Monday, August 30, 2010
Now you can use a Wacom tablet for handwriting practice!
Peterson is proud to bring handwriting instruction and practice into the digital age. Open a PDF file in this software and use your pen to write on the pages. Print the page if you wish. Attach it to Email to send handwritten greetings and thank-you notes.
The software is available alone, or with preloaded E-workbooks for teaching and practice of handwriting at every level, print and cursive. Talk about going green. Imagine handwriting practice that does not require reams of practice paper. Save a practice page on day one, and compare it on screen with the next attempt to show progress. The workbook pages can be used again and again.
The software features include selecting a PDF document from on of Peterson’s writing program to open it in the writing frame, printing the page if necessary, using the table to practice the movement sequences and improve motor control and much more.
Our experience with PDF By Hand
I was looking forward to this product. I thought it was ingenious and could have lots of possibilities. You need to go on the road? No problem, you can bring your curriculum on your laptop. The PDF By Hand is an interesting idea for kids who dislike to write with a pen. However, it also require some patience and a learning curve to use a tablet in order to practice your writing. Once you have passed over this learning curve I am sure that a person can improve his/her writing skills pretty fast.
As much as I think this product has potential, I must be realistic and honest by telling you that not everyone will thrive with it. At first, my son Alexandre enjoyed it. After all it was new and fun. But over time, he found it difficult to control the pen and to write on the tablet. As I said previously, it is quite challenging to do so. It takes practice. And not everyone will like it. After going through a whole level of cursive, we asked him what he preferred – writing on the tablet or writing on paper. His answer was fast and totally honest, “I prefer writing on paper and feel it.” Simple and direct. So I will plan in advance from now on and print the pages so he can use them during our school time. This will allow him to practice his cursive with less stress.
Still if you have a child who is having difficulty it might be easier for him/her to use the PDF By Hand. The installation of the software is done automatically on your PC so you don’t have to worry about shipping cost. Everything is done electronically. You can purchase PDF by Hand with the e-woorkbooks preloaded. Your options are as follow; print levels only, cursive levels only, or all levels.
The folks at Peterson Handwriting are available to give you a demonstration online if necessary. They can also answer all the questions you might have while doing the demo.
This review was possible because I received a free copy of PDF by Hand from Peterson Directed Handwriting while being a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
This week question for the Blog Cruise is the following:
Do you use technology (iPods, computers, videos, digi cams, etc.) in your homeschool?
My answer to this is the following… YOU CAN BET ON IT!
Seriously, how can I not use the variety of technology available to spice up our homeschool.
Computer is a given in our household. We are techies in a way since we have a home business in the IT world. There are plenty of programs that kids can use and learn at the same time. Mathematics, language arts and sciences can now be covered with software. In Canada, one company that I think do wonderful products that are also available for homeschoolers is Nectar Foundation. Their products covers mathematics, language and sciences from kindergarten to high school.
Over the internet, I would strongly suggest that you look into BrainPop and BrainPop Junior. BrainPop offers one new video free per day which you child can watch and learn at the same time. Afterward, he/she can take a little quiz to test their listening skills and their understanding. It is wonderful. BrainPop Junior is for K-3 and will have the same video for the whole week. Again the child can listen and watch while learning at the same time. Other sites available are BrainPop Spanish and BrainPop ESL. Now I wish they had a BrainPop French. I think it would be a wonderful addition to their wide range of fun educational websites. The creators of BrainPop also have a site for educators called BrainPop Educator. Believe me you won’t be disappointed with the quality of the little videos. Mind you it is not a christian site so you might have some information about evolution and billions of years old kind of chat but still I find that basically these sites are worth it.
Videos – ah television is involve here. First I must be totally honest and tell you that we don’t have cable. The reason why we remove it was first the cost and second the quality of what was on these days. By removing the cable, we can re-invest the amount in quality videos in English and in French. We discovered wonderful DVDs on the Big Adventure as well as as nature. We also invested in getting the well known French TV series Passe-Partout for our kids as we are primarily French Canadian. And we keep an eye on anything educational out there. We also use youTube when we do unit studies as well as other TV series available on the internet like How it’s Made. This particular series demonstrate how things are made for example last year the kids saw how padlocks, hair clippers, wooden shoes and synthetic leather were made in one specific show. The whole family enjoys watching these.
The Wii and Nintendo DS can also be very educative believe it or not. The trick is to get the games that will teach something like Wii Music for example or ZooTycoon. I even found mathematics and geography games for the Nintendo DS. There are a variety of fun games that either one or the whole family can play with. Wii in itself can even be used for PhysEd with the Wii Fit or any other program that makes you move, jump, run and so on.
Until this year, only my husband had the iPhone. Now two iPods have entered our household…. *grin* And let me tell you that you can have wonderful learning apps for it. And one of the apps I particularly love it the BrainPop which allows you to keep track of your quizzing performance. I also have other fun apps that cover mathematics, sciences, English, French, geography and much more. We are also planning to use the podcast of Focus on the Family to train our kids to write reports. Alexandre, our oldest, will start this assignment this year. We will choose the subject and he will have to listen to and write a small report on it to tell us what he has learned.
However, like anything in life, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. What I mean by that is that it is necessary and ultimately your responsibility to limit the time your kids spend on technology. Yes it is nice to have them but being addicted to it is not good. Consequently I strongly suggest that you determine a time limit when your child is on the computer, the iPods, the internet, the television and so on.
Do I think technology should have a place in homeschool? Definitively. I am so ever grateful to have the software, videos, and iPod apps on hand when I have a difficult day or when an unplanned event happens.
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
Dan and Ali Morrow are parents of two wonderful daughters. When they’re not writing children’s books, they like to go on adventures around their Colorado home.
Visit the authors' website.
This book is beautiful and bright in colors. It kept the attention of my 32 months daughter while I read it. The story is simple and fun to read with little ones. A grandfather send his younger grandchild on a quest to find where God is and throughout the week, the child discover that God is everywhere. At the end, the grandfather tells his grandchild that there is still one place that God is that he hasn’t discover yet. And this lead the grandpa telling his grandson how to ask God to come into his heart.
