Monday, April 23, 2012

Balance Math Teaches Algebra TOS Review

Balance Math Teaches Algebra
The Critical Thinking Company

PhotobucketBalance Math Teaches Algebra is an introduction to solving equations and the processes of algebra. In solving the equations students are introduced to the skills of filling in proofs, simplifying equations, and substitution.

Rather than employing just a straight row of symbols and numbers, Balance Math uses a balance scale to represent the equation and geometric shapes for variables. In some of the equations the shapes have numbers in them, others are blank inside. The pages of the book are non distracting black print with no extraneous decorations, with 3-8 scales to solve on each page. Students are given several equations to solve with proofs to fill in to acquaint them with the type of equations they will be working with then they move on to several pages on which they practice those skills and types of problems. This practice may include activities such as matching equations which are equal or determining which equations are equal to a simplified balance scale shown at the top of a page. There are also several pages where the student matches equations to the mini word problems which are missing their variables.

 While the equations progress in difficulty throughout the book, the types of activities generally remain the same.

The book contains 52 pages of student work, a tip sheet for the student with guidance and ideas to solve different types of equations, and an answer key. It is recommended for 4th through 12 grade.

Balance Math Teaches Algebra is $14.99 from the Critical Thinking Company.  Samples are available by clicking the cover on the product page.

Critical Thinking Company has core and supplemental books in the subject areas of  language arts, math, science, social studies, and logic for preschool through high school. Some subject material is also available on CD format for use on the computer.

My Thoughts

My 11 year old is eager to start learning algebra, so when I had the opportunity to review this book. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for her.

Balance Math starts out fairly easy and my daughter found it enjoyable. However, by the time she was about a third of the way through she started having difficulty as many of the problems require multiplying and dividing by fractions and she is not comfortable with that operation yet. This is not a problem with the curriculum, but simply her level of knowledge at the present.

I liked the simplicity of the book, there was nothing there to distract her from work as is often the case with other materials. It is also small enough not to be overwhelming to the user.  Another great aspect of the book is user are presented equations with the geometric shapes rather than a long string of variables. This helps students to focus on the skill and process rather than the letter otherwise used.

Despite the challenge my daughter enjoyed working through Balance Math Teaches Algebra and getting a taste of algebra. Using this book has opened one of the secrets of upper grade work to her.

Other members of the TOS Crew had the opportunity to review this book as well as other publications from the Critical Thinking Company. See what they had to say at the Crew Blog.


Disclaimer: I received a gratis copy of the above reviewed books through the TOS Crew to enable me to write this review. I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April Birthday

Last month was Daughters' birthday, now in April is Sons' birthday. I am late in writing about his day and getting a picture of his cake posted, but I decided I better get it done. His birthday was last Sunday, April 15th.

On his birthday we went out for pizza. He had the opportunity to see all his grandparents via the computer and enjoyed several phone calls.

Since his birthday fell on Sunday I let him have Monday off from school. He spent the day working on different projects and just generally relaxing. I think he enjoyed this day just as much as his birthday.

 This is his birthday cake. He had had a difficult time deciding what kind of cake he wanted and then I was looking through my cake books. I found a round cake that was decorated as a donut. He likes donuts and asks us to buy him a donut all the time. It doesn't matter if we are in the store or just passing a place which has donuts, he wants one. So this was the perfect cake.

I made it in my angel food cake pan so I would get the hole in the center and just left it upside down so I would get the rounded top. Then covered it with a chocolate glaze and sprinkles. Something else he enjoys.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amazing Science TOS Review


Amazing Science Vol 1

Inside the case you will discover 2 DVD'S packed with 23 science experiments explained and demonstrated.

Topics covered include:
Surface Tension
At the very beginning of each experiment all the equipment is shown and viewers are given guidelines and tips for what type of supplies are required. For example, sometimes paper cups are used and other times glass are used. If there is a possibility there might be a question as to what is needed it is clarified. A list of supplies is also put up on the screen briefly at the beginning of the segment.

The experiments use basic equipment that can be easily found around home, although I know I would need to make some purchases such as a copper pipe or lemons.
In each segment the experiment is fully described, demonstrated and the science principles explained. At the beginning of the segment the viewer is given a brief description of what scientific principle will be demonstrated,the experiment is described and then it is actually demonstrated. Each step of the process is narrated while the process is being shown, so that the viewer can see what should be happening. The segment is recapped with a more in depth discussion of the scientific principle just demonstrated.

The host of Amazing Science is Jason Gibson, an engineer and physicist.

Amazing Science volume 1 sells for $19.95


This picture shows the end result of one of the simple experiments you will find in the Amazing Science DVD's.

Also available from are Physics and Chemistry courses, as well as Math courses in Basic Math, Algebra, Trigonometry/Geometry, and Calculus. These are all on DVD and available separately or in bundle packages.

My Thoughts

Amazing is definitely the proper adjective for this collection of  science demonstrations!

My children are usually thrilled and delighted by anything having to do with science. They begged to watch these over and over again. They love them and can't get enough. I think it would be safe to say these are among their favorite DVD's to watch.

This is an amazing collection of great science experiments! I like the fact that Jason explains the why behind how something works or occurs. This makes abstract science concepts concrete. It brings science alive for anyone, not just children. These videos tie science and daily life together in an easy to understand way without being simplistic.

As the necessary equipment is fairly common, most of it is safe and because of that children are capable of completing many of the experiments on their own with just supervision. When an experiment does use materials which can be dangerous Jason is very careful to remind viewers of that fact several times. He also emphasis the need for adult help at those times. He also tells viewers it is important to wear safety goggles and wears them himself when demonstrating the experiments.

Another positive I like is that the surroundings are so neutral and fairly uncluttered. The viewer can focus on the project and process while not being distracted by the TV environment.

A huge plus for me is this is a purely scientific presentation; there are no references to creation or evolution. This no pushing of a specific agenda.

After seeing this very well done DVD I would not hesitate to investigate further other products offered by  .

We were able to complete the Color Changing Milk activity with common household supplies. Although the video suggested whole milk we used 2% and it worked just fine. My children wanted to do it several times and the only "problem" we encountered was that the plate evidently wasn't dry enough after the first time and thus the milk didn't spread out well in the plate.

Read what other crew members had to say at the Crew Blog.


Disclaimer: I received a gratis copy of the above reviewed DVD to enable me to write this review. I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions are solely my own.

Monday, April 16, 2012

God's Great Covenant TOS Review


God's Great Covenant New Testament 1
by Claire A. Larsen
Classical Academic Press

God's Great Covenant NT 1 explores the life of Jesus in the four Gospels. It particularly emphasizes his roles of Prophet, Priest, and King and shows how he fulfills this throughout his life, death, and resurrection. In the course of doing so, the gospels are studies together, in a chronological manner rather than each one separately.

The course begins with several introductions: Historical/Political, Chronological, Geographical,Religious, Daily Life, and a General introduction.In these sections the author examines the various influences on the time period into which Christ came to give students and teachers a more complete understanding of the world at that time. All of these factors influence what happened and how it was understood and thus are vital for our proper understanding when studying the Bible.

The general introduction gives a brief overview of the Old Testament and how it is connected to the New. It examines the roles of the prophets, priests, and kings in the Old Testament by mentioning people and their activities and how all of these would be fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.

Student Text
The work in this course, which is designed for children fourth grade and up, is divided into four units each emphasizing different work of Jesus; He has come to live among his people, to proclaim good news, to teach about God's kingdom, and to conquer sin and death. Each of these units has 9 chapters. The units also contain a memory passage worksheet, devotional guide and a chapter of Simon's story. Simon's story tells about a young boy living just before the time of Jesus. He brings daily life to young readers/listeners. The book concludes with a quiz for each of the chapters.

Each chapter begins with a page breaking down the theme, Scripture selection, memory passage, key facts , and prophecy fulfilled. Most of these are self explanatory, but I would like to give a short example of the key facts. In the section of Jesus' arrest and trial the key facts presents all the people in the text and what they did. When an event is found in more than one gospel, all of the texts when it is also found are mentioned on the first page as well. 

There are generally two pages of review questions and activities for each chapter. They address story facts as well as ask the student to think about and apply what they have learned to their lives. Generally there is at least one short answer type question in each chapter. The rest of the questions are either fill in the blank, matching, true/false, various types of puzzles or even a maze.

Additional material in the text examines Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment in Christ, a discussion of Jesus as prophet, priest, and king, and a discussion of the Lord's prayer. There are also several maps in the text as well as a glossary. The maps are full size pages, black and white, and share a fair amount of information without being overly detailed. The text also contains quizzes for each of the chapters.

Sample student page


Teacher Book
The Teacher's edition contains the entire student text, but in a smaller size. It also contains additional notes for the teacher which offer explanations of the text, customs, additional Scriptural references, comments regarding society of the day and its impact on Scripture, and theological notes. Answers are added to the copies of all of the student worksheets. In addition to all of these features, there is also plenty of space for the teacher to write their own notes and thoughts.

Both books contain a bibliography, but most of the titles seem geared to adults rather than elementary students.
Sample teacher page
As part of the bundle to review we also received a download of the story portions of the text.

A sample is available on the product page for both the Teacher book and Student book.

God's Great Covenant Student book   $26.95
God's Great Covenant Teacher book $29.95
Audio Download  $9.95
Bundle of all above products  $56.95

Classical Academic Press has also produced God's Great Covenant Old Testament 1 and 2.

My Thoughts

I have to say I am  impressed by the curriculum and other products produced by Classical Academic Press. We use several of their language programs and recently reviewed their beginning logic program. All of these materials are thoughtfully written and compiled to make them interesting and engaging for the student and provide support material for the teacher who may be learning right along with their children. God's Great Covenant New Testament 1 does not disappoint. It is of the same high quality I have come to expect from Classical Academic Press.

Classical Academic Press also has an online interactive website with additionally learning activities, however, I did not find anything other than wallpaper which corresponded with the Bible curricula.

Because we were in the middle of Lent and were already working through the Holy Week bible stories when we received this book, that is where we began with God's Great Covenant NT1. My children, ages 11 and 7, were already familiar with the concepts of Prophet, Priest, and King, so they had no trouble jumping right in. I read the Simon story to them all as one story, instead of over the course of the lessons. They enjoyed this story as well as the whole course. Although I did start in the middle of the course due to the length of time I had to review it, starting at the beginning of the book does offer greater continuity and thus the student will get more out of it.

While there is a lot of material and substance to the course, I don't feel there is enough there for one week per unit, but too much to use two units per week. Using this course as our main text I would probably add in additional resources.

My children really enjoyed listening to the story recordings in addition to reading the bible stories. The recordings are pleasant to listen to; there is is enough vocal differentiation to make it interesting, but not too much to distract from the story.

My children also enjoyed the variety in the activities and that there was usually some kind of puzzle in addition to the questions. They don't care to write, so often we went through the question aloud after listening to the story.

I appreciate how the course sticks to the Biblical text and for the most part does not add doctrinal interpretation. There are some doctrinal notes in the teacher guide, but they were easy enough for me to adapt to add my Lutheran beliefs when needed. For instance, in the lesson of the Passover and Lord's Supper the text presented the Biblical events and in our discussion I was able to add the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Lord's Supper without contradicting what was heard in the story or changing the activity pages.

Read what other TOS Crew members had to say at the Crew Blog.


Disclaimer:I received gratis copies of the previously mentioned books and audio in order to write this review. I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions expressed are solely my own.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Homeschool Mothers Journal Weekly Review 4/14/2012

In my life this week…

I realized it has been an awfully long time since I posted anything on my blog which wasn't a review and I need to get back to writing some other posts.

In our homeschool this week…

We had a very productive week.

