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Monday, January 31, 2011

TOS Review Times Alive

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

It's time for another review!  This time The Crew was given the privilege of reviewing Times Alive from City Creek Press.


Times Alive is a fun and interactive way to learn the times tables. Based on the book, Times Tables the Fun Way, this method pairs up stories and pictures to make the multiplication facts memorable.  And they really are!  The stories are silly and catchy.  Like, when it's 6 x 6, you have Thirsty Sixes (36)!  They show a picture of sixes drinking out of a lake.  Silly?  Yup.  Memorable, absolutely.

I wasn't sure what my girls would think about it since they are a little on the old side for this.  Or so I thought!  I went ahead and had them sign up because they can always use the extra practice, right?  There were a few grumbles about it at first, but I soon found them practicing and watching the videos.  I do notice some difference in the speed that they answer multiplication questions.  But, they would need much more practice to get as proficient as I think they should be.

Learning multiplication facts is just so boring and something that you just have to do.  Anything that we can do to make it more fun and memorable is a bonus!  The Times Alive Software covers the multiplication facts from 0-9 with stories, drilling, and music.


The Times Alive Software CD-ROM is $48.95 or for Download for $44.95.  There are also many other products like books, posters, and a teachers manuals available.  Check out this page for a list of their products.

Want to give it a try?  Head on over to this page to try it all out.  Also, here is a video to check out...

To find out what other Crew Members thought about Times Alive, head over to The Crew Blog and check 'em out.

**I was given this product from City Creek Press through The Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Homeschool Moms wish their husbands knew

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

The day goes something like this:

Wake up sharing a bed, with either the hubby or a kid that has managed to sneak in for a snuggle depending on when hubby had to be at work that day. Move to the kitchen to start breakfast all the while urging the kids to get moving and do chores. Eat breakfast with all manner of tired, clingy children that won’t eat any faster than molasses in January. Clean up breakfast, finally, and try to get dressed. Only you can’t because you can’t seem to have your own bedroom to yourself. Each child has at least one question which has to be asked RIGHT NOW! The questions get answered in between picking clothes and begging them to give you five minutes alone. Finally you just start undressing, hoping that that will cause them to flee. School starts with the usual whining and complaining, not all of which is theirs! Books have been misplaced and all the pencils in the house have suddenly disappeared. When enough items have been found to start school work, the various questions from each child are fired off continually at two minute intervals for the next hour and a half; or until the frustration causes one or all of them to give up. Recess is called so that mom can lock herself in the bathroom for an undetermined amount of time. But just when the quiet settles in the bathroom, fingers appear under the door. Heavy breathing can be heard from the other side along with whispers of “No, you ask her.” The moment is over when the fighting starts and a crash is heard from somewhere in the house. Mom stalks out to find nothing. Everyone has mysteriously vanished. The choice has to be made-go back into hiding and pretend that nothing is amiss or go find them and the trouble they are in. It takes a little longer to make the decision than you would ever admit to but you finally go in search of your offspring. When you find them you swear there is a hallelujah chorus playing somewhere because they are doing their school work. Not wanting to draw attention to the fact that they are doing what they should be doing, mom grabs a book to sit and read with them. As soon as her body touches the couch, the questions begin again. ‘What’s this word’, ‘What does that mean’, ‘Do I have to read this?’, ‘Can we be done now?’ Determined to get as much school done as possible you tell them no, but inwardly beg to be done as well. Pressing on toward the end of the school day, the questions and problems build to a fever pitch until mom says, ‘Just wait for your father to get home and he will help you.’ That is the last ditch statement given when the limit has been reached and a meltdown of epic proportions is imminent-Mom’s not the kids’. Cheers go up as the kids scatter like roaches in daylight leaving a trail of papers, books, and chaos behind them. Before Mom can gather her wits about her, Dad walks into the middle of the disaster zone. Their eyes meet and she instantly knows that she has failed. There is nothing peaceful and calming about the house at the moment and she just realized that her shirt and pants don’t match, she has two different shoes on, and she hasn’t brushed her teeth or hair all day. Supper has barely been thought of and all she can think of is getting some quiet time alone with no one asking unending questions. But alas, that is not to be. Homework, supper, clean up, chores, time with hubby, bed time, and planning for the next day needs done. She climbs into bed with thoughts of everything that needs done tomorrow hoping she can fall asleep before the first kid comes in needing help in the night. The alarm goes off the next morning to begin the whole circus over again.

1. You can not imagine how many questions your children come up with on any given day.

2. Previously independent children become helpless as soon as I start helping someone else or working on my things.

3. As educated as I am, I sometimes forget what day it is even though I have repeated it countless times for each child.

4. I didn’t forget to do the laundry; I actually forgot we even had laundry.

5. I really was planning on making supper until several kids had Math melt-downs and the computer decided it hated me.

6. I feel guilty asking to buy things for our school even though we need them. So, I don’t.

7. Planning the school year is incredibly intimidating and I would love to have your input and advice.

8. Having asked for your input please be aware that I am also territorial about homeschooling and probably won’t take the advice well. At first. Please be patient and gentle with my tender ego.

9. No matter how well the day goes, I still feel like I didn’t do enough. There is always something that I could have done better and I will tend to focus on that.

10. Please be willing to help with homework and to give me a break from the daily grind. I don’t need much time, just a little break to save my sanity.

11. I need you to support me 100% and to show it.

12. I also need time to just be me and not a homeschool teacher. Time away, not thinking about school, will restore my faith in myself and my calling as a homeschooling mother.

13. I want, no, need you to listen to how my day went and to ask me questions about it. Please don’t feel like you have to solve the problems, sometimes it’s enough for you to just listen.

14. Pray for me. Knowing that you are praying for me is a blessing I treasure.

Now, I am ready for the alarm to go off tomorrow morning!

Friday, January 28, 2011

TOS Review Ten Marks

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses in schooling our children. The key to dealing with them is to find products that cover the topics in a way that excites your children so that they will want to learn. The trouble is wading through everything out there to find the right ones.

Well, you are in luck today. The TOS Crew were given the chance to try out and review an online Math product called TenMarks. I am always excited to try out Math curricula because that is a weakness of mine and I don't want it to be for my kids.

So, to that end we dove in and got started.

TenMarks is an online Math program that is available as a supplement to your current curriculum and for extra practice on concepts they struggle with.

Their website says this:

TenMarks is the only online math program that helps students refresh, learn, and master math concepts - in their own time, at their own pace. Each child receives a personalized curriculum to help them master the concepts quickly. 

TenMarks offers lessons and specialized programs to cover the breadth of the core math skills your child will cover in school.
Grades 3-High School
Over 300 core math skills
Hints and video lessons for every topic
Mapped to state standards

There are several videos to watch on their website for more information.  This page has eight different videos to watch! 

While TenMarks is intended to be used as a supplement, we used it as a main math curricula for two of our girls.  The 6th grader and the 3rd grader were signed up easily and not too long after that I received an email informing me that they had worksheets already assigned.  The assignments came right to my inbox and I knew what they were going to cover and when they were due.  It was cool!

The girls immediately went to work and were hooked.  The home screen pops up and they are shown what worksheet is first.  They are given the option of watching a video that will show them the concept or starting the worksheet right away.  Once they have chosen the worksheet the problems show up one by one.  On the right of the screen there are to options available-Get Hint or Watch Video.  Getting a hint will help solve the problem and the video is a general video to help with the concept.

Once they have completed the worksheet, they are shown their score.  They are also given the chance to correct any they missed.  Step by step instructions are given to help solve the problems.  They are given a score that shows proficiency with the concept.  They must get over a certain percentage to move on, if they don't then a Do-Over worksheet is provided.

On each of the girls accounts, I was able to set up a reward after they completed a certain number of worksheets.  I got to choose the rewards that I wanted for each of them and how many worksheets they had to complete to get them.  There are also games that get unlocked after a certain number of worksheets as well.

We have really enjoyed using this website.  It has been a blessing to this household.  The girls have enjoyed using it and actually ask to do it.  There haven't been any struggles in getting them to do their math.  The only struggle has come from the order of concepts taught.  Each curricula teaches concepts in varying orders so that took some figuring out; but once we did we were good to go.

TenMarks has different levels of subscriptions.

They are:
Options (per student)
$10 a month
$49 for 6 months
$89 for 12 months
Visit their About Us page to get more information and to find answers to your questions. 
If you want to see what other Crew members thought about it, head over to The Crew Blog and check 'em out.    

**I was given a subscription to TenMarks through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Excuse Me?

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

Remember that hail storm we had in September?  It was a doozy.  There was lots of damage throughout our city and we had some of it.  Our insurance adjuster came out and said that we needed a new roof, gutters, etcetera.


We had been down this route before and weren't looking forward to it again.  Last time we replaced it ourselves with the help of amazing friends.  I actually enjoyed doing the roofing, I just didn't want to do it again at this point in my life!  So, we hired a contracting company.

We researched this company, StormGuard, on the internet and called the Better Business Bureau and visited their local office.  Everything checked out.  That we could find, anyway.  We were in communication with them and planned out when we would get our new roof.

Delay after delay started happening and still no roof.  Steven finally emailed the President of the company, Mike Little, and told him that we believed them to be crooked.  He went on to explain how it looked like they had taken our money and run with it.  We received an email back stating that no, they were not a crooked company and that he would check into it and make sure we were taken care of.

Yeah, right.

We were called yesterday by a local t.v. station doing a story on StormGuard and how they stole thousands of dollars from local families.  Excuse me?  They wanted to come interview us that very day.  Isn't that great? >insert as much sarcasm as you can think of here<  We did the interview and were blown away by what we learned.

Mike Little, the president of the company stole our money.  He did it to countless others in our city and across the mid-west.  He sorely mis-managed his company and swindled customers out of their money.  One woman that we have been in contact with gave StormGuard her entire insurance check up front.  It was for $13,000.  She is a teacher and only makes $14,000 a year.  What is she supposed to do about that?  Is Mike Little going to give her her money back?

Nope, he is going to start a new company in Arizona.  Wait, he already has.  He took thousands and thousands of dollars from hard working people in the mid-west then picked up and moved to Arizona to try it all again.  His new company, National Construction, is bound to be just as crooked and deceitful as StormGuard.  Word needs to be spread about this company and about this man so that others can be forewarned.

Do not believe anything this man or his company says to you.  They will not deliver.  They will steal your money and never think twice about it.

Now, am I willing to concede that it was all a mistake and that Mike Little is sorry for what happened?  You bet, as soon as he gives us our money back and an apology letter to each and every person he swindled.

Let's just say that I'm not holding my breath!  We are filing a complaint with the police, Consumer Fraud, the Attorney General's office, the Better Business Bureau, and anyone else that we can.  We will never see our money, but at least we can try and stop this guy from doing it again.

But we need your help.

Your mission is to tell anyone that you know about this man, Mike Little and his company, National Construction, and to warn them.  Especially those of you down the Arizona way.  Help to stop this man from devastating more lives. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TOS Review The Illustrated Bible Dictionary For Kids

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

Have your kids ever been doing Bible Study or been reading their Bible and asked a question like who is Jochebed and where can I find out?  Or maybe they ask you what kind of plants were in Bible times.  All kinds of questions come up that make you go hmmm!

Well, I have a solution for you.  It's the Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids from Holman.  This is a seriously great dictionary.  There are reconstructions that show what buildings or cities may have looked like in Bible times, illustrated charts, pronunciation guides, photographs, realistic illustrations, definitions, and bios of people from the Bible.  The pages are full of vivid images and easy to understand information.

We have thoroughly enjoyed having and using this book.  I have been able to send the kids to this book to find answers for themselves during their Bible study time.  It has been empowering for them to have.

Here is a little about the book from the Lifeway Stores website:

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids helps children ages 5 to 10 better understand more than 750 Bible terms through vivid design and clear, concise definitions. More than 500 of the featured words are paired with full-color photographs, illustrations, maps, or reconstructions to enhance comprehension.
  This unique reference tool is perfect for church classrooms, families, home-schooling environments, Christian school classrooms and libraries, church libraries, and public libraries.

Aren't those pictures great?  These pictures don't even do justice to the book.  It is a lot of fun to look through!  The description says ages 5-10, but I think it could go much higher.  My 13yo enjoyed looking things up in it and I have as well.  This hardback book will last for years to come.

You can pick up your own copy of this book at Lifeway Stores website for $14.99 +shipping. 

To find out what other Crew members thought, head on over to The Crew Blog and check 'em out!

**I received this book through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just Obedience?

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

Obey: to submit to authority; to follow orders

Willingness: desire; decision-making capacity; by choice; without reluctance

These two words have been stomping through my head for the last month or so. I have been chewing on what they mean and trying to understand them better. I will never fully understand but this is what I have come up with so far.

We want our children to obey. We train them daily in the act of obedience so that they will be safe, learn to make wise choices, and ultimately to obey their Heavenly Father.
Obedience is a must. It just is.
As a child, we must learn to trust our parents enough to obey even when we don’t understand the whys and wherefores of why they are asking. Sometimes it is very difficult and sometimes it is easier. But it is imperative.

Obedience isn’t an optional activity it is an imperative one. In fact, I wonder if our children don’t learn to trust and obey their parents when they are young how much harder their lives will be when they are older.

Especially when God calls them to do something that they don’t understand. How tragic would it be to miss the blessings God has for them because they couldn’t trust and obey?

Now, we want our kids to obey even when or maybe especially when they don’t want to; but that can mean that their hearts are unwilling and they are just going through the motions. That’s okay-sometimes. However, I think we are missing out on an important matter that goes hand in hand with obedience.


Willingness is a state of the heart. It indicates an implicit trust of the person doing the asking. By being willing to obey, even when they are scared they are completely trusting that person with/for their well-being. Without the willingness the heart is not involved and I would dare say even a little hardened. We should be striving to win our children’s hearts just as our Abba strives to win ours. He is constantly showing us that He is trustworthy. God wants our obedience and our willingness. He wants our hearts to be so in love with Him and so trusting of Him that we are willing to obey no matter the task. There shouldn’t be anything we are not willing to do for the trusted keeper of our hearts.

In the story of Abraham, I believe we see this concept in action. Abraham had obeyed (and disobeyed) God in many things and on many occasions. Throughout his life he learned to willingly obey God. Abraham waited a very long time for Isaac but he trusted God to fulfill His promise. Then, God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son. In Genesis 22, we see God telling Abraham to go to the region of Moriah and kill Isaac. What did Abraham do? Did he argue? Whine? Complain? Did he even question what God had just said? Verse 3 says this: “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac.” He obeyed, willingly. I believe his heart was breaking even while he obeyed. How could he obey that request? That seems like too much to ask doesn’t it? I think we can find the answer in verse 8. Isaac had just asked where the lamb for the sacrifice was and Abraham says, “God himself will provide the lamb…” Abraham knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the God/Father he trusted and obeyed would do what He promised. Abraham willingly obeyed the God he loved even though it seemed like it was too high a price. Abraham trusted God with everything he had because he knew God would do what was best for him. God had won Abraham’s heart.

Winning our children’s heart is a daily task. It is in the little things as well as the big ones. It is being there to kiss the boo-boo’s and to listen to their secret desires, hurts, and joys. It is in holding their feet to the fire even when it is painful for you both. Standing firm so they have an anchor to hold on to when life is scary or messy. It is in being transparent and showing them that you make mistakes too.

As we watch our children learn and grow we can see a reflection of our own walk with God. The lessons we are trying to teach them are the very ones God is trying to teach us.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

I'm having a Give Away on my other blog.  I am giving away a copy of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred!

Head on over and enter.  You only have to leave a comment to be entered.  :)

An Interesting Change

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content. 

We were not sick this weekend!  so why didn't I post this weekend?  Just B U S Y.  Saturday morning was spent running around like a crazy woman, but I didn't really get anything done!  I worked on some choreography and blocking for our homeschool group's play.  Then, Steven and I went to Wal-Mart for a few things and ended up spending too much time almost making me late for my lunch with my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law.

I wasn't late and even put on a little make-up for it! lol  We ladies spent about three hours talking and eating and having a great time.  I made it home just in time to get everyone ready for church!  Lucky me.  ;-)  Service was good and then supper with great friends. 

The play was calling to me after supper, so I worked on it some more.  I am loving the way it turned out and can't wait to see the kids perform it at the end of the year.

I woke up entirely too early this morning (4am) obsessing about finding some sheet music.  I did, Praise God!  So I was able to finish working out the choreography to two songs, mostly, just before my dance captains showed up at 2pm.  At our meeting I was able to teach the choreography to two of the songs and talked with my music director about the arrangements for each song and have a plan for each of them. 

Did a little and I do mean little, grocery shopping this evening.  Now, we are sitting down with our cappuccino's watching football.  Aaahhhh!! 

Tomorrow we get to start working on the play in earnest on our short 13 week rehearsal schedule.  We meet for one morning a week and only spend an hour on choir/drama!  I'm sure glad the kids are excited about this play, otherwise I would be worried.  Okay, so the panic has set in a little bit but isn't that normal once you start a show?  It is for me!

For now, I am going to work up some more choreography and blocking to get ready for tomorrow.  I am also not going to get frustrated with our youngest for coughing so much.  No, really I'm not.  I just keep saying that to myself and at some point I am going to believe it.  ;-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

TOS Review Speekee

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

This time up for review with The TOS Crew is Speekee.

Speekee logo

I was pretty excited to review this because we have been unsuccessful in learning a second language.  :)  I am all for any option that helps in our quest to be bi-lingual!

From their website:

Speekee TV is designed so that children can learn Spanish in their own time and at their own pace.
  • 10 episodes, over 150 minutes of pure Spanish learning
  • Learn Spanish from real Spanish children in real Spanish locations
  • Features songs, animation and puppets
  • Optional subtitles in Spanish and English
  • Free activity sheet downloads
  • Great fun and extremely effective
  • Created by specialist language teachers
Basically, they are videos that use the immersion method to teach Spanish.  The videos are filled with singing, dancing, speaking, visual aids, and reading (sub-titles).  Each video focuses on certain words and they are repeated over and over using singing/music.  Speekee is a puppet as well as Dino and Lupe and they interact with children and one man.  These videos were filmed in Spain using native speaking people.

Each video is done with great quality and the music is very catchy.  You will be singing it for hours.  Seriously.

We were given a subscription to watch the videos online but they are also available in DVD form and for schools.  The Online Subscription price is $7.50 per month with the first two weeks being free!  The DVD's are available for around $151.95 but you have to be careful because the company is based in Europe and not all of our DVD players will play their formatting.  I would probably recommend going with the online version if you are interested in Speekee.  The age range for Speekee is 2-10.


Here are 10 reasons why Speekee is chosen by parents:

-    Great fun and extremely effective
-    Created by specialist linguists and musicians
-    Accelerated learning methodology for natural success
-    100% in Spanish (English and Spanish subtitles available)
-    Simple presentation style
-    Lively, engaging characters
-    Real Spanish children in real Spanish locations
-    Concise, essential Spanish vocabulary, with lots of repetition
-    Catchy songs


You can head on over to their website and watch a video to see what it's like.  You just might like it!

For our family, we didn't so much.  My oldest girls weren't really interested, although even they picked up some of the words from the constant singing of the songs!  My younger two weren't as interested in Speekee as I was hoping they would be.  They would watch the videos but only if I made them.  They just didn't care for it.  They also never cared for Sesame Street either, so maybe it is just them!  They did learn some Spanish from the videos and have remembered it so it must have been working.  I even remember some of it!

Like I said before, we have tried other programs for Spanish and none of them have worked.  I think we are doomed to only speaking English.  :(

I do know that many other families reviewed this and loved it.  They had great success with it, I think we just happen to be the odd family out here!  If you want to see what others had to say about Speekee, head on over to the Crew blog and check them out.

**As always, I was given a two month subscription through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Comparison Game

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

Why oh why do I do it?  I compare myself to others that I think are better than I am or do things better than I do.  I know I shouldn't.  I just can't help myself.  I get to a place that I lose my way and am just sure that everyone else has it more together than I do.

The grass is greener...yada, yada, yada

I am a homeschool mom that hasn't been out of her pajamas in days other than to run to the store for the milk I let us run out of.  I'm not even sure I brushed my hair yesterday.  And truth be told, I don't think I care.  School has not been foremost on my mind this week.  It should be-that's my job.  But for some reason, I looked around me at the other homeschool mom's in our group and thought that they were doing a much better job than I was and why should I even bother. 

I know, stupid!

Yes, there are moms that do a better job than I do at schooling their children.  There always will be.  I have no illusions of grandeur I know who I am and who I am not. 

I am not a mom that has all older, self-sufficient children that has extra time to spend doing lots of individualized classes.  I am not a mom of all younger children that can easily fit into the same age range.  I am also not one of the moms that has a toddler that can go somewhere else for a few hours while I school the others.  I am not super-organized.  I am not super focused.

I am me.

I have four children that span the ages of 5-13.  I am forgetful, disorganized, easily distract-able, often cranky, easily dissatisfied, demanding, overbearing...

You get my point.  I am all those things but I am also called by a God who is greater than I am to homeschool my children.  MY children-not someone else's.  I am equipped, or getting equipped daily, to be exactly who they need me to be. 

I forget that sometimes.  Okay, I forget that a lot! 

I had forgotten that this week.  I let my fear cloud my vision of what God has asked me to do and questioned His plan.  I looked at those other moms and only saw my weaknesses reflected back to me through their strengths.  I shied away from any other Truth that was offered through that reflection and chose to focus on the negative.

Why?  Because I like to have pity parties!  It's sad but true.  And don't we all?  I mean, really, we love to roll around in the muck and cry, "Poor me!"  It's easier to feel sorry for ourselves than to see what needs to be changed and change it. 

Or, heaven forbid, asking for help.  Ouch!  I'm preachin' to the choir on that one, people, I hate askin' for help.  I love to give it, though!  I love to tell other homeschooling moms to not compare themselves to others and to look at the things they do well while working on the ones they don't.  It is easy to tell someone else that God chose them for this task and that they are the perfect teacher for their children; but harder to put into practice for myself.

I'm working on it, though.  ;-)  Tomorrow I am getting out of my jammies and the funk and doing what I do best...

be myself!

Monday, January 17, 2011


My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

It seems like we can't catch a break.  I was sick all weekend.  Not the I feel kind of icky, either.  I mean the stay in bed and cry 'cause you feel so bad kind.

It was a lot of fun.  NOT!

The entire weekend was a blur.  I'm not even sure that I changed clothes all weekend.  Gross, right?  I didn't really care either!

I am feeling tons better now.  Although my nose is still plugged at least I don't feel like I have been run over and have razor blades in my throat.  See there is a plus side to everything! lol

Now we are back to our regularly scheduled school schedule.

Friday, January 14, 2011

TOS Review Positive Action for Christ

 My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

This time around for The Crew I was asked to review Positive Action for Christ's The Life of Christ Bible Study.


Wow!  It is great.  First let's look at the what Positive Action for Christ is and then I will tell you about the Bible Study.  Here is a  little bit about their history from their website:

"Positive Action For Christ is a publishing house specializing in youth curriculum for fundamental churches. It began as a single ProTeen club in 1969 at Falls Road Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Soon other churches wanted to use the materials Frank Hamrick had written for his teens, and by 1971 thirty-five churches were using Frank's materials. A board was formed to govern the fledgling ProTeen ministry and the organization incorporated as Positive Action For Christ, Inc. in July 1972."

That is just a small bit about them from their History page, you can read the rest here as well as their Mission Statement and Doctrinal Statement.  Please visit this page for their full History.

Positive Action for Christ has many studies to offer for schools and church programs.  The School Programs start at Grade School and go all the way up through High School.  The K-6th Grade Curriculum are individual books for each grade and cover topics like Learning About God and Growing With God.  The Middle School studies include The Life of Christ, Wise Up! Wisdom in Proverbs, and Dynamic Christian Living Basics of the Christian Life.  The High School curriculum includes titles like Behold Your God Magnifying His Majesty, The Inner Man Spiritual Leadership, and Provers The Fountain of Life.  This curriculum is thorough, thought provoking, and age appropriate.  Check them out for yourself and download a sample of the ones you are interested in.

For our review we were given a copy of The Life of Christ for the High School Level.  We were given the Student Manual, Teacher's Manual, and a CD of Transparencies.  I was first impressed by the quality of the book and the thoroughness of the Teacher's Manual.  Plus, I like the looks of it!  I know that is silly but I am such a bibliophile that when this curriculum came looking like a well used, well loved book I was hooked!


Then I opened it and knew that I was going to enjoy it.  The Student Manual is a paperback, which I love because it is easier to use, and bound very well.  It is a full color book with beautiful pictures and maps to illustrate the lesson.  Each Lesson contains a section of reading, questions about the selected Scripture, questions to answer from the Teacher's Lesson, and a Digging Deeper section.  All with maps, pictures, and insights to bring it into the 21st century lives of students today.

The Teacher's Manual has a wonderful description of the curriculum, how to use it, teaching tips, how to schedule it, recommended Scripture Memory Program, and detailed Lesson Plans to help teach the lesson.  The Teacher's Manual also has the Student Manual with answers so the teacher can check work to make sure the student is understanding the material.  Also included in the Teacher's Manual are the Quizzes and Answers, Unit Tests and Answers, and Appendix with helpful information.  The Teacher's Manual is in black and white.  The information for the teacher is laid out in a format that was easy to use and left me feeling confidant enough to teach it.

The Transparencies CD is so full of goodies that I haven't even finished looking at them.  They have an outline of the lesson with bullet points for the main topics and pictures, pictures, more pictures, maps, and more!  They are in beautiful color that I can only imagine would be visually stunning in a classroom.

Now for my opinion.  I really, really liked it!

No, that's not all I am going to say I was just being a turkey.  I enjoyed the approach that this curriculum offered.  It is a mix of reading, fill in the blanks, and Socratic discussion.  It appeals to all my learning styles!  But does it appeal to my students.  Oh yeah!  They poured over the book eating up the visually attractive pictures and the detailed maps as well as the questions that caused them to think and defend their opinion.  It is so important to teach our kids to think for themselves and to be able to reason well; I feel this curriculum helps in that effort.  Teacher and student discussing and discerning the Word of God-it can't get any better than that.

I strongly encourage you to check out Positive Action for Christ if you are looking for a Bible Study for your kids.  I don't think you will be left wanting.

Now for price.  The Student Manual like we received is priced at $17.95, the Teacher's Manual is $41.95, and the Transparencies CD is $99.95.  Some studies have the option of buying used which would save you some money.  These prices are not too bad if you figure that you can re-use for multiple students and that the transparencies would not be necessary for a home setting.  They are amazingly cool, though!

The price varies for each study, so find one you are interested in and look up the prices from there.  There is also a Scope and Sequence for their curriculum at no charge. 

If you want to find out what other Crew Members are saying head over to The Crew Blog and check 'em out.

