Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making some changes

Because sometimes life requires it right?! When we found out that we were expecting our 5th baby I quickly became overcome with this one thought, "Lord, how am I going to get it all done?" I was well aware of how many times I'd felt overwhelmed already but with the realization of another addition, well, no amount of excitement could remove the feeling of inadequacy from my mind.

So, I began praying-no pleading with the Lord to show me what to do, to give me direction. And you know what, He did.

He showed me what to do, and what changes needed to be made. Now I'll be honest with you, although most of what the Lord showed me that needed changing were things that I knew needed attention, there was one area that I was very hesitant about-textbooks. Yes, textbooks.

For the past few years I had happily studied and put into practice all I could from a "literature rich" education. We've used living books, narration, notebooks etc. to enhance our learning and now, and now I knew the Lord was calling me to make a change-a change that I wasn't sure that I was willing to make.

Textbooks-from what I'd read-had always been a "no-no" for a fun learning environment. They were the culprits of stealing the love of learning from children and replacing it with a disdain for "school." At least that's the impression that I took away from all those articles, workshops and blogs.

However, after talking things over with McPop, praying about it and thinking through things, I bowed my will to the Lord. I wasn't 100% happy but I knew that this was the Lord and that "His ways are not our ways." I knew that in following Him I would not be making any mistakes.

So yes, we are making changes here at Ruby Slippers School (gotta change that name too!!). We are going to a more traditional, textbook based homeschool. Can I tell you since I've began implementing these changes the Lord has been blessing all around! More on that in another post. But for now, this is what we will be using here for our 2011/2012 school year:

For the Big Girls:
Christian Light Education (CLE) Math
CLE Language Arts
A Beka History 4
A Beka Science 4
Literature-Christian Novel Studies 
Penmanship-Peterson Directed Handwriting-Cursive
Missionary/Geography Studies-Put together byMcMama! I'll share what we are doing at a later time.

Even though Big Sis is only in 2nd grade she is still able to keep up with the 4th grade history and science. We do tweak the curriculum to fit our needs. I'll explain in a later post how we are using those texts in our schooling.

Phonics-Reading Made Easy and Phonics Tutor as an additional supplement (I picked up the student reader and CD-Rom for free so I decided to put it to good use!!)
Math-Right Start Level B
Penmanship-Peterson Directed Handwriting
He tags along with our history, science and missionary studies. Though Christian Liberty Press has a great new history text out for the little ones that looks sweet. No money for that yet but I'd love to look into that more!

Animal Play-Teach Me Joy
Lots of activity bags-that I've yet to use!!!! Ugh!!!

We also still have our read-alouds as a family. Can't get away from those!!

So that is what we are doing. We have already started our school year so that we can take some time off when the baby comes. Things are going well so far but I'm not going to elaborate too much as I feel it is still too early in the game to say what has worked and what hasn't.

Anyway, that is what we are doing, have any of you began making your new year plans yet? Share 'em with us!

Lovin' Learnin'

Two new picture book reviews

I just posted about two great picture books that we have enjoyed here at Ruby Slippers. You can read my reviews on the Book Guardians blog.

First up is Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile
Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile by Gloria M. Houston: Book Cover

and then The Firehouse Light.

Check 'em out!! There are other great book reviews to be read as well!

Lovin' Learnin'


A Tasty Treat Winner!!!!

Okay, so this was a very low entry giveaway...that's alright!!! Better chances for those desiring to win?!! Anyway, we "professionally" put numbers 1-8 in a bowl and Big Sis picked a winner from the stash. I'm glad to announce that our winner is...

#4 - Kimberly Kovach said...
        Following you :)
       June 20, 2011 10:45 AM

Congrats Kimberly!!! I will forward your info to the great folks at Chex Mix so that they can put your prize package in the mail!!!

Thanks to all of you others who participated!!! Until next time!!

Lovin' Learnin'

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tasty Treat

Chex Mix. Delish isn't it?! I have always been a fan of Chex Mix I've recently been sent a great little package of Chex Mix Muddy Buddy to try out. This flavor was quite a surprise to me. It'sa chocolate covered Chex cereal filled with peanut butter and covered in powdered sugar. I didn't think that I would enjoy this flavor as I am not a big fan of peanut butter snacks but I was surprised! This flavor is terrific!! McPapa and the McKiddos loved this too!!!

Apparently this flavor hasn't been available year-round but now they are making it available at all times. So you can try it out any time of the year!

And now for the best part!! I have the opportunity to bless one of my readers with a great gift package! I am holding a giveaway for the following set:

  • A bag of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies
  • A nice sized snack bowl.
  • A magnetic, heavy duty bag clip.
  • An awesome Chex Mix container to store all that deliciousness in!!! 
And what stands out about this container is that to open and close all you have to do is depress the circle on the top of the lid and it seals (or opens) the container quite nicely!!! McPapa was impressed by this little feature-and he's not easily impressed by much!!

So, if you would like to enter the giveaway for this gift package here's what you have to do:
    1. Go to the Chex Mix website and tell me which of the flavors is your favorite. This is a mandatory entry.
    2. Follow me on GFC.
    3. Post about this giveaway on your own blog-this is worth THREE entries so leave THREE separate comments please!!
    Please remember to leave a way for me to contact you so that I can notify you if you win this lovely gift set!!! The giveaway will last for 1 week beginning on Monday, June 20 and ending midnight Monday, June 27th. I will notify the winner Tuesday morning and post about it on here!!

    Chex Mix provided me with the free information, product and gift pack through MyBlogSpark. All opinions stated herein are soley those of the folks here at Ruby Slippers School.

    Lovin' Learnin'
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    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Review "Field of Vision" from Family Movie Night

    I have been given the opportunity to review a new movie for families called "Field of Vision." The film premiers Saturday, June 11th at 8/7c on NBC.

    The films focus is dealing with bullying in the high school arena. It focuses on two football team bullies and the team captain that is faced with whether or not saying something to an authority about the bullying is worth risking their final game and destroying life-long friendships.

    The theme of bullying is not new to anyone today and is a big problem even in some elementary-aged groups. Nearly three-quarters of Americans consider bullying harassment a serious problem and more than 45% of students admitted to having been bullied in school.This is an important issue for kids of all ages to face, talk about and deal with. Bullying has led to some very tragic events in our country and is not an issue that we as parents should ignore. Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin or even what to say once we do begin but having a film such as "Field of Vision" as a springboard will help to give direction to this important issue.

    The film is surprisingly clean and very family-friendly (and we are very picky about our movies). Watching this movie would be a great way to spend some quality family time together and you won't even have to worry about watching for colorful content! How's that for a great family night?!

    Check out the links below for more information:

    Mom's for Family TV: http://www.moms4familytv.com/

    "Disclosure of Material Connection: I gained access to view the film, "Field of Vision" for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for 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."

    Lovin' Learnin'

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    My Little Bookworm

    It's a wonderful sight to walk into a room and find your 2.5 year old doing this!

    Lovin' Learnin'

    Loving this puzzle!!

    This is my first opportunity to review for Timberdoodle, a great company that offers and amazing assortment of educational products, curricula, toys and books!

    What We Reviewed:

    Today I'm reviewing a product from the famous Lauri company, their A to Z Puzzle, lowercase. I've secretly been eyeing this puzzle since I first saw it as part of package deal for a different curriculum company. Getting the opportunity to review it now is so great! This puzzle is a part of Timberdoodle's Toddler Core Curriculum package but can be purchased separately for $8.95.

    What We Think:
    Upon opening the puzzle the high quality is easy to detect. This Lauri puzzle is made of a sturdy foam material, it's not flimsy or cheap at all! The puzzle is set in a tray (something that I was surprised about) with a puzzle size card between the two that has pictures of items that begin with each letter of the alphabet. The point is to have the children pull off the abc pieces and see what is underneath and figure out the sound of the letter. Simple phonics review.

    Many of the pictures are common I just wish that for the vowels they could have either added two smaller pictures, one with the long sound and one with the short or just go with the short. It's more common in my opinion. The 'A' for example has an acorn. Not bad but when little ones are beginning to read the most common sound learned is 'a' as in apple.

    The abc pieces are very sturdy as stated before but were a wee bit hard to get out of the foam frame. My Littlest, 2.5 had a hard time doing this on her own. Nonetheless she loves it!! Check her out in the video.

    How We Used It:
    Having said all of that I have to say that all of my children LOVE this puzzle! Especially my 5 and 2.5 year olds. We used this puzzle in a variety of ways:

    1. As just a puzzle, figuring out where all the pieces go.
    2. As a tool to practice letter sounds.
    3. As a penmanship tool-tracing the foam pieces and the empty shapes on the foam.
    4. As a way to practice spelling three letter words.
    Do you see how versatile this puzzle is! I'm sure there are plenty of other ways to use it that we will be sure to find out as time passes. This puzzle is destined to become a much used and loved item for our Pre-School/Kindergarten stages!

    **As a caution, the dots on the letters can pose a choking hazard so those should be removed when young children are playing with the puzzle.**

    I also received Timberdoodle's Core Curriculum for Toddlers planning folder. This little packet is really quite cool! It contains the following to keep you organized and on top of your toddler's learning experiences:
    • a list of everything included in the Toddler Core Curriculum package
    • an introduction to give you ideas on how to get started
    • descriptions of each item in the curriculum, reasons why it has been included and ideas for using each item
    • a checklist to keep track of what you have done with your little one each day of the week
    • suggestions on other items you might enjoy using with your child
    • there is also several articles that are helpful for anyone homeschooling with a toddler in tow
    Timberdoodle has really thought of everything! This is a great tool to have on hand!

    Here are some helpful links for ya:

    Free Homeschool Catalog


    Homeschool supplies or homeschool curriculum


    Complete Curriculum Packages


    Timberdoodle on Facebook


    Disclaimer-As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team, I received this puzzle for free in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts shared are expressly those of the staff and students at Ruby Slippers School. Thanks Timberdoodle!!!

    Lovin' Learnin'