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2015 Blue Ribbon Award Favorites Announced!! #TOSReviewCrew

This has been an interesting year and throughout I have discovered lots of neat products and curricula! On source that has been an exceptional blessing is the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Today, on the Crew blog, we’re announcing the results of our votes for the Favorites for 2015. But first, let me tell you a few things that I have truly enjoyed… (You should be able to click any images to head back to read a posted review in my archives).   This year was filled with publishers I had been hoping for and new ones that I’m delighted to meet. There were a few duds for us, but not these mentioned above. We have found some great staples for our schooling! .

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The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (Blue) {Review}

When I was in college and planning week came along, friends would come to me and I would help them organize their schedules and classes and I loved it. I’ve always loved planning. Since we’ve started homeschooling I have tried several different planning options from printing my own, to electronic planner apps, and now The Ultimate Homeschool Planner designed by Debra Bell has inched its way into my fingers. Apologia Educational Ministries ~ (http://www.Apologia.com/) has an incredible line of products that I have discovered in the last year and most recently I have been delighted to spend hours within the pages of The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (blue cover edition). I had a glitch with the mail and only just received my copy this week, but since I’ve gotten it I have been nearly inseparable from it. There are three cover editions available and I was blessed with a copy of The Ultimate Homeschool Planner –. . .

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Brookdale House Writing Through Medieval History Level 1 Cursive {Review}

Brookdale House ~(http://www.BrookdaleHouse.com) is a company that I have consistently seen participate in Charlotte Mason promotions and this is how I discovered them. In the past, I came across their Writing Through Ancient History Level 1 Cursive and I have been planning on printing out some pages eventually, but had not really come across the moment to do so. However, when through the TOS Crew an opportunity came up to review their Writing Through Medieval History Level 1 Cursive I found myself too eager not to try! For the purposes of this review, I was given access to a PDF of Writing Through Medieval History Level 1 Cursive and have printed the pages for use with my advanced six-year-old working on a second grade school level. My review is specifically geared toward the Medieval product, however I think my opinions ring true for their entire Level 1 Cursive products including Ancient History as well.. . .

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When Calls the Heart: Heart of the Family DVD {Review}

When Calls the Heart DVD Review

As a family, we do not own cable, satellite, or any of those services. We do own DVDs and use a subscription service or two for streaming videos. Last fall, I stumbled upon When Calls the Heart, the series, or the first season rather on one such service and with my girls we curled up and watched episode after episode day after day. In years past I read the book which the series is based on with the name When the Heart Calls by Janette Oke. I enjoyed the book and the first season, thus when a review opportunity came up from FishFlix.com ~ (http://www.FishFlix.com) to watch a DVD featuring Movie 3 from Season 2, When Calls the Heart, Heart of the Family, I was ecstatic. The problem that I find with subscription services is that the material is always changing, while when you own it on a physical DVD you can watch it anytime and. . .

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Progeny Press Miss Rumphius Study Guide {Review}

Progeny Press Review

Progeny Press ~ (http://www.ProgenyPress.com) is one of the golden names for study guides. I was blessed with the opportunity to get a digital copy of the Miss Rumphius study guide which I had the Enginerd print for us. I have had experience with other guides in the past, but I have been eager this year to discover what the guides from Progeny Press have to offer. The download version appears to be exactly what one would find on a CD. Permissions include the ability to reproduce pages for use in the classroom or home for one teacher. Within the pages of the guides, there is a note to the instructor, synopsis, mini biography of the book’s author and illustrator. Something new to me was a section to study before-you-read the book. This was interesting and truly added a neat element to it as well as a good state of mind for focusing on Bible passages.. . .

