Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Old Schoolhouse Black Friday Sale!!

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is having an amazing sale on subscriptions during their annual Black Friday Sale November 26 – 30. For those 5 days only, they are drastically reducing their one-year subscription price to $7.95! That's the price you would usually pay for just one issue at a bookstore!

This is their lowest price ever on the magazine and they want all of you to take advantage of this offer and share the info with your friends.

Please don't miss out. Your one-year subscription will pay for itself time and time again as you receive practical tips and Biblical encouragement to keep going strong in your commitment to homeschooling and to the Lord. Since it's a quarterly magazine, they even have a monthly subscriber's only E-Newsletter called Teacher's Toolbox that will give you seasonal teaching ideas and a free E-Book download! It's like joining a unit study of the month club! The free E-Books alone are valued at almost $250/year. It's really perfect for people who are homeschooling on a shoestring or just wanting to add in some little extras to your teaching.

Plus during the Black Friday Sale, they have all kind of bonus gifts when you spend $50, $75, $100, or $150. Some are electronic downloads that you can download immediately, while other are physical products mailed from various vendors directly to your home.

AND, their Win Big contest is going on so if you just happen to be customer 67,000, you will receive a prize package valued at almost $500 which includes a $150 gift certificate to the Schoolhouse Store! Who couldn't use that? And you can qualify to win it no matter how much or how little you spend!

Mark your calendars for November 26 - 30th and do a little shopping from your seat, not your feet at the Schoolhouse Store's Black Friday Sale!

Homeschooling ABCs

I was privileged to have reviewed this product because I learned so much for it! These are one of those products that I wished I had when I first got started. This is a 26 week course geared toward new homeschoolers to help mentor you while you get started homeschooling. This is a great coarse, also, for those who have lost their focus and need help getting on track or just want to learn more about how others homeschool.

Each lesson is sent weekly for 26 weeks following the letters of the alphabet…

A-Quick Start
B-For Basics
C-opy the Classroom – NOT!
D-are to differentiate
E-Establish your philosophy

If you are looking to learn how to copy school at home, look elsewhere! The first lesson helps you from day one when you first take your child out of school and gives you help each week as you implement your homeschool. From planning your day, to choosing your homeschool style, to picking homeschool resources, it is like having someone holding your hand through the process.

I was impressed with the scope and depth of each week’s lesson. I read almost every book out there when I began and I still learned so much more from these lessons. There were several ideas that I implemented after reading them that our family has enjoyed.

The course includes 10 bonus gifts and over $250 in curriculum. The best thing is that you can’t go wrong as it comes with 100% money back guarantee!

And Then Mama Said . . . It Takes Time to Learn to Read

We had the opportunity to preview an ebook copy of this book. The Old Schoolhouse Store sells a softbound version of the book on it website which includes a bonus activity guide.

This is a story of a frog that is questions his ability to learn to read, while his mom wisely encourages him to press on. This story touched my heart because I have a reluctant reader. I read this to my three youngest which included my 7 year old reluctant reader. I was pleasantly surprised after reading it how much it encouraged ME to relax about this child not reading well, yet. It was a great reminder that children have different abilities and learn at different rates. The children thoroughly enjoyed it as well and immediately asked me to print out the book! They were excited too about the book’s ending, but you will have to read it yourself to find out!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Heart of the Matter Meme: Unique?

I have not been able to keep up with any "memes" lately but wanted to do one on this topic. It just sounded fun!

The Things That Make Our Family Unique. What experiences do you have that you can share with other mothers?

I actually don't find my family overly unique. But from the perspective that all people are uniquely created by God for a purpose - that makes us unique.

1- I was born in NYC. I have always lived in New York state (although we have considered moving from here several times!)

Here is a picture of me (on the right) with my best friend in elementary school.

Posted by Picasa

2- My dad was a policeman.

3- I am a Registered Nurse by trade, homeschool SAHM mom by choice.

4- I have been married to my husband for 17 years. Even though we have gone through some tough times - God is always faithful.

(I wanted to add my wedding photo, but I don't have one handy!)

5- My children have always been homeschooled. My oldest is 17.

6- I had three babies in 2 years 12 days (all single births.)

7- We have let the Lord plan our family and we "only" have 5 children. Breaking the myth that if you don't use birth control you will have "upteen" children. Just not so in my case. I am perfectly at peace with the size of our family, although I would love more children. I have thought someday I would love to adopt if God so allows.

8- I have a child with a life threatening illness that almost died at age 9. God is merciful and gracious and she is alive today (15 years old.) She is a tremendous blessing to our family.

9- We used to own donkeys. That is how I found out horses are better.

10- We raised ducks one year and hence the title of this blog. I started a blog and needed a title quick so that is what first came to my mind. The name has kept.

11- We have a dairy cow that we get our milk from.

12- We have 5 chickens and a rooster.

13- I just love beaches! I would love to live near water.

14- I love to cook and read recipe books.

Wow, I could go on (I am a leader of a homeschool group and a community bible study for women, I love attending homeschool conventions, and browsing at bookstores, for instance) but I will stop for now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Missing Link FOUND

The Missing Link FOUND by Christina and Felice Gerwitz

This book written by homeschooler Christina Gerwitz with help from her mom Felice. This Christian creation adventure mystery is the first in a series called: Truth Seekers Mystery SeriesTM

Read and loved by my three oldest children (17 y/o boy,15 y/o girl, and 8 y/o boy). The story weaves creation topics, such as: archeology, creation verses evolution, and carbon 14 dating, into a fictional account of Christian and Anna and their adventures solving the "missing link."

My children stated the story was mostly believable and did have a couple parts where they made poor choices, one of which they got away with an act of disobedience. Once they got into the book they had a hard time putting it down so they could find out what happened next. There is some action suspense, but we found nothing scary. There is a lot of talking back and forth (quotations), which my children said made it more interesting. It was not hard to follow along but might make this book a difficult read aloud.

A summary on the back of the book:
"…While on vacation in the Keys, a devious plot unfolds, and the Murphys find themselves in the middle of a full-speed boat chase and encounter with the FBI. Their vacation plans are then cut short by the arrival of a cryptic message from Dr. Murphy’s brother, requesting his immediate presence at an anthropological dig along the Peace River. What Dr. Murphy, Christian, and Anna find there is anything put peaceful!"

"…The Missing Link has been discovered, finally providing evidence for the theory of Evolution. But what about the Bible? Didn’t God create the world as recorded in Genesis? In addition, is there a connection between their adventure on the high seas and their discoveries at the dig site? Join the Murphys as they are faced with danger and a race against time in search for the truth."

This series was "dreamed up" by the author Christina Gerwitz when she was 12. Her wish was to publish the books and as a motivated homeschooler convinced her mom she was serious. I commend the large undertaking and diligence in following through to the completed project. I hope this project is just a starting point for her writing career.

You can purchase this book directly from: Media Angels
Right now they are offering the set for $22 for Christmas.
Also available is a study guide to go along with the book which was not reviewed.


HELPME2TEACH is a online subscription based directory of online resources. Started by a teacher of over 40 years as a tool for educators to provide a total curriculum or to supplement existing curriculum. HELPME2TEACH is intended for all types of educators, classroom, homeschools, and parents of grades Pre-K to High School. The sites have all be added and checked by the author. The author claims over 2300 websites and she is continually adding more. Also, Because the information is copywritten you many not copy or print the list of websites.

Subscriptions are available at 1 month for $9.95, 3 months for $15.95, or 1 year for $29.95. They are running a special until December. If you subscribe for one year and enter code: TOS you can get a year free.

When you enter the site and login you are immediately told that saving or printing are disabled. You have the option of searching the site or choosing from a list of topics in the table of contents.

Topics are broken down by topics then subtopics. For example:
02-01. Animal tracks
02-03 Anthropods
They go on to list a total of 9 subtopics for animals.
03. Arts and Crafts
03-01. Art activities
03-02 Art Appreciation
And so on…

Other topics include Character, Computers, Health and Safety, Language Arts, Lapbooking and Notebooking, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, etc.

A new topic that they added since I joined is the Bible Study and Christian Links. The subtopic for that one is Creation. After several TOS Crew reviewers commented that they had little in the form of Christian sites, the author listened and added many Christian websites.

Doing a general search with the sites search engine for "frogs" yielded me 9 links. Putting in frog I got 4 links (2 new ones). They included links to coloring pages, frog dissection, audios of frogs, detailed websites about frogs and amphibians, and rain forests to name a few.

The search results are then given a letter for grade levels: P is for primary; E is for Elementary; S is for Secondary; T is for Teacher.

This site is excellent for:
1-The person just beginning homeschooling / teaching and looking for a place to start.
2-Someone who is new to computers and the Internet.
3-A busy mom with little time on her hands who wants to get right to the meat and not have to sift through hundreds of sites to find the more educational ones.
4-Someone looking to use the Internet for a majority of curriculum – most of the work is done for you!

The websites I found I felt were the best of the best that would take me a long time to find if I was searching myself. I enjoyed the helpful teacher directed sites listed and am glad they added notebooking and lapbooking to the list. The author is continually adding and updating the site, so it never goes out of date. The website is checked frequently for dead links – manually and with a computer program.

Just as I completed my review I found out that HELPME2TEACH is offering a free month trial. You will need to go to The Old Schoolhouse Freebie directory to find out more:

Click Here To Visit

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time 4 Learning - Getting Started Review

I am just starting the review process for Time4Learning and like to share with you a little about how we are progressing with the program as we go through the month.

The first thing we did was register each child. For the lower level (grade 3 and down) we had to answer a few questions about the child's abilities in language arts and math. I have one upper level (4th grade through 8th) that I was able to place on her grade level. (Which I can change later if need be.) I also made up passwords for each child at this time. The program also runs a quick check to make sure you have everything installed for the program to work properly and make sure there are no security issues.

While waiting to receive our account set up confirmation (less then 24 hours) I was able to explore the Getting Started Guide and Hints and Help section. The program is not that difficult to figure out, but knowing that this info was available was helpful. The three areas I found to be important to parents was: the parent login page (to access account information, among other things,) the child's back pack on the student launch page (to see grades and progress), and by clicking the parent button on the "Lesson Time" page (to set time limits, etc).

Shortly after setting up our accounts, I received an email stating we were ready to go. Each child logged in on the lower and upper login pages, depending on their level. Logging in takes you the the student launch page. You can see a sample here.

There are suggestions on how to proceed through program, such as how much to do each day on the getting started guide page. You can preview the lessons before hand if you would like and you always have the option of skipping a lesson.
There is also a parent forum / message boards, but I have not taken much time there. This is a great place to connect with other parents using the program and ask your questions. You can even ask questions about the program / website before signing up.

My children are essentially computer illiterate so I have been sitting between two computers as they work two at a time. My 6 year old tends to push buttons off the page so I have used F11 button to make it full screen for him. My boys do tend to watch each other and just click away rather then check the correct answer. I have made them redo lessons when they score less then 80%. They are doing this less and less as the week has gone by. They have been enjoying the lessons so far and are using the skill they have learned. My 7 year old non reader proudly shows me the "table of contents" page on books he picks up now. They now ask to "do" school.

I will check in next week with an update on content!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Learning Happens All the Time!

I was just reading one of my favorite blogs: Large Family Logistics. They have a post about how to homeschool a large family. It is a simple list that any homeschool family can benefit from.

The first one is:

1. Learning happens all the time all the time all the time

I have always said learning is happening from the time they step out of bed each morning until they go to bed. Homeschooling is a lifestyle and learning is not limited to certain hours or certain books.

To see the rest go here: