Friday, September 30, 2011

Dixie Belle Riverboat Ride

After our morning at Shaker Village, Melissa, McKenzie, and my crew met up with our M-I-N-D Homeschool group to cruise the Kentucky River palisades aboard the Dixie Belle Riverboat.  While waiting to board, the kiddos graciously posed for a photo op.  Since it involved climbing on a big rock, the boys were in! 

Just before departure, we felt our first few sprinkles.  In the spirit of optimism, we appeased the kiddos and seated ourselves on  the uncovered upper deck.  The random drops quickly changed to a rhythmic rain, so we abandoned our top level perch for the comfort of a roof overhead. 

(I actually thought I'd document that I was on this trip... I usually don't make any of the trip pics!)
 Down below, my little ones had to sit on their knees to peer over the boat's side.  They saw High Bridge, a waterfall, exposed cliffs, birds, and wildflowers.  To hear my boys tell it, they also saw large fish and water snakes.  I believe, they saw sticks and trash!  Rachel was hoping for sharks and dolphins, but I was definitely able to veto those far-fetched notions.

The rain cleared on our return trip, so we ventured up top again.  Rachel was very disturbed that the boat lacked musical entertainment, so she and McKenzie serenaded us with "Jesus Love Me" at least a dozen times.  The boys didn't join in... guess they were to busy on their search for wildlife. 

(McKenzie and my three, but no takers for a classic "I'm the King of the World" pose.)
All in all, we enjoyed our jaunt down the river.  We always look forward to outings with good friends and other homeschooling families.  It was also a pleasant change to enjoy a day outside and not be sweating horrendously.  Hooray for fall outdoor activities!  Where to next?

My Movers & Shakers Hit Shaker Village

Our M-I-N-D homeschool group planned a trip to Harrodsburg to ride the Dixie Belle Riverboat.  Since we were boarding at Shaker Landing, it seemed like a waste to take that trip and skip Shaker Village.  I have great memories of going on school field trips to Shaker Village both as a student and a teacher, so I definitely didn't want my kiddos to miss out.  Through texts and a phone call, I coordinated with Melissa, and she and McKenzie (our summer outing buddies) joined us on Wednesday for our little excursion.  We haven't seen much of them since hitting the books in August, so this was a special treat.

We enjoyed the cooler temperatures and were able to stroll leisurely through Shaker Village...  well, as much as possible with 4 kids full of energy.  We enjoyed a musical performance in the meeting house, met many artisans working, toured the various buildings, and even cozied up with some of the critters.

I'm so glad that we didn't let the possible scattered showers detour us from taking this trip.  It's always nice to step back in time and get a glimpse of a simpler life.  Definitely, a lot we can all learn!

In The Meeting House before a presentation on Shaker Worship Music.

Can you spot my boys welcoming you to the Centre Family Dwelling?

 They couldn't be on a school field trip and avoid entering the schoolroom.

 Trying their hands at quilting... Caleb jabbed his finger with a needle, of course!

 This gentleman was making oval wooden boxes.  He answered the kiddos many questions.

 Broom-making... they were impressed how far the guy could shoot the straw when he cut it.

 What?  An elevator for food?  Wow!

 Good lil' Shakers - the boys & girls each stuck to their staircases, and yes, they did race!

Time to get spinning!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Empowered to Connect - TOP 10

Top Ten {Tuesday}
Road Trip with the gals.... what exciting places did we see? Things did we do?  Karen, Sam, and I (along with a lot of our SCC Adoption Group friends) attended the Empowered to Connect conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  From 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, we heard from gifted and talented speakers on how to best parent our children from "hard places."  Sound like fun???  Even though I didn't sleep much, my bum was sore from so much sitting, I cried quite a bit, and the topics were often heavy, I did have a great time.  Some laughs were had and great conversations shared, but most of all, I truly feel empowered!  I know I gleaned so much wonderful information that I hope to share with others and implement in my own parenting.  By the way, as a parent to both a bio and adopted kiddos - I suggest the TBRI® (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) model to everyone.  It is just great parenting all the way around.  Read The Connected Child and download the study guide Created To Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child
Enjoy my Top 10!

1.  Dr. Karyn Purvis

Prior to going to this conference, I had read The Connected Child, articles on the Empowered to Connect website, and even watched Dr. Purvis videos.  However, there's something about hearing her speak in person.  The "kid whisperer" as she has been dubbed truly has the most mesmerizing and engaging voice.  In real life, she's a hoot!  As serious as our subjects were, I did laugh quite a bit.  Nevertheless, Dr. Purvis is a professional.  She backs up all she says with scientific research, but most importantly, she is a believer.  She is following her God-given calling and is passionate about bringing healing and voice to vulnerable children.  What a blessing she is to both the parents of and the children from "hard places."

2. James 1:27 - "In Their Distress" 

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~NIV

Most adoptive parents can quote James 1:27 as it is often our mantra, but we must truly embrace three important words... "in their distress."  We are not rescuing our children from "hard places"  instead we are answering a call to "enter in." In knowing this, Michael and Amy Monroe shared that: 
  1. This is not going to be easy.
  2. It will be worth it.
  3. You should not go this alone.
3. Giving Voice 

Children from "hard places" have been deprived of a lot of yeses and their voices have gone unheard. Dr. Purvis says, "The giving of voice is the beginning of trust."  How do we give voice?  Eye contact, gentle touch, a listening ear, and encourage children to "use their words" opposed to aggression.  Whenever a child uses their words with respect, we need to say "YES" if at all possible or be willing to offer a compromise. 

4.  Be Fully Present

Repeatedly, we were told we needed to evaluate our own past. Dr. Purvis is quoted, "You cannot lead a child to a place of healing if you do not know the way yourself."  Basically, we first need to deal with our own issues and stuff.

Then, as far as our children, we have to understand there is no healing without "being with."  Our children need and deserve our undivided attention.  When we are with them, we should be "with" them in all senses.  We all understand this one... intentional parenting.  In fact, I'd like to think that we all desire and long to be parents that are fully present.  However, as Amy Monroe pointed out, we're often entranced by rectangles.  Yeah, you know the ones... staring at one right now, aren't you?  Computers, TV's, iPhones, iPads, etc. 

5.  Practice the I.D.E.A.L. Response When Correcting Behavior

I – Immediate
D – Direct
E – Efficient
A – Action-based
L – Leveled at the behavior (not the child)

This was convicting.  As Dr. Purvis said, I'm often guilty of "going after a gnat with an elephant gun."  In other words, I often use the same response for an annoyance, nuisance behavior as I would a major infraction. The A of I.D.E.A.L. is something I must work to incorporate more.  There needs to be an action-based opportunity for a "Re-Do" especially since "motor memory trumps cognitive memory."

6. "I'm Sorry" for accidents, and "Forgiveness" for intentional wrongs.

I caught this wise tidbit from Michael Monroe during one of the Q&A sessions. I love this! There is definitely a distinguishment between an accident and willfull disobedience. To some the words may be mere semantics, but I definitely, like using different terms for varied situations. Forgiveness is a Biblical act that we all must practice... including forgiving our children, forgetting the offense, being fully present, and quick to return to play.

7. "When they are covered in their own stuff, they are still precious." ~ Dr. Karyn Purvis

When asked if she was ever afraid when working with a child/adolescent, Dr. Purvis responded, "NO!" She has always been able to see the preciousness of the child. She knows to whom the child belongs and the image in which he/she is made. She recognizes the "poops covering their tender hearts." It is no wonder why she is wildly successful in connecting and healing children from "hard places." I truly enjoyed the video clips she shared of some of her latest work with the highest at-risk teens (girls and boys) in a residential facility. When she was sharing candy, bubblegum, toys, and games with the youth, they sure didn't seem tough at all. They were longing for connection and voice.

8.  Stick Together, No Hurts, Have Fun

These were the three rules for the nurture groups that Dr. Purvis led.  I think these would work equally well for a family.  My family will stand by each other through thick and thin, protect one another, and hopefully, have the best of times.  PLAY is so important...  we have to play, play, play more together.

9.  "Exposed Brokeness"

I believe it was Dan Coley who coined this phrase when speaking of his past, but it applies to so many who shared over the weekend.  Some of the speakers had great tragedies in their past.  Others had the wrong motivation in adopting and/or parenting.  Some had to come to grips with and change their parenting style from avoidant or ambivalent to secure.  Then, there were all the issues involved in parenting children from "hard places."  Dan and Terri Coley, Lisa Qualls, and Debbie Jones all shared their personal stories.  Each one touched my heart, offered encouragement, and attested to the amazing Father to the fatherless we serve.  In an age where adoption disruption is unfortunately becoming more commonplace and acceptable, it was so encouraging and powerful to hear parents both on the other side and still in the thick of it firmly planted, standing by, and sacrificing for their children.  Praise God for their steadfast commitment and unconditional love!

