TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

I Know It {Review}

I was never very good at math when I was younger. Who am I kidding, I still dread having to do any kind of math, to this day. Having children of my own though, I have to put my personal feelings aside for math, and help my children learn to appreciate and grow in these skills. After all, no matter how we feel, math is everywhere and a part of everything. So in my quest to find a way for my children to learn and enjoy learning, I was thrilled to have the chance to use I Know It for online math lessons. We received a one year subscription for our family (good for one parent and up to four students). If you are familiar with SuperTeacherWorksheets, this is the latest from those folks. We love SuperTeachers over here. 🙂

I Know It is designed for kindergarten through fifth grade students; there are over 400 lessons and they are adding more every day. Since my children are all about working online, this is a great way to allow them some screen time, while also being sure that they are learning. And it is aligned with Common Core, so if that is of importance, you need not worry.

With this program you can assign lessons to your students or you can let them choose what they will work on for themselves. I had all three of my children use this; my daughter who is seven and my boys who are nine and twelve used this and each one of them enjoyed working at the topics they chose.

My oldest son is a math-hater. We try everything we can get our hands on in the hopes of finding something that he won’t dread and that will help him to understand the concepts he needs to know. He started out with addition with decimals – he hates them – but slowly moved on to fractions and multiplication and division. There are lots more to choose from: geometry, basic algebra, graphs and data… Needless to say this is definitely something that is working for him. Each lesson has about fifteen questions and he even has a work pad to use to help work the problems out. When he doesn’t quite succeed? He gets a great explanation of how to correctly complete the problem.

My younger son seems to be a natural when it comes to numbers so he decided to have some fun with this and started with skip counting. He also enjoyed working on his skills with money and telling time. This was also a great opportunity for him to really begin working on his times tables. There were also exercises to help him work on fractions, word problems and graphing. He is really enjoying this, mostly because he likes that each lesson is only 15 problems and he can go as quick as he wants or as slow as he needs to.

For my daughter, we started at the very beginning. We started out with counting and from there moved on to some basic addition and subtraction. The lessons are the perfect length for her; a great way also, to remind this momma not to work her too hard. There are just enough problems in each lesson for her to really “get it”. She really had fun with this! Especially with all the positive feedback she got from every right answer. Her new favorite phrase is now, “winner, winner, chicken dinner.” ha-ha

This is definitely a great way to mix things up; to give our children the opportunity to exercise the skills they are learning. Since my children all range in age and ability, some love math while others don’t, this is a great way to make sure they are learning and mastering those skills that they will need as they get older. Not sure if this is right for you? They do offer a free 60 day trial to interested homeschoolers and teachers Free Trial.

Learn More about I Know It:

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TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

By The Way {Review}

We love to travel but we are in a season where it really isn’t possible to just get up and go. Thankfully there are lots of great ways for us to experience this amazing world we are a part of. One of those is this amazing series of books, By the Way Book Series from By The Way written by Joy Budensiek and Illustrated by Stephanie Robledo. We were so excited to visit Alaska with Alex and Lexi, since this is one of those places that we would love to explore.

This is a most beautiful book! These are written for children ages 5-12 but I cannot tell you how much I myself enjoyed this one (and learned so much about this beautiful place too!).

This is a sturdy 8″ x 10″ hardcover full-color book, designed to help our children see the world “through the eyes of faith”. Perhaps sometimes we forget to make those “eternal investments” as we go about our work each day. This book is certain to help us to see it all, in a more eternal way.

I love how these were created to help our children “Discover Biblical Truth in Everyday Life.” My girls love that one of the main characters is named after her own brother. 🙂

Every one of my children was drawn into the pages of this book immediately. I am not kidding. My three year old daughter loved the vivid images – seals and eagles – on the first few pages. She also was thrilled to see how many things she could find throughout the pages of this book.

My older son really enjoyed learning about totem poles. Did you know Ketchikan is the Totem Pole capital of the world? I had no idea. This was one of those rabbit trails we had to follow. There are totem poles for all kinds of things: house frontal poles, interior house posts, mortuary poles, memorial poles, welcome poles, and the ridicule or shame pole. Can you imagine the shame and ridicule poles?



For all of my animal lovers it was so much fun to explore and learn all about these different creatures. They are beautiful and there are so many unique things about every one of them. Certainly a proof of our glorious

There were so many amazing things we learned from the pages of this book. This was so much more enjoyable than other books we have used to learn about different parts of the world. in fact we have enjoyed this one over and over again. That is the sign of an excellent book.

We’re definitely still looking forward to One Day visiting this beautiful place for ourselves. But until we’re able to do so we challenged this quite the blessing. That’s quite a few other locations to choose from too; personally I am hoping to collect them all over time.

If you are looking to explore the world with your children this is definitely the way to do it. You will learn so much more than you could possibly imagine. Praise God for His mighty works. 😍

Come visit By The Way on Facebook


TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Review}



Recently we have begun delving into the meaning behind words with my younger son. As a struggling reader, as we have progressed in his abilities, he has begun  to question why a word is what it is. Why is this word assigned to that meaning? These are lots of great questions (I love how this boy’s mind works!) but it can be hard to keep up and get the answers he needs.When we were given the opportunity to review Picta Dicta Natural World from Roman Roads Media, I thought this might be a wonderful way for him to be able to have fun while while also learning so much more!


PictaDicta Natural World


There are two options available:  Picta Dicta Natural World (the subject of this review) and Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder. In this course there are learn over 400 nouns, students learn the English and Latin of.  This is recommended for elementary-age students and there are varying levels for them to work with to challenge them at whatever stage of learning they are in.



We began at the very first level with my son (who recently turned nine) which is the Natural World Basic level. Since most of the vocabulary being learned in this is regarding animals and nature, my son was captivated almost immediately. Here there are great exercises for helping to learn the English/Latin vocabulary, along with simple sentences to read for understanding.




Each lesson includes visual images along with the vocabulary words. They also provide a short meaning as to what the word(s) mean. They do this first in English, then in Latin. Each lesson also includes the spelling of the vocabulary words being learned. My younger son did find it amusing when he learned that Latin is considered a “dead” language.




Back to this though: In Learn, they introduce vocabulary. Then in Choose, you match the image to the word. In Spell, you spell out the word that goes with the image presented. Then the Forms, gets more advanced asking for gender, plural, maybe even case if that is the case. ha-ha  There is also Test and Train. You can train as often as you like (I really appreciate that!) and when you do test, you will get stars based on how you did.



Back to the lessons, they do need to be completed in order. So no skipping around from here to there and back again. 🙂 What is nice though is that you can go back and do lessons again that have been completed. We did this a couple times because there is always a review before you can move forward. That’s a good thing. An amazing thing to see how well our kids are learning too! I love Latin but if I don’t just struggle with recall every time. Our kids though? They really are sponges soaking it all up.


As a family that really enjoys languages and learning the why’s behind all things, this is a wonderful program and one I hope we can continue to use throughout the years to come. I love how there is combination of methods used to help our kids, whatever their style of learning, whatever their level of skill, to learn and understand. Vocabulary matters. The words we use have meaning and even more when we truly see it for ourselves.



Social Media Links:

Facebook:   @romanroadsmedia
Instagram:  @romanroadsmediae: YouTube:  @romanroadsmedia
Pinterest:  @romanroadsmedia





TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Kingdom Files (Barbour Publishing Review)

We recently learned about this neat new set of books called The Kingdom Files from Barbour Publishing. These Bible based biography books are for ages 8-12. series by Matt Koceich. We were even super blessed to get Who Was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? These are Bible based biography books recommended for ages 8-12. About a hundred pages long, give or take, these are such a fun way for our kids to get more personal with their Bibles.

