Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pilgirm Study, Hasty Pudding and Christmas Tomorrow

We have recently wound up our studies until January and so completed our study of the Pilgrims. We were using a Pocket Book that a friend had given us and with all the crafty ideas and hands on work my 8 year old has some idea on how these folks struggled. At the end of the study on how the Pilgrims ate we got to make some Hasty Pudding. Well as I was making this I was testing it's texture along the way. some not so fond memories of my high school in Zimbabwe where I boarded I used to eat cornmeal Porridge or as it is called in pilgrim days Hasty Pudding. It consists of cornmeal and water cooked up together and with a sweetener added. We put some Maple Syrup and Agave syrup into our 'pudding' and proceeded to eat. The Hasty Pudding pic is at the top of this post!

The 8 year old student whopped down the first bowl and said how good it was but the second bowl was a struggle. Perhaps he is realizing their food is not so appetizing. Perhaps the sweet potatoes and/or pumpkin dishes done over Christmas will be better for him to stomach.

As far as our family life goes. School some days is extremely hard to accomplish. A toddler in the mix makes for less concentration on the older child's part and so less gets down. I do get really down on myself and him because we don't seem to be accomplishing much in this area and yet he is still learning. Our toddler seems to finally be getting some of his words pronounced better and so I am worrying less about his speech or lack of understandable language.

We miss our dear sweet Brendon so much around this time of year. He loved lights, trees and of course presents too. He loved to sing Christmas carols too. We have some short videos of him in 2007 singing in our children's Christmas production. These bring a smile to our faces. i also found a video taken in 2005 when he was 2 1/2 of the boys singing in front of the Christmas tree which was surrounded by presents, and they were both full of mischief whilst we were trying to photograpgh and film them. I am glad I have these to look back at in the years to come.

I do see on any blogs that folks have moved on in their grief and I am glad for them. We seem to be slower at this but thankfully that is ok. It is alright for us to cry often and remember him with both tears and smiles. He was an inspiration to our whole family and many others. I know my pastor hardly goes through a day without thinking of Brendon and how courageous he was. (and cute too.) Looking at the little guy (now 2 1/2) we are still doing comparisons because they look like each other so much. He is truly a gift sent from heaven even if a challenging one!

We do currently have one runny nos toddler, a sick, feverish 8 year old and an exhausted Daddy due to delivering all those packages and mail before Christmas. Pray for our family to be healthy enough tomorrow to enjoy ourselves a little bit. Thanks.

We do wish you friends and family worldwide a very Merry Christmas and are thankful we get to sing Happy Birthday to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ first. We would not be able to get through a day without His love and grace in our lives.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Review: Maestro Classics

The above company has come up with a grand idea of using classical music in the background whilst telling old classical stories that will truly delight your heart and your children’s soul probably.

I received this CD “The Tortoise and the Hare” for being part of the Old Schoolhouse Crew and since listening to it the very first time I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing it a few more times. My favorite part is the song where the Pretzel Vendor, who is selling pretzels to the Americans, at the beginning of the race sings. “I love selling Pretzels on the Champs Elysees.” This made me laugh and giggle and of course start to sin.

Okay let me get serious here. I love to hear music put behind stories and so of course I loved this review. The CD audio is broken up into 7 sections. The first is a telling of the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Secondly the producer of the CD Bonnie Ward Simon begins to talk about the music and the actions that go with each part of the story. The third part is a repeat of the song “I love selling Pretzels on the Champs Elysees.”(my favorite section of course.) The next part is the Conductor and Composer Stephen Simon talking about all the different instruments that were used during the story. These range from French horns, Piccolo, Violins, bassoons, tuba, cellos, trumpets and Timpani drums to a few more like oboes and clarinets.

My knowledge of instruments increased just a little here! I have listened to classical music since 6 years old and had never heard of a Contrabasssoon or Timpani Drum! The Composer highlights parts of the story where the individual instruments are used and then plays a few bars of music with that instrument. There are pictures of the instruments in the booklet accompanying the CD. There is a replay of the story for the child to hear again so they can listen more carefully to the way the music makes the story more interesting. My son listened to this all the way through on a ride in the van one day and he was most absorbed in all of it. That does not happen often! He has not tried performing the “Pretzel” song yet as we have to master the French words used in it still. He will have fun with that one though.

The other stories available from Maestro Classics are:
Peter and the Wolf
The Story of Swan Lake
Juanita the Spanish Lobster
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Casey at the Bat

Each set contains a CD, story and activity book, and extra information tracks on the CD. The booklet links the story to the music so not only does the child hear the music but can see music notes in the book and read the words to some of the songs too. They are priced at $16.98 per CD set, or $45 for 3 sets. I know this is pricey but this work is extremely well put together and for those of us who are not musically inclined, sure could put some enthusiasm into your music lessons.
I did like doing this review a lot and will have to try to budget some money for more of these CDs in the next year. Now I will probably go to bed tonight with the “Pretzel” song buzzing in my head and it will make me hungry all night long! The music is catchy, classical and can get your child ‘hooked on classics.’

The company's website is

The link to the Homeschool Crew site for other Crew members opinions is

The above review has been my opinion of a product that I received directly from Maestro Classics as a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew tea. I have received no compensation for this review.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: 3PLearning/Mathletics

Mathletics is a Web-based learning program that integrates both home and school learning via the Internet. It is applicable for both homeschoolers and public school students. It is a very well used website and available for people to use from all over the world.

Both the student and the parent are given sign in codes once you have signed up for one year at a cost of $99 per year. There is a discount price of $59.00 per child (valid for US Subscribers only and using a secret code for the Human Calculator of 9 to get it). Other countries pay the normal subscription price. The students basically are online playing all kinds of games or doing exercises that are reinforcing their skills in all areas of Mathematics. Their scores are kept from week to week and the parent then has access to see what those are and can analyze what areas the student is weak or strong in.

My son for example was really weak in fractions and geometry as we have not covered a lot of these in our math curriculum so far. He liked however to see his rewards. The students earns credit and can then build various characters or purchase ‘stuff’ to create and print off to keep as a result of their correct answers. It is not real money and nothing gets sent to you - just feels like it for the child. My son never really earned enough to do much with it. He did not like it when the timer changed to the next question before he was ready. This means he was challenged by having to give an answer in a shorter space of time than I give to him. The child can print out his certificates if he wishes to do so to display his efforts to the whole family (and visitors too).

The Grade 2 level questions for example are along Modeling Numbers-counting in groups, comparing numbers, patterns; Additions and Subtraction- equations, with animal characters helping along the way at times; Measurement and Money, Time, weights, fluids etc; Geometry, Fractions, Multiplication and Division e.g. groups, fractions, shapes and division of groups. The students can work at their own pace and if needed can take activities at a lower or higher skill level.

Mathletics is a really good program to support another Math curriculum. It seems to help students fill in the gaps that they are missing, reinforce concepts already learned and cements them in your child’s brain I guess. There are live Math challenges that can take place between students without the actual students interacting with each other directly. More information on that is available on the site (

The site is attractive to the children as they can see their own progress and actually get rewarded for their work. Each time they return they can speed up their answers and get more rewards that way.

For our family this would be a good assistant to our math curriculum as it would give our son time to practice his thinking skills for math and have access to the computer. He does have limited time to use the computer so of course he would prefer something fun. I do wish that I had given him more time during our trial on this review to practice. He does get addicted to things and then will not get off when he is supposed to and continues to take more liberty online than he should.
This program is available for International students too with special curricula for the following countries: Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa, United States and an International section for others. You can custom design courses with a user friendly ‘drag and drop’ Course creator.

In the USA it works out to be about $2.00 per day for the use of this program. I think it will be something I look into for the next school year starting in the fall of 2010. The overall curriculum covers Kindergarten through to Grade 8 in the USA (5-14 years old).
Please do visit the site if you have any more questions. I did like this program rather a lot although have others to review in the future too I am sure. I will make a note of returning to this site in the next few months.

My above review has been purely my personal opinion. I was given a 6 week membership to Mathletics in order to review the program. I was not paid financially or in any other way for this review. The TOS Crew also has other folk’s opinions on this product especially for those with older children. Please click on through and read some of those too when you have a moment. Here are the two links: and

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tektoma - Computer Game Programming

Tektoma is a new company founded in 2009 by Tom Marx and Matilda O’Connor to provide 24/7 video tutorials to children to teach video game programming. Tom and Matilda have many years of experience with management, engineering and tech stuff.

They have been teaching children for about 9 years now at a summer camp called “Bits, Bytes and Botes” each year. The children have been taught at the camp how to program and build their own video games. As it was costly for parents to send them to the camp they came up with an easier way for children to have access to this technology all the time. Two of their children in their families liked to do this kind of work too.

My curiosity was intrigued when reading some of the above information which is supplied on their website.

Through becoming a member to the Tektoma website for a monthly fee of $14.95 per month or $180.00 per year, one has access to Software to download to your hard drive and to tutorials that help you or your child to design the first game on your computer. On the site there are short examples to see or try out of the various video games you can make. I found the Software easy to download but for some reason my computer would not take the Advanced version which actually makes the game work a million times better.
With a membership comes the following access on the site:
Tektoma offers you this:
Engaging video tutorials for ages 7-17
Tutorials of varying skill levels and topics
Learn at your own pace in the comfort of your home
Natural progression helps develop technical skills
Customize your learning experience
Low monthly membership fee gives access to all our resources
New curriculums available monthly

Examples of Games are as follows:
Racing Game (this is the game made in the Racing Game Tutorial)
Arcade Game (this is the game made in the Arcade Game Tutorial)
Platform Game (this is the game made in the Platform Game Tutorial)
Fantasy Adventure Game (this the game made in the Fantasy Adventure Game Tutorial)
What's New Puzzle Game (this is the game made in the What's New Tutorial)

My 8 year old son listened to the first tutorial and was very confused. He did try the Racing Game online and found it frustrating as using the arrow keys to move the car around it’s racing track did not work well for him. I tried it too and realized you have to be one step ahead of the car’s next move before it getting there and it worked very slowly compared to the other vehicle speeding round the track.

The tutorials are very thorough and fairly lengthy but the process is slow and clear for a child to understand if they desire to learn all the key elements to making this work. I feel that my son is not interested in learning this sort of thing at all, and every time I tried to encourage him to do so he told me that he had something else to do. Perhaps he thought I was working him too hard!
I personally do not like video games very much so am obviously not really keen on learning how to program them. I became annoyed whenever I tried to build my own and could not due to not having the correct gadgets in my directory to work with. I do not like to say this but I think I gave up. The extra load of software on my hard drive made it have to work too hard as well. It requires at least 128 MB of RAM, Direct X with 32 MB of video memory, and a screen resolution of 800 x 600. For those who are 'techie' people you would probably enjoy this site and what they have to offer.

You can link to the Homeschool crew Review site and read what other families who were given this program to try out thought of this. I am not saying it is a bad product but one that I do not understand and no like to be using. Personally I can do better things with my time on the computer and so can my children. Please follow the links below to The Old Schoolhouse Crew review site and also to the Tektoma website too.
I received a 3 month subscription to the above company and access to their website. I have written this review to describe my experience with this product. I have received no financial gift for this review. The above review is my own opinion on this product.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reviews: All About Spelling

I have not been posting for a while again and I am sorry for that. We are facing some personal issues in our home again to do with the loss of our precious son. I will try to keep up weekly now if possible.

I was at a loss at the beginning of this school year to help my 8 year old to spell. He is an excellent reader but I think he is missing half of the words because he can not totally understand everything he reads. I was wondering what spelling program to use or to just plod along. I then received an email from The Old Schoolhouse Crew informing me of the pending arrival of "All About Spelling" program into my mailbox. On receiving the package and opening it I was interested. The method of spelling took me back to his phonics learning days and also the times we did preschool at home using sounds. However, I did not include all the different sounds each vowel made, or the sound the combination of consonants made in that training. Now in the "All About Spelling" packet there was a possible solution to use.

I was leery at first as my son gets distracted easily but once I began using the system he has started to like it. the first few lessons were boring for him being on about a Grade 2 level student. He then started to catch on when we used the counters and the tiles on the board to help out in spelling the words. We are still only half way through Level 1 but we are enjoying ourselves and it is all laid out so easily in the manual that I just have to pre-read the chapter to make sure I have all the correct review phonogram, sound, key and word cards ready to use. When the student is reviewing the sounds or words or phonograms during the lesson he is aware that if he gets any incorrect he will have to repeat them at the beginning of the next lesson before proceeding on. After spelling out the words with tiles you then test him again by asking him to spell the words once you read them out again. I usually mix them around a bit here.

He decided to quit messing around during spelling and now the learning process is a little faster than at the beginning of the exercise. We still have to work our way through the rest of the Level 1 Book and progress to Level 2 which is more complex spelling words with 2 or 3 phonograms in each word. I am glad we started at the beginning and think we may have found something my son likes to learn with.

The program focuses on Phonograms, Sounds, Words and Key cards (explanation cards). These cards are brightly colored too. The books make it so easy to follow once the kit is assembled and put in a card box for safe keeping. The curriculum uses sight, sound and touch to enable the student to 'get' it. Some children process faster in one way or the other but using all 3 ways it causes the principle to cement in the child's brain and not be easily forgotten. Each lesson builds upon the one before.

There are currently 5 levels available and a Level 6 is being worked on by the authors. If you are not sure at which level to begin at with this program All about Spelling have an article available on their website for you to read and some sample lessons for each Level for you to see. I see from the Testimonials on their site that both Homeschool, Private and Public school teachers have commented on how wonderful the program has been to use. There are also more reviews available at the Homeschool Crew blog :

There is a picture of our Level 1 magnets on the Easel above that we use for this spelling exercise. I do like this program and will continue to use as long as I am able to afford it. The Level 1 Manual and one Student Packet is $29.95. Level 2 is $39.95 for the Teachers Manual and one student packet. The Starter Kit includes the Tiles, magnets, and phonograms CD_Rom is priced at $26.95 but is available for use throughout all levels. Additional student packets for larger families working on more than one level are available for $14.95 in Level 1 and $19.95 in Level 2. The products are of good quality and not easily broken or torn either. Please visit their website at this link for more informatsion that may interest you for this excellent thorough curriculum .

All About Spelling" sent me Level 1 and Level 2 of their curriculum to use as I am part of the 2009-2010 Homeschool Crew and I have done the above review for free with no fees paid to myself. The reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: Exploracise Gymathtics DVD

On the right side of the screen is a DVD cover for an exercise DVD that I was given the privilege of reviewing for "Old Schoolhouse Crew" team. I have mixed emotions about this. I have done this exercise routine 2-3 times with my 8 year old son. He does not like to do it as he gets totally wiped out.
I will explain why. During the exercise routine there is a lady guiding you through the exercises but the screen is also made smaller so that Math patterns, shapes, and skip counting can be included in the picture. I found my attention diverted from following the instructor and so did he so he could follow what was being shown instead.
I liked the exercises and find that he needs to be able to do them and they will enable him to participate more in the sports world, but he could not keep up with the instructor. The other children shown on the DVD seem to have some issues with that too. The concept of learning and doing exercise at the same time is a credible one, but for a child who has difficulty focusing on more than one thing at the same time it could be difficult. I told him to ignore the counting and just do the exercises instead.
In my opinion I think the instructor/s should present each exercise slowly before continuing with the group and the music so that the children are able to figure it out first before rushing in to something they do not know how to do. I definitely would advise parents being in the same room or within watching distance as if children are spaced too close together this could cause a problem.
I do notice from their website that the DVD Gymathtics has been voted as one of the 100 best toys for 2009 by Dr Toy. The Math facts are targeted towards Grade 2nd-5th. There is a second DVD being worked on right now. the cost of this fun educational workout is $24.99 with free S&H at the moment. Here is a link to their site: .
If you would like some other folks opinions on this DVD for exercise for your children please click on over to the Homeschool Crew website. ( ) I will be using this DVD when my son is older and can grasp the concepts a little more with doing exercise and Math at the same time!
I have been given this product for free to review it as part of the Homeschool Crew. I have written about my opinion of the product and am not being paid for this information.


It has been a week since doing my last review. I was away on a brief vacation with my husband in Kentucky. We had some time to unwind, some time to hike and some time to eat without worrying about little guys to feed. It was good for us.

Before I left I attended my local MOPS group and shared this unique idea with them about doing a Thanksgiving Tree with your children. There are many ways to do this but I have included a link that you can click through to that explains in more detail what to do. I think this is a cool idea.

Children or adults trace around their hands and/or feet to form the 'leaves' for the tree. You draw a trunk and branches for the tree on a big piece of poster paper or board. Then by cutting out the leaves and sticking or pinning them to the tree you have a memory of each year of what your family was thankful for during that year. The tree may be rolled up and kept safe or the leaves taken off and kept in the family picture album. Oh yes the children and you are supposed to write on those leaves what you are thankful for.

I included one of my husband's hands, two of mine, and three or four of our children. I also managed to trace a handprint from our son B, who passed away last year. I wrote things on it that he would have been thankful for if he was here. We had taken handprints of him on the night he died. It was a special way to include him in our Thanksgiving Holiday this year. Last year it did not mean much to any of us as we were not feeling very thankful.

Please link to their site and see how you can make your own tree in whatever size you want. I know of families that make an enormous one and put it on the back of a door (front door). then everyone who comes to visit over that weekend fills out a leaf or two and sticks it on. This makes an excellent memory of who was there and what they were thankful for too.

Heres the link again and a photo is posted of what ours looks like right now. We still have a few 'leaves' to fill in still. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review: AVKO Educational Research Foundation

I have recently been allowed to access the following website as part of the Homeschool Crew 2009-10 and learned some things about the English language that I did not know. It is hard! I can not remember how I learned to read and what method I was taught to read by but always have known that I learned to read at a young age and have loved it ever since.

I am outlining below the Mission Statement presented on the website so that you have a clearer understanding of what the goals of this company are before you read the review.

AVKO Mission Statement

The AVKO Educational Research Foundation, founded in 1974, has as its mission the following:
To determine what makes the learning of reading and spelling so difficult for some and so easy for others.
To determine what it is about our language that good readers learn without being taught that poor readers don't.
To determine whether or not that which poor readers don't learn is ever systematically taught and if it isn't, if it can be.
To devise techniques and materials to enable teachers (or parents) to systematically teach poor readers and/or poor spellers that which schools presently are not teaching.
To widely disseminate its discoveries of techniques and materials that enable dyslexics to learn to read and to spell.

From what I have determined listening to various MP3 files that I have downloaded and read many different articles during my access time to this site that AVKO is helping those with Dyslexia and/or slow learning students to improve drastically in their spelling, reading, writing and comprehension of the English language.

The website offers two kinds of membership to their site. The Basic Membership allows you access to download hundreds of dollars worth of E-books on Spelling and Reading, How to Teach a Dyslexic, How to teach reading and spelling, 25 % discount on printed materials, MP3 recordings of workshops on this spelling method, some word games, activities nd placement tests too. This is a cost of $25.00 per year.

The Deluxe Membership costs $100.00 per year and gives you access to all of the above, as well as being able to read all of AVKO's Curriculum materials (not including Sequential Spelling which is their most well known item I believe), 25% discount off printed materials, and access to AVKO's newest E-books. This Deluxe Membership is available to co-ops and learning centers too.

I would say this website is a great wealth of information especially for those who are having difficulty teaching a certain child how to read and spell. I have listened to a lot of what I have downloaded but am content with the system I am using now as it is working for my son. I have been able to download and read some of the E-books to use at a later stage. They are very well set out although I personally prefer a book in my hands to be able to flip the pages back and forth, and not be in front of the computer all day long.

The AVKO Website does have free samples of lessons and other teaching aids for you to download and try before making the membership purchase. I would recommend this website and system if you need it. For my situation though I was confused as I am using a curriculum that is useful for my sons Audio, Visual and Kinesthetic needs.

Oh yes by the way AVKO stands for:

A - Audio V - Visual K - Kinesthetic O - Oral

These are all the techniques used in the program "Sequential Spelling." Your child is using all of these 4 ways to learn how to read and spell.

This review is my opinion. I was given free access to this membership for a limited time to be able to write this review. If you think this will work for you and your child please can you take a look at some other Crew reviews at the following link:

You may also click through to AVKO's website directly at

Break time for Mum and Dad

After a long time of being married, all of 12 years my husband and I took a very short 2 day vacation last week to Kentucky. It was a good break for us in that we only had to think of each other and not what each little person needed every moment of the day. Our children were being well taken care of and loved where they were.

We were very tired ourselves and did a lot of sleeping, some hiking and some reading. I, of course had some Homeschooling books in my lap during this time. I had no access to the Internet so was not able to cruise at all. I am tossing around some ideas on what to teach my 8 year old son, and what I am using does not seem to be going in his head much, or staying there. We are working on a Football Unit Study which we have put together ourselves with a little help from a friend in Florida. It is holding his interest more than any other subjects right now. Doing formal language and grammar just does not spark him at all but when we sit down and talk about Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts, or the Bengals or perhaps the New York Giants he is all ears. He remembers who did what to whom in which game, and sometimes has to go look it up on the Internet under our watchful eye. He loves to watch replays of games over and over. I can't for the life of me understand why but perhaps this is something I will use to get him to do some timelines on each team's history and perhaps players and owners too. History, geography, lots of writing and some research thrown in and he is all for it. I personally still don't understand the game of course!

I am spending quite a few hours these days reviewing alternative curriculums and searching my heart and the Lord's will on which direction to go. A Charlotte Mason attitude with real books and not too many sit down and write lessons are attracting me, as well as finding someone who puts this altogether for me in a package and I just follow it. Our lives are so crazy with grief counselling, toddlers running through the house and a big guy who makes noise wherever he goes I need something simple and easy to follow! Anyone have any ideas for that one - let me know.

