Monthly Archives: May 2012

Dive into Your Imagination DVD and Educator Guide: A TOS Review

Dive into Your Imagination DVD and Educator Guide: A TOS Review

Dive into Your Imagination DVD and Educator Guide: A TOS Review

PhotobucketSacha’s<25: An amazing 44 minute narrated DVD and educator guide which takes you to the depths of the ocean to explore all of the diverse sea life.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?  10 stars
Did it help us learn?  10 stars
Is it worth the money?  10 stars (for the DVD)
Is it useful to me? 10 stars
Practicality-  10 stars
Quality-  10 stars
Kid Rating-  10 stars

 From Annie Crawley’s Website:

Dive Into Diversity teaches children about all the variety of life under the sea and how animals rely upon one another for survival. Take a ride to a depth of 1500 feet in the deep sea with a submarine pilot! Find out what happens on the reef at NIGHT. Learn what eating ice cream and brushing your teeth have in common. Why do crabs have claws? What can grow three feet in just one day? You and your children will be entertained while learning about the sea just like the first two DVD’s in the series, “What Makes A Fish, A Fish?” and “Who Lives In The Sea?”

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 vertebrate and invertebrate animals in kelp forests, on night dives, in the deep sea, and on coral reefs, they will learn literacy, science, math, geography and more. There are more than 150 extension ideas to keep your imagination flowing!

About Annie Crawley:

Originally from Chicago and trained as a photo and broadcast journalist, Annie Crawley spent the past two decades living and working around the world.  After learning to scuba dive and sail, she became a PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor and a 100 ton US Coast Guard Boat Captain.  She was named an SSI 5000 Platinum Pro Diver and inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2010.  Annie Crawley specializes in the Underwater Realm as an underwater photographer, filmmaker, field biologist and expert.  As a producer, Annie Crawley created an award winning series of children’s ocean books, DVDs and lesson plans after being awarded four grants from the Save Our Seas Foundation.  She was also responsible for single-handedly producing, shooting, and editing a series of programs taken on the SEAPLEX expedition with Project Kaisei in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Because of her success following her dreams, Annie Crawley relates the lessons she learned growing up and traveling in a way that will inspire any audience to go beyond what they believe they are capable. While creating a successful business, Dive Into Your Imagination, Annie Crawley, aka Ocean Annie, continues to travel and document the world focusing on life in our Ocean.  She is uniquely qualified to speak about obtaining success by taking risks, living your dreams and creating your greatest life.

Our Experience:

We were given the Dive into Diversity DVD and educator guide to review.  WOW!  WE loved the DVD.  Packed with amazing video of underwater life that drew our whole family into watching it!  This is a must have product (whether or not you homeschool)!  Don’t wait until you might be studying sea life to get this!

The narration on the DVD is soothing, not overly scientific, and leaves you with a character message at the same time.  It really is just a joy to watch! I was amazed at all of what God has created that we can’t even see on a day to day basis!  While this is not produced with a Christian message I didn’t find anything regarding evolution etc.  The last line on the DVD is “So let’s dive into the ocean of our imagination and learn to accept one another, no matter what our color, or our style.  Just like the animals of the sea, we all need to respect one another, and our diversity.”

I spent a lot of time reading through the educator guides for this DVD.  They are divided PreK-K and Grades 1-3.  I mainly looked at the PreK-K guide.  While we didn’t have time to do any of the activities yet I have a few picked out to do over the summer with the girls and I am sure the older ones will want to join in as well.  Who wouldn’t want to paint with glow in the dark paint?

Here is a sample video segment from one of her DVDs:

 

What I liked:

  • Amazing photography/videography on the DVD.
  • I turned it on for my 3 and 5 year olds to watch and the whole family ended up watching the DVD…and even asking to play segments over and over.
  • The educator guides were written for a school classroom setting….they are the most complete guides I have ever seen.  Loaded with questions to ask your students before you study the DVD segments, vocabulary, book suggestions, coloring pages, games, and activities to incorporate what they learned on the DVD and so much more.  These will definitely impart a love of the ocean and everything that lives in it to your students!

