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Sunday, 16 October 2011
Visual Latin - WE LOVE IT!
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


What homeschool item rates in the top 10 of all of the homeschool items we've ever reviewed?

What homeschool review item have we already bought the next level for before I even wrote the review?

What homeschool item have I already conversed with the writer about how to market it to a wider audience because I think it is that fantastic?

What homeschool item am I changing the color of the font for it's review (which I almost never do) because I want you all to notice it?

Answer: Visual Latin!

Yes, it is that good! We absolutely love it. We are big language fans in our house. One of the requirements when we first began homeschooling John Allen in forth grade was that he take Latin. He has always loved it, and we have continued to study it off and on since. Well, it was time to really get a serious high school Latin course for him to take this year for a language credit. We bought one of the old tried and true curriculum and he seemed to be enjoying it and learning.

But then...we were chosen to review Dwane Thomas' Visual Latin! I had heard about Visual Latin from another reviewer and had scouted it out a little bit, so John Allen and I were interested and excited about comparing it with what we had been using. When we got the email, we immediately downloaded our first lessons and began using it.

One of the first differences we noticed was a real live Latin teacher that was fun to watch. Dwane Thomas actually brings the lessons to life. And, he doesn't edit out his mistakes. It's like you are right there with him in the classroom. Here, watch an example of what I'm talking about as he explains what makes Visual Latin unique.

As Dwane said, each lesson is divided into three sections. You watch a video for each section, and you do a worksheet for each section. The three sections are:

  • Grammar - A Latin principle is introduced and you learn the grammar for that principle.
  • Sentences - You then practice using that principle in the sentences. 
  • Reading - Finally, you use that principle in translating a short paragraph. Yes, you will actually be translating a short paragraph in the first lesson!

Don't worry about the lessons being long and drawn out. Each video is usually less than 10 min. each, so all three videos will almost always take less than 30 min. to watch. And, don't forget, the videos are very entertaining. Not only is the teacher funny, but he adds interesting Roman facts to the lesson as he teaches.

The amount of time that it takes for you to do the worksheets is the determining factor in how long each lesson takes for you to do. But, don't even worry about that. Each worksheet is made to get the "maximum impact for your bucks", so to speak. The worksheet isn't long and drawn out with a lot of doing the same thing over and over. They are only one page each but are done in such a way that you learn a lot in that one page.

The recommended pace is to do about two lessons a week. We usually watch the lessons and do the worksheets one day. Then, the next day, we watch the lessons again and correct any mistakes that were made on the worksheets. Sometimes, due to our homeschool load, we may not get two lessons done in a week. So, far, because of our Latin background, we haven't had to watch a video a third time, but, that's the beauty of homeschooling. If you don't get it right away, you can just watch it over again.


And, in my opinion, these lessons are very inexpensive. You purchase the lessons in bundles of 10 lessons each. You can purchase them in download form for $25 per 10 lessons or in CD form for $30 per 10 lessons. Some folks may think that that is expensive. Remember, though, that if you buy a regular Latin course it can run from $75-$100 once you add in the student book, the teacher manual, the pronunciation CD, and the lesson DVDs. I just priced one to make sure, and that was for just 25 lessons! If you have more than one student, it could cost even more for the extra student book.

And, what if you end up not liking it after a few lessons. You may be able to sell the teacher manual, CD and DVDs for a fraction of what you bought them for, but, once the student book(s) is written in, it can't be resold.

With Visual Latin, everything is included. When you buy the download or Cd's, you purchase a license to use it with your family. So, no worry about extra money later on for more student books. Just print out more worksheets. And, if you don't end up liking it (which I'm sure you will), you don't have to buy the next 10 lessons. Now you see why I think it's an excellent deal? They also sell Visual Latin DVD's in sets that include all thirty lessons, and, if you would like to use Visual Latin in a classroom or co-op there are special deals available as well.


But, don't take my word for it. Visual Latin allows you to download the first two lessons and the worksheets for free from their website. They also have four pre-lessons that are fascinating as well. The pre-lessons tell you why the study of Latin is important and what you will be studying with Visual Latin. They're free, too. Just go to the Visual Latin website by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above.

You can also find out what the other TOS Homeschool Crew Members think about Visual Latin by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent the first 10 lessons of Visual Latin for free in order to try out and give an honest review on this blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2011 9:14 PM CDT
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Thursday, 13 October 2011
Introduction to Marketing...John Allen Just Got A Real Eye Opener
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Professor in a Box - Logo  

For a couple of years, now, John Allen has been toying around with how to make some money. For the past two years we have been blessed with receiving some really neat computer programming courses to review. The review items have ranged from DVD's on how to build a website to complete courses on how to create really neat computer games. John Allen has loved all of them! For some time he has been dreaming of different wholesome computer games he could create and sell to homeschool and other kids. The only thing he lacked was the knowledge of how to promote his games and get them on the market. So, when we found out we were going to get Professor in a Box's Principles of Marketing course by Dr. Julie Pirsch we were thrilled.

The shocker set in after we began watching the first lesson. Who would have thought what goes into marketing something? Of course, if you are someone that works in that field or who has tried to market your own business, you know what all goes into it, but we had no idea.

Do any of these terms ring a bell?

  • Exchange
  • Production Orientation
  • Value Proposition

These are all terms used in just the first chapter! Want to know what they mean? You'll have to watch the lesson to find out!

Professor in a Box - Marketing Product  

There are 19 chapters in the course, but, don't worry, they are divided into 28 bite size lessons. I say bite size because you could easily watch and do a lesson a day. I wouldn't recommend it, however. Although each lecture is fairly short (I haven't encountered one yet that is more than 30 min. long), the lectures are packed with information that students need to digest.

Each lecture is very well done. You never see the teacher, but hear her pleasant voice while she is explaining the power point slides that you see on your screen. She does an excellent job of explaining things, but, like anything that someone is new at, it may take a little thinking on things in order for them to sink in.

Each lesson also comes with online resources. Those, in my opinion, are some of the funnest things about this course. Each lesson's list of resources has to do with the topic discussed in that lesson's lecture. Never fear, however. These aren't dry boring academic websites that just reiterate what the teacher says. There are links to the websites of popular companies like Disney and Apple, but there are also links to out of the way sites that have interesting ways of marketing things. For example, did you know that...

  • There is a company that lets you customize a soda bottle and put your own picture on it?
  • There's a neat site where you can plug in your zip code and find out what the marketing demographics are for your town or neighborhood? (My town has these segments living in them - "Back Country Folks", "Bedrock America", Crossroads Villagers", "Golden Ponds", and "Shotguns & Pickups"!)
  • There's a whole website devoted to promotional codes that you can use online to purchase things at a discount?

It's really neat seeing the different ways that companies market there products. And, I may have found a Christmas gift or two in the process (shhh...don't tell the wife or kids).

Professor in a Box - Graphing  

Each lesson from Principles of Marketing also has a summary of key concepts and a multiple choice quiz to take. So, as I mentioned above, you could do a whole lesson in one day, but, I wouldn't recommend it. A lesson a week, or at least every couple of days, would be a good pace.

Oh, and here's one of the best parts about it. All of this is packed into one little CD. No heavy books or manuals. Just one little CD. I was just a little disappointed that it didn't come in a box, though. After all, it is called "Professor in a BOX"! WinkLaughing

We have really enjoyed this course. It has been fun but challenging. This is one that we will continue on with even after this review is done. One word of warning, though. Although it is well done, broken down into bite size pieces, and the resources are just plain interesting and fun, this is still a college level course. A highschooler can do it, but it is not a breeze. Thankfully they allow you to take the quizzes over again until you get a passing grade. John Allen took three tries just to pass the quiz for lesson one. He is just in the early months of his freshman year of high school, though. A student that is a Junior or Senior would probably have a much easier time.

So, want to know more about Principles of Marketing? Just click here or on any of the websites above to find out how to purchase this course and other great courses from Professor in a Box. They'll even let you try out the first lesson and check out the neat online resources for free. Principles of Marketing retails for $119.99 with free shipping, and, I think, it is well worth it. Try it out to see for yourself.

As usual, some of the other great TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed this product as well and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free copy of Homeschool in a Box's Principles of Marketing course to try out and give my honest review on this blog.  

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Posted by tink38570 at 6:02 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 13 October 2011 8:18 PM CDT
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Update! Update!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Family

I finally updated our "what have we been reading" list on my Amazon.com widget in the left hand column. Please don't feel like you have to click on anything and buy it. It's just a way to update everyone...and this update is long overdue.

