Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Reading

We’ve got a couple of resources that we’re using for our Advent reading this year.jotham

Last year we used Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent as our family read-aloud for Advent.  Our family loved this book!  So this year we are reading from another book in the same series during Advent, Batholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for Advent.  Dh reads a chapter from Bartholamew’s Passage every evening before we tuck the kiddos into bed…nothing like a good, rousing adventure story to get you ready for bed :).

{Just so you know, we have Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent waiting on our bookshelf for next year :)}bartholomewI also wanted to add a bit of Advent reading into our homeschool day {since dh has the evening covered}, so I decided to do what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time…add in some Jesse Tree fun.

I downloaded and printed Ann Voskamp’s free Jesse Tree devotional, and we began our reading today.  I hope to also do something a bit crafty with the Jesse Tree ornaments that she included in the back of the devotional.

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Along with the Jesse Tree devotional, I will be reading one chapter each day from The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean.  I have read mixed reviews about this book, but it looks like something we will enjoy ~ I’ll have to let you know what we think once we’ve finished it.


Friday, November 19, 2010

{Bi}Weekly Wrap-Up

Yep, I decided the bi-weekly wrap-up works much better for us…the weeks go by so fast that I just can’t keep up with a weekly one :)

Here’s what we’ve been up to for the past two weeks…

Ds8 {3rd grade} has working on his three r’s very diligently.  The book he’s currently reading from his reading list is a longer one and he’s been working through it for the past two weeks.  He finished two more weeks in his Writing With Ease workbook, and six more lessons in First Language Lessons Level 3

He completed another light unit in his math curriculum today…and passed the unit test with flying colors! 

IMG_0336Dd6 {1st grade} has completed over half of All About Spelling Level One, and just this week we got to break out our new AAS reader, The Runt Pig.  She is loving this book {and I am loving how wonderfully this reader matches up with the reading and spelling skills she is learning in her daily AAS lessons!}.

She is also cruising through her math lessons {we do four lessons each week}.


Ds4 has been using scissors like crazy…every day he asks for a handful of “cutting”  papers from one of our Kumon books.  I’ve been finding paper scraps everywhere :)


Science ~ We have been studying the Earth in our astronomy text for the past two weeks.  It is truly amazing how God made this planet that we live on.  It has a perfect atmosphere, perfect tilt, perfect mass, perfect distance {from the sun}, perfect magnetosphere, perfect rotation, and perfect land…perfect for human life. 

History ~ We finished up our study of knights and castles this past week.   I hope to celebrate our completion of studying this time period by letting the kiddos make a castle out of Kix cereal {I saw this cool idea on the Live, Learn, and Love Together blog}. 

Read Aloud ~ We finished Castle Diary last week and we have moved on to reading B is for Betsy.  My dd6 is especially enjoying this read aloud because Betsy is just about her age :).

Other Stuff ~ Our weather in these parts has been beautiful, warm, perfect for outside fun…and we’ve been taking advantage of it :).  Last weekend we took a hike through history and we spent a day at a friend’s house having a whole lot of harvest time fun.

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Next week we’ll be taking a bit of a break from our regular studies.  I plan to have the kiddos continue with math and reading, and we’ll continue our read-aloud…but we’ll take a break from science and history to spend time learning about the pilgrims and Thanksgiving :)


This post is being linked to Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

A Hike Through History

Last week we were blessed with many sunny and warm fall days…we took advantage of that warm streak to spend some time at a nearby park last weekend. We took a short hike up a steep hill…and along the way we read about the history of George Washington’s life.

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Once we reached the top of the hill, we were rewarded with this amazing view…

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According to a sign posted nearby, some villagers from a nearby town celebrated Independence Day in 1827 by building a monument in memory of George Washington.

This monument was actually used by the Union Army during the Civil War as a signal station.

In the sign you will see it labeled the “Washington Monument”…however, it is not the Washington Monument that you will find in Washington D.C. :)

I forgot to get a picture of the monument, but we did get a chance to climb it and dh got a picture of us climbing back down the stairs…

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We’ll have to be sure to revisit this neat hiking trail next year when we begin our studies of American History.

KB Teachers ~ A Review


KBTeachers is a wonderful online source for worksheets and printables that can be used with all ages and grade levels {k-12}.  KBTeachers also offers a math worksheet generator and free clipart and graphics that are exclusive to KBTeachers.  This helpful website has been online for over 10 years.

KBTeachers offers worksheets and printables for a variety of subjects:

  • English {Alphabet, Grammar & Writing, Cursive Writing}
  • Math {Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division,Telling Time, etc}
  • Science {Astronomy, Geology, Weather, Biology}
  • Social Studies {for the upper grades}

They also offer numerous seasonal printables, including holiday printables and even webquests based on events that occured on particular days.  For instance, November featured a webquest for Veteran’s Day {November 11th} and Robert Louis Stevenson {birthday was November 13th}.

In addition, KBTeachers offers free printables that are accessible to everyone, including free themed math worksheets and free science pages {FREE is written in red beside the free pages}.

 Our Experience

Since receiving a free membership to the KBTeachers site {for the purpose of this review}, I have printed numerous worksheets and printables that have been used in our homeschool. 

My ds4 {who is learning his letters} loves the alphabet pages that I have printed for him.  He’s a big guy now {since his recent birthday} and he wants to “do school” like his big brother and big sister.  KBTeachers Alphabet Factory pages are the perfect fit for him. 

The Alphabet Factory pages range from simple letter tracing worksheets {one letter per page, and your choice of color or black & white}, to word scrambles and “write a story” pages.  

I have also used a number of printables from the science section of KBTeachers website.  This year we are studying astronomy, and I have been very impressed with the astronomy pages offered on KBTeachers.  They have created worksheets for each of the individual planets that we are using as notebook pages.  After we complete our study of each planet, I have the kiddos complete that planet’s page, and we file it away in our astronomy notebook.

My Thoughts

Let me preface my thoughts by saying that we do not use a lot of worksheets in our homeschool.  However, I do like to have worksheets available for my kiddos who are learning their letters and practicing handwriting.  In addition, we are beginning use “notebooking” in both science and history to keep an account of our learning in these subjects. 

I have been extremely pleased with the variety of worksheets that I have found on KBTeachers.  I have also been very impressed with the quality of the printables that I have used.  I especially appreciate that KBTeachers offers printables that I am able to use with all of my kiddos, from alphabet factory and introductory math skills pages for my youngest {age 4}, to astronomy worksheets and informational webquests for my 3rd grader.

KBTeachers’ website is organized so that the worksheets that I want are very easy to find.  In addition, because of the way KBTeachers has set up their website, I do not have to download the printables before I print them {which saves a lot of time}. 

More About KBTeachers

The current price for a membership to KBTeachers is $29 for one year, or $49 for two years.  For this price you will receive unlimited access to all of the worksheets and printables on the KBTeachers website.

There are also some worksheets on the KBTeachers website that are free to everyone, regardless of membership. 

KBTeachers offers a 10 day free trial and they also provide a 30-day money back guarantee once you join their site.

Visit their Benefits page to read more about the benefits that a premium membership to KBTeachers offers.

post bannerClick on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about their experience with KBTeachers.

I received a free membership to KBTeachers in order to provide an honest review of my experience with this product.   I received no other compensation for this review.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Harvest Time Fun

This past weekend, we were invited to a “cider-pressing party” at the home of some family friends.  In addition to pressing apple cider, the kiddos also made butter, cracked pecan shells, participated in an apple and pumpkin hunt, and had a ton of fun!

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After working hard to press cider…the kiddos got to enjoy some of the fruits of their hard labor…a cup of fresh, cold, cider ~ yummy!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Corps of Re-Discovery ~ A Review

Corps of Re-Discovery is a home-based business that provides “High Quality Project Kits for American Indian, Frontier, Pioneer American and Lewis and Clark Studies”.  This unique company is owned by a homeschooling family.  Be sure to visit their “About Us Page on their website to read all about this creative homeschool family.

Our Experience

We received the Corps of Re-Discovery’s Tomahawk kit to review.  This kit contained only three pieces: a wooden handle {with a slit at the top and a hole at the bottom}, a pre-cut leather “blade”, and a long leather lace.  Everything came neatly packaged together in a small plastic bag. 

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Once I emptied the contents of the package, I quickly read over the instructions before handing the project over to ds8.

The instructions were very simple and included both written directions and helpful diagrams.

The instructions stated that decorating the tomahawk handle and/or blade was completely optional.  They did provide suggestions as to what materials could be used to decorate; these materials were not included in the kit.  They also suggested that you decorate before putting together the kit.

Ds8 decided that he wanted to put a stripe that spiraled down the handle, so to keep things simple we used permanent marker {on the instruction sheet it was suggested that you could also use acrylic paint {not included} to decorate}. 

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After he decorated the handle, he set to work putting together his tomahawk. 

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Fifteen minutes later, ds8 had his own personal tomahawk…


An added plus about this particular tomahawk…the leather-blade {as opposed to, you know, a really sharp metal blade} makes it safe for for little brothers too :)


My Thoughts

Ds8 really enjoyed putting together his tomahawk.  Corps of Re-Discovery made the process super simple by including all of the required parts in their packaging.  They also provided very simple and easy to follow instructions.  And the kit was very reasonably priced {regular price $7.99}. 

I would definitely recommend the tomahawk kit to anyone who is looking for a fun project for their kiddos to do.  This kit, and other Corps of Re-Discovery kits, can be used to enhance American History studies, or they can be used by parents who are looking to add some handicrafts into their child’s home education experience. 

candle dipping kit clothespin doll kit american indian pkg

Even better, they can be used simply to infuse a bit of hands-on fun into any day {no educational reason required :)}.  I can envision purchasing some of these kits to give as gifts {I know my dd6 would love the clothespin doll kit}, to use as birthday party crafts, or even just to stow away in our rainy day {or snowy day} box.

More Information about Corps of Re-Discovery

The Tomahawk kit that we received has a regular price of $7.99, but is currently listed at $5.50 on the website. 

I believe that this kit would appeal to a wide variety of ages…my ds8 had no problem putting it together pretty much by himself once I got him started.  I think even an older kiddo {older elementary school and up} would enjoy one of these kits…especially if he or she has an interest in American history.

Corps of Re-Discovery also sells a number of other historical project kits.  On their website they have divided their products into four different categories:

Corps of Re-Discovery offers three different ways to order from their company.  You can place an order online at their website, you can order by phone, or you can order by mail.

We plan on beginning a two-year study of American History next year and I will definitely be purchasing some of these simple and inexpensive project kits to enhance our studies.

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Click on the banner above to see what my fellow crewmates are saying about Corps of Re-Discovery.


I received this product for free in order to provide an honest review of my experience with this product.  I did not receive any other compensation for my review.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shutterfly Photo Cards

It’s almost the middle of November…do you have your Christmas cards ready yet?  Nope, me neither :).  But that could be a good thing this year, because I just heard that Shutterfly is offering 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers this year in return for posting about their favorite Christmas cards from Shutterfly’s large selection. {Follow this link for more information: http://bit.ly/sfly2010}

To be honest, it is not hard for me to sing the praises of Shutterfly.  I have been creating Shutterfly photobooks since our youngest was a baby {paper scrapbooking went by the wayside, three kiddos = no time to scrapbook}. 

We have also been using Shutterfly to create our Christmas cards for the past couple years.  I love the large selection of card styles that Shutterfly offers.  This year I plan on using my favorite individual pictures of my kiddos from the past year on our Christmas card, and maybe a picture of all three…so I limited my search to cards that allowed at least 3 pictures…my top three favorite styles are:

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We usually include a Christmas letter with our cards…but when I was perusing Shutterfly’s card styles I came across this cool one…

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Hmmm, being able to include our Christmas letter on our Christmas card is very tempting….

And remember, photo cards are not just for Christmas…you can also create a variety of other cards and stationary from the Shutterfly Cards and Stationary page.  Photo cards make adorable birthday invitations…we used one for our daughter’s first birthday ~ it became both a birthday invite and a birthday keepsake.

birthday girl This is a sample from Shutterfly’s site, not the card we used

Or how about making personalized thank you cards using a photo {or photos} from the birthday party?  Shutterfly offers a varied selection of thank you cards styles, all you do is add the photo{s}.

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Like I said in the beginning of this post, I have been using Shutterfly for a number of years…I make annual photobooks for each of my kiddos, an annual family photobook, and special occasion photobooks {i.e. vacation}.  I also use Shutterfly every year to make our Christmas photo card.

So go on…check Shutterfly out for yourself.

If you are a blogger, make sure you check out this link http://bit.ly/sfly2010 for more information about the 50 free cards for bloggers promotion. 

Please note that the opinions stated in this post are my own, based on my own personal experience with Shutterfly.  I am doing this post in order to obtain my own set of 50 free photo cards from Shutterfly.  I am not receiving any other compensation from Shutterfly.


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