Friday, May 27, 2011

TN Homeschool Links

Welcome to Homeschooling through the 50 States today we are visiting Tennessee!

Read For The Heart ~ TOS Review


I have loved books from the day I was born. Ok, well maybe not quite that early but it seems to me I was never without a book, and an adventure, near to me.

I have a tough time dealing with the fact that my boys do not always share my fervor for reading, although my younger son is beginning to devour books in a similar fashion. My daughter, at the wonderful age of 2, is showing signs of being just like her momma. I often find her perusing our plethora of books, picking and choosing with care just which she will look at next.


Read For The Heart is a blessing to me. Here I have been lamenting over the last few years how all the books I loved as a child will be missed by my children because of my horrid memory and God just plops this little gem in my lap, as if to say “You don’t need to try to remember any more, stop your fretting.”

Sally Clarkson has drawn on her own fondness for reading and kinship with books to share with us the secrets of reading books to others. She explains why sharing books and reading aloud is such an important and loving thing. Following this part of the book are her amazing and (for me) perfectly chosen book lists based on many varied points such as age of reader, illustrators, type of books, etc.. I know this will be my go to book from now on for finding just the right books and for filling up Christmas lists and birthday wishes for years to come. (Mom are you reading this?)

Here is a link to read the first chapter.

Put out by Apologia Press you can be assured of it’s wonderful devotion to our Lord and the morality of the books suggested.








100_3724From the site:

“A great book spurs the imagination in childhood, inspires our dreams in adulthood, and nourishes the soul with depictions of life fully and courageously lived. Among the greatest gifts you can bequeath to a child are a love for reading and a passion for books. But how do you sort through the many thousands of books available to your children to find those that are worthwhile? Apologia has the answer. Keeping Read for the Heart close at hand is like having a children's librarian for a best friend! Let Sarah Clarkson be your guide to the best in children's literature for your family. From timeless classics to modern favorites, from picture books to adventure novels to read-aloud favorites, more than 1,000 wonderful stories for young people are recommended within these pages. Now you can make great literature a lasting part of your child's life and education.”

If you would like to see the Table Of Contents follow this link.









Sarah has a way with words and her philosophy on what reading great literature means for the future has absolutely enthralled me. I admit at first I thought this would just be another book list book but it is so much more. Take the following quote for instance:

“On a more spiritual level, the habit of reading influences the ability to think deeply about life-altering ideas of faith and belief. Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, once wrote that the decreasing vocabulary of modern culture would result in an inability to think greatly about God:
"The more limited our language is, the more limited we are; the more limited the literature we give to our children, the more limited their capacity to respond, and therefore, in their turn, to create. The more our vocabulary is controlled, the less we will be able to think for ourselves. We do think in words, and the fewer words we know, the more restricted our thoughts. As our vocabulary expands, so does our power to think."
. . .
A young intellect nourished by a feast of words can tackle any concept -- whether mathematical, scientific, spiritual, or imaginative - with confidence.” (pages 20-21)

Sarah has completely put into words my thoughts about why we homeschool and do not trust institutions to educate our children and why we use living books and great literature to do so.


Author: Sarah Clarkson

Cost: $17

Format: Paperback

Apologia Educational Ministries
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016 US
Phone: (888)524-4724
Fax: (765)608-329

Please visit the TOSCrew to see what other homeschool families thought about this book!


Disclaimer: I received this as a review product, free in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was provided.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eagle’s Wings ~ TOS Review


I think I am in love, with a homeschool curriculum that is. I have a love/hate relationship with some of the curriculum we are using this year. I love the material yet it lacks the focus on the Lord I desire. I had the opportunity to take a break from what we have been using and check out a a program with the similar approach of note-booking we have not tried before. Of course I jumped on that and I just might not ever look back!


Eagle’s Wings is a biblically based curriculum provider that uses note-booking to engage student creativity and a hands on approach with simple activities to help the student really get their curiosity going.


 Considering God’s Creation is a low cost, high quality complete Science curriculum geared toward grades 2-7 but completely adaptable for younger or older grades making it a great choice for large families. The teacher’s Manual has a section that easily explains how to do just that.


