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Friday, September 28, 2012

Box of I.D.E.As WWII Pearl Harbor - TOS REVIEW

 Box of I.D.E.As
World War II Pearl Harbor

Box of Ideas: World War II Pearl Harbor
Actual Box - $79.00  SKU17622
extra modules - $4.00  SKU17624
PFD - $49.00  SKU17623
Recommended for ages 9-16 yrs. old   

What is this?

This is a box filled with information about World War Two Pearl Harbor.  Not just the events that happened during the war, but the events that led up to it and everything that came after.  This is a detailed exploration of the World War II Pearl Harbor.

Included in this Box of I.D.E.As WWII Pearl Harbor -

10 Modules:

Before Becoming A Base 
Beginning of a Naval Presence
A Week Before the Attack
Day of Infamy
Day After the Attack
Weeks After the Attack
Six Months After the Attack
A Year After The Attack  
Victory Over Japan
Decades After the Attack

In each Module there is a game and/or activity, worksheet and reading sheet.  The reading sheet has a few paragraphs of reading which is the lesson for the module.  The worksheet describes the activity and/or game which is going to be done, and each module has a worksheet for the student to do to put in their portfolio.  The answer key is also included.

We received the physical box to review.

The student can take this box on the go very easily.  There are several activities like puzzles, games, etc. to do as well. 

For example, the worksheet my son has in front of him (in the picture above) is one about pearls.  The activity is to measure each one of the pearls on the worksheet.  The cards he has in his hands are the photo cards for the game.  This is the Before Becoming A Base Module.

Each module is enclosed in it's own sealed bag so they are all separated for you ready to use and very organized!

Extra modules can be purchased for $4.00 each if you have more than one child using the modules or they can share.  It is also reusable.

Currently these other topics are available -

Salt Box of I.D.E.As
Quilting Box of I.D.E.As
Laundry Box of I.D.E.As
Eleven Box of I.D.E.As
Pigs Box of I.D.E.As

They also have some new ones coming soon just to name a few -

Mystery Box of I.D.E.As
WWII Kitchen Box of I.D.E.As
Olives Box of I.D.E.As
Pine Box of I.D.E.As
Cemeteries Box of I.D.E.As

What I thought-
This would be great for homeschoolers on the run.  It has everything you need in the box already.  You just grab the box and go, once you have skimmed through it.  It would be wise to go through and cut the pieces of paper that need to be cut and maybe pack some pencils and a clipboard for easy writing.  It is also good for multi-grade teaching.  If you have a large family this would be excellent.  This kind of reminded me of a boxed unit study.

We set aside one hour per day for each Module.  You could stretch this time span and go into more depth with the each module if you wanted.  Some days, I read the information and then played the game or did the activity with my son.  Other days he did it on his own.  So the student could work on this independently if they are disciplined and old enough to do so. Possibly an older sibling could take control and do the lesson with the younger ones as well.  Very little teacher prep time is needed, which is great! 

My son (who is 13) used this box.   We really didn't care for it very much.  Even though there is a lot of information in this box, we actually found it a bit boring.  But in all fairness we are NOT big history buffs.  I guess I expected more colorful pictures, maybe some fun crafts, etc.  But like I said, it was very informative so for someone who likes to study the WW and who likes history, I'm sure they would like this.   We plan to try another topic this year; something we are more interested in. 

I also would like to mention that with some history curricula, that I have used in the past, do not explain what came before the major event like this one does.  It is gives you a perspective on what the timing/place was like before the event.

So I would recommend this to all the WWII buffs.....this is definitely your cup of tea! :)

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

To see what other TOS Crew members thought on this item as well as the PDF version, click below.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What are YOU learning in your homeschool?

Biology,.... sigh.  I am not a science buff.  My son loves science however.  YEAH! I am so glad!  Here he has dissected a mushroom and is looking at the spores through a microscope.

My other son did look at the mushroom spores.  But he had Language to do.  He was writing sentences today.  Now to some this may not be a challenge or a big deal.  For my 9 yr. old it is.  He has dyslexia.  Sentence writing and configuring does not come easy to him so this IS a big deal today.  He did a great job!

Everyday brings more exciting things to our homeschool lives.  Each day we learn more and more not only about academics, but we learn more about each other as a family.  I learn to make a big deal out of the things that may not be a big deal to others.  I learn to be patient and kind even though I didn't sleep well.  I learn to be appreciative to my boys for what they do to help me out as well as each other.  So I am learning things daily as well.

Take a moment and think about not just what you and your children have learned so far this year academically, but what you have build in your character!

Monday, September 24, 2012


Our church youth group read the entire Bible in just 25 hours!  We (some parents and kids) got together and read all night!  My son read for 12 hours!  They did this to raise money for STL (Speed The Light). 

Then, the next morning with only 1 hr. of sleep, they played an awesome soccer game! 

I have to mention how amazing it was to see these kids on the soccer field (when they weren't playing) in groups reading their Bible out loud!  They were not ashamed or embarrassed.  They didn't think anything about what others thought.  They knew what they had to do and accomplished it!

They also did some volunteer work in the town GYM.  They did a great job!

I am so proud of my sons and all these kids!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Life is too busy! Thank you Lord!

Life is what we make it, I know.  Lately I have been complaining that I am too busy. 

Our schedule is now 3 days a week soccer, 2 days a week church (Sunday & youth group), volunteer work one day, Bible study another.  All while trying to homeschool 5 days a week 2 different kids, 2 different grade levels! 
Where does the madness stop?  lol. 

I need to slow down and evaluation what is really important.  Ok, here it is.....cannot (and will not) cut out any church so that leaves soccer and volunteer work.  Soccer is the boys PE so that I cannot cut it.  The volunteer work is part of our 'tithes', not too mention a great help for our 'cause' we are supporting. 

So you see, the busy life is for good purpose.  I guess I need to just be thankful that I have 3 boys that are active in supporting their church, are good team players and are volunteering 'their' time as well. 

Thank you Lord for giving us all these things to do or we'd be sitting in front of the TV!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Don't fear teaching high school!

Teaching high school can be a bit overwhelming at first.  With all the credits you have to give, transcripts to create, and preparations for college.  Well, don't fear the unknown.

The Homescholar and HSLDA have several helps!  They can guide you on your journey without sweatin' the small stuff so to speak.  Both of their websites are listed here.



 I found out some interesting things about high school.  Here is a quick list of FAQ that I had as a high school homeschool parent.

Q:  What is a high school transcript?
A:  It is a explanation of what classes the student has completed

Q:  What is the transcript for?
A:  For college, a job or for the student to have proof of his/her studies.

Q:  How many hours is one full credit?
A:  Approx: 120 hours of a high school course.

Q:  What if we don't complete the course?  Does the student still get credit?
A:  Yes, as long as the student has finished 75% of the text / course and 120 hours.

Q:  What if the student finished the course / text in less than 120 hours?
A:  As long as the student has completed it and the curriculum states that it is equal to one full credit upon completion, the student gets credit.  For example, Apologia, Teaching Textbooks and aBeka all offer high school courses.  These all are reputable companies and their high school courses are equal to one full credit upon completion.

Q:  What about free read?  My child loves to read, but books of his/her choice.
A:   Create a class!  A Literature class.  As long as the student has read 120 hours worth, why not count it?  Have the child blog a review on the book, or do a book report on it as well.

Q:  How do I keep a transcript?
A:  There are several free helps online that have sample transcripts for you to print out and use.  You can also create your own.  I personally use the one from the website:

This is my 9'th year homeschooling and everyday I learn more and more about homeschooling.  I have a 13yr old who is doing 10'th grade work and a Dyslexic 9yr old doing both 4'th and 5'th grade work.   I may not be the expert but I can tell my homeschooling stories and help others ;)

God Bless & Happy Homeschooling through High School!

Disclaimer: As a current homeschooler of both high school and elementary grade children, all opinions and experiences are mine.  Every child and every family is different so please keep that in mind.  For homeschool laws in your state please check with HSLDA before considering starting your homeschool and / or changes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oregon Trail & Pony Express DVD Marshall Review

The History of The Oregon Trail 
& The Pony Express
or call toll free 888-300-3455 
8am - 8pm CST Mon-Sat

TOS Crew Review

The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express  DVD 
Recommend for 4'th grade through adult.
$19.99 SALE Price (Regular Price  $24.95)
FREE Study Guide on their website with this DVD.
Item # - KVFD-109

I had the honor of reviewing this DVD with my children.

This DVD contains 2 programs on 1 DVD.  Color; approx. 50 minutes.

About the DVD:

THE OREGON TRAIL - @ 35 minutes

This video explains the reasons for traveling this hard road; the joys and the hardships.  It shows the hauntingly beautiful landscape, the rivers they followed and crossed, and the elation and the dissension as described in immigrants diaries.   As you watch this DVD, the Oregon Trail comes to life in this detailed account of Americas longest and most famous trail.

