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, April 26, 2013

Scripture Stickies ~ a review & giveaway

This year the older girls and I are focusing on hiding in our hearts 100 scripture verses. So you can imagine my surprise when I received an email from Julie Alvarez creator of Scripture Stickies asking me to write review. Julie has a heart for God’s word and it shows through the products she has created.

Scripture Stickies are stickable Bible verses to help you memorize and meditate on the Word of God. Stick them anywhere and everywhere from the refrigerator to the steering wheel (PLEASE do not read and drive). :) They are simple to use, even a child could do it. Just peel the backing off and stick it or reposition it several times if needed. Want to know the best part? They do not leave that icky sticky residue like regular stickers do.

                                                                              Photo credit: Scripture Stickies

For this review we received the Kids Study Pack One which I have been using primarily with Montana (6) & McKenzie (3). This pack of ten (10) is great for kids just starting out in memorizing verses and it contains common verses that most child will have heard before if they have been in a church setting, including Genesis 1:1 to Philippians 4:13.

Stickies are fun for all ages and come in several different translations including NIV, NKJV, KJV, NNASB, ESV and even some foreign languages. These are priced so that they can fit into anyones budget at $2.99. For less than a cup of Joe at your favorite coffee shop you can bring these Stickies instead. Also, shipping is FREE of charge on all orders!

Be sure to check out Scripture Stickies and find the right one for your family’s needs. Better yet, Julie has been so gracious and offered one of my readers the chance to win a set of your own Scripture Stickies. For your chance to win just leave me a comment and tell me your favorite Scripture verse and which Stickie set you would choose and you are entered! Giveaway runs until May 1, 2013 @ 12PM. I will then pick a winner and announce it hear on the blog and email the winner. Winner has 3 days to respond or I will choose another winner. Thanks for entering and have a blessed day!


Disclaimer ~ I received the Kids Study Pack One from Scripture Stickies in exchange for a honest review. I did not receive any compensation for this review and all views expressed are mine.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ultimate Homemaking

homemaking ebook

Be sure to check out the wonderful 97 eBooks being offered in the Ultimate Homemaking eBook bundle.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Math Rider ~ a TOS review

mr1Learning math facts is just a daily part of our homeschool day. In the past it was like pulling tooth and nail to get the girls to drill their facts. But now I have a secret weapon. It’s a computer game called Math Rider.


Do you have a child who is learning math facts? Are they struggling to get those facts down and it is a daily battle? Then I may have the perfect solution for you. A few weeks ago we were given a copy of to review Math Rider which is  designed for ages 6-12. It is all about practicing and mastering basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.

Math Rider presents mastering math facts in a new and  photo mathrider-product-box-v5-200x209_zpsf141caec.jpginnovative way. The student gets to ride on a horse to "travel on a quest" in fantasy-type lands with missions to find magical flowers, stolen gems, and there is even the chance to rescue a princess. Throughout the "quest" your student is practicing math facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.

One thing I love about this program is that your child’s math knowledge is stored in the game and they are only practicing facts they don’t know, rather than drilling needlessly the facts already mastered. Here is how Math Rider explains it on there website:

While the rider is playing, the game learns what the rider knows and what he or she still needs to practice. Every single response (or non-response) is stored in an internal database and statistically analyzed by the software. In this way the program is able to custom-tailor to each rider, which questions are asked next. No repetitive drilling of random number facts the rider already knows – but real practice of what actually needs to be practiced!

                                                                                    ~ from website


I used this program mostly with Montana, my 6 year old Kindergartener focusing mostly on the addition facts. By mounting your trusty horse, Shadow, your rider moves through  the game at varying speeds based off of previously answered questions. The question difficulty is varied to keep balance and to build your child's confidence. Pressing the correct number and pressing enter helps the rider earn animated rewards. Montana played the game about 3-4 times a week for about 10-15 minute intervals without complaint. That was the best part for me. Her asking and wanting to play even though it was math.

Plenty of feedback is given on the rider’s mastery of each number fact and operation, including an innovative overview map of mastery for each number table. This is highly beneficial for both the rider and the parent/educator. You can see with one glance where your child is at and where he or she might need further assistance. Top challenges are also listed in a separate list box for further easy reference. ~ from website


Mikayla played every now and then since she is still working on mastering the last few multiplication facts, but it was mostly Montana going along for the ride. We have found Math Rider to be a great way to get in those facts while still having fun and learning. The price is just right too at $47; not too pricey, yet economical because you can have up to 8 rider slots for your children. The game also includes free software updates for life.

