Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Answers Book for Teens Review!

The Answer Book for Teens
The Answer Book for Teens

The Answers Book For Teens is specially designed for 13-17 year olds with eye catching graphics and  topics pertinent to today's teenagers taken from Genesis 1 & 2.

"I've worked with teens for years...and there is a big misconception about them (and hopefully you will agree)... they are much smarter than we often think! The young people I've worked with are intelligent and bright.

Yeah, I'll admit, some are smarter in some areas than others; in other words, some may know a lot about music, others know a lot about science, others know a lot of sports, and so on, but the point is they are much brighter than many people give them credit for.  So with this book series, we are not going to be afraid to answer the questions they have without a "bunch of fluff", but with solid biblical answers that "have some meat to them" and challenge the secular religions like atheism and evolution that are forced on them in many settings -- like movies, schools, and so on."


Topics covered include:
Truth of God's Word
Pain and Suffering
Atheism
Who has the most evidence - Creationists or Evolutionists?
Population
Sin
The Flood
Relationships
The Christian student's rights in school
The way to heaven
Forgiveness

I gave this to my 13 year old to read.  He has read through most of the adult version of the New Answers Book, so he was familiar with the materials covered.  He thought the book was well done and nicely geared toward teens.  He is comfortable recommending this book to friends or teen neighbors to read as well.

I agree that this is another great product from Master Books!

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up (World War II: Allied Victory - A New Europe)

WWII
Homeless Bird was also a literature selection.

This week was a whirlwind of school, fun and holiday!



We wrapped up our study of World War II - which initiates the start of the Cold War!  (Never a dull moment in world affairs!)

We really enjoyed viewing a documentary on President Truman and WWII: D-Day and the Providence of God.




My daughter finished up her study of Molly.  We made numerous recipes from the Molly Cookbook.  Ever heard of "Toad in a Hole?"  We hadn't either, but, I can tell you that it's delicious!

Cooking with American Girl Molly
Cooking with American Girl Molly

 She also finished the Molly portion of her American Girl Lapbook.  The exercise above asks the question, "Which of these vegetables would you plant in your victory garden"?

Molly lapbook elements
Molly lapbook elements


A 'turnip' survey and a patriotic picture of Molly!

Victory Garden
Victory Garden

And, as far as our Victory Garden goes --- this is the only surviving plant.  I guess it's a small victory nonetheless!


Legoland
Legoland

Wrapping up  the week was a fabulous trip to Legoland with our homeschool group.  The three oldest children got to take in an awesome class in "Remote Mindstorm Programming"!

And finally we slowed down to enjoy our Thanksgiving weekend together.  Though I cannot take credit for the original idea, we started working on our "Heirloom Thankful Tablecloth".  Pictures to come!

Join us next time as we learn more about the Establishment of Israel as a Nation!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Educating the Home Educator Crash Course ebook Review!

Educating the Home Educator Crash Course
Educating the Home Educator Crash Course

Quite simply, I love this ebook!  It is a concise and well-written  300+ page homeschool guide, resource and wealth of information at the convenience of your fingertips.

Whether you are starting your journey or already have several years under your belt, Educating the Home Educator Crash Course from author Angie McFarren of Hope Homeschooling Consulting will serve to inspire and encourage you in any homeschool area of concern.



"Establishing an effective homeschool environment does not just happen.  It requires learning the essential "How-To's."  The Educate the Home Educator Crash Course is exactly what a new homeschool mom needs, as well as the current homeschool Mom who needs to get back on track.

Homeschooling is a journey and every successful journey begins with a well thought-out plan.


This six-part series includes:
     *The building Blocks of Homeschooling
     *How to Teach Homeschool Courses
     *The Essentials for Academic Success
     *Information Specifically for Mom
     * How to Make School Fun
     *How to Wrap Up the School Year

The 40 lessons takes a Mom through an entire homeschool year and a little more.  The arrangement of the information is in the order the homeschool mom needs it."


For myself, the sections on High School are fabulous.  This is uncharted territory for our household as our oldest will be in 9th grade next year.  I sincerely felt like the author  was there holding my hand and walking me through such details as:  The Basics (including social aspects: graduation, diplomas, prom and honor societies), preparing for College (transcripts and fantastic examples on how to weigh grades), teen planners, study habits and much more.

And, in case high school is years away there's a plethora of information to help you as well.

Highlights include (but are definitely not limited to):

The parent "homeschool method" test and children's "learning style" tests were very helpful.  I wish I would have had these when I first started out.

An impartial look at different teaching methods and includes a sample course of study for elementary, middle school and high school.

A curriculum directory by learning styles.

Creating your own "school identity" for your homeschool.

Teaching more than 1 child.

The science section is chocked full of ideas to enrich your homeschool and satisfy your budding scientist.  This section is broken down into disciplines with lots of links.

Well laid out section on Creative Writing.

Life skills - which is an actual study contained in 7 units for Junior High and repeated again in High school.

Last but not least a section specifically for Mom with "How to Get it all Done" and " Homeschool Burnout - Symptoms and Helps"

As a bonus, each chapter contains links to valuable information and helpful templates are included.

At a special price of $21 it is a very reasonable resource and one I highly recommend!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ebook free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 25, 2011

WWII: D-Day and the Providence of God Review & GIVEAWAY!

WWII D-Day and the Providence of God
WWII D-Day and the Providence of God

"First, God will not be mocked.  When nations lose their moral compass, they lose their identify.  When they lose their identity, they become vulnerable to tyranny.

Second, appeasement does not work.  Bullies are not pacified-they must be confronted and opposed.

Third, the mighty hand of God was present in every detail leading up to D-Day.  From the many defeats to the ultimate victory.  

This is a reminder that in the cause of right we are to persevere in the face of insurmountable odds."


Join hosts Doug Phillips and Historian Bill Potter as they tell the courageous story of God's hand of favor in WWII D-Day and the Providence of God .


WWII D-Day and the Providence of God
The countdown to D-Day begins in Rome after its' liberation by the Allied forces.  Told from a  unique perspective, the theological significance of this battle is emphasized throughout the series.

I had never thought of WWII as more than the blood-thirst of a wicked tyrant.  But after watching this seven-episode series, I plainly understand that it was a battle between rival faiths.  That of Mein Kampf (theology of the state) and the Bible (law and order rooted in the 10 Commandments).  This first episode does a great job of setting the foreground of The Third Reich's ultimate objective and points to the realization that this was indeed a righteous war.

In watching this series, the viewer will learn more about God's hand in D-Day such as:

A well laid-out history of France between WWI and WWII and how this history paved the way for appeasement and the formation of the Vichy Government inspite of the warnings of learned men.

A fascinating look at the leadership of both sides with a perspective through their worldview, training and dealing with authority.

Years of ingenious deception on the part of the Allies to ensure victory through the use of false radio communications, double agents, anti-Nazi cells and the enigma machine.  These methods wove a tight fabric of alternate reality for the Germans.

Eisenhower's ultimate decision that would not only bring victory to the Allies, but sacrifice thousands of brave men in the process is chronicled brilliantly from May 31st up to the actual invasion.

Veterans returning to Omaha Beach 67 years later with the purpose of passing on their stories.  Telling of the mighty deeds of God to the next generation with the theme of manhood, sacrifice and inheritance.

Finally,  heartwarming video of the actual liberation of Paris plus some of the incredible details of perseverance by the Allies during their 80 day push towards the capital.

Also included are "Field Reports" where Sargent Sam (Operation Neptune) takes you into the battle in short snippets and "Airborne Briefings" where veterans tell their experiences.

My whole family enjoyed WWII D-Day and the Providence of God  with its' spectacular video footage and informative, fast-paced commentaries which show the triumph of God's providential hand upon the allies during the D-Day invasion.  Truly remarkable!

I am thrilled to not only share this review with you, but, to offer 1 set as a giveaway!


To enter to win please leave me a separate comment for EACH of the following that you do...

For AN EASY ENTRY - leave me a comment. (= 1 entry)

For MORE entries:
*Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect (=1 entry)
*Follow my blog via  Networked Blogs (=1 entry)
*Like Homeschool Circus on Facebook (=1 entry)
*Follow me on Twitter (=1 entry)
* Like Vision Forum on Facebook   (=2 entries),

* Follow Vision Forum on Twitter (=2 entries)
*Visit Doug Phillips' Blog and read an article of your choice (=2 entries)
*Post about this contest on your Blog, Facebook or Twitter linking back to this post (=3 entries)

PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY YOU EARN!

