Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm part of the Blog Walk this week!!!

OK so I've talked a bit about the TOS Crew. This is a group of amazing homeschooling mums and a few dads who review homeschool products and we give our opinion about it.  All of us have our own blogs and it was decided that we'll try and visit each other's blogs. Now we have over 200 people on the Crew! Each week we try to visit 10 blogs (I'm a bit behind!!) and this week I'm one of those 10.  Here is the list of blogs for this week so you too can visit them : )  Come join me on this journey.

Here are this week's list of bloggers for our blog walk. Thanks to Mrs. Mandy for helping me with this.

1. Deanna’s Corner
2. Light, Liberty, and Learning
3. Bunny Trails
4. Flowers N Plaid Homeschool
5. Gadow Ohana
6. His Wonderful Works
7. Expand (This is me so you are already here : )}
8. Confessions of a Homeschooler
9. The Sojourner
10. A Full Heart


Monday, July 19, 2010

TOS Review - Travel the World!

Travel the World

I recently reviewed this homeschool product from “The Old Schoolhouse ® Magazine”. You can visit them at

They provided me with a free copy of this e-book for review purposes in exchange for my honest, personal opinion. Please note that no other compensation was received.

“Travel the World” is the June 2010 add-on Module for The Schoolhouse Planner and sells for an amazing $7.95 only.

Modules for the 2009-2010 Planner include amongst others the following topics:

August 2009 - Favorite childhood books
September 2009 - Weather, clouds, and related experiments
March 2010 - Aviation
April 2010 - Keeping God's earth clean

One of the great things about this 56-page e-book is that you DON’T need the Planner to use it as all the mini-units are created as stand-alone unit studies. Each month brings its own treasure.

This product is geared towards all ages. Some sections would be better suited for younger kids, but there is a “High School Expansion” section for older students. As my children are 9 and 7 respectively, I did not use this part of the study.

As I initially e-flipped through the e-book I was very keen to start using it with my kids. They both enjoy geography immensely and it was a bonus to have some lapbook activities as part of this study. The links to relevant and exciting websites adding another dimension to this study got me even more excited to go and Travel the World! As we all know, when Mum is excited the kids are more likely to follow :-)

So we set off on day one, where we learned more about what geography is. We got our globe and world map as requested to have a closer look and learn a lot more about these two representations of the planet.

Several geographical concepts are linked to amazing and interactive websites (including fun, fun, fun games) where you learn even more! Some concepts included axis, longitude, latitude and the four hemispheres.

Next we sailed around the five oceans and again visited sites with extra information.

After our ocean endeavours we hopped from one continent to the next. These lessons were filled with excitement and fun. Each continent is introduced by letting the reader know about its size, in which climate zone it lies and any special geographical features that might be found on that continent. Again there are links to fun and informative sites to add to your learning experience. We found that we learned a great deal by playing some of the games. One game that was a favourite with the kids was the North American Mountain Ranges Quiz.

This unit study provides you with the option to choose how much you want to learn about an area at the click of a button. I think this is an excellent feature of this study as it is easy to ‘get off the bus’ when kids are getting tired, or to simply visit another place by following one more link that is provided…and no other planning or preparation is needed!

The majority of the above learning was done directly on a computer. We recently acquired a large HD television and linked our home PC to it. I loaded the “Travel the World” study onto that PC and we took turns in reading the sections for the day. The kids kept running between the lounge (where we had our globe, compass and small world map) and the passage (where we have an A2 size world map on the wall) to locate different countries and look for the flags of those countries (which is on the map in the passage).

Each child was provided with a ‘passport’ to collect stamps from different continents (an idea I got from the internet) and a notebook in which to write down the definitions of new concepts as we learned them.

The only printing I’ve done was the activity pages which the kids (especially my 9yo daughter) enjoyed doing. These engaging activities served as a good recap of some of the content.

The activities included:

• Fill in the blanks page
• Word scramble
• Word search
• Crossword Puzzle
• Rebus Puzzles
• Geography Acrostic Poem
• Lapbook Activities
• Colour in pages

The study also includes:

• Two recipes (which admittedly we still have to try).

• Print and Cursive Copy work pages (which we didn’t use as we are doing a devotional study that includes copy work)

• Another Online resources page (Amazing links to websites related to specific continents / maps / games / lessons etc.)

We thoroughly enjoyed this study and I’m very keen to have a closer look at some of the other modules available from TOS to add to our curriculum. Why don’t you join us on this journey and come Travel the World! (You can go here to find out what my fellow TOS Crew mates think of this product).

I think it is important to add the opinion of my fellow travellers - here are some comments from the kids about their favourite parts:

“I liked learning about the compass rose and longitude and latitude.”

“It was fun to learn about longitude and latitude and play the game where we needed to find the girl on the grid.”

“The games were fun and we learned where a lot of countries are.”

