We Choose Virtues-A Review

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Jan 222012

For my last review with The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew, I got to review We Choose Virtues founded by Heather McMillan. I am so glad she came up with this concept.

We Choose Virtues provides Character Education Curriculum for “Simply Inspiring Character That Lasts”! Heather McMillan created We Choose Virtues in response to the lack of self control, honesty, and perseverance she saw in the children she came in contact with as a preschool teacher and children’s pastor.

I received the Virtue Clues CardsThe Teacher’s HandbookKids of Virtueville Coloring Book, as well as free downloads from their website: Family Character Assessment, and Kids Memory Verses, Bible Heroes & Truths. The program, teaches children about 12 virtues: Being attentive, content, diligent, forgiving, gentle, helpful, honest, kind, obedient, patient, perserverant, and self-controlled.


The girls fell in love with the coloring book. It was 18 pages and they really enjoyed the pictures they got to color to go along with the virtue we were studying. I like how the pictures were simple, yet complex enough to really make them pay attention to their coloring. The Bugs especially loved coloring her pages and has begged for me to print off more so she can do them again.

I also loved the guide sheet that we got to download that had an outline of all the virtues, a corresponding Bible story and memory verse for each one. That made planning on how to use this set so much easier and less time consuming.

The cards are a good quality card stock and come in a vinyl case. They are colorful and grabbed the attention of the children very well. Bugs and Beans would ask me what their virtue to practice for the day was if I didn’t get it out before they thought of it. I love it when the girls ask to do something like this.

We Choose Virtues has several different package options for purchasing, so go over to their site and find just what you need to teach your children. The virtue clue cards are $7.99 currently and the pdf download of the coloring book is just $3.00. As always, prices can change at a moments notice, so these were correct at the time of publication.

I can say that I highly recommend this program for teaching children good character traits. It is easy to use and implement, my children loved it and it is very sound in how it teaches and what it teaches. If you just want virtues taught, they do have options that don’t include faith so this will appeal to a wide audience.

To see what others had to say about this program, go visit the Crew’s Blog and click through to the linky list.

I received the Virtue Clue Cards and several downloads from We Choose Virtues as a member of The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew. All opinions are mine and mine alone and no other compensation was received.


Vintage Remedies, Curriculum for Every Age

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Dec 152011

I have this love of health and nutrition curriculum. I think that everyone should have a good grounding in what is and isn’t real health, what causes health and disease and the intricacies involved. I also think that health education should start early, yet still be simple for even the littles to understand easily.

So, I was ecstatic to be able to review Vintage Remedies for Kids. I had high hopes for this program, and let me say that I wasn’t disappointed. Ok, maybe that was an understatement. I was highly impressed.

In Vintage Remedies for Kids (designed for ages 2-6) you learn about the importance of the kinds of food you eat, what is and isn’t healthy, identifying fruits and vegetables, simple things they can do to remain healthy, prevention measures, basic first aid and even stewardship of our resources. Each chapter of the book starts with a word to the parents, then moves on to what to teach the children and has activity ideas to do with them (such as making the fruit candy of sugar plums, to making cloth napkins and planting trees). I found the lessons easy to follow, understand and teach. Just what any homeschooling mother would want 🙂 It was also easy to add this into our curriculum as a lot of it was discussion which we could do while preparing lunch and supper, while we were washing up and just generally going about our day. There really wasn’t a lot of preperation work to do, and there was no scrambling for odd items to complete most of the projects (well, you’d have to get a tree to plant and cloth to make napkins with, but it none of it would be really hard to find for the majority of people.)

I found the Vintage Remedies website extremely attractive and easy to navigate. It took me no time at all to become acquainted with the layout and where the information I wanted could be found.

At the time of this review, Vintage Remedies for Kids is $25.00. Which I think is a pretty good price for the easiest health curriculum I have ever seen to implement. There is a wide range of other products and classes so go check them out for yourself (Personally, I am eyeing some of the courses)

Others in the Crew received Vintage Remedies for Girls and Vintage Remedies for Guys. Go see what they thought of those and what the rest of us who received Vintage Remedies for Kids thought.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew, I received a copy of Vintage Remedies for Kids by Jessie Hawkins from Vintage Remedies for review purposes. I was also given a complimentary copy of The Kitchen Herbal as a thank you gift for my review. All opinions are mine and mine alone, and aside from the thank you gift, no other compensation was received..

The World’s Greatest Stories- A TOS Review

 Bible, curriculum, Reviews, TOS Crew  Comments Off on The World’s Greatest Stories- A TOS Review
Dec 152011

My girls love to listen to nearly anything presented to them. So, I was excited to have the opportunity to receive and review a copy of The World’s Greatest Stories.

