Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just a Few Little Links

Today I want to share a link for some awesome FREE beginner music.

Free Piano Music

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and while you are here I thought that I'd add a link to Jan Bretts work too.

Jan Brett

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This week I was also introduced to this site:

Sheppard Software { maths games }

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A favorite place for printables:


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Here's an idea - 'Pinterest Board Favorites'.

Pick a board and I'll pick my 10 most favorite posts there to share here on the blog.  :o)

To see my 126 boards click HERE:

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AND I've got some new posts coming in March for Large Family Logistics with decluttering / downsizing.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cowboy Multiple Phonogram Games + { freebie }

Wow, 3 freebies in a row.  Don't forget to go and check out my last couple of posts.

But before we get there though I just want to do a quick little show and tell with my latest offering.

I am particularly fond of the Spalding method as are quite a number of very well to do spelling curriculums that are available these days.  They've discovered the same thing that I've known for nearly 20 years.  Phonics and rules work.

It even has recording worksheets as well.  Feel free to use them anyway that works for your student.  Please know that I tweak them to suit my individual children.  Miss 3 currently only writes out her sounds as she travels around the board.  Miss 7 writes the sound on one side and her word with that sound on the other side.  Ideally it is designed for the child to write a word and underline the phonogram sound in the word.  Just use them according to the ability of your student/s.

Two recording sheets per page.

{ For your FREE sample just click the worksheet below. }

Today I am linking up with:



Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cowboy Months / Days of Week { freebie }

Today I have another freebie for you.

Months of the Year and Days of the Week recording worksheets which are designed to work with my Cowboy centers.  It works without it too, so if you don't have the book you'll still be able to use them.

Just click the worksheet to download them.
{ There are 2 Months of the Year centers, and 3 Days of the Week centers in the Cowboy & Cowgirl book, just in case you wondered }.  This is so you can rotate them around for a change.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cowboy Antonym { freebie }

Just a super quick little post today to give you all a recording worksheet for the Antonym Centers from my Cowboy & Cowgirl book.

Choose an Antonym center { 1, 2, or 3 } and write their matches down on the worksheet.

Just click the worksheet to download.

Got a big day on today.  Back to school full time.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Congratulations Winners~!!

Congratulations to these ladies~!!

Katie, Cherie, Chareen.

Thanks so much for visiting and entering the giveaway.

As a surprise you'll not only be receiving the main book but I am also sending you a copy of the Day Pack as well.  :o)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A+ Interactive MATH Grade 1 Review

     Have you ever wondered about getting a Maths Tutor?   Would it interest you to know that there is a comprehensive maths tutor program that would last you for an entire year available?  What if it could free up some teaching time?  What if your children suddenly wanted to do maths because of a computer?  Then I think I might have discovered a program that you'd be interested in.

     Today I'd like to introduce you to A+ TutorSoft, Inc.  An online interactive maths program designed to take the stress out of math instruction by providing all the key components to make a successful year in mathematics.

     For the past several weeks Phebe { my 5 year old } has been having a heap of fun doing maths with A+TutorSoft, Inc. In particular we've been using the 1st Grade Homeschool online edition.  It's definitely FUN when your child ASKS to do maths.

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{ About the Product }

     A+ Interactive MATH Grade 1 is a great interactive program that allows you to hear, see, speak, and touch your math lessons.  The product we used was the online subscription, although you can buy a CD version if you would prefer.   There are 100 different lessons to choose from.  Covering 12 different areas.   Each lesson has 3 different modes of delivery.  The choice of either a multimedia lesson which includes an interactive question and answer time with a scored printout of your results, lessons delivered via printable worksheet, or if you want to save on printing, an online worksheet to do.  It just depends on how you want to do the lesson.  If you like the interaction of the computer or if you like paper, then there's a choice for you.  Either way they have provided the materials to suit everyones needs.  It is particularly useful to have the additional materials for added practice, revision, and mastery.

     They also include lesson plans, exams, progress tracking, and a curriculum text book.  They also have worked solutions, and exam answers too.  Nearly everything is printable if you want to have a hard copy.  Even though they are available for printing I found that I didn't need to print it all.  I would just open the pdf and view them online within the program.

The program lesson plan actually writes in that the student does:

1.  The multimedia lesson.
2.  Interactive question and answer time.
3.  Then a worksheet { your choice if it's paper or online.}
4.  Check progress and review if necessary.

     Here's a quick glance at the Table of Contents so that you can see briefly what they cover throughout the year.  There are 12 different math areas:

1.  Counting Numbers
2.  Number Sense
3.  Comparing and Ordering
4.  Addition - Part 1
5.  Addition - Part 2
6.  Subtraction - Part 1
7.  Subtraction - Part 2
8.  Fractions
9.  Graphs
10.  Time
11.  Money
12.  Measurements
13. Geometry
14.  Algebra

     Each section has a subsection of lessons.  They are easy access, just point and click.  You just have to LOVE point and click~!!  I know I do.

{ How we used it }

     Each school morning we would log in and choose which lesson we wanted to do for the day.   It's very easy to navigate and Phebe picked it up super quick and was able to log herself in whenever she wanted after a while.

     Our most FAVORITE part of the program is the Multimedia Lesson, with it's Interactive Q & A and Printout of results.  So most days we would go straight to the multimedia lesson.  This is where the tutoring really comes in.  It's audio, visual, and interactive.  At the end of the lesson Phebe would send her results to the printer.  This would tell me if she understood the lesson or needed more work with it.

What an open lesson looks like:

 photo 1stGradeOnline.png

     We tried several different content areas.  Sometimes she got 100%, sometimes she scored differently.  I love that we can come back and do the lesson again and again, and in different formats until she has mastery.  Originally we started at the very beginning and would follow it through sequentially,  but as our time drew to a close for the review we started looking at other areas of the program.

Up close of what a printout looks like.  Labelled clearly and easy to read.

When she didn't score 100% on the interactive question and answer section I would go and print up a worksheet for additional practice. I think that there were a couple of other worksheets that I printed too, just for fun to try them out.   We also tried out their online worksheets as well.  My preference is for paper though when it comes to worksheets.  Here are some that got completed.

{ Can I get some samples or a demo? }

     Yes.  TutorSoft actually have a FREE 1 month homeschool online trial available.  I highly recommend trying it out.

Yes, they also have FREE worksheets and other samples available for viewing as well.

For a comprehensive view of what is in their Grade 1 program just click on through to their Table of Contents.   

{ What I thought of it. }

     We really enjoyed doing the maths online.   The explanations were quite clear and easy to follow.  I never had to worry about planning either.  It was all there, all done for me.  The most we had to do was print a few things and follow instructions.

     I would of liked to have seen an option for plain black and white worksheets without any color.  Printing in greyscale is doable, but I'd rather not have to fiddle with my printer settings each time I wanted to print something out.  I also thought that perhaps the graphics could have been a bit more cuter. I'm a little particular about picture content.  Yes, I do realise that I am very spoilt, but hay, these little tiny details are big in my head.  Now having said this, the graphics that they use work within the lessons just fine for the most part.  I say most part because both Phebe and I had trouble counting some of their graphics.  Yep, I had trouble.  In the end I just gave up trying to count how many carrots there were, but if they had put them in groups of ten or a skip counting presentation I think it would of been easier.

     The only other problem we would have is with the money strand, but that is because we are in Australia, and that is an understandable conflict.  This personally did not bother me or cause any problems.  In fact I thought it added to our lessons because that way Phebe got to look at and have some understanding of another country's currency.

{ How much does it cost? }

    It currently retails for $124.99.  This is for a full years comprehensive and total subscription.   Or you could easily pick up a monthly subscription for just $19.95, or quarterly for $49.99.  This sounds like a lot but when you compare it to getting a real live tutor in your home for the year it's an awesome price.  Ever paid for a live tutor?  You'll know what I mean.  Cost comparison shows this program to be a bargain when comparing it to a live tutor.

    What is even better is that they are currently offering an awesome 50% Off Special Promotion to my readers through to the end of March with this code:

"Your private teacher, anytime, anywhere."

     I really like this program as a tutor, even though it's actually really much more than that.  But in my mind I've now got this little saying,  A+ Interactive Math - Grade 1 is your one stop maths TUTOR. And I really like that tutoring suddenly got very affordable with it's discount offer for this program.

     Thanks for visiting, and don't forget to tour A+ TutorSoft for additional information about their products; and check out some other reviews as well.

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.

Cleaning the Girls Room

The other day I did a post showing the girls bedroom.  You will all notice that the room looked particularly clean.

{ flashback - clean bedroom }

This bedroom is housed by a 7y, 5y, 3y, and 1y.  So a number of quite young children.  Oh, and very messy children too by nature.  Yes, VERY messy~!!

I've been able to get their bedroom clean by doing a number of things.  Yep, I'm going to share my secrets.  

1.  I removed excess toys.  

Ok..... I removed 99% of ALL their toys. Yep, totally got mean and tired of the mess and just took them all away.  They only have a couple of things each in there now.  Bibles, handbags, 1 or 2 other things like dolly clothes that live in a tub in the cupboard. 

Toys are reserved for playing and packing away afterwards. No - they cannot have those toys to keep in their bedroom.  I'm mean like that.  I actually had to change the way I viewed the room.  I had to only look at it as a bedroom and not a playroom.  The toys now go into containers and are put in the carport when not in use.   Yep, even their dolly prams. 

2.  I removed excess clothing.  

Yep, I got mean on how much clothing they had in the cupboards as well.  I  got tired of washing clean clothes that had been ruffled through, dropped on the floor, and mixed into the mess.  

They still have quite a number of pieces of clothing but it's much more manageable for them and for me.  Sometimes too much of something isn't good for us.  Less is more.  That's my saying. { Goes for toys too. }

3.  I oversee chores for the room.

When they were younger I used to be the one to clean the childrens bedrooms, but I dunno, as I got older and had more children I got over that. { For new readers I have 8 children and 2 grandchildren who have been living with us as well. }  I got tired of being the maid who was continously swamped in work.  Work that really shouldn't have been that much.  I would clean things only to have the children make more mess - sometimes at the very same time I was cleaning.  It was an endless circle of hard work.

So then I started thinking that they need to start cleaning their own messes.  

I used to sit in the room and give instructions on what to do with single items.  Put that there, put this in the bin, put that in that bag, put this......  Then we progressed to sometimes sending a child in to the room to collect a certain amount of items off the floor.  For example:  Ok, each girl grab 3 items off the floor.  

A game we sometimes used to play when the boys were younger would be to roll a single die and whatever the number turned up that was how many items you had to pick up.  That is a good quick way to get the whole family cleaning lounge rooms, but I digress.  

Lately I've been moving into more of a tighter routine with the girls.  All the girls go to their room and make their beds and clean the ENTIRE room.  Then we have INSPECTION time.

I've had to show them very individually what is expected.  I've had to model it a lot.  I've had to explain it a lot too.  The good part to this is that it is only one little lesson at a time.  So slow and steady wins the race on the teaching front.

And then I've had to WAIT a lot too.  Sometimes they just need time to get the job done.  Oh and the added incentive that no they cannot go play until it's done, and they may not see the computer until tomorrow or until it's done.

Now having said this I still go in and will sometimes do the finishing touches if it's not to showroom level.  I try to make sure at least one girl is watching me do this.  I'm still working on getting them to notice and do the small details.  Especially for vacuuming.

We still have times where their room gets messy.  They do after all  still play in there.

But overall we've definitely made some very good progress.  Well, for me because I don't have as much work to do now.  For them because it's good character training and will make them productive members of the family.  Making them assets instead of liabilities. 

Charlotte isn't required to do anything in her room, yet.  I have seen and encouraged her to put toys away into the tubs after use though.  

So yep, that's how the girls room is kept clean.

The teenage boys are a little different.  Not totally messy, but yeah, not really clean either.  They are HUGE assets in my home.  More on that in another post though.

It has taken me a long time to finally get to where we are.  LOL  Most of the work has been on myself.  How I saw the picture, what my goals were, how I was going to get it done.  As a mother, it's my place to GUIDE the home.  Not to be the MAID of the home.  So it took me a while to come to that revelation and to really start living toward that end.  About 8 years actually.  I can still remember starting the boys up on dishes that many years ago.

Do your children do chores?  Got any tips that you can share about keeping children's bedrooms clean?  I'd love to hear from you.

Today I am going to link up with:

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cowboys & Cowgirls

After I worked on the cowboy spelling page I started thinking, I'll just put this little Day Pack together.  So I ended up with a day pack.

{ Cover page }

{ Cowboy Facts }

 {Q & A worksheet }

{ part 2 of the double sided can, have, are flip book }
Instructions are also included in the file.  I thought - cool, now I have some printables to go with a couple of books that I have on the shelf for next term when we resume for project time.  Then I popped it up on TpT and went off to do something else in the house.

But it wasn't long before I sat down in front of the computer again.

Then I thought, I'll just work on some cowboy themed writing papers for Hannah.  I usually make these so she has something to write on, do copy work with, or just fun with.  So I just re-themed some older papers and we were good to go.


Well, you know what happened next?


I thought to myself, I'll just make a couple of worksheets for this cowboy theme.

And the next thing you know, the day was GONE.   The children were sound asleep; but I had an awesome 68 page workbook full of printables:  a heap of worksheets and activities for center work sitting on my laptop.

Oh, you'd like to see what's in it?

