Friday, April 29, 2011

TOS Crew: Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we were given the opportunity to review Hey,Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek Level 3.

Hey Andrew! teaches koine Greek, or Biblical Greek, versus modern conversational Greek.

Now, when I found out that we were going to be able to review Hey, Andrew! I was thrilled! I must admit though, that my children were not. When choosing the level we would review, I was unsure which would be best for my family. While they are older, they have not had any experience with Greek.  So we opted for Level 3.

I do think that was a good option, as this level begins with reviewing the alphabet, which we had not learned! Big plus! And it then moves into the introduction of vocabulary words, in a slow and methodical fashion.

Throughout this level your student will cover basic vocabulary and simple sentence structure. Also included in the text are flash cards to help concrete what they have been learning. Also, available for purchase is the pronunciation CD. This came in handy, as it would either confirm that you are speaking correctly or help you learn how to correctly form the new sounds you are learning!

My son, that we used this program with told me that,  "I didn't want to do it originally, because I thought it would be hard!" However, now that we are using it, he says, "I like doing it, it is very easy to understand."

Now that we have been working through the program for most of this school year, my son has been able to master some words and some sentences in Greek.  We are thankful to have had this program, as this son will be  attending Bible College, so we are looking at this as getting him ready for Greek in College. We will be continuing on with Hey, Andrew! throughout the rest of our homeschooling!

Take a moment to check out the crew blog to see what my crew mates think about Hey, Andrew!

And visit Greek N' Stuff for their whole line of Latin and Greek products.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Graphics Toolbox; This is My Book!

All of us at Graphics Toolbox, have been working diligently on our newest addition to our line of downloadable kits! We are super excited about these kits.

This is My Book! is the story of YOU! Go on an interactive journey of discovery, reflection and creativity. Suitable for both children and adults.

This is My Book! comes with 50 customizable pages to build a unique detailing the story of your life.  Thisi s My Book! will be a treasure for every member of your family for years to come! 

Graphics-Toolbox from Great Software Tools, LLC is an easy-to-learn-and-use graphic software program that is perfect for students, educators, hobbyists and business people. Since homeschool families are composed of most of the above, you will find that learning Graphics-Toolboxwill ultimately help: your children learn, you be a better teacher, you have more fun with digital scrapbooking & other hobbies and even help you develop effective marketing materials for a familybusiness. Here we are concentrating on how Graphics-Toolbox can benefit the home schoolingexperience and education is our favorite focus!


Creativity (Great Teachers + Graphics Toolbox) = Knowledge & Innovation

Educating children is a complex equation. The quality of the factors on the left of the equationdirectly impacts the quality of the product. We all want our children to be well educated andinnovators as adults. In the 21st century, it is essential that students learn to utilize technology like Graphics-Toolbox in their lessons and homework assignments so they are prepared to be competitivein their careers as adults.
Multiply the creativity of your child with your dedication as a teacher and the interactive learningpotential of Graphics-Toolbox and see that:

  • Graphics Toolbox empowers teachers and engages students in active learning

  • Working with graphics helps children learn faster and retain the information longer

  • Lessons with interactive graphics brings the subject matter to life

  • You can incorporate effective hands-on learning strategies for all your children, at all grades and learning levels

  • Graphics-Toolbox can enhance all of your existing curriculum programs

  • Children will learn life long skills on presentation & strategizing content

  • Kids love technology and by working with technology they participate more actively in the learning process

  • You will raise the bar on the quality of their presentations

Visit our website and learn more, then Buy or Try Graphics-Toolbox today!

Learn with our Award-winning tutorial videos: Getting Started with Graphics-Toolbox, Teaching with Graphics-Toolbox, and our Project Videos.

This is My Book! This projectwas developed to encourage creativity and stimulate research on your favorite subject – You! Itis a fun, informative project for children, but also a wonderful project for adults. Different ages canapproach it with different levels of detail. The project is intended to inspire reflection on your lifeand you can choose to use all of the pages or only the ones that are meaningful to you. Considercreating one as a gift for someone special! We hope that it will be a starting point and that you willcontinue the book as far into the future as you would like. Life is a work in progress; we hope this book will be too!

If you have questions you can contact me at

TOS Intermediate Schoolhouse Planner

Most of us have seen the Teacher Planners at the  Parent Teacher stores in the neighborhood. You know the ones I mean, the ones that are geared for 30 students in one classroom.  No matter how large your homeschool, you probably are not home educating that many children! The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has solved all of our planning dilemmas by creating  a whole line of planners specifically made for (and by) homeschoolers in mind!

For several years now, I have added the TOS Schoolhouse  Planner to our homeschool.  I strive for organization and would like to have everything planned out and put in it's correct box. However, several things have gotten in my way over the years... It is simply too much work to make our homeschool life, fit into the generic boxes of most planners. However, because TOS has created planners specifically for the homeschooler, you will find planning sheets that are useful and relevant, no matter your teaching method or philosophy!

