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Go Trybe! (review)

Fitness is more fun with more people! That’s the premise behind Go Trybe, which is an online activity, fitness, and nutrition center for kids of all ages. Kids join a trybe with others their age, build an avatar, talk about fitness and nutrition issues on the safe forums, and gain motivation through a points system. Little tykes can be part of the ZooDoo Trybe, middlers join up with Trybe 180, and older teens stay cool with the Nextrybe.

Modern kids love screen time, so why not make it Active Screen Time with a purpose?
Whole families can exercise and track their nutrition together. There are even instructional videos for all sorts of fitness levels and exercises. My Pyramid (the government’s nutritional guidelines) is available at the click of a mouse. This flexible fitness program requires no parental preparation! You can choose how much or how little your kids are involved in the program.

My sedentary teenage daughter thought it was cool and set up an avatar, but I could not get her really into exercising with the videos. She wasn’t at all interested in the nutrition aspect, but I suspect she just didn’t want to change her bad habits (hm, kind of like her mom!).

Check out all of the benefits and features and sign up for a free trial day on the Go Trybe website. It costs $19.95 for a year’s access, although this information was not readily found on their website.

For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783980/



Disclosure: 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.”
Bethany

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Nutrition 101: Choose Life! (review)

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is an extensive (448 pages) “three-in-one family nutrition and health program for all ages that presents the major body systems, how they function, their common health issues, the benefits of good food and the consequences of bad food.” Growing Healthy Homes has invested years of research and testing to provide the information included in the 6 units:  


1. The Brain and Nervous System
2. Digestion and Elimination
3. Respiration and Olfactory
4. Muscular and Skeletal Systems
5. Cardiovascular and Immune Systems
6. Endocrine System and Emotions.


It’s available as a book, a CD-ROM, or as a book/CD-ROM combo. As part of the TOS Crew, I received it as a download from the Internet. I put it on my Kindle so that I could read it more easily, but also saved a copy to my hard drive so that I could print out copies of the forms and activity pages. 

Nutrition 101 is a good introduction to how the body works and how the body process the food we eat. It highlights the importance of various vitamins and minerals for different bodily functions. We’re trying to become more health conscious at my house, so we found this information helpful. It’s for all ages, with modifications. You can have your older children (upper grade school and up) read the chapters on their own, but you’d probably want to oversee the which activities they choose. The chapters are short, easy to understand, and would make an excellent general health curriculum for the family. It would be quite easy to incorporate the whole family into learning with this information. It gives recipes to try, exercises, and more.

I would definitely recommend it, although I personally think it is a bit pricey. The only thing I would change would be to add hyperlinks into the e-book/CD format. I’d like to be able to click through to different chapters and links directly from my Kindle. Overall, it’s a wealth of information and resources.

Review more vendor information on their Growing Healthy Homes website.
Receive a 15% discount coupon from Growing Healthy Homes using the code TOScrew11. The CD-ROM is $79.95, the book is $99.95, and the CD/book combo  is $129.95. 
Other products available from this vendor include a Gentle Babies line and The Raw Food Feast: 7 Days Through the Rainbow. Their website also includes some free downloads.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ 
Disclosure: 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.”

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Who Is God? (review)

Apologia isn’t just about science anymore. Their new line, Apologia Press, includes a number of resources for parents, a geography curriculum, a writing curriculum, and a “What We Believe” section. Who Is God? is one of four new books designed to help children ages 6-14 to become grounded in the basics of their Christian faith.

The over-250-page hard-back, full-color textbook includes Internet links to free, downloadable notebooking assignment sheets and additional resources. The multi-level format makes it easy to use for the whole family, or an older child may use it alone since it is written to the student herself. The 10 lessons can be complete one every two or three weeks to last through most of the school year. For those familiar with the Apologia Elementary Science series, this book follows that easy-to-use format.

Who Is God? is a non-denominational look at how our ideas of God and the Bible shape our everyday world view. It emphasizes finding out what the Bible says about selected topics, memorizing verses, and applying truths to our everyday lives. It includes engaging stories, thoughtful questions, and fun activities to reinforce the concepts being taught. Lesson titles: 1. Where am I Building My Life? 2. How Can I Know What’s True? 3. & 4. What is God Like? 5. Who Are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? 6. If God Created the World, Why Isn’t It Perfect? 7. Why Did God Create Me? 8. Will God Meet All My Needs? 9. Why Does Sin Keep Me From Knowing God? 10. Is Jesus the Only Way to God?

We love it! My 13-year-old daughter is able to do the lessons completely on her own, although she comes to me with any questions she has. She has a tendency to read tidbits to me (from everything!) that she finds interesting, and I’ve heard quite a bit of this textbook. Our biblical, evangelical world views are being reinforced with this thorough curriculum. My daughter completes the notebooking pages as she reads and enjoys the activities and extra challenges that are in each lesson.
Click here to view a sample lesson, the table of contents, and to order. The $39 is well worth your money.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ 
Disclosure: 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.”

