Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: Adventus Piano Software

If you are around me for very long, you will find that music plays a huge part of my life. I have been singing in front of crowds since I was old enough to stand on my own, and piano lessons began early as I watched my Mom play away almost every day. I have had lessons and learned to play much by ear; however, it is my husband who is the real prodigy. He can play almost anything he hears. When I say anything, I mean anything!

This musical gene has passed down to my girls and I am happy to say that I see their musical skills beginning to develop and their playing by ear is becoming keen. However, we don't want them to only play be ear; we would like to see them excel in sight reading and musical theory as well. So, I was so excited to get the opportunity to review an interactive computer software called MusIQ Homeschool by Adventus.

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 photo musiqhomeschool-software_zps4cb3ceea.jpgAdventus is the developer and publisher of piano software for both homeschools and schoolrooms. I was given the opportunity to review the homeschool curriculum and let me say, one post could never do it justice. There is so much to this program! It is a comprehensive software that is downloaded onto your computer. You will need a keyboard with MIDI capabilities and an adapter to connect your keyboard to the computer. This will allow your child to actually interact with the program. Here are the program options that can be chosen:
  • Children's Music Journey- this software is available in three different versions that increases in difficulty for each year. This is best for ages 4-10. Each level offers 25-35 lessons by great musicians and composers such as Bach and Beethoven. It includes games, theory practice, printables and interaction in order to make learning the piano fun!
  • Piano Suite-  this software is around 4 years of instruction and would be best for ages 10 and up. It includes five skill levels and three different learning methods. 500 pieces of music are available in the library and ranges from classical to more recent hits. It offers narrated lessons on music theory, notation, sight reading, and playing.
  • Ear Training Coach- It is suggested to begin using this curriculum during the second year of the Piano Suite. It offers thousands of activities to enhance aural perception and sight reading ability.
  • MusIQ Challenger Game- a strategy game for advanced music theory.


I wish that I could say that I had a steady routine with this program; however, my children are musical prodigies and computer fanatics. Marry the two together and we have educational bliss. I imagined that my girls would beg to take their piano lessons more than once a day and would want to stay on for quite some time. I was not disappointed. However, this is the beauty of the program. You are able to self pace and each child can work through on their own. It does require some oversight but as a whole, it can be completed independently, though you will find "independent" piano lessons become group lessons as many want to watch and play along. It really becomes a group effort at times!

For the Children's Music Journey, they begin on the main menu which is colorful and simple to read. They begin in the lesson room to learn their lesson from a famous composer. Next, they travel to the practice room to put what they have learned into practice. They would then go to the game room which is full of games that teach different aspects of music. Games are unlocked as the student proceeds which is fantastic as it encourages students to continue in the lessons rather than always playing with the games. Finally, a music library is available that stores the songs the children created in the improvisation rooms or songs by the teacher, reviews lessons, and provides more practice activities.

My suggestion is to begin with the Children's Music Journey and walk your way through. They offer a monthly subscription that allows access to all 9 programs! It is inexpensive ($10.95 a month) and you can set up several users at once! This program was a fun way to begin learning piano theory for all three of my ladies (ages 3-11). I just simply allowed them to walk through at their own speed. I wanted to insure that there were no learning gaps as my girls proceeded. These early stages were a bit mundane for my eldest but she quickly proceeded to more challenging activities and lessons.

Good to Know:

  1. This software is for beginner to intermediate students.
  2. You can purchase a monthly subscription as stated above that will allow unlimited access to all nine programs. Also, they provided discounted MIDI keyboards if you do not currently have one. I bought my daughters a keyboard within the past couple of years and it already had MIDI capabilities. You might want to check your current keyboard by looking in the back for a MIDI output. You will also need an adapter that will run from your MIDI output to a USB port on your computer. I, personally, bought one here and received it within a couple of days! 
  3. Lesson Plans are available but are sold separately. They are not a necessity; however, it is very helpful in pacing your child's progress and is easily incorporated into your current homeschool lesson plans or into your child's portfolio. They include lesson objectives, printables, quizzes and assessments.
  4. You will need to check system requirements here to make sure your computer is compatible. I had very little problems downloading my software and had to troubleshoot one minor issue. Adventus tech support is very helpful and will be a great resource for you should you have any problems.
  5. Adventus offers a FREE 7-day trial for you to check out their program and determine if it would be a good fit for your family!
  6. Check out this fantastic video for a peek into Children's Music Journey I.

