Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TOS Review; K 5 Learning

K5Learning is an online enrichment program for children in grades K-5th grade.  The program is customizable for each student and an assessment is available so the program will know exactly where your child needs to begin.  K5 organizes, provides full  instruction, and quizzes your child while allowing them to progress at their own pace.  Children don't just watch the lessons, they interact with the animated role model characters that are on the screen.  K5 covers 4 areas of learning:

K5 Reading-covers phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension.
K5 Spelling- is an advanced vocabulary program increasing language skills one at a time.  It contains a 150,000 word database and automatic word generation.
K5 Math - covers numbers and operation, geometry measurements (including time and money), algebraic thinking and data analysis.
K5 Math Facts-uses adaptive technology to help children gain instant recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  Progress is monitored until mastery of every fact is obtained.

To view sample lessons click here.

You can sign up for a free 14 day trial of K5 learning by clicking here.  You do not need a credit card for the free trial.

A monthly subscription to K5 is $25 for the first child and $15 for each additional child.  An annual subscription is $199 for the first child and $129 for each additional child.  Subscribe by clicking here.

I love that K5 is a web based program with nothing I have to download to my computer.  There are NO ads, chats, or external links that your children can click on.  They enter the site and stay there.  Alex (8) could use the program all on his own and I could easily view his progress through the parental reports.  I love the amount of instruction that is given during the lesson.  The lessons are read to you which is great for those who have a struggling reader.  My son's ability to do his Math problems did not suffer because of his inability to read at a level equal to his Math skills.  K5 is NOT a program that contains mindless games for children to play.  They are working and learning in a fun and interactive way.  I thought that the graphics were really well done and not overly distracting.

While I thought the "voices" in the Math section were very well done and did not sound at all like a computer, that did not hold true in the spelling section of the program.  We had a hard time understanding many of the spelling words.  They can be repeated, but that didn't help. Some have pictures, but not all of them.   Luckily they do contain sentences that we could figure out the word, although some of the reading of the sentences were just as hard to understand. 

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

I received a complimentary 2 month subscription to K5 Learning for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


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Secrets to Homeschooling a Crowd

Someone asked me the other day how in the world could I homeschool so many children.  She was overwhelmed by homeschooling one and worrying about the next year when they would be homeschooling two.  She wanted to know what my secret was and how I was able to homeschool so many children.

The truth is (and it may surprise you unless you know me in real life) I am terrible at being organized or sticking to a schedule.  People think because I have so many children that organization must be one of my strengths (that and patience which is also not one of my automatic strengths.)  While I am not that great at sticking to a very structured schedule, I do think that routine is important and it does help to keep us organized.  Instead of scheduling every hour of the day, our day is broken up into blocks of time.  We have a block of time for: breakfast and morning chores, morning schoolwork, lunch and recess, afternoon schoolwork, media time, productive free time, evening chores, free time, and bed.  Using blocks of time helps the children by being on a routine but still gives us some freedom and flexibility.

Since I am not great at organization, I tend to rely on curriculum that is.  I like to use curriculum that has a suggested schedule to follow so I don't have to come up with one myself.  It doesn't mean I will always stick to the exact recommendations, but pretty close to it.  I also think that it helps my High School daughter to be able to stay on track.

Something else that really helps me is homeschooling 4 days a week.  I really need that extra day to not have to focus on school.  Instead we can have some fun (like our Art class and going to picnic in the park when possible) and take care of grocery shopping and other errands.  We also try to get some cleaning done that we don't have time for during the school week.

One of my "secrets" that may be shocking especially if you do not homeschool is that we do not spend 6 hours a day on schoolwork.  Usually my 2 and 4th graders spend 2.5 hours at the most.  My 10th grader spends about 4.5 hours per day.

Okay, so those are tips for homeschooling in general, what about the day to day homeschooling of so many children?  Well, even though  I have 7 children, only 3 right now have to complete all of our subjects.  I do not homeschool preschool.  That's right.  I do not require my preschoolers to "do school."  They are in the room listening in with the others and participate as interested.  I do spend time specifically with my preschoolers  every afternoon reading, and then coloring, counting, playing, doing fun educational things with them.  It is not a long period of time (about 30 min during the older children's media time) that we just enjoy doing things on their level.  I also do not require my Kindergartener to complete every subject.  He too listens in and participates when he wants to.  He does do some writing and reading everyday.

The biggest thing that I think helps a homeschool family with many children be successful is to work together when you can.  This can be challenging when there is a big age span (there are 5 years between my oldest and second children) but when it is doable it makes life much easier.  There are many curriculums made especially for homeschool families and multi level learning.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to do a separate curriculum for each one of their age levels! We do history as a group using Mystery of History.  We read the lessons, do memory cards, timeline, and mapping altogether.  Chelsea does the activity part on her own since they are more in depth for high school, and I do activities with the rest of the children.  We do Bible as a group using Apologia's Who Am I?  I do Science with the boys together.  I am using All About Reading with Alex and Anthony.  What we can do together, we do together.

The second big thing is that as they get older, allow them to teach themselves.  I spend very little time "teaching" my 10th grader.  I am always available when she has a problem, or would like to discuss some things that she is learning.  But, the majority of her education  is her responsibility.  She decides (with guidance of course) what she would like to study for the year.  We seek out affordable curriculum that allows for self directed learning (like Math U See, Apologia, Classical Academic Press etc..)  She even grades her own Math quizzes and tests.  I look over her work and evaluate her papers.  The rest is up to her.  I believe the skills she is learning now by directing her own learning will better prepare her for college and life.

Even my boys are responsible to a point of doing what work they can on their own.  My 4th grader does his Latin and Writing all on his own.  I teach him any new concepts in Math and the rest he completes on his own. 

Some of my other "secrets" to homeschooling a crowd can be true when only homeschooling one or two children.  I have to limit outside distractions.  I do not answer the phone (or texts) during our school times.  I also do not use the internet or if I have to I go straight to the site I need.  The computer can suck me in (especially if I check my email or facebook real quick.)  Those distractions can get our day behind and then I never get caught up.  If I get off track, I can also forget to go and take care of the things I needed to in the first place.  I also have learned to be able to teach with noise and distractions.  When you have children there is going to be noise!  We try to keep them busy with quiet things while I am reading but there will be times when there is background noise and I just have had to get used to it.  I also have learned that I have to forgive myself.  There are going to be days where I forget to evaluate a paper or realize I haven't looked at Nick's Math all week.  Some weeks are like that and it will be ok.

Homeschooling to me is not something to be looked on as just another chore that mom has to complete (like folding socks.)  I enjoy having the opportunity to teach my children.  I enjoy the blessing of being home with them and watching them learn and grow.  Whether you have one child or 20, homeschooling is doable and enjoyable for you and your child.

So, homeschooling mamas.  Any other tips or tricks you would like to share when homeschooling more than one child?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Seventh Generation Prize Pack Review and Giveaway!

Welcome the newest arrival of products from Seventh Generation that are gentle on baby, safe for the planet, and convenient for you, not to mention “Lorax approved!”


In partnership with Universal Studios’ motion picture debut of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax* also known as the “Speaker for the Trees” who brings environmental truth and ecological hope to all, Seventh Generation will feature limited edition Lorax prints on all our diapers and training pants.  These prints are intended to remind parents and caregivers of the lessons of The Lorax, and encourage family reading and environmental awareness while creating a few smiles.  Discover (or rediscover) Dr. Suess’ The Lorax as you read about his legacy and messages of sustainability with your child, and inspire a new generation of environmentalists starting with your family!

Be among the first to try these new products before they hit store shelves and rest assured that with every Seventh Generation purchase you’re helping to protect the planet for future generations!
  • NEW Overnight Diapers are absorbent enough to keep your baby and bedding dry through the night or during prolonged travel
  • Free & Clear diapers have improved more flexible tabs that provide even better fit
  • Free & Clear training pants have an absorbent core made with more renewable, plant-based materials.  They also feature stretchy, tear away side panels for a better fit and added convenience, as well as inner leak barriers for superior leakage protection
  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear baby care products do not contain chlorine, fragrance, petroleum-based lotions or latex, and all Free & Clear products are also hypo-allergenic
  • Starting March 2, you can register for a free The Lorax scrapbook with the purchase of any three Free & Clear diaper products, until supplies last


We received from MyBlogSpark, a package of Seventh Generation Free and Clear training pants and a copy of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax.  We love Dr. Seuss and the children really enjoyed reading The Lorax.  In case you are not familiar with the story, the Lorax is a book that shows in a way only Dr. Seuss can why we need to pay attention to what we do to the environment because everything that we do affects other creatures and things on this earth.  Everywhere in the world we are in danger of losing real life Brown Bar-ba-loots, Swomee Swans, Humming-Fish, Truffula Trees and the forests they inhibit.  The Lorax teaches children that they can play an important role in taking care of our world.

My almost 3 year old daughter has been trying out the training pants.  She likes that she can put them on and take them off by herself.  The training pants have been keeping her dry even though she is not really using the potty regularly yet.  The sides are stretchy and easy to tear when changing.  I also love that the training pants are hypo allergenic! 

Giveaway!!!!

You have an opportunity to enter a giveaway for a prize pack including a copy of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax and a package of Seventh Generation Free and Clear Diaper product.

To enter leave a comment answering the following question, "Which of the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diaper products are you most interested in trying with your family in an effort to become more eco-conscious?"

For an extra entry you can go "like" Seventh Generation on facebook and leave a comment on my blog telling me you did.

For another entry you can follow me with GFC, Networked Blogs, or Linky Followers or tell me that you do.


Giveaway will close on at 11:59 pm 3/6/2012.  Please make sure to that I have a way to contact you in your blog comment (ex. email address.)  Winner will be chosen at random.



“Disclosure:  The Seventh Generation Diapers prize pack, product and information have been provided by Seventh Generation through MyBlogSpark."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chrysalis and Crayfish

All of our caterpillars have formed their chrysalis!  It has been so interesting watching the caterpillars grow everyday and seeing them form their chrysalis.  I am so impressed that all 5 survived.  We moved them to the butterfly garden today and the children are anxiously waiting for them to come out.

Chelsea worked ahead in her Apologia Biology Book and ended doing another dissection today.  She had to dissect a crayfish.  She thought it was interesting but harder than dissecting the earthworm.  The boys enjoyed watching her.  nick (10) says that when he takes Biology he hopes he has an iPad and an app so he doesn't have to do it for real. 

And She's Off....

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Emelia has really gained confidence in her ability to walk!  She is walking almost all the time now!  This is a video I took this morning.  Please ignore the mess of blankets in the background that the children carry down and snuggle under in the mornings.

Menu Plan Monday 2/27/12

Today my daughter turned 15!  I am so proud of the young lady she has become!  One of the things we do for each child on their birthday is let them choose their birthday meal.  Chelsea's birthday meal was added this week when I was planning the menu, right down to the type of cake she wanted.  I love having them choose the cake that they want and being able to make it for them.  It makes the birthday more special.

This week's menu:

Fri 2/24-pizza
Sat 2/25- oven fried chicken, potato salad, corn
Sun 2/26- pork chops, rice, spinach salad with strawberries and raspberry vinaigrette dressing
Mon2/27- chicken broccoli alfredo, bread sticks, chocolate chip cookie cake
Tues 2/28- Blt's, cantaloupe, chips
Wed 2/29-meatloaf, mashed potatoes, stir fry veggies
Thurs 3/1- baked potato soup, homemade bread

Visit www.orgjunkie.com for wonderful menu planning inspiration.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review: God Gave Us Love by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Board Book $6.99

Overview

As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others…even the seemingly unlovable.

“Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.”


In a sturdy format, ideal for the littlest hands at storytime, bedtime, or anytime, God Gave Us You assures each child that he or she truly is a treasured gift from the Lord.


We had already had a chance to review God Gave Us You, the first book in this series and loved it!  We were glad to have the opportunity to review God Gave Us Love.  The book is a sturdy board book and perfect for little hands.  The illustrations are adorable!  The idea of a book teaching children that God gave us the different kinds of love is a good one.  But, I have to admit that the story was disappointing.  The conversations between the grandpa and the little cub are strange, not at all like a normal dialogue between grown up and child.  The flow of the story is also strange.  I have a hard time reading it because it seems like parts of it are out of place. 

I received a complimentary copy of God Gave Us Love from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

TOS Review: Reading Eggs



A few months ago, there was a new vendor added to the upcoming vendor list for the TOS Crew.  I always like to check out the websites from the different vendors to see what kind of homeschooling products they have to offer.  I was visiting the Reading Eggs website when my 6 year old came up behind me and said, "Cool!  Can we review that?"  All it took to capture his interest was a couple of minutes visiting the website.  I was thrilled to be chosen as one of the reviewers for Reading Eggs and am happy to say Anthony has been very happy with his job as my product reviewer.

Reading Eggs is a unique online world where children ages 4-8 learn to read using interactive animation, fun games, songs, and rewards.  Each lesson builds on the one before and teaches the 5 skills necessary to become a good reader: phonemic awareness and phonics, sight words, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.  There are three levels with 40 lessons each level: level one for absolute beginning readers, level 2 for emerging readers, and level 3 for building confidence for early readers. An assessment test ensures that your child will be placed at the correct level. Children are able to progress at their own rate.  Parents are able to see their child's progress quickly and easily through their dashboard.  After 10 lessons are completed, the child takes a quiz in order to go on to the next set of lessons.  If they do not pass the quiz, they go back and review the previous lessons.  Parents are sent an email report of how well their child did on the quiz.

Screen shot of assessment quiz
Screen shot of reading eggs map
Reading Eggs is a program that can grow with your child.  In addition to Reading Eggs for ages 4-8, they also offer an area for children ages 7-13 called Reading Eggspress.  Reading Eggspress is packed full of over 600 factual and fiction books for 24/7 online reading and games for the older child to continue developing their reading skills. 

You can view a sample lesson of Reading Eggs by clicking here.

You can sign up for a free 14 day trial by clicking here (no credit card required for sign up.)

A monthly subscription is $9.95 per month.  A 6 month subscription is $49.95 and a 12 month subscription is $75.00.  They also offer book packs to go along with the Reading Eggs online program.  Click here for more information. 

Anthony loves "playing Reading Eggs!"  In fact, he asks to play it every day. The first day he was on it, I had to sit with him to make sure he knew how to do everything, and after that day he has played it all on his own.  I love that it is so easy to use and nothing had to be downloaded to my computer.  There are NO ads on the site (hooray for that!)  Even with our less than speedy internet, the games load very quickly.  So quickly in fact that Anthony's one complaint about Reading Eggs is that he doesn't get time to play the little games that come up when the next topic is loading because it loads so fast.  We have never had trouble with the site freezing or any other technical difficulties. 

There is a lot of variety in the different activities that the children play.  It is not the same activities for every letter so your child will not get bored.  Anthony's favorites include: spinning the word wheel, hopping frogs across the lily pads, putting pets in the correct cages, and letter tiles.  Anthony loves seeing how many golden eggs he has gathered after doing each activity.  At the end of each level is a book that your child can choose to read himself or have the computer read to him.

I think Reading Eggs would be a fun supplement to any reading program.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

I received a complimentary two month subscription to Reading Eggs for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.
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Art Class 2/24/12

This week the children spent their entire class time (2 hours) working on one project.  They were making medallions out of geometric shapes.  They could do it how ever they wanted they just had to include at least one circle, triangle, and square.  They also had to fill the paper.  After they finished drawing, they had to add color using pencils, chalks, or both and then out lining areas they wanted to be bold with a black sharpie.  The they made a frame for it out of two pieces of construction paper and stored it in their portfolios that they designed and decorated themselves. 

Anthony had a bit of a hard time because he got very frustrated trying to make his look just like the teacher's example.  After having a long conversation with him about how it wasn't going to be exactly the same because it would be his not hers, he decided to give it another try.  Once he got going with it he did quite well.

Lily and Christian did do some drawings with crayons, but mostly they just played.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Bunny's New Home

Last spring we got 2 New Zealand rabbits for the children to raise as a 4 H project.  Sadly, our female bunny died of heatstroke which is a big problem for rabbits especially in the south in the summer.  After she died, I learned a great trick to prevent this from happening.  All you need to do is freeze a plastic water bottle and put it in the cage with the rabbit.  The rabbit can rub on the water bottle and keep its body temperature down.  During our hottest days of summer last year, the boys would change out the water bottle several times a day.

Snow, our male rabbit has done very well and has gotten really big.  The boys wanted to build a rabbit hutch for him to live in instead of keeping him in the cage.  So, with the help of their daddy and some scrap material, they were able to build a hutch very inexpensively.  They would like the bunny to be able to come down a ramp and graze in the yard, but we will have to get some fencing to be able to do that.

 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TOS Review: All About Reading Level 1


Teaching children to read is one of the scariest things for homeschooling moms.  It sounds easy enough, so why do we worry so much?  We know that if we fail at teaching them to read, they will struggle with everything else.  We want to provide our children with the best education possible and a huge part of that is the ability to read.  Parents who are teaching a child who is already struggling to read due to dyslexia or other reading problems carry a heavier weight.  Especially when you have a child that wants so badly to be able to read and their brain simply cannot make sense of the letters and blending them together.  I have had the opportunity to review All About Learning Press's All About Reading Level One program and it has been a huge answer to prayer!

I already was a huge fan of their All About Spelling program, and can't even put into words how excited I was to be able to review All About Reading Level One.  I really wanted to try it out with my 6 year old son who is ready to learn how to read and with my dyslexic 8 year old son who wants to be able to read  but has been having trouble blending and making the connection between letters and their sounds (although he has made huge improvements since we started  All About Spelling Level 1.)  Not only did we receive the complete set of All About Reading Level One to review, we also received the Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit!

All About Reading is a complete, comprehensive, scripted open and go reading program based on the Orton-Gillingham approach and latest research.  It is mastery based and customizable so children can go at their own pace and feel a sense of accomplishment.  The multi sensory approach teaches children the way they learn best through sight, sound, and touch.

When you order  All About Reading Level One ($99.95) you will receive 5 items:

Teacher's Manual click here for a sample
Student Packet (including activity book) click here for a sample
Run Bug Run Reader click here for a sample
The Runt Pig Reader click here for a sample
Cobweb the Cat Reader click here for a sample


You also can choose to buy the materials individually or purchase an extra activity book if you are using the program with more than one student.  To order click here.


To teach with the All About Reading method, you will need to purchase one of the Interactive Kits.  It is a non consumable one time purchase that can be used with the other levels of All About Reading.  The Deluxe Interactive Kit ($48.95) includes:

Letter Tiles
Magnets for letter tiles
Basic Phonograms  CD- Rom (for PC or Mac)
Reading Divider Cards
Reading Review Box
Reading Tote Bag
Star Stickers

You can also order the Basic Interactive Kit ($28.95) which includes the first 4 items of the Deluxe Kit or any of the components separately.  To order click here.

 Anthony (6) and Alex's  (8) reading abilities are very close together.  We have been able to work together with the All About Reading program by taking turns reading word cards, doing activities, and reading.  They even take turns putting stickers on the progress chart. I have enjoyed being able to work with them  and watch them helping each other out.

There are so many different kinds of reading programs that are available.  What is it about All About Reading that makes it special?  Here is what I love about the All About Reading program:
  • The plans are written in such a way that there is no teacher preparation required for the daily lessons.  We just open the book and go.  The only preparation is when the curriculum arrives.  You will need about an hour to put the magnets on your letters and set up your board and reading box (more about that in a minute.)   
  • With the exception of the student activity book and star stickers, the materials are non consumable and able to be used with multiple children.  
  • The program teaches how children learn best through sight, sound, and touch.  The idea of using letter manipulatives is ingenious!  The magnets have made the connection for my dyslexic son and finally made reading make sense to him.
  • The activities in the activity book are fun!  My boys loved feeding words to the monster, playing a gift box game, and matching words with pictures.
  • The readers are hard cover, beautifully illustrated stories.  The books are very sturdy and will definitely last through multiple children.  My boys are so proud to have a book that they can read all by themselves!
  • The program is complete teaching 5 different components of reading: phonological awareness, phonics and decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension with each lesson building on the one before.
  • It is customizable to the child.  You continuously review words and sounds until they are mastered.  Each lesson begins with the items that need to be reviewed before going on to new teaching.
  • I enjoy teaching it!  So often I get burned out teaching things that I find boring.  All About Reading makes it fun for them and me!
  •  All About Learning Press has a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.  You have one full year to try out their program.  If at any time during that year you find the program does not meet your needs you can return the materials for a full refund no questions asked!  You will also get lifetime support.  If you ever have a question or problem they are there to help.
  •  What I love most about All About Reading, is that it works!  Both my 6 year old and 8 year old are now able to read!  I can't even fully explain what that means to both my 8 year old and I, especially since I feared he would never would be able to read.  We have completed lesson 19 out of 49 and I am so impressed already with what they are learning and reading everyday. 

You may be wondering if there is anything else you will need to use the program.  A magnetic white erase board is helpful , although not completely necessary.  If you have a magnetic board, you can leave your letters set up making your lesson time easier.  If you do not have one or want to buy one, you can use the letters on your table top and put them away when you are finished.  Also, you will need a box for your sound and word cards.  A box comes with the Deluxe Interactive Kit, but an index card box will work just fine.  You will also need crayons (if your child likes to color), scissors, and glue.  We keep these supplies stored in our All About Reading tote bag with all of our All About Reading books and cards.  My boys like to save their worksheets after they finish them, so we punch holes in them and place them in a 3 ring binder. 

Other items available from All About Learning Press include: All About Reading Pre-One ( I am planning on buying it for my Pre-K and Kindergartner next year) and All About Spelling (we use it and love it!)

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a complimentary set of All About Reading Level One materials and Deluxe Interactive Kit for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

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*links used in this post are my affiliate links

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Caterpillars, Bugs, and Worms

When I was in school I strongly disliked Science.  I thought it was the most boring subject in elementary and middle schools, and then in high school not only was it boring but it was really hard!  When I started homeschooling, I really wanted learning to be fun for the children.  I wanted to be able to feed their interests and their passions even when it is something that I am not particularly excited about myself.  Now, that doesn't mean that they love everything we do all of the time (just ask Nick about fractions), but we try to make it as fun and interesting as we can.

The boys have been using Apologia Science Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day this year.  They have loved it!  So far they have learned about birds, bats, pterosaurs, and we have just started insects.  The insect section has been their favorite so far.  So much so that we have ordered a few extra items to feed their interest.  We purchased a critter habitat so they can catch and observe live insects (ask me how many times the critter has been let out in the house.)  We also purchased a butterfly garden and ordered Painted Lady Caterpillars so we can watch them turn into butterflies.  Then we got to the section on starting a bug collection.  The boys really wanted to catch and pin insects.  So, they bought a kit to get them started.  They are really enjoying this project (maybe a little too much?)  Every time I turn around there is a new bug in the killing jar.  They need to work a bit on the identifying and labeling aspect, but they are having fun and learning at the same time.

caterpillars
bug collection
Chelsea has been using Apologia's Biology this year.  She is really enjoying it too.  So much so that she is way ahead of where she is supposed to be and will finish early if she keeps up at this pace.  She had her first dissection of an earthworm the other day.  Even though she thought it was going to be gross, she ended up thinking it was really cool.  The rest of the children enjoyed watching her too.


I purchased the dissecting specimens and supplies, butterfly garden, and critter habitat from Home Science Tools.  I think the quality of their items and their prices are really good.  I wish they packaged their items better for shipping, but I have never had anything damaged.  The butterfly garden came with a coupon to order free larva from www.insectlore.com with a $5 shipping charge.  The Entomology Lab we ordered from Ebay.  I think it is pretty decent for just starting out.  If the boys keep up with it, I will order them a better display case.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 2/20/2012

I am hoping this week that putting this menu plan up will help me stay on track since I lost my written menu plan and I had to make a menu change after grocery day due to a request from my hubby.

Fri 2/17-pizza
Sat 2/18- spaghetti
Sun 2/19- porkchop casserole, biscuits, applesauce
Mon 2/20-sloppy joes, tator tots, peaches
Tues 2/21- chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese
Wed 2/22- steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Thurs 2/23- breakfast

Go to www.orgjunkie.com for some great menu inspiration.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Art Class 2/17/2012

Since February is Black History month, the lessons and projects she had the children do had to do with the slaves and the secret messages they used to escape.  We did three projects, A layered chalk drawing containing a secret message, a camouflage picture puzzle that they taped to a "spotting scope" (empty paper towel roll), and a drawing of their family story (or whatever kind of story they wanted to draw in a series of pictures.)  We also got to bring our pottery home.


Blue tongue from drinking blue Koolaid, not from eating markers



Friday, February 17, 2012

February 4 H Cloverbud Meeting

For our February Cloverbud meeting, we had a presentation from Arkansas Game and Fish.  The same woman has come to our club for the last several years and presented different programs to us and has done a wonderful job with the children.  She speaks and teaches on their level and always has skulls, furs, feathers, and other cool things for the children to look at.  We have done a program on Arkansas Wildlife, Bears, and last night's was on Wild Turkeys.  She started out asking the children about different vocabulary relating to turkeys.  Then she read a book full of information, stopping to ask questions as she went through.  Then they had an opportunity to strut around the room like turkeys and practice different turkey calls.  Then we "dressed" Alex like a turkey using different things (like sunglasses for good vision) to show different attributes that turkeys have.  We got to sing a turkey song, and examine all the furs of turkey predators.  It was a very interesting and educational meeting.  Next month, we will be doing a meeting on bugs. 