Contest ends on December 2nd and is open to all!  Winner will be chosen via Random Number Generator.


Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this DVD set free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Does Your Table Reflect a 'Dry Crust with Peace' Inspite of Your Situation?

Outline on placemats on how to set a table
Outline on placemats on how to set a table


Admittedly, I'm not the first to grab a placemat and draw a place setting on it.

However, my reasons for doing so are not just to teach my children how to properly set a table.



This quote from Kim Eddy's book, A Joyful Momma's Guide to Shopping and Cooking Frugally  really hit home.

"I learned from an older lady that I am in a unique position two make my husband feel like the poorest man on the planet even if he earns a good wage, simply by desiring more and more.  On the other hand, I can also make my husband feel like a rich man when I check my attitude.  I can be blessed and thankful for the plenty he does provide.....Let me give you an example.  When I purchase frugal groceries I can either slop a pile of flavorless rice and beans onto a plate, or I can prepare an elegant meal out of properly seasoned and prepared staple foods such as rice and beans, and present it at the table in such a way that those sitting at the table can't wait to eat."

I am guilty of setting a sloppy table.  My philosophy has been a haphazard "just get it on the table and that's good enough."

So, while we don't serve fillet Mignon or have a 12 ft long ornate cherry table set with the finest linen and china, I can make a better presentation with what we DO have.

Properly set table
Properly set table


With a little work, we can set a aesthetically pleasing table.  We can find fun napkins at our local party store on deep clearance to brighten up the table.  We can plan and use special coupons to buy festive salt and pepper shakers to give our table a holiday feel.

Acorn salt and pepper shakersChristmas salt and pepper shakers


It doesn't take much --- just a little effort!!



Proverbs 17:1
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"A Dress for My Doll & Me!"

Daughter and Doll Dress
My 10 year old and Marie-Grace
My daughter has been wanting me to make her a matching dress for her and her doll.  Seeing as though I'm light years away from being able to make anything resembling cute, I looked for an alternative.  Everything I saw was either overpriced or poorly made.


I happened to stumble upon a conversation with Comfy Home Creations creator, Erika, and a mutual friend.  I noticed that my friend had purchased a matching combination for her daughter and doll.  Looking at the pictures, I fell in love! 


Upon emailing Erika, I was shocked to find out the prices.  Pillowcase dresses are $20, Peasant Dress prices vary with sleeve length.  Short sleeve is $26, 3/4 sleeve is $28, and long sleeve is $30.  Matching doll dresses for 18 inch dolls are only $8!  If you've done your research, comparable outfits are far more expensive!


I KNEW these would make the PERFECT Christmas gift!!!


Daughter and Doll Dress

Daughter and Doll Dress











     Generally Comfy Home Creations' dresses are a bit shorter in length.  My daughter prefers her dresses a bit longer.  Not a problem!  Erika is pleasant, professional and willing to make custom changes to your order.  






Daughter and Doll Dress
Close up of material

Daughter and Doll Dress
Marie-Grace in her CHC original!
Both fabrics are 100% cotton and can be laundered in cold water and hung flat to dry.

Equally cute are the short-sleeved Peasant Dresses!
Daughter and Doll Dress
Daughter and Doll Dress


Daughter and Doll Dress
Lovin' their dresses!













Erika got our order completed & delivered within a few short days.  What's also nice is that she doesn't gouge her customers with excessive shipping and handling fees.

Daughter and Doll Dress
Close up
Daughter and Doll Dress







Check out other handmade items from Comfy Home Creations  - some of which can be personalize!  


You can also visit Comfy Home Creations on Facebook.




I received the Pillowcase Dress combination free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  And, honestly, we love the outfits!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Goal Planning Monday - November 14

Goal Planning Monday


It's time again to set some goals for this coming week with Katrina of Mama Manuscripts!

OOPS!  It's been awhile since I linked up (again) AND it's not Monday.  But, who's counting! 


