Monday, May 23, 2011

enVision Math - Review

Pearson Education has been around for many years in the public schools. They publish Scott Foresman, Addison Wesley, and more. Now, with the increase in families who educate at home, they are also marketing their products to homeschoolers. We were asked to review their 1st grade enVision Math book.


The book itself can be purchased for $34.47 and includes access to "digital learning". There are other products you can purchase here.

The book is very large (11x17) and very bright. It is designed for you to pull out the days lesson and fold the page in half to make a regular size (8 1/2 x 11) pamphlet to work through. Pearson's website say that enVision Math is the "new" Math. Their goal is to offer a Math curriculum so that every student understands Math. Through the use of manipulatives and interactive technology they hope to make Math more fun for all students.
The book is broken down in to 20 topics with 5-10 lessons and a game for each topic. Also included is a test at the end of each topic. The book we reviewed was 1st grade, but they also offer K - 6th grade books. Zach just finished Kindergarten and though we are not "officially" starting 1st grade for a month or two he was ready to jump right in to this book. Math is his strong subject and he loves to show off what he knows. He loved the bright, colorful pages. It also picked up right where Kindergarten math left off so it was great for him to get a little jump-start on first grade. Unfortunately, we did not have access to the digital component nor did we have the teacher's manual for this book so parts of the lessons we were not able to do because there was no explanation as to what to do. In order to fully use this program you definitely need to have a teacher's book. Also, the lessons are very short. We liked the short lessons but, in my opinion, they did not give quite enough practice of the concept being learned. I did like that the concepts were broken down in to very small pieces that a young child can understand easily, just not enough practice. It appears there is more practice that would be offered in the digital portion of the program, but I cannot say that positively.

Overall, I like the layout of the book. Zach enjoyed it, but because of the lack of practice of the concept being taught he did not retain much of the new material we learned. I think Pearson has a great product here, and a great way to teach Math -- using a digital, interactive format, in addition to the textbook. However, since we did not have full access to the program it is very difficult to say if the program would be successful for our family. If you would like to see a video of how enVision Math works in a regular classroom go here and click on "Next Generation of Math programs". There are manipulatives to go with many of the lessons as well as interactive lessons for the overhead projector and on the computer.

Since Pearson is new to providing products for homeschoolers I am hoping they can work out some of the differences between homeschoolers and the traditional school setting and offer some products that will work better in a home education setting. Their site is also not very homeschooler friendly. To register (in order to view samples) you have to put in your zip code and school district. They do have an option to say "I am a homeschooler" but when I chose that I was very limited to what samples I could see.

If you would like to see what other Crew members thought of this product as well as other Pearson Education products go here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the program. No other compensating was given for this review, and the above is my honest opinion.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Word Qwerty - review

A couple of months ago Steve and I were discussing how hard it is to teach someone to read and then to spell. There are so many rules and exceptions to rules to learn. Fortunately, Paul seem to learn how to read effortlessly. I do think some of that is just natural ability and some of it comes from him being exposed to a plethora of books since birth. By the time he was old enough to hold a book he loved them and early on he had a favorite..."Barnyard Dance" by Sandra Boynton was his absolute favorite book from about 4 months until 16-18 months. I can still quote the entire book. You would think that because of this natural love of reading he would also naturally be a good speller. Well, for him, that is definitely not the case. We have tried various different methods of teaching Paul the rules for spelling, but nothing has really stuck with him, until now.

At the beginning of our school year we reviewed a product called Talking Fingers (go here to see my review of that program). Word Qwerty is a follow up to that program. The program is geared for 2nd and 3rd grade students but could be used for slightly older or even younger kiddos if needed. It is also reasonably priced For one student it is $35. You can go here to see other pricing options for multiple students. There is also a free demo so you can try it before you buy.


Word Qwerty is an online, interactive program that teaches the rules of spelling as well as patterns in words and takes some of the mystery out of spelling. There are 20 different spelling rules taught, you can see which ones are taught here.

Just as Talking Fingers was a hit a few months ago Word Qwerty has also been a success in our home. Paul enjoys playing it and, more importantly he is learning from it. We officially finished our school year a few weeks ago but Word Qwerty is on our list of things to continue through the summer.

