Sunday, June 17, 2012

myWorld Social Studies – Pearson Education (Review)


This past year in our co-op we studied American History.   When we received Pearson Education’s myWorld Social Studies for Grade 5 (titled Building our Country, volume 5a), I was excited to be able to reinforce some of what we learned last year.  Little did I know that not only would it do that, it would encourage my children to want to learn more about our country’s history.

We’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  For this review, I need to change that to “don’t judge this book by your first glance at the inside.”  When I first peeked inside, I’ll admit to being a bit surprised, and unconvinced that the book I was holding was for 5th grade.  Through our use of this book, I’ve re-discovered that a book doesn’t have to look “grade level” intense to deliver the needed material.




The program includes (excerpts from the website):

Student Worktext

Promotes active learning, supports students who are learning to read in the content-areas, and promotes active reading strategies. The Student Worktext encourages greater interaction with the content and more active reading leading to long term retention of skills and concepts. Your child will love writing, drawing, circling and underlining content as they connect, experience and understand the world of Social Studies.

Each chapter incorporates a real life story that relates to the lesson providing the basis for discussion. Lessons feature a variety of activities providing your child an opportunity to interact with the material to apply their knowledge. Checkpoints are featured throughout to ensure that your child understands of the material.

myStory Video DVD-ROM

The myStory Video DVD features engaging videos with actual students that explore the Big Question of each chapter. Video icons within the student book indicate that a corresponding video is available on this DVD. These videos allow your child to see children of his or her own age explore the Big Question and the key ideas in each chapter, to go on video field trips, and to watch a character from the chapter come to life. Through these video features, your child will make a personal connection to the lesson, building long-term understanding and knowledge.

Teacher’s Resource Library DVD-ROM

The Teacher Resource Library is a one-stop resource for the myWorld Social Studies Teacher’s Guide, lesson plans, and instruction resources. Each chapter will provide:

  • A Teacher’s Guide for each chapter
  • Lesson plans
  • An audio podcast on chapter subjects
  • Hands-on activities to engage your child
  • Editable tests for each chapter and separate answer keys

These carefully planned resources will guide you with planning, supporting activities, and testing to ensure learning is personalized to fit your child.

This curriculum (both volumes) is available HERE for $69.99.

We received the first semester of the curriculum, Volume 5A, for purposes of this review.


The intro to the book touches on reading and writing skills, then gives great summary information on our country, including maps (and how to read them), the economy, jobs, and an excellent overview of our government.

The myStory DVD – think mini field trips on a DVD!

The teacher resource DVD – it includes teacher helps, activities connected to the lessons to help reinforce the lesson, podcasts for the teacher about the lesson – and much more!  I especially love the editable resources.

A study guide and review and assessment are included at the end of each chapter – it includes a list of key points for each lesson in that chapter, review questions of reach chapter, and a short writing exercise.

The appendices (even though they’re not called that)!  The text of the Declaration of Independence (including a list of the signers) and the U.S. Constitution (including the 27 amendents) is given, along with explanatory notes and questions for thought and application.  Political and physical maps of the U.S. and select countries are also included, along with a glossary for reference.


I wish we could go on all the field trips shown on the DVD!


As I said earlier, don’t judge the content of this book by its appearance.  I thought it looked a bit “young” for 5th grade, but have been impressed by the content.

Don’t let the “textbook feel” fool you – for the most part we’re “allergic” to textbooks around here, but my girls still really enjoyed this.

The book refers to additional online resources.  Those are not available in the homeschool package in order to reduce the price to make it more affordable for homeschoolers.  Note the online activities are extra, and not necessary to make good use of the curriculum.

Unfortunately, I’ve found a couple instances where the answer key is incorrect.  However, since so far we’ve done this together, I’ve been familiar enough with the text and the correct answer for it not to be a big deal.


Check out some great homeschool RESOURCES.

Enter the monthly curriculum GIVEAWAY!


I’m re-evaluating a couple of things this summer, so I’m putting this in the undecided column.  We enjoyed it so much, though, I’m leaning toward continuing and letting the girls work independently and use the DVD and the worktext as a supplement.


To see other reviews of this product, click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product referenced in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dive Into Your Imagination (Who Lives in the Sea DVD) (TOS Review)

With a budding marine biologist/zoologist in our midst, anything to do with the ocean is a big hit around here – so I was excited to be chosen to review one of the fabulous underwater DVDs from Dive Into Your Imagination.

We were sent the DVD titled “Who Lives in the Sea?” – perfect for us.

