Friday, May 27, 2011

TOS Review: Apologia Read From the Heart

I began reading aloud chapter books to my boys last summer. Before then, we mostly read children's books. We began with the Little House series and they loved it! We continued with all the books in the series and had a designated time we read every day. We laughed and we cried and we lived those stories day in and day out. When we finished, I knew that my boys would need a transition time to let go of Pa, Ma, Laura and Mary. So we didn't start anything else for a while. I eventually became antsy for that reading time again and mentioned to my boys that we needed to start something else. We struggled through the first few chapters of several other books but couldn't get into a grove with it. The books I chose just weren't quite right. (I mean what could rightly follow Laura Ingalls?)

So we stopped reading aloud chapter books again. Then someone gave us a copy of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. We were hooked again. But it pained me that we missed out on several months of read-alouds before settling in again. I wished that I had some way to figuring out what to read next with my kids. I wished for some way that I could choose a book that would be appropriate (no scary pirates in it) or too grown-up.


Read for the Heart is a book to help you choose what to read. Written by Sarah Clarkson, this book about books gives a brief synopsis of each book it recommends. An appropriate age is also given as well as the copyright date and author's info. She has listed over 1000 books appropriate for family reading. Covering everything from fantasy and fairy tales to historical fiction and from poetry to picture books and everything in between, this book is the book to add to your homeschool library (or any family library!)

If you have kids, this book is the book to add to your home library.

Listed in the appendix are the Caldecott and Newbery winners and a list of the authors favorites. We are working our way down the Favorite Read-Alouds for the Whole Family this summer beginning with Little Men.



What's It Gonna Cost Me?
$17.00

Other Products 
Apologia is well known in the homeschool community for its elementary science curriculum Exploring Creation and secondary curriculums that include General and Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. They also offer an online program through their very own Apologia Academy.

Check It Out
Apologia has a sample chapter and the table of contents available on their website for download.

Final Word
Read From the Heart absolutely belongs in the library of any family who wants to instill the love of books and reading in their kids. We love that book and I know you will too!





Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received Read from the Heart free of charge from Apologia for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

TOS Review: Eagles Wings Considering God's Creation


 I was so totally excited when I saw we were reviewing Considering God's Creation. I have been looking at it longingly online for quite some time. It is hard to "ooo and ahhh" over something when you see it online. But I was. And then I got it in my hands. I started "ooo-ing" and "ahhhh-ing." And squealing. And jumping up and down. My boys said, "what mama? what?" And then they saw I had a box, rolled their eyes and walked out of the room. I snatched it out of the box and started thumbing through it. (And then I squealed a little more!)

Considering God's Creation looks at natural science from a biblical approach.  Written by two sister who were missionary kids and homeschooled themselves, this basic introduction to science covers  subjects such as weather, the solar system, the plant and animal kingdoms and anatomy and physiology all from a Christian perspective. The subject units are divided by individual chapter, called "lessons" and then subdivided by day.

For example when covering Weather Lesson 7, it is divided into five separate lessons. Once completed, a notebook page, The Weather Recipe, is reference from student workbook. The consumable student workbook is a book bound paperback that is used for notebooking. This will certainly appeal to those students who enjoy hands-on activities. (Farm Boy loves them! Music Man needs a lot of help, but really enjoys it one we get going with it. And notebooking is great for fine motor skills!)




What to Teach When
This curriculum is adaptable from 2nd grade through 7th grade. It can also be used for older students who do not have a strong background in science.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
Considering God's Creation with Teacher's Manual and Audio CD $29.95
Additional Workbook $13.95
Replacement Audio CD $3.00

Check It Out
Samples are available on the Eagle's Wings website.

Final Word
We loved it! We will be using Considering God's Creation as our science curriculum for next year.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received  Considering God's Creation  free of charge from Eagle's Wings for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.







Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Year of the Staycation



I am so excited to be a part of this multi-blogger series where over 85 bloggers from across the country participated in Year of the Staycation. Here are the links to the other blog posts broken down by area of the country. I am salivating knowing I will probably spend the better part of my week checking out all the awesome places listed in these posts! (And I will be filing them away for the future!)


South Central
Checotah, Oklahoma - Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama - Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas - Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas - Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas - Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas - Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas - Stetted
Houston, Texas - Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas - Wisdom Begun
East Texas - The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee - Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee - The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama - A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama - iGoBOGO
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood
Alpharetta, Georgia - Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia - See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia - Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi - Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas - It's Real Life

South Atlantic
Ft. Bragg, North Carolina - Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina - The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina - The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida - Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida - Orlando's Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia - The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia - Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia - A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia - How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia -  Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida - The Cardamom's Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida - Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina - Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC - The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland -  The Happy Housewife

Midwest
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio - Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio - Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio -  Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan - "Cents"able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan - Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan - Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota - Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana - Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana -  Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri - Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri -  The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri - Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri - I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota - Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska - Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska - Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin - Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin - A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois -  Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois - Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota - Little House on the Prairie Living


New England
Connecticut - Parenting Miracles
Boston, Massachusetts - ‎ Maven of Savin'
Manchester, New Hampshire - Common Sense with Money
Western Maine - Bubblegum and Lollipops

Mid-Atlantic
Erie, Pennsylvania -  Growing Kids Ministry
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Somewhat Crunchy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Family Balance Sheet
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York - Coupons, Deals and More
New Jersey - Oh! Diane

Mountain
Tucson, Arizona - Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona - Mom Endeavors
Albuquerque, New Mexico - The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana -  Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah - Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming - The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado - Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado - Colorado Springs Bargains

Pacific
San Diego, California - Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California - Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington - Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington - Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon - Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon - An Oregon Cottage

Frugal Vacation Tips
Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget - Eat at Home


Later this week I will be posting about places you can eat frugally with kids. I had planned to put this in my Staycation post but it got too long and I separated them. Check back later this week and head out for a quick and frugal bites after your Staycation!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Marvelous Mississippi Staycation




When most people think of Mississippi, they think of the mighty river. And with good reason! However, one of the great unknowns about Mississippi (the state) is the plethora of cultural and recreational escapes that are at one's disposal. The delta basin, long known for its cotton production, BB King (and Lucille), and Morgan Freeman, is also home to two nationally renowned potterys. The northwest corner (Desoto County) is home to one of America's largest little league facilities, Snowden Grove in Southaven, and America's fastest growing city, Olive Branch. 



Enter the STAYCATION.
With a Staycation, you actually stay at home, enjoying your area's attractions. These coul dbe things you enjoy doing or trying out something that you may not have done before. Go ahead, try that tourist-y thing you have always thought was cheesy. You may just enjoy yourself!



I have put together several days worth of Staycation activities. There are also lists of things to do by category such as rainy day activities and beat the heat ideas.
The Day Camping Trip
COST: gas and a picnic
When I think of camping, I think of hanging out with my boys and husband and maybe even our dogs – hiking, enjoying nature, eating food cooked over a fire and roasting marshmallows. With camping comes that very dreaded sleeping arrangement – a large “car camping” tent on a chilly ground waking up to an aching back and instant coffee, that is IF you sleep at all. Surely it has to be easier. Well, sure it is, but I don't have the resources to outfit our adventure through REI at the moment. So I have come up with a much, much easier option – the DAY CAMPING trip.

Imagine the commercial of a well-known credit card ….
Gas for your car: $20
Picnic Supplies: $20
Sleeping in your own bed after a day in the woods: PRICELESS

HIKE
One of our favorite places to get away was Arkabutla Lake. Hiking on some of the 24 miles multi-use trails, swimming at of three designated swimming beaches, grilling some burgers, fishing in the lakes and playing on the playground - that sounds like an awesome day to me! Please be aware that corps land allows hunting during the appropriate seasons! Other US Army Corps lakes include Sardis, Enid and Grenada. Many outdoor activities are available including hiking, horseback riding, hunting, camping, boating, swimming, and fishing. Life jackets are required for all persons swimming outside of designated swimming areas or using a small class vessel (26 foot boat of any kind!)

There are numerous opportunities for outdoor fun in the in over one million acres of public land in the state of Mississippi.

EAT
One of our favorite activities in the spring, summer and fall is to pack up a picnic and head to a park. Sometimes we choose a local park, but other times we venture out to a state park. With over 20 parks and recreation areas within the state of Mississippi, there are plenty of parks with different amenities available. Most have grills available if you prefer to cookout rather than picnic – or spend the whole day and do both! Many state parks have beaches on their lakes with designated swimming areas. There are also playgrounds available in most state parks as well as most of the community parks in your area. Due to the recent floods, please call ahead before heading out to a recreation area near the Mississippi River or the deep south coast. 

TRY SOMETHING NEW
In addition to hiking, two of our favorite activities at a state or local park are geocaching and letterboxing. 
Think high tech treasure hunt. All you need is a portable (handheld) GPS and some coordinates to tell you where to look for a cleverly concealed box in the woods. Use the search tool to locate the are you are going to and seek out your treasure. My boys love treasure hunting because in addition to the logbook that you sign, there are often trinkets or “swag” to trade out of each treasure box. They love this part of geocaching which they affectionately call treasure hunting.
Letterboxing is a bit different than geocaching. This is the ultimate for Indiana Jones lovers. Letterboxes are hidden like geocaches but instead of using a GPS and coordinates, you must use written instructions or decipher a set of clues. Some are quite easy to find and others are more challenging.


North

South



Take up a New Hobby or Rekindle an Old One
Find something the whole family enjoys and make a day of it!

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Disc Golf
  • Biking (road cycling or off-road "mountain biking")
  • Wiffle Ball, Kickball, Wall Ball
  • Horse Shoes
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Ladderball
NOTE: I originally wanted to include a places where kids can eat free or cheap, but decided to make it a separate post since this one was already so long. Tune in later this week for that post!

Many thanks to The Happy Housewife for coordinating this series! Come back tomorrow for links to all the Staycation posts! I'm looking forward to seeing them as I will be utilizing them when we do go visit folks again!

"Stand In the Place Where You Live .... " The Athens GA Staycation




Athens, GA is known for its musical heritage and college town feel. But did you know it is also rich in the area of fun-filled family attractions? Since we homeschool, we often take advantage of the many educational activities that are available throughout Athens and its surrounding communities as well.

Being on a single income budget and having my husband in grad school will make this year's vacation budget non-existent. We were already thinking of long weekends in place of our vacation, however, with gas prices like they are, the long weekends are quickly leaving us behind as well.



Enter the STAYCATION.
With a Staycation, you actually stay at home, enjoying your area's attractions and therefor spend a lot less money. Activities could be things you already enjoy doing or trying out something that you may not have done before. Go ahead, try that tourist-y thing you have always thought was cheesy. You may just enjoy yourself!


I have put together several days worth of Staycation activities in the Athens area. There are also lists of things to do by category such as rainy day activities and beat the heat ideas.

The Day Camping Trip
COST: $ plus gas and a picnic
When I think of camping, I think of hanging out with my boys and husband and maybe even our dogs – hiking, enjoying nature, eating food cooked over a fire and roasting marshmallows. But with camping also comes that very dreaded sleeping arrangement – a large “car camping” tent on a chilly ground waking up to an aching back and instant coffee, that is IF you sleep at all. Surely it has to be easier. Well, of course it can be, but I don't have the resources to outfit our adventure through REI at the moment. So I have come up with a much, much easier option – the DAY CAMPING trip.

Imagine the commercial of a well-known credit card ….
Gas for your car: $20
Picnic Supplies: $20
Sleeping in your own bed after a day in the woods: PRICELESS

HIKE
Home to such recreation facilities as Sandy Creek, the North Oconee Greenway and Memorial Park, there are no shortage of trails from hiking and biking trails to horseback riding and anything in between. One of our favorites and an Athens "must-do" is Birchmore Trail in Memorial Park. There is so much history and quirkiness to that trail - much like Athens itself!

EAT
One of our favorite activities in the spring, summer and fall is to pack up a picnic and head to a park. Sometimes we choose a local park, but other times we venture out to a Georgia State Park. With ten parks and recreation areas within a 50-mile driving distance of Athens, there are plenty of parks with different amenities available. Most have grills available if you prefer to cookout rather than picnic – or spend the whole day and do both! Many Georgia State Parks have beaches on their lakes with designated swimming areas. At $5 per day (a yearly pass of $50,) visiting Georgia State Parks are truly a bargain! Playgrounds are available in most state parks as well as most of the community parks in Athens.

TRY SOMETHING NEW
In addition to hiking, two of our favorite activities at a state park are geocaching and letterboxing. 
Think high tech treasure hunt. All you need is a portable (handheld) GPS and some coordinates to tell you where to look for a cleverly concealed box in the woods. Use the search tool to locate the are you are going to and seek out your treasure. My boys love treasure hunting because in addition to the logbook that you sign, there are often trinkets or “swag” to trade out of each treasure box. They love this part of geocaching, which they affectionately call "treasure hunting."
Letterboxing is a bit different than geocaching. This is the ultimate for Indiana Jones lovers. Letterboxes are hidden like geocaches but instead of using a GPS and coordinates, you must use written instructions or decipher a set of clues. Some are quite easy to find and others are more challenging.
Among our favorite local state parks is Hard Labor Creek  just southeast of Athens in Morgan County. Hiking on some of the 24 miles multi-use trails, swim at lake, grilling some burgers, fishing in the lakes and playing on the playground - that sounds like an awesome day to me! A few of the first geocaches I found were located at Hard Labor Creek and I have since found letterboxes there as well. There is even reasonably-priced golf for dad at The Creek at Hard Labor Creek Golf Course who lays claim to the “hardest starting hole in Georgia!”


Kayaking with The Sandbar
'Yak it Up on the Broad!
$$$ plus gas and lunch

Take a kayaking trip down the Broad River with The Sandbar

A few weeks ago we took our boys kayaking for the first time. Farm Boy loved it. Music Man asked to stay with grandma next time. :)

Make a day of it by taking your time, leisurely paddling down the river and enjoying a technology-free day! Pack a lunch and bring plenty of snacks and water (or grab some in their restaurant!)

The Sandbar is offering a special to readers of this blog!! On Tuesdays throughout the summer, kayaking is available for only $10 per person by mentioning this blog. 


Hang Out in Helen
COST: $$ plus gas and lunch (or a picnic!)
Anna Ruby Falls

Last year, my husband's parents took our family with them to their favorite cabin in the north Georgia Mountains near Helen. It was a wonderful weekend away and we enjoyed it immensely. It is, however, so close that we have been several times to just spend the day.

The boys got a huge kick out of the fact that we spent our honeymoon in Helen (almost fifteen years ago!!) Our family has hiked the same trail up to Anna Ruby Falls located in Unicoi State Park that my husband and I hiked the only afternoon it didn't rain on our honeymoon.

We love spending time at the Nora Mills Granary, an operational grist mill just outside of Helen. We pick up some incredible freshly milled flour and cornmeal. Stop in next door for a cup of java at JumpinGoat Coffee.

Mark of the Potter is an amazing craft shop featuring the work of 30 artists including four resident potters. It is worth the drive to visit the oldest craft shop in the same location. Fisherman will drool at the size of the trout who call that area home. Fishing is banned there but you can feed the fish. And dream about them. :) Skipping rocks is also a great past time for my boys.

On our list of things to do this year while in Helen is a visit to Helen Tubing and Waterpark. Each a bargain in and of itself, you can choose to “Tube the Hooch”or play all day in the waterpark (and tubing is included in the price of admission to the waterpark!)
Wonderful Watkinsville
COST: gas, lunch and "souvenirs"
Watkinsville is just a few minutes from Athens. This quiet little town has so many wonderful offerings from Harris Shoals to Heritage Parks, First Friday and the Oconee Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. The kids will enjoy playing on the wooden playground at Harris Shoals Park. Plan on playing in the shoals while you are there!
 
Take up a New Hobby or Rekindle an Old One

Fun with Man's Best Friend

Dog Parks are located at Memorial Park, Sandy Creek Park (closed Mondays,) and Wiggley Field at Southeast Clarke Park.


Splish Splash 
  • There are a variety of pools throughout Athens-Clarke County provided and maintained by ACC Leisure Servies. $1 per person per day or Family Pass $30 available for purchase at any ACC Pool. Please note all pools are closed on Mondays! Pools will be open this weekend, Saturday - Monday for the Memorial Day weekend and open for the regular season on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. The Memorial Park Pool is not opening this weekend and I was told it would be a while before it did open.

    This year they are offering a new Report Card Rewards Program!

  • Beach at Lake Chapman (Sandy Creek) CLOSED MONDAYS

Rainy Day Adventures or Beat the Heat!


