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2017 TOS Crew Reviews

0 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Health Education with MarshMedia // A Review

As a homeschooling parent, it is important for me to incorporate health education into our curriculum. While I try to have open and honest communication with my children about health, peer pressure and their changing bodies, it’s nice to have help. This is why I was excited to receive access to the Homeschool Special by MarshMedia.

Health Education Products for K-8 {MarshMedia }
MarshMedia has been creating educational materials since 1969. Their videos cover a wide variety of topics including hygiene, health, puberty education, safety, immune system disorders, head lice, nutrition, etc. Their puberty programs are the “bread and butter” of what MarshMedia has to offer. While they do not discuss “sex education”, many people will use this term when searching for puberty material. Each video averages 15 minutes in length and are for students in grades K-8.

From now until December 31, 2017, MarshMedia is offering the Homeschool Special to homeschool families, which will provided unlimited viewing of 59 programs for just $50.00. In order to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to introduce the MarshMedia curriculum to your home schooler(s) click on the link below for more information:

*Once you click the link it may take a few seconds to download, so please be patient.

How We Used This Product

After familiarizing myself with available options for streaming, I chose a few videos to view. Once you choose a video, you are taken to a page where you can watch a short preview of content, read a description, see the recommended grade level and find out the duration of the video.

The first video I previewed was “Straight Talk About Puberty for Boys”. This video is recommended for boys in grades 5-8 and runs 18:10 minutes. I was excited to view this one because I have a son going through lots of changes at the age of 13.

There are different videos for boys and girls on the topic of puberty, and are available for a variety of ages. I was quite impressed with the presentation of the video. Nothing was out of line and all was done in taste. After I viewed the video, I had my son watch it. Afterwards I asked him how he liked the video. Here is his response:

I thought the video was good. I am glad you didn’t ask me to watch it with you, because I would have turned red for sure. I liked getting to know more about what is happening in my body. Now I know why I asked you to buy me deoderant recently. The video helped me to understand about my body and be prepared for other changes.

The next video I watched was “Keep It Clean”, which talks about all manner of hygiene for both health and appearance. It is geared for grades 5-8 and is a very entertaining, foot tapping 18 minutes. I had my son watch this video. We both loved how it was presented using music.

The next video we watched together was “You Are Not Alone”, which is done interview style with Quinn Bradlee, a role model for students with learning disabilities or special needs. I choose this video to watch with my son because, even though he doesn’t have a visual disability, he does have ADHD and some social anxieties. I loved the message in this video of how everyone has something they have to deal with, and that you are not alone.

Final Thoughts

I was very impressed with the quality of the videos MarshMedia has to offer and the information presented. My son enjoyed watching the videos and appreciated having a visual element with which to learn about health related issues.

If you are homeschooler, be sure to visit for more information about the Homeschool Special that is being offered now through December 31, 2017. You don’t want to miss it!

Be sure to click on the banner below to read what other Crew members thought of this wonderful resource.

MarshMedia Reviews
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3 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews/ Homeschooling

Memoria Press “The Book Of Trees” // Review

If there is one subject my son loves it’s science. While we have covered a lot of different sciences this year, we were lacking in the area of Botany. We were excited for the chance to review The Book of Trees by Memoria Press, which is an introduction to Botany through the study of trees.  Memoria Press also offers Latin Curriculum from Early Elementary to High School!

The Book of Trees Set
For the purpose of this review, we received a reader, student book and teacher guide. *The student book is intended to be used by one student, so if you have multiple students using this curriculum you will want to purchase additional books.  If you purchase the entire set from Memoria press, it also comes with two other recommended books, The Tree Book For Kids and Their Grown-ups, and the Peterson First Guide to Trees of North America.  As these two items were not included with what I received, we used the internet for further research.  This set is recommended for children in grades 6-8.

There are 9 chapters included in the 82-page soft cover student reader. What I love about the reader is that the chapters are relatively short, some just 4 pages, but no more than 15. Most chapters are between 5-8 pages. It’s just the right about of information for a student who gets overwhelmed with a lot of reading, as mine does.

The student book contains 108 pages. It is broken down into four regular units, with a fifth advanced unit. For each lesson, there are reading and questions for each chapter, diagram and labeling as well as other activities.

My son worked through 1 chapter a week, 3 times a week. On day one he read the assigned pages in the reader. On day two he worked on answering the questions pertaining to each chapter, and on day three he worked on diagramming, labeling and/or other activities.

What I loved about the activities for this curriculum is it gives the student a chance to get outside to observe nature in their own surroundings. For the activity for the lesson on roots, my son was able to dig up a plant in our yard to examine it’s roots closer. The photo below shows the plant my son dug up and he was able to identify it as having a fibrous root system.