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Life of Christ

The Life of Christ from Positive Action for Christ is based on the book of John for middle and high school age students. This is not just another Bible study. Information on Jesus’ life, times, Bible customs, geography, and chronology are presented to help students “comprehend the reality of Jesus Christ.” The Life of Christ balances His humanity with his divinity.
The 3-ring binder teacher’s manual includes teaching strategies, background information, quizzes, tests, and other supplemental material. The beautiful, full-color, soft-cover, consumable student’s manual contains activities, 35 weekly lessons, photographs, drawings, and Bible study questions designed to foster discussion. Also included in my (sturdy) package were a CD with all of the transparency masters, a scope and sequence guide for all of the school curriculum, and a catalog of Positive Action for Christ’s other products. In addition to the products I received, the teacher’s manual on CD, a deluxe presentation DVD, and 151 transparencies may be purchased (although I do not feel those are necessary for use in a homeschool).
While the product is not aimed specifically towards homeschoolers, they included three pages of suggestions for using the curriculum in a homeschool setting. Not much, if any, teacher preparation is required.
We liked the readability of the student text as well as the gorgeous, full-color photographs. We also loved the “Digging Deeper” activity suggestions. Students can start at their current spiritual level and progress at a rate comfortable for them to more mature levels. The only thing I would change about the teacher’s manual is that in order to read the replicated student pages, one must flip the book from side to side.
Check out Positive Action’s website. The teacher’s manual (in a sturdy 3-ring binder) is $41.95, and the full-color, soft-cover student book is $17.95. Other products available from this vendor include Bible curriculum for grades K–12, church curriculum for a variety of ages, ProTeen Clubs curriculum, and other books.
 
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com
Disclosure: 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.”

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FREE Holiday 2010 Digital Supplement

This FREE 176-page digital magazine is packed with all new content for 2010 and takes you around the world to explore Christmas in other lands. Inside you’ll discover festive ideas, fun crafts, special recipes, and activity pages for your children.
Plus, as a special bonus, we’ve included articles full of homeschooling advice and encouragement from our 2010 Fall Schoolhouse Expo speakers.
Click here to get your totally FREE copy from TOS!

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Book Collectorz

The Book Collector Pro from Collectorz is a computerized database of your personal library. It’s a downloadable program for either PC or MAC. While no other purchase is necessary, Collectorz does feature several different scanners for book barcodes to make entering your book collection easier.

Short videos on the Collectorz Manual website thoroughly explain and visually show each step of the process. You can even link audio and e-book files from your computer automatically. No need to enter tons of information; you can enter books with just the title and author, ISBN number, or scan the ISBN barcode using one of the devices sold on the website. Collectorz automatically finds a cover image and other details on the Internet and adds them to your information. Share your database, keep track of books you loan out, print lists, categorize, customize, and more. The Collectorz Book Edition is a handy tool for homeschoolers or any bibliophile.
One major drawback was that I only received the free, 30-day trial! I would love to keep this program considering that I have thousands of books, so I may be purchasing the full edition for myself. An annoying feature is that when I entered just the title and author, too many options would show up and I had to pull the book out to check the ISBN number anyway. Other than that, it was really easy to enter books. My girls are also bibliophiles and can’t wait to catalog their own books. The cool thing about the Book Collector Pro Edition is that they can each have their own lists.
Check out Collectorz with a free trial or purchase the Book Collector Pro Edition for $49.95, the Standard Edition for $24.95, and the Connect Edition (online or smart phone access only) for $19.95. In addition to cataloguing books, you can also organize movies, mp3 files, comics, games, photos, and music with other Collectorz database programs.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783319/
Disclosure: 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.”

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Professor in a Box: Financial Accounting (review)

Professor in a Box is exactly what it sounds like: a professor teaching my teen a subject with which I am not comfortable: “Financial Accounting.” The 4-CD (for the computer) set comes in an oversized CD case with a paper course syllabus and learning objectives by chapter as well as an itemized list of the contents on each disc. The first CD is for the instructor/parent and contains an introduction, a detailed lesson plan, templates for all of the homework problems, demonstrations, quizzes and exams, solutions, and a grading guide.
This is a high school (1 full year, 1 full credit) level math elective aimed specifically towards homeschoolers. Since I have absolutely no business or math thoughts in my head, I was very excited when the package came in the mail. What’s more, my high schooler was also excited (but probably not as much as I was). She reports that “the video lectures, although easy to understand, are a bit on the long side, so it’s a good thing that there aren’t too many of them.” She was thrilled that this particular math program did not come with a hefty textbook and a million problems to solve per lesson. I’m thrilled that all of the answers are on my CD; I might actually be able to handle this math course. Since it is on CDs, it’s reusable. I would definitely recommend this course for high schoolers not wanting to take trigonometry or calculus.
The topics covered include an introduction, financial statements, recording transactions, merchandising, short-term financial assets, inventories, long-term assets, liabilities, stockholders’ equity, cash flows, and financial statement analysis. All of the course content is included in the flash lecture slides and a brief key concepts and terms file for each of the 12 chapters (28 lessons total). These also include demo problems and step-by-step illustrations of how to work through the various types of accounting problems covered.
You can see a sample chapter on the Professor in a Box website as well as FAQs and a link to purchase “Financial Accounting.” The program costs $134.99 and includes free priority shipping via the USPS. That’s not a bad price considering it’s everything you need for a complete high school course.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783255/
Disclosure: 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.”

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Buckets-O-Fun

 When we received the “It can’t get any Yuckier!” and “Sticky Yuck!” packets from Buckets-O-Fun in the mail, my kids could not wait to try them out. They even agreed to work together on the projects! “Sticky Yuck!” contained one small packet of granules and directions on the card to which it was stapled (only required water and a bowl to make). The “It can’t get any Yuckier!” packet contained 3 small packets of granules—Chunky, Snowy, and Saucy—complete with fun project ideas attached. My package also contained 2 pages of fun games, FAQ, and a science fact/project flier.




So, what is Yuck? You guessed it: slime! My teenage girls were fascinated by it, so I’m guessing it would be a huge hit with grade school boys (or kids of all ages). These hands-on projects can be used for fun, to reinforce a science concept, or to entertain kids at parties, camps, or other events. This is not just a homeschool product; it’s for everyone who doesn’t mind a little mess to have a lot of fun.




“Eeeeewwww!! This is soooo cool!” The tiny packets actually made quite a bit of yuck, except for the Chunky Yuck, which didn’t fluff up a whole lot for some reason. As you can see from our pictures, we added food coloring, which made it a whole lot more fun–especially adding green to the Sticky Yuck. The favorite Yuck product was the Sticky Yuck because it felt like snot, as proclaimed on the pamphlet. Comment overheard: “So, they (the makers) must pick their noses a lot if they know what snot feels like!” Overall, the Yuck products were a huge hit with my girls and their friends.
Check out Buckets-O-Fun’s complete line of products on their website, including the X-Force Eliminator, Finger Rockets, Inflatable Fun, and Yuck accessories. You can also access their Safety Data Sheet. Prices vary on the amount you order (1, 5, or 50 pounds). A free sample is available from their website just for the asking.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/
Disclosure: 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.”

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PG Key (review)

 The Internet is a scary place for kids and teens. Worry no more about where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing! PGKey’s Safe Key is a small USB device that you plug directly into the computer you want to monitor. It features a Time Lock, Safe Search, Alerts (sent directly to your email or cell phone), and an encryptor. Best of all, it records up to 60 hours of computer activity that you can view at your leisure, either on the computer being monitored, or on a different computer (just transfer the PGKey over).

No key = no computer access. It really is that simple! I have to say that my daughter hates it and threw a fit when I installed it on her laptop; however, she has not liked the other monitoring software that we’ve tried either. Oh well. It’s not her call, and I love knowing that I can see where she’s been, who she’s been chatting with (and what she’s been saying!), and what times she’s been online. I would highly recommend PGKey’s Safe Key for every family with kids living at home who use the Internet. It’s definitely not just for homeschoolers.
All I did was plug it into my daughter’s computer and set a password. That’s it! I signed up for online access to block websites and set permissions as well. The only problem I encountered was when I tried to plug the key into my own laptop to review my daughter’s activities. I got an error message (more than once), so I emailed PGKey’s customer support. They got back to me within minutes (on a weekend, no less!), but their suggestion was simply to view the video on her computer instead of on mine, a workable but not preferable option.
Check out all the great features and purchase your own Safe Key here. Each one costs $49.99 plus s/h, but there are no annual fees and no updates required. If you lose the key, it’s only $10 from the Parent Portal. It also includes ongoing access to block particular websites and change your settings.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783233/

Disclosure: 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.”

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Socks, Suds, and Savings (a Molly review)

E-Book: Molly’s Money-Saving Digest—October 2010

Fall = cooler temperatures, beautiful foliage, and fresh beginnings (schools, sports, etc.). This month, Molly’s Socks, Suds, and Savings edition renders fall recipes such as stews and soups—and a link to a recipe for a dry “cream-of-anything” mix—more laundry tips than I had questions for—including a recipe for making your own laundry soap—and creative ideas for saving cooking time in the kitchen.      

Molly shares a beautiful, inexpensive decorating idea to fill up large, empty spaces on your walls (think HGTV) and step-by-step instructions (including photos) on how to make a cute little dress from 2 shirts and a belt. Hhhmm, I see an art project for my high schooler and a sewing project for my younger daughter in my future!
The Kids’ Corner has tips and printables to help your children learn how to do the laundry without turning white clothes pink. If your children know the difference between white and black and can reach the controls on the washing machine, you can teach them how to do their own (or the family) laundry.
A Molly Digest wouldn’t be complete without calendars, printables, menus, and lists. Check out Molly’s Econobusters website for more great money-saving tips. You can also join Molly’s special members’-only site for even more articles, ideas, and freebies. It’s only $3.95/month for a subscription.
Hurry on over to The Old Schoolhouse Store for your super-sized Digest (52 pages) Socks, Suds, and Savings e-book guide. It’s only $4.95.
Disclosure: 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.”