Friday, April 22, 2011

Bring An Art Teacher Into Your Home

See the Light's Art Class is a wonderful art curriculum that is designed for children ages 6-10 years old. However, I found that it worked rather well with older students. Pat Knepley is the master artist and teacher in this 9 volume DVD set of art classes. Pat is a graduate of Penn State with a degree in Art Education. She brings her expertise in art right into the home. Each of the DVDs includes four 15 minute lessons. The easy to follow lessons require only basic art supplies (copy paper, pencils, crayons, colored chalk and a good eraser). Mrs Knepley integrates Art History with Biblical principles as she provides step-by-step tutoring. The complete 9 volume set provides a school years worth of art lessons.

Volume 1 ( Lessons 1-4) introduces the basics. Also on the volume 1 DVD is a bonus lesson entitled Chalk-it-Easy with master chalk artist Gloria Kohlmann.

Volume 2 (Lessons 5-8) covers shapes and space, with a bonus lesson on creative lettering by Heidi Shorts.

Volume 3 (Lessons 9-12) teaches values and color and has a bonus lesson entitled The Joy of Art with master artist Jim Pence.

Volume 4 (Lessons 13-16) introduces color blending techniques.

Volume 5 (Lessons 17-20) teaches proportions for composition.

Volume 6 (Lessons 21-24) covers texture and form.

Volume 7 (Lessons 25-28) with a focus on perspective for landscape.

Volume 8 (Lessons 29-32) introduces balance and foreshortening

Volume 9 (Lessons 33-36) works on portraits.

The 9 volume set can be purchased at for $99.99 or a monthly online subscription is available for $10.00 per month. Visit their website for a free Volume 1 DVD.

I received a free copy of Volume 1: The Basics in exchange for posting this review on my blog.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nutrition 101: Choose Life!

A Family Nutrition and Health Program

By Debra Rayber, ND
Sera Johnson
Laura Hopkins
Karen Hopkins

Nutrition 101:Choose Life is an in depth nutrition program that integrates the study of the 12 main body systems. It is designed to examine how the foods we eat effect our bodies and helps to aid in making better food choices. This unit study was written by four mothers whose goal is to have a positive, effective, long term, healthy, life style change.

I received a free copy of the Nutrition 101: Choose Life e-book in exchange for my honest review of their product. The e-book was an easy to down load PDF file that included over 400 pages of information. The program is divided into 6 units, covering the brain, the nervous, respiratory, digestive, olfactory, auditory, visual, skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine
systems. The six units can be completed in a school year if one chapter is completed each week. Each chapter focuses on a specific body system and how different foods effect it. Discussion questions, activities, additional resources, and power recipes are included in each lesson. There is also an Activity Guide and an appendix full of charts, tables and articles to enhance you study.The book is written for families to use as a unit study, and is geared towards the whole family, toddlers to adults.

Our family used the Nutrition 101 program over the past few weeks. The curriculum is really an anatomy and physiology,health,and a nutrition course all roll up into one very eye opening course. So often, we look at each of these areas independently. However, as pointed out in this program,all of these areas are dependent on one another. How we eat and what we eat has a tremendous impact on our body.

This book contains healthy recipes that are great for families to prepare together. The text includes colorful, labeled diagrams and interesting facts about various body systems. The program also includes biblical principles and scriptures to enhance your study. One feature I particularly liked was that the activity guide had a variety of activities for different age groups. This is a perfect addition to any family's education during this age of processed and fast foods.

The Homeschool Blogger is hosting a free webinar featuring the author's of Nutrition 101: Choose Life! Thursday, April 21, 2011 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM EDT Click below to register:

You may purchase Nutrition 101: Choose Life at

CD Rom- $79.95,

Book- $99.95

Combination (CD and Printed book) -$129.95

You can receive a 15% discount coupon from Growing Healthy Homes using the code TOScrew11

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Freebie Friday

It's Like Having a Money Tree in Your Back Yard!

The fist freebie this week is a wonder research tool for high school level students.

Using Primary Resources Analyzing primary resources can be difficult if you are not sure what you are looking for. This site has 17 analysis resources for kids to use when they are analyzing different types of primary resources. They include: an introduction, breakdown worksheet, artifact analysis, cartoon analysis, map analysis, motion picture analysis, photo analysis, poster analysis, reading maps, sound recording analysis, written document analysis, wills and inventories, interviews, and reading newspapers: advertisements, editorial and opinion pieces, factual reporting, and reader contributions

The New York Times: Learning Network brings world news to your school room with The New York Times Learning Network. There are links to lessons, student opinions, tips, and more.

For Today's Christian Family:'s homeschooling channel offers free homeschooling resources and the latest homeschooling news, updates, advice, and encouragement. You're invited to sign up now for FREE weekly Homeschool Newsletters from! Join the Crosswalk community and connect with other homeschoolers and families around the world.

Freebie Friday will be on Spring Break for the next two Fridays. Check back on May 6th for the next Freebie Friday.
Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sentence to Paragraph Writing Instructions

The Write Foundation

By Rebecca Celsor

This past fall, I was blessed by The Write Foundation, when they sent me a copy of their Level One: Sentence to Paragraph Writing Instructions to review. After completing the first half of the program with my son, Kwan, I was blessed again when the company sent the second half of the program in exchange for my honest review of their curriculum.

The second part of Level One, includes lessons 16-30 and picks up right where lesson 15 left off. At this point in the program the student is working on writing one descriptive paragraph. An emphasis is placed on organization and each lesson reviews a specific aspect of grammar. For example, in lesson 16 the student reviews the correct use of the conjunctions: and, but, or, and so. Much like part one of Sentences to Paragraphs, each weekly lesson includes a poetry writing lesson. This fun addition to the program is great for vocabulary building and working with descriptive language. Overall, The Write Foundation’s Level One: Sentences to Paragraph was a great fit for my son who is a reluctant writer. The creative lessons have helped him to move away from using over used words and shown him gow to spice up his writing with adjectives, adverbs and verbs. One of Kwan’s favorite components of the program was completing the weekly Mind Benders’ puzzle. We plan on continuing with Level Two: Paragraph Writing with Kwan and starting Level One, with my youngest daughter next year.

Below find my first review of The Write Foundation’s Sentences to Paragraph to Writing Instructions:

Teaching my children to write well has always been a challenge. Over the years, I have tried numerous writing curriculums and have never found one that my children and I love. Well, that was until The Write Foundation sent me a copy of their Level One: Sentence to Paragraph Writing Instructions to review. As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received a free copy of this writing program to use with my children in exchange for my honest opinion.

The program includes three components; Spiral bound Instruction Manual, Student Worksheets and The Sentence to Paragraph Additional Resources CD. Materials not included are the optional Mind Benders Books A1, A2, A3, and A4, which are available at ttp:// and a three ring binder with 8 dividers.

The Level One program is geared to students ages 11-14 or students who exhibit any of the following issues: If your student has any run-ons or incomplete sentences when he writes on his own; If your student hates writing; or If your student primarily writes simple sentences. Based on my son's age and his dislike for writing, I chose to use The Write Foundation Level One Program. At first, I found the directions in the instruction manual a little confusing. However, once I read through the manual a second time and actually began to use the program, I found the format to be very appealing. Although the objectives of the curriculum are the same as most writing programs, the method used to obtain the goal is quite different. Here the emphasis is on writing detailed sentences with the use of descriptive verbs, adjectives and adverbs. The students also write a variety of poems to reinforce the use of descriptive vocabulary. The student is gently led through the writing process, slowly building up from simple to more interesting sentences and then writing paragraphs. In conjunction with the items included, they suggest the use of Mind Benders as an important part of the program. We have enjoyed using the Mind Benders and I can see how these exercises help with developing organizational skills.

I have been very pleased with the progress my son has made using The Write Foundation Level One program. He is using more descriptive language and he is not complaining as much about having to write. The one aspect of the program that I am still struggling with is the notebook that is required as part of the first lesson. They ask that you set up a binder with 8 dividers, however, I haven't figured out their organization system yet. Otherwise, I would highly recommend this writing program. I plan to complete all of the 30 lessons in Level One. Next year we will continue with Level Two: Paragraph Writing and then Level Three: Essay Writing the following year. Sentence to Paragraph Writing Curriculum is available in 3 different packages: Curriculum Package 1: Sentence to Paragraph Complete Lessons 1-30 which cost $100 Curriculum Package 2: Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 1-15 is $65 Curriculum Package 3: Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 16-30 is also $65 The Sentence to Paragraph instruction manuals are also available separately for $75 for Lessons 1-30 or $40 each for Lessons 1-15 or 16-30

Friday, April 8, 2011

Put a Little Science in Your Week


Science Weekly is a bi-monthly newsletter designed to spark an interest in science. The colorful newsletters are available for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Each issue introduces a scientific concept in the areas of earth science, life science, physical science or technology. Science Weekly integrates vocabulary, writing, math and critical reasoning skills. The newsletters are interactive and each issue has a hands on experiment designed to teach the scientific process.

I received 5 issues of Science Weekly in exchange for my honest review of the newsletter. The package included one copy of each grade levels. Grade level Pre-A is for kindergarten, level A for grade 1, level B for grade 2, level C for grade 3, level D for grade 4 and level E is geared for grades 5-6. The theme of the Science Weekly I received was The Flu.. Each of the newsletters were four pages of age appropriate information. For example, the Level A Science Weekly's front page had large colorful pictures and introduced five vocabulary words, while the Level D issue's cover is mostly text and introduces seventeen vocabulary words. All of the issues were colorful and included fun hands-on experiments. The issues are designed with enough material to use over a week of study.

I shared the issues with several children at our co-op. Overall, the kids loved the issues, especially the puzzles and the level E isshe enjoyed all the activities. I especially liked the teaching notes that come with each issue. The teaching notes include background information, questions to initiate discussions and an answer key. Science Weekly does not take the place of a science curriculum, but it is a great supplement for children 5-12. Science Weekly is available for 19.95 per year. You will receive 15 issues and teaching notes from September to April. This year's topics were:

  • Pulleys

  • Cats

  • The Flu

  • Glass

  • Fractions

  • Composting

  • The Science of the Movies

  • The Science of Money

  • Scuba Diving

  • Poisonous Animals

  • Caves

  • Teeth

  • Deserts

  • Green Buildings

  • The Moon

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Freebie Friday

It's Like Having a Money Tree in Your Back Yard!

It's time to start thinking about curriculum for next year and I just discovered a great complete program for students in 8-12th grade. The best thing is it is totally FREE!!!!

SAS® Curriculum Pathways is your online partner for teaching the core curriculum: English, history, science, mathematics, Spanish learner-centered tools, lessons, and resources with measurable outcomes Interactive components that foster higher-order thinking skills Twenty-first century skills integrated into content

To register and to find out more click on the link.

Another great freebie is . It is a comprehensive math resource site for homeschooling parents, parents, and teachers. You will find: free worksheets; affordable math books; an extensive list of online math games & resources; a homeschool math curriculum guide; math teaching articles/lessons.

Check back next week for more free homeschooling curriculum. Lauren

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Piano for Young Children


Kinderbach offers a video based piano lessons for children ages 3-7. The program is designed to teach note reading, rhythm, singing and composition. Karri Gregor, the founder of Kinderbach, has over ten years of experience teaching preschool piano class and now she brings her expertise into your home. Kinderbach is available as an online membership or on DVD. This self pacing program includes fun-active games, stories and coloring pages. Each musical note becomes a character in a story. Miss Karri introduces kids to the keyboard characters, proper hand position and note reading. The videos are colorful and have a professional quality. Each of the 270 lessons can be reviewed as often as you would like and they provide an excellent musical foundation.

The Kinderbach program has 6 levels in all. Within each level there are 10 weeks of lessons to explore. Each week, there are 4 short sessions of animated videos, hands on activities and piano playing. Each level has a 47 page activity book. In order to use this program successful, you will need a piano or electronic keyboard with 36-48 full sized keys. A computer to view the program and a printer to print out the activity book are also necessary. The activity book calls for basic craft materials, such as scissors, crayons and glue.

I received a subscription to Kinderbach in exchange for an honest review of their online piano program. We found several features of this program to be excellent for the targeted age group. The videos were colorful and lively. Miss Karri reminded me of the perfect kindergarten teacher. She was very animated and appealing to preschool age children. The video were short enough to hold a young child's attention. Another great feature of the program is the time and money saved by teaching piano to your children at home. Lessons can be completed at your convenience and the whole family can learn with one membership fee. Also, the use of colorful characters to teaching note reading makes music reading fun. I found her method of helping the children follow along as they read music very helpful. So it looks like it is time to replace Every Good Boy Does Fine with the fun innovated lessons on Kinderbach.

A one year online membership to Kinderbach is a one lump sum fee of $95.88 or 19.99 per month for 12 months. This membership is for the whole family and gives you access to all 270 lessons, a total of 22 hours worth of video. Kinderbach is also available on DVD. Please check there website for pricing on the different DVD bundles. Kinderbach offers the first two weeks of lessons for free. They also offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Go Go Kabongo


Go Go Kabongo is an online animated world of friendly characters and interactive habitats. The company's mission statement is to challenge kids to become better thinkers, inspiring self-­confidence through the joy of play. GoGo Kabongo was developed by a cognitive psychologist whose goal is to promote early reading skills using brain games, critical thinking and cognitive development. These goals are met this very colorful interactive website. The site is gear to children ages 4-7 and consist of three habitats; Laughter Lake, Twister Top and Galaxy Gardens. Each habitat is home to three fun activities with multilevel play.

Laughter Lake is home to the charming Mz. Teezly. Here the children can engage in three fun learning activities.

1.Critter Sizer's key skills are attention, focus and verbal rehearsal

2. Scuba Dude's key skills include successive processing, visual scanning and working memory.3.Going Buggy : Key skills include comprehension and visualization

1. Design a Door's key skills are

simultaneous processing and visualization.

2. Desert Dash works on phonics, verbal rehearsal and memory skills.

3. Crazy Maze offers practice in phonics and spatial awareness.

1. Photo Safari is a fun place to develop skills in attention, focus, and planning.

2. Rocket Racers is a game designed to address commonly mistaken letters such as "p", "q", "b" and "d".

3. Robo Bobo uses picture puzzles to develop skills in spatial awareness and visual scanning.

We used GoGo Kabongo during the last few weeks as a fun addition to our day. Although my children do not fall within the target age range, my youngest daughter used the website along with a younger neighbor. They both enjoyed the games and our neighbor loved the interactive rewards he received after completing a game. Critter Sizer became a favorite once the coordination with the computer mouse was mastered. Another favorite was the Robo Bobo puzzle game. Both kids had a blast completing the puzzles. Overall, I think this website is a thumbs up for children in the 4-7 age group. The one time $4.95 per learning habitat fee is a great deal. There is no subscription fee! Right now both the Laughter Lake and Galaxy Gardens are free!

I was given a subscription to Go Go Kobongo in exchange for my honest review of their curriculum.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Les Miserables - Z-Guide to the Movies

Zeezok Publishing by Tim Spickler CD or E-book -$12.95 Movie is not included Zeezok Publishing has developed a series of movie guides designed to help integrate films into the study of history. I received a copy of their Z-guide for Les Miserables to use in exchange for my honest opinion of their product. The study guide is available on a CD or as an e-book, which contains a printable pdf file. The 35 page Z-guide includes a summary of the movie and ten activities to enhance an in depth study of the movie and a complete answer key. Included in the activities are review questions, a crossword puzzle, family discussion questions and a variety of other activities to aid in the exploration of the movies themes. The study is set up to be completed in five days, but it can be adjusted to meet individual schedules. The activities can be used in any order and allow you to customize the study to meet your families needs. The Les Miserables Z-Guide is geared towards high school age students and is a wonderful addition to the study of 19th century France. The guide is used in conjunction with the 1998-Columbia Pictures version of the movie. This adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel of forgiveness and redemption, stars Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, an ex-con who is trying desperately to live a decent life. Geoffrey Rush, co-stars as Javert, the inspector who has no intentions of letting Valjean escape his past. The movie deals with themes of love, forgiveness, mercy, the consequences of a vengeful spirit, random acts of kindness and parenting. The movie is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 2 hours and 14 minutes. I used the Les Miserables Z-Guide with Kaela, my 10th grade daughter. We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie and eagerly completed the study guide. We especially enjoyed the movie review questions. However, we completed this activity after watching the movie instead of during the movie as suggested by the guide. I found the activities to be thought provoking. and conducive to analyzing the main characters of the movie. This was a pleasant change from our normal history studies. I plan to include additional movie studies into our curriculum in the future. Zeezok Publishers has several other movie guides including:

  • 12 Angry Men- US Government

  • A Man for All Seasons-Medieval History

  • A Tale of Two Cities- French Revolution

  • Amazing Grace- British History

  • Ben Hur- Medieval Europe

  • Cromwell- English Civil War

  • Driving Miss Daisy- American Civil War

  • Father Goose- WW II

  • Guess Who's Coming to Diner- American Civil Rights

  • Inherit the Wind- Scope Trials in America

  • Jason and the Argonauts-Greek Mythology

  • Johnny Tremain-American Revolution

  • Kit Kittredge-Great Depression

  • Knights of the Round Table- Medieval History

  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington- Congressional Procedures

  • Flyboys- WW I

  • and many more... see all the titles at

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