Thursday, May 31, 2012

DIVE Into Your Imagination - Who Live In the Sea? {Crew Review}

Who Lives In The Sea? is a part of the Dive Into Your Imagination series from Annie Crawley.  Ms. Crawley has traveled the world as an underwater photographer, dive instructor and boat captain for more than 15 years and has brought her life at sea to video for all to enjoy.  "I want to share the beauty and wonder of the REAL world.  Come experience the oceans with me!" Ms. Crawley says.

In Who Lives In The Sea? students and parents alike learn more about the ocean and how it works.  You can swim with dolphins, seals and sea lions.  You can see whale sharks as the super big fish they are.  You learn about turtles, the dinosaurs of the sea and about baby bird's families.

Also included in this video are The Ocean Song, the Ocean Alphabet and a special feature called "Helping Your Kids Love the Water".  My children greatly enjoyed viewing this video and learning more about life in the Sea which is a huge part of our own day to day life, living on the Coast of the United States.  The images and animals shared throughout the video are amazing and beautiful.  It is one of the BEST videos we have been asked to view.  We are extremely thankful to Ms. Crawley for creating this wonderful video series to use in our homeschooling.

Dive Into Your Imagination's series includes: Who Lives In The Sea?, What Makes a Fish a Fish? and Dive Into Diversity.  You can purchase each video for $19.95 a piece on Ms. Crawley's website:  Separate Educational guides are available for this set of DVD's.  The guide set is available for $299 per printed set, or $69.95 for single PDF file per video.

For more reviews of Dive Into Your Imagination, please visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew blog!

*Disclaimer - This video was provided to me free for review by Annie Crawley and the TOS Homeschool Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion in review of this product.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WriteShop {Crew Review}

WriteShop is an incremental writing program that helps inspire successful writers from Elementary through High School.  Writeshop is an award-winning curriculum that allows homeschooling parents to teach writing with confidence.  Step-by-step lessons provide students with the skills needed to build the writing processes of pre-writing, brainstorming, writing and revising, while allowing the teacher to help edit and evaluate a students work.

For this review, we were sent WriteShop Primary B, Teachers guide and Student Activity Pack.  This curriculum was really easy to get started with right from the shipping package.  The Teacher's guide is thorough with lessons already set up for you, yet still allowing for changes as needed to fit your style and your students.  After the introduction, a section on schedule planning is provided to help you with these needs.  You can set up lessons for one to three weeks depending on what you'd like and what your student is able to complete.  WriteShop can be used with younger or older students with no problems too!  

A brief description of needed supplies and materials is also provided before the lesson plans begin, as well as a section on how to create a Writing Center for your lessons.  Suggestions for both a portable system and a semi-permanent system can be found here and how to best equip your center for your writers needs.  

The next section of the Teacher's Guide discusses how to teach lessons using WriteShop.  Lesson focus, theme and objectives are covered within this section.  Materials, Advance Prep and Before You Begin suggestions are also provided here.  Then ideas for hands-on projects, activities, and daily guided writing practice are also provided, as well as information on how to use the Activity Set Worksheets with your student(s), prewriting activities and teaching brainstorming.  This Welcome Section continues to discuss Writing Projects, Revision and Editing, Publication and Evaluation of a students work.  

The next section of WriteShop Primary B is called Before You Begin Book B.  In it pointers are shared, as well as suggested activities.  As you can see this book covers many needed aspects for the beginning homeschool teacher in Writing.

Lessons begin with Writing a Letter, Standard Spelling and Acrostics continuing to learning about Poems and Nursery Rhymes, News, Humor and much much more!  Activities begin with a lesson focus provided in bold at the top of the lesson.  Then objectives are provided, a list of advanced prep needs, and materials.  Each lesson plan provides project ideas and scheduling ideas pertaining to the provided lesson.  Then the lesson activities begin.

At the end of the book an appendix is provided sharing materials and supplies for lessons, lesson specific supplies, extra publishing ideas and picture book suggestions for lessons.  An appendix is also provided for finding specific lessons for specific needs.  

