Monday, October 29, 2012

Late October Update

Grabbing a quick minute to post an update today while Jackson is relaxing in his bed and the bigger kids are cleaning in their room.  It's Halloween week so this week is extra busy with outside activities for us.  Any opportunity to dress up and socialize is an event we are attending.

The kids are ultra excited for Wednesday night to get here so they can don their costumes and go spend time with Justain and the Tweens.  Trick or Treating isn't for everyone but it's something we do really enjoy as a family.  Dressing up and spending time together bonding is a favorite thing to do for our family.

The kids have all chosen their costumes and all is ready to go.  Winston is going to be Darth Maul.  Emmalee is a Witch, along with Grandma and Laycie's sweet little best friend Makayla.  Laycie and Jackson are Bumble Bees - Watch out or Laycie will sting you!  Justain is a Vampire Knight and I am dressing like the 80's this year.  Even my best friend is in on the fun, dressing in a 70's costume that totally fits her style!  I already have a few pictures from a recent event in town but I plan to take a lot more.

Jackson - Jax is doing well.  He's 8 weeks old now.  He'll be two months on Halloween.  His next checkup is Thursday and we will find out his weight and length then.  He's already stretching across the narrow side of his pack and play and he fills the bassinet length-wise.  And he's certainly becoming a chunky little one too.

Breastfeeding is going amazingly.  Jackson eats every 3-4 hours now and finishes both sides.  He's gaining weight.  He's peeing and pooping lots.  I am so glad I didn't give up in those first few weeks.  I'm even pumping a little and he's enjoying having a bottle here and there.  He's doing well with it all and I'm totally thrilled.

Jackson can see across the room now.  He notices people he knows: Me, Grandma, Laycie, Winston, Emmalee and Daddy.  He smiles.  He laughs.  And most recently he's discovered his hands.  He tries to suck his fingers and thumb.  He coos too.  It's the cutest and sweetest thing!

The kids are still totally in love with him.  They are enjoying his smiles and do as much as possible to make one happen so they can see it.  Laycie has been blowing bubbles on his tummy and he laughs at her.

Having Jackson has made each one of the older kids grow up just a bit.  Laycie wants to be "big sister", not little one.  Emmalee is helping more with the baby, little sister and even around the house.  Winston is just older overall.  It's amazing how much change a new baby brings into a home.

Well, my sweet boy has awakened and is not happy.  So blogging time is over.  Hope everyone is well.  We are praying for those in the path of Hurricane Sandy.  May God bless everyone and keep them safe. <3 p="p">

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dayspring Christian Academy's The Pilgrim Story Review


Dayspring Christian Academy has created an online class called The Pilgrim Story, which the Schoolhouse Review Crew was asked to review.  The Pilgrim Story tells the story of how America was founded by the Pilgrims based from original sources.  Dayspring Christian Academy uses the Principle Approach with the purpose of returning America to her biblical heritage.

The Pilgrim Story shows students how the Pilgrims persevered with hard work and self-governance, along with their strong Christian characteristics.  Through 5 units and 17 lessons, students learn about the conditions Pilgrims lived through on the Mayflower, the creation of the Mayflower Compact, life under the rule of King Henry, and more.  Lessons include assessments, extra activities to expand learning and notebooking pages to use along with the provided audio of the class format.  The course ends with a virtual field trip to Plymouth, MA, lead by The Pilgrim Story author, Mary Stauffer.

The Pilgrim Story was created to be used with students in grades 3-6.  Homeschoolers who have advanced 2nd graders could also use this online program, as well as those with students above 6th grade level who haven't had full instruction in the history of America's birth.

I must admit that this was not one of my favorite reviews.  It did not go well with our laid-back, less-structured style of learning.  I found it to be too structured for my personal liking and my children quickly became bored with the program itself.

This program provides everything a teacher needs for the course, as well as thorough lessons on America's beginnings.  The program also provides a thorough understanding of the creation of America on a biblical foundation.  The Pilgrim Story is the perfect way to teach children more about America's foundation and would be perfect for a structured-styled homeschooling family, or someone who is interested in thoroughly covering every aspect of America's foundation.

The Pilgrim Story costs $99 for six months of access to the program.  Access is available within 48 hours of purchase of the course.  Classes are not set on a schedule and are available for use as you choose.  The class is audio with slide show presentations to go along with them.

For more reviews of Dayspring Christian Academy's The Pilgrim Story, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!



*Disclaimer - A six month subscription to The Pilgrim Story was provided to me by Dayspring Christian Academy and the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion in a review.  No money was exchanged.  I am including this disclosure in accordance with FTC regulations.

Monday, October 15, 2012

KinderBach Review


KinderBach has expanded their musical family with a new iPad app: KinderBach Simply Discover Piano.  This app was designed to be used with young children, as well as older ones, teaching them piano at home easily, just as the KinderBach online does.  KinderBach Simply Discover Piano is a wonderful addition to the KinderBach line-up.



Created for children ages 3-7 and enjoyed by children of all ages, KinderBach Simply Discover Piano begins teaching children the concepts of piano directly on the iPad using a digital keyboard provided in the app.  Children use the keyboard to learn the key patterns used in each lesson building upon skills as they work through the program.  



KinderBach Simply Discover Piano has 3 levels of learning, with 10 lessons each that a child works through to learn how to play piano.  Each lesson provides a video intro which summarizes the lesson, 4 videos teaching the concepts learned in the lesson and a game to practice the lesson.  Printables for each lesson are also available to build upon the concepts learned.  The lesson intro also tells the child and teacher what is needed to complete that particular lesson for the week.



All three of my children played around with this app while we reviewed it.  Lessons were easily used with all three of them since the app allows the user to choose what lesson and level to begin with.  Lessons are also easily repeated because of this setup.  And the kids can spend as little or as much time playing with the app as they'd like.  The activities were intriguing for the kids and even my 4 year old was easily able to work through her lessons without becoming frustrated.  She learned a lot from simply watching the videos and playing along.  KinderBach Simply Discover Piano is one of our family's favorite apps!



There are two versions of the KinderBach Simply Discover Piano app available: The FREE basic version and the full version for $26.99.

 

The Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed both KinderBach's Online program and KinderBach's Simply Discover Piano app.  For more reviews of both products, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!



*Disclaimer - I received a free download of this app from KinderBach and the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog post.  All opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Adjusting to Baby

Wow!  I didn't realize how long it's been since I posted something other than a blog post here until I filled out my 2013 Crew Review form.  Things have certainly been busy around here for the last few months.  Preparing for our newest addition, preparing for my c-section, welcoming our sweet boy into the world, bringing him home and adjusting to life with a newborn has kept our days filled.  Even keeping up with the Crew has been a struggle for me these past few months.

And yes, you all read right.  Our newest addition, Jackson Lucas Lee Lambert has officially arrived!!  Jackson was delivered via scheduled repeat c-section on August 31, 2012.  He weighed 8lbs and was 20.5 inches long at birth.  He's now over 9lbs and 22 inches long at a month old.

Jackson has had a rough month adjusting to the world.  For the first few weeks, we had to battle Jaundice that did not want to go away.  In fact, he's just now getting better from that, though we are truly thankful he didn't require a hospital stay under the bili lights to correct it.

Breastfeeding was a challenge at first, too, but every day we get a little bit better at it.  Jackson has an excellent latch and is very good at eating.  And now that we are past the first few weeks, breastfeeding has become enjoyable for Mommy too!

The kids have adjusted well to having a new baby in the house.  Everyone around kept commenting how worried they were that the kids would have trouble adjusting to him, especially Laycie, who has been the baby for the past 4 years.  I'm happy to say, I was right - Laycie LOVES her baby brother and isn't jealous of him at all.  She's adjusted as well as Emmalee did before her and Winston did when Emmalee was born.

I'm actually really proud of how well she has adjusted to being a big sister at just 4 years old.  She loves to help out with Jackson.  She brings me diapers and wipes.  She talks to Jax when he's fussy.  She loves to touch him and sing to him.  She sits beside him in the car and gives him his Paci when he cries and sings to him then too.  She amazes me at how much she does to help out with him.

All of my kids have been a great help with their baby brother.  Emmalee was a bit shy about helping at first, simply because Jackson was sooo very tiny to her that she was afraid she'd hurt him but now even she is helping out.  She enjoys doing anything to help with Jackson so long as it benefits him and doesn't require her holding him.  His care is one of the few things she does without argument and it's really helping her grow up more and more.

Winston, as always, had no problems helping out right away.  He voluntarily changes diapers and holds Jax as much as he can.  He is going to make some woman an amazing husband one of these days.

Having a new baby in the house doesn't allow much time for anything other than loving on baby but every day we are becoming more adjusted.  It's been hard even finding time to write this post.  In fact, I'm going to have to cut this short because my little sweetie is crying for Mommy.  So until next time.... <3 p="p">

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ZooWhiz Review


As a Homeschooling Mom, I learned a long time ago that in order to motivate my children to learn, I had to find resources that would allow them to enjoy the learning experience.  Many educators frown upon the excessive use of video and web games to educate children but for us, especially for my oldest son, video and web games are the key to learning.  Providing my children with lots of interesting web games that promote education and learning has been important to our educational style and learning methods. 



