Friday, April 29, 2011

TOS Crew Greek'nStuff - Latin's Not So Tough Review

Greek'n Stuff Latin's Not So Tough
Greek'n Stuff
Latin's Not So Tough
Latin's Not So Tough  Level 2
Workbook $18.95
Answer Key $4.00
Pronunciation CD $10.00

Level 2 focuses on a thorough review of the Latin alphabet, diphthongs and special consonant sounds (taught in Level 1)  followed by a core vocabulary of fifty Latin words.

The target age for this level is early elementary, especially 6-7 year olds.

I had the opportunity to review this with my 7 year old 2nd grader.  When we first received the items, we immediately made the flashcards provided in the back of the book.  Daily review of the alphabet using the flash cards and pronunciation CD is essential to this program.  My daughter has no prior experience with Latin, so, we took the pronunciations slow doing only a few letters a day.  Even with the CD and flash cards, it was very difficult for her.

Fortunately we were given a long time period to review this product.  I say this because I needed to put it away for awhile in order to give her a break.  When my daughter's reading skills began to blossom, I brought the program back out for another try.  This time, we did manage to make it through the alphabet with some struggles on the vowel sounds and hit upon some of the diphthongs before she was too frustration to move forward.  We have put this program aside for the time being and will try it again in a few months.

Given our experience with this Latin program, I wouldn't start it with children until they are older.

Here's what other crew members are saying.

I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Goal Planning Monday - April 25

Goal Planning Monday

Shhhh.....pretend it's still Monday! It's time for Goal Planning Monday hosted by Katrina of Mama Manuscripts.

First, from last week:  I finished my reviews of Coral Island and Nutrition 101: Choose Life and I've completed 'skeletons' of all reviews in process.  We completed our Iowa testing and finished our school year. 
Fitness goals are still put on hold until my ankle is healed. 

So, for this week:
Of everything that *needs* to be done, I need to take some time this week and do some heavy duty planning.  Thanks to my wonderful Tapestry of Grace sisters with their advice I'm starting fresh in June with Year 4.  (and since our school year starts in June it would be beneficial to have at least Unit 1 of our Tapestry of Grace curriculum laid out soon). 


2) Complete review of Latin's Not So Tough

3)  Look up the white board information that Debbie so graciously posted about!

4)  Read through AND comment on all the Goal Planning Monday entrants.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Resurrection Rolls

Resurrection Rolls

Here's a new twist on the Resurrection Cookie idea for Easter, both are recipes you can do with your kids/grand kids in order for them to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This fun recipe uses Crescent rolls and a disappearing marshmallow!

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Crescent rolls
Melted butter
Large marshmallows

Give each child a triangle of crescent rolls. The crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.

Read Matthew 27:57-61

1. Give each child a marshmallow. This represents Jesus.
2. Have him/her dip the marshmallow in melted butter. This represents the oils of embalming.
3. Now dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar which represents the spices used to anoint the body.
4. Then wrap up the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll (not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside.) This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after death.
5. Place in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. (The oven represents the tomb - pretend like it was three days!)
6. Let the rolls cool slightly. The children can open their rolls (cloth) and discover that Jesus is no longer there, HE IS RISEN!!!! (The marshmallow melts and the crescent roll is puffed up, but empty.)

Now read Matthew 28:5-8

Explain: At the tomb, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary saw an angel, who told them not to be afraid. No one had taken Jesus' body, but He Had risen from the dead! The angel told the women to go and tell the disciples what they had seen, that Jesus had risen from the dead. They were so excited, they ran all the way home to tell the disciples the good news! He is risen from the dead! Alleluia!

After that Jesus appeared in person to Peter, then to the 12 disciples and after that, to more than 500 people. Jesus' appearance to eyewitnesses, those who saw Him with their own eyes, would give support and prove that Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

By rising from the dead, Jesus proved once and for all that He was the Messiah, the Savior of the World, the Chosen One, and the Lamb of God. By dying on the cross and rising from the dead, Jesus did what no other had ever done before. As both God and man, He overcame sin, death, and hell. And now because of what Jesus has done, these things no longer have any power over those who believe in Jesus and allow His Spirit to lead and direct them. Rather than being slaves to sin and death, Christians ( those who love and believe in Jesus) are free to obey God and do good ( Romans 6:17-18). The Bible says in John 8:36, "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."

However, we will only obey God if we listen to the Holy Spirit our helper. He enables believers in Jesus to do the right thing. It is important that we read the Bible (God's Word) because one of the ways the Holy Spirit helps us obey God is by reminding us of what He says to us in His Word. God's Spirit will never go against his Word. In fact, when we read God's Word, we are listening to the Holy Spirit. Of course, you won't always do the right thing; the Bible says this ) 1 John 1:5-10). But that is why we need to continue to confess our sins knowing that God forgives us, based on what Jesus did on the cross. This is also a reason we need to spend time with other believers in Christ so they can encourage us in our faith.

