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Monday, July 30, 2012

Zane Education

The majority of our school work comes from living books. We usually have a workbook for math & we sometimes have a computer program, educational game, or video to change things up. Lately we have been watching educational videos at Zane Education.

Zane Education offers on demand videos with subtitles, quizzes, study tools, and lesson plans. They offer videos for every subject but the thing that makes them so unique is that all the videos except math contain subtitles.
There is so many benefits of watching videos with close captioned subtitles that is has been called The Missing Piece. It is easy for us to understand how this would help a person with hearing problems or those who are learning English as a second language but research has shown that subtitles can dramatically improve reading and literacy skills.

The educational videos at Zane cover every subject and are for grades K-adult. There are 1544 videos divided into 384 topics, 260 quizzes, and lesson plans. Videos can be searched by subject or grade. In the Study Center you have access to World Fact Book, Video Glossary, Zane Dictionary, Zane Thesaurus, Zane Encyclopedia, catalogs, and downloads.
All three of my girls ages 7, 10, & 11 have been using Zane. Since it is our summer break I just let them choose what they wanted to watch. They watched some history and then headed to the music section and started learning about composers (Amber & Delaney both love music so this didn't surprise me). The Great Composers are not actually videos, they are a series of pictures with the subtitles at the bottom. They look kind of like a picture book with more information & sound. We learned about the composers and listened to their work. All three of the girls enjoyed this series and they listened to some songs they hadn't heard before & now they have a few new favorites. The quizzes are completed on the computer. The question is read and then you choose which answer you think is correct.

I have been very impressed with the video content. They are not all about entertainment and I really like the subtitles. I haven't noticed any improvements in the girls reading yet but I really like that they can see the spellings. In the composers videos we see their names several times & since some of them don't sound like they look it has helped them connect the spelling with the sound. Some videos contain evolution ideas but I will use those as teaching moments about what we believe about creation.

There are several different pricing options and there is a chart comparing the benefits of each level by visiting the membership page.
FREE Membership
GOLD Membership ~ All videos for $197.89 per year or $17.99 per month.
SILVER Membership ~ All videos for an age/grade for $142.89 per year or $12.99 per month.
BRONZE Membership ~ All videos in a subject for $98.89 per year or $8.99 per month.
TOPIC TASTER Membership ~ Ideal for testing the services $5.00 for one month.

Zane Education also has a 424-page Christian Home Learning Guide and it is the Christian companion to the online learning videos. Normally this is $49.95 but it is free with the purchase of  an annual subscription.

Purchase any annual 12-month Gold, Silver, or Bronze Membership by the end of August and you can receive 35% off by using the promotional code above.

Zane Education has a facebook page where they like to share their knowledge to encourage you daily.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a one-year subscription to Zane Education, free of charge, to use with my children in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Almost all the packages we get in the mail to review are books or are for school, my girls still get very excited over them. This time Alaina was overly pleased with what was inside!! When she saw that it was a CuddleUppet she said "I saw that on TV at Papa's house"!

We received the Yellow Puppy CuddleUppet & all three of my girls ages 7, 10, & 11 have enjoyed playing with it but Alaina (age 7) has had the most fun. She is already planning on taking it in the car on our next trip. My friend was over one day & her 4 & 6 year old boys also had a blast playing with our puppy. It is the perfect size and weight for little kids to carry around but big enough to snuggle up with for an afternoon nap.

CuddleUppet is a blanket that is also a puppet. There are 6 different colored animal CuddleUppets to choose from and they can be purchased online for $19.99 with each additional one for $16.99.

Disclaimer: I received the Yellow Puppy CuddleUppet free of charge to write a review. No monetary compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Math Essentials


Math Essentials is not just another math curriculum, it is a system of teaching math. This system has been developed over a 30 year period & leads to results. Each year about 1/2 of sixth grade students who use this program go right into eighth grade algebra.

