Friday, August 22, 2014

TOS Review: Happy Kids Songs

My girls, ages 7 and 5, love music, whether they're singing and dancing along to a favorite character's theme song in our living room or a popular song on the radio, they are constantly singing.  It seems like once the lyrics go in, they are easily remembered and repeated.  So, I'm always monitoring their music and trying to find wholesome age-appropriate music for them to listen and sing along too.

This summer my girls have been enjoying the music from Happy Kids Songs.  Happy Kids Songs produces adult quality music that is entertaining and age-appropriate for younger children.

There are 8 different albums to download, each containing 5 songs.

Cost:  $4.95 per album or $0.99 per song

Recommended Age: 3-8 years old

  We received the following downloadable albums to review:

Friends & Sharing (Set 1)

The topics on the Friends & Sharing album includes, essential ingredients of friendships, tools for reaching out to others, making sure to include others, being happy with friends, and dealing with saying goodbye.  A sample of each song is available.

Happiness & Attitude (Set 5)

The Happiness & Attitude album has songs related to being thankful, positive thinking and giving compliments, paths to happiness, handling frustration and limitations, and being together and apart.  A sample of each song is available.  

Manners & Character (Set 6) 

The main topics on the Manners & Character album are the value of honestly, rudeness and manners, appreciating differences, consideration for others, and honoring other perspectives.

In addition, we received the physical book, Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-On Activities to Build Character, Social and Emotional Skills.

The soft-bound workbook consists of 125-pages, including a lyrics page and a coloring or activity page for all 40 Happy Kids Songs.  In addition, there are numerous lessons, including activities, such as crafts, movement, drama, games, and discussion topics.

Cost: $12.56

Recommended Age: 3-8 years old

*Receive free downloadable pages of lyrics, coloring and activity pages for all 40 Happy Kids Songs by signing up on their mailing list via e-mail.*


How did we incorporate Happy Kids Songs?

-After downloading the songs, I reviewed all songs and decided which ones were most appropriate for my girls.  Most of the songs had a catchy beat and had a good message for young children.  However, there were several songs that I did not find appropriate or beneficial for our home; therefore, my girls were unable to listen to those particular songs.  Once I decided which songs were a good fit for our family, I simply burned the songs on a CD.  

-After reviewing the songs, I wasn't sure how my girls were going to respond.  My girls love music, but they are very picky about their music.  They listened to the Happy Kids Songs, while free playing and while in the car.  They enjoyed many of the songs, but found some songs a little too childish.  


What did I like about the albums from Happy Kids Songs?

-The songs were age-appropriate for younger children and the themes were directly related to common issues for the age group of 3-8 years old.  However, several topics were questionable with how they were presented.  I would highly recommend parents to preview the songs first and decide which songs are appropriate for your children.

-The variety of music was refreshing.  Each song had it's own style.  There were adult and child soloists, children's chorus, and a wide range of instruments and styles of music.

-You can create your own custom CD for your children by downloading and burning only the songs that you want.  This is extremely beneficial.



Twitter: @howsyourfam


Be sure to sail over to see what other Crew Mates had to say about their experience with Happy Kids Songs.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TOS Review: Wizzy Gizmo

Wizzy Gizmo is a series of Bible books, audio books, and flashcards that explain the Bible in a fun and engaging way.  During the summer, we spend a lot of time traveling, so I'm always trying to find purposeful movies and audio resources for my girls, ages 7 and 5.  Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything? has been a huge hit this summer! 

Price: $14.99

Recommended Ages: 4-12 


What's included with Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything?

-There are a total of 22 tracks; 60 minutes in length.  The audio drama is based on Genesis chapter one and lasts for 36 minutes.  The remaining 24 minutes consists of bonus soundtrack content.  The tracks continuously flow from narration, retelling the days of creation, and entertaining songs.  

-The CD begins with a new child in town, Eli, who meets new friends that invite him to Wizzy Gizmo's workshop.  Wizzy Gizmo is a genius inventor, who loves God and loves to explore the Bible.  He recently completed his newest invention, the Gizmovision, which allows him to travel back in time.  They decide to travel back to the beginning of time and are able to observe what happened on each day of creation.  

-   The audio drama is followed by a short Giz Quiz about the days of creation. 

-There are 5 samples from the audio drama section of the CD to give you a glimpse of the awesomeness.

-The last 24 minutes consists of a bonus soundtrack, including 7 songs, 5 of the songs are instrumental.  My girls really enjoyed listening and singing along with the songs.  The instrumental songs were very soothing.


What are my final thoughts on Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything? 

-My girls loved it!  There was a ton of giggling happening in the back seat each time they listened to the CD.  Not only were they entertained by the silliness, they were exploring the amazing wonders of creation. 

-I appreciate that the story was age-appropriate for younger children.  My girls didn't mind listening to the story, over and over, again.  Each time, they would catch a new detail or have a new question to ask.  It really encouraged family discussions regarding creation.  

-The narration and variety of voices kept my girls' attention.  The silliness helped too.  At first, I was concern that the silliness was going to be too much and it would take away from the Biblical story, but I was wrong. There was a nice balance between fiction and non-fiction within the story. 

