Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Katey can read!!!!


Actually, she has been reading for a while.  I am so proud of her.  It has taken us a while to get here, and there was a point when I thought she wasn’t learning as quickly my older kids did.  I couldn’t figure out where I was going wrong.  So I enrolled her in public school.  She was in enrolled for a month, and I noticed her reading getting worse!  She was also much more stressed out and she began having night terrors.  I decided to bring her back home.  We did a review of letters using Explode the Code, and All About Reading, I purchased The Letter Factory, she watched it almost daily and we used good old Hooked On Phonics. 


She passed off Level 1 of Hooked On Phonics in about 2 months. 


These are all the books she can read!  There is even a chapter book!  She is extremely proud of herself. 


We even had an “I Can Read Party” to celebrate!  We had Monkey Bread and Ice Cream.  It was all very exciting. 



We are moving on to Level 2, and we are also adding it Hooked On Math Level 1, which she is sailing right through. 


I am also working with her on realizing that she can read more than the small HOP books.  I have been working with her on sounding out words everywhere we go, the store, restaurants, driving down the road, even around the house.    She is very proud of herself, I just don’t think she realizes her full potential.  She things the HOP books are all she knows how to read. 


She has also been interested in writing her own short stories and then reading them. 

The 3 she has written so far are titled:

King Bird

Cats and Dogs

Mom has a Cat


She loves to read these books to Tyler.



I love having be the one that taught her to read!  That was/is very important to me with all my children. 

I am so glad that I homeschool her.  It is so amazing to see how much she is learning. 


Monday, May 30, 2011

Drawing to learn The Presidents.


Recently Timberdoodle asked me to review A Kid’s Guide To Drawing The Presidents Of The USA.  With both of my older children’s love of drawing, I just knew it would be perfect. 


These are a series of 42 books, one per President from George Washington to George W. Bush.


We received Ronald Reagan.  



Both Tommy and Emily learned about the 1980 Olympics and drew and Olympic Flag.   P1010637

Tommy wasn’t about to be done then.  He was enjoying this so much he then did The Challenger page.  He learned about the 1986 devastating events involving The Challenger and what happened to the space program after that.  The drawing to go along with that was more complicated than the flag.  It was the patch that the Challenger crew wore. 


Tommy chose to do his pictures smaller and do multiples on one page. 




Emily chose to do a full page drawing for each picture.



All these books take just simple drawing skills that are explained in the beginning.  Things like straight line and squiggly line, shading and shapes.  You just need a few art items that are generally found in every house, such as pencil, paper, eraser and a ruler.


There are many reasons to like these books. 

  • They are quick simple lessons, with one quick drawing each.  Your child could have a mini presidential portfolio in no time. 
  • If your child likes learn to draw books. 
  • If you are going to be teaching US history, or just learn the Presidents.
  • It is not your average lesson, a great way to switch things up.
  • If you just can’t pass up a good deal


The way I have been using this  book is I have just let the kids know that we have it and that it is available to them and to use it at their leisure. 

I have found both of them choosing it on their own.  My 6 year old has even seemed interested in it, and we are planning on reading some pages out loud this week and working on some drawings.


These 42 books normally cost $1060.50.  Timberdoodle is giving us amazing deal on these books, and they are now out of print!  (That means when these are gone, they are gone, act quick!)

Timberdoodle is selling ALL 42 books for $195.00

That is a savings of $865.50!!!

That is less than $5 a book!  And free shipping! 


If these are gone before you can get them, be sure to check out the other Art curriculum and History Curriculum that Timberdoodle offers. 


Timberdoodle has an extensive collection of educational materials.  They even offer a free catalog.  One of my favorite things is the way they package a complete curriculum kits for you at a discounted price.



{As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.}

Andi’s Pony Trouble Giveaway Winner!

I used Random.org to generate a winner.

I have not quite figured out how to get the picture of the number generator on here.

Comment #1 Lisa, you are the winner!


I emailed you.  

You will love this book.

Thanks to everyone that entered. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Top 10 TOS Reviews


Here is our families Top 10  12 Reviews.


We couldn’t narrow it down to just 10. 


Here they are in no particular order.


