4/29/11

TOS Review: Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek

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One of the subjects that I have always wanted to learn  teach has been Greek.  I just never really made it a priority in my home school.  I’d looked at several programs including Greek N Stuff’s Hey Andrew program but despite my desire, I just didn’t have the drive.

When we began to explore the Eastern Orthodox Faith, I finally had the kick in the backside I needed to be serious, however, I still wasn’t sure HOW I was going to make that happen.  Well, God made it happen through the TOS Review Crew.  What a blessing to receive Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek Level 3 from Greek ‘n’ Stuff. I received a student book ($21.95) and a full text answer key ($21.95) as well as an audio cd for pronunciation ($10.00)

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Although not designed within a framework of lessons, it is intended that students complete 1 page per day (including practicing flashcards).  A “Schedule of Lessons” provides a grid or frame  of 36 lessons or 1 per week. Each lesson contains 4 to 6 workbook pages.

The first two lessons review the 24 Greek letters. The next two lessons review 6 vocabulary words.  Lessons 5-7 teach endings and introduce sentences such as I see a man or I see a man and a brother. More vocabulary is reviewed in Lessons 8-9 and lessons 10-13 teach more endings and the student learns sentences such as I know a man’s brother or The man’s brother sees an apostle. 

New vocabulary is not introduced until lesson 19.   Sprinkled throughout the program are several lessons that offer vocabulary and sentence practice.  The final two lessons are review lessons. Also included in the worktext are several appendices including an appendix describing how to do Bible copy work with an interlinear Bible.

Here are some sample pages of the Level 3 program:

Sample page of the Table Of Contents
Sample of Page 31
Sample of Page 117 

For additional products such as the Gospel Of John to use for copywork or for bundle package pricing for Level 3 click here.

Our Experience: I have very mixed and contradictory thoughts about Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek Level 3.  While over all, I think this has been a blessing for my family and my children have enjoyed it, I’m not sure that Level 3 was the best fit.  Karen Mohs wrote Hey Andrew for younger children.  The worktext assumes you’ve completed Levels 1 & 2 before starting Level 3, however, the website states that, if you have older children with no prior Greek knowledge, you should start at level 3 or if the student has experience with an inflected language level 4.

I do agree that starting at Level 3 with an older child is a better fit than Level 1 or 2, but I found it frustrating to teach the Greek Alphabet with only the review pages in the worktext.  I would have appreciated some type of flashcard or something in the appendix that addressed starting the program at this level with an older child.

Greek N Stuff recommends that you purchase the Full Answer Key for this level and I agree.  I could not imagine trying to teach this program to younger or older students without the “Schedule of Lessons” contained in the Full Answer Key.   Although the Full Answer Key includes appendices, it does not contain a flashcard appendix. However, it does contain an appendix of Flashcard Tips. The “Flashcard Tips” are not in the student work text.  I do recommend purchasing the Full Answer Key to use with the Level 3 program.

While the alphabet review and vocabulary review moved too quickly, the new material lessons moved too slowly. I believe the pacing of the program would be appropriate for a younger student who had completed levels 1 and 2.

Despite my frustrations with the pacing of the program, my children are learning Greek and they are enjoying learning Greek.  Turtlegirl, age 13, can read Greek!  She may not understand what she is reading but she quickly picked up on the alphabet and began doing Bible Copywork right away.  BooBear, age 15, wants to continue to study Greek. I have to confess that it was quite thrilling to take my children to a Greek Festival and tour the Greek Orthodox Church and have my children able to read the letters on the Icons and read and understand some of the Greek words!

If you are comfortable with adapting the pace of the program to suit your needs and your student has no previous experience with Greek or *any* inflected language, Level 3 could be a good fit.  If however, you have had some prior experience with inflections especially Latin, you may want to start with Level 4.  I think Level 4 would have been a better fit than Level 3 for our family but we were able to make it work for us.

Greek N Stuff also sells a Latin program as well as Bible Studies.  Some of the Crew reviewed Greek, some Latin, and some Bible. Be sure and click on the banner below to read the reviews of these other products.Photobucket

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

GreeknStuff provided me with 1 Full Answer Text, 1 Student book and 1 Audio CD for review purposes.

4/28/11

Reading Aloud Challenge 4/28

Is it Thursday already?  This week is our Spring Break and relax and recover from Pascha week.  We did do some reading aloud this week because reading aloud is relaxing and enjoyable.  We didn’t finish any of our books this week but we’ve made progress and we’ve started a new one!

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This book comes the closest to being a “school” book.  We’re still reading about Robert Fulton.  This is a fascinating book.  In addition to learning more about the inventor, you also learn more about the invention.  The history of the invention.  We’ve been learning where Fulton got his ideas, who financed him and about others whose work inspired or contributed to Fulton’s steam engine. This is one of the books included in the Yesterday’s Classics bundle.  You’ll want to check out my review next week!

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Speaking of Yesterday’s Classics, here’s another book that we are enjoying from that Bundle we just started it this week and we’ve only read the first chapter.  The first chapter tells how Robin came to be an outlaw and live in Sherwood forest.  As I read aloud the first chapter, I had to stop so we could discuss how this Robin Hood legend differed from other legends and discuss the history of Richard the Lionheart.

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I seem to be on a Yesterday’s Classics kick (these books really are wonderful!  You don’t want to miss the special offer I’ll be including in my review May 4th).  Here’s one more that I am reading aloud.  I am reading aloud The Dutch Twins to Supergirl.  While her three sisters had piano lessons, Supergirl and I sat at Mcdonalds’s.  She ate chicken nuggets and I read aloud this cute book.

