Super Duper Publications was started in 1986 by Sharon & Thomas Webber. Today, they are making "hundreds of creative, colorful educational and therapy materials that you and your children will love." Here is an e-Catalog where you can see their terrific products. You can click here to read more about Sharon, Thomas, and the editors.

Their facility is located in Greenville, SC and is shaped like a castle! It's really cool looking. I want to go visit on my next trip to SC just because it looks so neat, lol. You can even take a virtual tour of the Castle

We received Jeeper's Peepers, The Ask & Answer Question Game to review. This game is pretty fun. To me, it's almost like the reverse of charades but instead of one person acting out the words and everyone else guessing, there's only one person asking questions to try and figure out his own word.

You may wonder how playing a game can be educational. Well that is easy to answer. Using Super Duper's own description: Jeeper's Peepers helps "build questioning skills, describing skills, categorizing skills, problem solving skills, and more!" By each player having to think up yes/no questions to get a better description of his word, his questioning skills will increase, as well as his analizing skills. The other players must use their describing skills to answer the questions effectively. There are many more skills that you will find can be increased while playing Jeeper's Peepers.

Jeepers Peepers comes with everything you need to play a fun and interactive game:
  • 6 pairs of Jeepers Peepers glasses
  • "My Cue Cards"
  • 101 photo cards (4" x 5")
  • Spinner and bingo chips
  • Instruction booklet

There are 4 categories to the cards. You can view them below. The cards are each 4"x5" in size, so a nice big size. There are suggestions
Here's an informational video that will give you a peek at the actual game:
Jeeper's Peepers can be purchased for $29.95. You can purchase additional glasses and more cards, too. And if you use the code BLGJP30 by August 31, 2012, you will receive 30% off!

What we thought? We had so much fun playing this! Trying to answer yes or no questions may seem easy, but it really isn't, lol. We really did practice our various questioning and answering skills and had fun doing it : ^ ) 

I think you will love this game as much as we did. Super Duper Publications offers other great games, too. Check out their products today.
Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew  with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
Knowing the basics of math is the first step in becoming a great mathematician. The basics; like addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division. But often times these basic facts get left behind as we introduce calculators & computers into the mix. I remember completing Calculus assignments and realizing the answer was incorrect because I added wrong. How frustrating! Memorizing facts and tables is a great way to learn, but even with memorizing,  that can be boring (according to my kids).

Now there is a better way to help your kids learn & retain math facts. It's called CapJaxMathFax. CapJax is a software program that you can quickly & easily download onto your PC or MAC and is also available on CD. No more flashcards getting lost or fact tables being misplaced. The program is designed to be like a game where your student chooses the levels and concepts. The difficulty of the game is dependent on the student's level and progression is adjusted automatically according to his/her skill improvement.

CapJax was designed by Jack Fretwell (Captain Jack) of Starboard Training Systems. Mr. Fretwell earned his Master's in Educational Technology and has been in education and computers for over 30 years. He has been heading CapJaxMathFax for over 10 years & has "seen many children develop stronger math skills and confidence." The goal of Starboard Training Systems is to "help organizations that teach, train and mentor our children so that not one is without basic math abilities." (CapJax about me)

Here is a short video about the need for increased math skills:
To get started with the program, you download the program and plug in your license key. 

Once set up, you will see a screen like that to the left. You (or your student) will click "Go For It" (and the mouse is even a little captain at the wheel). 

From there you will find the login screen. The teacher & "player" have the opportunity to choose the math concept & level each time the game is play.

Once you're logged in, you will see a screen similar to the one below. The game automatically generates the exercises based on the students choices and level (based on previous sessions). There is a timer so the player has an opportunity to see his/her success as well as "Super Seconds", which challenges the student to answer in less than 3 seconds. Below are a couple of screen shots. You will see in the left pic, there is a graph that shows the student's progress. And the teacher can also view progress through summary & diagnostic reports. 

One of the benefits of CapJaxMathFax is that it doesn't attempt to frustrate the student. It's designed to encourage by providing immediate positive feedback for correct answers and there are even praise messages (message in a bottle) that are a fun and quirky form of encouragement for the student.
If you would like to get a feel for the program, you can try the program for free. Simply download the free evaluation program to get started. According to CapJax "The evaluation package demonstrates the full system. . . .  We've included notes to help explain how the software works to improve basic skills." After you've tried the program, you just purchase the license key for $29.95. This license is good for up to 10 users! It's a great deal, for sure, and a good investment.

As a member of the TOS Crew, we were given a 6mo. license key to try out CapJaxMathFax. I really do like the program. The concept is great, it's easy to use, and my kids can practice math facts at their own pace, as often as they want for however long they want. To learn more about CapJaxMathFax, go to their features. There is also a great "Why Pick CapJaxMathFax" page that will answer many questions for you.

Try out CapJaxMathFax today for free and see if it'll work for your home. It does for mine.
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Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
The 2011-2012 review season for the TOS Crew has begun and what a wonderful year it's starting out to be!! There are many great products that I'll be able to tell you about, and here is the first...
Pig Pile from R & R Games is a really cute game that our whole family could play.

The object is to get rid of all your cards first to collect the pigs. It's a simple card game, but there are a few twists added to increase the fun. 

Your opponent will get Hog Tied  with your #4 card, you can go Hog Wild, or turn the table with a #11 Ewe-Turn , or even clear the pile with the #8 Hog Wash card. You never know who is going to have to get a whole hand full of cards, or who will be the first to lay his last card and stack up a pile of pigs :-)

Strategy is important in Pig Pile, but so are your opponent's cards. From the website: "No mud slinging allowed in this fast-paced family game where players compete to corral the most pigs. Get rid of your cards first and be awarded the prime pile of pigs. Sounds easy, but pigs can be slippery!" 

The recommended age is 7 & up and it's for 3-6players, but I think there's some wiggle room (pun intended, lol) There's a variety of suggestions to play this game given in the rules. But if your anything like our family, we like to change things up. As I like to say "I am a non-conformist", hehe. So you can use the rules given, or modify them a little, or change completely. It's really up to you and your family. But anyway that you play, you will have fun.

We were excited to get this game and have had a lot of fun playing :) Trying to stack the pigs (above) was pretty interesting, too. Pig Pile challenges each player to choose the best card in order to slow her opponent and move her closer to winning. For my son, I think it helped him to think outside of the his box and move to a little bit of abstract thinking (he's 11). For my daughter (15), she had fun turning the table on her brother and making piggie pyramids, lol. It is definitely exciting! We smiled and laughed throughout each game we played. We all had a lot of fun

I think about the only thing I can say that we didn't necessarily like would be how long it takes to get through one round of the game. Playing just 3 players did drag a little simply because you have to empty your hand of all the cards before moving to your slop pile. But while you're trying to empty your hand, there is also a draw pile that each player must take a card from with each turn until it's gone. This is what can cause a drawn out game. However, with 4 players it went a little faster, and I would imagine with more it would be even faster. And I'm sure you can modify the game however fits your family best. This really is a great game for the whole family and worth trying different styles or techniques.

R & R Games was founded in 1996 by Mr. Frank DiLorenzo. Their mission is to "produce high quality family board games so that we can play around all the time. Fun games. Challenging games. Big games, little games, games that climb on rocks...(Oh wait, that's something else...)" (R & R's website). R & R has won over 30 national awards for it's games, including the MENSA Select Honor award, and "virtually every game in the line" has been listed in Games Magazine's Top 100 List, Pig Pile included.

At the price of $15.95, you will have an award winning, family fun making, game. You will receive 80 cards, 40 pink pigs, and instructions. But R & R is offering to our readers a discount of 20%! Just by reading this review and using the code CREW20 by December 31, 2011, you will get 20% off the price of your purchase. Pig Pile will make a great gift, and Christmas is coming up soon ;-)

Thanks for reading. And stop in anytime :)

To read more reviews on Pig Pile, hop on over to the Crew's blog

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And remember: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Crew Review Team with the sole purpose to provide an honest review after using the product. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
Roman history is a fascinating subject to learn about. From the tools of survival to the luxuries of the rich, there are so many facets of Roman life that interest modern students of all ages. We were given the opportunity as members of the TOS Crew to review a great game that teaches about Roman history while executing an archaeological dig. It is called Roman Town by Dig It! Games. 

Roman Town was created by Suzi Wilczynski, who is a professional archaeologist! She has degrees from Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. From her experience on actual digs and her desire to teach students, she has created Roman Town so that it "encourages kids to use existing skills in new and challenging ways." (dig-itgames.com)

With Roman Town, you (or your student) will "have all the fun of a real archaeological excavation without getting your hands dirty".

What is Roman Town: It is a virtual excavation game with realistic 3D graphics that offers the player an exciting look into ancient times and "hands-on" discovery of authentic Roman artifacts. It is a CD game that takes you into an actual archaeological dig in the Roman town of Fossura. This town was destroyed in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Throughout the game, you will be able to find (unearth) artifacts, buildings, treasures, and even Roman villagers.  You will learn how each item was used and/or the history of it, be able to learn about the culture, language, art, and more of an real ancient civilization. Roman Town is the winner of the National Parenting Center's 2010 Seal of Approval and Dr. Toy's Best Vacation Product. It is rated for kids from 5th-8th grade but can be played by everyone of all ages ("8-88" according to dig-itgames.com).

