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Friday, October 31, 2014

TOS Review: Fascinating Physics Flipping Education for Middle and High School Online Education

Fascinating Education Review
I was so excited to get the chance to review Fascinating Physics from Fascinating Education. I received a full year's worth of access to the online learning site, which is available for $79. The courses they offer are for Middle School through High School, depending on the course you decide to take. The Physics class is intended for a high school level student. They also offer Fascinating Biology and Fascinating Chemistry.
THE COST: If you register for two of the classes, the yearly fee is $125, and if you sign up for all three courses, the fee is $175 for the year.
Fascinating Education Review

The instructor is Dr. Margulies. He is actually a neurologist, so he understands how the human brain functions. The concept behind the site is to "flip" the learning process by approaching learning through the right hemisphere of the brain. So, what does this mean in terms of how the site is set up?
It means that instead of the traditional text reading assignments, he presents the lessons in audio clips and pictures. The lessons begin with everyday observations and concepts that the student is most likely already familiar with, and then asks questions as to why this is how it is.


Dr. Margulies' approach assumes that the student knows nothing about the chosen science course of physics, biology, or chemistry and then presents the information in slow bite-sized pieces that follow a complete line of thought along a story line, and demonstrates how the science course answers questions to everyday observations. It uses tests frequently to make sure the student is grasping the concepts along the way.

Fascinating Education ReviewFascinating Education Review

There were 15 online lessons that included quizzes and text scripts. I had my 9th grade son log on to learn. He watched the online video lessons, which are broken down to several very short videos within each lesson. The lessons also provide the script if you prefer to read the lesson, and these scripts can be printed out. The lessons each conclude with an online test.

Lesson 1 - Movement
Lesson 2 - Vector
Lesson 3 - Forces
Lesson 4 - Energy-Work-Power
Lesson 5 - Circular Motion
Lesson 6 - Fluids and Gasses
Lesson 7 - Waves
Lesson 8 - Light Part 1
Lesson 9 - Light Part 2
Lesson 10 - Light Part 3
Lesson 11 - Electrical Charges
Lesson 12 - Moving Electrical Charges
Lesson 13 - Electrical Currents
Lesson 14 - The Atom
Lesson 15 - The Nucleus


The video lessons cover a wide variety of examples of approaching the topic with lots of colorful graphs and pictures that correspond with the lessons in a Power Point style presentation with the instructor talking throughout.

Each lesson contains approximately 25-38 short video lesson clips that are separated so that you can easily review the portions of each lesson that you need to focus on more, or easily find a topic that was covered. I thought that my son could sit down and complete one lesson per sitting, but I very quickly discovered that it's so much better for him to learn each lesson in smaller chunks of no more than 1-5 slide/video clips per day. Another student may be able to tackle more or even less, but it's nice to have the flexibility of learning as much or as little at a time that each student is able to handle. It's also nice that if you stop in the middle of a lesson, the screen will ask if you want to continue where you left off at your next log in.

The tests are like an open book test, because there is a NEED HELP? button that the student can click on if they get stuck and don't know the answer. When you click on that button, it shows the video clip that explains the specific test question. The tests are each fill in the dot/SAT style multiple choice. The student selects the answer and then hits submit. Once you hit submit, you see your immediate results and where your percentage lies as to whether you passed or did not pass. From there, you can print the results, review the quiz, or retry the quiz.

Even though this right-brain approach to learning science doesn't emphasize the need to learn terminology, there is also a Glossary tab that contains key vocabulary words inside each lesson. I really liked having this right there with easy access.

See what other Crew Members thought by clicking on the picture below:
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Monday, October 27, 2014

TOS Review: Clued in Kids

Clued In KidsReview

I was so excited to get the chance to review the Slumber Party Clue Pad ($8.99 for kids 6 year old and up) and the Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt ($5.99 for kids 4-104) from Clued in Kids.

When I was a kid, my older brother loved to hide my Christmas gifts and then set up a treasure hunt scavenger hunt for me to find it. When I would walk through the house, uncovering pillows, looking under furniture, opening the fridge to push food aside, all to find the next clue - I would get more and more excited knowing that one of those clues would finally uncover my gift. When I would eventually find it, I'm not sure which one of us became more excited - me or my brother - Because he had so much fun setting up the hunt and watching me enjoy it.

Combine this fun with the potential of learning facts about holidays, or virtually and literally any subject, through treasure hunt excitement, and Clued in Kids is born.

I was thrilled to receive two of the Clued in Kids treasure hunts. I was especially excited about the Slumber Party Clue Pad since my youngest daughter was about to celebrate her 8th birthday. I decided it would be fun to go on a treasure hunt as a party game. My kids were pretty excited about this idea, too.

