Thursday, October 21, 2010

Download n' Go - Terrific Tigers

I love it when an opportunity to review something dovetails into a study we're already doing. That was the case with Terrific Tigers.

Terrific Tigers is yet another great Unit Study by Amanda Bennett and part of the Download N' Go series. Middle was starting the chapter about cats in Apologia Elementary Zoo III when we got this unit. It's available for only $7.95 here.

He loved it! The videos were great and I think all of the boys had to take turns watching them. Over and Over. There's something very interesting about Tigers and this unit study really helps you understand these animals well.

The five day study has lots of videos, the Tiger of the Day and book recommendations for each day.

Day # 1 - What is a Tiger?

Day # 2 - Getting to Know Tigers.

Day # 3 - Where are the Tigers?

Day # 4 - The Science of Tigers

Day # 5 - Cool Things About Tigers

As part of our Zoo III study we are doing lap n' note. Download N' Go provided us with plenty of things to add to our notebook - Our Tiger Word Dictionary - our Tiger of the Day Chart and one of our favorite leaning tools - a Venn Diagram comparison of house cats and tigers. There are many more lapbook and notebook components of this study - these are just a few! Another big hit was the Tiger puzzle. We just printed it on cardstock and are keeping the pieces in a library pocket in our binder.

I love that the videos are safe. I don't have to worry about my kids seeing something I'd rather them not see. Middle loved that there were so many to choose from.

We did not use the coloring pages much but they are a wonderful resource. My oldest likes the riddles in this unit. Take a look at the sample located here for an idea of the material available in this study.

I believe the Siberian Tiger was voted the most popular though I personally like the Bengal Tiger best. Now I have to explain that no, we cannot have our own pet tiger named Hobbes (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) and perhaps we could try to find one to sponsor in a zoo. So Terrific Tigers has launched us into another area of research - how to aid efforts to preserve some of God's most beautiful creatures.

I cannot recommend this particular study enough. The information could easily keep you studying well past one week.

(My apologies are in order for the original short post. I had inadvertently scheduled my draft and we had a crisis with the boys services and an allergic reaction to a new medicine on my part which resulted in more chaos around here than usual. This draft was nowhere near what I wanted to say about this product.)

Leave your email in the comments section for a chance to win a free copy of Terrific Tigers. I'll draw a winner on Monday as it's a birthday weekend for the oldest boy. Remember - members of the Download N' Go or The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew or TOS affliates are not eligible.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this unit study for the purpose of review. This is my honest opinion. Please remember all families are different and your results may vary. I received no other compensation for this review.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Westvon Publishing - Product Rave

I stumbled upon Westvon's impressive product line some time ago, probably during a Currclick sale. I was amazed at the versatility of the products and have collected most of their products.

One of my favorites is Study Starters. Like my boys - I often don't know where to start with a subject. The product is available in e-book form, CD or spiral bound.

These worksheets provide an outline type form that helps you to shape a study. There are sheets for States, Animals, Minerals, Rocks, Music and so much more. A complete list of topics, as well as a sample, can be found at the above link.

We use a lot of Westvon's products - Happy Scribe Copybooks, History Scribe, Bible Scribe, GeoScribe and History Scholar. I also use pages from The Master Planner in my planning. Currently they have a great sale on all of their products at Currclick. Their products have really helped my reluctant writers with their history, science and handwriting.

Friday, October 8, 2010

TOS Review - Digital Frog

We received one of The Digital Field Trip Series DVD's from Digital Frog for Review. The cost for a Home License on this DVD is $125.00 and can be ordered here.

On this DVD there are three field trips: The Wetlands -The Rainforest and The Desert.

Also on the DVD are Student and Teacher Workbook pages for each field trip.

With this DVD the student can take a virtual field trip. There is an option to have the text read to the student and I found that helped my dyslexic son a lot. The virtual field trips are easy for the student to navigate and there are check points and signs that give additional information to the student if they are clicked on.

The field trips are very thorough - defining climate and weather for each area as well as the types of animals one can find in the habitat as well as the human impact.

My first suggestion would be to choose the area you would like to study and do a 'Quick Tour'. This will explain how to navigate your way through each lesson. In order to access the worksheets for each study you do need to go to My Computer - right click on the DVD drive and open folder. This will show you the files on the DVD and allow you to access the student and teacher files which come in PDF, Word and RTF (Rich Text File) formats.

My boys are still trying to see all there is to see on this DVD. I believe it will be a wonderful supplement to any biome study and well worth the price.

To see what others on the TOS crew have to say about these products click here.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I was given use of this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TOS Review - LanSchool Technology

As part of the Review Crew for The Old Schoolhouse Crew I was provided with a free trial of LanSchool Technology. The company offers a free 30 day trial of the software and one home license is $99. That includes free updates and technical support for three years.

Oh my... Where to begin... I highly suggest the product tour located here.

LanSchool Technology enables the networking of all computers in a home or classroom setting. (The home license is good for up to three monitored computers - pricing is available for schools and classrooms as well) It allows the teacher to control all of the computers in the network - turn them off or on, monitor websites and keystrokes, limit websites or block certain websites, allow or block certain applications, send text messages between the 'teacher' and 'student' computers, and so much more. For a full list of capabilities check out the product brochure here.

I couldn't believe how simple it was to install. My 'teacher' computer runs Windows 7. My 'student' computers run Vista and XP. I was up and running in the few minutes it took to install on each computer with no issues at all. And since the software is user friendly it was easy to figure out how to use it.

My favorite part of this was the ability to display my laptop screen to the other two computers at the same time. This eliminated all of us crowding around one laptop to watch a video or read a lesson. I also liked the ability to 'turn off' a computer if someone didn't heed 'break time is over and school is now back in session'.

I also could write on the screen or underline a sentence on the display and my kids could then see it on their computers. The ways that this could be used in a classroom or home school setting are practically endless. I was so thrilled with this product I sent a link to a friend of mine who is on the board of a small private school which provides all students with netbooks. It is a product I will be make room for in my homeschool budget. I've only just begun to discover the ways we can use it in our studies. I highly recommend this product.

To see what others on the TOS crew have to say about these products click here.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I was given use of this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.

Friday, October 1, 2010

TOS Review - Zoe & Sozo Publishing -Foundlings

As part of the The Old Schoolhouse Crew I received a book from Zoe & Sozo Publishing for review.

Foundlings is Book 1 in their Peleg Chronicles by Matthew Christian Harding. Book 2 - Paladins - is also available on their website(with free shipping!), Amazon or Barnes @ Noble. Each book is $11.95. The third book in the series is tentatively scheduled for release by May 2011 with unit studies and lapbooks anticipated for the following year. The site is full of information - not only on the series but on the historical and Biblical context of the story.

My boys do not care for any sort of fiction but we did read the story aloud as part of our literature lessons.

As the site clearly states this book contains no magic, no humanism and no evolution. Set in the time period following the Tower of Babel, our heroes - and there is at least one character that the reader can easily identify with - are followers of the 'God of Noah'. This makes them a target for those who worship other gods - The Dragon Priests - in fact the story opens with Lord McDougal - one of our two main heroes - being cursed by the only mention of a witch in the story. McDougal is the sole survivor of his family and is accompanied by his faithful servant and shield bearer - Fergus Leatherhead. McDougal is a good-natured brave giant and follower of God. He feels duty bound to help other followers of the God of Noah and Fergus is pulled along on his adventures somewhat reluctantly.

Our young hero is named Thiery. He is also a follower of the God of Noah. He is targeted by The Dragon Priests. They consider the followers of the God of Noah good sacrifices to their false god. Thiery's companions include Oded, Suzie and his wolf, Horatio. After escaping an attempt on his life by the Dragon Priests, Theiry winds up in a cave reading the Book of Job and thus deepens his faith in the God of Noah.

McDougal and Fergus wind up saving the life of a dwarf named Gimcrack who tells them of Thiery. Mc Dougal is convicted that he must go to Theiry's aid.

I found this story charming and even though the boys never did quite get interested it is no reflection on the writer. Fiction does not interest my fact based boys. I am planning on ordering the second in the series as this story ended in a cliff hanger and I really would like to know what happens next. The story is fast paced without being rushed and the descriptions are vivid without being tedious. The story was quite Biblically based.

I highly recommend this series for anyone - young or old - (the suggested age is 10 and up) who enjoys this type of fiction.

To see what others on the TOS crew have to say about this product click here.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I was given use of this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.