Zane Education Review

Zane Education: the motherlode of educational videos.

I had the opportunity to review a Gold Membership subscription with the Schoolhouse Review Crew this summer. Zane is so full of amenities, it’s hard to decide where to start this review!

My daughters (13 and 16) and I hopped around the Zane playground for a few weeks to get to know the site. I quickly realized that Zane is not a playground; it is a homeschooler’s/teacher’s TOOL CHEST of resources.

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No-Nonsense Algebra Review

There’s a reason that I became a writing teacher and not a math teacher: algebra.

If I could think about math in small, systematic bites like I can with the writing process, I’d be the perfect homeschooling mother. Thankfully, Richard Fisher’s No-Nonsense Algebra will bring any math-challenged mother of 8th graders and older into the realm of near perfection.

No-Nonsense Algebra is part of the award winning Math Essentials program designed by Richard Fisher. The algebra program includes a 300 page soft cover text/workbook and a personal code for accessing online videos for each lesson.

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Knowledge Quest TimeMaps Review

When it comes to studying history, maps are usually an afterthought to the curriculum. The greatest trouble is finding accurate maps that match the time period and events you are studying. It is a struggle to find maps that show who went where and when, and what did that actually look like geographically? The good news is that Knowledge Quest TimeMaps are an answer to such history and geography needs.

TimeMaps are downloadable Flash-driven software programs. There are seven time periods to choose from – or you can download the whole collection for a substantial savings.

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Who is My Neighbor? Review

I have never met an Apologia product that I didn’t like. Who is My Neighbor? is no exception. As a matter of fact, this book has only increased my fondness for Apologia materials.


Who is My Neighbor? is the third book in Apologia’s What We Believe Worldview Curriculum, written by John Hay and David Webb in conjunction with Summit Ministries. As I reviewed the book for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, my only regret was that I had not been part of the crew when they got to review the first two books, Who is God? and Who am I?

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Professor B Math Review

I hate math. I have always hated math – well, especially since high school where I had a well-meaning but misguided teacher who – instead of explaining HOW or WHY to do a problem in a certain way – simply just DID the problem on the board for us whenever we had a question. Needless to say, I spent my whole high school math career bumbling my way through C’s on homework and tests.

Me too, little buddy! Me too!

When it came to teaching math, then, to my own children, I vowed to find the right program that would explain things to us.

HA! Easier said than done.

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Hewitt Lightning Lit: World Lit II Review

Hewitt Homeschooling Resources offers a comprehensive selection of literature courses for grades 7 through 12 called Lightning Literature and Composition. From basic classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in American Literature, to British Literature, Shakespeare, and World Literature, Lightning Literature integrates literature, composition, and even an optional geography approach into one program.

Hewitt Homeschooling

As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was privileged to review Hewitt’s last course, Lightning Literature and Composition: World Literature II: Latin America, Africa, and Asia by Brenda S. Cox. World Lit II is comprised of a Student Guide ($29.95), and a Teacher’s Guide ($2.95), with a selection of books that can be purchased to make a set ($88.93 for both guides and texts) or as individual titles.

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Platinum Preppy Fountain Pens

Our Platinum Preppy Collection

When the average person thinks of fountain pens, he probably thinks of expensive, messy, old fashioned writing tools that only wealthy, sophisticated, Shakespearean professors with thousand dollar vocabularies use. However, sells an entry level fountain pen that even the most everyday person would enjoy using. Platinum Preppy Fountain Pens offer the average user an extremely affordable introduction to the world of classy, jazzy writing instruments. My kids and I have been using a variety of Platinum Preppy pens for the last few weeks, and here is our evaluation:

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Marvelous Miffy Gel Pens

Miffy Gel Pens A few weeks ago, I wrote an affectionate obituary for my favorite pen. A little looney, am I? Well, when you edit 100s of student papers each week, you get kind of attached to your writing instruments.

For the last three weeks, however, my daughters and I have been using a 10-pack of Dong-A Miffy Scented Gel Ink Pens from for school work, blog post drafts, journal entries, to-do lists, memos, signing cards, and any other excuse we can think of for writing with them. The barrels are decorated with the novelty Miffy bunny who is apparently quite popular in Japan, Korea, and the Netherlands. I think Miffy is magical. I barely miss my old Brown Pilot Hi-Tec C anymore! These pens are fabulous!

I have 10 good reasons why everyone should own a set of these gel pens:

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Watering My Dendrites

I have recently discovered one of the best professional development activities this writing teacher could ever pursue – becoming a member of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review Crew (SHRC). Talk about forcing me to practice what I preach!

I spend the majority of my work hours editing student writing. For the last 10 years, I have consistently tutored around 250 students per year which adds up to over 3000 papers from September through April. Some days when I have piles of papers to process, I can get into a trance-like rhythm and apply proper punctuation without even reading content! Needless to say, those pathways through my brain are deeply entrenched.

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Blog Review Planning Page

Here’s a little worksheet I created to brainstorm and organize my blog review information. If you are a blogger and could use such a thing, download at will and share liberally with others!

All Purpose Blog Review Planning Page (pdf)

(You know the drill: please share this post link, not the pdf link. Thanks! ;-) )