Thursday, February 24, 2011

Math Rider

I can hardly wait to tell you about this product! We love Math Rider

We were sent a complimentary copy in exchange for our honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew - we were not compensated except in FUN!

Math Rider is a Intelligent, Computer software program to help your child master the ever important, math facts. No more boring flashcard drills around here!

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division are all presented in parent-customized "Quests" for your child to complete. Each journey begins with the telling of the "Quest Story". Your "rider" will advance through their quest to mastery (saving the Princess). Along the way, you will see a map to show your progress. The really neat feature - the facts will slow or speed as your rider approaches them - depending upon your child's ability! The only thing your child needs to do is type in the answer, no complicated keystrokes or mouse manuevering.

My tester for this product at the Bentz Laboratory - my least joyful math student... But, she LOVES horses, so I saw a shameless way to lay some math facts on the poor girl. Well, she LOVED Math Rider as well! In fact, she was motivated to complete her "quest" and wouldn't give up until she had. (that's a first, usually a little math can send her to fetal position quicker than you can say 2 x 2!)

I loved how the program showed me what she knew, and what she didn't! A neat graph even layed it out for me:

You can have multiple "riders", a bonus for families. It was a good thing, because her brothers were begging for their turn to test it!

Here's a little video for you:

This program was a huge hit! I even recommended it to a couple of friends looking for a new way to practice their math facts, and this is what they had to say "You were totally right- Math Rider is the bomb!! My little Alex loves it even more than Grace. Brilliant, Renita! Best math drill "game" I've ever seen. "- Angela in MN

It can be purchased online for just $37 - normally $49.95, I promise you won't be sorry if you add this program to your child's math review.

See what the other reviewers thought here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Expedition Ireland

Expedition Ireland - an exciting adventure by Download N Go by Amanda Bennett.
Available for $7.95

Here we go... off on another learning adventure around the globe! I love studing geography, and these Download N Go Unit studies are making it so easy. Everything you need to get on your way is already "packed" into this 5 day long learning adventure, you just "download n go"!

We started by learning "Where on Earth is Ireland" on Day one. A Tour of the Giant's Causeway had us all captivated. Next, we learned about the Connemara Ponies. We worked in some time and temperature comparisions and even learned an Irish Word for the day (and this was just day 1!)

Day 2 took us to explore "Places in Ireland", along with a geographic feature, word of the day and an animal. The videos throughout the unit keep all of us glued to our screen! Since we won't be taking an Irish vacation for 10 anytime soon, this was the next best thing... and it's quite affordable. Did I mention what a hit Irish Soda Bread was? We loved it!

Day 3 gave us a peek into the past with "The History of Ireland". By now, we can't wait to see what our geographical feature, word and animals are going to be- do your kids "beg" for you to do school yet? I'll give you a hint... you can kiss it - but I wouldn't want to! And, Misha - our golden retreiver wasn't so sure she liked the animal (and irish setter...)

On Day 4, we got to experience "Cool Things to Know about Ireland". Find out what is on top of Carrauntoohil (or what that is, if you don't know...) And, we got to continue with our favorites - animal, word, weather/time comparisons!

Our favorite - Day 5... it was all "Fun and Games"! Leprechauns, Hurling and Irish Apple pie. And all the other "familiar" favorites of the day.

Throughout this 107 page ebook - you will find all the research work done for you. Exciting, informative videos, notebooking pages, book suggestions, and Further Family fun ideas. And, best of all - the components for a lapbook are all there waiting for you to print off! Make a travel journal from your travels - lapbook style!
(the Unit Study website has lots of titles to pick from!)

So, what are you waiting for - the world is waiting to be explored!

I recieved a complimentary copy of this unit in exchange for my honest opinion, no compensation, other than a fun learning adventure!See what the other reviewers thought here

Kid Scoop Reluctant Reader Solution

Here is "Reluctant Reader Solution" by Kid Scoop.
Available online Here

The Reluctant Reader Solution is the brain-child of Kid Scoop (no pun intended - get it - "brain" child!). It was developed to make daily reading practice easy. And they've gotten pretty good at it, after 20 years of publishing Kid Scoop newspaper with a circulation of over 7 million copies each month in papers around the world.

