Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TOS Crew: Apologia Chemistry and Physic’s Review


We LOVE science in this house! I mean, like really love it! So when we got offered the chance to review Apologia Educational Ministries, Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.


First off I have to tell you that I really love Apologia. They have amazing science curriculum. I was not disappointed with this new one either.


Apologia Educational Ministries is really well know in the homeschooling community for their curriculum. They have a great education with the focus on God, and how it all works.


We got a 280 page hardcover text book, with 14 lessons to be spread over the course of a year. Their recommendation is that you do what is best for your family. Depending on the ages of your children you may want to spread the lessons out over a longer period of time.


How we used this. . .

We chose to do a lesson a week. That way we spread the reading, activities, and experiments out over the week. The book is very well written, and things are very clear. I usually read half the chapter to my kids, and then we would do some of our notebooking. The next time I would finish the rest, and we would do the activities.


The hands on activities are the most favorite among my kids. We made our own lava lamp, and so much more!


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I have two kids. . . one in 3rd grade, and one in 6th. It is really nice to be able to just use two different notebooking journals, and teach the same subject. This saves me so much time! I love it!


Each notebooking journal is around 237 pages, and spiral bound, so it is easy to use, and stays together nicely. Great for flipping back and forth during your lesson! I used the junior one with my youngest, and the regular one with my oldest. In the front of the journal is a suggest daily schedule, you can follow if you like. I usually look at it, then use it as a guideline.


Our thoughts:

My kids love these science books! They are already asking me what one we are going to use next! They love that they are so full of facts, but have great hands on learning to go with it.

I love that I can let them go read the lesson, and its not to hard for them. Each one has their own notebooking journal so they can work at their level. All while I teach one subject from one book! This really helps me cut down on our school time, and the amount of prep I have to do.

We really love Apologia, and will continue using them for a long time to come!



The textbook is $39 and each Notebooking Journal is $24. Really a great deal for such a wonderful curriculum!

I have priced many, and this is by far the best deal I have found yet!


See what the rest of the TOS Crew is saying about this curriculum!



TOS Crew: French Essentials Review


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I remember my French class back in the day. I had such a hard time remembering the words. I was not very good at pronouncing them either. My kids love to learn new languages, its great to see them succeed so well. We have been doing a bit of Spanish the last year, so we were excited to review French Essentials. Where I received the Full Access Online Program for one year.


How it works:

French Essentials is an online-based program developed by French teachers. This program is designed for the home learners of the world. You download lessons to teach, which is all in step-by-step plans. You don’t need previous knowledge of French. Which was great for me! Smile All and all it really covers all types of learners as well with audio, video, and writing.

However, there are some system requirements for this:


  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Reader



  • Quick Time
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Reader


*You can download all of the above for free.


They do recommend that your child is in third grade before they start the program. There currently only 5 Modules available.

This is how it goes:

  • Grades 4/5 – 7/8 – Modules 1-5
  • Grades 8/9 – Modules 5 & 6
  • Grades 10/12 – Modules 7-10


My two kids that are in 3rd and 6th grade both started from the beginning and they did great! We have made it to lesson 8. You can have your child take a placement test, if you want to see where they should start.


This is all straight forward when it comes to purchasing. Not hard at all. After you have purchased it, you can log in and start. I downloaded all the lessons and worksheets for the first few lessons. I also printed a check list to keep us on track. You can also download the answer key.



Overall Opinion:


I really liked this program. I think that is very straight forward, love that they have the audio, so my kids can hear how it is pronounced. That really is a huge help when your kids are doing a foreign language. Both my kids really have succeeded well with this program.


I think this was a very well thought out program, and we are anxious to continue.




For 5 modules that make up this program, you can purchase them individually for $69.95. You have 90 days to download the lessons and workbook. If you purchase the full access you save over 50%, that can be done for $149.95. This gives you access to over 90 lessons, and you have a year to download all modules.





See what the rest of the TOS Crew is saying about this program.



Friday, November 8, 2013

TOS Crew: review



IXL Logo photo ixllogofixed.png



Anything that helps bring learning alive is helpful right? Well, this past month we had the opportunity to review which is an online math and language arts practice site.



What is IXL:

This is an online program, that is very easy to setup your account with. Once your account is setup, and ready to go. You log your child in and pick what grade level you want them to work on. I used this on both my kids, so my youngest started with 3rd grade math and language arts. The language arts is only available up to 4th grade right now. My oldest who is ahead in math, went straight to the algebra.

You can set how much time you want them to practice each day. I typically had them work on it for about 20 mins each day. They set goals for them to reach, and they get rewarded by printable certificates and such.


The language arts is a new program that has been added. Like I mentioned before it is only available for 2nd through 4th grades right now. My daughter really enjoyed the language arts program.


Each parent has their own account to log into to see what your child has been doing, and how long they spent on it. I really like this, cause it shows me the areas we need to spend more time on. This also has a section where you can see what the State Standards are, including common core curriculum.

Our thoughts:


This is a great supplement program, but not meant to be a stand alone. My kids really enjoyed using it. It has been a great help with getting extra time with math in. My youngest has also really improved with the help from language arts. I think that will benefit her more this year. I put this in as part of their daily routine. So, while they liked it they certainly were not asking to use it out of school.


The one thing that we did not like was there is no instruction given for the problems, so my youngest had a bit of trouble with that.


Things that we really liked:

  • That it shows you parent reports
  • You can access it anywhere (yes even while on vacation, haha)
  • You can adjust grade levels as needed


Things we didn’t like:

  • That they stick more to standard core
  • Harder for kids with disabilities




You can pay this in a couple of ways.

By paying $9.95 a month for each subject or $15.95 a month for both subjects.

This is for one child, but you can add an additional child for $2 each.



You can pay $79 a year for each subject or $129 for both subjects.

Then pay an additional $20 per child for each extra child.



Be sure to stop by and see what the rest of the TOS Crew is saying about IXL.



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

TOS Crew: Away We Go Media Book Review



When learning about other countries I always find it good to get books to help with the feel of it. Its hard to explain a country and its culture with out being their don’t you think? Recently we had the opportunity to review Away We Go Media by Carole P. Roman



About the Author:

Carole P. Roman is an award-winning author. Who loves to share her stories of history and culture. The new books she has written are geared for kids Pre-K to 8 yrs old. However, my son still enjoyed looking at them with us, and he is 11yrs old.


The Series:


In the “If you were me series” you will find the following titles.

  • If You Were Me and Lived In Mexico
  • If You Were Me and Lived In France
  • If You Were Me and Lived In South Korea
  • If You Were Me and Lived In Norway… (this is the newest)



What you will find in the books:

The books are very well illustrated. The pictures just pop right out at you. Your child will learn where the country is located, and its capital. Then the author gives you a “tour” from a child’s point of view of what life would be like for you if you lived there. Such as what you would eat, games you would play, what kind of toys they have, what they would call their parents, types of money used, etc. This book is great for a beginner child looking at foreign countries.

They really bring it alive for the child.



How we used the books:

We are doing geography this year, so we decided to incorporate them into our learning each week. We discussed what the country was, things that we had in common, things that we did differently, etc. Then I had my daughter read the book to me. We learned about the maps, flags, and currency. We really enjoyed using them. She thought it was really neat to learn more about France. This also tied in well, cause we are learning French right now.


Our Thoughts:


Little Monkey really liked the books. They are a nice soft cover book, easy to flip through. Not to much information, with only 20-30 pgs per book. My daughter is 8 yrs old, and really loved them. She has gone back to reread them numerous times.

I really like the way the books are done. They really make the learning come alive for the child, that might otherwise be bored. I like that the illustrations are really nice and pop out of the page. I really think that Carole P. Roman has done a great job with these books, and we look forward to seeing more in the future.




You can purchase the first 3 books in the series in two formats. You can get them on the Kindle (.99Cents) or Paperback ($8.99 each).

If You Were Me and Lived In Norway…  is available on the Kindle $1.99 or $8.62 for Paperwork.


See what the rest of the TOS Crew is saying about it.





Friday, November 1, 2013

TOS Crew: Rosie’s Doll Clothes Review



My girls love their dolls that are very much like the American Doll. They each have one, and it goes almost everywhere with us. Therefore, when we had the opportunity to review Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns, I jumped on it. My girls are still just getting into sewing, and learning about it.



What is Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns:


Rosie’s Doll Clothes is a video course that your child can watch to help teach her how to sew clothes for her American Girl Doll (or similar size).  If you have online access, you can get 12 months of over 130 videos teaching you how to sew. This program is targeted towards children 8 and up. I wouldn’t say just girls, as my son has started using it to, to make a few clothes for his sisters dolls for Christmas presents.

When you purchase the program you receive 8 downloadable patterns with videos to go along with them, and a pdf.

Each video is fairly short, around 5-10 minutes. Which is great for the child, that can’t sit and listen for long periods of time. The course is six weeks long with six or seven videos per week.

They start with the basic’s of setting up your sewing room, how to work with fabric, and even how to use a serger.


How we used it:

My youngest did this course the most. She is 8 yrs old, and not a lot of experience with a sewing machine. Therefore, I started her out everyday with watching the video, and then she would practice some skills on scrap fabric. When she got a little further along, myself or my mom would sit and help her with the machine.

I think that Little Monkey has really learned a lot over the last few weeks using this program. She can do a lot of basic sewing without to much help now. I really enjoyed watching her learn how to go from a pattern to a finished product. The first time she finished something she was so excited, and she could see her mistakes, but we just learned from them, for the next thing we tried. She has made pants, shirts, and dresses. She is anxious to try more new things!



My Thoughts:


I found that the videos were really good. I really liked how well they covered the things they needed to know. They were clear, and the sound was good.

I love that this gave my girls a spark to be more imaginative, and wanting to try and do more things.

They are very excited to keep trying to make new things, and to make Christmas presents for each other.

Sadly my camera got dropped and isn’t working now, so all my photo’s are gone.


The Cost:

For a full year of access to 130 sewing videos, 8 patterns with instructions, and PDF’s that you get to keep. It is $48 or you can get the DVD"’s for $67.23


You can find Rosie’s Doll Clothes on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

TOS Crew: Bridgeway Academy Review


As a homeschooler you are always trying to find the best way to teach your child. Sometimes you think having more interaction would be good for them. Recently we got the opportunity to try a  learning lab, by Bridgeway Academy.

What we took:

Little Monkey took their Magic Tree House: Through the middle ages class which is designed for kids in 1st –8th grade. This class was taught by Kathy Thomas. Each class was Monday afternoons from 1-2pm.

Here is some of what was covered in this class. . .

  • Overview of the Middle Ages
  • Life on a Medieval Manor
  • Life in a Medieval City
  • Knights and the Crusades
  • Castles
  • The End of the Middle Ages
  • Art & Music


The whole class is a total of 8 weeks. Each week Kathy assigned them homework, which usually didn’t take to long to do. Then they had one large project to do.


I’m sure you are wandering how they did a class online. They used what was called Jigsaw Classroom. It is a place where the kids can log into a “classroom” and have face to face time with the instructor via webcam, and can take part with a microphone. It is divided into four sections on your screen with a spot for presentations, a white board for notes, a spot for links for assignments and what the teacher is showing. Very similar to a powerpoint presentation really.

The first class or two Little Monkey was rather confused. It was a bit overwhelming to get figure out how to get around. Then she got the hang of it. Unfortunately due to a few last minute appointments for me (I have been having medical issues) she missed a few classes. However, most classes are recorded, and when she couldn’t do that she made sure to have an option for them. Then she would be sure to email after the class, to send any additional links, or papers they needed to do for homework.


Our Thoughts:

We thought this was a very interesting way to take a class. I’m not sure it was really what Little Monkey needed. She seemed to have a hard time with it sometimes. She is more of a physical class child. I think that it was fairly well put together though. I was really impressed with the teacher. She did a great job keeping the kids engaged, and giving them assignments.

Overall this is not something that I think I would do for her, but maybe for my older child. A great option for some older students. I think it brings a whole other part of learning in that is good for the kids.



Learning Labs by Bridgeway Academy are 9 week long courses. They use Jigsaw classroom software, which is a few program to use. You do need the use of headphones, a microphone, and webcam to participate in this class.

For the 9 week course it costs $145



Check out more reviews from the rest of the TOS CREW.




Friday, October 25, 2013

Oral-B Pro-Health For Me Rechargeable Toothbrush Review:


With the biggest candy holiday coming up just next week, it is important that we remind our kids of good brushing habits.




Trick or Treat with America’s ToothFairy is a campaign that they use to help get kids to have better oral health habits. All while raising funds to help pay for at-risk children suffering from tooth decay. Did you know that it is the #1 Chronic Childhood disease?


I don’t know about you, but my kids still have a hard time remembering to brush their teeth two times a day. As a parent we really need to keep on them about this. A couple of mine are dealing with loose teeth right now. Another one just had to have 4 cavities filled, cause she has very crowded teeth.


Just some ideas for Halloween instead of handing out candy:

  • Toys
  • Glow in the dark bracelets
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Stickers
  • Pretzels
  • and more!



This past month we have had the opportunity to review the Oral B Pro-Health for Me Rechargeable Toothbrush. Let me start by saying, I’m going to have to go buy a couple more. They instantly fought over who was going to use it! I decided to let Monkey Man use it, since he has been begging for one recently.




He was really excited about it. It is very easy to use, and we got replacement heads that should last awhile. There is a 2 minute timer, so they know how long they should be brushing for. He was really good about using it this past month, so I’m hoping maybe this is the incentive he needed to get him going on being better about his dental hygiene.






You can purchase the Oral B Pro-Health for Me Rechargeable Toothbrush at any local Wal-Mart for $28.97. Then you can get the Oral B Pro-Health for me Sensitive clean replacement Brush Heads for $21.22.


Be sure to keep on them  over the next few weeks, while they are enjoying so many sugary treats to keep them teeth brushed really well. Be sure to swing by and sign up for the Toothfairy’s  Kid’s club as well and help raise money for a child in need.  

or on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!




*I was provided with a Oral-B Pro-Health for Me Rechargeable Toothbrush and Brush Head Refills in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% mine or my monkeys.