Friday, April 29, 2011

Greek 'n' Stuff Review

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Way back at the beginning of the school year I was sent a box of review items from Greek 'n' Stuff. In the box was the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek Level 1 Workbook, answer key and pronunciation CD. Greek 'n' Stuff has been the only review I've done that had requested such a long review period--months really, and I think it was wise of them. You can only know if a product stands the test of time if you spend time with it, and that's just what we on the Homeschool Crew did with this product.

Greek 'n' Stuff offers 8 levels of workbooks to teach the student Greek. Level 1, the level we received is for the child who knows no Greek, and who is capable of paper and pencil work. It focuses mainly on learning the Greek alphabet--writing the letters, knowing their names and sounds. The CD is a must when using this level since it tells you how to pronounce each letter.

The level 1 workbook is $14.95, and the Answers Only Answer Key is $4.00. The pronunciation CD is $10.00 and includes pronunciation for the words and letters in both Level 1 and Level 2. Greek 'n' Stuff also offers partial starter sets and complete sets if you want to order more levels at a time.

Little Bean started this when he was 5 and is now 6, which is the target age range for this level. He really enjoyed the workbook, which has a variety of activities to keep things interesting. Cut out flashcards are at the back of the book, and are at the heart of this program, since they provide frequent review and opportunities for memorization beyond what a workbook can provide. Greek 'n' Stuff recommends that older children or adults begin at level 3 in their study of Greek.

This was a very thorough program, but I'll be honest, my son could probably have learned the Greek alphabet in just a few short weeks or days. There aren't a ton of letters, and many of the sounds are intuitive, it seems. Thus, while we did take our time using the workbook, doing only one letter per week, we could have moved at a much faster pace and probably been on the next level or two by now. It's a very simple program, I think my son would have enjoyed something a little more engaging, but for many children, a no-frill program works well since it doesn't have anything to distract the child from the work at hand.

Will we be continuing our study of Greek at this time? No, probably not. However, if we do go back to Greek at some point, I now know of a source for quality workbooks that I will look into if we do decide to go that route one day.

Note: I was given this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Power Cards

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Update: I have had literally hundreds of requests for these cards!! When I made these, I made them for my son and shared the idea on my blog. Since the dawn of pinterest, these cards have gotten alot more attention than I had anticipated! And to tell the truth, I dont know whether these graphics are allowed to be shared. So, I have made a similar, better, version of these, and other related autism printables and am selling them in my etsy shop now. You can purchase them there, and you are free to use them with your children, or in your classrooms (though you may not resell them or share files with others). The best part is, I have permission from the graphic designers to use the graphics on these cards, so I know for sure that dispersing them is legal.  Also, I am more than happy to take requests, so if you have an idea for a card or file you would like to use in your classroom or home, please DO contact me via my etsy shop!


Do you know what Power Cards are? Don't worry, before last November, I didn't either. Power Cards are often used with Autistic children, but I believe they can be helpful for all children. Power Cards are highly visual and they contain short blurbs or lists of information that will help a child in various situations that he may come across. We use homemade Power Cards with Little Bean. Do I know everything there is to know about them? No, probably not. But what I do know I used to put together some cards that have been pretty helpful for Little Bean.
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I used a program like MS Word to make his Power Cards. Then I used a laminator to make them sturdy. They are roughly pocket sized, good for small hands. I hole punched them and put them on a binder ring.
We use them in many ways. Sometimes Little Bean will review a particular card before an interaction with somone. He may review the anger-related ones before a difficult task, or when he is angry, he may review the ones on how to calm down. Power Cards are like mini-offices for social struggles. They are easy to make and are great for some children with Autism. Try them, you might like them!
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Nutrition Curriculum

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As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew this year, I had the opportunity to review a health and nutrition curriculum called Nutrition 101. Nutrition 101 is a 448 page book that comes in three formats: e-book (CD Rom), full-color hardback, or a combination of electronic and print format. The benefit of the combination format is the ease of reprinting recipes, shopping lists or charts when needed. Those of us on the crew received the e-book format.
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Nutrition 101 is put out by a family-owned company called Growing Healthy Homes. When deciding to write Nutrition 101, they saw a need for a biblically-based comprehensive health curriculum that could be used across grade levels. This massive book is packed with information and includes six units focusing on different parts of the human body and it's systems. In addition, the book contains healthy recipes to try, activities and discussion questions as well as references guides and charts, making information more accessible for readers.

Nutrition 101 in the e-book form (CD Rom) is $79.95. In the print form it is $99.95. Purchased as a bundle, it's $129.95. Using the promotion code TOScrew11, my readers can enjoy an extra 15% off when purchasing this product. Growing Healthy Homes also offers a few more book selections as well as some few downloads, so be sure to check them out.

Here are my thoughts about Nutrition 101. Nutrition 101 is truly a comprehensive health curriculum, and I can tell by reading through the e-book that the authors really poured their hearts into this book. It is packed with information and recipes. It is one of those books, that if you got the print version (or printed out the e-book) would be a mainstay in your kitchen. As a mom who considers herself fairly health conscious, especially when it comes to my kids, I found a vast amount of resources in this book.

That being said, I did not use this much with my kids. The curriculum side of this book is just way over their heads right now. That's not to say that it's not good information, but for us, right now, it isn't accessible to my kid's level (they are 6 and almost 5). In the future, I would anticipate this being a great nutrition curriculum, and in the present, I believe there is still plenty of value to be found in it for my husband and I, for recipes and for increasing our knowledge and insight regarding living a healthy lifestyle.
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Note: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

We Went to a Bone Museum

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Or to put it more formally--Museum of Osteology. Right now we are in the midst of reviewing a science curriculum called Considering God's Creation. We started with the unit on the human body because I have a lot of my own stuff already, and the kids have some past experience with the topic from last year's Human Body Lapbook. So far we've started learning many of the scientific names for bones, and have put together a 3 foot high skeleton. The kids have really been enjoying this curriculum, and I think I will continue it on for 2nd grade next year. More on that later this month or next when the review is due!

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This post is about our trip to the bone museum, which is quite local to us, and was a great place to go because of the fact that we are currently studying the human body and more specifically, the skeleton. We also had a 50 percent off coupon, so we ended up all four of us going for only $10 dollars!
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The museum itself was very well done. There were all kinds of skeletons, both human and animal. They had human skeletons of people who had bound feet and bound heads (both past cultural traditions which affected the structure and growth of the bone). There was a whale skeleton, a giraffe, a rhino, hippo, African elephant, snakes, lizards, toads, dogs, all kinds of wild life. Really any kind of animal you can think of. They also had an exhibit that explained how they clean the bones and get them to be so white (Did you know that they use live beetles to clean the bones before using Hydrogen Peroxide? ...ew!). ;)

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The kids had a good time, and it was fun and educational for all of us! I don't think we'll return any time soon--it's not the biggest museum and we were there for quite a while--but it was a great Saturday outing!

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

U.S. History and Geography Study

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I wanted to share a bit about what we are currently studying--the United States! I was inspired to start this study when we were in the process of moving. All the school stuff was packed, and we had taken that entire month off. Little Bean was restless, so I hopped on Currclick and spent $3.50 on a unit study/copywork printable. It looks like it is now $4.00 dollars because she has added another 5 states to the package since we bought it. We ended up starting it shortly after we moved to OK, lol. It was unrealistic to think we could get anything school-related done while we were moving across the country!

The Currclick notebook has lots of elements to help Little Bean learn about the 50 states--a facts page, crossword puzzle featuring state insects, birds, tree, fish, capitals, etc, printing, cursive and manuscript copywork, a matching game, and usually an "interesting facts" page with a coloring sheet. There's more, but I'm not going to list it all. We modified the matching game, and instead of cutting out the pictures to play memory, we cut out one set and stapled them into tiny books (Little Bean loves anything tiny), and cut out the other set and glued them around a printed picture of that state. You can see samples of what all is included on Currclick. For $3.50, this was a great base. BTW, the $3.50 covers only the first 35 (I think) states. She is not quite done making them all, but I just received notice that the next set of 5 are now available for .50 cents.

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Here in OK, we have a lovely half-priced book store. I really have no need to go to the regular book store anymore because this one is just as good. There I picked 3 more books--a hard back called Don't Know Much About the 50 states, and two smaller workbooks that contain stickers and various activities for each state. These books are more enjoyable to Little Bean because frankly, he hates writing, so the Currclick notebook is harder for him.

We happened to have on hand a Melissa and Doug 50 states floor puzzle, I feel like Little Bean got from my sister in law for Christmas. The kids pulled it out today, and I was so impressed, even Miss O is learning some of her states! Also, I had an Amazon gift card and spent it on The Scrambled States of America game. It's a little advanced for the kids, but we can still use the materials to play games with it.

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Adding to all this, I searched around the web and found a couple of free printables and coloring sheets of the state shapes and also the flags. Here's one link and here is the other.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cub Scouts

We signed Little Bean up for Cub Scouts this past week. He was thrilled to go to the meeting, and has been waiting for a while now to turn 6 so that he could go. I busted out the old sewing machine and sewed the patches on. Doesn't he look cute!? :)

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