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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beehive Reader Review

Last year, the TOS Crew had the chance to review a spelling curriculum from All About Spelling. This year, AAS has formed a sister company called All About Reading, and they have come out with a reader to complement their Spelling curriculum, but is perfect for any beginning reader.

The Beehive Reader 1 is a beautifully bound hardcover book. It is 160 pages long, and contains 10 beginner reader stories. The words in these stories directly correspond with level one of All About Spelling, but the reader is certainly applicable for ANY beginning reader, whether you are using All About Spelling or not. Each page contains beautiful hand drawn illustrations that complement the text, but do not give away the storyline. The pages are non-glare, so they are easy on the eyes, and the text has a subtle underlining to assist beginner readers in tracking as they read.

The pros: This is a book worthy of keeping for generations to come. Just beautiful. I could gush and gush about the illustrations. You have NEVER seen a reader like this. The stories are meaningful and NOT dumbed down like many beginning readers. My daughter, who is just starting to read, BEGS for me to read her "just one more". And it's so gorgeous that my older kids are happy to read to her too because they like the pictures.
The cons: The ONLY con would be the price. This book is $19.95. If ever a reader came close to being worth that, it would be this one, but I still think it's a bit steep. It is totally professionally bound and just gorgeous, but $20 just seems a little pricey to me. Of course, given that it is 10 stories, and bought individually even cheap readers are $2 each, so it probably really is a great deal-it's just hard to swallow in one bite-or book-as the case may be.
The bottom line: You can't go wrong with this reader. Have I mentioned it's amazing? Really, really beautiful. If you hold on to books and like spending your money wisely by investing in quality, then this is the book for you. Since my kids are doing All About Spelling, I imagine I will be buying the other levels when they come out too. I almost can't wait to see them!
To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE. To order the Beehive Reader 1, go HERE.
Legal disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of giving this review. That free book is the only payment I received.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thanks Aunt Fanny

So at the skate park today, Aunt Fanny happen to let out (in front of all the kid there) that she and another girl used to sit at the top of a skate ramp and sing "This ramp is our ramp" (to the tune of This Land is Your Land). This prevented the kids who wanted to use the skate ramp from being about to skate on it while she and the other girl sang at the top of their lungs to torment the would-be skaters.


She told that story just before she left.

And as soon as she left, my sweet, sweet daughter and her equally sweet, sweet friend IMMEDIATELY went to the top of the highest skate ramp and...

you guessed it...

started singing Aunt Fanny's song.

Thanks Aunt Fanny. If you find your "maggot mobile" covered with interesting stickers with wings, you'll know who did it, LOL.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

iheartfaces Hands-On Fun Challenge

This week's challenge is one of the rare ones that does not have to include a face-just hands.

I wasn't entirely sure what to enter-I have a lot of different "hand" pictures. But, as cliche as this pose has become in maternity pictures, I chose this one because this is M and S's second child, and the littler hand at the bottom of the heart belongs to their first child RM. She will be 11 years older than her baby sister, and is very much a part of this pregnancy too.
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sari Pics

The process of getting one "good picture", LOL. I forget why she was pouting.

Then she was preoccupied with her feet...

Then she wanted to take pictures with her tongue out...

Oh, and waving her hands like a crazy girl...

And lying on the tree limb. I actually like this one though. I just wish her face was cleaner.

Finally, a good shot.

Since Sari was my little garden helper today, I took the chance to grab a few pictures of her. Her 5th birthday is coming up very soon, and I want to get a good picture to frame. I'm not sure we got one, but it was fun-and sometimes funny-trying.
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The reason for my silence...

We've been in "gardening mode". Above, you can see a teeny, tiny, tomato plant poking out of the bottom of the hanging basket. Last year, my upside-down plants grew well, but my yield was not great. My friends Presley, Kiwi, and SK all have embraced the Square Foot Garden concept, and this year, I've jumped on the bandwagon too. Below are pictures of our two boxes. My husband, the computer genius, is also pretty handy with woodworking, and he made our lovely boxes last week-end. I helped by rubbing them with linseed oil so they will hopefully last longer.

Today, I planted the boxes with Marigolds and Sunflowers...since I don't care for vegetables at all, LOL. Actually, I did plant marigolds for their pest repellent qualities, and sunflowers because the hubs and kids like the seeds, but I planted plenty of veggies too. I planted 4 broccoli plants, 8 romaine lettuce, one okra, 32 carrots, 16 onions, 4 tomatoes (plus two more hanging ones), 5 sweet peppers, and a partridge in a pear tree...just kidding...I'm just checking to see if you are paying attention. Anyway, that may not be everything, but it's what I remember without looking. Oh, peas...I planted 16 pea plants too.

The one thing that strikes me is how RIDICULOUSLY expensive gardening is. I'm sure it balances out after the start-up costs, but YIKES! this stuff is expensive.
I'll keep you posted, but I have to run now, it's family game night.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Zeezok Publishing's Great Musicians Review

Before a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Zeezok Publishing, and certainly not their Great Musicians Series, so I am guessing that many of you have not either.

Zeezok Publishing was established in 2003, and their belief is, "It is better to build children than to repair men." To accomplish that, they publish quality literature and educational books to use in "training the next generation." The Great Musicians Series certainly meets those goals.

I want to confess that when I received these I thought, "I really have NO interest in studying these guys, even if they are famous musicians." I admit, it's a weak area of mine. Despite my degree in Social Science Education and minor in History, and despite having a son who is playing classical piano and an artistic daughter, the lives of artists have never interested me much. Until we started reading these books. I LOVED them. They are SO interesting and well written. You don't want to put them down.

This series currently covers Edward MacDowell, Franz Schubert, Frederic Chopin (Early Years and Later Years), George Frederic Handel, Joseph Hadyn, Beethoven, Mozart, Robert Schumann, Bach, Stephen Foster, and Brahms. In addition to the books, there are also study guides available for each musician and if you buy them in pairs, the books and study guides also are grouped with a supplemental CD that has music from the musicians and coloring pages and sheet music.

The pros: Did I mention that I LOVED these books? I wish we had gotten the whole collection because I want to have them all. The two we got, Schumann and Handel were so rich in information. To call them biographies does not do them justice. They are delightful and they give you such a sense of the history and culture of the time too. Even if you have NO interest in the musician, I highly encourage you to get them when you study their period of history because they make for great "living" books. But I must admit that the books actually drew me into an interest in the musicians as well. My son, the piano student, enjoyed them too.

The cons: None. Zip. Zero. They were great.

The bottom line: You HAVE to check these out. It would serve you well to own them all. And you must get the study guide. It's so helpful. It reminds me a bit of the FIAR type supplementation-giving you background information and timelines and items of interest. The books are available HERE for $12.95 each and the study guides are $4.95 each. As I mentioned, some books are pre-grouped with another one, so that the two books, study guides, and the accompanying CD are $35.80. Since the CDs are $7.95 on their own, it is a great deal to get the package.

To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE. Some of them reviewed other products that Zeezok publishes, so you should check it out.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received the Handel-Schumann set for the purpose of giving my review. Those books and the accompanying CD are the only compensation I received for this review.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Review

I have to admit that a book called The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling is NOT what I think of when I think of Apologia. If you feel the same way, you probably haven't checked out Apologia's offerings lately, and you might want to!

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling was written by Debra Bell, although she has several contributors from around the country who add their input as well. The book has 10 parts that run the gamut from how to figure out if homeschooling is for you to what to teach and when to how to homeschool high school (and beyond) to using computers in your homeschool. The author is obviously Christian, and that faith come out in the guidance the book offers.
The pros: This it TRULY an "ultimate" guide. Everything you need to know to decide if homeschooling is right for you and then everything you need to know to proceed is included. It is resource rich, with detailed lists including state by state information. At $20, it is a bargain. And with chapters on preventing burnout and information about homeschooling beyond high school, even seasoned homeschoolers can benefit from it. In fact, I was convicted and inspired within the first few pages. And I LOVE that her advice is Biblically tempered.
The cons: There aren't any. Trust me. As someone who leads a homeschool group with over 200 families, I can PROMISE you, this book is moving to the top of my recommendations.
The bottom line: Everyone who homeschools or is considering homeschooling can benefit from this book. It is an amazing deal for $20, and could easily SAVE you that much and more with the wisdom you will glean from these pages.
To order The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, or to see the Table of Contents and a sample chapter, go HERE. To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling so that I could review it. That book was the only compensation I received for this review.
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This is what happens...

when you let your preschooler dress herself!
I know it may *look* like she matches, but rest assured that the skirt is orange and black and brown and yellow, and has NO red it in whatsoever...and the pink sweatshirt she topped it all with has totally different colors too. But SHE likes it. She put all that on, and then went outside to play. Just like you see her-NO shoes. Last night. When it was 40 something degrees. Oh. My.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Dollar Homeschool's Eclectic Education Series Review

WOW! If you think the title of this post is long, you should see the list of everything The Eclectic Education Series includes.

