Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why I haven't been blogging much... See my new School Room!!

I have missed several of my favorite memes this week, but I haven't been spending time on the computer at all. I have been completely re-doing our school/dining room shelves. We have been needing to do this for a long time, but when we saw shelves on clearance at Walmart, we jumped on it. I am SO happy to get it all done before our new school year starts in August!

Our old school shelves- The things on the table are 'away'. They overflowed from the shelves, so this is where they sat.

Stacks of books and school supplies-

BOXES of books- more books and some games and puzzles on the shelves

Bottom Shelves- picture books, children's non-fiction books organized by subject, and workboxes.

Shelf one, Games and puzzles I organized these by putting each puzzle or game in a ziplock baggie, and throwing them in the tub. :) There is a reason these are on the top shelf.
Shelf two, read alouds I still need to sort these, the series are all mixed up.
Shelf three, school paper, books, workbooks, etc. One shelf holds things we use each day, the other one holds thing for later use.

Craft stuff Red x's mean children can't get them without asking, green circles mean they are free to use any time.

More craft stuff... More crafts... lots of red x's :) Bop was asking me, "can't you put a green circle on that one? What about that one?"

The labels are for me..... I will stick things where ever they fit unless I have a sign telling me not to- even if I wrote the sign. :)

What do you think? Do you have any tips for organizing school stuff in a small space?

Friday, July 23, 2010

CSN Stores Giftcard Giveaway!!

This is such a great opportunity I just had to share it.... Here is your chance to win a $60 gift card for CSN stores! If you have never heard of them, (like me, before today) you have GOT to go check them out!

Review: Clari-Tea Kettle---Win $60 to CSN Stores!

From dinnerware to drill bits, CSN Stores has got it...a one-stop online shop with the things you need delivered right to your door. When they asked me to review something from one of their stores, I had a hard time choosing, but after browsing a bit, I found the perfect thing!

Read on to find out how you can win something from CSN Stores.
Go over to Homeschooling Heart and mind to sign up for this neat giveaway. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: Travel Kits E-book

Travel Kits
A Simple Way to Bless Others

"ARE WE THERE YET?" Who hasn't heard this cry and wished that there was something you could do to make traveling more entertaining and educational for your bored kiddos? If you are like me, you always try to pack toys, books and snacks for a trip, but children seem to get tired of the same old things so fast during a long ride.

This fun E-book from The Old Schoolhouse is here to help! Filled with hundreds of ideas and lots of photos, too, you will not regret buying it. After my initial glance through it, I was already regreting not having purchased it before our Summer trip to the mountains.

Lest you think this is just a book to use for your own children, the sub-title "A Simple way to Bless Others" is very descriptive of the book's contents. This books had a lot of fun ideas for adults, older children, and even ways to bless college or military members who will be away for home for longer.

My favorite part of this book is it's photos. There are tons of color photos that are almost as valuable as the words themselves. Pictures of Travel kits put together, gift ideas, wrapping ideas, and fun things to add... they are so fun to look at! This book makes me wish I had a money tree so I could do this for EVERYONE I know. But, really, these ideas don't require a lot of money. You can spend as much as you want, and still put together fun things.

At $12.45, this is a bit more expensive then a lot of e-books, but when you consider the volume of information included, the price starts to look like a bargain. I probably would never have bought it myself, because I am a real cheapskate. I really don't buy much of anything. :D But after seeing it, and reading it (Which, by the way, is fun. It is not a boring book!) I can say it is totally worth your money.

I consider myself a pretty creative person, but there are hundreds of ideas in this book I never would have thought of. I will be using a lot of these ideas on our trip to the zoo this fall. We will have grandparents, children, aunts and uncles, and our own family going, and it is three hours one way. I am really looking forward to putting together some zoo animal-themed travel kits! With the ideas in this book, I am sure there will be more fun things then they will be able to get done in those three hours!

If you are a e-book fan, or you simply like great ideas, The Old Schoolhouse store's e-book section is chock-full of great homeschool books, curriculum supplements, parenting advice, and bible studies.

I received this product free of charge
as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,
for review purposes. I promise to be honest
and fair in my reviews, and I received no
other compensation in exchange for my review.
You can visit The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog
to read more reviews on this product.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

FREE American History Curriculum

I know. I don't have any kids in High school or junior high. But, as you can probably tell from my blog name, we find American history to be among the most important things our children will ever learn. So as soon as I heard about this new program, I was excited, even though we won't be able to use it.

And I LOVE the name. Raising Refounders.... Exactly
what I am striving to do. This is a free curriculum for grades 7-12, all about the founding fathers, first presidents and early American history.

Semester one is covers "The New World", Christopher Columbus, etc. Semester two is now available, about Roanoke. However, there are also studies on several founding fathers available, including printables, reading material and activities. There are even downloads for each of the 50 states with worksheets and maps.

There is also a page just for historical videos, which is a great resource on its own! No more searching through YouTube for the few treasures in the rubble. And, no more having your kids reading the vile comments left under almost all YouTube videos. Now, you can watch them from the Raising Refounders site!

This website is produced by the great people at Simple Schooling. If you haven't seen their materials, you should head over there, too. They have a huge selection, and they give away a free unit study each month!

Our Curriculum: Progressive Phonics

Since I made a list of our curriculum for this year I thought it would be nice to share why I picked each of these and what I like about them. I am starting with Progressive Phonics, since we have been using it for while.

There are several reasons that I like this program. First off, I should mention that it is 100% FREE and a complete phonics program.

But even if I had to buy it, I would still use it. It is not as flashy as some' it doesn't have games, songs or lots of manupulatives. But personally, I have always thought the point of reading was to READ, and you don't read manipulative's, games or songs. These things may make learning more fun for some kids, but they are by no means necessary.

So what is this great program, how does it work?

The heart of Progressive Phonics is several series of books. You read them WITH your children, with them reading some of the words and you reading the rest.

The program starts with the Alphabetti series, which introduce the letters a few
at a time, organized by letter shape. These books are set in a series format, with each series focusing on a certain set of letters. There are five Alphabetti series being planned, and the third on is currently being wrote.

We did the first two with Bop and then skipped right to the next level of reading. She already knew her letters anyway, and the last two series teach the capital
letters and alphabetical order. I figure we can come back to those later.

After your children have gone through the Alphabetti books, they will already be well on their way to reading! They will know a lot of words and all the letters.

The next step is the Beginner Phonics books. These are formatted differently then the Alphabetti books. Instead of being an ongoing series with the same characters, these are short stories, normally rhyming, that practice short vowel sounds. There is one books for each vowel.

The Intermediate Phonics books cover digraphs, blends, long vowels, endings, and r and l controlled vowels. There are 15 of these books, and they are in the same format as the Beginning Phonics books.

The Advanced Phonics series is still being worked on, and contains a lot of rule breakers, and such things as more long vowels, 'r' controlled pairs, 'y' as a vowel, etc.

Progressive Phonics also has worksheets for each book and a lot of flashcards. These worksheets include coloring pages, handwriting, tracing pages, word searches, and word cards that can be used in several ways.

Why do I like this program so much?

1. When you read WITH your child, they learn a lot just my listening! But even better, they can really understand the story because they don;t have to sound out every word. It had been shown that when children are first reading, they focus on sounding out and don't follow the story. But when they only read SOME words, that doesn't happen!

2. ANYONE can do this. Really. If you can read you can use this program. It has everything you need, but it is so simple! You just read, with your child on your lap.

3. Your kids don't have to learn all the letters and their sounds before they start reading. Who wants to spend months on the introduction? On with the show! Progressive Phonics has your kids learning the first three letters and then starting right off sounding them out.

4. It is fast. It doesn't take an hour a day to learn to read, with this program you will have to
work to get in 15 minutes a day! Read one book, and do a worksheet if you like. That easy!

If this all sounds too good to be true, go check it out for yourself!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Travel the World with The Old Schoolhouse's June Module!

If you are like me, something called a 'planner module' doesn't sound much like a fun curriculum supplement. I was imagining something like planner or binder components to help you with your homeschooling for the month of June...

Well, was I wrong! When I downloaded The Old Schoolhouse's June Planner Module, titled "Travel the World!" I had a huge grin on my face. The first thing I saw was colorful maps. Lots and lots of maps. I love maps.

These modules are designed to complement The Old Schoolhouse Planner, but they can also be used as stand-alone unit study guides. You don't have to have the Planner to use them. Designed for all ages, they have enough activities for everyone in your home. With all of their versatility, you can make your $7.95 go a long way with these modules.

Some of the great components found in these e-books:
  • Study guide
  • Adiitional resources to expand your study
  • Coloring pages
  • Activities, quizzes and puzzles
  • Recipies
  • Lapbooking mini books
  • Copywork

I have to admit, I was a tiny bit disappointed by the age range of the activity sheets in this e-book. Most of the 'fun' pages were too old for my kids. Crosswords, word finds, etc. But they would be perfect for slightly older kiddos with more reading experience. Even second graders would be able to do a lot of them with a little help. Bop thought the coloring pages were neat- continents with animal and landmark drawings. I think they really did help her remember what animals are found where!

The 56 page e-book contained both printable and reading sections. Though you could print the whole thing if you wish, you can also do what I did, and print just the worksheets to save on ink. The informational pages are colorful, but the worksheets and activities are mainly black and white to save on ink.

There is definitely something for every age range in this book, with a special section for high school age children. If you are teaching lots of different ages, this product is perfect for you. Most of the content covers geography, of course, but there are also activities with math and language components.

Since Bop and CJ are still pretty young, (they are going into first grade and kindergarton this fall) we haven't done a lot with maps. We have children's atlases and they love to look at maps, but we havent really learned about them. So they got a lot out of just listening to the first section in the book, about the globe, maps and continents. Then we went on to our atlases and looked for the things we had learned about.

