Kids Around the World Giveaway

I am so excited to have the opportunity to share a great giveaway with you! It is full of wonderful prizes (I wish I could enter) that would make for a very in-depth study of Asia. AJ and I have recently been reviewing a great history and geography book all about Asia. It is full of beautiful pictures and plenty of fun useful information. The book, Asia: Its People and History, is not available yet but it will be soon. So far we are learning a lot and having a lot of fun. Be on the look out for my full review of the book in a few weeks.

  kids around the world giveaway 2
To celebrate the upcoming release of Asia: Its People and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson, I am joining my launch team friends to share a Kids Around the World giveaway, an incredible gift especially for kids between the ages of 8-12! This giveaway as a total value of nearly $335! Prizes include a Kindle eReader, a one-year membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com, some wonderful unit studies and lapbook set in Asia, and books about missionaries! Here’s everything you could win: Asia: Its People and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson ($6.95 value) From SchoolhouseTeachers.com:  One-Year Membership ($139 value) From the Asia: Its People and History Launch Team: Kindle 6″ eReader plus a $15 USD Amazon Gift Card ($84 value) Philippians in 28 Weeks digital by Stacy Farrell ($14.95 value) From Ben and Me — YWAM Christian Heroes Then and Now Books 1-5 Gift Set ($32.47 value) From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine — eBook Bundle: Missionary Geography, TOS WeE-book by Maggie Hogan and Diana Waring and Mary Slessor: The White Ma of Calabar, TOS WeE-book by Diana Waring ($3.90 value) and  August 2013 Schoolhouse Expo – Bonnie Rose Hudson: How to Write for The Old Schoolhouse and the TOS Family ($4.95 value) From Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett – Download N Go Bundle: Expedition China, Expedition Israel, and Kite Capers ($26.85 value) From A Journey Through Learning Lapbook Bundle: Asia and My Favorite Country ($9 value) From author, Gwen Toliver, Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures ($12.50 value) To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Residents of the U.S. and Canada only (excludes Quebec), age 18 and older. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reading Eggspress Review

Reading has been a difficult subject in our homeschool. I love to read and if I had more time I would more than likely spend it reading. AJ on the other hand has a strong dislike when it comes to reading. Ever since she was in second grade and was no longer “aloud” to sound out words, we have had a problem with reading. She likes to read easy books that are way below her reading level, but give her a long passage with no pictures and she will do one of two things. She will either pretend to read and then not be able to answer any questions, or she will take forever and by the time she is done she forgets half of what she reads. This year she is finally realizing that reading can be fun and she has started to even enjoy reading at times, but I was looking for something extra to help focus on her reading skills. Then we were given the opportunity to review Reading Eggs. At first I almost passed up the opportunity because I thought it was just for the younger set, but I was wrong. They have an entire section for kids ages 7 to 13 to help with reading and comprehension called Reading Eggspress.

Find out more about Reading Eggs:

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Here is a little more about Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress:

Reading Eggs

Full of educationally sound, fun and interactive activities, Reading Eggs focuses on the most fundamental skill needed in school – reading. Children from 3 –7 years or older children struggling with reading will enjoy the huge variety of reading lessons, activities and games that make up the Reading Eggs program.

In addition to the 120 reading lessons in Reading Eggs there is the Reading Eggs World which caters for children who already know the basics of reading but who still have much to learn about reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension. In the Reading Eggs World, children have their own house to decorate, a big shop and an avatar that can walk and travel to many new destinations on Reggie’s bus. Children are able to choose their own adventure from a wide range of activities and places to go, including the following content:
 • The Story Factory – this gives children an introduction to creative writing and they can put together stories to enter in a weekly story writing competition.

• Driving Tests – has 15 sight word tests, 15 letters and sounds test and 15 content word tests. Children are rewarded for correct completion with a driving game.

• Puzzle Park – children can access 32 word puzzles and practice sight word recognition.

• Skills Bank – holds 96 spelling lessons that take students up to the end of key stage 1.

