Sunday, July 31, 2011

#DaGeDar #Review and #Giveway

Do you remember just a couple of years ago when Zhu Zhu pets hit the market?  Well get ready for the next great toy from the same creators. DaGeDar is an awesome cross between speed and thought.
Welcome to Dimension 33 where these crazy 33 gram ball bearing balls have a personality of their own.

The boys and I received a special box of DaGeDar to try out. When it arrived Mike and I had our reservations knowing our boys would most likely try to throw them at each other or worse the windows. The boys were excited to play with the track we received and quickly assembled it. We noticed an I-beam piece was missing and emailed the company. The response was amazing, they quickly shipped us the replacement part.  While we waited for the part the boys played with the track  and launcher. The missing piece allowed them to experiment with the distant needed to make the hump between the 2 tracks.   Each character has it's own personality and on the ball is a number code that can be put into the website allowing the child to learn about that character.  During our time of playing with DaGeDar the opportunity came to have a party showcasing the DaGeDar line.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect. We had our family up from California that included several boys so we planned a BBQ and party to visit with family and introduce DaGeDar to all the boys. We had 7 boys ranging in age from 2- 16. Everyone had a blast, especially the younger ones.  All the moms were very cautious with the youngest but with supervision he was fine (he isn't a toy in mouth kid so it was ok.). The recommended age for the DaGeDar line is 4 and up, but you know you child, if your 4 year old is a thrower or likes to chew of toys I would recommend holding off.    I have loaded our party pictures highlighting the DaGeDar tracks we received on our Facebook page. Feel free to stop by and see the fun we had.

One lucky reader is going to win a set of DaGeDar balls and either a spinner or carrying case . Shipped to them direct from the company.  (limited to U.S. residents).

We received 2 shipments of DaGeDar products from MomSelect to review and host a party in exchange for our honest opinion. No other monetary compensation was received and all opinions are that of Unionvale Homeschool Staff and Students.

#Workboxes ready to start #school?

Since we are only two days from school starting I decide I should get the files loaded. I have a few last  minute things to get but I think we are ready. I have the file, folders, and a supply bucket for each of the boys. (color coordinated of course)
The Supply bucket was something I picked up at the dollar store a while back... I used black puff paint to write their names on the bucket and the file.  Inside the bucket is a zippered pencil pouch, 2 primary pencils , a dual pencil sharpener (again color coordinated), 1 pack of Crayola thin makers, and a mini composition book (a quick place to write a note if we need to.) I still need to add a pair of scissors for each of them and would like to find a color crayon holder in green (I have a blue one already) so they have a box to put their crayons in..
The file folders have an laminated label on the front so each of the boys know what the assignment is  and what supplies he might need to get. I used a Vis-aVis wet erase marker so it won't come off inside the file and I can double check that assignments at the end of the day.. I have a box of Huggies wipes in the resource room so I can clean off the folder and write the next assignment's notes when I load them in the evening.
The lesson plans are written and ready to put on the folders. The only thing left is fill them and put together Mommy's journal. I started a homeschool journal when we began,but it quickly got put aside, I am going to keep it simple and use a 3 ring binder and basic ruled notebook paper... nothing fancy (I might decorate the binder if I get a chance...)

As I put the finishing touches on things tonight I'm sure there will be another post...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Step4Kids Multiplication #Math DVD #Review and #Giveaway

Sponsored by

Step4Kids Mulitplication DVD

Do your kids struggle with multiplication? This is a great tool to help you and your children work on the multiplication tables.  
I love the onscreen tools and the interaction of this DVD. One thing that caught my eye was the menu at the bottom of the screen to jump to different tables (0,4,6, etc...) This is great especially if your child is struggling with a certain set of facts.
There is a recommended order to learning the facts. I like that recommendation but also the flexibility to work on the order we need to.
This is a great supplement for a home-school student or traditional student that needs a little extra help working through the multiplication facts.
With that in mind, Step4Kids is offering one of my readers their own copy of this awesome DVD.
Please feel free to enter via the Raffle-copter widget below. The Giveaway will run from 7/28/2011 through 8/1/2011. Winner will be drawn and notified on 8/2/2011 and will have 24 hours to respond before I redraw another winner.
This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook although links to Facebook pages are optional entries.

