Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homemade Art


 As I was cleaning out and organizing my scrapbooking materials, I came across these stickers...

 Unfortunately, scrapbooking doesn't happen very often and when it does, it's usually digital.  But, I really wanted to use these stickers!  Here's how I ended up using them...

 I took some scrapbooking paper and a 5x7 picture of each girl, then started arranging the stickers that best described each of them. 

 Afterward, I headed to Michael's with my 50% off coupons and snatched up two frames for only $5 each! 

 I just adore the way they came out! 


Simple and inexpensive artwork for our home!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Felt envelopes, cards, and stamps...oh, my!

A few years back, I created the girls several felt envelopes, cards, and stamps for Valentine's Day.

They are still a favorite to play with!

Izzie has been requesting "more", especially Birthday themed cards.  It truly warms my heart that my girls love playing with their homemade toys!

So, here's what I came up with...

Birthday Cards

Stamps and Name Labels

Velcro attached to stamps and labels for easy attachment to envelopes.

 Birthday envelopes, letters, and stamps to add to the postal collection! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Flash Back!

There are still a ton of activities from the fall that I haven't blogged about!  Anyway, as I was looking through my pictures this weekend, I found these from August and they made me get very teary!  I can't believe how young Izzie and Mac look in these was only 6 months ago!  They look so much older, now.  Where does the time go? 


 Morning craft time at Chick-fil-A.  

Sister love!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

TOS Review: A+ TutorSoft, Inc.

 A+ TutorSoft, Inc. produces multi-sensory interactive math curricula for elementary grades 1st-6th, as well as, Pre-Algebra and Algebra.  Each level offers comprehensive course contents that meet and exceed common core standards and state standards.   

All levels of A+ Interactive MATH Full Curriculum may be purchased as a CD software or as an on-line software program.  


What's included in an A+ Interactive MATH Full Curriculum CD ?  

Standard Edition:
  • Suggested lesson plans. 
  • Full curriculum book.
  • Multimedia lessons that use all three learning modalities: audio, visuals, and text. 
  • Interactive quiz for each lesson with instant feedback and step-by-step instructions.
  • Printable worksheets and exams with solution guide.

Premium Edition: includes all the core grade level contents listed above, plus
  • Progress tracking and reporting.
  • Parental controls.
  • Weekly certificate of accomplishments. 

A+ Interactive MATH Full Curriculum CD Cost:

 Standard Edition retails for $99.99

Premium Edition retails for $124.99

**Please be aware that you need a computer with Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 2000, Windows 7 or higher) operating system and about 250MB disk space available on the computer hard drive.**


What's the difference between the A+ Interactive MATH Full Curriculum CD versus the A+ Interactive MATH Full Curriculum On-line?  

The on-line software provides the same core grade level contents as the CD software with a few additional features:
  • Automatically grades worksheets and exams. 
  • Ability to generate additional worksheets and exams.
  • Ability to review each question on completed assignments with step-by-step solution.
  • Option to have 1 month, 3 months or a full year subscription. 

A+ Interactive MATH Full Curriculum On-line Costs: 

1-month retails for $19.99

3-months retails for $49.99

Full year subscription retails for $124.99


Izzie, 6 years old, is currently half way through her current second grade math curriculum, so I wasn't sure what grade would be most beneficial.  Thankfully, A+ TutorSoft, Inc. offers a free placement test.  

We received the A+ Interactive MATH 3rd Grade Full Curriculum CD, Premium Edition

During the review period, Izzie completed lessons, daily for approximately 30 minutes. 

 The A+ Interactive MATH 3rd Grade Full Curriculum course contents are arranged into 15 chapters. 

Within each chapter, there are multimedia lessons that teach the math concept. 

After each multimedia lesson, there is an interactive quiz with instant feedback.     

Izzie was able to complete Chapters 1, 2, and 3 during the review period. 


What I liked: 
  • The curricula exceeds all common core standards and state standards.   

  • Izzie was able to work at her own pace throughout the multimedia lessons.
  • The computer animated visuals were fun and engaging. I really liked the positive reinforcement visuals. 
  • Parents are not expected to have mastery of the curriculum.  Parent solution guides are included.


