Tuesday, February 28, 2017

By The Way Book Series ~ A Review

By the Way Book Series offers a collection of children's books with biblical values. My 10 year old daughter enjoyed reading Florida's Teasure Coast ~ Here We Come!. This hardcover 48 page book is geared for children ages 5-12. Your child will follow Alex and Lexi as they explore Treasure Coast with their grandparents. 

These books are:

  1. Informative by putting the WOW into learning.
  2. Integrated by showing how science, geography, and history are integrated into the story.
  3. Intentional by presenting the material with scripture included in order to train and teach. 
  4. Inspirational by focusing on God as creator and designer of all creation. 
"The sea is His, and He made it, and His hand formed the dry land. O come, let us worship
and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker."
Psalm 95:5

In addition to the book you can purchase these supplemental products to go along with the book study.

The book begins by engaging your child in trying out their sleuthing skills.

Your child will learn about:
  • Palm Trees
  • Beach Combing
  • Sand
  • Birds
  • Geography
  • Ocean
  • Ocean Mammals
  • Ocean dwellers
  • Historical ship wrecks
  • Pirates
  • Indians
  • Historical figures
  • Insects and bugs
  • Tides
  • Geocaching
  • Alligators
  • Flowers
  • Land animals 
My 10 year old daughter LOVES animals! She was so very excited when this book arrived. She sat down in one sitting and read through the entire book. Many of the things she read she already knew about but there were so many new things that she learned. She liked that the book incorporated so many topics besides just animals. Often I would hear her saying, "Hey mom did you know.....". I learned some very interesting things too. I did not know that the US Navy uses dolphins to sniff out hard-to-detect explosives. Or, did you know that Sanderlings are hatched in the high Arctic, then travel 3,000 to get to Florida and never touch down until they arrive. 

My daughter said, "Mom can you please get me the rest of these books. I really need them! I loved learning about all of the animals. I cannot choose a favorite animal or part of the book. I learned some very interesting stuff."

My younger daughter, who doesn't particularity enjoy reading, had fun looking at the pictures and reading parts of the book that interested her. 

She said, "I liked the colorful pictures. There were too many words to read the whole book so I read the words in color or the words in boxes. I liked that Bible verses were in the book."

Your child will learn why this part of Florida is called the "Treasure Coast." Aye, you will have to read the book to get this nugget of gold. 

There are other book in this series and several that are in the works. In addition the books below, books on Ireland, New York City, Idaho, and Indiana will be coming out later in 2017. I think the next book that I would be interested in getting would be Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!

Overall I was very pleased with this book. It was full of educational insights, breathtaking photography, and a fun storyline. I would definitely recommend these books to others. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Math Mammoth ~ A Review

The Light Blue Series from Math Mammoth is an affordable math curriculum for grades 1-7. My 3rd grader has been working through the Math Mammoth Grade 3 Complete Curriculum. For the purpose of this review I received the downloadable version of the curriculum. There are several option for purchasing Math Mammoth Light Blue Series. You can purchase the curriculum via download, physical workbooks, or on CD. All options are extremely affordable.

The Grade 3 download version includes:

  • two worktexts (A and B)
  • answer keys
  • tests
  • cumulative reviews
  • worksheet maker
  • soft-pak
This is a complete curriculum. Grade 3 is such a pivotal transition grade for students. In third grade they are learning multiplication and division, more complex addition and subtraction, fractions, basic geometry, and so much more. I can still remember back to my 3rd grade year in school. As my daughter worked through Math Mammoth I was pleased with how well concepts were explained, both in words and pictures. The worktexts are colorful, yet not overly distracting. 

Our experience with Math Mammoth has been extremely positive. My 3rd graders least favorite subject is MATH. My daughter is quick to share how much she doesn't like math. At first she was not excited about yet ANOTHER kind of math. I will be completely honest, at first she shed tears. It was new and different. That bundled with the fact that math isn't her favorite subject got us off to a rocky start. Fast forward to day 4 when I was shocked at my daughter's comment, "Mommy, I finished my two pages. Do you want me to go ahead and do some more." Yes, she seriously asked to do more than I had asked her to do. 

My daughter liked that there were not too many problems. Each chapter is broken down into subtopics that are about 3-4 pages in length. At the end of each chapter is a cumulative review. Here is an example from Worktext A entitled, Mental Subtraction with Three-Digit Numbers. The lesson is well explained, not too busy, colorful but not too distracting, and just enough problems to ensure that the student gets what is being taught. 

To make it more fun I let my daughter pick out a three ring binder to put her Math Mammoth Worktext in. We have a really good color laser printer at home so I was able to print the worktext myself. I opted to print the pages front and back so that the worktext didn't seem SO BIG. Kids, at least mine, are turned off by thick workbooks or books. I opted to us my computer to access the Answer Key. This helped save on the cost of printing. 