Following this post will be a review of another Spelling program and website that I have been looking at over the past 6 weeks.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Review: American Heritage Education Foundation

A month or two ago I received a CD in the mail from a friend in Florida from the American Heritage Education Foundation. I left it in the packet as it was summer and did not feel like looking at it right then. Well then as part of the Old Schoolhouse Crew Daniel and I received another packet in the mail with one more of these CD's for us to review.

I set to work as it is nearing Thanksgiving season, and as I do not totally 'feel' the vibes this time of year having not been raised in the USA, looked at some lessons in depth. The CD is broken up into about 15 or 16 sections covering subjects from the origin of the US Flag, the Star Spangled Banner, the Constitution, American Revolution, Origins of Thanksgiving, US Presidents, Statue of Liberty, Pledge of Allegiance, America the Beautiful and What is an American. There are a few I may have left out of here.

As I was reading I decided to print out some of the word searches and information for Thanksgiving Holidays, words and pictures for The Star Spangled Banner, Mini books on the United States Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. I printed and cut out the words for the Star Spangled Banner song and then Daniel had to put the words in order on the table. We listened to versions of the song online and kept playing the music over and over so we could sing the entire song with all the verses that one does not normally hear.

I am sure in later years I will probably use this CD and it's information to supplement other curriculums. It is set up to be for a public school or multi student curriculum in my opinion. My son does not like straight bookwork so needs variation other than just writing to remember things. the crosswords helped him out a little with this and that is spelling practice for him too. He does not like comprehension but if I ask the questions, he answers, and then I fill in the answers he tends to go over them later in his spare time. He reads over his old work a lot.

I did use this CD during the last 30 days to supplement what we were already doing for our Thanksgiving Notebook. As I am not a born and bred American I find things like this interesting for me. Perhaps if my son was older he would be looking on the CD for his own information.

The CD contains information at many different Education levels listed in the following order:

Elementary School Level

Elementary School Level Spanish

Middle School Level

High School Level

A version of Acrobat Reader is also available for download off the CD. The cost of the information on the CD is valued at around $150.00. The CD is made available for free and the Foundation relies on donations to enable them to mail out these CDs to educators and parents alike all over the United States.

I enclose the quote from the Foundations website below to reveal to you their mission:

Our Mission
AHEF is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation (501.c.3) dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America's factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens.
AHEF accomplishes this patriotic mission by writing, producing, and distributing FREE K-12 lesson plans to teachers, students, and families in all 50 states and through additional initiatives, programs, and partnerships.
AHEF is inclusive of individuals of every race and creed and every religious or non-religious persuasion.

I think perhaps the goal of educating America's children with the rich history of their country is a good one. There are many immigrants here in the United States including myself who do not know where, when and how some of the traditions were established in this country. The information gives clear unbiased information on the government and US presidents too.

I have received the above educational material for free and have been asked to review it. The above review is therefore my personal opinion on the product. Thank you for reading it. Please go to the following website for more on this product or across to the Homeschool Crew website ( for more opinions on this jam packed informational CD). I do happen to have one or two extra copies in my homeschool basket. Email me if you are interested in one please.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Review: Bright Ideas Press

"Hands On Geography"

Easy and Fun Activities for Exploring God's World

Have you ever wanted to jump on a plane and leave your home to go explore the world for however long you wish to. I definitely do. I grew up flying to Europe, South Africa, Australia and United Kingdom on planes, learning about the countries and their people. I am not able to financially do that for my children so we are learning through our books.
I had the unique book called "Hands On Geography" sent to be by Bright Ideas Press. One of the main chapters in this book that perked my interest was the 'Passport Fair' and the 'Missionary Geography.'

In the 'Passport Fair' the author Maggie Hogan outlines how to organize a 'visit' to countries you can not physically get to yourself by having a Passport Fair. Participants need to each research a different country that interests them and then write about, draw pictures, find photographs, perhaps postcards, make foods from, and even wear costumes for that country. At the fair there are booths to display all the different information they have collected. Obviously it needs to made interesting to their peers and not just themselves. I loved this idea and am working on doing this with our Field trip coop perhaps.
The second chapter that interested me was Missionary Geography. this will teach your children and you about other countries as well as the culture and people there by studying missionaries who have been there, or perhaps contacting a missionary. The children can put on dramas, try out the different foods the missionaries have to eat, perhaps even start a prayer map for all the different missionary outreaches from your church or ministries they know of. They are learning facts and getting compassion all at the same time.
This Geography book was very basic but has solid biblical principles behind it too. We are in the middle of the 'Joseph's Journey' study too which is making us dig deeper into Joseph's life and the purpose behind it.

I have had to adjust some of the concepts for my son to a lower level of understanding but generally he gets it. We will be using this Activity book for future study and perhaps lap booking too.

Christian Kids Explore Biology

I was also privileged to review the above titled book. This is a thick book with 8 different units with 3-4 lessons in each unit. The book is for Grade 3-8 level Biology. The topics covered are Biology Basics, Plants in God's World, Birds of the Earth, Mammals in the Wild, the Human factor, Reptiles All Around, Insects High and Low, and Water Creatures.

As we were doing a lap book on Fall I decided to use the lesson on Trees in our lap book as an additional subject. We were already tracing the leaves so I added in more detail from this Biology book to teach my son a little more. I benefited from it too re-learning some things I had first read about over 30 years ago.

I had agreed to review this book even though it was not totally age applicable for my son but feel that it will be used in the future to boost our nature studies no matter what other curriculum we may be using. The lesson plans are outlined for the parent and the materials needed are not too costly and are outlined at the beginning of each unit. I fell the author Stephanie Redmond has done a great job of explaining the principles of what you are learning throughout the book. She has used most of the ideas she gives on her own children and is a homeschooling mother herself.
The curriculum does leave room for you to do more research on your own with books you may find at home or in your local library. Science is a difficult subject to teach and the author has done a fine job of presenting the facts. Of course there are lots of other reviews to look at for Bright Ideas Books on the Crew website or at
I have been given the opportunity to review these curriculum books for free and have not been paid to do so. These reviews are my opinion and you need to research the company's involved yourself before making a purchase. Please see the following page for more reviews from the Crew.

Fall and Grieving

We have recently passed the one year anniversary of our son's death from Medulloblastoma cancer. After hearing from a friend up in Northern Indiana that her daughter is still doing well and has recurrence of the same cancer, I sit in wonder. I can only ponder on all the what if this and that and then I think that Brendon is doing better than he probably would be on earth. He has a big home and a whole body too. He has lots of friends that are with him all the time and he is allowed to play with whoever he wants, whenever he wants. His life in heaven is spent praising the Lord most likely.

We visited the cemetery on the anniversary of his death even though it was bucketing down rain here in Indy. It sort of reflected the mood that we had been feeling for a few days already. The boys are trying to get along with each other but that is a challenge. My oldest is fighting school every day but does really well when he applies himself to it. I have a natural love of learning but I think some boys have a love for goofing around, and trying to get out of work in every way they can.

Our family is struggling on a daily basis still to develop new normals. Holiday season this year will still be a challenge as we remember our last Christmas with Brendon in 2007 was so much fun! I had better sign off as this is causing me to tear up again. Please continue to pray for our family when you can. We so appreciate that!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: ABC Teach Website


I once again received a fairly interesting product. The above highlighted title is for a HUGE website for any learning related information or documentation. I was given a complimentary subscription for 30 days to this website. ABC Teach does give access on their site to at least 5000 of these printable items. A membership to the site for the cost of $40 per year and will enable you to access at least 35 000 different kinds of documents.

The range and variety is incredible. I was away on vacation for 2 weeks of my 30 day trial so did not really have much time to check out everything I would have liked to delve into. I will list below some of the things that interested me.

- Handwriting practice sheets
- Unit Studies
- Math worksheets for a wide range of skill levels
- Holiday themed studies e.g for Lapbooking
- Different language worksheets
- Ability to create your own template spelling lists from words you use in your own studies
- Being able to create crosswords, word searches and scrambled words from your spelling words
- Cross curriculum
- Comprehension stories and questions (including themed and seasonal ones)

This is just a miniscule amount of the information compared to what is actually on there. Daniel loves word searches, crosswords and fill in the gap stuff. I printed out a bunch of things for him to work on when we travel in the car on errands. I also included some printed comprehension worksheets, crosswords and word searches in our Unit Study on Thanksgiving this month. He likes to do all kinds of different things with the same words, and not straight creative writing. We are adding in some things on the American Flag and the Star Spangled Banner to this Thanksgiving Study we are working on. This allows him to work on his own a little so I can take care of the toddler.

I have heard there are other websites online that have these kinds of worksheets available for free or to pay a minimal fee. The ease of having everything available at one site may definitely work for you and save you time looking all over the place. I do not think I personally will benefit from having access to this many printables because I do not use them on a daily basis. For someone whose child absolutely loves bookwork or copywork then this would be ideal. At this time in our lives it is not beneficial for us to purchase this membership.

I would however say that I have enjoyed digging into so many different kinds of things on ABC Teach that I had never even thought of using before. You can get a taste of this well stocked website by visiting for yourself. I am sure I will be popping back there from time to time to see the different articles that may be added to the '5000 free printables' area.

I am blessed to be a reviewer this year and not have to pay for these products, and when I use them I then write on my experience and opinion with the product, and affirm you to try them out for yourself. Drop by the Crew review site and read what my fellow crew mates say about ABC Teach!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: Virginia Soaps and Scents

As part of the Old Schoolhouse Crew for this year I have been privileged to review some really neat products. I believe that last year the Crew asked if they could review some more personal products and I believe their prayers were answered. Sometimes it is nice to try out some new things especially those with oils in and no nasty additives. Those of you who know how adamant I am about additives and not using them in foods or beauty products please take note of the products I will tell you about below.

The company who sent me the small guesthouse packet of different soaps and laundry detergent is called Virginia Soaps & Scents. Their story is somewhat unique to most of you but not to me. Their new adventure into the soap business started as a result of the loss of something precious to their family. Their youngest granddaughter passed away suddenly as a result of a tragic car accident. They spent a long period of time mourning and grieving whilst ministering to their daughter and grieving themselves. To get back into the homeschooling way of things they started a unit study on Life in the Colonial era in the state of Virginia. During the study they experimented in making lavender soap. They were amazed at what they had done and then experimented some more, and it finally evolved into a home business.

This is an amazing story to me as I continue to work on my feelings of grief over the loss of my son Brendon from cancer. I have not found a way yet that definitely I can use to glorify God and honor our son at the same time. I am still searching for ways to use Brendon's legacy and helping people and our family at the same time.

Anyway in the small packet came 3 soaps Oatmeal Milk and Honey, Coconut Lemongrass, and Fresh Orange. An additional soap called "Shampoo Bar" and a small sandwich bag of "Laundry Soap Kit." I have tried out the Lemongrass and the Fresh Orange soap on a daily basis in the last few weeks and find they are smooth to the touch with a pleasant smell and enough bubbles to get me clean. The Oatmeal and Honey Bar I am waiting to try later when the other two are finished. I have noticed that these soaps do not dissolve into pieces as soon as they get wet which is a plus.

I gave the Shampoo bar to my husband to try first. He used it two or three times, went back to his shampoo, then a few more times and then told me he was done with it. That is because it caused his head to itch and flake. My 8 year old son liked the bar but he said he did not like the feel of it in his hands. Go figure on that one! I guess change is hard for him. I used the bar on my 2 year old and he was fine with putting it on his wet hair and then rubbing with mommy to get his hair nice and clean. He smells fantastic and has had no problems with his skin itching at all. I have tried the Shampoo bar at least 5 times and it seems to work best when I do not put conditioner in my hair afterwards. I have tried to do it both ways and even after 3 days it still feels good and clean. I guess for two of us it is a winner.

Last but not least is my adventure into using the Laundry Soap Kit. Our small sample kit made a half gallon of soap which is being kept in a re-used 1 gallon tub I had. This soap does not have any suds so you can not see any bubbles in the washing machine but the laundry (and diapers) come out clean and smell great. I did have doubts about this but am happy with the results. The overall cost of using this laundry soap is between 4-7 cents per load. That is inexpensive in this day and age. I am currently using an organic laundry soap powder to do everything so saving some dollars would make sense in this area of our home!

Virgina Soaps and Scents carries regular sized 4.5 oz bars of soap and the Shampoo bar is 5.5 oz and can last for as long as you would normally use a 32oz bottle of shampoo. Most of the soaps are made from Coconut oils, olive oils, and essential oils. The one thing I did notice was a lack of specific ingredients listed for the bar soaps and shampoo soap. I would like to see that listed on the website or the packaging. The reason being that I have family and friends with allergies to products and I am unable to purchase things for them without knowing what the product contains. I know tha tI can call or email the company but it is easier to be able to look at the site and decide if this product is able to meet our needs. I would also like to know where the ingredients are from as do now wish to support a country or business that is not taking care of our environment at the same time as making money off of it.

The price of the soaps ranges from $4.50 per bar to buying 3 for $12.00 or buying 4 and getting the 5th one for free. The Shampoo Bar costs $5.50 or 2 for $10.00. Shipping and handling is reasonable too. I did notice they have a Shampoo, body and shave or All-in-One Bars for $4.50 too. This is useful for those children going away to camp or for college students, or a husband travelling on business.

I better finish this up and go catch some beauty sleep for another homeschooling, cleaning and fun day tomorrow. I do think you ought to check out these products and maybe even order the Sampler basket and see for yourself how you like these soaps or give some away for Christmas too.

I am a reviewer for the TOS Crew and so what I have said above is my opinion. Please do the research for yourself and some more reviews can be found at the TOS Crew blog at

Thanks for reading and keep reading and learning every day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Review: Amazing Bible World History Timeline

As part of the Old Schoolhouse Crew I have received a wide variety of products and this one shown on my left would have to be one of the hardest to review so far.

When I first opened the chart to see what it entailed I was amazed . The only space to view this Timeline would be on my big double bed or the living room carpet. With a toddler running around, the bed won out! I was then able to walk around the chart from each side and read small pieces of text.

As you can see it is shaped in a 3/4 circle format. Most of the information is in very small print and I had to use a magnifying glass to read some of the details listed.

The Timeline covers what happens during the History of the world as we know it through our Bible. The creators used history books, encyclopedias and other historical documents as well as the Bible. The formation of the different nations is noted and compared with what was happening at the same time in different parts of the world. It reveals information on the Pharaoh's of Egypt, the Chinese Empire and some references to Buddhism too. This may be a deterrent to some families who want to purchase this Bible Timeline for their studies. I would not recommend this product be used with younger children as they could easily be distracted by the other cultures instead of just sticking with the Bible facts. One needs to have a good strong faith in Jesus Christ and a good knowledge of the Bible to not be waived by any one thing you may observe on this Timeline.

For me personally this chart is so big and has too much detail for me to absorb. I found that overwhelming. The part I liked was being able to see who else lived at the same time as some of my favorite Bible characters. I also noticed on how people's lives definitely got shorter the more modern the world became. I am not a history fan so my interest was not too deep.

This Bible History Timeline is definitely for a person who loves Theology and history all wrapped up together. My oldest son is only 8 but as I agreed to review items for older students too I have done that with this product. I do know personally a few folks in the ministry who would just love to have a copy of this product. Perhaps they will be borrowing mine in the next few months or years!

I have been able to review this Bible Timeline as part of the 2009/10 TOS Crew and the thoughts expressed above are purely my opinion. This Bible World History Timeline sells for $29.97 plus a small fee of $6.00 for S & H. Currently on their website they are offering some free downloads which includes interactive maps of the Holy Land (valued at $14.97) that can be viewed on your computer, and a file of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ.

Click on over to the Crew website by and read some of the other reviews written by my fellow bloggers of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. The website for
Amazing Bible World History Timeline is . Enjoy reading.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Remembering my son Brendon Knight

Dearest Brendon,

Oh my precious darling! How we miss you so very much. Your smile, your hugs, your kisses and your laugh. You are always an inspiration to us all even now that you are not on earth. I am sure you are having fun with all your buddies up there. There are so many who are your age that it will be a good party for you.

Daddy, Daniel and I really miss you sweetheart and we look forward eagerly to the day that we get to see you standing waiting for us to enter heaven too. It will be like a blink of an eye to you but a very long time for us! :) ( ) Love and hugs from us darling boy - Bub!!!

The day here on earth is rainy, wet and windy. Thank you Lord for the rain and the storms in our lives that make us aware that a relationship with You is not just about the good times but about the valleys too. Jesus is the real thing. If you do not have an living, breathing relationship with the Lord Jesus then you need one. Jesus is the only person who really truly believes in you and will stick by you 24/7. Jesus loves you - He really does. You know who you are and please contact us or someone who knows the Lord if you need help getting to know Him.

Thank you for all of your messages from those on Facebook, in the visitors book, and emails. Walt and I are grateful for the love still shown to us. This year has been long and yet gone so fast.

Love Mummy, Daddy, Daniel and Andrew.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Prayer Request for Tiffany

I just wanted to ask my readers far and wide to please pray for a friend of mine from my MOPS group called Tiffany B (name withheld). She fell down the stairs today and is still unconscious. She was holding one of her children in her arms. Her daughter is ok but Tiffany is still out and not moving much at all. As a MOPS group we are devastated by this. It seems sickness, disease and all kinds of stuff are against our little group that is so strong for each other. We must be doig something right in the spirit. Please lift her family up in prayer and her especially for the Lord to let her gain consciousness. Her husband works and goes to school 2-3 nights a week and they have two partially special needs children.

Thank you so much.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Review: Sarah's Wish

I recently was privileged to sit down and read on my own a marvellous book called "Sarah's Wish." It is written by author Jim Baumgardner and published by Tate Publishing. I took the book with me on our vacation and definitely shut myself up in my room with a view of the mountains and my eyes on the text (mostly). I was hooked from the first few pages of it. No I am not just saying that but really loved this book. I have not read a book (fiction) by myself for about 3 years. that is too long of course.


I am not going to let you know everything that happens but just give you a tast. the story is obviously about Sarah, a young lady who is in a tragic accident with her mother. She is left an orphan. She is taken in by a lady called "Granny' who is so funny and has a character all of her own. The book is set in the early 1800's when states were being set up but also there was a lot of slavery going on in the USA. Granny and Sarah's mother were both involved in the hiding and moving of slaves called the "Underground Railroad" movement.

The book shares some of the adventures of Sarah and Granny and their dealings with the authorities both good and bad and some of the slaves too. There are two other books in the series called Sarah's Promise and Sarah's Escape. They both sound exciting and I guess Mr Baumgardner is still looking into writing more. If I had daughters I would not hesitate to order this for Christmas for them! They are learning history and a little geography and some old American English all at the same time.

Included in the first book Sarah's Wish is a link in the back page to an audio download of the story so you can let younger one's listen to it or copy it onto a disk and play in the vehicle or MP3 player. I am sure that I will be purchasing more of this series in time. Sarah's Wish sells for $9.99, the audio CD's from the website are $16.99, or all three of the above books I mentioned for $39.95. Shipping and handling is free on most products. Here is the link to their website ( )or you can link to the Homeschool Crew review site to what other folks are saying about "Sarah's Wish" at
I have a freebie for my readers, perhaps some of you already have this. It is a Autumn lapbook or workbook for your younger readers or older perhaps. We have already done one of these and used some ideas from this Autumn Treasures book to add to ours too.

I love lapbooks and so does my son. He does a lot more reviewing of his work this way by looking at the pictures and sharing with family what 'he' has put together!

Whether you are home schooling or not this is for you all to share!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Review: Guardian Angel Publishing

I have five books to review from the above Publisher who have an amazing standard of work. These books were all sent to me in eBook format but are available on CD or in print for additional costs.

The first review is for a book titled “Earthquake!” After re-reading this little 30 page book I can see it is an easy to comprehend narrative of the how’s, whys and what to/ what not to do’s of earthquakes. The information provided is brief and to the point. It covers what happens during one; shows areas of the world mostly likely to be in earthquake zones; what to do before, during and after an earthquake in order to stay safe and healthy.
This short eBook sells for $5.00 and downloads easily. Print copies are $11.95 plus $5.95 for S&H. CD format available for $9.95 plus $5.95 S&H.

The second book I read is titled “Gifts From God” authored by Cynthia Reeg. This book is pure pleasure to look at. It is refreshing to see children being talked about as gifts through one of the pages. Photography is exquisite and professionally finished thanks to Photographer Mary Sue Roberts. The Scriptures are set into the photographs and are encouraging to the reader. It sells as a PDF file for $5.00. Once again a CD or Print Book (8.5 in x 11 in) is available for extra.

Thirdly I read “Maybe We Are Flamingo’s”. I liked this colorful and humorous story of 2 flamingo’s born into their flock, but not realizing that they were supposed to be a different color for a year before they turned pink. The story explores their different ways of finding out what they need to eat and how to live before they turn pink. They learn about themselves by asking questions and watching others. They decided to be themselves and not to try to be anybody else. That is something we should all learn!
An eBook format is $5.00 whilst print and CD copies are additional. This book is able to be downloaded to an iPod or iPhone to be read whilst waiting at a doctors office or in line at the store or bank. That is a useful feature for those who are able to utilize it.

My fourth adventure into these books was “No Bones about It - The Sum of Our Parts.” This book is full of light humor and easy to understand facts and explanations, as well as some crazy pictures set up in a rhyme format. The point of the book is to help the student learn about all the bones in their body. By working it ‘s way from the head to the toes the rhymes help the student remember the names of the bones. Once the book is read through a few times it begins to stick in your mind. I wish I had had something like this to help me in biology when I was a teenager!
My son was not interested in this book too much so I will probably reserve it for next year’s curriculum. I intend to print it out anyway and put it in a folder for me to just pick up and read sometime when he is bored! As a PDF download for $5.00 it is an easy addition to any science or Biology curriculum.

Hamster Holidays” I think was the most enjoyable book out of all the ones I was blessed to receive. This is a delightful read for both young and old alike. The arrival of it in my Inbox was great as my 8 year old and I have just started the journey into Nouns, verbs, adjectives and pronouns etc. This is a hard road to take for boys I think! The book gives an index with meanings of nouns and adjectives, different kinds of nouns and then places them in the poem format. The different grammar expressions are in different colors to make it clearer to the student to identify the nouns and adjectives. One reads the antics of the Hamsters during all of their holidays whilst learning at the same time. There is a brief study guide at the end of the poems to reinforce what the student has learned with the answers included.

I did happen to have some time today to look over the website for and see a wide variety of books to help all kinds of learners both classic, eclectic and those that just get it any old how! A few freebies are available too. This is a well organized website with some video clips of most of the PDF books. the other reviews from the rest of the TOS Crew for 2009-10 are on the following link at the Homeschool Crew website :

These products were sent to me as I am part of the TOS Crew for 2009/10 and the above review is my opinion.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vacation and the Smokies

Well the weather has been fantastic. the drive down took about 9 hours with stops for stretching and food breaks. We are doing ok. I was sick for 3 days with flu and nausea! It was awful. Our condo is at the top of ski Mountain road which is treacherous with hairpin bends and oh my goodness. We still have to visit the grocery store today and pick up some things. Just wanted to let you know we are doing ok.

Views are great and we did a 3 mile hike today and Andy walked most of the way!

I will update more when I get back to civilization as WE know it.....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nature Friend Magazine

Smaller Size

During the month of August I received my first copy of Nature Friend Magazine to read. I was intrigued right from the start by the photograph on the cover. It was an owl swooping down to catch a rat in the dark of night. I have read other nature magazines but with as much information as this one has to offer.

Nature Friend is a company that upholds the principles of the Word of God and has high Christian family Standards, Divine Creation (no evolution) and practical stewardship of God’s creation. The previous statement is mentioned on the first pages of the magazine.

I have read both of the magazines I received thoroughly at least 2 or 3 times and am amazed at the quality and accuracy of the photographs. The feature article in August was on Owls and was extremely detailed including all the information on how the author and photographer had to set up the stunt to take their pictures. Other articles in the August issue were Animal Footprints, Tree Frogs and the Soft Shelled Turtle.

With the September issue I was introduced to stick insects, a peculiar bird called the Malleefowl from Australia, pictures of star formations at night, photography of fall colors and my favorite was on weaver birds. I grew up overseas in Africa with Weaver birds all around me and it was good to see them again even if only in a nature magazine!

In both issues one had a chance to do a crossword, fill in the blank sentences, pages of drawings done by readers copying the examples of “You can Draw” from other issues of the magazine, and a readers mailbox with photographs included. These are the Study Guide parts to the magazine available at an additional cost. . This is a safe magazine to subscribe to with no advertising in for a yearly cost of $36.00. A 2 year subscription is $68.00. To subscribe from Canada and other international countries is more though. The study guide will only be in your copy of the magazine if you subscribe to it for $24.00 per year or $48.00 for 2 years. It enables the student to see how much of the magazine he/she has comprehended. In my opinion I would say this would be an excellent addition to a science curriculum or even used entirely for a science curriculum, with a little art thrown in to the mix. You could take the major article and expand on the information already given to you, perhaps making a scrapbook or lapbook out of it. It would make a great birthday or Christmas present for the nature minded child. That is my opinion and if you would like some more information on the company and their principles go to

I liked this magazine and will definitely look at adding it to our library of information in the future.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nutrition 101: Choose Life!

This e-book ‘Nutrition 101! Choose Life’ is a goldmine for me to review. There is so much information in this e-book that has been compiled by Debra Raybern, Sera Johnson, Laura and Karen Hopkins. These authors have learned from life and from studying their favorite topic which is nutrition and how it can benefit our bodies.
The book is divided up into 6 units of 4 chapters each. The main topics cover the Brain; the Digestive System; Respiratory, Olfactory and Visual Systems; Skeletal and Muscular system, Cardiovascular and Immune System; and the Endocrine system and emotions.
We managed to cover 3 chapters in Unit 1 about the Brain, Brain Foods and the Nervous System and how it works. My son was not very interested in me reading out all this information to him that he did not understand. We looked at the pictures and I explained some of the processes of the brain to him in easier terminology. We especially had fun drawing out his nervous system on a large life size body image of him (see pics with this post above and below).

After the main body of the e-book where the student has numerous experiments and food activities to participate in and which cement the information they learned, Appendix A through EE reveals information and facts on foods. A Choose Life Food Pyramid is included. I printed this out and placed it on the fridge so my son knows what he is allowed to eat.

Daily menu samples are there to read through; sample shopping lists; alkaline and acidity food lists; how to bake bread; some brief ideas on how to use Essential Oils; Natural Remedy cleaning solutions; the importance of sleep to our bodies; how to counteract cancer before it grows in our bodies; how microwaves affect our food nutrients; the 40 best foods to eat; enzyme supplementation and many, many more.

We tried out 3 recipes Guacamole (Avocado is the brain food), Greek salad(using olive oil and olives for brain food), and Potato Salad (Flax seed Oil -brain food). They were all delicious but our favorite was the Greek Salad. Everything tasted perfect and the olives just gave it the right amount of tartness and spunk to the salad.

This e-book would make an outstanding science, Home Economics, or life skills course for children from ages 10 and upwards. I feel that my son was a little too young to comprehend all the scientific names. He did like the chance to taste the recipes and helped out a little. He is not a willing helper in the kitchen!

When I first received this book I sat reading it for hours and gasping in awe at the amount of information included. This is the kind of help I needed 18 months ago when my son’s brain cancer returned. I am going to have to keep reviewing this book and print it out when I get a chance to.
The selling price for the e-book on CD ROM is currently $79.95. A copy of the printed book is $99.95. A combo price of the printed book and CD-ROM is $129.95. I would highly recommend you start saving now if you want to change the way you and your family eat. Yes you can just start eating more vegetables and fruits, but do you know what kind to eat for what symptoms or health conditions. These ladies have packed the information into this book and done all the hard work for you already. I definitely will be purchasing more of these in the future and teaching as many Moms and Dads as I can with the help of ‘Nutrition 101 Choose Life’. What I have learned from our journey with cancer in our son Brendon’s life, using nutrition and supplements and Essential Oils is all covered in this book.
If anyone you know is facing a life- threatening illness I would suggest they look on the website for more information on this book. Please go to . I can not say enough about this book and curriculum and feel sure I will be utilizing this for many years to come and my son will learn from it what is the absolute correct way to be eating for his future. Please click over to the Homeschool Crew review blog using the button the right side of the page to view other's comments on this fantastic book now on offer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

StudyPod Book Holder


This unique item arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago for me to try out both in the home, and homeschool environment. It is a StudyPod Book Holder. The item is 6 x 9 inches when closed and looks just like a book. It is unique in that it is a stand to hold books up at the same angle as a computer screen.

I immediately put the StudyPod into action and placed some school papers in it next to the computer. I no longer had to look down to my desk to see what to copy from but instead focused on the papers at my eye level instead. The work got done faster and was easier and less strain on my eyes too.

Once the StudyPod is opened it has two small metal arms to hold the pages in place, especially since some books are bound really tightly and the pages wave about when reading them. There is a third arm at the back of the Pod which supports the holder and prevents it from falling over.

My son used the book holder a few times during his school day these last few weeks. It does not phase him if it is not there. When he is doing more written work he will probably use this tool more. The StudyPod has spent a lot of time in my kitchen on the hutch counter supporting recipe books and has done a splendid job. I would recommend every housewife gets one of these as a cookbook holder as it is so secure.

We tried out atlas’, big huge reading books, board books and even a few thin binders and they worked fine. The inside of the StudyPod has a place to store a few pencils , note cards, calculator and maybe a cell phone if needed in a small net pocket which is installed. When the StudyPod is positioned correctly there is not much danger of it collapsing as the metal rods on the interior are very secure. It takes a few tries to get used to setting it up but my 8 year old son figured it out fast.

The company that produced this product has a website available for more detailed information at One unit is $19.95 but for those of you who want one please email me and I will give you a special ordering code for getting $5 off each order. That is a good deal. These will make fantastic gifts for children and adults alike. If you order more than one at a time they discount the price too. Two discounts in one order is awesome. I will be happy with my study pod book holder for quite some time and glad I get to be the beneficiary of this ‘one of a kind’ product this year.

Hop on over to the Old schoolhouse’s review page for this item at and search down for the StudyPod. There will be other reviews there from other members of the Crew.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chemicals used in farmers fields to avoid at all costs!!

I have to include this article as I received the links to these from
This kind of information is foremost on my mind as the farmer we used to buy 'natural' beef from used this weed killer on his farm too. Brendon was exposed to this through his meat and eggs 2 years before he was diagnosed!. I thought I was buying a natural product. He understands now why I don't buy meat and eggs from him any longer! Please I am warning you of the dangers of buying your meat and eggs from the store, and from some farmers. Look them in the eye and ask if they use soy in their feed or Roundup on their farm in any place! If so avoid their product - it will affect your children's growth and health too. Watch what kind of much corn product is in your cereal, baking powder, cornstarch, and processed meat and grain products. You are exposed every time you eat these especially in restaurants too! the weekkiller may give the farmer a higher yield but it is at your expense!!!

I am trying to help you avoid your child getting sick like mine did and then there is nothing you can do about it!

Thanks Julie

The way we eat is trashing the fragile conditions that make human life possible work work September 02, 2009
In the ongoing debate about whether sustainable agriculture can “feed the world,” it’s important not to lose sight of what industrial agriculture is doing to ecosystems—both in specific areas and on a grand scale.
Producing and distributing lots and lots of calories, leveraged by fossil fuel and synthetic fertilizers and poisons, may solve certain short-term problems; but the practice also creates long-term ones that won’t be easily solved.
In June, a study emerged showing that so-called inert ingredients in Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used flagship herbicide, can kill human cells even at low levels—“particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells,” reports Scientific American. This is an herbicide that’s used on virtually all of our nation’s corn and soy fields, covering tens of millions of acres of cropland. (It’s also widely used by landscapers and on home lawns.)
Then there was the recent atrazine imbroglio. For years, the EPA has been assuring the public that the highly toxic herbicide, still widely used in the Corn Belt, wasn’t showing up in drinking water in worrisome levels. Turns out that was a lie, as some excellent muckraking by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund revealed. Atrazine exposure has been strongly associated with reproductive health maladies, including a rise in hermaphroditism among frog populations.

Popular herbicide more deadly to liver cells than its active chemical alone work work August 20, 2009
Very low doses of some types of the herbicide Roundup can disrupt human liver cell function; the formulations' toxicity may be tied to their "inactive" ingredients rather than the active weed-killing ingredient glyphosate.
French scientists report that a number of Roundup formulations tested at very dilute concentrations can alter hormone actions and cause human liver cells to die within 24 hours of treatment.
The toxicity of some of the formulations was independent of how much glyphosate – the active herbicide in Roundup – they contained, suggesting it is other "inert" ingredients that may alone – or in combination with each other and/or the weedkiller – assault the cells. This study's results are similar to prior studies – as reported in a recent Environmental Health News article – that find human embryo cells are affected more by the Roundup formulations and an inert ingredient than by the active ingredient.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Balloon Release for Childhood Cancer Awareness Day

Well yesterday went off so well. We gathered at the cemetery where Brendon is buried and after placing an angel on his tombstone and his picture next to it we went about setting up the tags to attach to the balloon strings. this is where the fun began. Well all my dozen balloons had got tangled together in the back of the van on the way there. We spent twenty minutes trying to untangle the mess and attach them together. Moral of the story is make the stings shorter or cut them off and then attach the tags.

A friend of mine who I recently met Justine had the tags made on her home computer. There was a little pic of Brendon and then his website address and some places to send money to support for cancer research for children. On the bottom of the cards were lines with which to write a message to Brendon. She did such a great job and I am so thankful to her and her family who took time out to help us out.

Folks came out for the release I have not seen in person for ages, I was so blessed that at least 6 families and their children came to bless us with their support. I will post pics later today both here and on Caringbridge.

Homeschool is progressing oh so slowly. My oldest never does seem in the mood to learn so we just take it one day at a time. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as we could feel your support.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Web Design for Children and Adults!

I was very intrigued and a little nervous when I heard we were getting a chance to review this curriculum for the Old Schoolhouse crew. I was eager to get started so my son and I put the DVD in the player to watch it. After 10 minutes I realized that we needed to be doing something on the computer at the same time to really grasp what the teacher was explaining to us.
Web Design for Kids is owned by Brian Richardson who is a qualified middle school literacy teacher and technology expert. One can see by watching him on the DVD that he is making the process of learning HTML as simple as possible and he explains every step thoroughly. He has backup segments available at the end of the DVD or during the lesson process if you don’t understand certain terms.

My son and I opened up a folder and began typing HTML on the screen. Well there is nothing more exciting for an 8 year old than to see his name on the screen of his very own Webpage. This spurred him on to continue watching and learning, as well as his very ‘curious’ Mum. I have managed to go all the way through the DVD lessons learning how to make my website look more pleasant, how to change the colors of the text, the screen and how to move text around different directions. In the last segment Brian even shared on how to download and use pictures off the Internet and add them to your webpage.

I personally think I have learned some very simple HTML that will help me produce a better blog, as well as a possible website in the future. The title of the DVD is definitely one to attract those ‘curious’ adults and their children. Web Design for Kids does have another DVD going to be available in the coming months with slightly more difficult HTML instruction. After just looking at their website today I see it is currently advertised for $19.99 as part of a summer special. It is usually priced at around $40.00 To receive this 50% discount would be awesome during these financial crisis days!

The website is Just a note too that I noticed on the site is their support of various foundations for sick children and their families, for example, Ronald McDonald House, The Smile Train, and Children’s Miracle Network. The Richardson’s are giving back to others after receiving some help when they needed it for their family. We as a family have been the recipients of some of that support too over the last three years. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning through this program and I hope that you do too. There are others on the crew who also have done reviews on this product so if you need to be convinced click on the Homeschool crew button on the right side panel and read to your hearts content.