Friday, October 29, 2010

YUCK! It's a TOS Crew Review

My children and I have had Buckets o' Fun with our Buckets O' Yuck!!!! We had never heard of such a thing, however, once we found out that we were on the list to review this product we were super excited! It looked like so much fun! And guess what? It was!

So what is Yuck!!, you ask? Well, it is small polymer particles of different sizes, that when mixed with water, you will come up with some very interesting results.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent 4 samples of YUCK for free in exchange for my review.

At the top of this post you see a collage of the results of our experience with a Bucket O Yuck!!!  I must tell you, I really enjoyed this product, my only wish, was that we had a swimming pool full of it!

When you purchase Yuck! you will receive information on how to prepare Yuck, and some great activities you can do with your Yuck! Even educational activities! The kids won't even know they are learning!

There are four different kinds of  Yuck available, Sticky, Saucy, Snowy and Chunky.

Sticky, is the consistency of SNOT! Can you say.... YUCK?!?!?!?

Saucy, is the consistency of apple sauce... this was fun to squeeze!

Snowy, is exactly as it sounds, it is the consistency of snow! This one was our favorite!


Chunky, is the consistency of ice cubes!

Each of the varieties, came with a tiny pouch of just a few teaspoons of granules... after adding a few cups at a time of water you were set to enjoy your Yuck!

You can purchase one pound of yuck for $16-$20, depending on which variety you choose.

Please visit their website to learn more information.

Don't forget to check our what my crew mates are saying about Yuck! over on the crew blog!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PG Key

PG Key Safe Key is a computer protection service that you put on your computer, with no on going monthly or annual fees. Simply put in the key ( flash drive) and download, and you are all set.

What do you get with PG Key?

SafeKey Session Recorder

SafeKey Encryptor

SafeKey Safe Search

SafeKey Time Lock

SafeKey Alerts

PG Key says that it will help you create a safer online environment for your children, by recording their online sessions, logging usernames and passwords, providing age appropriate  website blocking, time lock and much more.

I would love to tell you more about PG Key. This is a product I was really looking forward to reviewing. However, my computer would not cooperate. Actually it was my virus protection. I have Norton 360 and it would not allow me to download the software, in fact it even deleted the download icon from the device.  I had contacted the company, they supplied a link to reset my device back to factory standard and offered to help me work around my Norton. However, I decided not to work around or shut down part of my Norton. I rely on my computer far too much for me to risk having it at risk for viruses and such.

If you would like to learn more about PG Key, please visit their website.  PG Key is available for a one time price of $49.99.  You can also request a free trial.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about PG Key!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homeschooling for FREE!!! Yes it is possible!

Recently, I conducted a poll on my facebook page, asking fellow homeschoolers to share their favorite free or nearly free homeschooling resources.

Why would I do this? It's simple really... look around you, families all around are struggling to keep their heads above water, whether they homeschool or not. However, when you homeschool, that is an added burden to the pocket book. Usually one parent is at home, add to that the fact that we are also responsible for our children's educational needs.

I do not have to look very far to see the effects of the current economical climate. My husband lost his job 2 years ago, while he has a new job, we still have been living on only a fraction of his previous earnings. This has given us the opportunity to see God provide in ways we could never imagine, as well as, really test my ingenuity.

We never were wealthy, so I have always looked for ways to get the most for my money.. or spend no money at all!  Applying this principle to all areas of our life, including educating our children, has served our family well.

What you will find below are the results of my facebook poll, as well as, my favorite resources. Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear what you and your family have done to keep homeschooling affordable!

I want to start by saying that over the years, what I have found is that when you are purchasing boxed curriculum, you are purchasing the convenience of someone else dong all the leg work for you. However, if you are willing to put in the time and effort and the leg ( or finger) work, you will find that you are still able to create a curriculum for your children, far superior to what you had even imagined. You will no longer be at the mercy of your pocketbook!

As a side note, before we move forward, I want to remind all of you, that it is up to you, to use your God given discernment to know if any of these resources are or are not appropriate for your children. Click through, investigate and enjoy creating your homeschool learning environment!

To start, I want to share a bit about what our homeschool group does. We have a curriculum  lending library. Members have the ability to check out available curriculum and keep as long as they need, and as long as they are members. No fee or late fees! Only requirement, you must be a current member! The next thing we offer is a used curriculum sale. We meet in one of our members church, and set up tables and invite homeschoolers in the area. This event serves 2 purposes, it allows us to make a little money on our books we no longer need, as well as, gives us the chance to purchase products we may need at a fraction of the cost.

If your homeschool group does not offer a used books sale, or if you are not a part of a local group, try the website for both buying and selling! This site is run by a homeschool family, and there are no fees to buy and sell.

Now onto the suggestions:

The first suggestion was to utilize your public library for books, high school courses on CD and even better you can utilize their heat and air conditioning!  Also, our library has periodic 'friends of the library' sales where you can pick up a book for 25 cents up to $1, and the last day of the sale is $1 a bag.  This is an awesome deal. I was able to pick up 2 Landmark American History textbooks on the $1 a bag day!

Visit any Nature Center, Zoo, Aquarium or Museum website, they usually are jammed packed with awesome resources. Free online grammar lessons designed for Middle or High School Has free homeschool curriculum for K-11th grade. Uses books that have lost their copyright (old) and are available on line for free, among other sources.. You can print for the hard copy, or simply read online. FREE Answers in Genesis Books, including study guides to go with them! Free large family printable homeschool forms. For early reading skills (preschool up to around 2nd or 3rd grade). There are online books, games, and a free language arts/writing workbook you can download. Teaching With God’s Heart for the World This is my friends blog. She started a new weekly posting on free homeschooling resources. This week is a full listing of math resources! This is my same friend, this is a listing of free reading resources. Awesome printables and other resources, both for your home and your homeschool! Lots and lots of resources! More Charlotte Mason resources. When you sign up for their weekly newsletter you will receive free download each and every week! Lapbooking on a shoestring.. however, this entire website has lots of resources! Art Appreciation You can order free dvd's, can be used for civics. Online spelling practice and tests. K-4th resources,  many subjects. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Lots of great history and geography information. Great Lewis and Clark information Too many resources to list! is an ezine that brings you one, F.R.E.E, web-based curriculum idea every day — Monday through Saturday!

There are many many more that have not been listed here! So please, post your comment below and let me know what sources have helped your family!

Friday, October 8, 2010

TOS Crew: Digital Frog

As a homeschool parent, I am always looking  for ways to give my children access to new and exciting, field trips and material.  With a limited budget, and limited time,  it takes a toll on what we can access. Especially when you  have a large family. This is where Digital Frog comes in and saves the day! You will be amazed where our current stops are going to take us on our TOS Crew Voyage. In fact, we will be stopping in three unique locations! The Desert, The Wetlands and The Rainforest.  How can that be possible, you ask... let me show you......

The fine folks from Digital Frog  have put together an awesome field trip series that comes on a DVD/CD.  We have had the program for several weeks now and have only begun to uncover all of the features that are available.

While I have looked through all of the field trips, we as a family have spent most of our time in the Rain Forest! My children have thoroughly enjoyed their visits!

Finally, there is a way for you to take your family on field trips of a life time and this time, and you don't even need a passport!   That is because, it is from the comfort of your own home!

On each field trip there is a wealth of information, that I could not possibly do it justice in a simple blog post.  I am going to focus on the Rain Forest Field Trip and share some of the features that are available.  And what our family thought about this program!

Once you open the Rain Forest Field Trip, you will find yourself with a choice to make. From the front Navigation, you will need to choose, whether you would like to take the Field Trip, do a Rain Forest Study, learn about Rain Forest Types, or about the Mechanisms of the Rain Forest or about the Endangered Rain Forests.

From here, I am going to show you what it looks like under one of the sign posts. Simply to give you the idea of the shear magnitude of information that is included within this program.

We are going to visit the Rain Forest Study..

Clicking on the black words, will open a definition window. Clicking on the sign posts, or on the blue words within this text will take you to the next destination.  For us, our next stop will be the Dependency Web.......

Now once you have entered into the Dependency Web section, you see, that once again, there is a sign post of many choices. As well as an option for a game, on the porch.... under each one of the sign posts, you will find a wealth of information on that topic... for us, we will be visiting the habitats....

Now, what you find under each tab, in the individuals sections are unique. You will find text, animations, photos, little movies all that really engage the kids throughout the field trip!  And they are learning interesting facts in context, not simple, boring, dry facts like coming from a textbook!

Now the last photo I want to show you is of the field trip...

Now while this is our favorite part of the program, it is also the part that we had the most trouble with!  Here you see a screen shot of the first post of the field trip.  In the gray screen, you will be transported to that location. You have the ability to click and drag the camera, looking in different directions, as well as, zooming.  As you journey through the field trip, you will be taken to different posts, and everything that is at that post will be discussed in the text, with clickable, definable words.  However, as you see, in this shot, the screen is gray. On this computer, we were never able to get this feature to work. However, we were able to get it to work on our other computer. So the children were able to experience this feature, and absolutely loved it! But I would be remiss if I did not mention that we struggled a bit here.

