Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Waterproof Bible

This may have been the hardest review I had to do!! Hard...but fun!!! I was given the chance to put the Waterproof Bible produced by Bardin&Marsee Publishing to the test!! Putting the Word of GOD through the ringer...a little tough considering the reverence I have for the Holy Book. However, there wasn't any other way to find out if the company's claims were accurate. So, I took that challenge and was beyond amazed at the unfathomable limits that the Waterproof Bible!!

Some of the claims for the Waterproof Bible are that it's waterproof (obviously), stain resistant, tear resistant (which I did try, but my husband was adamant that I not test too far), and even floats. I found that everyone of these claims were 100% true.

I first sent my daughter diving into a hotel pool with the Bible and she gladly shared the Gospel with some of the other kids swarming around her to see why she had a book in swimming pool. It easily floated as she let it bob around in the water.

Next, being the avid coffee drinker that I am, I "accidentally" spilled coffee on Waterproof Bible. It wiped away with no visible sign of ever having the dark brown liquid on it. (My study Bible, not so lucky for my morning java with Jesus).

Finally, I decided to really see how much water this Bible could really take (as if the pool wasn't enough) and left it outside. It's been unusually rainy in East Tennessee the last couple of weeks and so I left the Waterproof Bible outside where it was rained on for three straight days. Obviously, after all of that it was extremely wet, and it took a couple of days, but it did dried to just as good as new.

The Bible special pages are easy for taking notes and marking in using a dry highlighter or a ball point pen or pencil It also comes in five different translations...ESV, KJV, NIV, NKJV and NLT with a price tag of $44.95 for the entire Bible and $24.95 for a Psalms/Proverbs/New Testament. You can even have the Waterproof Bible customized!!

Their motto is "Be Inspired. Anywhere." and it's a perfect fit, because as far as I can see the Waterproof Bible has absolutely NO LIMITS!!!



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: Ooka Island

When we started homeschooling my daughter was just going in to Kindergarten and had some skills to begin to read, but wasn't really reading. So our adventure began! It took us four curriculum and the summer just before second grade before we actually found what clicked with her (she's my first and unfortunately the guinea pig for all that we try). When the opportunity to review Ooka Island came up, I was a little hesitant to try it, especially since we'd made so much progress in the last year. So I decided I'd use it with my 3 year old instead, but however, his enthusiasm for the program was obviously contagious and before long they were arguing over who's turn it was to play.

Ooka Island is a computer based reading program designed for children 3-7. The company states, "Our goal is to teach children to read fluently and well through reading instruction that is fun and compelling." Now, my kids were absolutely thrilled with the program and loved playing it, so it did accomplish the fun and compelling goal. That for a mom is always a huge plus because you want them to love learning and they did...so I can say from that stand point I loved this program.

That's what makes this review so hard to write. While there are some great things I liked and even loved about the program, there are several that I did not like at all. For that reason I wouldn't recommend it as a curriculum, rather as a supplement to what you are already use. Here are my list of likes and dislikes, starting with the dislikes.

Dislikes

1. I noticed mistakes within some of the games as my daughter played. She was trying to put sentences from the story "Trey's Tree House" in order after reading it. The sentences she was given were very confusing. They could have easily went two different ways. So when she put it in order wrong even I didn't understand why. 

2. The level my daughter stared at was a bit below her level really. Despite taking the compass test (which you can use for older readers to place them where they need to be on the path) she had to go through her ABC's as if she didn't even know them because it's just part of the game. 

3. Once she started playing the word ? she had to decide if something was part of a word or a word. The problem with that was some of the parts of words were not parts of words. And they most certain were not phonograms. Since we have been using a phonics based program this was confusing and contrary to what she had been learning.

4. When my 3 year old began his journey on Ooka Island, it started at the beginning and by teaching him the sound of the letter M...not the letter itself, but the sound. It seems odd to start in the middle of the alphabet and not to reinforce the actually letter names for recognition at that early in the game.

5. For my 7 year old who is reading, they had her identify the sound in E sound in me, but they used ee...she then proceeded to ask why. Then they had her identify the sound at the end of the word shoe and used oo...again she asked why. It seems odd to use the wrong phonograms to teach the sound. I know it's not a spelling curriculum, however, if my 7 year old is pointing it out then that makes me wonder what I would have to fix with my 3 year old if I left him use this program.

Likes

1. FUN! FUN! FUN! for the kids. Especially in free time, when they could change their character or feed the Ooka Elves. They were asking to play so much I had to limit their time. 

2. As the parent you can track what they are learning on the Lighthouse. You can print progress reports and send them CheerReader messages, which my daughter loved getting. 

3. There are off line elements to the game as well. You can buy the actual books they rescue. There are worksheets and e-workbooks you can print for extra practice.

My overall conclusion in using this curriculum was I think it's tool to utilized for learning, however, I wouldn't use it as a complete curriculum to reading. Many of the other team members found it to be a delightful addition to their homeschooling library. You can read their reviews here. If you're interested in adding some fun to your reading lessons, then by all means purchase Ooka Island, the company is offering a 30% discount to my readers. We will most likely keep it for the fun aspects, but still use our other curriculum. You can get a individual membership for $12.95/mo or $124.95/yr. If your looking to use it for more students, then you can price increases slightly at $19.95/mo or $149.95/year. But remember, right now you can get it for 30% off!!



Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: Saving Memories Forever


When I first found out I was going to be reviewing the Saving Memories Forever app, I really wasn't that excited. I know most of the other reviewers kept expressing how thrilled they were, but I was rather mundane. Remember my background is in television, so my first thought was, "Why wouldn't you just use your video camera?" Having said this, let me just say...I am absolutely a convert! As I began to use it, I could see so many possibilities for it and I LOVE THIS APP (which is available for iPhone and Android systems)!!!!

Over the past few years, several older ladies have encouraged me to write down those little sayings from kids that you don't want to forget. I keep hearing, "You think you'll remember them but you won't." I try to always take what these lovely ladies tell me to heart, because they have been where I am and they know what they would change if they could go back. And I've been trying. I bought notebooks and I write them down from time to time, but I'm so busy with all three that honestly, I just forget (like they said I would)! So when I got this app, I knew it would be the perfect way to chronicle my favorite sayings they use...Asher, my 3 year old won't say "wellwow" for yellow much longer...and the baby cackle Canaan has when you begin tickling him will soon change to that of a toddler and am I going to grab my video camera just to ask what color bananas are or record Canaan laughing for 10 seconds? No. However, I will tap an app on my phone!!

Here's another way I decided to use this awesome app. I'm sure you've seen the 21 questions to ask you kids on Pinterest. So I had this amazing idea...instead of chronicling my children's answers on paper I could do it with this app. It's perfect too, because I always have my phone with me, so I can just grab it and start asking at anytime instead of trying to remember when and what board I pinned it to or in the midst of planning a birthday party trying to remember to stop to ask these questions and chronicle the answers.

When I used some of the questions on the app, I loved hearing my sweet Genesis's heart. (I also made some of my own up.) Now, I'll always be able to remember that at 7 she wanted to be a supermodel, a doctor, on the Olympic swim team, a jewelry maker, and woodcarver and all at the same time! Those are definitely memories I want to save! I also used Saving Memories Forever to let my husband goof off and share his crazy jokes that we may not be able to remember when we are old and gray!

This app was so much fun and has so many uses. You could use it to have your grandmother tell you a story about her childhood...what I wouldn't give to have my Mamaw's voice sharing some of the stories I remember her telling me before she went home to be with Jesus. Or even have my Papaw singing one of his jigs for my children to hear. This app is truly a precious and wonderful gift to quickly and efficiently save all those memories for years to come. After you record your stories they are uploaded to the Saving Memories Forever website and then can in turn be downloaded to your computer.

I have to mention, one of my favorite things the company is doing is offering this app to active military families that are deployed!! Now soldiers can record stories for their children or loved ones. Although I don't have loved ones across the way I know plenty who do and I will definitely be sharing this app with them!

There are so many ways you can actually use Saving Memories Forever that you really MUST check it out for yourself. The one thing I can promise you is this is an app that every family can use. So go to your smartphones app store and download it NOW!! It's free and you can play around before deciding to upgrade (premium service is just $3.99), but I'm pretty sure you'll want to once you decide how it best suits your family!

Need a second opinion...then check out reviews by other Mosaic Reviews team members here.