Some things I did do since my last link up was to begin exercising at least 3 times a week, slow down AND visit the other GPM participants. 


This weeks' goals:

1.  Continue to exercise 3 times a week


2.  Since my review schedule has slowed way down - I want to finish a couple of posts that have been on my heart for quite a while!


3.  Finish my daughter's apron


4.  Finish D-Day and the Providence of God


5.  Work on being prepared for each new day/the day before --- and being prepared for each new week/the week before.


6.  Visit the other GPM participants.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

TOS Crew One Minute Reader Review!

One Minute Reade
One Minute Reader

I specifically asked (ok, I B-E-G-G-E-D) to review One Minute Reader from Read Naturally for my 8 year old daughter.

What drew me to it was its' claim to help with reading fluency and expression.  My daughter is able to decode words and does well with comprehension.  But, during our daily read aloud time, she frequently falls into a monotonous, robot-like vocal rut.  I was hoping this program would help.


One Minute Reader is a home reading program that uses the same research-based strategy as Read Naturally classroom programs. One Minute Reader is a fun and effective way for students to get extra reading practice at home.


How It Works

Students develop fluency through modeling (Read Along step), repeated reading (Read Alone step), and progress monitoring (Marking Hot and Cold Scores steps). Students should work in One Minute Reader for 15 to 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week.


One Minute Reade
One Minute Reader - Level One




Upon receiving the Level 1 Beginning Package, the first thing I did was to watch the "How to" DVD.  It's a well done explanation and overview of the Reading Naturally program and will answer any questions you may have.

The basics are:

1.  Your child picks a story out of the book.

2. Using the special 1 minute timer, have your child read for 1 minute underlining any unknown words.
3.  The child marks his/her "cold score" in blue in the book and on the graph.

4. Have your child read along with the CD 3 times or until he/she learns all the words.  (The CD has each selection read three times at three different speeds.)

5.  Re-time reading the same story several times until your child reads it well.  Mark the "hot score" in red below the story and on the graph.

6.  Take the "Quick Quiz" for comprehension.


One Minute Reader - Worksheets
One Minute Reader - Worksheets


What's Included
Individual Books
Each book includes five high-interest nonfiction stories that are the right length for readers to practice without being overwhelming. Each book also includes:
  • Audio CDs: Each CD includes recordings of the stories, instructions, vocabulary words, and fun facts. Reading along to audio recordings enables students to improve fluency, pronunciation, and expression.
  • Quick Quiz: Answering questions about the story encourages students to read for meaning.
  • Graph: By graphing their cold and hot scores, students see their progress, which increases self-esteem and motivates them to continue improving.
  • Joke Jumble: The answers to the quiz questions spell out the answers to a riddle.
  • Crossword & Glossary: These help students learn new words from the stories.
  • Did You Know?: These are fun facts about the story topics.
pointer Sample book


I was very happy to start my daughter on the 1st level.  Eventhough it was on the easy side for her, it built confidence and variety in her reading and vocal tone.

She really enjoyed these stories and became quite an interesting storyteller to listen to!

Seeing as her cold and hot scores sky rocketed, it was definitely time to move on to the next level.

One Minute Reader - Level  3
One Minute Reader - Level  3

Unfortunately I did not have level 2, but level 3.  Going confidently into the first story of this new level, my daughter ended up not doing too badly -- but did not like the jump in the length of the story between level 1 and 3.  It did take her several more tries at reading, but there is definitely progress in her inflection, tone and pace.

Overall, I am pleased with this program and how it has helped my daughter's reading.  I plan on continuing to use it with her in the future and have already ordered her the next CD with book!

One more note:  Personally, I would suggest to a homeschool family to buy each package separately and not in a bundle.  Eventhough this comes out to be less savings, by buying a few CD w/book combinations this will enable you to move up a level as needed instead of continuing with a level that has been mastered because "x-number" of stories are left and all that money has already been spent.


Pricing information:
Starter Kits - $24.95
Starter kits, available for each of the six levels, include everything you need to get started using One Minute Reader — ONE book with audio CD, timer, red/blue graphing pencil, and instructional DVD — all in a sturdy album.

