Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Silent Governess

by Julie Klassen
Bethany House Publishing

Olivia Keene is a young women with a secret.  Now she has overheard Lord Bradley's secret~to her detriment.  She is now in his employ, not by her choice, but in order for Lord Bradley to keep an eye on her so she does not tell his secret.  Olivia has no choice in the matter therefore becomes nurse to the children of the manor.

The Silent Governess has intrigue, romance, secrecy, and nobility all wrapped into one.  I am highly impressed with Julie Klassen's work.  I have read hundreds of books over the years many from this era, but i think this is one of the best out there.  So, many twists and turns that held me captive.  I could not wait to read the next curve in the story.  I literally felt myself there with Olivia.

List Price: $14.99

*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing to read and write a review.  I am not compensated and am not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


There is a giveaway for a water filtration bottle "Katadyn" from Emergency Essentials on another blog I visit.

If you would like to enter the giveaway click here.

This is a fabulous blog about self reliance!  Make sure you let her know I sent you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Swinging On a Star

Weddings by Bella series #2
by Janice Thompson

I read the first book in Janice Thompson's Weddings by Bella series.  if you would like to read my review click here.

Bella is about to out on another themed wedding, this time a Medieval one!  The bride calls her and lands a bombshell on her. The best man is coming from California a week before the wedding.  Doesn't sound too bad right?  Not if the best man is the famous actor, Brock Benson!  Now Bella has to keep him a secret plus let him stay at her house to avoid the paparazzi.

I love Bella!  I would love to be her friend.  Her family and friends are a hoot!  Janice is a fabulous author and now one of my favorites.  She puts her books in a Christian perspective but is written in a way that is tasteful as well as real.

It was so fun to read about the extravagant wedding she has to put together and how much fun she has doing it. 

This second book takes place pretty close to the end of the last one.  I think you would need to read the first book to understand the dynamics of Bella's family in this book.

Janice if you happen to read my review~ PLEASE write more about Bella (and sister Sophia)!

List Price $14.99

*I was sent a free copy of this book to read and review.  I am not compensated in any way and am not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

Math Mammoth


Math Mammoth  has math curriculum and supplemental books that make sense for parents and children alike.  Whether you use Maria Miller's programs as your math curriculum or as a supplemental resource you will find a wonderful program.

We are using Multiplication 1A and 1B with Ben.  Even though he is doing 4th grade math, I felt he needed a bit more practice with his multiplication tables.  I emailed Maria and asked for her advice on what would be beneficial for him.  She was very helpful and helped me choose something for Ben.

As a parent I really like the fact that Math Mammoth covers all of the various challenges with multiplication, like story problems.  We have used this as a supplement to his current math program, 2-3 times a week.  Ben will say he does not like it, but he is really just getting tired of all the math we have been reviewing lately.  It is nice to have some inexpensive but well written to use as a supplement to our math program.

With Julianna, 5, we are using the complete math curriculum Math 1.  This is the first formal math we have ever done as she just turned 5 in December.  We are going slow, but she is enjoying it and asks to do her school.  I have taken Maria's suggestion in this book to use games with her.  I am pleased so far with this curriculum especially how inexpensive it is.

Math Mammoth carries many different math supplements and curriculum for nearly all ages.  These are all downloads, so very affordable to those of us with tight budgets.  Maria Miller, the author, gives a seven day tour with free samples on the bottom of the home page, it will answer many questions you may still have.

Prices~varies from $2-$7 each

Visit the TOS page to see others' reviews for Math Mammoth.

*We were given these down-loadable math programs free from the owner of Math Mammoth because of my participation in the TOS review crew.  I do not receive compensation for my review and I am not required to post a positive review.

Thursday, February 18, 2010



Zeezok's mission statement is:  

"Established in 2003, we believe "It is better to build children than to repair men." To that end we strive to provide quality literature and educational books for use in training the next generation. We trust our products will assist you in developing your family's love for God and country."

Zeezok is a small company, but has about 50 titles currently in print. Ranging from composers to history to penmanship they have a lot to offer.

We reviewed a couple of the books from the Great Musicians Series.

Each of Zeezok's composer series has a paperback book about each author with written music throughout. It written for children to understand in story format.  There is a CD for each composer also.  The CD has the music that is in the book.  There is also a study guide too.

I did not know who Stephen Foster was or what music he had written, but I do now!  He wrote many songs I have heard of, but thought they were just folk music (which they are) with no original composer.

He wrote "Oh Susanna" and "Camptown Races."

We liked the story, but the CD was not our favorite.  It was too fast to sing a long to and the music was not very good quality.  I was disappointed with it because we had helped to learn the songs and sing with them.


Edward MacDowell is the other one we received to review.

