The Travels of Wigglington and Wenks Virtual World

3/29/2010
The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks, a massive online virtual world for kids aged 7-14, has been the buzz around our home for the last month.

According to the website, WW promises:
"...an experience in which players will be able to travel to places around the world, through time and space, meet famous historical people, play dozens of fun enriching games, make new friends, buy exotic islands, build culture-inspired houses, wear clothes from different countries, explore secret locations, solve mysteries and become a legendary traveler!"

My kids have been following the plot by traveling around the world to help locate a group of historical people who have lost their memory from traveling through a time warp. Their goal is to help them regain their lost memory. Your child will meet characters like Buffalo Bill, Galileo, Albert Einstein, Beethoven, and Emperor Qin in their travels.

Warning: Your child may be exposed to evolutionary content through characters like Charles Darwin and in our case, objectionable material like the false god Neptune. Your child may also be exposed to foul language.

WW is designed to be an educational and safe site for kids where they will be learning about history, geography, landmarks, famous people, inventions, animals and more. However, this is more about fun that it is about learning. My kids spent a great deal of time interacting and "socializing" and I was a little concerned at how little they were actually learning for the amount of time invested in playing.

There is also the concern of being able to chat live with children from all over the world. WW has a strict policy on safety and children are taught to report any offending or illegal behavior - and trust me they do! But, my children have still been exposed to inappropriate behavior and language and repeated offenders are allowed back on the game even after being reported 20 times.

WW does have a set of proprietary rules and safety features:
  • No numbers (designed to filter out phone numbers and addresses)
  • No URL links (prevents the sharing of inappropriate websites)
  • No vulgarities (language is censored and repeat offenders are banned)
  • No private messaging (no unsupervised conversations)
  • Reporting feature (Players report and moderators investigate inappropriate behavior)
  • Chat logs (parents can request children's chat logs as far back as 90 days)
  • Parent/Admin panel (parents can monitor playing habits)

However, there are ways around these safety features. For example, my son exchanged emails with a"buddy." Thankfully it was another Crew kid and no harm was done, but it is easy to get around the filter by typing AT instead of @ for an email address. Kids also use chat/text talk and internet lingo/abbreviations (some that we have no idea what they mean).

I drew the line and pulled the plug on this game when my boys told me what the repeat offender was saying. They are not words that I can repeat on a site that I consider family friendly.

The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks, a product of Wiglington and Wenks Worldwide Pte Ltd, is free for a basic membership, but to gain access to all of the features, special areas and extra privileges, you will need to purchase a WW Membership.

Membership Price:
  • Monthly: $5.99
  • 3-Month Ticket: $16.99
  • 6-Month Ticket: $29.99
  • 1-Year Ticket: $59.99
You can also purchase WW virtual credits and "Rollars" to accelerate in the game. "Rollars" are used to buy all sorts of things from islands, houses, costumes/accessories, and pets.

Bottomline, I think WW is a neat concept but because of our experience, I can not recommend this game. Other crew mate's reviews will be available if you want to see what they think of Wiglington and Wenks.


I obtained one one-month membership for the purpose of this review and no further compensation was received. In exchange, I offer my honest opinion and review. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Starting Seeds Indoors

3/26/2010
I am praying for a fruitful garden this year. Each year, I plant the seeds and pull the weeds, water the plants and watch them grow. But, the only thing I seem to grow well is tomatoes. I am not sure if the soil is too acidic or if it has too much nitrogen, or not enough phosphorous or potassium - wondering if I should get a soil test kit? Last year I planted late because the weather was too cool. I may have waited too long. Also wondering if the garden boxes get enough sun?

One thing is for sure - every year I pray for wisdom and that Heavenly Father will bless my efforts - and this year is no exception!

I started my seeds early last year (as I do every year) in hopes that I can give them a head start. We do have a very short growing season in Northern Wyoming. The seedlings do well at first, and then they seem to reach a point that they need to be in the ground with lots of sun to do well. So, I got to thinking about the light hut we built during our Botany study and made an extra large light hut for my starts.


I covered a large box with tin foil on all sides and hooked a plant light to the box. Then I added a third tray and ended up with this:

Tomatoes seedlings over two weeks time:
Squash:
I keep the light on 24 hours a day and I think they are doing well! I water the trays from the bottom, but I use the spray bottle if one or two are looking like they need a drink. This week, I took them out of the light hut to give them some real sunshine. (Still keeping the light on). Plus, I needed the light hut box for another project that I have going on. Soon, they will need to be transplanted and they will cover the whole table.

My set up in the dining room, the sunniest spot in the house:
We also bought 3 fruit trees (apple, plum and cherry) and 8 blueberry plants to plant on our property in Montana (aka our would-be homestead). I also picked up some hollyhock roots to plant along the back fence here. In the summer, the east fence is covered with Virginia Creeper, but the Northeast side is bare. So, I thought they would look pretty, add some color and add a little more privacy. (Our back yard borders the YMCA). I love this house, though. It is in the perfect location for living in town. We are walking distance to downtown, the walking path, the library (right across the street), the Y (behind us), 2 of our prettiest parks in town are a half a block and 2 blocks away. I feel really blessed to be here. I am happy that I am able to garden (or at least attempt to) and we were given permission to turn the shed into a chicken coop. We will fence off a chicken run around the shed and they will have plenty of dirt to dust themselves with since the grass won't grow there. I am just so thankful that Father has us where we are and that we also can work towards building our dream.

Also, this past week, Elli and I got out and planted some seeds that can be started outdoors. We planted spinach and swiss chard. It is probably still too cold to germinate, but as soon as it warms up enough they will (hope so anyways!). The seed packets say that they can be planted in the spring as soon as the soil is workable.
I love including my daughter whenever I can. She still remembers the carrots that she grew last year and loves to be outside with me.
(I need to find her a pair of child-sized garden gloves, though.)
I have really enjoyed being outside, cleaning up the yard, raking leaves, and getting the garden boxes ready these past couple weeks. I even remembered to label the boxes and I actually turned the compost pile. And I am really hoping that Father will bless my efforts this year (because if we had to survive off my gardening, we would starve).

Abba, please bless my efforts!

R.E.A.L Science Odyssey: Chemistry

3/18/2010
Dylan (my 9 year old) has been asking me if we can do Chemistry all school year, but I had not found a program that I really wanted to use, until I had the opportunity to review R.E.A.L Science Odyssey: Chemistry by Pandia Press. R.E.A.L stands for Read, Explore, Absorb, Learn and I think the title fits this series perfectly! First I will tell you a little about it, share our experience, and then tell you what I love about this program.

Topics in this series:
  • What is Chemistry?
  • Atoms
  • The Periodic Table of Elements
  • Molecules
  • Matter
  • Chemical Reactions
Each lesson begins with a fun story like format that introduces the concept in a very kid-friendly way. The story is then followed by hands on lab activities that reinforce that concept.

Our Experience:

I used this program with Nathan and Dylan and we completed Units 1 and 2 of Level 1 for this review. Level 1 is geared towards 2nd-5th grade. My boys are 4th and 5th grade so they fit right at the end of the target age range perfectly.

Unit 1:

The first unit began with a poem called "I Am a Chemist" followed by a lesson introduction: "What Is Chemistry?"

At the beginning of the book, it lists all the main points of each lesson by dividing them into "Big Ideas" and "Small Stuff." You are instructed to focus on the "Big Idea" and not sweat the "small stuff" - it's just bonus material. (I liked that.)

The "Big Idea" for this lesson is that:
  1. All things are made of chemicals
  2. Chemistry is the science that studies chemicals
  3. A chemist is a person who studies how chemicals interact
  4. A hypothesis is your best guess about the outcome of an experiment.

We completed 2 labs in this section: #1 Be A Chemical Detective and #2 Telling Things Apart. The lesson concluded with a crossword puzzle covering the vocabulary words.

Unit 2:

The second unit, "Starting Small," began with a little song called "The Atom Song" followed by a lesson on the atom. The lesson readings are very conversational in style are designed to be read aloud to your child.

We then completed Lab #1: "Are Atoms Small?" We scented balloons and tested to see which ones we could smell. During Lab #2: "Do Atoms Move," we saw that atoms move very slowly in cold water, but quickly in hot water.

The "Big Idea" for this section is:
  1. Atoms are extremely small.
  2. Everything is made of atoms.
  3. Atoms move.

We then read another poem and lesson on the parts of an atom and colored a "Parts of an Atom" page.
We also completed a Parts Lab called "Let's Be Positive" ~ a hair raising experiment!
(There is no helium in that ballon!)
The "Big Idea" for this section is:
  1. The three parts of an atom are protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  2. Protons and neutrons are found in the nucleus.
  3. Electrons are found orbiting the nucleus in energy levels.
  4. All protons, neutrons, and electrons are like every other proton, neutron, and electron.
In the next lesson, we read about the different types of atoms and did a project called "The First Ten." We learned about the first ten elements of the Periodic Table using play dough (instead of marshmallows) and made models of each element.
Red = Protons
Blue = Neutrons
Green = Electrons
They had to place the protons and neutrons in the nucleus and the electrons in their energy levels.
They were given the information for the first two elements, but after the 2nd one, they had to fill in the missing amount of protons and electrons. This was a wonderful way of instilling in them how the Periodic Table is organized. Each element has one more proton and electron than the previous one.
(Nathan and Dylan worked together on this, but Nathan did not want his picture taken. Can you tell Dylan was a willing subject instead?)
After this, they had to go back through their models and place the correct number of electrons in the energy levels and then compare the weight of each element.

To wrap up this unit, they completed a crossword puzzle.

The "Big Idea" for this lesson is:
  1. Each type of atom has a unique name.
  2. The thing that makes one type of atom different from another type of atom is the number of protons that the atom has in its nucleus.
  3. The number of electrons a neutral atom is the same number as the number of protons in its nucleus.
  4. An element is a group of the same type of atoms.

My boys are really enjoying this curriculum!

What I like about it:
  • Sequential; each lesson builds on the previous lesson.
  • Topics are presented in an engaging manner.
  • Vocabulary is worded so that it is easily understood by the student.
  • Lots of hands on activities that reinforce the concept being taught are included.
  • Introduces the scientific method in a gentle, easy to understand way.
  • Teacher instructions and student pages are in one book.
  • Read aloud prompts make the material easy to present.
  • Student pages are easily identified and easy to print.
  • It has a notebooking style format.
  • Each unit contains a poem and crossword puzzle to reinforce key concepts and vocabulary.
  • A unit outline tells you what the "Big Idea" and what the "Small Stuff" is.
  • Includes reading and website suggestions for each unit.
I really could not think of anything that I do not like about it! Even though I love color and graphics, it did not bother me that this is in black and white.

This 431 page book comes ready for your 1 to 1 1/2 inch 3-ring binder (mine fit in a 1 inch binder but it was tight) and is intended to be a full year curriculum. A suggested weekly schedule for teaching this over 36 weeks, 2 days a week is included.

Price:

The print version is available at Rainbow Resource for $38.50 (retails for $48.00) or as a download directly from Pandia Press for $38.99.

There are several samples available on the website: "Atom" student page, Student "State of Confusion" notebook page, "Atomic Numbers" lab instruction sheet. And you can see the complete Table of Contents and Supply List to see more of what this book entails.

Other science products in this series include: Life Science and Earth and Space. A level 2 is expected to come out this year. Pandia also has a history series called History Odyssey (other Crew mates are reviewing this).

I am happy to find a program that works for us . . . and happy that I don't have to hear the words, "When are we going to do Chemistry?" anymore!

I received this product for the purpose of this review and no further compensation was received. I offer my honest opinion. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Spring Fever Update

As you may have noticed, we have been wrapping up some review products this week. We also had some beautiful weather the first few days this week and we took the chance to enjoy it (an unofficial early Spring break!). The sun felt so good and was just the thing I needed to lift my spirit this week. . . . . .and to get outside and get a little dirty.

We also celebrated the Biblical New Year (confirmed with the finding of aviv barley and sighting of the new moon in Israel). Exciting stuff for us! That night, as we were walking out to the truck, we saw the new moon over Wyoming - it was so pretty - a crescent visible on the bottom of the moon, rather than the side like you normally see (like a little basket). So cool! This begins a time of Spring cleaning for us as we prepare for Passover and the Spring Feasts. Other than cleaning the house, removing the leaven, and keeping the Sabbaths as rest days, we have no formal plans for the Feasts. We will make unleavened bread and have a nice (simple) dinner for Passover. Last year it was very stressful and I don't want a repeat of that! I'd like to do a few lamb crafts with Mali and Elli and make some joyful music makers. Mostly, we will read the accounts of the Feasts in the Scriptures, from the Passover in Exodus to Yeshua's last Passover (Last Supper). We don't keep a traditional seder or haggadah - we just keep it very simple with unleavened bread and grape juice. Unless Father puts in on my heart to do more, that will be it and I am actually looking forward to keeping it simple and pure. (smile) I have been ordering, printing, cutting, laminating, organizing and getting ready for a whole new plan for Mali and Elli. And my posting will take a little turn about as I am planning on schooling them together. I am actually very excited and can't wait to share what we will be doing - as soon as it gets here. I am excited to actually have something planned out for me for a change. I also decided to refocus our science plans. I still want to do lots of science, but I want to tie it in with our learning adventure and focus more on nature lessons, much like we did with Nature Explorers. I really love this time of year - looking forward to next year, planning, wrapping up our plans for this year. Speaking of which, we will just continue on with what we are doing this year - since I have so much more that I want to do for Ancient History. Except, I will be adding in Story of the World - on CD - which will be perfect for when we travel to Montana and Idaho this summer. I have been slowly eliminating options for Jordan for high school. In order to decide, I thought it would be easiest to just start crossing options off the list. So far I have crossed a few off. We will continue on with the Middle Ages after the Ancients; and then for American History, I am considering Sonlight and a few others. We began our homeschooling journey with Sonlight (Core 1, 1+2, 3+4) and I'd like something similar planned out for me. I love to plan, and be creative, but sometimes it takes the joy out of teaching. I almost love the planning part more than the teaching part and that is not good. Plus, I spend so much energy planning, that I have little energy for pulling it all together. I need to change that. I want to just enjoy the materials like we did in the beginning. My boys discovered that they can write on the windows with board markers. The cool thing is that they change colors when the sun warms it. (Yellow turns green)

A sunny window is their favorite spot to do spelling and dictation. (I can see that it is also time to Spring clean the windows!)

I have been busy around my little downtown homestead here in Wyoming. Luke has been busy on our homestead in the mountains of Montana (insulating), and I have several posts that I can't wait to share on my family and homesteading blog. So, if "Spring break" continues . . . you'll know where to find me!

CBH Ministries: Seasons of Faith Series

3/17/2010
We used to listen to a family radio program called Down Gilead Lane every night when my boys were younger. They loved the stories and spiritual lessons and looked forward to them each and every night. Recently we had the opportunity to review the Seasons of Faith illustrated book and audio series by CBH Ministries. They had such a familiar, comforting feeling about them and I soon discovered why. CBH (Children's Bible Hour) Ministries is also the producer of Down Gilead Lane!

If you are familiar with Keys To Kids, you will recognize the voice of Uncle Charlie in CBH's new Season's of Faith series. This series was written to encourage children to learn about their faith in God.

Each book, an adaptation of the radio script from Children's Bible Hour, focuses on a season of growth:
  • Spring: a season that parallels a believers new life in Christ.
  • Summer: a season of growing in faith and producing fruit.
  • Autumn: a season of struggle, temptation, making mistakes and growing through the hard times.
  • Winter: a season of difficult times, deep struggles and learning to lean on God for comfort and peace.

Each book also has a set of downloadable discussion questions that can encourage conversation with your children.

Price: $10 each

Here is a description of each book from the website, from Spring to Winter:


In Race with Midnight, "Becky spends spring break on her cousin Sarah's horse farm in Montana. Taking horse rides amidst the beautiful mountains and valleys, Becky tries to share her faith with Sarah as she talks about God's creation. Will Sarah listen?"


In You Can't Come In, "Adam and his new friend Zack decide to build a tree fort one warm summer day. After zooming down a hill and falling into a muddy pond, Zack asks Adam about going to church and salvation. Will Adam be able to explain his faith to Zack?"
"Batter up! When Brad accidentally breaks the ice cream shop’s sign," in Seventy Times Seven, "the owner forgives Brad. But when his best friend Doug ruins Brad’s favorite baseball cap, will he be able to forgive Doug?"


"When Thomás moves away from his neighborhood and into a mobile home in his grandparents’ backyard, he misses his friends. There’s nothing to do around the apple orchard with no friends, his dad works a lot, and his little brother was hurt in an accident. All his sister wants to do is play with her dolls. Will Thomás be able to rely on God to get through the difficult times?" Find out in Braving the Storm.

These soft cover books are enjoyable to listen to, reinforce basic spiritual principles and have beautiful water color illustrations. My boys enjoyed the feeling of cuddling on the couch and listening to an inspirational story just before bedtime. And I especially enjoyed being able to listen for a change! Please note, however, that these are mainstream Christian books and we do not agree doctrinally with their "plan" of salvation mentioned at the end of the book.


I received this product for the purpose of this review and no further compensation was received. I offer my honest opinion. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

All About Reading: "What Am I?"

From the back of the book:

What happens when...
...a broken robot throws figs?
...a smelly musk ox goes for a swim?
...a family of skunks moves into the shed?
...a bunch of snakes escape their cages?

Find out in "What Am I," a Level 2 collection of delightful short stories for beginning readers from the creators of All About Spelling. It contains 160 pages and ten fully-illustrated short stories.

This book is a part of the new All About Reading series.

I love this:
To the reader -
between these covers
you will find
silliness and facts
of every kind...
especially for you.

The stories are charming, the poems are silly fun and "What Am I?" is a fun reading game that will engage your child.

What I love about this book:
  • Correlates 100% with All About Spelling Level 2 (steps 1-14)
  • Hardcover
  • Non-glare paper
  • Customized font and formatted text
  • Line Breaks and Natural phrasing encourage the child to read a phrase at a time, instead of a word at a time
  • Subtle Underlining helps children with tracking issues, but goes unnoticed by those who don’t need it
  • Beautiful Illustrations help carry the story line, yet don’t enable the child to predict what the words are
  • Natural Language and real story lines are a delight to children
  • A mix of realistic and silly stories keep their interest

What I did not love about this book:
  • I honestly did not like the Elf in the Alps story. It is so out of character from the rest of the book, which uses real characters that my child can relate to.

I am still very happy to have this book to use alongside our All About Spelling level 2. "What Am I?" will be available from AllAboutReading.com on April 1st for $19.95.
If you want to see more from this series, check out my review of Beehive Reader 1, which now has a new, more child friendly name - "Cobweb, the Cat."


I received this product for the purpose of this review and no further compensation was received. I offer my honest opinion. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Math Galaxy

3/16/2010
Math Galaxy is a software program for grades K-12. It is designed to connect "the abstract concepts of math to concrete experiences with graphical illustrations at each step to help you remember." Detailed explanations are given and practice opportunities are unlimited with this computer math program.

Each of the following programs are available as a CD-ROM:
  • Math Galaxy Whole Numbers Fun
  • Math Galaxy Fractions Fun
  • Math Galaxy Decimals, Proportions, % Fun
  • Math Galaxy Word Problems Fun
  • Math Galaxy Pre-Algebra Fun
  • Algebra Fundamentals
  • Whole Numbers Worksheet Generator
  • Fractions Worksheet Generator
  • Decimals, Proportions, % Worksheet Generator
  • Algebra Worksheet Generator

You can check out the website for a detailed description of each one, or Tour Math Galaxy to see more.

Price: $29.95 for each CD-ROM.

Two eBook selections are also available for $14.95 each:
  • Math Galaxy Whole Number Riddles eBook
  • Math Galaxy Fraction Riddles eBook

We received the downloadable versions and they were simple to download, unzip and open. Here is a screen shot of your options once you open the Whole Numbers Fun:

And here are some screen shots inside the program:

My boys enjoyed the Whole Numbers Riddles. (They played it like a “Wheel of Fortune” game). But I had a hard time getting into this program. The game itself seemed very slow to me. For example, on the Whole Numbers Fun, in the adding section, you get a problem on the screen, type in the answer and then get a series of 4 "Correct" banners in successive sequence (growing larger). Then you have to "press any key to continue" before you get another problem. This seemed like a waste of time to me. On another option, the problem is displayed graphically (which can be helpful to understand the whys behind the math), but there is no sound and again it seemed slow. And there is no option to skip the tutorial. On this screen, you earn robots that you use to play in the labyrinth (which I did not have my boys play). Other games that my boys did play and enjoy included: the Word Riddles, Bridge the Swamp and Word Jumbles.

I found my boys on several occasions playing this on their own time, but it was not something that they were begging me to do. While it was not a right fit for us, it does seem like it might be another resource for math practice ~ especially if your children love to be on the computer.

Many of my Crew mates really liked this program, so be sure to read their reviews to get a balanced opinion.


