Friday, May 6, 2011

Kregel Publications-Andi's Fair Surprise

Andi's Fair Surprise by Susan K. Marlow and illustrated by Leslie Gammelgaard is a great addition to the  bookshelf of any novice reader. Set in 1874, the thoughts, passions and problems faced by young Andi Carter, a six-year old cowgirl in training, are classic and relevant to today's young reader. A handy mini-dictionary of "new words" is included at the beginning of the text to help young readers as they read through this 63 page beginning chapter book divided into 9 chapters. A final chapter titled, "A Peek into the Past"adds an extra educational element providing insight to the historic context of the story.

Andi's Fair Surprise is the latest edition (2011) to Marlow's Circle C Beginnings Series, written for ages 6-8. All the texts in the series showcase the antics and struggles of Andi, a horse-loving, tom-boyish, independent little girl with a big heart. Andi's adventures continue in the Circle C adventure series designed for ages 9-14. Both series are written to illustrate wholesome lessons in "family, faith and friends". All titles from the series can be purchased on the author's website,

I am always on the lookout for wholesome and engaging beginner readers and was thrilled to receive this title to review as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. I had heard of Andi and the Circle C adventure series from fellow homeschool parents, but hadn't shared them with my horse-loving daughter, Sierra yet. Sierra, a 3rd grade, beginning reader, agreed to assist me with this review and shared the following comments regarding the series.

"I think its a great book for little kids. It's a great book to read and it wasn't that hard to read. It's kind of easy and that's what makes it fun. I want to read the older books (Circle C adventures) too"(Sierra, age 9).

The Circle C Beginner Readers sell on the Circle C website for $4.99 each, $9.98 for two, or $15.96 for the first four. The website hosts a treasure trove of information about the characters, books, supplemental study guides and lapbooks for purchase, on-line games and puzzles and a handy link to Andi's blog. Gallop on over and set for a spell. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Virtual Nerd

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing to homeschool for highschool. One of the most prevalent concerns usually focuses on the level of expertise required to teach various academic courses like Algebra or Physics. To be honest, when my children were young I often wondered how we would manage these types of courses too.

Fortunately, for my children, God blessed them with a natural math ability. I have no idea where it came from as I have always been a "words"not a "numbers" girl. Ask me to write an essay...done. Ask me to solve and graph an, well, what was that again?

If your child is more of a "words" kid like me, you might want to consider a subscription to Virtual Nerd. Virtual Nerd is an on-line tutoring website filled with easy to understand instructional videos. It is free to educators, but not home educators. Homeschool families and other individuals interested in a low cost private tutor may access the site for $49 a month or $129 for three months. In addition, a $5 one day visit may be purchased, one week access for $19 or 2 hour visit for FREE. I received a free subscription for 6 weeks as a member of the TOS Review Crew in exchange for this review.

When I first visited the site I was impressed by its organization and ease of navigation. Users may choose to access help with Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II and Physics. Unique to this site is the ability to access information based on your math text. For example, if you are using McDougal Littel's Algebra text you can search for tutoring help based on the lessons/chapters in that specific text.

According to Virtual Nerd's website the company works hard to, "build original course content consistent with current textbooks. We complete an extensive review of the top textbooks and link our original content to textbook problems and concepts. We also ensure our content is aligned with standards defined by national math and science educators."

Because my 8th grade daughter has inherited, apparently a recessive math gene I missed, we were not able to utilize Virtual Nerd to its fullest potential. As I searched the site watching topical videos to test, I was impressed at how easily I found just the right information and the level of quality of each of the video lessons. If only I had had Virtual Nerd, back in the day! Then maybe this "words" girl would love "numbers" too.

To access Virtual Nerd point your browser to: