Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould

According to the cover of this book, it is book 1 of a series called "The Courtships of Lancaster County." If that is the case, I hope Ms. Gould is a fast writer because I can't wait to hear the stories of the other couples she will write about. This was one of the most interesting Amish tales I've read in a while. It shows the difference between the lives of the Amish in different areas of the country, but not only the differences but the "sameness" of their beliefs and traditions.

This is the story of Cate, loosely mimicking Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, but in a modern day Amish setting. Since The Taming of the Shrew has always been a favorite story of mine, that made it all the more fun to read. Cate is the eldest sister in the family and has raised her younger sister since her mother died giving the little girl birth. Cate feels that she is past the age of marrying and also feels that she is a laughingstock in the neighborhood thanks to some mischievous neighbor boys. Betsy, the younger sister, is quite popular in the neighborhood and has reached typical marrying age. Their father, trying to help out Cate in his own bumbling way decrees that Cate must marry before Betsy does. Enter Pete Treger from New York who decides he wants to court Cate. Of course, there are a whole plethora of misunderstandings before they realize they both wanted the same thing all along.

I found the characters and situations in this book intriguing and very "real." I will definitely be looking for more books by this author.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Real Life Real Miracles by James L. Garlow & Keith Wall

I recently read a commentary by a well-known Christian writer that said God isn't doing miracles today. His belief was that the miracles in the Bible were just to establish authenticity for Jesus. I disagree. The apostles certainly did miracles after Jesus ascended into Heaven and we have heard of many miracles over the time since. I have even experience some myself. This book tells of experiences of people who have had their lives restored, been healed, received needed provision etc. These stories are amazing and the doctors and other observers involved have been forced to admit to themselves that there was no possible way but that a miracle actually had occurred. I have heard these kind of stories and even experiences some miracles in my lifetime. My grandmother used to tell me stories of her parents and grandparents and others she knew that had these kinds of things happen. How wonderful it is to know that our Heavenly Father is interested in our needs and intercedes on our behalf. Anyone reading these stories could not help but be inspired and encouraged in their walk with the Lord. I appreciate the authors' time in compiling these stories and making them available to the public. I hope there will be more coming in a sequel. This very uplifting book will be a page turner for anyone who picks it up.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Everyone is being thankful this week so I will tell you what I am thankful for EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR: My son and my daughter -- the two best babies a mama could have and all their progeny -- the best grandbabies a grandma could have. No matter what other things have happened in my life God blessed me so big with these offspring that I feel overwhelmed by His care for me. And of course God has blessed me with provision, protection and a whole slew of special people he has put in my life and most of all His PRESENCE. I don't have room for anything else because I am overflowing with these blessings in my life.

I don't understand how anyone could deny God's existence. He is with me always. We are in constant relationship. I would not be able to face all the uncertainties of this life if I didn't have Him there as a constant reminder that He is the reality, the controller of circumstances, and He is El Shaddai -- The God that is more than enough!

And I am thankful for His grace because I fall short every single day and He loves me anyway and His forgiveness is there ready and waiting for my repentance. I wish I could be everything He wants me to be but I know that I cannot do any of this by myself. I keep leaning on Him more and more because it is only through Him that I have or am anything at all.

I wish I could somehow explain to every person in the world how much He loves us, how much He wants to be in relationship with us, and how essential He is to our very existence and well-being. I don't think there are even descriptive enough terms in any earthly language to describe how wonderful He is.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Tarsie Raines, alone in the world now and living in New York City in 1880 yearns for a better life somewhere with grass and trees. She has befriended a woman name Mary Brubacher with two small children and a hard-working husband, Joss. Her friend is ill and Tarsie wants to get her out of the city, too. Using money Tarsie has saved, they leave New York on the train and meet up with a wagon train going to Kansas. On the way tragedy strikes and arriving in KS, it is just Tarsie, Joss and the children and Tarsie’s promise to Mary to take care of her family. With all of them mourning the loss of Mary, times are hard but Joss finds work and they find friends that help them adjust to life there. All kinds of troubles ensue, including racial tensions, the enacting of prohibition and other changes in their lives. Kim Vogel Sawyer never disappoints. Each book is better than the one before and each one keeps the reader enthralled throughout the whole experience. These are not formula romances. These are stories of people that grip the heart and make the reader want more. They are stories of faith in real life. I am glad Ms. Sawyer stays at her writing every day because even as it is, it is way too long between her newest book and the next one! If you have time to read only one book for pleasure this month, buy this one! You will not be disappointed.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own.

