Today's Wisdom

Thursday, May 31, 2012

TOS Review: Dive Into Your Imagination


We recently had the opportunity to review a wonderful new to us DVD from the series called Dive Into Your Imagination. Annie Crawley (aka Ocean Annie) created Dive Into Your Imagination to change the way a new generation views the ocean. She followed her dream of bringing the ocean to children when she created the company Dive Into Your Imagination. Read Ocean Annie's full bio here. She has an amazing and inspiring story! The Dive Into Your Imagination Series contains 3 DVDs with beautiful cinematography of ocean life. We reviewed the 1st DVD in the series called, "What Makes A Fish A Fish?".


This DVD teaches children about astounding fish from around the world. How do fish take a bath? Learn the truth about sharks. Play hide and seek on the reef. The underwater realm provides boundless opportunities for parents to learn and laugh with their children. An upbeat original score celebrates the ocean and brings it to life. The DVD has three audio tracks, English, Spanish and music only. Great as an entertaining teaching tool for the classroom too!

Check out the sample chapter, Hide and Seek on the Reef:

The series is suggested for ages 3-8 but my 14 year old and myself enjoyed watching them too. The DVD includes 8 chapters but the whole thing is just 37 minutes long.

There is also a wonderful Educator Guide available with each DVD. This guide corresponds with each chapter from the DVD of the same title produced by Annie Crawley about life in the ocean. These cross-curricular lessons are ideal for young learners and bring science together with Art, Language Arts, Geography, Math, Music, Social Studies, Movement, Teamwork, Collaboration, Character Building Skills, Imagination Play and more.

For each chapter of the video there is a lesson plan that includes:

  • Character education and imagination play for your students.
  • A set of student questions correlating to the lessons designed to prompt discussion and enhance learning during video and multi-media viewing.
  • Ideas and support materials you can use to build learning centers in your classroom which combine science with other core subjects.
  • A glossary of scientific terms, eco-tips and websites for educator content support.
  • Suggested book lists and extension activities that can be used to bring an ocean of imagination flooding into your class.
We really enjoyed the worksheets included in the Educator's Guide and the questions included were a great tool for me. I learned a great deal myself! Just in the first chapter was this excerpt...

Fish come in many forms, shapes, sizes, and colors, yet they share common characteristics that make them “fish”. In order to be a fish, an animal must live primarily in water, be a vertebrate with a skeleton, use gills to breathe, have fins for propulsion, and a mouth. Fish are called ectotherms because they get heat from the outside of their body. Scientists who study fish are called ichthyologists.

Who knew a scientist who studied fish were called an ichthyologist? Not me!! The Educator's Guide is definitely not an open and go guide. You will need to prep ahead in order to gain the best use of this resource. It is FULL of information. We absolutely did not do every activity but I loved the options that were given and the ease and freedom to pick and choose!

The DVDs are $19.95 each and can be purchased here. There are 3 DVDs in the series and all 3 have Educator Guides available. The Educator Guides are available as individual PDF's for $69.95 or for $299 for printed version of the whole set. I have great news though! As a special for the Homeschool Crew and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and followers Annie Crawley of Dive Into Your Imagination, she will gift you a set of PDFs with purchase of the DVDs. When you place your DVD order, just let her know in the notes that you are a Homeschool Parent! Very Awesome!!

Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought about this DVD as well as the other DVDs available from Dive Into Your Imagination .

**Disclaimer: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I was received a free DVD and Educator Guide to review. The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 5/25

Share your own journal and read others here.

Let summer commence!!!!!!

In my life & homeschool this week… 
We finished our last week of school!!

We now have 9th grader!!

A 6th grader!!

And a 4th grader!!

Love these babies!!

My favorite thing this week was…
Watching my children in action!!  We also had Youth Sunday this week.

Jonathan performed FANATIC by Lecrae and Stephen was one of the dancers for Youth Sunday!

Stephen and Sarah sung John 1:1-7 in Latin and English.

Stephen also "preached" a sermon on Ruth and Noami. However, I did not have my camera at that time but  I'm hoping to get that video from a friend soon!

Things I’m working on…
I'm already in the school room taking out the old and bringing in the new!

Things I’m grateful for…
My sweet, sweet family.  

Photos to share…
Sarah wearing our Youth Pastor's wife's shoes.  :)  She's always been able to balance well!!

