Today's Wisdom

Monday, January 31, 2011

TOS Review: Times Alive

Today's review product is Times Alive from City Creek Press.

This new program makes learning multiplication facts more fun than ever. It is based on the Times Tables the Fun Way Book for Kids and teaches the zero's through the nine times tables.
  • Use with a PC or a MAC
  • Students read along while they hear the storyteller.
  • Lively animation makes the number characters come alive.
  • Each story is followed by a music video with a catchy song.
  • Interactive games and fun quizzes engage the student while testing recall.
  • Progress reports summarize date lesson completed, quiz scores, and time elapsed.
  • Students may stop anywhere and resume where they left off. The program remembers.

    My kids asked to do Times Alive first every morning!  They loved the catchy songs and videos.  My 7 year old came to me after watching the first time and said, "I know what 8x8 is" so I asked her to tell me and she did!!  So, I was impressed right away.   I think learning by song and video is fine but I also loved the fact that the students were tested on their knowledge to see what they retained and their progress was saved each time.  Here is a sample of how Times Alive works.

    The Times Alive software is available on CD for $48.95 or you can download it on your computer for $44.95.

    They also have a Times Deluxe Homeschool Kit available.  It includes lot of helpful tools to aid your student in learning their multiplication tables.  They have other aids for addition as well.  Be sure to visit their website to see everything they offer!

    Would our family purchase this product?  YES!!  I love the fact that it can be used again and again and again with all students!


    Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of Times Alive.

    **Disclaimer:  I received a free download of this software in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Homeschool Mother's Journal - 2

    I'm joining up with Sue again this week to bring you the 2nd edition of The Homeschool Mother's Journal.  I really love this!  Click on the picture to see other journals!

    In my life this week...

    My son hit double digits!  That is now two children in the household with double digits.  Oh, how time flies.  We also had no sickness!!  But as I type this, my double digit boy and myself have been hit yet again - this time with just colds but they can still wear you down!

    In our homeschool this week...

    We were back to regular schedule!  It was so wonderful to get back to our Classical Conversations (CC) group.

    Places we're going and people we're seeing...

    This week is going to be crazy if our health allows!  We have our normal dance and CC activities.  We will also add in end of year testing and a field trip to the science museum on Friday.  Our local radio station is collecting Valentine's to deliver to children in the hospital for Valentine's Day so we've made cards and challenged our church and CC group to add to our bounty.  Hoping we can take a truckload by on Friday!

    My favorite thing this week was...

    Having my husband home more although it is due to sad circumstances - I have enjoyed him being close by.  His father is not doing well.  He has been battling cancer for a while and is come to a point of complete feebleness.

    What's working/not working for us...

    CC is really working for us right now.  We have been praying over joining next year because the cost is quite high for a one income family but  we all really enjoy it and are learning so much.  Also, God provided us with unexpected money to aid in our decision.  He is just so awesome!!  So, we will be joining back up for next year!!

    Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

    pondering joining the local homeschool group at the YMCA for PE.  I was the person to get this group going,lol, and that was 3 years ago and we have yet to join.   Our schedule already stays so full - it's just one more thing to add.  It would not be out of the way though since we are always close by there anyway!

    A photo to share...

    Best buddies - I always wanted an older brother just like my son!  He is so kind and protective of his sister.  I love how he takes care of her and he will definitely be the go to person when she starts dating :)

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Week 19

    Our fab five are well!  Hallelujah!  School work was back on schedule and we were back at our local Classical Conversations group once again.  We missed them so much!! Everyone also made it back to their dance classes which was missed greatly too!

    The most memorable moment this week was Stephen hitting double digits!! Boy, how time flies!  Now, we have 2 children in double digits....unreal!

    Couldn't find my camera cord but was able to upload through the printer to snapfish :)!

    We finished up our Growing with God bible study book this week and just in time to start Apologia's Who Is God?  (review on it coming up in March - so stay tuned).  It looks awesome at first glance.

    We are on week 15 in Classical Conversations which includes learning the countries involved in WW1, area of a triangle, 2 forms of energy, imperfect Latin conjugation of the verb amo, names and locations of countries in the Middle East, and at America declaring it's independence in our timeline.  We showed my husband a little of our knowledge this week and he was very impressed :)

    We really need to get back to our reading of Trouble River.  We set it aside and haven't gotten back to it yet!

    Other projects this week include making Valentine's galore!  We've challenged our CC community and our church to join us.  We then will deliver those cards to His radio where they will be distributed out in their Hearts for Kids program and delivered to children in local hospitals.  We have really had a blast with that and plan to make it an annual event!

    For more weekly wrap-ups visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    TOS Review: Ten Marks

    My response to today's review product might just completely shock you.  It did me!  I did see it coming but I was holding on as long as I could.  I never, ever thought I'd like a computer based math program.  Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself here. 

    Today's review product is TenMarks. It is an online math program that helps students refresh, learn, and master math concepts - in their own time, at their own pace. Each child receives a personalized curriculum to help them master the concepts quickly. I used TenMarks with my 4th grader and 7th grader.

    TenMarks offers lessons and personalized programs that cover all the core math skills and concepts your child will need. It is for grades 3-10, covers over 100 core skills per grade, has video lessons and hints for every topic, and is mapped to state standards. Each topic only contains 10 questions (a wonderful feature according to my kids :). The answers were in the form of multiple choice which was the one thing that I was not really fond of. If you'd like to see what curriculum is available for your state go here. You can also watch videos of how TenMarks works here.

    As the parent, TenMarks allows you completely customize your child's curriculum. You get to choose which worksheets you'd like for your child to work on, how many per week, and at what grade level. You can even pause the program which we did during the holiday break! I loved that feature. I also switched some of the worksheets around when I noticed one child was constantly getting a do over because the level he was on was too advanced for him. You can also set up rewards after your student completes so many worksheets - any reward you'd like - just type it in and the countdown will begin for your student. My children wanted to do double so they could get to their reward faster :) Also, the student unlocks fun games that they can play after completing so many worksheets. My boys LOVED this part too.

    I always tell the kids when we are starting a new review and for them to give me their honest opinion so that we can help other families in their curriculum choices. Well, this is the first one that they said - can we buy it so we can keep doing it! Wow, on a math curriculum. We did have a few issues with the online program when TenMarks experienced a server crash but no information was lost and they had the problem resolved pretty quickly.

    You can purchase a TenMarks online subscription here for $10 per month, bi-annually for $49, or annually for $89. Those prices are per student. If you'd like to give it a try first, there is a free trial here.

    Would our family purchase this resource?  I cannot say with 100% yes at this time.  The price being per student would be nearly $300 just for math for our family.  It is s a wonderful program and I know that my boys will be disappointed when our subscription expires but at this time we could not continue it.  It is a product that will be high on our "considering" homeschool list though.


    Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of TenMarks.

    **Disclaimer:  I received a free trial subscription in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    TOS Review: Lifeway Christian Stores

    Lifeway is one of those stores that I find myself just browsing in for hours.  I love their stores and online resources.  My kids are the same way!  They love the toy/book section but they also love the music section.  Lifeway has so many products to offer - not just bible studies but cards, gifts, toys, books, candy, etc!  I've purchased many items from there, both in the store and online for our family and gifts for other families.

     Lifeway sent the crew The Holman Illustrated Bible to review and like the other products I've purchased before, I was not disappointed.  We LOVE this book!  It such a great resource book!  We have found ourselves using it often during our bible and history times.  The maps included are some of our favorites. Each page is in full color!!  I am such a visual person and so are my children.  It is designed for ages 5 through 10 but again I think it is great for all ages!  Studying about Daniel?  Go to the "D" index and you'll find him.  Want to know about the city of Iconium (I did, from my bible study Living Beyond Yourself), go to the I index and there it is.  Also included are full color illustrated charts that include subjects such as birds in the bible, foods in the bible, musical instruments in the bible, the apostles, insects in the bible, etc.  Ever had trouble pronouncing a name of the bible?  The pronunciations are included too!

    More features include:
    • 750 Essential Bible Words
    • Kid-friendly definitions
    • Pronunciation system
    • Alternative spellings for words from King James Version
    • 500 full color photos, illustrations, reconstructions, and maps
    If you would like to see a sneak peak of this beautiful book go here.  You can purchase your own copy of The Holman Illustrated Bible here for $14.99 + s/h.

    Would our family purchase this resource?  Yes, we have used it so much already.  It is a wonderful addition to our homeschool library!


    Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of Lifeway Christian Stores and The Holman Illustrated Dictionary.

    Here is Jonathan looking at the map of the split of Israel and Judah - great companion for our CC memory work!

    **Disclaimer:  I received a free book in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    The Homeschool Mother's Journal

    The Homeschool Chick

    I love this look back on the week in journal questions so I thought I'd give it a try.  And that is my favorite planner in the picture as well!

    In my life this week...

    This week we had more sickness.  Still I found myself praising my God that we were able to spend our time at home and not in hospital as so many around me seem to be doing lately.  

    In our homeschool this week...

    We were completely off of the nice little schedule I made up for us to follow but we still accomplished the necessities.  And again, I reflected back on how I am becoming so much more relaxed.  It's all going to work out.  God is in control!

    Places we're going & people we're seeing... 

    This week we will be celebrating another child in our home hitting double digits!!  We also will be headed on a field trip to see our local Act 4 Youth production of Tom Sawyer.

    My favorite thing this week was...

    was seeing my little girl's fever break and her energy return.  I also enjoyed starting up Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself this week.

    What's working/not working for us... 

    Both boys have enjoyed Ten Marks (review coming soon) so much lately that I can't believe I'm saying this out loud but I may even consider turning over our math curriculum to a computer !  

    Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

    I am already looking at next year's curriculum.  We are seriously considering using My Father's World, Exploring Countries and Cultures.  I love combining subjects whenever I can and this seems to be what I'm looking for at an affordable price.