Yes, yes, please sit down and have a peek and gander at what I put in this little book.  :o)  You can even click on the sample frames and get a bigger view of what's in there.

So, do you like my samples?  I got carried away with myself with doing the show and tell part, but it'll be good for people who want to know what I put in there.

And yep, then I went and popped it up on TpT.

So now, I really think I'm all good to go for project time in our house for a little while.

AND now here's the most exciting part of this whole post - the celebration part, and thank you if you've manage to read down to here.  If you are interested in getting a copy of my little workbook - Cowboys & Cowgirls, for free, just leave me a hello in the comment section and I'll put your name in the cup for a drawing out on Saturday morning.  I'll be giving TWO very fortunate visitors a free copy each.  See you on Saturday when I find out whose names I pull out of my cup, bowl, tin.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cowboy Spelling { freebie }

I'm taking the last few days of our break as slowly as I can.  Doesn't really say much for relaxing, since my days are still really full on.  

The two older girls continue to do some maths, and pretty much the whole family has gotten into music.  We've had some really fantastic new additions to our curriculum recently.  This has resulted in the girls enthusiasm for these two subjects being high on the charts.  So I've just been making the most of it. :o)

This week I was putting together a new play form for Chloe's ABC Order work for when she does spelling.  The one I made last term was a bit squishy as I tried to get two lots of ABC order on the one page.  So for this term I thought that I'd just put one set on each page and see how that goes.

Then I thought of all of you.

Yes, yes I did.

So then I tweaked it a little more and made a generic worksheet so that anyone can use it with any list of words.

I hope you like 'Cowgirl' as a theme.  :o)

Just click the worksheet to download your FREE copy.

During the course of the next term I am hoping to add some different pictures to keep giving it fresh new looks.  You can never go wrong with cute graphics.  :o)

Today I'm linking up with:



Thanks for visiting.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Large Family Logistics

What do you do when you have more children than bedrooms?

Yep, you double up.  In our case we actually put 4 girls in a room together.

So today you are going to get a peek into the girls bedroom.

This is the view from the doorway as you go in.  As you can see there is still some nice sized room in the middle of the room for standing and playing.  The room is a reasonable size and quite comfy. 

Moving rightwards we have two plastic shelving units at the end of the bunk. The left hand one is for  underware in one drawer, socks in another, miscellaneous and swimmers in another, nappies in another.  The right hand drawers are for the baby's clothing and needs.

Then jumping over to the plastic drawers and looking back into the room.  This morning I was teaching Hannah to make her bed.  I think she did a pretty good job.  As long as it looks like she made it, I don't worry if it's not perfect.

And if I look back to the plastic drawers and wall we discover that it's actually a wall of built in cupboards.  So plenty of cupboard and storage space. 

If you have any questions, or would like to see how a large family works for a particular thing just shoot me an email or leave a comment and I'll try and do a post about what we do in our home.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Update

This week we had family come for a visit.  My mum, my sister, and her two daughters.  Michelle also came for a couple of days.  The little boys were here too.  This brought the house count up to 15.   Don't you just love meal time with that many people?  The house actually ran better and cleaner while they were here than when not.  More grown up hands on board.  :o)

They brought the girls new dresses.  The dresses pretty much go to the ground.  All the girls LOVE them.

Chloe in her new dress.

Phebe, Hope, Hannah.


Charlotte in a basket.

We still have one more week of break before we resume full time school.  Chloe will still be doing some maths though, and MUSIC.  Yep, we are doing music.   We are all doing music - a piano keyboard.  It's so new and novel that they are constantly lining up in a round robin to do music lessons.  We've had the keyboard for a while, but none of us have been able to make it work in the sense of learning how to play it. But now with some new software - wow~!!   There's a lot of us using the keyboard.  Daniel, Caleb, Chloe, Phebe, Hannah, and myself.   Hubby reckons he's going to do some as well.  The only one not doing music - piano keyboard is Charlotte, but I know she wants to.  Her little fingers keep trying to join in.

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I've started struggling with memorizing Psalm 71.  This week I totally fell off the wagon.  We had a lot of different things happening at my house, so the routine was changed.

I went ahead and made a new card yesterday though, so I will just try to pick up here and keep going.

Here's this weeks new memory verse.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Flowering Baby Review

     These last few weeks I have had the pleasure of using not one, but two different years of Flowering Baby curriculum.

     I chose to use One to Two with my 17 month old, Charlotte.

     I also used Three to Four with Hannah { 3y10m }, and on some days Kadafi { 3y4m } as well.

{ About the Product }

     Flowering Baby is a "A whole child developmental approach for birth to five " curriculum designed for parents to help grow their little flowers by using all sorts of materials, books, and time together.

     I received both years in pdf format.  This made it extremely quick and easy to access.  I printed out each months materials and popped them into a folder. Each morning just before we started school { I homeschool a number of older children as well } I would quickly open my folder and highlight all the key words for the activities and jot them down on a piece of paper so that I could tick them off as we did them for the day.  That way I knew what we would be able to try when I got some free time.

{ Years One to Two }

     Years One to Two come with a month by month curriculum  guide.  It is ninety-nine pages long.  Each month is headed up by the age of your child.  This makes it easy to find where to start, and easy to use.  It also gives you a list of supplies, books, and music suggestions for each month.

     Then it begins the month.  Day 1 - with the suggestions for that day.  Then Day 2 - with the suggestions for that day, and so on each day.

     There is a slight fluctuation on how many days each month covers but it is roughly 22-25 days worth each month.

     How did I use it with Charlotte?   Some days we read books, some days we did the activities.  When I didn't have the exact book listed I just substituted.  Things that I did from the curriculum that she hadn't done before were listening to a classical composer, play with play dough, some new nursery rhymes and songs, and tried jigsaws.  She loved the wider variety of books that I gave her.  She even played peekaboo with a scarf.  I tried to have Charlotte do her activities early in the morning. 

{ Here is Charlotte trying out playdough for the very first time. }

     I do recommend this product for busy mums who need quick, easy ideas and activities to do with their toddlers.  For a full years curriculum and suggestions it only costs $30.00.  A good investment, especially if you can use it with more children.  It's always nice to have ready made ideas at your fingertips.

       * * * * * * *

     Years Three to Four came in two different parts:  a monthly curriculum guide { 115 pages } and a theme curriculum guide{ 78 pages }.  Included are a list of useful websites where one can obtain worksheets and materials to complete the program.

      Similar to One to Two, Three to Fours monthly guide comes with suggestions for supplies, books, and music.  They even list Holidays for each month - just in case you want to spend some time on those. 

    In regards to prep work:  I did the same thing as I did with One to Two for Three to Four.  Each morning I would quickly peruse the days list of items to do and highlight the key words of suggestions for us to try out.  Then I'd transfer that over to a piece of paper and tick off as we found the time to do them.  

     A typical day for Three to Four from the main monthly guide would include things like:

1.  ABC's
2.  Math
3.  Shapes / Colors
4.  Physical
5.  Social
6.  Composer of the Month

     A typical day for Three to Four from the theme guide would include:

1. Reading a book.
2. Do an activity.

1. Questions at the end of the theme.

     How did I use it with the three year olds?  We tried all sorts of things.  Depending on what ideas were being presented on any given day.  I did try to stick close to those suggestions though.  I wanted to see how easy they were to achieve.  I did substitute some activities.  The curriculum is a just a tool, so I felt very relaxed about what we could achieve with it and what we had to pass. 

     Both children love scissors.  I just had to make sure that they were supervised.  As you can imagine, Hannah has a history of cutting hair.  We tried books, coloring, shapes, sequencing, music, jigsaws, play dough, and counting. 

     Whenever we did an activity, if I found that Hannah could already do what was required I would just ask her to continue on and extend the activity.  An example of that is when she was counting from 1 - 5.  I would get her to count to 20.  The program is very flexible and easy to adjust in a jiffy.

     This years curriculum costs $38.00. So if you're thinking about purchasing, I highly recommend it. 

{ Can we get samples? }

     One of the awesome things provided by Flowering Baby is a HEAP of samples.  That way you can try it out before you purchase the full curriculum.  You can do this for FREE~!!

The links to the samples are at the bottom of each product description page.

Each year is a separate product:

Birth to One
One to Two
Two to Three
Three to Four
Four to Five

What I thought of it. }     

     What a blessing to have a plethora of ideas and suggestions to help us do our jobs as mothers.  Ideas and activities that not only grow our little flowers, but build and strengthen the bonds between parent and child.

     Although homeschooling older children I was still able to find some time for the younger ones to have activity time with me.  Each activity didn't take long to do.  

     This product originates and comes from America. I am in Australia.  It worked well for me, and will work well for other Aussies, and I believe for anyone in England too.

    They also sell their curriculum through for international customers.

     Right now Flowering Baby is offering a 10% discount on their products for customers ordering directly from the website.  So if you're keen to save - use this code when ordering:   "Blog10"

Thanks for visiting, and don't forget to:

tour Flowering Baby for additional information about each year;

and check out some other reviews as well.  :o)

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.