What I didn’t like:

  • The educator guides are written for a school setting….not a big deal but wanted you to know.  They are amazing and it isn’t hard to adapt for a homeschool setting.

To sum it up: Wow, the DVD was amazing and should be in every family’s DVD collection.  And right now Annie Crawley is offering the Educator Guide  FREE with the purchase of the corresponding DVD!  This is so kind of her.  They are retailing for $69.95. See below for information on how to take advantage of this great offer.

 

The important information:

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Dive into Your Imagination DVD’s and Educator Guides

Order from: http://www.diveintoyourimagination.com/

Price: free shipping for May and June-mention my review with TOS Homeschool Crew

Dive into Diversity DVD-$19.95

PDF of Educator Guide-$69.95

The guides are available as a printed version for $299 (for the whole set of them) or as individual PDFs for $69.95. As a special for the Homeschool Crew and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and followers Annie Crawley of Dive Into Your Imagination, she will gift you a set of PDFs with purchase of the DVDs. When you place your DVD order, just let her know in the notes that you are a Homeschool Parent!

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.

 

Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.


And the Winners Are….TOS Homeschool Crew Blue Ribbon Awards!

And the Winners Are….TOS Homeschool Crew Blue Ribbon Awards!

As the 2011-2012 Crew year comes to a close, we are once again presenting awards to our vendors.
The awards are known as the TOS Homeschool Crew Blue Ribbon Awards.

The following vendors are the recipients of the award this year. Click on their name to check out the Crew reviews! Or you can click to read any of the reviews I did on these products!

Favorite Reading Instruction Product: Reading Eggs–click here to read my review!
Favorite Writing Product: Write Shop
Favorite Language Arts Product: Progeny Press –click here to read my review!
Favorite Social Studies Product: TruthQuest History –click here to read my review!
Favorite Science Product: Amazing Science –click here to read my review!
Favorite Math Product: Math Mammoth –click here to read my review!
Favorite Online Math Product: Math Rider –click here to read my review!
Favorite Foreign Language Product: Visual Latin –click here to read my review!
Favorite Fine Arts Product: Artistic Pursuits
Favorite Christian Education Product: Apologia: Who Am I? –click here to read my review!
~~~
Favorite Preschool Product: Before Five in a Row –click here to read my review!
Favorite Elementary Product: All About Reading
Favorite Middle School Product: Write with WORLD –click here to read my review!
Favorite High School Product: Excellence in Literature
Favorite College or College-Prep Product: Excellence in Literature
~~~
Best Online Resource: Reading Eggs –click here to read my review!
Best e-Product: Heritage History
Best Homeschool Resource: Apologia: Educating the Wholehearted Child –click here to read my review!
Best Book, Novel, or Magazine: Apologia: How to Have a HEART for Your Kids –click here to read my review!
Best Children’s Book: Amazing Animals by Design –click here to read my review!
Best Game or Toy: Northstar Games: Wits and Wagers –click here to read my review! and Say Anything –click here to read my review!
Best Hands-On Resource: Pitsco Education
~~~
Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed: eMeals –click here to read my review!
Best Customer Service: K5 Learning –click here to read my review!
Most Adaptable Resource: Creek Edge Press
Most Family-Oriented Resource: Northstar Games: Wits and Wagers  –click here to read my review! and Say Anything –click here to read my review!

~~~
Kids’ Choice (favorite of CHILDREN ages 0-12): Reading Eggs –click here to read my review!
Teens’ Choice (favorite per the TEENAGERS): Pitsco Education
All Around Crew Favorite: Visual Latin –click here to read my review!

 

Each winning vendor has received this wonderful award to display with pride:

 

Congratulations to our winning vendors! We hope you will sail with us again!

Many Crew Members are blogging about these awards as well. Click below to see what they have to say!

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Click here to see the Crew Blog Posts…

CapJaxMathFax: A TOS Review

CapJaxMathFax: A TOS Review

CapJaxMathFax: A TOS Review 

Sacha’s<25: A no-frills computer program, for 1st grade and up, to help with drilling math facts in a fun way.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?  9 stars
Did it help us learn?  9 stars
Is it worth the money?  7 stars
Is it useful to me?  9 stars
Practicality- 9  stars
Quality- 8 stars
Kid Rating- 9 stars

We received the downloadable version of CapJaxMathFax as a review item.  I was super excited to try this out because I know all 3 of my older kids could use more practice with their math facts.  I think it is really important that they have their math facts down so that they are able to not have to think about their facts when they get to more advanced math or even bigger math problems!  So I had my 6th, 5th and 2nd graders try out this program!  Here’s a sample of what the program looks like: (You are never really on a different screen.)

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Our Experience:

It seemed like it would be easy to download and get started.  It would have been except that we had upgraded our Mac and I ended up  needing to contact Captain Jack in order to get the correct download.  He was super quick in getting back to me and very helpful when I was still having problems figuring it out.  Great customer service! 

Once we had figured out the download it was easy to get started. There was a 3 page “teachers manual” to help us understand what the different things meant.  I had each of my kids sign in individually so that it kept score.  We started with addition and moved on from there.  I know that they are good with those facts but Captain Jack said to start with those because they should be easier and the kids would not get discouraged.  My kids were whizzing through their facts and loved getting the points.  Once they got 1000 points then they could move onto subtraction facts.  The program actually drills starting with 0′s, then 1′s etc.  I had it set so that they had to answer the fact within 3 seconds in order to get their points for it being a “super”.  This can be changed, but he suggests that this be the time set. As they finish different levels they earn “merit badges.”

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There was a little bit of competition going between my 3 kids to see who would be the farthest in the program the fastest!  I liked this and gave them a little push to want to work a few minutes each day.  It doesn’t take long each day to make a good bit of headway!

From the CapJaxMathFax website:

Key Performance Features and Advantages

CapJaxMathFax™ is a computational skill development utility designed to support any larger math curriculum. It works because it is founded on the proven best elements of effective instructional technology. These features have been systematically designed into the program and account for its success and marked efficiency compared to traditional methods.Specified Performance Criteria – CapJaxMathFax defines “knowing” a math fact as getting it within three seconds on the first try. This adds precision to performance objectives and gives learners clear statements of achievement. For beginners and exceptional learners the three-second standard may be adjusted.Constructed Responses – In contrast to multiple-choice selection, learners key in responses based on existing skills and knowledge. Enabling cues and answers are available, but responses within three seconds depend on recall developed through constructive practice.Positive Reinforcement – Learners see results and response times immediately. SUPER answers are those within the specified time standard. Immediate positive feedback engages learners and reinforces their correct responses. Graduated small-step sessions assure levels of reinforcement sufficient for learning and ultimate success.Learner Rating – Three-second criteria form the basis for a patented scoring method and a rating system to reflect learner achievement. Learners start at easiest levels and improve steadily. Ratings measure progress and allow learner goal-setting. Colorful bar charts provide an on-screen display of learners’ rating achievements.LPE – Learner Prompted Event. Using the keyboard or mouse the learner calls for the presentation of each fact instead of waiting passively for facts to appear. The learner controls the pace. This increases learner involvement and initiative, removes stress associated with too fast or too slow automatic fact presentation, and gives the learner “ownership” of the process.Affirmation – Learner Prompted Events allow moments of reflection following responses. Following correct responses, these moments of satisfaction and performance review are called “affirmation.” Affirmation establishes correct responses more firmly in the learner’s repertoire and facilitates learning of facts to come.Qualified Feedback – Learners see response times in hundredths of a second. This further qualifies performance feedback. It gives learners a clearer idea of what is required for acceptable performance, provides a degree of challenge, and increases their sense of control.

CAPPERS™ – Cappers are extra review facts presented after each rating session. They repeat the facts not answered within the SUPER interval. Cappers are not scored. They provide extra practice on less well-known facts and improve the efficiency of the learning process.

Complete Detail Log – Maintenance of a complete and detailed historical log of learner activity enables teachers to easily track student performance and identify problem areas.

Achievement Certificates – Printable certificates of session performance provide tangible evidence and rewards of learner progress.

Performance Graphs – CapJaxMathFax provides bar charts showing student achievement and line graphs depicting progress history.

What I liked:

  • Easy to use, lots of detail to be able to track student performance.
  • No frills, just learning.  While this can be a pro for some students, it may be a con for others.  It totally depends on your child and how much “play” you want them to have in a program.
  • My kids like it.  They enjoy doing it and I am seeing progress with just 5-10 minutes 3-5 days a week.
  • The performance graphs were all that my kids needed to want to keep working on their facts!
  • Very systematic in how it drills the facts.  You are also able to set any parameters you want your child to work on.

What I didn’t like:

  • While I stated this as a pro, it could also be a con….this is no frills.  There is no rewarded game time etc.  Just straight fact practice. I guess it depends if you feel you need to “bribe” them with fun to get them to do work.

To sum it up: Looking for an easy way to help drill those math facts?  This would be a great program for you!  Why not try it out over the summer to keep your kids sharp!

 

The important information:

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Order from: http://www.capjax.com/

Price: $29.95 for the downloadable version. (add $5.95 + shipping for CD version)

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.

 

Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.

Go Science from Library and Educational Services: A TOS Review

Go Science from Library and Educational Services: A TOS Review

Go Science from Library and Educational Services: A TOS Review

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Sacha’s<25: These DVD’s (6 in the series) demonstrate many different science principles in a kid friendly way from a Christian perspective.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 6  stars
Did it help us learn? 6 stars
Is it worth the money? 5 stars
Is it useful to me? 5 stars
Practicality-  6 stars
Quality- 6 stars
Kid Rating- 5  stars

We recieved 2 videos for review. We chose “Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering Design” as well as “Chemistry, States of Matter and Life Sciences” from a set of 6 DVDs titled GO Science! from Library and Educational Services.  If you aren’t familiar with Library and Educational Services you simply must go and check out the website.  They offer incredible prices all on all kinds of items which homeschoolers can use everyday.  I have purchased books and audios from them in the past. They describe themselves as:

A Wholesale Supplier of Wholesome, Educational Books, DVDs, CDs, and more
For over thirty years, LES has been committed to excellence in both our customer service and our product selection. 
With our variety of Christian, wholesome, and educational DVDs, CDs, books, games, and more—PLUS our personal, superior customer service, we are confident that you will return to LES again and again!
(No frustrating automated answering system when you call—just our friendly, helpful staff waiting to answer your questions!)

Before I go into the items we were given to review I must mention that the Your Story Hour CD’s are excellent and that they have the best price around.  We own 3 volumes of the Bible stories but they also have ones on historical figures.  These are dramatized audio stories which we just love to listen to in the car.

Sorry for the digression, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you about them!

Back to the GO Science videos:

Even kids who claim an aversion to science will be engaged by the high-energy science demonstrations of Ben Roy! Ben teaches science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is the former director of a science program on television. With this expertise, Ben captivates, motivates, and inspires students to be excited about science, while providing effective instruction based on science phenomena. Each spectacular demonstration of physical or chemical science has a spiritual application and points to our Creator!

There are 6 titles in this series:
Volume 1-Motion and the Laws of Gravity
Volume 2-Simple Machines, Sound, Weather
Volume 3-Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering, and Design
Volume 4-Chemistry, States of Matter, Life Sciences
Volume 5-Air, Flight
Volume 6-Water, Space, Solar System
Volume 3 includes demonstrations on:
  • Monster Magnets
  • A/C Electromagnet
  • D/C Ellecromagnet
  • Making a Compass
  • Static Electricity
  • Light Bulb
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Conductivity
  • Solar Energy
  • Tesla Coil
  • Color
  • Cut Paper Halves
  • Heat Engine
  • Plastic Pre Forms

Each demonstration ranges in time from 3 to 6 minutes.

Here’s a sample of one of the demonstrations from Volume 3:

Volume 4 includes these demonstrations:

  • Chemical Luminecence
  • Exploding Bottle
  • Exploding Balloons
  • Flash Paper
  • pH
  • Root Beer Float
  • Liquid Nitrogen
  • Single Cell
  • Optical Illusion
  • Lycopodium Powder
  • Camouflage

What I liked:

  • They come from a Christian perspective.

What I didn’t like:

  • They seem a little “homemade.”  The video segments were originally made for Christian TV, and they seem a little, well… “repackaged”. Unfortunately, the sound levels change from one experiment to the other. Also, every segment starts out the same way because they were never meant to be watched back to back….originally airing on different shows.
  • I must mention it….My husband said these videos reminded him of Barney!  Ben Roy is really happy and excited about teaching science but it is a bit over the top.  It didn’t bother my 3 and 5 year olds, but my 8, 10 and 12 year olds thought he seemed a bit “cheesy”.
  • The explanations did not seem very in depth (nor the tie ins to God).  I would really recommend these for a 6-8 year old.  My 12 year old was explaining what was happening and why before Ben Roy got to some of the explanations!
  • These aren’t necessarily experiments you can do at home.  It just depends which demonstration you are watching.

To sum it up: Looking for a way to reinforce or introduce a specific topic of science to your kids, this might be a good way to do it.

 

The important information:

GO Science! DVDs from Library and Educational Services

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Author: Ben Roy
Format: DVD
Publisher: Go Science LLC
Series: Go Science
Copyright: 2006
For Ages: 6 to 14

 

Order from: Library and Educational Services

Price: List Price $79.95 for all 6 DVDs Your Price:  $47.95 

Individual DVDs—List Price $14.95 Your Price:  $8.97

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.

 

Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.

Judah Bible Curriculum: A TOS Review

Judah Bible Curriculum: A TOS Review

Judah Bible Curriculum: A TOS Review

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Sacha’s<25: A entirely different way of studying the Bible with your children.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

* Normally I would rate this product….however I will not be doing this for this review….read more to find out about Judah Bible Curriculum….it just can’t be summed up….

What We Reviewed:

Purchase Judah Bible Curriculum delivered online:

Total $44.00.

Download e-book and begin today!

You get:
1) Judah Bible Curriculum K-12 Manual, e-book format to download;
2) Elementary Notebook Ideas booklet to view online or download;
3) Eight-lecture Teacher Training Seminar. listen online or download.

It isn’t very often that I am lacking for words, but on this occasion I am.   This was such a hard review to write because I just don’t get it.  I have spent hours listening to audios and pouring over the Judah Bible Curriculum website and materials only to be more confused than when I started.

I was really exited to be able to review this curriculum.  They state that their goal is for you to be able to teach the Bible without any curriculum.  That sounds great in theory.  However, I wasn’t ready to have to learn a whole new philosophy of educating my children and studying the Bible.  If you aren’t wanting to learn this and put the time into trying to understand it, then this isn’t the curriculum for you.

Without the review crew forum I would have been even more lost than I ended up being.  Being able to read about how some people are trying to implement this was a big help, but still was more than I could comprehend.

Here’s a little background on the curriculum:

From their website:
The Judah Bible Curriculum for Christian schools and homeschools.  It is a Principle Approach curriculum for Bible class designed to help you, the parent or teacher, build into yourself and your students a practical knowledge of God and His word and His ways.

The Judah Bible Curriculum Is:

  • A Principle Approach curriculum for Bible class.
  • Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible.
  • Build strong, Godly character in your children.
  • Study the Bible together.
  • Study the hand of God in the lives of individuals and nations.
  • For homeschool, Christian school, Sunday school.
  • Teach your children living Biblical principles to guide their lives.
  • Apply God’s word personally in every area of life.
  • The Bible is the textbook.

Principle Approach refers to a philosophy of education whose content and methods are designed to build character in teacher and student capable of sustaining liberty.

Our Experience:

It took me almost 4 weeks to really wrap my head (even a little bit) around this curriculum.  Actually, I would consider it to be more a method of teaching the Bible rather than a curriculum (which I would expect to be laid out for you).  This is taught using the Principle Approach to Education.

I listened to some of the audio, read all of the manual, looked at all of the example pages, studied the website, spent hours thinking about it and still had no idea what it all meant and how I was supposed to teach my students using Judah Bible’s ideas.  I have never spent this much time trying to figure out a curriculum, not even when I first started Sonlight.

I wanted to call it quits and not even try to use this with the kids, because it was just so confusing and convoluted.  But, that isn’t my style and I wanted to try to make it work. I am not sure what I am exactly supposed to do with my students, but I can tell you what we did do.

I started out by printing out the lesson 1 instructions and the example pages.  The basic gist is that you are supposed to pray about what God wants to teach you through the lesson and then read the chapters mentioned in the Bible.  In our case Lesson 1 is Genesis 1-2.  I did this without the kids.  I needed to figure out what I was supposed to do, what it all meant, and how would I teach this to ages 3-12!  I spent about an hour and a half reading and filling out the 4 different sheets that Judah Bible provides.  These sheets are supposed to be added to a Bible notebook that you would be keeping. The author doesn’t want this to be busy work for you or your children but something that is of value that you will keep and add to.

The four sheets are all that are needed to make your Bible notebook.  You will make copies of these and fill them out over and over for each individual, event, document (command or major ideas etc), and institution that you run into over your studies.  I had started 9 different sheets just for Genesis 1 and 2.

Judah Bible really wants to break you and your children away from filling out answers and hurrying through Bible study curriculum.  They want you to spend time thinking about what you are studying and how it applies to your life and the lives of those around you.  While in theory this sounds great, it was a lot of work to get me to have an idea of how to do this.

After I read and studied in the morning I just read the chapters to the kids in the evening and spoke to them about some of the things that I had learned.  The next study time spent was looking up some things in the Bible dictionary and some of the cross references from what I had read.  I didn’t have any of them fill out the sheets because I am still trying to figure out how to fill them out myself!

One of the most exciting things that happened after the study that night was the my 5 year old went off by herself and drew pictures of The Adam and Eve story and then narrated what she wanted me to type to add to the top of her pictures.  This was really cool and I was excited to see that she did this.  I might need to mention that it is her favorite story from the Bible right now, so I am not sure that it is totally due to my teaching with this curriculum.

This curriculum also has a big emphasis on government.  This has to do with all types of government starting with self-governing and governments as we know them.

To sum it up: 

Bottom line is that I think this is more of a Bible study guide than a curriculum.  Every other curriculum I  have ever dealt with has had many more helpful resources for the teacher to help them know what and how to teach.  In contrast this guide encourages you to take the time to do your own study before you teach it.  This will take time..lots of time.  Bible study is good, but this isn’t like any other curriculum that you have.

100 years from now all that will really matter is our relationship with God and knowing, loving, and abiding in Him.  I don’t want to discourage anyone from studying God’s word, just be prepared to put the time in, as we all should.


The important information:

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Judah Bible

Order from: http://www.judahbible.com/

Price:  For a hardcopy of all materials—$69.00, plus 5.00 p&h, or download all materials for $44.

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.

 

Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.