TOS Review: Who Am I and What Am I Doing Here?

Last year I had the pleasure to review the first book in Apologia's What We Believe Series, "Who Is God and Can I Really Know Him?"  You can find my review on it here.  I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review the second book in the series, "Who Am I and What Am I Doing Here?"  We received the whole set of "Who Am I" products including: the textbook, notebooking journal, audio CD's, and coloring book.

Children are bombarded daily with all kinds of different messages about truth, morality, beauty, identity, faith and much more.  It is important that we equip our children to be able to discern between competing ideas and stand in the truth.  The "What We Believe" series was designed to teach children ages 6-14 essential truths of the Christian faith and to use scripture as a lens to view the world around them them to see things as God sees them and to know the truth.

 There are four books in the series, "Who Is God and Can I Really Know Him?", "Who Am I and What Am I Doing Here, "Who Is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me?", and "What on Earth Can I Do?" (vol IV available soon.)  Each volume is a complete course and can stand on their own, although it is beneficial to complete them in order.  There is no teacher's manual.  Everything you need to teach the material is in the book, although there are extra helps are available online for free with purchase. 


Click here to see the Table of Contents.

Click here to see a sample lesson.

I love it when I am able to use a curriculum for everyone in my family at the same time.  The "What We Believe" series was designed for ages 6-14 and I have been using "Who Am I?" textbook (hardcover $39.00) with my 6,8,10, and 14 year olds with the little ones listening in and playing nearby.  My 6 year old is not going to get as much out of it as my 10 and 14 year olds, but I love that he can sit by and listen and understand what we are talking about and participate actively in the conversation.  We were talking about being made in God's image, being given special gifts and talents, and using them to glorify God.  Anthony (6) said that God made him with a special talent to make crafts and he could use that gift to glorify God by making Bible crafts or making things to give to sick people.  I thought that was so precious that he could listen, understand, and participate in our conversation.  I also like that there is no teacher's manual, and that everything you need is contained in the book.  It does not require any advance preparation from the teacher.  "Who Am I ?" is more than just a typical "Bible Study."  It does teach about the Bible of course and includes Scripture memorization, but also teaches Apologetics, Art, History, Science, Social studies, and many real life lessons using real life examples. 


To see Sample Pages click here.
To see a sample of the lesson plans click here.


The Notebooking Journal (spiral bound $24.00) is the perfect companion to go along with the text!  When I first opened it and looked through it I thought (don't laugh) this is too pretty to write in!  The graphics used in the background of the journal are so beautiful!  All of the children are working together and sharing one journal.  My 14 and 10 year olds could easily complete the journal on their own, but it would be too difficult for my 6 and 8 year olds.  I  follow the suggested lesson plans and notebooking assignments in the front of the journal, although you don't have to and can do more or less than what is suggested.  In addition to bible verse memorization and copywork, the journal contains discussion questions, puzzles, activities, mini books, prompts for writing and drawing, places you can record your prayers, answers to prayer, and where you "see" God.  It is a wonderful keepsake and reminder of what we have studied.

Listen to a sample by clicking here.


 The Audio CD ($19.00) has been wonderful to use!  It is an Mp3 CD, so it will not work in a regular CD player.  I have to play it on my computer.  It is very easy to play in the computer and to locate the files you need to play that day's lesson.  It is nice to be able to save my voice (we do a lot of reading aloud!) and let somebody else read it for me.  It is also very nice for when the little ones need something that can't wait (diaper change or somebody bleeding) the children can keep listening while I attend to the problem.

 To view sample pages click here.

The 64 page coloring book ($8.00) was designed to keep little hands busy while listening to the reading.  Each beautiful drawing depicts a story or teaching from the book and helps to reinforce the lesson.  Children love to color and it is a great way for the younger children to feel like they are working along with their older siblings.

My family and I are really enjoying learning together with"Who Am I?"  Apologia has created a wonderful product and great companion materials that answer the needs of homeschooling families.


To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

I received complimentary items of the Who Am I series of products for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.
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