Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome Back to Home Port!

The TOS Review Crew Cruise has finished its sail around the world. As First Mate, I want to thank each and every one of you personally for joining me these past seven months as we explored the vast oceans of homeschool curricula, toys, and books. Altogether, we stopped at nearly fifty different ports of call (or review items, for you landlubbers). Some items were lumped into one larger review for one publisher. Plus, I threw in a few bonus reviews from other vendors.

Uncharted waters are a thing of the past with Knowledge Quest’s The ABCs of Homeschooling course. We stopped at Writers’ Inlet and discovered that it’s not a dry dessert; a fountain of writing ideas abounds with the One Year Adventure Novel and Write Shop curricula. Imagination Island overflowed with toys and books from One2Believe, Schleich, Alphabet Alley, Media Angels, Salem Ridge Press, The Little Man in the Map and more. Smorgasbord Sound had an almost overwhelming number of options with Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, Core Learning, Critical Thinking, Five in a Row, Memoria Press, and more. Our climb up Math Mountain was a breeze with Times Tales, Mammoth Math, Math Tutor DVDs, and ALEKS. Artistic Pursuits and the Spears Art Studio were our two stops on Artist Alley. Other memorable stops included Apologia Science, Generations of Virtue, SpellQuizzer, and Motherboard Press.

I know some people are putting together a Top 10 or a Top 20 list, but that just seems too hard to me! So, I’m going to wimp out and tell you my children’s top choices instead. My ninth grader jumped up and down and squealed so loudly that the windows rattled when the One Year Adventure Novel arrived. When The Little Man in the Map book arrived, I was skeptical, but my fifth grader snatched the book out of my hands and had the locations of all fifty states memorized in less than an hour. She still looks at a regular map and names the states by saying what part of the little man they are; she also rereads it. That’s a winner in my book!

Thank you for sailing with me on this great adventure. I’ve learned about so many different products and curricula that I would otherwise not have had the chance to even see, let alone hold in my hands and actually try. It’s been challenging, though, to meet so many deadlines and to think of something creative and different to say about each and every item. I like to think that these past few months are just the beginning of a longer voyage for me. I hope you’ll continue to follow my adventures here on my blog. In the mean time, happy sailing!