Thursday, March 25, 2010

Family Mint

We were asked to review Family Mint as a part of the TOS crew.  Family Mint is currently a free program that you can use to keep track of your child's allowance, spending, savings, and money goals.  It can be a teaching tool to show your child how to manage money. It is also a tracking system for your child's money. parents are the bank and your children manage their money by setting goals and entering transactions. Essentially, it works like this:  The kids give you their money -- allowances, payment for work done for others, gift money, etc. -- then, mark their "deposit" in their Family Mint account.  No actual money transactions take place online.  As far as anyone else is concerned, the funds on the Family Mint site are virtual money.  When the kids want to make a withdrawal, they enter the transaction, which you have to approve or deny.  If approved, you give the kids their money.

 This did not work for us as we do not give our children allowances, and at this time my youngest have no way they "get" money.

That being said, there are some nice features to Family Mint, Some of the fun things you can do with Family Mint are:

  • Set up a savings plan for a specific goal.  You or your child can enter the dollar amount of the goal along with the deadline and receive a breakdown of how much the child needs to save each week to reach the goal.
  • Set interest rates to reward saving.  
  • Fund matching.  If your child is saving toward a certain goal and you've agreed to match funds, you can set the program up to reflect this.

I think that this is a great concept to help your kids manage their money!  It is all in one place, and you as the parent can keep track of what they are saving and what they are spending their money on. I found the system easy to use, everything is pretty self-explanatory. To learn more about this program and to sign up, click here.

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

Math Galaxy

As part of the TOS crew I recieved  from Galaxy of Education Math Galaxy for review.

"Galaxy of Education strives to produce supplementary materials starting at the beginning with addition, focusing on multi-step problem solving.  Their premise is that teachers and computers are both important in teaching math, with the computer's main strength being the ability to review specific skills without getting frustrated or tired.  From their website, "Our goal is to provide students a foundation for analytical thinking in the modern world and for higher-level math and science."

 The main product type is a computer program (that works on both PCs and Macs) that gives you a choice of topics, and within each topic you can be guided step by step through the problem, or just give the final answer. 

There are several levels of programs here they are with topics in each level:

The second product type is a worksheet generator.  It is a computer program that will create riddle worksheets.   The third product type is an e-book with already created riddle worksheets.

E-Books are available for Whole Numbers and Fractions.

We are enjoying these the kids love solving the riddles and there is so much here for years to come!

The best way to see Math Galaxy’s programs is from their home page. They offer free limited use or examples of nearly everything. Simply scroll down the page and click on what you want to try. If you like what you see, you can purchase the full version of any of the programs on CD for $29.95 per level

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

Children's Bible Hour Ministries

In our house we know of Children's Bible Hour Ministries (CBH)  because of  Key's For kids Devotionals, Which the children use for their quiet time. CBH sent us as part of the TOS crew The Seasons Of Faith Illustrated Books for review.

" 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-developing topics." 

My children enjoy story books whether I read them aloud or we listen to the audio book version. When the Seasons of Faith Series came in the mail from CBH they got the best of both worlds.The four books in this series are really nicely illustrated picture books that include a CD in the back to listen along with.

The 4 books are:

Seventy Times Seven: Brad and Doug a good friends, but Brad is upset about a few things Doug as done to him. One day, while the boys are playing baseball, Brad accidentally hits a ball through Mr. Jeffries' ice cream shop window. Mr. Jeffries forgives Brad. Can Brad do the same and forgive Doug?

Braving the Storm: Things have been pretty tough for Thomas and his family lately. Thomas is feeling pretty down, so his Grandpa tries to help him get through the tough times by depending on God. Will Thomas learn the lesson his Grandpa is trying to teach him? 

Race with Midnight: Becky is off to spend spring break in Montana at her cousin Sarah's ranch. She's looking forward to learning how to ride a horse and doing lots of horseback riding. She is also praying that she will have the opportunity to share the gospel with her unsaved family members. Will Becky have the opportunity to share the gospel with Sarah and her family? Will they listen?


You Can't Come In: Zack and Adam are new best buds who decide to build a fort together. During the process, Zack ends up getting completely muddy. This leads to some interesting conversations between Zack and Adam as well as Zack's parents later on in the evening. Will Adam be able to share the gospel message with Zack? Will Zack understand what Adam is telling him?

Each of these books are well-written and teach spiritual truths like salvation, forgiveness, and trust in God. At the end of each book is an explanation on how to receive Jesus as your Savior. There are discussion questions available for each book HERE.

You can buy the Seasons Of Faith set for $40.00
Individual books are $10.00

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

R. E. A. L. Science Odyssey: Chemistry Level 1

My kids have wanted to do chemistry all year, they thought it would be all about mixing "potions" and blowing things up!! So we were all happy and excited when as part of the TOS crew I received R. E. A. L. Science Odyssey: Chemistry level 1 from Pandia Press for review.

What is R. E. A. L. Science Odyssey? R. E. A. L. stands for Read* Explore* Absorb* Learn and that is exactly what this curriculum is all about!

