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Lesson Planet

    My family and I received a complimentary membership to Lesson Planet for the purpose of a review for the TOS Homeschool Crew.

Always looking for different ideas and lesson plans for different subjects all at different grade levels for your homeschool? Well, Lesson Planet may be the solution for you.

      Lesson Planet is a website dedicated to the sole purpose to assist you in searching the vast World Wide Web for lesson plan ideas for just the right subject area, age, and activity to use in with your children.

“What makes Lesson Planet different from using internet search engines,” you ask. Well, Lesson Planet supplies the following features for your use:

  • You can search according to different categories and categories within categories.
    You can choose to search for just Worksheets, then choose the Subject area or Theme of those worksheets.
    You can also choose to search for just Lesson Plans, then choose the Subject area, ThemeCalendar, or Lesson Planning Articles.
  • You can read Lesson Planning Articles written by Subject Guides, experienced educators in specific education areas, who write articles with suggestions in lesson planning, activity and resource recommendations, and assorted topics of interest. There is even one specifically for Homeschoolers.
  • You can look up Standards by State. You can click on a particular state and see the standards followed by that state for its public school system curriculum. (I found these to be outdated. Several states date back to 1999 and early 2000’s, even though their standards have been updated and modified statewide.)

The best feature that may be of interest to you and that I found the most valuable was the Advanced Search feature. This is something that a general internet search engine cannot do for you. Here you can specify what you want included and do not want included in the search results:

  • Grade level
  • Words to include, exact phrases, words not to include
  • Technology suggested terms to include
  • Teaching method terms to include
  • Lesson to include various terms of student activity – quiz, forms, vocabulary, Webquest, etc.
  • Exclude sites that require subscription, exclude lessons that require web access, exclude sites with advertising

A Lesson Planet subscription costs $39.95 per year. A 10 day free trial is available with the use of a credit card. If you cancel within the 10 days, you will not be charged. If you  do not, a charge will appear on your card.

For other reviews of Lesson Planet, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew.

Learning Games from Super Star Speech

    My family had the opportunity to receive complimentary copies of games published by Super Star Speech for the purpose of a review for the TOS Homeschool Crew.

Super Star Speech publishes much more than just fun and effective speech therapy games. There are games that include subject areas from grammar to geography to history to science. Debbie Lott, the publisher of these games, is a licensed speech pathologist who has developed fun learning games to help your child improve his articulation in his speech. Along with this program, she has developed games to review and reinforce facts from across the curriculum.

I will summarize and share our experiences with various games we have used.

        Silly Snail Parts of Speech Game

This game has a game board in the shape of a snail’s shell with spaces labeled with the parts of speech. Each player takes turns picking a card with a sentence with a highlighted word. The player identifies the part of speech for that word and then moves his piece to the space marked with that part of speech. The first one to reach the Finish space wins the game.

Both my guys enjoyed this game and I could see it was a good review for them as we looked at how each word was being used in the sentences on their chosen cards.

Explorers of the World Matching Game

This game includes a large assortment of explorers from across a broad timeline. There are a couple of suggestions in how you can play this game. We chose to play a concentration game and make matches between those cards that describe the explorer’s route and geographical location with the name of the explorer, so we had to recall information from our current explorer’s unit to make a match. For younger children, you can use pairs of cards that have the geographical information with the name of the appropriate explorer and match it during a game of concentration with the matching card that has just the name of the explorer on it. That way your child does not have to recall specific facts about the explorer, but can learn about it from reading the cards as he matches each card.

My guys also enjoyed this game and gained quite a bit from the review. They attempted to play with all 24 pairs, but soon discovered that was a bit overwhelming for them and cut that back to 12 pairs at a time.

Covering the Continents Game

This game includes a map of the continents with each player choosing a color for his tokens. Each player picks a card that contains a fact about a continent and reads that card to the other player whose turn it is. That player names the continent he thinks that corresponds to that fact. If he is correct, he places one of his tokens on that continent on the map. The next player then has a turn to attempt to place a token on a continent. Once a player has placed three tokens of his color on a continent it is considered “settled.” Once all of the continents are “settled” or the deck of cards are all used, the game is over. The player with the most “settled” continents wins.

My guys enjoyed this game, as it was a competition to see who could get each continent “settled” first. I thought it was also a great review of facts about each continent and a fun way to reinforce those facts.

Exploring Egypt Game

The Exploring Egypt Game also includes a board game, this one in the shape of a pyramid. A player picks up and reads a card with the beginning of a phrase about Egypt and a choice of three possible answers, the answer being highlighted. The other player can either attempt to complete the phrase on his own or listen to the three possible choices and pick one. If he answers correctly, he can move his piece the number of spaces that appears on the question card. The play continues in this manner until a player reaches the top of the pyramid. The cards add variety to the game with directions for losing a turn or moving forward or backward. The pyramid also includes the occasional sun picture, allowing the player to take another turn.

My guys enjoyed this game and review of Egyptian facts. I also thought this was great way to review a unit on Egypt.

Colony Quest Game

This game is similar to the Continent Game in that one player reads to the other player a card with a fact associated with one of the original colonies. The other player either names the colony on his own or can choose an answer from the two choices read to him. If he answers the question correctly, the player puts a colored token onto a game board with a map of the colonies on it. Once a player places two tokens of the same color on a colony, that colony is considered “settled.” The game is over once the cards have all been used or all of the colonies are “settled.” The player who has the most “settled” colonies wins. The cards add variety to the game by various instructions to the players to lose a token or removing another player’s token and replacing it with your own.

This was another winner in our house and we will definitely be playing this as we cycle through more years of American History in our house.

Road to Revolution

Speaking of American History, we also played another game from this era called Road to Revolution. You guessed it, from the Revolutionary War. This game is more like a traditional board game with answering the question on a card, rolling the die, and moving that number of spaces on a game board. The first player to reach the Finish space wins the game.

Another winner in reviewing facts from an area of study! Of course, my boys, being boys, love the study of any war in history. This will be played many times and my guys are already adding their own questions and answers to this game.

Inventors Game

  The Inventors Game is another game of matching/concentration. Your children can choose from matching a card with an inventor’s name on it with another card with either just the name of the invention he invented or one with the inventor’s name and invention on it. A variation of this game is to play a game of competing against others in building a timeline of the inventors and their inventions.

This is a very interesting and educational game in learning about a large number and variety of inventions.


Super Star Speech: Therapy Made Simple

When one of my children needed speech therapy when he was little, I could find no games that were simple enough and reasonably priced for a parent to use at home with her child for review and practice between speech therapy sessions. I wanted to review this program because I really feel there is a need for this kind of product. I was fortunate enough to have found a wonderful therapist to work with my son once per week. She showed me and helped me develop simple games to play with my son to review the speech sounds she was currently focusing on and working with him. My son even helped me make the pieces for the game and we played every day. What a difference this kind of review and learning game has on speech development! I highly recommend this kind of “learning” between therapy sessions.

There are four books to this series:

  1. Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple
  2. Super Star Ch, J, and Th: Speech Therapy Made Simple
  3. Super Star S, Z, and Sh, Speech Therapy Made Simple
  4. Super Star R & L, Speech Therapy Made Simple

The main book, Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple, has the following tools to get you started with your child’s speech therapy and introduces target sounds for articulation:

  • Test for articulation with directions for administration
  • Response sheet
  • Sound error analysis sheet
  • Therapy plan

This book also includes directions for which sounds to target at what ages and how. There is also instruction as to how to focus on specific sounds for articulation. To practice those sounds after demonstrating and working with your child in how to form them, games and activities are included.

The other books in this series focus specifically on those sounds found in each title of the books. Like the main title, these include step by step practical instruction to the parent from using a mirror to proper tongue and teeth placement, and how to instruct your child in his practice of each particular sound.

There are explanations to you to help you understand the process. Wordlists using the particular sound to use for practice are also included, as well as, lesson plan forms to detail the “task” you are working on with your child, the activity used to practice the sound, the accuracy of articulating that sound, and a section for notes. Suggested therapy games and activities from worksheet activities to checkers, and from tic-tac-toe to board games will keep your child enjoying this learning process.

