern Virginia. Their venture began as a homeschool project that turned into a business. Their soaps are all handcrafted olive oil soap, this is REAL soap not detergent. All natural ingredients, no added chemicals. They also use a " generous amount of coconut oil".

    I was so excited about the laundry soap kit, I have so wanted to try to make our own laundry soap, but have just never got around to doing that. We were due to get a new bottle of laundry soap so instead I made up this kit, which contained a pre-measured amount of everything needed to make the laundry soap I just added water! The process is easy: melt the pre-measured and grated soap in heated water add the next ingredients add more warm water and stir every so often till cool. I ended up with a pretty pink (yes I do love pink!) gel that I put into a left over ice cream bucket and placed in our laundry room with and old measuring scoop to measure out the gel into the loads. I loved the fresh smell and it cleaned really well! We are sold and we will be transferring to homemade laundry soap!!!

    Those soaps I had to try out, were the bed and breakfast sizes of soap bars of: Coconut Lemongrass, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, and Fresh Orange. Now I would be hard pressed to choose my favorite as they all smell DIVINE, and I loved how my skin felt clean but not dried. After all we do live in a dry climate and if I am honest, age has made my skin dryer! The boys; 12 and 14 loved the Oatmeal, Milk and Honey as it cleared up their faces, and as long as they kept using it their faces stayed clear! This is a wonderful plus for us as I really do not like them using the chemical laden "Nationally advertised and more expensive products."

    The other product I received was a Ginger lime Shampoo bar. The shampoo bars are also olive oil based but contain Castor oil which acts as an extra humectant (holds moisture). You just wet your hair and rub this all over and it lathers up. My 17 year old daughter is using this one as she is always looking for something that will make her hair clean and not greasy looking, and this soap does the trick and she loves it!

    Viginia Soap & scents has a wonderful line of poducts: Gourmet Soaps, Shaving Soaps for both men and women and Bath and Body stuff that includes lotions, scrubs and powders. They have many scents to choose from including Lavender and Country Clothesline.
    They have a Christmas collection out for the Holidays that sounds like it would smell wonderful in my bathroom!

    Check out their website HERE to see all they have.

    REMEMBER CHRISTMAS......these soaps would make great gifts!!!!!

    If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say please click here

    Thursday, October 15, 2009



    Live out His calling in your life today with persistence, determination,and perseverance.

    You can do all things in Christ who gives you strength. Philippians 4:13

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    Sarah's Wish

    SARAH BOOKS by Jim Baumgardner is a series of 3 books about 19th century Sarah and her friends. I received the first book in this series: SARAH'S WISH to review.

    This is a wonderful "living" history book that takes place in Ohio in 1858. Sarah whose Father has already died looses her mother to an accident, all in the first chapter. Sarah is now an orphan and she has a secret she shared with her mother, that she promised to tell no one. Sarah needs help and learns to share this secret, which involves her and her mothers part in the underground railway. This story is so well written that my kids kept telling me "read more"! In fact they downloaded the audio and listened to it every opportunity they could! ALL my kids LOVED this book.
    The author Jim Baumgardner dedicated this book to his grandchildren and says: " I wrote it for them. I want them to know about history and where we as a people have been. I hope they learn that although the United States allowed the curse of slavery to imprison a race of people in body and mind, yet that same nation finally rose up to defeat those who were intent on keeping the status quo. Sarah’s Wish introduces them to the institution of slavery and sheds some light on those who opposed it. The defeat will come later in the Sarah books. The books have been referred to as Christian fiction. I prefer to describe them as Young Adult fiction written by a Christian author. Sarah’s faith is important to her and she lives by it, but the books do not try to convert the reader to anything. The stories do teach Christian principals of living a good life and treating others as you would have them treat you. I do not ignore the evil in the world and Sarah must confront it at times just as we all do."

    I love that this book brings you right into history as if you were there living it, feeling it. To help you learn more about this time period Sara's web has little "tidbits" of information, a section on the underground railroad, a newsletter and excerpts from the books.

    These books would make a GREAT Christmas gift...My kids already have them in mind!

    Sarah's Wish sells for: $9.99 And includes a code for the audio version, download!

