Thursday, January 31, 2013

Get a $15 Gift Certificate from Educents!

Want to save 30-90% on Homeschool Products PLUS get a $15 gift certificate to use at their website?

Let me introduce you to Educents!

From their website:

How does Educents Work?

Educents works with the best educational suppliers to provide daily group deals at flash speed. Order your products quickly because there will only be a limited amount for a limited time! Not to mention, we offer the lowest prices!

What types of products will Educents offer?

Educents will offer a wide variety of educational materials selected from the best suppliers in the industry. Products will range from online curriculum, learning tools, educational toys, software, study guides, e-books, classroom videos and tutorials in all subjects. Just to name a few…

Click here to register for your $15 gift certificate which can be used once the website officially launches on April 2nd!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

T.R.I.P. Update #1

This is my first update using the T.R.I.P. system with my 9 year old.  T.R.I.P. stands for Targeted Reading Improvement Program . This program has been in use for Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD and other reading problems.

The T.R.I.P. CD contains 20 lessons, each with 3 parts, AND a how-to video with easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

The makers of the T.R.I.P. have over 40 years experience helping people with special reading needs.  Be it spelling, reversing small words, omitting letters at the end of words and more.  

Parents are encouraged to praise their children while working through the lessons, go only as far as the student is comfortable and to encourage repetition.  Lessons should be repeated until instant recognition is attained before moving on.  Repetition is important for special needs students.  

Part 1 of the program is Word Lists.  Each word list contains 10 sight words for a total of 160 basic sight words within the program.  At the start of a new lesson, the word list is printed out and the student goes down the list saying each word.  If the student can say it without needing to sound it out, a check mark is placed next to it.  This is repeated each day that the lesson is worked on.

Next, use word slips for each word they have missed.  Write the word in print and then in cursive.  The student reads the printed word and traces the cursive word with their finger.  They say the word out loud and then write it.  This is a multi-sensory approach to learning.

Part 2 is Flashing Practice.  Shape orientation, numbers, letters and worlds are flashed upon the screen and the student writes down what they see on paper.  After each set is flashed, the answers are displayed and the student corrects his/her paper.  Words get progressively harder the higher up in levels the student goes.  This helps with letter recognition and spelling.

Part 3 is Story Card.  The 10 new sight words introduced in that lesson are reinforced with a read aloud story. Students practice spelling the words, listening to the story and answering simple comprehension questions about the story.

Our Experience so far:
I used this program with my 9 year old daughter.  Though reading has not come easy for her, she has never received a formal diagnosis. 

This program works best when used regularly (same time, same place).  That was the hardest part for us was staying consistent.  But, we did use it about 4 times a week for about 10-20 minutes at a time.

So far, so good - though, her favorite part is definitely the Word Flash!

I'll be updating in a few, stay tuned!
Disclosure: I received the above product 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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up - What do Andy Warhol & Caddie Woodlawn have in Common?

What do Any Warhol & Caddie Woodlawn have in common?

Well....nothing!  Except that my 4th grader studied both this week!

Andy Warhol
My daughter's recreation of his infamous soup can!  (Smudges due to wet glue)

"Andy Warhol fascinated the world with his simple, bright artwork of popular, everyday items and famous people of the 1960's.  He wanted to be remembered as a "can of soup."  Campbell's of course!"
Andy Warhol
Learning how Andy Warhol used color from Meet the Masters

The older kids reviewed art terminology and tried to improved on some techniques as well.

 We continued on with our study of Geography.  This week visiting the mid-western states.

Mid-western states
Mid-western states
 We brought out one of our favorites, Paddle-to-the-Sea and also a new one, Caddie Woodlawn.  I was surprised how much Caddie reminds me of my daughter!
Paddle-to-the-Sea & Caddie Woodlawn
Our selected readings:  Paddle-to-the-Sea (Great Lakes) and Caddie Woodlawn (Wisconsin)

My son started the Progeny Press Literature Guide on Across Five Aprils.  Since the book takes place during the Civil War Era, he reviewed that time in History too.

Across Five Aprils


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Honour of Kings - Ancient & American History I

Honor of Kings Ancient & American History I
Need an Early World & American History ebook curriculum that's non-consumable, chronological, well laid out, easy to use, and reasonably priced for your 1st through 6th graders written with a biblical worldview?  Then check out Honour of Kings!

Covering Ancient History 3932 BC to 1000 BC, Volume 1 begins with Creation and concludes with the Judges of Israel all within 35 chapters.  The American History portion, which covers 1500 to 1776, is presently a very well laid out, extremely detailed, written timeline that can easily be supplemented with books from the library.

Honor of Kings Education Philosophy:

"Our general philosophy of educating children begins with the idea that God is the Creator of all, including the subjects our children learn in school. As an example, Genesis speaks of the created animals. Thus, we study biology. Because God created everything, we believe it is inappropriate to teach any school subjects in a way that excludes the Creator.

We believe that education should be thought-provoking. That is to say, parents achieve their best results when they teach children how to think for themselves rather than simply spoon-feeding them information. Our curriculum does just that through logical thought progression while using activities and exercises to illustrate key points.

We also believe education works best when it is structured, so that children always know what is expected of them and adults have some way to determine success or failure. Structure doesn’t mean learning can’t be enjoyable, but making school “fun” at the expense of structured learning usually doesn’t achieve the best results."

It is suggested that parents read the text to children grades 1st-3rd and follow with the activities together. For grades 4th-6th, this age group should be able to read on their own, complete activities independently and take the end of chapter tests. All grades can review comprehension questions together.  Additionally, activities are easy enough to understand and follow.

My 6th grader enjoyed working on his own throughout the text. Both my 3rd/4th and 6th graders liked the colorful text and end of chapter activities. The text is very well written and encourages the child to really think. We all enjoyed reading the myths from around the world regarding Creation, the flood, and Tower of Babel. These sections helped my children learn why these myths are similar to the Biblical account, but, aren't true. And, how these differing accounts could happen.

To illustrate this we did one of the suggested activities from the book. I had my 6th grader write a short story and read it to my 3rd/4th grader. My 3rd/4th grader in turn told what she remembered to me. I in turn told my 9th grader who in turn told Dad. And, boy - did some of the facts change!!! Amazing how that worked!

This study also includes scientific evidence for a Worldwide flood and plate tectonics with a few experiments as well.

My kids also enjoyed experiencing a day in the life in the cities of Sumer, reading about the post flood inhabitants (descendants of Japeth in Europe & Asia Minor), early civilization in Peru (WOW!), and the mound builders in North America just to name a few.
llustrating how quickly population can grow from one generation from the next.  Starting at the bottom of the table, each row represents one generation . (Adam & Eve)
Illustrating how quickly population can grow from one generation from the next.  Starting at the bottom of the table, each row represents one generation . (Adam & Eve)

"Cutting" a tablet to make Sumerian cuneiform
"Cutting" a tablet to make Sumerian cuneiform

"Cutting" a tablet to make Sumerian cuneiform
Even the Nip Napper can enjoy this activity!

After looking up other Sumerian cuneiform tablets, my 6th grader decided to do his own version.
After following the links in the text and looking up other Sumerian cuneiform tablets, my 6th grader decided to do his own version.

Please look at this study for yourself:
Table of Contents & Chapter One

Timeline of Chapters 1-17

Interested in this curriculum?  Author Ellen Gerwitz is giving away 30 copies of the TEST BOOKLET that accompanies this study.  Please email her to request your copy!


I received an ebook version of this curriculum in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winner of the 1,000 Facebook Followers Giveaway is.....

I'm about ready to hit the button and let the 'random number generator' pick the winner of the 1,000 Facebook Followers Giveaway.

First, I'd like to give a big thanks to all who contributed prizes:  Vision Forum, Always IceCream/Clever Dragons, Master Books, Zeezok Publishing, Curls and Grins, Child Training Bible, Spelling Mechanics, Grapevine Bible Studies, Creek Edge Press, In the Hands of a Child and Lilla Rose/Jerky.

Next, I'd like to give a big thanks to all who entered this giveaway.  I wish I had a bundle of prizes for each of you!!

And, I'd like to give a big thanks to all those who read Homeschool Circus.


Without further suspense....

The winner is:

Entry #2095 - Lisa S who followed Homeschool Circus on Networked Blogs!!!

Congratulations Lisa!  I'll be contacting you shortly!!! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up - The South, Strawberries & Sunshine

Our Strawberry Girl!
Our Strawberry Girl!
This week in conjunction with studying the southern states and reading Strawberry Girl, we took a trip to a local strawberry field to have some 'U-pick fun'!
Strawberry Plant
My kids got to see varying degrees of ripe fruit on the plants.
Very cool!

Baby picks strawberry
The Nip Napper getting in on picking fun!

Lots and lots of strawberries!
Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries!

Southern States
Studying the Southern States!  Sweet tea anyone?

Strawberry Girl - Lois Lenski
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski inspired our trip

Also this week, we tried our hand at making our own fossils using Playdoh and Plaster of Paris.  Though we had mixed results, we all had fun!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

102030GO! Review & GIVEAWAY!


There are many chore charts and "how-to-get-your-children-to-do-their-chores" systems on the market.  What drew me to 102030GO! is the integration of prayer, quiet time, and character building each day in ADDITION to reading and household chores.  That's what I think makes this program, created by Christian parents of 6, stand out from others!

From the 102030GO! website:

"So we needed a system and one that didn't require a lot of maintenance. We didn't want to fight with the kids over chores or hear their sighs every time we asked them to do something around the house. We wanted them to take responsibility for their homework and education. We also wanted to give more attention to nurturing their faith and prayer lives—a daily opportunity to talk to them about their prayers and conversations with God. We needed a system that guided our children and allowed them to be active, responsible participants in maintaining our household, their schoolwork and their faith."


Our Experience:

After putting up our prayer chart, we set to work on the customizable chore chart.  We did modify it some because my kids are pretty well versed in the everyday things such as making beds and tidying rooms.  It was helpful to post the 'room of the day' that needed to be cleaned in a general column and then those child specific chores in that specific child's column.

Family Responsibility Kit

At the core of this program is 10 minutes of prayer/devotional time, 20 minutes of reading and 30 minutes of chores/responsibilities.  We already have a set devotional, reading, and chore time.  These are mostly observed as a part of our homeschooling day.  The new 'thing' for us was the character trait cards and the daily check off at the back of the card.  Everyone really liked these!  It was a bit of a trick to get my kids to remember to bring the card to me to be checked every night.  BUT, after a few missed days of their paydays/rewards their memories got better!

102030GO! Chore cards
Chore cards

That being said, for a family that doesn't have a set schedule for bible reading, reading and/or chores, this is a perfect solution and great place to start getting some order in your household!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a Family Responsibility Kit free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Millennium Girls Writing Bundle Review!

New Millennium Girls Writing Bundle

It's fun, faith-based, horse-filled AND will help your 3-6th grader write a character building adventure.

It's The New Millennium Girls Writing Bundle!

There are 3 components to this writing package:

First, Isabel's Secret.  A wholesome novel about the real Isabel.  Join her on solving a long-kept secret mystery.  (Read my review of this book plus some fun hands-on projects)

Isabel's Secret
Isabel's Secret

Next is Isabel's Closet.  A paper doll and craft book uniquely made to help your budding author role-play, visualize and 'flesh out' her story.

Isabel's Closet
Isabel's Closet

Finally, the backbone of the bundle.  Creative Writing Made Easy Workbook.  Each of these 12 lessons includes learning time, writing time and craft time and is used directly with Isabel's Closet.

Creative Writing Made Easy
Creative Writing Made Easy

Author Jan May has done a truly wonderful job in giving your daughter the tools necessary to create a unique tale of her very own.

Our Experience:

Upon receiving our bundle, my 9 year old daughter was DELIGHTED!!!!  She was so excited to begin.  We started off doing page after page after page.  Moving at light-speed, she tackled the brain storming activities on how to develop a character and setting.  She adored making the paper dolls PLUS designing rooms for the dolls to interact in.
Isabel's colorful riding clothes and Princess Katie's ballgown
Isabel's colorful riding clothes and Princess Katie's ballgown.

Princess Katie and her party dress.
Princess Katie and her party dress.

Going through my scrapbook papers, my daughter had so much fun picking the backgrounds for the 'rooms' in Isabel's house.   Furniture ads and magazines provided the furniture for each room.  Each 'room' and clothes are conveniently stored in a 3 ring binder with page protectors.

Isabel's Bedroom designed by my daughter.
Isabel's Bedroom designed by my daughter.

But then, it came to begin writing the actual story and we hit a brick wall.  Not worried, I set the writing portion aside and picked up the book, Isabel's Secret, to use as a read aloud.  I was thinking that hearing a story with Isabel in it would inspire her writing efforts.  After reading the story and doing some of the hands on projects, we went back to writing.

Paper horses of Isabel and Princess Katie
Paper horses of Isabel and Princess Katie

Again, we hit a brick wall.  My daughter was having problems thinking of a story in 'story format' when it felt more like a play to her.  Since there's plenty of flexibility in this curriculum, we turned it into a play.

Then the fun continued and the plot, characters and setting flowed easily.

Cover of her play, The Two Best Friends,  and Isabel's 'closet'.
Cover of her play, The Two Best Friends,  and her version of Isabel's 'closet'.

Admittedly, this is one of the longest reviews I've ever done.  You could do this curriculum in less than 12 weeks, but, why would you?  There are so many neat rabbit trails and jumping off points --- geography, drawing, design, science and on and on.  In our opinion, cutting it down or sticking to a strict schedule would take away cut down on the creative and educational opportunities!!

I received a writing bundle free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1,000 Facebook Followers Giveaway!

Homeschool Circus is celebrating hitting 1,000 Facebook Followers with a special giveaway from some of our favorite companies!

12 special prizes (valued at over $300) from Vision Forum, Always IceCream/Clever Dragons, Master Books, Zeezok Publishing, Curls and Grins, Child Training Bible, Spelling Mechanics, Grapevine Bible Studies, Creek Edge Press, In the Hands of a Child and Lilla Rose/Jerky will be given away to one blessed winner! 

Prizes include:

Grapevine Bible StudiesEver stickfigured through the Bible?  If not, you don't know what you are missing!  (Read my review).  Winner receives one download of  Resurrection Teacher & Student ebooks from Grapevine Bible Studies.

Spelling MechanicsSpelling Mechanics Homeschool Word Study - Hands down our favorite Spelling program and the only one we've ever gotten excited about!!!  Winner chooses one level! (Read my review)

In the Hands of a Child

Who's our favorite Lapbooking company?  In the Hands of a Child!  Winner receives their choice of  one downloadable lapbook!  Never lapbooked?  Check out my HOAC lapbook review.

Jonathan Park and The Copper Scroll
Brush up on your Biblical Archeology.  Excellent for car schooling! Winner receives one Jonathan Park and The Copper Scroll CD set from Vision Forum (Read my review).

Always Ice Cream
If you are going to play online, make it fun, safe and educational!  Winner will receive a 1 Year Membership to their choice of either Always IceCream OR Clever Dragons (Read my review) .  

Noah Justice
Add to your Creation Science Library with Noah Justice ! Winner chooses 1 title from 6 selections which comes with matching Study Guide from Master Books .


Yes, you can use movies in your homeschool!  Winner receives one brand new Kit Kittredge Movie DVD to go with the matching downloadable study guide from Zeezok Publishing    (Read my review).

Curls and Grins Handmade Cards
A set of handmade cards from Curls and Grins! Winner receives a pre-made and pre-chosen assortment of cute handmade cards by a homeschooling Mom and her daughters!

Child Training Bible

Be ready with instruction straight from the Word of God with the Child Training Bible Kit (Read my review) .  Winner receives one kit.

Creek Edge Press

"Montessori-Classical-Charlotte Mason." appears on the Creek Edge Press Logo.  Speaking of unique, have you ever heard of Task Cards?  We've been using their Geography & Culture cards this year and are really enjoying them.  (Read my review) Winner receives their choice of one set of Task Cards and guide plus one of their new  Recitation and Enrichment Volume .

Lilla RoseLooking for beautiful hair clips that are sturdy AND stay in your daughter's hair even under the most strenuous activity?  Read  my review for Lilla Rose Flex Clips.  Winner receives the two hair clips (in size small and mini) pictured on the right from consultant Heather Mason/Tresses.  PLUS jerky samples from Jerky Direct.
Jerky Direct
Start your own Jerky Biz for only $14
 email to find out more info!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winner will be contacted via email and has 72 to respond with mailing address. All prizes contributed by the following companies for the purpose of a giveaway.  I did not receive any compensation.  Jonathan Parks CD set and  Kit Kittredge DVD to be mailed from Homeschool Circus.  Noah Justice to be mailed from Master Books.  Spelling Mechanics Home Study to be mailed from Spelling Mechanics.  Creek Edge Press Task Cards & Recitation and Enrichment to be mailed from Creek Edge Press.  Lilla Rose Flex-Clips and Jerky to be mailed from Heather Mason/Tresses.  Child Training Bible Kit to be mailed from Child Training Bible.  Handmade card set to be mailed from Curls and Grins.  In the Hands of a Child, Zeezok Publishing, Grapevine Bible Studies are all downloadable and will come from the appropriate company to the winners email.  Always IceCream/Clever Dragons will send year subscription code to the winners email.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekly Wrap Ups - Teaching Winter, Finished Sewing Project & Eating Sunshine!

Dolly and Me Aprons
Dolly and Me Aprons
Technically we were still on Christmas break.  There's always something going on in our house and a few of those goings-on were a part of my 'Christmas to-do list'.

First of all, my daughter and I finished a long-standing project - Dolly and me aprons.  These were marked as a beginner project.  HA!  Fortunately, my daughter is very patient and understood when I put it away for awhile.  It was a good time to bring it out during break when we weren't rushed and could take our time.

Dolly and Me Aprons

Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather, we spent a fun day with an out of town guest going orange picking.   Gotta love 'eating sunshine'!

No 11 year olds were harmed in the filming of this picture!
No 11 year olds were harmed in the filming of this picture!

Playtime - even for the olders!
Playtime - even for the olders!

Sandbox fun!
Sandbox fun!

A beautiful day to pick oranges!
A beautiful day to pick oranges!


"A little rocker for me and the big rocker for you!"
"A little rocker for me and the big rocker for you!"

"Now I'm over here...hey, I want my chair back!"
"Now I'm over here...hey, I want my chair back!"

Ironically, one of our homeschooling "struggles" has been teaching the FOUR seasons to my kids.  My oldest two remember living up north and of course, snow.  My third and fourth do not.  

I did not realize that this was an issue until we were going over the seasons and my 3rd born could recognize 3 seasons..... chilly, hot and crazy-hot.  <sigh>  Since we are almost in the tropics, our leaves don't change colors and we don't get that fluffy white stuff either.  To make up for the lack of visual cues, I've had to make sure we put up appropriate decorations, read a lot of books and talk about the current season.

Our January craft --- simulated snow .... decorated snowflakes!

Just some of our reading about winter and SNOW!