The World’s Greatest Stories is a collection of CDs that has the Biblical narrative dramatized. We are talking word for word straight out of the Word of God, in your choice of either NIV or KJV.

The text is word for word straight out of the Bible and isn’t boring to listen to at all. Mr. Saris is a delight to listen to as he becomes the people of the Bible and the history of the stories comes alive as he narrates it. The girls enjoy having Volume One, The Prophets on as we go about our day.

HubbaHubba is very particular about anything recorded. He loves to make recordings himself and is always picking apart recordings for what he thinks could have been done differently or better. Let me say that he was impressed with the quality of the production. He was leery at first since it seems that much of what is produced in the Christian realm isn’t done as professionally as it could be.

We received Volume 1- The Prophets for our review. My favorite rendition was the telling of the Handwriting on the Wall. Also included in The Prophets is: The Blazing Furnace from Daniel 3, Daniel in the Lion’s Den from Daniel 6, Elijah and the Prophets of Baal from 1 Kings 17-18 and The Prophecy of Jonah. All in all, a delight to listen to either all at once as you are doing your daily routine or one at a time to help supplement your Bible time.

At the time of this post, you can purchase any of the volumes (1-6) for $7.95 apiece, which is very reasonable for the quality of the recording that you will get. I intend to purchase others from The World’s Greatest Stories in the coming months.

I wasn’t the only one to receive The World’s Greatest Stories for review, other members of the Crew did too, so go and see what others had to say.

I received a copy of The World’s Greatest Stories, Volume One The Prophets by George W. Saris as a part of The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew. All opinions are mine and mine alone; no other compensation was received..

Nov 022011

I thought I had a good phonics program. It looked good, it checked out pretty well, and I really liked how it was put together. However, the Bugs hated it. It was rather slow moving, overly repetitive for her and she continuously complained that she wanted a workbook. I hadn’t seen any programs with a good, well thought out workbook for phonics, and I really didn’t want to use a workbook for phonics since we lean towards a rather ecclectic approach to school with a combo of Charlotte Mason and Classical blended together into what works for us (and I try to avoid workbooks and busy work as much as possible).

I had about given up on the idea of reading lessons for the time being for the Bugs. Each day started to drag on and on and we were not getting along too well during that portion of school. I tried livening it up for her, but she wasn’t buying it. Each day turned into a worse struggle to get through phonics than the one before.

And then, a miracle of sorts occurred.

I was given the opportunity to review Memoria Press‘s Classical Phonics and First Start Reading program as a part of the The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew. I was rather leery as it looked to be so full of busy work. However, we dove in, and we haven’t looked back.

Bugs fell in love with her new phonics workbooks the very first day she saw them. To say she was excited the day we opened the box is an understatement. The three workbooks are not near the busy work I thought they would be. They have pictures that start with the letter you are learning that day that you can color and tracing exercises with the letters as you learn them and then the words as you quickly (by lesson 3) start sounding them out. It is designed to give children quick success in sounding out words early in the program to help motivate them to keep moving forward in their quest to learn how to read. After begging to not have to do her phonics every day, Bugs now begs to do it and to do more than scheduled. I absolutely can not believe the difference this program has wrought.

I love how easy this program is to teach. The teacher’s manual is a breeze to go through and follow. The student workbooks are not overly visually stimulating or distracting at all, even with the coloring pages. They are all clean and easy to use. The Classical Phonics book is very clean and not distracting either. However, Bugs doesn’t quite like it as much as her phonics workbooks. However, I find it very easy to use. This program is very thorough and well put together. It isn’t like any other program that I have seen or used as a child. To say that I am impressed with the results is the understatement of the year thus far. Bugs went from fighting me in every phonics lesson in two different phonics programs to begging to do it. She is taking what she is learning about putting letter sounds together and applying it to other books now. She didn’t make the transition of the knowledge to do so until we started Classical Phonics and First Start Reading. Part of it may be because she has matured a bit more as the year has progressed, but I really think that the workbooks for First Start Reading have helped tremendously in this area. In fact, she even has tried sounding out more words in her vast collection of books than she has ever before.

I love this program and I highly recommend it for children who love workbooks. And also for moms who like little prep work and an easy to follow teacher’s guide. In fact, I plan on using this with the Beans when it comes time for her to start phonics.

At the time of this post, you could purchase Classical Phonics from Memoria Press for $14.99 and First Start Reading for $22.00 or with the teacher’s guide for $29.00.

To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about this program, and a Latin program from Memoria Press, go visit the Crew’s Blog.

I was given Classical Phonics and First Start Reading by Memoria Press as a member of The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew. All opinions are mine and mine alone and no other compensation was received..

E-Mealz, a TOS Crew Review

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Oct 192011

I love to meal plan. I like to sit down and plan out two weeks’ worth of meals at a time (goes with my grocery shopping which we do every two weeks to correspond with our pay periods.) We also have certain themes we follow. For instance, in the winter time it is typically baked potatoes on Tuesday.

I was intrigued when the opportunity to review E-Mealz came up. Something that does the meal planning for me? Perhaps save me some time? I wondered if it would work for our family. You see, I am allergic to sulfite. It is in a lot of stuff. It is a preservative and mold inhibitor. It is found in tons of prepackaged foods, tortillas (haven’t been able to find a bought tortilla in this town in months so I’ve had to learn to make them myself) wines, Dijon mustard, seafood and tons of bought cracker varieties. So, to avoid avoidable trips to the ER, I do a lot of cooking from scratch.

E-Mealz is set up so you pay for a subscription (or purchase a gift subscription for someone else. Subscriptions are $15.00 for three months) and they have available for you to print off a meal plan of seven meals (supper or large lunches) and a corresponding grocery list. The list is based off the store of your choice (I went with Wal-Mart since that was the only store I have left in town available to me. Until Aldi reopens this coming Saturday and no clue when our Kroger affiliate store will be rebuilding) and they build menus off of what is on sale that week to help cut costs. The average grocery list for my area costs about $80.

So, I downloaded the menu and read through it the first week. Realized there were at least three meals out of seven that I would have to tweak to avert an allergic reaction or really end up having to hunt for sulfite free alternatives. I was also concerned with the amount of prepackaged, pre-prepared foods on the list. I don’t buy store French bread, already rotisseried chickens or anything like that. I make my own bread, I have a rotisserie function in the toaster oven that I use, and I refuse to buy prepackaged salads as it is cheaper to buy it separate and make yourself a huge bowl for a week.

The second week wasn’t any better for us with having to find substitutions for items that commonly contain sulfites. For me, it got to to the point where I dreaded downloading the next menu to see what else I would have to substitute ingredient wise.

Another important aspect for me when I cook supper is that there are left overs for my husband to take to work the next day, or to have enough to make another meal out of it later in the week (like if we have chili on one day, a few days later, I’ll make my Chili con Papas casserole) We were on the menu plan that is supposed to feed 4-6 people. My husband comes home from work starving as a lot of times he’s out on emergency service calls or is making a sales call over lunch and he then forgets to eat. There wasn’t enough food for him for lunch the next day out of any of the meals we tried (mainly due to the fact on those days he didn’t have a chance to eat lunch). So we then had to scramble for something for him to take to work (I’m so sorry to his coworkers that had to suffer through him eating a can of sardines at his desk during this review. He loves the things… apparently he’s the only one aside from the Bugs who does…)

I also had an issue with how much the groceries cost. Eighty dollars for seven meals for my family of four is twice what I spend for two full weeks (14 meals) of food, including personal care items. Before you jump on me for not feeding my family healthy food, let me explain. I cook nearly everything from scratch. Including soaking beans, baking our own bread and I even make a version of homemade poptarts and graham crackers. We do eat a wide variety of foods that are healthy, they just take a lot more planning and preparation than a lot of people are used to. We also operate out of a stockpile system for our food management in our home. That really saves us money. (also, only going grocery shopping every two weeks helps out immensely too. I shop in accordance with my husband’s pay periods at work like a lot of people do and so we shop in two week intervals.)

E-Mealz didn’t work for us, for the above reasons. I could overlook the need to find substitutes for so many ingredients if the recipes would make enough for plenty of left overs perhaps. However, the biggest deal for me was how much the meals cost to prepare. I can’t more than double our grocery budget (considering I would still need food for breakfast, lunch and snacks) at all right now. Even if we had more money I’m not sure that I would. However, if you don’t like to meal plan, like being handed a list and can spend about $120 or so a week on food for all of your meals, then this may be a great service for you. I could see this being handy as a gift for a new mother or someone who is caring for a sick relative in their home to take some of the burden off of their crazy season in life. I would like it better if the meal plans were available for a month at a time for those who do their shopping in longer intervals than one week. I would also love to see a meal plan for freezer meals (something I’ve been dying to try) for those who like to cook up a bunch of meals in advance on a weekend and pop them in the freezer to pull out later. That would be great.

I will say that the E-Mealz website was very well laid out and easy on the eyes. It explains everything you need to know about signing up in detail so you know what you are in for.

To see what other’s had to say about E-Mealz, go visit the Crew’s Blog.

I was given a free three month trial of E-Mealz as a part of The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received..