So simple and yet so true at the same time. I really enjoyed the story and was wondering how my youngest would react to it (more on this below). Each discovery of God is linked to a verse from the Bible. Also included in the book is the Scripture of Psalm 139:1-10 which is well known by many – God’s knows us and is with us all the time.
At the very end of the book, you have an heartfelt letter from Lee Strobel himself. And when I read it, I also discovered how the authors of the book are related to him. For me it was inspiring and encouraging to read this letter. God do have a hand on our kids and ourselves. I’ve seen it in my life and in my children’s lives.
So you might be wondering how my young daughter reacted to the book. She was very attentive throughout the reading and loved the pictures. At one point, she wanted to go faster but I had to tell her that mommy was reading and it was important to listen. In the end, after reading the prayer of the little boy in the story, I asked Jasmine if she wanted to have God in her heart. She said yes! So I said the prayer again slowly with one or two words at a time and she repeated it very clearly. And when I asked her where God was afterward, she said that He was in her heart. Sweet! She is ever precious to me and I pray that God will guide and protect her every day of her life. She is our last child to ask God to come in her heart. Part of it is bittersweet I guess but I see God being alive and working in my kids’ lives. I can’t hardly wait to discover what He will do with them.
That’s Where God Is is available everywhere even at amazon.ca.
List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER (Click on the pictures to see them larger):
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
As a parent, your children's safety is your first priority. But in today's digital age, what can a parent do to protect their kids online as well as off?
These days, your teens' "friends" aren't just the kids hanging out in your family room - they're also the hundreds of contacts on their online "friend" and "buddy" lists. Did you know that more than 50 million teens (ages 13-17) are online worldwide? Or that the average number of "friends" on a list is 130? The totals are much higher for many teens.
SafeSocial, a new AOL product that launches today, can help you protect your children, even if you aren't a social media expert. SafeSocial helps you:
· Find out where your child has online accounts
· Know who your child is "friends" with online
· Get notified if your child is in a conversation about violence, suicide or drugs
· See photos your child has posted online, and others' photos in which your child has been tagged
Another benefit? You can monitor all this activity without being a "helicopter parent." Your child will have to agree to be monitored, but you won't need to connect with them on the social media accounts, or hover over their shoulders in person.
What is the big deal about being safe on the net? Here’s on blog written by Regina Lewis about being safe online with SafeSocial!
By Regina Lewis, AOL Consumer Advisor
These days, your teens’ “friends” aren’t just the kids hanging out in your kitchen and family room, they’re hundreds of contacts on their “friend” and “buddy” lists. More than 50 million teens (ages 13 to 17) are online worldwide and the average number of “friends” is 130. For many teens, these numbers are even higher. It’s not unusual to have more than 500 “friends” and more than 1,000 profile photos.
So, how can you realistically keep up with your child’s vast circle of “friends” and ongoing status and photo updates?
1. Become a “Friend”
For starters, you can become your child’s online. They’ll need to accept your friend request. This can be easier said than done. In some cases, you may get push back. It’s your call how strongly you press.
There are more private alternatives. A new product called SafeSocial lets you privately see everything you would as a “friend” and even more. Many kids prefer this route. Remember, you’re not “spying” on them; you’re simply doing your job as an informed and involved parent.
2. Curb the Comments
If your child is reluctant to accept you publicly as a “friend,” be sure not to push your luck by excessively commenting on their page once you are granted access. Grandparents can be over-commenting culprits, too. Often teens find this “embarrassing” and it may even lead to having them “un-friend” you. It happens all the time.
3. Get a Report Card
The new parenting tool SafeSocial offers a time-efficient and thorough way to keep tabs on your children’s social networking without being too intrusive. It delivers an easy-to-read report card providing a 360 degree view of their overall social networking— what they’re saying and doing and who their friends are.
This answers one of the biggest issues facing parents all over the country—feeling like you need to spend hours each week monitoring your child’s online activity and still not really being sure if you’re seeing everything (they can filter your view) or what you might be missing (what’s happening on their friends’ pages).
4. Watch the Friends
All friends are not created equal. Some your children may know well, some they may barely know at all. You can get a good feel for their entire list via SafeSocial’s Friend Engine, which takes an extensive look at your kids’ friends and checks them against more than 50 databases to see if they may not be who they say they are. You’ll be alerted when an adult becomes a friend of your child, when someone looks suspicious or has no or few other mutual friends with your child.
5. Loaded Language and Photos
Specific words that may come up in strings of conversation— sex, drugs, alcohol, suicide and so on and suggestive or violent language will be flagged, so you can hone in on the suspect dialog versus reading every post. This helps prevent missing something inadvertently.
You can even opt to be immediately notified via an email alert. This piece could prove priceless in protecting your children’s safety and managing their reputations.
While every conversation and image is archived, you can adjust the settings to simply view those that are called out. This lets you give kids more privacy as they mature. You will also see all photos, including those other people post of your child. Young people tend to push the envelope with photos and videos, so checking out this section of the report card is critical.
Overall, social networking is an integral part of many teenage lives and an opportunity for your kids to learn to express themselves in a creative and responsible fashion. It’s too big a trend to ignore. You can embrace it with these new tools on your side. For more information, visit www.safesocial.com, www.safety.aol.com and www.reginalewis.com.
AOL Consumer Advisor Regina Lewis (www.reginalewis.com) is a national TV and radio contributor and Internet trend expert. She knows the tips, tricks, secrets and shortcuts for making technology work for you.
Personally, my kids are too young to be on facebook and other social network. We are not looking forward to this when it comes but knowing this service is available definitively gives us a peace of mind.
How can Safe Social works and why is it so important? Check out this video!
Want to try it? You can have a free 30-day trial – click on the link below.
"Overall, social networking is an integral part of many teenage lives and an opportunity for your kids to learn to express themselves in a creative and responsible fashion," says Regina Lewis. "It's too big a trend to ignore. You can embrace it with SafeSocial on your side."
