Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Reading Game

The Reading Game

The Reading Game includes six beautifully illustrated story books, six decks of matching playing cards, & a Teacher and Parent's Guide.

From their Website:

"Each of The Reading Game's six stories is told using just thirty new words. These are broken down into six sets of five words. The student learns to read each set of five words by playing a simple word matching game. Frequent exposure through play hardwires these words into long-term memory. Rote learning is transformed into a fast-paced game with a winner every few seconds."

Watch a video:

You can get The Reading Game create by Kenneth Hodkinson, author of Wordly Wise,  for just $24.95 here.

The Bentz Test Laboratory had several testers for this product!  We love games, and I love using games to teach when they're least expecting it...don't you?!  I was excited to get this product, especially after seeing it comes from the same people as Wordly Wise (a longtime Bentz Academy favorite!).

I was not disappointed.  My to let 3 testers play a game designed for 2.  No problem, we "modified" the rules a little, and let everyone play the memory game - and the "winner" who had the most matches got to read the book first!  Big hit!  In fact, the testers did not want to stop. 

What I noticed most, the simple concept of repeatedly seeing the words in the matching game, really did translate into recognition while reading the book. The book was simply illustrated, and my testers enjoyed the Skunk and Cat story.  One tester was very excited to see a Purple Zebra! (that's all she need to be hooked into playing to the final level!)

It's very difficult to find enough reading resources for those early readers.  The Reading Game is an excellent tool to add to your current program, and add some fun!  Check out the Free Assesment tools and printables online.

See what the other members of the TOS Review Crew thought here.

I was sent a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

American Girl Club - Felicity - Week 3

Felicity - Week 3

Okay, I must admit...I was nervous about this one!  Our craft was the "Colonial Sampler".  Was I really going to attempt to teach 12 young ladies (some of them with large amounts of know which ones!) how to cross-stitch?  I must be crazy!!  Actually, everyone knows I am crazy - so that's exactly what we did!

The girls did great (and I think the moms learned a thing or too as well...)  We decided to "buddy" a younger girl with an older girl.  Step one - learn how to thread a needle - no exceptions.  Hey, if Felicity could do it, so can you.

Then we worked together, step-by-step.  By the end, everyone had finished at least the "a".    Not too bad.  I did need a cup of strong coffee after...but, I hope the girls learned something that they can enjoy for a long time to come!

The girls' moms have been posting "progress pictures" on our Facebook group page.  It makes me giggle to hear my daughter say - "I'm up to "q" - take a picture and post it!"  I guess competition is good, right...?

Time Timer

Time Timer

I love timers!  With multiple children to manage at the Bentz Test Laboratory - they are this mommy's best friend!

Time Timer is unique because it shows the passage of time.  Even your youngest child can easily see how much more time is left by watching the red disk disappear.  It is also a silent timer (no distracting ticking sound).  This is great for our schoolroom - the ticking timers can distract the whole room when just one child is using it for timed assignments!

I used this with several different "testers".  We used it for piano practice - big hit.  We used it for timed math tests - big hit.  We even used it for some time-outs - big hit for mom!

If you're a busy mom - I strongly encourage you to invest in some quality timers (don't opt for the cheapies in the dollar section - you'll get exactly what you paid for!).  Time Timers are $30.00 for a 3” model, $35.00 for the 8” model, and $40.00 for the 12” model (perfect for classroom and group use). The App software is $24.00 (put those devices to work for you!) , while the watch is available for $40.00.

See what the other members of the TOS Review Crew thought here.

I was sent a complimentary Time Timer in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

College Prep Genius


If these TWO words could change your life,

PLEASE read on. . .

College Prep Genius DVD SET

Written by Jean Burk,  who I had the opportunity to  hear in Memphis last year, the College Prep Genius curriculum with help you understand, prepare and master these college tests!  The $99 (Special 25% off) set comes with the Mastering the SAT Class DVD, the  College Prep Genius Textbook and the Student workbook.  Seriously, this may be your best investment for college, it could save you thousands of dollars!

The Bentz Test Laboratory had the "perfect" tester for this product!  My oldest took the ACT test last year as a 7th grader with the Duke TIP program and did fairly well.  It made him more eager to get started on the way to scholarships...  This is where College Prep Genius comes in!  How do you help your oldest begin preparing to navigate the system of tests, applications and scholarships while also teaching kindergarten and several grades in between?  You need a curriculum to guide you!

I am VERY impressed with this curriculum, it's very user friendly.  My son took it and devoured it!  He loved learning the "secrets" to the SAT...did you know it's a logic test, not a test of what you know?  I loved that it is an independent study by design.   College Prep Genius is filled with helpful acronyms to help you de-code and prepare for the SAT.  It's 12 chapers cover all three sections of the SAT test and even tell you what you need to know about the PSAT as well.  In fact, my tester just took his first "practice" PSAT at the high school a couple of weeks ago (I'll let you know how he did when we hear back...).  If I had not heard Jean Burk speak - I would have never known to start our prep this soon (8th grade is NOT too soon to start!)  With lots of study time, and plenty of practice - you can help your students get scholarship money - even FREE college.  It's a great investment, don't you think?

You can check out the details of this College Prep Genius DVD Set, and the VocabCafe books they carry by visiting their website. While you're there, sign up for their newsletter and they will send you 5 helpful articles and many more tips and strategies in their monthly newsletters.

I highly encourage you to attend their workshops at your next homeschool convention - I guarantee you'll learn something new, and you'll be glad you did!

See what the other members of the TOS Review Crew thought here.

I was sent a complimentary copy of this program in exhchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Keyboard Town Pals

From their website:
"Keyboard Town PALS Software  a computer keyboard program that teaches elementary school children the letters and symbols on a Qwerty keyboard in an hour using proper technique. It is fast and efficient as well as enjoyable and easy to learn. Keyboard Town PALS™ accomplishes this through the PALS system. PALS stands for PURPOSEFUL ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING SYSTEM.”

Parents can purchase the program in either a CD Rom or Web-based package for $39.95, with English, Spanish, and French versions available.

See a video demonstration:

Learning to type is an essential skill today.  Am I the only one, or does it seem that my children pick this up so much faster than I did...  Keyboard Town Pals is a typing program designed to teach even the younger children to type properly.  The characters help your child keep their focus on the screen and not their fingers.

The Bentz Test Laboratory enjoyed this program.  The puppets, the clever jingles were engaging at first to my 7 & 8 year old daughters. Younger children will find the puppets fun, older children may not "appreciate" them as much...    It is an instructional program, teaching the proper finger placement.  They could type anything without correction (not my favorite part - but, certainly not stressful to the student).  I do STRONGLY recommend that you participate with your children's typing education (especially if they are young).  A computer program can't correct the hand Mom needs to observe.

Check out a  to see what you think.

See what the other memebers of the TOS Review Crew thought here.

I was sent a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bower Books - The Person I Marry

The Person I Marry
Things I'll Think About Long Before Saying "I Do"

Respect, kindness, honesty, faithfulness, thoughtfulness, patience - qualities like these make strong marriages. Created by award-winning author & illustrator team
Gary & Jan Bower (married 32 years), this
adorable book warms the hearts of all ages in its celebration of commitment, purity & true love!

Hardcover * 32 Pages
Beautifully Illustrated

The Person I Marry from Bower Books on Vimeo.

2010 Book of the Year ~ Christian Small Publisher Association

“This book is part of our “Bright Future Series” which shares Biblical principles for families in beautiful and down-to-earth ways. The Person I Marry was awarded “2010 Book of the Year” by the Christian Small Publisher Association. We created this book the year of our 30th anniversary as a tool for tenderizing the hearts of our own 12 children, and sparking comfortable conversation about marriage amongst ourselves”

I was eager to review this book.  I received a digital copy, but - I highly recommend getting your own hardcover copy to treasure.  This is one of those innocent looking, but powerful message books!  Our children are never too young to start learning about what's truly important.  Next to knowing and loving God, often your next most important decision is who to marry...  Don't you think we should start off right by letting them know what to look for?  I do.  Storybooks are a wonderful way to impart what you truly value without it becoming  a "lecture" from Mom and Dad.

The Bentz Test Laboratory enjoyed this rhyming storybook (but, pages would have been cozier than clicks...just my personal preference).  The illustrations are appealing.  In fact, while reading it to my girls, it made me thankful for the wonderful man that I married. What a great message! I'll be checking out the other books from them as well - I think you should too, they would make wonderful Christmas gifts...

Free Shipping on orders of $30 or more! (U.S. only)  Want your books Autographed? It's FREE! Just ask when you check out!

See what the other members of the TOS Review Crew thought about it here.

I was sent a complimentary digital version in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ooka Island Adventure

Ooka Island Adventure

From their website:
"The Ooka Island Adventure is a downloadable hero-mission in 3D designed to teach young children how to read fluently and well. The Ooka Island Adventure combines the highly engaging components of a state-of-the-art virtual world with the scientifically proven OokaMethod that builds literacy skills.

Carefully embedded within the Ooka Island Adventure are dozens of interactive instructional activities that captivate the child and motivate them as they learn essential pre-reading, reading, spelling, and writing skills. After completing the Ooka Island Adventure, children will be on their way to reading fluently and well for life."

Here's a handy chart to explain Pricing:

And if you sign up now, you can save 30%! Use promo Code LAUNCHSPECIAL30!

See a video explanation here:

Okay - now that you have all the vital information - let's get down to what the Bentz Test Laboratory thought...


My 7 year old, struggling reader tester, LOVED this program!  In fact, I can even get her to make her bed if I let her go to "Oooka Island".  And, because our testers tend to travel together (8 kids, know what I mean...) her siblings really like it too!

You can check out the Ooka Island website to find out all the innovative features behind the program, I can tell you this - it's FUN!

It is a rather large download (2+ GB) so be sure to have high speed internet, and space on your hard-drive.
But, once loaded - it's so very easy, that your child can easily follow the directions and begin playing and learning.  We loved the passwords are pictures (I can never remember all those passwords!) even my youngest testers could figure these out.

I liked the focus on building from a solid phonic sounds base.  My tester got to hear the sounds and spot them along her "path".  Her favorites - Decorating Cakes, Bubbly Troubly and Saving Books. She also "really, really, really like the Popcorn Library". She was happily playing and reading away until her "time" (mommy directed) expired.

I'm all for extra "tools" to use in my quest to teach my children to read (and love it!).  I think Ooka Island is a wonderful addition to my toolbox.

See what the other members of the TOS Review Crew thought here.

I was sent a complimentary subscription in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.