Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Few Changes

While you may not have noticed, I have been rather scarce around this blog.  I’ve been slowly working on a new pet project, on top of not really feeling inspired to blog about school and such.

I DO however, want to change that.  I’m back to using Windows Live Writer, in hopes that not having to go online to Blogger in order to blog, and getting distracted by the internet at large will help.

I am going to make sure crafty stuff stays over at my pet project blog, and keep this blog for school and general life things.  This also means that I may reference between the two sometimes.  For sanity’s sake.

Thing 1 and I have been working our way through first grade, and it’s going well!  Thing 2 is wanting to sit at the table with us now and do… well, who knows exactly, but giving him a piece of paper and a crayon results in some scribbles and him passing the paper down the table to me ♥

So I will be blogging a bit more about Thing 1’s homeschooling, Thing 2 showing interest in working with us (he throws a FIT if he is not on my lap when I’m reading)and some Voom thrown in for good measure.  Because Voom is adorable Winking smile

Friday, May 13, 2011

Week 1 in Review

We started Thing 1's first grade work this week!  It's been interesting to say the least.  Afterall, we're going from an almost entirely Unschooling method for the day, to a more Classical method.

Math is the beginning and end of each day.  The focus right now is on review of addition facts, since Thing 1 has learned a good number of them in Math-U-See Alpha, but (due to breaks and me not pushing the issue) had forgotten them.  Or at the very least had a lot of difficulty recalling them.  So I have been printing sheets from Worksheet for Thing 1 to use to drill his addition facts.  He does the first half first thing in the morning, and the other half is the signal that our day has ended.  This is the only subject he drags his feet on.  He's relying on the manipulatives right now, but in the coming week I am hoping that we'll be able to use those less and less, as we'll be using some more fun-type methods for practicing these facts.

Everything else is going really well.  He seems to really like narration assignments from Writing with Ease and Story of the World.  And he really likes the activities from our Literature Pockets.

Because he is able to read and write, spelling has been a bit of a joke.  I had slated to have him doing one lesson a day for pretty much all of Spelling Workout A, but then Thursday of this week he decided he wanted to do a few lessons all at once.  So we will likely continue this until we get to a point where I feel he should slow down.  I don't know when this will happen, but I am certainly hoping it's before the end of level C, since that's all we have in the house right now ;)

Science this week was just learning the difference between living and nonliving things, which he pretty much already knew but I figured it wouldn't hurt to review a bit.  Afterall, this being the first week, I didn't want things to be toooooo hard.

Thing 1 with his bird puppet, a project from the Literature Pocket for the nursery rhyme "A Little Bird"
The current ongoing project for school is a family history, from Story of the World's activity guide.  There is a page for each family member, and when we have a short/boring day, we'll take it out and add another person or expand on an individual's information.  We've gotten the pages started for each family member so far, with birthdays listed.

I am using Homeschool Tracker's Basic Edition to make sure our lessons are planned for each day and to record how well Thing 1 does on them.  I am also using the Daily Journal portion on there so that I can record things like how Thing 1 reacted to a particular topic, how his attitude was for the day, what worked well, what didn't work well and what I can do to make things easier.  I may someday invest in the full version of Homeschool Tracker, but for right now, it does everything I need it to.

Something unexpected that came out of Thursday was the news that Thing 1 wants to be an author and illustrator.  And he wants to practice for that by making books now.  So we now have a bunch of little books premade for him to grab at his whim (as long as his school work is done!) to write and draw.  He's currently decided to focus on animals, so the animal encyclopedia is in use.  I LOVE that he's so enthusiastic about this.  (and that it gives him additional writing practice and learning whatever topic he is focusing on at the moment... I won't lie, I like the additional benefits as well ;) )

Thing 2 has been into everything as usual, but he is progressing in potty training.  AND he can count to 2!  his speech has come a long way in the last few weeks, which is wonderful because before we could understand very little of what he was saying.

Voom is just Voom ;)  He's taking in the sights, putting up with his brothers wanting to help with him all the time.  Keeping his parents up at night.  Typical newborn stuff.  And he's already a month old today!

My boys are all growing up too fast!  Make it slow down!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Ok, so it's been a long time since my last update.  Again.


I have a perfectly good excuse, I promise :)

Voom has arrived!

Granted, he arrived last week, on the 13th and therefore is not a really good excuse for why I wasn't posting BEFORE that.  But he's adorable and squishy and cute :)  He weighed 7 pounds even at birth (half a pound less than either of his brothers) and was 20.25 inches long.  He has a head full of dark brown hair and dark eyes.  <3  He's a skinny twig boy who is SUPER laid back.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are enamored with him, as are Link and I.  He's a wonderful little addition to our family.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Aesop's Fables


You may (or may not) remember having heard in the past stories such as "The Turtle and the Rabbit," a fable about a rabbit who was confident he would win a race with the turtle and lost because he lazed about partway through while the turtle pressed forward.  Well, now Brill Kids provides a set of books that allow you to bring this story down to the level of a new reader.


Aesop's Fables, volume 1 from Brill kids includes a set of five short storybooks containing rewritings of The Lion and the Mouse, The Turtle and the Rabbit, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Fox and the Grapes, and The Fox and the Crow.  These are written in rhyming lines, with one line per page.  So The Boy Who Cried Wolf begins with

A young shepherd decides to play a bad trick

and then on the next page has

"Help!  A wolf is here!  Come quick, come quick!"

I really like these retellings, because they help Thing 1 to get into a more rhythmic type of reading.  Another thing I really like about them, which will come in handy as Thing 2 (and then Voom) learns to read is a flap that is the in back of the book that is used to cover the pictures on the pages on the right side, leaving JUST the words in view.  It's a shame to cover up the beautiful illustrations, buuuuuuuuut when your child is learning to read, pictures are not always the best tool for helping.



My boys really like these books (in fact, three of them have disappeared to the bookshelf upstairs even after I said they were supposed to stay down here).  Thing 1 enjoys reading them, and has read them not only to his brother but also to my parents and sister on a video call (first time he's ever done that), and Thing 2 loves to look at the pictures.  When Thing 1 is reading them, the covering flap is put all the way in the back of the book since he doesn't need it, so it's not something that is a nuisance for the stronger readers who just happen to enjoy the books.

One thing to keep in mind is that these are NOT the simple readers that are used toward the beginning of phonics curricula.  The age group is listed as 3 months and up, but I would not expect a child who has had no reading experience to be able to read these.  I think these would work great for a child who is learning to read, and would like something that is not only a challenge, but also ore interesting than some of the "learning to read" books I have seen.

At the moment, you can purchase a set of these books for $37.50 (if you look, there's $50 crossed off over to the side).  As much as I like these and the boys enjoy them, due to the cost, we likely will not be getting the second set :(  BUT, if this is something that looks like it would be a great fit for your home, and it is within your budget, I would definitely recommend getting them.

Not sure based on just my opinion?  Go take a look at what my fellow Crew mates think of these books!

Disclaimer: These books were provided free to me by Brill Kids for the purpose of this honest review.  I received no compensation for my review.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


So my order from Rainbow Resource has arrived, and now I can share pretty much all of what we have planned for first grade for Thing 1, as well as a couple items I got for Thing 2 (and Voom... you'll see what I mean when I get to that picture Winking smile  )

You will notice that one subject is missing from these pictures: Math.  I am waiting for Math-U-See's cart system to be updated so that I can order the next level, even though we are not finished with Alpha yet.

Also not pictured are the ream of first grade writing paper and the globe.


First up we have art.  We are doing ARTistic Pursuits, K-3 book 1 this year.  This is the book itself and all of the supplies needed.  This is one of Thing 1’s favorite subjects in general so I wanted to make sure I didn’t mess it up Winking smile


Here we have history.  We are doing Story of the World 1, the Ancients this year.  Those are the books in the lower right of the picture.  The rest is all reference guides.


Here is our science stuff.  This year we’re studying life science using Great Science Adventures.  GSA has different activities and such in each of the four books across the bottom, and the books on the top are various reference materials.


Language Arts.  This subject has haunted me for months trying to figure out what to do.  here we have Spelling Workout (levels A through C, just in case he flies through A and/or B), First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, level 1, Writing with Ease (both The Complete Writer and level 1’s workbook) and 4 different Literature Pockets books.  Thing 1’s reading ability is above these, but I think that these will at least be fun for him to do.  He’ll do additional reading on his own.


Mind Benders!  I got four different levels just because I wanted to.  We’re going to start with the first one and do these every once in a while as a sort of change of pace, fun activity.


