SwimSpray ~ Review

Do your kids like to swim? Do you swim? Swimming usually brings a chlorine smell along with it. The chlorine smell usually lingers for longer than a day and if you’ve been swimming a lot it can take weeks to not smell like chlorine. I used to swim in high school and was a lifeguard and swim instructor for many years. I got used to the smell and it even brings back lots of memories. My kids don’t like the smell though. They comment on it all the time, it’s kind of funny to me but it’s what they do. I was offered a bottle of SwimSpray for review and figured this would be a great way to see if it would help them.

SwimSpray is Vitamin C in a spray bottle. It’s water and a couple of different forms of Vitamin C. All you do is rinse off in the shower, spray SwimSpray on for 5 to 10 seconds and then shower like normal. You can watch this short video if you want but it’s pretty straight forward.

 

Using SwimSpray really helped get the chlorine smell off of Riley. She was really happy to not smell like a pool anymore. Jahnna loves smelling like a pool so she was actually disappointed it worked! Riley has super fine blonde hair but it’s never turned green. If your hair turns green this will work to save your hair color! SwimSpray was founded in 2012 and is patent pending.

If you’d like to you can connect with SwimSpray on Twitter, Facebook , YouTube, Pinterest , Instagram, and Linked In.

You can purchase SwimSpray Chlorine Removal Spray – 4 oz on Amazon or at your local swim shop. If you or anyone in your family swims a lot you need to give it a try and see how it works for you. Do you love to swim? What’s your favorite thing about swimming?

SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers ~ Review

SmartKidz Media Review
SmartKidz Media has developed an online streaming program called SmartKidz Media Library for HomeschoolersLike so many other things I review this one can be beneficial for homeschoolers and everyone else who is interested in learning or supplementing their learning. I received a one year membership ($99) for this review. There is a monthly membership option that is $10 a month so you save $20 by getting a year long membership.

SmartKidz Media

There are a lot of different areas to dive into. The Family Media section is where you find all of your videos. The Reading and Learning Center is where there are ebooks, programs, study guides and games. I decided I’d take a look through the site before I let my daughters decide what they wanted  to explore.

The first section to catch my eye was the Special Needs section. I was hoping I might find something to engage Colby with. He’s such a stinker at school that I wanted to see if we could find another tool for him at home. Colby is touch because for the most part he thinks like a neuro-typical ten year old. Then there are the times when he kind of relapses and is more on the lines of a four year old. The other tricky thing is he is so stinking stubborn! If he tells you an answer one time he figures that is good enough, so testing him is ridiculously hard. When he gets upset or frustrated for any little reason his whole body spasms and sends him into massive amounts of pain. Unfortunately for us he wasn’t interested in any of the Hear the Book stories. I swear if it’s not Blackhawk Down or some other high speed war movie it just isn’t his thing! I can see this section being very useful for other kids who like hearing stories and having an interstice experience. It was well put together and thought out and I really appreciate that special needs educators and therapists were involved in it’s creation.

Easy Learning for Special Needs

 

 

In the media center of the site there are so many videos on different subjects. In the screen shot below you can see several of the video covers. When you hover over a video a short description comes up and lets you know how long it it is.

SmartKidz Media Video Description

 

I checked out a few of the ebooks. I love that the words are highlighted as the story is being read. The pictures are also animated to engage someone in the story. The Aesop Fables and Mother Goose stories that we looked at were not animated but the words were individually highlighted. They were still fun and our daughters are old enough that the pictures themselves were enough to look at it. Jahnna who reads stories like Divergent and Harry Potter was a bit bored but she’s 12 so I expected that. Riley who is 8 enjoyed the stories.

SmartKidz Media recently updated their site. I had a bit of a problem logging in and so I contacted their customer service department using the contact form. I can’t remember what day it was but it was either Friday around 4:30 pm or Saturday around the same time when I sent the form. I was back logged in that night. I was highly impressed with the customer service, very fast, courteous and helpful. You can’t ask for more than that!

Our overall experience was very good. The videos were informative, short enough to keep my girls interested yet long enough to pass on quality information. There is a large variety available to watch and varying levels for younger or older students. If you are reluctant to sign up for the full year check it out for a month and see what you think. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

You can connect with SmartKidz Media on Facebook and Twitter.

Be sure and click the banner below to see what the 99 other Crew member thought of their experience with the SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers

SmartKidz Media Review
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CTC Math 12 Month Family Plan~ Review

CTCMath Review
CTC Math  generously offered to let us review their 12 Month Family PlanThe Family Plan allows you to set up multiple students (up to 10!) from a central parent account. You get access to Kindergarten through Sixth Grade and the following upper level courses:

  • Basic Math and Pre-Algebra
  • Elementary Measurement
  • Elementary Geometry
  • Algebra 1
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus
  • Algebra II
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry

That’s unlimited access to all grades at any time during the year subscription! That is a lot of math to have access too. Content is available 24 hours a day anywhere you have internet access. Each lesson consists of a 4 to 9 minute video by Pat Murray who is not only a teacher but a father of 10 children. He knows his stuff and explains it in a way that will appeal to kids and adults of all ages.

The lessons have fun little animations and graphics. When the lesson is complete the student has the opportunity to practice what they learned. Jahnna and Riley both thought the animation added to the lessons and kept them engaged. Jahnna wasn’t to sure about Pat’s Australian accent at first but after two lessons she didn’t notice it anymore.

Both girls enjoyed using the lessons and didn’t complain at all when I said it was time to work on math. Trust me when I say that is usually a rare occurrence! Riley usually complains that she doesn’t homeschool so why should she do work outside of school but that never came up this time. There were even a few days when she asked to work on math!

I loved the parent section of the family plan. I was able to see both Jahnna and Riley’s progress at the same time. When I wanted a more detailed look I was able to pull up the individual files and get a better idea of what was going on. If I forgot to check in on their progress I was able to see it when I received a weekly email progress report. I appreciate the ability to really customize math for each student. If they needed to go back a little bit the videos weren’t dumbed down. If they are strong in a particular area it is easy to quickly get through the material and move on to another topic.

Using a video based program is fantastic for students who might need to stop or pause during lesson to really let a concept sink in. The teacher never gets upset or frustrated with the student, something I will freely admit to doing when it comes to teaching math. Math has never been my favorite subject and Jahnna and I don’t seem to connect when it comes to me trying to explain it to her so this is a perfect solution for both of us. No stress for me or for her!

At $118.80 for a 2 to 10 student program this is a steal! There are many other programs out there that cost that much for one year and one student! If you only have one student it’s only $78.80. We’re going to continue using the  12 Month Family Plan until our subscription runs out and then I will definitely be renewing it. I would recommend this program for anyone looking for a comprehensive math program for their student. I really appreciate that this covers such a diverse range of material that appeals to everyone. It would be great for struggling students who attend public school. It’s short enough to work on before or after school and help them gain confidence and a better understanding to improve their work at school. 

If you still aren’t convinced they offer a free trial period for you to see exactly what you get and how effective it will be for you.

Be sure and connect with CTC Math on Facebook.

Click on the banner below to see what the other Review Crew members had to say about their experiences during this review.

CTCmath Review

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Dynamic Literacy WordBuildOnline ~ Review

JazzEdge  Review
Dynamic Literacy has allowed us to review their WordBuildOnline  program with both Jahnna and Riley. WordBuildOnline is a web based interactive vocabulary program. It focuses on the small parts of the words or the morphology and building up from there to larger words. Basically by focusing on the prefix, suffix and root words the student will gradually build and understand a much larger range of vocabulary than they started with. I love this explanation from the website “A mastery of phonics helps students “sound out” unfamiliar words; a mastery of morphics helps students “mean out” unfamiliar words.” That is a very good summary on how this program operates.

WordBuildOnline is interactive and adjusts itself to the individual student. It is not possible to share an account for that reason. There are several levels available. These are the same levels that are available in book format. Foundations Level 1 are for students in grades two through four. Riley used this level. Foundations Level 2 is the second year of the Foundations program. Elements 1 & 2 can be started at any age if they have completed the Foundations program or if they are in sixth grade. Elements 1 focuses on 25 of the most common Greek and Latin root words. Elements 2 focuses on the next 34 words. Jahnna started with Elements 1.

 

JazzEdge  Review
The login process if pretty straightforward. I’m not sure what the ID number is for. I’m guessing it’s because the program is not just for homeschool families and this allows schools to have unique numbers. It’ not a very big deal unless you keep forgetting you need to enter it in like I did. I wish there was a way to skip that for homeschool families but I understand the need for it when you have a program with such diverse uses. What really bugged me and yes my level of frustration with it is probably completely irrational, is the login button being on the right and the create a new account being on the left. I cannot tell you how many times I went to log on and almost created a new account. Luckily I didn’t and it really is a minor detail but it frustrated me enough to point it out.

JazzEdge  Review
You can see from the screen shots that the colors are bright and engaging. Each lesson is designed to be completed in under 15 minutes a day. A timer shuts down the lesson at 15 minutes. If you have an older student they can do two activities a day but they have to space it out. The lesson starts off with a short video and then has activities to complete. The activities stay in the same order its the prefix or suffix that changes. If you have a child that does not like repetition  they might get bored with it after awhile. I can see how this would be useful in a child that likes consistency and knowing what is coming next.

JazzEdge  Review
The magic square in the screenshot above is the only aspect of this program that Riley really despised. I had to help her  every time. She would get so frustrated with it because she couldn’t tell if she’d selected a box and then she would change it and get it wrong. After that she would get mad that she’d gotten it wrong. I would love to see some small changes like the words being crossed off after being used and highlighted when the are selected to let the younger students know which word has been selected.

JazzEdge  Review
Jahnna had a hard time to begin with. I had accidentally set her on the mastery level. I didn’t realize until this last week so I have gone back into the parent account and reset her program. That means all her work has been erased but we both agreed it would be worth it to start over and try again on the easier level. Thankfully there is no time limit to complete the level so we are not under any pressure at this point.

Each level sells for $30 per student and level. Each level comes with parent access to reports, emails and instructions. It is nice not to have to purchase a separate parent or teacher program. You can purchase this vocabulary program with coupon code chaos and receive a 10% discount on the $30 price or a 25% discount on printed materials. I highly recommend you sign up for a 30 day trial  to see if this is a good fit for your student.

You can connect with Dynamic Literacy on their Social Media accounts at FacebookTwitterPinterest. Click on the banner below to see what the other reviewers had to say about their experience with Dynamic Literacy and the different products other crew members received to review. 

 

Dynamic Literacy Review
 

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Apologia Field Trip Journal ~ Review

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review
 

Apologia Educational Ministries recently sent us their brand new Exploring Creation Field Trip JournalBeing a TOS Review Crew member means there are several steps I have to take before I am selected or not selected for a review. One of the steps means I go to the vendors sites and look at the item before I submit the request form. I was able to see a few sample pages and liked what I saw but I was not prepared for the brightness of the pages and for all the extras. Before I get into all of that, let me tell you more about the idea behind the book.

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review
The title is pretty self explanatory. It’s a field trip journal. A way to engage your child and get them to look around and remember things they might not have seen otherwise. If you grew up going to public schools field trips might be a little different then what you think of doing as a homeschooler. I grew up going to Marine World or Great America Amusement Park. Very few trips were educational and we only went once maybe twice a year. I’m sure there were smaller trips but I don’t remember them very well. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can pretty much turn anything into a field trip. Riley went to a local grocery store on a field trip with her school to learn about the behind the scenes aspect of stores. She had a lot of fun but has already forgotten much of the trip. I didn’t have this journal yet or I would have had her come home and fill it out.

There are several different types of pages in the journal. It starts out with Specific Trip pages. There is a place to draw an aerial map of the place you are visiting, a section for an emergency contact plan in case of separation and a spot to list what you want to see or do. There is also a section for books you might have read in preparation for the field trip. I like that this encourages some previous thought and research before you go on the trip. The final two sections are a space to write a story of my day and something I never want to forget.

Special Spot is the next section and has four pages. One for each season of the year. You go to a wild place that no one maintains. It could be a field, forest or park as long as it’s at least 20 feet by 20 feet. The pages in this section have a space for a picture, notes, temperature, rainfall and a graph so you can draw an aerial view. You are encouraged to look for details and evidence of animals and how the environment changes.

As You See It pages are space for you to record your trips in a less formal way. It’s a space to record textures and patterns, predators and prey. Some of these pages contain picture prompts while the end pages are blank. There is ample room to record thoughts and impressions any way you want.

The details in the drawings and pages is fantastic! Each page is vibrant and draws you in and makes you want to journal. I love this! Apologia Educational Ministries is definitely a religious business and the majority of their products have a huge emphasis on religion. This journal has very subtle references to God’s creations. IF you aren’t religious this would be a great journal for field trips and I have absolutely no problem recommending this for anyone. At $22.00 I originally thought the price wouldn’t be worth it but after having the book in my hands and showing it to my daughters I’d easily purchase this for them again and again.

You can connect with Apologia on the following social media accounts FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+.

Be sure and click on the banner below to see what the other Crew Reviewers have to say about the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal.

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review
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