Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nature Friend Magazine

I recently received two copies of Nature Friend magazine to review. I was amazed and awestruck and the quality of this magazine. The photography, paper quality and the articles were all top-notch and they included related activities. Then, something hit me all at once and I had to look at the magazine again. There were NO advertisements of any kind. The more I looked at and studied this magazine, the more I liked it.

All three of my kids (8-13) loved it. They would read the articles to each other and actually help one another with the activities. It is wonderful for a mom to see her kids getting along. Now, I'm not going to claim this happened the whole time they worked on the magazines but for the most part, they were so excited about some of it that they temporarily forgot to fight.

Nature Friend has started putting out a study guide recently with their magazine in order for families to get even more out of the articles. Some are activities like crosswords and word search, others are more like actual research. For the time we had the magazine coming to our home, we used it for science class at least twice a week. It seemed to work well with our multi-grade school situation. I haven't found a whole of things that do incorporate all my kids on some level, but then some days my creative side takes a nose dive. Don't laugh, you know you've been there.

Our science class using the magazine looked a little like this - the oldest child would read and article to the younger ones with mom explaining anything that wasn't understood, then the kids would talk about it some (their favorite parts, if they've ever seen the subject, etc) and then we would pick one of the many activities to do to reinforce some of the words and concepts. Some of those activities were very challenging!

This company offers more than magazines, I've seen a wide array of books and also noticed they sell a hardback edition of a year's worth of magazine that will last. I love this idea. If you follow this link then it will direct you to some sample issues to help you decide if this is right for you. There isn't enough room for me to put in all I would like to about this magazine. I say all these wonderful things to allow you to know that the price of such a wonderful resource is well justified. I haven't renewed my subscription but I definitely intend to as soon as spring comes. One year cost $36.00, that's just $3 and issue with no ads and chock full of educational nature information for your child. The study guide is $24.00 for the year, which is $2 an issue and more than well worth that. And for those of my readers who it matters to very much, this is creation based nature study that glorifies our Creator. To me, that's priceless. Think, pray and consider this.

DebG, HeadNut

Maestro Classics

Dun-da-da-dun, dun-da-da-dun, etc. My children ripped open the package for Maestro Classics when we received it to review from the company. The two littlest nuts (11 and 8) promptly sat in front of the computer and popped in the CD and began running it from there with the speakers UP! The middle child listened as she perused the booklet that came with it.

As I listened to the Tortoise and the Hare put to music, I began to realize how much thought went into this CD. The scores and background music were perfect all the way through the story and the story was a longer version than I had ever heard but it was still engaging. It kept both of the smaller kids' attention and honestly, the youngest child doesn't usually like anything without pictures or some other kind of visual learning. He just doesn't learn with pure auditory, but he sat there throughout the whole CD even as the next tracks began to explain the different scores and musical selections. I believe I was actually the one who finally cried "uncle". They would have continued to listen to it over and over but I had a schedule to keep that day and wasn't getting anything done.

This CD series could seriously jump-start a music appreciation in my children. They already love certain types of music, but this could definitely introduce them to the world of more classical music and give them a desire to learn more about it and it's composers. I grew up loving classics (I know, I was a little weird) and thoroughly enjoyed Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.

Maestro Classics is reasonably priced as well. Each CD is only 16.98 or 3 for $45 with the coupon code of MAESTRO45. That's not but a couple dollars more than a traditional CD in department stores, but this has the added bonus of teaching your children an appreciation of music and enjoying a more classical side of it. They have some wonderful stories and gift sets. I even spied a family pack that looked like fun. Give it try, I don't believe you'll regret it.

DebG, HeadNut

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sarah Books

I hope that I can properly introduce a wonderful new author. If your children love fictional stories from history, then this is someone that definitely deserves your attention. Jim Baumgardner and his new books - the Sarah Books - are a wholesome, informative and entertaining read.

After receiving a copy in the mail to review, I immediately began reading it. I love reading and I like to preview what my kids will be reading and studying to be sure that it's appropriate. I immediately fell in love with Sarah and her plight. I honestly did not want to put it down. The story swept me away from the beginning and kept me hanging on through every chapter. This series is written more for young teenagers, but I admit to indulging every so often myself!

My thirteen-year-old daughter read a couple of chapters on her own and at my request, she began reading to her little sister (10) and brother (8). While they don't understand everything in the book (hey, there's a glossary for us older people too!), they are certainly loving the story and asking questions about Sarah's plight. In this way, we are discovering more together about this particular topic and opening dialogue within our family on the issues. I honestly did not expect the little ones to like it but they gather in the floor to listen to their sister read and it does a mother's heart good.

Right now, the author is offering a special deal for my readers and me! Readers of my blog who want to order referencing this blog will get a special discount and it will also help me get a great deal as well! I really want the rest of these books, so please people, think about this. It would make a wonderful gift for Christmas to your little history nuts. They are written circa Civil War times in case that helps. Every copy comes autographed to the recipient for free!! AND right now, shipping and handling is also free. Can you beat that? I know I can't.

Email the author at

Blessings and great reads to all,
DebG, Head Nut

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2nd Impressions of College Prep Genius

Now, that it's been awhile since I've received my copy of College Prep Genius to review, I wanted to post some more about my impressions of this system.

Personally, I was always scared to take SAT thinking it was a more intellectual type test than the ACT. All this time, I have been wrong. The SAT is more of a logic test that includes an essay. This system goes through and thoroughly explains each part of SAT and how it works. If I had had this system when I was getting prepared for college, I definitely would have thought more seriously about taking SAT.

With this system, if a person was to go through and do exactly what the program describes then there is an excellent chance of full scholarships. The system teaches acronyms to learn the best ways of working out the logic of these tests and the method of test-taking. Now, of course, grades, transcripts and extra-curricullar activities matter with admission to college, but the scores on the SAT/ACT tell a story of their own as well.

I would highly recommend this system to anyone in high school to go through no matter which test they are taking. To me, it will be invaluable resource in my household for years to come. I am already recommending it to every high schooler I know.

Blessings to all,
DebG, Head Nut

Monday, October 26, 2009

Padded cells half off this week only

For a few minutes, I need to let everyone know about the woman behind the blog. It's been a crazy week. I'm behind on everything and nothing is getting done. When the flu ran through me, it at least left my household alone. For once, maybe I did something right. ha ha

If you're like me, the craziness of life can get to you at times. That's one reason I refer to my house as the Looneybin. With three kids who think most of the time they are running the show, two dogs who are positive that they are the boss, a husband who really is the numero uno dude and then me, things don't always go according to plan.

This was supposed to be a great school year, full of experimenting with new ideas and learning what is going to work for our little family. Instead, to me it has felt like utter chaos. We have fully enjoyed reviewing for the Old Schoolhouse and the products they have been sending, but much to my dismay, we haven't found a "groove" yet that works for us.

I'm asking my readers for advice. The Looneybin needs a little less chaos and a little more harmony. Maybe, mom just needs to get her act together, I really don't know. Teaching kids in the 3rd, 5th and 8th grades is a challenge, especially since their interests are so varied. We also have a schedule that keeps us hopping since my husband is a pastor, then I need to be available at a moments notice and be able to leave the kids working well on their own. Perhaps I made a mistake in getting away from workbooks that we never seemed to complete. Right now, I baring myself to you and asking you, what you veterans might suggest. Yes, I've been at this for 9 years but somehow, we still don't have it together and I do so want them to learn and do well. I'm just however not ready to hand them over to public schools under any circumstances.

Thanks in advance for your help!

DebG, Head Nut

Friday, October 23, 2009

And October's Winner Is.....

Our October subscription drawing is at a close! I put everyone's name into my littlest nut's Indiana Jones hat and the warden very suspiciously drew out a name. You should have seen the look on my hubbie's face. He didn't know what he was getting himself into, lol.

BUT, Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker, you are the winner of a one year subscription to the Old Schoolhouse magazine. I will be contacting you via e-mail to confirm the details.

Thanks to everyone who participated and rest assured, I have more drawings in the works! Keep watching and reading.

DebG, Head Nut

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Contest

I would like to announce a contest. See it's time for me to renew my Old Schoolhouse Magazine and I need someone to share with. I'm going to get the buy one, get one, but here in the LooneyBin, well there aren't many people to share with yet since I'm new in town. So, I'm reaching out to you. So if you don't currently get the magazine, leave me a comment on Facebook (this note entry please) or my blog and in one week from today, I will put everyone's name in a hat and let one of my little nuts draw out a winner. If this contest goes well, then I have a couple more of my sleeve in the next couple of months! The winner will be drawn on Friday morning, October 23, 2009. So all comments/entries must be made by midnight on Thursday, CST.

Thanks in advance for letting me share with you.


Nutrition 101: Choose Life!