Each additional book with audio CD $13.95

Level Bundles - $99.95
Each level bundle includes one copy of all One Minute Reader materials for a given level — one starter kit plus seven more books. You save 14% on each bundle compared to materials purchased separately.

Product Levels

One Minute Reader books are written at different color-coded reading levels, so each reader can find stories at an appropriate reading level.
LevelSample Story Description
E
A Stick That Walks from Bugs! Early first-grade reading level.
Stories consist of a few short, simple sentences with several words repeated.
1
We Need Bees from Cool CreaturesMiddle first-grade reading level.
Stories consist of short, simple sentences with very few difficult words.
2
Quicksand from Ready, Set Red! Middle second-grade reading level.
Stories consist of simple sentences with a few difficult words.
3
Food Fight! from Fun FestivalsMiddle third-grade reading level.
Stories consist of of longer sentences with several difficult words.
4
London Burns from DisastersMiddle fourth-grade reading level.
Stories consist of some complex sentences with more difficult words.
5
Special Delivery! from It Happened in America. Middle fifth-grade reading level.
Stories consist of complex text with more advanced concepts.
The One Minute Reader Placement Guide

Visit the Read Naturally website to learn more about other reading helps.

Here's what other crew members are saying.

Disclaimer:  I received a Starter kit and an additional CD w/book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up (World War II: Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima)

WWII Planes
WWII Planes
Our study of World War II continues this week with a look at the bombing of Pearl Harbor, life in Japan and how the war affected the US workforce.










Some of the week's reading:

Selected reading about WWII
Selected reading about WWII

In addition, we took in a video documentary on Pearl Harbor and more of Vision Forum's D-Day and the Provision of God.

Finally, we worked on our Modern American History lapbook!  It was actually better that we didn't do each little bit at a time.  The boys had a much better overview of the flow of the war and were able to understand and write more information about what they had learned over the past weeks.

WWII Elements for lapbook
WWII Elements for lapbook

WWII Elements for lapbook
These were added to the Modern American History lapbook

The Holocaust
The Holocaust 

WWII Elements for lapbook
More elements for WWII

WWII Elements for lapbook
Causes and Results WWII

Work continues on the USS Arizona as well.....

USS Arizona
USS Arizona



As for my daughter, we read books 3 and 4 of Molly and worked on her lapbook too!

American Girl Molly
American Girl Molly

Elements for Molly's lapbook
Elements for Molly's lapbook


In spite of the neighborhood cats, I'm happy to say that the Victory Garden is coming along.

Victory Garden
Victory Garden

Victory Garden


Last weekend my daughter and I were out and about and wandered into our local pet store.  It was adoption weekend, so, we went to take a look.  Among the kitties, puppies, bunnies and hamsters was a Dumpy Frog and a tarantula.  Now, I could have been the coolest Mom on the block had I taken the tarantula home.  While I liked the tarantula, IN its' cage, I remembered the many times that our pets escaped....so, with that we choose the Dumpy Frog.

Blue Dumpy Frog
Blue Dumpy Frog

This is Button.  Isn't he cute?

Join us next week as we officially wrap up World War II!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Convenience Foods ebook WINNER

Homemade Convenience Foods
Homemade Convenience Foods



We have a winner of the Homemade Convenience Foods ebook!

Using Random.org generator, out of 13 entries, the winner is:

True Random Number Generator
Powered by RANDOM.ORG


Congratulations to Debra from Footprints in the Butter!

And, to remind everyone else, this ebook is on sale for only $4.99 until November 12th.

Thank you all for entering and if you missed my review, you can check it out here.

TOS Crew VocabCafe Review!

Vocabcafe
Vocabcafe



Vocabcafe Four Book Series:
IM for Murder
Operation High school
Planet Exile
Summer of St Nick

$12.95 / book 
$38.85 / set



VocabCafé books help students easily learn SAT-level words while reading an original wholesome story.
These modern novellas contain no foul language, no illicit sexual themes, and no sorcery!
Based on a three-step approach to increasing vocabulary, each book highlights 300 advanced words by using DEFINITION, REPETITION, and REINFORCEMENT.
Readers find the definition of every highlighted word at the bottom of the page -- a word review and appendix complement the learning process!
STOP wasting your time on fiction books that don’t enhance your knowledge.
BUILD YOUR STOREHOUSE OF WORD POWER WITH VOCABCAFÉ!




