Friday, August 23, 2013

School Room 2013-2014

This will be our third year homeschooling, as we started at the beginning with preschool.  At the beginning, I was determined to have an "official" schoolroom.  I spent the entire summer converting our garage into the schoolroom.  I was thrilled with it!  Each little area had it's own function.  Izzie roamed around from station to station completing her daily assignments.  I sat at my desk and watched her and when she needed help, she would come to my desk and I would help.  It modeled school, the type of school I was accustomed too.  

We continued this way until it became too cold to work in the schoolroom.  That winter we spent a lot of time at the dining room table or snuggled up on the couch.  I actually enjoyed the more intimate setting a lot better.   It was simple.  It was cozy.  It was nice having Izzie beside me.  We completely forgot about the schoolroom.  That was until the following summer.  Again, I decided I needed the schoolroom.  I liked having a designated space for all the school stuff, instead of having it scattered around the dining room and living room.  And, it didn't help seeing all the amazing schoolrooms floating around on Pinterest.  So, once again, we spent the summer reorganizing the garage, as it had become a messy storage area during the winter months. 

 The story continued...we stayed in the schoolroom until it became too cold, then we moved back to the dining room table.  Again, it was so much better.  I felt so much closer to the girls. Yes, the random clusters of school supplies scattered around, did drive me a little crazy, and this wasn't my original vision of our "dream" homeschool was better!  

So, this summer....the story ended.  The schoolroom, which we now officially refer to as the garage is a mess once again and it will probably stay that way because I have no intention of cleaning and reorganizing it to become the schoolroom.  We have created our own vision of what our homeschooling schoolroom should look like...  introducing our schoolroom for 2013-2014.


Simple, cozy, absolute perfection for our family!

Be sure to hop over to the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop to see other schoolrooms! 

Curriculum Week in the 2013 Not Back to School Blog Hop

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Curriculum 2013-2014


After months of researching and tackling our state's homeschool convention, I'm finally satisfied with our curriculum choices for the upcoming school year!  


First Grade

  • Core: Memoria Press first grade curriculum.  We tend to lean more toward an eclectic, classical loving homeschooling family.  After drooling over the Memoria Press curriculum, I finally broke down and bought it! 

First Grade Curriculum
  • Izzie loves Math.  I allow her to work through the workbooks at her own pace.  If she finishes one level, she starts another.  She has completed the Kindergarten Level, Level 1, and Level 2 for Horizons.  This year she'll be starting Horizons, Level 3.  She has also completed Singapore Math levels: kindergarden, first, and second.  Did I mention, she loves math?!  After a lot of thought, I decided to no longer use both curriculum...this year, she'll only use Horizons. 

Horizons Math, Grade 3, Complete Set   -


Biology For The Grammar Stage Printed Combo

  • She will continue working through School Song Spanish.  We were fortunate to review this curriculum last year and my girls loved it! 




  • Core:  Memoria Press Jr. Kindergarten curriculum.  For Izzie, I would always cut and paste together her prechool curriculum from various blogs.  This year, I decided to take an easier, less time consuming route! 

Junior Kindergarten Curriculum

I will be supplementing with:


 Saxon Math K, Home Study Kit   -     
        By: Saxon

 Exploring Science Printed Combo


 As a family, the girls will be completing the following:


  • While traveling around the world, the girls will be creating masterpieces from Global Art.  We reviewed this book over the summer and it was a huge hit! 


Curious to know what other families are using?  Grab a cup of coffee and hop over to iHomeschool Network

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summertime Memories

We headed off to the Drive-In for another movie!  My girls love watching movies outside, under the stars, on the big screen!  They are always so excited that they get to stay up way past bedtime too!    

This was their first time watching E.T. 

  They really enjoyed their surprise...Reese's Pieces!

Gotta love summertime memories!

Monday, August 5, 2013

TOS Review: BrainFood Learning

 photo 31477_411332758959489_253604783_n_zps2cd64016.png

I'm always thrilled when I find educational videos to incorporate into our homeschooling.  So, I was beyond excited to review The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning.  

 Recommended Ages:  3-11 years old

Price:  $14.99


What's included in The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD?  
  • The 52 minute DVD contains amazing video of ten mammals and fascinating facts about each. 
  • There are three options on the main menu. 

