Sun Kissed Sky

Sun Kissed Sky
The sunrise kissed clouds by our house

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: Math Rider a Learning Game

I got a chance this month to review a learning game from Math Rider.  Mr A is still working on his addition and subtraction because he really needs to work on his speed.  When I saw this review come up I really thought it would help him pick up his speed and it worked!

Let me tell you more about the game.  You can actually sign up more than one user up to 8 on one license.  I have three signed up which is just myself, Mr. A, and Monkey but Monkey didn't try the game out because once I tried it I realized that he's just not ready for it.  The game works on the basic operations addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division for number 0-12.

We worked through the addition so that we could improve his speed in that.  Math Riders starts off with a story of a young boy who's mother is sick with the addition flu.  The only way to cure his mother is to go off to the math lands and get a flower that will make her better.  You go off on your horse to save your mother.  The math problems are actually jumps for the horse and each jump has a new problem on it.  You quickly type in the answer and hit enter (which is a little harder on a laptop than I thought it would be for a nine year old oops) It took Mr. A a little while to get used to the number locations so at first I thought it wouldn't work out but then the more he tried it the better he got and his speed increased.  After you finish the first round of questions you get to see the map progression.  After several rounds you get to the flower and pop back to your own home where you heal your mother but wait that's not it.  You didn't get the master flower so you need to go back or she could get sick again.  The point is to get to the mastery level of addition with your timing and practice then your mother will be healed for good.

Aside from the fact that I love the fact that it increases speed my favorite part of the game is that it tracks the information.  So I signed into Mr. A's account and I clicked on statistics at the top you click with operation you want to look under so I click on addition and right there it shows me how well he knows the different problems.  It really was good information for me.  It also shows me where he was when he started out and where he is now.  There is also a colored area where it shows me his mastery level.  

Okay so this is where I have to admit that I also played the game (bet you guessed that since I said I made myself an account lol) anyways I tried it out and honestly I started out with addition too and I really needed to work on my timing.  It was fun though and much better than going through flashcards for sure!

The age group for the game is second through sixth or 6-12 years old.  It does not require an Internet connection for playing.

Here is the link where you can see if you have the system requirements.

Click here to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review: Leadership Garden Legacy

I got a chance to review for Leadership Garden Legacy I was given two sets to look through
but I primarily used the childrens' book called U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids: Growing My Leadership Garden.  
With it came a book, pdf download of the accompanying activity guide and two audio files of the book being 
read to the children.  I didn't actually use the audio files while working through 
the book with my children but I did listen to it afterwards so I could tell you about it.
During the review period I actually read the book aloud to the three boys which made it easy
for me to stop and explain the new concepts and answer any questions that came up as we read.
I also didn't use the writing pages in the children's activity guide because I only have one child old enough to write and he hates it.  I really wanted him to enjoy the book and focus on the lessons not on the 
fact that he'd have to write afterwards so we answered all the questions out loud together.  I must say though
that the voice on the audio is very pleasant and I really enjoyed listening to it and will
probably play it for the kids during quiet time since they enjoy the story so much.

Well now that I have given you all that information let me tell you what the actual product is all about!
The book is written for ages 5-12 but I read it to all three of my sons the youngest being 4 and they all 
enjoyed it.  I could see that my youngest didn't get as much from it but I think he did still learn some and he
really enjoyed listening to the story.  The story is about a sheep named Hugh that wanders onto a farm that just happens to be the Leadership Garden.  He meets the farmers and lots of different animals that all help him on his way to growing his leader within and to take out all the weeds in his life.  
He learns that he gets to choose how he responds to things and to pick what kinds of things he wants to
grow in his Leadership Garden.  There was so much information given that you really need to take 
the time to go over it so that your children really have the time to let it sink in and 
really help them learn it.
The activities in the activity book really went along well with the book.  You even make the same graph as Hugh does in the book to learn if you are balanced or out of balance in your life.  When you fill it
out you color code it and it's very obvious where you are out of sync.
The questions really made me think and my children gave some really good answers sometimes the questions
were a bit much and they didn't know how to answer but after I would do some more explaining
or give them an example myself they would then be able to answer most of them.
I did use the adult book too.  It's called U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing the Leader Within.  I didn't enjoy it as much as I did reading the children's one to them but I did work through the workbook that came with it.  
It had a lot more questions and things to work out then the children had (as it should since it's for adults!). 
This is also something that you really needed time to work through.  The questions
were so involved that I had to sometimes take a few days to think through the answer.
It really pushes you to realize what you think of yourself and what are the leadership seeds your growing and what weeds your allowing to grow.  It also empowers you to realize that you are in charge of how you react to things in life and how you see yourself and others see you.
I really appreciated the prologue to the adult book where the author Debra J. Slover, tells us about herself and the struggles she went through in her life.  It really makes her a real person to me and not
just someone who has it all together and is trying to tell me how to be her.  

