Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hewitt Homeschooling {TOS Review}

Hewitt Homeschooling Review
When my older two were little they went to public school. So I am on completely new ground with my youngest. We are doing really well and he loves to listen to stories, learn about science and history, he is cracking on with math but apparently 'writing' is schoolwork. So when I had the opportunity to review a product from Hewitt Homeschooling I was really excited. We follow a Charlotte Mason schedule and my heart is definitely tied to literature. I was intrigued with the first grade Lightning Literature and Composition for Grade 1 and was very excited when I received the student workbook ($49.95) and teachers guide ($29.95). Little J was very excited too as he LOVES me to read to him.

The program uses well known children's books (36 in total) and Aesop's Fables for children. I actually already had every book that we have needed so far (including Aesop's Fables) and so this has been very easy to implement. However most of the titles would be easily found in a library if you don't want to buy them.

This program is very easy to use. There is very good instructions at the beginning of the teacher's guide to walk you through how the program works. There is a new book every week and you read it at least twice Monday and Wednesday (unless of course you have a child like mine then you may read it 5-10 times each day because it's his new FAVORITE and then as soon as Dad get's home he has to read it, and of course that's not counting the multiple times he has got the older siblings to read it to him!) Little J is not quite ready to read the books to me. He knows most of the words but still enjoys being read to more that reading himself. The program says it's OK either way. I personally love reading books to Little J so that's what we did.

Here's the breakdown of how the teachers book recommends breaking down the work;

Mondays -
Introduce and read the new book and ask comprehension questions about the reading (record answers in the teachers book).
Grammar and Mechanics - (usually multiple choice in the student workbook)
Composition - brainstorm

Tuesdays -
Choice whether to read the book again.
Grammar and Mechanics (similar to Mondays or editing)
Reading Journal

Wednesdays - 
Read book - more comprehension questions
Grammar and Mechanics

Thursdays -
Aesop's Fables

Friday - FREE DAY (or complete any left over activities)

The teachers manual is split up into weeks, each one starting with an 'at a glance' page. I found this extremely useful as it tells you;
The book of the week, the Aesop Fable being covered, optional material, what topic of the alphabet page, what topic of the grammar and mechanics section (eg: capitalization, exclamation points etc), and what supplies will be needed to aid in the composition section.

How we used it;

At the beginning of each week I pulled the new section out of the workbook and added it to our ring binder. Little J couldn't work in the book, it make his writing awkward. Since the book is perforated it worked better for us this way. Plus he didn't seem overwhelmed when I just gave him the sheet for the day we were working on.

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON was Little J's favorite of the books we have read so far.

As I mentioned earlier Little J loves listening to stories. So this part of the program was easy to implement. I would read the story and then ask him the comprehension questions recording his answers in the spaces provided in the teachers book. He had no problem answering these questions, he loved this book.
We then moved on to the grammar and mechanics and I introduced the concept of the week which was that a sentence starts with a capital letter, as do people's names. Little J didn't have any problem understanding this. We then moved onto the composition section we only spent a little time on this section as Little J is not ready to write too much, our planning was done verbally (I wrote down his ideas).

Little J was able to narrate Harold and the Purple Crayon almost perfectly. It didn't surprise me since by this time he had gotten nearly everyone in the house to read it about 10 times to him. For the Grammar and Mechanics section Little J worked in his workbook and corrected a paragraph by underlining the words that needed to begin with a capital letter. Because Little J is not a great reader (he's only 5) I read most of the sentences with him. He was able to correct the capital in the word at the beginning of each sentence, however he couldn't spot the names that needed to be corrected unless I read them. For today's composition we brainstormed together and I wrote down his ideas again. Little J however wrote his own sentence about the story in his reading journal section.

On Wednesday we reviewed the story again, I asked Little J the 2nd set of comprehension questions after reading the book again. Today for the grammar and mechanics section we talked about 'color' and we thought of as many color names as we could matching them with letters of the alphabet. (We used a box of crayons for inspiration!) Then Little J wrote the rough draft of his paper. I had to convince him not to do this in his composition book.

