Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Children's books (A REVIEW)

bookreview

We had the opportunity to read some great children's books by author Carole P. Roman. We were sent 3 soft cover book titles of our choice from her Carole P. Roman books and collections. We chose two from her pirate series, and one from  her cultures around the world series. 

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These printed books are very nice and colorful. The covers have great pictures to grab the attention of the children. The inside pages are full color with nice drawings. The words are big and easy to read.

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A glimpse of the inside of Captain No Beard

Our first title is Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a  Pirate's Life (vol. 1). This one is the first of the pirate series, but these can be read in any order. This book introduces Captain No Beard as imagined by Alexander, his crew mate Hallie (who is also his cousin), and his ship crew some fun and zany animals including a frog, a monkey, and a lion. They begin by talking pirate lingo, but have to figure out what some things mean like "shiver me timbers." They look it up, and figure out it means "Oh my goodness!" This book has a lot of fun practicing pirate talk. In the end they spot a mermaid who happens to be "Mom" coming up the stairs to bring a treat. It ends back in Alexander's room, and you see that the whole story is imagined. Kind of a fun imaginary tale. It's a fun introduction to some pirate language, and new words too.

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Our second tale is Pepper Parrot's Problem with Patience: A Captain No Beard Story (vol. 2). In this story Pepper Parrot is introduced as a new character, and the crew tries to figure out what the new crew member's job will be. They also practice a new drill aboard the ship where they learn the left and right sides and names of the ship. All the crew has to learn to be patient with the new parrot as she gets it wrong a few times. They decide to change Pepper's name because she looks more like a Polly, and of course in the end "Polly wants a cracker." They end back in Alexander's room where they decide to go downstairs to grab some crackers for a "pirate feast."

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The last title we received is If You Were me and Lived in South Korea: A Child's Introduction to Cultures around the World. I picked this one because at the time we received these we were studying and watching the Olympics, so I thought it'd be a fun addition to help the kids understand a little better about South Korea. This book is set up as a story, and talks about what life would be like if you really lived there. It even includes Korean words and pronunciations which is kind of fun. It gives just a little glimpse of some of the culture and customs. It's a great introduction. It includes things like geography (maps), food, karate, celebrations, daily life (school), and family names (like Mom and Dad).

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Overall, these are fun books. My 7 year-old liked the pirate books. They are all very kid friendly, and easy for even him to read. If you want to see what others had to say about these books and other titles you can click on the banner below.
 
Carole P. Roman books and collections {Carole P. Roman Reviews}
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Monday, March 26, 2018

U is for Unit Studies {featuring Ferdinand}

I really love unit studies. They come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes related to a theme, sometimes related to a book, and sometimes just related to a subject. I am pretty sure it's my favorite way to homeschool. But, they do exhaust me, and we don't always have a unit study going, just when the opportunity arises such as a review or a movie that is centered around a book. They are worth it though. Those always tend to be the most memorable lessons and experiences we have together.

Back in February we went to see Ferdinand the movie as part of our unit study of Ferdinand, and we had some fun with the book too using a curriculum called Five in a Row. Using Five in a Row is a nice way to do unit studies because the curriculum has a lot of great ideas all figured out already. Of course I like to throw in a few of my own as well.

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We thought of words to describe ferdinand...

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We found Spain on the map, and put our story disk on the map...

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We read a little about Columbus in our new (to us) pop up book...

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We, of course, read the book several times. We listened to it too!

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We found our favorite pictures in the book, and discussed why...

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Of course I can't remember why now...

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We used some drama cards to act out the story...

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We made some yarn bumble bees...

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That turned out way cute...

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Because there is a bee in the story...

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Someone added some personal touches to their bees, like emoji faces instead of googly eyes...

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That might have been mostly due to the fact that I couldn't find the googly eyes at the time.

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Ferdinand likes to sit and smell the flowers, so we talked about what Alex likes to do...

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We completed a lapbook...

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Part of this lapbook had some vulture elements, so we learned quite a bit about vultures... (yes there is a vulture pictured on several pages in the book, but there are no vultures really in the movie)

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It was a fun unit study. Here are some of the links for the resources we used:

Lapbook from Homeschool Share
Yarn wrapped Bees from Pinterest

I also have some ideas pinned on my FIAR pinterest board.

I am linking up to Homeschool Review Crew's Homeschool Blog Link Up.

 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Zirrly Super Beads: Jungle Animals (A REVIEW)

Zirrlycollage

We just love a new craft project, and we got to try something new with this Super Beads Jungle Animals pack from Zirrly

Super Beads Jungle Animals

Since we love other kinds of bead projects that are similar, I was excited to give these a try, and so were my kids. As soon as we received our box of Jungle Animal beads in the mail, there was no time wasted getting the package opened and digging in by one of my boys (age 9). He pulled out all the package contents, and discovered several small baggies with the different colors needed for the projects, a nice sorting tray, directions, card stock patterns, peg trays for putting the beads on, a small spray bottle (for water), and a tool for picking up the beads (shaped like a pen).

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These beads have a rubbery feel, and fit snug onto the peg board. They don't shake off the peg board easily if it gets tipped or bumped, so my son was able to sit at the couch and work on this while we did reading or watch a show. I love that the beads don't bump easily off these trays. We've had plenty of other bead projects fall apart easily after the slightest bump. These don't!

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The picture below is a close up of the beads. They are easy to grab with their rubbery feel. That pen also works pretty good, but with multiple children using this we mostly opted to use fingers. Which leads me to give a little warning that these beads do stain fingers. They have a colored coating around them, and we found our fingers stained, and even the couch arm rest because one child was wiping colored fingers on it as he worked. I think this is my only dislike about these beads.

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Stained couch armrest

How do these beads work? To start a project a pattern is picked from the card stock picture patterns included. The pattern is inserted behind the peg board (wish I had a picture for an example), and the colored beads are inserted onto the pegs following the pattern. There are even patterns for a stand for each animal. After the picture is complete it is then sprayed with water, that is it! We found that we had to spray them pretty well for the beads to stick together good, and not come a part. The drying time is about 60 minutes, although we left ours for several hours to make sure it was fully dry.

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Most of our animals stood up very well. The lion was a little heavy at the head, so we just laid him down. The zebra had issues when he was made, so he looks like he's jumping, but for the most part all our animals stand very well. They are pretty fun to look at. Oh, and Aric took a little creative freedom in changing the color of the beads for one animal, so that is why the monkey is multiple colors. We ran out of the colors we needed for him, so I had to get creative. That's not what the pattern for the monkey or the elephant looked like originally.

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Overall, these beads are pretty neat. I enjoyed working on them with my children. They really enjoyed them too. I am considering getting more of these for an upcoming trip since they are easy to finish, and stay on the tray well. If you'd like to see what others had to say about these beads you can click on the banner below. There were several other different bead sets reviewed like the Super Beads Spinning Tops set, it looks pretty fun too! There are many fun sets to choose from. Check them out at Zirrly!


Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Pi Day city

We didn't get to eat any pie on Pi day. It was sad. But, I thought this worksheet that Alex got from his class at the charter was pretty neat. He made "Pi Day city!" Such a simple fun math activity.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

MathArt Online (A REVIEW)

natureGlo's eScience

We had the opportunity to try out a really unique homeschooling curriculum/resource that combines Art and Math in real life. NatureGlo's eScience has four classes that inspire the learner to dig deeper and look at math in a different way through videos, slides, and projects. For this review we focused on the Math Connections with the Real World 6-week Online Class which is included in the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle that we received. Although, I am excited to get to the other 3 classes after this one!

MathArt Online

All of the MathArt courses are online courses where you have the choice to watch pre-recorded videos that show all the slides with narration by Gloria (the teacher), and/or you can download all the slides if you just want to go through them on your own. I liked having the ability to do either of those options. It was nice to hear the teachers comments along with the slides if we had time for the videos. If we didn't have time for the videos we could just review the slides. After the slides/videos there are quizzes, and projects. Lots and lots of great project ideas. They included things like watching extra YouTube videos, other blogger ideas for art or baking projects, informational websites with more information, lapbooks and printougs, and much much more. We tried a few of the projects, and even came up with some of our own! I will get to those in a little bit.

The flow of the courses is very nice. The 6 lessons are laid out in order, and as the student moves through each part of the lesson they mark it complete for a visual of how much they have completed. They also earn a badge for each lesson they complete. Each lesson is supposed to take about a week to finish which makes it a 6-week course with 6 total lessons. There are several components to each lesson and can be completed at the students own pace. Rather than having one student complete the course, we used it as a family course adjusting for the different ages. There were so many great projects that I found something for everyone. Although the lessons and slides are really geared for older elementary, middle school and up.

Projects

There were many great MathArt projects we wanted to do. I wanted to do all of them, but some were quite time consuming, so we had to be careful what we chose with the time we had. These projects are very critical in making the math connections with the real world, and kind of bring the lessons/slides to life.

There were several lesson plans to print out for projects and one of the lesson plans we did was an introduction to Fibonacci numbers for 4th graders, and one of the projects to go with that lesson plan was to practice making a golden rectangle or Fibonacci rectangle using graph paper. I also used this to help them get ready for making golden rectangle sugar cookies which is the next project.

Even my 1st grader totally got this. Here he is making his golden rectangle on graph paper.

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His completed golden rectangle complete with spiral.

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1st grader Golden Rectangle

My son was inspired to do his golden rectangle on Minecraft. He was pretty excited, and I loved that he could do it in a way that gets him excited about it.

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Minecraft Golden Rectangle by Aaron (6th grade)
Next we were on to the sugar cookie golden rectangle project suggested in lesson 3. The idea for this project is from a blog called Almost Unschoolers, and gives great instructions on how to make a cookie golden rectangle. It is also suggested to read this book too, Blockhead, The Life of Fibonacci. I love having book tie ins!

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We started out by mixing up our cookie dough.

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And separating it into 6 bowls with 6 different colors. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the portions. Of course the portions will be separated into different sizes according to which part of the golden rectangle it will make.

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This is where we went wrong. We made everything too big, and our rectangles look more like squares. It was kind of a flop, but size does matter! I want to go back and do it over again. Also, my son added way too much food coloring. We had a little lesson on how a little food coloring can go a long way. His hands were blue for a few days! It was a fun experience though. We didn't even bother doing the spiral since it wasn't the right shape, but we should have also used some melted chocolate to make a spiral.

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The other classes included in the bundle include MathArt in Ancient Cultures, MathArt in the Arts and Sciences, and MathArt--Patterns in Nature. All of these courses are set up in the same way with 6-weeks of lessons, and many projects. Also, I forgot to mention that at the beginning of each lesson is a workbook study guide to download. It has fill-in the blank questions for the slides, journal entries, quizzes, and an answer key. I printed it up and we filled it in as we watched through the slides.

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An example of one of the pages from the study guide.
Overall, we loved this MathArt course. I am excited to get to the rest of them. It is very inspiring, and I love the real-world connections. This is a type of learning that I love to see in our homeschool. If you'd like to see more of the other courses, the review crew all picked different courses to try out from the bundle. You can click on the banner below, and see what they did!


MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle {NatureGlo's eScience Reviews}

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Pineapple

Dear pineapple peeler corer slicer cutter, where are you? This pineapple has been waiting to get cut all week! If you don't show up soon I might have to do it by hand, and we all know that takes way too long. Please come back! Sincerely, me.

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Taming the Lecture Bug (A REVIEW) ~ a book for parenting

parenting made practical

Parenting is hard, and some days I wonder if I will ever get it right and figure out how to be the best Mom with all the right "moves." It is something I definitely need more information on every moment of every day as parenting doesn't take a break, ever. We (Hubby and I) are always saying we should get more books to read on parenting to help us figure it all out. But which ones should we read? Which ones have all the answers (or at least some)? I don't know the answer to that question, but I was happy to receive this book Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think, from Parenting Made Practical to get started.

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think Book

What is Taming the Lecture Bug all about? Aren't lectures good? Do they really get through to our children? The answer in this book is, no. What we really need to do is turn the tables on the children, and get them to think. They aren't really "hearing" our lectures, and lecturing alone doesn't really get them to think or be accountable for their own actions. "When you lecture, your kids are unengaged because they know nothing is required of them." (page 19, Taming the Lecture Bug). Parenting requires more action, and less talking at our children about the things we are upset with them about. If they haven't taken out the garbage do we lecture them for the umpteenth time about how important it is to take out the garbage, and nag to get them to do it over and over again? Or, do we put the responsibility on their shoulders? This book has some great insight on how to do just that.

Taming the Lecture Bug also goes into how we need to train our children's heart, called heart-training, or teachable heart. Getting the kids to think about their actions leads them to have a teachable heart where they can think beyond themselves and really internalize how their actions affect others. There are several chapters on this, and even specific questions to guide the parent on what they can ask their children as they are heart-training their child.

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A great quote that helped me feel less discouraged about my past parenting mistakes

The cool thing about reading this book is that I found myself nodding my head a lot, and really just saying "yes!" to everything that I read. The hard part about reading this book was that I worried about all the mistakes I have made already as a parent. I already have felt the weight of my bad parenting moments before this, but instead of getting discouraged about it, there is a lot of encouragement in this book. This quote was one of my favorites as far as feeling bad goes: "Don't get discouraged if you have older children and have never before used teaching like what you are reading in this book. Don't get overwhelmed either. Take it one step at a time and you will see progress. Be more determined than your children are and you will succeed." Steve and Leslie, Iowa.

It's easy to get discouraged when reading a parenting book, and feel like you've made too many mistakes already, but really with this parenting book I found myself more inspired as I thought about the things I was reading, and how I can use them with my own children. This book has a lot to offer, and has great insight to some of the "smooth moves" of parenting. With that said, I am really interested in some of the other titles that Parenting Made Practical has to offer. Some of the other crew members read different books like Why Can't I Get my Kids to Behave and some even watched some videos/DVD's like Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate...What Works DVD. Both of those sound pretty interesting. There is also a DVD to go along with Taming the Lecture Bug, I didn't receive it, but others did. Might be interesting to see that too. Just click on the banner below to see what they had to say.

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}
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