On Monday we celebrated the 100th day of the year. I found a number grid and devised a hidden picture for my kids. Before hand I figured out which squares would need to be colored to make the number one hundred and marked them on my key. I gave my kids blank grids and orally gave them math problems whose answers would be one of those numbers. When they solved the math problem they would color in the square with the proper answer. Some numbers don't lend themselves to any problem except that number times one, so for those I just told them the number. I tried to jump around so they would have to keep guessing what the final picture would be.

Throughout the week we also used jelly beans for various projects. They estimated how many were in a jar, reviewed adjectives by describing them using their five senses. We also need to finish up the project of coming up with new flavor names for different colored beans.

We've made progress in our regular core subjects as well and had time for some science experiments. Much to the delight of the children.

Daughter also finished several art projects she has been working on. This is a water lily, she made to go with our Monet study.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

The children had piano lessons again this week after the teachers' spring break. They were excited about this.

We also made a trip to the library again.

My favorite thing this week was…

I really enjoyed celebrating Easter.

Things I’m working on…

I'm thinking about what I want to do for next year. About all I have figured out so far is what products I already have which I will continue to use or can reuse for my youngest.

I also need to work on prepping several lapbook projects.

I’m reading…

Twitter for Dummies

Various Cookbooks   I need some inspiration for new things to make. I feel like I have fallen into a rut again.

I’m cooking…

I made ham with all the trimmings for Easter. I can't remember what else I made except for chicken and leftover ham.

Thanks to Sue at Homeschool Chick for hosting Homeschool Mothers Journal.

Christian Kids Explore Physics TOS Review


Christian Kids Explore is a science series specifically designed for homeschooling families with children in grades 4-8 from Bright Ideas Press. The series features books exploring Physics, Chemistry, Earth and Space, and Biology. I had heard of these books before, but had not had the opportunity to look at them. So I was excited about having the opportunity to review physics through the TOS Crew. It turned out that we really enjoyed our study from Christian Kids Explore Physics.

PhotobucketChristian Kids Explore Physics is a full year science curriculum with 30 lessons. Each lesson is designed to be taught two days a week. The book begins with three lessons which teach what the study of physics is and includes, measuring, and introduces famous physicists.Topic included are: Matter, Mechanics, Matter in Motion, Energy in Motion, Electricity and Magnetism. Each of these topics is a separate unit and are covered in 5-7 lessons. At the beginning of the unit is a vocabulary list, unit objectives, and materials list.

The information of each lesson is found under the heading of "teaching time", a scripture verse, vocabulary, discussion, review, and an activity. Additional reading is also encouraged.

For the first days lesson the lesson plans suggest using the "teaching time", the review questions, working through the vocabulary words and bible verse, and coloring the page for the unit. On the second day the hands on activity(a puzzle or experiment) is scheduled along with reviewing the vocabulary, and doing additional/supplemental reading.

The text is formatted to include sidebars. These sidebars contain the vocabulary words and definitions, interesting facts, and a Scripture reference. The vocabulary words are also highlighted in the text.

As would be expected by the title, the authors study science in the context of Christian faith. The first page of each lesson features a scripture verse which the lesson plans suggest having the student memorize. Many of the lessons include references to God creation as it relates to physics.

Another feature of the physics curriculum are coloring pages. These are mosaic images related to the study of physics or the upcoming unit. As an example, the coloring page for the unit on mechanics features line drawings of people skydiving, sledding, snowboarding, and bungee jump. In general the style of the coloring pages is very similar to the colored picture on the book cover.

Also a part of the Christian Kids Explore curriculum is a resource CD. This CD is loaded with lesson plans for each lesson, materials lists, a bibliography,glossary pages, and a literature study guide, and all the reproducibles found in the book. These reproducibles include the coloring pages, activity pages, unit reviews, follow up questions, and activity pages.

Christian Kids Explore Physics sells for $39.95. This is for the new 2nd edition.  The resource CD is also available as a download for $12.95. The information provided says the CD is compatible with both the 1st and 2nd editions. I received  pdf copies of the physics book and resource CD.

In addition to this science series, Bright Ideas Press also publishes history, geography,and literature curriculums. They have additional resources in these subjects available as well. I have also had the opportunity to use and review the Wonder Maps program from Bright Ideas Press.

