Friday, June 28, 2013

Fun Friday- Come meet the baby!

My youngest.  The longing of my heart for too many years to count.  My Guatemalan prince who amazes me daily, challenges me hourly and fills my day with talking!  You all do NOT have to worry I will ever get bored with this kiddo in the house.  He does not know a stranger and cracks the general public up.  You never know just what he will say.  And I tell his siblings almost weekly that I think he is smarter than all of them put together.  Seriously!  It's scary!  You all watch out- this kid is going to do great things.

Well, let's see how this goes! (His words, not mine, so reader beware!)

Where were you born CJ?  Guatemala

What makes you special?  I am adopted! 

What are your favorite things to do?  Play playmobile and play with my brother

What do you like to do with your brother and sisters? Play nerf wars

Are you smarter than they are? YES!

What do think you want to be when you grow up? A police officer so I can take people to jail!

What do you know about God? He made me.  And He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

Isn't your mommy the best? Hey, I had to try! yes (heehee)

Where do you want to go on vacation next?  Why?  Great Wolf Lodge because they have a fun swimming pool!

Are you excited about moving to a new state? yes!  Because there are going to be hundreds and hundreds of snowstorms.

Postscript from momma...Yes, well at least hundreds and hundreds of boxes!  As you may remember we are in the middle of a move.  A wild and crazy one!  You can hear me rant, I mean, talk, about it on Monday!  See ya back then I hope.

Blessings, Michele

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mama's Purse Book Review

What's in my mama's purse? Much more than bandages and bananas! You won't believe your eyes because so much fun hides in my mama's purse. From a yellow moose and a caboose made of juice to a trout and numbers to count, Mama's purse is full of super silly surprises. You'll never guess what zooms out next!

Mama's Purse, written by AJ Irving and illustrated by Rick Thomson is a charming little book that will be sure to delight young readers.  Written in rhyme, each page reveals a silly combination of things that you can find in a mama's purse, from a caboose made of juice to a goat with an orange goatee.  So cute!

We love books at our house.  For our younger kids we especially love ones that foster creativity, make us giggle and get asked to be read again and again.  Mama's Purse is such a book.   My 6 year old son really liked this book and wanted to read it over and over again.  With the exception of a few longer words, he was also able to read much of it alone once he had heard it a few times.  Bonus! The bright, colorful and imaginative illustrations capture younger children's interest are just plain fun to look at.  I would encourage you to pick up a copy to share with the children in your life!

You can get Mama's Purse for $14.39 from Amazon!

Top 5 Idaho Book
Top 10 Idaho Author
Mom's Choice Award

Monday, June 24, 2013

When all else fails, laugh!

You know those times, right?  Laugh or cry.

I am living one of those times.

If you haven't been following us on facebook, we are in the middle of a move.  As a matter of fact if all goes according to plan (which hasn't happened so far, but hey, you never know) when this post goes live I will be in the middle of watching five to six random strangers move all of my earthly possessions into a new-to-us home.  And hopefully, I am still smiling.

But it will be by choice, not by feeling, trust me.

Moving is hard.  It is emotional.  It is messy!

Things just never seem to go according to plan.

Like after three days of 3 guys packing, they are STILL in your house at 7 o'clock doing inventory.
Like when the moving truck comes and they do not have said inventory and have to start all over again.
Like when the packers yell up to you, How did you get this box springs up these steps before?
Like when at 11 o"clock at night the driver comes in and says I don't think it is all gonna fit on my truck.  Do you have room to take anything with you? (for the record, the answer was no, the grill and fooseball table will not fit in our cars)
AND when at 1 o'clock in the morning, the movers finally give up and leave, leaving stuff that will get loaded on a second truck in the morning.
Oh, and did I mention like when the second truck does not show up until noon and they tell you you will get the stuff when they can find another truck going your direction.  Sometime.  Hopefully!
Oh, AND, we still have 8 hours to drive on this, our first day of three.

So yep, there is a lot of laughing going on right now.  It's easier than crying!  ;)

But don't get me started on missing friends and family already.  And the fact that the carpet in the basement is wet.  But I am sure that is another post!  I am going to find a closet again!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Fun Friday- Our First Son

First born son.  The child we were not sure we would have.  The child we were convinced would be another girl.  NOT!  All boy.  Loves his sisters dearly, leading his little brother with big footsteps.  He loves legos, airsoft and BB guns, but will also still cuddle with his momma.  Growing up more every day and makes me proud to call him son.  Entering that pre teen stage and we still like him.  I think that says a lot! ;)

Where were you born? Albuquerque, NM

What is your favorite thing to do? Build legos and shoot Airsoft Guns

How do you feel about those two sisters of yours that act like your mothers sometimes? Sometimes they are annoying, but they are still family. 

Since you like to tell stories, what is a funny story you remember about our family.  And yes, I will delete it if it is too embarrassing! One time at Busch Gardens Ashton screamed like a girl loud on the littlest drop of the water ride.  We were not even in the same car and we heard her!  It was funny and we still tease her about it.  (well, she IS a girl, son!)

Where do you want this family to retire? Soon!  Colorado!

If you could visit one place, where would you like dad to take you?  Momma doesn't like to fly, remember. That is a hard one mom.  It would be a tie between London and Australia

What would you like to be when you grow up?  You used to want to be a knight.  I want to go into the Air Force, just like dad.  (mom is still deciding if this one is ok!)

Three words to describe yourself.  Yes, three, son!  fun, friendly, and adventurous

How do you feel about homeschooling?  I LOVE it!  It gives me time to spend with my family.

What's the best thing you have ever gotten to do?  Target practice with dad!

What is one thing I would like to build out of lego?  CV-22 Osprey 

You can also read about our first born

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Raising Real Men Review and Giveaway

Raising Real Men is the brainchild of Hal and Melanie Young - authors, publishers, and parents of  6 boys and 2 girls.  This phenomenal company has raised the bar in homeschooling and public school families alike, challenging parents to become heavily involved in the rearing of their children.  They provide books, audio tapes, and online seminars and also speak at many homeschooling conferences to help you along.  My favorite resource - the incredible book, Raising Real Men, which was awarded 2011 Book of the Year by the Christian Small Publishers Association.

Oh where to even start?  I gave a copy of this book to my husband for Father's Day several years ago and have recently enjoyed reading it myself.  If you are raising boys, this should be on your must read list!  Really!  There are plenty of books out there about raising children, many very good, but let's talk about B-O-Y-S.  Well, they are just wired a little differently and therefore you may have to parent just a little differently.  And trust me, Hal and Melanie know how to parent boys.  They do have SIX after all!

Raising Real Men is broken into two parts - the first titled Virtues in the Rough and the second, Civilization for the Tough, each covering 7 chapters.  The chapters are packed with information, hence all of the yellow highlighting in our copy. Seriously, get out a will want to remember much of this stuff.  Written in an easy to read and conversational tone, Hal and Melanie write from their hearts and from a Christian perspective.  It is like having a conversation with a friend.  From helping your boys find appropriate heroes, and no, superman does not count, to teaching them about stewardship and winning, they address topics that are essential to guiding our boys to be Godly leaders of their homes as well as their communities.

So what were my favorite chapters?  It is hard to stop at just a few but here are some things that really stood out to me-

"Our focus must be on leading our sons into Godly manhood, not just trying to manage them to make our lives convenient and more pleasant."  (page 21) hmmmm, blush, probably guilty of that! You know how boys are.  Compared to our girls they are messier, louder, more intense, louder.   But I love how the authors gently remind us that the Lord made them that way for a greater purpose and that when we embrace those characteristics rather than fight against them, we will bless and be blessed.  I am working on it!

"...we have an absolute responsibility to give our children physical protection..  That protection shouldn't become the unmanning of our sons, though.  Boys need to have the freedom to take reasonable risks." (page 51) ummmm, guilty again!  But they are so right!  And I am working on that one too, promise.

"...setting time limits and seeing that subjects which ran over the allotted time were finished during 'free time later were very motivating" (page 153)  OK, I realize that not all of you homeschool, but take my word on this, this is BIG!  And can be applied to things other than just schoolwork.  What is up with boys and procrastination? 

"You have got to raise boys that know when to get filthy and when to clean up.  It's all about appropriateness." (page 180) YEP!  'Nuff said.

I could go on and on with gems after life changing, yet practical, gems of truth. I told you...yellow highlighter is a must!

Got boys in your life?  You need this book.  Think you will have boys in your life?  You need this book.  Go on and get a head start.  Sometimes they are a little complicated to figure out.  But, they are worth it!

You can buy Raising Real Men with bonuses for $15.00.  You can also get it for your Kindle, in ebook form, and in audio!  A FREE study guide is included with each order.

In addition, the Youngs have graciously offered to give one free book to one of my readers!  THANK YOU Hal and Melanie!

Enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 17, 2013

The fun has begun!

Look what we get to do for the next four days...

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, having fun, can you tell?

Check back with me on Wednesday...if all goes according to plan, I will have a book review and a giveaway for you from Raising Real Men.  You won't want to miss it!

Blessings and boxes,

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fun Friday- Our Second Love!

The second child.  Easiest child ever.  Seriously.  She asked US if it was bedtime.  Easy birth, sweet temperament.  Funny beyond belief, keeps me laughing and the most devoted friend someone could ever have.  And have I mentioned, TOTAL opposite of her older sister and yet they are best friends.

Where were you born, oh military child of mine?  
Florida, the land of beaches and Disney World. I really like Disney World.

What has been your favorite place we have lived and why? 
North Dakota. I had great friends there. I loved ice skating and riding horses. Playing with the neighborhood kids was a blast. It was a simpler time in my life. (That sounds very poetic.)

What is your pet peeve?  Just one please!
My goodness Mom, I don't have tons! My biggest pet peeve is when people try to talk to me when I'm in the shower. For the last time, I can't hear you.

What do you love doing?
Singing, dancing, reading, acting, and writing.

What is your favorite book?
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan. Yes, I realize it's a middleschooler book. Yes, it's still my favorite.

What is the best thing about your mom? (just thought I'd slip that in)
Your humor.

What do you want to be when you grow up...because I KNOW that is your FAVORITE question people ask you?
I feel like Marius from Les Miserables when people ask this:
minus the 15 francs part, I've got a little more money than that.
Do you have a favorite animal and how much do you want daddy to get you one?
Cats are my favorite animals! and I would love Daddy to get me a cat(;

Describe yourself in three words.  OK, you can use more, cause you're my favorite!  ;)
 Dreamer, funny...adorable? I'm pretty adorable.

If our house was burning down and you could save four movies, after you saved your family, which ones would you save?
I'm now panicking over movies. I really like watching movies. I'd probably grab the Prince of Persia, Tangled, Phantom of the Opera, and Return of the King (which is the last Lord of the Rings movie)

What is your favorite thing about your father? (pay attention, gentlemen)
His laugh and his hugs. Daddy gives the best hugs.

What family rule did you dislike when you were younger, but come to understand and respect in your old age of almost 16?
Thank you for calling me old, Mom. Uhm....I suppose don't talk to Mom while she's on the phone. It was annoying when I was younger, but now I know how obnoxious it is when someone (ahem, CJ) tries to talk to you when you're on the phone.

Mountains or beach?  Never mind!  City or country?
Mountains on a beach! ahah.
And city to live in, country to visit. I think. Hard question.

What is your favorite memory?
Of all time? Jeez.
Visiting Yellowstone with the family. That was amazing. And we didn't get eaten by bears. Always a plus!

Any last words?  Make them nice, please...
Thanks for interviewing me Momma. I'll remember all you peasants when I am rich and famous.
me and my boyfriends back in 2011

Pop on over to read about our first princess!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

TOS Crew Review- Geography 1

Do you ever just want to start over with homeschooling?  OK, maybe not start over with the years, but with the curriculum?  Occasionally I get that crazy thought- and the company Memoria Press would be one of my biggest temptations!  Have you seen their foreign languages?  Have you seen their complete curriculum?  I love it!  All! 
 photo mp_header_zps9aa8d9dc.jpg

So yes, I was thrilled to be able to review Geography I, for grades 4-8, from Memoria Press. Geography of the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe covers the area that we know as the ancient Roman Empire.

 photo Geography1-CompleteSet_zps84b09173.pngHere's what it came with:
Geography Text (text sample)
Geography Workbook (workbook sample)
Teacher's Guide
United States Review- Student
United States Review Key, Quizzes, and Tests

What is this-
Let's start with the Student text. There is a great little introduction to Geography and then the rest of the book is broken into geographic regions- Middle East, North Africa,  and Europe.  The last few pages of the book have full color photos of each country's flag.  For each country (44 total) there is a full page map, Fast Facts section, History Headlines and Tour of Today.  The fast facts include the capital city and any major cities, language, population, religions, landforms, bodies of water, climate, resources and flag information.  There are also several pictures of places, people or things of interest.  The History Headlines is a brief description of the country's history while the Tour of Today gives some facts that are more currently relevant.
The student workbook then contains a one page spread per country for your child to list the country and capital, ancient name, a few fun facts they learned and has a smaller map to label with key features such as the capital, neighboring countries, rivers and landforms.  At the end of each region there is a review map to fill in with all the countries learned thus far and then a page to list the countries and capitals. 
The teacher's guide contains all of the answers you will need as well as quizzes and tests.
The Student workbook for the United States Review is slightly different as it is truly map work only, dividing the United States into 8 regions as well as space to write the states and capitals on each page.  Again, the teacher's key contains the answers, quizzes and tests.
How we used this program-
I used this program for our 5th grade son.  He has been studying the Eastern Hemisphere this year and has just completed his studies, so once again the timing was perfect for us to review this!  It gave him a chance to review what he had learned, solidify his map and capital knowledge and learn a few new facts along the way.  I had him do one page per day, though the teacher guidelines recommend 2-3 countries a week.  He would read the worktext on his own and then find the corresponding page in his workbook to complete.  Once he completed each section and its review,  he would let me know and then I would give him the test to take.  Students are tested on the map work only, not the facts learned in the text.  We opted not to do the quizzes.
What we thought-
We really liked this product, though I should not be surprised...I have liked everything I have ever used from Memoria Press.  Their workbooks are great quality and well organized.  One of the things my son and I found refreshing for a geography program was that this one did not just concentrate on maps alone.  It's not always fun to just memorize a map, but when you can throw in some fun and interesting facts along with the map it just seems to hold a student's attention better.  At least mine!  Not once did he complain about doing Geography and more than several times he came in to share things he had learned in the reading.  I love that this program is able to be used by the student alone with little guidance and has built in reviews before test time.  We did did not begin the United States Review book yet, but are going to make that our Geography for next year instead.  While it does not have the reading text included and really is to be used as a review, I think it is still an excellent way to learn states and capitals, which we have not done yet, as well as the map work. 
This is a good, solid program and for the price
I think it is more than worth it!
Geography I complete set, as we reviewed it, can be ordered for $48.00.  You can also buy the components separately if needed.

On a Mission with our Bucket List

Time is of short order here these days!  Have I mentioned we are moving next week?  In case not- WE. ARE. MOVING. IN. TWO. WEEKS!
Ok, now that you know, moving on!
Our time is at a premium.  And our calendar is filled.  BUT - as I said when we first decided to join The Happy Family Movement and create our own Bucket List, we are determined to make the most of our time and be deliberate in making memories.  We do not want to waste or regret a single moment of our summer. 
With that in mind, and after Plan A got rained out one day, we decided last minute (for those of you who know our family well, you know that is BIG) to drive to...

It was a fabulous day!
*The weather could not have been more perfect!  Sunny, nice breeze, not too hot!

*The children could not have been more excited.  Well, maybe if we had friends joining us, but that was plan A and the rain messed that one up!
*CJ was a dream.  For the record, if you do not tell the 5 year old the plan until 5 minutes before leaving he has no time to drive you crazy asking when you are leaving.  Just saying!
*There were no lines.  I think the kids said the longest they had to wait to get on a roller coaster was one car in front of them. 
** Note to you all- the first two weeks in June apparently is THE time to go without crowds.  It felt like we had the park to ourselves and it was great!
 And why so many pictures of little man and not the other kids?  Because when you have kids in two distinct age groups, you end up dividing and conquering.  So he and I hung out a lot together! And I had my daughter's camera with me.

I am not a roller coaster kind of gal.  Never have been, never will be, but what a fun day!  Watching the older three run off with their daddy to ride the rides with grins on their faces and watching the little guy play in the water and ride the kid rides with a huge grin on his face made for a pretty perfect day.  With some pretty perfect memories!

What have you done on your Summer Bucket List so far?  I would love for you to take a minute and share your fun!
Not sure what's next for us, but we will be sure to post when we decide!!

This post is link up with Amy at Raising Arrows!
Welcome Home Wednesdays

We are also joining in on the fun with the Hearts for Home linkup!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Our Birthday Boy

Tell me,  how did we go from this...

to this?

Happy 6th Birthday CJ! 
We love you and are so blessed to have you in our lives!

Monday, June 10, 2013

TOS Crew Review- Daily Dilemmas

 photo christianitycovelogo_zpsb3aa66f4.jpg
Christianity Cove is a wonderful publishing company that offers curriculum for Sunday Schools as well as home use, Bible games, crafts and more.  Recently we were given the opportunity to review Daily Dilemmas- 26 True-to-Life Devotions for Kids aimed at children ages 6-12.  These devotions cover what the publisher considers the 26 most common moral issues that kids face today.  The downloadable e-book is available for $29.00 and has a 60 day money back guarantee..
 photo 26devotions_zpse20f3cac.jpg Each devotion is divided into four parts.  First is the "scenario" that you read like a short story to your child.  Secondly, there are related scripture that you can look up.  Next comes a list of four possible scenarios for your child to rank from most appropriate Christian response to the least appropriate.  Lastly, there is a reflections section at the end of the book that helps guide a parent in initiating further discussion and guiding to the proper choice.  It talks about the pros and cons of each answer and then backs up with scripture why they think their particular first choice is the best.  This section is really intended to be read by the parent as a guide, but we ended up reading much of it to the kids, as it had a lot of details and continually referenced the bible.

The whys of devotions-
Devotions allow kids to experience moral dilemmas in a safe, secure environment, think about the "right" thing to do, and receive guidance from an experienced teacher or parent.
So when that challenging situation pops up in real life, they know exactly how to respond in a way that's consistent with their Christian values. (from the website)
I just had to include the above quote from the publisher because I think it sums up our need for devotions of this manner.  When we can teach our children not only what we believe, but also why we believe it and then EQUIP them to apply those beliefs to their every day life, then I think we are walking in the right direction. 

What we did and what we thought- 
Because our family already has a nightly family devotion time, this was super easy to add to our evening.  Each night my husband would read the scenario and the choices available.  Then each child would decide which one they thought was the "most appropriate Christian response."  Then, the heat was on!  Yes, it usually led to quite some heated and often lengthy discussions about what one should do versus what one would really want to do.  I will have to say, we did not always agree with the answers the publisher led you to.  Actually it wasn't that we disagreed, but there always seemed to be so much more you could add- and our kids always wanted to add the what ifs and what abouts!  I think at times it irritated them that our family had different ideas, but as we tried to point out to them, it WAS generating thought and allowing us as a family to decide how we felt and discuss what we believed and why.  That is, after all, the point of such a devotion book, after all!  I would have liked to have seen another label other than "the most Christian response", but that is just me splitting hairs about labels, I am sure.
One of the strong points of this book is that each scenario listed in the table of contents tells what situation it covers such as honesty, friendship, loyalty, responsibility and more.  I especially like this because I can see choosing to use a particular  devotion that may be applicable to a current situation in your child's life or focusing on a specific character trait you are trying to teach.  Another thing I really liked was that at the end of the book all of the scripture referenced are listed alphabetically by the books of the Bible.  After our current bible memory list, we are going to use this list for our family scripture memory work.   It is a pretty exhaustive list of verses that are very meaningful to kids at this age.
Our Bottom Line-
I think my kids had a hard time engaging in some of the scenarios because many were centered around public school life, I do think we benefited from the discussions many of the scenarios raised.  If you are looking for a place to start with family devotions and have kids in the 6-12 year old range, this may be a good way to get started.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Fun Friday- My First Born

Our first born. A pretty special girl.  Perfectionist, devoted, loving.  The child who cooks, cleans, encourages us to be healthier and encourages us to seek God with all our hearts.  Not the easiest toddler, but the easiest teen!  And now a college student excelling in all she does.  Yep, she is pretty special!

Where were you born?
First, I do not deserve the words mom wrote about me. Second, I was born in M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i.

What do you like about being the first born?
I had to think about this one.  I always wanted an older brother. =) I guess the opportunity to invest in my sibling and others.

How do you feel about your siblings getting to do things you were not allowed to do?  Go on,  just get it out of your system now! ;)
I think...I feel a wee bit...aggravated.  And yet, sorry for them.  For example, I was not allowed to watch the tv show "Arther" or drink soft drinks.  Colby does both.  (note from mom- He only does so on special occasions out, girlie!)  Poor child, corroding his mind...

What is your pet peeve?
Living in a dorm has revealed that I have more pet peeves then I had previously realized. (rest assured, I keep them to myself).  I think my biggest pet peeve is when people leave the sink a mess after using it.  Because then I feel compelled to clean it.

What is one of your favorite family memories?
I have no idea.  Seriously.  I guess any time the whole family is together, laughing and having fun.
Lest you think she is always serious! ;)
She is a pretty good nerf shot!

What is your favorite book besides the Bible?  And yes, just one!
The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom.  Hands down.  Every time I read it I am convicted of something new, or struck by an aspect of God's grace that I never considered.

What do you look for in a friend?
I do not know know that I look for friends, God seems to bring them to me and say "This one is for you."  But I find that my truest and closest friends are the ones who challenge me, seek the Lord and encourage me to do the same.  They aren't perfect, and neither am I.  We go through ups and downs, but my true friends love me anyway.  (And most of them
have a pretty good sense of humor.)

What is your favorite scripture?
That is not a good question, mom.  I do not have a favorite verse, it is impossible to choose. 

What led you to a Christian college?
God.  And I felt that it would be foolish of me, when offered the opportunity to spend several years learning about the Lord from professors who know Him personally and are committed to teaching truth, to turn it down. Where else can I acquire such a knowledge of the things of God and deepen my relationship with Him?  Not at a secular university.

What surprised you most about college?
The sheer amount of stress it causes me.  I know not everyone feels that way about college, but it stresses me out.  Sure I have fun sometimes, but mostly I am stressed.  Just my personality and need for excellence.  Needless to say, God and I chat about that often.

What do you miss most since going away?  Other than your amazing mom, of course.
The interaction with my family, and being understood.  It is always sad when I quote movie lines and no one quotes the appropriate line back (shout out to my Riley, who is amazing).  I did choose to go to a fabulous college that is slightly more conservative than I am, so I miss my music. =)

Give me three words to describe yourself.  Just three, please.
Christian.  Pioneer.  Ashton.

Anything else you want to tell us?  Now's  your chance...
I encourage you to seek the Lord, and to be open to His leading in your life.  My relationship with Him is the single most important thing in my life.  Do you have a relationship with Him?  If not, mom or I would love to talk to you about it.

I have been told that I am being too wordy, so I will stop now. =)
 -Ashton, or αστον  (my name in Koine ((Biblical)) Greek. Greek may or may not have((ok, it did)) contributed to the stress I talked about up there.)

Pop on over to read about our second princess!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

TOS CREW Review- Math Mammoth

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I have been using the same two math programs with my kids for the past 15 years.  Seriously!  So I have to tell you I got excited when Math Mammoth allowed us to review their Math Mammoth Grade 1 Complete Curriculum for CJ.  Sometimes you just need something different to jump start your learning.  Guess what?  I was not disappointed.
 photo lighblue_zps2ba8ce5b.jpg Math Mammoth actually offers several different options for learning.  Their Light Blue series, which we reviewed, is a complete curriculum for grades 1-6 .  Other books that they offer vary in ages and skills.   Each Light Blue series grade comes with two downloadable workbooks (over 250 pages of lessons), a worksheet generator, and tests and answer keys and bonus Soft-pack.   The first grade level covers addition and subtraction, whole numbers and placement up to 100, measuring length, geometric shapes, telling time and counting coins.  Living outside the United States?  An amazing bonus is that when you study coins in grades 1-3 there are pages covering Canadian, British, European, and Australian currencies as well.  How cool is that?  Also, instead of a spiral teaching style, Math Mammoth is mastery based, each chapter devoted to a particular concept, giving your child the opportunity to concentrate on the skill being taught.
How it works-
The 1st grade complete curriculum begins with a short Kindergarten review.  It quickly reviews skills like same and different, position words, writing numbers, counting and colors and shapes.  Then the 1st grade chapters begin.  Because these are considered "worktexts" there is not a separate teacher's guide.  Instead,  each chapter starts with an introduction and overview of what that chapter is about, along with helpful teaching hints, game ideas and suggested Internet resources.   The worktext pages are pretty self explanatory, but if there is any teaching that needs to be done, the explanation is right there on the page to be read and taught by you the parent.  Additionsl materials that Math Mammoth suggests you have in advance are a 100 bead abacus, a ruler and an analog clock.
What we did and what we liked-

Because we had just recently finished Kindergarten with CJ, this review came at the perfect time to introduce 1st grade material to him.  I downloaded and printed out the first worktext and then for ease of use, bound it. There is no set recommended amount of pages to be done in each sitting, so we aimed for at least two pages each day.  I did find that occasionally a lesson was rather long and then we broke it up, but CJ has just finished Kindergarten so I think that once he has a few more months on him, this will not be an issue.   One of the things I really enjoyed about this curriculum was the range of activities and types of problems.  While it provides the needed repetition with a skill, it does so in different ways, thus allowing the student not to get bored.  Word problems are included at this level, as are "mental math", two skills that I know from experience are valuable to learn at an early age.  The worktext pages include colorful pictures and engaging problems that held CJ's interest and he seemed to look forward to our daily math time.
For a year's worth of lessons, I am amazed at the cost of this program.  The full 1st grade down loadable program costs $34.00.  You can also buy the workbooks on CD or in printed form.   In addition, you may order the two worktexts for each grade separately if you are beginning in the middle of a year.
Don't know where to start?  Have your child take one of the placement tests and go from there!  Whether you need a complete math curriculum or just worksheets based on grade or even topic, I do not think you will be disappointed with Math Mammoth!
Fellow CREW members had the opportunity to review Math Mammoth's other products and different grade levels.  I encourage you to check out the reviews!
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Monday, June 3, 2013

Conquering the Summer Bucket List

You may recall that we joined The Happy Family Movement and created our own Summer Bucket List.  With our move only 15 days away, we decided it was be deliberate or miss out on the fun.  We even decided how to document our progress.

Each item on our list is now highlighted on a 8x12 piece of paper to be displayed in our house.  (that part will have to wait 2 weeks)  Then, once a bucket list item is complete we will add a picture or two to that "banner" thus preserving the memories and giving us a visual of what we have accomplished.

Since we are moving to South Dakota, did I mention in under THREE weeks, we decided we better get started with our beach trip!  Can I confess that though my hubby and I both grew up in North Carolina and spent TONS of time at the beach, we had never gone to the Outer Banks?  I know, pitiful!  So with the help of some wonderful friends that loaned us their beach house for three nights, we were off.


all pictures taken by ALP!

Really!  We could not have asked for better weather and as a bonus the Wright Brother's Memorial was practically right across the street so we got to take the kids there one afternoon as well.  Bonus!

There's a lesson for never know when one bucket list item will lead to a surprise another one.

we'll put a little pin beside each completed item!