Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thinking about Charlotte Mason?

I am.  Gentle reading.  Real books.  Nature studies.  Walks outside.  Good habits.  Chronological history.  I am finding that there is much that I appreciate about her methods, and little that I don’t.  So much of this just fits who we are.  I LOVE our unit studies, but I love books more.  And when our unit studies take away from our reading time, they aren’t worth it. 

So when I imagine Charlotte Mason learning, what do I see?  Hours spent outside.  Observing nature, collecting bugs and rocks, learnign everything there is to know about HERE.  Listening, smelling, watching.

I see us snuggled up on the couch reading Charlotte’s Web and Anne of Green Gables.  I see us talking.  Not me talking, us talking.  Discussing, learning together and from each other.  Discoveries.  Passions ignited, and more questions then answers found.  Leading deeper into the heart of learning. 

I see us making nature notebooks, full of leaf rubbing.  Watching bugs grow and change, and butterflies emerge.  I see us knowing the birds by their calls and the trees by their leave.  I see nests and rocks and eggshells scattered on our shelves. 

I see us learning about history, not through facts and dates, but through stores of the people who lived there.  Through imagination and delight. 

So, where did I get this vision of Charlotte Mason’s gentle methods?  A wonderful blog, which has a series all about Charlotte’s ideas, and she puts them in such a plan and simple method that I can’t help but be tempted by them.  If you would like to read more about Charlotte Mason’s method, or the information that you have read before has been confusing, you need to check out these blog posts. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Newest Download N Go


Just in case you haven’t heard… Amanda Bennett and her team just released their newest Download N Go, this time all about one of our most important Holy days.  Easter Promise is a week-long study, which, like all the Download N Go units, incorporates lapbooking with worksheets, online videos, lots of links, and more.  I have been anxious for this study, and I can’t wait to try it out!

Day 1: Who is Jesus?

Day 2: Miracles and Ministry of Jesus

Day 3: Learn About the Last Supper

Day 4: What is Good Friday

Day 5: Jesus’ Resurrection

You can learn more about Easter Promise, and download your own free sample pages, at Amanda Bennett’s Unit Studies

Use the code EASTER2011 for 20% off your whole order!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

I have seen a few of these around, and I thought they looked fun (and easy).  The idea is to answer five questions about yourself, to help your blog readers learn more about you.  I think this is a fun idea, because it is easy to feel like we ‘know’ each other in the virtual world, but we really don’t.  This is a neat way to get more connected with each other, beyond the ideas and information that we always share.


1.  Crunchy or soft tacos?  Soft, mmmm yummy.  The crunchy ones are too crunchy.  ;)

2.  Do you scrapbook?  Yes.  Well, I rarely actually scrapbook, but I have scrapbook stuff, and pictures, and once in a while they come together into something meaningful.  That’s why I wanted to start a blog- virtual, pain-free scrapbooking without the hassle and mess.  Will it replace my real scrapbooking?  Never, but I hope that more of the memories will be preserved this way. 

3.  Do you take any daily medications?  No.  Well, vitamins.  And chocolate. 

4.  What is your favorite sound?  Newborn babies crying.  Top of the list.  Other favorites?  Thunder, paper rattling, accapella  hymns, the wind rustling big cottonwood leaves, mourning doves and meadowlarks. 

5.  Where were you born?  Kansas.  You call tell I am a prairie girl by reading my list of favorite sounds. 



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where I have been…

Okay, I just had to play along.  :)  I saw this fun idea over at Debra’s blog, and she blamed it on Heidi... I also saw that Our Homeschool Reviews had done this too.  I didn’t think that I had ‘been around’ much, but I was pretty surprised when I saw the map.  I think we need to plan a trip to the New England states though!  The sad part is, this all happened before I got married.  We haven’t hardly left the state in the last 8 years! 

I forgot one state.  I have been in Illinois a few times, too.  :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Big IQ Kids Review

What is Big IQ kids?  An online program for math drills, spelling, vocabulary, and state geography.  It is basically a drill program, for those things that need memorized and practiced every day.  There are both free and member versions of the website, but I will leave researching the free section up to you.  You can see a chart with comparisons of the paid and unpaid versions on the Big IQ Kids website.