Math Rider operates using Adobe® AIR™ runtime, making the game available to all platforms including Windows or Mac. The only requirement is that your computer needs about  80MB of  hard disk space and you need at least a 1024 x 768 resolution for the monitor. And guess what?!? Math Rider has a free 7 day trial so you can try it out before you buy to make sure it will be a good fit for your family.

We definitely recommend this program to anyone whose child needs to master the math facts. Montana has enjoyed the program and I have seen improvement in her recall in the addition facts, which makes this Mama overjoyed! Check out what my Crewmates thought by clicking on the banner below.


Company/Product ~ Math Rider

Price ~ $47.00 with free updates for life

Ages ~ K-6th

Platform ~ Adobe AIR, Windows & Mac

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Wordless Wednesday


Monday, April 22, 2013

Progeny Press: The Hobbit & Treasure Island Literature Guides ~ a TOS review

ti Our family has a fond affection towards good books. I try to fill our bookshelves full of good books as well as check them out from the library.  Have you ever checked out the literature guides from Progeny Press?

Progeny Press has been a family owned and operated company since 1992. They produce high quality literature guides from a Christian worldview ranging from lower elementary years through high school. They literally have 100+ guides and add 3-6 new titles each year ranging from lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school. They have got you covered! We received a downloadable interactive PDF copy of the study guides for the novels The Hobbit and Treasure Island. Literature guides make reading even more enjoyable!

At Progeny Press we are committed to teaching good cultural literature, examined from a Christian perspective. We believe in the equation "Biblical Truth + Cultural Relevancy = Effective Christians." Take away biblical truth and Christians become no more than a religious subculture-- salt without saltiness. Take away cultural relevancy and Christians become isolationists with no impact on the world-- lights hidden under bushels. We believe in looking at the world clearly and openly with the Bible firmly in hand.

                                                              ~ from the website


The suggested length of time for finishing a study guide is 8-10 weeks, however you can adjust this on your reading voracity. The first week is used to read the book and then each study guide takes the reader through two chapters of the novel at a time and focuses on several different literary concepts. Vocabulary is addressed in many ways to make sure the reader has a full grasp. First students are required to define several words, determine word meaning from its context and then double check their guesses in a dictionary. Vocabulary words and definitions are also presented to be matched and there is a vocabulary activity in multiple choice format. Using a thesaurus to study definitions is also taught.

Our purpose is not to bring you only "safe" fiction, but to teach literature that is well-written and that will help students develop and refine how they deal with man's philosophies in relation to God's word. Progeny Press examines literary terminology and technique in good, cultural literature to equip students for understanding the craft of writing and to enhance their joy of reading. With these things in mind, we promise to bring you good literature, provide good literary analysis, and measure it by the light of scripture.                       ~from website

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Also included are several comprehension questions which ask the student to recall events from the book and analyze them. Literary devices such as similes, synonyms, foreshadowing, hyperboles, juxtaposition,metaphor, personification, and idioms are reviewed and how they are presented and used in the text are studied. Character studies include studying personalities, reactions to events, and events in general in light of Scripture passages relevant to the storyline. I love that each guide takes care to draw the student back to the Bible.

As you can see each guide includes a variety of elements, depending on the level of the study. Check out the sample of the types of questions and information contained in the guides at the website. To make navigation on the website easier, literature guides are categorized by both genre and grade-level. The guides are extremely user-friendly and are currently available as a print version, CD in PDF format, and email as a PDF attachment.


We used the Hobbit as a family read aloud and discussion. While some of the parts were a little over the head of my younger girls I feel they still were able to learn and enjoy the story. Bilbo has become quite the character in our house and the girls have even started to take their own journey for a golden ring. Madison read Treasure Island independently and worked on the questions in the literature guide. Some of them she had trouble with but overall she had a great experience and enjoyed the book.

We enjoyed our literature guides and have purchase several guides in the past and will be purchasing more in the future. The new interactive format allows the student to type in the answers directly on their computer screen which is awesome! I also love that there is no limit on copying pages for use within our home/school. Progeny Press Guides are economically priced from $10.99 to $27.99. Be sure to browse the online catalog for individual pricing on all the available guides.  Our family finds that literature guides make reading even more enjoyable! After reading through the Hobbit and completing the literature guide the girls and I are going to be watching the movie this weekend.

