Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Great Customer Service and a Giveaway

Our new math this year is through Math Essentials. We were introduced to this product by reviewing with the TOS Review Crew. You can view my previous review here. We are almost finished with the Problem Solving book and I didn't think Grace was ready to move on to the Pre-Algebra Concepts book yet. I have mentioned in the past that Grace struggles with math and I am taking it really slow to make sure she gets all the basics down really good before moving on to higher math. Besides we are homeschoolers and can schedule it any way we darn well please. Okay, that concludes the soap box talk. I ordered the Geometry book and Book 2 of Mastering Essential Math Skills for middle and high school. Anyway to make a long story short I ordered them back on October 22 and had not received the product (but to be honest I didn't really notice it was taking longer than use to receive a shipment). Evidently Mr. Fisher was at a conference and all the orders were waiting for him to fill once they got back. He sent me an email and apologized for not getting the shipment yet and offered free shipping plus the Problem Solving book for free. Of course the Problem Solving Book is the one we are about to be finished with so I am going to pass it on to a lucky reader. Now we come to today. I received the shipment and low and behold they sent me the Fraction book instead of the Geometry book. I emailed Mr. Fisher and he will send my Geometry book tomorrow and told me to keep the Fractions book. So now I would like to pass on both of the books to a lucky reader. To gain one entry for the giveaway become a follower and leave me a comment letting me know. For another entry leave me a comment about what your favorite math product is. Another entry can be gained by blogging about this on your blog. Just leave me a message letting me know that you have passed the word about the giveaway to your readers. The deadline for this giveaway will be November 9th. Please leave me a contact email.


TOS Review - Apologia - Journeys of Faithfulness

PhotobucketSo far in our lives as homeschoolers, Apologia has never let us down. We love all the products they offer. This go around we were given the opportunity to review Journeys of Faithfulness by Sarah Clarkson. Journeys of Faithfulness is a wonderful book for moms and daughters to read together or separately. Sarah brings to life some of the great women in the Bible like; Ruth, Esther, Mary, Martha, and Mary mother of Jesus. This book is set up as a devotional with three sections in each chapter. The first section Sarah brings to life a woman from the Bible through telling a part of their life. The second section has a devotional related to the story/woman's life and the third section has scripture to tie it all together. The women's stories reveal how God can work through everyday, ordinary girls.

How We Are Using The Book and What We Think:

Journeys of Faithfulness is just plain wonderful. Sarah has an incredible talent of bringing these women to life. She also describes the love they have for God in an almost poetic way. Through her writing I could feel what these women must have been feeling. Just the thought of some of their encounters with Jesus is awe inspiring. We used this book as our morning devotional with reading one section a day. So far we have read through Mary and Martha and are almost finished with Mary Mother of Jesus. This book will definitely be finished and reread when Grace gets older. Journeys of Faithfulness would make a wonderful gift with the holidays coming up. In a nutshell - great author - great book - great reading. This book currently retails for $13.00 and comes as a soft cover book. The age recommendation is 12 and older.

Go right now and visit Apologia's website to check out the wonderfully written book, Journeys of Faithfulness, for young christian women. I promise you will not be disappointed.

To see what other TOS Reviewers think of this product visit TOS Review Crew.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received this product at no cost to me for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Trunk or Treat

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Last night was the annual trunk or treat festivities at our church. Even though Grace is getting older she still likes to dress up.

My sister and niece. No that isn't her real hair. lol. 

Special friends from church. This husband and wife won the best couples costume.

More special friends from church. 

Grace had a friend go with her and come home to spend the night.

TOS Review - Activity Bags


What Are Activity Bags and How Did They Get Started:

Activity Bags was started by two home school moms, Paula and Sherri back in 2002. The whole idea of Activity Bags was started when Paula was looking for ideas to entertain her preschooler while she would work with her older children. Paula and Sherri did some brainstorming and their efforts produced Preschool Activities in a bag. That product has now morphed into other Activity in a Bag products such as : Science Experiments, Reading Games, Travel Activities, and Math Games. For this review my family was given the opportunity to review Science Experiments in a Bag E-book 1E-book 2, and E-book 3. An Activity Bag has all the materials and instructions needed to perform an activity enclosed in a gallon plastic size bag. The company Activity Bags provides the instructions and you provide the materials. Many families that purchase the books of activities actually participate in swaps.

In a swap each family will put together 1, 10, 20 or more Activity Bags of the same activity. Other families do the same and then you swap. This means a family can come home from the swap with 10 - 25 different activity bags, depending on number of participants, to perform throughout the school year. All instructions to conduct a swap are located in the e- books.

What We Actually Reviewed:

Photobucket    Science E-Book 1
This e-book includes 25 different activities pertaining to Biology, General Science and Nature.
Cost: 15.00
Age Range: K - 8th grade

Photobucket   Science E-Book 2
This e-book includes 25 more experiments pertaining to Chemistry, Human Body, and General Science.
Cost: 15.00
Age Range:  K-8th grade

Photobucket    Science E-Book 3
This e-book contains 25 more experiments dealing with Chemistry.
Cost:  15.00
Age Range: K - 8th grade

We received each Science Experiment in a Bag book as E-books. All three e-books can be purchased together for $39.00.

How We Used It and What We Thought:

We used this product three times a week for our Science Studies. Each day we performed 1-2 of the experiments. The experiments were easy to follow, but had great science concepts behind them. It was actually easy enough that my 8th grader could do them independently if she wished. Her favorites were the chemistry experiments. I love the way the experiment log is set up. We used the log sheets to make journal pages in her science journal. I also liked that you can organize a swap or simply use one on your own. Most of the materials needed for the experiments are found around the home and hardly any purchasing needs to be done. It is also great that all the experiments are mom tested. Another good aspect is easy to understand and straight to the point solutions.

Currently Activity Bags is offering a free download sampler e-book for filling out a survey. Please visit the Activity Bags Survey Page to receive the sampler.

Please take a visit to Paula and Sherri's website and check out what Activity Bags are all about.

To find out what other reviewers think of the product visit TOS Review Crew.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up - Moving Right Along

This week things were pretty steady and normal. I did learn this week that I get to stay on with the TOS Review Crew for another year and that is very awesome. I love receiving and reviewing products - it like getting Christmas presents all year long. Normally I do a run down by the days of the week but this time I will do it by subjects:

Math - We are still plugging along through Math Essentials. This was a previous product through the review crew. Grace doesn't like math at all and what appealed to me most about Math Essentials is learning math concepts through 10 problems a day. Why make a child that absolutely despises math sit through 30 problems every day. For us it would have been torture. Anyway we are just about finished with this book which is all word problems along with built in daily review. This week has been all about percents. Surprisingly she understands the percents better than decimals. 

History - We finished up The Pilgrim Story this week and watched the virtual field trip to Plymouth, Mass. This was a great program and Grace really connected with it. Now we have started back with America the Beautiful and she is just reading through it. The only activity I am having her do is the timelines. Otherwise we are just discussing and making sure she understands everything that went on in the readings.

Science - This subject is always our worst planned for subject. When Grace was younger we really enjoyed all the Jeannie Fulbright books through Apologia. But she is just not ready yet for the full blown textbooks with the other Apologia science books. This week we finished up some experiments for a program we are reviewing. Also started back using a basic biology book Grace is reading and answering questions. 

Language Arts - Grace went to her beginner essay writing class on Thursday and learned she made an A on the previous week's paper. She was pretty excited about that, especially since she thinks she cannot write. Learning to outline and transfer it to a 5 paragraph paper. Also finished Island of the Blue Dolphins and started Fever 1793.

Independent Reading - Grace is all over the board on this one. We picked up three volumes of the Naruto series and she has read 1 1/2 volumes so far. Also about halfway through the first Harry Potter book and started another Warrior Cat series book. 

Read Aloud - We have two more chapter and will be finished with Michael Vey and the Rise of the Elgen. I ordered The Mark of Athena on Friday which will be our next read aloud as well as a book we are receiving from Vision Forum for a review. 

