Friday, September 24, 2010

Homeschool Crew - Schleich


For the past 75 years Schleich has been designing and producing quality figurines. Based in Germany, Schleich began business by designing figurines of comic figures, such as smurfs, snoopy and the muppet show. In the 1980's the line was expanded with animals and again in 2003 with the knights, Wild West, and Elves playworlds.

The inspiration for the toy is often taken from nature and designed with the imaginative play of a child in mind. Each Schleich toy is designed by a master craftsman, made from a variety of plastics and a special softener, then painted by hand.

okapignu calfgnu

The kids were very excited to learn we would be reviewing Schleich. They would ask almost every day when we would receive them. The package arrived finally (for them). We received the Prezwalskis horse, SwabianHall piglet, donkey, Dartmoor Pony, Asian elephant calf, okapi, gnu and gnu calf. The kids immediately took them out of the packages and got the horse trailer, livestock trailer and grain truck, so they would be able to feed the animals.

We also spent time looking up each animal on the internet to learn more about the animal. One thing we learned was that the okapi is bigger than a gnu.

What I Liked:
  • site easy to navigate
  • sturdy life-like toys
  • catalog is free and provides endless hours of entertainment when on trips
  • can be played with for years to come
  • lets a child's imagination run wild

What I Disliked:
  • store locator on site not working

What B Liked and Disliked (age 6 almost 7): I liked that you could play with them. And we learned about the wildebeest and how it was called a gnu. I thought it was neat because I have a Schleich jeep and horse trailer that I could haul the animals around in. And I have a cattle semi that I used to haul the pig. It was funny when Momma and I learned that the wildebeest and gnu have the same name. Ha ha ha. There was nothing I disliked. The end.

What C Liked and Disliked (age 4 almost 5): I liked them. There was nothing I disliked.

We would recommend to both boys and girls.

Age Appeal: best for ages 3 and older

Price: $2.00 and up

Vendor Contact Information:
3258 Hawthorne Road
Ottawa, Canada K1G 3W9

More Schleich Products: farm life, wildlife, world of knights, world of American Indians, world of fantasy (smurfs and Bayala)

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes. All links were current when posted.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Homeschool Crew - Salem Ridge Press


Do you have a difficult time finding good quality books for you and your children? Then look no further than Salem Ridge Press and it's founder, Daniel Mills.

Salem Ridge takes a great deal of time locating and choosing books from the 1800's and early 1900's to republish. The books are chosen based on morality and ability to teach character according to the Bible. The company decides if any editing needs to be done such as leaving out a kiss or derogatory comment, or adding definitions of words or historical timelines.

Twenty-seven books are now being republished and we received three of them to read.

Mary Jane - Her Visit

Mary Jane – Her Visit
by Clara Ingram Judson was the first book we read. In this book five-year-old Mary Jane visits her grandparents in the country and has fun hunting eggs, playing with baby mice and rabbits, going on picnics and having her cousin and sister visit. Please go here to read the first chapter as a pdf.

Soldier Fritz

Next was Soldier Fritz and the Enemies He Fought by Emma Leslie. It is the autumn of 1525 in Germany where a young boy, Fritz, choose a Bible as a birthday present from a peddler's pack. The peddler, Carl, shares with him what the Bible is about and how Fritz could be a soldier for the Lord like Dr. Luther. Father Anselm of the Church does not approve and Carl has to help Fritz, his mother, sister and two servants escape the Castle of Thorn where they will live with the charcoal-burners until Fritz's father, Count Eric is able to return and rescue them. Please go here to read the first chapter as a pdf.

The American Twins of the Revolution

We finished by reading The American Twins of the Revolution by Lucy Fitch Perkins. Roger and Sally Priestly's father is a general in General Washington's army. General Priestly secretly comes to the house one night to ask Mrs. Priestly and the children to keep money for the payroll safe. General Howe of the British then comes to the house and threatens the family. The family and Uncle Jude and Aunt Hitty (slaves) is able to escape with the money and food supplies. They are chased by General Howe's soldiers until the Colonial soldiers help them and they are taken to General Washington's camp and their father. Please go here to read the first chapter as a pdf.

