Thursday, July 22, 2010

He's Six!

FRitW is six years old. I cannot believe how quickly those 6 years have passed. The little guy who arrived almost 5 weeks early and weighed only 6 lbs 12 oz has grown to become quite a little man.

He decided to have a dog and cat themed birthday party, which is perfect because I have yet to see an animal that did not like FRitW or that FRitW did not like.

FRitW decided to make his own invitations and even allowed Maggie to give him a hand. He started with dog and cat themed cardstock and added a multitude of stickers.


Monday, July 19, 2010

TOS Module – Travel the World!

The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew sets sail for the 2010-2011 school year! The TOS Crew is a group of homeschooling bloggers that receive curriculum and tools to try out and review in hopes of helping fellow parents make great choices. I am so excited to have been chosen as a member of the TOS Crew and just as excited to share with you my first review of a homeschool product.

First a few details:

I received the June 2010 Module entitledTravel the World!  for review from The Old Schoolhouse Store. This is a short study of Geography and includes lapbooking elements, puzzles, and internet links. Travel the World! has activities for all ages from preschool to high school. It retails for $7.95 in The Old Schoolhouse Store and is in e-book format. Some parts need to be printed, but most can be used from the computer. The pages that need to be printed are black ink only and use only a minimum amount of ink. To get the most out of this unit you would need a globe and a map. We did not have a globe, but used a children's atlas to supplement the map work.
I used my copy of Travel the World! with Maggie - age 11, and FRitW - age 5. Our 3 year old, MT watched from the sidelines. I printed out portions that required writing - the crossword puzzle, word search, maps to color, etc. But the information parts are best used directly on your computer. The download was not large, but the Module is 56 pages long and you will be amazed at the amount of information they pack into those 56 pages.

Travel the World! is a unit that allows your child to learn about countries and cultures around the world and explore travel possibilities to those places. Along the way they compare globes vs. maps, learn about latitude and longitude, and the rotation of the earth to create seasons and days. Then they receive an overview of the oceans and continents with a multitude of links to definitions, demonstrations, and my children's favorite: games! To reinforce what they are learning there are copy work pages, word scrambles, maps to color, and lapbooking elements.

We used Travel the World! as a short unit to review the continents and oceans for Maggie and a quick introduction for FRitW. We spent about 5-6 hours total over a period of days exploring the information, playing the online 'games', and doing the puzzles and maps.

Maggie completed the cursive copywork (the Module also includes manuscript copywork), all of the puzzles, completed the labeling of maps and colored her favorite continents. She also played some of the online 'games'. Maggie is a natural born teacher and I have watched over the last few weeks as she has demonstrated much of the material from this Module to her little brothers.

Notice that I keep putting the word 'games' in quotations. I do that because these weren't exactly what I think of when I hear the words "online games". I tend to shy away from online games, but these links went to children's geography sites that had a puzzle type activity. FRitW loved playing a game in which he had to place each of Africa's countries into their proper places on a map. He played this over and over trying to beat his own time. The other continents were also available, but Africa was his favorite. Another game he and Maggie liked gave latitude and longitude coordinates and required you to locate the correct spot on a map in order to find the traveler.

This module is not designed to be a comprehensive curriculum for geography, but it has many jumping off points to lead you into further in depth study. The lapbook elements encourage the student to find information about each continent and through that narrow down a place he or she would love to travel. Then the child can create a travel book with distances, travel arrangements, destinations, and even a budget. This would be a fun family project to plan a 'one day I hope we can' type of vacation or even a close to home vacation for this year!

The Old Schoolhouse produces these Modules each month as an addition to their TOS Planner. I do not own the Planner yet, and you do not have to own it to use these Modules - they stand alone. TOS offers a number of options for purchasing the modules and I encourage you to look in the store and see what might work for your family. You can find the Planner and Modules here. For the Homeschool Crew main blog and additional reviews on this product please click here.

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Bit of Craftiness!

Today I am participating in Stitching, Sketching, and Scrapping Sunday with Mama Manuscripts.  Please go take a look!

I haven't done much crafting for a week or so, but July is a pretty busy birthday month in our family and that means handmade gifts! So here is what I made for a couple of my nieces who celebrated birthdays this month.

First is an idea I got from Frugal Family Fun blog. These little paper doll tins are so cute and simple to make! I have big plans for these little gems! I am thinking about little school games (counting games, phonics games), Bible story paper dolls, and featuring vacation photos in a paper doll set for my children. And with widespread relatives I thought it would be fun to make cousin sets of all the kids for play. That would be a fun way to keep the littler cousins familiar with names and faces!

For these sets I used photos from a hot air balloon race we attended last year,

stickers and scrapbook paper for the aquarium,


 and snowman scenes.
 Then I decorated the outside of the tins with pink and purple paper and ribbon. The bottom has felt attached so no surfaces are scratched.

I also made each girl a little purse. The dog purse is made from a pattern called "Doggie Bags" by The City Stitcher.
After making the dog purse for the older niece, I realized that the loose ears and tongue might be easily torn by the younger girl, so I decided to make a simpler purse for her.

This is what I came up with. I am really happy with how the purses turned out. The paper doll tins fit inside perfectly!

Both purses are made with 100% wool felt. This felt is gorgeous! The colors are so nice and I love the smooth texture. Next up from this felt is going to be Christmas ornaments and package toppers!  The felt is from an Etsy shop, Felt on the Fly. She offers an incredible range of colors and packages them in beautiful combinations like Cowboy (blues, oranges), Roses pinks and greens, and Pumpkin Spice (rusts and oranges).