Friday, April 22, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Entry #12

The Homeschool Mother's Journal


In my life this week…

Some rainy days, some sunny days, and a box full of books from Sonlight…I can’t complain :).

In our homeschool this week…

Ds9 finished up his math curriculum this week…I am going to have him work on math facts for the next couple of weeks, and he’ll start his new curriculum in July {after our 6-week summer break}.  We’ve also done some writing, some spelling, some grammar and some science…and we crossed another read-aloud off our list.

And I caught dd7 reading from her Beginner’s Bible a couple times {on her own, without being asked} :)

The countdown to summer break is on…five weeks left!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Well, on Sunday night I looked at our calendar for this week and we had something scheduled for every.single.night {sigh}…I do not look forward to weeks like that :0. 

However, we ended up cancelling our Monday night commitment because ds9 had a cold.  And baseball was cancelled Tuesday night because of rain.  I attended my book club on Wednesday night, ds9 had a baseball game on Thursday night, and tonight we are planning on attending Good Friday service.  Then tomorrow we have a birthday party to go to and church and a family dinner on Sunday. 

My favorite thing this week was…

Box Day!  I ordered our Sonlight curriculum for next year {Core 3}…and our box arrived TODAY!  Yay! 

What’s working/not working for us…

Rain, rain, and more rain {check out the photo at the bottom of this post}.  We are really ready for some warm, sunny spring weather :). 

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

I am thinking about how much I love getting new curriculum…I think it’s a sickness really…and my kiddos don’t have it :)

I picked up ds9’s new writing curriculum {IEW’s Student Writing Intensive A} last weekend at our local homeschool convention…I think it is going to be a wonderful addition to our homeschool next year. 

I also ordered his new math curriculum {Teaching Textbooks} after letting him try a sample lesson on-line. 

And our Sonlight curriculum for next year arrived today…yep, definitely looking forward to digging in to all of these new things…

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…


We have been getting a ton of rain around here…I don’t remember ever having such a wet spring.  This is a picture of one park in our area after we were swamped with rain last weekend…the green rooftops are playground equipment…and yes, they are under water!

See the Light Art Class ~ A Review


I received Volume 1 in See the Light’s Art Class DVD series to try out with my kiddos.  This DVD contains four art lessons that teach kiddos “the basics” of art.


In lesson one, kiddos are taught about the tools of the trade. During this short 8-minute segment, master artist Pat Knepley goes over some of the supplies that the kiddos will need to put in their art supply kit, including pencils, paper, and crayons. 

In lesson two, kiddos learn that it all starts with a line.  In this segment, Pat talks about the different kinds of lines that can be drawn, and she demonstrates how to make a contour drawing.

In lesson three, kiddos learn about contours & composition.  Pat has the kiddos practicing a contour drawing of two apples while also discussing the importance of composition and planning your drawing.

And in the final lesson kiddos are asked to draw what you see…literally.  Pat talks about drawing exactly what you see.  For instance, when you draw a profile of a person, you only draw the parts of the face that you see.  The kiddos then practice a contour drawing of what they see using a tennis shoe.

This DVD also contains a 20 minute bonus segment entitled Chalk-It-Easy Chalk Art Lesson.  In this segment, See the Light chalk artist Gloria Kohlmann teaches kiddos how to draw a stunning chalk drawing of “Cross Hill”.

Our Experience

Before showing this DVD to my kiddos, I watched it for myself…just to make sure that we would be prepared for the lessons.  While I was watching it my ds4 came into the room.  He immediately asked me to pause the DVD so that he could get a pencil and some paper…he wanted to draw along with Pat {the art teacher} :).

Pat refers to these short art lessons as the “You Can Draw Art Club” and the way that she presents the information makes the kiddos want to do art.  After previewing the lessons with me, my kiddos begged to try the lessons out so I set out the necessary art supplies at our kitchen table, turned the DVD on and let my kiddos get to work.

I was very pleased with the art that all three of my kiddos produced {and so were they :)}…even my 4yo was able to apply some of what he learned from the See the Light art lessons.

My Thoughts

I really like the ease of use of this art program.  Since I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, I loved that this DVD allowed me to bring an art teacher into my home to teach my kiddos :).

The lessons are presented in short segments {each segment is about 15 minutes long}…and just the right amount of information is presented so that my kiddos were not overwhelmed. 

I also appreciated the way that Pat interspersed scripture and Biblical truth throughout the art lessons.

If you are looking for a simple, fun, and easy-to-implement art program to use in your homeschool, I would definitely recommend you check out the See the Light curriculum.  Right now the Volume 1 DVD {the one featured in this review} is available for free on See the Light’s website :).