“I liked looking for places on the globe.”

As I’m writing this review and revisiting some pages I am fast coming to the conclusion that this study is not done yet… or is turning into a more in-depth study : ) KIIIIDS bring the passports!!!!

My man's THE MAN!!

OK, so I've got an IT guy (yes, it's my hubby). Not only is he THE computer whisperer, he's also a bit of a designer. So I showed him my first attempt at a web button


and then he goes and whips up his own version.....

well, some things go without saying....



Sunday, July 18, 2010


Well What a Wonder!!

I had my first official 'internet meeting' yesterday morning (Saturday, 17 July) at 8am. It was Friday, 16 July @ 4pm EST. I still after years of internet accessibility marvel at the fact that I could sit in my dining room and have a meeting with several people on the other side of the world!!

Still amazed.... (yeah, I'm easy to please ;* )

Monday, July 12, 2010


My girl had surgery today. All 4 molars came out because of enamel hypoplasia. There was no enamel on those teeth, most likely because of having chickenpox at 11 months. She was a real trooper. Picked Daddy to go into theatre with her while she went off to dreamland. All went well for which we are very thankful. So for the rest of the day it will be sweet R&R and a movie ... or two ;)


My first attempt at a button

OK, so I offered to see if I can find out how to make a blog / web buttons. Here is my first ever attempt.

So now, back to the drawing board : )


Sunday, July 11, 2010

TOS Crew and reviews


I'm very excited about being chosen to do reviews of products for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

I receive these products for free in order to use them and then write a review about it providing the vendors with my honest, personal opinion. No other compensation is given.

We are currently reviewing a product from their June Module called "Travel the World".

Travel the World

This product is about geography and covers the oceans and the continents. So far we are having a lot of fun. Check back in later (19 July (PST))for a full review on this.

Then I'm also waiting on another product that I will be getting in the next week or so. This is on teaching cursive writing. I'm very excited about this as my 7yo son has just shown interest in learning cursive. His 9yo sister is very keen to help teaching him : )

This product is from "Peterson Directed Handwriting".


So again, watch this space for the full review which will be done on the 30th of August (PST).


Thursday, July 1, 2010

HEART 2010

Hello there : )

HEART (Home Educator's Annual ReTreat) was last weekend (26-28 June). It was the second year that I attended. I attended in 2008 but couldn't go last year, but I wouldn't want to miss another one. It is too good to pass up... like dark chocolate or a visit with a good friend. So, when I got home I told my dh I will most definitely be there next year.. and the next...and the next ... : )

The theme was Treasures. "He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure." Isaiah 33:6 is a scripture many of the speakers quoted.

It is amazing how all the speakers spoke on the treasure they have gleaned / gained through the dark moments in their lives!! It was a fantastic time to meet other like-minded woman who love educating their children, who have a deep love for their families and shared some of their treasures with us. We laughed and we cried. It was good to have some time to reflect and process what was being said (although not a lot of time). For me, it was LOVELY not to worry about meals. I would have loved another day with more free time to process some things, but the time we had was such a blessing.

I shared a room with one of the women who is in my co-op and again it was a special time to get to know her better.

The organisers worked so hard to make this weekend possible. We got 'goody' bags on Friday night on our arrival. It was so fun to go through it all and see the little gifts they chose for us.

The first session was about 'Finding Treasure between a rock and a hard place'. Sharon shared about some difficulties she faced in how finding something small to hold on to made a huge difference in her marriage.

Saturday morning we had a choice of workshops before delicious morning tea. I went to the Precept Ministries workshop. Barbara told us how to help our children get the most out of Bible Study. Basically teaching them how to do an inductive Bible Study! It is brilliant. The books guide the kids step by step, keeping them excited about the text and engaged... well, not just the kids : )

Sue spoke on "Where's your heart"? after morning tea and then introduced Sue from FreeSet (is a fair trade business offering employment to women trapped in Kolkata's sex trade). What an eye opener and opportunity to be God's light!

I spent the afternoon hanging out with God and doing some work on my preaching course. Other ladies attended the craft workshop and made some beautiful cards.

Bronwyn ended the afternoon session talking on the topic: "The Key to Treasure is the Fear of the Lord".

The evening session was amazing with some ladies (not the key speakers) sharing 10 minute testimonies about the treasures in their lives. Each one was unique and so honest. It was such a testimony to the fact that we all go through hard times, we all have something to learn AND we all have something to teach! In the words of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbs) "There are Treasure everywhere!".

After the session there was an option to watch a DVD from Louie Giglio speaking about Grace. If you've not seen it, it is well worth the watch. The DVD is called "Fruitcake and Ice Cream".

Sunday we had a choice of workshops again and the last of the keynote sessions with Rosie's "Help! I'm a cracked vessel!". And yes, we always cry in Rosie's session :)

Looking forward to next year!