Monthly Archives: April 2010

TOS Crew: Lesson Planet

Lesson Planet is a teachers’ helps website with over 150,000 lesson plans and 75,000 worksheets by teachers, for teachers. There are lesson plans in every curriculum area, not just the core subjects, and for all grade levels.

You can browse the available lesson plans by subject, theme (such as holidays), or by the calendar (more about that in a minute). Worksheets are organized by subject and theme, and there are also links to applicable worksheets within the lesson plans themselves.

You can browse state standards in the various subject areas–this can come in handy if you live in a state where you have to come up with a curriculum plan complete with educational jargon to submit to the powers that be.

There are also tools at the site to enable you to create and share lesson plans and create newsletters.

Lesson Planet is a membership-based site, so to see the lesson plans themselves (not just names and descriptions in a list), you need a membership. If you want to take a look at the contents of the site, check out the free 10-day trial membership. After that, membership is $39.95 a year.

The site calendar is a useful free feature. The calendar displays the current month, with some event from history for each day, plus a link to relevant lessons.

To see more TOS Crew reviews of Lesson Planet, click here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew were given free member access to the Lesson Planet website for the purpose of writing reviews.

Lesson planning articles

Counting blessings

Struggling today… so I decided to count my blessings.

Three lovely daughters who are making happy noises in the other room. (Not fighting. Whew. Happy cooperation seems to be more prevalent than strife lately. A BIG praise.)

Eldest, for insisting that we not waste the sunshine, but walk a mile at least, even though our walking partner can’t go because she has an infected toe.

A Giant Schnauzer who is bravely wearing the “cone of shame” so that she won’t lick and chew at her infected toe. But so very brave!

New plumbing!

A roof over our heads; a messy house to clean.

Freedom to worship.

Food in the pantry.

Spaghetti is a very easy meal to put together for dinner. One of the girls asked that it be “bacon and egg” spaghetti, so that’s what it’ll be.

God is good. All the time. He is in control, and He works all things to the good of those who love Him.

Blessings without number. More blessings than I have time to write here, for I smell the bacon in the oven calling me to tell me it’s done and needs to come out and mingle with the spaghetti, eggs, peas, and parmesan.

How many blessings can you count today?

TOS Crew: What Am I? Reader 2

Last month I reviewed Beehive Reader 1 from All About Spelling.  As I mentioned in that review, I love the hands-on approach of this spelling program (Read more about the spelling program here, and their learning-about-homophones book here). The author has been creating readers to go with the program. The Beehive Reader 1 corresponds with Level 1 of the spelling program. What Am I?, a new product, corresponds with Level 2 (Steps 1-14, to be precise).

What Am I? is a charming collection of short stories, not at all boring despite their simplicity. I mean, consider this scene, a girl standing in front of a bus-stop bench, a surprised expression on her face. “A slim gal in a silk dress sits on the lump of pink gum. Squish! She stands up, but strings of fresh gum hang from her dress. She drops her map as she picks at the gum. Ick! I think she will miss the bus.”

Somehow I think any of the boys of my acquaintance would find this account diverting to read. (The bus stop story starts out sort of mundane, telling about a man and a gallon of milk, but things get interesting, even exciting, very quickly, what with a bandit, a bunch of animals, and even a rock band!)

There are also stories about an elf who lives in the Alps, a mischievous robot, a bake sale, an unusual friendship, lots of different animals, a little poetry, and finally, a section of riddles that give the book its name. The stories are written to appeal to both boys and girls.

Clever pencil sketches illustrate the stories, some whimsical, others realistic, fitting the narrative.

Even though our girls are beyond the level of this reader, our Youngest took What Am I? to church to read to some of the younger children, and a good time was had by all.

What Am I? is available as a sturdy hardcover book from All About Spelling for $19.95. On the ordering page, you can also find a link to a page that correlates the reader to Level 2 steps. However, you don’t have to be using All About Spelling in order to use and enjoy this reader in your phonics practice!

To read more TOS Crew reviews of What Am I?, click here.

Disclaimer: All About Spelling sent members of the TOS Crew a free copy of What Am I? for review. No monetary compensation was involved.

TOS Crew: Young Minds MathTutor DVDs

Members of the TOS Crew received Young Minds DVDs from Our family got a DVD that was really too young for us, but we watched it all the way through and enjoyed the experience!

Numbers and Counting
is really aimed at the younger set who are just learning to count. For each number, from 1 to 10, there is a lovely short video with soothing classical music in the background and bright photographs to illustrate the number (birds and animals, different kinds of fruit, trucks and trees, a little something for everyone). The classical music featured familiar pieces, one per segment. We recognized Mozart, Pachelbel, Chopin, Bach, and Vivaldi among them, some of them pieces Eldest had played with her orchestra.

I can’t tell you how well this method works in helping young ones learn their numbers, since Youngest is 11 and well past that stage. We’ve always been pretty concrete, counting things as they came along: place settings at the table, blocks as we walked to the park, birds at the feeder, you get the idea. Some of these were so concrete and solid that we picked them up and handled them as we counted them. Others we counted when we saw them, so I expect that the Numbers and Counting DVD might have fit such an approach.

Anyhow, the music is certainly good enough to run as background music in our home, though we’d have to turn off the picture so as not to be distracted by the beautiful images as we go about our daily tasks…

Numbers and Counting is one among many DVDs available from Math Tutor. This DVD lists for $29.99 but is available at the Math Tutor website for $19.99.

To see more TOS Crew opinions of Math Tutor products, click here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Homeschool Crew receive products free of cost, for the purpose of review. We are asked to offer our honest opinions, not required to provide endorsements, unless we are honestly enthused.