Extras - On Tuesday we attended co-op. Grace practiced scenes for The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. She also attended an art history class and finished up some mosiac tiles while learning about Roman history. Wednesday we went to the youth service group which is now called 4:12 ministries. The group finally finished all the research and decided on the services we will work on in the next few months. The services picked were helping with the local soup kitchen to provide and serve Thanksgiving dinner, volunteering at the animal shelter, and working with a teen girls home in the form of fellowship, games, etc. On Thursday it was back to co-op for choir and Grace was asked to join the tone chimes group since one of the girls had to drop out. Thursday night was a costume party for Acts of Faith. Friday was anime club then off to dinner then groceries. On a side note I started Weight Watchers on Thursday and it is going well.

I am joining Weekly Wrap Up. Go take a peek and see what other families did this past week.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Playing Like a Tourist

As I have mentioned before we live in a somewhat touristy area. In the Fall lots of folks travel to the North Ga mountains to look at Fall color, etc. Today we traveled a little farther up into the tip of North Carolina. Franklin, NC to be exact. On the way up we stopped at lots of flea markets and yard sales. We were looking for certain items and found some of them. Also puppy came along for the ride. Since she has become an escape artist in the back yard I can't leave her there for long periods of time by herself for fear she will take an adventure.

We stopped for the last day at a somewhat local fruit and vegetable. We purchased a 1/2 bushel of apples to dry in the dehydrator.

At the first flea market we visited we hit pay dirt and found a really great lady that sold herbs. Bought a great tea for curbing appetite and some other herbs to ward off colds.

The other items I was looking for is baskets. I plan on making Christmas baskets full of home made goodness for presents.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Took The Plunge

I would say most of my adult life I have battled the bulge. Especially after having babies. Instead of the elusive 10 pounds that will never go away, mine is the elusive 20-30 pounds. Last year I upped my exercise routine by joining Jazzercize and truly loved it. I know I lost some inches but any real weight. Because of our busy schedule it has become very hard to travel out to Jazz 3-4 times a week so for the past 6-8 weeks no Jazz just walking. Well because of my age and slowing down a bit I am literally putting on 1 pound a week and that has just got to stop. Also my daughter is not into exercising and loves to eat. I want to make a good impression in front of her and hope to start leading her down a healthy road. Here's the big announcement:

I joined Weight Watchers today!!!!!!!!!

This is a biggy for me. I need to get my eating under control. My biggest food culprits is chocolate, cookies, and fast food. I am using the online version of Weight Watchers Point Plus System. It is great that it will keep track of everything for me. My current weight is 175 with a height of only 5 feet and 1 inch. By there standards I should be down to about 136, but realistically I put my goal at 155. If I can reach 155 then I might try to go lower. Lots depends on how everything works out. I have no desire to be skinny, just healthy and able to fit back in to most of my clothing. Let's face it,  to lose 25 pounds is a big deal. 

So if my readers will please pray for me, that I can stay the course and have the will power to stay away from those pesky foods that are not good for me. I online program tracks my weight loss for me but every once in a while I might get on here too and do some tracking of my own.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Clusters of Mushrooms

Mushrooms Clusters found near wood piles in our yard.
More up close pic.
New clusters growing near by.
I am so lacking in the department of identifying mushroom. Anybody out there know what type of mushroom this is and if it is edible? Three days ago these mushroom were not even there and now they are. Haven't had any rain either.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Happenings Around the Homestead

This weekend was all about getting some more wood put up for the winter. For those of you that don't know, Scott is a wood collector. We have two wood stoves in the house for heat and cooking for the power goes out. In the 10 years we have lived in this cabin we have never paid a dime for any of the wood we use. Scott collected it from everywhere. All our friends, etc. know if a tree falls to call Scott and he will come collect it. It has gotten to the point where we need more wood sheds to store it. We have so much that we were able to barter a truckload recently for three months of raw milk. 

More wood that still needs to be split and stacked. 

