Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mini office binder, # homeschool Help Book

I recently talked about the mini office binder for Cameron. Well since this is our week off,  I decided to start putting the binder together.

I started off my finding some coordinating scrapbook papers and some sticker letters (I didn't have enough of the right letters so I mixed and matched but Cameron liked it so that is all that really mattered.)
We are using a 1 1/2 inch view binder so I inserted trimmed scrapbook paper to fit. (The paper he choose is an older pack from Close to My Heart and the letters are an older style from Creative Memories)

I pulled out a pack of 8 insertable tabs that will get labeled as we added categories.

Next I added a Quick Spelling Guide I had from years ago (I'm pretty sure it was a Avery thing from college). This will come in handy as he is writing stories and such. I really wanted him to have something that is slightly above his grade level that will last a long time.

Next I added a Cursive and Manuscript Letters chart we had been using as a guide.

We will add the remaining things under the tabs as we introduce them next week. I want Cameron to finish putting it together since this binder will be for his use.  It may sound silly but I really feel that his ownership of the binder will be stronger if he is actively involved in putting it together.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Repurposing project to help organize

I love finding new uses for things and repurposing them.

Here are my latest.
First: re-purose a pencil pouch

I had several of these pencil pouches left from a Children's Claritin  event, wanting to use the leftovers but needing to make each one a little different I decided to paint them.

I painted over the logo using some Glidden paint testers I had left over from some other DIY project.  It did take a couple coats to cover the logo, but that wasn't an issue, I used my hair dryer to promote the coats drying faster. It took 3 coats of paint to get the look I really wanted.

The boys and I decided the paint over looked like a post-it note and would be perfect for labeling the bags.This one has Primary Pencils and their sharpeners in it. The second one has regular pencils and the third one is empty but only temporarily , I know if I don't fill it my husband/ principal will find a use for it in the sound gear.

The second re-purposing project:
The Huggies Diaper Wipe box.

Again a couple of coats of the Glidden Sampler Testers  and we have a marker pens box that has a nice large "label" on the front.

Now the Crayola Marker pens will have a nice home. I do have a different box of the Crayola PipSqueak Markers that needs a make over but I will save that for another day.

The Children's Claritin items mentioned in this post were part of a sponsored activity where I was provided with product for an event, however their use and mention in this post are unrelated to that activity. This post is  a personal post of my opinions, experiences, and ideas.

AmyAdele personalized label review

The boys love getting mail and are beginning to write cards and notes to people so when I had the opportunity to try some personalized labels I decided to have address labels made for Nathan. 
His birthday is coming up and I want him to write Thank you Notes and mail them out so these will be perfect.   I've always just made my own labels on my printer so I was a little impatient at the idea of waiting for them to arrive. I was happily surprised at how fast the shipping (standard) times ended up being and now neatly packaged the labels came to us. 
AmyAdele labels and stickers are a fun and afordable option for mailing labels. 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: What's This A-Z Blogging Challenge I Keep Hearing About? a guest spot from author Elizabeth Mueller

I know it is a ways off, but I am already planning for the Blogging from A to Z challenge in April.
I figure it I get a head start in at least the planning of it, I might actually get all 26 posts/ letters tackled this year... We are going to cover a lot of ground come April with articles about homeschooling, programs, products, trials-n-tribulations, as well as some fun things like crafts, games, and general musings. See you then

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: What's This A-Z Blogging Challenge I Keep Hearing About? a guest spot from author Elizabeth Mueller:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Hanukkah and Christmas Blessings

The students and staff at Unionvale School wish all our homeschool friends a blessed Christmas and Hanukkah season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The World's Greatest Stories #bible stories on CD


PhotobucketWe tend to use the KJV for most all our Bible study except when the kids are really having trouble then we fall back on the Children's NIV, so when I saw The World's Greatest Stories coming through for the Homeschool Crew I was very intrigued.  We selected Volume 1 the Prophets and started listening to it as soon as we received it.  Mr. Sarris' voice is very warm and he does an amazing job altering his voice for different characters and situations.
I loved that we were able to listen to the stories in the car running errands or at home while doing art or just having play time. Volume 1 has 5 stories on it and the stories are read straight out of scripture nothing is added which I appreciated, especially as I am teaching the boys that they can read the Bible to find answers and don't always have to get someone else's perspective just their own. If you visit their website you can even listen to sample clips of the stories.
PhotobucketEach CD retails for $7.95 but as I am writing this article there is a deal on the website if you order 6 or more CD you get free shipping, which is perfect as there are 6 CDs available. You can also choose either KJV or NIV as well as CD or Cassette.

