Homeschool Creations

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Do You See What I See??

I was at our local library the other day and couldn’t remember the name to something, but knew I had blogged about it, so I pulled up my homeschool blog and sat looking at the screen a little puzzled.

It didn’t look the same at all on their computer.

Which then got me curious as to how it looks on yours. I’m using Firefox as my browser, but the library uses Internet Explorer. If you use IE, could you let me know ~ does the top of my blog look like this to you?

image I’m specifically wondering if you see the blue navigational bar right underneath my blog header. It’s a drop down menu that wasn’t on the computer at the library ~ just the ‘home’ button.

My apologies if the ‘home’ button is all you see ~ you all must have thought I was a little crazy taking a bunch of stuff out of my sidebar and not giving you any links!

I’d love to know what it looks like for you all, especially since it means I need to fiddle with some html if it isn’t working properly!! I’m using IE 8 and it wasn’t showing up on one of my computers either until I adjusted the width of the bar…so I’m thinking it might have to do with monitor/screen size.

Thanks for your help!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trusting God ~ Raising Rock Stars

Raising Rock Stars

Even though I brought things along for us to do on vacation {again, grand plans}, we didn’t get around to doing all that I had wanted to do. Now that we’re back home we’re back on our children’s Bible Reading Plan and still reading in Genesis. We’ve been reading about Sodom and Gomorrah {Gen 19}, Hagar and Ishmael {Genesis 21}, Abraham’s Decision {Genesis 22}, Eliezar  {Genesis 24}, Isaac and Rebekah {Genesis 24}, Jacob and Esau {Genesis 25}, and Jacob tricking his father {Genesis 27}.

After reading about Abraham’s faith being tested with the sacrifice of Isaac, we did a fun little activity from the Hands-On Bible to go-along with the passage in Genesis 22. It was to help remind us to trust God ~ even when it is tough.

Each of the kids went outside and found a smooth rock that would fit into their pocket. Using a sharpie, we drew pictures on the rocks to remind us of something that we have trouble trusting God with. Here’s a peek at Laurianna’s rock:


I don’t know if you can quite see it, but it has some ‘echo’ marks and ‘woooo, woooo’ sounds on it to represent scary noises at night. The picture on the right is a girl laughing {with her mouth open} ~ laughing because she trusts that God is protecting her and watching over her.

We’ve also been listening along to the Bible Eyewitness Collector’s set from Adventures in Odyssey {a walk through the Bible for kids}. It was so much fun to see the kids suddenly make connections between what we were reading to in the Bible and listening to on the cd’s {for example, Rebekah was Laban’s sister ~ and the kids suddenly realized that he was an uncle to Jacob and Esau and it further connected the stories for them}.

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!

Hands-on Bible You can learn more about the Hands-On Bible from their website and also purchase the Bible directly from Amazon. A few sample activities can be found here. We are loving this Bible and the creativity that it offers {and the fact that Mommy has a little less planning to do too!}.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nancy Larson Homeschool Science {Review}

Nancy Larson Homeschool Science

Until this year, science was one of my LEAST favorite areas to teach the kids. It was the one thing that I went to our homeschool convention hoping to find. When I passed the booth for Nancy Larson Homeschool Science, I was intrigued. After stopping by, I ended up spending {literally} hours talking with the ladies there. It was the BEST stop of my convention trip.

We’ve been using Nancy Larson Homeschool Science 1 for the last 6 weeks and science time has become one of the most enjoyable and fun subjects we work on together as a family. The kids don’t want to stop and because of how the lessons are put together, neither do I!

About the Science Program

Nancy Larson Homeschool Science is a complete homeschool science program that currently has three levels available with an emphasis on Life Science for Science 1, Physical Science in Science 2, and Earth and Space in Science 3.

We are using Science 1 with our oldest three children, and it focuses on the following areas:

  • Developmental Biology: life stages of human beings
  • Botany: observing trees
  • Earth and Space: exploring sunlight, water and soil
  • Zoology: investigating animals and their habitats
  • Anatomy: discovering what is inside our bodies
  • Entomology: examining the characteristics and life cycle of insects

Nancy Larson Science 1

The Science 1 complete program includes a Teacher’s Manual, Student Materials, Resource Materials, and a Tool Kit ~ almost everything that you need to begin using it immediately {minus the pens, pencils and some basic household items} with one child. Additional student units can be ordered if you want to use the same level with more than one child.

Nancy Larson teacher's manual The Teacher’s Manual is AMAZING!! The lesson plans are scripted, giving examples of what the teacher and student dialogue should be and lessons are completely laid out for the teacher. Supply lists are included at the start of each lesson, so you can quickly grab what you need and have it ready for the lesson {a big help!}.  You can view a sample of a lesson here.

Each level of the Nancy Larson Science program includes the following learning tools in the Student Material packet:

Nancy Larson Studen Materials

  • Student Booklets ~ help children highlight important information from the lessons, draw pictures that correspond to the lessons, and record information that they are learning during their lessons
  • Lesson Reviews ~ questions to help the children review information from the current and prior lessons
  • Study Guides ~ a review of the information in the student booklets
  • Assessments ~ a little something to help you assess what your child is learning from the lessons.

Laurianna science

Laurianna illustrating a lesson in her Student Booklet

Each Science Level also includes a Teacher Resource CD that provides extra information relevant to that level: complete supply lists, photographs to go along with lessons, word lists, and more.

The Tool Kit for the Science 1 program includes all of the hand-on manipulatives and books that you will use throughout the year: pine cones, tree cookie, hand lens, x-ray set, Live Butterfly Garden®, Butterfly Larvae Coupon, Ladybug Land™, Ladybug Larvae Coupon, insect learning cards, plastic insects and spiders set, and the following books: What Do Scientists Do?, Peterson First Guide to Trees, Trees to Paper, Familiar Insects and Spiders, Your Insides, and The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree.

You can view more information on any of the homeschool science programs on Nancy Larson’s website.

My Thoughts

I don’t know that I can say that I have one favorite thing about the program, because it all fits together as a wonderful program. Having  everything I could possibly need included in the Complete Program is definitely wonderful. I didn’t have to run around town to find random items or hunt down random books to use with the program. I also love that I don’t need to plan any lessons because it is all done for me!

I mentioned that we’ve been using it with our three oldest children {ages 5, 7, and 9}. Nancy Larson Homeschool Science has literally turned our science learning time around. We have our science time twice a week and when we have finished one lesson, the kids all beg me to keep going. This is a huge difference from year’s prior when the kids did not want to work on what we were supposed to…and neither did I. We all look forward to science time now and I look forward to using future levels of Nancy Larson Homeschool Science.

While talking to the ladies from Nancy Larson science at the homeschool convention, I was amazed to hear that seven years of research, planning, and development go into EACH level of the curriculum. It is field tested for several years of that time, so that when it arrives on your doorstep you are ready to go. I can’t say enough how thoroughly impressed I am with the curriculum as a whole ~ or how highly I recommend it to other homeschool families.

Find Out More

You can view and purchase all of the products available from Nancy Larson Homeschool Science on her website. A few other things to note:

  • Science 1 is designed for ages 5-8; Science 2 for ages 7-9; Science 3 for ages 8-11
  • Science K Homeschool Kit is scheduled to be released the summer of 2011. Science 4 Homeschool Kit should release the summer of 2012. Science 5 Homeschool Kit is scheduled to be released summer of 2013.
  • Check out the Blooming Scientists blog ~ the homeschooling parent community from Nancy Larson.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments or contact Madon Dailey directly, a representative of Nancy Larson Homeschool, if you have any specific questions. She is wonderful and would be happy to help you out!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Magneatos ~ A Guidecraft Mom Review and Giveaway


I mentioned last week that I will be a part of the Guidecraft Mom Blogger team for the next year ~ reviewing some fabulous educational toys and also sharing some great giveaways with you all. The first products we were sent to review were the 36 piece Magneatos set and also the curved Magneatos ~ and they have been a HUGE hit in our house!


What are Magneatos?

The name pretty much sums it up ~ Magneatos are magnets and NEAT, making a toy that will provide hours of open-ended exploration for children. Magneatos are recommended for ages 2+, brightly colored and jumbo in size ~ the perfect size for little hands to easily grasp and manage. Each of the magnetic balls is about 2” in diameter. The short Magneato rods are 3” long and the large rods are 5 1/2” long.

36 piece Magneatos set

24 piece curved Magneatos

12 circles

6 long tubes

18 short tubes

8 circles

4 long curves

12 short curves


What can you create with Magneatos? It’s only limited to your imagination!

What Do We Think?

We received the 36 piece Magneatos set and also the curved Magneatos to play with {we now also have the Jumbo Master Builder Series set…yes, we love them that much}. I expected that only Kaleb and Zachary would be interested in them. I was wrong!

All of the kids have been asking to play with them and getting creative in how they use them. We’ve been making animals, building structures of every sort, creating shapes, making letters, discovering what the magnets will stick to {ahem}, and just having fun.

IMG_7726   IMG_8166  

The curved Magneatos are available through the Guidecraft website and also available from Amazon. The 36 piece Magneatos set is also available through Guidecraft or Amazon.

The Giveaway

Do you want to know the best part?? Guidecraft has offered to giveaway BOTH sets of Magneatos to one of my readers!! Ready to win??

image      image

Mandatory first entry: Visit the Guidecraft website and let me know what other product you love! Leave a comment and tell me!

For additional entries after you’ve left your first comment {leave a separate comment for each entry}:

~ Become a friend of Guidecraft of Facebook

~ Leave this message on Guidecraft’s Facebook page:

Guidecraft has amazing educational products! I just entered to win 2 Magneatos sets at Homeschool Creations:

~ Follow Guidecraft on Twitter ~ be sure to leave me your twitter name!

~ Send out a tweet about this contest. You can copy/paste the tweet below if you’d like!

@jolantheerb is hosting a giveaway for 2 sets of Magneatos from @Guidecraft. Enter to win here: Ends 10/3.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only. Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry. The contest will be open until Sunday, October 3rd at 8pm EST and a winner will be chosen using

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As a Guidecraft Mom blogger, I was provided this product to review. I was not paid for this post and all opinions expressed in this post are mine…or my kids.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Walking Through History

I had high and lofty plans this past week and in the end, we focused mainly on PE.

Walking, that is. Lots and lots of walking.

We spent a few days in Colonial Williamsburg together as a family and although I brought some ‘fun’ stuff for Kaleb to do during the time we weren’t actually walking around, we didn’t do anything structured at all.

Instead we spent time swimming in pool where we stayed, playing on the playground and then exploring all the nooks and crannies of Colonial Williamsburg.

Our first day in Williamsburg, we visited the plantation and the kids were put to work pulling up corn stalks and dragging them to a wagon to haul them away. Kaleb kept asking all day long to visit the house with the guns {the Governor's Palace} ~ but he was just as excited, if not more, to visit the Magazine.

 IMG_7869 IMG_7905

Kaleb was excited to have animals handy to pet and touch. The horses walking around town were a huge excitement…as was the chicken on a leash {which makes me think that maybe we can pass a chicken off as a pet, right?}.

IMG_7972 IMG_7981

A little rest time to look at all the fish in the creek and even more time to try locking each other up in the stockades. :)

IMG_8002  IMG_8049

Our FAVORITE part of the trip? A dinner at Chowning’s Tavern right on the main street of Williamsburg. We had some wonderful entertainment, learned some fun games, watched a magic show that now has our children convinced they all can be magicians. A most fun night!


This is a picture that pretty much sums up Kaleb’s week though ~ on Daddy’s shoulders since he did so much walking and those little legs of his were t.i.r.e.d.


Kaleb’s special present for the week was a posable Colonial doll to use and go along with the ABC cards that we found. He is already having fun trying them out. In case you are interested, you can find the Hotch Potch dolls online at the Williamsburg Marketplace ~ not sure if the cards are still available, since I found them last year in a shop in Williamsburg. We have the medium-sized doll {$7.95}.

 IMG_8083 IMG_8084

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Great Science Resources ~ Homeschool Village

Homeschool Village

The topic this week at the Homeschool Village is science. Truthfully, this is an area that until recently I wouldn’t have recommended much of anything ~ because we were inconsistent and hadn’t found anything that worked and was enjoyed by all of us.