It included lapbooking pieces, which is great for us, since we love lapbooking! There is enough here for a smaller lapbook, or make it more thorough by adding in your worksheet and notebooking pages. You could also add your copywork pages, which include Bible verses, quotes, and facts pertinent to the subject in both manuscript and cursive.

The study section is interspersed with gobs of links, some of which take you to a site with more information, and some of which take you to a dictionary or encyclopedia for definitions. I can see how this could make the modules available for elementary age kids to sit down and use with minimal help from mom. Or dad. :)

The back of the e-book is also filled with TONS of links for other resources, including tag-along e-books and curriculum over at The Old Schoolhouse. If you were making this the foundation of a month-long study, these links would be invaluable. There are HOURS of research time saved here!

After getting the chance to use "Travel the World!" with my kidlets, I went to check out some of their other great modules. I think "Cruisin' the Country" would be a great next step to use after "Travel the World!", and "Let Freedom Ring" would be a good start in American history. I know CJ would love to learn about "Insects Galore" and the universe in "Out if this World!". On the other hand, "God Created All" or "Adventures in Reading" sound more like Bop's type of study.

If you are interested in adding something different into your regular curriculum, check into these Modules. They will spice up your learning with something new and fun!

I received this product free of charge
as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,
for review purposes. I promise to be honest
and fair in my reviews, and I received no
other compensation in exchange for my review.
You can visit The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog
to read more reviews on this product.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Learning Happens Weekend # 4

I didn't get a lot of learning pictures this week, but I wanted to share these from our nature walk the other day.

See her grey eyes?

Kicking the dust

My handsome boy

Playing in the corn... he was a little lost creature looking for him mommy. :D

Mad because we told her to come back.

And a bunch of crazy, silly, wild moments!

Want to show us what YOU did this week? Post your "learning happens" moments here and add the button to your blog!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Game Day

Game day! We had a lot of fun, just doing whatever games the kids wanted to, out of their workboxes. I let them pick the order and what to do.

New magnetic letters (Garage sale find!)

Bop coloring on a unicorn Bare Book we are making busy books for Church

How fun those Math-U-See blocks are! He builds while Bop does her math work

Baby Girl sorting fake berries into colors.... well, that was the idea. She just had fun putting them in and out. :)

Bop sorting word families. These are from the Progressive Phonics program's short e book. FREE!

She doesn't know how to play sudoku, of course.... but she can put counting chips on colored dots!

Ummmm....... I don;t think thats how it is supposed to go. :)

CJ had more fun with the rice pouring tray then Baby Girl did.

I know it is an old trick, but the kids thought it was so fun to see themselves "tiny" and "giant"!

Look what good care he is taking of his miniature sissy! :D

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Art Carousel

After seeing the great art carousel featured on the blog Homeschool Creations, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to use the metal buckets and magnets, but I couldn't find anything that would work around here.

I finally decided these plastic cups would work, and they were on clearance! My total cost for this was about 7 dollars, most of that was the Lazy Susan since I couldn't find one second-hand. I think it was definitely worth it!

I wanted something that was cute enough to complement our dining room/school room, and I think this looks nicer then a bunch of tin cans.... which I thought about using. :) Safer too, since I never can get those edges completely smooth.

What do you think? What materials do you think would make a cute art carousel?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Family-Friendly Picture Hosting!

If you have ever done much with any of the commen picture hosting site, you know that they are not places you would want your children to roam, even supervised. You never know what will pop up on the most innocent of searches. If you are like me, after seeing some of the profiles and 'favorites' on there, you also steer away from posting pictures of your children.

So the advent of a Family Friendly, highly moderated picture hosting site is a exciting thing!


Pix-O-Sphere is exactly what the online world needed, a safe picture hosting site, perfect for bloggers, families, and photographers. This site allows you to sell your pictures, buy pictures for your blog, magazine, or website, or just host your pictures for your friends and family.

Go on over and take a look! You may find it is just what you need!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blast From the Past

Bop, almost two. Christmas 2006

She got this monkey in a set of animals. She was terrified of it, hollering "Mama mama! No, the mut-ee!! "

CJ's Christmas picture. About 7 months old, 2006.

Daddy and CJ cuddling. :)

Come add your link!!

Blast From the Past Blog Button - mom

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Poor little cricket...

I heard the door slam and I could tell right away it was Baby Girl from the pitter-patter of the little feet. "Mama! Mama! Gug!"

"Oh, you found a bug?" She came running in, and her fist was tightly squeezed... I knew there was little chance of survival.

She was so excited I had to pry her little fingers up to see.... poor little cricket. It had lost several of its legs and was obviously dead. But to her, it was a wonderful treasure!

I exclaimed over it properly, telling her how great it was, and how smart she was to find it! She wandered off then, and I figured that was that. Poor little cricket.

Suddenly she was back, holding this....

Oh, so nice! A home for the cricket! Hmm, she must have been watching CJ all those times he captured little bugs... only his were alive when he put them in the jar. Poor little cricket...

She carried it around for several hours, keeping it away from all the kiddos who wanted to see. "No no no! My gug!" It lost its other legs and never moved, but it was her gug! ;) Poor little cricket.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...