Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Amazing Animals by Design

We recently were given the opportunity to review a wonderful picture book  from Tate Publishing.  This sweet story introduces intelligent design in a way that young children can understand.  That is certainly something that you don't see very often.

About the Book

Why is a giraffe's neck so tall? Why do zebras have stripes? Did all of these things happen by accident? When John and Sarah visit the zoo, they ask these questions and many more. Their parents and the zookeepers keep using the word design, but what does that mean? With its relevant message and exciting presentation, this is the perfect book to help introduce children to intelligent design. Come find out in Amazing Animals by Design by Debra Haagen!

Our Experience

We received the PDF version of the book and it was super easy to load on to our iPad and Kindle.  The pages looked exactly as you would expect of an e-book.  

My preschooler was immediately entranced by the adorable illustrations.  As we began reading, my older daughter came over to listen in.  We all learned a lot of interesting facts about these four-legged creations of God.  We were even introduced to a couple of animals that we'd never heard of before.  

The author carefully shows the unique characteristics of each animal and how these characteristics are perfectly suited for the animals life style and environment.   She gently points out of each of these special characteristics weren't "accidents," but part of a carefully thought out plan designed by The Master Creator to help take care of the creations that He loves so deeply.  How refreshing!!!

This delightful book has quickly become a favorite of my little daughter.  We read it for "school", for fun, and for bedtime.


Age Range: Pre-k-third grade (although my fifth grader enjoyed it too)
Price: $8.99 for the paperback version,  $7.99 for the PDF e-book

Learn more by visiting the Amazing Animals Facebook Page or visiting the author's website.

Click the Crew Banner to read more reviews

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up/ Tot School: Semi-Spring Break

In Our Homeschool This Week:
This week Mackenzie was on a semi-spring break.  What on earth is a semi-spring break?  For us it’s dropping our normal studies and working only on review items.  It wasn’t a total cake walk because we are reviewing quite a few items at the moment.  There was a lot of science, some writing, literature, and history.   Some things we are liking more than others. There is one item we are ready to be done with.  LOL Soon, real soon. 
Here’s some pictures, but no details yet!  Sorry.



Kayleigh was working on the letter I this week.  This was another one that we have already completed in Raising Rock Stars Preschool so our we focused on All About Reading and continuing on with our first You Can Read unit.  We also added in a few things from 1+1+1=1’s Pretty Bugs pack, but we called them insects to go along with I. lol

In All About Reading…
I put random items in a bag and she had to pull them out one at a time and come up with a word, real or silly, that rhymed with the item.  She had tons of fun with this and did it about 5 times.  “Zecora” helped of course. Her crafted involved coloring an inchworm picture and gluing yarn scarves on the worms.  I’m not sure how inchworms and scarves go together but those were the instructions.  She loved it.  She made Ii out of Wikki Stix again but I didn’t get any pictures.

You Can Read…
I am happy to report that she has all four words in this unit down. Not only could she read them during our activities, she was able to find them and read them in some of our books.  She is soooo proud!!!  Her favorite activity was rolling our education cube, reading the word, and then crossing it off the magna doodle.  She loved, loved, loved it.  She also did a “sight word search” from YCR.  I cut and laminated small word cards and hid them in rice.  She was supposed to find them with her tongs, read them, and then place them on the graph.  The rice was too distracting.  She just wanted to play with the rice. LOL
Other Stuff…
Ii maze (download all 26 letter mazes HERE), stickers on numbers, Kumon Number book, Kumon sticker book, Kumon Let’s Cut!
DSC_0053a DSC_0075aDSC_0107a
Working on the insect preschool pack
Drawing her sister with a “big head”
Her words. lol

In Our Life This Week:

Mackenzie has taken to “tormenting” her guinea pig.  Bwaaa haaa haaaa!!
Our realtor called and wanted us to come and pick out exterior because the builder wants to start building early, even though we’re not closing until October.  We raced out there.  And drove by our lot again.  Mackenzie wrote our name on the sign and we admired the newly placed flags for the gas line.  And the bulldozer parked near by. We are practically stalking the place. lol

Winter “Promise” is promoting the new catalog.  I laughed so hard that I cried.  Be sure to click on the screen shot so you can read my thoughts.
And if you don’t understand why I feel that way, click HERE to read about our adventures ridiculous debacle with WP.  It shows the posts from most recent to oldest, so you’ll want to start at the end and work your way forward. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature

If there's one thing that we love in our house, it's good literature.  We read a lot of it for just about every subject.  When we saw an opportunity to review something that had has reading literature, we were in.  Especially after we saw the wonderful book choices.

About Progeny Press Guides

Progeny Press has over 100 study guides for literature, covering kindergarten through high school. Progeny Press study guides concentrate on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. Our goal is to teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on scripture for truth and valuesand enjoy themselves while they do it!

Progeny Press study guides are designed to help students better understand and enjoy literature by getting them to notice and understand how authors craft their stories and to show them how to think through the themes and ideas introduced in the stories. To properly work through a Progeny Press study guide, students should have easy access to a good dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bible (we use the NIV translation, but that is up to your preference; just be aware of some differences in language), and sometimes a topical Bible or concordance. Supervised access to the Internet can also be helpful at times, as can a good set of encyclopedias.

Each guide contains:

-A synopsis of the book
-Information about the author
-Background on the setting of the book
-Pre-reading activities
-Essay and project suggestions
-Answer key
-And more!

Our Experience

Progeny Press offered a lot of choices to us for review.  After much consideration, I went with the guide for The Cay by Theodore Taylor.  It is listed as a middle school option but I read it as a fourth grader and I knew that Mackenzie would love the book.

We were given the interactive PDF version of the guide.  What that means is that Mackenzie could type her answers directly onto the PDF instead of having to hand write it.  That was HUGE for us.  She hates to write by hand and this meant I didn't have to listen to her gripe about doing it.

This has been one of the easiest reviews ever.  The guides are so user-friendly that we could just open the file and go.  And the guide wasn't filled with the "busy work" that you often find in such products.

It was filled with questions that caused her to think and reflect on what she had been reading. She's learning literary terms, critical thinking, vocabulary, comprehension and analysis, all while reading a great book.  And best of all, they have a focus on how what you're reading applies to your Christian life.  That's definitely the most important feature for our family.  The guide gets your student digging into their Bible.  What a win!!!

We are just loving this product and it's filled with a lot of the books that we use for our normal schooling so I plan on using more of them in the future.  It was such a fun and easy way to get Mackenzie to think more deeply about literature.


Ages: K-12
Cost: $16.99 for email PDF/cd PDF and $18.99 for print version.  You can also get deals on bundles

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this guide for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tot School: Kayleigh and P-Dub

This week, we worked on the letter H.  We have already covered this letter with our Raising Rock Stars curriculum so we continued to work on our first You Can Read unit in lieu of RRSP. Since we’re talking about H this week, I think my first photo will be of the Highlight of Kayleigh’s week…



She got to meet The Pioneer Woman, who was in town for a book signing.  Kayleigh is a huge fan of her muffins that taste like donuts.  She was so thrilled because “she held my back because I wuv her.”  And she also told me that she is going to live with her and her horsies and Charwie the dog.  She’ll definitely eat better at P-Dubs house.  Maybe she’ll even stop being picky. 


In other news…

She made some great progress with her first You Can Read Unit. She has three of the for words down cold  She is still having with “see” but she knows “and, a, the.”  So exciting!!  We’re going to continue on with this unit next week since there are so many fun ways to practice them. Here’s what she did this week.

She did a dot-to-dot type page.  She’d read the word, connect the dots, then name the shape. We put cards with the words in the pocket chart and she “built” the words underneath.  Read the word, traced the line to the matching word.  Did a sight word “puzzle.”  Circled the words, written in fancy fonts, with different colors. Played “swat the sight word.”  We used our education cubes with YCR inserts, then rolled, read, smacked.  She LOVED that!  Lastly we played “Scoop the Sight Word” using our Scooping Letters game.  I can’t find the game anywhere online but you could use ping pong balls and make one yourself. 





We continued practicing rhyming in All About Reading.  She had a blast with the craft because it involved paint and glitter.  Double win in Kayleigh’s book.  We worked with letters A-H using shaving cream (she asked for it again) and wikki stix.  She was madly in love with the wikki stixs. Oh my!



Other random stuff…

She practice her numbers with her Kumon booked.  Played “fashionista” by sorting the clothes by different shades.


Banged around in her Melissa and Doug magnetic ABC book.  Sorted shapes with her Lauri Shape Stacker.


Find tuned her cutting skills with her Kumon book. She still has trouble unless it’s a straight line.  She also helped Mackenzie with a science project.


We found a fun project in our Artistic Pursuits book that went along with our H study.  We read Harold and the Purple Crayon and then Kayleigh drew her own adventure on a large piece of paper.  She had the best time with this and drew for a long time.


Next week we move on to I, which is another one that we’ve already done in RRSP, so we’ll be mixing it up again.





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