My Thoughts

I used Christian Kids Explore Physics with both my 7 and 11 year old together as science is one of the subjects we do together. I simply tweak it for their levels, usually adding requirements for my oldest. We began with the three introductory lessons and then skipped to the section on mechanics as it was a topic we had not recently studied and my children were interested in. We were able to make this jump fairly easily. The lessons do not build upon each other in a way which requires using them in numerical order.

Overall, this was a very easy program for me to implement with my children and we all enjoyed using it.  However, I do feel it is quite lightweight for my 11 year old. As we used it I had her do additional reading and will continue to have her do more in depth research and activities as we continue. I definitely would not use it for any higher levels than she is now. I think it could work well for mid-elementary levels.

Additionally, I did encounter a couple of challenges. The biggest challenge I encountered was because the course was a pdf file and due to finances I was not able to print everything we used. Therefore, we worked through the course by reading it off the computer. The print of the text is fairly small and it can't be enlarged. The other challenge with the pdf format is the physical book is often referenced and used as part of the experiments and hands on activities. In the lesson on measuring, the book is one of the items measured and listed in the predesigned chart. It is also used for the friction activity. Additionally, the text also refers to the book in numerous places. Thus it was necessary to change the text I was reading in several places. Substituting a book was not difficult, but it is something of which to be aware.Personally I would prefer a hard copy book. Having a hard copy book would make it easier to involve my children in reading the text as well as letting them refer to it at other times. It would also be easier to have a book in hand for many of the activities.

Despite the difficulty having of having the textbook in electronic form, I loved having all the printables in this form. It is so easy to access them and print only what I wish to use. The resource lists are great. I plan to print these out and put them in my planner to refer to as we continue to use the course. That way I can easily look ahead several weeks and make sure I have what I need.

The resource pdf file (which is the material on the cd) also includes a literature study guide for a book about Ben Franklin. The study contains vocabulary, comprehension questions, as well as questions requiring deeper thought. It looks like a through study, but I have not been able to use it as I can not get a hold of the book.

I can not say enough how delighted I was to have all the printable resources all in one resources. It made prep work so much easier.

Neither of my children like to write so I did not have them write out the review questions or unit summaries. I simply read the questions and they took turns answering them. The questions are short enough this was not a problem.

When it came to the religious aspect of the curriculum I left out or added to some of the references to make them more compatible with Lutheran beliefs. I also used the included references as an opportunity to explain differences in religions. 

I like how it is designed to be used two days a week. As we generally work on science two days a week, this worked well with our schedule.Using a program designed the way we work really simplified planning for me. Also having all the printables separate from the text makes them so much easier to print and use.

The coloring pictures are absolutely lovely, even in black and white.  There is so much information presented in the pictures. If my children liked to color I would definitely print them out for them. I have thought about printing them for myself, but I know I wouldn't have the time to sit and color.

TOS Crew members had the opportunity to review other books in the Christian Kids Explore series. Read what they had to say at the Crew Blog.


Disclaimer: I received  gratis download copies of the book and CD for the purpose of writing this review. I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From Head to Toe TOS Review


Math and

PhotobucketAIMS Education Foundation produces materials to teach math and science topics in an hands on engaging manner. Unlike many traditional teaching resources which separate each subject, AIMS materials integrate multiple subjects in ways which more closely imitate real life.

From Head to Toe is written to teach youth in 5th thru 9th grade (the recommended level) about the human body. The students are given the opportunity to explore and learn about the human body with many hands on activities.The nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems are studied. The sense organs are also included.There are a total of 39 lessons, including two wrap up activities.

Each lesson begins a one page poster showing the key questions and goals for the lesson. The first student item is a rubber band booklet which is a full page divided into 4 parts. They are designed to be copied front to back, folded, and held together with a rubber band. They present to the student the main information about the body system or part. These are illustrated in a simple and engaging manner with 2-4 sentences for page.After these are read and discussed with the included questions, the lesson progresses with a hands on activity. Some of these are simply cut ad paste, but others require movement and cooperation between students.

The From Head To Toe curriculum is $24.95 for the teachers book and CD which contains all the printables in the book in pdf format.

AIMS Education Foundation offers books covering a variety of math and science topics for Kindergarten through High School. A number of their resources are available in pdf format as well as traditional bound books. A variety of supplies and manipulatives  are also available from AIMS.

My Thoughts

Several months ago, I also had the privilege of reviewing another book from AIMS which we really enjoyed.  This time From Head to Toe is another winner with my children. They loved everything we have studied from the book.We have discussed the brain, nervous system, and skin and completed many hands on activities. Both my 7 and 11 year old used the material together. Except for pronunciation of some terms, my youngest had no problem understand the text and doing the projects.

The mini books are a great way to teach the majority of the topic and allow them both my children to participate with their own copies. Copying on two sides is not easy with my printer, so I simply made single sided copies, cut the pages apart and stapled the booklets together. We will make some type of holder in which to store all the booklets for future reference.

The activities allow them to show what they have learned and provide an easy means of review as well.The quantity and variety of activities integrated into the text is one of my favorite features of the book. Even though I have to assemble the supplies, the work of choosing an activity is done for me.

One of the projects we did was making skin models. I did modify the directions to make the models larger. The original dimensions called for a model of approximately 3x4 inches, but I simply cut larger pieces of foam to make a model of 4 1/2 x 6 inches. I did this to avoid the possible frustration of not being able to place all the items on the model. As I enlarged the model base it would no longer fit on the included form, so I had my children make their own color/item key. We just attached both of these to color paper.

Other projects include making a model heart, crafting  pair of model lungs,testing skin for sensitiveness, constructing a paper skeleton, and labeling brain and bone models. Templates are included to help students construct a body diagram with transparency overlays. The wrap up activity is a body scavenger hunt. The clues are provided and the students task is figure out what body part is referenced.

I appreciate having the included CD with all the printables.  It is so much easier to pop the CD in the computer and print what I need rather than copy from a bound book.

Some of the hands on activities in the book require materials/ supplies which are not easily obtained. For example a heart activity requires a one way valve. I have looked in several local stores and school supply outlets and not found one. While AIMS does sell this item, I would not know it was needed until after looking at the book.

While From Head To Toe is generally adaptable to the homeschool setting, an activity designed to show how the nervous system works  had to be redesigned as it is called for teams of students.In this activity the teams raced against each other to see which team could send a hand squeeze message from one end to another quicker.  Instead we recalled what a friendship squeeze is. (Often in scouts, at the close of an event, the participants gather in a circle, sharing closing thoughts, and squeeze their neighbors hand in a gesture of friendship.) Several other activities have directions for a number of students, but I think they will not be as hard to tweak for only several participants.

Overall, I like the materials I have seen from AIMS. I believe they are innovative and applicable in many ways to life. Additionally, they require students to interact with the material and think  through it. I would not hesitate to purchase other publications from AIMS.

Other Crew members had the opportunity to review this and other books from AIMS. Learn which books were reviewed and other families thoughts at the crew blog.


Disclaimer:As a member of the TOS Crew I received a gratis copy of this book in order to write this review. I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Write with World TOS Review


Write with World is a brand new writing instruction program for junior high students from World magazine.


Write with World contains 4 units of 4 lessons. Each lesson is organized with 5 sublessons each. Each sublesson contains a lesson or teaching section and then a short practice or application exercise.

Unit 1 gives students the opportunity to study various images and think about the meaning behind them. Students review basic grammar while continuing to examine several images and looking at the differences and interest communicated by using different types of words. Then students apply this same skill and comparison to paragraphs. The unit concludes with helping the student put together strong, interesting sentences and fashioning them in to paragraphs which are also strong and interesting. A sample lesson (Unit 1 Lesson 1) is available in the top orange bar at Write with World.

Unit 2 provides practice for writing more complex sentences as well as writing topic sentences and organizing paragraphs. The fourth lesson focuses on taking the skills learned for writing an interesting paragraph and applying them to longer written pieces as well.

Learning and writing about themselves is the focus of Unit 3. Students reflect about themselves and various aspects of their lives. They are then guided to write a piece about themselves and a significant event.

In Unit 4 the student practices several new concepts. The focus is on writing from second and third person points of view, the difference between showing and telling in writing, and determining a clear purpose for writing before beginning the process. This unit concludes with the student writing the autobiographical narrative they have been planning. The student will also work on revision in this unit.

The course focuses on helping beginning writers make their writing interesting and strong through clear expression of their thoughts. They also encourage the student to read and write with a critical and questioning mind.To this end many writers and editors are quoted in the text and students use these passages as examples and guides for their own work. Additionally, students are given the opportunity to examine and compare multiple samples of work to learn what techniques and styles make reading more pleasant.

The teachers manual is an exact copy of the student book, but contains additional teaching/ guidance notes. These are in the margins of the teacher text, giving the teacher an exact copy of the student work as well.

There are currently two years of Write with World available. These are designed for a junior high level. Each year costs $95 for the teacher book, online access, and the student book. If purchased together, both years materials sell for $165.  Ordering is available from the God's World News subscription page. 

According to the publisher, there are plans to develop a site which will give students an opportunity to publish their work as well as provide material to supplement what is in the text. Access for this site is available with purchase of the books.

The course does require a separate writing journal or notebook for the student to record their work in .

My Thoughts

I have been impressed with this program. It takes the often intimidating task of writing a piece and breaks it down in to smaller more manageable steps and provides plenty of guidance in the process.The example paragraphs are interesting and engaging and they clearly demonstrate the point being taught.

I like how grammar is incorporated with writing. This way the student is given a purpose for knowing all that "boring stuff" and they don't have as much of an opportunity to forget.Students are also given several new words over the course of a lesson which they need to look up in a dictionary and learn meanings of. These words are used in the context of the text so they are meaningful to the student, not just random words.

While the introductory material says it is not necessary to be familiar with World magazine or have copies of it in order to use this course, there are several exercises throughout the course which use the magazine. Because I do not have the magazine, I needed to come up with a substitute resource for those activities. At times this was challenging as I do not know the "voice" or style of World magazine.  Write with World is a fully independent writing course;  none of the benefits or instruction of Write with World is lost if the magazine is not available at the same time the course is used.

I appreciate having the full student text in the teacher book, as that way we can take turns reading it aloud and following along as well. I can also help my daughter even if I am not right next to her. The teachers notes are generally reminders about writing mechanics to reinforce or make sure the student thoroughly understands.  Other notes share guidelines for "grading" or reviewing students work. I found these to be helpful as writing proficiency is challenging to grade.

 I like having a "hard copy" teacher guide in comparison to an ebook. It is so much easier to get a good overview of the course as well as helpful for referring to previous lessons and looking ahead. I also find having physical copies of books is easier as computer equipment is shared and not portable. It is not as easy to gather around a computer as it is to share a book even.

I used this course with my newly 11 year old daughter and have found it to be quite beneficial for her. She has had previous writing instruction, but still finds writing challenging. As previously mentioned, she has found Writing with World interesting and relative to her. The lessons are not overly long so they maintain her interest and attention. While she has a history of trying to do as little writing as possible she has not protested too much about having to write for these exercises. Additionally some of the questions we have done orally, so as to save the act of writing for those exercises which need to be written.

The introduction discusses the publishers reasons for designing this course with one of them helping students to develop a Christian world view in their writing. I appreciate the way this is worked out in the course; they are not politically correct with sources or texts used, yet at the same time they do not promote one Christian belief over another.

Our pace with Write with World has generally been about 5 days per lesson, one day per capsule, with each lesson generally taking 30 -45 minutes. As we progress I know this will slow down as the writing assignments become more complex.

Read what other TOS Crew Members had to say about Write with World at the Crew Blog.


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew I received gratis copies of this product  to use to enable me to write this review. I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions expressed are solely my own.