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Monday, March 31, 2014

Media Talk 101 Review

Media Talk 101 has produced a 107 minute documentary appropriately titled Captivated that seeks to answer honest questions about the amount of media consumption adults, teens, and children live with on a daily basis. I was given a copy of the Captivated DVD to watch in exchange for my review.

Captivated Movie Review


What is Media Talk 101?

Media Talk 101 is a non-profit Christian organization founded by Phillip Telfer. He founded Media Talk 101 in 2005 after having ministered to youth and families for over 20 years, speaking at camps, retreats, conferences, schools, and churches around the country. Their goal at Media Talk 101 is to help this generation understand the impact that media has in their lives and to teach the importance of making wise choices as followers of Jesus. It is their belief that today's entertainment is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to spiritual growth. In response to this belief, Media Talk 101 seeks to approach the subject using Biblical principles instead of legalistic rules to help Christians use discernment in their lives when it comes to media consumption.

Trained speakers at Media Talk 101 provide multi-media presentations for youth, young adults, parents, educators, and church leaders. These compelling messages are more than just seminars - they are based on Biblical principles that can be applied to the problem of our media saturated society.

You can visit the website of Media Talk 101 to purchase the Captivated DVD, download a sample of their workbook, teaching video clips, and other helpful resources. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

What's Included on the Captivated DVD?

  • The "Scene Selection" option is available so if you have to stop watching and come back at a later time, you will have help finding where you left off in your viewing.
  • Spanish subtitles as well as English closed caption are available for this DVD. You will find these helpful options in the "Setup" area.
  • "Bonus Features" include the movie trailer, Gospel for Asia (Missionary ministry outreach efforts to forgotten areas in Asia), extended interviews, and a word from the producer.
  • Interviews featuring Ray Comfort, Bob Waliszewski, Dr. Ted Baehr, Dr. Jeff Myers, Kerby Anderson, Kevin Swanson, Dr. David Walsh, Al Menconi, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, Dick Rolfe, Phil Chalmers, Professor Mark Bauerlein, Maggie Jackson, and more.
  • Personal stories of everyday people who openly share their past struggles with media and technology consumption that had taken over their lives, but found freedom from the bondage they admit had taken them over.

Captivated Movie Review

What's the Price?

The price for 1 DVD is $16.95. There are discounts for multiple purchases, plus shipping is free on most domestic orders.


Who Can View Captivated?

This documentary is intended for adults, but it has been approved for all ages. You will need either a computer with DVD playing capability or a regular DVD player for your television.

My Opinion of the Captivated DVD

I watched this media documentary when I had some quiet time to myself. I was alarmed at the various statistics that were shared throughout the run time. The average child watches TV over 53 hours per week. By graduation they will have consumed 18,000-22,000 hours! Did you know that now there are more TVs than people per household?!

The personal testimonies from people who had found freedom from their own individual struggles with media and technology consumption were very encouraging. One dad who shared in the documentary actually led his family on a 30-day media fast and said afterwards,
"We're not just saying no media, but we're saying use it in responsible and in God glorifying ways."
I have to agree with his logic. Several years ago, my family and I did a one week media fast. The freedom and enjoyment we experienced together as a family was so much more valuable than any of the media and technology that we had given up during that time.

Other quotes that spoke to my heart as I viewed this media documentary were:
"Social networking sites are an enhancer for life's relationships, but it's not a replacement."
"Insurgent - an enemy that is woven into the fabric of the society with no way to clearly identify the enemy. That's a challenge in dealing with media. A lot of our Christians are asleep and they don't realize that the enemy is in bed with our society. He's an insurgent woven into the fabric." 

Viewing the Captivated DVD has caused me to reflect again on my own daily consumption of media and technology for myself and that of my family. I would highly recommend watching this documentary. Parenting in today's media and technology captivated world is tough. As parents, we need to know what we're up against. Not only for our kids, but for ourselves as well.

Walking in His Grace, 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Biblical Hope - My Journey Begins

I've been thinking a lot lately about hope. I even did a little study on it that has started a journey for me into a deeper understanding of what hope truly is for a Christian. It's a journey with Jesus, and I'll be blogging about what I'm learning in the weeks ahead.

Here's what I've found at the beginning of this journey...

Biblical Hope

Hope, in the sense that we normally use it, is based on uncertainty.

"I hope to get that raise at work I'm due for," means "I don't have any certainty that I will get that raise, but that is my desire." 

"I hope my medical test results are good," means "I don't know if the results will be good, but that is my desire."

See the uncertainty?

On the other hand, Biblical hope is so much more! It's not just a desire for something good in the future, but according to John Piper, Biblical hope is:

"A confident expectation and desire for something good in the future."

Not only is Biblical hope desiring something for the future, but more importantly it is wrapped up in expectation - a confident expectation!

John Piper goes on to say:
"But Biblical hope is never based on what is possible with man. Biblical hope looks away from man to the promise of God."

I love this verse from the Bible that speaks of our God of hope...

God of hope

Oh yes, I will be committing this verse to heart during my journey into discovery of Biblical hope!

I'll stop here because I think this is a lot to meditate on during this next week. I hope you'll join me on my journey into discovery of Biblical hope in the weeks ahead. I'm excited about what God has shown me so far. I don't know how long this journey will be, but I sure would love it if you'd come along with me! To be sure you don't miss out on my weekly post in this series, simply subscribe by email using the "Follow by Email" link in the sidebar above my picture.

As usual, please feel free to leave me a comment below sharing your thoughts. Let's grow together!

Walking in His Grace, 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Stand On God's Faithfulness

Have you ever had a moment where you've thought about a truth in the Word of God so strongly that you feel God whisper to your heart? Recently, I had that happen to me as I was contemplating faith.

It's so easy to have faith in God when everything is going well. Unfortunately though, we live in a fallen world and things aren't always going to go like we want them to {or like we plan for them to go}.

1 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV) tells us "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." I can testify to God's faithfulness. My family has experienced it over and over again in various areas of our lives.

As I was contemplating God's faithfulness recently during a financial trial, my mind recollected all the times past that we had experienced God's faithfulness in this same area. Being a one-income family {so I can homeschool} brings with it certain sacrifices, and definitely tight spots every now and again. But this I know - God is faithful!

As those times of the faithfulness of God flooded my mind, this is what I heard God whisper to my heart during this current situation we were facing...

1 Corinthians 1:9

Yes...this is how I want to live! My God is faithful and I choose to stand on that faithfulness when times of trial come my way. Actually, my husband and I now are seeing these times as opportunities to TRUST God. This is my prayer for you as well, dear friend!

Walking in His Grace, 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Reading List Update

Well, I thought I'd give you all an update on how I'm doing on my reading list for 2014. I cannot believe we are already into the month of March for 2014! This year is flying by!

Reading List

January's book, A Mind for God by Dr. James Emery White, was really a great one to start the year off with. Encouraging readers to develop a mind for God, he challenges us as Christians to break free from secular cultural influences that threaten to take us from the spiritual disciplines of reading, study, and reflection. Dr. White includes an appendix of books and resources to help "grow your brain". Needless to say, I discovered many other titles that I want to read at some point. I bought the Kindle version, but it is also available in paperback if you prefer. I go back and forth with the versions I buy. I love my Kindle, but also love the feel of an actual book in my hands.

I have to say here that our Women's Ministry at my church started the year off with a book study of Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind by Joyce Meyer, so I've been reading it each month as well. We are dividing up the chapters and doing the work in the study guide each month. We are taking our time so I'm not sure how long it will take to finish. It is a great book! One of the main points that I've learned through the book so far is that I need to think about what I'm thinking about.

Just last month my Pastor assigned those of us on the leadership team and all the pastoral staff to read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: What Happens When God's Spirit Invades the Hearts of His People by Pastor Jim Cymbala. My husband who is our Children's Pastor and I are reading this one together. It is powerful! In this book, Pastor Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle shares all that has happened in his church since the people there got serious about prayer and the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit. Their journey has God's fingerprints all over it! It has created a fire in my heart and my husband's also for a more focused prayer life.

So I'm deep into those two books currently, which means I have yet to get into what I had planned on reading in February, Gideon: Your weakness. God's strength. by Priscilla Shirer, and A Woman's High Calling: 10 Ways to Live Out God's Plan for Your Life by Elizabeth George, which I was supposed to read this month. I was so excited about reading them, but I don't want to be reading too many books at one time because I don't think I'll be able to get the most personal growth out of my reading that way. Since our Women's Ministry book study will probably be going on for several more months, I'll just read it alongside the books I have on my reading list. I'm almost finished with Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. I'm not sure if I want to pick up Gideon or A Woman's High Calling for the rest of this month. Ahh, decisions,!

How's your reading going so far this year? Have you found yourself adding to your ever-growing reading list like me? I'd like to hear how it's going with you, so feel free to leave me a comment!

Walking in His Grace, 

Learn a Foreign Language with Mango Languages ~ Review

Mango Languages is an online foreign language learning site with over 60 languages your homeschool student can choose from to study. They started in the public library sector and have been expanding from there in the 7 years of their existence. Today I'll be sharing with you our experience with the beta version of Mango Homeschool Edition, the online foreign language learning product that I was given to use in our homeschool. Additional features for Mango Homeschool Edition continue to be developed, so there will be even more to love in the future! You can stay up-to-date about these developments by connecting with Mango Languages on the following social media sites: Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Mango Homeschool Edition

Common Questions and Answers About Mango Languages

  • What ages is Mango Languages intended for? Mango languages is intended for ages 6 through adult.
  • How much will it cost? The following pricing options are available for homeschool subscriptions: 1 subscription is $18/month or $125/year total; 2 subscriptions is $28/month or $175 /year total; 3 subscriptions is $38/month or $225/year total; 4 subscriptions is $48/month or $275/year total; and 5 subscriptions is $58/month or $325/year total. Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate that will depend on the number in the group. Mango languages offers a free 30 day trial, and comes with a 60 day money-back guarantee. This is a great option for homeschoolers who, for the most part, are one-income families on a tight budget.
  • What equipment will I need? You’ll need a PC running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7, or higher, or a Mac running OS X 10.6 or higher. You will need a microphone to utilize the Voice Comparison tool should you want to use this feature. We don't have a microphone and got along fine without it. Minimum 1 GHz processor with 1GB RAM, a broadband internet connection, and 1024 x 768 display resolution are also recommended.

What's Included When You Sign-up With Mango Languages?

There are over 60 languages that you'll have access to with your subscription to Mango Languages. The Help Desk guides you step-by-step through setting up your account preferences and selecting your language course. It was a very easy process. We chose Mango Passport Spanish (Latin American) as our course for this review. After a few weeks, Caleb decided he wanted to learn Pirate, too - yes, Mango Languages offers a Pirate language course!

The "Brochure" page lists everything that is included with all of the online language courses available from Mango Languages.
  • Audio and pronunciation guides from native speakers
  • Voice comparison tool
  • Cultural insights, customs, and etiquette
  • Conversation and grammar goals
  • Phonetic spelling on-demand
  • Grammar notes

Also listed in the "Brochure" are tabs for each journey and the topics covered in the lessons for your selected language. Here is a screenshot from the website showing the tabs I'll be describing below for Mango Passport Spanish (Latin American):

Mango Languages Spanish (Latin American)

Journey 1 Topics: Greetings, Gratitude, Goodbyes; Inquiring About Someone's Nationality; Asking What Languages Someone Speaks; Names and Introductions; Getting Around; Shopping and Payment; Drinks and Dining; Numbers and Currency; Getting Help; Asking for Clarification

Journey 2 Topics (upon completion of Journey 1): Addressing and Describing People and Animals; Describing Surroundings; Making Small Talk; Accepting and Declining Social Invitations; Dating; Foods, Cooking, and Dining; Commenting on the Weather; Using the Bank and Post Office; Planning Leisure Activities; Sightseeing

Journey 3 Topics (upon completion of Journey 2): Culture, Literature, and Art; Discussing Historical Events; Addressing Medical Conditions; Expressing Thoughts and Feelings; Discussing Schools and Education; Names and Their Origins; Talking About Food and Dietary Habits; Physical Descriptions; Making Plans; Sports and Exercise

Course guides are provided in PDF file format for each "Journey". These are listed under the "File" tab. The file for Journey 1 is 168 pages. The course guides contain everything that will be learned in each specific "Journey". This would be a great "textbook" if you wanted to take the file to your local printer to have printed off and bound. Your student could use the printed material to study what they have learned during the week. Or, you could do what I did, and just download the file to your computer. It's there anytime we need to reference it.

How We Used Mango Homeschool Edition

We used Mango Homeschool Edition in our homeschool four days a week. Caleb and I watched one lesson together each day. I loved how I was in control of advancing through each screen. This enabled me to choose how fast or slow to proceed through the lesson.

Mango Lanuages Spanish (Latin American)
The Welcome page greets you and your student each time you log in.

The Welcome page greets you and your student each time you log in, and gives you the option to resume the lesson, repeat the lesson, or proceed to the next lesson. I love that the program remembers where you were working each time you re-enter after logging out. If we had completed a lesson, but I felt Caleb needed to review it, I simply chose to repeat the previous day's lesson. I was thrilled to be able to have this option!

After deciding to move on to the next lesson, we were given an example of a conversation we would be learning in that particular lesson. Each screen that follows breaks down that particular conversation into manageable pieces. The native language guide speaks the word you are learning, in our case it was Spanish (Latin American), followed by the audio guide who speaks the word in English. The student is then given a time limit (that you can adjust) to say the English word in Spanish (Latin American). We advanced through each screen when we were ready to proceed to the next word or phrase that we were trying to learn. Throughout the lesson the audio guide gave various "grammar notes" and "cultural notes" which were helpful in learning the words and also gave interesting facts on the culture of the country whose language we were studying.

Mango Languages Spanish (Latin American)
Screenshot example of how each phrase is broken down into manageable pieces.

Pre-tests and post-tests are provided in each "Journey". Each test can take up to 30 minutes. There is a final course exam as well. All are completed online at the Mango Languages website.

Screenshot of the pre-test window for Unit 1 of Journey 1.

I mentioned earlier in my review that after a couple of weeks in Spanish (Latin American), Caleb wanted to dive into Pirate - so we did. We had a lot of fun speaking in a pirate voice with that one! Here is a video of my son that I made during one of our lessons. I love how animated he is! We had to do several "takes" before I could get a video where he wasn't being too silly. He kept wanting to add in "have" instead of just saying, "Blow me down! The ship's becalmed!" which means "Oh my gosh! The ship isn't moving!"

Here's the video of my silly pirate:

My Opinion of Mango Languages

Mango Languages is a great online foreign language learning program for homeschoolers to use if you want your kids to learn a foreign language! I was astounded by the amount of languages that are offered in a subscription to Mango Languages. The prices for monthly and yearly subscriptions are reasonable considering all that you get from Mango Languages.

The only recommendation I have for Mango Languages is to have a designated "Member Log-in" area that is clearly visible on their homepage. For this review, I used the link that was provided in my subscription confirmation email from Mango Languages to log in each time. This link took me to the log-in area on their website where I used our user name and password. After more time on the site, I did discover the member log-in area without having to use the link in my confirmation email after I clicked on the "Get Started Today" button on the Homeschool page. Ta-da, there was the member log-in box! I'm sure a clearly visible "Member Log-in" box on the homepage would be appreciated by new users.

My 13-year-old son loved learning a new language online with Mango Homeschool Edition from Mango Languages! He was excited each day to begin our lesson, which made this homeschooling moma very happy. I highly recommend Mango Languages and Mango Homeschool Edition to those who like to homeschool online, those who homeschool high school students, and ANY homeschooler who is looking to successfully incorporate foreign language lessons as part of their homeschool curriculum.   

Walking in His Grace, 

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

K5 Learning ~ Review Coming Soon!

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

I look forward to sharing our experience with you!

Walking in His Grace, 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Glow in the Dark Easter Eggs ~ Egglo Entertainment Review

I have a very cool review to bring to you today! Have you heard about Egglo Entertainment? They have glow in the dark Easter eggs! I was given a box of 12 Glow in the Dark Egglo eggs, a pack of Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls, The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure story book, The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Audio Book download and The Egg-Cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide for this review.

Egglo Review


What is Egglo Entertainment?

Egglo Entertainment exists to help you educate children that Jesus is the light of the world during your Easter celebration. Families and churches will benefit greatly from the wide range of products available from Egglo Entertainment that will help teach children the true meaning of Easter. The glowing eggs in the darkness represent the light of Jesus in this dark world. Searching for the glowing eggs in the darkness helps children connect to the truth that Jesus is the light of the world.

Listen to the Egglo Eggs testimony of the founder of Egglo Entertainment, Darcie Cobos. I love hearing from her heart how God inspired these glow in the dark Easter eggs to help spread the message of Jesus to children (and adults!) everywhere.

Designed for church outreach events, Christian schools, youth groups, Sunday school, AWANA, and families, the Egglo program is an effective tool to use for your Easter celebration.

Egglo Entertainment Product and Price List

You are going to love all the awesome products available from Egglo Entertainment! The age range for these products is between the ages of 4-13, but they really can be adapted and fun for all ages. I loved all of the products we received just as much as my son did!

Egglo Review

*Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs: A box of 12 glow in the dark plastic eggs in the colors of pink, blue, yellow and green. Some have a cross on them and others are plain that the children can decorate with stickers. The cost for a box of glow in the dark Egglo eggs is $11.99.

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure: A beautifully illustrated soft-cover book of 40 pages connecting the traditional Easter egg hunt to the gospel of Jesus who is the light of the world. Join Hardy, Anastasia, Pascal, and their dog Zeke on a mysterious treasure hunt adventure to discover the greatest treasure of all! The price for this beautiful book is $12.99.

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (audio download): This is the MP4 file download for the audio version of the story book, and is available for only $2.99. Listen on your computer or burn to a CD to listen anytime...anywhere. The story is so appealing that your kids will want to listen to it again and again!

*Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls: These little scrolls hold big truths from the Bible. You can tuck one inside each of the glow in the dark Egglo eggs. Each scroll contains a simple verse based on the following: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Deuteronomy 6:5, Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 5:16 and 28:20, John 1:4, 1:5, 3:16, 8:12 and 12:46. There are 12 Treasures Scripture Scrolls in all. The price for a pack of 12 is $4.29.

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide: This 62-page program guide is a PDF file packed full of helpful information on how to get the most out of your Egg-Cellent Easter Adventure! The price is $14.99 for a one-time download.

How We Used Our Egglo Products

The Egglo glow in the dark eggs first needed to be charged with light (either natural sunlight or artificial light). I printed off the program guide so we could decide how we wanted to try out these fun glow in the dark eggs. There are an abundance of ideas in the program guide!

While the eggs were charging in the sunlight, my son and I listened to the audio download while we followed along in the Egg-Cellent Easter Adventure soft-cover story book. I chose to do it this way because the storyteller in the audio did such a fantastic job narrating the story. His voice characterizations, along with the wonderful sound effects throughout the recording, really brought the story to life! Once we finished the story, I used the questions and answers found in the program guide to make sure my son comprehended what he had heard.

Next, my son eagerly unrolled each treasure scripture scroll and read what was written on it. After discussing the verses, we then tucked each scroll into the glow in the dark plastic eggs. Once it was dark later in the evening, it was time for our glow in the dark Easter egg hunt. Pretty fun, even though Easter isn't even here yet!

My son also made his very own Egg-Cellent Easter Adventure coloring book from the coloring pages I printed from the program guide.

Our Opinion of Egglo Entertainment

My son and I both had a lot of fun with the products we were given to review for Egglo Entertainment! My husband is the Children's Pastor of our church, and we cannot wait to use Egglo Entertainment for our church's Easter celebration with our Kid's Church and the kids in our community. The program guide has everything from decorations, snack ideas, event invitations, an object lesson, etc. as well as a step-by-step outline of the guidelines for the hunt. I cannot wait for Easter to arrive so that we can use these resources to tell children that Jesus is the light of the world!

Egglo Review

I love the fact that these glow in the dark eggs can be used throughout the year as well. More year-round ideas are available on the Egglo Entertainment website. You can also connect with Egglo Entertainment at: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+.

My family highly recommends Egglo Entertainment for your upcoming Easter celebration. Jesus truly is the light of the world, and it's our mission to spread the word! I hope you'll have just as much fun with the products of Egglo Entertainment as we did.

Walking in His Grace, 

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions from

Today I'm bringing you a review of Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions from, a wonderful step-by-step video course provider for math and science. Since fractions is a math concept I have yet to tackle with my son in our homeschool, I jumped at the chance when the opportunity came up to review it as part of the TOS Review Crew!

Mastering 5th Grade Math

What's the Age Range for Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions?

The age range suggested is grades 4 - 6. Your kids will benefit from using this math video course because Jason Gibson, the instructor, becomes your own personal math tutor who does a fantastic job teaching about fractions! He thoroughly explains each lesson step-by-step so that a solid foundation is laid at the very beginning of your student's study of math fractions. For this reason, I believe Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1- Fractions would be suitable at any time you feel your student in the suggested age range is ready to begin their study of math fractions. For some this may be as early as 4th grade, while others may want to wait until 5th or 6th grade. You know your kids, so it's up to you when to begin your study of math fractions with them. You'll definitely want to enlist Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions when you are ready to begin!

What's Included with Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions?

Two disks are included in the video course of Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions. One is the DVD which includes the lessons, while the other is a CD that contains the printable worksheets for the lessons as well as an answer key.

Here's a peek at what your student will learn in Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions:

Lesson 1: Review of Fraction Concepts
Lesson 2: Writing Fractions as Words
Lesson 3: Finding Factors of Numbers
Lesson 4: Finding the Greatest Common Factor
Lesson 5: Finding the GCF of 3 Numbers
Lesson 6: Prime Factorization
Lesson 7: Equivalent Fractions
Lesson 8: Renaming Fractions
Lesson 9: Simplifying Fractions, Part 1
Lesson 10:
 Simplifying Fractions, Part 2
Lesson 11: Review of Improper Fractions
Lesson 12: Review of Mixed Fractions
Lesson 13: Writing Mixed Fractions as Improper Fractions
Lesson 14: Writing Improper Fractions as Mixed Fractions
Lesson 15: Thinking of Fractions as Division
Lesson 16: Writing Whole Numbers as Fractions

Everything is provided for you in Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions to begin your study of fractions in your homeschool. Additional volumes on fractions for 5th Grade Math are available for purchase as you and your student progress through your study of fractions.

You will find a free viewing of Lesson 1, along with the worksheet, on the website so that you can try out the course before making your decision to buy it. You can also like them on Facebook to find out how other homeschoolers are implementing their resources for math help.

What's the Cost?

The download price of Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions is $14.99 while the cost for the actual 2-disk set (includes the DVD and CD with printables) is $15.99. Now that's a great price to have your own personal math tutor for fractions in your homeschool!

How We Used Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions

I printed off the worksheets and answer key from the CD provided and kept them in a 3-ring binder. We used this course four days a week in our homeschool. First, we watched the video lesson on my laptop. As I stated before, Jason did a wonderful job breaking down the steps so that my son could get a firm grasp on what he was teaching. Starting with the very first lesson, Jeff demonstrated what he was teaching with several different examples on his white board to ensure that the student was able to form a strong foundation with fractions. Following the video lesson, we worked together on one of the worksheets pertaining to the lesson which I had printed. Each lesson has more than one worksheet so that your student will get plenty of practice to solidify the teaching. Depending on my son's level of understanding, some days I would work with him on the first sheet so that I could help explain any areas that he needed assistance with. Other days, after he felt more comfortable working alone on the worksheet, I would simply assign the next worksheet for that particular lesson. With my son, I've learned that slow and steady wins the race, so we are taking our time going through the lessons. Repetition is key for him, so if we need to watch a video lesson more than once then that is what we do. Since I have all the worksheets on the CD included in Volume 1, I can reprint any that I need. I love that!

My Opinion of Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Fractions from

This video course is exactly what I need to teach my son fractions! The lessons are explained step-by-step which makes it manageable for any student to learn. It's been a long times since I studied fractions, so I'm learning again too. Jeff Gibson is a wonderful teacher! He has taken the stress off of me trying to teach fractions to my son all by myself. It's so easy to just pop the DVD into our laptop and watch the video lesson together. When we get to the subject of math each day, my son always wants to learn more about fractions first before we work on any other math concept. That is a such a relief to me! Review

Find out what others on the TOS Review Crew think of the math and science video courses offered at - simply click on the Schoolhouse Review Crew image below.

Walking in His Grace, 

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Motivated Moms Review

Anyone else need some motivation - or better still, a way to help you keep everything you have to do organized so that you can peacefully lay your head down at night without a forgotten "something" popping into your mind?! I was thankful to have the opportunity to review Motivated Moms Ebooks from Motivated Moms (, a planner that helped keep me on track with my busy daily schedule.

Motivated Moms Review

I'll be the first to admit that I need all the motivation I can get to stay organized with my busy daily schedule. It's hard for me to keep up with all that has to be done on a daily basis - there's the homeschooling schedule, the cleaning schedule, the cooking schedule, the Bible/quiet time schedule, etc. There are nights when I lay down in bed - exhausted - only to have something I forgot to do pop into mind! It makes it almost impossible to shut off my mind so that I can get some rest so that I'm not a zombie the next day.

What's Available from Motivated Moms?

Motivated Moms provides a chore planning system that is available in the two following products: the Motivated Moms Ebooks, which are printable Ebooks from which you can choose the one that best fits your needs and as the Motivated Moms iOS App for your iPhone, iPad, iPad Touch, or Android. For this review, I chose to receive the printable Ebook, 2014 Motivated Moms Page Per Day Chore Planner with Scheduled Bible Reading {Color}, that I downloaded to my computer.

All the work has been done for us as far as organizing what needs to be done on a daily basis as well as other chores that sometimes get forgotten. I love the scheduled daily Bible reading plan that was included on the option I chose. Some mornings are so hectic, I don't get to do my in-depth Bible study so this is a wonderful feature for me personally. They have it planned so that you read through the entire Bible in a year!

Motivated Moms Review
This is an example of the planning system I chose. See more options on the Motivated Moms website.

What's the Price?

The following prices are listed for each product choice that is available through Motivated Moms. For the app, the price is .99 cents for one month or $7.99 for one year. The cost for the printable Ebook download is $8.00.

Age Range

Motivated Moms is for anyone wishing to have help with their chore planning system. (Yes, that would be me!)

How Motivated Moms Has Helped Me

I love this chore planning system! Motivated Moms have done a wonderful job organizing chores into a planning system that works.

Instead of printing off the whole Ebook, I chose to print it off weekly. I placed it on my refrigerator so that it was visible to me every day. As chores were completed, I simply marked them off the list. There was great satisfaction at the end of the day, knowing everything that needed to be completed for that day had been done. Once the week was completed, I hole-punched the planner page and put it in my 3-ring binder; and I printed off the next week I would need.

Motivated Moms is helping to keep me accountable in my daily chores. It has also helped me to run my day more smoothly by keeping me on task of what needs to be accomplished. I just feel better about my days now!

My Opinion of Motivated Moms

If you haven't already guessed by now...I love Motivated Moms! It is a wonderful chore planning system available at a fantastic price! I really couldn't ask for more. Check out their website at Motivated Moms or you can connect with them as well on the following social media outlets: Facebook and Twitter.

Find out what others on the TOS Review Crew think about Motivated Moms. Simply click on the image below.

Walking in His Grace, 

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Top 5 Toys and Games for Homeschooling Boys

Homeschooling boys takes a lot of imagination - at least it does with my son. God knitted his little heart to be adventurous and active, so at times it takes a lot of imagination on my part to keep his attention on what we are learning in our homeschool.

Enter toys and games!


I've quickly learned that using toys and games in our homeschool can give my son the adventure and active motion that he so desperately desires and needs. If you are looking for some ideas for toys and games to use in your homeschool, feel free to use some or all of my top 5 toys and games for homeschooling boys.

The best thing about my list is that you will not have to go out and spend a lot of money because most boy moms will already have these toys and games in their son's room.

Here are my top 5 toys and games for homeschooling boys:

  1. Nerf blaster - My son loves to shoot the answers to his math problems on our white board. I will put the answers to his problems in circles on our whiteboard. He will take aim at the answer he believes to be correct and shoot the dart which will stick to the whiteboard - hopefully on the correct answer!
  2. Deck of cards - We also use a normal deck of cards for math games. You can do this for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, etc. Check out ideas I have pinned on my Math on the Level Pinterest board. These games can be a welcomed change in your son's daily math practice!
  3. Twister - Have your son write his spelling words on index cards. Tape the spelling words to the Twister mat and let the fun begin! When your son places his hand or foot on the spelling word, he must spell the word for you. This is a fun and different way to learn spelling words while getting some of the wiggles out!
  4. Guess Who? - This fun game can be used to learn the Presidents of the United States. Simply print off the faces of the Presidents onto card stock. Use them to switch out the face cards included with the Guess Who? game. You will also want to print off facts about each President to use for your clue cards. This is a great way to learn facts about the men who have served as our President.
  5. Legos - You can do so much with Legos to make learning fun! You can tape the letters of the alphabet onto pieces of Legos for your son to use to learn his spelling words. You can tape numbers onto them as well for math fact practice. Legos aren't cheap, so taping onto your son's Legos is a much better option than writing on them. You can also use them to recreate battle scenes from a history lesson. The possibilities are endless!

What are some of your favorite toys and games to use in your homeschool? Feel free to share in the comments below! I'd love some new ideas to use with my son. Thanks for sharing with me!

Find out what other members of the TOS Review Crew use for toys and games in their homeschools. Simply click on the image below. The link to this image will be live on Wednesday.

Toys and Games for Homeschool

Walking in His Grace,