There are 7 units in this 400+ page book that will cover topics like:
What is Chemistry?
The Periodic Table of Elements
                                                                 Chemical Reactions

Each lesson begins with a poem that introduces the lessons vocabulary, then the lesson which is given in a fun story like presentation that introduces the chosen topic, there are then the hands on activities/labs that reinforce the topic for the children. Along with the experiments/activities are worksheets that help the children to fallow and lean well what is being taught.

The beginning of the book gives an outline of the main topics and subtopics, lists of recommended supplemental reading books, and a list of supplies and needed material for each unit. The back of the book has answers to the crossword puzzles, vocabulary words with definitions (glossary) and a chart of the Periodic Table of Elements.

This is truly a very engaging study of chemistry and a great foundation. I love that this program makes chemistry available to the younger children grades 2-5 (my 14 old loved it too), AND made even the tricky subject of chemistry make perfect sense to them.
I like that there is very little preparation time, copy the lesson and worksheets for each child and gather supplies.... have fun.

I love it....My kids are loving it...they understand it----- that makes a great combination

If you are interested in this chemistry program or the other 2 available Life or Earth and Space you can browse the try it before you buy feature HERE.

The E-book version can be purchased at Pandia Press for $ 38.99

To see what other CREW members have to say please click HERE.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

DIY Dish

I love creativity, love making things, altering old into something new, sewing, scrapbooking..... you get the idea :) I just watched this new web show what fun! The girls and I are going to make cake pin cushions.Go check out their first episode.  

Sign up for the chance to win a Janome sewing machine and some really adorable pin cushions!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Homeschool In The Woods

I was so excited to receive two map sets from Homeschool In The Woods, Olde World Style US and World maps as part of the TOS crew for review.. We have used their Timeline Figures and "Record of Time" timeline notebook for several years and love the work that Amy Pak does!!!

Here is what you will get with these maps: 
US Maps
*over 180 maps
*Maps of each state
*Historical maps for American History
*Color flags for each state
*State Facts Pages A notebooking page for each state 
There are FREE samples of the US maps HERE

World Maps
* over 130 maps
*Ancient maps
*Modern maps of current areas and countries
*Color flags of all the countries
fnotebooking pages: explorers, country flags, country pages, seven wonders of the ancient world, and many more 
There are Free samples of the world maps HERE 
We are studying  the Ancient World and the maps of Egypt were beautiful as are all the maps!
But what I truly love are all the wonderful creative notebooking pages! Brochures, flags geography..... they just make learning so much fun!

Each maps set At Homeschool In The Woods comes in download form or on CD.  Here are the prices:
US Maps: $18.95
World Maps: $18.95
Combo: $28.95

US Maps: $19.95
World Maps: $19.95
Combo: $29.95

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Artistic Prusuits

I have always wanted to teach art to my children, that being said we have not really ever had formal art lessons. We are very crafty and do include drawing in our notebooks, but not art solely ment for the purpose of art study. I was really excited that as part of the TOS crew I received 2 books from Artistic Pursuits for review.

"The ARTistic Pursuits approach to teaching art is a welcome departure from typical art instruction books.  This award winning homeschool art program meets the specific needs of homeschoolers at home. A variety of fun applications teach both the expressive and technical aspects of art while allowing children to make choices about what and how they will draw, paint, and sculpt.  Assignments work within the stages of artistic development of children and  guide them to mature artistic expression in the visual arts"

Artistic Pursuits is an independent curriculum with levels from preschool to high school. Artistic Pursuits combines the artistic techniques using a variety of mediums with the study of art history and appreciation.  The child is given the freedom to choose what they would like to draw, paint or sculpt, allowing your child to develop their own sense of artistic abilities.

I received the grade 4-6 book 1 The Elements of Art and Composition and the  Senior High book 1 The elements of Art and Composition.

  ARTistic Pursuits, Grades 4 - 6, Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition 2ND EDITION
This book gives students their first in-depth look at the elements of art in a simply written text with lots of illustrations in pencil, marker, and scratch art, the media they will be using. The elements of art and composition are explored through American art.
bulletWritten to the student 
bulletNo teacher preparation needed
bulletFour unique projects in each unit
bulletArt appreciation and art history
bulletTechniques and How to use Materials
bulletSpecial projects including scratch art and silhouette 
bulletSharp color images printed on bright white heavy-weight  paper

We are loving this book! At first my kids 8-14 were a bit intimidated by having to choose what they were to draw but by the 3rd lesson were off and running. I love to see them excited and willing to move into these lessons even the ones who said "art was not for them!"  Click HERE to see a sample lesson and a list of all the lessons in book 1.

