La La Logic {Review}

4/29/2015
La La Logic Review

Bo and I been reviewing the Preschool Curriculum by La La Logic. Designed for ages 3-6, it helps develop thinking and logic skills in preschoolers.

There are three parts to the Preschool Curriculum:
  • Online Brain Challenge 
  • Worksheets - color, draw, cut, glue and paste activities
  • Enrichment Activities - hands-on activities with a Charlotte Mason approach including narration, picture study, copywork, nature study, and poetry. 

The Online Brain Challenge is a collection of 500 online thinking activities, puzzles, and logic "games" that that increase in difficulty.
La La Logic Review

Your child can do the Brain Challenge for each week of curriculum or play in Continuous Brain Challenge Mode.

The Online Brain Challenge includes:
  • listening skills
  • spatial relationships
  • algorithms
  • symbolic logic
  • visual spatial logic
  • mathematical reasoning
  • quantities in groups
  • counting
  • memory work
  • pattern recognition
  • sorting
  • similarities and differences
  • color and shape identification
  • numeral recognition
  • verbal comprehension
  • deductive reasoning
  • and more!

Brain Challenge works on:
  • Mac or PC
  • Tablet or iPad (in browser, not an App)

We mostly used the Continuous Brain Challenge Mode on the iPad for convenience and ease.

This mode allows Bo to go through all the brain challenges more like a game. It will run through all 500 activities in the continuous mode. We started by launching Session 1 and he worked through Session 9, the best I could tell. Right now it doesn't tell you how far your child has progressed (I would love to see that feature added!). The next launch is at Session 10, so I had him launch every ten sessions. In this way, he repeats some of the activities, but still progresses through the program.

Then, I discovered the Curriculum page, which allows you to just play the online activities scheduled for each week. These are quick and only last a few minutes, so playing in continuous mode was more convenient for us and because the program is so flexible, we are able to do this.

Worksheet and Extension Activities

La La Logic Review
These are printed from the Curriculum page each week and include a variety of activities such as:
  • word games
  • visual spatial logic puzzles
  • sequencing
  • grouping objects
  • patterns
  • short stories
  • poems
  • picture studies
  • narration
  • copywork
  • nature study
  • art
  • science
  • pretend/dramatic play
  • and more

La La Logic consists of 100 weeks of Preschool Curriculum that can be printed and utilized.

The offline materials are available by individual download in each week. I would love to have the option to print all the worksheets and activities at once, but without the Weekly Agenda (schedule). I didn't utilize the schedule and saved ink by not printing it each week. It does have a checklist, but we didn't follow the schedule so didn't really need it.  It also has a space to take notes, but I just took notes on the enrichment worksheets if I took notes at all. You also have the option to type in notes each week online, but I did not see a way to print these.

Cutting, pasting, coloring, and talking about emotions!

A few supplies are needed:
  • scissors
  • glue 
  • crayons
  • various objects that are found around the house (counting objects like beans, for example)

Our experience with La La Logic:

After Bo completed the Online Brain Challenge, I printed Week 1 printable activities and he cut and classified three groups of things (food, animals, and musical instruments).

Then I read him the story "The Eagle and the Fox." I had Bo retell the story and he did a really great job telling me that the fox wanted the eagle's eggs so he tricked the eagle and the eagle dropped the fox off on the beach. I then asked him how the fox tricked the sea animals to get home and he told me that "he walked on a whale" (he made a raft with sea animals). Then, together we described the fox (tricky) and described the eagle (frustrated). Then I had Bo name some sea animals and land animals and tell me which category they belonged to.

For math, we were to find and name some of the largest land animals and sea animals. When I saw the question, "How many African elephants will make up the length of a blue whale?" I read the book Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? and it tied in nicely.

I did not have Bo do the copywork (he's too young).

We continued in this way - doing a weeks worth of activities in one sitting and then letting Bo play in continuous mode online, except I'd start him later and later in the program. He didn't mind repeating activities, but to get the most out of the program, I bumped him ahead to the next launch session to give him more challenging activities.

The activities can easily be completed in 10 minutes or less. As I mentioned, we often did a weeks worth of activities in one sitting, and occasionally did more than one week of curriculum in one sitting, by picking and choosing what I liked best or what I thought would interest my child the most from each week. I liked to print several weeks at a time and keep them handy for when he asked to do school.

Final Thoughts

Bo hasn't been that interested in doing school lately. He just wants to play! The nice thing about La La Logic is that it takes so little time that there is a lot of time left in the day for him to play. Having the worksheets and activities ready to go helped me for when he was more interested in doing school (usually when I was doing school with the other kids), and it was nice to spend some time with him and then send him off with the iPad to do the Online Brain Challenge.

