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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reading Eggs

PhotobucketReading is the most important thing that your child will ever learn. No matter where your child receives their education the parent should make sure that their child can read well and comprehend what they read.

Reading Eggs is an online program that will help your children learn to read. This reading world lets your children learn to read at their own pace. This program was developed by an experienced team of education teachers, writers, and developers. There are 100 lessons that are perfect for children 4-7 years old who are learning to read. For children 6-8 who are already reading can enjoy the new lessons and over 600 books in the Egg World called Eggspress.
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Reading Eggs can be started at the beginning if your child is just learning to read or they can complete a placement test if they are already reading.
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During the placement test the child is asked 40 questions and they will choose the correct answer to see how well they are already reading.
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Each child will work their way through the Egg World Map by completing the lessons that work on phonics and sight words. As your child progresses they will be awarded golden eggs to use to buy reward games, items for your house, and clothes for your character. Children are given books to read using only the words they have learned in order to build their confidence. Activity sheets can be printed for free to go along with each lesson.
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There are a variety of animated activities that will provide the repetition your child needs to remember the skills taught. In this activity the child hears a sentence and then they put the words in the correct order. After 10 lessons a quiz will be administered so you can see how well your child is progressing. All the activities can be repeated as many times as your child needs.
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Reading Eggspress has a Floating Island that lets your child visit the Stadium where they can play games against a person or the computer, in the Mall & Apartment items can be purchased for your house or character, at the Library books are separated by category for your child to choose and read, and in the Comprehension Gym is a Comprehension Gym Placement Test is administered. There are 200 lessons to build your child's comprehension.
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Alaina (age 7) has been using Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress. She answered all the questions correctly on the Reading Eggs Assessment test and this put her in a higher level. I think the level she was started in was still to easy for her but she loves working through her map and the extra work has really built her confidence in her reading abilities. She even asks to play during her free time, she doesn't look at Reading Eggs as work to her it is more like a game than school. She has liked  reading all of the books and she has a few favorites that she wants to read over and over.

Access to Reading Eggs can be purchased for $75.00 for one year or $49.95 for six months or monthly $9.95. A 50% discount can be applied for multiple children on the six month or year membership. Additional Reading Egg books may be purchased in the online store.

Sail over to the TOS Crew blog to read what other homeschool families thought of Reading Eggs.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received a free trial of Reading Eggs to use with my daughter free of charge in exchange for my review.

Spelling City


Vocabulary SpellingCity.com is a website that helps children of all ages with their vocabulary and spelling words. The Premium Membership is $29.99 a year and that will give you up to 5 student accounts and a teacher account with no adds. There are 25 different learning activities that can be printed or played online.

The Teacher Toolbox comes with the Premium Membership and allows the teacher to create new assignments for each student. You can manage your students here and check on their progress and grades. You can use word lists that are available from Spelling City or create you own. It is very easy to create your own word lists and Spelling City will give you definitions so you may choose which meaning you would like to your student to learn

Each Student Account has their own login to access their assignments. They can enter their own spelling list to use with the activities, use an assigned list, or one that is available at Spelling City. Some of the activities include flashcards, vocabulary practice, spelling practice, hang mouse, letter fall, crossword puzzles, and word searches.

Using the Premium Membership with all three of my daughters will make keeping track of 3 levels of spelling words easier on me. Once their words are added they can login in and work on their own list independently. One of my daughters loves working on her vocabulary and spelling words and she likes to spend extra time on them so now she can work on her lists even when I'm helping one of the other girls on their school work. The best part is that they all like the fun activities to help them learn their words.

I've been given a premium membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com for a candid, personal, online review.
VocabularySpellingCity.com helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as MatchIt Sentences, HangMan, and Word-O-Rama. Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of free teaching resources on topics such as analogies and compound words.
There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you're interested, find out how you can review VocabularySpellingCity.com.

Monday, February 20, 2012

BEEYOUTIFUL Vapor Rub and Lip Balm

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Healthy Living for the Real World
Beeyoutiful.com believes that each individual is responsible for their own health and they want to promote a healthy lifestyle by bringing you natural products. Their goal is to assist you in bridging the nutritional gap of a modern diet and our bodies nutritional needs.

A few weeks ago I received Beeyoutiful All-natural Lip Balm in orange and the Winter Breeze Vapor Rub in the mail. We have been trying to use more natural products in the last couple of years so I was very excited to try these products.

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Beeyoutiful’s all natural Lip Balm comes in Peppermint and Orange flavors for $3.00. Both contain grapeseed oil, shea butter, beeswax, and essential oils that nourish, heal, and moisturize your lips. Orange is a refreshing, citrusy blast that helps brighten your lips. Peppermint's cool, tingly flavor is refreshing to your lips on dry days. B.A.L.M stands for Beeyoutiful All natural Lip Moisturizer.

I have always been very picky about my lip balm & I keep some in the kitchen, in the school room, my bedroom, my purse, the bathroom, and most of the time I have one in my pocket. I knew the Vapor Rub was coming but I was so surprised when I opened my package and found the Orange Lip Balm. I had to try it the minute I opened the package. It has a very mild orange scent and feels very light and smooth on my lips & it keeps disappearing......... into the hands of my 3 girls (they love it too!!).

PhotobucketWinter Breeze Vapor Rub from Beeyoutiful is a healthy version of vapor rub. Winter Breeze uses body-friendly coconut oils and olive oils, along with beeswax as carriers for camphor, menthol, eucalyptus, wintergreen and tea tree oils. These oils clear mucus and help relieve upper respiratory and bronchial infections. It can also be applied to your feet every evening at bedtime to relieve foot fungus and cracking. It comes in a 4 ounce tub with a screw lid for $18.00.

We have been very fortunate this winter and my kids have been very healthy so we didn't get to try this out for any respiratory problems. I was torn between wanting someone to get sick so I could really try the Vapor Rub or rejoicing that everyone is healthy. It has a very mild menthol scent and it isn't greasy. It leaves your skin feeling very soft and cool. My girls used it a few times just because they liked the way it felt.

Beeyoutiful has a variety of products for men, women, and children. They offer hair & skin products, essential & nutritional oils, supplements, books, tea, baking supplies, and small appliances.

Members of the TOS Crew received different products from Beeyoutiful. Sail over to the Crew Blog and read what other products were reviewed.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received Winter Breeze and Lip B.A.L.M from Beeyoutiful in exchange for my review.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Who Am I? (And What Am I Doing Here?)

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We have used a lot of curriculum over the years and I really like when we find something that will make my kids think. If we find something good they will get on a roll and will want to ask questions and talk about the subject matter for a long time. That is one of the reasons why Who Am I? from Apologia Press has been such a big hit.

Who Am I? (And What Am I Doing Here?) is the second book in the What We Believe series from Apologia. This series introduces young people ages 6-14 to basic truths of the Christian Faith. Who is God? is the first book of the series and we had the privilege of reviewing it last year. The next two books are Who Is My Neighbor? and What on Earth Can I Do?
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Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? is a biblical worldview of self-image curriculum for children 6-14. I have been using the textbook, notebooking journal, CD, and the coloring book with my girls ages 7, 9, & 10.

  • The textbook is a beautifully illustrated hardbound book with 265 pages and retails for $39.99. The text is written directly to the student in a way the whole family can enjoy and learn from. It is presented in a conversational style that makes it easy to remember what was taught. The book should be used in order but each lesson can last as long as you need it to for your children. In each lesson the idea is talked about and reinforced with scripture, there is a story about a young person from around the world,  there are vocabulary words, memory verses, thought questions, and you even learn about a famous horse and the invention of basketball. With the purchase of the textbook you will get a password to gain web access to additional resources to help teach the course.
  • The notebooking journal is a 248 page spiral bound notebook and is $24.00. There are several different types of pages to be completed. Some pages contain questions from the stories, thought questions, puzzles, copywork of memory verses, and even lists of activities, books, and songs to go with the lesson.
  • The CD is $19.99 and is a complete recording of the textbook. This would be great for auditory learners, slow learners, or people with other learning disabilities that make reading difficult. This CD is a MP3 and must be played on a MP3 compatible CD player or on a computer.
  • The coloring book is $8.00 and is a 64 page softbound book with very wholesome pictures to color. Some of them are of people praying, reading the bible, important or common people making decisions and some even show feelings.

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This book has been one of my girls favorite review items. We didn't really follow a set schedule. I would read the lesson or story to the girls and go over vocabulary words & thought questions together until we were ready to stop. Amber (age 10) and Delaney (age 9) would then work on their vocabulary words, worksheets and journal. Alaina (age 7) would listen while I read and participated in the discussions but she didn't complete the worksheets or the journal. Some days we spent 30 minutes and other days we went a lot longer. I really like the conversational style of writing and it generated a lot of good discussions with my kids. We tried the CD to use with the textbook but there were so many places we wanted to stop and discuss something so it worked better for us if I read to all of them. My girls love to color so the coloring book was a wonderful accompaniment to this curriculum.

Sail over to the TOS Crew Blog and read what other members thought of Who Am I.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received Who Am I curriculum from Apologia to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day and it is also my Anniversary. My husband & I have been married for 22 years. Where has time gone? I don't feel like I am old enough to be celebrating 22 years as a married woman.

Mike and I were both in the Air Force and stationed at Yokota AFB in Japan. I had only been on the base a couple of days when I met Mike at the firing range. After we had been dating for awhile this guy at work came up to me and offered his congratulations on our upcoming marriage. Um....Mike and I had talked about getting married but he had never proposed & just started telling everyone that we were getting married without informing me. Since we were so far away from our family and friends we decided to just go to the American Embassy in Tokyo.

First we had to get permission from our commander to even get married. Well.....Mike was kind of a trouble maker. Our commander told him the only reason he would sign for us to get married is that he liked me & thought I could straighten him up. We needed two witnesses so we recruited two of our friends to come along. Once we were at the Embassy they just wanted to know if we had ever been married or divorced, we all signed the paper, and paid the fee. That was it!

We have definitely had our share of problems and difficulties in our marriage but I love my husband more today than ever before.
I may not of gotten a proposal or an actual wedding but I had the pleasure of getting married & honeymooning in Tokyo. I also have an awesome marriage certificate!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

ALEKS

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ALEKS stands for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces and provides individual instruction to homeschool children in mathematics. It is an online math program available for grade 3-12 and can be accessed from any computer with Internet access.
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Your child will take an assessment to see what they already know and what they are ready to learn next. That means no two children will experience the same program while working with ALEKS. This program can be used as a core curriculum, supplement, or tutor.

After setting up the student account they are taught how to use the online tools because ALEKS avoids multi-choice questions. The personalized assessment consists of 25-30 questions.
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Each student will receive a pie chart to record their progress. If they click on a section of the pie it will take them to the learning mode. There they will be provided with practice problems and explanations of concept and procedures. The student will receive immediate feedback on the missed problems. You can also print out personalized worksheets for more practice. A student progress report can be generated at any time and an new assessment can be assigned. Quizzes can be generated according to your state standards or based off of the students work.
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All of your students accounts can be managed in one master account. Where you can view student progress, create a new quiz, and view quiz results.

You can try ALEKS Math free for 2-months and can be purchased for $19.99 a month, $99.95 for 6-months, or $179.95 for one year.
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Sail over to the TOS Crew Blog to read ALEKS reviews. 
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This informational review was written for the TOS Crew. I received no compensation or free trial.

See-N-Spell / See-N-Read

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I have never been a very good speller and that is very frustrating to me. That has made me want my kids to be able to spell well. When we received See-N-Spell to review I was very relieved to read that people usually have a larger verbal vocabulary than written vocabulary and to avoid spelling errors writers will sometimes choose a simpler word to express their thoughts.
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See-N-Spell is a spelling and vocabulary quick reference guide. It is designed to enhance correct spelling and broader vocabulary usage for 4th grade users and up. It is divided into 3 sections.
  1. Section One- Is arranged in alphabetical order and the words are divided into common language functions for each word. This helps the user become familiar with the correct spelling and how to use the word in a sentence.
  2. Section Two- Includes the most commonly misspelled words, arranged in alphabetical order for quick reference.
  3. Section Three-Provides an area to write Special Interest Words that you might want to add to the guide.
To use the Quick Reference Guide simply scan the letter page for the word you need to spell. When scanning for the word you can use the See-N-Read to make it easier.
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The See-N-Reed is a clear reading window surrounded by a non-glare tinted transparent finish that reduces line skipping. It allows readers to concentrate on the content by helping to control smooth eye movements across the line of text.
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Alaina (age 7) has used the See-N-Read the most. She didn't use it with the See-N-Spell but it worked great with her bible. The print is smaller with more words on the page than other books that she reads. This has helped her stay on the line of text that she is reading. She is a very good reader but it is harder for her to focus on the tiny words and it has built her confidence while reading her bible out loud.

Delaney (age 9), Amber (age 10), and I have been using the See-N-Spell. We kept it very accessible in our school room & it is very quick and easy to find the word you are looking for. This 40 page book contains over 300 commonly used American English words. As long as you know the first sound of the word you can find the page and easily find the word. It is much smaller than a dictionary and my girls already know the meanings of most of the words so we didn't need the definitions. We used the Commonly Misspelled Words section for our spelling words so maybe they will not be my kids commonly misspelled words.

See-N-Spell can be purchased for $9.99 and it comes with a free See-N-Read.
Sail over to the TOS Crew blog and read what other crew members thought of See-N-Spell and See-N-Read.
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I received See-N-Spell and See-N-Read free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Math Rider

Photobucket Math is probably my least favorite subject to teach my kids. I was beginning to think it had to do with me or our curriculum but finally my youngest child loves math. Alaina begs to do extra math every day, she loves worksheets, flashcards and especially math facts games. She just turned 7 and is learning multiplication for fun!! All three of my girls ages 7, 9, & 10 have been playing Math Rider to work on their math facts.

Photobucket Math Rider is a computer program that helps your child master math facts from 0-12 in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This program is great for any elementary child that is learning math facts or older children (or parents) who need the review or to build their speed. You can choose the level of difficulty for each quest but it is recommended that they start in the easy level before moving into a harder one in each math operation because it helps the child remember the facts easier.



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Each student gets to ride Shadow through Mathlands. Shadow jumps over obstacles by answering number sentences correctly and rewards await you at the end of your quest.
As the student progresses through the program there will be objects added to their home page. They can earn flowers, buildings, gates & posts, and eventually a castle.
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The statistics page is great. It is so easy to see what math facts each child has mastered and what they need to work on. Once the number fact has been mastered the square will be green. If you hover over the square the math problem will pop up and if you click on it it will recite the problem to you. The problems that were a challenge for the student are listed in the tan box. The colored bar represents the mastery level.

My girls really like Math Rider because they get tired of using paper speed drills and flash cards over and over. This is like a game to them and they are very willing to work on the math facts. I really like it because I can tell at a glance what my children need to work on and what they have mastered. We use speed drills in our school daily and getting 3 levels of them printed from our CD is a little time consuming.
Math Rider is currently $37.00 but on February 15th it will increase to $47.00. This price will include any future updates made to the program. There is a free 7 day trial and there is a 30 day money back guarantee.

If you like Math Rider on Facebook you will get a discount code!!

Sail over to the TOS Crew Blog and read what other homeschool families thought about Mart Rider.
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I received Math Rider free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Celestial Almanack

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We have had some wonderful winter weather & it has been nice because it has given us the chance to notice the night sky early without being to cold. Amber has been very intrigued with the moon lately so I was very happy to be able to start using The Celestial Almanack from Classical Astronomy.

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The Celestial Almanack is a visual representation of the sky. It is written for each individual month so that the information is current. It can be used as a monthly supplement to Signs & Seasons Curriculum or on its own and there is no need for a telescope. The 21 page monthly Almanack can be purchased a PDF download at Currclick for just $3.00.

We have just received the February 2012 Volume I, Number 2 Almanac. It starts our explaining leap year and show us different signs of the seasons. The pictures are wonderful because they actually show how the sky will look from where you are standing. February is a great month to watch Jupiter and Venus draw toward a conjunction that will take place in March.

The Celestial Almanack will be promoting three very rare sky events over the next six months.

