Showing posts from February, 2011

TOS Review: MathRider

It’s time for another TOS Review Crew Review.  Today’s Review Crew product covers math drills.  Designed to help students master their math facts for the four basic operations, MathRider takes children on a noble horse riding quest through the “magical MathLands” that leads to the rescue of the princess and knighthood as Master of Mathematics. Vendor: MathRider Cost: $37(US)   Format: Download only Website: Age: approximately 3rd-6th grades though can be used with younger and older students. To Contact Vendor:   T ailorBear expresses her thoughts about MathRider: “ It was alright. I did get tired of doing one quest over and over again. The only part that was truly really enjoyable was the fact that you got to save the princess.  I guess that just made things better.  Who can go wrong with saving a princess?  It was a little boring to do the same quest (such as getting a flower to save the mom) for every operation.  I did li

TOS Review: Reluctant Reader Solution by Kid Scoop

Some kids love to read.  They’ll spend hours curled up with a book while sitting in a tree or laying upside down on a couch.  These same book loving children have to be pried away from the stories of pirates or knights. And then there are some children who would rather climb a tree or ride a bike. In fact, those children would rather do any thing other than open a book. They are reluctant readers who do not enjoy reading.  Perhaps they struggle with reading. The Reluctant Reader Solution from Kid Scoop offers a fun way to get kids who don’t like reading to become children who enjoy reading. Comprised of two parts, the Reluctant Reader Solution strives to spark children’s curiosity about a topic and make reading fun. This is what Vicki, the founder of Kid Scoop says: “ The Reluctant Reader Solution is designed to expand your child's horizons, jump-start their curiosity about topics they didn't even know they were interested in, and exercise different areas of their bra

Not just Valentine’s Day!

All across the country, people have been celebrating love today.  Children have exchanged valentines in school.  Some husbands have brought home flowers or have made romantic plans for their wives. We really haven’t done much with Valentine’s Day today.  I’m not making a special dinner.  My husband didn’t even get me a card.  I think one of my girls said Happy Valentine’s Day.   We did some cleaning.  We did some school.   Dinner is simmering on the stove. But today, in my heart I hold two things close.    February 14 is CHD Awareness Day .   Congenital Heart Defects affects 1 out of every 100 babies.  It is *the* most common birth defect.   As the mother of a “heart baby” February 14  will always be the day set aside to remember all the CHD babies. Here’s a picture of my HLHS Survior.  Supergirl will be 13 years post Fontan in May. I find it hard to believe how far we have come.  It’s been a difficult road, not just medically but in all aspects of her development.  She is quite the

Home schooling: A Family Affair

It’s been quite some time since I’ve participated in a Blog Cruise.  I didn’t feel I had anything to contribute these past few weeks but this week I’d love to talk about “How are your spouse, grandparents, or other family members involved in your homeschooling?” My girls are getting an incredible education here at home but I wouldn’t be able to do it without the support and involvement of Honeybear.  So just what does he do?   He listens .   Sometimes I just need to talk through what I am trying to accomplish.  By telling him what’s working and what’s not working, I can figure out what needs to change in our curriculum plan. He reads .  About 8 years ago he took over reading the read alouds in the evening before bed.  We use Sonlight for history and literature.  I would read the history during the day and at night he would read the “read aloud” to all of us.   We all have wonderful fond memories of daddy reading while we’re all snuggled together in the living room listening.   As

TOS Review: Curiosity Files: Red Tides

We’ve been having fun around here learning about something rather curious: Red Tides.  I’d heard of them but really didn’t know anything about them.  My 15 year old excitedly defined red tides for her sisters creating excitement among all of us.  Red Tides is just one of the titles in the Curiosity Files series of unit studies published by the Old Schoolhouse. In the introduction of the The Curiosity Files: Red Tides it says: Our goal is to educate children about subjects they’d never find otherwise, To get them thinking creatively and give their minds some exercise. I like these goals.  I want my children to learn about subjects that they’d never find otherwise and I wholeheartedly want them to be thinking creatively and exercising their minds. The Curiosity File starts with the information section .  I love the title: “Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Red Tides”.  Because it is written in question and answer  format, I couldn’t resist pretending the girls were aski