Remember the old food guide pyramids that we learned growing up? Throw them out. Yes, I said it, throw them out completely. This curriculum has redefined that pyramid. The only thing missing is my chocolate food group. Oh, well. This curriculum is targeted for all age groups. Since I have three different grades in my household, it worked quite well as we began to go over it.

So far, we have talked about the brain and it's functions. Now admittedly, I had to explain quite a bit in the material but it made for good discussion and research. I have always loved looking up what I don't know and I'm trying to instill that in my children. Although in the microwave age, kids aren't used to waiting on information or being patient enough to learn by looking up. I believe the kids who are willing to do this will excel in all areas. My kids giggled over some of the names and of course, me being me, I took advantage and decided to make them a little sillier. They seem to remember things better when they have had fun with it.

The recipes and extra resources really made this curriculum a true curriculum. There are loads of activities to enhance each chapter and scores of resources at the end of the book to make looking up valuable information a snap. This curriculum, if followed, will change your way of looking at food and possibly change your whole life. It simply explains how these changes can enhance your goals at healthy living. Now, me, I eat junk and next year, well, we've decided to have a huge garden. I'm going to be taking the facts in this book and applying it to making the best garden for my family possible. The money savings that I will see in my food bill alone will allow me to buy better at the store for things I can't grow in my area.

I will admit, this book seems a little pricey, BUT (notice huge "but") this curriculum can be used in place of any nutrition curriculum that you currently use and can be used for all grades over and over again. Most health curriculums cover nutrition every year, but I have never seen one to cover it this well. I received my copy for free for review as a PDF download and it makes scanning through and searching so easy! The print book can be ordered for $99.95 and the CD-ROM can be ordered for $79.95. You can also order the combo (book and CD-ROM) for $129.95.

Being frugal is in my nature, but trust me, in the long run, this purchase would be frugal. It can be used for many years to come and somehow, I have a feeling that the nutrition sense in this book will not be outdated for some time to come. That reminds me, I need to go make a backup of my file, I can't afford to lose this valuable resource!

DebG, Head Nut (nuts are nutritional, lol)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lapbooking from A Journey Through Learning

I was very wary of lapbooking. To me it seemed too much like scrapbooking and I definitely do not have the patience nor the talent for such an endeavor. To my surprise, it was more like a fun book to assemble. My two youngest kids worked on this particular project and they thoroughly enjoyed such a new way to learn.

After much debate, my kids settled on the reptiles study. We had 5 to choose from and this was going to be an experiment so they chose the subject they were most interested in - Reptiles. From the very first day, my little nuts ran with this project absorbing so much information. I worked with them for the first folder and it took about one week to complete. Of course, everyone's pace will differ, this is what worked for us. Then after a small break to complete some other projects, they were missing their lapbooking. I decided to try yet another experiment and let them work on it without my help. Since, the two of them are in different grades and had different abilities, they had to work together to complete the final project. There were a few scuffles over who would get to color what, but those were quickly resolved with either another copy of that page or simply letting one child color one side of the picture and the other child color the other side. (Believe me, it makes for interesting work when they are coloring different halves!)

In the end, they ended up with a finished product they were very proud of. The children were also able to tell me much more about the subject than if they would have simply sat and read a textbook and taken a test.

We are currently taken about a two week break from lapbooking and the kids are eager to start another one entitled "Autumn". It includes everything from Fall foods to leaf rubbings and everything in between. Personally, this is the one I wanted to start with but there was a mutiny in the looneybin!

I will say that I am also looking forward to the one labeled "Parable of a King". It will be a wonderful suplement to our Bible studies. The kids are also looking forward to the ones on the "Desert" and "Amphibians". It's going to be a great semester.

This is definitely something I will be continuing to use in our schoolwork on various subjects. I honestly never dreamed they would have so much fun with this and now that I have seen it, there WILL be more.

A Journey Through Learning has many different levels and subjects for lapbooking. They even have unit studies (which I would love to try someday). Their lapbooks come three way - instant download (ebook) for $13.00, CD for $14.00 and printed copy for $21.00. Their unit studies are priced this way as well.

DebG, Head Nut and now a lapbooker!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Study Pod - What a wonderful invention

Do you ever wish that book would stay put so you could study or type? Have you ever "propped" you books or sheets of paper up with other books? I have just used a great product that could put an end to that altogether and my kids are actually willing to share it with each other!!! Genio has come out with the Studypod.

