Monday, January 23, 2012

We Choose Virtues TOS Crew Review

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 Being Virtuous is an important character quality I want all of us in our family to have. Helping hands I can find along the way to help us all on the path of character building virtues is a friend to me. Some of us on the TOS Crew were given the opportunity to review a new product from the folks at We Choose Virtues . This pocket sized new product is called Virtue Clue Cards.

   We were given a pack of the Virtue Clue Cards,Teacher's Handbook, Kids of Virtueville Coloring Book(download only). We were also given downloads that are available for free on their website, such as Family Character Assessment, this is a great tool for helping you decide which of the We Choose Virtues products would work best for your family. Kids Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths is another great resource that is currently available as a free download on the We Choose Virtues site.
                                                               $3.00 pdf download
$4.99 pdf download
$19.99 hard copy
  Here is a little background info about the creator of We Choose Virtues Products....

We Choose Virtues was created by Heather McMillan, my wife of 20 years, out of her love for children and her desire to see them reach their personal potential. As a preschool teacher and a children’s pastor, it concerned her how often she came across children whose lack of self control, honesty and perseverance was almost debilitating. How could they succeed in life without the skills that come from good character?

  Helping to instill Godly Character Traits has never been easier with the brand new product Virtue Clue Cards. They are small enough to take on the go, they are the size of business cards and come in a handy little vinyl pouch and at only $5.99 is an economical way to get started. These cards are geared for preschool throughout Elementary school but there are other products available for all ages through 18 yrs old. There is so much more to the lineup over at We Choose Virtues, for instance the Homeschool Pack that is just full of valuable teaching tools for your homeschool adventures. Kit includes flash cards, Kids Virtue poster, three Kids of Virtueville mini-posters, parenting cards, 25 sheet pad of Virtue User Review, 16 sheet pad of Personal Virtue Charts, The Three Rules poster, and Handbook and Coloring Book downloads all for $99.99. See the We Choose Virtues website for a full listing of all their products and pricing.

   All of the We Choose Virtues products help teach the 12 virtues of Godly Character. Characters with catchy names, such as Stop Sign Madeline (I am Self-Controlled), teach children about 12 virtues:













  We used the cards one at a time, each week focusing on a new Virtue to brush up on and help keep us on track. If you were caught being virtuous then you got a star on the chart we made. If you had a star next to your name for the whole week we put a marble in our jar. We use our marble jar to work towards fun outings. The boys can earn marbles for being extra good, helping without being asked, doing their chores, completing school work without delay and for showing Godly Character on a consistent basis. When our marble jar is full we take a fun field trip or buy something fun for our classroom or home.
  The Virtue I find the kids struggle with the most is keeping their self control. So we worked on this one for 2 weeks and I find the kids are trying so much harder to stay on track.

  We have enjoyed using the Virtue Clue Cards, and I am looking into purchasing the Homeschool Kit for our Family. It is so nice to be able to have the freedom to use whichever products and curriculum add ons we find useful for our family. Instilling good Virtues into my kids and keeping everyone refreshed is an important aspect of our homeschool and I love that I can work on this with my kids on a daily basis and see them continue to blossom in to Men of Character and follow the path that God is taking them on.

  If you would like to help your children become more virtuous then please check out all of the fine products available at We Choose Virtues. Whether they are small and you are just starting out or you have older kids like me and maybe you just need to all brush up and get back on track. They are sure to have something for every family that would make a good fit.  Don't forget to visit the Clearance Rack while you are there, if you are anything like me you don't want to miss the bargains.

    January and February Specials at WCV


JANUARY/FEBRUARY-The 100 Days of Virtue Poster and Stickers will be included FREE with any Homeschool Kit purchase during these months.

Also the kind folks over at We Choose Virtues have offered up some discount codes for all of you to be able to take advantage of (NOTE: YOU MAY ONLY USE ONE CODE AT A TIME)

These are the only active promo codes.

VIRTUE15 for 15 % off the shopping cart is still available
SHIPFREE for free worldwide shipping

I would really love it if you would LIKE the We Choose Virtues Facebook Page. Here you will find tips on parenting, leadership and inspiring lasting Virtue. Thank you!!! https://www.facebook.com/wechoosevirtues

    Be sure to visit my fellow TOS Crewmates and see how they used the Virtue Clue Cards.


“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or

services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it

on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally

and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance

with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the

Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Our New Camper

Pin It Now! These are the pictures that were sent to us by the seller. we are driving out to Port Huron to pick it up on the 29th and tow it to camp. We purchased our membership to OAI today. The kids are so excited.
 Our new camper is a 2000 Cherokee by Forest River 33ft Triple Bunkhouse with a slide.
We are anxiously awaiting April when camping season officially starts and the water is turned back on for the Season.
It is worse than giving a kid a toy for Christmas that they cannot use until Summer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Z-Guide to the Movies TOS Crew Review

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   If you like to include Movies into your homeschool curriculum like we do then I have just the review for you. As part of the TOS Crew we were chosen to review to Z-Guide  the Movies by Zeezok Publishing. Adding new dimension to homeschool movie watching.
   My boys love, love, love History especially anything to do with the Wars, so when I presented the boys with this opportunity they chose to do our review on the movie Flyboys, which centers around WWI.

  We were given the Elementary version of the download Z-Guide which retails for $12.99 or you can opt for a CD version mailed to you. There is also a High School version of this Z-Guide so you can chose which one would work best for your homeschool. One of the aspects I liked is where you can purchase a license to use these in a situation like a co-op or a traditional classroom. This license is available for a fee of $49.99.

    We did have to obtain the movie on our own for the review, but you are able to purchase the movies that go with their guides right on the web page where you purchase the Z-Guides, the prices do vary from movie to movie so you will want to check Zeezok for the exact price.  Most of the movies are available through Netflix or your local library so it was not too hard to get our hands on it.
     The guides themselves are a comprehensive study guide to go along with the movie and makes for a great unit study.
Here is what is included in each guide...
Each guide starts out with a topic overview. This overview provides the student with more information regarding the specific time period in which the movie is based. Next is a movie synopsis. The synopsis will assist the student in understanding what is going on in the movie and how relationships, situations, and events all relate together.
Each guide includes the historical setting, research skills, writing skills, hands-on activity, a worldview study, critical thinking skills, and family discussion questions. There is also a section called The Filmaker’s Art activity that helps the student recognize the tools being used to influence the viewer.

  All in all my boys and I really enjoyed working with our Z-Guide, it made watching a movie so much more rewarding and interesting. In the past we simply watched a movie that focused on a topic we were studying and then either just discussed it or I had them write a report or answer discussion questions. This was not enjoyable and often led to grumbling from the peanut gallery. When we used the Z-Guide the boys really became engaged in taking the movie many steps further. The key to my boys hearts is anything hands on and Z-Guides helped bring that to our movie watching.
   So if you like to use movies in your homeschool but feel there is something missing then you should check out Zeezok Publishing's Z-Guide to the Movies. There are Z-Guides for Elementary through High School and many titles to chose from. So I am sure you will be able to find something to fit your curriculum and tastes. 
   Be sure to stop by my fellow TOS Crewmates blogs as there are many Z-Guide reviews to chose from since we all got to pick which one we would like to work on.  Remember $12.99 is all is costs to have a little adventure back in time. What are you waiting for?


“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or

services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it

on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally

and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance

with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the

Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Imaginative Play for All Ages TOYDLE TOS Crew Review

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   In my mind there is nothing that tops good old fashion fun that centers around imaginative play. I posted a preview "commercial" post about Toydle back a month or so ago as part of the contest that the TOS Crew was running.  I  am back as promised with a full fledged review. I honestly do not know where to start except by saying Toydle Rocks!! My boys were so blessed with this review opportunity and it has brought so much fun into our home that I cannot say enough about it. My boys are 12, 13 and 15, and let's just say who ever said this kind of stuff is for little kids has never played with a Toydle Fort.  I have even enjoyed the creativity that comes with designing different types of forts. The possibilities truly are endless.

Here are some specs from the company and then I will get back to gushing about Toydle Forts.

The Toydle Story

Toydle is the brain child of Robert Brownfield. Rob—president of Worry-Free Manufacturing in Boise, Idaho—has been making quality products for years. He is also the father of two fraternal twins, Ike and Molly. (Their pictures adorn our website.) Like all good fathers who refuse to (fully) grow-up, he loves toys, and he loves to give toys to his kids.

  Problem is, as you’re fully aware, good toys are hard to find—real, high-quality, long-lasting toys. Frankly, most toys are only slightly better than junk.  Awhile back Rob brought home a toy for his son. Within five minutes it had met its fate on the driveway concrete. Busted. Worthless. And only five minutes old! While stewing on this reality Rob thought, “This is dumb! I can build better stuff than this. I do build better stuff than this!”
And so The Toydle Dream was born.

 The imaginative play is not where it stops that is for sure, let's add the Unconditional Warranty and that their Fort Kits are Made in the USA and this company is just at the top of my list for family friendly.

American Made/Unconditional Guarantee

Toydle Forts are made in the USA—in Boise, Idaho. Each tube is cut, each wood block is hand-shaped by an American worker. We believe that with a little American ingenuity we can make products better and more cost-effective than sending the work overseas. We believe that we can win jobs back for our workers and our economy. We practice it every day!

  And we guarantee every Toydle product—we will replace any product or piece thereof that fails for any reason, even if your little critters leave a block out in the rain, or try to do pull-ups with a tube. The quality of our products speak for themselves.

    Unconditional warranties are huge on my priority lists when it comes to buying anything for my boys and always has been. If you are a Mom of boys then you know what I am talking about. Boys are rough as I am sure girls can be too. What makes my situation a little different is my two boys with Autism, they are extra rough and do not always know their own strength. So far so good on the Toydle front but it helps to know that if something happens, help is always just a phone call away to help fix things up.

   We spent the whole day making forts and taking them down and rebuilding them another way, the day ours arrived. I had planned to wait to give this to them for Christmas but I was just too excited to see what they would think. They even turned my bed into a giant fort. It was so much fun to see them work together and problem solve. This has always been harder for them than most kids but they are getting better.
   We have made a small fort that we keep up all the time as a "safe haven" for when the boys need to escape away from the world. Some times with Autism kids get sensory overload and they need a small, safe place to get away and we have been able to do that thanks to our Toydle Fort. There are pillows and blankets in there and a couple of books. Anytime they want to get away or need to calm down that is where you will find them now. The neat thing is even though we have that one always put together we still have enough pieces left over to be creative and build new things. The boys are already talking about taking this with us camping this summer to build a little shelter from the sun. They are always talking about what to do next with the Toydle Fort Kit.

  We were fortunate to receive the Big Toydle Fort which retails for $229.99 with over 90 sq ft of fort materials. They do have The Toydle Fort with half of the supplies and also half of the real estate for only $149.99.  Each fort comes in a handy canvas duffel that zips shut. They do come in random colors, which is the only downside as with all boys I would have rather had a choice in colors as my boys were not too thrilled with the purple bag we got. Honestly though that was the only negative thing besides the price. Now this might seem pricey to some but remember there is an unconditional warranty. Unlike cheaper toys that break and then they turn to Garbage. Also this opens the door to endless hours of fun.
  No batteries required and all you need to add is imagination and some material or bed sheets for days and days of fun. I am sure you could think of someone that would love to play and "escape" away in a Toydle Fort.

  Be sure to check out the creative ways my fellow TOS Crewmates came up with for their Toydle Forts.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or

services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it

on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally

and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance

with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the

Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hola! Learn Spanish with REAL Homeschool Spanish TOS Crew Review

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  I don't know about you, but I took 4 years of French in High school. Today Spanish seems to be the language of choice for many schools, I know my son who is in Public High school is taking his 3rd year of Spanish as well as Italian this year. My boys that I homeschool have been begging to start a Spanish curriculum, but honestly I did not know where to start and I was feeling a little overwhelmed by teaching them a language I was not completely familiar with. This is why when presented with the opportunity to review REAL Homeschool Spanish as part of the TOS Crew I knew that God had answered my prayers. This curriculum had my interest right from the beginning as it is great for learning on the go as well in the classroom, since the MP3 audio files can go on a portable device we can learn where ever our day takes us.

   REAL Homeschool Spanish was created for Homeschoolers not revamped to fit around homeschooling. Their curriculum is also developed so that the whole family can learn and enjoy at the same time. No need for the parent/teacher to learn it ahead of time. Their Motto is R-Relax E-Enjoy A-Aspire L-Learn Spanish. It really cannot get much simpler than that.

  We were given their downloadable curriculum that is on sale right now for $49.95, and for only $10 more you can also get the daily curriculum guides as well. If you are an in your hands kind of family then the option of a hard copy which is retailing for $89.95, with the same curriculum guides for only $10 more may be the better way for you to go.  You receive audio files as well as text and workbook style programming so do not worry, they have all the bases covered for you. You will learn the Spanish in a variety of ways as you begin by learning the vocabulary by conversation and speaking and listening to the audio files so that you will hear the spoken language.

Now do keep in mind this is not a Spanish derived from Spain, it is from South and Central American, for us that was not important but it may be for you and I just want to let you know that up front. Now we have that out of the way, here is some more info. I loved how the learning is incorporated into your complete day, because this was made specifically with homeschoolers in mind, the learning is not only great for class time but fun to use through out your family's day. Along with the workbook style assignments there are so many fun games and activities that it makes it so enjoyable to learn the kids will not even realize they are doing school. This all comes with a curriculum planning guide and chart so you can be organized and set forth the path your family will take on this learning adventure. This fits in well with our curriculum we are already using since we are exploring countries and cultures.

     On the REAL Homeschool Spanish website you can not only by the curriculum, but there is so much to find there to help make the learning process more fun and informative, there are links to Mayan Culture and quizzes and don't forget the games, because this is supposed to be FUN, remember? Learning Homeschool style would not be complete with some fun in the kitchen, so do not forget to check out the recipes, that are coming soon to this area of their site. Now this programming is geared to kids aged 5-13 or K- 7th or 8th grade but keep in mind it is set up for the whole family to learn so adults please join in the fun as well as older siblings. My boys are in 7th and 8th grade and we all enjoyed it immensely. It is so much fun to see them engaging in Spanish conversation with their older brother.

  So please if you or your children have been wanting to learn a second or even a third or fourth language and Spanish is not something you are familiar with, please do not let that stop you. Give REAL Homeschool Spanish a try today and you will be on your way to a whole new world of learning.

  Please be sure to visit my fellow crew mates and see what there families have been up to with REAL Homeschool Spanish.

                                     Adios! for now