So! What have we been reading?

Well, I, Tim, have been on a classics binge lately in my reading. It all started when I read Sally Clarkson's "Read for the Heart" last spring. I found out how many classic children's books I had missed in my childhood.


I began my "binge" by reading "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame and continued with "Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling. I then continued by reading "Freckles" and "A Girl of the Limberlost" by Gene Stratton Porter. Recently I've fed my habit by reading "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson and Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations". Now, I'm going to tell you, I've LOVED reading the classics. They have been great. I've even reviewed a couple of them on Amazon.

But, listen to this! Do you know the neatest part about it? If you have a Kindle, Nook or some type of tablet reading device, THEY'RE FREE! Even if you just have a computer - and I'm assuming that if you are reading this, you at least have access to one - you can download them for free to read off of your laptop or desktop. I've downloaded most of them for my tablet. And...shhhh...some of them I didn't download from Amazon.

I haven't feasted strictly on classics, however. I've read a few other things. Namely books for homeschooling or for personal Christian study. I love reading Andrew Murray and "The Deeper Christian Life" was fantastic. I've also read and reviewed "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T For Your Kids" by Sally Clarkson.

So, what am I reading right now?


Well, to ease the hunger for homeschooling books I'm reading another great book from Apologia called "Educating the WholeHearted Child" (I'll be reviewing that one soon). To satisfy my ever craving need for good Christian books, I'm reading "Radical" by David Platt. Finally, to continue my habit of reading classics, I'm reading "Around the World in Eighty Days" by Jules Verne.

What has John Allen been reading?


This year John Allen is reading some great American History books for Sonlight's intensive one year American History course. So far he's read "Peace Child" by Don Richardson and "Cameron Townsend" by Geoff and Janet Benge. Right now he's reading "Down Ryton Water" by E. R. Gaggin and he's enjoying some short stories for the literature curriculum that we are reviewing. Soon he'll be joining me in reading "Around the World in Eighty Days"! I cant wait.

Joshua? Well, I'm trying to get him to read more chapter books and he is presently reading "Silver" by Gloria Whelan. Hopefully, soon, he'll be ready to slowly tackle some of the books in Sonlight's two year American History course that designed for third and fourth graders. I'm sure that he'll need a lot of help and it will probably take more than two year, but, that's one of the advantages of homeschooling!

Sarah? Well, you know Sarah. She's always reading her own stuff. Lately, I think, she's been reading a lot of Christian romance novels. She can read those in a day or less, so goes through quite a few of them.


Jacob? Jacob is beginning to learn his letters and sounds, so, hopefully someday soon he will be reading on his own. Until then, we'll continue to read great children's books like "Jessie Bear What Will You Wear", "Corduroy" and "The Snowy Day" to him.

Well, that's what we're reading. What are you reading? Leave a comment and let us know. Maybe you'll introduce us to something great that we would have never thought of! 

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:59 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 13 October 2011 1:50 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Something Exciting is About to Happen!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: General

Something exciting is about to happen! I can't tell you what it is yet, but it has something to do with what is below. I'll announce more in the coming weeks! 

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2011 7:50 PM CDT
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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
This is Fun!
Mood:  happy
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

It's a breath mint!

It's a candy mint!

It's a breath mint!

It's a candy mint!

It's two...two...two mints in one!

Do you remember those old Certs commercials? I'd post one, but I'm afraid that it would age me Surprised! Besides, this post isn't about Certs, but it's about something that really is two things in one!

How about this new commercial:

I just saw that commercial on television. Weren't the actors fantastic?!? Surprised


Actually we really enjoyed making that video, but we have enjoyed playing with the Scruble Cube even more.

And, what we said in the video really is true. It's fun, challenging, and actually can be used in homeschool. The Scruble Cube website, which you can access by clicking here, has lesson plans for using the Scruble Cube for language, math...even science!

Scruble Cube retails for $24.95 and is available at many popular retail stores. Or, you can buy it online at www.scrublecube.com.

As usual, many of the other reviewers on the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed Scruble Cube and you can find their reviews by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free Scruble Cube to use with my family and give my honest review on this blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 4:41 PM CDT
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