This book-like container will hold a calculator, pens, pencils and other small items and easily fold out to use. This is a big help in carrying it with other books or simply helping to fit in and organize a backpack for portability. It also comes in three nice colors - black, blue and pink.

My kids use the Studypod for piano, reading, and working on the computer. In the pictures below, you will see how it makes a difference with our beginning piano book that my two youngest are working on. In the first picture, I merely have it propped up with several books that I had on hand. Notice how it leans. This is not the best position for young kids to be trying to read notes for the first time. In the next picture, I have used Studypod's adjustable arms to put the piano book just where it is needed for the young ones to see it well. The arms are out of the way and holding the book in the proper position. (Now, for the kids to hold their fingers in the proper position!) In the third picture, I have simply shown the stack of books I used before next to the Studypod. You can imagine the many uses for this ingenious device. I know that my middle child loves to get the Studypod and simply insert her book in it when it comes time for her daily reading.

Ok, so you're asking yourself, "How much is this going to set me back?" What if I told you I had a coupon? The original price is $19.95 for one or $16.95 each if you order two or more. I have a coupon that will give you $5.00 off! Simply use the coupon code TOSBLOG5 when you order. Check out their website as well to see another great looking product they have that is similar, plus other benefits of the Studypod! Hey, it can't hurt to simply check them out can it?

DebG, Head Nut

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

College Prep coupon code

I just received a coupon code for my readers for FREE shipping and handling!!

*Free Shipping and Handling Code: HSBlog09

(Expires November 15, 09)

*This code will be available September 25th –November 15th ,09

Take advantage of this special offer beginning this Friday.

College Prep Genius is just that!

SAT prep has never been better. College Prep Genius is truly genius! I have had some time to look over this product and I will be posting another review later on, but for now, here are my first impressions.

I was totally overwhelmed by the DVDs (notice plural) and the 2 (two) books that were sent to me. This is a product that will not be leaving my house until my youngest takes the SAT/ACT. It almost tells you how to "beat the system". More clearly, it teaches how to take the test better by eliminating wrong answers right off the bat, then using learned skills to choose the right answer. This is particularly useful in math situations where the student may be hesistant about the way to go about a problem.

The usefulness of this product would not be limited to the SAT/ACT but to all standardized testing. A student doesn't always do poorly on a test because he/she doesn't know the material, sometimes it's the manner of the test being taken.

This product is NOT a waste of time or money. With college tuitions on the rise, the system could very well gain a profitable scholarship. Thus, the price of $79.95 (30% off at this time) is a bargain. It's an investment in your child. I'm the first to want to save money and not spend on unnecessary things for school, but this is something I would pay for gladly. Plus, it has a 30 day money back guarantee if you're not satisfied for any reason. You really can't go wrong.

BUT, look for more on my review of this in a few weeks when I have more detailed information!

Thanks as always. God bless all of you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Web Design for Kids (and Curious Grown-Ups)

Okay, confession time. I popped the DVD in the TV when I received it in the mail and just watched it. Honestly, I almost went to sleep. Guess what??? You are NOT supposed to do that. That's right, I messed up.

Actually, what is supposed to happen to get the full enjoyment out of the lessons is to have your computer with you when you watch. My children got my laptop and one by one they went through the DVD. Now, they range in age from 8 to 13. Without a doubt, I can say each child thoroughly enjoyed going through this DVD. It takes a person step by step as simply as possible through making their very first webpage by using HTML code. I was very pleased to see my 8 year old complete this with ease just by watching the tape and hollering "Mom" a couple of times.

Each child is supposed to do a webpage on their favorite candy. This is my 13 year old's page on M & Ms. We had an issue trying to import the paint file she had created, but after careful examination of the code and a few other things, I was able to determine it was a fault with my computer. That was a drawback for me with this DVD. I couldn't raise my hand and say, "Teacher, there is a problem." BUT, I had experience with coding and didn't have too much trouble with helping the kids some. Especially when strange problems like that one happened. And believe me, if a strange problem is going to occur, it's going to occur at my house! I tried to take a screenshot of the webpage, but it didn't work out so well. I can say for a first webpage, she did a topnotch job.

This is my 10 year old's page. She put a picture of a horse and her version of spray candy using the paint program. Again, she found the program very easy to use and only needed minimal help in making sure things went smoothly. She really got into taking notes, writing down color names and generally being creative with this assignment. Of course, she is very imaginative anyway. I will be excited to see what she comes up with on her own. Who knows? One of the kids who gets this DVD may make a fortune doing web design one of these days.

Time for another confession.
This is my 8 year old's page. Should I be concerned? He's always liked flames on bikes and helmets, but when his "candy page" turned into "Fire Boy!!!!" page, it made me go hmmmm. His paint picture that he did himself was outstanding and the background he chose was very fitting. For an 8 year old, he surprised me with his ability to put these things together on his own. This just goes to show how informative this DVD is. A boy, who normally can't sit still for anything, made a webpage all by himself and did a fine job.

This program was a huge hit with the kids. I even caught my husband peeking a few times at it when the kids were working. My kids are begging me to get the 2nd DVD already!

I can also say purchasing from this company is worthwhile. The owner donates a portion of all sales to several different charities that are all well-known and worthwhile. Right now, this DVD is half price. You can buy it for a limited time for $19.95! I most highly recommend this DVD to anyone interested in learning the basics of web design.

Quarter Mile Math by Barnum Software

My kids absolutely love this program!! And to be honest, I play it a little myself. Of course, I felt a very silly because I couldn't figure out at first. I was trying to do place value and lost my race! That should have been simple, but I guess one must pay attention to the directions before they try to play a game.

Barnum has come up with an ingenious way of making learning fun for kids. This program takes concepts and encourages the child to answer quickly by running races against others in a tournament or the computer itself. My kids love to race the computer and I have noticed significant improvement in my children's ability to do math quickly and without paper. For my youngest, that is a minor miracle in itself. He has so much trouble trying to do math, but today I watched him add 5 numbers in his head that were 2-digit numbers. He was doing better than I was at figuring the answer. I look forward to him doing as well at multiplication and division. This program can take him there.

Quarter Mile math offers several options. Right now, I am using their Deluxe Bundle which is on a subscription basis. The subscription is only $2.95/month per family! That is directly in my budget range. As I have stated before with 5 people and a dog, and every penny counts. This covers K-9th (pre-algebra). A comparison of the prices and products can be seen here.

This program is also used by Sylvan Learning Centers. That's a huge endorsement right there. Sylvan has always been a trusted name in tutoring and improving skills. In using this program, I can definitely see why Sylvan has chosen to use this in their own programs.

Right now, Barnum is offering a discount of $5 off orders for readers of my blog. Just use the referral code 7M7E7. This offer expires September 30, 2009. I believe once you try this program, your kids and you will be hooked. It is a wonderful supplement to any math program you use currently and with it's budget-friendly prices, you can hardly go wrong. At least download the free demo and get it a spin!

Monday, August 31, 2009

ALEKS - math program

ALEKS is a math program that can be used in multiple settings. It's like having a tutor in your own home. This program is great for an individual who is independent, takes instruction well and likes to work at their own pace.

I watched my kids work on this program for a few weeks now. Normally, they are quite independent although sometimes they need different types of instruction in order to fully understand something. All three kids complained that it was boring, but as I watched each child master a topic, I knew they were complaining about nothing. Yes, this program doesn't have videos, bells and whistles but it is comprehensive and challenging.

This program allows the parent to keep up with what's going on via e-mail progress reports and a master account that can control the student's progress. By sending weekly updates, the parent can see what topics have been learned, the hours spent on the progress and quizzes. The parent can print worksheets anytime for extra practice. The program generates these worksheets as a review and challenge of any topics covered. The parent can also schedule quizzes as needed.

Students also have the option of printing worksheets themselves and clicking "review" periodically to assure mastery of subjects. As their "pie chart" fills, they gain more confidence in themselves and their abilities. Even my son, who dreads math, has found several topics actually fun!

The program has what is known as Artificial Intelligence (AI). I decided to test this AI myself. I created a trial account for myself and went through the assessment after choosing a relatively low level. The AI picked up on my correct answers and proceeded to challenge me further. It finally got into things I had long forgotten since college. The only drawback here that I noticed is that it left me on the low level but picked topics for me to challenge and teach me in the areas I was weak. I would have guessed that I tried to pick a level around 4th grade, but some of my topics were definitely higher than that. Not many 4th graders I know are already doing X,Y line plots on a graph to solve an equation.

For my family, it isn't budget family. Our looneybin has 3 kids, 2 adults and 1 dog. My husband is a pastor, so every penny counts. ALEKS can be purchased month-to-month for $19.95 per month, or $99.95 for 6 months, or $179.95 for 12 months. Family discounts are available for 6 and 12-month subscriptions when purchasing for multiple students. Even with the discounts, I can't justify this with my family. I will admit it is a great program and it will be missed when our trial runs out, but right now, we just will passing on this great offer. For everyone else who takes up this program and fully enjoys it to its fullest potential, I say, "May you have a full pie!"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Maverick Books - Hank the Cowdog

Hank the Cowdog is a series of books that takes the reader through the so-called adventures of a dog who thinks of himself as Head of Security at a ranch in Texas. His inflated ego proves for hilarious commentary. Our family reviewed three products from this line.

The first, and by far, the favorite of the products was a game called Tornado. It comes with a cassette. This game and cassette are based on a book in the series by the same name. This product sells for $12.99 on the website. Tornado plays a lot like Sorry or Trouble. The way it folds up and stores all the pieces is ideal for travel! Trust me, I was stacking some things on my already overcrowded computer desk (I am consistently a clutterbug) and inadvertantly knocked over this game and some other items. I was just dreading finding four sets of buzzards and dogs(two colors of dogs, mind you) that belonged with the game. I ran around the desk only to find that the game was still tightly closed. Now, my kids had already been having a great time with this game and the evil thought of keeping them occupied for long hours on the road was running through my head. This game could survive in my truck! The pieces themselves seem to be sturdy and shouldn't dislodge easily either. To me it seems like a win/win situation. All in all, I would say this would be a great buy for people with kids who can understand or are learning to lose graciously, travel, or love these types of games for their family.

The next product on my list was the Tales and Tunes CD. It's sort of a sampler of audio from 10 of their books plus nine songs. This is where I want to proceed with caution. I understand that not everyone views the world the same way and different families have different "limits" on things. That's wonderful. For my family, I think this would be a "no, thank you". While I see the humor in the stories and the songs, I was concerned about some of the words used. My husband wasn't impressed either. We aren't super-strict people but we do like to control what comes into our home. I listened to the CD first before deciding whether to allow my kids to listen. The humor is directed toward kids under 12, I believe. The wording though...well, I'll be specific. I don't allow words like "stupid", "idiot", "shut up" or "dangburnit?" to be used. I will be honest and admit that on occasion I accidentally let "shut up" slip but the other words are viewed as bad words in my house. Although at $3.00, you do get a taste of Hank the Cowdog for yourself. It's a very inexpensive way to find out if your family would like it or not. I personally know several families who would love this series, it's just not for our family. And like I said before, the dog's ego is funny as well as some of the situations he comes across.

The last of the items was a book in the series. It is book #8, entitled The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse. My youngest daughter had read the book before and proceeded to tell me how much she loved it. She immediately claimed it for her own, but I explained I had read it myself. The wording in the book was what I had come to expect from the CD. It disappointed me. This was a great book. Hank is going from case to case and acting like a nutcase! The books on the website are priced from $4.24 to $5.24. Audio versions of the books are also offered for about $17.99. Book #54 just came out, so apparently the series is going strong. I was just slightly disappointed in some of the content. Like movies nowadays though, something always has to be thrown in that really wasn't necessary. It makes me sad.

The website also offers a variety of signs, games and shirts as well. There is a place to join Hank's team. Just watch out that he treats you better than Drover!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Wonderful Way to Share the Bible!

Am I allowed to gush??? I do not believe I could say enough about this exciting Bible study program.

First of all, let me say that I am NO artist. I've been doing stick figures most all my life. Even my trees look sickly. Second of all, my creativity is often under question when it comes to teaching my kids. I really prefer them to be independent learners because of the age gaps. And thirdly, my kids rarely get excited about anything to do with school and ask to do it. So needless to say, I started this program carefully!

Out of the all the wonderful options available through this company, I chose the Old Testament Catechism. It's a basic overview of 225 questions covering the entire Old Testament that is free of doctrine. It has questions like:

How did God view all that He created?
What happened to Job in one day?
Name Jacob's wives.
What furniture was in the Holy of Holies?
How many kings did Daniel serve?
What three things do we know from the Old Testament about the Messiah?

All three of my kids (ages 13, 10, and 8) fell in love with the book immediately. They enjoy helping each other review questions while I prepare papers for the day. They simply got the paper they needed and their colored pencils when I was ready to teach and went to town drawing and learning. Hard to remember details are made simple with this book. My husband always tells me if you see something, write something, and hear something; you're more likely to remember it. Well my kids are seeing the drawings come alive as they write them after they have discussed answers with me. Their memory on concepts is greatly increased.