All Saturday afternoon was spent with Scott splitting and me stacking wood. We are half full with still more to go. I should also mention that all the wood and metal were just laying around the yard, so no money spent there either. 
Fall is hands down my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of the cool crisp air. I love not using the air conditioner and getting to open the windows wide all day long. I so wish Fall and Spring were our only two seasons, the weather is always perfect. Also most of the bugs are gone away.
This is the view from our side porch to the front of the yard.

Scott built us a new campfire area for this year.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What We're Reading

Christian Unschooling has started a new monthly blog hop, What We're Reading. I love the Christian Unschooling Blog and hope to join up with the blog hop each month.

Current Read Aloud
I love YA fiction so usually there is at least one book me and Grace are reading together as a read aloud. The read aloud is 9 times out of 10 a fun book to enjoy together, but can also sometimes be something educational.Currently we are reading Michael Vey and The Rise of the Elgen. This is number 2 in the Michael Vey Book Series. Great read.

What Grace is Reading
Grace is fickle when it comes to reading and sometimes is reading a few things at one time, which is the case this month. Believe it or not she has never been interested in reading the Harry Potter series until now. She is about half way through the first book of the series Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. A friend let her also borrow another Warrior's Series, which she just started. For school she is just about finished with Island of the Blue Dolphin which she is reading for literature. Her all time favorite is still The Naruto Series. She is only about halfway through the series at volume number 23.

What I Am Reading
As I mentioned before I am loving YA fiction at the moment. Also I am a zombie story fanatic so my choices have reflected that. Last night I just finished Dearly Departed, and really enjoyed it. Also started yesterday The Eleventh Plague. It is taking a bit to get into this story. Still my all time favorite YA reads that I have read in the past three months are The Mortal Instruments SeriesMatched Trilogy, and The Divergent Series.

To see what other folks are reading visit Christian Unschooling Blog.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Anime Character Creations By Grace

Grace is really enjoying creating new characters and coloring them with copic markers. Copic markers are THE marker to use with anime illustrations. Only problem is they run about 7.00 a piece. I know on ebay you can purchase sets for cheaper and for Christmas that is what we will be looking at, especially if she gets extra cash from grandparents. Until then we plan on purchasing one marker per week. Tonight Grace went on the copic website and wrote a list of all the colors she wants to purchase. Luckily where we hold our cooperative is an art store that carries the markers. So after I teach my art journaling class and Grace is in drama I take a short little walk down to the art store and purchase a coke, chocolate, and one copic marker. I figure in one year she will own 52 markers and we will put out only 7.00 a week to accomplish this goal. I know some folks would really balk about spending that kind of money, but this is her passion. She literally sits in her room and draws for hours and she is kind of good at it too. In order to do quality work you need quality supplies.

Monday, October 15, 2012

TOS Review - National Tax Training School


Have you ever wanted to prepare your own taxes? How about make some extra money from preparing taxes for other individuals? If so, I would recommend checking out National Tax Training School. NTTS has trained more than 40,000 students to become tax professionals. They are also the only nationally accredited correspondence school that specializes in tax training.


Not only that, but they also must go through the accreditation process every five years. To me it means this is a company you can trust.

For the purposes of this review I was given the opportunity to review Federal Income Tax Course through the TOS Review Crew for National Tax Training School. According to the website,"this is the most up-to-date tax preparation course available". Some items that make this program really stand out are:

  • Awesome Training Materials (binder, two books, software, and sample forms)
  • Real life case studies
  • Tax planning
  • Instruction from experienced instructors
  • Exams and grading
  • Post graduate benefits for 2 or 4 years
Currently they offer two payment options. The program including 4 years of graduate benefits is $795.00, while choosing two years of graduate benefits will be $595.00. Before you wonder, yes, they do offer payment plans.

PhotobucketSome individuals may also be interested in the fact that completing the Federal IncomeTax Course can count for college credits that can transfer to more than 1500 colleges.