May you have a blessed and meaningful Easter!

- Author Unknown -

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Coral Island Book Review!

Coral Island
Coral Island

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing  The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne .  This is not your average run of the mill book.  It's packed with adventure and vivid imagery taking you on location to experience the story firsthand.  Originally written in the 1800's, Vision Forum has reprinted many of these Ballantyne classics to inspire boys all over the world.  Here's a testimony from 14 year old Joshua Phillips:

"One of my favorite pastimes is reading the books of G.A. Henty and R.M. Ballantyne. I have read more than eighty Hentys which my father has given me, and have completed nearly twenty books by Ballantyne. Henty’s books are manly adventure stories for boys set in different periods of history. Ballantyne writes the same sort of stories but sets them in wonderful and exotic geographical locations. One thing I really like about Ballantyne is the fact that his stories are explicitly Christian. The heroes of the stories believe in the Bible, lead people to Christ, and demonstrate the kind of Christian character which I know is important. I hope other boys will enjoy the stories as much as I have."

Coming from a long line of sea farers, 15 year old Englishman, Ralph Rover embarks on a lifetime of adventure as he boards the Arrow for the islands of the South Pacific.

During the voyage, a violent storm overtakes the boat destroying it.  Our hero plus two teen-aged survivors, Peterkin and Jack, are shipwrecked on a deserted island in the South Pacific.

While on the island, they learn to make their own weapons, hunt, fashion a boat and even explore nearby islands.  One day they witnesses two warring tribes landing on their island.  The boys put a stop to the annihilation of one of the tribes and their women by the opposing tribe.  This act which will bear much fruit later in the story!

Though they are a world away from their beloved England, the lads are all quite happy on the island - that is until Pirates discover their paradise and kidnap Ralph.  Gone are the days of wonder and friendship.  Now Ralph must adapt to a new world where he is constantly unsure of who he can trust - if anyone at all.

He finally finds friendship with a very unlikely person,  Bloody Bill.  They begin confiding in one another and eventually Ralph is able to witness to him about God.  (This is just one of the parts of the book where Ralph mentions wishing he had read the Word more, paid better attention and listened to his Mother regarding the things of God.)

This friendship eventually gains Ralph his freedom at a great price.  And in turn helps to lead a pagan, savagely cannibalistic island tribe to the saving knowledge of Jesus.

I choose to read this book out loud to my 7th, 4th and 2nd graders so they could all enjoy it.  I know that my oldest could read it alone without problems.  My 4th grader could read it on his own also, just stopping as needed to look up words.  My daughter, my 2nd grader, enjoyed this book as well -  also begging for me to "read more, read more!".  When I read a word she didn't understand, she just stopped me and I gave a definition or we looked it up.  I did have to edit some of the scenes regarding the cannibals near the end.

From a homeschooling perspective, there are a couple of ways to use this book:

1)  Read it and enjoy it.

2)  Read it, enjoy it, and discuss it.

3)  Use it as a spine to study:  coral reefs, weather (weather spouts, hurricanes), penguins, volcanoes, geography, ship building, botany, missionaries ..... and so forth!

Though there's no particular order to read these books (except for Coral Island followed by Gorilla Hunters), I can predict many hours filled with these wonderful stories!!!!

Check out other R.M. Ballantyne Adventures!!  Click here to download a FREE Ballantyne Book Brochure with descriptions of all 20 titles.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review!

TOS Crew Nutrition 101: Choose Life Review

Nutrition 101
Nutrition 101

 Growing Healthy Homes
Nutrition 101: Choose Life!
CD ROM $79.95
Book $99.95
Book and CD ROM $129.95
***Use the code TOScrew11 to receive a 15% discount!

Ages:  Toddler through Adulthood

“ I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19"

My children know a good deal about nutrition and have been label readers for quite some time.  When I first received this ebook to review, I was a bit skeptical thinking, "Oh boy, yet another nutrition guide".  On glancing through this ebook, there's a lot of information -  446 pages to be exact!