I guess my favorite part of this whole lesson so far has been near the beginning. My little "nuts" and I discussed God. There were only two simple questions on this particular day and two scriptures. The questions were: Who was in the beginning? and What did God do in the beginning? The scripture was Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, both of which the kids could quote. The discussion that day got deep even with little minds present (mine, of course). We began to talk about what and who God was in our lives and why it was important for us to establish that before anything else. My kids amaze me at every turn with their profound answers. They end up teaching me so much. So when they drew their purple triangles to represent God that day, other aspects became very real as well.

The teacher ebook in this series is only $19.95 and the student ebook is the same price. Print books are also sold with the teacher book being $24.95 and the student book being $19.95. I have found that ebooks are much easier to deal with since I have three kids to teach (and there is the luxury of no shipping costs with ebooks!). This is just one of Grapevine's multi-level courses, so all kids can jump right in and have a blast. You just print the copies you need when you need them and there is no waste. Of course, my kids love doing things their own way, but then most homeschooled kids do, right?

Grapevine also has other levels for specific ages and shorter studies those who want to either go deeper in a subject or just spend a short amount of time getting to know the program. I was just browsing their list and came across a study in Esther, Biblical Feasts and Holy Days, Birth of Jesus, and New Testament Timeline.

When I signed up on the e-mail list, I began to get FREE mini-lessons each week from the other studies. This is terrific and allows you to get a glimpse into the study it comes from to see if you would be interested. Again, these are NO COST samples. Can't really go wrong with that! Besides, what homeschooler doesn't love the word "free"?

Right now, Grapevine Studies is offering the readers of this blog a whopping 30% off on all their books until September 15, 2009! Just use the coupon code CREWS. You will not regret this order. I know I can't wait for them to come out with a New Testament Overview and then I'm going to dive in deeper with some of the other studies.

Have fun with stick figures!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Works in progress

You know we are all works in progress. Even adults as old as, well me. I think there should be a learning curve in life somehow, somewhere, especially when it comes to kids. Maybe I could take a mulligan here or there. That way they won't repeat my words or act like I do too much of the time. I see myself in my teenager so much. Sometimes, that is scary enough in of itself. You see, like the name of my blog implies, I'm a little nuts, down to earth, but a little nuts.

Other works in progress around here is my house. My husband and his father are in the process of remodeling the attic of our new home to put in some bedrooms and a bathroom for my girls. Now that is a more stable work in progress albeit an expensive one! I'm excited about the changes taking place around me.

I have now survived VBS and a youth trip to Eureka Springs. I feel like I've accomplished a lot!

Now I need help accomplishing something else. This is a new blog and well, I'm depending on my few followers to help me find some more. I would really like to take this places. I plan to share some of my looneybin homeschool antics as the school year starts. That ought to be enough but on a semi regular basis, I would love to have giveaways. I have a few things in mind starting in September. So we have a few weeks to spread the word. In the meantime, I'm going to be figuring out how to put a video of my beagle on here. Don't turn me off yet, people don't believe me when I say we get him to do an "inside bark". Actually, it's me who does the training of this trick. I got tired of the absolute beagle bark in my house since he's an inside dog. I figured if you can train a dog to do tricks and train kids to use "inside voices" then surely you could do an "inside bark". Sure enough, he'll do it for me.

So hopefully, these things will give you a reason to help me promote my blog. Reviews are coming near the end of the month for 3-4 products of which I'll be doing some giveaways using those products which my family has done or doesn't need. It's always great to get free stuff!

Until next time, blessings and looneys to all!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

All moved in

Well, all our "stuff" is at our new house. Moving for the second time in six months was a chore, but God blessed us with our very own home this time.

In a week, vacation Bible school starts. I'm very curious about other churches and families where it comes to this. Are you doing a VBS and if so, what materials are you using this year? Our church has chosen to do the Underground Church of Rome. I'm excited! There is more to do this year than teach, sing or do crafts. With this literature, I'm actually get to use my loud mouth in a drama each night. I am going to play one of the ladies who gathers for the underground church and eagerly awaits word from Paul! This is going to be so fun.

This week though, we are starting a study in the Old Testament with our children here at home. We are using Grapevine Studies to teach the kids an overview of the basics of the OT. This will be a wonderful start to my oldest daughter's study in Proverbs 31. I have been eagerly awaiting the start of that study as well. I anticipate being able to watch her bloom into the woman God intended for her to be.