We received Mastering Essential Math Skills Book Two with DVD & Mastering Essential Math Skills Decimals and Percents book.

Mastering Essential Math Skills
Table of Contents/Sample Pages

This 143 page workbook also comes with an instructional DVD. It covers whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percent, geometry, integers, charts & graphs, and word problems. Each lesson should take about 20 minutes and they all follow the same 8 steps.
  1. 4 Review problems
  2. 2 Speed drills
  3. Check review problems
  4. Introduction to new material
  5. Helpful hints
  6. 2 Sample problems
  7. 7-10 Daily exercise problems
  8. Check & correct answers
After each section there is a 20 question review & the final review is 8 pages with 20 questions covering each section. All the answers are in the back of the book.
Mastering Essential Math Skills Decimals and Percents
Table of Contents/Sample Pages

This 80 page workbook covers the four decimal operations and shows the relationship between decimals, fractions, and percents. Real-life problem soling will give the students the tools for using math in real-life situations. This book is used in a 5 step process and should only take 15-20 minutes per day.
  1. 6 Review exercises
  2. Helpful hints with new material
  3. 2 Sample problems
  4. 10 Daily problems & 1 story problem
  5. Check & correct problems
When my girls use a workbook that has the directions on them, they will highlight the key points so that they can refer back to it without reading all the instructions. In the Math Essential books we didn't feel this was necessary because in the Helpful Hints section the instructions are only the facts and are very easy to understand. One reason this curriculum is popular here is that each lesson is on one page & only has 10 new problems to work. Rick Fisher developed this program and he is the teacher on the DVD. He explains what needs to be done and writes the problems on a white board in black and uses red to show the work in progress. This makes it very easy to see what is being done in the problem. Math is not the favorite subject at our house & I am looking forward to finishing this book with Amber to see if she can be ready for Algebra by the time she is finished.
Rick Fisher developed the Math Essential teaching system to get elementary, junior high, & high school children ready for algebra in less than one school year. Rick graduated with a B.A. in mathematics from San Jose State University & he has devoted his time to teaching 5th & 6th grade students.

During July, August, and September if you order Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1, Book 2, or No-Nonsense Algebra you will get a FREE copy of Geometry (a $14.95 value) PLUS A FREE Homework Kit ($4.99 value).

Crew members received one item from America's Math Teacher DVD Series:
  • Mastering Essential Math Skills, Book 1 (Book and DVD)
  • Mastering Essential Math Skills, Book 2 (Book and DVD)
  • Mastering Essential Math Skills, Pre-Algebra (Book and DVD)
Plus our choice of one item from the Mastering Essential Math Skills Book Series:
  • Mastering Essential Math Skills: Decimals and Percents (Book)
  • Mastering Essential Math Skills: Fractions (Book)
  • Mastering Essential Math Skills: Geometry (Book)
  • Mastering Essential Math Skills: Problem Solving (Book)
  • Mastering Essential Math Skills: Whole Numbers and Integers (Book)
Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 & Decimals and Percents free of charge, from Math Essentials, to use with my children in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Super Duper HearBuilder Software

HearBuilder Auditory Memory computer software helps students age 5 & up to build their memory. The students join Agents Kim & Joey as they save MemoryTown from Dr. Forgetsit. HearBuilder teaches strategies for remembering numbers, words, sentences, and stories by practicing auditory memory, closure, and comprehension skills. There are 5 listening activities:
  • Memory for numbers (3-7 digits)
  • Memory for words (3-5 words organized by syllable)
  • Memory for details (1-4 details)
  • Auditory Closure (Sentence Completion)
  • Memory for WH (who, what, when, where, why) Information (2-3 sentence/2-4 questions)
The Home Edition allows you to use this program with up to 4 children. You can choose levels of play for each child, monitor & print their progress in the progress reports. Background noise can be added to the expert level to give children practice remembering in distracting situations.