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning
  • The Play All option contains a brief introduction about the Animal Kingdom and more specific information regarding mammals.  It explains the five characteristics of mammals.  Afterward, there are segments for the ten featured mammals.  
  • The ten featured mammals are giraffe, moose, lion, dolphin, elephant, beaver, chimpanzee, bat, kangaroo, and bear. 
  • Each mammal is clearly identified and shown in their natural habitat by use of graphics and video.  
  • Vocabulary words are introduced and clearly defined within each segment. 
  • At the end of each segment, the vocabulary word is reviewed.   
  •  The Mammals option shows a screen of all ten featured mammals.  You may pick and click on the mammal of your choice.  The information is the same for each mammal as in the Play All option. 

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning

  • There are five different reviews in the Reviews section.
The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning

 For Review #1, Mammal Flash Cards, each featured mammal is reviewed with a graphic and written and oral name.  

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning

Review #2, Review the Mammals, shows a graphic of the featured mammal with three multiple choice options.  The mammal names are read aloud.  The viewer is to choose the correct name of the mammal.  The correct answer is given. 

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning

The five characteristics of all mammals are reviewed in Review #3, Features of a Mammal
The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning

 During Review #4, Review Mammal Facts, there are a total of ten multiple choice review questions.  The questions and answers are read aloud.  The viewer is to choose the correct mammal.  The correct answer with a graphic of the mammal is given.

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning

Lastly, Review #5, Review the Big Words, contains a total of eleven multiple choice questions regarding the vocabulary that was introduced throughout the DVD.  The statements/questions are read aloud and the correct answer is given.  

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD from BrainFood Learning

Curious to see The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD in action?  Check out the video below!


 What I liked:

  • The graphics and videos were stunning!  We really enjoyed watching The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD over and over again! 
  • It was real...the animals were shown in their natural habitats.  
  • We learned a lot of interesting facts about each mammal that we didn't already know. 
  • We learned even more new vocabulary!   I really appreciated that every vocabulary word was clearly explained within the segment and used in proper context. 
  • The use of a map during the segment to show the location where the mammal lives.  This was not done for every featured mammal, but it would be a nice addition to see it for all.
  • The review at the end of each segment was a clever way to review the new vocabulary.   
  • The subtle background music was just enough.  Not too much to take away from the graphics and content.
  • The ability to choose a particular mammal under the Mammals option on the Main Men.  This is such a time saving mechanism!
  • The variety of reviews within the Review section.  
  • For younger viewers, it is very convenient to have all the review questions/statements read aloud by the narrator. 


In conclusion, I would recommend The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD.

In addition, be sure to check out other educational videos from BrainFood Learning! 

Fascinating World of Birds DVD               Fascinating World of Insects


Sail over to read what other Crew Mates had to say about their experience with BrainFood Learning.


Mac's adventures...

I adore Mac's uniqueness and creativity!  It's such a delight to explore and experience the world through her eyes! 

 Watering the garden and flowers.  

 Ready for an at-home day adventure! 

Singing and dancing in the rain.  

Digging for worms.

Singing while building a bird's nest in the backyard.

Dressed for just another day at home. 


She transformed herself into a robot with a robotic voice!  

She brings so much joy and laughter to my heart!  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

TOS Review: Gryphon House

 photo gr_zps4f060fb6.jpg

Gryphon House, an award-winning publisher, distributes high quality Early Childhood educational books for educators and parents.  They have published approximately 200 titles and are continuing to add titles each year.

This upcoming school year, the girls and I are traveling around the world to discover and learn more about different people and cultures.  At the beginning of the summer, I was spending numerous hours researching projects for various countries.  Thankfully, I was offered to review Global Art: Activities, Projects, and Inventions from Around the World. 

Recommended Age:  Pre-K through Grade 5

Price:  $16.95


What's included in Global Art: Activities, Projects, and Inventions from Around the World
  • The softcover book consists of 189 pages of fun, easy-to-do art activities that encourage children to learn and appreciate people and cultures from around the world.  There are 138 art ideas that incorporate customs, celebrations, discoveries, and inventions from around the world. 
  • I really appreciate how well the book is organized and it's simplicity.  At the beginning of the book, there is a page explaining the use of icons, which are found throughout the book, at the top corner of each project page.  I was able to quickly determine the level of difficulty, the primary art medium, and the amount of planning and preparation before even looking at the directions!   
Global Art, Use Of Icons
  • The book is organized into 7 chapters, each focusing on a particular part of the world.  
  • Each chapter contains it's own table of contents, which lists the countries and projects, a paragraph about the area and suggested biographies to read that represent each country represented.
  • The following pages within the chapter are the easy-to-do art activities.  Each project page consists of a clearly labeled art activity from a particular country, which is marked on a globe.  In addition, there is a small informative paragraph about the country.  The materials needed and detailed directions are clearly organized.  I really enjoyed having the icons at the top of each page as a quick reference and a picture representing the desired project too!  
Global Art, Project Page
  • At the back of the book, there are neatly organized indexes for quick reference.  The indexes include Art Medium (collage, construction, drawing, painting, printing, and sculpture), Experience Level (beginner, some experience, and experienced), and Preparation (1 being household items, 2 representing materials that may need to be purchased, and 3 being more unfamiliar items). 

The girls and I had an amazing time creating projects from around the world during our review period!  It was hard to save some projects for the upcoming school year! 

Chapter 1:  Africa 

There are 22 different activities included for the 14 countries and/or areas represented.  The counties and/or areas that are represented include:

Central Africa
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ivory Coast
South Africa 
Traditional Africa
West Africa

Izzie, 6 years old, and Mac, 4 years old, created "Colorful Baskets" from Zambia.

Art Medium: Sculpture
Experience Level: Some Experience
Preparation:  2

They really enjoyed creating soup bowls from fabric! 

Global Art, Colorful Baskets from Zambia

Global Art, Colorful Baskets from Zambia

Chapter 2:  Antarctica

There are 8 activities to explore for Antarctica.

"Crystal Watercolor Snowflake"

Art Medium: Painting
Experience Level: Beginner
Preparation: 1

Global Art, Antarctica, Crystal Watercolor Snowflake

Chapter 3:  Asia 

There are 22 activities suggested for the 12 countries represented from Asia.  The countries are: 


We created these awesome "Eraser Signatures" from China.  

Art Medium: Printing
Experience Level: Some Experience
Preparation: 1 

Global Art, Eraser Signatures from China 

The girls loved being able to stamp their initials onto their completed artwork!

Global Art, Eraser Signatures from China 

Chapter 4:  Europe

There are a total of 34 activities for the following 17 countries. 


I have been wanting to create "Profile Silhouettes" of the girls.  This was the perfect opportunity to represent France.

Art Medium: Drawing
Experience Level: Beginner 
Preparation: 1

Global Art, Profile Silhouette from France

 Chapter 5:  North America 

 There are 24 different projects for the countries of North America.  

All Countries 
United States

 Izzie really enjoyed making the fabric basket, so she was thrilled to represent the United States by creating an "Early American Quilt Design."

Art Medium: Collage
Experience Level: Some Experience
Preparation: 1

Global Art, Early American Quilt Design

Chapter 6:  Oceania 

There are 10 total projects for the following 6 countries.


 The girls enjoyed creating a "Soft Coral Watercolor" to represent Fiji.
Art Medium: Painting
Experience Level: Experienced
Preparation: 1

Global Art, Soft Coral Watercolor representing Fiji

Chapter 7:  South and Central America

There are a total of 18 projects included for the following counties/areas.

All Countries
Central America

Izzie and Mac were beyond excited to make a "Drinking Straw Flute" from Brazil.

Art Medium: Construction
Experience Level: Some Experience
Preparation: 1

Global Art, Drinking Straw Flute from Brazil

Global Art, Drinking Straw Flute from Brazil


What I liked:
  • The open-ended activities encouraged my girls to explore and create a variety of art from around the world.  The projects were simple enough for them to complete by themselves; it's never fun watching mama complete the projects!   
  • The goal of Global Art is to have each young artist focus and learn through the process, rather than the finished product.  I love this philosophy! 
  •  The variety of art mediums used throughout the book.  My girls never bored of doing the same thing over and over again. 
  • It is very well organized.  I really liked the reference icons and the step-by-step directions for each project.  I felt very prepared before starting the project and it never ended with me scratching my head. 
  •  Each activity is accompanied by a geographic and culture background. This makes it an easy way to incorporate geography into the art project!
  • It was a fun and easy way to incorporate art and geography in our school day! 
  • My girls begged to do more projects!  I would catch Izzie flipping through the book, selecting which art projects she wanted to do next! 


 In conclusion, I would highly recommend Global Art: Activities, Projects, and Inventions from Around the World.

Recommended Age:  Pre-K through Grade 5

Price:  $16.95


Sail over to read what other Crew Mates had to say about their experience with Gryphon House.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...