Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Blog Train: Camp

The Blog Train Blog also has a fun blog train this month.  The theme is "Camp" and the colors are perfect!  I'll be able to scrap a lot of summer photos with these!

Click on the image to download from Mediafire.  PU/S4H/S4O.


Find all the other participants at The Blog Train Blog, starting July 1!

Update:  Here is a link for the "H" in the alpha, with which some people reported having problems:

Happy Scrapping!  :)

Stuff to Scrap Road Trip: Jungle Adventure

It is the end of another month and time for new blog trains!  The Stuff to Scrap Road Trip this month is "Jungle Adventure!"  Click preview to download from Mediafire.  PU/S4H/S4O.


You should have come here from Tinadell's Tags, and you have reached the end of the road trip!  If you missed any stops, be sure to go back and pick them up:

WinksArt Graphics
Karen Diamond Designs
Shuckclod's Stuff
Scraps by Missy
scraphannah
JMC Designs
Scrappin Serenity
Busy Crafting Mommy Designs
DinkeeDooScraps
Created by Jill Scraps
MDK Scraps
Saphira's Scraps
Leaving a Legacy Designs
HD Creations
Ponytails Designs
DoubleTrouble Scraps
Keystone Scraps
Let Me Scrapbook!
Digital Scrapbooking Resource Center
The Scrappy Kat
Robin's Nest
Manda Lane Scraps
Designs by Snowlady
Growing Pains Scrapped
Cami Jo Designs
Queen Bee Scraps
Flower Pot Designs
Tinadell's Tags
Note-able Scraps


Happy Scrapping!  :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June Recipe Card Challenge

Have you participated in Let Me Scrapbook's Recipe Card Challenge at Digital Scrapbooking Studio?

There are still a few days left this month!  Find details here.

Check out all the submissions here.




"Sunny Daffodils" Patterned Papers

I think the first Stuff to Scrap blog train in which I participated was "Sunny Daffodils," from May 2011.  I still really love that fresh color palette that seemed great for spring, but now it seems perfect for summer sunshine, too.

Here are some new patterned papers from that color palette.  Click image to download from Mediafire.  PU/S4H/S4O.


If you didn't get the original kit last year, it is still available!  Click the link below:


The July Blog Trains will be hitting in a few days!  Are you ready for July?  Oh, my, I can't believe the year is half over!!

Happy Scrapping!  :)


Friday, June 22, 2012

"Slice of Summer" by Dandelion Dust Designs

It is officially summer!  I don't know about you, but it definitely FEELS like summer here!!

Dandelion Dust Designs just released "Slice of Summer," a kit with all of our favorite summer things, like ice cream and yummy watermelon!



You may pick this kit up exclusively at ScrapTakeout!



Head over to Mediafire to pick up your free Quickpages!  Click on images below.  PU only.



Happy Scrapping!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the "Slice of Summer" kit in exchange for layouts.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: IXL.com

I think I've mentioned in my blog before that my kids' math scores weren't quite up to par at the end of this school year - all of my kids, so that means it's not really the kids' fault.  It must have something to do with the teacher or the teaching!  So, I've been looking to make some changes.  I talked to a friend of mine who is an Algebra teacher, and she told me the best online review program that she knew was IXL.com.  Imagine my excitement, then, when I was given the opportunity to review the program!



IXL.com is a subscription website with the purpose of providing a focused environment for practicing math on all levels from Pre-K through Eighth Grade Math and Algebra.  It is not a stand-alone math curriculum, in that it does not provide a textbook or teach the math skills.  It is, however, a very comprehensive practice tool that can be used with any curriculum.

With the beginning of the summer, an upcoming move, and kids going off to Camp and various activities, we have only begun to delve into IXL.com as much as I would like to.  I look forward to continuing to use this resource, and I will probably renew it when my review subscription runs out.  I really love just about every aspect of the website.  Let me highlight a few of my favorite features.



--The comprehensive math practice, which covers each math concept from all different angles:

Math for the left and right brain
Math is about so much more than just numbers—so, IXL is too! We approach each math concept from all angles, offering visual representations, word problems, interactive activities, and more. With an abundance of math problems for every learning style, students can't help but build lasting skills and confidence. (quoted from the website)
This feature is very helpful to me and my kids.  For instance, in the eighth-grade geometry section,  every question is not asked the same way.  The student may be asked to plot a point on a graph, to plot several points at once, to give the coordinates of a point or points that are already plotted, or to name the point that is at the given coordinates.  These different types of questions covering the same concept are interspersed randomly.  Sometimes there is one correct answer and sometimes there are several, and whether or not there can be more than one answer is generally made clear.  This is all done in a way that is not confusing and does not contain trick questions, but that demonstrates whether or not the student truly understands the concept.  Other math concepts are handled the same way.

If a student answers a question wrong, he or she may pull up an explanation of why it was wrong and how to correctly do the problem.  More problems of the same type will continue to be provided until the student masters the concept.

--State Standards.  We move a lot with the military, so I am frequently checking my curriculums to make sure I've completed what I need to each year for a given state.  IXL.com has a section where you can pull up your own state standards, and track your students' mastery of them as you go.  Fabulous tool!

--Reports and Awards.  IXL.com gives me reports on what my kids have mastered, and provides virtual awards to keep my kids motivated!

--The Mom section.  As a parent, I can practice any of the math concepts to my heart's content, with no tracking.  I get the same chance as my kids to practice problems, see an explanation if I was incorrect, and keep pulling up more practice problems, but no reports are kept on me.  I'm not sure if the creators of the website meant for me to practice this way or just to be able to see what types of problems are asked for each concept, but I've got to tell you, this is pretty handy!  I was very good in math in school, but sometimes I just need to brush up on some concepts before or while teaching them to my kids.  Especially now that we've started Algebra.  IXL.com is my own personal brushing-up tutor!

--Ease in switching back and forth between parent and each student.  OK, I know this seems like a little thing, but it's very convenient for me that we are all in the same account, but each with a different "secret word," and we can switch between users quickly and easily.  I've got a lot of kids using a few computers in this house, so convenience matters!

--Attractiveness of the website.  IXL.com does not have games and frilly time-consumers, but its presentation of math practice problems is colorful and visually pleasing.  It is a "fun" site, making kids feel more like they are doing something enjoyable and less like they are just trudging through another math lesson.

Features listed on the website:

  • Complete coverage of math curriculum from pre-K to algebra. Your kids won't miss a thing!
  • Unlimited questions in over 2,000 skills.
  • Fun and colorful practice formats.
  • Questions that adapt to your child's ability, increasing in difficulty as they improve.
  • Immediate feedback and question-specific explanations to solidify understanding of each concept.
  • Audio for all pre-K through first-grade skills.
  • Weekly e-mail updates on your child's progress.
  • Informative, detailed reports pointing out successes and trouble spots.
  • Awards and certificates for you and your children to print out as they reach important milestones.



I highly recommend IXL.com.  Although it is priced a little higher than what I usually spend on this type of thing, I think it is worth it and that I will probably renew my subscription when this one expires.

The Important Info:

What Is It:  IXL.com, a subscription website for comprehensive, focused math practice.
Other Products:  Not yet, but higher math (Geometry, Trig, Pre-Calc, and Calculus) and Language Arts are in the works!
Ages:  Currently for Pre-K through eighth grade and Algebra students
Price:  $9.95/month or $79/year for one child (each additional child is $20/year)
        Purchase here.


To find out what my fellow Crew members thought of IXL.com, click on the banner below.



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Disclaimer:  I received a free 6-month subscription to IXL.com in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dandelion Dust Designs FREEBIE


Read the following from Dandelion Dust Designs, then scroll to the bottom for an additional freebie from me!  :)


Fell in love with this color palette and what fun muted summer colors they have been to work with for something a little different. Threw in a twist with the Between Us name, and designed it to be used to scrap a wide array of photos - Baby, Pregnancy, Wedding, Anniversary, Vintage, Everyday and the list goes on and on.
This is a two-part kit. Part 1 is available now as an Exclusive Facebook Freebie, so if you have already liked our Facebook Page, click here and then click on the image to download the first part of this pretty little kit, which will be available for a very limited time.
If you would like to receive Part 2 of this kit and you haven't already subscribed to our Newsletter, you can click here to do so, and then you'll be all set to download the second part of the Between Us kit, which will be a gift in our July Newsletter being emailed out on the 1st. Both parts of this kit are available for Personal Use (PU).
We hope you will enjoy scrapping some fantastic pages with those special photos you've captured over the years, using our Between Us Kit!
Here are some Idea and Inspiration Pages from the Creative Team Artists, using the Between Us Kit. 

