Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Revving Up for a New Year of Learning

I am thrilled and excited to be embarking on another year of learning with my daughters.  I am grateful for the experience of being able to facilitate and learn alongside my girls.

This year we are using a few new items.  Most of our new curriculum choices I received in exchange for a review of the program.  We will continue using Christian Light for math.  We were going to change to another curriculum, but I was reminded that most math programs have the same information, but the presentation may be a little different.  I have decided that I will continue researching methods until we find one that works best for the individual.  As it relates to math, some concepts just take a bit longer than others so we will keep pressing forward in the areas which do not come so easily.

Our Curriculum Choices ...

Before I share what we will be using, I want you guys to know that the girls use all of the same curriculum.  This has worked for us for the past few years because it allows my oldest daughter to continue to do fun learning activities while challenging my youngest daughter.  They have different personalities and it would be rather easy for them to fall into their comfort zones if I didn't use their differences to strengthen one another.

Grammar/ Language Arts:
  • Trail Guide to U. S. Geography (we have been faithfully working through this book for a few years)
  • Notgrass America the Beautiful ( as we near completion of this program I will write a review about our experience because history has been a hard subject for me to plan for in the past)
  • African/ Black American History (this will be intermingled into all of our history and geography studies)
Foreign Language:
  • Latina Christiana 1
  • Spanish 
  • Sign Language (it's been awhile since we have used this skill so we will delve back into learning to speak with our hands)
Fine Arts:
As always, I will throw in additional supplements based on their interests and future materials I may receive to review.

How is your home school planning going thus far?  Are you trying out any new curriculum?
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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Faithgirlz NIV Bible Review

The Faithgirlz Bible is beautifully created with a hardcover and magnetic closure which I believe will keep it looking nicely for years to come.  The construction of this Bible makes it a perfect gift for any young lady whether it's for a birthday, baptism, etc.

My eight year daughter was thrilled when she received her Bible. As always, I allowed her to look at the Booklook Bloggers website to see if there were any books that interested her and she chose the Faithgirlz Bible.   She told me that she was happy that she chose this Bible.

More About The Bible ...

The Faithgirlz Bible is written in the New International Version.  I am a big fan of the NIV version because it is similar enough to the other many versions and easier to comprehend.  Our Bible study program uses the English Standard Version, and I find that the NIV still works fine with the program.

Zonderkidz has done a great job of making this a total girls Bible from the color palette which includes dark violet text and pink inserts throughout to the additional enhancements which will cause the reader to think more deeply about her faith.

There are several enhancements within including Bring It On!, Treasure This!, Oh, I get it!, in your own words, and Dream Girl.  Bring It On! is a multiple choice statement which causes the reader to think about her character.  For example, "I'm tempted to mess up because I want to: a. have more cool stuff, b. do it my way, c. be popular.  As you can see, there isn't an answer that will make the reader feel like oh, I'm not so bad, but instead all of the answers speak to some sort of heart condition. For each answer there is a scripture listed on the opposite page.  For this particular question the scriptures are: a. 1 Timothy 6:9-10, b. Proverbs 1:8-9, and c. 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6.

Treasure this! highlights a scripture from a nearby passage. This enhancement could easily be used for scripture memorization. Dream Girl pulls out a biblical story and places the reader in it.  It causes her to use her imagination and senses.  I really like the introduction to each of the books.  I appreciate that the editor sets the book up for the reader by highlighting the setting, the timing,
 the protagonists, antagonists, the main idea, and the connections. The different enhancements throughout this work are a treat and will give my daughter a little bit more to think about as she studies God's word.

Although Jesus' words are not highlighted or written in a different color, my daughter and I are looking forward to delving deeper into God's word using this lovely Bible.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tracking My Days ~ My Venture into Planning

I am not really a planner.  I usually just get done what I need to get done and call it a day, and for awhile this worked for me.  Recently, and by recently I mean the last three years, I have felt an urge to be more intentional with my time.  Like I said, I get things done, but I realize that now I am able to accomplish a bit more and delve a little bit deeper into some things because of where we are now as a family.

My binder clip was made from a button from a Joann's clearance bin and craft glue.

