Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Make Room Monday #5 on Tuesday ~ Preschool Art

Since I have a lot of traffic on my blog this week, due the the Review Crew's current Blog Hop, I've decided to do a give away every day this week. Then I realized that Homeschool Creations is hosting their annual Curriculum Clean-Out linky party this week and I have to take advantage of that. So here's another one for you.

Today I'm offering up Preschool Art: It's the Process, Not the Product by MaryAnn Kohl. I'm sure you've heard of her amazing art books. I own several. I don't have any particular reason for wanting to get rid of this because I do like it. It's just that I am  using a couple of review items for art at the moment and I'm forcing myself to thin out my herd of books before we move.

About Preschool Art

Over 200 activities encourage children to explore and understand their world through art experiences that emphasize the process of art, not the product. The first chapter introduces basic art activities appropriate for children, while the subsequent chapters, which build on the basic activities in the first chapter, are divided into seasons. Activities are included for painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, and construction. Indexes organized by art medium and project name help teachers plan.

It's easy to get distracted by all the cutsie crafts out there that require mom to do most of the work so this is a good book to help avoid the cookie cutter projects.

Enter to Win!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Give away ends 8/6.  Good luck!!! And check out my other give away, Learning About God from A to Z, ends 8/5.


The Curriculum Journey ~ Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Ahhhh, curriculum...Every homeschooler's favorite topic. We love to discuss, look at it, buy it. It's a bit of an obsession, wouldn't you say?

And who could blame us? It's not our fault. There's always something new out there that we have to try, right? It might be better then what we're currently using so we're obligated to check it out. It might be the one that puts our child's education over the top.

It's an easy trap to fall into, isn't it? I know I've been tempted with the latest and greatest a time or two. And finding the right curriculum can be a journey in and of itself. After eight years, I think I've figured out what works best for my oldest down. Finally. I hope. :o)

The easiest curriculum choice for me was the one I chose for our spine. Sonlight. Just typing the name of that curriculum gives me a warm fuzzy. Books, books, books and more books. Sigh...

Interestingly, Sonlight also is one of the ways that God led me to homeschooling. I met and online friend who was homeschooling her children with it and I would just devour her posts about it. It will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Mackenzie, being a book-aholic like her mama, has thrived with it. Kayleigh goes crazy for the books too. It's definitely a keeper for us. It's pricey but it's been worth every penny. Mackenzie, about to enter sixth grade, still rereads books from the first core that we purchased. In fact, we bought the first four cores believing that we were only going to be using them for one child, so yeah, we really like it. Our bonus baby, Kayleigh, is helping us really get our money's worth. lol

We even enjoyed the science. Their language arts however...not our cup of tea. We've used Sonlight's LA twice. Once for K and again when they redid it. It was not for us either time. So we moved on to Learning Language Arts Through Literature. We used the red book and we liked it a lot. Covered all the necessary skills, threw in some cute little crafty stuff. It was a good year. Unfortunately I didn't care for the next level. So guess what? We moved on. To First Language Lessons.

This was the grammar curriculum of our dreams. We love, love, love, love, loved it! For four glorious years. Then we were ready to move onto Susan Wise Bauer's Advanced Language Lessons. She let us use the first 15 weeks for free!! It was wonderful. Then SWB pulled the rug out from underneath our LA love fest. She decided not to publish ALL after all. Oh how cruel!!! I still have a hard time talking about it. Sniff,

So we've moved on, again... to Growing With Grammar. And it's good and solid. We both like it. We don't love it like we did FLL but it has it's pluses. Like it's much less teacher intensive then FLL/ALL. She can do it all on her own. And that leaves me time to spend with the little one. God knows best. Always. Amen!

Math? We've been through a few math programs in our time too. lol We started with Saxon K. I don't know what I was thinking. I didn't like using it when I was a traditional school teacher and I didn't like it as a homeschooler. Teeny, tiny Mackenzie squeaked out one day, "Mommy, whhhhhyyyy do we have to do patterns agaiiinnnn???? Whhhyyyy??? I'm smart, I only need to do it once." Who could argue with that logic? Do we really need 120 lessons on patterns for the small fry? I think not.