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Reading Kingdom Online {Review}

Reading Kingdom App Review

The other week I brought up how there are so many different options for teaching your littles how to read and asked what you are using. Right now we are using a very neat program from Reading Kingdom ~ (http://www.ReadingKingdom.com). This is entirely new to me, but I believe it has toured with the TOS Review Crew in years past. I was very excited to be chosen and my girls, for the most part, are eager to participate.  I want to go ahead and tell you if you join using my referral link I’ll get ONE MONTH added on to my subscription for FREE. This is that link! Reading Kingdom Online specializes in teaching six areas of reading including Phonics (Sounds), Sequencing, Writing, Meaning, Grammar, and Comprehension. For the purposes of this review, we were expected to use the completely online application at least three times a week. I have been blessed with a. . .

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C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller by Janet & Geoff Benge {Review}

C.S. Lewis Master Storyteller YWAM Review

    The last several weeks most nights I have been reading aloud and taking turns with my Second Grader to read C.S Lewis, Master Storyteller from the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series by YWAM Publishing {aff} which we were blessed to receive for review as well as a CD Unit Study Guide Curriculum. The book is also available an audiobook and eBook versions and the study guide is available as a download as well. Ours is a physical paperback and CD. The book is very good quality with a glossy cover and is the size of an average trade paperback book with just over 190 pages. On the YWAM website you can see through ISSUU a sample of the book and some screen prints of a sample study guide. My own childhood was filled with knowledge of the Narnia stories written by “Master Storyteller” C.S. Lewis through BBC dramatizations. . .

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Super Teacher Worksheets #Printables {Review}

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Over the last several years I have spent a lot of time following blogs and saving printables that I have found here and there, but often there are so many things I find that are an individual charge and not necessarily a great worksheet once I get down to it. Therefore, when I heard about a website where you can get a lot of things for free, but pay one fee for access to the whole library of resources I was wary but intrigued. Members of the TOS Review Crew have been blessed to receive one-year access to Super Teacher Worksheets and given an Individual Membership. I’m not usually one to state prices in my reviews, but a year is only $19.95/yr and that is way less compared to any other site when you add up all the possibilities!  This is a website filled with printable resources in these categories: Math Reading &. . .

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Horizons Spelling & Vocabulary 2nd Grade {Review}

Our 2015-2016 year is the first year where we really are adding in the subject Spelling. We have been blessed with the opportunity to review Horizons 2nd Grade Spelling & Vocabulary Set and what a blessing it has turned out to be! Horizons is one of several imprints from Alpha Omega Publications  ~  (http://aophomeschooling.com/TOS) and one I’ve been drooling over since I discovered them at an expo conference a few years ago. I am so delighted to get this curriculum in hand and it has been an incredible few weeks as we have delved deeper and really started a study on Spelling & Vocabulary for my AppleBlossom. Alpha Omega had it’s start in creating curriculum for private Christian schools, but they have gone into (for nearly 30 years now!) the homeschool world and are definitely one of top company names that you will hear as a recommendation when you’re seeking. . .

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2015-2016 Curriculum Choices (Looking Forward)

This is post that I have honestly been scared to write as I dread the judgement. Okay, so seriously I don’t have a large commenting base on my blog, but I know from numbers and interactions along down the line that people are seeing what I write. It’s here, in email, and feeds through social networks and what-not. But even though I’m sure you’ll probably read this and go on with your day, I still fear the judgement and the “crazy woman” thoughts you’re most likely sending my way. Alas. Yesterday I talked about looking back at our year and what we did. For a large part of things, they worked for us. We’re cancelling out the idea of continuing with Seton Home Study School, but we love everything about Memoria Press Classical Core Curricula that you’ll have to pull the lesson manual from my cold hands… okay, yes yes. . .

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2014-2015 Curriculum Thoughts (Looking Back)

This has been a hectic year. This has been an amazing year. I had a baby. I blogged books, quilts, cross stitch, and homeschool stuff. I also taught a combination of Tot School and K5/1st Grade. I found some new things to love, and I discovered some things that just weren’t an appropriate fit. Love! (Backlinks of joy) Memoria Press First Grade (Advice) Memoria Press First Start Reading (Phonics) Memoria Press Kindergarten (Series) Creative Madness Mama Blossom School on a Normal Day Logic of English Foundations Lightning Literature 2014-2015 Wrap Up Blog Hop Landing Page (Visit other bloggers!) Last year, the curriculum that I chose was suppose to take AppleBlossom two years to complete. It was suppose to be K5 that merged into 1st Grade as time went on. However, she finished all of the First Grade materials, or is very nearly so through with them as of now. She. . .