ARTistic Pursuits, Senior High Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition 2ND EDITION

This book gives students in-depth experience with the elements of art and composition. Organized for clarity and understanding, the book will lay a solid foundation for first time high school art students and challenge experienced students as well with emphasis on personal expression and application of the creative process. Students explore the elements of art and composition through European art.
bulletWritten to the student 
bulletNo teacher preparation needed
bulletFour unique projects in each unit
bulletArt appreciation and art history
bulletTechniques and How to use Materials
bulletSharp color images printed on bright white heavy-weight  pape

My two oldest girls 16 and 17 are doing this one, they are not as happy as the other kids, they feel like its to much and that they missed something by  jumping in to this book with no formal art study. That said they want to use the same book as the rest of the children and then come back to it at a latter time.  If you would like to see a sample lesson and list of what is taught click HERE

Overall I am really excited about Artistic Pursuits and am hoping to start the younger kids out with the lower programs soon.

Artistic Pursuits sells for $42.95 per book . 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Homeschool Library Builder

"Homeschool Library Builder, your  resource for literature-based homeschooling.  We offer quality new and used living books at bargain prices -- selections recommended by your favorite curricula such as Five in a Row, Sonlight, Beautiful Feet, Veritas Press, Tapestry of Grace, Ambleside Online, and others."

 I love this site! Homeschool Library builder is run by 2 homeschooling Mom's who love excellent literature in education as much of us do. They offer new and gently used books that are used by many of the literature based curricula. You can search for the books you need or  want by categories (historical fiction,science...) or by the curriculum provider  (Tapestry Of Grace, Ambleside, Veritas...)

 I searched  Homeschool Library Builder by Tapestry of Grace ( this is the program we are using) and found several books I will need for our next unit.  I then searched for several books we just would like to have and found several of those too!

They offer a:

  • Frequent Buyer Program·-- customers are rewarded through HSLB’s 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:
    1. Purchasing Books (one book point is earned for every dollar spent on books)
    2. Referring friends to HSLB
    3. Linking HSLB’s Website from the Customer’s Website or Blog

Best of all membership is FREE!!! 

If you would like to see what other CREW members have to say about Homeschool Library Builder Click HERE

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's Going on At The Old Schoolhouse!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (sponsors of the TOS Crew review team) are holding their first online expo in May and I will be checking it out.  All they ask of me is that I help spread the word and share this announcement with you this week and the next.  No problem! I think it looks pretty cool.  What do you think?

 "If you're looking for homeschool encouragement, resources, and fun, check out all that is going on at The Old Schoolhouse!

Right now March Madness and Win Big are going on in the Schoolhouse Store. During March Madness, over 240 items are 10 to 40 percent off! 
Click here to read the details. (Link:

Then, if you're customer 139,000, 139,500, or 140,000, you will win over $348 in prizes. Prizes include a 5 year subscription to TOS (U.S. 
only), Scripture Sleuth literature series, guitar lessons on CD, and more! Hurry, they are just past customer #137,818.

The BIGGEST news of all--The Schoolhouse Expo is coming in May! 
Pre-register now and save $5!

As homeschool teachers?what do you need to learn? More about teaching multiple grades? All about different homeschool methods? Transcripts? 
Could you use some help with reading, language arts, math, and more? 
Are you intimidated by the idea of teaching middle school and high school?those dreaded, advanced courses? Would some encouraging words and motivational Scripture help you on your way? Get answers when you attend The Schoolhouse Expo, an 3-day, online conference, presented by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse® Speaker?s Bureau.

Pre-register today for only $19.99 through March 31.You do not want to miss this unbelievable, virtual homeschool convention! PLUS, you'll receive over $300 in free gifts when you register.
Get the details and preregister here"

School House Expo

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Graphics Toolbox

Graphics Toolbox is a professional graphics program, that as part of the TOS crew I received for review.
This software program has so many wonderful uses the more I learned the more excited I became! Let me back up though, as anyone who knows me I am not a "software" person I am easily confounded by anything "computer" and please do not take me out of my comfort zone of what little I know!!! Well Graphics Toolbox did just that! I downloaded it, OK my wonderful husband did that. I stared at it and promptly downloaded and printed the Manuel, which is 80 pages of excellent explanations. I then started playing around and learned some of the amazing capabilities of this program.  I am so excited at the potential that this program has for school, the kids are creating a poster for their Ancient Egypt studies, and I already have ideas for their Chemistry and Language arts!! The children learned this program very easily and they are already "playing" just for fun with this.
I also am excited to use this with my scrap-booking, but have not yet had the time to play with my favorite hobby, as soon as I can I will post some my completed projects.
To see all the features that this program has to offer, click on this page , you will be amazed at all this program has to offer.
Here is the page of education Ideas.
Graphics Toolbox also offers several tutorials to help you get started

So, to wrap it up, Graphics Toolbox  is a software program that allows you to create or enhance any kind of image. With over 20 years of experience, a team of graphics programmers wanted to create a program that was easy to use and understand. The product they designed can be used by a wide range of individuals – home-schoolers, students, teachers, and business people. There are many ways to use the software, scrap-booking, blog graphics, card making, and enhancing or editing photos are just a few uses.

A 30-day free trial download is available. If Graphics-Toolbox sounds like it might fit your needs. A single license costs $149, and multiple license discounts are available. Make sure to check the system requirements before downloading this product.