Sunday, December 18, 2011

TOS Review: Vintage Remedies

I used to dread the cereal aisle of the supermarket.  It seems innocent enough but inevitably there is always a kid who is having a meltdown in this aisle (luckily it's not always mine).  We strive to eat a healthy diet and live as healthy and naturally as we can.  But man, sometimes it's really hard to get through to my kids the reasons why I'm making the decisions I am.

PhotobucketThat was until I received a copy of Vintage Remedies for Kids.  This little book is just chock full of good stuff.  Based on their popular Vintage Remedies  for Guys and Girls books, Vintage Remedies for Kids is geared toward kids ages 2-6.  It is a resource to help parents teach  topics of natural living that include wellness, nutrition, immunity, natural body care, and the conservative use of valuable natural resources.   This workbook is packed with projects for your little ones to complete that will reinforce the subject matter discussed and help them understand why healthy choices are important (and why the chocolate chip cookie cereal probably isn't the best choice for breakfast).

The book is 201 pages with three sections covering food and drink, health and wellness, and healthy lifestyles, with 18 topics/lessons in all.   Each topic is explained first to the parent in the "Parents Section" and then to the child through the "Read to Me" section.  Following the read to me section are follow up questions to ask and discuss with your child and projects for you to complete together. The book costs $25.00 and can be purchased HERE.

Little M really enjoyed the projects in the food and drink section.  He's usually my helper in the kitchen but it was really fun to have a way to explain to him the choices we make about our food before we buy it and prepare it.  The hand washing song in section two has been stuck in his head for days now and he is totally excited to be "The Bag Man" because it's now his job to remember to bring the reusable bags with us when we go to the store.

Although the book is targeted to kids ages 2-6, Ms. Q listened in and learned a few things too.  I did change the wording up a bit when I was reading or asking questions to her so she wouldn't think it was too babyish for her.  Honestly, the book is written so well and doesn't "talk down" so I really didn't need to change much.


From the moment this book arrived I was impressed.  The book came so beautifully packaged, I wish I had taken a picture but I was so excited I didn't even think about it!  I also received a copy of The Kitchen Herbal as gift for Mom. This is another fabulous book! Vintage Remedies offers many different products and resources from online courses in professional herbalism and holistic wellness to natural food cookbooks and resources for children.  I have added Vintage Remedies for Girls to Ms. Q's must have curriculum list for next year and have added some of the mini lessons to my wish list as well.

To see what other TOS reviewers have to say about Vintage Remedies and their youth programs check out the BLOG.

Disclosure: As a member of the 2011-2012 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew, I was provided this product for free in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was given and this review reflects my honest opinion.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TOS Review: I See Cards


Fractazmic is a card game for 2-4 players that uses math skills, specifically fractions, in a fun and engaging way.  The object of the game is  to create as many "hands" as possible before a player runs out of cards.  "Hands" are made by adding together the fractions within a suit to equal one (1).

Fractazmic includes 60 sturdy, colorful, and clearly marked cards.

The cards are divided into three suits:
  • Sixteenth suit (red) 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4; 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, and 1/2,
  • Twelfths suit (blue) 1/12, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 5/12, and 1/2,
  • Tenths suit (green) 1/10, 1/5, 3/10, 2/5, and 1/2.

There are a few different ways to play with Fractazmic.  You can check out this site for rules to play Fractazmic Trap or Fractazmic Rummy.  Or you can download a free 28 page booklet that describes how to play Fractazmic and the other card games available from I See Cards.

Ms. Q and I played the Fractazmic Rummy game because she is already fairly familiar with the rules of rummy (pick a card, make a hand, discard, etc.).  What she is not that familiar with is fractions.  The advertised age for this game is 1st through 8th grade. However, Ms. Q is not that familiar with fractions yet (she's in 4th grade this year) so we started the game out with a lesson in how to add fractions.  I should add here that I was totally terrified when I sat down to play this game.  I have never been that good with fractions.  As a matter of fact it took me quite a while to even remember how to add them when they have different denominators.  But after a quick refresher and a brief lesson for Ms. Q we were off and playing.  As we played the game we created a cheat sheet because well we're new at this and adding fractions with different denominators on the fly kinda takes a long time when you're new at it.  It was also a confidence builder for Ms. Q so that she felt she was able to play the game.  I'm sure after a while she (and I) won't need the cheat sheet anymore.

I have to say that at first this game can be a bit challenging.  It was really fun though!  Yep I said it, a game about fractions is FUN!  With a bit more play and a bit more practice I'm sure Ms. Q and I will be adding fractions like nobody business. The idea that this card game could take something that made me afraid and intimidated into something fun to share with my daughter is mind blowing.  Who would have thought that we would be bonding and having fun with fractions?

I See Cards, the company that makes Fractazmic, has other math card games including I See Cards Spanish/Engish, Prime Bomb, and Pyramath cards.  Fractazmic (and the other games as well) can be purchased here for $6.95 each and there are also various bundling options.  You can also play Fractazmic Speed online for free so check it out.

The see what other TOS Crew members thought about Fractazmic go HERE.

Disclosure: As a member of the 2011-2012 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew, I was provided this product for free in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was given and this review reflects my honest opinion.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

TOS Review: Artistic Pursuits

I can't wait to tell you about Artistic Pursuits.  I think I just may be in love!

Artisitc Pursuits is an art curriciulum designed specifically for homeschoolers.  It uses fun art lessons to "teach both the expressive and technical aspects of art while allowing children to make choices about what and how they will draw, paint, and sculpt."

There are books for preschoolers, and elementary school students, as well as books for middle and high school students.  Each level focuses on a different concept of art and teaches through a different approach.  For instance, the preschool level aims to encourage exploration of art materials and the world.  The focus of the elementary level program is art instruction through hands-on art projects and art history.  The middle  and high school levels provide more technical drawing and painting instruction using artists and art history.

For this review we received a copy of Artistic Pursuits Grades K-3 Book One.

The book is broken down into three sections: what artists do, what artists see, and where we find art.  There are 32 lessons, each with a corresponding work of art to view and discuss and a project for the student to complete.  The lessons are so easy for me to present.  Both Little M and Ms. Q are participating so what we do is get comfy on the couch and read the lesson together.  I ask them a few questions and then we look at the work of art.  We then discuss the piece and I ask the kids some of the discussion questions listed in the book.  The next page of the lesson is the project.  This is where the fun really starts.  The kids get to create their own piece of art using the skill or idea discussed in the lesson and viewed in the masterpiece. They have really had a lot of fun with these projects.  We decided to go with the K-3 level so that Little M can learn too.  They are really enjoying doing projects together and so far they have composed a still life, painted from their imagination, sketched an observation in the backyard, and drawn pictures that "talk."  I can't wait to see what they will create next.

You can see samples of Artistic Pursuits Grades K-3, Book One HEREK-3,  Book One book costs $42.95.  The books are non-consumable so you can reuse these for all of your children!  The art materials needed vary depending on the book however you can see a list of the supplies necessary on the Artistic Pursuits website.  Materials are available for purchase through the website and materials are commercially available at the majority of craft and art supplies stores as well.

To see what other TOS Crew members had to say, or to see a review of a book of a different level, check out the TOS Homeschool Crew BLOG.


Disclosure: As a member of the 2011-2012 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew, I was provided this product for free in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was given and this review reflects my honest opinion.