Alaina (age 7) has been using HearBuilder for the past few weeks. She likes to play and doesn't even realize she is working on her auditory memory. I am looking forward to seeing the improvements she makes in the long term since it has already helped her with number memory. I have also noticed she is paying more attention to details around her.
This is Alaina's favorite part of the program. She was given details about a child & she had to choose the one that matched the description.
The HearBuilder Auditory Software Program home edition can be used for Windows or Mac (system requirements) and can be purchased for $69.95. I have a 30% coupon code listed at the bottom of this review.

Super Duper Publications was founded by Sharon & Thomas Webber in 1986. Sharon was a Speech-Language Pathologist in the public school when she started creating therapy materials & Thomas was a practicing attorney before focusing his talents on developing therapy materials. Starting out with only 2 products & 2 types of stickers they now offer hundreds of educational and therapy materials for home & school.

We have fallen in love with their catalog, it is beautiful! There are 280 pages of products with picture for almost all of them. They have even included a page of "Gotta Have!" stickers.
The Super Duper castle looks just as cool as their catalog.

Member of the Review Crew also reviewed Jeepers Peepers Glasses Game & Hear Builder Following Directions Software Program. You can read reviews of those at the Crew Blog.

Super Duper Publications gave us some promotional codes just for TOS Review Crew readers. You can get 30% off all three review items if you order before 8/31/2012.


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received Hear Builder Auditory Memory from Super Duper Publications, free of charge, to use with my children, in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Map Trek from Knowledge Quest

I hated school growing up! I guess with history I felt like all we did was memorize peoples names & dates....ugh! When we decided to homeschool I knew it was important to learn history & I wanted to make sure I learned right along with the kids. So when we study, read literature, or even read the bible I like to look at the map to see where things are taking place, or where people lived. That means we are always looking for maps. Recently we have been finding our maps in our Map Trek e-books from Knowledge Quest.

Map Trek is an atlas plus historical outline maps that allows you to teach geography with history. It is available as a hardbound book,  6 e-books as a download, or CD.

  • Map Trek: Ancient World ~ contains 34 full-color teacher answer maps, 32 blank outline student maps, 4 grid maps, 2 blank grids, lesson plans, glossary of terms, and instructions how to use these maps.
  • Map Trek: Medieval World ~ contains 34 full-color teacher answer maps, 32 blank outline student maps, 4 grid maps, 2 blank grids, lesson plans, glossary of terms, and instructions.
  • Map Trek: New World ~ 43 full-color teacher answer maps, 43 blank outline student maps, lesson plans, glossary of terms, and instruction.
  • Map Trek: Modern World ~ 49 full-color teacher answer maps, 49 blank student outline maps, lesson plans, glossary of terms, and instructions.
  • Map Trek: US Edition 1 & 2 ~ 106 full-color teacher answer maps, 106 blank student outline maps, 53 historical maps, 50 state maps, 3 full US maps (different sizes), lessons plans, and instructions.
You can see a list of all the maps for each e-book by clicking the links above.

All 4 World e-books are $14.95 and the US edition is $19.95 or you can purchase all 6 e-books for $47.00. The hardcover and CD can be purchased together for $55.00.

Map Trek can be used for grade 1-12 and the lesson plans are broken down into 3 levels - Level A (grades 1-4), Level B (grades 5-8), and Level C (grades 9-12). The blank maps can be filled in by the students and checked with the teacher maps. The grid maps & blank grids can be used to help your kids learn to draw land masses.

Map Trek can be used with any History program and there are Curriculum Integration Guides for some very popular history programs at Knowledge Quest. They will be adding to this list and if you would like one added for your favorite history resource you can send them an email at

 We received all 6 e-books from Knowledge Quest & they are wonderful! I love that they can be used with any curriculum & we even use them for our own curiosity or to look up places we are reading about. We even found a map of the Native American Tribal Groups & this is pretty important to my girls because they are always playing Indians. I love having this on my computer it makes it so easy to print out the maps we need. The lesson plans work great, all students complete the Level A work & then grades 1-4 are finished, the rest of the grades will complete Level B then grades 5-8 are finished with grades 9-12 finishing their assignments.