MacDowell wrote instrumental sheet music.  He played the piano and had amazing talent. 

The study guides are helpful for the parent.  They give comprehension questions to discuss with your child.  There is also a bunch f little tidbits about the time period or what certain words mean.

Books $12.95
CDs $7.95
Study Guides $4.95

Visit the TOS crew page to read other member's reviews.

* I was sent copies of these books/CD to read/use and review.  I am not compensated for my review and I am not required to post a positive review.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Homeschool Library Builder

Homeschool Library Builder  is a wonderful website to purchase new and used homeschool books and other books.  If you are anything like me you love books and aspire to have a large library with wonderful books in it.   Sometimes it is hard to find books our local library, or we need it for a long period of time.  With Homeschool Library Builder it is easier to find books that might be out of print or hard to find.

A membership is free and can earn you points towards money off of your next purchase.

I found their website easy to navigate and fun to look at~I could spend hours on there finding books. 
You can search by any number of topics which include: age, book, new arrivals, clearance, fiction etc...  This website has it all! Whether you use Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, or Five in a Row I am sure Homeschool Library Builder has the books you are looking for new or used, for a bargain price!

Right now during the month of February all books are 20% OFF!!!

Visit the crew members' page to check out other TOS reviews.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dollar Homeschool

Ray's Arithmetic

 Have you ever wanted to go back and teach what the pioneers were leaning to your children?  Now you can.  Ray's Arithmetic is a complete math curriculum for K-12 covering counting to calculus.

I had never heard of Ray's Arithmetic so when I first downloaded this and opened it I was very overwhelmed!  There was so much to go through that it was almost too much to absorb.  I guess I am one of those people who think that sometimes modern stuff is better.  I thought it was hard to read and had math included that is unnecessary in today's time, like adding 20 numbers in a column, we have calculators to do that much math, I do believe we should know basic math facts though!  The pages are hard to read and  is not colorful and quite plain.  However if this is something you like then you will be happy that Dollar Homeschool has put this all together in CD form.

You can view the list of books on the CD here.  

Price: $59.99 for the CD which includes 38 textbooks.

Visit TOS crew page for other reviews.

*I was sent a free down-loadable file of this to review.  I am not compensated for my reviews.

99 Ways to Increase your Income

by Frank Martin
Waterbrook Press

Frank Martin has 99 ways for us to increase our income. 
Sometimes we need money to pay a bill or saving for college and we need to come up with ideas to succeed in those goals.

I have read many books on trying to increase income or making money.  While this book is a great beginning book, it was repetitious to me.  I personally did not get too many new ideas from this book.  If you have not read much about increasing your income I think this is a great book to read.  It is an easy read and fairly inexpensive.  These are tried and true ideas although a bit overly tired and done.

Price: $5.99

*I received a free copy of this book from the publish to read and review.  I am not compensated for my review.

A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists

by Michelle LaRowe
Revell Publishing

Michelle LaRowe was voted Nanny of the Year in 2004 & she is now a mommy herself.  She has wrote this book for moms and nannies everywhere.  She wanted a book that new moms could pick up and have loads of advice and lists all in one place.

Yes, this book is full of lists~ 112 to be exact.  There is everything in the book from baby food to how to pick a church for your family.  It is Christan based. The book would be a good gift for a new mom, nearly 200 pages is about baby and toddler things. (what you need to have or baby, baby food etc...).  As my youngest is 5 I found very little in the book that I could glean from.  I found maybe 15 lists that were semi new information for a seasoned mom.  So this is definitely a new mom book.  I found that it is written for the upper middle class, with the name brands of clothing and the necessity of "high quality wipes." In my opinion I think this book will need to be updated every 3 years or so, otherwise it will be "dated."  There are new trends in parenting just like there are in clothing fashion.  Discipline for example changes, as it does for each child which was not really discussed in the book.  LaRowe gave a more one size fits all discipline method.

If you have a friend having a baby soon this would be a great gift to give (along with some books for baby).


Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher for me to read and review.  I am not compensated for my review and am not required to give a positive review.

The Choice

by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Revell Publishing

 Carrie must make a decision.  She is coming of age where she needs to decide to join the church of her upbringing, Amish, or to leave and go with Sol her boyfriend to the world of the English.  One moment she is ready to leave with Sol and the next she is sitting in a funeral contemplating the rest of her life.

There are a lot of people who die in this book.  I just thought it was a bit too much.  I did like the book.  I love reading about the Amish.  I stayed up late last night reading it and read most of the morning today.  I did think it was a bit too long in some places.  There are many choices for Carrie in this book, that will take her on many different emotional journeys.  I do think the price of the book is too high.

