Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Super Star Speech


















One of the hard things that parents go through is suspecting their child is not developing normally. One area this can occur in is speech. Licensed speech language pathologist Deborah Lott knows that parents need tools to first determine if there is a problem and second to help their child.

Super Star Speech was developed to give parents such tools. Three different books are available depending on your needs. They are Super Star Speech, Super Star R & L, and Super Star S, Z, and Sh. You can also buy them all together in a package.

Also available on the website are Super Star Games. These education enrichment games come in e-book format for a cost of $3.50 each.


Thankfully we did not have a need for the speech therapy material. The only game that fit our age range was All About Animals. This is a bingo type game where the child can match the picture of an animal to its description and its category. The pages print up nicely on card stock and work well for laminating.

You can visit the Super Star Speech website for more information. Also please read the Crew reviews.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sue Gregg Cookbooks

Did you know that you should presoak AND boil you dry beans before cooking with them to decrease lectin concentration? (This is especially true of kidney beans.) Or did you know that presoaking, fermentation, or sprouting of whole grains is important to unbind valuable nutrients in digestion? Sue Gregg explains how to modify your recipes to include this Two-Step Process. These are just two examples of the nutrition and cooking tidbits presented throughout Sue’s material. It is important to use healthier foods, but how you prepare them makes a difference as well. All of Sue’s books I have seen include tips to help you get the most nutrition from the foods you cook.

The Sue Gregg products specific to this review are Lunches and Snacks With Cookbook for Children (on CD), Introducing Whole Foods Cooking (on CD), and Meals in Minutes. I will attempt to give you an overview of these books which will hopefully help you determine if they might be a helpful addition to your kitchen.

Lunches and Snacks

Planning for Lunches includes: Breaking the Sandwich Syndrome, Sample lunch menus, Sample snack menus

Planning for Teaching includes 5 Keys to Success with Children and What Children Can Learn (at various ages)

Children’s Cookbook includes ABC’s of Food Preparation, Kitchen Safety and Food Storage, Nutrition Quizzes after recipes, and Menu Planning Guidelines

Also included in this cookbook are sections for:

  • Beverages
  • Breads
  • Crackers, Dips & Snacks
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches & Spreads
  • Soups
  • Desserts

The CD has step-by-step instructions with pictures for 60+ recipes and processes such as kitchen safety, washing the dishes, and setting the table.

Introducing Whole Grains CD-ROM

Includes a Personal Guide with 12 weeks worth of Lesson Plans

Includes a Leader’s Guide for 6 lessons

Includes a semester-long class called Whole Foods Menu Planning and Meal Preparation
   -Suggested prerequisite: Baking with Whole Grains (Semester)

Meals in Minutes (from Freezer to Table)

Meals in Minutes starts off with a Basic Stock List. It then continues on with instructions on how to freeze main dishes including how and when to add seasonings, how to prepare different types of ingredients, and methods of freezing. It also shows thawing and reheating methods. Extra timesaving tips are also included.

Sometimes when changing cooking styles, all the different ingredients can be a little overwhelming. Meals in Minutes includes a Shopping Guide to Quality Ingredients to help you navigate those waters. There is even a section that teaches you how to cook chicken or turkey.

Then comes the Meals in sets of 5.

  • 5 Timesaver Meals
  • 5 Convenience Meals
  • 5 Quick Meals
  • 5 Make-Ahead Meals
  • 5 Ready-to-Serve Meals

Each of these sets of 5 has the following:

  • Menu List
  • Shopping List
  • Assembly Schedule: Day Before, Cooking Day, Complete Recipes

The remainder of this cook book includes various other helps:

  • Nutritional Goals section
  • Suggestions for Fighting the Battle of the Bulge
  • Nutrient Data Explained
  • A Caution About Microwave Ovens
  • Vegetarian Alternatives
  • List of Other Freezer Recipes (from other SueGregg Cookbooks)


Our family hasn’t been too fond of the recipes we tried, but there were two recipe that were hits. The Best Burrito Beans (Meals in Minutes) tasted good before freezing and were very good when thawed.  My Own Whole Grain Bread Dough Recipe (Lunches & Snacks with Cookbook for Children) is my newfound bread recipe. It uses the two-step process mentioned earlier. The texture is solid but soft (even on the third day). And the crust is soft even using my old metal pans. So even though most recipe flavors didn’t meet with the approval of our family’s taste buds, the method of presoaking grains, beans, and rice is one that I am adopting. And I am definitely sold on the two-step process for baking.

