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As members of the TOS Crew, we have had the pleasure of reviewing some wonderful products for homeschooling, family, and even play. But recently, we were given the opportunity to review a product like none other. It's called Aletheia Writing Magazine (Ah-LAY-thei-uh). Aletheia means "truth" or "unveiling" in Greek. If the pronunciation and definition were all, my daughter would probably still love it, lol. She was excited to get this magazine because she loves to write, draw, and read, and that is what this publication is all about. She also has a fascination with word pronunciations, especially pertaining to ancient languages. 

Aletheia Writing Magazine is geared toward Christian teens aged 13-19 and publishes poetry, stories, pictures (drawn & photographs), and book reviews submitted by Christian teens. This is a shortened description from Aletheia's website about the purpose of the magazine.

"We are excited to offer Christian teens a healthy platform in which to express themselves, especially in a culture that so definitively shapes and saturates their worldview with unhealthy imagery and values." (Aletheia's website)
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Browse the Spring edition by clicking above
Any teen (homeschool or other) can submit a story, poetry, or picture that fits into the pre-set guidelines. The piece will be reviewed by the editor/staff to determine if/when it can be placed. It offers teens an uncommon opportunity in this day and age to get their work "out there" where the world can see.

My daughter wrote the play for the Spring theater production of our homeschool group. It was very good (yes, I am biased, but it was still good :) ) Although it's too long to send in to be published in Aletheia, she's inspired to continue writing and possibly have the opportunity to be an upcoming edition.

There is actually a Writer's Challenge taking place until October 15th where teens have a chance to write and submit to get their piece in an upcoming edition, as well as free copies of the magazine to share. It's a neat opportunity, I think.

A subscription to Aletheia Writing Magazine consists of 4 issues per year, 40 full color pages, original writings and artwork from teens, and "a Writer's Challenge, the featured contributor, a book review, Glory to God for the Beauty of Nature, Ancient Ink, and an interview or other feature for edification and enjoyment". What a perfect thing for your teen to read and get excited about. We all know how important it is for our children to have an interest that can be pursued; and writing and/or drawing is a great avenue for this to happen. Don't forget to check out the Spring edition of the magazine. You can click here or click the pic above.

A subscription is $26 (USA) or $29 (Canada) for the 4 issues which includes shipping & handling. I know we are going to subscribe.
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For More Reviews From The TOS Crew
And remember: I received this magazine free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with sole purpose to provide an honest review after using/reading it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
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"Teaching math can be so much fun!!!"

Did you read that statement and say "really, what world did you come from ?" , lol.

Many parents don't believe that teaching math can be fun... or even interesting. Even in the early years. Children can become frustrated when they can't grasp a concept right away, and parents leave the table (or floor) mumbling to themselves "come on, this is so easy". (Yes, you aren't the only one that may have said that.) The problem is often that we aren't using the right tools or techniques; those that are geared towards our children's level and not our own. Even though we may think something is "soooo easy", like comparing apples to oranges, our children may see that they're both fruits and good to eat and they both grow on trees. We see that they are different colors, different tastes, have different types of skins, and so on. 

So where do we start then? When do we start? What concepts are the most important and in what order should we go? What if he doesn't get it?

These are all questions that parents have had at times. Domenico Marcario, M.S., a retired math teacher and loving grandfather has some of the answers for you. He created the c3pla Sensory Math Teaching System. "This system utilizes the natural way children learn to teach them math skills." 


The c3pla Sensory Math Teaching System, recognizes that "from birth, children discover facts through sensory experiences. Fueled by curiosity and imagination, children use their eyes, hands, ears, noses, and mouths to learn about their world. They gain understanding by doing rather than by sitting passively and watching someone else do the thinking for them." Carlito C. Caterpiller's Math Card Games is based on this system. It offers children and parents the opportunity to learn math in a way that uses all the senses. The Game Pack is presented in 3 stages, with a total of 20 steps and 2 games in each step covering the math skills of quantitynumeration, and operations.


On c3pla's website, there are FREE manipulatives recommended for each stage. You can download and print to give your child the hands on experience. There are also certificates for you to recognize your child's accomplishments. There are a few myths and realities you may find interesting, too, on their site.

My kids are in middle and high school, so far beyond the beginning stages of math, but the games were still cute to play. Just simple reminders of the easy days :) (The MathHouse Game Card Set is geared for Pre-school to early elementary.)  But in actuality, these cards do go through division, which was a helpful refresher for both of my kids. 

You can purchase Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Game Card Set for $23.95. You can visit their FB page here.

NOW ON TO THE GIVEAWAY: I have 1 card set to giveaway. It starts today and will end at midnight on 10/10. There are a few ways to enter. I am using a new system, Rafflecopter, so if you have any problems, let me know. Click "Read More" to get to the 

 
 
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Using the True Random Number Generator from Random.org, the winner of the Ginny Owens CD was chosen. It's Kaylee with comment number 6.

Congratulations, Kaylee!!

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We were given the opportunity to review the strategy game, Tri-Cross, as members of the TOS Crew. I hadn't heard of it before now, so I was interested to learn what it was all about. We actually received 2 games, Standard Edition (left) & the Eco-Edition (right). The Standard Edition offers the traditional game board with the Tri-Cross dice. The Eco-Edition is an eco-friendly version. It has an organic cotton cloth board that is printed with non-toxic soy-based inks & it easily folds to fit inside the organic cotton drawstring bag with the playing pieces.
Tri-Cross is marketed by Games For Competitors (GFC). GFC is a family owned company that produces fun, challenging, and competitive games. In 1986 the first version of Tri-Cross debuted and was dubbed the "best new strategy game of 1987" in Games Magazine. After that, it wasn't until 2007 that a new version was created and the game was reintroduced. Tri-Cross received the Dr. Toy 100 Best award & the Dr. Toy Best Green Product Winner, as well as receiving the NPC 2008 Seal of Approval & the 2010 Mom's Choice Award. It's been a long road, but this family focused game has proven itself to have the characteristics of a true classic game. 

My kids really liked this game. They like strategy games and trying to figure out how to "beat" the other. Because Tri-Cross only typically takes about 20minutes to play, they can play more games and have a chance to be the "2 out of 3" winner. Though my daughter won "every time" according to my son, he still likes to play, and he won against me (I was just learning, lol). It is challenging to play; selecting which piece needs to move in order to successfully get to the center without your opponent being able to force a jump. It is definitely a game that we will continue to play.

Tri-Cross can be played by 2-4 people and is geared for kids 10yo-adult. My son is 11 and doesn't have a any problem playing. There are a few instructional videos on playing Tri-Cross that you can watch on Games For Competitors website. The beginner video is essential to learning the game. It clarifies a few of the rules, which is helpful.

You can purchase Tri-Cross in 3 different formats: Standard Edition for $24.95, Wooden Edition for $35.95, and Eco-Edition for $19.95.
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For More Reviews From The TOS Crew
And remember: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with sole purpose to provide an honest review after using the product. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
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The THEO contest is over and I have chosen the winners using the True Random Number Generator.
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The first winner is Lori with comment #4. The second winner was chosen after removing comments by Lori (1-4). The winner of the second DVD is Monica with comment number 9.

Congratulations to both of you!


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Science is one of the most fascinating subjects to me. It encompasses every facet of life from the very breath we take, to the water we drink, and the technology created to study it. There are many different areas within science that students will study during their educational experience. I have been given the opportunity to review a new science curriculum by AIMS that is focused on Earth Science. 
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"At AIMS, we believe that hands-on math and science is the most effective way to develop conceptual understanding."

AIMS (Activities Integrating Mathematics and Science) began in 1981 with a grant from the NSF. It is a non-profit organization and "publishes hands-on instructional materials that build conceptual understanding". You can read about their history and affiliations here.

A small portion of AIMS' description of the Earth Book is: "Our Earth is a very complex, dynamic planet. Earth Book will unlock some of its mysteries as students learn about three of the Earth's spheres and interactions in a systematic approach to Earth Science. The book is divided into four sections: hydrosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and their interactions of these spheres."

The Earth Book is different than many earth science books I've seen. It is developed to be used with students in 6-9th grades, but is designed in a way that older and younger children could be included (younger with assistance). As the front of the book indicates, AIMS uses activities to integrate math and science. The Earth Book has 48 activities and 446 pages that will immerse your student in everything from earthquakes to clouds. The activities include making suds, determining how slope affects water movement, and classifying rocks based on properties. The book comes with a CD that contains all of the printable pages within the book necessary for the activities. This prevents having to write in the book or cut the activities out. This is very important to many homeschoolers with children of different ages.

We did enjoy using this book. I am impressed with the information that is included and with the fact that the language used is focused at the student and not the teacher. It would not be above the students' head. So often, science books are all...well, science. There's no fun, just findings and theory's. The Earth Book offers students the opportunity to fact find themselves, to complete an activity, analyze the findings, and create their own theory. It offers the scientific information for each activity, but allows the student to have fun, too. You can get a free 30 page preview that is actually the beginning of the book.

The most important point I do want to add in my review is that this book is not creation based. It is a secular book designed to meet the recommendations found in national education reform documents. Page 7 of the Earth Book is the "National Education Reform Documents" and starts "The AIMS Education Foundation is committed to remaining at the cutting edge of providing curriculum materials that are user-friendly, educationally sound, developmentally appropriate". All that said, the Earth Book is not filled with evolutionary themes nor does it push evolution. There are a few references, but only a few. Working with your student while using this book would allow you, as the parent, to determine what will be taught and offers areas for learning and clarification of your beliefs and the contrasts that are out there.

As a believer of creation and a young earth, I still used this book with my 6th grader. My 12th grader read through it, too, since she is fascinated with fossils. The activities are terrific and fun. There are activity ideas that I would not have thought of before or that I have but didn't know where to start. Having hands-on learning is such a great way to learn and remember.

You can purchase the Earth Book from AIMS for $49.95, which includes the CD with all the printables. It is also available for the same price as a PDF file. AIMS also offers many other curriculum books in math and science. You can read additional reviews from the TOS Crew by clicking the link below.
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For More Reviews From The TOS Crew
And remember: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using the product. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
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Schoolhouse Birthday Bash Facebook Party

September 22nd 6pm to 9pm EST
&
September 29th 6pm to 9pm EST

Meet-and-Greet with the TOS Family of Columnists

FREE registration


The Schoolhouse Birthday Bash is taking place this week, the first is tonight!! You can still participate. Just click the link above.

And check out the new Digital Edition of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine by taking a peek at the Summer 2011 edition. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is filled with homeschooling helps, ideas, tips, support, and inspiration. If you've never read it, check it out now.
Read It Online Today!
 
 
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I have had the pleasure of reviewing Jeremy Riddle's newest CD "Furious", which was released today by Vineyard Music. My first impression: WOW! I really enjoy listening to Jeremy. His song "Sweetly Broken" from a few years ago is a song I like very much, so I knew that I liked his style and voice. I was excited to receive the CD to have the opportunity to listen to his newest lyrics. And I have to say, the songs on "Furious" do not disappoint. They continue to convey that Jeremy loves The Lord and his trust is placed in Him. Jeremy says of the album title and title song, "It’s hard to come up with words that depict the magnitude of Christ’s love – the depth and width of it,"Jeremy says. "'Furious’ doesn’t work outside of the context of love; we tend to translate the word as angry, but I see it as a super-powerful force; stronger, deeper, broader than our vocabulary can fully describe.” (JeremyRiddle.net).

From the Vineyard"Furious" is Jeremy Riddle's 3rd full length album from Vineyard Music and is the newest collection of songs penned by this gifted songwriter and worship leader. Furious communicates the story of God’s love and kingdom with strong worship anthems like the title cut, "Furious" and "One Thing Remains" to introspective musical devotions such as "God of the Redeemed" and "The Lord is My Shepherd."

This CD is definitely one that I will transfer between home and the car. Jeremy's voice is wonderfully pleasant to listen to, the christian rock style is not overpowering and compliments Jeremy well. I'd like you to listen to this short video as Jeremy gives a short memoir/song background.


You can learn more about Jeremy by going to Vineyard Music's website. You can also twitter or FB Vineyard.
 ON TO THE GIVEAWAY: I have an extra "Furious" CD to giveaway to one of my readers. The contest starts today and will end October 3rd at midnight. I will contact the winner who will need to send me their info within 48 hours. I am excited to have this opportunity as this is a great CD.

*I will send an email to the winner so be sure that your comment has a way for me to contact you.*

To enter: you must leave me a comment and tell me what grabbed your attention during the video. Was it something Jeremy said, a fact about him, or song lyrics? To gain additional entries, do any of the following: 
* Follow this blog by clicking any of the "Follow Me" buttons to the right
(that's 4 possible entries, just leave a comment for each)
* Like Jeremy on FB
* Spread the word about this contest on your blog, FB, or twitter &
be sure to add a link back to this post and your link to the post

"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." 
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"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
Philippians 4:13

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I have had the wonderful pleasure of reviewing a the movie The Shunning, that is based on Beverly Lewis' novel of the same name. It is the first book of her series The Heritage of Lancaster County.

Beverly Lewis is a New York Times  bestselling author of over 80 novels. Her christian fiction writing has touched many readers since the 1990's. I have friends that have read all of her books and anxiously anticipate each new novel that is published. Beverly Lewis was born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. She began writing as a child but it was not until after her children were born did she publish her stories. Her interest in her mother's Plain heritage inspired many of her story lines, including The Shunning

From Beverly Lewis' website, The Heritage of Lancaster Country series is "an emotional and poignant trilogy of novels marking Beverly Lewis's entrance on the Christian fiction scene and trumpeting her arrival as a bestselling author. Set in the author's beloved Lancaster County, with its quaint Amish setting, each novel addresses issues of family, belonging, and community, providing a powerful look into a life of faith, a search for truth, and a promise of peace." The Shunning is an amazing story of faith, devotion, love, heartache, betrayal, and hope. It is based loosely on the life of her grandmother, who endured excommunication and shunning from the Old Order Mennonite life. A description from the Hallmark Channel: 
"Before she succumbs to cancer, the dying wish of Laura Mayfield-Bennett is to be reunited
with the daughter she never knew. Unfortunately, that daughter, Katie Lapp, is a member of
the Amish order. Katie is about to be married, but uneasy about the path ahead.
Now she discovers the secret her parents have kept from her: she's adopted. "
You can watch the trailer of The Shunning here. The cast members include Danielle Panabaker, Sandra Van Natta, and Sherry Stringfield. I was amazed to learn that Panabaker graduated from high school at age 14 and has her Bachelor's in English from UCLA. I am familiar with her Disney movies. She has proven herself to be a wonderful actress that I am sure you will enjoy watching in this incredible story. 

Because I haven't personally read any of Lewis' novels, I wasn't sure of the sincerity she had. After watching this movie, I am now disappointed that I have waited so long before reading them. Lewis is an inspired writer, writing with her heart, through God's guidance. The Bible verse above is one that lifts me when I am discouraged and guides me when I feel weak. I was pleased to find this verse on Beverly's website as the scripture of the month. She writes a reflection along with it, a portion follows: "But through my life, no matter what circumstance I faced, I learned to count on this powerful verse—the comforting and enabling truth that God's spirit resides in His children. We can trust our heavenly Father to be our ongoing courage and strength". This is so true and I wanted to share her words with you.

You can purchase The Shunning through Amazon for less than $20. It is well worth the price. This movie is definitely a movie library builder. 

But instead of buying, you could enter to win a copy today! 

THE GIVEAWAY: I am offering a DVD copy of The Shunning to one reader. (USA only, sorry). The contest starts today and the winner will be drawn 9/30 at midnight. I will send an email to contact the winner, so be sure I can reach you. The winner will have 48hrs to get back to me with their information.

To enter: Leave me a comment letting me know if you have read any of Beverly's books and which ones. If you haven't, go to her website and tell me which of the series is most interesting to you.
* Follow this blog by clicking any of the "Follow Me" buttons to the right
(that's 4 possible entries, just leave a comment for each)
* Like The Shunning on FB
* Spread the word about this contest on your blog, FB, or twitter &
be sure to add a link back to this post and your link to the post

I look forward to reading your comments and your thoughts on Beverly's wonderful novels.
"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."
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I have had the pleasure of reviewing Ginny Owens' newest CD Get In, I'm Driving. Though she is a three-time Dove Award winner and has sold nearly one million albums, I have only familiar with one of her songs, If You Want Me (this can be heard on her website). This is actually a very pretty song, which is probably why I remember it :)

Ginny has several albums, including a "Best Of" album. Her newest CD, Get In, I'm Driving, offers her contemporary christian style with a flair. She has been blessed with a talent that allows her to sing a variety of styles. Her songs on this album are a mix of pop-like, gospel, and jazz. 

She has a beautiful voice that is paired with wonderful lyrics that cause inflection as you listen to her music. There is a video on her website that is the first of her video blog series. It is very moving as she talks about her life. I encourage you to watch it below.

At the end of the video, she says about the title of the CD, Get In, I'm Driving, [it] "isn't as much about me driving - I feel like I wake up every day and God is the one that says 'Hey come on get it in', you know life's an adventure, hold on for the ride, cause here we go". That is so true!! God is driving in our lives, or should be. Only He knows where we really should be going or what we should be doing. It was refreshing and inspiring to hear Ginny say this.

A bit of her biography from her website: Born and raised in Jackson, Miss., Owens was discovering melodies on the piano almost before she could complete a sentence. Songs began to emerge from her fingers as the vision began to leave her eyes and by the age of three.  A degenerative eye condition left Owens completely blind.  Despite her physical challenge, Owens pursued a music career.  Songs provide a window into a world Owens can’t see and an outlet for her to express her thoughts and dreams. Owens’ unique musical style and inspirational lyrics continue to appeal to Christian and mainstream audiences alike.

In 2005 Owens launched The Fingerprint Initiative, a hands-on, non-profit organization designed to “bring hope to the world, one project and one touch at a time.” The organization has partnered with  and raised money for groups such as Compassion International, International Justice Mission and Habitat for Humanity.

You can visit her website here. You can also follow her on Facebook or Twitter. You can even download her single from iTunes.

Now on to the contest :)

I have one CD to giveaway to one of my readers. The contest starts today and end will 9/27 at noon. The winner will have 48hrs. to respond with their names and addresses.

*I will send an email to the winners so be sure that your comment has a way for me to contact you.*

To enter: watch the above video and let me know in a comment what is the most interesting point you heard about Ginny. To receive additional entries (after you complete the first entry), you can do any of the following and leave a comment about it.
* Follow this blog by clicking any of the "Follow Me" buttons to the right
(that's 4 possible entries, just leave a comment for each)
* Like Ginny on FB
* Spread the word about this contest on your blog, FB, or twitter &
be sure to add a link back to this post and your link to the post

"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."

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