Monday, February 28, 2011

TOS Review/ I See Sam

As part of the TOS Review Crew, I have had many opportunities to review some pretty great products. 

But I must say that I See Sam has been my absolute favorite product that I have reviewed so far. 

It has been the biggest blessing to me. I am truly thankful to have been given the opportunity to review this product. 

I See Sam is a set of readers put out by Academic Success for all Learners

Actually, there are 141 color coded books that are divided into 8 different sets. 
These sets range from the kindergarten level to the mid third grade level. 

Each set has up to 27 books in it. 

I received sets 1-4. I am still just so thrilled to have received 4 whole sets!

We are still on set 1, but I can not tell you the difference it has made in my son's reading skills. 

Before I see Sam, we had been doing another reading program, and he knew about 5 sounds, but he could not put those sounds together to form a word. He hated doing that program, and always cried about having to do it. He does not complain about this program.

I don't know what it is about the I See Sam readers that made the difference, but it did. 

He is easily blending the sounds together to form words, and he is so proud of himself when he reads a whole book!

This program is so simple.  All you need are the readers, and your set. 
You don't need anything else to use this program. 

There are however, some optional items that you can use alongside of this program if you would like to. 

Here is what I received from the company. I will tell you whether or not, in my opinion, you need these optional items. 

I received:

*The first 4 sets of readers: Obviously the readers are a necessity. 

*The Anatomy of a Little Book:  This basically gives you an oversight of the layout of the Little Books, and how they work. This is not necessary, but it is helpful, and you can download it for free, so I say go ahead and download it. This is not exactly the same one as I received, but it is still helpful. 

*Reading For All Learners Little Books Instructor Guidelines: This is very important. It explains how to use this program. You can download this for free. 

*Reading For All Learners Little Books Placement & Assessment Manual: You may need this if your child is already reading some, and you need to know what level to start with. If you are just starting with level one, you don't need this. 
If you think you may need this, you can purchase it for $10. 

*Progress Tracking Sheets: These are great. Your child can keep track of each book that they read. 

*Set Completion Certificates: You can present your child with a certificate after they complete each set of books. You can print these on colored card stock.

*Flashcards: These flashcards correlate to the readers, so your child is learning the sounds as they appear in the books. You can purchase the flashcards for sets 1-4 for $15. You can also download them for free on your own card stock, if you would like.

Flashcards Sets 1-4

You could get away with just the readers if you wanted to, but I think some of the extras really contribute to the program. 

It really couldn't be any easier to teach your child to read with these readers. 

In each book it has a sound practice, and word practice section. 
Your child will practice all previously learned sounds and words before they read the new book. 

They will also get a chance to practice the new words that will appear in the next book. They will have already been practicing these words at the end of the previous books. 

At the end of each book, your child will practice the upcoming new words, and sounds for the next book.

Periodically, there will be a section called Looking Back at the end of a book.
This is like a little test/review to see how well your child remembers what he has learned. 
If he can read these sentences perfectly, he can move on to the next book. 
If he struggles, you will know that he needs a little more practice with the last few sounds/books, and you will not move on until he reads the sentences perfectly. 
In the regular readings, your child can make 2 mistakes, and still move on. 

(All of these examples are taken from the free download of book number 21 in set one. You can download the entire book here.) 

This program is so well laid out. There is no guess work as to what is coming next, and there is no wondering if you are doing it right.

You may be asking yourself the question, "But how do I teach these sounds in the first place?"

As you can tell, these are just the readers, but as I said earlier, I believe that is all you need. 

It is so easy to teach the sounds in your daily life. As you go throughout your day, you can sing songs that help your child to learn the sounds, you could do a letter of the week program, you could play sound games, you could watch videos that teach the sounds, or you could use flashcards that correspond to the upcoming sounds in the books. The flashcards that come with the program are perfect for this.

It is really up to you as to how you teach your child his sounds, but I don't believe that you need a big, complicated program to do so. 

Now, I used to think differently before I See Sam

I sing the same song to my son for every letter sound. It is silly, but it works. 
I sing, "What sound does "I" make, iii (the sound), and I do this for every sound that we are learning. 
For some reason, it really helps.

I think that we all tend to think that teaching our children to read is going to be this really complicated, scary thing, and nothing could be further from the truth. 

