Sunday, June 30, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page {Review}

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Moving Beyond The Page is a homeschool curriculum geared towards gifted learners. It provides a challenging environment allowing their creativity to flourish! This program can be used as a full curriculum or you can choose to order bits and pieces and use them as unit studies. For this review, they were extremely generous and provided materials that I could use for two separate unit studies!

For a literature study I received the Charlotte's Web unit and for science I received Amazing Weather. 



What arrived in my MAILBOX:

~ Moving Beyond the Page Catalog
~ Charlotte's Web Curriculum Plan and Worksheets
~ Charlotte's Web Paperback Book
~ On This Day in March Paperback Book
~ Weather and Climate Paperback Book
~ Thermometer

What arrived in my INBOX:
~ Access code to 
Amazing Weather Online Curriculum 


Both of these studies are a part of a larger program designed for learners ages 7-9. The way the program is set up is there are two major divisions of materials: A Science and Social Studies Unit and a Language Arts Unit. Both can be used together and can complement one another or they can be purchased separately. Within these categories four concepts are presented and could be used throughout the year. For this age group, the four concepts are:

ENVIRONMENT
CHANGE
CYCLES
RELATIONSHIPS

These four concepts each include three Social Studies and Science units and three Literature Studies. These studies are challenging, intense and  fun! What I love about this program is everything is laid out for you in a simple manner. Most of the prep work is done for you expect for some simple science experiments or activities. Even so, most of these use materials probably already in your home and if not, there is a simple list of needed materials in the front of the curriculum to give you a heads up!




Literature Package $24.98
Includes:
~ Charlotte's Web Curriculum Plan
~ Charlotte's Web paperback by E.B. White

Online Version $20.92
Includes:
~ Charlotte's Web Online Curriculum Access
~ Charlotte's Web paperback by E.B. White


SCIENCE PACKAGE $33.97
Includes:
~ Amazing Weather Curriculum Plan 
~ On The Same Day In March by Marilyn Singer and Frane Lessac
~ Weather and Climate: Geography Facts and Experiments by Barbara Taylor 
Individual Boiling Point Thermometer

ONLINE VERSION $29.91
Includes:
~ Amazing Weather Online Curriculum Access
On The Same Day In March by Marilyn Singer and Frane Lessac
Weather and Climate: Geography Facts and Experiments by Barbara Taylor 
Individual Boiling Point Thermometer




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My children are all under the age of seven so I used this primarily with my six year old. He loved the activities and the story of Charlotte's Web! We have set aside our current read-aloud and have been using Charlotte's Web. Even my littlest one gets into it! It's amazing how many difficult and challenging words are in this book! I love to stop once in a while and use it as an opportunity to brush up on their vocabulary skills! After every few chapters, there are worksheets that can be used to allow the child to practice their writing skills, reading comprehension skills and even their science skills in this particular case!

You can either purchase a hard copy or the online version with printable PDF style worksheets. I prefer the hard copy personally, (less I have to print out!) But if you have a tablet or laptop I could see the online version working well for you. The lesson plans don't need to be printed out, only the actual worksheets. What I did enjoy about the online option was once you finished a lesson it marked it off for you and gave you a visual reminder of where you are!



 My six year old adores science and math. He recently he has learned how to tell temperature. One of the activities was to check the temperature several times a day and see which part  of the day is generally the warmest. He took a guess, and was right and enjoyed checking the temperature throughout the day.  

 The way the activities are set up is there are options. Usually an easier and more difficult option for the same activity. He was having so much fun that I had him do both options for this one! 


Pictured below he would not only check the temperature each day but describe other factors as well! 



 

I enjoyed the thematic elements  of the literature unit. There were flow charts, writing assignments, and character development. There were things that tied the story together for the child such as the theme of "Friendship," but they would also delve deeper and study particulars such as the the spider and the pig. 



The quality of this product is astounding. Everything is formated for a busy homeschool mom who wants their child to excel. It is a well-rounded program to produce a well-rounded child. I hope to use some of their other products in the near future!
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Soft Scrub Mold and Mildew Remover (Review & Giveaway)

I hate mildew. It grosses me out. Not only in my bathroom, but my kitchen as well. For some reason it likes to form in the grout of my kitchen tiles and of all places, that is the worst possible, ever! I'm preparing food there so mildew is not welcome! So even before I hit the shower tiles, I put Soft Scrub Mold and Mildew Stain Remover to the test in my kitchen! It worked right away. I was impressed. No waiting, no hard scrubing, it honestly did the work for me. It was actually kind of fun rubbing up the grime and seeing how shiny my kitchen could actually be. Then I tackled the shower. Again, sparkling clean, I would use this product again in a flash! Do you want to give it a go? 

Enter below to win 2 Bottles of Soft Scrub Gel Cleaner for yourself!



Disclaimer: I received a free product for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet Care (Review & Giveaway)



Who wants cleaner, brighter, shinier toilets? And all the moms said, "I DO!" Especially the moms with little boys. Yikes. Long gone are the days of cleaning the bathroom only once a week. No. Daily my kid's bathroom needs to be checked (of course I didn't say I'm always on top of that). Sometimes everything inside of me wants to avoid it because honestly, I'm scared of what I'll find. When I saw that Soft Scrub's 4-in-1 toilet care was up for review, I was excited. What I like about this toilet care product is that it fits right on the rim of the toilet, under the seat. I can't stand the ones that you have to open that heavy lid on top of the toilet. I don't know, it just seems gross to me and I'm always afraid I'm going to drop and crack it. This is much easier and you can actually see it working. Every time you flush, the water runs through the product causing it to clean, prevent build-up, prevent toilet ring and stays fresh for up to 4 weeks!


ENTER BELOW TO WIN!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclaimer: I received the above product free for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Power of Learning a Foreign Language

Clipart of a colored world globe that sits in a small stand, Click here to get more Free Clipart at ClipartPal.com


Back in middle school we could choose to learn a language as one of our electives. The only choices we had to pick from were Spanish and French. Even though Spanish is more popular in our country than French, I chose French. At times it just seemed like just another class for me, not a big deal. Little did I know what the power of learning one, single, foreign language could hold. When you learn a new language, a whole new part of your brain is being used, which makes it easier to learn other languages in the future. The love for traveling developed early on in life for me and had already travelled overseas before I hit the teenage years! In high school, I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of an exchange program in France. Since then, I have traveled and spent time in close to a dozen different countries. Now even though these countries weren't French speaking, some Arabic, Telegu, Dutch and others, I honestly believe that it was easier for me to adapt in these cultures because of my previous foreign language experience. This year we were able to have our children to begin to learn Spanish from a woman in our church originally from Boliva! I hope that by introducing a new language to them at this young age will develop a love and hunger to learn about other cultures as they mature!  So whether you are seeking english learning for kids for another language, I would encourage you to expose your children to a foreign language while they are still developing their little minds to hopefully instill language learning techniques that will stay with them for years to come!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Payperpost.com. All opinions stated are my own.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thrift Schooling is No Longer On Facebook


Well, sort of. If you search for Thrift Schooling on FB then yes, you will still find our page. The problem. I no longer have access to that page. It seems as soon as I went over 2,000 followers on the fan page, things went downhill. Rapidly, my numbers began dropping. Then one day when I went to sign in to my account, I was not allowed in unless I provided some further personal information. Either,
 1. My cell phone number 
 2. A photo copy of my ID 
Believe it or not, I'm one of the few people left in the world without a cell phone. You read that right. No cell phone, and by choice. And, I refuse to send FB a copy of my ID, I mean, it's FB for goodness sakes, they certainly do not need a copy of my ID. When they requested that information, the red flags went sky high in my books and I said good-bye to that social site for good!
Now how is this going to affect this blog?
Good question!
At first I was nervous thinking that I would not be able to have influence around me without being on FB. But I now realize that your areas of influence are always changing and I just need to be flexible. Instead of devoting so much time to promoting my post on FB, why not focus on Twitter, or Pinterest ?! Believe it or not, I've been having more success through Pinterest than I ever did on FB, go figure! 



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Exciting Giveaways

Enjoy these exciting giveaways!




Make Some Cash By Select Cutting Your Yard

My neighbor is the one that started it. Last summer she decided to get some trees cut down in her backyard for some extra cash. She didn't clear cut or anything drastic but the view has certainly changed. Well, after several days of having the kids outside watching the loggers (safely from a distance of course) we began thinking. Now I love having our woods, really I do, it was just those hideous pine trees directly outside my backdoor that annoyed me. So we did it. We hired the same logging company that my neighbor was using to chop down those obnoxious trees, for a small profit too! Then the snowball effect began. Another neighbor decided to jump in on the fun and before you knew what was going on, neighbor after neighbor began getting their trees cut down. The crazy thing is, several of them did indeed clear cut their entire property, making for an entire different view for the rest of us! Now I have to be honest, we didn't make a whole lot of money, but we now have a beautiful view from our back deck and we have been able to use the scrap pieces of wood left behind for certain gardening endeavors we've been wanting to try! Now, with the extra free space, I would love to get my hands on a tree rope or measuring device to help measure height and distance for all of our landscaping needs! 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Payperpost.com. All opinions are still my own.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thrifty Day Trip Ideas {Guest Post}

When you homeschool, the budget isn't always there for big vacations. Day trips are a great solution, and you can count it as a school day! Our family loves to take advantage these to break the educational doldrums; we just can't let them break the bank. Here are three thrifty day trip ideas:

#1.) Take advantage of your local National Parks and Monuments! The entrance fees are pretty low, and the facilities are always nice. We love the Junior Ranger Program, where the kids each get an age appropriate booklet to fill in the blanks, complete little games, and research facts throughout the park. When they've filled in the book they can turn it in at the ranger station and be sworn in as junior rangers, complete with badges! This is available at nearly all National Parks, and there's sure to be one near you!

Did you think all National Parks and Monuments were mountains and rivers? I'll bet you didn't know the Liberty Bell is in a National Park. It is! Lots of history is there just waiting to be discovered, on top of all the nature and beauty of the outdoors.

Things to know before you go:

  • Packing a lunch is always a good idea. Not all parks have food services. Bringing your own water bottle is not a bad idea either. 
  • Dress appropriately, and if you don't know what to wear, call the ranger station. The park near us frequently has rattlesnakes, so long pants are a must on the hiking trails. 
  • There are entrance fees, usually per vehicle. 


#2.) Many major museums are free, and can keep you busy all day. We have had the wonderful opportunity of seeing the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C., on our visits there. Any one of them would easily take an entire day to take in. Other free museums include:

On our recent trip to Kansas City, we spent and entire day at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. We really enjoyed their audio tour with iPod headphones for all the kids. It helped them to be drawn into the exhibits and stay interested in the subject matter. We found that they had family guides for the kids to fill in as we walked through the exhibits. This included fun games and little facts about each piece of art. Our only cost was parking, and we packed a lunch to eat outside.

#3.) Get to know your public servants. No matter where you live, you are not too far for a trip to your state government. With a little planning you can often have your local senator give you a guided tour of your state capitol, and then sit in on a legislative session. Maybe you could couple this with the opportunity to champion your favorite cause? Our kids have had their picture taken with the governor while advocating a healthcare issue at our state capitol. I treasure the fact that they now know they can have a voice in their world.

If you are able to head to Washington, D.C., you may find that your state's Congressman would be interested in seeing you. Often with advance notice, they are even able to give you a personal tour, or at least one of their staff can. You will find that this view of the capitol will be much more fun than the large group tours (and free too, which the regular tours are not).


Wherever you go... even if it it just a scenic drive, you will see things along the way that will be an adventure if you're willing to take the time and explore as a family. Discovering the world together doesn't have to be pricey, and I'll venture to say that you will find the experience to actually be priceless.

~~~~~

Laura is redeemed by Jesus, a wife to Ben, and a mom to 4 miracles on Earth. Making her home on the high plains, far from the east coast bustle she grew up around, she loves worshiping, homeschooling, gardening, baking, chicken keeping, reading, and being a birth Doula. Laura writes about her adventures in country life on her blog www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com.

©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. 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. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Monday, June 3, 2013

Product Review Tips {Images}


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I used Grammerly.com to grammar check this post
since a college education isn't all that it's cracked up to be!

The images you place on your product reviews are primarily what are going to make or break your review. Your images are what will draw the consumer  into your site. When you post on social media networks such as Facebook and Google +, the image along with your teaser, is what will determine whether or not you receive that page view or not.

1- CHOOSE IMAGES WISELY 
Too many images may cause a post to load slowly for someone, causing them to search for what they are looking for somewhere else! I generally tell the companies I'm pitching for that I will provide them with 3-5 pictures for a 250 word review and 5-7 for a 500 word review. These seem like enough pictures for me to get my point across without overwhelming my readers!

2- INCLUDE COMPANY LOGO AT TOP OF POST
I tend to be long winded with my opinions about a product and want to get into the nitty gritty details right away. Try to remember to focus on the company as a whole first by displaying their logo before you get into the specifics of the particular product you reviewed. If a company does not provide you with a logo, ask for one. I usually receive one via email as an attachment. Once a company sent a USB drive with their images on it to use!

-3- IF HOLDING A GIVEAWAY, SHOW THE PRIZE



-4- SHOW YOU OR YOUR FAMILY UTILIZING THE PRODUCT

If someone is reading your post then it is likely they are considering the product you are reviewing for themselves. Show them how it works and how it worked for you!


-5- DRESS UP YOUR IMAGES



I use Photobucket and Picassa to add fun borders and text to some of my images to make them more appealing to the reader!





Mom Hair

Having a bad hair day? Me too. As a mom I just don't know what to do with it sometimes. Should I leave it curly, make it straight, or just put it up? It's sad to say, but my hair is not on the top of priority list. Especially when I have three kids to make sure have clean clothes in the morning, a healthy breakfast and teeth brushed! Back in high school I was forever dying my hair, perming it or cutting it into cute styles. Now, what gets me excited, is a simple clip or hair accessory that can liven up my natural colored hair!  Fine Featherheads is a cute site that provides easy add-on accessories that can liven up any style hair! From hair chalk, to hair feathers to feather earrings this company was a wide variety of both bright and natural colored hair accessories. I don't know about you, but spending money to dye my hair each month just sounds pricy. I understand for certain reasons it is worth it, but for me the thought of going to the hairdresser, with all the kids, or trying to find a sitter just to get my hair done is daunting! I prefer the thought of find cute headbands, bandanas or clips that will add a little flair for the day! What about you? How do you manage your appearance in the midst of the child rearing years? I'd love to hear your comments!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post through Pay-Per-Post.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Discovery Online Learning Review



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Reading Horizons is Online! 

Subscribe to the Discovery At-Home Learning Software Program and provide your student 4 and up with hours of educational fun! Each parent who sets up an account can add children who are working on their reading skills to their account. Using the same methods as found in their written materials which I reviewed here.


This program is designed for all types of learners and is adaptable for the following:


Beginning Reader
Homeschool Student
Dyslexic Students
Students with Learning Disabilities
Students with poor educational background or opportunities
ESL Learners

What is Included for $199
You receive online access to the Discovery Online Software for one year. The renewal price for an additional year is $50. This program includes 63 interactive lessons that teach the students the 42 sounds of the Alphabet, the Five Phonetic Skills and Two decoding skills. Included are 22 most common words lessons which include your sight words. 13 reference lessons are provided which align to the Common Core State Standards. Stories, games and parental access to each child's administration page are also included.  



My Experience

I began implementing this program into the daily lessons of both my 5 and 6 year old. My 6 year old is already a strong reader and fast learner. This program wasn't for him. On the other hand, my 5 year old needs the extra reinforcement and practice aside from his regular reading curriculum. It took him a while before he was ready for this program. I needed to teach him the basic letter sounds, vowels, etc before he felt confident with this program. Once he had the basics down, the extra practice that this program provides was a great tool. We are still using this program as a supplement to his current reading program! I was excited to gain access to this program since I have been looking for a program comparable to Reading Eggs. This certainly fits the bill! The lessons are simple and to the point. They aren't too long but are challenging enough for him! Once he completes a lesson he wins gold coins that he can use to play games on the site. I would usually require him to do 1 to 3 lessons at a time each day for his reading practice. Since I am schooling several young children right now it is great to have an educational computer program that I can schedule into our homeschool day!







Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to the Discovery Software for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

See The Light Review

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 I had the amazing opportunity to review the DVD,  God's Special Surprise, created by Christian company See The Light. This company specializes in Christian homeschool art class DVD's. From cartooning, to Bible story themed art, See The Light provides a wide selection of art classes that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home! 
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God's Special Surprise DVD
$14.99

Includes:
3 Quality Art Lessons
The Moses Story 
Bonus Features
285 Minutes Total


Art class was not one of my strengths in school. I always admired the students who had their work displayed in the school hallway, but I was just your average art student. Looking back, I remember that art class was very cut and dry. Technique driven. Maybe if I had more focus, more drive, I would have conquered those techniques and then used them creatively in my own way. Sure art was fun, but not a passion. I remember when I finally did fall in love with art. I took an art class at Jerusalem University College while studying abroad for a semester. The entire course was devoted to one scripture alone in Genesis about Abraham and Isaac. We studied the verse, the art and made our own art. I already had a love for the Old Testament and through that class fell in love with art. So how do we instill a love for art in the lives of our children. Make it personal and connect their lessons with what they already know and love! The "God's Special Surprise" DVD certainly did just that with my two boys, five and six. Two of the three art lessons on the DVD are taken from the story of Moses, a story in which my boys are already familiar. We also recently did a study on ancient Egypt so that was still fresh in their minds. The other lesson teaches the children a fun form of lettering which is fun and enticing because it reaches them on their level. 

What makes See The Light stand out, is their use of fluorescent colors that illuminate under a black light!

Before considering using this DVD I made sure that I would have access to the materials needed to make these art projects happen! Actually, I had most of the materials already, (even the black light surprisingly enough!)
Now I am all about being thrifty and don't have a problem substituting a few things here or there when it comes to homeschool curriculum but for these art lessons there are a few things that are an absolute must!
1-Black Light: Even though the projects turn out amazing before you shine the light on it, you really will miss the whole effect without this light.
2- Fluorescent Colors: The Crayola Extreme Colors Colored Pencils are a little over $3. You need these for the light to have it's full effect.  
3- Watercolor Paper: When using watercolors, you really do need the thick watercolor paper to absorb all of the water. Also, be sure to brush the paper with water when the instructor says, otherwise the paper will curl up on you when it dries! 




Most of the materials needed for these projects I already had on hand or were easy to find. Listed below, with each of the projects found on this DVD I've compiled for you the materials needed to successfully complete each project. 
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"Hope For A Nation"
by a 6 Year Old
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"Hope For A Nation"
by a 5 Year Old
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"God's Runaway"
by a 6 Year Old
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"God's Runaway"
by a 5 Year Old

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"Surprise"
by a 6 Year Old

The easiest one to work with the kids on for me, was the Creative Lettering. It kept their attention and they wanted to do it again, which is always a good sign. The recommended ages for this video are 6 and up and I wholehearted agree. The story on the video is geared for ages 3 and up which is also appropriate. But I wouldn't recommend trying these projects with children younger than 6. My five year old enjoyed the projects at some points but his attention span wasn't always there. It also was a tad difficult working with more than one child at a time, there was a lot of pausing the video so each one could finish or keep up. I finally figured out that it worked best to watch the DVD through, with the kids on one day to see what they would be doing the following day. That way the next day they were prepared and a little more ready for the project.
See The Light carries other DVD's for this age range as well as one for 5 year  olds and ones for ages 10 and up. Feel free to read other reviews of these products by clicking the banner below!
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