While I had never heard of the Eclectic Education Series, I certainly had heard of at least one of it's components, and I bet you have too. It's the McGuffey Readers. Apparently, they are part of this Eclectic Education Series that was used almost exclusively in schools (mostly one room schoolhouses) around our country from 1865-1915. They were so well known that their characters and teachings (such as Meddlesome Matty) were part of colloquialisms of the times.

The Series includes every subject under the sun-from the very beginnings of learning to specialized skills such as Surveying and Navigation. All these resources that for decades provided the framework of education in our country have now been digitalized and are available for purchase on CDs. Collectively, they could meet all your curriculum needs for all your students for their entire homeschool career, and probably still have things that you never get too or that would take your students into college. Boy, have we dumbed down education since the early 1900's!

The pros: If you are looking for a proven curriculum-this is it. It was used on millions of students, and gave some of the greatest minds of our country their foundations. At $156 for the entire Eclectic Education Series, which could take you K-12 it doesn't get more affordable. You will find things in this series that you just won't find anywhere else, and it's quite possible you will gain a huge appreciation for how little you know compared to the elementary education our farming forefathers got-I know I did.

The cons: Sadly, the beautiful, detailed pictures in most of the books have not scanned well and are not able to be appreciated. And equally sad, I think the biggest con this Series has is its comprehensiveness. It is SO complete, SO detailed, it is just overwhelming. And since the scope and sequence are so radically different from what is common today, it is hard to know where to start a student if they haven't begun their learning with the EES. Honestly, in the Ray's Arithmetic materials, for example, there were things I had NEVER heard of like Avoirdupois Weight (which is based on the Avoirdupois pound determined by the Troy pound in the US). And I'm not sure knowing conversions for bushels and pecks are necessary much anymore. And that is true throughout the series. There is some superfluous information there because of changes in society and how we do things now. And that adds to the overwhelming feeling.

The bottom line: While the Series in its entirety is a great deal, I don't know that I personally would get my money's worth out of it. There are some parts though that I REALLY liked-especially in the McGuffey stuff. Their Speller and the Speaker are two resources that particularly appeal to me. I'd highly encourage you to check out the website HERE because the Series is available broken down into its parts, and the entire McGuffey collection is only $39. The History too has some great stuff in it-all from a Christian worldview. It's heady, but would be a wonderful resource to have at least for the "teacher" in your homeschool. To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.

Legal disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received the Eclectic Education Series as a download for free. This downloaded information was the only compensation I received for my review.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

What were we thinking???

So this morning at o'dark hundred (okay, really 7:45ish) Presley called to see if I wanted to go to a "small animal swap" with her at a local feed store. She's knows I'm in the market for illegal chickens. Well, chickens aren't illegal, but having them in my "city" is. Anyway, always game for an adventure, I said "sure".

There were 2 calfs, 4 puppies, 1 goat (that NO ONE would want after listening to the guy give his "sales pitch"..."she'll chase you to the fence and over it...and then she'll follow you right THROUGH the fence". Oh yea, I want THAT one. NOT.), 4 cages full of full grown chickens, and one pathetically scrawny horse. Yep, it was lame.

And cold.

Did I mention it was cold? Bone chilling cold? Really, REALLY cold?

So all that, with four kids in tow (her three and my youngest) for the sum total of NOTHING except a 50# bag of rabbit food.

And a cute picture:

Do NOT let their lack of winter attire fool you. Florida kids don't seem to believe their parents when they say it is cold outside and they need a heavy coat-we get too few days where that is true for them to put much stock in that sort of parental some things have to be learned by doing. Liv's eyes in the second picture tell the real story...she was COLD!
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Math Tutor DVD Review Part Two

Last year as part of the TOS Crew, I received two videos to review from Math Tutor DVD. The review of those DVDs is HERE.

This year, I received another math DVD they offer-but this one for a totally different age group. It's called Young Minds Numbers and Counting, and it was very different from what I was expecting!

