Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Curious - What's a Red Tide? A TOS Review


E-Book: The Curiosity Files™- Red Tide
2010 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC
P.O. Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615

 CD of all 9 Curiosity Files (Blue Diamond, Dung Beetle, MRSA, Puffer Fish, Red Tide, Zombie Fire Ants, Blue-footed Booby, Cicada Killing Wasp, Quicksand) - $49
Downloadable E-books of all nine units - $46
(If you're interested in purchasing individual units, please refer to the Old Schoolhouse Store for pricing details.)

What do you know about Red Tides? Why the caution sign above? Think beautiful but deadly. I recently received a free download of the Red Tide E-Book, part of The Curiosity Files science units from TOS to review. This unit is part of a new series from The Old Schoolhouse which contains Explorations With Professor Ana Lyze—Expert in Outlandish Oddities. This is a fun unit study for kids ages 8 to 13, but it can easily be adjusted for younger and older children. There is even a lesson for special needs children included.

In this unit we got to explore the mysteries of red tides. We learned about algae, toxins, food chains, the history of red tide fish kills, oceans, microscopic organisms and more. My 13 year old daughter really enjoyed reading this unit. She found it easy to understand and thought the activities and quizzes included were fun and helpful in learning about these strange occurrences.

Did you know red tides
  • are actually a build-up of microscopic algae when certain conditions occur 
  • can cause these algae to build up in the tissues of shellfish and make them dangerous to eat 
  • are also called Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) 
  • are actually all about the algae, not the tides 
  • occur almost annually along the Florida waters 
  • have been documented since 1844 
  • might be caused by something from the Sahara Desert 
  • occur worldwide 
  • may even go back as far as 10 A.D.

That's a picture of one below.

We talked about the causes of the "red" tide, where these tides occur, how the sea life is affected and things that humans should do for safety if they encounter a red tide. We found out that these occurrences can actually be a number of colors besides "red". We also learned that these tides have been occurring for a very long time and are not just the result of recent pollution or global warming.

Professor Ana Lyze and her team tackle the abnormal and the bizarre things in nature through a variety of lessons. The unit helped us explore the tides through writing, games, math (metric system and percentages) and real life concepts. We learned some new vocabulary and did some copywork too. There were also many links to other places where we could continue our research as we have time. The vocabulary activities and spelling worksheets cover both elementary and middle/high school so I could tweak the unit to fit the skills and needs of my daughter. I really liked that option.  (My daughter was able to use this unit fairly independently.)

In the Lab brought on a scavenger hunt after we talked about food chains and food webs. We looked at some history and checked out timelines and maps. There was such a great variety of materials included in the E-book that we had a hard time fitting it all in. I'm thinking that we'll be taking some of the information we've learned and make a lapbook next. This really was a fun way to learn.

This unit included things like Bible study, discussion topics, memory verses, math, history, geography and much more. We found some really interesting links and other books to read too. We even talked about experiments we'd like to do when things are a bit warmer. We did crosswords and word searches and had fun. (By the way, there are complete answer keys provided for the activities/puzzles.) This unit is 90+ pages, but you can print just those that you want to use.

See other products from this publisher HERE.



These units are very reasonably priced for the enormous amount of information and activities included. (See prices above and follow the link to The Old Schoolhouse Store. Another great thing, all E-Books published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine come with a 7-day, 100% money-back guarantee!

I received a free download of this E-book in return for an honest review of the product. Opinions and observations are my own, and I am not obligated to provide a positive review. No further compensation was received.

To see what other members of the Homeschool Crew had to say about the Curiosity Files click here

Monday, February 7, 2011

Woohoo - Check It Out

***Check out the comment on the Virtual Nerd post!!  Wonderful deal for homeschoolers!!***

Virtual Nerd
710 N. 2nd Street
Suite 300 S.
St. Louis, MO, 63102
877-677-NERD (6373)

Deal to Homeschoolers ~ 50% off their "1 & 3 Month Plans".

The Comment from Virtual Nerd added to my review post says:

"We are pleased to inform you that because Virtual Nerd has received such significant interest following your review of our online tutoring service, we are offering a special discount to homeschool parents.

Homeschool parents can receive 50% off the 1 and 3 month subscription plans.

Just enter the discount code: homeschooldeal when you sign up for service. The offer is valid until March 31, 2011! "

Wow, this is a great deal if you're interested in trying their online tutoring!  Blessings to you all.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Can You DigIt? Roman Town - A TOS Product Review



Dig-It! Games - Roman Town, or 1-877-21DIGIT (1-877-213-4448)

For 5th to 8th graders, kids from 8 to 88


A multiple-use version of Roman Town for the classroom setting. Pricing is on a per-license basis.
Price $299

Price $19.95

The Educator's Manual is available for download, and the game is on CD.

                                                      ***For a Limited Time Only***
****Until February 21, 2011, TOS Crew Readers can get 20% off the 2010 price of $24.95.  If you use the coupon code TOS2011 you get $15 off the 2011 price PLUS an additional price is $19.96!

This winner of the National Parenting Center’s 2010 Seal of Approval and Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Products Award was created by an archaeologist and former middle school educator.  Her blog is linked to the game website for further information.

