The World's Greatest Stories Topic: Homeschool Product Review
A couple of years ago we had the great pleasure of reviewing a book series where, when it came time for the books to be put on tape, the author read his own works. The fun thing about this children's book author was that he used a different voice for each character in his books. The results were hilarious and very entertaining. It made the book on tape a lot of fun to listen to.
Imagine how entertaining the Word of God - the Bible - would be if the reader used different accents and voices. If it were done half as well as the author I described above, then children would flock to it. Well, that's exactly what George W. Sarris and the folks at "The World's Greatest Stories" has done. George W. Sarris has taken the Bible and read it like a real storyteller. Here's an excerpt from the website of "The World's Greatest Stories":
I couldn't agree more with that description. The day that I received our copy of Volume 1 - The Prophets, we had Bible Club scheduled for that afternoon. I decided to scrap what I had planned and have the kids listen to the stories on the CD. They loved them! They didn't want to stop listening to them. Even the adults in attendance enjoyed them.Â I had never heard something like this before and neither had they. I was hooked immediately.
The World's Greatest Stories is new, but George W. Sarris is not. He has been around for many years entertaining folks with his storytelling style of reading the Bible. And, that's exactly what he does. I may call it storytelling, but that's just the way that he reads the scripture - in a storytelling fashion. He is actually reading from the Bible, and paraphrasing or reading from a children's storybook. In fact, there are two versions of each volume available - a King James version and a NIV version. Actually, he isn't reading when he does the recordings at all. That's because he has memorized each passage so that he can concentrate on making it come alive. He has meditated and thought through each passage that he reads.
So far there are six volumes with more planned. We received volume one, but I'd like to order more. Here's what they have available right now:
Volume 1 - The Prophets
The Blazing Furnace
The Handwriting on the Wall
Daniel in the Lion's Den
Elijah & the Prophets of Baal
The Prophecy of Jonah
Volume 2 - The Life of Christ
The Real Story of Christmas
The Baptism & Temptation of Jesus
The Healing of the Blind Man
Things Jesus Said & Did
The Real Story of Easter
Volume 3 - Beginnings
In the Beginning
A Lame Man in Lystra
A Jailer in Philippi
The Story of Ruth
The Raising of Lazarus
Volume 4 - Joshua & Esther
The Battle of Jericho
The Book of Esther
Volume 5 - Joseph & His Brothers
Joseph & His Brothers
Volume 6 - Defeating Giants
David & Goliath
Namaan the Leper
Micaiah the Prophet & Jehoshaphat the King
The Sacrifice of Isaac
Gideon & His 300 Men
I'm not sure how long each of the CD's is, but I know ours was over an hour long. As mentioned before, each CD comes in either King James or NIV and you purchase them in either CD or audio tape. But, here's the best part. Each CD is only $7.95! You can find out more about The World's Greatest Stories read by George W. Sarris by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Also, other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed different versions and you can find out what thy had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of The World's Greatest Stories Volume 1 - The Prophets in order to use and give my honest review on my blog.
Vintage Remedies - Get Back to A Healthier Lifestyle! Topic: Homeschool Product Review
I remember growing up on a small farm when I was a boy. It was my grandfathers farm. We had moved back to the house that my grandfather owned - the house that my mother was born in, when I was in second grade because Grandpa was getting older and needed someone to take care of him. At various times, during the ten years that we lived there, we had cows, goats and pigs, but we always had a pony or two and we always had chickens. We also always had a very large garden. Every summer I would be down in the fields working with Grandpa. Grandpa would hitch up the pony to the old fashion plow that he had and we would plow the fields that way. We would grow hay for the ponies and all sorts of good things to eat. We grew green beans, corn, potatoes, rhubarb, mint, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelon...you name it, if it grew in central Pennsylvania, it was in our garden. Grandpa even financed a strawberry business in order for me to make a little money during the summers. Harvest season was always an adventure. We would sit out in the yard and snap beans. Dad was always busy cutting thing up with the electric knife. Mom was busy freezing and canning the vegetables. The rest of us stayed busy picking the crops and bringing in the hay. It was a busy time, and hard work. I didn't appreciate it until much older. Grandpa was very old fashioned and could be pretty stern and rough at times. He was, however, very loving as well.Â
It was also a very healthy lifestyle. We had fresh eggs and vegetables either straight from the garden or preserved using old fashioned methods with no chemicals and artificial preservatives. We would often have meat from grass fed or natural fed cows, pigs or chickens. We didn't go out to eat much, because there were no places to go out to eat in the small town where we lived. We didn't have as many processed foods because there weren't as many on the market.
When unhealthy foods finally did make their way on to store shelves, the research wasn't there to tell us these things were bad.Â Pre-packaged ready to eat foods; microwaves; things that lasted longer on the shelves - they were all great! Weren't modern things wonderful? Weren't we making leaps and bounds in the world of science and food preparation? It was truly the best time of our lives!
It wasn't until years later that we realized that things weren't as great as we thought they were. Oh, many of the advances in technology were awesome and great, but many of the things that we thought were fantastic really weren't good at all. Not for us, and not for mankind!
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no green earth fanatic who thinks we should limit the population so that we can save the world or something as equally extreme, but, I do believe that God gave us our bodies and our planet, and we shouldn't be flippant about the things that we put into our bodies or into our environment. But, is it too late? After all, a whole generation or two has grown up with this unhealthy living. Have the old, healthier ways, been forgotten? Can we relearn them? Can we blend the old, healthier things with the good technological advances that have occurred these past four or five decades?
I think we can, and so does Jessie Hawkins and the folks at Vintage Remedies. Vintage Remedies began in 2005. Here is what the Vintage Remedies says about their beginning:
In the summer of 2005, Vintage Remedies was established to be the part hobby / part occasional job of founder Jessie Hawkins. She would offer her consulting services for local families and professionals that needed to learn more about healthy and natural lifestyles.
The website goes on to say that her consulting work quickly grew into a part time online school to teach more individuals about healthy living and then, even more quickly, turned into a full time business. Since then, over 500 individuals have gone through her courses and she has begun writing books for all ages.
Recently I received the book Vintage Remedies for Guys a healthy living workbook for boys ages 7-13. This neat workbook can be used informally in your home, or, more formally as a one or two year homeschool course. This great book has 18 chapters that are divided into three sections. Section One: Food, Nutrition and Culinary Skills covers such things as Healthy Drinks, Snacktime and Growing Your Own Food. Section Two: Health and Body talks about Healthy and Clean Bodies, Immunity and Prevention, Coughs and Colds, and Summertime Fun among other things. Finally, Section Three: Natural Living covers things such as Hospitality, Cleaner Cleaning and A Natural Home.
Joshua, our 11 year old asperger's son and I have been slowly going through Vintage Remedies for Guys and have so far covered the first two chapters, "Real Food", and "Kitchen Basics". We have loved the easy conversational style of the writing and have learned so much. Joshua has learned the history of real foods and processed foods and has learned how to identify real foods. He has begun to learn how to cook with real foods. Already we have made homemade pizza and baked bread together and we are going to learn how to make cheese (YES, I said cheese) and homemade yogurt soon! All using natural ingredients! Of course, all of these new things that we are trying require parental involvement. That's why I'm saying "we", but I am learning just as much as Joshua and having just as much fun.
It really is fun to learn about living a healthy lifestyle, and this book is fun to learn with. Each approximately ten page chapter begins with a conversational style four or five page explanation of the topic. Some chapters then have a fun one page "tips" section such as "Tips in the Kitchen" or "Tips for a Great Appearance". Then the really fun part begins - the projects. I've listed some of the recipes that we have been trying out (or will be) in the above paragraph, but not all of the projects are food recipes. Some aren't even recipes at all. In future chapters we'll be learning how to make our own natural deodorant and natural cleaning spray but we'll also be going on a "field trip" to our farmer's market and learning how to make "Green Gifts". Finally, each chapter ends with a section for parents who might be using this book for homeschooling or for leaders of a group that might be working through this book together. The appendix of Vintage Remedies for Guys also includes Chapter Quizzes, a section for family, homeschool and group scheduling, and a section that talks about further learning.