-The songs were really good and very easy to sing along with.  We all enjoyed singing along with the songs!  

-I'm hoping that Book 2: In His Image will be available as an Audio Drama, as we would love to add to our audio collection.  


In conclusion, I would highly recommend Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything?


Wizzy Gizmo is currently offering a chance to save up to 10% off your purchase.  At check-out, each time you share, you will receive a 2% discount.  

Be sure to sail over to see what other Crew Mates had to say about their experience with Wizzy Gizmo.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TOS Review: Hewitt Homeschooling

Hewitt Homeschooling has been helping homeschooling families for over three decades.  They strive to introduce great literature to your children, while helping them with reading, writing, and communication skills.

Recently, Hewitt Homeschooling designed the Lightning Literature series for elementary children.  Last year, they introduced the first grade level and the second grade level will be available this fall.

We were thrilled to review the Lightning Literature for first grade.

We received the following:

Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Teacher's Guide, $29.95

Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Student Workbook, $49.95

I love to snuggle up on the couch and read books with my girls.  It is my favorite part of the day.  I was so excited when I discovered that the Lightning Literature series incorporates award-winning children's books into their curriculum.  There are 36 weeks of organized lessons and activities.  Each week incorporates one amazingly awesome picture book to read with your child.  Here is the list of the books that are covered throughout the year.


What's included in the Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade: Teacher Guide?

-The soft bound teacher's guide has a total of 306 pages.

-At the beginning of the teacher's guide, there is a detailed introduction on how to use the curriculum and a brief overview of the suggested daily schedule.  The curriculum is intended to be used 4 days a week for 36 weeks.  Your student will complete three sections, Literature, Grammar and Mechanics, and Composition, each day.

-The reminder of the teacher's guide is divided into 36 weeks.  Each week begins with  brief glance of the week, which includes objectives and needed materials.  Followed by detailed daily lessons plans, including questions and discussion topics for each book, grammar and mechanics instruction, and weekly composition activities.

-Here is a sample week from the teacher's guide.


What's included in the Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade: Student Workbook?

 -The consumable soft bound student workbook contains a total of 465 perforated, hole-punched pages.

-The student workbook is divided into 36 weeks.  Each week has daily colorful lessons and/or activities to complete.

-There is a sample week available to preview.  It will give you a clear idea of how each week is set-up.


How did we use the Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade curriculum?

-We used the curriculum on a daily basis during the review period.  We followed the suggested schedule found in the teacher's guide.  Specific days follow the same sequence, weekly.

-Every Monday, the book of the week was introduced, which we read together as a read-aloud, then Izzie would answer the provided comprehension questions.  There is a space provided in the Teacher's guide to record your student's answers; however, I found it more convenient not to use the provided space.  Afterward, she would complete a corresponding grammar and mechanics workbook page found in her Student Workbook.  Finally, she would complete a composition activity.

Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade: Teacher's Guide, Week 1

Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade: Student Workbook, Week 1: Monday

-Tuesday is referred to as Narration Day.  Instead of rereading the book of the week, Izzie would retell as much of the book as she could remember, including the story, character, setting, external and internal details, and conflict.  Again, she would complete the corresponding grammar and mechanics workbook page found in her Student Workbook.  Afterward, she would complete a different composition activity.

Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade: Student Workbook, Week 1: Tuesday

-On Wednesdays, we would reread the book of the week.  This time Izzie would read the book to me.  Afterward, she would answer the provided questions, which were more inferential and evaluative.  On Wednesdays, there are optional workbook page activities, such as completing dictionary, alphabet, or sentences pages.  Izzie did not complete these activities, since we aren't schooling full-time this summer.  However, she will complete these activities once we start school in the fall.

-Every Thursday, there is a specific Aesop's fable assigned to be read.  Afterward, there is a grammar and mechanics workbook page to be completed.  Finally, your student will write their final draft from the week's composition activities.

Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade: Student Workbook, Week 1: Thursday 

-Fridays are free days.  We normally used this time to read other books from the week's author.


What did I like about the  Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade curriculum?

1.  It was very simple to incorporate the curriculum into our daily schedule.  It took Izzie an average of 30 minutes a day to complete all assignments.  

 2.  It is very parent-friendly.  Besides a trip to the local library, everything is already planned for me!  We only needed the weekly book, the teacher's guide, and the student workbook to complete the assignments.

3.  The teacher's guide is extremely organized and contains detailed instructions with daily lessons plans.  There was very little prep, which saved me a lot of time.

4.  The student workbook contains short, colorful lessons and activities that are age appropriate.  The workbooks pages are easily transferable to a binder since they are already perforated and hole-punched.

5.  Izzie is being exposed to amazing children's literature, while learning to read and write.


I would highly recommend the Lightning Literature and Composition First Grade curriculum.  I'm looking forward to purchasing the second grade curriculum this fall.

Be sure to sail over to see what other Crew Mates had to say about their experience with Hewitt Homeschooling! 

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