• Storylands – this area builds reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills and is perfect for children who have begun to read but aren’t quite ready for Reading Eggspress. It currently includes 20 e-books to read.

• The Arcade – includes 24 arcade-style games to be used as rewards to motivate children to keep learning. They need to earn Golden Eggs to play these so encourages them to work through lessons and educational activities before using the arcade.

Reading Eggspress

 Reading Eggspress continues the reading adventure by taking children to a brand new world designed for 7 – 13 year olds focusing on comprehension and grammar. Reading Eggspress provides a unique learning environment where students’ can improve their English language and comprehension skills in a way that is exciting and relevant.

The Reading Eggspress program uses a spinning island which instantly engages children. They explore a complete world with a wide variety of both learning and fun experiences. The range of activities motivate students to return regularly to complete lessons, compete against others, earn more rewards and improve their skills.

The Reading Eggspress website has an enormous range of learning resources, lessons, motivational games and e-books. There are 4 areas of the Reading Eggspress World:

 • Library – the Reading Eggspress Library holds more than 1500 e-books including illustrated chapter books, full-color nonfiction books and a range of classics. Children can search for books by topic, series, author, reading age or book title. New books are added regularly.

The Comprehension Gym – children complete a placement test when they first visit the Gym which places students at the correct level for their current ability. The Gym holds 200 interactive comprehension lessons over five broad levels from years 2 to years 6 with 40 lessons per year level.

The Stadium – children compete in real time against students from around the world. The exciting head-to-head contest tests skills in one of four areas – spelling, vocabulary, usage and grammar.

Apartment and Mall – children can use their golden eggs to buy avatar clothes and apartment furniture. Within the apartment all the trophies, medals and trading cards children have collected can be viewed and children can also complete a 100-level quest-style game to expand and refresh learning and earn more golden eggs.

Progress within the Reading Eggspress program is measured by the completion of targets. These are split over 4 levels and help give children some guidance and structure for learning and encourage them to use all of the above areas.

Both the Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress programs have a comprehensive reporting system that tracks progress so that students and their parents can clearly see each child’s achievements.

There are currently over 2 million children using the Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress program around the world and over 90% of parents surveyed have reported a noticeable improvement in their child’s reading skills.

Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress is a program that really works by making learning a fun, interactive and enjoyable experience for all involved.

How we used the Program
 

The problem I normally have with computer based learning is that AJ will spend most of her time playing with her avatar and looking at the things that she can buy rather than learning. Unfortunately that was also the case with Reading Eggspress. The times I had her go on the site independently I saw no progress. She changed her apartment and her outfits and “forgot” that she was suppose to try and earn eggs and complete lessons.

So while I would have liked her experience with the program to have been independent, that was not how it ended up working. I ended up sitting with her for every lesson. Once we got over that hurdle, our experience was a success!

Our goal each time she logged in was to complete a lesson and then complete a target mission. Missions included things like buying things, reading and reviewing books, and passing quizzes with 10 answers correct in a row. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and variety of the lessons and missions. When she logged in to the comprehension gym it gave her a choice of 10 different books each was a different lesson. She clicked on the one she wanted to do and followed the directions. Each lesson was broken down into a few different activities.

Here is an example of a lesson for the book The Fine Line.
Cover Story
Using the picture on the cover, you answer questions regarding what the book will be about.
Dictionary
You pick 3 vocabulary words from a list, find each one in the dictionary, and answer questions about the part of speech and correct usage in a sentence. You also practice alphabetizing.
Pictures have Feelings Too
Using pictures from the story, you answer questions about characters’ feelings.
 
Key Words
 Match vocabulary words to their definition to unlock locks.
 
Who, What, Where, and When
You practice telling the who, what, when, and where with a simple sentence. Then you answer the same questions regarding a small section of the text.
  
Reading
You read a few pages of the story.
 
Quiz
You answer 16 questions about the reading, vocabulary, and basic grammar skills
 
 
What I liked
 
I like how there are so many different skills practiced in each lesson. I like how although some of the lessons are similar, there is enough variety to keep AJ interested. I was also pleased with the fact that even though they are using the computer, they are made to look up the vocabulary words using a pretend dictionary on the screen. I feel that a lot of the questions forced AJ to read closer. Having the avatar motivated AJ to earn more eggs so that she could buy more things. The library section was full of books on numerous topics. A few times I had her search for books on topics we were learning about and almost every subject had at least one book that she could read. The best part was that AJ wanted to go on the site every day. Every morning she would say, “I need to do my Reading Eggspress.” I honestly feel that working with this program has improved her reading.
 
 

What I didn’t like

 
Although I liked the program overall, I found a few issues that I feel worth mentioning. I found the language in a few of the books very questionable. In fact in the book The Fine Line the words idiot, stupid, and jerk are all used on just the few pages that are read for the lesson. I personally don’t want my child to be reading that type of language and now wonder if I will have to preread lessons before she completes them.  I also found some of the quiz questions confusing and poorly worded. The biggest issue I had was that the way it is set up, it is quite easy for the child to just guess and not read. If they get a question wrong the same question pops up later. There is also no explanation as to why the answer is wrong so instead of learning from the mistake the child is just expected to pick the correct answer the next time.
 
 
 
While I listed a few negatives I think we will continue with the program for a while and see how it goes. Here is the good news……. you can get a FREE 5 week trial to see for yourself if the program is right for your family. Use this link www.readingeggs.com/create  to start your 5 week free trial.  While you are looking into the free trial, you can also check out the fundraiser that is going on from February 3rd to March 7th to help raise funds for The National Children’s Cancer Society.
  *NCCS will earn a minimum of $25,000 from Reading Eggs plus 100% of the donations collected by RTCC participants
 
Prices vary based on the length of your subscription. Click here to learn more about pricing options.


Read other team member reviews by clicking the graphic below.

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/giving-love-with-the-gift-of-reading-reading-eggs-review/

Valentine’s Day Math Printable

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I have seen a lot of great worksheets and activities geared for the younger elementary set, but not too many for the older group. I created two math activities for AJ and wanted to share them with you. They are geared for upper elementary students. Click on the picture to download your copy!

The first is a coordinate grid picture. I have a list of points that will form a simple picture once the directions on the page are followed.

The second activity is Candy Heart Math. Using a box of conversation hearts, a ruler, colored pencils, and a paper bag, a few different math topics are practiced. The topics include graphing, probability, measuring, perimeter, area, volume, mean, medium, mode, range, decimals, fractions, and percent. There is no answer key since everyone will have different results.

I hope your kids have a lot of fun working on math with these worksheets.

Write From Early Modern History – Review

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AJ’s weakest subject is writing. She actually hates to write and I would say that most issues that we have while doing school work come from writing. There are so many writing programs out there and just as many ways to teach writing. When I was given the opportunity, I was happy to review Write From History.

What is Write From History?

Write From History is an elementary writing program that teaches grammar, spelling, and history all at the same time. It is based off of Charlotte Mason’s methods and uses narration, copywork, and dictation to teach writing.

There are four different eras to choose from:

  • Ancient History
  • Medieval History
  • Early Modern History
  • Modern History

With the exception of Modern History, each era of history is available in either a level 1 or level 2. Modern History is only available in level 2 right now. Level one is geared for kids in grades 1 through 3 and level 2 is geared for kids grades 3 to 5. The level one books are currently only available in manuscript while the level 2 books are available in either manuscript or cursive.

While this is not a complete history curriculum it would be a great supplement to any program. We decided to review Write through Early Modern History Level 2 Cursive.

About the Book

Early Modern History covers 1600 to 1850. It starts with a passage about John Smith and ends with a passage about the Gold Rush. The book is broken into four different sections.

  1. Short stories
  2. Primary sources
  3. Poetry
  4. Folk Tales

The book is extremely flexible and can really be used however you see fit. The author gives a suggested schedule which has the child reading either a short story or a folk tale on day 1. After reading the passage the child does an oral narration and a short written summary about the passage. On day 2 the child completes copywork and grammar from the first day’s reading. The third day has the child doing studied dictation. On the fourth day the child reads either a primary source or poetry and does oral narration and copywork. The fifth day has more studied dictation. Each day takes between 15 and 45 minutes depending on the amount of reading and the length of the copywork.

You are encouraged to set your child up for success and make changes as needed. In fact children who have never done dictation are encouraged to start out with only one sentence and work there way up to a short passage.

There are really great passages in the book including Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry, The Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s Farewell Address, and many more. There is poetry from many different poets like, Henry Longfellow, William Blake, Isaac Watts, and more. Throughout the study children are exposed to many different types of writing. A lot of the reading in the book is way above the third through fifth grade level, but parents are encouraged to read the harder selections to the student.

What I liked

Flexibility! I love the fact that while you have an optional schedule to follow, you are able to make changes to fit the needs of your child. AJ has never really done dictation so the dictation passages were a bit too long for her to start with. I can have her write a smaller section and work up to the longer ones.

Clear Writing. So often in copywork I see the transitions in cursive writing done incorrectly. This book not only has it written correctly, but the font is easy to read. There is also ample space for copying the selections.

Directions in plain English. I have not read up on Charlotte Mason’s teachings and originally I was a little unsure of what to do for dictation and narration. The author spells it all out at the beginning of the book.

History is Studied in more depth. This is by no means a full history course, but I love the fact that we can read about what we are studying in history, especially the primary sources that bring history to life.

Great Price. The book is available for only $22.95 for an e-book or $30.95 for a printed soft cover book.

Things I would change / didn’t work for us

Grammar– While the book can help teach grammar with a color coding system, (circling nouns in one color and verbs in another) I feel a separate grammar program would be a better option for the older grades. There is not an answer key at this time for the grammar section which may be a downfall to some.

Appendix is not removable. The appendix at the back of the book says to remove it and use for student dictation. It would be great if the pages were either perforated or already out of the book. I was unable to remove them.

The Charlotte Mason method. Not necessarily a negative, but as of right now I don’t know how I feel about using copywork and dictation for teaching spelling and grammar. Many people use it and love the methods. I personally do not feel there is enough writing instruction with this method. For now I think we will keep our own spelling and writing program.

Final Thoughts

I love the variety of reading selections available. While I don’t think I will use the program to teach spelling, writing, and grammar, I do plan on ordering the Ancient History book to use next year as a supplement to our reading and history study. For us it would be worth the price for just the reading selections. Those that are familiar with Charlotte Mason’s methods would love this book.

http://themultitaskinmom.com/write-history-reviews/

Simply Put: A Study in Economics Review

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I have never taken an economics class or really thought about the subject very much. I love to learn new things though so when I was given the opportunity to review Catherine Jaime’s book, Simply Put: A Study In Economics, I jumped at the chance.

Catherine Jaime is a homeschooling mom of 12 who studied economics at M.I.T. She has written numerous books on many subjects including; Leonardo da Vinci, homeschooling, US history, travel, Shakespeare and more. You can find out more about her and her available books at her website.

About the Book

The name of this book says it all! It is a simplified version of economics covering a lot of different topics in plain everyday language. Although the book itself doesn’t go into great depths on any one topic, the author gives ideas and suggestions as to where more information can be found. This book is written from a very conservative point of view which is clear throughout the book.

Simply Put: A Study In Economics is a book that is meant to satisfy the half credit of economics that most high school students need in order to graduate. It was written by Catherine Jaime when she was unable to find a good economics textbook that she could recommend to high schoolers that didn’t put her to sleep. It is a 139 page book that includes 36 lessons, 8 appendixes, a glossary, review questions, a midterm and final exam. The lessons can be completed in either one semester or a year depending on how the subject is taught.

The book covers topics such as:

  • The difference between micro and macro economics.
  • The Law of Unintended Consequences
  • Prices
  • Division of Labor
  • The differences between Capitalism and Socialism.
  • Markets
  • Minimum Wage
  • Price gouging
  • and more

Since the book is meant for high school students, I decided to do the study myself. AJ is only 10 and not quite ready to be learning economics. I sat down with the book and a tablet and began to read. I had originally planned on doing one lesson a day, but I was able to complete several lessons in a very short time. I read the lesson and answered the questions quite easily. I finished the entire book including all of the review questions and the two tests.

What did I think?

Overall I feel that the book is very well written. Throughout the book the author quotes many different economists and presidents and quotes sources for nearly all of her opinions. The way in which the book is written requires you to think. One of my favorite quotes from the author is found on page 60. She writes, “Sometimes we seem to forget that the Declaration of Independence talks about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – not life, liberty, and happiness.”

The book covers a lot of history while explaining economic topics. It also explains the Constitution and how it relates to economics. The appendix even contains a brief timeline of the Great Depression.

A lot of things in the book were eye opening. Appendix 2 talks about how the pilgrims tried communism and it failed!

Although I enjoyed reading the book and feel that I learned a lot of the basics of economics, I don’t feel that the book alone would be enough to cover a semester of economics for high school. Most of the lessons are less than two pages long with review questions ranging from only 3 questions for a short chapter to 10 questions for a longer one. I feel the book would be a great starting point and if the other sources recommended by the author were used in connection with possible reports and research that it could create a great course if study. I feel the author took a difficult subject and presents it in a way that not only makes sense but makes it not overwhelming either.

I feel that the book should also be read by others just to gain knowledge. I learned a lot of things while reading this book and it has made me think of things that I hadn’t previously thought of before. I would recommend this book to anyone who was going to take economics at any level.

Things I would Change

  • The one thing that really bugged me while reading the book was the fact that the review questions were at the end of the book instead of after the lesson. Its seems like such a  small thing, but having to search for the review questions after each lesson irritated me.
  • The formatting of the book. The way the book is formatted causes there to be large spaces between the words in some places. I found myself rereading the first lesson a few times thinking that maybe something was left out. I got use to it after a few lessons, but felt it was worth mentioning.  *When I was reading a sample of the digital copy, I did not see these same formatting issues.*

Where can you get it?

You can get a digital copy of Simply Put: A Study in Economics from CurrClick, the normal price is $16 but at the time of this post it is on sale for only $6.99.

Amazon also has the paperback version available for $17.55 and the Kindle version for $6.99. (prices are correct as of this posting)

In addition to the student book there is a teacher guide available that gives the answers to the mid term and final exam as well as a few activities to try if you are studying the book in a group.

Overall I feel the book is a great value, is well written, and will make your student think. While I don’t feel it would be enough as a stand alone curriculum, I think it can be made into one with some supplementing. If you are not a conservative this book is not for you! I will be keeping this book on my shelve and plan on using it when AJ starts 9th grade.

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Thanksgiving Copywork Review

This post contains affiliate links.

I was recently given the opportunity to review four different products created by Amy over at Homeschool Encouragement.  I have looked over all of the products and they all look great.  I can’t wait to start working on the Christmas Advent book that helps to put Christ back into the Christmas season! Today I will be focusing on the Thanksgiving Copy work for Children.

Thanksgiving Copywork for Children is a downloadable book filled with 27 different Bible verses about being thankful. All of the verses are written in the English Standard Version and have plenty of space for copywork. Some verses can even be copied twice. The lengths of the verses are varied, from a single sentence to verses that are more than three sentences.

The pages are outlined in a fun fall color with a picture for your child to color on each page. They printed out beautifully in both color and in black and white. It was designed to help celebrate Thanksgiving all month long.

Copywork is something that we don’t usually do at our house. I have to admit that since AJ hates to write so much, I have stayed away from it. The more I read about copywork though, the more I have wanted to try it. There are so many benefits on top of improving her penmanship.

 

How did we use it?