Congratulations, my sweeties!

Friday, May 25, 2012

TOS Review: Heritage History

Who among you has an e-reader?  Most homeschool families do now including us.  Heritage History offers a wealth of books that can be read for free at their website.  For those users who would like more option choices including a teacher's guide, Heritage History also provides Curriculum CDs which include specific time periods such as Ancient Greece, Early America, and British Empire. They also have a Young Readers collection, that features easy-to-read selections from many different civilizations.  So, when you purchase the CD, you have 3 options available to use.  It is also extremely user-friendly.Photobucket
We reviewed the Young Readers CD collection.  The Young Readers collection is the introductory unit of the Heritage Classical Curriculum which includes 86 living books or selections taken from other libraries in the Heritage History curriculum. It is intended for grammar school students who are reading fluently.  It can also be used with younger students as a read-aloud.  A complete listing of the books included can be found at the bottom of the page,  here.  
Included on the CD is a pdf copy of the Teacher's Guide.  The Teacher's Guide includes book recommendations, era overviews, a guide to "Living Books" history for instructors, binder covers, scheduling recommendations, weekly accountability forms, and so much more!  It is loaded with information and well worth the purchase price to our family.  I like the ability to have everything already formatted for me so that I can just print and go!  Time is valuable around here!

(from the website) Instead of describing the Study Aids in detail, abbreviated samples are provided below. In most cases, these samples were provided by creating a PDF image of a portion of a much larger file. Study aids that accompany each curriculum include:

As I mentioned before, I found the CD extremely easy to navigate through.  I loved the look of it.  It is formatted to be a replica of the website!  This curriculum can certainly stand alone as your main history curriculum or you can combine it with other history curriculum.  See this guide for more information on combining.  The CD's for each time period can be purchased here for $24.99 each or you can purchase the whole set for $99.99.  

Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought about the Young Readers collection as well as the other collections available from Heritage History .

**Disclaimer: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I was received a free CD to review. The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOS Crew Blue Ribbon Award Winners

The votes are in and here are the results!  If you are purchasing new curriculum, there are lots of reviews here to help you with your decision.  If our family reviewed the winner, I've posted that too - just click Our Review!  Grab a cup of coffee, tea, water or your favorite beverage and enjoy!!

Favorite Reading Instruction Product: Reading Eggs / Our Review
Favorite Writing Product: Write Shop / Our Review
Favorite Language Arts Product: Progeny Press / Our Review
Favorite Social Studies Product: TruthQuest History 
Favorite Science Product: Amazing Science 
Favorite Math Product: Math Mammoth 
Favorite Online Math Product: Math Rider 
Favorite Foreign Language Product: Visual Latin / Our Review
Favorite Fine Arts Product: Artistic Pursuits / Our Review
Favorite Christian Education Product:   Apologia: Who Am I? / Our Review

Favorite Preschool Product: Before Five in a Row 
Favorite Elementary Product: All About Reading 
Favorite Middle School Product: Write with WORLD / Our Review
Favorite High School Product: Excellence in Literature / Our Review
Favorite College or College-Prep Product: Excellence in Literature / Our Review

Best Online Resource: Reading Eggs / Our Review
Best e-Product: Heritage History / Our Review Coming Soon!
Best Homeschool Resource: Apologia: Educating the Wholehearted Child / Our Review
Best Book, Novel, or Magazine: Apologia: How to Have a HEART for Your Kids / Our Review
Best Children's Book: Amazing Animals by Design / Our Review
Best Game or Toy: Northstar Games: Wits and Wagers / Our Review and Say Anything / Our Review
Best Hands-On Resource: Pitsco Education 

Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed: eMealz / Our Review
Best Customer Service: K5 Learning / Our Review
Most Adaptable Resource: Creek Edge Press / Our Review
Most Family-Oriented Resource: Northstar Games: Wits and Wagers / Our Review and Say Anything / Our Review

Kids' Choice (favorite of CHILDREN ages 0-12): Reading Eggs / Our Review
Teens' Choice (favorite per the TEENAGERS): Pitsco Education 
All Around Crew Favorite: Visual Latin / Our Review

Congratulations to all!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TOS Review: WriteShop Junior Book D


We recently had the chance to review WriteShop Junior Book D in our homeschool.  I picked Book D because I have a 3rd and 5th grader so I knew they could both join in and they love combining subjects as much as I do!  Book D is recommended for 3rd-4th grade and reluctant 5th graders.  I recieved the e-book editions to review.  This included the Teacher's Guide, Junior Activity Pack which includes 10 Fold-And-Go Grammar Guides, and The Time Saver Pack.

