Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Week 36

Guess what Daddy got Lexi?? 4 Ducklings...

Happy Birthday My Love!! We enjoyed a huge amount of family for a get together to celebrate Kevin's birthday. 

Enjoying these beautiful days!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry - Atomic Cookies {YUM}

We have been using Christian Kids Explore Series for the last few years. This is something that has become a favorite in my teaching and the kids learning. I love the simple way these lessons are taught.

This year we are working our way through Chemistry! 

This curriculum has a lot of hands on approaches in teaching the concepts so they stick for your kids.

When it came to Atomic Numbers we made Atomic Cookies! 

What a great way to teach about protons, neutrons and electrons in an element!

We learned about electrical charge and balance and learned how in each element they must be balanced.

The models of the elements in cookies made it really jump out to my kids. Not only was it fun for them but then after they cooked they had a great fun treat.

After the cookies cooled and they wanted to eat them I made them identify the cookie before they could eat it! 

I love fun teaching and I love it when my kids enjoy learning.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Hands On Science: Venus Fly Trap { homemade video included }

Lexi has been asking for a Venus Fly Trap for over a year however we haven't been able to find one at all. A few weeks ago Kevin was shopping in Lowes and guess what he spotted?? 


He purchased it and surprised her with it that night. She loves it. It is actually doing really well for us. We keep it very most and try to feed it when we can. 

She requested several books from the library and read all about it that first few weeks.

Here are some facts she has learned:

It eats flies

It likes to grow in bad dirt and moss

It has triggers like hair that are sensors

It will rot if it swallows anything large

It will close during raining to get water

There are over 50 different kinds of Fly Traps

Some of the larger Fly Traps can eat a mouse

It's Endangered here in North Carolina where it is native

I'd like to add that this is why I love teaching my children. I can allow neat interests to open for them. Homeschooling is very difficult sometimes but others it just is easy.

This video is the night Kevin brought the plant home for her. I had just gotten in from work and we played around with the Venus Fly Trap.

If you watch it you will see how it closes and how it gets triggered. Enjoy our homemade video and our country accents (sorry but we get comments all the time about it).


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Purex No Sort Giveaway

I love Purex because of the quality I have come to know from them. They keep amazing me with the products they come up with too!

Today I want to tell you about a great new item they have available to you.

I know that my kids and I hate sorting through the dirty laundry to separate all those stinky socks and items into colors or whites. I know I can't possibly be alone in this!?

Purex No Sort for colors is the latest laundry innovation! It is made to simplify your life and laundry! They have an anti color transfer technology which traps loose dyes in the wash and reduces the color bleeding with mixed loads leaving your colors bright and your whites clean.

After all everything needs to used with caution it is suggested that strongly colored garments still be washed separately for the first few washes. 

I simply love this new detergent. It simplified my laundry routine and the nasty yucky sorting that my children and I don't like! 

Give it a try today!

Enter to win a coupon for a free bottle. I am giving away 2 coupons. US residents only please. 


Wordless Wednesday Week 35


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Week 34

 My 3rd baseman...
Loving that my flowers are finally showing themselves! 

A lot of outside time this week. Beautiful weather. 
Zac & Lexi working on math outside. Kyle reading. Painting birdhouses. Lexi tasting hard tack and black coffee for our Civil War coop. Basket weaving, Don't know why its on her head. Mystery of History Word-search week 11.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Curiosity Quest { Review }

My family has had the awesome privilege to review Curiosity Quest DVD’s the last few weeks. Curiosity Quest takes host, Joel Greene on some very exciting trips that the community is curious about. He helps explore the topics that are submitted to help children understand more about the topic. Joel has a very good personality and my children really enjoyed him. Curiosity Quest and Curiosity Quest Green air on over 100 PBS stations throughout the country. Check your local listings for air times.

What did we receive?

My family received 2 DVD Combo Packs. Each DVD pack had 3 fantastic episodes on one disk. Each episode is about 30 minutes long.

1 -  Produce (Cranberries, Mushrooms & Oranges)

2 – Swimmers of the Sea (Salmon, Penguins & Sea Turtles)

Both DVD Combo Packs are $24.95 each.