Young Minds Numbers and Counting is a DVD that focuses on teaching the numbers one through ten, and uses pictures of animals, nature, and other everyday items to teach counting. It has won countless awards. It features beautiful photography set to classical music with narration that counts aloud the numbers being focused on. Other teaching takes place too, such as the names of the animals in the pictures and the sounds that they make. And beyond the "Numbers and Counting" section, there are also bonus features such as connect the dot and puzzles that reinforce the learning presented in the main section.

The pros: Young Minds Numbers and Counting was very professionally made. While I try NOT to draw comparisons to other products, it is similar to the "Baby Einstein" type videos. The music in the background is classical and pleasant to listen to. This is one "kids" DVD you won't mind listening to. The photography images are great. The bonus features, particularly the dot-to-dot is a neat way to present the same material in a different format. Each number is "counted" several times so your child has the chance to practice along.

The cons: Because of the repetition of counting each number several times, the main section of the DVD is a little too long for smaller children. My daughter watched the whole thing in one sitting, but she kept wandering away from the TV and then going back to it. And I think, even given how professional it is, that it is a little overpriced. The list price is $29.99, and it is available from for $19.99. Even that $10 savings makes the price a little too steep for me.

The bottom line: This video is very well done and professional. The music is great and the photography is breathtaking. But I think it's too long to be effective for the age that would be learning how to count to 10. You can get around that by watching it in segments, but that makes it higher maintenance than most kids' videos. And then there's the price...a little too high in my opinion. But I did REALLY like the video and the way it is done. If you are looking for a product like this, I'd encourage you to check out the video on their site HERE.

To order this DVD, or the others that has to offer, go HERE. To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say (some of them reviewed a second video that I looked at last year) go HERE.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this DVD for FREE so that I could review it and give my honest opinion. That free DVD was the only payment I received for my review.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

If you've ever wondered...

"how does SHE get to do that reviewing stuff?" then this is just the information you are looking for! The TOS Crew is beginning its search for next year's Crew members. Everything you need to know is at THIS LINK. There will be some changes for next year, so even if you think you know, you should go to the site and check it out. Best of luck to all of you who may be interested! For my family, it has been (and continues to be) a wonderful opportunity to with with great products and even better people. I've been glad to serve for the past two years, and look forward to continuing on.
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

KinderBach Review-Revisited

Last year, as part of the TOS Crew, I had the opportunity to review KinderBach, and on-line piano course for children ages 3-7. My review from last year can be found HERE.

KinderBach again is one of the TOS Crew vendors, but instead of writing another review, we "First Mates" were asked to share last years review with you, and then tell you what is new. So before you go on, you might want to follow that link above...or HERE it is again, ;-).

KinderBach is really a delightful program that just keeps getting better. New this year are two more levels of student study. They have also added downloadable crafts and games (some are free, some you pay to download) AND coloring books that are available for a small cost. Karri Gregor, who is the imaginative force behind KinderBach also does a regular newsletter which frequently contains contests, coloring sheets, and more to tie in with lessons.
Beyond those activities, most lessons have activities that go with them to, such as the one below.
KinderBach continues to be one of the best values in piano lessons around. You can take the first two weeks of lessons free, and there is a 30 money back guarantee. The monthly cost is $19.95, the price of ONE half hour traditional lesson. And that cost drops to $7.95 a month if you pay a year at a time. For about $20 more, you can get one year's worth of DVD lessons instead of having the lessons be online . If scheduling computer usage time, especially time that lines up with piano access, is a challenge in your home, the DVDs might be the best solution for you.

To check out KinderBach, go HERE. I encourage you to check out what other members of the TOS Crew have to say HERE.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Guess who got glasses???

And she's THRILLED! She just needs them for reading, but she is SO excited. We'll see how she feels about 30 years from now :-).
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For your continued amusement

Just in case any children are reading, let me speak to you directly...

If you happen to come across a cute little wrapped up soft, squishy bundle either in your mom's purse, or some hidden cavern in the car (or some hidden cavern in your AUNT's car), or the bathroom, etc...
and if you unwrap that bundle and find that it immediately expands from the thirds it was folded into into a big, long, hourglass shaped...
and IF you then unpeel the waxy paper and find that the long hourglass shaped thingy now has WINGS...
even if all that cool stuff happens...





the coolest sticker you've ever come across




be stuck to the inside of that car window while your aunt is pumping gas.