More Information

The See the Light art curriculum is designed to be used with kiddos ages 6 and up {1st grade & up}.  I have a 4yo, 7yo and a 9yo and all three of them enjoyed this program.

You will need some basic art supplies {regular pencil, colored pencils, crayons, paper, eraser} for the first four lessons.   You will also need a device on which to play the DVD.

For a limited time, See the Light Art Class Volume 1 {The Basics} is available for free on See The Light’s website.  You can also view the first three lessons from the Volume One DVD here.

You can purchase the entire collection of 9 dvds {one year of lessons} for $99.99. This one year set contains 36 step-by-step art lessons taught by Master Artist Pat Knepley.  You can read more about the one year set here.  You can also access a link to download a pdf of the curriculum contents on this page.  {See the link under the graphic of the 9 CDs}

See the Light also offers an online subscription to their art lessons for $10/month.  You can read more about this option here.

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I received a free DVD from See The Light in exchange for my honest and unbiased review of our experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Entry #11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal


In my life this week…

Baseball, baseball, rain, and more baseball.  Baseball season is in full swing around here.  Opening day was supposed to be on Saturday, but it was rained out…so we are heading to the baseball field for ds9’s first game tonight.  He is beyond excited :)

In our homeschool this week…

We are on week 30 in most of our subjects.  Only six weeks to go :)  I am preparing for a small homeschool convention that’s coming up this weekend…and getting excited about our plans for next year.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Lots of baseball practices and games on the horizon…and dh and I have plans for two date nights this week! 

My favorite thing this week was…

Going outside in short sleeves, and not getting goosebumps from the cold :)  It has been a very strange spring around here.  We have had many, many days of cold, chilly and often rainy weather…with one or two days of warm, sunny weather interspersed in between.  So I am very thankful when we get a warm, sunny day to enjoy :)

What’s working/not working for us…

Puppy behavior :).  Our puppy is a very sweet girl…she loves to be cuddled and petted, and she is very cute.  But she has entered the nipping and chewing phase of puppyhood.  I am hoping it’s a really short phase :).

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

I read a short article about commonplace books this weekend, and I am intrigued.  According to the article, a commonplace book is simply a book where you write down favorite quotes and passages from books that you are reading.  I may have to look into starting a commonplace book for myself…

A photo to share…


My sweet 4yo, enjoying a day at the playground.  He is growing up too fast {and so are his older brother and sister :)}

Friday, April 8, 2011

Science Weekly ~ A Review

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Science Weekly is a publication that is written for k-6th grade students.   The word “weekly” in Science Weekly’s title is a bit of a misnomer.  Science Weekly is actually published 2x per month in Sept, Oct, Nov, Jan, Feb, Mar, and April, and once in December.

Science Weekly offers “six differentiated reading levels” of newsletter style magazines for you to choose from. The magazine levels and corresponding reading/grade levels are as follows:

  • Level Pre A {Kindergarten}
  • Level A {1st Grade}
  • Level B {2nd Grade}
  • Level C {3rd Grade}
  • Level D {4th Grade}
  • Level E {5th-6th Grade}

Each edition of Science Weekly centers around the same topic.  However, the activities in each magazine vary based on the targeted grade level.  

In an effort to teach all three of my kiddos without going crazy and pulling my hair out, I try to combine as many subjects as I can.  Science Weekly’s multi-leveled magazines on the same topic make multi-level teaching a snap :)  And they also do a great job of integrating subjects. 

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionEach 4-page magazine contains a variety of components including a weekly lab {a hands-on activity or experiment}, reading, writing and math.   Many of the magazines also contain other sections like “bringing it home”, storytelling, and puzzles.

Our Experience

The topic of our edition of Science Weekly was fractions.  I know, at first I asked myself “what do fractions have to do with science?”.  But then I remembered how very connected math and science are :).

We used three levels of Science Weekly for our lesson.  My 9yo used Level C, my 7yo used Level A, and my 4yo used Level Pre-A.  I appreciated the fact that I was able to sit at the table with all three of my kiddos and teach them the same topic…with activities designed to match their skill level.

While my 9yo was learning about equivalent fractions in the math section of his Science Weekly magazine, my 7yo was cutting and pasting 2 halves of a {paper} apple onto a whole {paper} apple.

And my 4yo was just tickled to be included with the big kids.  He traced the words “whole”, “part” and “fraction” in the Level Pre-A Science Weekly and told me a story about how two kiddos pictured in the magazine could get equal parts of a sandwich {storytelling section}.

There is also a Teaching Notes Supplement {Teacher’s Guide} that accompanies each order of Science Weekly.  One teaching guide contains teaching notes and supplemental information for all six levels of Science Weekly.  It provides helpful background information about the topic being studied, suggestions for additional hands-on activities and more.

A list of some of the topics that have been explored in Science Weekly can be found here.

My Thoughts

As I mentioned before, Science Weekly’s multi-leveled magazines on the same topic make multi-level teaching a snap :) Each of my kiddos enjoyed their respective magazines, and I appreciated the fact that Science Weekly had done all of the planning work for me. 

More Information

With a one-year subscription to Science Weekly, you will receive 15 issues.    Science Weekly offers classroom rates {with a minimum of 20 subscriptions} and individual rates {less than 20 subscriptions}.  The individual rate is $19.95/year per student.

When you order your subscription you are able to choose the level {or levels} of Science Weekly that would best fit your needs. 

You can download a free sample of Science Weekly here.

You can also access free interactive resources provided by Science Weekly here.

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Please click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about Science Weekly.

I received a free sample of Science Weekly in order to provide an honest and unbiased review of my experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

KinderBach {At Home} ~ A Review

KinderBach {At Home} offers online music lessons and is targeted to reach 3 to 7 year olds.


According to their website, KinderBach is a solid curriculum:

Youngsters will learn music vocabulary, note reading, rhythm, physical technique, ‘do, re mi’ singing, listening skills and music composition plus the joy in making music.

PhotobucketKiddos learn about music by watching online videos that star fun characters like Dodi the Donkey, Frisco {the kid}, and Carla the Caterpillar {along with others}.  Many of the lessons also include printables that are completed during the lesson, or used to extend learning after the lesson.

View KinderBach’s curriculum here, including what concepts are taught in each of the six levels of the KinderBach program.

The six levels of of KinderBach include a total of about 22 hours of on-line video and a variety of coloring pages and printables.Photobucket

Each level of KinderBach contains 10 weeks of lessons.  Each weekly lesson contains four short video sessions.  This adds up to 60 weeks of music lessons for your kiddo.

Our Experience

I have been using KinderBach’s Online program with my two younger kiddos {dd7 & ds4}.  I usually have them view one full week of lessons {4 lessons} in one sitting ~ this takes about 15-20 minutes.  They often ask to re-watch a couple of their favorite lessons after this session.  Their favorite lessons are the ones in which they get to play a song with their rhythm instruments {we use wooden spoons}.

I have been very pleased with the music concepts that my two younger kiddos have learned so far through KinderBach’s Online program.  They have learned to identify low and high notes and about finger placement on the keyboard and the keyboard landscape {placement of keys on the piano or keyboard}.  They have also had a lot of fun singing and playing their rhythm instruments along with the KinderBach characters.

I am the first to admit that I am pretty limited in my ability to teach music to my kiddos…it is one area where I definitely need help when it comes to teaching my kiddos :)  I have found KinderBach to be a true blessing to our homeschool because it has allowed me to easily include music in our  homeschool.

More Information

The KinderBach website contains a wealth of information about this fun and effective music program, including an FAQ page which answers questions about which supplies you will need,  program prerequisites and more.

A one year membership to KinderBach’s online program is $95.88/one time billing {equiv to $7.99/mo} or $19.99/month {billed in 12 monthly payments}.

KinderBach At Home also offers DVD and CD packages.

Sign up for a free online trial of KinderBach Online here

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Click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates think about KinderBach Online.

I received a free membership to KinderBach Online in order to provide my honest and unbiased opinion of our experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Monday, April 4, 2011

GoGo Kabongo ~ A Review


GoGo Kabongo is an award winning website that provides fun online reading games for kiddos aged 4-7.


GoGo Kabongo offers game play in three different habitats: Twister Top, Galaxy Gardens, and Laughter Lake. Each habitat contains three different games, and each game contains six different levels.  Which means GoGo Kabongo has a wide variety of games to keep your kiddos learning.


The games on GoGo Kabongo are designed to help kiddos “develop the cognitive skills that are essential to reading”.  You can read more about their approach to teaching reading here

The chart pictured below provides an overview of the cognitive skills that are targeted in each of the games.  This page offers a detailed explanation of the chart.

 GoGo Kabongo chart

GoGo Kabongo helps keep you up-to-date on your kiddo’s progress by sending out weekly emails that provide detailed information about the games that your kiddo has played and the level they have attained in each game.

