Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma

Do your kids tend to think things just magically happen at home?  Do they think "oh Mom will do it" or "It's Mom's job since she stays home"?  Do you do everything for them and wonder why they do not help themselves unless it involves video games or the fun things they choose to do?

Then this is the book for you!!  Kay Wills Wyma wrote Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement after realizing one day that she was failing to teach her children to appreciate the finer things in life and instead to expect them.  The dawning of this revelation came the day her teenage son informed her he wanted a Porshe for his 16th birthday.  She came to realize he had no clue what a car like that cost or how hard one had to work to achieve owning something in that price range, so she set out to change her children's ideals of the world, one challenge at a time.

Kay began by providing her children a jar filled with 31 one dollar bills and a task that had to be completed every day.  If the task wasn't completed and properly, as she saw fit, the child would lose a dollar for that day.  At the end of the month, whatever was left in the jar was able to be spent as the child wished and hopefully they would learn a valuable skill over the course of the month as they worked to keep every dollar the jar held.

She began this experiment with the simple tasks of making the bed and picking up their rooms every day.  Each month they had to continue with the already learned tasks and learn to do new ones on top of them, from how to cook and clean the kitchen, to laundry and cleaning the bathroom including the toilet and bathtub.  Each child had a different day of the week to complete some tasks while other tasks were required to be done daily.  Every time a task was not completed, the child lost a dollar.

Mom (Kay) was no exception to this.  She created her own jar and participated in the challenge herself.   Yes, she did occasionally lose a dollar as her family worked through the challenges showing her children that even she was not perfect in completing tasks as she was asked.

What did her family learn?  Valuable skills through the year that would last them a lifetime.  Kay now knows she can send her children out into the world and they can survive with clean laundry, a clean home and do simple daily things for themselves.

Want to make changes like this in your family?  The first step to understanding Kay's logic is to buy her book, Cleaning House, and read it from beginning to end.  Then implement her strategies to fit your family so that when the day comes for your children to leave the nest, they are equipped with lessons they will never forget.

You can find Kay Wills Wyma's Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement for $14.99 in your local bookstore or online at  You can read a Sneak Peek of this book at WalterBrook Multnomah.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog review.

Review: Jamie Carie's Forgotten Castles Collection

Jamie Carie's
Forgotten Castles Collection
The Guardian DukeThe Forgiven Duke

Available in Paperback for $9.47
Hardback for $22.42
Kindle for $9.28

The Forgotten Castles Collection has quickly become one of my favorite book sets from Jamie Carie.  I love her writing style, the plot, thought and process the books take on.  The characters are amazing and Jamie draws the reader in with her magnificent descriptions and storyline.

The Guardian Duke is the first book of the series.  In it the reader is introduced to Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, a kind-hearted gentleman who is going through a strange hardship of his own.  Gabriel is asked to take guardianship of the beautiful, Lady Alexandria Featherstone, whose treasure-seeking parents have disappeared after their most recent adventure.  Upset at this request, Alexandria takes off on an adventure of her own, to find her lost parents, leaving Gabriel to follow her across England and Ireland only to lose sight of her at the end.

In The Forgiven Duke, the story continues with Gabriel following Alexandria across oceans to the very large and cold Iceland.  Always seemly one step ahead, Alexandria avoids Gabriel throughout most of the novel but he never gives up on his love and dedication to find her.  Throughout many trials, Gabriel finally manages to find her and bring her home to await the newest news of her parents life.

Book three, to be released later this year, will continue this love story and journey of faith, leading to the conclusion of the Forgotten Castles Series and hopefully the result of their search.  But for now these two books leave the reader wanting more, which will surely come with the conclusion of the set.

You can find The Guardian Duke and The Forgiven Duke online through or in your local bookstores.

A Propeller Review:

 “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it 
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally 
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance 
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the 
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Creation Illustrated

 19 Years Strong as the Leading Bible-based Nature Journal

Readers call it, "The Christian answer to National Geographic" -- EVERY ISSUE A KEEPSAKE! (from

     Creation Illustrated is a magazine provided by the wonderful Tom and Jennifer Ish, as a private, non-profit, non-denominationally owned ministry.  Through their ministry and magazine they share the love of God's Creations and His Biblical Truths.  Creation Illustrated strives to provide a balance of physical, mental and spiritual enrichment with each edition printed.  

From the Creation Illustrated Blog:

Mission Statement:
Our purpose is to share the wonders of God's creation. By revealing fresh insights of His infinite wisdom, gentle touch, undeniable justice, redeeming love, and flawless design, pure truth shall bring renewed peace. Each part of this publication is offered as a reprieve from the daily rigors of life so that all can look to the future with unbridled gratitude and hope.

     For this review, I was sent a full year subscription of four magazines to look through and use with my family.  The magazine is printed four times a year in the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter months.  Each edition includes beautiful images of God's extraordinary creations, facts about each creation shared, biblical insights and verses throughout and much, much more.  The pages are glossy and filled with color to show the beauty of God's world.  Providing a non-denominational take on God's creations, Creation Illustrated is a magazine that can be used with almost any Christian religion without interfering with the beliefs provided by that denomination.

     This magazine was an exciting addition for our homeschooling.  My children greatly enjoyed browsing the photos and discussing the images inside.  I personally read through the articles and shared them by reading aloud throughout the review time period.  Each magazine provided insight into different aspects of God's creations and gave thought from His viewpoint on these animals and places.  My children also enjoyed having these wonderful magazines on hand to go through as they wanted to.

     A subscription to Creation Illustrated is available online through the website for:
                                     One Year, Four Issues: $19.95
                                     Two Years, Eight Issues: $37.95
                                     Three Years, Twelve Issues: $53.95

      Gift subscriptions are also available through the Creation Illustrated website:                      

     For more reviews of Creation Illustrated, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog!!


*Disclaimer - This subscription of four Creation Illustrated Magazine was provided to me by Creation Illustrated and The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew for free in exchange for my honest opinions in a blog review.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Pearson Education Reading Street 3rd Grade

    Pearson Education, Inc. is a well-known name in Public Schools all over the world.  Recently, they have added to their educational materials, creating programs to be used at home by homeschoolers throughout the world.  Pearson Homeschool is available for the Reading Street, myWorld Social Studies, enVision Math, and MyMathLab Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.

     For this review, Pearson Homeschool provided me with the complete Reading Street 3rd Grade reading program to use at home with my children.  I was able to adapt this program to use with my two oldest children using their thorough and extensive materials and guides.  Even my 4 year old enjoyed the colorful pages and stories found throughout the student readers provided in this curriculum set.

     A few months back, I received my curriculum package in a medium sized, well-packed box.  Inside I found the Parent's Guide, Scott Foresman's Guide to the Side (Teacher's Guide), hardbound readers 3.1 and 3.2, the eInstruction ExamView Assessment Suite CD-Rom, and the Teachers Resource DVD-Rom.  All of these materials work together to provide a creative and complete curriculum for 3rd grade reading.  Everything I needed to provide a well-rounded educational experience was found within the cardboard box.

     In the parent's guide, a full-explanation of the curriculum and how to adapt it to be used at home is provided.  From preparation to figuring out if this is the right curriculum for you.  Examples on how to use this curriculum are found throughout the guide.

     The Guide on the Side is a fully tabbed teaching guide for use with 3rd Grade Reading Street.  In it you will find ideas for lesson planning and pacing, oral language, word work, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, writing and much more.  I will admit that I found this guide a bit confusing in the beginning as it is written similar to a public school teaching guide and seemed to be shortened for the purpose of homeschooling which made it feel as much had been left out of the guide educationally.  Overall, after working with it and the program over several weeks, the guide came together to provide inspiration and extra ideas I wouldn't have otherwise without it.

