Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Carnival of Homeschooling - Time for a Homeschool Checkup

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This weeks Carnival of Homeschooling hosted by Dee from The Time4Learning Blog!

Checking the Pulse of Your Activities 
Just when you think September is the busiest homeschool month, along comes OCTOBER!! There’s just something about fall-time that screams “overschedule me”, isn’t there?! It’s like our systems know that not only will the weather be taking a turn for the worse, but that we’re going to be extra occupied with holidays, family, and food soon. So, we want to get in every last possible field trip, playdate, and hands-on project, don’t we? Let’s take a look at what you’ve been up to this month out in the homeschool blog-i-verse... 

Jen at Chestnut Grove Academy shares about a great free lego curriculum she found at CurrClick. Wonderful for the lego lover in your life. 

Join Jennifer at Glimpse of Our Life for their family field trip to a turtle rescue center and learn how to find it a Tortoise or Turtle?? 

Are you as amazed as I am that it is only 100 Days to Christmas?! Bon shares how she uses this countdown to build math skills at Math Is Not a Four Letter Word

Annette did some fine tuning to her homeschool’s activities resulting in a Pumpkin Day with their homeschool group as she writes about in Pumpkins and a Check in at A Net In Time Schooling - A Net In Time Blog

Lisa from The Blasphemous Homemaker shares an example of how her family uses interest led learning in her post How Child-led Learning Works

Julie tells her husband But It's Tony Danza as she expresses her chagrin at not getting to go to a Homeschool Convention on Bits of Entropy.

Checking the Pulse of Your Curriculum
Most of us automatically check the pulse of our curriculum. How long is it taking our kids to get through their assignments each day? Are they actually retaining what they are learning from it? Does it complement their learning style? Is mom’s heart in it? These are all important things to ask yourself concerning your curriculum. After all, if no one wants to use the curriculum, school is going to be a total drag for everyone. 

Lisa shares The Cure for a Horrible, Monstrous, Disastrous Day on her blog at Homeschool Circus. You will love how she managed to bring the fun back into their school day! 

Jamie over at MomSCHOOL gives us a few pointers on how to choose between the ACT or the SAT whenHomeschooling High School. Which one includes an essay and which one has science? Jamie will help set you straight!

Kim at Embracing My Chaos is checking the pulse of her math curriculum, and wants to know if anyone has any great ideas for helping kids learn multiplication tables in her post Multiplication Help

Katherine from No Fighting No Biting shares her arsenal on fighting the war against illiteracy in her post The Best $20 I Ever Spent.

Golden Grasses shares great ideas on how to get the word out about what you are learning in your homeschool in the post We Share What We’ve Learned

Every curriculum needs a little “new.” Sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered... so let me introduce you to Nancy from Sage Parnassus and her post A Book Giveaway for Fall

Have you ever tried distance learning? Henry’s 2nd daughter shares her experience with online distance learning in A perspective on online distance learning on their blog Why Homeschool

Elena over at My Domestic Church considers writing her own curriculum to teach Breastfeeding - another subject we need to teach our homeschooled daughters

Sue gives us The Antidote for Animal School: Unschooling over at her blog Lifelong Learning.

Too much stuff out there. How do I choose the right educational materials?
 Marty helps us to sort it all out with practical suggestions for looking at how or if to buy various learning materials at Learn At Home - Marty Layne.

Cardamom Publishers at Barbara Frank Online gives us tips on Saving Time and Money with Stashes and tells us how buying multiples of items saves homeschooling parents time and money.

Checking the Pulse of Your Household
How often do you take the pulse of your household? How are things running for your family right now. Do you have a good balance in your household about your activities, your meals, your home life? If we don’t have balance, it shows in everything we do. 

Carol at Lessons from the Homestead gives us some great ideas to really put our household in order in her post Involving Kids on the Homestead

The Work at Home Mom shares some of the challenges of working from home while still trying to keep her son mentally engaged in Challenging My Three Year Old.Homeschool Success offers encouragement and advice for homeschooling through high school in Homeschool High School Success: Family

Kris at Homeschool vs. Public School shares with us encouragement about caring for others in her postCaring For Each Other While We Homeschool

Checking the Pulse of Your Thoughts
This is always a great place to get a “check up.” Personally, I allow myself to become stressed over a lot of the little things of life. I find that I have to continually stop and check myself to see if my thoughts and attitudes are as they should be. I love the verse about... “Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report...think on these things.” If only I could stay within those parameters! Typically, if homeschool isn’t going how I think it should go.... well let’s just say I am irritated at just about everyone. Our days then end up being even worse and homeschooling becomes a shipwreck. I have to step back and remind myself that homeschooling is all about flexibility and family! If it doesn’t get done perfect today... give it a better shot tomorrow. Most of all, I can’t allow these feelings to build and become unhealthy. 

Nancy writes about finding inspiration from the nature notebooks of Edith Blackwell Holden in her post atSage Parnassus. Check out this inspiring article. 

Are we doing other homeschooling moms a disservice when we only blog about the positive stuff? Find out as what happens When Homeschoolers Get Real over at Notes From a Homeschool Mom

With a shift from the industrial age to the information age, Rachel from Discover, Share, Inspire explains Why I Hope My Kids Never Go To College

It’s that time of year when we slow down and try to remember to be grateful for the big and little things of life. Eclectic Momma encourages everyone to join her in blogging 30 Days of Thanks

You have certainly heard the phrase, “Be careful what you pray for-You might get it!”. Phyllis talks about this in her post Are You Sure You Want That? at her blog Proclaiming God's Faithfulness

Susan shares excerpts from a Homeschooling Guide in New York Magazine. You can read her other musings at Corn and Oil

Having a support group can really help you to keep your thoughts in good health for homeschooling! If you don't have a support group in your area, Michelle tells you how to start one in How to Start a Homeschool Support Group, Part 1. Michelle authors the blog Classy Lessons.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Language Lessons - From Listening to Conversation Review

Language Lessons from listening skills to conversation by Super Star Speech

As an inexpensive tool for parents to help their children work at home, Language Lessons - From Listening to Conversation by Super Star Speech was written "to help parents work with children who have minor articulation delays and errors."

"Language Lessons will not enable you to do actual "language therapy" with your child, as that is something that only a qualified speech language pathologist can provide. However, it includes over 140 pages of ideas and activities to use with your child that will help to improve his or her listening skills, memory, vocabulary, grammatical skills, and conversation."

This ebook is filled with practical information and helps.  Starting with "Does my Child have a language disorder" followed by guidelines, articulation sounds by age plus age appropriate activities for toddlers, preschoolers and school aged children.

Also provided:
*Exercises and activities to stimulate and improve language skills in children with normal or delayed language abilities.
*Additional practice exercises for children who are already in language therapy.
*Activities that are categorized by type, making them easy to use with children who have diagnosed or suspected delays in specific areas such as auditory memory or vocabulary.
*Fun activities to do with your child.  These shouldn't be considered "work", but will hopefully provide enjoyable, yet useful, activities for parents and children to do together.

I was pleased to look through the easy to navigate toddler and preschool section and check on the milestones my 3 year old has already mastered and activities that I could integrate into our day.  They include:  vocabulary, numbers, colors, listening and more.

The school-aged sections contains many different activities for auditory discrimination and memory, word association, word finding and meanings (critical thinking), sequencing, grammar/syntax and much more.

Though I did most of these exercises with my 9 year old, there were some that benefited my older children as well.

In one exercise, you give your child 2 or 3 words and ask him to put them into a sentence.  For example:  boat and fish.  "We went out on the boat to catch some fish." and so on.

Another called "Barrier games" had us all roaring with laughter.  To play, place a piece of paper and some crayons in front of your child.  Give yourself the same items.  Place a barrier between you so that you cannot see each other's paper.   Have your child draw a picture on his paper, telling you exactly what he is doing so that you can reproduce it on your paper from his description.  Compare your drawings.

One more which is harder than it sounds and is very good for people (adults included) who have problems interrupting others.  Pass an object back and forth during a conversation.  Only the person holding the object may speak.  This helps with listening and responding.  (And tests the person who is not holding the object's resolve to keep quiet and not grab the object so they can talk.)

All in all this ebook is a great tool and resource.  It is well written and the parent can easily pinpoint the problem and go directly to those exercises.

Take a peek at Language Lessons for yourself.

I received a copy of this ebook free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Answers Book for Teens (Vol 2) Review!

Answers Book for Teens (Volume 2) written by Ken Ham, Bodie Hodge, and  Dr. Tommy Mitchell contains 15 more, frequently asked questions geared towards 13-17 year olds.

Answers Books for Teens (Volume 2)
Answers Books for Teens
 (Vol 2)

Starting off this volume is a section dedicated to addressing some of the false claims and misconceptions about Christians:

*   The Bible teaches the earth is flat.
*   Creationists don't believe animals change.
*   Creationists don't believe in science.

Each viewpoint includes a brief response packed with proof.

From there, questions regarding science, authority and authenticity of scripture, slavery, college and social issues are tackled with a straight forward, well written and understandable approach.

This is a book I wish I had when I was a teen.  Three of the covered questions hit home for me as being questions I had growing up.  "Did Creation really take 6 days or did God use the big bang?", "Don't fossils prove evolution?" and "Isn't Natural Section evolution?".

In addition, I gleaned insight into the areas of unicorns in the bible (yep, I did type unicorns), alleged biblical contradictions, the real discoverer of natural selection, the truth behind antibiotic resistance and how to read the Bible using a historical/grammatical method.

My teenager read Volume 1 last year.  He enjoyed reading it and Volume 2 as well.  Though he knew most of the information presented he suggested this would be a great book for teens who are atheists or struggling with their faith.  I think it would be a great addition to any home library!

Take a peek inside the book for yourself!

I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Carrie and Bandit Book Review & GIVEAWAY!

My daughter and I really enjoyed the first book,  Rosie and Scamper , in the Sonrise Stable series.

We both jumped for joy when we received an offer to read and review the next book, Sonrise Stable: Carrie and Bandit .

Written by a horse-loving Christian, Author Vicki Watson scores big with another heart warming, engaging and informative equine tale.

This story picks up where the previous book ends with soon-to-be adopted Carrie counting down the days before she's officially part of a forever family.

Biblical values are stressed as Carrie learns a powerful lesson both in unconditional love and forgiveness plus the reader is versed on what it means to have a spiritual adoption.

Intermixed in the plot is the care and training and humorous portrayal of the personalities of Scamper, Bandit and Kessie . The three horses who share the spotlight of this book will endear themselves to you and add to the flow of the story.  

After Carrie's adoption is official, Carrie's "new" sister Rosie, Mom and Grandmother take a celebratory trail ride.  Grandma's horse falls down a cliff and both are injured.  The resulting rescue and interaction of the vet in care of Kessie the horse is fascinating!

While Grandma is recuperating, a solution to solve multiple woes is suggested --- buy a horse farm and have the family move in all together.  Hmmmm, seems like the perfect set up for more adventures!

I recommend this wholesome book and look forward to reading the third book in The Sonrise Stable series, Clothed with Thunder.

More about the Author: Vicki Watson

My love of horses began when a teenage neighbor offered me my first ride, on the back of her horse. From my 8-year-old perspective, it seemed like the biggest horse in the world. From that moment on, I was addicted. Horses were to become a very important part of my life, although I never could have imagined, at the time, how much God would teach me about Himself and my relationship to Him through these wonderful animals.
The Sonrise Stable series combines my love of God and horses in stories that I hope will help children learn more about both. I have a vision for ten initial books in the series, taking the main characters through one year. Beyond that I'll see where God leads me.

I have been blessed with three daughters and homeschooled each of them through high school. I enjoy trail riding my Rocky Mountain mare, Nikki, hiking, photography, and playing guitar. I work from home as a and computer programmer and enjoy the variety and flexibility that allows.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

 This post contains an affiliate link.  That means should you click on the link and make a purchase, a small portion of that sale goes to this blog.  You are not charged extra.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up - Owl Pellets & Bird Snobs!

This week in our co-op, we dissected Owl Pellets.  For those that do not know, owls cannot digest the bones and hair from the critters they eat.  So, as delicately as I can put this, the remainder comes back up the same way it went down.

Dissecting Owl Pellets
Dissecting Owl Pellets

And THAT is called an Owl Pellet.

Dissecting Owl Pellets
Close up of dissecting Owl Pellets

Armed with gloves and tweezers, our elementary aged kiddos pulled apart their pellet carefully separating the 'rodent' hair from the bones.  
Bones from the Owl Pellet
Bones from the Owl Pellet

Rodent Skull from an Owl Pellet
Rodent Skull from an Owl Pellet

Once the bones are cleaned off, we could then compare each set of bones to the poster and figure out which critter the owl had eaten.

Owl Pellet Bone Sorting Guide
Which critter did your owl eat?

We discovered that the majority of bones were from rodents and a few shrews.

The girls were ready to jump in and do this activity and the boys were a bit more stand-off-ish.  On another  funny note, one of the moms who loved Biology in high school was thrilled to sit down and do her own pellet.  Her remark of "This is the most fun I've had all day!" had the rest of us moms ROLLING!

On the Apologia Flying Creatures experiment front -- we finally got those homemade bird feeders up in the trees.  One in the front yard and the other in the back.

Homemade Bird Feeders from Apologia
Homemade Bird Feeders from Apologia
We set ready with bird identification guides in hand waiting to see the plethora of birds that we know are in the area come swooping down and partake of the buffet .  Unfortunately, we were disappointed.  There were PLENTY of birds, but, not one of them want to land on the feeder and eat.  Drats!

Next week we will try the bird baths and see we can get any visitors.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fitness Friday - ShapelyGirl Fitness Week #4 RESULTS!

I can hardly believe it's been a month since I started working out 3 times a week with Let's Get Moving! 2, Cardio Toning with Weights DVD from Shapelygirl Fitness.

It's been fairly easy to insert this into my schedule.  I love that this workout leaves me feeling energized and not wiped out.  With homeschooling 4 kids, that's VERY important!


Unfortunately I don't have a huge weight loss to report.  I have lost a modest 5 pounds.  But, I have gained a desire to exercise everyday which is helping my physical, mental and emotional state.  This is also helping to ensure that I won't have struggles with chronic illness later on.  In addition I can see some definition in my arms and my endurance is way up!  I will continue to work out with Debra Mazda 3 times a week and hit the gym twice a week to take care of those leg muscles.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this DVD to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Carnival of Homeschooling - 10/23/12

This edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is hosted by Forever For Always No Matter What.

I'm at The Homeschool Village today, writing about some ideas that might help make life easier.  As homeschoolers we have a lot to do each day, here are 10 Ways to Lighten the Load and maybe make the day go a bit more smoothly!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Also this week, I'm hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling. On Monday I wrote about 10 Ways to Keep Kids Active in Winter, which will hopefully help lighten the homeschool day too.   

Take some time to go through the links, explore and get inspired!

Anna at NerdWallet/Education shares, To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool - two young women are interviewed and share their experience.

Barb Frank from Barbara Frank Online shares Homeschooling to Prevent Rebellion - just because you homeschool doesn't mean your child won't rebel.

Troubled Teens is the topic from Dee at the blog Homeschool Online

Henry from Why Homeschool shares some thoughts from his college age daughter with this post, The thing about homeschool is it never ends

Math is a blast at Let's Play Math, Denise shares about a HexaFlexa Party This Weekend!

At Blogging 2 Learn, Denise shares a post on Great Tips from a Student Blogger - ways to make your blog better!

Barb at Harmony Art Mom shares how they incorporate project learning into their lives with the post, Project-Learning in High School: Architecture

Victoria share some great ideas for inexpensive costumes at Den School with a post titled Frugal Halloween Flashbacks

Our Curious Home shares photos of her son using a microscope at the kitchen table with the post Just Don't Drink the Pond Water Sample

Phyllis at Proclaiming God's Faithfulness presents Anyone Ready for Soup? - with a delightful potato soup recipe

Shirley Ann shares some homemaking and Autumn baking tips atUnder an English Sky with a blog post titled Autumn Baking

Lisa from Homeschool Circus shares a post about "Fun Mom" in a blog post titled Death of Fun Mom

Finally, we have Who's Horatius and Why Do I Care from Lisa atGolden Grasses - she discusses why it's important to memorize

Thanks to all those who submitted a post!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekly Wrap Ups - Shapes, Shading and Transplanting

Among many activities that our Homeschool Circus has been up to the past two weeks, these are the highlights.

First up, in our Non-Co-op Co-op is our Meet the Masters class.  

My 9 year old learned about Simple Shapes and Joan Miro.  This was a piece of cake for her.

Joan Miro
Joan Miro-like artwork

Simple Shapes Joan Miro
Learning about simple shapes

My middle and high schoolers were challenged with working with shadows and Rembrandt Van Rijn.  For not being 'artistically minded' they gave it a decent try.

Shadow Rembrandt Van Rijn
Learning about shading

Shadow Rembrandt Van Rijn

Shadow Rembrandt Van Rijn
More windmills - concentrating on shading

Shadow Rembrandt Van Rijn
More attempts on shading

Shadow Rembrandt Van Rijn

On the science front, we transplanted pea seedlings.

Pea Seedlings

 I let the kids decorate their own clay pot before hand.

Painting Clay Pots
The Nip Napper carefully painting his pot.

Painting Clay Pots
My daughter putting a little pizzaz to her pot!

Painting Clay Pots
Finished pots!

Opening the plastic to get the plant ready for transplant

Ah!  A new home!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fitness Friday - ShapelyGirl Fitness Week #3

Again we repeated the saying, "All good plans are subject to change."  However, this week our fitness plans got rearranged not due to sickness, but, due to some much needed time away.  Through a turn of events, we were 100% blessed with an offer that we couldn't refuse.

Forgoing a traditional gym workout, I did manage 2 days with Let's Get Moving! 2, Cardio Toning with Weights DVD AND lots of swimming and walking.  I'm very happy to say that the scale didn't move up and I'm still feeling my stamina rise!

One aspect of this program that I love is reading the testimonials of ladies that Debra Mazda has helped.  Also included on her website, are recipes, forums, and a plethora of other tips and helps.  I hope you'll check them out as well!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this DVD to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Heritage History Giveaway WINNERS

Thank you so much to everyone who read my review and entered to win their choice of disc from either Heritage History's  library or curriculum collection.

I had the privilege of choosing FOUR winners!!!

They are:

Debbie I.
Jennifer McQ.
DaLynn McC.
Nesca C.

Congratulations ladies!  I'll be contacting you shortly!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Above Gold iPad app - Created by a Homeschool Dad!

What is valued above gold? God's Word!

Above Gold is a new iPad app where you can earn gold and precious gems when you unscramble Bible verses -- the real treasure!

Designed and developed by a Homeschool Dad, this new app's goal is to help you and your kids learn and meditate on God's Word. You can unlock four levels of difficulty from "easy" to "hardest"...starting with short scripture verses and moving into longer and longer ones.

To get the gold, you need to beat the clock to solve the puzzle. Use the golden arrows to roll the letters into the right position and create the verse. You can use hint buttons to reveal the reference, the verse or both, but it will cost you some time.

More and more loot is added to your treasure chest as you complete each puzzle. By the end, your chest is filled with coins, gems and bouncing pearls. Surveyed kids called the treasure room "a game within a game" because they loved watching the active treasure!

More important than the earthly treasure, however, is what you might gain in head and heart knowledge as you solve, read and meditate on the scripture as you go!

So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

For only $.99, you can challenge your brain, spend time in God's Word, and get some gold! For more details about this and the other Digital Worship apps, like Dad's Prayers (free), Heavens Above, and Bible Shuffle, click here!

This post brought to you by:  Colleen's Quest

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fitness Friday - ShapelyGirl Fitness Week #2

My husband has a saying that we repeat a lot in our household.  "All good plans are subject to change."

My plans were definitely rearranged this week due to illness.  Out of my planned 2 days at the gym and 3 days with ShapelyGirl Debra Mazda, only a total of 3 days made it.  1 at the gym and 2 working out with
Let's Get Moving! 2, Cardio Toning with Weights DVD.

It wasn't a total loss, but, obviously not what I had planned!

Eventhough I'm not keeping track of pounds lost, I can tell you that since I've added the DVD to my workout schedule, I feel stronger and have more endurance.  Plus alternating workouts has kept getting into shape fun!

The reason why I asked to be on the crew for this particular review was not only for the fitness aspect of it, but, to be with a group of ladies who encourage one another on a daily basis.  Encouragement and fitness go hand in hand in my book.  With four kids, the last one coming after the age of 40, I need all the encouragement I can get!

Join me next Friday for a VICTORIOUS update!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this DVD to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.