As a reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, I find that many times we are provided with wonderful opportunities to review websites and web games.  Most of them fit us perfectly and ZooWhiz is one of those perfect learning websites filled with lots of fun educational games.  My children don't even realize they are learning while playing online.  They usually think they are just playing a game until I say "Hey, did you just learn that?"  And I find myself saying that a lot lately.



ZooWhiz is flexible.  ZooWhiz is creative and imaginative.  ZooWhiz allows children to learn while rewarding them along the way.



ZooWhiz is available to play for free by creating a FREE Keeper account or you can purchase a Premium Zoologist account for $19.95 for an entire year of fun play per child.  With ZooWhiz, your child can choose the whichever avatar they'd like to be.  Then they can begin to explore the ZooWhiz world. 


They can visit Learn and Earn to earn coins through educational activities.  Check in at Milestones to see what progress has been made.  In the Biodome, they can purchase items and animals to place in the Zoo.  Visit the arcade to play games and learn more too.


With the FREE Keeper account, your child can access the educational activities but available animals and arcade games are limited.  Play outside of school hours is also limited in the free account.  But with the PREMIUM Zoologist account, all content is available including unlimited play time, endangered zoo animals, and the ability to choose levels of play for your child.



With ZooWhiz your child will gain additional learning experience in math, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, phonics, phonemics, reading and more.  Kids ages 5-15 can learn and enjoy using ZooWhiz.  We certainly did!  



For more reviews of ZooWhiz, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!!



*Disclaimer - Access to the Premium Zoologist account on ZooWhiz was provided to me free of charge for a limited time by ZooWhiz and TOS' Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion of the website in a blog post.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

BOX of I.D.E.As. Review


     When I first responded to the BOX of I.D.E.As. review form, I was following my instincts because I wasn't at all sure that this product would work for us.  My choice for the review was for the SALT box since I figured that would go along well with past lessons we have done on Egypt.  Salt is also a hugely used item around our house so I thought, "Hmm, what a great way to teach the kids about something we use so much of!"

     BOX of I.D.E.As. SALT box has not disappointed us.  Our SALT box arrived packaged within another box and true to it's name this BOX was with great ideas.  A brochure for this product was included explaining the concept of BOX of I.D.E.As and other than the actual SALT box, it was the first thing to catch my eye.

     The brochure proclaims this product to be "All you need in one neat box!" and it really is.  10 activity based modules make up this extensive curriculum targeting ages 9-16.  All in one box, getting the child off the computer and back to learning from scratch.  It's definitely a lot of hands-on learning fun.  



     Everything you need is included in one simple box and each module is easily setup.  Each box is easily implemented and adapted to any homeschoolers curriculum.  This box reminded me of a wonderfully, complete unit study.  The box is portable to be used anywhere, even while traveling.  The included exercises are engaging and interesting, keeping the child captivated and wanting to learn more.

     Upon opening the box, the user finds a welcome note explaining the curriculum along with 10 individually zip-lock package bags of activities.  The user can simply pull one of any of the 10 modules from the box to get started learning about SALT.  The only needed accessory is a pencil or pen.  If any other supplies are necessary for the module, it can be found listed on a label on the front of the module bag.

     A related quote can be found on the label on the front of each module bag.  These quotes can be used for copywork.  They can also be used for a writing project or a discussion to further build upon the curriculum and extend it to other areas in homeschooling.

     Fact cards are another bonus provided throughout the SALT box.  These cards can be used for memorization or a creative game.  They could also be turned into a writing assignment and added to by students as they learn more about Salt working through the curriculum.

     Each module is jam-packed with activities, games, facts, weblinks and more.  The modules cover everything from the Salt March to where salt comes from to why we use salt and so much more than most of us even know.  The Great Wall of China was even paid for with money gained from taxing salt.  Colorful photos are included to expand lessons and plenty of quality flashcards are included to be used as needed within the curriculum.

    We learned so much about SALT through this wonderful curriculum and so much more than any other curriculum we have used has taught us about it.  It was also very easy to include my littlest homeschooler in lessons, allowing her to listen as absorb as we held discussions and read through the activities included in each module.  This is a box we will be returning to over and over again as we learn more about how salt is used through history and more. It's a huge bonus to have a complete subject such as this one on hand.



   Other topics are available through BOX of I.D.E.As. such as Laundry, World War II (multiple products for WWII), Quilting, Civil War and more. To purchase your own BOX of I.D.E.As., visit their website.  The SALT box like we used, which includes everything but a pencil for activities, is available through their website for $79.  A PDF for SALT is available for $49.  Extra modules can be purchased as needed for $4 each.

     For more reviews of BOX of I.D.E.As. products and of SALT, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!



*Disclaimer - BOX of I.D.E.As. and the Schoolhouse Review Crew provided me with this SALT box for free in exchange for trying the product and providing my honest opinion in a blog post review.

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