Thursday, April 28, 2016

An INSANELY Crazy List of FREE E-BOOKS to Download



You might remember my little post about some awesome FREE stuff that was being offered through the month of April from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine..

Well. April is almost over and I want to share with you not only my original post for the FREEBIES I had chosen for my readers, but I want to point you in the direction of my fellow TOS Reviewers and their FREEBIE choices.

Warning. This is quite a list of links. But (and this is a biggie)...you are going to be able to haul in quite the downloads....ALL FOR FREE.

So grab a cup of hot tea, make sure your internet connection is in high form and start clicking! I know you are going to find a treasure (or 100!).

http://www.castleviewacademy.com/over-180-free-ebooks-this-month/

 http://www.homemakingorganized.com/homemaking-ebooks/spring-blessing-from-the-old-schoolhouse-store-free/

https://3gigglygirlsathome.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/5-days-of-tips-lookout-for-freebies-dont-miss-the-ones-here/ 

http://countingpinecones.blogspot.com/2016/04/april-showers-bring-free-goodies.html

http://www.ladybugdaydreams.com/2016/04/01/a-special-gift-for-you/

http://www.amomentinourworld.com/2016/04/amazing-offer-just.html

http://carterchaos-ecarter.blogspot.com/2016/04/gearing-up-for-spring-with-some-special.html

http://hopkinshomeschool.com/friday-freebies-no-joke/

http://www.ourworldwideclassroom.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/30-free-e-books-for-you.html

http://toxinfreetubie.blogspot.com/2016/04/giveaway-homeschool-and-faith-building.html

http://glimpseofnormal.blogspot.com/2016/04/spring-gifts-for-you.html

http://www.momsplans.com/2016/04/freebies-for-you-from-the-old-schoolhouse-entrepreneurship-gardening-and-cleaning/

http://debbieshomeschoolcorner.blogspot.com/2016/04/have-you-started-your-garden-this-year.html

http://www.throughtheopenwindow.com/2016/04/april-freebies.html

http://aswebloom.blogspot.com/2016/04/this-old-schoolhouse-freebies.html

http://anetintimeschooling.weebly.com/a-net-in-time-blog/freebies-from-the-old-schoolhouse

http://insaneinthemombrain-zekesmom10.blogspot.com/2016/04/a-bouquet-of-blessings-for-you.html

http://barbieswihart.com/2016/04/april-showers-of-blessings-free-gifts-for-you.html

http://homeschool-review.blogspot.com/2016/04/free-from-tos-magazine-in-april-2016.html

http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/from-high-school-lesson-book-free-helps.html

http://creativelycrunchymom.blogspot.com/2016/04/april-freebies.html

http://totplay.blogspot.com/2016/04/freebie-friday-tos-april-freebies.html

http://www.gchomeschool.com/2016/04/the-old-schoolhouse-freebies-just-for.html

http://littlehomeschoolblessings.blogspot.com/2016/04/ready-for-summer-fun-start-planning-now.html

http://www.homestead-acres.com/2016/04/spring-blessings-3-free-gifts-from-old.html

http://www.themcclanahan7.com/2016/04/homeschool-high-school-help-freebies.html




 http://runningwithspears.com/free-gifts/

http://myowngreengrass.com/2016/04/10/homeschooling-high-school/

http://debbieshomeschoolcorner.blogspot.com/2016/04/have-high-schooler-here-are-some-free.html

http://debbieshomeschoolcorner.blogspot.com/2016/04/communication-skills-bundle-free.html

 http://www.thenaturalhomeschool.com/homeschool-store-free-gifts-coupon-code.html

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A TOS Review: GREEMU

I love it when I get products to review that I claim all my own. At least, I can use them on the other people in my house…if I choose! I’ve been blessed to review products for Koru Naturals. I can tell you that I am STILL using them. One of the products that has been in rotation in our household has been the Emu Oil. This time around, I had the chance to review GREEMU, by Devonian Health and Beauty. GREEMU is a plant-based emu oil alternative.
                          


So what is GREEMU? It is a vegan (plant based) alternative for the emu oil. Emu Oil is obviously not a vegan product (given that it comes from the fatty tissues of an emu). GREEMU provides the same excellent qualities as the emu oil, but is a vegan, cruelty-free beauty oil.



It contains ingredients like Macadamia Seed Oil, Palm Oil (Organic and Sustainable Certified), Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, and Rice Bran Oil.

My skin issues are tricky. I have rosacea, which limits my choices for skin care products. I try and keep away from products and foods (or environments) that cause inflammation. I have had success with Emu Oil, but I have to say that I like GREEMU even more.

For one it appeases my runaway imagination. I am not vegan or even vegetarian, but I don’t like to think of all those harmless little emus who have suffered for my flame free skin….especially considering they aren’t really used as food for hungry people.


Another benefit to the GREEMU (in my opinion) is that it isn’t quite as oily. I found it to be lighter than the emu oil.


GREEMU promises to help tweak my fine lines and wrinkles. Yay! It also a good hair tonic. It can help with those who have flyaway hair and tend to get split ends. I’m also thinking I might try it on Josiah’s scalp. He is on a swim team and doesn’t perhaps wash his hair to his momma’s satisfaction.  He often has trouble with an irritated scalp.

There is only one safety warning when using GREEMU…which is refreshing. They suggest you not use it if you are allergic to plant oils. I’m fairly sensitive to a lot of products and haven’t had one iota of trouble with this product.

I received a 4 ounce bottle of GREEMU and barely use just a smidgen every day. This is going to last us a long time.

GREEMU for the win!

You can connect with GREEMU via the following social media outlets. Don’t forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews.




Greemu Devonian Review


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A TOS Review: George Washing Carver: From Slave to Scientist (YWAM Publishing)

Just down the highway from us (about 60 miles as the crow flies) is a wonderful little National Monument. It celebrates the renowned scientist and man of faith, George Washington Carver.

A few times a year, Josiah and I like to wander the beautiful hiking trails, putter about in the science lab and marvel at the dedication and determination of this Godly man. Recently, we had the chance to review George Washington Carver: From Slave to Scientist from YWAM Publishing.  The book is from YWAM’s Heroes of History series. We were excited to learn more of this amazing man's story. 



I not only received a physical copy of the book, but I received a Digital Download of the Unit Study Curriculum Guide that has TONS of supplemental material and ideas to accompany your study.
 George Washington Carver: From Slave to Scientist is a delightful read at about 200 pages long. It was written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

The very last quote of book is from George Washington Carver himself.

“Why I should be so singly honored is more than I can figure out. I have just endeavored to do my little bit in the world as fast and as thoroughly as the Great Creator of all things gave me light and strength.”

This just about sums up the tenor of his life and the book reflects that beautifully.

George Washington Carver was born into slavery in a small Southwest Missouri community (just minutes away from where my own father was born). His young life began in dramatic fashion.

George and his mother were kidnapped by bushwhackers and disappeared into the volatile and dangerous region. The small family’s owners, Moses and Susan Carver, gave a neighbor 40 acres of desirable timberland and a racehorse if he would go and search for George and his young mother.

Only George was found.

Chapter after chapter we read of George’s tenaciousness. His growing faith and his determined curiosity ordered his steps. He faced discrimination, yet continued to follow his passion.

Mr. Carver became a brilliant scientist, experimenting with peanuts and other crops that helped revitalized the southern agriculture economy. He was a gifted artist and a deeply devoted Christian.
This is a book that will inspire your children and yourself!

The Unit Study Curriculum Guide is a treasure! I’ve enjoyed everyone we’ve ever had the pleasure of using from YWAM. I love to mix fun and curiosity into our reading and these studies always give me tons of ideas to expand our studies.

The Unit Study contains ideas for the following activities.

1 . Key Quotes
2. Display Corner
3. Chapter Questions
4. Student Explorations
5. Community Links
6. Social Studies
7 . Related Themes to Explore
8. Culminating Event

There is also list of books and resources available in the guide, as well.

The suggestions for further study in the guide are AWESOME. The ones that drew us in were those that allowed us to wander around nature and explore.

We also followed Mr. Carver’s journey on a map and discussed his various passions and scientific studies and started growing a sweet potato.

This statue is located on the beautiful walking trail at the National Monument. It is called The Boy Carver Statue and was commissioned in 1960. We have walked by it several times and imagined this boy traipsing about the surrounding wilderness.


We started some seeds in tiny pots and looked up recipes for peanuts, soybeans and the sweet potato.
And, of course, we got to use our proximity to the George Washington Carver National Monument to further inspire us (they even sell peanut plant kits in the gift shop!)


This book is a keeper. I recommend it to all!


You can connect with YWAM Publishing via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. The Crew reviewed several different historical figures in YWAM's Heroes of History series. 

Website: www.ywampublishing.com

Facebookhttp://on.fb.me/o9VOMN

Twitter: @YWAMpublishing http://twitter.com/YWAMpublishing @YWAMpublishing

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/YWAMpublishing

The YWAM Publishing Blog: www.ywampublishingblog.com


Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}


Monday, April 25, 2016

A Book Review: Wonderfully Made

A few weeks ago, I talked a little about a wonderful book called Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth by Danika Cooley.



I’ve reviewed another products by Danika Cooley and knew to expect something well-conceived and thoughtful. This book (Wonderfully Made) is just plain special.

I honestly struggled a little bit when I asked to be on the Launch Team for the book.

You see. The book is intended for families with children around 5-11. It is written from a mother’s perspective. She is talking to a young child about what was happening inside her womb when this child was conceived and ultimately delivered. 



My struggle wasn’t with the verbage and delivery of the book itself. It’s beautifully and gently written. There are no “revelations” concerning childbirth that are inappropriate for young children. It is a very basic description of the miracle of birth.


I didn’t actually give birth to my son. A beautiful young girl had that privilege. I consider our adoption of Josiah to be one of the most singular lovely miracles of our life. I did conceive once and lost that baby at 2 months.

This young woman had the “choice” to abort her pregnancy. She had the “choice” to move on with her life and try and forget it never happened. Instead she made the very brave "choice" to give life to her baby and gave us the gift of her choice which changed our lives forever.



This book happened to open up a whole new discussion in our family. And made the idea of some “choices” that are taking place every day that much more heartbreaking. I don't want my son to believe a lie. He was never just some clump of cells that happened to inconvenience a young girl just beginning to start her freshman year of high school. From the womb he was loved and cherished. God had a plan for his life. 

Wonderfully Made is a marvelous way to illustrate to children the miracle of life itself. And how marvelously God formed us.



There are so many uses for this book. It would be a wonderful gift for an expectant moms to keep on her bookshelf for those years to come.  It would be a great teaching tool for young brothers and sisters who are patiently awaiting a new little sibling.  Wonderfully Made would be perfect to use in a homeschool setting as part of a science unit.


Or you can use it how I did. To emphasis the miraculous mechanisms of God’s most beloved creation. And to emphasis to a young boy (who we adopted all those years ago) that God has a wonderful plan for his life and the great love a young mother had for him.  











By the way...I also took the book to our little reading club. Our newest member is around 4 months old. I read the book to all the kiddos (ages 5-14) and they worked on the beautiful and FREE lapbook Danika has created to go along with the book. The kids were fascinated! The book was especially significant considering the absolute yumminess of our newest club member. 


Thursday, April 21, 2016

A TOS Review: Writers in Residence

One of the most challenging subjects for some to teach in a homeschool setting is writing.  What’s more is that generally Languages Arts and Writing are most often taught separately. You have to know I love Apologia Educational Ministries. I have used many of their great products through the years. I just had the chance to review a new one. It is Writers in Residence. This program does the brilliant job of combining writing and Language Arts.



For my review I received the Writers in Residence Volume 1 Full Set. This set includes the all-in-on Student Text and Workbook and the Answer Key. It is intended for grades 4-8.

The Student Text and Workbook is a BIG ole book. It is well over 500 pages long.  There are 6 units in this program.

Unit 1: I Remember
Writing Assignment: “When I Was Young”

Unit 2: I Imagine
Writing Assignment : “Very Truly Yours” 

Unit 3: I Investigate
Writing Assignment: “My Family Hall of Fame” 

Unit 4: I Think
Writing Assignment: “My Favorite Author” 

Unit 5: I Remember
Writing Assignment: “The History of Me” 

Unit 6: I Imagine
Writing Assignment: “Zap! Pow! Kazam!” 

This is a writing program that includes teaches good writing skills, but includes pars of speech, vocabulary, punctuation…all in correlation with meaningful writing assignments.

One of my favorite parts is the “Spotlight on Christian Writers” section. At the beginning of each student the student is introduced to a well-known Christian author.  I love that the student can be inspired by one who is “walking the walk.” I was excited to see some familiar names like Bill Myers (from the McGee and Me books and DVDs) and VeggieTales creator, Phil Vischer. 

There is a daily schedule that is included in the workbook. It is expected that the student can complete the program in a year. However, the Debra Bell (the author) suggests you go at a pace that best suits your child. In fact, Debra provides us with all manner of wisdom; including the suggestion that we not assign letter grades to writing assignments. Instead the student is responsible for evaluating with rubrics. I LOVE THIS! 


How We Used It and My Thoughts

Josiah is in 8th grade and he falls well into the intended grade level. However, he is dyslexic and has dysgraphia as well. Writing and reading aren’t as enjoyable for him as they might be for some.

Our class time become a very collaborative effort. It wasn’t something he could do on his own unless he did it in very short chunks. That being said, Debra writes in such a lovely and conversational way.
The very first writing assignment (“When I Was Young”) Josiah began by reading a passage from. He then started working on sentences about a favorite memory.

I couldn’t believe what he chose to write about! If you follow my blog at all you know that we have had quite the history with clunker cars.  Just a few months away we were blessed to be able to purchase a brand new (to us) pretty red car with air and heat that work and has started faithfully every morning.

Josiah chose to record his memories about all the times we broke down in our clunker cars.
Throughout the unit he learned how to replace weak verbs with vigorous verbs. He practiced identifying nouns and worked on revising fuzzy nouns to focus nouns.

He loved dragging out the thesaurus.

One of his sentences started out something like this.

When we had our old cars I remember breaking down at the Post Office with Mom. It smelled like something was burning. 

Aren't you already intrigued?

He tweaked one of his verbs and focused a noun and the final product was this.

When we had our old cars I remember breaking down at the Post Office with Mom. It smelled as if the white car was blazing. 

Now that adds a little more action, doesn't it! Makes you wish you had been there. 

We did take each assignment a little slower. I didn’t follow the detailed schedule but divided it up into sections that were more manageable for him. I also modified his work assignments. 

Overall, we had a great time with this product. I love that Debra interwove little stories and fun activities. Writing in Residence is more than just a list of instructions and assignments.  I love that Josiah is learning grammar and sentence structure all through writing about experiences and memories that mean something to him.

This program requires very little prep time from you the teacher.  We have used a thesaurus so far, but all the material you will need is within the Student Text and Workbook. There is a FREE 100 + page download (with a free bonus download) available.  I find I like to stare at something a little before I buy.

Check it out!


You can connect with Writer’s in Residence via the following social media outlets. Don’t forget to click on the banner below for more reviews. 


Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A TOS Review: Math Mini-Courses (Money and Time)

Do you ever feel as if there are gaps in your child’s education? It might be that they need extra attention in one area or another or a little more time to work things out. It’s easy to get “gappy” with math.

I speak from personal experience. There were a lot of math classes I spent daydreaming, my friends. 
A+ Interactive Math has come up with a pretty great idea. They are now offering new Math Mini-Courses.  I asked for Money and Time to review.


A+ Interactive Math is an online curriculum that we’ve had a chance to review in the past. They have covered all the bases with their Math Mini-Courses.

You can choose from…

Counting and Identifying Numbers (1st-3rd) - 15 lessons
Place Value and Number Combinations (1st-3rd) - 15 lessons
Naming, Comparing and Arranging Numbers (1st-3rd) - 17 lessons
Early Elementary Fractions (1st-3rd) - 10 lessons
Early Elementary Addition (1st-3rd) - 17 lessons
Early Elementary Subtraction (1st-3rd) - 15 lessons
Elementary & Middle School Multiplication (2nd-6th) - 13 lessons
Elementary & Middle School Division (2nd-6th) - 15 lessons
Tables, Charts and Graphs (1st-6th) - 17 lessons
Elementary Geometry (1st-4th) - 19 lessons
Elementary Algebra (1st-4th) - 27 lessons
Advanced Geometry (4th-7th) - 35 lessons
Advanced Fractions (4th-8th) - 26 lessons
Decimal Numbers (3rd-7th) - 20 lessons
Percentages (5th-8th) - 13 lessons
Time (1st-4th) - 20 lessons
Money (1st-5th) - 18 lessons
Number Types and Conversions (3rd-6th) - 35 lessons
Ratio, Proportions, Probability & Statistics (3rd-6th) - 14 lessons
Measurements and Conversions (2nd-6th) - 23 lessons

I decided on the Money and Time courses, because Josiah still seems to have gaps and I wanted to provide him with daily practice. This seemed like a great way to do it! To begin our classes, I opened up Josiah’s dashboard.



This is the Money class, but the Time is set up the same way. You can see that there are quite a few options. We focused mainly on the Interactive Lessons and Quizzes.



It does take a few times around the block to figure out how to navigate the program. It’s easy enough once you get the hang of it. For example, you have to go in and check a box before it adds it to the student’s report. Josiah would forget where he was or needed to go next. It would help if there were some sort of check system to let him know what to do next without my assistance.


The lessons themselves are easy to follow. They are short and don’t drag it out unnecessarily. I don’t know about you, but not only was I a daydreamer…I’m raising one as well.  After the student completes the lesson there is a little interactive quiz available to take at the bottom.  What is great about the lessons and the quizzes is that they can be repeated as often as necessary. In fact, Josiah didn’t want to “complete” a lesson until he had achieved 100% on his quizzes.



In addition to the interactive lessons (which I think are the best part!) there is a digital worksheet generator for more practice and PDF files of the lessons themselves. The tests are available to print out and are more cumulative in nature.



Let me talk a little about the individual courses.



The Money Mini-Course certainly builds in difficulty. It is 18 lessons long and begins with basic coin counting and moves to calculating  and interest rates. I need a refresher myself! We haven’t gotten that far in our course work.  I believe in mastery and Josiah has been working through approximately 1-2 lessons a week. Over and over if need be.  



The Time Mini-Course has 20 different lessons. This Course talks about more than reading time on  an analog clock, but deals with days, weeks, seasons, etc. Josiah has had an easier time with this course.  Towards the end of the course the lessons turn towards Elapsed Time Units.  I appreciate the different methods used to explain certain concepts.

For example, this lesson uses a t-scale to help the student organize information. This is very helpful for my very visual (and hands-on) boy.


These are such great little courses. We have been using them in conjunction with our regular math. I know that Josiah can log in and work on those skills that he has struggled with without having to take time away from what we are studying at the time.

I do want to tell you that A+ Interactive Math has a very good "try before you buy" plan. They offer some of their programs FREE for one month before you make a commitment. There are FREE software downloads available as well, but they don't have all the bells and whistles. However, I didn't see the Mini-Courses in the free trials so maybe that is coming.

The Mini-Courses are online courses so you will need a good working computer, a faithful internet connect and a set of speakers or headphones. There are options for printables, but we found we didn't need them. 

You can connect with A+ Interactive Math via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. Other members of the crew also reviewed some of the other mini-courses. I'm sure there is one that will peak your interest! 





Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Random Nonsense, A Facebook Party & Giveaway!

So I'm writing a random blog post on a Tuesday morning.

You have to know that there must be something really, really important I need to tell you.

Okay.

Not really.

I am, however, in the middle of scrubbing my bathroom down and I'm taking just a bit of a break. It really shouldn't be a big deal, but I'm organizing my bathroom closet.

Hello!

I thought I just did this!

In the midst of my mad bathroom closet rearranging....

1. Josiah is doing a little schoolwork.

2. My dishes are staring forlornly from the kitchen sink, "wash me! wash me!"

3. A book I purchased at the Thrift Store is calling me name. Literally. I can hear it.

4. And I'm thinking of the 43 million other things I need to be doing. At. the. same. time.

You get me?

Yesterday, we literally ran all over town. In between, PE class, Swim Team, groceries, errands and then...I took the boy before Swim Team to see if we could find him some new shoes.

It used to be so easy when he was little. Back in those days he was happy dragging out what one his Dad's old t-shirts and piling one of my shirts on top of his head and calling himself Indiana Jones (circa Raiders of the Lost Ark).




Now. I can't even talk about it.



Sigh.

Before I leave you to go back to my bathroom closet I want to remind you of THIS awesome giveaway. There will also be a FACEBOOK party on Thursday Evening to celebrate the release of Wonderfully Made.






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