Thursday, March 31, 2011
So when I imagine Charlotte Mason learning, what do I see? Hours spent outside. Observing nature, collecting bugs and rocks, learnign everything there is to know about HERE. Listening, smelling, watching.
I see us snuggled up on the couch reading Charlotte’s Web and Anne of Green Gables. I see us talking. Not me talking, us talking. Discussing, learning together and from each other. Discoveries. Passions ignited, and more questions then answers found. Leading deeper into the heart of learning.
I see us making nature notebooks, full of leaf rubbing. Watching bugs grow and change, and butterflies emerge. I see us knowing the birds by their calls and the trees by their leave. I see nests and rocks and eggshells scattered on our shelves.
I see us learning about history, not through facts and dates, but through stores of the people who lived there. Through imagination and delight.
So, where did I get this vision of Charlotte Mason’s gentle methods? A wonderful blog, which has a series all about Charlotte’s ideas, and she puts them in such a plan and simple method that I can’t help but be tempted by them. If you would like to read more about Charlotte Mason’s method, or the information that you have read before has been confusing, you need to check out these blog posts.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Just in case you haven’t heard… Amanda Bennett and her team just released their newest Download N Go, this time all about one of our most important Holy days. Easter Promise is a week-long study, which, like all the Download N Go units, incorporates lapbooking with worksheets, online videos, lots of links, and more. I have been anxious for this study, and I can’t wait to try it out!
Day 1: Who is Jesus?
Day 2: Miracles and Ministry of Jesus
Day 3: Learn About the Last Supper
Day 4: What is Good Friday
Day 5: Jesus’ Resurrection
Monday, March 28, 2011
I have seen a few of these around, and I thought they looked fun (and easy). The idea is to answer five questions about yourself, to help your blog readers learn more about you. I think this is a fun idea, because it is easy to feel like we ‘know’ each other in the virtual world, but we really don’t. This is a neat way to get more connected with each other, beyond the ideas and information that we always share.
1. Crunchy or soft tacos? Soft, mmmm yummy. The crunchy ones are too crunchy. ;)
2. Do you scrapbook? Yes. Well, I rarely actually scrapbook, but I have scrapbook stuff, and pictures, and once in a while they come together into something meaningful. That’s why I wanted to start a blog- virtual, pain-free scrapbooking without the hassle and mess. Will it replace my real scrapbooking? Never, but I hope that more of the memories will be preserved this way.
3. Do you take any daily medications? No. Well, vitamins. And chocolate.
4. What is your favorite sound? Newborn babies crying. Top of the list. Other favorites? Thunder, paper rattling, accapella hymns, the wind rustling big cottonwood leaves, mourning doves and meadowlarks.
5. Where were you born? Kansas. You call tell I am a prairie girl by reading my list of favorite sounds.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
I forgot one state. I have been in Illinois a few times, too. :)
Friday, March 25, 2011
I think that this could be a great product for unmotivated children, or parents who have trouble drilling consistently. Because the computer is in charge, the parent doesn’t have to set limits. If the kids don’t like it, they can blame the program. :) The prices range from $19.99 to $99.99, plus an individual program option stating at $7.99. You can see a list of pricing options at Big IQ Kids, and I would recommend thinking about getting individual programs instead of the package, if you have younger elementary age kiddos. Big IQ kids is for 1st grade and up, but some of the programs are aimed at the upper elementary grades.
Monday, March 21, 2011
These books are designed to help babies and toddlers learn to read. There are five little books in the set, and they are all easy to understand versions of Aesop's Fables. You can get the whole set for $37.50 from the Brill Kids website.
Baby Girl loves the books! She is happy because they are her ‘own’, but she likes the stories and pictures, too. She brings them to me all the time, so I can read to her. I thought that the flap might frustrate her, but that's her favorite part! She loves to point her finger at the words while I move it along and read. I was very surprised to see how much she likes to focus on the words!
The only thing I don’t like about these books? They aren’t the highest quality. The paper wrinkles easily and the cover seems to be flimsy. the pages are thin, almost like magazine pages. But I like the books, I like the idea, and they passed all of the tests that Baby girl gave them. I enjoy reading them, I just wish that they were going to stand up to toddler-hood a little better.
I received this product free of chargeas a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,for review purposes. I promise to be honestand fair in my reviews, and I received noother compensation in exchange for my review.You can visit The Old Schoolhouse Crew blogto read more reviews on this product.
Church. Singing, praying, listening. Wigglers. Spilled water and missionaries.
Lunch. Tacos in the park. Family. Laughter. “Swing me!”
Time to go home.
Let’s stop and take a walk… Arkansas river, just a trickle of it’s eventual glory. Catfish. Cow pies. Throwing rocks.
And then, tadpoles! Great fat wriggling things in the edge of the water. The kids were so excited to see them, and they wanted to catch them. Now, we will have to buy a net and see if we can raise a bullfrog. I had no idea tadpoles got so big!
Friday, March 18, 2011
Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest heights…Let’s go fly a kite and send it souring,
Up through the atmosphere, up where the sky is clear…
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!
Before we flew our kites the first time, we got to learn all sorts of things about them. We learned about kite safety, and the very first people to fly kites. We learned about wind and clouds, inventors and explorers. And, of course, we learned a lot about kites! There are a lot of hands-on activates in Kite Capers, not the least of which is simply flying a kite. But we also got to learn about how kites fly and make our own kites. We also got to draw a different kind of kite each day. Who knew that there were so many different kinds of kites? Caiden was especially enthralled with the huge octopus kites, and he drew one on each of his pages after he was done drawing the “kite of the day”.
We loved the embedded video clips, and we felt like we got to visit all sorts of different kite festivals and see the amazing kites. Divers gently swimming, giant sea rays, dogs and cats… the list goes on. We even watched the biggest kite in the world lift off the ground! The video clips are embedded in a special Download N Go page, so they are always safe for little eyes.
This unit has a copywork page for each day, and I think that is great. Bop is getting to the age where she needs to be practicing her handwriting, and copying Bible verses about wind is a great way to do that! She is not used to using single-lined pages, so I added a middle dashes line in between them. Since the verses are not on the copywork pages, I would copy it down for her on the lines above hers, and we erased my writing after she was done. it worked great and was a lot easier for her! They get really bored with regular handwriting, so I appreciate these pages.
You can read all of the other reviews for Kite Capers at the Download N Go blog, or go right to Amanda Bennett’s Unit Studies to pick up your own copy. Don’t forget to visit the Kite Capers page to download your free samples!
We love kites!
I received this product free of charge for review purposes. I promise to be honest and fair in my reviews, and I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. You can visit the Download-N-Go blog to read more reviews on this product.
It’s a favorite spring hobby- everyone wants to get their hands in the warm soil and dream of the bounty of summer. Now your kids can learn all about gardens, and a lot more, too, with this month-long unit study. For grades K-12.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
A moment. A glance. A fleeting thought…. what is a moment? You cannot catch it and keep it in a jar, like a bug. Holding it is like trying to hold onto the wind. You cannot push pause to look at it better. It is here and gone, most of them pass without us even knowing they came by. But what is the value of a moment?
A moment. A second. A breath… the first gaze into a newborn’s eye’s and time seems to stop. A first kiss. Wedding vows. That moment when the ring slips on your finger. Some moments are engraved on our hearts, and the camera of our mind remembers them better then a Canon ever could. But they are still just moments.
Why do some moments seem seared into our souls, while millions of others slip by each day, without a thought? Most of the time, moments come and go, each on the tail of the last one, in a seemingly invisible strand of time. But once in a while, the extraordinary moment stops us. We pause. We look. We notice. And we hold onto that moment, even if it is just for a second, and it becomes ours. Sometimes they are the expected ones. The first cry of the first child. But other times, they are just seemingly inconsequential and totally ordinary moments. But somehow, we are able to grasp them, hold them in our hands, and cherish them, for just a moment.
