Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Physical Education

This year, we have been trying to incorporate more planned physical education. Of course, they still do tons of bike riding and playing in the neighborhood too. 

I took some fun pictures of us one afternoon playing guess what kind of animal I am. 

Tommy and I were the guessers and Emily and Katey were the actresses.   This lesson went along with Katey’s history lesson that week.  She has been learning about all the continents and the animals that live on them.


Here they are being an American Bison. 


Here is Katey being a Toucan.


Here are the girls being Hedgehogs.

Other animals they pretended to be were a Kangaroo, a Penguin, an Elephant and a Koala Bear. 

This was pretty fun for all of us. 

What a great way to take learning outside. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Well, It’s Official, Staycation Kicked My Hiney!

Here I was thinking how much easier a staycation would be.  HA!  I am still not caught up yet.  Just so we are on the same page, I had 5 extra adults staying with us during the staycation.   My main focus since then has been getting the kids back on a routine.  I know from experience, the sooner, the better.  It has been slow going.  I haven’t even given my house a complete cleaning since everyone left and things are “back to normal.” I have been grateful for some of my recent review opportunities which have helped me get through this time.  E-MEALZ Easy Meals for Busy and Frugal Families has really saved me these past few weeks.  We were able to use The Scruble Cube on some of our longer car rides during the staycation. 

I am just now getting to the point where we are getting all (and more) of our stuff done each day.  We are working towards a goal of just the basics on Fridays and to be completed with this years grade levels by early May.  I honestly don’t know if both of those things will happen, but I am pretty flexible. 

I am finally feeling back on track (knock on wood), so I really hope to be back to my regularly scheduled blogging again real soon.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Young Scholars Guide to Composers.

I was recently given the amazing opportunity to review A Young Scholars Guide to Composers through Timberdoodle.  This book is published by Bright Ideas Press

A Young Scholars Guide to Composers

The list price is $34.95

Timberdoodle Price $31.50

Recommended ages 9-13 or Grade levels 4th-8th, as written. However this is easily adaptable for a wider a age range. 

Authors: Melissa E. Craig and Maggie S. Hogan

You get a paperback book which you are able to reproduce for use within your family.

I always thought, “How am I  going to teach my children about classical music and it’s composers when I don’t know anything about it myself?” 

I now have the answer.  I am going to use The Young Scholars Guide to Composers


They take you through ~

  • Ancient Music to the Middle Ages
  • Music in the Renaissance
  • The Baroque Period
  • The Classical Period
  • The Romantic Period
  • The Contemporary Period


You will the music of the period and some composers that go along with that period. study

This book has 32 lessons to be done one each week over the course of a school year.  They give you a sample schedule that is very easy to use over 3 days. 


Day 1

  • Listen to the music selections
  • Read the lesson
  • Answer the student questions, fill in the note taking pages. 


Day 2

  • Listen to the music the selections
  • Fill out the Composer Info Card
  • Color in the timeline
  • Match the composer to their place a birth on the provided map.


Day 3

  • Listen to and enjoy the music selections



There are even fun games to play, such as

  • Composer Memory
  • Go Fish
  • Composer Bingo
  • Composer Jeopardy

Also there are some intricate coloring pages, which may be enjoyable for children to just color while listening to some of the musical pieces.


I have to tell you that  I have enjoyed this study just as much as my children have.  For me, as the educator, I really appreciated how they ease you into the study, there is very little to no teacher prep time, other than printing off the worksheets and getting the book out.  They tell you right from the beginning about why they included certain things and left certain things/composers out.  They have made this very family friendly. 


It is recommended for grades 4-8.  However, my 1st grader enjoyed listening to the music and sitting in on the lessons.  There is also many useful websites and resources listed if you were to want to extend this study further. 


Most of the links are you tube.  Just copy them into your browser for quick songs.  You can even check out some of the music from the library for a more extensive experience.  


I feel this study was very well though out with both the parent/teacher and student(s) in mind.  The writers of this curriculum are plenty knowledgeable, but they don’t overwhelm you with to much information, while leaving you with additional resources if you would like more. 


Did you know that Timberdoodle offers a wide selection of music curriculum. You can also check out all they have to offer by requesting a free catalog from them. (I highly recommend doing this!)



{As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.}





Thursday, September 15, 2011

Before Five in a Row~A review

I want to tell you why I think it is important for you to read this review even if you think you already know Before FIVE IN A ROW.
  • It is much more than I thought it was. 
  • There are activities in the back with ideas to use on any books.
  • It is much more gentle than my initial impression.
Back to our regularly scheduled review…..
I was extremely excited for the opportunity to review anything from FIVE IN A ROW.  I  received Before FIVE IN A ROW
Before FIVE IN A ROW is really a gently curriculum that takes you through certain children’s picture books and you expand on them.  The concept, often referred to as rowing a book, is so simple.  You read the same picture book five days in a row (hence five in a row).  Each day you choose one or two activities to do that go along with the book, and you do them.  There are twenty-three units.
Here are some examples with We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. 
The activities are just listed you choose when to do them.  This makes the plan very flexible.  This is just a sample lesson plan that I put together using those activities. 
Day 1: Read the book.
            Bible:  Tell the suggested Bible stories
   Day 2: Read the book, pay attention to the actions.
              Drama:  act out the story by practicing skipping, pulling, climbing stairs, tripping, and shutting     doors.
               Experience: Make a mud puddle and play in it. 
Day 3:  Read the book, pay attention to the illustrations.
               Art: Discuss  the illustrations while asking questions.  (There are suggested questions, such as, “Do you see the flock of birds?”   Look at scenes outside your home in the day and in the night. 
Day 4:  Read the book, pay attention to the family
             Comprehension: Talk about the story, and the words that are used.  (There are also suggestions in the book.) 
              Relationships: Family:  Talk about families.  Talk about your family.  Draw a family picture. 
Day 5:  Read the book, paying attention to the words and how they flow.
             Music: Make up a song using the words from the book.

My favorite part of this book for my son’s age is the last half labeled Part Two: A Parents Guide of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness Sure I will still read these books to him and do the age appropriate activities with him.  It is in part two where we will do most of our activities for this year.  They are organized in categories.
  • Activities for Reading Readiness
  • Coordination
  • Development of Large Motor Skills
  • Development of Small Motor Skills
  • Activities at Bath Time
  • Activities in the Kitchen
  • Activities at the Store
  • Toys
  • The Arts
Each section is  full of fun practical ideas to use with toddlers. 
I used this with my just barely 2 year old. (27 months to be exact.)  He is just a normal 2 year old.   I feel that he is not quite ready for all the activities that go along with the books just yet.  This book will be our main curriculum for him over the next two years though.  Year one I will focus on just reading the stories and working on the items in part two of the book.  Year two I will focus on the books at their activities. 
What kids think
Tyler has loved all of the activities in the book that we have done so far.  Emily has even enjoyed helping me put together lessons for him.  Many of the things while geared for ages 2-4 really all my children from 2-12 enjoyed them.  (especially playing in the mud!)
Before Five in a Row as well as many other Five in a Row products are sold at Rainbow Resource.  Before Five in a Row retails at $35. 
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.}

Monday, September 12, 2011

Staycation Galore!!


We started off our Staycation with a Utah Utes Football game, of course! Winking smile


The next day we headed to the lake to get some boating in.  The weather just did not cooperate, it was pretty windy.  So we just did a boat ride and some swimming.  We also had a great rock skipping competition. 



Then we went out to eat at a restaurant in a small town near us.


The people that ran the restaurant raise Follow Deer, we took some time to go check them out.  It was really neat, they would follow us everywhere.  That was really fun for the kids. 


On the way home we saw a beautiful sunset along the mountain line. 



The next day we jumped in the car and drove back to Fantasy Canyon.

We took our Scrubble Cube along to play (review coming soon).



Here we are at Fantasy Canyon.




We saw the Gilsonite Seam.  Which is a mineral only found near us. 


We did lots of hiking


and climbing.



The next day we took a drive up Nine Mile Canyon.


We saw many Petroglyphs.


We learned so much about the Freemont Indians that used to travel in.

Someone even told us that this rock was an old Indian home. (It is hollow inside.)



We saw so many amazing Petroglyphs!




Check out this balancing rock!


There were parts of the drive that were so scary that Paul’s brother put on a helmet to ride.



We did some boating.

Emily wrecked on the waterskies. 


Paul and I showed some L.O.V.E. while double wakeboarding.

P1030701 - Copy

We ended the staycation with a BMX State Championship race for Emily.


She was the only one of my kids that qualified to race in the championship.

She got 3rd!


We are all so proud of her!  She raced her little heart out. 


We ended the day, and the staycation, by celebrating Emily’s birthday!


Happy Birthday Emily!

We will now resume our busy normal life.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Time 4 Learning ~ A review

Time 4 Learning is an online curriculum.  It can be used as a supplement, a summer school program or an afterschool program, or even to use as a refresher before a test.   Some even use it as a full on curriculum.   I wasn’t so sure about this until I really used it.  I definitely see how academically complete it is.   There is Language Arts from K to 8th grade with language arts extensions from 1st on up. There are recommended books to read and activities to go along with them.  Math is from K to 8th also.  Science and Social Studies are available for most grades as well.   The science also has hands on experiments (starting at third grade) to go along with it, all using things that are easy to find.  There is a master list of language arts books and science experiment stuff you will need, so you can print it at the beginning of a year and get it all.  The science also has corresponding language arts extension activities that tie in with each lesson.

Parents can easily assign work and check progress on their children’s mastery of a subject.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the program, which can be overwhelming, there are so many resources to put you at ease;

  • A lesson plan scope and sequence
  • A master list of additional resources you can get
  • A parents forum
  • FAQ’s Sections
  • Getting Started Guide
  • Hints and Help section for technical help
  • Student Records Information Video
  • So many more parent resources. 

What I think

Time 4 Learning has been a fun way to switch things up at our home.  I was also surprised to find out it is much more than just computer learning.  There are offline activities as well.  Such as worksheets, games and science experiments.


(Yes, she’s a Lefty)


The kids have enjoyed earning “playground time” which is computer games.  They quickly caught on that you could only earn 15 minutes per day no matter how many lessons they did. In the parent account I could change that to up to an hour of playground time based on how many minutes of lesson time they completed. 

What kids think:

Tommy and Katey enjoyed Time 4 Learning immensely.   Last year we reviewed the Pre K version, we were surprised to learn that that they had upper level math such as algebra. 

Emily enjoyed it at first but after a month she was done with learning on the computer.  She just does not enjoy learning on the computer, like Katey and Tommy do.

I could see how this would work great for many situations. 

  • If you are new to homeschooling and you feel overwhelmed
  • If you are a veteran homeschooler and are having an overwhelming time in you life
  • If you need to switch things up for your kids and have more “fun school”
  • If you need a break from planning and preparing for a while (i.e. the holidays, or Summer, of if you just had a baby)
  • If one child needs something different for a time being
  • If you need to take some time off for moving or remodeling

This could also easily work for a long term situation. 


Time 4 Learning is $19.95 a month for the first child and $14.95 a month for each additional child.  No contracts.  It is also easy to put your account on hold if you have an extra busy month.  That breaks down to $240 a year for the first child, I spend at least that much on curriculum and my time each year. 

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.}

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Second week of School and We Are Already on Vacation!



I had totally intended on blogging while on our “staycation” and well that just did not happen.  So here is what we have been up to the last two weeks.  

  We live in a truly amazing place, where there is just so much to do.  It fits our outdoors lifestyle perfectly.  We have been out on the lake boating, hiking, driving, sightseeing and going out to dinner, and our highlight was river rafting!  We did do a small amount of schoolwork.    Here is some highlights. 


5th Grade

Language Arts

Emily has started reading in Fablehaven again.  She is such a book worm. 


Emily has worked all around the house on math this week, trying to find her favorite spot.  Here she is in the hall by the garage door. 


Fun Stuff/ Art

We did many fun things while on our staycation! She also drew a self portrait.

K/1st Grade

Language Arts

We worked on the letter G this week with our All About Reading.  She has also been working right along in Explode the Code. 



We began learning how to count by 5’s and 10’s. 

Fun Stuff /Art

K12 suggests that you have your child draw or create a self portrait once a year and keeping all of them, so you and your child can see the progress.  I think this is a grand idea.  Here is Katey painting herself with watercolors.


I had to get more poster board before Katey could make her art portfolio.  She was thrilled when I came home from the store with it.  She asked me to help her with a few drawings so she could color it.  She colored every single drawing purple! 



7th Grade

Tommy has been doing some really neat learning about Utah.  What has been really neat is a lot of the things he is learning about are right near us and we saw many of them on our vacation.


In my spare time


I finally finished The Help. So now, I totally can’t wait for the movie to come to my tiny little town.  I might just have to drive to “the big city” to see it. 

I have also realized that no matter how much organization I put in before we start the school year, something usually needs to change.  So far it has just been little things, like cleaning out the computer desk (rethinking what really needs to be there), and reorganizing where certain books are kept.  Like math books upstairs, when they would rather do their math down. 


This post is linked up to Weekly Wrap Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wise Alec Nature Nuts ~ A review

Are you a Nature Nut?  What about a Sports Buff? How about a Civilization Junkie?  Or even just a Trivia Game Lover?  If any of these things interest your kids or even you, then check out this review. 

How fun it is to get to review a game.  Even better when it’s educational, right?  RIGHT!

Griddly Games is a company who’s philosophy is to offer games that encourage social interaction, learning, strategy and challenges that anyone can enjoy.

The game we reviewed is Wise Alec Nature Nuts.  Which can be an expansion pack to the original Wise Alec game, or can be used as a stand alone travel game.  Nature Nuts! is a theme based trivia game with a fun twist, the Wise Alec card. 

First of all this game came in a cute (that matters), sturdy box, which is a lot smaller than a standard game box.  Which makes it a convenient travel size.  Do you want to know what my favorite part about it is?  It’s that the directions are printed right on the sturdy box.  So it’s a quick teach to anyone.
If you already own the Wise Alec board game, then this can be used as an expansion pack to add even more trivia to your Wise Alec game.  There are other expansion packs too, like Civilize This, or Sports Buff.

What I Think
Let me tell you they met their philosophy with this game. 
We had to read the questions to each other and take turns. 
We learned about Plants, Animals, the Earth and even had some tongue twisters and fun stuff happen along the way.
Strategy and Challenging
There is strategy in this game.  You have to choose your point question.  3 or 7 points.  You are trying to get the most points, but let me tell you that some of those 7 point questions are challenging.  And you could roll a Wise Alec, where you may have to do a fun activity to earn your points, or maybe even deduct points. 

I like to think that we are a game family, however we are NOT a trivia game family.  This is in fact our first trivia game we have owned.  We enjoyed it when we played it.  It was not our first choice out of the game closet though.  

While this game says 8 and up.  Katey did not want to be left out.  What we did was just ask her 3 point questions and then she had to get to less points than the rest of us.  (We got that idea right off the rules on the box.) 

Griddly games are sold all over, to find a store near you, or to buy online check this out.
From looking around this game tends to be less than $20. 
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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