We haven’t only been readingAndi's Surprise ebooks from Yesterday’s Classics. We’ve also been reading a few “real” books too!  Andi’s Fair Surprise is part of the Circle C Beginnings.  I intended for Supergirl to read this one to me or rather that she would read the words she could read and I would read the rest but it really is above her reading level so we started over and I am reading it aloud to her.  Two of her sisters have hung out with us even though they’ve already read it and it is “below them”.  It’s sparked some discussion with Tailor Bear.  She asked me some “what if” questions inspired by the book.  So even though I wouldn’t have chosen to read this one as a family read aloud, Supergirl isn’t the only one benefiting from the book.

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This book really is a school book.  It is part of Sonlight’s Core 200.  It is meant as literature for the student to read alone, however, I decided to make it a family read aloud.  Everyone is enjoying this book and we’ve made it the priority book this week.  Even Supergirl asks for another chapter of Mrs. Frisby! 

We’ve had an excellent week for reading aloud this week having read something aloud most days.  I really do enjoy grabbing a drink and tall glass of water and spending an hour or so reading to my girls.  I do wish Sonlight included read alouds in the upper level cores, but since they don’t, I’ll just keep picking and choosing a few here and there to use as read alouds.

What have you been reading this week?  Would you like to join in the Reading  Aloud Challenge?  You can join this week’s Reading Challenge at Footprints in the Butter hosted by my friend Debra.

4/24/11

Christ is Risen!

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From today for 40 days we’ll be singing:

Christ is risen from the grave. Trampling down death by death. And upon those in the tomb bestowing life!

Another of my favorites is this:

Shine! Shine! O New Jersalem! The Glory of the Lord has shone on you. Exult and be glad O Zion. Be radiant O pure Theotokos in the resurrection of your Son.

Pascha (Easter) is the greatest of the Church Feasts. Had Christ not risen from the grave our salvation could not be complete. He has triumphed over Death! He has secured for us the Victory!

Christ is Risen from the Dead!  Have a blessed and wonderful Feast Day

4/22/11

TOS Review: See the Light Art Class DVD

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Vendor: See the Light
Product: Art Class

Format: 36 lessons on 9 DVD's or a monthly online subscription
Ages: Ages 6 and above, or grades 1 and above
Price:  DVD set=$99.99, Online Subscription=$10
Contact information: info@seethelightshine.com
Website: http://www.seethelightshine.com

Art Class by See the Light brings art instruction into your home through a series of step by step lessons.  As members of the TOS crew, we reviewed the first DVD containing lessons 1-4 and a bonus Chalk Art lesson.  Art Class is also available as a monthly online subscription. You can view free online lessons here.

You can click here for access to information covered in each lesson.  Just click on the individual discs for more information about the lessons on that disc..  Alternately, you can click here to download a PDF containing the lesson details for the entire curriculum.

See Light Logo

My Thoughts: Pat is an engaging and energetic teacher whose love of art motivates her to share art with the students.  My 15 year old said “It’s pretty clear that she really loves art.”   I think the best teachers are those who really love their subject matter and are excited to share it with others.  I think my children learned more from Pat *because* Pat’s love shone through.

Even I learned more in watching those 4 lessons then I did in any of my art classes in junior and senior high!  In a college theater design class the instructor stated simply “just draw what you see”.   Sounds easy right?  But I had no idea how to do that. It wasn’t easy for me.  It was frustrating. Pat would agree with my college instructor however, Pat starts by teaching about lines and she teaches you *how* to draw what you see by breaking it down into lines.  Pat even reminds students in Lesson 4 that you must draw what you SEE not what you KNOW and then explains that you may not always see something like all four table legs but you know they are there.  It makes me wonder if my problem was that I was trying to draw what I knew rather than what I saw.

Included on DVD 1 is a bonus lesson: Chalk Art. This is not taught by Pat but by one of the other artists at See the Light.  I did not find this lesson as helpful, nor did my children.  They thought it was “cool” but it didn’t really instruct us on how to really use chalk or how to blend chalk. God gifted Gloria with artistic talent, but we found she lacked the same love of teaching that Pat has. It is possible that other Chalk Art lessons have more instruction.

On the website site, See the Light states that Art Class has “Biblical truth integrated into every lesson."  When I think of “integrated” I think of smooth, seamless transitions where the Biblical truth is woven into the fabric of the lesson and is, perhaps, inseparable from the lesson itself.  In my opinion the Bible verses at the end of each art lesson are contrived and forced. We found them distracting and I believe they actually detract from the art instruction. 

Though I disagree that Art Class, has Biblical truth integrated, it is my understanding that See the Light has integrated Biblical truth in their The Gift of Love DVD and The Crossmaker DVD.  In those DVD’s See the Light weaves art instruction and Biblical truth together.

Although I am very impressed with the art instruction provided in the first four lessons, I will not be purchasing this DVD set for my family.

To read what my fellow crewmates had to say about Art Class from See the Light, click on the banner below.
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Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received the first DVD of the series free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

See the Light provided me with a free copy of the first disc in the Art Class DVD series. You can also get a free copy of the first disc in the series by clicking here.

4/21/11

Read Aloud Challenge 4/21

icon_christ_bridegroom_medium Have you noticed my blog’s been a little more quiet this week?  That’s because we finished Great Lent and entered into Holy Week.  My primary focus has been the church services of Holy Week.  This Icon is called Christ the Bridegroom and is the icon for the services Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.

I didn’t do a Read Aloud Challenge post last week so I’m stealing some time to sneak one in this week.

It’s been such a full and busy past 10 days or so and I didn’t write down what we read so my memory is fuzzy.  It wasn’t much.   I have a vague recollection of reading from our 50 Great Stories ebook.  Oh and I’m sure we picked up the Great Inventions ebook but towards the end of the week, we  dropped our regular read alouds.

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Because this week is Holy Week, we have focused on reading aloud from The Incarnate God .  It is a two volume set.  We are reading from Volume 2. We are reading selections from Lazarus Saturaday, Palm Sunday and then the Holy Days of the week. We are a little behind as today is Holy Thursday but we’re still on Holy Wednesday’s reading.

Christ with Gospel

I may not be doing much reading aloud to my children this week but they are getting lots and lots of Scripture read aloud to them.  During the services, they are hearing many Psalms (during one of the upcoming services they will hear Psalm 119 read aloud!) as well as old testament readings.  They been listening to Epistle readings and Gospel readings as well.  Last night there were 7 Epistle readings and 7 Gospel readings.  Tonight they will hear 12 Gospel readings.

Next week, I’ll ease back into reading aloud picking up the books we’ve set aside and maybe even adding a new book or two to the mix. I’ll try to remember to add images of the covers.

Interested in the Read Aloud Challenge?  Check out this post from Debra @ Footprints in the Butter.  Want to read about this week’s challenge?  Click here.

4/20/11

TOS Review: Nutrition 101

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Over the years my family has had seasons of striving to eat healthier  followed by seasons of making poor choices.  I’ve always struggled though with how to teach my children about nutrition and the choices we make and I’ve struggled with what should I teach about nutrition?

The study of nutrition is more than just a look into food and its nutrients.  It is an in-depth look at how we eat, what we eat, how the body works and how these foods affect the body.  This program is not a rehash of biology or science, but a discovery of how the body systems are affected by the foods--good or bad-- we eat. (page 5)

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! published by Growing Healthy Homes is an answer to my prayer. This resource provides instruction that I can use to teach all 4 of the girls at the same time.  

Before I get into how I’ve been using it let me make sure I give you the pertinent facts.

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Vendor: Growing Healthy Homes
Product: Nutrition 101:Choosing Life!
Format: Available on CD, as Print Book or as a combo pack
Age: All Ages
Website: http://growinghealthyhomes.com

Contact: http://growinghealthyhomes.com/pages/contact_us
Read an Excerpt: Sample

This amazing resource is over 400 pages and includes 31 appendices! This isn’t just a teaching curriculum but a valuable source of information that any family can use to improve their health.

Are you involved in a home school co-op?  Is your co-op looking for class ideas? Nutrition 101: Choose Life! would be an excellent choice! There is a multi-user license available (with restrictions) for co-op users.   Be sure and check out the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on using this product in a co-op setting.

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! covers twelve bodily systems in six units with four chapters per unit :

  • The Brain and Nervous System
  • The Digestive System
  • The Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory & Visual Systems
  • The Skeletal and Muscular Systems
  • The Cardiovascular and Immune systems
  • The Endocrine System and Emotions

I could write pages and pages of what is included in this beautiful book but instead I’m going to recommend that you read the Excerpt.  This 27 page sample includes the full table of contents so you can see the topics of each unit, chapter and appendices. You can also see some the gorgeous layout of the pages. 

The authors recommend one chapter per week and they give you a suggested plan to use in the “Getting Started” section.  They do also state though:

However, feel free to extend it an extra week for the longer more in-depth chapters.  It is fine to focus on a particular chapter…{snipped} [T]he entire program can [be] repeated and modified each year to reinforce or refresh what has already been learned.(page 15)

In the few weeks that we have had this book, I have barely begun to scratch the surface of information. This will be a resource I turn to again and again.  I love how I can read the chapter lesson to all four girls and then adapt the discussion and activities to be appropriate for each girl.   We’ve been working in Unit 1 with the “Brain and Nervous systems”.  One activity suggested using the non-dominant hand instead of your dominant hand.  We now have a few more Mii’s for our Wii as each of us has a dominant hand Mii and a non-dominant Wii.   Because these units seem self-contained, when we wrap up Unit 1 on the “Brain and Nervous System”, we’ll jump ahead to Unit 5 the “Cardiovascular and Immune Systems”.  Supergirl has congenital heart defects and diminished immune system so this unit is of particular interest to me.

I love the explanations of the the bodily systems.  I like the science behind the nutrition.  For example, I like that we read not just about which oils are healthier but *why* they are healthier and *why* we need them in the proper ratio.  I like the lists of food that promote health.  I love the appendices!  I also love that the answers to the discussion questions and activities are included as an appendix.

Although I am using this as a curriculum spine, I would recommend this book as a resource to any family interested in the connection between what we eat and our health. 

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This Graphic contains the FTC Regulations statement for Reviews.

All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.

 

4/16/11

Five Question Friday

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Yes, I am aware that it is no longer Friday. It is actually Saturday evening.  I just never got around to finishing this up yesterday and I’ve been gone most of today.  I’m looking at a really busy but spiritually wonderful week.  I want to post this, even though it’s a day late, because I won’t be posting much this week.

1. What is your favorite sign of spring? The smell!  There is something fresh in the smell of the air.  I love how the smell in the air is different after the rain of spring versus the rain of winter.  It’s not just the scent of flowers trying to bloom but I can’t quite put my finger (or nose) on what it is.

2. What was your best birthday ever? Oddly the birthday that stands out as my best was supposed to be the worst.  For my 35th Birthday my husband deployed and my best friend moved.  Seriously!  My husband deployed 3 weeks before my birthday but wasn’t in the Big Sandbox until MY BIRTHDAY.  And my best  friend?  She moved the week of my birthday (I think it was the day before my birthday).

Everyone felt so sorry for me that they went out of their way to be nice to me!  A friend came into town from the North and spent the night and we all went out for birthday breakfast.  Then again friend drove in from the south and took me to dinner and her family spent the night. 

And my husband?  He was able to surprise me with a phone call to wish me happy birthday.  Never of us thought he would be able to call because he was travelling so that was special!

But the most special part of that birthday was the phone call from my father.  It was the LAST time that he would call me to wish me a happy birthday as he died nearly exactly 2 months later.  (My birthday is Sept 24,  He died Nov 19).  He wanted to talk to of the of the girls first and he got them to gather together and hand me the phone and he and the girls sang Happy Birthday to me. 

3. What is your favorite dessert? The first thing that comes to mind is cheesecake. Yup, cheesecake.  I love cheesecake! I have yet to meet a cheesecake slice I haven’t liked.  I think I might have to get some cheesecake for the feast at church after the Agape Vespers on Pascha (Easter)

4. What is the best excuse you've ever used to get out of a ticket? I have never used an excuse to get out of a ticket.  In 27 years of driving, I’ve only received 3 tickets and I deserved them all.  Two of them were in Germany.  (One on base and one on a German highway).  I did get a reduced fine for the one in Germany and I did have an excuse.  I wasn’t paying attention to the speed zone change and I was just keeping up with the cars in front of me.  Germans do things differently so we ALL got tickets.  I think there were 8 or 9 of us pulled over.  I learned to pay better attention!  

5. Do you wake up before your alarm, with your alarm, or after hitting snooze several times?  It depends.  Most of the time I don’t bother setting the alarm.  I’m usually up between 7 and 7:30 am.  We do set the alarm for Sunday mornings and I tend to set it to allow us to hit the snooze a couple of times. 

Click on the button at the top of this post to go read the other entries in Five Question Friday!

4/12/11

Just a little ramble babble

It’s nearly time to head to bed.  We had sunshine today.  Beautiful sun that stayed out ALL day!   We’ll be taking time off from school for two weeks starting on Monday but boy I sure did want to drop all school today and just enjoy the sunshine.

We’ve all been taking turns being sick for the last two to three weeks.  I am quite done with sickness now.  It can leave and not return and I’d be ok with that.

It’s amazing or sad or both how being sick or having sick people in the house can really throw off routines and plans. Though we’ve tried getting some school done we just haven’t been as productive.  Each girl was sick enough to be unable to do anything but sleep for at least a day or two.  That would be fine except that they spaced it out over two weeks  and overlapped the “I’m too sick to really do anything but not sick enough to sleep all the time” phase with each other and with the “I’m not even able to stay awake” phase so that I don’t think I ever really had but one student ever capable of a full school load.

We didn’t just get school thrown off track but meals, house cleaning and even praying!!   Tonight we did what I think of as full family evening prayer.  We aren’t very consistent in our family evening prayers anyway but we are usually pretty good about praying at meals.  We’d let that slip and it felt really really good to actually pray together as a family both before dinner and then before sending the girls to bed.

Honeybear even lit the incense.  I’d almost forgotten how the smell of incense has grown on me.  I went from not sure if I could tolerate it to actually *missing* it when I don’t make it to church. Tonight’s incense was provided by BooBear.  She and Turtlegirl attended a Greek Orthodox Monastery Girls Retreat last summer. They had the opportunity to make incense.

I’m too tired or too lazy or too something or another to post a picture but we’ve finally set up our prayer corner.  The cross and icons have been up for awhile and even the wooden tv tray masquerading as a table has been holding prayer books, censer and incense. It’s just that before it was also holding the lamp, the caller ID and the telephone.  It was more an end table than prayer table.

Tonight it had the first opportunity to be the prayer table and with the new arrangement, HoneyBear was able to actually stand in front of it with the censer.

We said our evening prayers and then we prayed a special prayer for my sister.  She’s having surgery in the morning.  ESWL (shockwave treatment) to break up a kidney stone.  She lives half way across the country from me so there isn’t much I can do for her but I can pray. So I did.  So I will.  If you’ve read this far through my rambling and babbling I’d like to ask you to pray for my sister too.

And I think on that note,  I ought to head to bed.  Good night!

4/11/11

Meet Me On Monday 4/11

 It’s Monday again.  Yes, it is *still* Monday here even though I am posting this much later than I have done in the past.

1.  Who would be your dream celebrity date? Date a celebrity? No thanks.  Seriously.  I would not want to be involved in a relationship with a celebrity.  There are *characters* I’d like to meet like Dr. Daniel Jackson but I have no desire to date the actor Michael Shanks. 

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2.  Do you have any food restrictions? Do you mean like food allergies or sensitivities?  No.  Not really.  I do have some food restrictions as part of my Orthodox Christian faith but that’s different and only on certain days and during certain seasons and it *is* a choice.

3.  How much time do you take to get ready in the morning? That depends.  Do I need to shower?  Do I have to direct family traffic and make sure *everyone* is ready or am I just responsible for me?  Do I get to include “wake up and be coherent time?”  15 minutes to an hour.  The less I have to do or worry about the faster I can be ready.

4.  Sausage or bacon?  Bacon.  Hands down bacon!  I do enjoy sausage every now and again but if given a choice, I choose bacon.  Papa Murphy’s has made me very happy with their Bacon Bacon Bacon Pizza.    Oh nuts.. now I’m thinking about bacon (see #2)

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5.  Do you Google, Bing or Yahoo? None of the above.  I Swagbuck!  Have you heard of Swagbucks?  Well if you scroll down to the bottom of my blog, you’ll see a Swagbucks widget.  Every time I do a search I have the potential of earning Swagbucks.  I can trade those Swagbucks in for cool things like Amazon gift cards.

4/9/11

We have a winner!!! Starbucks Gift Card

I want to thank everyone who took the time to enter my first ever blog giveaway!  I was overwhelmed with the responses!   I used a spreadsheet to number the comments/entries and then I used random.org to pick a number.  The winner is Wendy from www.choosinglove.net

I’ve emailed Wendy to let her know that she won.  This giveaway has been so much fun that I’m sure I’ll be having more giveaways in the future. 

Here is Wendy’s winning entry:

winning comment

Congratulations, Wendy!  I hope you enjoy your favorite drink and a few moments of bliss.

