Monday, May 16, 2011

Blog Cruise: Lots of great stuff

This is my final week of reviews for the TOS Homeschool Crew for the year, and I have three of them to do.  And this is also the final Blog Cruise.  Not that I've participated faithfully the past few weeks, but this one, well, I have to jump in.

Please share your favorite homeschool experience in relation to your participation in the Crew this year!

Oh, my.  How difficult is that?

I could go anywhere with that topic.  The many friendships would be a great topic.  The opportunities I've had to spread my wings a bit.  Right now, though, I think I'm going to go with a top ten list of my favorite products/vendors for the year.

10.  Digital Frog.  We received the Digital Field Trips DVD-ROM, and that is such an amazing resource.  We haven't done a whole lot more with it since the review, but we are looking at utilizing it a bunch over the summer.  I love science resources that are jam-packed with great stuff and usable for a variety of ages.

9. Kinderbach.  This is just such a great way of teaching music to little ones.  My big kids used it to teach the younger ones, thereby learning a bit themselves.  Amazing company.

8. All About Reading.  This would have ranked higher on my list if it had come out about four months earlier.  Still, what an amazing product.  Being able to really work on all of those pre-reading skills -- not just the letter recognition parts -- is phenomenal.  I love programs that teach the teacher, and All About Reading does that.

7.  Bright Ideas Press.  We actually reviewed stuff for them twice -- back in the fall we used a Christian Kids Explore title, and later today I'll be posting a review of their newest product, WonderMaps.  We are currently using Illuminations 2 from them.  I'm just so incredibly impressed with this company and their products, and especially how they are constantly improving them.

6.  Ten Marks.  I have to make some decisions about William and Thomas continuing with TenMarks, but this has been absolutely perfect for Connor.  He'll hopefully finish off the geometry reasonably soon.  I think he will continue on to Algebra 2.

5.  Yesterday's Classics.  225 children's books on my Nook.  Yes.  I don't need to say more, do I?

4.  Latin Alive.  We needed a new approach to Latin.  Something Connor could watch over and over again, if necessary.  Something he could do at his own pace.  I had no idea that Latin Alive was the answer.  The timing was beyond perfect.

3. Roman Town.  An archaeology game?  Set in ancient  Rome?  This was the absolute favorite Christmas present ever for Thomas.  This was voted by my kids as the best crew product of the year.  They adored it.

2.  Reading Kingdom.  A generous vendor, an amazing reading program.  I have one year subscriptions for four of my children, and it is so beyond perfect for three of them.  A couple of months after my review, this program still totally blesses us.  William and Thomas are seeing those little words, it is so amazing.  This program is teaching all those subconscious reading skills that good readers (like me) take for granted.  I'm going to start crying about this. Again...

1.  Institute for Excellence in Writing.  Oh, wow.  I had no idea how badly I needed the video based and age-appropriate writing instruction for Connor.  And how much I needed to have a writing seminar on DVD that I can refer to over and over again.  I'm so incredibly blessed to have been part of this review.  Connor's writing has improved dramatically, and my ability to teach all of the bigger kids writing has improved as well.  I thought this was just for Connor, but it has been incredible for everyone.

So, there you have it.  My crew year top ten products list.  It's sad, as there are so many other amazing products and experiences that didn't make the list, but having reviewed over forty things this year, obviously a lot has to be left out.

Go check the Crew blog on Tuesday to see how other crew members answered this question.


Jodi said...

I've enjoyed working with you this year's to another year full of unexpected blessings! Thanks for participating in the Blog Cruise this year, I've enjoyed your posts!

Michelle Smith said...

Thanks for sharing your list, Debra. I intend to follow up our own choices with a "Top Ten" list, too. :)

Our family also loved 5 or 6 of these. One of these I would have liked, yet it did not work for my child. We didn't receive a couple of these that you did, but I'm continually amazed at how we tend to like a lot of the same things. :)

Wendy R said...

I certainly enjoyed "meeting" you this year!! We enjoyed many of these same ones; others, we didn't get to review. Yesterday's Classics....How I long even more for a Nook or Kindle or whatever! For now, I enjoy them on my computer. And Reading Kingdom, what a blessing it has been for my youngest! My boys' favorite is BigIQKids!!! :-)

Jill said...

I enjoyed reading your top ten list. Some of your family's favorite products were ours also.

Catherine said...

My extremely media driven children now watch IEW for fun, and when we are "in school" they will stand up at the whiteboard and pretend to be Andrew Pudewa. If they weren't being so serious, I would probably roll on the floor laughing. They sound just like him!

I am loving reading everybody's posts this week. It feels like I'm back in high school and signing yearbooks. =)

Thanks for all your help - you rock.