Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Mikayla’s Level 8 gymnastics season began this past Sunday, Nov. 24th. The atmosphere at this meet was very different than what we have experienced before. It was almost calming, but I will admit I was a nervous wreck for her while she competed each event.
My stomach was in knots at times and my irritable uterus, was quite irritable especially when I found out we did not have a copy of her floor music. All was saved by an awesome gym mom and friend who was able to email the piece while I was still driving. I owe her big time!
Mikayla’s leo, a 6x-7, fit just right and the new liner made me more comfortable that she was not going to rip it in unmentionable places. Seriously, I had nightmares last season about her ripping it during a meet. She made it through and qualified for the STATE meet and a 3rd place podium placement on vault!
I have attached the video of her vault (the second pass as on the first pass she touched the mat with her hands on landing and it didn’t count for a score) below. If you would like to see her floor routine, check out this blogs Facebook page, as the video is too long to post here.
Way to go Mikayla, you are off to a great start!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
We are huge fans of VeggieTales here and we are so excited about this new DVD. What’s not to love about these familiar cucumber and tomato teaching us about God’s love. In this video Bob & Larry set out to make Christmas this year the best ever at the Spring Valley Mall. However, they get distracted from the true meaning of Christmas with all the bright lights, wonderful music and decorations. Meanwhile a wise little girl with a big heart changes Bob the Tomato, a harried mall employee and Larry the Cucumber, the animated Head Elf at Spring Valley Mall’s minds as she shows them what Christmas is all about. The birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The whole story is narrated by a loveable new character, Silas, as wise Okra janitor. Yes, this is the Silas (Uncle Si) from the top-rated reality show Duck Commander. With uplifting and catchy songs such as “Light of Christmas”, which is produced from radio hit maker Owl City and featuring TobyMac, you and your kids will be singing along out loud. Silas the Okra is one of my new favorite VeggieTales characters! It’s hard not to love him.
Si Robertson is a perfect fit because, like VeggieTales, Duck Commander is all about celebrating faith and family.
~Leslie Ferrell, President of Big Idea Entertainment
Presented in 5.1 Surround Sound the video plays in regular viewing format or in Widescreen format. With an approximate running time of 47 minutes including many bonus features like a behind the scenes with Si Robertson and a few singalongs. Be sure to visit VeggieTales.com to watch the movie trailer, play games, or learn more about the available VeggieTale apps, live shows, or extra holiday fun.
My girls have loved this DVD! Since receiving it my little one has watched it over 10 times! Yes, excessive but we travel a lot with Mikayla’s gym schedule and when you find quality material it’s hard not to indulge a bit :) Be sure you get your hands on a copy of this DVD for the holiday season for the low price of $8.99!
Company ~ VeggieTales
Price ~ Normally $14.99, on sale right now for $8.99
I hope you, my readers, enjoy the products that I review and gain insight into new programs and options that are available to homeschoolers. It’s always fun to find a great new resource to help in math and reading for my littles. So I am excited to tell you about a new online reading and math enrichment program called K5 Learning.
K5 Learning is an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program. I look forward to sharing my review with you in early January!
Monday, November 18, 2013
December is my favorite time of the year. Family, friends and spending time celebrating what Christmas is all about; the birth of our Lord and Savior! I Love it!
Christmas Comes to America embraces Jesus and the traditions we have come to associate with the classic American Christmas. As you celebrate, your children will learn about the Dutch, German, and English settlers who first shared those traditions with the New World.
We recently had the opportunity to review the Once-a-Week Unit Study called Christmas Comes to America published by Homeschool Legacy. Once-a-Week Unit Studies were designed by Sharon Gibson, a veteran homeschooling mom of 16 years. For the purpose of this review I received a digital copy of this unit study in PDF format by e-mail. Normally, Once-a-Week Unit Studies purchased from Homeschool Legacy are physical, hard copies and not digital files.
Christmas Comes to America is a 4-week Christian unit study geared towards children in grades 2-12. Each week you will learn about a different Gift Giver from each country. The best part is that it can be used by the whole family and is easily adaptable so your younger children can participate too.
The unit is divided into four weekly studies:
Week 1~ The Dutch
Week 2 ~ The English
Week 3 ~ The Germans
Week 4 ~ An American Christmas
The unit study covers a wide variety of subjects and activities during the 4-week study to help you embrace the true meaning of the reason for celebrating Christmas. The birth of Jesus!
Subjects and Activities included:
Family Devotions from the Bible
Independent and Family Reading
Traditions and Culture
Music Appreciation and History
Arts and Crafts
Life Skills and Gift Giving
Family Trivia Game
Family Movie Night
Fun and Science
Like other unit studies from Homeschool Legacy, the author provides a suggested schedule to show you how to fit it all in throughout the week.
Your regular daily studies
Unit Study library reading selections
Unit Study Family Read-Aloud
Your regular daily studies
Unit Study library reading selections
Unit Study Family Read-Aloud
Wednesday - Unit Study Day
Eliminate regular daily studies
Unit study Family Devotional
Unit study library reading selections
Unit Study Family Read-Aloud
Unit study Activities
Your regular daily studies
Unit Study library reading selections
Unit Study Family Read-Aloud
The 3 R’s (including your unit study reading)
Unit Study Family Read-Aloud
Unit Study Field Trip (or on Saturday with Dad)
Family Movie Movie/Game Night (unit study related)
Overall, the girls and I have had a great experience using this Once-A-Day Unit study and being able to connect it with Christmas. My oldest, Marie, does not like to start listening or reading Christmas books until after Thanksgiving (same here), but this unit study gave me the excuse to start early, YAY! I love how this study helps to set the mood for the season and prepares your heart too. I look forward to really starting to celebrate the after Thanksgiving when we commence holiday baking and all the traditions of Christmas of old and new for our family.
Christmas Comes to America can be purchased for $17.95 plus shipping and handling. Make sure you get your hands on a copy to enhance your Christmas season!
Friday, November 15, 2013
Catchy title, huh!? Most of these days the only reading I have personally been getting done is for school for the girls. Sad, I know, but I have just been so tired lately that when my head hits the pillow, it's lights out for me. However, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to read a new book called At Home in Dogwood Mudhole which is the first book in a three part series by Franklin Sanders.
At Home in Dogwood Mudhole tells the story of Franklin and his wife, Susan, as the couple and their 7 children try to live self-sufficiently as the Y2K catastrophe looms. The book is actually a compilation of personal letters that Sanders has written every month for the last seventeen years for a newsletter called the money changer.
If you hear me say, “I’m too busy,” hang up or hit me in the head with a hammer. I have just as much to do as God knows I need. I will delight in my work all day.
Through these letters Sanders shares the joys and sorrows of learning to be self-sufficient. Susan starts off by saying that "they acquire nothing that eats", however this book is filled with funny and heartwarming stories of how they gain dogs, chickens, cows, horses, ducks, sheep and a boatload of pigs. Each chapter in this 379 page book is able to stand on its own because of the journal like writing style. You can read a free sample chapter called Pig persuader by clicking on the link.
I chose to read this book as a personal reader for myself and not a read aloud. At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, Volume 1: Nothing that Eats is the first in the At Home in Dogwood Mudhole series. I received the paperback version which retails for $22.95 and is available on the Sanders website. The book is also available in Kindle, EPub and PDF versions for $16.95. The second volume, Best Thing We Ever Did, is also available right now in paperback and will be available in electronic formats very soon.
While, I enjoyed reading parts of this book some parts lost my interest. At no fault of the author. However, I did appreciate the values and life lessons that were sprinkled throughout the book of letters. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this book by clicking the banner below.
Product ~ At Home in Dogwood Mudhole
Price ~ paperback $22.95; Kindle, EPub, PDF $16.95
Format ~ paperback and Kindle, EPub, and PDF versions
Ages ~ young adults and up
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Today we celebrated our second teenager, Madison!
Wow, 13 years have gone way to fast. Madison is my easy going, laid back girl. She is not too picky and rarely asks for anything.
We started our day with her choice for breakfast. She chose cereal, strawberries and OJ. You see, I rarely buy cereal so this is a treat for her. She opened presents after breakfast from our family. She was totally surprised and pleased with her gifts from everyone. Grandma’s special gift of an atom necklace is coming next week, but I know she will love it! McKenzie is so funny, she told her her gifts before she could open it. She was so excited to give Madision a NASA t-shirt that I found.
