2017 TOS Crew Reviews, Homeschool Product Reviews, Homeschooling

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Yearly Membership // A Review

I am thrilled to be starting another year with the Homeschool Review Crew, which means more exciting homeschool products for us to try!  One of the things we’ve been doing over the last few months is supplementing our curriculum with classes from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. As a member of the Homeschool Review Crew, I’ve received another complimentary Yearly Membership to this amazing on-line treasure trove of homeschooling classes and helps.

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}

About SchoolhouseTeachers.com

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. They provide courses in all subject areas (varying in length and intensity) for children in preschool through grade 12. There is so much flexibility with the site, in that classes can be started and completed at the student’s own pace. Almost all of the courses offered have a written component, and many have an audio or visual component as well.

Some of the amazing features you will find are:

  • Over 300 course options with new courses added regularly
  • Full Year and One Semester Courses as well as short Unit Studies
  • Access to Streaming Video
  • Schedule Creators
  • No Common Core (if that is important to you)
  • Self-Paced
  • High School Credit and Transcript Support
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • A Single Membership Covers Your Entire Family
  • No Hidden Fees and No Additional Books To Purchase
  • Affiliate Earning Potential

How We’ve Been Utilizing This Resource

As a full-time working mom who is homeschooling a middle school child, I like to have a lot of options with curriculum. Sometimes what we started with isn’t working, or there are times where we just need a change of pace or a little supplemental work here and there. Although I do not use this resource as my core curriculum, we have been benefitting so much from what we are utilizing. Some of the Middle School courses we’ve completed over the last few months include:

Language Arts
Daily Writing
Schoolhouse Spelling
Sparking The Noggin


Most recently, my son has been working through the All About The World Geography course. We have not studied much geography, so I thought this course would be a great introduction, as it introduces him to continents, capitals, landforms and biomes, major lakes and rivers, mountain ranges, political boundaries, and more. Some of the activities he’s been completing include matching, decoding puzzles, multiple choice, map work, and even an international traders’ challenge.

I print up the worksheets for him each day and after he completes them I place them in a binder I created just for this course.

One of the best things I’ve found about this resource is that I am not stuck at a certain grade level. Although my son is in 8th grade, he’s performing below grade level in Language Arts, Writing and History. We can choose to use elementary curriculum for a certain subject, while others subjects span both Elementary and Middle School levels.

Our Final Thoughts

I am very pleased with this on line treasure trove of resources. I can’t say enough about the variety and flexibility that SchoolhouseTeachers.com has to offer. I love the Resource Center, where we’ve found helpful resources such as Help Charts to assist in our learning of States, Capitals and Presidents as well as the Just For Parents section which offers a wide array of helps for parents, such as dealing with emotions, teens, marriage, special needs parenting and so much more!

If you are looking for online courses for your child, or perhaps to supplement something you are already doing, then make sure to check out  SchoolhouseTeachers.com and all they have to offer. You can find out more about them on social media here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SchoolhouseTeachers/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TOSMag/

Hurry for your chance to receive 50% of your subscription!

To celebrate their beautiful new site, which is so much easier to use, SchoolhouseTeachers.com is having a Super Christmas Sale where you can save 50% off your subscription.  Use Code: CHRISTMAS for $9.95/month or CHRISTMASYEAR for $90/year. This will lock in your 50% discount on upcoming price increase ends January 15, 2017.

Schoolhouse Teachers Half Price Discount

*The sale has been extended for just a few more days so hurry now and take advantage of this awesome resource at a great price!

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}
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2017 TOS Crew Reviews, Homeschool Product Reviews

The Beginner’s Bible by Zonderkidz // Review

I am so excited to begin my second year on The Homeschool Review Crew. I have been blessed to be able to receive free product for our homeschool in exchange for my honest opinion. One of the best parts of being on The Crew are the homeschool moms I’ve grown in relationship with over the last year. During the Christmas break, I got to review my first product —  The Beginner’s Bible by Zonderkidz.

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
The Beginner’s Bible has been a best selling children’s bible for many years, with over 25 million products sold. It is the perfect bible for moms to read to children as young as 2, and perfect for young children around the age of six who are just learning to read. This beautifully illustrated bible has been redesigned with more vibrant, 3D illustrations that will keep young ones excited to read and be read to.

When I opened the package containing this bible, I immediately noticed the beautifully illustrated cover. The colors are vibrant and rich and the image sort of popped out at me. The bible itself is very sturdy and just perfect for little hands to hold.  Contained within the rich and colorful pages are 48 stories from the Old Testament and 46 stories from the New Testament which provide hours of story-time fun with stories such as Noah’s Ark, Jacob’s Dream, A Baby In A Basket, Twelve Spies, Shepherds Visit, A Hole in the Roof, A Gift for Jesus and so many more!

This bible is very easy to read, with a large font, which is just perfect for this Nana’s eyes. Each story title has a scripture reference underneath. As I read through the bible, I couldn’t get over how the illustrations appeared to pop off of the page with every turn!

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz} 
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz} 
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
One of the things that I really loved about this bible is that there is a dictionary in the back which contains a short, easy to understand definition of every word that is in italics throughout the bible. This will come in really handy when the little ones begin to ask questions such as “What is Bethesda?” You will be able to tell them that it is a pool in Jerusalem where miracles sometimes happened.

Even though I believe in reading the bible to children at a very young age, I debated about whether or not to give this bible to my grandson for Christmas. He is just 18 months old and although he loves to sit and turn the pages of books and look at the pictures, he’s not yet sitting long enough to engage in story time, although we do try. So I’ve decided to save this for his birthday, which is in just a few months. This Nana is going to love reading The Beginner’s Bible to him as he gets older.

To find out more about Zonderkiz, visit them on Facebook or Twitter.

To read what other Crew members have to say about The Beginner’s Bible, be sure to click on the banner below.

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz} 
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Homeschool Product Reviews

Commissioned by Chara Games // A Homeschool Review Crew Review

When my children were growing up, we loved to play board games. We especially loved playing board games where the entire family could join in and play. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been playing Commissioned from Chara Games, which is unlike any other game we’ve ever experienced.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

About Chara Games

Chara Games was founded in 2014 by Patrick & Katherine Lysaght, who had a desire to design innovative and fun games with Christian themes.  Chara means unshakeable joy in the original Greek. I love their mission: building games that create joy by building relationships with God and people.

Commissioned is a historically-based, cooperative style board game for 2-6 players. Players act as Apostles of the early Christian Church and work together to strengthen their individual decks of faith cards, grow the church, collect the books of the New Testament, and overcome persecution. The game is played in rounds where players draw Faith Cards (ARM), face trials (LIVE) and expand their faith (MATURE).

Players take turns being the group’s elder and are faced with making decisions that affect the team. Together, players must achieve the scenario victory conditions before the Trial Deck runs out without losing 5 churches. There are 5 scenarios that cover the first 150 years of Church history and 2 difficulty levels (as well as a 1-vs-all variation).

You do not need to know anything about Christianity or history to play. Commissioned is recommended for ages 14 and up, and is noted to take about an hour to play.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

Our Experience

I have to admit that when I first unpacked the game and began to read about how to set it up and play, I was completely overwhelmed. There is so much that goes into the game and I kept losing my train of thought. I had to call my husband over to assist me. Thankfully, Chara Games has provided a set up video that you can watch that will explain how to set up the board and run through various scenarios of play. Even so, I still had to have my husband by my side as I started and stopped the video multiple times trying to understand.

My husband and I played (or attempted to play) first and it took us a while to get the hang of it. We opted to play the “Acts of the Apostles” scenario on disciple difficulty as it is recommend for new players. In order to have a victory in this scenario we needed to have a church in every city and collect all 9 New Testament Word Cards.  Not easy to do.  Although total play time is about a hour, from set up to finish I have to say that it was at least an hour and a half, perhaps more, before we called it a day.

After my husband and I “practiced” playing  a couple of times, I brought my son in (who is 13) and we tried to explain how to play the game to him and also had him sit and watch the video with us. To say he was confused is an understatement.

Here is is being a good sport after helping me set up the game.


I did not get very far in playing this game with my son. He was very confused and began to get irritated so I allowed him to step away.  Since then, I’ve attempted to play with my oldest son, but he has the same issue with absorbing a lot of instruction all at once so I have yet to finish this game with either of my boys.

My husband and I have played 3 times, and while we haven’t won yet, we are going to keep playing and hope our boys will come around. I think the more we understand it, the better we will be able to help our kids understand it.

Overall, this is a very well made game with stunning artwork. I love that fact that it is historically based. I love that it’s a game with Christian values made by a Christian company. And, I will will love teaching my son that this game can be fun if it takes us a bit longer.

Does your family love cooperative board games? Check out Commissioned and let your family experience how things were done in the early church and learn a little history along the way.

Chara Games is coming out with a brand new game, hopefully by the end of 2016, called 3 Seeds.  I am looking forward to checking this one out because it appears much easier and something my son may enjoy.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

Find out more about Chara Games on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharaGames/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/CharaGames/ @Charagames

Be sure to check out the other Crew reviews for more thoughts on Commissioned by Chara Games.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

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Homeschool Product Reviews

Sentence Diagramming: Beginning from The Critical Thinking Co. // A Homeschool Review Crew Review

A long, long time ago when I was in elementary school, I learned something called sentence diagramming to help in my understanding of grammar. I don’t remember much about it, except that I thought it was fun and I learned a lot. This is why I was thrilled for the chance to review Sentence Diagramming: Beginning from The Critical Thinking Co.™

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}About The Critical Thinking Co.™

The Critical Thinking Co.™ has been creating award winning products since 1958 that help students achieve greater academic results with lessons that sharpen the mind. They offer physical books, ebooks, apps and software for students in pre-K through 12th grade in subjects covering science and technology, language arts, mathematics, writing, history, reading, critical thinking and test prep,

Sentence Diagramming: Beginning is geared for students in grades 3-12. This 72-page book encompasses 12 lessons and is perfect for logical and visual learners as an alternative way to learn grammar.  The grammar lessons in Sentence Diagramming: Beginning are:

  • Simple Subject and Main Verb
  • Direct Object
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs Modifying Verbs
  • Predicate Adjectives
  • Predicate Nouns
  • Prepositional Phrases (Adjectival)
  • Prepositional Phrases (Adverbial)
  • Compound Subjects
  • Compound Predicates
  • Compound Direct Objects
  • Compound Predicate Adjectives and Nouns

For the purposes of this review, I received a paperback book, which retails for $12.99.

How We Used This Product

While we could have easily completed 2-3 lessons a week, we opted to focus on one lesson per week, mostly because of my son’s weakness in grammar and my desire to go slow so that he would grab a hold of what was being taught.

Each lesson is 4 pages in length. The grammar portions are briefly explained at the top of each lesson, followed by examples and plenty of practice for the student.  The flow of each lesson is to:

  1. Correct a diagram that has an error by diagramming it correctly.
  2. Filling in the diagram for each sentence.
  3. Writing your own sentence to match the diagram
  4. Diagramming sentences.

So far we’ve made it through the first four lessons and have another 8 to go, which will most likely be the most challenging for my son. So far he’s scored 100% on each lesson, except for one, where he needed to make corrections due to what I would call careless mistakes (he knew the right answer, but got confused in his mind, or so he tells me).

The book contains perforated pages, and a very generous Reproduction of Copyrighted Material clause. Although I could have copied the pages before giving them to my son, I opted to just have him work in the book. It’s wonderful to know that if I had been using this book with multiple students that I would have the right to make copies.

All of the answers are contained in the back of the book, so I was careful to have my son working under supervision so as not to be tempted to peak at the answers.

Our Thoughts

Overall, we loved this book. It is helping my son to grasp basic grammar concepts without having him stress out about learning grammar. Because he is a mostly visual learner, seeing the sentences diagrammed makes the structure of the sentence easier for him to remember.

Here is a short testimony from my son:

I felt this book was very helpful. Before I started diagramming sentences it was hard for me to to understand a lot of grammar. But when I see the sentences diagrammed it’s like a light bulb goes on in my head and I can understand it. This book is very easy to understand too.

It’s been hard to get my son to want to learn grammar. But thanks to The Critical Thinking Co.™ and Sentence Diagramming: Beginning, we are on our way!

Be sure to check out the other reviews from The Homeschool Review Crew on this and other fabulous products offered by The Critical Thinking Co.™.

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}

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