Monday, June 30, 2014

Reading Rulers {Review}

Have you heard of Reading Rulers?  They are a special reading aid designed to help with Visual Stress.  I had heard good things about Crossbow Reading Rulers, but it was a few years ago before we were really in the stage of "reading" and I didn't give them much thought at the time.

Now here we are a few years later, and you've probably heard me say that my 7 year old loves math, but could care less about Reading.  I've never felt like he finds reading difficult.  He will do his lessons, he will read flashcards or sentences just fine.  Give him a book, however, and he starts to "zone out" quickly.

Recently, I was given an opportunity to review a set of Reading Rulers, and figured it wouldn't hurt to try them out.  Why?  Well, according to Crossbow Education, "Visual Stress describes the discomfort experienced by some when viewing text. It affects 20% of the population, and 5% to the point of making reading very difficult. It can cause headaches, poor tracking, the apparent movement of words and letters, and slow or halting reading to name just a few symptoms."

The poor tracking is what caught my attention.  It seemed like when he was transitioning between lines or during the longer passages that his focus would shift to the pictures, to asking me questions, to anything but the text.

So here we are trying out the researched-based reading rulers. I received 10 colors, with instructions for a simplified assessment.  I had him go through the assessment reading with each ruler color by color.  The color palette includes Magenta, Celery, Sky, Pink, Yellow, Grass, Aqua, Purple, Orange and Jade.  I was instructed to go in order, but to have him choose the color he felt most comfortable with, and he could change it at any point if a color down the line suited him better.

He only changed colors a few times, and in the end he chose orange and has been using it.  So far, I am undetermined if he chose a colored overlay purely for the novelty of it (he is 7 after all!) or if he is truly benefiting from the colored background.  However, I intend to research Visual Stress more now that I am aware of the condition and I will be monitoring his reading with and without the ruler.  I will most certainly update you on it as well.

The Reading Rulers are very nice quality.  They are flexible, but sturdy.  There are two sides--matte and gloss, and there is also a narrow strip for only small highlighted areas, or a wider strip at the bottom for larger passages.  They are so thin so you can even use them as a bookmark.  I would suggest that they would also be useful for beginning readers who are still in the "pointing to each word" stage, as well as others who may have tracking issues when reading.  You can get a 10-pack (of all 10 colors, 5 most popular, or a full pack of one color) for just $16.95.  To find out more information, be sure to check out Crossbows Education, as they have a variety of products for visual stress and dyslexia, or find them on Facebook.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Random 5 on Friday - June 27th

Note:  I originally posted this with a title of July 27th.  Perhaps a sign I really need some downtime!

1.  I'm so thankful for the slower summer months.  Next week, we have NOTHING scheduled.

2.  I'm almost out of the first trimester.  The major fatigue is slowly starting to fade, but the morning sickness is still hanging around.  Hoping it is not too much longer.  If you haven't read the thoughts of my four year old regarding pregnancy and babies and ultrasounds, please allow yourself a moment to giggle at the inner-thoughts of a four year old child who has no filter.

3.  I've decided to take a break from the LEGO Love series.  I enjoyed it, but the first trimester blahs have said otherwise.  If I do end up resuming the series, it obviously won't be a '52 weeks of...' anymore, but just because I'm not blogging about their LEGO creations doesn't mean they aren't building away.  Elliott is in the middle of building a mansion right now.

4.  We have a very special vacation planned for our kids in a couple months.  So excited, but so overwhelmed with planning.  More on that later, so stay tuned! 

5.  Last week was VBS and the kids had a blast!  Seven little souls saved.  I won't share most of the good pictures I got, because of the other children in them, but our theme was Jungle Safari!  The boys each had their own classes, but Eleanor floated around the church with me.  She loved, loved, LOVED music time, and thought she was big stuff when one of the song leaders would take her up front to "teach the motions" during practice.

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Go Science DVDs {Schoolhouse Review}

Experiments are one of the best ways to learn about science.  Even if you're not physically doing the experiment yourself, watching and seeing science in action is so much better than just reading about it from a textbook.  Recently, I was given the opportunity by Library and Educational Services to review two volumes from the new Go Science DVDs series.

Library and Educational Services is a wholesale distributor, and homeschoolers qualify as a wholesale buyer.  You do need an account to browse and shop, but you can receive steep discounts on curriculum, books, DVDs, audiobooks and a multitude of other resources for your homeschool.  As part of the review, we were given the choice of which two Go Science DVDs from the new series that we'd like to receive and review.

We chose Volume 2 - Life Science and Weather which includes two sections - Life Science and Weather.  Life Science includes seven demonstrations and Weather includes five demonstrations.  It has a running time of 1:02.  Life Science goes with some other topics we're learning, so it was a good fit.  We also chose Volume 7-Engineering, Design and Flight because Elliott is very STEM oriented and I knew this would appeal to him the most!  This DVD also includes two sections.  Engineering/Design includes seven science demonstrations.  The second section, Flight, includes four demonstrations.  It has a running time of 56:09.

Each science demonstration is contained within a short "segment" running only a few minutes each.  They are all led by Ben Roy.  Some interesting credentials for letting Ben Roy come into your home and teach science are that he has taught science methods at The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and produced science lessons for the Weather Channel and a Christian satellite broadcasting network.

The segments start with Ben Roy talking to a group of kids.  He calls two or three children by name, asks them a question or two about themselves, and then asks them to be his helpers.  For instance, in the segment titled The Leaning Tower of Lyra (from Volume 7-Engineering, Design and Flight) he asks the kids what they like to do or have done that requires balance.  Then he has the three kids balance a piece of wood on their fingers.  Then they have to work together to complete a slightly more involved activity that demonstrates balance and center of gravity.  

Usually he will tie the science lesson into an event from the Bible or scripture, but it's very brief and simple, and I didn't really find it "preachy" at all.  At the the end of every segment he will say "Every time we learn something about science, we learn something about our Creator God!"  

What Did We Think?
Elliott is interested in science and enjoys experiments and demonstrations, so I had a good feeling he would enjoy these videos.  He immediately jumped on the couch to begin watching.  What I loved was that I was hearing things like "Hey momma, did you SEE that?" or "I want to try that!" with a big smile on his face after almost every experiment.  That is the beauty of this series.  Immediately my son was engaged and was wanting to get hands-on and experimental, and that is how you learn!

I've been a little too under the weather with the first trimester blahs to do anything more than watch the videos, but I'm hoping in the next few weeks to re-watch and work through these with Elliott! 

As a mom, I appreciated that many of the activities could be safely tried at home with common materials.  I would have liked if there was a list of supplies made available (either as an option in the on-screen menu, or even as an insert in the DVD case), because otherwise you have to watch each segment to determine what is needed.  However, we also liked that some of the demonstrations were things we couldn't realistically try at home, because it's always fun to watch those "COOL!" demonstrations!

The DVDs are recommend for ages 4-12.  That's a big age range for any group activity, let alone science, in my opinion, and I wasn't sure how it would hold the attention of my 4 year old while still being engaging and informative enough for middle school aged children.  Emory is 4, and he tuned in and out of the segments, but a few things caught his attention.  I think he liked the actual demonstrations, but didn't care for the talking before or after.  My 7 year old was fascinated.  I think the demonstrations alone are enough to keep the attention of the full age range, but that there's *just enough* scientific information given to explain what is happening for the youngest viewers.  Too much more information might go over their heads, bore them and cause them to lose interest.  The length of the segments is perfect for them.  However, I think older students are probably going to want more background or explanations.  It might be a good opportunity to have them do some research and work through the scientific process.  If they're interested in learning more about the whys and hows, then Go Science has done its job to inspire!

Ben Roy's enthusiasm shows, and you can tell he's passionate about science and inspiring a love of science in children.  In addition to families and homeschools, I think Go Science would make a good series for an early elementary science co-op class, since so many of the demonstrations can be replicated.  They'd also make great object lessons for Junior Church lessons as well.  At just $8.97/each, these are a fun investment for a series of lessons. 

There are a total of seven DVDs in the second Go Science series, and the crew reviewed various titles, so be sure to check out the rest of the Crew Reviews for more information.

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Krazy Kids!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway {review}

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

When given the opportunity to review Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway 2.0, I immediately thought of my 7 year old.  He especially enjoys any 'toy' that allows him to build, create and manipulate.  He is very STEM oriented, and does well following directions, but also improvising.