10.   Anniversary Plans

Lisa Qualls shared that on a much-needed getaway for their 25th Anniversary, she had her husband watch 3 Karyn Purvis videos.  Haha - now, that's romance!  How convenient that I just so happened to win a copy of the TBRI® DVD a few weeks ago from her blog?  Our 10th Anniversary is only 3 months away... looks like my part of the celebration planning is done!  Hmmm... don't think Jon will go for that, but we'll be watching the DVD together soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Into Reading

Fall often brings my favorite weather...  I'm most comfy in jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt.  Inside, I can enjoy the warmth of hearty chili and yummy soups.  Through the window, I can watch the leaves change color and then quietly fall to blanket our front yard.  Outside, I can hear their crisp crunch beneath the feet of three little ones trampling about in play.  Fall brings pumpkins, orchards, and fall festivals.  It's such a great time!
I'm hoping to enrich this season even more by tackling my ever-growing, out-of-control reading list.  I have a stack of books waiting to be devoured on my nightstand, as well as my dresser, and even spilling over on top of my jewelry armoire.  Time to get my nose in some books. 
The books I intend to read....
Raising Real Men by Hal & Melanie Young (finish & review)
Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson (review)
Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl
The Missional Mom by Helen Lee
That's My Son by Rick Johnson
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Castaway Kid by R.B. Mitchell
From Despair to an Heir by Wayne & Diane Tesch
Hello, I Love You by Ted Kluck
Already Gone by Ken Ham & Britt Beemer (borrowed from friend & need to return)
Already Compromised by Ken Ham & Greg Hall (borrowed from friend & need to return)
The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis & Dr. David Cross (Re-Read)
All said and done, this evens out to 4 books per month.  Sometimes that is quite average and others a bit over par.  It is my goal nonetheless because this barely puts a dent in the stacks I have acquired, and I know that over the next 3 months I will only add more to my piles. 
Happy Reading Time!!!  Now, where's my comfy blankie?  Oh wait, kids are calling.... time to read with them instead :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting Into Geometry - TOS Review


I've had the opportunity to review and use Getting Into Geometry with my kiddos.  Published by AIMS, this 264 page book is jam-packed with 48 educational activities.  Using this curriculum, children learn 2-D shapes, how to compose and decompose shapes, symmetry, 3-D solids, spatial relationships, and have many opportunities to practice these new concepts. 

We have not worked through the entire book, but some of the activities my little ones have most enjoyed include:  Making Models of shapes with straws and play-dough and Shapes on the Bus... complete with our new rendition of the "Wheels on the Bus" and an edible Shapes on the Bus treat.  They also really enjoyed Animals Shape Up.  My animal-lovers are quite clever and came up with some really cute critters out of circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles.

I find this curriculum to be a wonderful supplement to our current math program and plan to continue to use it throughout the year.  The activities are engaging and educational, and my children are responding well to Getting Into Geometry.  I believe, I'll be including other AIMS math and science titles in the future. 

Clearly, the book was written with a classroom setting in mind, but the large group activities can easily be modified for use at home.  However, if you had the opportunity to use Getting Into Geometry in a co-op setting, it would be ideal!  The purchase of the book allows the owner to make 200 copies of any portion of the book or CD contents. 
In closing, I'd be remissed if I neglected to comment on customer service.  Good is hard to find and  excellent customer service has almost become an oxymoron, but AIMS Education Foundation is the exception.  In what appeared to be a production/manufacturing error, I ended up with a perfect Getting Into Geometry book and a less than perfect CD.  In fact, I was missing the top fourth of the CD.  It appeared that it had been cut in a perfect straight line across the top, and there were two deep scratches at the bottom.  The CD enclosure was slit wide open as well.  Especially since I had a review copy, the company was under no obligation to do anything to remedy the situation.  However, after emailing about the problem, I received a quick, polite, and genuinely concerned reply.  Not only did I the representative apologize, but a plan of action was immediately put in place to send a replacement CD to me.  It was sent First Class and was accompanied with a personal, handwritten note.  Also, a new CD holder that would adhere to the back of the book was included.  AIMS sets the bar extremely high in regards to customer service.  I find this company's attentiveness both outstanding and refreshing!

See what other crew mates are saying about AIMS products on the TOS Crew Blog.
Before purchasing, feel free to view the table of contents and sample pages.
Purchase the book and CD for $24.95.
Contact Info: 
AIMS Education Foundation
P.O. Box 8120
Fresno, CA93747-8120

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"ROWING" Right Along

We are ROWING again... Five in A Row to be exact.  Our co-op met today for the second time this year, and I realized that I never posted pics from our first get-together.  The kids were excited to see old friends again and meet many new.  We have grown tremendously, so there are lots of new faces.