Todd & Terri Johnson have been homeschooling their 6 kids for 14 years. They started Knowledge Quest because they saw a need in the homeschool market for simple black & white maps that children could label & color while studying world and American history.
If you would like a Map Trek sample just sign up for Knowledge Quest's twice monthly newsletter.

Member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew also received TimeMaps from Knowledge Quest so sail on over to the Crew Blog to learn about it.
Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received Map Trek free of charge, from Knowledge Quest, in exchange for my hones review.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Christian Keyboarding

Kids are learning to use the computer and keyboard at a very young age & learning to type can make their time on the computer more productive. I have been using Keyboarding for the Christian School to teach Amber how to type.

Keyboarding for the Christian School is an e-book typing program for grades 6 and up and can be purchased for $15.95. This 85 page course is divided into 43 lessons. The introduction includes Touch Typing Techniques and the course uses scripture throughout the typing lessons. The lessons start with the homerow keys and continues through the entire keyboard. Students are also taught centering, enumerated lists, tables, business & personal letters, envelopes, how to create a table of contents, reports, and cover pages. There is also a section on proofreading marks, and timed typing exercises. Free sample lessons are available here.

Amber (age 11) has been using this keyboarding program and I plan on having my 10 year old start for school this fall. I really like the book format to teach typing because most of the things my girls are typing right now are something they have already hand written & this gets them used to looking at a paper to type. I love that the long selections for practice are from the bible. Amber thought it was very easy to use & she hasn't needed any help so far. Her typing has already improved in the last few weeks.

Leanne Beitel was teaching in a private school and realized there were no Christian based computer programs out there so she decided to create her own. She combined the elements needed for state education requirements and Biblical references for private school requirements. She received the Christian Small Publisher 2012 Book of the Year award.


There is also an Elementary Version for K-5th grades for $12.95. You can read reviews about this product on the Crew Blog.

Receive a 20% discount on Christian Keyboarding from now until August 29, 2012 by using the Promotional Code: SUMMER2012


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received Christian Keyboarding free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my hones review. All prices & coupon codes were correct at time of posting.

The code will expire August 29, 2012.

Also, if you would like to offer your readers an unpublished 20% discount; they can use the promo code of SUMMER2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who is My Neighbor? And Why Does He Need Me?

It seems like so many people today only look out for themselves, they don't really care what is going on around them. I want my kids to have a Christ like attitude and make a difference in the world around them. Who Is My Neighbor? is a great curriculum to get them on the right track.

Who Is My Neighbor? And Why Does He Need Me? is the third volume in the What We Believe series from Apologia. Volume one is Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him? Volume two is Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? This series will teach your children ages 6-14 how to use the Bible as a lens to view the world around them. Apologia Press published this series written by John Hay and David Webb.

Who Is My Neighbor? And Why Does He Need Me? is a biblical worldview of servanthood. Students will learn what it means to be salt and light of the world & will develop a heart for serving others and a love for God's family that will last a lifetime.

This curriculum is written in a conversational style and is recommended for children ages 6-14 but the entire family can benefit from using this. It is made up of a textbook, notebook, and a coloring book.The 276 page textbook can be purchased for $39.00 and is divided into 8 lessons.
Does Anyone Really Need Me?
How Can I Make A Difference?
Who Is My Neighbor?
Why Did God Make Families?
What Can I Do For My Country?
Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
Who Is God's Family?
Why Does The Church Need Me?

Each lesson follows the same structure by giving you the big idea first followed by short stories featuring characters about the same age as your children. Each chapter contains thought provoking questions, vocabulary words, memory verses, godly character traits, and articles related to the main text. The final portion is a story, adapted from scripture, about someone who encountered Jesus during His ministry on earth.
The 240 page spiral notebooking journal can be purchased for $24.00. It is full of graphics, writing prompts, puzzles, activities, and 8 full-color mini books. Lesson plans are included or you may follow your own. This beautiful journal will become something you will want as a keepsake.

