Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Go Science DVDs from Library and Educational Services : A TOS Crew Review

Go Science Review
Go Science Review

Science DVDs (All NEW - Series 2) from Library and Educational Services

Volume 1: Sound, Gravity, Space
Volume 2: Life Science, Weather
Volume 3: Air
Volume 4: Motion, Friction, Electricity, Light
Volume 5: States of Matter, Water
Volume 6: Chemistry
Volume 7: Engineering, Design, Flight

Cost:  $8.87 each.  
Great for ages 4-12.

Go Science ReviewGo Science Review

The Bentz Test Laboratory was delighted to get a chance to preview the Go Science DVDs from Library and Educational Services.  

We are always on the hunt for new ways to add some science fun to our days.  We were given our choice of 2 titles,  we picked Volume 2: Life Science, Weather and Volume 7: Engineering, Design, Flight  Here's a short video sample to check out:

These DVD's are around an hour long and feature Ben Roy, a science teacher at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.   He covers a variety of science topics in the seven volumes, with 80 short demonstrations, around 5- 12 minutes each. The DVD's are live taped with an audience filled with children, and your children will feel like part of the group. 

Mr. Roy begins each segment with a science explanation and uses children as his "helpers".  I noticed my children were so engaged that they actually raised their hands to volunteer as the helper!  Good sign that they are enjoying this.  

His explanations were directed to this age group.  He has a gentle tone and is very engaging.  Older children may find it a bit corny (or so they tell me...) But, they are NOT the intended audience!  This is geared toward your younger scientists.

My testers liked to watch segment after segment.  The length of each segment was perfect for their attention spans.  As I watched along, I was amazed by how much I was learning.  (and I used to teach elementary science at our co-op!)   

Volume 2: Life Science, Weather - our thoughts:

I especially liked how Mr. Roy didn't lecture.  He showed cool objects like skulls, asked questions, made noises & explosions, involved his audience, and ultimately - let them draw the conclusions.   This is how science should be taught!  Your young child's curiosity will be awakened, and many of these demonstrations are things they can try at home without complex supplies.  My kiddos vow to go on a spider hunt together (as soon as they find their courage...) and all they need is a flashlight.  

Volume 7: Engineering/Design, Flight - our thoughts

This volume has some fun experiments you can try at home with just a few supplies.  For instance - flinging rocks with a trebuchet (aka - pumpkin' chuckin' anyone!), walking on eggs, vinegar rockets.  It's a boy's science dream - explosions, getting wet, and things flying - what's not to love?

Once again, I appreciate that these experiements are something that my children can get up and go do on their own.  Most of all, I love how Mr. Roy introduces them to how science relates to the Bible and ignites a spark to know more.

Each segment could be used as a stand alone introduction to the topic.  I kept thinking how great these DVDs would be for Sunday School or VBS classes.  Co-ops could use them as well.  With summer break in full swing, you can use these for some rainy day fun too!

The best part of each segment, in my opinion is that  Mr. Roy ends each episode with , “When we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator, God.”   A message worth listening to, over and over again.

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Standing on the WORD

We decided the carpet had to go!  After all, who puts carpet in a dining room?  Certainly not a family with eight children :-)

This gave me the perfect opportunity to cover our floor with Scripture.  We did this in our first home.  Actually,it was in our schoolroom.  I know that this room had a different feel, and I believe it was the power of God's Word that we were standing on.

So,  I gave everyone a sharpie, and turned them loose...

Essie chose to draw some pictures.  I'm not sure exactly why she picked Samson and Deliah (our new neighbor's dog is named Deliah...)  But, she was in on the action.

Luke, my lover of words, inscribed long passages.  (sorry about my toes...)

More Chloe and Essie illustrations


This one gets me - everytime.  Guess who wrote it...  Kris.

Spelling isn't one of Lydia's strongest subjects, but I do love her heart.  

Not surprisingly, Sam's verses reflected the Great Commission.  Can't wait to see where God takes him.


Selah's were, of course, in pink.  Plus, she added the Bible Bee Focus verse for 2014, very fitting!

Wisdom words.  Truth.  Foundations.


 Noah goes straight for our mission - "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!"

My homeschooling verse!

A new (Old) favorite!  

The part that most surprised me - not one child hesitated - even a moment.  They all had favorite Scripture they wanted to make sure to embed into the very center of our home.  What a treasure we have hidden in our hearts.

Doesn't the finished product look beautiful too...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Diana and Friends Experience History Through Music Giveaway -- $700+ Value!

 I am so excited to share this with you.  I am delighted to be taking part in the launch of a the upcoming release of Experience History Though Music by Diana Waring.

 I have been a long time fan of Diana's other history programs, and this one may be an all time favorite.  I don't want to give too much away, my review will be coming soon.  I can tell you, you will not want to miss out on this great new way to experience history - or this amazing givewaway!

 Better enter now, and tell your friends!

Diana and Friends Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Experience History Through Music, I am joining members of the Diana Waring Launch Team for an amazing giveaway. Friends of Diana have joined in and as you can see, someone's homeschool is going to be greatly blessed!  Here's what you could win! 

From Diana Waring Presents

american history -- never this funExperience History Through Music - set of 3 books with CDs ($50/set) Diana Waring Presents is about to bring back into print the BEST folk music you have ever heard, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history!   The Experience Music Through Historyseries includes: America - Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! - Heart of the Old West  and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The musicians are amazing, every instrument is real, lots of great vocalists, and more toe-tapping music than you can imagine! The books tell the stories behind the songs.  Together, they bring American history to life through it's music!!With fascinating history books and toe-tapping folk music CDs, American history has NEVER been this fun!

Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection ($25) Every mom needs that word of encouragement from someone who has been there, who has grownup children and can speak with assurance about the journey. Homeschool moms have an extra portion of the journey to navigate, and often wish for an extra voice that will offer direction but without nagging or prodding. Diana Waring has that voice.  

From A Journey Through Learning

Logo New 300 trans$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the A Journey Through Learning store, applicable toward any digital download purchase.  


From Homeschool Legacy

westward ho I 300x400Westward Ho! Part I ($19.95) Load up your wagon! Discover the extraordinary times of adventurous frontiersmen and brave pioneers as you travel cross-country along the Erie Canal,  Oregon Trail, and even “remember the Alamo” in Westward Ho Part I. Westward Ho! Part II ($19.95) Continue the exciting saga begun in Westward Ho! Part I as you journey with the forty-niners, ride the rails of the Transcontinental Railroad, experience life on the prairie, and discover the exciting era of cowboys and cattle drives in Westward Ho! Part II.  

From Knowledge Quest Maps

HardcoverCD_ecover_croppedMap Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History ($55) Map Trek is a historical atlas plus outline maps that allow you to teach geography alongside history. This is a resource that any homeschool parent can use with brilliant success, even if you don't remember a thing from your history or geography classes in public school.  


From Home School Adventure Co. 

PAPS-R-96dpi shadowPhilosophy Adventure™ Digital Download ($39.95) Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.  


From Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom and Real Life Press)

fpf3-bundle-covers-180x180Firmly Planted Family Devotional Digital Volume 3 ($39) The Firmly Planted Family Series is divided into ten-week studies and is your key to making sense of the Bible—even if you’re learning right along with your children. Each lesson provides a core idea, a simple narrative, memory verses and discussion questions for children of all ages. And the companion student workbook is filled with age-appropriate, full-color, reproducible activities for children of any age!  

From Raising Real Men

My-Beloved-and-My-Friend-Cover-Border-201x300RRM-Mom-Dad-300x295Free Registration to Boyhood Boot Camp or Boot Camp 9-12 LIVE webinar series (winner's choice) plus Mom & Dad Special Raising Real Men (Book for Mom to read in the bathroom + AudioBook for Dad to listen to on the commute) ($62-69) Free Registration for Marriage Retreat Online plus His & Hers Special of My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses (book + audiobook), ($65)  


From Institute for Excellence in Writing

logo$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the IEW store, applicable toward any purchase.  

From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine ($139) A one year membership to the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Nearly 100 classes for Pre-K to High School, taught by expert teachers, and lots of extras including the Schoolhouse Planners, Schoolhouse Expos, monthly free ebook downloads and more.  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 2014 Print Book ($15) Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the all new 2014 Annual Print Book published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.You’ll get a year’s worth of homeschool support in almost 300 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. This is a magazine you’ll refer to again and again.  

From Writing with Sharon Watson

69276_1454187188126914_157492202_nthe-power-in-your-hands-front-coverThe Power in Your Hands ($53.96) With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, they’ll learn what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing. Writing Fiction [in High School] ($35) Are you raising the next C. S. Lewis or Jane Austen? Help your students develop their fiction-writing talents with Writing Fiction [In High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life .

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

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We Love Mail Days!

We love mail day...

No one does mail better than my Kris...

Not only did she bring a smile to everyone's face, she got them motivated to write (in the summer, no less!)  Her simple challenge to make up a story for "Dino Doug" has turned into an all-out, story-writing blitz.  Everyone's in on the action.  I couldn't make them write this much, but the letter inspired a new found excitement around here.

The moral of this post - even if the post office drives you crazy...(that's another post!)  Keep on writing letters. No, texts and FB won't cut it,  you need real paper and pens, some stickers and of course a stamp.

A little creativity, and the thought behind it, goes a long LONG way these days.  My favorite - Kris' rhymes are a certain mood lifter...  That's the power of words!

Maybe you should send us a letter?  We love mail days!!

Parenting Cards by We Choose Virtues: A TOS Crew Review

We Choose Virtues Review

We Choose Virtues Review

Parenting Cards by We Choose Virtues - 

Cost: $38.49   
Great for Ages 3-11

We Choose Virtues has the following promotion for the months of June to August:
Promo Code BTS20 for 20% off anything in our WCV Store. Welcome Back To School! 
Only one promo code per order

"Words of hope spoken over your child will inspire change" - my favorite quote from the Parenting Cards by We Choose Virtues.  

Teaching character intentionally to our children is our most powerful tool for changing the world!  The Bentz Test Laboratory was delighted to test out a handy new product to help you be more intentional in the words and actions you are teaching to your children.  

The Parenting Cards (available in either NIrV or KJV) feature 12, 5x7, two-sided cards printed full color on heavy cardstock.  They come in a handy zipper bag that help you teach important virtues like:
We Choose Virtues Review
  • diligence 
  • helpfulness 
  • perseverance 
  • gentleness 
  • contentment 
  • attentiveness 
  • honesty
  • kindness 
  • self-control 
  • patience 
  • obedience 
  • forgiveness 

Each card features an "I am" statement on the front of the card, helping your child begin to visualize the virtue being taught. The 12 cards cover 3 simple rules (Be Kind, Obey, Be a Helper) with the 12 different virtues to focus on.   An easy-to-remember definition of the virtue, what the virtue is NOT, and the focus Scripture are all included on the colorful front side of the card.   

We Choose Virtues Review
The backside contains several teaching tools parents can use to help the virtue stick:
  • "User challenge" - a virtue related challenge for the day - like not saying "I'm bored" for an entire day... 
  • "What to say after "I'm Sorry" - part of teaching the proper response, can be the repentance after the wrong response, this section helps you walk through this step together.
  • "Teachable moments" suggestions you can use to help reinforce the virtue in hands-on ways. These suggestions are easy to do, and really make a lasting impression!

Additionally, each card introduces another character from "VirtueVille" - an easy way for your child to remember the virtue with a catchy character.

The cards are a handy way to keep the focus virtue visible. I decided to choose a virtue for the week, and posted it on the fridge, best place to get their attention...where the food is.  "I am Helpful!" was our first virtue. With our recent move, there is plenty of opportunities to use this one!

At lunch, we discussed the virtue, read the card together and did some of the teachable moments throughout the week.   This is just the type of easy-to-use, but highly effective teaching tool that I love! 

 A simple demonstration of leaving objects lying around, and seeing who will be helpful by putting them into their proper places, resulted in some very good family discussions.

Always up for a challenge, my testers enjoyed seeing who could best master the "challenge" on the card for the day (finding 5 extra things that need to be done, and doing them without being asked.)  I think we may stay on this virtue challenge for awhile... a lot of unpacking got accomplished!  I've even been known to reward the challenge winners with a sweet treat, stickers may work for your kiddos - but mine know that chocolate gets results!  I'm not above times. :-)

 Displaying the Parenting Cards is perfect as a gentle reminder to everyone, including me, of what we are intentionally focusing on. 

This summer is a great time to get out the Parenting Cards and Choose Virtues together! 

The Homeschool Kit  is an optional add on you may want to consider, it includes the following downloadable items for just $7.99:
  • Teacher's Handbook - 48 pages to with ideas to implement this into your classroom
  • Family Character Assessment - printable self-assessment to see where you are.
  • Coloring Pages - 15 pages of printable coloring pages to introduce you to the characters in VirtueVille.
  • Butterfly Award - a great incentive tool.
  • Sing-along-Song sheets - catchy jingles to help the virtue stick.

Some members of the Crew took a peek at the Youth Virtue Journal - another great tool you should take a peek at.  

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