    If you would like to see what the other CREW members have to say, please click here.

    Do you ever feel like this?

    All day some days! this is so funny it made me laugh till I was crying.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Where have all the posts gone?

    Ok I started this blog with the intention of really posting daily.....really I did! Then life does have a way of just "happening". We have a beautiful new baby grand-daughter in the house, AND we started a new curriculum in school. Not to bad but being in a new house I have had to organize and find how school will work here. All this has just taken time, mostly because I am that person that LOVES organization, but seems that I am forever organizing..well there comes that time when you say lets WORK through this now!!! We are up and running, well maybe walking hehehehe but we are doing and that's whats important! So now if I somewhat "publicly" say I will try to post more often does that mean I will? I will TRY!

    Guardian Angel Publishing

    Guardian Angels Publishing is a company that publishes both print books and e-books (and their books are also available on CD). They have picture books, early readers, easy readers, storybooks, and chapter books for children ages 0-12. I received 4 books from them to review.

    The Sums Of Our Parts: No Bones About It
    By: Bill Park
    This book about our 206 bones is written in a rhyme to help kids memorize the bones of the body. The rhyme is really 'catchy" and my kids all enjoyed this one. The older kids loved the "factoids" the boxes on the page with bone information, they really learned a lot and the phrase was heard throughout the house "did you know......" for many days.

    E-book download: $5.00
    E-bookCD: $9.95
    print book: $10.95

    by: Susan J Berger

    This book is a science one also based on information about earthquakes and how they affect us and how to be safe during a quake. There is also information on how to be prepared for an earthquake emergency. My kids loved the information that was both simple and advanced so they all came away learning. They especially loved the project that had them prepare "pockets" for their beds to keep a flashlight, slippers etc, in case of an earthquake.

    E-book download $5.00
    E-book CD: $9.95
    Print Book: $11.95

    By: Kim Chatel

    In this book Genevieve the shepherdess talks with a pale rainbow in this imaginative story. The pale rainbow is sad and Genevieve knows that if she makes the rainbow happy his colors will be bright again. She does such a good job the rainbow laughs till he cries colored tears onto her sheep!
    This is a cute book illustrated with fiber art pictures. At the end of the book is a mini lesson on fiber arts and a project for making felted sheep. My little girls are on the lookout for the materials for this project :)

    E-book: $5.00
    E-book CD: $9.95
    Print Book: $10.95
    Book DVD: $9.95

    By: Mary Jean Kelso

    This book is one of 3 Andy books about a young boy in a wheelchair and his horse Spirit. In this book Andy shows Spirit at the state fair 4H show. He overcomes nerves and a few of the jeers from kids who are not very nice. This is a great book to share with children to show them that others in wheelchairs are the same as they are!
    The end of this book has extra information on how the US manages wild horses, and information on 4H clubs.
    My little ones had lots of questions about why Andy was in a wheelchair and this book brought about many good discussions.

    E-book download: $5.00
    E-book CD: $9.95
    Print Book: $10.95
    DVD Book: Coming Soon! $9.95

    A portion of the proceeds from this book are donated to Healing Reins of Bend, OR. , a non-profit organization,
    and Horseplay of Fernley, NV.

    Guardian Angel Publishing has many more books like these, to check them out at their web site here.

    To see what other CREW members have to say please click here

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Natures Friend Magazine

    Nature's Friend Magazine is a "children's magazine the whole family, including grandparents, can enjoy." This so true! First, my kids all loved this magazine and I am a mom and grandma, I love this magazine. :)

    Nature's Friend provided me with 2 free copies of their magazine to write this review, August and September.
    These are full color magazines that explore the wonders of God's creation and does it, with breath taking photographs and wonderfully informative articles. "
    Since the doctrine of Divine Creation is foundational in Scripture, our children must be able to stand on it securely to withstand the undermining influences from our culture. Nature Friend has chosen not to be controversial or militantly confrontational about creation vs. evolution. "Our policy has been to simply stand on the truth of God's Word and to present it as enjoyable fact while learning about the creatures God has created." Nature Friend recognizes that God has planned for man to be wise stewards over His creation, and that He alone is to be worshipped, not His creation."