Our experience:


I really like the concept behind these books.  Learning high school level vocabulary in the context of a story - with no wizardry to boot?  Sign me up!


In my excitement in receiving these books, I didn't think twice when handing I.M. For Murder to my 8th grader.


A very short time later, he came and told me what he had just read - several references to a girl's body shape, dating, skipping school, comments like "Blockhead" and "I'll make her love me"....and he was only on page 14!


So - with that, I began to read the remaining VocabCafe books myself.


All 4 books center around a physical high school.  The majority of characters are high schoolers as well.  And, while the situations they come into are toned down from a "pop-culture" perspective, I wouldn't necessarily call them wholesome.


Planet Exile is an intergalactic adventure initiated by a prank gone bad.  It's sure to please any science fiction buff - but has language such as "stupid", "losers", and "shut-up".  Characters engage in vandalism, gun violence and are bound and beat up.


Summer of St. Nick has a good under lying theme of giving and forgiveness but is also filled with topics that distract.  Vomiting, kissing, dating, smoking, a high school romance where one character declares "I love you" to another and so on.  At one point the main character says "She had blonde hair and blue eyes, wore a mini-skirt, and, to put it plainly, looked like a model."


And finally, Operation High School.  This by far was the most intriguing book of the set.  Fast paced, 'spy thriller' mystery but also filled with keeping secrets from parents and defying their rules --- but in this book, the main character actually does reap some of what she sows.  This book doesn't contain the same distractions as the previous three.


Depending on where your family falls on the conservative pendulum will determine whether or not these books are appropriate for your household.  
Check out College Prep Genuis' website for other SAT prep items at http://collegeprepgenius.com


Here's what other crew members are saying.


Disclaimer:  I received a set of 4 books free of charge in exchange for an honest review.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homeschool Misfit Award Winners Announced!

Homeschool Circus in the 'Harried Homeschooler'

Winners have just been announced for the Homeschool Misfit Awards.

A very special thanks to everyone who voted for Homeschool Circus in the 'Harried Homeschooler' category.  Thanks to you, we won!!!!

Congrats to all the great blogs who were nominated for the Homeschool Misfit Awards as well!

You can check out a list of winners on Not So Superwoman's Blog!

Monday, November 7, 2011

TOS Crew Keyboard Town Pals Review!

Keyboard Town PALS learn to type in an hour Keyboard Town PALS learn to type in an hour

Keyboard Town Pals - Learn to Type in One Hour! (available in English, Spanish and French)
Web-based OR Cd-Rom $39.95
All Ages







Keyboard Town PALS Software teaches children the location of the 30 letters, and symbols on the keyboard within one hour. KTP bolsters academic skills, and liberates creative expression to allow children a greater possibility of success in school and life. In effect, KTP becomes the "missing link" between the child's intellectual capabilities, and the technological world around them. There is nothing on the market which even comes close to providing the benefits of KTP. No parent or teacher will ever want to return to the mindless, boring drills of all the other typing programs on the market today. Why use yesterday's method's to prepare today's child for tomorrow's world. 


WHY KEYBOARD TOWN PALS
IS A BETTER WAY 
TO TEACH KIDS TO TYPE:

Do you remember the stress of typing class?
Keyboard Town PALS is different!

  • Children proceed at their own pace
  • The puppets, humor and music are very entertaining
  • The children easily recall the storyline
  • Children will want to view it again and again
  • No fear of making mistakes
  • No racing against the clock
  • No testing
  • No scoring
  • No anxiety

What's wrong with games and drills used by other programs?

  • Games and drills are repetitive and stressful, teaching through dozens of rote, boring exercises. Keyboard Town PALS puppets use music, humor and association to teach the location of 30 letters and symbols in an hour, in a manner that is fun and relaxed for children.

What are some of the special features in Keyboard Town PALS?

