Thursday, March 31, 2011

TOS Crew: Zeezok Publishing

Would you like to use movies to teach your students subjects like history? Zeezok publishing gives you the tools to be successful at using movies as an integral part of your learning. As part of the TOS Homeschool crew, we were sent a copy of one of Zeezok's Z-guides to the movies.

Our family chose to review the Z-guide for the movie Amazing Grace. I had all the children watch the movie. We have children who are from upper elementary age through the 11th grade. I had some of the children watch the movie with the Z guide in hand, and the others without it. The Z-guide recommends that you watch the movie with the Z-guide, as well as, do some pre teaching before the movie. I did pre teach to all of the children.

So what is the result? The children that had the Zguide in front of them, while watching the movie, were able to catch the small details in the movie, that may have gone over their head, had they not had the Z-guide in front of them.  My children that used the Z-guide during the movie, thoroughly enjoyed the guide  and the movie! And in the end they were able to retain much more about the movie than the children who did not have the Z-guide!

Here is what Zeezok has to say about the Amazing Grace Z-guide;

"This z-guide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis, and ten learning activities for an in-depth study of the film. Make a speech against slavery. Learn more about William Wilberforce and the English abolitionist movement. Give a public performance of the song Amazing Grace, or make a poster opposing the slave trade. Evaluate your own beliefs with the “Worldview Activity,” probe the director’s mind with “The Filmmaker’s Art” activity, and get the entire family involved with the “For Family Discussion” section at the end of the guide. Choose those activities which best fit your student’s course objectives, areas of interest, or time schedule. Grab your front-row seat in Parliament for the decades-long struggle to eradicate the slave trade and emancipate the slaves."


Zeezok has a myriad of titles available for you to choose from! Z-guides are available for $12.99 on CD. Zeezok also has movies available for purchase. Please visit Zeezok to see what they have available.

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


Thursday, March 24, 2011

TOS Crew: Big IQ Kids

As part of the TOS Crew, we were given a free premium membership to the BIG IQ kids website. What is Big IQ kids? Well it is a website with math, spelling, vocabulary and US geography programs.  I have taken the time to click around have a look at what is available, however, for the most part, I have allowed my daughter to have pretty much free access to the site.

Big IQ Kids is a website that has a tagline of "Helping kids become and stay A+ students."  They achieve this by creating an e-learning environment, that allows all children, grades K-8, no matter their learning ability, to strive for excellence. How is this accomplished you ask?  Actually there are many strategies employed to create success.


The first key is they have technology that allows every word, in every sentence can be read out loud to your child. So now, if you have a child with some learning disabilities, they will be able to fell independent with Big IQ Kids. That is HUGE! When you have a special needs child, you want them to have every opportunity to experience independence.

Next, the program leads the child through assignments and quizzes, and as the child successfully accomplishes these tasks, they are rewarded with coins that allow them to play games. This was indeed an incentive for my daughter!

Overall, my daughter loved Big IQ Kids. There really was only one thing she did not like. In the math program, if she typed the wrong digit (by mistake), before before she could fix it, it would automatically correct it. This caused her some frustration, however, she learned to work within the framework.

From a teachers point of view, I liked the premium membership, as it allowed me to view progress reports, as well as receive information on how my daughter is progressing via email. These features are not available with the free editions.

Prices vary for Big IQ Kids, depending on if you subscribe to all four programs, or pick and choose the program that your family will need and use the most. Prices are as low as $7.99 per month. Please visit here to view all the pricing options.

Don't forget to visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Big IQ Kids!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOS Crew: Apologia 'Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him?'

Recently, I was speaking with a Christian adult, and the topic of worldview came up. Well actually, because we were discussing how a Christian views the world, I had asked them, if they have heard of the word 'worldview'. And to my astonishment they had not.  They understood the meaning of a worldview, and clearly they possessed a Christian Worldview, they just simply had not given it much thought, nor did they realize it had a name.

As Christians, and much more, as Christian parents, it is our duty to raise our children, and helping them to understand what our worldview is. And why we hold to that worldview. Gone are the days, of do as your told, and don't ask questions! When you raise children in that fashion, when they are independent adults, they will surely stray from the foundational upbringing that they have been taught.

With that said, my question to you is this, are you teaching your children to have and honor a biblical worldview? If you are, what tools are you utilizing to teach them? If you are not, would you like to? And would like to find a tool, that would help you to pass along your bibilical worldview to your children? There is indeed, such a tool available!

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we were sent a free copy of Who is God? and Can I really Know Him? by John Hay and David Webb, and published by Apologia Ministries.  This  is the first volume in a 4 volume series entitled, "What We Believe". 

In true Apologia fashion, this publication is beautifully done. It is a hard bound book, very well illustrated, and geared for children from ages 6-14 years old. One of my favoirte features is that  the book is written  directly to the student. This is something that I have always enjoyed with the Apologia books.

In the begining of the book, there is a useful chapter titled, 'How to Use This Book" which proves helpful to guide you through the planning of lessons for your student. While your student, will have the ability to read through the text on their own, I would highly recommend that you as the parent go through the lessons with your child. Afterall, you are forming your childs worldview.  Also, this book uses a notebooking style to document what your child has studied and learned, versus a fill in the blank worksheets.

What our family has found is that, as we worked through this book, it sparked so much wonderful conversation! My children range in ages from 11-18, and we actually used this book as a family devotion, and even with the older children, it proved to be an invaluable resource.

Here you can see a sample of the Table of Contents, and here you can see a Sample Lesson.  As you can see, this is a very in depth, yet friendly written book!

I would highly recommend this book for any Christian Homeschool Family!

Please visit the Crew Blog to see what my crew mates have to say about this amazing little resource!