Monday, August 20, 2012

Vocabulary {Crew Review}

     Here lately I have been doing a lot of reviews for companies and websites we have been using in our homeschooling since we began.  Things we absolutely love using in our schooling.  Vocabulary is one of those websites.

     We personally have used the free version of this site for years now and it's been a blessing for myself and my children educationally.  The website is extremely easy to use and full of lots of learning.  For this particular review, I was given access to the premium membership portion of the website for a year for up to 5 children.  As a parent this is a blessing, as a teacher this is an exceptional blessing for us.


     Through Vocabulary, I am able to upload our weekly or monthly (or however I wish to create them) vocabulary and spelling lists to use with my children/students.  I can also use pre-made lists created by others and by local public schools to help educate my children which are readily available on Vocabulary  Vocabulary then takes my lists and creates spelling and vocabulary games, programs, quizzes, etc for my children to practice with for the week or period we are working on the words.

     I can create lists for any subject too!  So lists of Math words, Science vocabulary, Social Studies, etc can be used right along with the other things we are learning about with Vocabulary  And of course, there are TONS of extras to use and work through when the weekly work is finished, just for fun!


     This website is a bonus for any parent or teacher to have to help educate their children.  There is a free version for you to use and try out the program, as well as additional memberships which provide even more! A premium family membership is available for $29.99 a year for up to five students.  A classroom membership for up to 25 students is available for $49.99.  School memberships are also available through the website.

     For more reviews of Vocabulary, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!!

*Disclaimer - A year subscription to Vocabulary was provided to me free in exchange for my honest opinion shared in a blog post review by Vocabulary and TOS' Schoolhouse Review Crew team.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Getting Ready

August has pretty much flown by for me.  The anticipation of giving birth to my last child has kept me busy this month.  Yesterday, we had a doctor's visit with an ultrasound and we officially scheduled our delivery for August 31st.  Exactly two weeks from today I will be holding my sweet little angel and I can hardly wait!  I know his brothers and sisters are excited too!!

This month has been spent on being together as a family.  We have also worked on housekeeping skills in attempting to get everything just a bit more organized before Jackson gets here.  The kids have been helping a lot since Momma can't get up and down from the floor like I could just a month ago.  The things they are learning will be helpful skills for them for life: dishes, laundry, cooking and cleaning.  We've been spending our time talking, reading and watching good movies together too, creating memories while we wait.

The kids were excited to see pictures of Jackson yesterday, to know he's really going to be here soon and actually see his hands, his feet and his little face.  They are as anxious to see and love him as I am.  Laycie is very excited to have a baby brother though I don't think she quite understand that he's not coming out as a miniature version of her but instead as a teeny tiny baby boy.  She will adjust though and I'm so thrilled by her experience in becoming a big sister.

I suppose you can guess that starting school work will be postponed until after baby brother arrives since there is no way I can keep up with both for right now.  As soon as the little one arrives and we all settle in we will begin working on learning again.  And yes he will be there with us as we work, learning right along with the other three.  Learning is most fun when all are included even when learning on different levels.

So that's a brief update for now.  I'm not sure when I will get back to post again, except for my required reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew but I'm hoping at least once next week as I finish up preparations for Jackson's arrival.  I hope this post finds you all having a blessed back-to-school time and wish many happy days for you this year!  God bless you all.

<3 dana="dana" p="p">

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Thomas Jefferson Education Review

Lately, I have been blessed to share about some of my favorite products through the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  A Thomas Jefferson Education is yet another one of the great websites we already use in our education at home.  For this review, I was given access to A Thomas Jefferson Education's This Week In History part of their very informative website.

A Thomas Jefferson Education believes in bringing education back to the purpose of educating the child instead of simply pleasing society.  They believe the LOVE of Learning is so much more important than following along.  They believe in placing education into the hands of the child, to be developed and encouraged along by the parent simply by allowing the child to learn naturally in the first place.

A Thomas Jefferson Education supports the 7 Keys of Great Teaching encouraging the use of classics over textbooks, mentors over professors, inspiration over requirements, structuring time instead of content, providing quality over conformity, providing simplicity over complex learning, and educating the child instead of pleasing others through society.  Each of these 7 Keys of Great Teaching work together to provide strong values and thorough knowledge in education.  Each key is important to create an educational process that cannot be beat.

