Our Family

Our Family

Monday, September 30, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Fundanoodle

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Fundanoodle is a new education readiness brand that is designed to develop and improve writing skills and other everyday activities.  Their products range from writing tablets to multi-activity kits and are designed to make leaning a fun and interactive experience.  Their products are for ages 3- 7 and are color coded: Orange for 3-Pre-K, Blue for Pre-K-K, Green for K-1st, and Purple for ages 7-2nd grade. Over the last several weeks I have had an opportunity to use and review two of the products in their Blue Series with my 4 year old daughter: I Can Do Math Level 2 and Max and Alphie's Adventures Level 2.

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I Can Do Math Level 2 is a 9x12 tablet size book for Pre-K-K children (ages 4-5.)  The book is spiral bound at the top and each page is perforated for easy removal if you choose.  The Fundanoodle books feature Alphie an adventurer and his best friend Max the Monkey.  In this book, children will learn numbers 1-20 including writing the number and the word for each number, sets, greater than, less than, patterns, and more.  The book contains 41 sheets plus colorful stickers to add to each page as it is completed.  You can purchase I Can Do Math Level 2 here for $5.99.

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Max and Alphie's Adventures Level 2 is also a 9x12 tablet for Pre-K-K children (ages 4-5) with the spiral binding at the top and perforated pages.  This book is full of activities such as connecting the dots, mazes, finding hidden objects, and coloring.  These activities help to improve fine motor skills, build confidence, and improve hand control.  The book contains 40 pages plus colorful stickers to place on each page once your child has finished.  You can purchase Max and Alphie's Adventures Level 2 here for $5.99.

We received our books from Fundanoodle late on a Friday afternoon.  We usually take Fridays off of school but as soon as Lily saw the books, she wanted to dive right in!  I had thought that we would do one activity page out of each book per day, but she had different ideas.  She got to work on Max and Alphie's Adventures on Friday and had the entire book completed by Sunday!  The Math book I slowed her down a bit, only allowing her to do 1-2 pages per day.

The first thing that I noticed about these books that I really, really like is that they are spiral bound with the binding at the top of the tablet.  The pages lay completely flat and the binding does not get in the way at all!  The perforated pages make it easy to remove the pages if you want to (for hanging on the fridge or giving to someone) or you can keep them all contained in the tablet.  The activities in the Max and Alphie's Adventure Level 2 are just the kind of things Lily loves doing like dot to dots and mazes.  Most of the activities she could complete on her own, although a few I had to explain to her what she needed to do.  She loves the stickers!!

The I Can  Do Math Level 2 pages are a little more involved and require more assistance from a parent so I sat with her when she was working on these. You have to read the instructions to your child on each page and also explain how to form the numbers.  They use words like "buzz around", "zoom down", and "zip across" to explain the strokes.  Each number has a page like the picture above that you have to trace and write the number and trace and write the words.  You also have an activity on each number page such as putting happy faces on the balloons, or drawing a road for the cars to drive on.  In addition to these pages, there are shapes to trace, patterns to finish, sets to match, dot to dots, shapes to color, and more.

I think these books from Fundanoodle are great workbooks and the Level 2 book that we reviewed were absolutely perfect for my preschooler!  The activities are fun, and age appropriate.  I rarely comment on price because it is such a subjective thing, but at only $5.99 for the book that includes stickers, these are very affordable!

Members of The Crew reviewed a wide variety of items from Fundanoodle including the other levels of workbooks and their hands on activity kits.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

National Hunting and Fishing Day at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie

Yesterday was National Hunting and Fishing Day at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie.  We have never been before, and the boys really wanted to go.  Even though it was opening day of bow season, Art said he come with us and not go hunting (what a great daddy!)  Chelsea was at a friend's house, so the rest of us loaded up Saturday morning and headed out there.

There were several stations that were set up.  After registering, each child was given a score card to keep track of how they did at each station.  They could pick and choose which stations they wanted to go to, and those children that went to at least 5 stations would get a prize.

We started with the laser shot.  It was inside and was very similar to Alex's Big Buck Hunter Game.  The game was on a large screen and you had to try to shoot the deer.  After 3 tries, you added up your score.  I did not get any photos of this because my flash is broken on my camera and does not take good pictures in the dark.

Next we went to archery.  Three children at a time had an opportunity to shoot 5 arrows at a target and were awarded points depending on where the arrow hit.

Next up was BB shooting.  After a quick lesson on safety and how to shoot the gun and load the next BB the children got to shoot 5 BBs at a target.

