Friday, April 23, 2010

TOS REVIEW: Download N Go Expedition Austrailia

Farm Boy is my geography nut. He has loved maps from a very young age and now, at six years old, can name and point out almost all of the 50 United States on his wall map. He enjoys world geography as well and often asks about different countries. One of his favorites is Australia.(I have a cousin living there and he thinks that is super cool!) This week we had an opportunity to learn more about Australia through Download N Go Expedition Australia!

This ebook was very well organized and told me what to expect out of it in the intro letter/description. There are "five daily lessons with lapbook components for each day." For someone who has never lapbooked before, this was absolutely the best way to begin! There were book suggestions for each day, some kind of video and links to other websites with tons of information about Australia! The vocabulary words were right on target for my kindergartners.

Music Man has trouble with drawing and writing so he was able to dictate his answers easily while I filled in the blanks for him. (We just skipped the drawings for the most part!) We haven't tried lapbooking before because he also has trouble with cutting. I quickly discovered the benefits of lapbooking as an occupational therapy activity.Cutting, gluing, coloring, thinking and planning were all part of the lapbooking experience.

There were tips throughout the ebook for the teacher such as how to "hide" the comments in YouTube in case something was posted there that you were prefer your kids not to see. I have been using YouTube for years and did not know how to do that!

I personally loved the recipes as I love trying things from different cultures! We were not able to work in an Australian meal during the week but plan to do it the weekend.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with this ebook. It is totally worth the price. I am even looking at writing a subscription into our school budget for next year. It is a must-have if you enjoy lapbooking. I know we do now!

Download N Go Series from The Old Schoolhouse Store and Amanda Bennett (Samples Available!)
Single Editions $7.95 with monthly, semester and yearly subscriptions available!
Ages:  K-4th Grade 
All ebooks published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine come with a Money-Back Guarantee!

PS I need to seek forgiveness for no new personal pictures the past few weeks. My camera is experiencing technical difficulties and my iPhone does not take blog-worthy photos.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fun Friday: Earth Friendly, Money Savvy Piggy Banks

Today's edition of Fun Friday comes from Homemade Mamas, a blog written by two sisters in Illinois. This month they are focusing on recycling and being green. We created Earth Friendly Money Savvy Piggy Banks these from two mayo jars and one spice jar. My "anal self" had to find jars that matched each other so both boys would have the same looking system.

Here is the first leg of the project finished (complete with money added already!) We had a lesson on money this morning and I explained to them that we would now be giving them an allowance every week so they could learn how to handle money. Their allowance will be $1 per week in the form of four quarters - .25 to save, .25 to give and .50 to spend.

Dad will have to help with the second part, cutting the top slots for us. Once that is done and they are painted, we will glue the "save jar" shut to prevent temptations. :) Farm Boy has collected coins for quite some time so he had a good head start. I was proud of him for dividing the money up between all of his jars and not just placing it all in his spend jar. (He even gave some to Music Man!) 

Farm Boy has decided he wants to save for a baby sister. :) He's been praying for one for quite some time.

PS My camera is still sick. Pics are taken with my iPhone.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

REVIEW: TOS When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be .... a Firefighter!

We all have dreams as a child about what we want to be when we grow up. My youngest son changes his mind weekly, sometimes daily. Most days, however, it is between two things, one being considered most often is a firefighter.

When I was asked to review this ebook, I was thrilled. I had seen this series soon after I visited the The Old Schoolhouse Store last summer, and I had looked with interest at the different titles, 11 in all.

I received this ebook as part of my try-out process for the TOS Homeschool Crew. As I peeked through the curriculum, I wondered how I was going to implement it. There are word searches, color sheets, a lot of interesting (to me, anyway) history and end-of-the-unit party ideas. Unfortunately, I did not find a lot to use for my kindergartners. Their eyes glazed over as I tried reading the history and background to them. They colored the coloring sheets and we talked about visiting a fire station but we did not fully delve into the topic as I had hoped. The age range states it is appropriate for ages 4-10, however, neither of my kindergartners could understand the vocabulary words or questions I asked them from what I had read to them.

I think this is a great series, but I think that the age spectrum is too broad. I think older elementary kids would love it, though I still do not know how to implement the history and background information. Maybe that was just for me? Several pages of single-space information is not something I could just read to my kindergartners. And I did not see instructions anywhere in the ebook about how I was supposed use that information.

The end-of-unit party ideas included games and an adorable fire engine cake, but I decided not to try them out since we really did not make this a unit study.

Part two of the ebook featured Robotics. Again, there was a lot of background and history information here and it was extremely interesting - to me. However, for kindergarten aged kids, trying to explain the terminology was a challenge. There was a pretty cool looking project with instructions on how to make your own robotic hand out of Styrofoam.

Other things included in the ebook were vocabulary words, review questions, a math lesson, crossword and word search puzzles, prompts for creative writing and storytelling, handwriting and copywork. 

When I put together a lesson from scratch, I expect to have to work harder in making sure my kids understand it and I have covered all aspects of the lesson. But it also gives me the flexibility to tailor it to their needs. When I purchase a ready-made lesson, I expect to be able to sit down and work through it without a whole lot of complication and hassle. I personally prefer a curriculum to be designed specifically for a more narrow range of ages rather than a larger gap age range. If it is one that can be used for several ages, I think it needs to be stated in the description how to use it for different age groups. 

If you are looking for a great study for older elementary age kids, look no further. But if your children are young, like mine, I suggest you look for other great products available from The Old Schoolhouse Store.

TOS WannaBe Series  So You Wanna Be ... a Firefighter!
Ages 4-10 (though I would say it is more appropriate for 8-10)

Lesson Pathways: Building Paths for Online Learning

This is the most exciting resource I have found in a very long time! I cannot even contain my excitement - so much my dear hubby's eyes glazed over as I began trying to describe it to him! This is a FREE online curriculum called Lesson Pathways that isn't actually done online. Think automatic lesson plans for eclectic homeschoolers (like us!) You set up a profile for each child and assign the "pathway" to each one based on what year (or stage) of learning they are in! It is easy to set up the "planner" for an entire year just by adding a "Guided Journey" or you can choose to add separate building blocks to create your own curriculum. It is stand-alone from what I can tell and goes from K-5!! WOO HOO! I wish I had found this in the fall when we began planning for the year.

Check out the Lesson Pathways Blog and their own description of what they are!

Lesson Pathways: Building Paths for Online Learning

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

If you are visiting from the Blog Party, WELCOME!! I'm Dawn aka cookfromscratch on most webpages I visit. 

I have never participated in one of these before but I am so excited! The more I blog, the more blogs I find myself reading! And THAT is what a Blog Party is all about! I am thrilled to have a reason to read other people's blogs (like I really NEEDED one.)

I am a Christian homeschooling mom from Georgia. Married to my college sweetheart since 1997. I love to cook. I love photography and you will often find me hiding behind a camera. My boys, Music Man and Farm Boy, keep me busy. We school in the mornings and usually have activities in the afternoon ranging from taekwondo to dance therapy to homeschool PE. This is our first year homeschooling and we love it! 

Music Man is my oldest. He always has a smile on his face (as long as he isn't hungry or tired!) and loves anything to do with music and dancing. Music Man has what is called FG Syndrome, a rare chromosomal disorder characterized by heart defects, low muscle tone and developmental delay. He also has ADHD which we combat with diet following the Feingold Program. We deal with sensory issues on a daily basis and have to think outside the box in many things we do with him. 

Our middle son, Samuel, died at birth due to multiple congenial abnormalities including FG Syndrome and possibly ARPKD (Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease.) I created a non-profit organization, Remembering Your Baby, in his memory to help other parents who lose a baby at birth. 

Our youngest, Farm Boy, is totally typical and all boy! He loves living in the country, all living creatures -especially those that live outside and brings a great deal of energy to our family. He began taekwondo this January at the Athens Taekwondo Center and just earned his Yellow Belt.

So that's me in a nutshell. Feel free to look around. There are homeschooling helps, recipes and just random bits of info on us and our life. Glad you stopped by!

Whoops! Let me not forget that THERE ARE PRIZES in this party! I personally love surprises and these prizes take the cake! Especially since you can make a list of the ones you prefer in case you win! My list of preference in the prizes would be US105, USC75, USC31, US17, US56.

Or any of the PayPal, Amazon or Target Gift Cards!
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