One of my favorite poems

I love poetry.  I think I was in the 4th grade  (or maybe it was the 5th)when I began to love poetry.  I had a teacher who required us to write a poem.  She worked with us and helped us to polish our little poems.  My poem was published!  I actually got paid $5 from one newspaper and $5 from another newspaper and it was part of the district wide poetry book.  My grandmother even got it published in her town paper. That summer my grandmother gave me a spiral bound notebook and told me to write.  Her advice was to write daily.   Somewhere, buried under this and that, I think I still have that notebook.  What silly little things I wrote but oh the memories of showing my work to Grandma. In 9th grade, I had a teacher who loved literature and she taught me how to love literature.  She introduced me to Shakespeare and Dickens and the poetry of Robert Frost.   I would *never* have admitted to *any* of my classmates just how much I loved that class. I really want to share Robert Frost’s “Th

A Status Update kind of Post

A few days (maybe a week or so ago) I came across a blog post that was like a collection of Facebook Style Statuses.  Inspired by that blog, I present this collection of unrelated thoughts of “What’s on your mind”  (If you don’t have Facebook, there is a box for you type in your status update.  It says “What’s on your mind”) *** Payday for the first payday of the month is a wonderful thing.  Payday for the second check of the month is a stressful event.  Thankful that this week is payday of the wonderful kind.  Now to budget it so that the end of the month is not so stressful! ****Developmental milestones for Supergirl are a mixed blessing.  Today I caught her standing on a regular chair at the computer desk hunting for CD-ROM on the top of the hutch part of the desk.  Two thoughts ran through my head:  Intertwined with “Wow!  She’s no longer afraid to climb things what a huge leap in development” was “Oh no!  Nothing is safe anymore.  Nothing will be out of her reach”.  Really, it w

A Great Deal for Homeschoolers!

Recently I reviewed VIrtual Nerd an online math tutor subscription service.   (You can read about my review here or check out the other reviews from the Homeschool Crew here) Virtual Nerd has announced a special offer to home educators on their 1 month and 3 month subscription service . Here is the offer they left in a comment on my Virtual Nerd   review : We are pleased to inform you that because Virtual Nerd ( has received such significant interest following your review of our online tutoring service, we are offering a special discount to homeschool parents. Homeschool parents can receive 50% off the 1 and 3 month subscription plans. Just enter the discount code : homeschooldeal when you sign up for service. That is a huge discount, and hurry - the offer is valid until March 31, 2011! The regular price for a 1 month subscription is $49.  A three month subscription is $129.   Click here to sign up!  And don’t for to enter the discount code: homeschooldeal

TOS Review: VocabAhead

Are you looking for a fun way to increase your student’s vocabulary?  Perhaps you have a high school student preparing for the SAT and you need something for vocabulary review?  VocabAhead may be what you need! As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I received a DVD-Rom from VocabAhead to review.  This DVD-ROM contains over 1,000 “videos” and MP3 files.  For the video files: the visual portion shows a definition of the word and then shows a cartoon depicting the word while  the sound includes the definition along with either a few sentences providing context for the word or a short narrative story using the word.   The MP3 files allow you to take your learning “on the go” and can be played on your computer or uploaded to your iPod.  These files contain the same sound as the video files. VocabAhead DVD retails for $24.99. If you click on DVD Product on the VocabAhead website (click here ), it will give you a link to Amazon to purchase the DVD. Here is one of my f

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

I’ve posted before about Meal Planning and challenging myself to use what I have.  I’ve learned that necessity really is the mother of invention and that so long as I didn’t really *have to* get creative I would avoid exercising my brain and fail to really use up what I have on hand.  I would justify those little things like “oh I really need a can of mushrooms to make this recipe so I’ll pick up a can of mushrooms. With less money coming in and more money going out, I have less available to purchase groceries.   I actually went two weeks without going to the grocery store.  Yes I usually shop once a week and sometimes in between those weekly stops, my honeybear would stop for me to get that “one little thing” that I had forgotten that I just simply had to have to make a particular recipe. Guess what?  This week, when I had NO mushrooms, I still made the recipe!  I just didn’t include mushrooms.  I did have celery and bell peppers (neither of which the recipe called for) and I used

The Things Children Say

When I started this blog, I wanted it be a way for me to pass things to my children. Things like recipes or memories or stories to share. One of the things I want to remember and pass on are those misstatements and funny word mix-ups. So here is a short collection of things as I remember them.  A couple are more recent, a few are several years old. 1).  Rootbeard---- Mommy, can we have more rootbeard to drink please. 2) Deheaded--- Mommy, Marie Antoinette was deheaded.  3) Insociable--- [to her sister] stop being so Insociable and come on out here. 4) Concubine--- [in describing characters from the Disney Movie Cars ] And then there is Frank, he’s a concubine.  (she meant combine… and no she had no idea what a concubine is and I didn’t tell her LOL) 5) Electric pencils--- Mommy can you buy more of those electric pencils.  (she meant mechanical pencils) 6) Sprinkles---  when referring to parmesan cheese.  Mommy can I have sprinkles on my spaghetti (which of course is pronounced m

TOS Review: Roman Town

Every now and again the Review Crew gets to review a really fun product.   Roman Town from Dig It Games is one such product.  This is a computer game but lest you think it’s all fun and games let me reassure you this product is designed to educate. With Roman Town you will learn while you play. Before I share some details of how the game works, I’d  like to share my thoughts and I have a CODE to share with you for a really great deal on this game. The current retail price of Roman Town By Dig-It Games is $39.95 but if you enter the code TOS2011 you will get a discount that brings the game price to $19.95 !  This offer is valid until February 21st. Click here to purchase.   All four of my girls have really enjoyed Roman Town  from Dig-It Games . My 15 year old, is interested in setting up her own player  but hasn’t gotten around to it yet (She’s been playing with Supergirl doing the reading for her) I would like to point out a couple of things I noticed about the game and the

Why Can’t Mondays only come on Mondays?

  I agree with the fat cat Garfield when he says “I hate Mondays.” I know I am not alone. But I especially abominate Mondays when they fall on a Wednesday or Thursday or well any day of the week that is NOT a Monday. What is so bad about a Monday?  Well for starters around my house Monday sets the tone for the week.   If Monday is too awful, the whole week is just gonna be bad.   But, If Monday is too good, then we’re too exhausted and overcome with getting so much done that we accomplish nothing the rest of the week. Here’s an example of a really bad Monday: Oversleep Have no clean laundry Discover that the dishwasher never got turned on and there are no clean dishes for breakfast Children spend so much time fighting that school work is significantly delayed so you can play referee Forget to take something out of the freezer for dinner Lose the teacher book for the curriculum you are trying to reach 3 hours late when the review is due in one week Figure something else out f

An expected but unexpected blessing!

Last week a new vendor list posted and I was thrilled to see my name on the list.  So I was expecting a package…. just not today. But getting the package early wasn’t really the unexpected blessing.  Seeing Supergirl’s face when she realized that the package was for HER.  That was the unexpected blessing.  I wish I had taken a picture or had a recording device for her voice.  She wants so much to be like her sisters and so much of what they do for school is well beyond her level of learning.  What a thrill to have a review crew product arrive that was just for her!  “ Thank you, Daddy for buying this for me” she politely stated.  Her face registered surprise when he replied with “I didn’t buy it for you.” She turned to me and asked “You bought it?”.  “Nope.”  I explained that it was a crew product that we need to review and that her job was to use the product so that I could write about it on my blog.  Her face beamed with pride.  This means she is very important.  It’s her *job* t

February: CHD Awareness Month

Since today is February 1st, I thought I’d post a bit about CHD.  CHD is Congenital Heart Disease or sometimes Congenital Heart Defects.  CHD is the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. My life has always been touched by CHD, but I wasn’t really aware of it until my daughter was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).    My Aunt Lynda is a miracle baby.  Born in 1949 with Tetrology of Fallot, she was given the gift of life through an experimental surgery.   My brother also has CHD.   My aunt was my aunt and my brother was my brother and though I was vaguely aware of “heart problems” I can’t say that it really affected my life. But 13 years and 6 months ago my world was torn apart by the news that my newborn daughter entered the world with multiple heart defects.  Some of these defects together are known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  Some of her defects are rarely seen as part of that syndrome.  We were told that without surgery she *would* die.  W