You just need to insert the DVD into your player and you’re ready for some educational fun!

These are great for all ages!

How did we use the product?

We simply placed the DVD in that my children voted on that day. Letting the kids pick what we watched is something we do often, if I let them pick I feel it helps them be more invested. We watched the episodes that we had time for and sometimes I would have them color a picture or sketch something to go along with the topic or take notes just to recap some of the information. 

Here are some of the neat things we learned while watching these very educational videos:

Never would we have imagined that mushroom's start out as hay, but they start from hay - yes hay! Kyle loves Portabella mushrooms and it blew our mind that they can grow in only 4 days! We eat a lot of mushrooms and guess what we found?

Monterey Mushrooms! 
This was the company that Joel explored and taught us all the amazing facts from! The kids loved that fact that we had been eating the mushrooms they learned about!

Cranberries are a lot of work for how little they are. We never would have guessed it was that intense to get them harvested. We always wondered why in the commercials for cranberry items (juice) they were standing in the water and NOW WE KNOW!!

Oranges can get infections just like us. We really loved the black light picking up bruises that was a very cool thing to see and the technology that was used just blew our mind!

Penguins are too cute and we have had lots of time exploring them before but learned that they have over 100 feathers per square inch! We also learned a new vocabulary word: Husbandry.

My personal favorite episode was Sea Turtles. All Sea Turtles are endangered and at the Turtle hospital they have over 40 at a time. I think it was great what they are doing there and I would personally love to visit there one day. They have released over 1300 turtles back into the wild. One cool fact we did learn was you can tell if it's a boy or a girl by the tail.

What did we think? 

Just watching the videos alone we learned a ton of information that even I didn't know. 

Joel asks a lot of questions like my children would ask if there touring!

Joel has a great personality and this is a huge plus for watching anything and keeping my kids involved!

My kids asked to watch these every day until we finished all the episodes. They have enjoyed them more than once! 

We love documentaries in our household and these would fall in that category well.

We loved every episode!


Find Curiosity Quest on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Great New Books for Boys

For years I have tried almost everything and anything possible to get Kyle into reading. I know we homeschool and most people think that because of that my children just love to read. Well that's just not true in Kyle's case. He hates to read actually and only a hand full of times through the years have we found things that have been of interest to him. 


However a few weeks ago we went to Gullion's to do some homeschool shopping. While I shop the kids sit in a small area and usually watch a movie they have playing or look around and get items to look at too. On this particular day Kyle didn't bother me at all the entire 45 minutes I was in the store. I kept an eye on him seeing that he was focusing on a book... Yes a book! I left him alone and actually spent more time in the store simply because he was reading. 

When he was finished he came over to me and said "Mom I just read this great book!" I was in shock and was completely happy. He had read "Can You Survive in the Special Forces?" So immediately I started asking him questions about the book and about his interest in them. He said "Mom I can read it several more times too!"

I was totally focused on him at this point just happy that he had found something he was interested in. Reading comes hard to Kyle which is one reason he just doesn't enjoy reading. His Auditory Processing Disorder makes it difficult for him sometimes too.

After talking to him about it I ended up buying 2 books that day. I have to be completely honest, It about killed me to buy brand new books for $6.95 simply because we always buy second hand books but it was so worth every penny if he would read them.

He chose:
Can You Survive The Desert? 
 Can You Survive The Wilderness?

Each book has 
3 story paths
45 choices
17 endings

Both books he picked had 112 pages in them and are for ages 4-6. The reading level is 3/4 but honestly that didn't matter to me at all. The books are very easy for him and I know that he is capable of more but this wasn't my point in getting these books at all. I wanted him to enjoy reading for once.

He has read these books almost 10 times choosing different paths and endings and has really had a blast with them. I will be buying more within the week because I promised him if he enjoyed these books and would actually read them I would buy them until we had the set... Little did I know there are tons of them!

They have History books with topics like:

WW 2 Spies: Interactive History Adventure
The Revolutionary War: Interactive History Adventure

So he wants next:

WW 2 Pilots: Interactive History Adventure
Can You Survive Being Lost At Sea?

The books are published by Capstone Press and written by Matt Doeden.

This isn't a sponsored post or review. This is a simple act of happiness from one mother to another! Hopefully your children would enjoy these too!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Supercharged Science { Review }

Science has always been something my family has enjoyed. However for so many of my homeschool friends this area scares them to death! I always enjoyed science as a child and have made it a point to try to have fun with my kids learning it too. For the last several weeks my family has had the privilege to review Supercharged Science

I was given the e-Science Premium Membership Plan (K-12 Level Plan) for 6 months and it costs $57 per month. There is another option depending on your ages K-8 for $37 per month.

Supercharges Science was started by Aurora Lipper a real life rocket scientist!! My kids thought this fact was simply COOL! She started the site 10 years ago hopeful that she could help science not be boring to children!

With the e-Science Learning program you get:
Self-guided lessons
Comprehensive teacher guides
Textbook reading
Detailed video instructions taught by Aurora
Step by step videos explaining experiments
Exercises and quizzes 
Unlimited support and a safe learning environment

With the e-Science Premium Membership we had access to over 20 units of study, such as, Energy, Mechanics, Earth Science, Chemistry, and Biology and the parent resources necessary. You have science fair projects and some interesting lessons in math but that's not all over 800 experiments too!

There are hours of videos to support the lessons and experiments and a forum for discussion of course regarding the materials.

You choose a lesson and it includes the overview to the unit, several lessons for the unit, experiments and videos on the topic chosen.

A shopping list is available for each lesson so you can purchase items if needed ahead of time and makes planning easy!

Lessons are available for download for people like me who like to read aloud most things to all 3 of my children at once.

Supercharges Science can be used as a whole curriculum. You could work your way through the entire grade for a well-rounded study or you could do like my family and just supplement.

How did we use Supercharged Science?

My family used Supercharged Science as a supplement. I would highly recommend the "Getting Started" section. This is very helpful for you to become familiar with everything on the site.

My guys are 13, 10 & 9.

Once I had looked around a while we decided that we would try to do a lesson on something each week and a project. My kids loved the hands on approach which is something we use normally in our science endeavors.

By far their favorite was the Rubber Eggs or Bouncing Eggs!
This year we are studying Chemistry so I based almost all our topics from Supercharged on that.

Rubber Eggs was something we had never seen before or heard of so it seemed to have a fun element involved right away!  

Calcium is a mineral in bones and eggshells that makes them hard, so when we put the chicken bone and eggs into the vinegar it started causing the calcium to react by having it weaken the structure.

We learned that our bones and teeth contained 99% of the calcium in our body.

Soaking chicken bones in vinegar explained how as people get older and lose more calcium than they can replace the bones will become brittle and easier to break. Which was a great time to tell them calcium can be replaced more quickly in people that exercise and eat good foods.

 We read several articles about calcium and watched the experiment video until it showed the results, and then we paused it and completed everything that Aurora had said the experiment needed. Once we had completed the steps to start the project we watched the rest of our video.

We could see quickly that the vinegar was attacking the eggshell by all the bubbles that formed on the shell.

We left the eggs and chicken bone to soak for 2 days and then we examined our final result.  

There were some student worksheets and exercises that I downloaded and it was helpful to ask the kids about what happened during the experiment and examine why these things happened.

Here is a video of us checking out our results:

What did we think?
Personally as a parent I thought the program was awesome! It has been well developed and arranged. The experiments are something that my children loved. My kids are very hands on learners and she has totally catered to that aspect of science! One week we actually didn't do a lesson and just played with the tons of experiments that is listed on her site.
 I personally think the price is a little high and I don't know that I could do that year round the way we school but it is great fun for what you could afford.
The only thing I had to watch while using Supercharged Science and this was no issue of Supercharged Science but a personal issue using the program, I have a data allowance and I had to watch carefully what we watched and downloaded to ensure that I didn't go over our data usage plan. That is why the downloadable sheets and plans where perfect for our family.

Check out a free copy of the science activity video series and guidebook. 

  ** Special ** 
 Limited time only full access to e-science for just $1.

Find Supercharged Science all around the web:


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Week 33 {New York City}

Not sharing a lot of our NYC pics because I have a long post coming up, but here are some!

 Made a pit stop in Hershey Pennsylvania, My babies in Time Square and then one of our first Train rides into the city!

The Statue of Liberty was wonderful, My momma, Lexi and I standing in Grand Central Station and look at that view from the 86 floor of the Empire State Building! 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Purex Crystals - Limited Edition {Giveaway}

As a woman I love great smelling things whether it's flowers, perfume, candles or laundry enhancers!! Yes, really! I want to smell great and my clothes need that too!

 My 3 children are rough on clothing especially now since its Spring and baseball has started up. I'm not being mean but my kids clothes are stinky! I love being able to use these Crystals in our laundry because it helps refresh their clothing. It eliminates odors and makes them smell awesome again!

Purex has done it again, for a short time they have a Limited Edition Crystal -  Fabulously Fresh! This is the newest scent in the Purex Family. Clothes smell great for weeks! I love that the Crystals do not affect my absorbency in my towels.The Crystals are safe for all clothing even my child's sleepwear!

You just load your washer normally and add a cap full of the Crystals to your load and that's it! 

Easy & Smells Great

The Purex Crystals Fabulously Fresh are a bright green and are very pretty and reminded me of Spring right away!

Our household is a Purex household but I must admit the Crystals are a personal favorite. I love them!

Would you like to try them? I have 2 coupons for 2 lucky winners!

Must be a US resident(for my giveaway). Giveaway ends Saturday 4/12 at midnight and I will email the winners. Winners must respond within 48 hours or I will pick another winner.


Monday, April 7, 2014

NCHE Family Registration { Giveaway }

I love North Carolina! One of the great things about my state is the homeschooling laws! North Carolina is a great state to homeschool in and I have loved all 9 years of it. I have been to several homeschool conferences and learn something new each time I attend. 

Several months ago I announced that I was chosen to be on the NCHE Blogger Team for 2014 and because of that I was offered a Free Family Registration for my family but also get to give one away! 

I fondly remember the first one I went to which was NCHE's conference (about 7 years ago) and it was overwhelming being there with all the vendors to choose from. The first conference I attended I only went for the book fair and I truly wish I would have planned on some of the workshops but with 3 small children I couldn't sit in them so I passed on the opportunity. I personally think I could have made wiser choices having attended some of them early on in my homeschool journey. I believe I could have found ways to be encouraged early on and tips on how to stay that way without all the trail and error I personally went through.

If your a newbie or a veteran to this homeschool thing you truly could find useful workshops to fit your needs.

Here are some of the ones I'm most looking forward too!

Rachael Carmen - Attention Obsessive Compulsive Perfectionist Control Freaks - CHILL OUT

Debbie Mason - Top Ten Passions from a homeschool Veteran

Andrew Pudewa - The Four Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing & Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day

Beth Nash - Dyslexia Remediation Options & I Just Forgot! Attention, Memory and Processing Speeds

James & Tanya Dickens - No Quitting Allowed

There is always a  huge variety of information to dig into at these workshops and conferences and I take honor to being able to not only go free but to offer one of my readers the chance to have a family registration to go too!

Homeschoolers are normally on a very tight budget and it is truly an honor to provide this to you courtesy of North Carolinian's for Home Education!! Here is some more information about the conference, please make sure you can attend this conference before entering, May 22-24. I really want it to go to someone whom it will bless and to someone that will/can use it.

Giveaway open from 4/7 - 4/11, opens and closes at midnight. I will email the winner and you have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be picked.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spelling You See { Review }

My family had the awesome pleasure of reviewing Spelling You See from Demme Learning! This is a sister company of Math U See which you all know my family loves! So I was beyond excited to see what all the fuss about this new project was.

Spelling You See is for elementary ages. It has no spelling lists, no tests and no rule memorization. Currently there are 5 levels available however there will be 7 levels to complete the series. 

My family just got to meet Mr.Steve & Mrs Holinga from Demme Learning. My children love Steve and really thought it was beyond cool to meet him at the conference a few weeks ago however upon talking with him he introduced me to Mrs. Holinga and I was able to speak to her about us reviewing her items! It was really neat to have that personal interaction with her for a few moments. I shared that we were on the review crew and had the PDF version and at first I was scared that it wouldn't work for Zac but that after 5 lessons we had been doing great! She was pleased to meet Zachary and I and was glad that Jack & Jill was working out so far too!

 Dr Karen Holinga is a former school teacher and professor with over 30 years' experience working with children. She's a qualified reading specialist and has helped hundreds of children become better spellers and readers. 

Zachary and I have been using Spelling You See: Jack and Jill (Level B). We received the PDF version of the Instructor's Handbook and the Student Workbook. The PDF isn't a choice for others at this time. 

The Instructor's Handbook is $16.00 and the Student Package is $30.00

Jack and Jill is the second level in the set. This level focuses on moving from the phonetic stage onto the skill building stage. Jack and Jill uses nursery rhymes to teach spelling and to introduce new words. Spelling You See teaches small chunks of activities daily to enforce spelling and writing. There are 36 lessons divided into 2 books. Each worksheet has 5 parts A through E. A day's lesson consists of 2 worksheets, 1 page starts with presenting the nursery rhyme and having the child read and copy a small part of the passage, the 2nd page works on words for the student to write through dictation. 

What do you need?

You will need the Instructor's Handbook Set & The Student Workbook set. 

I was asked on facebook a few days ago from a friend if the Instructor's Handbook was a must have - The answer is a huge YES. The Instructor's handbook has all the dictation for the student and guided instructions for each lesson. You cannot use the student workbook alone for a completely useful program.

Because I was supplied a PDF version I actually needed colored pencils or highlighters to use with our level but Spelling You See sells the pencils with the Student Workbook set.

How have we used this?

Zachary is a struggling reader; he is 9 years old and tries so hard to read. We decided to start at this level because he writes easily and knows all the sounds and it just seemed to be the right place for him to start because I didn't want to challenge him to much at first. Once I got the set and downloaded it to my computer then I printed it out for use. I printed both student workbooks and hole punched them to make a book. I downloaded and printed my teacher text too. Once I had everything printed I actually started panicking a little because I thought this might not be a good fit for Zac. I was afraid that he was going to think it was too babyish.
Lesson One was all about rhyming and short a, so he enjoyed reviewing a skill that he felt confident in. He was able to read the nursery rhyme almost completely without my help. I made sure he was pointing to each word and then I read it back to him ( the instructions say for you to read it first and then go back and read with your child, but I knew he could do it without me). After you read the passage you normally are searching for something specific, maybe capital letters, rhymes or even word endings! After that the we copy some of the passage. Then move on to the second worksheet that has dictation. Zac actually really enjoyed the nursery rhyme theme! 

We have worked on lessons different amounts of time but normally we have been able to do 2 lessons a week. The lessons are short enough for us that Zachary can complete 4 pages and not feel overwhelmed and it still keeps his attention.

He actually asks to do this first because he enjoys it that much.

Moving on to lesson 4 I was really ticked at the enjoyment that Zachary has had for this. I really have been surprised that he enjoys the nursery rhymes! We have sung and had fun in each lesson so far. Lesson 4 starts adding some additional skills to the students' worksheets and Zac was able to use colored pencils. I like that as we have advanced through the lessons we have added some additional skills to work on.

Currently in lesson 6 we have worked on writing skills, dictation, vowels, word endings, rhyming and overall reading skills. 

Overall I really love the way this program is laid out. 

For the teacher it is an extremely easy program to use. 

It doesn't take but a few minutes each day to make sure we are reviewing skills needed for him to become a better reader and speller.

What I didn't like:

The only thing throughout the entire review process and weeks of using Spelling You See that I can find that I didn't like is the font used. With a struggling reader like Zachary these little guys confused him, even in his writing. I would like to see this corrected because at my son's stage in learning and writing he doesn't recognize this font. It caused him confusion and me more work to fix before each lesson. I would just write through it before we started each lesson so that he wasn't confused by the writing.


Each member of our Schoolhouse Review Team reviewed different levels so if your looking for more insight please browse around out Team Blog!

Click to read Crew Reviews