Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A great deal for a Great Magazine

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine provides help, encouragement and a great coffee break for thousands of homeschooling parents. You are making a huge commitment to your families and children, and The Old Schoolhouse has made a commitment to support you in your work.

Staffed with lots of homeschooling parents themselves, they KNOW where you are, what you need and how you feel. They work hard to make this magazine (and all of their other products)
what you need.

They are also working to make it affordable and available WHEN you need it. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is extending an extraordinary subscription offer to homeschool families!

Receive a one-year print subscription for just $7.95 or a one-year plus current issue subscription for $12.95. (One-year subscriptions start with the winter issue. The one-year plus current issue starts with the fall issue.)

Only 5000 of these special subscriptions are available from August 31 through midnight on September 15. Once the 5000 are gone, they're gone! Hurry and grab this crazy price today!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Peterson Directed Handwriting


What is Peterson Directed Handwriting? To start, it is a handwriting program like no other. Founded in 1908, Peterson Directed approaches handwriting not as a PICTURE to learn, but rather a MOVEMENT to memorize. I found the idea very tantalizing- instead of forcing a certain SHAPE, you could instead learn to write using muscle memory; and thus develop your own unique yet beautiful and very personal handwriting style.

This is the way many of our grandparents learned to write. I can never understand why our school systems take something that is working (movement-centered handwriting, phonics) and replace it with something new and untried (tracing letters, whole-language reading).

I had read about Peterson in the Rainbow Resources catalog, and I thought it sounded intriguing.
So I was excited to learn we would be reviewing it this year! We received PDF copies of the print versions to review, and you can get each level for yourself for $19.99 at Peterson Directed's online shop.

The basic idea behind this system is that you train the muscles to make
the movements instead of training the eyes to copy a picture. To do that, you start with air-writing, move on to finger tracing, and then you go to actually writing. The children are NEVER to trace a model, for this means the eyes are drawing a picture, rather then the muscles working on memory. Each motion has a chant which the children say out loud as they move. When the movements work with the mouth, then you know the muscles have it memorized, and you move on to the next step. Each lesson is supposed to take less then 10 minutes, and I found that to be true. Which is awesome, what a time-saver!

( I did not receive the wall cards to review, but they show you the letter strokes and look fun, too! Perfect for air writing.) :)

If you are a person who likes a lesson all planned out and textbooks to follow, this may not be the best program for you. There is very little in the way of directions in the front of the book, but in my opinion, very little is needed. It is a very simple program, but there is much that is left up to you to figure out. You can teach the motions first, or start right off with a letter. You can teach the letters in alphabetical order or however you want. So if you are relying on directions planned out for you, you will not find that here.

They are VERY helpful, however, with any problems or questions you might have, and they have a lot of helpful articles and videos on their website. You should also check out their online shop, where they have bound copies of the worksheets, large wall letters, digital versions, and much more!

BUT, the real question- does it work??? I can answer with a loud YES! YES IT WORKS!! We really love this program. The children have enjoyed it, and even CJ will do a whole page. And he HATED writing. I had to tell him several times to keep using his mouth. It is hard for him to make the motions and say it at the same time, at first. When he can do it together smoothly, I know he has mastered it.

Bop is starting to (FINALLY) recognize the difference between 'b' and 'd', and I credit thisprogram completely. There is a very noticeable difference in her writing skills since we started this, mainly in the letters we have covered. I can't wait to get all of them done.

aaa by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Our biggest breakthrough? Halfway through working on the lowercase 'b', Bop looked up at me with wide eyes and said: "They all face the same way, Mom?" What a revelation! :)

Don't forget to go over the the TOS Crew blog to read more reviews!

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.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up Week #4 Meerkats

DSCN7015 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Wow, we are already a month into this school year! Hard to believe...

This week was a little crazy, but we were learning all about -


It was really a mini-unit, but we had a lot of fun and learned a lot, too!
Did you know-
  • A meerkat's favorite food? (Scorpions)
  • What a meerkat family is called? (Mob)
  • That they are carnivorous?
  • What family they are in? (The Mongoose family)
  • How big they are? (they only weigh as much as a squirrel!)
  • What the name 'meerkat' means? (Lake Cat- which is weird, they live in the desert...)
We also got to put some great meerkat pages in our zoo animal lapbook. I didn't get any pictures of us doing 'meerkat stuff', but we did have a great time at the park and I got lots of pictures of that. :)

We are continuing steadily along in our math, but Bop is having some trouble remembering the NAMES of some of the numbers- she gets 14 and 40 mixed up, for example. We are working on that, and we are enjoying our Peterson Directed Handwriting.

We were learning about letter 'd' this week, so all of our stuff was DINOSAURS, which thrilled CJ. Baby Girl really liked lining all the dinosaurs up. She didn't quite have the SIZE thing down, but she made a nice line.

See what I did?

DSCN7092 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Sorting little and big 'D's.

DSCN7090 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Now for the park pictures:

The sweet, pensive, lovely, silly, totally girly oldest one. (See how she never stops thinking?)

Hailey small collage by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

The talkative, cuddly, loves-his-mama, questioning, all boy middlest one. (notice he is talking in ALL of these pictures??)

Caiden Small collage by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

The ornery, totally show-off, silly, climbing, lovey littlest one. (See that face?)

Abby small collage by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

I finally have a winner!

I am not sure how to put the Random gadget into a blog post (You are welcome to drop a comment letting me know. Please! ) I had a total 0f 11 entrants, and Random.org picked #5.

Rachel, from The Mushroom Grove! You won! (You aren't a member of the TOS Crew, right? )

You will get a link in your e-mail. Rachel, this is a ONE TIME link, so be sure to save it where you can find it and back it up right away. :)

Thank you all so much for playing, and we will be having a new giveaway in a week! :D

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do you Know What an Entomologist Is?

(nt-ml-j)n.The scientific study of insects.

I may be raising future little entomologists here... they all three love bugs. Bop is scared of spiders, but they enjoy catching crickets to feed to the salamanders. (Yes, we have salamanders... we caught them in our basement when it flooded. )

Well, for my little entomologists, guess what we got in the mail today?? A gift from my friend over at HomeschoolShare:

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

11 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere111 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

They are babies, only about 3/4 of an inch long. My husband said "Quick! Squish them!" But, of course, I didn't. I made them a nice little home in a plastic shoebox. They will have to get something a little roomier as they grow... and grow they will! I read that they will get anywhere from 2-4 inches long. How FUN!

In case you are worried about my sanity, these cockroaches are tropical, non-invasive herbivores. What does that mean? It means they will not escape and take over my house. They will not become pests, since they would die as soon as it got cold. And, they do not carry any diseases since they eat only fresh plants. They like carrots, apples, lettuce... they are regular little vegetarians.

And the kids are delighted. :)

Hey, maybe they will have babies later, to feed to the salamanders!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

You Don't Have to Spend Money to Homeschool

I know. You are getting ready to ask me about paper, pencils and glue... What I mean is you don't have to spend any MORE money to homeschool, then you would be anyway if your children attended a public school.

You would be buying paper, pencils and glue even if your children were going to school! When I
see the amount of money people have to spend on school supplies for their children, I realize that
'public' school's aren't free. Tablets, crayons, pencils...

I have heard stories of children who have to bring paper towels, hand sanitizer, even toilet paper to school!

Since they already get around $10,000 dollars for each child, and in some places more then that, you would think they could afford toilet paper. Considering the fact that the government run schools in our country are still failing, (by all standards) I will guarantee that you can do better on ANY budget.

Yes, I said ANY.

I need to admit something. We qualify for WIC, food stamps and Medicaid for the whole family. At one time in our lives (Before we had children) we lived off of $500 a month in a 12 foot camper trailer. I tell you this because I read the other day that you should not be ashamed of how much money you make. You are there because God has you there. I also want you to know that I know what I am talking about. If we can do this, you can.

First off, you have to know the difference between NEEDS and WANTS. I was talking to my kids about this the other day. I said we NEED more socks. Then I realized that we really don't NEED them, we want them.

We would live with holey socks.

So how do I homeschool? Ink and paper, and the Library.

Progressive Phonics is free. Homeschool Share is free. The Library is free. I spent $60 on Math- U- See this year, and that is our only big expense. The idea that you cannot homeschool if you do not have enough money, is kind of like the idea that you can only homeschool if you are gifted as
a teacher. It is simply not true! If God led you here, he can lead you through!

If you forget about textbooks, workbooks and schoolbooks, and school with what you have or can find, you will be amazed at what can happen. Test scores actually DECREASE as the amount being spent INCREASES! (according to studies by HSLDA)

Have you heard the saying about filling a bucket
or lighting a fire?

If your goal is to light a fire, you can do it best using your children's interests and your
ingenuity! We have chosen to make
our children's education a priority, so if we decide that we should use something for them (Such as our Math- U - See) then we trust that God will give us the money to fill in the gaps in our budget, and we go for it.

If God has led you to nurture your children in your home, then you do not need to worry about HOW you will do it! God sends you what you need, to do what he asks! Now, you may not be doing it the way YOU want to, but you will certainly be doing it the way HE wan't you too, if you use what He sends and step out in faith.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Word Family Printables

I am going to start sharing some of my printables, now that I finally know how! This game is perfect for that child who needs reading practice, but gets tired of READING- in a book or workbook. it is also great for kinesthetic and visual learners, since it involves MOVING things and SEEING. :) However, my auditory 1st grader still loves to do it for a change.

I chose to organize these in word families to start with, but later I hope to add some for different letters, and start doing long vowels for Bop.

DSCN6860 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

zzzzz by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

zzzz by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

zz by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

 All files on this page are copyrighted and may not be used or copied for use outside of your immediate family. Please refer anyone interested to this site. 

Thank you for your understanding! 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/21/10


We has so much fun this week learning about another zoo animal. We continued with our regular math and phonics of course, and Bop worked on lesson 5- Adding 1. She didn't quite finish the lesson and I am hoping she gets it before her worksheets are used up. She is only having trouble with 6, 7 and 8.

She is doing 'L' blends in Progressive Phonics, and moving right along! I am excited to get to the long vowels, because that is when she will really start learning something new. CJ is still working through series 2 in the Alphabetti level, and I am trying to s l o w him down a little. Series 3 isn't ready yet and I am not sure what to do with him next!

And Abby learned a new word!! Eh-phant! She loves to watch the eh-phant movies and read the books. :) And she STOMPS around the house trumpeting and yelling "EH-PHANT!!" :) Every new word is a celebration with her. She has also started saying her name when she sees herself in pictures.

Elephant Masks from SparkleBox!

DSCN6902 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Painting Zoo Animals

aaaaaaaa by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

aaaaa by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

CJ decided to play elephant with crayons for tusks. :)

DSCN6850 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Our fun elephant snack

DSCN6857 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

You take refrigerated biscuits and cut them as shown.
Cover with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. YUMMY!

DSCN6855 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Gluing in the lapbook pieces

aaa by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

TaDa!! Another treasure from Homeschool Share!

aa by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Letter of the Week

'C' is for Caterpillar!!

How many caterpillars on the leaf?

kvh by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Color Matching

DSCN6847 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Hmmm. I wonder how the pom-poms taste?

DSCN6846 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I am Awarded!!

I got my first blog award this week! Yay!! I received the Sunshine Award from Sister Tipster, over at Tell'n It. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

As the recipient of the award, I am supposed to tell you all 7 things about myself, and then pass this award on to seven other blogs. How fun!

1.) I live in the country and I LOVE it. I love my chickens. :) My friends call me Chicken Woman, which I seriously doubt is a compliment.

2.) I wanted to train service dogs for the disabled in highschool. I wrote a 100 (or so) page book on dog training for highschool English. I also wanted to get married, have kids and homeschool.... I guess we know which one won out. Can I just say training kids is SO MUCH more rewarding then training dogs? :)

3.) I am addicted to unit studies, curriculum and finding fun stuff on the internet for my kids to do.

4.) When I started blogging I never thought I would stick with it a month. I never was any good at journaling.

5.) I am a serious tightwad and it drives my hubby nuts. I am learning to relax and have fun though, slowly but surely!

6.) I actually enjoy politics, listening to people talk about it and reading about the ideas our founding fathers had. I love history.

7.) I have a weird love for paper, cardstock, scissors, pencils, notebooks, and I LOVE printing things. I don't know why. And one of the best smells in the world is the binding of a new book. Right up there near brand-new baby smell. :)

8.) I know, it was supposed to be seven.... but I just realized I must be kind of egocentric, because this wasn't hard AT ALL and I think I enjoy talking about myself. :D

Ok, now to pass this award on to other great bloggers!! This is so fun.... (NO particular order here!)

Orange Marmalade Mama (With a yummy name like that she HAD to get an award!)

And I have to include these ladies, though I am sure they have received many awards better then mine. They have all three taught me so much and I feel like I know them... even if we have never met. :)

Ben and Me Marcy is always cheerful no matter WHAT we are all asking her to do for us, and she does a great job as the DNG Review Team leader...plus she knows my co-op leader, Oney, and that is just cool.

Walking by the Way Ami has supplied nearly ALL of our curriculum free through Homeschool Share, and more importantly, provided me with great friends through the HSS Forum. She also makes the BEST lapbooks. :)

Our Busy Homeschool Tristan inspires me every time I read her blog, and she is so encouraging. If she can do it, I can too!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Emergency Cleaning :)

We had a different school day today. What my Mom used to call an "activity day"- we did our Math-U-See and Progressive Phonics, and the rest of the day was spent in fun learning activites. They spent a lot of time on the computer doing educational games and websites. They also did puzzles, coloring, and they played outside.

WHY did we have this fun, unschooling-type day? Well, ot because I am such a wonderful, creative mom. More like because I am not a very good housekeeper. :)

This place was a WRECK and so I took an Emergency Cleaning day. What is an Emergency Cleaning day? It is when you are going to start burning things if you don't get your house clean, so you had better get it clean fast!! No, not really...... well, maybe sometimes.

Here is what I do. (This can also be employed when your second cousin from Florida calls to tell you they are coming through on their vacation and want to stop in and chat. )

  1. Do this BEFORE you need it, not on when you are already on the way to the kid's toy closet with a lighter!!
  2. Get a jar or cup.
  3. Cut up a piece of cardstock or paper into small strips.
  4. Write down the things you need to do on an emergency day.
  5. Fold and put in jar.

Why not just make a list, or as my hubby says, DO IT? Well, if that worked the house wouldn't be a mess, would it? You would already have DONE IT!

Lists are alright for me, for day-to-day chores. But if I see a list with a WHOLE house worth of stuff on it, I will probably not ever start, since it looks too overwhelming to finish. A jar of cards is safe because you can't see what is in it!

You will also probably save the worst jobs for last if you use a list. Again, you can't see what you are getting with a jar.

The other problem I have with intensive cleaning is the clutter. Sometimes you just can't SEE it because it has been there so long. What to do? I used some of those handy strips to put down 'picking-up' chores, too. BUT you need to time yourself! You can thank Fly-Lady for this. So you put something like "Living Room, 5 minutes" on your paper.

I will clean a little bit and then think it looks good enough, so that is that. But if I have to pick up clutter for 5 or 10 or 15 minutes, it forces me to really get in there and get the toys out from under the couch, clean off the side tables, and pick up the little wrappers under the recliner. I have to fill the time!

Don't forget to add some fun things! We have tag, hide and seek and drink breaks in ours, you need that! Just put a time on them, say 5 or 10 minutes, so you don't end up playing tag ALL DAY.

One of the best advantages to this tool? The fact that when your house is overwhelming, you don't start because you don't know WHERE to start. With a jar, all you do is pull out a card and begin.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Fall Expo!

I am pretty excited about this. I have never had the chance to attend one of The Old Schoolhouse Expos, but everyone has been talking, and what they are saying is GREAT. Speakers, ideas, encouragement, PLUS tons of e-books!

It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun
door prizes.

Now you can save $5 per ticket if you register between August 16 and midnight August 22. You'll pay only $19.99, plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books!

You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!

A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.

And guess what? MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket. How neat is that? You can listen again later, whenever you want- in the car, while you are cleaning, whenever you need a good dose of encouragement!

Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr.
Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16. Don't forget to register early
for savings!

The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going
to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the
beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.

If you cannot make the Live event, then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!

You can visit either of these links to get more information.


I am offering this ad in exchange for a free Expo to Go, as a member of the TOS Crew. No other compensation will be paid. This is not a review, as the Expo has not happened yet. ;)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Best Planner in the World!! Really!

I have found the best planner in the world! The 2010 Old Schoolhouse Planner has over 600 pages of articles, forms, calendars, budget sheets, fact lists, links, and so much more! You will find everything you need to organize your school, home, possessions, finances, life and schedule.

You can to read more about The 2010 Old Schoolhouse Planner and go to the TOS store to buy this great tool! Don't go any longer without the Planner of planners!

Planner Ad 3 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

This advertisement is part of a contest in which I received a
Planner and am competing for a prize, as a member of the
TOS Crew. This is not a review, however I did use the
Planner prior to writing this.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review and Giveaway! -Download N Go Roller Coasters

Did you know what gravity was in kindergarten? Did you understand the basics of Newton's laws of motion before 3rd grade? Have you ever wondered why Isaac Newton was called 'sir'?

Welcome to Download-N-Go's Roller Coasters! We have had so much fun with this. On the very first day Bop was running around the living room hollering "I love gravity! I want to do more gravity!" What a start to learning physics!

We learned how the first roller coasters were made, and where they were invented. We learned what country has the tallest coaster, and we watched LOTS and LOTS of videos. I have never been to an amusement park or rode on a roller coaster, so these videos were as fun for me as they were for the kids! Baby Girl especially loved them, yelling "Up, up!" and "Down, down!" while she watched them.

I was very impressed by the quality of videos that were chosen, and I enjoyed watching them in their own Download-N-Go screen, away from all the trash on YouTube.

This study also included lots of fun worksheets, including spaces for drawing, some games, and lapbook pieces. We did not have time to get to the Library before using this study, so we didn't use anything from the book list. Even so, we were not at a loss for things to do. Everything you need is included, as long as you have internet access to go to the links and videos.

If you have younger children, you may have noticed that a lot of unit studies have a few fun things for them, but mainly pass them by when it comes to REAL learning. You will not have that frustration with this Download-n-Go! Even though my kids are 4 and 5, there was only one page they couldn't do, with a little help of course.

A few of the great pages in "Roller Coasters"

And there was definitely REAL learning going on! Every night they couldn't wait to tell Daddy about the neat things they learned, including why balloons fly when you let them go, and when Sir Isaac Newton was born!

We really had a great time with the experiments, too. These were not actually a part of the unit, but they were ideas we got from some of the movies included. We had PLENTY to keep us busy, using just what was there in the lessons, but if you have older children or want to make this a two week study, there are also more links in the back and many books suggested, as well.

Demonstrating gravity

DSCN6713 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Blowing up balloons for our next experiment

DSCN6802 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

All Download-N-Go units are $7.95, and if you buy a bundle you will get a discount. They are appropriate for grades K-4th, but they could be easily altered so older children could join in the learning.

Be sure to read the other Roller Coaster reviews at the Download-N-Go blog. If you want to buy this unit, you can find it here at the Download-N-Go website. You can also check out ALL the Download-N-Go unit studies or download FREE sample pages!

I received this product free of charge for review purposes. I am honest
and fair in my reviews, and I received no other compensation in
exchange for my review.

As part of my review, The Old Schoolhouse has given me a copy of Roller Coasters to giveaway to one lucky family! If you would like to win this unit study, you need to leave a comment, telling me you would like to win this unit study. ;) This giveaway will be open for one week- NEW DEADLINE- TONIGHT, TUESDAY AT MIDNIGHT!!

If you want more chances to win, you can do any of these. REMEMBER, make new comments for each option, to be counted! Have fun!

Option 1: Visit Download-N-Go and tell me what study you would love to get.

Option 2: Follow my blog, or if you already follow, let me know!

Option 3: Blog about my giveaway, and leave the link in your comment.

Option 4: Post about this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter (or both), and let me know using one comment for each.

That gives you a total of six chances to enter! Dont forget to leave your e-mail or another way to contact you-- Good luck, hope you win this fun unit!

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