I'll keep everyone updated as to our progress. OH! I almost forgot, my youngest child has a lot of trouble with math. I'm considering using Math-U-See but I understand there are others like it out there. Any comments or suggestions are VERY appreciated!

Thanks and blessings from
Deb G

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Oh my aching back!

I hope ya'll will all understand as I take a few days off to move into my new home. God has blessed us with more than we could imagine with this house. My husband is already taking loads over as we speak and I needed a definite break with this old back of mine.

Ya see, yesterday I shampooed carpets there and well, it was the first time I had EVER shampooed carpets anywhere. Last night it felt like someone had sucker punched me in the back at my lower ribs!! Ouch! Today I will be going to get some Thermacare or something similar and use it while I make spinach dip for a July 4th celebration that our church is doing.

Tomorrow in church, we will celebrate a different type of independence. The one we are given as Christians should bring us to our knees in thankfulness and humbleness each day. We will be celebrating this all day and end with the Lord's supper that night. This Lord's special is extra special for me, because it is the first that we will celebrate with our new church home and the first that my entire family will be able to participate. All three of my children have been gloriously saved and baptized! I feel so blessed.

Think about what type of independence you are going to celebrate today and tomorrow. Be safe and see ya'll hopefully in a week!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Have you seen this???

The Old Schoolhouse has a huge new planner for 2009-2010! This thing is full of everything you could possibly imagine. For scatterbrained, disorganized geniuses like myself, well sometimes we need some things to keep us in line just so things actually run during the day.

To begin with it has forms you can actually type onto with Adobe. I have already begun to type in doctor's appointments, moving dates and other things that I can't afford to forget onto the interactive calendar. Then I can just print and post! How simple is that? Because it comes in an e-book format, you can print off just what you need at the time. Truly, there will be so many times in the year when you could really use a list or short lesson and it will be there to simply look up and print. All nice and neat for you to use.

I was one of these people who said, "A planner is a waste of time, I don't need that." Well, after looking at this one, I have changed my mind! It doesn't just have school related forms and items, it also has household forms, checklists and other miscellaneous items that I would have never thought to have. I have been doing flylady.net things on and off and even have her organizer for myself, but this planner even has forms for the kids! For example, there is a form to print out for your child for the chores he/she can do each day. One form I really needed was a library book form to keep up with what I had and when it was due. Maybe now I won't have so many overdue fines!!

Did I mention it had extras? How about two yummy recipes to try each month? My mouth started watering over some of them as soon as I started scrolling through the planner. That's 24 recipes that you won't regret trying.

The homeschool forms included really are very useful in getting your act together this year. I'm sure we all need that from time to time. The forms are very adaptable to the user's needs and there are even different versions of many of the pages to fit your needs. I have three children and there is one particular form where I can type in their assignments for each subject for the week, print and post it. I hadn't thought of it before. Whether you grade by day or by test/assignment, there are forms for keeping track of that also. I personally think the journaling pages for different age levels and subjects are going to be hit at my house this year.

There are also tons of helpful links to go with a particular subject each month. They are like a "focus" for the month. Lists are included that are relevant to each focus and links follow for more information or resources available at TOS.

I guess to sum it up, whether you unschool or have a strict schedule or anything in between this planner is a must have this year. It doesn't matter your family size, it is easily adapted to everyone's needs. I believe you will be completely blown away with this planner, but don't take my word for it, go by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Website and get one yourself!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Great offer by TOS!

This offer is way too good to miss! Get in on this before it's gone!! It's unbelievable what TOS is offering, but if you don't hurry it will all be gone!
Only 5,000 subscribers will be awarded all these goodies, plus some surprises for random subscribers. You just have to love this company.

Just click on this link:


First blog

Wow, I'm excited to be blogging finally. I had no clue it would be this easy! As a word of intro, I am a homeschool mom of 3 wonderful kids. Somedays it does feel like a nut house! We have been homeschooling for 9 years. All my children have been homeschooled since kindergarten and have blossomed - socially, academically, and spiritually.

I am also a pastor's wife and we are currently moving into our first home that has been much prayed over. God has blessed us with this exciting event.

I am very blessed also to be on the 2009-2010 TOS Homeschool Crew. I couldn't contain my excitement when I got the news. Our family had been struggling about what to teach this next school year and this was an absolute answer to prayer.

Hopefully, I will be able to post a couple of times a week. I look forward to getting to know my readers and updating family and friends. God bless you and have a good nite!