When I showed him the Raceway (which retails for $39.99) he was excited and immediately got to work.  He is systematic, so he had to examine the box thoroughly.  He pointed out to me that the set is for ages 6+ (because you know, his brother is only 4 years old) and that there are 230 pieces.  He looked through the instruction booklet, then dumped all the pieces out.

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway Review

He spent about an hour working, before he stopped for a dinner break, then resumed work on and off for another couple of hours, with me helping occasionally.  By the end he needed a little more help with the tracks, as he was getting tired and frustrated.  We found the support brackets for the tracks to be difficult to lock into place, but flimsy.  I bent two or three just trying to assemble it per the instructions.  Now this kid is really good at following directions, but all those little black squares can connect to one gray piece in several different ways, and there were times we'd have to backtrack and turn them around so future pieces would fit correctly.  At the very end, he was just placing the decorative gears anywhere they'd fit, because he was tired of turning the black pieces around and didn't care since they weren't functional.

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway Review

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway Review

Once the track is complete, there is a two-step process to propel the marbles (10 come with the set) to the top of the track.  The marbles spin and roll through gears and tracks and end up back down at the bottom ready to launch again.  There is little variation in the course the marble follows--at the top of the track, they go through a divider that will send them one way or the other, but it alternates regularly, so there's no surprise at the route.

I will point out that it is fairly fragile.  The tracks come off easily if accidentally bumped, and you certainly can't leave this in a room with a toddler.  Ask me how I know!

The instructions were colorful and thorough, with close-ups of many steps.  However, I think the boys would have enjoyed something with more freedom to create different tracks or paths.  I'm also not sure why it is called a raceway.  It's set up so that one marble is launched at a time.  My 4 year old liked dropping several marbles on each side where the track splits and seeing which marble would "win" the race.  The 7 year old decided it was more fun to time the marbles and see how long it took to get to the bottom.  We found the average time was approximately 11 seconds.  I liked the concept of the toy, but overall the boys would love more flexibility with it.  That being said, I think it's a great opportunity for experimental kids to really put trial and error to work and see if they can come up with their own working marble tracks!

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway Review

To learn more about the company The Learning Journey International, be sure to check out their website, because they have some interesting puzzles, games and toys on there!  You can also read their blog or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

This image contains my FTC Statement

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The 4 Year Old's Thoughts on Pregnancy and Babies

"I'm going to be a nurse when I grow up. Then when people have babies I will put my remote control up to their belly and tell if it has clothes on it or not."

"Momma, you're having a girl" he informed me.
"I am?"
"Yes, because you're a girl.  If it was in Daddy's belly it would be a boy."

"What's that?" he asked as he touched my knee. 
"My knee..."
“Well, it's bumpy.  Momma, if you're gonna have a baby in your belly you gotta get a bump in your belly.”

Pointing to my chest: "What is that?”
"The words on my shirt?”
Now poking my chest. “No, THAT!  And that.”
So I give him an appropriate explanation.  
"OH!  I thought they were babies. I thought that one was a girl and that one was a boy."

"Can I give the baby a nickname?  I'm going to name it Green Cutie Baby."  Later he informed me that "If it's a boy I will call it Green Handsome Baby and if it's a girl I will call her Green Cutie Baby."

At the first ultrasound:  "Well, I thought inside your belly would be brighter!"  

Can't wait for the next edition of "new baby" photo!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We Choose Virtues {Schoolhouse Review}

I don't know about you, but I always worry about how my children will turn out as adults.  Will they be compassionate and kind?  Will they be honest in both words and actions?  Will they desire to help and serve others?  My goal in homeschooling is to create a lifelong love of learning.  My goal in parenting is to raise children who have a desire to be productive and virtuous citizens in a lost world.

We Choose Virtues Review

Recently, I was given the chance to review We Choose Virtues, and I decided it would be a good opportunity to make a more concentrated effort to remind the boys of the virtues we seek in them.  We Choose Virtues has various items for all ages, and as part of the review I received the Parenting Cards ($38.49) and We Choose Virtues Download Bundle ($7.99) which included the Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book, Family Character Assessment, Teacher's Handbook, Butterfly Awards for Kids, and Sing Along Song Sheets.

Parenting Cards
These cards are a durable cardstock material.  They are geared for children 3-11 years old and are ideal for a family environment.  I used them with the boys who are currently 4 and 7 years old, and I think they are the perfect target age for this program.  There is a memory verse on each card that you can use when discussing the traits.  We Choose Virtues offers two versions of their cards.  We received the KJV as that is our preference, but there is also a NIrV set of cards.  Otherwise the sets are the same, but if you have a specific preference, the KJV only offers Old Testament verses while the NIrV pulls from both the Old and New Testaments.

The front of the cards have the Virtue and what behaviors we demonstrate (and do not demonstrate) when we are Obedient or Helpful or Attentive.  On the back of the card is a challenge for the family and several ideas for putting the virtue into practice.

We Choose Virtues Review

The Download Bundle
The Teacher's Handbook is more about encouraging the teacher who is using the program in a classroom setting (the Parenting Cards are essentially the Teacher Cards for home) but many of the ideas are transferable to a family, or even a co-op setting.  The Family Character Assessment is something everyone in the family can do.  You determine on a scale of 1-10 where your behavior rates for each Virtue.  As time goes on, you can reevaluate and see if your behavior has improved.  The Butterfly Awards are great for when you see improvement in your kiddos and want to offer them a little recognition for using their virtues.

The Sing-Along songs and the Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book are great for the regular discussions and lessons.  The songs are catchy and are meant to be sung to the tune of popular children's/folk songs.  Even weeks after learning a song, I'd hear one of the boys singing it to his brother.  The coloring book has a page for each child represented on the Parenting Cards, plus a few extra puzzle type pages.

How we used We Choose Virtues
We usually focused on one virtue each week.  I would spread the activities out over the week, but we would read the card, review the memory verse several times, read corresponding Bible passages, sing the song during the week and color the pictures.  We Choose Virtues offers a great tool called Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths for free if you want to include a more Biblical perspective.

 Emory took creative liberty with his colors, but Elliott wanted his Kids to look exactly like they did on the cards.
We Choose Virtues Review

I keep the card on the fridge during the week, so it is a visible reminder of what we are working on during the week.

The activities presented on the card or within the Teacher's Handbook can be done specifically as a lesson, but sometimes I think they can also be received when I just work them in "in the moment" so that the boys can see exactly why and how each virtue can be demonstrated.  One of the recommendations in the Teacher's Handbook was to work the Virtues in as classroom rules.  I think families try to do this naturally, but I also think this would be a great idea for co-ops as well.

We Choose Virtues Review

What did We Think?
Some children need a little extra encouragement with positive behaviors, or eliminating specific negative behaviors.  We Choose Virtues offers a fun and unique way to reinforce positive behaviors for younger children.  I liked the visual reinforcement of the cards, and they are colorful and engaging for kids.  The boys liked the variety of activities.  My 7 year old was always asking what stories we would be reading next to go with our cards, and they both loved the descriptions of the VirtueVille Kids.  However, the intent of the program is not to focus on one virtue a week, but to weave these positive attributes into our everyday life until they are natural behaviors, and that is what I love.

Current Coupons 

1.      JUNE: *Promo Code BIG50 for 50% off our amazing set of 12 11x17 Kids of VirtueVille Posters! This is the first time we have ever offered these posters at this price. They are great for school classrooms, Kids Church, or your homeschool room. Kids love them for their bedrooms, bathrooms and kids’ hallways.
2.      JUNE-AUGUST: *Promo Code BTS20 for 20% off anything in our WCV Store. This includes any kit. Let’s start School with Virtues this year!  

*Only one promo code per order

In addition the parenting cards for younger children, the Crew also reviewed the Youth Virtues Journal, so there's something for all ages, and you can find more information on Facebook, Pinterest and the We Choose Virtues Blog.

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chocolate Covered Pretzels - A Photo Essay

The boys decided they wanted to make something from Paula Deen's cookbook for kids.  They were eyeballing the chocolate covered pretzel rods one night, so daddy brought home the ingredients for them.

Always start by tasting each of the ingredients.

Because you know, we can't let the spilled sprinkles go to waste!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups {Schoolhouse Review}

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review

Have you heard of Learning Wrap-Ups?  If not, be prepared for it to knock your socks off in terms of fun learning manipulatives!  We almost always tend to choose hands-on activities over worksheets any day, so I was beyond thrilled when I learned I would be reviewing all of these products from Learning Wrap-Ups:

Kindergarten Reading 1 Base Center Kit ($61.99)
Kindergarten Math Learning Palette 1 Base Center Kit ($61.99)
Learning Wrap-Up Basic Math Intro Kit w/o CDs  ($44.99)
Learning Wrap-Up Vocabulary Intro Kit ($35.99)
10 Days to Multiplication Mastery Wrap-Up Book & Combo ($12.99)
10 Steps to Addition Mastery Wrap-Up Book & Combo ($15.99) ($25/year for 1 student or $60/year for up to 5 students)

Currently you can receive a 20% discount to by using the code HOMESCHOOL at checkout!

Learning Palettes
Each base center kit includes the Learning Palette Base, a vinyl storage bag and five curriculum packs.  I requested to review the Kindergarten levels because Emory is wanting to join us more for school, but he's not really ready for formal school work.  I felt like these kits would be a good activity to help him feel included more in our day, work on his pre-reading and early math skills, and also work on fine motor and critical thinking skills.

The Kindergarten Reading Kit includes the following five curriculum packs:  Alphabet, Beginning Consonant Sounds, Rhyming Words, Beginning Vocabulary and Vowels.  The Kindergarten Math Kit includes Matching Early Numbers, Numbers-Coins & Simple Fractions, Algebra Concepts, Geometry & Measurement, and Intro to Data.

Each curriculum pack has 12 cards with 12 questions each.  That's 720 questions for Reading, and 720 questions for Math!

The Learning Palettes are very easy to use.  There is only one way to put the card on the palette.  Each "question" has a colored disc next to it, and you place the corresponding physical disc next to the correct answer.  The cards are also self-correcting.  You flip the card over and it is color coded.  If your discs match the colors on the card, then it is correct!

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review
This is actually a 1st grade level card, but it shows the self-correcting feature of the cards.

The self-correcting feature is great for independent students (unless they're prone to peaking!) but Emory is only 4 and I just work with him.

That being said, the Kindergarten kits are just the right level for Emory.  He has done very little in the way of "school" since he is only 4, yet he can still work these cards confidently.  Each curriculum pack is incremental, so the first cards are great review and practice, and as his skills develop, we can continue to progress through the packs.  He typically does one or two cards per session, which is the perfect amount for him!

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review

Do you see how the card above is "split" into two sections?  Many of the cards are done this way (or split vertically, or in fourths, etc).  I like how this requires attention to detail, because the answer to the question is only going to be within the section where the question is located.  Though sometimes Emory has a little difficulty with this if the same questions are in both sections, because he really has to focus and pay attention to the layout of the card and which disc he is using.

I knew upon requesting the Kindergarten set that they would be too easy for Elliott (finishing 1st grade) so I bought some of their clearance packs for 1st and 2nd grade to let him try.  He loves them too, though some of his grade level was a bit easy in the beginning.  With the cards being incremental, though, this wasn't too big of an issue, especially since he can access all levels online.

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review

Storing the palette is easy--there is a sturdy clear cover that screws on with a plastic "bottle cap" type cap and holds the discs in place, but you can order spare discs if you lose any.
Learning Palette Online is an interactive version of the learning palettes.  I like the concept of the website, but I will admit that I found the set up and technical end of the website to be frustrating and not particularly user-friendly.  I set it up as instructed, but had to reenter Emory and Elliott a different way so that they showed up on my account.  After that, the primary account holder can work in the cards themselves, as well as can view the records of each sub-account.  Except...I couldn't see their work!  It was showing up as if they hadn't logged in or completed anything.  I contacted the company.  A few weeks later I contacted them again.  So far I haven't heard back, which is a little disappointing.  Technically I can see what the kids are doing when I'm in *their* accounts, but I have to log in and out of all of our accounts which is tedious.  I also always know what my kids are doing and what level they are on, but I'd like to be able to glance at their progress collectively.

As far as the interactive element, you basically drag-and-drop the colored discs.  It contains high quality images and the cards are just like the physical version.  Each student can access all levels of reading (K-3rd) and math (K-5th) so there's plenty of material available!

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review

It is a bit finicky and you have to make sure the discs are perfectly aligned in the circle so that it asks you if you are finished.  You can have every answer correct (with the green check marks to prove it) but if it doesn't recognize that they are placed correctly you do not get credit for completing the card.  Elliott is primarily the one who uses the online version, and will do several cards in one sitting.  This is a great independent activity, and he never turns it down.  Emory still needs a lot of help distinguishing between the layout of the cards and remembering to differentiate between the open and closed discs, so it's easier to help him with the physical version, and he prefers it too.  We've also used the website on the iPad, and didn't have any issues with disc placement on it, so that was a plus.

You can try a free demo to get an idea as to how the program works and try a sample card from each level.

Learning Wrap-Ups
The Math Intro Kit  includes Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division and Fractions. I'd heard so much about these wrap-ups when we first started homeschooling, and we've used the Addition one in the past.  The kit also comes with a booklet with ideas, a record page and a certificate of achievement.  (These are reproducible!)  Simply put, you answer the equations as presented on each key, working from left to right.  Once completed, you can look at the back and if the string overlaps the "answer key" then you've completed it correctly!

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review

The Vocabulary Intro Kit comes with Antonyms, Synonyms, Homonyms, and Compound Words.  It's great for children who love words, as well as children who need a little more encouragement.  Elliott likes the idea of these, but it turns out he prefers the math wrap-ups, because he's not a confident reader yet.  Instead, he likes to time me on each one!

All of the wrap-ups are great for encouraging speed and accuracy, encouraging math/reading skills and reviewing.  They are the perfect size to toss in a backpack or purse, for the car, the doctor's office or other times you want your kiddo to review on-the-go.  You can see an animated demo for how to use the wrap-ups if you are unfamiliar with the concept.

Mastery Workbooks
I received 10 Days to Multiplication Mastery and 10 Steps to Addition Mastery, and we started with Addition, because it is the appropriate level for Elliott.  While these are technically workbooks, they are simple and fun.  They combine written practice with the corresponding wrap-up to practice and review.  It's so much better than drill-and-kill!

In the Addition Mastery book, we worked on one step over 2-3 days, depending on how much is actually required per step.  There was an introduction and a quick glossing over the +0 facts, and then he moved on.  So for example, for +1, he would answer the facts and I would keep track of his time.  Then he would practice on the wrap-up a few times, trying to beat his previous scores.  Then he'd answer the facts on paper again, seeing if he could beat his previous score while writing the facts.  There are a few other pages with story problems and such for each addition fact, so it's still not just pages and pages of math problems. 

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review

Elliott absolutely loved being timed!  Even outside of "school" he will grab a wrap-up and ask me to time him.  He's got a little competitive streak, and he loves to outdo himself!

For children who are highly pressured under a timer, you could always just follow the steps and not time them; I'm convinced it would still be effective.

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review

I also decided that during each step, we would do the corresponding subtraction wrap-up as well.  I felt like this would reinforce fact families and really secure the concepts.

Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups Review

Multiplication is similar, but we're not quite ready for mastery there yet, so we haven't used the actual book yet.

If you already have the wrap-ups, or have multiple students mastering their math facts, you can buy the individual Addition or Multiplication workbooks for only $4.99.

Final Thoughts
Overall, we are really impressed.  Everything we received is geared for K-5th grade, but the wrap-ups can certainly be used for older students who need more review.  I wish was more user-friendly, but I like the concept.  Everything can be used independently by most students because of the self-correcting features.  They are great for quiet practice or one-on-one.  As a parent, I appreciate that the wrap-ups and learning palettes have so much long-term value, because they are non-consumable.  Learning Palettes and Learning Wrap-Ups are great for practice, review and even remedial work.  They would work well as a supplement to any reading or math curriculum, and I highly recommend them.  They have a new homeschool section so you can look through their individual products, but they also sell classroom sets which might be useful for co-ops. 

The crew has reviewed different grade levels of the Palettes, as well as the wrap-ups and the Learning Palette Online website, so be sure to check out the reviews to see how others are using them in their homeschool!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Random 5 on Friday - June 6th

1.  I had Elliott's portfolio evaluated this week.  Such a relief to have that part over with, but I need to mail it in with my NOI for next year, and then we'll be all set!

2.  This morning I hear Emory calling through the house that Eleanor has something black on her hand and that it's either Venom's Goo or poop.  Yeah.  So I go in there and sure enough she holds a cute little hand up and says "Mess!"  Her hand is covered in a slimy brownish/black substance.  I take her arm and walk her to the baby wipes.  It washes off easily.  I don't *smell* anything, but I knew if it was something unsanitary we'd have to clean up better than a baby wipe.  So I did what any good mother would do, and I sniffed her hand.  It smelled like chocolate!  What a relief!

3.  I'm in desperate need of some "easy" dinners.  Slow cooker meals, baked dishes, anything that doesn't require many steps or cutting meat.  I am so not in the position to be cooking dinners right now.

4.  The blog will probably be quiet for awhile too.  I just don't have it in me.  I just want to sleeeeeep.  All the time.  Not sure what's going to happen with the LEGO series, either.

5.  This picture  makes me happy.

The Pebble Pond

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Peter Rabbit books from Kinder Cottage Publishing {Schoolhouse Review}

Everyone that knows me, knows that I love books.  Children's picture books in particular.  Cuddling up with my kids to read a good story with lovely illustrations is just a perfect moment for me.  Recently, I was given two children's books to read and review.  Kinder Cottage Publishing was started in 2012 by husband and wife team, Howard and Ann.  Their goal is to help parents educate their children with a love of literature, history, culture and faith.

The first books that Kinder Cottage published was a series of Peter Rabbit books.  I received Peter Rabbit at the Farm and How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea.  The books were originally published in 1917 by the Henry Altemus Company, but Kinder Cottage has now republished the ten book series in a quality 5''x7'' hardback for a new generation of young readers to enjoy!

Kinder Cottage - Peter Rabbit - Review

Peter Rabbit at the Farm is the second book in the series.  I figured my boys might like it because we live next door to a farm.  Peter starts out doing something he shouldn't be doing, and gets caught up in several mishaps on his walk one day.  It's a cute book for young children who like farm animals and characters who are quick on their feet.  This book actually mentions some adventures that Peter gets into after he makes a boat . . . which is perfect for the next book where we learn about how Peter went to the sea!

How Peter Rabbit went to Sea is book number four in the series.  Again, Peter disobeys.  He goes to the brook against Mother's instructions and finds himself in a troubling series of events.  Along the way we meet Granddaddy Whale, Old Man Shark and Johnny Crab, among other characters.  For little ones who like adventures on the high sea, they might just want to see how Peter manages to get home to Old Mother Rabbit!

Do you see the theme here about Peter, how he was naughty and disobedient, and that got him into trouble?  It is written that his three sisters were good little girls and insinuated that Peter is naughty because he is the boy.  This is a gender stereotype I like to discuss with my own boys, but the lesson of obedience is obvious within the story, without being pushy.

Kinder Cottage - Peter Rabbit - ReviewKinder Cottage - Peter Rabbit - Review

The text of the books are said to be "faithfully updated" and I sometimes hesitate when books are adapted.  Often they get watered down by removing advanced vocabulary, simplifying sentence structure and stripping them of their charm.  This is not the case here.  These books are not twaddle.  Kinder Cottage has been faithful in their adaptions, because it is difficult to tell that these were modified at all.  The original illustrations are included as well; they are quaint and subtle and a nice reprieve from the bright and overbearing illustrations included in many children's books today.

These books are geared towards ages 3-9 years old and I think that's spot on.  The stories are fun and silly, but are still well-written and engaging.  They are smaller books, and would be fine for individual readers, but that does make them a little harder for cuddling up and reading with more than one or two kids, because I'm always shifting the book around to show pictures.  However, the small size does make them ideal for the purse or diaper bag, if you like to take books on the go.  My boys enjoyed the books well enough the first time around, but haven't really asked for them or perused them on their own.  I do enjoy their vintage feel, so I'll keep them on the shelf for younger siblings.

The 10 books in the Peter Rabbit Series include:

Tale of Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit at the Farm
Peter Rabbit's Christmas
How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea
Peter Rabbit Goes A-Visiting
Peter Rabbit's Easter
Peter Rabbit's Birthday
When Peter Rabbit Went to School
Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy
Peter Rabbit and Jack the Jumper

Each of the books are sold individually on Kinder Cottage for $4.00, or you can buy the complete set for $30.00.  Right now, if you enter the code TOS at checkout, you can receive 20% off your order!  Kinder Cottage also has a Wizard of Oz series, as well as a new history series coming out, among other titles.

Be sure to read more reviews from the crew to learn about the other titles in the Peter Rabbit series!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.