Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vocabulary Cartoons

Here's another product review that we really enjoyed doing (still not paid, by the way...).

It is: Vocabulary Cartoons by New Monic Books

This book is a collection of funny cartoons and rhymes to teach vocabulary. It contains 210 words that every grammar student should know, as well as, review quizzes and fill-in-the-blank problems.

We have been using it as our "word of the day" resource, and all the kiddos love starting out our day with a giggle. The cartoons use mnemonics to increase retention - remember the old ryhme "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean... - blue!" That's mnemonics at work.

We are enjoying the new vocabulary - and it's been painless to introduce it to our day, since it's a very short page to look over. Everyone is getting "mom rewards" when caught using their new words.

As I looked at their website - I was excited to learn they have additional products to offer... Including CD-PDF formats (fun for printing out and hanging up!), 7-12th Grade Levels, and a book of Mnemonic ryhmes (I plan on getting those!)

What a fun way to learn, and very affordable at just $12.95 per book.

Read what my other reviewers thought at: www.homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Here comes another TOS Homeschool Crew Review Hit!

Schleich sent us a collection of their animal figurines to test and review (we still didn't get paid...) My kiddos thought Christmas had come early.

Are you tired of toys that beep and buzz and break shortly after you unwrap them? Well, I am.
We actually discovered this wonderful company years ago, and have NEVER been disappointed with our purchases.
Schleich was founded over 75 years ago in Germany. They design and distribute their products to over 50 countries. Major retailers like Target and Toy R Us, as well as many independent toy shops are proud to carry their products.

From a "mom opinion" - these toys are wonderful. They don't beep, don't need batteries, and can stand up to whatever abuse comes their way. Also, because of the details and workmanship - these are figures that stand out from the crowded toybox. I wasn't surprised, but each of them are hand-painted after finishing. No wonder they look so realistic!

Please visit - http://www.schleich-s.com/ to see their entire 500 plus collection

Even though we were sent animals, I must mention a favorite toy in our busy, boy-filled house is the Schleich Knights (available at Target and Toys R Us). Even as I type - there is a major medieval battle raging in our hallway. I need to clarify - it's not only the "littles" engaging in this imaginative play - currently the 13 yr old, 11 yr old and 9 yr old BOYS are happily battling each other for control of the castle... not a WII in sight!

My "littles" are having a blast with the toy animals. When I asked them what they liked best - they told me they loved the detail, and all the cool animals available. Much more than just the "traditional" animals - they produce everything from farm animals to safari creatures (including the ever illusive Gnu and Gnu calf, not to mention - the Okapi!) These are an educational adventure in play.

The only downside to this review - Schleich included a catalog that shows all the cool creations available, and now the kiddos are fighting over which ones they want next! (lucky for me, they are affordably priced, and worth every dime!)

See what my other reviewers thought at:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Another Math resource for me to review. I still didn't earn any money for my opinion, but they did give us a wonderful math game!

So, here's the next product from The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew for you....

It's a simple, but effective deck of cards called - Pyramath.

I tested this out with "algebra boy" and the "other-one-that-thinks-more-like-his-mom" in mathmatical terms... we always hear a slight buzzing sound near equations...

Anyway, they picked it up and without any intervention (or many instructions) started playing a game. Not only did they enjoy it, - "my-son-like-me" even beat "algebra boy"! It truly is appealing to both of them. (not a small feat, considering the wide difference in their math apptitude...) The basic concept is to complete a pyramid using math operations - multliplication, addition, subtraction and division. First one to the top is the winner.

What I liked - it was helping them sharpen their math skills, but under disguise of having fun. Each card has multiple languages (English, Spanish, Roman Numerals, Chinese, and Arabic) so you get a little "multicultural" exposure to boot! At a reasonable price of only $6.95 - it's a great addition to your math arsenal.

How to find them: http://www.pyramath.com/

A bonus - there is a free online version of Pyramath on their website, as well as several other games which we did not review - but do plan on purchasing (at http://www.iseegames.com/)

See what my other reviewers thought at: www.homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Math Essentials

My next review.... One especially hand-picked for me.... (well, not really - but I wasn't paid for my opinion!)...

America's Math Teacher!

The one area of homeschooling that fills me with dread, I mean wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night terror - MATH! I have jumped in and tried to "re-learn" aside my kiddos, from those first addition and subtraction facts. Well, even with all I have "re-learned" - it hasn't been enough to give me the confidence to tackle the more difficult math. In fact, after a lengthy explanation including diagrams... My wonderful, math-brained son said, "You're making it worse Mom!"

So, imagine my delight at getting this product to review!

America's Math Teacher is an online math course - available at all hours! You can access clearly explaned concepts from Early Addition all the way to Algebra! And, I must say - the students are not more confused than when they started! In addition to the video teaching, you also can access written exercises, speed drills, and evaluations! All coordinated to meet the "NCTM standards".

I tested this out with "algebra boy" and he gave it 2 thumbs up! He is only negative comment was that the Online Tutor wasn't quite as funny as he would like him to be.

My next son, who has my "math brain" - tested the Speed Drills for me. He was reluctant at first, but after a round or two - even he was hooked, trying to best his score.

I really wish I had known about this fabulous resource earlier in our homeschooling journey, it could have given me many more peaceful nights of sleep... not wondering how I was going to teach Math! It features 4 complete Math courses - from Basic Math to Algebra 1. For homeschools - the price of $195.00 per year, no auto renewals! (unlimited students, all 4 courses, all the time, and any time!) It's a bargain compared to purchasing seperate programs for each child's level!

Here's how to find them:

You can also read what our other reviewers thought about this program at:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bible Bee 2010

We just completed the National Bible Bee 2010 competition....

Here are my competitors - Sam - 3rd Place in Jr. Division, Luke-4th Place Jr. Division, Noah - 4th Place Primary Division, and Selah - 3rd Place Junior Timothy Track.

I am so proud! They worked hard all summer memorizing Scripture, and working on a family inductive Bible study on the book of Colossians.

If you have not heard about the National Bible Bee - you need to look into this wonderful organization at http://www.biblebee.org/.

This year, I volunteered to Host the local contest. WOW! is all that I can say about all the amazing kiddos and families I got to know this summer.

To brag a little more (if you haven't already left...) The Conway, AR local contest has a National Qualifier that will go to compete with the top 100 finalists for some MAJOR cash prizes this November in Chicago!

(they better be working hard, because the Bentz Bunch is going to give them a run for it next summer!!)

Our First Day of Koinonia Cooperative Academy

Back to school - 2010-2011

I can't believe we are beginning our 9th year of Homeschooling!!!!
We joined a Co-op this year (0ur first experience with this type of learning...) The kiddos were so excited to finally have backpacks and lunchboxes.

What a wonderful group of families we are blessed to be a part of. Our first day went well (even Esther had a great time!)

Now, back to lesson planning...