Monday, November 30, 2009

Professor In a Box

As part of The TOS Homeschool Crew, Professor In a Box sent us a complimentary copy of 'Financial Accounting' by Michael P. Licata, Ph. D.  for us to use, and share our honest opinion.

Professor Licata  is currently an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Accountancy in the Villanova School of Business at Villanova University in Villanova, PA where he has been a professor for the past 24 years.

Professor Licata is also a homeschool dad. He has brought his expertise to the homeschool arena. Now homeschool students have access to a college level accounting course. All from the comfort of their own home. Financial Accounting is the first course for homeschool high school students.

What is unique about this program is that is not taught out of  a boring dry textbook. When you order from Professor In a Box, that is what you get, Prof. Licata, on CD to be more exact. You pop the CD into your cd drive. And your student will not have to read a textbook, they will listen to a lecture while watching a powerpoint presentation.

This course is comprised of 12 chapters taught in 28 lessons. You can take this course in a semester or over a full year. Your student simply will watch the lectures, complete the included homework problems, check the solutions and take the exams.  At the end of this course your student will have all the information needed to prepare for the new CLEP (College Level Examination Program) Financial Accounting Exam. What a great motivation to complete this program while still in high school!

I began the program with 2 of my high schoolers. They have both enjoyed it. They really liked the format. While I believe that your Junior or Senior would best suited for this program, my two enjoyed the lecture and were able to understand what Prof. Licata was teaching, even though they are in 9th and 10th grade. They both enjoyed the independence of the course. As did I!

We will be continuing with this course in our homeschool! There is so much practical information in this course that while this course is designed for business, you could benefit from the class even if you do not find yourself going into business.

Currently the price is $134.99 with FREE USPS Priority Mail Shipping. They also offer a full money back guarantee. Work through the first three chapters and if you're not satisfied with the course, send it back for a full refund-they will even pay for the shipping. Check them out at

Also, don't forget to check out the crew blog to see what my crew mates thought of this product!

Friday, November 27, 2009

BLACK FRIDAY at The Old Schoolhouse Store!!!


There is a lot of money-saving activity in the Schoolhouse Store this weekend! You can receive up to $1300 if FREE gifts during the TOS Black Friday Sale.

Plus, the one-year, print () subscriptions will be available  for $7.95 during the sale which runs through Sunday. All those subscribing before December 7 will receive the Winter Issue. (Subscriptions received after that will begin with the Spring Issue.) As a bonus, you can select 10 gifts of your choice—there are 19 gifts from which to choose. There are only 1500 of these gift packs available.
This is a 68% savings! The $7.95 price is gone on December 31 at midnight. On January 1, 2010, the price goes back up to $25!
The 19 gifts can be viewed here: (Each subscriber picks 10 of the 19.)
Remember, the more you spend in the Schoolhouse Store through Sunday, the more free gifts you receive. One of the gifts is a FREE one-year membership to and a free will from Homeschool Legal Advantage. Plus, there are so many other FREE homeschooling resources. Check it out at the following link:
It’s so easy to earn the FREE gifts! Select a few items from the literature sale in the Schoolhouse Store or purchase the new Download N Go lapbooking and unit studies series from Amanda Bennett and TOS.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


As part of The TOS Crew, I was sent a complimentary copy of "Gymathtics" from Explormania, for the purpose of giving my honest opinion about the product.

 As a parent of special needs children, I have been exposed to the idea that movement can help a child retain otherwise difficult to retain information.  So, when I read a bit about this program, I thought that they were indeed putting to practice what I had learned about.

In fact, the creator of 'Gymathtics' is addressing the idea that when a child uses several senses they will have a better understanding of what they are learning. I have seen this to be true with my family. I have often said that my children have had to see, hear, touch, smell, do , eat and create in order to learn something!

I used this DVD with my 5th grader. I was not sure how it was going to fly. If it was going to feel babyish or if she would enjoy it.  Well, let me tell you I had decided to do the program with her. At first she wanted to do it in a room, where just the 2 of us were.... she was a little embarrassed to do it in front of her siblings. Well that completely changed when while her and I were working out, she thought I was making funny sounds!  There are a few stretches that made me groan! She quickly told all the siblings! So guess what, the next time we did the DVD, guess who joined us! That's right, the rest of my kiddos! (teenagers)
We really did have some good family fun doing the DVD workout together.  The program did help to concrete some of the math concepts in my daughters mind.

The program is divided into several different sections. First is the 'Shape  Stretches Warm Up', you will get your body ready to work out, and learn about shapes and angles!

  Next is 'Counting
Calisthenics', you will be getting your heart rate up while skip counting, counting with prime numbers and place values.

Next on the line up is Pattern Power. Here you will use your body to make different kinds of patterns.

And finally, you have the 'Well Being Wind Down'. Here while you are cooling your body down, Ms Karrie gives positive words of encouragement on how to help maintain a calm peaceful attitude.

This is clearly a supplemental program. If you have children in the K-5th grade range, you would have use for this in your home. Especially if your kids are active. In the beginning my daughter thought it was all a bit silly, though she did enjoy doing the program. Doing it together has proven to be fun for all.

You can visit their website to see excerpts of the video.  You can purchase from Exploramania directly for $24.99, which includes free shipping. Or from several online retailers. ( Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Glammatoys and Can Doo Products)

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates thought of this product!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Myth of "Me" Time

At our homeschool groups Mom’s Night Out this month, I had shared about something I had listened to a few weeks ago. I had downloaded a seminar from Values Driven Family . On my download it did not give me a title, so I just listened blindly. As it turns out he was discussing the myth of “me

And he was discussing moms in particular. Society tells us that we need to have alone time, that we need to get away from our kids and our family in order to feel fulfilled and regenerated. Many of us have bought in to that mindset. He shared that from a father’s point of view that that can be very
discouraging. They are out in the world all day, all week long, and they are fighting their way to get BACK home, and so many mom’s want to ‘check out’ as soon as dad arrives.

However, what I learned, I should say what I was reminded of, is that it is not ‘me’ time that we so desperately need. What we need is “He” time. Alone time with our Lord and Savior. Oh that is so true.

As homeshool mom’s we have quite a lot on our plates. And we naturally begin to feel the stress of doing our best to ensure that our children grow up loving the Lord, serving Him in whatever capacity He sees fit, to do the best they can at academics. Not to mention maintaining the house, keeping food on the table… and sometimes just keeping it in the cupboard (can you say teenagers?). Making time for our husband, then add on our outside duties that we may have at church, or at the local little league. When you add all
of these things, it is no wonder so many feel as though the need to run and escape into “me” time. 

If we are to accomplish all the things listed, and sometimes more, we need to do it with God’s help, with His power. What is that saying, “Your walk talks louder than your talk talks!” When we talk about growing our children spiritually, we need to do that every single day. It cannot be accomplished sitting in a church pew on Sundays and then living our daily life without any any thought of our Lord. We need to live out our Christianity every single day of our life. And as we do that, our children will see us living out our relationship. And through that process, we will be empowered to do that which we have been called to do. Phil 4:13, “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.  When we feel like we need to retreat into our own personal bubble, that is when we need to find alone time with the Lord.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

TOS FREE Digital Holiday Magazine

This is the perfect “idea book” to get your family ready for the upcoming holidays!

And it’s yours at no charge—no strings attached.

This 180-page Digital Holiday Magazine is not your typical E-Book. Created with the same high-quality format that’s used in the digital version of our print magazine, you can even “turn” the lavishly illustrated, full-color pages of this supplement. And we hope you will enjoy this timeless, practical, and beautiful resource for years to come—all at no charge.

There’s so much included in this exciting supplement! Make this the gift that keeps on giving—link your friends and family up to receive their own fantastic copies!

Simply go to the link below to get your free copy. Again, no strings attached.

Feel free to share it with your site or blog visitors, newsletter subscribers, or Facebook friends.

Download your FREE  Digital Holiday Magazine  Here!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Several years ago I came to know AVKO. I actually wrote a post about it on my blog way back when... you can see the brief post hereSo, when I saw the list of vendors for this years crew voyage, I was thrilled to see AVKO listed!  As a member of the Homeschool Crew, we were each given a complimentary one year membership to AVKO, in exchange I would provide an honest review.

Not familiar with AVKO?

AVKO is a non-profit, 501(C)3 membership organization that focuses on the development and production of materials and especially techniques to teach reading and spelling, handwriting (manuscript and cursive), and keyboarding.  AVKO is dedicated to the teaching everyone how to read and spell, regardless of their mild to moderate learning disabilities, dyslexia, poverty, or opportunity.  Visit The History of AVKO for more information.

Mission Statement

The AVKO Educational Research Foundation, founded in 1974, has as its mission the following:

  1. To determine what makes the learning of reading and spelling so difficult for some and so easy for others.

  2. To determine what it is about our language that good readers learn without being taught that poor readers don't.

  3. To determine whether or not that which poor readers don't learn is ever systematically taught and if it isn't, if it can be.

  4. To devise techniques and materials to enable teachers (or parents) to systematically teach poor readers and/or poor spellers that which schools presently are not teaching.