4/8/11

TOS Review: Science Weekly

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Published 15 times a year from September to May, Science Weekly explores one science or math topic per issue.  Resembling a newsletter format, issues are 4 (8 1/2 x 11) pages long and filled with age appropriate material and activities.  Each issue is available in 6 levels:

  • Pre-A geared  for grade K. 
  • Level A—for grade 1
  • Level B—for grade 2 
  • Level C—for grade 3
  • Level D---for grade 4
  • Level E—for grades 5-6

Each level contains a vocabulary section, a math section, a writing with science section and a lab.  You will also find a variety of challenges and puzzles.

resized level Pre A_thumb[1]resized Level E_thumb[1] 
On the Left: Level Pre A On the Right: Level E

The Teacher Guide—In my opinion this is the heart of the publication.  It is a necessary component to adequately present the material for the younger students. The Teacher Guide also contains the answers to all the questions.  I would not want to use Science Weely without the Teacher Guide.

My Thoughts---  I received all 6 levels of one issue (Composting)and I was able to view all six levels of two online sample issues (Coral Reefs & Sport Science).  This product is geared for classrooms. It may work well for home school co-ops but may not always work well for home school.  Some activities are group oriented and could be difficult to accomplish in a typical home school setting. Though my children seemed to enjoy these, I do not see myself adding them to our science studies.

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I read the material from the Teacher Guide to all four of my girls.  We discussed the vocabulary.  The Teacher Guide has questions geared for each grade.  I choose the Pre-A and A level questions and directed them at Supergirl.  If she was unable to answer, then I would ask one of the other girls to answer.  We opted NOT to do the composting lab. We did however, read through the activity and discussed what would happen and why it would happen.   I had planned on doing this with just the “1st grader” and the 6th grader however, the 8th grader wanted to be a part of it.  I gave the 8th grader Level E to complete and the 6th grader Level D.  Supergirl is working through both PreA and A.

I really like the science labs.  These are not just activities but real experiments and even the Pre A level asks students to make a predication and draw a conclusion. I like that all 6 labs are related and move in complexity from one level to the next.  For example in the Coral Reef Sample, the younger students simply dissolve salt in water while older students compare samples of water to determine which one has the most salt.  

For ordering options click here.  A single subscription (one level) is $19.95.  For 20 or more subscriptions, the price drops to $4.95 per subscription.  One Teacher Guide is included for every 25 subscriptions.  That means even if you are only ordering one or two subscriptions for your family, you will still get a Teacher Guide.  If you are ordering as part of a group and need more Teacher Guides you can request more by sending an email or giving them a call. 

For a copy of the order form (which can be mailed or faxed) click HERE.

To contact Science Weekly:
email inquiries@scienceweekly.com 
Toll Free: 1.800.4.WEEKLY
(1.800.493.3559)
Phone: 301.680.8804
Fax: 301.680.9240

Website: http://www.scienceweekly.com/

Please click on the banner below to read what my fellow crewmates have to say about Science Weekly. Photobucket

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received all six levels plus the Teacher Guide for one issue of Science Weekly free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

4/7/11

Read Aloud Challenge Update 4/7

This past week I received my copy of Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson.  (Look for my review 5/27).  The timing is perfect (isn’t God’s timing perfect all the time?  I’m sure His hand was all over this as well!).  I know that reading aloud is wonderful for young children and I know that reading aloud as a family has many benefits but exactly why should I read aloud to my Teens?

Sarah Clarkson answers that question for me with this:

“Especially in the teenage years, it is vital that kids be immersed in epic stories.  Most teenagers stumble into a phase of restless desire that includes a yearning for adventure and a hunger for meaning.” (p.23)

She goes on to say that “books become a means of channeling and pouring that energy into a love for what is worthy and true.” (p. 24)

We have really scaled back the reading aloud time our family because the girls were reading so many books independently.  Even our curriculum no longer schedule Read Aloud time.  We chose those books because they were *great* literature.  I know that reading those books independently will also help them develop a love for what is worthy and true but there is something different that happens when the same book is read aloud.   There is time to process. Time to digest.  Time to discuss and explore.

The first week that I participated in the Read Aloud Challenge, I gave the girls some choices for a books.  One of those choices was Treasure Island.  The girls didn’t vote for that one to be first so my oldest started reading it on her own.  It was after all in her school schedule right?   Well I told her to STOP reading it!  It is *next* on my list of books to read aloud to the girls, especially the teenagers.

So what have I read aloud this week?

  • Daddy finished reading the Usborne World Wars Book to TailorBear.  He also read a chapter from the Landmark History of the American People vol 2 to her this week.
  • We continued reading from Nutrition 101
  • We finished the section on James Watt and begin the section on Robert Fulton in our ebook Great Inventors and Their Inventions
  • We started reading some very short stories from the Yesterday Classics reprint in epub format of Fifty Famous Stories Retold
  • We continued reading from Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

I can’t say that we read *everyday* which is my goal.  I’m going for consistency of daily reading.  And I didn’t read anything that was geared for Supergirl.  We still have The Dutch Twins to read but I haven’t opened it this week.  She is, however, listening in as I read aloud to her sisters.

What are you reading this week?  Come join us at Footprints in the Butter where Debra has set up a link for us to join her as she challenges herself to read aloud to her children.  This week’s Reading Aloud Challenge hosted by Debra can be found here.

I’d love to hear what you are reading aloud this week! And let me know if you join in the challenge!

4/6/11

TOS Review: KinderBach

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I believe music education is an essential element in a well rounded academic program.  Music is wonderful for organizing the brain. 3 of my girls have been taking piano lessons for several years. We’ve also spent time just listening to different musical styles and genres as well as learning about some famous composers. Supergirl longs to be like her sisters but for a variety of reasons she is unable to take piano lessons with them.  This is where a program like KinderBach comes to the rescue.

KinderBach uses playful characters to teach note reading, rhythm, singing, and composition to kids ages 3-7.  With Kinderbach  you can lay a great foundation for brain development. KinderBach offers both online and DVD classes.

As a TOS Crew member I received a 3 month subscription to the online lessons.  Supergirl has been having a blast watching the lessons and participating in various activities such as coloring, clapping out or walking a rhythm, or using kitchen objects to “play” a song.  KinderBach even includes listening activities!  Supergirl is learing to discern when notes are high or low.

Here are the adorable animal characters that teach children the letter names and locations of the keys.

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You can click HERE to meet these piano pals and meet the founder Karri Gregor

Currently there are 6 Levels with 10 weeks in each level.  Level 7 is currently in development with a target date of August 2011.  Each week is divided into 4 Sessions.  You can spread those sessions out over the week or you can watch them all in one session and then spend the rest of the week practicing. You can view the curriculum syllabus by clicking here.

We liked to watch one new session each day. Before starting a new lesson, however, we would review a past session. Supergirl needs time to “digest” new concepts so I scheduled each KinderBach “week” over 6 “sessions”. This gave us the 4 sessions plus two extra for review if we needed it.

I cannot begin to describe how impressed I am with this product.  I skipped ahead to watch lessons we are not ready for and I love how Karri Gregor teaches fundamental skills such as playing an octave scale in a fun way that young children can understand.  I like how she incorporates game like activities to help children learn how to discern patterns in music.  Just as learning to read involves more than just learning the alphabet, learning how to play piano is more than just knowing where the keys are on the piano.  KinderBach incorporates these basic skills so that children have a solid music education and will be successful in playing the piano.

You may have some questions such as “What do I need?” or “Will I receive an activity book?”  Here is the FAQ page which answers these questions and many more! Go to http://www.kinderbach.com/FAQ/HomeFAQ/indexH-FAQ.html and select a topic. 

In addition to the Online Music Lessons, which are  available in DVD format as well, Kinderbach also offers downloadable PDF coloring books and song books.  The song books come with a CD containing  the songs.

Click here to view the KinderBach at Home options.  A one year online subscription is $95.88  Click here for more info on the online options.  The DVD’s have many package options.  Click here for those options.

You can click HERE to go to the page where you can click to sign up for a two week free trial or click HERE to sign up directly

Click on the banner below to read what my fellow crewmates have to say about KinderBach.

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Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

4/5/11

Just where have I been?

Last week a couple of my blogging friends posted a really neat map showing all the places they had visited.

I’m a little late but I decided to join them.  I didn’t do Canada as I’ve  only been to one province and  I’ve only been to one place in Mexico.  I’m so geographically challenged that I wouldn’t even be able to tell you which Mexican state it was so I avoided the Mexico map as well.

I have a goal of at least stepping foot in all 50 states.  When Honeybear was still active duty and we were still moving around all over the place, I had a better chance of achieving that goal but I think I’ve done fairly well so far.  You can clearly see by the white colored areas what I have missed. 

There are two states that I haven’t really truly visited but I have actually stepped foot in them!  In fact I made it a point to put my feet on the ground so I could say I had been there. I  (Yup, I told my Honeybear to pull over to the side of the road so I could get out of the car and add that state to my growing list) I did not color in any states that only had airport visits.  I left Delaware white because I can’t remember that far back (it was over 30 years ago!) to the trip I took to D.C.  I *know* I was in Maryland on that trip but Delaware? I don’t know. So when I doubt, I leave it out. <grin>

We’re hoping to get to Texas to visit Honeybear’s parents and I’d love to do a cruise to Alaska.  I’d also love to go visit a good friend in Colorado and if I were able to do that I think I’d be able to get a few more states covered.

So here is my map: VisitedStatesMap
To get your own map click here.  If you do post about where you’ve been leave a link in my comments so I can check it out!

Note: For Debra’s sake and my own sanity.. I had to fix it.  Province not Providence LOL

4/4/11

Meet me on Monday 4/4

I’m not a big fan of Mondays.  I guess I’m like Garfield.

Garfield Mondays

But there is a redeeming feature of Mondays and it can be found at Never Growing Old with the Meet Me on Monday meme.

 

Here are this week’s Questions:

1.  If you had to eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? I don’t know.  I really need variety in my life.  I go nuts if dinner is just ONE thing.  It would have to be something that could be varied a bit day by day.  Maybe pizza.  I swear the rest of my family could eat only pizza for the rest of their lives and be perfectly satisfied.

2.  Do you write your blog posts in advance or the day you post them? Neither, Both?  Often I will start a blog post in advance but not necessarily schedule it.  I’ll start it on one day but polish, edit, and publish it on another. Sometimes I will actually write a post in advance and schedule it and sometimes I do start a post and publish it on the same the day. Depends on the topic and my mood I guess.

3.  Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Yes.  The first time that I remember riding in an ambulance, I was in labor with the twins and being transported from the military hospital to the local German hospital.  4 days later we (the baby twins and I) rode in an ambulance from the German hospital to the military base where we were then flown to the BIG military hospital.  I was not a patient for that ride.  I was merely the mom. 6 weeks later I was transported by ambulance from the Ronald McDonald house to the University Hospital next door to the Children’s Hospital where Supergirl was in Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.  I had an infection that went septic.  I’ve ridden in ambulance a couple of other times as just the mom when we’ve had to transport Supergirl.  Riding in an ambulance is an adventure I would have been willing to forego.

4.  What is your favorite candle scent? Good question!  I dunno.  Let me go smell my candles and check.  It’s a toss up between Pumpkin Spice and Cinnamon Cider.  I think I’m gonna have to go with Pumpkin Spice but then I lit the candles and I do really like the cinnamon cider.

5.  Coffee or tea? Well now that depends on the time of day or where or rather in what country I reside.  When I lived in England it was tea no matter what time.  On those rare occasions when someone served coffee it was always instant, so I much preferred tea. Tea with milk and sugar please.   I’m particularly fond of Earl Grey!   When I lived in Germany, I drank coffee except on Saturdays when we’d have hot cocoa.  I always associated German Breakfast as meats, cheeses, brotchen and hot cocoa.   Here in the USA, I need my morning coffee.  But in the afternoons I like tea.  Sometimes herbal and sometimes something more reminiscent of England.

