Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Homeschool Crew Review - PGKey SafeKey

Product: PGKey SafeKey
Vendor Contact Information:
PG Key, LLC.
2585 N. 1st Ave
Tuscon, AZ 85719
Phone: 1-800-301-8689
Age Appeal: all ages, focusing on those whose parents feel need safeguarding
Format: USB Adaptor for Windows XP/Vista/7 only, MAC coming soon
Price: $49.99 plus shipping, one time only

Created for parents by parents, the PGKey SafeKey seeks to protect children in a potentially hostile internet environment.

The SafeKey is easy to install when following the instructions on the computer screen when you first plug it in. You will set up a password and then select the parameters you need for your situation. As soon as that has been done, the SafeKey will be ready for use.

SafeKey features:
  • Time lock- how long the internet will be accessible for your specific child
  • Safe search- PGKey Safe Search is a homepage and toolbar, for search safety
  • SafeKey Alerts- e-mails or text messages you when your set parametersare not followed
  • SafeKey Encryptor- relies on AES encryption standard and any attempt to get past it will be recorded
  • SafeKey Session Recorder- records up to 60 hours of computer activity, whether on the internet or not.

I Liked:
  • the ability to block or allow certain websites.
  • the ease of installation.
  • how helpful customer service was when I forgot my password.

I Disliked:
  • that there were very few instructions on how PGKey worked.
  • the inconsistency of the program not blocking all my chosen restricted websites.
Other Products Available: 5' USB Dock Cable

I would recommend this product to those parents who wish to safeguard or monitor their children's internet use.

For more reviews on the PGKey SafeKey go to The Homeschool Crew review page.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Primary Student Planner

Product: Primary Student Schoolhouse Planner, includes parent pack
Vendor Contact Information:
The Old Schoolhouse Store
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC
P.O. Box 8426
Gray, TN 37615
Phone: 1-888-718-HOME
Age Appeal: K-3
Format: E-Book
Price: $9.95

I had seen an advertisement in an e-mail for the new The Old Schoolhouse Student Planners. I decided to download a free sample of the Primary Student Planner to see if it could benefit my children. It was filled with a sample calendar, parables, chore charts and more. The pages could also be directly typed on, which would make it very easy for multiple children. I decided to print out the chore chart and begin implementing it. It was wonderful.

I was very interested in purchasing the entire Student Planner for my children, but was unable to at the time. A few weeks later I was able to have a copy for free to review. The children (girl, age four almost five and boy, six almost seven) and I were very excited to build their own planners from the plethora of information that was available.

They were excited to choose the type of calendar they preferred. I picked out the nature journal, book reports, chore charts, family tree, field trip log, family rules and important phone numbers.

After we chose what we wanted to include in the planners for now, I printed them out and they each decided the order for their sections and we put them into ring binders.

We are now using them on a daily basis and we can't wait to add more information as needed.

What I Liked:
There was a lot of different sections that could be added.
It could all be typed on the computer and left there or it could be printed out.
It was fun for the whole family.

What I Disliked:
It took some time to print out each section for the kids.
I have young kids, so I will have to fill out the information for them.
There was only a multiplication table, addition and subtraction tables would have been nice for younger grade levels.

Other Products Available: Student Planners for middle and high school and one for parents. There are also many other The Old Schoolhouse product available.

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

Monday, October 11, 2010

Talking Fingers, Inc.- Read, Write & Type

Product: Online version of Read, Write & Type
Vendor Contact Information:
Talking Fingers, Inc.
830 Rincon Way
San Rafael, California 94903
Phone: 1-800-674-9126
Age Appeal: Ages 6-8
Format: online program
Price: Home online program is a five year subscription 1 user for $35, 2 users for $55, 3 users for $70, 4 users for $85, 5 users for $100


Reading, writing and typing all in one program? Yes. You can get all of this with Talking Finger's online version of Read, Write & Type.

After you have chosen which home online program to use and made your purchase you will want to register your account. After that step your kids will be even closer to learning reading, writing and typing. You will set up their accounts with usernames and passwords. Now your kids can begin learning.

Your kids will participate:

  • Home screen- meet the letters
  • Theater, video store and fair booth- phonics skills
  • Park- blend sounds together
  • Story tree- build words and write simple stories

Optional Activities:

  • Power fountain- build speed and accuracy
  • Hall of fame- Earn certificates for achievements
  • E-mail tower- send “e-mails”
  • Spaceship challenge

As a reward each student will be able to read a story when they have finished a level. Those stories are found here.

On the website under downloads you will find your online manual, activity book (with more ideas for reading) and a practice keyboard.

What I Liked:

  • B and C can do this program themselves.
  • B and C are asking me every day if they can play the games.
  • The instructions are clear.
  • B and C can strengthen their weak areas by repeating the activities.

What I Disliked:

  • Vexor could be scary to younger kids.
  • The program says both the letter sound and what the letter says.
  • C is with the pointer finger, which seems very difficult to me.

What B (boy, age six almost seven) Liked and Disliked: I liked everything, but I agree with Momma. Vexor could be scary to young kids. Vexor could be scary, because he sucked up the letters. I liked that the Leftway and Rightway could talk. It was hard trying to get the storytellers across the playground. I recommend this to other kids my age, because it is a great way to learn how to type.

What C (girl, age four almost five) Liked and Disliked: I love everything. It was hard because Vexor made it tricky. He made it tricky by changing the rules. It was easy typing one letter at a time. In Vexor's ship it was easy to push S if the word began with S or spacebar if it did not. There was nothing I disliked. I recommend this for kids my age who would like to learn how to properly type.

I would recommend this product. For more reviews for Read, Write and Type go to The Homeschool Crew review.

Other Products Available: CD versions of Read, Write & Type (not for Windows 7 or Mac 10.6), Word Qwerty – online and CD versions

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

Friday, October 8, 2010

Digital Frog International- Digital Field Trip Series

Digital Frog Intl Logo
Product: The Digital Field Trip Series
Vendor Information: Digital Frog International, 1-800-621-3764 (FROG),
Age Appeal: K-12th grades, there is a lot of reading for teachers of younger grades, so use the link below to try the demos.
Format: DVD, contains e-books (workbooks and teacher guides)
Price: $125 for Home License

Want to get away, but you can't leave home? Then come take a trip with Digital Frog Field Trip series to the desert, rainforest or wetlands.

Each field trip group has the same basic sections:
  • the field trip using QuickTime Virtual Reality.
  • study of the area.
  • different types of rainforests, deserts or wetlands.
  • mechanisms of the rainforest, desert or wetland.
  • human impact or endangered areas.

The easiest way to start is to begin in the field trip. In the field trip you will go to multiple posts where you will explore the area learning more about the plants and animals. In the field notes, you can locate the organisms to study. There are pictures, text and sometimes videos to help you learn more. For the more difficult words to pronounce you there may be a “Say-it” icon to help you learn how to pronounce it.

You can go back at any point in time during your field trip experience. There is also a handy menu and map of the digital field trip.

You will not want to forget to go through your “my computer” icon and explore the workbooks, graphic resources, and CD text.

To be able to try a demo, you can join the free Digital Frogger Club, here. When you try the demo you will have a good idea of what the field trips are like.

Digifrog WetlandsDigifrog RainforestDigifrog Desert

What I Liked:

  • So much complete information.
  • Workbooks for each field trip.
  • Complete text for each field trip available.
  • Extra graphics (silhouettes and line drawings) to be used for flash cards, to color or pad for games (I would like to use them for a flannel board).
  • Excitement from B (age six) and C (age 4) each time program is used.
  • Blue checks appear on the field trip map when the activity is complete.

What I Disliked:
  • Wish e-books and extra material would automatically download, not just the field trips.
  • The teacher's guide for the Desert Field Trip was not complete, so it had to be downloaded from the Internet.
  • When enlarging the screen it would be nice if the text would then fill the screen, because it would be easier to read.

What B (boy, age six almost seven) Liked and Disliked: I liked everything about it really. My favorite field trip was the wetlands. I liked seeing the beaver and the caddis fly! And the beaver run. The beavers use the beaver run to to help carry the trees to the lodge. And we have beavers at the ranch. We've seen beaver dams at the ranch before. A tree has fallen on a path, so we can't go that way. A beaver might use the tree for it's dam. I liked seeing the dragon fly in the wetlands at post nine. I liked learning about every animal and tree.

Do you want to learn more about the rainforest? Yes! When the vines grow from one tree to another and one tree falls, the other will fall too. When they fall, they will form a tree fall gap.

I think Momma liked it too. I know I did. Thank you to Digital Frog International for making the field trips.

What C (girl, age four almost five) Liked and Disliked: I loved everything about it. I really liked putting my own photos into the wetlands workbook. And I liked taking pictures of a frog at the wetlands we visited. I liked learning about the plants and animals at each post, like the dragonfly. I liked seeing the duck. I didn't dislike anything.

Windows System Requirements: Need a Pentium II with DVD drive using Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7. Pentium III is recommended. 32 MB required (64 recommended) and QuickTime 7 or later.

Mac System Requirements: G3 300 with DVD drive needed and Mac 10.3.9 or later. Needs QuickTime 7 or later.

More Digital Frog International Products: Digital Frog 2.5, Science Matrix: Cell Structure and Functions, each individual field trip on CD

I would recommend this product.

There are more reviews of this product. Please go here to read more.

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