Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kite Capers DNG Review

Caleb:  Mom, what's a caper?
Jeremiah:  A cape... Superman has a cape.
Rachel: J'miah - you Superman!!!  You fly!
Jeremiah:  I'm not Superman!  That was costume for "Trick-or-Treat-Thank-You!"
Caleb: Is a Caper a Cape?
Jeremiah:  Mom, where's my Superman cape?
Rachel:  Play Dress-UP!!!
Caleb:  I'm Buzz Lightyear!

And that was the beginning of our Kite Capers DNG!!!  I don't think Amanda Bennett had dress-up in mind when she developed this unit, but then again, her fantastic studies always spark creativity in my kiddos.  Amanda, don't worry!!!  We discovered the meaning of the word caper and even decided that it would be a fitting description of my fabulous three... a hop, a frolic!  If I haven't mentioned before, the DNG series really is vocabulary rich.  My two little English Language Learners glean so much from the experiences and discussions we hold, and Mr. Caleb is adding new words to the impressive linguistic arsenal he already commands.

(I was provided with a complimentary copy of this product.  The honest opinions expressed in this reveiw are mind and not influenced by the company.)

Utilizing family-friendly, hands-on activities, interactive websites, entertaining video clips, vivid graphics, and lapbooking elements, the Kite Capers DNG capitalizes on K-4 students enthusiasm and energy! Undoubtedly, it propels learning and sends children soaring to monumental new heights.
My children learned science while studying weather and the effects of wind.  Through kite safety lessons, they were able to address practical living and health issues.  In the social studies arena, key historical figures, including Benjamin Franklin, were highlighted and various cultures, such as China, were featured.  In addition, the mapping activities boost geography skills. 

An overview of the week and sample activitiy pages follow:
Day 1: What Is a Kite?
Day 2: The History of Kites
Day 3: Kite People and Places
Day 4: Science Secrets of Kites
Day 5: Goodies and Gadgets of Kites

A funny observation...  If a kite does not appear in a perfect, geometrical, diamond shape complete with a tail sporting three bows, it's legitimacy is questioned by little ones.  I suppose all of our PreK "K is for Kite" material has conditioned them, but with Kite Capers they were able to expand their understanding.  We looked at books, pictures, videos, and websites and learned about the Delta, Sled, Box, and Winged Box kites.

I highly recommend this study!  Today, we officially ushered in the start of spring.  What child wouldn't want to be outdoors flying a kite soaking in the warmth of the sun and the glow of new knowledge?  Not only is Kite Capers an educational gem, it is an opportunity for family-building and great memory making.  For that reason alone, it is easily worth the $7.95 investment.  A cost-conscious Momma, one reason I love DNG's - they are perfect for our budget!!!!  Need a little extra convincing...
definitely, check out what other homeschooling Momma's are saying on the Kite Capers DNG Blog Tour

An additional note: 
This study was perfect for our family as we will be gearing up for Georgetown's International Kite and Culture Festival in mid-April.  While there isn't a lot of information posted yet, Kentucky families keep an eye on the website.  In the not to distant future, the schedule, list of main events, and vendors will be posted.  Be sure and add it to your calendar... can't beat educational, frugal, family fun!

In the years we've been attending, we've witnessed martial arts demonstration, Japanese kite-building, African drum ensembles, taiko drumming, ethnic dances, etc.  The kids enjoy the inflatables, the arts-and-crafts activities, and flying kites.  I enjoy the food :-)  Somewhat comical, I actually remember a Facebook status I posted while at the festival.  We had only been home with Jeremiah and Rachel for a couple months, so it was something like:  Love that we are a family of 5!!!  Our two Ethiopian cuties are at a Japanese kite festival, eating churros, watching Chinese/Taiwanese dancing.  Aren't cultural celebrations awesome?!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Time4Learning Review

Time 4 Learning is a very versatile online educational curriculum as it can stand alone, supplement, remediate, or provide learning extensions based on the needs of your children.  This program can be used in the home to accompany the traditional school setting or to promote retention over school breaks and summer.  In our case, through our 30-day trial membership, we used it in the day-to-day operations of our homeschool. 

Animated character, Ed Mouse served as the narrator for the learning activities by reading directions, asking questions, re-directing when items were answered incorrectly, and celebrating when all was correct.  Admittedly, this Momma was not enthused by the high-pitched, synthesized rodent vocals, but ALL 3 of my children were HUGE fans.  They loved the immediate and enthusiastic re-enforcement of a job well done.

In our trial, Rachel used the Pre-K curriculum.  She enjoyed the music, stories, and activities very much.  She learned about transportation, foods, colors, numbers, and letters.  My boys used the Kindergarten curriculum.  The majority of their time was spent on math lessons focusing on size, patterns, basic numerals, and simple equations.

Not just for young children, the Time 4 Learning curriculum provides interactive fun for students PreK-8th grade.  See the scope and sequence here as well as try a demo lesson.  The subject areas included in this online program are Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  Also included is a parent login page where the children's progress can be tracked and monitored. 

During a month where we dealt with multiple illnesses, it was nice to have this activity in the rotation to maintain quality learning. It was a substitute when Mommy wasn't up to par, and it also allowed for Mommy to care for a sick little one without disrupting learning for everyone.  I was very pleased in this respect.

Overall, this product was a great addition to our homeschooling day.  It allowed for the kids to have some autonomy and work independently, yet it still provided the immediate feedback and guidance they need.  Best of all, the kiddos truly enjoyed it.