Check out what my Crewmates thought by clicking the banner below. Several books were reviewed by different members of the Crew.



Company ~ Progeny Press

Product ~The Hobbit Study Guide & Treasure Island Study Guide

Price ~ $18.99 & $16.99

Ages ~ Hobbit (9th-12th), Treasure Island (5th-8th)


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Friday, April 19, 2013

Knowledge Quest:Timeline Builder App ~ a TOS review

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Keeping a timeline of your history studies for the year is actually quite fun. However, I will be the first to say that keeping up that said timeline can be hard to do. It's not that I don't want to, but sometimes life just gets in the way and the timeline gets put to the side, Sigh! When the opportunity came about to review Timeline Builder from Knowledge Quest I was quite pleased.

Timeline builder is a flexible app designed to be a mobile interactive timeline right on your iPad. It allows you to create visual timelines with beginning and ending dates with the ability to add events and change image sizes and placements on the timeline. Perfectly suited for older children, teens and families studying any time period in history, science or literature. Also, a great tool for genealogists who enjoy studying family history.

 photo TLB-main-ipad_zps51fedaaf.jpgStarting your timeline is quite simple. First set the date range and then choose images from your own personal photo library or from the Wikipedia button. Customize each event with a brief description and your all set. The app allows you to manipulate background options and the sizing and placement of each image. Another great feature is that you can share your timelines via email or ITunes sharing. However, I think the best part is that the app automatically saves your timeline. No need to worry about your timeline being lost after you spent time on it.

We highly recommend this app and the girls have enjoyed imputing images into timelines. It no longer has become a chore for them to plot events. Economically priced for all families at just $4.99 with Early Bird pricing (regularly $6.99) this truly is an awesome program that helps you complete your timelines. Timelines that get completed are the best kind of timelines and Timeline Builder helps our family do just that!

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of Timeline Builder and the other product being reviewed, Sacagawea (Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know) Complete PDF e-book, by clicking on the banner below.

Company ~ Knowledge Quest

Price ~ $6.99, but priced at $4.99 for a limited time

Ages ~ 10 years old and up
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Leadership Garden Legacy ~ a TOS review

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Leadership skills are important for everyone, homeschoolers or not. It is a skill the Lt. and I try to instill in our daughters. While the Lt. is a natural born leader and a couple of our daughters inherited that skill from him. For the past few weeks we have been working through Leadership Garden Legacy’s  U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS: Growing My Leadership Garden.

Written by Debra J. Slover, Growing My Leadership Garden seeks to help teach you, the parent, how to nurture and grow the leader within your child. A cute fable that is written for the 8-12 year old audience tells the story of a scared and confused lost sheep, Hugh, as he wanders through the Leadership Farm. While there Hugh meets a pair of  compassionate gardeners named Leda and Aristotle and a friendly tour guide Border collie named Annabelle. These three friends along with Blossom the cow and Robert the rooster help to plant courage and grow a leader out of Hugh.

For this review we received:

UNIQUE Kids book photo leadership-uniquekidsbook_zps3822722c.jpgLeadership Garden Guidebook photo leadership-adultleadership-guidebook_zpsf2bbaaad.jpgUNIQUE Kids Activity book photo leadership-kids-activity-guide_zps54f3f800.jpg

hard copy books:
U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS: Growing My Leadership Garden
U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing the Leader Within
The Leadership Garden Guidebook 
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and the following downloadable resources:
U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS Activity Guide & My Leadership Garden Journal - PDF Downloads
U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS Audio Book MP3 Download
U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing the Leader Within - Audio Book MP3 Download

The U.N.I.Q.U.E. acronym stands for Understanding, Nurturing, Inventive, Quality, Unstoppable, Expression. Mrs. Slover guides you one letter at a time through the U.N.I.Q.U.E. model that forms the Leadership Garden Legacy. Throughout the journey we are shown that love is the central component to the Leadership Garden through six leader-friendly gardening practices that include:

~ be nonjudgmental

~ do not enable

~ use empathy

~ prune gossip

~ eliminate blame

~ eradicate victimization

I knew from the get go that this was not a scripturally based program, but decided to give it a try and my thoughts are mixed. I read through the teachers book and I started out using the kids book with Madison, Mikayla & Montana thinking it would be a great way to further teach leadership qualities. I read from the book and we discussed quite a few of the “Hugh wants to Know” questions along with some activities from the guide book. However, something just was not clicking with me. Yes, it’s a great story and the overall concept is great as far as what they are aiming to teach, but there were parts of the book that made me pause and think  Hmmm…“is this truly correct?”

Unfortunately, this leadership curriculum is not a good fit for our family. Other members of the Crew had a great time with this program and I do recommend that you judge for yourself if this is the right type of curriculum for your family. Be sure to click the banner below and read some of the other reviews and then try out the free preview guide



Company ~ Leadership Garden Legacy

Product ~ U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS: Growing My Leadership Garden

Price ~ Kids book costs $18.95, the PDF download of the activity guide costs $8.95, and the MP3 audio download is $8.95. The Growing the Leader Within paperback costs $18.95, the guidebook also costs $18.95, and the MP3 download is $14.95.

*** Leadership Garden Legacy is offering the TOS Community a “Spring Special Discount” of 20% on all their Empowerment Tools until May 31, 2013. Enter the discount code TOS-SS20D at checkout.

Ages ~ 8-12 yrs old

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Supercharged Science ~ a TOS review

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It’s really easy to get excited about science in our house. The girls love it and so do I. When I found out that we were to receive a year subscription for Supercharged Science I did a happy dance. Yes. Yes, I did! Supercharged Science’s e-Science program is an online science program complete with over 1000 activities and experiments to do in all the science categories, including Earth Science and Advanced Astronomy.

Keith Chris VA visit Aug2013 077Supercharged Science was started by Al and Aurora Lipper 10 years ago with the mission of improving the way kids learn science. Aurora is an accomplished Rocket Scientist who received her Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal-Poly State University and went on to become one the youngest instructors in engineering at Cal-Poly State University. Pretty impressive! photo escience-full-600px_zps738b5d59.jpg

With over 1,000 videos on hundreds of science topics, the              e-Science program guides kids step-by-step through hands-on activities, projects and experiments. The lessons in the e-Science program are formatted so that children actually DO the lesson and discover on their own, rather than watching someone else do them.

The e-Science programs includes:

  • Access to self-guided lessons that kids can complete on their own
  • Detailed video instruction taught by a real Rocket Scientist
  • Step by step videos to show how the experiment is to be done
  • Comprehensive parent/teacher guides
  • Textbook readings
  • Exceeds most K-8th State Standards
  • Exercises and Quizzes
  • Unlimited support for teachers and students

Keith Chris VA visit Aug2013 044 Keith Chris VA visit Aug2013 046 Keith Chris VA visit Aug2013 047 Keith Chris VA visit Aug2013 053 

There are multiple ways to use the program including:

~ as a stand alone K-12 unit study. Check out this page and find out what units are offered.

~ use the program concurrently with your favorite science curriculum. A handy  conversion chart is provided to help you combine e-Science with many of the popular science programs out there including Apologia, Considering God’s Creation, REAL Science, God’s Design, Bob Jones, A Beka and more!

~ as a delight directed approach show your child the list of topics and let them choose what interests them most.

We used the program as a unit study/delight directed. I asked the girls which unit they wanted to start with and we took off. It is as easy as printing off the PDF files and watching the video for the unit.  The girls really seemed to enjoy seeing the experiment video first then diving into learning the how and whys. Take a look at this introductory video for a sneak peak at the program to see how to get started.

Want to know the best part about Supercharged Science?

The eScience program does not cover creation or evolution so ALL families can participate with our programs.

By focusing on the how’s and why’s of things they just teach Science!!!

The Supercharged e-Science program is a complete online curriculum for children in grades K-12 and retails for $37.00/ month for the K-8 section and $57.00/month for the 9-12 section. Initially, when looking at the program the price is what kept me away. After reviewing and using this program I can confidently say it is worth every single penny! If you are looking to get your children riled up for science this is the program you need. Head right over to Supercharged Science and check out their “Super” e-Science program you won’t be disappointed!

Please check back for some awesome pictures of experiments we’ve conducted (my camera will not load this morning). Check out what my crew mates thought of this program by clicking the banner below.


Company ~ Supercharged Science

Product ~ e-Science

Price ~ K-8 $37.00 a month, 9-12 $57.00 a month

Ages ~ K-12

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