Monday, July 31, 2017

English on a Roll - English Grammar Teaching Method {TOS Crew Review}

English on a Roll

As a homeschool Mom to 2 very active children, I am always looking for curriculum options that allows for hands-on learning while increasing literacy.  My kids like to be on the move!  Finding hands-on learning in other subjects seems to be easy...  Science, History & Math are often accompanied crafts, manipulative blocks and experiments.  But, one subject area where you don't often find tactile learning options is in Language Arts.  English on a Roll is filling that gap!  Using visual cues as well as tactile learning, English on a Roll takes a totally different approach to english grammar by providing your child with direct contact with the english language.  This allows for a deeper understanding of grammar terms and their use.    We were excited to have the opportunity to review this unique program!  We received  English Grammar Teaching Method instructors manual with 1 set of 40 cubes.

What is English Grammar Teaching Method All About?
English Grammar Teaching Method uses the "Multisensory Structured Language Teaching Method" to help students learn by hitting all the learning styles: auditory, visual and tactile.  Recommended for children ages 5 and up, the English on a Roll cubes are particularly relevant to students who are English as a Second Language (ESL), Special Education and Beginning Readers.

The cubes can be used for one-on-one tutoring, with small classes or even large groups.  The color-coded learning cubes are a nice, professional and heavy, weighted quality that fit comfortably in small hands.  What is really great about English Grammar Teaching Method is the fact that a teacher CAN use hand-on manipulatives, even in grammar!

The Teachers Guide is a no-frills approach to getting children started in mastering the english language.  Simple sketches and fill-in-the-blanks offer just enough repetition to help children remember the terms without overload or boredom.

English on a Roll

What We Thought of English Grammar Teaching Method:
I was definitely pleased to find a program that combines reading, discussion and tactile learning.  I have found that multi-sensory learning is the best approach to help children internalize, solidify and recall complex grammatical concepts.

I had originally intended to use this program with my 2nd grader, but found the concepts to be more difficult that I had anticipated.  The first lesson jumps immediately into pronouns.  The teachers guide instructs you to show the pronoun cube while repeating each word followed by "this is a pronoun" but I thought it unusual that we were not instructed to tell the child that a pronoun is a word that is used in the place of a noun.  My younger daughter (age 7) found it somewhat confusing, but my older daughter (age 10) who has a stronger familiarity with grammar found the cubes to be a fun way to review the grammar concepts she learned last year.

The color coded cubes make it easy to replace your pronoun with another word and build more sentences following the same format.  Once you have a firm understanding of pronouns your student will then move on to plurals and other grammar terms, again using the cubes in the same way.  This worked great for Kayley and I think we will enjoy these cubes throughout the year as we constantly revisit grammar terms and sentence building.

Both girls also enjoyed building wacky sentences with the cubes for fun...long after the lesson for that day was done.  Teaching grammar using the cubes made learning feel like a game!

The Teachers Guide was simple to use and required very little prep which is always great for a busy homeschool mama!

Learn more about English on a Roll:
You can view a video demo to get a better feel for what English on a roll - English Grammar Teaching Method is all about and you can also view the first 10 chapters of the Instructors Manual by filling out the download link!

To purchase English on a Roll - English Grammar Teaching Method and cube set visit their website!  You can either fill out an order form to mail in or purchase through Amazon.  Note that when clicking through to Amazon you can choose to view "more buying choices" and you will find English on a Roll as an Amazon vendor...

Stay up to day with English on a Roll by following them on Facebook!

Still have questions?  Check out their FAQ to see if if is address there or you can email your questions using the Get In Touch form.

Several of my fellow crew mates also enjoyed using the English Grammar Teaching Method with their families!  Find out their thoughts of this unique program by clicking the linky below.
Thanks for swinging by Swinging On Small Hinges!
English on a Roll {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

First Day of School 2017-2018 Interviews {Hogwarts}

Happy First Day of School!

Kayley is a 6th Grader this year.

Her favorite subject is:  Math

Her least favorite is:  Handwriting

Her favorite lunch is:  Kielbasa & Cabbage

She is most looking forward to:  Being able to babysit

When she grows up she wants to be:  A Mom

Her favorite thing to play:  Legos

Her favorite book is:  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Her dream vacation is:  Disney Cruise

Maggie is a 2nd Grader this year.

Her favorite subject is:  Art

Her least favorite is:  Math

Her favorite lunch is:  Quesadillas

She is most looking forward to:  Going on field trips

When she grows up she wants to be:  A Chef

Her favorite thing to play:  Restaurant

Her favorite book:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Her dream vacation:  Going to the beach

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Our Homeschool Theme: 2017-2018 {Hogwarts}

Our theme for our Homeschool this year is Hogwarts! 
I have had a lot fun putting some fun Harry Potter decorations throughout our house! 

I think my favorite is The Great Hall!
(also known as the Dining Room)

The First Years Bathroom 
(watch out for Moaning Myrtle!)

Oh...there she is...

There are Mandrakes hiding in the plants... 

And you need a password to get into the dormitories... 
(aka the bedroom) 

The girls are excited to start school!

Tomorrow is the first day! 
July 31st, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum Choices!

Can you believe it is that time of year already?  We will be starting school earlier than usual this year to make up for some of the travel and visitors we are planning for this fall.  Our first day of school will be Monday, July 31st.  Both girls are pretty excited to get back to routine...we did, after all, take a pretty long summer break this year.  (10 weeks!)

Believe it or not, this year I have written my own plan.
Not something I ever thought I would do, but I just couldn't find the right thing this I have created my own schedules.  I am pretty pleased with them!

We do have a "theme" for this year...and if you couldn't tell from the schedule covers, our theme is Harry Potter!  More to follow with our theme in a later blog post...

Without further ado, 
here are our homeschool curriculum choices for
 Clearview Classical Academy's 2017-2018 School year!

Kayley, 6th Grade

Story of the World, Volume 3
SOTW Activity Guide, Questions & Quizzes
Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
Complete Book of US History
Book of Centuries

Simply Charlotte Mason's Visits to North America

Guest Hollow Nature
Apologia Exploring Creation Chemistry & Physics

Language Arts:
Rod & Staff English 5
Spelling Workout Level E
Writing With Skill
Christian Light Education Reading (1st Semester)
Reading across the curriculum (2nd semester)

Math-U-See Zeta

Foreign Language:
Prima Latina
(I know this is generally recommended for Grades 1-4 but this is per Kayley's request and I'm just pretty happy that she is interested in taking ANY Latin at all!)

Maggie, 2nd Grade

Story of the World Vol 3 (listening in)
SOTW Activity Guide
Usborne Book of World History
American Pioneers & Patriots

DK Geography, gr. 1

Guest Hollow, Little Otters Anatomy

Language Arts:
First Language Lessons Vol 2
Spelling Workout B
Writing With Ease, Level 2
Plaid Phonics Level 2
Handwriting Without Tears, Cursive
Christian Light Education Reading 2

Christian Light Education, Math 2

Foreign Language
Salsa Spanish
(offered free through Georgia PBS)
Spanish Workbook 1


The Crafty Classroom - How to Write a Paragraph {TOS Crew Review}

Crafty Classroom
As a homeschool Mom I am always looking for helpful, yet affordable, curriculum options.   The Crafty Classroom offers hundreds of resources, downloads, and printables that are designed to make your homeschool day a whole lot easier.   Notebooking pages, geography, art, science, Bible, history, How to Read, How to Write, reading charts, homeschool planning forms and even more...from A to Z!  Did I mention freebies?  There are freebies!  I was so surprised upon visiting the website to find just what an amazing resource The Crafty Classroom is!  Literally anything you could possibly want, from complete curriculum to supplements, available for immediate download for PreK to 3rd graders.  And it is all VERY affordable!

We were offered a sweet curriculum to review for grades Kindergarten - 2nd called How to Write a Paragraph.  A 12 Week program, How to Write a Paragraph takes the a young writer step-by-step through the writing process.  

How To Write A Paragraph

How it Works:
This program requires no set up or prep work.  It is very open-and-go which is perfect for the busy homeschool mama!  A simple to use 12 week program that is taught four days per week.    The first few pages provide you, the teacher, with a weekly overview and the weekly goals,  that helps you to know which visual aid or chart to have handy and a visual overview of each worksheet the child will be completing, as well as a suggested outline to assist you in knowing what to teach each day.  An optional review lesson is found at the end.  

After teaching the material the student will complete each days assignment as found behind the Weekly Outline.  Each assignment is step-by-step and can be done quite independently as the student follows the provided daily checklist.

The first 4 weeks of the program focus on sentence structure and mechanics.  This is designed to help the child understand how to use nouns and verbs, plus gives a verbal and visual review of starting sentences with capital letters and ending with a period.  Adorable charts are available for your use during teaching time and as a reference while the student is completing the assignment.
Beginning in Week 5 your student is already writing simplified paragraphs!  And not just any paragraphs, but by week 12 your child can write: descriptive, opinion, informative AND narrative paragraphs! 

You can view many sample pages on the website to get a closer look at the product, view the table of contents and see several of the charts by visiting the How to Write a Paragraph page.

What We Thought of How to Write a Paragraph:
The well-planned step-by-step instructions in How to Write a Paragraph had my 7 year old writing sentences in the first week of the program.  Honestly, I was shocked out how simple it was to just get my daughter to start putting words to paper.  Like building blocks, each lesson just took my daughter one step further than before.  But it was presented so simply, and it was just so colorful, that my daughter found it easy and fun.

The lessons are also bite-sized which is SO necessary at this age.  While many K-2 kids are ready mentally to begin writing sentences and paragraphs, many are just not ready physically for the tedious and exhausting task of actually writing. 

Lesson variety was a real bonus!  Some activities had my daughter crossing out sentences that do not belong, sorting nouns by category,  drawing lines to determine fact vs opinion, drawing and cutting & taping!  

Can I just be real here and admit that I never, ever, would've thought that my daughter could understand half of the things that she completed quite capably in this early elementary instructional writing program.  I was SO pleasantly surprised to see how intuitive and simple it was for my 7 year old to begin the writing process!

We have really enjoyed using this product from The Crafty Classroom!  They have SO much to offer and I have added so many other products to my wish-list for this school year.  (I couldn't wait on one and went ahead and purchased The Periodic Table of the Elements Activity Pack that I can't wait to try out with our science program this year!)

You can keep up with and find out about updates and special offers for The Crafty Classroom by signing up for their email list found at the top of their webpage.

You can also find them on Facebook and Pinterest!

Many of my fellow crewmates also reviewed products from The Crafty Classroom.  You can find out what they thought by clicking the linky below!

Thank you so much for Swinging By!
Crafty Classroom {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 24, 2017

Actíva Products {TOS Review}

ACTÍVA Products

Summer has proven to be a great time to enjoy doing the homeschool crafts that we just didn't have time to get to during the school year.  But, like many homeschool Moms, there are some projects that I tend to avoid...  like big, messy, gooey, sticky projects! While something like paper maché makes some pretty amazing large-scale projects, I have to admit that I do not always want to gather the materials, mix the goo, and make the mess!  If only there were an easier way to put these projects together without creating a total disaster!  Well, there IS!  And I am excited that I get a chance to tell you how to have the FUN of paper maché without the mess by using this great product that we had the chance to review called Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit offered by Actíva Products!

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit

We received the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpt Kit for review.  The box contained 2 rolls of Rigid Wrap, an 8 ounce package of CelluClay, and complete instructions for creating 12 different projects.   Each product was interesting...not something I had ever used before!  
Rigid Wrap is a plaster gauze/cloth that works very much like a cast for a broken bone! When wet, the wrap becomes a plaster that is easily smoothed over your creation to give it a nice consistency and even finish.  It is very uncomplicated, just add water!
CelluClay is an "instant paper maché" that is simple to prepare and easy to use.  Again, so easy, all you have to add is water!
How we used Actíva Rigid Wrap Quik-Sculpt Starter Kit:
While the kit comes with simple black and white instructions to help you make several projects, Actíva also sent us an electronic copy of their Favorite Sculpture Kids Crafts e-book that offered even more options!  This is a free download that I highly recommend!  My girls chose to make the Totem Pole as found in the e-book since they thought it would make a great display item for their end of unit study on Early American History and Native Americans.
We started out with a simple paper towel tube...

Then we wet the Rigid Wrap using a mixing bowl filled with water and begin layering the plaster cloth gauze onto the tube...  We found that it had to be pretty moist in order for the plaster to really work well...

After letting the plaster dry (It took about 2 days to get completely dry) we moved onto the CelluClay portion of the project.  We had a little more trouble with this since we couldn't seem to get the texture quite where we wanted it but once we added a little more mixture we were able to get it to a nice thick, pasty consistency.  It really makes an instant paper maché and while it was super nice to avoid the strips of newspaper and gluey-goo we found the CelluClay to kick up quite a fine powdery dust cloud that was both concerning and challenging to clean up.  Next time I would mix the clay on the porch for better ventilation and clean up.

The clay itself worked great.  My girls glopped it on, then smoothed it down with their fingers and gave it some texture using a craft stick.  This allowed them to add special and more refined features to their critters on the Totem Pole.

Once it was dry...  Painting!  
We just used regular, tempera paint, to add color.

The completed projects turned out SO cute!  

What We Thought of the Actíva Quick-Start Sculpt Kit:
I often find that I avoid projects (or can't even do a project) because we do not have all the necessary items on hand...  We really enjoyed having the ability to do an entire project in one simple box.  

The Rigid Wrap was surprisingly easy to use!  We found less to be more when it came to the size of the pieces.  Small rectangles worked like a charm and were more manageable for small hands to manipulate.  

The CelluClay did puff up a very intimidating cloud that had me a little stressed about breathing it in.   I really recommend doing the initial mixing in a well-ventilated area.  It took a while to get the "fall out" cleaned up, but, up honest-to-goodness paper maché would've been much worse!  Oh!  I also found on their website the Material Safety Data Sheet for CelluClay and there is nothing to be worried about as far as safety goes!  (Also listed is a Material Safety Data Sheet for Rigid Wrap, among other products!)  While I wouldn't intentionally inhale it...there is nothing toxic in it so use it without worry.  

It took about 3 days to complete the project, not including dry-time which is GREAT for homeschool Moms who want to do a project that won't take weeks to complete!

We enjoyed using this simple project kit and we are pretty excited we have enough left in the kit to do a 2nd smaller project later in the year!  

You can learn more about Actíva Products by visiting their website
You can keep up with updates by finding them on Facebook
or Twitter
and get even more craft ideas on their Pinterest page too!

Many of my fellow crew mates also enjoyed playing with Actíva Products too!  You an read their reviews by clicking the linky below.
Thanks so much for Swinging By!
Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pops 66 Soda Ranch {Route 66}

We made a quick weekend trip to Oklahoma City and had a great time driving Route 66 back home!  We stopped at Pops 66 Soda Ranch in Arcadia, OK.
This is a must-see if you happen to be in the area...

Pops boasts over 700 varieties of Soda and they did not disappoint!

Each person chose 1 soda so we bought 6 to try (including Gramma and Papa) 

We then set up a "soda tasting" and had a great time with lots of giggling and some gagging!

First Soda:
Papa's Pick
Maple Bacon Soda
I mean, really.  Yuck.

Second Soda:
Mommy's Pick
Scotty's Butterscotch Soda
It was pretty good...tasted a little like dum dum. 

Third Soda:
Grammas Pick
Swamp Pop - Root Beer
Tasted a little medicinal due to the added sassafras root but not gross. 

Fourth Soda:
Daddy's Pick
Dr. Browns Original Cream Soda

Fifth Soda:
Kayley's Pick
Original Nehi - Peach
Yeah...totally yum! 

Sixth Soda:
Maggie's Pick
Oh So Cherry Soda
It was ok...except for the part where it tasted like a cough drop. 

Needless to say we were all bubbly and silly by the end 
and we regretted not buying a 12 pack to try!

If you want to learn more about Pops, 

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