Tag Archive TOS Crew

ByAngie

Review: TouchMath Kindergarten Curriculum

Until recently, we had not used a formal curriculum for math. Sure, we did math, but it was a compilation of basic skills, free worksheets that I had found online, games, flash cards, manipulatives, art, and workbooks that I had put together. So, when we were offered the chance to review the Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum from  TouchMath  right at the beginning of our Kindergarten year, (We began in January.) I was relieved. Not that I don’t know Kindergarten math, mind you, (Though some might say I don’t. 😉 ) I just felt it was time to begin using some “real” curricula and to be honest, when it came to math, I wasn’t sure where to turn.

I usually get excited for curriculum shopping. However, I wasn’t really liking what I saw in the math department. Up pops this opportunity, and what do you know? It was an answer to prayer.

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TouchMath uses a very tactile approach by utilizing TouchPoints. With this approach, every number has points. Each point has a value of one and is assigned a place on the number. When counting the numbers, the child touches the points and says them aloud, adding up the value of the numeral. The “year” is broken up into units (A-D) and then into 6 modules. The manual is probably the best one I’ve ever seen, actually walking you through each and every step of the worksheets/activities by telling you when to let the child work alone and when to guide them. Forms for monitoring progress or to take notes on what to go back and review more of are also included, along with detailed explanations of what your child should be doing and is expected to know before beginning the module and after.

If you have a child that needs to learn kinesthetically or has sensory issues, this might be something you really want to look into. Tommy has to literally exhaust every one of his 5 senses some days when it comes to math. (Okay, maybe not ALL of them. If I could have him eat the numbers to taste them, and it would work, I would. He’s just a typical 5 year old boy who doesn’t understand the point of all this number talk. On good days, he catches on almost too fast! Oh, I’m rambling… Sorry…)

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For our review, we were also given TouchShapes, TouchMath Tutor Software, and 3-D Numerals. These items are NOT required, and the curriculum standing alone is still good. However, I found that by combining all of these resources together with the core curriculum, that is based on common core state standards, Tommy was able to touch, say, and hear what he was learning.  Sometimes just moving a TouchShape to a different place on the worksheet or hearing the bear on the software explain a concept to him, he was able to grasp what he was trying to understand. The 3-D Numerals I would highly recommend should you choose to go with this program, though, as they are really what helped Tommy “get it” more than anything. (And while we were not given TouchMath to review for our preschool aged son, Johnny Ben, who is Autistic, I want to mention something: After watching his older brother do his lessons, Johnny Ben walked over to the table in the homeschool room and began touching the TouchPoints on the 3-D Numerals and saying the numbers. (He is mostly non-verbal.) Color me happy!)

The lessons are to last about 2 1/2 times your child’s age, so since Tommy just turned 5 this last week we focused on 10-12 minutes of lessons 4-5 days a week. Some days this meant we only got through 1 (a few times less) worksheet or activity. Other days it meant we did 3 worksheets or he flew through the lessons on the software. In the beginning this worried me, but after a few weeks I realized it was working out for him when he was counting to 100 at a family dinner with my parents and showing such confidence about it. At this point in time he is learning subtraction and is just going with the flow.

A quick example of Tommy using the software.

A quick example of Tommy using the software.

The TouchMath Kindergarten Homeschool curriculum is available as a download from TouchMath.com. Now, this is another really cool thing I like about this company. You don’t have to buy the entire year at once. If you want to, you can, but if you would like to you can buy only one unit at a time. The cost of each unit individually is $59.95, and if you purchase all 4 units at once the price is $199.95. The optional add-ons that our family was given to review were:

  • TouchShapes – $30.00
  • 3-D Numerals (That also comes with a fun CD-Rom loaded with worksheets. Tommy LOVED these worksheets!) – $79.00
  • TouchMath Tutor Kindergarten Software – $99.00
  • (There are also other items available for sale that supplement this curriculum on their website. These are just the items we were given to review.)

All in all, I give TouchMath a good rating. Teaching math to some kids is just flat out hard. Especially a child who could care less about it. It got my son’s attention and has him learning things he needs to know. A+!

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Want to know more? Feel free to click here to see other reviews, including those of families who were given different grade levels. Thanks for stopping by!

 

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ByAngie

Helping Little Ones Learn Creatively With Toys, Games, & Puzzles

Today’s post is part of day 3 of the 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Blog Hop hosted by The Schoolhouse Review Crew. Be sure to check out the other posts by 80+ bloggers who are also sharing ideas on teaching creatively! You can find posts from day 1 (Delight Directed Teaching) and day 2 (Schooling In The Kitchen.) here.

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Whether or not you homeschool, if you have kids, you have toys. If you have toys, your kids are learning through play in one sense or another. By encouraging a child’s imagination through pretend play, toys, games, and puzzles you are creatively teaching them concepts from all over the learning spectrum.

Many of these items can be used to teach a specific lesson, or along side a curriculum, as a supplement. My 3 homeschooled children are all still really young, so there is rarely a day that we do not include a toy, game, or puzzle. Here are some items we use and ways that we implement these items in our lessons.

Can you say "Angie needs a new camera?" Sorry for all the blurry photos. :(

Can you say “Angie needs a new camera?” Sorry for all the blurry photos. 🙁

Play-doh: Oh, the joy of Play-Doh, homemade dough, and clay. The list of ways to use it goes on and on. For Science we  use it to mold an animal, tree, or parts of anatomy. For reading and learning the alphabet we roll the dough into letters to help the child learn how to form the letter. Most recently, we used it for math to make “donuts” to learn that 12 makes a dozen. Sure, it’s potentially messy and you have to be sure it doesn’t get in the carpet. I can’t recommend it enough though.

Hot Wheels, Trains, Action Figures, etc: It used to be a battle for me to be able to sit down with my children and not have them beg to have a favorite toy by their side. I finally gave in and made a rule that as long as it is not distracting them, they can have it by them. Not playing with it mind you, but next to them. There are times, however, that this comes in handy. Sometimes I need one of the kids to show me that they know a certain color. I will lay out some of these favorite items and have them tell me what color each one is, or ask them to find an item of a certain color. We also use these as counters for math. Tommy is definitely more interested in counting something if it is of interest to him. Also, like play-doh, toys like Hot Wheels and trains can be lined up to form shapes and letters.

Here is where I inform you that in our home, it's Johnny Ben's world. We all just live in it. And that's okay... Except that in Johnny Ben's world, pants are optional. We are working on that...

Here is where I inform you that in our home, it’s Johnny Ben’s world. We all just live in it. And that’s okay… Except that in Johnny Ben’s world, pants are optional. We are working on that…

Legos & Every Other Kind Of Building Block (There are just way too many different variations to list them all. 😉 ): Once again we have the counters, colors, etc. But the possibilities here are endless. Lego has even launched a whole new company based on Lego Education. K’nex has products for education also. Even a DNA replica set! We’ve used many different types of blocks to explain birds, plants, geography, and more. With our youngest son, Johnny Ben, who is autistic, we have used many textile blocks and gears to help him with sensory exploration. Just watch out and make sure you don’t step on any of these items in the middle of the night. OUCH!

Little People: Who doesn’t love Little People? We’ve used Noah’s Ark to teach the story of Noah. The Farm set to teach about Farm animals. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, ha ha. There are so many sets to use for various teaching supplements. Sometimes we don’t even use them as intended. I’ll have Tommy line up some of the animals or people and tell me the difference in each one, or point to different body parts such as the knees or ear. Oh, did I mention we love Little People?

Puzzles: There are so many themed puzzles out there. But one fun option is to make your own if you have the resources. This can be done with a printer and craft foam. Sometimes I’ll print out a picture of something we are learning, glue it to a sheet of foam, and cut it out for the kids to put back together. My children have grasped so many concepts with this hands-on method. Now, if your husband is like mine and wants to permanently live in his woodshop, then you can have him make you some puzzles… But really, if you just walk down the Dollar Spot at Target or the toy & learning aisle at the dollar store, then you’ll likely find plenty of options for what you are teaching for a lower price.

Your eyes are not deceiving you, that is a vintage Hot Wheel City!

Your eyes are not deceiving you, that is a vintage Hot Wheel City!

Games: We often play games like Sequence, Connect 4, Monopoly Jr., Hi-Ho Cherry Oh!, Scrambled States of America, Richard Scary’s Busy Town, Uno, Bible card games, and many others instead of doing an actual lesson. When we do this, I point out many different educational aspects that are happening as we play. During play and after we discuss what we learned. Being a game loving family (Minus my husband. We’ve given up on having him play with us…) so we all love learning this way.

Basically, the point I’m trying to get across is that if your child has a toy, it can be a resource for learning. To be honest, I believe that young children SHOULD involve play with everything. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a time to sit down for direct teaching, but there is no reason it can’t be fun. I do believe that there should be a lot of constructive play in addition to free play. Sparking a child’s imagination makes them curious, and when they are curious, they want to learn.

What are some ways that you use toys, games, and puzzles to help your children learn?

 

 

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win many fabulous prizes in this homeschool giveaway! 3 winners will be selected and the prizes all together value about $1,000. Don’t miss out!

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ByAngie

Review: ARTistic Pursuits

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For a little over a month our family has been using ARTisitic Pursuits for our art curriculum. We were given Early Elementary K-3 Book One: Introduction to the Visual Arts to review for all of you fabulous readers out there. Today, I’m going to tell you all about it!

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TommyARTisticPursuitsThe intention of this lesson book is to teach children in a simple way the visual arts. Divided into 3 themed sections, What Artists Do, What Artists See, & Where We Find Art, children are introduced into actual classic art work and learn to pay attention to the details of how they were created and how to imagine what the artist may have been thinking or wanting you to see. In the process of learning these perspectives, they are taught how to do the same by using fun activities to create art of their own.

Looking over the curriculum initially, I was concerned. I wasn’t quite sure how Tommy would receive it. I mean, classic art and how to create it for Kindergarten? Cool, yes. But realistic?

However, once again, I ate crow. He took right to it!  The format of the lessons, meant to be done weekly, is to read together a little about some classic art, and then to create your own. While the reading segment is thorough, it’s not so much that it goes over my Kindergartener’s head. He was able to understand everything and learn exactly what the lesson was trying to convey. He has even asked to learn more about some of the artists and has done more lessons than expected because he wants to work on it during play time, not just during “school time.” Some lessons he has asked to repeat even. What mother would argue with that? I love that it has sparked his interest in art, and it’s really neat to see how he  uses his imagination to complete his work.

If you're following me on Instagram, then you understand this is a painting of my daughter Molly dressed as Yoda and Tommy dressed as Darth Vader. Funny kid.

If you’re following me on Instagram, then you understand this is a painting of my daughter Molly dressed as Yoda and Tommy dressed as Darth Vader. Funny kid.

So far he has used watercolor crayons, ebony pencils, and soft pastels. Because the manual has me teach him how to use the materials properly through word and picture, he has a good grasp on how to be an artist himself. The result is gained confidence in addition to knowing how to create art of his own. By reading about a piece of classic artwork before his own project, he is also learning about the artists, eras, and techniques used by different artists at the time the pieces were created.

In a nutshell, I am pleasantly surprised and adore this curriculum! My son has learned so much and has a desire to do art in a different way than he ever has before. His ambition to hear more about the artist and ask me questions to the point of my having to go to google to look up more information on them is really exciting. I love that he has been inspired.

The ARTistic Pursuits, Early Elementary K-3 Book One Introduction to the Visual Arts book is $47.95. It is a spiral bound book printed in, what in what my opinion is, high quality ink on heavier than normal paper. The pictures are very clear and detailed. You could never notice the details in the art that you see on page if were you just looking at them on the computer.

Here Tommy is looking out into our backyard for specific items on a list to draw with ebony pencil.

Here Tommy is looking out into our backyard for specific items on a list to draw with ebony pencil.

The list of needed materials isn’t too long. Each item is definitely needed for each lesson so you can’t really skimp in this area. All of the materials can be bought either in packages on the ARTistic Pursuits website or piece by piece as needed depending on your budget. Take note, some items will be difficult to find at your local craft stores. We were surprised when we could not find watercolor crayons at ANY of the craft stores in Southern California. Thankfully, we were able to find them on Amazon and had them in no time. Pay attention to the quality of items if you decide not to buy name brand. For a few of the items we were able to buy an off-brand, but for some I chose to use the more expensive choice for the sake of the lessons being done correctly. But once again, that’s just my opinion. 😉

Other books available in this series are:

 

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Would you like to see how this curriculum, along with other books in the series, worked for others? Click here or on the banner below to find more reviews by other members on the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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ByAngie

Teaching Creatively Giveaway! $1,000 In Homeschool Prizes, 3 Winners, 1 Blog Hop!

If you were paying attention to the posts on our Facebook page this week, then you already know that I posted a little teaser about the Teaching Creatively Blog Hop that will be taking place this upcoming week on many of the blogs  that belong to members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, including Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven. Topics covered will be Delight-Directed Teaching, Schooling in the Kitchen, Toys, Games, & Puzzles, Homeschooling in a Crisis, and Hands-On Projects. Whether you’re new to homeschooling, thinking about it, or have done it for some time I highly recommend reading around on “the hop” as there will be so many amazing tips and ideas shared!
Was putting this fantastic Blog Hop all together to help bring you more information enough? Not for the awesome ladies, Marcy and Sam, who orchestrated this event. They wanted to make sure at least 3 people would be blessed above and beyond. Thanks to their hard work, there is a giveaway that I am so excited to share with you. These are NOT just your average prizes, and whoever wins them is going to have their socks blessed right off!
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I’m joining in with Marcy @Ben and Me and Sam @Sam’s Noggin to bring you this awesome giveaway during the 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Blog Hop, hosted by the Schoolhouse Review Crew! The Blog Hop won’t begin until Monday, but we are starting the fun early by giving you the opportunity to win incredible bundles of books and homeschool resources!

There will be a total of 3 winners chosen — one GRAND prize, a 1st RUNNER-UP and a 2nd RUNNER-UP! The contest will begin at 12am on March 9 and end at 12am on March 17. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter, but read the contest rules, found at the bottom of the widget, first.

 

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive ALL of the following — a $525 value!