My Thoughts:

As a music lover who was once a piano teacher, I feel that nothing can quite take the place of a living, breathing instructor who can not only teach but also be an example for you. However, this program comes very close. It takes the beautiful history of music and weaves in piano theory in a fun and captivating way! Children enjoy learning about musical giants as well as from musical giants. They are given the opportunity to appreciate classical music and the opportunity to explore current hits. There is even a section where they can create and compose their own music which was a big favorite in our house! If you are looking for a fun and interactive method of teaching piano theory without the huge price tag, I would say that Advantus would be a great choice for you! You might find that you will also learn a few things on the piano as well! ;) If you are interested in what other homeschooling families thought about the program, please click the link below!

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What Did We Learn Today? Facing an Old Fear

Okay, so I know that we are on Spring Break, but hey! Everyday is an opportunity to learn right? Today, it was Mom's turn and I had to face a major fear. Just take a gander:
Yes, my friends! I got the opportunity to learn how to drive a stick shift!! Now, I know that many of you would say, "What's the big deal?" To that I say, HAH!! You have never seen my try.

 The last time I tried to drive a stick shift, I was 16 and sitting in my Dad's old truck. He had switched seats with me and was trying to show me how to drive it. I had beginner's luck at first but it quickly went downhill until, finally, I had stalled so many times in the road and waved so many cars around us that I gave up. I waved the white flag and allowed my father to take over the driver's chair. Ever since, I had quickly passed on any opportunity of a repeat performance... until TODAY!

My hubby took me out in his new (old) jeep. He decided that it was time to face my fear and try. He was going to be with me all the way. teehehehe His seat belt made sure of that. ;) I found that you could place an SAT comprehensive test in front of me and I will have very little nerve issues. Place me in the driver's seat of a stick shift and I am almost ready to start biting my nails again!

There is just so much to remember! I have become so lazy in that I have always trusted my vehicles to know when to shift and how to do it. Push this! Pull that! Don't let up too fast! That was too fast! This was the voice from the passenger's seat that didn't change octaves too many times during the drive. I am happy to report that we did make it home safe and soundly although we hopped out of the gas station like a bunny rabbit on steroids. :P I was dying from laughter just imagining the looks on peoples' faces. I had to be the subject of many table conversations tonight. Thank you, thank you very much.

Anyhoo, we survived and I learned something about myself. I tend to avoid things that I don't do well. If it doesn't come easily, I simply find something else to do. But, by not applying myself in something that I might fear because of inexperience, I am actually short changing myself. My hubby and I raced down dirt roads with the wind in our hair and laughter on our lips. I was so excited when I had finally done something right and my best friend in the world looked over at me with an excited smile. This, my friends, is priceless! I wouldn't trade the memory for anything in this world and believe it or not, I am ready to make a few more memories before we head home from Spring Break. Have a fantastic evening everyone! Tomorrow, I will be sharing a review on a fantastic piano software. See you then!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ready for Another Week?

We are gearing up for another fabulous week and I can not believe that we are closing out on March!! O_O This year has been flying by so quickly! We have been making steady progress with Little Angel's Academy but I have to say that we have not hit 5 days a week here lately. We have had so many visitors and we will be just as busy next week. So, we have decided to make next week our Spring Break! ;)

How do you plan for Spring Break? Do you take trips or vegetate? We will be hanging with friends family. I don't think it gets much better than that!

Well, as I said I would from Thursday's post, I have chosen a winner for my Share it to Win it contest. Peggy will be receiving 2 FREE items from my store!! Woohoo!! (Be looking for an email from me shortly Peggy!)