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.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

#Homeschool #Workbox Planning Box


This is part 2 of my revamp of the workbox system we worked with last year. I have a hanging file folder for each subject : Math, Grammar, Science, History,  and Bible.  Inside each folder is the booklet, master copies, etc.. for the coming weeks  that I need to copy or use for their folders.  I have made notes on their lesson plans so I know what book I need to pull out.   The boxes are small and portable which is nice but also means I still need to store the books for later use.

I hope this will help me stay ahead of what is coming up. I have sorted books and printables into 2 boxes like the one pictured (I would have preferred these to be color coordinated but they were given to me.. I think I will add something green to Nathan's just so I know which box goes with which boy).

One of the things I am most excited about this system is the flexibility. I am only committed to about 3 weeks in the box so if something isn't working I haven't over planned and can adjust things as needed.
I am also using a lot of Avery Note Tabs this year. I can write notes on the clear part and have the tab sticking out of the book. I am also putting lines note post-its on the cover of books that have more than one unit within them. so I know when I am done with 1 unit I can move it to the next file it needs to be in.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Worboxes file folder system part 1

I picked up two expanding files at Walmart yesterday for the boys. The plan is their daily work will go in folders and be sorted into the file. The back slot is for finished work. Anything the need to use: blocks, markers, ect is sorted in the cubbies in the resource room. This will hopefully do 2 things . First, the files are portable, second Mommy can fill the folders easier then the boxes. Journals will also fit into the file.
Later  today I will post the buckets and pouches we are using. I need to set them up first.
***This is our modified use of the Workbox System  by Sue Patrick****

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lesson Planning Count Down

So I realized today I have 2 weeks (actually less) until we start back to school... My lesson plans are mapped out as a guide but not finished.
Today I'm lesson planning and doing it here on the blog.

August 1st will be the beginning of the school year for us.
Here is what I have planned:

Monday: Scripture Verse, Math-U-See Review lessons 19/20 in foundations, Animal Classification Review and Notebook set up,  Read Animal Book from Basket and fill out Book Form, Phonics and Grammar (????)

Tuesday: Journal Prompt from 730 Journal Prompts (Two for Every Day of the Year) : August 2nd: "What is your favorite cool drink in the summer? Explain how to make it." , Math-U-See Lesson 20, Animal Activities, Read Animal Book from the basket and fill out Book Form (I'm going to make a themed form if I can't find one is a book), Phonics and Grammer (Primary Concepts Activity Board)

Wednesday: Journal Buddies,  Math-U-See Lesson 20,  Game Day : I Spy Animals, Phonics and Grammar : Primary Concepts Activity Board for review.

Thursday: Journal Prompts: 730 Journal Prompts Aug 4th "Would you rather be a starfish or a seahorse? why?", Math: Elephant game from Linking attribute Elephants,  Animal Notebook page for Elephants, Read an Animal Book from the Basket, Grammar (Montessori Sentence diagrams,)

Monday: Morning Message, Scripture Verse (Copywork), Math-U-See Foundations lesson 13, Introduce K-W-L (still looking for a small science journal),  Harvest unit

Tuesday: Morning Message , Phonics Activity Board, Math-U-See lesson 13, Magnetic word wall activities with word families, Harvest Unit

Wednesday: Morning Message, Math-U-See Lesson 13,  Word Families Readers, Harvest Unit

Thursday: Morning Message, Elephant Math Game with Cameron, Harvest Unit, Word Family Games

There , ok that wasn't so bad... I now have it written down and can start filling the folders.  I picked up a multi-colored file folder pack at Walmart the other day so I could pull the blue and green folders out for the boys. I am keeping the black ones for myself but the turquoise and red will go to Mike for the shop files.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Spy Animals Game Board

Getting ready for school to start in just a couple of weeks we decided to make an “I Spy Animals” Game board to go along with Cameron’s science notebook lesson plans.  We started with some basic supplies. 
Red Cardstock
Crayola Color Markers
Various Animal pictures printed from the internet or cut from magazines

We started by having the boys color the back ground of the tri fold board with water area, grassy lands, sun, and clouds.
Next we cut the pictures out and began gluing them to the board. 
We used the Elmer’s X-TREME School Glue Glue stick to glue the pictures to the board. The large glue stick is great for Nathan’s smaller hands and being a stick glue spread an even amount of glue onto the computer paper and doesn’t muddy up the paper.

