Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Excellence in Literature - Introduction to Literature

As a homeschooler with a house full of high schoolers ( and 1 middle schooler) , who happens to be studying literature this year, I was incredibly thrilled to learn that we were going  to review Excellence in Literature 's Introduction to Literature by Janice Campbell.

EIL, is geared for students grades 8-12, and even has an honors option. With EIL, your child will learn to think and write analytically. Additionally, while the author gives instructions for the assignments, you will not find included lots of background information or lengthy introductions. However, you will find that the author has provided links and resources for the children to research and flesh out these pieces of information on their own.  She also let's the student know that it is their responsibility to read through Introduction to Literature. Why? The author is encouraging the students to become responsible for their  own education! This is an idea that I have been working at conveying to my children, so this is an idea I stand behind!

There are 9 units in Introduction to Literature. These units are designed to be done in about one month. However, you could easily adapt the units to fit the needs of your family. Advance the units at a quicker pace, or space the units to fit the needs of your household. With the  Honor's Option that is available, in order  to earn advanced placement or college credit for the class,you will also need to take an AP or CLEP exam.

As a mother of several children with dyslexia, I appreciated that she also encouraged that if you needed to, you may listen to the longer unabridged versions of the books. For many children with Special Needs, having to read these complete literary works would be too daunting. Allowing for the audio versions brings them within reach of many more students! The author also provides additional 'reading' in each section. This will help contextualize the works of literature that they are reading.  Also, this course assumes that the student has the necessary skills in grammar, spelling and mechanics. If your student struggles in these areas, there are some suggested resources available.

Author Janice Campbell uses this quote in the Introduction to the program;

Learning Philosophy

Learn (lûrn) v. 1 To acquire knowledge of or skill in by observation, study, instruction, etc. 2 To find out;ascertain: to learn the facts. 3 To memorize. 4 To acquire by or as by practice: to learn good habits.Webster Illustrated Contemporary Dictionary: Encyclopedic Edition 1971

With this in mind these are the units that are covered in Excellence in Literature.  ( From their website)

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Understand the process of writing, including the use of tools such as a writer’s handbook, dictionary, and thesaurus.

  • Have specific understanding of selected representative texts by major authors of the periods studied.

  • Have a general understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the works.

  • Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.

  • Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics.
    Unit 1: Short Stories by-
    • Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
    • Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This one is not scary, if you're concerned about that.)
    • Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
    • O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
    • Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
    • James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
    Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

    Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
    Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

    Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
    Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë

    Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
    Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

    Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
    Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
    Honors: 1984 by George Orwell

    Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
    Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

    Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
    Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Note: Books listed in the table of contents above are focus texts only. Context readings are assigned within each unit.

I feel as if we have just been able to get a taste of Introduction to Literature in the time that we have had it. However, I have liked what I have seen. I have really appreciated the way the the author gives the student just enough information, almost like bread crumbs, that keeps them searching down the path. Teaching them to keep their eyes open as the read to notice, perhaps, the style of the writer, or something about the time frame the book is written.

I look forward to completing Introduction to Literature with my children over this school year.  Introduction in Literature is available in Ebook format for $27, and in print form for $29 plus shipping and handling. You can visit their website for more information on Introduction in Literature, as well as, their full line of Literature products.

You can even follow Excellence In Literature on Facebook!

Please stop by the crew blog to see what my crew mates are saying about Excellence in Literature.

**note: I was given a free copy of the e-book Introduction to Literature, in exchange for my honest opinion. This post serves to meet that requirement. All views expressed herein are mine and mine alone and do not demonstrate and guarantees or promise of service. No other form of payment or compensation has been offered or accepted.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Say Anything

I was first introduced to the North Star family of games almost 2 years ago, when I was given the opportunity to review Wits and Wagers Family, you can read that review here.  I will tell you that our family still enjoys playing Wits and Wagers Family! This time around, I have the chance to review Say Anything!

I must say that we love this game as much as we do Wits and Wagers! It is quick, fun and the whole family can play!

Here is how North Star Games describes it:

"Say Anything is a light-hearted game about what you and your friends think.  It will get people talking, laughing and having fun in minutes.  Enjoy it with three to eight family members or as an hilarious party game with adults.  So dig deep into your heart or just come up with something witty - this is your chance to Say Anything!"


Geared for ages 8+ for 3 -6 players. This is a quick game, you can play start to finish in 10- 25 minutes depending on how many players are participating. Each player takes a turn reading questions. These are hard hitting questions like... What would be the worst fruit to accidentally sit on?  or What movie character would I least want to be? or Which famous person should never be allowed to rap? While the remaining players quickly write down their answers.  The question reader ( or judge) secretly picks their favorite answer.  The remaining player then place their 2 tokens on the card or cards they think the judge will pick. You get points for guessing correctly and for the judge picking your answer!

Our family of all ages had a great time playing this game, and it did not take too long to play. Which for our busy life, is the kind of game we need! We laughed as we looked at the answers that each other came up with. At first, some were trying give sort of serious answers, which quickly morphed into who could come up with the wittiest answer!

This would make a great came for the holiday gatherings coming up. I think we will break this out on Thanksgiving Day!  As well as a wonderful gift for the family for Christmas!


You can purchase online for approx $19.99 at various retailers, such as Amazon,  or you can go here to find a store near you!

Don't forget to stop by the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about.... Say Anything!


***Note: I received a free copy of Say Anything in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been offered or accepted.   The views expressed here are my personal opinions, and do not constitute a promise of service or guarantee.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Memories - Giveaway Winner Announced


I would like to announce the winner of the MyMemories giveaway..... Julie from A Teaching Heart!

Julie, I hope that you enjoy your My Memories Suite!



Monday, October 24, 2011

Marshall Publishing - George Washington Carver


As a family of homeschoolers with a myriad of special needs learners, we often look for ways to get information into our children, without having them to read it out of dry textbooks. We have utilized audio and video methods many times over the years. However, we had never heard of Marshall Publishing.

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we were given the opportunity to review a George Washington Carver Educational DVD.  We sat down as a family and watched and learned about George Washington Carver. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about his life, and his career. A wonderful treat, was toward the end of the DVD, there was actual film footage of George Washington Carver speaking.

As a family, we have our own garden, and we have been striving to have a healthy diet. The interesting thing is, that many of the things we have learned about healthy soils and healthy plants, George Washington Carver, either discovered or taught on. It was neat for the kids to see that and make the connection for themselves.

The video is not high paced, or high impact, so small children may not be able to sit still. However,  I would say if you have an upper elementary all the way up through high school and beyond! There are little nuggets sprinkled throughout the DVD.

George Washington Carver is available for $19.95, However, Marshall Publishing is offering my readers a 15% discount, which brings your price to $16.95 plus shipping and handling.  Please use coupon code TOSC1 at check out to receive you discount.

While you are on the Marshall Publishing website be sure to see all they have to offer! Here you will find their Educational Historical Documentaries.

You can also follow Marshall Publishing on Facebook!

Be sure to visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates are saying about George Washington Carver and Marshall Publishing!




Friday, October 21, 2011

Mighty Macs - A Movie for the Whole Family

Do you have plans for the weekend? How about a movie date night with your entire family?  The Mighty Macs, is a movie that you can feel comfortable watching with all of your family members.

We were recently given the opportunity to preview The Mighty Macs, prior to todays' theater release. And I must tell you,  my daughters and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this moving together. It is inspirational and exciting!

What did we enjoy about this movie? First, It was based on a true story, which is why I wanted to watch it with my daughters. I want them to remember that they have been blessed with many talents, and it is up to them to use their God given abilities. And this movie does a wonderful showcasing a group of women, who, in the midst of diversity, learn how to rise above it and believed in themselves, and worked together for a common goal!  Second, it was about women's basketball, and with an aspiring women's athlete, I knew that she would love to see other women doing what she loves to do! And, finally, I love that I did not have to shield their eyes, or divert attention or mute one single time, throughout the entire movie. It really is a movie that can be watch by the entire family!

Let's make a point to support movies like this! Let's show the movie industry, that there is a large market for uplifting, inspiring and wholesome films!

The Mighty Macs - Opening in Theaters today, October 21st - check your local listings!

Rated G

Take a moment to watch The Mighty Macs Trailer:





Here is a little about the movie that was shared with us from the producers:

"It's 1971. Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time ... and she's about to embark on an adventure for the ages. A new era is dawning in the country and in collegiate athletics, where a national champion will be crowned for the first time in women's basketball.

In the lead up to this historical season, major universities are preparing their game plans to win that first title. Meanwhile a tiny all-women's Catholic college in Philadelphia has a more modest goal: find a coach before the season begins. Providentially, Cathy Rush is about to find Immaculata College.

Recently married, Cathy is dealing with the aftermath of a truncated playing career. While cultural norms would have her staying at home, she's willing to do the hard work necessary to help her new team reach their goals—or perhaps she's just trying to achieve her unfulfilled dreams through them.

From the beginning, her challenges are as imposing as the big-school teams Immaculata will face on the court. Cathy learns there is no gymnasium on campus, she receives little support from the school's Mother Superior, and the school is in dire financial straits. To top it off, she may not even have enough players to field a team!

While it appears the Macs don't have a prayer, all hope is not lost. With the help of Sister Sunday—a spunky assistant coach—and the support of a booster club of elderly nuns, Coach Rush creates a new game plan that just might bring the team—and the school—together.

Will this pioneer buck cultural norms and spur her rag-tag team to unexpected heights? Or will her hard-driving ways create a wedge between the coach and everyone around her? One thing's for certain: there's never been anyone like Cathy Rush at Immaculata!"
You can learn more about the movie by visiting these websites!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

TOS Crew Review: Educating the Whole Hearted Child

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we were given the opportunity to review Educating the WholeHearted Child written by Clay and Sally Clarkson and published by Apologia Education Ministries. I must tell you, that this is a whopper of a book (376 pages), and  I have only begun to scratch the surface of all that this book has to offer. In this review, I will do my best to convey all that the amazing book has to offer.

This book can easily be called the How to Homeschool Manual.  I have found many of the thoughts that  I have had about homeschooling over the years have been contained in this wonderful book. The interesting thing is that I had never heard of this book, and I discovered that this book has actually been around since 1994, and recently has been completely updated! I wish that I had known about this book, back when I first started homeschooling my children 12 years ago.

Clay and Sally Clarkson share with you, how their family integrated "Real Books and Real Life" into their homeschool and their family, creating a "Vibrant Center of Living and Learning". One thing that is stressed throughout the book, is that their intent is not that you follow their model exactly. They want you to allow God to be the center of your home, and to lead your homeschool. The information shared between the covers of this book, should serve as tools for you to use.  I love this! Often times as homeschoolers, we get so caught up in how others do things, and trying to recreate their homeschool, that we neglect to lean on God and allow Him to design our homeschool.

Here are just a few of the topics covered in Educating the Whole Hearted Child:

~ Learning at to Home with Christ

~ Shepherding Your Child's Spirit to Long for God

~Living and Learning Together at Home

~ Creating a home You Can Learn Within

~ Understanding Your Child

~ The Study of the Bible

~The Study of Living

~Keeping the Vision Alive

And much more!!!

Her you can see chapter one and the complete table of contents to get a taste of all that this books has to offer.

In addition to these, you will also find a section in the back with some very useful forms!  While there are some of the forms that you would expect in a homeschool book, the forms that most impress me ( which are most of them) are the ones that not only on focus on say a chore that needs to be done. But it also reminds the child (and us) of why they are doing those chores. The Check Me Out Dependable List is designed to train and reinforce good habits in your children, rather than discipline them.  Next to the list of morning chores it says " Sow your seed in the morning"...  Evening it says, " And at evening let your hands not be idle"... and  All Day says, " Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God".  I like that A LOT!!  It is a reminder to us, as parents that we are to be focused on the heart of the child, not simply the behavior.  What a wonderful tool!

As you work through this book, you will find that any question that you have had, has been addressed. From homeschooling methods, to how to pick out a curriculum, to learning styles, to planning, to individual subjects and so much more!

Please take a moment to visit Apologia and take a look at this must have for every homeschool! You can purchase your very own copy of Educating the Whole Hearted Child for $22 on the Apologia Website.  Apologia, also offers a fill line of Science Curriculum, Apologetics and Geography Resources and much more!

Take a moment to visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Educating the WholeHearted Child.


**note: I was provided with a complementary copy of Educating the Whole Hearted Child in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions shared in the review are my own, and do not constitute and guarantees or promises. No other compensations has been offered or accepted.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Memories Review and Giveaway!!!

I was recently given the opportunity to review My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software. Now before I begin, I feel that I should tell you a few things, I think you should know about me. First, I am NOT a scrapbooker! Moreover, I am a photo taker, that has hundreds of photos, on my camera, on my phone and on my computer ( files and on places like facebook) and I even have crates, yes crates filled with photos that have not been cataloged, categorized, or put into albums... I believe about 25 years worth...

As you can see, in the world of scrapbooking, I am a novice! So the following review, is from a beginners point of view!

With all of that said, when I heard about My Memories, a digital scrapbooking program, I was excited.I thought that maybe, just maybe, this program would help me to organize the memories that I cherished enough to take a photo of!  My Memories is a digital scrapbooking program that gives you the tools to save your photos in fun ways. In addition to typical looking scrap book pages, you also have the ability to save them in a slide show or movie and set them to music and a myriad of other options.

There are some very basic templates that come with the program, however, in addition to these, they have a free kits section available on their website, that will give you quite the catalog of embellishments, templates and background papers to choose from. All for free! Plus they have many affordable kits available for you to purchase as well.

So now, here is the question, is My Memories easy enough for a novice like me to get the hang of? The answer yes! There was a learning curve, but I would say that is more about me trying to be creative, versus the program being difficult to use. While there were many times, where I sat looking at the screen thinking... okay, I don't know where to begin, thankfully, many of the templates available through My Memories, have built in creativity.

However, when I just started working with the program, first I would pick the template that I wanted to use, and then as that opened up, I started thinking about what photos, and what I wanted to convey with that album.  And by doing that I would then select the photos to get ready to be placed into the scrapbook.

When I am ready to place the photo, I simply drag it into place and it will auto fit into the template frame. Also, if you don't like how it is centered, you can 'nudge' it into the position you like.  You even have the option of changing the order of how items are 'stacked' on the page.  Which one is in the very back and how the others are layered in front.  By using s few of these very simple options, each of these pages that you see here, were built!

What you see throughout this post are some of the pages that I created while using My Memories.


Here is a screen shot of the control panel within My Memories.

On the left of the screen shot, are additional template options available through My Memories, and on the right, you find your controls for adding, background papers, embellishments, word art, music and much more!  On the bottom, you will see each of the pages you have created in the album that you are working on.

The page I was working on in the screen shot, used a blank template, I added a background paper, the flowers and the wording.. this was one of my first attempts at being creative, from scratch.

The biggest plus of all, is the affordablity of the My Memories! You can download your My Memories Suite for $39.97!

But that's not all!!!!

I have some even better news! First, the fine people from My Memories have provided one copy My Memories to giveaway to one of my readers !!! I am so excited for you guys! I know that you are going to love this program! Second, if you are not the reader that wins a free copy, never fear! I have an awesome coupon code for you!

Visit their website and type in this code STMMMS66766 You will receive   a $10 discount off the urchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - $20 value!  This is amazing! And makes My Memories very affordable for EVERY family!


If you would like to enter to win your own My Memories Suite, here's how:

Leave a comment, tell me how you plan on using your product!  - 1 entry

Follow this blog - 1 entry - (leave comment)

Follow this blog's Facebook Page - 1 entry (leave comment)

Contest closes on October 25th! Winner will be announced and contacted within 48 hours of contest closing.



**Note, I was given a free copy of My Memories in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions that are expressed within do not constitute a guarantee or promise of services. Additional copy of My Memories has been provided at no charge for a giveaway.

No purchase necessary to enter, must be 18 years old to enter. Void where prohibited.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grape Vine Studies - Joseph Bible Study - NEW Product Review!

As you may have learned from my review of Grape Vine Studies a few years ago, I really love their products. I was introduced to them while working on the TOS Homeschool Crew, and I was given the opportunity to review their product. You can see my review for them here.

I have been able to review Grape Vine Studies newest bible study on the life of Joseph! This is a Multi- Level  Bible Study, which means you can use it with many ages. We actually used this with Jr. High and High School Students.  This particular study is not geared for the high school set. So we did some modifications to the study, which was super easy to do! 

We followed along and worked together. We stick figured, and we memorized verses, and we answered the questions, and we plotted on the time line, however, we also added things, like looking words up in the concordance, and writing out those definitions, and instead of simply drawing their 'favorite' parts of the lesson, which we still had them do, we also had them write about it.

If you are a larger family working with many age levels, Grape Vine Studies makes it easy to have a bible study TOGETHER!  As I mentioned in my original review, I had never understood what the point of drawing the stick figures. I had heard about this program for years, and I just did not get it. However, once we received the product and really began to dig in, what I found is that my children, LOVED to draw what they were learning. And it provided them a way to connect to the stories they were learning. And we did this together as a family, and it promoted great conversation. Which was a wonderful launching pad point for them!

You  can learn more about the complete line of Joseph products by visiting Grape Vine Studies, prices begin at $11.95 which make it very affordable!

And please take a moment to visit Grape Vines Studies to see their full line of products! You won't be sorry! In fact, you'll be glad that you did!

The fine people of Grape Vine Studies has offered my readers a 20% coupon on any item not already on sale. Simply use Coupon Code blog55, this coupon is good through October 31, 2011.

*note** I was given a free copy of Joseph in exchange for my honest review of the product. No other form of compensation has been offered or received. All opinions expressed here are my own, and do not constitute a guarantee. **

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cooper and Me - Book Review and Giveaway

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review a children's picture book, both written ( actually co-written with her mom) and illustrated by an 11 year old girl. I firmly believe that we should be inspiring our children to live life to the fullest and to pursue with great fervor what God has called them to do. With that in mind, I was excited to see the creation this bright young girl has come up with.

Before I give you my take on this book, I want to give you the official word from the publishers;

"Cooper and Me was illustrated by 11-year-old Alexa Peters and co-written with her mother, Monique Peters.  The idea was inspired by Alexa's own experiences on her first day of school.  A talented young artist and writer, Alexa wanted to give back to others in a meaningful way through her art.  Starting at a very young age, Alexa created illustrated stories about her daily experiences, and from the pages of her sketchbooks came the idea for her first book, Cooper and Me.

Through rhythmic verses, Cooper and Me tells the story of a young girl who is nervous as her first day of school approaches.  She is frightened about leaving home and doesn't want to go without her best friend, her dog Cooper. Fortunately her mother finds the perfect solution to help the little girl overcome her fears – a small replica of her beloved pet she can take to school with her.  In Cooper and Me, the story of a child’s fears about starting school has evolved into a timeless tale about overcoming separation anxiety and trying new things – basic emotions all people experience throughout their lives – but this time, written by a child, for children.

The story behind Cooper and Me also offers an inspiring example of families working together to help others.  In addition to helping young children gain emotional resilience and confidence through their books, Alexa and mom Monique wanted to go beyond that to help less fortunate kids.  Their search for an organization to which they could donate a portion of the proceeds from the Cooper and Me book led to a charitable alliance with the Happy Hearts Fund, founded and run by Petra Nemcova, the supermodel who was directly affected by the tsunami in Thailand. Happy Hearts improves children’s lives through education and sustainable programs in natural disaster areas."

What is the Creative Learners take?

Cooper and Me is a sweet story , that would definitely speak to the child who is apprehensive about starting school. However, it would also speak to any child about to start out on anything unfamiliar. Perhaps camp, or their first overnight trip, etc.. My children are too old for picture books, however, another reason why I thought reviewing this book would be fun, is that my 12 year old loves to draw. And considering this book was illustrated by an 11 year old, I thought this might serve as inspiration. And it has! She has been seen, more often than before, with pad and paper in her hand, sketching to her hearts desire!

Even if your child does not have to itch to be an artist, I think simply seeing that another child has accomplished their goal, can inspire our children to reach for theirs!

