Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sing Through the Bible DVD {Giveaway}




In celebration of summer, I have an exciting giveaway for you! Up for grabs for one Thrift Schooling reader is; Sing through the Bible with Buck Denver and Friends! This 60 minute DVD contains 30 music videos that take you from Genesis to Revelation through a fun and captivating musical journey. 

If your children are familiar with the What’s in the Bible? series then they will be thrilled to sing along with The Fabulous Bentley Brothers, Clive and Ian, Sunday School Lady and more! If these characters are new to them, they are certain to fall in love quickly. 

For Bible enthusiasts both young and old, the video includes on-screen sing-along lyrics for each and every video. Feel free to enjoy the trailer below to see a sample of the treat you are in for!




Personally, I am a fan of Rhett and Link, I mean, the Bentley Brothers, hehe. They are hilarious and make these videos all the more entertaining! My kids are a fan of their singing style as well but they also enjoy the puppets and fast paced songs that teach them practical aspects of the Bible. 


Want to win a copy for yourself?
 Simply enter the Rafflecopter below by the end of the day 
August 7, 2015. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Teach Your Kids Electronics with EEME (Review)


If you are looking for a way to incorporate electronics into your homeschool for your 7-12 year old, then I have a treat for you!

EEME is a company that makes hands-on projects and FREE online lessons to teach kids electronics. This program is created to foster their curiosity for how things work and prep them for the STEM opps of tomorrow. 


Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only show your family how to assemble the kit, but more importantly, teach them how it works.



The heart of EEME is their monthly subscription program. For a low monthly cost, you receive an electronics project kit in the mail. A new kit ships every month complete with all the electronic components needed to build a new project. The breadboard, baseplate and battery pack are re-used each month, for each project. This requires the kids to break down last month's project in order to build the new project. They designed the experience this way because by breaking down last month's project, it gives the kids the opportunity to revisit what was learned and built. Also, it helps to keep the plans affordable.


There are 2 plans - Basic and Pro. Pro plans include an enclosure cover every month while Basic plans do not. The educational experience for both plans are equivalent





  PROJECT GENIUS LIGHT
                                                                     

Project Genius Light is the first project in EEME's monthly project subscription. With the Genius Light project, you will assemble a simple LED circuit system that lights up when it is dark and dims when it is light.

The project kit is shipped with all the materials needed to build the Genius Light (a breadboard, resistors, circuits, LEDs, battery).

First, we received the kit with the items listed above. It was shipped quickly and promptly. The kit does not have written instructions included because the directions and lessons are completely online. This threw me off at first but once we got started with the online lesson, it was clear and easy to follow. 

The kits are designed for children ages 7-12 and I am confident that if left alone with the video lessons and kit (and minimal supervision since it is dealing with electricity,) that my third grader would be able to complete the project relatively independently. I honestly think that his passion for Lego's has prepared him to follow instructions carefully. He also is a fan of the old school version of the game, Battleship. We have played this game often over the past few years to help him gain confidence in understanding grids and graphs. I am convinced that children really do learn from "play" and that it helps to prepare them for real life. Now that he is older, he is seeing through experiences like this electronics kit that there is an actual, practical use for his skills gained. Reading the breadboard is similar to the game battleship so, not only did he catch on quickly but he enjoyed the project too!

My younger son enjoyed the project just as much as his older brother although guidance was needed. He picked up on the terms and questions asked throughout the lesson quickly and seemed to absorb the material like a sponge. He already was familiar with some of the concepts taught such as the negative and positive charge on a battery so once that got his attention he was readily able to learn the new material presented. 

We also let our daughter who is a rising kindergartner join in on the lessons. Her attention was not kept for very long but she enjoyed it when we allowed her to participate in the hands-on activities!


Before we made the actual dimming light, they were taught the basics of how the LED light worked. The lesson had several short videos, only a few minutes long with simple questions afterwards for the students to both dictate to the parent and enter in on the computer.




Here, they learned how and why the LED light was able to light up. Once they learned the basics they were able to get on with the final project, the Genius Light!



They followed the instructions carefully and were able to successfully make a working light that dims!




At first I thought this project might be too advanced for their first electronics project, but they ended up catching on quickly. The video lesson is key though in helping them to not only learn how to put the kit together but in understand the why's in how it works. This project is estimated to take between 1.5 -2.5 hours. It took us closer to 1.5 hours to complete. My kids, the boys especially thoroughly enjoyed this project. It allowed them to use previous skills gained to learn something new and it allowed them to create something practical and useful. Children are always asking why and how things work and this project provided them with the insight and know how to learn more about the world around them. Electricity can be both amazing and dangerous and I appreciate how this lesson made that clear to the students. It is not something to be played around with but the children were able to learn how to put the parts together properly in a useful and responsible way. This lesson helped teach them responsibility and helped them gain confidence that they will need in the real world.

If you don't want to sign up for the monthly subscription, EEME has a Six Project Set that you can order instead!



This set has over 80 components and wires to build 6 projects from night light circuits to alarm circuits to countdown circuits. At the end of the 6 projects, you will have learned about all the fundamentals of electronics; LEDs, resistors, capacitors, transistors, voltage, current, and much much more.


The Six Project Set is similar to subscribing to the Basic Plan for 6 months but it is better suited for families who rather get all the projects at once and not have to deal with subscriptions and monthly charges.


Disclaimer: Thanks to EEME for providing me with the above kit for the purpose of this review.
 All opinions stated here are my own. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

HEAV Virginia Homeschool Convention






HEAV Virginia Homeschool Convention

June 11-13, 2015

Richmond, Virginia

Homeschooling…or considering it? Don’t miss the 32nd Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention for three days of encouragement, support, and resources!
 
Attend three, FREE how-to-begin workshops on Thursday, June 11, and afterward, tour the Exhibit Hall (340+ booths last year) as our special guest! First-time parents of just preschoolers and non-homeschooling grandparents can attend the ENTIRE convention for free.




 The convention offers inspiring keynotes by Ken Ham, Buddy Davis and Voddie Baucham, plus lots of incredible workshops with speakers Steve and Megan Scheibner, Todd Wilson, Kim Kautzer, and many others; a Used Curriculum Sale; an expanded music competition; college fair, hands-on demos in the Exhibit Hall; a Children’s Program; and much more!


If you are planning on going, come on by and visit me at the  

WriteShop Booth 
# 1210



Come say hello, I'd love to meet you! 

~ Heather

View more details at www.heav.org/convention

Saturday, June 6, 2015

End of the Year Homeschool Assessment



Whether you are coming to the end of your homeschool year or you school year round, assessing where your children stand acedemically is likely on your mind!

This year, we are schooling through mid-summer when the baby is due. Summer vacation will officially begin the day the baby is born! Fortunately, we have gotten through the grunt work of the year and will be done with the basics and essentials a few weeks before my due date just in case this one chooses to arrive a tad early!

Even though we have a couple months of work left to complete in order to be officially done, I wanted to see where my oldest son stood in his academics. Every state is different as far as what is required for yearly testing. Some states are extremely strict on homeschoolers while others are quite lax. Here in Virginia there are two options, one that requires yearly testing and one that doesn't. Even though I chose the latter doesn't mean I don't assess my kids, I just am not required by law to submit my scores to the state. 

The first year that my oldest was in first grade and the age that I had to let the school board know that I intended to homeschool, I was sure to have my son tested just for my own personal records. I took him to a local private school and had him tested there, for a fee of course. I did it primarily to make sure he was on par and to see what we needed to work on in our homeschool. Because of the price, and the fact that he passed with flying colors, we chose not to test him the following year.

Now that a few years have passed though, I do want to know where he stands academically. Since it is not required for me to submit standardized tests, I don't want to spend a large amount of money but I still want to know where he is at!

I was extremely excited to find Kidtest.com! Kidtest offers battery tests for children who have completed grades three through nine.

Kidtest Benchmarked  Third Grade Battery ($12.95) that my son took contains eight subjects:

Math Computation
Math Application
Reading 
Study Skills 
Language 
Spelling 
Social Studies 
Science

The drawing factor for me is that these are all completed online! That means there are no tests to order, no sending back to be graded and no hassle. 

All you do is create a free account at Kidtest.com. Then, you simply order the test(s) that fits your need. Once it appears in your account your child is ready to get started!  

In the test that my son took, there were only 30 questions per section and took between 15-25 minutes to complete each section. I divided the testing time up so that he would only take 2 sections at a time and then have a break. He finished the whole test over a period of two days. I didn't want to stress him out and have him do it all in one day, but it easily could be done that way if your child is a good test taker!

After the test is completed, you will receive a printable report for your records.



You will be able to view a chart that shows you how well your child did in each subject. Then, for each subject you will be shown the topics that your child got wrong so you can see what he needs to work on!


You also will see a chart to see where your child falls in relation to other students in his same grade level, below average, average or above average.


 I mentioned earlier that we still have two more months to go to finish his third grade year, so many of the areas that he was weak in were simply topics we haven't covered yet. For example, dictionary skills we covered two weeks after we took this test so he was confused on this part for the test. Overall, this test helped me to see if he knew the material that we did cover this year or if he needs review. It also helped him to feel confident taking the test and knowing that he is actually learning! And lastly, the test is great to see if there are any gaps in our curriculum. It helped me to see if there were things that we didn't cover that we should have. I'm glad to have found this site and I look forward to using it again!

In addition to the tests, this site overs free flashcards to help your student practice math skills, foreign language or history!




Disclaimer: Thank you to Kidtest.com for providing me with the above product in exchange for this review! All opinions stated here are my own.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

7 Ways to Prepare Your Child For High School Transitions {Guest Post}

   
 Whether your child is heading off to public school, private school or even if they are homeschooled, getting ready to become a high school student can be a huge adjustment for a teen. Parents can do a lot to ensure their teenagers feel comfortable with the academic and social challenges that come with this new phase of education. As your teen gets ready to make the big step into high school, there are several things you can do to help him make the transition. Being successful in high school requires preparation from an academic standpoint. The confidence that comes from academic success can also help your teen to excel mentally and socially. High school can be a very fun time, and your teen is likely to make friends that will last a lifetime. Here are Seven Ways you can assist your child in getting ready for high school. 



               

                 1. Take Your Child's Concerns Seriously 

Don't blow your child fears about high school off by telling him that "it will be OK" or that you went through the same thing and got through it. For instance, if your teen expresses that he's having problems with high school math, you should do all you can to get your teen the help he needs right away. For instance, online tutoring can help him understand basic math concepts early in the school year. This online option can also make tutoring less awkward for your child.


           2. Help Your Teen Learn The Way High School Works

In addition to online tutoring, it's up to you to show your kid the ropes when it comes to getting used to high school. If your child high school has a freshman orientation program, be sure to attend with your child so you can get first-hand information on school policies and academic expectations. The orientation may be the best time for your teen to learn her locker combination and try it out, or to visit some of her new classrooms.The transportation aspects of high school should also be rehearsed with your teen as much as possible. Go over the public transportation or bus schedule with your teen as many times as possible so you can be sure she knows where her stops are.
                              

                               3. Be an Active Parent

Get involved with all your child activities of interest. Encourage your teen to get involved in extracurricular activities. This helps to foster his social development and gives him a sense of belonging in high school, which helps to form his identity for years to come.
                         

                           4. Get Prepared for Summer

Keep in mind that your teen is very likely to forget some of what she's learned during summer break. Online math tutoring during the summer can help her keep her skills sharp and even prepare her for the next grade level. This can help to boost your child's confidence and even make her excited to go back to school.
                               

                                  5. Get into the Details

Focus on the small details so that your child's first year in high school will be a successful one. For instance, take some time to look over your child schedule for the school year and go over the classes with him. This helps you to become familiar with the things your teen will be learning. Going over the schedule, and learning a little more about the teachers, can also keep your teen from  convincing you that he's supposed to have more recreational or elective classes than he needs.
                            
                              
                             6. Be Ready for Adjustments

Everything isn't going to run smoothly for your child during the first year of  high school. Be prepared by being available to talk to your child about the stresses and confusion that can sometimes come along with being a high school freshman. It's common for your teen to get low grades during 9th grade, but as high school progresses, she'll learn how to do her best and realize her strengths and weaknesses. Encourage your teen to take her first year of high school seriously, but also stress the importance of trying new things and attempting to make good friends.



7. Get Help When You Need It

  Your teen may be anxious or even depressed during the first few months of high school. If you notice that this behavior is prolonged, be sure to seek help from a trusted professional. Changes in sleep patterns or feelings of low self-esteem are also common at times during the freshman year. However, getting your teenager the help he needs in the form of online tutoring or other academic assistance can help your child feel more comfortable about going into the new school year.


Disclaimer: This is a Guest Post provided by Tutorpace. 
Sponsored Posts help to support this blog and our family. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Using Speech Buddies In Your Homeschool {Review}


I determined early on in my parenting years not to compare my children to each other. Everyone grows and develops at different rates and it's not fair to one child to compare them to another. 

Honestly, it can stress a parent out. One child may have begun to walk before they reach their first birthday while the second one takes their grand old time! Maybe your daughter had no problem being potty trained by the age of two but your son still wets the bed into his school-aged years. 

These comparisons are normal and quite common but once we begin to look for the milestones in educationally-based skills, the stress levels tend to skyrocket! Many parents are so eager to have their child reading immediately (like I was with my first!) that we might begin to push a little too hard too young. Then, when number two or three come along it's so easy to compare and expect the same developmental milestones to happen at the same time for each child! Again, every child is different.

Sometimes, a child may just need more time until they are ready to gain a new skill. Sometimes they will excel sooner in areas that their siblings don't. And then, it could be that one child may need to be taught a skill using a different approach than what you've used with others. Some of our children might be visual learners while other are tactile. My second son falls in the latter category. He is more of a hands on learner, which is why Speech Buddies has been working wonders for him!


 When it became to clear to me that other people outside our immediate family had a hard time understanding my son, I knew I wanted to incorporate a speech therapy program into his homeschool day. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it since he already is sensitive to my correcting of his speech and grammar. I first tried a book that was meant for untrained parents to help their child. It was no use. It frustrated my son to no end and he completely felt like he was put in the spot.

 I would tell him to say a sound in the book.
 He would say it wrong. 
I would correct him. 
"But that's what I said!" he would yell in frustration.

This method got old pretty fast. I wasn't quite sure where to go from there. As a homeschooler, I don't have access to free speech therapy as many public school students do. And, in our state, even if you are in the public school system, your child's speech has to be affecting their grades in order for them to qualify. So even if we were in the system, I'm quite sure he wouldn't qualify since he is reading and writing well. The issue with him is just a few sounds that he struggles with such as "R" and "SH." He thinks he is saying it right but just needs help understanding how to form the letters in his mouth.  

Enter Speech Buddies

Speech Buddies are tools to help your student learn the correct placement of their tongue in their mouth for the 5 most commonly mispronounced sounds.



 Easy enough for a child as young as three and effective even with adults, speech buddies are used by professionals and parents alike to help students gain confidence in their speaking ability. What makes this product unique is that it helps the student hear themselves saying the sounds correctly. This is where it seems to be clicking with my son. When he can hear himself, rather than me or someone else saying the sound the right way, then it begins to make sense. 

Now, as with anything, this tool is something that needs to be used on a regular basis to help reverse any bad habits that may have formed over the years. I believe though, that these tools have been helping my son tremendously. He not only is able to hear himself but physically feel where in his mouth his tongue is supposed to be for each of the sounds.When we use this, I can tell the rest of the day that he is beginning to "get it." Honestly, it is just a matter of me being sure we establish this into our daily homeschool routine because on the days I do, I completely see a difference!

HOW IT WORKS

Each of the five sounds, R, L, CH, SH and S that are included in the Speech Buddies pack are color coded. Also, each sound has an animal that represents each one. This is great for young children to connect to each sound! I will oftentimes say, "Ok, lets get the rabbit buddy now," this makes it more fun. The colors simply help with organization.


 My son has been working with his rabbit buddy the most because that is a sound that had been hard for him to form in his mouth. I allow him to take the buddy out of the box himself and use it himself. It seems a bit less intimidating than me trying to stick a tool into his mouth like a dentist! He has become accustomed to it, and actually finds pride in doing it, since he does it well. The R buddy is the most fun yet challenging in my opinion. He needs to press the end against the back of his teeth and try to roll the plastic loop out flat as he properly says the R sound! After a few tries he got it and can say it well with the tool. There are instructions both in the box and on the Speech Buddy Website to teach you how to effectively use each tool. There are also suggestions of different words that can be practiced with each sound.


 We would probably only spend about 10 minutes a day working with these tools so it didn't stress my son out. I also have his younger sister work with these tools as well with him to help her learn from the get go the right way to say these sounds. I didn't want my son to feel like I was singling his out so having it part of our homeschool day with him and his sister has simply been fun, hands on and effective!





 BUY IT
 Set of 5 ($299)

Promo Code for $10 off: MAKEITMINE 
Free Shipping Code: DP97A


 
Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Speech Buddies. All opinions stated here are my own. A big thanks to Speech Buddies for providing this product in exchange for this review!