This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to ME

Sunday was my birthday and a Happy one it was!  Surrounded by my family and watching my girls compete in the State Championships for Level 5 Gymnastics…I would not trade it for the world.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

TOS Review: Mathematical Reasoning, Level F

PhotobucketMy 5th grader, Madison has been plugging away at the new Mathematical reasoning, Level F book from The Critical Thinking Company. With 384 pages it is a whopper of a book that we have been using as a supplemental resource to our favorite math program with great success.


Critical Thinking 003

The Critical Thinking Co. is a family-owned business that has been “empowering the mind” for more than 50 years. They sell critical thinking products/supplements that cover reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history. Instead of rote drilling and memorization, students are encouraged to “carefully analyze what they are learning.” The Critical Thinking Co. is on a mission to develop the critical thinking skills in all children. They currently have 12 books in the series for Mathematical reasoning books ranging from PreK – 9th grade that are standards based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). By using these books in the course of your homeschool, or afterschool/summer school, your child will see their grades improve and score higher on tests.

This book is designed to foster a cooperative experience between you and your student. The highly effective activities teach fifth grade math skills and concepts-and some sixth grate math standards. The skills and concepts presented spiral throughout the book. This means that you will see a topic dealt with for a few pages and then a gap before it is covered again. We do that so the student has multiple opportunities to think about and apply the skill/concept.

~ excerpt from book

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This is a hefty book and it does not disappoint. It is presented in a sprial approach, the same as our favorite math program, so Madison took to it right away. The author, Carolyn Anderson, suggests that the student work through the book page by page rather than skipping around because of this. While completing this book your student will learn the required skills/concepts for 5th grade and be introduced to skills/concepts for 6th grade as well. All of the books in the Mathematical Reasoning series are designed to make the student think critically. If you are just starting in the series your child may find that it is quite challenging, but stick with it! They will eventually catch up and progress through the series just fine.

Critical Thinking 005Critical Thinking 007

We have truly enjoyed using this book. We started out by just using it once a week but Madison begged for more! How can I turn down a child begging for Math!?! We are now using it daily and I can see the improvement in her math. In the future I plan to use the Level F book for my younger girls so I have just been photocopying the pages for Madison’s use. I plan to cut the binding off and have the pages three hole punch and the placed in a binder for ease of use on my part. It would be fantastic if there was a PDF version available for purchase.

Because I have had to “regroup” with Mikayla’s math program for the rest of this year and into the summer, I have already placed my order for the Level D book for her. I look forward to starting her in her new book next week ! I have to admit these books are a bit pricey at $42.99, but as the saying goes “you get what you pay for”, and that is most definitely true with The Critical Thinking Company. I am sold on these books!

Head on over to The Critical Thinking Co.’s website and see all of their Award Winning Core Curriculums, Pre-School Academics, and National Award winning products that have been helping students for over 50 years. Also, don’t forget to check out what my Crewmates thought of this book and the other three books that were up for review, Balance Math Teaches Algebra, Crypto Mind Benders Famous Quotations , and Inference Jones: Beginning by clicking here.


Company ~ The Critical Thinking Co.

Product ~ Mathematical Reasoning, Level F

Price ~ $42.99 but currently on sale for $37.99

Ages ~ 5th grade

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Disclaimer ~ I received a copy of Mathematical Reasoning, Level F, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

TOS Review: Amazing Science, Vol. 1


                                     That’s AMAZING! 

PhotobucketHow often do you hear that in school? Let alone for Science.  My girls L-O-V-E science and their curiosity for discovery and knowledge has grown exponentially within the last few months. Around mid-March we received an awesome video called Amazing Science!, Vol. 1 from Science and Math. Even if you are Science-phobic I think you will LOVE these videos.

Learn fundamental principles of science through Amazing Science Experiments! You'll learn about electricity, magnetism, heat, temperature, pressure, surface tension, buoyancy, and much more.

For every demonstration, a complete materials list is given, and each experiment features multiple camera views so you can see exactly what happens.

Most importantly, every concept is explained in a step-by-step fashion. You’ll not only be amazed – you’ll understand the science behind every experiment!

                                                               ~ excerpt from back cover


Your instructor when watching the DVD’s is Jason Gibson, who earned advanced degrees in Engineering and Physics. While Mr. Gibson has worked as a Rocket Scientist for NASA, his passion has always been for teaching Science and Math. His enthusiasm is contagious and watching the experiment is always fun! At the beginning of the experiment Mr. Gibson,  gives you a quick rundown of what is going to happen. Any materials that are needed are right on the screen.   The experiment is shot with at least three different camera angles and Mr. Gibson explains the why and what of each experiment. Want a sample, watch five of the twenty-three experiments contained on the two DVDs, you can click HERE.


This set of 2 DVDs covers 23 different jaw dropping, AMAZING experiments retails for $19.95 (there is a digital download for $17.95) that will teach you about air pressure, electricity, heat, surface tension, magnetism, and so much more.

The experiments on Volume 1 include:

Disk 1

  1. Color Changing Milk
  2. Egg in a Bottle
  3. Exploring Air Pressure
  4. Build a Lemon Battery
  5. Inverted Cup of Water
  6. Candle Suction Power
  7. Amazing Magnetic Force
  8. Lift an Ice Cube with String
  9. Unburnable Money
  10. Matchstick Speedboat
  11. Cloud in a Bottle
  12. Reversing an Image with Water

Disk 2

  1. Floating Eggs
  2. Keep Paper Dry Underwater
  3. Dry Ice Bubbles
  4. Balloon in a Candle Flame
  5. Ocean in a Bottle
  6. Build a Motor with Lights
  7. Simple Lava Lamp
  8. Invisible Ink
  9. Density Tower
  10. Soda Can Fizz
  11. Build a Motor #2

We LOVE it! I can not say enough good things about this DVD.  Even if you are not science oriented check it out and you will be amazed!  My girls loved it and for our upcoming trip they have requested this DVD to be one of the movies we bring for the road trip.  Now, that’s Amazing!!! 2 thumbs up from us, it will be the best $20. you spend this year! Check out what my Crewmates thought of this DVD by clicking here.


Company ~

Product ~ Amazing Science, Vol. 1

Price ~$19.95 or $17.95 digital download

Ages ~ all

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   Disclaimer ~ I received a copy of Amazing Science, Vol. 1, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Monday, April 23, 2012

TOS Review: God’s GREAT Covenant ~ New Testament 1

PhotobucketWe were first introduced to Classical Academic Press last year when we reviewed their Latin Primer A.  Well, they have done it again and produced an awesome product that we love!  We have had the pleasure of reviewing God's Great Covenant - New Testament 1 which is for grades 4 and up.  I actually used this bible curriculum with my 5th and 3rd graders, my K’er listening in.

Here is an excerpt from the website:

 In God’s Great Covenant, New Testament 1: A Bible Course for Children, students will follow the story of Jesus, the Messiah and King, as He is born and fulfills all God’s promises. But Jesus does not arrive as people expected. The people were looking for a mighty warrior to deliver them from the oppressive Roman government. Instead, He came as the suffering Savior, who would die as the sacrifice for sin and death. He was building a kingdom that was not of this world—it was the kingdom of God. He is the Son of Man, God’s Servant, the Messiah, and the Son of God. Each of the four units in this text emphasizes one of these names of Jesus. God’s Great Covenant, New Testament 1 teaches the Gospels to students in fourth grade and up, using stories, worksheets, memory verses, devotional guides, quizzes, and a little boy named Simon. In the introductions to the text, students will also learn about the historical, cultural, and geographical setting of the New Testament. This book is a most comprehensive and heartfelt study of the Gospels, and many parents and teachers will find themselves learning along with their students.

Broken down into 36 weekly chapters and further divided into 4 themed units this curriculum has it all.  Each chapter includes memory work, key facts charts, and fulfillment of prophecy section.”Think About It” questions do just that. They encourage your children and yourself included to really consider and relate to how God fits into our lives.  If you need more there is also a worksheet and a quiz to test your knowledge further. Want to check it out for yourself? There is also an audio download available which contains a recording of the Story Time section for each chapter read by Christopher Perrin. With  over 3 hours  of audio files in a mp3 format so you can burn to a disk or listen on your ipod/phone/touch and listen anywhere you go! Click here and you can preview the first 32 pages of the book, you will not be disappointed!


I can not say enough good things about this program, we loved it that much and will sing its praises to anyone and everyone!  We will definitely be continuing to use this valuable resource for the rest of our school year and into next year! Classical Academic Press has not disappointed me with any of there products!  Click here to read what my fellow Crewmates had to say.


Company ~ Classical Academic Press

Product ~ God's Great Covenant - New Testament 1

Price ~ $26.95 Student, $29.95 Teacher, $56.95 Bundle

Ages ~ 4th grade and up

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Disclaimer ~ I received a copy of God’s Great Covenant – New Testament 1, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Strawberry time


Strawberry picking 011 We went strawberry picking today (everyone but Marie. You know the story of The Little Red Hen?  Well it applies to her today, so no strawberries for her)…a first for the girls.  Everyone had a great time and we ate a lot of berries.

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 Strawberry picking 003  Strawberry picking 009Strawberry picking 012Strawberry picking 010                                                          My only complaint is that one basketful is not enough, so we will have to go back for more next week :-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Homemade Sports Drinks

As we approach the summer months and H-O-T weather I need something to keep my girls hydrated.  My girls love Sports Drinks, but they are so expensive for the amount the girls would need.  So, I found a recipe for homemade Sports Drinks at Stay

It is easy to create your own natural, homemade 6% carbohydrate beverage for use at practice in place of using Powerade or Gatorade.

In general, a 6% carbohydrate beverage can be made by diluting your athletes’ favorite juice to half juice/half water and adding ½ teaspoon of salt per gallon. The addition of salt in the recipe is actually necessary to help the body absorb the fluid at practice and replace the salt lost in sweat. This keeps muscles firing at their best even at the end of a 4 hour practice! Remember to plan ahead so your gymnast does not run short at practice. Your athlete should be consuming a one gallon recipe over the course of 2-3 practices so you may need to make about 2 gallons per week!

Pick your favorite 100% juice and add it to a 1 gallon pitcher. Fill the rest of the pitcher with water and then add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Stir well and then refrigerate.

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homemade gatorade 026 homemade gatorade 036  homemade gatorade 046 homemade gatorade 057

Wordless Wednesday

Lt. on Tractor

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TOS Review: Christian Kids Explore ~ Biology


For the past 6 weeks or so I have been trying to narrow down our curriculum choices for next school year.  Science, this year has been the hold out and has had me wracking my brain. When the interest form for Christian Kids Explore series by Bright Ideas Press came out I was ecstatic that I was chosen.  Bright Ideas Press is a Christian company that publishes Christian curriculum for science, history and language arts.  As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free copy of the Biology curriculum which is suggested for grades 3-6 and is priced at $34.95.


Christian Kids Explore Biology is a 291 page paperback text which is broken down into 8 Units. Each Unit includes  3-6 lessons which comes out to be 35 weeks of hands on F-U-N science. You can check out the Table of Contents and a Sample Unit by clicking on the links. You and your child will study everything from Creation to Photosynthesis to Monkeys and Apes to our five senses.  This book has you covered for Biology. Everything is broken down and laid out in a easy to follow arrangement with a “Teaching Time” and a “Hands- On Time”, which includes an experiment or a diagramming assignment.  I love the simplicity of this curriculum so that either the parent or the child can read the short  “Teaching Time” section for each particular unit. Best of all is that there is a schedule included so that you can get science done in only 2 days a week! This program also has a Resource CD so you do not have to struggle to make photocopies of handouts from the book.  The Resource CD is available as an instant download for just $7.95 – regularly priced at $12.95.  This is a great plus for me since I am using this program with multiple students.

Christian Kids Explore Biology is written for your 3rd-6th graders. In our homeschool we used this book as a supplement to our current science program with excellent results. Once we photoreceived the book I was able to go through the lessons and  place a paperclip on the corresponding  lessons that I wanted to explore a little bit more. We were able to dig a little deeper into certain areas and do different experiments which really helped to cement the ideas for the girls. I should note that because I used this book as a supplement to our current program we did not start at Lesson 1 and progress through, rather we skipped around as needed. I did find that it lacked the rigor that I was looking for in a stand alone program for my logic stage child, however, my both of my girls enjoyed it so much that we are going to continue using this book for the rest of our school year. There are lots of extra’s in this book that you can use to make this more in-depth including the coloring pages and the extra book resources listed in the appendix. We are changing up the way we study science starting next school year so I also plan on purchasing each of the remaining guides including Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics along with there corresponding resource CD’s. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a great, easy to follow science program. Check out what my Crewmates thought of all the books by clicking, HERE.


Company ~ Bright Ideas Press

Product ~ Christian Kids Explore Biology

Price ~ book $34.95, Resource CD $12.95 *on sale for $7.95

Ages ~ 3rd – 6th grade

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Disclaimer ~  I received a copy of Christian Kids Explore Biology, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

TOS Review ~ Write with World


For the last few weeks we have had the opportunity to review a brand spanking new writing curriculum called, Write with World.  It is so new that it is not even available for purchase yet to the general public (but it will be in Summer 2012).Write with WORLD was written by the publisher’s of God’s World News and World Magazine. Developed by educational and media professionals, Write with World strives to help you to effectively teach writing with confidence. This curriculum will help to train and inspire your students to become proficient communicators.

With the help of Write with WORLD your child will be exposed to:

  • reading that develops discernment
  • contemporary subjects and professional guidance to pique interest
  • flexible exercises to build confidence and skill for using today’s new media
  • a thoughtful and meaningful Christian worldview

PhotobucketAs a member of The Old Schoolhouse Crew our family received the first year of the  2 year program, which is recommended for middle-school students.  Madison being the aspiring novelist in the family is just the right age to try out this program.Year 1 materials include a teacher and student book. The student book has 16 key lessons divided into 4 units, covering topics such as:
•Writing fundamentals
•Critique and opinion
•Concepts of comparative and critical reading

The teacher book thoroughly explains each unit and has multiple assignment choices to fit the needs of you and your student(s). Click HERE for a link to the table of contents and HERE for a sample lesson. The student book is non-consumable, so your student(s) will need to use a notebook to record their work. Having multiple children makes this one of many of my favorite features about this program.No need to buy multiple books to reuse this program, thus in turn helping my budget :-) 
Write With WORLD also gives students who use this program an extra incentive of being able to submit samples of their writing for possible publication on the Write With WORLD web site. That is a great incentive for aspiring writers like mine!

The appeal and relevance of working with current, real-world topics and news stories.
Instead of stale, canned writing prompts, lessons are coupled to real-life experiences, current news stories, and other changing topics to add interest and relevance to the assignments and examples. In many lessons, students can choose the subjects that interest and motivate them.

                                                                                      ~from the website

Write With World sells for $95 for Year 1or you can purchase both the first and second years of this program for just $165. Remember, when you purchase you also get  access to the website coming in the fall of 2012. With a very Christ-Centered, God-Created tone this writing program is definitely worth taking a look at!  Want to know what my fellow Crewmates thought about this program?  Click over here and read through some of the 100 reviews and see if this is right for your family.


Product ~ Write with World

Price ~ Year 1 $95. or purchase both years for $165.

Ages ~ middle school and up

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   Disclaimer ~ I received a copy of Write with World, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TOS Review : TruthQuest History ~ Middle Ages


History does not have to be boring!  Your study of History should come alive so that you can experience the wonders of the One who made mankind. I will be honest here, when I received the Truth Quest History Guide on the Middle Ages at first glance I was not impressed.  We were in the mist of our super busy competition season and I was a bit stressed, so I set it down for a week and then took a look at it with fresh eyes.

TruthQuest History is a deep and rich literature-based history study…but with a difference. You will not learn the story of mankind; you will learn the lovestory of mankind. You will not focus on the rise and fall of human civilizations; you will focus on the arrow-straight line of God's unchanging existence, power, love, truth, and plan for civilization. You will not simply 'meet the culture' or 'get the facts;' you will probe the truths of history so deeply that your students will be equipped to change their world!

                                                                                 ~from website

Wow, was I wrong!!! TruthQuest is an awesome guide filled with wonderful booklists and not some boring textbook that we learned history from in our schooling.  As a literature based curriculum your children will be learning from real books that  bring history alive and make it meaningful and easy to remember. With no schedule to follow you follow the rabbit trails that you come upon and delve into further areas of interest. Or you can omit some items or add in what you like.   What is a literature based curriculum without book lists? TruthQuest includes a massive list of books and resources to further aide in your study. I loved this, everything was nice and neat and easy to find and my library had a majority of the books listed. In the Middle Ages Guide you will be studying some of the following areas/people:

  • Beowulf
  • Mighty King Arthur
  • Augustine
  • Islam
  • Norman Conquest
  • Crusades
  • Stained Glass Windows
  • Knights
  • Bubonic Plague
  • The Hundred Years’ War
  • and much, much more

All in all this is an awesome history curriculum that I would recommend for anyone looking for a chronological, literature based program.  It is available in print or PDF download formats and it is economically priced at $24.95 for print copies and $19.95 for PDF. Truth Quest can be your spine or you can pair it with another History program for the best of both worlds. I plan on purchasing the TruthQuest American history binder builders to go along with my 4th graders study for next school year. Check out what my crewmates thought of TruthQuest and the other 10 guides that are available by clicking, here.

Photobucket  Company ~ TruthQuest History

Product ~ Middle Ages, Level II

Price ~ $24.95 print, $19.95 PDF

Ages ~ 5th –12th grades

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Disclaimer : I received a PDF copy of TruthQuest History guide, Middle Ages, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

TOS Review~ Amazing Animals by Design

"Why is a giraffe's neck so tall? Why do zebras have stripes? Did all of these things happen by accident? When John and Sarah visit the zoo, they ask these questions and many more. Their parents and the zookeepers keep using the word design, but what does that mean?"-from website
PhotobucketYou know we like books in this family and I am pleased to say that we just added a really great one a few weeks ago. It's called Amazing Animals by Design by Debra Haagen, a fellow Crewmate. Amazing Animals by Design is an awesome book with really nice illustrations that helps children to understand that God created them with His perfect design. We enjoyed this book tremendously especially the illustrations. The girls now want to take a trip to the zoo to see all of the animals up close. We received the E-reader copy of the book and I will be purchasing a physical hard copy too for $8.99. An e-reader version is available also for Kindles and Nooks alike for $7.99 instant download. Click on over here and read what my Crewmates thought of Amazing Animals by Design.

Product~Amazing Animals by Design

Price~$8.99 hard copy, $7.99 e-reader

Ages~ Pre-K- 3rd
I received an E-Reader Copy of Amazing Animals by Design, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.