I recently got some of the cutest action figures for the kids to play with from Schleich. I got a variety of animal figures (including this pig) and they are great. They are made out of a nice rigid plastic. This really means 2 things in this house. They are too hard to let the 20 month old to play with but they are firm and strong so the kids can’t break them but can play a lot. My 3 older kids love to sit and play with them all as a big group and what mom doesn’t want to see that? You can get these figures in many places including Target and, my favorite, Amazon. So go get some of these great figures!
My kids love it when I get to review a toy so you can imagine their delight when I received One2Belive’s Noah’s Ark Set. They quickly volunteered to play with it and let me know what they thought (How unselfish of them;). Some of you may remember my enthusiastic review of their Nativity Set last year, well the Noah’s Ark Set was just as good. Like the Nativity Set, this was made well and has enough pieces that all the kids can play together with it (always a winner).
Even as I was handing out the animals the fun began. I had to remind them to come back to ma and get the rest of the pieces;). Of course my type A kids did ask about Mrs. Noah but they quickly got over it. They also loved putting the plank on the boat and taking it off and just playing with angles, etc. So that was its own educational toy.
The only disappointment my kids had with the set was that the boat didn’t open up. But that disappointment left when they realized that the reason it doesn’t open is because its, wait for it, a water toy!!!
We loved this set and highly recommend it for your children or as a gift for a child you love!
I recently received Five in a Row: Volume 3 to review. I have been hearing how great this program is for years but me and my hard earned dollar are hard parted;).
For those of you who don’t know, I have kids 7-1 and love trying to find things that we can all learn from together. This is one of those things. It is designed for ages 4-8 and is a step by step guide into a well rounded education based on real books. The theory is that you read 1 simple book a week and go through the accompanying material but you could take longer if you want. It is very flexible and really does a great job of touching on various areas (such as math, geography, etc). It fits well into that reading time every day. Then we just discuss all the subject material through the next couple of days. You can tune it to whatever level your kids are at. For example, each unit is based on a book and has a vocabulary list. This list is well beyond my 3 year old preschooler but is great for my kindergartner and my 2nd grader. So I can just dump those words into a make your own crossword website. It also touches on geography, social studies, math, and science that you can tune to each child in your family. We wouldn’t use it for a complete curriculum for our older kids but it is great enrichment for them. I think it is more than enough for any preschooler. So go check out Five on a Row and let me know what you think!
I recently had the opportunity to review a couple of videos from The Math Tutor. I have to say that I am not a fan of these. I tutored math for years and I was looking forward to videos but they just didn’t hit the spot with me. The math seems solid but they are boring. If you have a student who has never dealt with the subject matter and you are looking for a teacher, they might do. But if you have a kid whose is already having an issue, these will bore the student and cause them to tune out. They have many dvds in various areas of math. I could totally be off but that is my opinion.
A plus, I may have been inspired to create my own videos!
Over the past few months I have been given the opportunity to review Terri Johnson’s (of Knowledge Quest fame) Homeschooling ABC’s course. This is designed to go step by step through all the areas of homeschooling to give you direction and ideas on how to conquer this grand challenge. This is class goes through step by step with advice and wisdom on how to start and how to approach each are of homeschooling. This is a weekly e-course that even comes with free goodies. The price is $10 a month for 6 months and you get $250 worth of curriculum over this time.
Personally, I don’t know if I would use it because I have been reading about homeschooling for years. I would also not use Lesson A just because it is very generic about filing paper work and I would talk to someone in your state. I can say that I don’t feel her recommendations fits with California. Her other lessons seem very pertinent to the challenges facing homeschoolers and the many questions we all have. So go check it out. It even has a 60 day guarantee!
Logic and critical thinking is the true cornerstone of all learning. I truly believe it. That is why I have always looked longingly at the Critical Thinking catalog when it cam in the mail. So you can just imagine how thrilled I was when I received Building Thinking Skills for 2nd-3rd grade.
Right of we got our second grader, NerdBug, on it. This is a 2 year book and for $29.99 it is a great deal. It gets kids right in to describing shapes because observation and description is the basis for critical thinking. Then it gets into similarities and differences. Then you are onto figural sequences and figural classifications. Then everyone’s favorite, analogies. Then they look at the verbal side of these steps.
The NerdBug loves it because it is a puzzle. How much can you notice? Can you figure out what the instructions should be? Can you make clear instructions? It was hilarious when my 2nd grade brought me his book and said, “Can you follow my instructions?”.
I love watching his logic develop. Now when he sees things he describes them so clearly. He understands comparisions so much more. It is great. I am planning on getting this core for my preschooler and my kindergartner also! This is great!! I highly recommend it.
I recently had the opportunity to use some of the WriteShop’s Story Builders and they are a great tool! I got the People set and the Christmas set. Basically they are e-books that have printable cards in them. Then you deal out a few cards to your kid (type of person, place, activity) and they use it as a base for quickly writing a story. The books contain ideas of how to use the cards and everything you need to use their program.
I really thought that while I like these I thought they would be a waste of money. Because in all honesty you could do these yourself. Then I saw the price. Right now the Christmas set is only $3.95 and the World of People set is only $7.95. Now for the time it saves (one has 96 cards set up both in color and black/white) and the ideas they give you, theses are well worth the money.
So go check out these incremental writing tools because we here will be using them for a long time!
Those of you who read my blog may remember my love affair with All About Spelling. Well, they have created another obsession for me called All About Homophones. I received the e-book to review and I must confess that I was disappointed to not get the paper book. But my disappointment was quickly gone as soon as I opened the file. This book is full of awesome tools, ideas, worksheets, games and more!
I love the ideas they have for graphic organizers that your students can build their own collections of homophones. Also they have various worksheets and crosswords broke out by grade levels. This is where the e-book becomes extra handy. I can print out as many as I need for each kid and they are perfect (this is versus a photocopy out of the book). There are also various card games that you can just print onto cardstock. Then if the cards get bent or otherwise destroyed just print them again.
I love homophones because it really helps the kids to learn how to use context and logic in order to decipher the proper meaning of the word. So I am thrilled to say that I love this resource for teaching homophones from kids in kindergarten all the way to 8th grade!
We recently received the Nana Star doll and book to review and the NerdPie loved it! This soft doll is just precious and comes with her star and the twig he sits on. The book is sweet and well illustrated. The only bad thing that could be said is that is was a bit short. But it is so sweet and also comes with a cd. This is that perfect grandparent gift because NerdPie will have this doll and book for years! They also have a Moonman for boys and it is also very cute!
So go check it out!
I got the opportunity to try out the KinderBach program with my kids and I LOVE it! For $86 you get a year’s access to over 300 lesson aimed at teaching music to kids 2-7! For us this came at a perfect time because we had just gotten a piano. I was contemplating getting the 7 year old into piano lessons and then planned on trying to use that information with the rest of the kids. So when I priced out lessons I was looking at $40-$50 a month and everyone said the other kids were to young to learn yet. Well, this program is so entertaining and engaging that all the kids really plugged in. KinderBach uses games, songs and even coloring sheets to really draw kids into music and what composes it. This maybe the group birthday present for the NerdFamily kids this year, I loved it that much!
Cute story: After just the first set of lessons we took the 3 year old into the church service that Sunday. A friend of the family was playing the piano during the offeratory and Nerdling started getting so excited. I wispered in his ear asking him if he was excited to see Aaron the stage. He said, “No mom, Aaron is playing notes on that piano to make up the song”. That is when I knew he was getting it!