First I want to quickly talk about the four subjects in the paid membership to Big IQ Kids- spelling, math, State study, and vocabulary.  The spelling program is designed with one lesson each day, and then a test on Friday.  Your child simply clicks on the next button to do the lesson for that day.  The beginning lessons are quite simple.  Bop is on lesson seven, and the words on this list are mainly CVC words such as fun, stun, bun, sun, shun, etc.  There are no phonetic explanations of any of these words, just drills.  There are several activities to do so they are not the same every day.  You can pick from games like robot spelling, spelling bee, and word scramble, along with your expected say-the-word-and-type-it exercises. 
The math program is drills only.  The program automatically starts the child with a certain number of problems to do, I think it was 50.  that was way too many for a 1st grader, so I changed it to 20.  It is very customizable, and I have her doing 15 addition problems and 5 math problems each day.  You can pick from fact families (+2 problems, -7 problems, etc.) but once you get it set up it will advance itself.  When the child meets the program’s standards for that fact family it will move them up.  From +2 to +3, etc. 

The State study program is a little confusing to me, as there is no grade levels in this section.  It was must too hard for a 1st grader, so I did the review for this section myself.  You start by picking a state and then the program tells you a little about it, such as nicknames, cities, industries, etc.  Then you will have a little quiz.  Then you will go on to spelling.  This part has the robotized avatar asking you to spell state names, and you try to type them.  These are not necessarily states that you have learned about statesit the first part of the program.  Next you will do a selection of randomized state capitols.  The avatar reads the state capital and the state, and then you drag it to the highlighted state on the map.  The last section has you typing the abbreviations for each state. 
The vocabulary program uses simple words for the first level, but the way the words are introduced makes it, again, not suitable for first grade.  First, you hear the word read.  Then you read the definition, antonym and synonym.  The computer does not read this part to you, so a higher reading level and a certain level of grammatical understanding are required.  After typing all the words, you are then asked to match the word to it’s correct definition and drag and drop the words into sentences. 
The Big IQ Kids program has animated people with computer voices teaching the child.  They call them avatars, and they sound very much like robots.  When your child successfully completes a lesson he is rewarded with a game coin, which can be used to play games in the game menu.  There are a lot of different kinds of games, but the overall impression that we got is that they are not designed for younger elementary age kids.  Bop could only play a few of them. 
So what did we think?  This does not seem right for our family, at this point.   Personally, the robot voice was extremely irritating and I thought that it was hard to understand.  I was also confused at the vocabulary and state programs which did not seem customizable.  The vocabulary program uses very simple words to begin with, such as ‘center’ and ‘deep’, which most 1st or 2nd graders will already know, and it teaches them using complicated definitions, antonyms and synonyms.  Bop has always had a great vocabulary, but she just could not understand any of it using these methods.  
 states 2
The state program quickly goes through a lot of information, and then expects the child to remember something like the biggest city, or the industry, and answer a multiple choice question.  It is not easy to understand the robots, and Bop really had a hard time listening to the ‘robot’ voice and then answering a question about it.  The next steps in the program have the child spelling names, abbreviations, and learning capitals.  All very good things to learn, but difficult to learn in this way, for an early elementary age child. 
We liked the spelling program a lot more.  It had different ‘games’ to try each day, with the spelling list for that week.  I really appreciated how the lessons are based on word patterns, not a random list.  They are very simple words to start with, but if it’s too easy you can pick different levels.  Bop enjoyed the lessons well enough.  She wasn’t thrilled by them, but if something works and they need it, I don’t really care if they are having the time of their life or not.  And I think (if you want the drill-and-test type of spelling) that this is a great way to do it.

The math program was very simple.  They do math drills in whatever level they are in, and then (eventually) they move on to the next fact family.  Bop knows her addition facts up to 10, but she still has not moved past adding and subtracting 2 in Big IQ Kids.  Why?  She isn’t fast enough.  She will sit there and think about each problem, then think about typing it in, then look at it on the screen and decide if it’s right, and then finally push the enter key.  I have used other drill programs with her, and the same thing happens.  I cannot rush her, because she has to make sure they are all perfect before she hits enter.  I like the math aspect of this program, and I really like how you can hide the clock.  She would have panicked and never typed anything if the clock was staring at her.  The timed drills don’t help her, because she just won’t hurry,  but I think that for most kids this part of the program would be great. 


I think that this could be a great product for unmotivated children, or parents who have trouble drilling consistently.  Because the computer is in charge, the parent doesn’t have to set limits.  If the kids don’t like it, they can blame the program.  :)  The prices range from $19.99 to $99.99, plus an individual program option stating at $7.99.  You can see a list of pricing options at Big IQ Kids, and I would recommend thinking about getting individual programs instead of the package, if you have younger elementary age kiddos.  Big IQ kids is for 1st grade and up, but some of the programs are aimed at the upper elementary grades.

You can visit The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog for more reviews
(hopefully some of them are shorter… God Bless you if you read this whole thing!)
and you can try out all of the free games and lessons at Big IQ Kids

           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.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brill Kids Aesop's Fables Review

Last fall we received a wonderful computer program for the littlest scholars. You can go back to read my review of Little Reader, which Baby Girl still enjoys and asks for. This spring we also got a chance to try out one of Brill Kids’ newest products, a collection of books for the littlest listeners.
 These books are designed to help babies and toddlers learn to read. There are five little books in the set, and they are all easy to understand versions of Aesop's Fables. You can get the whole set for $37.50 from the Brill Kids website.

What is special about these books? They each have the words on one page, with pictures on the facing side. the text is in a different font and color in each book, a feature that is also stressed in the Little Reader program. But the neatest part? The back of the book has a large flap that is used to cover the page. This hides the picture completely, so the little one can follow the words as you read, and learn to recognize and hopefully, read, the words.

Baby Girl loves the books! She is happy because they are her ‘own’, but she likes the stories and pictures, too. She brings them to me all the time, so I can read to her. I thought that the flap might frustrate her, but that's her favorite part! She loves to point her finger at the words while I move it along and read. I was very surprised to see how much she likes to focus on the words! 

The only thing I don’t like about these books? They aren’t the highest quality. The paper wrinkles easily and the cover seems to be flimsy. the pages are thin, almost like magazine pages. But I like the books, I like the idea, and they passed all of the tests that Baby girl gave them. I enjoy reading them, I just wish that they were going to stand up to toddler-hood a little better.

You can read move reviews for this at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.  You will also want to visit the Brill Kids website and check out all their neat stuff. 

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.

Picnics and Tadpoles


Church.  Singing, praying, listening.  Wigglers.  Spilled water and missionaries. 

Lunch.  Tacos in the park.  Family.  Laughter.  “Swing me!”

Time to go home.

Let’s stop and take a walk…  Arkansas river, just a trickle of it’s eventual glory.  Catfish.  Cow pies.  Throwing rocks. 

And then, tadpoles!  Great fat wriggling things in the edge of the water.  The kids were so excited to see them, and they wanted to catch them.  Now, we will have to buy a net and see if we can raise a bullfrog.  I had no idea tadpoles got so big! 


Friday, March 18, 2011

Kite Capers Download N Go


Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest heights…Let’s go fly a kite and send it souring,

Up through the atmosphere, up where the sky is clear…

Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

Oh, sorry.  That song has been in the back of my mind all week because we have been working on our latest Download N Go, Kite Capers!  Who doesn’t love to fly kites?  Or at least, watch their cheery colors while someone else flies them.  Of course, we had to buy some kites before we started this unit, and Bop and Cj were so excited to try them.  It was windy here all week, perfect for their first kite flying adventures!
Before we flew our kites the first time, we got to learn all sorts of things about them.  We learned about kite safety, and the very first people to fly kites.  We learned about wind and clouds, inventors and explorers.  And, of course, we learned a lot about kites!  There are a lot of hands-on activates in Kite Capers, not the least of which is simply flying a kite.  But we also got to learn about how kites fly and make our own kites.  We also got to draw a different kind of kite each day.  Who knew that there were so many different kinds of kites?  Caiden was especially enthralled with the huge octopus kites, and he drew one on each of his pages after he was done drawing the “kite of the day”. 