Have you ever thought about sending your kids looking for buried treasure?  Have you ever wished your kids could play in dirt without getting dirty?  If you answered yes to either of these questions you should check out this fun game we've been playing.

Roman Town is a historically accurate archaeological simulation game which allows kids to learn about Fossura, a Roman town destroyed in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted. In this interactive game players excavate buildings, find ancient artifacts, and dig up treasures. Roman culture, society, and history become real to your kids during “hands-on” discovery, analysis, and problem solving.


At this authentic dig site players send out their team and participate in a complete excavation. Players get to dig, analyze, sort and reconstruct the site while learning about Roman art, architecture, language and artifacts.


There are six levels to the complete excavation, but they may be played at different times and can be saved for later. In addition, players find something different every time they play. The game contains realistic 3D graphics of artifacts.


 Kids actually get to remove dirt layer by layer, and reconstruct rare artifacts piece by piece.



Roman Town is fun for any age, with no violence or inappropriate material. You can’t play the game without learning something. Kids learn new vocabulary, think through puzzles and get a taste of what archaeology is really about.  My 5 year old loved "digging" with the computer mouse to find the artifacts/treasures .  He was getting up in the morning saying he wanted to "dig".  He was going to bed saying he wanted to "dig".  This boy is really "digging" this game.  My 13 year old liked the game, but she figured out I was getting her to learn something too so had to act like she was really "helping" her brother.
Roman Town is currently only available in a Windows version. The MAC version of Roman Town is coming soon according to the website.

The game has a really interesting feature.  The L.E.A.R.N., Locate Engrossing And Remarkable Knowledge, interactive, in-game encyclopedia, lets kids learn at their own pace. Kids can choose to LEARN more from related articles in the encyclopedia. Throughout the game are quizzes on LEARN to test players’ knowledge. 


We really like this game.  We found out you really do find something different each time too!  It was fun to find out more about archaeology and a real ancient Roman town.  This game is definitely a fun way to learn some ancient history.  For my little pirate lover the "digging for treasure" concept was wonderful.  Now, if I could use something like this for all those other topics ... hmmm.  This game got "thumbs up" all the way around at our house.  Definitely worth the price for fun learning.  If you're even slightly interested, you really should get this game - especially now while it's so cheap with the TOS coupon code!
The website also contains links to archaeological resource sites for further information and articles.  We'll be checking those out as we continue to play the game.  To see more information click here

To see what other TOS Crew reviewers thought of Roman Town click here
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a free download of Roman Town to try in return for a fair and honest review.  The observations and opinions stated here are my own.  I received no further compensation.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ten Marks - A TOS Product Review

Ten Marks - Online Math Program
Math Practice and Learning


38 Glen Avenue
Newton MA 02459

More Information


We've been using a great online math practice program, TenMarks, for additional math practice and reeeally like it.  Let me tell you a bit about it.

*This program contains lessons and personalized programs covering the core math skills and concepts for your child in grades 3-10.   Basic math concepts are covered in grades 3-8 followed by Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry.

*TenMarks bases their approach on personalized learning, on-demand instruction, and practice to build confidence and enhance achievement. 

We really like that students get to work at their own pace.  The process begins with some assessment and placement type questions.  An individualized curriculum for the material which should be covered in the child's grade is then created. 

The student logs in and is given questions on different related topics, such as exponents.  The student then works through each problem to determine which of the multiple choice answers is correct. 

If the child is not sure how to do a problem they can request a hint.  We used a number of hints, that's what they are there for right?  There are 3 hints per question, each one explaining the problem further, such as providing an applicable formula and then showing you what numbers of your problem fit into the formula. 

If the hints don't make things clear for your student there are also short video presentations to explain the topics.  When a topic is new to your student you do have the option of setting up the presentation first then following with the worksheet.  The idea is that the student gets progressive practice with the concepts presented.  This is a very effective supplemental math program.  The whole process is fairly easy to follow. 

There are points at which you may review information or redo worksheets if needed to get a good grasp of a topic.  As mentioned previously, there are no time limitations, just practice and more practice until the student achieves 10 out of 10. (that's where "TenMarks" comes from)  As the worksheets are completed some fun "games" are unlocked for a bit of incentive to move on and get the work done.

This program is free, for teachers only,  for classrooms in a public or private school, with a paid premium membership available for additional help at home.  TenMarks can be used by teachers, homeschoolers, students and parents to supplement any math program.
Things I like:
* Grades 3-10 are covered

* Over 100 core skills per grade

* Hints and video lessons for every topic including:  Subtraction, Quadratic Equations and Functions, Perimeter, Area and Volume, Triangles, Decimals, Factorization, Integers, Basic Geometry, Functions and Graphs, Multiplication, Quadrilaterals, Logarithms, Addition, Angles, Ratios and Proportions, Algebra, Rational Numbers, Complex Numbers, Lines and Planes, Matrices, Probability, Polynomials, Percents, Slopes, Division, Number Operations,Trigonometric Functions, Geometric Figures, Measurement and Units, Place Value, Fraction Operations, and many more.

