Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beehive Reader-1

A couple of months ago I reviewed  the All About Spelling Program (HERE). We have also received the Beehive Reader 1 from All About Spelling .
The Beehive Reader:
was created for the beginning reader.
  • It is a collection of 10 short stories on 160 pages inside a high-quality hardcover book.
  • Each page is printed on non-glare paper, making it easy on the eyes for children.
  • The reader correlates 100% with All About Spelling Level 1.
  • When one is using AAS Level 1, instructions are included in the corresponding lesson when it is time for the student to read a story in the reader, making it easy on the parent for scheduling reading time.
  • The reader can also be used independently of the AAS program.
  • It is written with natural phrasing and line breaks, making for smooth, enjoyable reading for the student.
  • The subtle underlining helps with tracking if needed, but otherwise easily ignored if not needed.
  • Beautiful illustrations throughout the book are included, and the stories use simple words and sentences.
  • Natural language and real storylines, including some funny stories make reading enjoyable for both student and parent.
  • Beehive Reader 1 was recently awarded a Silver Medal for The Moonbeam’s Children’s Book Awards
 This book is a book you will want to keep. My younger girls are beyond this book, but just loved reading it to my 3 year old grand-daughter. My 5 year old twins will be learning to read in this book soon as they get far enough in their All About Spelling program. I am really excited that there are plans for more readers to go along with The All About Spelling Program.

Beehive Reader 1:  $19.95

If you would like to read what other CREW members have to say about this reader click HERE

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Math Mammoth

Math Mammoth workbooks and worktexts are fully reproducible and are for grades1-12. Maria Miller the author of these books says:

"My aim is to help parents and teachers teach math so our children and students can really understand what is going on. I've strived to explain the concepts so that both the teacher and the student can "get it" by reading the explanations in the books. In essence, the books become practically self-teaching."

   There are four different series of Math Mammoth books. The options include a full curriculum, The Light Blue Series. Worktexts by topic, The Blue Series. Worksheet collections either by topic The Green Series or by grade, The Golden Series and Make It Real Learning workbooks.

Worktexts with both explanations and problems. Each book is on a particular topic, such as clock, multiplication, or geometry. Cover topics in grades 1-5.
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.
Covers grades 1-5. Mastery-oriented. 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.
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.
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.

 We Received the Light Blue Series grades 1-5. Each grade level comes with two worktexts A and B.
Math Mammoth does not bombard the student with multiple topics at the same time. In fact, the Light Blue Series 1st grade curriculum only covers a handful of topics: addition, subtraction, place value (tens and ones), time, counting coins, shapes and measurement. The emphasis is on mastery, developing a strong foundation, one topic at a time, and yet showing how topics are connected. Even in the beginning stages of addition, the background is being laid for subtraction by having the student supply the missing addend, for example, or splitting a number of balls into groups.

We have struggled here with finding a math program that works for my children and one we can afford! This program has been a God send!!!  First The children have been saying: " Mom I understand it!"....."Mom, I really CAN do this!"  I am really excited about this program and so are my children. We have set aside 30-45 minutes a day for math at first the children were cautious and wanted me to go over everything with them, but by week 2 I noticed my daughter and son, the ones who were the most cautious about making sure that I explain it were already doing their math BEFORE school even started! The children are steadily moving through this program and are now much more confident than ever about doing math.
  I desperately needed something that is systematic and EASY for me to teach.  The Math Mammoth Light Blue series sure seems to fit the bill.

If you think Math Mammoth might be for you, I highly recommend signing up for Math Teaching Emails or Math Mammoth Tour. You’ll receive a download of 280 sample worksheets, and a series of emails, so you can try it out firsthand.

 If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say about Math Mammoth click HERE

Friday, February 19, 2010

Presidential Penmanship


 Zeezok Publishing sent me  Presidential Penmanship, Italic Style Complete Program CD as part of TOS Homeschool Reviews. This 
"Complete Program CD contains handwriting practice pages in a font similar to the Italic writing style for first grade through senior high. Print what you need, when you need it. Using presidential quotes and speeches along with famous documents from American history, Presidential Penmanship seeks to enlighten students on the principles of our nation's founding and history while reinforcing character qualities of good citizenship. Great for memorization or discussion as well as penmanship practice"

Presidential Penmanship is available in 6 different writing styles:
  • AB style (similar to A Beka), DN style (similar to D'Nealian)
  • BJ style (similar to BJU Press)
  • DN style (similar to D'Nealian)
  • HWOT (similar to Handwriting Without Tears)
  • Italic style (similar to Getty & Dubay Italic)
  • ZB style (similar to Zaner-Bloser)


Individual grade levels are available as eBooks or all levels can be purchased at once on CD. The CD which we received had selections arranged by grade level with selections starting out brief and progressing to full page selections.

We love our Italic penmanship program and Presidential Penmanship italic Style is a great complement. We use it every other day and all the kids really enjoy this program. My younger girls were so happy to have "real stuff" (smile) to write. The boys are copying George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior--each rule is accompanied by a relevant scripture verse. The boys really liked these and have asked to use this program only . What's a Mom to say?  They WANT to work on their handwriting! Plus we have actually seen improvement in these last few weeks. I really like this program it has greatly enhanced our handwriting program.

Here is a link to a sample pages

Presidential Penmanship Complete Program CD $39.99
You may also purchase as an E-Book $39.99
Or as individual level E-Books $9.99

If you would like to read more reviews on this program please click HERE

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Ultimate Guide To Homeschooling

 I love books, I collect books......I am a bookaholic!!!  One of my favorite subjects to read and collect  are books on homeschooling. I love to "see" other peoples insights into this adventure of homeschooling.  we can always learn from others and I was very excited to receive as part of the TOS Homeschool CREW,  Debra Bell's book: The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, from Apologia Press. Yes Apologia Press, for those who recognize the name Apologia you are probably thinking Science (Exploring Creation with....Series)
This past year, Apologia Educational Ministries has undergone some changes and has added some new features to their ministry.  One new addition is the Apologia Academy, which offers online classes for your students in the areas of Bible, Apologetics, and Worldview.  Apologia Press offers curriculum and parent resources.

This is a very large book with over 500 pages!

Look what's inside:
Foreword by Michael Farris
Tips to use this book
Part 1: Homeschooling: Is it for You?
Part 2: Choosing a Curriculm
Part 3: Organization and Planning
Part 4: Preventing Burnout
Part 5: What to Teach—When and How
Part 6: Homeschooling Teens
Part 7: Computers in the Homeschool
Part 8: Creative Solutions
Part 9: Measuring Your Success
Pre-Game Pep Talk
Part 10: Resource Guide
Contact Author

This book is not just for those who are new to homeschooling, We have been doing this 20+ years and I loved this book!  Burnout Busters, Part 4 was a great reminder and insight of a few things that can be "forgotten"  or overlooked as we are in our day to day teaching mode.

This book is on of the 100 Top Picks for HomeSchool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy. And has a foreword by Michael Farris, Founder of the HSLDA foundation. –So, you know it’s a reliable source. This much valuable information in one book, for $20.00—I’d say it’s a good deal. What is great is that you can read this book cover-to-cover or select by topic (e.g. Part 2: Choosing a Curriculum or like Part 4: Preventing Burnout). 
Resource guide alone is superb!

While this book contains a lot of information about homeschooling, I don’t think that it should be treated as  “The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling”.  It is a compilation of one persons ideas, thoughts, experiences and suggestions.  Many of her perspectives and ideas are good and helpful, but each family has their own set of goals and values.  That is the beauty of homeschooling, each family striving to follow God in the manner and way that He has called them.
The Ultimate Guide To Homeschooling by Debra Bell sells for $20 @ Apologia Press

If you would like to read other reviews of this book  from my CREW members please click HERE

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eclectic Education Series

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received the Eclectic Education Series from Dollar Homeschool.

The Eclectic Education Series (EES) is a set of textbooks which from roughly 1865 to 1915 WAS education in the United States, almost exclusively. They were the standard textbooks in many states and were chosen independently by over 10,000 school boards as their standard textbooks.
 The EES covered every topic. Some of the series are still household names almost a hundred years after they ceased being used. These include McGuffey's Readers and Ray's Arithmetics. There were many other extraordinary series in the EES such as Pinneo's Grammars, Thalheimer's Histories and Norton's Sciences that were used by countless students. (from DollarHomeschool.com)

this Cd includes:

Ray’s Arithmetic
  • Ray’s Primary Arithmetic.
  • Ray’s Intellectual Arithmetic
  • Ray’s New Elementary Arithmetic 192 pages. /Rudimentary Arithmetic.
  • Ray’s New Practical Arithmetic
  • Ray’s New Higher Arithmetic
  • Ray’s New Elementary Algebra
  • Ray’s New Higher Algebra
  • Ray’s Treatise on Geometry and Trigonometry
  • Ray’s Analytic Geometry
  • Ray’s Differential and Integral Calculus
  • Thalheimer’s Histories
  • Cromwell
  • Progressive Course in Reading
  • Cyclopedia
  • Andrews Constitution
  • American Poems
  • Rhetorical Reading
  • Good Morals and Gentle Manners
  • Norton’s Elements of Chemistry
  • Norton’s Elements of Natural Philosophy.
  • Norton’s Elements of Physics
  • Ray’s Elements of Astronomy
  • Ray’s Surveying and Navigation
  • Complete Book Keeping
  • Schuyler’s Principles of Logic
  • Introduction to Botany
  • Nature Study
  • First Year Science
  • Political Economy
  • Simplified Industrial Mechanics
  • Guide to Health
McGuffey’s Readers
The Grammar Series
  • Long’s Language
  • Pinneo’s Grammar
  • Harvey’s Grammar

