Saturday, September 24, 2011

100 games! - Oh Captain, My Captain.

Tonight we won our 50th game against the French! 37 -17.

What an amazing game it was!

Captain Richie McCaw played his 100th test match and was capped. Cheers all around!

(Picture from:

Blayne won the prize for best supporter at our church viewing of the game. A $50 gift voucher to a French Restaurant ; )  Fun Fun Fun!


TOS Review - AIMS Making Connections - it's electric!

FYI, many people do not like acronyms. I on the other hand do. Using acronyms saves time ... imagine the medical community without it ... but I digress. AIMS is an acronym and it stands for:

Math and 

Math and Science! Both these words in the same sentence is not very PC in my opinion. But speaking of my opinion ...

As part of the TOS Crew, I recently received a free Downloadable e-book from the A.I.M.S website, called 'Electical Connections' in PDF.   I received this copy for review purposes in exchange for my honest, personal opinion. I received no other compensation. (Except for excited kids!)

What is AIMS?

AIMS is a non-profit foundation whose amazing people believe that hands-on learning is the best way to develop understanding in the areas of Math & Science!  
The e-book I received was Science specific and focused on Electricity. This book is aimed at Grades 4-6. It is a 234 page e-book jam-packed with information, activities and student pages. It retails for US$24.95

AIMS makes 3 promises to their customers:


  • We'll make learning engaging.
  • We'll make our activities affordable, and the required materials will be readily available.
  • We'll make our activities easy to use, without compromising their conceptual development or effectiveness.

The people of AIMS are so confident in their product that they offer a 60 day refund or replacement if you are not satisfied with the product! That to me says a whole lot!

First Impressions:

In today's technological era with all the blogs and websites in cyberspace, it is important to have a website that stands out above the rest. I received an e-book so my first stop was not the mailbox, but the website. The website is fun-looking and friendly. I found it easy to navigate and downloading the e-book was easy and hassle free. 

On the 'home page' you will find a very big welcome to First time visitors with link to a page  HERE where you will find some basic information about AIMS as well as video clips to help you choose and use the product that will be best for your students.

I was getting very excited about getting into some of the activities in the e-book as I browsed it after downlading it. I am a visual learner and I love the fun pictures which are dotted throughout the e-book as well as the website. 

There are many video clips which you can find HERE to add to your teaching too. Amazing!

For those who love history you can read The Story of A.I.M.S. over HERE

What about those promises?


  • We'll make learning engaging.
  • We'll make our activities affordable, and the required materials will be readily available.
  • We'll make our activities easy to use, without compromising their conceptual development or effectiveness.

Making learning engaging:

When I called my children to do their 'AIMS' work, I was met with no resistance or friction. They both were super keen to engage with the work and do the activities. Hearing: "This is so fun!" from them both ... at the same time ... doing science ... was sweet music to my ears! 

The kids very much enjoyed the activities we did and enjoyed making predictions about possible reactions. 

We did some experiments on 'Static Electricity' and the kids were excited about making the connections between what they learned and the 'shocks' they got on the trampoline.  

So TICK 'we'll make learning engaging'. 

This is the first page of the e-book I received:

Affordable and Available:

Recession, money, increased petrol prices, etc. Having to be worried about spending a massive amount of money on curriculum is not a pleasant thought. Less so if you have to purchase additional things to complete the learning. 

The downloadable products of AIMS  vary between US$18.95 and US$24.95. One product only (Concepts in Geometry)is US$34.95, but is a PDF e-book of over 400 pages! 

Most of their physical books are within a similar price range and many books come with a CD.

The material you need for some of the activities are easy to come by and often things you already have in your home.  

So TICK 'affordable and available'. 

Easy to use:

'Electrical Connections' is divided into four main categories: Static Electricity, Circuits, Electromagnetism and History of Electricity which include a timeline and an interview that can be done with an older person. My daughter liked doing the interview.

Each main section is introduced with a printable 'rubber band book' that the kids enjoyed reading.

The activity is introduced with a key question, learning goals, a bit of background information, materials needed and laying out the procedure step by step. It is so easy to follow and so enjoyable! All it takes is for you / the teacher to go through it before the lesson and make sure that the material and student pages are ready and printed. 

TICK 'Easy to use'. 

That's 3 for 3! 

As I said, we've done Electrical Connections, but AIMS have many products available. You can visit the product page HERE to have a look for yourself. I am considering buying the 'Actions with Fractions' e-book at the end of the month. 

Another bonus of this amazing website is that you can subscribe to their monthly e-newsletter (Free) with specials and free activities HERE and/or to the AIMS Magazine (US$19.95/year for four issues) HERE.

But there are a lot more to find on the website, so I will encourage you to visit this site for yourself. ASAP! You can also find them on FB over HERE

As with anything in life, this is MY opinion. It is always good to see what others think. Please visit the Crew's Blog to see what my fellow Crew mates think of this product by going HERE.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rugby World Cup - Australia vs Ireland

I like to say that I am a New Zealander who was born in South-Africa and I came home to NZ 26 years later. We've been in NZ for 14years now and this has been home for nearly that long. Needless to say that my support is for the All Blacks when it comes to rugby. AND just to clarify, unlike others from SA who live in NZ, I support the All Blacks when they play against SA.

Last night's game however was between Australia and Ireland... I decided to support Ireland. And oh my what a game! What a triumph!

                      Australia   6 - 15  Ireland

Well done Ireland on your victory!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TOS Review - Time4Learning Take2

It is ...


12 months ago: I was fortunate enough to have received a chance to review the Time4Learning online curriculum which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. You can read my previous review HERE.

2 months ago: 'Mum do you remember Time4Learning? I wish we could do that again'.

1 month ago: 'Hey kiddies, Mummy was chosen for the Time4Learning review again this year'. (Followed by deafening screams of joy).

This morning:  'What? We not going to have Time4Learning anymore? EVER'?

As you can see whatever this Time4Learning is, the kids enjoyed it last year and they enjoyed it again this year.

So WHAT is it?

Time4Learning is an online Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies curriculum for grades PreK to 8. It can be used as a full curriculum or as a supplement to an already chosen curriculum. This feature makes Time4Learning a versatile product that is good for Homeschoolers AND for kids in public school who need some extra work/fun.

This curriculum sports different kinds of activities which are fun and interesting.

Interactive activities:

Some of the activities are also project based e.g. it gives the student research opportunities and/or suggestions for further reading.

Other activities include reading several interesting pages about a certain topic and answering some questions.

Each year level has at least 200 different activities to be completed. Your child can sometimes choose which activities they want to do or you can assign specific activities for the day. The activities do follow on from one another. Students can also go back to previous activities and redo them if they choose to. 

Each student gets a personal login from where they can do their lessons. Some lessons also include printable worksheets. Parents can follow the kids' progress by logging in to the Parent Centre. This is also where you can change your child's grade level, timer settings, generating certificates and add/delete students.

Progress Reports:

How did it work for us?
My son (Grade 3) and my daughter (Grade 5) both loved Time4Learning. The activities they engaged in most were the language arts and math. These were the preferred options for both of them. This is maybe due to us having a science curriculum that we are following at the moment as well as the history (which has a bit of reading to do - so they stayed away from some of the reading activities). When I asked them what they enjoyed most about it they both agreed that it was because: 'They made it fun and interesting'. 'The math was not boring'. (That's a big one)! As DS is in Grade 3 he logged in to the lower-level (K-3) and DD logged in to the upper-level (4-8). What my DD liked is that she was also able to personalize her 'home page'. 

I did ask them if there was anything they did not enjoy about the program and they were also in agreement about: 'Some of the voices they use get annoying after a while'. 

