Saturday, November 7, 2009

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Bright Ideas Press

Today I have the privilege of doing a review on one of my favorite homeschool companies and some of the great products they have available.
I just love

Let me first list the things from Bright Ideas Press that I have purchased, then I will tell you about the new items I got for free for this review. Each of these items can be found at BIP. Some of these items were reviewed by other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew so you can check the website for reviews on them if you want. But finish reading my post first. There will be another link to the other crew reviews at the bottom of this post.

We own (bought and paid for ourselves prior to TOS Crew membership):
  • Mystery of History volume 1
  • Mystery of History volume 2 
  • Mystery of History volume 3 (using vol. 3 this year)
  • Christian Kids Explore Chemistry
  • Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide
  • Hands-On Geography
  • Movies as Literature
The following are the items I received from Bright Ideas Press for free so that I could review them. I love Bright Ideas Press products and these are no different.

A Young Scholor's Guide to Composers - We usually study composers and artists each year in our homeschool. I usually follow the guidelines, and sometimes the suggested composers and artists, on Ambleside Online. We then follow the recommendations from the website and study one artist and one composer each quarter of the year, studying them the Charlotte Mason way. This year since we got the Composers study from BIP we have been using it instead for our study of composers. The boys have enjoyed the study so far and I like the components they have in the book. This is one of the items we have received for review that we plan to keep on using for the whole year.

You can get the book as an e-book download or as a paperback book. We were sent the e-book which makes it convenient for printing. As with all e-books a decision must be made, do you want to have ease of printing but have to print the teacher pages also (or read them from the e-book online) or do you want the print book and then you have to scan and print or copy the student pages.

The book contains 32 lessons on 6 time periods of music: Ancient to Middle Ages, Baroque, Renaissance, Classical period, Romantic period, and Contemporary period. Each of the 32 lessons take 3 school days to do. First the authors describe the period of History and then they do a number of composers for that time period (there are no composers for the Ancient to Middle ages period). There are 26 biographies of composers. There are note taking pages to print out for your students for each period and each composer. There are also Composer Info-Cards for the students to fill out for each composer that can be used later for Games that are suggested in the appendix: Composer Bingo and Composer Jeopardy. I can't wait to try some of them, but you have to wait until you cover a number of composers to try them. The biography cards have a place to color the country the composer was born in, a place to put the composer's picture and other interesting information to fill in from the lessons. We also really like the composer Timeline. You highlight the time of birth to the time of death and then add people who were influenced by them and composers who were friends. It is really cool to see the relationships. The last great feature of the Composers product that I want to write about is the Listening Suggestions in the appendix. It not only gives you suggestions of music to listen to but it gives you links so you can hear the suggested music online. 

There are sample pages online at the website that you can check out too.

 Out of five stars we give A Young Scholor's Guide to Composers:

I give this product my good value icon:
CD-Rom Book Price: $29.95
NEW! Paperback Book (298 pages) Price: $34.95

Christian Kids Explore Physics - This is a great science program for kids grades 4-8. It is creation based and a wonderful addition to any study of physics. The chapters cover the basics of physics. You can see a list of the topics in the sample table of contents below. In the Christian Kids Explore books they have a lab with every lesson, they have a quiz with every lesson, and they have chapter tests. The labs use everyday household items (mostly) or things easily purchased, not fancy chemicals. It can easily be added to and expanded for older children or leave out a few things and it could be used for younger grades. My boys have enjoyed the lessons and the labs.

On this page, Christian Kids Explore Physics, you can find a sample of the table of contents and two sample lessons. There are 30 lessons in the book.

I give this product my good value icon:
Price: $34.95
A good price for a science curriculum.

The quizzes and the labs can be printed from the book above or you can get a student activity book with the quizzes, tests and labs in it to save you time and printing costs.  Christian Kids Explore Physics Student Activity Book - Download $12.95

Out of five stars we give Christian Kids Explore Physics

They also have Christian Kids Explore Chemistry, CKE Earth and Space Science and CKE Biology.

Writer's Workshop - This product is an e-book download. There are many good tips for young writers and the lessons are short to allow time for the students to read their own writing to the others in the class. At each class there is a mini lesson that takes about 5 minutes to go over and then there is a writing assignment to be completed during class.

It is made to be used in a co-op, but can be adapted very easily to be used with just the children in your own home. Due to some things going on in our lives and due to the fact that we did not have a co-op already formed I did the lessons only with my own children. Since Jessica likes writing so much she agreed to join us for the lessons and reading of her work to make the class more full than just the two boys. It has worked very well. Classes are designed to be done once a week and between classes the children are only required to write 15-20 minutes a day on whatever topic/story they want to work on.

I give this product my good value icon:
Price: $14.95
A great price for a writing program that gives you a lesson a week for a whole school year.

Out of five stars we give Writer's Workshop:

I hope you enjoyed my review of the Bright Ideas Press products. Our whole family Free Emoticons loves Free Blinkies Bright Ideas Press products and we will continue buying from them and supporting them. We are working our way through Mystery of History III and look forward to when Maggie Hogan has volume 4, the largest of them all, done.

Check out all of Bright Ideas Press products; also check out the other reviews my crew mates wrote, some of them received other BIP products.

*** Bright Ideas Press provided me with the three items above so that I could do my review. Though I received these products for free I have given an honest review of them here in this post.


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