Sunday, October 28, 2012

TOS CREW REVIEW ~ Samson's Classroom

Samson's Classroom is an online program for sight words, spelling and reading that is aimed for children grades K-5.  They have the children play engaging games to master the words. Samson is a loveable dog :-) Also on the website are worksheets and lesson plans. 

I have been using a fantastic Reading Program with Ryleigh that we are very happy with...  I plan to use the same program for spelling. That being said, I used Samson's Classroom to review what we have learned... and add a bit of technology to the lessons.  Ryleigh enjoyed how easy it was to use... I liked the material it encompassed...and the ease of tracking her progress. 

When Ryleigh used it she mainly focused on the sight words.... which uses the 224 most used words.... Ryleigh is only although she knows the entire pre-primer dolch list.... that is only a small portion of the program... Lots of room to grow!!!

Sight Words with Samson 2
Sight Words with Samson - Identifying words on a word wall

The Reading portion is designed to help the student grow in their analyzing and comprehension of what they are actually reading. These games are engaging and keeps the students interested and excited to keep moving forward!
Reading with Samson 2
Reading with Samson - Students get rewarded for answering questions correctly by gaining extra time in the carnival.

We have not done a lot of spelling with Ryleigh yet... she can spell some of her sight words and a lot of the CVC's...and some of the blends... she did seem to still enjoy the spelling section.... but I think she will like it more once we get a little further.... (and she gets a little older)...
Spelling with Samson 1
Spelling with Samson - Gathering letters and putting them in the proper order

You need to have complete mastery to move on to the next game... so it would be good if the teacher could set what "mastery" was... instead of it being 100%... sometimes Ryleigh would get 7/8 consistently. 

Home  - 1 user  $30 per year
Family -  4 users  $50 per year
Classroom -  30 users  $80 per year
Grade Level -  150 users  $250 per year
Small School -  400 users  $500 per year
Large School -  1,000 users  $1,000 per year

You can try out Samson's Classroom free demos by clicking here

To see what other crew members thought go here
Disclaimer: I received this product, and no other compensation, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Field Trippin.... Pumpkin Pickin...

To end our unit study on "Farms" and begin our Fall theme, Sarah Beth Academy (What I named our school )... went Pumpkin Picking to a Family Farm.... The kids ages ranged from not quite 3 months to 3rd Grade.... 
 Before the tour began the kids got out some of their energy...
 Braeden ran around in circles...
 The first activity was to go on a tractor pulled wagon ride....
 Ryleigh and Abby in the Wagon...
 Braeden looking at the cornfield as we passed it...
 Andrew... pointing to the cornfield.... 
 The kids were excited to pick their own pumpkin off of the vine...
 They were also allowed to each pick radishes...
 Ryleigh with one of hers.... the pumpkin field...
 The kids also got to see newborn bunnies... still in their next in the ground...
 The kids got to learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin.... 
 and that a pumpkin is a fruit.... (go figure!)
 and that the ridge on the outside of the pumpkin is called a rib...
 They also learned about the parts of corn...
  Ryleigh listening....
 Picking String Beans....
 At the end they got to play in the very awesome playground... here Braeden is on an actual Fire Truck (Slide off the back)...
  Ryleigh in the giant pumpkin...
 Braeden climbing up a giant stack of hay... he did not want to come down... I actually had to go up and get him... 

To see what others are doing this week or for school check out:
Tot School with 1+1+1=1
Preschool Corner with Homeschool Creations
Weekly Wrap-up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Our Classroom this year.... Fall 2012

This summer I spent a lot of time organizing (with some help!) our school room.... this year Ryleigh is in Kindergarten and Braeden is doing Preschool (I have 6 for his class....half are 3... the other half are some tot school aspects)... I always like to check out what other peoples rooms look like so I thought I would do a post on mine....

Starting from the edge of the couch (which is the "divider" between the school room and the other half of the basement)... Wire shelves hold "dirty bin"- where we put the dirty paint brushes, etc., trays, tabletop pocket charts, individual games, tot school hands on learning felt alphabet, cones and bean bags.... then the closet that holds my school supplies and curriculum... perhaps a post on that later.... pocket calendar... directly under that curriculum we are currently using, my supply 10 drawer system, and Ryleigh's 10 drawer workbox system...
Calendar (as described above, bulletin board for circle time, flag, storage pencil cases (from the dollar store) that hold weather, number, shape, letter, etc. velcro pieces. under that is where our themed sensory bin lives... and under that is the bin cubby for the kids to keep their supplies in... they have their names and decorations on them... the door in this picture is another closet (not school related)...
 For circle time: weather, seasons, days of the week, sight words, letter, shape, number, letter of the week...
 Wide view of the corner of the classroom... includes Braeden's All About Reading Pre-Level 1 posters...
 Posters, stairs... file folder games.... white door is laundry room (very convenient to throw loads in between directions!)
 Another view of this side of the room...we use carpet pieces from Ikea for our circle and story time...
 The other side of the room.... door is the laundry room... then book area...manipulative storage (more on that below, number pocket chart, sight word pocket chart, Map of NY, Ryleigh's board for All About Reading... Tables for the kids...
 This one includes a view of the Chica Chica Tree...and the USA map.... next to the Chica Tree is a bathroom... very handy for the little ones... and great when they need to wash hands after painting!
 A close up look of our bookshelf... It holds the pencil sharpener, alphabet box, Ryleigh's shoe to practice tying, the mailbox for postcards... underneath it holds music instruments, math manipulative s  handwriting without tears, fine motor skill manipulative s... and our science test tubes...

To see what others are doing this week or for school check out:
Tot School with 1+1+1=1
Preschool Corner with Homeschool Creations
Weekly Wrap-up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Sunday, October 7, 2012

TOS CREW REVIEW ~ Beeyoutiful Makeup


I was recently given some mineral makeup to review from BeeYoutiful Skin.... I was excited... and hoped that I would be able to review it adequately... I am going to be completely honest... I know very little about makeup... I hardly ever wear any.... and when I do- it consists of some eye-shadow and mascara...the end... I have tried to use it before... but have found the whole process very complicated and over whelming... so I usually take the easy route and avoid it.

In my review package I was given, a big brush (the softest brush I have ever seen!), a smaller 2 sided brush, eye color, lip color and foundation and a DVD with details on HOW to use the make up (the same instructions are available on the site.... the make up that I was sent was only a small portion of the amount you would receive if you purchased it.

To start I got to pick three foundation colors that I thought might work for me, and they sent me the 3 samples... and I picked the one I thought was the closest... I then chose the two colors I wanted to try for my eye color and lip color (the colors are actually interchangeable). When I first received the above package it looked like it would last for a couple of applications at best... (I did myself a favor and actually watched the DVD before applying any...and found that such a small amount was actually needed to use properly)...that it has lasted several weeks!

The makeup is made of all natural 100% pure minerals and are also gluten free!

Overall I love the makeup- its easy to apply and wears well! The DVD did say to use a toner first... I don't know what toner I don't have any... but... the makeup goes on and stays on without it just fine! (I spritzed the brush with a little bit of water). After the initial try, it was easy to mix the minerals with a little liquid for easy application. I think the whole "routine" took me maybe 5 minutes... including moisturizing... and explaining to the kids what I was doing... :-)

 My Before and After Pics.... in the "standard" facebook pose....

Foundation Brush – $11
Combo Brush – $6.50
Foundation – $25 for 3.95 g
Eye Color – $10 for .55 g
Samples – $1 each

If you have any questions about their products or to place an order, call 1-800-556-0967 or email them at

Beeyoutiful also offers skin care products and other natural products.  To see what other TOS Crew member thought of the Beeyoutiful Skin and other products, click here.

Disclaimer: I received the above products as a member of the TOS Crew in return for my honest review. All thought, opinions and photos are my own.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

TOS CREW REVIEW ~ Music Together

I have taught a Mommy and Me Music program for the last 4 years... I first started teaching it out of the house....and then Moved the classes to a nearby Dance Studio... When I was given the opportunity to review Music Together Family Favorites I was ecstatic because I have been interested in learning more about it for awhile (but never got around to it...due to lack of free time)!!! 

Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through age 7—and the grownups who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement.
Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.

After researching Music Together in connection with my TOS Crew review, I have found that it incorporates the same philosophies that my program does. 

Basic Principles of the Music Together Philosophy
I. All children are musical.
II. Therefore, all children can achieve basic music competence, which we have defined as the ability to sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm.
III.The participation and modeling of parents and caregivers, regardless of their musical ability, is essential to a child's musical growth.
IV. This growth is best achieved in a playful, developmentally appropriate, non-performance-oriented learning environment that is musically rich yet immediately accessible to the child's-and the adult's!-participation.

The Teacher book that I was given goes through how to use the songs, which instruments you can use, and the philosophy behind it. It was a great pairing to the CD and very informative. The CD I was given has 19 of the Music Together family favorites on it..... from the Hello Song that they start each class with to the Goodbye (wind down) song.  One of my favorite songs on the CD is Stick Tune... we frequently play with Rhythm Sticks and this was a fun new way to use them. The kids really enjoyed it!
We happen to have all the instruments for this program already (and then some :-))... however, if you don't have a lot of instruments around your house, you can obtain them inexpensively...or MAKE THEM!! :-) The fun is not in what brand of instrument...but the music itself. 

We mainly used the CD during free dance around with and enjoy... the songs are very catchy...and before long your kids will know all the lyrics...(as will you!) Overall, this is a great program... whether you are homeschooling... or public/private schooling!

The Music Together Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers is$29.95 or you can purchase the combo with the CD for $39.95. ($5 savings!) Music Together is also offering an additional $2 off with the coupon code “Schoolhouse” at the check out.

  • NAPPA Gold Award winner
  • A Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award winner
  • Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award Winner

See what the rest of the TOS Crew is saying about Music Together...

