Friday, September 28, 2012

Music Together Crew Review

We as a family love listening to different kinds of music and audio books when we are in our vehicle. So when Music Together came up for review, I jumped at the chance.

MUSIC TOGETHER is an internationally recognized early childhood music program for many ages, even adults who enjoy learning and having fun with children.

What make this program so much fun, in my opinion, are the musical instruments that they recommend you use. Egg shakers, rhythm sticks, play-along instruments(tambourines, maracas, jingle sticks, just to name a few), scarves, drums and others.

The Songbook for Teachers was very helpful. It is divided into three sections:

     The opening section discusses the fundamentals of the Music Together approach. It includes an introduction to the Music Together philosophy, discussion of types of songs and activities, how to work with instruments and props and classroom adaptation for children with special needs.

     The middle section is pretty much the bulk of the book. It contains the 19 songs on the Music Together Family Favorites CD. Each song is followed by "teacher pages" that are organized in four different groups:

          ~all ages and setting
          ~preschoolers and older children
          ~children with special needs

     The final section contains information about the program, how you can become involved with its licensed applications, a glossary and a guitar reference chart.

I would have to say the 90% of our listening to this CD was done in our vehicle. We enjoy listening and singing together as we run errands. I think after listening to the CD all the way through a few times, our favorites would have to be "Ridin' in the Car", "Playin' in the Kitchen", "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and "Goodbye, So Long, Farewell".

The song "Ridin' in the Car" , I think is my 3 year old bugs favorite one. I would look through my rear view mirror at her while listening to this song and she was having such a good time with the song, pretending to drive the car!

Just the other night, in the kitchen, the bugs wanted to listen to the CD so I popped it in the player and turned on the song "Playin' in the Kitchen". I think we listened to this song five or six times in a row while the little bugs got out some pots, pans and large utensils and played with them as if they were playing drums. As you can imagine, it was a very entertaining and LOUD night!

I really enjoyed Music Together with my bugs and if you think you would enjoy it to, go to You can listen to the songs on the "Family Favorites" CD. You can also buy digital downloads of the album and songs on the web page.

Music Together Family Favorites CD and Songbook Combo (K0227) is available here for a special price of $39.95, instead of buying the CD and songbook separately (saving $5). If you decide to purchase the combo, you can enter the coupon code "Schoolhouse" at check-out in the Music Together store and save an additional $2. In my opinion this is a very fun program that will get you involved and having fun with your children.

See what other crew members are saying about Music Together.

Disclaimer: I received the songbook and CD combo free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

a few happenings around the homestead....

We have been pretty busy around here lately. Tae Kwon Do testing, canning pears and baking up some delicious Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.

Big boy just earned his advanced blue belt in Tae Kwon Do. We are so very proud of him. He works really hard in his classes and at home. Congratulations BIG BOY!!!

A few weeks ago, one of my dear friends called me and wanted to know if I was interested in some pears. Well, you know me, of course I was! The bugs and I loaded up and went to her home to pick them up. They had already picked them from the trees so all I had to do was go get them. She told me that they picked quite a few and to bring a good many containers with me when I come. I was shocked at the pears. I ended up bringing home five 5 gallon buckets full and 2 more large garbage bags full to share with friends. Now that's alot of pears.

I decided to put mine up in a light syrup, in quart and pint size mason jars. Take a look how pretty.

Another something we like around here is Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. It is our favorite sweet bread around this time of the year. We love Autumn! We still have a little pumpkin left from last year in the freezer so I figured it was time to get it out and bake a little of this bread. I have one really picky eater and he even loves it. For him to know what it is and still like it, it really has to be tasty!

Here is a loaf, still in the pan. It didn't last long after I removed it.

Click HERE for this yummy recipe!

Right now my kitchen smells like apples. We are in the middle of canning apples that we got from an Amish farm in Illinois. I will keep you up to date on that and as soon as I finish with them, I will post some pictures and how to's on  canning apples. Until next time!

God Bless!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homeschool Legacy Review

For a while now, I have been wanting to do a unit study with my bugs on the Lewis and Clark expedition. Well, it so happened that Homeschool Legacy was offering 10 different titles for us TOS members to review and the one we were blessed to review is entitled Lewis and Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea. We were so excited! This fit so well into our homeschool. It is recommended the unit study be done once a week for 7 weeks and one entire day be devoted to just that. It couldn't have worked out any better. We do unit studies as part of our homeschool anyway, so us taking an entire day to focus on Lewis and Clark was right up our alley.

HOMESCHOOL LEGACY offers once -a-week unit studies written by Sharon Gibson. They are biblically centered, pre-planned, hands-on and inexpensive. What more could you ask for! Each week gives you a list of books and video choices that can be checked out at your local library. They also have a suggested schedule to go by to make things easier.

These studies encourage the use of a History Timeline. If you have already begun compiling a timeline, great, just add to it. If you  are like us, have NOT, don't worry. In our study, it gives you directions for a simple, history timeline notebook. We had so much fun making our timelines. We are still adding to them. I plan on getting many more of these once-a-week unit studies from Homeschool Legacy so we can continue adding to our timelines.

There are so many great features to these studies:

          ---Lots of suggestions on reading material and many are at the library.
          ---Hands on activities
          ---Arts & Crafts
          ---Geography, History, Vocabulary, Science and more.
          ---Field Trip Ideas
          ---And additional book suggestions for your Non-Readers or Early ones.

Unit Study - $19.99
Grades 2-12
Homeschool Legacy has 10 other UNIT STUDIES!!!
Revolutionary Ideas: The Story of the American Revolution and We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution looks like something we will be studying in the near future.

Check out what other TOS members have to say about Homeschool Legacy.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this unit study, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Children in Church Review

CHILDREN IN CHURCH: NUTURING HEARTS OF WORSHIP by Curt and Sandra Lovelace is an up coming release from

We have always felt that our children should be worshipping with us and not separated from us going to "children's church", as they call it in big churches. This book tackles all of the worries that one might have of wanting to allow your children to sit with you and worship with the family during the  church service.

The authors have plenty of scripture in this book to back up their beliefs and show how God intended for all ages to meet together as a family and complete congregation.  I enjoyed this book tremendously! I totally understand and agree with them on every aspect. They understand, as I, that not everyone will agree and have the same conviction. That's ok.


So much can be learned by reading this book. Not only scripture but from the couple's own experiences.

One of the many scriptures in the book:

           You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance-the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O LORD, your hands established.

                                                           Exodus 15:17

Here's a look at the Table of Contents in this book. I really enjoyed the scripture at the beginning of each chapter.

I.      Beginnings

II.     Elements

III.    Decisions

IV.     Pointers

V.      Preparations

VI.     Supplies

VII.    Hints

VIII.   Conflicts

IX.      Observations

Note to Church Leaders

This book, in my opinion, gives a very practical way to encourage parents to bring their children to worship service with them. It is filled with lots of ideas, basic child training and ways to keep your littles quiet during the service. I really liked their idea of a CHURCH BAG -------something to be filled with age-appropriate materials. This will be used only as needed and for a short time. The ultimate goal here is to give the littles something to do until they are able to participate in the service itself.

If this is something that you have been wanting to do for a while and need a little encouragement, you can purchase Children in Church for $12 with FREE SHIPPING!

See what other crew members had to say.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book at no cost in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Family Time Fitness Review

We received the pdf download of their "FITNESS 4 HOMESCHOOL CORE 1 CURRICULUM" for this review. We (me and my bugs) have been talking about finding us some kind of exercise program to do daily, here at home. Well, when Family Time Fitness came up for review, I was thrilled.

Family Time Fitness suggest you use this with children grades K-8, but I think most anyone can use it. I have a 3 and 5 year old that participated in this with us. We all used it. Many different ages: 14 year old, 11 year old, 9 year old, 5 year old and 3 year old. We are really enjoying it. I think it's a great fitness program.

It really works well if you can do it at least 4 days a week. Not always easy to fit in, but works. The Core 1 has 260 lessons in it. Each lesson lists the Warm-up, Activity/Game Play, Cool Down and Outdoor Activity. It also lists skills that will be taught, equipment needed and a suggested recovery time (between exercises).

Since it was a pdf download, I printed a weeks worth of lessons out and put it into a 3-ring binder. Each day we would refer to it. They also give you a link to demonstration videos. Some we watched, others we knew how to do. I really liked having the videos. It really helped when I wasn't sure how to do something.

This is what the first day, Core 1 Lesson 1 looks like.

               Standing Leg Swings
               Toe Raises
               Rocking Horse Series

         Activity/Game Play
               Frog Squats
               Shuffle, Skip, Hop Series
               Jump the River

          Cool Down
               Single Leg Stretch
               Crossover Stretch

          Outdoor Activity
               Jump Rope

Just a little heads up, the recovery time for a 42 year old mom after doing 60 frog squats, THE FIRST DAY, is about 4 days! YIKES!!!!!!!

Most of the equipment needed for this fitness program is very basic. It does state that many activities can be done without equipment. Here is a list that Family Time Fitness lists that will help enhance your lessons.


They do give you alternate options. For instance, foam balls could be replaced with a blow up beach ball or you could use a box, a bucket or even a rock for the cones.

We are still using this program and the days we do it, we feel great. At the beginning, I recommend to take it slow. Maybe 20 frog squats instead of 60! All in all, we love this program and , to date, using this program and eating more healthy, I have lost 10 lbs.! Yay!!! This is definitely something we will continue doing and as the weather gets cooler, we will do more outside exercise.

Family Time Fitness program costs $57 one time. This is the Fitness for Homeschool Curriculum that has 260 planned lessons.

More reviews on Family Time Fitness are at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

Disclaimer: I received the Fitness 4 Homeschool Core 1 Curriculum at no charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express DVD Review from Marshall Publishing

Recently, my family and I reviewed the DVD, The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express.

About the DVD: (from the back)

The Oregon Trail -
     The reasons for going....the hauntingly beautiful landscape....the rivers they followed and crossed....the joys and hardships....and the elation and the dissension as described in immigrants diaries....all come to life in this detailed account of America's longest and most famous pioneer trail.

The Pony Express -
     Glossed over by all of the adventure and romance attached to it, most people don't realize the Pony Express lasted only 19 months. It was a grand gamble that eventually led to the bankruptcy of the three men who started it. Yet, during it's brief life span, it caught the attention of Americans, made a legend of the riders and provided a vital link between California and the Northern states at the onset of the Civil War.

There is also a free study guide that follows the description of the programs on their website. This DVD seemed very dated which is a plus for me. You felt like you were back in the day with these people, which is very intriguing. We learned so much from this video. The many hardships and deaths and how difficult it must have been to travel over 2,000 miles on this trail. The DVD, to me, did a really good job of showing the many details of the Oregon Trail.

The Pony Express was short but we learned things we didn't know. For instance, how the Pony Express went bankrupt. Also, how difficult it was to deliver mail back then and how long it took to deliver these pieces.

We decided to find a map and map out the Oregon Trail. It was fun. We love MAPS!

Marshall Publishing has an array of DVDs. Trains, cars, planes and animals are just some of the DVDs they offer.

Some other historical DVDs they offer:

~~~~~~~The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark
~~~~~~~Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Battle and the Address
~~~~~~~George Washington Carver: His Life and His Work
~~~~~~~The History of America in the 1880s

These are just a few of what they offer. Visit Marshall Publishing to see their complete collection.

Each of their historical DVDs retail for $24.95, but now through a Web sale, they are $19.95 and if you use this code TOS27, they are offering free shipping.

Read what other members are saying about Marshall Publishing at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

Disclaimer: I received The History of the Oregon Trail & The Pony Express free, to use in our homeschool, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Math 911 Review

Math! What can I say. It is probably our least favorite subject around here. We are very hands-on , so when MATH 911 was offered, I thought it would be a change from textbook math.

For the purpose of this review, we were given a download with no expiration date. The version downloaded from the website is the standard version. We were given the option to upgrade to the Premier Version which also gives you access to additional math courses: Intermediate Algebra, Statistics, Trigonometry, College Algebra and Pre-Calculus.

From the Website:

          Topics are arranged by chapter, section and levels. Within each level are all the types of problems that identify the concepts that your student must know in order to be successful in Algebra including Graphs and Word Problems.

~~~All problems are algorithmically generated
~~~10 minute learning curve    
~~~Step by Step solutions
~~~Only Free-form answers
~~~Dynamic Grade reports on all screen
~~~Needs no internet connection
~~~Can be networked
~~~Free Home Use for Teachers
~~~Free upgrades
~~~Free Install on New PCs
The cost is $49.95 for the complete Math911 program. There is also a free trial of introductory algebra available as a back-to-school special. 
When we first started using Math 911, I was a bit skeptic. After learning how to use the program, I found it to be a really good program. Downloading the software was easy. Once it is downloaded, you immediately begin with Into Algebra. I was very glad that this program started with this because the oldest bug is just now beginning with Pre-Algebra. I feel we both are benefiting from this program. I needed a refresher course and she is just beginning. Starting with the Introductory Algebra helped tremendously because I needed help remembering how to do Integers. We are moving slowly with the program but I feel that little by little we are learning and retaining much.
Check out the other Math 911 reviews.

