Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spanish for You!

I have been searching for a Spanish curriculum for Twinkle Toes for quite some time.  All the ones I have seen are either too expensive, too detailed, not for beginners, or just look boring!  I have never taken any kind of Spanish (unless we want to count the toddler shows she used to watch years ago), so when I found out that I would be reviewing Spanish for You! I was pretty excited, especially after looking at the previews online of this curriculum.  I loved that it was reasonably priced for when I have to order more, and looks so appealing to kids (and me)!

Debbie Annett is the author of Spanish for you!  She has been so wonderful to work with and answer any questions that any of us have.  She has been teaching Spanish for 14 years!  I love how she has made all of the downloads so easy to organize and plan our our busy school days.

Spanish for You! currently has 2 themed packages available, Fiestas (celebrations) and Estaciones (seasons).  (Viajes (travels) is set to come out on June of 2013, and is currently available as a 4 or 6 week trial)  We got the chance to review Fiestas, and it sure was a celebration to get to review this item!  Spanish for You! provides two audio packages to download with their product which is great. The native speaker is a bit harder for us to understand, as we have never taken any Spanish, but the audio file of Debbie speaking is wonderful and easy to follow.

The books is very basic, which I love because its not full of colorful illustrations to distract you from the lessons. I like to plan ahead, so I printed out our full year of printables and put them in a three ring binder, this makes it very easy for us to get our lessons done with little effort. With me working full time (from home) I am all about convenience and making things as easy as I can for both Twinkle Toes and myself.

 (oops, when printing my label for my binder I forgot a space between Spanish and for!!)

You only need basic supplies (that you probably already have around the house) to go along with Spanish for You!.
You will need...
Card stock, Markers or crayons, and glitter/decorating materials (which is optional)

Spanish for You! lesson plans are easy to follow.  Debbie has written the lessons so clearly and understandable that anyone can follow them, even the older kids can teach the younger kids from these, if you have multiple ages, I only have one child and I can have her read her lessons when needed.  Important notes are in bold in the lessons so that they are easy to read if  you are skimming through your lessons for the week for planning.

Now, lets talk about price, because that is a HUGE factor in pretty much every homeschoolers life, right?

Spanish for You! offers two price plans for each themed package
You can buy individual grade levels 3-4, 5-7, or 7-8 for $39.95 OR you can buy the package that covers grades 3-8 for only $64.95 and use it for all of your children in those grade levels!

If you are using Spanish for You! in a classroom, you can also purchase the lessons plans for $12.95-$14.95!  I think Spanish for You! would be wonderful in a co-op, and am thinking of teaching it in the co-op that I am involved in this coming Fall!  Currently, teacher lesson plans are only available for Fiestas, but Estaciones and Viajes will be available soon!!

We have loved this so far and plan to continue using Spanish for You! for our full 4th grade school year coming up!  I typically tell you the pros and cons of curriculum that I review, however, there just aren't any, we absolutely love Spanish for You! and look forward to continuing to use it in the years to come!

(I apologize for the blurry pictures, I DID take great pictures with my camera this time, however when I went to put them onto my computer, I of course couldn't find my computer cord, go figure)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The homeschool planner of my dreams!!

I have been eyeballing Aploogia The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell for months. So, when I found out that I would be reviewing it I was over the moon excited ( to say the least). I already use Apologia science, and had high expectations for this planner as we happen to love our science! I am going to try and keep this post short and easily readable, but if you know me, that translates into "grab some coffee, you might be here a while"!!!

I actually get to tell you about two planners today, The Ultimate Homeschool Planner AND The Ultimate Daily planner for Students! These came in the mail and I just might have attacked hubby for the package when I saw it, I was just a tad bit excited!!

Lets start with Twinkle Toes' planner.

This is about the size of normal student planners at appx 9x7, which is great for kids.  It comes not dated, so we can add our dates to go with our school year, not pre-planned dates.  It cost $19 and is a great price for what you get!  The front and back covers are made of a strong flexible plastic, I can see this lasting through lots of use by kiddo throughout the year and holding up great for storage when we are done with it.  Each week has a Bible verse on the top of the left page and a history trivia question on the right, which Iis a great added bonus.

You can't see from my photo well, but this is the weekly pages for kiddo to write her lessons in.

Now, I have a daughter who struggles with handwriting (one of those fine motor skills that she has trouble with) so I write in her planner for her, and go over it with her as well. I love how there is plenty of room to write her assignments out, I write a bit big. Another great thing is that there are two columns for her completed work to be checked off, one for her to check off when she completes the lesson that day, and one for a parent/teacher check to approve/confirm the work has been done. The planner seems to be helping teach independence, it's her requirement to see what work she has, get it done, check it off and bring to me for review. She is getting better and better at this each day.

What child doesn't like stickers!!  Lots of stickers for the Student planner for appointments, reminders, sports, test, etc.  Also a year at a glance calendar with a pocket on the other side of it.

Now about my planner!!!

It's awesome! ( I could end right there from how much I love it, but let me tell you why!)

Just like the student planner, the covers are made of that same plastic. Inside the front and back covers are POCKETS, who doesn't love having a dedicated place for those loose papers?!?!

 The first couple sections of the planner are about how to use it, how to schedule your time (I certainly need that), year at a glance calendars, etc.

It has 6 rows and 6 columns for planning, and you get to choose how you want to schedule your weeks, kids names across the top or the left, subjects, days etc.  We are putting the days of the week on the left side and the subjects across the top.  I only have one child and this works for us, but, for multiple children I would have a column for each child instead of the week days!

 I love how it has undated monthly calendars for 12 months and weekly planning pages. The planner is a great size at 8x11 closed, and then it opens up to lay flat with its sturdy binding not being in the way.

 Each of the weekly pages has a two page spread for your school schedule and a two page spread for your Spiritual planning/goals.

 Now, when looking at the price of $28 for this planner, you may be thinking its a bit pricey (I did) but, now that I have seen and used this, I can honestly say that It is the Mac Daddy of all planners, not only is there enough room for planning out your school year, but there is enough space in this to make it your yearly planner, calendar for appointments, school, and everything in between! I have been searching for a planner that I could use for everything, and I have found it! I fully intend on buying one every single year now!

I really don't have anything bad to say about either of these planners, they are perfect for our family needs.

Now, they also have a Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens!   I of course don't need one of those yet, but looking at it, I can see that I will be getting one in a few years for sure!

You can hop on over to there site  and see all that they have to offer for your homeschool planning needs!

Thanks for reading my long post on these great planners!  I did tell you it would end up being long, did you get that coffee I told you about?!?!?

Monday, April 1, 2013

We Choose Virtues Review and coupon code!

We Choose Virtues is a character building curriculum that I was asked to review. Being a parent of only one child, and one with pretty good manners at that, I didn't think that we would 'need' this too much, but who doesn't want their children to be he best that they can be, right?

When we received the package in the mail it came with these wonderful and colorful character cards with great catch phrases to help remember the virtues. The one virtue that we worked on the most was "Content", that's one that we struggle with daily around our house, Twinkle Toes is spoiled, it was only recently that we started adding rotten to that, spoiled rotten! Mooooommmmm why do I have to do 2 lessons of math, mooommmm can I pleaasseeee stay up late, moooommmmm I don't want to do my chores, well I am sure you get the idea! Don't get me wrong she is a very bright girl with wonderful manners, it's just that pesky whining (being Content) that we are working on.

I gave Twinkle Toes the Character Assessment that came with this great curriculum and was actually surprised at how she answered some of the questions, but this was about how SHE felt about her virtues, not me.

Once the character assessment was done, we got started on our virtues, we loved the coloring pages for each of the virtues! When you order We Choose Virtues you can pick Christian or a secular, we of course chose Christian and I love how they integrate a bible verses to go along with each virtue. We Choose Virtues also comes with a wonderful 52 page Teachers Handbook that has everything so easy to understand about this curriculum, and if you are anything like me, I need great instructions that are easily understood when I teach my girl!

After a few weeks on working on our Virtues and memorizing Bible verses I am happy to say that I have seen wonderful results in Twinkle Toes and I feel that this is just the beginning that I am seeing now. I can't wait to see long term how these wonderful virtues play part in our lives!

The best way to get the most out of this amazing curriculum is to but a Homeschool Kit, valued at $98.99, but, We Choose Virtues has very generously given us a coupon code to share with our readers to save 15% off your total purchase Just use Coupon Code Virtue15.  Who doesn't love to save money while teaching our children great Virtues to carry with them into adulthood?

 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not turn from it.