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.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TOS CREW REVIEW ~ Family Time Fitness


Between Dance, Swimming, Gymnastics and Soccer my kids are physically active (scheduled....lets face it...mine run around the house all day long) 6 days a week. I try and do a Zumba class 3-4 times a week.... overall our house is very physically active. I was thrilled to get Family Time Fitness (its for the whole family!!) to review. We were sent Fitness 4 Homeschool Core 1... through computer download. I downloaded the lessons and put them in a binder. 

The Fitness 4 Homeschool Curriculum allows homeschool parents to teachphysical education without previous knowledge of physical education and athletic development. Our program, designed by experts in fitness training, nutrition and body movement, is designed to suit every age and ability level while affordably fitting into your budget. Our program combines flexibility and fun with a comprehensive curriculum to give your children a foundation for strong bodies and minds. Best of all, you get all this for only $57 dollars for all your children!

The 260 lesson plans utilize repetition, but they are also progressive and sequential. The program is designed for all age levels and abilities, and because we believe that the learning process is most valuable with family engagement, the lessons are designed so that the whole family can join in the lessons.

A great part of this program is that there are not a lot of supplies needed... we actually had them all already anyway... hula hoops, cones, balls, jump ropes, etc.

I loved pretty much everything about this program. So much information was included! We received in depth lessons.... that are very easy to follow...but should you have questions, they also have video clips of the activities. They also have a one page summary- which is great to go back to refer to.  They also provide assessment tools and nutritional guides. 

If you do the entire lesson...its about 60 minutes of activity.... Because my kids are involved in a scheduled physical activity that ranges from 1-3 hours a day....I didn't feel that it was necessary for us to do the whole lesson.... not to fear!! The lessons are easily broken down into 15 minute intervals... which was (and is) perfect for us at the start of our school day. 

I plan to continue to use this awesome program, even now that the review is over. It is really so easy to use and a fun way to start the day! 

The Fitness 4 Homeschool Curriculum is $57.  There is also a FREE two day trial you can sign up for. Go check it out!

Click the banner below to see what other Crew members thought of this site. 


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.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Speekee Logo

Ryleigh (age 5) has been studying Spanish for the last year or so (at a slow pace)...and during this time Braeden (age 3) has started to pick up some of the Spanish words and Phrasing... so I was very interested to see how he would do with a program that I used geared toward his age.... he Loved it!!!

Speekee TV is fun and and the songs repetitive... there are 10 episodes that take your child to a different location (Park, Cafe, etc.). Included with the subscription (which is great for homeschoolers!!!) is the Speekee Fast Track Program... which provides daily activities to help you get the most out of your children's Spanish Education.  

From the Website:

What is Speekee FastTrack?

Speekee FastTrack is a 40 week plan that maximises every child's Spanish learning. Every week we've suggested 4 activities for you, with corresponding video clips, worksheets and other downloads. Taking just a few minutes, each activity accelerates understanding and use of Spanish.
* Please note that the Speekee Program is Spanish from Spain...not Latin America... ( I am using Latin America Spanish with there are some minor differences)...

8 reasons to choose SpeekeeTV for Spanish

Spanish for kids aged 2-10

  • Spanish acquisition without effort. Just watch and play!
  • HD video streaming of Speekee and friends teaching...
  • ...concise, essential Spanish, with lots of repetition
  • 100% in Spanish (subtitles available)
  • Virtual friendships with real Spanish children...
  • real Spanish locations...
  • real time!
  • Spanish songs that really ‘stick’

Pricing for their online program: Speekee offers the first two weeks free and the monthly fee is $7.50. A year subscription is $60.00. You can cancel your membership at any time. You may view pricing information here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a subscription to this program for free. No compensation was made. The thoughts/opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

TOS CREW REVIEW ~ Math Made Easy...Addition

I was given the opportunity to review the Home School Package of Math Made Easy: Addition. Ideally this is for 1st and 2nd grade...however, I used it with Ryleigh who is doing Kindergarten. The idea behind this is that the children learn their addition facts without using their 6 weeks.... There are only 36 facts that they need to learn.

Home School Packages: $24.95/ea
 Home School Addition Package:
  Lesson Plans
Six Weeks of Daily Activity Sheets 
  Post Test
Flash Cards

This nifty book comes in black and white so it is super easy to make copies (for home use only!). At first glance this book looked a little dull...HOWEVER, I could not have been more wrong.... The lessons are short and to the point...There are games to re-enforce the facts learned....and by having the student learn 6 facts a is completely doable! The reason that there are only 36 facts to learn, is that the 0s and 1s are are the duplicates...leaving 36 to learn.

This is a very straight forward...and EASY approach to learning your addition facts.... Ryleigh took to this right away and loved all the activities that were included... this would make a great addition (hahaha) to your homeschool math library!!!! I was very impressed with her progress in such a short time.

Math Made Easy also makes a Multiplication book...To see what other crew members have to say about Math Made Easy check out the School House Review Crew  Blog!!!

Disclaimer: I was given this product for free for my honest review...all opinions are my own!