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Monday, July 30, 2012

back roots

Just got back home from a great vacation in Michigan.  We went to the Farmer's Festival in Pigeon, yes, that is the real name of the town where I grew up.  :)   The boys got to climb a rock wall, games, candy, etc.  Then we went to camping.  Wow!  I forgot how much fun and work camping was.  The boys went swimming, fishing, putt putt and jumped on a giant pillow!  Then my dad took us to the Bad Axe fair.  Yes, that is the real name of that town too, lol.  The kids got to ride all kinds of rides, see all the 4H animals and eat great food!  Now that we are home, we are exhausted!  I think I need a vacation from the vacation!  It's been a long time, but it was good to get back to my home town and see how everything has changed.

I think, for me, the best part was spending time w/ my niece and nephew.  They are growing up so fast.  I wish we lived closer so I could spend more time with them.  My brother, sister and their spouses are doing really good.  I miss them all too.  It was great to see everyone.

As we drove the last few miles home, I rolled down the windows and we smelled the hay fields.  If you have ever visited WV, you know what I am talking about.  I could smell the fields and mountain air and knew I was home.  I will always have great memories of my back roots in Michigan, but there is something about these country roads in West Virginia........this is home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Super Duper Publication TOS Review

Jeepers Peepers
by: Super Duper Publications
Coupon Code:    BLGJP30
Save 30%   Expires 8/31/12

$29.95 The “Ask and Answer” question game

This product is an auditory processing and listening skills learning game created by Sharon G. Webber. It is recommended for grades K and up / ages 5 & up. This games builds questioning skills, describing skills, categorizing skills, problem-solving skills, etc. This game has been the winner of 7 national awards.

The game comes with -    
*6 pairs of Jeepers Peepers glasses
*6 laminated cue cards set
*1 spinner & bingo chips
*101 photo cards (4x5)
*1 instruction booklet.

The photo cards have 5 categories on them: 
animals, food, people, things and transportation.
Note: You can purchase an extra set of 6 glasses for $11.95 and an extra set of 101 cards for $15.95.

How to play the game -
One student puts on a pair of the colorful glasses. Place a photo card in the Peeper slot on the glasses without showing the card to the student wearing the glasses. Have the other students face that student. The student wearing the glasses then asks each student a question. That question can only be answered with a 'yes' or a 'no'. He/she has to figure out what the photo card is. For example, if the photo card is and airplane, the student would ask 'can I eat it'?, or 'is it blue'? The cue cards help with the questions; they have the 5 categories (listed above) on them to remind the child what questions to ask to help him/her with finding out what is on their photo. If he/she figures out what the photo card is, they can guess any time. If they guess wrong, the game continues on. If they guess correctly, the child spins the spinner and get that number of bingo chips. The child takes off the glasses and it is the next child's turn. The game continues until all have had a turn. Then the one with the most bingo chips wins. 
To play the advanced version, you have each player wear a pair of glasses and all play at the same time as well. Same basic game rules apply.

Game Variations -
  • Player one wears the glasses and asks questions until he/she figures out the photo card. The other players take turns doing this. Have someone keep track of how many questions each player asks. The child with the fewest questions asked before figuring out the photo card wins.
  • Give each player a photo card. They cannot show anyone else. Each player describes their photo on their card. The player who guesses correctly spins the spinner and earns bingo chips. You play this without the glasses. This would be good if you have more than 6 players.
  • Place 3 photo cards facedown in front of each player. Each player chooses one card. They place it in their glasses without looking at it. Players take turns guessing. When the players guess one of their cards correctly, they place another card in their glasses until the 3 photo cards are gone. The player to guess all 3 of his/her photo cards is the winner.

What I thought -
I thought the game was very fun and interactive for the children. I liked that it wasn't just a guessing game. The children really had to think before asking each question. They loved the silly colorful glasses! The photo cards were really fun photos as well.

What I didn't like were the small bingo chips. I think a bigger sized chip or ribbon would have been a better option. There is a warning on the package that there are small parts / not for children under 3 yrs. of age. I just think a better alternative for the reward or score keeping would've been better.

Overall, I think this game was awesome! I would recommend this game for children with learning disabilities as well. This is a great interaction game for all ages and helps with speaking, thinking and listening.

One last thing, Super Duper Publication is now offering a coupon code for this game for a limited time.  It is listed at the top of this review.  Enjoy!   

To view other views on this product, go to

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Apologia - Who Is My Neighbor? Review

Who Is My Neighbor?
By: Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.
$39 Student textbook
$24 Notebooking Journal    
$8 Coloring book

This product is a family-inclusive study of biblical worldview of servanthood. The authors are John Hay & David Webb. The recommended age for this curriculum is 6-14 yrs. old / a multi-grade curriculum.

There are 3 books in this series:
'Who Is God?'
'Who Am I?'
'Who Is My Neighbor?'

I am reviewing the third book in the series.  The prerequisites are the first two, but I didn't have them and it worked out fine. My children have a very strong Biblical background so the prerequisites were not an issue for us.

The student textbook is a hardcover containing 276 colorful pages. There are 8 lessons total.
 They recommend that each lesson be done in order, but you can do the lessons at your own pace if you'd like.  It includes lesson plans.  Each lesson takes about 3 weeks to finish; 2 days per week. If you follow the plans given, you should finish the textbook in 24 weeks. If you wanted to use this for a whole years curriculum it would be easy to space the lessons to fit your school year. Below is a sample lesson plan.

Week one, day one - You will read (or your child can read independently) a segment of the lesson and a short story. You will discuss the story and use questions to get their interaction.

Week one, day two – You will have them go over the 'words they need to know' segment.  They are also asked to memorize a Bible verse (primarily from the New International Version) and to read a few pages / articles. This is where the student will now use their notebooking journal (and/or coloring book).

There are several really nice pictures in this text and the text itself is suitable for a middle schooler to adult.
The student may read it to themselves or for the elementary age it can be read to them. I read it to my children. The text was written directly to the student and it has an engaging style. It even kept my 9 year old interested. :0) You could use the textbook only, without the journal and coloring book if you desired.  No teacher edition is needed or offered.

The notebooking journal is a spiral bound consumable book. It has a space on the front cover to write your child's name on it and contains 240 pages. These pages are also nicely colored. This journal helps the student remember what he/she has learned throughout the book. The child will answer questions, draw pictures, do puzzles, write and study vocabulary words, a place to interpret the Bible scripture, activities, etc. We found this journal suitable for my thirteen yr. old, but not for my dyslexic nine yr. old. Although, an elementary child that has strong writing and reading skills could use this book.

The coloring book followed along with the lessons. The pictures to color were detailed nicely so an older student may enjoy coloring them as well. This consumable book contains 64 pages.

Apologia also has science curriculum, for all ages, and they do offer online science classes you can take. They have homeschool planners and other reading books as well.

What I thought -
I absolutely loved this curriculum!  I have used Apologia science books before and liked them, but this is over the top!   I feel it is priced accordingly and I was happy that a teacher edition wasn't needed. I liked that it was written for the students to keep them interested. It was easy to use and written very well for the educator to present.  The children and I really liked the stories in the textbook. They kept you at the edge of your seat throughout.

I also enjoyed reading it to them.  I like curricula that I can have both the boys do together even though there is an age gap; my oldest is 13 and my younger 9 yrs old.  They found the activities to be fun and kept their minds in thought about our world as a whole and not just our geological location. It also helped teach them that we are here to serve others like God wants us to. This followed right along with what the children are learning in our church that we attend.

I would recommend the notebooking journal to be a more suitable book for the higher elementary through high school age, depending on your child's reading and comprehension abilities.  I chose to have my oldest do the notebooking journal and my younger son to use the coloring book.

I used this product the way they recommended but accommodated to our vacation schedule, which was easy to do. There wasn't anything I didn't like about this product, except it was really hard to put it down!  

I would highly recommend it to any Christian homeschooler that would like to teach their children to be a servant of God by serving others. This book is a HUGE asset to our homeschool library!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

To view other reviews on this product, go to

Monday, July 9, 2012

Proverbs 22:6

"Train your child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Proverbs 22:6

No matter how large of an IQ one has, without salvation, he will not enter the kingdom. 

Be a servant, a servant to others, for God.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lightning Lit & Comp Review


         Lightning Lit & Comp (third edition)
American Literature: Early-Mid 19th Century
Hewitt Homeschooling Resources
$29.95 student guide
$2.95 teachers guide

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to review this product. This product is a full year literature curriculum recommended for high school / grades 9-12. They do offer a junior high course as well. With this high school course your student will acquire college-level composition skills by responding to great literature. The student guide and teachers guide were both used in this review. There are four reading books needed for this course. They are not included, but can be purchased or can be found at your local library which is a free and easy source. A list of the required books are located in the front of the teachers guide for your convenience.

Photobucket The student guide is a nice 178 page softcover book. It has an introduction section for the student to read that explains why we need to learn how to write. It explains outlining and it talks about brainstorming, alliteration, simile, metaphor and vocabulary, just to name a few. It tells your student how to use this course and how to get the most out of it.

PhotobucketThe teachers guide is 56 pages that are stapled together. They three hole punched for easy use with a binder (not included). In the front of the teacher's guide there is an introduction on how to use this course. It explains each section: introduction, comprehension questions (which can be used as tests if desired), literary lesson and writing exercises. It has some discussion questions as well. This course gives grading tips and includes a check list to help with correcting the students paper. It also comes with a few point sheets (or grading sheets) to keep track of what percent/score to give for the papers, units and a final grade. These are reproducibles. Both of these books are reusable.
For this Early-Mid 19th Century, a few examples of books that were required were: 'The Autobiography (Benjamin Franklin) and 'The Scarlet Letter' by: Nathaniel Hawthorne. The course required the student to read, answer questions and then do a writing assignment. They broke the reading and questions up into parts. The child would read a certain amount of pages, then answer questions on that part before he went on to the next reading assignment. See example below.

Lesson plans are included in this course as well. But rather than daily plans, they are written as weekly lesson plans.

For example:

week 2:
*Read pages 89-180 and answer the Comprehension Questions.
*Read the Literary Lesson for Unit 1, Lesson 1.
*Choose one exercise from “Writing Exercises” for Unit 1, Lesson 1 and write at least a rough draft of your paper.

What I thought:

I really liked the 'weekly lesson plans' method. My son gets overwhelmed when our schedule gets interrupted, so this gave him an idea of what was expected for the 'week' and not 'daily'. He could look ahead and decide for himself what he needed to do and how much time he would need for his assignments. I feel that this not only helps to teach them responsibility but helps with time management skills as well. Something that high schoolers may need to learn for themselves. :)

I think that this course would work with an independent student as well as a group setting. My son is only thirteen (but doing high school work) and he didn't have any problems with understanding the dialog. So age modification is also an option.

I like that there wasn't a lot of teacher prep time required. I helped with any questions he had and corrected his work with the teacher guide. Instead of purchasing the books, I downloaded them to my Nook Tablet for easier access.

I would recommend this course to any student who loves to read. The writing makes the student think and they have a little bit of independence on what they write about. For example, the writing assignments give a few choices on what to write about so that the student isn't stuck writing about what exactly is requested. My son liked having that choice.

I used the course pretty much like it is meant to be used, but I did alter the schedule a little bit. I allowed a few extra days for some reading or writing here and there depending on our schedules. Being flexible is a great quality in any course!

To see other reviews on this product, go to Schoolhouse Review Crew website.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fireflies and Bumblebees

Summertime is so exciting.  There is so much to see and do.  One of my favorite things to do is sit on my porch swing and watch the fireflies and listen to the frogs.  Living in the country is so relaxing.  Just to sit and hear all of nature that God himself created. 

Bumblebees are everywhere this summer!  My son has stepped on a few....ouch!  I explain to him that all the bees are out now just doing their job pollinating.

The other night, it was really nice so we slept with the outside door to our bedroom open.  There was a locked screen of course, but it was wonderful to wake up to the sound of the baby birds chirping.  I thought that all the babies were now getting big and leaving the nest, but apparently not. 

I could hear the breeze blowing through the leaves, the dog barking in the distance at something in the yard.  This is what summer is all about..... listening and watching God's wonderful world around us!

Monday, July 2, 2012

reading for fun

Wow, a well needed break from school is here.  Going on vacation in a few weeks and since our power has been out all day due to the storms, I got a chance to start reading a really good book called "The Help", by: Kathryn Stockett.  I really do find myself lol (laughing out loud)!  I can't wait to finish it so I can watch the movie!

Reading a good book is very relaxing and healthy.  My boys are pretty good readers.  My middle son is the true bookworm.  He loves to read.  You would think with all the books he has to read for school he wouldn't want to read for fun, but he loves it!  

I don't get to do a lot of 'fun reading' while we are into our school year.  So the summer is the time to catch up on all the 'good reads' and I am excited!