On to Singapore. Loved it. Would still be using it if it weren't for the previously mentioned "latest & greatest curriculum trap." You see someone mentioned Math-U-See to me. I was intrigued. I ordered the demo dvd. I watched it once and was a thousand times better at math.  Instantly. We switched. It's been awesome. God knows best. Always. Amen!

I was almost tempted again by Teaching Textbooks. God told me NO! He's always right you know. But it does look great and I've heard nothing but positive things about it. That being said, I hope Kayleigh does well with MUS too. I already have all of the DVDs and IGs. lol

Science was always Sonlight at first. We loved it. It came with all the required supplies for the experiments. That's really all that this mama needs to be happy. Everything in one box so I don't have to go on a hunt for experiment supplies. I'm easy like that.

Then trap was sprung again, in the form of Apologia science. A unit approach to science. Interesting. And you could buy a supply box. So we used the astronomy course and it was a pretty good year.  I wasn't totally sold yet so I decided to alternate between Sonlight and Apologia science. Now days we do strictly Apologia. For Kayleigh, I think I'll do Sonlight science for the first couple of years and then switch to Apologia in 2nd or 3rd grade.

Our Bible studies are a true testament to our eclecticness. LOL We've used quite a few. There is the Bible of course. Woot! We've used Sonlight's Bible options, Apologia's What We Believe series, Classical Academic Press, Grapevine Studies Stick Figuring Through the Bible, Bible Study Guide for All Ages... We've enjoyed them all.

Writing... I don't want to talk about writing. LOL We're still looking for our perfect fit. Next up on our list of things to try is Institute for Excellence in Writing. Fingers crossed!

So there you have a, rather long-winded, short version of our curriculum journey. Shew! If you're interested in all everything that we're using for this year click the tabs at the top of my page. There's one for our Sixth Grade curriculum and one for our Preschool curriculum.

So tell me, what is your favorite curriculum?

P.S. I'm giving away a copy of Learning About God from A to Z this week. Check it out. Ends 8/5. And a copy of Preschool Art: It's the Process, Not the Product. Ends 8/6.

Click the button at the top of the page to see what my Crew Mate's thoughts on curriculum are. And be sure to come back tomorrow for a peek on how I do my homeschool planning.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Schoolhouse Teacher


I'm guessing that, as homeschoolers, you've probably heard of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. If you've ever read it then you know that it's just jam-packed with fabulous articles, reviews, and encouragement for homeschoolers.

What you might not know is that The Old Schoolhouse also has a fabulous on-line resource for homeschoolers called Schoolhouse Teachers.com

About SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Schoolhouse Teachers is the premier home education membership site for families worldwide. Schoolhouse Teachers was created with the vision to provide quality homeschool materials from the best teachers in many subject areas. we offer daily, weekly, and monthly lesson plans and activity ideas. The site has daily lessons on many subjects to assist you with your daily homeschool. Some of our teachers will provide weekly or monthly activities that you can use at your convenience with your own lesson plans. You will also receive daily historical information, daily menu ideas, and tons more.

Spend time with the biggest names in online and home education: Kim Kautzer (writing), Diana Waring (history), Terri Johnson (geography), Adam Andrews (literature), the Hands of a Child team (lapbooking), Malia Russell (home economics), George Escobar (filmmaking)--and many more. 

Your membership also includes:

    1. 2012-2013 versions of the TOS Schoolhouse Planners - All of them! That's a $125 value.
    2. 12 E-books from the TOS E-book Homeschool Library - one per month during your first
        12 months of membership.
    3. A mixed selection of TOS Thematic Units, WannaBes, Curiosity Files, and WeE-books - 12 to
        14 each month, over the course of a year, for a total of 152 educational resources.
    4. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, monthly, delivered straight to your inbox
    5. All The Old Schoolhouse Magazine digital back issues ever produced
    6. All past TOS webinar Expo-to-Go recoreded sessions - and all the future recordings during the  
        length of your membership. (A $60 value)

This is an amazing resource for every homeschooler.

Our Experience

I could spend the next six months exploring this site and still not discover everything that it has to offer. There are daily, weekly, and monthly lessons in every subject that you can imagine and a few that you might not have thought of: Chemistry, home ec, famous people, art easel, Everything Explorers, Summer Shakespeare, Pre-K activities, and on and on and on.

Clearly a six week review period did not give me time to go in-depth in every area so I decided to focused on one area.

First up were the Pre-K Activities: Read and Play. These activities for the small fry are based around wonderful picture books. Each book has two weeks of activities to do with your child. The activities were varied and easy to do. Some were crafts, others involved animal videos on youtube, sometimes it was making a snack. Kayleigh loved the books and had a lot of fun with the activities. The Giraffes Can't Dance activities were her favorite.

As long as I've got your attention, I think I'll mention something else that I really liked, the home ec lessons. Yes there are home ec lessons and I thought they were pretty neat.

Each area of the home has a months worth of lessons dedicated to it. Each day of the week has a specific focus: Money Saving Monday, Tidy Tuesday, Wisdom Wednesday, Think About it Thursday, and Feed Me Friday. The activities for each day focus on that particular type of activity.

Each lesson as an informational reading for the student. They a short and very informative. They often contain vocabulary specific to the topic.

Once the readings are completed, there are activities for the student to complete. It could be anything from a chore, cooking, dealing with money. And each activity has specific suggestions for various age groups. There is a beginner, intermediate, and advanced option for each activity. It so neat and very easy to do. I plan on incorporating this into our school year for sure. And I'm not going to lie, the thought of one of her school assignments being to clean the stove gives me a thrill.  =o)

There is so much more to this site that I don't have time to get to. It is simply a fabulous resource. If you're interested be sure to read some more of my Crew Mates reviews because I'm sure that there will be many other areas covered by different people.


Website: http://schoolhouseteachers.com

Age Range: All ages!

Cost: $1 for the first month $5.95/month after the first month


Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to this website for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Make Room Monday #4 ~ Learning About God from A to Z

If you haven't heard yet, I have a lot of homeschooling stuff. Tons. I buy more each year and I get quite a bit from the Homeschool Review Crew. I don't, however buy more bookshelves each year. You can see the dilemma, right?

Since I need more room for new books, I have decided to spend the rest of the summer giving away some of the stuff that we are not using anymore. You read it right, I am offering free homeschooling curriculum. Everything I offer will be in Excellent to Like New condition.

This week I'm offering up a nice goody from the old Sonlight Core 4, Learning About God from A to Z. I bought Core 4 right after they stopped using this book. I was bummed because I was looking forward to using the book and I'd heard rave reviews about it. So I bought one from Sonlight before they ran out. Then I forgot I had it and never used it. lol One of the problems of owning so much, I guess. So now one of you can own this brand new, never been used, book.

About Learning About God from A to Z

In 26 lessons (one for each letter of the alphabet), Mary Erickson presents a hands-on introduction to theology for families that emphasized both understanding who God is and letting that knowledge inform everyday behavior. Each chapter covers one of God's attributes ('A' for almighty etc.) through puzzles, discussion questions, application, crafts and prayers. While you could use it with younger kids, Learning About God from A to Z is ideal for upper-elementary students; older kids won't get much out of it.

Erickson uses a variety of creative approaches to introduce each topic. In one lesson, kids "interview" Daniel after his experience in the lions' den; in another, they stage a play about the lives of Esther and Mordecai. She also emphasizes Bible knowledge as the foundation of genuine theological understanding. Students are instructed to "color-code" passages in their Bibles--underline or highlight them with specific colors according to the theme or doctrinal truth found in those verses.

It really is fabulous and I had a hard time deciding to let go of this one. In the end, I just had to admit that I cannot do everything even if it is totally awesome. Sigh...

Enter to Win

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!! Contest ends 8/05...