I looked at the different verses that there were and decided to pick a short verse to start out with. I expected a fight when I told her she had to copy the verse, but I didn’t get one. The first thing she said was, “So, all I have to do is copy the verse twice and then I get to color it?” Since the font throughout the book is in manuscript I decided to have her copy the verse once that way and then once in cursive. She did a great job and then told me that we should do it more often because it was “kind of fun.” I told her to go ahead and put the page on the fridge but she didn’t want to. She told me that she worked too hard on it and that it needed to go in her binder under the Bible tab. For someone who doesn’t like to write to say, “it was kind of fun” was a huge deal! She already has the verse she is going to copy tomorrow.

What I liked

  • It helps to keep the focus on God by using Bible verses. By copying the verse she was also able to memorize it.
  • The Bible version used is kid friendly and makes it easy to understand.
  • There was plenty of space. AJ writes big and a lot of time runs out of room when filling out worksheets. Even after writing the verse twice there were 2 lines left.
  • The font used is clean and easy to read. Sometimes when I print of pages for her to work on her cursive the font is hard to read, that was not the case. 
  • They can be used ALL year. Even though they were designed to be used around Thanksgiving, the verses can and should be applied all year long.
  • It was writing practice that she enjoyed.
  • The pictures were fun for AJ to color.

What I didn’t care for

  • The only thing that I would change is to have the copywork in cursive instead of manuscript, but as of the writing of this post, the cursive version is in the works!

Where can you get one?

Head on over to Homeschool Encouragement to purchase your copy for the low price of only $1.99. While you are there be sure to check out Amy’s blog. It is full of useful information, product reviews, and great giveaways.

Find Amy from Homeschool Encouragement on:

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 I received the above mentioned product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. A positive review was not guaranteed. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own, your results and or opinions may vary.

I was recently interviewed by Sarah over at Blue Shutters check out the interview here!

See the Light Review

I am not an art person, I never have been but I want AJ to learn as much as she can. When I was given the opportunity to review an Art Project DVD from See the Light, I was excited. The first thing we had to do was decide what great project we would like to try. There are a variety of options.

  • Tiffany Window
    IN THE STYLE OF LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY
  • Repeated Sweets
    IN THE STYLE OF WAYNE THIEBAUD
  • Paper Jungle
    IN THE STYLE OF HENRI ROUSSEAU
  • Pointillism Fruit
    IN THE STYLE OF GEORGES SEURAT
  • Poppy Collage
    IN THE STYLE OF GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
  • Dreams of Joseph
    IN THE STYLE OF MARC CHAGALL
  • Horsing Around
    IN THE STYLE OF EDGAR DEGAS
  • Peaceful Seas
    IN THE STYLE OF WINSLOW HOMER
  • Sunflowers
    IN THE STYLE OF VICENT VAN GOGH
Each DVD focuses on a different topic and instructs you in how to create a masterpiece based on the artist that you are learning about. They retail for $14.99 when purchased separately, $12.50 when you sign up for the DVD of the month club, and $99.99 for a boxed set with all 9 DVDs. These DVDs are recommended for ages 10 and up and will even satisfy the fine art requirement that most states have for high school. While the DVDs themselves are not quite enough to satisfy the fine art requirement, when artist studies, additional projects based on the methods learned, and field trips are added in there should be more than enough hours to satisfy the requirement. (Be sure to check your state homeschool laws to make sure it will work for your needs)
 
See the Light Art Project DVDs are way more than just art lessons. Incorporated into the lessons are biblical lessons along with background information about the artists. You simply pop the disk into a DVD player, sit back and let the instructor teach the lesson. It is presented in a way that AJ stayed engaged and interested throughout the lesson. The instructor completes the project right along with you and provides tips and tricks to make the project even easier. For someone like me who is art challenged, it is perfect!
 
So what did we pick?
 
 
We picked Paper Jungle where we would create a collage. I honestly picked it because I had all of the needed materials on hand and it looked like fun. I had never heard of Henri Rousseau before so I was excited to learn right along side AJ.
 
The DVD was broken down into 4 lessons. During the first lesson “Background: Cutting Trees” we learned about the French artist Henri Rousseau. We were given a few different techniques for drawing and learned about the background of a picture. AJ cut out the trees for her jungle.
 
 
 
The second lesson was “Foreground: Grass and Leaf Shapes” we learned about shapes and spacing and studied a few more of Rousseau’s paintings. This was the longest lesson and involved a lot of cutting. AJ cut out the grass and numerous leaves for her collage.
 
 
In the third lesson, “Focal Points: Flora and Fauna” we learned more about the history of collage and Naïve Art. This lesson also touched on more specific aspects of drawing animals. AJ cut out flowers, fruit, and a wild animal to go in her jungle.
 

 
The final lesson, “The Final Step: Overlapping and Gluing” was where  everything came together. AJ glued everything on her collage and learned about spacing scale and layering.
 
 
Bible verses, character traits, and stories were sprinkled throughout the lessons. In all except for the last lesson I felt the Bible verses flowed very well and didn’t feel too preachy. In the final lesson however, the instructor said a prayer to have God help them to do their best on the projects. I honestly felt that was a little much, but other than that I really enjoyed the format.
 
Overall AJ really enjoyed the See the Light DVD Art Projects. When your 10 year old tells you she is going to add the DVDs to her Christmas list, you know she really liked it. She found the lessons to be fun and informative. I like that they provided a lot of technique and included art history.
 
 
There were only a few minor things that we didn’t care for. Some of the camera angles while the instructor was drawing made it difficult to see. AJ got quite frustrated a few times, but after rewinding the DVD a few times she saw what she had missed and continued with her project.
 
If you are looking for a great art program that incorporates art history, elements, and principles, has step by step directions, and has a biblical foundation See the Light is what you are looking for.
 
Find out what others at Mosaic Reviews had to say.
 
http://mosaicreviews.com/see-the-light/
 

Planning Pack Review

 
I was recently given the chance to review a planning pack created by Steph at The Multi Taskin’ Mom. It is a fun colorful planner geared for kids in grades K-5 to help organize your month. They are written is such a way that they could easily be adapted to both older and younger students. I reviewed the November planning pack which is the first in a series of 12. Each month will be structured in the same way but will include something fun and different depending on the time of year.
 
The November Planning Pack has a Thanksgiving theme and includes…..
 
  • Calendar
  • Agenda
  • Prayer List
  • Birthday List
  • Goal Tracker
  • Letter Templates
  • Blank Recipe Cards
  • And more

You get all of that for the low price of $2.99 but until November first the planning pack will be on sale for just $.99.

So what did we think?

I think that it is a great planning tool for little ones. It is colorful but it also looks great when printed out in black and white.  I like that it includes things I often forget about, like a list of people we want to send letters to and a list for birthdays. I feel it is well worth the money and that it is very affordable since you can use them year after year. Our favorite parts were the blank recipe cards and the “Be a Blessing” page. I can’t wait to see what fun additions the December planning pack has.

 
If you have little ones and are looking for a fun planning tool head on over to The Multi Taskin’ Mom and pick up your copy of the November Planning Pack!
 
****I was given a free copy of the November Planning Pack in exchange for my honest review of the product. A positive review was not guaranteed and all opinions are my own. Your experience may vary.
 

A is for Adapting

I am taking part in blogging through the alphabet hosted by Ben and Me. Each week I will be writing a blog post that will in some way be related to the letter of the week from A to Z.

 

If you would have told me six months ago that I would be living with my grandma Monday through Friday helping to take care of her, I would have never believed it. Our family has went through a lot of unexpected changes in the last few months and that has affected our homeschool. Months before I pulled AJ out of CAVA (California Virtual Academy) I was planning our homeschool year. Picking curriculum, making lists of projects, and planning all the details for our year. I even started reorganizing my bedroom to make it an even better school room.
 
Then things changed. Grandma got sick and now requires someone to be with her 24 hours a day. Instead of doing school in the comfort of our home, we now have to do school at grandma’s house. Boy has that made us have to adapt. At home I have all of our materials, although I brought all of our school books to grandma’s, a lot of the time there are little things that we don’t have. We have needed food color, sugar, brads, cardboard, card stock and other little things that I didn’t think to bring with us. Sometimes we  push a project back a few days until I can get the material where other times we  just use the closest thing we can find. It has been an adjustment but we are making progress.
 
One of the hardest things to adapt to so far has been grandma. Her Alzheimer’s has gotten a lot worse and that makes school difficult some days. So we adapt. Sometimes grandma sits in on school work so that we are able to keep an eye on her. Other days we wake up early and get some school work done before she wakes up. Then there are some days where grandma just doesn’t sleep and we are up for days at a time. On those days we are not able to do school. 
 
I have learned that we just have to go with the flow and keep a positive attitude. There may be some days where no book work is done and we may not always be on track with where I had thought we would be, but she is learning. Learning that you take care of your family and put others first. Learning compassion, patience, and understanding. We may get to the math and the grammar a few days later than I planned but we can work on the weekends and a little in the summer if needed. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. The school work will be here tomorrow, grandma may not.



Math Mammoth Review

When I started looking for our math curriculum this year I had a very hard time choosing one. In the end I had narrowed it down to two choices, the one that I ended up purchasing, and Math Mammoth. So when I was given the opportunity to review Math Mammoth I was very excited.

 There are a lot of different products available from Math Mammoth:

 
 “ Math Mammoth Light Blue Series This is a complete curriculum for elementary grades. It includes two student worktexts (A and B), which contain all the instruction and exercises all in the same book, answer keys, tests, cumulative reviews, and a worksheet maker.
 Math Mammoth Blue Series Blue Series books are worktexts that each concentrate on a few interconnected topics, such as addition, clock, measuring, money, division, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratios & proportions, geometry, and more. They are not tied to grade levels, and are great for review, reinforcement, filling in gaps, or initial teaching. 
 Math Mammoth Golden Series Best suited for teachers and tutors or parents who can explain math, Golden Series books are worksheet collections for grades 3-8. They work best as review or supplemental material. 
 Math Mammoth Green Series Best suited for teachers and tutors or parents who can explain math, Green Series books are worksheet collections by topics. They work best as review or supplemental material. 
 Make It Real Learning These activity workbooks concentrate on answering the question, “Where is math used in real life?” The exercises or activities in these books are taken from real life, and use real data. The series includes various workbooks for grades 3-12. “
 
We decided to review the light blue series which covers a full year of math. We were given a copy of Math Mammoth 5a, 5b, answer keys, tests, reviews, and a worksheet maker. The Math Mammoth products are very affordable starting as low as $34 for a downloaded version. It is a mastery based program that is common core aligned.
 
 
 
Honestly, despite all of the great reviews I have read, this math curriculum was just not a good fit for our family. I personally do not like when the same math is taught in many different ways. I know that is great for some kids but not for AJ. This course teaches multiplication in parts using partial products and then goes on the teach the algorithm. For division it teaches the algorithm and then teaches division as repeated subtraction. While I agree that understanding the “why” behind math is important, having the same math done in so many different ways was not only frustrating but confusing to my child. It got to the point where she started to dislike math and that is one of her favorite subjects.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Remember although this program didn’t work for us, it may be exactly what you are looking for.
 
There were a lot of things that we liked about the program.
 
Pros
  1. It is affordable.
  2. It is very visual and colorful which would be great for a visual learner.
  3. The instructions and examples are right in the book – great for independent learning.
  4. Plenty of practice problems.
  5. The worksheet maker makes it easy to give extra practice if it is needed in a particular area.
  6. There are numerous online resources included in the book, including links to games and videos to help with math facts and different concepts.
  7. There are a lot of great hints and tips sprinkled throughout the text.
  8. Graph paper style boxes are used for division and multiplication making it easy to keep work neat and organized.
 
I do plan to utilize some of the tips and tricks that are sprinkled throughout the book. Find out what other members of the Mosaic Review team had to say here.