The Sojourner

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Progeny Press: The Screwtape Letters Literature Guide - TOS Crew Review

When the opportunity for this review arose, we were asked to select which literature guide we would want to review.  Since we were about to have the opportunity to not only read the book, but see the live performance, I chose The Screwtape Letters Literature Guide for my family to use and review.

Progeny Press has over 100 different literature guides covering great literature for all age groups, from Mr. Popper's Penguins to Julius CaesarThe Literature Guide for The Screwtape Letters is an interactive PDF file consisting of 75 pages of very thought provoking material, plus a 10 page Answer Key for the teacher/parent.  This version is interactive on Windows or Mac computers.   It includes background information about the author, the time period in which the story was written, and then the chapters are divided into smaller sections and there are vocabulary questions, questions for comprehension, analysis, digging deeper questions and optional activities.  All of this is designed to help your student to "think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"

According to the Progeny Press website, the middle and high school level study guides should take 8 - 10 weeks to complete.  It is also recommended to read the novel in its entirety the first week, and then use the guide to work through the book again to glean more from it.

It is very cool to me that the students can type their answers right into the document (no handwriting required!)  For my teens, this is huge!  There are actually samples of this interactive type of literature guide available right on the Progeny Press website.  Also, you can search through the inventory of literature guides by genre as well as grade level.  They have taken some of the best literature ever written and produced very comprehensive study guides that are age appropriate and a lot of fun for the students.

The Literature Guides are available in three different formats:
  1. As a printed and bound booklet for $21.99
  2. On a CD in .pdf format for $18.99
  3. As the same .pdf file as an e-mail attachment for $18.99
Or you can get both the CD and booklet for $27.99.

Overall, I am very impressed with Progeny Press' Literature Study Guides.  A lot of work has been put into each of these and they really delve into the literature in so many ways and bring a Biblical perspective to all of these great books.

If you would like to read more reviews of Progeny Press' Literature Study Guides, visit the TOS Review Crew website here for more reviews.

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of The Screwtape Letters Literature Study Guide by Progeny Press.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Art of Argument - TOS Crew Review


Since we have not followed a classical style of learning in our homeschooling over the years, we have not studied logic in any formal sense.  So when presented with the opportunity to review The Art of Argument, I had mixed feelings.  First, I was intrigued by the title since there is a lot of arguing that goes on this house with my teens!  Second, I was a little intimidated about teaching a course on logic since I have not studied it formally in any manner throughout my life, although I am a very logical person.  So, it took me a while to get up the nerve to open the books and look them over.  However, when I finally did take some time to peruse them, I was very pleasantly surprised with the way the books were presented and how appealingly they are laid out for the students!  This made it much easier to delve into with my teens.
The Art of Argument, published by Classical Academic Press, is an introduction to the informal fallacies.  "What is that?" you might ask (like I did.)    Here is what their website says:

"From billboards to commercials to a walk down the mall, fallacious arguments are everywhere you look. The Art of Argument was designed to teach the argumentative adolescent how to reason with clarity, relevance and purpose at a time when he has a penchant for the "why" and "how". It is designed to equip and sharpen young minds as they live, play, and grow in this highly commercial culture. This course teaches students to recognize and identify twenty-eight informal fallacies, and the eye-catching text includes over sixty slick and clever, “phony advertisements” for items from blue jeans to pick-up trucks, which apply the fallacies to a myriad of real life situations."

PhotobucketIf you have ever had an argument with your teenager, you know that there are many different and creative ways that they can approach an argument and they seem to constantly be expanding their argument repertoire!  Well, YOU may even learn a lot from this curriculum to distinguish good and valid arguments from those that just aren't valid.  Of course, the down side of this course is that your teens may use the information they learn AGAINST YOU!!  But, of course, you already realized that as they learn and grow they also become better at "presenting their case" for what they want, haven't you? Ah, the fun times ahead!

The Art of Argument is available as a bundle which includes the Student Text, Teacher's Edition and DVD Set for $88.95.  Or you can purchase the components individually as follows:
Student Text  $21.95
Teacher's Edition $24.95
DVD Set $54.95
There are also sample pages from both the Student Text and the Teacher's Edition available on their website so you can take a glance at what to expect in the books.