Go on...ask me how I know...
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Random ramblings

  1. Lowfat frozen yogurt isn't lowfat if you eat the whole half gallon.
  2. Moms should be issued tasers. And using them on any child seen after 9PM should be legal. Just sayin'
  3. No. I didn't really eat the whole half least not in one night.
  4. Next week we have a field trip to Busch Gardens, a day at Disney, and writer's much do you have to be home to count it as "home" schooling? 'Cause I'm fairly certain we aren't making our quota.
  5. At this point, I am resigning myself to the fact that I am raising the future work force of Micky D's. Maybe. Just maybe...if they are really lucky, they can work at Chick-fil-a. It might be a stretch.
  6. Did I mention my eldest daughter got herself kicked out of class at church tonight...and her dad is the teacher. Not. good.
  7. I am fighting some illness. Thank goodness for Nature's Sunshine and their immune boosting stuff or I'd really be sick. As it is, I'm on the "two naps a day" plan. Yep. Tons of schooling being done here.
  8. Actually, my eldest has completed his first week of Astronomy. We are lapbooking it too, so maybe tomorrow will be assembly day for the lapbook. It's supposed to be "make a model of the solar system" day, but we may just scrap that and take a field trip to Marie's house where some child of hers has already made one :-).
  9. I spilled worm pee on my sock today. Yep, you read that right. Bet not many other people can say THAT.
  10. When my blueberry bushes are amazing, you are going to wish you had worm pee too, LOL.
  11. They dropped the price of the house next door. To $49,000. Seriously. Three people have come to look at it this afternoon alone. I'm a LITTLE concerned about the kind of person who buys a $49,000 house. Just sayin'.
  12. Everyone who comes to look at the house takes oranges from the trees. EVERYONE. The laugh's on them. The oranges on those trees are SOUR. I try to warn them. It gives me an excuse to talk to them and give them the "yes, we live next door, have 4 kids, homeschool, have the world's craziest dog, a boatload of cats, and a yard that looks like the Adams family lives here" speech. Just want them to know what their $49,000 is buying.
  13. My house gets louder at night. My children retreat to their rooms (the boys to one room, the girls to another) and both commence with listening to Adventures in Odyssey at the loudest volume imaginable. It's hard to be mad when it's such good listening, but oiy! I wish they could fall asleep in silence.
  14. Actually, the 4 year old doesn't go in her room. She comes in ours and TALKS INCESSANTLY. Then,a round 10:30, she says she's just going to take a "nittle nap" and passes out...usually in my spot on the bed. Sadly, I'm so happy for the quiet that I just let her be. I'm glad we have comfortable couches.
  15. I could probably go on, but I like The Mentalist, and it comes on in 5 minutes.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010 Review

Being a member of the TOS Crew gives me lots of chances to check out resources I never even knew were out there. is one of those resources. factsfirst is an online math site that allows students to drill the basic math facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Before they start any math though, they create an avatar (online person) for themselves that appears in all their math drills (for example, their picture is on the wall as "Student of the Month" in the background of some drills).

The avatar is surprisingly customizable. It is good fun to create it, and you get the opportunity to change it if you want to later. The example above is a bit trendy (a.k.a. worldly), but there are plenty of traditional and modest choices available.

The math drills themselves contain a pretest and post-test as well as individual lessons that cover two facts at a time (for example _x1 and _x2). They also contain short, practical instruction for those facts with real life scenarios such as the one above.

After completing a certain amount of "work", the student earns arcade time, where they can chose a game to play for 5 minutes. The games feature critical thinking skills and some even include math. All have a few math questions upon completing each game and before moving to another.
After they have completed a drill, they see this screen that shows them how they have done. This information is also available to the parents so you can see what your student has worked on, and where they are in terms of mastery.
The pros: This site is engaging without being over the top and without sacrificing effectiveness for flash. My kids have really enjoyed creating their avatar and because they enjoy the site, they tolerate doing the math, LOL. Actually, they don't mind practicing math on this site at all. I like that the site encourages speed as well as accuracy and that the students can't help but develop keyboarding skills while they are doing their math drills. I also like the parent reports that I can pull up for each student so I can see what they've worked on and how they have done on it.
The cons: The one thing that bugs me and my kids is that they have to do 36 questions before they can move on. These are grouped into 4 sets of 9, and by about the third one, you are ready to move on. My kids felt the same way. I wish they grouped them in sets of two, even if you had to do twice as much to pass a level. The other "con" would be that compared to other math sites, this on does not go beyond the basics. There is no geometry, algebra, or higher level math at all...just the basics, which is perfect for my kids, but definitely limits what ages groups profit from this site.
The bottom line: I'd definitely check this one out if I was you! I've spent quite a bit of time on this site myself, and it's fun. It definitely has me rethinking my math prowess...or at least my math prowess in light of my pathetic keyboarding skills. I enjoy the math mahjong game and the spot the differences game in the arcade, and they are clever in the way they work math into even the games. At $49.95 for a one year household account (includes up to four children) it is probably the most affordable thing like it on the market. And I forgot to mention that factsfirst is brought to you by Saxon-a well known name in the math homeschooling realm. To order factsfirst, or check it out more, go HERE. To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.

As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a 90 day membership to this site so that I could review it. That is the only compensation I received for my review.

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Monday, February 1, 2010 Review

Over the past two months, TOS Crew was ask to take a look at, an online Math site that can function for homeschoolers as a complete curriculum for Grade 2-Algebra 1 or just provide supplemental review and drills to enhance any other curriculum (which makes it a valuable resource to traditionally schooled students too). was developed by MIT graduates, and it shows. This is one online math resource that has dotted its "i"s, crossed its "t"s, and just generally thought of almost everything you could want. allows your student to gain practice on almost any math topic imaginable (and some keyboarding skills to boot). The drills are short, and students gain points by progressing through levels. All drills are timed, so that the goals are not only accuracy, but also speed. As students gain points, they progress in "rank" (similar to military rank), and receive celebratory fireworks on the screen when that occurs.

The pros: This site is one of the few I've seen that allow students to chose what areas they want to work on without needing to do other sections first. That's a benefit to homeschooling families since we all use different curriculums with different scopes and sequences, and the topics our students need to drill might not require the same prerequisites that traditional math sites assume. And parents have an amazing amount of feedback available to them-what was covered, what level of mastery they have shown, how that level compares to others at that grade-just to name a few. It's very comprehensive! Parents can also change the grade level the students work at and can adjust the timer length if running out of time is a problem. When students miss a problem, they are given instruction on how to correctly solve the problem, which is nice too. And it is one of the few sites that requires NO commitment-pay for a month at a time if you want.

The cons: The site is clearly designed by someone with an engineer's brain. The site itself is very sparse in appearance, and NOT intuitively obvious-especially for students to navigate on their own. And while it was the developers' intention to develop a site that offered real math drills without the fluff, yet still have enough "flash" to hold the students' interests, it comes off as pretty dry. My eldest son ironically enjoys it, maybe because he has sensory processing issues, and this site cuts the visual clutter and just focuses on the task at hand, but my other children don't find the site engaging enough and find it frustrating to navigate.

The bottom line: I like that the drills are short enough to be effective but not overwhelming. And I like the amount of parental feedback available. The price is low enough (much lower than a private tutor) that it is very reasonable to think a parent would be able to supplement their student's math curriculum with this if they need extra help.


But, it's just kind of boring to look at. I wouldn't expect that your child will BEG to do this-it's just not that enticing. However, it is a proven method of improving test scores, and kids don't always get what they want, so my best advice is check out the free trial to judge for yourself. is normally $14.95 a month, but has a discounted rate of $9.95 for the first two months right now. And the price decreases by half for the second student, and even more for subsequent students. To check out the site, including an explanatory video, or to sign up for your FREE trial, go HERE. To read what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.

As a member of the TOS Crew, I received the same 2 week trial that is available to everyone to check out We were also offered a free 6 month test period, which I asked for and was granted. That free 6 month access to the site was for the purpose of being able to offer a first hand review, and is the only compensation I received for my review.
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How do they DO it?

How do people who live up north get ANYTHING done in the winter? It is cold and dreary and raining outside, and all I want to do is curl up under a blanket for the afternoon. To be honest, I did that for a while with my favorite small boy who had a headache and wanted to take a nap with mommy...who can refuse that? We were joined by a mamma cat and her kitten, and we were all toasty warm. So warm, in fact, that my small boy told me when he woke up that his "man parts" (his words, not mine) were sweaty...Oh. MY. Just another reminder that he won't be my small boy for much longer.
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