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The Conversation by Leigh A. Bortins {Review}

The Conversation Reviewed

If you’ve been reading Creative Madness Mama this week you might have noticed that I recently read and short reviewed The Core. I decided to go back and read The Core after my experience and delight with The Conversation. We are, for the most part, a Classical Christian Educating family. A couple of years ago when a conference came to Memphis I was able to discover Classical Conversations  ~  (http://www.ClassicalConversations.com) where I was introduced to their methodology for those studying at home. At that time my daughter was just starting Junior Kindergarten so I wasn’t quite ready to absorb all of the information. Yet since we have enjoyed their Classical Acts & Facts History and Science Cards and plan to get more as the appropriate topics arise. In the years since I have read every book I can get my hands on, on the Classical Christian Education methodology. Thus, when. . .

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Funtastic Unit Studies {Review}

In the last few months we have discovered the wonder of unit studies and it has been delightful. Now I have had the opportunity to be introduced to a different author and program in Funtastic Unit Studies  ~  (http://FuntasticUnitStudies.com/). When I first discovered I would be give the opportunity to review the physical book Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers, I was intrigued as to what I would receive. The first thing I did was go and download some free samples and unit studies (see the bottom of this post). For the purposes of this review we were expected to use on unit study from the book which should take about two weeks of work. For us it took about three, but it was a neat experience. Right now my daughter is loving science and has been begging left and right to increase our library, both with some read. . .

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With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions {Review}

Creative Madness Mama button

  If you are ready to immerse your students in a Civil War era to listen to a story based on the novel by G.A. Henty feature two teenage boy characters grab a hold of this audio drama. Heirloom Audio Productions  ~  (http://www.WithLeeinVirginia.com/) is releasing the third dramatization based on a novel by George Alfred Henty, known as The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. This dramatization comes in a two-CD set providing two hours of educational entertainment for ages six and up to capture the imagination. The vendor sent a physical copy of: With Lee in Virginia to members of our Crew. This is a physical CD set. Members also received a bunch of extras like a Study Guide, a soundtrack. The study guide and soundtrack is a digital download. Selections from The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty have previous been chosen for the TOS Review Crew Blue Ribbon Award. . .

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Homeschool Planet (Online Planner) {Review}

The last few years I have found myself a member of the free Homeschool Buyers Co-op  ~  (http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/) and have truly enjoyed the resources they have offered and brilliant deals I have discovered through their organization. For a while I have had my eye on their pet project and thus when an opportunity came up to review their program Homeschool Planet for a full year I found myself ecstatic! This is entirely online and is a complete homeschool/life planner and I will have access for one full year. I have become attached. Frankly if I’m online, I’m logging into Homeschool Planet. We have been able to use this program in numerous ways. My favorite and most typical forum to use Homeschool Planet has been on a Linux Ubuntu based laptop running Firefox. However we have successfully used Homeschool Planet through a 3rd generation iPad in Safarai, iMac desktop running iOS. . .

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SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers {Review}

While it is true that I try to keep the kids off the computer as much as possible, we do use it for educational stuff. These last few weeks I have been able to discover SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers and it has been a neat experience. I do have experience with other online subscription services for videos that we use for education supplements, this product from SmartKidz Media  ~  {http://www.smartkidzhomeschool.com/} is unique. My five-year-old daughter (a month away from turning six!) currently finishing up her First Grade year in school work has been delighted with SmartKidz Media Library. We’ve set up the login with an autosave password so she doesn’t have to worry about being logged in. Then on most days I allow her to browse around. She absolutely loves the Dry Bones Connected song and video in the Mighty eBook Collection in the Flash Animated eBooks. She tells. . .

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