I must honestly say that WriteShop is one of my favorite curriculums thus far.  The lessons are thorough but simple enough for my struggling readers to be able to complete without frustration.  The lessons are also perfect for the grade level provided and a lot of material is covered within the pages of the curriculum.  The material cost is not too high and the enjoyment of learning is well worth the cost.  My children loved reviewing this product and have learned a lot in the few weeks we have been using it.  This will be one product we will be adding into our daily and yearly homeschooling.

This product is available through WriteShop online at various prices for various levels.  WriteShop Primary B is priced at $29.95 for the Teacher's Guide in Print Edition or $26.95 for the eBook download of the Teacher's Edition.  The Student Materials, Activity Set Worksheet Pack is $4.95 for print and $4.50 for download.  These sheets are reproducible to be used with more than one student.

As a Special Discount, WriteShop is providing Crew Blog Readers with an offer of 15% off of any WriteShop Primary or Junior products in the WriteShop Store, eBooks included!  Use the code CREW15 at checkout through June 15, 2012 to receive your product with 15% off the purchase price!!

For more reviews of this product, please visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew Blog!!

*Disclaimer - This product was provided to me FREE in exchange for Review by WriteShop and the TOS Homeschool Review Crew.  No money was exchanged in the process of writing this review.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

CapJaxMathFax {Crew Review}

CapJaxMathFax is the perfect program for any family that needs extra practice and drill with Math memorization skills.   Public schools, home schools and parents with children who need a little extra practice at home can benefit with CapJaxMathFax.  Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division are all covered in this terrific Math program.

Parent or child can create a lesson in CapJaxMathFax tailored to fit the student's educational needs.  Parent or student can choose addition, subtraction, multiplication and division or any combination of these math skill drills.  The skill level and how many facts are included in a set are also available choices.  The last choice is to pick how much time is allowed for the practice session.  This can change as the child develops more skill with drills on CapJaxMathFax.

As the student works through the drills, the computer keeps up with the average of how long it takes the student to answer, the student's score, the amount of right and wrong answers and more.  Parents or Educators also have the option to print a report of these facts for record keeping and to see what level the student is at.  The student can either log out when finished or repeat the program for more skill building.

This program was perfect for our home, as my students enjoy practicing math facts online and building their drilling skills.  They enjoy programming that keeps it simple yet fun and that always works well with our homeschooling.  This program would benefit any family who feels the same about their lessons.

CapJaxMathFax can be purchased on their website for $29.95 and it is well worth that price, in my opinion.    There is a free evaluation of the program available on the website too.  Programming for schools is also available.

For more reviews on CapJaxMathFax, please visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew Blog!


*Disclaimer - This review was provided to me free in exchange for my honest opinion shared in a blog post by CapJaxMathFax and the TOS Homeschool Review Crew.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Go Science from Library and Educational Services {Crew Review}

Go Science videos are a new favorite around our house.  Ben Roy provides experiments in an exciting way that made my children want to see more.  And with six video choices there are plenty of experiments to see!

For this review, we were given a copy of our choice of two Go Science videos from the 6 volume series.  I personally picked Go Science 4 and 5.  I must say both videos were wonderful. The best part is that every single experiment episode ends with the message that when we learn about Science we learn a little more about God!

In Go Science Volume 4, my children learned about Chemistry, States of Matter and Life Science.  The experiments covered were Chemical Luminescence, Exploding Bottles, Single Cell and Root Beer Float.  The Root Beer Float experiment was their favorite on this particular video.  They enjoyed the experiments on Volume 4 so much that they actually begged to watch Volume 5 a few days later.

In Go Science Volume 5, we learned about Air Flight.  The experiments we watched in this video were the Egg in the Bottle, Bernoulli Effect, Can Crush, Air Cups and more.  Their favorite was the Drum Crush which was a large repeat of the Can Crush also on the video.  They were worried the drum would fall over and excited when it crushed itself under the air pressure.

As you can tell, I completely recommend these exciting and fun videos for homeschoolers and parents who just want to add a little more into their child's education at home!  Go Science Videos are available from Library & Educational Services for $47.95 for the full set of six videos or for $8.97 each!  They are a great edition to any family DVD collection!

To read more reviews of this product, please visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew Blog!

*Disclaimer - This set of two videos was provided to me by Library and Educational and the TOS Homeschool Review Crew for free in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog post.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Judah Bible Curriculum {Crew Review}

Bible study is an essential part of life for any Christian.  Judah Bible Curriculum is a great place to start!  Written for grades K-12, Judah Bible Curriculum is useful for any family at any age.

Judah Bible Curriculum doesn't just teach you the bible from an outside source.  This course uses a written guide along with the Bible to teach God's principles and story.  Notebooking is encouraged to show what is being learned along the way.

Judah Bible Curriculum is designed to give a thorough lesson on bible study, showing how to use biblical principles in your own life, helping to encourage Godly character in your children.  It enables you to teach the bible over time without the addition of outside materials.

Every year you teach bible keys to your children, educating them in the main ideas and biblical principles the bible provides.  This allows you to prepare your studies to meet your families needs, as well as build the principles at the level of your family.  Judah Bible Curriculum works to educate the whole family, not just one student at a time.

In my personal opinion, I feel this bible study would be great for any family looking for an extensive program to use for their family.  Judah Bible Curriculum covers the entire bible and can be used for life.  For my family, we already have several well-loved bible study programs in use so it was not as beneficial this year as it would have been when we were starting out.

Judah Bible Curriculum can be found on their website as a download for $44 or as a print copy for $69.  Both of these options include the Judah Bible Curriculum K-12 manual or ebook, Elementary Notebooking ideas to download or view online, and eight Educator Lectures for the teacher to listen to online or for download.

To read more reviews of this product, please visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew Blog!

*Disclaimer - the complete download of this product was provided free to me in exchange for my honest opinion in a written blog review, by Judah Bible Curriculum and the TOS Homeschool Review Crew!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Baby Has A Name {Thoughts From Me}

This week I have been sick with a head cold so I haven't managed to get a lot done around the house.  I finally gave in and got some Tylenol Cold to get rid of my cold before it gets worse and spreads to the kids.  Needless to say, I have learned my lesson about sleeping underneath my ceiling fan when it's allergy season!

This week has been a lax and lazy week for us.  We had our usual therapy appointment and we've had several phone calls to set up our next set of appointments but we have managed to stay home this week.  I'm still waiting on the call to set up Emmalee's overnight Video EEG but I'm sure it won't take long for that to happen.

Emmalee is having an overnight Video EEG to see if she is having the same spikes throughout the night that Laycie has.  If so, this would explain why she has trouble sleeping and functioning first thing in the morning and possibly why I do too.  Knowing how her brain is working also helps me know how to set up her days to work best for her and us as a family.

As a photographer, I've really been wanting to take my camera out with the kids to take some new pictures.  The other week I bought a new tripod so that I can capture family pics with the kids, as well as take better maternity pics of myself before this sweet boy of ours arrives.  Unfortunately, the head cold and the weather have been against me making this happen!

Speaking of my sweet boy, I don't think I have mentioned that we have chosen a name: Jackson Lucas Lee Lambert will be arriving in late August.  In the past week, my belly has really popped out and baby Jack-Jack has made his presence known.  He's a super-duper kicker, giving me strong thumps throughout the days and nights.  He also loves listening to his big sister sing to him every day, as his strong kicks tell me every time he hears her voice.

Last week I got in a little thrift store shopping and found Jackson a Winnie-the-Pooh bassinet/bedside sleeper and matching swing.  There were bonus sheets included.  Both make soothing music to help him sleep.  I also scored a like-new wipes warmer to keep his wipes warm when I clean his little tooshie.

We are thankful to all the recent clothing donations we have received from various local families in our homeschooling assocation, VBHE.  These loving gifts allow me the extra money to purchase the other things we need to bring Jackson home, like his new bed, as well as continue to provide for his older brothers and sisters.

I am very thankful to feel a bit better today though I've still been pretty lazy.  I'm more than ready to get back into my normal daily life.  I hope this update finds everyone well and in good spirits.  May you have a blessed week yourselves!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Homeschool Library Builder {Crew Review}

Wow! What a website!
 Homeschool Library Builder is possibly one of the BEST websites a homeschooler can be blessed to find.  Homeschooling items for sale at a fraction of the cost!  And the GREATEST part is that becoming a member is COMPLETELY FREE!!  

Homeschool Library Builder  provides curriculum that is both new and used in various subjects, thoroughly marked showing condition in their descriptions and priced accordingly with low, low prices.  Membership includes a monthly newsletter with exceptional sales and promotions changing each month. 

A book rewards program is also a part of the membership, allowing members to earn book points for making purchases and referring friends to the website.  The more you purchase the more you earn!  And the great thing is your book points never expire. 

Looking for a book you can't find?  Homeschool Library Builder will search for you!  Just send them a message and they will get back with you as soon as they can locate the book you are searching for.  How many companies do you know who will go that far to please and help their customers in this day and age?!

Join Homeschool Library Builder today to start saving.  For the entire month of May, they are offering 25% off of available merchandise so there is no better time than now to join!  For more reviews of Homeschool Library Builder, please visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew blog!

*Disclaimer - As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I was asked to review this website in a blog post sharing my honest opinion, in exchange for an additional discount available only to TOS Review Crew members.  No money has been exchanged during the process of this review.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

MUSC, the Process and After {Epilepsy Awareness}

Having a child with Epilepsy is never easy.  Having two is extremely challenging.  Doctor's appointments never seem to end.  Day to day, the challenges go from easy to challenging overnight and sometimes in less time than that.  You can never plan a day, or a week, or anything really.  You simply live life day to day as it comes.

As a parent with Epilepsy, raising children with Epilepsy I have an advantage in that I am able to better understand the ups and downs of our days and nights.  I am constantly watching and gauging whether something could be related to a medication or a seizure, or is only related to my children's age and stage of life. Every day I deduct the differences in our lives and our challenges.  What may be normal for a four year old could be a "sign" of stress for my four year old.  What comes out as attitude in both my girls, can be the brains reaction to being overwhelmed and stressed for my daughters.

For 32 years I have personally lived with Epilepsy - 33 years this June.  For 9 years, I have watched and loved on my daughters as they have gone through also living with this disorder.  We have had multiple testing from EEG's to CT Scans to MRI's to find what dysfunction has been going on with our brains - yes that is testing times 3 for me and my girls.

We have deducted without testing that obviously for us, this disorder is genetic and that also means there will likely be no cure for us.  My children are the fifth generation living with Epilepsy that we know of as before my grandfather and great grandfather, Epilepsy was treated as a form of psychotic illness and not a treatable disorder often leading to living life in an asylum or with Epilepsy being hidden as much as possible in a family.  Because of this we are unsure how far back this disorder truly goes for our own family.

My daughters are the first generation since my grandfather and his two sisters who have had multiple siblings carrying the same genetic trait leading to seizures.  We currently await the birth of our son to see if he is also a carrier which we will not know until he is at least a few months old if he follows the patterns of his older sisters.  Yes, I will be on pins and needles as I wait to see.

Last week, my baby girl was scheduled for an Video EEG for 3-5 days at MUSC Children's Hospital in Charleston under the direction of our wonderful doctors from MUSC's Pediatric Neurology department - the same department that treated my oldest daughter and myself for this disorder.  Though I personally dreaded being 5 months pregnant in a hospital room with an extremely active and impatient four year old, I have to say that it all went very well.

We arrived at MUSC around 12:30pm taking our time to get there so Laycie wasn't rushed getting up that morning, giving her a bath, stopping by the store on the way to get snacks for our stay because at 5 months pregnant Mommy stays pretty hungry now.

We were immediately admitted and taken to our room where Laycie's blood pressure was taken, her height was measured, temp and all the good stuff was done.  Then we waited... and we waited... and finally in came a member of the pediatric team to check up on her.  It was 2:30 and she was getting hungry so my first question was "can she eat?".  He said that he had no problem with that and to order her lunch which I did as soon as he left - mac n cheese, yogurt and fruit salad which she only ate the strawberries out of.  Then we waited again.

Finally around 5pm her neurologist, Dr. Turner stopped by to check on her.  He asked how long we had been there and had we seen anyone from their team, which we had not but MUSC is an extremely busy place.  He listened to our history, checked out Laycie and went off to issue the orders for our EEG.  Within an hour our wonderful EEG tech arrived and began gluing Laycie's wires on.

Anyone who has had an EEG or a child who has had one knows this procedure is simple but strange for a child to experience.  The EEG tech must measure the child's head and place lines where the wires need to go, marking with a special red pencil as they go.  They then must go back to specify points with x's made by the red pen showing where to attach the wires.  Then they are ready to start applying a special scrub that allows the wires to stick and scoop the special goop onto the wires to help the wires work.  The next step is sticking the sticky goop covered wires onto the scalp of the patient in the right places, as every wire has a specific area is needs to be attached to show the correct results in the test.  Since the wires needed to be on for a long time for Laycie's test they had to be glued into place using small gauze pieces dipped in EEG glue and then quick set using cold air.  This whole procedure took about an hour to an hour and a half for our sweet girl.  And I must say she did amazing awesome for a four year old!

After the EEG wires were places, the tech covered them with a zipper cover and plugged them up to the appropriate places in her wire box.  Then she connected the computer and turned on Laycie's video cameras which were needed to watch her as her test was running to see if there were any signs of seizure and specify what reactions she had along with different spikes throughout the procedure.  The tech also placed a cute pink cap over Laycie's head to keep her from removing the wires before leaving us to rest for the night.

And then we were left alone with an active four year old who wanted the little wires off her head, the hospital "bracelet" off her arm and simply to go home already to sleep in her own bed.  She insisted I snuggle up with her to sleep which I did until midnight.  We also watched the new Chipmunks movie before bed to help keep her occupied and snuggled her two favorite puppies and her baby doll in the bed to help her stay relaxed.  Around 9:30pm she was ready to snooze the night away and I was very thankful!

The most aggravating part of the process for us that night was getting comfortable, keeping the hat and gauze over her wires on her head and keeping the wires from falling off the bed while she was sleeping.  At some point in the night we had to add a seizure pad on the side to keep our sweet girl from rolling off the hospital bed while asleep during her test.

The next morning came quickly with a 7:30am visit from Dr. Turner stating that we would be able to go home in a couple of hours.  I was completely surprised since we expected to be there for days that week testing.  In less than 24 hours, Dr. Turner was able to provide us with a specific Epilepsy type for Laycie, along with a suggestion that the type of Epilepsy could also fit Emmalee's and my Epilepsy type as genetically inherited.


Finally after 32 years, we have a specific diagnoses of Rolandic Epilepsy with BCECTS type seizures.  After doing days of research on this form of Epilepsy, I agree it fits us well and has opened up a world of questions as well as specific answers at the same time.  Our normal EEG's do not show Epileptic activity at all but both Laycie and my overnight tests show temporal spikes followed by a severely slow period followed by an extremely fast period of activity in the brain.  This also explains why my girls and I are not morning people, as our brains do not rest well at night.

We are currently setting Emmalee up for testing to see if she has indeed outgrown her Epilepsy or if she is having night time spikes that are affecting her rest and sleep.  We are also setting up genetic testing to pinpoint where this disorder is traveling in our chromosomes for future reference as well as in preparation for our new sweet boy.  It will be nice to have answers to both of these questions.

We are now home and had our hospital follow up for Laycie today where our pediatrician is supporting my request for further testing.  Laycie is doing great.  We have lowered her daytime medication leaving her nighttime meds the same so that they control the visible spikes she is having each night.  She is a bit tired still from the changes but overall she's doing much better with the lower daily dosage.

Every day is a challenge but at this point we are very excited at Luv'N Lambert Life!


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