Monday, May 31, 2010

TOS: Homeschool Crew Year 2, Voyage is Complete

It is hard to believe that I have been reviewing curriculum for the TOS Homeschool Crew for 2 years now. I am not sure where the time has gone. When I am knee deep doing reviews, it seems there is no in sight, though not that the 2nd year is complete, it is hard to believe it is over!

I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of being on the crew. THe friendships made while on the crew, is not something I was looking for nor expecting! God is good to bless in ways we could not even imagine.

The amazing women and 1 gent have been a wealth of information, and a constant source of support. And I am not just speaking of crew related issues.

They are quite the prayer warriors, the each have a wealth of knowledge to be shared, about homeschooling, special needs, techie stuff, as well as having some good ole clean fun!

I have been asked to serve another year on the crew! What an honor!
I am thankful for the blessings that God continues to shower down on me, that make homeschooling continue to be possible for our family.

I am going to miss the crew members that will not be joining us next year, and I am looking forward to keeping touch with them through other means.. facebook, twitter, their blogs!

I am also looking forward to meeting our new crew and getting to know who has been assembled for the Year 3 Crew.

As we close with Year 2 I thought I would share with you the list of Crew Awards for our favorite products.
If I reviewed the product, I have included a link to that review here.
If you would like to read any of the reviews my crew mates wrote about these products you can do that by visiting the crew blog.

The results are in!
Here are the winners of the 2010 Homeschool Crew Seaworthy Awards:

Favorite Language Arts Product => EDUDPS

Favorite History Product => Bright Ideas Press (All American History and Mystery of History)

Favorite Science Product => Nature Friend Magazine

Favorite Math Product => Math Mammoth

Favorite Online Math Product => Mathletics

Favorite Handwriting Product => Zeezok (Presidential Penmanship)

Favorite Fine Arts Product (art, music, etc.) => Artistic Pursuits (review from year 1)

Favorite Pre-school Product => Time 4 Learning

Favorite Elementary Product => Critical Thinking

Favorite Upper-Grade Product => Professor in a Box

Favorite College Prep Product => Cerebellum/Standard Deviants

Favorite Special Needs Product => Super Star Speech

Favorite Health and Beauty Product => Virginia Soaps & Scents

Favorite Christian Product => Grapevine Studies
Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed => Studypod
Best Homemaking Product => Sue Gregg

Best Customer Service => Graphics Toolbox

Best Online Resource => ABC Teach
Best e-product => Nutrition 101
Best Office and Technology Resource => Web Designs for Kids

Best Homeschool Resource => Apologia – Ultimate Guide …Best Map Resource => Homeschool in the Woods

Best Book, Novel or Magazine => Sarah Books

Best Children's Book => Children’s Bible Hour

Best Hands-On Resource => Journey Through Learning
Most Adaptable Resource => Sue Patrick’s Workbox System

Most Unique Resource => Lobster Network

Most Family-Oriented Product => Family MintKid's Choice => Maverick Books
All Around Crew Favorite => All About Spelling

Thursday, May 27, 2010

TOS: Lobster Network

Do you have stuff??? Do your friends have stuff??? Do you ever wanna share that stuff??

Well, Lobster Network, just might be what you are looking for. Lobster Network is a neat FREE service that will help you do just that and much more!

In our homeschool group, we have very generous families! Many of us like to share our books with each other! It's our way to help other families continue to homeschool, by keeping their homeschool budget low! We also do this, to allow people to get their hands on items before they spend their hard earned money on them! We all know what it feels like to buy something to only discover it is not at all what we were expecting!

Lobster Network can help you do that! You can list the items you have available, and so can your friends! You then list them as something that can be borrowed.. or if you would like to sell it, you can list that, or if you would be willing to swap for something in return, you can do that too!

It is a great way to keep track of who has what books from your personal library! The best part, is that it is completely FREE!!! There is no limit to how many items you can list!

Now, the members of the crew tried out this. We all joined and created a community. Which is what you could do for your group of family and friends. You can make that community private, so the entire world is not looking into your library. Only the approved members of your group.

Once you and your friends have joined Lobster Network, you can browse each others 'stuff' and start swapping! And then you can invite more friends to join as well!

Check out Lobster Network to see if it could help you sell, swap, borrow your stuff!!

Please stop by the crew blog to see what my crew mates are saying about Lobster Network!

TOS: Advanced Placement Exam Prep by Cerebellum Corp.

object>Are you wondering how Advanced Placement (AP) Exam Prep has anything to do with homeschooling? Not to worry, you are not alone! That was my first thought when I received my package from Cerebellum Corp/ Standard Deviants. Receiving this DVD has sent me, and actually many members of my local homeschool group, on a quest to learn more!
The DVD really couldn't have shown up at a more perfect time! We were about to hold our monthly mom's night, discussing homeschooling your high schooler!

I think to understand what the product is, you first need to know how it could impact your homeschool.

Here is what I have learned. First, you may want to visit HSLDA to learn more about all testing available to high schoolers! Here is a blurb about Advanced Placement Classes;

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are rigorous courses taken during high school but taught at a college level. The courses typically require an extensive amount of study, reading, and writing. There are 37 different AP courses across 22 subject areas that culminate in the taking of a standardized AP test for each course given nationwide in the late spring (usually May).

Here it is in a very brief nutshell. As homeschoolers you can study and prep for an Advanced Placement Exam. What is the benefit of doing this? Some colleges look favorably on transcripts with AP courses on them.

However, not every college will even except these AP test scores, much like some will not except CLEP (please HSLDA link) scores. I personally would not through ALL of my eggs into one basket, especially if you are not sure which college your child will be attending.

