Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review for Who Is God (Book 1 of the What We Believe Series by Apologia)

A few weeks ago, I attended the MidSouth Homeschool Convention in Memphis. While I was in the Vendor Hall, we stopped by the Apologia booth. Along with all of their amazing science curricula, they had the What We Believe series displayed.

I made a bee-line to show it to my friend because I had been reviewing it. Another lady happened to be standing there and she listened intently to me singing the praises of it to my friend, and then started asking her own questions. Finally, she said, "it always means so much more when another mom highly recommends something". And I get that.

I know that I was given this book in exchange for my review, but I can assure you that I don't sing the praises of something unless I *really* like it. Please know that I would herald this product in a New York minute even if I had purchased it on my own (which I absolutely plan to do with the rest of the series, as I was only given Book 1)!

Basically the What We Believe series helps to guide you as you teach your children on the fundamentals of the Christian faith. It can also easily be used as a self-directed curriculum, but my children seemed to enjoy it more in a family setting. It's also a GREAT tool for Dad to use as a family devotional.

The first book, Who Is God, is fabulous!

It starts with the most basic premise that God is truth and that He reveals His truth to His people, and that Jesus is the only way to Him. And many, many more like that! It is so chock-full of great lessons!

There are 10 lessons in this book, but each of those lessons could easily take one to two weeks to complete. Some might say that there is too much information in each lesson, but honestly, I would rather have as much as possible to pull from than not enough! There were a few things that we didn't do in the first lesson, but it was just because we were ready to move on.

Again, I highly recommend this curriculum! Here are the specifics:

Item: Who Is God (Book 1 of the What We Believe series)
Authors: John Hay and David Webb
Publisher: Apologia Press
Price: $39.00
Age Range: All if doing it in a family setting, but for self-directed, I would say 10 and above.
My Overall Rating: FIVE STARS!!

Also, you can check out what the other reviewers had to say here.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review for Virtual Nerd

If you are anything like me, the thought of teaching upper level math always makes me crazy-nervous. As I mentioned a time or 76, I'm not a fan of numbers especially when they start involving letters... Anyway, this is where programs like this come into play for homeschoolers:

Virtual Nerd is an interactive, step-by-step online video tutorial program that helps students with pre-algebra, algebra I and II, and physics. There are plans to add several more upper level maths in the coming months and even a Biology course.

The tutorials are very easy to follow and are quite user-friendly. These are the minimum requirements for your computer in order to use Virtual Nerd:

*High speed Internet access
*Minimum of: Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla Firefox 2, Apple Safari 2, Google Chrome 2, or Flash Player 9
*Screen/display resolution of 1024x768 pixels

There are four different pricing plans available that begin with a one-day subscription and go all the way to a premium one that gives you 24/7 monthly access for $49 per month. This sounds like alot at first, but when you factor in how much it costs to hire a personal tutor, this is actually rather cost effective.

If any of this interests you, you can check out their website here. And as always, you can read what my fellow reviewers thought of this product here.

Disclaimer: (Because I have to!) I was given a subscription to Virtual Nerd for 6 weeks to test in exchange for my review.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Review for Easy Classical

Recently, I received a digital copy of Early Modern History from Easy Classical to review. This is basically a schedule that lists books and activities that can be used with popular classical curricula such as Story of the World, The Veritas Press Cards and The Well Trained Mind (which isn't really a curriculum, but it is still supplementary to it). It also includes a full year's schedule of lesson plans, review questions and quizzes.

From the website:

All the hard work is done for you. We have researched classical curriculum choices, integrated subjects, and tested the schedules for ease of use. Easy Classical schedules break a full year of education down into specific, daily assignments that are adaptable to fit all styles of learning. You will cover everything simply by following the schedule. Lesson plans for history, science, language arts, physical education, and even art are included at no extra charge.

I personally appreciated the ease of use with this product. It was quite easy to follow and the directions were very clear and concise.

I also like that all of the legwork is done for you, as mentioned in the excerpt above. What homeschooling Mom doesn't need something that will save her the ever-valuable t-i-m-e?

Also, many of the recommended books are things that I already own. In other words, it "pulls" from many of the resources which are already staples to most homeschoolers.

And lastly, it's cost-effective. You can purchase the digital version of Early Modern History for just $29.95 (a GREAT price for lesson plans) and the printed version for $35.95

If you are interested, you can check out the website here: Easy Classical

You can also read what the other reviewers thought here: TOS Crew Blog: Easy Classical


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Math Facts Now Review

I must make the loud confession after 10 years of homeschooling that I hate flashcards. In the early days we used them pretty frequently, but it wasn't long before they would get lost or destroyed and I quickly became disenchanted. For years, we have used a program similar to this one online to drill our math facts, but a few months ago, I was given Math Facts Now to review and I am HOOKED! It's even better than the one that I was using and the kids have really enjoyed it.

What is it? Math Facts Now is a program available by download or CD-ROM that is used to drill your child(ren) on their addition, subtraction, multiplication or division facts. You can customize it to drill the facts that your child needs the most work with, or you can put it together to mix all the numbers from 1-12. It's completely under your control. You can also decide how long the student has to answer each problem, how many problems you would like in each set, and how many times they have to re-enter incorrect problems.

The program also keeps tract of the problems that your child has difficulty with and repeats those problems several times throughout the lesson. There are progress reports that are available for printing, as well.

If you want to look into this program you can visit their website here: Math Facts Now There, you can either purchase the CD ROM or download the program for $15.95 They also have a trial version available on the website, which I also recommend.

I was given this product in exchange for my honest review. You can read what others on the TOS Crew thought by going to our blog here.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review for Master Innovations

A few weeks ago, we were sent a product called Master Angles to review. It comes from the well-reputed math company, Master Innovations. There were three other products that were sent out for others to review, including Master Fractions, Master Clock and Master Ruler, and I can only imagine that if they delivered the way that Master Angles has, that one would be well-pleased.

We received 3 items: The Master Angle, Master Angle Workbook and the Marvels of Measurement Poster. I'll talk about the workbook first. These books are supplementary in nature to your usual math curriculum. My son, Jacob, who is actively learning about angles in his regular math book, seemed to be the best candidate for this review. He opened the book and found that it was easy to read with clear and concise explanations and instructions. There was plenty of repitition, which I am a firm believer in because I think it solidifies what you are learning. It also had plenty of real-life application for the use of angles, which I also appreciated.

An important component to the workbook, but also something that is perfect by itself, is The Master Angle tool. It is a great little tool that actually goes the full radius of a circle rather than only half way, like a regular protractor. It has a moveable arm and little holes at every degree for the student to place pencil marks to make a perfect angle of any size. There are tutorials for how to use each of their products on their page, too. Another great perk is that it's very durable. I can't say enough as a homeschooling Mom how important durability is! This is a great (and very inexpensive) product to have on hand for any level math program.

We also received the Marvels of Measurement Poster, which each of my children were happy to have. It is a quick resource that can tell you conversions for length, capacity, and weight in a fun and fast way.

We were very pleased with these products and would highly recommend them to anyone! Here are the specifics:
Price: Workbook - $15.95 The Master Angle - $5.95 Measurement Poster - $10
Age Range: This book is suggested for grades 1 - 4, but I'd go even farther and say that it could be easily used through grade 6 or as a review for any grade.
My Overall Rating:


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review for The Write Foundation

About a month ago, we received The Write Foundation's Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing in exchange for my honest review. So, on that note, I must say that we never did receive all of the parts of this curriculum. Initially, there was a problem with the company's printer and then with the shipments, so many things came to the TOS reviewers that were unable to be used.

I personally received the student worksheets (which were only slightly damaged, yet still able to be used), but no Teacher Manual or CD. I did move to another state right about the time these products shipped, so it could easily have been lost in the mail. However, I requested another shipment, but I never received it.

So, with that being said, I tried to make-do with the worksheets and the sample lesson plan on the website and I will tell you that we REALLY liked the first lesson!

My younger two children enjoyed learning about alliteration and coming up with sentences to follow. It seemed to be a fun way to learn. We also really enjoyed the Mind Benders activities that are a much-encouraged part of this curriculum.

I am sad that I can't be more thorough with this review because I really think that this would be a good product if we'd had all of the materials. The curriculum was written by a veteran homeschooler, Rebecca Celsor, for use within an individual homeschool setting or a co-op one. You can check out their website here: The Write Foundation . The price for a full curriculum package (30 lessons) is $100 plus tax and shipping for Level 1 (I believe it's the same for all levels), or $65 for 15 lessons.

Also, you can see other (more thorough) reviews for this product and for some of the other levels that they offer here.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Review for Zoe and Sozo Publishing

Hi friends! We are in the 11th hour of this review because we've just moved to Mississippi (more on that in an upcoming post) and my internet connection JUST started working.

Anyway, during the chaos of the last month or so, we have been reading aloud a book called Foundlings. It is the first in a series entitled The Peleg Chronicles written by Matthew Christian Harding. Here is an excerpt from the website:

"Foundlings....is Historical Fiction that takes place in the time period of Peleg, soon after the tower of Babel dispersion. In its pages we meet dragons, giants, false priests, the death hunt, an under-city of the Dwarven Brotherhood, and many memorable characters.The story begins with Lord McDougal and his faithful shield-bearer, Fergus Leatherhead, departing their lands with giants at their backs, while before them lie in wait denizens of the bog-land and forest. Ever ready to protect and serve others, they gather in tow an assortment of displaced adventurers and find themselves embroiled in a mysterious search for the foundlings..."

If you like "fantasy" literature, but aren't into the magic or humanism that can be a part of the mainstream classics, then this is exactly what this series offers. The author is a homeschooling dad of 4 and I found it interesting that this literature was birthed out of his bedtime stories to his children. We, too, have enjoyed this book.

Here are the specifics:

Item: Foundlings: Book One, The Peleg Chronicles

Publisher: Zoe & Sozo Publishing

Number of pages: 239

Price: $11.95 (paperback)

Age Range: 10 and up

My Overall Rating: 3 out of 4 stars


Disclaimer (because I have to!): As with all of my reviews, I received these books free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.