Clued In KidsReview

The Slumber Party Clue Pad I received as a physical product that contains all the fun I remember slumber parties being all about, with dares, secret codes, and even a pizza picture puzzle. It is recommended to be used with groups of 1-10 kids, ages 6 and up. It works well with kids of different ages playing together as well.

Clued In KidsReview

The Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt is, as the name implies, centered around the holiday of Thanksgiving. I received this one as a PDF with 12 printable clues that also teach facts about Thanksgiving. It's intended for families or friends, ages 4 to 104, so even Great Grandpa can join in the fun. The printable version was easy to print and then all I had to do was cut the cards, and they were ready to use. There were fun puzzles, but it wasn't just meaningless fun with this set. It is a really interactive fun and a fantastic way to learn about Thanksgiving.

The hunts are real easy to set up, It is expected to take 10-15 minutes to set up, but I think the 8 minutes set-up time printed on the front of the Slumber Party pad is even more realistic, as it is super easy to set these up.

  1. I started by reading through the instructions to get it ready to go.
  2. Begin to hide the clues
  3. Decide on what the treasure will be. It can be stickers, candy, money, pizza, cupcakes, a book, pencils, erasers, or any treasure as big or as small as you like - It's your choice. If you use it with a group, consider having a pot of treasure (several stickers, or gumballs, or a healthy snack, or an entire pizza to share)
  4. Helpful Tip: Be sure to hang onto the answer key as the kids go through the clues and work the puzzles, so you can easily help if needed.

It's that easy! Now, it's time to have some fun and maybe even learn in the process.

I also had a fun with the online Puzzle Maker that allows you to plug in your own questions and then select a place in your house where you want to hide the prize. You plug in the questions and answers, choose the location for the treasure, and then it automatically creates a puzzle that your child can complete and uncover the clue as to where to find the treasure.

Take a peak at the Christmas treasure hunts
Find Clued in Kids scavenger hunts fun for yourself online at TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest. Clued in Kids has tons of treasure hunts available, and many of them were reviewed by the crew. Learn about the other treasure hunts that are available and what the other members of the crew thought by clicking on the picture below:

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Friday, October 24, 2014

TOS Review: New Liberty Videos Teaching Origins Objectively

New Liberty Videos Review

I had the chance to review Teaching Origins Objectively, a DVD from New Liberty Videos that sells for $19.95.

In many science textbooks, the theory of evolution has become commonly accepted, while the idea of origins that came about through an intelligent design is often considered to be purely spiritual at best and not rooted in science. This DVD presents the case for teaching origins objectively and not disregarding intelligent design as a theological theory embraced only by the religious or ill informed.

New Liberty Videos is a company that began with Brian Barkley, who was a Universal Studios employee. He worked on "B.J. and the Bear" and "Quincy" before becoming a Christian and producing a documentary, "Set Free", about San Quentin Prison. Following in this documentary perspective, New Liberty Videos offers a variety of topics in DVD format.

The video runs for 120 minutes (2 hours) and is intended for general audiences, so younger kids will probably find much of it to be over their heads. Still, if you're like me, you'll feel like it doesn't hurt to expose younger children to advanced learning even if they're still not yet able to grasp it in its fullness. This was the idea as I inserted the DVD into the player, though I'm glad I chose to view it alone before sitting my kids down to watch. While, I'm sure my oldest son, 9th Grade, probably will enjoy watching this documentary, it would have been way over the head of my 8-year-old. Still, as an adult, I found it fascinating and enlightening.

New Liberty Videos Review

This DVD is a compilation of the highlights from a May 2005 hearing before the Kansas State Board of Education where views of approaching the Evolution v. Creation concepts objectively were discussed in regard to teaching students about our origins from a scientific perspective and not disregarding a creative, intelligent design as non-scientific

During this 2005 hearing that lasted for four days, 23 experts presented their views in approximately 20 hours worth of hearing time presentations. The Teaching Origins Objectively DVD presents the best clips from these talks.

The speakers have impressive credentials and include:
  • William S. Harris, Ph.D. - Biochemist and Developer of Omega-3 Index
  • Jonathan Wells, Ph.D. - Molecular and Cell Biologists, Author of "Icons of Evolution"
  • Bruce Simat, Ph.D. - Professor at Northwestern College, Biochemistry and Human Physiology
  • Ralph Seelke, Ph.D. - Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin
  • Jill Gonzalez-Bravo, M.S. - Middle School Teacher, Rose Hill, Kansas
  • Edward Peltzer Ph.D. - Research Specialist in Oceanography & Chemical Evolution
  • Russel Carlson, Ph. D. - Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia
  • John Sanford, Ph.D. - Geneticist and Associate Professor, Cornell University
  • Robert DiSilvestro, Ph.D. - Biochemist, Professor of Nutrition, Ohio State University
  • Daniel Ely, Ph.D. - Professor of Biology, University of Akron, Ohio
  • Roger DeHart, B.S. - High School Biology Teacher, Westlake Village, CA
  • John Millam, Ph.D. - Theoretical Chemist, Developer Computational Chemistry Software
  • Nancy Bryson, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Kennesaw State University
  • James Barham, M.A. - Scholar and Author Specializing in Evolutionary Epistemiology
  • Stephen Meyer, Ph.D. - Director and Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute Seattle, WA
  • Angus Menuge, Ph.D. - Professor of Philosophy, Concordia University, Wisconsin
  • Warran Nord, Ph.D. - Professor of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Carolina
  • Mustafa Akyol - Freelance Writer for Turkish and U.S Media
  • Michael Bebe, Ph.D. - Professor of Biochemistry, Author of "Darwin's Black Box"
  • John H. Calvert, J.D. - Lawyer, Specializing in Constitutionally Appropriate Ways to Teach Origins Science in Public Schools

While I am a Christian and believe in creation, I have often heard creation science discussed using only the Bible as a reference to back the idea. I have also heard the criticisms and put downs that make those who believe in scientific design of origins look as if we are less intelligent than those who believe in evolution and accept it as a scientific fact.

I really enjoyed hearing these experts present their cases from a purely scientific, objective perspective. Actually, I found it fascinating and was happy to hear their takes on why they feel it is important to teach origins objectively and the importance of allowing the student to come to their own conclusions after being presented all of the facts from every possible theory, whether evolution or creation.

Good science is not determined upon accepting evolution as the only theory of origins!

Another thing I was happy to see was the long list of educational credentials that each speaker has attained. I felt like this put the each in a position to be equally respected by the Kansas Board of Education as those who prefer to teach evolution as the only scientific theory in regard to origins.

Find out what other crew members thought about this and other videos from New Liberty Videos by clicking on the picture below:

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Take The Perfect Pumpkin Patch Picture and Printable Pumpkin Lessons

Smile - O.K. - Say cheese!  No, no - Look at mommy!  Smile!  Run, run, go get little Joey.  He just ran off!  Everyone at the same time - Smile!  Put the pumpkin down!  Now, put your hand down.  Move your head out of the way of your sister's face.  Look at the camera, look up here, up here!  Squash!  Mommy, Jimmy just sat in a rotten pumpkin!  If any of these sound familiar, you know you have tried to capture a special moment of your children on film.  If you've ever visited a pumpkin patch with a new baby or young children in an... From: 12 Tips for Taking Great Pictures of Your Children in the Pumpkin Patch

If you come away from the pumpkin patch with a good picture, and actually have a pumpkin to show for it - It's time to put that learning to a more calm activity, while you sit back and enjoy your pretty pictures that you successfully captured.

Here are some links to pumpkin learning:

Pumpkin ESL

Pumpkin Lesson Printables

Pumpkin Unit

Do you have a fall-related blog post? Join the blogging carnival by clicking on the picture below:

Autumn Homeschool Studies

Friday, October 17, 2014

TOS Review: Standard Deviants Accelerate

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
I was so very excited when I was chosen to review Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses from Standard Deviants Accelerate.  I received a one-year online subscription for my children ages 8 to adult, which homeschoolers can purchase for $99 per subject, per year/$24.95 per month, and $14.95 per month for the AP classes.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review


The program is really easy to set up, and it is done entirely online. The parent signs up each student for the courses he or she are to take. From there, the student logs onto his or her account to watch a video in each subject that is assigned to them. It is followed by a quiz that provides immediate feedback, and if the student gets an answer wrong, it allows him or her to play back that portion of the video lesson that applied to that particular question.

At the end of each unit, there are group activities that are designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of learning styles having the student explain what they learned, pretending to be describing it to a particular audience, such as forgetful people, comic strip readers, cheerleaders, office supply sculptors, etc. It was really creative and fun to see the options. Since we don't have a group of students in the same grade, I just had my son choose the activity and use either me or his sister to explain what he had learned.

Each student needs his or her own email address.