Finally we used cardstock cut letters to spell ‘I SPY animals’ and glued those on the top of the tri-fold board to title the game.  We used the Elmer’s School Glue Dual tip Glue Pen because of the find tip to trace the letters. I really like the Dual tip pen style; it is the best of both worlds with 
white school glue. One end is a fine tip pen style perfect for tracing outlines and putting just a little bit of glue on a piece of paper  or other small bit of craft pieces. The other end of the glue pen is a wide rubber spreader great for larger areas or pieces of felt (something we like to use a lot in crafts). Being Elmer’s School Glue gives me the reassurance I need.

We set the board up and were ready to play “I Spy”. For those that don’t know how to play this is what we do.
1.       First player says “ I spy with my little eye, something _______”
2.       Everyone else tries to guess what the player has spied.
3.       The person that guesses correctly gets to spy next.
To go along with our game board  all our “I Spy” sentences are similar to “ I spy with my little eye an ______________ animal” the clues will be something related to animal classification, color, habitat, etc..

(Sorry Cameron for taking a picture when the sun was in your eyes)
This was a super fun summer project thanks to #GlueNGlitter for some fun inspiration. 

****This project was compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #chbias, all directions and opinions are mine ****

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: Belisarius Book 1: The First Shall Be Last

Belisarius Book 1: The First Shall be Last by Paolo A Belzoni is the first of a series set in the 6th Century Roman Empire. Belisarius is a young hero willing to go against enemies of the empire like no other hero would
Throughout the book we follow this young Roman on his journey as a boy, then a new recruit in the army.  Full of vigor and attitude Belisarius is not your typical boy although my 2 boys could relate to him easily.

This was a little over Cameron’s head but we still enjoyed reading parts of it as a read aloud. The book overall would be a good read for a 5th grade student or higher.  When we revisit ancient Rome and the early Church we will be including this fun series in our reading.  The glossary in the back of the book helped a lot even for Mommy to revisit her ancient knowledge.

The characters are believable and have a lot of depth, which is something we have had a hard time finding in chapter books and even longer novel style books that are appropriate for the boys’ school books.  I can see a mini unit study based on these books where the student could focus on several characters as well as a timeline along with some comprehension work. 

The author does a great job leaving the story open enough for book 2. There are not a lot of loose ends but enough that the students want to continue with the series. The book can stand alone as well.  I have book 2 to read and share on our blog as well.

I hope you will search out the book and add it to your own ancient Rome/ Early Church readings. I think understanding the early church is a key point to any denomination as well as much of history. I still try to work with the thought that those that fail to learn their history are doomed to repeat it at cliché  as it sounds.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Book Review: Quick Tips Morning Messages

This is a unsponsored review of a book we will be using with Nathan this coming year.

I received a copy of Quick Tips Morning Messages by Annmarie Adams from a retired teacher friend of mine and as I was reading through it I decided it would be a good fit for Nathan's morning journal exercises.  This book is full of great tips for group morning messages but can also be used in a single student setting.   I am going to type up our morning messages and  and include the date and the activity that Nathan will do ... I took the tips from the book and created ones that will hopefully be fun for Nathan as he is my early riser and this will give him something he can do with little help from Mom or Dad.
I would definitely recommend this book for homeschoolers, especially if you have multiple kids, this could be a fun together activity to connect the learning of multiple subjects.  There are several reproducible pages to add to the activities such as; shapes, charts, and fill in the blanks.  Overall a good book for classroom teachers, homeschool families, or even a co-op setting.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Mini Mysteries

Let me start off by saying this is not a sponsored review. I received this book from a retired teacher and thought I would share how we are going to use it this coming year.

In this book there are 26 mini mysteries with comprehension skills questions on the back side of the page. I love that it is basically a 1 page story and questions to go with. The book published by Remedia Publications is graded for 3rd-6th grade which makes it perfect for Cameron.
I will be alternating a mini mystery with his Journaling so he will do 2 mysteries a week. This first book will get us through 2 months and if we like it I will go ahead and get volume 2 from our local teacher supply store, Learning Palace .  We read the first mystery last night just to see if he thought he would enjoy them.  And other than being in a bad mood last night he showed interest in the activity and liked that the story was only 1 page and was a mystery.  Since each story is only 1 page I can easily slip that page into his workbox folder the night before and be done with it.. I may even have him answer the questions into his journal and draw a picture to go with the story, thus saving the sheets for Nathan in a couple years.