After that we went to backyard fishing.  The children cast their fishing lines and tried to reel in plastic fish.  Each color was worth a different point value and they had 5 tries to reel some fish in.

Next we split up.  The big boys wanted to do the 3 D archery.  So Art took them to that course (which had 10 different targets.)  While they did that the younger children and I did Angler's Golf and visited the booth on trapping and furs.

We showed our score cards and the children got a little backpack.  We had a short time to eat the lunch that we brought and then head over to the pond for the fishing derby.  The derby went from 12:30-2:00.  Children ages 15 and under could fish for catfish.  Prizes were given for the shortest and longest fish and door prizes were also given out.  All of my children caught at least one catfish and we ended up with 12 total.  Alex caught 2 big catfish that were 17 inches long!  The winning catfish was 18 in.  Nick's catfish was 10 inches and the smallest winning catfish was 9 1/2 inches.

We had a great day and the only thing it cost us was gas and bait.  I will admit that we were worn out by the time we got home.  The boys wanted to go fishing again today!  We didn't, but we did have catfish patties for supper tonight.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 7

This week was supposed to be our first full week of morning and afternoon school work.  Supposed  to be.  It wasn't.

Sunday after church, the children were playing outside and Christian fell off of the porch swing and chipped his two front (permanent) teeth.  It hurt right when he did it, but he was not complaining of pain later htat day and he was able to eat (thank goodness!)  Monday morning I called the dentist and they were able to get him and Lily (because she had a spot on her tooth) in on Tuesday morning.  So we managed to get a full day of school in on Monday.

Tuesday I drove 1 1/2 hours one way to the dentist.  Luckily both children had quick and painless fixes to the teeth and the dentist didn't think there was any nerve damage done to Christian's teeth (whew!)  Then we ran into Walmart real quick, drove through McDonald's and drove 1 1/2 hours home.  We managed to get Math and Writing done that day.  Then we had to leave again for a 4 H meeting and 2 soccer games.

Wednesday morning I had some work that had to be completed on the computer from about 9-11 am.  It was beautiful outside so the children played outside.  When I was finished we read from George Washington, did History, Math, Writing, Spelling, Bible, and Nick did Latin.

I got some mail that needed to be addressed by me making phone calls on Thursday morning.  So we got started a little later than usual.  But, we got everything done but Science.

Friday we were off to Art Class and run errands.

I was feeling kind of guilty that this is our 7th week of school, and we have only managed to get one full day of school in.  But, then I remembered that flexibility is one of the reasons that I love to homeschool!  And, I reminded myself that I don't need to be sitting down teaching for the children to be learning.  They are learning every minute!  And in addition to all the "school" stuff I listed we had a very fun and educational 4 H meeting, and had some fun learning more about and playing chess this week.  Even on the days that we didn't manage a "full schedule", we still did get quite a bit done!

We haven't been doing Science regularly at all.  But we did quite a bit of Science this summer and have had an opportunity to do quite a bit of hands on stuff that falls under Science.  Just because it doesn't come from a book, doesn't mean it doesn't count!  The really cool thing is that we have 2 reviews  that we are getting this week that are both Science!  One is a supplemental hands on project that my big boys are really going to enjoy, and the other is.......Apologia's brand new Elementary Science Book Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics!  So it is actually a good thing that we haven't dived back into Land Animals, because first we will get to dive into Chemistry and Physics!

Maybe this week we will be able to do a full schedule all week long, but then again if we don't that will be ok too!

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Homeschool Art Class Week 4

This week we finished up talking about Picasso.  Our first project was a Picasso coloring sheet.  I loved the color varieties the children chose while coloring these in.

The second project the children did was to sketch out what kind of design that want to put on their kites.  In October we will be working on kites.

Then they sculpted with clay.  Next week they will get to paint their sculptures.

We had a little time at the end, so they made "practice kites" out of paper bags.

Another great day at Art Class!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 4 H Cloverbud Meeting: Reel Into Sports Fishing

Our last 4 H meeting was in May.  We did a Community Service Project in June.  July we take off every year.  I had planned on doing a meeting in August but time got away from me.  Last year when we did the Hook Line and Sinker program at Grandview, the children were disappointed that we were not able to fish in the pond out there.  So I promised that we would have an opportunity to do so this year.

When we were getting ready for district competition last spring, one of our agents told me about the Reel Into Sports Fishing project area and competition.  It sounded like something my boys would be interested in and other members of my club as well.  I started gathering information on it and planned a meeting at Grandview that we could discuss this project area and the children would have an opportunity to fish.

There are 4 parts to Reel Into Sports Fishing Competition:

1) Angling Skills-learn to tie 4 knots and diagram a bobber and bottom fishing rig
2) Tackle Skills- study tackle and their uses, learn to build your own survival kit and identify 5 articles in the kit
3) Aquatic Ecology- answer questions about fish, water temperature, the water cycle, and label 5 parts of a fish
4) Be able to identify 5 Fish

The are several resources for 4hers who are interested in this project area and competition.  There is a really neat project guide called Take the Bait that has all kinds of activities and information.  Also, Arkansas Game and Fish have two publications that can help children learn the information they need to know, The Beginners Fishing Guide and the Arkansas Sport Fish Identification Guide.

We started the meeting out (after taking care of club business) by talking about the project area and the 4 different parts it has.  We also talked about the Activity Guides.  Then Nick and Aex demonstrated the different knots.  Art rigged me up an eye bolt attached to a block of wood and a rope so we could show the knots easier than with fishing line.  The instructions to tie the knots were in the Take The Bait guide, but we also looked them up on youtube.

Next we talked about different kinds of tackle and what it is used for.  We talked about the different parts of diagramming a fishing pole, and some of the different kinds of fish.  I handed out Beginner's Fishing Guides for the children to take home with them.  We also gave out the Sports Fish identification guides and the Arkansas fish guides.  That took a little over 30 minutes, leaving us with about 45 minutes to fish.

Grandview supplied the fishing poles, all we needed to bring was bait.  One of the parents has a worm bed and dug up enough worms for 10 children, and I brought our leftover worms from fishing last week-end.  Grandview offered to give us prizes, so we decided the first fish and the biggest fish would get a prize.

Nicholas caught the first fish and another little boy caught the biggest fish.

Those were the only two fish caught!  Their prize was a tackle box with a hat, catfish bait, and a stringer.

We had a lot of fun!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 6

I love the flexibility of homeschooling!  That flexibility allowed us to take a short 3 day mini vacation to Bastrop LA this week.  You can read about our trip here.  Since we were gone two days, we only had two days of school this week.  Fridays we take off for Art Class and other errands.  You can read about this week's Art Class here.  We did not add anything new at all.  We completed Bible, Math, Writing, and our George Washington read aloud.  Since Spelling usually a week per lesson, I skipped Spelling this week.  Alex finished his read aloud on Titanic.  I am hoping to be able to find a Titanic Documentary we can watch next week.

This week our first Soccer Games started.  Three children are playing on 3 different leagues, so we sill be spending a bit of time on the soccer fields until the end of October.  The games are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  We are very thankful for the cooler temperatures!

On Wednesday I was reading aloud from George Washington: True Patriot in the schoolroom, and Lily was gathering up some art supplies to paint.  She disappeared into the family room (right next to the schoolroom) and I didn't think much of it and kept on reading.  A little while later she said she was done with her splatter painting.  I walked into the family room, and she sure had splatter painted with black paint and not only was it on her paper, it was all over the floor!  I am so thankful for tile floors!  The paint wiped right up!

Starting Monday we will be back up to a full school day!  Our morning school work starts at 9:30 and goes til 11:00.  During this time we do our "together" work: Bible, History, Science, and Read Aloud.  The afternoons go from 12:30-2 and are for "individual" work: Math, Writing, Spelling, Reading, and Latin.  it doesn't usually take the children until 2:00 to get finished with their work, but we try and have everything finished by then.  Some days we do go a little past if I have to work one on one with 5 different children.

In addition to our "regular" school stuff, we have a few reviews we are working on and are getting a few more this week.  The boys will be leaning some chess strategies with the Chess Set and DVD they received from Chess House.  We are also waiting for our God's World News Magazine that should be coming any day.  I am reviewing (myself) a subscription to Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns Learn to Make Doll Clothes Video Course.  I think that will be fun!  Nick and Alex will also be getting (in the next week or so) a Project Genius Light Kit from EEME.  They love Science Kits!!

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Homeschool Art Class Week 3

This week in Art Class we continued on with Picasso.  This week the children got to use the easels.  They created a drawing using different lines and spaces and chose 3 colors to create a pattern in their drawing.  After finishing with their coloring, they outlined the drawing with markers to make the colors stand out more.  The children worked really hard on these and took up almost the entire class time!  Those that finished early got to create a second drawing of whatever they wanted to draw.  Next week we are sculpting in clay and in October we will be designing and making our own kites!

Chelsea made good use of Art Class time (along with the big tables) and started cutting out her dress for the Sew With Cotton Contest.