Thursday, April 28, 2011

Field Trip..... to the Dr.'s Office???

Lately it seems as though we are at the Dr.'s office every other day....  At least last week we were.. and that was just with one child!  This week it was two appointments in two days, with another one.

People have asked me,  "So what do you do for school when you have 4 kids and one has a Dr. appointment? "

Well, the quick answer is that we "school" through the appointment. 

Dr.'s offices walls contain a wealth of informational material!  When we are at the Orthopaedist, we study the skeletal and muscular systems that are up on the wall.  We discuss how tendons and ligaments help our bodies move.  We practice movement with our uninjured parts and try to see what muscle on the chart is working in our body.  We also sound out the complicated medical terminology, looking for the Latin bases to the words to help us understand what the word means.

We learn about the equipment that is being used.  The Otoscope, looks in our ears.  The Blood Pressure cuff and how it works to measure the flow of blood in our body.  We talk about how X-ray machines work and what those beeping boxes are on the walls in emergency rooms.

My favorite is when you are in a room with a model ear or intestines or brain.  I never let it sit on the counter, it is always picked up and discussed.  We learn by touching the hammer and the anvil in our model ear, we pull out the hemispheres in the brain model to reveal the cerebral cortex and discuss its functions.  Intestines are terribly interesting, and we will talk about absorption, and peristalsis and how our food moves from our mouth and through our body.

Curiosity is the key to learning while you are at the Dr.'s office.  Don't be afraid to ask your doctor questions while you are there about the things you see on the wall or counters, or pick up the card that usually accompanies the model as your answer key.  If there isn't one, come home and look up what you saw on the computer or in your science book and learn some more.

Lots and lots of Dr. appointments doesn't mean you have to miss school.  Thinking of them as a science field trip, can create an endless amount of opportunities for learning

Monday, April 25, 2011

free transcripts

My Homeschool Transcripts just came out with a new feature...

If you need a transcript in a jiffy, or maybe you only have one child and don't need a life-time access....  whatever the reason you can generate a professional transcript that you are able to save to your computer and print out as needed.........


.....learning hard lessons.....

Yesterday we had a tragedy.....

One of the puppies died.

Hunter was leaning on the gate that make the laundry room the Nursery.

The gate crashed down, hitting one of the puppies.

It was sad.  Hunter was devastated.

Learning life lessons the hard way, ........... sucks.

Now there are four..........

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Homeschool Mother's Journal 4.23.11

In my life this week…

I managed a majorly Epic mom fail.   You can read all about it here.   I  managed to write up two recipes, make 6 printable sheets, write three reviews, catch a game of high school softball, take one kid to three different Dr appointments.... and not lose any kids in the process. 

That has to count for something.

In our homeschool this week…

School has been very scatted.  With all the Dr appointments, and regular errands, it has been a week of Car Schooling for us.... grabbing work books or flash cards or just reading Dr. Doolittle, have been what Hunter has been doing. 

We also had puppies this week... so Tuesday.... was a whole lot of Animal Biology.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Easter Sunday we will be hosting some friends over for Lunner.  I very much enjoy having people over to visit with and cook for.

I do not enjoy very much the prepping and cleaning before hand.....  and that is why I am blogging instead of cleaning.

Don't judge me.

My favorite thing this week was…

Trying on glasses with Evan at the eye doctors.  It is fun to make faces when you try them on.

What’s working/not working for us…

The truck isn't running as it should.  I am praying that it is obedient and can wait until next week to be disassembled and put back together.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

My daughter has approached me about wanting to participate in a program offered here called Running Start.  She would finish out her HS years with a AA degree. 

I am sure she will do fine.  I am just having trouble adjusting to the fact that my little birdies aren't so little anymore and that growing up is bittersweet.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Link up with other moms and share your Homeschool Journal

Friday, April 22, 2011

Art Class by See the Light

See the Light has come up with a way to help homeschooled children have Art Lessons right in their own home.

Art Class is a 9 Disc Set comprised of 36 individual Art Lessons.