Make sure and check out what other crew members had to say here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the program. No other compensating was given for this review, and the above is my honest opinion.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mad Dog Math - Review

I vividly remember standing in Mrs. Moser's 3rd grade class and reciting my multiplication facts. For each set of facts we earned we could choose a "ticket" that had various prizes on it. The most coveted prize was, of course, a free homework pass. We practiced multiple times each day in class and were very competitive. Math was my strongest subject so it was easy for me. Well, Paul is not that great with remembering math facts. We have tried so many different methods over the last three years with Paul. First it was addition and subtraction and now that he FINALLY has those down (most of the time) we have moved on to multiplication and division. He gets the more complicated Math without a problem, but the math facts are just tough for him to memorize. It has come a little easier for Zach, but it is still something we have to work on. He, at age 5, is only working on his addition facts.

When the opportunity for us to review Mad Dog Math, a math facts program, came along, I couldn't help but be drawn to it. Anything to help get those facts in their heads, and help them to stay there. It seems like if we take a week or two off from drilling math facts then Paul forgets all of them. It takes constant review and I guess we will continue that for a while until they are cemented in to his brain.


Mad Dog Math is a simple program that is geared for Kindergarten - 5th grade students. It could definitely be used with older students for remediation/review of all the math facts. There are 4 levels. Level 1 and 2 are addition and subtraction, level 3 is multiplication and division. The 4th level is the "Challenge" level and includes all 4 of the basic math operations. You can used the timed or untimed option for the program, depending on what works best for your students. As your student reaches mastery of each set of facts they are given a "sticker" and they are automatically moved on to the next set of facts or the next level. When they earn all their "stickers" they are a "Mad Dog Top Dog".

Our thoughts
Everyone knows that mastery of math facts is essential for success in higher math. So, any new idea to get math facts mastered is truly welcomed by me. Both boys worked really hard and have really tried to master the facts they need to know. I was very pleased with the simplicity of the program, and how easy it was for me to install and set up. I also like that it is easy for the boys to get started on their own. If I tell them to go do "Mad Dog Math" even Zach can open it and select the correct level and get started without my help. I also really like the "no frills" approach to learning the math facts. I don't want a video game when I am looking for my kids to drill math facts. Below is the main page of the program--very clean and simple, I really like that.

Mad Dog Math

For Zach, he truly loves Math, and anything related to numbers (it's reading we have to work on more with him). He gets upset if I don't have his Math drill sheets in his workboxes daily. Since he struggles a little in several other areas I think he really likes to show me how well he can do with his addition. So, for him, this program has been great. Also, since he is only 5, the "stickers" and the "Mad Dog Top Dog" award is very motivating to him. He likes the simplicity of the layout so that he is not distracted by "bright and shiny objects" along the way. It has worked really well for him and I have been really impressed with how well he is doing on his addition facts.

Paul, on the other hand, isn't as thrilled about doing math drills everyday, not even if it is on the computer. It is difficult to find anything to motivate him to work on this skill. So, he didn't love this program. At almost 10 the "stickers" that you earn aren't super interesting to him. He wants more of a game to play. His personality and learning style is so different than Zach's and the "bright and shiny objects" are not so distracting to him, but they keep him motivated. He doesn't play a ton of video games so he is not looking for a video game style, just something a little more interactive. So, the simplicity of the program didn't draw him in. However, it did help him with his multiplication and division facts, which, in my mind, means it is a great program. After all, I am not the type of Mom who only has their kids do what they want to do. I make them do what I know is best for them.

You can purchase the program at their website. It is available as a one year subscription for $19.95, two years for $29.95, or the best option, if you have multiple children at various ages, a perpetual license for $39.95. If you would like you can watch an informational video about the program here

They also offer several other products for Math fact mastery. You can take a look at them here

Don't forget to see what other crew members have to say about the program here

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the program. No other compensating was given for this review, and the above is my honest opinion.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wordless/Wordful Wednesday

Baseball season is almost over - kind of bittersweet. Here are all the baseball players that we cheered on all season! My two boys are on either end and Molly is in the back. The rest of them are our good friend's kids. They have all grown up together and are best buddies. 3 families of kiddos, ranging in age from 11-4. Currently they are 11, 10, 9, 9, 8, 8, 5, 5, and 4. It is such a blessing to have great friends for our kids to grow up with.

Below: Paul with his two best buddies from the group. He was so excited that he ended up on the same team as Jack this year--and their team finished the regular season in 1st place! Ben is not on the same team but they get plenty of time to hang out at the fields while waiting on their brothers' teams. The baseball field has been where we have spent most of our evenings this spring. It has been a great season of winning ball games and hanging out with good friends!