Until this year that is.

What made the difference? I’ll give you a little teaser and tell you that Nancy Larson Homeschool Science has been pivotal in changing our minds. Both the kids and I are excited about the Science 1 program that we’ve been using this year…and I’ll be sharing more about it next Tuesday with you all!

In addition to our new science program, we’ve started doing simple {but How to Do Science Experiments with Childrenfun} experiments using the book How to Do Science Experiments with Children. The experiments use easy-to-find objects and also include record sheets for kids to fill out with their predictions and experiment results. Each experiment also includes teaching tips and explanations. Here are a few of the fun experiments we’ve done using this book:

Don’t forget to visit Homeschool Village and see what other moms are sharing about this topic!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

In Williamsburg…

Just popping in to post a few pictures of our time in Williamsburg so far. We put the kids to work right away cleaning up corn husks…

corn field

so they could make their own dolls…

corn husk doll

Saw some great hands-on demonstrations of life in Colonial times…


Are contemplating some new methods of discipline…


Saw chickens on leashes…


And are spending time together. :)


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Friday, September 17, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Back in the Swing…mostly

We finally got some answers earlier this week to what has been going on with Kaleb {thank the LORD!} and I think I’m just as relieved to know that I haven’t been imagining it all. He is on another round of {yucky} antibiotics and already doing so much better! It’s amazing how much of a difference it has made in our day overall.

Here’s a little peek at how Kaleb’s workboxes shaped up for the week. Our focus this week was on the letters A-C. During the week I rotated between two different items in some of the boxes. The last 3 boxes were our ‘special’ boxes that he gets to do after he has finished the other boxes. Note: this workbox grid is a part of my preschool planning forms.

Workbox Planning Grid Image

Mama Jenn shared a GREAT idea for storing salt in a homemade salt box. We use our salt as a tactile way to draw/trace letters. Storing the salt is SO much easier this way {thanks, Jenn!!}.

Salt letter tracing

I mentioned last week that I was going to pull out some fun things that I had in hiding. I ordered the Grasshopper Preschool Prep Kit {ABC’s and Following Directions} and when I pulled it out Kaleb was very excited. :) I divided out a few of the activities into his workboxes.

The letter tracing gel set from the kit was one of his favorites {even the big kids liked playing with it. The magnetic ABC fishing game was another hit. I put out the letters A through E and he would tell me which letter he was fishing for and/or catching.

letter gel tracingABC fishing

Another big hit was the ‘build a letter’ cards that came in our Grasshopper Preschool Prep Kit. There are re-usable cling-on ‘stickers’ that you put over the letter patterns ~ a great fine motor activity. :)

 build a letterbuild a letter 

Kaleb wanted to do ‘handwriting’ like the big kids, so he practiced making vertical and horizontal lines in his Kumon Uppercase letter workbook. We also pulled out our tabletop easel and he practiced his lines on the dry erase board.

Kumon workbook

No week would be complete without some Do-A-Dot coloring! Since we focused on the letters A through C this week, I made some pages for him to color either with his Pip-Squeak markers {to practice coloring in the lines} or to use with the Do-A-Dot markers {I will hopefully be sharing the coloring pages soon!!!!}.

 do a dot coloring pages do a dot coloring pages

We’ve also had a LOT of fun playing with our Magnetos Jumbo Builder set this week! {hint: there is a giveaway coming up soon for these!!!}. The boys have had these out every day and have been building and creating like crazy. LOVE them!! In case you missed it, I’ll be hosting a Twitter party for Guidecraft on September 28th ~ and you won’t want to miss it. There are some amazing prizes in store!!


iTouch Fun

When all was done for the day, Kaleb took much joy in curling up on the couch with my iTouch and playing a few fun games.


I Write Words ~ one of our ‘go to’ favorites. :) Kaleb loves to practice tracing his letters and numbers with this app. Pretty cute, too.



Word Wiggler ~ one of the apps in the Tickle Tap toddler app pack. Kaleb has to tap a picture that starts with the sound of the letter shown on the screen.


angry birds appAngry Birds ~ really no educational value. Just plain fun. There is a free version of this app, but everyone in the house loves it so much I actually bought the full version.


Things We Used This Week

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