I love that La La Logic combines online thinking games with offline activities.  I love the variety of hands-on activities, stories, and enrichment activities. I especially like that it is a lifetime curriculum for up to 5 children for a very reasonable price ($29).

If you are looking for a Preschool Curriculum for your child aged 3-5, and want a combination of fun online thinking "games" balanced with offline printable activities, then I'd recommend you read more Crew reviews and give La La Logic a try with a free trial.

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Get Oily With Free Shipping!

4/24/2015
Have you thought about taking the oily plunge, but need an incentive to help jump into the oily world?


Now through the end of the month, enjoy free shipping if you order a Young Living Premium Starter Kit!

By registering to become a Young Living customer, and choosing to get your oils at wholesale prices  by purchasing one of the Starter Kits that Young Living offers, you are entitled to several benefits:

  • Wholesale Pricing: Save 24% off retail pricing on Young Living products as well as opportunities for exclusive specials and promotions. 
  • Essential Rewards: With this optional monthly ordering program you can earn up to 20% of your order back as points that you can "spend" on oils.
  • Generous Compensation: If you should choose to build a business with Young Living (totally optional!), you can take part of their compensation plan. 
  • and more!  



The Premium Starter Kit ($150) includes the Everyday Oils Kit, and contains 5ml bottles of:
  • Peppermint (great for a pick-me up or to aid digestion)
  • Thieves (immune booster)
  • Melaleuca alternifolia (mix with baking soda and sprinkle on carpet or in stinky shoes!)
  • Stress Away (ease tension of a hard day)
  • Lavender (boo-boos, burns, cuts, scrapes, stings... think First Aid kit!)
  • Frankincense (ease tension, great for skin health and wrinkles)
  • Joy (uplift and rejuvenate - great with epsom salts in a bath or wear as perfume)
  • Lemon (great in water to detox, refreshing and tonic, also great for acne)
  • PanAway (soothing)
  • Purification (great for bug bites!)
The Everday Oils Kit alone retails for $170.72 and is included in the Premium Starter Kit!


The kit also comes with the Home Diffuser (or the Bamboo Diffuser for a $10 upgrade) and the Basic Starter Kit, which includes Citrus Fresh, essential oil samples, 2 NingXia Red samples, and information to teach you all about your new oils!

The oils are really wonderful and the kit is an amazing deal ~ a $300+ value for $150 (plus shipping and tax). If you want to become a Young Living wholesale member, I highly recommend this kit! And now through the end of April, your shipping is free!

If you would like to learn more about the oils in the Everyday Oils Kit, I invite you to listen to this Everyday Oils Kit Class ~ This is a 40 minute oil class that shares some ways you can use the Everyday Oils.


You also get a free gift from me!

  • Welcome gift: I send all of my new members an oily welcome gift if they order the Premium Starter Kit the same month they enroll as a Young Living Member. I am currently sending the Quick Reference Guide for Essential Oils ($16.95 value) so you know how to use your oils! If you purchase an Essential Rewards Kit when you purchase a Premium Starter Kit, I will send you the full size Reference Guide for Essential Oils ($36.95 value)!
  • Oily Support: My personal support, an invitation to join our private Facebook support group, and access to regular online virtual classes for you and anyone you'd like to invite. These classes are a great way to learn about essential oils and to also teach your family and friends about them. I highly recommend you take this class if you are interested in essential oils! The classes include fun giveaways and incentives and share how you can find wellness, purpose and abundance with Young Living Essential Oils. 


This Sign-Up Link will take you directly to the sign up page if you would like me to enroll and sponsor you. In order to get the discount on the kit and for future orders you will want to select "wholesale member." The Premium Starter Kit is only available to wholesale members.


There is no commitment to ever buy again, or to ever use your account for anything other than for personal use. I love that! If you want to keep your account active, you only need to purchase 50PV a year (that's $50 in essential oils). Learn more here!


Lately, in my oily world...

I have been diffusing Peace & Calming on sunny days to help us all focus on school and not the beautiful weather! Now that Peace & Calming is out of stock until the fall (due to crop failure from too much rain), I am turning to Citrus Fresh, which contains Orange - one of the calming oils in Peace & Calming. It is an uplifting blend and has been perfect for this busy and stressful season of my life. I also ordered Tangerine, the 2nd main ingredient, and so far I haven't had to break out the Patchouli yet (another calming and relaxing oil). :)

I've been using Peppermint in a capsule for digestion, and in the case of the other night, a rare occurrence of acid reflux that woke me twice. After the 2nd time, I asked my husband to bring me peppermint, water, and the wedge pillow to sleep on!  I'm out of Ningxia Red and missing the energy support these days, but sure enjoyed an hour long nap on the couch today with the sun shining through the window on me!

Eliana is loving the Ortho Ease Sport Massage Oil for occasional growing pains. It is a calming blend of Wintergreen, Peppermint, Juniper, and Marjoram in a carrier oil. The carrier oil makes it super easy for her to apply herself, and (thinking it wouldn't be as strong, I was wrong!), it works great.

Jordan, my oldest, also loves the massage oil for his back with Panaway (in the kit).  He also uses Lemon for acne at night. Valor is another favorite of his, too. He also carries an oily keychain with 8 different oils.

Bo asks for Lavender for just about any boo-boo (I keep it in a roller bottle diluted with olive oil). At night he asks for his "sleepy oy-yals." I mostly use Lavender and Orange, but if he's especially restless, I'll use Lavender and Cedarwood.

Are you oily? What have you been using lately? Would love to hear! Not oily? Would love to have you join us!

Disclaimer: This product or information is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. 

Please also note that while I think essential oils are wonderful, it is very important to educate yourself on how to use them properly, so I'd love to have you join us for a class! 

Corduroy {B4FI♥AR}

4/17/2015
~Bo is 4 years, 2 months here~

Our row of Corduroy in pictures. 
































Delightful Links:


Corduroy is a Before Five in a Row selection. There are a lot of Fun Things to do with B4FIAR, but the most important thing is to cultivate a love for learning. ♥

The Way They See It ~ Preschool Art with ARTistic Pursuits {Review}

ARTistic Pursuits Review

I love the heart of ARTistic Pursuits and their focus on helping children see art through awareness of the world around them in The Way They See It (Preschool). The title of the book is appropriately titled in that the book shows you how we, as adults, can nurture this awareness.

Written for ages 3-5, The Way They See It requires children to makes sense of the world around them by thinking, seeing, smelling, feeling, and drawing conclusions on their own about what they sense, and then talking about it. In other words, art in this book focuses on the process of the art, not the end result.

This is first evidenced by picture study and narration - a classic Charlotte Mason approach to gentle learning. The child studies a picture and makes sense of the art by answering questions.

"The artist made a picture of bright and colorful flowers. Find a flower that is yellow. A little bug crawls out of one of the flowers. Where is it?"



I added a butterfly and a little bug to the picture so that he could explore the connection between real objects and objects in pictures, as instructed in the lesson. Then he colored a picture of what he saw. I am instructed to help him hold his crayon correctly and to model art by making art beside him. Amazing how much more motivated he was having someone color next to him! He was not motivated at all to make art until he saw it being done. And then he copied the same picture.

And so the lessons go. First a "Grown Up Talk," then a "Picture Talk" and then a "Project."

The Grown Up Talk is just that - a message to the grown ups teaching their little ones. These messages guide us as parents to nurture our children through the process of making art, making sure we let our children think for themselves, and see art through their eyes, and not our own, and guiding them through the process.

Projects range from scribbles, to making marks (we used pudding), playing with different materials (like playdough, fingerpaint, and more), learning about colors and identifying them, and even getting out in nature to visit a stream, listening to the sounds we hear in the woods and in music, going to a park or playing in the backyard and then making a picture of the places we have seen and heard.


I love that this art book encourages natural learning and developing a child's curiosity. So much of this I naturally do, but it is neat to see it in an art book, and one that is full of helpful tips. I'm not very artsy at all, but I can help my child learn to love and appreciate art through the world around him with the help of this book. 

The book contains 26 lessons in Section One. Section Two consists of "First Skills" - activities to strengthen cutting skills, drawing skills, holding art together with adhesives, and more. 

Supplies required for this book:
  • Drawing Paper Pad, 9"x12"
  • Construction Paper, assorted colors
  • Fiskars Scissors, blunt tip
  • Elmer's Glue All, 1.25 oz.
  • Crayola 5 Brush Assortment
  • Finger Paint Paper, 16"x12"
  • Watercolor paper Pad 9"x12"
  • Mr. Sketch Scent Markers
  • Crayola Crayon, set of 96
  • Crayola Washable Watercolors Jumbo, set of 4
  • A large roll of white or brown shipping paper and additional household items are needed.
Playdough is also required, but a recipe is included for a homemade version. 

Most of these are inexpensive art materials and serve many purposes in the home preschool.  Bo especially loves his BIG box of Crayola crayons, as he has never had a box so big and with so many colors! He also loves his Mr. Sketch markers. (He has been using those for a couple years, but many were lost so he was so happy to see a brand new box.)

He loved the freedom to do art and the gentle guidance, but to be honest, he mostly liked just getting to "play" with the materials! 

The Way They See It has encouraged me, as a non-artsy homeschool mom, to nurture my child in this area, and I recommend it for anyone who needs guidance on how to encourage their little ones to love and appreciate art or just wants some creative ideas to do art with their children.

Read more reviews on the Crew blog!


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Orphs of the Woodlands {Review}

4/15/2015
Star Toaster Review

I'm so excited to share my review of Orphs of the Woodlands, an online educational resource and game by Star Toaster.

In this unique online reading program, your child is the main character - a gray squirrel who has been orphaned by Night Creatures. His dream is to one day fight them, but on his quest to become a spy, he finds himself responsible for a settlement of orphaned critters, called orphs, that live in the woodlands.

The orphs need food, water, clothing, medicine, defense, and a source of energy, and your child can earn goldstars to pay for the needs of the orphs by completing jobs.

I have been reviewing the first book in the Orphs of the Woodlands series, The Treasure of High Tower, with Malachi, my 4th grader. Geared towards 4th through 7th graders, Malachi is on the young end of the range for this program so it has been challenging at times. But, we absolutely love this program and I'm excited to share our experience with you!

Our experience:

Upon logging in, Malachi first watched a series of 4 videos to learn how to use the program:
  • Reading the Book
  • Getting Jobs
  • Types of Lessons - videos, flashcards, and notes
  • The Game

Then, he filled out a Spy Application. This was fun and created a feeling of suspense! He chose an alias name for his character, the grey squirrel. Then he chose a favorite color, and selected qualifying characteristics. He chose characteristics of himself: honest, faithful, kind, cheerful, wise, self-motivated, diligent, and brave. I noticed that he didn't select trustworthy, and he admits he needs to work on this character trait. Well, he is! He is learning the importance of being trustworthy in this program through lessons, quotes, and the values taught through the story.

At the very bottom on the application is the question: Are you willing to learn? Malachi was very eager to enter yes!

Getting into character - a spy! :) 

After submitting your application, you start reading the book.

It is a very interesting story, but the chapters are a bit long. The first chapter was 27 pages. At first, there was not a way to tell how many pages were in a chapter, but they added that feature during our review. However, that backfired. Malachi had a hard time getting started, knowing how many pages there were in the chapter, as he was overwhelmed by the number of pages! So, it was not a bad thing that he didn't know after all (at least to get him started). I would love to have the option to turn this on or off.

While you are reading, vocabulary words are highlighted so you can hover over them to reveal synonyms that are arranged easiest to most challenging. So instead of one word, your child is learning several words at a time. This knowledge helps you complete jobs at the end of the chapter. 

After the end of the first chapter, your child's character has the opportunity to do jobs to earn money to care for the orphs that are not in his care yet. He has sent them on their way to Ivythwaite to find refuge until he can earn goldstars (currency of the woodlands) to care for them. 

To earn goldstars, Malachi had a chance to review the vocabulary words from the story, study them, and then use them correctly by answering questions. When he has selected his answer, he clicks "get paid" to submit. Cute! Then he gets paid with goldstars that pop out of a toaster. 

As soon as he completed the lesson, I was sent an email on his progress. 
The journey through the Woodlands has just begun, and Malachi has already learned a lot! Vocabulary is the focus of the first chapter. Rollovers with synonyms make learning vocabulary easy. Synonyms are arranged from the easiest word to the most challenging. The first word in the series tells what all the synonyms mean. To see the vocabulary lessons, visit Malachi's Skills Page by logging into MY ACCOUNT using your parent password. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your child's educational journey.

It also let me know that he completed 9 vocabulary lessons and read 27 pages.

Then it tells me what's coming up! I loved this!
In the next few chapters, Malachi will meet Professor Forp and view his fun videos about place value, the decimal point, the abacus, mean, median, mode, pH and acidity, and the lever and fulcrum, and algebra. There are also lessons on vocabulary, Latin phrases, thinking skills, inspirational quotes, nutrition, cooking tips, and tessellation. Wow! There's a lot to learn in the Woodlands where learning is always fun. Malachi will enjoy the adventure. 

Professor Forp is funny. He teaches math and science in Orphs of the Woodlands. You watch his video about pH. He makes learning fun.

So far this is just the tip of the iceberg in this awesome program!

To check his progress, I can log in to my Parent Account to view his stats. When I logged in, he had completed 9 jobs, read 40 pages, rescued 6 orphs, completed 2 projects, bought 1 plot of land, and started one orphanage! From this screen I can also view his skills completed.

