Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spell Quizzer

Explaining Spell Quizzer is very simple. It allows children to practice their spelling words. It is a software that allows the user to make a recording of the spelling list and the student to practice.

In order to make a sound recording, you need to have a microphone that can plug into your computer. If not, the other option is to create a phrase or use a definition to help the child remember the word.

Many people have weekly spelling lists. We have always used Spelling Power, which doesn’t have weekly lists. So for us, this isn’t really something we would use.

I do think it is beneficial though for families who choose to teach spelling another way. Why don’t you head over to the Spell Quizzer website for more information.If you’d like to read reviews of this and other products, go to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Further Up and Further In - Cadron Creek Christian Curriculum

I was so excited to be able to review Further Up and Further In. I love unit studies and my kids love the Chronicles of Narnia, so this is a perfect match.

The study is designed for students in grades four through eight, but just like other unit studies, it can be adapted for older or younger students. It covers many topics, including history, mythology, geography, health and safety, cooking and others. You will need to add your own math, grammar and spelling for a well rounded year.

The book is spiral bound and 338 pages. It has seven units, each corresponding to one of the seven Narnia books. You can finish one book a month by covering a chapter each day. Again, you can adapt it to your family’s needs and aren’t really bound by following this schedule.

There is a planning guide at the beginning of each section that allows you to prepare for the lessons. There are suggested videos, books, field trips and memorizations. The student is challenged to do further research to learn, not just reading the particular book the unit is covering.

In order to give you a good understanding of what is in the book, I am going to highlight Chapter 11 of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The student is given vocabulary words and are asked to look them up in a dictionary. They are to write them, along with a definition in their vocabulary notebook. There are then fill in the blank statements for the vocabulary words. Then the student is asked to read Chapter 11. Next, there are 6 assignments to choose from. Three science, one art, one cooking and one critical thinking. One of the science assignments is to look at a book about tracking animals. Then mix Plaster of Paris and make animal tracks in them. The art assignment was to draw a picture of the animals having Christmas Dinner.

I really can’t express enough how impressed I am with this unit study. It is very thorough and well written. It is published by Cadron Creek Christian Curriculum and they offer unit studies on Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. You can see their offerings on their website.

For reviews on this and other great homeschooling curriculum, check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Math Tutor DVDs

I can’t tell you how many times as a homeschooling mom that I have been asked “Are you going to teach through high school?” Then that is followed up with “Well what about math?”
I now have the answer to “what about math”. Math Tutor DVD.

What a great find. Math Tutor offers just that, math tutoring DVDs in numerous areas. They currently have DVDs from Basic Math and Word Problems, to Algebra, Calculus, Geometry, Trigonometry and even Physics. You’ll need to check out their website for a complete list.

One of the reasons that I love the DVDs is that some kids just need to “see” to learn. What better way for them to see than through a DVD. They are growing up during a time that they are definitely receiving a lot of visual stimulation, and this is another avenue for learning a subject that can sometimes be difficult.

We received the Basic Math Word Problems and Algebra 2 DVD. Both of them were easy to understand and the teacher explained the material in a very clear way. His voice is very pleasant and the video is well made.

If math is scary to you, these DVDs would definitely be a great investment. To learn more about Math Tutor, check out their website. To read reviews of this and other great homeschooling products, go to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bible Story Songs

What a pleasant surprise to be able to review a CD. We received Moses – Volume 2 – The Last 40 Years from Bible Story Songs.

The CD is one hour of songs, leading us along with Moses on a journey through the wilderness. Each song is straight from the Word of God. The songs are catchy tunes and is a great way for children to learn scripture.

Some of the songs on our CD are from Deuteronomy, Exodus and Numbers. One of my favorites is “Do All Things without Murmuring – Philippians 2:14”. I wonder why?

I would recommend any of the titles from Bible Story Songs for little ears to hear! They even offer sheet music and songs books, in addition to other CDs. They are even offering MP3 versions of their songs as well.

You can go to their website and see the titles they offer. For reviews on this and other products, go to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Artistic Pursuits Grades 4-6 Book One

I loved art in high school but I have to confess that it has been a difficult thing for me to teach my kids. I’m not sure why. Probably because I could never find the right thing to use. Until now.

I love Artistic Pursuits. I received Grades 4-6 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition. It is such a great program. The book suggests two classes per week for one hour to finish the book in one school year.

For each unit, students are presented vocabulary, given a creative exercise, exposed to a work of art from history that relates to the subject and shown techniques. Some of the topics of this particular book are Space, Line and Shape, Contrast and Form. A few of the techniques covered are texturing, blending, shading and scratch art.

I love the fact that this curriculum covers multiple levels and is non-consumable. While using it now for my older children, I will be able to use it for the younger two in a few years.
Artistic Pursuits also has other levels, from preschoolers to high schoolers. The book that I have retails for $42.95 which is great for a whole year of art instruction. If you’d like to get a closer look at each level, check out their website at For reviews of other ARTistic Pursuits products, head over to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog!

One 2 Believe Noah's Ark Playset

We received this really cute Noah’s ark playset from One 2 Believe to review. Having previously reviewed their nativity set, I was anxious to see how the Noah’s Ark set compared.

I liked the figures, however, I did not think that the ark wasn’t up to par. It was tough to open, and it is made of hard (more like potentially brittle) plastic. I’m not able to speak intelligently about the different kinds of plastics that are used in toys, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.
I think it’s fine for story reenactment if you aren’t planning to open and close the ark a lot. It’s more difficult for little people than it would be older children.

One 2 Believe is a great company and has lots of great products for children. I firmly believe that children learn through playing and retelling stories. The Noah’s Ark playset retails for $29.95 and you can see it and other products here.To read other reviews of this and other homeschooling products, go to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rocket Phonics

Rocket Phonics is an easy to use phonics based reading program that I had the opportunity to review. I love it.

The program uses games, riddles, jokes and stories to make reading fun. I am a firm believer that children learn through play and that school can be fun. Rocket Phonics helps that become a reality. Geared for students between 4 and 10 years old, the program helps beginning students and those who are experienced. It is a great tool to help those children who have found reading to be difficult.

They recommend that you spend 30 to 50 minutes, three to five times per week with your child and the program. They also guarantee that your child’s reading skills will improve within 90 days or you can get your money back. You definitely can’t beat that.

Each kit comes with a workbook, symbol cards, bingo chips and extra games, and a few other things. The retail price is $160 which is great compared to other popular phonics programs. And the other ones do not offer a 90 day guarantee!

To see more detail about Rocket Phonics, go to their website here. For reviews on this and other great homeschooling products, head over to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog!