Monday, June 29, 2015

Old Fashioned Novel, Devotional and DVD *Giveaway #OLDFASHIONEDMOVIE #FLYBY

Old Fashioned the movie was really a great look at courtship. Clay went a bit far in his obsessing and need to have things 'perfect' to the tune of 9 years! I love the concept of finding the perfect one that God has planned for you. We watched this movie with my teen boys, one who is currently dating. Great movie for those single folks who really want to walk the walk, despite the teasing that comes to them. The novelization is very similar to the movie and great for those who prefer 'the book'. The devotion is great for single adults. Being married for 23 years I personally didn't get very far in it, but I am giving it to my previous  mentioned teens to try out. This is a great prize package!!

 Turning his back on his reckless lifestyle, former frat boy Clay Walsh has settled down to turn an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town....and to purse lofty and outdated theories on love and romance.  But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a gypsy soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can't help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life.  Amber also finds herself surprisingly drawn to Clay, but his ideas about relationships are unusual to say the least, and they bring to light her own deep wounds and fears about love.  They say opposites attract, but can Clay and Amber move beyond their differences and their pasts to attempt an "old fashioned" courtship?

 Contrary to popular opinion, being "old fashioned" doesn't mean you're dull or unromantic.  In fact, a true old fashioned relationship can be more exciting and romantic than anything you've ever experienced!  So what does it mean to do things the old fashioned way?  Sure, it means opening doors, holding out chairs, and taking things slow.  But a true old fashioned romance goes much, much deeper than that.  Inspired by the motion picture Old Fashioned, this book will show you how to reclaim the lost art of romance by introducing you to romantic love as God intended it.  Regardless of your past mistakes, where you've been, what you've done, or where you are now, you can find and create a love that will last a lifetime!  As you work your way through this forty-day journey of inspiring readings and questions for reflection, you'll discover all the unique and amazing benefits of doing things the old fashioned way.  And before you know it, you'll be well on your way to creating a love story for the ages. 

 Get your copy HERE

Enter to win a great Old Fashioned Prize Package!
DVD, Novel and Devotion
US & Canada
Ends July 7

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SmartKidz Media online Streaming Library *Review #hsreviews

SmartKidz Media Review

Do you ever just need a short video to help emphasize something you have been working on in school? You haven't had time to the library to check out a dvd. You really don't feel secure with searching on youtube for a video to go along with what you are teaching.

SmartKidz Media is an excellent resource for a variety of videos to add to your education. The videos are ready at your fingertips. This is a very safe, kid friendly area where you don't have to worry about the videos that they are watching.

SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers includes a family media section as well as a reading and learning section. Much of the information is in streaming video, but there are also some study guides included which I will discuss in a bit.  

The Family Media section has two categories; World of Discovery and Music & Fine Arts. World of Discovery is a science heavy category. Each video will show you the topics or animals discussed, the duration of the video, as well as a rating if it is PG. PG tends to be for some animal violence, nothing my kids haven't seen already in many other documentaries. They also mention Mother Nature on occasion. We watch a lot of nature shows and documentaries and are accustomed to it so it really isn't a big deal to me. The videos of the animals were wonderful. In Life in the New World Part 1 we really loved the seahorses. They actually had footage of the baby seahorses coming out of the father's pouch, so cute!!

World of Discovery also has Documentaries and Cultures where you can share different places and people groups with the entire family. This is a great resource for history or geography. There is an excellent segment on different foods from various regions which goes in great for a unit study on France or Italy for example.

Another section I really liked was the classical music. It had a playlist for each composer and we could listen to it as background music while we did other things. I appreciated being able to easily play music for the kids without having to hunt it down. This along with the Fine Arts prints make it much easier to bring some of the fine art theme in our weekly school plans.

And all of the previous information is just in the Family Media section!!

Flash animated E books. What a great way to have my little ones 'entertained' while I am working on school with the older kids. It includes some stories, classics, sing alongs and much more. There are books even geared to specific age groups. 

Baby Sign Language is one I plan to watch the entire set of. I know sign language but some of these are just a little bit more basic for teaching to infants.

My animal family series takes a look at baby animals and follows them on their day to day life. It is so darling. Perfect for younger kids to learn about animals! Some of the shows include footage from  BBC.

For the study guides I mentioned earlier, you click on Quick Find Study Guides. These guides give you a concise grouping of information. They are a study aid. Each booklet gives you instant information on things like math, sciences,  Shakespeare, social studies and more coming soon. These are not in video form, but are written for ease in reading and finding the facts or information you want.

This really just covers the surface of SmarkKidz Media. For $10 per month or $99 per year, this is a fantastic resource!

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SmartKidz Media Review

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Wordless Wednesday

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CTC Math Family Plan *Review #homeschool #hsreviews

CTCMath Review

CTC Math is a complete online math program from K through high school math including Algebra I & II, Pre-calculus, calculus, Geometry and Trigonometry. 
When you sign up for the 12 Month Family Plan you get unlimited access to each grade for your whole family. For $118.80 a year the CTC Math is an incredible deal! Home schoolers get a great deal at 60% off the normal price.

We reviewed this program a couple of years ago with my then K student and loved it. One of the favorite parts is that the instructor is Australian and has a wonderful accent to listen to!

Each of my students have a log in and it is completely online so we can use any of the computers. We even were able to utilize it on the kindle. This is a huge benefit when having a large family. We used the CTC Math with my 2nd, 4th, and Algebra for my 10th grader. We were familiar some with the younger grades and I still just love this program. I begin each section with the diagnostic test to give me a feel of what they already may know. Since we started on it toward the end of the school year, I wanted to be able to gauge which topics they may still need help in. After the diagnostic test I could see what topics to assign to them. 

Each lesson started with a video explaining the topic. I so need this in my math programs for the kids. If I have to take time to read the information to each of them, I will be spending my entire day doing math. If I expect them to read it to themselves, they will skip most of it. The video is detailed, interesting and easy to understand. Also available to rewatch if you need to. 
After the video for Algebra is the worksheet problems. 

I appreciate that they still have to work the problems and then find the answer in the key. If given multiple choice for each question, it gives too much chance for guessing rather than learning in my experience.
You can also enter your results on another screen, and see the answers. There is a lesson summary at the end as well.
Wonderful layout for Algebra. My 10th grader will be continuing it through the summer and we may try Algebra 11 after that.

Awards and reports lets you go back to see the results of the diagnostic tests which was helpful for me in assigning the next thing for him to work on.

My daughter started out in the 4th grade, quickly progressing through the diagnostic tests. I did like how it caught a few things here and there that she did need review on.

She could work fairly independently. My youngest still struggles with reading so I would often have to read the problems to him if they required reading. I don't expect to find a math program that I don't need to help a 1st grader with. I love that I can be basically hands off with the 4th and 10th grader though!

I get a weekly report sent to my email giving me updates on how the kids are doing. This is great for if you have older kids and allow them some independence, yet still want to check on their progress. 

Start a free trial today and see what the hubub is all about for yourself.
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CTCmath Review


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K'NEX Mighty Makers building set for Girls!!

K’NEX Brands, the US construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love®, is excited to introduce Mighty Makers; a line of construction toys designed to empower girls through creative and stimulating building ideas!
Created by an all-female marketing and design team, the Mighty Makers building set line encourages girls ages 7+ to build BIG ideas.  Each Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (“STEM”) based set features colorful rods, connectors, panels, engaging story-based instructions that follow the life of the included female figure.  Mighty Makers building sets are available now, exclusively at Toys R Us, and will be available at toy stores nationwide beginning August 1, 2015.

 “STEM jobs are increasing faster than non-STEM jobs and the need for educated and excited workers is ever-growing.  We’ve noticed a lack of women pursuing careers in STEM and we want to help change that,” said Kristen Krikorian, Director of Marketing, K’NEX Brands.  “The trend starts early.  We’ve seen in our focus groups that many young girls have a natural inclination towards building and designing, but there are very few options for them in the building toy aisle.  Mighty Makers building sets were designed to empower young girls to express their natural creativity with fun, colorful structures and characters.  Mighty Makers sets aim to show every girl that she can be MIGHTY!"
The 2015 Mighty Makers product line includes:
Mighty Makers:  Up, Up and Away Building Set
Fly high in the sky with Ava and her bird, Jay, with the Up, Up and Away Building Set.  Ava loves all things that can fly.  Help Ava create a butterfly, build an airplane, or invent her very own flying contraption!  Decorate the STEM themed builds using the included accessories and get ready to take flight. The Mighty Makers Up, Up and Away Building Set includes 140 colorful K'NEX parts and pieces, featuring a cock pit seat, star snaps, and Ava's goggles.  Set also comes with full color instructions for four different aviation themed builds, and an exploration card that challenges builders to investigate additional themed concepts.  All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA.  Suggested retail price is $19.99.  Ages 7+.  Available now exclusively at Toys R Us.

Mighty Makers:  Going Green Building Set
Reduce, reuse and rebuild with Zoe and her hedgehog, Roland, in the Mighty Makers Going Green Building Set.  Using the included tools, curious builders can help Zoe build a garden, greenhouse or flower box.  This exciting building set features 127 K'NEX parts and pieces, 2 figures -- Zoe and Roland --, gardening tools, flowers, foliage and more!   Also included are full color instructions for three different botany themed builds, and an exploration card that challenges builders to explore additional botany concepts.  All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA.  Suggested retail price is $19.99.  Ages 7+.  Available now exclusively at Toys R Us.

Mighty Makers:  Fun on the Ferris Wheel™ Building Set
Ride all the rides with Emily and her bear, Cocoa, with the Fun on the Ferris Wheel Building Set. Help Emily build her own amusement park with a Ferris Wheel, Pirate Ship ride, and boardwalk game.  Set includes 324 K'NEX parts and pieces, 2 figures -- Emily and Cocoa --, Ferris Wheel seats, star snaps, and more!  Also features full color building instructions with ideas for three different mechanical engineering themed builds, and an exploration card which challenges builders to explore additional mechanical engineering concepts.  All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $34.99.  Ages 7+.  Available now exclusively at Toys R Us.

Mighty Makers:  Deep Sea Dive Building Set
Dive deep into the ocean blue with Marissa and her fish, Queen, in the Mighty Makers Deep Sea Dive Building Set.  Explore the deep depths of the ocean with Marissa on her marine boat, or win first prize at the school science fair while learning about the food chain.  Builders can also transform Marissa into a beautiful mermaid who can swim among the fish and ocean vegetation.  This exciting building set includes 317 K'NEX parts and pieces, 2 figures -- Marissa and Queen --, and accessories such as a microscope, laptop and jelly fish.  Set also features full color building instructions for 3 different oceanographic themed builds, and an exploration card that challenges builders to explore additional marine biology concepts.  All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA.  Suggested retail price is $34.99.  Ages 7+.  Available now exclusively at Toys R Us.

Mighty Makers:  Home Designer Building Set
Don’t just play with your dream house — build it from the ground up!  The Mighty Makers Home Designer Building Set invites builders to follow the included blue prints, and join Brianna and Sophia as they build different houses -- a Colonial, a brownstone, or a cottage.  Use the included flowers, flower pots, seats, tables, lamps and more to decorate the houses.  Set features 433 K'NEX parts and pieces, 2 figures -- Brianna and Sophia --, and accessories. Also comes with full color instructions for four different architecture themed builds, and an exploration card that challenges builders to explore additional concepts.  All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA.  Suggested retail price is $49.99.  Ages 7+.  Available now exclusively at Toys R Us.

Mighty Makers:  Inventor’s Clubhouse Building Set
*2015 Toys R Us Exclusive* Invent anything you can imagine with Emily and Audrey in the Inventors Clubhouse Building Set from Mighty Makers. Emily and Audrey meet up in the Inventor’s Clubhouse and let their imaginations soar! By building objects they see in everyday life, these girls are inspired to invent their own contraptions. Use the 528 included pieces to help Emily build a flapping bird, like those she sees outside of the Clubhouse windows, or, help Audrey build an animation machine to watch her drawings come to life. Take a ride on the Clubhouse zip line to get those creative juices flowing. The building opportunities are virtually endless with this exciting set! The Inventors Clubhouse Building Set also features full color instructions for ten different engineering themed builds, and an exploration card that challenges builders to explore additional concepts.  All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA.  Suggested retail price is $49.99.  Ages 7+.  Available now exclusively at Toys R Us.

About K’NEX Brands
Founded in 1992, K’NEX Brands, the world’s most innovative construction toy company, was established to make and sell what has become one of the world’s leading integrated construction systems for children, and is America’s STEM building solution. Winner of over 250 international awards and recognitions, K’NEX is focused on Building Worlds Kids Love® and encourages youngsters to “imagine, build and play.”  From the living room to the classroom, K’NEX has building toys specially designed for every age group and skill level.  The K’NEX family of brands includes K’NEX Building Sets, K’NEX Thrill Rides, K’NEX Education®, Lincoln Logs®, Tinkertoy®, K-FORCE Build and Blast, Mighty Makers™, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8™, Super Mario, PacMan, Titanfall, Family Guy, Plants vs. Zombies, and more. Since 1992, The Rodon Group®, a subsidiary of K'NEX Brands, L.P., has manufactured over 34 billion parts for the K'NEX building toy system. Join us as we help build the leaders of tomorrow.  For more information, please visit or

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Wordless Wednesday *State Fair the Musical

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Dynamic Literacy WordBuild Foundations *Review #TOS #homeschoolcrew

JazzEdge  Review

 Dynamic Literacy helps feel the void of vocabulary development that I feel my kids were struggling with.
 WordBuild: Foundations, Level 1 includes the Teacher Edition, Student Activity Book, and Basics Student Activity Book.

We use so many elements of the 'english' program from reading, writing, spelling, comprehension and more. Often if feels like I am missing things when all of the components are together in one program. Reading and comprehension are great and they do help with vocabulary, but not in the same manor that Dynamic Literacy takes it.

Exponential Learning is the focus by taking a few root words, introducing a few suffixes, and a few prefixes and the kids know several words at once. (For  more details on that click on Exponential Learning at beginning of sentence).

JazzEdge  Review
WordBuild is geared 2nd-5th grade or up to 9th for those needing more help with vocabulary.

The book is consumable and copyrighted to not make copies so you will need one for each of your students. You really do need the teacher edition for knowing how to do each page and to help you focus on the process. 
Section 1 deals with compound words. My daughter is 10 and has a good grasp on them so we just did a simple review and moved on quickly to the Student Activity book and learning about prefix and suffix. 
Dynamic Literacy methodology begins activities with what the student already knows, and builds on them. This is very helpful for giving them confidence in learning, and building on a foundation that is already there.

Each lesson is broken into 5 days, perfect for the school week. It begins with an overview of the affix that you are going to be learning. Some of the activities mention discussing it in class, or working together with a a group. All of the activities are simple enough for the student to do alone as well.

The first activity uses the prefix square and has the student take the affix and add it to the root words around the square. They learn the meaning of the words here. On the second activity they will take these words and use them in a sentence. I love how we didn't just stop on learning the word, but went on to apply it.
The third activity is a matching of words and definitions, each day building on one another. I do not recommend doing more than one activity a day, this allows it to sink in, and then be repeated the next day. I think this repetition has really helped my daughter's vocabulary.
The fourth day is a fun word find. With so many similar words it can be a challenge! Lastly they use the words in context. I could tell as we went through these lessons that my daughter indeed needed help with vocabulary! I didn't realize how much until we started dynamic literacy.