    Every month you get invisibles these are an "I spy" type of pictures to find some hidden objects, my 5 year old twins loved this and were happy to sit and find every last object. Articles on animals in our awesome nature along with some of the most beautiful photographs I have seen, science activities, creation close-ups, and a monthly drawing lesson my girls tried their artistic hand at several times, enjoying getting better at the lesson each time. there is so much in this magazine that each month's issue was still being looked over when the next one came in the mail.

    I really enjoyed the Study Guide with activities like crossword puzzles, fill in the blanks, a how to take a photograph guide, and a study in nature, a lesson in writing. this is an "extra" to add into your subscription, but one I feel really helped me make this magazine a total learning experience.

    Natures Friend Magazine sells a one year subscription for $36
    the study guide is an additional $2/ issue
    Between now and November 30, 2009 you can get $3 off a new subscription with this code: BLOG93

    This would make a wonderful Christmas gift that will last all year long!!!

    If you would like to see what others on the CREW have to say please clich here.

    College Prep Genius

    About a month ago, I posted about this program College Prep Genius the post is here.
    A real quick overview, this is a very rigorous program to study for the PSAT/ACT tests.
    Initially this program was overwhelming with all the information it has. That does not mean its a bad course , its NOT, but if you take it one step at a time it does get clearer. This course would be an excellent choice for those students looking to get high PSAT/ACT scores in order to receive scholarships to colleges. We are not that audience and found this course to be a bit to rigorous for us. Though we found lots of really good information. I will be keeping this one for my younger ones if they should choose to go to college.
    If you are in the audience of wanting to get the highest possible scores on your child's PSAT/ACT test so that they can get into the college of their choice and receive scholarships then I HIGHLY recommend this program. Though I do recommend an early start (freshman or Sophomore year) in this study to get the most out of this program, though I am sure any amount of hard work in this program would help.

    Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services

    I was given 4 products to review from Educational Prescriptive Services.
    1. Roots and Fruits
    2. Write With The Best Volume 1
    3. Write With The Best Volume 2
    4. The Complete Career, College, and High School guide For Homeschoolers

    Roots and Fruits:
    This is a vocabulary curriculum for K-12, where you learn latin and greek roots. This is the most comprehensive program I have seen with 673 roots and 1,716 vocabulary words to go along with the roots.
    The program is easy to teach. Your students will learn 2 (or more for the older kids) roots and their vocabulary words a week, by finding the definitions and writing sentences. Activities and games help to reinforce the learning.
    you can look at samples here
    Roots and fruits is available as an E-book download or in print form for $14.98-19.98
    The E-book is on sale right now for $11.25

    Write With The Best Volumes 1 & 2:

    This is a creative writing program that uses great literary works as a model to teach the basics in writing. How better to teach writing than to study great writers that have stood the test of time. Some of the authors you will study are Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, and William Wadsworth.
    Write With The Best does interweave some grammar within the context of writing, and covers topics such as writing a descriptive paragraph, dialogue, writing a short story, writing a fable and more.
    Daily lessons are written to be done 5 times a week with about 45 minutes per lesson. The objective is not to rush through this program but to gain mastery in each skill before moving on to the next genre. This is a family centered program so everyone is on the same lesson but you grade and expectations are based on their abilities
    Once volume 1 has been finished you move onto volume 2, which has more advanced instructions. To see a sample please click here
    Volume 1 $ 14.95 on sale right now
    Volume 2 $ 18.65 on sale right now

    The Complete Career, College and High School guide For Homeschoolers

    This is a guide that will help get your kids ready for a career. Their are 4 assessments to help you and your child figure out what type of career your child would best fit into. This guide is easy to use and loaded with so much information. I really appreciated the way that the material was broken down into easy to follow steps.
    Some of the topics covered are:
    ACT/SAT Preparation
    high School planning
    Jobs in most demand
    Exploring career choices
    To see a sample please click here

    This guide sells for E-book $26.20 on sale right now
    Soft cover book $39.95

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    A Journey Through Learning

    First, do you know what lapbook is? A Journey Through Learning explains it as
    A lapbook is a FUN, HANDS-ON and CREATIVE way for your child to record information that he/she has learned about a certain subject. First, you create the folder part of your lapbook. This part is made from colored folders that are folded in a special way and glued together. Mini-booklets are then cut out, constructed and glued inside of the folders. Kids really like that!
    At this house that is true my kids really do love doing lapbooks, so we were excited to be able to review these lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning, A team of homeschooling moms Nancy and Paula who create a wide assortment of lapbooks and unit studies. After some debate we chose to work on the Desert and The Parables of the King.

