Saturday, May 28, 2016

Preventing the "summer slide" with over 100 things to do this summer!




If you're like me, you're going to continue with schoolbooks right on through the summer. There are two main reasons for this:
  1. We didn't meet all of our learning goals for the year and summer is a great time for playing catch up. 
  2. Learning never really stops anyway. However, we had goals and failed to meet them so we're using this slower season to catch ourselves up. 


If you're not like me and you DID meet your goals (or even if you didn't meet all of your goals but would like something less "traditional" for the summer months), check out Homeschool.com's "101 Things To Do This Summer"! This list has some of the most unique ideas I've ever seen. I don't know how the owner never runs out of ideas, but she's full of creativity! Some of my favorites include... 


6.  Lie outside at night and watch the sky for shooting stars. Find out why shooting stars aren't really stars at all. 
http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question12.html

12. Make your own sidewalk chalk! Then make a work of art in your driveway!

13. Learn about cotton candy. There's not nearly as much sugar in cotton candy as you might think.
http://www.cottoncandy.net/  

31. Make a nail polish masterpiece (it's really cool and very unique)!  The website carlasonheim.com offers interesting and thorough video tutorials for this and much more! The site also offers online and self-study art classes free tutorialsand  instructional books
.

43. Write a children's book – maybe one you can share with your siblings and friends. The Easy Writing products from EasyGrammar.com can help.  They even offer blank books.69. Make a Tic -Tac -Towel. Great fun for the pool or beach!
http://www.marthastewart.com/273719/tic-tac-towel 

78. Barter your services. Want to ride a horse? Offer to clean out stalls in return for riding time. Want to take guitar lessons? Offer to mow the instructor's lawn in return for lessons. Get your parent's permission and then make sure you follow through on your end.

85. Find out how hot air balloons work. Depending on where you live, you might be able to go on one or at least watch one take off. Did you know they make quite a bit of noise? 
http://www.howstuffworks.com/transport/flight/modern/hot-air-balloon.htm 

....and more! There are just too many to list, but I plan for us to accomplish at least these things plus several others I didn't list. I've already discussed (individually) each child's summer learning goals and have typed two copies--one for the child to keep in a visible place he or she will see it often and one for myself.

Do you know that if you made it a goal to get through just three things (each week) on the "101 Things" list, you'd still have plennnnty of fun activities to do when the new school year begins? If you want to get through the entire list, you'll need to do at least 2 things each day. Given that some of the things take longer periods of time than others, this isn't entirely impossible to do! You'll stay super busy, but you'll have FUN making memories your children will never forget. And that's always worth it. ♥ ♥

Enjoy! 




Monday, May 16, 2016

Our Journey With ACE PACEs


Image courtesy: homeschool-curriculum-savings.com
If you're like me, you're using the ACE curriculum. Also if you're like me, you had to get past the naysayers and negative reviews and find those who LOVE ACE before you felt comfortable using it. Furthermore, you had to put your hands on the PACEs themselves and look through them at various levels to see the "big picture" and how this program progresses. If this describes you, then you'll understand our journey to finding ACE PACEs about 5 years ago!

Accelerated Christian Education



When we first discovered ACE, I remember the "Why didn't we do this sooner?" feeling. Unfortunately, we left ACE for an eclectic route and some unschooling. While we enjoyed our time, I do wish I would've been as dedicated to ACE then as I am now. NOW, it would take lightning bolts from God to get me to change because now I see the disadvantages to changing programs and always being in "limbo" mode.

I also see the HUGE advantage of giving it to GOD and letting HIM lead you in your curriculum choices. I didn't even *want* to do ACE! I truly didn't want to do it.

At all.

But God (and our children, who begged to return to PACEs) had bigger plans. I remember praying, "Lord, I feel like you're telling me to go with ACE and if that's the case, you know I'm going to need a change of heart on this because I don't want to do it Lord." Boy has he answered that prayer!

He has shown me how to make ACE work for all of our children, regardless of their learning styles and individual needs. He has provided the financial means to afford the PACEs I didn't foresee being able to buy, and overall, He has given me a true sense of PEACE about ACE. More than peace, He has made me into a dyed-in-the-wool ACE user. To HIM be the glory--not me!

Below is a fantastic video put out by ACE that explains the ACE program more in-depth. It's about 26 minutes long but is well worth watching!


Regardless of your style of homeschooling or curriculum (which I never thought I'd be using again), I want to encourage you to give it to GOD. When you do, you will be less likely to change curriculum programs. Why? Because He led you to the program you chose. Mamas, that makes all the difference in the world. Make sure that you make a prayer-led decision when you choose a program. Of course, I recommend ACE for various reasons, but you have to choose the curriculum or homeschooling method that is right for your family. We have been around the block with homeschooling styles (from very structured to Charlotte Mason to Classical to unschooling) and have tried nearly every curriculum under the sun. In fact, I have a whole closet dedicated to bins for 12 different subjects or categories that are loaded with the curricula we've tried--or bought, realized it wasn't going to work for us, and just never bothered with it). In the end, we returned to ACE PACEs because it's where the Lord led us (and by "us" I do mean my husband and myself).

If you're feeling led to use ACE but are scared at all the negative reviews, don't let that get you down. Read (or re-read) that blog post and notice the commonalities amongst those who are naysayers. Then, join those of us who LOVE ACE on Facebook! We also have a Yahoo group (just go to Yahoo Groups and search for ACE PACEs Support), but it's not nearly as active as the FB group.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day! Here's the Motherload of FREEBIES from Educents!

Just when I thought they couldn't possibly offer a bigger FREEBIE bundle, Educents proved me wrong. {In a very big, very GOOD way!}


K-12th Grade Freebie Bundle!

How would you like over 750 FREE digital lessons for various content areas for K-12th? Whether you're a classroom teacher or a homeschooler, you'll find this resource invaluable! Wanna get it? Head on over to Educents and download it! But hurry! As of today, you only have 11 days left. Grab it while it's available!! :) 


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Are ACE PACEs not "advanced"?

In my ACE PACEs Facebook group, someone recently said that another curriculum was more advanced than ACE. Here was my response, which I thought I'd share here for my readers.

It was recently said that CLE is more "advanced" than ACE. I don't know that I'd say CLE is more "advanced" than ACE. It moves at a faster pace but ACE is, to me, more in tune with child development. I don't want a newcomer (to ACE) thinking they're "downgrading" by going with ACE because that just isn't the case.

Take it from someone who has been with ACE for 5 years *on and off*. I emphasize that to say we've tried everything under the sun and yet we're returning to PACEs for a reason. ACE teaches the same stuff other programs teach, so I'd also advise *against* skipping ahead (what's the rush, anyway?) because soon, you'll hit a roadblock. ACE just goes slower and teaches things like we were all taught.

In other words, unlike the public schools, ACE hasn't lost sight of what Kindergarten MEANS, for example. The public schools want them doing what ACE has 2nd graders doing, which is just ridiculous. Kindergarten should be about FUN, coloring, exploring, songs, fun, fun, fun! ACE knows this and has created a fantastic Kindergarten program. No, it's not "rigorous" but should Kindergarten be that way? That's just one example.

Yes, by high school ACE is teaching the same things other programs are teaching and at the same time. The difference is that kids would've developed a much stronger foundation with ACE! Think of it like this: ACE goes a mile deep and an inch wide while other programs tend to go a mile wide and an inch deep....

So what does all of this mean? It means the ACE PACEs are far from "behind" as some people like to say. As someone who does a lot of research and who likes to look for trends, I've noticed trends in the ACE naysayers:

  • They attended an ACE school back in the 80s or 90s. ACE has definitely upgraded its program since then! 
  • If they homeschool, they only tried out a PACE or two for anywhere from a month to one year. ACE was not designed to be used like this. It wasn't designed for you to pop in and out of the program. Rather, they assume you'll stay with the program for all 12 (13 counting Kindy) years. This means that while they may not be teaching the same things in "3rd grade" that other programs teach, they DO get to it. Again, inch wide/mile deep... 
  • They are the type of homeschooler who gets wrapped up in labels like "gifted" (that's a blog post/soapbox of its own) or "advanced." ACE simply doesn't advertise itself like this. 
When you come across negative reviews of ACE, consider the source. Remember that you don't know their situation, their home life, how they're raising their children, the values they're instilling into their children, etc. If ACE lines up with your family's values and you like the PACEs, then use them. Do not be deterred by naysayers! Instead, find the people who are pro-ACE (we're on Yahoo and Facebook, by the way). Talk to those who LOVE ACE--not those who despise it! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Science Curriculum 100% FREE for just a few more days!

If you've been looking for easy-to-do unit studies that grab your child's interest, then this is for you! 

Like unit studies? Like FREEBIES? Then check out what just hatched for you this Easter! 




From now until the end of March, grab ALL of The Curiosity Files at NO CHARGE! That's a $125 value (and these really are great!) for FREE! Here's the link: The Curiosity Files

Use the code at the link and start downloading!! 

Happy Easter! :) 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Flash mob or flash SALE?!?


If you follow me on Periscope, you'll notice that I just Scoped that I have this on sale for a very limited amount of time. This normally sells for $8 in my TPT store but for a VERY limited time, I have it at $3. If you landed on my website trying to figure out how to get this, here's the link: Printable Teacher's Binder WITH Sub Plans

Thanks! :)


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Year, New Goals, New Deals at Educents!

As homeschooling moms, the new year often means starting new programs and incorporating new things now that you're settled into a routine. I'm more of a Charlotte Mason homeschooler/borderline unschooler at heart, so the language arts and math we're using keeps things minimal, lessons are short, and everyone is happy. We have TIME to do the things we enjoy. And let's face it: life is learning. Learning opportunities are all around us; you just have to keep your eyes open to them. 

I can't help but get excited about educational games and learning, though. I'm a sucker for deals and things that enable me to teach my children in a more fun and relaxed way. That's why I'm excited about the new deals at Educents this year! From learning new languages to maintaining healthy habits and learning new computer skills, Educents has us covered! My son is very interested in both coding and Minecraft, so I think I'm going to take advantage of that deal. All of my children would love to learn a foreign language, so I will be checking out that deal as well! 

Easy Resolutions for your child's education
Wouldn’t it be great for your kids to learn to play a musical instrument, speak a new language, or pick up some computer skills? Educents has the tools to help your kiddos achieve GREATNESS in 2016!

Resolution #1: Learn a new language

Children learning a new language
Children learning a new language will spark interest in geography and culture!

Maybe you don't speak a second language, but your kids still can using this online language program. With this award-winning package, there's no need to memorize lists of words or listen to boring adult conversations. Kids learn by watching kids like them in real-life, humorous situations!

Spanish Course - Buy 1 Get 1 Free



Resolution #2: Create healthy habits

Practice yoga with your child inside or outside!
Practice yoga with your child inside or outside!
Yoga promotes healthy habits in a fun and active way. Pop in this Yoga DVD and reap benefits like balance, focus, flexibility, self-control, improved posture, and so many more healthy habits.

Yoga DVD is Fun for Kids and Parents

The Family Fitness program includes hundreds of physical education lessons for ages 5 to 18. The 1-year program includes warm ups, cool downs, outdoor exercises, and nutritional lessons. The lessons will guide you and your family through a 20-40 minute physical education session. You can do as much or little as you like depending on how much time you have.

Ready-to-go Fitness Lessons for your Entire Family



Resolution #3: Keep the house clean

Enough said.
Educents Blog
"I cannot imagine a more well spent $20! I am not even kidding--my house looks stellar and my kids have that feeling of accomplishment, knowing they've worked hard and done an amazing job. I've tried chore charts and reward systems but this is by far the easiest and the most all-encompassing." - Celena, The Traveling Sisterhood

$20 Cleaning System That Actually Works


Resolution #4: Be more creative

Kids gotta have time to be creative. With all the social stresses and studying, leave room for FUN. Whether it be learn a new skill, journaling, or start playing an instrument - encourage creativity!
Help your kiddo learn the basic skills of photography this year!
Help your kiddo learn the basic skills of photography this year!

Downloadble Photography Lessons for Kids

This has probably been included in ONE of your New Year's Resolution lists: Learn to play piano. Well, time to live vicariously through your children! Maybe your child will learn, and then turn around and teach you piano! This kit has everything you need to get started tickling those ivories.

The Piano Starter Pack can teach your child how to play!

Does your little one want to learn how to play a musical instrument this year?
Does your little one want to learn how to play a musical instrument this year?

Playing the violin is not only a way for children to be creative, but it also develops motor skills, sharpens memory, teaches perseverance and increases focus.

Violin Starter Kit has everything you need to get started.


Resolution #5: Get hands-on

Lessons are more fun when you get your hands a little dirty. Take reading lessons outside, do a weekly science experiment, or try these STEM kits that arrive to you once a month (totally ready to go!!).