    A photo to share...

    My sick princess still smiling!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Week 18

    Déjà vu week!  

    Monday started really well as the kids had dance performances at the local theatre for a Martin Luther King Jr celebration which was really awesome!!  

    Tuesday, I was awakened to, "Moooooommmmmyyyyy, I don't feel good!!!!!!"  Yep, more sickness and yeah we need a little grammar lesson there :).  Little Sarah came down with strep for the second time in months and felt just plain miserable! 

    So, Wednesday we spent at the doctor's office with everyone else from our county!  Needless to say, the schedule this week - well, it was NOT followed! The boys still worked very hard though and did what I asked of them even if it was in the afternoon and for that I am so grateful and proud!

    We spent a lot of time on our memory work and watching Speekee this week.  We also focused on our vocabulary and writing from IEW.
    My sick princess but still smiling!  Here's to everyone being well!

    For more weekly wrap-ups visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

    TOS Review: Speekee TV

    Hola! (Hello)  I am so blessed to be able to be on the crew for The Oldschoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew! This year we have had the opportunity to use so many products that I never would have been able to use if it hadn't been for the crew!  Today's product is no exception!  I had never even heard of it and it is now a family favorite!


    ¿Qué es?(What is it?)  Speekee TV!  Me gusta mucho!!(I like it alot!)  I took two years of Spanish in high school but I don't remember very much of it except the colors and numbers and of course Hola (Hello) and Adiós(Goodbye).  

    Speekee TV uses what's known as a 'spiral learning' approach, in which new language is presented and then revised when the next set of language comes up. With this methodology the child does not lose contact with what he/she has learned before, the learning being both structured and gradual. Therefore, they suggest each episode is viewed in sequence: 1, 2, 3 etc.   And so we did just that.  We watched as a family because as I said before, my Spanish could use some extra help. 

    Speekee TV is designed to help young learners but I think any beginner would love it.  My 12 year old enjoyed watching just as much as my 7 year old.  After you watch each episode, you have worksheets that you can download to reinforce what was taught in the videos.  The worksheets are very elementary but again my 12 year old was disappointed when I didn't print him a sheet out to do after the first episode so I went back and printed him one too!  Sometimes we label our children as too old to enjoy things when really they enjoy it just as much as the younger children.  Tengo treinta y ocho anos (I am 38 years old) and enjoyed watching and singing along with Speekee, Jim, Dino, and Lupi too!


    I reviewed Speekee TV online but the episodes are also available in DVD.  They are meant to be watched in sequence and over and over for reinforcement.   Each episode is spoken and sung entirely in Spanish!  The Spanish and English words are printed at the bottom of the screen.  

    Speekee TV is designed so that children can learn Spanish in their own time and at their own pace.  Here's what you get with a subscription.
    A subscription to Speekee TV is £4.95 (or $7.50) per month and the first two weeks are free.
    Subscribe securely using PayPal, and unsubscribe at any time - there's no minimum period.
    Would our family purchase a subscription to Speekee  TV online?  Si, es fantastico! (yes, it is fantastic!!)  We all love it!  I would also consider purchasing the DVD set in the long run because I think that would be a better savings for us.


    Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of Speekee TV.

    **Disclaimer:  I received a free subscription in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    TOS Review: Maestro Classics Peter and the Wolf

    Maestro Classics has completely updated their website and you can also find some awesome educational materials available to you complete with lesson plans, how to use the CD to build a whole curriculum, and a home projects section coming soon!

    What an awesome product to get to review.  It goes right along with our classical learning this year!  Maestro Classics offers many different classical stories set to classical music for your family to enjoy.  The target age for this CD is 5+ but I really feel any child would enjoy listening to it.  My review CD was Peter and the Wolf.  
    On the CD are 8 tracks, all of which you can hear samples of at their website.  To purchase this CD is $16.98 but you can buy 3 Cd's for $45 when you use coupon code WINTER2010.  

    The eight tracks include:

    1. Introduction
    Introduction to the instruments.
    3. About the Composer - Prokofiev
    The famous Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev, began life as a child prodigy.
    4. A Russian Peter
    The Trio Voronezh performs a medley of tunes on Russian folk instruments.
    5. About the Music
    Discover that each animal not only has an instrument but also a theme.
    6. Peter and the Wolf
    The music without the narration.
    7. Invitation to Grandfather's Party
    Time to get ready to dance.
    8. Kalinka
    Dance along with the music.
    Total Duration: 68:11 Minutes

    So, our family was able to listen to the narration and orchestra along with learning about the composer, conductor and so much more!  My children also love dance so listening to the dance along was awesome!

    Also included for the price is a 24 page booklet with dot to dot, crossword, match the instrument to the character, and much more!

    Would our family purchase this product?  Absolutely!!  We have much to learn about classical music and this was such a fun experience!


    Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of Maestro Classics.

    **Disclaimer:  I received a CD free of charge in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!