Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dive Into Your Imagination--TOS Review

What a cool review!  I have a household of animal lovers so this DVD was right up our alley. Dive Into Your Imagination was started by Annie Crawley, aka Ocean Annie, to bring the ocean to children in all its beauty and color. Her goal is to help children (and adults) love the ocean and thus be inspired to protect and care for our environment and ocean.

We were able to review What Makes A Fish A Fish.  This is the first DVD in the Dive Into Your Imagination series. This DVD teaches children about astounding fish from around the world. How do fish take a bath? Learn the truth about sharks. Play hide and seek on the reef. The underwater realm provides boundless opportunities for parents to learn and laugh with their children. An upbeat original score celebrates the ocean and brings it to life. The DVD has three audio tracks, English, Spanish and music only. Great as an entertaining teaching tool for the classroom too!


My kiddos are fascinated by marine life and since we live in the midwest, this DVD was a welcomed glimpse into the life beneath the sea!  My sons were fascinated and commented that there is another world under the water that we don't see.  They said, "It's like a secret we get to see!"

There are other DVDs available in this collection.  In Who Lives in the Sea?, viewers will meet dolphins, sea lions, sharks, octopi, blue footed boobies, and other unique ocean life. Information is accompanied by fascinating underwater photography and catchy music.


Dive Into Diversity. Journey under the sea and learn how ocean creatures depend on each other for survival. Explore the depths of the ocean and learn what happens at night.

Not only did we enjoy and learn a lot from the DVD, we are looking forward to incorporating the educator's guide into our curriculum this fall! Each of the DVDs has accompanying educators’ guides. There are two editions for each title; PreK/K and Grades 1-3. They feature background information about all the topics presented on the DVD and many activities which correspond with each featured topic. These activities cover math, language arts, social studies as well as science.
All three DVD’s have three tracks; English, Spanish, and music only.

Each DVD sells for $19.95 and the guides are available as a printed version (as individual PDFs) for $69.95 or $299 for the whole set. As a special for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and followers Annie Crawley of Dive Into Your Imagination (on Facebook), she will gift you a set of PDFs with purchase of the DVDs. When you place your DVD order, just let her know in the notes that you are a Homeschool Parent!

Read what other crew members are saying about other Dive Into Your Imagination videos on the TOS Blog. If you decide to buy one, shipping is free!

**Disclosure: My review and opinion written in this post is entirely my own. This product was provided to me for free in exchange for my review as a member of the 2011-2012 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew.

Monday, May 21, 2012

CapJaxMathFax--TOS Review

I don't know about you but at times the word "MATH" has been enough to set my children into whine mode.  I'm beginning to think this is a common phenomenon for all school-aged children and I know without a shadow of a doubt math was not my favorite subject in school either.   I was a bit skeptical about this review and how to "sell" this to my children.  After all, I wanted them to give it a fair shot but I just knew telling them it was math practice just wouldn't cut the cake. I thought if I added the word "game" that might just help...

They were willing to give it a shot, skeptical and a tad apprehensive but willing.  I knew the others would be watching the reaction of the first child so I put my oldest to the task of sailing the waters first.  CapJaxMathFax is a computer program designed to provide practice and drills on math facts.  Each student begins at the easiest level which not only initiates success but also establishes keyboard skills that is useful at the higher levels.  


Included in the facts practice is addition, subtraction, multiplication & division.  This program helps children develop stronger math skills and confidence.  My kiddos do pretty well at grade level but sometimes it's confidence that gets in the way when practicing those multiplication/division facts.  This program was a hit for all 4 of my kiddos because they could each work at their own level and because it was presented as a game (a huge bonus over boring flash cards).  CapJaxMathFax also provides feedback about each session with a graphical bar chart, a running summary of session results, and a personalized session progress report. You can bet the feedback for each child turned into a competition before long!

Installing the CapJaxMathFax program was a breeze, you can either download it or get the CD.  The program can be customized by the type of facts included in each practice session and the difficulty of the facts.  Teachers / parents can even set a ‘super seconds’ target (usually 3 seconds) to challenge students to recall facts quickly.  With CapJaxMathFax, the student becomes the calculator.  They learn to have the immediate recall of basic math facts (which is some times lacking in most traditional math curricula).

I really liked using CapJaxMathFax because it freed me from having to make up math drills/practice sessions and having to endure the flash cards along with my (bored) kiddos.   *This is honesty at its best!*  All of the quizzes and drills in this program are automatically generated by the program and recorded, students get immediate feedback.  

 Students progress through different levels as their skills increase and as they go through the different levels they are able to earn different merit badges.  My boys really enjoyed the idea of merit badges because it paralleled receiving badges through scouts.  Boys and their badges...who knew.  :)

CapJaxMathFax is available on the website beginning at $29.95 for the downloadable product.  A CD version is also available, with a small additional charge.  I used the downloadable version through the TOS Crew and it was very simple to install and use.  

To see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about CapJaxMathFax, visit the Homeschool Crew Blog to read more.

**Disclosure: My review and opinion written in this post is entirely my own. This product was provided to me for free in exchange for my review as a member of the 2011-2012 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew.