Thursday, January 27, 2011

Free eBook: The Happy Housewife's Guide to Dealing with Picky Eaters

Not sure how the eating goes in your house, but between pickiness, sensory issues, oral aversions and low muscle tone, we deal with a lot of eating issues. I am so excited to share with you a FREE eBook I found on dealing with picky eaters! Click below and "Like" The Happy Housewife on Facebook for your own copy!

The Happy Housewife's Guide to Dealing with Picky Eaters

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TOS Review: Maestro Classics Peter and the Wolf

My introduction to classical music came in middle school when I began playing the clarinet in beginning band. It was an amazing thing to hear a story play out through the instruments. Though my instrument has sat in my closet for many years, I have never let go of my love for the symphony.

It has been a desire of mine to have my own children love the symphony as much as I do. I wasn't really sure how to introduce them to the symphony though since having boys means they don't really want to sit still for very long. Throw in a little ADHD and sensory issues and you have a recipe for disaster when attending a full length production at a theater. And then it happened. I received a notice that TOS would be reviewing Maestro Classic's Peter and the Wolf. I was so excited and promptly went to their website to see what Maestro Classics was all about. I was immediately impressed.

Maestro Classics has taken the guesswork out of introducing classical music to children. Chosen works are arranged and conducted by Stephen Simon and played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. They are narrated by Yadu, "the original narrator for Stories in MusicTM concerts at the Kennedy Center." In the Introduction track, he explains which instruments are playing which character in the music. It was amazing to hear the descriptions, even for one who can usually tell what it going on.

Maestro Classics has taken some of the most world-renowned pieces of music and narrated them for children. Other pieces in the series are The Tortoise and the Hare, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Designed for children ages 5 and up, these CDs are a wonderful introduction to the symphony and classical music.

Included on the CD is more than just a narration of the classic. You also get the full length instrumental version as well as various other learning helps for teaching about classical music. Also included is an activity book packed with information and fun things for kids to do. This "music lesson in a box" is a wonderful introduction to the world of classical music. On the newly designed website you will find curriculum guides and articles for use in homeschool and in a classroom. Would you believe they even have the sheet music to download in PDF!? I printed out Peter and the Wolf and surprised my kids with an impromptu concert by yours truly. (Yea, I've still got it - lol!)

Maestro Classics

Ages 5 and up
$16.98 each or
3 for $45 with coupon code MAESTRO45

I received Peter and the Wolf free of charge from Maestro Classics for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Monday, January 10, 2011

TOS Review: Easy Classical Early Modern History Schedule

Several years ago, when researching the styles of homeschooling, I briefly read over the definition of Classical homeschooling and then promptly dismissed it. At the time, we were bringing Music Man home from public school and I wanted to be sure that his basic foundations of learning were covered and that he could read and do simple math concepts before I moved on to teaching him anything else. 

Fast-forward to today. I am teaching both boys at home now. I taught them on the same level last year and have had to do some restructuring this year. Farm Boy is passing his brother academically in most areas now. But history is still one area where I am able to teach them together.

I love to pick and choose elements of our curriculum based on our needs rather than purchasing a curriculum-in-a-box. But teaching my boys on two different levels means that my time is limited. I also love to have my plans drawn out in an at-a-glance format. A chart-maker by nature, I love to mark things off my list (if I can find it!)

Easy Classical is just that - easy! The scheduling system uses a variety of classical homeschooling materials which are linked on their website. And it is chock full of ideas and resources to make your homeschool flow! I love that is organized in a weekly chart format- all visible on one page! Another big plus in my book is the list of supplies for the following week (in cute post-it note like format!)

The schedules are designed for Grades K-6 and there are many ideas and helps for the different age groups - great for teaching multiple levels!

In addition to the schedules, Easy Classical has Writing With History, Geography With History, History Copybooks and even science! Easy Classical also has complete curriculums designed for each grade K-6!

The digital version is $29.95 and the notebook version is $35.95.

In short, this is a great scheduling resource and one I can recommend. I think it is especially useful for those who like lesson plans drawn out for them in an easy to implement format. 

I received The Early Modern History Schedule free of charge from Easy Classical for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Friday, January 7, 2011

TOS Review: See-N-Read Reading Tools

When Music Man came home at the end of 3rd grade, he could not read. He could recognize a few words and knew his letters, but could not really read a simple kindergarten book on his own. Because he had been in school-school for quite a few years, we had to re-taught many concepts that his report cards and IEP goal said he mastered just to be sure the foundation of his education was there. One thing he struggled with as he learned to read was losing his place. I tried showing his how to follow the words with his finger. I showed him how to put a bookmark or piece of paper under the sentence to follow along. Eventually he was able to follow along but each time we move up a level in difficulty in our readers he struggles to adjust to the smaller letter size and number of sentences on a page. 

Enter See-N-Read. See-N-Read is a reading tool that is placed right on the page of a book. It has a "clear reading bar" just large enough to focus on one sentence. The surrounding sentences are viable but are shaded out so they aren't a distraction. See-N-Read comes in two sizes (book size and document size.) The See-N-Read Memory Mark Series has a cut away opening to allow for highlighting and note-taking. There is even an eSee-N-Read for PCs! (I am personally super excited about that one since I hate reading on my computer!) 

See-N-Read is BPA, lead and phthalate free and made in the USA!

Grades 2-College
$2.99 (also available in multipacks!)

See-N-Read Memory Mark 
Grades 4-Adult
$3.49 (also available in multipacks!)

$29.99 (download a free 7 Day trial demo!)

I received the See-N-Read and Memory Mark Reading Tools from See-N-Read for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

TOS Review: Math Facts NOW

I hated memorizing math facts as a child. We drilled with flashcards and it was so boring! Although I think it is very important that my kids memorize math facts, I wanted to find a better way than drilling with flashcards until they memorized them. Math Facts Now! IS that better way!

Math Facts NOW! is a desktop computer program that drills all basic operations of math. The parent sets up the program by creating an account for each child, and then makes the assignments. For each assignment, the parent chooses the operation and the specific number(s) you want your child to drill. Parents also designate number of problems that must be completed correctly before the lesson is finished. Parents can even add a reward in for completion of the lesson which shows up after the lesson is completed! The child can then choose the assignment and get to work. A problem must be answered correctly and in the designated time frame (set by the parent between 2 and 60 seconds) or the student must type the problem out a minimum of two times (again set by the parent.) Parents can view and print reports on how assignments are completed. 
Math Facts NOW! is a bargain at $15.95 for the downloadable version or CD version!

Pros: I love this program. It is fun and challenging. Great price!! I love that the program is so customizable to suit each child's needs. Free technical support is offered through phone or email!

Cons: For special needs kids who may take longer to type the answers, it would be nice to set the time limit longer than 60 seconds. Other than that - we loved it!!

I received Math Facts NOW! 2.0  free of charge for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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