A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller

Dovie Cates comes to the Amana Colonies in Iowa in 1892 hoping to visit some relatives and solve the mystery of why her deceased mother left the Colonies in the first place. Having grown up in Cincinnati, OH, life in the Colonies is different than the way she grew up. But since her mother spent her early years in the Colonies, her mother had raised her with many of the stories and traditions of the Amana family. On arriving in the Colonies, she lives with her mother's cousin Louise, her husband George and daughter Karlina. Dovie works in the Kitchen House with Louise and Karlina works with her father with the sheep. Since Karlina's father is in poor health, a new shepherd, Anton, is sent to help with the sheep. Karlina and Anton find working together difficult at first. Dovie becomes friends with the man who delivers bread to the Kitchen House from the Bakery every day. As Dovie struggles to get information from anyone at all about her mother (no one wants to help), she discovers just enough clues to jump to some disturbing conclusions. This is a wonderful story and one wants to keep reading till all is solved. It also provides interesting insight into how this small group of Amana Colonies functioned in the late 1800s and the background for the way they lived. It makes me long for a simpler time when God was viewed with reverence and people genuinely tried to do what was right in all things. I will definitely look forward to more books by Judith Miller about the Amana Colonies and its people.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Samson's Classroom


Samson's classroom is an engaging set of online games to improve a child's reading ability. There are three sections of games: Sight Words,Spelling and Reading.


My granddaughter is just learning to read and most of her training has been in phonics so sight words were a new things for her. We used the Sight Words sections as part of her daily schoolwork. There were eight words per list, 7 lists on each level and 5 steps per list. In step one, each word is spelled, used in a sentence and repeated. In step two is called "missing letters." Several letters are displayed at the top of the screen and blank squares for the word at the bottom. The student clicks on the correct letters for each box as the word is spelled for them again. In step three all the words are displayed and the student clicks the correct word as Samson says it and uses it in a sentence. Step four has the entire alphabet displayed. The word is called out and used in a sentence and the student clicks on the correct letters in sequence to spell the word and fill the boxes. In step five the sentence is at the top with a blank for the word. It is also read aloud for the student. There are four treasure boxes displayed below each with a word above them. The student must select the correct word with the correct spelling and the treasure box pops open and displays a jewel. My granddaughter enjoyed this process although it was tough for her. I think she will benefit more from this program next year but if your child is already reading up to their grade level this would be a great program for them.



The Spelling section was too much for my granddaughter but will also benefit her next year. You can use the program's spelling lists or make your own. This is also a series of similar games to help the student with spelling.



The Reading section was also beyond my granddaughter's abilities but it is basically reading comprehension. You read a passage and then answer a series of questions about what you read.



This is an excellent program for beginning readers. My difficulty with it for my granddaughter is just that she seems to have a phobia against reading and has it in her head that she can't do it. Her older sister went through the same thing at that age and one day it just clicked for her and she took off like a house afire. She is reading way beyond her grade level now. So with the little one I just keep drilling and going over things and using excellent programs like this one to keep it before her and pray for that "AHA" moment to come soon!

For home use (1 user) this program is $30 per year. For a family (4 users) it is $50 per year. You would pay more than this for a good spelling curriculum alone. This is such a great way for your student to learn sight words, do spelling and practice reading comprehension that you are getting a whole package for less than another curriculum would cost for just one component of that package.

As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given access to these games free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

To read what others on the TOS CREW had to say, please click here: TOS CREW



Crossbow Education sent me the Eye Level Reading Rulers 10 pack of colored overlays to review. These are sale priced at $16.95 for a pack of ten. They also sell anti-glare sheets to put over your work. They sell other products to help people learn to read as well. These overlays are used for visual Stress (Irlen Syndrome) and dyslexia. The overlays have a part that just shows one line of text you are reading and the other can show you the paragraph. It is my understanding that for people with Irlen Syndrome, this makes reading go from nearly impossible to much more doable. The company recommends that you try out each overlay until you find the one that works best for the student involved. They recommend the following order to test the colors: pink, celery, sky, magenta, grass, yellow, aqua, purple, orange and jade. They also mention that varying lighting conditions will affect the selection as well.


I tried these out on my 7 year old granddaughter and could not establish much difference in them as far as her ability to read the text but she preferred the magenta and expressed the opinion that she could read better with it. It is hard to really judge this as she has not been diagnosed with any learning disabilities. I did, however, do extensive reading on this subject and believe that this is a very helpful and necessary product for those with these disabilities. This company is a good resource for the overlays. It is wonderful that something as simple as one of these little overlays could so drastically improve someone's ability to concentrate and read text.


As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given this product free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

To read what others on the TOS CREW had to say, please click here: TOS CREW

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Perfect Word For Every Occasion

This is a wonderful reference book for everybody! There are so many occasions when you don't know exactly what to say in a certain situation but you need to say something. Liz Duckworth tells us what to say and what NOT to say in various situations.

Situations include variations of grieving (i.e., for spouse, pet, parent, child etc.), gratitude (thank you notes), illness, birthdays, weddings, engagements, encouragement, celebrations (birth, adoption, graduation, promotion, retirements), events and activities, truth and love (asking for or giving forgiveness, confrontation, apology, etc.), and even a chapter about notes in cyberspace.

Here is a tidbit. Birthday: "Another birthday has rolled around, and another reason to celebrate the gifts you bring to the world." That's a nice thing to say. Ms. Duckworth talks about her "Aunt Me-me" (it's all about Me, Me) throughout and that's where she gets her what not to say quotes. Here is one such no-no: "Congratulations! You've been in college for so long, I almost forgot you were there. Now, make your parents proud and start paying off those huge loans. I'm rooting for you!" Reading the what not to say parts is even more fun than using the good suggestions. So even if you don't need to put a note in a card to your friend or relative, just read this book for the sheer entertainment value!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 15, 2012

WealthQuest for Teens


WealthQuest for Teens is a course much needed by our teenagers. Many children leave home after high school or college with no clue how to manage money or even take care of their basic needs. The "School of Hard Knocks" is not a pleasant way to learn these skills. On the other hand, this course, WealthQuest for Teens, is a fun way to learn. The videos and the workbook pages encourage kids to make the most of what they have available to them and teaches them how to succeed when they get out in the world on their own.


With this course you receive the basic seminar with online video and workbook, a downloadable PDF, "eBook for Teens: Basic Seminar QuickStart Guide," a downloadable PDF, "eBook for Parents: Your Teen's Financial Literacy in Today's Economy" and a link to a free program Link to


The downloadable "eBook for Teens: Basic Seminar Quickstart Guide," contains 30 days worth of workbook pages to fill out in conjunction with the videos. There is also a space next to the video where you can fill in answers to the questions as you view the video.


The "eBook for Parents" is an overview of the program, section by section, to get the parent / teacher on the same wavelength as the student. It is very helpful and informative and I learned a few things I didn't already know on the subject just reading through this material,such as "62% of parents…give their children a weekly allowance" and "the average amount given is $12." I have always been a bit twitchy about the idea of "allowance" and thought that earning the money was a better plan. But the author says that the allowance aids in the learning process of managing money and in conjunction with it, the teen should take responsiblity for some of the expenses involved in their life as well. In retrospect, this looks like it could be a valuable learning tool.

Screenshot, Module 1:

Screenshot, Module 4:

Interactive notebook, example of print option:

My granddaughter loved this course. It was one of the few assignments of her day that she didn't grumble about. She was always eager to take the next step. The course taught her about income: There are 3 kinds of income 1) Earned Income -- money you make from working, 2)Passive Income -- money you continue to receive after you are no longer working, and 3)Portfolio Income -- money you receive as interest on your investments. She learned about savings and investments and interest. And she learned a system of money management called the "Silo System" whereby every time you receive money you apply it in this way:

1. Future Financial Freedom 10%
2. Heal the World 10%
3. Saving for Big Ticket Items 10%
4. Learning 10%
5. Fun Money 10%
6. Necessities 50%

All the money in No. 1 goes in the bank and is not every spent. No. 2 is your giving and I would just label this "TITHE." No. 3 is to save for items you can't buy right away. No. 4 is to save for college or training courses. No. 5 is fun money and is required to be spent in total each month. No. 6 is your living expense or necessities. My granddaughter liked the idea of dividing the money up and "depositing" it in the different buckets.

Girl using silo system:

This program also comes with a link to a free service called MoneyTrail where teens can track their income. The account overview tracks: Credit Balance in Savings; Cash Balance, Gift Card Balance, Check Balance, and Net Worth. This is a nice program, but I preferred to teach my granddaughter how to make a spreadsheet and keep track of this information on her own computer the way I do it. It was another learning experience in using Excel.

WealthQuest for Teens is regularly $50 but can currently be purchased for $39.95. I highly recommend this course. This is a very reasonable price for something of so much pertinence to your teen's future.

"As seen or heard on"(Business Talk Radio Network, Home EDucators Resource Directory, etc):

For further information, here are some Youtube videos about this course: HERE HERE and HERE

As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given this course free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click here: TOS CREW

Monday, October 8, 2012



This KinderBach APP looked like so much fun I couldn't resist asking to review it. My 7-year-old granddaughter loves to play on the iPad so she was excited too. We have had a few glitches and false starts with this very large APP, but they have all ironed out and she has had a lot of fun with it. She has had piano lessons before so she knows her way around a keyboard, but this APP really helped her with the theory side and made it a lot more enjoyable. I can't wait to try it on our toddler who seems to have music in her soul!

There are 30 lessons in all with 4 videos under each and 6 games to play. This is intended to be a whole year's worth of fun! For each lesson there are worksheets to download. Some need to be printed on card stock and cut out and most are to be colored. If you are unable to print from your iPad you can buy downloadable PDFs of these worksheets for a minimal price from the website. You can also buy songbook CDs that go along with this. This would be great for our kids since we do a lot of traveling in our van and they can watch DVDs or listen to CDs to help pass the time. The more saturation they receive of the material, the more they retain.


Photobucket Throughout the lessons we interact with a whole cast of characters including Frisco (little boy) and Dodi (his donkey) and a bunch of others -- all associated with the keys on the keyboard. Karri Gregor, the teacher, spends time showing the student the keyboard work and in the beginning, she explains all about rhythm instruments which can be made from many common things in your kitchen -- tapping a bowl with a wooden spoon, shaking a container of beans, tapping things together, etc.


One of the games involves playing music patterns. One of the activities during the lesson is making these pattern cards. In this game, Miss Diddle puts a pattern card on the music rack and demonstrates it on the keyboard and then the student plays it on the keyboard. The game keeps their score compiled so they can see their progress.


I like the graphics and the videos. I also like the pace of this program. You can have your child do little short segments at a time so they have time to absorb the material or if they are catching on quickly, they can do all 4 segments in a lesson at one sitting. This will also depend on the age of your child. My granddaughter loves the little keyboard right on the iPad so she can play the lesson as she goes. Sometimes she also props it up on the music rack on our piano and plays on the piano. It just depends on where she is and what she wants to do.

I wish we had had this program when my older granddaughter was in pre-school and before she had several years of piano lessons. I think this would have given her a good basis to get started and maybe held her interest for longer. I wish I had this opportunity when I was young but I had the standard piano lessons, theory books and recitals and nothing more. This is a really enjoyable way to get those little ones interested and get them started on the way to playing piano.

The APP I received is the School Version. This is where you purchase the entire program upfront at a cost of $26.99.

KinderBach is offering a special deal to my readers. This coupon code gives 30% off any order - homeschool, classroom, online
or DVDs.

Coupon Code: TOS_crew2012
Expires: 12/31/2012

Also the KinderBach App is on sale This Friday, Oct. 19th, 2012 ONLY. The
app will be discounted over 50%, down to $12.99! No code needed just the
link to the Classroom KinderBach app in the App store: CLICK HERE

As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given this APP free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click here: TOS CREW

Thursday, October 4, 2012



When you sign in to ZooWhiz you find a map with 4 stations. "Learn & Earn," Milestones, Arcade and Biodome.


First you create your avatar:


Milestones is where you check on your progress.


Learn & Earn is where you spend most of you time. You can choose between Reading, Words and Math. This is where you answer questions and earn points.




You can spend the points playing games in the Arcade or you can go to the Biodome and spend them buying animals for your zoo. The animals can be real animals, extinct animals or mythical creatures. Once you buy the animal you will learn a lot of interesting information about it. You can only see this information if you have a Premium account. If you don't have a Premium account there are only a limited number of animals that you can buy. Many of the animals are for Premium accounts only but even the ones you can buy if you don't have a Premium account still have restricted access to the information. A full one year Premium subscription normally is $59.95, however they are currently offering it for $14.95. What a great time to take advantage of this great offer!