Geography Matters — Profiles from History Package ($50 value) Looking for a way to help your students connect with history? The Profiles from Historyseries is dedicated to telling the stories of people, whose lives are worth remembering. Whether they made a discovery, led heroically in a war, created a masterpiece through music, or art, used a pen to change the world, or impacted humanity with their bravery—they made a difference. We can learn so much by looking at those who came before us. Be ready to change your mind about history, with Profiles from History, Volumes 1, 2, and 3.

 

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine — 1-year membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com, a new Print Issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, and a Homeschooling with Heart Tote Bag ($90 value)

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is an online classroom and has more than 2 dozen expert teachers who cover 25 different subjects presented via teaching videos, ongoing lesson plans, worksheets, lapbooks & unit studies, writing prompts and other assignments to choose from, students can additionally interact personally with the teachers by asking them questions and gaining feedback.

 

Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett — Passport Geography set, consisting of the Combos (K – 12) for United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany ($50 value)

Taking an in-depth look at world geography with the new Passport Geography™(PPG) series by Amanda Bennett. These one-week studies use a cross-curricular approach (covering geography, history, science, etc.) to take students on virtual journeys around the globe. Each study is interactive, including daily lessons for both elementary grades and Jr/Sr High grades, with no prep required.

 

early spring bundle (2)Shining Dawn Books — Early Spring Bundle ($21 value)

Early spring is known for its wonderfully rainy weather, leading to lots of beautiful fungi. It’s also the season when animals busily go about their regular activities after the relative quietness of winter. This bundle will help you to explore each of these exciting aspects of the spring season in-depth.

 

2ndGradeOnline (2)A+ Tutorsoft — 1-yr subscription to the online A+ TutorSoft math program — winner’s choice from grade levels 1st-4th ($150 value)

A+ TutorSoft, Inc. provides Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH Full Curriculum products to help students improve their grades at all levels. Our Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH helps homeschooling families as well as public and private school teachers and students. A+ TutorSoft offers everyone a FREE 30 day trial on all products. Visit the top right corner of our website: http://www.aplustutorsoft.com/. And through 3/31/13 they are offering 50% off all products with code spoffer50!

 

HolidayJanFeb2_Page_01 (2)Five in a Row — Complete Digital Holiday book ($34 value)

A complement to any lifestyle of learning, this book is different from the Five in a Row manuals. It doesn’t give a specific book to study for each holiday, rather it is a treasury of traditions, memories and ideas for making your own! Each unit also includes calendar pages, blank pages for recording your own memories, and combinations of traditions and recipes, book and movie suggestions, quotes, decorating ideas, and more!

 

Wonders-of-OldKnowledge Quest — Wonders of Old Timeline Book ($25 value)

Wonders of Old is divided into four historical time periods: ancient, medieval, new world and modern. Significant dates are listed at the conclusion of each section as a helpful reference. This hardcover book measures 9×12 and is printed on extra thick 70# paper for durability.

 

1 Year (2)In the Hands of a Child — 1-Year Super Membership ($75 value)

Super Memberships Save You Time and Money! Each month Super Members receive two free downloadable Lapbooks. These Lapbooks are always brand new and have not been released for sale to the general public. Super Members also receive:

  • 15% discount off all purchases of existing eBook Lapbooks.
  • A free Birthday
  • Lapbook10.00 off the price of any custom ordered unit

 

sscp3dcovertrans-150x198Southern Hodgepodge — A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels ebook ($20 value)

Looking for an easy way to add art to your days? With A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels ebook – just add chalk pastels and paper! Short lessons for a whole year, 100 pages of tutorials, art for all ages.

 

 

glacierbaycoverTricia Goyer — Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska ($13 value)

Singer Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams—a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But When singer Ginny Marshall travels to the isolated town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, she is charmed by the town’s colorful characters and stunning scenery. She discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between an early missionary to Alaska Territory and his accidental mail-order bride. Written by homeschool moms, Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss.

 

NR cover (2)LB cover (2)Frontier 2000 — No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned Me a Master’s Degree by Age Sixteen by Alexandra Swann and Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years As a Homeschooling Mother by Joyce Swann ($20 value)

No Regrets: The engaging story of Swann’s experiences growing up as a Southern Baptist homeschooled child from New Mexico earning her education at a highly accelerated pace. At the age of fifteen she became the youngest student ever to graduate from Brigham Young University in its 111 year history.

Looking Backward: From 1975-2000, Joyce Swann homeschooled each of her ten children from the first grade through master’s degrees by the age of sixteen. In this book, she discusses the methods she used to teach as well as the obstacles that threatened her success.

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The 1st RUNNER UP will receive ALL of the following — a $225 value!