When a student enrolls in the program they will receive a plethora of materials dealing with all matters to become a tax professional. Here is what a student will receive:
  1. Complete Text Material - 20 assignments that walk you through the whole tax filing process for individuals and small businesses.
  2. Self Check Practice Problems - each assignment is followed by a self test with answers.
  3. Examination Problems - after taking the self test you will then take the exam and mail it in to be graded.
  4. Instruction and Grading Service
  5. Practical Case Studies
  6. Student Guidance Service
  7. Building and Operating a Successful Tax Practice Book
  8. Reference Book
  9. Graduation Certificate
  10. Post Graduate Services

This is an incredible amount of material. Anyone out there that might be looking to change or start a new career can really get a lot of bang for their buck with this program. Everything a person would need to start their own business. NTTS states this program can be finished in 8-10 weeks, but the student is allowed up to a year to finish the program. After completing the course the student will still need to take the IRS Tax Preparer Exam to prepare taxes for others or to open up a tax business.

New Information from National Tax Training School

NTTS is launching this entire course online. Currently lessons 1-10 are available. In the future they hope to add audio and video lectures as well as discussion forums. So far I found the navigation of the website easy and user friendly. I am very much looking forward to lectures, so that I will better understand all the tax information and concepts.

Why I Wanted This Review and What I Thought

I applied for this review because knowledge is power. For 26 years a professional tax preparer has prepared our taxes. With the knowledge I gain from this program I can prepare our own taxes. Currently I am a co-director of an educational cooperative and it will be handy to have this tax information for future use. When I received the binder in the mail I was impressed with the material. Then a couple of weeks later I received four more items and thought this is great. Once I started reading, it became a bit overwhelming. Definitely material that should be taken one bite at a time. The tax language at times was over my head and I had to read segments over and over to gain understanding. To be honest this is the first class I have undertaken that a grade would be attached to since college. That in itself had me feeling some pressure. I received my first grade back with a B plus and felt good about that. NTTS reportts that they grade the test the same day they receive it to get it back to you in a timely fashion. I have found this to be the case. Eight - 10 weeks to finish the program would be tough for "me", but others that can devote a few hours each day could do it in that time frame. When I reached assignment 7 I became frustrated and decided to take a break from the program. A few days later I received my scores for assignments 2-5 and actually got good grades. This encouraged me to go ahead and finish the program. I have the remainder of a year to finish it and will take my time. So far the program has taught me so much I had not idea about in the tax world. So far I have learned that I can do my own taxes and feel confidant that I did them correctly. Getting into the tax business could not be easier with using all the materials and guidance you will receive from National Tax Training School. I highly recommend them.

Please take a few moments and peruse National Tax Training School to see if this is something that could benefit you.

To view what other TOS Reviewers think about National Tax Training School go to TOS Review Crew.

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Memories - Gilmore Girls

               This is one of my all time favorite shows. I love Gilmore Girls. It has been years since I watched this but it is available on Netflix. I've decided to to start from the very beginning and watch it all over again. Currently watching season 1 episode 1.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Heart Stopped

This afternoon after lunch I let both my dogs out in the fenced back yard. They seemed to be enjoying themselves so I decided to let them stay for a while. I went upstairs to watch relax and watch some TV. About a hour later I noticed that neither of dogs had scratched to come back in so I went to check on them. Doodle was waiting at the door to come in but puppy (aka Angel) was no where to be seen. At first I thought maybe I had let her in and forgot. I called for her in the house and in the back yard to no avail. I really started to freak out at this point. You see this dog is like my third child (I don't mind admitting this). As I was calling her name out inside the house I looked out the front window and say a white blur running out from the wood area into our gravel driveway. Sure enough puppy had somehow gotten out of the back yard fence and went on a road trip. Luckily she heard me calling her and came right back, although I don't know how long she had been out and about or how far she had gone. We think we discovered how she got out and hope that doesn't happen again.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Week Where Something Was Going On Every Day

Some weeks are just super packed. This week was one of those. I guess I will go day by day and let you in on all the awesomeness. I'll start with last Friday:

Friday - Grace and a friend went to see the Wonderquest production of The Frog Prince. After the production we went to Burger King for lunch and ran some errands to a craft store and Party City.

