Monday, May 31, 2010

My ride with TOS Crew is done!

Wow it has been an amazing, taxing year riding with the TOS Homeschool Crew of 2009/10. It has been exhausting at times and yet fun at others. Deadlines to meet have made me think back to the days when I used to have to study for exams with 'swot' cards (index cards with facts written out on them) and cramming late at night and early in the morning.

I have been able to use some products at pleasure and others in a fast period of time. Products that we received at the beginning of the year and that we are still using are All About Spelling, Mammoth Math, Rays CD of Math, Critical Thinking, Quarter Mile Math, Math Galaxy, Children's Bible Hour Books, Nutrition 101, Sue Gregg Cooking Breakfast Foods Cookbook, StudyPod, Super Star Speech, and Guardian Angel Publishing. Most of the online subscription websites we had access too the time has now expired for us to have access.

I have many things to use and work with for the next Homeschool year that in essence will be free. Being on the crew has enabled me to 'meet' many wonderful women and men across the country and to see how their homeschool works and their families mix their school and family life together. many of us have experienced crisis in our lives and even during this past year. We have had the chance to pray for each other and support each other during those times. There are of course those days when our children or programs just aren't working right (Do children ever work just right?). We have been able to assist others through computer glitches as some crew members were more computer savvy than others like myself. Thank you to my fellow Crew Members and all the best to those who are staying on as leaders and guides for the new crew that begins in June.

If you keep tabs on The Old Schoolhouse Magazine then you will see the ads early in January/February next year come up for try-outs for the next crew for 2011/12. if you wish to try out for that then keep your eyes open. It is an enjoyable experience that I will value for years to come. It has shown me the tremendous variety of curriculum available out there and even some products that are only for personal use too.

Thanks to Heidi and Brenda for their encouragement and especially for all of their hard work. I know that each of them has had a difficult year in their personal supplies but it has not really slowed them down from doing their Crew work. Thank you Ladies.

Yes I will end by saying that I am going to start work during the summer on a book about my transfer to the USA to live and work, as well as Brendon's life and death, the grief process, and how to live through all of those changes it entails whilst homeschooling. Thank you my friends for encouraging me through this process as it will entail some difficult days and nights.

I just love writing so here goes for the summer! Oh yeah we will still be homeschooling most of the summer as well as doing swim lessons, tennis lessons, and some fun and vacation in between. Talk to you soon.

Thanks to all the soldiers I know personally who are serving today and in the past in the military. I think of Jim right now who is in his last month, and Matt who served a few years ago overseas.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review: Cerebellum DVD's : US Gov and Politics

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the very last review I am doing for TOS Crew for 2009/10 and it has proved to be a rather intriguing and perplexing one too. I received a DVD and CD ROM package giving you a crash course on the U.S. Gov & Politics for the AP Exam. Now I have done tests on the US Government and it's structure before so that I could become a citizen of the USA , but this is intense. I am glad that I did not have to learn all this information for my US Immigration test.

The DVD covers the Headline information that you need to know for the Test as well as how to work through the actual test on the day you take it. The information for the US Gov and Politics test is presented on the DVD is a very efficient and entertaining manner. The students that present this information are dressed well and definitely not sloppy and are representatives of all nationalities I noticed. They are reading off of a teletype I presume but they seem to know what they are talking about. This does help the non-student enjoy this DVD a little more I would say.

The 30 major questions that you will be asked in the US Gov and Politics exam are covered in basically 30 answers in about 30-45 minutes. The detail is presented on the screen as the presenter is reading it, and it can also be found on the CD Rom which may be in your computer at the same time as you view the DVD. The origins of our government, constitution, civil liberties, courts, Congress (including House of Representatives and Senate), Special groups, and much much more is all covered in this presentation and its notes.

I did enjoy watching this. My husband did watch with me and we both realized how far this country and it's government have moved from how the government is supposed to be run - no matter who is in power. We did observe that more than one of these procedures that is supposed to be how the government is formed and supported does not really happen. How sad for the USA.

After having reviewed this product I am certain it would be of some help to a high schooler who needs to take this exam whether they are homeschooled, private or public schooled. I only have an elementary child and a pre-schooling toddler who were both not very eager to watch this show! The easy going manner of the presenters does make it an enjoyable watch even for perhaps a middle schooler who is just learning about the Government and politics. This DVD/CD ROM set from (Cerebellum Corporation) is an effective tool and can be purchased for $14.98. The prices are running about 20% less expensive than normal at this current time. The other titles in this series are Chemistry, History and English Language and Writing, AP Exam Prep. They are all priced the same.

The link to the reviews for the remainder of the TOS Crew who did receive a variety of the above DVD's is as follows:
I have reviewed this product as a member of the TOS Homeschool crew for 2009/10 school year. This is my own opinion of this product and I have not been paid for this review.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review: Lobster Network

LobsterNetwork makes it easy to share your stuff.
Do you have extra school stuff to sell or possibly loan out for a while over the summer? Do you have too many books weighing down your shelves. perhaps your friends are waiting to read something that is on your shelf but they are living in another state and don't know what you have! You can change that with Lobster Network and their fairly interesting site or unique if you think so. The statement below is from their website ( ):

Share your videos, books, video games, audio, tools or anything else.
Let your friends see what you have to share. Find out what they have to share.

Lend it. Borrow it. Trade it. Sell it. Give it away.
All with the click of a button and only with whom you choose.

How LobsterNetwork works:
It's simple. Create a personal library of your stuff.

It's easy. Create friendships with the people you know.

It's fast. Browse your friend’s stuff and request to borrow something.

It's flexible. Approve or reject any request for your stuff.

It's controlled. Decide who sees your stuff. Even create "communities" of friends that only share stuff with each other.

It's helpful. It tracks your stuff on loan and automatically reminds your friends when to return your stuff.

It's secure. Keep a private inventory of your stuff online for insurance purposes. Include pictures too.

It's free. Best of all it's free.

This is a fun site and also practical from what I have seen. The Crew were able to try out their services, which are also free to the public, for a few months. I am still signed up and perhaps am going to put an inventory of our homeschool books in there over the summer. This is one way of checking that you never buy two of the same book again unless it's on purpose.

I would also think that if you know far enough in advance that you are moving house or having to move to a smaller home that you can use this website as well. The TOS Crew have signed up and are now looking at what each other has posted in their items for lending or selling, and then possibly looking over what each other may/may not for the coming school year.

I did research some children's books on here too and have not found anything yet except curriculum. You may start your own community with your Homeschool group, your family or even your neighbors perhaps. You can then enter all the items you wish to trade, borrow, sell or just give away. once you have done that you can send a note out to your friend's email addresses and invite them to join, as well as at the same time, once they have joined they can see what you have to sell.

I know the owners of the site have had fun setting this up, and their son has earned some Wii games with some of the things he has sold or traded through their site. I will end with just a little ad from their site too which is attractive and great to add to your blog. OK the ad saved at the top of the blog post and not down here. Oh well, do you see how fun this all looks. During the summer instead of garage saling then why don't you sell some of your used stuff in good condition through Lobster Network's system. This way you know that trusted friends in your network are going to be grateful for your things. Of course if you sell or loan them junk then they may never visit or talk to you again!
I have reviewed this internet product for my opinion as expressed above in this blog post. I am part of the 2009/10 TOS Homeschool Crew. Please link to Lobster Network's site or to the Crew blog where my fellow crewmates have expressed their opinions too:

There are even a few video links on the Crew site and on Lobster Network. Just one more post and I am done with the Crew!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: Ideal Curriculum

For a few weeks I have been looking over Month 1 of the "Ideal Curriculum" package I was sent to review as part of the crew. This is a curriculum geared towards the new homeschooler and one that is perhaps a little fearful of what to teach their Pre-K students. I have seen some things that would work for our family and some that would not. As this curriculum is definitely cheaper if you purchase the download version that is what I would advise. With the download of a product you do not need to print every file or folder or book.

Month 1 of this Curriculum consisted of some Reading, Music, Teacher Guidance and Printing files. The curriculum is sold in a one month at a time package or a full year package. Month one files included the early teaching of the sounds and shapes of words using both the printed out letters, sounds in the 2 different ABC songs heard from MP3's and various fun games that the children play to familiarize themselves with the way words and letters look. It focuses on how the letters are shaped with horizontal, vertical, and curved lines with practice pages in the student manual for those lines.

