Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: Galaxy of Education/ Math Galaxy

Well at first this product did not catch my eye very well, due to its flashy pictures and bright colors. I guess I am not a child so did not look at the intensity or power behind those colors, My son did not like the step by step learning pages with the explanations. He does not like getting things wrong and does not like having things explained over and over when he is corrected. I tend to think this program does do that.

More recently when we were looking the products over that we had been sent we discovered some more video games that looked more challenging than just regular math equations, addition and subtraction, identifying information from a graph etc.

My 8 year old son liked the “Math Galaxy Whole Numbers riddle e-book” as well as some of the samples available online at the website that he tried out. These use both additions, subtraction, multiplication and division to solve a phrase. The child has to work out the math equation and the answer is related to a letter that can then be inserted into the phrase. Once all the math problems are solved so is the phrase! It is a challenging way to get them to think and not too boring because the child is intrigued to find out the phrase.

I did notice the more answers you get correct the harder the next problem becomes. This did annoy my son too. He wanted to stay at the same level before moving to the next higher level. I guess he needs to step it up a notch in being challenged in that area.

The main product we reviewed was the “Math Galaxy Whole Numbers Fun” CD. This obviously has a difficulty level from about Grade 1 to Grade 4 most likely. I certainly could not do some of the higher levels of multiplication and division myself. Mind you I am definitely not a whiz mathematician. I do like the tutorial as a parent because there are some concepts in math I just do not know how to explain and the formula is set out in a thorough manner. The variety of problems in each CD that you can purchase from Galaxy of Education is tremendous. On this one CD alone you can do the following types of exercises and problems:

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplying, Division, Place Value, Rounding and Estimating, Patterns and Sequences, Word Problems, Time, Money, Length, Area, Volume, Pictographs, Bar Graphs, Probability, Math riddles, Word Jumbles, and some games called Bridge the Swamp and Labyrinth.

Galaxy of Education or Math Galaxy sells each CD for $29.95 each. Other CDs incorporate fractions and decimals practice. This would entail an enormous amount of practice for your child if he/she likes the program. I personally think it is a more applicable program for an older child perhaps Grade 4 and up. I am saying this as I am reducing the amount of time my student does spend on the computer each day due to health issues. I would not like my kindergartner being in front of the computer for hours on end 'practicing' their math. My son would use that excuse in a heartbeat. The "Math Galaxy Whole Numbers e-book" we looked over does cost $14.95. There are printable worksheets on each CD disk too.

This product is nice for those that like it or need to use this kind of reinforcement for their student. I am not totally decided on that yet even after using it for 40 days or so. The website for Galaxy of Education is here:
There are of course my fellow crew members opinions on this too and that is available at the following link on the Old Schoolhouse's Crew website:
I have been sent this product to use in our homeschool and review for the above company, as part of the TOS 2009/10 Homeschool crew. I have not been paid for this review.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: Children's Bible Hour

During the month of February I was sent a neat box of goodies from the ministry of Children’s Bible Hour. Inside were four books titled as follows:

Seventy Times Seven
You Can’t Come In
Braving the Storm
Race with Midnight

These books are from the Season of Life series. Two of the books were quite timely in their arrival in our home. I’m sure some of the crew would agree with me. “Braving the Storm” and “Race with Midnight” are the two I am talking about.

These four books all have a great lesson wrapped in each one. I like reading them as well as listening to the CD that is enclosed in the back flap of each book. In “Brave with Midnight” two children are out riding on their horses when suddenly one of the horses takes off on its own, and the girls chase it, get lost, and have to rely on the horse to getting home. The moral in this story is that Becky, who normally lives in the city teaches her cousin to trust in the Lord instead of in animals and her own self confidence.

The “Braving the Storm” book focuses on a family who are going through extremely difficult times. The father of the family has lost his job, the family have to move to stay with their grandparents and live in a much smaller home. They are far away from their friends and what they are used to. To add complications to the story one of the children in the family is ill and unable to be like a normal child. This touched my heart as our dear sweet son who was so sick for a long time took a lot of care and time. Our son was able to relate to the lonely feelings that the older brother and sister had when their Mum did not have much time to spend with them as she was caring for the youngest child who was ill. As the story develops an ice storm comes on their farm and the trailer they live in is not very safe. The family run to the main house where the grandparents live and eat and spend time with them until the storm is over. The story does relate to the storms of our lives coming and going and how we learn to live with them and how God is in control of them always, even though sometimes we question why.

Can you see why I liked this one? Our family seems to be going through storm after storm after storm since Brendon our 5 year old was sick, died, and still it continues. Things happen and break but we still have to get back up and carry on with life. This is so hard. The books really did help my son a little more to understand.

The books I believe can help children understand through reading about others misfortunes or naughty antics on how to deal with a problem. When children move with their parents to a different town and leave everything behind it can be overwhelming for them to make new friends and start afresh, and perhaps if you have a child in this dilemma the book “You Can’t Come In” can help.

The illustrations in the books are interesting and do hold the eye of the reader or listener. The pace at which the CD’s are read aloud is pleasant and seems just right. I like the voice of Uncle Charlie as he reads as it is soft and comforting too. He uses great expression when he is reading.
All of the books do finish with a form of the sinners prayer and scripture in the back to explain to the child how to pray and accept Christ as their Savior. This leaves the challenge up to the child to read or listen to, and act on.

The above 4 books are currently priced at $10 each. The CBH Ministries is having a special for anyone who reads this blog for these books and offering them free standard shipping. You need to use the following code: FREESHIPAPR15. The free standard shipping offer is valid until April 15th. Please see their website offers here:

There are other reviews on the Old Schoolhouse TOS Crew Blog at the following link:
I was sent the above products to review and write my opinion of them on this blog, for the TOS Crew for the 2009/10 school year. I have not been paid for this review.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review: Artistic Pursuits

It has been a few days since I have been on here and now it is time for me to update once again on another interesting product our family was privileged to review.
On the left hand side of this page is the cover for the Art Book that I chose to review as it was simple and looked easy to accomplish for this non-artistic Mum and student. I guess I was right.
Inside these pages is a very detailed look at paintings done through the years, sketches, crafts, and a bunch of questions for each chapter. I would say this Art curriculum was for a student was really interested in using art deeply in their homeschool education or as a side interest outside of a regular school. I know that art is not focused on too much any longer in public school in the United States.
I only managed to get through 3-4 chapters of this book with my son as his face droops as soon as he sees a painting or a sketch book in my hands to share with him.
This Book One is an Introduction to the Visual Arts for Grades K-3. It is an introduction to all kinds of art including painting, sketches using different pencils, markers and watercolor crayons. The second kind of art I noticed in this book was learning how to use the paint brushes on top of the crayons you have already colored with. The third angle I was interested in was the basic pottery or art of how to use clay and paint it. This is a wonderful resource for the child who loves to mold and shape things with their hands in that respect, or to blend a bunch of colors together with watercolor crayons and then blend them even more with the water paints.
The basic materials required for this first book are Ebony pencils, watercolor crayons, pastel sticks, clay and construction paper. We elected not to purchase any extra supplies and just use what we had at the time.
Whilst we were doing our sketches with pencils and then crayons I would ask my son questions about the paintings that we had just viewed in the book, as well as about interests of his own. It gave us a chance to get to know each other just a little more whilst doing the exercises and learning a little art history in the process. I did notice that my son was challenged to 'think outside of his box' as it were, when he had to draw himself, or other members of his family as he is not used to doing that.
There are 3 books in this series for Grades K-3rd grade. They are as follows:
Book 1, An Introduction to the Visual Arts (Ancient - 1300's)
Book 2, Stories of Artists and Their Art (1200's - 1800's)
Book 3, Modern Painting and Sculpture (1850's - today )
The cost for each of these books is $42.95. The books are written basically to the student and involves no teacher preparation at all, other than providing the materials needed for each project or craft. The website http:// does have supply lists to recommend what materials are needed for each book, and they are available for sale there too. We could not afford at this current time to purchase everything required so we did the lessons that we had supplies on hand for.
There are Grade 4-12 Books as follows:
Book 1 at each grade level covers Drawing Basics
Book 2 at each grade level covers Color Theory.
I did break the lessons up into one per week as they are different from what we are used to. If you had an artist on your hands then they would be able to do more than that as the book is easy to follow with it's self guiding instructions as mentioned earlier.
At this current time I will not be ordering any of this curriculum due to us already being in the middle of one we begun last year and are working slowly through. For some other opinions on the different levels of Artistic Pursuits curriculum please click this link to read them:
You may of course go straight to and read the many articles, reviews, and parents comments right there.
I have been sent this product from Artistic Pursuits to review and write my opinion for the TOS Homeschool Crew for 2009/10. I have not been paid for this review.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dear Readers of my Blog,

If you're looking for homeschool encouragement, resources, and fun, check out all that is going on at The Old Schoolhouse! Right now March Madness and Win Big are going on in the Schoolhouse Store.

During March Madness, over 240 items are 10 to 40 percent off! Click here to read the details. (Link:

Then, if you're customer 139,000, 139,500, or 140,000, you will win over $348 in prizes. Prizes include a 5 year subscription to TOS (U.S. only), Scripture Sleuth literature series, guitar lessons on CD, and more! Hurry, they are just past customer #137,818.The BIGGEST news of all--

The Schoolhouse Expo is coming in May! Pre-register now and save $5!

As homeschool teachers?what do you need to learn? More about teaching multiple grades? All about different homeschool methods? Transcripts?
Could you use some help with reading, language arts, math, and more?
Are you intimidated by the idea of teaching middle school and high school?those dreaded, advanced courses?
Would some encouraging words and motivational Scripture help you on your way?

Get those answers when you attend The Schoolhouse Expo, an 3-day, online conference, presented by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse® Speaker?s Bureau.Pre-register today for only $19.99 through March 31.

You do not want to miss this unbelievable, virtual homeschool convention! PLUS, you'll receive over $300 in free gifts when you register.Get the details and preregister here:

Review: Homeschool Library Builder

I have been looking over the above website for the past couple weeks every few days and have recently found some books that we are needing to purchase for our school year. We began a new curriculum in February, published by Heart of Dakota, and so have been searching for some books to buy at an inexpensive price to keep in our home library. Well what do you know as part of the TOS Crew we were asked to look at Homeschool Library Builder and review their site and what is available for members.

I have read through some information on the site first to see who/what/where/when and why this library site is even around, and is offering a better service than perhaps buying through Craigs List or e-Bay for instance.

The site is owned by 2 homeschool moms who between them have 8 children. They love 'living books' which is right up my alley, and they wanted to share their finds with others in the homeschool world and whoever was interested too. I began to notice immediately they have things that I have been on the lookout for recently. They provide a service to the customers who are interested in purchasing books that are either new, used or rare and out of print finds.

They stock titles from literature based curricula like Sonlight; Tapestry of Grace; Ambleside (online free Charlotte Mason based curriculum); Five in a Row; Beautiful Feet and Heart of Dakota for example. There are many other interesting books on the site right now that can be used for unit studies or lapbook information at all grade levels too.

When you purchase books on Homeschool Library Builder ( ) though you can earn points. These points add up and turn into dollars once you have enough of them. One book point is earned for every dollar spent on books, and every 15 points is worth $1.00 in your account. These points can then be used for purchasing more books, or on shipping for other products too. By referring friends to Homeschool Library Builder and linking them to their website you can earn points too.

During the month of February they also raised money for Haiti by doing promotions and being a "Helping Hand" for that country. They have different "Helping Hand" projects they have done in the past and continue to sell books to support that. Currently the books listed under "Helping Hand" are being sold and the money will go towards sponsorship for a Compassion International Child.

I do believe if you are looking for a certain book you can email the owners Julie or Gayla, and ask them to help you out. As a Crew we are reviewing the site and hoping to help them out with advertising as this is pretty costly these days too. This is a homegrown company like a lot of the ones I have reviewed products for this year, but they are not so big that they have lost their personal touch which is neat to see. The website is easy to move around, and book titles can be found in several different categories. Books are listed in alphabetical order in each category.
I have enjoyed cruising this site, before I dive in and become a member. I needed to get a good feel of what they had to offer. If you are looking for books at an inexpensive and not ridiculous price then pop on over to their site at : and check them out.
The link to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog with other reviews for Homeschool Library Builder is right here:
I have reviewed this product for TOS Crew for 2009/10 school year and the above information is my opinion. I have not been paid for this review.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Healing of the Heart and Questions for the Lord

This is just something the Lord shared with me today. I was reading Job Chapter 38 and He started talking to me. Perhaps it will help you a little on your journey with Him.

In Job 38 the Lord starts to answer or ask Job questions about what kind of authority does he have to question God on why his family, livestock and body had to die or suffer. God answered in the form of lots of questions. After all God was the one who made the heavens and the earth, the creation and man and so He has divine authority of ALL.

"When you create your own world Job, get back to me with your questions!"

Now God is God, and we are not. But though He's is the all-powerful Creator, He also has compassion. Unlike Job's assumption, God did not crush him or multiply his wounds. Rather, He restored his wealth and relationships. Even in the darkest trial, He is still full of compassion (see Lamentations 3:22).

We cannot command God to stoop to our demands and give an account of Himself. But we can bring Him our pain and problems before Him in submission to His perfect plan. God doesn't promise us answers, but He does promise His unending love, compassion, faithfulness, and salvation. To remind yourself (and myself) of our great and good God, sing the beautiful hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" as part of your devotional or after dinner devotions today.

Even in our darkest sorrow, "morning by morning, new mercies" we see from His loving hand.

(above from Moody Bible Church's devotional "Today in the Word").

Even through the last year and especially through the last few months our family continues to question the whys and what ifs of Brendon's sickness and death. God has it all ultimately in control and it is in His hands. This is a tough concept to handle for me as I am a fixer of the problems and I could not fix this one. I really need the above passage and reading of Job today. Thanks Lord for the reminder.

After reading this we went and had breakfast at Panera - then did our math and spelling at the restaurant, just for a refreshing change. The Lord showed me to have more fun and unplanned outings to increase our joy and fun times together! I did that and was obedient and was rewarded with fun and laughter too.

Have a good rest of your day too.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Review: Graphics Toolbox

You see before you on your left side of this screen a fascinating and interesting box that looks like an artist's haven for drawing and painting and what not. I do believe it is the beginning of new way of painting, drawing, writing, designing and whatever else 'arty' you can think of on the Internet and your website perhaps.

During the month of February I was given access to a very complex, full and detailed website and software called Graphics Toolbox ( As it says on the box to your left 'Graphic Software for Daily Life' that is exactly what is available. With the boom of the Internet business' and websites and children using computer software in the classroom, this is definitely a site to be interested in or take a first and second look at.

I personally am technologically challenged in this area and barely know how to keep this blog loading correctly, never mind setting up a website and putting all kinds of fancy things on it. I did have access to this software but was unable to download it as my computer is over 5 years old and just could not handle the file as they are huge.

Graphics Tool box is this in just a few points: (and oh so much more.)

Graphics-Toolbox is the new fun and easy graphics software that is perfect for all computer users. Click on the applications below to see how you can use Graphics-Toolbox to color your life.
Embellish Photos with Ribbons & Text
Fast & Easy Scrapbook Pages
Custom Invitations
Fashion Illustrations
Logos for Printing and Embroidery
Professional Posters
Cropping & Manipulating Photos
Students’ School Projects
Personalized Announcements
Embroidery Patterns
Stunning Photo Collages
Whimsical Photo-Graphics

The links to the applications have copied too so perhaps you can go there and see what each one is about when you are finished reading the blog note. On Graphics Toolbox website there are Video clips, slide shows , tutorials to help you understand the software, and personalized training for a fee to assist you in using the software too. I was only able to watch a few of these but found them intriguing and definitely useful for the amateur that I am in the blogging and website orientated world. Children are able to pick up very quickly the concepts that Graphics Toolbox teaches and there are examples of children's project reports, field trip reports, flyers, business cards, photography touch-ups etc on the website.

I did read one comment on the side about a photographer who touches up the background of old photos more efficiently with Graphic Toolbox than any other software that he has used. For the homeschooler and other school age children the ability to make their work more presentable to their teachers and/or parents is a good tool for them. Here is another set of phrases describing what this software will help children be able to achieve.

Foster Academic Excellence:
Kids love technology
Adding customized graphics is fast and easy
Stress the importance of color, balance and design in student presentations
Convey symbolism, mood and image with great graphics
Help hands-on and visual learners succeed
Great grades come from well executed homework assignments
Enjoy exclusive libraries of colors, fancy lines and ribbons
Descriptive icons allow hearing impaired and ESL students to excel too
Expand differentiation learning opportunities
Perfect for yearbooks, newsletters, websites and posters
Powerful, Flexible, Fun

The cost for this software may seem a huge outlay but it can be used for so many different areas of your life. Business and school can both benefit from the investment. The price for 1 user licence is $149.00 and discounts may be obtained if you have more than one user. You do need at least 200MB of free hard disk space to be able to use this program at full potential. That is one reason why I was not able to do this - lack of hard disk space and a very old operating system too.

I do wish I had been able to let my son use this program and perhaps when we invest in a new computer we may be able to. He would have loved all the fancy facilities it has to make his photos look more professional.

If you would like to see some actual examples of what some of my fellow members and their children were able to do with the software in their homeschool projects please link to the following page:

I was given the software for Graphics Toolbox in order to do this review for the TOS Crew for 2009/10. I was not paid in any way for this review and it is my opinion of the product.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Obesity in America and the Western World!

I would like you to ALL click to the following link. This is an awesome man, not sure if he is a Christian or not, but I know he has something important to say and won $100 000 to prove it. Jamie Oliver is a chef in the United Kingdom with 2 children and he is an awesome cook. I used to watch his shows when we had cable.

Jamie Oliver is trying to help American children find a new direction for their eating habits by speaking out about obesity and talking to their parents and family members about the kind of food that this nation eats. Listen to it please!

I say Go for It Jamie Oliver and all those who support and agree with him whichi includes me!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reviews: "The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling"

I was sent the above book authored by Debra Bell and it is Big and Ultimate in it’s description. I have taken a long time, at least 6 weeks to complete this review due to all the members of my family being ill since Christmas. My apologies to the author for being so late in this review and my fellow Crew mates too.

This book is over 500 pages long but includes a tremendous amount of information for the Homeschooling Parents who are willing to knuckle down and read it, or even just parts of it. I wanted to read the whole thing through thoroughly as I would really like to absorb the information as much as possible to review this item well.

For a new Homeschooler this book may be overwhelming but for someone who has been in the game one or two years it is a good find, and one to keep for reference on the bookshelf. I have 3-4 other books on Homeschooling on my bookshelf that I have hardly looked at since I begun this journey and so will possibly sell those and stick with this one. I do know there are some parts of “The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling” that I will not really use until my son is at least 14 or 15 years old which will be here before I know it. For example like the Chapters on ‘Navigating College Admissions channels’ and ‘College-at-Home.’ I will check on updates of this book before plunging into that arena.

This ‘Ultimate Guide’ is just that, a well rounded book on all aspects of Homeschooling from using the Library resources; the Internet; Homeschooling on a Shoestring; how to navigate the Curriculum Fair; how to avoid Burnout; learning your child’s different learning traits; to being a single Homeschooling parent; and Subject by Subject guidelines. The book is published by Apologia who are an incredible Homeschooling resource company already.

On reading through the chapter on determining your child’s learning styles I was challenged to look deeper into my 8 year olds needs right now. He is an auditory and visual and hands on learner more than anything else. Debra Bell outlined resources on the Internet and in catalogs that I could find that would benefit my son’s learning more than what I am doing right now. I am particularly interested in the resources for Living Books as we move over to a more ’Charlotte Mason’ orientated curriculum. These are there for me to research with the contact websites and/or phone numbers all given in the book.

I realized also that Debra says that Homeschooling is definitely a lifestyle to be taken seriously and if you can not do it all the way then it is hard to do at all. I know there will be sick days and days when you have appointments you can not avoid but these all have to be taken into account in your schedule that you set up. She pointed out that some children need a specific schedule for those days even when you are not schooling but just home and doing chores and errands. I grasped that idea and am working with it. I like the idea she presented of taking time off to plan the school year. I have never had the opportunity to do that. I pray this summer I will take the much needed time to get away and plan the 2010/11 school year so that it is more successful than past years.

The Subject-by-Subject guidelines helped me to see the age appropriate life lessons I need to be focusing on instead of what the government schools teach. There are a couple of chapters in the book with Resource companies included as well as all the contact addresses, phone numbers and websites of the State Homeschooling Organizations. The International Organizations in the United States and Canada are mentioned too. Special Interest, Missionary organizations, special Needs and Worldview Resources are all incorporated into this chapter.

I have enjoyed this read and so delighted to have been blessed with this book to keep in my library. Of course there are at least 90 other reviews on Debra Bell’s book “The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling” found at the Homeschool Crew Blog. Here is the link to that : .
I will also include the link to Apologia’s website where you can purchase “The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling” for a mere $20.00 plus shipping and handling. ( .) Apologia is an amazing site to browse too, and they do send out a catalog of products with minimal reviews in if you would like to not be online to read about the products.

I have reviewed this product on my blog for TOS Crew 2009/10, and received the product for free in exchange for my opinion.