Wednesday, January 28, 2009
All About Spelling came up with a wonderful supplement called All About Homophones: your Complete Toolkit. This is a 240 page book teaches about homophones, those pesky words that trip up so many kids (and adults for that matter) when spelling them. Homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled differently; like BEAR and BARE, PIECE and PEACE, or THEIR and THERE. This toolkit is just that, a supplemental resource that is used along with your regular language arts curriculum.
All About Homphones is a great toolkit geared towards grades 1-8, that helps teach these tricky words through tons of card games, worksheets, cross word puzzles, and more. There are fun riddles and puns to help reinforce what the child is learning.
There are also sections that contain student record keeping worksheets, tongue twisters, answer keys, lists and an appendix. There is also a homophone machine that you can use to help show children how fun homophones and homonyms can be. You just type in any sentence and it swaps out the words for similar sounding words.... for example: I typed in "I would like to show you my new horse" and out came this sentence "Eye wood like two show ewe my knew hoarse" .
We really had a great time using this program, the games, riddles and puns really held my kids' attentions. This is a fun resource to have to help your struggling spellers with those tricky homophones and homonyms.
You can order this book in either a soft cover copy($29.95) or in ebook format($27.95) through this site: http://all-about-homophones.com/order.html You can also view samples at that link.
The curriculum we reviewed was "Discovering Our Amazing God" by Jan L. Harris and Howard & Bonnie Lisech. This Bible study is geared towards 7th through 9th grades. This curriculum is an indepth study of the Bible using exercises in scripture memory, journaling, questions and more.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Critical Thinking Co.
I have often received a catalog from Critical Thinking company, but unfortunately am unable to purchase anything from them (you know how it is with a budget). But I sure do love to look through their catalog and drool at the wonderful products that they offer. Luckily, Critical Thinking joined the TOS Review Crew vendor list.
They graciously sent me two thick books....Level 2 and Level 3 (verbal) of their Building Thinking Skills series. And when I say thick, I mean THICK. Each of these books has approximately 300+ pages of activities for the student to do, is reproducible (for family use only), and cost $29.99. The fact that you can re-use these books is a great help, especially for those who are homeschooling more than one child.
Critical Thinking Company carries many award-winning products that have helped students of all abilities achieve better grades and higher test scores.
My kids enjoyed doing the activities in these books. The lessons are short and actually fun! Considering these are workbooks, I thought maybe there were tons of lessons, with tons of drills and memorizing...but not so. These books contain activities that build upon themselves...they are sequenced so that children learn to analyze relationships between objects, between words, and between objects and words. This helps a child to develop better thinking and communication skills which provides a stronger foundation for learning.
Check out their website for samples: sample page
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
really understands just how big of a deal this is....this law could very well ruin American small businesses.
Here are some emails I have received in just the last two days from some small homeschool businesses that I often purchase from;
January 12, 2009
Dear Valued Customers,
Due to the new CPSIA law In the Hands of a Child, for the time being, is discounting our Kit Pack inventory in order to lessen our possible loss in the event that an exemption is not granted.
While we are still praying for this situation to work out for all small businesses we feel that it is in our best interest to lessen our possible loss. And what better way than to pass the savings on to you, our wonderful customers, who are praying with us through this difficult situation!!
Please help us clear our shelves and enjoy a 35% savings on all Kit Packs!! Savings will be automatic! Spread the word and help us empty the shelves!!
This sale will continue until our Kit Pack inventory has been exhausted, so purchases will be on a first-come-first-served basis.
Once they are gone, they are gone!
In the event the law is modified, In the Hands of a Child reserves the right to bring back Kit Packs in the future at full price without any discount, implied or expressed, during this sale.
Cannot be combined with any other offer, special, discount, coupon or sale. Super Member discount DOES NOT apply to this sale.Tax and Shipping not included in calculating discount price. Not valid toward prior purchases. No rainchecks.
from hands and hearts
It is with the deepest possible regret that we must announce that we are discontinuing production of our Hands and Hearts History Discovery Kits. We, like so many other small business in America, are simply unable to afford to get in compliance with the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act.We know that these kits have blessed thousands of homeschoolers around the world, and we have prayed, wracked our brains, and sought council in hopes that we would not need to take this step.
As of today, the prices of our kits are discounted. We will discontinue the sale of these kits on February 9th, or when current stock is depleted, whichever comes first.
We do honestly believe that amendments will be made to the CPSIA, and it is our hope that these amendments will be reasonable enough that we will be able to offer our kits again at some point in the future. We want to absolutely walk in integrity, so we want to be clear that while we HOPE to be able to offer these kits again, we simply cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Only you can decide if you want to buy a kit now so that you know that you will have it, or whether you are comfortable waiting and hoping with us.
It is also our hope and intent to leave our store open after Feb. 10, but the loss of revenue from our kits may force us to close our business entirely. If it is important to you to purchase anything from us, please consider doing it now or you may be unable to do so in the future. This law affects MUCH of our inventory, and there are many, many products which are being discontinued by their manufacturers. As a result, we will not be able to reorder any of those products once our current stock is depleted. We would like to urge each of you not to buy in a panic, but to pray about what you need to do.
Please read this article that I have written.
It contains an overview of the CPSIA and a detailed action plan with steps that we can take to try to get this over-reaching law ammended.
Please let other homeschoolers know both about the above article and about our sale. It saddens us to know that we cannot reach everyone and that there will surely be many homeschoolers that come to our site too late and are unable to purchase kits. We will be continuing to send updates and breaking news about the CPSIA and the status of our company through our newsletter, so if you are not a subscriber please use the form in the left-hand side of our website to subscribe.
IMPORTANT: Shipping times WILL be delayed due to this sale. If you need your order within a certain time frame, let us know and we will try to accommodate you. As we sell out of kits, they will be removed from the website.
Jeff and Kate Estes
homeschoolfreebie of the day (also owns homeschool radio shows)
This has been one of those crazy weeks for us. We had to makea major decision about our business, and it hasn't been easy.
We really don't want to do this...
We really, REALLY don't like doing this...
But it looks like we have no choice.
Read and see why:
Even though this is tough on us, we hope it willbe a blessing to others.Go ahead and take advantage ofit if you can, so we at least won't have to takea government-mandated trip to the landfill todump a good portion of our business there.
Important Note:We sent an advance notice about this out to a smallportion of our list over the weekend, and thingsjust went nuts here. We've since revised whatitems remain and want to warn you that this pagewill probably only be available for today - maybeeven only for a few hours -as we are getting low on most of these collections.
As you might suspect, taking care of all thisis a major undertaking, and we are currently completely snowed under tryingto sort this all out and get this all wrapped up in the next couple ofweeks. Therefore, instead of providing all new resources this week,we will be re-running some much-requested items from our earlydays. If you missed any of these the first time around, here's your chance.
So as you can see this new law does not just affect thrift and consignment stores....it is affecting all small businesses that cater to children's goods. Sure, the big companies have to comply to this new law, but they can afford it...and to be honest they are the ones who caused this law to come into play. They outsource their manufacturing to China, who in turn has flimsy laws governing what they put into their products. All the recalls in the last few years were primarily from products manufactured by the big companies that import their products from China. I wouldn't be surprised if the big companies are the ones who pushed this law in under the radar...after all the recalls, many Americans turned to local or small businesses to purchase their goods...which probably hit the big guys in their wallets.
We all need to write to our representatives and speak out against this law. There is a way to protect our kids from toxins but this is NOT the way.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
This free trial is different from their regular one that they have posted on their website http://www.aleks.com/ (which is a 48 hr. free trial)...this new one is for 1-month! AND if you refer 2 homeschoolers they will increase the 1-month free trial to 2-months. The stipulations to the referrals is that it has to be 2 people (not including you or anyone in your household), and they will verify the referrals.
For those of you who do not know what ALEKS is you can find my review of it here :
Give it a try....what can you lose?
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
We were given the chance to review Kinderbach. Kinderbach is online music lessons for preschoolers (ages 2-7yrs). It teaches music using the piano keyboard as the base instrument. KinderBach offers online sessions ($85.95/year or $14.95/month), DVD lessons (one year package $217.75), or curriculum for early childhood classes.
Kinderbach was created by Karri Gregor, who has an extensive background in music education, singing, keyboarding theory and visual arts to name a few. She has created a curriculum that not only teaches piano, but also teaches music theory, note readings, rhythym, ear training and more.
I tried this curriculum for my younger two kids; and although my 7yo didn't really care for it much, my youngest daughter (4yo) really took to it. She enjoyed the cute characters, the activities, and the movements that went along with the lessons. The lessons are easy to follow, and super fun too! It kept my daughter's interest, which can be hard since she has ADHD. She loved the movements that were incorporated into the lessons, and the coloring pages were a big hit too.
I would recommend this for anyone who does not have a strong background in music and would like to teach their preschoolers music theory. They also offer two free lessons...you can check them out here: free trial
Friday, January 2, 2009
Math Mammoth : http://www.mathmammoth.com/
We were blessed to be given the chance to try out Math Mammoth. Math Mammoth was created by Maria Miller, who has a master's degree in mathematics with the teacher educational studies, and minors in physics and statistics. After working with homeschooled students she noticed that the books many homeschoolers used were inferior to what she had used growing up or while studying math. Those experiences prompted her to start writing books especially for homeschoolers. She wanted to create a math curriculum that was easy to teach as well as having it affordable. In addition to Math Mammoth, Maria has also created a website called HomeschoolMath.net which is a wonderful math resource for homeschoolers.
Math Mammoth carries 4 different series of math books which are offered in either pdf form or cd-rom. There is Blue Series (organized by topic for grades 1-5), Light Blue Series (complete curriculum for grades 1-5), Green Series (worksheets organized by topic for grades 3-8), and Golden Series (work sheets organized by topic for grades 3-8).
We were graciously given grade 2 light blue series, green series geometry, and 7th grade golden series to review.With the grade 2 math I found it to be very easy to teach and implement. The graphics are simple which is great for kids who get easily distracted by complex graphics (I have a couple kids with ADHD, so this curriculum is great for us!). This series is a complete curriculum, and for the cost you really can't beat it ($14 each or $27 for both A & B). And then add in that it is reusable, it really is a bargain.
I feel the same with the other series that we used. I like that there are no busy graphics, and that the instructions are easy to follow. The difference with these series and the Blue and Light Blue series is that the Green and Golden series are just worksheets. These are for reinforcement, practice or review...these aren't complete curriculums. But the neat thing about these series are that each workbook is broken into topics, with each page focusing on one topic. There are review pages, but for the most part each page concentrates on one concept. Making easy to assign work to the student. The cost for these series are very reasonable too: Geometry Green Series $7ea; Golden Series 7A $8 (includes cost of answer key) 7B $8.50 (includes cost of answer key).