  • We de-activated the delete and backspace function in the program since we do not dwell on mistakes.
  • The program may be used in two- ½ hour lessons or smaller time-segments such as eight mini 6-7 minute lessons and is especially helpful to children with learning differences.
  • Colors can sometimes have a soothing effect for students with certain disabilities. Therefore, Keyboard Town PALS offers a choice of fonts and background screen colors.
  • Keyboard Town PALS is the "missing link" between the child's intellectual capabilities and the technological world around him or her. Understanding the keyboard liberates creative expression, offering every child a greater possibility of success in school and life.

What is the best age to teach typing?

  • As soon as the child can distinguish the configuration of letters.

Why Learn Proper Typing Technique?

  • With proper technique, children will spend time expressing ideas rather than searching for correct keys to press.
  • Children will avoid hand strain caused by hunting and pecking.
  • No wasting of valuable time trying to get children to unlearn poor habits.


Our experience:

I had the opportunity to review Keyboard Town Pals with my 8 year old daughter.  I was curious to see if this program would teach her to type in an hour.

Starting with Lesson 1, the program defines Home Key Street as "a,s,d,f" for the left hand.  The row below is called Downtown Street and the row above is called Uptown Street.  Finger placement and keeping eyes on the screen are encouraged.  Puppets are used to introduce all concepts.

The letter "a" is introduced as "Amy" and the user is instructed to "press Amy on Home Key Street" to type the letter "a".

Then the letter "z" is introduced and then the user is instructed to "press Amy Downtown Z" to type the letter "z".

Next the letter "q" is introduced and then the user is instructed to "press Amy Uptown Q" to type the letter "q".

That is the end of lesson one.  Each lesson is short lasting 6-7 minutes.  Each lesson is complete with an animated diagram of the fingers hitting the correct keys.

In Lesson 2, in addition to the keys "s", "x" and "w" the space bar is introduced.  Strangely, the user is instructed to use it with the right hand thumb ONLY.

At this point my daughter is tired of the puppets, the confusing commands and typing of nonsense words.  I'm not thrilled with this program either, but, encourage her to continue on.

By Lesson 3 for the letter "e" a BARFING PUPPET is introduced and that is enough for us!

In our opinion, this program doesn't have clear directions for hitting the keys and the puppets are definitely geared towards younger children.

You can read more about Keyboard Town Pals by visiting their website at:  http://www.keyboardtownpals.com/

Here's what other crew members are saying!

Disclaimer:  I received a subscription free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up (Global Conflict and The Holocaust) - November 6

Pretzels remind us of the Trinity
Pretzels remind us of the Trinity


But first we start off the beginning of this week by making pretzels for our Reformation Day Celebration.  The pretzels remind us of the Trinity, and Salvation through Jesus' atoning death.
Homemade Pretzels
Homemade Pretzels




We've spent these past two weeks catching up on the previous two weeks that had 1/2 of our family down with sickness at a time.

We did manage to continue our readings on WWII.  This week concentrating on The Holocaust (though in the previous week did read about Corrie Ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

Selected Reading about The Holocaust
Selected Reading about The Holocaust


Due to the nature of the Holocaust and the emotional drain of the material, we didn't get as much done on our WWII projects as originally planned.  But, we had an impromptu garden planting - which is about as hands-on and you can get!

Our Victory Garden
Our Victory Garden

My 8 and 10 year olds prepared the beds by pulling and pulling and pulling weeds.  In the midst of their work, they found an Earth Snake which was our overnight guest for observation. (See lower right portion of the cage)

Earth Snake
Earth Snake

They planted various wild flower seeds plus whatever seeds they could find in the fridge --- cucumber, green pepper, and lemon.  My 10 year old also planted his bean seed from his co-op class.  In a few days, "Voila!"

bean seed


We also had a much needed family day at our local Renaissance Faire.  Due to heat, only my 10 and 8 year olds went in costume.

A Princess and a fearless Knight!
A Princess and a fearless Knight!

The family at the front gate!
The family at the front gate!

Getting clues to solve a mystery from some reenactors
Getting clues to solve a mystery from some reenactors.

My fearless Knight 'visiting' the Barber for a clue.
My fearless Knight 'visiting' the Barber for a clue.

Join us next week as we venture to Pearl Harbor,  finish up our viewing of Vision Forum's D-Day DVD and get some much needed work done on our Molly and World War II lapbooks!