For more information, make sure to visit SafeSocial.com.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Well it arrived last week. And here’s Jose Daniel from El Salvador.
Jose makes his home with his father and mother. Running errands is his household duty. His father is employed and his mother maintains the home. There are 2 children in the family. For fun, Jose enjoys playing with cars, singing and running. He attends church activities and Bible class regularly and is in kindergarten where his performance is average.
Jose lives on the plains located north of San Salvador. It is the home of approximately 1,500 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement. The population is comprised of Mestizos and the most common spoken language is Spanish.
The regional diet consists of maize, beans, bread and rice. Common health problems in this area include respiratory disorders and stomach infections. Most adults in the community are unemployed but some work in domestic services and earn the equivalent of $144 per month. This community has water and electricity but needs literacy training, health services and employment opportunities.
Alexandre has already send a card to Jose and is looking forward to get to know him.
This week as part of the blog cruise, the questions are:
“How do you afford to homeschool? What are some ways to save money on homeschooling supplies?”
Good question. Homeschooling can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. I’m totally serious about it. I’ve heard of people only relying on free things over the internet and others who spend tons of money on their homeschool.
I am considering myself frugal but for certain subjects in our homeschool, I prefer buying new. Which subjects? Take mathematics for example. We use Math U See for our curriculum. Each year I buy the full package for my oldest and the student workbooks for the kids that follow. But this program is multi-sensory and is fun to use so this goes on our priority list even when money is tight. The other product that goes on the priority list is the Easy Grammar. What I like from this curriculum for grammar is that it is reproducible. So I buy once, and can use it for all the kids. What I do is that I buy the teacher’s manual which also includes the student pages and then make copies of the pages we need.
Now for French, I need to buy as well. At first I used workbooks I had found at Costco but with a math section we never used in it, I was wondering if it was necessary. They I discovered a publisher of school material that had reproducible rights. Perfect for us!
I regularly go to Value Village and stumble on neat things I can use for the homeschool. For example, I’ve found Canadian geography and history books in a recent outing. And guess what some of them are reproducible. Yeah for me!
At a recent freecycle event, we found a coloring book of the human body that Alexandre will be able to use. He is so interested in it that he can’t hardly wait to start it…
Earlier this year, I went to a presentation given during a meeting of our homeschool association. At the same time, there was tons of curriculum available for free given from another homeschool family and a school that was updating their material. I was blessed beyond measures with a variety of products.
Garage sales can also be a wonderful place where you can found fun school items, books and workbooks.
The trick is to keep an eye open for specials or sales and to trust God to bless you with what you need. Not easy sometimes especially when the economy is hard. I know as we went through it.
Last year, I had no clue how to introduce geography in our homeschool. I felt it was needed but buying something was not an option. And I was stressing out a bit. Then I got asked to rejoin the TOS Homeschool Crew for the remaining of the year. The first product I had the opportunity to review was….. are you sitting comfortably before I tell you about ? Good! ….. so the product was Old World Style Maps from Homeschool In The Woods. I was speechless and touched by God’s providence. I couldn’t ask for a better product for geography. Since then, other geography products have been added for free.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Permission to Speak Freely – Essays and Art On Fear, Confession, and Grace
Written by Anne Jackson
Published at Thomas Nelson
About the book
In May 2008, Anne Jackson asked a question on her blog, “What is one thing you feel you can’t say in church?”
Hundreds responded. Everyone had a story.
Permission to Speak Freely is the unique new project and movement of author Anne Jackson, who is finished with keeping brokenness in the dark. Bringing to light the original intent of God’s sanctuary as a place of help and healing, Anne reveals that through confession, both to God and to others, we can live lives that are whole and healed.
Told with disarming transparency, Anne shares what led to her own addictions and the ensuing lifestyle that left her wounded and withdrawn, but ultimately rescued and redeemed. She includes dramatic stories of others who also learned to abandon their fear, pride, and masks; to identify their hurts; and to find the courage to speak freely.
Their confessions, submitted as mixed media pieces, photography, and sketches, were collected from people across the world, and are included throughout the book. Readers will share in the opportunity to find their own path to redemption and freedom.
Who is Anne Jackson?
Anne Jackson is an author, speaker, and activist. A contributing writer to various blogs and magazines, she is also the author of Mad Church Disease. Anne will participate in the 2010 Ride: Well Tour, a cross-country cycling tour in June and July to raise awareness and funding for water wells in Africa. An advocate for Compassion International, Anne and her husband, Chris, live in Nashville. Follow Anne on her blog: http://www.flowerdust.net . The book itself has a website; ww.permissiontospeakfreely.com .
I didn’t know what to expect from this book when I agreed to review it. I just like the idea behind it and loved the cover. Part of me expected more art in it I guess so when it arrived I was surprised by the text included in the book as well. I grabbed this book one afternoon and it took me about three or four sitting to finish it. I devoured it and enjoyed the writings of Anne Jackson as well as the insights on what people wish they could say in church but don’t.
I sense that many in the church these days, don’t voice out their troubles or struggles because they are discouraged on the reaction of others in the past or simply fearful of the reaction of the ones around them. True there are people who think they are holier than thou and will make you feel like crap (hey – I’m being TOTALLY honest here… so please don’t judge me.) but there is also loving and caring people around you. People who might be going through the same struggles than you and would love to chat and share their views on the subject. So why is it so bad to open up and let the cat out of the bag? I wonder.
In the past, I have experience similar reactions as well as misunderstanding due to my inability to express my thoughts in English properly (you see French is my first language so… sometimes it creates interesting situations or misunderstandings…) . I got misjudge for a comment I said while participating to a 9 months training for leaders, we got hurt by leaders in a church and denomination as well. When we voiced up our concerns it wasn’t well received. Conclusion. We were in pain. We had to deal with it ourselves. We had to forgive over time. And God never left us. He was there and still is there. He is ever present.
I find that part of the healing process is to open up. The book of Anne Jackson reminded me that it is important not to fake it and to speak up. Permission to Speak Freely is part of autobiography of the author and part thoughtful insights on her views on faith and real life.