Choose Life! is a mega unit study covering science, anatomy, biology, nutrition and health for toddlers to adults.  Co-authored by homeschool mother Debra Raybern, N.D., M.H., C.N.C., I.C.A.; homeschool mother and researcher Sera Johnson, B.M.U.; mother and writer/editor Laura Hopkins, B.S.; and mother, grandmother and former Home Economics teacher Karen Hopkins, B.S., this study can be used daily or weekly (scheduling helps are also included).  More than a nutrition book, it's a manual focusing on how foods and lifestyle affect individual systems of the body.
"If the principles in Nutrition 101: Choose Life! are already a part of your family’s lifestyle, use it to enhance your food preparation and meal time experiences. This teaches the whys of eating the way you do. Rather than, “Mom said I can’t have that,” they can say “I choose not to eat that because I know what it does to my body.”"
Additionally, each unit is very thorough, complete with activities for older and younger students.  Plus there are 32 appendices covering everything you can think of from Health Stats in the USA to mold to How to Pick Your Own Produce plus vitamin and mineral charts which are packed with valuable information.

Breaking the book down further, the 12 main body systems will be covered in six units.  Each unit contains 4 chapters.

Unit 1 – The Brain and Nervous System
Unit 2 – The Digestive System
Unit 3 - The Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory and Visual Systems
Unit 4 - The Muscular and Skeletal Systems
Unit 5 - The Cardiovascular and Immune Systems
Unit 6 - The Endocrine System & Emotions

Each of these units contains:

Chapters - Each one includes information about body systems or how food affects them.
Discussion Questions - Try to answer these questions with the whole family. See how answers vary from
children to adults.
Activities - Pick and choose... or do them all. Extend the time spent in the chapter to finish activities or
save them for next year as reinforcement. The activities are structured to allow children to progress as they
Additional Resources - These are optional and can be a great way to dive deeper into learning, especially
if a family member takes a particular interest in something.
“Power” Recipes and Additional Recipes - Use the “Power” Recipe to enhance the topics covered in
the chapter and incorporate the additional recipes throughout the course of the unit.

You'll also learn interesting facts and useful information such as:

*Which lettuce leaf lasts longer?  One that is torn or one that is cut?

* What is the best drink for healthy teeth?

* What ailment can soaked almonds help?

* How to make a poultice

*Practical helps for those picky eaters in your house!

Another component are the real-life testimonies of healing using proper nutrition and natural supplements.  Very impressive!

There are scriptures, fun facts and word power boxes throughout this book.  The diagrams of the part of the body being studied are colorful, easy to read and well labeled.

Our experience:

What I like most about this extremely comprehensive study of nutrition is that it's not the kids hearing the information and thinking "Oh, it's Mom saying "THIS" is healthy and we need to do "THIS" and not "THAT".  It's all in black and white (and color), geared to their ages and explicitly shows them the benefits vs. drawbacks of what various foods can do to a particular system of the body.

We haven't gotten all the way through Unit 1 yet, but my 7th, 4th and 2nd graders have enjoyed and learned a lot about the Brain and Nervous Systems.  For example, did you know that proper nutrition for the brain begins in the womb 31 days after conception?!

Reading through the first chapter, they learned the parts of the brain and what each part does.  They also found the section on brain damage to each of these areas and the results very interesting!
Following the brain, they learned about Nerve Cells and their names and jobs.

They answered thought provoking Discussion questions such as:
*What does it mean to be fearfully and wonderfully made?
*What other scripture references support what we've learned about the brain?
*How does a healthy brain make a healthy body?
*Do you think video games exercise your brain?  Why or why not?

My two oldest took a brain dominance test that really helped explain their personalities and quirks. 

In the kitchen, they made a "power" recipe of guacamole alongside various research, kitchen/shopping activities in regards to the ingredients in the recipe.

In chapter two, the book takes a look at diseases of the brain focusing in on fats (good and bad).

We had a great discussion centered on the question:  Do you think what you eat as a child affects your brain when you are an adult?  Why or why not?

This chapter's recipe "challenge" was to create a salad using 10 of your favorite ingredients (good brain foods only).  There were some very interesting combinations!

My kids were able to make the correlation that healthy food for one system was healthy foods for another....and, most of the unhealthy foods for a particular system generally meant it was unhealthy across the board!

There's just so much information and great activities within this book that we thoroughly enjoyed taking our time going through it.  Because of this, we are going to back up to the beginning and incorporate Dad into the study as well!!!

"Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” It is very important to learn how our bodies work and how food affects them; it is even more important to apply that knowledge. The best way to do that is to get in the kitchen!"
My only complaint was the authors' reference to a certain multi-level marketing company as the only source of nutritional supplements and essential oils.  While I DO agree that there's much 'junk" in the health foods market, there are other quality natural healing products found from other sources as well.

Check out a free webinar THURSDAY, APRIL 23rd 4:00-5:30 pm EDT

Here's what other crew members are saying.

I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - April 18

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
I'm jumping on The Homeschool Mother's Journal meme hosted by Sue of the Homeschool Chick.

In my life this week…

Things have gone a bit haywire.  While it is a blessing that tomorrow is our last 'official' day of school for the 2010-2011 school year, I am battling disappointment over what appears to be a sprained ankle.  You see, I was going to start getting up extra early to go to the gym again next week.  I've been on 'serious exercise hiatus' for far too long.  It appears this may last a bit longer.

In our homeschool this week…

Working on finishing up Pre-Algebra and starting Iowa testing for all kiddos.  School was preempted by my 2nd born's birthday!!!  (Didn't you know there's no school on your birthday?)

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Again, this week we took two field trips.  The first was to Young Chef's Academy to try their hands at messing up someone else's kitchen.....I mean gourmet cooking.  They had a blast!  Unfortunately, this location is closing, so, we may continue on elsewhere.

The second was to Leu Gardens where we had a wonderful tour of the grounds taking in all the foliage and smells!

My favorite thing this week was…

A toss up between my 2nd born's birthday and watching my kinestetic daughter  gather a myriad of botanical specimens (with the approval of our tour guide) at Leu Garden's to take home and examine at length. 

What’s working/not working for us…

My injured foot....we just got back to having regular outings (and enjoying them!) and may have to slow back down to a crawl I said, I'm dealing with disappointment but I'm getting through it.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

Wondering which elementary Apologia science to use.  While the olders are doing Physical Science co-op, we will have the younger siblings working as well. 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Happy 10th birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy 10th birthday

Goal Planning Monday - April 18

Goal Planning Monday

It's time for Goal Planning Monday hosted by Katrina of Mama Manuscripts.

And what a week it has been!

First, from last week:  I finished my review of Life of John Knox   and that's about it!  Life happened and I just went with it.  We did manage to get in two field trips.  One to Young Chef's Academy and another to Leu Gardens PLUS celebrate a birthday on top of it all.

Until further notice, all fitness goals are put on hold until we see what 'damage' has been done to a recently twisted foot/ankle.  Never a dull moment here!

So, for this week:

1) Finish planning our Resurrection Sunday celebration!
2) Get to bed by 10:30 at the latest!

3)  Revamp our chore charts as there have been some tweaking and changing of things.  (Gotta buy a white board too!)

4)  Read through AND comment on all the Goal Planning Monday entrants.

5)  Continue working on reviews and begin 'skeletons' of all reviews in progress.   There's a lot of great books and curriculum reviews coming up!

6) Pray for my Secret Sister

7)  Complete IOWA testing and declare our 2009-2010 school year done!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Life of John Knox Book Review!

Life of John Knox
Life of John Knox
Originally published in 1833, Attic Books' recent reprinting of Life of John Knox includes charming torn edged pages that add to the feel of reading a classic.  This book is a wonderful collection of vignettes great for high school - adult reading OR as a read aloud to the junior high aged crowd.

Prior to the birth of the Reformation hero John Knox, this book goes into some background history of Christianity in Scotland starting with the arrival of the gospel and the birth of the Culdees, the tainted 'religion' of the papacy and the martyrdom of John Resley, Paul Craw, Patrick Hamilton and Walter Mill.

Born in 1505, John Knox grew in the love and knowledge of Jesus as his Savior as he studied the writing of the "ancient fathers" Jerome and Augustine.  He saw the difference in doctrine and their continual references to scripture as contrary to what was happening within the papal church.

During his lifetime, Knox spoke unabashedly bold against the false doctrines of the day.  His fervor did not diminish even after being imprisoned for 19 months.  Upon his release, he continued to speak all the more fearlessly.  When he was brought before representatives of the papacy, he defended his opinions:
"With a strength of reasonery which so silenced his adversaries, that he was allowed to continue his ministry without further interruption."
During the reign of Bloody Mary it was a time of great persecution of the Protestants.  Knox continues his fierce stance on the gospel, preaching against heresies and even helps to translate the Geneva Bible.

Starting in Chapter 7, great exchanges are noted between Knox and Queen Mary.  Amazingly he volleys with an earthly figure who has the 'ability' to take his life with brutal honesty all from the Word of God.  Oh to be a fly on those walls!!

Knox says to Queen Mary:
"God forbid that I should ever command any to obey me, or set subjects at liberty to do whatever they please;  my desire is, that both princes and subjects may obey God."

Though bounties on his head, inquisitions by the papacy and even a trial for treason, God's hand of protection is seen on His humble servant who lives to a ripe age of 67 dying of natural causes.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Goal Planning Monday - April 11

Goal Planning Monday

It's time for Goal Planning Monday hosted by Katrina of Mama Manuscripts.  I need the extra push and accountability as this week has gotten off with a slow start due to a early morning dental visit fixing 3 cavities (ugh!)

From last week:  I finished my reviews of Go Go Kabongo and Kinderbach .    Read and commented on all the other 'Goal Planning' entrants.  Started working on something 'new' for our homeschooling group.

I failed on the indexing of books - I think that having them sorted by time period and put into crates is good enough for now - and exercise and having a date night.....

So, for this week:

1) Move my exercise time to early morning before everyone gets up.  This way, I get my workout in and I'm not exhausted by waiting until hubby gets home to go to the gym.

2)  Revamp our chore charts as there have been some tweaking and changing of things.

3)  Read through AND comment on all the Goal Planning Monday entrants.

4)  Continue working on reviews and begin 'skeletons' of all reviews in progress. 

5) Have a date with hubby.

6)  Pray for my newest  Secret Sister.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - April 8

The Homeschool Mother's Journa
I'm jumping on The Homeschool Mother's Journal meme hosted by Sue of the Homeschool Chick.

In my life this week…

We are working on refining our schedule in the area of chores so that we are doing more than surviving.....we want to be thriving!

My toddler is still keeping up super busy.  We may be busier, but, there's a whole lot more love in the house!

In our homeschool this week…

Finished up our unit on the Middle Ages -- yahoo!  Onto the Renaissance!  We did a lot of reading, so there wasn't as much time for the hands-on projects.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week we took two field trips.  The first was to  Our Vital Earth to learn about vermiculture.  We got to take home some worms of our own and I'm happy to say that they are still alive!  I cannot wait until we have a place where we can garden.  Then we spent the afternoon romping through a nearby park complete with natural springs!  Ahhhhh!

Today we spent our morning at Orange County Regional History Center to participate in their Homeschool Program of Mr. and Mrs. President during their special exhibit from the Smithsonian called "The Working White House".

Upon getting our security clearance, we were 'greeted' by a 'Secret Service Agent' who escorted us to the first of four stations.  At our first station, the kids got some background information on the 'birth' of the Presidency and learned about the different duties of the President.  The children also got to 'vote' using an official voting booth (no hanging chads allowed!).

Next up, we heard a spirited presentation about how appearance can affect the outcome of voting (i.e. The first televised debate between Nixon and Kennedy.  If you saw it on TV, you thought Kennedy won.  If you heard it on the radio, you thought Nixon won) and  the First Ladies and their duties.  This was followed by some hands-on fun.....the boys got to make a tie and collar (fashioned after JFK) and the girls got to make First Lady Jackie Kennedy's famous pill-box hat.  (My daughter was ecstatic!).  Both ensembles were topped off with stylish 'Ray Bans' for the boys and oversized Jackie-O sunglasses for the girls. 

After posing for the perfect photo op, we were lead to the where the special exhibit is showcased and given a tour of the pictures and artifacts from behind the scenes of the White House.  I admit I didn't get to hear as much of this part of the tour as I'd like due to the interruptions of a rather cute toddler.....Following the tour, it was time for one of the yearly festivities at the White House --- an Easter Egg Hunt!  Ours of course was on a smaller scale!

Our final destination was "Top Secret"!  We arrived on the top floor where we were greeted by a tuxedo clad  gentleman who showed us into a room that was a mock up of what a White House State Dinner would look like.  This time, we were the guests of honor!   Each place setting was created with care right down to the 'disposable' gold charger plates and champagne glasses (with only the finest vintage of Seagram's "Ginger Ale" 2011).  As each course was served, we learned more about the history behind this event, who was invited and the proper way to respond while dinning.  The History Center took an original menu and turned it into a wonderful, kid-friendly version.  Caviar became a Bagel chip topped with cream cheese, a blackberry and sprig of dill.. Sushi became a little round brownie covered with icing and colorful flaked coconut on an plate covered with artistically drizzled chocolate syrup. You get the picture!

This was a fantastic presentation put on by the Homeschool friendly History Center.  This was by far the best Homeschool Day we've been to yet!!!  

My favorite thing this week was…

Watching my creative daughter thoroughly enjoy herself making a 'Jackie Kennedy Pill-box Hat' and then wanting to look up pictures and learn more about the woman behind the fashion!

What’s working/not working for us…

Actually it's something I'm going to change up the next time we cycle through the Middle Ages.  I LOVE Tapestry of Grace, but, it's just too much history jammed into the first two units of Year 2! 

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

I'm actually mulling over something my friend/mentor told me about homeschooling.....she said, "If you have two options, pick the fun one"

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Voting on a design for wrist bands (that is an actual voting booth)
Voting on a design for wrist bands (that is an actual voting booth)

Jackie-O's Pill-box hat and oversized shades!
Jackie-O's Pill-box hat and oversized shades!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lego Creation Thursday - April 7

Lego Creation Thursday

It's Lego Creation Thursday hosted by Michelle of My Blessings From Above .

