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 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 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!