     Also included with this curriculum package are two CD/DVD-Roms.  One is the eInstruction Examview Assessment Suite.  This CD-Rom provides baseline group tests, assessments, Fluency and Comprehension reads, weekly tests and unit and End-of-Year Benchmark Testing.  The other included DVD-Rom includes the Teacher Resource materials: the Teacher and Student Materials in Digital Format, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Writing, Grammar and much more.  Transparencies and Graphic Organizers are also included for use on this disk.

      The Reading Street educational textbooks are intriguing in themselves.  They are hardbound editions much like what the public schools use.  Inside are colorful and interesting stories filled with imagination to help your reader maintain interest educationally.  Though these materials are Peer Based and not Biblical Based, the curriculum is still enjoyable and extensive in it's lessons.

     I used this package with my two oldest children.  Though we were not able to go through the entire curriculum during the review period, we adapted the program to fit us for the short time we had to do this review in.  We covered reading the stories and completed accompanying worksheets, spelling and vocabulary lists, as well as some of the extra suggestions provided throughout the program.  I can honestly say my children learned a lot from this particular curriculum and we will continue to integrate it into our daily lessons as we move forward with learning.

    I do want to note that this is a secular based curriculum package, similar to those used in the Public School system.  It has been well-adapted for homeschool use and is thorough in it's provided materials and program.  It is not biblical based and does not provide a firm base for most Christian homeschoolers.  I know many of my readers are interested in Christian homeschooling materials so I felt it important to mention this in my review of this product.

     We truly enjoyed reviewing the Reading Street 3rd Grade curriculum set provided by Pearson Homeschool.  This product sells for $124.99 for the full curriculum set mentioned above, including everything needed for educational use at home.  For more reviews of this product, please visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog online!


*Disclaimer - Pearson Education, Inc. creators of Pearson Homeschool, along with the Old School House Magazine's Homeschool Review Crew, provided this curriculum package for me to use free in exchange for my honest opinions in a review.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: Mobile Education Tools, Rainbow Sentences App

     Every year when our taxes come back, I look over what we need for school and try to invest it in things that would be useful for us educationally while we have the money to do so.  Last year was no different and I chose to invest in one of our favorite classroom products, our iPad.  This has been such a blessing for our homeschooling and has allowed us to be able to review great products like this one from Mobile Education Tools.

     Rainbow Sentences is an iPad app available on iTunes from Mobile Education Tools.  It's designed to help students recognize grammatically correct sentences by using visual color coded cues.  The basic structures of Who, What, Where, and Why of sentences are color coded so that students can better understand how these combinations work together to create basic sentence structures.  With this app, students learn to recognize nouns, verbs and prepositions and have the opportunity to record their sentences in their own voice to improve their speech and other language skills.

     Rainbow Sentences features 168 unique images to create a sentence from, 6 levels of sentence complexity, and color coded words for added visual support.  Words are dragged to create correct sentence placement and are spoken for non-readers who may be using the app.  Students also have the option to record sentences in their own voices and to save and email recorded sentences.  Throughout the app, as lessons are completed, students earn puzzle pieces to encourage continued play and those puzzles come to life as they are completed, keeping the students interests active as they work through their lessons.

     Rainbow Sentences was a HIT in our house.  All three of my children loved using this one from ages 4-11.  I set the app up with their log-in and allowed them to play freely as long as they wanted.  Each of them found a different interest while using the app and all enjoyed completing the fun little puzzles as they worked through it.  This is definitely a product we will continue to use.

     Since this app is encouraged to be used with Special Needs children, it was perfect for us.  I will be able to continue using it with all three, and especially with my 4 year old who is in speech therapy once a week.  The ability for her to hear the words in the sentences and also record her own voice reading the sentences will be a great help for her auditory skills, as well as for her brother and sisters skills too.  This app has truly been a huge blessing in our family.

     Rainbow Sentences from Mobile Education Tools is available through iTunes on the iPad for $7.99.  It's recommended for ages 3-10 as both an educational and special needs tool.  It is compatible with iPad's system iOS 4.3 or later.  For more reviews of this product, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!


*Disclaimer - This app from Mobile Education Tools was provided free for me to review in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog post both by the company and the Schoolhouse Review Crew


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