Also, the list for the newsletter that begins in April is growing and many of you are picking up your free Math Game! If you would still like to sign up to receive the Math game as well as the weekly newsletter with freebies, resources and more, just click the link below!

Here's what is coming up this week on Learning 4 Keeps:

  • Review on a fabulous Music resource that will teach your child keyboarding skills with an interactive program!
  • A new resource for you to integrate on time skills!
  • A freebie for you to practice multiplication skills!
  • and more!
Have a fantastic week everyone!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Freebie Friday: Math Resources

Hi, everyone! Have you sign up for the Coffee Connections newsletter that is launching in April? This weekly resource will have freebies, resources, tips and ideas for you to use in your classroom or homeschool. As a bonus for subscribing, you will receive a downloadable Math Game by Learning 4 Keeps for free! This pack includes four playing options to practice number recognition, addition, subtraction and using a hundred's chart. It is a little practice and a lot of fun!

To receive your free Math game, simply subscribe to the Coffee Connections newsletter by clicking the button below. You will then receive your free pack in your email within 48 hours. I hope it is something you will enjoy!

Also, if you would like a chance to win two items of your choice from Learning 4 Keeps, just click HERE! We are having a Share IT to Win IT party! The winner will be able to choose ANY TWO items from my TPT store!

Lastly, I wanted to share with everyone my latest Freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers store! I have created a few worksheets on elapsed time in five minute increments. This is just a small portion of the new pack coming soon! Head on over by clicking the button below to receive your free copy!

Freebie Fridays

Have a fantastic Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Introducing Coffee Connections!

Hello, friends! I have been a busy beaver here on the homefront and though you can't see it yet, there is much in store for Learning 4 Keeps! I am excited about the future and I hope that I will be able to provide you with resources that you can use both in the classroom or in the homeschool! One method that I am going to do this is through a newsletter that will keep you In the Know, On the Go! I affectionately call it: Coffee Connections and it will debut in April!

This will not be a daily email as I know that sometimes the inbox just gets a little too full! It will be delivered weekly and will be full of lesson ideas, freebies, resources, and more! I hope that you will take a moment to sign up and become a part of Coffee Connections by clicking here.

Just to make it fun, let's have a giveaway! Simply click the share buttons on the left to send an invite to Coffee Connections with your social media friends. Then comment below to let me know which method you shared (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest...) as well as your email. I will choose one random winner to receive TWO free products from my Learning 4 Keeps store on Sunday! You can post a separate comment for each share to increase your chances.

Have a fantastic day everyone!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Essentials in Writing

Much to my eldest daughter's excitement, I was given the opportunity to review a writing curriculum that was just for her! She had been eagerly awaiting her opportunity to try something new and I was thrilled to see that it would be with the subject of Writing. She had completed her English and Grammar for the year so I was ready to move onto focusing entirely on her writing skills. Cue the music and enter: the 6th Grade Writing Curriculum by Essentials in Writing.

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Essentials in Writing is a complete language arts curriculum that focuses on writing composition. The primary focus is to observe how grammar is actually used in communication and how to become an effective writer. This curriculum was created by Matthew Stephens, a former Middle School English teacher with experience at all grade levels. His process is to present small amounts of content before modeling the process and then allowing the student to work independently. The curriculum includes not only worksheets and assignments, but also videos of Mr. Stephens teaching the material in short lessons. The first half of the year focuses on grammar and mechanics while the last half of the year shifts its focus to composition.

For sixth grade, the following topics are covered:

  • detailed sentence structure
  • grammar
  • capitalization and punctuation rules
  • proper use of a friendly letter
  • composing narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive writing
  • five paragraph essays
  • compare and contrast writing
  • effective writing skills
  • multi-paragraph composition
  • the research project process
  • other forms of written communication
  • and more...

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Em would begin her lesson by grabbing her writing folder and heading to her bedroom. She has a personal television and DVD player set up in her room and she enjoys the privacy while she works. She would watch the DVD lesson and complete the corresponding worksheets. The lessons are not very long and yet they were very effective in teaching the material. Em completed all of her work independently without needing much assistance from me. Mr. Stephens teaches in an engaging way and she never dreaded her writing time. In fact, I found that she eagerly approached this part of her day. A sample video of a lesson can be found on the website. It is recommended that if a student doesn't fully understand a concept, they should watch the video again before moving on to the next lesson. I found that Em only had to do this once as the rest of the time she quickly grasped what Mr. Stephens taught. 

After watching the lesson, she would then work on the independent assignment. Though for some lessons there would be several days of independent assignment to complete, Em chose to complete all of them in one day. It was not labor intensive and she enjoyed the lessons enough to complete more than one assignment. For a sample day, be sure to visit here. 

As the year is split in half, I allowed Em to do several grammar lessons from the late grammar lessons to get a feel for the program before jumping into Lesson 34 to begin working on composition. I intentionally chose a few topics that I know she hadn't covered in her Grammar for the year. She responded very favorably to the curriculum and I was excited to see how she would do once the focus shifted to writing. I was amazed to see the growth that began to take place almost immediately. She brought her writing assignment for me to look over after her first lesson on descriptive writing and I could immediately tell a difference. She had great detail that was both imaginative and fun. As she progressed through the lessons, her writing continued to develop and I found her one afternoon on the computer writing a short story on her own, not an assignment or requirement. She simply wanted to write! In reading her narrative, I noticed that the mechanics that were once lacking were very evident. She was using what she had learned to enrich her daily life. This, my friends, makes me smile! She proceeded to type up the narrative on Powerpoint, add pictures, and create a short book. This narrative will hold a proud place on our library shelf.

Good to Know:

  1. The program provides an instructional DVD as well as a PDF file that contains the the worksheets and assignments. If you would like to save your ink, pre-printed workbooks are also available to purchase. I used the PDF file and simply printed around 20-30 sheets at a time and placed them in Em's writing folder. You could always print the entire file and place it in a binder if you would like the worksheets in book form.
  2. First through eleventh grade is currently available while twelfth grade will begin shipment in August. There will also be two high school elective courses available soon!
  3. A full-year's curriculum will cost $40.00 and the optional pre-printed workbook is available for $20.00. 

My Thoughts:

If you haven't already noticed, I have really enjoyed using this program and am even more impressed that it is available in such an economic fashion. Writing is a vital skill and it's instructional value cannot be understestimated in that it will impact our student's educational futures. I am confident that this curriculum will help build a strong foundation for Em and I look forward to using this product in the future.


Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: TouchMath Pre-K Curriculum

Hello, friends! I have been really looking forward to sharing with you the Math program that I have been using with my preschooler. It has been one of my favorites to review and I have been over the moon with the progress my little learner has made. Today, I will be reviewing the Preschool Math Curriculum by TouchMath.

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PreK photo 429809_10151403646419867_522359968_n_zps28782958.jpgThe TouchMath curriculum is a resource that is available for not only homeschool families but also the public school systems. It incorporates manipulatives and worksheets to offer a hands-on learning experience. For the sake of this post, I will be focusing on the Pre-K program as this is what I used; however, you will not want to miss checking out the programs for the other grades. TouchMath offers so many multi-sensory products that are not only great for regular educational students but for kids with special needs as well. It offers a tactile approach to learning and working with numbers. 
The program is based upon a number system that is displayed with dots to represent one-to-one correspondence. For example, the numeral one has one dot, the numeral two has two dots. After you reach the numeral five, the students touch dots more than once and are taught the pattern to do this correctly. Here are the products that I used in my review:

Curriculum ($59.95)
  • Implementation Guide to show me step by step how to use this program effectively. This describes in detail the skills, approach and research.
  • 6 Module Guides with Instructional Strategies: These are your descriptive lesson plans that give you confidence in using the program. It provides the questions to ask and ideas to expand your learning. They give pictures of which worksheet to use for each lesson. The PreK lessons were quite short as they suggest only working on the subject for twice as long as their age. For instance, Lillee is three so it is suggested that she work on her Math for 6 minutes a day. However, I found that each lesson provided a thorough process.
  • 90 student activity worksheets for students to practice. 
Supplemental Resources
  • Texture Cards ($99.00) - highly durable, over-sized flashcards that represent the touch numerals in five different themes. It allows for a multi-sensory approach to learning numbers. I highly recommend this manipulative as I used it every day with much enjoyment from my Preschooler. It is a highly effective resource to integrate into your daily lessons. These could be used with the program or on its own.
  • TouchShapes ($30.00) - This 108 piece pack includes 6 shapes offered in different sizes and different colors. It is a great tool to use with the worksheets to practice counting as well as to use for categorizing and learning shapes. It could be used with the program or on its own.
  • 3-D Numerals ($79.00) - This was the first part of the pack that my daughter wanted to use. These 6" plastic numerals are wonderful and exciting ways to practice recognizing numerals. We had so much fun using these.

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3D Numerals


Each day would begin with my little one begging to "do her numbers." This was the first thing  we would do together each day. We would start by using the flashcards to discuss her numeral of the day. I focused on one numeral for several days before adding another. We would work on recognition and counting. I would then use the lesson plan and the corresponding worksheet. The lessons offer great guidance and ideas to extend the learning or review previous lessons. A recording sheet is also available for each module of learning that is used to record when your child completed each lesson in the module as well as how they did.  My little one never wanted to stop at the 6 minutes suggested by the vendor and would often want to do more than just one lesson. So, we would often do extra. I would use the touch shapes, cards, and 3-D numerals to accent the lessons throughout and add excitement.
Lillee's Math Schoolwork

Good To Know:

  1. The supplemental materials are not required to use the product successfully; however, I would highly recommend taking the plunge. It will be resources that you can use many times and in future grades. It is definitely a good investment as they are made from durable materials that will last.
  2. There are other resources available that would be excellent to add to your program. A thorough exploration of their website would give you a great idea as to what is available in each grade.
  3. Homeschool Programs are available from Pre-K through Second Grade.
  4. The Pre-K curriculum focuses on the following topics: 
    • Counting and Number Sense
    • Comparing and Classifying
    • Sorting, Graphing, and Patterning
    • Identifying, Classifying, and Sorting 2-D Shapes
    • Identifying, Classifying, and Sorting 3-D Shapes and Coins
    • Representing Quantities and Shapes

My Thoughts:

I am a new fan of TouchMath! For my tactile learner, this was a fantastic resource to use each day. I have noticed great improvement in my daughter's counting skills and she now recognizes the numerals 1 through 5. I am a results kindof teacher and like to see growth. With TouchMath, I have noted steady progress in my daughter's Math skills and even better, I have never had to struggle in getting her actively involved in each lesson. I would highly recommend this fabulous curriculum!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Friday, March 15, 2013

We Have a Winner!!

I am so excited to be announcing the winner of my March Favorite!! This lucky lady will receive a $25 gift box of soaps from Five Sisters Soap, Co. I know she will LOVE it!! BTW, Jalyn: YOU HAVE MAIL!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 If you didn't win the giveaway, be sure to check out this great family owned company in the future. The soaps would serve as excellent gifts, favors, or just a special treat to reward yourselves from all of those looooonnnnggg hours slaving over lessons plans or report cards! ;) Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Review: EGM Reads for Comprehension

 photo henry_logo_zpsb48ee4fe.pngHello, friends! We all know that Reading is incredibly important to learn at a young age. It builds confidence and supports learning as our children grow older. However, one can not forget to teach not only HOW to read but also how to COMPREHEND what we are reading. Today, I am going to share with you a great supplemental resource that will not only excite your student to read but also encourage reading comprehension: the READS Parent/Child Reading Comprehension System by EGM Educational Systems, LLC.


The READS Comprehension System is a package of supplemental materials that are to be used to support comprehension for a student while they read a book of their choice. It can work for any book, fiction or non-fiction, and will also help your child build critical thinking skills. Here is what is included:
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  • 30 Question Cards that are held on a ring for easy storage and convenience. These durable cards have comprehension questions that might discuss a favorite character or real-life connections.
  • Rewards Chart and Stickers that will provide a record for your child's daily reading as well as allow you to notate rewards for completing their reading for the week. Student's earn stickers each day. (This chart lasts for three months.)
  • Magic Finger and Reading Guide Strip: This was a favorite of my homeschooler as she loved to track her reading with a crazy green finger. However, a reading guide strip is also provided for your older students who still need support in focusing on one line at a time in their reading.
  • A Speedy Speller notebook is also provided that includes a wealth of information like 1,400 common words, abbreviations, numbers, and punctuation. This is a great resource for your child to keep near them as they work on writing projects. It also provides areas for your child to add to their handbook as needed.
  • Parent Manual: provided for you to feel confident in using the materials.


I used this pack with my third grader who is an excellent reader but who often reads to quickly too fully comprehend what she is reading. This pack forced her to slow down while reading through the book of her choice as she looked for specific information. Here is how we did that!

Nat would use the cards during her regular independent reading. She would choose one of her books from the library and then I would give her the ring with the comprehension cards as well as her creepy reading finger. I would choose one of the comprehension cards for her to focus on for that day. She would then read her book (or her chapter if it was a long book) and write her findings on journaling paper. This allowed me to assess her comprehension as well as her writing skills. She also kept her Speedy Speller handy for writing support. (Note: If your child is still learning to read or write, you could have them read a book aloud to you and then verbally answer the question. This would give you immediate feedback as to their comprehension and fluency.)

She kept her writing papers in a folder and I would read over it with her asking questions to increase critical thinking and support her writing. She would then earn a sticker for her reading chart once I checked her writing.

Good To Know:

  1. The READS Reading Comprehension System has a fantastic price of $19.95. The great aspect of the materials is that they are created out of durable materials. Other than the sticker chart and stickers, these resources can be used many times. It is a quality product which is important to this homeschooling Mama and teacher at heart.
  2. The product would be best used in Grades 1-4. However, keep in mind the level of your child. If your fifth grader still struggles with real life connections or still reads on a lower level, this would be a great support resource for them as well.

My Thoughts

I was very pleased with the quality of this product. Nat was excited to use the comprehension cards and never complained about completing the writing assignment. It is definitely a resource that I will use again and again as I am always looking for great supplemental resources that will build reading comprehension. If a student can learn how to read and understand what they read, there are no limits to their future.


Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March Favorite Giveaway by Five Sisters Soap Co!

Hello, friends! I am so excited to be sharing with you a great giveaway made possible by my March Monthly Favorite: Five Sisters Soap Company. If you read my post from earlier in the month, you know that I adore this company! I have personally met the fantastic woman who owns and operates this business. She is as sweet as her gourmet soaps!

One winner will be chosen on Friday to receive a $25 giftbox that I know you will love!

There are many different ways you can enter and some methods you can do every day! I have created a button for you to grab to make spreading the news easy! I hope you will enter and spread the word!
Learning 4 Keeps March Giveaway!
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Learning 4 Keeps March Giveaway!" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Learning 4 Keeps March Giveaway!" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck and I pray that you are having a fabulous Sunday!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March Favorite Giveaway: Live Tomorrow!

Hello, everyone! I hope that you have all had a great week. My hubby and I have battled some kind of bug and I admit that I was getting ready to tap out! But, we fought back and are feeling back to normal! Woohoo!!

I did want to share some exciting news with you! The sweet developer of my March favorite: Five Sisters Soap Company has graciously offered a $25 giftbasket for one of my dear followers to win!! The giveaway will go live tomorrow and you won't want to miss out on your chance to try this fabulous product! See you tomorrow and good luck!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Five In a Row Game for Math Centers!

Hello, friends! I am so excited to share with you a new Math game that I have created for you to use in your Math Centers or homeschool classroom! The purpose of this game is to utilize a hundreds chart to practice number recognition. addition skills, and subtraction skills. It can be used with 2-4 players or for an independent learner who needs extra practice.  Here is how you play:

Each child needs their own hundred chart and markers such as dots or cheerios. (To make the game more exciting, use only one hundreds chart for all players to use!) Another option is to laminate each student’s chart so they can mark out their number with a wipe off marker and simply clean it off when the game is completed.  Next, cut out the math cards to place in two stacks. On one deck is numbers. For a simple number recognition game, only use this set. To increase difficulty, use the other set of cards as well which will give a mathematic operation to use with the first card the student has drawn. For example, the number card may say 35 and the operation card says to add 2. So the answer the student should cover is 37. The students take turns drawing numbers and operation cards and covering their hundred chart. When the cards run out, simply mix them and create two stacks once again. The student who gets five numbers in a row will win!

Here is a sneak peek into what is included. Simply click on the picture to head over to my TPT store.

I hope this is something that you can use to foster confidence in their math skills and bring excitement to your math center! Have a fantastic day everyone!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: Abraham's Journey

Hello, friends! It seems that lately I have had several new resources to write about and I have enjoyed sharing each one with you. Today's review regards a fictional book written by Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian. Together they have written a book for Inspiring the American Dream called Abraham's Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream.



PhotobucketAbraham's Journey describes an adventure experienced by a young boy whose family has been affected by a "recession." Because of this, the parents announce that they will be unable to have Christmas gifts that year. The story then follows the young boy Abraham as he seeks to find a way to provide Christmas for his family. He meets Abraham Lincoln who travels with him through the internet to meet different American history makers that have used their talents and passions to impact the world. Such notable people include Martin Luther King, Jr. and Norman Rockwell, Amelia Earhart and Mark Zuckerberg, Bill and Melinda Gates. Each history maker teaches a lesson such as having a dream, finding a talent, being determined to follow your passions, sharing your talent by finding avenues of networking and then blessing others with your success. In the end, Abraham achieves his dream of supplying Christmas for his family by using his newfound talent: painting. His family finishes their Christmas celebration by blessing others.

Good to Know

  1. This book can be purchased from Inspiring the American Dream for $14.99.
  2. It is a relatively short book with only 18 pages. The graphics are fun and resemble a graphic novel. The book would best be used for ages 7-12 as the pictures would appeal to the younger readers but the vocabulary and reading level would be more in line with a 10-12 year old. 
  3. I read this book myself for the purpose of the review; however, it could easily be used as a read-aloud. 

My Thoughts

While this short read-aloud does introduce components of the American Dream, I feel that its flow was a bit stilted and the theme was a bit difficult to follow. One must first accept that there are history makers from different time periods meeting, talking and working together in a common time period through the internet. Secondly, Abraham is taught several lessons that would have been more easily understood through a slower pace and with a bit more detail. Since very little information is given in the story about each historical figure, it seems to lose the story's impact. I would say this book would best be used as a read-aloud discussing history makers if you will be doing research and lessons on the people involved. As the book offers a short biographical index, you could use this book as a reference. Only then would the message of the book be more clearly understood.


Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Introducing my March Favorite: Five Sisters Soap Co.

UPDATE! Check back in here next week to enter a giveaway and earn your chance to win a giftbox from Five Sisters Soap Company! You won't want to miss it!

Hello, friends! I wanted to share with you something brand new that I will be doing on my blog! Starting this month, I will be sharing with you one of my favorite products! It might be educational resources, home or beauty products... who knows? What I do know is that I will be sharing with you some of my all-time favorites! It will be something I have personally used and love! You will be able to find a link and picture to the monthly product showcase all throughout the month here:

As you can see, I have already chosen my March favorite: Five Sisters Soap Company
This family-owned and operated company creates some of the finest smelling soaps EVAH! I have enjoyed several scents and have found it hard to choose just one particular favorite. Five Sisters Soap Co specializes in Handmade Gourmet Cold-Pressed Soaps and Handmade Gourmet Goat Milk Soaps. They also offer holiday fragrances and party favor sets that would be perfect for wedding showers, baby showers, parties, and more! 

The fragrances are delightful and fill my bathroom after each shower.  They make excellent gifts, party favors, or perfect additions to a personal spa day. Head on over to check out all of the wonderful fragrances. I know that you will enjoy my March favorite.

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this promotion. I simply love this product! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Review: College Common Sense

PhotobucketGood afternoon everyone! Today, I will be sharing a program that you can use to prepare your children for college! I believe that it is never too early to beginning thinking about this important step. I was very excited to receive the opportunity to review the Going to College and Paying for It Online Video and Workbook by College Common Sense.


This program was written by Denise Ames, a woman with 10 years experience in the financial aid business. This product is an effort to educate and equip parents as well as students with the processes of financial aid. There are so many steps a student must take to choose the right college, then pay for it! On a series of videos, Denise walks through the process with you as if you were sitting in her office. She slowly walks through common vocabulary used in the financial aid process, what to expect when working through the steps, scholarships that are available to you, and a system you can use to stay organized. 

College Common Sense includes 6 videos with an accompanying workbook that is available in PDF format for quick printing. This enables you to read along and take notes for later reflection. Here are the titles of each video:
  • The Big Picture- This provides a look into the first steps: choosing a college, understanding financial aid, and how much it actually costs. It also includes a worksheet that asks 20 important questions before applying to a college. She also discusses specific things you should look for when visiting colleges and making a college choice based on the right motives. 
  • How Financial Aid Works- Denise uses this opportunity to share the ins and outs of financial aid: where you should begin (the FAFSA) and the actual cost of attending. 
  • All About the Free Money- In my opinion, this was an important video. I am already making plans now to ensure my children make it into college. There are many scholarships available but sadly, we don't always know about them. This video helps you find them so that you can take advantage of these great opportunities.
  • The System that Works- In this video, Denise instructs on how to set up a system that will help your child keep track of the scholarship process. There are ways to keep track of the scholarships that interest you, the scholarships you actually apply for, and the scholarships that have already been attained. There is support in preparing for these scholarship opportunities that I will definitely be going back to for reference.
  • You in the Process- I enjoyed this part of the series as it seeks to actively involve the student in the process.  My daughters are encouraged to be responsible for their futures and seek to build character within that would enable them to reach their goals.
  • Put It All Together- This final video is a wrap-up that encourages one to get excited and take charge of this monumental decision: a college future.

Good to Know:

  1. This program is for all of the following: parents of elementary students, parents and middle school students, parents and high school students, parents and college students. Because my daughters are all 6th grade and younger, this program was more for my benefit. I watched the videos and made notes in the workbook. However, I did begin using some of the processes with my oldest daughter. We have begun talks about some of her college options and I have plans to utilize the information more as she progresses through middle school.
  2. The program is $25 for online access that will last 12 months. The videos and PDF are all conveniently located on the website.
  3. Each video lasts around 30 minutes so it is not burdensome on your time. It is good to print out the workbook so that you can highlight and take notes as you work through each session.

My Thoughts:

I found that this product would be an excellent tool for parents who have never walked through the college process. Mrs. Ames systematically works through the process as she seeks to take the guess work out of college preparation. Due to the ages of my children, I used this product myself and watched 1-2 videos a week. I would then take notes and complete followup activities that related to my children's stages. 

The greatest part of this program is that you feel that you are sitting with a financial aid adviser who isn't rushed. Many parents and students on campus can testify to the fact that sitting with a financial aid adviser can be a hurried process as there are many other students waiting, and it can be uninformative as you don't always know the questions to ask. This program allows you to sit with an adviser that will slowly explain to you the process, the vocabulary, and the right questions to ask. It is definitely a resource that I will refer to in the future. As the financial aid specifics change from year to year, I understand that I will still be required to do my homework each year. However, this program affords the benefits of a basic knowledge and background into the steps that will prove very helpful.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.