  5. To widely disseminate its discoveries of techniques and materials that enable dyslexics to learn to read and to spell.

I had a struggling reader, he was dyslexic. I had read many books trying to figure out how to help him. It wasn't until I read To Teach a Dyslexic, by Don McCabe that I was really able to help him. After reading Don's book, I went on to purchase a membership to their website, as well as, purchase the entire set of Sequential Spelling.  Those few steps opened up a world of words for my son, who was struggling so. 

AVKO, is very confident that their method of teaching will help most, if not all students. One of the quotes from their website is this;

"AVKO claims the underlying cause of illiteracy or dyslexia is a failure of our educational system to teach"

This is a bold statement to make. Except in a situation where there is a reason why a child is not learning to read... learning to read... brain damage, seizures, autism, just to name a few, I believe this statement is spot on.  Especially when you look at learning in a classroom setting. I have a high respect for classroom teachers. I am not sure how they can balance trying to meet all the needs of all the children in their classroom. While I believe they do the best they can, if you have a child with dyslexia, or other reading issues, you may not be able to give them the time they need, and they will then struggle and perhaps  not learn.  Also, I want to also point out, that I had a child who struggled with reading, and once we followed the methods from AVKO, my son was able to make progress in reading that he had not been able to make prior.

Is AVKO the answer to every reading problem a child might have? Probably not. Though I do believe that AVKO will be a piece of the puzzle!

When you purchase a membership to AVKO you gain access to their members only site. As well as receive a discount on purchases you make through the site.

  Even if you are not using Sequential Spelling, and even if you do not have a child with learning disabilities, you will benefit from all that is offered to members. Using these resources you will be able to put together your own spelling program using the methods that was used to design the Sequential Spelling Program.

Also, you recieve  an e-book version of To Teach a Dyslexic ( a $14.95 value). If you do have a child that you are unsure how to reach, I highly recommend you read this book.

The Teaching of Reading and Spelling from K- College....$59.95 value

The Reading Teacher's List of Over 5,500 Basic Spelling Words.....$29.95 value

The Patterns of English Spelling... $359 value
( this is an awesome resource and something that it referred to throughout Sequential Spelling. It is not necessary to do the curriculum, though it would be a great supplement) Also, would benefit you with spellng in general.

That is just a few of the ebooks. Now in addition he has workshop recordings, teaching tips, pre tests and placements tests and much more!

Purchasing a one year membership  will help you in the realm of reading and spelling with your kids, even if your child does not have a learning disability. If you suspect dyslexia or a different disability it just might be the answer. As it was for us.

Also, if you never purchase Sequential Spelling, you would benefit from the materials.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about AVKO!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

America's Heritage An Adventure in Liberty

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization,
it expects what never was and never will be"
Thomas Jefferson

This review for the TOS Crew is right up my alley, not only was it FREE to me! It would be FREE for you! Now you can't beat that price point.

For many years now, I have heard people talk about how they cannot possibly homeschool because they cannot afford it. They cannot afford to purchase curriculum, etc.. Then they often think if they did find themselves homeschooling the only opportunity for them would be through a public charter program.

I would like to encourage all families, before you sign up with a charter school, check out what is available to you, for free or low cost! And here in this review you will learn about a product you can use for FREE!!

We were shipped a CD from The American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc.  On the CD you will find American History texts, in the form of ebooks. There are 4 textbooks on the CD. Elementary, Middle and High School, as well as, an Elementary School Spanish Edition (ESL).

What is The American Heritage Education Foundation? Here is their mission;

AHEF is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America's factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens.

AHEF accomplishes this patriotic mission by writing, producing, and distributing FREE K-12 lesson plans to teachers, students, and families in all 50 states and through additional initiatives, programs, and partnerships.

I have printed out all three textbooks, as I have all three levels of students in my house. I wanted to compare them side by side.
Each textbook is is approx. 185 pages long.

The elementary level really covers between 1776- 1895. The Middle School level covers between 1776-1892. And the High School Level covers 1622-1988. This curriculum correlates with NCSS and Core Knowledge Standards.

From the get go, I would say that this program is not for current events, (as  you can see from the years it covers) it is indeed to teach your student/s about our American Heritage. Which I do feel is lacking in so many classrooms.

The textbooks are broken up in units, and each unit covers one or more of the themes; Freedom, Unity, Progress and Responsibility. At the end of each unit, there are activities given that will help to reinforce what was learned in that unit. They are age appropriate for the grade levels, which is a plus. One thing to be mindful of, is that this was a curriculum that was designed for classroom use. However, with some adaptation you could easily use this in your homeschool.

