Friday, December 4, 2015

Goodbye, See ya later, Farewell

However you say it it always means the same. Someone is leaving. Whether you see them again or not is the difference in the way you take the goodbye.

I am saying goodbye to the blog. Starting January 1st, 2016 NOW I will no longer be publishing any more post on here.

I started this blog as a way to keep up with our homeschooling, but as time went on I felt I was posting about the same things over and over and well, after a while that just gets boring. I loved getting to share our homeschooling journey with everyone that followed ( the few of you out there that actually followed along). I feel like what I wanted from this blog I never was able to gain and I am over it. I am done trying to come up with new post daily or weekly that don't resemble the post before it and try to catch the attention of more to gain more followers. Just not my thing.

I also never started this blog to make money. I am not one of those bloggers that set my sights on hoping this blog would earn me income in any way. That is just not what I wanted it to be about. Nor did I ever need it to be about income.

 I loved getting to do reviews from companies. However, it was hard just finding companies that wanted to work with such a small blog. They always wanted the bloggers that were bigger in numbers. My only problem with that is how does a small blog even get a chance to grow in numbers when no one is working with them? If one company worked with a small blog and posted about that small blogs review then more viewers would view the small blog and the small blog would gain numbers. Instead everything goes to the bigger, well known bloggers, giving them larger numbers than the smaller bloggers and yet again pushing them farther back. I don't have the time to compete against the bigger bloggers anymore. Bloggers who are just starting out are going to have a harder time getting their foot in the door competing to get product reviews when the companies don't want to work with the smaller ones. It really does remind me of how people complain about when people shop at the large retail stores instead of a small business. I feel like it is the same. These small bloggers are never going to be able to grow if no one supports them and no one works with them. Every time a small blogger gains numbers, even just 1 or 2 followers, the larger ones are gaining 100's and as a small blogger we just can't catch up.

People may think this is about being jealous of the larger bloggers... it isn't. I promise. Like I said, this blog was never made to make me any profit, but even posting I feel like I am constantly posting the same thing over and over and it even gets boring for me to try and write it out. When I read other blogs too I am seeing a pattern. I don't want to be apart of that pattern. I see bloggers posting an art craft and then another blogger posting the same one but having one thing different, then another posting the same craft but another part is different. Really? It is the same craft. So what if you use red for the apple and they used green. It is the same post, same craft, same art supplies. There is only so many ways of doing the same art craft the same way. Or posting about resources only to find 10 other bloggers have already posted that same post. It also seems like there are some bloggers who are required to post about a certain topic and you can read about the same topic on 5 different blogs but it is from their point of view, but after reading all 5 blogs they made the same point. Yeah. Like I said, I don't want to be part of the pattern.

For all the companies out there I have worked with. Thank you. Thank you for putting your trust in a small blogger and allowing me to share your products with my followers. I really love that you were willing to take a chance on a smaller blogger and show them some love by letting us do a product review for you! Thank you!

To all of my followers. Thank you for following us and our homeschooling journey. I love that I was able to share our journey with you these last 3 years.

Friday, November 13, 2015

GrapeVine Studies {Review}

Grapevine Studies Review
We were recently given the chance to review Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob from GrapeVine Studies

GrapeVine Studies is a bible study method for children and adults. For teachers, GrapeVine Studies helps them plan lessons easily, engage the students in the activities and lesson, and grow disciples. 
GrapeVine Studies uses hearing the message, stick figuring the passage and answering questions about the lessons to teach young children. It is also known as the Hear-Draw- Review Method. 
Grapevine Studies Review
GrapeVine Studies has lessons for students Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. There are also extra resources available on their website for parents if needed. 
Grapevine Studies Review
If you are not sure where to start on the GrapeVine Studies website, they have a great tool to help. You can also click on New? Start Here! Tab and find the right study for your children! 
Grapevine Studies Review
Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob is a fun children's bible study that teaches about the beginning of the Old Testament Timeline. Elementary ages students will use the book of Genesis to walk through the Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob book. In this book, children will learn about the Creation, the Flood, the building of the Tower of Babel and so much more. When the children are finished with this lesson they will be able to memorize bible verses and they will be able to draw the first part of the Old Testament Timeline. 

This book is 12 weekly lessons or 46 daily lesson book. 

The Student book includes: Lesson worksheets, timeline, memory verses and reviews. 
You can order Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob online HERE

You can order the ebook, which is downloadable and printable, for $12.50 

The teacher book can be ordered for $18.00 for the ebook or $22.50 for the paperback copy. The teacher book works for both level 1 & 2 so if you have children in both levels you don't have to worry about ordering more than one teacher book! 

What we thought of Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob:

Monster and I have not done a real bible study together. We usually do his Awanas book and leave it at that. Now that is he older I find that he is starting to ask more questions. I am glad we got this book to use to start really learning more about the bible. 

Once I got everything downloaded, printed off and hole punched, I put the student book and the teacher guide into two binders. That way we each had our own binder and we could find them easily. 
The teachers guide book is so easy to use. It is super easy to follow along in the teachers guide for each lesson. There are discussion topics, read aloud, and a spot that tells you what you will draw and what the student will draw. In the beginning of the teachers guide it tells you which supplies you will need for the lessons. One thing I found useful was having a pencil bag inside the binder with the supplies you need and then one in the students binder for supplies they need. 

In the Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob student book, each page is perfectly laid out. They are simple and not too busy. I like this so the page does not become too much for a child who can be easily distracted. Each lesson can be done daily or even weekly. Monster and I did each lesson on Tuesday and Thursdays. That way we could do one lesson a week but spread it out so we don't do it all in one day.The lesson don't take that long either. The review questions are at the end of each lesson. I would suggest having extra paper for this as their is not much room on each paper to answer each question depending on your childs handwriting. You could also use the back of the paper. We just put the extra paper with the answers in between each lesson. 

Monster and I both have enjoyed using the Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob student book and teacher guide. We look forward to continuing our studies with the next student book in the series in his level. Right now there are 8 studies in the level 2 age group. 

If you have younger children GrapeVine Studies also carries traceable workbooks for them to follow along as well! 

If you would like to find out more about GrapeVine Studies please find them on their social media accounts: 
Periscope: @GrapeVine Studies 

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Grapevine Studies Review
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Critical Thinking Co. {Review}

We were recently given the chance to review Surfing the Net Science (physical workbook) from The Critical Thinking Co. 

The Critical Thinking Co. was created by John Baker in 1958 under the name Midwest Publication. In 1976 the company changed names to Critical Thinking Press and Software. Then in 1997 the company once again changed names to Critical Thinking Books and Software. Finally, in November of 2003 The Critical Thinking Co. was adopted and used. The Critical Thinking Co.  now boost over 200 titles in Reading, Math, History, Science and Writing. 

The Critical Thinking Co. is a family owned and operated business. Michael Baker now operated the company. Michael is John Baker's son. 

The Critical Thinking Co. designs critical thinking into the Writing, Reading, Science, Math and History lessons to help student achieve higher academic results. 

The Critical Thinking Co.'s Mission Statement is:

"The Critical Thinking Co.™ is committed to developing students' critical thinking skills for better grades, higher test scores, and success in life. We do not teach through drill and memorization or teach to the tests—we empower the mind"

Surfing the Net Science from The Critical Thinking Co. teaches middle and upper elementary age Science to life! Surfing the Net Science uses free online Science resources. Surfing the Net Science teaches students to research information on the internet to help them learn that the internet can be used for information resources. Each activity can be either student led or teacher guided. Surfing the Net Science is recommended for grades 3-6th. 

The topics covered in Surfing the Net Science are:
-Ecosystems and Habitats

You can buy this book as a paperback for $24.99 or you can order this book as an ebook for $24.99 also. 

What we thought:

When we first got Surfing the Net Science from The Critical Thinking Co. we sat down and opened the book to look over it before starting it. One of the first few pages has the Overview and How to Use This Book. Monster and I reviewed this together. I wanted to make sure we both understood how to use this book. 

Another great tool in the first few pages is the Activity Layout. This area teaches you what each symbol means and how to use it in the book.  I found this to be a great resource for us to use as we went through the book. 

Monster and I have not done too much workbook type Science yet. He is really into hands on so I was a little worried about how he would take to this workbook. We started with the very first section and did most of the work as a team. This book is suggested for grades 3-6th. I think us working together helped him, but I would be afraid that some of the words might be too hard for a child working through this workbook on his own. 

Even though there is not much hands on using this book, there are activities online ( hence the name of the book!). There were times when Monster had to watch a video online or do some sort of activity. So you are not doing just a worksheet. We like that! 

One of my favorite activities Monster did was an online dissecting of a frog. This was in the very first lesson that we did.  He was totally grossed out with it, but we both loved that it was online and not really in person having to dissect a real one! 

Although I would of never thought to buy this book on my own, I am really glad we were introduced to this book. I really like being able to do this Science and use the internet for researching whatever we are studying. 

I would recommend this book to others if they are looking for a fun and interesting Science to use! 
If you would like to find out more about The Critical Thinking Co. please find them on their social media accounts:


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The Critical Thinking Company Review

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Ann McCallum Books, Eat Your Science {Review}

We were recently given the chance to review Eat Your Science: Recipes for Inquiring Minds from Ann McCallum Books.

Ann McCallum Books was create by Ann McCallum of Maryland. Ann McCallum grew up in British Columbia, Canada. There she taught in a one room school house. Ann McCallum then moved to Maryland where she taught Math. Ann also kept tabs on the rabbit population. Ann McCallum and her family also lived in United Arab Emirates for a couple of year. It was here where she started working on her first book: The Secret Life of Math. She then wrote two fairy tales and then her most recent Math inspired book: Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds. Ann McCallum currently resides in Maryland with her husband and two children. She is working on publishing a novel while working as a teacher and being a full time mom. 

Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds was written by Ann McCallum and illustrated by Leeza Hernandez. Eat Your Science Homework: Recipe for Inquiring Minds has you using the kitchen as your laboratory, using recipes as your experiments and using food as Science. How fun is that. Each experiment you make is edible!! 

Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds discusses The Scientific Method and Safety in the Lab. It then has six different recipes, which are your experiments, to try out. Each recipe is a Scientific theme:

-Atomic Popcorn Balls
-Density Dressing and Veggie Sticks
-Invisible Ink Snack Pockets
-Loop, Whorl, and Arch Cookies
- Sedimentary Pizza Lasagna
- Black Hole Swallow Ups

After your experiments there is a Science Review. You will also find a Glossary in the back of the book for Vocabulary words. 

Each topic starts off with a small lesson. There is even a teachers guide that you can download from the website to help your student follow along, plus there are some added in activities to go along with each lesson. 

If you would like to order Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds, you can do so by clicking HERE. There are two different covers you can choose from: Paperback ($7.95) or Hardcover ($16.95). 

We received a copy of Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds ( paperback). One of the very first things that I noticed was how colorful and child friendly Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds is. The colors are cheerfully colorful and the fun characters or pictures on each page make the book appealing and friendly. Each turn of the page is inviting for children. 

I really liked that the book started out going over the Scientific Method (we have not used it much lately so a fresh reminder was nice). Then I really was glad it included kitchen safety tips. Everyone knows their own child in the kitchen, but it never hurts to have a friendly reminder for those who are still learning the ropes of kitchen safety. 

The lessons are the perfect length. Monster is not one to focus on one subject for long periods of time. Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds does not take very long to complete each lesson. Making it the perfect book for Monster and I. We can get through a lesson without it turning into a meltdown! Plus with the experiments being all hands on, it keeps the children moving and involved! 

Monster and I have not been able to do all the recipes yet because... well he is a picky eater and there are just some I know he won't even His favorite so far though has been the Loop, Whorl and Arch Cookies. The recipe is simple enough too that he was able to follow the instructions on his own mostly to create his cookies! For children who enjoy hands on experiments Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds is a great tool for them to use! 

Check out Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds and other great books written by Ann McCallum on her website Ann McCallum Books.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Brinkman Adventures {Review}

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review
We were recently given the chance to review The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3 (physical CD's) from The Brinkman Adventures. 

The Brinkman Adventures was created one hot day in July by Ian Bultman. Ian was sitting alone in a hotel room reading his bible. Ian came across a verse in the bible Luke:8:16-18

"No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.  For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.  Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have."

After reading this verse, Ian decided that he needed to create a new radio station about missions and tell the real stories of real missionaries and their adventures. 

One of the neat things about this series is The Brinkman Adventures are based on true events with real life families. The names have been changed but each person plays themselves on the audio dramas. 

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

In The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3 you follow the Brinkman family as they adventure through the Taliban jail and terrorists to scary wolves and the cold weather! Every challenge will push these characters to the limits of their endurance and force them to face their deepest fears. Travel the world from Ecuador to Kashmir and from Africa to Alaska all while discovering Gods truth. 

The Brinkman Adventure: Season 3 set comes in a plastic case (just like a DVD case with a spot for each CD) and includes over 5 hours of quality family entertainment. There are 4 audio CD's with 12 action packed episodes. Each disk contains 3 episodes each. These episodes are:

Disc 1:
1. God's Mule
2. Mountain Mover
3. The Silent Ambassador

Disc 2:
4. Translating Trouble
5. Man-Up
6. Acorns & Oaks

Disc 3:
7. A Saint's Story pt.1
8. A Saint's Story pt.2
9. Untouched

Disc 4:
10. Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
11. Missionary Tourist pt.1 
12. Missionary Tourist pt. 2

If you go online to The Brinkman Adventure website you can even find more adventures, learn about the events in each story and go behind the scenes. You can also meet and communicate with the actual missionaries. 

What we thought:

Monster and I both are huge fans of audio drama's. We really enjoy getting to listen to the stories. 

Monster and I would listen to The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3 stories doing each story daily. We started with Disc 1, Episode 1 on Day 1 and went from there. Monster and I both found the stories to be very interesting to listen to each day and be able to discuss about the events that are going on in each story. Monster is getting to that age where at church they really begin to talk about Missionaries. Being able to listen to these CD's and hear what some of these missionaries experienced has been a great learning tool for Monster as well. 

I did notice on their website that they have a curriculum for season 1. I would really like to see a curriculum for each season to go along with them. These would be a great study tool. 
If you would like to order Season 1, 2, or 3... or all of them... you can do so HERE. They use a donation type payment. There is a suggested donation price but you can pay more or less depending on your budget. You can also order the physical CD's which comes with free shipping or you can order a downloaded audio. 

If you would like to find out more about The Brinkman Adventures please find them on their social media account:

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Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review
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Monday, November 2, 2015

Graphing Halloween Candy

The last couple of years we have not done trick or treating. Monster would never go up to scary houses, we always got way more candy than needed and we usually did a family thing instead.

Well this year Monster has neighbor friends for the first time that really wanted to go. So we created all 3 boys into Zombies at the last moment ( Party City was crazy hectic!) and took them out!

Again, we got way more candy than needed! Monster can't even have a lot of it due to it being either gummy or sticky. OR he doesn't like certain ones.

So this homeschool mom was on a quest to figure out what we could do with all the candy besides stuff our faces with it.

Then BAM! I had an idea. LETS GRAPH IT!!!! My husband thought I was crazy.

So this morning we ( Monster and I) sat down and started. Then I stopped and let him continue on his way because he was really getting into it and I did not want him to lose focus!

Looking through his candy. 

Starting off he put them in lines and counted out how many he had. Then he wrote the number on a sticky note to go next to it. 

All lined up !

I think Smarties won! He had 33 Smarties! 

Here he is all done! He was so proud! We then took some and made either adding problems or multiplication problems.  Like for instance: He had 13 packages of gobstoppers. There were 3 gobstoppers in each pack. How many gobstoppers are there all together? So he took 13x3 and came up with 39! We did problems for several different ones till he got bored with that. 

We then added up every number to see how many he had total. He counted in his head as we went down the line and I did it on paper to make sure he was doing it correctly. We both came to the same number... 234 pieces of candy! Too many! 

He then took what he wanted and was allowed to have and I put the rest in a bucket. He asked for one gobstopper and that was it. 

The rest is in his bucket... just sitting there... staring at me.... 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maestro Classics { Peter and the Wolf Review}

Maestro Classics Review
We were recently given the chance to review Peter and the Wolf ( physical CD ) from Maestro Classics
Maestro Classics began when a conductor, Stephen Simon, and an executive director of an orchestra, Bonnie Ward Simon, from the Kennedy Center had a son. Their son favorited books and music over toys. Maestro Classics began in 2004 in Washington, DC.

Maestro Classics Review
Peter and the Wolf is the story of a young boy named Peter who disobeys his grandfather and climbs over the garden wall. After climbing the garden wall Peter encounters a wolf. With the help of his friends-a duck, a cat and a bird- Peter is able to capture the wolf and take it to a zoo.
Included with the CD are:
  • A biography of the composer Sergei Prokofiev
  • The conductor letting you know what to listen for in the music 
  • A new recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra 
  • A bonus track that has just the music and no narration 
  • A Russian trio playing folk instruments
  • Dance along to the famous Russian folk melody
  • 24 page activity book
Another great feature is after you are done listening to Peter and the Wolf CD, there is a downloadable curriculum to go along with the music CD. The curriculum covers topics such as Math, Language Arts, History, Music, Art, Geography, and Science. 

What we thought:
Monster and I both opened up the Peter and the Wolf CD and checked it out. We started by flipping through the 24 page activity book. We found some fun activities in there such as matching the instrument with each animal that it is in the story. There is also a cute little dot to dot activity and a crack the code activity. Monsters favorite ones though were the word search and the crossword puzzles they included in the book. 

When we first listened to Peter and the Wolf CD I had Monster sit on the couch and listen to whole thing while doing nothing else. I wanted him to focus just on the story and listen to how the instruments made the story. Monster really enjoyed just sitting and listening to the story and the music. He told me it was fun trying to create the pictures in his mind and it was exciting when you could tell what was happening with the sounds of the music. 

After letting him listen to it that way, I then kept the Peter and the Wolf CD in the player and let him listen to it at random. I also would play it when we needed it to be calmer in the house. Monster does well with listening to music also while working. This CD is great for that because the music is fun yet relaxing too. 

Monster has really enjoyed the Peter and the Wolf CD and is already asking for others! 

Right now Maestro Classics has 12 CDs to choose from:
  • Peter and the Wolf
  • The Nutcracker
  • Casey at Bat
  • The Story of Swan Lake
  • Carnival of Animals
  • The Solider's Tale 
  • The Sorcerers Apprentice
  • Merry Pranks of Master Hill
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music
  • Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
  • Juanita La Langosta Espanola
You can buy each CD for $16.98 or you can buy the box set which includes all 12 CDs for $150 ( this is actually a sale price right now!) 

If you would like to find out more about Maestro Classics, please find them on their social media accounts:

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Maestro Classics Review

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