These are some amazing books! And I was thrilled to receive them in what I considered a very God’s timing, kind of way. You see, my boys and I have been delving more and more into the Hebrew roots of our faith . Shortly before these arrived we read about how the children are not just raised learning the words and names in the Bible but they are taught these things, as a form of genealogy. As they read they are reminded that these are our relatives, this is our family history.

What a great way to really remember how personal and relational this is all meant to be. So anyway, receiving these, I thought was a great way to encourage my boys to get to know, to befriend, Jonah and Mary the mother of Jesus.

We started with this book because, my girls were actually more interested in these than my boys were. So I began with my daughters (who are 7 and 3) and my boys slowly got more involved with these as we went along. Since my daughter is still really a beginning reader we read this together; the chapters are short and simple though so as she could read, she did read. Shortly after we got into this my boys dug into Jonah because – we saw a most amazing musical about his story awhile back and it really made them want to know more. I think of how we are to come, and reason together. This is a fun way to do that because each book is put together as files. Facts, actions, power. And there are lots of Clue Boxes along the way to help you stay on track.

The fact file gives you some basic information about the character at hand, Were were they from; what years were they alive? What was the Kingdom Work they did anyway? There is even a mini-timeline to show you the significant events, in the order they occurred. My younger son really likes timelines!

In the Action File we hear the testimony. What was their story? I always love hearing the stories of what the Lord has done, in the lives of others. This is a great re-telling with some simple, and fun illustrations along the way.

There are also clues scattered amongst the pages to share some important truths. In one they talk about how God takes care of His people and is always with us. In another we learn about the value of praise. In all seasons, God will hear our prayers if we seek His face, if we turn to Him. Everything is meant for God to get the praise and there glory.

Then there is the Power File. Simple lessons to recall: pray hard. Live by faith. Obey God. Here there are also memory verses. Since we are a family that is big on Bible quizzing we really like this sort of thing. It is always a good thing to hide His word in your heart. 🙂

There are also a few pages at the end for any notes; I always encourage my children to write down things that they think. Questions they may have. Even prayers they feel they need an answer to. Maybe a testimony even. There certainly is power in us telling of the good things that the Lord has done.

These are a great way to encourage our children to dig deeper; after all our God is one who is all about relationships and every one of those men and women in the pages of this good book are there for a reason. This really is a great way for us to get to know them a bit more ourselves; there are also so many great resources for educators on the Kingdom Files website, from trivia, to map work to word search. They have quite a few to choose from too, perhaps our next one will be David. Or maybe Esther. Two of my favorites that I would love for us to know even more. Whether for reading aloud or alone, or Bible study as a family, these are a wonderful tool to have on hand.






TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

GrammarPlanet {Review}

I love grammar. Language arts has always been one of my favorite things. My boys? Not so much. One finds it to be “impossible” and the other one just doesn’t see the point of it all. There are some things, no matter how we feel, that are needful. I find this to be one of them so when I heard about GrammarPlanet, I was excited to give it a try. This is an online language arts curriculum and I was given a one year subscription for my boys, for this review.

GrammarPlanet is an online program meant to be used with a variety of ages and abilities. I received a free basic subscription and the first six units; eventually this will be upgraded to a one-year subscription. Units are being added as we progress.

Each online unit contains video lessons, opportunities to practice and also includes tests.

Once I received the login information for this I set up both of my boys as students. My younger son just turned nine; my older son is soon to be thirteen.

At the start of each lesson we print out a couple pages of notes hopeful references as we proceed through each lesson. There’s also a video (about 5 minutes long) and a short quiz to complete.

There are a number of opportunities to practice what was learned on the program before they finally take a test.

If they do not pass the test they cannot proceed to the next unit. This is one of those things that I really like in a program. The student cannot move forward until we (the teacher) unlock the program for them.

If you have a somewhat reluctant learner who likes to just skate (or skip) through things this will ensure he does not. I know my oldest son well sometimes watch the videos try to move forward without really doing the work. this is a great way to make sure that they understand what they are learning. 😁

One thing that’s really nice is that this program is an interactive one. One lesson builds upon the other moving from simple nouns and pronouns to more complex diagramming sentences and parallel structures, active and passive voice and crazy modifiers. This sure covers a lot, right?

Overall this is a great program for helping her kids to better understand the purpose and use of grammar. The lessons are short and simple, no bells and whistles, just the facts. I know my younger son really appreciates that sort of instruction.

And this is definitely a great combination of online and physical instruction. My oldest son appreciates the online work and my younger son I appreciate having printouts to reference as we go along. I appreciate having paper trail to help me keep track of where we are too.

TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Reading Eggs! {Review}

We used this program a number of years ago with my younger son, when he was really struggling with letters and sounds. It made an amazing difference in his abilities and I think, is one of the things that gave him a love for reading, even when he was have such a hard time. So I was more than happy to review this once again, with my daughter. If you aren’t familiar with Reading Eggs, it is an online program that helps kids learn to read. It begins in the preschool years (ages 2 to 4) and continues on through the age of 13. As an added bonus they have now launched some amazing, and super fun, print workbooks for both reading and math. For this review we received the 200 Essential Reading Skills for First Grade.

Online Reading Eggs Suite

There are five essential pieces when it comes to successful reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency. This program makes learning to read SO much fun by using lots of songs and games to teach letters and sounds as children learn to read. There are lots of fun and colorful printable to go along with the lessons and for us mommas, its so easy to follow our children’s progress as they go along.

Because my daughter (she just turned seven) has continued to struggle with her letters and sounds we decided to start at the very beginning and skip the placement test. I saw this as an opportunity to firm up that foundation, confidence in our abilities makes such a difference.

The work book covers lesson 61 through 120 of the Reading Eggs program for first grade. There are quizzes to test what is being learned and certificates for children to celebrate their achievements. Every page is colorful and fun! I swear, the day this book arrived my daughter did at leat ten pages. On her own, in one sitting. I had to slow her because I really want her to still be excited about it tomorrow.

I love how it started out simply tracing lines and then worked towards writing the sounds, filling in missing letters and reading and coloring familiar words. My daughter especially loved all the colorful images on every page. she thought it was great seeing a caterpillar read a book.

Since she loves puppies she was happy to read simple little stories all about this puppy. Of course there are many more fun, easy to read tales for our early readers to enjoy too.

I honestly don’t think I have ever come across such a simple and fun tool for helping our little ones to read. This doesn’t just teach them but it engages them. I often find when working with my children that they may go through the lessons but they aren’t always really learning. They follow the steps without understanding.

This program however, requires our children to interact, it challenges them, it requires more of them. As a result at the completion of each lesson they truly have mastered their material.

For a new reader, or one lacking in confidence, this is a real step towards becoming a lover of learning and reading. I know I have watched my daughter really blossom using this program. She is now excited to read and write each day.

Not sure yet? You can get a FREE trial of Reading Eggs, complete with a free placement test to make sure they start out in the best place for their current abilities. This gives you access to everything they have to offer so you can see how well this really does work.

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Do We Know?

I want to have yadah. Da’at Elohim. Don’t you?

Hosea 6: 6 Says that we should Delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

It is so easy to rest in “knowledge”. We know information. But do we ever really “know”?

We have information. What do we do with that information? It is acting on that knowledge, knowing something from experience and in relationship.

We can care for someone in need and thus, know them.

What about the knowledge of God ( da’at Elohim) ?

Do we have a life that is truly in relationship with him? So often we hear about how important it Frost and I just know of God but to truly know him for ourselves. And for him to know us.

In hebraic thought knowledge is more than just knowing but it is a devotion as well. Intimacy with God. It is sharing and showing in a way that causes others to also know the Lord personally.

The more we know him, the deeper our love and devotion will be until the Earth and all therein are: filled with devotion to the Lord, as water covers the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)