Pick a Method, Any Method ~ Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Classical, unit studies, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, school-at-home, Waldorf, unschooling, online... Homeschooling methods are as varied as homeschoolers themselves. And each homeschooler has their own take on the methods themselves. There is nothing cookie-cutter about a home education. And I don't know about you, but that is my favorite part.

So what's the method of madness for our homeschool? Do we have a classical bent? Do I spend hours creating amazing unit studies? Do we spend tons of time out in nature?

The answer...yes, no, maybe, sometimes. All of the above. None of the above.

I guess that makes us eclectic. lol Although some days it does just seem like plain, old madness.

I personally don't subscribe to one particular method. We use bits and pieces of several different methods and make them something unique to our family. We get our love of living books and composer/artist studies from Charlotte Mason. If we find a subject that we can't get enough of, we'll do a little unit study. We've used a few text books in our time. I've even been known to use a bit of the Montessori method.

Eclectic in our house is always evolving. Since homeschooling allows me to tailor my children's education to them, our methods change as they do. What we're using this year might not be the best fit for the next year. What worked for Mackenzie might not be the right fit for Kayleigh. Each year is a new adventure and it's never like the one before it.

There are some things that have managed to remain constant...

**Living Books over Text Books. There are never enough books!
**Field Trips and lots of them. Some to learn, some just to have fun.
**Don't forget the arts!
**Manipulatives are fun! Especially for math.
**Science should be messy. Sometimes.
**Get out the paint and glitter once in a while. Even if makes for extra clean-up.
**God first. Although I chose to save the best for last in this instance. =o)

So tell me, what method(s) do you prefer in your homeschool?

Click the links below to see what methods my Crew Mates prefer. And be sure to stop by tomorrow so we can talk about every homeschooler's favorite subject...Curriculum!!!

P.S. I'm giving away a copy of Learning About God from A to Z this week. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Zane Education

Zane Education is an on demand visual learning program that offers video, online quizzes, lesson plans and study tools for K-12.

About Zane Education

Zane Education promotes visual learning using the world's largest and most comprehensive library of fully subtitled educational video currently available online. Zane Education provides a highly effective and unequalled online visual learning solution using curriculum-based video, interactive quizzes, video study tools and free lesson plans.

Nearly 2,000 curriculum-based education videos and a quiz database of over 23,000 curriculum-based multiple-choice questions provides online learning for 11 different subjects and more than 260 curriculum topics for K-12 grades. And more material and resources are being added all the time.  

Our Experience

We received the Gold Membership which includes:

Access to all 1,500 + curriculum videos for K-12 on the website plus all other facilities on the Zane Education website.

**Access to all subtitled curriculum videos
**Access to the non-subtitled curriculum math videos
**Access to free lesson plans for all 260+ curriculum topics
**Access to online video study tools
**Access to online interactive quizzes
**Free downloadable copy of Zane's Learning Video Catalog
**Free downloadable copy of Zane's Christian Home Learning Guide
**Access to all the educational resources in the study center including the World Factbook, World Leaders Guide, Historical documents and more.

Wow, right? It's beyond impressive!

Since we're in the middle of summer break, we aren't studying specific topics at the moment. So we took a buffet approach to this review. We sampled different videos based on what looked interesting at the moment. The videos were fun and interesting to watch and just the right length to hold my daughter's interest.

I was really expecting the subtitles to be a bit distracting but I was pleasantly surprised that they helped my daughter to focus better. Seeing and hearing it with moving pictures... two thumbs up.

I've spent hours perusing the video catalog to see how I can use these videos to supplement our normal school year. The possibilities are endless. I have a nice long list of videos that I plan to incorporate into our normal studies. I'm so excited to add these to our learning.


Website: http://www.zaneeducation.com/

Age Range: K-12

Pricing: Starts from $8.99/month (The Gold Level that I reviewed is $17.99/month)

Facebook: http:www.facebook.com/ZaneEducation

If you click the link  and use the promo code below you will get a free membership and 35% off any annual membership through August 2012.


Free Membership Code: HSMUUA
35% Discount Code: ZE886HSM



Disclaimer: I received a free subscription for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I just have to take a minute...

too brag about my biggest baby.

She finished a painting that she's been working on in art class and it's simply fabulous!

Here's a closer look. It's going to be featured in my new bedroom when we move. Isn't it awesome???

Proud Mama moment over, now back to your regularly scheduled lives.

P.S. If you didn't know, I'm cleaning off my book shelves and giving away curriculum that I no longer need. This week's give away is Mudpies and Magnets, it ends 7/29. Check it out!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Make Room Monday #3 ~ Mudpies to Magnets

If you haven't heard yet, I have a lot of homeschooling stuff. Tons. I buy more each year and I get quite a bit from the Homeschool Review Crew. I don't, however, buy more bookshelves each year. You can see the dilemma, right?

Since I need more room for new books, I have decided to spend the rest of the summer giving away some of the stuff that we're not using anymore. You read it right, I am offering free homeschooling curriculum. Everything I offer will be in Excellent to Like New condition.

This week I'm going offering up something for your little ones, Mackenzie insisted that I do. We can't leave the littles out. So next up is a chance to win Mudpies to Magnets: A Complete Preschool Science Curriculum.  

I've had this lying around since my oldest was smaller and I've never used it. Not even once. Shameful, right? It's just that the thought of finding all of the supplies hindered me from ever doing any of the 112 learning activities packed inside of this book. Plus, it has the word mud in the title. That should have been a clue since I normally don't do mud.

At any rate, this book is in like new condition. The pages aren't even creased.

The Details

Here are the deets from the back cover:

Children are naturally curious. They explore, touch, feel, listen and want to learn. Here are 112 read-to-use science experiments. Each one provides direct, hands-on learning activities which young children can experience themselves.

The fascinating experiments are grouped under these curriculum units:

*On Your Own: Science Center Activities
*Building With Science: Construction and Measurement
*Science For a Crowd: Circle Time Activities
*Paints and Prints: Scientific Art
*Wet and Messy: Science For a Special Place
*Science to Grow On: Health and Nutrition
*Learning About Nature: Outdoor Science
*Acting Out Science in a Big Way: Creativity and Movement

Each experiment includes a clear explanation of what happens, a list of words to use for language development, a list of things you will need, a description of what to do, and suggestions of additional ways to extend the  the activity.

It sounds fabulous, right? Look at what my poor children missed out on. Curse my laziness and my need to have all experiment supplies mailed to me in one handy box. Don't let your children suffer like mine have!!!

Enter to Win

If it sounds like something you'd like to win, enter below using the handy-dandy Rafflecopter Widget. The contest is opening today and will be open through July 29, 2012. The item will ship via Media mail and I can only ship to the Continental United States.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

is almost here!  

If there's one thing that we homeschoolers love, it's back to school time. Not only do we get to hit school supply sales, purchase curriculum, plan, and teach but we get to continue to hang out with our precious gifts from above.

Join me and my Crew Mates as we spend five days talking about all things homeschool... Methods, curriculum, planning, classrooms, and co-ops.

The fun runs from July 30 to August 3. So be sure to stop on by and take a peek behind the scenes in our homeschool.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Knowledge Quest TimeMaps


That's right, I said Knowledge Quest so this review is going to be good. I don't think there is a homeschooler out there that hasn't heard of this company and their fabulous map and timeline products. They're beautiful, accurate, and affordable.

And guess what? They have something new out these days. Something that we go to try out. Something that is going to be useful to our studies for the next ten + years.

So what is this new wonder from Knowledge Quest?  TimeMaps. Maps that Move Through Time!

About Time Maps

Maps that Move Through Time?? What on earth??

PhotobucketThe goal of TimeMaps is to communicate history in a truly engaging way. To do this, we use a combination of timelines, historical maps and encyclopedic entries merged together to deliver authoritative content that can be digested in an enjoyably way. TimeMaps are computer software files that use Flash - a free program from Adobe. Maps are shown in chronological order at the click of a button and progress at your timing, showing how civilizations, countries and continents have changed over time. Quizzes and encyclopedic entries are included and can be turned on and off at your discretion. TimeMaps are a work in progress with many Ancient and Medieval civilizations having reached completion with more historical topics on the way.