If you would like to link up head on over to Wordless Wednesday
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I ran across this great meme while checking out some other homeschool blogs. I am excited to try this one! There are so many things to be thankful for and what a great way to share them!

For my first week I want to say I am so thankful for my wonderful husband. He is the man of my dreams and I love him more today than I did the day we got married--15 years ago. He is a hardworking, affectionate, romantic (in his own way), handsome, Godly, all around great man! He is the best Dad around, and loves our kids more than life. He loves God and has a relationship with Him. There are so many wonderful things to say about this man, I can't possibly name them all.

A little about our story. We met when I was barely 17 and a junior in high school. He was almost 20, working part-time and going to college. We worked together at a grocery store and our first "date" was to a haunted house next door to where we worked. At first we were "just friends" but that quickly evolved in to something more. We spent as much time as we possibly could together. We dated for the next three years knowing that we would one day marry. He proposed in front of his entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins--everyone). We were married 6 months after that, and it has just gotten better since then! We have since built a house, as well as a family and a home.

We still love being together and still spend as much time as possible together. It seems that so many couples do their own thing and don't take time to focus on each other. It's so hard when you have three children to focus on to take time for your spouse, but it is so important.

Steve is the man of my dreams, he is everything my heart desires. It is so wonderful to actually be in love with my husband -- 15 years later. I can't wait to see what the next 15 years holds for us!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, May 16, 2011

Goal Planning Monday

Well, last week's goal was easily accomplished! My wonderful husband and I had a great trip and really enjoyed getting to focus on each other instead of the kids for a few days. We did get a phone call Monday morning while we were relaxing on the beach that Zach had swallowed a dime. Grandma felt like he was ok but wanted to touch base with us. After talking it over we felt like he was probably fine and just asked her to watch him extra close and if there was any sign of anything going wrong to go straight to the ER. Fortunately, everything was fine. So, after that we enjoyed our few days "off". As I already said, it was so nice to have a few days to just focus on our relationship. What a blessing it was to know the kids were being taken care of and we had time for us!

Now, on to this weeks goals. This week is a very busy one for us. Our oldest niece graduates high school on Friday, the boys are both in a baseball tournament all week. Our oldest nephew is coming in town for his sister's graduation and he is staying with us. Not to mention that Molly has developed some type of strange rash and the Dr. doesn't quite know what it is, AND a bug bite got infected, turned in to impetigo and now a staph infection! So, my goals for the week:

1. Get Haley a graduation card before Friday! I can't believe she is graduating high school and moving on to the next face in her life. Steve and I had just began dating when she was born and I remember the day well. She is such a wonderful young lady and we are looking forward to seeing what the next stage of her life holds for her.

2. Get the house in order. The house always falls apart when we come home from a trip. There are piles of laundry to catch up on and messes everywhere. It has to be done before Jake gets here on Thursday. With Molly's staph infection I am washing her sheets daily just to make sure it doesn't spread so that is adding to the piles of laundry.

3. Enjoy Jake being here. Jake spent a good bit of time with us when he was in high school but we haven't seen him at all in almost 2 years (he lives across the country now) and I really want to enjoy him (and his fiance being here)

4. Get curricula ready for used book sale. Our homeschool group has a large used book sale every year and it's this Friday. I don't have a ton of things to sell, but I do have a few. I need to get those items priced and up to the sale by Thursday afternoon.

That's all for this week.

If you want to link up visit Mama Manuscripts

Friday, May 13, 2011

Institute for Excellence in Writing - Review

Growing up I never liked English class. Mainly, I didn't like grammar. I could write very well and loved to write stories as well as poetry. I always did well on research papers and any creative writing assignments we had. I did not understand the need of learning grammar.

I finally learned not to hate English when I became a senior in high school I had a wonderful teacher for AP English that taught me to love great literature. I had always been an avid reader, but great, classic literature had not been introduced to me. I loved the classics like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Catch 22, and 15 other classic books we read that year. At least, at that point I didn't totally despise everything related to English class!

My second year of teaching I was "thrown" in to teaching Middle School english/grammar at the Christian School I was teaching at. I did not want to teach English--really I wanted to teach anything BUT english, but I was qualified to teach all subjects and they needed an English teacher. And, anyone that has ever taught in a small Christian school knows that you teach what ever needs to be taught. I hated it! The curriculum they used taught the kids all about direct and indirect objects, participles, diagramming sentences and a million other things that even I don't remember. But, these kids did not know how to write a coherent paragraph with any style whatsoever. I ended the year very disheartened and determined that I would find a better way to teach English and to instill a love of writing and literature in to my students.

The next year came and we adopted our oldest son so I did not continue teaching. But, all those experiences stuck with me as my son grew, and we decided to homeschool. I knew that, when the time came, I was going to find a different way to teach him grammar and english. I wanted him to enjoy the English language, and be able to use it properly and with "style". I went to homeschool conventions and looked at all the different English programs out there and I didn't see anything that taught writing and grammar the way I thought he should learn it. So, for first and second grade I went with a grammar curriculum that was simple and I added my own creative writing assignments as well as classic literature read-alouds. At the convention at the end of second grade I walked by the Institute for Excellence in Writing booth and fell in love. However, there was no way I could afford the steep price tag. I planned on waiting a year and saving the money to buy what looked like a great program.

To my great surprise I was given the opportunity to review this exact program this year with the TOS Crew! God truly is amazing and his blessings are so wonderful and always in perfect time! I was beyond excited when I found out I was going to have the opportunity to review the "Teaching Writing: Structure and Style" (TWSS) as well as the "Student Writing Intensive-Level A" (SWI-A) I won't wait until the end of this review to tell you, this product is worth every penny of the $239 price tag.
Teacher/Student Combo

First, let me say that when the box arrived, last November, I was so impressed with the quality of the product, but a bit overwhelmed. There was so much material, and it all seemed so confusing. I sat it aside for a week or so until I had the time to really look at it--without constant interruption from the kids. When I did get a chance to really look at it I realized it was actually not near as confusing as it first appeared, and everything was laid out for me.

There are really two separate parts to this review. I will start with the TWSS. The TWSS is designed for you, the parent/teacher. It is 10 DVD's as well as a "Seminar and Practicum" Workbook. The first 6 DVD's are ANdrew Pudewa teaching you how to teach writing to your children/students. He covers all 9 of the units that are in all of SWI's (there are 3 levels for the student--A, B, and C). The parent/teacher is encouraged to watch the DVD's and work through the same activities your student will be doing in the SWI. You can do this one of two ways. You can watch it all before your kiddos start, or you can watch it as you go along-staying just a step ahead of them as you go. For me, I decided I wanted Paul to get started fairly quickly so I would just watch the DVD of the unit we were starting on a day or two before he watched his (which comes with the SWI). I will say that watching my videos and knowing what is coming for him really helped me be a better teacher. You can also watch the TWSS and use your own material from your child's history/science/literature studies and teach this all on your own, without the SWI-A. You can purchase just the TWSS and the workbook separately from the SWI for $169.

Now, the second part of the product is the SWI-A. This is the student's part of the program. With this you will receive a student binder with dividers for current work, finished work, structural models, stylistic techniques, and (my personal favorite) banned words. You will also receive a manilla envelope with all the lessons broken down for you and all the handouts you will need for your student. The SWI-A can be purchased separately from the TWSS for $99.

The SWI-A is geared for 3rd-5th graders. Paul is an advanced 3rd grader and it was a challenge for him. He works well in a more challenging situation so it was a good fit for him. Paul also already had a grasp of basic grammar as well as a love of writing. This program has helped him bring those two things together to start developing some writing with some style and "pizazz". The banned words have been one of our favorite parts of the program and Paul doesn't even use them in his speech much anymore. It is not unusual to here him say "I observed/discovered/examined..." instead of saying "I saw...". He will then look at me and say "strong verb" with a big grin on his face. To me, this just shows that he is really enjoying what he is learning in "school" and applying it to other areas of life--it doesn't get much better than that

The main part of the program is the 4 DVD's you will receive of Andrew teaching your student. In SWI A you will work on the following units:
Unit 1 and 2--Note-taking and Summarizing
Unit 3--Summarizing Narrative Stories
Unit 4--Summarizing References
Unit 7--Creative Writing

Notice in the chart below that different things are worked on in different levels of the SWI

IEW Comparative Chart

Also, note that if you have the TWSS then you can teach all these Units on your own--if you are brave enough to do so. The TWSS does a great job of teaching you how to teach writing. However, Paul really enjoyed being taught by someone different. Andrew Pudewa is a wonderful teacher. He adds humor into his teaching and simply portrays a love of writing that I can't get across to Paul. Paul also liked the fact that he was a man. I do think that you could effectively use the SWI-A without the TWSS, but it would be quite overwhelming. Having the TWSS helped me to get a better feel for the program, and when Paul had a question I knew how to help him.

The SWI's are typically 15-30 weeks. We will take the full 30 weeks to get through SWI-A (continuing it in to next school year). We have taken it slow on purpose, since Paul is at the young end of the target age. I want him to really benefit from this program, not just make it through it. After that we plan on using the "All Things Fun and Fascinating" theme based writing workbook to continue working on the skills worked on in SWI-A. We are also going to add in IEW's "Fix-It: Grammar and Editing Made easy with the Classics". There are several other ways you could continue using IEW after the SWI. They offer several theme-based writing workbooks, as well as continuation courses and advanced writing courses. You can go to their website to see all they have to offer. I would definitely suggest starting with the TWSS and SWI combo. I know $239 seems like a high price, but it is a great investment in your child's education. But, if you are low on cash you can choose either of the single products to start with.

In a nutshell, we truly love IEW. As I stated way back in the beginning of this review, I hated grammar, and never understood why it was needed or how it helped you be a better writer. This program helps the student learn to write while also teaching some of the basics of grammar, without overwhelming the student with too much grammar. It is not a grammar curriculum, and you will need to supplement with some type of grammar curriculum if your child does not already have a firm grasp on the parts of speech. For us, Paul has as much grammar as he needs at this time, and we can focus on using the grammar to write. Besides using "Fix-It" I will simply fill in any grammar "holes" as we run across them. In my opinion, being able to write a coherent paragraph is much more important than being able to diagram a sentence.

We also received the "portable wall", which you can purchase for only $7. It has been a great resource for Paul. He can quickly and easily find a synonym for "said", or an "'ly' adverb". He can also quickly see what his "dress-ups" need to be and when he progresses further in to the program there are helps for sentence openers, decorations, prepositions and more--all on a tri-fold 9x12 poster.


There is so much to this program I am sure I did not do it justice. If you would like to find out more please visit their website. There are various videos you can watch to learn more about all the great products they offer.

Also, be sure to check out the other reviews from the TOS Crew here.

And, if you have any more question for me, please leave a comment and I will answer it to the best of my ability.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the program. No other compensating was given for this review, and the above is my honest opinion.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Go Trybe - Review

It always saddens me a little when I see an overweight child sitting somewhere playing the latest version of a handheld video game. In this world of parents who are so busy and kids who are used to all the latest technology it is no surprise that 1 in 3 kids is considered overweight. When I was growing up we spent our time outside, running, jumping, simply playing. Most of my childhood memories are of doing something outside. Overweight kids were few and far between. In an effort to get kids moving and active and to combine the world of technology with the need for kids to be active and maintain a healthy weight GoTryBe has introduced an online exercise program designed just for kids.


GoTryBe is designed for kids in K-12th grades. It can be used either in a classroom or in a homeschool setting, alone, or with a group of kids. There are three levels of GoTryBe. We reviewed the level designed for K-5th graders. There are also levels designed for 6th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade. All the levels are designed the same way but the workouts are increasingly difficult.

Each child is given their own log-in and can create their own avatar. As the student completes a workout or completes a nutrition, motivation or wellness portion they are awarded points so they can personalize their avatar.

There is also a chat/social networking portion of the program. My kids are too young (in my opinion) for social networking so we did not use this portion of the program. However, from looking at it myself it appears to be very safe.

The workouts are designed by the student and include warm-up, cardio, strength, flexibility and more. Each component has several choices to choose from so they can change their workout daily. It is very user-friendly and even young children could easily create their own work-out by dragging and dropping each component in to the correct spot. If your child really likes a program they designed they can easily save that workout to be used at a later time.


Our Thoughts:
I do agree that children need to exercise, and that exercise is severely lacking in the lives of many children today. For us, this program was not something that we would use a lot. We live in a climate that allows for my kiddos to get outside and play almost year round. My kids are most often found jumping on the trampoline, riding their bikes and scooters, or climbing trees in the woods. I have a hard time pulling them inside to take care of regular school, and many days we take school outside. The boys are actively involved in sports and Molly will be also as she gets older. I limit the amount of time the kids are in front of a screen and we usually only play video games and computer when it is rainy out or on the few days each year it is too cold to go outside. It does get quite hot in the summer, but we head to a pool or turn the sprinklers on when that happens. So, as you can see, exercise is not lacking in this household.

I can definitely see how this would be an excellent program to motivate kids to exercise who don't normally exercise or who live in a climate that does not allow for outside play as often as our area does. The program is super user-friendly, and kids love creating their own avatar. Currently you can sign up for a free trial using the code GETFIT and then an annual membership is only $19.95.

To see what other crew members thought of GoTryBe go here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, May 9, 2011

Goal Planning Monday

I did pretty good with last week's goals. I got a couple of reviews written and several other things checked off my to-do list. So, for this week, I have one very important goal....

RELAX and enjoy my wonderful, amazing husband! We are at the beach without the kids! My wonderful in-laws have the kids and I know they are being well taken care of so I am just going to enjoy this time with Steve. We are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. I really can't believe it's been 15 years! So, I am getting off of here and heading to the beach to watch Steve do a little fishing and to sit in my chair and read a book!

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Monki See - Review

We were recently asked to review a product by a company called MonkiSee

Monki See is a DVD collection designed for ages 0-3. According to their website "Your baby will be exposed to upbeat music, original poetry, lovable puppets and real life images that will keep your baby excited while teaching your baby to read early in life."

We received the "Baby's First Words" DVD and the "Know Your Monkey" book that goes along with the DVD. This particular DVD is designed to teach babies their body parts while also teaching them to read. The way the DVD does this is by showing a word on the screen and then saying the word and showing that object in several different ways. For instance, the word "head" is introduced and then different animals are shown and short sentences are told about that animal's head. There are silly puppets and silly stories to go along with it. Each time the word is used it is shown on the screen. There is also a slide show option on the DVD that shows each word individually and then a picture of that body part. A parent guide is also included on the DVD that tells you about the company and the ideas behind the DVD and books. The parent guide suggests you have your child watch the DVD daily for at least 4 weeks.

The book "Know Your Monkey" accompanies the DVD and reinforces the words shown on the DVD. The monkey puppets that are in the DVD are also in the book.

There are 3 different DVDs teaching body parts, shapes and colors. You can purchase any one of these DVDs here for $19.95 each. There are also many other options for purchasing the DVD's as a set and with the books and flashcards. You can take a look at their store here and see all the products they have to offer.

Our thoughts

Molly is at the high end of the suggested age range for this product so for her, the DVD itself did not hold her attention. I can definitely see her (and Zach) having enjoyed it at younger ages. It is simple, which I really like for DVD viewing for young children. The music is very upbeat and engaging and the puppets are fun, bright, and colorful. It would be a very useful tool to teach young children their body parts, especially if it is watched with a parent or older sibling pointing out the young child's body parts that the DVD is talking about.

Both Zach and Molly really enjoyed the book. They love to be read to, and anything with animals in it is right up Zach's alley, so they ask for the book often. Like I said earlier, if they were a little younger, and didn't know their body parts yet this book would definitely have helped with that in a very fun way.

With regards to the teaching reading part of the program: I can see how watching the DVD daily, viewing the slide show daily, and reading the book daily would definitely teach a young child to recognize the words introduced. Babies and young toddlers can learn so much more than most people realize. And I can see how teaching them a few words would give them quite a boost of confidence. However, I do not think it is teaching a child to read when they can pick out a few words. My kids never watched much tv when they were infants and we still really limit their "screen" time. I do like the idea of any screen time at a young age being educational.

So, overall, the DVD and book would be entertaining and educational for a young toddler, and the book will grow with them even up to about age 5 or 6. Will it teach them to read, not in my opinion.

For more reviews from fellow crew members go here

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yesterday's Classics Review

I think all homeschoolers will agree that one of the biggest problems with homeschooling is the over abundance of books you end up with. After just a couple of years of homeschooling we have books everywhere. Even before homeschooling I was always buying the kids books. So, we have books in every corner of the house. So, the idea of ebooks is wonderful to me. I have downloaded many books to my laptop over the years and either read them straight from the laptop or print them out and read them to the kids. The searching for good books online is sometimes long and arduous. With Yesterday's Classics the search for books is over!


Yesterday's Classics is fairly well known for their paperback reprints of older classic books. Now, they offer 225 classic books in either epub or Kindle format to download to your ereader or personal pc/laptop. The 225 books are offered for a very reasonable price of only $99 for a limited time. Check it out here After May 31 the price will go back to $149, still a wonderful price for all these books.

You can enjoy books from 22 different genres. A few of the genres we have enjoyed the most are juvenile fiction, historical fiction, poetry and theater. Many of these books are used in popular curriculums, such as Heart of Dakota, Ambleside Online and more. I have also already added several of the biography selections to Paul's reading schedule from Sonlight next year, as well as a few of the history books to our read-aloud schedule for Paul and Zach for next year.

The Technical Side
Until I had the opportunity to review this marvelous product I never thought about needing an e-reader. Since we didn't have an e-reader we reviewed the epub version of the books. The books worked beautifully using Adobe Reader from my laptop and we used them frequently. There are beautiful pictures, a table of contents and everything is already categorized for you. The books were very easy to download. But, it made me want some type of e-reader. After much research we decided on an iPad 2. No, it's not just an e-reader, it's so much more (and we LOVE it--but that's not what this review is about!) So, we figured out it was so simple to move the books from my laptop to the iPad. Another great feature of this collection is that you have full rights to it, so you can put it on as many devices as you have, and you can print them out as often as you desire! After moving the 225 books to the iPad 2 we have enjoyed these books even more. The kids have really enjoyed reading "Rollo at Work" and "Rollo at Play" as our night time reading. I love the fact that we can turn all the lights out and lay in the bed and read just with the light of the iPad--WOW, it truly is a "techy" world now-a-days when we are reading by the light of a wireless reading device!

Our Thoughts
As you can probably already tell we totally adore this product. I am so excited about the possibilities this product offers us. I am sure we will be using these books for years to come. Paul is excited to read the ones I have placed on his reading list and is even more excited about being able to read them on the iPad (anything that gets the kids excited about reading is ok with me). If one wanted to you could easily take these books and use them for an entire history curriculum. And, since they were originally written and published in the late 1800's and early 1900's they are REAL history, not the watered down, historically inaccurate, but politically correct books you find today. The books are also great works of literature. I have always read to the kids, and often read to them above their level so that they have stretch their minds. All three kids have wonderful vocabularies and even strangers comment on the big words that come out of our kids mouths (in a good way!) I contribute their wide vocabulary to the literature that they have heard since they first came home. It is so difficult to find good books today. We go to the bookstore and have to wade through all the toys and games to just see the books, and then they are books that don't offer any real information. I can not say how excited I am to have all these books at the tip of my fingers. I can't imagine how much it would have cost to purchase all these books, not to mention the space on our already overflowing bookshelves.

A couple of highlights of the titles in this bundle:

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To see a complete list of titles in this bundle go here

If you would like to see how other Crew members enjoyed this product go here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free. There was no other compensation given and all opinions are my own.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Goal Planning Monday

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted for this meme. It's been a busy few weeks with baseball games, baby shower for a lady at church, Easter, Molly's 4th birthday and then just regular life. I hope to get back in the habit of writing up my weekly goals. It helps keep me accountable.

This weeks goals:

1. Get through testing! We have standardized testing this week. Paul has tested for several years in a row now so it's not a huge deal for him. This is Zach's first year testing so I was a bit nervous going in this morning. He was not nervous at all and at the end of the day he said it was "easy peasy". I am also proctoring the 2nd grade test. So, two more days of getting up and being somewhere in the mornings-not the way we are used to starting our day.

2. Make a shopping list and actually stick to it for the homeschool conference that is this weekend. There is a huge used book sale too and there are always some great deals and I always get sucked in and buy way more than we need. I am going to really try to not do that this year!

3. Plan Zach's graduation ceremony. We want to do a little something to acknowledge Zach's accomplishment of finishing Kindergarten and doing amazingly well this year. Just not exactly sure what to do so I need to think that through and get started on that.

4. Figure out how to blog easily on my new iPad 2. We were blessed with a nice bonus from Steve's company this spring so we splurged and bought me a new iPad. We just got it in last week. This is my first post using BlogPress so we will see how it goes. I really love the iPad - when I get it away from the kids and Steve!

5. Get my next 3 reviews written The month of May is so busy for us and I have several reviews to write too. So, I am hoping to get a little ahead this week.

Thanks Katrina for keeping this meme up!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad