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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

TOS Reviews ~ year 4

Reviews from June 2012 – November 2012
*abbreviated year as new schedule is put into place
~ Rainbow Sentences

~ myWorld Social Studies: Building Our Country

~ Creation Illustrated
~ Homeschool Spanish Academy
~ Professor B Math
~ Apologia: Who is my Neighbor?
~ Keyboarding for the Christian School
~ MapTrek
~ No-Nonsense Algebra
~ Zane Education
~ Create Better Writers
~ Math Made Easy: Addition
~ A Thomas Jefferson Education
~ Vocab Videos
~ Vocabulary Spelling CITY
~ Christian Liberty Press
~ Ten Girls from History
~ Everyday Cooking *Molly Crew*
~ Reading Kingdom
~ Math911
~ Lots & Lots of Penguins
~ Family Time Fitness *a published review*
~ Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship
~ Homeschool Legacy: Early Settlers in America
~ Music Together: Family Favorites
~ BOX of I.D.E.As
~ Beeyoutiful
~ Kinderbach
~ Dayspring Christian Academy: The Pilgrim Story
~ Crossbow Education: Eye Level Reading Rulers
~ Samson’s Classroom
~ Beloved Books: Sugar Creek Gang
~ Recon
~ Activity Bags: Science & Preschool bags
~ Apologia: Journeys to Faithfulness
~ Modesty Matters *Molly Crew*
~ Institute for Excellence in Writing: Primary Arts of Language
~ Vocal Coach Singer

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vocal Coach Singer ~ a TOS review

Do re me fa so la ti do…there has been a lot of singing going on in our household over the last few weeks. We all love to sing, well, maybe not Marie, but the rest of us girls do, especially Madison. She is always singing or humming a tune and you know what? She is actually pretty good. And I am not just saying that because I am her Momma!

Developed by Chris and Carole Beatty with over 40 years of experience, their company,Vocal Coach is a collection of singing products for in home use. With a passion for teaching people to sing, they also offer private vocal coaching and vocal seminars in addition to all the other wonderful products they offer.

A few weeks ago we were privileged enough to receive The Vocal Coach Singer which is,

the most complete instructional singing system available with the equivalent of over $2,000 worth of personal coaching time. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, Vocal Coach Singer teaches and builds upon the fundamentals essential to an accomplished singing voice. From posture to performance our tested and proven techniques will help you deliver your songs with consistency and confidence!

                                                                                    ~ from website

Vocal Coach Singer is a complete singing program to help develop and improve the voice of anyone who has a desire to be able to sing well. The materials included in this program cover specialized training in warm-up, breathing, tone, diction, expanding your range, and also preparing for a performance. Also included are multiple workout formats for the different voice ranges.

We received a physical copy of the Vocal Coach Singer, which includes 12 CDs, an instructional guidebook, and a CD with PDFs of the music sheets for the various vocal workouts. While Vocal Coach Singer is designed for use with teenagers through adult if you have a motivated younger student I would definitely check this product out. Or as another option you could look into Vocal Coach’s alternate singing program for younger students called Teaching Kids to Sing. The Vocal Coach Singer program is available in CD format for $119.99 or as an MP3 download for $99.99

I used this program with Madison with great results! She loves to sing and this personal Vocal Coach has helped her find the perfect range for her voice. I would definitely recommend this program to any and all who want vocal lessons but do not want to shell out the big bucks for it. Vocal Coach Singer will prepare you to sing like the star you are!

Be sure to click on the banner below to read the reviews of my Crewmates.


Company ~ Vocal Coach

Product ~ Vocal Coach Singer

Price ~ $119.99 CD format,$99.99 MP3 format

Ages ~ 12 – adult


Disclaimer ~ I received Vocal Coach Singer in CD format from Vocal Coach, 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, November 12, 2012

Institute for Excellence in Writing: Primary Arts of Language ~ a TOS review

pal2 Institute for Excellence in Writing is a well known company in the homeschool world. You may think that IEW is only for older students, as I did, but let me tell you about an amazing program they have have the younger kiddos. This incredible program I am speaking about is called PAL, or Primary Arts of Language.

PAL is geared towards the younger students in grades K-2 and is broken down into two core components, Primary Arts of Reading and Primary Arts of Writing. Although they are sold separately, the two programs should be completed concurrently.

Using poetry, the reading portion of the Primary Arts of Language teaches phonics and whole words. Students are introduced to letters through letter stories and discover the vowel and consonant pairs that help us read. Daily games played during “Activity Time” reinforce the phonetic concepts so that a student can know them completely.                                                          ~ from website

PhotobucketPrimary Arts of Reading is a complete package that includes an instructional  DVD, which is narrated by the lovely Jill Pike. Mrs. Pike walks you through the whole set up process and holds your hand as you begin this great educational journey. Also included are a teacher’s manual, a DVD-ROM that includes all the students eBooks, Phonetic games book, Phonetic Farm with included stickers and helpful MP3 recordings. This portion of the program retails for $89.00.

The writing portion is divided into three parts: printing, copy work, and composition. Spelling is included throughout the course. The printing section provides an entire handwriting program to teach your student how to correctly form his letters. The copy work exercises will make printing automatic in preparation for the composition lessons, which will gently teach your student to write stories and paragraphs with style.                                    ~ from website

PhotobucketPrimary Arts of Writing is also a complete package that includes an instructional DVD, teacher’s manual, DVD-ROM that includes all the student eBooks, All About Spelling Basic Interactive Kit, and the All About Spelling Level 1. This portion of the program retails for $89.00.


WOW! That is a lot of good stuff, right!?! Now, I have to admit when the box arrived and I took out all the goodies I was completely overwhelmed and did not know where to start. That is where the instructional video comes into play. Pop that DVD into your computer and sit back and learn as Mrs. Pike guides you on how to implement the lessons for your student. I will say I am especially glad that IEW packages the components of PAL in Ziploc bags. My box was rather beat up and torn and we had been having a lot of rain. The Ziploc bags protected the materials and for that I am grateful!

This is not an open and go program. There is a lot of planning that needs to be done ahead of time for the teacher to makepal4 things run smoothly. I spend the weekend planning what games we will play and then constructing them so they are ready to go. Mrs. Pike encourages you to keep the lessons short and snappy, which works great with little one's attention spans. A suggested schedule is included and we followed those suggestions in our studies that ranged from 1 hr 45 minutes to 2 hours of learning depending on our speed.


I am currently using this program with Montana, however McKenzie does like to try and play some of the games with us. I have seen great results and confidence in her reading since starting to use this program.  That makes this Momma happy! Like I said before, PAL is a teacher intensive program but well worth the amount of time needed for prep work in my book. This is an excellent program and our family will get many years out of it. We highly recommend checking it out for your little ones too. If my review was not enough to convince you to check this out for your family be sure to read what my Crewmates thought about this program by clicking the banner below.


Company ~ Institute for Excellence in Writing

Product ~ Primary Arts of Language

Price ~ Reading $69.00 ; Writing $89.00

Ages ~ K-2


DISCLAIMER: I received the Primary Arts of Language Reading and Writing program from Institute for Excellence in Writing, 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, November 7, 2012

Modesty Matters ~ a MollyCrew review


As a mother of 5 daughters let me tell  you that Modesty Matters to me! And I can tell you that it matters to the Lt. too. When my older 3 girls were little I loved to dress them similarly. I had dreams and visions of sewing them all in matching handmade Easter dresses. Yes, my dreams have not come true, yet! With the help of Modesty Matters I am hoping to change that. 

Now, I have been known to see a little bit but nothing as big as a dress! The girls have dabbled in sewing but have never really sewn anything big either. When the review was offered for Modesty Matters I knew I wanted in on this review and was pleasantly surprised when we were chosen for their comprehensive “You CAN Sew” program.

No previous sewing experience is required by either the student of the parent.

                                                                                      ~ excerpt from box

The “you CAN sew” program is designed to teach you the basic skills to sew three simple projects including a simple apron, a simple skirt or slip, and an A-Line dress or nightgown.  With 65 detailed lesson plans on five instructional DVDs the instructor walks the student through the sewing basics. Step-by-step instructions are provided to help the student learn to properly thread his or her machine as well as teaching you to  set the correct thread tension. A separate CD with 5 exclusive patterns is also provided to get you sewing. From learning to choose the appropriate fabric to  reading a pattern and what kind of stitch to use the “you CAN sew” program has you covered.


The “You CAN Sew” program retails for $159.95 and is recommended for ages 10 and up. It is intended to be a 12 week video sewing course and includes:

  • 5 DVDs with 65 class videos
  • 159 page written text  with an extensive 30 page glossary
  • CD with 5 exclusive patterns
  • sturdy cardboard box in which to keep your supplies in

We used this program 2-3 times a week as we had time and the girls learned the basics of the sewing machine and basic stitches. Primarily it was Madison who had interest in learning to sew as Marie already knows the ins and outs of sewing. Madison and Mikayla were able to sew a simple apron together (that is turned inside out because it is someone’s Christmas gift this year). Madison also started on her simple skirt, however I think it is a bit too long so we need to take it in a bit. It was great fun and bonding time and I look forward to doing more projects with her in the future.

Modesty Matters sewing 015 Modesty Matters sewing 017 Modesty Matters sewing 019 Modesty Matters sewing 020

If you or your child has a desire to learn to sew this is the program for you! It is very through and supplies all the knowledge you need to complete the required projects. And as a plus you will come out with the confidence to sew anything! I definitely recommend this program to anyone, male (they have optional projects for males to sew) or female who have a desire to sew. I definitely want to check out the quilting program after the beginning of the year when  we have finished the projects in this program. Be sure to click the banner below and read the reviews of my Crewmates too.


Company ~ Modesty Matters

Product ~ “You CAN Sew”

Price ~ $159.95

Ages ~ 10 and up


DISCLAIMER: I received the “You CAN Sew” program from Modesty Matters, 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.

Wordless Wednesday {sort of}



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Apologia: Journeys to Faithfulness ~ a TOS review


Apologia has done it again, from there award winning science books to books on faith our family has not been disappointed.  Sarah Clarkson’s new book Journeys to Faithfulness takes the reader through a series of stories about the great biblical women Mary, Martha, Ruth, and Esther.


…explores their paths of faith while challenging today’s young woman to reach higher and go deeper in her relationship with Jesus Christ by choosing well and staying the course in her walk with God.

                                                                                                           ~ book cover

In Journeys of Faithfulness, Ms. Clarkson  challenges young women to explore and deepen their relationship with Christ through journaling and devotionals. Every story gives a historical fiction account of each one  of these great women of the Bible. Experience the powerful love of Christ as you explore the feelings of loneliness and loss through your study of the  life of Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus. Accompany  Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the midst of ever-changing circumstances that show how she keeps her faith and relies on God. Observe the testimonies of Esther and Ruth as God rewards their sacrifices of faith. Including all the details we  know from Biblical stories while adding her own insights, the  author gives us a glimpse of what the characters might have felt at that moment and/or how they may have been personally affected by the series of events.

This book retails for $13.00 and is recommended for girls ages 12 and up but I suggest you purchase two copies because if you are like me you will find you take over the book. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I like how even though the stories are enhanced with the author’s insights, if you have a knowledge of the stories you will be blessed even more. I definitely recommend this book and suggest you put it on your reading list. I will be purchasing two copies of this book to give to my two older girls at Christmas. Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of this book by clicking on the banner below.



Company ~ Apologia

Product ~ Journeys of Faithfulness

Price ~ $13.00

Ages ~12 and up


DISCLAIMER: I received the the book Journeys of Faithfulness from Apologia, 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, November 4, 2012

Homeschool Blog Awards 2012 Nominee


I just found out my blog was nominated in the 2012 Homeschool Blog Awards in two categories:

 Favorite Homeschool Mom Blog

 Best Photos Blog

WOW! Thanks to whoever nominated me that just makes my day! Voting starts today, November 4th and ends on November 16th.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Activity Bags: Science & Preschool bags~ a TOS review

abf1I am privileged to be teaching all five of our girls at home. It is tough work, but I love it and would not trade it for the world! In the last four years I  have found that keeping the little ones engaged and occupied with quality materials makes it easier for me to teach the older girls. When the review opened for Activity Bags I knew I wanted to  try them out.

Activity Bags are the brain-child of two homeschool moms, Sherri MacLean and Paula Reetz, who have 11 children between the two of them. They created these bags as away to keep their preschoolers occupied while teaching their older children. There are currently 8 Activity Bags to choose from and we were given the opportunity to review the Preschool Bundle and the Science Bundle.

The Activity Bags are handy little eBooks that contain all the instructions, supply lists, and printable pages you need to make between 25 – 35 different activities that are easily stored in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Economically priced at $15.00 each or bundled with two eBooks for $27.00 or three eBooks for $39.00 there is sure to be an Activity Bag in your price range.

Preschool Activities: book 1 & book 2

Science Experiments: book 1, book 2, & book 3

Reading Games: book 1

Travel Activities: book 1

Math Games: book 1


Preschool Activities in a Bag eBooks 1 & 2  help children get ready for Kindergarten by providing activities on ABC’s, 123s, sequencing, colors,  patterning, and motor skills. Each book features 33-34 activities that can be completed independently by preschoolers. The recommended age for these books are from 3-6 years old. I also found these to be a good refresher for my Kindergartener.

abf  abf2


Science Activities in a Bag eBooks 1,2, & 3 each provide 25 science activities in which your child can touch, see, and manipulate to figure out what happens in the experiment.  Book 1 focuses its experiments on Biology, General Science, and Nature. Book 2 included experiments with a focus on Chemistry, Human Body, and General Science while Book 3 is all about Chemistry experiments. These eBooks are recommended for kids in K-8th grade.

science 053 science 065 science 068 science 071 science 074science 122 science 094  science 144 science 157

McKenzie loves to “do school” right along with her sisters so I knew I wanted to try out the Preschool Activity bags and I needed to break from our current science curriculum while I “figured things out” for Mikayla’s science. Activity Bags has been just the thing I needed to fill the void for science and offer McKenzie fun school. We all had such a great time using the the bags and we would definitely recommend any and all of these Activity Bags to any family, homeschoolers or not! We have truly enjoyed using these bags and will continue to use them throughout the year(s). Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of the different Activity Bags products by clicking the banner below.


Company ~ Activity Bags

Product ~ Preschool Bags, books 1 & 2; Science Experiments, books 1, 2, & 3

Price ~ $15.00 each, Two eBooks bundle for $27.00,  or Three eBook bundle for $39.00

Ages ~ Preschool eBooks ages 3-6; Science eBooks K-8th grade


DISCLAIMER: I received the Preschool Activity Bag eBooks 1 & 2 bundle and the Science Experiments eBooks 1, 2, & 3 bundle, from Activity bags 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, November 1, 2012