"The greatly expanded Art of Argument Teacher’s Edition now includes the entire student text, answers to all exercises, and new chapter and unit tests. The DVD Set features three experienced logic teachers and four capable, enthusiastic students discussing the 28 fallacies with contemplation and humor. Each discussion seeks to make a practical application of the fallacy to student life, advertisements, political speech, and various kinds of ethical and philosophical debates."

If you would like to read more reviews of The Art of Argument, visit the TOS Review Crew website here for more reviews.

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of The Art of Argument by Classical Academic Press.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Beeyoutiful Lip B.A.L.M. and Tension Tamer- A TOS Crew Review


This review was a nice change from homeschool products and curriculum since it was for health and beauty products!  It is not often I get the chance to review this type of product and it was certainly a pleasure.  I have heard alot about the company Beeyoutiful, but had never tried any of their products, so when the opportunity came up, I was really hoping to be chosen.

The first product I received was Tension Tamer:


This incredible combination of essential oils act to reduce pain, relieve tension and combat headaches. A great nerve relaxer and pocket decongestant. Roll Tension Tamer on temples, wrists, nose, or neck and relax as your headache and tension disappear. Great for children too! Use as often as desired. Ingredients: Expeller pressed jojoba oil, expeller pressed sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint essential oil, wintergreen essential oil.

I have to admit I was a little skeptical about a product that could make headaches and tension disappear!  Well, I was in for a big surprise the first time I got a headache after receiving this product.  I tend to get headaches right at my temple, although I don't get them very often.  So when I rolled the Tension Tamer onto my temple, I was first surprised by how much it tingled!  And the scent is pretty strong, but I think it is that scent that actually took my headache away.  Anyway, I was really amazed and happy to have such an amazing product that could help rid me of a tension headache.  It is certainly worth a try if you get tension headaches!

The other product I had the opportunity to try is Orange Lip B.A.L.M. (Beeyoutiful All-Natural Lip Moisturizer):
Who hasn’t struggled at some point with dry, chapped lips?
Either during the dry winter months, after being outside gardening or during sporting events, or even during a cold. Conventional lip moisturizers can be harsh and even damaging to fragile lip membranes with chemicals and fuel derived bases. Beeyoutiful’s all natural Lip Balms offer you a choice of a soothing, healing lip balm that you can be confident in the ingredients, knowing you are using the very best on your lips! The convenient size fits in your purse, pocket, diaper bag or gym bag for easy access wherever you may be.
Beeyoutiful’s Lip Balm comes in two soothing flavors: Peppermint and Orange. Each has common ingredients that nourish and heal the lips as they moisturize.
GrapeSeed Oil- high in antioxidants (procyanidolic oligomers and polyphenols) and linoleic acid which nourish, moisturize, naturally provide anti-inflammatory support, and help smooth fine lines and wrinkles! So instead of merely relieving your chapped lips, it is nourishing them and helping them look their best as well!
Shea Butter- also high in antioxidants, Shea Butter helps bring elasticity back to the skin, moisturizes, has natural sun protection, and helps bring healing to scars and wounds.
Beeswax- recommended by Mayo Clinic as an excellent choice for a lip balm, beeswax is high in germicidal antioxidants, possesses natural anti-inflammatory abilities, and has been shown to have antibacterial qualities. It gives body to the lip balm while providing moisture and cell restoration for your lips!
Essential Oils- (Either Orange or Peppermint Essential Oil)- Both provide refreshing flavors while providing their naturally inherent benefits to your lips! Orange is a refreshing, citrusy blast that helps to brighten your lips. Peppermint’s cool, tingly flavor will bring soothing refreshment to your lips on the driest of days!

I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE the Lip B.A.L.M.!!  It is SO smooth and creamy - not waxy feeling at all (which is one of my pet peeves with lip balms:-).  The orange scent is light and fresh - very enjoyable.  I had to threaten my daughter in order to be able to use this product enough to give it a review, cuz she is always "borrowing" things like this and I never see them again.  The price is very reasonable at $3.00 each, or $2.70 each if you order 3 or more.