Price: $14.99

Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

* I was sent a free copy of this book to read and review.  I am not compensated for my review.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Anything But Normal

by Melody Carlson
Revell Publishing

Sophie is getting ready to start her senior year of high school.  She is going to be the chief editor of her high school's paper, she is on the honor roll and is college bound.  But what happens during the summer becomes a secret she is determined to keep as long as she can, her world starts to crumble.  When the secret is revealed will her friends and family stand by her side or leave her to deal with it alone.

Okay,  now my opinion.  I did not really like this book.  From the first page I knew the "secret" Sophie was keeping. So no working up to it, anyone could guess what it is. The back cover of the book was not accurate.  She did not get the attention of the hottest guy in school.  Not sure if there was a mistake or something.  Anyway, the book is all about how Sophie is keeping her secret from her friends and family.  I was disappointed how easily everything seemed to for Sophie spiritually speaking.  She did not seem to take the spiritual aspect of her "secret" a seriously as she should have.  She was more concerned about what other people would think about her then what God thinks.  I would not want my daughter to read this book because I want her to realize that forgiveness from God is more important then what her friends think.

List Price: $9.99

Available  January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher to read and review. I received no compensation and am not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How God Makes Babies

by Jim Burns
Bethany House Publishing

How God Makes Babies is another in the Pure Foundations series of books written by Jim Burns.  This book is written for ages 6-9.

This book made me a bit uncomfortable.  My son is 9, but I do not think he is ready for some of what is in this book.  We homeschool and usually do sex education at 11 or so.  

I recommend that you read this book and be prepared to discuss with your child before you read it to your child.

List Price:$12.99

*I was sent a free copy of this book to read and review.  I am not required to write a positive review.

God Made Your Body

by Jim Burns
Bethany House Publishing

God Made Your Body is geared towards ages 3-5.  

As parents we are asked tough questions by our children.  Jim Burns has written this book to help parents with the tough questions of human sexuality.  Young children are curious and wonder where babies come from~ among other things.  From this book parents are able to read with their preschoolers and teach them about their bodies and that God made them.

I would suggest reading this book and be prepared to discuss with your child the topics included before reading to your child. 
List Price:  $12.99  See here to purchase.

*I was sent a Free copy of this book to read and write a review.  I am not required to write a positive review.

All About Spelling

In December I had the opportunity to review All About Spelling program.  We loved it!  If you would like to see that review click here.

We were sent the Beehive Reader 1 also by All About Spelling. It was written as the first in a series (more to come soon) to correlate with level one of the All About Spelling program.

My youngest, Julianna, just turned five and is not reading yet.  My next oldest son Ben is 9 and reading way beyond grade level.  So, I read the book out loud to everyone, included my day care kids. Everyone liked the stories.  I can tell that it goes along well with Level 1.  As Julianna progresses I can see us using this book as a means for her to read.

There are several stories in the book.  Each is in chapter format with beautiful pictures on each page.


The stories in the Beehive Reader 1 are fun, delightful, and simple.  The pictures are in sepia and are much like drawings and really are amazing.

 The pages are high quality paper.  It is hard bound and very sturdy withoutbing heavy.  In my opinion it is very good quality.

What a great book to have for a beginning reader for them to say they can read a "chapter" book!

 See here for other TOS crew members' reviews.

Price: $19.95

* I was sent a free copy of this book from All About Spelling to read and review.  I am not obligated to write a positive review.  this review is my honest opinion.

Dreams That Won't Let Go

by Stacy Hawkins Adams
Revell Publishing

 Dreams that Won't Let Go is the third in the Jubilant Soul series by Stacy Hawkins Adams.  I did a review for book two, Worth a Thousand Words.  If you would like to see my review for book two click here.

Indigo's dreams are finally coming true.  She is busy planning the wedding of her dreams and increasing her photography business.  However when her prodigal brother, Rueban, decides to move his family to Jubilant with she be able to forgive him for leaving years ago or will she let her feelings eat at her?  Indigo's sister Yasmin makes an astonishing decision that will change the family forever, but will it destroy them or make them stronger?

Eventhough this book is the third in a series, it is a good stand alone book just as the second one was.  This story takes us on a journey through the lives of the Burns family.  Many quietly kept secrets come out.

I do not have any estranged family members, but I enjoyed looked into the lives of this family to see how they could resolve the issues they have held onto for years.

To purchase your own copy of Dreams That Won't Let Go, click here.

* I received a free copy of this book to read and review from the publisher.  I am not required to post a positive review.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Apologia is know in the homeschooling community as a Christian publisher creating curriculum.  However they are branching out and publishing resource books as well.  The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling  is one of these books.  It has been updated from older editions and is better then ever.

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling is true to its name!  There is so much information included in this book that any homeschooler should be able to find an answer to his/her question in this book.  There are topics on choosing curriculum, preventing burnout, using the internet, and TONS more!

This is a great homeschool resource for newbies as well as those of us who have been homeschooling for years.  The information included in this book is worthwhile and helpful no matter what stage you are in homeschooling your children.

It is Christian based and does include the authors opinions that may not correlate with yours, but as with any homeschooling guide book you pick and choose what works for you.

I wish I would have had an up to date resource to help me guide my homeschooling experiences in the beginning (nearly 10 years ago!)  Debra Bell gives a step by step guide to help the newbies to start their journey off on a good foot!

For a list price of $ 20.00 it is well worth the expense!!

For other TOS crew member's reviews on this book check them out here.


A fellow TOS crew mate has a FABULOUS giveaway on her blog!  You can win your very own Biggest Loser Wii fit game!!

Click here for details.  Don't forget to tell her I sent you!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Kinderbach is an online music curriculum for preschoolers and early elementary-aged students (ages 2-7).  All you need to effectively use Kinderbach is your computer and an inexpensive keyboard or piano.  There is no musical background required to effectively teach this course.  Your child will learn to play familiar tunes!  

Children will have fun while learning about music.  There are activities, puzzles, games, and puppets included in the video lessons.  Students take a hands on approach to learning even though they are watching the video lessons.   

We were given a three month online trial for Kinderbach.  You need to have high speed internet if you choose this.  The other option is to purchase the DVD lessons.  With each lesson there is an activity/coloring page to print off if you would like.   Each lesson is broken down into 4 parts so you can do the lesson over a few days if you choose.


If you purchase a year of lessons it is $95.88 (which come out to about $7.99 a month) or $19.99 per month if you pay by the month.  

The DVD lesson packages start at $40.45 (plus shipping and handling).

To find out what other TOS crew members had to say about Kinderbach click here.

*I was given a 3 month trial for free as a part of the TOS review crew from Kinderbach.  I am not compensated in any way for my review and am not required to write a positive review.

Become a TOS blog reviewer!!

Do you homeschool and want to try out new homeschooling products and resources for FREE and write up your reviews to share with others?  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is looking for new crew members for next years blog reviewers.  Click on this link to get more information.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Saxon facts first

Saxon facts first  is an online software game brought to you by the company that publishes Saxon Math.  This program was designed to help students gain fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  This online program uses practice, review, and tests to help students gain these important skills.  This is a great companion to any math program you are using. We are using it as an incentive to get regular math finished.

The colorful background is helpful to keep the kids engaged and interested.  Ben, my 9 year old, thinks it is fun and wacky.  (He loves anything wacky).  The math practice and tests are timed and as a parent you can change the time allowed or change it to untimed.

At the end of the unit the kids are rewarded with 5 minutes of "arcade" type games (but they are really more math practice in disguise).  This is of course Ben's favorite part.  He really likes to play the games even though he is still doing math practice~and he thinks of it as his reward for doing such a great job on the unit

Before you start on the practice part of Facts First the students make an avatar.  This is Ben's other favorite part.  It is really a fun thing for them to do.  Ben chose an I love math shirt, a funky hat and crazy facial expressions for his guy.  The student can even give their character a pair of Crocs to wear!  It makes the program more personal~ kind of like they had a hand in the design.

To keep track of the problems your students have done there is a chart.  The students have access to see their progress of the math facts.  The are able to see if they are doing excellent, good, needs work, or not sure yet.   It is also a great resource for parents to see which facts their child knows and which he/she still needs to work on

The membership is for one year and up to 4 students. The cost is $ 49.99.  We have really enjoyed this software membership and are glad that we were able to review it for TOS.  To check out what my other crew mates thought of it click here.

*  I was given a 3 month membership for free in order to try it out and review it.  This review is based on my honest opinion and I am not required to give a positive review.

Monday, February 1, 2010


MathScore is a mastery based adaptive learning program invented by a couple of MIT graduates.  MathScore targets second grade through Algebra students, but can be used for first graders as well as practice for older students.

Your student can choose which topic they would like to work on or choose what the program recommends for your child.    Math subjects are broken down into smaller topics such as in the grade 6 which includes math facts, plus proportions, decimals to fractions, restaurant bills, congruent and similar triangles, with 86 topics in all.

Both of my boys, 4th grade & 8th grade, used this program.  My boys really enjoyed this program.  I especially liked it because I could have them work at what they needed specifically.  Everyday MathScore would send me an email with a breakdown of how my children did.  Parents can also go in and check on their child's progress and alter the time limit on their problems.

Pricing: $14.95 for the first child and $5 for second child and $3.95 for each additional child.

For a free trial click here.

Want more then my opinion before you purchase your membership?  Other TOS crew members also got to review this.  Check here for their reviews.