Friday, January 28, 2011

We have (drum roll please)


Finally we are in our new town, and our new house.  I will be spending this entire weekend unpacking and organizing!  

And hopefully we will have our very own internet connection by Tuesday.  Until then from the library.  (Which by the way, I can't even get a library card at yet, since they need proof of address.  I will have to bring my lease agreement in on Monday, I can NOT live without a library card! 

Ten Marks Online Math


Ten Marks is an complete online math program. 

The good: 
Ten Marks is online so your children can do it from any computer anywhere you have internet access.  That made it great for me, as we did some traveling recently and they were able to keep up on math, without me packing much. 

It has built in rewards.  After they pass off so many worksheets they open up games at the reward center.  You can also add your own rewards.  We added you get a date night with mom and/or dad after you finish 25 worksheets.  Emily was very motivated to work on math with these rewards.

There is a parent center, where you can access all you children’s work, see their scores, that way you can know what you need to focus on with them.  You can also change up their rewards.

The bad:
The reward center games were slow and sometimes when they were playing them they would cut out for a second. 
There are also not very many games.  So Emily unlocked them all within a month.  Then she quickly lost her motivation to continue, except for the date nights. 
It asks you the question first and then you decide if you want to watch the video lesson, or take a hint, or just try to answer it. 

My final thoughts:
All of us, Tommy, Emily and I really enjoyed Ten Marks.  I made it a point to begin to set the rewards further apart, worksheet wise.  I also told them if they had a question about the problem, to not ask me or the computer for hints until after they had watched the video lesson for that problem.  

Ten Marks costs $10 per month, or a 6 month subscription is $49 and a year is $89

To see what my other crew members had to say, check out our crew blog

Ten Marks post

{I received a subscription to Ten Marks in order to write this honest review.  No other compensation was received.}

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meanings of words in the Bible.

Sometimes when reading the scriptures with young children it can be difficult for them to know what some of the words mean.  Even I am not sure of what all the words mean in the Bible.

What Lifeway Christian Stores has come out with is The Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids.  It has full color illustrations, photographs and maps for many of the words used throughout the Bible. 

Something unexpected happened in my family after I received this.   My children began reading the Bible more often just to be able to look up words in The Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids

The Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids is so engaging for my children I have even caught them reading it like a book. 

While The Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids has more than 500 words, it is not a complete enough dictionary for me to have as the only dictionary, it is well worth it to have as an additional dictionary.  It has meanings of words and people commonly referred to in the Bible.

When I asked Emily to tell me her review of the Bible she mentioned how she really liked the way the words were organized.  Obviously they are still in alphabetical order, she liked the way there are lined columns to show the words.  It does really make it easier to read.  She also liked the way each word had the picture associated with it, right near it. 

The Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids sells for $14.99 at Lifeway Christian Stores, or you can find a store near you with their store locator

To see what my crewmates said check out our post

{I received this book for free for review purposes as my part of TOS Homeschool Crew.  All opinions are my own, and yours may be different.  I received no other compensation.}

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday~ Moving Week



Monday- Soup Smorgasbord   (I want to use up all the soup cans that I didn’t have enough of to feed my family all the same kind of soup.  You know all those single cans.)  Also rolls.  Emily will be making chocolate chip cookies. 


Tuesday- A friend from my church is bringing us over dinner!  Yea for good friends!


Wednesday- truck loading day- Turkey pot pie, I premade this, so we just need to put it in the oven. 


Thursday- MOVING DAY! – order pizza at new house!


Friday – Crockpot bbq beef sandwiches.  (cook a roast in a crockpot, shred it, add bbq sauce and serve it on a hamburger bun with some chips.


Saturday – I don’t know yet.  Maybe go out to eat in our new town. 


Sunday – Unsure as well!  YIKES! 


This is linked up to Menu Plan Monday over at

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Homeschooling through a move ~ Part 3


Yesterday was move the piano day.  My piano is a family heirloom, with a very rich family history associated to it. 

To give you a little of my family history;

My father is from Canada.  He moved to the United States for schooling and met my mother, they got married.  His family remained in Canada. 

The piano was my Great Grandfathers Grandfathers.  It was built in Calgary, Canada in 1903.  This piano was used as a traveling piano.  They took it around to different parties and played it for dances.