For more information you can check out the links below:

Free Lesson Demos

Scope and Sequence

Lesson Plans

Parent Forum

Disclosure: I received a free 30 day Trial for review on my blog. The opinions shared are honest and have not been influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SSMT Verse 6

March 15th... already?  Wow - time is flying by, and I'm on to verse 6 of the year. 

I doubt any of you are shocked, but I like to be able to anticipate what's coming next, plot and plan my attack, and remain composed.  I'm somewhat of a control freak.  I realize this is a serious delusion of grandeur.  Really, who am I to think that I actually have any control?  Unfortunately, because of this character flaw, when things don't go just as I plan or veer in a direction that I haven't previously charted I find myself gasping for air trying not to be toppled over by the crashing waves.

Thankfully, I do know the Master... the ONE who holds the world in the palm of His hand, the wind and the waves obey His commands.  Not one event, thing, or thought catches Him off guard or takes Him by surprise!  I can place my total trust in HIM!  In times of uncertainty, when change is emanate, in all things the verses I'll be committing to memory are a reminder that God is God and I am not.  I can rest assured in His complete control without the fear of getting burned. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's Official - Convention, Here We Come!

Several weeks ago, I entered and won a giveaway on the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog.  My prize???  A complimentary family registration to a Great Homeschool Convention!!! AND....  tickets to see comedian TIM HAWKINS!  Hooray!!!  Thanks so much Erika for this great opportunity!  Definitely, check out this blog!  It is full of great ideas for schooling little ones.


So, if I won this great giveaway several weeks ago, why am I just now posting about it?  I was waiting on my confirmation email.  I had to make sure it wasn't too good to be true :-)  Well, it came today.  The hubby and I are registered for the MidWest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, OH.  Looking forward to walking the vendor hall, sitting in on some great sessions, and of course, laughing hysterically with Mr. Hawkins :-)  However, possibly the best thing...  a getaway with my BOY!  We haven't been afforded this opportunity since coming home from Ethiopia last year.  So - a HUGE thank you to Mamaw and Papaw for braving our three littles for a couple nights.

Cincinnati Homeschool Convention

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Children of God

I'm so thankful for my three precious little ones.  Through the miracles of birth and adoption, we are family!  All by God's design :-)  I'm so blessed to be a mother, and evenmoreso to be an adopted daughter of The Most High!  We are the children of God!  Great reminder from Third Day....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hoppin' Popcorn DNG Review

In our house, popcorn is "comfort" food.  It's a great late night snack for this Momma, a special movie-time treat for the kiddos, and a reminder of a distant land once (and forever) called home.  Jeremiah and Rachel took to popcorn quite easily because it is very familiar to them.  Minus the butter, salt, and seasoning, popcorn is a very popular snack in Ethiopia.  In fact, it is typically served at a traditional coffee ceremony. 

Below is a picture of a coffee ceremony we were able to take part in while visiting an orphanage in Ethiopia.  As you can see, on the silver tray there is puffy white popcorn.  Jeremiah and Rachel were quick to eat this treat as we sipped our freshly brewed coffee.

True to DNG design, Hoppin' Popcorn is an all inclusive, comprehensive week-long study that targets K-4 students.  Utilizing vivid graphics, engaging videos, informative websites, hands-on and just-for-fun activities, and lapbooking, the DNG appeals to children of varied learning styles. The Hoppin' Popcorn DNG, a delectable educational treat from Mrs. Amanda Bennett, brought a whole new element to our understanding of popcorn.  Yes, it is a delicious snack, but as a unit study theme, it also provides a unique opportunity to study history, geography, and science. 

An overview of our week of study as well as some sample pages follow:

Day 1: Popcorn—What Is It?

Day 2: The Story of Popcorn

Day 3: The Flavors of Popcorn

Day 4: The Science of Popcorn

Day 5: Fun With Popcorn

What makes popcorn different from other corn?
Where is popcorn grown in the U.S.?
How is it grown?
To what lengths do farmers go to ensure a bountiful harvest?
How does popcorn pop?

Want answers???  You need the Hoppin' Popcorn DNG.  Gather your family together and poll them regarding their favorite popcorn flavor - salty, buttery, movie theater, cheesy, caramel, etc.  Better yet - taste test each one.  Get creative and come up with your own.  Everyone in your family can get involved with the Hoppin' Popcorn DNG.  For all this family-bonding, togetherness time - $7.95 is not a bad investment.  Fun, Tasty, and Educational - why would you want to pass this up?

Pop on over to the Hoppin' Popcorn DNG Blog Tour!  See how others enjoyed this yummy study!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

SSMT - Verse 5

Through Beth Moore's Siesta's Scripture Memory Team, I have committed to memorizing 24 Bible verses in 2011.  It is now March 1st, and I'm moving on to my 5th Scripture for the year.  So far, I've chosen verses that are applicable to the circumstances, situations, thoughts, or feelings presently on my heart at the time.  I start this month off no different.

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday. 
                                                           ~Isaiah 58:10                                                                    
Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to meet with other like-minded adoption pals.  Friends with a burdened heart and a passion for the very least of these.  Even better, people with a GOD that is the absolute, ultimate Father to the fatherless.  It is His very heart for the oppressed and distressed that stirs us to act and to move.  I'm blessed to have been included in this team as we work together to live out the words of Isaiah 58 while building community, mobilizing others, and partnering with orphan care initiatives.

I'm still the newbie of the group, so I'm catching up a bit.  However, I'm really excited to be able to share with you more as we prepare to launch in May.  The name of our organization is taken straight from this verse, so it is quite fitting that I spend the next two weeks committing it to memory.