Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review: A+ Tutorsoft Inc.


We were given the opportunity to review for a great company called A+ TutorSoft, Inc.. I chose to have Terrific T be the one to review this, since he was just finishing up his current math book and ready to start a new one. He was also excited to get to do math on the computer :) We took the free math placement test and decided to review A+ Interactive MATH Online Homeschool Edition for 4th grade, even though we are part way through 4th grade. I'll talk more about that later.They also have CD software available, which would be nice if you had slow internet.

A+Tutorsoft, Inc. was easy to set up. I logged into my own account, and made an account for T. He was then able to log in with his own username/password each day. The lessons combine audio and visual, which is great as everyone doesn't learn the same way. I also liked that you can chose which lessons to do each day. We didn't do them in order, since, like I mentioned, we are 1/2 way through 4th grade so I didn't want to start at the beginning. We chose to start with division.


Once we picked the lesson, T was off. The computer reads everything to the student and works out the problems while explaining them. He really didn't need me at all! The lessons were short...maybe 5 minutes each. Then there is a short interactive quiz that he would take to make sure he understood it all. Some things were explained differently than he was used to learning it....but I like him hearing different words for the same things in math - you never know what will be on those pesky achievement tests!

If he missed any on the interactive quiz, they immediately corrected him and then to get the correct answer. I loved it! I haven't used an actual online curriculum before so maybe they all do this but this was a HUGE perk for me. They didn't just say, "No, try again." They actually retaught the whole problem and then he tried again. Genius!

There were several things I really liked that were included with the subscription:

1) E-books. I liked that I didn't have to watch the lessons with him. If he was struggling with something, we clicked on the e-book of that lesson and I could see what the issue was.
2) There is a 9 page reference sheet available. I printed this little wealth of knowledge and put it in a folder for him to have for reference. It includes things like fact tables, geometry, and conversions. I'm sure he will use this for years to come.
3) I liked that we could work at his own pace on here and there were several things in each lesson to help them learn, including online worksheets, printable worksheets, and exams. If he "got it" easily, we could skip the extra help and move on to the next lesson. If he was struggling, we could take more time. You can even generate a new worksheet on a topic to help cement it in their heads.
4) All of the online things are graded immediately and then I was able to log into my account and see all the scores.He got instant feedback from his "teacher" and I had things graded for me - lol.
5) With the subscription, you have everything you need to use the curriculum. The prep work is minimal - just decide which lesson to do and get started. There is no teacher prep and really no materials needed. I kept things as PDFs and referenced them to save on printing. We did print a few of the worksheets to try them that way, but I liked the online better since it was graded for me (lazy? maybe - lol). We printed the reference sheet, but that was just our preference there, you could get away with not printing them. He wanted to print the certificates after each lesson, but we didn't - lol.

A few things that I didn't, personally, love:

1) I would have preferred it to be full screen. I emailed them to see if that is possible to fix on my end but haven't heard back yet. I'll update if they tell me a way to correct this as it is totally possible it is a mistake I am making. ;)
2) T needs more review of previous skills learned than this provided.  Even though we could go back and review anything we wanted (which I liked), it would be nice to not have each concept so separated and have a little review in each worksheet. On the flip side, one of the things T liked is that this didn't take as long as his previous curriculum that has a lot of review. If your child doesn't need cumulative review than this won't bother you at all.
3) All the answers were in multiple choice format. I think this is going to be helpful for when standardized testing time comes around again. However, I would like if he had to put his own answer in for some of the worksheets instead of just multiple choice every time. This would make him have to work out the harder problems on paper and get an exact answer instead of estimating and guessing an answer that is close...which I noticed him doing a few times. Again, this will be nice later on for testing, but for daily work, I would like to see his exact answer. Maybe a mixture of the two where the tests are multiple choice and the worksheets are fill in the blanks might work.

{update - After posting this, I very quickly heard from a gentleman at A+ about my concerns. Full screen is proving to be a little tricky, but they are working on it. The other two were already on their radar for change and should be changed by spring. He said that 1st and 2nd already have some non-multiple choice questions mixed in and 3rd and 4th will be next. YAY. I love a company that truly listens to their customers!}

Overall though, this is a very thorough math curriculum and we have enjoyed using it. They currently offer 1st-6th grade, Pre Algebra and Algebra I.

The price for the online subscription for one child is $19.95 per month, $49.99 per quarter, or $124.95 for a year...which is almost 1/2 price of the monthly fee (I wasn't kidding when I told you we did division!).

But wait! 
It gets better!

A+ TutorSoft, Inc is graciously offering a 50% OFF Special Promotion through the end of MARCH. Use coupon code "SPOFFER50" to get this fantastic deal!

Click here or on the banner below to read more reviews from other Crew members:


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


We haven't had a good snow here in years and we were ready! Captain C spent the night with a friend last night and I'm sure he is having a blast playing in the show with him today. T and P spent a couple of hours playing outside today between subjects - lol. Another perk of homeschooling is getting to have extended recess for special occasions.

Here are a few shots from this morning of my cuties.


And Yes, I was there too... least long enough to take pictures then hide inside by the fire ;)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mammaw, Princess P, and Painting

One week ago today, a wonderful lady went home to see her Lord and Savior face to face...and also got to see her husband who passed away 15 years ago. Big Daddy's Mammaw was a wonderful, Godly woman, whom I am honored to have known for the last 16 years. She was always smiling and loved her family.She was kind and accepting and the best cook in Oklahoma! Big Daddy commented at her funeral that you never left her house hungry, and he wasn't kidding. She always made sure everyone left her home stuffed full. She was so caring and a wonderful hostess. I could learn a lot from her - that is so not my gift!

She lived 95 years on this earth and went Home peacefully last Sunday. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends, but we are looking forward to the day we will see her again! It takes some of the pain out of losing a loved one when you know they are saved and where they are now.

I tried to always take a picture of her with the kids when we saw her. Here is the last one I have, from about a month ago.  I'll treasure this one for ever.

 We love you, Mammaw, and will see you soon!

Also this week, Princess P turned 8. She is beautiful and caring and such a giver. A friend gave her $10 for her birthday and she immediately said, "Yay! Money for straws." Our CC is collecting money to purchase straws for Water is Life. A group from our church is going to Kenya in June and will get to take the straws, that the kids sign, with them and hand them out. Very cool. I thought it was super sweet that she didn't think of toys for herself, but of water for those that don't have it. I love her so much! Her birthday wasn't overly exciting. She went to work with me (and I snapped this picture while they were changing the kiddos' diaper) and we hung around here, then she went to play practice that night. She is going to have a friend come over this week and spend the night and get pedicures (her choice). She wasn't feeling well yesterday so we had to put it off for a bit.

She still wasn't feeling great today so Big Daddy took the boys to church and I stayed here with her. I figured I'd take the "extra" time and start painting her room. We are almost ready to start hosting foster kids and have requested girls so they can share a room with P. We had to rearrange all their rooms and got new bedding, etc. She wanted turquoise here we go!

We also had Valentine's Day, final foster class, and home study mixed in our crazy week. For V-Day, C made us heart shaped pancakes for breakfast, P went to a party at a friends so I took the boys out for a lunch date. Then on to art and Big Daddy brought me home a Hershey bouquet (much better than flowers - lol!) and Napolis for dinner. It was a perfect day.

Were you?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: God's Great Covenant OT2


We are so excited about our first TOS review of 2013: Classical Academic Press: God's Great Covenant Old Testament 2. We have spent a lot of time studying the beginning of the Bible and the New Testament, but haven't spent as much time focusing on the Minor Prophets so I jumped at the chance to review this. It is designed for 3rd-6th grade, but I did it with both P and T together, who are in 2nd and 4th and they did great with it.We love the classical approach to education so I was excited to give this a try.

PhotobucketOn the Classical Academic Press website, they have a sample weekly schedule to use with this curriculum. I printed that off and started studying the Teacher's Guide to see what all was involved. We do CC on Mondays, so we had to either double up a day, or do the quiz on Saturday. It says it will take about 20 minutes a day. We decided to double up a little and not have to do it on Saturday if possible.

Normally, I'm not a Teacher's Guide kind of gal...I usually just wing it, but I'm loving this guide. From the moment I opened it, I have loved it. It includes the entire Student book, but with the answers added in (woot!) and tons of additional information for explaining and going deeper. I highly recommend getting it to go along with the student book. You won't be sorry.

Our first week using God's Great Covenant, we stuck pretty close to the sample schedule. The next week, we started to find our groove and made some adjustments. I'll tell you what worked for us, but there is definitely flexibility to make this fit your family's needs.

The first day of a new chapter (Tuesday for us), we work on the memory verse and go over the memory page together.  This is where that teacher book came in very handy for me - it explains the key facts in more detail and gives a lot of background info that I found helpful as I explained it to the kids. What I liked also is that you can just read the additional info to them - it isn't in "adult-ese" where I had to read it and translate it into kid speak. They could understand it with me just reading it. That cuts WAY down on the prep work for this curriculum. I was basically learning right along side them! Then, still on the first day, we would pop in the mp3 files and listen to the story.


All of the stories, in every chapter, are in mp3 format! There are so many possibilities here to get the Word into your kids. They are dramatized and easy to listen to, not boring and the kids never complained about listening. They could listen when they are playing or going to bed, as well as during Bible time.  My kids love listening to audio books so this was perfect for them. I imagine we will listen to these over and over, even after we finish this book! A great way to get the Bible stories in their heads and hearts. Again, I highly recommend the mp3 - sure, all the info is in the book and you can read it to your kids (or have them read it), but this way they have it to listen to over and over. Each chapter also lists Scripture to read that goes along with the story. I assigned that as their "quiet time" reading each week as it wouldn't fit into the 20-30 minutes, but allowed them to have extra time learning later in the day.

The next day, we would listen to the story again and then they did the worksheet alone...well, together, but without me.  All of the answers were found in the previous pages so this was good for study skills and copy work too. T and P worked together on this as it was slightly too difficult for P to do alone, and T enjoyed being 'helpful' to P too. Then on Thursday, we listened to the story AGAIN and went over the worksheets together to check their work and let them correct anything. Then on Friday did the quiz and went over it together. The appendix in the back was also a hit as was the glossary and maps. They loved the maps!

20 minutes a day is not a lot to ask for such a great foundation in His Word. The stories are wonderfully written and applicable to the kids today. My favorite 'a-ha' moment so far was in chapter 3 when we talked about Saul disobeying God, yet still offering a sacrifice, so thinking everything was cool with him and God. We had good conversation about if it is ok to do the right thing with a wrong attitude and if that honors God. They were a little shocked that He isn't impressed if you obey but have a stinky attitude. Hmmm... something to think about.

I am so glad we were chosen to review this! It has certainly been a blessing to our family and we will continue to use it each week. You can download a sample pack of the book we reviewed that includes several chapters. Check it out and see what you think.There are 32 chapters in the book so it could easily fill your entire school year! They also have God's Great Covenant: Old Testament 1 that covers the beginning of the Bible.

If you chose to try it, the prices are very reasonable, in my opinion. The Student book is $22.95. Teacher Edition is $24.95. Audio File download is $9.95. can get all three as a bundle for $49.95, which is what I would recommend. Like I said, I am normally very cheap frugal and just get the student book and call it good, but I think you will truly love the teacher's guide and audio files with this one!

You can read more review from the crew by clicking here or on the banner below.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Army of the Lord

We are redoing all the kids' rooms, making room for some bonus kiddos to live with us (soon, we hope!). Terrific T chose to get camo bedding and an army/military themed room. Big Daddy made him an awesome loft bed that we found the plans for on pinterest and we have several other ideas from there for decorating it.

We are trying to figure out if we are going to put the armor of God on a wall, or a verse about being in God's army, or something to that effect. My sister sells Uppercase Living so we will come up with something perfect, I'm sure.

As I was finishing painting the walls tonight, I started singing an OLD Acapella song called "Army of the Lord." I haven't thought of that song in 25 years probably. I looked it up on youtube and sure enough, it was there.

Listening to it again got me thinking, and us talking...would you walk into the enemy's camp and lay your weapons down? Would you shed your armor as you go and leave it on the ground? Captain C was like "No. That would be stupid!"


But we do. We, as Christians, are living in enemy territory here on earth. We have been given the perfect armor to protect us and instructions to PUT IT ON. Everyday that we don't pick up the sword of the spirit (the Bible), we are unable to effectively fight. Any day we don't hold that shield of faith or wear the breastplate of righteousness, we are walking into the enemy's camp and laying our weapons down. If you are not wearing the helmet of salvation, your head, your mind, is wide open to enemy attacks.

How stupid! I'm thankful that the kids all know these passages by heart and know to put their armor on each day. I'm thankful that God gave us these things and thankful for the reminder today in the form of a song from ages ago.

Don't go into battle unarmed, my friends!! 


The Armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Liebster Award...take 2 or 3 or 4 :)

Yeehaw! Kym, at Homeschool Coffee Break, has given me a Liebster Award. Thank you so much - you are sweet :) This reminded me that I am such a loser and completely forgot when Bethany, at Little Homeschool Blessings, gave me this award back in January. I'm such a dork! I'm sorry, Bethany! This has been a crazy time for us and I don't knwo what happened to my brain.

I have been honored to get this award before and there is no way I can think of 11 more things about me without putting you all straight to here is the link to the last list of fascinating things about moi.

Since then, we have almost finished our foster process - classes end on Tuesday and we had to postpone our homestudy due to the flu outbreak at our casa, but are on track to finish it up this coming week too, I hope. We also took our house off the market and are staying put for a while and waiting to see what God has planned for us.

And now, since Big Daddy graciously took the kidlets to play practice tonight for me, I will attempt to answer some of the questions asked on their blogs. Let's see...I'll mix and match here ;)

  1. Why did you start your blog? As a sort of journal. Something we can look back at and remember what we did, since goodness knows I can't remember yesterday anymore!
  2. Where did you go on your best vacation ever? Our last cruise will be hard to top! Darn, it seems I never went back and blogged about how awesome it was. Just have this sneak peek of it. Oops.
  3. Do you play a musical instrument? I took many years of piano and can pick out something if needed...Oh and I and can play a mean tin whistle.
  4. What is your favorite food? Anything that I don't have to make or clean up. Count me in!
  5. What's the funniest thing your kid(s) did or said recently? Oh this killed me...and he will kill me for posting it. Captain C was so fed up with doing Latin this week that he sighed, "I wish the whole world spoke the same language so we didn't have to learn new ones." I asked him which language he wishes they all spoke and he said, "American....I mean, I mean...English!" I laughed so hard! Love that boy!
  6. What makes you most happy about homeschooling? Sleeping in!
  7. What is the subject you like the least? To teach? spelling.
  8. What is your favorite season? Spring! Almost finished with the normal school year and the weather is nice enough to do everything outside without melting.
  9. Where do you like to spend your time? I am a total homebody.
  10. Which chore do you like the most? Ugh, none of them! Hmmm....I'm lazy and wish our house self cleaned!
  11. If given the choice between sleeping in or going to bed early, what would you pick? Sleeping in. See #6. I don't like getting up in the morning, especially if it is cold.

And now to be a total loser, I'm not going to pass this award along. I tried that last time and no one replied. You all know I love you and clearly don't have the spare time, like me, to answer these things. Thank you, Big Daddy, for giving me the night off! You rock!! Our little Music Men (and woman) appreciate you too! Love you!!

See you soon...

So....since that last post, Captain C gave me the sweet gift of the flu. He is so generous to not hog it all himself. We spent a lot of quality time in bed watching Netflix together, doing minimal amounts of school, and going through boxes and boxes of Kleenex. Ahhh...good times :)

All that to say....Give me a couple of days and I'll come up with something clever to post. Right now, I'm playing catchup on everything around here (apparently the maid had the flu too - shoot!) and get to spend the whole day tomorrow making up the last two foster classes we missed this week. On the up side, only one more to go after this and we will be DONE! yahoo.

Have a great weekend! See you soon....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Life this week...

Random thoughts from our week.

Captain C started feeling poorly this week, just tired, headache, low fever, sore throat. He has a youth conference this weekend so I thought I'd get him checked for strep on Thursday. Thinking that if it was strep, he would have 24 hours on an antibiotic and be good to go for Friday. No such luck. Flu A. Bummer. Poor kid has been looking forward to this weekend for a month and is so disappointed. Big Daddy is a sponsor so still had to go, which kinda stinks too :( We are praying that no one else gets this and he is better asap. We passed on the Tamiflu, and opted to keep taking Berry Well instead. So far so good.

We received our first TOS Review items for the new year and are busy researching and using them. I love the variety this has brought to our homeschool. I tend to find a great new curriculum and jump right in for a month or so, then get bored with it. This keeps bring new and fun things into our classes and we all are enjoying it. Watch for the first review in the next few weeks ;)

Our foster care classes are winding down, well, we are 2/3 done. YAY! That sounds so much better than saying we have 9 hours left to go. Ugh! 27 hours is a lot of training, and I still am not feeling prepared. I'm thinking that a lot of this will be on the job training though probably. Our 2nd homestudy was scheduled for yesterday, but we had to cancel it because of the flu. Hope to get it made up early next week and get this wrapped up. They know more about us than we do at this point. Yikes.

It struck me this week that good friendships are priceless. It is so worth it to forgive when needed, talk it out when needed, laugh (at yourself?) when needed, and even cry when needed (though I don't recommend this one in public if you are an ugly crier like me). I am blessed with some VERY good friends and am so thankful for them.

Terrific T is always wanting to sleep with us. We let him a couple of weeks ago, and about midnight I slid out from between a snoring Big Daddy and a kick boxing T and slept on the couch! He has been counting the days until Big D will be at the youth conference so he could sleep with me again. He brought down his new comforter and made it into a "sleeping bag" on the bed, and climbed in. In his jeans. He has always slept in whatever he is wearing and it seems so odd to me, but not worth a fight. We quit buying him jammies years ago since he wouldn't wear them. He likes to sleep in jeans. Last night I asked him why and he said, "It is tough to get comfy when you are so boney." LOL! Maybe the jeans add some padding to his boney little legs? I don't know but I thought that was funny.

Our CC group declared last Monday to be Jersey Day...wear your favorite team jersey/colors in honor of the Super Bowl. Big Daddy was proud...and Yes, I was there too.

Were you? Link me up and let me see!