Many times when you find a free resource online, the resource is  not complete, or it is simply a cursory look on a subject, that is not the case with this CD from The American Heritage Foundation. While we did not have the time to complete the curriculum, it does appear that it is a complete study on our American Heritage. And it is something that we will be using in our homeschool. I believe it would be a welcome addition to any homeschool! 

Please visit The American Heritage Foundation and request your free copy today!!! No Strings Attached!!!!!                  

Take a moment to check out the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about this resource!

** I was sent a free copy of  America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty for the express purpose to use the product and give my honest opinion. All opinions contained in this review are my own, and are indeed, my honest opinions.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ACT Discover Online Career Planning Program

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I recieved a free 30 day subscription to the ACT, Discover Online Career Planning Program in order to review.

This program essentially plays the role of the high school guidance counselor. Just as a guidance counselor, the Discover program guides students down a career path, something that can seem like a difficult task for a parent who perhaps has not gone to college, or if this is your first high school student, where do you begin?

Here is how ACT describes their program;

ACT Advantage offers DISCOVER—the career planning system developed for professional career counselors and used by millions of students to develop a comprehensive career path.

"DISCOVER is jam packed with career tips and uses a proven developmental guidance process to help students:

  • Assess interests, abilities and job values.

  • Explore occupations, majors and schools.

  • Build an education plan that relates to career plans.

  • Improve job-seeking skills and develop a resume.

The DISCOVER career planning process begins with a research-based assessment system that allows students to assess their interests, abilities and values—a critical step to building a career plan based on personal strengths.

Students can then explore multiple career paths using DISCOVER's up-to-date databases of occupations (including military), majors and colleges. DISCOVER also includes the latest information about financial aid and scholarships.

Price: $19.95 for a three-month license, $24.95 for a six-month license."


All of this sounds fabulous, however, I was a bit turned off by the program before I even had my son try it out. As I have done with my others review, I tried the program out before even introducing it to my son. I want to have a working knowledge of the product, as well!


So, I signed into the program and began to take the inventories they offer, in order to "Discover" what career path would be a good fit. However, as I took the inventories, following the directions they gave, I found that the career choices they gave me, were not anything close to what I would actually enjoy.

I was given things like refuse collector, paper hanger, plumber, butcher, among many other crazy things that do not fit what I would see as my ideal line of work!

I continued through all of the inventories, and was not pleased with the outcome all the way through. I felt that the reports at the end of the inventories were not helpful whatsoever. They were long lists of jobs, that seem to be disconnected.  If my high schoolers had this result it would not give them guidance, it would cause more confusion.


We have been able to look at their interests and their talents on our own, and come up with a career path that is much more suitable then what was 'discovered' through the 'Discover' program.


The one thing that I did like about the program was the resume section, which gave a tutorial and examples of how to write a resume.
 If you do not have any idea on how to guide your child, or what direction they might want to go in, then this may be a helpful tool. 

Please visit their website to see if it would be a fit for your family.

And please visit the crew blog for varying points of view!

Monday, November 2, 2009

ABC Teach

When I first heard that we were going to be reviewing ABC Teach, I really was not sure if this would be an item that is relevant to our homeschool. After all, I thought of ABC Teach as a site with free worksheets for the early elementary ages. I actually had not been on the site for years.

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. First it was nice to see that a lot has been added to the free side of the site. As part of the crew, we were given a free one month membership, in order to review as part of The Homeschool Crew.

As I started to work through the members site.  I was struggling to see how I was going to use this for my kids. While there is a lot available, we are really do not use the worksheet/textbook learning style. And then I found it, the one thing I was avoiding, it was a little thing called ABCTools. With ABCTools you can create custom worksheets. And that is the tool that I needed, the one that I was looking for...

I created worksheets to go with our Spelling Program. I created Crossword Puzzles and Word Finds, to help reinforce the words they have been learning.
However, that is not all that is available. There are custom math worksheets, bingo, soduko, handwriting sheets and so much more!!!

I have decided to purchase a one year subscription for ABC Teach. If the only thing I utilize from the website was the spelling worksheets, it would be well worth every penny spent! However, knowing that I will have access to all the many more worksheets (over 35,000 worksheets in the members area) and the custom worksheet generator (ABCTools), it was an easy choice!

Please take some time to visit ABCTeach and see if it will be a good fit for your family.

Here is the current pricing:

$40 per user per year / $70 two years — individuals/groups 2-9

$35 per user per year — groups of 10-29

$25 per user per year — groups of 30 or more. **SUPER SITE LICENSE pricing available for groups of 100 or more. Contact for details.


Don't forget to visit the Crew Blog to see what my Crew Mates have to say about ABC Teach!!!