Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Zane Education

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For the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to review several products that will really help curb my curriculum costs this school year.  The first one I will tell you about is Zane Education.

Zane Education is a vast online library with educational videos on a wealth of subjects.  History, Literature, Art, Science, Math, and Health Studies are all covered.  If you choose to use it as a supplement to any curriculum, you are sure to find videos on whatever you need, and Zane is still adding videos to the library.  Paired with the other study tools offered, you could also put together your own curriculum or unit studies for several subjects.  Each video is accompanied by a lesson plan (which is all on one page - I like this because I don't have to use too much paper and ink printing).  Sidebar links will also take you to a glossary, a dictionary, and a thesaurus with information pertaining to that specific video.  There are interactive quizzes for each video.  Another great resource is the online World Factbook, which contains information about "the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities."  It includes maps, Flags of the World, physical details, and political information.  

In addition, one unique feature of Zane's videos is that they are subtitled.  Children (and adults!) will retain much more information when they can hear the audio and read the subtitles at the same time.  The videos are largely slideshows.  I really like the wealth of information and photos they provide.  If you have been studying ancient Greek art and would like pictures of the famous works without buying an expensive textbook, you can find all those basics here, as well as information you haven't seen elsewhere.  The videos are done in a very standard, educational way that reminds me of the educational videos I saw in school.  In today's world, my children would love for every educational video to be ramped up to the entertainment stylings of Disney, but for the sake of learning, everything cannot always be as flashy as they would like!  You can view sample videos at Zane Education and make sure these videos are something that would hold your students' attention.  When watching the videos, use the Video Study Tools buttons to the right of the video to navigate to the study helps, not the buttons shown in the slide show itself.  The buttons in the slide show evidently went with the individual slides before they were made into videos.

Could you use some free Math videos?  Register with Zane Education.  The Math videos 
are free to use for all Registered users. They are the only videos that are not owned by us, and are not subtitled or closed captioned. We provide them for your convenience only as we proceed to develop our own.
You can download a free catalogue to see just what all is offered from this page.

It seems that in addition to the main content of a product, there is often something very simple that just makes my day.  One of those things here is that my membership page includes a list of all videos offered, with a gold star next to the ones we have watched.  I am glad I have a full year membership, because there are so many that we still need to see!

It should be noted that Zane Education is a resource library for the teacher, not necessarily a playground in which you should let your children roam freely.  There are videos on the theory of evolution, as well as sex education, that you may or may not want your children to see.  Preview items yourself and decide what you would like for your children to watch.

Zane Education is a valuable resource for any homeschool parent to have.  I think it is well worth the price and is greatly enriching our program.

The Nitty-Gritty:
The Product - Zane Education online subscription library
Age Range - Various subjects, kindergarten through adult


Price - Sign up for the Basic Free Membership and see what else is available for as little as $8.99/month.  See pricing for all memberships here.

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Want some more good news?  Zane has provided a promo code to our readers for 35% off any annual gold, silver, or bronze membership purchased by August 31, 2012. Use code ZE295HSM at checkout to receive discount!!!

You can contact Zane Education, by email when you follow the link on their website, call ~ 1.850.488-8204or write:
Zane Education
2060-D Avenida De Los Arboles, #675
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
Also, watch for their latest developments and new products – read their News Blog and follow Zane Education on facebook.


To see what my fellow Crewmates thought of Zane Education, click the banner below.


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Disclaimer:  I received a free subscription to Zane Education for the purpose of a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Garden Fresh Mini" from Dandelion Dust Designs

Have you been looking for some small, inexpensive page kits to get some photos scrapped?  Dandelion Dust Designs is now selling mini-kits at ScrapTakeout!  They just released the Garden Fresh Mini, perfect for scrapping your home-grown produce, your loot from the Farmer's Market, or your summer-time botanical tours!


I'm not much of a gardener myself, so I have to enjoy other people's gardens!  You can pick the kit up exclusively at Scraptakeout.



I made a free QP for you!  Click image to pick it up from Mediafire.  PU only.



Happy Scrapping!  :-)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the Garden Fresh Mini Kit in exchange for a LO made with the kit.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TOS Magazine July

Have you downloaded the July issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine? See the product review of Amazing Animals by Design on page 150!




The Homeschool Minute

Do you receive The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Minute newsletter in your email? During the month of July, you can register to win a free, signed copy of my book! Check out The Homeschool Minute!



Monday, July 23, 2012

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Knowledge Quest TimeMaps Collection for Mac

I like using a lot of maps and timelines in all of our studies.  Not only does it tie all of our Geography and History together, but it helps us see where our studies in Bible or of various composers, inventors, etc., fit in.  When I was growing up, I studied Bible at church and camp and studied composers for my piano lessons, but I gave little thought to what else was going on in the world in each time period.  Placing these items on a timeline puts them in perspective and gives us greater understanding of what other influences, such as war or foreign governments, might have been at work at the time.