Today we read the Aesop Fable 'The Boy and the Nettle'. I let Little J tell me what he thought it was about. For grammar and mechanics Little J completed the blanks in a sentence, with two names. He used the capital letter without being reminded! Finally Little J was able to use his new comprehension book. He had drawn his picture earlier in the week and was really pleased to write his little sentence. I can see this comprehension book really being something to treasure as the year goes on.

Because Little J is only 5 still I decided to give him a free day.

I will definitely be using this complete course. Little J loves the book choices. I like the introduction of the Aesop Fables. So far I like the introduction of the grammar and mechanics. It seems gentle but relevant. Little J hasn't had a problem understanding the concepts. The program starts slow which is great for us as Little J is a younger than most first graders. I have never used any Lightening Literature products before but we have really enjoyed using this and will definitely use it for the rest of the year! As far as I understand the younger age products are new and so you may be more familiar with the older grade products. After using grade one I know I will be more interested in other products for my older kids!

If you want to connect with the company here are their social media links - FacebookTwitter, Pinterest,
Google Plus, and Hewitt Blog.

Check out what others on the crew thought by clicking on the link below - there are SO many products to read about, I am going to read a lot of these reviews myself!

Click to read Crew Reviews

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©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Eternal Argument {A Schoolhouse Review Crew review}

I teach English at work, and home school so you would think that grammar would not be something that scares me, but it does. I was excited to be able to read a book published by Analytical Grammar called The Eternal Argument ($24.95). This book was written by Robin Finley a 34 year veteran teacher of English, and trust me it is very interesting and well worth the read.

My plan was to read this aloud to my family chapter by chapter, but it didn't quite work out as planned. I actually read most of it myself because to tie everyone down to my schedule wasn't happening. However I did discuss this with anyone who would listen to me A LOT in fact I re-read multiple parts to my niece who was visiting from England, my husband, and my older two kids.

I have taken this book everywhere with me this summer and it doesn't look too good anymore. It has been rained on, covered in sand, and dropped in a puddle of water. But believe me I kept on reading.

I took it to the lake to sit in the sun and finish it. It was also a great opportunity to discuss some of my favorite parts with everyone (captive audience in between sea-doo and canoe rides). This book is recommended for grades 8 and up, however even Boo had a great lot to say about the points we discussed. This may be impart to the books she reads but none the less she had no problem understanding the points and discussing them along with the rest of us.

So what is the book about...
The book talks about how there has been one eternal argument basically since the beginning of time as to whether or not man needs God, humanism and theism. The pendulum has swung backwards and forwards between the two. The author explains how the literature of the time shows us not only the views of the author but also the world views of the time. If you can understand the world views of the time period a book is written it will give you further insight into the overall meaning of the book.

The author mentions three things that will help us understand western literature.

1. Greek and Roman Mythology
2. King James Version of the Bible
3. Aurthurian Legend

This was very interesting to me. Jam my major reader LOVES Greek and Roman Mythology and anything about Aurthurian Legend. We also only use the King James Version of the Bible. I have already got Jam on board to read this book so we can discuss it in more detail. However we will only do this for chapters 1-13 the author recommends that chapter 14 be read by the adult.

I will definitely read this book again slowly, reading each of the many books that are discussed throughout the chapters (I will maybe even re-read those that I have read before).

The Republic, by Plato
The Song of Roland
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes
Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane
Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S Eliot
The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes

This book is a VERY interesting read for anyone who loves or teaches literature. Although my copy looks a little worse for wear, it will definitely always have a place on my bookshelves. I have always valued the ability to read and discuss literature. We learn towards a Charlotte Mason type education and so this book has given me excellent insights and new ways to look past the obvious in the books we will read in the future.

Link up with Analytical Grammar on Facebook – and Twitter -

Members of the crew reviewed Analytical Grammar, Junior Analytical Grammar, and Beyond the Book Report make sure click on the link below to check them out.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Jerusalem, by William Blake

My husband and I were talking today about some of our favorite hymns. We both mentioned a hymn we used to sing at school that is actually a poem by William Blake.

by William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land. 
You can tell of course that we are both from England. If they ever thought about changing the National Anthem for England this one would be perfect!

We go to church regularly and so singing hymns is a huge part of my children's lives. I love it when my five year old sings out LOUDLY during church. In fact Sunday he insisted on trying to add funny notes to customize what he was singing. There are already so many hymns he can sing just from being involved at church with us. I love that we can share so much through music.

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Bob Books {Review and Giveaway}

Have you ever used Bob Books read on to hear what I think and enter a giveaway for your own set of your choice!

I have only been homeschooling for 3 (nearly 4) years and I am still feel like a newbie. Jam and Boo both went to an amazing little public school. They attended 3 year old preschool two mornings a week and 4 year old preschool 3 mornings a week before going to Kindergarten. They could write their names, say their ABC and count pretty well. All this with just a little help from me. They both asked to homeschool the year Jam was in 4th grade and so that summer we decided to give it a try, and we have never looked back. Both kids love it and are doing really well. In fact they are both now above their public school grade level.

Now lets talk about Little J. This is scares me a little. His brain is a HUGE sponge in fact my niece who is visiting from England told me that she normally takes random facts from a five year old with a pinch of salt. Except for the random facts Little J spills out...honestly it doesn't matter how weird they are, he is normally correct. He can quote movies from a film he has only seen once so well that my Mom thought he must have sat and watched it 50 times. Seriously!

So why does this scare me...well it's not really him it's reading. I have never actually had to teach a child to read all by myself before. The other two went to school, I was sent flash cards and reading books, which we read diligently. We read out loud as a family (and always have). Which it SO much less pressure than actually teaching a child to read from scratch. I mean the 'teacher' was always there to help me - and my kids 1st and 2nd grade teacher were both awesome! (they had the same ones).

So we have started this reading game. Of course being around books is normal but switching it to Little J reading instead of being read too was difficult. Plus we moved and my awesome friendly local library is now in our old town. I have struggled to find the perfect set of beginner readers. Until I found Bob Books Little J really wasn't interested in reading any book. I think he was intimidated with the size and number of pages. The day I introduced the Bob Books his whole attitude changed. I mean this little books are just his size and the length is perfect. I started him with Set 2 Advancing Readers and he loved the little stories.

The fact that all the words can be sounded out is awesome and really helps increase the young readers confidence. Bob Books are the creation of Bobby Lynn Maslen a once school teacher with lots of experience working with 3-5 year old children. These books are really easy to use and there is even a little placement test on the website if you are unsure where to start your child. Each set is available as a paper book set and a kindle edition. We have also been using the new Bob book apps right now they go along with book set 1 and 2 and are available on Google play, App Store, and Amazon app store for android. They also have a cool blog you can check out.

If you haven't tried them yet enter this giveaway to try to get your first set, or if you have used them I am sure there is another set on your wish list. One person will win one set of Bob Books of their choice. (Please allow 5-6 weeks for delivery of your prize).

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Friday, July 25, 2014

Random 5 Friday July 25th 2014

1. I love doing these random five posts. It makes me happy.

2. We spent the whole day at the lake today. It was quite windy and so we didn't notice that it was 99 degrees. We are all a little toasty.

3. Little J is going to his first 'friend' birthday party tomorrow - he is SO excited.

4. Jam caught a fish today.

5. I realized my kids spend most of their summer in some kind of water, and have done since they were born. We LOVE it!

Pop over to the The Pebble Pond to check out more random five.

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Monday, July 21, 2014

HomeSchoolPiano {TOS Review}

Homeschool Piano Review

Piano is a very big deal in our house. In fact my husband has been known to say that piano is a mandatory subject in our home-school. I was given the opportunity to try HomeSchoolPiano. I was offered a lifetime subscription for up to five students for HomeSchoolPiano The Complete Set of Books.

There are four books available;

1. Core Piano for the absolute beginner. (Broken down into 33 lessons)
2. Book 1 beginners. (6 Units - 7 lessons in each unit)
3. Book 2 beginner to intermediate. (6 Units - 7 lessons in each unit)
4. Book 3 intermediate. (6 Units - 7 lessons in each unit)

Homeschool Piano has two payment options.