We've broken the TimeMaps into individual units with coordination Teach Notes for the optimal teaching experience. This way, you can affordably purchase JUST the maps that you are going to use this year. However, we have also grouped them together into a Collection so that you can get them all at once at a tremendous cost savings. 

Currently available: Ancient China, The Rise of Rome, The Fall of Rome, The Rise of Islam, The Black Death, European Exploration, and The Atlantic Slave Trade.

I know right? Simply fabulous!

Photobucket Our Experience

Our experience with TimeMaps was exactly the same as every other experience we've had with Knowledge Quest products... Totally awesome! This company is always giving us their best. The program does everything it claims and the teachers notes are wonderful!

The maps themselves are totally interactive. Each set is in chronological order and you as you flip through the maps you can see how the civilizations changed throughout the years. Clicking on the icons on the individual maps will give your students additional information about what was going on during that time period. There are also encyclopedic entries and quizzes that can be turned on and off.

PhotobucketThe notes for each set of maps include activity suggestions, commentary on each map, printable timeline pages, and printable teacher and student maps. 

There are activity suggestions that are more of an overview and others that go more in depth. There is something for everyone. The activities are designed to, "develop a students' knowledge and understanding of history, but also to develop their critical thinking skills as young historians." 

Mackenzie really enjoys this maps. She would just sit and flip through the maps reading all the facts. Many were great for jogging her memory about things she already knew and others provided new information. She enjoyed the activities and thought they added a fun twist to just filling out a map.

There is so much information in this program that you could use it again and again over the years and learn something new every time. I'm very excited to use this program with our Sonlight studies because it is going to gel perfectly. I'm already scouring the teacher notes to pull activities that will go along with our studies. I'm so excited!!

If you haven't tried any Knowledge Quest products before... What are you waiting for?


Website: http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/TimeMaps.html

Age Range: any

Cost: $9.95/set or $44.95 for the bundle

System Requirements: Works with Mac and Windows platforms



Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own or those of my family.

Review: Hear Builder Following Directions Software

Recently, we were given the opportunity to review some products from Super Duper Publications. On the list of items to choose from was a software program called HearBuilder Following Directions. A game for children that encourages following directions? I was soooo in!

About Hear Builder Following Directions

Webber HearBuilder Following Directions is the all new, innovative, evidence-based, interactive software program that gives students a systematic way to improve their auditory and following directions skill. At the same time, students will learn how to become Master Toy Makers while building their own Toy Central factories.

Students will...

      * Follow increasingly difficult directions.
      * Demonstrate knowledge of 40 basic concepts in five areas:
               * Basic Directiosn
               * Sequential Directions
               * Quantitive & Spatial Directions
               * Temporal Directions
               * Conditional Directions

Educators can...

       * Individualize each student program
       * Set levels of difficulty for each activity
       * Identify & print learning objectives for all levels
       * Add background noise at any level
       * Monitor progress & track data for an unlimited number of students
       * Track all relevant data
       * Customize & print reports

Our Experience 

Well to put it succinctly, Kayleigh loves it!!! She doesn't normally spend a lot of time on the computer but she will sit for an hour playing this game. She loves that she gets to be a toy builder. She calls herself Santa's little elf when she plays.

The game consists of five activities. First up is the tool room where they follow basic directions to earn tools that will help them "build" the toys. The directions feature colors, big/small, and ordinal placement like first, second, etc.

Next they head to the Toy Machine Room where they follow sequential directions that help them operate the toy machine. Here they produce a new toy for setting the switches on the machine correctly. Some levels will allow them to set the switches in any order and others require them to follow a specific order.

The Toy Inspection Room, which features quantitative and spatial directions, is next. Quantitative directions include terms like one, all , either, except, and don't. Some indicate spatial location like first, second, above, between etc.  In this room they get to play a quick game for mastering levels.

Then they move on to the Toy Packing Room, which uses temporal directions. These directions contain words like before and after.  "Before you put the doll in the box, put the rocket in the box." They are rewarded with an opportunity to complete a small puzzle.

Finally they go to the shipping room, which provides conditional directions. "If a doll is in the box, put the box on the truck." They earn a little driving game after mastering the levels.

Kayleigh's favorite level is the shipping room. She said she likes to drive the car to bring toys to her friends and the babies who don't have any. LOL She seems so sweet in blog land.

The progress report is a very nice feature for parents. It lets you see exactly what your child has done and how well that they've done it. It can also be a little aggravating because when you see all of those 100% scores for a following directions game you have to wonder why the tea set is still in the middle of the floor even though you told to pick it up and put it away. LOL

Now for the very best part. They have to listen very carefully to hear the directions. That means that they have to be quiet. Ahhhhhh, blessed silence! Helps the small fry follow directions and keeps them quiet? I call that a double win.


Website: http://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=HBHE122 (BTW, there is a little demo you can watch on the website.)

Age Range: 4-9

Price: $69.95 but they are offering 30% off through August 31. Just use the code BLGFD30

System Requirements:   http://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=HBHE122&view=System_Requirements   (It is available for Windows and Mac)


The Crew got to review several of their awesome products so be sure to click the banner to read what else Super Duper Publications has to offer! And be sure to order a catalog to help you with your Christmas shopping.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for review purposes. All opinions are mine or that of my family.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Make Room Monday #2, Find Out About France, Spain, & China

So here's the deal. I have a lot of homeschooling stuff. Tons. I buy more each year and I get quite a bit from the Homeschool Review Crew. I don't, however, buy more bookshelves each year. You can see the dilemma, right?

Since I need more room for new books, I have decided to spend the rest of the summer giving away some of the stuff that we're not using anymore. You read right, I am offering free homeschooling curriculum. Everything I offer will be in Excellent to Like New condition.

Next up are three books from the Find Out About series. Find Out About France, China, and Spain specifically. The books are brand-spanking new. We received them with our Winter Promise Children Around the World "program." Since we ditched decided to go another route six weeks into that "adventure", I'm willing to part with this trio. Don't worry, they are not written or published by WP so it is safe to read them to your children.

Each book includes:

*Where is Spain/France/China?
*How to Say Spanish/French/Chinese Words
*An Introduction
*Life in Spain/France/China
*Facts About Spain/France/China
*Let's Learn Spanish/French/Chinese

In the event of full disclosure, what we read of the Spain book didn't thrill us. It didn't go in-depth enough for my fifth grader and there was a lot of me butchering the Spanish language. So we didn't even finish reading it. Not that big of a deal because WP had us reading this book while we were studying Switzerland.  Weird, right?

That being said, I think these books would be great for younger children. The books each center around a "family" from that culture and they give you a little tour around their country. I think they'd be just enough of an overview for the younger kidlets.

Sound like a good fit for your family? Enter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: Keyboarding for the Christian School

Living in the computer age, it's imperative for my children to learn how to type properly. The odds are that they'll be spending the rest their lives typing on a keyboard. It's a much needed skill for every child.

Enter one of our latest review items, Keyboarding for the Christian School.

About Keyboarding for the Christian School

From the website:

Do you anticipate your students using computers in the future? Is your student going into a technological field? How far your student will go will be determined by their proficiency in computers. Give them the edge in computer applications by purchasing curriculum that really works...Keyboarding for the Christian School.

These tools will pay for themselves many times over as your student utilizes this valuable skill for success at school and work while instilling Christian values.

Why choose a printable e-book versus a web-based program? Think about the things you type. Are they readily available to copy from the screen or are they something that you are looking at on a piece of paper? Usually you are typing something from a rough draft. If the lessons are only available on the computer monitor; your student will not get the need skill of transferring information from paper to computer.

Our Experience

This is a simple, no-frills typing program. Basically the students reads each lesson and then types it onto the computer. It's really that easy. And it's very thorough.

