As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I had the pleasure of casting my vote in their annual Blue Ribbon Awards. All members of the Crew are invited to share their favorite vendors of the year in a variety of categories, and then the votes are tallied and awards given to the vendors. Here are the winners of 2014 (links will take you to the Crew blog post for the product unless noted otherwise): [Read more…]
Can you sell a torch purse to a princess?
Do you, Miss Princess, have money to burn? Then let me introduce to you the torch purse – it burns your money for you!
How about a bone sandwich to a dog?
Mr. Dog, what you need is to eat a sandwich like your owner does. But peanut butter is too sticky for dogs. Designed especially for you, so the move to sandwiches isn’t too abrupt a change from your preferred food, I give you the bone sandwich!
Christmas is coming. Like it or not, we’re already into November, and that means Christmas is just around the corner. And Christmas is a time for family traditions, both old and new.
(Please don’t hear me saying that having traditions is what Christmas is about. It’s not, and I know that. It’s about celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Traditions are just a nice thing to make us humans feel “warm and fuzzy.”) [Read more…]
I have a super fun product to talk to you guys about today: Clued In Kids! For review purposes, I received both the Halloween Treasure Hunt and the Baseball Treasure Hunt. These are available as PDF downloads for $5.99 each. Having them as PDFs means, of course, that you can print as many as you’d like and reuse them, which makes these a great value.
So what is Clued In Kids? The answer is very simple. Helen Bertelli, the founder and president of Clued In Kids, writes Treasure Hunts for kids. You purchase the hunts, hide the clues, and let your kids go. For about 5-10 minutes worth of work on your part, you can easily keep your kids occupied for 30-60 minutes (possibly more, depending on the children). Each hunt is designed around a theme – Halloween and Baseball, in my case, but there are also loads of others (Thanksgiving, Winter, Happy Tummy, Gluten-Free, Homework Reward, and many others). [Read more…]
When I first found out that the Schoolhouse Review Crew would have the chance to review some DVDs from New Liberty Videos, I wasn’t too mussed. We don’t have a TV or a traditional DVD player (just the DVD ROM on the computer), so I didn’t intend to request this product. But then I saw the actual list of films that would be offered, and when I saw Warriors of Honor ($19.95 for a physical DVD) on that list, I had strong suspicions that Will and the boys would be really interested. You see, it’s a film about the Christian faith of two Confederate generals – Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. My boys (and man!) are big history buffs, and the Civil War is one that fascinates them all, so I went ahead and requested this movie after all. [Read more…]
If you’ve been reading these pages for very long at all, you know that I’m a sucker for foreign languages, especially French. For over a year now I’ve been searching for “the perfect foreign language curriculum.” The conclusion I’m coming to is that it just doesn’t exist. However, Middlebury Interactive Languages comes pretty close. For the purposes of this review, we received a six-month subscription to their Elementary French 1 (Grades 3-5). As the product title suggests, this is designed for upper elementary students – roughly grades 3 through 5.
For this review, we were given several options of Middlebury courses – French, German, Spanish, or Chinese, each available in a variety of levels. It was a really tough call for me whether to start the boys with Elementary French 1 (which has no prerequisites) or Elementary French 2, which has the prerequisite of French 1 or equivalent. You know, of course, that we’ve been doing French off and on for a long time with the boys. But I wasn’t sure if the stuff they’d learned up to this point would be enough to qualify as “or equivalent,” so we went ahead and did Level 1. [Read more…]
We are fascinated by things like Biblical archaeology in my house. Get us (especially Will and Seahawk) going on the subject, and an hours-long conversation is sure to ensue. So when I heard that members from the Schoolhouse Review Crew would have the opportunity to review the new iWitness series from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was definitely intrigued. They asked us to review the following books:
Written by Doug Powell, each of these books takes the reader on an in-depth search of different aspects important to the Christian faith. The books aren’t a boring tome, though. Each one is designed to look like a stack of documents, using different graphics and fonts, to introduce you to the evidence that has been discovered over the years. They follow a logical progression, but the goal is not to just tell you, “This is how it is, so you have to believe it.” Instead, the idea is to push you to do your own research and (ideally) come to the conclusions that “Yeah, this is probably really true” on your own. The books are good for a variety of ages (we read them aloud with all three boys), but the reading level is roughly 11 and up. [Read more…]
As a mother with school age children and a little one, let me tell you: homeschooling with a toddler underfoot is hard. Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t change it for anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult. Small Fry, much as I love him, makes our school hours a challenge sometimes. So when I was given the opportunity to review the e-book Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling Older Kids with Success while Loving the Little Ones at Your Feet by Kendra Fletcher of the Preschoolers and Peace website, I was definitely interested. And let me say, I was not disappointed. This resource for moms was a wonderful addition to my e-book library.
This 50 (or so) page book is available on Kindle (currently the only format you can purchase it in) for only $2.99, and I think it would be three dollars well spent for anyone looking for ideas to incorporate your little ones in with your homeschool. Kendra offers loads of tips and tricks for both involving the toddlers in “school time” as well as recognizing the importance of (and giving more tips for) teaching them to play on their own. [Read more…]
I’m not going to beat around the bush with this review; I’m just going to come out and give it to you straight. We love this program! The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) has produced a fabulous grammar program for kids 3rd grade and up. We received for review the very first level of this program, Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1). We received both the teacher’s manual and the student workbook. There are currently six levels of Fix It! Grammar available, and each one works with a different fairy tale.
Here’s the lowdown. When you order, you receive the softcover, spiral bound book or books. The copyright allows you to make photocopies of the student workbook for use within your own family, so even if you’re teaching multiple children the same curriculum (like I am), you only need one copy. That is definitely a selling feature in my book. You need some regular homeschooling supplies to work with the curriculum, but nothing you don’t already have (probably): a binder with four dividers, some paper, and a pencil. Other than that, it’s an open-and-go curriculum – my favorite kind! [Read more…]
My Student Logbook is a local (to me) company owned by a homeschooling couple, and they offer . . . you guessed it: student planners for homeschooling students. I received one student logbook for the purposes of this review, which was pretty great because my kids, Seahawk in particular (who was the beneficiary of this product), thrive on having a to-do list.
The way the product works is very simple. First, you “set up” the logbook. This is done by simply tearing out one of the copies of the “tasks” page (each logbook includes several copies of this page with permission to copy more as needed), folding it in half, and taping it to the back of the current week’s checklist. Now here’s the beauty of this product . . . If your kids don’t need a new list for next week, you just turn the page to the new week and tuck it under the existing to-do list. They’re all set with a new page of check-off boxes, and you don’t have to rewrite the list. Brilliant! [Read more…]