What is it? Here's what we got:

12 full-color issues of Kid Scoop News OnlineEach issue of Kid Scoop News Online is chock full of games, puzzles, experiments, pictures, profiles of kids in the news, and more. Each issue includes content inspired by the time of year that the issue is released, so you can have conversations with your child about topics of the day — including current events, the natural world, and special holidays.

">365 Kid Scoop WorksheetsDesigned to engage your student's imagination and creativity, the worksheets come in set of 5, 6 or 7 pages. Filled with "pencil-grabbing activities," the worksheets serve as a bridge between the online edition and the physical world.

"One reason the worksheets are so critical to your child's development has to do with what happens when the learning environment shifts from the computer to the physical world. The first thing to improve in your child are fine motor skills, as he or she is using a pencil to draw, trace, write, and even just doodle.

Different areas of the brain are activated in writing with the hand versus pointing and clicking. It's a different way to process information, and it's just as important as the screen, if not more so, for the development of your child."

With the Reluctant Reader Solution, you'll receive a full year's supply of worksheets so you'll never run out of fun ways for your child or student to be reading. Delivered instantly in PDF format, you can print them out a week at a time so you always have a fresh worksheet on hand!

I must say, I was quite impressed by the VOLUME of topics to pick from, it was very easy to pick one custom tailored for each of my testers.

Each printable (use over and over without needing to re-purchase!) was designed around an interesting topic...i.e. animals, holidays, science, etc. The focus was on "Ask, Do, Review". Ask several questions to generate the interest, Do the page (and puzzles), and Review what was learned.

I have a couple of kiddos who don't enjoy reading (gasping in horror!) as much as others. This is a resource for you to have available for "those types". With interesting topics, and short, easy-to-complete activities - you won't have to fight the reading wars.

The online magazine was also a big hit - colorful graphics, interesting topics, and computer time (okayed by Mom... a big reward for reading!) Their website had a really great kids area with games, recipes, books and more! All my kids were excited to explore this, and wanted it bookmarked to visit later.

Be sure to check out their website and sign up for their newsletter and get 30 Days of awesome activities!

Kid Scoop is so sure that you'll love their program that they will give you a 365 day money-back guarantee. That means you truly have nothing to risk when you purchase the Reluctant Reader Solution today.

You get 365 days of exciting activity sheets plus 12 months of Kid Scoop online, all for the risk-free investment of only $97.

I was given a copy in exchange for my honest opinion and nothing else.

See what my other review team members thought here

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Curiosity Files - By The Oldschoolhouse Magazine

This is a FUN one! - The Oldschoolhouse Magazine sent me a copy of "Curiosity Files - Cicada Killing Wasps" for me to review (no payment, just alot of fun!)

You will want to HURRY over to The Oldschoolhouse Store where you can pick up this unit for $1.00! (normally $9.95...) Select titles are on sale for a limited time (currently there are 9 titles to choose from). Grab the best deal by purchasing all nine! Two options: the CD is only $49; or downloadable E-Books $46

So, what is a Curiosity File you may be asking?
Professor Ana Lyze (an expert in outlandish oddities) will take you on a fun unit study for kids ages 8-13. And with titles like - Cicada-Killing Wasp, Quicksand, Zombie Killer Ants, and Dung Beetles - you will be going on a wild adventure.

Quess who were my testers at the Bentz laboratory? You got it - the BOYS!!
They love anything unsual, gory, gross and well - just "boy like"... They were not disappointed when I showed them their assignment.

The Curiosity Files - Cicada-Killing Wasp ebook was a "masterpiece". It's an 88 page ebook (you can get them going right away - no waiting.) It was filled with interesting information and full color photos (no problem capturing their attention...) Following the information were comprehension questions (to see if they were paying attention - they were!) I was surprised, I could even sneak in some math work (graphing, plotting coordinates, temperatures) and they still hadn't caught on that this was really "school" and not some fun web-site I found to show them for entertainment.

The oldest started to "smell" the school tie-in when I announced we were going to make "Cicada Killing Wasp Snacks"...he always knows I'm doing a unit study if we head to the kitchen. Not that any of them minded a snack break...

I was impressed! Look at all that’s included in this unit:

•Bible study, discussion ideas, and memory verses
•Math, history, and geography investigations
•Literature and suggested book list
•Writing, spelling, and vocabulary activities
•Beautiful copywork pages (manuscript and cursive)
•Science observations, projects, and experiments
•Discussion questions
•Art, crafts, and drawing and coloring pages
•Curiosity Snippets: lapbook/notebook pages and helpful links
•Special needs, hands-on discoveries
•Internet resources and video links
•Complete answer key

I love doing unit studies - but, I guarantee you won't find many unit study/lapbook topics so appealing to the 8-13 year old boys as the Curiosity Files are.

My testers enjoyed this product, and were begging for the next one... Dung Beetles anyone? (I'm just hoping the innocent check-out lady at the grocery store doesn't ask one of them what they're learning in may be shocking!)

They want to do all of them.. and make a lapbook of their investigations. That ought to get a reaction from the Grandparents...

See what my other reviewers thought here

Sunday, February 6, 2011


VocabAhead - SAT Vocabulary, Cartoons, Videos and MP3S by Lafazi Publicatons.

Available online here or at

Well, I had the "perfect" tester for this one! My 13 yr. old, self-proclaimed genius, and astute vocabulary addict! (he tries to implement a vocabulary word in every sentence, just to earn additional "tickets" in writing class, not your average laconic teenager!)

Not wanting to be officious, I relinquised the book to him. He reported that it was written in an easy-to-read fashion. The book elucidates common SAT vocabulary words -with humerous and memorable cartoon illustrations. In addition, each page includes the part of speech, synonyms, antonyms and the word used in several sentences (for context).

But, the boon of this book, isn't even the book! You get automatic access to videos and MP3s of the vocabulary words as well. And, online we were agog - a free IPod Touch app. with "word of the day"! Well, need I say anymore... the 13 yr. old was receptive. He just saved enough for that precious - first piece of technology - his own IPod touch... I just skillfully manuevered VocabAhead as the first app. he accrued.

VocabAhead's key is the "full brained" learning approach. The illustrations and text create a "pull" for a visual connection, increasing understanding and recall. The audio MP3s and video make a "push" for the connection to be enjoyable and memorable.

The book is organized into 30 Units with a managable 10 words per unit, followed by a review. Use this as a full year vocabulary curriculum for just $12.95! Plus, implement the other components like the apps, videos, and MP3's and I guarantee you will have your panacea, and vocabulary study won't be lugbrious any longer.

I was sent a complimentary copy of this product, in exchange for my candid review as part of The Oldschoolhouse Review Crew.

See what the other Review Crew members reported here

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kaya - American Girl Week 2

What a Beautiful day for our 2nd American Girl Club meeting!

We were fortunate enough to meet at our "country" location, so that everyone could "follow the buffalo trail" to the "salmon country"...
Translated... we got to take the girls out in the woods!

We talked about Indian Homes and beliefs. Lani researched the Nez Perce Indian homes online, and discovered the tule mats were used for building material. So, off to Wal-Mart she went... since, tule is rare around here - burlap was a great alternative (even 50% off!).
The girls made burlap... I mean - tule teepees. They used the burlap in a cone shape - which they glued small rectangle "tule" patches onto. These were slipped over a cleverly designed wood frame (i.e. bamboo skewers rubber banded together). Way to go Lani - great craft! And, to make it even better - our "indian guide" dressed the part in indian clothing, turquoise jewerly and braids! (I love it when everyone is excited to join in the fun!!!)

I was with the MCA (the Masculine Club of Awesomeness...) Can I just say, teenage and almost teenage boys are soooo cool. Really, I know I started this for the girls, but the boys are full of awesomeness too! We are discussing the book - "Do Hard Things" by Alex and Brett Harris. I challenged them to ask God for the "hard thing" he has for the MCA to do, I can't wait to hear about it! Then, we broke off into 2 seperate book discussions (depending upon the book they have choosen - "Dectectives in Togas" or "Men of Iron") and the boys led the discussion. All this scholarly activity was followed by a good run around the woods.

