Friday, December 17, 2010

"Dining with Joy " by Rachel Hauck:

Dining With Joy is a lighthearted look at the world of reality television and how the saying comes true: "oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." Joy has a reality tv show where she is the celebrity cook, with one major hitch: she can't actually cook. She took over the show from her father as a deathbed request from him and a clever producer helped her to do this, however, when the producer sells the show without her consultation, Joy is suddenly thrust into a whole new level of deception to maintain her ruse. Enter Luke, the romantic interest, a talented chef whose own restaurant business failure has led him to the small town where Joy works. Both find themselves at a crossroads, and begin to rely more on each other to grow and learn the meaning of love and loss and how to cook a great fried chicken. I enjoyed the book from the food perspective, being a foodie myself, and the G-rated romantic writing was a refreshing change. It was a quick read and the sort of book to grab when looking for some light relief.

Disclaimer~Review written by guest blogger Lucy R. Lucy R. received a complementary copy of this book through Booksneeze for the purpose of the review and all opinions expressed are her own.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ALEKS review

Once again the TOS Crew have had the opportunity to review another great web based program. ALEKS is an online mathematics assessment and learning program that tailors itself to the individual needs of your child.

Once you have signed up and logged the necessary individual user names and passwords your child is presented with a series of maths problems to solve. These problems are spread across many facets of mathematics and the student either answers the question or simple clicks 'have not done that'. At the end the student is then given a tailor made program that works on both their strengths and weaknesses. You can click on the previous link to take a tour of the course content available to you.
The results are displayed in a colored-keyed pie chart which is easy to understand and plots out the course that the student will then follow.

They specifically cater for the homeschooler and seem to have a great program tailored to that market. However they don't cater for countries outside the US. For us here in Australia there was no way for us to do the money section as the entire unit is US dollars which we have no concept of nor any interest at this stage of learning. My kids love the money maths so that was a disappointment. We also had to leave the 'measuring' maths. We use metric here in Australia and that was not available to us as a specific unit, so that was another important unit that was void for us. it would be great to see them add that translation to their curriculum at some stage.

The ALEKS team were fantastic. They answered all your questions almost immediately and even questions that you didn't know you had. There customer service was like I have never experienced with this sort of program before. Nothing was to much trouble for them. That point alone was a major selling point for me. A lot of these sort of programs offer customer service but never quite deliver. Aleks on the other hand were fantastic.

They give you the opportunity of a free trial which I would recommenced if you were looking for an online maths course for your family. My children did find it a little 'dry' for them but they aren't really ready for this sort of independent learning. Click here for the videos and 'tour' of the ALEKS program.

Disclaimer~ I received a trial of ALEKS to review and the opinion expressed is my own