  • Pump It Up Pop In Playtimes

    5 and under - Tuesdays/Thursdays - 9:30AM-11:30AM ($3.00 per person)

    11 and under - Wednesdays - 3:30PM-5:30PM (6.00 per person)

    Parents are FREE!!
  • Showtime Bowling
    M-F 8-6 12 and under one free game per Must rent shoes for $4

  • Carmike 12
    Twilight Showings are only $5 pp everyday 4:00-5:30

  • Carmike 12
    Summer Kids Series -Thursdays starting 6/9/11 $1pp
    There is a cute hint to the movies they are showing on the website, but check with the box office to find out what film is showing we week!

  • Beechwood Cinemas
    Tuesdays/Thursdays 1.00 per person 10:00AM

You're Only a Day Away! (Day Trips from Athens)
Monday – Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM Admission is $8 for adults or kids. Sundays from 1-5pm; $6 all day admission.

    WAY DOWN SOUTH
    NOTE: I originally wanted to include a places where kids can eat free or cheap, but decided to make it a separate post since this one was already so long. Tune in later this week for that post!

    Many thanks to The Happy Housewife for coordinating this series! Come back tomorrow for links to all the Staycation posts! I'm looking forward to seeing them as I will be utilizing them when we do go visit folks again!


    TOS Review: enVision Math 1st Grade



    When I received enVision Math, I was impressed with the layout and design. (I'm such a desktop publishing nerd that I actually collect fonts. I have over 400 of them. Seriously.) I quickly realized that much time and money was spent formulating a beautiful workbook for a brick-and-mortar school system.

    Unfortunately, I was unable to utilize much of the consumable workbook since we did not receive any teacher's guides or instruction on how the book was to be used. Throughout the workbook, there were separate notes to the parent and the teacher and even a note called the  "Home-School Connection." The Home-School Connections actually referred to homework and explained to the parents what was done in class. Being a homeschool teacher, I am teacher and parent. I certainly don't need to tell myself what we did in class. *grin* But then there were just many things I just could not make sense of.  For example, an early lesson asked something so very simple, I thought it was a bit too easy for my first grader even at the very beginning of the school year. (He is advanced, but had done a lot of what it was asking in preschool.) A lesson just a few pages later gave instructions that I would not except a first grader to be able to read. (Farm Boy did read those instructions to me when asked, but it is also the end of the school year and his reading level is accelerated.)


    What's It Gonna Cost Me?
    enVision Math 1st Grade Student Workbook (consumable) $34.47
    Manipulatives $18.97



    Final Word
    It is impossible to give a positive review based on incomplete information. Without access to the teacher's manual or the Digital System Access which is included in the price of the consumable Student Workbook I don't feel like I was able to get a good reading on the curriculum itself. My overall feeling is that due to cost, it is not a good fit for homeschoolers. With some work, Pearson may be able to reach homeschoolers, but it would need to be more specialized for homeschool use and packaged as such.



    Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew I received enVision Math 1st Grade free of charge from Pearson Education for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    TOS Review: Talking Fingers-Wordy Qwerty


    Wordy Querty is a computer program by Talking Fingers designed for 2nd and 3rd graders to teach phonetic spelling. It is the sequel to the award winning program, Read, Write and Type designed by the same company. A collection of 20 lessons, the student is taken through a fun way to learn the spelling rules. 

    My boys enjoy most computer games and Wordy Querty was no exception. I personally thought that the graphics (talking keyboards) were a bit dated-looking and cheesy, but they appealed to my boys who enjoyed watching the keyboards talk and move around.
    The program also didn't seem to move as quickly as I wanted to, but I think that was to solidify the rules before moving on to another rule or activity. Some parts were a bit of a challenge for both of them to get through since they did not manipulate the mouse as quickly as they needed to go on to the next level.

    When each lesson is completed, a song is created to help remember the rule. The songs are available on a separate audio CD, Jingle Spells, which is included with the purchase of the Home Program. You can also purchase the CD separately for $10. Listen to a few MP3s of the songs or purchase on iTunes!

    Would you like to try out Wordy Querty for yourself? An free online demo is available for you to see if Wordy Querty is right for you. A 20% discount is available as well by joining the mailing list and answering a few questions.

    Overall, I would have to give Wordy Querty a thumbs-up since my boys (and their cousin who happened to be visiting one day) enjoyed it. Furthermore, when they burst into song throughout the day singing the catchy little songs about spelling, I know they are at least thinking about it in some way. Anything with music appeals to Music Man and I am always making up songs to help him remember things. I will most likely order the CD since I don't have to make them up myself!!

