Wednesday, August 28, 2019


We are off to another year of homeschool (my 18th - and final year of elementary EVER!)

Here's my class, down to just 5 ;-(

Pretty good looking group!

Britfield & the Lost Crown: A TOS Crew Review

Britfield & the Lost Crown

We love discovering a new series!  We have recently enjoyed Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart.  Britfield & the Lost Crown is the first book in a 5 book series designed for teen readers.

The story follows young Tom and Sarah, orphans, on a wild adventure through England.  From the start, you are hooked into this story.  C.R. Stewart masterfully weaves this story into the history and geography of England. 

We got a 386 page softcover copy, but it is also available in eBook and Audible versions.  It was the perfect read for our weekend at the beach.  I picked it up to preview, but ended up not being able to put it down!

Tom and Sarah are orphans, desperate to escape the evil owners of Weatherly Castle, get to London, and find out the truth of who they really are.  The author does a wonderful job painting the scenes in realistic detail.  I fell in love with Tom and Sarah right off.

Not to spoil anything, our two orphans have a wild escape in a hot air balloon (who has not dreamed of that?) and an intense chase across England ensues.  From Oxford to Windsor Castle to London, we follow our brave young orphans on their quest.  Along the way we learn quite a bit about English history and get to visit some very iconic locations.

The characters are realistic, and I found myself cheering for each escape, and wondering where they would go next. This would make a great family read aloud.

Of course, this book ends with a cliffhanger that will have you eagerly awaiting the next book - Britfield & the Rise of the Lion- Book II, due in the fall of 2020.

I enjoyed the well-written book immensely, and so have my other Bentz testers!  In just the short time the book has been available, it's won International Book Awards and more.

Britfield & the Lost Crown offers a free - 83-page pdf study guide to use alongside the book.  The Study guide takes the reader through the book chapter by chapter, and can be completed in 8 weeks.  You can easily use this valuable resource to turn the book into an entire literature study.

Each chapter offers a variety of:

  • Vocabulary exercises - matching, fill in the blank, word finds, and more.
  • Comprehension questions to test reading and understanding.
  • Going Deeper questions that encourage the reader to make connections.
  • Learning with Technology that gets students researching and learning on their own. 

In addition, the website contains great pictures and more information to get your child exploring the world of Britfield, be sure to check it out!

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Britfield & the Lost Crown  {Reviews}
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019


They're back at college...this time, it's all three Bentz Brothers!

Are you ready, we've renamed it - University of Many Handsome Bentzs!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Family Membership from CTCMath: A TOS Crew Review

12-month Family Membership, for up to 5 students from CTCMath

I have a confession, I really despise teaching math.  But, one of my favorite solutions to this problem is our 12-month Family Membership from CTCMath.  This online math program gives you K-12 math instruction up to 5 students!

Let me show you a quick tour, it's a very user-friendly program.

As a parent, you have a parent login that allows you to see everything your students have been working on, set advancement criteria for their lessons, and even create customized printable worksheets with the New Wizard Question Bank that they can use offline.  In addition, you get a detailed weekly email sent directly to your inbox with your student's progress.

Each of your student's will login from their own personal login. The program will work with any device, including their IOS devices like the iPad or iPhone.  After logging in, the screen takes them immediately to where they left off, but you can easily adjust the lessons to pick and choose what topics/skills or grade levels they want to work on.

The lessons contain a short teaching video (usually under 10 minutes) with demonstrations of the concept (we love the accent!), followed by a set of questions to test your student's understanding. Your student can stop and replay the videos anytime they want to.

Immediate feedback is given for the multiple choice style answers - either a green check, or a red X with the correct answer displayed.  As a parent, you can determine the percent needed for mastery before your student moves on.  Worksheets can be downloaded or printed with the lesson information as well.

Several fun practice games are included in your student's log in:
  • Speed Skills: Work on speed in their math facts
  • Times Tables: Practice with multiplication skills
  • Swap the Pieces: A logic game 
One aspect of this program I appreciate is the ability to work in different levels for each student.  For instance, our main math curriculum is great with basic number skills, so CTCMath can supplement and review nicely.  However, we have gaps in our math skills when it comes to geometry functions,  so we can use CTCMath as our main math curriculum. It's so flexible!

Another plus to this program is that all my students can use it at once.  This is a great for big families like mine. Where else can your elementary and high school students use the same math program?

Best of all  - CTCMath Single Membership is now available for you to try for free!  Be sure to check this out, you get 2 free weeks to see how it works for you.

Find  CTCMath on Social Media:

Math 12-month Family Membership {CTCMath Reviews 2019}

Hashtags: #hsreviews #CTCMath #CTCMathreview #Homeschoolcurriculum
Math 12-month Family Membership {CTCMath Reviews 2019}

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Happy Birthday Matt

We are celebrating Matt today, what should have been his 53rd Birthday.

Noah made this video for his service.  God is Good!  We miss you everyday.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press: A TOS Crew Review

Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press

Reading great literature is the foundation of our homeschool.  We have been using the  Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press to help guide us.

This set contains Teacher and Student Guides for three classics - Heidi, Lassie Come Home, and our favorite, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Each of them is also available to purchase individually. By using the set, you will have a full year of literature study.

These guides are intended to help your student become an active reader.  Each guide focuses on several essential skills for understanding great literature:  vocabulary, comprehension, discussion and enrichment activities to expand the learning.

We have been reading a family favorite by C.S. Lewis - The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The actual book is not part of the set, but sold separately.