We spend gobs of money on these reading programs, and in case you haven't noticed, you still have to teach your child the sounds. 

Once your child knows the sounds, he can start to put them together. No complicated reading program required. 

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we will continue with this program even though the review period is over, because it works

If you are interested in purchasing this program, there are several options for you. 

You can buy one set at a time. Each set is $30. 

You could buy the Starter Set for $60. The Starter Kit includes:

Little Books Starter Kit
Little Books Set One
Little Books Set Two
The Reading Time Training DVD
Two Set holders
Instructors Guide
Motivational Materials for Sets 1 and 2

54 Books in all
A value of more than $75!
Save $15 and start your beginning reader out right.

Limit of one per customer.

You could purchase the Read to Succeed Gift Set for $70

Read to Succeed Gift Set
The Read to Succeed Gift Set includes:
  • Little Books Set One
  • Little Books Set Two
  • 54 Little Books Total
  • Two set holder shelf organizers
  • Set 1 & 2 Flashcard kit
  • Support materials for Sets 1 and 2
  • The Rainbow Coloring Book
  • Box of 24 crayons
  • Instructor Guide
  • Program Introduction
A great way to start a beginning reader out right. Includes 54 books in all. Normally all of these materials would cost $80, order now and save $10.00.

OR, you could purchase the Deluxe read to Succeed Gift Set for $160.

Deluxe Read to Succeed Gift Set
This 2010 gift set includes:
  • Little Books Set One
  • Little Books Set Two
  • Little Books Set Three
  • Little Books Set Four
  • 91 Little Books Total
  • Four set holder shelf organizers
  • Sam The Lion Puppet (Really Roars!)
  • Flashcard Kit for Sets 1-4
  • Support materials for Sets 1-4
  • The Rainbow Coloring Book
  • Box of 24 crayons
  • Instructor Guide
  • Program Introduction
Everything a beginning reader needs. Includes 91 books in all. Normally all of these materials would cost $180.00, order now and save $20.

You can also order a combination of these items individually if you would like to.

I received everything in the Deluxe Kit minus the set holders, the lion puppet, the coloring book, and the crayons. 

I would recommend getting the Deluxe Kit if possible. I did not receive the set holders, but I am seriously considering ordering them. They would be very nice to have.
I am also thinking of ordering my son the coloring book. I think he would like it.

I feel I must be honest and say that there is one negative about these readers, in my opinion.
I really wish they were more sturdy. They are basically just printer paper, and they don't hold up well to a lot of wear and tear.  The covers are more like Card Stock. After my son reads one a few times, it starts to get wrinkled, and bent. 

I feel that for the price, they are an investment, and I wish them to hold up for the long haul. I would want them to last through multiple children for the investment made in them.

That said, I would still purchase, and use them. The children don't read the same book but a few times anyway, so they won't get too much damage, but I really do wish they were a bit more sturdy. That would make them perfect.

I do plan on purchasing the last 4 sets, if that tells you anything. 

I have used other readers that are a little more sturdy, but the size of the books are very small, and they do not lay everything out for you like these do. The I See Sam readers are about 5 1/2 in. x 8 in. 
I really like this size.

And the amount of books that you get in each set of I See Sam readers is double the amount I have seen in other reader sets. 
I believe that this is crucial. It gives your child more time on each sound, and more practice putting those sounds together. 

I really, really like this program, and will continue to use it with my son, and any future children that the Lord blesses me with. I highly recommend this program, and I think you will love it just as much as I do.


*I have received 4 sets of readers, and accompanying items from I See Sam, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Friday, February 25, 2011

TOS Review/ MathRider

Rather than just another math program, MathRider is more of a math adventure.

Your children will learn their math facts while going on fun, magical quests through the forbidden Mathlands.

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division each have the same quests.

The first quest for each one will send you on your way to the Forbidden mathlands in search of a rare flower. You find out that your mother has a rare kind of fever that can only be cured with a mystical flower called Pythagoras. You must find this flower, and bring it back to your mother.

On the Second Quest, you and your horse, Shadow, are on your way to do some fishing. On the way, you see a mysterious dark cloud gathering in the sky, so you decide to go home, but on the way you notice a bright blue beam, and you find a sparkling deep blue gem with strange inscriptions on it, by the river.
You take this gem to the wizard, and he tells you that you have found a magical elvin gem, used by the elves to keep darkness away. He tells you that you must return it to them, or their realm, and yours, will fall into darkness.

On the third quest, you are coming home with the firewood that you gathered, and you hear the footsteps of soldiers. You and Shadow hide in the bushes. You notice that the soldiers belong to the evil King Wartain, and you notice that they have captured a young girl as a prisoner in their barred wagon.

She notices you in the bushes, and she drops a letter for you out of the wagon.
You pick up the letter:

You must deliver the letter to King Edelheart at Sky Castle in the kingdom of Bluemoon.

In the final quest, you visit King Edelheart, and you are now ready to rescue Princess Fairblossom.
He tells you of a secret magic portal that will take you to Wartains lands.

Once you have mastered all of your math facts in that level, you are allowed into the dungeon to free the princess. You return the princess to her father and mother, and all are happy again.

As a reward, King Edelheart builds you your own castle.

As you go through these quests, you earn flowers, gems, and flags to decorate your land. 

My kids really like this program.

My 13 year old daughter says, "It certainly makes you faster at your math facts! I didn't have them all down before, but now I do. I like that it's fun, and it's educational, and that it has a horse in it. It is fun trying to earn all of the rewards, and rescuing the princess."

My 6 year old son says, " I like it because you get the rewards. I like learning the math, and I like the quests, but I don't like the horses running so fast. It is hard to do it because you have to type fast. I don't like typing it fast at all, because it is hard."

My kids really, really like this program. They want us to buy it so that they can have it forever.

I do see where it has helped them with their math facts, but I must admit that there is a part of me that wishes I hadn't let them play this game.
I knew that it was kind of magical, and I was OK with that, to an extent.
I wasn't crazy about the sick mother, and I really didn't like the fact that it had an evil king, and that it talked about the darkness.
I am OK with the magical flowers, and gems, and even the elves. I just don't like it getting deeper than that.

Other than the magical aspect of the program, I really liked it too.

My husband and I were torn between purchasing this program for them, because they really enjoyed it, and it really helped them with their math facts, and the magical aspect of it.

My husband thought it was a little trance like.

So, in the end, we decided that there was too much dark magic in this program to purchase it.

If there were a little less dark magic to this program, and if it were more of a happy magical land, we may have decided differently.

Those who enjoy fantasy type games will enjoy this math program.

I did like the fact that the program can tell what your child knows well, and what they struggle with.
It won't keep them redoing problems that they have mastered.

I like that it is intuitive.

There is no teacher preparation required with this program, so that makes it an easy supplement to any program. 

You can check their chart and see where they are, and where they still need help.

This program is great for children of all ages. Even young students just beginning their addition facts can enjoy this. It can also help those teens who just need a little more practice getting those multiplication facts down.

I also really like the fact that you do not have to purchase this program per student.
You can buy this once, and have it for all of your children.

That makes it a better investment.

You can purchase MathRider for $37, and it will instantly download to your computer.

Check out my my fellow Crew Mates thought of MathRider.


*I have received a trial version of MthRider, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blendtec vs. Vitamix - I just ordered a Blendtec, and I'm so excited! 

I just ordered a Blendtec Home Blender. I am so excited!

If you haven't heard of a Blendtec before, it does basically the same things as a Vitamix.

I was actually going to get a Vitamix, until I started researching the Blendtec.

If you are not familiar with either one, I'll tell you a little about what they can do.

Both the Vitamix, and the Blendtec replace many appliances.

This one appliance will take the place of a juicer, blender, food processor, (to a degree, I would say it really takes the place of a chopper), bread maker, ice cream maker, wheat mill, and more, plus it makes hot soup as well.

This is why I wanted one of these. I have really needed a blender for a long time, and my juicer needs a new mesh thingy.  I have also really been wanting a wheat mill, and every summer I want an ice cream maker. lol

Now, I will be able to do it all in one appliance.

I am really hoping that the Blendtec will be as good as the Vitamix.

The Blendtec is about $50 cheaper than the Vitamix, but once you add in the extra container you need with the Vitamix to blend your dry ingredients, it is closer to $200 cheaper.

Also, it is shorter than the Vitamix, so it will fit under your cabinets. To be fair though, the Vitamix did recently come out with a shorter jar.

The Blendtec has a square container with only 2 blades, that makes it much easier to clean. I have not actually tried it myself yet, but all of the reviews seem to say this.

The Vitamix is a taller, slimmer jar with 4 blades at the bottom, that makes it harder to clean, and most people say that you can never totally get all of your smoothie, ice cream, or whatever you made out, because of the 4 blades. Both the Vitamix, and the Blendtec have BPA free jars.

The Blendtec came out with a bigger, 3 qt. (96 oz.) container with a 4 inch blade. Here is where the Blendtec seems to shine. From all of the reviews that I have read, and I have read hundreds, this makes the whole difference.

From all of the research I have done, the Vitamix, and the Blendtec were pretty equal before Blendtec came out with the bigger jar.

I have read hundreds of reviews, and have watched many, many, video reviews, and especially in the video reviews, the Blendtec, with the bigger jar, always seems to outshine the Vitamix.

Here is one video that I really liked that compared the Vitamix to the Blendtec with the smaller, and the bigger jar. (The guy is a little weird, but I love the video)! lol

As you can see from this video, the Blendtec with the bigger jar, really seems to be the best bet.

Another thing that I liked about the Blendtec is that it is not as heavy as the Vitamix.

My husband liked the Blendtec better because it has more HP, and more Watts than the Vitamix.
(More Power....) HA HA HA!

Here is one more video, from the same people, that I think is really helpful.

The Blendtec Blender is a lot more modern looking than the Vitamix. Although the base of the Blendtec is made of a cheaper plastic material than the Vitamix.

With the Vitamix you need 2 separate containers. One for wet ingredients, and one for dry.
With the Blendtec, you can do both in one jar.

I know the Vitamix has been around forever, and the Blendtec is not as well advertised, but I am taking my chances on the Blendtec.

Remember, I have not personally tried either the Blendtec, or the Vitamix, this is only based off of my research. 

I ordered mine this morning, and it has already been shipped! It should be here tomorrow by 3! Whoo-hoo! I am so excited. The one I ordered is the Blendtec HP3A Home Blender with Wildside Jar.

I'll let you guys know if it really works as well as it seems to. I'll keep you updated, and maybe I'll make some videos of all that it can do.

OK, I'll be back soon with my updates.

Paws & Tales Review

Chuck Swindoll's  Paws & Tales: Biblical Wisdom for Kids

I was given an opportunity to review a DVD called Paws & Tales : God Cares for You.

I am very picky about what my children watch. I do not let them watch shows that most other kids do.

I don't allow even most Disney movies. They are just full of crude comments, or they have love stories, or violence that I just don't want my kids to see.

So I was very pleased when I received this in the mail. It looked like it would be OK for the kids, so we sat down, and watched it together. It was great!

Cover: God Cares for You
Episode 1: A Good Foundation

In this episode the kids want to form a club, but they can't decide what type of club would be best. They all have their own ideas.

They all want something different, and no one wants to compromise, so they end up splitting into two different groups to see who can build the best clubhouse.

One group tries to build a tree house in an old dead tree, and the other group tries to build a clubhouse on water.

The children who wanted to build in the tree didn't realize that the tree was dead, and would not hold the tree house, and the other team didn't take time to build a solid enough bridge over the water.

In their efforts to beat each other, they didn't take the time to build their clubhouses on a solid foundation. They just wanted to beat the other team.

In the end, they realize that they need to compromise, and work together. They realize how important the foundation is to the whole clubhouse.

After the episode is over, there is a cute song about how Jesus is the foundation, and the rock that we need to build our life on.

Episode 2: The Good Shepard

In this episode, two wolves jump out of the woods to try and attack a herd of sheep. The Shepard saves the sheep, but then something happens to him, and he needs some help in the pastures.

So C.J and Ned are going to be Jr. Shepard's for a day.

They think it will be easy, but they find out that it is not.
It is a lot of hard work, and you really have to take good care of the sheep. You have to keep watch over them at all times, or something could happen to them. 

The theme of this episode is that sheep need love, and tender care, just as we do. The Shepard is a comparison of how the Lord takes care of us. 

I really liked this movie. I had never heard of it before, but I am  glad that I found it.

My son just came in, and asked me if he could watch this movie again! That says a lot right there.

My 6 year old son says "I like it. I really like the one with the sheep. I like when the bear and the beaver trap the wolf. I loved the little baby sheep. It was so cute."
He said he would want to watch more of these movies. His favorite characters are C.J. and Ned.

My 13 year old daughter enjoyed it as well. She said, "It is easier for young kids to stay interested in it because it is fun and entertaining." Her favorite character is Staci.

I love the catchy songs, and love that they are Godly songs.
I thought it was very cute, and loved that it had great morals to the stories.

I do recommend this movie, and I think there are even episodes on T.V. now. I believe I saw one the other day. It could have been a movie though, I am not sure. 

For more information check out the Tyndale website

Guess what?

I was given one certificate to give away on my blog, for a free DVD!
So one lucky winner will receive this DVD free of charge.

All you have to do is leave me a comment about your favorite movies for your kiddos, and you will be entered to win.

You may have one extra entry for following my blog, or for letting me know that you already follow.

This giveaway will be open until Friday, Feb. 25th, 2011, at noon CST.

Good luck!

Official Rules for this giveaway:

1. Eligibility. This giveaway is open to all readers. This will be a certificate that I will mail to you, and you can redeem it yourself. Participating Bloggers for this same promotion are not eligible.

2. How to Enter. Entry is made by leaving a comment on the giveaway post. A limit of one entry is allowed per e-mail address. You may only enter once, please do not use multiple emails to enter.
You may, however, obtain additional entries on a particular giveaway through other channels when applicable.

3. Disclaimer. I will not be responsible for any lost or damaged items, or any lost or late entries, any technical issues, or anything beyond my control. Winners pay taxes where applicable.
If no store is available, you may order direct from Tyndale. Certificates need to be redeemed by June 1st, 2011.

Good Luck, and thanks for stopping by!

*Comment number 5 is the winner!*

Friday, February 18, 2011

TOS Review/ Kid Scoop - The Reluctant Reader Solution

Do you have children who know how to read, but just don't want to?

Do your children seem to have an aversion to books?

Then The Reluctant Reader Solution may be just what you need.

With The Reluctant Reader Solution, there are no books, and your children can read about topics that they love. With 365 Kid Scoop printable worksheets, your child will have plenty of topics to choose from. You can choose from topics such as Frost, Butterflies, Baseball,
Columbus Day, Fire Safety, Louisa May Alcott, and much, much more. With nearly 60 topics, you won't run out of ideas.

With this program, your child never feels like he is doing work.  With fun activities and science projects, your child will read his way through his favorite topics, and never even realize that he is practicing his reading skills.

Your children will not only be practicing their reading skills, but they will also be practicing their writing skills.

The Reluctant Reader Solution seems like it is made up of mini units to me, and whether or not you have a reluctant reader, your children will enjoy them.

I do not have any reluctant readers. My daughter is 13, and loves to read. My son is 6, and is just learning to read. I can see us using these in our school though.

They seem very easy to incorporate into the studies you are already doing, as they are more like a supplement anyhow.

I do think you could give these to your children just for fun, and if you have a reluctant reader, I bet their reading would improve. If you don't have a reluctant reader, they would probably still have fun doing them anyway. 

If your children are studying butterflies for example, then you could easily add in the butterfly unit when it fit into your study. 

Since I don't have children that really fit the age category for this product, I have done my best to do an informational review.
We did print out some of the pages, and used them, but I can't tell you if it sparked an interest to read more, as my daughter already loves to read.

We did enjoy the pages, and I think my 6 year old son will like them when he gets older.

There are a couple of things that you may want to be aware of.

When we did the Frost unit, it said:
""The Norse legend of Jack Frost
originated in Scandinavia. He was
the elf son of Kari, god of the
winds, and his name there was
Jokul, meaning icicle and Frosti
meaning frost. He would steal
through towns in the night turning
the town white and painting frost
patterns on windows."

 I did not care for that. I did not read this to my youngest. I didn't realize that it said this until after I had already given them the pages, so my oldest read it. 

There are units on topics such as The Easter Bunny, Bigfoot, Halloween, and Immunization, that you may not want your children to study. You might be OK with these topics, however, for those who are not, I wanted to make you aware. 

The good thing about this program is that you can choose which units you use, or don't use. 

Those are in the minority, and the rest seem really fun. If it were me, I would still use the other units, but avoid the ones I did not care for.

I took this from the website to help you get a better idea of what is included.

"Here is just a small sample of the topics your child will be exposed to inside the Reluctant Reader Solution:
  • Animals such as killer whales, otters, gorillas and tadpoles...
  • Science experiments such as solar snacks as well as features on the International Space Station and optical illusions...
  • Lessons about the body such as the parts of the skin, how germs attack, how to deal with teasing and why exercise is important...
Other topics in the activity packets include:
  • Clay Play: How to make clay crafts...
  • Toon Time: How to draw your own comics...
  • Environment features on bees, carbon footprint, frost and more...
  • Holidays and Festivals includes Valentines, Memorial Day, Halloween and Holidays Around the World...
  • Financial Literacy covers allowances and how to budget for the holidays...
  • Legends and characters: Bigfoot, the Maya as well as Old Stormalong...
  • And more..."

There are two ways that you can use The reluctant Reader Solution. 

There is a second part to The Reluctant Reader Solution. It is the Kid Scoop News Online Edition.
This is a very colorful online edition, that is similar to the black and white printable worksheets.

You will get 12 months worth of the online newspaper when you purchase The Reluctant Reader Solution. You can print these out as well, and your children will love the colorful pages.

You can purchase The Reluctant Reader Solution for $97.

You can also purchase the individual units one at a time for only $2.99.
This makes it easy to get the studies that you want, when you need them, without having to purchase the entire set at once.

The Reluctant reader Solution offers a 365-day Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee:

"365-day Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee
Try out the Reluctant Reader Solution in your home or classroom. Put it to use with the reluctant reader in your life. If you don't get measurable results — meaning if your child doesn't start enjoying reading more, and actually start reading on his own — I'll refund every cent of your investment with no questions whatsoever. I'm only happy if you get outstanding results, so I'd gladly offer you a refund if that doesn't happen.
That means you truly have nothing to risk when you purchase the Reluctant Reader Solution today. You get 365 days of exciting activity sheets plus 12 months of Kid Scoop online, all for the risk-free investment of only $97."

You can be assured that if this product does not work for you, you will not have to worry about throwing your money down the drain. I think that is awesome. It really makes the difference.

Check out what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about The Reluctant Reader Solution.


*I have received a download copy of The reluctant Reader Solution, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Does God's Word Mean to You?

I was praying tonight about many things, of which one was for a little baby named Paul, who is 2 1/2 months old, and was accidentally suffocated 2 days ago. It is very tragic, and he is in the hospital on a ventilator.
The doctors declared him brain dead, but the family is not giving up hope.
They are believing God for a complete healing.
I have heard that improvement has been seen while they are praying.
If you will please pray for this family too, I know the family will be grateful.
I know that every mother can understand this pain, and the hope for a miracle. 
I read through Esther, and some of Job tonight, and I saw many things that reminded me that God can heal this precious baby, if it is His will. I am praying for this family for a complete healing, and a closer relationship with Christ.

After I had finished my reading, I was praying to God, and I was telling him that I was really enjoying getting to know Him more through His word.
Then, He asked a question of me, something that we should all ask  of ourselves.
Why do we not seek His Word for the precious treasure that it is?
Why, if it is His Words, are we not grasping for them daily, as often as we can?
If God were to want to talk to you, would you not make time for Him?
Well, He does want to talk to you, and He has given us the wonderful blessing of His Word being written down for us, so that we can read it anytime.
We really don't consider how amazing this really is.
I mean, think about it, the Bible is God's Word to us that He wants us to read.
Why don't we want to read it?
Why are we not desperate for it?
Why are we not clinging to it like it is the most precious thing in the world?
We are very blessed to have His written Word, yet we don't even think that much about it.
How sad is that?
It is very sad, yet too often we say, I'm too tired, I'm too busy, on and on...
How can we be too tired to listen to our Lord and Savior?
How can we be too busy to listen to Him speak to us?
We can't be, it is to precious to waste.
I know that I have said the same things, I have had the same excuses, we all have.
But I implore you, and myself, to realize what we have, and how blessed we are to have it, and to remember that the Bible is God, His Word, and He wants to talk to us.
How badly do you want to talk to Him?

I submitted this article to The Christian Home Magazine. You can find it here.  There are many great articles written but other great mothers, so check it out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

How my family is involved in our homeschool...Or not...

This weeks Blog Cruise is "How are your spouse, grandparents, or other family members involved in your homeschooling" 
Well, this is a little tough. I would say that for the most part, they aren't. 

My husband is my biggest supporter. It was actually his idea to homeschool. 

When I was pregnant with my first baby, we were discussing how we did not want to send our precious baby to school. 

He mentioned that we could homeschool, and I didn't even think you could do such as thing! lol

I knew no one who had homeschooled, except for children who were kicked out of school.

I started studying up on homeschooling, and from then on we knew that we would homeschool. 

We told my husband's parents, and I think they thought we were a little crazy. lol
They didn't say much against it, but I think they probably thought we would change our minds. 
I think they have really come to like the idea now. 
They have a few concerns, but overall, they are supportive of our decision to homeschool. 

They usually don't say much about it. Sometimes they ask the kids what they are learning in school, but they don't get too involved. 

At least they didn't until recently. 
Yeah, they decided that my just turned 6 year old should be reading, and they started pushing him. 
They would ask him if he wanted to read them a book, or they would bring over flashcards. 
They started asking if he had everything he needed to learn to read. They would have bought him anything he needed, which was nice, but they have never offered to buy anything for my daughter, and we really could have used the help sometimes. 
But God has always provided.
My father-in-law even told my son that he would give him a dollar for every book he read. 
And no, he didn't ask first. 

I decided not to let it bother me, and allow my son to receive a dollar per book. 
He has only read 8 of the I See Sam readers, which we love by the way. 
But we are still in the process of learning our sounds, so that is why we have only gotten through book 8.

I had to get them to understand where we were coming from, and that we were moving at his pace, not anyone else's.

My son started feeling bad because he couldn't read yet. He never felt like this before. He even overheard his uncle saying that "even 2 year olds can read". 

He didn't want anyone to see his work, because he was embarrassed that he was just learning his letters and sounds. 
He started crying, and it was just awful. 
I talked to my in-laws about it, and to their credit, they realized what they were doing, and that they didn't want to hurt his feelings, or make him feel bad, and they haven't really said anything since. 

Although my mother-in-law did tell me that " Even if he never learned to read, they would still love him". 
Come on, we are talking about a 6 year old, not a 16 year old. I don't think there is any reason to worry that he may never read.

Anyhow, things are better with that situation. 

As for the rest of my family, no one really says anything one way or the other. I don't think they like it much, but at least they choose not to say anything negative. 

My grandmother has said negative comments, but not too many, thank goodness. 

We ran into her at Walmart one day, and she asked if the kids were still homeschooled, and I said yes, and she replied, " Oh, well that's too bad." I just ignored it. 

I really think that people just don't understand what we are doing, or why.

I do wish my family were more involved in our children's homeschool sometimes, but then I think that it could be too much, and I wouldn't like that either. 

Choosing their curricula, and teaching them falls mostly to me, but I am OK with that because I can do it my way! LOL

If you have a family that is very supportive of your homeschooling, then be very happy about it, but if not, you may want to look at it in a different light.
If they were more involved, you may not like it. 

Overall, I think I have it pretty easy. 
I don't have anyone too involved, or anyone saying negative things all of the time. 

I am very blessed, and so happy to be able to homeschool these wonderful children that God has blessed me with.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fit Mommy Friday!

Monday: Worked out on the elliptical for 18 minutes, half a mile, and burned 150 calories.
The rest of the week, ARG, I just want to pull my hair out. I did not do well. I even gained half a pound.
Things have been so different around here with my nanny staying with us a lot, and running her around. Not that I mind, but our routine is off.
I have been exhausted.
No excuses though.

I hope you all did better than I did. I hope next week there is a big difference for me.

Check out the other Fit Mommies at Got Chai?

TOS Review/ The Curiosity Files - Puffer Fish

E-Book: The Curiosity Files™- 9 Pack Bundle

Eureka! I found it!  I finally found a set of unit studies that truly span the ages of my children. 

There are a lot of unit studies out there that claim to do this, but The Curiosity Files actually made it happen. 

I have 2 children, ages 6 and 13, and that is a big age gap. While The Curiosity Files are geared towards children ages 8-13, They can easily be adapted to younger, or even older children. Even if your child can't read they will still enjoy these studies if you, or an older sibling will read it to them. 

