Thursday, February 27, 2014 A TOS Crew Review

Science4Us Review

Excited to introduce you to Online Subscription by!
Cost: $7.95/month per child is an online subscription based science curriculum designed for young children, grades K-2. features 4 main science displines with a total of 28 modules that your child can access.  Each module follows 5 steps: 
Engage - introduces the activity, your child gets to take notes, fill in graphs, and complete work in their very own online notebook while they read along - or watch a short video
Explore - the student gets to play games demonstrating the new concepts
Explain - concepts are explained, including clear explanations of new vocabulary, and they "show what they know"
Elaborate - allows them to choose from serveral activities to demonstrate what they are learninng through "Take a Note" , "Silly Bulls", and "Investigations"
Evaluate - shows what the student has learned
Offline printables & teacher's tools are included as well.
The Bentz Test Academy was very excited to try out a science program, especially designed for our younger ages.  My testers - a Kindergartener and a 2nd grader (as well as several very curious siblings...) were able to very easily log on and intuitively navigate the program.  Frankly, if it's not easy enough for them to pick up on right off, we may not use it. passed the first test with flying colors - it's extremely USER friendly.

First off, my tester was able to choose a "Book of Science" - 4 to choose from, to investigate.  Within the 4 books -  Physical Science, Inquire, Life Science and Earth/Space Science you will find 28 modules to complete. Modules do not have to be accessed in any special order, so they can pick whatever interests them most.

I let them pick and choose.  Each activity is filled with explanations, videos, a online notebook and best of all - plenty of games, I mean LEARNING ACTIVITIES to work with the science concepts.

My testers were hooked!  This was fun and engaging, but it was also teaching some very advanced concepts.  I was surprised at how well they were understanding.  And not only science, many of the activities were reinforcing language arts concepts too.  Bonus! 

Science4Us Review

Science4Us Review
The online explorations were well done.  Experiments, videos, and extra offline activities are included.  (One great feature for me - no hunting for all those materials). The Online subscription also comes with plenty of valuable teacher tools in the Teacher's login.  Lesson plans, access to student reports, assessments, and more.  We spent most of our time in the Student log in, exploring the activities.

Science4Us Review
My testers have consistently begged to to do Science4Us daily!  I'm impressed with the scope and depth of the lessons.  Very well done!  It's an affordable way to intoduce your younger children to a great science program. 

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Schoolhouse Review Crew

Monday, February 24, 2014

Asia: Its People and History! : A Book Review & Giveaway

Welcome to Asia: Its People and History!   Is the land of Asia a mystery to your kids? Do they know who lives there? Do they know how to pray for them? Asia is home to more than fifty countries and territories and roughly three-fifths of the world’s population. Could you use some help introducing your family to this vast land? This sixteen-week course presents a brief picture of six nations. It is by no means all encompassing. Its purpose is to introduce your students to the people of Asia, share their stories, and spark curiosity.  You'll  take an unforgettable visit to the countries of Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Iran, and Vietnam.

This book is designed with children ages 8-12 but, can easily be used with older students as well.

Cost: $6.95

 25% off through 3/15/14  with  PROMO CODE: 02asia14 at The Schoolhouse Store

Also available in Kindle Format and SmashWords  

I am so excited to be part of the launch team for this new curriculum.  My family has God-given passions for several of the 6 countries featured in this brand new book.  In fact, my oldest son and I took our first (but, hopefully not last) trip to India is past fall.  One daughter wants desperately to go to China and start an orphanage some day.  And, my out-of-the-box daughter has prayed for the "terrorists" to come to faith, and wants to someday serve God in Iran/Iraq.

Sometimes I get asked why so many of our children want to be missionaries.  I think a huge reason is that we have read books like Asia: Its People and History! to them since they were very young.

Check out this video, you'll see why we got so excited about this new resource:

Meet the Author:

 Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Star Contributors Team. She works with both and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine® as an editorial assistant. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families.

She would love for you to stop by and meet the star of her children’s series at Exploring with Jake , look through the 10/40 window of the world and join others in prayer at Looking Out the 10/40 Window  , or stop by her author’s blog   for fun printables and discover how you can write for the homeschool market. 