My daughter used some manipulatives that we already owned. The manipulatives do not come with the curriculum. My daughter benefits from visually touching and seeing what is being shown on paper. 

If you are not sure about where your child should start within the Math Mammoth curriculum they have you covered. Math Mammoth has placement tests to help determine exactly where your child needs to start. Math Mammoth not only offers complete curriculums but they also offer supplemental material, topical units, worksheets, and so much more. They also offer an International Version. And my daughter's favorite, the mammoth mascot! Mathy the Mammoth Math Mascot can be purchased on Amazon. My daughter LOVES stuffed animals and what kid wouldn't love to have a stuffed animal to help them on their Math Mammoth journey. *Disclaimer - This stuffed mammal is not a Math Mammoth product. It is only a fun, suggested purchase to fit their mammoth theme.

Math Mammoth makes grading your students tests easy with test point suggestion pages.

Overall, I would be very apt to recommend this curriculum to others. If I had to give three reasons why I liked the curriculum I would say it is affordable, easy to follow, and a kid-friendly complete curriculum.

To read more reviews click here.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Home School in the Woods ~ A Review

My grade school kiddos had the opportunity to work through HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation from Home School in the Woods. This hands-on project and activity history study includes 25 stops where your child will learn about the era of study selected. The target grades for these studies are 3rd-8th grade. These World History Studies can be purchased via download for $33.95 or on CD for $34.95. 

My 3rd and 5th grade kiddos enjoyed learning about inventions, art, music, event, people and so much more while studying the Renaissance & Reformation. Some of the fun ways that your child will learn about the era of study are through:
  • reading
  • videos
  • music
  • art projects
  • hands-on activities
  • cooking and baking
  • making timelines 
For more in depth information on the Renaissance & Reformation Study you can read the full Scope and Sequence. I will mention that you will need access to a good color printer. You will be printing out a LARGE amount of pages which include text, projects, and colored pictures and graphics.

Along the way your child will visit Renaissance Italy and Florence. They will be exposed to famous artists of the era such as Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Raffaello. They will learn about historical figures such as Martin Luther, John Cabot, John Wycliffe, and Henry the VIII. Students will be introduced to composers of the time such as Giovanni. 

Students will explore:
  • Everyday Life in the Renaissance
  • History of Renaissance Art & Music
  • Literature and Drama of the Renaissance
  • Scientific Inventions and Exploration during the Renaissance
  • Religion of the Renaissance
  • Language
  • Geography

Each stop has a written text to accompany what will be learned during the stop. This text gives the student an overview and important detail. For instance, on Stop 2, students are introduced to Italian City-States and how this replaced feudalism. They will be introduced to Leonadro da Vinci. Did you know that da Vinci was more than an artist? He was a draftsman, sculptor, architect, scientist, mathematician, cartographer, inventor, and engineer. He was dubbed the "Renaissance Man" because the spirit of the Renaissance was evident in much of what he accomplished during his life.

Home School in the Woods does a fabulous job at laying out each and every detail to make teaching and learning fun. There are extra resources available to aid in getting the most out of the study. A list of supplies is included. 

Included on each Travel Itinerary are icons that will tell you what kind of projects or activities you will be doing.

Both of my kiddos loved this Project Passport Study. Neither of them have really been interested in learning history. Well, that was until they started this. They both loved making the lapbooks. They enjoyed trying their hand at painting. I was quite surprised by how much they took away from this study. Many times throughout our stops they wanted to learn more about certain people or events. We purchased some great books and visited some interesting websites to learn more. 

My 3rd grader said, "I liked that this was not boring history. I learned so much about people like Michelangelo, King Henry, and why this time in history was so important. I really like making lapbooks. It was fun painting too."

My 5th grader said, "If I have to learn history this is most definitely how I want to learn it. I find the Renaissance to be fascinating. I learned so much and it was actually a lot of fun. I liked all of the hands on activities. My dad was very surprised at the things that I was learning and telling him about. I would have liked to have worked on this every day but my mom didn't have the time to let me do it everyday. I give this curriculum 5 stars." 

Home School in the Woods newest Project Passport Study is Ancient Greece. Coming in 2018 will be  a Study on Ancient Rome.

Overall, I really enjoyed this curriculum. It definitely isn't for everyone. It is more time consuming that your traditional textbook/workbook way of learning. With that said, it is worth the extra time that a hands-on curriculum requires. At the end of this study your students will have a wonderful working knowledge of the Renaissance & Reformation. I had such a fun time teaching my kiddos. I would highly recommend it to other educators and homeschoolers. The price is very affordable which is a plus. 

To read more reviews click here.

Here is a great overview video that explains how the Project Passport Studies work. For those visual learners this may be good to watch.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What's For Dinner?

Egg Bread

4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs

Microwave the water, milk and butter until warm but not too hot. 
If it is too hot it will kill the yeast. 
Using my Kitchen Aid mixer I combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. 
Add in the water, milk, and melted butter mixture. 
Add in the eggs. 
Mix until well kneaded. 

Let rise. 
Divide the bread into 3 equal parts and form into long strips. 
Braid the strips.

Let rise again.
Bake at 350 degrees until done.


1 can kidney beans
1 can chili beans
1 can great northern beans
3 cans Red Gold Diced Tomatoes w/Chili Ready & Onions
1 onion chopped up
1 bell pepper chopped up
1/4 cup canned jalapeños 
1 cup water
1 lb hamburger (mine was still frozen)

All ingredients can be thrown into the crockpot.
Hamburger meat can be frozen or raw.
Set the crockpot on low for 16 hours.
Turn to the Keep Warm setting and enjoy yummy chili throughout the day!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lamplighter Publishers

I have found a new love!! We are big readers in our house. Recently I had the opportunity to read a couple of books from the Lamplighter Rare Collector Series and absolutely fell in love. Lamplighter Publishers have reproduced rare books from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries into a collection called the Lamplighter Collection. These books are true treasures that the whole family can enjoy. 

One of the books that we read was Little Threads by Elizabeth Prentiss. Elizabeth uses the illustration of fine satin and how one single thread can ruin the whole piece. She uses tanged thread, golden thread, and silver thread to identify her characters. Little Threads tells the story of the very different lives of two girls, one who comes from a wealthy family and the other who lives in poverty. Little Tangled Thread lives a comfortable, privileged life but she is difficult, unruly, hot-tempered, and disrespectful. She takes pride in her naughty disposition. Her poor mother prays to God to change the heart of Little Tangled Thread. Then we meet Little Golden Thread. She comes from a broken home and has very little. Despite her circumstances, Little Golden Thread is cheerful, kind, thoughtful, and thankful. Tragedy befalls Little Golden Thread and her mother. Whilst working her mother is nearly blinded which leads Little Golden Thead and her mother more destitute than they already were. Golden Threads mother is oh so grateful for her loving and obedient child. This is when the lives of Little Tangled Thread and Little Golden Thread unite for a sweet and heartwarming happening of events. 

Elizabeth Prentiss intended this book to serve as a tool for children to learn obedience. Elizabeth said this about Little Threads, "It is an amusing book, but may it also accomplish much good for generations to come."

Some of the wonderful gems in the Lamplighter Collection are:

  • Amy and Her Brothers
  • Basil; Or, Honesty and Industry
  • Basket of Flowers
  • The Battle
  • The Birds Nest
  • The Captive
  • Fire in the Sky
  • The Giant Killer
  • Helen's Temper and the Consequences
  • The Inheritance 
I absolutely love their Mission Statement. They also have a Dramatic Audio Series

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Times Tables The Fun Way ~ A Review

My 3rd grader had the opportunity to work on her multiplication facts using Times Alive from Times Tables the Fun Way. Using online lessons with animated songs and stories to learn times tables the fun way your child will be on their way to mastering their multiplication facts. Times Alive is an animated, online digital program for both MAC and PC that is purchased on a monthly subscription basis. 

Through live stories, coloring, music, games, and quizzes your child can tackle the DREADED multiplication facts without time and tears. This program teaches the 0-9 multiplication facts. Times Alive tracks your students progress. Your child will start by taking the Pre-Test Nuts and Bolts in order to see exactly where your child is at in their multiplication memorization process. 

The Times Alive Lesson List breaks down each lesson and lets you and your student know what type of learning will be utilized such as a movie, song, painting, quiz, or test. At any time along the way you can click on the red Student Progress Report to see how your child is doing. 

 Times Alive truly makes learning multiplication facts fun!! Your child will be engaged all along the way. My daughter actually forgot that she was working to learn. The songs and stories truly stick in their minds and help them recall their facts. Activities reinforce using fun and engaging activities. 

My daughter said, "I really do not like math. It is my hardest subject. Learning my multiplication facts with Times Alive has been fun. The songs and stories really do help your remember. My favorite part was the stories and coloring."

Overall, I would say that this program is brilliant. Learning does not have to be boring and stale. I am sure that we can all remember back to when we were learning our multiplication facts. I know I can. It was full of tears, anxiety, flashcards, and lots of quizzes. Times Tables The Fun Way brings joy to learning. 

To read more reviews click HERE

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Confetti Eggs