Monday, January 31, 2011

City Creek Press- Times Alive!

Product: City Creek Press- Times Alive! CD Rom
Vendor Contact Information:
City Creek Press, Inc.
PO Box 8415
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone- 1-800-585-6059
Age Appeal: elementary school, uses songs and cartoons which may not appeal to middle school students
Format: Instant download for Windows 98 SE and newer (link here for Windows requirements) also for Mac OS 8.6 or higher or OS X (link here for Mac requirements)
Price: $44.95

Times Alive! A fun way for your kids to learn their multiplication facts, 0's-9's.

The kids will have fun
  • watching the movie!
  • hearing the song!
  • playing the game!
  • acing the test!

Please go here to see the 6x6 video!

Our Experience:
B was very excited when I downloaded Times Alive! He started right away with the pre-test and he was o.k. that he wasn't able to answer the questions very well as he knew he would be able to do it at the Nuts and Bolts Test (post-test). The first day we listened to the first two lessons, “Zero is the King” and “The Lonely Ones.” Each school day since then B has worked on learning his multiplication facts and having fun at it. We go over the lessons and the tests and post test show exactly which lessons we need to review so he knows his multiplication perfectly. C has had fun watching and learning as well. She has had some difficulties as she confuses multiplication with addition, but that is only temporary for her as she will soon learn the difference between addition and multiplication.

What I Liked:
  • The excitement of the kids!
  • The easiest lessons were first, so B felt confident, as was evident when he reached the x9's (lesson 15), which was harder for him.
  • The catchy songs, which helped B remember the facts weeks later.
  • The tests can be printed out and used later.

What I Disliked:
  • The lesson on 3x4 with the cheer leading was not as catchy as some of the other songs.

What B (boy, recently turned seven, officially first grade) Liked and Disliked:
I loved Times Alive! My favorite lesson included “Black Lagoon” (3x8=24). The movies didn't really tell what the answer was, but the songs did. I could remember the multiplication facts based on the songs, not the movies. I could remember 7x6 from the movie and song.

I liked it because you learn multiplication and I have really been wanting to. For example, 11x3=33. I just really like multiplication.

I think it is great for kids my age.

What C (girl, recently turned five, working on kindergarten) Liked and Disliked:
I liked everything. And the best part was the three blind mice (3x3). I liked the warning, “This program is only for kids who want to have fun!” Maybe kids my age would like it, just maybe.

Other Products Available: Addition the fun Way! and Story Problems the Fun Way! in book form(the story), CD (songs) and flash cards. There are also Subtraction Cards.

I would definitely recommend the Times Alive! Multiplication CD ROM.
For more reviews on Times Alive! 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, January 30, 2011

Thanks for my family

Hi everyone! I don't know what kind of weather you are having today, but we are having a typical cloudy winter day. I am grateful for God, my husband and the laughter of my children as they play with their cars and trucks. I am sure that without my children and my husband, my daily adventures would not be so exciting. And these cloudy days would get me down. Thank you God for my wonderful family.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blizzard Bloghop!

Hi! I am participating in Household 6 Diva’s Blizzard Bloghop.

My name is Writer Rani and I have this blog, Indoor Garden Musings, and I also have Christ’s Bridge.

I have been married to my husband for 11 years and we have a son who has recently turned seven and a daughter who recently turned five. We decided to homeschool our children and we have been having fun for the past two years!

Here on Indoor Garden Musings my children and I have been reviewing products for The Old Schoolhouse and we are beginning to post again about our life as a homeschool family.

On Christ’s Bridge I have been reviewing books and I want to focus on people in their teens and twenties.

I would love to learn more about you. Check out some recipes that I have archived and if you follow me there will be more to come!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids

Product: Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids
Vendor Contact Information:
LifeWay Christian Stores
Phone- 1-800-448-8032
address- LifeWay Stores
One LifeWay Plaza
MSN 146
Nashville, TN 37234
Age Appeal: ages five to ten
Format: copyright 2010, Hardcover, ISBN-13: 978-08054-9531-7 or ISBN-10: 0805495312
Price: $14.99
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids has more than 750 words with pronunciations, alternative words from the King James version. There are more than 500 color photos, illustrations, city reconstructions, and maps. Some of the special features are charts listing the: 12 apostles, names of Jesus, foods of the Bible, and animals of the Bible.

For a sample please go here.

Our Experience:
We were really excited to receive this book. As soon as I opened the package B took it, sat on the couch and started looking at the pictures and maps. I decided that we would spend time with one letter a day and study the words and the corresponding Bible verses. We greatly enjoyed it and I know we have learned more about the Bible with the help of this book.

What I Liked:
  • All of the illustrations, photos, and maps.
  • Bible verses that correspond with certain words.
  • The special features, such as Jewish Feasts and Festivals.

What I Disliked:
  • There was no index of the maps. It would be easier to find the maps if there was an index.
What B (boy, recently seven, officially first grade) Liked and Disliked: It is called the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids. I love it. Why? Because you learn about God! I also enjoyed it because you get to learn about Son of David. Son of David is another name for Jesus. The book has lots of photos and maps. You can learn about the Exodus, the Flood, Aaron, Advent, Ziggurat, Armor of God, Zacchaeus, Salem and Mars Hill. I liked it all. I think it will help kids my age understand the Bible better.