Typing Instructor for Kids.  Thing 1 enjoys being on the computer and typing, sooooooo we’re going to work on typing correctly before he develops all of the horrible habits his mother has picked up.  Winking smile


These are predominantly for Thing 2.  Thing 1 is not a fan of music, although he IS a fan of noise so he will likely play with them as well, but this way hopefully Thing 2 won’t be doing things like drawing on the walls or climbing bookshelves.  I’m hoping for noisy distraction.  whether or not it WORKS, we’ll find out.  (Thing 1 seems to work better with something going on in the background)


This is Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready.  It’s a book with weekly activities to do with your child from birth until age 5.  This is obviously the one that will work for Voom as well.  I plan on going over some of the skills in here with Thing 1 as well since I am a slacker and there are some things he doesn’t know (oops) that he probably should.


All of this LOOKS like a lot of work, but with the number of things that are reference for science and history, it’s really not as much as it seems.  And because I have them NOW, that’s less stuff to buy in the future, which makes Link very happy Smile

Monday, March 7, 2011

Looking Back, Kindergarten

I figured since I'm up at 5:30 in the morning for no real reason, and within the next couple days the rest of Thing 1's stuff for first grade will arrive, that I would take a little bit to reflect back on Thing 1's kindergarten year.

Really, there's not too terribly much to reflect on academically, since we unschooled this year for the most part.  Since Thing 1 could already read, and finished Math-U-See Primer very quickly, I didn't feel the need to really PUSH, if you know what I mean.  Kindergarten should be FUN, afterall.

In Reading, Thing 1 has continued to grow, just through reading anything he can get his hands on.  Including the dictionary.  His fluency is really good, I'm not entirely sure about his comprehension (although he can recite a lot of things back to me a couple days later, so his retention at least is excellent) and he LOVES it.  Trying to figure something out for first grade has been a bit of a nightmare on my part, to be honest, because most of what I can find for first graders involves phonics instruction still, and Thing 1 doesn't need that.  Since I've had some of the books for first grade for other subjects in the house since the beginning of January (I'll take a picture of all of it together once the rest arrives), I've had to keep them out of reach so he doesn't get ahead of me again ;)

In Math, our other "main" subject this year, he has been slowly making his way through Math-U-See Alpha.  Not because he doesn't understand it, but because we've been a bit lazy about it.  We took a long break for the holidays, and he went back and filled in the missing pages (we skip pages if he gets the concept) and is caught back up to where we had been before.  Now it's just a matter of continuing along.  This is the only subject I have not purchased the next part for because I have not been getting along with Math-U-See's website.  They are going through some changes in their cart system or something and so I'm just going to (try to) be patient and wait for it all to be squared away.  We're not in danger of needing it before it's ready at this point, so I can wait.  For now.

In other subjects, we haven't really focused on much of anything, besides some memorization of US state locations.  He knows a good number of them, and really, it was something I decided we would do just so we'd have something to do when he wanted to "learn something".  Other than that, his reading of random things has taught him a LOT of random facts that he just spits out at even more random times.

And don't think that everything is all sunshine and roses around here.  He may be doing very well academically, but I will be the first to admit that we deal with some major behavioral and social issues.  Thing 1 is a LOT like me, so focusing on a particular task (I've gotten up and wandered a few times during this post, for example, as well as opened other tabs in my browser to just read random stuff) is difficult, as well as handling most social situations.  While Link isn't exactly a social creature himself, many times I have noticed that Thing 1 will take his lead on when it is and is not appropriate to talk to people.  This means that when we're trying to get a question answered at someplace like The Home Depot the poor sales associate has to deal with a 6 year old interrupting every minute or so (with additional details that he remembers from Link and I discussing it), but at least he's trying to help ;)  I'm not going to go into details about behavior, just know that it's not all rainbows and puppies around here ;)

And there you have it, my basic assessment of how Thing 1 has done for his kindergarten year.  Hopefully once we get started on first grade (after Voom is here) I'll actually be able to do weekly updates since we're going to be buckling down a bit more and a full year assessment just won't work as well.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fresh Air!!!

After days of the weather being too cold or dreary to open the windows, and after several days of the Plague of Doom (flu) in our house, the windows are open and fresh air is circulating in the house.

While winter is my favorite season (I know, I'm kinda strange), I say


Friday, February 4, 2011

Digt-It! Roman Town


 In a world where we are often trying to get our kids off of the computer while they are trying desperately to get ON the computer, many of us are on a quest for educational software.  This usually ends up restricted to reading, math, and maybe a little geography.


Dig-It! Games, founded by a professional archaeologist and teacher, is different.  Using interactive activities, it further immerses children 8 and up (and parents who can't seem to tear themselves away for whatever reason... what can I say?  I LOVE ancient history!) into studying ancient Rome the same way an archaeologist does.  The player is introduced to their dig site, where they excavate different pieces and parts of historical artifacts.


After each round of digging, you are shown to what you found, can learn more about everything you've picked up and put together things that are in different pieces.  Like putting 3-d pieces back together, putting frescos back together, and learning more about them all.


In order to "progress" past this, you have to complete a report about the area of a Roman home you excavated things from.


Like I said earlier, I LOVE this game.  While getting through a single play is a bit quick, you can play multiple times and get different artifacts and such and different information.  Thing 1, now being 6, is not quiiiiiiiiiite up to being able to play this on his own.  The characters do not talk, and so there is a lot... a LOT... of reading.  Thing 1 is a good reader, but a lot of that reading is big words (like archaeology) or Latin words, so without someone to help him through those parts, it would get very frustrating for him.  Buuuuuuuut he's under the suggested age of 8+, so it's to be expected.  We will be studying ancient history this coming year, so I intend to use this as part of our studies on Rome.  It will certainly help put things into context for him.

If you have an archaeology or ancient Rome fan, you can purchase this game for $39.95.  HOWEVER, if you use the coupon code TOS2011 before February 21, 2011, you get the game for the price of $19.96!  AWESOME DEAL THERE!

If you would like the perspective of other Crew members, go take a look at the Crew blog!

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review of this product.  I received no other compensation from the vendor.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Thing 1 has developed a love of looking things up in the dictionary.  I love this.  Usually.

Last week, I was talking on the phone with my sister, and Thing 1 kept saying he was STARVING.  I told him that no, he wasn't starving.  He was just very hungry, not dying from malnutrition or anything, he'd live for the, like, 15 minutes I still had on the phone.

He continued to argue that yes, he WAS in fact starving.  So I told him to look it up.

And he did.

I read the first definition, which is the one *I* had meant when he said he was starving, and said "See, you're not starving" and started to walk away.  (keep in mind my sister is still on the phone so hears this whole thing)

"Uhmmm... Momma?  The second one says 'very hungry'.  So I AM starving!"

My sister laughed soooooooooo hard at me.  And I have never been so tempted in his entire life to confiscate a book from my child.


So that is the story of how I was proven wrong, by my six year old, with a dictionary as his weapon.  I'm still a bit flustered by it now (obviously, because I'm POSTING about it)

He keeps life interesting at least, right?


Yes, I admit, I am a bit of a slacker at this whole blog thing.

HOWEVER, I have actually been working on my laundry (I swear it will never be done, but I still TRY at least).  And other than that, I have gotten a bunch of cleaning done that was promptly undone by Thing 1 and Thing 2, and then redone by me, and then the cycle just continues.

I also have been working on putting together lesson plans for first grade for Thing 1, as well as considering whether or not I should confiscate his dictionaries so he'll quit somehow managing to research stuff we're getting ready to learn this coming year.  (it's like he KNOWS, seriously)

And I've been doing LOTS of crocheting.  I purchased some patterns from Inner Hooker on Etsy, and I am in loooooooove with them!  I am particularly fond of the super bulky beanie, as I can work it up VERY quickly.

Notice the SIX hats that are all the same pattern?  Yeah.  I love it for sure ;)  (the white tags are me marking what the materials used were, as well as whether it was crocheted, loomknit, or needle knit so that they can be listed when I decide to open up shop again... most likely not for a few months.  Organization!)  The owl hat, the pale green hat below it, and the blanket (which is folded in quarters in this picture) are all for Voom! 

Besides these, I am still working on the afghan for my parents (SO glad I frogged it and decided to redo it) and I am ALSO working on a project for my dear friend's son's birthday in April.  It involves lots of crochet, lots of colors and lots of sorting ;)

So while I'm slacking in the internet world, I'm not slacking 100%!  YAY for progress!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Speekee- Spanish for Children


It seems that today, everyone feels the crunch to have their children learn a foreign language.  Given the number of Spanish-speaking people in the United States, Spanish is one of the most popular languages to be taught (after all, there's signs all over the place with both English and Spanish on them)

Speekee logo

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Speekee TV is a Spanish immersion program for children.  By "immersion" I mean that when you turn on the first video, there is no English spoken.  EVERYTHING is in Spanish.  This is an ideal method for teaching children.  Afterall, they learned English (or whatever their native tongue may be) by hearing it all of the time.

Speekee is 10 episodes with Spanish speakers talking.  One thing to note, is that if you are wanting to use this with another Spanish curriculum (which is not necessary, I might add), this is a different dialect than is usually taught in the United States.  The phrases and vocabulary used are not always going to match what other curricula teach.

When we used this, we didn't have any concerns regarding different dialects, since Thing 1 (and by default, Thing 2) has never studied Spanish.  However, due to the music segments and the fact that he had to rely on the subtitles that stated what Speekee (the cute purple puppet pictured below) and the other speakers were saying, Thing 1 was not at all interested after a couple minutes.  He's not like his mother, who prefers to watch everything possible with subtitles.


Thing 2, on the other hand, was scrambling to get on my lap when I started watching this.  He LOVES music, and while he can't read, he doesn't really speak much understandable English himself (he's speaks Thing 2-ese) so he didn't particularly care that the people and puppets on screen weren't speaking the same language as Mom and Dad.

Each episode goes to a different location.  Afterall, you're going to want different vocabulary to discuss your trip to el parque (the park) than you would in la casa (the house).  This is a major part of the immersion technique: you learn words used in context through normal usage (rather than just showing pictures or even the word and then repeating the translation numerous times)

If you are interested in using this program (and yes, 10 episodes is enough to keep your children busy for a while, considering each is PACKED with vocabulary to become familiar with), then you can subscribe for the online version for £4.95 a month if you are in the UK, or $7.50 a month if you are in the US.  There is also a 2 week free trial available so you can take a look before actually committing.

If you would rather have the episodes on DVD, so you could watch them, say, 5 years from now, you can also purchase the DVDs for £95.00.  The DVDs come with the episodes, plus an audio CD, aaaaand a 70 page guide.  Keep in mind, if you are in North America, these DVDs are in the PAL format (although formatted for all regions within the PAL format).  This is NOT the standard for North American DVD players (rather, that's NTSC) so you will need to see if you have a PAL-compatible DVD player.  This has to do with the color encoding, and if you try to run these DVDs in a non-PAL DVD player, it just won't work.  The DVDs have a 30-day money back guarantee (although with the time it takes to ship to the US sometimes from the UK, I suggest doing the online 2 week trial to see if you like the program first).

Still not sure?  Take a look at what other Crew members have to say about this!

Disclaimer: I received access to the online version of this program free of charge for the purpose of this review.  All opinions in this review are my own, and I received no other compensation for this review.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Busy busy busy around here!

Voom is officially a BOY, so at least I don't have much to worry about THERE.  (and he looks JUST like Thing 2 on the ultrasounds as well, it was pretty freaky!)

On the other hand, Thing 1 will be starting first grade this year, and in an attempt to be organized I have already ordered some of his stuff and started working on planning (his school year starts in the spring instead of fall, since the winter is really busy for us).  Most importantly, I have the beginning of his science and all of his history stuff already.  I figured since they are the subjects that will require the most preparation on MY part, I'd best get started early ;)

Other than that, Operation Clean the House is going pretty well most days.  I'm almost caught up on laundry (FINALLY!) and the kitchen has been staying clean more days than not ;)

So while very busy around here, things are slowly falling into place so that this household should hopefully maybe run more like a well-oiled machine by the time Voom makes his arrival :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Easy Classical


I have spent many of my insomnia-ridden nights up and reading The Well-Trained Mind, mentally planning and choosing and everything for our upcoming school year.  I have heard many great things about the Classical model, and am highly interested.

One problem.

It can be very intense to plan.


If you are also interested in the Classical model, but intimidated by the large amount of planning needed on your part for the grammar stage (ad beginning of the logic stage), then Easy Classical is someplace you need to check out.  They offer schedules and lesson pages for grades 1-6, which can make your life a whole lot easier.  (at least when it comes to planning)

I had the opportunity to review their history schedule for the Early Modern time period.  You can see a sample of what I got here.  It's ALL laid out for you!  You have what reading needs to be done, the activities, the cross-curricular activities (like writing), some comprehension questions to ask (with possible answers, even!), and lists of everything you need.

Now, if you're wanting to follow the EXACT layout for history in The Well-Trained Mind, you may have to adjust the schedule a little bit, pulling a couple schedules together in some cases, since the timeframes are broken up a bit differently.  But, it is THOROUGH.

If you choose, you can take the schedule, like the one I have, and the materials listed here as needed, and go about your business.  OR, you can go with something like Easy Classical's bundles, which include writing, geography and copywork on top of the schedule.  Easy Classical offers science schedules as well, making what I consider to be the other hard part of planning a whoooole lot easier :) 

If you would like to purchase one of these schedules, head on over to Easy Classical's website.  The Early Modern history schedule that I received, in digital format is 29.95, and the notebook version is 35.95.  This is the same for all of the history schedules.  If you would like to see a sample of the schedule, check here, and for the lesson pages sample, check here.

Personally, while I find the ease of just grabbing the schedule and my materials and going appealing, I am going to try and tough it out a bit more.  I prefer the 4 year cycle of history, rather than having it stretched out a little bit.  I'm picky, I know.  But this IS a great idea if you find the classical planning to be overwhelming and/or your classically homeschooled child needs the history slowed down a bit.  (or if you would prefer a little bit slower pace yourself)

If you would like to see the opinions of other Crew members, check the TOS Crew blog!

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for my honest review of this product.  I received no other compensation for this review.

Friday, January 7, 2011



Link, Thing 1 and I are all readers.  We read a LOT.  Thing 1 and I typically stick with the printed word, while Link is usually reading on a computer (it's hard to drag him away hehehe)

Something I have been concerned about while Thing 1 is reading is the fact that as he gets better at reading, and the books become more complex, there's more and more lines of text filling the pages, making it harder to tell what line he's on and therefore causing him to get lost while reading.  (I do this fairly regularly myself, but it might be because the only time I get to read for long periods of time is at night when I'm about to fall asleep ;)  )


Enter See-N-Read.  The polyester-based, matte, translucent material has a single line across it that is without color in order to allow you to see the line you are reading.  With the rest of it being a matte gray color, but not opaque, you can also see the things AROUND what you are reading, which is helpful when reading quickly, or when something is hyphenated at the end of the line.  And no glare!


The See-N-Read Reading Tool is something I DEFINITELY see Thing 1 (and 2 and Voom eventually ;) ) using as he gets into books with a lot more text.  For now he prefers to point to words for the most part, so he dubbed this a bit of a nuisance.  *I*, however, love it!  I received two different sizes, the "book" size, which is 5.5" by 3", and the "document" size, which is 8.5" by 3" (the document size would be great for anyone who does things like legal work or similar professions and has to read page upon page upon page of text printed out... we bought a house last year, I've SEEN the stack of paperwork that comes with that, trust me, this would be great ;)  ).  I typically stick to the book size (since most of what I am reading IS books) and it does help a lot to keep me from rereading the same line 5 times in a half-asleep haze.

I also received the book sized Memory Mark See-N-Read, which is basically the same thing as the original See-N-Read, but there is an opening in the clear line where you can use a highlighter (or underline or make notes) and maintain your line.  This I haven't used much myself yet, but, I can definitely see where it would be useful.  Textbooks for older students (if they're allowed to write in them) can easily be marked for things to remember with this tool.  And the added bonus is that while it also helps you maintain what line you're READING, it also keeps you from accidentally highlighting the line above or below (ok, so I'm a clutz and it might just be ME who has that sort of issue)

And no, those who predominantly read for hours (and hours and hours...) on the computer are not left out.  There is also the eSee-N-Read, which, you guessed it, produces a Seen-N-Read for you to use on your PC.  Nice for helping keep your place if a child comes up and distracts you from what you're doing ;)  Or coworker.  Or anyone else for that matter.  (can you tell in our house it's usually a child?)

A LOT of research has gone into these products, which you can read here.  And not only THAT, but these have also been tested to be BPA and phthalate free (proof here)!

If you are interested in purchasing any of these, the See-N-Read can be ordered here, starting at 2.99 for book size and 3.49 for document size (available for purchase in bulk!).  Memory Mark can be found here, for teh same prices (ALSO available in bulk!), and the eSee-N-Read can be found here, starting at 29.99 for a single one (also available purchased for 3 computers or for 5 with a savings!).  ALSO, the eSee-N-Read has a free 7 day trial available!  The link to download the trial is on this page where you can also order it :)

As you can tell, I rather like this product, and highly recommend it.  If you would like some other opinions, go check out the rest of the Crew's reviews, found here.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion on the product.  I received no other compensation for this review.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Math Facts NOW!


I am horrible at math.  Well, basic math.  Adding and multiplication are a bit difficult for me, or at least moreso than they SHOULD be.  I don't want my children to struggle like I did.


Enter Math Facts NOW!, a math facts drill program designed by a homeschooling father of 9 to help with practicing math facts.

This is an entirely on the computer program, BUUUUUUUUT it doesn't have the characters and songs and such that let's face it, can sometimes be a bit... much.  Thing 1 is not a huge fan of music, and often covers his ears, so having a program like this that doesn't have excess noise is GREAT!

When you first open teh program, you are greeted by a screen asking you to select who will be doing a lesson

(I created a special little profile so that Thing 1's real name wouldn't be on here :)  )

After thaaaaat you select which lesson you're going to use.  There aren't any premade lessons when you get the program, but the creation of lessons is incredibly easy.

On this screen you would simply select "Create a New Lesson" and then you get brought to the step-by-step lesson creation screens!  You select how long the child gets to answer each question, how many problems they have to do, and how many times they have to type the problem if they get it incorrect, on TOP of choosing the operation you are drilling and which facts to include (like, Addition, 1 facts) that you would expect from a drilling program.

One thing on this that I (and Thing 1) did not like, although it's more because us than the program itself, it completely makes sense for it to be there, is that when you get a problem WRONG, you have to type the entire problem in at least 2 times (depending on how many were set in the lesson creation).  Thing 1 doesn't use a lot of symbols as he types right now, so having to put in a + and an = is a bit hard for him and frustrates him.

This program, in our household, is well worth its 15.95 price tag (add 3.95 if you want a physical copy, and not the download).  I can create numerous different drills, Thing 1 gets practice without too many things that frustrate him, it's customizable, and it's very user friendly (well, besides the whole + and = thing for Thing 1, but he'll get past that with more practice ;)  )  If you're unsure, or want to take a look at it before purchasing, you can actually try it online, as well, and THAT is also great!

For more information you can check out the Math Facts NOW! site, or you can also go and see what my fellow Crew members thought of this program :)

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review of this product.  I received no other compensation for this review.

Thing 1 and Grammar

Unschooling seems to really work right now for Thing 1.  We're going to take a much mroe structured turn in a few months, but so far, I don't feel like I've ruined him with unschooling.

Take this conversation for instance

"What does it mean when you put an is-is on the end of a word?" (that's seriously what it sounded like he said)
"A what?"
"You know, when you have the little line up on the top and then an s"
"OH!  An APOSTROPHE and then an S"
"Uhmm... yeah" 
(insert explanation on what the apostrophe S means, including examples)
"What about when it's an s and then an apostrophe?"
(insert explanation)
"Ooooh so it's like *insert going on for five minutes about different examples he's read recently*"  

He better not throw off grammar studies like he did read :P

(and now he's playing on KIDO'Z on the Nick Jr site and learning different words in Spanish... *sigh* Slow down my young one, slow down)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011: Goals, First Quarter

Since I have a major life event happening around April, and making resolutions/goals for the whole year seems a bit silly with that in mind (y'know, the usual "I will get in shape"... well, the only shape I will be for a few more months is ROUND and getting ROUNDER... not something I want to be thinking abotu when assessing how I'm doing on goals)

Soooooo instead I am going to set goals for the first quarter!

~Get everyone eating healthier, and get some sort of efficient system so mealtimes are easy to get through
 ~Get the house organized and KEEP it that way
~Get (and stay) on top of laundry
~During this first quarter of the year, I want to get a good bit of stuff tentatively planned for Thing 1's first half or so of first grade.  That way I can just GO rather than flounder when the time comes

Not much as far as "typical" type goals.  I'd also like to get around to crafting a LOT more.  I love doing it, it's my "me time" and I just don't get to always do it.