We loved the embedded video clips, and we felt like we got to visit all sorts of different kite festivals and see the amazing kites.  Divers gently swimming, giant sea rays, dogs and cats… the list goes on.  We even watched the biggest kite in the world lift off the ground!  The video clips are embedded in a special Download N Go page, so they are always safe for little eyes. 

This unit has a copywork page for each day, and I think that is great.  Bop is getting to the age where she needs to be practicing her handwriting, and copying Bible verses about wind is a great way to do that!  She is not used to using single-lined pages, so I added a middle dashes line in between them.  Since the verses are not on the copywork pages, I would copy it down for her on the lines above hers, and we erased my writing after she was done.  it worked great and was a lot easier for her!  They get really bored with regular handwriting, so I appreciate these pages. 
You can read all of the other reviews for Kite Capers at the Download N Go blog, or go right to Amanda Bennett’s Unit Studies to pick up your own copy.  Don’t forget to visit the Kite Capers page to download your free samples!

We love kites!


I received this product free of charge 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 Download-N-Go blog to read more reviews on this product.


$5 Friday at Amanda Bennett’s Unit Studies!

Another great sale you won’t want to pass up.  These four great unit studies are all on sale for $5, today only!  Take your pick or get all three.



  It’s a favorite spring hobby- everyone wants to get their hands in the warm soil and dream of the bounty of summer.  Now your kids can learn all about gardens, and a lot more, too, with this month-long unit study.  For grades K-12. 
Regularly $10.95



Another four-week unit study.  I just know CJ would go crazy for this.  It’s such a good deal for a whole month of learning!  I just might pick this one up myself, since we can use it for grades K-12. 
Regularly $10.95, so this is a good price!

Spring Surprises

Spring Surprises

Everyone loves Download N Go unit studies!  I haven’t had a chance to try Spring Surprises yet, but we just had a great time with the other studies in the seasons series.  This is a great change to get a week-long study and lapbook for only $5.  Plus, I just adore the picture on the cover.  :)
Regularly $7.95

Tremendous Trees


Tremendous Trees

What a neat idea for a unit study!  I bought this one awhile back, and even though we haven’t had a chance to use it yet, I can tell you that it is looking very fun.  These unit study –lapbook combos are created for kids in grades K-4th.
Regularly $7.95.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What is a Moment Worth?


A moment.  A glance.  A fleeting thought…. what is a moment?  You cannot catch it and keep it in a jar, like a bug. Holding it is like trying to hold onto the wind.  You cannot push pause to look at it better.  It is here and gone, most of them pass without us even knowing they came by.  But what is the value of a moment? 

A moment.  A second.  A breath… the first gaze into a newborn’s eye’s and time seems to stop.  A first kiss.  Wedding vows.  That moment when the ring slips on your finger.  Some moments are engraved on our hearts, and the camera of our mind remembers them better then a Canon ever could.  But they are still just moments.

Why do some moments seem seared into our souls, while millions of others slip by each day, without a thought?  Most of the time, moments come and go, each on the tail of the last one, in a seemingly invisible strand of time.  But once in a while, the extraordinary moment stops us.  We pause.  We look.  We notice.  And we hold onto that moment, even if it is just for a second, and it becomes ours.  Sometimes they are the expected ones.  The first cry of the first child.  But other times, they are just seemingly inconsequential and totally ordinary moments.  But somehow, we are able to grasp them, hold them in our hands, and cherish them, for just a moment. 

The ordinary flow of time stops and we are completely surrounded by this moment.  Our senses feel, hear and see everything with amazing clarity and nothing else matters.  This moment is everything.  This moment is eternity.  And then it is gone, like a breath.  But we were there, for an instant.  We held time in our hands and captured it.  We held onto a moment.  Not with a camera, not by journaling, but by living it.  Right there, in that second of ordinary-ness. 

What is the va lue of a moment?  Sometimes, a moment is eternity.  Have you ever lost a child, or talked to a grieving parent?  The last kiss, the last glance, the last goodbye.  Moments that were not noticed at the time, but become more treasured then a thousand jewels.  The moment he looked back and smiled.  The hug before she walked out the door.  The moments that never mattered before suddenly become everything.  What is the value of a moment? 

