Thursday, April 29, 2010

Review: Time 4 Learning

Time 4 Learning is an online curriculum using a combination of multimedia lessons, interactive activities and reinforcing worksheets. We were given access to their website for 6 weeks to test out what they have to offer.

The curriculum covers children from Pre K through to 8th grade. The subjects covered are Language Arts, Math Science and Social Studies. There are Math and Algebra tutorials and printable worksheets available for every subject. The online activities are very varied and on their website is a Lesson Planning grid. On this grid you are able to see a breakdown of each chapter and what it entails.
I also noticed a list of Frequently Asked Questions which will be able to help out any curious future customer of Time 4 Learning. I do understand from the information on the website that you can use this program for one subject, or all the subjects needed, but the price is still $19.95 per month for the first child and $14.95 per month for each additional child. Email help is there for 24/7 and phone support is available 8.30 am to 5.30 pm EST Monday through Friday.
When your child does exercises it puts a time and a date on when he accomplished that task and as a parent when you log in you can see where your child is at.

I do limit the time that my children are on the computer to a minimum of 1-2 hours per week so I would say that I could not fully utilize this program as a full curriculum personally. My toddler who is almost 3 did like the exercises that I asked him to participate in and he was very involved with selecting the answers whilst I moved the mouse. He was intrigued to do something that the Big children get to do too.
My oldest is 8 and as we only had access to the Pre-K area of the site that is what we had to sign him up for. He did enjoy the time earned to play games in the Playground area of the website. There is a facility to set the time allowed for the children to do lessons and then the time for them to ‘visit’ the playground to practice what they have learned.

I personally would not purchase this product as it is not financially viable for me to do so. We also limit computer time and I find it can be better utilized with other activities we already have on our home computer. Perhaps your children or child like this kind of product and benefit from lots of visual and auditory activities, and you allow them more time to work on the computer. This would be a good fit for you. Time 4 Learning has many different options on their site for you to decide if this product is right for you. Here is their website link :

I do know that some of my Crew mates did enjoy this program and will continue to use it. Please flip over to our TOS Homeschool Crew blog to find out who they are by reading their reviews - there are at least 70 of them there! Here is the link:
I had access to this online curriculum as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew for 2009/10. I have written this review as a result of receiving the product and received no payment for it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reviews: All About Reading- "What Am I"

Earlier in the year I reviewed a book called the Beehive Reader 1 for a preschooler. The company All About Reading ( ) has come out with a second book for sale with effect from April 1st 2010 called "What Am I." This is a Level 2 reader in the All About Spelling program, but can be used in any homeschool or as a reader for a young child learning how to read.

I received this book in the mail about 6 weeks ago and both my son and I read it through in about 30 minutes. It was awesome. My son's favorite story in this reader or collection of short stories is called "The Bake Sale." Some children are making cupcakes to raise money for buying a red bike. They set up a bake sale stand outside their home. Whilst they are selling cupcakes they decide to send the money to one of the children's pen pals from China who has just lost her mother. The children change their goal and decide to bless someone far away instead of pleasing themselves. The children decide to run a bike fix-it shop and raise more money to send to China too. This story definitely has a principle to it that is so obvious. The children learn to care for others more than themselves.
Other titles in this book are:

The Bench
An Elf in the Alps
Broken Robot
Matt the Musk Ox
Skunk Hotel
Pine Tree Pet Shop
Just for You: Poems for Fun
What Am I

Yes, these are interesting stories throughout the whole book. My son enjoyed the book and has read it at least 3 more times since we received it. It does use words that he has learned in his 'All About Spelling' series. The illustrations are enjoyable once again. The artists have produced such character and perfection in every picture. I do think we will be reading this again and again. I have included a copy of one of the pages in the "Skunk Hotel" story.

I like the 'Poems' at the end of the book which are very descriptive and original. I will be using this book for our homeschool in the future as my little guy grows up and then probably will give it away once we are done with it.
The cost of this hardback reader is $19.95 and well worth it in my opinion. I have just checked the link to their website and hope the reader will be up on their site soon. At the moment it does not seem to be there. Please keep checking if you are interested.
The TOS Homeschool blog has the other crew members reviews of this same book. You can view other's opinions that probably will differ from mine and from other moms that have lots of children or even just one. Here is the link to that:
I have reviewed this product as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew for 2009/10 and have not been paid for this review.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review: Critical Thinking : Language Smarts C

I had never even heard of the company Critical Thinking until I joined the 2009/10 Crew. I then started flipping over to their website periodically to check out what products they sold. They looked interesting and challenging too but did not realize how well planned out and clever they are.

The book that I was sent to review is called Language Smarts Level C. this is for a 2nd grade level student. At first when my 8 year old son opened this and looked through it he was anti because of it being another writing book, until he discovered all the fun stuff it entailed. Sequencing and/or Syllables turned out to be his favorite pages.

Language Smarts covers some of these subjects required for Language Arts Education:
Rhymes and Riddles; Nouns, Pronouns, Synonyms, Antonyms; Compare and Contrast; Deductive Reasoning; Number -Word Expressions; Root words; Prefixes and Suffixes; Sentences; Capitalization and Punctuation; Friendly Letters (the art of Letter Writing no doubt lost in this day and age virtually!);Writing and Editing; Cause and Effect; Real and Make Believe; Poems; and many more ideas. For a full look at what it entails please log on to their site at and under Language Smarts C you will find more detail. This Language Smarts Level C book costs $39.99.

Critical Thinking has books that cover Language, Math, Phonics, Science and Logical Thinking. I noticed a book on Teaching Baby Sign too, which would have been useful when my children were younger. Mind Benders seems to be a popular series, especially in some of the other crew members, as it contains tricky logic puzzles for Pre K - 12+ and high school level students to present real life situations and problems that require solving.

As this is my first introduction to this company I will look at using Mind Benders in the future. My son likes to tackle things that challenge his mind and I think it would be perfectly good for him to try too. We have enjoyed this product and will definitely recommend this as a back-up to a basic Language Arts program or it can even be the Core Program that you use.

I would like for you to look into it even if you don’t have the money to purchase it for this year’s curriculum. The site is interesting to browse around too. There are articles on their methods, video clips for children to watch, samples of the products for you to look at. The company has won more than 100 National Awards -winners.

Please do link to the Homeschool Crew page to find out what my crew mates have discovered about all the products they were reviewing with their families this year. Thank you. The link is below:

I have been sent this product to review and it is my own opinion on the product we have used in our homeschool. I have not been paid for this review.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resurrection Sunday - Happy Easter

Jesus is alive and we worship a living Lord. He is not in the grave. He is not there but He is in heaven, and living in our hearts. I am so glad to be His child.
Some of the things we have been up to was we took off a few days from our regular schedule to put together a new Lapbook for Easter. This one is very scripturally balanced and enjoyable. D has done most of the writing and reading and answering questions. He is getting better at that. I have enclosed a photo of it. Of course Friday could not go by this year without making Hot Cross Buns. I am not sure of the origin of them but the cross on the bun is enough to represent Christ's death. I have been reading about the original time of Christ's crucifixion being on a Wednesday in the middle of Passover week, and how three days later on the Sabbath (Saturday) he rose from the dead. I guess over the years the Church has changed the days we celebrate because it is more convenient perhaps. I am not sure.

Enjoy the photos I put in and be ready for a few more reviews this week as I am finishing out my Cruise with TOS Crew for 2009/10 from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I have not been reselected which is a good thing as it will give me time to use some of the things I have received in the last year more extensively. It will also help me to get offline a bit more and focused on the family needs around here, cleaning and de-cluttering our home and hearts. There is lots of healing to be done in our hearts, minds and lives and 2010/11 may be the turning point in my life. At least I hope that it is.
Thats all for now!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review: FamilyMint

"Helping Kids Appreciate Money” are the words on the website under the main title of the site. The principle for this website is that your children give their physically earned money to you as a parent, which you keep, and then once they have withdrawn from their bank account online you can physically give them the cash. I do think this is a good idea especially as this gives the child the will and way of what to do with their own earnings.

As a parent you can set up your children’s account and then allow them to control their money. However you can put goals into your child’s account that they need to abide by in order to save or work towards week by week. The child can set up goals for themselves too in the form of items they may want to purchase over time.

When a child opens up their account for the first time, there is a really easy video available to view to explain how their goals buttons work and how to save/withdraw money, and/or transfer money between goals and the standard account. For a child who is motivated by pictures this website is very helpful. My son has to be motivated by the actual feel of the money in his hand so he takes a little work. When the child hit’s the ‘Transactions’ tab on his account he can see a complete history of all the transfers that he has made over time. It almost looks like a bank statement in a way or a Paypal account information. These are between his goals or a general withdraw/deposit in his account.

The Parent controls can set are on interest rates , allowance amount, and whether they want to match deposits to encourage the child to set certain savings goals. The graphics are simple and easy to understand probably for a child as young as 6 or 7 who is able to read too. The website recommends some children as young as 5 years old can use it.

Parents can put all of the children’s accounts in the same bank and they can monitor these all in one place instead of having to sign in to multiple accounts to keep track of the money. I did note that the parent can set a rate of interest up in their child’s accounts and increase or reduce it to encourage your child to save more, in order to earn more perhaps.

Our son does not earn an allowance at this time as he has not been willing to do the things required of him to get that allowance. He only earns money currently for extra jobs he does around the home, and through gifts at birthdays and holidays. He likes to have control of his own money and has purchased his own ATM for his room. This met with much negativity from us his parents and so we are trying to change his view of earning, spending and saving. He tends to be very frivolous with his money. He almost spends it as soon as it hits his hands. I can see from some of the testimonials on the website that this has been accomplished by other families.
I have not seriously tried this seriously so perhaps in the near future during the summer I will set up the account with a view to changing the way he manages his money.

FamilyMint is a company set up by a parent who was trying to help his wife control their 5 children’s various expenses and manage their own money. He was frustrated that he could not find anything on the market that would meet this need. FamilyMint’s founders and advisors want children to be educated in how to manage money before they hit the world after high school years. There are very few skills taught in public and private schools to enable children and teenagers to handle money in a responsible way.

The link to their website is and the TOS Crew members opinions are to be found at
The above opinion is completed after receiving access to the website in exchange for this review. I have not been paid for this review.