1. Success Package (One payment of $299)
Unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.

2. Payment Plan (Payments of $99.97 per month for three months):
Unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.

This program is suitable for all ages.

Each lesson is approximately 10 minutes long. This program is designed for all ages. In fact we have all been using it. Little J is using the core piano book, Boo, Jam and I have been using various levels, and my husband is planning on using it too.

To make use of these piano lessons there are a few things you need.

1. A piano (88 key full size preferably).
2. Internet connection (high speed is better for streaming or downloading.)
3. Something to watch the videos on - These can be streamed or downloaded. We have used my laptop and my Nexus pad. However, you could even use a smart phone.

My older two have had piano lessons for about 5 years and so I was really interested in seeing how my youngest dealt with these lessons. To be honest I think he is a little too young. He is 5 and the lessons didn't grab his attention. I am not saying he didn't benefit because he did. Sitting and watching the video's he picked up bits and pieces. He can tell you how to 'grab' the piano keys properly (and is quite verbal in correcting his older siblings if he thinks they are not doing it right'. I have started working through level one. I probably could have started higher as I have taken piano lessons before, but since we would be going back a few years I have forgotten a lot of the basics.

At the beginning of the review period we had a lot of problems logging on, but the companies customer service was excellent and after a server upgrade we haven't had any issues. I think it was a simple server overload.

I will be continuing this with Little J albeit at a very slow pace. Hopefully as he get's a little older and our regular school schedule kicks in he will sit for longer periods of time. The main issue right now is that he feels he can play and so spends most of his piano time 'improvising' on the keyboard. The other issue is the size of his hands. He finds it very difficult to play the keys correctly because his hands are so little.

As you can see in the photo above we used my Nexus pad to watch the piano lesson videos. This worked perfectly for use as Little J could watch and practice right there. We used my laptop once when my pad was out of battery. I printed off the 'core piano' booklet for Little J and used my handy dandy binder to turn it into a little book. Little J loved that he had his own piano booklet. Although we have been working on the core piano set for quite a few weeks we haven't really made much progress, Little J's age and attention span is the main factor in this though not the program.

This is definitely a keeper. My husband has talked about piano lessons and as soon as our winter schedule hits he wants to work on it too. He was impressed with what he has seen. My older two will continue their regular piano lessons. However I know that they have enjoyed learning more about improvisation. Boo is spreading her wings so to speak lately and is picking more of her own songs to learn. She is also learning how to 'jazz up' a song by adding touches of her own flair to the music.

This program can be used by so many abilities and has unending potential you really need to check out all the other reviews to see what they thought!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Random Five Friday 18th July

 1. We didn't plant a garden this year. We planted 2 tomato plants and 2 peppers. Non of them are doing very well. The colder than usual weather is not helping.

2. We get to spend tomorrow at an all day swim meet. It's our summer championships. So I have been making homemade pizza all afternoon to take instead of sandwiches...sandwiches are not my favorite.

3. I took the kids to go to a Ronald McDonald Magic show. It was really fun. 'Ronald' did a awesome show. All of the kids went up to participate. Little J enjoyed it the most.

4. We went rock-climbing this week. Normally when we go Little J just puts one foot on the wall and says he's done. Monday he went half way up the wall. We will have to take him again soon. - He loved it!

5. We have this really cool bike attachment for Little J. It clips to my husbands bike. Last Saturday when I took the older two to their swim-meet Dad took Little J cycling. They 24 miles and Little J had a blast, cooled off after with a rare root beer treat.

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Friday, July 11, 2014

Random Five Friday - July 11th 2014

Random Five Friday

1. Little J is on the verge of reading, I mean really reading. But for some reason we hit a attitude brick wall. He hasn't wanted to read for the last couple of weeks. So today I came up with a new incentive plan. Basically he reads a book and earns 15 minutes of screen time. The change in his attitude today was instant. He read 6 Bob books in a matter of a few minutes. It was funny because the more he read the more he enjoyed it. He was laughing at the little stories as he read. It was fun to hear. (I am in the process of doing a review for Bob Books which will include a giveaway)

2. We made a trip to the city this week to take my niece shopping at the closest mall. It was fun but I am so glad that I don't live in a city. We did get to go to Chick-fil-A which is a real treat as we don't have one near our home. I mentioned as I ordered that I had never tried their lemonade. Anyway after they brought our food, they also brought me a glass of lemonade to try. It was SO good. I will definitely be getting it next time we go. YUM!

3.  We made funnel cakes this week. They turned out pretty good for homemade. Little J rode his first horse/pony.

4. The weather is really weird here at the moment. It's not as humid as normal and really quite mild. I am hoping since we have the pool this year and not reliant on the public pool opening times that it will stay warm well into September. 

5. I can't believe how fast summer swim season has gone. Tomorrow is the last swim meet before the championships. So we have to leave tomorrow at 5:45am. The one thing I am looking forward too in two weeks. No alarm clock on a Saturday morning.

 Check out more Random Five over at The Pebble Pond.

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WriteShop - Junior Level E - (TOS Review Crew)

WriteShop Review

Boo loves to write and so I was intrigued when I was offered to try a new writing program. WriteShop is an award winning writing program designed for K- High-School. We were offered WriteShop Junior Level E which is designed for 4th or 5th graders (or even reluctant 6th and 7th grade writers). Boo was just finishing up her 5th grade year and so we thought we would give it a try even though she is nearer the end of the recommended age range.

What we got:
  • Book E Teacher's Guide: Spiral-bound Print Version $45.95 (digital download available for $35.50)
  • Activity Pack: Print version is $45.95 (digital download available for $35.50)
  • Optional Time-Saver Pack: Print version is $14.95 (digital download available for $6.50)
  • Optional Junior Writer's Notebook 1: Available only in digital PDF format - $3.50

WriteShop Review
Table of Contents:

  • Fables
  • Humor
  • Adventure
  • Science Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Poetry/Shape Poems
  • Personal Narrative
  • Descriptive Narrative
  • Book Report/Responding to Literature
  • Expository Writing: Nonfiction Report
 Skills Taught in Book E:

  • Writing in different fiction genres
  • Writing nonfiction and book reports
  • Answering journal prompts
  • Planning and organizing each writing project
  • Choosing strong words and synonyms
  • Developing voice and emotion
  • Writing sentences of different lengths
  • Learning to write using 5 paragraphs
  • Creatively publishing final drafts
  • Using references
  • Using a variety of self-editing tools
As I have said before Boo loves to write, in fact she has a book of poems she is working on, and a novel that she pulls out and works on from time to time. Her writing tends to go in fits and starts though so I thought that this program would be a good way to focus on learning some specific skills and writing techniques. The first thing I did was to put together the Fold and Go Grammar Packs. I used file folders that I already had in my supply cupboard. They are really colorful and easy to refer to. Each one includes quick reference bookmarks.

I loved that I received these already printed out. They wouldn't have the same effect in plain white. I would recommend if you purchase the PDF to buy the colored paper and print them out the same way. As you can see by my picture above I added the identifying name on the outside so we could find them. I love these packs and they will be invaluable to us in the future.

The Fold and Go Grammar packs include the following topics:

Lesson 1-Punctuation Marks
Lesson 2- Self-editing
Lesson 3- Nouns
Lesson 4- Pronouns
Lesson 5- Verbs
Lesson 6- Adjectives
Lesson 7- Adverbs
Lesson 8- Prepositions
Lesson 9- Capitalization
Lesson 10- References

This program is not an independent program. It is designed to be used by the parent and child together. Even though Boo works very well independently she also loves having some one on one time with me. (Unless our lesson gets gatecrashed when they hear us having fun.)

I can imagine it being difficult for a child to write a fable or write poetry if they have never read any examples of these types of work. WriteShop has a suggested book list to help you in this area. Luckily Boo had already read most of the books suggested for lessons 2 - 5 and so we were able to jump straight in.

