Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May Lesson Plan Goals

I realized this evening (April 30th) that I hadn't really sat down with Lesson Plan Goals for a while. So here goes.

Reading/ Phonics: ABeCeDarian B-1 Unit 2 -4
Math: Touch Math Module C
Handwriting: Handwriting without Tears, finish the book?
Bible: Weekly Bible Lesson reading and marking Golden Text and Responsive Readings, also marking 2 citations for Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
History: Babylon and the Bible : Esther through Daniel
Science: Garden
Art: See the Light chalk art project and watercolor mixed media project

Most of Nathan's goals come from review Crew products. I will also leave room for his Montessori work on fractions. I need to finish his 3 part cards on plants and history cards on Babylon.

Reading: Continue reading Phantom Tollbooth with Daddy
Math: Math Mammoth Green Series plus some A+ Tutorsoft or Math-u-See
Computer Science: Continue work on HTML with blog page Goal
History: Battles of the Bible Notebook from Hands of a Child with Story of the World Volume 1 reading to coordinate
Art: See the Light chalk art, and mixed media plus creative lettering project (possible cover for above Notebook)
Bible: Weekly Bible Lesson with questions from Auntie and continue reading "A Proving Ground" with coordinating verses
Penmanship: Copywork from Bible Lesson

Again, a lot of this is Crew products, but also stuff we had put on hold and need to get back to. Since co-op is almost over for the year, we will have more school time at home to catch up and get back on track before July rolls around and Mommy is gone for 2 weeks.
So this will be what is on tap four days a week for the next month. 3 of the Wednesdays we have co-op and them we will finish the month off with 5 days a week to get caught up. (I don't expect them to do every subject every day).

Hopefully we can keep calm and carry on as the saying goes.

Blog every day in May: a challenge: I'm game!

Jenni from  Story of My Life is hosting a blog challenge for the month of May. I love a good challenge and my goal is to merge my 2 blogs so that everything that goes on at Unionvale Home/ School is in one spot. This will be a great challenge. Care to join us?

Story of My Life: Blog every day in May: a challenge: "

p.s If you check in over at Jenni's blog she even has a list of suggestions for each day.

My Gym celebrates 30 years with awesome promo. #sponsored

Throughout 2013, My Gym locations across North America will celebrate thirty years of providing fitness and fun to families by offering money saving membership and class discounts, conducting a search tocrown My Gym’s Fit & Healthy Family and hosting fun and fitness-filled My Gym 30th Birthday party/ Open Houses.
  • Offered April 1 through June 30, the My Gym discounts include free membership to families signing on for the first time and 30% off for four weeks of classes at participating locations.
  • Also taking place April 1 through June 30, My Gym’s 30th anniversary Fit & Healthy Family Contest is a initiative designed to encourage families to demonstrate how they have made fitness a key part of their family’s lifestyle and share their own family fitness tips with families everywhere through the My Gym contest’s social media. www.facebook.com/mygymfun
  • In August, participating My Gym locations throughout the North America will open their doors for free-to-the-public 30th birthday party/open houses – My Gym style.
Open to families in North America, the My Gym Fit & Healthy Family Contest invites families with at least two members in the same household (and one member a child under the age of ten) to enter by submitting a photo of their family engaged in physical activity along with 100-200 words sharing their favorite family fitness tip(s). The photos and accompanying tips will be posted on My Gym’s Official Facebook Page for the public to vote for their favorite entry. Families receiving the most votes will become among the 30 semi-finalists from which the Grand Prize winner will be chosen. Semi-finalists will win prizes from My Gym's official cleaning sponsor BabyGanics (babyganics.com), the leading provider of household and personal care products for every touch point in a baby's life; DVD’s of the popular children’s animated series Chuggington (chuggington.com); a prestigious Recognition Certificate from the President's Council on Fitness Sports and Nutrition (fitness.gov); and a specially-designed My Gym prize pack. The grand prize family will win the acclaimed sports activity toy line from Little Tikes (littletikes.com) along with a year free of My Gym classes and a birthday party
To download the discount coupon, to electronically enter the contest and for all details and rules, please visitwww.facebook.com/mygymfun

Composer Study: focusing on the Orchestra with Homeschool in the Woods

 photo HSitW-NewLOGO-website_zps0d8de564.gifNathan enjoys music and learning about a variety of instruments so when the opportunity arose to review Homeschool in the Woods' Activity Pack  Hands on History Composers, I decided it would a good way for him to get an overview of a variety of composers and instruments.

 photo ComposersGroup-SMALL_zps73a0d718.jpgWhat is an Activity Pak? Homeschool in the Woods sells an Activity Pak that contains a variety of Lapbooking components focusing on a single subject matter, in this case 42 composers.
What is included in the Activity Pak?  The Composers pak includes: a Keyboard Vocabulary activity , the Orchestra a file folder activity with 19 pockets and cards for the various instruments and orchestra arrangements over 4 musical eras, Composer cards: a set of cards that can be used a flash cards covering 42 composers, a collection of musical appreciation sheets that can be used while listening to the included 29 pieces of music in MP3 format, a set of Music with purpose activities focusing on several pieces of music, along with several other lapbook activities.
What format does the Pak come in? The pak comes in either a download or CD format and is a zipped file. Once the file is unzipped , each component has a folder with individual pdf files. Each pdf file is a single page with the exception of the instructions for each component.
How much does the Pak cost? The download version is $18.95 and the CD version is $19.95
How did we use the Pak? Nathan and I went through and selected several of the activities that he would like and set to working through them. He enjoyed learning about the various orchestra instruments, although he struggled with the mini pockets we had to fold.  We also worked through the timeline and talked about each composer as we placed him (or her) on our timeline. We also listened to the MP3 files and talked about each piece of music. Nathan pointed to the various composers on the timeline as we listened to the music selections.  Since there isn't a written curriculum or reading list with the Pak, we pulled from our ChildCraft books, encyclopedias, and a few books from our homeschool co-op library.  This was another good opportunity to practice looking up information in the encyclopedia (a little old fashion, but when you have a wonderful old set that includes all the information needed might as well use it)
I also found other pieces of music in my CD collection to listen to as we worked through the various projects.
While Nathan enjoyed the one on one time with Mommy working on the project, I was frustrated with some elements of the Pak. Each page was a separate pdf file making printing a very long process as I had to open each file, print it, close the file, and open the next time.  Since this is an activity pack I had to spend a lot of time looking for things to read about each era, each composer, and the various pieces of music that we were listening to.. I spent more time looking for resources to read and have ready then we spent on the activities.
Nathan's favorite composer ironically was Handel. We actually got out my CD of the Mormon Tabernacle signing the Messiah and listened to it. I then got out my hardbound book of the score and we talked about the music and some of the theory involved in it. We looked at the vocal parts and the various orchestral parts.
Overall Nathan enjoyed the product and the lessons he learned. He has already created a new playlist in iTunes of just classical music, gotta love that!
While I wasn't overly thrilled with the product, I am glad he enjoyed it and that it inspired him. I will continue to offer him lapbooking projects for subjects he enjoys, but will make sure they are full products rather than just activities only. I will also continue to use our existing programs.
We were not the only ones to review this product, check out what other crewmates thought of the various products reviewed by the Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking the button below.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Lunch time fractions

Hands on fractions during lunch time, means fun school. 

Back in November I picked up a set of fraction tiles from Learning Resources at our local Goodwill.  I love the bright colors and the plastic tray to hold everything. I think I paid something around $1.99 for the set (it is missing 1 1/10th tile but has the cardboard pieces as well so it works) The set new retails for $11.99 on their website, and honestly that is still a pretty reasonable price for everything you get. 
I decided to introduce the fraction tiles using a Montessori lesson. We laid the tiles out in rows totally 1 in like colors and I introduced the numbers to him.  Thankfully he already understood some of the concept of fractions from all the time he spends in the shop working with Daddy.
Next we focused on things that equal 1/2. We took combinations of tiles to equal 1/2 and checked with the 1/2 tile to be sure they matched. He also figured out that 1/5 tiles can't be matched up with 1/2 tiles.
 Finally,  we played with mixing up the tiles in rows totalling 1. That part was tricky, but since we had all the tiles ready, I knew he would come up with a combination to use all the tiles and fill the tray. 

Something so simple, but yet we covered a lot of ground in our 20 minute session of lunchtime math. Tomorrow we will work on writing fractions and drawing fractions. I have a set of fraction circles that are magnetic , maybe later in the week we can look at circles as well. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dating the principal

Scheduling dates as a homeschool mom can be a challenge. This past weekend though, both boys were gone for the weekend (oldest went with his Auntie on a classic car tour, while the youngest went to Grandma's house) so Date night times 3!
Date Night number 1: Grilled Flat Iron Steak with marinated onions and asparagus on the back patio watch the campfire!
I don't normally grill frozen steak ,but this time it worked. I preheated the grill (HOT!) and laid the steak on with a little cajun seasoning and malt vinegar (my new favorite vinegar for cooking). It took about 20 minutes rather than the usual 8-10 but the steak was perfect medium rare on the inside and nicely charred on the outside. Score one for Chef Mom.  I marinated the asparagus and onions in malt vinegar , olive oil, and a splash of lemon juice, then added them to the grill about halfway through cooking the steak. I also added a whole garlic to the grill as well. YUMMMM!!!  The entire meal cost me less than $20, that includes the 2 beers and 1 glass of hard cider (homemade). Can't get that at a Steakhouse.
Even better we didn't have to wait in line, we got patio seating, and didn't it was quiet.
We enjoyed the campfire and talked a bit about school and some goals I have. We also talked about some ideas for rearranging the house for learning zones.
The patio table and chairs weren't the best seating for a dinner but it worked.  I think I can set it up for the boys and use a picnic table for us next time. Since Spring has finally arrived I suspect there will be more dinners outside for a while.
Date Night #2~ I talked Mike into Happy Hour at McMenamins Hotel Oregon in downtown McMinnville. I had a gleaner's pick up a few blocks away and needed to return a Redbox movie anyway, so it made sense. We enjoy the pub food, especially the Happy Hour menu: Half Tavern Green Salad, Cajun Tots, and 1/3lb Burgers. I added a cup of Tomato Soup (it is crazy good soup). Since we were there in time for Happy Hour, Mike got his favorite beer and I got a Hard Cider. At the end of the evening we had spent $48.00 (more than double the night before), but it was worth it as I didn't want to do dishes and neither did Mike.

Saturday was Date Day~ I had a Bountiful Baskets pick up that ended up being pushed to the evening due to weather in the midwest, so we decided to head up to Silver Falls, our go to romantic spot. We ended up hiking abou 2 1/2 miles (with lots of hills), but the weather was beautiful and the falls were spectacular as usual.
We took a bench break at Winter Falls and snapped a picture of us together (a rarity). Winter Falls is beautiful, but the hike to it and back is crazy 11% + inclines.
peeking through the trees to Double Falls
South Falls is always wonderful, the trail down has issues so was blocked off, we could have taken the long way, but decided to just enjoy the view from the look out.

Date Night #4 was actually Date Afternoon on Sunday~ We stopped at KFC for a small bucket of chicken on our way home from church and then watched the Nascar race. The boys came home about 3 in the afternoon crazy excited to tell us about their adventures. I was happy to have my boys back and grateful for the break to spend some quality time with my husband and principal.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Math Rider, learning quests equals math practice

  photo mathriderlogo_zps7d664106.jpg
 We were happy to see Math Rider join the Schoolhouse Review Crew as a vendor again. Cameron actually asked me to apply to review the program as he remembered the program from the previous review we did.
While I was surprised at his eagerness, I welcome any excitement when it comes to learning basic skills. So I watched for the product link to arrive and immediately set up the boys' computer with Math Rider
The last time we reviewed the program, the boys were struggling with some focus issues and were too easily distracted by the quests. We also were a little behind in our math skills so they were easily frustrated. Now that we have been working on basic.
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So What is Math Rider? Math Rider is a combination computer game and math mastery practice activity that include all 4 basic math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)
Will my computer run Math Rider? Math Rider run on Adobe AIR run-time on both Windows and Mac systems., but I recommend checking the system requirements
How much does the program cost? Retail price is $47.00 and includes software updates for life.

Since the recommend age range is 6-12 years old I set both boys up with their own usernames  We found that for Nathan he could only do about half of a set of questions in each of the quests and worked better in practice mode rather than quest mode.

 Cameron actually did pretty well in quest mode, although he got frustrated with the quests since he didn't get 100% mastery and had to repeat a couple of the quests. I'm still torn on the whole expectation of 100% mastery , as a mom of two boys who struggle remembering some of the facts I set my mastery expectation at about 90% with 95% really being the higher goal.
The boys would play a minimum of 10 minutes to 20 minutes three times a week as either a math activity or a computer game. We played it at varying times the time we played.  The boys could earn extra computer play time by completing extra Math Rider time.

We will continue to use the program as a supplemental activity that the boys can use to work on their math fact mastery and typing skills. I know that typing skills isn't something that you would think of when thinking about a math game, but watching the boys play the game I am seeing their 10 key typing skills improve and that just adds extra benefits to the program. 

The program's price is a value especially considering the flexibility for larger families. You can have up to 8 players on a single use license and since the recommended age range covers grade 2-6 this product covers a large enough range to offset the initial $47. 
99 other crewmates also reviewed this program and you can read their thoughts by clicking the button below.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday Scripture

Psalms 9: 2-3
... I will sing praise to thy name,  O. Thou most high. When mine enemies are turned back they shall fall and perish at thy presence.

This passage stuck with me this week as we struggled with thoughts and worked to stay strong in our understanding that we are created in God's image and should work to reflect that in our daily activities.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hall of Doors Book 1 plus Unit Study from Progeny Press

 photo 26018_10150154187290243_4120345_n_zpsd9393f12.jpg
I am always looking for interesting age appropriate stories for Cameron to read that can be worked into school activities. When I was given the opportunity to review a book and unity study from Progeny Press I saw a door opening for Cameron..
Progeny Press is not an unfamiliar company to us. We actually used the Progeny Press Unit Study for, The Hobbit (although modified) a couple of years ago. and really enjoyed it.
Using Progeny Press, the students will need access to a dictionary, a thesaurus  and Bible (we used KJV although NIV is recommended), some internet access can be very useful , and a copy of the book being studied.

 photo a64738413877400fd8b0a_m_zpse5772579.jpgWe started out by reading aloud the Hall of Doors: Dragon's Hoard by Rebecca Gilleland. The book is graded at a 2nd -4th grade level which was a perfect fit for both boys. I read the first 3 chapters to them on a short road trip. Cameron read the rest of the chapters.  Each chapter is short enough to hold their attention , but detailed enough to move the story along. Illustrations by Mary Duban add hints of the story but are not distracting to the reader. Each chapter is 5-6 pages plus an illustration with a nice easy to read font. (That has been an issue for Cameron lately)
The story focuses on 2 siblings and their journey through the first door in a mysterious hall of doors inside their barn. They encounter talking crows, a dragon, elves, and larger spiders along their journey, a story in a book with clues they must follow. The clues within the story help them in their own journey to follow the true King.
The Biblical message in the story is subtle and not pounded on which makes the story almost like a C.S.Lewis Narnia story.
The paperback book retails $6.99

The interactive pdf unit study guide is engaging and can be done as we did without ever printing anything. Cameron worked through the pages for each chapter typing his answers. Once he was finished with the various activities he would print those pages as a new pdf file and send them to me via email. He was able to practice more skills than just a standard literature study; typing, saving, printing, and emailing in addition to his comprehension, sentence, grammar , etc.. skills.
 photo a6473ab137a9e7725ad14_m_zps8a9801cb.jpgThe Study Guide is available for $15.99 as a download or CD and $16.99 as a printed booklet. We received the download and are already planning on having Nathan work through the study guide later this year since we made the decision to let Cameron work through this product on his own.
The boys are already looking forward to more of the Hall of Doors books and possible unit studies over the next year or so. I love that they are excited about a series of books that have a strong Christian Worldview, even with the magic/make believe elements.
The books and the coordinating study guides are a worth the cost. The books stand on their own, and when the study guides are added you get the additional educational benefits of a literature based study guide. You don't have to take my word for it, you can read more Schoolhouse Review Crew opinions by clicking on the button below.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

How to take a self portrait without showing us your camera

So I don't usually post tutorials but this has been bugging me for a while. I have even taught my boys how to do this using my phone and their camera as well.
When you are taking a picture of yourself in the mirror I really don't want to see your camera, so I thought I would post how to take a self portrait.

The goal is to see you not your camera.


This is similar to what people post on Facebook or Instagram all too often. I don't care what kind of phone or cover you have, sorry.

By turning your phone around and looking at the lens instead of the picture you will be taking you change the dynamic of the shot completely.

If you are worried about what the picture will look like you can see a reflection of the picture in the mirror. This also saves the embarrassment of showing off your bathroom counter.

Unionvale Mom's Spot
You end up with a shot of you and that was the goal to begin with.

My son helped illustrate this by taking the pictures of me taking pictures of myself. I took the 2 self portraits using incandescent setting on my Samsung Galaxy Prevail II Boost Mobile phone.  I don't have the newest latest greatest phone but I make it work without showing it to everyone else in photos.

Try this and show yourself off rather than your camera.

p.s. this works well in dressing rooms too!

This post originally appeared over at Unionvale Mom's Spot, I decided to share it here as I keep seeing more and more camera shots online. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Simple enchiladas, a family favorite

A couple of years ago I came across a recipe in a Sunday Coupon slick using Campbell's Cream of mushroom soup to make enchiladas, my family loved it. Since then I have modified the recipe and it has become a family favorite.

6 large tortillas
2 cups shredded chicken (I used frozen chicken I had packaged earlier this month from a rotisiery chicken I bought)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated  cheddar cheese  divided
1 small can green chilies (mild for family)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa (I used homemade but you can use your favorite)
1 1/2 cups salsa or enchilada sauce

Nathan helped me make dinner tonight to show of the recipe

unvlmom's spot
I love my old school grater especially for cheese. This bowl is the other half of the cheese from the recipe , it will be used for topping.

unvlmom's spot
Combine everything except half the cheese and the salsa or enchilada sauce
unvlmom's spot
Fill each tortilla with about 2/3 cup of filling, roll each into a long casserole pan (I think this is a 9 x 13)

unvlmom's spot
I usually end up with 6 enchiladas, I will often double the batch and freeze one tray for later.

unvlmom's spot
Top with salsa or enchilada sauce

Cover enchiladas with the other half shredded cheese.

Place in a 350' oven and bake for 20 minutes (mostly just to heat everything up and melt the cheese)

Each of the boys will eat 1 , Mike will eat 2 1/2 and I will eat 1 1/2. When the boys get older I'm sure it will be a double batch when I make them.

Serve with salad for a complete meal!


This post originally appeared on Unionvale Mom's Spot. Since it is a family favorite and my boys ask for it frequently I decided to share it here as well.

Feeding boys with some #NuggetSmiles

This sponsored post originally appeared over at Unionvale Mom Spot. I decided since it is so focused on the kids and their food I would share it here. I did not receive any additional compensation for sharing it in a second location.

Sometimes eating isn't fun, but sometimes it is a ton of fun. 
How to do you make a Nugget Smile?
 With a Tyson #NuggetSmiles Plate of course.
The next trick is to get the kids to smile as the eat off the fun plate!

You can get a #NuggetSmiles plate for free with specially marked packages of Tyson Chicken Nuggets. With 3 Proofs of purchase you can send away from a fun Nugget face plate! I was lucky enough to score a coupon from the local Sunday newspaper a few weeks ago to save $.75 off a bag of Tyson Chicken, makes the deal even better.
The boys weren't sure about the idea of making faces on a plate or even making faces out of their dinner. (They take dinner way too seriously!)

Anyway, we headed to our local Safeway store to pick up a few things, coupons in hands and a list this time.
Our Safeway store allows 4 coupons to be doubled up to $.50 additional off per coupon.
This isn't a healthy option by any means but I had a coupon for Diet Dr. Pepper and had a craving for it so bought 2 , 2 liter bottles
Bonus! We found the Tyson Chicken Nuggets on sale for only $4.99 a bag! They were easy to find in the store, they had their own end cap display in the meat section. Love when I find a deal on something fun to dinner.

We decided to have a little fun with dinner, Chicken Nugget silly salads!

Salad plus tomatoes plus Tyson Chicken Nuggets and a variety of other toppings creates fun for dinner!

The adults got in on the fun too! Salad greens for facial hair, tomato nose, and kalamata olive with yellow pepper eyes.

What kid doesn't like to play with his food? Chicken nuggets smile with a pickled beet nose, tomato eyes, and finished off with romain lettuce eye brows, looks like a happy dinner!

Check out the rest of our adventure with Chicken Nuggets in our Google Plus Album

With 3 proofs of purchase you can get your own #NuggetSmiles plate and have fun creating you own edible faces with nuggets and imagination.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® . and Tyson #cbias #SocialFabric