Thursday, July 29, 2010
To me good customer service is very important. When I am spending my (well technically my husband's) hard earned money on a product or service I want to know that my experience with their product/service matters to them. If we eat in a restaurant and have a horrible experience that is not made right, I don't care how good the food is, we won't go back. If I buy a product from a company and am very displeased with it, or it takes forever to arrive, or you can never get in touch with anyone, I won't order from them again.
The reverse is also true. When a company goes out of their way to ensure that their customers are happy and satisfied, it makes you want to go back and buy more products from them. A few weeks ago I ordered some homeschool products through The Old Schoolhouse Store. Each of the vendors that you buy from ship their own products. For some reason, my order from Visual Manna did not arrive. After a couple of weeks, I contacted The Old Schoolhouse Store (who by the way contacted me back right away and was very helpful in trying to solve my problem) and they contacted the vendor. Within two days, I received a package from them with a note of apology. Unfortunately, it was the CD version of what I ordered, not the book. I contacted the vendor directly and received an email response almost immediately. She apologized profusely and assured me that the correct product was on the way. She also sent me links so I could download their Artsy Animals book and workbook. She really made me feel like I as a customer mattered to her, even though the book that I bought was not even expensive, and went out of her way to make up for the mistake. I will definitely order from Visual Manna again.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I had an opportunity to use it for the first time today. First, I printed out a couple of printables for Christian and Anthony off of http://www.nickjr.com/. Then, we plugged in the laminator. It took about 8 minutes to heat up and we laminated their printables.
While they were having fun, I laminated a few pages for menu planning and weekly school schedules. It was very easy to use and didn't take long at all. I am sure I will find a lot of good uses for my new laminator.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Recently, the children and I had an opportunity to use and review The e-book Travel The World from the Old Schoolhouse Store. Geography can be a very boring subject to teach with the wrong presentation. I was very pleased with using this product and would love to tell you more about it.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Our day is scheduled in blocks of time. My school day schedule looks a little something like this:
7:00-9:00- breakfast, morning chores
9:00-11:00- morning school time. All of the things we work on together (Bible, Art, or special projects ) are done first
11:00-12:30- lunch, cleanup, recess
12:30-2:00-naps (for little one) independent school work
2:00-4:00- productive free time
4:00-5:00- kids clean up toys mom makes supper
5:30-7:00 free time
7:00-8:00-snack baths, bed (for all of the children even though Chelsea can read in her room until 9:30)
8:00-10:00- I get to visit with my husband, use the computer, read, do some small chores that did not get finished during the day.
We also only do schoolwork 4 days a week. Fridays we take off and run errands, go to the park, and buy groceries (yes, they all go shopping with me). Once a week cleaning jobs also get done on Friday afternoon.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I received no compensation for this review it is my own personal opinion.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Science: Abeka 3rd grade Discovering God's World. I am using this text with both boys instead of doing a separate text for 1st and 3rd
History: American History Study starting with the Revolutionary War Time Travelers CD from Homeschool in the Woods
Math: Abeka 1st and 3rd
Language Arts and Spelling (3rd grade) Abeka
Hooked on Phonics Reading (1st grade)
Handwriting: Peterson Directed Handwriting. I had not picked a handwriting program yet and just found out that I will be reviewing this one for TOS.
Art: Visual Manna ABC's of Art
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Arkansas Homeschool Law states that a parent or guardian must file a Letter of Intent (stating your plans to homeschool), and a Waiver Form( stating that the state of Arkansas is not to be held responsible for the education of your child) no later than August 15th (don't be late) to your local Superintendent, or 2 weeks before you plan on pulling your child out of school if the school year has already begun. If it is your first year homeschooling, you must deliver it in person, if not you can send it in the mail. The entire form must be filled out, signed, and dated. That's all you have to do to get started homeschooling in Arkansas. You are not required to go through any kind of interview or questioning by the school board or superintendent. You do not have to give your reasons for wanting to homeschool. The only other regulation we have is that children in grades 3-9 have to take the Math and Reading portion of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills every spring.
Where to find your homeschool forms? Go to www.arkansashomeschool.org. This is the website for the Arkansas Education Alliance. In addition to homeschool forms, they have a lot of information on homeschooling in Arkansas, support groups, transcripts, etc...
If you have any questions that I can answer for you or you need encouragement, leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you or help however I can!
Friday, July 9, 2010
Description:From the back cover, "Common people...Story after story marked by scandal, stumble, and intrigue. Who are these people? They're the people of the Bible. And they're us. We find our hope where they found theirs. In the hands of an uncommon God."