I enjoyed reading through it and will return to it in the future. I am expecting a different reaction from my part when I do so. Why? Because this book doesn’t tell you what to do and such. It is simply going to let you ponder about what you read and then you have a decision to make whether to speak up or not. Whether to change or not. Whether to trust or not. It is in your hands – plain and simple. So what’s is it going to be?
Not convinced? Check out this promotional video from Anne Jackson about her book Permission To Speak Freely.
Permission to Speak Freely is available now at your favourite bookseller, even at amazon.ca.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Ah! Babies. The smells good most of the time. But when they don’t it means you need to change their diapers… Sometimes though you realize that their skin is red and hurt them. Oh uh! Let’s face it, diaper rash is part of life when you have a baby.
I remember one of my kids in particularly. When Dominic was teething, his #2 job was so acidic that it could burn off the first layer of skin. Literally! I am not kidding. The poor little guy was bleeding from it. And it hurt. Believe me because he cried when I changed him. I took the habit to change him immediately and put a generous coat (like a thick coat of white on his bum) of cream. Diaper Rash cream is very handy. I had a container in the room, in the living room and in the diaper bag.
For new Canadians moms and dads out there, a new product is on the market. Actually make that two new products. The A+D® line-up consists of an assortment of diaper rash products: one line for everyday prevention (A+D® Diaper Rash Ointment) and one for the treatment of diaper rash, if it occurs (A+D® Diaper Rash Cream).
The A+D® Diaper Rash Ointment, offered in 3 convenient sizes (42g, 113g and 454g), contains a special combination of active ingredients lanolin and petrolatum which help prevent diaper rash every day and is also enriched with moisturizing vitamins A and D. When used daily, the ointment creates a protective barrier between baby's skin and diaper moisture that can cause diaper irritations.
The A+D® Diaper Rash Cream, offered in one convenient size (113g), is formulated with zinc oxide and dimethicone to provide effective relief if diaper rash does occur. Enriched with moisturizing vitamins A and D and soothing Aloe Vera, the A+D® Diaper Rash Cream is a welcome addition to a new mother's baby care toolbox. Both A+D® Diaper Rash Ointment and Cream are dermatologist tested.
I think these two products are wonderful. The fact that vitamins are included in these will help the healing process if your little one does develop the diaper rash. I do not wish any baby to go through what my Dominic went through. Not all my kids had the same reaction to teething but he was definitively the worst one of the four. In case you are wondering, he is fine now…. *grin*
Good news! A FREE 2$ off Coupon is available on the website! Go to http://www.aplusd.ca/en/.
For more information on the products, please visit the new Canadian website at www.aplusd.ca.
This review was possible because I received two full two full size diaper cream products to check out from Mom Central Canada.
PS I’ve decided to bless my neighbour with the two full size diaper cream products. They had a baby boy earlier this year and will need it more than me.
K'NEX Kicks Off 2011 K'NEXpert Search
Kids Can Win $10,000 Savings Bond for College!
K’NEX is inviting kids to design a creative, original model made entirely from K’NEX parts. Three imaginative children – one from each of the three age groups: 5 to 6-year-olds; 7 to 8-year-olds; and, 9 to 12-year-olds - will each win a $10,000 savings bond for college. The models made entirely of K’NEX pieces are judged on creativity, uniqueness and detail.
In addition to $10,000 for college, the three grand prize winners will also receive a trip for three to K'NEX headquarters near Philadelphia, PA for the K’NEXpert Award Ceremony, where they can meet each other and discover, through company designers and a factory tour, how K’NEX is made. Seven finalists will each receive $1,000 savings bonds and all ten winners will receive $250 worth of free K’NEX Building Sets, and their very own photo gallery page at www.knex.com.
The 2011 K’NEXpert Search will run through September 10, 2010. Children can enter by printing out the entry form available at http://www.knex.com/club/images/becoming/2011-KNEXpert-Search-Details-Rules.pdf and mailing it in.
The K’NEXpert Search is open to U.S. and Canadian residents and there is no purchase necessary. For more information on K’NEX, the contest and previous winners, visit www.knex.com.
Here’s some examples….
2009 K'NEXpert Grand Prize winner in the 9-12 category, Tim with his K'NEXatron the Destroyer!
2010 Grand Prize winner in the 9-12 yr old category, Ian, with his amazing Chinese Imperial Dragon. I must admit that I am speechless with this one. Beautiful work!
2010 Grand Prize winner in the 7-8 yr old K'NEXpert category with this Amazing Amazon Adventure Park!
So take the K’Nex out and let your kids create – it is an amazing opportunity to use their creativity don’t you think?
Other website that could be of interest are:
K’NEX website – www.knex.com
K’NEXpert dedicated page - http://www.knex.com/club/becoming_knexpert.php
2011 K’NEXpert Rules & Details - http://www.knex.com/club/images/becoming/2011-KNEXpert-Search-Details-Rules.pdf
K’NEXpert Photo Gallery - http://www.knex.com/club/knexperts.php
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
About the book
"In the beginning, God created"
...with these words, the Bible powerfully sets in motion our praise to the Creator for His awesome work. Written and illustrated by David and Helen Haidle, The Creation Story for Children is filled with vibrant images of the week of Creation.
Perfect as part of an education program or as a treasured gift, this book will be an incredible addition to your school, church, or home library. Focused on God's wonderful handiwork in Genesis 1-2 and Psalms 139, it is one children will enjoy over and over again!
Who are Helen & David Haidle?
Helen and David Haidle produce gentle, biblical books for children about the world around them. Helen writes while David illustrates and their 45 or more books have sold more than 1.7 million copies.
Tonight I sat down with three of my kids (the fourth one was on a one-on-one special time with daddy time) and we read through this marvellous book that goes through the story of creation (Genesis 1-2) AND Psalm 139.
The colorful pages were an absolute hit for my kids especially those showing a the plants, fishes, birds and animals. They each took their time to show me their favourite fish, bird and animal. I even discovered that my four year old loves bald eagles a fact that was unknown until now. This fact is written on my heart and I will not forget about it. The second time we saw the bald eagle further in the book he joyfully exclaimed “They even put my favourite one there!” *grin* Gotta love that child of mine. As much as I love ladybugs I think he loves bald eagles. I think that a bald eagle from Schleich will find its way in his stocking at Chrismas time… *double grin*
Needless to say we spent a lovely time reading through the story of creation and also through the facts in Psalm 139. The kids participated when I asked specific questions regarding creation and enjoyed the beautiful images as much as I did.
The good news is that this book can also be used in conjunction with either God Made the WORLD & ME or Creation which are two curriculum books that will bring your preschoolers or your grades 1-4 kids to a better understand of creation through science, art, math and more.
This book can also be a wonderful gift for new parents as well as for a dedication or baptism. It is indeed a book that I would recommend any family, church or school to have one their shelves.
This review was possible because I received a copy of The Creation Story for Children from MasterBooks.
The Creation Story for Children is available everywhere even at amazon.ca
The Little Man In The Map Teaches The State Capitals!
Written by E. Andrew Martonyi
Published at Schoolside Press
About the book
Following the success of The Little man In the Map: With Clues to Remember All 50 States, this companion volume teaches the state capitals using the same visual and poetic mnemonic technique. Young people have fun learning the state capitals, and do so quickly!
Who is E. Andrew Martonyi?
E. Andrew Martonyi’s affinity for travel, his contact search for new things to see, and his granddaughter’s fascination with his trips inspired him to study the U.S. map from a new angle. What he discovered he shared in his award-winning book, The Little Man In the Map: With Clues to Remember All 50 States, and continues with his newest book that teaches the U.S. capitals.
Au author, public speaker, trainer, and businessman, Andrew has toured the world giving seminars to thousands of people. His journeys began early in his youth when his family crossed the Atlantic to land at Ellis Island. As a young man, he drove across the U.S., and the Tocky Mountains, the deserts, and the Pacific Ocean made him fall in love with the West. He lives in California with his wife, Irma, who shares his love of travel and exploration.
This is a cute little book to enhance the knowledge and learn the states capitals. Honestly, I wish something similar would be available for Canada. It is fun to read and easy to learn. Let’s not forget the funny drawings that comes with the sentence to learn. Kids will have a blast learning U.S. geography with this book.
My oldest sons were excited to see another book from the Little Man In The Map arriving to our house. They loved going through the first book even though the U.S. is not our country. But I find that learning more about our neighbour is important especially when we travel there so often.
This past spring, we went to visit Boston in Massachusetts. So to remember that Boston is the capital of Massachusetts, here’s what the child would learn:
"A mass of chewers (Massachusetts) ate and won, consuming baked beans by the ton (Boston).”
I find that fun and silliness can sometimes ignite a sparks in the memory and help a child to recall and remember the information later on. In a way this book is multi-learning has is uses the visual with the images, the repetition with the saying part of the learning process and the fact that the child can easily linked the image with the sentence. I would also include the writing part by making the child write one or two times the full clue. I find that writing also helps to remember something easily afterward.
In conclusion, I would recommend this little book to my friends in the U.S. As for Canadians, well if you have an interest for our the U.S. or if you have links in any shape or form with the U.S. (family, business or other), I think this book would be a great addition in your bookshelf.
This review was possible because I received a copy of The Little Man In The Map Teaches The State Capitals! from Schoolside Press.
The Little Man In The Map Teaches The State Capitals! is available everywhere even at amazon.ca.
Created by Teresa Bondora
Science is a subject that indeed can scare homeschool moms. But when it’s comes to chemistry, well sometimes we prefer not to think about it. Personally, I feel a little bit ill-equipped to teach science but I am surrounding myself with fun products to use with the kids.
I did chemistry in high school. I believe that it can be introduced slowly to younger levels like grades 4-6 without overwhelming the kids with too much information. Recently while checking out my facebook, I saw some of my contacts had liked a page about The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book. I was curious and checked it out which brought me to the website. And I offered to review their product.
I received the document within a couple of hours. I was excited about it, printed and binded the document and showed it to my 9 year old son who has an interest in becoming a doctor. He thought it was cool and was looking forward to use it. So this morning we decided to explore science and used the coloring book as a complement to another book titled Elements of Faith. I find that the coloring book is perfect to conclude the lesson learned in Elements of Faith.
This book is created to be used with children as young as five through college aged learners. You will discover the elements, how we use them, where they can be found, and how they work. The child will also have the possibility to color the elements with items linked to them. So this morning, after we learned about hyrdogen and talked about water a bit, my son took the coloring book and started to color the hydrogen page. Also included in the coloring book is a sheet for each element containing information about the element. I personally found that some of the information is a little bit too advanced for a child with big words like cryogenics for example in the hydrogen info sheet but at the same time it gives us the opportunity to search the dictionary to discover the meaning (when mom can’t have the answer right away). My son felt like he wanted coloring this morning, so this fun activity allowed him to do so.
However, I wouldn’t use the book by itself. I like to give a perspective of our faith with any science project we do. It is important for me as a Christian mom that my kids have a complete understand of their faith and God as well as what the science community says about things. That’s why I took the Elements of Faith and went through the information about the hydrogen element with my son this morning.
I asked him what he thought of the coloring book. He loved it and thought it was a good conclusion of the lesson we have read together (from both books in case you are wondering). I am pleased to see that the information from the coloring book is the same as the one found in my other book. In a way it was more complete with additional information like how many proton/electron there was, the atomic weight, the fact you can find it in volcanic explosions and so on.
The price is 25.80$ for the PDF version which means no shipping charge will be added. The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book is only available through the How to Teach Science website.
This review was possible because I received a PDF version of The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book from its author.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes.
Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.
You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!
A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.
Don't forget, MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket.
Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr.
Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!
Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16.
The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.
If you cannot make the Live event, then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!
You can visit either of these links to get more information.
Disclosure: I will receive free Expo-To-Go tickets in exchange for my post.
Monday, August 16, 2010
In my house , it is 2 years old. From an early age, Jasmine was willing to help in and around the house. What her big brothers do, she wants to do.
Alexandre has recently showed her how to dry the utensils and place them at the proper place. Nothing stops her. As soon as she hears him or me unloading the dishwasher, she comes to help. She grabs a towels and want to do the utensils.
Here’s her taking one of the utensils to dry.
Now she is drying the said utensil…
And she place it at the proper place. This was a mommy fork and she knows the difference between the mommy fork and the baby fork.
She is simply ADORABLE!
About the game
In MySims Agents players take on the role of a special agent on a mission to uncover and foil the sinister plans of Morcubus, the corrupt CEO of MorcuCorp. Players will search for clues and solve cases across the city and far beyond as they piece together his nefarious plans.
Armed with a set of increasingly sophisticated gadgets, players will track footprints, pick locks, hack into computers and do molecular forensics.
They will jump, climb, balance and build their way to follow cases no matter where they lead, even taking a private jet to reach an ancient temple, a spooky mansion and an icy mountaintop chalet. Along the way they meet MySims they can recruit to build up their own team of agents, and unlock rare items they can use to deck out their headquarters.
From the games I received to review, MySims Agents is definitively my favourite one. I really didn’t know what to expect from this game. I am not too fond of The Sims regular games as there are based mostly on fulfilling dreams and such. But this game seemed different. More geared toward kids and mystery surrounding the story.
Imagine my surprise and joy to realize that it had the flair of the old quest games I used to play when I was a teenager…. KingQuest, PoliceQuest and SpaceQuest. I was please. No not please. Very excited actually. I love this kind of challenge and searching for clues to advance in the game. My husband couldn’t care less about it. It is not his kind of thing. I was in cloud nine and played for a long time with it.
You will explore the world starting with the city where your character lives and then go beyond it as you advance. You will have to solve mysteries to discover various clues along the way. I found that it requires patience and ability to make the character jump, climb, balance, and so on. As I write this review, I know where I need to bring my character and how to climb there but somehow my agent keep falling and I need to restart the climb. Controlling the agent with the Wii remote is quite different than the old quest games where you used the keyboard. LOL! I just need practice that’s all. I’m sure I will be able to go spy on the other character real soon... *grin* You can also build your own team of agents as you go through the game. As any situation, sometimes it is better to be a group of people working together to solve a mystery than being a loner.
I am quite enthusiast about this game. It brought back memories of the previous games I played on the computer. And I can see that my kids will love the story as well. The only part that bugs me is hearing the characters mumbling as they talk. It drives me nuts – literally. But it is part of the game and I am learning to tune it out.
Would I recommend this game? Yes. It is fun, mysterious and challenging. The graphics are very colorful and the various scenes are fun to discover. This is perfect for everyone in your family. I wouldn’t have any problem letting my 6 and 9 year olds playing with it.
Visit the official MySims Agents website at http://mysimsagents.ea.com/index.html.
MySims Agents is available on the Wii or Nintendo DS.
MySims Agents is rated Everyone for comic mischief.
This review was possible because I received a copy of MySims Agents from EA Games.
MySims Agents is available everywhere even at amazon.ca.
Spore Hero (Wii)
About the game
Spore finally comes to the Wii in this all-new adventure. Create your own creature hero and fight to save your planet. This all-new story begins as you crash land on a strange alien world. But something evil has followed you and is threatening to destroy the creatures of the planet. Only a true hero can save the world from this new threat! Earn unique new parts to adapt your hero for courageous battles and amazing adventures.
This is an interesting game that will bring you on a quest to become an hero for the inhabitants of the planet where you crashed. Along with you, evil has also came and your objective is to save this beautiful world from them. It is a quest kind of game where you have to perform tasks to advance in it.
I used to play the KingQuest, PoliceQuest and SpaceQuest games when I was a much younger person. This game reminded me of them a little bit but at the same time it is quite different. Along the way, you discover new parts and you can transform you creature and make it bigger as well. Various opportunities come to you along the way to help, get trained and more. You will be able to create and evolve your character with over 250 collectable parts and special abilities. A map is also available so you can see which other sections needs to be unlocked on the way. The graphics are stunning and the color very bring. The characters/creatures can interact together and they will help you to get better at fighting.
Yes there is fighting in this game but no blood and such appears on the screen. It is defence fighting and combat training at times. Obviously to become an hero, you need to know how to defend yourself and how to fight.
Personally I find the creatures a little bit weird but the imagination of the creators is truly fantastic. There was a lot of creative juice poured on this programming. I’m a quite certain that the younger generation loves this kind of quest. I can see my boys playing with this Wii game and have quite some laugh with it.
SPORE Hero is available on the Wii only.
You can visit the SPORE Hero official site at http://www.sporehero.com/.
SPORE Hero is rated Everyone 10+ for crude humor and mild cartoon violence.
This review was possible because I received a copy of SPORE Hero (Wii) from EA Games.
SPORE Hero (Wii) is available everywhere even at amazon.ca.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we also have the possibility to write on homeschool subject during the year. This is officially the first departure of The Blog Cruise. The question is:
“What advice do you have for those considering homeschooling or just starting out?”
So you are thinking of homeschooling. You know someone who does it or you are dissatisfied with the school your child is going. Whatever the reason I encourage you to give it a try.
It can be scary – especially if you don’t have support or don’t know families who are doing it. And it can take a couple of years for you and your family to be fully adjusted and find your own pace. But the rewards are fabulous – guaranteed.
When I started I thought I would reconsider every year if we continue homeschooling or not. However, a very wise person told me “Take one month at a time.” She told me that because homeschooling is not for every one. It is a lifestyle and a way of living but it is not for every families.
My suggestion to you is to read about it to fully grasp what homeschooling is. And if you can interview families who are doing it. Research as much as you can. I was bless to have about 20 families from my church and elsewhere who were homeschooled when I started considering it. I emailed them my questions and sat down with my friend to see how she organize her days. It was such a blessing to have their answers and this friend willing to open her home for me. It quieted some of my fears.
Some books I recommend are:
- So You Are Thinking of Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel
- Beyond Survival – A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling by Diana Waring
- Help for the Harried Homeschooler – A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child’s Education with the Rest of Your Life by Christine M. Field
- Homeschooling For the Rest of Us – How Your One-of-a-kind Family Can Make Homeschooling and Real Life Work by Sonya Haskin
- Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling by Mary Pride.
Concentrate to the basics for the first year. Homeschooling for the first time can be stressful. So I would suggest to concentrate to the basics for a little while before adding to your schedule. The basics are reading, writing (in which I am including grammar as well), and math. The extra like geography, science, history and so on can be added if you feel comfortable. It doesn’t have to be right away but eventually you will want to include the rest in your day.
Investigate all the possibilities of curriculum and think it through before spending money. Often, you buy something and then realized that it is not a fit for your family. That’s what the TOS Homeschool Crew is for. We review some homeschool products and tell you what we think about it. So the site is a great way to look at some ideas. Read the reviews. Check with the vendor if they have a preview DVD you can receive to check it out. Ask other homeschoolers. There are a wide variety of products out there so be careful. And don’t buy everything you see. It can become expensive. For us, we like reproducible products which means I can make copies of the product to use with all my kids eventually. Check second-hand stores as well. I’ve found wonderful things at Value Village that were not used whatsoever.
Finally, give yourself and your kids some time to adjust. If they are used to go to school it means they need to adjust thinking that mom (or dad) will be their teacher now. It takes time. Be patient with them and with yourself.
Oh! Before I forget. Homeschool Legal Defense is a must. You can find them easily over the internet but they are there to help you with any issues you might stumble on while homeschooling. For example, last year I received a jury duty request stating that I needed to fill in the questionnaire in order to be called for jury duty. I have nothing against jury duty and my husband even thought it was cool that I received one. I wasn't too triller. He wondered why. That's when I asked him: "What would happen to our homeschool if the case last months and I can't be home?" Now he got it... So I called HSLDA and asked them what could be done for this. They totally understood and had a paperwork that I could include with the questionnaire which I did. Well I haven't heard a thing since then... The membership is like an insurance for you and your family. I would strongly recommend that you look into it.
Other crew mates have written on the subject as well. Click on the blog cruise image at the beginning of this entry to be directed to The Blog Cruise page. Have fun with your homeschool - the kids and yourself will enjoy it better.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
So for the past two years, he got these glasses – two pairs sale we got at Costco. Same design. Same color. Same prescription.
Last month, one of them broke. I tried to go to Costco to get it repaired. They won’t do it. To fix them it would need a machine to melt the metal together. I went to various eye glasses store. They don’t have the machine anymore for whatever reason. They don’t do it. I got told to ask jewellery stores. I did everyone told me that it’s not the same kind of metal. Grrrr! How hard could it be to do that? Really.
Then I found a place downtown but I need to bring the glasses so that the owner can make sure it is the proper kind of metal. He would do it for 25$. Not bad but I would have to drop them off and then go pick them up the next day. *sigh*
Last night, Dominic came downstairs after his shower crying. We thought he had hurt himself. But then he start saying something about his glasses…. Poor kid thought he would get punished because the 2nd pair had fallen from the counter and broke. Accidents happen. These frames were old – about 2 1/2 years now. His next appointment is in December.
What should we do? Get another frame and lenses from Costco which would be between 100 and 150$ is an option. But we called his doctor and left a message. Trying to get his appointment switched to earlier and make sure his prescription for his eye doesn’t need to be changed. Then knowing that this place guarantee replacement in case of accidents like this we told them we would buy there this time as we have learned our lesson. We prefer the guarantee of having repairs than discovering that they can’t do it anymore because the frame is over two years old (like Costco for example).
It will be more expensive. We might consider getting the instant darkening for outside depending of the price.
So now we wait and see what will happen. They were close last night. I’m praying for an opening and understanding from the specialist and his staff...
Here’s the time for the weekly blog walk among the participants of the TOS Crew. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from google alert telling me my blog was listed elsewhere. When I clicked on the links I realized that my blogs were listed for the TOS Crew Blog Walk of this week…. *grin* I’ve been busy this week being the taxi for the kids as they go to camp, wrapping up the business finances, finishing a couple of reviews and completing a document for the school year that I hadn’t had time so far to check the blog walk.
1. Ramblings from the Crazy House
Diane is the author of this blog. She blogs about a variety of subjects from education, Life in the Crazy House, Promos and Reviews.
2. Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Chicagoland Homeschool Network is a free resource to help families in the Chicagoland area connect with resources to enhance their homeschool experience. Erin is updating this blog. Chicago is a wonderful city. I visited it once while going to a church planting course. Lots of museums to visit and fun things to do. Worth going with kids for sure! And knowing that there is a site completely dedicated for homeschoolers in Chicago, I will keep this in mind for when we bring our kids to Chicago!
3. Marine Corps Nomads
Heather is the mom behind Marine Corps Nomads. She has one child and her family is prone to move a lot since her husband is an active duty Marine. Currently stationed in the desert of Arizona, their homeschool is full of fun discoveries. She recently posted a first part of their construction of a volcano. Sound fantastic. Can’t wait to read the 2nd part of it….
4. Faith, Family and Fun
Heather is the author being this blog. She is a mom of many kids whose ages range from 5 to 23 years old. This blog is all about parenting, homeschool, and reviews. She recently reviewed what looks like a wonderful drawing product called Simple Draw with Bob Parsons. Look great from the results of the drawing of her son.
5. Books and Bairns
Heather is the mom behind this blog. They have 7 kids both biological and adopted. Her blogs is full of insights in their family life and how they homeschool. They recently had a set-back in the request of a visa for a girl they would love to adopt. It must be hard for her and for the family. I pray that God’s hand will guide the next step to take concerning this situation and that an happy resolution will be found soon.
6. Chatter, Clatter and Things That Matter
Heidi is a mom of two kids who is sharing what happens in their homeschool on this blog. Recently, we received a package that was suppose to have Latin textbooks in it. Problem is… well the books were missing. So at this moment, someone somewhere in the postal service is supposed to see if they can track them down…. I hope they will and they will arrive safe and sounds at their destination within a week as they were lent to them. They also did a FANTASTIC job is decorating the room of their teenage girl. Love the colors!
7. Canadianladybug Reviews!
If you are here and read this entry, you already know the blog. This is my review blog – where I post my reviews about products and books I receive.
8. Life at Oak Grove
Life at Oak Grove is our personal blog where I share our adventure in homeschool and our activities. I also write tidbits about faith and Christ in my life. Enjoy discovering more about me there!
9. Home Sweet Home(school)
Jean is the author of this blog and shares practical tips for home educators. She is also posting reviews from the crew and shares what is happening in her life.
10. a glimpse of our life
Jennifer is the author of this blog and like the title suggest it you will get a glimpse of their like. Reviews, gratitude, family activities are all subject of entries. I have discovered an interesting meme while looking her blog. I think I will look into http://www.aholyexperience.com/. I’m a little bit behind… but I love the idea.
Well, that’s it for this week. These are all First Mates of the crew. Team leaders is other crew members from all around the US, Canada and the world.
See you next time for the next blog walk…
Friday, August 13, 2010
Meet Marie a seasoned homeschooler, mother of six who has been homeschooling for 20 years. She is chatting with Charlotte a young mom of two kids who has been homeschooling for 2 years. Let’s listen in to their conversation.
Marie: Hi Charlotte. How was your summer?
Charlotte: We had a blast relaxing after our busy school year. We went camping a lot and the boys loved fishing with their dad.
Marie: Sounds fun! Are you prepare to face a new year with them?
Charlotte: That’s my problem. I feel ill-equipped in this area. I need more structure especially with both of them now in learning mode. I find I can’t keep track of every activity we do not to mention that I always forget some of the learning experiences we did during the year. To be honest, I am quite stressed about it because I know it is important to track what they do and learn. I am so discouraged right now, I don’t know what to do.
Marie: Mmmm! I know the feeling. I went through this as well. I found a great tool to help me.
Charlotte: Really? What is it? Does it cost lots of money? Where can I get it? How do you use it?
Marie: My goodness…. you are full of question aren’t you.
Charlotte: As you can see, I am desperate. Anything you can share with me would be an great help. After all, you have been homeschooling for a long time and you are a great mentor.
Marie: Well thank you. Do you know about The Old Schoolhouse Magazine?
Charlotte: Yes I’ve heard about it. Why?
Marie: Well, they also produce various pdf documents which can be an a great help for homeschoolers. A few years ago, they offered their first TOS Schoolhouse Planner to help homeschoolers get more organized. This was such a hit among homeschoolers that every year they perfect it and release a new edition. This year the TOS 2010 Schoolhouse Planner has even more forms to use for the homeschool and for home.
Charlotte: Really? For home as well. WOW! Sounds like it is complete.
Marie: It is. You can keep track of what they learn, the books they read, the experiments they do, the field trips, and much more. The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner also has a series of articles that you can read for encouragement, fun information about various subjects as well as recipes every month.
Charlotte: Recipes? Well that could solve my problem of finding new recipes to tryout. We are kind of tired of always eating the same thing.
Marie: I’m telling you Charlotte, it is worth it. Simply go to The OldSchoolhouse Magazine website and get it. It is only 39$ with over 614 pages you have lots of options for organizing your homeschool and your home.
Charlotte: It definetively sounds like something I would need. Thanks for sharing that with me. Are you going to the field trip next month?
Marie: Yes we are. Oh it is about to start. How about we go sit down and listen to the panel tonight? I have a feeling that we are both going to learn interesting information tonight.
Charlotte: I’m following you. I am always energized when I come out of these meetings.
Sounds like Marie has shared a wonderful products with Charlotte don’t you think. But are you wondering how Charlotte will use this TOS 2010 Schoolhouse Planner? Let’s fast forward a month later when the two bumped into each other during the field trip at Upper SmithVillage.
Charlotte: Marie! Marie! Wait up a minute.
Marie: Oh hi Charlotte. How is it going?
Charlotte: Wonderful! I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to encourage me to check out the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner at the last meeting. I bought it that very night when I got home. You were right, it is an absolute time saver! I mean only 39$ for so many forms and encouragement! WOW! I’m super excited and it reduced my stress a lot. Now I can enjoy homeschooling without worrying about how to track our progress. Everything is in one binder and the boys even help me to keep it up-to-date. It is simply wonderful. I don’t know how I lived without it. The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner has become a life saver for me!
Marie: I am glad to hear this. Have you tried the budget planner?
Charlotte: Yes I did. With this hard year we just went through it is much easier to know where the money goes and how much I can splurge on homeschool material. I also set up a chores planner so that every one in the family can be participating in taking care of something in the house. This makes life so much easier in our house. The boys now set up the table and empty the dishwasher without complains.
Marie: I’m glad you like it. It is a life saver for me too even though I am a seasoned homeschooler.
Charlotte: I am so grateful that you told me about it. I am already planning to get the new edition when it comes out next year. The articles I am reading are so wonderful and informative.
Marie: Yes I agree. Charlotte, how about we have lunch in the park at noon? We can talk more while the kids play in the field.
Charlotte: Sounds like a great idea. The boys want to go to the Mill now, see you later Marie.
Marie: Okay. My kids want to go see the broom maker. See you at noon.
Isn't it wonderful? Sounds like the TOS 2010 Schoolhouse Planner was a hit in Charlotte’s household. It is packed with a variety of forms and planners as well as articles and fun facts to read throughout the year. Did I picked your curiosity? Thinking you would need it for your own homeschool? It is currently available at The OldSchoolhouse Store for the price of 39$. Simply go to http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/TOSEBookSellSheets/Modules/10Planner/10Planner.htm to purchase it and let the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner help you organize your homeschool and your home!
Disclaimer: I am independent contractor for TOS (as member of the TOS Homeschool Crew). I have used the product mentioned in this post. This post is a sell sheet for the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner. I created the above ad as an official entry in the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner Ad Contest.