Saturday - Up early in the morning to attend Camp Mikell for Acts of Faith retreat. Team building exercises all day as well as intensive drama practice. Afterwards the team came to our house for dinner and worship around the bonfire. I cooked tacos with all the fixings for 13 of us. I also walked/ran for 45 minutes this day.

Sunday - Up early again to attend worship with the youth team. Acts of Faith led the service with music and skits while Scott did something way out of his comfort zone and delivered a 20 minute message. After the service we had a potluck lunch and visited. Both me and Grace came home a took a nap.

Monday - Since no school happened on Friday we decided to take Monday off as well and call it Fall Break. Went to visit with some friends and had a wonderful afternoon. Walked 45 today too.

Tuesday - Back to the books with all the regular stuff plus 4 items we are reviewing for TOS. Currently our favorite new item that we are using is The Pilgrim Story. You can read my review here to see why we liked it so much.  In the afternoon was cooperative with art and drama.

Wednesday - School in the a.m. again. Grace has been working on waking up earlier and get school work accomplished mostly by lunch. This afternoon I led the first meeting of our Youth Service Group from 2 - 4. Thirteen students showed up for the meeting which was a few more than I expected. Lots of ideas where thrown around the table. Each student went home with an organization, etc. to research and in two weeks when we meet again we will decide on a name for our group and what type of service we wish to start. I came home after the meeting and rushed out to walk while hubby brought home pizza for dinner.

Thursday - More school work in the morning. Grace attended her writing class after lunch and then we both headed to cooperative for choir and puppetry arts. After cooperative Grace went to Acts of Faith practice. Next weekend is our first performance at Victory Home which is a men's home that battles addiction.

Friday - This brings us full circle to today. School work this morning, going on a walk in a few minutes and Grace will go off to spend the night with a friend tonight. Other than cleaning out the chicken coops tomorrow I plan on a lot of down time at home watching television and reading.

To see what went on this week in other homeschoolers lives visit Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TOS Review - Dayspring Christian Academy- The Pilgrim Story

   Dayspring Christian Academy is a private Christian school located in Lancaster County. What makes this school unique comes from teaching their students with the Principal Approach. Most of us don't live in Lancaster County and are unable to attend classes. Dayspring has taken that in to consideration and offers online classes (live and self paced). For the purposes of this review we were offered a self paced online class with a 6 month subscription - The Pilgrim Story.This class is recommended for grades 3 - 6. Below I will list the objectives for this class stated in the introduction of the class. (This is quoted directly from the class and website).

  • Students will be able to retell the major events of the Pilgrim Story.
  • Define Providence and give several examples of how God cared for the Pilgrims.
  • List four Biblical principles of government and give examples and applications of these principles.
  • Define four Christian character traits that the Pilgrims exhibited and give an example of each.
  • Write a short paragraph explaining why Christians should rejoice in our trails and hardships. The student will be able to list at least three trails that were faced by the Pilgrims.
What will take place in each lesson:
  • Printing of resources needed for lessons (maps, documents, note sheets, vocabulary lists, and enrichment activities).
  • Review of previous lesson.
  • Students will take notes (note sheets) while listening and watching the lesson.
  • Enrichment activities.
  • Review for current lesson (questions to answer).
  • Suggestions for further reading.
At the end of each unit is a test. The student/parent has a choice between essay questions or multiple choice. The course does ask you to keep a binder with all the student's work and instructions on organizing the work into categories. There are 5 units in this course and each unit has 3-4 lessons plus a test. At the end of the class is a virtual field trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Each lesson will take approximately 30 and longer for enrichment activities.

How we used it and what we thought:

To review The Pilgrim Story we set aside our normal history curriculum. I really wanted us to devote all our attention to completing this program. Each week we watch 3 lessons and do the corresponding activities and note taking.  I will admit with us being homeschoolers and tweaking curriculum like we all do - we didn't do all the enrichment activities that are available. We just finished the Unit 3 test and will finish the remainder of the class. I asked Grace tonight what she thought of the class and she said, "Of all the products we have reviewed this is my favorite". Let me tell you, that is saying a lot coming from a kid who likes nothing academic. I am sure you would like more specifics of what we liked, so here no particular order.

  1. She can use this independently.
  2. Website and course page is easy to navigate as well as the class itself.
  3. Teaches her how to take notes with the note sheets.
  4. Christ centered information about history.
  5. Grades tests for me and posts the information on a user report.
  6. Visuals, graphics, interactivity, and information are all great.
  7. A virtual field trip (looking forward to this).
My only two negatives are they don't have any more self paced classes available at this time and really that has nothing to do with The Pilgrim Story. I would really love for Dayspring to offer more self paced online classes. Also the introduction states the program is for 2nd - 8th grade while the website information is 3rd - 6th grade. I felt like the material was on my 8th graders level. But some clarification for age range would be welcomed.  Regardless of these two negatives, we love this class. The price is right too. 

The course retails for $99.00 and you will get six months to finish the course.

Please visit The Pilgrim Story for more information.

To see what other reviewers think about this product visit TOS Review Crew.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This Is Your Chance ... TOS Review Crew Appllication

I made the decision in May of this year to fill out an application to join the TOS Review Crew. When I heard I made it in the final cut I was so excited. I had been a subscriber of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for years and read every issue cover to cover. Seeing other blogs of families that were on the review crew always made me a little envious and wish in the back of my mind that I could do the same. Joining the review crew was on of the best decisions I ever made. It pushed me a little out of my comfort zone in the beginning but I love it. The TOS family is incredible. I have received so many blessings from being a part of this group, not to mention the great products you get for free to review and post on your blog.

Now you can have a chance to join up also. Follow the link below and fill out the application. Good luck!!!  Go to TOS Review Crew Application to fill it out.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hero Tales From Great Waters Press

Raising Real Men is a company dedicated to offering materials to raise children with character. Hal and Melanie Young are the homeschooling parents of six boys and two girls as well as the founders of Raising Real Men and Great Waters Press. I had the opportunity to review one of their products through the TOS Review Crew and just loved the product. They recently gave me the blessing of offering another product to review, Hero Tales from American History.

Hero Tales comes as three cds of stories from American History in an audio book format retailing for $15.00. You really cannot beat this price for what you get. I decided to use the cds in the car for traveling between errands and classes. I thought a lot of the information in the stories would be old hat, things I already knew, but real quick like I found out that was not the case. Immediately I realized how much of American History I didn't know a thing about, especially battle stories. I am not a big war/battle enthusiast which is why my favorite stories were about George Washington, Daniel Boone and John Quincy Adams. I can see this being a big winner with boys and girls for that matter who love all things about wars/weapons in battle/battles. Downloads can also be purchased for $4.00 each or individual cds can be purchased for $7.00. What makes the audio books even more interesting is the material is from a children's book written by Theodore Roosevelt. Now how many folks out there know that he wrote a children's book. I sure didn't. Not only have Hal and Melanie turned the book into an audio story but they have also added sound effects that really bring the story to life. Reading the books aloud is Hal Young himself. My husband loves all things about the wars of America so he is next on the list to get to listen to the stories. Please make sure to visit Raising Real Men and check out this awesome product as well as everything else they have to offer.

Disclaimer: Raising Real Men offered Hero Tales to me free of charge for my honest opinion. All opinions are mine.

Second Annual Acts of Faith Retreat

As I have posted before Grace is in a drama ministry group named Acts of Faith. We travel around and perform skits and music for churches and organizations. This weekend was our second annual team building retreat.
All day was spent at Camp Mikell doing team building exercises, Bible study, and practicing skits. This is the type of outdoor team building activities that you have to work together to achieve a goal. After leaving Camp Mikell the group arrived at my house for dinner and a camp fire with more worship time.

Making a wooden bowl at the camp fire.

After dinner and the camp fire the group headed back to the stables for barn tag then bed. The next morning we had a youth led worship service outside in the fields with music, skits and a message by my husband. 

Grace playing the bongos for music during worship service on Sunday morning.