It was then passed to my Great Grandfather, who gave it to my Grandmother, whom I have never met.  I have always heard how wonderful of a piano player she was.  My Uncle learned to play by ear by leaning up against the piano while she played or sometimes he would lay on the ground underneath it. 


After my Grandmother died, my Great Grandfather got the piano back, years and years went by and he decided to get rid of it.  He offered it to my dad when I was 3 years old. He told him it had to be gone by the following weekend.  My father felt it was important for me to have.  So he drove up from Salt Lake to Canada that weekend to get it for me.  S3010364

I took piano lessons when I was a child and again tried to teach myself when I was an adult, and that is just not my talent. 


Now with the move and with it being temporary I decided to see if someone else wanted to use it aka store it for me.  The first person I thought of was my uncle whom learned to play by ear by listening to that very same piano, and I knew that he didn’t already have a piano. 


I called and asked him if he wanted to enjoy the piano.  He was ecstatic.    It made me know that this was the absolute right decision.  While the piano means alot to me and my family, I wasn’t getting the use out of it, by playing it, and he truly will be.  It means just as much, if not more to him as well.   S3010376


I also got almost the entire basement packed, just a few odds and ends left. 


And Tommy’s team won his basketball game. 


Oh, as for schooling we didn’t do much formal schooling.  The entire family took part in the piano moving.  (We did learn some about our family history.)  Tommy helped take a load to the dump, loading and unloading (P.E., right).  We did do our science experiment

Friday, January 21, 2011

Quick science


This week we have been reading about stems in Botany


We have been learning how they get water throughout the plant. 


To do this simple experiment you will need:


Food coloring (a darker color, red, blue, etc)




Color the water,

take a stalk of celery put it in the water

let it set for a few

come back and look at it. 


The tubes that the water travels through will be exposed by the food coloring.  If you leave it for long enough the leaves on the celery will start to turn colors as well. 

You can see how the water travel through the entire plant.


Simple, fun, easy, and it gets the kids thinking…


Speekee logo

Speekee is a fun internet streamed video program.  It aims to teach children ages 2-10.  There are 10 episodes, each with a different theme.  Each theme also includes printables to go along with it. 

Speekee is sold as a monthly subscription for $7.50 per month.  The first two weeks are free right now.  For us it wouldn’t take very long to get through the entire 10 episodes, so it could be budgeted as a short term subscription. 

Speekee uses a spiral, immersion teaching style.  Where each lesson builds on the previous one, and no English is spoken, only Spanish.   I took a little Spanish throughout my schooling years, I remember very little.  I think my children have learned as much as I know.

I did watch the videos with my children.  We all sang along to the songs, they are very catchy, and in Spanish. However, I would feel completely comfortable leaving my children to watch these videos while I got something done, (ie, a shower, laundry, dinner going)  Each video was less than 20 minutes and commercial free.  

To see if the lessons really stuck with my children, we did the worksheets the day following us watching the lessons.  For only watching the video once they remembered the words well. 

Even though some of the characters and songs are a little “young” for my older children, Speekee still held their attention and they were even singing with the songs.I think it helped that there were also real people in the episodes as well.

I think that Speekee is worth at least giving it a try.  With the first two weeks being free, you can’t beat it. 

They also come in DVD form.  However, the company is European, so make sure your DVD player in PAL-compatible. 

To see what other crew members thought check out our crew blog.  

Direct link to Speekee blog post

{I received a subscription to Speekee in exchange for my honest review, as my part of being on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. My opinion was not altered in any way.  I received no other compensation.} 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homeschooling through a move part 2


Well remember yesterday, I told you my to do list, it looked something like this.


Thursday 1/20 – plumber scheduled to come look at a slow drain.   -Normal schooling – pack basement (must be done by Friday) includes kids rooms, storage rooms, and laundry room.  Paul and my brother will be going through the garage and shed. –Turkey enchiladas for dinner

Friday 1/21 – pack my bedroom and all knick knacks and decorations through out the house.  - Normal Schooling  - Basketball game 7pm -



Well today here is what actually got done:

The plumber did come out.  However, he wasn’t able to fix our drain.  (He is family, and we need to call a plumber that specializes in clogs, not new piping.) 

We got through almost all of schooling.  We have a little bit of history reading that will have to be completed tomorrow, as well as our science experiments. 

I did get two of my four kids bedrooms packed.  YEAH!  The laundry room and storage room are almost all the way done, and as long as I stay on task, they will get done.  Tomorrow I will be taking some more kids clothes over to the consignment store. 


My brother ended up leaving early, but nonetheless Paul was able to get the entire garage and shed cleaned out, and packed.  (I am embarrassed about how much junk we actually have)  We now have to take a truck load of stuff to the dump,  That’s right, THE DUMP.  And even more loads to the thrift store.  YIKES!  It feels so great to get rid of it all!


Oh yeah, and the Turkey Enchiladas were great!


I almost forgot Friday is PIANO moving day!

Tomorrow we are getting up bright and early to move my Piano over to my uncles house, he loves to play and I am grateful to be able to give him the opportunity to have a piano.    We are going to do a full day of school tomorrow.  I am still going to pack the rest of the basement and my bedroom, and all decorations and go to my sons basketball game. 


Well I better get to bed.  I have a very full day tomorrow!


Good night all!

Homeschooling through a move part 1



Let me start with what we/I did before today. 


Paul went to the local grocery store at 4am to get boxes.   


I had went through all the kids clothes and toys.  I got rid of any that are too small, ripped, stained, or if they just don’t wear them or play with them anymore.  I sold what I could to consignment stores etc.  The rest I just gave to thrift stores. 


It honestly feels so great to have gotten rid of so much. 


I also went through our food storage and assessed what we have and what will be expiring soon.   


I created a moving day schedule/checklist.


Thursday 1/20 – plumber scheduled to come look at a slow drain.   -Normal schooling – pack basement (must be done by Friday) includes kids rooms, storage rooms, and laundry room.  Paul and my brother will be going through the garage and shed. –Turkey enchiladas for dinner


Friday 1/21 – pack my bedroom and all knick knacks and decorations through out the house.  - Normal Schooling  - Basketball game 7pm -


Saturday 1/22 – pack books other than the ones needed for school the following week.  - pack movies


Sunday 1/23 – Pack bathroom and misc.  Plan weeks menu. 


Moving day is on Thursday 1/27, and I am going to try to school clear up to Wednesday 1/26.  We are only going to take Thursday and Friday off. 


Whew, I will be keeping you all posted on our progress.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Maestro Classical ~ A review


I have to be honest with you, in our family we are NOT really into classical music.  It’s not that we can’t stand it or anything.  It’s just we really like to sing along to songs. 

So when i got the opportunity to review a classical music product from Maestro Classical, I thought “hmm, this should be interesting.”

The CD, Peter and the Wolf arrived in very nice packaging.  The cover art, and art throughout the booklet really get to you, in a good way.    We had about a 3 1/2 hour drive ahead of us; I thought what a great way to pass some car time.   We took the CD in the car, and listened to it during the trip.  Everybody loved it.  It was really neat. 

In the beginning the narrator tells you which instrument represents which character.  Next you can listen to a narrated version, then just the music.  After hearing the narrated version, we loved the musical version.  We all really felt into the music.  We were able to feel like it was really telling the story, (without telling the story, ya know). 

Maestro Classical is a great way to get YOU or your children interested in classical music.  Having had this experience, we now want to find some more classical music with a story behind it that we can get to know. 
Maestro Classical has many other titles available. 
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
  • Casey at the Bat
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • The Story of Swan Lake
  • Juanita the Spanish Lobster

You can hear some samples just by going to their website

The CD’s are $16.98. 
They also have gift sets for $24.99.

To see what others who also reviewed this product said check out our crew blog.

Maestro classical review post on the crew blog.

{I received this product for free as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew.  All opinions in this blog, including this post, are solely my own, and are not influenced in any way.}

Monday, January 17, 2011

Homeschooling through a move.



That’s right we are moving.  My husband has accepted a job offer in another city, 220 miles away.  We live in quite a small town now, however it is surrounded by many other cities.  And it is 15 miles from downtown Salt Lake.  Even though we love it here, we have always talked about moving to a more remote type town.  We are very excited!


My husband got laid off from his previous job a few weeks ago.   He then took the opportunity to apply for a job in another city. And he got it.  So we are packing up the family and moving. 


This will definitely be a life change for us.  We are moving far away from everything we know, everyone we know and to top it off, my husband will be traveling often.  We are very much excited and scared for the change. 


We are going to rent our current house out to some family members, and rent a house in the new town.  I am not ready to make the commitment to purchase in the new town just yet. 

I have planned out the next 10 days packing plans, school plans, menu plans, and a to do list.  

I am going to try to blog through this time. 


So stay tuned for a short blog series.

Count down to moving day.

15 days of moving while homeschooling.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Breakin’ the house down on New Years Eve!

With Paul's family at Christmas time we like to have a gingerbread house contest boys vs girls.  His brothers come and his sisters come to town.  This year the girls won, because the boys burnt their house down when they tried to melt lifesavers in the windows, for a stained glass effect.  So they gave up before the time limit was up. 


This year we added on to the gingerbread house contest with a new tradition, on New Years Eve at midnight the kids get to use rolling pins and SMASH down the gingerbread house.  That gives us plenty of time to eat all the goodies off from it.  Emily had been talking about this since before we began building the house. 




At midnight we  took it outside and Emily began smashing it first.

S3010317 S3010318 S3010319

Then Katey jumped on it. 

The kids loved this.  We are now going to break our gingerbread houses every year on New Year’s Eve.  It’s funner than throwing them out. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How we wrap it up…

I know I am a little late posting this, but we have had a lot going on this last little while.  So soon I may or may not have an announcement coming.  Time will tell.


For a few years now we have been coloring our own wrapping paper at Christmas time.   I go to the local small town newspaper printer, and buy a roll end.  They start at $3.00.  I bought a bigger one, for $8.00.  It has about 500 sq feet of paper (or more).  The kids really enjoy this tradition.  We move furniture out of the way and roll out the paper across the front room floor. 


We even invited a friend over to help this year. 



Tommy colored Paul’s wrapping paper in the kitchen.  Paul’s Birthday falls right around Christmas time.  We use this as birthday wrapping paper for each birthday as well.  Each person get special colored wrapping paper surrounding their gift. 


I even enjoy coloring some Christmas scenes on the paper.  It’s a great way to slow down during the holidays and spend some time with family. 


It’s my way of being frugal and crafty. 


I use this paper for so much more too.  It makes a great table cloth for parties or picnics, or even for craft projects at the kitchen table. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Easy Classical~ A Review

Hi, my name is Alyson, and I am an Eclectic Homeschool Mom. 

There I said it, I admit, I use whatever works at the time for us. 

There are times when I feel as if I am the only one in my local group that is not fully Classical focused.  While I fully agree with Classical instruction, I just don’t have the energy to keep up with it.  I do try to implement it whenever I can. 

History is important and fun to me.  I feel like it is one of those subjects that has the opportunity to do lots of projects, and include other subjects.  So when teaching history, I look for curriculum that includes all that. 
As soon as I received a digital copy of Early Modern History from Easy Classical, I began looking at it.  I love lesson plans, but I am not a planner.  So I loved it right away.  It tells you everything you need, and everything to do each day.  It is laid out it weekly lesson plans, that are extremely easy to read.  Each one has a shopping list of things you will need for the next week.  Each week has a comprehension quiz, and discussion points.  Each day is laid out as to what you need to do each day, Monday – Friday.

I did not actually implement this into our school days.  Just looked through it to see if I would use it.  I can say that as soon as we get to that point in our history, I am going to give it a try.  (If things continue to go as planned, that will be next November.)  One thing that I can for see is that I generally need more flexibility in my scheduling.  For my solution to that, I am planning on either checking off as we do things, in order.    

I would recommend looking it to Early Modern History, and Easy Classical for you curriculum.  They have samples of most of their curriculum on their website. 

Early Modern History is $29.95 for the digital version, and $35.95 for the notebook version. 

To see what other crewmates said about this check out our crew blog.
Early Modern History Post.

{I received this product for free in order to review it.  I received no other compensation.  All opinions expressed herein are my own honest opinions.}

Friday, January 7, 2011



See-N-Read is a see through plastic reading intervention tool.  It is a see through bluish gray with a clear window to read a line.  It comes in many versions such as the Memory Mark, which is the same bluish gray and the window is completely cut out. That way you can highlight or underline a word, phrase or sentence.  It also comes in eSee-N-Read, for computer reading.

It is supposed to help you to be able to read faster. However, I wanted Tommy to use it, to slow him down.  He tries reading so fast, he doesn’t focus on what he is reading about.  This worked.   He was able to get more out of reading with this.   As he used it more often he began to get faster with it, while still comprehending what he was reading. 

When I am reading a book, I use the bookmark to follow along, by placing it below the line I am reading.  That way I can keep my focus.  I notice I read a little slower, instead of skimming.  I also notice that I absorb more of the story, too.  So See-N-Read worked great for me too.

See-N-Read prices start at $2.99 and vary greatly on which one you get, and how many.  Check out the price chart here.

To see what other crew members had to say about See-N-Read check out our crew blog.

See-N-Read post.

{These products were given to me free of charge in order to write this review.  This blog, as well as this post represents my honest feelings.}

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Math Facts Now


As I have told you all before my daughter is in the midst of memorizing her multiplication facts.  I really have them master their facts. 

So when I received Math Facts Now to review from The Homeschool Crew, I was thrilled.   

It is a simple download (or you can get it in cd form).  It reminds me of flashcards.   You can add, subtract, multiply, or divide. You set up each child with the specific facts they need to work on.

  When I say specific, I mean specific.   For example,  I chose for Emily to work on multiplication ones through sevens both sets all the way up to 12s.

When you child gets one wrong, the program remembers, and it inserts that problem back in, more often.  It gets better, also when they get it wrong, you choose how many times they have to re-enter the entire problem back it right. 

This has really helped Emily to memorize her math facts well.  One thing she really LOVES about this program, is the amount of time it doesn’t take.  She is learning and memorizing her math facts in literally 8 minutes a day. 
Math Facts Now is $15.95.
The download has Free Shipping. 
The CD is $3.95 Shipping.

To see what others think of Math Facts Now, check out what our crew blog says.  
Math Facts Now Crew Post

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Multiplication for hands on learners.

I recently checked out some great math books from our local library.  One of them is Marvelous Multiplication.  It has hands on activities to learn your multiplication facts.  Such as this one for 6’s.  She is making 12 different designs using 6 toothpicks each.  Then she was asked questions such as how many toothpicks are in 3 designs, etc. 
There are also games and activities for after you have learned all the facts to play, in order to get more practice. 
I highly recommend checking this book out if you child is learning multiplication tables.   We have loved it so much that we are purchasing it from Amazon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

In an effort to be more financially fit this year.  I am going to take menu planning seriously.  So here we go, my first menu plan of 2011.

Since I will be shopping the ads and using coupons, my menu plan will revolve around that.

     Breakfast- oatmeal
     Lunch- spagetti
     Dinner- ham and egg casserole

    Breakfast- Cereal
    Lunch- sandwiches
    Dinner- Pork Chops

  Breakfast- Cereal
  Lunch- Go out to lunch
  Dinner- Turkey, stuffing and potatoes

   Breakfast - Breakfast burritoes
   Lunch- frozen pizza
  Dinner- Turkey noodle soup

  Breakfast-  Smoothies and toast
  Lunch- Turkey casserole
  Dinner- Tacos

   Breakfast- Waffles bacon and eggs
   Lunch- Tuna Salad Sandwiches
   Dinner- Baked Potatoes and Chili

   Brunch:  Pancakes, sausage and eggs
   Dinner:  Big Family Dinner (bring baked butternut squash as pot luck)

I am usually a spontaneous person by nature, so I will have to see how this whole planning out a week thing will work for me.    Next week I may just try planning 6 dinner, 6 breakfasts, and 6 lunches, and use them any day I feel like, and that will leave me some free meals to just wing it.

To see more menu plans check out

Activities for the littlest of sorts

Tot School

Tyler is always wanting to play with school items.  I recently decided to create activities for him. 

One of the activities I made, was I just cut a piggy bank style hole in the top of a box, and gave him some laminated animal cards (from another game) to insert in the hole.  The opening was just barely bigger than the cards, so it took some work to get them in there just right.     This activity kept him busy for 15 or so minutes (while I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher)
He was so proud of himself for doing this. 
So was I. 

To see what other tots are doing check out Tot School.


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