 

geomatters3Geography Matters — Cultural Geography Package ($50 value) Have you ever thought that geography was a boring subject? Then you’ve never used these books! Eat Your Way Through the U.S.A. and Eat Your Way Around the World are a taste buds-on approach to geography. Each state or country has its unique geographical features and agricultural products. These influence both the ingredients that go into a recipe and the way food is prepared. Why stop with only your taste-buds? Let’s involve all the senses by adding Geography Through Art! This hand-son approach will supplement any study of geography, history, or social studies. Geography Through Art is sure to make a lasting addition to your home or school library. You’ll find yourself reaching for this indispensable guide again and again to delight and engage students in learning about geography through the culture and art of peoples around the world.

 

DiscoverTheSensesCoverSMUnit Studies by Amanda Bennett — Discover the Senses Download N Go ($9 value) In this study, your child will investigate a new sense each day, learning what it is and how it works, as well as what it does for him. He will learn what impacts that particular sense. And he will meet some of history’s heroes, such as Louis Braille, who helped along the way. Each day, your student will explore and investigate, creating and adding more learning components to his Discover the Senses lapbook—building a wonderful reminder of all that he is learning to be enjoyed for years to come.

 

rain cover (2)Shining Dawn Books — Remarkable Rain ($9 value)

Quiet and peaceful, or wild and raging – rain comes in many forms. This NaturExplorers unit sets out to examine rain in all its beauty, observe its effects and make you look forward to the next rainy day!

 

 

2ndGradeOnline (2)A+ Tutorsoft — 3-month subscription to the online A+ TutorSoft math program — winner’s choice from grade levels 1st-4th ($50 value)

A+ TutorSoft, Inc. provides Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH Full Curriculum products to help students improve their grades at all levels. Our Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH helps homeschooling families as well as public and private school teachers and students. A+ TutorSoft offers everyone a FREE 30 day trial on all products. Visit the top right corner of our website: http://www.aplustutorsoft.com/. And through 3/31/13 they are offering 50% off all products with code spoffer50!

 

stevejane (2)Five in a Row — Set of Five Audio Files from Steve Lambert ($20 value)

We all need some inspiration from time to time! Steve and Jane Lambert have been encouraging homeschoolers on their journey since 1994. These Five in a Row audio files have been recorded at major state homeschooling conventions around the United States and Canada and have been chosen because we believe you’ll enjoy it for its wisdom, humor and encouragement shared by Steve. Including: Where do I Begin?, I Can’t Teach All the Grades at Once, Making Your Children into World Changers, On Becoming Great Teachers, and High School and Beyond.

 

6  month (2)In the Hands of a Child — 6-Month Super Membership ($55 value)

Super Memberships Save You Time and Money! Each month Super Members receive two free downloadable Lapbooks. These Lapbooks are always brand new and have not been released for sale to the general public. Super Members also receive:

  • 15% discount off all purchases of existing eBook Lapbooks.
  • A free Birthday
  • Lapbook10.00 off the price of any custom ordered unit

 

 

sscp3dcovertrans-150x198Southern Hodgepodge — A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels ebook ($20 value)

Looking for an easy way to add art to your days? With A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels ebook – just add chalk pastels and paper! Short lessons for a whole year, 100 pages of tutorials, art for all ages.

 

 

glacierbaycoverTricia Goyer — Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska ($13 value)

Singer Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams—a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But When singer Ginny Marshall travels to the isolated town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, she is charmed by the town’s colorful characters and stunning scenery. She discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between an early missionary to Alaska Territory and his accidental mail-order bride. Written by homeschool moms, Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss.

 

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The 2nd RUNNER UP will receive ALL of the following — a $190 value!

 

531464_498302993565241_1500803167_nGeography Matters — Adventures of Munford Package ($35 value) Although he’s just two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, Munford is all adventure. He can be rain, snow, sleet, or steam. He has traveled the world in search of excitement. Throughout history, he has been present at some of the most important and world-changing events. Fun and educational, Munford will inspire your children to learn more about many of history’s greatest moments. These readers make a great addition to your learning experience in areas such as history, geography, and science. This book series is written on an elementary reading level, but provides plenty of read-aloud entertainment for the entire family!

 

DiscoverTheSensesCoverSMUnit Studies by Amanda Bennett — Discover the Senses Download N Go ($9 value)In this study, your child will investigate a new sense each day, learning what it is and how it works, as well as what it does for him. He will learn what impacts that particular sense. And he will meet some of history’s heroes, such as Louis Braille, who helped along the way. Each day, your student will explore and investigate, creating and adding more learning components to his Discover the Senses lapbook—building a wonderful reminder of all that he is learning to be enjoyed for years to come.

 

rain cover (2)Shining Dawn Books — Remarkable Rain ($9 value) Quiet and peaceful, or wild and raging – rain comes in many forms. This NaturExplorers unit sets out to examine rain in all its beauty, observe its effects and make you look forward to the next rainy day!

 

 

 

2ndGradeOnline (2)A+ Tutorsoft — 3-month subscription to the online A+ TutorSoft math program — winner’s choice from grade levels 1st-4th ($50 value)

A+ TutorSoft, Inc. provides Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH Full Curriculum products to help students improve their grades at all levels. Our Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH helps homeschooling families as well as public and private school teachers and students. A+ TutorSoft offers everyone a FREE 30 day trial on all products. Visit the top right corner of our website: http://www.aplustutorsoft.com/. And through 3/31/13 they are offering 50% off all products with code spoffer50!

 

vol4 (2)Five in a Row — Volume 4 Digital Unit of Winner’s Choice ($9 value)

Five in a Row was created by Jane Claire Lambert, a successful homeschool teacher with more than 17 years of experience. To use Five in a Row, just pick one of the 70 books used in Five in a Row, locate the corresponding lesson plan in your teacher’s guide, read the story aloud each day during the week and use Jane’s suggestions and lesson plans to lead your children on a wonderful learning adventure. It’s that simple! Each unit covers Social Studies, Geography, Language Arts, Applied Math, Science and Art in a way that causes children to fall in love with learning.

 

2 month (2)In the Hands of a Child — 2-Month Super Membership ($45 value)

Super Memberships Save You Time and Money! Each month Super Members receive two free downloadable Lapbooks. These Lapbooks are always brand new and have not been released for sale to the general public. Super Members also receive:

  • 15% discount off all purchases of existing eBook Lapbooks.
  • A free Birthday
  • Lapbook10.00 off the price of any custom ordered unit

 

sscp3dcovertrans-150x198Southern Hodgepodge — A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels ebook ($20 value)

Looking for an easy way to add art to your days? With A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels ebook – just add chalk pastels and paper! Short lessons for a whole year, 100 pages of tutorials, art for all ages.

 

 

glacierbaycoverTricia Goyer — Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska ($13 value)

Singer Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams—a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But When singer Ginny Marshall travels to the isolated town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, she is charmed by the town’s colorful characters and stunning scenery. She discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between an early missionary to Alaska Territory and his accidental mail-order bride. Written by homeschool moms, Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

ByAngie

Review: Handwriting Without Tears Wet-Dry-Try App For Android

Handwriting without Tears Logo

Teaching my son to write has to have been the most challenging part of homeschooling thus far. In the beginning he had no interest, and later he lacked patience. Even using his finger to trace over letters on paper or in sand was a battle. I’m happy to say, this is no longer the case! All thanks to Handwriting Without Tears and their Wet-Dry-Try app for Android!

Handwriting Without Tears is a well known and respected company that offers a handwriting curriculum for grades PreK up to 5th grade for both homeschool and educators in brick and mortar schools. The format is full of fun, music, games, and many multi-sensory approaches to help make writing interesting and fun. One of the activities they have children do is use a slate chalkboard to write a letter or number, trace over it with a wet cloth, and then dry it with their finger. Recently they released an app that mimics these actions on a tablet (7 inches or larger) to learn how to write Capital letters and Numbers, and we were given the opportunity to review it. I really didn’t expect much of it, as I’ve tried different apps on our Android tablet to try and get Tommy’s attention in this area and they never worked. I must admit though, I was wrong. I eat crow. This app really does help!

HWOT Wet/Dry App Title page

When you first open the app, you’ll need to set up a profile for your child. This takes but a moment and is really simple. You may have up to 4 profiles. So if you have more than one child you’d like to be working on this app, then you will have no problem. There is the option to turn off the background music, voice instruction, and sound effects if those are the types of things that you’d like to not have on. (I personally kept the music on so that if I was doing something else I could hear if Tommy quit working.) You can set it to be challenging or easier and to be “unlocked” or to lock at certain levels. We had our’s set for Easier and Unlocked.

HWOT Wet/Dry Pick and Practice

Now that you’re all set up, you have the option to choose from “Pick and Practice” (seen above) or “HWT’s Winning Order” (seen below) to begin. I started Tommy out with HWT’s Winning Order since he’d really had trouble learning to write.  The lessons give little nicknames to moves and lines, and make use of a happy face to show you where the top left of the tablet should be. Before your child starts, the instructor writes the letter in chalk for your child. Then your child will “wet” the letter with a sponge. Once your child has completed the sponge task, they are asked to “dry” the letter. After the letter is dry, they are given the chance to write it themselves with chalk. If they make a mistake, it does have them start over on the exact task they are on, and after a few failed attempts will show them how to do it again. Once they have completed an entire “round”, they are given positive recognition and receive a star. Tommy loves seeing how many stars he can get.

HWOT Wet/Dry App Winning Order

Well, let me tell you honestly. He was quite frustrated at times in the beginning. It’s a tablet, so sometimes if your touch isn’t just write, it will say your finger is not on the board when it is, or will get “caught” if your sensitivity isn’t set right in the settings. But once he got the hang of how to handle it and I had all the kinks with the settings on the tablet figured out, he took off. I had him use it every school day and sometimes on weekends for about 15-20 minutes at a time.  He would, as most any kid would, occasionally complain about having to sit and write numbers instead of doing some fun learning game. But other days he saw it as a game and tried to see how many stars he could get on each letter or number. After the first few days, I gave him free reign to decide what letters or numbers he was going to practice on… and this is where it gets amazing.

"Spiderman" using the app

“Spiderman” using the app

One day, during math, I put a worksheet in front of Tommy. He had been working on the tablet for about a week and a half at the time, and like I said, I really didn’t expect to much out of it. I didn’t expect him to try to trace the numbers on the math sheet. In fact, I was only going to have him count them out and color in the apples. Lo and behold, he asks “Mom, can I write the numbers?” to which I replied “Go for it” in shock. I’m not kidding, he picked up his pencil and traced every single number on that page with no issue… and CORRECTLY! Okay, yeah, there were some mistakes. But to have him do it at all, let alone without help and few errors, I was ecstatic. I exclaimed, “Thomas! That’s awesome! I’m so proud of you!” and quickly gave him a sticker and hung the sheet on the bulletin board. The next thing he said was very Smart Alec of him, but I probably deserved it: “I’ve been using my Wet-Dry-Try tablet, Mom. I know how to write now.” He might as well added a big “Duh!” at the end of his sentence, but the boy knows better. 😉

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Now, his writing is not perfect. Nor does he not need further instruction to help him learn to print correctly. However, he has overcome so much stress and anxiety by using the Wet-Dry-Try app. Writing comes much naturally to him now. I am more than pleased! We’ve also discovered by letting him have free reign on this app that he is ambidextrous. Who knew? (It’s really not too shocking, as I am, but still, I didn’t know before… So throw me a bone here. 😉 )

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The cost of the app is $4.99, about the same you would spend on a slate board and chalk.

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Would you like to see more reviews by others on not only the Wet-Dry-Try app, but also other Handwriting Without Tears products? Click here to find more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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ByAngie

Review: Flowering Baby

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!
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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:

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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…)

"Reading" one of our books that we read with the curriculum. Ignore the fact that the book is upside down, please.

“Reading” one of our books that we read with the curriculum. Ignore the fact that the book is upside down, please.

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!

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ByAngie

Review: Apologia Exploring Creation With Zoology 1: Flying Creatures Of The Fifth Day

Since we made the decision to homeschool a few years ago, the name “Apologia” has been everywhere. I still remember the first time I went to Apologia Educational Ministries website and the excitement that came over me. Biblical creation based science and perspective, weaved with scripture and hands on learning! My husband and I decided then that when our children were old enough, this would be the company we would turn to.

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Recently, we were blessed with the opportunity to review Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of The Fifth Day textbook & Junior Notebooking Journal from the Young Explorers series that Apologia offers for grades K-6. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I broke into laughter, screamed, jumped up and down, and did a little dance when I found out this was on it’s way to our home. Did I mention we had company over for dinner? Yeah. But I’m not only a nerdy book loving homeschool mom, I’m also a science geek. So it was like Christmas came early for this girl, and I felt the need to rejoice.

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Flying Creatures of The Fifth Day covers exactly just that. ALL flying creatures, not just birds. Bats, flying reptiles, Beetles, and insects are included here as well. Using a Charlotte Mason-esque approach of learning, the study covers 14 chapters beginning with a lesson in what Zoology is and all about classification. From there it dives right into birds and flows through the rest of the topics. Each chapter has key points such as Try This!, Mid-Lesson Break, Mid-Lesson Experiment, What Do You Remember?, and ends with a project. The pages are easy to read and have stunning photos. Also included in the textbook is a link and password for more information on the lessons available on Apologia’s website. (This is an awesome feature that I suggest no one who owns these books bypass.)

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The Junior Notebooking Journal (suggested for early elementary) is really a nice addition to have, but not necessary to complete the lessons in the textbook. For me, I’d rather have the Junior Notebooking Journal as it is well organized, takes a lot of guesswork out of things, and you’re not printing out a lot of pages for each lesson. For example, listed in Junior Notebooking Journal is a suggested lesson plan that would have you cover each lesson (chapter) over the course of 2 weeks by working on it 2 days each week. It also contains coloring sheets, copy work (both manuscript & cursive), scientific speculation sheets, mini lapbooks and other worksheets. All pages are in black and white and are easily understood as to how to use them.

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My husband and I fell in love with this curriculum. It relates everything the way we would teach it ourselves if we had the time to sit down and write it all out. And being that the style of teaching was mostly narration was a big plus since that’s what we love. However, we quickly realized that a big chunk of each lesson was a bit too much for a Kindergartener to grasp. Understanding that the Young Explorers series is meant to be for grades Kindergarten through 6th, we expected some things to be a bit difficult. Yet we found early on that it was going to be pretty challenging to really do each lesson without sometimes teaching half of it. None the less, we persevered and continued on. Tommy would color while I read the reading for the day. Some days it flew (no pun intended) right over his head, and others did not. Weeks later he’s still talking to anyone who will listen, including strangers, about lift and drag, extinction, habitats, etc. so he definitely absorbed quite a bit. For the worksheets he would dictate to me what to write if it was too much for his little hands to do. We quickly adapted 3-4 days a week instead of 2 and found it to be much easier. By taking more time to read ahead the night before, discussing the best ways to explain the lesson to his eager little mind, we were also given an advantage. Experiments? Well those were easy. He LOVED the experiments…

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We plan to continue on and finish the books with our little improvisations. We may take it even a bit more slower, though, and do some other science activities in between lessons. If in a few weeks it gets to be too much, then we’ll set it to the side and come back to it later. Right now it is working, though. And when he is older, if it makes sense at the time, we’ll come back and do it all again with the Notebooking Journal (not Junior, for older children. Not reviewed in this post.) and let him find the things he missed before.

If Biblical Creation based science is important to you and your kids love hands on learning, then I would say this is definitely recommended as something you should try. But if your early elementary child is not yet writing very well and unable to listen for more than a few minutes at a time, I would wait a year or so before beginning.

The price of each item is as follows. By clicking on the links, you will find full product descriptions, sample pages, and table of contents.

Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 textbook: $39

Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 Junior Notebooking Journal: $24

Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 Notebooking Journal (Not reviewed in this post!): $24

Other items you will need are basic items such as paper, crayons, & pencils. But keep in mind, you will also need to buy various products for the science experiments. So, if you are budgeting your costs before you purchase, I would suggest to look up the lab list linked on the textbook webpage.

I truly hope that you have found this review helpful. If you’d like to read how other homeschoolers felt about these books and others in the Young Explorers series, then click on the banner below.

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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.

ByAngie

Review: SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Sometimes, as a homeschooling Mom, you find yourself pulling your hair out. You either don’t know what to do next, or you need something to fill in the gap. Maybe you’ve hit a wall and don’t know exactly how to teach your child a subject that they want or need to learn. Then you sit and wonder, “Where do all these other homeschooling moms discover these awesome lesson plans and ideas?” This is followed by hours of trying to figure out where all of these fun new ways of teaching came from, and asking yourself where you can find inspiration.

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If you’ve just begun homeschooling or have been for while, chances are that you’ve heard of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. This is the magazine we all turn to monthly for ideas and encouragement. If you haven’t heard, they offer an amazing resource that I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to review:  SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a one stop, everything included, subscription website that offers lessons, videos, ebooks, planners, checklists, and more. It can be used as a full curriculum, or as an added supplement. It covers all grades from Pre-K up to High School. This continually growing website quite possibly has content you have not even thought of including in your homeschool.

The cost is really a bargain, and there are a few subscription options. You can join monthly for $5.95 with the first month only costing $1. Or, you can sign up with a yearly subscription. Right now, I suggest taking advantage of the promotion they have going on: $49 for the full year that includes a handy tote bag, annual print book, and bonus gifts.

 

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For our family, even as young as my children are, I was amazed at what all SchoolhouseTeachers.com had to offer.

First of all, I love planners. I can never have enough of them. It seems I try a new one each year. My husband was extremely pleased to find out that included in our subscription, there are planners available for download. You know what that means… We don’t have to buy planners! There is a planner for Mom, Special Learners, Primary, Intermediate, and High School. What a stress saver!

We also utilized the monthly lap-book. It was fun, educational, and had content to be added each week. So fun!

There is daily work, monthly work, music lessons, foreign language, reading lists, hands on activities, and more. All lessons are written and/or given by well known homeschool teachers. It takes the guess work out of planning! To go one step further, there are daily checklists given at the beginning of the month so that you know what needs to be done each day to cover everything for each grade. How cool is that?

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My utmost favorite part of this site is the math section. It’s no secret; I am terrible at math. Dr. Peter Price has video instructions for the parent on how to teach mathematics to the student. He makes it simple for you to understand how to explain the concepts to your children in a way that they will remember what they’ve learned later on. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen my son so excited to sit and do math. We had not yet attempted to teach him addition, but with Dr. Peter Price’s “Count on 2” method, my son was doing it in no time!

We also really enjoy the daily copywork, weekly spelling lists, reading lists, hands on activities, and even the French lessons! Having The Old Schoolhouse Magazine archives available is certainly a bonus.

I honestly have nothing negative to say about SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I will say that it can take a bit of time to explore when you first begin your subscription. However, that’s a good thing. It really has THAT much to offer!

Our family will likely never go without it again. SchoolhouseTeachers.com has made homeschooling so much easier and has proven itself to be a truly invaluable resource.

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.

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