And, the littles were happily occupied with toys and rolling in the grass. Who would believe 70 degrees and sunny in late January?

George Washington

Download N Go - George Washington

I couldn't wait to dig into this unit and was not disappointed!

First, let me describe Download N Go - they are 1 week/5 day long unit studies created by Amanda Bennett. Each study (and there are many to choose from!) has everything you need to dive into the topic - in depth. But, the best thing is - you can just "download n go" - it's all been done for you. Great book suggestions, family fun ideas, notebooking pages, VIDEOS, and (best of all) the components you need to create a finished lapbook! (this will impress the other moms, that are still searching through the library catalog, just to find the right books!) And, all this is only $7.95 per unit.

So, we dove right in learning about our Nation's first President - George Washington.
We explored his childhood, and learned the legend of the cherry tree (along with nifty reciepes for cherry pie). As well as, his education and early experiences. Not to mention, we copied some of his "Rules for Civility..." One of our new favorites "In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet." (we added - "especially at the dinner table" as our own special touch) Even after all of this, we were only on Day 1 - these units are just packed with information!

Day 2, we visted Mount Vernon - complete with a tour.

Day 3 allowed us to focus in on his accomplishments, and do some art appreciation along the way. Afterwards, we enjoyed his favorite food (do you know what it is... don't want to give it away - but, I'll say he was a man after my own heart!)

Day 4 focused on the Lessons we can learn from this great man. The character, courage and faith of our founding fathers are such an inspiration to us all. Let me share this quote “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.” George Washington. Sounds like our "mission statement" for homeschooling, don't you agree?

Day 5 wrapped up with a look at our Remembrances of George Washington. We took mini trips to see the Washington Monument and Mount Rushmore.

What a eye-opening learning adventure into the life of a great man!

One more thing to mention, Download N Go has several great specials right now - you won't want to miss out -

You can get the Mom's Fun Pack or the Season's Fun Pack (4 units each) for only $14.00 thru 2/14/11 (and if you click on my button for Unit Study website - you can go straight there to buy them!)

Don't miss out on the Unit Study Newsletter

See what the other reviewers thought here

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Roman Town by Dig It Games

I can't wait to tell you about this one...

Roman Town by Dig It Games

This is a super - fun (but secretly super-educational...shhh - don't tell them!)
interactive game.

I am not usually a "video game mom"...but, since I was sent this product to review in exchange for my honest opinion (no compensation given), we gave it some "play time" around the Bentz test laboratory.

I was hooked! We were taken on an dig to excavate Fossura, a Roman town destroyed in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted. It was very easy to jump in and start the digging, as each treasure was uncovered, we were introducted to Roman contributions to art, architecture, language, and more. Each artifact had information to help us learn more.

After we completed a section of digging, we got to play the fun games, and complete the "quizzes" before we could move on. Let me warn you, reconstructing the artifacts piece by piece can be mighty addicting! I got a little possesive of the mouse, and wouldn't let my testers have their turn... (maybe that's why video games are not so big around here - character issues surface - mine that is!)

I really enjoyed this game (and so did the testers - when I let them have a turn...) Fun and educational! You can see a demo here

Dig it Games has hit a home run with this game. You can let your children enjoy the computer game time, but rest assured - they'll be learning all the while.

Roman Town is $39.95 - BUT, the coupon code TOS2011 will get you 20% off the 2010 price of $24.95. The code expires Feb 21, 2011

In addition, I discovered The Roman Town Educators Guide for $19.95. Here's what they have to say, "The Educator's Manual makes it a breeze to use Roman Town as a learning tool. Want to teach with Roman Town but have no background in Archaeology? The Educator's Manual is here to help! Providing valuable background information on Archaeology and Roman life, the Educator's Manual is an easy to use supplement to Roman Town. The Manual contains: playing instructions, an introduction to archaeology, a comprehensive glossary, and fun activities and discussion ideas to expand your lessons. Information in the manual is presented in an easy reading style appropriate for both kids and adults."

A good "Educators Guide" makes the whole thing turn from just another game into "school", anyone want to have some fun? You better get your own copy, I may just "hog the mouse"...

Check out what the other reviewers thought here