Okay, back to the "bread and butter" of this activity. In Learn & Earn there are three sections: Reading, Words and Math. My older granddaughter (age 13) has enjoyed these activities. There is a mixture of comprehension, grammar, punctuation etc. here and various kinds of math operations. She has taken ZooWhiz and run with it. On the other hand, our 7 year old who is a struggling reader has not had much success. In one section it actually talked to her and gave her instructions so she could manage, but in the other two sections the instructions were there but were not read out loud so she had no idea what to do. Since we needed her to be able to manage this on her own, it did not work for her. I am unsure why the instructions are read aloud on one section but not on the other two. My requirement for these types of activities is for the student to be able to operate it with minimum input from me. If I have to be there the entire time, I might as well be teaching something else from a textbook. I want this to be a learning experience but fun too and there are many wonderful products out there that provide that with little or no supervision from the teacher / parent. I like these types of activities because I am teaching a 7 year old and a 13 year old so they don't do much together. I can have one working on something like this while I am working with the other and then switch off. They are continuing to develop ZooWhiz and make improvements so there are some great things to come. I am hopeful that they will address this issue for the lower levels.

My older granddaughter is extremely interested in animals and wants to work with animals in her adult life. She is even a member of the Zoo Crew during the summers at our local zoo. She loved the idea that this was all about animals. There is a commercial zoo game for the computer that she owns and loves. It allows you to build your zoo and maintain it. I think something like that would enhance this game. As far as I can tell the Arcade part is not really related to the rest and is pretty standard computer game fare. Having said that, I still think this is a great game for kids that can already read and very enjoyable. It provides learning in an interesting way. My older granddaughter has definitely been enriched by the experience. It is well worth the price of Premium membership.

To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click here: TOS CREW

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given this membership free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Go Boldly to Carry Out Your Commission

‎"Oh my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." Charles Spurgeon, 1861

I am no longer afraid of offending or upsetting anyone. I personally will be offended and upset if my loved ones or your loved ones end up in Hell because someone was afraid to tell them about Jesus. I don't just believe in Him, I am in constant relationship with Him, I talk to Him, I love Him with all I have and I want that same thing for my loved ones and yours. So if you are offended by this, don't read it. But just know that I am praying fervently that you will read it and heed it.

Jesus is longing for a relationship with you. That is what He created you for. All you have to do is believe in Him and step out in faith and He will lead you to the next step. You don't have to get all "churchy." You don't have to be perfect. You just have to allow Him into your heart. He will do the rest. He will change you "want to," and you will find out that a lot of things you see out there as "religious" or "church stuff" is just peoples' traditions, not anything God is expecting from you. The more time you spend with Him, the more you will find out what He really wants from you and what it is really about.

So just ask Him: "Jesus, please come into my heart. Show me what is real and what you want from me and help me to avoid those things that will be detrimental to my relationship with You and encounter and embrace those things that will enhance our relationship. I don't know much about this, but I'm trusting You for the outcome."

Then consult the owner's manual (the Holy Bible) not the advice of your friends or neighbors. Go to the SOURCE.

It's a scary world out there and it is crashing quickly to a conclusion. Jesus can take the scary out of it and keep you on the right path. Pray without ceasing.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Box of I.D.E.As. (Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities)


Box of Ideas -- doesn't that sound delicious? It brings to my mind a treasure chest filled with Pirate booty. In our house, my youngest granddaughters and my son-in-law frequently dress in Pirate garb and race around the house searching for treasure with lots of pirate talk like "Arrrrrgh, Matey! Walk the Plank!" My particular treasure Box of Ideas came in the form of downloadable PDFs. Each one contains treasure! You can also opt to get a physical box of ideas delivered to you through the mail with all the copies made for you, but it is quite easy to print off what you need either on paper or cardstock as the instructions prescribe and do everything with the download.


My particular box of ideas is "World War II - Pearl Harbor." The company has many other boxes of treasure available too. I can't wait to check out the Quilting Box of Ideas. There are many fun things you can learn with a treasure box from Box of I.D.E.As. (Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities)

We delved into our treasure chest and I pointed out to my granddaughter (age 13) that there was a treasure -- a nugget or pearl -- in each module and we need to find it. The first module was ideally suited to her. It is called "Before Becoming a Base." This refers to the Naval Base that Pearl Harbor became. Before the Naval presence was there, however, it was just a beautiful harbor that was know for its oyster population, the beautiful shells, the wonderful edible soft inside and the wonderful pearls that were harvested from them. This particular module was well-received by my granddaughter because she is an animal lover and the first thing it discussed is endangered animals and why they sometimes become extinct. There are two card games that can be played at this point with cards printed out on cardstock. The cards are of endangered animals and portray what part of the animal is coveted by poachers and / or harvesters of these animals. There are links to interesting information on pearls and a printable ruler that can help you measure pearls, for which there is a printable worksheet. Obviously the treasure here was a literal pearl and an understanding of where it comes from and the various sizes and quality of pearls.

Module 2 is "Beginning of a Naval Presence." Here we learned about Maps and the Whaling Industry. The worksheet is on Bathymetry, which is mapping the depth and contour of the floor of an ocean. The cards are fun pictures of the uses of whale products such as whale oil for lamps, whalebone for ladies' corsets and panniers, hair accessories etc. There is also a map game using the printable map charts. Treasure is even mentioned in this module! Question 9 on the worksheet reads, " The sunken treasure chest measures 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft. 253 gold coins fit in each cubic foot. Calculate how many coins the treasure chest holds."

Module 3 is "A Week Before the Attack." In this module we find out a little about military jargon and what the military forces were doing a week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. We learned about the aircraft carriers, the supplies being taken to the Pacific and other pieces of military equipment and aircraft. The card game is about the various military branches that came into play during this time in our history: U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, W.A.S.P (Womens Air Force Service Pilots), United States Merchant Marine, U.S. Army Air Forces, and the National Guard. For a military dependent like my granddaughter, the treasure in this module was learning a little bit about the history of our country's military.

Module 4 is "Day of Infamy" -- the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese (December 7, 1941). In this module, my granddaughter had the opportunity to write an essay on another day of infamy in our country's history and why it should be considered that way. She picked September 11, 2001, and all the attack on American soil by terrorists. She wasn't even 3 yet when it happened but she has heard much about it over the years and wanted to write about that. There were some great links provided for this module and a copy of Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech. Also included is the "rough draft" of his speech where you can see what was crossed off and replaced before the final delivery of the speech -- very interesting. The card game here constructs a timeline of events on that fateful day.

Module 5 is "Day After the Attack" and deals with newspaper headlines on that day. The activities included taking notes for a whole day and writing a factual account of events of that day, reading newspaper articles about the attack on Pearl Harbor and deciding how objective the writer was, and finally, writing a headline and article about something that happened to the student or a family member or friend. My granddaughter really enjoyed this assignment. I don't think she will switch her interest to journalism from veterinary medicine, but she may be the newsletter editor for a club or organization some day. The cards are "memory cards" with questions about the attack on Pearl Harbor on them. There are some really nice pictures of those events printed on the other side of the cards.

Module 6 is "Weeks After the Attack." This deals with the clean up of the naval base after the attack and the sunken ships in the harbor, specifically with the raising of the "Oklahoma" from its watery grave. The worksheet is putting the events in the salvaging of the Oklahoma in order. The card games is matching a description to the photo it goes with and then flipping the description cards over to spell a term related to the module. If you spell out that term when you flip them over then you matched correctly.

Module 7 is "Six Months After the Attack." This deals primarily with Code Breakers and the Navajo Code Talkers. The card game with this one was a treasure! The airplane side of the cards is face up. These are cool depictions of WWII fighter planes. If a player draws a ship part they lay it in front of them. If they draw a bomb they lose a turn or win a piece from an opponent. The one with the most completed ships when all the cards are gone is the winner.

Module 8 is "A Year After the Attack." This one is all about the planes. We didn't get to put together a model of one of the airplanes but we did do quite a bit of research on them. The worksheet is about matching acrobatic maneuvers of the planes. The card game is about flight patterns. This module would have been more interesting to a male student who loves airplanes very likely but we had fun with it anyway.

Module 9 is "Four Years After the Attack." This one is about our victory over Japan -- VJ Day (September 2, 1945). We concentrated also on the use of atomic bombs to win the war and the devastation that was caused by those bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the potential for mass destruction in the future with the vast improvements that have been made on this technology. This was a sobering module for us.

Module 10 is "Decades After the Attack." This one is about the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and modern-day Pearl Harbor. The cards are about memorials all over the world with really nice pictures and descriptions and a pinpointed map. We have decided that our ultimate treasure would be to someday visit Pearl Harbor and see all the history and the memorials to that day.

This system is a wonderful way to study a subject. It keeps interest high with all the activities and card games. You can take as much time as you want on each module. You are the homeschool teacher so you can decide how much time you can devote to it and how much extra research you want to do to glean even more on the subject. Available topics are World War II, Eleven -- go HERE for a description, Pigs, Salt, Quilting, and Laundry. Coming soon: Mystery, WWII Kitchen, WWII Innovations, Olives, Pine, Cemeteries and "many more!" For the Box of Ideas that I am reviewing, the cost is $49 for the download like I had, or $79 for the physical box with everything printed out for you. If you have more than one student, you can buy an extra student module for $4 each. See the information HERE. Happy Treasure Hunting, Matey!

To read what others on the TOS CREW had to say, please click on TOS CREW.

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given a this unit study on Pearl Harbor free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling

Cassie Lockwood was part of her father's Wild West show all her life until he died and his partner declared that the show was bankrupt. She and some long time friends from the show took off for South Dakota to find the ranch her father was part owner in and follow his dreams. There she met the family of the partner he had left behind when he became part owner in the Wild West Show many years previously. His partner was deceased but his wife welcomed her with open arms. His sons were a little more reticent as they did not know about the partnership until she arrived. This story is about her settling in to the life on the ranch.

Whispers in the Wind is the second book in a series. I did not read the first one, but this book stands alone very well. In order to finish the story I will need to read the next one that comes out because I am anxious to know how it all turns out, but again this book still stands alone. I think that is a rare talent for an author. The fact that there was no romance at all in this book and it stood alone based totally on the story is another sign of a great author. This lady knows her craft.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own. This book is well worth the read and I recommend looking for other books by this wonderful author.

Friday, September 14, 2012

As usual, Jerry B. Jenkins has written a book that keeps you turning the pages long after you should have put it down and taken care of other stuff. I love this series. I had read the previous book in this series and after all this poor cop, Boone Drake, went through in the last one I was hoping he'd get a little break here, but no such luck. Life doesn't always deal him a great hand but he is always up to the challenge apparently.

Tyndale gave me a copy of this book free of charge to review and the author requested that we not give away the plot, but suffice it to say, once again Boone's family is in danger. (I did not receive any compensation for reviewing this book and all opinions are my own.)

This is a fast-paced book with a lot of surprising twists and turns. I learned some astounding things about human trafficking that I never knew before.

I am always so pleased when a Christian author writes a crime story that anyone would enjoy reading and is able to inject the main characters' faith into the story without being preachy or taking away from the action. It is just a part of who they are. Jerry Jenkins is a master at this.

Best of all, in spite of all the crazy things Boone and his family endure, it ends with a happy ending and hope for the future. All good novels should end this way in my opinion.

I can't wait to see what Mr. Jenkins serves us next. Hopefully poor Boone will get a little break -- maybe the bad stuff could happen to someone else on the force next time. But however the story goes I know it will be a great read!


I am giving away a certificate for a free copy of this book redeemable at your local bookstore. Just post a comment on this posting on my blog or on facebook. I will put all the names in a hat and choose the winner next Saturday, September 22. Please post by the 21st.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Have You Got to Lose?

I have been scorned by others for my faith. I thank God that in His mercy I have not been tortured or killed for my beliefs, but if it comes to that I will go through that too. Many people think they are intellectuals and that precludes them from believing in God or having faith. I find that contemplating the non-existence of God is much more difficult to believe than believing that He does exist. I was born knowing He exists. Then, for a while, I listened to others' questions and asked some questions of my own and God helped me find the answers to every one of those questions. All I had to do was ask Him. Now I am in relationship with Him and the idea that He does not exist is laughable to me. Of course He exists, I talk to him constantly all day long and He shows His presence to me over and over and over.