STEM Project Boxes 3 Month Subscription

take science lessons outside
Take lessons outside with science experiments!
Add science fun to your weekend projects! These science experiments are delivered to your door and ready to go. Kids will learn about magnets, fungus, space, volcanos, and more!

Save 50% on Magic School Bus Science Kits



Resolution #6: Learn new tech skills

Your kids might already spend a lot of time in front of a screen, but is that screen time educational? Use those hours to learn new tech skills! If your kiddo is already a Minecrafter, consider using this program to build skills and add layers to the game!
Educents Blog (1)

Kids Ages 8+ Can Learn to Code Using Minecraft


What are your resolutions this year? Have your children set resolutions for themselves? Share in the comments!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Get Your Freebies ON! - starting every FRIDAY in 2016!



It's TIME! It's time for Get Your Freebies On and it's time to subscribe to the blog if you haven't already...so you don't miss out on anything! 

I didn't get a chance to finish publishing this post before the new year, but here's a post I was writing around the holidays so you could prepare, subscribe, and remember to get YOUR freebies on!: 

After the new year, you can expect "Get Your Freebies On!" to start appearing every Friday! I plan to include resources in Language Arts and Math primarily, but you WILL see some things related to acting, musical theater or Science/History, too! You'll definitely see things related to the curriculum we use (which includes My Father's World, ABeka, Bob Jones, & Story of the World). You'll also see things relevant for both classroom teachers and homeschoolers since we both differentiate and can absolutely use things that make life easier on us educators whether at home or in the classroom! I also have some other things you'll see, but I'm not sharing just what those things are until I get them uploaded into my TpT store.

But believe me, if you're a classroom teacher, you WON'T want to miss it. A little birdy called "Periscope" has let me in on what many of you teachers are in desperate need of....and your wish is my command. Suffice it to say, you'll be thankful - especially if you...ohhhh....need substitute teachers now and then or have parents asking for extra work they can use at home! That's ALL I'm saying! :) :)

And believe me, my inbox is FLOOOO-DED with freebies; sometimes, it's just a matter of what I share on my blog! ;-)

Next up...

Most of you who know us know we're into musical theater as well as singing as soloists. For the past year (almost), the girls and I have been taking private vocal lessons (my son starts next week!). During our lessons, we get repertoire from a variety of categories that we're to work on for different reasons. We also need to keep up with auditions and such. To help us stay more organized, I made a "tracking sheet" several months ago. We slip the cover down into our notebook covers and keep the record sheet in a section of our notebooks near the beginning - conveniently tucked behind our practice reminder!

Vocal Record FREEBIE!
Click HERE to download this for free!

If you'd find this helpful, you can find it in my TPT store and download it for FREE!

Since it's late-morning on a  Tuesday and I need to start getting some My Father's World things ready, I need to run - but I wanted to take a second to share a quick freebie with you guys AND let you know about "Get Your Freebies On"!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Times Tales downloadable package - only $15.95!

Times Tales DOWNLOADABLE Version
Times Tales downloadable version - just $15.95!
You've heard about it, you've wanted it, and now's your chance to get it for just $15.95!  

Times Tales downloadable version, which includes 2 downloads of the actual videos and 3 more downloads of the worksheets, game cube, and answer key! 

Even though we own the book already, for $15.95, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to cast this onto the big screen we have in our classroom. If nothing else, I wanted the accompanying worksheets anyway - which include tests, crosswords, activity sheets, and the game cube - so I paid pretty much the same price as those alone for the WHOLE package deal!!  You really can't beat that! So if you're like me and have had your eyeballs on this, you have one week from today to grab this deal

Monday, January 4, 2016

Life of Fred ~ FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING **today only!**


TODAY ONLY: Free Priority Shipping on ALL Life of Fred books and products!
Use code: MARKDOWNMONDAY at checkout

*Free Shipping offer only valid for contiguous U.S.
Are your math students tired of the drill and kill math approach? Thousands have turned to the Life of Fred Math Books for a fun way to learn math.
Instead of dry exposition and endless drill exercises, these books are filled with the fun and page-turning tales of Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius born on the western slopes of the Siberian mountains. During his hilarious adventures, he encounters everyday math situations that call for solving mathematical problems. Children actually want to read these books!!
Shop Life of Fred Blowout Sale