What I would suggest for improvement:  
  • There is a lot of information on the homepage of the software.  Everything that is included on the CD is found on the homepage and remains on the top toolbar during each multimedia lesson.  It would be helpful if the "extra" information disappeared during the multimedia lessons.  
  • Once the student is logged into the software, there is no way to know where he or she stopped during the previous multimedia lesson.  So, I had to keep record of what lessons had been completed.  It would be beneficial if there was a way for the student to automatically pick up right where he or she left off. 
  • Some of the questions were very wordy and complicated to understand. I've never liked questions that contain more than one correct answer, especially when both correct answers are extremely similar.  Izzie was beyond frustrated with these types of questions.
  • During the addition multimedia lessons, Izzie got very discouraged while typing in the answers.  She works all addition problems from right to left; therefore, after adding the ones place, she would type in the answer, then the tens, followed by the hundreds and thousands.  However, as you can see, the answer that she typed is backward because when she typed in the ones place, it became the first number, not the last. She ended having to write the answer on paper before typing it on the computer.  I would suggest having blocks under each place value, where the student could type in the correct number. 
  • Within the subtraction multimedia lessons, Izzie needed paper and pencil to complete the problem before typing the answer.  She does not have the ability to "borrow" mentally and needed to visually see it on paper.  This was frustrating for her because she was under the impression that since it was on the computer, she wasn't suppose to be using paper and pencil.  It would be totally cool if there was a way that the student could manipulate the borrowing process within the software. 


In conclusion, if you're looking for an interactive and comprehensive math curriculum, A+ Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH may work for your family.

Before purchasing, if you would like to see free demos for each grade level, please visit A+ TutorSoft, Inc

In addition, you can receive a 1-month free homeschool on-line subscription

Lastly, don't forget to take advantage of the below coupon.  Save 50% off your A+ Interactive MATH purchase now until the end of March! 

Sail over to read what other Crew Mates had to say about their experience with A+ TutorSoft, Inc.

 Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Letter "A" activities

This week, Mac learned all about the letter "a".  

She's continuing to enjoy all the cut and paste activities from My Father's World kindergarten. 

Her writing skills have really taken off!  Writing is her favorite activity these days.  She's constantly writing her various  letters on scraps of paper throughout the day.  In addition, she's learned to spell and write her own name!  

Supplemental activities from a variety of sources...

I'm still loving all the adorable letter crafts from All About Reading

Izzie hasn't been feeling well this week and Mac has been her perfect nurse! 

In addition, Mac has been completing activities from Flowering Baby.  You can read my review here

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Toilet Paper Mummies!

Izzie has been having a lot of fun in her Mystery of History Co-op class semester! 

Creating toilet paper mummies! 

Afterward, the class enjoyed eating mummies! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

TOS Review: Classical Academic Press


Classical Academic Press specializes in providing quality educational materials for a classical education. Their Song School curricula for foreign languages, Latin, Greek, and Spanish, were designed to take advantage of the natural capacity of young children (K-3rd) to learn and master language by song and chant as well as by reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  

According to Classical Academic Press, Spanish is the most usable second language for North American students to learn and master.  Izzie, 6 years old, has been begging politely requesting to learn to speak Spanish.  I took three years of Spanish in high school and unfortunately learned very little.  I was only taught common words and phrases; therefore, I did not learn the language well enough to communicate correctly, fluently, and accurately.  I want Izzie's experience to be completely different!

When offered to review the Song School Spanish curriculum, I was more than willing.

We received:

Song School Spanish interactive, paperback student workbook text with audio CD ($24.95)




What's included in the Song School Spanish student workbook text?

  • A suggested schedule that is designed to be flexible and adaptable for each student. 
  • Suggested additional resources that supplement Song School Spanish.  Several of these resources are available for free. 
  • Pronunciation Guide that lists the Spanish alphabet with each letter's pronunciation, sound,  and word example.  There is also an explanation regarding the use of accents and diphthongs. 
  • Thirty weekly lessons including review chapters.  It is suggested to complete one chapter per week. 
  • Each chapter contains a list of words and/or phrases to learn, lyrics to the corresponding chapter songs, a variety of chapter lesson activities, and a section for the child to show what he or she has learned throughout the chapter. 
  • At the back of the book, there are eight pages of cutouts that accompany activities within the student workbook text. 
  • An accompanying music CD (42 songs/chants) is also included.  There is at least one song/chant per chapter.


What's included in the Song School Spanish Teacher's Edition?