Let me give you a quick peek into a Student Guide and how it is organized.

First, there are tips for "preparing to read" including reviewing vocabulary and concepts of character, setting and plot together with your student.  A short introduction helps the student understand the background of the author and the story.

Then, the student reads the chapter independently, marks vocabulary words and answers the comprehension questions.

Each lesson contains quotations and discussion questions.  I love having my children copy great quotes into their commonplace books. The discussion questions are designed to help develop your student's higher-level thinking and oral skills. 

In addition to the written work, the student guides include a variety of great enrichment activities.  Some of them are mapping... 

copywork, comparing what they are reading to other works of literature (an example from our book was looking up greek mythology and comparing the characters), drawing, memorization, creative writing, literary terminology and even recipes!  With plenty of activities to choose from, you get to pick and choose the ones that you feel are best for your student.

Of course, we were reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, so we had to sample some Turkish Delight.  I decided it was easier to bring out my treat, but - the guide has a recipe to try if you're brave enough!

 Overall, the guides are designed for your child to be able to work independently.  Don't worry if you don't have time to read along yourself, the Teacher Guide contains all the answers.

In addition, the Teacher Guide has Quizzes and a Final Test you can use. The quizzes use matching, multiple choice, short answer questions, and composition answers to test your student's mastery of the literature.

I appreciate how complete Memoria Press products are.  They have made them easy-to-use and chosen great literature to explore.  Be sure to check out the other levels the Crew has been reviewing.

Find  Memoria Press on Social Media:

First to Tenth Grade Literature Guides {Memoria Press Reviews}

Hashtags: #hsreviews #memoriapress #teachclassical #classicaleducation #literaturegudes #classicalliterature #classicalchristianeducation #classicallyhomeschooling

First to Tenth Grade Literature Guides {Memoria Press Reviews}
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The 4th of July... Friends, fireworks and silly string!

The next stop on the "Epic Summer Road Trip" was a visit with our MN nest.  I say nest, because this truly feels like where we began. 

These are the people that we began our homeschooling adventure with, came to faith with, and our bonds have lasted through many years (and miles!)

These women.  They have successfully launched children, are still raising them, and are true heroes of the faith.  I am forever grateful for their influence in my life!

The traditional 4th of July celebration has been going longer than anyone can remember.  It's just what we do on that day... no invitation even needed.

Of course, it wouldn't be the celebration without the silly string fight! 

Or ending the evening in prayer.  Powerful, transformational,  and who we are.

And, the kid picture.  Watching them grow up has been a great privilege of my life!

Thank you Jenny, for gifting me with this blog when we left 10 years ago...

Library and Educational Services LLC: A TOS Crew Review

Library and Educational Services LLC

I get to share one of my favorite resources... Library and Educational Services LLC. They are a supplier with hundreds of titles of books and audios available, and you can purchase directly from them for wholesale prices - 30-30% off publisher price. Be sure request a catalog from them here.

I have to confess, I am a book hoarder.  I love having a home library filled with resources we can use for our homeschool adventure. Many of our books have come directly from Library and Educational Services LLCI am so grateful to have discovered them years ago.

I was like a kid in a candy shop for this review. I got a chance to order several titles from a variety of their products. When the box arrived, it felt like Christmas!  Let me show you what I picked...

First - I love the series "Who Was..", "What Was...". They offer hundreds of titles to choose from!  These easy-to-read books for middle grades are a great supplement to your history studies. The books are biographies of significant historical figures, including artists, scientists, world leaders and important events.

I was excited to get "What Was the Alamo?" to go with our Texas history study this year.
This book is filled with facts and information about the Alamo. It also includes 16 pages of historical photographs as well. The book is illustrated with black and white drawings.

This book tells the story of the brave defenders of the Alamo.  Throughout the book, there are spotlights on each of these famous figures.  Living in San Antonio, I am looking forward to our next visit to this popular tourist spot.  I have learned so much more of the true story!

Another item I choose was an audio CD from the Lifehouse Theater series.  These are fully dramatized audio adventures.  They have 10 titles to choose from, a variety of classic stories.

We got Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, a 33 minute recording of the classic story from the Jungle Book.  I love listening to audio books in the van, a great way to entertain us all. These are very high quality and captivating stories, with full sound effects that really bring the story to life.

Library and Educational Services LLC also offers other great audios like Adventures in Odyessy and Drive Thru History at great discounted prices.

I also got to select $60 from their HUGE selection of Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction books.  

 Since we are spending the year learning American History, I was drawn to the The American Revolution Through Primary Sources and The Civil Way Through Primary Sources sets.  Each of these sets contained 4 hardcover books, all designed to stand up to use.  They were full color, filled with photography and artwork.

These books are a great supplement or alternative to your history textbooks. Learning history with the primary sources is so much more interesting!  Each book included extras like chapter notes, a timeline, glossary and suggested further reading.

Library and Educational Services LLC offers titles in a huge variety of subjects like:
  • Bilingual
  • Biographies
  • Careers
  • Geography
  • History
  • Learning
  • Nature
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Sports

The titles are also conveniently organized by grade level as well.  In addition, they offer curriculum, gifts, crafts and games. Their customer service is excellent, and they are so easy to order from.

If you are wanting an affordable way to build a great home library, Library and Educational Services LLC is the place to shop!

Find Library and Educational Services LLC on Social Media:

Wholesale Books for Your Homeschool {Library and Educational Services LLC Reviews}

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Wholesale Books for Your Homeschool {Library and Educational Services LLC Reviews}
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