Friday, June 27, 2014

Go Science from Library and Educational Services (TOS Review)

Go Science Review

Last summer I had brought a couple of the Go Science (Series 1) DVDs home from our local homeschool library and they were a big hit. I was excited to find out that we could review 2 DVDs from Go Science (Series 2) offered by Library and Educational Services.

Go Science Review

Go Science Series 2 is a series of DVDs that present science in a way that is engaging and at the same shows how physical or chemical science points to our Creator. These DVDs feature Ben Roy who has teaches science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He also has produced science lessons for the Weather Channel,, and a Christian satellite broadcasting network. You can tell he is very passionate about science and giving glory to God when he closes every episode with “Every time we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator God!”

Go Science Series 2 consists of 7 DVDs which include such topics as:
  • Sound
  • Life Science
  • Air
  • Motion
  • Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Water
  • And much more
Go Science ReviewGo Science Review

We were able to review Volume 4: Motion, Friction, Electricity, andLight and Volume 7: Engineering, Design, and Flight. In Volume 4 the subject of motion with experiments that included a tablecloth trick, bouncing balls, a bowling ball, marbles, and more. Then it goes on to teach about friction, electricity, and light.

Volume 7 is about Engineering, Design, and Flight. While learning about the subjects of engineering and design and saw experiments that focused on how much different types of objects held, the Leaning Tower of Lyra, and how to balance 10 nails on 1. Then the experiments focused on flight with three different types of rockets and toilet paper on a paint roller. (Weird, I know, but a truly fascinating experiment!)  

When we received these in the mail, Delani (6), recognized them and immediately zoomed off to the playroom to watch them—which she did over and over and over. Chantry (12) watched them with her, though not so many times. Go Science is for ages 6-10 though I think the whole family will enjoy them. My teens had plenty of extra comments that are non-science related, but many times they were pretty amazed at the final result of an experiment. 

I found most of the experiments fun to watch and I appreciated all the scientific terminology that was used. I also appreciated the focus on how we learn about science we are learning about God. One of the biggest things that stood out to me is that these would make excellent object lessons. Not only does Ben Roy give glory to our Creator, but he also takes these experiments and applies them to daily Christian living. 

The Go Science DVDs have more use than just entertaining your children. You could use them in co-ops, Sunday School, VBS, and so much more. I also appreciated when Ben Roy pointed out if an experiment could be done at home (don't worry, he also points out the ones you shouldn't do at home) and these could be done for science projects. I plan on having Chantry to one or two for his presentations in co-op next year.

The biggest thing I appreciate about these DVDs is that they make science fun and approachable. They would make an excellent resource to your current science program, or even by just watching them you could find books to fill out the lessons and they research more on the topic and use the scientific method to come to their conclusions. Theses DVDs are so versatile you can't go wrong by adding them to your collection!

The Go Science (Series 2) DVDs are available at Library and Educational Services for $59.82 for the whole series or $8.97 for a single DVD. 

And by the way, let me put in a plug for Library and Educational Services. If you are not familiar with them you must remedy that immediately. Library and Educational Services is a wholesale distributor that serves wholesale buyers including homeschoolers by offering their stock 30-70% everyday. I have purchased many things through them and can't recommend them highly enough!

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

I is for Ironing (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

Ben and Me

Ironing 2
Yes, I know I have to be a dying breed, but I have ironing. Most people tell me that they have been delivered from it or that they don't buy clothes that don't need ironing and I would love to say that was me, but this is one thing that I just can't get away from. Don't even ask me why, because I don't find ironing therapeutic in the least!

I do try to get a lot of things out of the dryer and hung up to make my ironing pile smaller, but there are just articles of clothing that don't come out to my taste. For some reason I feel a lot more put together if my clothes and my family's clothes are wrinkle free. So until I get really blind and can't see my clothing I'll continue to iron.

 Ironing 1 

I had also hoped in our new house that I could leave my iron set up, but there just wasn't a spot for that. So for now it is pull it out of the laundry room, set everything up in the kitchen and iron away. It does give me time to listen to some great podcasts liked Sarah from Amongst Lovely Things Read-Aloud Revival podcast.

On a side note: Investing in a good quality iron does makes a huge difference. When buying an iron don't settle for cheap.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What's On Your Nightstand - June

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What's On Your Nightstand 

I have so much I want to read, a so little time to do it in. I am hoping to have a better month this month, but it seems like my life is not my own during the summer months. I have have picked 6 books for this month and that is because I couldn't decided if I wanted to read Sayers or Heyer. I imagine I'll only get one of them read, but I can attempt it!

 For July's Nightstand:

From June's Nightstand I read:
 I didn't read:
  • Hitty Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Fields - I was too busy reading other books and I really forgot it was on my list. Hopefully I will get to it this month.
I also read:
  • Gaudy Night: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane by Dorothy Sayers - Finally, a resolution to the romance of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. The only problem was the answer to the question was written in Latin. Do you know how much Latin I know? Zilch!! Thank the Lord for Google!
  • Moms' Night Out by Tricia Goyer - I was too impatient for the film to come out on DVD. Since this was actually turned into a book from the screen play I think the film will be better. Not that I didn't enjoy the book, but it just felt like it was written to be seen.
  • A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund - What happens when your daughter falls in love with a man who turns out to be the son of a nobleman who you accuse of murdering your son? You have to read it to find out! More fluff, but since I was so busy with my parents here and hosting parties for my son who thought he needed to graduate, fluff was just right.
  • A Life in Balance: Discovery of a Learning Breakthrough by Frank Belgau - Interesting read about learning and the brain told as a memoir. (Review)
  I listened to:  
  • Venetia by Georgette Heyer- I just realized that this was abridged. Oh well, it was perfect for my drive back and forth to the Homeschool Convention I attended last week end.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

H is for Happy 12th Birthday, Chantry!

Ben and Me

Chantry B'day 

12 years ago Chantry joined our family. He is very proud of the fact that he was born in Texas even though he only lived there for two months. I don't believe he has ever met a stranger and he will tell you himself that he loves to talk!  He brings a lot of laughter to our family and there is never a dull moment when he is around. Happy Birthday, Chantry!!

Chantry B'day 2

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

G is for Graduation

Ben and Me

On Sunday, June 8, my oldest son, Caleb, graduated from high school. We held his graduation at our church during our regular Sunday service time. It was a little unconventional in the fact that he did not wear a cap and gown, but since homeschoolers never do anything normal, I figured it wouldn't matter much. In fact, I don't think anyone even commented on the fact that he wasn't wearing one. Here is a run down of how his graduation went. 

Caleb's Graduation 1 
1. The table I set up at the back of the church. The big square frame had a place for people to sign. We started our church service with singing and offering. I read an article that I had been keeping for such a time as this and then we had a power point presentation that started from his birth until the present.
2.  He requested that both of his Grandpas speak for his graduation, so his Papa Starr spoke first.
3. Caleb next gave his speech where he went through his thank yous and shared his favorite verse. He spoke from his heart and I still tear up thinking about what he said. When he was done he did a signed, along with his friend Hannah, the song "He's Everything to Me" by Avalon.
4. Next his Papa Kaske spoke and exhorted him.
5. This was followed up with his dad presenting Caleb with his diploma.
6. Then his Dad and his Grandpa gathered around and prayed for him.
 Caleb Graduation 2

After the graduation we had family over for pizza, since some of them can't come to his party that we are having for him this coming Saturday. I didn't get the pictures I really wanted since I was quickly trying to get to Costco to pick up the pizza. After everyone had gone I did get a few pictures of him with his diploma. 
7.-9. Caleb and his diploma. I ordered this from HSLDA.
10. Caleb also received a new Bible from his Grandma and Grandpa Kaske.

Friday, June 6, 2014

F is for Friday = Baseball

Ben and Me
Baseball Collage 

For the last five years we have been involved in a homeschool baseball league, which means for the months of May and June our Fridays revolve around baseball games. Since we have three kids in different age groups we get to stay from the beginning to the end. I will admit that life gets very hectic during this time, but my kids, especially the boys, love every minute of it!

On a side note: I forgot to take pictures of Destini and me doing our thing--sitting in chairs. I cheer real loud and which makes Destini look for a place to hide.

Kinder Cottage Publishing - Peter Rabbit Books (TOS Review)

Kinder Cottage Review
Over the past few weeks Delani and I had the opportunity to read two books, Peter Rabbit's Birthday and When Peter Rabbit went to School for review, which have been re-printed by Kinder Cottage Publishing.

Kinder Cottage Review

Howard, the founder of Kinder Cottage, along with his wife Ann wanted to ensure that their children will grow up to have a love for literature, history, culture, and a Christian faith. Their main goal is to offer quality literature and products for parents of younger children.

One of the series that they offer is the Peter Rabbit Series (Ages 5-9) that were originally written by Duff Graham for the Henry Altemus Company over 90 years ago and are now in the public domain. The color illustrations have been beautifully preserved while the text has been adapted in places to bring out of date words into modern terms.

These books are about 5x7 inches in size and come in a hardback cover. The pages are a nice weight of paper and illustrations are one side of the page and the story is on the other side. These little books and are nice to hold in the hand.

Kinder Cottage Review

Peter Rabbit's Birthday tells the story of Peter Rabbit, who is a very mischievous rabbit. On the morning of his birthday he wakes up and promptly dumps the flour for his birthday cake all over him. After being cleaned up and receiving his birthday presents from his mother and three sisters he sets out to invite his friends to his birthday party. He experiences many adventures while doing this including falling in the pond and dancing with a monkey. He has so much fun with the monkey he forgot about his party until he realized that he was going to be late. A little boy named Bobby meets him and offers to take him home. When he gets home he behaves perfectly and has a wonderful birthday.

Kinder Cottage Review

In When Peter Rabbit went to School we meet up with Peter Rabbit falling into Mr. McGregor's well. After this experience his mother decides that it time for Peter and his sisters to go to school. Since Peter's father was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor, she firsts consults Uncle Jack Rabbit, who agrees it is a great idea. Thus Peter and his sisters find themselves at school being taught by Miss Hannah Hare. Eventually the little animals are dismissed for recess after receiving a warning not to play in the woods. As you can probably guess, that is just where Peter goes. This takes Peter on another adventures until he is finally returned to the school where he promises he will never go in the woods again.

I read these aloud to Delani. She liked the stories and especially liked the size of the books. They are perfect for little hands! Her favorite story was Peter Rabbit's Birthday since she really liked the bow-tie he received for his birthday.

I found these were fun little reads. They very much resemble a small picture book, though they is quite a bit of story involved. Though you don't have to read these books in order, I did find that some of the characters involved in the stories had been introduced in previous books. Having read the previous stories probably would have shed more light to the characters that were talked about in the stories we were reading.

One thing I did find disconcerting was the way a paragraph was split up in the middle going from one page to the next. I don't know if this was due to the paragraphs being centered down the page and it just made it hard for the eye to follow. This was not a big thing, but for me it made it hard for the story to flow. Thankfully, Delani did not notice.

Peter Rabbit's Birthday and When Peter went to School are available from Kinder Cottage Publishing for $4.00 a piece. You can also purchase the other books in the series for $4.00 a piece or $30 for the 10 book set. Remember, these are nice little hardback books that would be an asset for any personal home library.

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Book Review: A Life in Balance by Frank Belgau (TOS Review)

Learning Breakthrough Program Review

As a mom who has had two of her children benefit from brain training programs I am always interested in learning about the brain and alternative treatments that are available. I recently had the opportunity to read a new book by Frank Belgau the founder and developer of the Learning Breakthrough Program called A Life in Balance .

Learning Breakthrough Program Review
A Life in Balance starts at the beginning of Frank Belgau's life and his struggles as a child to learn to read. All of his siblings had good grades and excelled in learning, yet for Frank the letters just seemed to swirl around and he couldn't make sense of them. His dad reassured him that he wasn't dumb, and one summer he practiced and practiced his running skills and when he returned to school that fall he could read.

He goes on to tell about his experiences as a mechanic in the Air Force and the different people that touched his life during these years that set some life lesson in place that would influence him as he became a teacher. It was when he became a teacher that he discovered his passion to help children who struggled in learning. He set out on a path to help these children release the potential that was hidden inside them. He discovered that struggling learners could learn, but it looked different than how a normal child learned.

Every teaching position and job he had thereafter became a time of experimenting with different methods that would help a struggling learner.  Eventually he began to find different methods that showed he was on the right track until he found what created the Learning Breakthrough Program Tools which include:
  • The Balance Board
  • Visual Motor Control Stick
  • Pendulum ball
  • Target Stand and Pins
  • Bean Bags
  • Super Ball Toss Back
 Not only does this book tell Frank Belgau's story, but it also includes a lot of information about brain development and how many of the activities in the Learning Breakthrough Program help to promote brain functions that are used in reading, memory, and evaluation. He also shows how the brain works in the classroom. There are several activities are included that a parent can use with their child as they read the book.

As a parent who has had two children go through brain training programs A Life in Balance is a book that fascinated me right off. This story is intertwined with information about the brain and how it works, which instead of being too technical or over the head, makes it hard to put down. You feel the author's passion throughout the book.

Though I can't attribute any of the programs my children did to Frank Belgau's work, I do believe because of it and other's who have been willing to "break the mold" about how struggling learners learn, my children have benefited from them.

My oldest daughter struggled to learn to read, which really blew my mind since I just knew she wouldn't have a problem. After learning about an optometrist who offered Vision Therapy we had her tested and learned that her eyes weren't tracking properly. After 15 weeks of therapy my daughter could read! Yes, it was a miracle.

My oldest son has struggled from the beginning, and though I have never had an official diagnosis many of his symptoms seem to stem from issues with auditory processing. We invested in around 24 weeks of alternative treatment that included him doing using a pendulum ball, a stick similar to Visual Motor Control Stick, and bean bags. Though he didn't have as a dramatic result as my daughter there was a definite improvement. I have seriously looked at the Learning Breakthrough Program to see if some of the things offered that my son didn't do the first time would be a benefit to him now. We'll see.

I highly recommend A Life in Balance for all parents and especially for the parent who is at their wit's end trying to help their child who is struggling to learn. It is available in paperback for $16.94. Trust me--this is worth every penny!!

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