* Programmed to meet state standards

*TenMarks is very affordable and offers a money back guarantee.

Prices (per student)
  • $10 a month
  • $49 for 6 months
  • $89 for 12 months

*TenMarks is also great for homeschoolers to be used as a curriculum or a supplement. 

How about a quick look? It's only $10 a month.  It's worth it!
To  see what you're missing click Try TenMarks

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received free access to this online program to use in order to provide an honest review.  Opinions and observations are my own.  I am not obligated to give a positive review.  No further compensation was received.
To see what other TOS Crew members think of TenMarks click here
Why not go follow TenMarks on Facebook too!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids - A TOS Crew Review


Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary For Kids (2010)
A Holman Reference Book
B & H Publishing Group
127 Ninth Avenue, North
Nashville, TN 37234
$14.99 - hardcover edition - ages 5-10

What is a ziggurat, and what does it have to do with the tower of Bable?  Quick, can you name 12 names of Jesus?  How much does 30 shekels weigh?  What were the tribal allotments of Israel?  What did the temple courts look like?  Did you know vultures were mentioned in the Bible?  What were the names of the 12 apostles?

You can find all this and much more in the 212 pages of this wonderfully illustrated and colorful kid's dictionary.  There are tons of colorful detailed maps and a number of useful charts including
  • Animals of the Bible
  • The Apostles  
  • Birds in the Bible  
  • Jewish Festivals and Feasts  
  • Foods in Bible Times  
  • Insects of the Bible  
  • Table of Weights and Measures in the Bible  
  • Musical Instruments of the Bible 
  • Names of God 
  • Names of Jesus 
  • Divisions of the New Testament  
  • Divisions of the Old Testament  
  • Parables of Jesus  
  • 10 Plagues of Egypt 
  • Plants in the Bible  
  • Ten Commandments  
  • Tools of the Bible

In my opinion, this Bible Dictionary is perfect for Parents, Teachers, and Kids.  In these pages there are Reconstructions, Illustrated Charts, KJV Entries, Pronunciation Guide, Photographs, and Realistic Illustrations and Definitions.  The book contains 750+ terms. 

This dictionary is wonderful for trivia, bible study, using in my Sunday School class, and, of course, pleasure reading.  The layout, accuracy, and scripture appear to be pretty good, and the definitions and references are easily understood.  We had fun looking through this dictionary and will be using it a lot.  Although this product is suggested for ages 5 to 10 years old, we all found something we liked.  My 13 year old says it's "a pretty good one", and my 5 year old is fascinated by the pictures.   My Sunday School class of kids will be enjoying this one too.

  • To visit Lifeway Christian Store to purchase a copy click here
  • To see reviews of this book posted by other Homeschool Crew members click here
  • To purchase a copy of The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids at Lifeway click here
  • To get a peek at what the inside of this beautiful book is like click here and download the pdf
Hope you enjoy this book as much as we do!

I was given a free copy of this book from Lifeway Christian Stores to use in exchange for an honest and accurate review.  The opinions and observations noted are my own, and I am not obligated to give a positive review.  I received no further compensation for this review.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Looking Forward - Stepping Back

It's that time again, you know, the anticipation of all those Spring and Summer things to do while sitting with "cabin fever".  One of the things we do as a family is pre-1840 fur trade reenactment during the summer.  We get into our "funky clothes" (according to my daughter, 13) and go back to a simpler and less stressful time.  Now don't get me wrong, most people would agree that this was not a simpler time, but I'm pretty sure they just need a little coaxing.

See that guy down there, he's my favorite mountain man.  He holds our camp together.  He goes by "Sleeps With Gophers" or "Fire Without Matches" most of the time.  Yes, you earn your name, so take your best guess at what prompted those names.  Better yet, guess how "Painted Toe", "Boomer", and "Two Moons" earned their names.  This is the most family-oriented activity we've done over the years, and I thought you might like to know a bit about it. 

You can click here  to access the website of our local Coon-n-Crockett Muzzleloader Club. 

All things pre-1840 fur trade era are to be found on this comprehensive site.  There are links to almost anything related to the time period.  The website has even had out-of-country hits and has a number of foreign fans.

Click  here to go to the Buckskinner Cookbook for recipes using bear, beaver, javelina, wild rice, muskrat, rabbit, raccoon, skunk and more.  (Yes, cookies too!)
Click here to check out the Language of the Rendezvous
Click here to explore the Almost Complete List of Muzzleloading and Buckskinning Links

The Book of Buckskinning Series is the place to go for everything you need to know to equip yourself to reenact the fur trade era.  Check it out here.

It is definitely not just about the guns.   We put the clocks and watches away and live by the sun.  We cook everything over a campfire that has to be started and kept going into the evening.  We sleep on cots in a large canvas "one-pole" tent with candle lanterns as our on lights once the sun sets.    We haul in our own water.  We have a block of ice for refrigeration.  Ah, relaxing . . .  Looking forward to getting back into "camp" mode, when this beautiful abundance of snow leaves.  For now, I guess I'll just look at the pictures and reminisce.    



Some Great Links

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