Thursday, May 26, 2011

TOS Review - Eagle's Wings: Considering God's Creation

This was a real treat! A real, actual, physical product. An actual book with real pages that I can page through!!

OK, as you know (well some of you), I've been part of the TOS (The Old Schoolhouse) Review Crew. We receive educational, homeschool products for free, use it and then blog about it and give our honest opinion about the said product. Being in NZ though I mostly get electronic products or website subscriptions. BUT every now and then (well, twice) I get a physical product. This was the last product for the year and it was a 'real' one! So I was VERY Excited about this : )  can you see my grin?

OK, so what was this product I got so excited about?

The product:
Eagle's Wings: Considering God's Creation is a science curriculum from Eagle's Wings Education Material that can be used on its own or as a supplement to another curriculum. It is written from a Biblical, creationist perspective and is suitable for a range of ages. It is suggested that this curriculum can be used for students from 2nd to 7th grade.
I'm sure the creative homeschooler can go even beyond that : )

Other products:
Eagle's Wings Education Material is written by homeschoolers and they have several products for sale. Go HERE to see what else they have to offer.

Eagle's Wings: Considering God's Creation retails for US$29.95. This includes a 128-page Teacher's Manual, a 269-page Student Notebook and Audio CD. Additional Student Notebooks (Work books) and CD's can be bought for US$13.95 and US$3.00 respectively. The Student Notebook has limited photocopy permission so you can copy the pages for other kids in the family or class.

DISCLAIMER: As part of the TOS Review Crew, I received a free copy of this product for review purposes in exchange for my honest, personal opinion. I did not receive any other compensation. (But I mentioned this already).

So the big day came when it arrived. I ripped open the package.... well I tried to but it was really well wrapped!! I opened the package and smelled the pages.... (yes I sniff books!!)..... anyway.....

What does this product offer?:

This curriculum covers the following topics (from the website):

    • Universe
    • Stars
    • Solar System
    • Earth
    • Light
    • Sound
    • Wind
    • Weather
    • Clouds
    • Rocks
    • Plants
    • Insects
    • Mammals
    • Reptiles
    • Birds
    • Fish
    • Amphibians
    • Food Chains
    • Reproduction and Genetics
    • Human
    • Animal Anatomy
    • Physiology

These topics are divided up into 52 lessons! It states 36, but some topics are divided up into Lesson 5A, 5B etc. So I counted them and it ends up as 52 lessons all up. Not bad for $29.95!

Lessons include some or all of the following:

  • Preparation (what you need before hand and resources you will need to complete the activity)
  • Vocabulary (definitions of words used in the lesson)
  • Introduction (well, it introduces the topic)
  • Song/poem (Word to songs found on the CD)
  • Bible Reading (Scripture references relating to the topic)
  • Activity (Something fun and practical to do relating to the lesson)
  • Notebook (Filling out the worksheets)
  • Evolution Stumpers (Questioning certain findings given as evidence for evolution)
  • Digging Deeper (More resources for older students or if you want to learn more about the topic)
  • Review
  • Test (Crossword)
How did we use it?

We did one lesson a week for 5 weeks although we spent 3 weeks on Lesson 4 which looked at the planets individually. Part of the reason we spent longer on this is because we spent some time on the NASA website looking at the planets. :) We also started on Lesson 2 as we covered creation well in history.

I'm known to reinvent the wheel, but this wheel needed no changing : )  I simply followed the instructions! The first few pages of the Teacher's Manual have many ideas and suggestions on how to use this resource.

I gathered the simple supplies needed for the activity the evening before and also got a note book for each of the kids.

I got the kids to write the vocabulary words in their notebook and then we read the introduction and looked up some of the scripture references.

I prepped some things for the activity in advanced when I thought it might take too long, but the rest was done as a family.

The kids then filled out some of the worksheets or wrote things down in their note books.

Lesson 2 activity: My place in the Universe

'Slide projector' with Star Slides of the constellations:

The 'Slide Projector' - NOT an advert for new balance : )
The 'Slide Projector' with a 'Slide' of The Little Dipper

'Star Slides'

Lesson 3 activity:

The Planets in our Solar System
Lesson 4 had the kids complete worksheets on the individual planets. For samples of the Student Notebook click HERE.