Grace and myself came home as very tired campers. Sunday afternoon we both took naps. A lot of the group stayed at the stables that afternoon for zip lines but we were exhausted and came back home.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Current Science Project

Hubby created for us a home made incubator. We knew we wanted more baby chicks but none of our chickens are laying or sitting at the moment. Also didn't want to go through the trouble of ordering as well as paying for them. A friend gave us 24 eggs to hatch. This is the first 24 hours of incubation and I am having a little trouble. Humidity needs to be between 55 and 70 percent and temperature needs to be around 100. Well I cannot keep both to stay up at the same time. Either temp is too high or humidity is too low. I think we need a smaller bulb. Will change that out tonight. Hoping at least 12 of these will hatch. Twenty more days and we will see.

Second Field Trip of the Year - Wonderquest

Each Fall we look forward to watching the next Wonderquest production. Wonderquest performs one performance a year for kids. Our homeschool group goes every year. This was our 6th year to attend. Some past performances included: Robin Hood, The Ice Dragon, Briar Rabbit, The Emperor's New Clothes, and James and the Giant Peach. Today we went and say the performance of The Frog Prince. Out of an auditorium of about 300 kids Grace and her friend Josiah were the only tweens/teens present. I guess because we are drama geeks and any chance we get to see a play.....we take it.

Their sets are always very impressive.

After the play all the characters come out and take pictures.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TOS - Zoowhiz

These days what kid doesn't enjoy playing on the computer. What if you could learn math, reading, grammar, word skills, and punctuation while playing.....If so, then Zoowhiz would be a good fit for your family. We were offered a premium subscription to Zoowhiz to review through the TOS Review Crew. Zoowhiz is recommended for students 5 - 15 years of age.

Let us look at what you get with the premium subscription:
  • Play Zoowhiz with all the free features
  • More cool animals
  • More awesome arcade games
  • Detailed animal info
  • Targeted learning
  • Unlimited Access 24/7
  • Achievement Certificates (coming soon)
Normally a premium subscription will run you $59.95, but currently Zoowhiz will allow you to upgrade from your free account for only $14.95.

Now let us look at all the components that make up Zoowhiz. All components are found on the map.


Learn and Earn
Learn and Earn has three activities/subjects to choose from: math, words, and reading.




When setting an account up you will choose the age range appropriate for your child, therefore when choosing a subject to learn it will already be in the correct age range. Each problem gives you two chances to answer correctly. If an incorrect answer is given it will then give the correct answer. As questions are answered correctly the student will earn coins to spend. Also the questions that are answered incorrectly will be brought back again and again until answered correctly.


The arcade has games such as bubble plunge, pattycake panic, etc. to play. Each game the student plays cost money. First go to learn and earn, gain money, then go play games. Currently there are seven different games to play. Our favorite game was bubble plunge.


In the biodome shop a student can purchase animals with the money they collect from learn and earn. Animals include everything from a bulldog to mythical creatures. Once the animals are purchased they are placed in the student's personal zoo. Each animal comes with a description and interesting facts.



In milestones a student or parent can view how they are progressing in each subject. Once clicking on a subject a chart will display with all the categories for said subject. Instead of grades the students receive smiley faces with different facial expressions. After the chart displays you can then click on each category to see which problems/questions were missed.


How we used the product and what we thought

We used this product three times a week and included it with our language arts studies. Overall we think this is a good product, especially for visual learners. Immediate feedback is also a plus. We felt that the website was very easy to navigate. Grace liked the different choice of avatars and purchasing exotic animals.


The questions and problems were definitely on her level and some were even hard for her to answer. The education content for older students is good. Graces only negative about the program was even though the learning aspect was on her level, the graphics, games and concepts seemed to young for a 12-15 year old. Also it would be nice to do something with the zoo animals once you purchase them. So to reiterate, this is a good product overall. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. Grace would give it 3 out of 5 stars. As a side note we did enjoy the Australian accents and slang terms that were used throughout the program. The price is right for this subscription too.

Go visit Zoowhiz and check out all the possibilities of online learning they offer.

See what other crew members thought at TOS Review Crew .

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.