I think this is a program I need to add in for each of my younger children.  It is so helpful in both verbal and written communication. It also allows the student to learn some core truths in vocabulary that they can apply down the road from the knowledge they learn. In areas of writing and even test taking. I was pleased to see that there is a Foundations level 2 book as well.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Old Fashioned Chilvary Makes a Comeback DVD *Review

Old Fashioned is a retro-modern love story of chivalry making a comeback.In a time when movies are introducing worldly ways of dating, it is refreshing to have Old Fashioned come on the scene! I want to teach my kids a biblical way of dating and that is so hard with the insurgence of movies that show people going in the opposite direction.

"Living the old fashioned way means being intentional in our relationships.  It thinks in terms of I and Thou (such a great and little used word nowadays!), always considering others above ourselves.  The focus is on the other person - which is the essence of the Golden Rule ("Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you" - Matthew 7:12)" - quote from Ginger Kolbaba, author of The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance.

A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an "old-fashioned" and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America. 

This movie has a beautiful line up of talented actors/actresses! Starring Elizabeth Ann Roberts who has starred in Ragamuffin and Remember the Daze. Rik Swartzwelder makes his debut performance in Old Fashioned and did an excellent job!

I so appreciated this movie, and it couldn't come at a better time. We need wonderful resources like this to share with our families and other Christians. Chivalry is possible and this movie shows that. 
Along with the movie is the novelization of the motion picture with the same title by Rene Gutteridge. That and The Old Fashioned Way by Ginger Kolbaba will be reviewed soon on my blog as well. 

Be watching for a stellar giveaway soon!!

DVD Releases on June 16, 2015
115 minutes // Genre: Drama // Rating PG-13

Twitter: @OldFashionedVow

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

JazzEdge Easy Piano Basics *Review

JazzEdge  Review

JazzEdge is familiar to us for when we reviewed HomeSchoolPiano last summer. We hadn't kept up with it like I had hoped and was excited to try out JazzEdge Easy Piano Basics 

The Easy Piano Basics started out very familiar to Shiloh, my 10 year old. She recalled some of the lessons from before, but they were great for recollection.
The beginning lessons include learning about the black and white keys, the names of the notes, finding middle C, and sitting properly.

Some other exercises were in:
Steps and Skips
Half and Whole Steps
Different Clefs
Pedals (which was hard for my littles to reach :) )

Towards the end of the lessons you get more into chords and rhythms. JazzEdge does an excellent job of really starting from the beginning. If you have had some lessons you will easily glide through the first group of lessons. If you have had a significant amount of lessons then you would want to check into JazzEdge other products. Adults can easily use this program, as he does not talk 'down' to the children. What better way to learn the piano than from the comfort of your own home.

There are 32 lessons available, and you have access to these lessons for life. I can utilize them with my young prodigy when she gets older!!

 We were able to use the Kindle for the recorded lessons, making it much easier for Shiloh to sit right at the piano, watch the lesson, and follow along. Our internet isn't the best, so we had some lag time, but not too bad. It was much easier than setting up the laptop.

I love how the lessons are set up to show what you need to learn from the video, how many minutes long it is, and what you should be reviewing before your next lesson.

After this lesson you can choose to go on to the next lesson by clicking the green Next Lesson arrow. Shiloh was able to progress through a couple each day as she had some familiarity with them.

JazzEdge  Review

There is downloadable sheet music to go with the lessons beginning in lesson 8.. There are 46 pages, and many of them you can just view online rather than needing to print them. They were basic and we chose not to print them once we looked over them.

I appreciated that Shiloh learned the basics of the piano, but also learned some music theory with the chords and how to read the staff. Sometimes those are left out because they are 'boring' to a kid. I find them super valuable because you can utilize that knowledge in a variety of musical instruments and come to grasp more of the science of music.

The lessons were very easy to understand. Shiloh did them on her own with the kindle and practices herself, I didn't have to do much to be involved. Another perk for this homeschool Mom.
She did have to remember where she left off so she could pick up again when we logged back in.

Additional products include PianoWithWillie and DrumsWithWillie.

The Crew reviewed Easy Piano Basics as well as the 2 programs with Willie. See what they thought of these programs by clicking on the banner below.

JazzEdge Review

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