**I was given this curriculum through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lessons from Saying Yes

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

This week has been a hard one.  Not just because we have been sick but because the change that we thought was so immanent is now not.  It is not going to happen right now.  Or so we think.  Maybe.  yeah, we just don't know!

A while back we were asked to do something that was outside of our comfort zone and pretty scary.  We knew though that there was no way to say no.  We felt God whispering to us to obey and trust.  So, we said yes.  We gave it our whole hearts and committed to this change that God was bringing.

The freedom and peace that came was proof positive of the direction God was leading.  We rested in the knowledge that God had called and we answered, "Yes, Lord."  I don't know how often in my life I can say for sure that I followed God's leading in this way, but this time I/we did.

I will never regret it.


Now that we have given our hearts to this change, we are heart broken that it may not happen.  We knew going in that that was a possibility but when God calls you don't get to ask if it will hurt later and then decide what you're going to do.  No, you follow trusting your Abba to lead you where His path is sure to bring you closer to Him. 

Sometimes the blessing is in the saying yes not in getting to do what was asked.  Sometimes it's enough to say yes so that more chances will come later.  sometimes being willing is more painful than the doing.

God is growing us as a family and our girls are getting to see first hand how to listen to God's leading and how important it is to say yes to Him.  Our willingness to say yes is causing heartbreak in all of us.  Some of it is in good ways and others, well we may not see the good for a long time, but all things work together for good for them that love the Lord.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.

I know that our yes was the absolute right decision.  I also know that the pain of saying yes is the right thing because it is changing us to be more like Him.  Our family will forever be changed no matter if this yes results in anything or not.  I pray that we get to follow through on our yes, selfishly I pray that we will, but more than that I pray that God's Will will prevail.  That and that we get to be a part of it.  ;-)

Yummy Goodness You Just Have to Try

 My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

I found a new recipe on Facebook from my friend Deann A.  It looked simple enough and several ladies were raving about it so I had to try it.

OH MY GOODNESS!!  I am not even kidding you, this is some kind of sinful good dish.

Here is the recipe, run out get the ingredients and then put on your fat's that good!

Sopapilla Cheesecake Via Deann via Beth via Renee

2 cans (8 count) crescent rolls
3 bricks cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
2 1/2 c. sugar, divided
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 TBSP cinnamon

Spray bottom & sides of 13x9 baking dish with vegetable spray. Layer one can of crescent rolls in the bottom, patting to fit and to join the perforations.
Do not bake yet! Mix the cream cheese, vanilla and 2 cups of the sugar with a mixer until well-blended.

Spread over bottom layer of crescent rolls.

Unroll remaining crescents and place on top of cream cheese mixture.

Combine remaining 1/2 c. sugar with cinnamon. Pour melted butter over the top layer of crescents and then sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until slightly firm.

To serve, cut into squares and top with a swirl of honey.

Okay, we have never made it 45 minutes after it was done cooking.  I quickly put it in the fridge and then we are diving in after about 25 minutes!  Also the honey never quite makes it on their either. lol

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TOS Review Virtual Nerd

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

For the next review we were asked to review Virtual Nerd.  I had never heard of this website before and couldn't wait to go and look at it.  

From their website:
"Virtual Nerd is a unique, online resource offering students real help in math and science. Students get the essential benefits of private tutoring and access to over a thousand interactive step-by-step video tutorials presented in our patent-pending Dynamic Whiteboard™."

Basically that means that there are videos that explain Math Concepts!  No, let me rephrase that.  There a tons of awesome videos that spell out Math Concepts so that kids understand them.  And if they don't, there are more videos that break it down even further.

Yeah, it's that cool!

We waited for a bit to start using it because the daughter that I wanted to use this had to get through her last year's Math book (don't ask, please) since the Virtual Nerd starts at Pre-Algebra and I didn't want to confuse her further.  I so wish she would have been on track and then we could have used these even more.   I watched them myself and found the explanations to be simple and very clear.

Full Screen 3 Areas
This is how the videos actually look.  There are three explanations going on at the same time to help all different kinds of learners.

This would be a great tool to use when your student is having trouble with a topic to just give another explanation and point of view.  I can see it really helping a student out of a tough spot.  This could definitely do the trick!

Drilling Down
This is the Drilling Down they talk about when a student needs simpler explanations.

The pricing for Virtual Nerd is varied.  This page helps explain the different options but the basics are:  Monthly for $49.  There are other options like a 1 day enrollment for $5.  Please visit this page to see all the advantages and pricing options .  This FAQ page is full of information about what Virtual Nerd is and does.