Using the scripted Teacher’s Manual you guide the student along in their study of Getting to know God through his creation. Letting your children become real scientists and showing them how to look for the knowledge they seek. The Student Notebook is a thing of beauty, as the children work in their notebooks they are creating a record of God’s world as they discover it. Included are songs and poems that are catchy and remind the children how God’s creation works.


My Opinion:

I really love this program, it is gentle yet through and you can really do it in your own way, it is that flexible. For example my son wanted to learn about the earth because it tied in with what we are learning in My Father’s World right now. It meshed perfectly and I was so happy with how easy it was to do the lesson.  The lessons are short and provide natural breaks, where we were used to a lesson seeming to take forever because I did not know just how to break it up.







My son is only beginning to feel confident in his researching abilities and so for him to be able to do the notebook pages on his own was huge! Considering God’s Creation covers natural science including the following topics:

  • Creation
  • The Universe: Stars, Sun and Planets
  • The Earth
  • Non-Living Things : Rocks and Minerals
  • Weather
  • The Plant Kingdom
  • The Animal Kingdom
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Man: Made In God’s Image
  • A variety of scientists

My son is 8 and he really enjoyed the time we spent with this product, especially the songs and poems, and he can not wait until we fully incorporate it into our year in the fall. I was hoping there was a series of the science curriculum for sale but right now this is the only science program sold by Eagle’s Wings, I look forward to using it and any future programs.


You can see more samples HERE of the student notebook.

Considering God’s Creation


1- Teacher Manual and CD with the songs and poems 272 pages

1- Student notebook 384 pages

Cost: $29.95

Additional notebooks are $13.95 and CDs are $3.00

Available at:

Eagle’s Wings Educational Materials                   P.O. Box 502
Duncan, OK 73534

Also available:

History, Bible, Geography, Math, Phonics programs that are affordable and God honoring.

Please visit TOS Crew blog to read other reviews on this product by clicking the banner at the top of my post.


Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the product for free in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no other compensation.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Talking Fingers–TOS Review



Teaching my 8 year old his spelling rules and trying to get him to stop using invented spelling has been a source of stress for me lately. It is with great pleasure I introduce to you all the reason I am still alive to tell about it.Talking Fingers Wordy QWERTY. Geared to grades 2-4, Wordy QWERTY is a online software program that teaches reading and spelling. It is the follow-up program to Read, Write & Type Learning System.


screen2Teaching children about spelling rules and word construction can seem daunting and tedious, however, using Talking Fingers program makes it fun and exciting. There are 20 lessons that teach using games, music, and catchy tunes called JingleSpells. You will even find yourself singing along, I know I did. My son and I really enjoyed this program. I have been worried about how to teach him the spelling rules and break his habit of using the invented spelling he was taught in public school. I notice he doesn’t remember the rules very well when we do them during spelling but once he started Wordy QWERTY he remembered the ones he learned rather quickly and easily. He has even been caught singing them just when he is around the house!


Talking Fingers from the website:

“The Talking Fingers approach is unique and is based on a simple idea: text is speech made visible! We use our mouths to talk, to make the sounds of words. We use our fingers (with a pencil or keyboard) to represent those sounds on paper. When children learn to link speech sounds with letters, they can use the alphabet code to write any word they can say. Their fingers are "talking". This approach is aimed at maximizing the activation of the left side of the brain where skilled reading and writing are processed.”


If you’d like to see what is covered check out this scope and sequence.


Note: All Online editions are for 5 years

Wordy Qwerty - Online Edition - 1 user

Wordy Qwerty - Online Edition - 2 users

Wordy Qwerty - Online Edition - 3 users

Wordy Qwerty - Online Edition - 4 users

Wordy Qwerty - Online Edition - 5 users

Wordy Qwerty - CD Home Edition
$35.00 Includes-

  • 1 copy of the Wordy Qwerty program CD
  • 1 Wordy Qwerty Program Guide in a three-ring binder
  • 1 JingleSpells audio CD of the 20 songs contained in Wordy Qwerty midi

Jingle Spells CD also available for $10 separate purchase.

If you’d like to see what others experienced using this program please click the banner at the top.


Disclaimer: I was provided the above product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was provided.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

2010-2011 Reviews

I have decided to create a page in addition to this post, so look for it on the right sidebar, to make it simpler to locate my reviews. This listing is for my TOS Crew Reviews for the 2010-2011 school year. I and my children will be going back through all the blessings we have received this year because of the Crew and will be picking our faves. Keep an eye out for those to be noted here.