As I said earlier, I am so glad Debbie has published this series of books and I know it will bless many parents in need of this type of resource. I sure did a number of years ago, and was fortunate enough to have found someone like Debbie who helped me develop what my son needed at the time. Now it’s all been done for you!

The following is the pricing for the speech materials: Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple in a ring binder $22.95, spiral bound $18.95, or in ebook format for $12.95; the “R” and “L” sound specific book and the “S”, “Z”, and “Sh” sound specific book are available as spiral bound also for $18.95, while all three sound specific books are available as eb00ks for $12.95.

The following is the pricing for the Super Star Games: all games are available as a download for $3.50 each.

For other reviews about Super Star Speech materials and other games not mentioned here, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew.


All About Reading Level 2

    My family and I recently received a complimentary copy of Level 2 in the All About Reading program for the purpose of a review for the TOS Homeschool Crew.

I have posted previously about the new reading program, All About Reading, produced and published by the same author as the All About Spelling program. That review was about the first book in the program, Beehive Reader 1. This second book, soon to be released, is entitled What Am I? a collection of short stories and, includes words from Level 2 of the All About Spelling program.

This book follows the same concept as the Beehive Reader in that the words correlate to the corresponding level in the All About Spelling program and has the same high quality artwork depicting the stories. This book has several short stories with more complex sentences, is a higher reading level, and has poetry and fun “What am I” scenarios your child can solve.

Your child will enjoy such stories as “An Elf in the Alps”, “Broken Robot”, “Skunk Hotel”, and “Pine Tree Pet Shop”. This is another quality hard cover book of 160 pages that will remain in good condition through all of your children.

Visit All About Reading to see samples of the Beehive Reader to get an idea of what you can expect in the soon to be released What Am I? a collection of short stories.

To read more reviews about this new book and the All About Reading program, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew.

The Terrestria Chronicles

   My family and I recently received complimentary copies of The Crown of Kuros and The Dragon’s Egg, part of The Terrestria Chronicles, by Ed Dunlop for the purpose of a review for the TOS Homeschool Crew.

The Terrestria Chronicles allegory series was written with a three-fold purpose: to honor Jesus Christ as King, to challenge young readers to love and serve Him, and to teach them to guard their hearts for Him. The focus of the series is always on the King.”

I’m always looking for good literature for my children to read that reflects our family’s beliefs, values, and goals. So, when I received these books, I was quite excited to read them after reading comments on the internet and in homeschool magazines about this series.

The first book we read was The Crown of Kuros. This book is summarized in the following words:

“The Castle of Faith is in an uproar when the priceless Crown of Kuros is stolen in broad daylight from the castle keep. All evidence points to Morphina who is in league with Argamor. Prince Josiah, Prince Selwyn, and the other knights of the castle engage in a quest to find the crown before it falls into the hands of Argamor. But Josiah alone can recover the crown, and to do so he must engage in an impossible battle. This fourth adventure, the very heart of the Terrestria allegory series, will challenge the reader to surrender his heart to the King. ”

My boys read this book together aloud and on their own. They enjoyed the plot and the description, as well as the setting. They are big Lord of the Rings and C. S. Lewis fans. So, they enjoy this kind of fantasy/prince/king/knight kind of setting. While they enjoyed the characters and the plot, they thought the extensive use of allegorical names for people and places, such as Sir Faithful, Sea of Conviction, and Castle of Faith, were a bit overly used for their personal liking. They would have liked to maybe see the people demonstrating those characteristics and they could determine what kind of people they were by their behavior as my guys got to know them as the story rolled along, instead of the more obvious suggestion in the names.

For some reason, they also wished the plot was a little bit more involved, although they did enjoy the story. They definitely appreciated the message and the lesson learned. I’m going to have them read it again so we can discuss the message of the story more deeply and have them reflect on it some more as time passes.

The second book we read was The Dragon’s Egg. This book is summarized as

“When Princess Gilda and Prince Selwyn refuse the offer of a gift forbidden by King Emmanuel, Prince Josiah accepts, not realizing that his actions will impact the Castle of Faith. For a time, the young prince is able to conceal his act of treachery, and it seems that all is well. But when a Cararian Greatwing—the fiercest of dragons—begins terrorizing the kingdom, Josiah learns too late that he is powerless to control the beast that he has unleashed upon Terrestria. This fifth adventure in the Terrestria allegory series will challenge the reader to guard his heart for the King.”

For some reason, both my guys enjoyed this story better. They felt that it did not overuse the allegorical names this time and they seemed more authentic and original. They also enjoyed the plot more and felt it was more complex with more meat for them to chew on. Again, they greatly enjoyed the message to this story.

These stories were a big hit in my house and we are going to suggest to our library to purchase some books from this series. I plan on donating our copies to our library when we are done with them.

If you are looking for good books for your children with a strong Christian message, but fits into a genre they reach for for their enjoyment, I encourage you to check out The Terrestria Chronicles from Dunlop Ministries.

Currently, there are seven books to this series, available for purchase in paperback at $7.99 each or as a bundle for $39.99. A bundle in hard cover is also available. If you like to use these books as a study, a study guide is also available for purchase.

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew for more reviews of The Terrestria Chronicles and other books written by this author.

The World of Wiglington and Wenks Online Game

    My family and I recently received a month’s complimentary membership to the Travels of Wiglington and Wenks, Virtual World for Kids for the purpose of a review for the TOS Homeschool Crew.

The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World is an exciting new massive online virtual world for kids where players can travel to places around the world, through time and space, meet famous historical people, play fun enriching games, make new friends, own exotic islands, build culture-inspired houses, wear all kinds of cool clothing and costumes, explore secret locations, solve ancient mysteries and become a legendary traveler!

Probably the most massive virtual world for kids to date, The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks features more than 100 fun-filled educational real world and imaginary locations from the past, present and future. ”

This is the description of this new online virtual world children’s game from the game’s website. I would say this is a very accurate description. This online virtual world is different from others I have seen and definitely more educational.

I really like the idea behind the goals within this game. There are quests like other games, except these are non-violent, unlike alot of other virtual games out there. These quests involve assisting historic and some literary figures remember who they are and return their belongings to them that you find as you travel through the world to different destinations, learning facts about these geographic locations, landmarks, cultures, and historic figures.

As you travel, you can earn points and tokens by playing games and finding these historic figures. With these points you can purchase items to dress up your character and purchase an island and a house. Some of these games are just for fun, but others are challenging with the type and level of thinking skills involved. I appreciated that some thinking was involved.

I also appreciated an online virtual world where learning can be fun. From learning about historic figures, geographical landmarks to keeping an interest bearing account for your money in the bank and playing concentration/memory and critical thinking games, learning occurs randomly through this adventure.

I have one caution to mention and a sincere wish for this game in the future. I watch carefully the interactions and what is said among the participants of any game my children play online. This game is no exception. Rules and a code of conduct are in place with this game to keep children’s identities safe and to monitor language and behavior of the participants. However, unlike other games my children have played, this game does not “xx” out inappropriate language when a participant types inappropriate words or spellings close to these words.

This game does have a reporting feature to report such conduct. It also has a menu of words and phrases from which your child can choose to communicate with others instead of typing. I wish, though, that it had an option for the parent to totally block the “chat” feature so the child could not see or say anything to others if that is what you wanted for your child. I did not care for some of the very graphic and vulgar language expressed by some of the participants that was not censored out. I feel that needs to be worked on in the programming.

My younger and I enjoyed traveling the world together, although we wished there was a little bit more information available in a Help feature to inform us how to find and gather the historic figures’ personal items. This program was not quite my older son’s cup of tea.

If you and your children are looking for an online virtual game to play geared for kids, but you want a more educational experience, check out The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World. You can sign up for a free membership to gain access to some areas of the world to try it out.

Memberships that allow you to enter all areas of the world are available in different increments: $5.99/monthly, $16.99/3 months, $29.99/6 months, $59.99/yearly.

For other reviews of this online adventure, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew.


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