How Does It Work: Roman Town starts out in a excavation site office. It is discovered that they need to hire another person...and in comes you. Once you sign in, you start at dig site I and choose a tool to start digging with. Once an object is discovered, you finish excavating it and then you can L.E.A.R.N. (Locate Engrossing and Remarkable kNowledge). This invaluable tool allows you to learn about the object and history of it. Throughout the game, you will have the opportunity to learn more, play games, take quizzes, and build skills such as: reading, analytical thinking, problem solving, and multi-tasking. What parent doesn't want these skills for their child? :-) Once you reach the end of the game, you can start the dig over and find even more interesting things.
What We Thought: This game is pretty neat. There are so many interesting aspects of it. I like all the history and that it can come to life as your playing. My daughter likes the games, too. Her favorite is the 3D Reconstruction, like the picture to the left. As you play and find objects, you have the opportunity to learn about them while viewing it in the setting it would have been used. You can see it side by side to a similar object used today. At first my DD didn't like the ending because she thought it was too short (it took her just a few hours of play time to complete-of course she is in high school), but then we realized she could continue playing and find even more stuff. My son played without reading many of the popups, but at least he read some and with each play, he has read more. This is truly a great supplement to your Roman history lessons. Below is a brief video with some more interesting views from the game.

How To Purchase: You can buy this game directly from DigIt! Games for $39.95. But if you buy before February 21, 2011, you can use the code TOS2011 and pay just $19.96. This is for the home edition and up to 5 players can play. There is also a teacher's edition for $299, which includes a teacher's manual and licenses for a minimum of 15 students.

My Final Thoughts: I believe this is an excellent game and would be a great supplement to add fun and an interactive touch to any Roman history lesson or even a lesson about archaeology. This is a great buy even at the regular price. But at the discounted price you can't go wrong. For additional reviews you can go to the TOS Crew's site.

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
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Learning the multiplication tables is one of those areas that many elementary kids want to runaway from, far far away. There may even be a few older kids and adults that still want to run away, lol. But we all know that they are vital step to learning higher level math. The problem is that the traditional methods to learning these tables can be boring and ineffective. If you are a parent or teacher, I want to tell you about a fun and interactive way to encourage and motivate your student(s) to learn their tables. It's Times Alive! by City Creek Press. It is available on CD or as an instant download to your PC or MAC.

According to their website, Times Alive will:

~ Increase retention to 95% with our interactive method ~
~ Eliminate boring repetitive drills once and for all ~
~ Bring success to students with learning disabilities ~

What is Times Alive? Like the picture says, it's a multiplication CD with animated stories, music, interactive lessons, quizzes, and more. It is based on the book Times Tables the Fun Way, also from City Creek Press. Kids will learn their zero's through nine's times tables by watching fun video's, listening to catchy tunes, and answering questions related to the video. You will be impressed at how quickly your student picks up the times facts. 

How Does It Work? City Creek Press has created little stories that correlate with each number set and from that story, the video is made. There is a storyteller that tells the story while the video is playing. After listening to the story and song, the student is given the problem again, needing to fill in the blank, which helps to reinforce the fact just learned. There are then quizzes at the end of each section. The student can always go back or skip ahead, too, if desired. The following is a sample video you can watch. There are more videos available here.
What We Thought: Overall my 2 liked this program. My daughter is in 11th grade, but thought it was fun to play because it reviewed the times facts. I think she was just using it to have fun and take a break :) My son is still mastering his multiplication tables since he is in 5th grade. He basically knows them but it never hurts to reinforce them. He wasn't totally thrilled with the songs because they seem geared more for a younger student. But he wasn't opposed to playing (he asked to play) and can sing the songs, so they must've been pretty fun for him. I like the stories since they are catchy and will help kids remember. I believe that this would be a good supplement to your normal curriculum. It does not talk about what multiplication is, just that a number times a number will equal a number. Which is fine, like I said, as a supplement. But as I have learned throughout homeschooling, it never hurts to have extras for a subject. Especially since every student learns differently. This program will be effective for those that are visual and auditory learners since they not only will see the video, but hear the story and song, also. I also like that the parent can review each child's progress.

How Do I Purchase: Through City Creek Press' website, you can purchase the Times Alive CD for $48.95 or the download version for $44.95. There are many more products available, too.

Final Words: If you have students that are beginning to learn their multiplication tables, I believe this program may be right for your home. From the interactive activities, catchy tunes, and lively video's, your students will have fun while learning math, and you will have a smile on your face. For additional reviews you can go to the TOS Crew's site.
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'd like to tell you about a really fun game that we have had the opportunity to review as members of the TOS Crew.

Wits & Wagers Family by NorthStar Games. This is the "family edition of the most award-winning party game in history" (NorthStarGames).

The game is designed to be played for those 8 and up, but I think it could be played by younger kids, too, once they got the hang of it. 

About North Star Games: Founded by Dominic Crapuchettes, North Star Games "brings friends and families together with fun, innovative party and family games." (NorthStarGames)  Mr. Crapuchettes has been designing games for over 30 years, one game was even banned from 8th grade for being played too much during class. His passion for gaming continued into adulthood, even inspiring him to leave the position of captain on an Alaskan salmon fishing boat to start North Star Games! His Co-President is Satish Pillalamarri, who is the Chief Question Writing Officer at the company. Luke Warren is also a designer with North Star Games to add to the fun. You can read more about each of these gentlemen at the Designers page.

About Wits & Wagers Family: The game is basically a trivia game with a twist. Mr. Crapuchettes had originally designed a game called Conceptual Pursuits that was transformed into Wits & Wagers, which has now been modified to include the whole family. There are 150 cards, each having two questions. Then there are 5 Answer Boards (these are dry erase) that each player or team has. This means that up to 10 people could play if you were to play teams.  The Scoreboard is also dry erase and allows you to, you guessed it, keep score. The first player or team to reach the end is the winner. The cutest thing about this game are the Meeples (this is the little character on the front of the box, you can see them in the picture below, too)These are the little human shaped wooden figures that coordinate color with the Answer Boards. There are 2 sizes, large and small, and each offers a different point amount.
How To Play: As a question is asked, each player writes the answer (it's always a number) on his board and places it on the table. Then the players place there Meeples on whichever card they think has the number closest to the answer, without going over. (There is also a "1" card that you could choose if all the answers seem high.) The large Meeple is worth 2 points and the small is 1 point. Whoever has the right answer gets 1 point and then any Meeple on the right card gets it's designated point(s). The player that reaches the end of the scoreboard first, wins. It's That Easy!!

What We Thought: We absolutely love this game! We've played it several times since receiving it and continue to have fun with it. What's great is that even if you don't know the answer, you can still earn points by using someone else's answer. And the questions are kid friendly, too, like Disney questions and PEZ questions (no freebee answers here, lol). This is a game that the whole family can enjoy without the younger ones feeling bad that they don't know an answer. It really is a wonderful family friendly game.

How To Purchase: You can purchase Wits & Wagers for $19.99 by clicking on the cart symbol on the North Star Games website here. You can also purchase at Target, Amazon, and local toy and game retailers. You can contact North Star Games here.

To read other reviews by other TOS Crew members, you can click here. Thanks for reading my review and enjoy the game!!
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
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As members of the TOS Crew, we have once again, been blessed to review figurines from Schleich. Our previous review can be found here. We have been collecting Schleich figures for a long time, from the farm animals to the knights. The kids enjoy creating dioramas with them: deserts, farms, forests, etc. The pictures in this review offer a couple of the settings.

About Schleich GmbH: Friedrich Scleich founded this company 75 years ago in Germany. It is headquartered out of Schwabisch Gmund, Germany. But don't worry, you don't have to travel to Germany to buy these amazing toys :) but it would be fun! These products are sold in specialty shops, Target, Toys 'R Us, and Tractor Supply (TSC) Stores. You can also order them online.

What Are Schleich Toys: These "toys" are wonderful. According to Schleich's website, "each toy mould is precision engineered by a German master craftsman who works on the finest details for up to six weeks." SIX WEEKS! That is incredible. Then each item is hand painted, offering a unique toy for everyone. The products are "natural and accurate copies of the animals, people, historical periods and fantasy worlds they represent." This is absolutely true. Schleich also takes every effort to ensure safety of each product for your child (they are recommended for children ages 3 and up). This is a great added benefit. Take a look at some of these figures:
Schleich has over 500 items available at this time. There are 3 different categories of figurines created by Schleich with 7 sub-categories: World of Nature - Farm Life, Wild Life; World of History - The World of Knights, The World of the American Indians, Prehistorical Animals; World of Fantasy - Bayala, Smurfs.

What We Thought: As I said above, we have been collecting Schleich toys for awhile. The kids have many, many different figurines and add to their collections as often as possible. For holidays and birthdays, when asked, they even request gift cards to stores that sell them. My DD says, "I like that they are so unique, you can't find toys like this with such great quality. And there's such a variety." My DS says, "I  like the details of each animal: like the elephants wrinkles and the different animals eyes." I absolutely adore these toys. They're so cute :) And the larger accessories are really cool! Schleich toys are an incredible investment for your children. The quality and craftsmanship of each piece almost guarantees it will last a long time (barring any pet damage, lol). 

How To Purchase: . You can find Schleich toys in many of your local stores.: Target, Toys 'R Us, or TSC Store. I have found that the prices start at $2.49 and up to $10.00 for individual figurines. There are bundled groups and accessories available for varied prices. I have also found the pricing to be consistent regardless of which store I purchase from. I am sure you won't be disappointed with your purchase! 

You can check out additional reviews by TOS Crew members here.
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