You may not have heard about the Curiosity Files yet, so let me explain a little bit about them. 
These are not your typical unit studies. You are not likely to find these topics anywhere else. 
These topics cover the unusual, odd, and perhaps even weird things found in nature. Things that you may not have otherwise taken the time to learn about. 

Professor Ana Lyze will take your children on an investigating, hands on journey to learning.

There are currently nine units to choose from. 
We were given our choice of which unit study we wanted to review.  I chose to review the Puffer Fish.                                   

E-Book: The Curiosity Files™- Puffer Fish 

When my children and I began this study, one of the first things we noticed were the bright, beautiful graphics. We appreciate this because it really enhances the study.

We learned so much about the puffer fish. I say we, because I learned a lot too. For example, I did not know that puffer fish puff up with water instead of air!
It makes sense, but I guess I never even thought about it. I just assumed it was air, but of course, where would they get all this air under the water? lol

We have learned many other things as well, such as:

*How many species of puffer fish there really are
*puffer fish have skin instead of scales
*puffer fish are poisonous
*What puffer fish eat
And much more. 

There is a lot of detail in this 85 page study. 

When my daughter did the 21 question review, she asked her little brother, age 6, all of the questions. We were shocked that he knew almost all of the answers! He really paid attention, and understood what I read to him. That says a lot about this study. It is easy to understand, but at the same time it really goes in- depth.

There are many activities and reinforcements included in this study, such as:

*Puffer fish Ordinal Numbers
*Elapsed Time
*Exchange Rates
*Finding common and proper nouns in a story
*Sentence Combining
*Spelling and Vocabulary
*Puffer fish Games
*Bible Copywork
*Making Paper Mache puffer fish
*Making a science fair display board
*Making a lithograph
*Making a puffer fish paper plate Puppet
*Step by step drawing of a puffer fish
*Sign Language
*Lapbooking and more.

As you can see, there are a multitude of activities for all ages to reinforce what you have learned.
You will mostly need simple household items to complete these activities.

There is very little teacher preparation involved. It mostly consists of having the items ready to complete the projects.

We are still in the process of doing this study. We are enjoying it so much that we want to do all of the activities. We have been doing this for just about a month now, and I can see it lasting a couple more weeks. Of course the time it would take you to finish will vary, depending on how often you use it. We have been using it a few times a week.

I will use this unit again with my son when he gets older. I love that I can use it over and over again for future childern.  I also really appreciate the answer keys.

My daughter is currently working on her science fair display board.
Here is a sample of a display board from the pages of the study.

We are also making the paper mache puffer fish. You can see a sample of one in the above photo.

Actually, we invited some friends over to make the paper mache puffer fish, but with all of the snow we have been getting here, we haven't been able to get together enough to finish them.They are paper mached, but not painted yet.

I will replace these photos with our personal photos as soon as my children finish their projects. There will be many more pictures to add once we are completed with this study. I didn't want to make them rush through just to get their pictures up. They are taking their time, and doing a fantastic job! I can't wait to show you their pictures.

These activities are great for small groups. It would be easy, and fun to do this study with a friend. Even if you were to do the learning part separately, but then get together to do the projects, that would be fun.

I highly recommend all of The Curiosity Files. Let's put it this way. I already have 8 of the 9 units that are currently available. I only need to purchase one more to have the complete set!
(There will be more to come though.)

My 6 year old son says, " I like that they fill up with water. I like that the Tiger Shark eats them."
My 13 year old daughter says, " I thought it was fun. I enjoyed learning about the puffer fish, and making the paper mache fish."

I asked them both if they would want to do another study like this one, and they said, "Yes".

My daughter said she would like to do one on a mammal, and my son said he would like to do one on a reptile.

So why don't you grab all of your kiddos together, and try out one of The Curiosity Files. I don't think you will be disappointed. 

You can view a sample of this unit study here.

The Curiosity Files can be purchased in a 9 pack CD Bundle for only $49.00, or you can purchase the same 9 units in download form for $46.00.

These units can be purchased separately, if you would like. Just check The Old Schoolhouse Store frequently for current pricing. 

And remember, there is always free shipping at The Old Schoolhouse.

Check out what my fellow Crew mates thought of The Curiosity Files.


*I have received a download copy of The Curiosity Files, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*


Wordless Wednesday

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday !