Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Since we began homeschooling, I have struggled to find a good solid math program for my 6th grader.  I started out with a 4th grade program when he was in 5th grade.  I wanted him to have a solid understanding of math facts, and since he was public schooled up until then, I wasn’t really sure what he knew or didn’t.  He did fine with the chosen math program for the first year.  Then we got to the stuff he hadn’t learned yet.  And he began to fight me on math everyday.  I have been trying to find a program we can both be happy with since them.  Let me be honest with you here, I wasn’t sure about Aleks when I first found out we would be reviewing it, so I dragged my feet in getting into it.  And boy do I wish I hadn’t. 


We received a month long subscription to Aleks to review.  I set up my sixth grader on it.  I now find him doing Aleks outside of “school time”.  I have found him on it during weekends and his free time.  So let me just jump into the things we loved.

What we love about Aleks:

The great client support, quick response time, friendly and helpful.

The fact that it is hands off for me.   I can just check his progress through my parent account, and work with him on specific things he needs help with.

He is doing math when I tell him to and even when I don’t. 

We both love the way it has a pie chart of all the things to learn and all the things you have learned.  It really shows him exactly where he is at, and how much further he has to go.  Tommy really likes knowing what is ahead. 

You answer a few questions and show you know how to do the type of problem, if you get it right you move on, if you get it wrong it teaches you, and you try again.  It shows you what you got wrong and how to do it right. 

Aleks remembers where you last left off, and just restarts you on the next problem when you get back on. 

What could have been better:

The assessment was long for Tommy, about 45 minutes to answer 30 questions, and while it had to be done, he struggled with the feeling that it wasn’t going to end.  While I feel this purely had to do with my son’s attitude, it was still a struggle for us. 

The next button stuck on him quite a few times.  He would have to close out and restart.  He found that frustrating. 

Normally, Aleks offers a 48 hour free trial.  Now for me, I would need more time to be able to decide.  So for my readers they are offering a free 30 day trial!  That is so great.  I recommend at least trying it with your children to see if it meets their learning styles.

Visit ALEKS for 1-Month Trial

For Aleks the price is $99 for 6 months, which is expensive for me, but when you have been searching for a complete math program that your child is willing to do without fighting you on.  The price is worth it. 

To see what my crewmates said about Aleks check out our crew blog

{I received a 30 day trial of Aleks in order to write this review.  All opinions are my own.  No other compensation was provided. }

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kids Answer TOS Blog Cruise


I am interested in my children’s answers.  So I am participating in this weeks blog cruise.


Here are Tommy’s (11) answers.

Why does my family homeschool?

Because it’s easier.

What is my favorite part of homeschooling?

Doing product reviews and the field trips.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I wanna be a mechanical engineer, and build cars and stuff.

Emily’s (10) answers.

Why does my family homeschool?

 Because you wanted us to be home.  I don’t know, why do we homeschool. 

What is my favorite part of homeschooling?

Playing family games for school.  I like being home.  I don’t have to hurry and do my work.  We can take breaks if we need to.   

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I wanna be an actress.  My back up plan is to be a police officer. 

Katey’s (5) answers.

Why does my family homeschool?

 Because I want to. 

What is my favorite part of homeschooling?

 Everything.  Playing.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I might work at In and Out.  I like their hats

I am glad to know my children’s answers, whether I agree with them or not. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A little time saves alot of money

I received my internet bill in the mail recently, and I couldn't help but think how stinkin expensive internet is.  I was paying $57.95 plus $7.00 for modem rental PER MONTH! I have cable internet.  Then I heard about how another internet company (the one offered through my phone company) their internet was $19.99 per month for 6 months.   

So that's enough background.  Let's get down on how to save some money!  I called my internet company and told them about the deal the other company was offering.  My internet company agreed to price match for me.  So now I pay $19.99 a month (plus the $7.00 modem rental) per month for 6 months. 

All that savings for 15 minutes on the phone.  I am so happy.   Now in 6 months I will still have to decide what to do again.  But for now I am happy and saving money!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Morning, God. A book review.

I have used Apologica Science books since I began homeschooling.  I absolutely love them.  So I was completely thrilled to be able to try out another one of their books.  I received Good Morning, God written by Davis Carman by being on The Homeschool Crew.


Good Morning, God is a great book that teaches your children to worship God throughout every day life.  It is such a cute book with amazing pictures. This book is geared toward children 1-8.  However, all my children loved it and they range from 1 to 11.  In fact, I loved it too.  The artwork and story are enthralling.  The book was repetitive nature  it was very easy for my children to be able to “read” the repeating phrases of the book with me.  That really makes the book more enjoyable for pre-readers my daughter felt really special being able to “read” the words.  

One great thing this book had, that I was surprised at was a week long lesson plan.  It would make for a great unit study of how to worship God in your everyday life.  It has some really great activities. 

For $14.00 directly from Apologica makes for a great book that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

To see what my crewmates thought of this book check out the crew blog here

{I received this book for free in order to write this review, in which I share my honest opinions and feelings.  NO other compensation was received."}

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What’s in the box? 4th Grade

During the month of December, we are taking schooling a little slower.  We are trying to focus more on the season and preventing burn out. 


Emily’s 4th grade boxes look like this today.


Box 1: Wrap ups and Skip Count Cd.


Box 2:  Story Builders.    You draw one card of each color and then write a creative story about what was drawn.


Box 3: 20 Questions


Box 4: Roman Coloring book.


Box 5: Read in Botany


Box 6:  Math Facts Now


Box 7:  Handwriting Without Tears Cursive


Box 8: Measuring with the Master Ruler


Box 9: Vocabulary Cartoons.  Review 10 words.


Box 10:  Work together with the family on our Christmas Study.



She is able to get boxes 1-9 done before lunch and after lunch we will work on our Christmas Study



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A whole new person


Katey went through a big transformation recently.  We took her in for a haircut.


She got a shampoo.

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She sat patiently in the chair while the stylist put her hair in a pony tail.  Then WHACK!



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She cut off over 15” of hair.    Now this was no surprise to Katey, she knew she wanted short hair.  Her long hair was beautiful, but very hard to take care of and was always prone to tangles.  She donated her hair to Locks Of Love.  She had cut off enough hair that they will use it to make a hair piece for a child. This made the whole process more exciting for her.  She loves helping out. 


This is her with her cute new haircut.  Tyler couldn’t stop hugging and kissing her after.  It was like she was a whole new person to him. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

We had SNOW much FUN!

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One of the great benefits of living near the mountains is the amazing sledding hills near us.  This weekend we packed up the kids and let them go sledding.    They had so much fun.  Some of the hills were very big, so big that the kids only dared go on them once.  Then they stuck to the “kiddie hill”, which was still a pretty nice hill.  

Pardon the poor pictures, I forgot my camera, and these were taken with my phone.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I am so excited!

I am just so excited that I want to shout it from the rooftops. 


What am I so excited about? 


Our upcoming Christmas Study


Join us.


I hope to blog all about it with pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Teaching the difference of standard and metric measurements.

Master Innovations

 Master Innovations, LLC, sales a variety of math manipulatives. 

Master Innovations

We have been “Mastering the World of Measuring With The Master Ruler”  for the past while.  We have really enjoyed these.    We have 2 rulers, one metric (mm, cm, dm), and one standard (1/16”, 1/8”, 1/4”, 1/2” and 1”).   Each ruler has a measurement conversion chart right on the back of it.  These rulers have labeled and different color tabs on them, so you know which measurement you are reading.  This makes them so simple.  They really helped my handyman son get the hang of reducing while measuring.  Each Master Ruler sales for $9.95. 

We also got the workbook to go along with it.    It has all kinds of measuring worksheets in it.  The book starts of easy, you begin by measuring things from butterflies and bugs, to buildings an distances.  Then it works it’s way to be more challenging, with worksheets where you figure out how many miles away something is if 1/8” equals one mile.   Moving on to measuring and figuring out area or perimeter on squares or rectangles.   And still more challenging as it moves into adding and subtracting the fractions with like and unlike denominators,  and even moves into reducing the fractions.  The workbook sales for $15.95.

These rulers and the activity book proved to be challenging enough for my 11 year old who is studying fractions.  Yet my 10 year old who is learning division was also able to understand.   

Master Innovations

They have a nice poster with measurement conversions, which comes in helpful when talking about how many pints in a gallon, how many cups in a pint, ect.  The poster sales for $10.00

Master Innovations

Master Innovations

They also have Master Angles, Master Clocks and Master Fractions.  I can see how each of these items would definitely help your child to master these concepts in a fun way.    One great feature I see is that they are not geared toward younger kids as far as faces on the clock, and cartoonish characters.  That made this more appealing for my older children, they did not feel as if they were learning things for kindergarteners.  

{I received all of these items as my part of The Homeschool Crew in order to share this review.   All opinions expressed herein are my own, and have not been influenced at all.}

Monday, November 29, 2010

Books that are so much more!

My Animal Family is a group of books put out by Smart Kids Publishing, Inc.  These are books about different animal families, such as elephants, lions, chimpanzees, polar bears and others.  Each captivating  storybook is wonderfully illustrated and comes with a DVD about the animals featuring real animals, in their real habitats.  Each book also includes membership access to the My Animal Family website, which is an online world of fun and games for kids.  Each book gives you access to that animals habitat online. 

We received Nanuq, A Baby Polar Bears Story.    We decided to turn this into an entire polar bear study.  We read the book together.  We loved it so much we have read it over and over since then. 
The next day we decided to watch the movie.  It was very neat!  Very real!  It even came with an original song, while I found the song annoying, the kids loved it.  They especially love that there is a sing along version with the words right on the screen. 

Next I set up the website for them, you create a character based on gender and age, that way you get activities tailored to the child’s level.  This is great.  The only downfall of it for me, was that my children vary in levels.  I have a 5 year old and a 10 year old.  I was not able to set up two characters at two different levels.    There is a solution to that, you can purchase a membership to their website for $5.99 a month, or they have discounts for extended memberships.  The books are $12.99 each and include membership.  I set the website up for my 5 year old.  She had so much fun exploring and playing the games.  Some of the games are just fun, puzzles of polar bears, some are more educational (trivia) type in nature.   Each time you play a game, you win “money”  to use in the store.  You have to purchase certain items to do certain things, such as an ice pick, to break an ice cube with a cupcake in it for you to eat. 

  My entire family loved this book and it is actually something that I am planning on purchasing for some young children in my family for Christmas presents.

To see what my crewmates thought of this book and more check out our crew blog!

{I received this book, DVD, and website membership for free for review purposes as my part on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.   All opinions expressed here are my own.  I received no other compensation.}

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Surgery day!


October 9, 2010 was the day of Katey’s second surgery.


We woke up at 5am to drop Tommy, Emily and Tyler off at grandma’s.  We had to be at the hospital by 6am.  We checked in and they did some quick vitals.

She was in great spirits.



Then she had to change into her hospital pajamas and the wait began. 


Her surgery time was not until 7:30am, so we spent the time playing video games with mom,


and with dad.


And just playing with toys.


Then the time came, Dr. Bateman, her anesthesiologist pushed her to her surgery room in a cop car, he even made the siren sounds for her.

He gave her and Molly (her sister’s American Girl doll) bubble gum scented air to help them take a nap.



This surgery took about an hour.  She did wonderful!


I asked her if I could take a picture of her, she said “yes” and did everything she could to bust out a smile.    She is so swollen. 


The rest of the time in recovery she spent eating her slushy and watching her very own TV. 


I am very grateful for her plastic surgeon, he has done an amazing job on both of her surgeries thus far.   


She is such a trooper, I am so amazed at her resilience.

Thanks to all our Veterans!


I would just like to say Thank YOU to any and all Veterans out there and their families!  What a huge sacrifice you all make for us, and our freedom.  You are so appreciated!


We showed our gratitude by observing a moment of silence at 11:00 am on the 11th day of the 11th month.  We read some Veterans Day books.  Then we wrote letters to soldiers in our family thanking them for their service.





We learned about the colors of our flag and what they stand for. 


Red: Courage


White: Purity


Blue: Justice


We did a fun 3D art project using those colors.









We really enjoyed learning about Veterans Day, and I hope the soldiers like the letters we wrote to them. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Surgery Classes.


Katey was born with a cleft lip.

Katey had her second surgery (her first one was when she was 5 months) this week.  The children’s hospital where I have her surgeries done offer pre surgery classes.  We took Katey, Tommy and Emily to one. 


They get to play with doctor items. 


Each child gets a doll with a hospital gown, a hair net, gloves, and a face mask to take home.  Then they get to use all the doctor items to “operate” on their doll.



Or on each other.



They get to dress up like doctors and nurses.

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Then we got to take a tour of all the  places she would be going, the waiting room, the surgery room, the wake up room, and the recovery room.


At the end they each got to try a slushy that the children would be allowed to have after surgery.


The girls chose root beer, 

S3010170Tommy chose fruit punch.


I am very grateful for these classes, they really help Katey (and all of us) know what to expect. 


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