Disclosure of Material Connection:

Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Week 1 & 2 in Review


Since this is our first week in review, I’m going to cover this past 2 weeks, just because they both were filled with great stuff!

Monday the 18th:  My oldest turned 8!!  We had a fun birthday party with a huge slip-n-slide and an angry birds cake (decorated by himself!)

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Tuesday the 19th:  Regular school day, we were suppose to have a Cornapalooza class at the library, but it was canceled (just as we were loading in the car)..so we just headed to the library to read for a bit.  Soccer or the oldest boys!

Wednesday the 20th:  Sign ups for Homeschool Swimming opened today!  All set for the fall, all 3 boys will be swimming this season.  We had a ‘normal’ day of school, followed by an afternoon swim lesson for C and speech for c.

Thursday the 21st:  We had a back to school picnic at the lake with our co-op group today!  (pics on Field Trip Friday).  Then Soccer for C in the evening.

Friday the 22nd:  My baby brother just got back to the states after 2years of being stationed in Japan!  We had not seen him for 3.5yrs (he left after we moved to Hawaii).  He and my mom came up for a visit!!  They all had a blast with their uncle!  After the hubby got home he took them all out to the pond for some fishing!  Then we had an ice cream party after dinner!

PicMonkey Collage jacobIMG_6950IMG_695510551909_10204812747058452_866722662_n

Monday the 25th: Back to School!  (We homeschool year round, so really not that much of a difference, but this day the OTHER kids in our county went back to school). We celebrated staying home with a NOT Back to School breakfast at Bob Evans with some local homeschool friends!  (You can read more about our Back to School events at Field Trip Friday post!)

Tuesday the 26th:  Normal School day with Gymnastics for my Preschooler in the afternoon and Soccer for the other two in the evening!


Wednesday the 27th:  Some light school in the AM and then we had a get to know you pool party and luncheon with some of the people from church.  There have been a lot of new move ins recently.  We came home and had an impromptu nature study with a praying mantis I found!

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Thursday the 28th:  Our first day of co-op!  I’m teaching on period for the PreK-2nd.  We are learning about dinosaurs.  We read How Big Was a Dinosaur?  and then went outside and measured out several different dinosaurs sizes with a tape measure and then went head to toe to see how many kids big they were!  The other classes for this age group are Holidays and PE/Recess.  For my 8yo he is taking Gross Science, they made fake blood and blood models.  His other classes are World Leaders and PE.  My Preschooler made a barn and little animals to sing Old McDonald and then they tried exotic fruits and played on the playground.  Even baby girl stayed in the nursery for the first two classes!  Yeah!  We love our co-op! 

Friday the 29th:  We finished up some loose ends and then headed to the doctor’s office for C’s 8yo check up and Ks 9mo old check up (one month late).  Everyone got an A+ on health!  We called it an early day – we have off next week because Grandma V is coming for a visit!  We also had art on the driveway!  See our Plymouth, Thanksgiving and Native American Unit we just finished!!

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Follow me on Instagram for updates throughout our week! 

Reviews we did this week:
Essential Skills Advantage
UberSmart Math Facts
Happy Kids Songs

Come Link Up:
Workbox Wednesday
Field Trip Friday

I’m linking up at

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Field Trip #137 Friday Blog Hop–Back to School–Homeschool Style

Field Trip Friday!
Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts

(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)

Please stop by and visit my co-host’s blog and give them a shout out!
Lisa @ Our 4 Kiddos

**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE


    Our Back to School started with a Beach Picnic at the Lake with our Co-op group and a Breakfast out at Bob Evans with some some local Homeschool Friends.
    2014-08-25 08.59.342014-08-25 08.59.482014-08-25 09.00.232014-08-25 16.25.49
    My PreK refused a picture AGAIN this year (and wouldn’t stand still, so it’s blurry), and baby girl is a hot mess as usual!  lol
    At the Beach (it’s not Hawaii, but we still like it!).
    PicMonkey Collage
    It was much easier to take the kids to the lake solo than to the ocean…no waves or undertoe to worry about!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Earth Science Unit 6–Seasons: Winter (PreK-3rd) Workbox Wednesday Linkup #14–FREE Penguin Printable

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Several of our boxes comes from a theme kit from The Mailbox. It’s great b/c the items already come laminated, you just have to cut out!   This kit has penguins and solar systems (we will use the solar system later) and is labeled for First Grade.  I purchased several on a steal of a deal, and this is the first I’ve actually used them.  Above I added penguin beads (instead of the paper penguins that came with it) from Oriental Trading.  It’s has word problems on the card for adding and subtracting penguins from the piece of ice.
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From The Mailbox also – rhyming words
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Adding and Subtracting clip cards
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Fill in the missing number using 100 board number tiles
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Penguin toob from Safari Ltd and 3 Part cards made by me

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The Mailbox 3D shapes – we will also use our light table 3D shapes with this activity.
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Location words book made to go with the book The Mitten (Pictured below).  I bound the book and cut out little mittens to use.
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This is an activity I made to go with the book.  I made a huge white mitten out of felt and gathered toy animals to match the ones in the book for my 3yo to put inside the mitten.  He loves when I have animals in his boxes….and this one has been a huge hit this week!  The only animal I could not find was a mole – so I used a hamster.  Here is where I got the animals – Bear, owl and fox we had on hand from Lakeshore learning animals.  But you can also get them from Safari Ltd (Bear, Fox, Owl), I ordered a badger, the white rabbit came from the Arctic Toob, the hamster (aka mole), hedgehog and mouse came from the Pets Toob (which also has a brown rabbit, if you don’t have a white one).
More pics:
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Counting clip cards
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ABC penguins
We also have lots of great books on Penguins, Seasons and Specifically Winter. 
Printables used this unit:
Homeschool Creations – The Mitten Printables
A Teaching Mommy – Polar Lands
1plus1puls1equals1 Winter Tot Pack
3 Dinosaurs – Winter Pack
Royal Baloo – Snowman Pack
These are just a few of the things I have in our boxes.  See my The Snowy Day Unit post for more great winter ideas, and My Penguin Unit post. 
Chestnut Grove Academy
Welcome to Workbox Wednesday!  If you use workboxes, tot trays, or anything similar, feel free to post a link to your blog post or a picture (pictures can be from facebook, but please make sure they are PUBLIC so we can see them, or use a host like photobucket.com to get a URL for your photo) that shows WHAT IS IN YOUR BOXES!
Please visit my co-host at Tots and Me
Visit others that link up, leave comments, follow, etc.  The favors will be returned!  Feel free to grab a button too, so others can find the link up and join in the fun!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: Essential Skills Advantage (TOS Review)

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Essential Skills Advantage Review
We really enjoyed the opportunity to review Essential Skills Advantage.  My 5yo (K) and 8yo (3rd grade) both used this program 3 to 4 times a week as part of our daily homeschool routine.   They both really enjoyed it!  (Even my 5yo, surprise! surprise!). 
Essential Skills Advantage is an all encompassing Language Arts online program.  It works on building reading comprehension, spelling and grammar skills.  Activity choices are divided by grade, and also by subject.  You are also able to click on Individual Units and get to specific units which are in each Grade program.  This allows you to customize the program for your child more easily.
Screenshot 2014-08-26 20.28.19
My 5yo worked primarily in the program titled Complete Reading for Kindergarten, while my 8yo bounced around with the Complete Reading for Grade 3, Grammar Grades 3-5, Fun With Spelling 2 and Reading Comprehension 4.  The activities in each program are enjoyable, my 5yo (whom can become easily frustrated) rarely had any problems with this program. 
After completing each lesson they are given a rating with stars, and also are given the time it took to complete the lesson.  My 8yo enjoyed racing the clock and seeing how quick he could get the problems done, while still scoring 100%. 
When each unit of lessons is completed, you (the parent) are provided a link to download a completion certificate to print.  This is nice for portfolio requirements, if your state has them.  The parent account also allows you to access your child’s records and see what had been completed, how well they did, how fast the did it, and when they completed it.  The parent account, however, does not allow you to make assignments.  I wish this was a feature.  I would like to be able to specify to my children which lessons I want them to complete and in what order.  I did write down what I wanted my 8yo to do, but most of the time I would find he chose something else to complete.
This program is not just for homeschoolers, it would also be great for keeping the mind sharp over summer breaks or to build on learning during the school year.
The customer service was great with this company, a few small issues arose and I was always contacted back quickly to help resolve them.  These issues were simple issues, like unclear instructions for one lesson and a program freezing in another lesson (most likely their was a break in our internet service that caused this).  We always contacted them via email through the program and heard back within 24hrs.
To log in to your account, you will receive a URL to bookmark from which your child will click on lesson they want to do.  They then are prompted to enter their unique username and password.  This is how the program keeps track of multiple students. 
Below are screenshots from the Kindergarten program that my 5yo used.  You can see the star ratings that they receive when they master the lesson.  If they do not get 100% not all 3 starts are yellow.  
Being an Early Childhood Education Major, I paid close attention to the Kindergarten lessons, I loved that they started with simple lessons such as visual discrimination and patterns.  Important skills to build on that help with reading!
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The only other ‘negative’ I have on this program is that they use cartoon clip arts for pictures.  I would have liked to seen real pictures to represent the objects. The cartoon pictures occasionally caused some confusion with my 5yo during lessons, and I think it would be more educational to show pictures of actual things instead of fictionalized objects. 
Here are some screenshots from the Grammar 3-5 that my 8yo did.  You are able to see the topics covered under Grammar.
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I really loved this program as a supplement, and also used it occasionally as a…we didn’t get anything done today, go do some ESA lessons. This program definitely was great for our Language Arts/Reading lesson for the day!
Essential Skills Advantage has recently started to offer a sponsored version of their program that is completely FREE. You can sign-up completely free at www.ESAlearning.com. Members can enjoy access to every course ESA has to offer, but there will be sponsored advertising and some of the available features will be missing.

I reviewed the Premium Plan. I cannot attest to the FREE version.  The Premium Plan is available for $9.99/month per student and offers all features. However, Essential Skills Advantage has offered an amazing deal for my readers!!  You can get the subscription for 50% off each month for as long as you remain a member, if you sign up by October 1st!  That’s $4.99 a month per student for life (with no break in membership) or 2 students for the price of ONE!  This program is geared primarily for K-6th graders.
Use coupon code TOS50 by October 1st to receive this very generous discount! 
Find Essential Skills Advantage on Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skillsadvantage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SkillsAdvantage
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SkillsAdvantage/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/103081493030185524648/about
Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, August 25, 2014

Poppins Book Nook and #Giveaway–When I Grow Up!

Poppins Book Nook
<div align="center"><a href="http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/2014/02/poppins-book-nook/" title="Poppins Book Nook"><img src="http://i1141.photobucket.com/albums/n597/enchantedhomeschoolingmom/ProfileImage_zpse3f27ae8.png" alt="Poppins Book Nook" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
Grab the code above to come and link up each month and share what YOU do with the theme!  We look forward to hearing from you!

This Year’s Co-hosts

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama



Available also on Kindle, Audible and iOS

                                                                          *The Best Job

The When I Grow Up App is so much fun!  It’s read by Weird Al and there are interactive games.  It’s more of a silly book with really odd career choices, but it really makes the point that kids can be anything they want to be!  There are fun games that go with each career choice – like being a pickle inspector or a tarantula shaver.  The kids has a blast!

The other 3 books where ones we had a home that the kids remembered when we started playing with the app!  (The first two are books are from my childhood).

Then we played this community helpers puzzle game

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Then I found these great What I want to be pages:

For younger children

For older children

When I Grow Up Bundle Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win a bundle of fun for the theme of When I Grow Up.  This bundle will include a copy of the storybook When I Grow Up by Mercer Mayer, one copy of Community Helpers Puzzles by Trend, and one copy of Community Helpers & Careers Pocket Flash Cards by Trend.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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