Book D Writing Papers Include...

  • Letter of Invitation
  • Humor
  • Adventure
  • Science Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Poetry/Haiku
  • Folktales
  • Historical Fiction
  • Personal Narrative
  • Expository Writing: Factual Article
Skills Introduced in Book D
  • Identify and use proper grammar and punctuation
  • Narrow a broad topic to a specific topic
  • Brainstorm before writing
  • Structure a sentence
  • Write a paragraph
  • Choose strong words instead of weak ones
  • Write sentences of different lengths
  • Use emotion words to develop voice
  • Use the five senses to add descriptive detail
  • Self-edit and revise their work
  • Creatively publish their final drafts

The teacher guide is where you will find explanations and suggested schedules to implement the WriteShop D writing program. It also includes scripted lesson plans for you to use with your child.


A sample lesson plan page


The Student Activity Pack is actually like getting two books in one!

Student Worksheet Pack includes these printables:
  • Pre-writing Activities
  • Skill Builders
  • Journal Prompt Pages
  • Brainstorming Worksheets
  • Reading Log Forms
  • Self-editing Checklists
  • Writing Skills Evaluation Charts
I loved the Self-editing Checklist!

Here is an sample brainstorming page.


The Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack includes:
  • 10 Fold-N-Go Grammar Guides that you can print out on either white or colored paper
  • 20 Fold-N-Go Bookmarks for quick review
  • Assembly Instructions
  • Answer Keys
Your child will make the following guides using the Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack:
  • Lesson 1: Punctuation Marks
  • Lesson 2: Self-editing
  • Lesson 3: Nouns
  • Lesson 4: Pronouns
  • Lesson 5: Verbs
  • Lesson 6: Adjectives
  • Lesson 7: Adverbs
  • Lesson 8: Prepositions
  • Lesson 9: Capitalization
  • Lesson10: References
You will also need 10 tabbed file folders (not included)

Here is one of the grammar guides that we made.  It called for colored paper but white worked for us.

Another wonderful book was The Time Saver Pack.  If you put off playing games in curriculum because they take to much prep work then this book is for you (and me!).  I didn't have to worry about making or searching for anything ahead of time because what I needed was all right there.  The games are a fun way to make writing exciting and enjoyable.

Games such as these...
  • Where in the World? Globe Spinner and Cards to describe the setting in an adventure story
  • Camp Whodunit Cards to practice with the elements of a mystery
  • Make a Face Emotion Cards to develop a character’s voice
  • Adjective Exchange Coins and Back to the Clothesline to replace weak words with strong ones
  • True Stories! Cards and Spinner to plan the elements of a personal narrative

One of my children's favorite games was in Lesson 1 where you matched the salutation, date, signature, and closing to the body of the letter.  You mixed up 3 different letters and tried to put the pieces back together correctly.

As my 8th grader watched the fun that my younger two were having during their writing lessons, he begged to join so I let him.   This is where I felt the e-book version fit us best because you can print as many sheets as you need for your family!  If you have reluctant writers who just cannot stand to write, WriteShop Junior is a great curriculum to begin with them.  It is slow placed and fun and puts writers at ease.  Our family will continue using this as our writing curriculum for the rest of the school year. 

Here is a break down of the book prices and you can purchase any of these here
  • Junior Book D Teacher's Guide - print - $39.95
  • Junior Book D Teacher's Guide - e-book - $34.95
  • Junior Book D Activity Pack - print - $39.95
  • Junior Book D Activity Pack - e-book - $29.95
  • Junior Book D Time Saver Pack - print - $13.95
  • Junior Book D Time Saver Pack - e-book - $13.95

Remember, you only need to purchase these if you purchase the print version of the Activity Pack because the e-book version includes it!
  • Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack - print - $19.95
  • Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack - e-book - $11.95

If you make your purchase before June 15, 2012 and use the code CREW15, you can take an additional 15% off any Write Shop Primary or Junior books including e-books!