As far as the rest of the gifts she received were, two books , a Zoomtool Creator set, NASA t-shirt and Bubbleology book to use with the creator set, a space planets poster that we are having framed at Michaels and a Lego City Pet Shop set.
During the day we took a trip to the movies to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. We had the whole theater to ourselves and I will admit that I fell asleep towards the end. The girls enjoyed it so that is all that matters.
For her birthday dinner we went to the Chinese buffet. The girls ate a lot of food. Montana loved the crab legs and ate a plate full while Mikayla & McKenzie ate enough sweet and sour chicken for two adults :) Madison likes the fresh stir-fry grill and fresh fruit. I forgot to take pictures at the restaurant.
Madison has a love for science, Astronomy specifically so the Lt. and I decided to surprise her with a trip to the local planetarium the night of her birthday. It just so happens the planetarium does shows for the public on Thursday nights and this months program is about the winter sky.
All in all it was a great day celebrating Madison! I remember like it was yesterday the day she was born. She’s had a stubborn streak in her from the beginning (must be the November baby in her) but I wouldn’t trade her for anything in this world!
Happy Birthday Madison!
Monday, November 11, 2013
My girls really crave science. They amaze me with the knowledge they have acquired from our favorite science curriculum provider, Apologia Educational Ministries. When I heard that the new book, exploring Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics was up for review I was super excited. You see, last school year I strayed from Apologia as our homeschool science curriculum and used a different product for Madison's 6th grade Chemistry, and I felt there were many gaps and areas we didn't cover. So, when this book was offered I knew I wanted to use it to fill in the gaps for Madison (12) and as Mikayla (10) & Montana (7) science for this school year.
Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is the latest elementary release from Apologia Educational Ministries and is geared for grades K-6. Jeannine Fulbright has authored this book and the other 6 books in the elementary series which all follow the Charlotte Mason methodology. Like the other books this book also includes big, beautiful color photos wrapped inside a hardcover binding. After all these years using Apologia I never knew about the special website link that is found in the front of the book. This link gives you access to information and extra worksheets to enhance your Chemistry and Physics studies. Definitely check this out there is valuable extras included.
For this review we were blessed to be able to request the hardcover book and a copy of the Junior Notebooking Journal along with the a regular Notebooking Journal to use with the girls. I was fully prepared to purchase a second Regular Notebooking Journal for Mikayla, but Because of a shipping error, I received 2 copies of each notebooking journal for a total of 2 Junior and 2 Regular journals. Apologia was gracious enough to let me keep the extra Notebooking Journals for future use. A huge plus for me since I have younger kids who will eventually get to use this science text.
Jeannie Fulbright presents a scientifically sound and God-honoring study that covers atoms, molecules, simple chemicals, laws of motion, electricity, magnetism, and simple machines. It is a wonderful way to teach your young students just how God made everything in the universe. ~website
This book contains the following topics:
1. Chemistry and Physics Matter
2. Moving Matter
3. Building Blocks of Creation
4. Compound Chemistry
5. Multitude of Mixtures
6. Mechanics in Motion
7. Dynamics of Motion
8. Work in the World
9. Sound of Energy
10. Light of the World
11. Thermal Energy
12. Electrifying Our World
13. Mysterious Magnetism
14. Simple Machines
Photo and Illustration Credits
Throughout each lesson are several "Try This!" sections. This is an extensive list of experiments/activities to try first hand. They are marked separate from the text in light blue rectangular boxes and list and explain everything needed for that experiment. As of right now there is not a supply kit that you can purchase for the book like other books, however a comprehensive supply list is provided in the back of the book. Most of the supplies needed are common household goods so you don't have to go hunting all over town to find what you need.
The notebooking journal provides a handy schedule so that you may opt to complete the book within 28 weeks if you completed science studies twice a week. If you wanted a faster pace or if you do science 4 days a week you could complete two books books in one school year. It's really up to you which pace you chose to follow. While it is not necessary for you to purchase the notebooking journals when using the textbook, it does add a special touch to the studies. It also can serve as a keepsake down the road to look back on.