After each unit there is a Unit Review that incorporates questions, diagramming, and labeling from what is learned throughout the lessons.

The Teacher Guide contains all of the answers for the questions and activities for each chapter. It also includes quizzes, tests and keys. The quizzes and tests do need to be photocopied from the teacher guide, as they are not contained in the student guide.

Overall, we loved this product. We love that it’s simple to use, not overwhelming on the reading, and has just enough of a hands-on component to really help the student understand what it is they are learning. If you are looking for an introduction to Botany course for your 6th-8th grade student, The Book of Trees by Memoria Press does not disappoint.

Memoria Press
For more about Memoria Press, you can find them here:

Be sure to click the banner below to read other reviews from Crew Members on this and other curriculum offered by Memoria Press.

Latin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}  
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0 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

YWAM Heroes of History – Thomas Edison // A Review

In our homeschool, we’ve been studying physical science. Not too long ago we completed our study of inventions an inventors. My son loves to read about how things were created, how they worked and how people came up with such bright ideas. We were thrilled for the opportunity to review a book from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing to further our knowledge of one of our favorite inventors. We chose to read Heroes of History – Thomas Edison.

YWAM Publishing

About YWAM Publishing

YWAM Publishing produces and distributes books that encourage Christians to make a difference in a world in need. Their books focus on evangelism, educational training, prayer, discipleship as well as mercy ministries. A portion of every dollar spent on products goes toward helping children and adults in China, India, Brazil, Columbia, Egypt, Uganda, the Philippines, as well as other countries in need.

There are 28 books included in the Heroes of History Series, which are geared for ages 10 and older. However, if you have a younger child who is advanced in their reading, these books would also be a great fit. Some of the other books included in this series are:

  • Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom
  • Alan Shepard: Higher and Faster
  • Ben Carson: A Chance at Life
  • Benjamin Franklin: Live Wire
  • Billy Graham: America’s Pastor
  • Christopher Columbus: Across the Ocean Sea
  • Clara Barton: Courage Under Fire
  • Daniel Boone: Frontiersman
  • Davy Crockett: Ever Westward
  • Douglas MacArthur: What Greater Honor

For the purpose of this review, we received a copy of Heroes of History – Thomas Edison from YWAM’s Heroes of History series. This is a 201 page, paperback book. We also received a downloadable Study Guide, which includes various curriculum areas such as History, Geography, Essay Writing, Creative Writing, Reading Comprehension, Public Speaking, Drama and Art.

The Study Guide comes in two parts. Part 1 includes:

  • Key Quotes
  • Display Corner
  • Chapter Questions
  • Student Explorations
  • Community Links
  • Social Studies
  • Related Themes To Explore
  • Culminating Event
  • Appendix to Books and Resources
  • Answers to Chapter Questions

Part 2 of the Study Guide contains the social study reproducibles (a fill-in fact page, maps, timelines, etc.)

How We Used This Product

Having already read one book in this series last year, my son was excited to read this book, especially since he is so interested in inventors and inventions.

I had my son read 3 chapters three times a week and we were able to finish reading the book in just under two weeks. Because one of the major areas of struggle for my son is comprehension, we focused mostly on answering the Chapter Questions while reading the book. He’s better verbally, so I wasn’t expecting perfection. Just enough to get him to write down what he could recall from his reading.

One of the other areas of interest were the Related Internet Sites found in the Study Guide, which always spark my visual and auditory learner’s interest. One of the sites we visited shared about the second half of Edison’s life.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we love these books. My son thought it was easy to read and found the life of Thomas Edison very interesting. My son couldn’t believe Edison returned to the workshop right after he got married before leaving for his honeymoon! He said to me, “Mom, that is commitment!” Although we didn’t delve in to all of the parts of the Study Guide, there is so much offered for a well-rounded unit study incorporating all areas of study.

If you are looking for books to teach your children about heroes of history, consider YWAM Publishing’s Heroes of History Series.

Other members of the Crew have read other books in this series, as well as books in the Christian Heroes: Then & Now Series. Be sure to click the banner below to read all of the reviews!

Christian & History Heroes {YWAM Publishing Reviews}
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8 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

The Pencil Grip, Inc. // A Review & Giveaway

I love to do art with my kids. But as they have gotten older, it’s harder to get them to want to participate in art projects without some skillful prompting. What makes it easier for them is great quality art supplies, like the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Thin Stix by KwikStix
The Pencil Grip, Inc. was founded in 1992 by Dr. Lois Provda and provides innovative products for use in school, home and office, such as book rings, flashlights, rulers, basic office supplies, labels and stickers, basic pencil grips and more!