Each lesson is about 15 minutes in length, and it does offer ideas of what to practice drawing after the video lesson is over.  I would suggest watching one lesson a week and practicing a few other days during the week, for reinforcement.

I was given Volume 1 to review.  It starts out with the basic tools you will need to use with the program.  Most of the items could very easily be purchased inexpensively when school supplies are on sale in August.  Every item that was listed in the first lesson, we already had lying around the house in our everyday supplies.

From gathering supplies to the basic way to hold a pencil, the lessons swiftly progress. Moving through the drawing of lines and shading.... to contour and composition, then drawing what you see, not what you know. 

We were also given a preview disc that shows a wide variety of excerpts from Volumes 2 ~ 9.  This preview disc had my two artsy ones literally drooling.... and creatively begging me to get the whole course.


As soon as it arrived and was out of the package, I think it sat on the kitchen counter for maybe 30 seconds.  My 15 year old daughter grabbed it and plugged it into the computer to watch.  She watched the first two lessons in rapid succession.  At this point she was joined by my 8 year old son, who was just as enthralled. 

In following weeks the two of them would get their art pads and watch it in the living room on the TV....  Tayler (15) was much more diligent with the follow up practice than Hunter (8) was, but the each had different goals.  Tayler was looking to practice for mastery of the skill, and Hunter was just trying to get it to look like something on the paper.


Volume 1 was clear, and easy to follow.  Both children used the suggestions of the teacher for follow up work...  It did a good job of whetting our appetite to learn more about creating art using different tools and mediums.

I am not an artist.... I don't even play one one TV....  I never took an art class in high school.   Still, I enjoyed these lessons.  Watching them with my kids, I felt confidant enough to give them pointers and reminders from the video lessons as they were working on their own. 

My husband IS an artist, he *could* play one on TV....  He does technical drawing and he can take things that are in MY head and draw them out on paper.....  that's right, I'm in awe.... 
.... how easily I digress....
Anyway.... he was impressed with the step by step method of teaching, and that it was very easy to follow for beginners.

A few things worth noting: 
  • the product is billed as "art class" yet throughout the first disc the instructor kept referring to it as art club while it really wasn't a big deal, it might want to be addressed from a continuity standpoint.
  • the preview disc, and the website state that the product offers Art History with the Class.  I did not see any Art History contained on the first disc.  It was shown on the preview disc, and I would surmise that it is contained on later discs when the lessons move past the basics.
  • my daughter was "overwhelmed" by the speed of the bonus lesson.  my husband said that the instructor glossed over many of the steps without explaining why you might need to do something in a certain order.  we understand that everyone has a different teaching style, but this lesson would be one we would have to watch multiple times to fully grasp the concepts. ....  but the black light trick.... is WAY cool!

See the Light offers their Art Class lessons two different ways....  the 9 disc set.... for $99.00 or through an online subscription for $10.00 a month. It is appropriate for children of all ages... even my 4 year old will sit and watch "da wady dwah".

Check out these three free lessons!

Here are some lessons in lettering, chalk work and watercolors.

Viewing those videos above will really give you a taste of what this program is all about.  Take the time to surf around on their website : and see some of the other products they offer.

As always, you should never take just *my* word for it....  Other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew Reviewed this product.  Pop on over and see what they are saying about it!

*** For the purpose of this review, See the Light, provided Volume 1 to members of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, free of charge.  No other compensation has been given.  All the above expressed opinions are my own and those of the members of my family that used the product.***

Thursday, April 21, 2011

an unexpected ah-ha moment.....

What do you do when your child struggles?  Do you have a child that just isn't "getting" a subject or concept?  Do you feel like you are at your wits end, having tried nearly every product out there and they haven't helped?

I have been feeling that way with Hunter lately.  Mostly with reading and spelling and getting down the multiplication facts.  It isn't that he can't do it....  it just doesn't stick in his head.

It isn't that we can't walk through the process and figure out the math problem.... it is that he has drilled and drilled them with computer games, but when he sees the same problem two hours later on a piece of paper.... the memory of it is Gone! Poof! Disappeared!

........and then, I am fighting the urge to bash my head against the nearest wall.......

We have used Explode the Code, Reading Kingdom, TATRAS phonics, The Victory Drill Book, Math Drill books, Math Rider, Flash Cards.....  anything and everything I can think of......  All of these products work to a point.... he is learning to hear and sound things out better and he can remember the facts as he plays the games...........  but absolutely not a one of them has helped spelling concepts to transfer over from the words he sees on  the screen into a pattern he can use away from the screen and apply to other words. Not one of them has helped him move a math fact repeatedly from the screen to a question in a math book.

( Note:  My purpose here is not to bash any of these programs....  They are wonderful, and if you ask my son, he loves working on every one of them...  I love them too they are great programs!!  I am just at a loss in how to turn that "key" or open up a door for my son.....  I am desperately searching for something to make it "click" for him)

So I keep searching.... looking up things on the Internet, trying new games, changing up routines so that he can tackle different things when he is fresh in the morning....  All the while..... silently bearing my soul to the Lord...... asking him to show me something that will work....

show me the one thing that will make it all click......

Let's rewind back to last week.  Crazy busy week....
You're organized and on it so I know you don't know what crazy weeks are.... right?


Tuesday was the April Pre-Show for Schoolhouse Expo.  And I will be honest....  I groaned when I realized it.  I already had to drive everyone everywhere in the afternoon, and I was afraid that I would be missing most of it.... I had that feeling of one more responsibility being piled on to a plate that was dangerously full.  I had no idea how I was going to manage to get it all done.........  but I purposed to listen, and asked God to help make the time available so I could try and hear at least SOME of the speakers.

I was able to run around and mostly be ready to listen at 1:30 when it started....then I had to leave and drop a kid at her games.... then she forgot something so I knew I had to go back with it..... I got home and someone was there that needed to use my computer ( I forgot that I had said yes come over and use it at that time.... ) the audio was annoying so they turned it off....  I missed a speaker....  I was trying to be gracious, and not pace back and forth, wondering what great information I was missing......

Computer usage done..... I was able to turn it back on, just as Dianne Craft was starting up.....  suddenly the house was quiet... the boys were playing outside and occupied....  I didn't have to run back to the ball field just yet....  dinner was already started....  I actually could devote all my attention to this speaker....  It was as if Jesus had calmed the stormy day.... just to focus my attention right here, right now.

So I took the hint.

I sat and was still.

Dianne talked about brains.... the right side and the left side of them...  How the side with the dominance can affect the way your child learns.

The title of the talk was "My child doesn't learn like my others: Right Brained Strategies"

Just reading the title; I was agreeing....  I was thinking to myself... " You're telling ME he doesn't learn like the other ones!!!!" ....  I was quickly getting eager to hear more..........

The first strategy that she spoke about was with Math Facts....  Flash cards and Math Games have BLANKS at the bottom of the problem..... She said that Right brained kids will make a mental imprint of the flash card....  so to them when they see 9x4=  in their math book........and they try to recall what they saw and recorded in their head when you did flash cards.....  they come up with BLANK...  because that is what the mental imprint was for them during drill time. 

I sat there and said.... AH-HA!!!!!

She reminded us parents that we don't test with flash cards.... we TEACH  with them.....  and for a child that is right brain dominant, we need to put the answers at the bottom of the problem, to create the mental record that 9x4 really is 36.

She applied the same technique to spelling.  She asked if any of us had a child that could do spelling words for a week, and get 100% on a test..... and then next Tuesday when you asked him how to spell a word from the week before it was completely wrong.....

I sat talking out loud to my computer speakers, waving my arms, in my kitchen, saying " YES!!  YES!!! that is MY CHILD!"

She then offered up a tool to help move words from short term memory, to long term memory, with little or no effort on the child's part. 

I was sceptical.  little or no effort on the part of the child?  Certainly she was unaware of the meltdowns, frustration and total avoidance of all things WORDS that was going on in my house.

As she talked.
A visitor straggled in.
Hunter....  the one who I had been mentally wrestling with.....
He pulled up a chair and started to listen to Dianne Craft speak..

He looked at me and said.....
"That's how I think.... I see things like that.... the way she is talking about, that's me."

Remembering it now brings tears to my eyes.
It was as if a fog had lifted, and we were both learning how to learn together.
Oh, Magnificent God who heard the cries of a frustrated mother's heart..... and brought this information right to me..... thank you, I whispered.

So together Hunter and I watched how Dianne drew spelling words.  How she used color, humor, "weird", and emotions to move words from short term memory to long term by teaching to the video recorder that is inside the head of Right Brained kids.

One of the words she had on the screen was PEOPLE.  She drew a brown earth circle for the O... and colored into it the continents and the ocean. She told a story that the world had to be big to hold all these people.   Then she moved to the next word....  MANY....  her A this time was lower case and inside it was a bunch of kids on a jungle gym or something....  really to me it looked like colored dots and squiggles.

She went on to say how to hold the cards, make the cards, to ask the child to recall the picture and the colors used for writing the word, to have them spell them both forward and backward and to do it every day for five days.

I decided that later in the day I would test Hunter on these two words and see if he could remember them.  Both of these words he would spell as Peple or Meny.

After Dianne's lecture, we eventually left to take his sister her forgotten envelope.  On the way home in the car, I asked him to spell "people".

He did.
I asked him to spell it backwards.
again, perfectly....
"Do you remember the colors and picture that she drew?"...
He did.  perfectly.

and so it went for the word "many".....

There was a Hallelujah chorus going off in my head.
I had found the thing that would make other things *click*

Thank you God for quieting my day at just the perfect time.....for answering the prayer of this mother's heart and for allowing me to learn a tool that will make learning easier for my child.

Thank you Schoolhouse Expo for bringing this wonderful speaker directly to me.

Thank you Dianne Craft for being oh so much smarter than me and so graciously sharing what you know with others....
Dianne Craft will speak again at the May Expo (16th-20th)  If you don't have a ticket yet, and my story sounds like your everyday life..........  please get a ticket and join in.  Even if she is the only speaker you listen to.....  you will learn more about how to teach your Right Brained child and make information stick!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Puppy Count

The puppies have all arrived....

We are now the proud parents of 5 more puppies.  Four boys ( 2 black and 2 chocolate ), and one girl (chocolate) .

I will post some pictures as soon as Momma stops looking at me like I'm a kidnapper.

Growing Healthy Homes : Nutrition 101: Choose Life !


It was a pleasure to review the book Nutrition 101: Choose Life!, by Growing Healthy Homes.  It was great to have a product that is meant to be used by every member of the family, including dad !     

Nutrition 101: Choose Life!,  is a 448 page book divided into 6 different units of study. 

  • The Brain and Nervous System
  • Digestion and Elimination
  • Respiration and Olfactory
  • Muscular and Skeletal Systems
  • Cardiovascular and Immune Systems
  • Endocrine System and Emotions
The book is a really nice family health and nutrition curriculum.  Very informative and easy to use.  There are many recipes with in the book, and they are wonderful tasting!  It is a great way to teach your kids  how what they eat affects their body in many different ways.


We would read the chapters on Monday evening as a family after dinner, and everyone would participate in answering the questions that are at the end. 

Then we would look ahead to see the recipe that we would be making later in the week.  I would shop for the ingredients with the kids at some point during our week, and they would help select the fruits and vegetables that were listed. 

Everyone would help prepare the dish on Thursday evening, which is typically one of our more relaxed family evenings. 

There were activities that helped to reinforce the topic for the week, and the older children would help the younger ones with the ones that they had chosen.

One of the things that I liked most was that there was no right or wrong way to use this book.  You can go section by section, you could use it only for recipes, or use it front to back as a stand alone curriculum.  I find myself referring to to often to see what foods will help those in my family who have stomach aches, or intestinal troubles.  We have changed the way that we look at many different foods, and have benefited greatly from this product. 
Nutrition 101: Choose Life!,  is available as a full color professionally printed and bound book for $99.95.
There is a CDROM version for $79.95..... or both for $129.95.
Here is a wonderful 27 page excerpt from the book.
While I can't guess what version of the product will work best for your family.....  I think that it is important to note that as reviewers we received the book as a digital download (PDF).  I loaded this version onto my Kindle and was very happy using the book, reading and making the recipes in this format. I sometimes even double checked the ingredient list while I was AT the store !
Visit Growing Healthy Homes and check out all the products they have to offer.  If you use the code TOScrew11 at checkout you will receive a 15% discount on your purchase. 

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received a PDF version of Nutrition 101: Choose Life, free of charge, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has be received. 

The best laid plans...........

Sometimes I see questions on Facebook walls, asking " What do you do when your homeschool day doesn't go as planned? " 

Seeing as though today is going to be one of those days........  I figured I should blog about it.

The original schedule was supposed to be Dr appt for Evan, home to do school and then the regular errands in the afternoon.

Instead......... the day is turning into...... Dr. appt with Evan, home to a dog in labor, Hunter and Jeremiah still sleeping.... and no school yet completed.  I really think today is going to be all about lessons in Animal Behavior, and Veterinary care............  and way less about books and math. I will still try to get that in too

....between puppies that is....

One of the important things to remember is that life happens..... all around you, everyday.  You can be insular and strict, and rigidly keep a schedule.... but some days... it just doesn't work.

Today we are going to gracefully live out Proverbs 16: 9

" A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps "

So don't be too hard on yourself when your planned day doesn't go as planned.  Trade the disappointment for excitement and find out what God has in store for your day.

and yes..........  I promise to let you know how many puppies we have

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Homeschool Mothers Journal 4.19.11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 

Forgive me friends.......... for I have sinned.  I have broken the cardinal rule of blogging.....
I have failed to make even ONE entry in nearly 2 weeks.
bad blogger I am...

I suppose I should catch up.... and fill you in on my own personal insanity that has kept me away from the screen........the link for HSMJ is closed for the week, I will just have to try again next week to link up.

{In my life this week…}

I have been a busy busy bee.  Last weekend was the Annual Ladies Retreat for our church, and I was on the decoration committee.  Our venue was changed, more decorations had to be thought of and made....  there were work days... and work days....   .... you get the picture.... I was busy !

{In our homeschool this week…}

We tried to get as much done as possible.  I was listening to the April Pre-show for the Schoolhouse Expo last Tuesday, and well.....  it was wonderful.  I have a whole post brewing in my brain about one of the speakers.  It was like a light bulb went off for us, and we are going to really work on implementing a few new things to help Hunter with his spelling and reading.

{Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…}

Well, we have spent a lot of time in the car.... driving, and dropping.  I really need to get a CD player for my rig so that we can listen to some things while we are in the car for 3 hours everyday. 

We have seen lots of Doctors this month.  Check-ups and referrals and follow ups with broken fingers, eye appointments and GI doctors.... 

{My favorite thing this week was…}

Seeing the vision I had in my head for the Retreat coming to life.  It is one thing to have this idea that you think is great.... but when it all comes together and looks halfway decent....  It was a nice sense of accomplishment.

{What’s working/not working for us…}

the weather!... 
it is getting nice outside and everyone wants to play and not work on their school!
{Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…}
I just feel real blessed to be able to homeschool.

{A photo, video, link, or quote to share…}

from a vacation a few years back.....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Music Lessons Made Easy on Mom ~ Kinderbach Online Piano Classes

We had a good time learning to play the piano with Kinderbach.
Jeremiah, age 4,  was our primary tester for this product.

This pretty much sums up his feelings on the program.....
A big thumbs up.

My initial thoughts about the program,   ~ before we actually used it ~,  were that it was going to be piano lessons for little kids....  and I wasn't quite sure how it was going to work... but we would give it a shot.

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised at what the program ACTUALLY does.  It is much more than I thought it would be.

Yes, it teaches your child the notes on the piano, but it really makes music theory come alive.  They will learn more about Rhythm, Intervals and Musical Patterns.  Each lesson uses a great multi-sensory approach.  They learn through listening, seeing, writing, and playing.

Through engaging and lively lessons, Kinderbach will gradually train your child to play the piano. The characters are fun, and help the child remember and associate pictures with all those black and white keys that look the same. This makes the program great for children that are not yet reading. 

Sometimes online classes are hard to follow.  The video clips can come across garbled.  I assure you that with Kinderbach,  THIS IS NOT THE CASE!!    Kerri Gregor, the founder, creator, and presenter of the online classes....  is excited and engaging.  She speaks directly to the children, slowly and clearly.  They are able to hear her directions and follow along with out any trouble.

Jeremiah enjoyed working on one whole week at a time.  Just one lesson wasn't enough for him.... he wanted to do the whole week in one day.  It was great for me to be able to print out the papers he would need right from the lesson screen, and let him get to work. If the lesson required him to actually be on the piano, I would set him up over the wireless Internet connection and place the laptop on top of the piano.  He loved having the computer and independence doing school like a big kid. 

Kinderbach is created for children ages 3-6.  They offer subscriptions to their ONLINE classes for $95.88 a year or monthly subscriptions for $19.99. 

If you have a slower Internet connection, they offer DVD/CD collections, that start at $40.55

If you are a member of a co-op and are looking for a great music program to use with the little kids while the big kids make rockets..... check out their Kinderbach Classroom option.

If you would like to incorporate a great musical foundation into your homeschool curriculum and really have no idea where to start, I would recommend this program.  If you purchase the yearly subscription.... it breaks down to only $7.99 a month.  Trust me...  I have two bigger kids in regular piano lessons.... and Kinderbach is a great price!!!

Don't just take my word for it....  Use the Kinderbach Free Trial...... and  head on over the the TOS Homeschool Crew page and read how other families used this in their homeschool.

As a Homeschool Crew member, I was given access to the Kinderbach Online Classes, free of charge.  Doing so enabled me to write this review.  No other compensation has been received.  What you read above, is our own opinion of the product.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Go, Go, Kabongo

Go Go Kabongo is an educational game website geared to children ages 4 -7. 

Their games develop cognitive skills.... all with the goal of building more confidant readers.

You can play Go Go Kabongo for free.  To purchase additional habitats the cost is $4.95 each. That is a one time charge.  No subscriptions. No renewals.

Right now if you sign up they will give you access to two habitats ( Laughter Lake and Galaxy Gardens ) for free. We played in all three habitats and I would consider the price to be very fair and reasonable for these engaging games.

How we used Go Go Kabongo:

I set up an account for both Jeremiah 4 (he was 3 when we started the review)  and Hunter who is 8.  I will say that Jeremiah enjoyed "doe doe tabon-doe" much more than his older brother.  Jeremiah played it once or twice a week, and it held his attention for longer than an hour on some days.  It was nice for me to have him in the kitchen while I made dinner, and know that he was learning something at the same time.  I love the learning through play that Go Go Kabongo provides.

Hunter liked earning skate park pieces for completing games....and being able to use the "stickers" that he won to create a picture, but much past that, it didn't really draw him in.  (He was a year OVER their age spectrum...  but he did give it a try because he knew mommy was reviewing it)

The website sends you these great emails letting you know what level of the game your child is on, and reminders when they haven't played for awhile.... ( we got those for Hunter who was not the most regular player)  I liked the reminders. It was great to see the progress they were making, and see the explanations of the skills each game was fostering.

They also include a suggested activity in the email.  They vary from week to week, but they are a great tool to help build word skills.   It is usually something that can be done when you are driving around, or even at the dinner table as a family.  To find more ways to develop the skills used in the games away from the computer, check out their Activity Time page.

What in the world does Cognitive development mean?  (I include this question because really big words/ concepts can sound important, but if we don't know what they mean..... what good are they??)
Cognitive development is the process by which children improve their ability to think, learn, and reason (both concretely and abstractly), and that is how they derive meaning from the world around them.

Now that you better understand the term, I hope you understand why developing those skills are pretty important.  To learn more about cognitive development and how it relates to building reading skills, there is a list of sites and articles on the Kabongo website. 


Jeremiah's favorite games were Critter Sitter, Scuba Dude and Crazy Maze...and Photo Safari.  I think that we will continue to use Go Go Kabongo as a pre-reading, educational game in our home. 

Things I offer up for consideration to the game creators:
  • The sound quality of the person or computer voice that is giving letter sounds is awfully hard to hear.  I tried with headphones, and was still confused as to what sound I was looking to find on Desert Dash.  Often we got the right letter on accident. Maybe it could be repeated a few times?
  • Is there a way to keep the mazes simple on Crazy Maze?  I couldn't get the letter ball to bounce right over things... and I'm 40.  Not 4.  While Jeremiah played this game often, he would just become frustrated when the ball wouldn't jump over what he was trying to get it over.
  • The characters are wearing on a weary mom's ears.  They tend to sound like a cartoon version of Bill and Ted's excellent adventure..... dude.

If you have a child 3 1/2 to 7, Go Go Kabongo could be an affordable resource for you to use from Pre-K through say the 1st or 2nd grade.  Take the time to go and browse their website and sign up to try it out!

Lots of other families reviewed this website, please take the time to read their reviews and see how the program worked for them!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and for the purpose of this review, I was given access to the Twister Top habitat, free of charge.  No other compensation has been received, nor am I obligated to present a positive review. Thank you for taking the time to read the disclaimer...... it will self destruct in 10 seconds.... 9....8......7.......

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Homeschool Mother's Journal 4.1.11

In my life this week...

I actually got an hour or so to work on some decorations for Ladies Retreat.  It is quickly sneaking up on me and there is much more decorating wizardry that needs to happen. 

I started to read Emma by Jane Austen.  I am only 3 chapters in....  Someday I will get a chance to read more than a half a page at a time.  Thank goodness it is on the Kindle and it keeps track of where I am.

I ordered the seeds for our garden.  We are going to be rolling in vegetables soon.  Well, Hunter will correct me... most vegetables are really fruits.... Thank you Apologia Science, Botany.

In our homeschool this week...

Hunter walked through the supermarket telling me how everything was really a fruit. 

Evan has been working ahead and completing books....  I think he wants next week off (it is spring break for the public schoolers here next week)...  I will think about it.

Tayler is plugging along, and is close to finishing History for the year. 

I need to find something for Jeremiah... he is getting bored with the worksheets I am printing....

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We go nowhere, we see no one.....  I just drive in circles around town shuttling teenage children to all their activities.  I need to get a life :)

My favorite thing this week was...

Taking Jeremiah to the Doctor and hearing him tell the Doctor that his sister Tayler giveded him his long eyelashes.

What's working/not working for us...

My own personal schedule needs some adjusting....  I need to go to bed earlier, and UP earlier!!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

Anyone have any good Pre-K resources?  I found and he loves that....  I am up for any and all suggestions

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...
It's spring.... softball is in the air.....

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
Don't forget to link up your journal to The Homeschool Chick

Homeschool Transcripts made easy

Are you freaked out a little bit at the thought of making a transcript for your high school student?

I know I was. 

I mean, I knew I could make one in a spreadsheet, or create one in a word document...... but that takes time.

Time is something I am short on these days.

I didn't want to have to format, fiddle, rearrange, fiddle, format some more, do the math to make the GPA right.... ugh...  and hope that it looked all nice and professional.   I mean really, let's face it.... coffee stained, handwritten transcripts are not the things that inspire a college to admit your little genius.

I am excited to tell you about an amazing product that I was privileged to be a beta tester for.


This has to be the greatest thing since parents decided to educate at home.  It is SO easy to use !!

The getting started wizard asks you to name your school, enter the years you are creating a record for, select the grade point values of your letter grades, it gives you a helpful list of possible classes.... or you can just skip the wizard and get right to work setting up the program.

It is easy to add students, classes, subjects, and grades.  You can enter how many credits are needed to graduate your student.  (I found that information out by just searching the Internet for the graduation requirements for my state.)
If your student attends college classes, or takes honors classes, you can weigh those classes more heavily into their GPA....  The program does it all the math for you.  You can enter testing data, extracurricular activities.... and it will all show up on the Transcript.