I received this product for the purpose of this review and no further compensation was received. I offer my honest opinion. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Olde World Style Maps

3/15/2010
We are studying Ancient History right now, so the Olde World Style World Maps and notebooking pages from Homeschool in the the Woods have been a great addition to our studies. The World maps are a collection of 130 maps and 40 notebooking pages. The U.S. Maps are a set of 180 maps with a notebooking page for each state. Each map has 3 different versions giving you flexibility and choice. You can print a totally blank map to be filled in, a blank map with a title, or a map completely filled in with key geographic features (a wonderful teacher's helper).

The maps are high quality and visually appealing. I love their "olde world" style.

We have used several maps and notebooking pages. You can see how we used the "Daily Life In. . ." notebooking page at the tail end of our Ancient Egypt study (scroll to the bottom). You can also see how we used the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in another lesson. Since we had already mapped Eqypt when I received these, I printed it to include in their notebook. I liked them that much. I have also printed the Ancient Mesopotamia map for our next unit study.

Price: (Download version)
  • World Maps: $18.95
  • United States Maps: $18.95
  • Combo-Pak: $28.95
I think the combo-pak is definitely a great value. Each are also available on CD for $1 more.

You can download samples to try them out. Or see the World Maps and U.S. Maps to get a closer look.

Other products by Homeschool in the Woods include timeline products, Time Travelers History Studies, and Hands On History Activity-Paks. I think the The Old Testament Activity-Pak would be perfect with our Biblical History series!

I have several other notebooking pages printed that I plan to use as well and will share in future posts. We have mostly been using the World Maps, but today I printed off a state map and notebooking page to go along with a literature based unit that I am planning for my Kindergartner. I love having these in my library and will continue to use them as an integral part of our history, geography and notebooking lessons throughout our studies.


I received this product for the purpose of this review and no further compensation was received. I offer my honest opinion. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Homemade Coconut Milk and Macaroons

Tropical Traditions has wowed me with their 100% Natural Dried Coconut made from organic dried coconuts. This coconut is not sweetened or treated with sulfites to whiten it (unlike what you normally find). It still has such a pretty white color and a pleasant taste. The shredded coconut is very fine and perfect for making homemade coconut milk or macaroons. (I made both!) The Coconut Recipes page has a whole section of recipes just for using dried coconut. I had no trouble deciding what I would make first, but I'll need some help deciding on what to make next. I'll share my adventure and then I'll give you a chance to win a 1-gallon pail of shredded coconut!

First, I deep cleaned my kitchen for 4 hours and woke up to a clean inviting kitchen calling me to make something! I gathered my ingredients. . .


. . . and supplies. (Note: deep cleaning is not a requirement for this recipe, but certainly a motivating invitation for me!)


To make the coconut milk, I used:
  • TT shredded coconut
  • warmed purified water
  • a blender
  • jelly strainer (you can also use cheesecloth)
I watched the video on the recipe page, gave it a try and in less than 10 minutes I had made a wonderfully creamy coconut milk.




I had not tasted coconut milk before this, so when my mother-in-law stopped by, I had her taste it. She said it was really creamy and good! She cannot have dairy products so she uses coconut milk instead. I sent her home with the jar I made and enough coconut to try a batch on her own. I plan to make more because I have heard of the many healthy benefits of raw coconut milk.

I wasn't sure what to do with the leftover coconut pulp, so I tossed it in with a batch of Classic Coconut Macaroons. These are really quite simple - coconut, honey, vanilla, salt, cream of tartar. . .


. . . and whipped egg whites!





They were the best coconut macaroons! I think the fineness of the shredded coconut really made the texture of this cookie perfect. Even Nathan, who does not really like coconut, could not stay away from these.


He especially liked the ones dipped in chocolate (that I made with coconut oil, honey, and cocoa powder).


The kids home with me especially loved the chocolate ones.


I managed to save a few for my boys who were gone.


I am very happy with the quality, texture, freshness, and taste of Tropical Traditions shredded coconut and I think you would like it too!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Homeschool Highlights: Week 31 & 5K: Week 3

3/13/2010
Our week started out strong and then 3 of us (myself included) got some sort of 24 hour flu. It hit real fast and was not fun. So Monday was an official sick day this week. Somehow, we still managed to get 4 relaxed days in this week.

Our 5K corner: Language and Thinking: 

The first set of activities are from the "Language Games" section of Ruth Beechick's book that I mentioned in my 1st K post).
  • Traffic vocabulary: Traffic Signs and Driving Words: We talked about them at home and then went for a drive and talked about all the traffic signs and markings on the road.
  • Listening skills: Mystery Sounds

I gathered up a tub of things that would make a sound, blind-folded Malachi, and then had him listen for sounds and guess what they are.


This was a lot of fun and he was stumped on several of them. We will hopefully play a variation on this game this coming week.
  • Following directions: Where's the Bear?, Simon Says & Silly Simon
Where's the Bear? is a preposition game where you hold up a teddy bear or another object and give the child directions for placing the object (under the chair, between the pillows, over the desk, etc.). There are several variations of the game mentioned in the book and both Mali and Elli enjoyed this game. We had fun playing Simon Says. First I gave simple commands (Simon says touch your nose) and then I added more detail to the commands (Simon says touch your nose and blink your eyes). We also played a variation of the game called Silly Simon. In this game, if I give a silly command that is not possible (Simon says walk on the ceiling) then the kids would shout, "Silly Simon!" I got lots of giggles out of this one. I definitely plan to continue using this book!


Language Arts:
  • Explode the Code: 2 pages in lesson 1
  • I Can Read It Lesson 1: Pat, the Rat, & Nat, the Cat
  • Handwriting: lowercase family 3: arch (n, h, m, r)
  • All About Spelling: Phonogram cards with his brothers
I pulled out the Getty-Dubay basic italic wall chart and put 2 arch letters under the clear plastic table cloth to use with a Wiki Stick activity pack that I bought last summer.



Then Mali wanted to make a house.


Eliana wanted to play too. I think she did a great job on her house.


She wanted to make a letter, too.

She was so pleased with herself. *Ü*


Math:

For math, we worked on recognizing numbers to 20. I had Mali work from his Kumon Numbers to 30 book. We put this book aside last year, but I discovered that the dot activities are perfect for number recognition.


Malachi is learning to see how many are in a group without counting. To do this, I usually use objects he can manipulate. I group them together and have him name the number. This is as far as we got this week. On Wednesday, he began the lessons at Time 4 Learning (for review) and that is what he and Elli did the rest of the week. They completed the Pre-K level 1 together and is Mali is currently working through level 2. Mali and Elli started their third swimming session this week, but due to sickness, we only made it to 2 of the 4 days this week. I am a little concerned about them being in the chlorinated water so much. Malachi is developing a red rash on his face that I think is from the chlorine. (I think the Y pool chlorine levels are too high). Honestly, I hate to even bathe them in city water. I can smell the chlorine when I fill the tub. I just keep thinking that they are learning a life saving skill. I asked Elli what she wanted to do for Tot School, and she told me that she wanted to feed ducks. So, we went to the river to see if we could see any. We left the bread crumbs sitting on the counter at home, but we didn't get close enough to them anyways.


We saw several wild ducks along the river where the ice was thawing.


They did not like me getting close to them.


Jordan came with us and did a nature sketch.


(I'm too tired tonight to scan his sketch, but I may add it later). My 3 older boys plugged away on their independent work and I read to them from our history read aloud, Tirzah. Sometime during the middle of the day on Monday (when Nathan, Elli and I were sick) I regretted telling Nathan and Dylan not to do another chapter in their math book. Dylan was actually mad at me. He more than made up for it though. By the end of the week he had worked ahead in his math. Nathan and Dylan started Life of Fred: Fractions this week. They were pretty excited to see what made Jordan suddenly start liking math again. I was hoping to have them move slowly through it - but what I had planned to take 2 weeks only took Dylan 1 week. I wasn't sure that they would be ready, but Dylan scored 8/10, 8/10, 9/10 and 10/10 on his first 4 bridges. He chose not to do the last bridge. They have to get 9/10 to pass, but I take their 2 best scores. Dylan's mistakes were silly mistakes so I talked to him about working slowly and checking his work. (Dylan has a tendency to work really hard and then burn out, so that is why I try to regulate what he does). Nathan followed my scheduled plan, so he will do his bridges next week. Jordan took his science test yesterday and finished General Science Module 4. Instead of a quarterly test for modules 1-4, we will play Jeopardy (from the files at the Yahoo group). Other than that, we just plugged along with our regular studies and did some review work. I have several reviews coming up and will be working on getting those out this week, so I will save my update on what else we have been doing for the reviews. I am actually looking forward to (and needing) a Spring break. I am feeling quite overwhelmed with house cleaning and activities going on, that I need life to settle down for a little while.

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