Monday, August 20, 2012

Math Mammoth - Review and Giveaway

We were offered a copy of Math Mammoth to review a few weeks ago.  We had already bought Saxon Math 2 for our school year but I thought that anything out there is worth trying.  If it doesn't work we will drop it.  We chose Math Mammoth Grade 1 for S to use.

What I thought...
Very quick download.  The folder has everything laid out so it is easy to chose exactly which file you want to open and use.  I opened each folder, in order, and looked over everything before I started printing.  I was very impressed by the great age appropriate graphics and colorful images that are used on the work sheets.  Typically S is not a worksheet kind of gal, but she loves math, so I thought that we would go ahead with this and see how it pans out.  I printed off the first 28 pages which were 3 lessons.  They recommend taking your time with each lesson, breaking it up into chunks so your child doesn't feel over whelmed.  I hole punched them and put them in a pretty purple folder.  Honestly, I was a bit aprehensive.  I know my girl and usually she is not up to do worksheets.  I pulled the folder out on Monday and presented her with her new "Mammoth".  She grinned soooo big and we started.  I love how easy it is to teach and that they have links to other resources online to go along with what your child is working on.

What she thought...
She was beside herself after the first lesson.  She didn't want to stop.  She conquered the entire lesson in 1 day and was so proud of herself.  Since that lesson she has requested to keep her "Mammoth" for last so she can end her day doing her "favorite"!  She decided that she wanted to put the Saxon Math to the side and move forward with the Math Mammoth.  I think she enjoys the challenge of the Math Mammoth and how it moves quickly through each lesson.

What the website says...
Math Mammoth offers affordable, yet quality math worktexts and workbooks for grades 1-12, loved by parents, homeschoolers, and teachers.

All of the books are available as downloads—and most also as printed books.

Watch the videos on their YouTube channel HERE

Want your own FREE copy of the Blue Series in either digital down load or CD?  Enter below for your chance.  The winner will be chosen on 8/31/2012 and notified via email and announced on the blog!

Enter for your chance to win here...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Week 2 - Settling In

Week 2 was a bit more relaxed as we were learning more of what to expect out of each other.  There were a few changes made to the workbox order and it seems to be helping.  I have also added in a special "break" box for S.  I just print off a cute animal picture or word search and hide it in one of the lower boxes.  She has been so excited each time she found one of those in her workbox.  I plan to keep that up for as long as I can without her getting board with it.  N is really enjoying finding "new stuffs", as he calls it, in his boxes. I have been trying to come up with some fun things to throw in there for him until his new books come in.  I have ordered him a new math workbook that I think will really help.  I will have more on that as soon as it comes in, along with a few other things that I am adding to his boxes.

This week we started our Apologia Zoology 3 book. The kids colored the pictures that go with the lesson and made listening ears.  They love their listening ears!  I find N wearing his around the house just because he likes them so much.  He says they are cheetah ears and they make him run fast!  Boys!  Here they are posing with their ears on.  They are pretending to be animals.  :)

We were blessed this week with some new gravel for the driveway.  The kids were SO excited to watch the dumptruch dump them out as he drove up the driveway.  (Maybe we don't get out enough?!)
(Note N wearing his listening ears?! ^)

We are ready and excited for week 3 coming up!  We will be doing a fun new Unit Study.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Parental Love - What the Bible Says...

I have been praying over my children and our relationships the past few days.  God has really opened my heart and my eyes to some scripture that I have been praying over and I wanted to share it with you...

Discipline is a hallmark of parental love.
Proverbs 13:24

Discipline brings peace in the family.
Proverbs 29:17

Do not anger children with harsh or unfair discipline.
Ephesians 6:4

Do not make children bitter or discouraged.
Colossians 3:21

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let's DIG In!

On September 3, 2012 we will be joining in on The Dig For Kids Community Bible Study!  Would you join us?  The Dig For Kids is a fun new Bible Study for children written by Patrick Schwenk, pastor and father.

From the website...

A typical Dig lesson consists of the following four components:
1.  The Map: The Map tells you and your child where you’ll be going in each lesson.  It is a short summary of the study ahead.
2.  The Dig: The Dig is the main passage you will be studying.  Following each passage will be several questions designed to help conversation and understanding.  They are meant to be a guide.  You can use them or tweak them to help you talk with your children.
3.  The Treasure: The Treasure is the big idea of each lesson.  In a short statement, it is what you want your child to remember from the passage you studied.
4. The Display: When an archaeologist finds a treasure, they will clean it up and put it on display for everyone to see.  This is the basic idea of the Display.  It is the application of the Treasure you have found!

Do you plan to DIG in?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Respect Copywork - Review

We received our very first product to review from Knowledge Box Central just last week and I am very excited to share with you what we think about it.  We chose Respect Copywork.  We have been having some issues with attitude and smart mouths around here so this fit the bill perfectly!  (See, homeschoolers are no different than any other child!)

Our thoughts...

The content of this copywork is great.  It is spot on what I want to instill in my children.  While the copywork is a bit wordy for my 6 year old we made it work just right for us.  I read the verse to her and we discussed it.  Then we went back over it and I chose a few words that I feel really bring the point home for her to copy.  This made it less daunting and more enjoyable for my less than eager writer.  Turns out she really enjoyed it (using brand new glitter gel pens may have added to the enjoyment!).
This is an example of how I broke it down to suit our needs.  I just underlined the words she was to copy.  I am not overly focused on the penmanship because the purpose of this is to teach RESPECT.  I found that it is very easy to make this copywork truly work for the student.
Another sample of how we made it work for us. - I underlined part of the sentence that she needed to focus on "consider others better than yourselves." and had her copy it one word per line.  We reread the verse and talked about it.  

At the end of each lesson you have a "Thinking Question".  I chose to have S draw a picture of what the verse means to her.  You could even use this for dictation if you wanted to write it in for your child or if your child is ready, they can fill it in themselves.  I loved the way she was able to come up with illustrations to show me that she really "got it".

"Romans 12:10  - Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourself."
She drew a picture of her and her brother with hearts around them.  We discussed that in Christ's eyes we are all brothers and sisters.  She that it was funny that in heaven she and I will be sisters!  :)

"consider others better than yourselves." was the point of this lesson.  She decided that giving the last slice of pie to the other person was a good way of showing that others are better than yourself.  This is her example of doing that as she gives the last slice of pie to her brother while she stands with a horse! lol!

 My girl does not enjoy hand writing but she loves to draw.  I think that having her draw the images at the bottom really helps her absorb the lesson.  This was a blessing for us and is helping her to understand how to show respect to others.  I look forward to continuing this with her.

To sum it all up...
I think that this set of copywork is a great addition for anyone looking to add on a Bible or Character Trait Study. It is easy to adapt to your child and teaching.  This will not be the last Character Trait Study we do from Knowledge Box Central that is certain!

Want a copy for your classroom?  You can get it here from CurrClick or here directly from Knowledge Box Central.

Please note that I did receive this copy for free to review.  The opinions expressed are mine and directly reflect how we used the product and how it worked for us.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Classroom

Our classroom is never finished.  I find myself moving things from here to there and back again almost daily.  To be honest, we have spent more time at our kitchen table this year than I imagined we ever would.  The kids have not sat at their desks one time.  (Maybe I should move those out?!)  The pictures I have are from right after we got my new-to-me desk and rearranged things around.  We sectioned the hall off from the room and turned it into a small library nook to house our books and other things we do not use daily.  Check it out...

Group Area 

Kids desks and workboxes.  Never mind the mess!  :)

My teachers manuals and extra curricula.

My desk before the new chair you notice in the pic above.  I scored the new chair at Wa!m@rt for $45!!  YEAH!!!

It isn't much but it is a nice space that I enjoy being in.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Oh What A First Week it Was

August the 6th, 2012, found us starting our first day of the new school year.  S is now in first grade and N is doing K.  The week started out great!  We jumped right into Math, Reading and a couple of Lapbooks (S is doing Rabbits and N is doing Letter A).  Wednesday was our scheduled day off or make up day.  We will be using it that way until we start co-op in a few weeks.  Thursday we had school as normal and wrapped up the day.  Hubby came home from work and we were getting the day settled.  5 o'clock showed up and I started having serious abdominal cramps.  Not just "take an aspirin and call me in the morning" cramps, but full force, me on the floor curled up into the fetal position, crying the ugly cry, cramps.  After about an hour and a half of that nonsense I passed a kidney stone.  OH JOY!  I am not shocked by this because we have known for years that I have some "in there" but I sure wasn't planning it.  This makes stone #3 in about 11 years.  The last scan showed 5 "in there" but the urologist said that nature would just do it's course.  Yeah, thanks nature!  Here it is the weekend and I have spent the bulk of it laying around, doing as little as possible.  I am starting to feel tremendously better and know I am on the mend.  We are looking forward to Monday and all of the fun things that should happen.  Until then, here are some uber-cute new pics of the kids from their first day...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hands of a Child GRAND OPENING!!!

In the Hands of a Child is having their annual Back to School Sale
on their HUGE selectionof Lapbooking and Notebooking Products.
Save 50% on over 400 different titles!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Over or Under - The Great Toilet Paper Debate

This isn't really a post about toilet paper but the thought seems fitting.  I was recently asked "Why would anyone homeschool their children?"  Hmmm. How do you even begin to answer a question that has so many right answers.  The truth is, you can't.  No matter what you do or say, their opinion will always be - their opinion.  I have expressed that it is Gods calling in my life and I am doing this to please Him.  I have said that it is because I feel that my children would learn better in a more familiar environment, where they are loved and accepted for who they are.  I have shared stories of the ridicule and bullying by my peers that I endured as a child, and explained that I want more than that for my children.  Have I made my case?  Has the great debate been settled?  Sadly, no.  In their eye's I am a crazy woman who wears denim jumpers, hides my children in the closet, and keeps them from any "real world socialization".  It is frustrating to say the least.  Now, those of you who homeschool your children will know just what I am talking about.  You have probably had the same discussion with the same close-minded people that I have.  Who knows, you may have changed their mind or settled them (if so I really want to hear that story!).  Those of you who do not homeschool your children may not "get it".  Really, we do not think we are any better than any other mom who sends their child off on the big yellow bus.  To be perfectly honest with you I am sure most of us have days that we are green with envy. The reality is, the great debate about homeschooling is much like that of the toilet paper.  Some people just prefer their paper come from under the roll than over it.  And you know what?  That is ok!  :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Changing History

Ok, so maybe not the History of the world or anything, but I AM changing our History curriculum for the year.  I had purchased History For Little Pilgrims a few months back and thought it would be great for us.  That was until I opened the book and started looking at it.  It is very dry and well, it doesn't look fun.  When I am teaching my 2 it has to be fun or they check out and act up.  I decided to look for something more hands-on.  I started where I always start, CurrClick.  I found a few "Tennessee" themed things but nothing seemed to really stand out to me.  Then I decided to revisit some of my files.  I found it, right there in my hard drive!  Learning Across the USA - by Toddler Bites Publishing.  I think it was a freebie some time ago that I picked up in hopes of using.  What great timing.  It is simple - a must have with my 2, it is hands on, and it is VERY user friendly.  Basically you print off a notebooking sheet for each state.  Your children fill it in with the info provided and some fun cut outs.  They draw in the flag, color the state on the map and measure the distance from their state to the state being learned.  I decided that it would be best for us to do this only 2 days a week.  We will cover 1 state per day.  I have only printed the first 10 states for now so I can evaluate and see if this is going to fit for us but I have a feeling it will be perfect!  I look forward to updating you about this soon!!!

In Him,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Yesterday I was spending some time with my kids and talking about the upcoming school year and how at the end of August the hubby is taking some time off from work so we can get some much needed clearing out done around here.  Then it hit me... a week off.  YIKES!  I had not planned for that week off.  I hadn't thought about it, to be perfectly honest.  So, I grabbed a pencil and my calendar.  Yep, a wrench was thrown directly into my plans.  In order to take the breaks that I have planned we would have to gain a week somewhere.  I decided that it would be best to add the week on to the first of the year instead of trying to come up with it at the end. That means we will be starting school NEXT MONDAY not in 2 weeks.  YIKES!!!  Then another realization - I wasn't ready!!!  UH OH!!!  I decided late last week that the history curriculum I purchased just isn't going to fit into my teaching style or my children's learning style and that we should ditch it.  I had been glancing here and there and hadn't settled on anything to use until today!  YAY!!! (More on that another day!)  I also had hopes of finding a unit study or lapbook for S to start out the new school year with.  She chose Rabbits.  Do you know just how few Rabbit (not Peter Rabbit or Rabbit Hill) units there are out there.  Well, there are not many.  I finally decided on one for her to use from Hands of a Child.  I got it purchased today and will be working feverishly to get it ready and mapped out for her to use come Monday.  You see, I am still very new to this and I am not a very organized person by nature.  I have the best of intentions.  Thankfully I work very well under pressure so I am finding myself getting quite a bit accomplished the last 24 hours in preparation for next week.  I still have lots to do but I have faith that it will all fall into place.  

Now, excuse me while I go gather up some of my sanity that I have scattered about the house and take a shower and prepare to do much of the same again tomorrow!

In Him,