A few months ago I was feeling lost when it came to tracking how well my 4 year old non-verbal autistic son, Johnny Ben, was doing academically. Sure, I would see him accomplish things and notice where he had issues. However, I just couldn’t get him interested in certain activities and it was taking me a long time to sit and chart where he was thriving and lacking. We had tried a few online programs and apps with him in the past, but they just didn’t seem to get his attention or were not available on a tablet. (He lacks the coordination needed to use a mouse, but he’s getting close!) I whispered a prayer that God would help me find a preschool curriculum that would match his needs, be fun, and challenge him but also not break our bank. It wasn’t but a few days later that I received an email from Miss Humblebee’s Academy asking if I would be interested in reviewing their program. (Can you see where this is going? It’s pretty exciting!)
Immediately I went to MissHumblebee.com and started looking around. First off I noticed that the program worked on a tablet. Perfect! It may not be an app, but that’s okay. It loads easily on our Android tablets. Second, the characters, music, prizes, and everything else were fun and very animated. Then that was when I saw it: All instructions are audible so that the child can hear what they are to do. They could even be repeated if needed by the press of a button on most lessons. Since my little guy is just coming around to following instructions, this is a MUST HAVE. But would it cover as many subjects as I needed it to? I went on to look at what the lessons consisted of. This is where I was completely sold, because Miss Humblebee doesn’t just cover math and reading, but also science, social studies, art, and music. Not just a little here and there, either, but hundreds of lessons. This wouldn’t be a temporary fix, but something that we could continue to do over time. I can’t imagine what I looked like reading all of this, but if Mary Poppins were in my living room she probably would have told me to close my mouth because I’m not a codfish. This was exactly what I had prayed for!
Now, if you’re at all familiar with special needs children, you might know that they live for routine and hate change. It took a couple weeks of just getting him to want to acknowledge Miss Humblebee. He wasn’t interested in creating his own avatar like most kids would be. He would look out the corner of his eye at what was on the screen, but it took awhile to get him to acknowledge it was there. Being we had done this before, I knew it had nothing to do with Miss Humblebee’s Academy and more to do with it being new to him. I pressed on in a way that would not upset him.
In the beginning he would give in and do a little after a some guidance then push it away, but I could see by the look in his eye that he was intrigued. This was more than just another learning tool, this was fun and like a game. We took our time and warmed up slowly. Sometimes he would only do a little, other times he would just look around at the different options. Options like “Art Box”, “Music Room”, “Choose A Lesson”, “Rewards”, “Sticker Room”, and more. After showing him the classroom every so often, he gradually did a little bit more each time. He loves all the characters, Miss Humblebee’s voice, the music, and the “games”. I’ve never had to help him, nor did I ever have to show him what to do. Miss Humblebee made it all so easy, flying around the classroom and guiding him through the lessons.
What he surprisingly shows no interest in is the rewards/stickers/puzzles, but I’m assuming that is because he doesn’t quite grasp the concept. Miss Humblebee also offers printables, which is a great addition so that you can work on motor skills while keeping with the theme of the curriculum, but Johnny Ben just seems to hate paper (Maybe it’s the sound of it rustling?) so while I printed a few out, he wasn’t having it. So unfortunately I can’t give you an opinion on those aspects. That being said, Johnny Ben’s 2 year old little sister, Molly, is VERY interested in what all Miss Humblebee has to say and offer. So much so that we will be purchasing a subscription for her soon after her 3rd birthday as well. For now we have had to cut back our lessons to when Miss Molly Pop is napping or distracted. 😉 I really wish I had Miss Humblebee when 6 year old Tommy was in preschool also. It’s so fun, easy, thorough, and extremely interactive.
So, I’ve told you that Johnny Ben grew to love it and my toddler is aching to get into Miss Humblebee’s classroom… But how am I tracking Johnny Ben’s progress? Every week I receive an email to let me know that a progress report is available. When that email arrives, all I have to do is click on the link and it’s all right there in my account for me to see. How many lessons he’s completed, how many prizes he has earned, and how much artwork has been saved. I also have access for past progress reports so I can see how he’s coming along. It is exactly what I needed.
I do still believe in hands on constructive play for preschoolers. But these lessons are a great addition to all of the other things we are doing without becoming overwhelming. Besides, it is so much more fun that filling out a worksheet! Again, a complete answer to my prayer!
The price of a subscription to Miss Humblebee’s Academy is $12.95 a month for 1 child and $5 for each additional. Another option is a yearly subscription at $129 for 1 child and $60 for each child after that. Not sure you want to make a commitment just yet? There is also a free 1 week trial so you can see if it’ll work for your child.
Do you have a young baby, toddler, or preschooler and want to begin working with them? Not necessarily “school”, per se, but educational activities that help them thrive and learn? Maybe you have older children, and the little ones want to have something of their own to do. Problem is, coming up with the curricula that would be flexible and beneficial with little stress would be a silly dream… Well, maybe before, like when I started homeschooling a few years ago, but not now!
Let me introduce you to Flowering Baby, LLC, a curriculum company founded by a Mother and Daughter for ages birth through five that has taken the time to do the research, make the lessons fun, and package it all up so that all you have to do is run to the library and pick up a few books… Because most likely you have everything else on hand! Everything is in PDF format on a CD that will work on your computer regardless of it’s a Windows or Mac, and it is SO easy to follow. No having to read and re-read the instructions here!
The sections are divided up first by years, and then by month. For Birth through Three, it is by age. For Three through Five, it is by calendar month. Also, years Three to Four and Four to Five have a monthly schedule that is accompanied by a list of themes from which you pick 2 for each month. See how little time you have to put into it? It’s already all put together for you!
To give you an idea of how the years are split up, I’ve listed their names with a link attached. If you click on the link and scroll down to the bottom of each page, you’ll be able to see a sample of that year. I’ve also included their prices below:
For our family, we used year One to Two starting in the 19th month with my youngest child, Molly. I had intended to include my second to youngest, Johnny Ben, in this set also. He is 3 1/2 with developmental delays that we are in the process of having assessed and evaluated. While he participated to some degree, he really didn’t follow along, so I will only share how it worked with Molly.
Starting out was way too easy. The author lists a set of books (she states you may be flexible and choose a similar book if you don’t own the title or are unable to find it at a library), music, and supplies you will need for the month. For the first month we needed 3 books, a total of 6 supplies, and music by Tchaikovsky. The only supply I had to buy was some dry beans. I was able to use Pandora for the music, and we just so happened to already have the books. (I’m a book hoarder… Shhh…)
I never had a set time to complete our lessons. If a moment was available while doing school with my Kindergartener, Tommy, and Molly was interrupting then I would have Tommy work on something he could do solo and do Molly’s “school” with her. A few times we waited until after dinner to help wind down the night. A few mornings we did it right off the bat, and the rest of the times we did it right after lunch or nap. Naturally, there were some days that it just didn’t happen, but that’s okay. The curriculum is set up so that it is not done every single day of the month. So if we missed a day, we just picked up where we left off the day before. It is EXTREMELY flexible.
Most days the lessons were short and sweet, being completed in about 30 minutes. Reading a book or stating a poem/nursery rhyme and looking at pictures while listening to music. There were lessons that had us focus on speech by talking and saying words to each other. On some days, motor skills like walking on a curb or throwing a ball were covered. There were nights we all danced together. Every day is different from the day before or the day after, but kept simple and right on their level. I think Molly’s favorite was the day she was Mommy and I was the baby. Blame her? 😉 Tommy also enjoyed it, and invited himself to join in on just about every single lesson. Molly loved that, it made her feel like a “big kid.”
And yes, of course, there are a few messy lessons… I feel like I should include that note… Because if you’re like me, you hate messes and messy lessons. But you know what? I couldn’t resist. The activity sounded fun. And being that I was raised in one of those “no play-doh, no markers, and definitely no paint” homes, I decided I should give my children something I didn’t have. (Pardon the messy video editing, this was the first time I’ve ever done it!)
All in all, I have to say I LOVE Flowering Baby. Being so busy it takes out so much guess-work and makes teaching easy and learning fun. Besides, while I’m a homeschooling mom, I am in no way an expert on child development. Having a curriculum that was designed with whole child development in mind put me at ease to not feel at all like I was forgetting something that she needed. If you are looking for something for your littles, I would recommend Flowering Baby. (Sticky) hands down.
Interested in purchasing a copy of your own? Flowering Baby is offering a 10% discount to our readers when they use the code “Blog10” when ordering.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
Would you like to see what others thought of Flowering Baby? Maybe see some reviews of the other years available? Head on over to SchoolhouseReviewCrew.com to find more!
All of us at Raising Sticky Hands to Heaven want to share this awesome group giveaway from Denschool with you! The prizes would be a homeschooler’s DREAM to win! Curriculum, supplements, and games! How cool is that? Be sure to enter. Here are the details:
One lucky winner will receive a complete curriculum package of their choice from Oak Meadow! If you haven’t heard of Oak Meadow before, Victoria encourages you to stop by and read her 4th Grade and 6th Grade Curriculum reviews. Having two children with ADHD, utilizing the world around them and nature in her studies has been amazing.
For parents who are still learning to teach children of various learning requirements, Kidzmet is offering a copy of their ‘A Parent’s Playbook for Learning’ eBook! This covers all EIGHT personality types in one book! Stop by and take their FREE ONLINE PERSONALITY TEST to find out the best way your child(ren) learns!
What can be more fun than Wikki Stix? They are versatile and mess free art! No matter how much your children may want to destroy something with them – they can’t! “Go ahead, put them all over the wall; they come right off!” The winner of this prize package will find out for themselves when they receive their Wikki Stix Easter Egg Decorating Kit & Easter Fun Favors!
Are you making spelling or reading fun? The winner of this prize will receive a $25 Gift Card from All About Learning Press! Use it to add to your current program, order workbooks, supplement/folder games, encouragement stickers, short story books, and more! This gift card can go a long way!
More fun will arrive for this winner when they receive Simply Fun’s newest Fruit Flies Board Game!
The winner of our playful prize package will also receive a copy of Kidzmet’s A Parent’s Playbook for Learning!
Three (3) runner ups will also receive a copy of Kidzmet’s A Parent’s Playbook for Learning!
This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents, ages 18+. Enter today using the Rafflecopter Form below!
*Disclaimer: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or Google+. We hereby release them from any liability.
*Giveaway participants and sponsors are not responsible for prize fulfillment.
TWO lucky winners will receive A Noble Experiment: The History and Nature of the American Government COMBO SET from Zeezok Publishing! This curriculum package is valued at $99 each!
A Noble Experiement is an Advanced Middle or High School American Government curriculum package. The set includes the book, DVDs, and CD-Rom Teacher Resources. DenSchool’s reviewer, Dalynn, was surprised at how much her advanced middle schooler enjoyed the program and even asked to use it! It was a blessing to see him working independently with the curriculum. She is one very pleased homeschool momma!
Stop by DenSchool to read her full review to learn more.
Yay! It’s a giveaway! Two lucky winners will win one month access for up to 4 children from Time4Learning! Enter today using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck to the entrants from all of us here at DenSchool & Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven!
Whether you’ve been homeschooling for awhile or are just starting out, chances are that you’ve heard of Time4Learning.
An online based curriculum for grades Preschool up to 8th grade, Time4Learning offers flexibility and ease.
To view a full review at DenSchool by Mindy, click here.
Enter by using the RaffleCopter below. This giveaway is open until September 10th to those in the US only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
YAY! IT’S A GIVEAWAY! One lucky reader will win the curriculum package of their choice for their child! That’s right- the winner picks the grade level they need! Enter today using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck to the entrants from all of us here at DenSchool & Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven.
Oak Meadow has specialized in Homeschooling Curriculum for over 35 years. They are offering one complete curriculum package to one winner. Their packages are priced between $118 (preschool) upwards to $415 for upper elementary grades. You can view their bookstore here.
Denschool is hosting this fabulous giveaway. Read a very honest review here, where Victoria also includes some of her tips and advice on how to get the most out of your very own set of Oak Meadow curriculum.
As a homeschool parent myself, I must say: I am very seriously considering this curriculum for our own family. With plenty of literature books included in the kit, reading comprehension is inspired. I love how Victoria points out that in the 4th grade package, the child is encouraged to be independent. That the curriculum speaks to the child, not the parent. All with a gentle approach.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re from the US or Canada, enter in the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway will end on August 31st.
Have a blessed school year!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
A few weeks ago our homeschool family was selected to review DVD 1 (In The Beginning) in the What’s In The Bible? With Buck Denver series.
I’ve been hearing about this new series from Veggietales creator Phil Vischer for about a year now. I’ve always been intrigued, but wondered… What could be so great about it? Was it really lined up with God’s Word? Would my kids even like it? Well let me tell you, I quickly found out the answer to these questions!
My kids ADORED the DVD. It was similar to Veggietales, but had it’s own unique attributes as well. First off, it’s not a cartoon but puppets. There is a lot more complexity to it than a simple story with a good moral. This series actually goes into the depth of the Bible, explaining & dissecting the stories while not dwelling too long on them – which is perfect for a child’s attention span. Also included is church history, who wrote the Bible, the books of the Bible, why they are called “Testaments”, and much more. The DVD has catchy but educational little songs. All with a little humor here and there! Perfect for my kids!
One thing that could bother some, is that the characters do stop to explain with Phil that some subjects are touchy between Christians and some people have different views. (For example: Was the earth created in a literal 6 days or was it 6,000 years.) For our family, that was fine as even my husband and I have different beliefs on some topics in the Bible. It gives our children an understanding as to why Mommy believes one way and Daddy believes
wrong another way. 😉 Both my husband and I agreed that it was very in tune with what the Word of God has to say, though.
I was surprised that all of my children, from my 11 year old right down to my 1 year old, were able to sit down, watch this, and thoroughly enjoy it. My 11 & 9 year olds caught more of the humor than the others… or so we thought at first. Ever since, the 4 year old has been cracking jokes from the DVD that we didn’t even know he was paying attention to at the time! The baby loves to clap her hands to all of the music and finds all of the puppets interesting to watch.
So, would I buy this series? Certainly! As a matter of fact, we’ve decided to slowly add the rest of the DVDs to our collection and to include them in our homeschool Bible curriculum. The DVD came with a digital download, making it easier for viewing as we use a digital media player also. There are added activities (coloring pages, study guides, crafts, & Bible flashcards) on the website to make teaching along with the series that much simpler.
Have you watched any episodes in the series? What did you think? If not, check out the video below and tell me your view points from that. (And if you’re a Disney geek like I am, look at all that cool stuff Phil has in his collection behind where he is sitting. Here’s one hint… HARVEY!) Enjoy!
I’ll never forget it. It was 2 years ago when I was looking up resources for new homeschoolers when the dreadful word came up.
They couldn’t be serious. With kids in tow, they wanted me to dredge across town and look through the Dewey Decimal System of catalogs (Anyone remember that? I miss it…) to find one particular book… wait… twenty books… on how to homeschool my child for the next 1-14 years? Forget it.
I mean, I have a friend that is a librarian and she LOVES it. But even though she’s hip and cool like that… Going to the library? That’s like, still, kinda outdated, right? I mean, everyone has their “guilty pleasures”. That’s just one of my librarian friend’s hobbies. No one really goes there… Or do they?
I spent all of my elementary through high school years at the local “book dump”, which now I feel guilty for calling that. I thrived off of that place. But the system was time consuming… and with kids in tow? Forget it.
Then I went to another website on spiritual growth. “If you aren’t able to purchase our book now, feel free to check your local library.” Ugh.
Weeks later, I decided to look up a recipe. It was only available in book form. I searched all over. Nope, can’t get it unless you buy the book. But the book’s website even said it was available at the all so wonderful library.
Seriously? Really? You want me to go down there and search through your archaic system? Little did I know. Ignorance.
I finally googled my city and county library. Boy, did I feel stupid. I could create an account right there and place books on hold to be picked up in a rush. No dragging whiny, tired, & hungry kids around in multiple strollers. (Yes, multiple!) No paper catalogs. It’s all computerized. It hasn’t even been that long since I was last in a library, but wow, it has changed!
So, I created an account. I didn’t place anything on hold, because I was sure I could do without it. I mean, what’s a $10 book? Right? Until you budget for the month, and the books you want to read add up… and the resources you need for school, spiritual growth, leisure, cooking, gardening (not that I garden, lol, I wish…) add up. Ten dollars for a book here. Thirty for a book there. Five over here. But, oh, don’t forget those books recommended by everyone and I mean EVERYONE, they are twelve dollars! Yeah, Next thing you know your budget is easily over come by books. And not just for homeschoolers either, but even more so.
I caved, about 2 months in. I asked my kids, in the most depressing voice trying to seem excited. “Who wants to go to a library, or maybe two.” I’m not kidding,. Take your most depressing voice and knock it down 2 pegs. That was me.
My sweet daughter, Becca (who has loved books from the time she was born) agreed. We walked in, got our card (at each library) and looked around. The first one? I was not impressed. I still go there, but it’s not my favorite. The second? We spent over 2 hours at.
Let me tell you about our AWESOME library. We have a roof garden, an interactive area for kids with a pretend Fire Engine, a mini zoo, (OH YES! A zoo! Reptiles (Snakes, ick, but the kids love them…) Birds, Fish, Rodents… You name it!) but then, then there was the books.
Even though I just started my account, my books that I placed on hold for my daughter were waiting for me. It was miraculous. All I had to do was click a button. No hours of searching! My daughter and I walked through the entire library in awe. “Libraries (in my home town) aren’t like this, Mom. I wish they were. So many books! This is so much fun!”
Everything I needed: music to decide if I wanted to buy; books that I wanted to read; curricula; biblical teachings; picture books; movies; It was all right there without searching through a big ol’ catalog system!
Who knew? Probably you, but not me. But now if you need me and I’m not answering my phone… I’m likely at the library. Seriously. It’s become my “guilty pleasure.”
This week, I challenge you. Visit your local library. Sign up for an account. Go to your online wishlist, find the first book or two on it, then go to your library’s website and place it on hold. Feel greedy? Don’t. This is your tax dollars at work! And you’re SAVING a system that is near extinction! At the same time, you’re helping yourself by saving that money you would have spent on a book you would read ONE time to maybe have a romantic dinner at home or a playdate with the kids at a local museum. (My next challenge, eh… CHALLENGE ME! Dare ya..) It’s all right there at your finger tips! ENJOY!