Saturday, April 30, 2011

The weekend is here. Let's Hop

I have spent the last 30 minutes finding and joining blog hops. I have updated our blog hops page with weekend blog hops and hope you will stop by some of those wonderful blogs and say hi.
Our Homeschool Co-Op Yearbook is going to the printer this weekend so I won't post much but hope to be back Monday with the rest of my A-Z blogging posts (even though April is over, I want to share the posts I didn't get done and posted.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

TOS Curiosity Files Review: Blue Footed Booby

E-Book: The Curiosity Files™- Blue-Footed Booby - Click Image to Close

What in the world is a Blue Footed Booby anyway?? If your curiosity is getting the best of you too then this unit study from The Oldschoolhouse's new line of Curiosity Files  is a great unit. Nathan and I went through the unit and while some of the questions and memory retention was over his head he had fun looking through the colorful unit and listening to Mommy read his the study.

One of the first things that caught Nathan's eye was the fun professor on the cover of the unit. He immediately thought of Magic School Bus and asked if I had found a Magic School Bus unit... I told him no , but this would be even better.  He was skeptical but is so eager to learn that he climbed onto my lap and took control of the keyboard. We started out by talking about how God created everything around us and these birds where really no different.  We read the e-book on the computer rather than printing it out and found the full color images and layout of the book very computer friendly.  This unit is designed for students ages 8-13 but was easily adapted for my 5 year old who loves learning.  The full color e-book is a complete unit with activities included at the end of the guide. There is a list of extension activities as well. The questions and activities are broken up for ages so the older kids are expected to do and understand more than the younger ones. I was still able to tweak the questions for my even younger one and have fun while we were doing it.
At first I wasn't sure if the boys would like the unit , but being a shorter unit study it was a break for what we had been doing. I can see adding a beach trip or other nature activity to the unit to expand on it but found a nice simple unit study without a lot of extra work a nice change of pace. The worksheets covered so many areas making this a truly cross curricula unit with fun math word problems, a fun song and dance for Physical Education and Music, a fun snippet activity to get the kids organized and excited about finding out more about the Blue Footed Booby, coloring and drawing practice for Art, and many more.

The Old School House has a wonderful line of Curiosity Files where Professor Ana Lyze takes you on fun learning adventures where you and your student can learn wonderful things while being a Creation based study. The units include everything you need incorporating: Bible study, memory verses, Core Curriculum like Math, Language Arts, Science, and History, lot of discussion questions and ideas to help further the dialogue, lapbook elements, note booking pages, copy work in both manuscript and cursive, ideas for arts and crafts, lots of Internet links and resources, and finally a complete answer key.  Most of the Curiosity Files are priced under $10, with bundle pricing if you are buying multiple lessons. The Blue Footed Booby Curiosity File unit is  priced at $6.95 and when I was reviewing The Old School House Store's website noticed a couple of the Curiosity Files units were priced at only $1.00 each.

**I received a copy of this unit to review and share my opinion. The opinions expressed here are solely mine and I received no further compensation for this review***

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

S is for Scripture

While I have gotten very lax in our scripture copywork lately. I am still working on finding scripture verses for each of our units. Right now we are still working on our Civil War Study and have been using quotes from various charatcters within the civil war. I do have a couple of Scriptures I will use with the boys as we continue our study.
I want the boys to love scripture and have found that copywork helps them remember the verse and see their accomplishment in learning it. While we have other games we play to remember verse copywork seems to work the best.

I do have a Resurrection Sunday Activity for the boys to copy (I can't remember where I found it)

Do you have a favorite Scripture for your homeschool? feel free to share.
I am still trying to select one to highlight, there are so many wonderful verse related to teaching and guiding our children.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hip Homeschool Hop

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Note a huge post, but wanted to say "hi" especially if you are stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Hop..
You can follow us on Twitter  and our new Facebook Page

Friday, April 15, 2011

N is for Notebooking

Our friends at Hands of a Child supplied this post with a freebie.