My Thoughts

My ds4 was delighted when I told him that I had an online game site just for him.  The games on GoGo Kabongo are both fun and educational.  Some of the games have ds4 listening to a story and then recreating the scene {Going Buggy}, or collecting letters to match the sounds he heard while riding in the sidecar of Mimi’s motorcycle {Desert Dash} or rocketing through space {Rocket Racer}.

My ds4’s favorite game is Design-a-Door. The object of this game is for ds4 to recreate the patterns on doors that he is shown.  This game helps strengthen his planning, simultaneous processing, and visualization skills {but don’t tell him that, he just thinks it’s fun :)}.  You can read more about the games and the skills that they target on this page.

I wouldn’t normally recommend purchasing a subscription to a game website, since there are so many free ones available.  However, the subscription to GoGo Kabongo is extremely affordable {Laughter Lake is free and there is a one time fee of only $4.95/each for access to Galaxy Gardens and Twister Top}.  If you are looking for some fun, interactive, online educational games for your 4-7 year old{s}, I would definitely recommend that you check out GoGoKabongo!

More Information

Access to the Laughter Lake habitat is free.  You can purchase game play access to the two other habitats {Galaxy Gardens and Twister Top} for $4.95 each {one-time fee}.  GoGo Kabongo is also currently offering access to Galaxy Gardens for free for a limited amount of time.

Try out GoGo Kabongo for free or check out their FAQ page for more information.


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Click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying  about GoGo Kabongo.

I received a free subscription to GoGo Kabongo in order to provide my honest, unbiased opinion about our experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

March 2011 in Pictures


IMG_0967 Dd blew out seven candles on her birthday cake. 


I caught this sweet picture of dd7 reading to her little brother…she has struggled with learning to read for the past year, so this sight was quite precious to me :)


Dd7 loves jewelry and dress up and all things girl…but I don’t think she enjoyed this roach brooch as much as she thought she would :0


Ds9 bravely allowed this snake to hang out around his neck.  Both the roach brooch and the snake necklace pictures were taken during a visit to a new nature center in our area.


Here’s a picture of ds4 with his minion friend {minion courtesy of Papa}.


Can you believe that ds9 was against adding a dog to our family?  This picture was taken the day we brought her home…obviously it didn’t take very long for him to change his mind :)


This memorial was created by dd7 in honor of her Polly Pocket after her legs fell off and she had to be thrown in the trash.  It reads:

She died when taking off shoes.  Dec 25, 2010 – March 21, 2011. Name: Polly Pocket, Hair Color: blonde and loves to swim.  She loves the color pink.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Entry #10

The Homeschool Chick

In my life this week…

It’s been a cold, rainy week around here…we got a taste of spring a couple weeks ago and we want it back :).  The new puppy has been keeping us busy, she has become a lot more comfortable with us {read: lots of puppy chewing and nipping to deal with :)}…but we are all enjoying her.

I also have been working hard on the B90 Days program {reading the Bible in 90 days} and I finished it up this morning!  I actually read through the entire Bible in 90 days!  I am so excited to have accomplished this :)  Now I want to read through the New Testament at a much slower pace and really study them.

In our homeschool this week

The kiddos had their last art class this week…they were very sad to see this fun class end.  But their art teacher said that she will be having more sessions later this year, so we hope to sign them up for another class soon.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We had a full week last week, so I was very glad for a bit of a reprieve in our schedule this week.  Plus the cold, wet weather makes going out not so much fun :).  However, we did make it to art class and the library.  And this weekend promises to be full as ds9 has baseball practice and a birthday party to go to on Saturday.

My favorite thing this week was…

The fact that I completed the B90 Days program!  I must admit that I have never read through the entire Bible.  In fact, before beginning B90 Days, I had been reading {at my own pace} through the Bible for 2 years…and I had finally reached Isaiah :0. 

What’s working/not working for us…

Rain, sleet, snow…all of which we have had this past week…where has spring gone…and will it return soon?

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

I am really looking forward to our local homeschool convention {it’s coming up in 2 weeks!}.  This year I only have a couple of items on my “check it out” list, two of the bigger ones are IEW and Teaching Textbooks.  Anyone have any comments to share regarding these curriculums…I’m all ears :)

A photo to share…

IMG_1036 Dd7 is our middle child, she has red hair and two brothers {read: no sisters}…she is very artistic, has a very vivid imagination and can be quite dramatic at times :).  So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when she asked for some paper so she could make a memorial for her broken Polly Pocket doll {that had to be thrown in the trash}.

In case you can’t read what the memorial says:

She died when taking off shoes.  Dec 25, 2010 – Mar 31, 2011.  Name: Polly Pocket, Hair Color: blond and loves to swim. She loves the color pink. 

These kiddos definitely keep me smiling :)


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