While nearly all of these E-books are available free online, what Dollar Homeschool has done is save  hours of searching to collect these books. I would not have known where to begin finding even what books are in each series, so this is a big time saver. You can print pages as needed, or work from your computer.


 The amount of material here is HUGE And is years and years of school work Kindergarten through high school! For A $159 you are getting your family an education that

A hundred million students in one-room schoolhouses got, a first-rate educations using this Eclectic Education series - and went on to build and shape America. 

So, how have we used these?  To be honest, I’m still wrapping my brain around  how I will use these.  Although I love the concept of the one-room schoolhouse and many of the methods they employed, much of the content is dated. Grammar rules have changed in the last century, and scientific discoveries have also advanced since these textbooks were written.
A few concerns: The illustrations in many of the books, so classic and well drawn in the print editions, come through blurry and smeared.  This is not only an aesthetic problem, but many of the exercises refer you to a picture that is impossible to interpret. happening.  In addition, all have been scanned in black and white, and many of the primary materials refer to shapes by their colors. My twins could not use these because of this.

Though all the textbooks for a kindergarten through high school education are gathered into one place, which does save you Time from finding all these resources it would be far to time consuming for me to implement this method of education with all of my 8 children.

Though my children enjoyed the McGuffey readers, we do prefer a more living books and unit study approach in our homeschool.
 The Eclectic Education series is a great Resource, but not a main curriculum for us.

If you are looking for the Classic Textbook approach in your homeschool I would definitely recommend this series

The Eclectic Education Series sells for $159 At Dollar Homeschool

If you would like to read other reviews from my CREW mates please click HERE

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

MathTutor DVD's

As Part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received 2 DVD's from MathTutorDV D for purpose of review.

The first one Young Minds numbers and counting is a new release from this company and is for the 3-7 year olds. This DVD is really awesome, my grand-daughter age 2 loves it! In fact my 5 year old twins think this DVD is great too. The DVD is visually beautiful the classical music is calming and lovely to listen to. The children are shown stunning pictures of animals and everyday objects to count done in such an enthralling way that my kids willingly want to watch this video.
According to the MathTutorDVD.com website, where you can view a clip of the DVD, your child will learn:
- To recognize the numbers 1-10.
- Associate the number with physical objects.
- Count from 1-10.
- Animal names and sounds.
- Fruits and Vegetables.
- Names of colors.
- Names of machines such as cars, airplanes, etc.
Bonus features include:
- Repeat Play
- Picture Puzzles
- Connect the Dots
- Name the Animal

The second DVD The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor is a 2 DVD set .
This 8 hour DVD course is geared for students who have been exposed to basic math skills but need help in gaining the skills necessary to solve basic math word problems. During this course the instructor works on examples narrating each step.  The lessons teach strategies on how to do word problems.  They go over vocabulary that is used in word problems so that kids know how to set up the equation. I loved that the children are encouraged to draw pictures that "set up" the problem.
                                The subjects covered in these 2 DVD's are:
Section 1: Adding Whole Numbers                                          
Section 2: Subtracting Whole Numbers
Section 3: Multiplying Whole Numbers
Section 4: Dividing Whole Numbers
Section 5: Adding Decimals
Section 6: Subtracting Decimals
Section 7: Multiplying Decimals
Section 8: Dividing Decimals

Disc 2Section 9: Adding Fractions
Section 10: Subtracting Fractions
Section 11: Multiplying Fractions
Section 12: Dividing Fractions
Section 13: Percents, Part 1
Section 14: Percents, Part 2
Section 15: Ratio and Proportion

I really like BOTH these DVD's.  My children are becoming more confident with math especially word problems and they can watch the lesson till that "light bulb" moment and then the have that knowledge and are much less anxious about math!!!

