Homeschool Creations

Monday, November 30, 2009

1,500 Subscribers Celebration…

1500 Subscriber Banner

See that lovely little Feedburner stat box over in the sidebar?? Little by little it’s been creeping up closer to the number 1,500.

Truthfully, I am overwhelming shocked and humbled that this blog has grown so quickly over the last year and since it’s all happening because of YOU, it’s time to CELEBRATE!!!

Behind the scenes I’ve been pulling together some great surprises for you all ~ a little something for everyone! So stay tuned, because as that number reaches 1,500 the giveaways will begin! And if you aren’t already a subscriber to my blog…you can help us hit that number a little sooner by either entering your email address in the box or clicking on the RSS feed button.

I can’t wait to share all the fun stuff with you!


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Raising Rock Stars ::Week 4::

Raising Rock Stars

This week we ‘kicked it up a notch’ during our family time. We’ve started a morning prayer time together ~ just sitting at the breakfast table, putting our prayer requests down on paper and taking turns praying for the requests.

Some of the concerns the kids have had are so absolutely sweet, and they have brought up things that I many times overlook. I am really excited about this part though ~ knowing that it will give us a chance to see the many different ways that God answers our prayers and listens to us.

The Girls

This week we mainly reviewed the past verses the girls have learned and made sure that our little verse photo books were up to date with all of our verse cards. Their main assignment for the week was to tell me about one of the Bible people they have been learning about and also a few verses from the last few months.

Both girls are also a part of the Christmas program at church, so we’ve been reviewing lines and songs as well. We’re also gearing up for Advent! Next week we’ll be adding in some advent readings each evening ~ which we are all really excited about!

The Boys

Zachary’s lessons this week focused on Noah, so we added in a few little extras this week with our studies {full resources below}. We did several things as part of Zachary and Kaleb’s regular school time since they weren’t just ‘Bible’ related. Kaleb made his own Noah book too, which I'll show you all a little later in a Tot School post. :)

Our Christian bookstore had some attendance sticker sheets/charts that were all about Noah, so I picked up a few of those for the boys to match up the animals and make their own ark scene.


Quite a few of the activities we did fit into a mini-lapbook {these were made from a file folder that was cut in half horizontally}. Zachary had some math and reading activities in his lapbook too.


Zachary’s verse this week was John 17:17.

Resources we used:
That's it for this week! Don't forget to visit Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and visit around to some of the other Raising Rock Star posts this week!


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Instant Challenge ~ Boat Race


We joined along again this week for the second Instant Challenge hosted by Michelle @ Delightful Learning. Our challenge this week? Make a boat, have it FLOAT, and race it!

The materials:

  • 3 straws
  • 10 craft sticks
  • 3 Styrofoam cups
  • 3 marshmallows
  • 1 piece of string
  • 1 piece of foil
  • 3 mailing labels
  • 2 chenille sticks
  • 1 piece of paper

I am ever so pleased to announce that this challenge went much more smoothly than the first one ~ as in there was much sibling cooperation and happiness. {yeah!}

We set up two separate tables this time ~ one for building the actual boat and then one for the ‘test zone’ where we put the boat in the water. The girls had two minutes to talk through their building plan with each other.


Once they had a set plan in place {it took less than the 2 minutes}, they started working together to build their boat. Laurianna worked on the base of the boat, folding the paper into a basket shape while McKenna ripped the mailing labels in strips so they had more pieces to secure the corners.


When the base of the boat was done, they wrapped it in tinfoil so that the water wouldn’t seep onto the paper and make it wet.


To help give the boat a little added float power, they poked the three marshmallows through the center with the straws and formed a triangle shape for the boat to ‘sit’ on top of. To help the boat stay on top of the marshmallow raft, they tied it around the boat using the piece of string.


The craft sticks were used to reinforce the bottom of the boat and they used one of the cups as a ‘boathouse’ of sorts, sticking one of the chenille stems as a mast and using the paper the mailing labels came on as a sail.

Instant Challenge Boat Race

Test #1: Sea-worthy and floatable? CHECK!!


Test #2: Will it race? YES!! They stayed well behind the line and it went across the water easily {and well!}.


Our Score:

  • 10/10 points for having a completed boat at the end of Part One.
  • 25/30 points for speed on the water ~ it could have been a little faster!
  • 10/20 points for creativity in how the boat went across ~ the blowing wasn’t super creative, but it did get the job done!
  • 20/20 points for creativity in using materials. They used almost everything ~ two cups were left over, but they made good use of even the backing for the mailing labels.
  • 20/20 points for teamwork. This week was such a polar opposite from the last challenge. They did GREAT together!

Overall Score: 85/100

This challenge was a little easier for the girls overall, I think mainly because they understood it a lot better than last time too {easier to picture in their minds what was being asked}. They were excited that it even held several Little People and still floated around in the water…and so was Kaleb!


We’re gearing up for the next challenge: Cup Holder! "Up for a Challenge?" is a weekly meme designed to get students involved in critical thinking and creative problem solving by doing an Instant Challenge. If you are interested in being a part of the Instant Challenges, you can find out more here.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Life on the Farm ~ Preschool Edition {Review}

We R Fun

When I first received a box from the We R Fun company and I opened it up to find the preschool version of Life on the Farm, I hid it on the fridge and out of the kid’s sight for two reasons:

  1. They would want to play it right away.
  2. They would want to play it over and over again.

I was right…but fortunately for me they didn’t see it until I was ready for them to see it! Because when it made it’s debut, the kids were VERY excited ~ especially since they beat me every single time {and can I just say, I don’t care much for losing???}.

Life on the Farm Preschool

We have been playing with the preschool version of Life on the Farm and I am very impressed with the quality of the game and the durability of it! And if you know Zachary {our 5 year old} well enough, the fact that it survived the first 10 minutes of play is proof enough of that! I'm thrilled because it's also going to be a great game for Kaleb {almost 3} to play ~ and it's rare that he plays along with the big kids. Usually games are too much above his level, but we can easily help him out with this one.

About the Game

Life on the Farm is really simple to play and the kids caught on right away. The game board is made of five foam puzzle pieces that go together quickly. Once put together, there is a path of colored squares that take players around the board, with farm animals along the path.

Preschool Life on the Farm

Each player has a thick foam barn that has places to put different farm animal pieces into {pig, sheep, goat, cow, horse, etc…} and you collect the pieces by landing on certain squares. Traveling around the board is easy too ~ you draw color cards from a pile and move to the appropriate color square.

My Thoughts

Do I like this game? Yes, I do!!! One of the main reasons that I would recommend it is the quality of the board. We have a lot of board games that meet an untimely end in this house because the boards are folded in the wrong direction and ripped apart. The ‘game board’ itself is made of a thick foam ~ as well as the game pieces. Huge bonus points from me on this point!


A few more things that I love:

  • the colors are bright and vivid
  • the graphics are cute!
  • each game piece has a different shape: heart, circle, square, etc…so you can also work on naming/recognizing shapes
  • the game focuses on colors to move around the board, so you are also working on color naming skills
  • helps with puzzle skills too as kids put the animals in their barns
  • and the obvious ~ naming farm animals, etc…
  • it’s non-toxic…for all those little ones that might like to chew on pieces while watching their older siblings play

Find Out More

If this is a game that your little ones might be interested in {and don’t complain to me if they beat you over and over again…}, you can purchase the game through the We R Fun website for $20 {plus s/h}. The game is also available through Amazon {$19.99}. We R Fun also offers a version of Life on the Farm for kids ages 8 and up that might work for your family too!

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.

This product was given to me for review purposes,
and I do not have
to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post.

All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


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Sunday, November 22, 2009

For Real ~ Really!!

Years ago, when people first began ‘meeting’ over the internet, I was a tad bit cynical about the relationships that developed. Ok ~ maybe more then a tad. Last year I met Mary from Not Before 7, and last week I was BLESSED beyond measure to meet two more wonderful ladies IN REAL LIFE!!

{you can insert some squeals of excitement here}


Carisa from 1+1+1=1 and Totally Tots I had far too much fun {and got together more than one day}. We hung out at her house, spent some time working on behind the scenes things for the Totally Tots site, wandered the aisles of several fun stores ~ but just enjoyed the time we had together and getting to know each other on a different level. I even got to play along with Krash for some Tot School fun, cuddle with the cute Lil’ Ladybug and have PacMan show me a thing or too on some itouch games. And seriously? I think her husband, Frank, was more than a little relieved to see that I'm a real, living person ~ and normal...well, mostly. :)


Wednesday we traveled to meet up with Jill from Forever n Ever n Always and spent most of the day with her and 8 of her kiddos! It was gorgeous day, so we were able to spend some time outside and just play together. And all those kids? These are all unedited pics ~ they are all THAT stinkin’ cute! And sweet. And amazingly wonderful!

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These two ladies have challenged me on so many different levels over the last few months and God has blessed me exceedingly, abundantly ~ more than I ever imagined with their friendships! TRULY! I am honored to call them friends ~ and know that we’ve just scratched the surface of our friendship.

If you want to see some more pictures, you can also visit these posts:


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Friday, November 20, 2009

TouchSmart Giveaway!!

HP TouchSmart 600 Giveaway

Scribbit has a HUGE and AMAZING giveaway right now that is just TOO good not to pass along to you all ~ an HP TouchSmart computer!!

RUN and visit Scribbit to get all the details!


Preschool Corner: Preschool Planning Form

Want to know how much we actually did this week?


I played hookey. Serious hookey. As in 'leaving the state and escaping spending time with my husband and meeting a GREAT blogging friend in real life' hookey.