Have you checked out our newest product line…Note Packs??
We are sure once you’ve tried them you will love them and, in fact, for a limited time we are going to offer you a free download for one of our Note Packs.

What Makes our Note Pages different from all the other Notebooking products out there today?
We’ve taken all the prep work out of using Note Packs for you the teacher!   Just like our Lapbook products, we have included ALL of the information needed to complete the Note Pages, as well as a detailed list of activities telling the students what to answer into each Note Page.

Don’t forget to share this deal with your friends on FaceBook and Twitter too!

See a unit you are interested in purchasing in Note Pack format that does not yet have that option?  No problem!  Simply email Niki at and we will get started on it as soon as possible.  Bring Laughter and Learning into the Hands of a YOUR Child!

Note Pack (Same price as the Lapbook Version)
With our Note Packs your students are able to enjoy the same Research Guide and activities without the cutting and pasting. We provide students with fun, educational notebooking pages to answer all their activities into that can be simply 3-hole punched and added to any binder.  These are the same price as the eBook or Printed versions of our Lapbook Units.
Note Packs are:
  • Perfect for older students who like to add more research and information into their studies.
  • Perfect for family studies when all the kids want to work together on one project yet make it their own.
  • Notebooking units that are available as eBooks format or in Printed Format.

Project Pack Plus ($10 more then the Lapbook Version)
Do you have both older and younger students? Then the Project Pack Plus (PP+) is a great option for you!   A PP+ unit  includes both the Lapbook graphics as well as the Notebook pages. PP+ units are $10 more than the Lapbook only option.
  • PP+ units come in both  eBook format as well as  Printed Format.
  • A PP+ unit includes both the complete Lapbook Project Pack  PLUS the Note Pack!
 ***This article and offer written by  Kimm Bellotto, co-owner of Hands of a Child********

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

M is for Math

When I asked the boys to help pick the topics for the rest of the A to Z Blogging challenge Nathan said , "M is for Math, silly Mommy" and then he giggled.... so I thought I would share what we do for Math at Unionvale Homeschool.

Last year I was blessed to receive a partial set of Math-U-See Blocks (it wasn't a full basic set but is and was functional). My boys fell in love with the blocks and immediately started building with them...  I bought Math-U-See Classic materials second hand so figured we would do O.K.  We have like so many other elements in our homeschool modified it to meet the boys learning styles and currently are just using the blocks with basic math facts sheets.

I did build the boys a Decimal Street on Poster Board covered with clear contact paper so we could practice place values. When I originally built it Nathan was struggling with writing his numbers so I made a set of number cards 0-9 color coded for each place value. I also used glitter glue to write the numbers on the card so the cards became a tactile learning element as well. The cards now live in the box with the math blocks for a reminder on how to form the numbers.

Currently the boys are practicing math facts using pages I downloaded and printed from Donna Young's website She has a wonderful collection of homeschool and home planning pages to download for free. You can also purchase a CD collection from her website.

We will go back to our books next month to introduce some new concepts and move on, but for now both boys are thriving on the single worksheet / review sheet in their workbox folders.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

F is for Facebook

Ok so it is a stretch but as I am setting up and redesigning the blog I decided to add a Facebook page for Unionvale Homeschool. You are welcome to stop by the page and "like" it. We hope to share links, photos, activities and other small stuff there... We will also link the blog feed to it as well. Hopefully with the Facebook page and the new blog frog community our Family and Friends will see what fun we are having ... (Was that a lot of f words...)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I is for Independent Learning

I is for Independent Learning or at least that is what I hope for. Right now the boys are young enough that there really isn't a lot of independent learning except for Nathan and his experiments in the kitchen sink (He loves to mix soap, water, and what ever else he can think of to see what will happen, so far it has all ended in a sloppy soapy mess...)  We are currently working on our Civil War unit so there isn't much in the way of independent learning, there is however lots of fun coloring, cut & paste, and copywork/ vocabulary..
I have tried to make math lessons a 1 day thing with an independent review worksheet lasting 2 or 3 days.  We are working on math facts (addition) and fractions (had to explain and practice them to go along with our music lessons).

I am working toward more independent work by using the workbox folders (instead of boxes) so Cameron can see what he needs to do and if he knows how to do it he can simply do it without Mommy and Daddy fussy over him.  He does really well with word search puzzles and math facts worksheets. He is getting better at working on his own with copywork and creative writing.

Nathan is still young enough that it is almost all working with Mommy or Daddy, although he really wants to think and actually insists that he can do it by himself... His little mind is about a grade maybe more ahead of his fine motor skills needed to do school work. However, he has found that if Daddy tells him how to fix something in the shop and maybe shows him once he has it all figured out. He actually helped rebuild the starter on the lawnmower last week just so he could drive it around the backyard.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Page Elements and new design.

I am having my personal blog redesigned and decided the homeschool blog needed a little updating as well. I want to make the blog easy to read and use...

Over the next few days I hope to slowly make changes that will help the blog. Please feel free to leave comments here and let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Bouquet of Gifts from TOS

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is at it again. Here is a great gift with purchase promo they have running Spring Bouquet of Gifts. If you homeschool TOS is a must have magazine with articles , hints, tricks, tools, real life stories, just about anything homeschool related. Every issue you get you will read over and over again. Go check it out soon, this is a limited supply offer.

H is for Hands of a Child

I know our letters aren't in order but we are working on them and trying to catch up.
I decided a couple of these posts should be dedicated to companies we have used in the past on our homeschool journey. Today H is for Hands of a Child. IF you have spent any time at all following Unionvale School's journey you know we love In the Hands of a Child lapbook company.

We have used about 15 of the over 400 units In the Hands of a Child has and we own well more than this mom cares to admit.  Currently they are running a promo on bundles you can get some great deals for hands on learning over the summer and on into next school year.  Besides lapbook units with everything you need (no extra researching) Hands of a Child also has notepacks designed for Notebooking. Recently they introduced a wonderful new line of folders and books to put your notebook pages and lapbook minibooks in. I really can't say enough about Hands of a Child. We were blessed to represent them 2 years go at several homeschool conventions in Oregon and Washington where we met some of the most wonderful homeschoolers.  Although they aren't at the Oregon Convention this year you can still purchase their wonderful products online. I prefer e-book so this is great for me. With limited bookshelf space I love e-book format.. It is saved on their website for me as well as my own external hard drive. I also have several units on my Nook e-book reader for reading and lesson planning.

Before you ask, No this was not a paid ad or sponsored post. I just knew when I was planning my A to Z posts H would have to go to these ladies. Kimm, Katie, and Nicki are wonderful and they have a wonderful team working with them.

Weekend Blog Hopping....4/8/2011-4/10/2011

Here we are at the weekend again... Want to blog hop?  I love blog hops and thought I would share a couple with you.


The Book of Virtues

Last week I picked up 3 books from a local church ministry to use with upcoming units. One of the books was on my wish list "The Book of Virtues" by William Bennett. The book is a nice hardcover edition and looks to be very gently used.  I was also blessed to find a free unit study to go with the book. Shiver Academy has a wonderful unit study available for download on their blog. Be warned though the file for the whole book is HUGE (992 pages)  You can also download each  unit by it self... Of course I downloaded the whole file... I am printing out most of it (except the lapbook/ mini book elements) on our laser printer. I will print the lapbook elements on the ink jet in color. IF you head over to download the unit be sure to check out her other downloads as well. The homeschool community is full of wonderfully creative people that are willing to share.

I am planning on using this unit in Cameron's workbox folders when we start the unit... (Civil War unit first then will add this in..)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I just realized I had not post an Ultimate Blog Party post on my blogs yet... bad, bad, bad...  I'm glad you stopped by from Ultimate Blog Party 2011. This is our little corner of the blog-o-sphere. We are a Christian homeschool family of 2 boys. Cameron (8) and Nathan (5). We tend to be a very relaxed homeschool with lots of life learning, some copywork and reading, math, and science, and lots of History. I am having a ton of fun with the blog party , meeting new bloggers, twitter party , etc... You are welcome to follow us on either Google/Blogger or Facebook. If you happen to be a member of any of the groups I've linked along the side of the blog stop by and say hi as well.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog Hop

While C is still feeling yucky (I put him in the shower for a while)... our school day is basically not happening today so I'm going to blog hop... So here is a fun one for you to join in on... Hop over and check out the Caffeine Coquette

C is for Crude

I had big plans for today not only for school but for blogging... Those plans were abruptly changed when Cameron woke up with morning with the Crude! That is the name I have given it... Mike (Daddy) had it Friday / Saturday. I (Mommy) had it mild Sunday. Now Cameron has it...  So that I can take care of him blogging is being put on hold for the day as well as my school time plans... Luckily I was able to fix our antenna and get PBS to come in so Nathan is happily watching PBS Kids, Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Word World  all shows we haven't watched in a while... We also watched Shalom Sesame Street (good for Geography, Hebrew, and Bible lesson...) It is a stretch I know but when one is sick you go with the flow...

Here is our worksheet we are planning to do for the day.  Another Hobbit activity I created for Synonyms and Antonyms. I have a wonderful S/A dictionary I grew up with and am going to have Cameron use it... The goal of the worksheet is to learn how to use the S/A dictionary as well as learn the words.

I'm only a day behind on the A to Z Blogging challenge but with a sick kiddo I figure that is pretty good.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Bilbo Baggins

It is a stretch I'm sure but this past week Cameron decided he wanted to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mommy decided we weren't ready for that yet and found The Hobbit (cartoon version) in the video collection (on VHS mind you). So this past week we visited Middle Earth and journeyed with Bilbo Baggins on his adventure to find the ring.  While the story basically  follows the book there are songs to get the kids into the story.  I happen to have the Progeny Press unit study of The Hobbit so pulled that out and had Cameron do the vocabulary exercises.. I was amazed at his ability to look at the word in context and figure out what it meant. Not an easy task with some of the words in the first 3 chapters on the book. Being Cameron is only in the 2nd grade I wanted to make the unit fun so I had him draw a picture and write 2 sentences about the beginning of the story.. He likes to draw so I can usually get him to write something as long as he can draw a picture to go with it (even his copy work is like that.)  I can't find my copy of the book so I'm thinking I will get an e-book copy and just read it on the Nook with him... Don't get me wrong I love holding a book and reading it together but I'm flat running out of bookshelves and still have most of my collection at my Mom's house...  Anyway, I am thinking of picking sections of the story for copywork, but not sure what else to do to go with a mini unit on the Hobbit.. The unit doesn't have to last too long as we are heading into our Civil War unit in only a week or so...

A: About Us

Thought I would keep it simple to start the A to Z Blog Challenge.
About us:

Soon you will start seeing more posts from Cameron, he is our oldest and is 8 1/2. While he isn't a huge fan of reading he does like a good story especially if it is in the form of a movie.  He loves to ride his bike and harrass his little brother Nathan.  He likes our garden and loves the vegetables we grow.  He is also a big fan of Playmobil and Lego...

Nathan is our youngest and is 5 1/2. He is already writing (don't think I'll have him blog much yet). He loves Math and Science. We are already shopping for a new Science curriculum for next year with lots of hands on stuff... He enjoys working in the shop with Daddy and building anything. He has already decided he wants to be a farmer and invent new farm tools. He is a big fan of all things John Deere and Rescue Heroes.

Daddy (Mike) is an auto mechanic specializing in vintage and antique American automobiles. He started his own shop about 10 years ago and went full time in the shop just before Cameron was born. Mike has found a love of sound engerineering and speaker building over the past couple years. This gives him opportunities to teach both the boys and Mommy about sound.. He also started teaching and helping with our local home-school co-op. He taught a wonderful basic automotive class to the High School students and was blessed to have nice weather all 8 weeks he taught turning the class into a hands on practicum.

I will leave my intro for another post as I have a blog started already for it...