1) the Jupiter-Venus conjunction on March 15 (once every 24 years);
2) the annular solar eclipse on May 20 (once every 18 years); and
3) the transit of Venus on June 5 (last one til 2117!).

Jay Ryan is absolutely frantic about trying to make sure that every single American, besides homeschoolers, finds out about these events and how to observe them!

Jay is homeschool dad to his 5 children. He has a BS degree in Physics but is completely self-taught in Astronomy. His home based business is Fourth Day Press and their goal is to create a series of user-friendly astronomy books and curricula that present the visual appearances of the sky in a visual medium, relying heavily on illustrations that depict the actual scenes that a reader might expect to see.

I know very little about Astronomy and am looking forward to learning right along with my kids.

Sail over to the Crew blog and read what other members have to say about the Celestial Almanack.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received Vol. 2 of the Celestial Almanack to help spread the word about exciting sky events.

Cooper and Me Review & Giveaway


My son joined the Army last year and it has been very hard on my little girls to have him so far away. The new Cooper and Me and the Military book was great for reassuring them that they can stay close to him no matter where he is stationed.

Meet Trooper, Cooper’s best friend, and learn how he was adopted by Gracie and Joe and their parents, who both serve in the military. Find out how this family stays close despite being separated.

A must-read during patriotic holidays and for anyone with friends and family in the military, this book helps children know, that even when loved ones aren’t with us, they still love us and think about us. This book, along with all the other books in the Cooper and Me series, includes these interactive features:

• A Special Memory Creation

• Life Lesson

• Connections

• Learning Together

In addition to a fun adventure, each Cooper and Me story teaches an important Life Lesson and features interactive materials at the back of the book to drive the message home. Included are activities that help children name and process their own feelings about what they’ve read.

So your kids can enjoy the Cooper and Me books more there are coloring and activity pages to go along with the books available free on the Cooper and Me website.

The Cooper and Me books are written by Alexa Peters and her mother Monique Peters. Alexa was only 11 years old when they wrote their first book. They wanted to turn their love for writing and drawing into an opportunity to give to other kids.

I have a copy of Cooper and Me in the Military to giveaway to one of my lucky readers.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

KinderBach

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KinderBach is an online beginning piano program for individuals or groups. Your child will learn note reading, rhythm, singing, and composition with fun playful characters as early as age 2. This curriculum will give your child a good music foundation that will carry over to any instrument.

Alaina (age 7) has really enjoyed KinderBach. She watched the videos portion of the program on our Kindle Fire, this made it very easy to use with our piano. Alaina has been taking piano lessons but she has learned a lot from KinderBach and it has really helped her get the idea of rhythm. Her favorite part is where you make your own instrument out of anything you have in your house. She likes the coloring sheets and Felicity the Frog is her favorite character. Maybe she likes her because Felicity likes classical music or could it be because Felicity likes fashion & glitter!

I think KinderBach is a great beginning music program. It is taught directly to the child with very minimal preparation time and the best part the teacher doesn't have to know anything about music. I printed out Alaina's worksheets and coloring pages from the computer and then she would log in on the Kindle Fire and find exactly where she needed to be.

The 6 levels in KinderBach are divided into 240 lessons. There are worksheets, coloring pages, sheet music, games, and activities to keep your 2-7 year old child active in the music lessons.
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This is what the program looks like when you are logged in. It shows that the child is on Week 19 lesson 1. If you click on the printer it will bring up any worksheets that you need to use with this lesson.
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There is an activity book to go along with each Level.
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When you get to the lessons using the piano the exact hand placement is shown to help your child get it right.
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Karri Gregor is a professional musician and has decades of experience in teaching music to over 8000 kids.

KinderBach is available to use online starting at $19.99 a month or the CD/DVD version for $40.45.
Let your child try the free online trial to see how they like it the first 2 weeks of lessons.

I have a discount code for 30% off the subscription rate.
Use COUPON CODE: TOScrew2012
Expires 2/2/2013
KinderBach offers a no risk 30 day money back guarantee!!

Sail over to the Crew Blog and read what other members thought about KinderBach.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received a three month membership to KinderBach free of charge in exchange for my review.
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