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Showing posts from May, 2011

TOS Homeschool Crew Product Review ~ "Read For the Heart" by Sarah Clarkson (Apologia/WholeHeart Ministries)

Many of you have heard of Whole Heart Ministries, the homeschool ministry founded by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Whole Heart Ministries has joined with Apologia Ministries, and the book "Read For the Heart" by Sarah Clarkson (the daughter of Clay and Sally Clarkson) is a product of the combination of these two wonderful ministries.

For a book lover like me, it doesn't get much better than reading a book all about books. It's even better than a list-maker's dream (which would be a book of lists)! It is a delight to review Sally's wonderful compilation of recommended reading - and this is an exceptional first book from this young author. I look forward to her future work (Sarah is working on a children's novel and a collection of essays).

"Read For the Heart" contains 12 chapters and a whopping 6 appendices! Chapter 1 is filled with examples of "memories" and character traits established by reading large volumes of quality literature. Chapte…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ "Considering God's Creation" by Eagle's Wings

What a pleasant surprise when I was chosen to review this science product from a company that is very dear to my heart - Eagle's Wings! My fondness of Eagle's Wings products stems back nearly 14 years to a time when I was a young mom seeking the "perfect" phonics curriculum to use with my 5 year old son. Now that son is 18 years old and graduated from high school a few weeks ago. In the fall he will attend Wheaton College (a fantastic Christian school - you can learn more about it at Wikipedia). Eagle's Wings phonics curriculum (Alphabet Island) laid a solid foundation for my son's education. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this company's product line!

Eagle's Wings natural science curriculum, Considering God's Creation, is the subject of this product review. Included in this set are the student workbook, teacher's manual, and audio CD of 23 songs. The teacher's manual lays out each lesson with clear instruction, so mom is rea…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Wordy Qwerty by Talking Fingers

Talking Fingers has a program that combines phonics with typing skills called "Wordy Qwerty". Before I tell you about Word Qwerty, let me say that I am a firm believer in phonics and the ability to type with speed and accuracy is only going to grow in importance in the coming years. Wordy Qwerty provides what I believe to be 2 key components in a complete and thorough education.

Wordy Qwerty is targeted for children in 2nd through 4th grade - keep in mind that my children are older than the targeted audience, so my review is written from a perspective of "looking back" through the years. It might be possible to use Word Qwerty with a child in 1st grade if they were ready for it, and it could be used for 5th grade students (the primary user in my family was my 5th grade daughter).

Wordy Qwerty builds on early reading and basic phonics skills, and teaches 20 important spelling rules. Each rule has an accompanying song that aids with memory retention. Not everything ca…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Mad Dog Math

Today I am reviewing the math program Mad Dog Math. It is a program aimed at developing mastery of all the math facts in students of all ages. By "all the math facts" I mean addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; by "all ages" I mean Kindergarten through high school. It's an all-encompassing program!

The PC version of this program is very easy to install and setting up accounts for each child using Mad Dog Math is a breeze. It's nice to use a computer-based program that is quick and easy to set up, as most homeschool moms don't have a lot of extra time to spend following confusing instructions! Ease of use is pretty high up on my requirement list when choosing curriculum and I am very pleased with Mad Dog Math is this category.

Right away I liked the fact that with Mad Dog Math, I can choose which level I want my children to work on. For example, when working on lesson plans, it's very easy to assign an older child a timed lesson focusing…

TOS Crew Review ~ GoTRYBE

GoTRYBE is an online health and fitness program that encompasses a broad spectrum of health and wellness: fitness, nutrition, motivation & wellness. The program is divided into 3 levels (known as "trybes")based on the student's grade level. The trybes are Zoodoos (K-5th), Trybe 180 (6-8th), and Nextrybe (9th-12th). The focus of my review is Nextrybe and my 10th grade daughter has been using the online program.

As this is an online program, a computer with Internet access is a requirement (probably not an issue if you are reading this blog post via the world wide web!). It is very easy to set up a student account at the website ( Within a matter of minutes your child can begin building their own avatar and designing their own workouts. There are a couple of options for the workouts - the student (or parent) can customize each workout by dragging and dropping thumbnails in any order they choose. If you aren't computer friendly, don't worry - it …

TOS Crew Product Review ~ "Andi's Indian Summer" by Susan K. Marlow (from Kregel/Circle C Books)

Most of the homeschool families I know are full of avid readers. Most of the homeschool moms I know could be called "book-a-holics". The typical homeschool family's home has books in every nook and cranny. Sure, plenty of those books are textbooks or curriculum. But a big part of most homeschool family book collections are works of fiction and interesting biographies. Today I get to tell you about a book that falls into the category "fiction adventure book".

The book "Andi's Indian Summer" by Susan K. Marlow (from the Circle C Beginnings series, published by Kregel Publications)is the second book in a series of six. Aimed at young independent readers, this adventure tale draws children into the wild west era of American history. The primary theme of the book is a scary old dime store novel that causes the book's main character (a young girl named Andi) to consider what it might be like to be captured by American Indians. Set in the 1800's &…

What Should I Do With All These Books?? ~ Part 2

If you read "Part 1" of this blog series, then you might remember my first 3 tips:

~ Sort Books As You Finish Them

~ Update Your Older Student's Transcripts Right Away

~ Make a List of Books You Have and Books You Want/Need

As you move closer and closer to the end of this academic year, and as spring begins to become summer, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on planning for next year. Now, maybe I am the only homeschool mom who has this problem, and all the rest of you amazing women are able to plan for next year while folding laundry and cooking a gourmet dinner and the sounds of spring outside the kitchen window don't create a distraction for you. If that's the case, I'm probably blogging to myself today :)

Since spring is here and summer is right on it's heels, I really do have to force myself to focus on wrapping things up in a tidy fashion so that I'm not in a panic when August arrives. Okay, I am Type A, I admit it. I do like all thing…