Cast of Characters is a gathering of stories from some of Max Lucado's most famous books. In this book he revisits several biblical characters including: Joseph, Matthew, Woman who washed Jesus' feet, Mephibosheth, the Samaritan Woman, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Abigail, the paralyzed man, John, Paul, the two criminals, Moses, David, Esther, Job, Nicodemus, Jairus, Peter, Paul, Sarah, and the Rich Young Ruler. Each chapter starts with the Scriptures, tells it in a contemporary version, and then talks about the meaning of the Scripture and how it relates to each one of us. There are also reflection/discussion questions at the end of every chapter.
What I Liked: Each chapter is short and concise giving obvious places to stop and start and time to study the Scriptures and go over the questions at the end of each chapter. I enjoyed the conversational tone of the author and the way he relates each story to today. It made me think in a different way and reminded me over and over again that God can and does use ordinary, sinful people like me to do extraordinary things.
My Recommendation: A very good book. Enjoyable to read, study and reflect on. I would definitely recommend this book and leave you with this quote, " The reassuring lesson is clear. God used (and uses) people to change the world. People! Not saints or superhumans or geniuses, but people. Crooks, creeps, lovers, and liars-he uses them all. And what they lack in perfection, God makes up for in love."
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Revolutionary War Time Travelers CD from Homeschool in the Woods $28.95. I love history and am teaching Nick and Alex American History this year. I was looking for a fun, hands on Unit Study for the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and heard about http://www.homeschoolinthewoods.com/. The sample lessons looked great and I got some great reviews. If you are looking for fun hands on history check out this website. They also have a study on Composers and Artists, time line figures, and maps. I can't wait to get it in the mail!
Super Star Speech $18.95- Anthony is almost 5 and is still struggling in his speech. He is such a sweet, smart boy but he gets very frustrated when people can't understand him. I heard about this product through last years TOS Crew Reviews on http://delightinginhisrichness.blogspot.com/. To see the Super Star Speech products go to http://www.superstarspeech.com/
Visual Manna's ABC's of Art $14.95. My children are very artistically talented. I am not. Crafty yes, but my stick figures don't even look good. All of the Art teachers I can remember were not very nice and so Art Class was not fun for me. I wanted to find a book that I could use with all of the children once a week that will teach them more Art type skills and that we can have some fun with. I found this product at http://www.visualmanna.com/.
I ordered all of these from The Old Schoolhouse Store where shipping is always free! I will write reviews on these products after I get a chance to use them.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
1. It takes different forms. What about socialization? Homeschooled children don't know how to act "normal" like their public school peers.....and so on.
I have written other posts on this, but it comes up so often, I thought I would cover it here. First of all, education and "socialization" should be two different things. If your child's main purpose to going to school is to socialize you might want to spend some time thinking about that. Second, there are plenty of social activities that homeschoolers can participate in. We have a homeschool co-op that meets monthly, are very active in 4-H, meet once a week for a play date at the park,regularly visit an assisted living facility, and attend church every week. Third, I find that homeschoolers can relate to people of all ages because they are around more than just people in their own age group. Also sibling relationships tend to be much stronger because of all the time they spend together.
2. I am not "qualified" enough to teach.
There is no one more qualified to teach your children than you. A four year degree does not make you a better teacher. No one knows your child better than you do.
3. I can't teach things like Algebra, I haven't used it in 20 years!
One of my first questions when I started homeschooling was," What happens when her knowledge exceeds mine?" The answer is pretty easy. Help them find a way to learn it. The Internet is a great tool that can be used by your child to learn things you may not know a whole lot about. The library is another tool that can be used. Private lessons, online courses, homeschool c0-ops, a skilled person you may know all can contribute to your child's education.
4. People think the homeschool has to be like public school (7 hours a day, 5 days a week, piles of textbooks...etc)
It does not have to be anything like public school. You can teach whenever it works out better for your family. Some children are early birds and like to get going first thing in the morning, other children learn better in the afternoon. We only spend 2-3 hours a day, 4 days a week on "school." Some children learn better with textbooks, some are hands on learners. There really is no wrong answer. You have the freedom to do whatever works out best for your family.
5.Homeschooling is very expensive.
It really varies. You can spend next to nothing by using the library, Internet, and "real life experiences," or you can spend hundreds of dollars on a "curriculum in a box." You can end up in the middle, buying what you like from different companies. Buying used can help save some money, check out www.ebay.com, Craig's List, or used curriculum sales.
Oh yeah, and one more. Yes, I love homeschooling my children! I thank the Lord every day for a supportive husband and being able to keep them home. Our lives are a little chaotic, my house is never spotless, but we learn a lot together and have a lot of fun!