If you have a little one in your family, this cute little story would be a wonderful addition to their library. BONUS: in the back of the book, there are learning pages! There is a page where the child can fill in the blanks, telling us all about their first day of school. As well as, several more pages with lessons to be gleaned from the story, that will help extend learning and conversation between parent and child! On the back cover, they even have included a free Cooper and Me Theme song download!

Now here is the good news for you and your little one! I have a copy of Cooper and Me to give away! Here is how you enter:


Like the Cooper and Me  Facebook Page - 1 entry

Leave a comment, tell me about the child you would like to give this book to. How old are they, and why you think they would enjoy it! - 1 entry!

Blog about this giveaway - leave link in comments - 1 entry

Tweet about this giveaway - leave link in comments - 1 entry

Share about this giveaway on Facebook - leave link in comments - 1 entry

Follow this blog - you can choose to follow in more than one way.. Blog Frog, Networked Blogs, Google Friend Connect - 1 entry per method ( leave 1 entry per method in comments)

Follow this Blog Page on Facebook - leave username in comments - 2 entries

Contest will close on Thursday October 20th 10 pm ( Pacific).


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

No Purchase Necessary, entrants must be 18 years or older.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Professor in a Box - Principles of Marketing a TOS Crew Review!

As our family/homeschool matures, our interests evolve. Currently, our teenagers have some home businesses that they are trying to get off the ground, as well as, the home businesses that I have.  So as you might have guessed, when we heard that Professor in a Box was on the the line-up with a Principles of Marketing course, we were praying that we were chosen to do this review! And we were!!!!

What exactly is Professor in a Box? Professor in a Box is a company that I was introduced to a couple of years ago, here on the crew. ( You can read my review here! )At that time we reviewed their Financial Accounting Program. Both programs are geared for high school students, or adults that are preparing to take the CLEP test in either of the subjects available. Even if your student is not preparing for the CLEP test, they are getting college level material, additionally they are learning self study skills as they navigate the program. These were the very skills that I used when I took my online college courses.


Here is what Professor in a Box has to say about the Principles of Marketing~

"Principles of Marketing, by Julie Pirsch, Ph.D. is a challenging college level introductory Marketing course similar in content to the first marketing course taken by all students in university and college schools of business across the country. Principles of Marketing is also known as Basic Marketing, Introduction to Marketing, Fundamentals of Marketing, Marketing, or Marketing Principles. Any high school level student with basic reading and math skills can handle this course.

This course was created as an elective for high school students interested in pursuing a career in business and for students interested in taking the CLEP Principles of Marketing Exam. On a more formal level, this course provides students with a description and evaluation of the ways in which goods and services are developed to meet customer and consumer needs, and how they are distributed for domestic and international consumption. It examines the economic, government, social, and other environmental forces in relation to the marketing function, placing emphasis on relevant social problems and responsibilities."        

So what is the Creative Learners take?

The Principles of Marketing is a very thorough and extensive program. There are 19 chapters, presented over 28 lessons. Each Lesson has a lecture, online resources,  a review of the key concepts of that chapter and a chapter quiz. There are also 3 exams, after chapters 5, 11 and 19.   By the end of this program you should have learned all the required material to pass the CLEP test for Principles of Marketing.

At this point, that is not our goal, we are simply looking to grow our own knowledge. We have already achieved that, and we have yet to complete the program in it's entirety.  The program covers everything from market research, branding, product development, retailing, pricing, advertising, personal selling and much much more! As you can see, even if you are using the Principles in Marketing simply to learn to help your business, it would be well worth the investment!  This program is clearly designed for the college level, however, the manufacturers state that anyone with a basic reading level can complete this course.  You can view Chapter 1 here.  Here are the online resources that are given for the course.  To see if it woudl be a match for your students.  The Principles of Marketing presents the material in a simple straight forward manner, however, I found that  Professor Pirsch is very engaging and easy to listen to.

The program is presented as a power point type presentation, that the Professor is lecturing over. At certain times, she will have you pause the program to complete a specific assignment. Once completed you resume the presentation. The quizzes provided are also in what appears to be an interactive powerpoint type  presentation. It auto corrects as you go through the quiz, and will give you your results at the end. Letting you know if you  passed or failed.

Over all, our family has enjoyed this program, and we have expanded our knowledge in the area of Marketing!




Principles in Marketing is available for $119.99 at the Professor in a Box website.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.


And don't forget to check out the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about the Principles in Marketing!

**note: I received a free copy of Principles of Marketing for the purpose of review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and do not convey a guarantee of result.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scruble Cube

What in the world is a Scruble Cube? Take a look at the video below, and see for yourself!



As you can see, this is a game that takes word building to a whole new level. Our family was thrilled to learn that we were on the list to review Scruble Cube!

When the package arrived, we tore it open and began to play right away! Scruble Cube is a very versatile game you can play with friends or you can play on your own.

As you see from the video, the Scruble Cube is a cross between a Rubiks Cube and the classic board game of Scrabble. You build words, the longer the words the more points, if they travel over more than one side, bonus points... plus there are 2x and 3 x letter score 'squares' available as well.  This game can become very competitive. However, on the other side of the coin, is that this can also be a game that you can take on the road, or in a doctor's office, and your child can play by himself, or several of your children can pass the cube along and build words, whether or not you decide to keep score.  And for added challenge you can use the included hour glass, and limit the amount of time you have to create your word.


Overall, we give Scruble Cube 2 thumbs up. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention our misadventures with Scruble Cube. Our Cube arrived, and we began to play.... and I told my children to please be careful because it was a review item... and one afternoon, I was playing with it ( not the children... me.... ) and I manipulated the cube and all of a sudden it was in what seemed like hundred's of pieces... I was MORTIFIED!!!!!

I quickly emailed the the fine people that make Scruble Cube, and the customer service was TOP NOTCH!!! And they shipped out a brand new cube out to me, no problem! The president of the company emailed me, and assured that the new cube was from a different batch.

Upon receiving our second cube, we played with the cube, and I made sure NOT TO BE SUPER CAREFUL! I wanted to know for sure that the cube could withstand the wear and tear and bumps and bruises of a regular family.. and guess what... that cube really hold up to the many hands of our family!


Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates are saying about Scruble Cube!


Scruble Cube is available now online, and available for $24.95.



**disclaimer- I was sent a free Scruble Cube in exchange for my honest review. This post fulfills that commitment. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own and offer no guarantee.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Every Right to a Beautiful Life: Team Miranda Sarah

What happens when two childhood friends connect on Facebook?  For the answer, we will have to go back to the very beginning.  Okay, maybe not the VERY beginning!

My friend Maura and I met in the 7th grade.. and in typical fashion we had lost touch over the years. The last time I had laid eyes on her was at our 10 year high school reunion.. and no, I am not going to tell you how many years ago that was!

And then through the marvels of Facebook, we connected once again. And it has been so nice to be able to catch up and keep track of the goings on in Maura's life, as I follow her Facebook page.  By doing that I discovered that Maura's daughter Miranda has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, or Juvenile Diabetes. I also learned that Maura and her family and friends, affectionately known as 'Team Miranda' walk each year at Dodger Stadium to raise money for JDRF to raise funds to find a cure!

This year my high school aged boys and I started a homeschool home business of creating memory videos. And about that time, Maura posted her, "It's that time again" letter about the upcoming Walk for JDRF Los Angeles.

And the wheels in my head started to spin... not always a safe thing...

Anyhow, I sent Maura a message, and asked her about creating a video to help raise money for Team Miranda at the walk coming up. And the rest is what  we would call, history!

The video you see below, is the result of a long time friendship.  It is amazing to know that God puts in your path, the people you need in life, long before you know that you need them. I am very thankful for my friendship with Maura, and I am thankful that we have had this time to share together as we worked on this video.

Please take just a few moments to watch 'Every Right to a Beautiful Life: Team Miranda Sarah'.  And then we ask for 2 things from you.

First, if you are able, would you please consider giving to Team Miranda Sarah?  No donation is too small!

And second, would you please share the link to the video with your friends and family? Would you please post it on your Facebook pages, your blogs, and your twitter accounts?

Any help that you can give, is greatly appreciated!

Doesn't every child have Every Right to a Beautiful Life?



Monday, October 3, 2011

Food Matters - Week Long FREE Screening!! You Are What You Eat!!!

Right now there is a free screening going on of the movie, Food Matters.

You can see the trailer below....



What is Food Matters?

" 'Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food' - Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch.

With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what's wrong with our malnourished bodies, it's no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide 'sickness industry' and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally.

"With access to better information people invariably
make better choices for their health..."

In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several leading experts in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer.

The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments.

The ‘Food Matters' duo have independently funded the film from start to finish in order to remain as unbiased as possible, delivering a clear and concise message to the world. Food Matters." - From the Food Matters Website.....

You can find Food Matters on Facebook!  And there is more info on their website!

Now you have been commissioned! Spread the word! Tell your friends and family about Food Matters, and let's take back our health! After all, when we are feeling at our best, we are able to live out the purpose that God has called us to!

Be well and God Bless!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

TOS is Going Digital!

Check out all that the new TOS magazine is going to offer as it goes digital!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

TOS Crew: Aletheia Writing Magazine


I actually first started hearing about Aletheia in my role of Homeschool Group Leader. They had contacted me and asked if I would share information about their magazine directed at Christian teenage ( 13-19) writers. At the time, I thought that the concept of a magazine whose purpose it is to help inspire kids to write, by providing a place for them to be to be published was wonderful! And I did share about their magazine with my group.

So when we started the 4th TOS Crew voyage, I was thrilled to see that they were going to be on the line up.

As members of the TOS Crew we received two copies of the magazine. One in print, the Fall 2011 issue and an online copy of the Summer 2011 issue. Additionally, the Spring 2011 issue is available for you to view.   So, in essence we had 3 issues to peruse to give us an accurate feel of all the Aletheia has to offer.

What is Aletheia?  Here is how they describe themselves;

"Aletheia Writing Magazine is a quarterly publication focusing on the literary and artistic works of Christian teens, ages 13 to 19."

"In addition to the literary and artistic expressions of Christian teens, each issue offers a variety of unique features: a Writer's Challenge, the Featured Contributor, a book review, Glory to God for the Beauty of Nature, Ancient Ink, and an interview or other feature for edification and enjoyment."

In the Writer's Challenge, for example, the teens are given a photo and they are asked to write a story or a poem about the photo and submit it to the magazine.

After looking through the issues of Aletheia, I must admit, that I have not enjoyed every story. I am not pulled in, to each of every story, however,  I do believe that the idea of this magazine, a place for Christian Teens to express themselves, to help inspire them to pick up the pen and put it to paper, is priceless. This is a magazine that should you have it lying it on the coffee table, your teen would see the hope they would have to possibly be published.  And that hope, could inspire them more than a simple writing assignment ever could.

Please take some time to check out the free sample Spring 2011 issue, and see if this is something that would suit your family.  Aletheia is published quarterly and is available for $26 US and $29 Cananda, which includes shipping and handling.

Visit the Crew Blog to see what my Crew Mates are saying about Aletheia.



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

AIMS - Solve It 3rd - Problem Solving Strategies - It's a Review!

I was so excited to see that Aims Education Foundation was on the Crew Manifest List this year!!! I was first introduced to Aims back when I first started homeschooling 12 years ago. I have loved all of their products, but I actually have not used them is several years.


The product that I am reviewing, I actually hadn't used before, and I was excited to set my eyes on a new product! I reviewed Solve  It  3rd Problem Solving Strategies. When first looking through the book, it looks very familiar to what I am used to seeing!! I have loved Aims, because my children are very hands on type children, and Aims is known for this. For wonderful hands on activities to help with the understanding of concepts. Which really is the point of this book! Which is aimed at 3rd graders. However, I was using this with my special needs child. So I would look less at age, and look more at the level of learning your child is currently working.

Solve It 3rd, introduces your child to nine problem solving strategies, and helps them to learn the skill of critical thinking.  My son did very well at grasping these concepts when presented in a way that gave him something to do with the information. He has trouble with abstract thought, so the activities included with Solve It 3rd, really helped to concrete what he was learning. Would you like to see a sample of Solve It 3rd? Click here to find one!

With all of that said, I must say that my favorite NEW feature that AIMS has included, is a CD! Now you can easily print out the pages you are working on! This is great for a myriad of reasons! One, for cutting and gluing, it helps to have the CD to print from! Also, if your child is struggling with a concept, you can use that CD to print out additional copies to allow them to work through it again. Big Bonus in my book!!!  Solve It 3rd has 29 activities and 240 pages.  Solve It 3rd is available for $24.95.

Aims offers many products that would benefit your homeschool for Science and Math and even some tools on how to integrate math and science lessons with literature ! You can check out their website here.

And please, don't forget to stop by the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about the AIMS products they reviewed!


**Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Solve It 3rd Problem Solving Strategies for purpose of review. The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not constitute a guarantee. **





Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Theo Presents- Giveaway and Review




Who is Theo?  Theo is a student of God's Word, and the main character in the the new animated series Theo Presents.  I am very excited to tell you all about Theo, but first I want to share with you the official word.....

About Theo

The animation series of Theo guides children and adults through a careful study of systematic theology. Theo discusses doctrines about sin, Godʼs character, the Bible, salvation and godly living with easy-to-understand illustrations that make children want to learn more about the Christian faith.

Theo Presents recognizes a universal fact: children and adults alike love cartoons. Theo captures the attention of young minds with liberal amounts of humor and high quality animation to present the Gospel of the Christian faith through the teachings of Theo and with the use of his two object lessons, Belfry and Luther.

Theo Presents is designed to serve as a multi-media resource tool that will help men, women and children fulfill the Great Commission of Christ, to go into all the world and make disciples and to teach those disciples Godʼs Word. The multi-media outlets include a DVD series, curriculum, books and iPhone/iPad app. Each of these facets are designed to work with one another or individually.

Theo was created to reach kids of all ages. The lessons and teachings of Theo can be used for Sunday school lessons, Christian school curriculum, missions, evangelism and homeschooling.

Here is a sampling of what you will experience when you sit down with your family, or your Sunday School Class to watch Theo!




The video you just watched is "Good News" which is included as a bonus video with each DVD and you can download on the internet for FREE!

I must tell you that I do not think that I have ever watched a Christian animated program that was as high quality as the Theo Presents DVD.  These animated programs are high quality, music, imagery and animation, and the best part... Theo delivers a no holds barred, clear plan of Salvation! I do not think I have ever seen any program, for adults or children that was as straight forward in presenting he plan of Salvation! Can I tell you, that it even caught the attention of one of my teenage sons, who sat down and watched the rest of the program with us. We were taken in at the intro as we hear.. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound... and it continued right through the program as we listened to the word of God so plainly spoken. These programs would be ideal for a Sunday School class!

As a homeschool mom, the great thing about Theo, is not only is he accurately teaching God's Word, the creators have created curriculum that goes hand and hand with the DVD's to enhance the learning.

Additionally, there are Parent Guides and Coloring Pages that each family can use as well. Which makes this series highly interactive!

Why is it, that Theo is such an effective tool? It stems from the story of the creator of Theo, Mike Joens.

Mike Joens has produced and directed scores of animated commercials for toy companies such as Milton Bradley, Hasbro, Kenner, McDonaldʼs and Playskool. In addition to commercial work, he produced and directed the animation segments for the award-winning video series “McGee and Me,” as well as the animated “Adventures in Odyssey” for Focus on the Family. After a waiting period of over 30 years, God opened the doors to Joens for the production of “Theo Presents.” At last, the dream of a cartoonist, called to teach the Word has come true. It is Mikeʼs hope that God will use Theo to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children and adults in every country of the world!

Now here is a bonus!  Buy 1 - Give 1

For every Theo DVD purchased, Whitestone Media and Child Evangelism Fellowship® will send a child in need their very own copy of Theo. You can log onto TheoPresents.com after making your own purchase, and select the region of the world you'd like another copy of Theo to be sent.

And here is another bonus!!! I have two copies of Theo to give away! Along with some tea for you to sit down and sip whilst enjoying your very own copy of Theo!  This contest will be open until Sunday Sept. 18th, 10pm (Pacific)

Here is how you can enter to win your very own copy of Theo!

Leave a comment explaining why is it important to spread the Good News!

Like Theo Presents on Facebook!  Leave a comment with user name

Like Creative Learners on Facebook!  Leave a comment with user name

Visit TheoPresents.com and tell me something you learned about the Theo series. Leave it in the comments.

Follow this blog using Google Friend Connect OR Networked Blogs.  Leave a comment with the name used.

Facebook about this contest. Leave your username you used in the comments.

Tweet about this Contest. Leave your username in the comments.

Blog about this contest. Leave your link to your blog post in the comments.

Thanks for entering! Check back to see if you are the winner!!! Winner will be announced Monday Sept. 19th!

While your waiting, check out Lifeway Christian Stores for Theo Church Curriculum.

You can visit Theo Presents website to purchase a copy for your family, today!




"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Ginny Owens: "Get in I'm Driving" Giveaway and Review!!!

Recently, our family was sent a copy Ginny Owens CD, "Get in I'm Driving", which is being released today!!!

I am generally a little hesitant to 'sign-up' for music reviews, even when they are Christian reviews, as our family is very conservative in our music choices.  However, I have very musical children, and I would love to find more high quality Christian music for them to listen to . So, we decided to partake in this review process.

Before I get into how my family liked Ginny Owen's CD, let's take a look at the 'official' information about Ginny....


A three-time Dove Award winner, including the Gospel Music Association’s 2000 New Artist of the Year recipient, and multiple ASCAP Award winner, Ginny Owens has sold nearly one million albums. A top performer on the Christian radio charts with hits like “If You Want Me To,” “Free” and “I Wanna Be Moved,” among others, Owens’ music has impacted mainstream audiences at Lilith Fair, the Sundance Film Festival and the White House. Her music has received widespread film and television placement, including songs on the popular WB series’ “Roswell” and “Felicity.” Owens was featured on national television, including NBC’s “Today” and CNN, for her contribution to help rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Born and raised in Jackson, Miss., Owens was discovering melodies on the piano almost before she could complete a sentence. Songs began to emerge from her fingers as the vision began to leave her eyes and by the age of three.  A degenerative eye condition left Owens completely blind.  Despite her physical challenge, Owens pursued a music career.  Songs provide a window into a world Owens can’t see and an outlet for her to express her thoughts and dreams. Owens’ unique musical style and inspirational lyrics continue to appeal to Christian and mainstream audiences alike.

In 2005 Owens launched The Fingerprint Initiative, a hands-on, non-profit organization designed to “bring hope to the world, one project and one touch at a time.” The organization has partnered with  and raised money for groups such as Compassion International, International Justice Mission and Habitat for Humanity.

Ginny Owens is very talented.  Her style reminds me of Eva Cassidy, piano music ( and some guitar)  with a sultry voice. I love Eva Cassidy, so overall, I  enjoyed Ginny Owen's CD very much!  There were only perhaps 2 songs that I was not comfortable with, due to my very conservative nature, however, if you like blues or jazzy type music, then these songs would be right up your alley!  But I must say,  if I was rating her CD as a whole, we would give it a thumbs up! Our family did very much enjoy it! From the teenagers to the adults... it was a hit!

Our favorite tracks were Track 3;  Before You Fly, Track 4; Rain, Track 5; Joined at the Heart, and Track 11, The Song. So when you go out and purchase your copy of Get In I'm Driving, be sure to listen to those tracks and think of us!

It's a Giveaway!

I do have one copy of Ginny Owen's, Get In I'm Driving to give away.  This contest will be open until Sunday, Sept 18th, 10pm (Pacific)

Here's how you enter:

Leave a comment telling me why you think it is important to fill your home with Christian music!

Follow Ginny on Twitter . Leave comment with  your username.

Like Ginny Owens page on Facebook.  Leave a comment with your username.

Like Creative Learners on Facebook.  Leave a comment with your username.

Follow this blog on Networked Blogs or Google Friend Connect.  Leave comment with name you followed with.

