want to review for the crew?

The TOS Homeschool Crew is getting ready to set sail on it’s third adventure. We have really enjoyed sailing with the Crew this year. Not only was it fun to try out new products (& keep them!), I was able to be a part of a wonderful community as well.

Wondering what a tour on the Crew involves? You must be willing to use whatever products are sent to you and then post an honest review. You need to be flexible – sometimes you have to set aside your main curriculum and try something new.

Try out for the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew HERE.

I will be glad to answer any questions you have. Leave a comment or send me an email!


So sorry to anyone who tried to enter the Kroger Card Giveaway and couldn’t. I closed the comments on the wrong giveaway!! (It’s been a really long week.)

I’m extending the contest until Sunday to give you time to enter!

dance, jenny, dance

Jenny isn’t sick any more. A message from her family…

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Jenny Bizaillion passed from this world at 3:38pm.

She was the most beautiful, wonderful friend, perfect mom, devoted sister, loyal daughter, and best wife a person could ever have.

We will see her again.

review – Barchowsky Handwriting

I was a little unsure when I found out we would be reviewing Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting. I’ve never liked the italic style of handwriting, or anything that even resembles it. On the other hand, I’ve asked God to send us the products that we need so we decided to give it a fair shot. Guess what? We all really like it!

Beginners’ Handwriting introduces rhythmic movement to pre-writers. It consists of twenty-eight very large sheets and a teacher’s guide. The sheets are reusable, like a dry erase board. My 5 year old loves to trace the patterns and letters. Because of the large size of the line to be traced, she had a very easy time staying on the line with her marker.

Fluent Handwriting comes with a manual & CD-Rom and is for all ages. The manual is a comprehensive reference guide. The Cd-Rom has instructional videos and tons of printable worksheets. Our favorites were the animal worksheets to be used when learning the proper rhythym. :)

I am able to teach all of my older kids, ages 7-12, at the same time. I demonstrate on the dry erase board and they follow along on their worksheets.

I used Fix It…Write to tackle my own sloppy handwriting. It is written for an older student or an adult – kind of a remedial course. My handwriting is a jumbled mix of print and cursive. Barchowsky Handwriting lets me write quickly AND neatly. I was surprised at how easy it is to write with this method once I got the hang of the slant & rhythm.  It looks so pretty!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Beginners’ Handwriting w/Teacher’s Guide   $29.95
  • Fluent Handwriting  Manual & CD-Rom  $69.95
  • Fix It…Write  $19.95

Value: The price might seem a little high, but Barchowsky is very different from the other handwriting programs I’ve seen. It is easy to teach and has so many practice pages from which to choose. Because it is non-consumable, it is a great choice for families with multiple kids.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting!

I received a free set of books for the purpose of writing an honest review. No other compensation was given.

urgent prayers needed!!!

Please remain on your knees for my friend Jenny! She had both legs amputated below the knees this week and had a few good days, but she is in critical condition once again.

Here is the latest from her CarePage:

“We have visited with a number of doctors today. Jenny has had an EEG and a MRI of her brain. It appears that some of the sepsis bacteria had clung to her heart valves, and has now released into her brain. The MRI shows a number of lesions, and the neurologist has not given us the rosiest of prognoses.

So we are asking you to pray for the cleansing power of Jesus to mend and heal Jenny’s brain. They have removed her from all of her pain meds so that they can find out how cognitive she is. It may take a while for her to wake up, because her body cannot metabolize the medicines very quickly. The doctors are discussing the best anti-seizure meds right now, as some have adverse affects on the liver and others on the kidneys.

In summary: We are up against the wall. We are desperate for the healing power of our Savior to anoint Jenny’s body right now.”

Jenny & daughter Malaya

giveaway – $25 kroger card

Does your child collect  Box Tops for Education? Kroger is providing you an easy way to collect even more. Now through March 18th, purchase participating General Mills products and box tops will automatically be donated to your school.

Register at Reward Your School and select your offers. You get 5 box tops just for registering! We homeschool so I chose the elementary school in our neighborhood. I have friends who teach there, and my kids have friends who are students there.

Here are the details of the offer:

  • Get 3, 4, or 5 Bonus Box Tops when you buy the corresponding amount of participating General Mills Cereals
    • Participating cereals include Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Cookie Crisp Sprinkles, Trix, Reese´s Puffs, Cookie Crisp, Golden Grahams, Kix, Fruity Cheerios, Dora the Explorer, Honey Kix, and all varieties of Cascadian Farm
  • Get 3, 4, or 5 Bonus Box Tops when you buy the corresponding amount of participating Yoplait Kid products
    • Participating products include Yoplait Kids Yogurt Drink, Yoplait Go-GURT, Yoplait Kids Lowfat Yogurt, and Yoplait Trix Lowfat Yogurt
  • Get 3, 4, or 5 Bonus Box Tops when you buy the corresponding amount of participating Pillsbury products
    • Participating products include 8 ct. packages of all varieties of Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits, Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Pillsbury Flaky Twists, and Pillsbury Sweet Rolls

Kroger and MyBlogSpark want to give one of my readers a $25 gift card that you can use to get a jumpstart on earning Bonus Box Tops for the school of your choice!

To enter:   Comments are closed

  • Leave a comment, making sure I have a way to contact you if you win.
  • Earn 2 more entries if you register at Reward Your School. Let me know in a separate comment.
  • Giveaway ends Friday, Feb. 26th Sunday, February 28th – I closed the comments early, thinking I was closing another giveaway, so I’m extending this one for a couple of days.

Gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. No compensation was given for this post.

review – Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling

We are in our 8th year of homeschooling, so I wasn’t expecting much from The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling. I picked it up & started reading it just to give you homeschooling newbies an honest review. To my surprise, I was taking notes by page 18!

Debra Bell is a homeschool veteran and actually published this book several years ago. (I wish I would have read it 8 years ago!) This is the revised & updated edition. The book is divided into ten parts:

  • 1 – Homeschooling: Is it for you?
  • 2 – Choosing a Curriculum
  • 3 – Organization & Planning
  • 4 – Preventing Burnout
  • 5 – What to Teach – When and How
  • 6 – HomeschoolingTeens
  • 7 – Computers in the Homeschool
  • 8 – Creative Solutions
  • 9 – Measuring Your Success
  • 10 – Resource Guide

You can view the Table of Contents and a Sample Chapter.

Here are a few things you might want to know when considering this book:

~ This book is most definitely from a Christian perspective. There are many wonderful resources & tips included for any type of homeschooler, but it is specifically written for people who rely on God to guide their education decisions.

~ The Bells are what I like to call one of “those” families. You know, the ones who make the rest of us look bad. LOL Her children are very self-motivated, high achievers, world travelers and always looking for a challenge. My kids, on the other hand, would spend all day playing the Wii and eating cheetos if given the choice. Thankfully, Debra does not imply that my kids need to be like hers. She is simply sharing their experience.

~ Co-op played a big role in the Bell’s education. Co-ops can be a wonderful part of homeschool – we’ve been part of one before. Just keep in mind that the co-ops highlighted in the book appear to be comprised of “those” families that I referred to above. A co-op can be much simpler, and cheaper, than depicted in the book. (And I think you can be happy homeschoolers without ever stepping foot into a co-op or group, so don’t feel discouraged if these are not an option for you.)

~ The Choosing a Curriculum section covers many different styles of teaching, but discourages using a boxed curriculum.  She encourages you to work with your child’s strengths and interests, and think outside of the box.This was one of my favorite sections, and I agree with her wholeheartedly.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • $20 paperback, 500+ pages

Value: I highly recommend this for every Christian homeschooler, newbies & veterans alike!

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling!

I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of providing an honest review. No other compensation was given.

fruit snacks giveaway

If your kids are like mine, they love Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks. They are rare treats in our house so my kids were excited to receive two free boxes courtesy of Betty Crocker and MyBlogSpark. I was excited about the $25 donation to One Laptop per Child that was made on our behalf.

Each day from now until May 30th, your child has a chance to win a laptop to keep and one to donate through the Win One Give One giveaway. Just purchase specially marked boxes of Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks,  enter the code found inside the box, and see if you win!

Would you like a chance to win free fruit snacks? One lucky reader will win 2 boxes of Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks, and a $25 donation will be made on your behalf, too. Plus, your free boxes just might contain that winning laptop code!

To enter:              Comments are closed :)

  • Leave a comment, making sure I have a way to contact you if you win.
  • Giveaway ends Monday, Feb. 22nd

MyBlogSpark sent us two free boxes of fruit snacks to enjoy. No compensation was given for this post.


review – Math Tutor DVD

We received two DVDs from Math Tutor DVD:

Young Minds Numbers & Counting will be a favorite in our house for years to come. I turned it on for my 5 year old to view and my 16-month old just happened to be in the room. She was riveted! They both enjoy the classical music and beautiful images. I love the child’s voice that narrates – it reminds me of Linus from the Peanuts cartoons. :-)

Here are some things your child will learn:

– Recognize the numbers 1-10.
– Associate the number with physical objects.
– Count from 1-10.
– Animal names and sounds.
– Fruits and Vegetables.
– Names of colors.
– Names of machines such as cars, airplanes, etc.

There is one photo of a group of people in bathing suits. It wasn’t anything very revealing, but I know it might be an issue for some of my readers – just wanted to let you know.

The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor DVD is 8 hours of instruction for grades 1-7. Each word problem is worked out step-by-step by a knowledgeable instructor.

Here is the info found on the two discs:

Disc 1
Section 1: Adding Whole Numbers
Section 2: Subtracting Whole Numbers
Section 3: Multiplying Whole Numbers
Section 4: Dividing Whole Numbers
Section 5: Adding Decimals
Section 6: Subtracting Decimals
Section 7: Multiplying Decimals
Section 8: Dividing Decimals

Disc 2
Section 9: Adding Fractions
Section 10: Subtracting Fractions
Section 11: Multiplying Fractions
Section 12: Dividing Fractions
Section 13: Percents, Part 1
Section 14: Percents, Part 2
Section 15: Ratio and Proportion

The instructor has a very calm, gentle way of teaching (although we all agreed it was sometimes too wordy). He takes your students through each little step of the word problem and shows them how to solve it. This is also a great tool for you as a teacher. You can watch the lesson and learn how to teach your child to work out the problem.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Young Minds Numbers & Counting $24.99
  • Basic Math Word Problem Tutor  $26.99

Value: These products are worth their cost considering the many years of use you can get out of them.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Math Tutor DVDs!

I received two free DVDs for the purpose of writing an honest review. No other compensation was given.