Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tot Swap ~ Busy Bag Swap

I recently participated in an awesome swap. If you have never been involved in a swap they are the best way to get new items or ideas for a minimal amount of time and money. Depending on the theme you create a project for a set number of participants and mail it to the swap organizer who then divides all the goodies up and sends them out to the members of the swap so everyone gets one of each item that was sent in.


So I was part of my first swap. It was a toddler busy bag swap, creating fun activities for pre-k ages. My daughter is 31 months old and has been begging to do school with her big brothers which generally results in a messy house/schoolroom. I was so excited to see what we would get, but I was not even remotely prepared for D’s reaction when the box came.


She was so excited and wanted to dig right in to EVERYTHING!


I created 10 sensory bags that the child matches items by feeling them. In return I received 3 different sized button snakes, a cupcake counting game, 2 different fishing games, a bead matching activity, lacing shape activity, Build-A-Frog, and a pompom tweezing activity.



I am excited to have so many neat things for my daughter learn and play with. She is showing me so many things she already knows and it just amazes me how fast she is picking things up. I can’t wait to sign up for my next swap!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wits and Wagers ~ TOS Review


Please visit The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Review Crew by clicking the above link for more awesome homeschooler reviews of this product.

northstar_games_logoWe decided years ago to just accept the facts. We are a gaming family. We have a weekly tradition of playing some kind of role playing game or other board game. Every week we pick a fun game and try to beat the pants off each other. What we usually avoid playing are trivia type games since the littles are at a disadvantage.


Imagine my surprise when we received NorthStar Games Wits and Wagers Family game, a new twist on trivia based games. Geared for ages 8+ and 3-10 players (we have used only 2 players with no problem), each player or team answers one of 300 trivia questions.  Instead of getting the answer right or wrong you bet on whose answer is closest to correct without going over, using cute wooden people shaped pieces called Meeples. This has made it so much more fun for my family. It is less about the trivia answer and more about guessing who has the right answer so it is very relaxed and fun for the younger players.


This is one of our new favorite games, the dry erase component is a huge draw for my youngest and my 9 year old doesn’t feel like everyone else knows things he does not. I love that the trivia questions are more of an educational type than useless information normally found with typical trivia games. Each answer is in the form of a number and the card gives more information with the answer which is kind of nice for children like mine who always like to know who, what, where, when, why things are the way they are.


Sold in various national retailers go Here to find the nearest location or purchase through Prices vary according to retailers.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew reviewer I received a copy of the above product in exchange for my honest opinion.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Week In Review ~ Unit 7

We had a short week last week since I had a couple appointments, so we are still finishing up Unit 7 in Bigger but I managed to remember to take a couple shots of the children hard at work. Industriousness is the theme this week and they are really taking it to heart.

To aid my oldest in completing all his subjects I came up with a very simple schedule using the time chart cards I made here. I tweaked it a bit and made it more portable since he does his work where ever he is most comfortable. He was having a problem remembering to actually check for subjects that are not done everyday. I will be adding that post soon along with some more reviews!!!

This pregnancy is harder on me than any of my others so I am letting that dictate our speed but we are generally doing about 4 1/2 hours for Bigger and 6 for CTC plus. My tot received a package of Busy Bags last week as part of a swap I participated in and we are having a blast with them. I will post all of those later also. Hope your school days are now in full swing and enjoyable.


Science PA190010PA200025PA200026PA240002& Art





Math PA190009



























History Project







History Notebook







Extension Narrations




I really need to get better and covering my 16 year old’s work but he is usually reading in some hidey hole or does his projects when I am otherwise occupied and I miss it.

Tot School

I have not really began any kind of structured learning with D as she is only 31 months old. It is still mainly playing for her but she does ask to do certain things and so I will have things out for her but she usually asks for something I have out of sight (which isn’t much since we have no real storage here).  This past week it was mostly things from our swap, her favorite being the sticky foam letters and shapes.

This is a hand drawn do a dot with those decorative stones (they are flat on one side) she loved it!







Intense art/drawing with erasable pencils








Practicing color sorting






Matching bead colors








Magnetic alphabet book, she is a little young for this books real purpose which is spelling but she has fun with all the magnetic letter tiles.







One to one correspondence






Fav of the week!




Apparently my computer was in trouble and needed help.

And here is a - just because she’s starting to enjoy having her picture taken since she used to hide from the camera – shot.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Visual Latin ~ TOS Review


We had an opportunity to check out a new to us Latin curriculum. We had been using a program we truly loved that is textbook based. When I saw a chance to try something new based on videos I thought it might be a fun change of pace, especially for my high schooler.


Compass Cinema produced Visual Latin is a DVD based Latin curriculum that incorporates humor in each lesson, recreates the immersion experience in the classroom, and requires little teacher prep or interaction. Moving from grammar to reading to translating the Latin Bible, it is very much a self paced, self taught program. Visit Compass Cinema to view a sample of free lessons.

Visual Latin | A Quick Explanation from Compass Cinema on Vimeo.

Visual Latin is, in my opinion a very well thought out and impressive curriculum. We found it engaging and easy to slow down or speed up where needed. Each lesson is broken up into 3 sections, A-grammar, B-sentences, and C-reading, with PDF worksheets for each. We worked at a slower pace doing one section a day for three days a week for a single lesson a week pace. Each video is between 5 – 8 minutes long so doing a single lesson in one day certainly is not a strenuous pace. Two lessons a week is the recommendation for an average pace.


My son enjoyed the videos and liked the humor. He felt that he retained the info with little effort and the lessons were short and sweet. As Charlotte Mason home schoolers these lessons were wonderful as each is simple, concise and teaches usable information right away instead of a repetitive list of words you could not use in conversation.


I highly recommend this program for anyone who wants an independent program for their student. If I had the money I would be buying the entire series since my son liked them so much. It can be used for students from ages 9 and up. While Visual Latin is not enough for high school credit you can read here the suggestions on how to make it so easily along with other FAQ’s. Compass Classroom’s blog is a great place to check for updates and other info.

Visual Latin – Latin 1 Download $25 (10 lessons) or $75 (all 30 lessons)/DVD $80 (lessons 1-30)
                     Latin 2 Download $25/DVD $30 (lessons 31-40 with more coming)

Also check out the online lessons for Lingua Latina HERE which you could use for High school credit.


The Compass Store
609 West Iris Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37204


For other reviews on this product click the TOS Crew banner at the top of this post.


Disclaimer: I was provided the first 10 lessons of the above product for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Week In Review Unit 6

This past week was Unit 6 for both boys and They are really enjoying school this year. We took a Sabbath week to regroup and after this past week I am wishing I would have switched them. Celebrating my oldest’s 16th birthday has nearly exhausted this momma! I got their grades entered and they are very pleased with only having 1 sick day so far.  I am feeling ragged tonight so I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.





For the record, I really try to keep my middle child in clothes but he has recently felt the need to act like tarzan for some reason!













And some tot school fun

PA050022PA050024PA050025We also did some glue activities but they got lost when I imported my pictures grrr!





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