Sunday, September 30, 2012

Games, Games Everywhere.



In our homeschool and our life we love games. Whether a game of family tag that the neighbor kids join in, a video game, or even a board game we love games.


Games can be used to teach skills as well as reinforce skills.P1010423

My family definitely bonds over games.  They teach us good sportsmanship, how to have fun and they give us together time as a family.


It is our tradition about once a month or so to throw school out the window for the day and have a game day.  We really enjoy it. 


I love games that my entire family (all ages) can play together.  Often times it is hard to find games that fit for all my ages, 3-adult.  Something we do is team up the younger ones with someone else so they play on a team, or we often just play team games. 


Oh and games don’t have to already be invented.  Invent one of your own.  My kids love to invent pretend games.  They usually only play them once and forget the rules. 

Here is a blank game board template that you can use to make any game you want.

In my son’s karate they play a version of freeze tag.  To get unfroze you have to do a specific karate move.  You could do that with anything, spelling words, math problems, trivia questions, anything! 


I have written a 5 day series on educating with games.  Check it out here.

Check out how others are using games in their homeschool here.

Oh, Oh, Oh,  I also happen to have a really great game giveaway happening right now.  (ends 10-4)


Go on, go play a game with your family!  Enjoy it!






Saturday, September 29, 2012

Salt BOX OF I.D.E.As.

BOX of I.D.E.As is a company that provides activities surrounding particular subjects.  I was surprised at some of the subjects of their boxes.  Salt was one of the subjects that I thought, how much could you really learn about salt?  

This is a company/product that I may not have heard of if it wasn’t for The Schoolhouse Review Crew.  This is something not to be missed! 


As you will see throughout this review we have really learned a lot and had fun while doing it. 


It is amazing how much you can learn from and about Salt. With Box of IDEAS, Salt it is amazing how much fun you can have learning from and about salt.

There are 10 units in the Box of Ideas, Salt.  The units can stand alone and be done in any order.  Each unit or module includes a introduction, description, weblinks, extension activities and a portfolio piece. 

History of Salt:

You learn the important role salt played in the worlds history.  For the activity you create a fun salt timeline.  We did this by taking turns reading each one and putting it where it belongs.  The kids loved doing it this way since they were able to be active while learning.  P9050354

Language of Salt:

In this unit you learn about many words derived from salt, as well as some idioms.  Then  you play a matching game.  Matching words derived from salt.  To see if you made a match you see if the types of salt on the back of the card match.  P9180510

Need for Salt:

In this unit you learn about how our bodies need sodium.  You research sodium on nutrition labels here as well as keep track of your daily salt intake.

Preserving with Salt:

You learn about how salt is used to preserve many things.  Your activity for this one is a trivia board game. 

Producing Salt:

Here you will learn about how we get salt.  This is a matching game you play to learn about many places we get salt.  


Science of Salt:

In this unit you will learn about how salt is used for all kinds of things.  There is a simple research project here as well as some science experiments and a lab report.P9240564

The Salt March:

Here you will learn about the British Salt tax and how it was protested.  This activity is a mix between a timeline matching game as well as a map of The Salt March. 

The Salt of the Earth:

This one you learn about all the places on Earth salt is.  The extension activities here have you researching where salt comes from, as well as a mapping activity. 

The Wall Salt Built:

You guessed it, in this unit you learn about the important role salt had in building the Great Wall of China.   This activity is done card game style. 

Very Salty:

Here you will learn about the salinity of many salty lakes. The activity here as you match the cards and put them in order of salinity. P9240573

Each of these units have taken us approximately 30-45 min each. With help my younger two were able to play along as well.  With a little guidance my older children were able to be fairly independent at it, however I had so much fun doing it with them, that I did. 

See, we did learn an awful lot about salt and had fun while doing it.  Plus the prep was really easy.  I just printed out the pages I needed.  It tells you exactly which ones and how to print them right on the first page.  I love this feature!  Then I cut out any game pieces needed.  Next we read the first few pages and checked out the web links provided and headed on to the activities. 

Box of Ideas, Salt comes in either PDF (which I received) for $49.00 or the same product in physical form already printed and cut up for you for $79.00, extra physical student forms are $4.00. 

Box of Ideas also has boxes on different topics, some are quite unique.  Laundry and Quilting for instance. There is even one all about eleven.  They also have a WWII box. More are coming soon too.  The crew reviewed a variety of these.

To see what others though of this one and others check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclosure: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion. 


Friday, September 28, 2012

Science, Science, Science, oh and a 1849 California Gold Rush Party!!!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In our homeschool this week…

My Album 2-018

1- Katey has been learning all about the ocean so we have been doing some salt water experiments.  In this one she saw that an egg with float in saltwater but not in freshwater.

2-  Tommy working on our Preamble Constitution puzzle.

3-Katey doing a shadow matching game on ocean animals.  This is very simple for her, but she just loves this types of activities.

4- Tommy has been learning about Charles Law of Gases.  We tested it by freezing a glass bottle and then putting a balloon on it, next he put it in a bowl of very hot water and watched the balloon fill up. Then we ran it back under cold water and watched the balloon shrink. 

5-Tommy doing more physics, this time he is learning about measuring volume.  The physics he uses is Christian Kids Explore Physics.

6- Katey and Tyler love doing Music Together.


My Album 2-019

1- More salt water science.  This one we made a type of salt lava lamp.  She did practice mixing oil with water first.  And then mixing oil with salt water after we added the salt. 

2- Emily making corn bread to go along with Prairie Primer.

3-4- We have really been getting into entomology.  We have read many bug books and been working through 4H insect curriculum.


My Album 2-020

1- Emily made a drawstring bag in sewing co-op this week.

2- Continuing on with learning about nutrition.  We had a Great Fiber Race.  The kids had to track their fiber each day.  As you can see day one was great!  Day 2 and 3 not so much. 

3- Katey has been learning a little bit about shadows and perception.  So for an art project this week we did silhouettes.  I helped Katey with hers and I must say, I am quite proud.  Winking smile

4- It got cold enough this week for me to bust out my first cup of hot cocoa this season.  Brrrrrrr.


These next pictures are all from our Gold Rush Party.  As part of Prairie Primer Emily has been learning about the California Gold Rush of 1849.  Today we made it a little fun with a gold rush party.  I created a scavenger hunt on gold strips of paper.  They each had to carry a fairly heavy bag around with them while searching.  The last clue they found cream sodas to go with their gold rush lunch witch consisted of pork and beans, beef jerky and rye wheat and injun bread. For dessert we had a gold bar.  To tell the truth the kids and I were not impressed with our lunch and we discussed how hard it must have been for the people that were a part of the gold rush.

My Album 2-021

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Take it easy. 

My favorite resource this week is…

The Usborne Science Activities.  This is where I get many great simple science experiments for Katey and the older kids enjoy them too.

What’s working/not working for us…

I got a desk!  My very good friend was getting rid of a corner desk and she gave it to me.  I was able to take down my folding table down and I have a real desk.  So while the table was working for us, the desk is working so much better!!

Questions/thoughts I have…

I keep thinking our homeschooling is going so well, I mean sure we have our everyday problems, and I worry that it’s to good to be true.  

Things I’m working on…

I spent some time organizing my new desk. 

I’m reading…

Our family read-a-loud is still The Indian in the Cupboard.  We are just loving this book.  Believe it or not we do read about a chapter a day in this book.  I think we will finish it next week.  It isn’t even that long of a book.  It just feels like it is taking forever. 

This post is linked up to:

Weekly Wrap Up

Collage Friday

Homeschool Mothers Journal

Our Favorite Resource

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Music Together

Music Together is a company that offers a fun family music program.  This program is flexible and allows you to pick and choose as you go along.  This makes it developmentally appropriate for any child as you suit it specific to them.  They believe All children are musical, therefore they can achieve basic music competence meaning they can sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm.  This is best taught in a relaxed non-performance based environment.


I would like to share our experience with Music Together Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers and Music Together Family Favorites CD combo pack.  This combo pack is priced at $39.95. 

How we used it.

We began each music time with the Hello Song.  The kids know this song after just a few listens and can sing along.  We love starting music time with a song we already know.  The book suggests using this song as a ritual that marks the transition from the outside world into the music experience. Having the same song at the beginning of each music lesson is predicable for the children since often times the rest of the music class varies in the songs and activities we do.   You can listen to some samples of the songs here.

Each song comes with a variety of activities to choose from, along with explanations for each activities. The activities are also listed out by age appropriateness along with a section for special needs.

There is so much variety in this song book. I want to share some pictures of just a few of the activities we did.

Here is a picture of Katey having a blast using our homemade maracas (made from a plastic container filled with rice) dancing along to the Biddy Biddy Song.


Here is the kids doing some play movement to the words of Splishing and Splashing.


They love using props while singing Ridin’ in the Car.  These plates are their steering wheels and they are pretending to sleep in the car. 




They love using homemade as well as real instruments to make music along with Stick Tune and She Sells Sea Shells.


Music Together is a playful, musically rich, and free from expectations. Your children learn to just have fun with music and enjoy it.   It is also so easy to implement.  There is very little, if any prep time and they have a CD with all 19 music selections on it which made the music very easy to learn and follow for this musical challenged mom. 

The kids even ask to listen to the CD at other times throughout the day.  The music is FUN!  See what happens here when I ask them if they want to be done with music class.

Music Together offers rhythm instruments, and while they are not necessary and I do not own them, I think they would add a lot of fun to this experience.   Music Together also offers Family Music Classes.  Check out their class locator to see if there is one near you.

Music Together has won many awards.

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclosure: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion. 



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Simply Fun -GIVEAWAY

Simply Fun
As you know if you are a regular blog reader of mine, WE LOVE GAMES!  There is so much to be learned from games:
  • Teamwork
  • Patience
  • You learn and connect through the play of games
  • Quality family bonding time
  • Stress relievers.
  • FUN!!!

Simply Fun is a company that makes QUALITY board games.   I am talking Quality.  Everything about these games is sturdy, from the pieces to the game itself to the box.  Even the instructions are printed on quality heavyweight paper.

We were sent two games to play and review. 
Simply Fun Let's Drive
Let’s Drive $40.00
This game you race around the USA and try to collect 3 city cards of the same color.  When you do you get a bonus card.  Bonus cards can often throw an unpredictable twist in the game.  This keeps you on your toes.  Each city you go to or postcard you receive, from someone visiting one of your cities is worth one point. 
You really learn the cities and states playing this game, since you have to travel through cities to get to the goal city you have set, in order to get the city point. 
My description actually sounds a lot harder than the game is.
The first time we played it, we called it a practice game.  We took our time, and had patience with each other, while helping one another too.  The second time we played was much easier and we all understood it well.  It would now be easy for a new person to catch on a few at a time.  Since we were all new to it at once that first game had some kinks.  We are all very glad we took the time to get through that first game.  Now we have a blast playing it.
This game has proven to be fun for my older kid and I.  It is just to advanced for the littler ones. Which is to be expected of a game of this level.
Simply Fun Dreaming Dragon

Dreaming Dragon $36.00
This game is geared toward preschoolers with that being said it is super simple to learn to play.  The younger kids enjoy setting this game up to play as much as they love playing it.  With this game you take the dragon, lay the lizards and golden eggs on it’s back and then using the tweezers carefully lift the lizards off without knocking the golden eggs off and waking the dragon.  For every lizard you get one point and for every golden egg you knock off you take away a point.  This is great for math skills, critical thinking skills, patience, and fun. 

Simply Fun games are created with an educational purpose in mind, while still remaining fun!  Many of the games are award winners.  In fact both of these games are. 

You can be a Simply Fun consultant and get paid to play and show these games to people. 
With the holidays right around the corner, think about a Simply Fun game for the ones you love. 

Would you like to win these games?  Yes, both of the games. .  2 lucky winners will each win both of these games.  Each prize pack is valued at $76.00.   Check out the Rafflecopter for how to win. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We The People ~ Once A Week Unit Study


Homeschool Legacy is a company that provides families with fun (seriously, this has been fun!) once a week unit studies.  We were able to review:

 We The People: Getting to Know Your Constitution.

This 79 page unit study book is priced at $19.95 and recommended for grades 4-12.


What’s a once a week unit study, you ask?



Well, it is a study of a topic such as, We The People, or Lewis and Clark, Forest for the Trees, and many more that are offered through Homeschool Legacy.

These unit studies are intended for you to read certain selections every day, and use a book for a family read aloud daily.  Then one day a week, say, Wednesday, that would be unit study day, where you would drop all other studies and immerse your children, and yourself, into the topic that you are studying, using ideas and suggestions from the unit study itself.  These activities include things like reading, discussions, family devotionals, games, crafts, cooking, field trips (many virtual) and some were to local places like court houses, researching & presenting.

Once a week, you also have a family night, say, Friday.  On Friday you would watch a movie, play a game or make a craft.  Each family activity revolves around the topics of the unit study for that week. 


How we have been using it.

I already have a homeschooling schedule that has been working really well, and we are out of the house one day a week for co-op classes, so I wasn’t willing to use another entire day just focusing on the unit study.  We decided to divide the one day activities into two afternoons, one per week, so each unit for us takes two weeks. This is also helpful for us to be able to get through more of the many many book recommendations they provide.   This was very easy to implement into our existing schedule. I mean easy!! 


I was able to use the quite extensive book list, which included Dewey Decimal numbers to check out books very quickly.  While my library didn’t have very many of the books listed, having the Dewey Decimal number made it easy to be able to go look in that section to see if there were other books that may fit the topic.  It also made it extremely easy to request any book on interlibrary loan.  This was a huge timesaver for me.  More than I would have ever realized. 

The unit study told me step by step what to do.  When I say step by step, I mean it too.  For example when we were to build a timeline.  These were the steps:

Fill your 3-ring binder with loose-leaf paper.
Open your notebook so that there are two pages facing you. Those two pages will represent one hundred years.
Now draw a horizontal line across those two pages. Make five short, equally spaced, vertical marks, perpendicular to your horizontal line, on each of those facing pages for a total of ten vertical marks. They will each represent a ten year mark.
Title the top of your first two pages “The 1700’s A.D.”
You can now record various historic events and people as you learn about them. Feel free to get creative by drawing your historical figures and events to include interesting characteristics you learn about them.

What a great idea for a timeline! 


One of the neat things you do over the course of this unit study is read the entire Constitution. Your children will know more about our Constitution than the average adult. 


Every aspect of this unit study has been very teacher friendly and the activities have actually been fun.  Seriously fun! 

Here is a picture of the Preamble Scramble game we played.  My kids have requested to play this game multiple times, even since we finished the week it was for.  That is a neat thing!


In fact it has been requested so much that we play this game and have some friendly competitions that I decided to mount it on magnets to play on our white board.


We learned how a bill becomes a law.  To learn the Bill of Rights you play "We The People Concentration". 

For the three branches of our government.  We made this tree and in future weeks we will put leaves on with roles and responsibilities of each branch.


We The People Unit Study includes many subjects;

  • History (of course)
  • Art and art appreciation
  • Writing
  • Lapbooking
  • Research
  • Videos
  • Field Trips (virtual and in real life)
  • and more!

Something that makes these unit studies really appeal to me is how family friendly they are.  They promote family time.  I just love that.

Another appealing thing is how budget friendly they are.  They plan on you using your library to check out books and videos.  While some videos suggestions are on Netflix.  Many of the games are copy, cut and play.  It does suggest that you purchase an inexpensive set of encyclopedias.  We did not do that and have been doing just great. 

Once you check out your library books it is practically ready to go. 

Homeschool Legacy Once a Week Unit Studies include clearly marked requirements for Boy Scouts, American Heritage Girls, and 4H.

This unit study is supposed to take 8 weeks.  It will take us longer than that, and we are okay with that since we don't want it to end.

Wouldn't this be fun to study right now as elections draw near?  I mean you learn the entire electoral process.

There are other Once a Week Unit Studies. Such as:

  • Birds of a Feather
  • Forest in the Trees
  • Horsing Around
  • Weather on the Move
  • Knights and Nobles
  • Native America
  • Early Settlers
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Revolutionary Ideas

The Schoolhouse Crew reviewed a variety of these.  Check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclosure: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion. 


Friday, September 21, 2012

Birthday, Pirates, The Constitution, Sewing, Salt, Dancing, Ice & More! Our Week

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!  Show Me A Story is a fun book that gets your child’s imagination running with stories!

In my life this week…

My Album 2-017

We have had so much family fun time this week.  It was Emily’s birthday last week and she got to celebrate it over the weekend getting her hair done.  She got blonde highlights put in.  She also made tie dye shirts with her friend.  Katey got to make one too. 

In our homeschool this week…

We have had a great homeschool week.  I am loving this year so much and so are the kids. 

1 & 3:  Tommy has been learning about molecules, atoms and elements.   He had to make a model atom -and a model element for water.  Then he made atom cookies with protons, electrons and neutron M & M’s.  Yummy!!   

2 & 4: Emily completed a project in her sewing class.  A tube style pillowcase.  Check out this easy tutorial.  She takes sewing from co-op, but she had some trouble with her machine, so she brought it home to finish it.  My Album 2-014

5: Emily also began a weaving project in Prairie Primer. 

6: We played a family game of build The Constitution as part of our We The People, Once a Week Unit Study.  The kids really had a blast with this game, and have been trying their darnedest to memorize the first sentence of The Constitution in order to break their record time of building it.  It has been neat to see the the teamwork they are putting into this.

1, 4 & 6:  It was Talk Like A Pirate Day this week and our library had a bunch of fun activities planned.  The kids got to go on a treasure hunt, make hats and eye patches and even walk a plank.  They had so much fun doing all these activities and more. 

2: Our pile of books from this week.  We listened to a short audio book by Roald Dahl in honor of his birthday last Thursday.  We have been reading The Declaration Of Independence.  This book has actually been fun.  It is a real eye opener of a book for me. 

3: Emily has been learning about nutrition this week.  She learned how to read nutrition label.  She found it fun comparing the nutrition labels on items that claim to be healthy vs. just regular food.  This picture shows her comparing diet mac and cheese to Kraft Mac and Cheese.My Album 2-015

5: Here we are playing a matching game that has to do with the language of salt.  This is from our Box of I.D.E.A.S.

7: This is one of my favorite pictures this week.  The night before I had read Tyler the book Are You My Mother? for the first time.  Ever since then he takes this little lizard around through the house saying “Are you my mother?” It is so dang cute.

8:  Here the kids are dancing to a song during music time.  I have never used a music curriculum like this before.  It is simple sing songs with actions.  Tyler and Katey love love love Music Together.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Take your time and enjoy the moments. Stop rushing learning.  It will happen!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We went on a family hike one afternoon.  We hiked down to a cave that has year round ice stalagmites.  The ice is nearly melted since it is the end of summer.  We can’t wait to hike again in the winter and see how much bigger it is.  It is not safe to go here in the spring due to the run off flooding the cave. 

My Album 2-016

The third picture on the bottom row is a picture of a rock we found.  It is so neat.  One day we will cut it open and see what the inside looks like, since the outside is full of crystals.

My favorite resource this week was…

Our library, in fact it is one of my all time favorite resources.  I get books, videos, audios, and games from my library.  They have all types of electronic devices to check out, iPads, Kindles, Nooks, other tablets, etc.  The library is where many of our co-op classes are held.  They have great parenting classes and art classes.  They are always bringing authors or illustrators in, either in person or via Skype.   They hold teen, adult and children’s book clubs.  I am in love with our library.  

What’s working/not working for us…

What is working for us is the fact that we are sticking to our schedule.  It has made our days go so much smoother.

Questions/thoughts I have…

I am feeling ready to add more into our days.  I just have to figure out what, or if I want to keep it relaxed for a while.

I’m reading… 

We have a few read aloud books going on right now. I am not reading  much more than them.  They are quite a few that go along with We The People, and our family choice one is The Indian in the Cupboard .  The kids literally beg me to read more chapters each day in this book.

I’m grateful for… 

My hardworking husband!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Utes Game

This post is linked up to:

Weekly Wrap Up

Collage Friday

Homeschool Mothers Journal

Our Favorite Resource


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