There are  2 other things, that I feel like I need to mention. First, if you have a struggling reader, whether that is due to a disability or because they are young, you will need to sit next to them and help them with the reading. There is quite a bit of reading. However, my dyslexic told me that the words were in small enough chunks and with all of the animations, and clickable things he could do, it kept him interested. Much more than if it were a textbook.

The second thing would be the fact that this is from an evolutionary foundation. So you will need to decide for your family if this product will be a good fit or not.

Now in addition to all that is available that already showed you, each field trip comes with printables to supplement the field trip. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, I simply cannot even begin to cover all that is available.

Please visit Digital Frog to learn even more about their product. On their website, if you join their Frogger Club, for free,  you will have access to additional online websites to supplement your field trip.  You can purchase these field trips individually for $60.00 for the Home User License, or you can buy all three on one cd for $125.00.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about the amazing product.

Happy Exploring!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

For What Are You Thankful For??

You know, as we walk through this life, so often, we are so wrapped up in our own little world that we really don't even take the time to see the world we are living in.

The problems of the world and circumstances of life can keep us from seeing the gifts that each day bring us. Which leads me to this question....

For what are you thankful for? While there are many things that are a challenge in my life, at this very moment, there are far many more things, for which I am thankful. I thought I might share a few of them here...

  • I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His free gift of salvation!

  • I am thankful for my 5 beautiful children!

  • I am thankful the Lord has given me the opportunity to home educate them for the last 10 years.

  • I am thankful that no matter our circumstances over the years, God has provided a way for us to continue to homeschool.

  • I am thankful for an awesome church and church family!

  • I am thankful for children who love the Lord and long to live a good life!

  • I am thankful for a family that loves and supports me, no matter what!

  • I am thankful that JR has not had a seizure in over a year!

  • I am thankful that Sybrina is healing and able to leave the hospital!

  • I am thankful for the awesome homeschool group that I am privileged to serve and be a part of!

  • I am thankful for The Homeschool Crew!

  • I am thankful for the new opportunities the Lord has laid at my feet!

And believe it or not, I could go on, and on, and on! I have heard it said, the best way to change our attitude, is to have an attitude of gratitude! The children and I have started a new  'assignment' every morning.  As part of our family devotion time, we are listing at least 5 things that we are thankful for.  It is amazing the difference it makes in your attitude towards your day changes when you  are thankful for the gifts you have received.

So what is it that you are thankful for? Please share them in the comments below!

Have a wonderful gratitude filled day!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Graphics Toolbox Tuesdays..... On Saturday!

Hello everyone!

I thought I would share with you a project we made up in our house for the new school year.

This week we are having to 2 FREE Graphics Toolbox Webinars!

So, in honor of those, I thought I would post a project, even though it is not Tuesday.

I created this Schedule all within the Graphics Toolbox Software Program. I drew the lines how I wanted them, and then embellished with fancy ribbons and lines that come stocked on Graphics Toolbox.

Once I created the grid how I wanted it, I filled it in as needed. This is very user friendly. You can easily edit the box, by bringing it back into graphics toolbox, which is what I did to edit out the children's names and put the generic 'name' in. This took me all of about 5 minutes or less to edit.

Now, just so you know, I omitted the kids names, and our family name, as I thought it might not be a good idea to have those floating around the web.  However, at home,  our schedule is personalized!

If you would like to attend our FREE

Webinar, or would like more information, you can contact me at :

Friday, October 1, 2010

TOS CREW: Foundlings Review

You will find swamps, caves, dragons and dwarfs  at our next port of call. We are visiting Zoe & SoZo and the book Foundlings by, Matthew Christian Harding.

Right off the bat, I will be honest with you. I did not read the book. I simply handed it to my 15 year old son, and assigned him to read it, and allowed him to give me his thoughts on the book.

Here is how Foundlings is billed......

"Foundlings, book one of The Peleg Chronicles
is Historical Fiction that takes place in the
time period of Peleg, soon after the tower of
Babel dispersion. In its pages we meet
dragons, giants, false priests, the death hunt,
an under-city of the Dwarven Brotherhood,
and many memorable characters."

My son says, " This is a book about adventure, and how they trust in God in their tough times."

When I first gave the book to my son to read, he was not all that thrilled. He loves to read, however, the first part of the book was challenging for him. He struggled a bit to feel connected to the story.

However, in the end, he said, " I actually liked it."  It took him a few chapters and then he was hooked!  He even added... "This book was alot of fun!"

One of his favorite parts of the story was reading about these characters trusting God no matter their circumstances. He really liked the part about them trying to get out of the castle.

Author Matthew Christian Harding is a Christian, and the Peleg series is a Christian series of books. You will not find magic, evolution, or humanism within these pages!

Foundlings is available for $11.95, you can even get an autographed copy! Visit Zoe & Sozo to see their  full line of products available.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Foundlings!