Young Minds Numbers and Counting sells for $19.99
The Basic Math Word Problems Tutor 2 DVD set sells for $26.99

For more reviews on this product please visit my CREW mates HERE

Monday, February 8, 2010

KinderBach Preschool Piano Lessons

Music is something my little boys love....so does my entire family, but our little ones, twin boys age 6 have  imitated playing all kinds of instruments!  So when I received a subscription for online piano lessons from KinderBach for  TOS Homeschool Review Crew I was really excited for them.


KinderBach is a music program for young children 3-7 years. You will need a piano or keyboard to do the lessons.
KindderBach is a tried and proven method of teaching young children to play piano and read music. They will also learn intervals, rythm, and music patterns all with really cute and fun characters.

In the first lesson the boys learned about the black keys and sang a song :)  they then worked on a worksheet that reinforced what they had learned. They loved it! They giggled , had fun...oh and they LEARNED, that makes me happy I want them to enjoy music and have fun in the process, this program offers excactly that.


There are 6 levels and each level lasts 10 weeks ( over 240 lessons). KinderBach  is available as either an online program or you can purchase DVD lessons.
Online lessons are$7.99/month
DVD and CD packages start at $40.45/per level

If You would like to read more reviews of this program please check out what my CREW mates have to say HERE

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We all know that memorizing our math facts will make math so much easier, that does not make learning them fun or even easy! 
As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a free 90 day trial at Saxon's FactsFirst .
FactsFirst is an online math program from the publishers that brought you Saxon Math.

factsfirst was created for children to develop fluency in basic math facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division through placements tests, lessons, review, and practice.  Arcade style games reward students upon completion of a unit.

your student starts by setting up their avatar. My kids like doing these avatars and had a blast creating them.This image will fallow them through the lessons.
Each lesson is divided into 5 sections:
1. Learning two new facts
2.Using the communative property with the new facts
3. Practice time
4. A quiz
                                                                  5. Scoring of the lesson
At the beginning of the lesson the student is taught 2 new facts, they practice these till they know them before more are added.

At the end of the lesson their is a chart to show the student his/her progress, very encouraging!
Here is a picture of this chart. 

After your child is done with the lesson they get to spend 5 minutes in the arcade games, to practice what they are learning.

So how did this work for us?  My kids want to improve on their math facts and this has really helped. First they are given credit for knowing the answer, a check mark on the chart, but if they get it fast they get a check mark plus!!! So being a bit competitive with themselves they quickly aimed for the best!!!  The lessons are quick and encourage speed, meaning they really must learn the facts well to beat the clock. This was a bit difficult in the beginning for my 8 year old but she is really picking up her speed now, and that is the goal.

A 1 year subscription to FactsFirst costs $49.99.  That price gives you a household license for up to 4 students, less than $12.50 per student for an entire year of math practice.  You can try the addition or multiplication demo HERE (buttons at the top of page).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Math Practice With MathScore

My kids do not jump up and down begging for more math to do, but they do love a chance to play on the computer, so when we received a free membership to MathScore to review they were all eager to try it out! What is MathScore you ask?  Mathscore is an online membership site.
Developed by MIT graduates, MathScore is proven to raise math test scores through adaptive math practice. MathScore supports 1st grade through Algebra I.

This is not a site full of all the frills and fluff, but one that generates a worksheet style of problems for your child to work on, starting with learning the 10 key pad so they can learn to type in answers quickly, this is called Copycat preparation. When the child has gained proficiency at this they move onto the math worksheets.
Your child earns points as they go and are advanced to certain ranks like trainee, cadet. When they are promoted to the next level, fireworks display is shown to them as an indication that they have advanced.

MathScore is a supplemental program and as such, does not teach them math lessons. The program has a help button with a little lesson to remind them if they need it.

Some of the subjects covered are:
Fast Addition
Fast Subtraction
Mixed Addition and Subtraction
Basic Word Problems
Telling Time
Odd or Even Fast Multiplication

Fast Division
Rounding Numbers
Long Subtraction
Unit Cost
Triangle Area
                                                                   Rectangular Solids

Integer Addition
Exponent Basics
Algebraic Word Problems
Greatest Common Factor
Least Common Multiple
I love the fact that this program adapts to each individual child! My kids are learning and their speed and accuracy have noticeably increased! We all agreed that this is really helping and we are continuing to use this program. I will post frequent updates to post our continued progress.

To see a preview of mathScore click here
Pricing Information:
First child $14.95/month
Second child $5.00/month
Each additional child $3.95/month
*You are allowed to freeze your account such as when you may be taking time off for holidays or for vacation * (I think this is a pretty cool option!)
*MathScore also offers a 2 week free trial and you can sign up as many children for this free trial.

For additional reviews of MathScore please visit TOS Homeschool Crew