Below this is a link to Malachi's Student Account, when I hover over that a link to Student Progress pops up, and I can see the jobs he has completed and what he missed:


When I click on Review, I can see what he saw and know why he didn't get paid for a job (he didn't have the right answer!).

When he clicks Continue Reading, when he logs in next, it will take him to the next chapter.

Malachi struggled with the amount of reading the first day and finished the reading with my help, but the 2nd day, he read Chapter 2 by himself. The next day, he not only read chapter 3 and did his jobs, but he started Chapter 4 to get a head start for the next day. Once he got a settlement started, he was more motivated to read! Plenty of questions involve comprehension, so I know he's actually reading it.

I really love that there is so much reading involved! This is a real reading program and not just a game. I love that it is challenging him in so many areas, but it's also fun.

There are 8 subjects and over 300 lessons in this program: Math, Science, Language, Vocabulary, Thinking Skills, Character, Life Skills, and The Arts.

For my visual readers this is how those subjects are laid out in the program:


I'm so impressed with the amount of subjects covered in this program - especially math and vocabulary! He's learning so much, and much of it is new and challenging. Malachi says the program makes him feel smart because of all the new things he is learning, but not so smart when he misses one and doesn't get paid for a job.

His favorite subject is life skills, and they bring a fun hands-on component to this learning time. It has been fun trying some of the foods that the critters in the story eat. We have tried many of the recipes from the Woodlands, like Greasy Gooey Goulash!


The recipes are named by Bicker - a bad tempered chef in the Woodlands who gives the tasty recipes distasteful names to discourage the critters from eating them because he gets to eat the leftovers! I learned this from one of the myriad of emails that Star Toaster sends while your child is using the program. He met Bicker right away, but didn't learn why he named the recipes such distasteful names until later in the story.

One of Malachi's favorites was Pitiful Peach Pie and he begged me to make this pie!

The graphics in the program are excellent and even the jobs are visually appealing!

Peach Peeler was Malachi's favorite "job," probably because he was looking forward to that peach pie!

He has a whole computer screen full of screen shots of recipes he wants to make. So far, we have been clicking on the recipe and then printing the screen, but it would be so much easier to have a printer friendly option to print the recipes. A printable cookbook would be so fun to have as a token of our time with this program!

More about Orphs of the Woodlands:

  • The book is interactive. It has vocabulary rollovers, inspirational quotes, recipes, spy letters that expand when you click on them, disappearing ink, TOP SECRET spy files, memory games, music, sound effects, and more.
  • The program is designed for advanced 9 year-olds to 13 year-olds (or 4th through 7th grade).  
  • Designed to be completed independently by the student in sixty days. (A one month extension is available to purchase). 
  • As children read the story, their parents are sent progress reports periodically. 
  • Lessons are presented using videos, flashcards, Memory Typer (an application in the program that helps students memorize stuff), or notes. 
  • Students earn goldstars (their pay) for jobs they complete. For every ten jobs done correctly, they earn a pay raise.
  • After completing their jobs, children visit Ivythwaite to build their settlement for orphs.


  • Goldstars are used to pay for “orph care” expenses or to do projects that lower the cost of caring for orphs. Goldstars are also needed to buy land and build more orphanages.
  • The goal of the game is to rescue as many orphs as possible. Taking care of the orphs is the incentive to learn. (As of Chapter 14, Malachi has rescued 42 orphs out of 50 possible). 
  • Orphs of the Woodlands is designed for homeschooling, but would also work very well as a summer reading program.

Benefits:

  • A reading program that covers 8 subjects! 
  • Children learn independently!
  • Teaches decision making and logic. Teaches children how to think
  • Children learn how to improve their memory and pay attention to details. (They create TOP SECRET spy files by remembering facts about characters.) 
  • Encourages positive character traits, values, and leadership skills. 
  • Teaches life skills such as cooking and nutrition.
  • Encourages children to "learn new information daily." 
  • It's fun! 

Malachi's was so excited to complete the book today.

Here are his final stats:

  • 50 orphs rescued
  • 279 jobs completed
  • 11 projects completed
  • 2 orphanages started
  • 3 plots of land purchased 

I've heard lots of squeals over the last hour as he diligently finished the last chapter. He's a super happy kid - finishing the book was a big accomplishment for him! (376 total pages!)

Orphs of the Woodlands has captivated my ten year old. He enjoyed the adventure so much that we can't wait for Book 2 in the series!

Go read my Crewmates reviews to learn more, or try it for yourself! The first 100 pages are available with a free trial! If your child is in the 4th-7th grade range, I highly recommend you give it a try! 
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