    These lapbook guides contain every thing you need to finish your lapbook. The guide contains the lesson and after each lesson are 1 or more mini-booklets to fill out with the information you have just learned. These booklets are in color with great clip art on them. Each booklet page tells you exactly were your mini- booklet is to be glued into the lapbook, no guessing how to make all those booklets fit!
    The back section of these lapbooks is MY favorite part there is a page of suggested additional reading, to encourage your child to learn more about what they are studying. A page that they can list their reading, narration forms, and NICK a page to help your child organize notes, and in Parables a biography report form about Jesus. We are working on trying to take notes with my younger kids and the forms have made this fun for them.

    From when we started these lapbooks to now, (we are not all the way finished as we have taken extra time to do them). I have to say these lapbooks are easy to use, full of information, and my kids like them alot! They are learning about deserts and that has made our study of Ancient Egypt more interesting. The Parables of the King is keeping our morning Bible time hands on and creative. The kids are learning about the parables and deserts, the important key here is learning AND enjoying the process.

    A Journey Through Learning has a wonderful variety of lapbooks to choose from.
    Instant download $13, On CD for $14 and the printed version for $21

    If you would like to see what other crew members have to say about the lapbooks they chose to do, please click here.

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Nutrition 101: Choose Life!

    Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is a biblically based family centered curriculum that is both a health and science course. This program covers healthy eating based on the body systems and how they function.

    This is NOT your typical health/nutrition program that is based on the standard American diet (SAD). Nutrition 101 is based on God's wonderful design of our bodies and His plan for His people to live in wellness and health using a more Nourishing Traditions/whole foods approach to a lifestyle diet.

    Nutrition 101 is based on an approach, that is based on the body systems. Each unit is arranged around a body system, and how that system functions (science), then how our food choices support (or not) that system (health).
    For example, the first unit is on the brain and nervous system, you learn how each functions and the foods that promote brain/nervous system health, such as omega 3, 6, and 9 fats that are especially important in our diets for the brain and nervous system , and how to choose supplements for your brain and nervous system to function optimally. You will learn about all the different fats and why we need fats in our diet.
    Each chapter has discussion questions, activities, and a power recipe to try.
    For the youngest ones this may go over their heads as written, so we used a lapbooking/notebooking approach with the children to help them better understand the material. They are getting the idea that our food choices effect how our bodies perform, and that is exactly what I want for them!

    Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is broken down into 6 units that cover the following:
    1. The Brain and Nervous system
    2. Digestion and Elimination
    3. Respiration and Olfactory
    4. Muscular and Skeletal systems
    5. Cardiovascular and Immune systems
    6. Endocrine system and Emotions
    Each unit has 4 chapters with activities, discussions, and activities for both elementary and secondary levels so the whole family can study together. This is a huge book with 448 pages!
    The appendix alone is over 100 pages of great information, like how to select fresh produce, vitamin and mineral charts, an article on milk the big debate, sugar alternatives and so much more!

    There is so much in this program, I love that I have a way to teach my kids nutrition from a Godly perspective and in a way that follows how we are trying to change our lifestyle/diet.
    The kids love the human body study that ties in nutrition, and that they can make edible "experiments" ( These recipes are awesome, and a great way to introduce healthy food to your family...if the kids make it they are much more likely to EAT it!

    Nutrition 101: Choose Life is available at the Growing Healthy Homes website as a:
    CD e-book for $79.95
    printed book for $99.95
    a combo CD and print book for $129.95
    Please don't let these prices scare you off, this is so worth it!

    If you would like to see what the other CREW members have to say please go here.