Thin Stix are solid tempura paint sticks that are mess free. They are likened to a glue stick, in that they have a dial on the bottom that you turn and the paint stick comes up. With the vibrant, beautiful colors you are just minutes away from creating beautiful art. The paint dries in 90 seconds and the colors do not run (although you can blend them together, but we didn’t try this technique). This product can be used on paper, canvas, wood and cardboard. Although you can use it on regular paper, I find cardstock works much better.

For the purpose of this review, I received the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors, which includes black, brown, blue, green, red and yellow.

Thin Stix by KwikStix
Thin Stix also come in a 24 pack as well as a Creativity Pack. Both of these packs include assorted colors, as well as neon and metalix colors. The neon and metalix colors are also sold in individual 6 packs as well.

Here is a project that my son created one day when he was bored and I asked him to go paint something using the Thin Stix.

I used the Thin Stix on watercolor paper to paint a concept of something I had in my head — an ocean of God’s love. The color did not cover as well on watercolor paper, but that is actually the look I wanted, so it was totally fine.  Although my project isn’t finished yet, here’s a peak at what I have done so far:

As a fairly new Nana, I have been instilling a love for art in my two year old grandson. Now that he lives with me, he knows exactly where to go to ask for the “colors”. With my supervision, I give him the Thin Stix and paper and let his imagination go. He is pretty set on drawing “tracks” for his cars almost every time. Here he is having a great time creating a masterpiece with the Thin Stix, which are perfect for his little hands to hold. *You will definately want to supervise a young child with this product as they can leave marks on tables and clothing, but the marks come off pretty easily. 

Overall, I love this product. However, I was expecting them to be a little thinner. It wasn’t as easy to make a fine line with them, but for the projects we did, they worked out okay. If you enjoy good quality, mess free art supplies, you will want to add the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors to your art box.


The folks over at The Pencil Grip, Inc. have graciously offered to provide one of my readers a set of Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors of their very own. All you have to do to enter is tell me what you would create with this product, or who you would gift these to if you were to win.

The giveaway will end at 9PM Pacific Time on Wednesday, May 31st. *Open to residents of the Continental United States only.

Be sure to check out what other Crew members have to say about this amazing product by clicking the banner below.

No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
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1 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

The Secret Bridge by Lamplighter Publishing // A Review

As a busy working mom who also homeschools, I don’t get much time to read for my own enjoyment. But when I do, it’s always good Christian fiction that first catches my interest. That is why I was so excited to receive my copy of the The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing and begin reading this one myself.

The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews}
You guys, I just have to tell you when I first laid eyes on this book I could not get over how beautiful it was. The book cover is in a beautiful shade of teal green, and the image on the cover is slightly engraved. The title of the book is engraved within a gold backdrop. It’s a book I would definately pick up had I seen it on a bookstore shelf.

Lamplight Publishing aims to build Christlike character one story at a time. Each story is built on the very character foundations that are instilled in a person from a young age. Each is a story of love, hope, perseverance, loyalty, courage and humility, and include biblical frameworks that reflect the character of God.

The Secret Bridge by Amy Le Fauvre, written in 1899, tells the story of young Bridget Channing. Alone and penniless after her father’s death, she is traveling to England by ship to stay with her Uncle. While on board she meets the very charming Mr. Godfrey Bellingham, who senses her distress and feels an intense need to take care of her. After making small talk on the ship and becoming somewhat acquainted, Bridget and Godfrey go their separate ways. Bridget finds out after arriving at her Uncle’s home that he has since passed on only three weeks early, and she is not welcome in the house. Alone again and in even more of a desperate situation, she crosses paths once again with Godfrey who makes her a proposition of marriage. Reluctant at first, she finally agrees, and the couple set off on a path of new discoveries, deepening relationships, character and trust building. Yet, secrets lurk that threaten to ruin any promise of new found hope and love.

In the beginning of the book Bridget declares her unbelief in God; yet, we find her challenged to “Acquaint Thyself With Him” as she begins her quest to know God as she deals with the challenges of her new life and the mysteries surrounding it.

I loved this book. I loved holding it in my hands and was impressed with the style of writing. The story encourages a deeper relationship with Christ and the quest to “Acquaint Thyself With Him” is a central theme throughout the book. With every turn of a page I was brought deeper in to the central theme of wanting and needing to know Christ more and waiting for Him as a bride waits for her bridegroom. I can honestly say there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this book.

The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews}
If you enjoy Christian fiction, or have a student in middle school or older, I would highly encourage you to read The Secret Bridge by Lamplight Publishing. I know you will love the story as much as I did.

Be sure to click the banner below to read what other Crew members have to saw about this beautiful story.

The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews}
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