Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Schoolhouse Crew Review: WAY Comes Home Kit

WAY Comes Home Kit
HomeSchool Scholastics an i4 Learning Company has been has been producing health and wellness resources since 1998.  Recently they have developed the WAY Comes Home Kit for homeschoolers. Over the last several weeks, my family has had an opportunity to review this kit which includes:

Parent Guidebook
3 consumable journals-one for K-1, one for 2-3, and one for 4-5
Pack of consumable materials
My Plate Booklet
Supplies needed to complete the activities that are not common household items such as: stethoscope, ink pad, scale, balls, ink pad, plastic baskets, glitter, plastic eggs, plastic counters
WAY Comes Home Kit
There are three different levels in the WAY Come Home program.  WAY stands for "Wellness, Academics and You." The youngest age group, grades K-1 has a Health Safari theme.  Grades 2-3 theme is called Me Mysteries, and grades 4-5 is called Innerspace Adventure.  The Parent Guide book contains all the information you need to teach each of the different levels and suggestions for activities to do if you have children in more then one level. The Parent Guide has 5 different modules:

Getting Started
Where Do You Begin?
Let's Get Active
The Nutrition WAY
Health-It's Personal

All of the lessons follow a similar format.  They start with a Parent Prep section giving some background on the lesson and explaining what the lesson is about.  There is a Lesson at a Glance section that gives a short summary of the lesson and a Get Things Ready section telling what supplies are needed for that lesson.  There is a WAY Vocab Words section that will used in the lesson.  A What to Do section that has step by step instructions for the lesson that you are able to adapt for your homeschool needs.  An Art Attack section has an artistic activity for each lesson.  Weekends With WAY has fun extensions you can choose to do.  Pray/Reflect has Bible verses and inspirational quotes.  WAY More Resources had a list of websites to get further information and WAY More Fun has fun odds and ends that apply to the lesson.

The DVD has short video clips for each of the three different age groups: WAY Health Safari, WAY Me Mysteries, and WAY Innerspace Adventure.  There is not a video clip for every age group for every module.  It also has a variety of exercise routines for each of the three age groups. 

One journal for each of the three age groups comes with the kit.  All three journals have a blank cover for your child to personalize.  The Health Safari journal has lots of coloring activities and places for students to draw.  The Me Mysteries has places for students to draw and color, but also has writing lines and charts to fill out.  The Innerspace Adventure journal has charts and lots of writing lines for the students to journal on. Each student needs their own journal.  You can purchase extra journals  here.

I have been using the WAY Comes Home Kit with my 5, 7, and 9 year olds.  We completed one module per week working two days a week. 

I really appreciated that the kit has been designed with the idea of including hard to find items in it. It is a relief as a homeschool mom to not have to worry about looking for certain items or not being able to do an activity because you forgot to buy something or couldn't find it. I really liked the journals.  The girls (5 and 7) especially enjoyed having their own journals and completing the drawing and coloring.  Christian I think would have been better using the Me Mysteries journal because he prefers drawing to writing any day.  We modified his and used most of it as drawing pages.  

There are no specific lesson plans.  The program is flexible and allows you to do as much or as little as you would like. The Parent Guide is written so that you can do the lesson plans for one particular age group like Health Safari if you only have kids in that age group.  If you have children in the other age groups you can do the include me too activities.  I had children in all three age groups, and I did not feel like choosing one age group and doing the include me too activities worked well. So I juggled all three age groups.  We watched the video clips for each age group if there was one, then they did their journal activities.  We did some of the activities in all three groups altogether. It did not flow as smoothly as I wished it would.  The children enjoyed the activities that we did such as playing with the balls, making their thumb prints, listening to their heart rate and taking their pulse. They also learned some things they didn't already know about nutrition.   

The younger girls enjoyed the DVD clips.  Christian was not impressed with his.  We do P.E. on a regular basis so the girls thought that the exercises for the two younger age groups were too easy.  They liked the ones from Innerspace Adventures the best but because children are doing the exercises and there is not any explanation I thought they were hard to follow at times.

The biggest con for me is that this program only included 5 modules.  If I am going to invest time and effort into a curriculum I want it to be a full year's worth of lessons. In the front of the Parent Guide, it states that each month new content and resources will be added online and coming soon lessons in science, math, and technology will be available.  We were not given access to any further content so I am not sure how that will work for those that are purchasing this kit.  

The WAY Comes Home Kit is currently on sale for $39.95.  You can also receive an additional $15 off by using the coupon code GC0737011.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog.  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Our Week in Review ( Aug 22nd-28th) at Lake Ouachita State Park

We took this week completely off of school.  And Art took off of work so we could take a camping trip!

Every year for the last several years, we have gone to Lake Catherine State Park in Hot Springs and stayed at the cabins there.  This year I had a cabin reserved, but then we found the camper.  I cancelled the cabin and was going to change the reservation to a camp site, but we thought we would try and go someplace we had never been before.  The pictures of Lake Ouachita State Park (also in Hot Springs but on the other side of town) were so beautiful we decided we would go there instead.

Our reservation was for 5 days and 4 nights.  We arrived Monday afternoon.  Art drove the van and towed the camper and I drove the truck and towed the boat.  The public schools in Arkansas started back the week before, so the campground was fairly empty with the exception of some older people with no children.  I bet they were happy to see us coming ;)

Our site was right on the water.  The camp sites all have a grill, picnic table, and fire pit.  They were large, but close together.  The view was beautiful!!!

We visited the playground.

Spent a lot of time on the swim beach.

Played some volleyball.  Art and I took turns playing so that one of us would be watching Emmie swim.  The children had never played before and I had not played since I graduated high school.  It was a lot of fun!

Did a lot of fishing.  The lake is very clear and you could see down to the bottom.  But it is filled with something like seaweed.  So our fishing poles got snagged in it quite a bit.  We did not catch anything worth keeping, just a lot of little fish.

We did some bike riding.  We checked out the Three Sisters Springs which was a tourist attraction and a place where bottled water was shipped from at the end of the 1800's-the early 1900's.  People believed the water from the springs cured various ailments.

On our bike ride back from the springs, Alex had a bike accident that required a trip to Urgent Care.  He ended up with 8 stitches in his arm and several minor cuts and bruises.  The wound on his arm was pretty deep and his arm has been very swollen, but he is better today.  The stitches will come out next Saturday.  Very thankful it wasn't worse!

Mid America Science Museum is not far from the park, so we stopped in briefly.

We played cards, roasted marshmallows, looked at rocks, fed the ducks, and just enjoyed the scenery.  Usually there are a lot of educational programs going on in the state parks in the summer, but they did not have any while we were there, probably because of school starting up.

We had a great camping trip!

Saturday morning I had to get up very early and Christian and I headed to the fair grounds to get our chickens blood tests done so they can be in the fair next week.  I spent the rest of the day doing laundry and catching up on other chores.

We start back to school tomorrow.  I am still missing Anthony and Christian's math books.  Hopefully they will arrive this week.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Can Do Cubes

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
Children that are learning to read and spell enjoy having manipulatives to take something that is abstract like a letter sound and make it more concrete.  The girls and I have been reviewing Can Do Cubes from jollyliteracy.com and just2ducks LLC.
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
Can Do Cubes are hardwood, 26 mm, laser engraved cubes used to compliment any phonics program. They can be used with children ages 3 and up.  The starter set includes:

1 tray of stage one cubes
1 tray of stage two cubes
Handbooks for stage one and stage two
Phonics Chart
Word Chart
CD with templates and worksheets

There are 27 stage one cubes showing one spelling of the 44 different sounds that make up the English language.  There are 8 different 6 sided cubes.  The tray contains 6 number one cubes with t,p,s,n,i,a, 3 number 3 cubes with c,c,ck,e,h,r, 3 number 3 cubes with m,d,g,o,u,l, 3 number 4 cubes with f,b,ai,j,oa,ie, 3 number 5 cubes with ee,or,z,w,ng,nk, 3 number 6 cubes with v,oo,y,x,ch,sh, 3 number 7 cubes with th,qu,ou,oi,ue,er, and 3 number 8 cubes with ar,ve,se,ce,ge, and y.

There are 32 stage 2 cubes.  These cubes show the variations of the 44 different spelling sounds, capital letters, double letters, punctuation, and split digraph cubes.  The 20 blocks containing the spelling variations have one sound per block.  For example, the block with the sound of /l/ has el,al,l,il,ll,and le.  The block with the sound of /e/ has e and ea and the rest of the sides are blank. There are 5 blocks with the capital letters and one block with all the letters in lowercase and capital. Two of the blocks have double letters ss,nn,mm,ll,rr,zz,ff,gg,bb,ff,tt,and pp.  Two blocks have punctuation marks and two blocks are connected with string to use for split vowel digraphs a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, and u-e. 
The charts are wall sized and have an overview of the alphabetic code, word lists for stage one and two cubes. The DVD gives an overview of synthetic phonics and how to use the cubes.  It also has pronunciation guidance. The CD Rom has several worksheets to use alongside the cubes and suggestions for games you can play with the cubes.  
I have used the cubes in a variety of ways.  My 7 year old has used the cubes to build her spelling words from Jolly Grammar rather then writing them on paper.
We have played word games with the cubes by throwing them down and seeing what types of words we can build with them.
And Emmie (5) has used the cubes and the worksheets on the CD.
Can Do Cubes are very sturdy, quality blocks.  The children have enjoyed using them, especially Lily who would much rather build then write.  I love the versatility of the blocks and that you can use them with a wide variety of ages.   You can use them with any phonics curriculum you already have, use them with the worksheets on the CD, or use them alongside other products from jollyliteracy.com .  

Because the blocks are 6 sided with different letters on each side, it can take a little while to find the letter you are looking for.  Using them with my younger daughter was a little easier because I gave her the number one blocks first and then the number two when she needed them so she wouldn't have to search around.  The spelling words were a little more difficult because she had to find which block she needed and then turn it to find the correct letter.  Over a longer period of time when you get each block and it's letters memorized may make it easier. 

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!