TOS Review: Go Go Kabongo

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In college, I chose psychology as my minor.  I focused on developmental psychology and chose classes such as The Developing Human and Child Development.  I was intrigued by cognitive development.  As a home schooling mother of a special needs, cognitively delayed daughter, I still find development, especially cognitive development, fascinating.

I’ve done some research into the neurodevelopmental approach to education and so I was jumping up and down with excitement when I found out I had the opportunity to review Go Go Kabongo.

According to Kabongo’s Website:

Cognitive development is the process by which children improve their ability to think, learn, and reason, deriving meaning from the world around them.

You can read more about Go Go Kabongo’s Cognitive Approach by clicking here.

GoGoKabongo is an interactive online program featuring games structured to build cognitive skills that improve reading fluency and reading comprehension. These activities encourage development of six skills essential for learning how to read:

  • Attention and Focus
  • Working Memory
  • Processing
    • Successive Processing
    • Simultaneous processing
  • Visualization
  • Planning
  • Comprehension

Go Go Kabongo divides the games into “habitats”.  Each habitat has 3 games and each game, which auto-levels, has 6 levels.  The habitats are:

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In Laughter Lake you will find: Critter Sizer, Scuba Dude, & Going Buggy.

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While at Galaxy Gardens your child can play Photo Safari, Rocket Racer, & Robo Bobo

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Twister Top contains my favorite game, Design A Door, as well as Desert Dash and Crazy Maze.  Details and screen shots of all 9 games can be found HERE.   On this page HERE you can find a chart that lists all the skills and which games cover these skills.

My Thoughts: I love the game approach to learning these skills. On our neurodevelopment program we worked on “digit spans”.  These games target the same processing skills but do so in an effortless way.  These can be challenging and at times I did have to tell Supergirl to keep trying.  I love the online progress reports.  These detail what auto-level my daughter is on and gives details about the games and skills for each habitat. To view an online sample progress report click hereIf I could change a few things about Go Go Kabongo, I would make it less LOUD.  I found it loud, not only on an auditory level but also on a visual level.  I would also make it more difficult to “play around”.  

Let me explain.   When you log in, you are taken to your tree house.   There are things you can do and play with in the tree house.  These games and activities are the rewards and NOT the actual learning games.  My daughter would sign in, play around with the treehouse stuff and then exit because “the other stuff is too hard”.   I would love to see the Log In take you straight to the map (which is in the tree house)

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I think seeing the map first would encourage students like my daughter to play the games first and then play with the rewards. Overall, I am very impressed with the learning games especially, the games which develop processing skills.

Geared for 4-7 year olds, you can begin playing Go Go Kabongo right away for FREE with The Laughter Lake habitat .  Additional habitats have a ONE TIME fee of $4.95 each. To sign up click HERE. Current Special:

SPECIAL OFFER: SIGN UP NOW AND YOU GET THE GALAXY GARDENS HABITAT FREE! Hurry - this offer is only available for a limited time.

Please note that at the time of this review, the PLAY NOW button takes you to a page not found button.  However, clicking on the Play Free area will take you to the Log-In/ Register page.   Here’s the Log In/Register page:  http://www.kabongo.com/account/login/

Click on the banner below to read what my fellow crew mates have to say about Go Go Kabongo.PhotobucketDisclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received Go Go Kabongo free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

4/3/11

Blog Celebration Giveaway!

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I’ve been looking for an excuse to host a give a way.  I thought oh I’ll do a giveaway when I reach 100 followers!  And then suddenly I had over a hundred.

Then I thought ‘why don’t I celebrate when I’ve written 100 posts?’  Typical of me, I didn’t pay attention and I went right on writing past 100.

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

So now, I’m thinking I’ve got to do a Give-A-Away this week because of the Ultimate Blog Party.   (You can read my Blog Party Introduction post here.) So I look at my post count this morning and I realize that THIS POST is my 150th Blog Post!

So now, I’ll just *have* to give something away.  But what?  What can I give away?  I know.. Coffee!   I’d serve coffee (or tea) if you were sitting here with me in my dinning room chatting so here’s your chance to win a $15 Starbucks Coffee Gift Card

To enter leave a comment.   I’ll use a random method (such as random.org) to choose a winner.  Winner will be announced April 9th!

Required for first entry:  Tell me what you would purchase with the card.

Would you like to enter more than once? 

  • Follow my blog!  Leave me a comment telling me that you are now following my blog. 
  • Already following my blog?  Leave another comment for a second following entry.
  • Are you visiting from the Ultimate Blog Party?  Leave me a comment with your Blog Party Post link for an additional entry!
  • Are you a TOS Crew member?  Put TOS Crew in the comment and get another entry!
  • For another chance to win post about this give away on your Facebook, Blog or Twitter and leave me a comment with the link if possible.

Recipe Repost: Yummy Leek, Potato & Fennel Soup.

In honor of Mrs. White’s Christian Home blogzine, and because I just made this soup this weekend for church,  I’m going to share again this soup that I originally titled “Soup Experiment

This soup is hearty, filling, satisfying and perfect to serve to guests.  My family loves the soup and from the empty pot on Friday night, my church friends appeared to enjoy it as well.

The soup is gluten free, dairy free and soy free.  I have struggled with what to serve my beloved friends with food restrictions.  It isn’t easy to think of menus when I don’t live with those allergies or sensitivities but I do not want that to stop me from practicing the art of hospitality. (I have enough other excuses that I must work through!)

I did make one change from my original recipe.  Instead of using Oregon Spice Vegetable Broth Powder and water I used homemade veggie broth and then added enough water to cover potatoes.  I had veggies that needed to be used up or thrown away and were past the “serve crisp with a dip” stage!

Here is my original recipe but with notes:

What You Need:

  • 10 potatoes, peeled and chunked
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped *
  • 4  celery ribs (sticks.. not 4 whole stalks LOL) chopped *
  • 6 leeks, sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb (also called anise)
  • water to cover potatoes. plus a little more maybe… I think maybe 8 cups?
  • vegetable broth powder (I just dumped… a couple of tablespoons or so?)  (NOTE: You can use homemade or boxed vegetable broth)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used some Johnny’s Seasoned Salt and some Sea Salt.. I served fresh ground pepper at the table to taste)

* I used my Slap Chopper to “dice” up the carrots and celery as I wanted smaller pieces than my usual soup slices. 

I sauted (I don’t know how to manipulate my keyboard to make that look right!) the veggies except the potatoes in some oil in the big soup pot until the veggies were limp.  I removed them from the pot and added the potatoes, veggie broth powder and Seasoned Salt.  I added enough water to cover the potatoes by about 1 1/2 to 2 inches.  For a thicker soup, I’d use water to just barely cover the potatoes.  You can always add more if you need it. I brought the potatoes to a boil and then turned it down to less than a boil but slightly more than simmer (I told you I am not precise LOL… I cook by feel, smell, taste and sometimes touch!)

When the potatoes were just starting to think about becoming soft (the point where you could poke a fork in them but they were still too hard), I added the other veggies and simmered until they were all nice and tender.  Be careful with potatoes.  Though for my more traditional potato soup I cook them until they are falling apart, I want these chunks for this soup to hold their shape.

I put several cups (3 maybe?) of soup into my Vitamix and blended it all up to make the “creamy” part of the soup.  Stirred that into the soup and added salt to taste.   It wasn’t quite as thick as I wanted but it had a creaminess that was quite filling and satisfying.

NOTES:

  • This recipe can be doubled.
  • If the leeks are smaller use 6 for a single batch.  You can use LESS leeks if they are really big!  I used 6 leeks in my doubled batch but they were much larger than leeks I’ve used before
  • I wanted the soup to be soy free and I did not have canola or safflower oil on hand so I just sauted the veggies in vegetable broth.
  • I did not double the fennel bulb when I doubled the recipe and I wish I had so if I make a double batch in the future I *will* be adding in more fennel.  I missed it Friday night.
  • I am not one who likes to serve soup to company but this is one soup that I think would make a great meal for company and I would  consider bringing this soup to a sick friend or a family with a new baby.
  • The recipe portions above make close to 6qts.

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This post has been submitted to the Christian Home Blog Magazine hosted by The Legacy of Home.  It appears in  Issue 9.    This recipe has also been linked to Tasty Tuesday hosted by a glimpse of our life.

4/1/11

TOS Review: Les Miserables - z-guide to the Movies

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As a home school teacher I am always looking for fun but educational activities to round out our subjects. Usually I supplement our curriculum with topic related movies so I was thrilled to receive a Zguide to the Movies from Zeezok Publishing. Generously, Zeezok gave us a choice so we picked Les Miserables—z-guide to the movie

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Each ZGuide to the Movies contains:

  • A How to Use this Guide Page—includes a suggested schedule for the activities.
  •  A Topic Overviewpresents background information necessary to give context to the movie.
  • A detailed synopsis of the movie.  This is about one page in length and more detailed than the back of the DVD Cover.
  • Ten Learning Activities—Students complete the  first activity, movie review questions, while watching the movie.  The other 9 activities provide “interdisciplinary educational opportunities built around the movie’s themes.”
  • For Family Discussion- Discussion questions for the whole family.  Perfect for focused dinnertime topic!

Although all of the zguides to the movies contain 10 activities, some of the activities vary from zguide to zguide.  Some activities may require utilizing outside sources such as the library or internet, while others will develop public speaking skills. Creative and critical writing assignments may also be found in different guides. Each zguide, though, will contain the following types of activities:

  • Hands on activity’ for the kinesthetic learner, designed to develop the student’s artistic talents.
  • “Worldview Activity”—use critical thinking skills to evaluate actions and attitude’s in the movie.
  • “The Filmmaker’s Art”-- focuses on movie-making techniques and their effect on the viewer.

My Thoughts: I loved the ZGuide to the movies.  I didn’t always agree with the answer key, however, those answers provided a means to open up discussion with my daughter. I liked that that the activities allow practice or development of critical thinking skills.  I liked that with 10 activities I could choose to do the study guide in a short period of time or I could spread the activities out over a longer period of time.  This particular study, Les Miserables—z-guide to the movie, inspired me to read the book.   I am now on page 60ish out of 1285.  BooBear also plans on reading the book.  When we’ve both finished the book,  we plan on watching the movie *again* and then compare the book to the movie *and* pull out the Zguide and see if having read the book changes our answers to any of the questions.

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BooBear’s (age 15 1/2, grade 10) Thoughts—”The questions made me think a bit more about the movie and the message in the movie. I liked the  format. I didn’t do the wanted poster, but I enjoyed the movie review questions (activity 1).  The foreshadowing activity drove me crazy because it was hard for me to see what they wanted me to see. I would like to do more of these zguides.”

Many of the Zguides are currently available in both e-book and CD formats.  Zeezok plans to have e-book options for all the Zguides. Zguides are $12.99.To see the specific guide I reviewed (Les Miserables )click here.  To see all the Zguide to the Movies click here.  

Oh and one thing I do want to mention is how valuable the website descriptions are.  I appreciate being warned about movie choices that may not be appropriate for my younger girls.  I also appreciate having the information *before* ordering about the exact movie version used in the ZGuide and Zeezok offers the DVD’s for sale so you can purchase the DVD at the same time you purchase your ZGuide to the Movies.

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Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

Zeezok Publishing generously provided me with Les Miserables-Zguide to the Movies for review purposes.