    System Requirements
    Mac: OS9 with CarbonLib or OSX Windows: 98, SE, 2000, XP

    Also requires QuickTime 6 (included) or greater.

    What's It Gonna Cost Me? 
    Wordy Querty Home Version (program, user binder and Jingle Spells CD) $35.00

    Wordy Querty & Read, Write and Type Learning System $99.00

    Jingle Spells audio CD $10.00
    Don't forget about the 20% discount for joining the newsletter list



    Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew I received a two month trial of Word Querty free of charge for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    TOS Review: Math Dog Math


    Mad Dog Math is a cute math fact system that really appeals to the younger crowd. Designed by a veteran educator while she was a third grade teacher, this program has been in use in the classroom for 25 years. Now available for home use as a supplement to homeschool curriculum or to help students in brick-and-mortar classrooms who may be struggling with memorizing the basic operations vital to success in high levels of math.
     
    The Mad Dog Math system is designed to be used for just ten minutes a day in a daily math routine. A fresh alternative to the plain Jane worksheets I grew up with, Mad Dog Math covers all operations and great for those just learning math facts or older students who need a little help.


    There are two ways to use Mad Dog Math - a paper-and-pencil, or binder edition, or the computer edition. We reviewed the computer based version which is very helpful for Music Man since he is challenged in the area of writing.

    I loved that I was able to set the time allowed to complete the drills - 2-minute, 1-minute or 30 seconds. You can set the operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) and fact family you wish to practice and progress is recorded each time the program is used. There are three levels and a challenge level to ensure that mastery is completed.

    The first two levels are addition and subtraction. Level 1 requires students to fill in the answer like a traditional math drill, 4+2= ___. At Level 2, the problem becomes more of a challenge while actually fill in a missing part of the problem, 4+__=6. At Level 3, students work on multiplication and division. The Challenge Level requires more thinking by mixing up the operations and what answer is asked for!

    The drills go all the way to fact family eighteen, which I have not yet seen in a drill program!

    What's it Gonna Cost Me?
    Mad Dog Math - at Home
    Downloadable Software for 32-bit or 64-bit system
    Mad Dog Math - at Home Downloadable Software $19.99-$39.99
    1 Year License $19.99
    2 year License $29.99
    Perpetual License $39.99

    Mad Dog Math - at Home Mastery Binder System $69.99

    Mad Dog Math - at Home CD-ROM $69.99

    Mad Dog Math is also available for classroom use and school district use. An online program will also be available soon!



    Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew I received a free trial of Mad Dog Math - at Home free of charge for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received and views expressed are my own.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    31 Days to Clean - Having a Martha House the Mary Way by Sarah Mae (SALE!!)



    Do you struggle with keeping your house clean?? I know I do!! I have been looking at this eBook since it came out and haven't taken the plunge to actually purchase it. I have so many eBooks on my desktop that need reading right now that I didn't want to get another one until I had read some I already had.

    Well, I found this sale late last night and wanted to pass it on to my readers. I am always up for a good sale and it was the tiny little push I needed to go for it. The book is amazing - walking you through the ins-and-outs of cleaning and how we let it take over our lives either by not doing it or constantly having it ruin our day (read: procrastination!!) It takes you through the analogy of being Martha and Mary which totally spoke to my Martha self who so much wants to be Mary!!!

    You only have until 1:00PM today to take advantage of this price (but the full price of the book is only $5.00!) Hey, any little bit helps!!

    This link will take you to Money Saving Mom who is the one who actually has the coupon code  for 31 Days to Clean - Having a Martha House the Mary Way.

    Remember the coupon code is only good through 1:00PM today, Tuesday, May 10, 2001, so hurry!!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    TOS Review: Kregel Circle C Beginnings

     

    Do you remember your first chapter book? I do. I remember laying in bed reading and reading and reading. I don't remember ever reading a chapter book out loud to my mom. But my son will!


    The Circle C Beginnings series from Kregel Publications are perfect for the 6-8 year old to begin reading their first chapter books. Set in the late 1800s, these books feature Andi, a feisty six-year-old who dreams of having her own horse. The youngest of five children, Andi has to settle for her hand-me-down pony, Coco. Throughout the book we see Andi wrestle between being a kid and trying to prove herself old enough for a horse.





    The Circle C Beginnings books are available individually or in sets. On the website you will find sample chapters, a free downloadable 20 page activity book for each book, coloring pages, and one of our very favorites - interactive puzzles of the beautiful full color drawings in the books! For those who want a more in depth look at horse care and life on a farm in the late 1800s, lapbooks are available for each of the Circle C Beginnings books! There are currently four books in the series with two more due out this fall. My boys are anxious for me to order them all and I think they would be perfect for summer reading! And now through August 31, 2001, homeschoolers can use the code HOME11 for a 30% discount on the Kregel Publications website!

    Other Products by Kregel
    Follow Andi through her late childhood in the Circle C Adventures Series! The Circle C Adventures Series continues with Andi at twelve years old. These book are appropriate for kids ages 8-16. They are individually priced at $7.99. Use code HOME11 on the Kregel Publications website for a 30% discount!


    What's It Gonna Cost Me? 
    Books 1-4 $15.96
    Individual Volumes $4.99

    Set of 2 Books $9.98
    Lapbook $12.00
    Lapbook and Book $15.00

    Use code HOME11 on the Kregel Publications website for a 30% discount!
     


    All in all, we loved this!! And we cannot wait to read the next one! 



    Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew I received Andi's Pony Trouble free of charge from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    How I Plan for Mother's Day



    For me, Mother's Day is bittersweet.

    I still have my own mother and my mother-in-law. It will be difficult this year for my father-in-law as we lost his mother earlier this year.

    But I am missing my middle child. That makes Mother's Day a bit difficult. There is usually a baby dedication going on at church.

    And while I am happy for my friends, it pains my heart to see babies on mother's Day since I will not birth anymore. And I wanted more.

    That is still after seven years hard for me. Music Man has a genetic disorder and we have chosen to not bring other children into this world who may also have to live with those challenges. We do plan to adopt but that is still a couple of years in the future.

    But I celebrate the boys I have with me. We take a family day a few times a year and remove ourselves from the busyness of life. Mother's Day is one of those days. I prefer to spend my day with my two boys I have with me, doing something with them and their daddy. I am able to focus on them and not on what I don't have.

    Here are a few things to think about as you plan for a Mother's Day when you don't feel like celebrating:
    • Do something. I like to get out of the house since I can sit around all day and be sad or be distracted by something fun to do if we aren't at home. We like to choose something we haven't done before so it stands out in our memory. Last year we took the boys to Anna Ruby Falls at Unicoi State Park in Helen. That was where we honeymooned and they had never been. In 2009, we climbed Stone Mountain.
    • Take pictures.That is just a given in my family, but if you don't regularly take them, take a few. Even if the only camera you have is on your phone. (That happened to me last year since I totally forgot my camera! The above photo was taken with my iPhone.)
    • Plan a picnic. I personally hate going out to eat and seeing families with tons of kids.
    • Choose to go to church or not to. There have been several Mother's Days where I had no choice in the matter. I had to go because my husband was on staff at a church. Farm Boy was dedicated on one of those such Sundays. It was okay that year since I was distracted by the service but now we can choose not to go. 
    Whatever you do, don't let someone tell you that you have to celebrate a certain way. Do what works for you. Personally, this year I would love to be on a secluded beach somewhere watching my boys play in the surf.

    Do you do something for Mother's Day that may not be the norm?

      Wednesday, May 4, 2011

      Five Things NOT to Say to a Grieving Mother on Mother's Day (or Any Other Day of the Year!)


      Mother's Day is a special day to celebrate mothers. But not all mothers have their children with them. Here is a just a few things NOT to say to a grieving mother on Mother's Day.

      1. "You should celebrate the kids you have, not dwell on the one(s) you don't." (I do celebrate my living children everyday. And I miss the one not with me everyday too.)
      2. "You need to just be happy you are a mother." (I am happy I am a mother and grateful for my other children. But I am also a mother without one of her children.)
      3. "It's been ten years, are you really still upset about that?" (Yeah, actually, I am. And I will miss him for the rest of my life.)
      4. "You can always have another baby." (I can't have that one though! And for some, mothers that baby may have been their only chance to have one.)
      5. "I know how you feel." (No, you really don't. Even if you have lost a child, every person's loss is different. And each child is different. You love all your children the same, right?)
      Tomorrow we will look at what you CAN do to help a grieving mother on Mother's Day. 
      Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...