  • Suggested schedule, using a generic, three-day schedule that can be adapted to fit the needs of each student. 
  • The entire student workbook text, with answer keys to all questions, exercises, puzzles, and activities on the same page for quick guidance and assessment. 
  • Teaching tips containing suggestions, guidance, and ideas for using the student workbook text.
  • Over forty pages of additional activities and worksheets with answer keys that correspond to each chapter in the student workbook text.  These activities can be used as supplemental work. 


How did we use the Song School Spanish curriculum?

It is recommended to use the curriculum three-to-four days a week.  Izzie was able to complete one chapter per week, averaging thirty minutes, four days a week. 

During the review period, Izzie completed five chapters.  Here's a glimpse into our typical weekly schedule using Song School Spanish.  

  • Day 1:  Each chapter begins with a list of words or phrases to learn and the chapter songs.  For proper pronunciation, Izzie listened to the free downloadable MP3 files and repeated each word.  Afterward, she listened to the chapter songs/chants on the accompanying audio CD, while coloring the free supplemental vocabulary handouts for the chapter.  
Chapter 2: Words/Phrases to Learn and Chapter Songs

Coloring supplemental handouts, while listening to chapter songs.

  • Day 2:  Izzie would review the chapter vocabulary words by using the above coloring handouts as flashcards.  She loved to interact with the flashcards, while making up silly games.   If needed, she would listen to the MP3 files for correct pronunciation.

During this game, I would say the English word and Izzie had a blast jumping to the corresponding Spanish word.  It was a great way to review!

 Afterward, she would listen to the corresponding chapter songs/chants from the accompanying audio CD. 

Lastly, she would complete the Chapter Lesson, which included various reading and writing activites. 

Chapter 1: Practice writing by tracing dots and drawing a picture of her la maestra.  

Chapter 3: Filling in the correct vocabulary word and drawing a picture to reflect.  I really like the way the student workbook text is interactive and encourages Izzie to actively participate!

Chapter 4 was a review of the first three chapters.  She really enjoyed the Chapter Story: The Three Little Pigs.  While I read the story, she circled all the Spanish words.

  • Day 3:  After reviewing the chapter vocabulary words and listening to the chapter songs/chants, the girls were always excited to play games or have a puppet show with Tortuga and Conejo! 

My girls had the best time with the Tortuga and Conejo puppets, not only were they having fun, but they were learning Spanish too!  

  • Day 4:  After listening to the chapter songs/chants, Izzie would complete the Show What You Know section within the chapter. 

Chapter 1: Show What You Know

Chapter 2: Show What You Know

Afterward, she would complete the supplemental activity page found at the back of the Song School Spanish Teacher's Edition.

Chapter 1: Supplemental Work

Chapter 4: Supplemental Work

In addition, if available for the chapter, she would play the free supplemental Flash Dash game.  


What I Liked: 
  • The Song School Spanish student workbook text is very kid-friendly.  The lessons are short and interactive. 
  •  Izzie really enjoyed listening and singing along to the accompany audio CD!  The songs/chants are fun and catchy.
  • The puppets were a huge hit with my girls!  
  • I really enjoyed the free supplemental resources that are available.  The coloring handouts are  fabulous to use in many different ways.
  • I feel very confident that Song School Spanish will give Izzie a solid foundation and prepare her for advanced Spanish curricula.
  • The Song School Spanish Teacher’s Edition was designed to be flexible and easy to use by the parent.   It contained everything that I needed to feel confident and knowledgeable to teach  Spanish to Izzie!

What I would suggest for improvement:
  • My girls were a little disappointed that the Tortuga and Conejo puppets were not in color.  The puppets were shaded in, which made them difficult to color.  Either having the puppets in color or clear, so that the student is able to color each, would be a huge plus!  
  • Izzie needed guidance with the free supplemental Flash Dash game.  In order to play independently, the child must be able to read words in both English and Spanish.  It would be helpful if there was a way that the child could click on each word, when needed, and the word was read to them.   

In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Song School Spanish curriculum from Classical Academic Press for any child (K-3rd) wanting to learn Spanish.

Song School Spanish student workbook text with audio CD ($24.95)



I look forward to adding other subjects from Classical Academic Press to our homeschooling schedule!  

Sail over to read what other Crew Mates had to say about their experience with Classical Academic Press.

 Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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