getting off at the next port

Whew!  I did it!!  All of my reviews are done and today is the end of my voyage with the  2009-2010 TOS Crew.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought I was signing up for a 3-hour tour and it ended up being an extended stay on the island. I have loved (almost) every minute of it!

The free products have been such a blessing to our family – we received so many things that I didn’t even know we needed, but that is what happens when your Crew Leaders pray for God to direct the right items to the right families.

An even bigger blessing has been the TOS Crew Forum, a place where we could discuss ANYTHING and feel confident that no one thought we were TOO strange.

I would encourage you to check out the TOS Homeschool Crew if you are looking for curriculum for the Fall. That is how I found our beloved history curric, and also how I found out about The Crew. You can view reviews from this year and last year on the blog.

review – LobsterNetwork

When I found out we were reviewing a stuff-sharing site, I couldn’t imagine why it would be called LobsterNetwork.

Then I saw this neat-o logo & it all made sense:

LobsterNetwork is a FREE online community that you create to keep track of your stuff. You can create a group of friends & family and then you can lend/borrow each other’s stuff. You can also sell your stuff in the marketplace.

There are so many great uses for this site:

  • Inventory your stuff for insurance purposes
  • Make your own card catalog for your home library
  • Create a group with your church or neighbors to share stuff like tools, videos & books
  • Create a group for homeschoolers to share curriculum
  • Crafters could make a group listing all of the supplies they are willing to share
  • Make a wanted or for sale list for others to browse

LobsterNetwork has tracking features that  include automated reminders for the owner & borrower. No more wondering who borrowed your favorite book or tool.

I am going to start using LobsterNetwork as an inventory for books & build it from there over the summer. We have a small church building with no room for a library, so I think this would work great to have a virtual lending library among the members.

Check out the videos and the Getting Started Guide for even more ideas.

The Nitty Gritty: FREE!

Value: FREE!

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about LobsterNetwork!

I received no compensation for writing my honest review.

review – Cerebellum

I must confess that I have no idea what an AP History Exam is, so keep that in mind as you read this review, LOL. I don’t have a high schooler yet.

I received the History of the U.S. AP Exam Prep DVD, part of the Light Speed Learning series published by Cerebellum. You might be more familiar with their brilliant Standard Deviant DVDs, of which I am a big fan. That is the fast, fun style you will find in the AP EXAM Prep DVDs.

History of the U.S. AP Exam Prep has a DVD and a Digital Workbook. It reviews the 30 most tested topics and gives helpful strategies for taking the test. They go over each step of the test & what to expect, which makes this a perfect resource for those of us who stress about the unknown.

I will definitely be checking out the Cerebellum library before next year!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • $14.98, but they were on sale for $11.24 at the time of this post

Value: Great deal for tutoring & peace of mind.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Cerebellum!

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

review – Super Star Speech

When our son was younger, I discovered how hard it is to find speech resources. Most of the articles and websites I came across were written from a professional aspect for speech therapists. It was just mumbo-jumbo to me.

Thankfully, he didn’t have a severe problem and just struggled with a couple of letters. We were able to slowly work our way through them the best that I knew how. If only I had known then about Super Star Speech!

Super Star Speech is the work of Deborah Lott, a homeschooler who is a licensed Speech language pathologist a with Master’s degree in Education/ speech pathology.

There are four books available:

~ Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple helps you identify & correct your child’s speech. You might discover, after giving the assessment, that your child is simply too young to have mastered a particular letter. The thing I love about this book is that everything is broken down into simple charts & activities. It is very easy to follow.

If your child only struggles with a couple of letters, then you might want to purchase one of the following: Super Star R & L, Super Star S, Z & Sh, or Super Star Ch, J & Th.

Funny enough, my 5 year old has struggled with the letter R, yet when I gave her the test she passed it with flying colors. Just goes to show you that sometimes it IS just a matter of time.

Don’t have any speech problems? Be sure to check out the fun Homeschool Games.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • $18.95 spiral bound
  • additional discounts for a set or e-books
  • $3.50 ea. for games

Value: These are a great price for a valuable resource.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Super Star Speech!

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

school’s out for summer!

And it’s already too hot for this momma, LOL. School might be out for my kiddos, but it’s just beginning for me. I have a bunch of curriculum to put together by August.

I also have several ideas that I want to research that I think will really benefit our lessons – just gotta figure out which ones I want to use and how I am going to use them.

Here are some new-to-me ideas:

~ Interactive Notebooks – lesson notes go on one side and student’s interpretation goes on the other

~ Foldables – basically the components of a lapbook, but used individually (lapbooks do not work for us)

~ Flowchart Notes – colorful timeline notes

~ Mastery Club – great way to get in all the little extras & encourage independent learning

~ Calendar Corner – for Little Prince & Sassyfrass, they will love this

~ Prop Boxes – fun for Sassyfrass & Sweetpea

Do you use any of these techniques? Leave a comment and share!

review – Ideal Curriculum

Ideal Curriculum offers monthly curriculum kits for preschoolers. They are available as downloads or print. I received the first month Transportation Theme.

Monthly kits include:

  • Daily Lessons & Activities
  • Teaching guides
  • Workbook
  • Music CD
  • Science, sight words, and concepts about print books
  • Supplemental activities

This is a really cute, thorough curriculum. It is not something that I would use because we do relaxed preschool, but it reminds me of the lessons I did when I taught at a private preschool. This would be a good fit for a new homeschooling mom who is unsure of what to do and is looking for something ready-to-go. It is a great fit for a preschool teacher or daycare provider.

Sign up for a free 1-week curriculum to see if Ideal is ideal for you.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • $30 downloadable
  • $50 print version
  • discounts for multiple kits

Value: This curriculum is very pricey, but you are paying for the convenience of  a complete kit.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Ideal Curriculum!

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

review – BeeYoutiful

BeeYoutiful sent me a list of products that I could review, and I chose the Milk & Honey Facial Bar. It is a lovely mixture of goat milk and bee products.

A little education from the website:

“Honey cleanses dirt and impurities while smoothing wrinkles by increasing your skin’s elasticity. Propolis—a mixture of the essential oils, pollen, and wax bees harvest from plants—nourishes dry, itchy skin. Pollen, rich in enzymes and vitamins, contains the complete family of amino acids. It promotes new skin cell growth while scrubbing away built-up dead cells without stripping the skin of its natural protection. Milk & Honey’s beeswax base is the all-natural “carrier” for other ingredients that leaves your skin feeling soft and clean.”

Ingredients: Raw Goat Milk, Distilled Water, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Vegetable Oil, Sodium Hydroxide (lye), Raw Honey, Bee Pollen, Bee Propolis, Beeswax, Sweet Orange Essential Oil

The facial bar comes in a cute beehive shape – I love to use things that make me smile. It leaves my skin feeling very clean and soft. I am not too crazy about the scent. I would prefer a stronger honey scent instead of the orange. The scent did lessen over time though, so I don’t mind it now.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • $5.00/1.75 oz
  • $10.00/4.25 oz

Value: This is a quality product and it lasts a long time.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about BeeYoutiful Products!

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

review – Lesson Planet

Lesson Planet is a search engine for educators with over 225,000 online lesson plans and worksheets. It is geared towards classroom teachers, but there is something for everyone. There are also tools to create your own lesson plans and worksheets.

The subjects covered are:

  • Art and Music
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Geography
  • Research Resources
  • Social Studies
  • Education
  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science and technology

Watch a video to see how it works:


I was a little disappointed to discover that Lesson Planet is just a search engine that links to resources that you can find for free on your own. (I misundertood and thought the site had it’s own content.)

I love to hunt for educational resources online, so much so that I had to start another blog to house them all. That being said, one of the reasons that I share my finds is because so many people tell me that they don’t have the time/interest/skills to find what they need. If you fall into those categories, then Lesson Planet might be just what you need. You can read the entertaining review of one such person HERE.

I would encourage you to try the free 10-day membership and see if lesson Planet is right for you.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • $39.95 year

Value: I think that is a reasonable price if it is something that you will use.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Lesson Planet!

I received a 3-month subscription for the purpose of providing my honest review. No other compensation was given.

science camp giveaway

Giveaway is closed – winner will be announced on Monday :)

Are you looking for something FUN & challenging for your child this summer?

Champions Summer Science Camp might be the answer!

Champions Science Adventures take science education beyond the classroom to spark a child’s interest in science through exploration and discovery.

Science Adventure day camps are available for students ages 5 to 12 years throughout the summer, at participating recreation facilities, parks, and schools nationwide.

There are four exciting camps:

You can save $50 on a week of summer camp by using the code

summer science10

Summer vacation is the perfect time for children to discover that learning is fun and can happen anywhere – not just in places called classrooms. One easy way to learn while on summer break is with educational videos. Filled with amazing footage and information, you’re sure to be engaged from in front of your own computer.


You can view all of the Champions Science Adventures webisodes HERE.

One lucky reader is going to win a FREE week of Science Summer Camp!! You will receive a certificate for a half-day camp of your choice, valued at $194 – $207.

Several ways to enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me which camp is your favorite.
  • Get two more entries for following my blog in a reader or on Facebook. Leave a separate comment.
  • Get five more entries for posting about this giveaway on your blog. Leave a separate comment with the link to your post.

Make sure I have a way to contact you if you win.

Giveaway ends Saturday, June 5th.

Champions Science Adventures, partnered with MomSelect, is providing me with the certificate to give away. They are also giving me a $25 Target gift card as compensation for this post.

workbox links

I posted a folder filled with lots of workbox ideas over at Link & Think!