With the said, if you do decide to pursue Advanced Placement testing for your homeschooled high schooler, then the DVD's available from Cerebellum/Standard Deviants, just may be your ticket!

I received History of the U.S. AP Exam Prep. I sat down and watched the whole DVD. I did not do this with my high schoolers as of yet. They have a heavy load, and I did not want to upset the apple cart!
However, my thinking is that I will have them watch it next year as we cover High School American History.

The DVD is very fast paced. A typical teenager would probably keep up with it's pace. They use young and engaging actors to help walk your student through what they can expect on the AP Exam , as well as, some strategies in taking the test. They do all of this in about 30 minutes. Then they follow that with a bit more of an in depth look at U.S.History. Discussing the significance of many historical events.

It also comes with a worksheet CD. This gives them some example questions. As well as, some study guides.

All in all, this is a great resource, and it is not going to break the bank! You can purchase Light Speed History of the U.S. for $14.98. Right now it is on sale for $11.24.
You will find a trailer for the US History Test Prep located on the bottom of that page.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates are saying about Cerebellum/Standard Deviants!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

TOS-Schoolhouse ExpoVendor Hall

If you're researching or buying homeschool curriculum, you have to check out the Vendor Hall at the Schoolhouse Expo! It's open to everyone. Browse through companies such as Rainbow Resource, WriteShop, Apologia, Latin Road/Phonics Road, Multiplication Shake, Go Phonics, and MANY MORE!

Latin Road/Phonics Road has freebies in their booth. Rainbow Resource has a free shipping offer. Spears Art Studio has a free CD. Real Science by Gravitas has a 25% discount coupon.

There is just so much to see. Stop by and meet the virtual hostess from each company, browse their selection, and look for "conference specials".

Saturday, May 1, 2010

TOS Crew: Ideal Curriculum

We are now pulling into the port of call known as Ideal Curriculum. What is Ideal Curriculum you ask? Ideal Curriculum offer all inclusive Preschool/Kindergarten Curriculum Here is how the describe themselves;
At Ideal Curriculum we're passionate about educating children. We are constantly researching the best, most effective ways to teach, so that we can provide you with up-to-date information, how-to's and products.

Let me start by saying this is not a curriculum that I could use. It is a preschool curriculum and my youngest child is 10 years old. So this review is based on my opinion after looking through the program.

What were we sent? I was sent a free monthly kit, ( I received Month 1, transportation) for the purpose of this review. This was a via a file to download. When purchasing the kits, you have the choice of the print version of the download version. The download includes, Teacher manuals, music files, print files, read files and overview and introduction. I listened to all the music files and reviewed all of the material.

Who would benefit from this program? If you are brand new to homeschooling, and have absolutely no idea how to teach your young child, this may be a good fit for you. It explains step by step how to instruct the child.
The kids would probably enjoy the music files.

However, I must note, that this does not match how I would teach my young children. It seems very cold and disjointed. Much of what they have put together I feel like you could put together on your own from the library and the internet at a fraction of the cost.  However, again, if you are brand new to homeschooling and have no idea where to start with your very young child, Ideal Curriculum, definitely will map out the course for you.

You can purchase kits monthly, the download is available to $30. The print version is available for $55. You can order 3 months at a time for $85.50 and you can order 9 months for $240. As of the posting of this review, only the individual print versions are available for all the months. And the Month 1 download. May and June of 2010 are listed as release dates.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates are saying about Ideal Curriculum.

TOS Crew: Beeyoutiful

Over the last several  years I have been struggling with my health. During that time, I have done plenty of research on supplements and healthy eating. While researching I remembered about a company that I had heard through the homeschool world. And that is Beeyoutiful. I believe I first heard about them from the Pearl family from No Greater Joy.   Here is how Beeyoutiful describes themselves;

At, we believe that each individual is responsible for their own health. It is not a doctor's responsibility to keep you in good health. Instead they are a tremendous resource, especially for those times when urgent care is required. But, they are only one of many resources. And the tools they use, while powerful, are not the only tools available. But a tool is worthless unless one knows how to use it.

We have found a lot a tools that have worked very well for our families, and made Beeyoutiful a repository for those tools, as well as the information to effectively use them. As we learn more, we share more. Our goal is to eventually carry every natural product that we use. We're not there yet. We may never be as we are constantly being exposed to new and great products. As much as is in our power, we want to aid others in obtaining and maintaining good health.

Back when I was in thick of not feeling well, I looked into their product line and sure enough that had a long list of things that I needed. I began to take their SuperMom , Pure Chlorella, Liquid Chlorophyll, Cod Liver Oil, Digestive Enzymes, Bee Immune, Bee Strong and Super Mom.  And, my health did steadily improve!

I have to tell you, that I have found their products to be of high quality! And their customer service has been superb! Their catalogs are a wealth of information as well!

When I heard that Beeyoutiful was on deck for the Crew Reviews this year, I was thrilled! And the best part, I was able to try a product that I had not tried yet!

As a member of the crew, I was sent a free Tension Tamer. It could not come at a more perfect time. In fact, the day it came in the mail, I was dealing with a headache! Which is what Tension Tamer is designed to help! It is a roll on that you roll on your forehead, neck and wrists. You can get your own Tension Tamer for $11.00.

Not only did it help my headache that first day. It has helped every time I have used it! I even was battling a cold, and was having sinus pressure and a sinus headache. It used it through out the illness and it was always beneficial.

If you are interested in taking the health of your family into your own hands, please visit Beeyoutiful! They can help you get started on your journey!

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Beeyoutiful.