  • Artistic Pursuits ~ A very easy to use Art Curriculum
  • Yesterdays Classics ~ An amazing collection of classic books, in digital format.  (We put them on our iTouches
  • Classical Academic Press ~ A very fun child oriented Latin Curriculum
  • Ten Marks ~ An online math curriculum
  • Pyramath ~ A super fun math card game.  (Very affordable too)
  • Maestro Classics ~ Great Classical Music stories
  • Eagles Wings ~ Christian based science curriculum
  • Kregal- Circle C Adventures ~ A series of fun chapter books for young children.  (we liked this one so much we purchased the entire series and I am doing a giveaway here
  • Science Weekly ~ A fun science magazine.  (Tommy won Honorable Mention in our local science fair using experiments from this.)
  • Kids Scoop ~ Fun quick reading packets.  I print these off often especially for car rides.
  • Big IQ Kids ~ A very fun website, filled with many different subjects, a good all around website.
  • All About Reading ~ A simple approach to teaching reading and the letters of the Alphabet.


Check out all my reviews here

Friday, May 27, 2011

TOS Crew ~ A Review


The Old Schoolhouse is commonly known for their amazing magazine, geared toward homeschoolers.  Let me tell you, I look forward to getting it every time! 


Product I am reviewing:  My year long journey on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.



Summary of Product :  I have been honored to be a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew for the past year.  I have received many many educational products to review during this time.


I know not all of my readers homeschool, however many of these products would work over the summer and for remedial subjects.  So homeschooler or not, be sure to check out my reviews here



My thoughts:  Whew!   What a fun and sometimes stressful ride.  It has been so neat to be able to receive these products many of which I would have either not been able to afford or that I had not heard of before.   Our experience has been one that we have learned WE ALL NEED TO BE FLEXIBLE.  There were times when I had to plan ahead as to how I was going to incorporate review items into our school routine.  There were times when I had/wanted to drop certain subjects for a time period, in order to use review items.   There were times when it was down right survival mode, such as when we moved.  There were times when I would double and triple check lists, either in disbelief that I was on them, or sadness that I wasn’t. 



My children’s thoughts: 

They enjoyed being able to change it up often. 

It was hard because we were not able to finish many of the curriculums that we received.  We put them aside to come back to.  We have Summer plans for many of them.   There were times when our plates were just too full and we had to let some things go.  There were many math reviews.  I also had them keeping up on their math curriculum for the year.  So math got a little overwhelming for them.  There were many many math drill reviews.  Tommy does not like drills.  So Emily was my main drill tester, and I was surprised that she never got burned out on drills. 


Cost ~  Your time.  Your energy.  Your passion.


Did you know that The Old Schoolhouse is more than just a magazine?  They have an amazing store full of homeschooling items. 


They also have an entire Homeschool Dollar Store which has just been updated with many new things.



Some of my favorites are The Curiosity Files for $1 you could have the best Summer week ever! (see my review of The Curiosity Files –Quicksand here.)  Only some of them are $1 currently, however they do change them. 


They even have some FREE resources.

If you are new to homeschooling, check out there new homeschooler bundles here.  They have a variety based on your children’s ages. 


One of my favorite things from The Old Schoolhouse Store is definitely the planner.  I purchased mine months after I began homeschooling and use it still almost daily.  The best money I spent.  The new 2011 planner has a different cover than the one shown here. 


Just last week I attended The Old Schoolhouse Expo.  What a way to refresh and get a start on what is next for us.  Don’t worry that you missed it, they offer it to go here.  This is an expo that you can do right from the comfort of… well,  wherever you want. 


I would also like to send a special Thank You shout out to:

Heidi – Who is our Crew Captain and blogs about all things Disney!

Brenda- Who keeps us in line and honestly she reminds me of me!

Penny- Who was my personal mentor and blogs about all things Autism!  She also has many great GFCFSF recipes.


Others reviewed for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew check out our crew blog to learn so much.


Stay tuned for our top ten items we reviewed coming soon.  Also we just got done voting for The Seaworthy Awards so stay tuned on our crew blog for that!



I am VERY blessed to be able to continue my journey with TOS Crew next year as well. 


{I have not or will not receive any compensation for this review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own and your experience may differ.}

Thursday, May 26, 2011

One day

On our recent trip to my Grandma’s here is what we did….

Some of us played….
Some of us worked……
Some us us sat on the porch and looked at this all day.

After a long day of all this, we took some more time having ice cream!
What a wonderful way to end the day. 

But wait, it gets better. 

Telescope time!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is it the destination or the journey?

I have heard the old adage, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”  We were recently going to visit my Grandma, who lives about 4 hours from us.  We needed to make a few stops on the way, and after some shopping and visiting with my aunt, the trip ended up taking us 6 hours. 

While I really enjoyed the journey, I enjoyed the stops, visits and sights, and everybody got along! 
Still I couldn’t wait until we were there.  I kept thinking,” it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”  But then I thought, “no, it is about the destination.”  I couldn’t wait to see my Grandma, it has been a while.  I just wanted to get there.
Then I got to thinking about education and more.  Is it about the journey or the destination?  

I think it should be about both.  I have a goals.  I have specific goals for each child, as well family goals. 

I don’t want to ruin the journey by only thinking of the destination.  I don’t want to forget the destination and focus only on the journey.  Then I wouldn’t even know where the journey was supposed to be taking us.  I understand that my destination or goal may change as I am on the journey, but I still want to have something to work towards. 

I have so many more thoughts about this swirling around in my head, it’s just hard for me to put it into words without feeling like I am talking in circles.

I am going to implement more in my life that it is about the destination AND the journey. 

Think about heaven, isn’t it about both?  The destination is so important but the journey is how we get there. 

I am LDS and if you want to learn more about my journey to heaven and what we believe, check Here and Here or even Here.

Eagles Wings~ Considering Gods Creation- A Review



Eagles Wings is a company created by homeschoolers for homeschoolers.

Science is one of the harder subjects to find a Christian based curriculum in.  Well there is an answer. 

Considering God’s Creation is a natural science curriculum from a Christian perspective. 

Considering God’s Creation covers these topics

  • Universe
  • Stars
  • Solar System
  • Earth
  • Light
  • Sound
  • Wind
  • Weather
  • Clouds
  • Rocks
  • Plants
  • Insects
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Amphibians
  • Food Chains
  • Reproduction and Genetics
  • Human
  • Animal Anatomy
  • Physiology




I received the Teacher’s Manual, the Student Notebook, along with a CD full of biblical science songs.  


About the Teacher’s Manual:

The lesson plans are so easy to follow.  There are some experiments and idea’s for further study, if it’s a subject your child is really interested in.  There are even some evolution stumpers.  


The Student Notebook has so many pages, they range from games to worksheets, to art projects.  Often the worksheets encourage the children to be detectives and find out more, or even to just look closer and notice details. 


Some of my children’s favorite activities were Fingerprint detectives (where we noticed the difference in each other’s fingerprints), and a pile of bones (where we had to cut out a variety of bones and put them on the animal they belong to, like a puzzle.)  The animal tracks game is fun too!


My thoughts:

Considering God’s Creation is the whole shebang!    I mean in incorporates so many topics over one year.  Perfect for “getting your feet wet” and discovering your child’s science interests.  It gently incorporates Bible.  It incorporates music with the science song CD.


This curriculum really make Christian and science go together so seamlessly.  It is adaptable for about 2nd Grade to 7th Grade.    I used it with my Kindergartner, 4th grader and 6th grader and we all enjoyed it.  My Kindergartner  was able to do the activities with us, and it was a taste of science for her.  I will come back to this curriculum again when she is in 3rd grade or so and then my youngest will be in Kindergarten.  The vocabulary was too old for my Kindergartner, but right on for the older two. 



Considering Gods Creation with Audio Cd and Teacher’s Manual is $29.95  and can be purchased here.


Eagles Wings also sells some other items, such as Alphabet Island, It’s a Capital Game, Kinder-math and some Bible and History Curriculum.  Check out all those choices here.


Check out their website here.  You can also contact them via mail at

Eagles Wings Educational Materials

PO Box 502

Duncan, OK 73534

or Email them at



Others reviewed this as well check out this post to see what they had to say.


I am blessed to review many products for TOS Crew this product was one of those. 



{I have not or will not receive any compensation for this review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own and your experience may differ.}

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My First Giveaway! ~ Autographed copy of Andi’s Pony Trouble


I recently reviewed Andi’s Pony Trouble by Susan K Marlow.   We loved that book so much that I went on her website to purchase the rest of the set  It was such a great deal to purchase the entire autographed set of books, that I did.   I don’t need two copies of Andi’s Pony Trouble, so I have decided to give one away!  LUCKY YOU!  She even sent me a bookmark to give away!
The cover did get a little bent while my youngest was looking at the book
How to enter-
Follow me or subscribe and leave a comment saying you do.  That’s it!

This giveaway will close on May 30th at 10am and a winner will be drawn from Random.org then.  Be sure I can contact you if you win.

Good Luck!
If you win, be sure to check out the FREE activity guides that she has to go along with the books.

{Disclosure- This is a self sponsored giveaway.  I paid for the book I am giving away.}

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pearson Social Studies~ A review


Pearson Education

I have been reviewing Scott Foresman Social Studies- All Together 1st Grade Social Studies with my 6 year old this past little while.


What it is?

Scott Foresman Social Studies is commonly known as a standard textbook curriculum.


The book starts off with some quick lessons on what Social Studies is. 

  • History
  • Economics
  • Science and Technology
  • Geography
  • Culture
  • Citizenship
  • Government
  • National Symbols

These are quick 2 page spread lessons with many pictures and some discussion points.


It is divided into 6 units each with 4-6 lessons in each unit.    It is intended to last 9 months (a full traditional school year) by doing it about 15 minutes once a week.  You can learn about their quick planning overview by watching this video


The Units are

  1. Time for School
  2. In My Community
  3. Work! Work! Work!
  4. Our Earth, Our Resources
  5. This is Our Country
  6. Our Country, Our World

Each Unit begins with a song, and a vocabulary preview.   Each Unit also has Reading Social Studies and Map or Chart/ Graph skills. Some even have Thinking Skills.


There is also a section on Citizenship Skills, Research Skills, and Geography Skills.  Spread throughout the lessons are quick biographies as well.



It is actually the Social Studies, Reading and Math curriculum used at the public school my children used to attend. 

What is supposed to set this curriculum apart is that is has online resources and activities to use with each unit.


How we used it:

We read and discussed a lesson a day.  It really leads to many discussions.    There are many Try it! Activities and we also did those. 


My thoughts: 

It is a beautiful book!  It has many full color pictures.  It is not like a reading book.  It leads to many opportunities for discussions.    It honestly has quite a textbook feel (did I mention it is a textbook). 


I am not sure that you need a textbook to teach your child social studies, however this book opened up many opportunities for discussion and it had some hands on activities that Katey enjoyed.   


Here she is working on drawing a neighborhood.



This book is able to keep Katey’s attention.  And it does lead to many “rabbit trails” for us. 


I will leave this book on the bookshelf for us to pull out as we feel like it, but I will not be incorporating this into her regular everyday curriculum. 


I think this book may work best for a family that is new to homeschooling or nervous that you are covering enough information.  It could be used as a reference type book.  You also may like this book if you like textbooks in your homeschool. 



This book costs $43.47 There website is a little hard to navigate so here is the order page


As they are geared toward bigger schools, they have so many other items for sell, teachers manuals, blackline masters, vocabulary, leveled readers and more.  Check out their order page to see all of it and the prices.


Pearson Education can be found at their website here.

Here is their contact page as well.



Others reviewed this as well check out this post to see what they had to say.


I am blessed to review many products for TOS Crew this product was one of those. 


{I have not or will not receive any compensation for this review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own and your experience may differ.}

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why do I blog?



Recently I have been contemplating why do I blog?

There are many reasons, really.  Here are some in no particular order.


  • For the memories-  I am planning on making my blog into a keepsake book.


  • To let people close to me keep up on our life


  • For the reviews-  I love love love reviewing items and letting people know how I view things.


  • It gives me a voice.  I am able to speak my mind and share my feelings, kinda like a journal.  I can express myself here. 


  • I have made new friends.


  • I kinda hope I inspire someone out there.  People need to know they are not alone, right?  That there are other likeminded individuals out there.


  • It keeps me accountable.  I can use it as documentation of our homeschooling journey.



Now I have set some blogging goals for myself.  I however blog for fun and would really like to keep it that way, so if at any time while I am trying to reach these goals blogging becomes not fun I will lay off. 


  • Blog Daily-  I have been doing great at that
  • Blog more about my older children and where they are in life.
  • Blog more about our schooling, maybe even join the weekly link up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers on a more regular basis.
  • Be braver at expressing my true self and feelings through my blog.  This blog is who I am, but sometimes I notice that I then to hide things I may not be proud of.  (A big laundry pile for example.)
  • Take more pictures of my family.


I would also really like to get some photo editing software.  I am leaning toward Adobe Elements.  If you have any suggestions of ones you have used.  Please leave me a comment about it and why you like it or don’t. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Muddy Mountain Driving


We love camping, and we are new to this area so we decided to go up and scout out the mountains near us. 


There are a lot of historical trails and scenic loops within minutes of our house.  If you can get over the drive, the scenery was just beautiful. 


Mind you we own a mini van!


See those mud ruts, yeah, some of those are from my van before we turned around.


The kids were screaming and laughing the entire time. 


This is another part of the road we were on. 


Well we all made it home safe, and the van is completely intact. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tot School Set up.

I have mentioned that I wanted to have a more organized school time for Tot School. 

I like to follow Tyler’s lead but I wanted to present activities for him to choose from as well.  This is my current version of Tot Trays.  The reason why I say current is because I am not so sure if this is working for us.  It really is not in a convenient place for me.  It will stay this way or similar to this until I can get a shelf and some Tot Trays. 
I set up 5 baskets that I had in storage, each basket has a different activity.  Some he can do alone, or together.  For example he can color alone, but really enjoys me coloring with him.  We do a few things each day together and then he chooses to continue to do some alone while I am working on other things.
What’s in each basket? 
1- Clothes pins, we were doing a drop in the basket game.  These only lasted two days, as he pinched his fingers twice with them.  I will bring them back out when he is older.
2- Tupperware dish with a small hole and some pom-poms.  He has to put each pom-pom into the dish one at a time.  We sort and pattern them as we dump them out.  (If Tyler gets them out and doesn’t want to pick them up, Tommy and Emily love picking them up too.)
3- Melissa and Doug Food Cutting set- One of his favorite things.
4- A color/shape matching game that I just homemade in Publisher.
5-A Snoopy coloring book and crayons.

We do not usually do these boxes in order and there are some days when he doesn’t want to do them all, and that’s OK! 

I also set him up a table that I had in storage for his own little school desk.   Katey loves doing her school at this table as well.  I also let the little kids have snack time at this table, but for dinner we all have to sit at the kitchen table for family time. 
Tot school has really been working!   I do think that he realizes he has special time with me each day, and so do the other kids.  He was so tired one day that he laid himself down for an early nap on the couch.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tyler’s broken arm update


On Monday I took Tyler back to the doctor.  It has been 3 weeks and for some reason I thought I heard the doctor mention that it would be getting his cast off at this appointment.  I remember thinking that sounds strange, I thought casts stayed on for 6 weeks. 


They took some more x-rays of his arm and you can still see the break in it.  This is after 3 weeks.  So we have at least 3 more weeks of a cast.   


Sometimes he walks up to me holding her arm up and saying “off, off, off”, it is so sad!


Other than when he begs for me to take it off, he is really doing quite well.  It doesn’t slow him down very much.  In fact sometimes I think he is just more dangerous with the cast on.  The other day he was jumping off the couch, and today he was climbing on some toys and fell off, I think if he didn’t have a cast on he would have broke his arm again. 


He is definitely my dangerous child.  I am sure he gets that from Daddy!  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mad Dog Math


Did that get your attention?


Well let me start off by saying it has nothing to do with mad dogs, but it does have to do with dogs, actually very cute ones. 


Mad Dog Math is a software download that uses dogs to get children excited about math facts. 


There are a lot of programs out there that drill on multiplication.  What sets this program apart is that is has addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  You set the level, and you work to earn cute hand drawn doggie virtual stickers.   You compete against set time limits ranging from 2 minutes to 30 seconds. 


Each level gives out 3 club stickers, the 2 minute club, the 1 minute club and the 30 second club.  There is also an unlimited time option, with no virtual reward.


Here is a break down of the levels:

Level 1 – addition and subtraction in groups such as 0-3, 2-5 and so on.  20 problems

Level 2- addition and subtraction in larger groups such as 0-6, 7-9 and so on.  20 problems.

Level 3- Multiplication and Division in fact families and in then heads into groups, when you have done each fact family individually from 0-4 then you will do the group 0-4.  24 problems.

The Challenge Level- Which is even a challenge for me.

Mutt Math- A mix of all math facts, addition,        subtraction, multiplication and division.  24 problems. 


Kennel Trouble- Two step math problems- here you get 3 minutes to complete a graph of problems.    For example you would add, then multiply by 9.  Or divide, then subtract, any 2 step combination of the four. 


Emily loves dogs. Emily loves math drills.  Emily loves competition. Emily loves Mad Dog Math.  This has been fun for our family. 


Katey likes dogs.  Katey loves schoolwork on the computer.  Katey loves virtual rewards.  Katey loves Mad Dog MathKatey really likes it that it has addition and subtraction which is all she can do right now


Tommy doesn’t really like dogs, and he definitely doesn’t like math drills, and he occasionally struggles with competition.  With all that being said, I let him know he had access to this program, but that I wasn’t going to require him to use it.  He was drilled on his math facts verbally when he was learning them.  He tried it once, and hasn’t been back. 


You can choose English or Spanish for the language. 


I am NOT able to view my child’s progress unless I log in as them. Even though that is not hard.   I wish there were a parents screen or something. 


Mad Dog Math is an instant download available for $19.99 for a one year home license.  For $39.99 you can get a license forever!


They have other pricing options here.  Along with the software they sell instructional systems, flash cards, certificate and a timer. 


Others reviewed this as well, check out this post to see what they had to say.


I am blessed to review many products for TOS Crew this product was one of those. 


{I have not or will not receive any compensation for this review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own and your experience may differ.}


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