Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Treat Time!

This is what I see as I approach the coop area in the afternoons.  It's treat time and boy do they know it!  They hear the back door open and they come running.  It is always comical to me even after 4 years of silly chickens.

It's important that you don't give them more than 10% of their feed in treats in order to not take place of necessary nutrients they get from their balanced feed.  No, my chickens aren't spoiled, at all, LOL.

We currently have 7 roosters and 35 laying hens in 3 different pens.  Yes, I have too many roosters but so far all is good.  Cedric, our main man is in the main pen with his two sons and a silkie rooster.  One of Cedric's other sons is in an adjacent pen with some hens and our other silkie rooster and Easter Egger rooster are in a 3rd pen with more hens.  Yeah, chicken math has certainly taken over.

Hope your day is blessed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Home School in the Woods À La Carte REVIEW

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
Do you have artsy kids or kids that just like to have fun with hands-on activities for homeschool learning?  Home School in the Woods has wonderful products that will meet these desires.  If you don't want to purchase an entire project or just want to sample some of their products then take a look at their À La Carte products.  Some are stand alone products and others are part of a larger package deal.  I love that you can try a sample without purchasing the entire package deal.  Also, sometimes we just need to use a part of one and don't need any of the extras.

I chose two of their products that included The Art of Quilling and Name That State! File Folder Game.  I had honestly never heard of quilling before but after I looked at it I thought it might be a perfect fit for my artsy 8th-grade son who just loves to create.  The state game was a no-brainer for me since I wanted to introduce my K5 daughter to the states and the 8th grader can always use a review!
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
Name That State! File Folder Game

I was sadly disappointed when my son said he WAS NOT going to do the quilling, said he was NOT interested at all.  Well, once I started to print and prepare for the project guess what? He was intrigued and before it was all over he ended up really liking it and wants to do more!

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
The Art of Quilling

The Name That State! File Folder Game took some time to set up, but once done, it produced a nice reusable, fun game that can be easily adapted to provide more of a challenge as things get easy. I love File Folder Games because they are just that, created on a file folder that fits neatly away in your filing cabinet when you are done!  It was an easy PDF download.  The document provided all the instructions I needed to create the game and included 3 versions of the states map and the necessary game cards.  You can print the states map with it all blank (no states or abbreviations listed), with the full state name, or just the state abbreviations.  I printed the full state name so that little bug could play with big brother and learn her states too!

PDF download showing 2 versions of states map

I really like that the document contained two versions of masters.  One for if you don't have a duplex printer and need to manually duplex and another for duplexing if you have a printer that does duplex.  I REALLY like this since I have a duplexing printer and it is such a pain when documents are not set up for duplexing.

Finished game (forgot to show the hole punch game pieces)
This is a FILE FOLDER game so you, of course, need a file folder, preferably colored just for fun.  I printed out my choice of the states map (the one with the full state name), colored the map and then laminated it.  I love to laminate things that are going to be used over and over so they last over time. I followed the instructions on how to glue it to the folder.  Then I printed out the game cards on colored paper and laminated them before cutting them out.  Finally we just paper hole punched out a bunch of dots to use as playing pieces.  I store all the loose game board pieces in plastic sandwich zipped bags.

Little Bug and big brother practicing the states

To set the game up you just open the folder, place the game cards state side up in the designated place on the game board and give a stack of colored hole punch pieces to each player.  The first person draws a card and tries to name the state.  If they get the answer right, they place one of their game pieces (hole punch) on that state.  The person with the most game pieces on the board when the game is over of course wins.  I love that this game can be adapted and used from the simplest to a more complex challenge.  With the states full name listed you can simply play as I stated with just guessing the state.  The game cards also have the capital, rank (what place they are in becoming a state i.e. 2nd, 3rd, etc), year entered the union, and what region (central, midwest, etc). There are even blanks on each card for you to fill more in like state bird or flower, etc.  You can have them guess any of the other answers for more of a challenge and chance to put more game pieces on the board.

Back of game card with answers and blanks
Each game card has a compass rose that shows the player which direction is North.  This is helpful if they are trying to guess the state but might have the game card in the wrong orientation which can make guessing more difficult.  With the game card facing the correct direction, the player can more easily see which state it is or have an easier time matching it with the states map game board.  I am counting on this to help teach my K5 daughter to learn her states.  She is great at matching and if she can match the shape, she will learn.

PDF download of instructions

The Art of Quilling was also a simple PDF download.  All the instructions were included and it even told us how we could make our own homemade quilling tool (which we did!).  One free template was also included.  We chose to cut our own paper strips.  It is such a simple and fun craft activity.  The challenge is learning to adjust your coils and shape them as needed.

We used a paper cutter to get even, straight 1/4" strips

We chose 5 colors for this project

Learning about the different ways to shape the coils

Basically, you use a quilling tool (to coil the paper), cut paper strips (can be easily purchased at craft store), something to adhere your creation to (paper, cardstock, wood, cork, whatever base you want), and some glue to adhere the coils and paper with.  We tried both white school glue and a hot glue gun which both dry clear (necessary for this craft).  We preferred the white school glue for neatness and ease of use.

Work in progress

Finished project (using free template included)

If you look on the internet the creations are endless with what you can create.  We will definitely be doing more of this and thank Home School in the Woods for introducing us to this really fun activity.

Custom freestyle Venus Flytrap design my son created
(he really does enjoy doing this!)

If you like Charlotte Mason based hands-on activities you really need to check Home School in the Woods out.  We love Home School in the Woods and recommend that you take the time to see what they have to offer.  In the past, I have also reviewed HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Middle Ages and The New Testament Activity-Pak.  A couple of the other À La Carte projects that look really interesting are The Passover Seder Game (especially with Easter coming up) and The Lewis & Clark Expedition Lap Book Project.

Please also take the time out to check out all the other reviews on the À La Carte products from my fellow Crew members.

À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Terrific Tuesday Encouragement

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.  O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Psalms 25:1-2 NKJV

Do you ever feel downcast or dismayed?  Look up.  Look to the Lord for He is our salvation and our redemption.  He will go to battle for you if you just give it to him.  Trust Him.  Lean on and rely on Him to fight your enemies for you and bring you through your trials and tribulations victoriously.  Rest in His arms today.

I pray peace and joy would fill your heart today.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

NatureGlo's eScience REVIEW

MathArt Online

Have you ever heard of the Fibonacci number sequence?  I had heard of it but didn't remember what it was.  I was excited to be able to participate in our next review for the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle from NatureGlo's eScience.  Gloria Brooks is the creator and teacher of her online, partly Charlotte Mason-based, curriculum.  She incorporates several subjects into her teachings (unit study approach) with lots of hands-on and interactive activities.  She holds a bachelor's degree in K-12 education and has a real passion for the subject matter in her teaching.  The basis of the classes are general and there is no Creation or Evolution specific teachings (just not mentioned at all in her lessons).

Sample page from Intro Lesson
Another sample page from Intro Lesson

I was given access to her online 4-Class Bundle for one year.  Each class is divided into 6 weeks (one lesson per week).  They all follow pretty much the same schedule.  Basically, you have links to a copy of the PDF slideshow of the lesson, the study guide, lap book pages (for some, not all lessons), and any other necessary supplements needed for the class.

Slideshow PDF printable of lesson
PDF printable study guide with answer key
Each class has access to the video lessons (usually broken down into 2 or more short, 3-12 minute--sometimes longer, videos per lesson).  The lessons are recorded versions of the live class.  I did not participate in any live classes.  We liked that we could go at our own pace if necessary.  On the right side of each lesson page is the overview of what comes next in the class.  As you progress through the lesson the individual tasks are crossed off as you mark them as completed (you can always go back and unmark them as completed if necessary).  Each lesson can be simple or very complex.  She has offered links to SO MANY extra research and activity topics you could easily spend 2 weeks on a lesson if you really dug deep.  I also like that you can't skip ahead but have to complete the lessons in order to progress (I have one that likes to jump around a lot).

Dashboard showing your courses
Sample of completed lessons

Sample of lesson page with downloadable files and lesson progress on the right

I can't stress enough that there are SO MANY things to learn, follow and research while going through this study.  She has links to other resources, online activities (I like the quizlet games that test your knowledge on what was just covered) and other videos. Like I mentioned before, you could easily spend 2 weeks on a lesson if you really wanted to dig in deep.  We have kept it light and just cover one a week.  The extra activities really give the kids a good hands-on real-life experience with the subject matter.

Cookie activity from Lesson 3 (screenshot from lesson)

We chose to first study Math Connections with the Real World. The six lessons included in this study are:
  • Introduction & History of the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Numbers
  • The Golden Number & Fibonacci in Art, Architecture, and Nature
  • The Fibonacci Numbers in Nature
  • The History & the Golden Ratio of the Great Pyramid
  • Phi & Quasicrystals
  • The Mathematics of Music
We are currently in the last lesson.  I have so enjoyed that we have covered art, math, history, language arts and science in these lessons.  I have really enjoyed the history part.  I keep saying I.  What about the kiddos.  Well, they have not enjoyed this so much.  We got into the first lesson and I lost them.  I have artsy kids and they just don't get into this math/history stuff (even with the extra activities--bad attitude).  They REALLY don't like language arts.  Well, ya still gotta learn!  I agree with them that the videos can be a little annoying since they incorporate the live class which has a lot of delays due to dialogue and kids trying to mark up the pages as asked.  No problem though, just use the printable PDF slide show and you are good to go.

The course is recommended for ages 10 and up.  I feel that unless a child is really math oriented and a go-getter they might not find a lot of interest in this material.  If you can get them going on the activities I think that would peak their interest.  For my 8th grader, I think he would do much better on this in a year or two and use as high school credit and go deeper into each lesson.

This wasn't a good fit for my kiddos but as I stated, I have really enjoyed the subject and all the research that went into creating this study.  I peeked at the other classes and I will definitely be at least going over them with my bundles of joy, LOL.  There is just a lot of good information that gives them a practical life application on how math and science work in our world.

The other three classes are as follows with their included lessons:

MathArt in Ancient Cultures
  • Ancient Babylonians & the Plimpton 322
  • Ancient Greek Math & the Platonic Solids
  • Pythagoras & the Music of the Spheres
  • Ancient India's MathArt: Rangoli, Mandalas, & the Story of 1-9 & 0
  • Zellige Moroccan Tiles & Other Tessellations
  • Maya MathArt
MathArt in the Arts & Sciences
  • Main Lesson Downloads & Videos with NatureGlo (Great Artists, History/Literature Connection Dante, How to do One-Point Perspective)
  • Australian Aboriginal MathArt
  • Celtic MathArt
  • Introduction to Patterns in Nature
  • Fractals in Nature & Technology Part I
  • Fractals in Nature & Technology Part II
 MathArt Patterns in Nature
  • Patterns in Nature: Circular Patterns
  • Patterns in Nature: Animal Coat Patterns
  • The Geometrics of the Universe
  • Patterns in Nature: The Hexagon
  • Logarithmic Beauty of the Chambered Nautilus Part I
  • Logarithmic Beauty of the Chambered Nautilus Part II
All in all, I would still recommend the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle.  If money is an issue then you have the option for payments or to just purchase one or more of the units individually (you, of course, get a discount for the whole bundle plus if paid in one lump sum).  She does have a refund policy so check it out and decide what is best for you.  I think you would really enjoy this fascinating subject and how math and science are just woven into the world around us.  She also has other classes available in addition to what is available in the bundle.

You can connect with NatureGlo's eScience on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, GOOGLE+, and YOUTUBE.

Please also take the time to check out the reviews from my fellow Crew members including some of the other classes.

MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle {NatureGlo's eScience Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Parenting Made Practical REVIEW

Dating and Courtship can be a controversial topic, but I was more than happy to be able to take a peek at Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate . . . What Works? by Parenting Made Practical.  I was so happy that it was biblically based and really what I needed at this time in my child's life.  I received the DVD teaching and the accompanying workbook.

There are always so many questions surrounding dating and courtship.  I was introduced to the courtship model many years ago and have wished it for my children.  However, like the DVD teaching states, what exactly does that mean?  What exactly is courting and what should it look like?  The DVD has two sessions on it. Session 1 is Developing Your Dating Philosophy and it runs 50 minutes.  Session 2 is How to Make It Work and it runs 58 minutes.  I was unable to watch the DVD on my laptop (mine's pretty old) but it ran just fine in the DVD player.

parenting made practical

The DVD is recommended for parents of children ages 9 and up.  Joey and Carla believe that parents should be prepared to train their children as early as 4th and 5th grade to navigate the field of relationships.  I know we often don't want to think about it that early, but our kids do.  At that age they are hardly mature enough to make sound decisions in the area of relationships.

In Session 1 the Links have some very interesting, and I feel sound, advice in the area of relationships.  They define what they feel the courtship model is and why it is flawed.  I have heard many versions of courtship so I think the way they define it is one way and based on that they suggest an interesting model of dating based on biblical principles that take into account 4 areas.  The 4 areas they discuss include mental, physical, spiritual, and social aspects of relationships.  They define and compare the difference between Cultural and Courtship Dating.  Their model shows how they are both out of balance and show a new perspective of balance in Friendship Dating.

Joey and Carla also discuss the 4 levels of relationships that lead to marriage.  These 4 levels include Potential, Possible, Probable, and Proposal. Each level includes each of the 4 areas of relationship and the depth of the relationship increases as your child and potential mate move through the 4 levels.  Of course, if things seem incompatible in the beginning it never progresses past the first level.  I also like how they stress that the plan is initiated by the couple rather than being dictated by the parents.  They explain very well that if you have an open, trusting relationship with your child that they will have the skills you trained them with (possibly with the teachings from this DVD) to make wise, God-honoring decisions in their relationship plan.  Another plus is that they stress that each "plan" is unique and customized to the couple and their personalities.  No plans will really ever look alike since there are so many variables within each relationship.

In Session 2 they go into MUCH more detail on how the model works.  They look at each of the four areas (mental, physical, spiritual, and  social) and discuss:
  • Goals
  • What Can Parents Do?
  • Suggestions for each of the four levels
    • Potential
    • Possible
    • Probable
    • Proposal
There is a lot of information in this session. They also discuss:
  • How Teens/Young Adults Know They are Attracted to Someone Enough to Date Him/Her
  • How Far Is Too Far?
  • How do you know when your young adult is ready to start a Friendship Dating Relationship?
  • How to Implement This Teaching
  • Why Do We Call this Friendship Dating?
The accompanying workbook follows both sessions of the DVD and has fill-in-the-blanks as you follow along.  There were a couple of discrepancies where the workbook did not match the DVD (omissions and a couple of typos) but all in all, it was very helpful and nice to have in writing to refer to and study.  There are also suggested books in each area for further research and reading.  Testimonies are also included at the end of the workbook.

I personally would recommend Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate . . . What Works?  Especially if you are already sold on the courtship model.  I really appreciate the scripture references throughout the teaching.  If you are even questioning how you are going to navigate dating and relationships with your children this is a very sound and informative option to consider.

I really like Joey and Carla's philosophy and I am interested in checking out more of their products.  Two others I would like to check out that the Crew is also reviewing are Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think and Why Can't I Get My Kids to Behave?

You can connect with Parenting Made Practical on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and PINTEREST.

Be sure to stop by and check out the other reviews on this product and several of their other products that the Crew had the opportunity to review.

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Garden Time

It seemed like winter would never end, but then, all of a sudden, here it is. . . spring is just around the corner!  The daffodils are blooming and the rhubarb is up.  The garden is still not ready for planting because we once again failed to prep it last fall.  Someday.  Someday it will get done in the fall the way it's supposed to.  But for now, we have prep to do.

Also, it doesn't help that our beds are falling apart and need to be redone.  We bought a new composite bed kit that is shaping up to be pretty nice.  It will take care of replacing about 7 beds once we buy a couple of extra boards and fittings.  It looks really nice so far.  We decided to join more beds together to limit aisle space that just seems to get weeded over no matter what we do.  We now have a 4' X 16' bed instead of three 4' X 5' beds.

Our garden has progressed and morphed from just tilled ground to mounded rows to square foot garden beds.  I think our most successful garden was when we did the mounds with ditches in between for rows, but I really do like the square foot gardens best and they have proven to be the most weed free.  It's so nice that when the beds are properly prepped that you get nice naturally tilled ground that is ready to plant in the spring.

Should already have some plants in the ground, but hopefully soon.  How's your garden prep and planting coming along?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

CursiveLogic REVIEW

Cursive Logic New Edition

My 8th-grade son is slightly dyslexic and severely dysgraphic.  I was very excited to have the chance to review the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and the Art of Cursive adult coloring book by CursiveLogic.  I received the Quick-Start Pack (which includes the workbook and 1-year access to the 48 minute webinar that teaches the technique and why it works), and the adult coloring book. You will need a free Vimeo account (if you don't already have one) to view the webinar.

My son has known how to write cursive since the 4th grade but his handwriting has always been less than desirable in print or cursive.  He has still never mastered spacing his letters and writing is so difficult for him.  We have done copy work since the 2nd grade but still, writing just doesn't come easily for him.  He has always had an excellent pencil grip but the connection from his brain to his fingers just doesn't flow.

sample of printed work before this program
Sample after working on the program for several weeks
(better spacing too!)
The CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack uses a technique that is unique and pretty effective.  It is a shape-based approach that uses four letter strings that share a common shape.  It uses a multisensory approach that uses color, movement, verbal, and auditory tools (it appeals to all learning styles).  The technique just makes sense to the students.  They learn how the letters flow and their brain is being trained the whole time without redundancy.  It effectively eliminates boredom which can happen with standard techniques that ask them to write the same letters over and over again.

Cursive Logic Sample Page 
2nd day on the program
The product is geared toward 8-year-olds but can easily work with younger children and even on up to adults.  There are posters you can purchase that are large and can easily be used with the younger crowd for tracing practice with a larger object.  The Art of Cursive adult coloring book works well for practice for older adults but is not intended to actually teach cursive writing to younger students.  It is geared for adults (to learn cursive or practice) and has the abbreviated version of the system at the beginning of the book.  I enjoyed coloring one of the pages and my son is also really excited about it.  He loves art and it is the perfect exercise for him to practice what he is learning with this program.

The Art of Cursive Logic
There are 10 lessons in the CursiveLogic workbook that have daily exercises so it is meant to be completed in 10 weeks.  Of course, the pace you use depends on your student and their grasp of the material.  Older kids can generally get through the lessons faster but in our case, we are sticking with the standard pace so as not to overwhelm his brain (it really does take a lot out of him to write and form the letters neatly).  Lessons 1-4 deal with learning the technique and the lowercase letters and Lessons 5-10 deal with uppercase letters.  Did you know that about 95% of the writing you do is done with lowercase letters?  I thought that was interesting and something I just never thought about before.

page I completed from Art of Cursive coloring book

work in progress in Art of Cursive book

project almost completed from Art of Cursive book

At this point, my son is enjoying the program and that is a big plus.  We have not completed the whole book as he is going through it slowly.  If you were to see what it takes for him to write you would understand.  I am excited that I do see progress and based on his newest handwriting sample above, I'd say it's working for him!

I also like how the book is spiral bound so that half the lessons are done using one side and then you flip the book over to write on the backside of the pages for the rest of the lessons.  It is made so that either left or right handed writers do not have any trouble or impediments to writing (no spiral or binding in the way of their hands or arms as they are trying to write).  As we have worked through the book I thought how awesome it would be to have the technique on write on wipe off pages and guess what?  Those pages are included in the back of the book!  What a great idea.

This program has been very well thought out and is very user-friendly.  Access to the 48-minute webinar is wonderful for giving you a grasp of what it is all about and the idea behind the technique.  You need a free Vimeo account to view it (If you don't already have one it takes you to the screen where you can easily sign up for a free account).  It walks you through the first lesson (1 week worth of work) and then explains how the book works and the flow of the rest of the lessons.  There are also some very interesting facts on how it works with your brain and why the technique is so effective.  I thought it was a very helpful and informative webinar and was grateful for the extra information.  

We give the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and the Art of Cursive adult coloring book two thumbs up.  I plan to also use this for my K5 daughter when she is ready  (I could use it with her now for early training, but we are working on some other skills right now).

To add to my excitement I have also been given the opportunity to offer my readers a special discount on the Quick-Start Pack until March 31.  Use the coupon code CREW2018 to receive a 20% discount on your purchase before the expiration date.

Cursive Logic New Edition March 2018 Discount

You can connect with CursiveLogic on FACEBOOK.

Be sure to also check out the other reviews of this curriculum below.  As always, thanks for your time and may your day be blessed!

The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wacky Wednesday ~The Ash Debacle

Um, yeah.  What can happen when 5 yr old decides to "cook" in her kitchen with ashes from the fireplace ash bucket.  Evidently a BIG MESS!  I have NO IDEA what caused her to do this.  She has never written on any walls or furniture or any other wacky thing.  But this.  She decided for some reason to play in the ash bucket.  It was a mess.  A horrid mess.  This too shall pass, right?  After clogging up the vacuum cleaner with the fine dust and using a second vacuum to clean that mess, I finally got it cleaned up.

It was everywhere and I still not only wonder why she did it but why was it EVERYWHERE??  One of those times you wish you had a surveillance camera on for sure!

What crazy things have you caught your kids doing?  Were you able to restore order in your situation?

My idea of regular posts 3 days a week is probably not gonna continue.  I think it ends up being too much with that plus my reviews so I think I will just do at least one regular post a week (perhaps on Fabulous Fridays) or maybe rotate them so just one a week posts.  Hoping the rest of your week is blessed.

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