What did we think about it?

I am very grateful to have received this product and will continue to use it. The kids (and I) enjoyed doing the activities and were keen to look up the passages in the Bible. They also enjoyed learning new words and want to use the vocabulary words as part of their spelling words!! (Yes, my kids ask me for spelling tests! I know - its weird).

It is an easy to use resource and have loads of extension reading / research to do. Something the kids are getting into and enjoying. Although I did use this product as suggested, it leaves lots of scope for tweaking it to different learning styles and preferences.

I like that it brings the creation back to our Creator and even like the Evolution Stumpers. Not because it goes against evolution but because it gets us thinking and debating and asking WHY we believe certain things.

My children enjoyed filling out some of the worksheets, although for some older students some of the worksheets might feel a bit young.

One think I did not like about this product was the CD. I listened to some of the songs and then decided not to use it at all. I found the vocalist frustrating to listen to and the songs better suited to very young children. This however, is my personal opinion and not to say that others would not find enjoyment out of it.

Read HERE what my fellow crew members thought of this product.

Thank you Eagle's Wings Education Material for the chance to use and review this product!!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

TOS Review - GoTrybe

Moving and fitness is a lifestyle. It's not something you can benefit from if you do it once every 4 months or so. We are a fairly active family - more so over the last year after my husband and I joined the gym. Both our kids have always liked moving and enjoy different sports. Together then we try to live more healthy.

I recently received a 2-month subscription to the GoTrybe website which is dedicated to encouraging families to live a healthy lifestyle so I was keen on seeing what this has to offer.

What is GoTrybe?

GoTrybe is on online fitness / health product that aims at getting the whole family moving. The program caters a little differently for different age groups. It is 'split' into K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 year groups. We reviewed the K-5 year group.

GoTrybe has many features but is divided into 4 basic health sections:
1.  Fitness
2.  Nutrition
3.  Motivation
4.  Wellness

The fitness part of GoTrybe has flash videos for personalised workouts. These include Warm-Up, Cardio, Strength and Flexibility. I really liked the choices available for the kids and how they could put together their own workouts. There are different videos under each category and the child chooses which video(s) to include under each category. I think this could certainly give them a greater sense of ownership. As the kids can choose the clips they want to use, they are in charge of the length of the workout too. You simply click and drag the chosen video into the allocated section. Once that is done you can save the workout and off you go.

Nutrition is another aspect of GoTrybe. This is where the kids are presented with a paragraph about good nutrition and a question relating to that. There is a new one every day.

GoTrybe Motivation is a daily short video clip where a sportsman / woman is asked questions about health / fitness and aims to motivate the kids to follow a healthy lifestyle. 

The Wellness part is also a daily short video relating to good choices.

All these activities provide the members with points. What I like about these clips is that once you've watched it you cannot gain anymore points by watching it again as the videos aren’t available after the first viewing.

So what are the points for?

Each member also has their own Avatar. This is either a younger or older girl or boy. As you progress through the program and do the daily health videos, points are assigned. These points can then be used to ‘purchase’ clothes and accessories for the Avatar. I would assume that this point system is to encourage kids to stick with GoTrybe.

There is also the option of interacting with and becoming ‘friends’ with other members. We did not use this part of the program as we discourage the kids to 'socialize' online.

GoTrybe also has a blog where they keep members up to date with the latest fitness / health information. If you visit the blog now, you will find a special promo code to use in signing up for only US99c per month!! Go check it out!

How did we use GoTrybe?

I signed up both my kids. A is nearly 8 and L is 10 ½.

We took turns with their different logins and did GoTrybe on L’s login some days and A’s login on different days. This way they could both earn points and dress their Avatar. Although tweaking the Avatar only happened on two occasions. They both still have points that are unused. 

What did we think about it?

I think there is a definite place for GoTrybe in the home. This is especially true for the home where there is a lot of inactivity or if extramural activity is too expensive / not possible. It is also very useful during those wet days when the thought of outdoor activity makes you want to grow webbed feet.

L instantly liked the program. She likes music and likes to move, so the combination of the two was a great plus for her. In general she liked the program more than her brother did.

My boy liked it ok initially, but became less interested because most of the children and instructors involved in the K-5 videos are female. (I do understand that there are a male instructors in the older ones). One of his comments was “but there are only girls in there”.

I thought that the kids would be more interested in using the Avatar more often, but the ‘novelty’ wore off fairly quickly. This might be due to them being used to the idea of an Avatar or having restricted computer time in general. The idea of the Avatar then would not keep my children connected to GoTrybe. The kids also did not make friends online as we discourage this.

Both my children are very active and involved in more than one sport which equates to 4hours of intense activity every week for both of them. I am sure that if the kids were not that involved in sports I would consider purchasing a membership to GoTrybe. As I said before I think this is a very good program for those households who do not engage in other outdoor activity on a regular basis.

Price: GoTrybe costs US$19.95 per child per year.

You can TRY out GoTrybe for FREE FOR A DAY by going HERE.

As always this is my own personal opinion and it is always good to look at what others think. So why not click HERE to go and see what some of my fellow Crewmates think of this product.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

TOS Review - Yesterday's Classics


I found this quote somewhere on the internet and I just love it:

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991 ~

If however you do not have the space for more bookshelves what are you to do?

You have options ... one is to get rid of some of your books.... aaaggghhhhhh!!!!  No, that's NOT an option!

I guess you can move to a bigger house .... although impractical, too much time and too expensive...

A better option though is to turn to YESTERDAY'S CLASSICS. This is an amazing website and the place to go for many 'out of print' books. YESTERDAY'S CLASSICS republish books for children from what they call the "Golden age of Children's Literature" which is the era between 1880 and 1920!

BUT does that solve the "Help I don't have more space for more bookshelves problem"? Well, yes.

IF you have space you can purchase the paperback editions BUT if you don't have space for another bookshelf... then you can purchase the eBooks!!!

I was super privileged to have been given the opportunity to review YESTERDAY'S CLASSICS as part of the TOS Review Crew. I received an amazing 225 eBooks for free for review purposes in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was offered (shock horror ;)} but I did receive fun, joy, new information, ..... well you get the picture.


  • eBooks are books in electronic format (well for those who did not know:)}. 
  • To read these books on your computer / eBook device you will need some or other software program.
  • These eBooks come in different formats: Kindle and EPUB. 

Now if you don't know about these things it's ok : )  (Phew) I did not know much about them until recently either.

You will need an eBook reader software program to be able to read the Kindle / EPUB files. There are several different programs available which can be downloaded for free. Examples are eReader and Stanza amongst others. I also downloaded Adobe Digital Editions from their website which I used to read the eBooks on. I received both Kindle and EPUB formats which I've downloaded onto my Mac. I prefer the EPUB to the Kindel format as some software will only read EPUB formats.

Let's put the technical jargon to the side and get to the books already!!

So what are the books like?

The 225 books I've received come in 22 different genres:

World History, Children of the World, Nature, Ancient Greece, Fables, Fairy Tales, Science, Literature, Shakespeare, Legends, Poetry and 12 others!

There are books and stories for everyone in the family!

This package is available to you too!

Here are some examples of what is available:

[Cover] We very much enjoyed reading Robin Hood and it was fun talking about the differences in this story and the Walt Disney Movie (which is a favorite).

[Cover] I started reading this one and have great plans about how to incorporate this into our curriculum for this term : )

[Cover] I started reading this book too : )  Another 'Living Book' - what a lovely way to learn about the things around us!

[Cover] We've enjoyed reading several of the well-known fairy tales.

How much does this cost?

If you bought paperback editions of all the books available in this package it will cost you U$2495.75!

If you bought all the titles individually it will cost you US$648.80,  BUT

This package of 225 eBooks is available now (Till 31 May 2011) for only US$99!

Now, I've said it before:  I appreciate companies who are so confident in their product that they offer a free sample and / or a money back guarantee.... YESTERDAY'S CLASSICS offers BOTH!!!  Have a look at this special offer:  You can get a free sample and all 225 eBooks with a money back guarantee for the amazing price of US$99!!! To take advantage of their Special Offer that runs from now through to 31 May, 2011 go HERE.

As always, this is my personal opinion. If you need any more convincing that this is a great product, please go HERE to read some more reviews about YESTERDAY'S CLASSICS.

Happy reading ;)