I found that my Preschooler who only just turned 3 was really only interested in the reading books. He is already recognizing letters and doing sounds/phonics all on his own by listening to his older brother. For a new homeschooler though this method may help you teach your child a methodical way of learning the sounds.

The Teacher Manuals are very thorough about why you are teaching the child the concept of letters and sounds in different ways in order to capture the child's many different learning ways and keeping them active at the same time. Jumping forward one jump at a time when sounding out the letters in the alphabet, or taking a giant step for each letter perhaps.

For Math they use Picture cards and actions to learn the concept of time (fast and slow), about following directions, comparing between two different objects at how fast or slow they move etc.

For Science the Month 1 Curriculum also involved looking at different modes of transportation and comparing them again. the student is encouraged to act out and/or retell the stories that you are reading to them either from the fiction or non fiction books that connect with the subject they are learning. They practice making cars go faster or slower by building ramps. They make collages and other art projects too. There is a book list at the end of the Science Manual on other books that can be borrowed from the library to help reinforce the concept of transportation. The students would definitely have a fun time with all the experimentation on this one I think.

As I mentioned earlier this curriculum can be purchased individually by months or as a whole. the themes of the units are as follows : Transportation, Color, Weather, About Me, A Healthy Life, Animals, People in my community, Traditions in our Country and The World Around Us. That is a broad spectrum of subjects in the Science/Social Studies section. The most positive aspect of this curriculum is that you do not have to print out or do every activity. You may leave out a few if they are too much for your student/s.

There is a one week trial of the Week 1 Month 1 Curriculum available on the site if you sign up for it and you can decide whether this will help you teach your preschooler or not.

A One Year complete Preschool Curriculum costs $526.00. The various curriculum's for Literacy is $270.00 or a Math Program for $60.00. The monthly kits are for Printable $55 per month and $30 for downloadable. The Printable ones will be shipped to you at the correct time of the year depending on when you begin the program. The downloadable product for 9 months is priced at $240.00 if purchased per month (I think that is what it says). More details of all the different packages can be found at

I was given this product to review and my colleagues at the TOS Homeschool blog have posted their reviews too. Click on over there to see who wrote what and compare it with mine I guess too:

I have reviewed this product after receiving a one month curriculum for Ideal Curriculum so that I could blog about it here. I have received no payment for this review.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review: Kregel Publications

I read this wonderful, exciting, fantastic and thrilling book published by Kregel Publications last week. Of course when it got to Sunday afternoon I usually take a nap, but last weekend I had my eyes glued to this book. The title of the book I read is “Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure.”

This book has a cute couple of teenagers on the front looking at a treasure map. I also had read the back of the book for a description of the story. I was curious even though I have not read a book like this for years. “Trouble with Treasure” is part of a series of 4 books about a young lady called Andrea Carter and her adventures. She gets herself into some sticky situations. The author of these novels is Susan Marlow.

Andi and her friend Jenny decide to ride along with Andi’s older brother and a friend for a few days whilst he goes to visit a logging camp in the mountains. Their first day begins with a freak accident with a snake involved and it caused different problems through out the rest of the trip. One exciting adventure after another happens on the riding trip, during their panning for gold in the rivers along the way, eating fresh fish out of the river, and of course just enjoying the scenery. They bump into some really mean people along the journey and you have to read the book to find out exactly what those mean guys did and did not do! The book is also set in the late 1880’s so sheriffs and villains abound!

I was literally glued to my book and loved it. If you have a pre-teen or teenager who likes these adventure kind of stories then I would say this series of 6 books is for him/her. The “Circle C” Adventures have a website in which you can visit to see Andi’s blog and hear about what she and her friends are up to next. Here is the link: .With each book a literature unit study is available and there is a link in the back of each book for this.

This series of books are being sold at and click on over to Andi’s adventures when you get there and click the Order books button. A brief description of each book is on the site, as well as some information on some Early Reader books coming out in the series during 2010. This will make it easier for your younger readers to join in on the adventure. I just noticed that there are Lapbooks available for some of these titles too. (see above Picture of the Lapbook for this particular adventure!)

The cost of one Circle C Adventure book is $8.00 but the set of Books 1-5 in the series will cost only $30.00 plus shipping and handling. I think this is a decent price for 5 paperback books that will also provide a learning experience for your children. The age level recommended for Circle C Adventure books is 9-14 years. This could even be a book that can go on a Christmas wish list now so you can save money to purchase it later in the year.

The other TOS Crew members have their reviews at this link:

I am a member of the Homeschool Crew for The Old Schoolhouse magazine for 2009/10 and have reviewed this product in exchange for my opinion. I have received no payment for this review.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: BeeYoutiful

Yeah - Yeah Yeah, I shouted when I was selected to be one of the members of the TOS Crew to try out the BeeYoutiful products. The reason I was excited was because I know what an awesome company this is. Their ethics and work standards are great and their products, in my opinion are excellent.

The product that I was sent in the mail is called Tummy Tuneup. This is a supplement that I have not yet tried but of course after using a few times on both myself and my son I am content to promote it. Tummy Tuneup is full of Lactobacillus acidophilus (and 2 other types), as well as Bifid bacterium (3 types). If you are questioning those big words well don’t. these are healthy bacteria that re-boost your stomach and the your intestinal system. They are probiotic and anti yeast V-caps that can be taken, or the powder from the capsule mixed up with applesauce or liquid for children. The bottle does indicate to take before eating. This definitely does help in the case of if you are about to indulge in rich fatty foods of any kind like Pizza, Spaghetti, and probably cheesecake to avoid the effects that may happen after this kind of meal. One thing I do need to point out is that you can take this product with you anywhere, but do not leave in a hot vehicle or anywhere that it may get overheated at any time.

I have used this for my oldest son particularly as he is partial to getting virus bugs from other children and it has been phenomenal in preventing them. If the digestive system is in good working order then the body can fight back against virus’ of this kind easier. Tummy Tuneup restores the environment to the intestines where it is needed before it is upset. In this country and overseas in 1st world nations it is easy to get a disrupted stomach from rich food when eating out, or even when traveling from a different water supply. I know this from experience. When I was younger I used to get cramps from the hotel tap water whenever we traveled. I do not experience that any longer.

From testimonies on the BeeYoutiful website and from other crew members they have used this when their children have had the diarrhea and vomiting bug during this past winter. It has worked like a charm. I would recommend this product to be something you do not travel without this summer if you are taking a vacation. It would also be handy to have on hand in your home during a long snowy winter where viruses abound.

I love BeeYoutiful products and currently our family is using SuperMom and SuperDad tablets/capsules, Cod Liver Oil capsules, different essential oils like Peppermint and Lavender (for headaches and peaceful sleeping), Ultra Immune and Berry Well. Ultra Immune is an amazing product and is taken between meals to help support the Immune system and keep it functioning. Some key ingredients in it are Elderberry, Oregano Oil and Allisure (Garlic). These 3 are important in preventing your body in catching those colds and chest infections. I take this due to the stress level in my life being extremely high. It certainly helps to keep the stress loads down to a minimum. BerryWell is a Herbal Dietary Supplement for people 1 and over (contains raw honey) to help build up a strong immune system. It has been very effective in keeping colds to a minimum this winter in our home - recovery time from a fever or cold is now down to 2-3 days instead of a week. My toddler has no qualms about taking a teaspoon of this every day if I want him too. I call that a successful product.

I could talk for a long time about how wonderful BeeYoutiful products are. They are all tested in a safe environment, and do not come from a manufacturer that is bent on destroying your body, or world in the process. I do feel that during this current minor depression of mine I would not be feeling as well as I do if it were not for BeeYoutiful supplements and oils.

The cost for a bottle of Tummy Tuneup is $18.00 and has 60 capsules. If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a sensitivity to spicy or rich food I would suggest trying it out. If your children are susceptible to infections or getting colds when exposed to other children think about adding this to your medical aid kit and tossing out some store bought stuff! It is definitely healthier.

Some of my fellow crew mates enjoyed other beauty and/or health products from BeeYoutiful and their review links can be found here:

If you want to skip the crew stuff then click on over to BeeYoutiful directly and enjoy their site with articles and heaps of information. They have a catalog that comes out quarterly too. Here is the link:

I have received this product in exchange for my review, as I am part of the TOS Homeschool Crew for 2009/10.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: Lesson Planet

During the month of March 2010 our family received a subscription for 6 weeks to an online Teacher’s lesson Planning and worksheet website called Lesson Planet. ( . ) This website gives the teacher access to over 225,000 lesson plans and/or worksheets as well as information on the standards of education for grade levels in each state within the USA. I did not see anything on the site about International States for countries outside of the United States.

A teacher has the ability to pick a theme/subject or math concept and choose the grade and rating level as well as whether you need an advanced lesson or not. Once this is selected the search mode clicks on and finds lessons from websites and/or individual educators from across the United States. These can be detailed Lesson Plans for anything from 1 lesson to 3-4 weeks worth of lessons for the subject.

The home page features some of the major lesson plans by subject as follows: Art/Music; Health and Nutrition; Math; Geography; Science and Technology; Language Arts and a few more. For example, in Geography there are over 11 000 different lessons available for browsing but when you choose the grade level and difficulty rating then the amount narrows down fast. I did find that a lot of these Lesson Plans that I searched were definitely geared towards a regular school setting. I of course did not like that so found them difficult to adapt to a child that does not sit still for long. To find applications that would work for my child who is not a sit down, be quiet kind of child was more challenging.

Many of the books used in the lessons were ‘school’ type books that are usually available only through companies like Scholastic books. I do not have access to this type of book at the current time. There is also a Curriculum calendar with important dates listed on virtually every day - you can click on a date and do a lesson about the important item listed on that day.

There is an extremely wide variety of topics and themes covered. I found it hard to narrow down exactly what I needed from so many choices and was also disappointed that many of these sites are government school programs. I do not like using programs like this but once in a while. I have saved some word searchs and poems to use at a later time.

The cost per year for using Lesson Planet is $39.95. This is a reasonable cost for access to the many thousands of lesson plans and worksheets. I personally will not be using this but am thankful to have had a chance to see what the website is all about. There is a 10 day Full Access Trial of the website available if you would like to see what they have to offer. If you cancel before the 10 days is up then your credit card will not be billed.

Here are 2 links for you to visit from Lesson Planet:

lesson plans

My other Crew members this year have experienced using Lesson Planet with their families and you can visit the Homeschool Crew Blog at this link:

I have been able to access the above website as a member of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew for 2009/2010.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: Sue Gregg Cookbooks

The last 6 months that I have been on the crew I have been using a really neat cookbook which is also a nutritional diary of sorts. Of course this is right up my alley as it were. I love, love, love dealing with books and products that teach or help you learn how to eat, live and exercise correctly to get the best nutrition and life possible.

I have known about Sue Gregg and her cookbook series for many years and have applied many of her methods over time. The recipes that I did get to try from the “Breakfasts….with Blender Batter Baking & Allergy Alternatives” book were different and new to me. On the website there are a few trial recipes for you to try out. As part of the Crew we went to the site and picked a recipe, made it and did a review and then requested which book we would like to try. I picked the above one. Breakfast is my favorite meal.

I have always loved, and am known to serve a good and healthy breakfast. Eggs, Grains, fruits and vegetables can be used in this meal. It can be balanced and it can be healthy. Yes it takes more work to make a good meal than just pulling out a box of cereal. Last night I placed a cup of oatmeal, and a cup of warm water and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and some whey from the yogurt in a saucepan, 12 hours later I added more water and a little milk and cooked the oatmeal. It was so yummy with added raisins, and chopped up apple. Train your children to like cooked cereals for breakfasts and not to always want the store bought stuff.

The first 40 pages of this book are detailed information for ‘Planning for Breakfast’ on different kinds of milk to make or buy, eggs, dairy alternatives, fats and oils uses of nuts, different sweeteners, and methods of making breakfast foods. Sue also does provide some sources for the ingredients that you may not be used to but, the Internet has a vast array of stores selling these items. There are menu planning helps, recipes galore with alternative for grain and milk allergies included in many of them, as well as biblical truths and folk remedies scattered throughout the book.

I have been a promoter and user of the “soaking grains” method for making breads, muffins and pancakes for some time now and Sue outlines this method clearly in this “Breakfasts” book. Sue does have at least 5-6 other recipe books available on her website and even a Children’s Cooking Curriculum for the “Lunches and Snacks” book with a CD ( book not included )full of photos demonstrating the processes she uses. I do think that teaching your children to cook and care for themselves at a young age is a bonus as they will take care of you when they are older. They could even cook 2-3 dinners per week whilst you take care of the younger children.

The “Breakfasts” cookbook sells for a price of $23.00. I also do own the “Soups and Muffins” book, which has been an incredible help over the years and that sells for $8.00. I found sometimes that starting with a less complicated recipe of making muffins and then move on to making bread integrates you into changing your diet for the better. Making small changes really does make a difference in your health and eventually you will find yourself much healthier and happier than the previous year, perhaps there will be even less of you too!

Some of the recipes we tried were Build-an-Omelet, Oatmeal Surprise, Hot Oatmeal, Mango Smoothie, Blueberry Shake, Wake up Carrot Shake, Blender Molasses Muffins (wonderful), Good Morning Muffins, Sunshine Muffins, Blender Banana Muffins, and homemade English Muffins (so soft and yummy.) I have been using her waffle and pancake blender recipe for 6 plus years and it always succeeds unless I mess with the ingredients too much. Pineapple Coffee Cake, Cowboy Coffee Cake and Almond Coffee Cake have become some of my favorites to serve for Sunday morning breakfast as they can be made the night before and reheated in the morning and served with fruit. We all go out the door full to the brim and last all through church without snacking!

I can not say enough about Sue Gregg and her way of using grains. I have yet to discover her “Meals in Minutes” cookbook or the “Lunches and Snacks”, but will do so in the near future. For those who read this and know me personally I can recommend these cookbooks as becoming a part of your weekly menu planning if you are willing to give these a try. We have even used some alternative grains with surprising results that they do not taste much different from regular grain. Please do go over to the TOS Homeschool Crew site to find out what other Crew members tried out and read their reviews too - don’t just take my word for it.

*I also just noticed on the website there is a link to download a PDF of some of this “Breakfasts” book in the new version. It will give you some idea of what you will find.* I also spied there a try out recipe for “Taco Chip Ole.” It is a great nutrition filled recipe made with tortilla chips and other yummy things like sour cream, avocado and of course some salsa and lettuce. Check it out please!!!!

Please link through this way directly to Sue Gregg’s site for some sample recipes to try out at

This is my opinion that I have done for the above product and have not been paid for this review.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Bubby Boo- Andrew!

It is my dear sweet little guys birthday. He is three today and was born rather quickly or slowly. We went into labor after being side swiped in a hit and run accident on the main raod home from the hospital. Our sweet second son was in there for his stem cell transplant. We knew that the baby would be born close to the stem cell transplant time but not in the way he was. Some of you who read this blog know our story and some don't.
I went into labor as a result of the accident and then Andrew was born about 20 hours later. it was a very long night. He was due a few days later though. Thankfully I was almost 9 months along. He has been a wonderful blessing to our family. Some days we just wonder what life was like without him. He is so like his brother "B" that has passed away. He also just inherited all of B's Thomas Train set, and all his little cars. We have kept these up and put away for at least a year and now are ready to see them used again. I think Andrew is truly blessed by all that his brother left behind for him. Even days before he died Brendon was giving away his stuffed animals and toys to his two brothers, almost like he did know he was not staying on earth but graduating to heaven.
That is a hard thing to imagine that a 5 year old knows that kind of stuff. I will never understand but as I read today in my little Grief book " We are never promised freedom from flood and fire, from any kind of disaster, or freedom from death. What god is promising here is that we do not walk through these terrors alonge and that, diffiult as they are , they will not destroy us."
The Lord sent us a blessing ahead of time and he is so precious. Hold your little ones just a little bit longer each night.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010


The above Expo is here - It begins May 3rd through May 7th. It is online. The tickets cost $39.95 but even whilst you are waiting for the ticket to be processed you can be a part of the daily classes and chats. The Expo has many new teachers and Homeschool Moms sharing their stories and they accomplish their daily lives, chores and living! Click on over!

Join us please - we would love to have you. ( and so would Cindy!) Last year over 300 people 'attended'.


Review: Super Star Speech

Do you see these two pictures? On the left is the front cover of the
fun and wonderful Speech therapy book that I was sent to review. On the right side of the page is one of the games download that I was asked to review as well.
Our youngest child Andy is almost three and I thought he was having some serious problems learning how to talk correctly. Well it seems that after receiving this book that he seems to be doing better.
Andy was barely putting words in sentences at age two and I was questioning my ability as a Mom in teaching him to talk. My first two children did not have any problems in this area. When the opportunity to choose which curriculum for review out of the Speech Therapy products offered, I chose "Super Star Speech - Speech Therapy Made Simple". This book gave me finally some insight into the development of a child's speech patterns.
I read the introduction a few times and glanced through the rest of the manual before checking exactly what words Andy knew, and what he did not. It is not really about words, but more about sounds and what their tongue is doing when they make those sounds. I wanted Andrew to be able to be understood by someone other than his parents and his brother.
To begin with the parent does an Articulation Test on the child. During this test you mark off on a response sheet whether the 'target' sound has been made correctly or not. The sounds are either at the beginning of word, in the middle of the word, or at the word ending. Once you have completed this analysis you would circle your check marks with whether it was a totally correct sound, an omitted sound, substituted sound or just distorted. I was in the middle of this test and it was beginning to make sense in my head. Andy could handle the p and b sound, but not the n sound which was normal for a 3 year old. When I started testing him he was still only about 2 3/4 years old. Many beginning sounds for t, d, k, g, ch, sh and s were clear but many of these same sounds in the middle and end of words was fuzzy.
I started working with him on individual letters. This was accomplished by making the words with magnets on a board (my idea now) and then working through them one letter at a time giving him the correct sound. He caught on quickly. Now he wants to practice his words every night looking at the pictures in the manual. It is fun for him too to look at the pictures whilst he is learning and the more we repeat the actions the better he will get at saying the individual sounds. Then he will progress to the whole words and perhaps other folk outside the family circle will understand him more.
As he is unable to read yet, only some letters he knows by heart, we will make this a fun exercise. He is putting 5-6 words together in sentences since we started with the Therapy exercises. I notice he listens more for the sounds of words that we say to him. He has picked up on the therapy and correction in his speech quickly. We still have a long way to go I'm sure but I am glad that we are not lost in the fog of not knowing what to do, and figuring out if we should/should not get him professional speech therapy classes. I am sure that now due to this book we will not have to resort to that method. I have begun to read to Andy more and more and he loves it when he gets the sound of the word correct. There are games in the manual to encourage some fun during all of this learning process, and Deborah gives you further instruction on how to work on the child's tongue position to improve their speech.
The "Silly Snail" game is one of the language games I was giving to use and critique too. This game has cards with sentences written on them. One word on the card is in bold print. The first player draws a card and names the part of speech that is the bold word. If correct, they move their game piece along to the first part of the snail's shell stopping at relevant noun, adverb, pronoun or verb section of the snail. It has been fun to see what my older child knows about these words - noun, adverb, verbs, pronouns etc as we have not focused on these too much in our English Language schooling. The first player to get to the snail's tail wins. My son is competitive and loves games even if he has to think more than he wants to. We shall keep using this and adding more of our own homemade cards with our sentences on.
Deborah Lott has other products available on her site or through Currclick. There is a Super Science Bundle which consists of various science games that can be downloaded and printed out. These can also be be purchased individually. Super Star Speech costs $18.95 for a spiral bound Manual. One can also obtain a download of this product for 40% off that price for $12.95 at the Currclick site. ( ) Deborah's website is Deborah Lott also has a blog which can be linked to from her website and there are a variety of questions and lots of information available on both her website and blog. I would check out this manual first before reverting to the regular form of speech therapy for a child which may cost a lot more out-of-pocket for you.
I have found this review both challenging and exciting as well as fun to do. I had a need and the Lord fulfilled it in a supernatural and practical way. Thank you to Deborah Lott for sharing this product with the crew to review and I hope that many people benefit in the future from all of your hard work. My apologies to you that the review is late due to family commitments that had to be completed first.
If you think this is a product that you may be needing for your little ones or older children who are having speech issues then browse on over to Deborah's site and take a look, to see other reviews written by my fellow crew members at the TOS Homeschool crew blog. Here is the link for that page:
Deborah Lott's is also offering our blog readers a 20% discount code on any readers off her site until June 30th. The discount code is TOS. Please contact me if you are having problems with ordering and I will try to help out if possible.
I have reviewed these products for the TOS Homeschool Crew 2009/10 and have not been paid for this review.

Spring is Welcome Here!

The month of April has been a nutty one. Of course it is spring and in the Midwest we have had some fantastic weather. There have also been some pretty soggy days and nights mixed into that month.

As far as reviews are concerned I am running about two weeks behind on them and still have Super Star Speech, Lesson Planet, Sue Gregg cooking and a few more to complete. My journey with the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review team for 2009/10 comes to an end during May. I am sad in some respects as it tested my ability to meet deadlines and work for someone else again, but I am also relieved that I will be able to dig into what I have received in more detail other than just skimming the surface. I could probably do with a few weeks off in the summer to do just that. Not quite sure that will happen.

Yesterday we travelled to French Lick, Indiana to visit the Indiana Railway Museum and French Lick Scenic Railway( ). This is a trip we have done before with Daniel and Brendon when they were younger and before Brendon was diagnosed with cancer. It is 5 years since we visited there. It did bring back some sweet and some bitter memories. The countryside is beautiful and the train goes through a 2200 foot tunnel which makes it really dark for about a whole minute. Children hold their breath and the adults make it almost impossible to believe the darkness will go away, and then whoosh we are in the light again. Andrew loved the ride and slept well most of the way home! The picture up above was Brendon travelling on this train in September 2005.

No I am not getting paid to showcase them either but if you live close to this spot, the train does go more often in the summer and children love the ride. It is not too long and even fun. Be prepared for them to try to sell some snacks and drinks on board to raise money for a purchase of a new steam engine though for the railway.

It was terrific to have a family day together in spite of the rain, and you know what, Daniel prayed for the rain to only continue once our train ride was over. As we drove out the parking lot it started to rain! Thank you Lord for honoring my child's simple honest prayer from heart.

The Lord does honor our prayers even as adults. Sometimes we do not like the way He answers. Why did my child not get healed and another across the country seems to be doing okay. I do not know all of that. I don't think I could love my Lord if He was just like me. He is all powerful, all consuming and all loving. We can not 'not' question Him about things but He does not choose to answer all of our questions.

The Lord is also teaching me to "Judge not, lest you be judged." I do not want to get to the gates of heaven and be turned away because of a bitter and contrite heart. I have a few heart issues I am working on, and unfortunately they are not weekly or monthly things, but daily confrontations. Forgiveness is so hard for humans and we have to be willing to humble ourselves and basically 'suck it up." I do not understand either why friends, family, neighbors or associates make decisions that they do but it is not for me to interfere, talk about or judge. Biting my tongue has become a frequent thing to do. That hurts.

I am giving you my heart today which I do not do often if you know me well. I am praying for more children to be welcomed in our home, I do not think it is possible at this age, but for God who knows what is in store for tomorrow!

I have journeyed here from Zimbabwe, Africa and He has been a constant companion in my life whether I was single, married and now a Mom. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother and I sure do need Him on a minute by minute basis.

We get to celebrate our little guy Andy's 3rd birthday this week and we are so blessed by his life. He is learning to talk better daily and is excited to get all the 'Thomas' stuff that he is hoping for. We will see what the Birthday 'man' brings for him to unwrap!

Now I have to another review so will post that later today. May the Lord bring you peace and joy for the rest of today.

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."