What C (girl, recently five working on Kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids is good for kids my age, because they would like looking at the pictures. My favorite part was sitting there looking at the pictures and having my mom read the definitions. I really enjoyed this book.

Other Products Available: Many different books, software and DVDs.

I would recommend the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids. For more reviews 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.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Speekee TV

Speekee logo
Product: Speekee TV
Vendor Contact Information:
Lingua4 Ltd
Swift Cross Farm
Sowerby Bridge
United Kingdom
phone- 01422820263 (United Kingdom)
Age Appeal: 2-10 years-of-age
Format: 10 online episodes along with PDF formatted sheets
Price: £4.95/month or $7.50/month

Speekee TV is an online program with corresponding printable worksheets.

Speekee TV has:
10 episodes that are between 16-18 minutes each.
subtitles in Spanish and English.
multiple worksheets for each episode.
children, animation and puppets.
repetition between each episode.
songs repeating important Spanish vocabulary.

Our Experience:
Speekee has been a fun easy way for us to learn or in my case, relearn Spanish. I spent time previewing the episodes and then we watched the episodes in order. I then let the kids chose which episode they want to watch. They have enjoyed singing the songs and answering Speekee's questions. The worksheets have been very helpful in order to reinforce what they have been learning and to learn how to spell the words. It has been a little difficult, because the spaces for the letters are very small, but I have been helping. And seven and five are always a great age to begin to learn a foreign language.

What I Liked:

  • I liked how the worksheets built upon the lessons and can always be done again and again.

  • It was fun seeing how C would come to me every day saying, “Can we watch Speekee?”

  • The repetition between the lessons reinforced the words.

What I Disliked:

  • It would have helped my family if the subtitles were in either English or Spanish, not both at the same time. B would read the English words and I needed the Spanish words to help them correct their pronunciations.

What B (boy, age seven, officially first grade) Liked and Disliked: I loved Speekee! Me favorito es el parque, porque me gusta el parque. I learned numbers, colors, body parts and more in Spanish. I liked the worksheets, because I learn how to spell words in Spanish. I think Speekee is great for kids my age.

What C (girl, age five, working on Kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: I liked learning Spanish, because it was so fun to watch el parque. It was fun watching the birthday video. The adios mi amigo adios song was fun to listen to because, it was entertaining. I am learning Spanish words like, toma, gracias, el parque and el cafe. I liked the worksheets. I liked writing really really small in the spaces. I am learning a lot.


Other Products Available: DVD set for £95, but is encoded with the PAL format, many of the US/Canadian systems use NTSC format, so check equipment before purchasing

I would recommend Speekee for a fun way for your family to learn Spanish. For more reviews on Speekee 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.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Maestro Classics- Peter and the Wolf

Product: Maestro Classics- Peter and the Wolf
Vendor Contact Information:
Maestro Classics
div. of Simon & Simon, LLC
1099 22nd St., NW
Suites 602/603
Washington, DC 20037-1824
Phone- 1-888-540-2811
Age Appeal: all ages
Format: CD
Price: $16.98From the website “Maestro Classics is the ambassador of great music for both children and adults, helping them experience the art form in new and exciting ways. Through wondrous new recordings, innovative educational and performances, Maestro Classics guides the audiences as they expand their listening horizons...”

The Peter and the Wolf CD includes: an introduction by Yadu (narrator), the story of Peter and the Wolf with and without narration, background the composer Prokofiev, A Russian Peter (short song), details about the music, invitation to grandfather's party and Kalinka, a Russian folk song. There is also a small booklet with information on the conductor and the group who played, A Russian Peter and Kalinka. Children will also have fun with connect the dots, match the instruments and several other booklet activities. For a free sample of the music please go here.

Our Experience:
We were going on a short day trip, so I knew this was the perfect time to listen to the CD. B, C, my husband and I enjoyed listening to all of the music and information about Sergei Prokofiev and the song itself. We also enjoyed the addition of the Russian folk music. When we had some time at home the kids and I had a fun time learning about the different Russian instruments, crossword puzzle and other activities.

What I Liked:

  • The 24-page educational book activities provided reinforcement for which instrument represented each character.

  • The Russian folk music played by Trio Voronezh led me to learn more about the group.

  • I enjoyed learning more about the composers, so I was grateful for the informational section on Prokofiev.

What I Disliked:

  • Nothing!

What B (boy, age seven, officially first grade) Liked and Disliked: I liked Peter and the Wolf, because it had music and words. I didn't like it that the wolf ate the duck. On the CD I was able to listen to a short biography of Prokofiev. I like learning about composers. I would recommend it a lot for kids my age, because it has music and words!

What C (girl, age five, working on Kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: Peter and the Wolf was scary, because of the wolf. The crossword puzzle was fun. I enjoyed learning more about the composer and instruments. I recommend this for kids my age.

Other Products Available: Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, Casey at the Bat, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Tortoise & the Hare, The Story of Swan Lake

I would recommend Maestro Classics' Peter and the Wolf. For more reviews on Peter and the Wolf by Maestro Classics 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.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Product: See-N-Read
Vendor Contact Information:
CadenaSmith Enterprises
2533 Sutton Lane
Aurora, IL 6502
Phone: 630-236-5592
Fax: 630-236-5593
Age Appeal: People who have difficulty tracking as they are reading
Format: Plastic 5.5x3" or 8x3" Reading Tool and e-edition
Price: See-N-Read Reading Tool- book size $2.99, See-N-Read Reading Tool- document size $3.49, eSee-N-Read Electronic Reading and Instruction Tool for PCs, $29.99, See-N-Read MemoryMark- book size $2.99

Do you have readers that have difficulty seeing, focusing and remembering what they have read? Then See-N-Read Reading Tools might be what you are looking for.

Who uses See-N-Read?
  • Readers who skip words or lines
  • Readers who have trouble focusing their eyes
  • Teachers who need to show specific areas of text without hiding everything

Why use See-N-Read?
  • It will be easier for readers to keep focused on one line and not other lines on the page
  • Keeps out distractions like pictures and other words

Is See-N-Read Flexible and Easy to use?
  • Yes. Set the See-N-Read on the page you wish to read and move down as you read the page. The reading window will work with font sizes up to 20

Our Experience: I was very excited when we received the See-N-Read Reading Tools. B sometimes misses words when he reads, so I was interested in learning if these tools would help him. We have used both one on the computer and a physical one. It was difficult to work with moving both the internet page and the eSee-N-Read on the computer. When B uses the See-N-Read, I have noticed an improvement in reading all the words on the line. I tried using it to read, but I found it fuzzy and distracting. It was fun using the MemoryMark, because I could highlight exactly what I needed and not other lines. I could also use it to read with as it did not have the clear plastic.

What I Liked:
  • The See-N-Read MemoryMark made it easier to highlight specific lines.

What I Disliked:
  • It was difficult to coordinate the eSee-N-Read with the page we were trying to read.
  • The See-N-Read Reading Tool made the page more difficult to read.

What B (boy, just turned seven, some first and some second grade) Liked and Disliked: I wish it was darker, because I kept on reading without moving the See-N-Read. I liked that it helped you see the words. I loved that. I like using bookmarks instead of See-N-Read, because they aren't see-through. This is kind of good for kids my age, because the See-N-Read was see-through.

What C (girl, just turned five, working on kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: C did not use this product as she is not reading yet.

Other Products Available: There are multiple packs and combination packs available.

I would recommend See-N-Read Reading Tools for people who need help staying focused as they read or need to highlight specific areas of text. For more reviews on See-N-Read 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.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Math Facts Now!

Product: Math Facts Now! Version 2.0
Vendor Contact Information:
Math Facts Now!
2882 Shenandoah Shores Road
Front Royal, VA 22630
phone- 1-540-622-4160
Age Appeal: K-6
Format: download (what I reviewed) or CD
Price: $15.95, $3.95 S/H

Math Facts Now! is a computer program that your children can use to memorize their math facts.
  • You can design the lesson using addition, subtraction, multiplication or division and numbers up to twelve.
  • You select how many problems your child will answer for lesson and then save that specific lesson.
  • You decide how many times your child needs to type the problem that was missed.
  • You can have a reward chosen for each lesson completed with no mistakes.
  • You can print the results of the lesson, for your child to practice later.
Please click here for a free trial.

System requirements: runs on Windows 2000, ME, XP, Vista and Windows 7. Needs 4.5 Mb of free hard drive space. Is not available for Macs at this time.

My Thoughts:
I remember from my own time in school that it is very important to memorize the math facts. I also had a lot of fun doing the timed math tests. Math Facts Now! is perfect for me to help teach my children to love math just as I did, but without the use of paper. It is a great way to save paper and ink!

B has a good grasp of basic addition and subtraction, so this was a fun program for him to see how quickly and accurately he could do the problems. C has not had enough practice with math to use this program as the 60 second time limit per problem was not long enough for her to finish the problem.

Math Facts Now! has been a wonderful tool for us to use and will be in the years to come in strengthening their knowledge of math facts to twelve.

What I Liked:
  • A perfect timed test, we didn't have to use paper!
  • Showed results and what problems were missed, so B could practice them.
  • It was challenging, but not enough to be frustrating.
  • I could choose a reward for a test done correctly.

What I Disliked:
  • Nothing!


What B (boy, age seven, first grade) Liked and Disliked: I did addition, subtraction and a little multiplication (x's 1). It was fun because we got to try to beat the timer. It was o.k. if you didn't beat the time, because you memorized the problem by typing it out. The problems were up to twelve, for example 12+12. I think it is good for kids my age.

What C (girl, age five working on Kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: Math Facts Now was a little difficult and I need to learn how to add and subtract easily before I try again. This might be easy for kids my age if they know adding and subtracting.

Other Products Available: None at this time.

I would recommend Math Facts Now! For more reviews on Math Facts Now! 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.