WriteShop also has other writing products for elementary, and jr/high school. You can also see sample pages of the different books here.

Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought about WriteShop products .

**Disclaimer: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I was received a free e-books of each available to review. The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation.

Friday, May 18, 2012

5 Days of Homeschool Life - Day 5

Day 1, 2, 3, and 4 in case you missed them!

Each week I try to wrap up our week by participating in The Homeschool Mother's Journal.  It's a fun way for me to journal our week and see other homeschoolers in action.

In my life this week… 
It started with a fun Mother's Day.  I received goodies picked out by my babies - a new apron, earrings, and a new coffee mug.  They know me so well!  The cards really made my day.

In our homeschool this week...
We started with a great week but ended up with me not feeling so well.  I'm still not up to full speed but I press on.  Here is a picture of the kids presenting their writing stories.  This week's theme was adventure fiction.  Pictures taken by the kids. :)

My favorite thing this week was…
Mother's Day was definitely my favorite thing of the week.

The weather was also gorgeous and the fresh air makes me feel better.  Can you see what is wrong with this picture?

Please excuse the toe, lol.

Although, it also shows the heart of this child towards his sister.  He is the big brother I always wanted!!  So sweet!!  In case you can't tell, he gave up his bike to let her ride and he rode the little pink princess bike.  :)

Things I’m working on…
Taking it easy really and trying to get back to full health.

Things I’m grateful for…
I'm grateful for a wonderful, God fearing and loving husband!

Scripture focus this week was 1 Corinthians 13!

Link to share…
Join my fellow TOS crewmates where they share 5 days of blogging fun including crockpot recipes, home organization, lesson plans, testing and more!


Share your own journal and read others here.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

TOS Review: Go Science from Library & Educational Services


We recently had the opportunity to review a line of science dvd's from Library & Educational Services (LES). The series is called Go Science.  The Go Science series contains 67 demonstrations on 6 seperate DVD's of physical or chemical science all with a spiritual application that points back to our Creator, God.  At the end of every demonstration, the host, Ben Roy, makes this fact known by saying, "Every time we learn something about science, we learn something about our Creator God!"  It quickly becomes a new chant in your homeschool so get ready!

The 6 volumes on the DVD's include...

Volume 1 - Motion
Volume 2 - Simple Machines, Sound, and Weather
Volume 3 - Magnetism, Engineering, Electricity, and Design
Volume 4 - Chemistry, States of Matter, and Life Sciences
Volume 5 - Air and Flight
Volume 6 - Water, Space, and Solar System

We received volumes 3 and 4 to reveiw.  These DVD's are recommended for ages 6 to 14 and my 11 and 8 year old enjoyed them greatly.  My 14 year old, however, suffered through but found the host "a little hokey, almost too happy" if there is such a thing!  I don't think you can ever be too happy about God's creation but that was his comment so I wanted to share it to be fair.  It did not stop him from watching though!  He did like the fact that all the experiments were directed back to God as the Creator and even joined us in saying, "Every time we learn something about science, we learn something about our Creator God!"  We watched these while eating our lunch which I like to do often.  It makes my children feel like they are having TV time when I am really enriching their learning!  We found the volume on the different episodes to be inconsistent as well so keep the remote handy.  You may be blasted out on one and can barely hear the next one.  That may have been just a glitch on ours but both were that way.  I loved the fact that actual experiments were presented with tools and gadgets that we would probably never use as home.  

You can watch a sample of Volume 3 here. (Click through if reading in a reader)

LES offers these DVD's for wholesale prices making them a true bargain.  You can purchase each volume individually for $8.97 (List price $14.95) or as a set for $47.95 (List price $79.95).  

If you've never heard of LES before (like me), you will definitely want to check out their website.  They have been in business for 35 years and are a small family company operating on the banks of the St. Joseph River in Southwest Michigan.  As a wholesale distributor, they serve resellers, schools (including homeschools), churches, missionaries, licensed daycare centers, and libraries.  They offer the same wholesale discounts to homeschools that they offer to other schools.  Love that!

The CDs, DVDs, and books they choose to distribute are carefully selected to ensure they are in harmony with Christian values and morals.  Love that too!

Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought about The Go Science DVD series including other volumes. .

**Disclaimer: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I was received 2 free DVD's of Go Science to review. The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation.