Monday

{Review} Math Mammoth

Choosing a curriculum is a daunting task. Over the years I have found myself pouring over the phone book sized Rainbow Resource catalog attempting to make choices that will provide my children with the best education that fits their learning style. Math is a very personal subject- we all think in different ways and see things with different eyes. Personally, I love math. Some love to correct grammar, I love equations. It comes rather easy to me, but teaching math does not. Over the years we have tried various math curricula to see what works best for me as the teacher and the kids as the students. We've been all over the place, and while we have settled on favorites, those favorites do have some places that I feel are lacking.


One of my older boys' current math curriculum lacks the repetition and time needed to really solidify the multiplication and division facts. My 2 younger sons use a curriculum that is very heavy on the mastery of the basic math subjects, but don't offer a lot of "extras" like time, money or measurement. So when I was given the opportunity to review Math Mammoth, I decided to choose their Blue Series, which is a series of worktexts that cover specific topics meant to be used as a supplement, extra practice or just as review.

Math Mammoth's Blue Series is inexpensively priced and available for PDF download, with a print or CD option also available. The worktexts cover most topics up to grade 6, with some grade 7 topics as well.



I choose 4 books based on areas I thought my boys needed the most work: Clock, US Money, Multiplication and Division 3 and Fractions 2.

My 3rd and 1st graders used the Money and Clock books, while my 5th grader used the Multiplication and Division and Fractions books. We used them in addition to their current math curriculum to touch on topics not covered and for add practice on topics that were proving more difficult to master.

What did we think?

Over all Math Mammoth has a lot of positives.
  • The Worktexts are in inclusive. They serve as the text books, work book and answer key all in one. 
  • I like that there is a PDF option. Not only does this offer a less expensive option (only $2-$7 per e-book), but for those with multiple children, it saves time and money.
  • The individual books are intensive enough to provide topic mastery by the completion of the book.
  • Math Mammoth gives you all sorts of options from the Light Blue Series which is a full curriculum to a mix and match curriculum using the Blue Series or as a supplement curriculum. There is something for everyone. 
  • Math Mammoth is self-teaching, with very little prep work for the parent/teacher.


What didn't work for us:
  • Switching curriculum is hard, and while I do think it is important to learn how to do math, no matter how it is presented, my older son didn't care for how the multiplication was presented. (That being said, his multiplication did improve.)
  • I personally didn't like how the clock book was presented. I can see how young children, with no prior experience telling time, might be okay with starting with a one handed clock. I found it unusual and confusing.
 If you aren't sure if Math Mammoth would be a good fit for your family, the creator offers a "virtual tour" by email which included over 300 worksheets and sample pages from the various books. The Blue Series e-books are also inexpensive enough to try one to see if it works well for you child.

If you are interested in purchasing Math Mammoth, you can find them at CurrClick, Kagi and LuLu.






Head over to Mosaic Reviews if you would like to read more reviews and see what others thought about Math Mammoth

Sunday

September Wrap-Up

September seemed to fly by this year. Summer was left behind and the leaves are starting to change little by little. Here's a recap of September around our house.


This month started all about the fair. I shared the kids' entries, but I never shared the results. We took a trip the the fair one afternoon to check out animals and exhibits....and yes, to check out how their entries did.


We picked up their exhibits and their ribbons a few weeks ago. They did well! And are excited about next year- and about the checks they will receive in the mail next month. Just to give you an idea- the blue ribbons pay $10, red ribbons pay $6 and white pay $4. So yes, they will get a pretty good paycheck!


We ate watermelon. Lots of watermelon. These are Rylan's Orangeglo. They are very pretty and sweet too.



Rylan saved up his money again. This time he was saving for a self propelled lawn mower. He talked Cohen into helping to pay for the last little bit, so they share the mower. It's win-win since they seem to love to mow and Paul doesn't have a lot of spare time to do it!
 

And we ate more watermelon.  I think we've eaten one a day for most of the month. Half for lunch and half for snack.


We took a trip to the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. We only saw a couple birds- my crew isn't exactly patient or quiet enough for bird watching- but we saw a few blue herons. And a muskrat, turtles, fish and this caterpillar.


We have been harvesting just a few of our sweet potatoes. So far it looks like it will be a good harvest. The garden is winding down- still peppers, okra, eggplant and beans and a few late planted summer squash plants.


We went apple picking for the local food bank. The orchard donates over 100,000 lbs of apples every year- they just need help with picking!



This Saturday was National Hunting and Fishing Day, so we drove down to the Center for Wildlife Education in Brevard. 


They had archery, bb gun target practice, fly fishing instruction and casting practice.


We have family visiting this week. Tonight we cooked out- burgers, hot dogs and s'mores around fire. The perfect end to the month!
 

And if you haven't been over on The Free Range Life, head over there to read the following articles:
And that is it for our September! Did you do anything fun this month?

Thursday

Homeschool Mosaics: Preserving Food For Winter




 Today I am over on Homeschool Mosaics talking about Preserving Food for the Winter.


"Summer is a busy time here on our homestead. The garden is going full swing and my counters and refrigerator are full of produce. It is also the in season for all other local produce we don’t grow ourselves.  In our home, we don’t view the garden as only a hobby or as a way to eat fresh and save money during the growing season, we view it as a way to feed our family the whole year long.

So what can you do to save the summer’s bounty for winter consumption?

There are many ways to preserve food, but I am going to touch on 3 of the main ones: Canning, Freezing and Dehydrating. Using these 3 methods you can save virtually all of your in-season produce for eating in those cold, winter months..."


You can read the rest of the article over on Homeschool Mosaics today!

Wednesday

Back to School Giveaway!

Enter to win this collection of awesome gear for your little ones going back to school!

Prize Package Includes:

  • Yummi Pouch Brights - 2 sets of reusable food pouches ($30 value)
  • milkdot - Striped lunch tote ($27 value)
  • Applepark - Preschool backpack ($39 value)
  • EasyLunchboxes - One lunch container set, one set of Mini-Dippers,
    and one cooler bag ($30 value)
  • Early Lingo - 6-DVD box set, and the winner can choose the language ($100 value)
  • SNOOKNUK - Once Upon a Day, A Little Less Tears album ($14.95 value)
  • Pura Stainless - Stainless Steel Kiki Sippy Cup ($15.99 value)
  • Name Bubbles - School Labels Pack ($34 value)
  • Sock It to Me - 4 style sock set: Kids Dinomite & Green Monkeys, Youth PB&J Sock, Youth Super Juicy Sock, Juniors Red Ninja Power Sock ($41 value)

Total Value = $330+

Yummi Pouch - Reusable Food Pouches

yummi pouch reusable food pouches
Yummi Pouch Brights - 2 sets - Retail Price: $30
Yummi Pouch Brights (Set of 4) combine style and convenience in an eco-friendly container you can fill with homemade smoothies and blended snacks! Easy to fill and clean through the top zipper opening and enjoyed by drinking from the side spout, Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches are great for kids taking healthy snacks on the go. Includes set of 4 assorted patterns. For more information visit yummipouch.com.
  • Set of 4 Yummi Pouch Brights reusable food pouches
  • Dishwasher and freezer safe
  • BPA and phthalate free
  • Great for on the go snacks!
  • Hold up to 6 ounces each

milkdot

milkdot back to school giveaway
One Stoh stripe lunch tote, winner can choose the color - Retail Price: $27
Winner can choose from green apple, blueberry, or raspberry.
milkdot believes that good design can be appreciated by anyone, big or small where each product is created with love for design, color, simplicity of clean lines, versatility and love for the world we live in. Contemporary products with an all-ages appeal. Products that are not only safe for kids, but also fit a kid's need to be cool and unique with the functionality and style that parents love. For more information visit milkdot.com.

Applepark

applepark back to school giveaway
Preschool backpack - Retail Price: $39
Winner can choose the style from online store.
Apple Park makes eco-friendly products for babies and kids using only the finest organic, sustainable and recycled materials!
  • These adorable backpacks are made from 100% recycled fabrics
  • Fabric: 100% recycled material from PET bottles *Bottles saved from landfills = 24!
  • Made of 100% recycled fabrics from plastic bottles, your kids will make a style statement while you feel good knowing that you're helping out the planet.
  • Size: 10.75" x 12" x 5.5"
For more information visit applepark.com.

EasyLunchboxes

easy lunchboxes back to school giveaway
One lunch container set (winner chooses from BRIGHTS or CLASSIC), one set of Mini-Dippers, and one cooler bag (winner chooses from 7 colors). - Retail Price: $29.85
The best selling lunchboxes on Amazon! For all ages. BPA-Free, easy-open lids. Make homemade "Lunchables" kids will love! Foods don't "touch", and just one lid covers all. No more time wasted looking for the right size container & lid or baggie for every item you pack. And EasyLunchboxes make portion control easy - just the right amount of food, without having to weigh or measure your meals. The cooler holds everything needed for a great meal - container(s), water bottle, ice block, extra snacks, even a thermos. No more wasteful baggies, mismatched containers, or struggles to fit your meal in one bag. The lunch containers are long lasting, reusable, and of much heavier quality than similar 'take and toss' products. (Not leakproof). The sleek and functional, zip-shut insulated cooler will hold even a whole day's worth of food and keep it fresh. Roomy enough for up to three of the lunch containers. Small dip and sauce containers are leak-resistant. For more information visit easylunchboxes.com.

Early Lingo

early lingo back to school giveaway
6-DVD box set - Retail Price: $99.99
Winner can choose the language from online store.
Early Lingo is an entertaining and educational DVD series for ages 6 months to 9 years that allows children to become familiar with foreign languages through immersive and repetitive learning techniques. Currently there are 6 languages available: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and German. The 6-DVD box set includes parts 1-6: Colors and Shapes at the Park, Numbers and Counting at the Farm, Opposites at the Beach, Alphabet at School, At the Market and In the City. With approximately 210 minutes total running time and over 450 words and phrases, each set will give a child a solid foundation in the language of their choice. For more information visit earlylingo.com.

SNOOKNUK

snooknuk back to school giveaway
"Once Upon a Day, A Little Less Tears" album - Retail Price: $14.95
An array of songs covering topics from the time your child wakes up until sleepy time. Use as your companion while teaching your child to brush their teeth, wash their hands, potty training, eat vegetables & more. Melodies are catchy, easy to remember and the music is Enchanting. Makes for a great day!!
SNOOKNUK is a brand that is dedicated to creating original and innovative content to make childhood a magical adventure. We are focused on childrenĂ­s early development, specifically on teaching important life lessons and basic hygiene, producing products such as Music, Videos, Shows, Toys, Books & more! For more information visit snooknuk.com.

Our Goal is to:
  • Provide parents with a fun way to teach and engage their child.
  • Help make kids less resistant.
  • Motivate children to have a healthy outlook on life.
  • Create amazing memories for kids and families.

Pura Stainless

pura back to school giveaway
Stainless Steel Kiki Sippy Cup - Retail Price: $15.99
Winner can choose the color from online store.
Pura crafts the safest infant and toddler sippy cups on the planet from stainless steel with silicone components and NO PLASTIC. Our completely modular and interchangeable system grows with your child from infancy through grade school. Silicone bottle components include infant nipples, sippy cup spouts, and sealing disks. The sealing disks convert the bottles to both snack cups and water bottles.
In 2012 Pura was recognized with 11 product & business awards and is now available in more than 30 countries. Most importantly, we remain a family-owned business focused on innovation and unparalleled quality.
Pura Stainless' award winning bottles can be found in most Whole Food markets, fine children's boutiques, or on-line at Amazon.com and PuraStainless.com. For more information or to order visit PuraStainless.com.

Name Bubbles

name bubbles back to school giveaway
Name Bubbles School Labels Pack - Retail Price: $33.88
The Name Bubbles School Labels Pack is a collection of our customer-favorite name labels, designed to keep all of your child's school supplies and gear coming home. These award-winning personalized labels are waterproof and durable enough to stick strong to backpacks, lunch boxes, school supplies, water bottles, sports equipment, uniforms, and clothing for the entire school year. With dozens of styles, icons, and colors to choose from, personalizing a pack to fit your child's unique style is a breeze.
Name Bubbles personalized labels will help keep the entire family organized for daycare, preschool, school, and at home. A recipient of the Parent Tested, Parent Approved Seal of Approval, our award-winning name labels are made from top-of-the-line materials that are guaranteed to last. They're waterproof, fade resistant, and contain an ultra-strong adhesive that means they'll stick where you need them while staying bright and vibrant. Perfect for anything from bottles, blankets, and clothing headed to daycare, to jacket and supplies headed to school, these labels will stay strong and keep everything coming home. Available in individual labels or our customer-favorite Value Packs, personalization and organization has never been easier. For more information visit namebubbles.com.

Sock It to Me

sock it to me back to school giveaway
4 style sock set: Kids Dinomite & Green Monkeys, Youth PB&J Sock, Youth Super Juicy Sock, Juniors Red Ninja Power Sock - Retail Price: $41
Winner can choose sock size, which may affect style from online store.
Sock It to Me is a business that sells fun, funky socks. We are talking about knee high socks with ninjas, unicorns, and monkeys; men's socks with mustaches, monsters, and beer. With over 200 different sock designs, there is something for every personality, from punk rock to peacock and everything in between. Sock It To Me is a Portland-based brand selling socks worldwide. For more information visit sockittome.com.

Enter to Win this Fabulous Set of Prizes!

One Winner will be selected September 19th. Have fun and good luck!
back to school giveaway prizes
a Rafflecopter giveaway

When it was a Good Day

On September 11, 2001 I was a new mom with a 1 month old baby boy. My mom was visiting from Oklahoma and set to fly home the next day.  Paul was working. In my newborn fog I didn't realize anything had happened until close to lunch time. And then that was all we saw. And like most of America we sat and watched the footage over and over again. And I will never forget that day.


But today I am talking about a different September 11th. 5 years before September 11th was 9-11, it was a good day. It was a meaningful day. A day that changed my life and set me on the path I am on today.

The year was 1996. It was the end of summer. August. The last weekend before I started my junior year in high school. I was with my 3 best friends doing what teenage girls do. And there he was with his friends doing what teenage boys do. Our groups went to the movies that night- The Cable Guy, I believe. I don't really remember that part. I remember him.


School started. Weeks went by. And I saw him again and again. Our groups of friends became friends. We became friends. I was amazed at how I could talk to him. Tell him things. Open up to him like I couldn't with most other people in my life. He knew me right from the beginning.


It was one of those times in life where you have to make a choice. To follow what your heart, not knowing if it's wrong or right. September 10th was a bad day. It was the day I broke someone's heart in order to follow my own. And I'll never forget it.

But 17 years ago,  September 11th was a good day. The day that boy and I became we. The same we that we are today. For us, the date of September 11 has always been remembered.




Saturday

{Review} EEME Project Genius Light


There are a few skills that I think are truly important to learn in this day and age, and one of those is electronics. We live in a technological age, which makes it very important that we understand the inner-workings of the machines around us. Enter EEME.



 EEME's monthly hands-on project kits teach kids about electronics. Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only guide the kids in assembling the project but also to teach the concepts applied. EEME's kits are aimed for kids ages 7-12, but older and younger kids can definitely learn from them too! The first kit in the subscription is Project Genius Light- which will get your kids learning all about circuits, resistors, LEDs and other basic electronics knowledge.

About the Kit:

 From EEME: 


              "With the Genius Light project, you will assemble a simple LED circuit system that does the smart thing - lights up when it is dark and dims when it is light. The project kit will be shipped with all the materials needed to build the Genius Light (a breadboard, resistors, circuits, LEDs, battery). Once you've gotten your kit, you'll come back to eeme.co to access our 45 minutes of online videos, which will (1) teach you and your kid how to build the Genius Light, and (2) explain the electrical engineering concepts behind it. (Videos are free to check out.)"


So what is in your first EEME monthly project kit? 



The only thing you will need in addition to your kit is access to a internet-ready computer. The kits go hand in hand with online curricula that will teach your kids not only HOW to complete the project but the WHY behind it as well.
 

How does it work?

You will start by accessing the video lessons from EEME's website. These lessons are broken down into many short videos that will step by step lead your children through the process. I was a little worried that 4 pairs of hands working on one project would lead to frustration, but there are so many little steps that everyone got plenty of chances to help build the project. Depending on the age of your child you may need to offer a hand, so stick around and use this time to learn together. I found that my 12 year old needed no help, while my 7 year old had a hard time with some of the assembly. The videos will also tell you when your assistance may be needed.


One of the best things about the video lessons is that they aren't simply how-to instructions. The kids have to build, take apart, and re-build numerous times before actually starting the final step of building the genius light. This means there was plenty of time for things to go wrong- which is a good thing! My boys learned how to troubleshoot and double check their wires and circuits in order to make it work before moving on.



The lessons not only gave directions on how to set up the circuits, but also the reasons behind what they were doing. So they learned what a resistor was and its purpose and got to experiment with how the light looked with and without the resistors in their circuit.


Also included were short assessment questions at the end of some of the videos to check and make sure the kids were actually understanding what they were hearing.


What we liked best:



  • The video lessons were amazing. I loved that the lessons were broken up into shorter sections as opposed to one long video. Having someone who truly understands what they are talking about and teaching is so much more effective than me reading a manual and trying to teach the same thing. 
  • One kit can work over multiple kids of multiple ages. The kit can be assembled and disassembled numerous times. You don' t have to have one kit per kid. They can work together or on their own one at a time.
  • I liked that they were actually learning concepts. We've had many "eclectronic kits" over the years and they show you how to complete a circuit but not why.
  • I like that each new project builds upon knowledge learned in the previous project, it's a great way to really solidify the concepts being learned.


How can you get your own?



EEME has 2 pricing plans, starting at $18.95 per month. Each month you will reuse your breadbox and battery pack, but will receive new project parts in the mail that will build upon the knowledge learned in previous projects.

And if you act fast, you will receive the first month free when you subscribe to EEME! That means you will get to try out Project Genius Light at no charge! Just click here and you will see a special promo banner on the bottom of the page! This promotion will expire on 9/16.

You can also find EEME on Facebook and Twitter!

 Click here to read more about EEME and what other families thought about the project.

Thursday

More Mountain State Fair Entries

 So I missed a few when I shared the kids projects the other day. Like Cale's completed sculpture.


And their baking. 15 total baked goods. Things like snickers fudge, cookie dough fudge, orange chocolate truffles, peanut butter truffles, sweet potato yeast bread, pesto rolls, chocolate crinkles, apple muffins, apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies....




And spaghetti and meatballs cupcakes, skeleton cupcakes, spider cupcakes and sheep cupcakes....





A metal craft robot, bottle cap wind chime and a recycled bottle ice cream truck.




Pottery Rylan and Cale made in a class they took this year, which they entered in the pottery category.



 Rylan's biggest watermelon entry. It was a big one!


13 art pieces (one not shown)...oil, chalk, watercolor, pen, collage, crayon...


8 photos in all...the top 2 are Cale's and Cohen's. The rest are Rylan's which I showed last time.


When we dropped off the big entries were weighed:


 And today we dropped off a few more entries. Rylan's herbs and flowers in the flower show for a grand total of 95 entries between the 4 boys!