You can read more about Sue Gregg’s methods and cookbooks on their website. You can read other Crew reviews here.

Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Lesson Planet

Why do we need Lesson Planet when there are many free websites that provide lesson plans and worksheets? Lesson Planet’s material is all reviewed, summarized, and rated by credentialed K-12 teachers specially trained in reviewing. The ratings are determined by a rubric. Lesson Planet is also member-supported and does not contain advertising.

Lesson plans can be found by subject, calendar, theme, or through lesson planning articles written by the Subject Guide Teachers. The calendar option, where you can find lessons that relate to a particular date, is neat. There are also worksheets available which can be searched for by subject or theme. A keyword search is available for lesson plans and worksheets where you can filter by grade level and/or by rating.  The advanced keyword search allows you to narrow your criteria further by the following:

  • Subject
  • Class design: Individual, Small Group, Whole Class
  • Technology Used
  • Lessons Include: Assignment, Bibliography, Form, Quiz, Resource Links, Rubric, Vocabulary, WebQuest, Worksheet
  • Lesson Duration
  • Lesson Creation Year

I thought the advanced search exclusion choices were neat.

  • Exclude lessons that require web access
  • Exclude all Subscription Sites
  • Exclude sites with advertising
  • Exclude lessons that are not printer friendly

As you look through the website, you have the option of saving results. These results are then accessible from your account. You are also able to see your search history.

A subscription to Lesson Planet is $39.95/year which is not bad considering you have access to over 150,000 teacher reviewed lesson plans and 75,000 worksheets. They also offer a 10-day free trial.


My teaching style is not one of putting together lesson plans from different sources to make a smooth flowing course. So even though Lesson Planet has their material arranged very nicely, it does not fit my needs. Now if you like to use a large variety of sources for your teaching or if you like to do supplemental lessons for special days, then Lesson Planet could be a gold mine. It is very nice that the material has been reviewed and rated so you can have some idea of its value without having to look over it completely yourself.

You can read what other Crew families discovered about Lesson Planet here.

Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time4Learning - PreK

My review for today is Time4Learning’s Pre-K program. I am going to say right up front that I have a very difficult time reviewing computer-based material. Unless I actually log in and work through many of the exercises myself I do not have a good grasp on what the program truly is like. So I am going to give you an overview of the structure. But as far as the value of the content I am not able to comment a whole lot. Our learning environment is very writing-focused and not object-focused. So programs such as Time4Learning are more for fun than educational benefit in our home. With T4L’s fun interface there is definitely appeal and fun involved.
Time4Learning Pre-K is broken into 2 sections. Each section has different categories which provide activities for the student to complete.
Time4Learning Pre-K Level 1 includes these categories.
  • School Supplies
  • Alphabet
  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Rhyme Time
  • Numbers
  • Weather
  • On the Farm
  • Food
  • At the Zoo
  • Feelings
  • Vehicles
  • Tools
  • On the Playground
  • Sports
  • The Human Body
  • Space
  • Fruit
  • The Human Face
  • Garden
Pre-K Level 2 includes these categories.
  • At the Library
  • Insects
  • Color Mixing
  • Seasons
  • Playing Outside
  • More Letters
  • Healthy Habits
  • Your Self
  • More Numbers
  • Out to Sea
  • More Rhymes
  • Staying Fit
  • Manners
  • Pets
  • Days of the Week
  • Time
  • Making Music
  • Measuring
  • Nature
  • Money
  • In Your Neighborhood

Both levels include the same types of activities which are listed below. The Pre-K Scope and Sequence explains what each activity does.
  • Story Book
  • Showtime
  • Patterns
  • Memory
  • Paint It
  • Find It
  • Which
  • Recall
  • Syllable Drum
  • Idea Book
  • Match It
  • Puzzles
  • Stories You Write
  • Ordering
  • BrainyBots

There is also a Playground available with categories such as Actions Games, Kids Places (PBS games), Puzzlers, Activities, Educational Games, and Two Player Games. The parent can set the maximum amount of time that can be spent at the playground. I thought that the minimum lesson time had to be met before being allowed into the Playground but that hasn’t been our experience.
T4L offers programs from Pre-K to 8th grade. Lesson plans are included on the site to help you get the most out of your student’s studies. You can also have a child working in different levels based on his ability. The website indicates that T4L tracks progress and helps students advance along individualized learning paths. I am unclear how this works as I did not find that portion evident in the Pre-K levels.
You can view a demonstration of their program if this sounds like something that might be of value to your family. Subscriptions are billed monthly. I thought the price was a bit high for Pre-K material. But then paying for academics at the Pre-K level doesn’t make a lot of sense to me so that would cloud my view. But for a family who wants more of a structured Pre-K, T4L may be a good option. I would consider the price reasonable for higher levels if the content is what fits your needs. T4L does offer a 14-day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
You can read here what other Crew families though.
Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Carnival of Homeschooling

I participated in a Carnival of Homeschooling this week. You can find my entries as well as many other homeschooling topics at Our Curious Home.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Who Am I? – All About Reading Book 2

All About Learning, producer of All About Spelling, is getting ready to introduce the second reader in their All About Reading series. It is called Who Am I? The stories are about 10 pages long with much more reading on each page than in All About Reading Book 1 which I reviewed
here. Who Am I? follows the same sequence as All About Spelling Level 2.

There is definitely a variety of stories in this book. The story about the snakes getting loose in the pet shop was kind of creepy, but I bet a boy would love it. Then there are stories about robots, skunks, horses, and more. There is even a chapter with poems.

I found the words to be on a good level but some such as “emit” and “silt pond” were unfamiliar in use to my kindergartner. But it makes a great opportunity for a vocabulary lesson even at this early age.


This book is a perfect fit for my 6-year old daughter who is reading at about a 2nd grade level. And she likes the stories.

You can read here what other Crew members experienced and be watching for the unveiling of this new reader.

Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Terrestria Chronicles

Keeping our children supplied with good books can be quite a challenge when they love to read. So we are always looking for new authors who interest them.

The Terrestria Chronicles written by Ed Dunlop and published by Cross and Crown Publishing is one such series we reviewed. Targeted for ages 10 and up, the start of this allegorical series has proven to be interesting reading for my 13 and 14-year old daughters. Portrayed in a medieval-like setting, The Sword, The Ring, and The Parchment (Book 1) and The Quest for Seven Castles (Book 2) provided much enjoyment as well as food for thought as Josiah, the main character, is freed from sin and made a prince by King Emmanuel. He goes through his new life and must make decisions for good or evil at every turn. Amid the knights, ladies and castles, there are representations of the armor of God, the Bible, prayer and the other Biblical disciplines throughout the series. Each castle in the kingdom represents different virtues, such as Temperance and Knowledge. Characters with names like Encouragement and his twin Discouragement, as well as Doubting and his brother the Giant of Fear are prevalent throughout the books. The stewards of the castles have names like Sir Faithful and Sir Honorable. In these books,  Josiah learns important lessons like the dangers of the “Little Sins” of Envy, Greed, Discontentment, etc. as well as the need of prayer and faith. Although an allegory of the Christian life, these books have a different feel than stories such as Pilgrim’s Progress.

There are 7 books in The Terrestria Chronicles which can be purchased individually for $7.99 or as a set for $39.99. You can also order this set of 7 in hardback for $73.99. If you want to use this series for deeper study you can purchase Visits to Terrestria, A Study Guide for Parents, Teachers and Students. (There is a free answer key online.) If you find that you like this series, Ed has written another series called Tales from Terrestria.

My girls definitely liked the first 2 books in the series and would like to read more. Read here to see what other Crew families thought.

If you want to get a taste of Ed Dunlap’s writing, you can download his free Jed Cartwright Adventure Series.

Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

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