Some time ago, I found the Knowledge Quest company and purchased several materials from them.  Previously it had been difficult to find, for instance, a map of a certain place during the time period we were studying, and Knowledge Quest always seemed to have what I needed.  I was thrilled then, to have a chance to review their TimeMaps for Mac this summer.



The TimeMaps Collection is a product in partnership with TimeMaps Ltd of the United Kingdom, that combines timelines, historical maps and encyclopedic entries in a way that brings history to life. From the Knowledge Quest website, TimeMaps is described as follows:
“TimeMaps are computer software files that use Flash – a free program from Adobe. Maps are shown in chronological order at the click of a button and progress at your timing, showing how civilizations, countries and continents have changed over time. Quizzes and encyclopedic entries are included and can be turned on and off at your discretion. TimeMaps are a work in progress with many Ancient and Medieval civilizations having reached completion with more historical topics on the way.”
I cannot say enough about how much I love this software for these unique maps.  In the old days, we tried to put maps on a transparency projector and use overlays to show paths and expansions.  I am thrilled to finally have interactive maps that do this right on the computer.  I have been told that the TimeMaps work together excellently with several history curriculums.  We were not currently studying any of the time periods we were given, so we are using the maps to review The Fall of the Roman Empire and European Exploration and Discovery.


As we click through different time periods on the map, we can see various paths move across the land and water, and the colors and boundary lines change to show who was controlling the land.  The upper right hand corner tells us what year it is; a click on the little "i" below the year gives us a pop-up box with encyclopedic information, and a click on the "Q" gives us a list of quiz questions.  The maps play in Adobe Flash Player, which can be downloaded from the Internet for free.  Why didn't we have stuff like this in school when I was a kid?!


Each set of maps is also accompanied by a PDF file which contains commentary on the place and time period, suggestions for questions and further activity, and additional information that is not contained in the TimeMaps.  It also contains printable maps and timelines for notebooking, which I think is an important feature, even though we love playing with the interactive ones on the computer more!  All this together could almost be a backbone for an entire history curriculum all by itself, and it has proved to be a fantastic tool for review, but I think it is best used along with the history curriculum you are already using.

Here's the basic info:

Product:  Knowledge Quest TimeMaps Collection for Mac
Ages:  All school-age children
Price:  Individually as a download for either Windows or Mac, each unit can be purchased at $9.95 for an individual license. The complete set of 7 units is $44.95 also as a download for Windows or Mac.  See website for further details and other pricing options.
Other Products by Knowledge Quest:  Knowledge Quest has "historical outline maps, timelines, geography curriculum such as A Child’s Geography and Expedition Earth, historical biographies your whole family will love, engaging mobile apps plus much more."

TimeMaps software is an item I would buy for our homeschool if I had not received it for the review.  You will not find a better tool for teaching history to your visual and/or interactive learners, and I cannot wait until they produce more time periods!

Some of my Schoolhouse Crewmates had the opportunity to review TimeMaps for Mac or for PC, and some reviewed Knowledge Quest's MapTrek.  Click the banner below to see their reviews!


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Disclaimer:  I received a free set of Knowledge Quest's TimeMaps for Mac in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

HUGE Back 2 School Giveaway

HUGE Back 2 School Giveaway at Homeschool Giveaways.com!!!



Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Get Well Soon" by Dandelion Dust Designs

Summertime, unfortunately, sometimes brings injuries, but when my son broke his finger playing baseball and my daughter needed stitches in her toe from climbing in the treehouse, I thought, well, at least they are not wiling away their summer in front of video games!  Sickness and injuries are unfortunate, but you may want to document some of those events in your scrapbooks as well.  Dandelion Dust Designs is helping you out with "Get Well Soon."


Available exclusively at ScrapTakeout:


Your free QP is waiting at Mediafire!  PU only.


Happy Scrapping and keep well!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of "Get Well Soon" in exchange for a layout with the kit.


"American Spirit" by Dandelion Dust Designs

Well, have you been enjoying your month of July?  I just realized I hadn't posted since the end of June! We have been on the road for 3 weeks.  It's good to be home playing catch-up!  If you are in the U.S., did you enjoy your Fourth of July?  Dandelion Dust Designs came out with a fantastic patriotic kit for the occasion, and I am just now getting around to posting about it.  If you are like me, though, I'm sure you don't have all your pictures from the 4th scrapped yet, so you can certainly still use the kit!


You can pick up "American Spirit" exclusively from ScrapTakeout.


Pick up your free Quickpage from Mediafire.  PU only.


Happy Scrapping!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of "American Spirit" in exchange for layouts.