The Sojourner

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TOS Review: Lanschool

Lanschool is a classroom management and monitoring software that can be used in the classroom setting, or in the homeschool setting.    When I found out that I would be receiving this software to review, I wasn't sure how I felt about it.  However, when I received it, I was very anxious to find out how it works.  My husband downloaded it and set it up on my computer as Teacher and on the computer on our flat screen TV as Student for our kids to use.  He said it was VERY easy to download and set up!  In times past, he said that programs like this were very difficult to get up and running and had alot of glitches.  However, he was very impressed with the ease with which Lanschool was up and ready to go.

We use the computers very seldom for our homeschooling, but with my kids being teenagers, they like to go on Facebook, iTunes and check their email.  I have a laptop and often sit in the living room, while my kids are in the family room.  With Lanschool, I can monitor their time online very simply and easily from my laptop.  When they are supposed to be writing essays, I can make sure they are not on Facebook.

I was actually able to uncover some activity of which I did not approve by one of my children and able to address an issue I was unaware of because of having Lanschool installed on our computers.  It saves me alot of time and energy having to constantly go into the family room to check on what my children are doing, and even that was insufficient because one of them got quite good at "flipping" the screen so it would look like they were doing what they were supposed to be doing when I came in.  However, with Lanschool, I was able to discover that there was definitely an issue that we needed to deal with and can  block that child from accessing things that are not approved.    

I received Lanschool Home v7.5 and here is what they say about it:

"Parents today are faced with the challenge and opportunity of using technology in the home.  Computers are amazing education and entertainment tools, but they can also be a huge distraction and danger to kids."
"Lanschool Home v7.5 allows parents to easily keep track and restrict what happens on the family computers."

"Lanschool Home v7.5 helps parents:
Monitor real-time thumbnails of monitors of their home computers
Limit distractions such as the Internet, games and instant messaging
Track Internet history
Log every keystroke typed on a computer
Limit computers access by locking out the computer
Provide help through remote control
Chat with family members"

There are so many different ways in which you could utilize this incredible software in your home, especially if your kids do alot of their homeschool work on the computer.  You can even view a YouTube video together on several computers at the same time.  As the Teacher, you can show websites to your students from your computer onto their computer to help them with research online or other homeschooling applications.  Lanschool will make teaching your children HOW to use the computer and Internet for online research and more SO much easier!

For more information, you can take a guided tour and view their brochures at the Lanschool website.  Lanschool Home is only $99, and three years of technical support and three years of major upgrade protection are included.  This will support 3 Student computers, plus the Teacher.  They also have licenses for classroom use - see their website for more details and prices.

Here are the SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS for Lanschool:
LanSchool Home v7.5 supports any combination of computers running Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP-32, Windows Vista-32/64, Windows 7-32/64, Mac OS 10.4 and higher.
The only exception is the LanSchool parent console for the Mac, which will only run on Intel-based Mac hardware running OS 10.5 and higher.
Listed below are the minimum requirements necessary to run LanSchool v7.5 on both the parent and family computers:
166 MHz Intel® Pentium® processor or faster
48 MB for Windows 98 
96 MB for Windows 2000 
128 MB for Windows XP 
256 MB for Windows Vista 
512 MB for Mac OS X
All computers must be configured with TCP/IP 
802.11 wireless is supported

For more reviews, check out the TOS Review Crew blog.

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of Lanschool.

Friday, October 1, 2010

TOS Review: Foundlings, Book One of The Peleg Chronicles

Foundlings is Book One of The Peleg Chronicles by Matthew Christian Harding.  It is set in the time just after the Tower of Babel dispersion and brings to life those characters and creatures that may have existed in that time period.  The paperback book has 239 pages and is geared towards 10 to 12 years old and up.

When I first received this book to review, I was a little skeptical because I have read my share of Christian fiction which falls short of excellence.  However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and the depth of the character development in this book.  Here is a summary of the book provided by Mr. Harding:

The story begins with Lord McDougal and his faithful shield-bearer, Fergus Leatherhead, departing their lands with giants at their backs, while before them lie in wait denizens of the bog-and and forest.

Ever ready to protect and serve others, they gather in tow an assortment of displaced adventurers and find themselves embroiled in a mysterious search for the Foundlings:  Orphaned Thiery with his companion Horatio the white wolf, and Suzie who has been deceitfully retained by the thieves Elvodug and Flemup.

Others also seek the Foundlings, and their purposes are most sinister - Dragon Priests who practice cozen sacrifices, and their leader Count Rosencross who is town by his God given conscience and his pursuit of personal glory.

Onward toward the city of Hradcanny they travel, meeting with treachery, beast attacks, camaraderie and psalms of praise with an eye toward the gospel.  Though their battles are at times fierce and the outcomes uncertain, the author maintains the integrity of these noble characters, who through weakness are made strong by Him in whom they trust.

Foundlings weaves together the Biblical principles of chivalry, truth, courage, duty, faith and love within the framework of Genesis, and a gold adherence to its historicity.  It's an exciting page turner that leaves you wanting more, but more importantly it leaves the reader with Godly heroes to think on and emulate, and a young earth creationist view of the history that conforms to the Word of God.

What I found most fascinating in this book is the way that Mr. Harding weaves into his story the characters and creatures that are mentioned in the book of Genesis, but most fiction has hesitated to try and describe or include.  The long lives of mankind before and even after the flood, as well as dinosaurs, mastodons, mega-fauna, giants, dragons and how the ice age fits into history are all incorporated into the story line to help us gain insight into that time period of history.

I have learned a wealth of information through historical fiction over the years, but very few books attempt to cover this time period.  So I was genuinely interested and intrigued with Mr. Harding's book.  No Evolution - No Humanism - No Magic!  That's their motto for their Creation Fiction - Young Earth Dragon Fiction.

I had intended to read this aloud to my two teenagers, however, we were in the middle of another book, so I just read it myself.  There is one reason I am glad that I did not read it aloud - it leaves you hanging at the end and you HAVE to read the next book, Paladins!!  My kids would not be happy if I read this one to them without having the next book to read right after.  So I will put this in the lineup after I can get the second book.

So, I am sure by now you are wondering how to get the book for yourself.  Well, you can order the book directly from Zoe & Sozo Publishing for $11.95.  The second book, Paladins, is also available for the same price.

To read more reviews about this book, go to the TOS Review Crew.