The 64 page coloring book is illustrated by award-winning artist Alice Ratterree and is $8.00. Each drawing depicts a story or lesson from the textbook.

I have been using all 3 components of Who Is My Neighbor? with my daughters ages 7, 10, & 11. My girls favorite part of this curriculum are the stories. They enjoy meeting so many different people especially the children. I made sure that my girls knew that the Encounters With Jesus were based on the bible with text added to help them fully grasp the story. We also read the account from our bible to see the differences. The notebooking journal is very beautiful! It is full of activities & writing assignments. The background color and pictures add so much to the pages & it encourages my girls want to write neatly. We are a very artsy family & we love to color so the coloring book is a must for us. The illustrations are very detailed and nicely done.

We worked on this together so I read the textbook to the girls and then they completed any seat work or coloring pages. The conversational style of writing makes it very easy to listen to & my girls would beg for me to read more each day. I like using this series in this way because it generates more family discussions and it allows me the opportunity to point out what we believe as a family.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received Who Is My Neighbor? from Apologia, free of charge, to use with my children, in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Professor B Math

Professor B Math is a website that teachers students math from using a power point presentation. This program is not drills & games it is an actual math curriculum that the teacher uses with the student.

Professor B Math is divided into 3 Levels and each level teaches 3 years of Math.
LEVEL I Pre-k though 2nd graders and remediation of older learners. Introduction to Addition/Subtraction Facts - Counting to One Hundred - Lower Addition and Subtraction - Higher Addition and Subtraction - Place Value Fractional Parts & Order - Time - Money
LEVEL II 3rd grade through 5th grade and remediation of older learners. Multiplication/Division Facts and Problem Solving - Introduction to Fractions - Fractional Equivalence - Addition and Subtraction Fractions
LEVEL III 6th through 8th grades and remediation of older learners. Multiplication/Division of Fractions - Decimals - Percents

Professor B is a bee that teaches math. The program is presented in a Power Point with the bee showing all the steps. He doesn't actually talk & this is to prevent the child from using the program alone. It is designed for the parent/teacher to sit with the child and read what the bee says to the student. You can work through the Levels in order or if you click on a topic in the table of contents it will take you directly to that lesson.
This is a frame from Level 3, each line of information is added one at a time with the newest information appearing in red. Professor B is at the bottom telling you what is going on. When you get to the last frame of this lesson he will ask if you if this information makes sense to you. The navigation bar is at the bottom, this allows you to advance to the next frame or go back to repeat a previous one.
You can also have all the frames show up under the lesson box. This really helps when you need to review just a portion of the lesson.

All three Levels come with a workbook as an e-book. After going through the power point you can have your student complete the worksheets to make sure they understood what they learned.

Professor B is authored by Everard Barrett, he has worked with elementary math education since 1973. He has also taught junior and senior high math and was an Associate Professor for State University of New York. The Professor B methodology has lifted math levels in low socio-economic communities to the highest levels of achievement.

The data from Professor B proves that they can raise the math scores in any school system in two to three years without focusing on the tests themselves.


I used Level 3 of this program with Amber (age 11). Amber is my history buff and math is her least favorite subject. She wasn't overly thrilled to be working on math during the summer but she did. She thought the topics were taught in a way that she could understand and she liked being able to control how fast or slow she went through the lesson.

I have really liked what we have used of this program. Its great having access to more than one grade level at a time. This allowed us to work at Amber's level & to go back and review things she was struggling with. The only thing we did not like about this program is that when you log in the next day it does not automatically take you to where you left off. It's not that hard to open the table of contents and click on the lesson that we are ready for & Amber could actually find it and get there faster than I did. Professor B is working on a solution to this problem.

Professor B can be purchased for $100 for 3 years access to each level. When I posted my review this was not changed on their website but they will honor the price if you call 678-765-6655. You may also ask for a free 30 day trial by calling the same number.


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received access to Professor B for one year, to use in our school, in exchange for my honest review.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Purex Giveaway ~~ 3 Winners

Purex is having a Let's Be Honest Contest. They have made several short funny videos and you can watch them at Purex or Youtube.

After you watch the videos just pick out your favorite then like it, share it, or retweet it. Come back here and tell me which one you liked & you will be entered to win a coupon for a free bottle of Purex Triple Action Detergent valued at $6.00.

I have 3 coupons so 3 lucky people can win!!

Make sure you leave your email address so I can notify you if you win. This contest ends on July 18, 2012 at midnight. The winners will have 72 hours to respond to my email or I will choose a new winner.
Giveaway Closed
I have 3 Winners!!!
Mary F
Candace M

Disclaimer: As a Purex Insider I received 3 coupons for Purex Detergent valued at $6.00 each to giveaway in exchange for my blog post.

Hewitt Homeschooling

I think it is very important that my children read good literature, but I also like to guard their hearts. We have been using Lighting Lit & Comp from Hewitt homeschooling and one thing I liked about them before I even opened the curriculum is that the books with mild swearing is noted in their course description. It is also included in the teacher's manual at the beginning of that lesson.

Hewitt offers a balanced, flexible and complete approach to homeschooling by......
  • Balancing character, academics, work, and service
  • Encouraging homes school, not school at home
  • Personalizing your home education
  • Offering services and products that develop a mind for a lifetime of use.
The Lightning Lit & Comp for seventh grade comes with a Teacher's Guide, Student Guide, and Workbook. They can be purchased separately for $20.00 each or you can buy all three guides along with the books that are used within the curriculum for $91.73.
  • The 110 page Teacher's Guide explains how to use this curriculum along with the importance of reading and writing. There is also a weekly planning schedule for the whole year.
  • The Student Guide is 162 pages. Each chapter uses the same format.
    • The Introduction gives the student information about the author of each book.
    • While You Read is a brief paragraph containing questions or things to look for while the student is reading.
    • Vocabulary List
    • Comprehension Questions
    • Literary Lesson talks about plots, poetry & rhyme, creativity, dialogue, autobiography, and character sketch.
    • Mini-Lesson covers alternate openings, outlines, different types of poems, brain storming, choosing a topic, and nonce words.
    • Writing Exercises 
  • The 162 page Student Workbook is full of activities. There are puzzles, storyboards, matching definitions, outlines, using note cards, grammar worksheets, and writing activities.
Literature used with the curriculum:
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by  Lewis Carroll
  • The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  • Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children
I love the way these books are set up. The vocabulary & composition questions are arranged according to the chapter of each book. This makes vocabulary words very easy to assign. The workbook exercises do a great job in preparing the students for the writing assignments. The Teacher's Guide is so nice.....the answers to the worksheets are at the end of each chapter. It may be a trivial thing to some people but I don't like flipping to the back of the book to look for answers.
We haven't got to All Creatures Great and Small and I have never read it, but it is noted at the beginning of that chapter that there is some mild swear words. They also suggest that you preread it to eliminate those sections or talk about it with your child. Thanks Hewitt for the warning.

This curriculum starts out with one of my favorite short stories Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. I think this is a very good book to start with because it is very easy to see and graph the plot & Hewitt did a great job at explaining it. Amber (age 11) has been using this curriculum but I also included the other girls in on some of the discussions of plots & plot lines. I read Rikki-Tikki-Tavi out loud and even Alaina (age 7) could understand the Action & Climax. The introduction and chapter 1 for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is scheduled to last a little over 2 weeks and the longer books last several weeks. This is a full year curriculum and we are looking forward to finishing it.

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed products for every grade from Hewitt Homeschooling. Sail over to the Crew Blog to read about them all.


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received 7th Grade Lightning Lit & Comp free of charge to use in our school in exchange for my honest review. 
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