About half way into the beta testing process, I contacted the developer with a question....  I wondered if we could add some sort of a progressive or projected GPA to the transcript.  You see, in my state homeschoolers are allowed to participate in Public School Sports programs......  but that means they need to have grade check like everyone else does....  Steve Sensenig, the homeschool dad and creator of this program, went right to work adding this progressive feature to My Homeschool Transcripts

Last week,  we were in the school office paying our fees for Softball.....  (she made JV by the way) and the Athletic Director came out and asked if there was a way I could get them Tayler's grades.  I looked at him and smiled....  "Yes,"  I said.  "I will go home and email them to you this afternoon."  I got that look, the one that says....  "sure you will, homeschoolers don't 'do' grades"

Thanks to My Homeschool Transcripts, I was able to go home, plug in her 3rd quarter grades and in under 5 minutes I had a PDF transcript to email to the Athletic Director, with her projected GPA right on it.   HA!  It was great ! I felt so smart and organized !

This web-based application has an introductory price of $ 59.00, that is 25% off the regular price of $79.00.  For that price, you receive access to the application for LIFE....  all your kids, for all the years you homeschool.... how nice is that?  Including the 2 I have IN high school, I have 2 more still to go through high school and into college, and My Homeschool Transcripts is going to be there to help me do it !

This program is really worth the investment.  You can't put a price on peace of mind.  Go and get it now at this great low price!

*** disclaimer***
I received a copy of My Homeschool Transcripts for free in exchange for beta testing the software.  No other compensation has been received.  I was not asked to write a review on this product and have done so of my own volition.  I just think it is a great product and people need to know about it.

Let's go to the Movies ~ ZeeZok Publishing


What a fun idea this company has come up with.  They have made study guides for the movies!  These things are great, I really wish we had them when I was in High School.

We love movies over here in this house, and since Christmas when we got a Wii....  Netflix is our new best friend.   We chose to review the Z-guide for the movie To Kill a Mockingbird.  We went to Netflix and placed the movie in our DVD cue and waited for it to arrive.

To Kill a Mockingbird DVD (1962)

It took Evan and Tayler a little longer than usual to watch the movie....  They had a list of 25 questions to answer and those questions required real answers.  They would pause the movie, write their answer and keep going.    Why the review questions?  Kris Wilcox, President of Zeezok Publishing addresses that very question.

" This assignment forces the viewer to become an active learner, rather than a passive observer."

In addition to actively watching the movie and answering the questions the Z-guide will take your child on a more in depth study as well.

" There are nine additional activities that provide interdisciplinary educational opportunities built around each movie's theme."

The guide is divided into 10 different sections, and the company suggests 1 ~ 2 activities per day, making each Z-guide a week long study.  Our experience varied from that.  I would suggest that you stretch it out over a 2 week period.  In our study, much of the research required to produce thoughtful answers, took up a considerable amount of time, and a week just wasn't enough time.

Overall, both of my high schoolers enjoyed using the Z-guide.  They felt like they better understood the movie by answering the questions.  They also felt that the additional activities helped them better understand The Great Depression, and the way that Blacks and Whites interacted during the 1930's in Alabama.
Both children did suggest that the Z-guide contain some resource links for their Activity 2.  The questions asked required quite specific answers, and they became frustrated after reading site after site and not finding the answers they were looking for. 

ZeeZok Publishing has hit a home-run with this idea.  With nearly all the movie title available either at local libraries, or through Netflix, it truly is a great way to introduce some classics into your home, even for the reluctant readers.  I think that we will be getting a few more of theses Z-guides to use over the Summer.

Click here to see the available list of Z-guides, for your High Schooler to choose from.  They are available for a very reasonable price of $12.99.  You will be able to use them over and over again as your children go through the High School years.

Check out the ZeeZok Publishing website for all the other great products they offer in Penmanship, Literature, and Musician Appreciation.

Reviews on other movie guides can be found HERE

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received a copy of the Z-guide "To Kill a Mockingbird" free of charge, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All the above opinions are my own.
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