For our family, I find that the monthly fee is a little steep but the 1 Day Option or 1 Week option would be totally do-able and a great option to get us out of a jam.  I did find that the talking in the videos was a little fast and sometimes we had to watch the videos over again to fully understand the concepts.  With that being said, watching the videos as many times as you want is not problem.  They are available whenever you want to watch them, however many times you need to.

Virtual Nerd is an innovative way to present Math to your students.  It is a great tool that could really benefit your family.  If you want to find out what other Crew Members thought head on over to the Crew Blog and check them out.

**I was given this subscription to Virtual Nerd through The Crew in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, January 7, 2011

TOS Review See N Read

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

This time around The Crew I was asked to review a product that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt we would love.  Okay, okay I just really thought we would; but I was pretty sure!  Mostly it was for my 11yo daughter but I can see its uses for all the kids and even for myself.

What is this product you ask?  Well, let me tell you...


Still don't know what it is?  That's alright because I had never heard of them either.  But if you have someone that struggles with reading or does a bunch of reading on the computer, you will want to read on!

Here is what their website says:

See-N-Read® is a practical reading intervention tool....designed to help readers seamlessly see, focus, and remember what they read. It reduces word- and line-skipping and pattern glare.

See: See-N-Read® helps readers to concentrate on and track the text being read while smoothly transitioning between the words that come before or after, thus helping readers to increase their fluency (the capacity to read text accurately and quickly) and comprehension.

Focus: See-N-Read’s clear reading window is surrounded by a non-glare tinted transparent finish that helps readers to focus on manageable “chunks” of information in each line of text.

Remember: See-N-Read® provides readers with a clear reference point that helps control smooth eye movements across the text on a page. Smooth eye movement from left to right and smooth transitions from line to line ("sweeping") enhance retention of information.

See-N-Read’s flexible material makes it easy for readers, young and old, to hold and use it as they read.

Here is a picture of what it looks like.
Now, for my take on it.  I love it!  Really.  We have tried so many different versions of this same thing that we could start a support group.  We have tried the colored ones, the fat ones, the skinny ones, well you get my point.  None of them worked.  At least not well.  My daughter would use it but the color would be distracting or they would be too small and she had to move it to see where she needed to move it to.  She would become frustrated quickly and soon abandon them.  She has eye teaming problems and reading is very frustrating for her so we are constantly looking for things to help ease that frustration.

Needless to say that when I was assigned to this review and the product came in the mail, she was not thrilled!  She was a good sport and gave it a try, though.  At first she tried out the See N Read Clear Bar Reading Tool document size and thought it was pretty cool. (They also have a book size that we didn't review but would be pretty cool!)  She noted the way that she could see the writing through the whole thing and so she didn't have to move it to find the next line.  The color muted the rest of the page enough that she wasn't distracted yet light enough she kept her place easily.  She quickly walked away with it and didn't bring it back!

Next, I handed her the Memory Mark See N Read Reading Tool and she just looked at it like it was an alien.  I explained that the part that was cut out was so that she could highlight or underline without moving the tool.  Thus, she wouldn't lose her place and time trying to find it over and over again.  She squealed and ran off with it.  I haven't seen it since! **I did confiscate it for a little while so I could try it out and I think this one is my favorite one!**

I waited a while to show her the eSee N Read electronic reading tool.  I used it and messed around with it before I showed it to her.  I knew that it would be a big hint since we use the computer to read very often. I even loved it!  It just super-imposes over the computer screen and tints all but the reading bar a light gray.  It is a soothing, simple color that doesn't get in the way and cuts down on the distractions on the screen.  This could save my eyes after reading on screen for a while.  It has helped already by easing the stark glare of the screen.  I can even see its uses for my husband at his work. 

The down side would be that it is losable (is that a word? lol).  That isn't necessarily a failing of the product just the nature of small things in general!  With the pricing of these tools, I would think of buying several to have as spares so that we would never be without them.  There are many options in pricing, you could buy in bulk or just individually.  If you buy a 10 pack it is $27.99 or singly for $2.99 for the Book size.  Pricing for the Document Size is a little different but this page spells it all out.  The Memory Mark pricing is much the same way and can be viewed here.  The pricing for the eSee N Read is listed here at $29.99 and is compatable with Windows OS but Mac is coming soon!  The list of computer requirements are spelled out so you can be sure it will work for you.  They also offer multi-user lisences for educational or business purposes upon request. 

We have thoroughly enjoyed using this product and I fully intend on buying more to have as back-ups!  If you want to know what other Crew Members are saying about this product, head on over to The Crew Blog and check 'em out!

**I was given this program to review in exchange for my honest opinion through The TOS Crew.