At the beginning of this month, I took the plunge and purchased a planner.  My initial and main reason for purchasing the planner is the fact that I have lots of thoughts and ideas running around in my head. Since I rarely wrote them, they often just sat in my brain similar to the many photos I have piled up on my hard drive.  Now with my handy dandy planner, I am able to write down and dedicate a bit a time to things that I desire do to do; not just those things that I know I have to do so that our home functions.

Since I have begun planning, I will admit that I get more things that done and I don't forget certain tasks as often (Read; Clean the bathrooms).  For some reason, doing the bathrooms is the chore I will push to the bottom of the list more often than not.  I have also found more time to do things that I enjoy.  I am now less likely to get in the rut of idleness. There is truly something about having a purpose for time.

A Sneak Peek into My Planner ::

The insects are not a part of the actual planner, but are overlays for privacy :)

I picked this planner up from Target.  I believe it costed $9.99 plus tax.  The only decoration that is a part of the planner is the design that runs across the top of the page.  I added the other embellishments to give it a little life.  

I divided the weekdays in half.  One side represents the thing that I must do to keep my home and family functioning or things that I must do in real life and not online, and the other side represents the things that I enjoy doing including blogging, scrapbooking, writing, and etc. 

I use the large block on the right side for meal planning and recording "Happy Thoughts or Moments" from the week.  I save this to do on Friday or Saturday.  Some weeks I write specific things, and other weeks I write something simple.  This week I was happy to enjoy a relaxing week at home with my daughters for most of the week since my radiator broke on my car last Sunday.  We are now down to one car, but for me it wasn't a bad thing to only have one car. It did cause me not do some of the things I had planned, but we did enjoy Chuck E Cheese's on Friday :)

As I head into next week ...  Lamentations 3:22-23

Even though I knew the reason for purchasing the planner, I didn't initially know exactly how I would use this planner, but I have found it beneficial to write whatever words or scriptures which have been placed in my Spirit at the top of the page before the week begins. By having the words there, I am reminded daily on the things that I need to focus.

Do you plan for everyday life?  Tell me about your planner :) 

Be Blessed!

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SimplyFun :: Shape Whiz Review

There are a few of us in our household who simply enjoy a good board game.  Even those of us who do not relish over board games jump in every now and again for a quick game of fun.  This summer we were able to add a new game to our collection from SimplyFun.  Shape Whiz is not just a game, but an educational tool that builds geometrical skills and speed.

Let me start off by saying that it isn't s complicated as it looks, and that our board has yet to be set up correctly.  It's not that I think it is hard to set it up as it is pictured above, but I didn't find it necessary since for the most part only my seven year old and I played.  Every now and again my ten year old would join us.  Shape Whiz is recommended for ages ten and above, but my like I stated I played the game mostly with our seven year old.

More about Shape Whiz ...

Shape Whiz is a game speed so if you or your child likes a good competitive game this may be one to add to your collection.  The large yellow cards offer a description of a shape.  The description can be anything from the number of sides, a certain number of angles that are greater than or less than 90 degrees, the approximate area, or even a certain number of parallel lines within a shape.  Once a yellow card is in play, the players must quickly lay down a shape card that matches the description.  This card may come from the player's set of shape cards or the player may use an opponent's. There's no order when throwing down an accurate shape.  The first player who finds a shape that matches the description has one less card, and the person who plays all of her cards ultimately wins the game. The goal is to be quick and correct.

How we played Shape Whiz ...

Although my daughter is younger than the recommended age, I did not have to adapt the game too much.  We only used the shapes on the blue set of cards because they were the shapes that she was most familiar.  The shapes on the blue cards were mostly triangles and polygons whereas the shapes on the green cards were more advanced and included a larger variety of polygons, circles, and semicircles.

We followed the rules exactly outside of not setting the board up exactly as pictured and having the information side facing up.  The black side of the blue cards were expected to be facing up, but since my youngest daughter isn't as quick to calculate perimeter and area, and she doesn't always remember all of the terms we played with the information side (blue side) facing up so that the game would be a little more fair for her.

What we liked about the game ...

We appreciated the fact the game was rather quick.  We could sit down with it a few times a week and play quick round of Shape Whiz.  It caused us to think about math without pressure.  There was also the introduction of new terms for both of the girls and the review for our oldest daughter.  I really appreciated that the information is provided on the back side of the playing cards because it did make it possible for our youngest daughter to also play the game.  I don't think she would have enjoyed it as much if she had to know all of the mathematical terms before ever sitting down to play the game.

Simply Fun Review

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

{TOS Review} :: Home School in the Woods

By now, my readers should know that we are really eclectic when it comes to learning and curriculum.  You may also know that I usually have a hard time finding products that I enjoy teaching for history.  Home School in the WoodsHISTORY Through the Ages: Project Passport World History Studies was offered at just the right time for us since last school year we didn't learn about a complete era of history.  When the review became available, I gave the girls a choice between Ancient Egypt which is their newest program and the Middle Ages.  The girls chose the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages, and thankfully we were selected to review it.

What are HISTORY Through the Ages: Project Passport World History Studies ?

HISTORY Through the Ages: Project Passport World History Studies provides a hands-on approach to learning history.  The program we received was a digital copy although a CD version of the program is available. The download included several files: PDFs, MP3s, and images.

More about Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages

This was our first time using any of the Home School in the Woods programs.  Although I had visited the website and looked around, I still didn't know what to really expect.  As I stated, the program was a digital download.  The download had several parts and after looking around for a bit I was able to get started and find my groove.  When I received the downloads, I didn't actually know where to begin so I started with PDF files.  This was a good choice because inside the PDF files there is a folder named "Introduction".  The introduction folder also included a file by the same name which was really helpful.  This is a page I would recommend printing out.  Honestly, I printed out all of the pages in the introduction file except the acknowledgements.

After reading the introduction files, I was excited about getting started with Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages.  There are many pages to be printed, and since I didn't know what I could live without printing, I began by printing out all of the "Travel Itineraries" for each of the "stops". This was a wise choice for me because I was able to see the materials that would be used more clearly versus flipping back in forth through the files on my computer. Since we are traveling through the Middle Ages, each day's activities is presented as a stop on this trip through the Middle Ages.  Each stop focuses on a different aspect of the Middle Ages which includes the people, the culture, the geographical region, and such.  Along with the travel itineraries, each stop also includes text that informs those traveling about whatever the topic is for the day.  These texts range between 1- 3 pages.  I did not print these out because there are 25 stops, and that would have been a lot of pages to print instead I downloaded this part of the program to my Kindle.  This was a first for me so Home School in the Woods helped me to use my Kindle for something other than audiobooks!  This method worked wonderfully for us.

How I made the program work for us ...

Project Passport is chocked full of many great activities and touches on all learning styles.  Since there were so many activities, I had to decide the best course of action for my my learners.  Our traveling days consisted of completing one stop per day.  We traveled several times a week.  On Sunday evening, I would print out all of the pages that we would need for our stops for that particular week.  Let me backtrack, Stops 1 and 2 pretty much sets up the program.  These stops require quite a bit of printing because this is where you will get the timeline ready for all future stops, postcards printed for all future stops, and more. You will need card stock and regular printer paper for printing. When I began printing, I decided that each of my daughters would have their own Lapbook and Scrapbook of Sights so for the most part I printed two of everything.  There are quite a few things that I didn't print two of such as the timeline and various projects that we were able to complete together.   This worked well for us, but if you are not keen on using quite a bit of ink I could see completing the entire trip as a family and only preparing passports and suitcases for each individual student.

Our thoughts about the program ...

We all thoroughly enjoyed learning about history using this method.  Let me remind you that this was a part of our summer learning, and my girls didn't consider it "school".  They looked forward to the different stops, and my youngest daughter would ask to work on it even on the days I didn't plan for it.  My favorite part was relearning things that I had forgotten and sharing the experience with my daughters.  My oldest daughter enjoyed coloring the most.  She is the one who never sits down to color with me when I pull out a coloring book.  We used coloring pencils for most of the coloring so this also strengthened  some of those fine motor skills that she probably rarely uses since coloring and art are not usually her thing.  My youngest daughter enjoyed the crafts.  She had a great time creating her head dress of colorful flowers.  We have yet to complete the program and are continuing to work through it until it is completed.

Home School in the Woods Review

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 ©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.