I just have to share this from an interview I read with the author - of course, she was speaking my love language...

What is the 10/40 window, and how did you become interested in it?

"The 10/40 Window is a geographical area of the world roughly between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude. The significance of this area is that it is home to over 4.5 billion people, over 8,000 different people groups, and some of the largest groups of unreached people in the entire world. More than 80% of the world’s poorest people live in the 10/40 window. It is an area that many people are taking intentional steps to pray for and reach out to the people who live there. You can read an excellent description of the significance of the 10/40 Window on

Several years ago, God began to turn my heart’s attention to the stories of the persecuted Church. I had always had a heart for the persecuted in China, but I never grasped how widespread the persecution of Christians was until much later. I started reading about men and women who lived in Laos and Burma, India and Pakistan, and many other places. They were suffering terribly for their faith in Christ. This wasn’t the stories of the heroes of the faith of yesterday that I had grown up hearing about, or what I had thought were isolated stories from one nation. These were stories of families–including children–who were suffering right at that very moment for their faith. 

Reading their stories gave me a burden and broke my heart. I had to do something, but I didn’t know what. Writing and sharing about their stories gave me a way to process what I was reading and feeling and a way to hopefully encourage others to become involved and share their stories as well."

The book is divided into 16 lessons.  You will visit 6 different nations, spending 2-4 lessons in each area.  This is not an all encompassing curriculum, it is designed to introduce you to these people of Asia, share their stories and ignite your child's curiosity!   Each section starts with a story that will bring these peoples to life, and into your heart.  Discussion questions and activities like crosswords, puzzles, and games are included to keep the learning going.   The history, geography and stories of those who live in each nation are also included.

We decided to read the stories aloud at lunchtime (my favorite time...since their mouths are busy!).  The stories were well written and the characters came alive for us.  As I would finish, I'd hear my favorite... "Just one more, please Mom!"

We used this primarily as a read aloud, and prayer guide.  As we traveled to each nation, we prayed specifically for that people.  I could easily see this being a wonderful program for a Co-op study, or even a Sunday school class study.   The readings are interesting and short enough to be covered in class.

The best part of Asia: Its People and History is that it introduces your children to a very vital part of our world in God's plan.  The 10/40 Window contains the most unreached and persecuted people groups anywhere on earth.  If we want to ignite a passion for God's Great Commission in our children's heart - this is a wonderful way to begin!

Check out this link for BONUS Content like geography-themed copywork for each country and some word puzzles.  Kindle & Nook users can visit this link for the printables in the book.

 AND The BEST PART:  I get to giveaway 2 PDF copies of Asia: Its People and History to MY readers!!  Just click on the giveaway and you can enter!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kinderbach: A TOS Crew Review

Kinderbach Review

Yeah!  My  first review of the 2014 TOS Review Crew!  I'm excited to be bringing you more new discoveries this year, thanks for joining me.

When’s the best time to start music instruction?  According to KinderBach,  3-7 years old is an ideal time to introduce your children to the joy of making music.  Research shows that learning to play the piano provides long-term benefits for your preschool age child.

KinderBach requires no previous piano experience from you to teach, and your child will be playing simple songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Happy Birthday” within the first month.   The program includes online lesson access, available on DVD as well.  Additionally, printable worksheets, lesson plans and the all NEW Teacher’s Corner materials make this a painless introduction to the piano.  Want to take it on the go with you?  Check out KinderBach's App for iPad or iPhone

Kinderbach Review
Instantly access Lesson Plans, Lessons Aides, Student Books, Goal Books, Teacher Guides, Certificates and even MP3’s in the all NEW Teacher's Corner.  Everything is printable, so you can print exactly what you need.  Story Books, Coloring Books and Song Books are all included as well.

Kinderbach Review

The six levels of  interactive lessons with KinderBach use fun, colorful characters to teach your young child about note reading, rhythm, singing and music composition.  The short lessons are engaging and memorable.  You do not need to have an expensive piano, just a simple keyboard is all you will need to get your child started learning and developing a love for music.
Kinderbach Review

Online subscriptions begin at $7.99 per month, as much at 75% less than traditional lessons.  With a Free 2 Week Trial, and a 30 day money back guarantee – you don’t want to miss this opportunity.  Plus - through 2/28/14 - take 40% OFF with Coupon Code:  KBclear2014

Kinderbach Review
My  youngest was so excited about a program designed just for her age!  We have lots of music in our house: violin, piano, and even flute.  But, along with all those musicians come all those lessons.

KinderBach was an ideal way for my younger children to begin music instruction - without the high cost of time and money for private lessons.  KinderBach is ideal for those of us with large families.

My daughter feel in love with Dodi the Donkey right away.  Printable coloring activities accompany most of the lessons, and she loved creating her own "Music Binder", with all her lessons.

Kinderbach Review

Best of all - no loading everyone up in the van to go to yet another lesson.  We were able to access online at our convenience.  KinderBach has now introduced several of my children into the world of piano, and I'm happy to report that they have continued on with a love of music.  Give it a try and see for yourself!

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Valentine's Boxes - 2014

Another year of Valentine's boxes...  Do you realize that we have now constructed 32 boxes in our 4 years at our Coop?   Yikes!

Want to see some of our past creations  (I didn't take pictures of our first year, not realizing what a BIG deal these were going to become!

Without further ado... here are the latest and greatest Bentz creations.  Since I was horribly sick this week, they were independently and co-dependently created entirely by children! (Including our latest adopted college student...)  I love how their creations completely reflect their personalities, welcome to our family!

This would be the "Samuel M. Bentz - NFL Trophy", and one of the ancient wonders of the world - the "Pharos Lighthouse"

"Noah's Ark" - where candy rides free....  and of course, the "Pretty Pink Castle" with lace curtains, stainglass windows and a velvet throne with gold carpet runners...

Some girls do pink, and some do "A School of Man-Eating Piranahas!"   "Joshua's Jericho", complete with marching army, Israelites.

Complete sweetness demands a "Candy Covered Cottage" - will furniture, curtains and all kinds of sweet surprises.  Despite the look of utter enthusiasm - the "Cool Valentine Panda" was one of our favorites this year.

Whew...  glad we only have to do that once a year!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Kids Around the World Giveaway

kids around the world giveaway 2

I'm super excited to share a brand new resource with you, so excited in fact - I'm doing a giveaway!

To  celebrate the upcoming release of Asia: Its People and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson, I am joining my launch team friends to share a Kids Around the World giveaway, an incredible gift especially for kids between the ages of 8-12! This giveaway as a total value of nearly $335!

 Prizes include a Kindle eReader, a one-year membership to, some wonderful unit studies and lapbook set in Asia, and books about missionaries!

Here's everything you could win:

 To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Residents of the U.S. and Canada only (excludes Quebec), age 18 and older. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January Results....

With any new behavior modification and attitude change around here, the real test comes with consistency.  That is, MY consistency in follow through!

At the beginning of January, we began the "Bentz Experiment".  First area to conquer was the bedrooms... you can read the beginning of our experiment here.

I'm happy to report our January results:
  • Bedrooms have been MUCH improved, not perfect by a long shot, but seriously heading in the right direction.
  • I believe several children have begun to HABITUALLY make their beds - exceeding my wildest expectations.
  • Friends have dropped by with no prior notice, and we have not been embarrassed to allow them in previously-off-limits-without-a-hardhat-areas...a.k.a. - the children's bedrooms!
All this for the cost of a dime a day.  With 8 kiddos, I was still out $24  (actually, I made about $2.40 back in "fines").  Best money spent this month!

Our February "Experiment" is to continue our bedroom requirement, and add in daily instrument practice (if you play one) and the clean plate club (eating all your food - if you are too little to play an instrument)  Funny, I never have to enforce the clean plate club with my teenage boys...

Want to hear how we do piano lessons around here... check out my review of MacPhail Music.  We love online, face-to-face lessons. I love having our house filled with music!

Even though it's a fairly small reward for them - it seems to be paying off... Maybe it's because they never have had an allowance :-)

Stayed tuned for more of the Bentz Experiment!