THE PONY EXPRESS - @ 16 minutes

With all of the adventure and romance attached to it, most people don't realize the Pony Express lasted only 19 months.  It was a grand gamble that eventually led to the bankruptcy of the three men who started it. Yet, during its brief life span it caught the attention of Americans, made a legend of the riders and provided a vital link between California and the Northern states at the onset of the Civil War.

A free study guide follows the description of the programs on their website!

What I thought:

The Oregon Trail program shows parts of the 2,000 miles trip these people took on this tail.  They went through many hardships, very rough roads, and even deathly accidents.  I found the DVD very interesting.  The 'trails' were exactly that.... 'trails'!  The DVD did a very good job showing the details of the Oregon Trail.  When I think of trail, I personally think of a pathway of dirt.  This DVD shows areas of two wheel imprints in the mud, dirt and rock.   The steep inclines these people took with their children and belongings were amazing!  I even learned something new watching this DVD :)

The Pony Express program wasn't as long, but was interesting.  These 'mail carriers' took their lives in their hands back then delivering letters and such.  The DVD gives you the feeling as if you were there during that time. 

The discussion questions on the website are very good.  This DVD would be a great start for a unit study!

My son, age 13, liked the DVD.  It kept him interested.  My other son, who is 9, not so much.  He lost interest in it after about 15 minutes.  I personally would recommend this DVD for the middle school age or at least 6'th grade; unless your 4'th grader has a very good attention span and/or loves history.

Overall, I give it 2 thumbs up.  DVD's are a great way to teach children and gives plenty of open discussion!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

To view other reviews on this product, go to


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Finally, seeing the colors of FALL!

Finally, we are seeing some fall like weather!  It may be raining, but it's cooler!  Yippy!

This is my favorite time of year.  I love the pumpkins, fall leaves, scarecrows, candy corn, etc.  I love to decorate my house as well!  LOVE IT!

I live in WV and the best time to see all the beautiful vibrant colors in the trees is the beginning of October.  But this year, already early September, we are seeing the colors already.  Not sure if this is due to the lack of rain lately or fall coming early? 

Below is a picture of a few years back during the October month.

Fall coming early would be great since we had such a hot humid summer.  But I must insist we have the cooler weather that goes with all the beauty!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Scheduling and Orderly

Well, I survived my 1'st week (of my 9'th year) of homeschooling!  Yippy!  I stuck to my schedule, I am so proud of myself! lol.

I think that really is the key.  Distractions are attention suckers!  I set my answering machine so that the outgoing message explains that I won't be taking calls during school time; politely of course.  I also got up one hour before the boys to make sure that 'my stuff' was out of the way.  My routine is to I get up, read my Bible / scriptures, check my email, check facebook, check our homeschool page and then my weekly schedule.  I make note of what is on the schooling agenda for the day and wow, my day goes so much better. 

Here is a sample of how our schedule is for those who are still trying to create one.

7:00am    Wake up with COFFEE ;) dress, Bible time, check email, etc.
8:00am    Wake boys up, dressed, breakfast, brush teeth.
8:30am    We start school with Bible.
9:15am    Math/ Algebra
10:05am  break
10:15am  Language / Grammar
11:00am  Biology / Science
12:00pm  Lunch
12:45pm  History
1:45pm    Spanish / etc.

Now for my 4'th grader, his times are a bit different; shorter.  But we usually end up finishing around 2:30pm.

I know some of you may not like a schedule or it just doesn't work for your family.  That is ok.  I feel the number one rule of homeschooling is 'Do what works for your family!'  Every child and family is different.  Last year we started with a schedule and then tossed it.  But I do best when I follow one.  And the boys like a schedule too because it helps them feel a sense of accomplishment to check off each subject as they finish it. 

I do the same with chores.  Although I don't 'assign' the big chores by name.  In other words I write down 'this' needs to be done today and choose a child to do each individual chore.  It works best for us that way.  Although dishes and garbage removal are always set in stone.  Otherwise there is confusion and bickering ;)

You choose your schedule by what your family needs.  If your children don't care about checking things off, then just set a timer and tell them what is next.  My children like to look ahead and KNOW what they have for the day.  They like the SAME schedule (subject order) everyday. 

Bottom line is, all children need structure.  How you create that for them is up to you.

1 Corinthians 14:40
"But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."