My final product review for the year with the TOS Crew is another AMAZING resource from Apologia called Read For The Heart by Sarah Clarkson. It is a "book about books" and I am pleased to tell you about it. I am sure you will find it as valuable as I do.

Who Is Apologia: As I have written about before, Apologia Educational Ministries was started in 1996 and supports homeschooling families by publishing excellent creation-based science curriculum (apologia.com). Over the years, they have grown tremendously and have added additional resources through Apologia Press, Apologia Academy, Apologia World, Apologia Live, & Apologia Missions

According to their website:

"Apologia Ministries exists to give the home-schooled student a scientific education
that will help him or her make a reasoned defense of the Christian Faith."

This is based on:

"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts,
always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you
to give an account for the hope that is in you..."
1 Peter 3:15

What Is Read For The Heart? This book was written to help guide parents and students towards wholesome books for the whole family.

The author, Sarah Clarkson, is a writer and blogger and "is a wonderful example of what can happen when you raise a child on whole, living books. Not only does she love to read, but she beautifully conveys this passion through her writing," (Tina Farewell). Throughout the book, Sarah offers insights to her own life, which encourages and inspires us.

Through Read For The Heart, Sarah describes, in depth, the different types of books from picture books to poetry, giving examples of each and suggestions to read. She has taken the time that we would spend in the library or online, researching for just the right book and compiled this incredible book. There are over 1000 stories recommended within the different categories, along with a "how to" guide for using her book.

You can see the table of contents and read a sample chapter through Apologia's website.

What We Thought: If you can't tell, I LOVE this book. For years I have struggled to try and find the "right" book for my children. Whether is was literature for a book report, a character building piece, or a morally sound, historically accurate piece. I have almost stopped going to the library because there are just so many books that are not what we're looking for and it takes so much time to figure out that we're looking in the wrong section. Read For The Heart has offered me a great place to start. All chapters are applicable to our family and, though we are past the picture book level in school, my children still enjoy reading them. So even this level is helpful for us.  I enjoy the quotes that she has placed at the beginning of each chapter. They are all very fitting.

How To Purchase: You can purchase this book from Apologia's website for just $17.00! That is an incredibly low price for the value you will be getting.

I know that you will have as much respect for the effort Sarah Clarkson put into this book as I do and I am confident that you will love Read For The Heart.

And remember: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with sole purpose to provide an honest review after using the product. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
sunflower divider Pictures, Images and Photos
My DD had her spring piano recital yesterday. All of the students were wonderful!! I, of course, and thankful for the beautiful talent that God has given to my daughter. Because this was recorded on my phone, the sound has a little vibration in it, but it still sounds nice.
After the recital, we went with mom and Aunt Faye to visit Grandpa. He was feeling somewhat better and was able to enjoy the music, danced a little to "Wipe Out", & sing some, too. It was nice :)
As the homeschool year winds down, so do our product reviews with the TOS Crew. One of our last two products that we reviewed is from Talking Fingers, called Wordy Qwerty. Wondering what Wordy Qwerty is? My first thought when I read the title was the qwerty key board on my smartphone. Well, it's almost connected :-)

Wordy Qwerty is an online or CD program that encourages children ages 7-9 to increase their reading and writing skills through a series of 20 lessons and activities.
"The overall purpose of Wordy Qwerty: Foundations for Reading and Writing Fluency, is to improve phonological and morphological sensitivity, to develop a deeper understanding of how words are constructed in English, and to provide reading and writing activities with helpful feedback, in order to increase fluency and comprehension in reading and writing." (talkingfingers.com)

Through the 20 lessons, the student will be able to follow the six steps used by Wordy Qwerty:
   1. Patterns  2. Karaoke  3. Recycler  4. Pop-a-Word  5. Write Stories  6. Read Stories

Through these 6 activities, the foundations for fluency are presented helping the student to learn the correct rules of letter sounds, spelling rules, word "outlaws", writing, & reading; All of which will increase comprehension and fluency.

For an in depth explanation of each step and a product tour, click here.

Word Qwerty can be purchased as a Home edition CD for $35 but can alternatively be purchased as an online product. The price does vary depending on number of users and home or school versions. You can click here to see the different pricing categories.

What We Thought: I can truly see the benefits of this program. It is challenging for the student as he/she ventures through the different sections and activities. I like the positive reinforcement offered when the wrong answer is given. I also like that typing skills are developed throughout the program: with finger placement visualized on screen. My son was not overly impressed, though, with the music. It was not his cup of tea. To me, it did seem geared toward the younger user, but it wasn't bad, just not engaging for us. And it did seem to take some time in between each section to load. I did try it on both of our computers and had the same result. But this could also be our server. I think this is where my son lost most interest: waiting. His patience was not great while playing. I had hoped this would be a product that he would benefit from, and I actually will continue to try and have him use it. There are many benefits available for students and I would like him to experience those :)

To try Wordy Qwerty for free, you can go to this online demo. This will offer you a sample of what the programing is all about.

For additional reviews on Wordy Qwerty, click on over to the Crew's site and you will find many more. Talking Fingers does have another product called Read, Write, & Type which was reviewed by a few of my Crewmates. You can read those reviews here.
And remember: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with sole purpose to provide an honest review after using the product. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
I have been blessed this past year to be a member of the TOS Crew review group. Most of you have seen by review posts and some may have wondered, "what is the TOS Crew". Well let me introduce you to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (TOS). This magazine is a wonderful source for homeschooling families. Each edition includes articles that encourage, inspire, and support the homeschooling family. There are also unit studies, editorials, advertisements for curriculum/helps, links to interesting websites, and contests. All of this, with a Christian foundation and philosophy. I enjoyed reading The Old Schoolhouse Magazine long before becoming a member of the crew and will continue to read it for years to come! You can preview a digital sample now and see just how wonderful this magazine really is.
Now I would like to tell you about a special TOS is having.

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is excited to announce our 2011 Homeschool Gifts Bouquet--our popular, semi-annual 19 Gifts promotion*. There were 5,000 packages available but since we launched in late February, we're almost sold out! 

If you haven't already subscribed, NOW is your opportunity to get an amazing homeschooling publication in your hands... or in the hands of a homeschooling friend!

With every subscription, you will receive these 19 gifts*!
You must subscribe now to ensure there are still packages left. 

Along with these fantastic educational gifts, you will also receive The Teacher's Toolbox newsletter and access to the subscriber's only website.

So don't miss out on this incredible offer! These packages will soon be gone!
* The 19 gift promo is for U.S. subscribers only
Does your family need a vacation?
Would you like a chance to win an awesome family vacation?
Of course you do! :)
USFamilyGuide.com is having a 12 Weeks of Summer Vacation giveaway and
YOU could win one of 12 great trips.

Just click the link or picture above to register.
The giveaways are from May 15-June 30th so don't forget to enter.
You can even enter every day.