Notebooking journal provides a place for the student to record experiments and display his or her work. A variety of supplemental activities include full-color mini books, crossword puzzles, and even more fun experiments. Recommended for use by students who have mastered handwriting, can take notes, and enjoy upper-elementary-level activities. ~ website
Age-appropriate activities include coloring pages, easy and fun science experiments, full-color mini books, and basic exercises to strengthen early-elementary-level vocabulary. Perfect for younger elementary students or those students with limited writing skills. ~website
After looking over the journals I decided to have Madison use the regular journal and Mikayla & Montana used the Junior journals. While Mikayla is completely capable of using the regular journal I chose to let her use the Junior journal because it offered less writing and more opportunity for coloring which she enjoys. She gets plenty of writing practice from our History/Literature program so I am not concerned as I do have her recite orally more than Montana. Also, the regular notebooking journal has a “What Do You Remember” after each lesson. I treat this as her science test for checking comprehension.
We basically followed the schedule as provided in the Notebooking journal. My goal is to complete our science studies at least 3 days a week, however, lately we have only gotten 2 days done. Which is better than nothing in my book :) everyone joined in on some of the experiments, Including Marie (16) and McKenzie (4). Right now a lot of the experiments Madison has already done and are review, so I give her the option to participate. She eagerly always does because she is my budding Astrophysicist.
As you have probably figured out, we are not strangers to the apologia world. My oldest Marie (16) is currently using the Advanced Biology book while Madison is concurrently studying General Science. I plan to use apologia throughout our educational journey for all the girls. I may have strayed last year, but now I have figured out what works for our family and I plan to stick it out for the long haul. Which with a comprehensive program such that Apologia offers that is not hard to do!
Do I recommend Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics for homeschool science ? Absolutely, positively, hands down I recommend you check out this and the other science products Apologia offers if you want a truly God honoring, scientifically sound, and user friendly program for your kids. I have rearranged our science plans for this year so that Mikayla & Montana will finish out the year with this book and dive into Zoo 3 next fall. Be sure to check out what my fellow CrewMates have said about their own experiences with Apologia by clicking the banner below to read the reviews.
Company ~ Apologia Educational Ministries
Product ~ Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics
Price ~Text (hardcover) $39.00, Regular Notebooking Journal ($24.00), Jr. Notebooking Journal $24.00
Ages ~ K- 6th grade
Friday, November 8, 2013
Last year when the vendor interest form came open for the IXL.com review I missed it. I was so bummed about it after reading all the great reviews. So when the opportunity came for the vendor to be reviewed again I jumped at the chance. I was so excited when I found out we were chosen this year!
IXL offers a comprehensive Online Math Membership geared towards Kindergarten through 12th Graders. They also have a Preschool Math Skills component and they just recently added an Online Language Arts Membership section geared towards 2nd through 4th graders. The skills that IXL offers are based off of state standards if your state has that. Our state of VA does. With iXL you get the following benefits from its program:
~practice that feels like play: gain a whole new appreciation for how fun learning can be!
~ content for your right and left side of your brain: an abundance of questions for every learning style, students can't help but build lasting skills and confidence.
~ practice that keeps you within the zone: Free from gimmicks or distractions, IXL is a place where every minute is spent truly learning.
~ learning that sticks with you: practice environment that rewards hard work and encourages students to learn from their mistakes.
~ numbers that tell a story : progress reports emailed weekly
We received a one year membership in exchange for our review and I have been using the math and LA components with my three youngest children, Mikayla (10), Montana (7) & McKenzie (4). Mikayla is the only child who is using the LA arts component at the 4th grade level just for review. Memberships starts at $9.95 per month or $79.per year for one child. Each additional child is just $2.00 per month or $20.00 per year.
Membership benefits include:
- Comprehensive coverage of K–12 math curriculum. Your kids won't miss a thing!
- Interactive language arts exercises for grades 2–4.
- Unlimited questions in over 2,000 skills.
- Fun and colorful practice formats.
- Questions that adapt to your child's ability, increasing in difficulty as they improve.
- Immediate feedback and question-specific explanations to solidify understanding of each concept.
- Audio for all pre-K to first-grade math skills.
- Weekly e-mail updates on your child's progress.
- Informative, detailed reports pointing out successes and trouble spots.
- Awards and certificates for you and your children to print out as they reach important milestones.
- iPad app for mobile math practice.
Setting up the account was quick and easy. Just log on to the website and fill out the parent information to create a master account. Once that is done you have the opportunity to enroll your children. I created a profile for each of the girls and they picked their favorite picture to recognize their profile. I really liked this for McKenzie. She knows how to read and write her first name, which begins with an "F", but I thought the picture helped to reinforce that that was her special account.
For the math section because Mikayla and Montana are both currently working a year ahead in math I wanted them to do grade level math review. Our current math program is quite comprehensive in my view, so I just wanted to reinforce the skills that they already learned last year to make sure they were solid. For Mikayla that means really drilling her multiplication/division facts and for Montana working with addition facts and time. Because we have access to every level of math offered it has been great to have the girls practice a skill on something they are currently struggling with now.
IXL uses the "smart score" system for its program to help with mastery of skills. Basically, the child starts by answering easy problems for the skill being learned. The more answers they get correct and their "smart score" will rise. If you miss a problem your score will decrease a little but you have the opportunity to raise it back up. 100 points on the "smart score" meter means that the skill has been mastered and your child would then earn an award.
An awards board is available for every level of Math including preschool. It is an incentive system! similar to a sticker chart that is meant to motivate your child to keep practicing. Prizes are given out for mastering certain skills which is fun and you can also get an award for the amount of time you have been practicing a certain skill or the number of questions that have been answered. The award section is all about trying to keep the children engaged and learning. And who doesn't like stickers!
Mikayla used the LA section for review on the days when we missed using our own LA program because we ran out of time. I loved that I could have her log in on the iPad and she could get in 20-30 minutes of LA review on the way to the gym before practice. Initially I wanted to have Montana use the 2nd grade program but I quickly found that it was too much for her without me prodding and giving a lot of hints. She is only in 1st grade so we can save this for next year.
Overall, we are all thrilled with the content of iXL and what the program has to offer. I am so glad to have been chosen for this review! I definitely think you should check it out for yourself and see if it is a fit for your family. I have not found anything with the program that I dislike and I know we will be continuing to use this subscription until it ends. I also hope to budget in membership fees for next school year so that the girls may continue to learn and get that extra practice! be sure to read the reviews of my fellow CrewMates by clicking on the banner below.
Company ~ IXL.com
Price ~ $9.95 per month or $79.per year for one child. Each additional child is just $2.00 per month or $20.00 per year.
Ages ~ PreK - 12th math, 2nd - 4th LA
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The Lt. and I are so excited to announce that we are expecting our 6th child! After 3 years of being told we were no longer able to have more children, God has provided this special blessing. We are all overjoyed!
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.
~Psalm 127:3-5 (MSG)
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Have you ever wondered what it's like to live in or visit another country? Say, France, Mexico, Norway or South Korea? Today I am pleased to share with you 4 books If You Were Me and Lived in...Mexico, If You Were Me and Lived in...South Korea, If You Were Me and Lived in...France, If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway from an award winning new author Carole P. Roman.
Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons and has just finished the first four books of six in a groundbreaking new nonfiction series about culture around the world. Combining her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us has given us the reader a chance to explore "If You Were Me and Lived in..."
We received four books recommended for children PreK to age 8 in softcover edition along with a blow up globe, two passports with stickers and two world flag pencils. Each book has two children, a boy and a girl, telling the story about their country. From the start we are shown on the globe where each country is located and given information about the capital, landmarks, food and other interesting facts about their country for reference.
A list of names is given for what you might be called if you were born there and we are also told what we would call our parents in our native language along with some popular places we could visit. Where would you get your education, what kind of sports would you play? It's all included in the book! Pronunciations to the foreign words in the book are included in the pronunciation guide found at the back of the book to help your read the words correctly.
When this review was offered I knew we wanted to be apart of it. One because we love new books and two, the Lt. was heading to South Korea for a quick two week deployment. It was so great being able to share with the girls, especially my younger two what daddy would see and where he was going. He was able to bring us back some Korean money and soda cans from the vending machines. We also have friends living in Norway right now so it is great to read about the country they call home for now.
The pictures in the books are bright and eye-catching making you want to know more. They are geared towards young kids and I know that my young ones (and older ones) have enjoyed reading them. Affordably priced at just under $9. any of the books in this series would make a wonderful addition to a unit study. We have thoroughly enjoyed these books and look forward to adding the final two installments to our collection. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of these books by clicking the banner below.
Company ~ Carole P. Roman
Price ~ under $9.00
Ages ~ PreK - 8 years old