If you would like to learn more about the artist MR. George W. Sarris check out his blog
Check out what the rest of the Crew thought of these amazing CDs HERE
I received 1 CD from the collection to review as a member of the Old SchoolHouse Homeschool Crew

Life Math in #homeschool and #Safeway

Normally I post all coupon related posts over on Unvlmom's Spot, but since C made the purchases and did the math I decided to share it here.

Yes, learning Math is part of life, especially when it involves coupons and food the boys love as a treat.

So how did he do it?  We headed to Safeway to pick up the Big Cup of Noodles (they were on sale last week 2/ $1.00) and the Chef Boyardee ($.99 each if you bought 3). Cameron saw the Jarritos soda on sale for $.99 plus deposit and was super excited because that is less then he usually pays at the corner market. I also had a coupon for the S & W black beans with Jalapenos.
Now Cameron had the following coupons:
$.50 off 2 S & W beans
$1.00 off 3 Big Cup of Noodles
$.50 off Chef Boyardee (3 coupons)

We had divided the order up so he would pay for his sodas plus the Cup of Noodles. I gave him the coupon plus a Double Coupon. His total after coupons and bottle deposit was $2.08  ($.99 x 2 + $.10 deposit + $1.50 - $1.00 coupon - $.50 double coupon)
Our second half of the groceries I had intended on paying for with my debit card...  3 cans of Chef Boyardee and 2 cans of beans with coupons and double coupon total was $.97. I can't see having a retailer pay service fees on a transaction for $.97 so Cameron gave me a dollar...  Normally you are only suppose to get 1 double coupon per family per week but the cashier was nice and saw the lesson I was teaching Cameron (economics, math, etc...) and let us slide. If she hadn't it would have cost us $.49 more is all.

Since that shopping trip just a couple days ago, Cameron has been asking me more and more about what is in the coupon box.. I am so Thankful that he gets it and appreciates it now.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Go Back in time and learn with Vintage Remedies for Kids #hsreviews


Do you long for a simpler life, a more natural life?  I know I do, even as I sit here typing this review with my cell phone beeping next to me (ironic I know).

PhotobucketWe try and work toward a more natural healthy environment for the boys. Through out the spring, summer , and fall we work with our garden and harvest in an effort to save money, but also eat and live healthier.  I was so blessed when we received our Crew copy of Vintage Remedies for Kids to review and work with Nathan on.

What is Vintage Remedies for Kids? This book is a curriculum for ages 2-6 focusing on healthy food choices and how to make fun and healthy snacks.  Each lesson is age appropriate and has a hands on activity to go along with the lesson. Since this age group (including my Nathan) learn better doing then just listening, all 18 lessons are designed in that fashion. The book doesn't have a lot of pictures but is packed full on fun and healthy snack ideas.

We had a blast making our own butter in a pint jar! He especially loved making it because we got to use it for dinner and then breakfast , and even shared it with a friend that came over.

The book itself is small but fill of information and was actually interesting for my 9 year old son Cameron. He listened along with Nathan as I read the lesson and then helped and did the activities without an attitude.  The sprial bound format is great too as it makes it easy to use in the kitchen as well as a great way to "mark" the lesson you are on by opening the book all the way.

The book is available online through Vintage Remedies website and retails for $25.00.  A littler higher than some of the books we have used but well worth the price.  There are other books in the series as well; Vintage Remedies for Girls, for Boys, and for Teens.  The program is great for small classes, homeschoolers, youth groups, etc..

Be sure to check out Vintage Remedies Facebook Page  and  Twitter


 Check out what my Crew Mates thought of these amazing books HERE

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my opinion, no other monetary compensation was received. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hanukkah and Christmas Week #unit #lesson,

I finally put the finishing touches on our Hanukkah and Christmas Week Family Lesson.
My husband is a student of Christian Science and the boys and I study with him, so I patterned the lesson after the weekly bible lesson of the Christian Science Church.
We will have 9 lessons over the 8 days of Hanukkah with our focus being the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23).
Each day we will focus on one fruit.  During our regular school times we will be reading various story books on Hanukkah as well as craft activities including a craft stick menorah, felt  driedal pencil decorations, and craft stick star of David.  For Math we will add a couple games of driedal as well.
Each evening after our lesson is read the boys will receive one gift.  This was two-fold, first spreading out the presents and second taking the focus off Christmas presents and hopefully realizing that everyday is a gift and that Christ's love for us is/ was the most precious gift.

Due to copyright issues I'm not sure I can share the file I created... I will look into it and if I can I will post it here... In the mean time I hope everyone has a blessed holiday and that Love shines brightly for you.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mini Office in a Binder

I love the idea of a mini office for the boys and actually we had them the first year we homeschooled.  Since we aren't using desks and I don't like the idea of them hiding behind a wall to do their work, I am working on mini office binders for the boys.
I remember is school (6th grade plus) I had binder inserts that have all kinds of information on them.; things like Math hints,  most often misspelled words, geography, music , etc...
I am making Cameron's first. He is 3rd grade and so I am including the following:
1: 3rd grade Dolche word list
2: Books of the Bible
3: Months of the Year / Days of the Week
4: Math Symbols
5: Math Facts reminder (addition table and multiplication table)
6: World Map/  US Map
7: Basic Grammar rules
8: Character Virtues Reminder

I will add things as we need them, but for now 8 is a good number and a common set of divider tabs.
I am also including Google Docs links to the files I have created and link backs to those that are online.

Cameron will be decorating the notebook these are going into as part of the New Year's lessons. I really want him to feel a sense of ownership in the book so I will use a 1/2 inch clear view binder that he can decorate.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I see Fractions with Fractazmic from I See Cards #hsreviews #homeschool #math


Do your kiddos struggle with fractions? Do you struggle with fractions?
PhotobucketWell this is a fun and engaging way for everyone in the family to work on the dreaded fractions.

Fractazmic from I See Cards is a deck of cards but also one of the most ingenious ways to learning and practicing fractions that I have ever seen... (I have a box of tools to teach fractions with and nothing caught my boys' attention like this deck of cards).
Each deck has 60 cards (20 cards in each of 3 suits). Since my boys have a basic understanding of fractions from life learning I thought this would be a great way to solidify what we were learning.
At first Cameron didn't get it, he was struggling with the game so I modified it (homeschool Mom perogative)..
Photobucket We played just 1 suit (1/12s).. it only took him about 3 turns when he made the connection to the carton on eggs (I think it took him that long because I always buy 18 count eggs so he didn't immediately associate a dozen with eggs)  Once he got the idea though he moved through that hand rather quickly.  Next we added the red suit and finally after a couple hands with 2 colors we added the green suit.  Even Nathan got into the game (he is 1st grade but has an amazing grasp on fractions from working with his Daddy in the shop wrenching)

Fractazmic Cards make Learning Math fun. The games also reinforce learning Measurements, help hand eye coordination, and even help with Memory skills. Playing games while learning has also helped my boys improve their cooperative learning skills as well as communication skills.
I can't recommend this program enough.  The boys don't think of it as learning because they are having fun, it is a card game the whole family can play (helped Daddy work on fractions), and finally the price tag at only $6.95 a deck the game is affordable and fun.

You don't have to take my word for it though. Check out what the rest of my Crew mates thought of this game HERE and check in with I See Cards on Facebook or their Blog

I received 1 deck of cards in exchange for my opinion as a member of the Homeschool Crew

Wordless Wednesday 12/14

The blessing of Papa and homeschool reading time

Thursday, December 8, 2011

His Mighty Warrior, a child's map and message

With 2 little boys who love reading and listening to stories of pirate ships and dragons, I was very excited to find His Mighty Warrior by Sheri Rose Shepherd  .  Thie little daily devotional  is written at a early reader level and is just hard enough that my 3rd grader can read it but easy enough that my 1st grader will still and listen while not feeling like he isn't getting it.

The colorful pictures including a treasure map give add a fun element that helps keep the boys' attention. The book is a smaller size book which helped Cameron on a recent road trip. He was able to pack the book in his book bag still leaving room for his school work.

Each daily devotion is written as a letter to the boys, building on the child of G_d connection. There is a relevant scripture and then a prayer they can pray.

I really appreciated everything being right there for us. I didn't have to go look up an additional verse for them and the simple prayer was one we could pray together.

One day we were reading it and the boys were having one of those very fidigity days so I had them draw a picture to go with it. Nathan tried to copy the colorful pictures in the book while Cameron dreamed up a continuation picture that could have been set along side the book and blended right in.

This has been one of the best devotional we have tried with the boys.  Since it doesn't have days or dates we can use it daily or weekly and not feel like we have lost tract or failed some how.
If you have a little boy or boys this is a great gift book devotional.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion of the book. No monetary compensation was received.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The gift of #Art with Artistic Pursuits #hsreviews


     We are slowly adding extra subjects back into our lesson plans. We were blessed to receive Artistic Pursuits homeschool art program to review.
We are reviewing Book 1 of the K-3rd grade series.  The first thing I noticed when I got the book was the colorful cover.

Before introducing it to either of the boys I went through it myself. I made the decision that Cameron would be doing the program (I will save it and have Nathan do it next year). Since we received it before Cameron's birthday I decided to give the book to him for his birthday and asked my mother in law if she would be willing to give him the necessary art supplies for his birthday. Thankfully she is a retired art teacher and was impressed with the book and agreed.

We began the program with Cameron mid November and have been working with 1 lesson a week.
The book isn't just an art lesson, it is also an art history lesson. With each lesson a different period and different artist is introduced.  The lessons are laid out in an easy to follow fashion and cover a variety of  looks into Visual Arts.

One of Cameron's favorite lessons so far has been Lesson 3 "Artists Look" He actually asked to revisit that unit only doing the indoor  activity this time rather than outdoor.

He looked for Indoor Nature and found the center piece we had used for Thanksgiving Dinner.

He looked at it and thought about it for a while. Then began to draw what he saw.

The lesson had focused on 18th Century France and an outdoor landscape with people in a field of flowers. Being that we are in late fall and it is rather cold outside, he really had to think about what he was trying to show.

He decided to take a break from the picture as he wants to have the doily under it like we had on the table, but decided to let us take a peak at the progress. (if you know my son, letting the world see his art finished or not is a pretty big deal).  

The series we reviewed is a 3 book series for K-3rd grade and retails for $42.95 a book. I feel since it isn't just an art lesson but art history their is real value to the book. It is a non-consumable so I can use it later with Nathan . Each book in the K-3 series has 32 lessons and for us that will work out to be a lesson a week for the rest of the school year.
  Artist Pursuits has a Preschool book as well as 3 other sets including 4th-6th, jr. high, and sr.high..  They also sell supply packs to match the books.

Check out what my crew mates thought of the program HERE

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hola, Great Commission Spanish Introduced at Unvl #homeschool #hsreviews


The boys weren't sure what to think when I told them we would be learning Spanish this year.
Great Commission Languages - Easy Spanish Jr. levelI wasn't sure what I was saying either since I only had 3 weeks of Spanish in junior high.  That all changed when we were selected to review The Great Commission Languages  The Easy Spanish Jr. Edition for Grades K-3,
I love how the program is friendly and fun for the kids.  This program is a Christian program and the publisher has a wonderful Statement of Faith 
From the very first day we started using the program the boys had fun. We made flash cards using the words from each lesson. Although , note to self for future programs make sure the boys are willing to use the same font so Mom doesn't have to make 2 sets of cards (Cameron is transitioning to cursive so I made him a cursive set of cards).
The coloring and activity sheets included with the program gave the boys something to do while we listened to each lesson.

We even went so far as to get Nathan's stuffed dog out and have a mascot, just like Chichi to add a little more fun to the days the boys were struggling.

Great Commission Languages - Spanish text with dogThe Great Commission Spanish Programs include CDs with the books for audio lessons and print materials.
The program we reviewed  ¡El Español Fácil!, Junior Level ,  retails for $69.00 which is a value to me (if you have read my reviews you know I am very tight when it comes to the money recommendations)
There are enough lessons to last a full year or more and can easily be used again if you start with a Kindergartner or 1st grader, I could easily see coming back to it the next year for a good review.
They even have a discount if you want to order multiple copies for a homeschool co-op.  Looking over their other Spanish products, I am looking at the Spanish Children's Song CD  which retails for $19.99 as a great addition to the program.

PhotobucketCheck out what the rest of the Crew has to say about Great Commission Languages HERE

We received a copy of The Easy Spanish jr edition as a member of the Old SchoolHouse Homeschool Crew in exchange for our honest review.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Passages GIVEAWAY at the Johns Family

My friends over at The Johns Family are hosting a giveaway along with their review of the book Passages.
Head over and check it out and enter for your chance to own the book.

The Johns Family: Passages Review and GIVEAWAY: From the Publisher: Many Christians feel guilty when they think of reading the Bible. Though they want to love reading Scripture, they rar...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Roman numeral blocks, #homeschool #math success

Recently we shared a  review for Math Mammoth with you. This past week, Cameron was struggling with the larger Roman Numerals and was getting very frustrated, so Mommy stepped in with a break and idea. Let's make a set of blocks especially for Roman Numerals. 

I have a large bag of blank wooden dice I received from a retired teacher and thought this would be a great way to practice writing the Roman Numerals but also give him a chance to make something he can use in his lessons.  Using a black sharpie marker we wrote the various letters that represent the Roman Numerals on the faces of the dice.
Cameron was then able to build the Roman Numeral combinations on his worksheet before he wrote the answers.  He had gotten away from using manipulatives with his math worksheets but was reminded how handy they can be when you are struggling.  He also gained a sense of ownership in the project making them himself.
We have a small plastic lidded dish they store in so he can use them whenever he needs them.
I will be doing reviews of roman numbers often with him and I think he will be using his blocks.

I am so glad that Cameron was able to create something that will help him learn and that we can pass on to his little brother when he starts learning Roman Numerals.
Stay tuned.... We are making a set of creative writing dice and will share that once we get them finished.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Get ready to Read and Play #hsreviews



Are you ready to have some serious fun reading? My boys sure where!

The reading game combines fundamental reading and a action packed game of memory.
PhotobucketThe game includes a set of 6 pen and ink illustrated books in an animal theme along with the 6 matching decks of cards.

The game is set up in bite size activities so that the child or children don't get overwhelmed. When the children finish the entire game they will have 180 vocabulary words solidly ready to read and use.

The game incorporates animals into unusual stories that help make the learning fun and the game time even more fun.


The reading game website sells the game for $24.95 and offers a bulk purchase discount of 15% off with 8 or more games.

Also on the website you will find assessment forms as well as a set of tests to match the books.

Both my boys love memory matching games and this was an instant hit for Nathan.
Cameron wasn't sure at first but after reading the first book and playing one round of the card game he was hooked.  We have been through the whole set at least twice and the boys are asking if they can play it at Thanksgiving dinner with their cousins. They want to teach their cousins to read using the game, which for his Mom is music to my ears as I believe teaching something to someone else is the perfect test of their knowledge.

This game is an affordable program that sets up a good foundation for basic reading and positive interaction between my boys.

The reading game can be found on Facebook 

Check out what the rest of the crew thought of the Reading Game HERE

***We received the above game as a member of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew in exchange for our honest opinion of the product.****

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday with Hands of a Child #HOAC

***This post was written by In the Hands of A Child and posted here because Unionvale Homeschool loves ln the Hands of a Child and supports this amazing Small Business*****

Our 5th Annual Black Friday Sale is Almost Here!

Are YOU Ready to save upto 45% discounts on Hands of a Child Products!

As always we will be offering a HUGE Black Friday Discount on Hands of a Child Products*

This year we will also be doing an additional discount on all products we offer during Cyber Monday*

and NEW This Year Small Business Saturday

Please join us in celebrating our success and endurance as a small business. On Saturday, November 26th we are offering 1-year Super Memberships for $50.00 (retail $75.00).   Purchase a Super Membership on Small Business Saturday and not only do you save $25.00, but you make a HUGE impact on our business.  Most importantly, a Super Membership at In the Hands of a Child will put laughter and learning into the hands of YOUR child all year long!

But WAIT are you already a Super Member?

Super Members can start saving TODAY, no need to wait until Black Friday to begin saving BIG!

Use the coupon code SuperThanks to get 45% off all Hands of a Child Products*

Use the coupon code SuperFun to save 30% on all non Hands of a Child Products**

Use the coupon code SuperMember to save $25 on your 1 year Super Member renewal

* Excludes Custom Designed Project Packs, already discounted products and Super Memberships
** Quantities are limited, backorders will not be excepted

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Are you ready to Read Live in your #homeschool? #hsreviews


Reading is a big part of home education, at least in our house, so when Read Live was made available to us as members of the Homeschool Crew I was pretty excited to try it out.

Like I said I was excited to try it out. Keeping that in mind, I tried very hard to project that excitement onto Cameron as we started using the system.  The program itself is a great assessment tool and can have mulitple students.  For this review I added both boys but focused on Cameron.

Before I get into our personal experiences with the program and how we will continue to use it, let me share some basic information about Read Live with you.

What is Read Live?  Read Live is the web-based section  of Read Naturally’s fluency intervention program. 

What is the goal of the program?  The main goal of fluency intervention is ,  help the student  read as well as they speak, and  make sense of what they read without stopping to  decode words as they read. 

PhotobucketWhat other areas are impacted by Read Naturally?   Read Natually Live assists in the vocabulary development as well as reading comprehension. 

How much for Read Naturally Live cost? a  subscription costs $149.00

What is included in the subscription? 12 months of access, 6 phonics levels, and 13 sequential curriculum levels oral fluency benchmark passages, teacher training videos online and great technical support

So now that you know the basic information on the program I can tell you about our experiences with the program and my personal thoughts on it. 
I love the concept behind the program and signed up for it thinking it would help my struggling reader. I did an assessment with Cameron and found out he was miserable doing the assessment. We talked about what he didn't like about the program and  what might have helped.  A big thing for him was the topic of the assessment reading was not of interest to him so it made it very hard to read. Keeping that in mind I explained to him everything we read doesn't always interest us and sometimes we need to read something to see where we are and make sure we are at least reading at a level that is appropriate for us.   

After the exchange and ordeal of the assessment I did find him reading a book that I had been trying to get him to read that was an appropriate grade level, so if nothing else the assessment pushed him to look at the books he was suppose to be reading.  

We did go back and do another assessment this past week to see if he was improving or if there was something at that level we needed to work on some more. The good news was from the first assessment to this one there was a marked improvement in reading words per minute and correctly, although the assessment experience itself was not improved. (he still didn't like it) This time though he was able to explain to me that he really doesn't like reading on the computer screen and that he would much rather do any kind of assessments from a book instead of the computer screen. 

I have downloaded the extras available and will be using printouts to do anymore assessments with him. He really is an old fashion kind of kid, while he likes playing some games on the computer, he would much rather learn out of a book or hands on.  Lesson learned for Mom.

On a side note, Nathan my youngest saw us working in the program this last week and asked if he could give it a try. I told him we would give it a try "next week" which for those of you reading this review will end up being Thanksgiving week and beyond. 

Since I have mentioned cost in previous reviews, I will mention it here. In now knowing that Cameron prefers to do testing in book format  I don't think the Read Live subscription is a cost that I can justify for just 1 child if it does work for Nathan.  Although, as a Mom and an lover of all things reading related I love the concept of the program and the interface with the program. 

Check out what the rest of the Crew had to say about this program HERE 
You can find Read Naturally on Facebook