The first 29 lessons deal with learning all of the keys. There is even a few lessons teaching the number pad. Other lessons cover, centering, enumerated lists, the tab key, MLA reports, APA reports, cover pages, works cited, bibliography, personal-business letters, business letters, envelopes, proofreader's marks, timed writings, and tables. I don't think that they missed a skill.

There are many ways to use the e-book.  You can print and bind the entire book, just print the pages that you need, or even load onto your e-reader. We choose the latter and loaded it onto our iPad. It was quick, painless,  and easy for my daughter to read the lessons right off it. A simple way to save $$$ and a tree or two.

I know that they are a lot of fancy typing programs out there these days but when I was first reading through the e-book I got a bit of a deja vu feeling. The simple instructions, "Type the a in sets of three 10 times as shown below:

aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa "  reminded me of my own high school typing class. I could hear my teacher saying that letters in my head "aaa space aaa space..." It was simple, uncomplicated and it worked. I am an excellent typist.

That's how I feel about Keyboarding for the Christian School. It's simple, uncomplicated, and it works. Mackenzie liked it too. She could do it on her own and complete the assignments in a matter of minutes. And she's remembering the skills learned and applying them to her free computer time. I call that a win.


Website:  https://www.christiankeyboarding.com/
Samples: https://www.christiankeyboarding.com/Page_2.php
Age Range: 6th grade & up - There's also an elementary version
Price: $15.95

And if that price isn't enough of a bargain, they are offering 20% off through August 29, 2012. Just use the code: SUMMER2012


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own or that of my children.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One That's Short but Sweet

Ahhhh, summer. Time to relax. Except it's been too stinkin' hot to do much so it's a good thing we have some review items going to keep us busy.

And the CAT test. We live in a testing state so it's something that we must do. As usual, it was no biggie. Opened, completed, mailed back, and a celebratory Slurpee in under two hours. Record time. lol

Hopefully, the scores will come back as quickly as they did last year because we are cutting it kind of close this year. Normally, we take it in May.

We also finished up two review items this week, one is posted and the other will be posted within the next couple of days.

Kayleigh worked on her All About Reading letter S. For skunk of course. We practiced clapping out syllables again with more difficult words. She was spot on. Then she half-heartedly colored the skunk craft as she still doesn't really like to color. She showed more enthusiasm when she got to finger paint the white stripe down his back.

Kayleigh is also helping me with some review stuff but I'm not talking. Not yet anyhow.

In other news, it rained. Which was good because our water bill is going to be higher thanks to all the extra watering due to the heat. And it helped a bit with the "hot."  It's also not good because this is what our neighborhood looks like after ten minutes of rain. Build an ark people! The city has maintained for years that there is nothing wrong with the drains around here. Yeah right! Three more months until we move to the new house.  I'll be able to say good bye to the canal in my front yard. See ya!! Woo-hoo!

We ended the week with a trip to the local children's museum with our best buds. Kayleigh was excited to find a new Curious George exhibit. I'm ambivalent about George myself. I find his monkey shenanigans annoying and, quite frankly, I probably would not be as lenient as The Man in the Yellow Hat when dealing with them. But that's just me. =o)

We also hit the planetarium for a quick show. The children were a little dismayed with the heavy evolutional content. We were so proud. And of course we had to hit the bubble room too. You can't not hit the bubble room. It's against the rules. Sadly one of our buddies got a bit beat up by one of the bubble apparatus. But don't worry, she's okay now.

The grown-ups discussed our plans for our annual "Not-Back-to-School" celebration. I'm not telling you about that either. It's my blog and I don't have to. You're going to have to wait patiently until September 4 to find out. But I will tell you that we're going bigger this year. Bigger I say! I better start saving my pennies now.

And I think that about rounds up our week. I've got another give away coming on Monday, so watch for that. Especially if you're going to being any type of world cultures study any time soon.  This prize will certainly help you with your study. So what did your week look like?

Linking up to: Preschool Corner, Collage Friday, Week Wrap-Up, and The Homeschool Mother's Journal.


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