We have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far. I've been slowly striving to get back to a healthier lifestyle for a long time, and this book has helped me to accomplish that as well as teach my children how to start when they are young. It has also provided some great discussion times on how folks used to live and to talk about how I used to live. Now, mind you, I'm a little older than the average parent of young children, but you could always use this to open up conversations with grandparents, older neighbors or older folks from your church. The Vintage Remedies website lists this book for $45.00. Just clickÂ here or on any of the hi-lighted links above. They also have a Vintage Remedies for Gals and a Vintage Remedies for Kids book that others on the TOS Homeschool Crew have reviewed. You can find their reviews by clicking here. Vintage Remedies sells so much more than homeschool curriculum, though. They have book and courses on all aspects of healthy living. And, they are just a plain old great company to work with and buy from. Check them out today. Happy Homeschooling and Happy Healthy Living!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free copy of "Vintage Remedies for Guys" in order to try out and give my honest review on my blog.
Fractazmic is Fantastic! Topic: Homeschool Product Review
Last year, we...err...I mean the father and his son...had great fun reviewing Pyramath. If you recall, Pyramath was a great game, made by "I See Cards" that helped you learn your math facts in a very entertaining way. Well, this year some of the TOS Crew Members were given another set of cards by "I See Cards", but it wasn't Pyramath...it was Fractazmic.
Like Pyramath, Fractazmic is another "I See Card" addictive game to help you learn basic math. This time it's fractions that you are learning.
The object of the game is to create as many hands as you can by combining different fractions of the same color to add up to one. There are three colors - suits- of cards. The sixteenth suit is red and contains the cards 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16 and 1/2. The blue suit is the twelfths suit and has 1/12, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 5/12, and 1/2. Finally, the green suit, i the tenth suit and 1/10, 1/5, 3/10, 2/5 and 1/2.Â You are dealt seven cards and you continue to pick up and discard until you can put down enough cards of one color to add up to one! Beware of picking up from the discard pile, because if you do, you have to use that card right away to form a hand (group of cards that add up to one). The rules are even lenient enough to say that you can pick up a card way down in the discard pile if you find that you need it. BUT...if you do you have to pick up all of the cards on top of it as well.
Here's another way to play Fractazmic. This version is called "Trap", but it will give you an idea of what the game is all about.
It sounds like fun, and it is! Imagine the things about fractions that your child will learn while having a blast!
With Fractazmic you learn fraction equivalents:
How many fourths are in a sixteenth?
How many thirds are in twelfth?
What is two fifths if I convert it into tenths?
You also learn to add fractions:
Does 1/2, 7/16 and 1/16 add up to one?
What about 1/2, 2/5 and 3/10?
Or, 1/3, 1/4 and 1/2?
And, the really neat Fractazmic cards make it easier for the kids. Take a look at the picture below and you'll see why.
Do you see how the blue cards had eggs in an dozen egg carton since the blue cards deal with twelfths? The green cards have a water bottle measured out in tenths, and the red card has a ruler that has the usual sixteenth lines on them. Those are visual cues for younger children to look at if needed.
Can you imagine the things in life that this will apply to? Do you remember using some of these skills while baking or building? What if you've lost your 1/2 cup measure, but you have your 1/3? Could you still bake? Do I have enough 6 1/4 inch tiles to cover a 6 x 6 foot space?
Since my two young ones aren't in to fractions yet, I played Fractazmic with John Allen. Even though he is in ninth grade, now, he still has a difficult time converting fractions in his head. This game was excellent for him. I'm going to teach Joshua how to play next. I think if I teach him the "hints" and perhaps play the game a little differently he will really enjoy it. There are a ton of different versions to this game, along with some other ideas for learning fractions on the Fractazmic website and in the free downloadable materials that are available there.
Oh, and do you remember the addictive online version of Pyramath that I played and played and played? You know, the one where you could win a free deck of Pyramath cards? Well, I See Cards has an online version of Fractazmic as well. It's not played quite the same way as the regular version, but you'll get the idea of the game. Just click here - but be warned, it IS addictive!
But, never fear! If you don't win a free deck from the online game, the decks are very inexpensive. They are just $6.95 per deck! That's cheaper than most learning games. Just click here or on any one of the Fractazmic hi-lighted links above to get to the Fractazmic website. You can also check out links to some of the other great I See Card games by clicking here. And, as usual, some of the other TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed Fractazmic as well, and, I hear, came up with some interesting ways to use the cards to teach their children all about fractions. Just click here to get to their reviews. Happy Homeschooling!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free deck of Fractazmic cards in order to use and give my honest review on this blog.
A Thank You Letter to Ptisco From Tipster the Cat. Topic: Homeschool Product Review
*One December Afternoon*
As the head family pet, meow Tipster would like to thank you for sending the family children the Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack from your great company. Meow thinks it was wonderfully packed. Meow had a meowvelous time hiding beneath the box and Jo Jo, the family dog had a grand time playing with the plentiful packing that kept everything in the box safe. Things that arrive broken are often met with screams and yells from the Tinkel children. Screams and yells hurt meows ears. Meow does not like screams and yells.
Meow would also like to thank you for the excellent directions for the trebuchet and catapult that were included in the package. Meow does not like it when meows meowster (master - for those of you who don't speak Cat), Tim, has to put things together with unclear instructions. Meowster Tim tends to take his anger out on Jo Jo and meow. Meow does not like anger being taken out on meow.
Meow watched as Meowsters Tim and John Allen (the teenage Tinkel child) sat down together to build the trebuchet (cats are very curious, you know).They didn't know that meow was watching. They thought that meow was asleep but meow had one eye open. Meow heard Meowster Tim say that these kits were recommended for older elementary children (with adult supervision) and middle school/high school students. Meow was sure that Meowster Tim did not have to help John Allen, but that Meowster Tim was just as excited to build it as John Allen so he stayed to help. Meow was very glad that the younger Tinkel children were not present. Bored children tend to get into mischief and like to pull Meow's tail or whiskers. Meow does not like pulled tails and whiskers.
Meow was also glad you included almost everything in the kit. Only a few items were needed. Items such as pliers, super glue and a hobby knife (another reason meow was glad the younger children weren't present). If other things were needed then Meowsters Tim and John Allen would have to go and get them. That would create more of a chance that meow would get stepped on. Meow does not like being stepped on.
Meow watched as they carefully punched out the balsam wood pieces. As meow mentioned before meow was very happy that the instructions were easy to follow. It pleased meow that all pieces were very well marked. Meow breathed a sigh of relief that none of them broke and they were very easy to punch out. Meow thought that it was funny when Meowster Tim's fingers got stuck together with super glue. Meow was glad that it wasn't meow's paws that stuck together. Meow likes to laugh but does not like sticky paws.
It seemed like only a few minutes and the trebuchet was built but meow knows (cat's intuition) that it really took a couple of hours. Then, of course, the glue had to dry over night. Meow was present the next day when Meowster Tim and all of the Tinkel children tested the trebuchet out. Meow listened when Meowster Tim said to stand well back. Meow watched as they formed a small ball with the non-drying clay that meow is glad that you provided and then placed it in the pouch. Meow snickered when the first attempt fell well short of the goal that they had set up five or six feet away, but the weight was finally balanced using the mass plates that you also thankfully provided. Meow remembered to stay well back so as not to get hit by one of the clay balls. Meow does not like to get hit by clay balls.
Meow was not there when the catapult was built, but heard that it was just as easy. Meow wants to thank you for the hours of relaxation that meow has had since your Pitsco Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack arrived. Meow heard that it came with a wonderful book that provided a lot of interesting information and experiments for Meowster John Allen to perform. Meow has slept peacefully without having to worry that the Tinkel children were going to torture meow with some of their ridiculous games. Even without doing experiments the Tinkel children and Meowster Tim have spent many an hour playing with the sturdy machines that they built. Meow would like to thank you very much for that. It has kept them out of meows hair and out from under his paws.Why, meow even heard that they are going to build a real live "angry bird" set to shoot the clay balls at.