Blog about this contest. _ Leave comment with a link to the blog post.

Tweet about this contest- leave comment with link or username

Facebook about this contest - leave comment with link or username you facebooked with.

Each item will get you one entry!

Thanks for entering! Now, go check out Ginny at her website, and learn more about Ginny and her music!!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Monday, September 12, 2011

Memories in Motion - A Homeschool Family Business

In typical homeschool fashion, our family has started a homeschool family business. This business is the brain child of out our 16 and 17 year old sons!

We are setting out to be the go to resource for you and your family for saving those treasured memories, and treasured moments in a unique and dynamic way! We are setting your photos, into a dynamic audio visual presentation! We have already have a wonderful time creating several, and would like to make one for you!  For FREE! We will include (1) DVD copy of your video!!

How can you earn a FREE Memories in Motion video? It's simple really, first you need 'like' our facebook page. And then refer your friends! The person who refers the most people by Monday Sept 19th @10pm, will win there very own video from Memories in Motion!

What happens if you don't have a facebook page? No Problem!!!

Simply share this blog post with your friends, and direct them to the facebook page. They would still list you as their referral and you are all set and entered into the contest!

What is a Memories in Motion video?

Here is a video we made that chronicles the fun we have with our Homeschool Group!


In this video, we are looking at our Abundantly Blessed Life, living for our Lord!


This video we used as a kind of party favor for all the guests that joined us for our kids combined birthday party.


Memories in Motion Videos can be used as party favor for a party or event, as we talked about above. You can use these as the graduation video presentations for your homeschool graduation ceremonies. Or you can use them to commemorate that special day to give to your guests, or as a gift for the graduate!

Here are some other great ways to use Memories in Motion Videos!


~New Baby ( shower or arrival)



~Eagle Scout or other Scouting Ceremonies

~Fundraisers - (help people have a better idea of why they should support your cause!)

~ Promote Your Business

~Promote Your Homeschool Group or Conference

~ Promote Your Upcoming Event




~ Remembering the Family Pet

~ First Day of School

~ Reunions

~Before and After videos for Large Projects


There really are no limits on what can be down with Memories in Motion!

If you have any questions you can contact us at


We look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Civilize This!


This year, our homeschool crew journey as been full of games! And let me tell you my children have enjoyed, being able to play lots of new games, and ease our way into the review process this year!

This week we are reviewing Civilize This! by Griddly Games! My girls and I have really enjoyed this game. Their ages are just about 15 and 12. ( I am not giving you my age!) However, the box states that players age 8+ are suitable for this game.

Civilize This can be played as a stand alone game or as an expansion to the board game, Wise Alec.    Our family does not own Wise Alec, so we were playing the game as a stand alone.

Included in the strudy magnetic closure box you receive:

50 Medieval card

50 Ancient Cards

50 Modern Cards

50 Wise Alec Cards

1 die


So we set out to play, we chose a point total for each player. You can chose to play until someone hits that point total, or you can decide to give it a time limit and who ever has the highest points wins!  At the beginning of our game, we had my point total at 100 and the girls at 50.. however, I must admit that we ended up lowering my points to 50 as well.  The girls were initially worried I would simply just know all the answers, but that was not the case. In the end, my oldest daughter won most of the games, but our points were all neck and neck! There were many questions I knew the answers, however, there were also many that were way over my head! There is a nice mix of difficult cards and attainable cards.


It is fun to discover the obscure facts we know, and it is a fun way to brush up on our history facts! The great component of the game is the Wise Alec Cards. And that is for two reasons. One, it helps to level the playing field for the younger set, who may not know as many answers, and it also provides much comic relief..

Some of the Wise Alec Cards will have you speaking in accents, reenacting sword fights, doing your favorite dance moves, and reciting tongue twisters. Oh the tongue twisters has us LAUGHING so hard!!!!

Check out this video to take a closer look at Civilize This!


Civilize This is available on Amazon for $14.99.  You can also check the Griddly Games website to find a retailer near you.

While on their website, be sure to check out their complete line of family games.

Sail on over to the the Crew Blog to see what my crew mates have to say about the Griddly Game they played in their homes!


**Disclosure- Griddly Games provided a free copy of Civilize This in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation has been offered or accepted. This review, does not guarantee or imply results. This is simply a snapshot if the use of this product in our home.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Homeschooling through High School for FREE or Close to it!!!!

We are beginning our 12th year of homeschooling. I think out of all those years, we have only had 1 year where I felt like I spent a chunk of money. However, the rest of the years, I had little or no money/budget for homeschooling. Many years we actually did not spend any money at all. Yet, we have been able to homeschool our children well.

This year, I have 4 high schoolers, and I anticipated spending about $1000 to get all the curriculum I wanted to get for them to cover the subjects they need.

However, once again, I have not had to spend that. God has been so faithful in providing.



So first, I headed over to our homeschool group's lending library.  We have access to a library of curriculum that we can check out for free and keep all year long.I was able to check out many of the books that the kids needed with just a few gaps.




One of the areas I was lacking was math. And lo and behold I have faithful friends who are allowing me to borrow their Algebra 1 and Geometry curriculum!



In addition to these books, I also used some items that were left over from previous TOS Homeschool Crew years. Our family has been very blessed by the time I have worked on the Crew. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to work to help provide for my children's education.




And one item that I am using that I purchased about 6 years ago, is Sequential Spelling...



**Note**I have found that the homeschool community, as a whole, is a very generous one. If you are looking for a piece of curriculum, as the homeschoolers you know. If they have it, I believe that in most cases, they will let you borrow it, or sell it to you for a very affordable price!

Now with all of that... I was still coming up short with a few things.  So I went on the prowl! And thanks to some of my crew mates, who shared some websites I have never heard of before, I was able to put together the rest of the children's curriculum. And what I learned is that, even if all of these wonderful books did not materialize, I would have been able to use these online resources to teach them for FREE!

I was so pleased to learn that there are major universities that are offering free online classes. Now, I may not actually want my children to take some of these classes, but some of them look very good.

This link is from Yale University. -   Open Yale

This is for classes from MIT - MIT Open Courseware

Hippocampus -  Offers multimedia lessons and course materials to help you with your instruction.

Homeschool College USA - full line of free curriculum resources, that will not only get your child ready for graduation, in some cases they will prepare them for CLEP testing.


Free Sources for the Self-Directed Scholar

While these are just  a few links, you will find that these are a clearing house of resources. I found math courses, language courses, social studies and science courses.  Take some time and peruse these sites and see if you can supplement your curriculum, or perhaps use these resources as your curriculum.  What's great is I found some free text, and then video lessons to go along with them.

Have a great homeschool year!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh No! It's a Circus.... it's a Flea Circus!

Things are getting exciting around here! I mean it's like a circus! A Flea Circus! It is amazing where our Crew Voyage has taken us!

So what is all the ruckus about?

Let me tell you about Flea Circus!  It is an exciting board game that is truly fun for the entire family!

Readers, non-readers, adults and children alike!



We were sent Flea Circus to try out, and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. We had so much going on, it arrived on the first day of our VBS. And we had lots of back and forth drop off/pick up happening. We dropped off half the kids at the church, and then had a few hours to kill, before we had to return to the church ourselves. So what did we do? We went to a local restaurant, ordered some ice cold drinks... ( it was the middle of a hot, hot week) and we played this new game..... I played with my 19 year old with special needs, and with my 12 year old daughter. And we really enjoyed it!  The instructions were easy to understand, and the game play was fun, and fast paced!

The goal... the player with the most spectators at their circus WINS!  This game is great for helping with math skills! We worked on our addition and our multiplication facts.  Another bonus, is that the box is small enough to travel! We have taken it with us a number of times, when we needed something to do while out of the house!

Flea Circus is available for $15.95.  R & R games also has a whole line of family games to choose from, check out their website today.. and just because you read my review.. you get a gift! How about 20% off any purchase?  Simply type in  CREW20 to get 20% of any of their products. This coupon code is good through the end of the year.

And don't forget to check out the Homeschool Crew Blog to see what my crewmates have to say about not only Flea Circus, but also Pig Pile!

Disclosure: R & R games provided me with a free copy of Flea Circus in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was offered or received. This review is written in my own words, and makes no guarantees or promises, it simply illustrates this products use in our home.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Creating Thirst: A Review of How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids by Rachael Carman

All Aboard!!!! We are about to set sail for our 4th Voyage of

The TOS Homeschool Crew!

I believe that our first item on our voyage was chosen by God. Well, if you take the time to think about it, we remember that our every step is ordered by our loving and wonderful Father God. However, often times we get so busy and wrapped up in our lives, that He ordered, that we do not take the time to notice Him, or thank Him, or even to see Him in our daily life.

We were sent How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids, by Rachael Carman.  After reading the title and the description, I was thrilled that I was chosen to review this book.  However, as I began to read this book, and as I continued through this gem, I realized that it wasn't the wonderful administration of the crew that chose me to review this book.. it was my Father, who worked through them!




In How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for your Kids, Rachael Carman takes us through the acrostic

H- Have a Heart for the Things of God

E - Enrich Your Marriage

A - Accept Your Kids

R - Release Them to God

T - Teach Them the Truth

While, you may read some of those and feel, of course, I know that...however,  while reading this book, and you will peel back layers of yourself and what is revealed is those little places where God wants to talk to your heart. You will be convicted and encouraged as you work through this book. Rachael is your cheerleader, not your condemner!  At the end of each chapter, she has included a section titled "Heart CheckUp" This little section will help you to delve deeper and examine your heart, and make sure that you are on the right path.

I am going to be honest with you, our family has been struggling here lately. The children and I have been butting heads. And God knew exactly what I needed to help set my path straight... It was this book!   I would have told you that I had a heart for my kids, before I read this little book, and yes, while I do believe that to be true, our relationship is growing stronger and better everyday. And that is in no small part due to my change of 'heart'.

Here is just one of the nuggets that really had me reexamine my own heart.  Rachael was reminding us  of Jochebed and her prayer for deliverance for her people, the Hebrews.  Do you recall how God decided to answer that prayer?  Jochebed gave birth to their very delivered!  And here is the the quote that really touched me.. "Could it be that you or I have given birth to an answer to prayer? "

Here is my thought, are we looking at, and interacting with our children, like they are an answer to prayer, and created for a purpose? Or are we simply co-existing with them, or trying to change them, or ...... only tolerating them?

Thank you Rachael for your encouraging words! Thank you for helping me to rekindle my H.E.A.R.T. for my children!

How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids, is available from Apologia Ministries for $13. Please visit the Apologia website to see a full listing of all of their products! You will find not only the Science textbooks we have all come to know and love, you will also find homeschool support materials, and books like these, that speak to the heart! Check them out today!

Would you like to see what others are saying about How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids? Check out the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say!!!!


Disclosure: I was given a free copy of How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids, in Exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.  This review is in my own words, and does not reflect any guarantee or promise. It is an honest representation of the products use in our home.




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For Instruction in Righteousness

I have owned a copy of  For Instruction in Righteousness for as long as I can remember really.. It is published by Doorposts.

I have turned to this handy topical bible in times of training with my children, and I dare say, even with my self. You simply look up the area in which training needs to occur, and you will be taken to bible verses that illustrate how God feels about that sin, and how He blesses those who have overcome, or abstain from that sin.  It will also give you some discipline option for each sin.

It has been a God send in our home! As many of the Doorposts products have!

Here is the exciting news! For Instruction in Righteousness is on sale right now for $18!! Normally $33, if this is something that you need in your family... like mine... then I would not hesitate to pick one up today!

Happy Parenting!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FREE Bible Study from Grape Vine Studies

Have you heard of Grape Vine Studies? I had heard about them for years, but then a couple of years ago, I was able to review Grape Vine Studies as a member of The Homeschool Crew, and our family really fell in love with their products!  You can see that review by clicking here.

And guess what, they have a FREE study for you for the month of August! You can find it here! The lesson is Joseph - The Early Years.

Check them out, and then have a fun stick figuring through the bible!

The Grace Card - Winner ANNOUNCED!!!!!

Last week I shared about the movie, The Grace Card.. you can hop on over and read  review of it here!

I was so happy that I had the opportunity to review this movie, however, what was better, is that they gave me a copy to give away!!!

So today, I would like to announce our winner...


Drum roll please........


Debbie Phillips, come on down! You are the lucky winner of your very own copy of The Grace Card!!!

Thank you for all that played!  Watch this space for future giveaways!

Have a great week!


Unsocialized and Over Protected Homeschoolers!

Do you have those? I DON"T!

This year, we are beginning our 12th year of homeschooling! I have 2 Seniors, 1 Junior, 1 Sophomore and a 7th grader!  (whew!) Over the years we have heard again and again, that we are not giving our children the social opportunities that they need and long for.  That they will not be able to interact appropriately with their peers, thus impacting their future ability to survive in life. More over, we have been told that we are over protecting them, and not allowing them to experience life around them.


This post in pictures is to serve as a rebuttal to these statements! I believe that my children have the best of both worlds, we have the ability to homeschool and give them the upbringing that we believe is appropriate and necessary. And, we also have them active in our local church body, both serving and worshiping our Lord!  And we are active in our local homeschool group. These pictures  show you a glimpse into just one night, one night celebrating their birthdays with their friends. All 5 kids are born in the summer.. here is their combined party... with their friends... Here are my unsocialized and over protected homeschoolers (NOT!)