I am hard-pressed to have conversations about this with these "intellectuals" because most of their conversation is "I think," "I heard," "I feel," "I read somewhere," etc. Mostly they don't know enough about what they are talking about to even really have an opinion much less a conviction. I have an advanced degree myself and I am not impressed with that. There are so many, many Masters Degrees and Doctorial Degrees out there that you can get, but none of them make you superior. I don't know anybody who has them all. I am on the higher side of the IQ range. I'm not impressed by that. God created us. His thoughts are so far beyond our thoughts that we are limited in our understanding. The workings of His creation are far more intricate than any technology created by man.

The bottom line is God wants to have a relationship with you. It is His whole reason for creating you. It is your choice whether or not you accept that but it does not make it any less true if you reject it. And you don't have to study for a lifetime to get to the place where you can understand it enough to accept it. You just have to do one simple thing. Ask God to come and live in your heart. You can even say, "God, if you are really there, please reveal yourself to me." And He will. What have you got to lose? What have you got to gain?

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Speekee is a delightful way for your young child to learn Spanish. It is available on DVD or as an online course. What I received was the FastTrack, a one-year curriculum where a lesson is e-mailed to the student each week.

Speekee is a puppet who is the main character in all the episodes. My 7-year-old granddaughter loves watching the program, singing along on all the songs and repeating the Spanish phrases. It is extremely entertaining but also repetitive enough to really get the words and phrases in the child's memory.


The first week we received instructions for making Speekee's friends, sock puppets Dino and Lupe. There were also flashcards that could be downloaded on the website. There are games and activities with each lesson, as well as songs to learn. A link to the video is given and also a page of teaching instructions is included in each weekly e-mail.

This is really a fun, easy way to help your child learn Spanish and even learn it yourself along with them if you have not already learned it. The videos are engaging, fast-moving and fun. I have tried out several different Spanish curriculums for kids and this is one of the simplest to use, most enjoyable and effective programs I have seen.


To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click here: TOS CREW REVIEWS

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given the Speekee program free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 6, 2012



Per the Math 911 website: “Buy Math911 for $49.95 (Student Special) includes FREE USB version (Algebra In A Flash).”

Math 911 is a website where you can practice your math skills. In our case, it was Algebra. Since my granddaughter is taking Algebra I this semester and I am about as rusty as a grandma can be on her Algebra skills, I was all over using this program. Right now you can get the Algebra I for free but when you get the $49.95 package you get much more: you get Pre-Calculus and Statistics as well.

It is a simple download and I didn't experience any difficulties. It is not as polished looking as some of the games but who cares? It does the job. You can use it with any curriculum you are using and it just provides extra practice and instruction. It was great for me because it gives you the answer when you mess up and then it asks you the question again later in the sequence or at least a similar one so you can get it right this time if you were paying attention. As you advance through the lessons, you start feeling a little more confident of your ability to succeed in all this. It keeps track of what you have done and also allows you to go back and do those sections again if you so desire.

My granddaughter has been using it to hone her skills and get some extra practice where she needs it. The bulk of the time, however, I have been using it trying to brush up on my skills. I did well in Algebra "back in the day," but that was many, many days ago and I need lots of review in order to keep up with her. She is happy to have discovered a format in which she can just jump in and be successful while getting some feedback on where she might be missing the mark. I am happy to find a format in which we can just move forward without having to peruse several pages of a chapter trying to figure out where we went wrong. We were stuck for about a month with our old curriculum because we kept re-listening to the instructions, trying it and failing at it. We had to get outside help. With this, it just kind of works you through it by showing you the correct answer and then giving you more similar questions until you get the hang of it.

I would have liked some video instruction clips of some kind like we had been accustomed to, to go along with the practice but we were able to move through it without them. Also, as I already mentioned, they haven't always been that helpful in the past anyway. I believe the Professor is a no frills kind of guy who expects the student to succeed using their own brains. Novel concept! I like it. I love his disclaimer!


Professor Weissman mentioned to us in his introductory letter that he has been teaching mathematics for 49 years and that both of his children are Mathematics educators. I love his method and I think that the fact that his children are pursuing mathematics as a career, as well, is proof of its effectiveness. The Algebra teacher at our Co-Op has the kids play math games as part of their "homework." I have recommended this site for their use as well.


We will continue to use this and work through the lessons. It has been a great supplement to our other curriculum.

To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click TOS CREW.

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given a Math911 membership free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.