It's another military theme complete with lots of mini-figures!

military theme complete with lots of mini-figures!
THE tank!

THE tank!

Military Fort
Military Fort

Gunner plane
Gunner plane

Ground gunners
Ground gunners

'Free standing' plane --- just in case :-)
'Free standing' plane --- just in case :-)

View of the front of the fort
View of the front of the fort

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TOS Crew Kinderbach Review


Ages 3-7

One Year Online Membership  $7.99/month billed in one payment -OR- $19.99/month billed monthly
The Year Membership gives access to 6 Levels (level 7 coming soon!) of entertaining music education for 3 to 7 year old children through about 22 hours of video and interactive coloring pages. Includes access to all web lessons (over 240 sessions!)
and accompanying downloaded PDF pages.


Purchase the Activity Packages sold by level - $40.45/level  

Wish you could send your youngster for piano lessons?  Well, why not let Kinderbach come to you!

Kinderbach is an online and DVD form of music instruction created by Karri Gregor.

Throughout this program comprised of 60 weeks of lesson (4 lessons per week), your child will be introduced to the basics of the keyboard and to music theory itself.

How does Kinderbach differ from traditional lessons?  

"Traditional piano lessons usually involve 30 minutes or more of seated instruction at the piano.  The stationary activity is not well tolerated by young children.  KinderBach involves the child in a variety of gross and fine motor movements both at the piano and away from the keyboard.  We sing, use rhythm instruments, dance and explore intervals through physical demonstration.  In addition, the colorful personalities of the piano pals and other KinderBach friends engage the children’s imaginations as well as their bodies."
"Preschool children learn best with other children and when their parent or another significant adult show interest in what they are learning.  Their short attention spans demand a variety of activities and approaches to new information.  This is the reason we recommend an adult participate in the KinderBach lessons and encourage plenty of review.  Traditional lessons one on one with a teacher lack the parental involvement and therefore, the necessary repetition preschoolers require for learning."

Meet the Piano Pals
Meet the Piano Pals

 To help teach your child, Kinderbach uses friendly Piano Pals .  Visit Dodi's house and learn how to tell the black keys apart and Frisco will help you learn to count notes.

Miss Diddle
Miss Diddle
 Miss Diddle and Bruno take you through the steps to play various music note patterns on the keyboard.
Beat Bugs
Beat Bugs

One of our favorites -  The Beat Bugs who each represents a beat in the music.  This element was the most memorable! 

Our experience:
I thought this whole package is nicely put together from the downloadable activity pages to the lively songs and the short, well-explained lessons.

For my 7 year old with no prior music experience, the lessons were too simple.  HOWEVER, my toddler LOVED the music, songs and graphics.  If he were just a wee bit older, I would have used the program with him.

Based on our experience, I'd place this solidly in the 3-5 year old range.  I will definitely revisit this program when I have a preschooler!

Don't forget to check out video of this product AND sign up for a FREE ONLINE TRIAL !

Here's what other crew members are saying

I received a trial subscription for free in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Goal Planning Monday-April 4

Goal Planning Monday

It's time for Goal Planning Monday hosted by Katrina of Mama Manuscripts.

Participating in this meme has been wonderful in holding me accountable!  Before I post my goals for next week, I'll going to review last week:

Well....I did finish sorting our gazillion books and have them separated into Ancient History/Medieval History/Early Modern History/Modern History.  Finished my review of Evan Moor Geography and Kit Kittredge movie z-guide .  I believe I'm heading in the right direction with our schedule AND also for direction for our homeschooling group.  I also read and commented on the other goal participants as well.  Sadly, I missed my fitness goals again for this week.

This week:

1) After my quiet time with the Lord, I am making exercise my #2 priority!!!!

2)  Make an index of our gazillion books that are now organized.

3)  Read through AND comment on all the Goal Planning Monday entrants.

4)  Finish reviews of Go Go Kabongo! Kinderbach and also something special for Christian Homeschoolers Taking a Stand  --- and continue working on other review items.

5) 'Run' with our new schedule and expand on what the Lord has been speaking to me about our homeschooling group.

6) Have a date with hubby.

TOS Crew Go Go Kabongo! Review

Go Go Kabongo
Ages 4-7
Free access to Laughter Lake habitat
$4.95 each for access to  Galaxy Gardens and Twister Top habitats

From the website:
Explore a fantastical world where surprises hide around every corner and skating is a way of life with GoGo Kabongo's free online learning games!
Twister Top
Go Go Kabongo

Play Challenging Learning Games for Kids

Fun, educational children’s games will build confidence and stay challenged with auto-leveling games that advance at your child's pace. Discover three different games in each habitat, each with six levels.

Solve Exiting Mini-Quests

As kids play the reading games online they will go on boundless mini-quests for fun-loving characters you meet along the way.

Explore Fantastical Habitats

Discover gags, treasure hunts and surprises as you skate through wild Kabongo habitats.

Create Your Own Character

Become one of the Kabongo gang by customizing and playing as your own fun character. Choose your head, body and your wheels!

Decorate Your Tree House

Fill your tree house with cool collectables you earn as you play.

Make Your Own Comic Book

Earn stickers by playing free online learning games, then use them to create your own comic book. Make a story by adding pictures and audio bubbles to customizable scenes.

Build and Ride In Your Own Custom Skate Park

Earn ramps and connectors and use them to build the skate park of your dreams.

Parent Dashboard

Registered parents can access activity reports on their child's in-game progress and discover skill-building activities to try at home.

Explore these reading games for kids online. Your kids will love these fun, educational games so much they won’t even know they’re learning!

Upon sitting down with my 7 year old daughter to review this site, my first reaction is that it would be perfect for a household where skateboarding/skaters are encouraged.  I wasn't please with the choice of disturbing creatures and their many eyeballs, tongues hung out of mouths, displays of 'cartoon' skulls on clothing and sarcastic humor.  I didn't vocalize my feelings, but, allowed my daughter to play on.  It wasn't too long before she'd had enough too.

During our "tour", we did manage to see Twister Top, Laughter Lake and Comic Book Maker.   The games include skills such as:  identification of colors (Scuba Dude), listening comprehension (Going Buggy), size recognition (Critter Sizer), shape sequencing (Design a Door), letter sounds (Dessert Dash), direction manipulation/word building (Crazy Maze), letter order (Rocket Racer), object recognition (Photo Safari), and pattern/shape recognition (Robo Bobo). After successfully answering problems throughout the games section, the user is rewarded with the choice of an item that will go to build his/her room, skate park or a comic book. 

While the intention of the games may be fun and educational, the characters and their humor was anything but.  Due to this, and the fact that the creatures disturbed my daughter's sleep giving her bad dreams, we will not be playing Go Go Kabongo in our home.

Here's what other crew members are saying

I received a free subscription in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Junior Bible Quiz - The Fruit of THEIR labor

Junior Bible Quiz
Junior Bible Quiz

Today was the end of the year celebration for our Junior Bible Quiz group.

It seems like yesterday that my 9 year old started quizzing.  I remember all too well the struggles we had with just getting him to study.  He just couldn't understand why we were having him memorize scripture.  He was sure he would never use it.

One of the first scriptures he learned was from Psalm 119:11

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

It isn't enough for our children to obey us or keep away from trouble because "Mommy and Daddy say so."  Obedience of this kind only works for awhile - we are looking for obedience from the heart.  Doing what is right because it IS right and lines up with the Word of God.

Fast forward 4 years and he is now reaping what's been sown.  We are seeing the fruit of his labor in action.

While interacting with other kids in the neighborhood and beyond, my son is able to gauge whether or not he should watch a particular movie or play a particular video game:

Psalm 101:3
"I will set before my eyes no vile thing."

Whether he should continue to listen/partake in a conversation:

Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

What to look for in a friend:

Galatians 5:22-23

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

It is so encouraging to hear my son making right decision in these situations.  Because of his relationship with Jesus and time spent studying the Word, he can hear the Holy Spirit bringing direction, correction and guidance to handle life's situation.  It gives me hope for his future as he grows into the man God has created and called him to be.

I think that's a great reason to memorize scripture!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Art at Co-op

Here are the last art projects from our last co-op meeting for this school year.  My children and I will miss the fun, fellowship and learning with this wonderful group of homeschool comrades until September.....

Each child did a version of Georgia O'Keffe.  The camera doesn't do the pictures justice....They turned out awesome, if I do say so myself :-)

From my 2nd grader:
Paint and crayon (Georgia O'Keffe)
Paint and crayon (Georgia O'Keffe)

From my 4th grader:

Chalk pastels (Georgia O'Keffe)
Chalk pastels (Georgia O'Keffe)

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - April 1

Homeschool Mother's Journal

I'm jumping on The Homeschool Mother's Journal meme hosted by Sue of the Homeschool Chick.

In my life this week…

Toddler escapades continue with The Nip Napper turning 18 months old.  This week, he managed to topple many baskets full of good stuff and just plain old junk that we had been sorting.  I think he thought he was helping (?)

Tonight I do one of my favorite things --- hang out with other Homeschool Mom's and share/discuss curriculum.  Not that I mind giving my opinion...... ;-)

In our homeschool this week…
We finished up week 9 of our Tapestry of Grace curriculum learning about the War of the Roses and visiting with other areas of the world during the time of the Black Plague.....India under the Moguls, African Kingdoms (specifically Ghana)....

We are inching our way towards the Renaissance.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

For the second week in a row, we did a Friday field trip.  This time it was the Art Museum.  The 'youngers' learned about Pre-Columbian artifacts/art and the 'olders' had a wonderful tour of the museum with a curator who told them many interesting facts about the paintings/sculptures.  My oldest remarked that this was the very first time he's ever enjoyed art!!!  After the class/tour was over, one of the boys from the 'olders' group took us around and shared what he had learned ---- think we have a future museum curator on our hands!

My favorite thing this week was…

Watching my toddler and 2nd born sitting and building Zoobs together.

What’s working/not working for us…

Our house ---- it's quite small....or maybe we are getting too big?

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

My question is for next years schedule --- do I add a major activity to our Wednesday schedule that is primarily for my daughter or do I wait a year.  Will it be hard on the toddler or will he be able to handle 1 long day every week?   I think I need to have someone outside the family look at our schedule and give me an objective opinion!!!!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

My 2nd born (aka Fun Brother) and the Toddler playing 'Zoobs' together.
My 2nd born (aka Fun Brother) and the Toddler playing 'Zoobs' together. 

TOS Crew Kit Kittredge z-Guide to the Movies Review

Zeezok Publishing
Kit Kittredge z-guide to the Movies CD    
(Guide only.  Movie not included)

Elementary / Junior High

I have been homeschooling my children for almost 9 years.  Zeezok Publishing is a company that I had never heard of before.  Upon visiting their website, I was delighted to read that Zeezok is a company that believes:

""It is better to build children than to repair men."  To that end we strive to provide quality literature and educational books for use in training the next generation.  We trust our products will assist you in developing your family's love for God and country."

This is also the first time I have seen study guides based solely on a movie.

Kit Kittredge
Kit Kittredge

I had the opportunity to choose a Z-guide for review with my 2nd, 4th and 7th graders.  I choose Kit Kittredge not only for the American Girl appeal for my daughter, but, for the study of The Great Depression which is the time period setting of this movie.

Each z-guide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis and ten learning activities for an in-depth study of the film.  The topic overview puts the film in historical context enabling a student with no prior knowledge of the topic important background information - so, you don't have to know everything about a particular time period in order to glean from these guides!  The movie synopsis provides a more detailed overview of the movie's storyline.

While watching the film the first time through, students answer the movie review questions that are provided.  This assignment forces the viewer to become an active learner rather than a passive observer (and aids in retention).  These can be done orally or written on the printed pages.

Nine additional activities are structure around the theme of the movie engaging them through fine arts, research (both book and internet), vocabulary, creative writing/speaking, literary devices, movie making techniques, critical thinking and family discussions that relate to moral or philosophical dilemmas present in the movie.

How to incorporate Kit Kittredge into your study of The Great Depression (from their website):

This guide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis, and ten learning activities based on this family-friendly film. Learn more about the hardships families faced in the Great Depression. Decipher coded messages using hobo signs. Design your own Depression era fashion show. Be a journalist, like Kit, and write a newspaper article. Play “Who Am I?” with your family and friends. Learn Depression-related vocabulary. Distinguish irony from foreshadowing. Determine whether prejudice is ever acceptable. Share personal responses to the “For Family Discussion” questions and experience life in middle America during the worst economic depression in American history.

Movie Summary: Kit Kittredge and her family are simply trying to get through the hardships of the Great Depression in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to finding ways to save their home and reunite her family, Kit solves a string of robberies that have been blamed on the hobo community. Moreover, she develops friendships with a variety of unique characters along the way. Kit’s clever thinking and plucky spirit, and the many adventures she encounters with her friends, make this movie (based on the American Girl® book series) a delightful choice for the entire family. Topics: The Great Depression, Hobo Life, Journalism

Zeezok provides a suggested five-day plan for utilizing the entire guide and can easily be modified to fit your family's needs and schedule.

As for our family, the 'Junior High' suggestion didn't slow down my lower elementary and upper elementary kids.  When an activity was a bit too technical for my youngest, we simply slowed down and added explanation OR allowed her to skip it.  Instead of doing the suggested fashion show (which my boys groaned about), my daughter and I had a lot of fun using books from the library and looking on the internet at time period clothing making notes of how styles changed before/during/after the depression.  My boys were content with the other activities.

Zeezok offers a large variety of z-guides for movies  that will add to your study of history and are family friendly.

I definitely see z-guides in our homeschooling future!

Here's what other crew members are saying

I received this z-guide for free in exchange for an honest review.