There were a few titles left from Volume 1, but the majority of the books we "row" will come from Volume 2.  Ms. Lori led our first meeting a couple weeks ago, and Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Scheffrin-Falk was our book.  (Side note:  I paid a ridiculous amount for it at the bookstore!  Reminder to self:  If the library doesn't have it or I don't own it, be sure and find out how much it costs before ordering!!!!  YIKES!)  At home, we enjoyed reading the story together, learning some new vocabulary, and practicing our map skills searching for the mentioned cities in Russia.  At co-op, the kids played a get-to-know-you game, completed some mapping pages, talked about the color-wheel, made warm & cool color collages, sorted gummy bears, played charades, and enjoyed a snack.

Today, Ms. Kim, taught the group using activities from Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. The kids practiced getting into numeric order and waddled around the room behind the Momma Duck. They identified Boston, Maryland, on a map and using cardinal directions described its location in relationship to Kentucky. Next, they practiced writing upper and lower case Dd's and colored and cut pictures beginning with D. Afterwards, they identified and colored the parts of a duck. They played a game trying to pick up peanuts with their duck hands, and enjoyed making a duck out of marshmallows, cheez-its, and raisins. After construction, they were able to eat their duck and had a cheese/cracker/peanut butter snack as well.

Lots of great literacy based activities that reach across the curriculum paired with some friends, my kiddos love our Five In A Row co-op.  In two weeks, we will meet again.  Next book on the list, Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf.  I'm not familiar with this title, so I'm on a search. 

Before Five In A Row - TOS Review


When Caleb was three, he spent his days with my good friend/his private sitter.  He learned so many things while staying with Ms. Gretchen and playing with his pal Rebecca.  Participating in a Before Five In a Row co-op was one of his favorite things.  He would come home re-telling the stories if he didn't borrow the book for the night.  He recounted fun activities and showed me all of his cool crafts. 

Because Caleb so enjoyed the activities and stories, when give the opportunity to review Before Five In a Row, I jumped at the chance.  While we have participated in a Five In A Row Vol. 1 and now Vol. 2 co-op, I wanted my Ethiopian cuties to have the same experiences and thus fond memories of the BFIAR stories. 

Caleb and Jeremiah are a tad above the targeted age range and Rachel at the top edge, we mainly utilized Part 1.  However, I want to make mention of Part 2 because it is absolutely ideal for parents of two and three year olds.  It is a Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness.  It includes activities for reading readiness, development of large and small motor skills, bath time, kitchen, and store.  It also gives toy suggestions and addresses visual, literary, and performing arts.  An additional book list and suggested reading for Mom is also found.

Part 1 provides cross-curricular activities for each of the 24 books used in this program.  These books are classics.  Personally, we already owned 7 of the titles, and from a quick search, I found my public library to have 18 of the titles in their collection.  The premise of the curriculum is that the story is read-aloud 5 days in a row, and each day you are able to choose small mini-lessons to build upon or expand the story.  These lessons include science, math, art, history, health, safety, language, social studies, etc.

One of the features I like best is the inclusion of Bible and character study.  For example, when we read Caps for Sale, we spent some time reading Proverbs 6:10-11 and discussed all the problems sleeping on the job could present.  Then, using the main character of the story, we were able to discuss feeling of anger and frustration and how to handle such emotions.

Before Five In a Row is a great, gentle introduction to formal learning.  While it uses timely, classic literature, it is hands-on and active.  The suggested activities are short and simple catering to small attention spans.  Very little prep-work is needed, so busy Moms could absolutely include this in their day - even if homeschooling more advanced students.  In fact, older children will still enjoy listening in on the wonderful stories.

Photobucket Before Five In a Row is available for purchase exclusively at the Rainbow Resource Center. The curriculum manual retails for $35. In addition, each of the included titles are available for purchase, or the teacher's manual and books can be bought as a bundle currently selling for $97.50.

Be sure and read reviews written by my fellow TOS Crewmates. I know I always gain so much from reading varied experiences. I know you will find wisdom in their words as well.

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of Before Five In a Row in exchange for my honest opinion.  I will receive no monetary compensation for this review.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 - TOS Review


Big IQ Kids is an online program focusing on spelling and vocabulary, math, and U.S. geography.  An SAT vocabulary prep session has even be added, so the program can benefit students K-adult.  On average, each lesson takes 10-15 minutes to complete.  Only after a student has reached mastery can the next level be accessed. 

At the completion of each lesson, a game coin can be earned and saved or cashed in to either play a game or accessorize your "buddy." The games really do serve as a motivation to complete lessons.  This is nice for Mom because when learning is fun there is not a constant battle to complete work.  Also, it spurs the child to continually tackle more difficult material.

The success of the Big IQ Kids program is best realized when a child completes a lesson per day from each topic.  When using the premium program, the parent receives an email progress report.  While you are capable of logging in and checking the student's status at any time, this added bonus email is a time-saver and great convenience to busy parents.  It is also a motivator to children as well, knowing that Mom is going to find out exactly what they have been doing on the computer.  

Below, I've included an overview of each of the programs.



Spelling & Vocabulary

In this section, children may work from a set of pre-made lists or customized lists can be created.  I chose to import Caleb's spelling words from his A Reason for Spelling curriculum as an added activity to help promote mastery.  When the spelling program introduces the child to a new word, it provides the definition, uses the word in a sentence, shares a synonym, and states an antonym.  Then, throughout the course of the week, the child interacts with the words through word searches, word jumbles, and a hangman-like game before testing.


The math portion of the website is not a source for new content or explanations of concepts.  It is strictly drill and practice.  While that is needed in regards to committing math facts to memory, this program could never be considered a stand-alone math curriculum.  When first using this program, my boys were overwhelmed by the amount of problems.  50 problems comprise the default setting.  Thankfully, the number can be modified to a much more manageable task... especially for little ones.


U.S. States Program
Due to the fact that our studies this year are focusing on World Geography and Culture, my kids did not spend time in this area.  We're working through Asia now, and I didn't want to confuse them.  However, from looking through it, I can tell you that students learn the location of each state, the capital city, correct spelling and abbreviations, and a few well-known facts.  The culmination of the program is a state mastery exam.  If 100% is scored then the child is awarded a State Master Certificate. 

Free vs. Premium Options
The programs I introduced to you above are offered in both free and premium versions.  What's the difference?  According to the website, "the primary differences between the BigIQkids FREE and PREMIUM programs are the ability of the PREMIUM program to monitor the progress of the student and advance that student only when mastery of the subject matter has been achieved. Additionally, PREMIUM members have their progress tracked, saved, problem areas identified and these findings are reported via email to parents and/or teachers. The PREMIUM program offers students customized buddies, full game page access and the ability to save game coins and gaming high scores. These functions help double the fun while mastering core academic subject matter. The PREMIUM program has very LIMITED advertisement an no ads are displayed during lesson interaction."

The Spelling & Vocabulary program is always free.  However, for students in grades K-2 a Jr. Spelling Program is available for purchase at $7.99 a month or $39.99 per year.   To view a full comparison of the math and geography programs, see their Free vs. Premium Math and Free vs. Premium U.S. Geography charts on the Big IQ Kids website.

My Overall Thoughts

I do have a few dislikes.  I personally, found the computerized voices of the tutors to be grating on the ears.  However, my little ones seems oblivious to the robotic sounds.  I suppose this must just be a sign of age - ha!  At first, I also found the site to be difficult to navigate.  After interacting with it for awhile, we were able to move around more easily.  The other big disappointment was the ads on the pages.  Some of which I found to be inappropriate.  For this reason, my sons were not able to be completely autonomous in this activity.  I felt the need to stay close by to prevent them from clicking on something their little eyes didn't need exposed too.

As this program is primarily constructed using a drill and practice model. I would not suggest it as a sole curriculum, but I would recommend it as a supplement or enhancement to what is already being done in your homeschool. On days where Mom isn't feeling well or during school breaks, I would definitely feel comfortable turning to this program.  We will continue to use this program throughout the school year, and in the future, I see the value of utilizing the free sections.  However, the premium costs would be quite steep for us as a one-income family with three children... especially when it doesn't offer everything we would need in a curriculum. 
To learn more about The 2011 Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blue Ribbon Award winning Big IQ Kids, visit the How to Use and FAQ pages.  Check out the short lesson demosAlso read what my crewmates had to say about Big IQ Kids here

Disclosure:  I was provided two premium subscriptions to BigIQKids in exchange for my honest opinions and review.

Birthday Party - Round 2

The Wells' family - minus one - gathered to celebrate on Tuesday.  The kiddos enjoyed some extra playtime with the cousins before Grandma & Grandpa joined us for dinner.  Then, presents and cupcakes and icecream to finish out the evening.  Again, my little princess had the best time.  I love to see her enjoying herself.

Let's Get This Party Started!

A little quick on the draw, my side of the family got together on Saturday to celebrate Rachel's birthday.  A few days of shy of 5, but presents and cake still brought quite a twinkle to her beautiful brown eyes.  Of course, as always, her smile was radiant.  Oh how I love this precious birthday girl :-)

 Time for presents

 A new baby from Auntie Val & Uncle Adam.  Rachel even let Uncle Adam change the baby's diaper and clothes.  I know he was happy to get to play too!

 Mamaw & Papaw are keeping the Cabbage Patch Kid tradition alive.  I had 8 when I was little... I'm guessing now they have all melted and fused together in my parents attic.

 All smiles!

 Aunt Megan & Uncle Matthew gave Rachel a "big" baby, complete with real diaper bag and accessories.  Everything was so real that Malachi thought he'd found a girlfriend.  He had lots of kisses for the baby.  So cute!!!!

 There can't be a party without a cake!  5 candles this year.

Now to lick the icing off the candles...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Treasure... I mean, WONDERMAPS! - Review

Oh the wonder of the aptly named WonderMaps!!!!  While I'm not a pirate and offer a pretty pathetic sounding "ARRGH," I do believe I've found treasure.  No not gold, silver, or rubies, but if "X" marks the spot, Bright Ideas Press does not disappoint.  This enormous collection of maps is an unquestionable find.

WonderMaps includes:

  • 60+ maps of the world
  • 60+ maps of the USA
  • 125 historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
  • The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History vols. I & II

  • Whether you choose to print any of the 350 different maps or simply view them from your computer screen, each one can be adapted to the needs and level of the student.  I know customization always sounds like a nice option, but often the detailed directions to accomplish such a task are overwhelming and too time-consuming for busy homeschool moms and students.   Again, WonderMaps steps up to the challenge and proves to be a winner!  The maps various layers can be turned off and on with a simple checkbox.  I assure you a small child can handle it, as my 4, 5, and 6 year old children all took turns clicking the mouse to help Mom manipulate the maps.

    WonderMaps features:
    • historical or modern-day maps
    • outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
    • black-and-white or color maps
    • features including: names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules

    As part of our Five In A Row Curriculum this week,  we read Another Celebrated Dancing Bear.  The setting of the book is Russia and three cities were mentioned within the story.  I wanted the kiddos to be able to see where they were in relation to one another, so we went immediately to WonderMaps.  In order for them to see the cities, I chose to remove color and all features except city locations and names.  This allowed my little ones to focus on one specific task - finding the cities.  It was much easier to do using the simple black and white, outline map.

    We are also using the Galloping the Globe curriculum this year.  Therefore, we've just finished an introduction to geography unit where we focused on continents, oceans, landforms, and map skills.  This week we moved on to study an individual country.  Our focus this week and next is China.  I printed the topographical map and left all of the features on.  This allowed the kids to get an immediate idea of the terrain, the size, the rivers, the number of cities, etc. 

    Often, the life of a homeschool product is fleeting, but I know our family will be utilizing WonderMaps for years to come.Our course of study the next two years will have the kids traveling from country to country.  Then, we'll head home to the good ol' USA where we plan to be Cantering the Country for a couple years.  I'm thrilled that WonderMaps has an entire section dedicated to the 50 states and specific maps for each. 

    As Moms' pour over homeschool curriculum each and every year the groans and grumbles are louder and louder as they pull yet another crumbled wad of cash from their wallets.  Thankfully, WonderMaps eradicates the need for so many consumables.  Moms can trade-up their grumbling for grins!  I know in my home, not only were all three of my children able to use WonderMaps the past couple weeks, but they will continue to do so throughout the remainder of their schooling.  How many products offer that kind of return and at such a reasonable price?  At Timberdoodle's price $44.95 - it's an incredibly wise investment.

    Visit Timberdoodle today.  Not only will you be able to purchase WonderMaps, but you will find a plethora of educational books, games, kits, toys, and curriculum to meet your homeschool needs.  You might consider pairing WonderMaps with some geography puzzles and geopgraphy curriculumTimberdoodle offers you many choices and your kids will be so excited to get their hands on any of this company's goodies - they're fabulous!

    Read what other Mom's are saying about WonderMaps HERE!
    Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copyof WonderMaps in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

    Because Mom Said