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!