Come to think of it, where did my Tension Tamer disappear to???

If you would like to read more reviews of these and other Beeyoutiful products, visit the TOS Review Crew website here for more reviews.

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of Beeyoutiful Lip B.A.L.M. and Tension Tamer.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Final Match of Regular Season

This is Cody's final wrestling match of the season - and he WON!!  He has progressed and grown so much during this wrestling season.  He wrestled in 4 weekend tournaments in addition to the regular season matches.  He had a winning season and will go to Sectionals next weekend, and then hopefully to State.

I am so very proud of him and how hard he has worked!  He has had to work through injuries incurred during football season that have hindered and haunted him throughout the wrestling season, but he has pushed through and been an overcomer.  He has shown that he has the potential to be great.  He has worked hard and improved immensely.  And through it all, he has shown that he is a man of great character.

He's my son and I'm a very proud momma!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rising Prices...Gas, Groceries and More!

I am sure you have noticed, if you have bought anything in the last couple months, that prices are on the rise.  It has been predicted, but I was sure hoping it wouldn't happen.  We live in the most competitive grocery market in the country, so our prices are probably still good compared to other areas, but we live on a very tight budget and I am having to increase the amount we spend on groceries and basic supplies.  I am feeling the pinch in our budget.  There just aren't as good of sales, not as many good coupons, and even on sale prices are higher than in the past.  I am very thankful for the past several years where we have been able to eat really well on a small budget and I know that God will provide all that we have need of, but I am sad that I am having to increase my "buy" price on so many items.  That just means that there will be less "extras" all around.  Plus, our costs have increased because we have more people living in our home for now.  I am hoping that our extra family member will soon be able to contribute some to the household budget by way of a job - that will certainly help!

And gas prices have just jumped from $2.99/gal that I paid a week and a half ago, to $3.23/gal being the lowest that I can find around here!  That is a 24 cent jump in just a few days!  How come the media is not all over that?  Why are people protesting and raising a ruckus about the huge jump in gas prices?  I guess we have been lulled into believing that it is inevitable.  Well, we are going to have to begin getting creative in ways to decrease our use of gasoline, too.  Perhaps bicycling will become necessary -couldn't hurt my personal "bottom line"! LOL  My husband already bicycles to work most days, so he is definitely doing his part.

So have you begun to feel the crunch of rising prices?  Share your ideas for saving money on groceries and gas.  We can all learn from each other and help each other out during this belt-tightening time!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Z-Guide To The Movies: Driving Miss Daisy - a TOS Crew Review

PhotobucketI love this company and the Z-Guides to the movies that they publish!  Watching movies as part of our homeschooling is something I really love to add into our curriculum and these Z-Guides hit the spot!  Last year, we watched To Kill A Mockingbird and used the Z-Guide to help in our studies.  So this year, when I was once again given the opportunity to review a Z-Guide to the movies, I was excited and chose Driving Miss Daisy.  I thought that it would be an interesting movie for my teens to watch and would also go along with the time period we have been studying in history.

Zeezok Publishing has Z-Guides to the movies for many different movies, both old and newer ones.  All of these movies are very educational, yet fun and interesting!  The Z-Guide begins with a Topic Overview and Movie Synopsis.  I have found that my kids DO NOT want me to read the Movie Synopsis prior to watching - spoils the movie for them!  Then there are Movie Review Questions, as well as questions that delve into the topic behind the movie.  There are 10 different Activities in all, encompassing things such as art, word search, and other topics relevant to the particular movie.  For instance, for Driving Miss Daisy, there are a lot of questions and activities relating to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, as well as discrimination and in-laws relationships.

The Z-Guides sell for $12.99 and you can see the whole list of titles available on their website at  They also have all the movies for sale as well, just in case you have difficulty finding any of them either at your local library or on Netflix, Redbox, etc.

If you would like to read more reviews about Z-Guides for different movies, check out the other TOS Crew Reviews.

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of Z-Guide to the movies: Driving Miss Daisy from Zeezok Publishing.