Meaning nothing got accomplished in the way of schoolwork {unless you count Mommy getting re-energized a part of schoolwork}. Which really ~ that is VERY important, no? {grins}

And I can't wait to share more on my meeting with Carisa from 1+1+1=1 and Jill from Forever 'n Ever 'n Always. Such absolute fun. Really and truly!!! But she holds all the picture I'm at her mercy!

BUT...I do have something to share with you all! I realized the other day that I never shared my preschool planning pages with you all, so it's another printable this week for you all {and yes...they do look a lot like my Tot School planning forms ~ just a little different}.

Click on the thumbnail to download printable

I'm also working like crazy behind the scenes to get the preschool part of my website up and running so you all can access my printables in one easy place...little by little it's getting there. But enough about our crazy week, tell me all about the fun that's going on at your place!!!

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and include a link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

GyMathtics {Review}


A few weeks ago we received a DVD from Exploramania called GyMathtics to review for the Homeschool Crew. The kids were so excited when they saw the kids exercising on the front cover and wanted to try it right away.


About the Product

Exploramania was started to help children develop healthy lifestyles and also a love for learning. The Gymathtics DVD is a 30 minute exercise routine that incorporates math facts and learning into the routine. It includes four sections:

  • Shape Stretches Warm Up: Kids stretch their bodies and form lines, circles, and polygons.
  • Counting Calisthenics: Aerobic time for kids along with counting by 5’s, 10’s, odd and even intergers.
  • Pattern Power: Exercises are done with repeating patterns.
  • Well-Being Wind Down: Cool down time for kids.

Gymathtics In Action

The target age range for Gymathtics is 2nd through 5th grade because of the concepts that it covers, but personally I would put it in a younger range {K – 3rd}. Our three oldest {8, 7, and 5} have enjoyed it quite a bit and pull their ‘exercise mats’ {a.k.a. towels} out several times a week to get some exercise in. In fact, when I went out of town for a few days and the kids were left with ‘homework’ they wanted Gymathtics on their list ‘to do’ each day ~ 'cause they’re strange like that! {grins}


Find Out More

The DVD is currently available for purchase directly through the Exploramania site for $24.99 {with free s/h} and also through Amazon. The company also has several other exercise products available, including a second DVD in the Gymathtics series, a math mat, and several math balls.

While this DVD is a hit in our house, be sure to consider the age range of your kids when purchasing. I’m happy that our kids are getting some exercise and some energy out while reviewing math concepts, but older kids might not be as thrilled with the content.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not
have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post.
All opinions expressed in this post are mine.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Learning About Nigeria {Week 2}

The girls were a little more excited about Nigeria this week because they realized the Compassion child we support lives very close by to Nigeria. This week we focused more on the book The Village of Round and Square Houses. The book actually takes place in the neighboring country of Cameroon, but we had fun trying to recreate a round house similar to one someone might live in the Central Africa region. For some reason, collecting twigs and sticks was a HUGE excitement for the kids. :)


  • Reviewed geography song of West Africa
  • Reviewed things we talked about last week: flag of Nigeria, geography terms {rainforest, plains, plateau, gulf}
  • Completed a mapping activity of Nigeria and surrounding countries {see below}

Nigeria map Click on thumbnail to download pdf file

  • Review geography song
  • Read The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi
  • Created a round house like the ones in the story. We collected twigs/sticks and made a miniature version of the house.
Wednesday Thursday
  • Review geography song
  • Tried saying some phrases in Nigerian Pidgin {English is the native language of Nigeria, but many speak a form of Pidgin {a mix of native languages and English}
  • Reading together book on Nigeria {from our bookshelf}
  • Stamped our passports and we’re packing our bags for a trip to South Africa next week!
Resources and Websites Books We're Using


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Monday, November 16, 2009 {Review}


AVKO is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping students who struggle with reading and dyslexia. They provide low-cost materials for teachers, homeschoolers and others based on the multisensory approach {AVKO stands for Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic, Oral}, specifically in the area of language arts ~ reading, spelling, handwriting and keyboarding.

You may think you’ve never heard of AVKO before, but if you are familiar with the program Sequential Spelling, you do know them. AVKO is the company behind Sequential Spelling and also Engaging Language. As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I received a complimentary basic membership to the AVKO site to browse through the services that they offer.

Membership to AVKO

AVKO offers two different levels of site membership: Basic {$25} and Deluxe {$100}. Both memberships are for a one year period and include:

The Deluxe membership also offers read-only access to all of their products online.

Find Out More

If you’ve been looking at purchasing any of the programs that AVKO offers, including Sequential Spelling, a membership to the site might be beneficial to you, especially because of the 25% materials discount. While I personally do not have a need for the site at this point, I know that there are many families that would benefit from the helps that the AVKO site does offer.

The AVKO site can be a little overwhelming {and a little confusing to navigate} because there is a LOT of information. I would offer a word of caution ~ pre-read anything that you might be presenting to your child. Both To Teach a Dyslexic and the Readings for Comprehension contain some one-liners and puns that might be offensive to people.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have
to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post.
All opinions expressed in this post are mine.

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