So, really, what is the value of a moment?  A second?  A glance that stops time?  It’s like asking the value of a cell.  The value of DNA.  The value of a soul.  A moment is everything.  Eternity.  Life. 

A moment is life.  So today, when your little ones are crying and supper is late, when your laundry is piled up and you want to run away… stop.  Just stop everything and hold onto the moment.  You can hold time in your hand.  A breath.  A touch.  A look.  Hold onto it.  Feel it, see it, hear it.  A moment.  Just a moment, nothing great.  But it is everything. 


grey eyes



Linked to Thought-Provoking Thursdays

Friday, March 11, 2011

Free Pyramath Giveaway!


We are giving out free decks of Pyramath to teachers.
Really! Read why. We will send you a free deck of Pyramath or Fractazmic or Prime Bomb

What we are asking  (hopefully not too much to ask)
We BELIEVE all students can succeed in math. We have heard from schools where teachers tell us the students look forward to math, where students skip recess to do math. We will send you a free deck of your selected game. What we want you to do is tell us what you think. We don't care how, we've had over 100 people blog about how much they love the games, some post to our Facebook Page , some just email us. Others have made up games and sent us new games for our cards.

But the real reason is we understand the importance of math and we KNOW PYRAMATH WORKS! You can try it now free, no obligation. If you like it - tell us, if you don't like it tell then tell us!

To get your cards send some information to (she's doing all the mailings) - We want to know your mailing address (we do need to actually mail them to you), what grade you teach and where.

Yes - you can forward this mail to your friends, too!  - this is the link to our web site, that is where you can 
learn more about Pyramath and our other games.

Copyright © 2011 I See Cards, All rights reserved. 
You are receiving this mail because we met you at one of the many conferences like NCTM and you requested more information on Pyrmath, I See Cards, and Fractazmic. 

Our mailing address is: 

I See Cards 
1155 Elm St.Oviedo, FL 32765
Add us to your address book

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hoppin' Popcorn Winner

Congratulations to my Hoppin' Popcorn winner, Susan!

Anonymous said...
 I would like to be entered. Thanks.

True Random Number Generator  Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Monday, March 7, 2011

Reading Kingdom Review

Reading Kingdom is an unusual reading program that utilizes the sight word method.  Now, before you brand me as one of 'those' whole language, anti-phonics homeschoolers you need to know that I believe in phonics,   but I still actually like this program.

What is Reading Kingdom?  Reading Kingdom is an online subscription program that costs $19.99 a month, or $199.99 a year.  (Extra children are $9.99 a month)  They also offer a scholarship program for those who truly cannot afford the price.  There are several levels in the Reading Kingdom, and you can read more about that on this overview page.  I HIGHLY recommend that anyone considering this program read this page, because it also has a lot of informative screen shots that help you see how the program works.

Before we received the review information, I went to the website to learn as much as I could about the program.  I was a little frustrated by the lack of information, so I am going to try to fill you in.  Bear with me, this may be a long review.  You can visit the Reading Kingdom website to learn more about the principles behind their approach, and get your own 30-day free trial.

How does it work?

Once your child is past the very important first steps (Sequencing Skills and Letter Land) you will move on to the lessons.  Each lesson is organized similarly to this:  Your child will see a picture and be asked to type a word, such as "girl" or "eat".  If your child successfully types that word, they will move on, and either be given another noun to try typing, or start learning another word, such as "more" or "the".  (The words that are typically thought of as sight words are not optional and cannot be tested out of.)

school by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere
"If you can type "fly", type it here."

Clicking on the word "kid"
If you child cannot type the word (we will use "eat"), they will go to a screen that has two or three similar- looking words, and has them click on "eat" and "eats".  Once they can do that, they move on to a screen with three pictures, and they will hear a questions such as "click on the one that eats".  After they do that, they will have to type "eats" from memory.  When they type a wrong letter, the word appears and then they are asked to type it again.

After doing that several times, there are a few more games they may go through, all of which center around picking the word out of several and typing it.  They may also type  other words that they already know, or even a whole sentence or more, as they progress.  There is also a game that has several words with letters missing and they pick which one can become "eat", like "_a_".  Then they will fill in the missing letters and make the word.
Fill-in the letters 

One last feature I want to mention is the left-to-right tracking screen.  This screen brings up several short sentences that contain the target word, "eat" 3 or 4 times.  The child must click on each word "eat", in order.  After learning several new words, there is a story for the child to read, complete with animated pictures.

So what do I think?

Seeing Sequences
My initial feelings about Reading Kingdom were not favorable.  It does not use phonics, and the oral instructions are too simple and can be hard for the child to understand.  Seeing Sequences and Letter Land are monotonous and seem to go on forever.

But after using the program for almost 2 months, and after both children moved out of Seeing Sequences and Letter Land, and on through the assessment to the first level, I have very different feelings!  I like Reading Kingdom.  It starts out teaching the children the foundation or left-to-right sequencing, which is so important, and it moves on to teach exactly where each letter is found, and how to make capital letters using the 'shift' key.

Letter Land
There are a few things I wish were different about these sections.  I wish that there was more variety in the games so the kids would not get so bored with it, and I wish that there was a capital-and-lowercase matching activity.  The program never teaches the child specifically which is a capital, so they have to guess at them unless they already know them.  Bop knows them all, so it was easy for her but Cj was getting pretty frustrated.  This does not detract from the program, it is just something to know about ahead of time and prepare for.

My favorite part of the program?  It teaches sight words, but they are not just learning to LOOK at them.  They learn to type, read and recognize the words, even in the middle of a story.  And once they have learned a word, it is not just put on a shelf, they use it in later lessons, over and over again.   They do not learn to write the words physically but that is out of the scope of the program.  They do learn to spell each word perfectly, which was completely unexpected to me.  I love that!

How did the kids do?

DSCN8647 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-SphereBop loves Reading Kingdom.  She is at a reading level that is somewhere around grade 1 1/2, but we have really had trouble with the sight words like "they" and "or".  So this program is just what she needed.  She has gotten through all of the basic levels of phonics instruction and can sound out almost anything, if she puts her mind to it.  This program really gave her confidence by giving her the ability to read fluently- to look at a word and know it.  She was able to quickly understand what to do in each section of the program with minimal confusion, and I am happy to report that after only two months she has moved on to level 2!

CJ has had a much harder time.  He cannot use the program alone, because he has trouble comprehending the nuances of what to do where.  He is also highly distractable right now, and every thing in the program is timed.  One distraction and the program assumes that he does not know whatever word it is.  He also has had more trouble memorizing the words and the spellings, so he is moving through the levels much slower then Bop.  That is not really surprising, he is only 4.  The program says to expect 10-15 weeks for each level, so at that rate he is moving along quicker then average.

My final word

I really like Reading Kingdom.  It has its flaws, but overall I think it is an excellent program.  I would recommend it for children who have already had some phonics training (beyond just knowing the letter sounds, which Reading Kingdom DOES NOT teach) and who are ready to start reading fluently.  I would also recommend it for older children who need some remedial reading help.  They won't feel like they are using a program for 'little kids' and the program is excellent at tailoring itself to each child's abilities.

Typing the word after
selecting the correct picture.
I do NOT recommend it as the only method of reading instruction for younger children.  It is just pretty hard for them to find all the keys quickly enough and remember the words to type.   Wait a few years, and then it will be so much easier for them!

I also recommend signing up a parent account when you set up your free trial.  Your child will likely be in Letter Land and Seeing Sequences for the whole period of the trial, so you won't be able to get to the heart of the program to see for your self how it works.  Set up an account for yourself, test out of the first foundational sections, and do some of the lessons in level one or two.  Then you will be able to have a much better idea of how it works.

Be sure to read through the other reviews, which include a lot of diverse situations, including older remedial children, younger beginners, and some learning disorders such as dyslexia.  And don't forget to sign up for your free 30-day trial of Reading Kingdom!