What I Liked: Learning about Salem Ridge Press and their republished books was an enjoyable experience for my family and me. It can be difficult today to find quality books, without spending a great deal of time researching the books. I knew I did not have to pre-read these books, because they were coming from a company whose mission is to republish quality work.

The addition that I liked the best was that of the definitions. There were words that I would not have explained to the kids, if the definitions had not been there.

The children and I both looked forward each day that we were able to read these books.

What I Disliked: Two of the books we received were e-books and I discovered that I do not like read books as e-books, if I were purchasing the titles it would be as a physical books. It tied us to the computer and it was hard on my eyes.

What B (age six almost seven) Liked and Disliked: I liked that Mary Jane's doctor came when she was hit by a roadster. And I disliked that that crazy driver hit Mary Jane. I really disliked that. I disliked that Mary Jane was standing in the middle of the road in the dark. I was not sure if the headlights were on or not. I liked Soldier Fritz, because he fought his pride and his passion. I disliked that Soldier Fritz knocked Elsie down the narrow stone stairs. I liked that the twins' father came home by surprise. Sally and Roger were told by their father to not tell any living soul, oh and I am sorry for not saying I liked this part, that he had been there. And I liked every bit of it. The end. Yes, these books would be good for kids my age.

What C (age four almost five) Liked and Disliked: I didn't like Soldier Fritz, he hit his sister. I liked Mary Jane, because they were nice. I think kids my age would not like Soldier Fritz, but would like Mary Jane.

Age Appeal, Number of Pages, Republished and Price of the Books We Received:
Mary Jane – Her Visit- ages 6-10, 190 pages, republished 2008, softcover $12.95, hardcover $22.95, e-book $9.95
Soldier Fritz and the Enemies He Fought- ages 8-adult, 137 pages, republished 2006, softcover $10.95, hardcover $20.95, e-book $7.95
The American Twins of the Revolution- ages 8- adult, 204 pages, republished 2007, softcover $12.95, hardcover $22.95, e-book $9.95

Vendor Contact Information:
Salem Ridge Press LLC
4263 Salem Drive
Emmaus, PA 18049

More Salem Ridge Press Products: Books by Caroline Austin, William W. Canfield, Alice Corkran, Clara Ingram Judson, Emma Leslie, George Manville Fenn, Lucy Fitch Perkins

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes. All links were current when posted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


“It was really fun watching the movie with the alphabet and zoo animals, where you click the letter and a little girl tells us about that zoo animal that starts with that letter,” says B.

If this sounds like something your children would like to do, then Time4Learning is the interactive Internet program you will want to use. Time4Learning can be used for homeschool, afterschool, or summer use.

The pre-k level has two separate levels. Each level has different sections such as alphabet, colors, shapes, rhymes, number, weather, on the farm, space, time and many more. In each section your youngster will participate in activities such as matching, finding, storybooks and paint it.

The kindergarten level contains math and reading. There are 18 chapters in the reading level. Each chapter contains the sight and sound of two letters, reading comprehension, phonological and phonemic awareness. There is a different anchor story for each chapter.

There are six fun filled chapters to explore in math level. Each chapter contains different activities to learn more about recognizing numbers, money, basic addition, subtraction, graphing and probability.

What I liked: Time4Learning was a fun program for B and C. They both enjoy playing on the computer and this program allowed them to explore and learn different subjects. I would recommend this to families who enjoy playing and learning on the computer.

What I disliked: There was nothing about the program that I disliked. The only problem was that the computer we had access to was too old to use, so we had to go to the library. Each of the kids were involuntarily logged off a couple of times when they were in the middle of something, but that only happened once.

What B (age 6) liked and disliked: “I liked everything. My favorite was the zoo. I even told them how much I liked it. There was nothing I disliked.”

What C (age 4) liked and disliked: “I liked everything in school. My favorite was helping Jo-Jo the mouse. I did the second level for my age group. There was nothing I disliked.”

Age Appeal: ages 4-6.

Vendor Information: Time4Learning, 2010, Internet, $19.95/month for first child and $14.95/month for each additional child

Vendor Contact Information: or (954)771-0914

More Time4Learning Products: This product has different levels for grades pre-k to eighth grade.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes.