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!


 photo juniornotebookingjournal_zpsa179a078.png


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


French Essentials LOGO photo frenchessentiallogo_zps55e20538.jpg




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.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rosie MADE Organic Chocolate Review:



As part of the Rosie’s Review Crew, I get monthly reviews of products that are sold by rosieMade.


On this review I was sent three different types of organic chocolate bars. Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Almonds, Hot Habanero Mandarin Dark Chocolate, and Coconut Almond Crème Milk Chocolate. These are each 3 oz of chocolate and sell for $5 each.






Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almonds Bar – 70% Cocoa -

has dark chocolate, almonds, and sea salt. GMO & Gluten Free.  We found this one pretty good, but thought the sea salt was to much.


Hot Habanero Chocolate Bar – 70% Cocoa -

has dark chocolate, habanero powder and mandrin oil. GMO & Gluten Free. This one was far to hot for our taste. My kids each tried a small piece, but couldn’t do it. I am not a huge spice fan, so I barely nibbled it and my mouth was on fire. Great for the person who loves a kick!


Coconut Almond Crème Milk Chocolate Bar – 41% Cocoa -

has milk chocolate, almonds, and coconut oil. GMO & Gluten Free. This was our favorite of them all. We thought it was smooth, and just the right amount of almonds. There is just a hint of coconut, but not to overwhelming.


For this month if you order before 10/31/13 you can get an extra 10% off your order with the coupon code RRC1013.


Be sure to swing by and check out the rest of what they have to offer!



*I received three chocolate bars from rosieMade for this review in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% mine or my monkeys.







TOS Crew: VocabularySpellingCity Review



Do you enjoy spelling? I’m not a very good speller really. I struggle with some of the words that our crazy language spells not like it sounds. My kids are the same way. They always spell a word, just like it would sound like it spells.

I had the chance to review VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership, by VocabularySpellingCity.


What is VocabularySpellingCity?


It is an online program designed to help your child with their spelling. You can import spelling lists, or you can add in your own spelling lists.

You can have multiply children on an account. It is designed for children ages K and up.

VocabularySpellingCity has so much to offer. It is very easy to set up. You just open an account, and put in your user information. Once that is set up, you can add your students.

When your students are set up, you can go in and add a list, or import a list. It will go to a general board, until you decide which student to assign it to. Once it is assigned to a student, you can go in and give them assignments.

For my kids, I chose to give them 4-5 assignments a week, and had them do them in order. They have to complete the first activity to go on. They also have a due date to get the whole weeks assignments done by. This way they can do more than one day at a time if they choose too.


Premium Membership Vs. Basic:

The premium membership has a lot more to offer. These are things you can get from a premium membership.

  • Student Recordkeeping
  • Unlimited access to vocabulary content
  • Premium learning games and activities
  • Writing practice
  • The ability to create assignments for each student
  • No commercial ads


While the free version is nice, and can be very beneficial I really think that the premium version is worth the money.


Here are some of the games and extras you can find on VocabularySpellingCity.

  • Printable Worksheets
  • Handwriting practice
  • Lots of games, like. . . LetterFall, Matchit Sentences, Sentence writing Practice, Read a word, Flash Cards, and so much more!


What the Monkey’s Thought:

Monkey man who hates spelling really loved this program. He wasn’t a huge fan of the sentence writing, but he is coming around. His favorite game is pictured below, which is the LetterFall.


I really saw a big difference in his spelling this week, because it was reinforced with the games he plays. I also love that he can learn the meaning while he is learning to spell them.

Little Monkey also really enjoyed it. She to really struggles with spelling, but I have seen a big improvement with hers as well. She doesn’t really have a favorite game, as she likes them all.


I really am impressed with this program, and think that it is really worth the money.


How we used it:

Since I really don’t have an actually spelling program for the kids this year yet. Still working on that. I have been looking online for a few list that I could go by for there age/grade. Once I find a set of words I want, I go in and add the list to each child. Then I go under assignments and pick out 5 things for them to do a week. Monkey Man gets a few tougher ones, such as writing sentences since he is older. After I assign them their work, I set the due date for the last day of the week for them to get them done.

This has really helped a lot with our spelling work. I can already see a great improvement in Monkey Man’s spelling!




As I stated before, you can use VocabularySpellingCity for free and utilize a lot of the features. If you wanted to do that to give it a try and see if it was for you.

However, the Premium membership is only $29.99 a year for up to 5 family members. I really find that reasonable for the amount of options you get.



See what the rest of the TOS Crew has to say about this program!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ultimate Party Meatballs








Do you like to throw parties? I do! One of my favorite things is to host a party, or get together and make people smile. I really just enjoy the company and watching people enjoy themselves.

Recently we got an Ultimate Party Meatball Basket, that included some ingredients, mixing spoon, toothpicks, apron, and potholders.



This past weekend we had a party for my middle daughter’s birthday. Like always I went overboard, and made a bunch of food. One of the things I made was the Ultimate Party Meatball!




As always the Monkey’s had a great time helping me make them, as you can see here.




They are so easy to make, my son wants to do it all by himself next time.


Then looked and smelled so good!



They were certainly a hit at the party! The kids devoured them down! Guess I should have made a double batch. . .


Ultimate Party Meatballs


When will you be throwing your next party?



**Disclosure: I received Heinz®, Johnsonville® and Ocean Spray® products in exchange for sharing this recipe. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Struggles. . .



I don’t know if some of you that follow me have seen that I haven’t been posting much. I have been struggling to keep my head out of the clouds. I am overwhelmed, and just having a rough time.


Right now, I have some issues going on at home. I will address that a bit later though. My biggest concern right now is a problem I have had for awhile now.

I don’t know if some of you have seen me mention that I have a thyroid problem. Well, over the years it has continually gotten worse. I now have 3 nodules, that are between 3-4 cm. I went to see the specialist last week, and he told me that one of them is calcified. Which means that it might be malignant. This was not the news I wanted to hear. . .

The verdict is that I am going to have surgery, the first week in November. I’m relieved, anxious, and nervous all at once. I am ready to have this thing out of my body, so that my life can get back to normal. I have been struggling with issues caused by it for to long.


So, if you don’t hear from me much in the next couple weeks. I’m working hard to stay focused, but sometimes can’t. Please bare with me, as I go about this journey.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:




  • In my life this week…

It has been a very emotional week. . .
I will explain more in another post.

We spent some time with friends. . .
went to a few appts. . .
spent time together. . .



  • In our homeschool this week…

Our first week back to school. . .
The Monkey’s are doing really good.
We have a pretty busy schedule.


Monkey Man went hiking with Scouts. . .

Little Monkey did a bug program at a local
museum. . .



  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Don’t give up, even when things get a bit hard.
I tend to struggle with this sometimes.



  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week
voice lessons,

and then a birthday party for my Middle Monkey this weekend!



  • My favorite thing this week was…

Cuddling with my monkey’s!
They keep me strong.



  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Spending time with friends.



  • Things I’m working on…

A birthday party for Middle Monkey



  • I’m cooking…

Beef Stew



  • I’m grateful for…

Amazing friends in my time of need.




  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

Taking them to lunch..



  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

Nothing at the moment.



  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
    Two of my monkey’s!            


Monday, October 14, 2013

Do you have a favorite season?



Mine would be fall. . . hands down my favorite season. I’m sure you have heard me mention that before. I love the crisp cool air, but yet warm days. I’m a hoodie kinda girl, so the cool air isn’t all bad.

Most of all I love our landscape in the fall. The tree’s all in a rainbow of colors between red, orange, green, and yellow. The landscapes are just beautiful. I am just in such awe of the beauty around me in the fall. I feel the most peaceful, and enjoy the calmness of it all. I really find that I can reflect more this time of year.

Another highlight for this time of year for me is to take pictures. Its just like the world just screams at me, please take my photo. Everywhere I go, I see a chance to take a picture. Sometimes I want to just slam on my breaks and hop out to take a picture. Lol!

Do you have a favorite season? Is their one that just screams your name more than another? Do you feel a connection?


I thought, I would just share a few photo’s with you from my travels. I don’t have my good camera anymore, so bare with me, I’m doing the best I can with my cell  phone camera for now.








Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:




  • In my life this week…

It was a bit crazy. . .
I have a lot of personal things going on. . .
I’ll tell you more about that, at another time.

This week we worked on some projects around the house.
We did some cooking. . .

Went apple picking. . .


Spent time with friends



  • In our homeschool this week…

This week was our last week of vacation.
I decided to make this last one 3 weeks long,
since we had a so much going on. Which has us
ending the week before Thanksgiving.

So I have been busy getting our new lesson
plans together and ready.

Lots of good reviews from the end of our year
coming up too.



  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

If you need an extra week take it. . .  This time around it
was the best decision for us.


  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week, we have
quite a few appts,
Co-op, 4H, Library, and
of course visiting with friends!


  • My favorite thing this week was…

Going apple picking with my Best friend and her
family for her birthday!






  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Spending time with Auntie!



  • Things I’m working on…

I am finishing up lesson plans, and getting ready to start
our new 6 weeks of school.



  • I’m cooking…

Oh, how I love pizza. I really could eat it all the time!



  • I’m grateful for…

Amazing friends, that are getting me through
what was not the easiest decision of my life to make.



  • I’m praying for…

Peace, and my mind to be free of clutter!



  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

A movie night



  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

Surprisingly nothing right now. . .




  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

    A beautiful Sunset this week…


Monday, October 7, 2013

TOS Crew: George Washington- True Patriot Review


I have always been a history buff, so when my son started to enjoy history I was thrilled. The past couple weeks we have been reviewing George Washington: True Patriot by Janet & Geoff Benge through YWAM Publishing.


I received the PDF versions of the book, and Unit Study Guide. Did you do Unit Studies with your kids? We haven’t done a lot of them, but there are quite a few that I really have enjoyed.


About the Book:



George Washington: True Patriot is a great book jammed packed with lots of information about his life. Going back to the younger days of him, all the way through to his death. The book is 19 Chapters (146 pages), and has no pictures really.

We have studied about George Washington a bit already in the last year, but this really gave us a better look at him. It talks about him growing up in Virginia, and his part in the French and Indian War. His life as a president, and the final days of his life. (I don’t want to give all the details away) This book is very good!


About the Unit Study Curriculum Guide:


The book also comes with a Unit Study Guide. Which I must say goes great along with it. This has 64 pages,  and is divided up into chapters.

  • Display Corner
  • Key Quotes
  • Chapter Questions
  • Student Explorations
  • Community Links
  • Social Studies
  • Related Themes to Explore
  • Culminating Event
  • Appendix A
  • Appendix B


Here are some of the highlights of the Unit Study:

  • A factual question from the text
  • A question on student’s level of comprehension
  • A vocabulary word
  • An open- ended question


The guide provides more than enough activities to choose from to make the book even more fun. Along with mapping activities, timelines, and fact sheets.


What the Monkey’s Thought:


They really enjoyed this. We chose to read the book aloud together, and the two monkeys took turns doing that. When they would finish a chapter, I would ask them to write down the vocab word, and define it. Then we would do an activity.

They really got a lot out of this Unit Study, and have asked to do more of them in the future.


My Thoughts:

I was thoroughly impressed with this book and Unit Study. I can’t tell you how good the book was. The kids and I really loved reading it, and we love when we can all sit and learn together.

There are a great amount of activities to choose from, so the kids would always choose a new one, whether it was a craft, or play.

I will absolutely be picking up a new one for us to read and learn from soon!




You can get the Unit Study for $7.49 here.

You can purchase the book for $6.99 here.

You can purchase the book as a PDF, ePUB or and the unit study comes as an E-book in two PDF files.



Check out what the rest of the TOS Crew has to say!



Friday, September 27, 2013

TOS Crew: VideoText Interactive Review

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Anyone who knows me, will tell you I am NOT a math genius. I struggle with most math, and always have. I had to have a tutor to pass math in high school. So, it is a good thing that I married a math genius since my son is obviously going to take after him.
A math curriculum that is the right fit for your child is the hardest thing to come across. When we were offered the chance to review another math curricula I was excited! We received Geometry: A complete Course from VideoText Interactive.

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What is Geometry: A complete course :
VideoText Interactive approaches math in two ways. Through a inquiry-based video format, and by not using shortcuts, tricks, rules, or formulas. With complete mastery being the end result. Developed by Tom Clark a teacher of Mathematics and Science with 46 years of experience. He worked with all levels from elementary to adult! You can read more about him here.

What is included in Geometry: A Complete Course :
I like to have the physical product, so we opted for the books and Dvd’s instead of doing it online. I was super excited when the box arrived, Monkey Man not so much! We received modules A and B.
Each module comes with:
  • Student Worktext
  • Course Notes Book
  • Solutions Manual
  • Progress Test Book
  • Teacher’s Instruction Book
  • 3 lesson DVD’s

We got all of that with each module A & B.
When it arrived, I cracked right into the box to check it out. I was anxious for him to get started. He just finished Algebra, and I was just doing review with him the past few weeks.

How VideoText Interactive works:
Your child watches a 5-10 minute video lesson. As the instructor you can watch it with them, and then you should discuss what you learned and make sure they understand the concept. I like for Monkey Man to take notes as he is going, but it is stated NOT to take notes. They are only to watch the video, and after that is finished they can go back and take any notes.
When the video is finished your child is then to complete the student text assignment to help reinforce concepts. You can give them either the odds or evens to do. If they get any wrong, that is where the solutions book comes in. They use that to figure out what they did wrong. I tried to have Monkey Man go back over the ones he got wrong to see if he could see what he did wrong first. Sometimes, he caught his mistake, and others I had to show him, or daddy had to go back over it with him.
After you finish a lesson, you can use the progress test book to give quizzes to make sure they are understanding the concepts. We found that taking the quiz for the lesson they learned the day before was the best way to go. Then we knew he really understood the concept. It was also noted to remember that if they miss 2 or 3 problems that doesn’t mean there is a lack of mastery.

Our thoughts:
Monkey Man is a hard child to find math for. . . being that he is in 6th grade, doing 9-10th grade math. Most curriculum is to boring for him, or even to easy. When we received Geometry: A Complete Course he was not excited at all. While he is really good at math, he doesn’t like it when I get him more. 
However, after the first few lessons he began to complain less, and do more! He really thought the instructor was awesome. He liked how he presented. He also likes that he doesn’t have to wait hours for daddy to come home and help him with a problem. Since I am not the math genius, and can’t really help him as well now. Now, he only has to wait if he gets stumped which isn’t very often.
We use the curriculum three times a week, cause that is what works for us. He has been doing really well with the concepts that I can tell. His work is good, and his quizzes have been better than he thought they would. While I don’t think he will ever admit to loving math, VideoText Interactive ranks right up there as one of his favorites!
Of all the curriculums we have tried, this one has been a bit more teacher intense. However, since this is really the only subject I have to be a bit more involved with, it has worked out fairly well. I am trying to get Monkey Man to be mostly independent, so I can focus on Little Monkey. He is really improving on this, this year.
As a homeschooling parent, I am always concerned that I can’t teach enough or good enough. My beliefs are challenged everyday, so that is why I think I really stress about that. After much stress and thinking, I discovered that this may be true, but I have the option to find the best fit of curriculum for my child. Does a public school teacher have that option? If he was in public school would they be teaching him 3 grades ahead? Probably not, so I love that we have that freedom. Having great people like Tom Clark, who love and create such great curricula really helps us!
Overall, I really think this program is a great product. The lessons are great, but short enough not to bore your child. The books are broken down very nicely, you know right where to look when searching for something. They are very high quality materials.

I have to admit, the cost is rather high.
If you purchase all the modules you would receive:
  • 8 Units
  • 176 Video Lessons
For Geometry the complete online course costs $299 this is for licensing two students. If you need more it is an extra $49 for each extra student.
and the printed version of the whole course will cost you $529.
You can also purchase modules A-B-C or D-E-F for $279 each.
You can purchase all modules separately if you choose.
Online geometry module A costs $59.00 or for the printed version it is $99.95.
Keep in mind that if you purchase the online version you do get 3 years of access.
Also each complete course can count as 2 to 3 credits for High School Math.  You would be completing Geometry, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus.
While this is high, and I am the first to say I couldn’t afford to pay that for a math program. It is worth a couple math credits, so that helps justify the cost. I have a very tight budget myself, but I would absolutely consider this program for my kids.

You can find VideoText Interactive here, Facebook, and Twitter.

See what the rest of the TOS Crew is saying about VideoText Interactive Products.