Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review: The Chocolate Diaries

This is my first official review for Blogging for Books! Yay!!

The Book:
My review is on the book The Chocolate Diaries - Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of Life by Karen Scalf Linamen. The basic focus of the book is to give it's readers savvy strategies for embracing a sweeter life-even when life leads you down a rocky road! Ideas for how to find more joy, give you reasons to laugh again and ideas to help you heal.

Sprinkled at the end of each delectable chapter are some great yummy chocolate recipes to try! Many are very tempting!!

Ms. Scalf Linamen creatively uses chocolate as a theme for her book, it's chapter titles, notes and jokes. I have to say that she is pretty creative author!

My impression:
I had high hopes for this book. I was excited about it and it's chocolate theme!! But as I began reading I began to think that there was just something missing. It seemed to me to just touch the surface of how to have joy and not go deep enough to penetrate my serious nature. Don't get me wrong, it's not that bad of a book but I find it a bit on the shallow side of truly leading someone in need of deep joy to it's source. God is talked about and readers are encouraged to seek Him but not in a way that would cause one to realize that our TRUE joy comes from a personal relationship with Him. To me that was a little disappointing. 

The stories are somewhat funny, much is about the author's own life-she couldn't have had a more colorful one!! She also sprinkles in experiences from friends and family members as well. Let me tell you the people that she knows have gone through some tough experiences!! Wow!! 

All in all the book was just okay in my opinion. I'm sure many people would like it but it didn't meet my standards. The chocolate recipes did however!!! Man they were good!!

In my opinion, The Chocolate Diaries fall short of a 5 star dessert but is worth maybe 3 stars for the creativity displayed and the great recipes.

You can take a sneak peek at the first chapter here.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. No other compensation was given. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own”.

Lovin' Learnin'

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For Sale

I am still trying to whittle our clutter down to the basics over here at Ruby Slippers. We've said goodbye to quite a bit of great items but I wanted to list what was left just in case you might be in need of something at your house. Email me if you want to purchase something or have more questions about an item!!!

Actual shipping will be calculated depending on weight! I don't try to make money off of shipping. I will gladly combine shipping for multiple items purchased!!

More pictures coming soon!!! If you are interested in something without pics let me know and I can get one sent to you!!!

Language Arts:
Language and Thinking for Young Children-Ruth Beechick

  • Ex. condition
  • $5.00

A Strong Start in Language, An Easy Start in Arithmetic, A Home Start in Reading-Ruth Beechick

  • Good condition, cover is smudged on the Arithmetic book
  • $5.00

Learning Literature Through Language Arts

  • older versions
  • $3.00 each or $12 for entire set
  • Levels are as follows: Red-2nd grade; Yellow-3rd grade; Tan-4th-6th grades; Gray-7th-8th grades
  • Spiral binding undone on Red and Gray books, looks like it can be redone at an office supply store
.Abeka Language 3
  • $20.00
  • Homeschool Parent Manual
  • Student Workbook KEY
  • Test KEY
  • Student Test Booklet-Test 1 completed only

Abeka K5
  • $15.00
  • Homeschool Phonics, Reading & Writing Parent Guide
  • 13 I Can Read books-complete set
  • My Blend Practice Book
Abeka Handbook For Reading
  • $2.50
  • Scribbling on back inside cover
  • good used condition
Abeka Primary Bible Reader
  • $3.50
  • Good condition!
Abeka Pre-K Readers
  • $3.50
  • Set of 7 Little Owl Readers
  • Mini Alphabet Flashcards
Audio Visual:
Monki See

  • $15.00
  • Baby's First Words dvd and Know Your Monkey book 
  • More information on their website

Digital Frog Field Trip

  • $50.00
  • Get more info on this great science product here.

Homeschooling Helps:
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling 3rd edition–Debra Bell: 

  • $2.50
  • ex. condition

For the Love of Learning-Maureen Whitman

  • $3.50
  • Like New
  • Read more about this book on Amazon

Abeka Numbers Concept Flashcards

  • $5.00
  • Great condition

CalcuLadder Masters Level 1 and Ready Writer
  • $8.00
  • All pages are in sheet protectors
  • In a three-ring binder
  • Include the write on/wipe off clear pages
Play and Find Out about Math-Janice VanCleave

  • $1.00
  • Ex-lib. – hardback
  • Great condition

Classic Literature:
A Child’s Treasury of Beatrix Potter-hardback with dust cover

  • $1.50
  • Great condition

Giant Treasury of Peter Rabbit-Tales by B.Potter with her Original Illustrations

  • $1.50
  • Ex. condition

The One Year Book of Poetry

  • 365 devotional readings based on Classic Christian Verse
  • $2.00

Hiawatha-H.W.Longfellow, Pictures by Susan Jeffers

  • $2.00
  • Paperback
  • Good condition

No Sweat Projects-Scholastic

Shadowy Science

Bouncing Science
  • $1.00/both
  • Fun Experiments
  • Ideas for Group Projects
  • Tips on Doing Research
  • Great for Science Fairs
  • Great condition
Play and Find Out about the Human Body-Janice VanCleave

  • $3.00
  • Great condition-paperback
Forgein Language
An Usborne Introduction Learn Spanish
  • $2.00
  • Ex. condition, paperback
  • comic book style but very complete
Forgien Language:
Skill Builders - Spanish/Level 1

  • Like new condition
  • $1.50
  • 78 pages
  • Encourages critical thinking
  • Vocab, numbers, alphabet, colors, shapes, review and drawing

The Story of Our Flag

  • $2.00
  • Great condition-two pages colored in
  • Beautifully illustrated, this new edition tells all about Our Flag's evolution. The Great eagle Seal is also explained.
  • Like a fancy coloring book with awesome artwork and tons of information!

Bigger Hearts for His Glory

  • $45.00
  • Easy lesson plans

Good Morning God-Apologia

  • $8.00
  • Beautiful artwork
  • A beautiful family devotional for younger children
  • Read more here

Hope to hear from you soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for stopping by!
Lovin' Learnin'

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

TOS Crew Review: Eagles Wings: Considering God's Creation

The Product:
Today I get the wonderful opportunity to share with you my opinions on the science curricula Considering God's Creation. It is an in-depth encounter with natural science from a biblical perspective. It is unique in that it is easily adaptable for grades 2 through 7th and includes a 272 page student notebook and teacher's manual with music CD. At $29.95 it is a complete and very inexpensive investment for science!

Here is a list of what materials are covered:

  • Universe
  • Stars
  • Solar System
  • Earth
  • Light
  • Sound
  • Wind
  • Weather
  • Clouds
  • Rocks
  • Plants
  • Insects
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Amphibians
  • Food Chains
  • Reproduction and Genetics
  • Human
  • Animal Anatomy
  • Physiology

Included at the back of the Teacher's Manual are suggested resources such as books, videos, games and computer programs that parents can take advantage of to enhance what is being learned in each lesson.

McMama's Experience:
First of all I have to say that I just love a company that truly has their customer's best in mind. I just LOVE that Eagle's Wings allows parents to copy the pages in the student's book so that one book can be used for multiple children! Very cost effective. 

Having said that...and having copied some material from the student book for my children I believe with all my heart that it is easier and more time efficient to purchase another manual. I actually ended up doing that. It has been so nice having the extra sheets all ready to be torn out of the books. The option of copying is always available if needed but I have to say that I have preferred having a book for each child.

Okay, my opinions. I've enjoyed this curriculum and so have my children. You can make it as in depth or as light as you see fit. Gotta love that flexibility!!

For our review we focused on the God Made Me portion since that is what we have been studying.

Here is a picture of what our human bodies are turning out like. They include the circulatory, respiratory and skeletal systems.

The kids had a blast making these and they have been great for review! I do have to say that they are missing their large intestine because Littlest has pulled them off. Ah, life with  a 2.5 year old! :)

I have benefited from the good layout of each lesson we've gone through. Each lesson is laid out as follows:

Preparation - This section lets me know what I need to get ready in order to begin the lesson. 

Vocabulary - we just went over some of the words but I didn't have the kids memorize any of the meanings just yet. You could have your children memorize them, use them as spelling words and learn the Latin and Greek roots. 

Introduction - this is what I used to basically help me give an overview of what we were getting ready to study. I read it ahead of time and then paraphrased for my own kids what the main ideas were. 

Song or Poem - this was a neat addition but honestly some of the songs are a little odd. My kids do enjoy them and did learn the Skeletal System for example thanks to the song but they, to me, were just a little odd. 

Activity - this is always fun. For the skeletal system the kids had fun wrapping each other's arms in a sling as if they had broken a bone. (I have pictures somewhere!!)

Bible Reading - this included in all lessons and for me was the most important as we try to bring everything we teach our kids back to it's Biblical foundation. I took this in bite size pieces and we read some of the verses each time we met for Science. (The authors use MANY verses and that is great!!) 

Notebook - this is a favorite part for sure! This is where the huge student manual comes in and the kids do a great worksheet, such as what is pictured above, to enhance learning and bring it home. Since my kids love worksheets, cutting, pasting and coloring this portion couldn't have been more perfect of a fit for them! I love how interactive this part has been and what a treasure and keepsake these will be! 

Evolution Stumpers - This is awesome and I love how this helps me to teach my kids the evolution is wrong because "this" is how God created it and "this" is what the Bible says to prove it. 

Review - is next and included are questions to go over with your children to make sure that they are learning and not just mindlessly working. There is also a reminder to have the student explain his notebook page to another person.

Digging Deeper - for older or more advanced children in the family. This portion includes reading from a recommended book, summarizing a certain topic, research and more.

All in all this is going to be one item that we will use consistently in our homeschool. It has been a great fit for us and for our learning style.
The Breakdown:
  • Considering God's Creation w/audio CD - $29.95
  • Additional workbook - $13.95
  • Great for keeping the family learning together!
  • Easily adaptable for youngers and olders; although the littlest ones will need help with the cutting.
  • Biblically sound.
  • See samples here.

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.** 

Lovin' Learnin'

Friday, May 20, 2011

TOS Crew Review-Wordy Qwerty


The Product:
Wordy Qwerty is another product created by the folks over at Talking Fingers. You may remember my review from last fall on their beginner product, Read, Write and Type. (Check it out! It's so effective at teaching my girls-especially Biggest how to type using 10 finger touch and it's reinforced phonics at the same time!!) Well Wordy Qwerty picks up where R,W&T leaves off.

WQ is aimed at 7-9 year olds in grades 2-4 and focuses on spelling the many words that they are now reading. WQ consists of 20 consecutive lessons that implement games and upbeat songs to make the learning stick.

Here's a quote from the website:

"The overall purpose of Wordy Qwerty: Foundations for Reading and Writing Fluency, is to improve phonological and morphological sensitivity, to develop a deeper understanding of how words are constructed in English, and to provide reading and writing activities with helpful feedback, in order to increase fluency and comprehension in reading and writing. "

As I stated above there are 20 consecutive lessons with 6 activities each (take a detailed tour of each activity here). The program covers the following spelling rules:

  1. Silent E
  2. Sounds of C
  3. Sounds of G
  4. J or DGE
  5. W or WH
  6. C or K
  7. CK or K
  8. CKS or X
  9. CH or TCH
  10. LL, SS, FF, ZZ
  11. OI or OY
  12. VE Words

  1. Open Syllables
  2. Double Consonants
  3. Doubling rule
  4. ER, IR, OR, UR, EAR
  5. I Before E
  6. Plurals: Add ES
  7. Plurals: Y to IES
  8. Plurals: F to VES

A sentence given through dictation. The child hears what is said and then needs to type the sentence. If delayed the program prompts the child and tells them which letters to type.
Pop a Word:  Race the clock to pop as many balloons as you can that are in the 4 word sentence given.

Karaoke: One of Wordy Qwerty's musical rules.

McMama's Experience:
So, will you not judge me if I say admit that spelling is a weakness in our home? Our children simply struggle with it. It could be that we've just this year began a regular spelling program with them...or it could be development...or worse yet, genes!!!

But whatever the case our girls have really needed a program such as Wordy Qwerty. No, they are not doing so well. They haven't gone through many levels and haven't made the best scores. But ya wanna know the absolute doesn't bother me! I know that they are getting exposure to the spelling rules, having fun and in time (hopefully) all of this stuff will stick! I wouldn't let this be our only curriculum of course but as a supplement I think it works pretty well! The girls enjoy it and are disappointed any time we miss our alloted WQ time.

In order to organize our time on the computer I have scheduled them to work on WQ 15 minutes each day. Honestly we don't always get to it because life happens and our schedule changes but we do our best.

I haven't seen any major breakthroughs with their spelling yet but admitedly we haven't been using this for very long. I believe however that with extended use WQ can be an extremely effective tool in aiding my girls to conquer our spelling woes.

PhotobucketThe Breakdown:

The parent account allows you to reassign the online licenses to younger children as an older child outgrows the program.  It also allows you to see which lessons your child has passed and what their score is on the lesson they’re currently covering.  They must achieve 80% to pass to a new lesson, and you can see if they’re only at 70%.

The current pricing for the online edition of Wordy Qwerty is as follows:
  • 1 user  - $25.00
  • 2 users - $40.00
  • 3 users - $52.50
  • 4 users - $60.00
  • 5 users - $71.25
     Wordy Qwerty Home Edition is available on a CD-rom for $35,  or online with a 5 year membership.  

    System Requirements:

    Macintosh Hardware Requirements:
    • Mac: OS9 with CarbonLib or OSX
    Windows Hardware Requirements:
    • Windows: 98, SE, 2000, XP
    Also requires QuickTime 6 (included) or greater

    We were provided two free 1-year licenses in exchange  for our review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  We received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion.   Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog toread more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

    Lovin' Learnin'

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    TOS Review: Institute for Excellence in Writing

    You've heard of them right? Institute for Excellence in Writing is one of the most popular and sought after curriculum providers around. Their reputation for excellency in their products and effectiveness for academic learning is widely known. Mr. Pudewa's great teaching style and sense of humor is well known also!

    Well, I have had the wonderful opportunity to review their Student Writing Intensive Level A this year. I have felt so blessed to have been able to review such a great product!

    In my package I received the following materials:
    • four DVDs
    • a binder with dividers
    • a packet with the Teacher's Notes, handouts and checklists (lots of pages here!)
    • portable wall
    • Structure and Style DVD
    The Structure and Style Overview is a 2 hour 20 minute overview of the IEW method and briefly covers the 9 units of structure of the program. While the full teacher/parent Structure and Style  (TWSS) course is recommended for an in-depth view of the method, the Overview DVD in combination with joining your student in watching the DVD lessons will give you the tools you need to successfully teach the materials.

    I have to say that the materials packet is laid out well and very organized. With one read over the Teacher's Instruction page I was ready to put my daughter's notebook together and begin.

    McMama's Experience:
    We gathered Biggest's materials: notebook, writing paper and pencil, popped in the DVD and sat back to learn. Although I was excited about this program I was a little apprehensive about using it with Biggest simply because writing has never been something that she has enjoyed. She has struggles anytime she has to put her pencil to paper for any length of time. For this reason I asked my hubby to sit in with us and watch so that I could get his opinion. We watched together and honestly I was immediately taken with Mr. Pudewa's fun teaching style and amazed at how easy he makes writing. Biggest truly enjoyed her first session and although she struggled in some areas she was doing great, completed her first writing assignment with relative ease and was happily looking forward to the next session.

    Once we were wrapped up I privately asked hubby what he thought and although he thought the program was great he wondered if it were too advanced for our reluctant 8 year old writer. I kept his thoughts in my mind as we moved forward.

    We made it a couple of more lessons with Biggest then, after tears and frustration put it aside. It was just too much for her at her age and development. She loved Mr. Pudewa and enjoyed watching the DVDs and even put forth great effort at trying to write out her papers but for her it was just too much.

    I plan on pulling this program back out for her maybe in the 2nd semester of her 4th grade year and trying again. (I LOVE that each level can be used with multiple grade levels! So awesome!)

    The Breakdown:
    That being said, I think that this is a great program! Writing is made so easy! I really wish that I had been taught this way! As I continued to watch the lessons and go through the notes on my own I was amazed that more educators of writing do not teach this way. 

    SWI has pre-written paragraphs for the children to use. Then, they are lead through a variety of exercises, beginning with finding key words from each sentence to make their own outline. Then they are taught to add in different dress-ups, sentence openers, decorations and sentence styles to make the sentences more complex. With the pre-written paragraphs the dread of coming up with original ideas is taken away and the children are able to concentrate on finding the most important words in the paragraphs and learn how to build a great paper from there.

    I guess I should say that for struggling writers the pre-written paragraphs are great. If you have a child that doesn't struggle at all then they would only box her in. However the methods Mr. Pudewa focuses on would make it easy for advanced children to apply in their own ideas.

    All in all this is a program worth looking in to if you have a child that freezes when blank paper is put in front of her. If your child doesn't struggle I wouldn't say not to try it but I would suggest maybe trying to take a good look at it from someone who already owns it that you know or really browse it at a conference.

     The SWI Level A sells for $99, the Portable Wall for $7 and the Structure and Style Overview DVD for $10. All of the products come with a complete satisfaction guarantee. The website also has a ton of Help and Support for learning more about the products and what ones will suit your needs. And by the way, forts make a great space for some tear-free writing! IEW also hosts webinars on different writing topics and their products!

    **Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.** 
    And thank you IEW for this wonderful opportunity!!!! 

    Lovin' Learnin'