The standard lesson plan given in the teacher guide suggests a three week lesson plan. Using this suggested plan the book would last one year. It allows for two days off a week. There is also a guide for a two week lesson plan this allows for one day off per two weeks. For the period of the review we worked on a two week schedule. Boo could work at a faster pace so we still only needed the 3 day week assigned in the 3 week schedule so we will probably finish the course a lot earlier than suggested.

I found it best to gather the materials listed for the assignment before calling Boo to come for her lesson. In fact, on page 9 of the teacher manual it lists all the supplies needed for the whole book. I liked that this makes it possible to plan ahead and be prepare with the least amount of effort.

I also received a print copy of the Book E Activity Pack, I love the fact again that I didn't have to print all of these pages. Recently I have used a lot of downloadable curriculum and so it made a real treat to have it all ready for me.

Boo even took to coloring it.

We completed lesson 1 as suggested and did all of the suggested pre-reading activities. However, as we progressed through the lessons we made some changes to make it more suitable to her ability. Boo reads at a high school level and although we haven't spent a lot of time on writing skills as such, she found some parts of the program very easy.

Boo found some of the suggested activities a little young. I really wish I had this program a couple of years ago when we first started homeschooling. She would have loved the little 'craft' additions then. For example instead of the suggested way to 'publish' the finished piece (creating little books etc) Boo decided she wanted to publish it on her own blog page, which I thought was an excellent idea. It also helped her practice her typing and computer skills. (I know it's sad when the kids grow up!) Boo's blog is here
if you are interested in reading any of her posts.

The Writers Notebook Worksheets are optional. However this was something we used during her 'brainstorming' sessions. It also helped her focus more. Boo took the extra writing as a challenge.

When you turn to a new lesson in the teacher manual it breaks down each step for you. This made it easier for me as I knew exactly what I needed to do. It's scripted but not in a way that makes you feel tied to it. I used it as a guide while preparing, and then didn't refer to it much during the actual lesson. However a couple of years ago I would have felt a lot of comfort having it there to fall back on.

Each lesson is broken down into sections. This helped me organize what we did or did not want to cover. Part 1 is Fold-N-Go Grammar and reading log. I didn't keep a reading log with Boo as she reads older longer books. We tend to write down a book as she completes it. However I am going to start a reading log with Little J as he reads lots of little books. The Fold and Go was pretty self explanatory (the instructions are included in the Activity Set 1:1) I reviewed each concept with Boo but she worked through the worksheet by herself. You really can take as much time as necessary with this step as it's important to make sure that each concept is understood.
We are working on Lesson 3 at the moment, which Boo is enjoying because it is all about adventure stories. I love how the pre-writing activities take off some of the pressure found in other programs. Lesson 3 has a 'create a scene' activity. Boo loved this one, in fact everyone joined in.

We haven't finished lesson three yet, but I can't wait to see what Boo writes for her 'Adventure' Fiction final piece.

Although Boo could have handled a harder program. I think this is a fun introduction into formal writing instruction for her. She has felt very successful and it has been a fun experience so far. We will definitely cover each of the lesson topics, albeit at a much faster pace.

If you want to follow WriteShop or ask them any questions make sure to follow them on the social media sites links below;


There are 50+ members of the Schoolhouse review crew using WriteShop at the moment. These reviews cover the levels from K-6 so make sure you check out the link below and see how others used the program.

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©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Friday, July 4, 2014

Random Five Friday

Happy Fourth of July
1. This is our first 4th as citizens!
2. Jam participated in a cardboard boat race today. Jam and his friend came third! They managed to do both races without sinking.
3. My kids scored at the firework tent...we may be up till midnight with the amount we have to light.
4. We make smores with cookies with chocolate on one side, then we just roast the marshmallows. Saves messing with Hershey's plus its cheaper.
5. Little J loves sparklers. Do you like his cool shark swim float!

This post looks a little goofy because I did it on my phone watching my kids light fireworks!

Check out more Friday randomness over at the Pebble Pond.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review - Rebloom via Mommerce

 (This post contains affiliate links)

Over the last few years I have been working from home. Because I work with people from Europe, and all over the world I start quite early in the morning. I have started work from 3am to 6am (lately it's been 5am - 6am). I can't ever seem to get my schedule or my brain to go to sleep early enough to ensure a good solid 8 hours sleep.

I don't believe in using sleep medicine that can be addictive but I have sometimes used natural sleep aids. Especially if something is stressing or upsetting me. I hate it when I lie in bed and can't sleep. In fact I have been known to have to wear earplugs because I just can't sleep if it's noisy. I hate hotels rooms because the air-conditioners drive me crazy.

There are some things that I have to avoid. I can't drink caffeinated soda after noon, and if I take a pain killer that includes caffeine then I can kiss sleep goodbye.

I was recently received 4 bottles of reBloom via Mommerce. It is designed to help people fall asleep fast and stay asleep so that you can enjoy a great night sleep. The ingredients are chamomile, valarian root extract, melatonin, and l-theanine, filtered water, malic acid, lavender extract, natural flavors, and salt.

I decided to wait until the weekend to try it out, just in case I was a little foggy in the morning. I decided to keep the little bottles in the refrigerator as I am not a fan of 'lukewarm' anything. I have so much ice in my water it is crazy. I wasn't crazy about the taste but it wasn't gross - more like a weak herbal taste. I decided since it was the weekend to drink they whole bottle - which is considered a full dose. You could drink half a bottle too if you want less of an effect. I also drank the whole bottle because I really needed to sleep. The night before I was out at a wedding party until 1am, by 2:30am Little started throwing up which lasted off and on until 4:30am and then I had to get Boo and Jam to their swim meet by 7am. Believe me I NEEDED a full nights sleep.

The recommended time to drink is between 30-60 minutes before you want to go to sleep. I actually didn't wait that long. I think it was about 15 minutes before I went to bed, however I did read for a little while so it was probably more like the 30 minutes.

I fell asleep very easily, and can't really remember waking up in the night. However I wear a fitbit at night and so it tracked my sleep. My fitbit record does show that I was 'awake' a few times. Since I can't remember waking up I must have gone back to sleep very quickly. In the morning I woke up feeling slightly tired, but by the time I got out of bed I felt great. I think the reason I felt tired is because of my CRAZY night of lack of sleep the night before.

I wouldn't take this every night but it would be awesome to keep in for those nights when you just HAVE to sleep. I love the natural ingredients. If you want to find out more or to purchase click here.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received four bottles of reBloom via Mommerce for review purposes only. I was not compensated, and all opinions are my own.

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Diana Waring's Experience History Through Music Review

We love history and music here so when I was given the chance to preview the 3 book set Experience History Through Music I thought it would be perfect for our little summer break. I had not heard of Diana Waring and I have really enjoyed getting to know her better through out the launch of this series.

These books are actually a restoration product. You can read all about on Diana Waring's blog here. I thought you would rather read it in her own words than mine.

We drive 2 hours round trip to piano lessons and this music has kept us singing and laughing the whole way. We can actually listen to all 3 CDs during the drive, but this rarely happens because now and again we have to listen a song over and over. In fact yesterday my 19 year old niece was with us as she is visiting from England and she kept the books so she could sing to all the songs as they played. She even had her favorites that we had to repeat. Her favorite line from all the songs "whoops, apple pie!"

I noticed that some of the tunes I knew from my childhood that just have different words. My kids were so excited to here that 'She'll be coming round the mountain' was a real song - and not just something with made up words like "She'll be wearing pink pajamas when she comes!' 

I loved that through song we can teach so much history. Little J loves asking 'why' and 'when' as he is listening to the music. The books are very handy and give details about each song.


Author Bio

Diana Waring is the author of Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest and Diana Waring's History Revealed world history curriculum, Diana discovered years ago that "the key to education is relationship." Beginning in the early '80s, Diana homeschooled her children through high-school—the real life opportunities to learn how kids learn.  Mentored by educators whose focus was honoring Him who created all learners, and with an international background (born in Germany, university degree in French, lifelong student of world history), Diana cares about how people learn as well as what they learn.  Audiences on four continents have enthusiastically received her energetic speaking style.

The Three Cds are;

America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation
Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Each title contains one book and one CD and of course the title helps you know what kind of history / era the music is about.

Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West
America's westward expansion is amazingly rich in stories and songs.  In Westward Ho!, you will find the pioneer spirit that stirred the hearts of thousands of Americans to leave the safety and comfort of home expressed in folk songs of or about that time.  Now you can experience the pioneers' adventures, dangers, joys, sorrows and hopes as you join in and sing along.

1. Apple Picker's Reel    2:25
2. Boll Weevil    2:18
3. Missionary's Farewell    5:01
4. Oh, California    2:17
5. Ho! For California    4:20
6. San Juan Pig War    2:47
7. Chisholm Trail    2:52
8. Westward Ho!    5:12
9. Home On The Range    5:02
10. Little Old Sod Shanty    3:18
11. Strawberry Roan    3:16
12. Old Settler    4:52
13. Gooey Duck    1:55
14. Little Cabin in the Cascade Mountains    2:34

Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder
The well-loved stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder will come to life all over again as you listen to the songs that were a part of life for the Ingalls and thousands of other pioneering families.  Written by William Anderson, noted Laura Ingalls Wilder biographer, the book also includes beautiful photos by internationally known Little House photographer, Leslie A. Kelly.

1. Wait for the Wagon    1:48
2. Green Grows the Laurel    4:04
3. The Old Chariot    1:45                      
4. Buy a Broom    2:14                      
5. Sweet By and By    3:55                      
6. Rock Me to Sleep    4:03                      
7. Buffalo Gals    1:58                      
8. A Railroad Man for Me    1:45                      
9. Beware    2:55                      
10. Pop! Goes the Weasel    1:03                      
11. Oft in the Stilly Night    2:45                      
12. The Girl I left Behind Me    2:29
13. My Sabbath Home  4:12

 America – Heart of a New Nation
From the French and Indian War to the first transcontinental railroad, America is a chronological tour of American history through its music. Enjoy the songs and stories of our past that have been shared from generation to generation—songs that make you laugh, make you cry, and make your patriotic spirit soar.

1. Yankee Doodle    1:39  
2. Star Spangled Banner    2:39
3. Erie Canal    2:12   
4. Oh, Susanna    1:55
5. Sweet Betsy From Pike    3:17 
6. All Night, All Day    3:50
7. Old Dan Tucker    1:52
8. Wade In The Water    3:41   
9. Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier    1:41
10. When Johnny Comes Marching Home    2:23  
11. Shenandoah    2:20
12. Git Along L'il Dogies    3:44
13. Drill Ye Tarriers    1:56
14. Polly Wolly Doodle    2:15      
15. She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain    1:38
16. Old Joe Clark    2:09  

The CDs cost $18.99 each however for the month of July you can save and get all 3 CDs and books for $50.00.

I highlight our absolute favorites...yes these are the ones that my kids press 'replay' for over, and over, and over.
One of the things I like and dislike about the books is that they contain the words, sheet music, and chords for each song. How can this be a good and bad thing you ask? Well because my daughter wants both hands for the piano. I know, I know she's fussy but what can I say she loves her piano. No one here plays guitar or violin so we would like both hands.

We loved this music and had a blast singing along. It was a great way to incorporate school into our long drives. This music will definitely be a fun favorite for a long time to come.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @DianaWaring

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

First Day - July 2014

I forgot until 10am that it was the first day, and then my evening got busy helping make a cardboard boat (pictures to come Friday). So here's the rest of our day...

As you can tell Jam got hold of the camera at the end...and he was pretty obsessed with the USA game.

I've linked up with Journey to Josie so go check out some more 'First Days'

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Math Essentials - Math Refresher for Adults {TOS REVIEW}

Anyone who knows me knows that math is not my favorite subject! Any math questions from high school definitely get directed to my math-l...