The ordinary flow of time stops and we are completely surrounded by this moment. Our senses feel, hear and see everything with amazing clarity and nothing else matters. This moment is everything. This moment is eternity. And then it is gone, like a breath. But we were there, for an instant. We held time in our hands and captured it. We held onto a moment. Not with a camera, not by journaling, but by living it. Right there, in that second of ordinary-ness.
What is the va lue of a moment? Sometimes, a moment is eternity. Have you ever lost a child, or talked to a grieving parent? The last kiss, the last glance, the last goodbye. Moments that were not noticed at the time, but become more treasured then a thousand jewels. The moment he looked back and smiled. The hug before she walked out the door. The moments that never mattered before suddenly become everything. What is the value of a moment?
So, really, what is the value of a moment? A second? A glance that stops time? It’s like asking the value of a cell. The value of DNA. The value of a soul. A moment is everything. Eternity. Life.
A moment is life. So today, when your little ones are crying and supper is late, when your laundry is piled up and you want to run away… stop. Just stop everything and hold onto the moment. You can hold time in your hand. A breath. A touch. A look. Hold onto it. Feel it, see it, hear it. A moment. Just a moment, nothing great. But it is everything.
Linked to Thought-Provoking Thursdays
Friday, March 11, 2011
Really! Read why. We will send you a free deck of Pyramath or Fractazmic or Prime Bomb
What we are asking (hopefully not too much to ask)
We BELIEVE all students can succeed in math. We have heard from schools where teachers tell us the students look forward to math, where students skip recess to do math. We will send you a free deck of your selected game. What we want you to do is tell us what you think. We don't care how, we've had over 100 people blog about how much they love the games, some post to our Facebook Page , some just email us. Others have made up games and sent us new games for our cards.
But the real reason is we understand the importance of math and we KNOW PYRAMATH WORKS! You can try it now free, no obligation. If you like it - tell us, if you don't like it tell then tell us!
To get your cards send some information to firstname.lastname@example.org (she's doing all the mailings) - We want to know your mailing address (we do need to actually mail them to you), what grade you teach and where.
Yes - you can forward this mail to your friends, too!
www.pyramath.com - this is the link to our web site, that is where you can
learn more about Pyramath and our other games.
Copyright © 2011 I See Cards, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this mail because we met you at one of the many conferences like NCTM and you requested more information on Pyrmath, I See Cards, and Fractazmic.
Our mailing address is:
I See Cards
1155 Elm St.Oviedo, FL 32765
Add us to your address book
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
What is Reading Kingdom? Reading Kingdom is an online subscription program that costs $19.99 a month, or $199.99 a year. (Extra children are $9.99 a month) They also offer a scholarship program for those who truly cannot afford the price. There are several levels in the Reading Kingdom, and you can read more about that on this overview page. I HIGHLY recommend that anyone considering this program read this page, because it also has a lot of informative screen shots that help you see how the program works.
Before we received the review information, I went to the website to learn as much as I could about the program. I was a little frustrated by the lack of information, so I am going to try to fill you in. Bear with me, this may be a long review. You can visit the Reading Kingdom website to learn more about the principles behind their approach, and get your own 30-day free trial.
|"If you can type "fly", type it here."|
|Clicking on the word "kid"|
After doing that several times, there are a few more games they may go through, all of which center around picking the word out of several and typing it. They may also type other words that they already know, or even a whole sentence or more, as they progress. There is also a game that has several words with letters missing and they pick which one can become "eat", like "_a_". Then they will fill in the missing letters and make the word.
|Fill-in the letters|
One last feature I want to mention is the left-to-right tracking screen. This screen brings up several short sentences that contain the target word, "eat" 3 or 4 times. The child must click on each word "eat", in order. After learning several new words, there is a story for the child to read, complete with animated pictures.
But after using the program for almost 2 months, and after both children moved out of Seeing Sequences and Letter Land, and on through the assessment to the first level, I have very different feelings! I like Reading Kingdom. It starts out teaching the children the foundation or left-to-right sequencing, which is so important, and it moves on to teach exactly where each letter is found, and how to make capital letters using the 'shift' key.
My favorite part of the program? It teaches sight words, but they are not just learning to LOOK at them. They learn to type, read and recognize the words, even in the middle of a story. And once they have learned a word, it is not just put on a shelf, they use it in later lessons, over and over again. They do not learn to write the words physically but that is out of the scope of the program. They do learn to spell each word perfectly, which was completely unexpected to me. I love that!
CJ has had a much harder time. He cannot use the program alone, because he has trouble comprehending the nuances of what to do where. He is also highly distractable right now, and every thing in the program is timed. One distraction and the program assumes that he does not know whatever word it is. He also has had more trouble memorizing the words and the spellings, so he is moving through the levels much slower then Bop. That is not really surprising, he is only 4. The program says to expect 10-15 weeks for each level, so at that rate he is moving along quicker then average.
|Typing the word after |
selecting the correct picture.
I also recommend signing up a parent account when you set up your free trial. Your child will likely be in Letter Land and Seeing Sequences for the whole period of the trial, so you won't be able to get to the heart of the program to see for your self how it works. Set up an account for yourself, test out of the first foundational sections, and do some of the lessons in level one or two. Then you will be able to have a much better idea of how it works.
Be sure to read through the other reviews, which include a lot of diverse situations, including older remedial children, younger beginners, and some learning disorders such as dyslexia. And don't forget to sign up for your free 30-day trial of Reading Kingdom!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Well, lately it has been closer to 7:00 every morning when I rise, and that is when the kids get up too. This started because my husband got a new job and doesn't leave as early. But it has continued because... well, to be honest, like most mothers with little ones, I like to sleep. Even though my youngest is 2 1/2, I still regularly get interruptions in the night, whether for a glass of water, take someone to the potty, or bad dreams. But lately sleeping in has become, in stead of a luxury, more of a bad habit.
Yesterday, for some reason, (maybe it's the lengthening days) I woke up at 5:00 and got out of bed at 6:00. My, what a difference! I felt energetic from the start. I did several things around the house before the kids got up, then while they had breakfast I sat down and wrote a review for tomorrow. I was all done with that early and it is a LONG one.
Put simply, I was amazed at how easily I had gotten used to sleeping later, and what a difference it made to get up even a little earlier. Many people say that there are only 24 hours in a day, but rising earlier can give you and extra hour or two all to yourself! What a treat for a busy homeschooling mama with several "ankle-biters", as Kevin Leman would say.
And the best part? Nothing can replace time spent alone with God, to pray, meditate and prepare for the day. This is the best way I have found to live each day on purpose. If you start each day with eternity on your mind, how can you help but raise your children with the big picture in front of you?
Friday, March 4, 2011
Popcorn. How many things are there to learn about popcorn? Well, if you use Amanda Bennett's Download N Go there is a lot to learn! We got to do some state studies, history, science, and more. We learned how the popcorn pops, visited a virtual popcorn museum, and we (of course) ate a lot of popcorn!
Your kids will have so much fun with Hoppin' Popcorn, that they fay forget this is 'school'! But you won't forget, because there is a lot of learning packed into this unassuming subject.
Day 1: Popcorn—What Is It?
Day 2: The Story of Popcorn
Day 3: The Flavors of Popcorn
Day 4: The Science of Popcorn
Day 5: Fun With Popcorn
We always have a lot of fun with that last day. Games, party ideas, printables, fun movies, and more. Have you seen the pages from the Download N Go studies? wow, they are so bright and colorful, the kids love them! The drawing pages are always a favorite, because they combine colorful background or fun borders with drawing ideas. You can download samples of the pages in Hoppin' Popcorn, which is excellent because I always like to see something before I buy it!
This giveaway will be a short one, so you need to have your entries in by TUESDAY the 8th. Sometimes it is nice to just enter and be done, without leaving 5 or 6 comments, so this giveaway is going to be EASY! Just leave a comment. Tell me you what you like about my blog, about Download N Go unit studies, or just tell me you want to be entered!
Now, if you WANT to follow my blog or talk about this giveaway on Facebook and Twitter, I will be delighted, but for the contest all you need to do is leave one comment.