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.
to read more reviews on this product.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rising Early

She riseth also while it is yet night, 
and giveth meat to her household  
Proverbs 31:15a

I used to get up around 5:00 every morning.  I would fix hubby a warm breakfast and pack his lunch, clean the kitchen, make sure school was ready for the day, and start a load of laundry.  And spend some time with my Lord.

Well, lately it has been closer to 7:00 every morning when I rise, and that is when the kids get up too.  This started because my husband got a new job and doesn't leave as early.  But it has continued because... well, to be honest, like most mothers with little ones, I like to sleep.  Even though my youngest is 2 1/2, I still regularly get interruptions in the night, whether for a glass of water, take someone to the potty, or bad dreams.  But lately sleeping in has become, in stead of a luxury, more of a bad habit.

Yesterday, for some reason, (maybe it's the lengthening days) I woke up at 5:00 and got out of bed at 6:00.  My, what a difference!  I felt energetic from the start.  I did several things around the house before the kids got up, then while they had breakfast I sat down and wrote a review for tomorrow.  I was all done with that early and it is a LONG one.

Put simply, I was amazed at how easily I had gotten used to sleeping later, and what a difference it made to get up even a little earlier.  Many people say that there are only 24 hours in a day, but rising earlier can give you and extra hour or two all to yourself!  What a treat for a busy homeschooling mama with several "ankle-biters", as Kevin Leman would say.

And the best part?  Nothing can replace time spent alone with God, to pray, meditate and prepare for the day.  This is the best way I have found to live each day on purpose.  If you start each day with eternity on your mind, how can you help but raise your children with the big picture in front of you?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Giveaway! Hoppin' Popcorn Download N Go

Popcorn.  How many things are there to learn about popcorn?  Well, if you use Amanda Bennett's Download N Go there is a lot to learn!  We got to do some state studies, history, science, and more.  We learned how the popcorn pops, visited a virtual popcorn museum, and we (of course) ate a lot of popcorn!

Your kids will have so much fun with Hoppin' Popcorn, that they fay forget this is 'school'!  But you won't forget, because there is a lot of learning packed into this unassuming subject.

Day 1: Popcorn—What Is It?
Day 2: The Story of Popcorn
Day 3: The Flavors of Popcorn
Day 4: The Science of Popcorn
Day 5: Fun With Popcorn

We always have a lot of fun with that last day.  Games, party ideas, printables, fun movies, and more.  Have you seen the pages from the Download N Go studies?  wow, they are so bright and colorful, the kids love them!  The drawing pages are always a favorite, because they combine colorful background or fun borders with drawing ideas.  You can download samples of the pages in Hoppin' Popcorn, which is excellent because I always like to see something before I buy it!

One of the fun features in Hoppin' Popcorn are the the beautiful pictures with poems and Bible verses on them.  These are a fun way to get older kids involved in the study, through copywork and memorization.  My kids aren't old enough to do long copywork yet, but there are still ways to use these to your advantage.  You can even pick one of these pages and have them copy a portion each day.  

We really loved Hoppin' Popcorn, so I couldn't resist the chance to show off a little of my kids' fun schoolwork.  :)


DSCN8868 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

DSCN8876 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere
DSCN8864 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere Growing popcorn!

Watching the pops....

DSCN8870 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

DSCN8881 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere
DSCN8884 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere
We did a fun experiment 

to demonstrate how steam blows up a popcorn kernal. We ran out of water in our pan before the balloon was all blown up, but we got it large anyway!

You can see all of the Download N Go unit studies at Amanda Bennett's Website.  For more reviews go to the Download N Go blog or click on the links below.

I received this product free of charge 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 Download-N-Go blog to read more reviews on this product.


Now for the giveaway!  

This giveaway will be a short one, so you need to have your entries in by TUESDAY the 8th.  Sometimes it is nice to just enter and be done, without leaving 5 or 6 comments, so this giveaway is going to be EASY!  Just leave a comment.  Tell me you what you like about my blog, about Download N Go unit studies, or just tell me you want to be entered!

Now, if you WANT to follow my blog or talk about this giveaway on Facebook and Twitter, I will be delighted, but for the contest all you need to do is leave one comment.

Have fun, and good luck!  

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