The courses offered include:

  • Arithmetic - Grades 3+
  • Fundamental Math - Grades 4+
  • Earth Science - Grades 6+
  • Nutrition - Grades 6+
  • Algebra - Grades 7+
  • Biology - Grades 7+
  • Chemistry - Grades 9+
  • English Comp. - Grades 9+
  • U.S. History - Grades 9+
  • AP Biology - Grades 11+
  • AP Chemistry - Grades 11+
  • AP US Government & Politics - Grades 11+
  • AP US History - Grades 11+
  • AP English Composition - Grades 11+

We absolutely loved this program. It is intended to be used as a supplement. We used it as a supplement for my 3rd grader for math, but we used it as the starting base point for my son's entire curriculum.
My son used it for:

English Comp
U.S. History
Algebra at a 9th Grade level

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
The parent's account provides immediate progress reports that are set up in a colorful dial graph that summarizes how the student is doing. By looking at the dial and color, the parent knows how the student is doing: Where the student is excelling and where the student needs more work.
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review     Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

There are a few courses offered for Third and Fourth Grade, but most of the subjects are a great fit for middle and high school homeschoolers, Grades 7-12, offering a total of 14 subjects.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review     Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

I believe this site is a good fit for a wide array of students in many different grade levels, but for me - It was beyond amazing!

I was so, beyond thrilled, that when I told my extremely reluctant 9th grader that he needed to "do school" using Standard Deviants Accelerate, he did not fight me in the least when I told him it was time for school. He found the format to be very easy to follow. But, the most exciting part of it all is when I hear him explaining something new he has learned. I never thought that would ever happen. This child is so very less than thrilled about learning anything, but he has told me many things that he has learned through this site.

Read what other members of the TOS Review Crew thought by clicking on the picture below. Find Standard Deviants Accelerate on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TOS Review: Apologia iWitness

Apologia Review

I was privileged to be asked to review three books, written and designed by Doug Powell, from Apologia Educational Ministries:

  1. iWitness Biblical Archaeology
  2. New Testament iWitness
  3. Old Testament iWitness 

Apologia Review
  1. iWitness Biblical Archaeology - This book explores historical finds, outside of the Bible as a resource book, that reveal the accuracy of the Bible. It covers Old and New Testament accounts. This book begins with discussing historical discoveries surrounding the biblical account of Noah's Ark, then it moves into Egypt and the account of Moses, King David, and chronologically continues through discussing the burial shroud of Jesus.
Apologia Review
2. New Testament iWitness - This book focuses on how the New Testament that we read today came about. It presents the historic facts, and then allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusion.
Apologia Review
3. Old Testament iWitness - This book focuses on the books in the Old Testament, how they differ from the Hebrew Bible, how they came about to be included, who wrote them, and whether or not the words are based on fact or mythological stories. The back of the book includes a timeline of events and how they correlate to Scripture.

These are three paperback books written for those at an age 11 year-old or older reading level. Each book is $14.

Read a complete interview with Doug Powell including behind-the-scenes views about what went into these books.

The books are written and presented in a way that makes it easy to read, in short segments, with pictures integrated throughout.


I have reviewed and enjoyed other curriculum from Apologia Educational Ministries and have absolutely loved everything I have been able to get my hands on. So, I was thrilled to get a chance to review these books, as well.

Even though, Apologia Educational Ministries has never let me down, I still wanted to oversee the use of these books to make sure they fall in line with other materials we have come to know that give Apologia a trusted name in our house.

Before I handed the books over to my children or began reading them to my youngest, I wanted to read through them myself. So, I sat down to read, starting with the archaeology book.

I was so happy to discover that the use of these three books together formed a complete picture of Apologetics, why we believe what we believe, and how historic accounts that are recorded outside of the biblical references back up the Word of God in both the Old and New Testament.

I started with archaeology, because I thought that this would be a great historical launching point to lay the groundwork for the substance that is in the Old and New Testament books to follow. I figured, if there was enough archaeological proof displayed in the first book, then my children would have a boost in trust and faith enough to delve into the other two books.

As I read, I felt like I was sitting in my Bible college Apologetics class. These books covered information I learned when I was in Bible college, but they also included additional information I had never considered before, and they were illustrated in an interesting format that presents historical pictures right alongside the text. So, I was excited to present them to my children.

Read what other TOS Review Crew members thought of these three books by clicking on the picture below. In the meantime, find Apologia Educational Ministries on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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Free Linking Verb Worksheet Download

My kiddo is learning about linking verbs, and we are having a lot of fun.  We are having so much fun with it, that I thought I'd share our fun with you in the form of a free Linking Verb Worksheet Download.

We wrote a bunch of nouns out, using the color blue.
We wrote a bunch of adjectives, using the color green

And, our linking verbs of:


are in orange.

We, then cut out the words and formed our own sentences.

You can do the same.

Get your free Linking Verb Worksheet by clicking on the picture below:

Just download it, print it out with a color printer, cut out the words, and make your own sentences with linking verbs, using the format:

Blue noun/pronoun - Orange linking verb - Green adjective


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