Hmm?...what's that? Oh what does that dog want now. Doesn't he know I'm in the middle of typing a letter. I'm all paws at this anyway without him interrupting!
You did what:? You told them to make a pig outfit for me and put me in the angry bird set?
I knew it was a mistake when you borrowed that "Lassie Teaches Dogs to Talk to Humans in 100 Easy Lessons" course!
Remember Jo Jo, you're only supposed to use your special powers to do good! You know..."Timmy's in the well!"....that sort of thing?
*Later that Evening*
Dear Department of Paw Services (DPS),
I, Tipster, the Tinkel family cat would like to register an abuse complaint...
Obviously you dear readers are having a ruff time reading this. Like Tipster said, he's all paws when it comes to typing and, when it comes to writing skills, well, let's just say he's barking up the wrong tree. He forgot to mention the price of this wonderful kit and where to find it. I figurrrred that would be good information to have so I thought I would add those details. After all, we don't want anyone growling to Tim about anything.Â Pitsco's Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack is only $21.95 and includes a Trebuchet Kit, Catapult Kit, Mass Plates, and the Siege Machines book. The Pitsco website says that it includes hands-on activities that cover three areas:
Science: Tension versus torsion, elasticity, gravity and levers, and force and motion
Math: Metric conversion, calculating averages, and prediction
Experiments: Mass versus distance, testing rubber bands, targeting, and more
You can find out more about this kit and other grrrrrrrreat homeschool kits by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Other TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed this kit as well and you can find out if any of them tortured any one of their pets by clicking here. I really doubt that any of the other crew members have pets as smart as Tipster and I...me! Well I think that's it. I'm dog tired anyway and I need to think of more ways to agrrrrravate Tipster.
Note number one - Absolutely no cats, dogs, pigs or birds were injured with any of these products.
Note number two - As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I, Meowster Tim...errr...I mean...I was sent a Pitsco Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.
About the only thing this curriculum doesn't teach is how to type in Spanish! Fortunately, I can use online translators so I can look up words and then copy and paste them with their accents. But, let's not talk about my Spanish typing cheats!
But, speaking of the curriculum, let me think of some other Spanish adjectives I can use to describe ¡El Espanol Facil! - The Easy Spanish!from "Great Commission Languages". How about genial (great), magnifico (superb), and fantastico (fantastic)?!? It's all of those things and more. This is a great...um...genial program.
So, why is it so genial, magnifico and fantastico? Well, let me focus on why it is so easy - facil.
It's easy because it is flexible. This one curriculum can be used for multiple age groups. It can be used with younger students (even pre-school) and older students. It can be used with a parent/teacher (even one that doesn't know Spanish) or it can be used with an older student independently. The book has complete instructions on how to use it in different ways. It can even be used multiple ways with each group. If you have a pre-school child that you would like teach Spanish to, you can take two or three years to complete this first course. A high school student can use this book over a two year time or complete it in one year. There are goals and objectives for almost every scenario that you can think of. Since John Allen is also learning Latin, we plan on using the two year plan and alternating Spanish and Latin. Remember, though, that John Allen is in his third year of Latin, so he has a good grip on the language. I probably would not recommend trying to learn any two languages using any two curriculums if you were just starting out. I use John Allen as an example only to show how flexible this program is.
It's easy because it covers a broad spectrum of learning styles. El Espanol Facil! - The Easy Spanish was written with a Charlotte Mason approach in mind, and, if you know the Charlotte Mason, you know that she liked things to be taught using all of the senses to accommodate all kinds of learning styles. The author of this curriculum, Marie Filion, did just that when she wrote these lessons. Each of the 36 lessons begins with the student listening to a short dialogue on one of the two CD's that come with this program. The student is told from the beginning that there will be some English words in each dialogue, but there will also be some Spanish words that they will have to try to figure out the meaning of. It really isn't too difficult to figure it out though. The dialogue may go something like this:
Belicia: Marita, this is mi padre, tu tio, Senor Enrique Cordero Paco Fernandez. Marita: ¡Hola tÃio Enrique! Hello, uncle Enrique. Senor Fernandez: ¡Hola Marita! Belicia: Marita, this is mi madre, tu tia, Senora Isabel Charo Viana Fernandez. Marita: ¡Hola tia Isabel! Hello, aunt Isabel. Senora Fernandez: ¡Hola Marita!
This is taken from lesson two. Do you see how cleverly done it is? Without knowing any Spanish at all, you could probably figure out that "Hola" means "Hello", "Tio" means "Uncle", and "Tia" means "Aunt".
After the student listens to the dialogue, he listens to a list of vocabulary words that goes along with that dialogue. Sometimes the vocabulary list can be quite long, but that is the beauty of being able to use this course over a two or three year period. You can always cut the lessons down to do over a two to three week period if needed.
The first lessons are very basic and begin with how to introduce yourself. They then progress through learning Spanish words pertaining to your family, food, clothing, numbers, days of the week, animals, adjectives, and more.
The child listens to the dialogue and vocabulary every day during the week and also does other tasks that reinforce what is being learned. Not all tasks are to be done by all students each week (in a two to three year program, some tasks aren't even introduced until the third year) and all tasks can be adapted to fit your family. The following is a list of some of the tasks with a very brief explanation.
Activity - as it says, a short activity to reinforce that weeks lesson. Usually for younger students, but some for older as well.
Narration - a Charlotte Mason (CM) task where you recount (could be done in various forms) the story you have just heard.
Soy yo! It's me! - another CM method where you transfer yourself into the story.
CM Activity - usually done by an independent learner.
Teacher Helps - for the parent and/or independent learner to help them understand the lesson and language better.
Scripture Memory Work - ¡El Espanol Facil! - The Easy Spanish is a Christian curriculum. In fact, the company that produces El Espanol facil! - The Easy Spanish is called "Great Commission Languages" and was written to help folks learn another language so that they can have a impact on missions. Each week there is a memory verse that helps with that.
Cultural Notes - Just as it says, notes to help you understand the Spanish culture.
Trivia - Interesting things about the Spanish people or culture.
Notebook - Each student keeps a notebook that goes along with this course.
Front Cover Work - For the younger child,
Things to Remember - Little reminders for that lesson.
Everyday Vocabulary - Extra vocabulary of everyday words that a student should practice.
Independent Learner - These are activities geared toward the older student that is working independently.
Journal - Again, this is for the high school student or advanced younger student.
These are just brief descriptions of the things that might be part of each lesson. More information can be found on the website and, of course, in the book itself. Not all of these things are done every day or, even, each week. The book tells you what is to be done on what day. It's all very easy.
Another thing that is easy is that everything is contained in the two CD's and book. You need nothing else. And, everything is put together so well that there is hardly any preparation work involved. It is truly an easy program to use. We haven't been too far into ¡El Espanol Facil! - The Easy Spanish yet, but we already know that we are going to learn much from it.
Finally, one of the easiest things about this course is the price. El Espanol Facil!, Level I is just $139.95. And, remember, depending on the age and abilities of your student, this curriculum could be used for two or three years. Compared to most other complete language curriculums, $139.95 is even a great price for a one year study. Also, remember, this course can be used with all of your kids at once, or be used later with other kids if you wish. Great Commission Languages also has a Junior Spanish Curriculum if you feel like this book goes a little too quickly for your young ones. They also have a French curriculum that you can buy. Yes, there is also a Level II, available, but, to help cover the cost, Great Commission Languages has an agreement with Wycliffe Bible Translators that if you will donate your Level I curriculum to Wycliffe, you will get a 30% discount for Level II. Just click here or on any one of the links above to find out about this and all of the other "Great Commission Language" programs. Other TOS Crew Members reviewed other things from Great Commission Languages and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling.
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of ¡El Espanol Facil!, Level I in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.