  1. Monki See
  2. Considering God’s Creation - Eagle’s Wings
  3. WonderMaps  - Bright Ideas Press
  4. Mad Dog Math
  5. Talking Fingers- Wordy QWERTY
  6. Go Trybe
  7. Read For The Heart – Apologia
  8. Growing Healthy Homes
  9. Writing Tales Level 1 & 2
  10. All About Reading – All About Learning
  11. See The Light Art
  12. Kinderbach
  13. Go Go Kabongo
  14. Zeezok Movie Guides
  15. Big IQ Kids
  16. Science Weekly
  17. Latin Alive 1 – Classical Academic Press
  18. Kid Scoop
  19. Reading Kingdom
  20. Math Rider
  21. Who Is God – Apologia
  22. Zombie Fire Ants – The Curiosity Files
  23. Dig It Games
  24. Vocab Ahead
  25. TenMarks
  26. Times Alive – City Creek Press
  27. Speekee
  28. Illustrated Bible Dictionary – Lifeway Christian Stores
  29. See N Read
  30. Aleks
  31. Travel The World Module
  32. Time 4 Writing – Time 4 Learning
  33. Math Tutor DVD
  34. Salem Ridge Press
  35. Zoe and Sozo Publishing
  36. Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek
  37. The Write Foundations
  38. Buckets O Fun
  39. PG Key
  40. KB Teachers
  41. Tiny Planets
  42. Help Lord! I'm Homeschooling a High Schooler
  43. Molly's Money Saving Digest


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mad Dog Math ~ TOS Review


I am happy to present today’s review, Mad Dog Math, a math drill software program that encourages children with incentives to improve their math facts skills. Can be used either at home or in a classroom to achieve math mastery in basic operations. Using short drill lessons enables the child to enjoy the lesson and become more confident as they progress.


I do want to point out this is only the software we reviewed but the Mad Dog Math program is much more than just the software. The video explains how the program is set up for schools but I can see this translating into homeschools very easily.

There are four levels of ability to drill math facts

  • Level 1 +/- focusing on 0-18 families
  • Level 2 +/- more focus on 10 – 18  families
  • Level 3 Multiplication and Division
  • Challenge Level mixed operations drills








Also available are flashcards, certificates, paper and pencil forms, instructional materials.


Download available in 3 prices

1 year license – $19.99

2 year license – $29.99

Perpetual License – $39.99


(562) 533-5772

Mailing Address
Mad Dog Math
4562 Ocana Avenue
Lakewood, CA 90713


My boys are not close enough in age to appreciate the competitiveness with each other but they did enjoy the self competition trying to beat their own times and such. I loved that this program can be tailored for multiple ages and they can progress at their own speed. The program tells the student what to work on as they progress and pass each set of problems.


I can’t wait to start my daughter with this program. She is only 2 but I love how I can do math drilling straight from the beginning with her. My boys never got the foundation in math drilling they needed until we began homeschooling 2 years ago and now it is a bit of a struggle. After drilling multiplication this year with my oldest DS15 he has vastly improved his speed and accuracy.

To see what other TOS Crewmembers  thought about Mad Dog Math software click the TOS banner at the top.


Disclaimer: In exchange for providing my honest opinion I received a free trial of the above mentioned program. No other compensation was provided.

Monday, May 16, 2011

50 States of Homeschooling

Recently I have had quite a few requests from people on how to start homeschooling their children. I am so flattered God has given me this opportunity to minister to other families in this way. I am still fairly new at this myself but wish to bless others and so I thought what better way than to put some of the links up that have helped me.
I wanted this to be applicable to all families so I decided to do a blog feature weekly (I aim for Tuesdays) of each state in the United States. Each week I will highlight a bit about the requirements for homeschooling, helpful support websites, places to find curriculum, and whatever else I find helpful.
I will create a page where I have each state listed with a link to it's post in no particular order. You can find that in the left sidebar under pages or by going to 50 States Page.
I want to point out how important it is to do your own research. I hope my information helps you but we all need to make sure we are complying with our states laws so others who come after have the same freedoms we enjoy now.
My last big bit of advice, if in doubt Google It! Seriously don’t be shy, if you need info fast do a Google search. You can Google images of homeschool classroom (you’ll find tons) to method specific curriculum (like Montessori maths). I have usually found what I am looking for within the first 3 search result pages. If you have trouble try rewording the search terms a bit.
Oh and blogs, homeschoolers of every type blog and they have been a source of unimaginable help and possibility to me. As a matter of fact check out my Bloggy friends on the left (let me know of broken links will ya) and see if something doesn’t catch your interest.
Disclaimer: In no way is this the only info you need. Do your research and do your part to keep homeschooling free for all of us. This is for informational purposes only and not legal advice.

WonderMaps ~TOS Review



When I started our 1st year homeschooling the fall of 2009 I had trouble finding maps to go with our studies. I wanted maps that had certain periods of history or focus in on certain smaller areas from biblical history. Wondermaps from Bright Ideas Press has taken that stress and made it disappear for good!


Wondermaps is a clickable linked PDF document that enables you to turn on or off map labels with the click of a mouse. No more searching for that perfect map of Europe with only country names or maps from WWI. It’s all there, over 350 maps at your fingertips.


There are four menus to choose from The World, The U.S.A., Historical, and Thematic. Each menu has it’s own index which is organized alphabetically for the World and U.S. maps and chronologically for the Historical and Thematic maps. If you use any Bright Ideas Press curriculum for history they have the maps for their Mystery of History and American History programs also.



I love this product and am so happy to have found it. It truly is a blessing in our homeschool for me to not have to search forever and still not find the exact map I need. You can make your maps as basic or advanced as you like so the fact that it can be used with multiple grades is a big plus for me. This has saved me so much time and aggravation.

Here is a video tutorial so you can see just how you might use it.

Bright Ideas Press

PO Box 333 Cheswold, DE 19936

Phone: 877.492.8081  


WonderMaps Cost: $49.95 on CD or download

Other products available:

Illuminations, Mystery of History and All American History for a complete curriculum.

To see what other reviewers thought of this product please visit TOSCrew.


Disclaimer: I have provided my honest opinion in exchange for a copy of the above product. No other compensation was received.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Homeschoolers in need

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew I have gotten to know some amazing, strong in the Lord, blessed woman. One of these beautiful ladies is in dire need of our help. Heather Laurie is a homeschool mom in West Virginia who is in desperate need of our help. I don’t believe I have every met or heard of anyone in such a difficult place. My heart truly aches for this family.  In order to give you a brief overview of her situation, I have  a list of 10 facts about Heather Laurie.

1. Heather has an illness called Mitochondrial Disease. It is degenerative. It is fatal. It is incurable. There are no existing treatments for it. For more information concerning this disease, click Here.

2. Heather has 5 children. All of them also have Mitochondrial Disease. All of them also have cerebral palsy.

3. Heather’s faithful Navy Veteran husband, Chris, has a job that is 3 hours away from home. He is forced to live in a different city for 5 days of the week, leaving Heather alone to care for and home school 5 severely disabled, terminal children, while simultaneously dealing with her own terminal disease.

4. Heather recently had a stroke. She can no longer drive. She still must somehow care for the children.

5. Heather and two of her children are confined to wheelchairs. Her 6 year old will need a wheelchair very soon. Her youngest is also showing signs of needing one.

6. Heather lives in a two story house. The children cannot walk up and down the stairs, and Heather can no longer carry them. They must slide up and down the stairs on their bottoms.

7. Heather’s yard is on a hill. Due to their disabilities, the children cannot play on a sloping surface and the street offers the only flat area for play. Therefore, Heather’s children do not play outside.

8. Heather cannot afford to move into the city where her husband works because huge medical bills have completely destroyed their credit.

9. Four of Heather’s five children have suffered strokes, stroke-like episodes and seizures. One child needs brain surgery.

10. Four of the children are autistic, and struggle with learning disabilities, behavioral problems, GI dysfunction, immune deficiencies, and migraines.

Heather Laurie has ministered to others for years in the special needs community. She gives hours of volunteer work from her home: posting encouraging articles, messages, advice, links, blogs, and more to parents with special needs children. The BIP team has decided that it’s time for someone to give back to her. (If you’d like to read more about the Laurie family, visit their website at

How You Can Help!

The Laurie family needs a new house. It is inconceivable that they have made it this far in a house that is so unsuitable for their needs. They need a single-story house that can accommodate at least 5 wheelchairs, and has temperature control, air filters, and other special amenities that these children require to live a healthy life. The well-known TV show Extreme Makeover Home Edition is looking for a family to help in West Virginia. The Laurie family has applied for a house, and they have a chance of getting on the show and receiving a specially built house for free. However, the decision makers at the TV station want to know that people care about this family enough to nominate them. In order for the Laurie’s to get on the show, the EMHE inbox needs to be flooded with emails and Facebook posts nominating them! That’s where you come in. Here’s what you can do:


Send an email to with the name “Heather Laurie” or “Laurie Family from WV” in the subject line. You can type a detailed message about their situation, or you can say something as simple as “I would like to nominate Heather Laurie of West Virginia for a new house. Please help this deserving family!” You could also include a link to the Laurie Family website:

Go to the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Discussion Board and post a topic with the Laurie family’s name in the title. In the message body you can write a new message, re-use the message that you emailed, or you can copy and paste part of this newsletter.

If you have a Facebook account, go to the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Page, and click “Like”.In the discussion board section, search for the topic posted by Heather Laurie with the title “Our 7 member family has 6 with a progressive life shortening disease. We need your help!” and write a message nominating her. Again, you can copy and paste the facts from this newsletter, or compose your own unique message.

Feel free to do one, two, or all three of these steps. It only takes 5 minutes and could totally rock this family’s world.

In addition to nominating the Laurie’s for EMHE, Bright Ideas Press is hosting a special fundraiser sale on Saturday, May 21st. On this day only, 20% of all sales made with the Laurie family’s name in the comments section of your order form will be donated directly to the Laurie family. If you are planning on purchasing any curriculum from Bright Ideas Press for the next school year, I encourage you to make your purchase on May 21st. Do not forget: putting the Laurie family’s name in the comments section of your order form will give 20% of your payment as a donation to the Laurie Family Fund.

Thank You So Much for Your Help!!!

Please continue to keep the Laurie’s in prayer. We know that God will provide for them one way or another!


Disclaimer: Post used with permission from BrightIdeasPress newsletter.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Go Trybe ~ TOS Review

I think one of the most difficult things to do as homeschoolers is trying to include P.E. For us there is no choice but to include exercise in our daily routine since my oldest is diabetic. He needs the exercise to manage his blood sugar and stay healthy. Unfortunately he  is usually the only one doing it and even then it is not what it should be.
The chance to review GOTrybe was a true blessing, although at first my kids were reluctant.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MO Homeschooling Links

I guess, since this is the second of what I hope to be a series of posts with links to homeschooling info in all 50 states, I should make a button to share it. I also will post a page with all the links to each post when I get a chance.  So I will work on that this week while you get to know more about homeschooling in Missouri.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Monki See ~ TOS Review

I recently had the chance to review a program to teach babies as young as 3 months to read. It looked very well done so since I have a 2 year old daughter who is already speaking in full sentences I thought this would be perfect for her. I like to introduce the Monki See Baby DVD Collection.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day

I wanted to show you all what my sweet hubby and children got me for Mother’s Day.
That’s right we now have our very own Soda Stream Genesis! I love it and could not wait to use it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

OK homeschooling links

I am posting this to help a friend who will be moving to Oklahoma soon. Thinking it may become a weekly feature here, let me know what you think.
Getting Started

Monday, May 02, 2011

How to Help Heal the Unseen Wounds of War

Guest post by: Taylor Dardan
As time goes on it seems that more and more, our nation becomes increasingly divided between Republicans and Democrats, Tea Partiers and Beltway Insiders, religious vs. atheist, and so on. Debates about the economy, to global warming, to energy, towards revolution and war throughout the Middle East are taking place, but if it’s one area we should all be able to agree upon, it’s supporting our U.S. troops. The best way of providing support may not always be clear, but if there is one area where focus can definitively be directed, it’s on the wellbeing of anyone whose health has suffered while protecting and serving our country.
Every year, thousands of soldiers return home from combat with injuries commonly referred to as “Invisible wounds.”


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