(Wouldn't it be nice if they could always agree on things?) ;)

For this review I was given one month's free access to the website
I must say that at first it might see overwhelming as there is a LOT of information, however, this is such an extensive curriculum that it is worthwhile spending the time to get familiar with the detail to get the best of out it. I don't feel that I benefitted fully from this purely because of the limited time to really get to learn all there is to learn about this. 
I recommend that if this remotely interest you go and spend some time on the website and learn about it. 
You might want to start with the Sitemap where you will get a good idea of what is offered and which pages to visit first. 
Then you can go to the DEMO page and have a look at some of the activities that are offered. 
For a detailed overview of what each grade level has to offer you can go to this page HERE.

Time4Learning works on PC and Mac and even on Linux (as per the website) - you will need to allow cookies. Time4Learning requires FLASH so at this point will NOT work on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. 

How much does it cost?

'The monthly membership is $19.95 for the first child and $14.95 for each additional child, with nothing else to buy. Your billing cycle begins on the day of registration and members are billed every 30 days, until you contact us to cancel. When an account is cancelled, members will have access to the program until the end of their billing cycle.' 

As part of the TOS Crew, I received one free month to ''Time4Learning' for review purposes in exchange for my honest, personal opinion. I received no other compensation. (Except for happy kids!)

As with anything in life, this is MY opinion. It is always good to see what others think. Please visit the Crew's Blog to see what my fellow Crew mates think of this product by going HERE.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A short story about the first game

Once upon a time there was a first game of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

10 minutes into this first game the All Blacks had 8 points on the score board.

At the end of the game the All Blacks sported 41; Tonga 10.

The end.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Clock is ticking ...

It is now just over 24 hours until the proud sound of the Haka will announce the start of the first match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. New Zealand is watching; the world is waiting ...

So the first game is New Zealand against Tonga.

tick, tock, tick, tock

Est puella bella?

Ita! Puella est bella.

This is our first Latin phrase that we've learned today. It is very exciting! As part of the TOS Crew we are reviewing Visual Latin and have done the introductory videos and our first official lesson.
So far so good :)

I am sure I will have plenty to say about this product in my review so watch this space.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Last Saturday my husband and my children gained a million brownie points. Without me asking they dusted, vacuumed, mopped, cleaned and tidied. But you know how these things go ... you start on one thing and that leads to another and another and before you know it you have rearranged the furniture in the lounge. It looks nice and the best part is that my dear husband and I did not even get into an argument about what looks better... yes, I'm ashamed to say that up until now, we have ALWAYS ended up arguing over the lounge. But it's a new day! No argument this time and a great looking lounge.

Now, with moving the furniture around in the lounge we moved the television too; AWAY from the only aerial to reach the television set.

We decided NOT to extend the cable to reach the TV set. So we are now unplugged, no television ... It will be an interesting exercise so watch this space : ) We aren't hugely addicted to watching TV, but I don like to watch the news. I don't think it will be too big a deal (as long as I don't substitute it with something else!) and it's something that I've been wanting to try for a long time ...

As with many things in life there is one little issue ... this is NZ and it is the 7th of September and it is only 2 days away from the Rugby World Cup! Guess I'll  need to go somewhere else to watch a game or 2.

Will keep you up to date, so stay tuned ;)


Friday, September 2, 2011

C is for Composing

a teaching heart

One of my fellow TOS Crew Members just started hosting this Meme. We enjoy studying great composers, so I thought I'd join in. 

So far we've studied some of the history and music of:


We enjoyed learning about Vivaldi last term and so we are on to Handel.

I am fortunate to have part of 'The Classical Collection' which is one of those fortnightly magazines I used to get. Each magazine looked at a different composer which included a bit of his history, a timeline, quotes and sheet music and also looked at different instruments. The magazine also had an accompanying CD with some of the beautiful music of the composer. Here is an amazing post about this collection.

Apart from this collection we get books from the library to read more about these amazing people.

So in my next post I'll let you know how our study on Handel is going.