Since the girls are quite a bit older than the recommended ages for the educational guides (more about those later), and because Hannah already knows quite a bit about marine life from reading and from being a Young Environmentalist for our local SeaLife Aquarium, I was a bit worried that the DVD wouldn’t hold their attention and there wouldn’t be anything on the DVD that they didn’t already know.  I shouldn’t have worried – the DVD was 45 minutes of pure education and entertainment for the girls, and they’ve watched it repeatedly.  (And those catchy little tunes really do get stuck in your head!) 


The DVD consists of four parts:


  1. Let's  Go Swim With the Dolphins
  2. Playtime With Sea Lions
  3. Baby Birds and Their Families
  4. Dinosaurs of the Sea: Marine Reptiles
  5. Eight Armed Animals
  6. Living Forever Under the Sea
  7. Nudi, Nudi, Nudibranchs
  8. Whale Sharks: World's Biggest Fish!
    Bonus Chapter: The Ocean Alphabet

Special Features

  • Meet Annie
  • Meet Craig (Craig Dobbin, who wrote the music)
  • Helping your kids love the water (tips & tricks)
  • Credits
  • Transcript of the movie (a nice feature)

The Ocean Song – a lovely introductory song and video clip

Other products – info about other DVDs offered

You can select to play the DVD in English, Spanish, or with music only.

The DVD is available at both websites (ANNIE CROWLEY or DIVE INTO YOUR IMAGINATION) for $19.95.

We were also given access to both educators guides that complement the DVD.


Guides are available for PreK – K (306 pages), and Grades 1-3 (347 pages).  Colorful and appealing, they are chock full of additional information and learning activities to go along with each chapter of the DVD.   From the website:

The Educator Guide to Who Lives in the Sea accompanies the award winning DVD of the same title by Dive Into Your Imagination. Now educators can use this revolutionary program combining ocean literacy standards with science, math, literacy, social studies, art, character education while adding a special behavior component in which students use imagination play to become scuba divers, scientists, submarine pilots, explorers, and so much more. The Dive Into Your Imagination Educator Guides combined with the award winning DVDS, and soon to be released books and ibooks will engage your students while they read, watch, listen, collaborate, and do.

Who Lives in the Sea Educator Guides are available in two age-group versions. Each educator guide covers eight chapters with 6-7 activity station per chapter aligned with common core and next generation standards. As your students explore amazing animals such as dolphins, sea lions, cephalopods, and whale sharks, they will learn literacy, science, math, geography and more. There are more than 150 extension ideas to keep your imagination flowing!

The price for the printed educator guides is fairly expensive ($299 for both grade levels), I believe, because they were written with classrooms in mind - but for a limited time when you order a DVD you can receive the guide free if you mention in the comments section that you’re a homeschool parent.


  • when purchasing any of the DVDs if you'll mention in the comments that you homeschool and would like to have the PDF version of the Educator Guide and which level you’d like, she will send it to you for free.  This offer is valid at the time of this post, but order quickly - I don’t know how long this offer will be honored.
  • Annie is also offering free shipping on the DVDs during the months of May and June, 2012.


Great footage, great narration.  Easy to watch, and easy to listen to. 

One of our favorites parts was the alphabet song – naming sea creatures that start with each letter of the alphabet.  The girls have taken upon themselves to find a sea creature whose name starts with a V (this is a teaser – watch the movie and find out why!).

The “Helping your kids love the water” section under Special Features has great tips & tricks to help parents do just that – help their kids love the water.

My personal favorite part of the DVD was the section about my favorite sea creatures, cephalopods.  Those cuttlefish are amazing!


I wish I’d had those tips/tricks for helping kids love the water when my girls were really young!


Be prepared – if your kids love the ocean and ocean creatures as much as mine do, you’ll watch this movie over and over. But that’s okay because it’s a great DVD!

After seeing this video (or, I suspect, any of the series), your kids might just want to be like Ocean Annie when they grow up!  (And I don’t blame them – what she does looks really fun!)

The narration tends toward lower elementary ages, but my older girls still enjoyed it.


Learn about the history of Dive Into Your Imagination.

Get more info on this DVD HERE.

Explore the rest of the products offered HERE.

Check out Annie’s BLOG.

Check out the EXPLORE and KID’S CORNER sections.


Skype:  Annie Crawley
Phone: 805-453-1947

Annie Crawley or

Twitter: AnnieCrawley
Facebook:  Annie Crawley


I really believe that the target audience of these DVDs is that for which the educational guides were written – PreK – K and Grades 1-3.  However, my girls really enjoyed them anyway, and learned quite a bit from them.  I plan to purchase  more.


To see other reviews of this product, click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product referenced in this review (DVD and educator guides) at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.