Over the years we have used them in several different ways. We have printed them, meaning I printed a master copy, and then pulled out the forms I needed throughout the year and made copies. I have also not printed a master, and simply used the pages I needed, straight from the computer. Now what is fabulous about this option, is that you can type into the forms and then print them off. I like this! This is actually one of my favorite aspects to the planners!

I had the privelege of looking at and using the TOS Intermediate Schoolhouse Planner, this planner is geared for the 5-8th grade set! (you can see my resident 6th grader and her best friend here!)

As with all the TOS planners, this planner is chock full of homeschool planning forms, both that you the parent can use and forms the child can use.


I like the aspect of  not only the parent being organized, but also teaching our children how to be orderly as well. After all, our God is a God of order!  1 Corinthians 14:40 says, "Let all things be done decently and in order." The Intermediate Schoolhouse Planner, gives us the tools to give to our children, to live an orderly life.  Which helps us fulfill another duty as parents, Proverbs 22:6 tells us, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."


So, practically speaking, how can you help your children attain this goal by using the Intermediate Schoolhouse Planner.  In our family we have implemented several things, in the short time that we have had the planner!

First, I went ahead and printed out the entire planner and had it bound.

And we have begun to print out the sheets that the kids are going to start using.

This first one is a great one to use to have the children begin to think about their own day, and what they would like to accomplish!


This is really just the beginning as far as forms to help your children think about their own education and to help them organize their lives. You will also find pages like; People I'd like to Learn About, Place's I've Visited, My Daily Chores, and their own Bible Reading Schedule just to name a few. 

We have also printed out for all the children to use, not just the 5th - 8th grader, the musical instrument practice sheets, piano in our case! All of the kids need an incentive to practice!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TOS Crew: See the Light

As part of the TOS homeschool crew we were given the opportunity to take a look at See the Light art curriculum.  This came in at a wonderful time. My daughter has been wanting to learn how to draw.

Now over the years we have tried other art curriculums.  And in all honesty we loved those curriculums, however what sets this one apart is the fact that it is on DVD. I am finding as my children are getting older, and I have many ( 5 ) at multiple ages, I am loving the flexibility of having courses available online or on DVD to help meet all the needs of my  children.

So this was, dare I say, a perfect fit. We were simply sent the same 3 intro sessions that you can view for free by clicking here. As well as some excerpts.  You will notice as you view these lessons that they are complete and your child will learn quite a bit in a short amount of time.

My daughter was very elementary in her drawing skills. She had high hopes of drawing a masterpiece, however, she simply did not have the technique to back up her desire. After these 3 lessons, she learned enough to really bring her drawing to the next level. As well as, learning some of the art lingo.

These lessons are geared toward students who have not had an art background. The instructor, took the time to explain each of the tools needed to complete the course, how to grip a pencil, in several different grips.  Then using different techniques, by using different amounts of pressure to create lines of varying color and intensity.

One aspect that I really enjoyed about the program, is that the instructor is a Christian, and she often referred to God's word throughout the lesson. This was key for me, as in our home, we always look for God in everything that we do, and how we can glorify Him in all that we do.

Another important element, is that the instructor took the time and really made sure that your child understands the concepts taught. If your child has art background, this may not be the program for you. But if your child is a beginner, then this program would be an awesome addition to your homeschool!

Please visit See the Light and check out all they have available for your budding artist!

Don't forget to visit our crew blog, to see what my crew mates have to say about See the Light!



Monday, April 18, 2011

Frugal Homeschooling: FREE Documentary Films!

As a frugal homeschooler, I am always on the lookout for great affordable... and even better FREE tools to assist me in educating my children!

A fellow homeschool mom shared this awesome website today!

You will find full length documentaries on virtually any topic featured. I would recommend you peruse the list yourself, without your children, and pick what you feel is suitable for your family.

At first glance I saw MANY that we will be using in our homeschool. However, I also noticed a few, we will be avoiding.

Check out this awesome resource and see if it will benefit your family!


Happy homeschooling!



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homeschooling Special Needs Kids and Graphics Toolbox

As a homeschool mom that has to deal with special learning needs, I often find myself looking for quality material to meet their varying needs.  While the children were small this was an easier task, however, as they get older it is more difficult to find materials that are age appropriate while meeting the needs that need to be addressed.

For the last 3 years I have been working with The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. And through that, I have been able to peruse many materials that have been both beneficial and some that are not quite the right fit.

However, through the Crew, I  came across Graphics Toolbox. Now I must tell you that I know work for Graphics Toolbox, however, what I wanted to share with you today, is how I am incorporating Graphics Toolbox, into our homeschool, and especially how it has helped me with my learners with special needs!

There are so many ways that Graphics Toolbox is a good fit for the special needs homeschool family! First let's address the big stuff.... Graphics Toolbox is an easy to learn and fun to use graphics design program. However, you will not be using it as a supplement! You will be using it to help you teach your children more effectively! Better yet, you will help them learn it, and retain it! With the added bonus of teaching them the technological skills that has been a missing element in most special learners education!