Okay so now some more information on the books namely the prices and a special offer!
U.N.I.Q.U.E Kids: Growing my Leadership Garden costs $18.95 but you could also download 
it for $.8.95
U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing the Leader Within also costs $18.95
The kids activity guide is $8.95
The mp3 dowload is $8.95 but you can also get them on cd's for $18.95

This is the special offer!  Make sure you see that the offer ends on May 31, 2013!

Leadership Garden Legacy is offering the TOS Community a “Spring Special Discount” of 20% on all our Empowerment Tools. This is in addition to our already discounted Tool Kit bundles.
To receive your discount, enter the discount code: TOS-SS20D upon checkout. This is a limited time offer and the code will expire on May 31, 2013.

Preview the bundled Tool Kit Discount options at:
Preview all product tools at:
Visit the Leadership Garden Legacy to learn more at:
With the bundle price of the Family Empowerment Tool Kit and the TOS extra 20% discount this is a $28.70 TOS savings off the retail price of the products. 

I hope you've enjoyed reading this review!  If you'd like to read more please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew here


Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Supercharged Science!!

Mr. A has a favorite subject I'm sure I've talked about it before but if you don't remember what it is
it's science!  A review for an online science program came up called Supercharged Science and I 
got it.  To start off you really need to watch the start up video and do some reading and looking around on the website to understand how to use it.  I don't want that to sound daunting but it really does help because there is a lot on the site.

I keep saying it for all my reviews this month but again we had the flu so pictures are not included.
The good news is even I am just about well again yay! 

So right away on the home page for e-Science before you even get to the lessons there's a latest news section where you will find a couple of articles that have experiments in them.  Next to the news section is the parent resources and right now there's a game available on there called Space-opoly.  Space-opoly is a game about space that is just like Monopoly and looks like a lot of fun.  Below that there are two more sections one is where you'll find the syllabus and schedule and the outreach program where you can earn e-science for free by telling others about the program you'll have to go there to read more about that.  You can see those sections in the picture up above.
At the top of the page there are tabs for the different pages if you click on Topics it takes you to the study units.  There are up to 19 units available right now with the 20th coming soon.  There is also a section for the Scientific Method, award winning science projects, mathemagic, and a section where you can learn about their science e-camp.  I did tell you there was a lot on here!

So how did we use the program?  Well I had all three boys sit down at my computer and played the video from the unit we were learning and then we listened in to the teleclass.  My boys heard about the science notebooks so they ran off and got some notebooks off our shelves and started drawing from what Aurora (the owner of Supercharged Science and teacher) talked about.  Even Pumpkin got involved...for a time.
He didn't last very long honestly during the second unit he just didn't want to participate any more and if I tried he just distracted his brothers (hey he's four right?)
Mr A and Monkey loved to listen in though and yell out answers when Aurora asked questions and do the little 'experiments' that she had them do during their teleclass.  Checking out gravity on how it pulls us and every thing back down to the earth was quite fun for them.  What boy doesn't like dropping things?  The boys were also really excited about magnetic cereal!  How cool we did not know that!  There were several more experiments and some pages to read like the one on Newton's laws.  After you do the reading and the experiments there are exercise pages where you and your child can see what and how much they learned from the unit.  If you need the answers though there is a button for the answers so you can check your answers.
I would pick out a favorite part but honestly my boys really enjoyed listening to Aurora teach when she talks it feels like she is right there and she talks well but on their level so it's not to complicated.  They really enjoyed the experiments and even journaling which I thought they would never do since Mr. A hates writing but he mostly used it to draw out what he liked from the lessons.
Another bonus to the site is the tab at the top of the screen that says shopping lists and you can pick what unit your on and see what you'll need or what you have already on hand.  I had a lot on hand but there was also a lot that we needed to get with some of the experiments.

My overall opinion is that it's really a worthwhile program it's $37 a month for the K-8 and $57 for the K-12 program.  You do need a good internet connection to watch the videos. It starts out with a limited number of units and you get one or two more a month as you go through the lessons.  Click on this link to go see the pricing for yourself and get some of your questions answered that you might have about the program and what's included  Get started .  One more thing I love how accessible Aurora is.  She will answer any of your questions and she's there commenting with you on the site.  I just love that she's really involved.  She also really seems to care and love to teach the children.  (Ok that was more than one thing lol)

To read some more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew click here.

I hope you enjoyed this review I really enjoyed the program and the chance to use it!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: Through Stress and Strain

A picture of the book we read.

Salem Ridge Press offered up a few books for review and I chose one called Through Stress and Strain A Story of the Huguenot Persecution.  The book is for ages 8-adult but I read it aloud to my three boys
and although it was hard at times for them to understand since it is an older Victorian book first published       in 1887, they really enjoyed it.  It starts in the year 1666 when a family of Huguenot's (which are French Christians) finds out that their oldest son has been taken away to live in a convent where he will
be taught the King's religion which is Roman Catholicism.  To the Huguenots this 
seemed worse then the news of their sons death would have been.  I don't want to give away to much
but I will say that the books goes on to show the persecution that the Huguenots had to 
endure under the King's laws including and maybe mostly the loss of their children to the convents if they even so much as seemed interested to hear what the King's religion was.  Once they said they wanted to know what the religion was they were considered Catholic and not allowed to ever leave the faith.  Some families lost their only child and some lost several of their children.  This was very disheartening to the people of the simple faith who wanted nothing more than to worship God as they saw fit.  My boys were so sad when the son was taken away and to hear of the trials that they were facing.  
Every now and again I'd have to stop and reiterate what I had just read to make sure that they were
understanding what had just happened since it had political talk and a lot of bigger words in it.
I really loved that at the bottom of the pages there was a definition for a  lot of the bigger words sometimes it was a French word or term that was described and it really helped even me understand what somethings were.

Here is a picture of the pages the print is larger and you can see at the bottom where they put the definitions

My favorite part of the book is the talk about God and their love for him.
At times I was a more than put off by the Roman Catholic church and I wondered how
Catholic people might feel about the book but it is a part of their history and so must
understand that.  My second favorite part of it is that there wasn't anything that I had to
keep out.  It was very clean and tasteful, free from any twaddle (Charlotte Mason word for books
that are just full of junk and are not good reading I'm sure there's a better description out there for it).
I felt while reading it that I was really reading something worthwhile to my boys and that they
could really learn a lot not only about religions and our history but better vocabulary and honestly a better way of writing in general.  People back then were not dumbed down as they are today and
they could read books with this type of language without it being a problem.  I love that we can
revisit that type of writing.  I think we might even revisit the vocabulary words
and add them to our list to learn.  Some of the French ones we probably won't go
back over but the other's would be fun to hear my children say in normal conversations.  We read the book a chapter a day sometimes a bit less if their attention spans were not with it that day.  It was perfect
because having the flu was so tough on us and we had something good to read together but that was short enough that we didn't have to rush through it.

I really want to read some of the other books that were offered up.  After reading this one it
really gives me hope in the others.  When I finished reading this book with my boys
they all agreed that they really liked it.  You can purchase this book for $12.95 in softcover or $22.95 in hardcover.  There was 149 pages and the print was a nice size not huge but not small either making it easy for my 8 year old to read it on his own which he did several times.  We are going to be finishing up this lesson on Huguenots with a search of more information on the internet.  I plan to use this book as a launch into history during this time period how
useful to have this story and see into their lives before we dive in.

You can read more review from the Schoolhouse Crew of either this book or the others one that were offered up, here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Beautiful Weather and More

Since we have been down with Influenza for the last month and
 haven't even really left the house, it's been really nice to have 
the great weather the last few days.  
The boys have been outside so much and at first it took me a bit to 
push them out there but now they beg to go out
so I'm very happy with that.
I think we need a bigger sandbox lol!
Pumpkin's favorite thing is his sandbox in the backyard. 
The other two will swing for the whole time and there's Pumpkin in the sandbox.
He's also the one that gets the most excited when we go
to the beach.

Just before we got sick Mr A had a Scout camp that we attended and here are 
some pictures from that.
Monkey watching the fire

Pumpkin getting Kool-Aid
Monkey still by the fire

I'm being beckoned over.

Some camp sites.

Pumpkin really wants to go into the tents
They are over there cooking

Mr. A making pancakes an a tin can

The pancakes are looking good.

Now for the taste test yum!

Mr A by the fire.

Some of the boys crossed over into Boy Scouts.

The moon

and then I zoomed in on it so beautiful

And now for some photos of my parents house all finished.  
My mom's curtains.

The flooring to the back wall.  I don't know why the wall looks dark yellow or tan
It's actually so pale of a yellow it almost looks white so that's a weird trick there.

The wood looking tiles.  We really love these.  The grout is actually black I think this 
is just another light trick.

The kitchen floor and the family dog.

The wood tiles again

My mom's boat she bought of Craigslist and loves.

The counter tops we made and the back splash

The downstairs bathroom.

Downstairs bathroom still

The stuff in the bathroom lol.

That's all I have for you now which is pretty much all I just need
to take some pictures of the upstairs bathrooms.

Yesterday we went to the park and stayed there for two hours
it was a lot of fun.
I have only one picture though because the park we went to isn't really picture friendly
unless your standing on top of your child so I leave you with
Monkey swinging dirty feet and all :) I guess his flip flops don't work on the swing
Mr A and Monkey kept kicking them off every time
they got on the swings.

Well the kids really want to start their school so they can head outside so have a beautiful day!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ABeCeDarian Review!

Okay so this review is one I'm actually excited about more so than the others 
and it's not because the other 
products were less than this one but this is one subject that I really have been dreading!  
Mr. A was so hard to teach to read that the mere thought of teaching 
another child sent me into a fearful pit.
I could have stayed just working on letters forever and been happy or so I thought
enter in my review for ABeCeDarian.  
This is the first workbook in the series.

I wanted this review for Monkey he has really wanted to read and I thought a new program
would be perfect. 
For Monkey we started out with Student Workbook A-1 and there's a Teachers Manual A-1 to 
go with it.  Level A is for Kindergarten through mid-1st grade reading levels.  
The books come which come in a plastic spiral bound set with a clear plastic front cover and black plastic backing.  When I got the program I actually had to spend quite some time reading the 
manual because there is a lot of information in it
about how to teach reading, how to use the program, and how children learn to read.  There
was really a lot of helpful information.  
After reading that the book takes you into the lessons and each one is scripted out for you.
I did notice that for Monkey and I we didn't need all the script and 
he kept jumping ahead until I figured out that he didn't need
me to say all the things it wanted me to
so I just began shortening it a little.
This is where I have to let you know that Monkey begs to do this program.
If I seem to be getting up and leaving and we haven't done his reading yet
he gets upset and starts following me around
letting me know that we haven't done it yet and he needs to.
I also feel like I need to tell you that there is a lot of writing.  
Monkey writes letters and words out.  There are
spelling type tests where he's supposed to use the letter sounds 
and his memory to write out words. 
Monkey still needs some practice with this part of the program.
I was really excited to find out that ABeCeDarian has a game type lesson set in it
I as the teacher tell Monkey a word to make and he 
takes the letter tiles (free download with the program you just print them out)
and makes the word and then changes one letter to make the new word that I say.
This was in the remedial program that Mr. A had to go through and 
it was so much fun for him that his reading just took off
so to see it right away with Monkey's reading program just got me all excited and Monkey loves the game
just like big brother did.  With the program came ten little paper readers and
Aesop reader Monkey can't wait to read them and drags
them all over with him.
There's a second part called Student Workbook A-2 that also comes with a
We were trying to get to that set too but with the Influenza here we were wiped out and didn't make it.  
I did look through it though and is a lot like A-1
only it has the child reading sentences and paragraphs which Monkey will be so excited to see.
We used this as our sole reading program
Monkey only knowing his letter sounds some of the time to now
where he can read some words and make the words that I say.
This is so far beyond where Mr. A was that I am so happy with this program and will be using
the same one for Pumpkin when he starts learning next year!
I won't even be afraid to think of teaching a third child not with this as my guide.
If that sounds over done then you really don't know about all the tears, fights, and more that
went on trying to teach Mr. A to read.  I wanted to hire a private tutor for him
or send him to public school until he learned to read just
so we didn't have to do it any more.
This program is so easy and it's been well received by the littles in my life!

Okay so the prices are next 
Student Workbook A-1 costs $12.25
Teacher Manual A-1 costs $28.50
Set of Ten Storybooks costs $21.50
Aesop's costs $2.50

On their website they also have a link to free supporting materials which is where you'll find the letter
tiles, placement tests since their program goes all the way
up to the sixth grade level,  and so much more.

You can read more of the Schoolhouse Crew Reviews for this product Here!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: A Journey Through Learning

I tried a lapbook once and I didn't understand what I was supposed to be doing.  My son and  I did finish it but it took a lot of work on my part and so I never did one again....until now.  A review offer came up and I decided to give it a try again after all so many people claim to love them so I needed to see what the hype was about.  A Journey Through Learning sent me four free lapbooks to pick from for the review.  Monkey and Pumpkin worked on one together called Letters, Numbers, and Shapes while Mr A. worked on one called Astronomy and Space.  The other titles that I was offered were Knights and Castles and The Earth which I look forward to doing with my sons in the future.

Let me start by saying there are a lot of pages to print off.  My printer has been out of ink and so I sent hubby to the store and printing both books out cost $13.00 in black and white eep.  However for a book that they are going to put together, learn from, have to refer back to, and have fun making, it was worth it.  Mr A. didn't take as well to his book but not because he didn't like what he was reading but because he hates to write.  It took him forever to write out a couple of sentences.  Now this could be because of his hate for writing or because we have been down with the stomach flu for three weeks you guess.  Anyways he didn't get as much done of his lapbook so I will be focusing on the Letters, Numbers, and Shapes lapbook that was completed.

This lapbook was really cute.  I did a lot of the cutting out of the actual things in the lapbook while my two sons aged 6 and 4 did the rest of the work.  There really is a lot of cutting and some things have some really small areas and my sons are just not that into cutting unless it's just to make confetti.  They had some coloring pages where you colored the shapes, matching of the upper and lower case letters, drawing of animals, and more.  My sons had some magazines and cut out pictures to go along with the little letter flaps.  You could either draw in them or glue in something and my boys liked the idea of cutting up magazines (I have magazine confetti under their work table still lol).  My boys are so excited that they created this 'book' and they get to keep it in their room and use it whenever.  A fun part to the book is that there's a little game in there where you count the number of objects and match it to the correct number.  

The amount of instructions in this lapbook was perfect.  It even came with a little diagram of where to put everything and then the instructions were also on the top of each page making this so easy to do and so much better than going it alone.  I like that with both this lapbook and Mr. A's there is no going to look up the information because it all comes within the lapbooks.  They also come with ideas for ways to further the learning and you could look up more information all you want if it's what your child wants to do but it's so nice to have it all at your fingertips without much prep work to do at all.  

The Letters, Numbers, and Shapes lapbook is for preschool aged children and the instant download cost $13.00 to have it come printed out it's $20 which I would really do next time!  The Astronomy and Space one costs $13.00 for the instant download and $21 for it to come printed.  They also have a CD option which seems to run about $14.  The Astronomy and Space lapbook is for grades 2-7.

All in all I now love lapbooks and think they would be a good addition to our schooling.  I think I'll stick with this company since they have it all laid out so nicely for me I really appreciated it.  

You can read what others are saying in their Schoolhouse Crew reviews here.