This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 8th year of homeschooling using a Classical approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sunya: The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting ~ a TOS review

I love being able to tie in hands-on learning games with actual learning. Since the beginning of the month I have been playing a fun new math game with McKenzie to help her practice her math facts. It’s called, Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math andScience Adding & Subtracting from Sunya Publishing .

The inventor/author of this new game, Sunya, is Paul Latell. He works in the counseling and teaching fields and received his master’s degree from Barry University. Sunya, the “u” is pronounced as the “oo” in book, is the Sanskrit word from the ancient and classical Hindus language. It means empty or void of any quantity. In the game, the winner is the first player to go out of cards.


Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

The game set comes with four components:

·         The Parent/Teacher Guide: This is a thin spiral bound book printed mostly in black and white. The front and back covers are printed in color on heavy cardstock. It includes instructions to play the game along with a short history about math.
·         The number playing cards for adding and subtracting: This is a set of 60 cards that include wild and operation cards along with addition, subtraction, and equal symbols. These also have ten frame dots indicating the number amount.
·         The amazing math and science fact and riddle cards: this set of 30 cards includes math and science riddle questions.
·         A special Adding and Subtracting number line card: this timeline is printed on heavy cardstock and it is helpful in helping to count.


This game is meant for 1-5 players aged 7-adult. Getting started playing is quite simple too. Players can either sit in a circle or semicircle and choose to either play the Adding or Subtracting game. One player is the dealer and they set up a number sentence with a plus or minus sign, depending on the game being played, along with an equal sign. Space is left between the signs so that number cards can be added during game play. The dealer then takes 3 cards, 2-9, to make a number sentence. For example if you were playing the Adding Game 3 + 4 = 7.


The dealer deals four cards to each player and then the first player tries to complete a number sentence of their own. You can either have the player to the left of the dealer go first or the youngest player. We choose to do the latter when we play. You keep playing the game until the first player to go out of cards. He or She then yells “Sunya”. If another player catches you not saying “Sunya” then you have to draw another card and try again.  At the end of each round the game winner draws a card from the math and science riddle pile and reads it.

In our copy of the Parent/Teacher guide we have two pages printed in color. I personally like the color printed pages, but it would not detract me from buying the product if it was only offered as a black and white printing. I like the color pattern too, the orange and purple coordinate nicely and are pleasing to the eye.

This game is simple to use and play. There are several other variations or different ways to play the game, but we stuck with the original because McKenzie is only 6. We really enjoyed this game and I liked that I could have McKenzie practice her math facts with the cards during her quiet time. She never complained about doing that, so that is a win, win! My favorite part of the cards is the ten frame at the bottom. McKenzie was able to use the ten frame to count the numbers when she got stumped on a math fact. I also laminated the timeline card to increase its durability, especially with a toddler in the house.

Overall, we have enjoyed this game and look forward to adding the Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing set to our game closet too. I think Montana, who is 9, would enjoy playing this game. But guess what? Neither of these games are available for purchase just yet. The Crew was offered a review to try them out before they are being mass produced. However, they will be available for purchase really soon, so you won’t have to wait too long.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought about both the Sunya Addition & Subtraction and the Multiplication & Division games by clicking the banner below.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

Company ~ Sunya Publishing 
Product ~ Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting
Ages ~ 7 to adult

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}



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©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Science Shepherd: Introductory Science, Level A ~ a TOS review


We love to delve into science around here. Normally, McKenzie, who is 6, just goes along with the flow of what I am teaching the older girls. She loves sitting in on their lessons and doing experiments since I did not really have anything formal planned for her Kindergarten year. Recently though, McKenzie has just started to really wonder about everything in this big world we live in. Over the last few weeks I have been able to fuel her curiosity with the help of a new homeschool science program from ScienceShepherd called Introductory Science, Level A. Let me tell you a little more about it.

Science Shepherd Review

The Science Shepherd Science Curriculum was created by a homeschool dad of six children who also happens to be a medical doctor, Scott Hardin, M.D. Dr. Hardin and his wife experienced first-hand the need for quality, high level science curricula for the homeschool community. When they ran into road blocks of finding such a program to meet their children’s needs, they developed the flagship Science Shepherd Life Sciences and Biology programs to aid parents in adequately meeting the needs of teaching higher level science in the upper grades. With advancing technology, the company has been able to provide advanced modes of presentation through integrating video, pictures and graphics into a streaming teaching format.



Introductory Science, Level A is a complete 35-week science curriculum that includes 12 month access to daily on-demand video lessons as part of the course. The high quality video lessons are streamed over the internet site and are short lasting only 2-5 minutes tops. With this program you will cover topics in Earth, Life, and Physical Science such as:
Science Skills and Tools
Meteorology
Geology
Oceanography
Plants
Astronomy
Underwater Creatures
Flying Creatures
Land Creatures
Human Beings
Being Healthy
Ecology and Natural Resources
Matter
Energy
Motion and
Magnets
This video science curriculum is intended for students aged 6-11 and has a corresponding student notebook for Level A or B. It currently retails for $35.00 and includes 12 months access to the video lessons. The Level A workbook is geared for the younger age range, approximately ages 6-8, while Level B is for 9-11 year olds. The material presented is essentially the same at both levels, however, Level B includes additional content for older students. You can find samples of both Level A and Level B student workbooks. Level A retails for $12.00 and the Level B is $15.00. Each student will need their own notebook to complete the video course. A detailed answer key is also available to purchase for just $3.00. If you need more time that the 12 months’ access granted with initial purchase of the course, extensions are also granted and range between $.5.00-$15.00.
We have loved everything about this science program. It is the perfect amount of information for McKenzie and then some. She LOVES it and wants to complete her lessons first thing in the morning after her Bible and calendar lessons. Frequently we watched more than one video segment because she just wanted more and more. Because McKenzie was so eager to complete her work, it made learning so much fun for her.
We both especially enjoyed the video lessons and all the hands-on activities sprinkled throughout the entire program. I love that this curriculum focuses on a Biblical perspective. That is an important feature for our family. Because we have enjoyed this program so much I have scheduled to include this in McKenzie’s 1st grade year.
Science Shepherd also has upper level science curriculum, LifeScience and Biology, be sure to check those out if you have older students. Also, be sure to see what my CrewMates thought of the Introductory Science, Level A and B by clicking the banner below.


Science Shepherd Review

Company ~ Science Shepherd
Product ~ Introductory Science, Level A
Price ~ video course access:$35., student workbook, level A:$12.00, answer key: $3.00
Ages ~ 6-11 year olds

Science Shepherd Review
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©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Have you built your bundle yet?

This week is the Build Your Bundle Homeschool Edition sale! Have you checked it out yet? Please tell me you have!? Why? Well, because there are so many great curriculum's being offered at record low prices, I really don't want you to miss out because these bundles will NEVER be sold together again!

This is my 3rd year purchasing curriculum that we use in our homeschool from this sale. I chose to do the Premium Build Your Own bundle option since I didn't necessarily "need" all the items in any one particular bundle, but rather wanted to pick curriculum here and there. We will be able to use these products in our homeschool this upcoming school year and beyond.

And guess what? If you buy any two bundles you get the 3rd one FREE, how awesome is that! I was able to get 49 selections of curriculum that retails for $706.+ for just $103.00 Yes, that is not a typo! 

Here is a peek at what I purchased:

Premium Bundle # 1
- Elementary Geography & Cultures Curriculum $36.95
- Kids Honor Club Curriculum $29.95
- Sibling Squabbles $6.00
- Parenting with Proverbs $9.00
- Learning about Character Traits $14.50
- Little Annies Art Book $12.95
- Homemade Convenience Foods $5.99
- Lets Classify $8.00
- Praying Proverbs for your Children $8.99
- 101 Independent Activities $9.99
 Total: $59.00 {$142.32 value}

Premium Bundle # 2
- Homemaking Booklet Series $30.00
- 20th Century American Music Appreciation $25.00
- Learning the Word from A to Z $12.00
- Look What I Can Do Preschool Curriculum $12.95
- Color Through Ancient History $6.44
- Take Control A Step-by-Step Guide $14.99
- Student Planner - Homeschool Creations $10.00
- Cultivating Responsibility $9.99
- A Presidential Scrapbook $18.95
- Preschool Fun Pack $5.47
Total: $59.00 {$145.79 value}

Premium Bundle # 3
- Picture Smart Bible K-3 $46.00
- American History Cookbook $20.00
- Bible Activities for Kids $14.00
- Homeschool Planning Pack  $16.00
- Sir Cumference Great Knight of Angleland $15.00
- Sir Cumference Dragon of Pi $15.00
- Sir Cumference Sword in the Cone $15.00
- Sir Cumference Isle of Immeter $15.00
- Sir Cumference All the Kings Tens $15.00
- Sir Cumference First Round Table $15.00
 Total: FREE {$186.00 Value}

Mystery Bundle ~ 19 products * I will share my mystery items when the sale is over to keep the surprise but it is worth the price* with a value of $232.22
Total: $10.00 

Bundle Total: $128.00 - $25 off coupon {I won a $25.00 gift certificate from a contest. Yay, me!} = $103.00 {Total value $706.33}

PLUS, I received all of the items in the picture below FREE just for making a purchase, SCORE!


Pretty awesome, huh! But don't delay, there are only a few more hours to take advantage of all of these deals and your ONLY chance to get these products for 86%-96% off.  

* I have no affiliation with this sale, I just don't want any of you to miss out*

©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 



Friday, May 20, 2016

Memoria Press: D'Aulaires' Greek Myths ~ a TOS review


As a Classical homeschooling family we are quite familiar with Memoria Press and the whole array of products they offer. I was pleased as punch when the D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths set was offered for review to members of the Crew. Okay, I admit was so excited I did one of my happy dances, you know the ones where the girls and my son look at me like I am a bit off my rocker over curriculum. Yea, it was a happy day when the materials arrived!


Over the last year we have strayed away from the Classical model of education to a more eclectic, fly by the seat of our pants approach. Well, I am here to tell you that it did not work for our family and we are in the process of doing a complete overhaul of our plan of study and going back to the model that I know works and meets the end goal the LCDR and I have for our children’s education with the help of Memoria Press.

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

Memoria Press was founded in 1994 by Cheryl Lowe. It is a family-run publishing company that strives to provide easy to use classical curriculum for private and homeschool families. Currently, Memoria Press has products for children from Preschool through Twelfth grade in subjects ranging from, Classical Core Curriculum, Latin, Classical Studies, Christian Studies, Logic & Rhetoric, Phonics & Early Reading, Penmanship, Literature & Poetry, American & Modern Studies, Writing & English Grammar, Science & Math, Greek, Modern Languages, Educational Resources, eBooks, Special-Needs, and Art & Music. All of the products Memoria Press produces are used within the walls of the Highland Latin School in Kentucky and have been refined for use within homeschools. Written from a Christian worldview the company helps to provide three things: simplicity, quality and affordability.



I’ve had my eye on this program for a few months to use with Montana, my rising fourth grader and I was ecstatic when we were selected to review it. Especially since we are transitioning back to a fully Classical model of education. I knew that getting a jump start on the materials now will hopefully make the transition a little easier come August when our new school year starts.

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

We received the full D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths Set which includes the:
This full set retails for $57.00 plus shipping. Individuals components are available to purchase separately too at the prices listed. Each student should have their own Student Guide as it is intended for single student usage.

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths is an over-sized paperback book that is rich in colorful drawings and was written by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. It is divided into bite sized chapters and covers everything one could possibly want to know about Greek gods and Goddesses and myths. It is a very thorough book and covers the beginning, to Zeus and his family, Minor gods, and the descendants of Zeus.


The Student Guide is divided into four sections for each of the twenty-five lessons included. There are also a number of review lessons sprinkled in, about every 5 lessons and include vocabulary, matching facts and people, and map work. There are four main parts of the guide:


Facts to Know: This is the most important part of the course. The words in this section are the foundation of the memory work and are expected to be drilled daily throughout the year. The flashcards (included in the full set) have the same information to drill these important names and places.
Vocabulary: The D’Aulaires’ text is a rich text with some advanced vocabulary. The writers of the guide have identified words that might be new or challenging to students so they can be discussed before reading. The writers of this guide believe it is better for a student to learn new vocabulary from the teacher, rather, than just looking it up in the dictionary and copying. 
Comprehension Questions: Each lessons have between 5-10 comprehension questions that are meant to help students identify virtues and follies of the heroes they read about. It is best for the answers to be written in complete sentences with proper punctuation and capitalization. As a suggestion for those students who still have large handwriting, it is okay to have them write the answers to the questions in a separate notebook. 
Activities: Several different options are given in this section and always are referenced to the illustrations included from the reading assignment. Sometimes the student is directed to identify specific details, while other times they may be asked to label, in pencil or orally, in the book.


The Teacher’s Guide includes all of the items covered above in the Student Guide and more! All of the answers are included in great detail for every lesson. At the back of the book there are review sections for the final review test, including a study guide of what you should know prior to taking the test. A section of 110 drill questions, a Greek Myths lists, Maps, a detailed pronunciation guide {which I found extremely helpful}, and Tests with Answer Keys.

The flashcards are a set of 107 perforated white cards that contain the necessary vocabulary to drill on. One side has the definition while the other has the vocabulary word. Montana is a very hands-on learner so I decided to have her illustrate her own flashcards to help her learn the facts.



Memoria Press also offers digital lesson plans if you so choose to use them to help you schedule the material out over the course of the year. They are completely optional, but are available for $8.00 for a PDF download. I choose to purchase them and they helped me see the big picture of how to breakdown each week of our study. The plans also include a set of drill cards. I printed them on colored coordinated paper to align to the way the units are broken down in the plans.


I had the Greek Myths material scheduled to be used twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays. We began each lesson drilling the facts to know and vocabulary either with her homemade flashcards or the ones included with the plan set. Each week I would highlight what I wanted to get done on either Wednesday or Friday in both the Student Guide and the Teacher’s Guide. However, Montana, 9.5 years old, usually used Saturday to finish up her homemade flashcards.


Since we have two copies of the text I chose to have Montana read the story aloud to me while I followed along giving her the necessary corrections if she mispronounced a word. This worked ideally for us as it gave her extra reading practice at a level just above her reading level.


Overall, I love this set and we give it two thumbs up! It has really stretched Montana and her learning the last six weeks in a good way. Greek Myths are the second important stories in history, next to the Bible. Montana and I are both learning more about the Greeks who created their gods in the image of man, all the while we are putting focus on the God who created man in his image. I definitely think you should check out this set if you want a through homeschool curriculum about Greek Myths. We will be continuing to use this set until completion. I hope to make it through lesson 10 before we stop for summer break and then pick up again in the fall with a review and then finish up the book. The curriculum is geared towards 3rd and 4th graders and can be scheduled for completion in one or two years, depending how you break up the learning.


Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this curriculum or the other two curriculum sets being offered, Book of Astronomy Set and Traditional Logic I Complete Set by clicking the banner below.

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

 Company ~ Memoria Press
Price ~ $57.00 as a set
Ages ~ Grades 3rd-6th

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
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©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 

Happy 2nd Birthday Micah!


©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wordless Wednesday





©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mess free painting with Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. ~ a TOS review

This little boy loves to do art and get messy! I love for him to get creative and explore this world of ours, but sometimes I don't want a huge mess to clean up afterwards. But what if I told you there was such a thing as no mess painting? That's right, no cups, smocks, brushes, or a single drop of water needed to paint a masterpiece for your budding Picasso.

For the last few weeks Micah, who is just about to turn 2 years old, has been keeping himself busy creating masterpieces and doing art "cool" as he calls it with the help of Kwik Stix Metalix and Kwik Stix Neons from the The Pencil Grip, Inc. .
Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
Let me tell you these no mess paint sticks have since changed the way we paint! Each of these 6 packs contain colors that are so vibrant and the paint is contained in a tube roughly the size of a glue stick. This size is perfect for little hands to grasp.


The Neon set includes the following colors:


The Metalix set includes the following colors:


We are huge fans of these paint sticks and also have a set of the 12 piece set of Kwik Stix too. The 12 pack of  Kwik Stix contains the following colors to use:


With a fast drying and non-toxic formula, the colors dry in just 90 seconds after coming in contact with your paper, cardboard, wood, or even canvas media. Just pop the cap off, twist the stick to make the paint rise up and you are ready for hours of fun painting.

Can I tell you we love these paint sticks! They are extremely affordable at just $5.99 a set. They are so much fun and I have no problem letting Micah paint at the easel by himself or sitting at or on top of the table.


I don't have to worry about him spilling, or in his case flinging paint all through the house. He loves it because it gives him some independence while I am teaching or helping one of his sisters. I love them because there is no mess associated with painting.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do still let him paint and get messy with regular paint, but that is few and far in between these days since we have been introduced to Kwik Stix.  I also, really like that these are so portable. We have taken them to gymnastics and track meets near and far and they keep everyone busy and entertained on long meet days. 
We also received The Pencil  Grip – Single Grip in our package of Kwik Stix. The Pencil Grip is the original ergonomic writing aid recommended by doctors, teachers and occupational therapists and is made for both righties and lefties. This Single Grip fits on pencils, pens and crayons so you are covered all around with writing utensils. .If you are not familiar The Pencil Grip was invented in 1992 by Dr. Lois Provda, a prominent educational therapist. Since inventing the first grips way back in the early 90's, the company has grown to offer many unique and innovative products for the home, school, and office. 
I have been really stressing correct pencil grip for all my children, but especially for my younger children. McKenzie has been using our pink single grip on her pencil and I frequently say "pencil check" and she holds up her hand with the pencil gripped correctly. Since doing this it has really helped her handwriting and having her slow down and take her time forming her letters.
And guess what!? I have a set of the  12 pack Kwik Stix to give away to my readers! While I normally don't get to give away review products but this company is so awesome that they want to get the word out about their product and share its awesomness.  Just leave me a comment below and tell me what your favorite color is, Easy Peasy! The giveaway is only open to US residents at this time and  one winner will be picked on Thursday, May 12th at 6PM Eastern. The winner will have 24 hours to contact me with their address and The Pencil Grip company will ship your set directly to you. 

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates think of these Kwik Stixs by clicking the banner below. I know we have loved our sets and have shared them with friends as birthday gifts.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

Company ~ The Pencil Grip, Inc. 
 Price ~ $5.99 per set
Ages ~ preschool and up

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review


Hashtags: #hsreviews #KwikStix, #temperapaint, #kidsartsupplies


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©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. 
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