Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Which Way USA from Highlights +FREE guidebooks and maps!

We have been having so much fun this year using Which Way USA from Highlights magazine.  It is like a fun tour of each state.  If you have ever seen any Highlight puzzle books, you will see that this is similar, but each puzzle visits a different part of the state and there is a contest going on between these 2 kids and several other team opponents.  The puzzles are fun, sometimes challenging, informative and something that my son and I look forward to doing.  Sometimes we work together and sometimes he does it alone. 

Some of the puzzles need you to consult the state map.  So usually when we start the book I read through all the information on the map while he flips through the book and FREE guidebook that I get in the mail (see at the bottom of this blog post).  It's a lot of information, but in the book we need to use the map again and I teach him how to search for information.  Sometimes I have a real map and we find the places that are mentioned by using the grid on the map.  We also utilize Google and look up images of cities, landmarks, and other interesting facts.  It's SO much fun!

And we are also learning the state capitals.  I bet you can tell I enjoy this as much as my son.

Every month we get about 4 books, but we usually only get through 1 or 2 a month.
What comes with this resource?
*Large United States Map (we laminated and put on the wall)
*Which Way USA book that you record information for each state you "visit"
*A key chain with a license plate from each state (you can use the code to access online games, but we don't really use that)
*A book for each state
*A large map of each state
*And lots of knowledge!


My 7 year old son says he loves to learn about each new state.  It makes him excited to go and visit them some day.

He's holding the key chain, but you can't see the license plate tags on it.
We practice our map skills with real maps that we get FREE (see below).
I can't tell you how much my son looks forward to our Which Way USA times.  We do the puzzle book about twice a week.  He has a lot of interest in travel and I do hope we can visit some of these places someday. 
Have you used this resource?
What do you think?

Here is a link to get a bunch of guide books and maps for FREE:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Morning Time

I started something new this year called Morning Time.
It may not be new to some of you and actually it's something that I used to do when I taught Kindergarten, but I called it Circle Time.
However, I think Morning Time in homeschool has much more to it.
I probably started off doing too much so we are doing much less now, but basically we learn Bible verses, poems, and our character value (Character Concepts).

I also read a devotion, a Bible story or our science book (Come and See).

We light a candle, sing (and dance), pray and try to cultivate what Pam Barnhill has modeled in her podcast and ebook- Truth, Goodness and Beauty.
I first heard about Morning Time from Sarah at Read Aloud Revival.
Pam Barnhill from Ed Snapshots has expounded on this idea with an ebook with a short video course on how to set up a notebook and also an excellent podcast with inspirational guests and free printables.
Here are a few videos of the poems my kids memorized this year:
My 7 year old son learned My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
My 4 year old learned Abraham Lincoln (Traditional)

So, we are enjoying adding this as part of our day. 
I will add things each year and I look forward to continuing on with our Morning Time.

There are so many ideas that I have gleaned to how I want to craft our Morning Time, but I'm taking it slowly.

Do you do Morning Time?
Tell me about it!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Grapevine Bible Studies Review, FREE elesson + Giveaway!!

Grapevine Studies
I am newly affiliated with Grapevine Bible Studies
I am so excited to start sharing the good news of God's Word with my kids through the power of ...stick figures!  When children engage in learning by thinking, listening and drawing, they will deposit more of what God's Word teaches into their hearts.

I was given the opportunity to review the Resurrection study. 

We are using the Beginner series which is for preschool and Kindergarten age.
My son has a blank area for drawing and my daughter has the traceable drawings.
Each teacher lesson is very simple. 
There is a title and a memory verse at the top of the teacher page.
There are 4 sections for 1 lesson.
Each section has a title, read aloud (from the Bible), discussion and what the students need to draw.
There are also words to look up in a Bible dictionary and lesson review questions.
The students have a title and 2 boxes on one page and 2 boxes on the second page along with the review questions.
We did 2 sections one day and 2 sections the next day and the review.

What we liked about the lesson was it was simple both in content and drawing.

What is needed for this study:
Bible dictionary
Grapevine study book (teacher and 1 for each student)
colored pencils
dry erase board
dry erase markers

My kids really enjoyed these lessons.  They asked lots of questions and were very interested in the story that was being told.  They were very intent when they were drawing and they were able to remember things during our lesson review and were quick to go back to their drawings to explain their answers.

I thought the lesson plans were simple and easy to follow and were very appropriate for this age level.  My kids have been excited each day to do our study so I know this will be something that we will be "sticking" with! 

*I was given this product from Grapevine Studies for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Get a FREE elesson from The Resurrection for The Last Supper!

I am giving away one teacher and student ebook set of the Resurrection lesson!
You get to choose the level: There are 6 levels- Traceable, Beginner, Level 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Please see this link for more information: LEVELS

To enter: Fill out THIS FORM below.

Giveaway ends Friday, March 18.


Friday, March 4, 2016

"Every Day's Your Birthday" by Miss Nina and the Jumping Jacks CD Review

One of our FAVORITE music artists in Miss Nina!  We have watched her weekly videos since my kids were very little and they still love her.  She is personal, talented and funny.  She has a wide range of songs with motions, special guests and her trademark cotton candy pink Daisy rock acoustic guitar. 
We fell in love with Miss Nina and one of her previous album's  Sha Doo Be Doop (which I reviewed on my blog).  Her lively songs are super fun to listen to and dance to.
Her new album Every Day's Your Birthday is set to release on May 6 (my daughter's 5 year birthday).    This album is a great mix styles from pop rock of the 60's and 70's, some rap, jazz and country.  Who can pull off all these different musical interests and create a spectacular album for kids (and parents too)?  Miss Nina, of course! 
Every Day's Your Birthday is all about music and movement.  And Miss Nina says, "Why not make every day a great day?"  I agree!  When you listen to Miss Nina you will agree too.  Our favorites songs are My Freeze Dance (doo wop pop dance), Up and Down and Silly Wheels on the Bus.  The dynamics between the instrumental band and Nina's friendly singing voice is a sure crowd pleaser. 

You can find more information about Miss Nina:
Visit the Miss Nina's website HERE.

  Miss Nina on Facebook.

  Miss Nina on Twitter.

  Miss Nina on YouTube.
Check out Colors of You on Youtube:

*I was given the opportunity to review this album from Waldmania.  All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, February 25, 2016

All About Spelling from All About Learning Press

Spelling Can Be Easy
We recently started using the All About Spelling Level 1 program from All About Learning Press.
I had tried a different spelling approach that wasn't working for my first grade son.  He was frustrated and I was frustrated.  What was wrong?  He knew his letters and sounds.  Why couldn't he just sound them out to write words?  I thought and thought.
Then I remembered All About Learning Press!  They had a spelling program that had a unique approach which focused on a hands on approach with many different levels of engagement. 
I decided to drop what I was doing and start All About Spelling.
I am SO glad I did.
Each lessons starts with a  review (using flashcards- in handy box with dividers), has a new teaching (spelling rule, working with letter tiles, etc.), spelling with tiles (10 words to practice the new rule using the letter tiles) and spell on paper ("spelling test") which also includes dictated phrases that the student repeats and writes (starts later in the book).
The KEY to this approach is short teaching times and mastery of the concepts.
I started by trying to do the WHOLE lessons which took a long time and we both were tired and frustrated.  I re-read the suggestions at the beginning of the book and it says to do 20 minute lessons.  So we started setting a  timer.  When 20 minutes was up we stopped and then started back at that spot the next day.  That worked great.
After each step is finished the student can put a cute bee sticker on a chart to see progress.  This was my son's favorite part.
The really amazing thing is that he made almost 100% on every test he took!  Yes, with all the built in review, working with letter tiles and various activities, he was confident and excited to show me what he had learned! 
My son can now spell 170 words! And he has learned several spelling rules to help him when he gets stuck.  I am amazed!
I highly recommend this program if you want to see your child succeed in an area that can cause a lot of frustration and discouragement. 

No more tears here!
Check out this program at All About Learning Press.

I am an affiliate and any purchase you make is appreciated at no extra cost to you.

Be sure to your FREE report for 20 best tips to teach spelling.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Family Mexico Trip 2015

Last November we had a family reunion in PV, Mexico with 27 family members.  Almost 10 years ago, my husband and I were at the same resort, but it looked much different then.  It was fun to go back and this time we had two kids!  It was so fun to watch the kids enjoy the water and my son learned to swim without water wings.  We ate a lot of good food and we had some fun adventures.  Here are a few pictures to share with you!

Can't wait to go back again!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Making "Gingerbread" Houses for Christmas!

A few weeks ago I was watching Jamerrill Stewart on Youtube and she mentioned that she was going to make gingerbread houses from a tutorial on Smockity Frocks.  Well, I was interested because I do not like the kits.  I don't like the candy, the cookie or the frosting.  I knew there had to be a different way.  So I found what I needed and bought the ingredients.
Graham crackers, candy and Royal Icing- recipe link below
Preparing the structures:
Graham crackers put together with Royal Icing.
The more icing the better for "gluing."
I did the bottom first and let it dry and then I did the roof.
It was messy!
Note: Be sure to refrigerate the icing in an airtight container to be used later for decorating.
Then we set up the candies: marshmallows, smarties, pretzels, candy canes, m&m's, Hershey's kiss, peanut butter penguins.
Here's a good candy list.

Each person got a Ziploc bag of icing with a small hole at the end for piping.
Let the decorating begin!
Even the grandparents joined in.
It was great to see each creation.

Jessna finished first.
Then she just wanted to eat the candy.

Shrade made a front porch.

I couldn't believe I could make things stay.
I had to hold some candy on for a few minutes or they would slip.

Super fancy from my husband.

Grandma is a born decorator.

Grandpa made a high rise.

Then a few days later we ate them!

Shrade smashed his.
It was a fun project and one we will do again in the future.
Even though it was a little messy it was worth it.