So, what can we do with Graphics Toolbox? One thing we have done, we have started using it to create our own math manipulatives. Now, you might be asking yourself, why would I do that, versus using the little counting bears we already have? Here is why, you will be able to tackle 2 birds with one stone, so to speak.  First off, by using the manipulatives, created in Graphics Toolbox, your student will be getting the hands on learning that they are craving, and frankly needing, in order for them to learn. However, in addition to that, you are teaching them technological skills that they would not otherwise be learning. Additionally, you are giving them the tools to create a project that is far superior than what they could do, if it were simply, done with pencil, paper and plastic manipulatives!

In this post, I am going to be looking at basic math pages that can be made with Graphics Toolbox.  However, this is just a sampling, and the ideas are endless.

First I created a page of counting bears. Here is a strip from that page, one of each color is represented.

You can start with this by teaching number sense:


Within Graphics Toolbox, you can remove the numbers, and have your child place the number in the correct place. You can also teach your child how to place the correct number of bears next to the correlating number.  You can also teach them how to change the color of the bears. Again, you would be teaching them number skills, color recognition, as well, they will be learning skills within Graphics Toolbox that will be bringing their education to the next level.

You can also create custom math sheets:

Now, I have created these 'sheets' in worksheets style, however you do not have to do that.  If you have a child who has a difficult time with fine motor skills, and writing is difficult. You could have them read a problem, or you could verbally give them a problem, and then have them illustrate it for you with in Graphics Toolbox!  Also, even if you are having them write their work on a math work sheet, they can still do their work within Graphics Toolbox. Again, the point is to not only give them the hands on manipulation they need, but also to teach them a new skill!

And here is a complete the pattern page:


These are just a few examples of what you can do with Graphics Toolbox. Another thing that is great, is that you can simply save the projects to a file, and then at the end of the year, you can have a disk of your child's work for the year.

Each installment, I am going to share with you more Graphics Toolbox project ideas for special needs children.  Next week, we are going to look at "what's wrong with this picture" cards for your child. Especially for your older child, because the cards on the market are geared toward very young children. We are also going to look at fun ways to help your dyslexic student with book reports.   Something to look forward to, making your own PECS cards.

If you have special requests, please let me know! Just place them in the comments!

To purchase Graphics Toolbox you can visit here.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Little House on the Prairie or 21st Century Homeschooler?

I had something very interesting happen to me at the most curious of places! This last weekend I spent my time at the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. I had the privilege of working a booth throughout the weekend. And I thoroughly enjoyed meeting fellow homeschoolers!  Many that I have met and interacted with online, in various arenas, as well as, brand spanking new friends!

However, what astonished me, is that I met someone, who was working for a vendor, who had said throughout the weekend... that they were amazed at all the online and virtual educational options. And homeschooling, is not just Little House on the Prairie anymore.


I was surprised to hear such a thing, AT A HOMESCHOOL CONVENTION!  This person, was not the vendor, simply an 'employee'. However, I was surprised at the boldness this person had in describing homeschoolers. Considering I am one!  This person, did not look at Little House on the Prairie as a compliment, either, I dare say.

They had assumed we were all living in our one room home, never going out or interacting with others, and clearly not providing our children with an education, that is worthy of the century that we live in.

So, what are your thoughts on this? I posed this question on my facebook page, and had some wonderful comments. Now I would like to open this up to everyone.

What does your homeschool look like? 21st Century? or Little House on the Prairie? Or both? How do you feel about the stereotype?

Please chime in!


Monday, April 4, 2011

TOS Crew: Go Go Kabongo

Go Go Kabongo is an online program for young children, ages 4-7, designed to equip them with the skills needed to successfully learn how to read.  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we were given a membership and asked to give our honest opinion.

My children are older than this age range, however, my youngest is 11, and struggling with dyslexia, so we thought we would be able to give this a go!

First lets get the business out of the way, what does Go Go Kabongo have to offer?

Launch Reading Skills with Online Brain Games Kids Love!

There are 3 habitats for the children to explore, play and learn. Each and every time they achieve the desired outcome of a game, they earn a sticker. These stickers are collected in the 'comic book maker' area, where the children can create a printable comic book! This proved to be a great incentive for my daughter.

The graph below shows you what your children will be learning in each of the habitats.



An aspect that I love, is that I am emailed a progress report of how my child is doing within the game. It will tell me what level she has achieved for each game inside each of the habitats.

My daughter, enjoyed making her own avatar, and making the comic books. She also enjoyed the games, though she did feel they were a bit too easy. Which is good, since they were designed for 4-7 years old!

If you have a preschooler - 2nd grader, then this would be a good fit for your family! And the best part, it is AFFORDABLE!!!

You can play with two habitiats for free with additional habitats available for $4.95. You can find membership info here.


And don't forget to visit the crew blog, to see what my crew mates have to see about GoGo Kabongo.