This Week In History is A Thomas Jefferson Education's subscription program.  This program provides subscribers with an email in their inbox that is packed full of educational information for the week.  Each week is something new and completely different from the last allowing the student to absorb a new fact or learn about a new historical event or person throughout the week.  On the website the student and teacher will find extensive lessons and information provided in the weekly email to help increase learning on the various topics for the week.

A Thomas Jefferson Education creates an interest in learning, inspiring both student and teacher to learn more.  Each lesson teaches about the topic then provides lesson ideas to continue learning about the topic.  Additional links on the topic are also provided to expand past the initial interest and initial stage of learning.  Lessons can be taught together or individually in a students self-learning time but they are always interesting and thorough.

My children and I have used A Thomas Jefferson Education for a while now as a website and we have greatly enjoyed the lessons provided by this site.  The provided lessons capture their interest and keep them wanting to know more.  Many lessons have lead to them expanding educationally on the topic on their own and created different interests for them.  Websites like this one are a blessing to any homeschooler looking for a little something extra to use at home.

A subscription to A Thomas Jefferson Education's This Week In History is available on and is $9.99 a month.  For more reviews of this website and product, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog!

*Disclaimer - This Week In History was provided to me for free by A Thomas Jefferson Education and the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Only my honest opinion shared in a blog post was required for this review.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Math Made Easy Review

Math Made Easy is a wonderful program created to be simple in teaching children to do basic math without using their fingers for counting, adding, subtracting, multiplication and division.  A new way to teach an old subject, Math Made Easy provides simple techniques to build strong math processing skills for any age.  Once put into place, Math Made Easy makes learning math fun.

For this review, we were given a copy of the Math Made Easy Addition Teaching and Learning Made Easy book.  The program proclaims that math skills can be built and developed in six short weeks.  The program diminishes redundancy in learning math facts by teaching the student to eliminate addition facts dealing with simple math like +0 and +1 as well as teaching a student to quickly recognize redundant facts like 2+3 and 3+2 so they can quickly process a math problem.

This program includes a thorough teaching process including well-written yet simple lesson plans for each step.  An addition pre-test is included right away so that a student's ability can be measured and progress in learning addition can be seen throughout the six week program.  The entire book is black and white but is accessorized with cute images throughout to help capture the interest of a young child.  Activities, games and simple flashcards are also included for the same purpose.  The goal of Math Made Easy is to keep the program simple, while educating the child on the simple concepts of every day math, leading to an enjoyable math experience for all.

This program was perfect for my children, who like things that keep learning simple.  They enjoyed the activities throughout and quickly completed their work without boredom.  Math Made Easy was easy to incorporate into our eclectic homeschooling style too.  It isn't a hard to use program, nor is it invasive or overly structured.  It reminded me a lot of the older programs that used to be used in Public Schools when I was growing up and learning there was sort of fun.

Math Made Easy can be purchased via their website at  They have both an addition and a multiplication package available for homeschooling.  The addition package that I have reviewed here is available for $24.95, not including shipping.

For more reviews of Math Made Easy, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!

*Disclaimer - This product was provided to me free by Math Made Easy and the Schoolhouse Review Crew!  Only my honest opinion of this product was required in a blog post for this review.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Joy to Come

Lately I'm feeling stuck in a serious rut.  I know the weeks are flying by for Jackson's arrival.  I have so much to do but yet I feel like I'm getting no where.  I search for the "what's next" stages but find nothing.

We have three weeks until baby Jackson is born.  I haven't gotten anything of his ready except to say that he has plenty of clothes.  I have some washes to use on him.  I have no diapers for his tiny little bottom yet though.  No wipes to clean him with.  And so much I still have to do.

I'm nervous and scared but trying to remain calm.  In three weeks I have surgery to give birth to my last darling baby, my sweet baby boy.  It cannot come fast enough and yet it's coming way to fast for me.

I'm ready for it all to be overwith and at the same time I'm so not ready.  Jackson will be my last baby.  My last baby to carry beneath my heart.  The last baby I feel roll and tumble and kick inside my belly.  The last one to hear my heartbeat from the inside.

I know it's time to give up birthing babies.  I have discussed this with God.  I have felt him agree with me.  Yet, it makes me sad to know it's all over.  It makes me sad to know it can't go on and on.  It makes me sad to know there will never be another baby I carry and feel, to hold and love after Jackson.

Yet I do know it's time.  My health cannot withstand pregnancy again.  I'm getting to old to feel sick like I have this time around.  I want to spend time with my children, to love and watch them grow without feeling like I am neglecting them for the morning sickness and tiredness of pregnancy.  I want to enjoy the days I'm blessed with and have them enjoy our time together too.  It's so short now and going so fast.  I don't want any of us to lose a single minute that should be enjoyed with one another.

But I will enjoy my last three weeks carrying my son.  I will memorize every moment I can and remember the three beautiful babies I have carried before him.  Remember how much they each have meant to me and how much I enjoyed giving life to their beautiful souls.

I'm so thankful to have been blessed by God so many times.  So thankful to have two girls and now two boys to raise and love.  I hope Jackson is very much like his siblings, all of them.  That he shares their sweetness, kindness and love.  I know they cannot wait to share it all with him, to love on him and care for him just as they have each other over the years.

We are patiently enjoying your last days inside Jackson and anticipating your impending arrival everyday.  Such a blessing you are to us, our littlest angel.  We all love you always. <3 p="p">

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Create Better Writers Review

Create Better Writers allowed the Schoolhouse Review Crew to review three of their amazing products for this review: How To Teach The Paragraph, How To Teach The Five Paragraph Essay, and The Homeschool Writing Action Plan.  As reviewers, we were allowed to choose one or all three of these to work through at the pace we chose to do so for our children depending upon their ages.  Since my children are relatively young and also struggle with reading, we have only used How To Teach The Paragraph in our homeschooling thus far.


We received How To Teach The Paragraph as a downloadable e-book for use in our studies.  This e-book promises to teach children a simple way to determine paragraphs, organize their thoughts and write a well thought out paragraph.  We found it to be an excellent study on the paragraph and that it did indeed help my children understand and create better written paragraphs for their writing.

This 22 page e-book includes all you want to know about writing a paragraph.  It is broken down into two parts.  The first part teaches Paragraph Basics and is appropriately named The Basics.  It teaches the first 6 steps in writing paragraphs.  The second part of the e-book is called Improving the Parts of a Paragraph and teaches steps 7-11 in the paragraph writing process.  The end of the e-book also includes two appendixes for extra study of paragraph writing.

The Basics: Steps 1 begins with assessing the students paragraph writing skills.  Step 2 teaches the student the 5 basic parts of a good paragraph.  Step 3 helps the student memorize the parts of a good paragraph.  Step 4 begins the students paper set-up.  Step 5 allows the student to begin prewriting paragraphs and Step 6 concludes Part I: The Basics with an official written paragraph.

Part II: Improving the Parts of a Paragraph starts with Step 7 which teaches topic sentences.  Step 8 is strictly for learning about closing sentences in writing.  Step 9 gives a Paragraph assessment of the skills learned throughout this e-book.  Step 10 is extra paragraph writing practice and Step 11 finishes out this part of the program reviewing and sharing your perfect paragraph.

The e-book itself is written simply, yet challenging enough for grade 3-5 students.  The activities are thorough yet fun, helping with student skill advancement in writing.  The program builds upon itself to create a complete understanding of writing that is unlike many programs available today and since it's available in e-book form it is immediately available to teachers and parents needing to address these skills right away.

This program was great for both my struggling reader and my advanced learner.  It allowed them to work at their own pace, creating sentences leading to paragraphs that fit their own needs.  Neither felt ahead or behind while working on this program or using the How To Teach A Paragraph e-book.  They are really excited to begin on the next book in the series, learning more about the writing process.
How To Teach A Paragraph is available through Create Better Writers website for $7.99.  Create Better Writers also has many other writing programs available, including a complete writing package on their website.  For more reviews of this and the other books provided to the Schoolhouse Reviewers please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!

*Disclaimer - This e-book series was provided by Create Better Writers and the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion in a written review for free.  No money was exchanged in the review writing process.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

SchoolhouseTeachers Review comes from our very own The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  This wonderful upgrade from their old Teacher's Toolbox is a wonderful bonus for any homeschooling family.  Packed FULL of great information on both homeschooling, specific subjects and much more, is something no homeschooling family should choose to miss out on.

Before I began working for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine as a reviewer, I was a fan of both TOS, the magazine and of their wonderful additional materials available through Teacher's Toolbox.  I was excited to become a member of as soon as it became available to use and let me tell you, I have not been disappointed at all.  There is always something new and interesting to learn, do and use on the site. provides everything from homeschooling advice from some of the greatest names in homeschooling education to reading lessons for struggling readers to daily lessons on various subjects that even us Mom's struggle with teaching.  And these are not simple lessons at all.  Each lesson and topic provided by is thorough in explanation, fully planned and includes bonuses like worksheets, etc that may be needed to help teach the topic at hand.  Honestly, a homeschooling Mom like me could get lost in this website in a totally good way!

The website covers subjects daily and monthly.  It provides lessons from pre-k to 12th grade.  Other bonuses are menu planning helps, curriculum planning ideas, back issues of TOS magazine, monthly e-books and much more.  

My absolute favorite thing though is with a membership to you receive full access to every TOS Homeschool Planner available for the school year.  These fully interactive and printable planners are all yours just for joining!!  As soon as you join, you can download all of them and save them for later use, even if you choose not to stick with the website subscription.  But seriously, who would even choose to give up a subscription to this website when there is so much available to use each month!!

In the library you will find copybooks, monthly themes, monthly reading lists, lesson archives, art, nature, crafts and so much more.  You could honestly plan full lessons just around the suggested lessons made with this website if you chose too.  The website is definitely a wonderful bonus for fly-by-the-pants homeschoolers and unschoolers who want lessons but don't want to overkill on planning. is available on the website for $1 for the first month's trial and $5.95 for every month after.  Visit to tour the website for a closer look at what's available.  Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more reviews on this site.

*Disclaimer - As a member of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew and a member of, I happily accepted this review to share my love of in a blog post.  No money was exchanged in the process of writing this review and this is my honest opinion of the website.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Zane Education Review

A couple of years ago, I was hanging out on Facebook when I received a friend request from a new program called Zane Education and it's managing director Nicholas Tee.  At first, I was a bit iffy about adding Nicholas and Zane Education but I quickly realized what an amazing resource this program is and what an amazing person Nicholas is too.  I followed my instincts and found two great things in one place.

Zane Education is more than just your average online study program.  This program was created with heart to help excel learning to it's limits.  And each year the program increases making it bigger and more useful for students all over.

Zane Education provides approximately 2000 educational videos in various subjects for students and teachers to use in learning.  They provide a quiz database of 23,000 multiple choice questions in 11 different subjects.  More than 260 curriculum topics are available in grades K-12 with this program, every day.

The program caters to the child, allowing both advanced students and remedial students to learn at their own pace and with their own learning style.  Closed captioning is included for the videos so those who learn better through reading than listening don't miss out.  Sound is included so that audio students learn well too.  This is extremely helpful for special needs students who may be using the program.

For this review, I was provided with a Gold Membership for Zane Education.  When I log in the first thing I see is my Members Area showing my program information, as well as videos available to me in this program.  A quick walk-through of the program is also available on this page to help get me started.  A download guide is also provided for future use of the program.

The Zane Education website itself is filled with useful information on the program, as well as tons of bonus things to use educationally.   Every page brings you to something completely different from the Classroom to Homeschooling to Special Needs.  There is something there for everyone and every need.

The video section allows the program to be used as a whole or broken down by subject.  You can also search by grade level for videos that fit your child's grade.  A glossary, encyclopedia, dictionary and thesaurus are also provided for teachers and students use.  Quizzes are also provided and broken down the same way.

In the Study Center, you can find the full glossary, encyclopedia, dictionary, and thesaurus, along with downloads and more.  This extensive program works together to provide a fun and thorough learning experience for all students.  The arrangement of the program helps to make planning easy for teachers as well.

Zane Education is a program that my family has enjoyed for a while now.  Educationally, it is one of the best programs I have found for my own children to use.  We do use it as a supplement to our regular studies but when we do we learn a lot.  It is well worth the program pricing and the time put into using the program.  My children enjoy the videos and the quizzes and I enjoy the ease of access as well.

Zane Education is available at  There are four membership options available.

Basic is free and the version I have used for a while now.

The Gold Membership is the best for the value at $17.99 a month or $197.89 a year.

The Silver Membership is great for those with a child in one grade level, providing only that level for the month or year at $12.99 a month or $142.89 a year.

The Bronze Membership provides all videos in a specific subject for a year at $8.99 a month or $98.89 a year.

There is also a Topic Master Membership available allowing access to one topic only for $5 a month ($5 for 30 day access to the topic).

For more reviews of Zane Education, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog!

*Disclaimer - Membership to Zane Education was provided to me free in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog review by Zane Education and the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew.


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