Friday, July 26, 2013

Gryphon House Review

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I was given the pleasure to try out an Art book by Gryphon House called Global Art.  This book is priced at $16.95.  The book is a mix of all different genres of art including; painting, drawing, collages, sculptures, and etc.  Global Art has each project based on a geographical and cultural background.
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This was a really fun book.  It fits in really well with most Social Studies units that go over cultures and other geographical areas around.  We were able to learn about a culture and implement an art project into that Social Studies lesson.  I think this makes the learning more fun for my kids since they think they are just doing art when in reality they are doing a type of art that the people in the culture we were studying about did.
The kids favorite project was the Ilukeres Fly Whisks from Ghana.  These ilukeres were carried by the kinds of Ashanti village to show that they were royal and it also helped shew away the bugs that would fly around them.  We took toilet paper tubes and tissue paper as well as some string.  We cut the paper in strips and stapled it around the tube and decorated them to look "fancy".  The kids used them for days when they would play outside to shew off the flies we are filled with this summer.

One of my most favorite features of this book was the fact that in the top corners of the book there was "warning" symbols.  These were there to tell you how hard the project would be as well as if there was a lot of preparation and the type of art you were doing.  For our favorite project it was rated easier, with a 2 for preparation, and a construction form of art.  This was really helpful for me when looking through it to see which ones would work better for the younger versus older kids.

The book had a great table of contents that makes it easier to reference too when you make your lesson plans.  If you are learning about a certain area you can quickly see it and see which projects are for that area.  Everything in the book was very easy to navigate and understand.  Many things could be made from things around your home which is always great for me. 

We enjoyed all of our art projects and we will continue to use the book for more of them.  It actually is prompting us to do more unit specific studies in Social Studies so we are sure to have a fun art project to do while learning.  Their are 100+ art lessons in this book and for just under $17 that is a great deal!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

St. Louis Science Center

I am very excited to say that the kids and I are going to be headed to St. Louis, MO this weekend to go to the Science Center.  We have never been to it but we hear it is one of the coolest science centers ever.  We are all very excited to go and see what we can find and learn.  The best part of all it is FREE!  We have to pay for parking which is $10 and that sucks but much cheaper than the closer centers to us that charge $10 a person plus parking.  The kids love these types of places and have so much fun.  If we have time we may swing over to the zoo as well.  Be sure to watch to upcoming pictures and stories!

Monday, July 22, 2013

It is that time curricula

So it is that time of year again for me to start looking over what we will need for the starting of a new grade.  The hardest part is we have not found any subjects that we just LOVE the curriculum besides in science.  So it is getting something and doing trial and error each time.  So far this year we have decided on the following....

Science (combined teaching)
Apologia Zoology

Math Mammoth (Kailea)
Touch Math/A+ Tutor Mix (Kiya)

Classical Conversions (Kailea)
Handwriting Without Tears (Kiya)

Other than that I am at loss.  I really want a good language curriculum for them that is not to expensive.  I have been thinking of trying LifePac.  We have used it for Social Studies before and while it is a bit dry they did well with it.  I think I may do Social Studies again this way.  As for Science I think we will just use the different experiment books and such that we have and make our own little curriculum out of it.

Then we have Micah, who will be a fresh little Kindergartner. Most all of his curriculum will be work books that are the all in ones as well as various free resources off line. There will be lots of hands on learning for him.

Friday, July 19, 2013

School Supply Time

No matter if you are homeschool or public school you have to buy supplies.  Is this something you enjoy doing?  I love it because I am so nerdy about things like that.  The only thing is I like to have everything nice and new and organized but then I hate messing it up to use it. 

Where are some of your favorite places to get supplies?

I always like to watch Staples.  Each week they have a couple things I would like and need for just change.  Walgreens usually is the same.  I can get a couple things at each place each week and spend very minimal on supplies and have a good stock up for when we need them.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Christy the Coupon Coach Review

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I love  having a review for myself!  It makes it even better when it is one that will help me save money.  I received a book from Christi the Coupon Coach called Couponing Made Simple.  This book can be purchases at Amazon for $18 or $4.99 for the e-book. 

The best part of this book is that the words are bigger than in normal reading books. This helps those eyes that have been going over homework for hours already.  The terminology is very easy to read and understand for every age raged shopper.  

I have been a couponer for awhile now, no extreme couponer though.  I have a binder that I keep my coupons in but I never could figure out a good order for them that would make it easier to find what I needed.  In this book she does give you directions on how to set up and file away your coupons for best and easiest use using file folders.  Then she goes on to talk about getting extra Sunday papers to get more coupons of each item.  I like this idea but I do not live close to town so it is hard for me to use the gas and pay the extra for papers right now that I wasn't able to do this right now.  Though when I really know a good deal is coming I will make the trip so I can get several of what I am needing.

The next part of the book tells you about the jargon used in couponing so that you know what they are talking about.  This tells you how to stack coupons (use a manufacture coupon with a store coupon) to get twice the savings.  Sadly I live in an area that the stores do not have their own coupons.  I can say when I lived in a bigger area this was a great way to save more.  I used this method a lot on diapers. 

She also talks about using matching sites to help you out with matching the current store sales with the coupons you should have on hand.  I was hoping she would mention the actual sites to these places but she didn't.  I did have one that I have used for a long time and love so I just continued to use it hoping it was the best one that is out there.  She does suggest how to search for them, this will help you find the most up to date sites out there.  I know there are a few that have been out there.  The one I use is free so don't get drawn into pay sites that do the same thing.

I have had the most success with HBA items at Walgreens using my coupons and the stacking method.  I have been able to get my personal care items much cheaper and some almost free by using my coupons.  I am still having a hard time with getting good deals on food.  I really only have Walmart to food shop and the savings generally are no worth it with the coupon for the name brand.  I think once I get better and a good stack of coupons that I will travel to the next bigger town where they double coupons. 

The only things that I found in the book that I wasn't impressed with was the lack of editing on the book.  I am not great on my own grammar and spelling so for me to notice issues was a big deal.  Also she mentioned batch cutting of coupons which if I remember correctly is not allowed.

I liked that she mentioned about only buying what you NEED.  I think is a big deal in this whole deal.  We can't be greedy and take all of a good deal when others are in need as well.  Overall this was a good read for someone new to the coupon scene.  For those that have a good idea and have been doing it a bit probably wouldn't benefit from the book at all. Also I suggest saving the money and getting the e-book as it is not something that you will need to reference back to after you have read it once.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer is field trip time

I have always heard about using temporary tattoos on your kids when you go on field trips to big places like the zoo.  However when I looked them up to actually order them with all the information needed I about had a heart attack. 

Lately I have been seeing a neato do it your self type that will work and seems to hold up better against water and sweat.

All you need is some Liquid Bandage costs about $5-$6 at Wal-Mart or CVS and has multiple uses in your home for later.

Next you need a simple Sharpie marker, I suggest fine tip so that you can easily write with it. They run about $2 at Wal-Mart.

Then all you have to do is pick a place on the child (arm, wrist, etc) and write your emergency telephone number and name on them.  Make sure marker is dry and then coat over the whole area with the liquid bandage a time or two.  This will allow it to be in place as well as waterproof.  This is good for water parks or excessive sweating.

Hope this can help some of you worry wort mama's like me!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Classical Conversations Review

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I was very excited to review Classical Conversations. The level we got to use, since my daughter was already working on letters, was PreScripts Cursive Words and Drawing. The book is $12.99 and has the age range of 5-10 years old.  This was a great thing to be able to do with my 8 year old.  

I think cursive writing is becoming a lost art and I think people need to keep a hold of.  I am shocked at the amount of schools that have already taken it out of their studies saying it is not needed.  I question how will our children know how to sign their names on important documents?  How will they read old historical writings that are in cursive?  This alone made me really want to make sure my kids know how to read and write in cursive.  We used the book daily as my daughter has always been very eager to learn cursive and she couldn't get enough of it.  There is a level above this that focuses on letter more as well.  The book also does numbers as well as harder letter combinations.  If you do one page a day there is enough to get you through one full year with this book.  We ended up doing more than that some days as she really enjoyed working on it.
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My daughter is a lefty so we really enjoyed the fact that the spirals were across the top and not in her way when writing.  She gets very aggravated at normal books for this reason.  I honestly think that is one of her favorite things about doing this homework without fuss.  I enjoyed the fact that they get a refresher of the letter before working on to the words.

This book has a page with each letter that they can trace and write themselves as a refresher then a word that starts with that letter. Then at the bottom of that page there is a Bible verse for them to copy. The page after each letter is a drawing lesson. It helps I think with the structure of writing as well as giving me a fun incentive to do after each lesson.

One of the other perks to this curricula its very easy to follow and is self lead.  She was able to work on this on her own and take as much time as she needed to get through each lesson.  We will continue to use this and the other versions as well with all the kids.


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