Disclaimer: As a TOS crew member, I was given a free download of the Premier Version in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Friday, September 7, 2012

plans.......The Prairie Primer

We are starting our Prairie Primer on Monday, September 10th. Everyone is so excited!!! I have been gathering information for a little over a week now. The only thing I am lacking is the hog's bladder. I haven't tried to find one yet. I am not sure how easy or hard it will be to find one. I am going to call a slaughter house tomorrow and see if they can she some light into this matter for me.

I have been reading a lot in the primer to decide what we are going to do from day to day. I feel that we will not be able to do everything it lists. So, I will definitely do Bible, Vocabulary and Living every day. The others I will spread out.

I found the Little House Cookbook on Ebay for a really good price.

We are planning to cook out of it at least two times a week.

I am still trying to decide if I want to purchase the Prairie Binder-Builder Lapbook.  We will start without it Monday.

So, as we start our Prairie Primer, I will continue to blog about all of the fun things we are planning with this study!

I am linking up to Go check out the other Little House link ups!

God Bless!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reading Kingdom Review

READING KINGDOM is an interactive online reading program that teaches children 4 - 10 years of age how to read. It starts at the beginning and teaches your child how to read through the third grade. It teaches six skills: sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammer and comprehension.

I decided to let my 9 year old son use Reading Kingdom. Before we began the set up, we were given a choice to choose the keyboard or the mouse to click on the letters. We chose the keyboard since he doesn't have much experience using one.

The program starts with a Seeing Sequences and Letter Land Assessment. Reading Kingdom really feels the need for this assessment.

The child sees a word or group of letters like this and in turn, the child clicks on each letter in the right order as the word given. It gets a little more difficult as he or she progresses. It gives the child practice with the keyboard also.

Big Boy was very happy when he was able to move on to the reading lessons.

How we used Reading Kingdom.......

I sat with Big Boy while he did his lessons. Not that it's required that you do this, I just enjoyed sitting with him, watching him learn. At first, he was excited about getting started with Reading Kingdom but during the assessment, he felt that is was boring and wanted to get through with it fast. After the assessment, the lessons were better and he felt better about the whole program. I would like for him to continue using Reading Kingdom as a supplement. In his words, "I like Reading Kingdom, it's fun!"

Go to Reading Kingdom and sign up for the free 30 day trial. If you like it and decide to use it, the cost is $9.99/monthly or $199.99/yearly. You can add another student(s) for $9.99 a month per child.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew to read what others are saying about Reading Kingdom.

Disclaimer: As a TOS crew member, I received this product free of charge for my honest opinion and review.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Everyday Homemaking Series: Family Chore System

The Everyday Family Chore system from EVERYDAY HOMEMAKING is a guide to developing your own chore system. Coming from a mom of over fifty, WOW! That caught my attention instantly!!! Vicki Bently and her husband have fostered over 50 children since 1986.

The ebook consists of three sections-------

     This part to me  is for motivation. I like where it states that Child Training is the first step to successful home management training.

It talks about four basic principles:
          ~~~~Have a realistic and age-appropriate expectations. (We as parents
                 need to remember this!)

          ~~~~Establish rules or standards.

          ~~~~Have a working knowledge of family discipline.

          ~~~~Tie strings to their hearts. (The most important one to me.)

This section was such a blessing to me. It made me really think.

     I have to say that the Life Skills Checklist is awesome in this section. This section is where you decide responsibilities for each member of your family. It has so many ideas and possible jobs I have never even thought of. This section also has the original system and how to make it. As you can see, this is the one we used.

I love this saying that Vicki said she has near her front door to remind her and her guests during this season of training!

We put this on our board. I think Mommy needed this more than the bugs!!!

     This section does most of the work for you. My favorite "How-To-Do-It Cards, give you step by step instructions on how household tasks are to be done. Very helpful! Here is one of the cards I printed.

I have really enjoyed this book. I have learned so much from it and feel as if Vicki has put her heart and soul into this product. I highly recommend this product! I have heard good things about her Everyday Cooking book also. My plans are to buy this one also. I am hoping it will help us as much as the chore system has.

For this review, I received the 88-page ebook(pdf) that sells for $17.99. There is also an 88-page coil-bound glossy cover for $19.99.

Go here and see what other crew members had to say about the Chore System and the other book that was offered, Everyday Cooking.

Disclaimer: I received the Family Chore System ebook free, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.