Designed By Dandelion Dust Designs
Photos From MorgueFile.com

Designed By Dandelion Dust Designs
Photo From MorgueFile.com

 Designed By CT Artist Kerry

 Designed By CT Artist Note-able Scraps

Would you like a Quickpage?  Click below to download from Mediafire!  PU only.


Happy Scrapping!  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Creation Illustrated


My children absolutely love getting mail - especially magazines - so it was a real treat when a full year's worth (4 issues) of Creation Illustrated arrived all at once.  The kids each immediately disappeared to a separate corner of the house with an issue!

There are several things I've really come to love about homeschooling:
  • Seasonal teaching using unit studies
  • Science that is fun rather than boring, taught from a Christian Worldview
  • Well, just teaching from a Christian Worldview in general, integrating Scripture throughout our subjects rather than relegating it to its own 10 minutes per day.
Creation Illustrated supports all of the above and makes a wonderful supplement to our Science program.  We received the issues from the past year:  Summer 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, and Spring 2012.  I have been using the Spring and Summer issues more so that they are relevant to our current seasons, and I plan to dig into the Fall and Winter issues in more depth later this year.  We especially loved the article on Yellowstone National Park in the Spring 2012 issue, since we went there a few years ago, and there is no better place to learn about God's Creation!

Whether you have been looking for a fun Science magazine for your kids that just doesn't push the theory of Evolution, or you would like an actual teaching supplement to use with your Science curriculum, Creation Illustrated fits the bill.  In fact, the series of articles on the Days of Creation provides a great unit study in Science and Bible together.  The fascinating articles and big, gorgeous pictures spread across the glossy pages of the magazine grasp onto my kids' attention and hold it.  If you've been reading my blog for any time at all, you know I love studying the theory of Intelligent Design, so I love the Creation Highlights column, which gives new and relevant information in each issue.  The Creation Stewardship column will help kids learn about conservation and protecting our precious environment.  There are even recipes and a children's story in each issue, so there is something for everyone.  I'm getting ready to move and trying to use things up rather than buy new baking ingredients, so we have unfortunately not tried any of the recipes yet, but that's something my girls are really looking forward to.



The Important Info:
What it is:  Creation Illustrated, a quarterly print magazine with beautiful, high-color photos.
Where to find it:  Creation Illustrated Website
Ages:  All ages
Price:  


Add $5.00/year for Canadian postage
Add $10.00/year for Foreign postage 


Click here to subscribe.  You can also purchase back issues on the website.  Once we get moved and I get my new address, I will definitely be continuing this subscription.

Want some more good news?  Creation Illustrated is offering the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog readers a free issue!  Click here to get a Free Issue as part of a subscription offer! 


Click the banner below to find out what my Schoolhouse Crewmates thought of Creation Illustrated!




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Disclaimer:  I received 4 free issues of Creation Illustrated Magazine in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Pearson Algebra I

For the past several weeks, we have had the privilege of reviewing Pearson's MyMathLab Algebra I.  While the program had some plusses and minuses, I am glad to have gotten to try it out, as I am currently looking for an Algebra I program to use for the coming school year, and this may be it.

Overview:  Pearson MyMathLab is an online math teaching program.  My son has a Student Access Account, and I have a Parent Access Account, in which I can monitor his work done.  From our home page, or "Course Compass," we may: launch into the Algebra lessons, taught via e-textbook and/or some video teaching; practice concepts we've already learned; assess our learning with quizzes and tests (after completing the pre-requisite work with a satisfactory score); and look at charts showing our progress.  The program is set up for a parent to do with the student, but he is able to do quite a bit on his own, and I help him when he needs it.  There is also an option to purchase tutoring services from Pearson.  The product is comprehensive in offering pretty much whatever help you need in learning the subject.  There are a number of options for personalizing your lesson plan, complete with a calendar, or just working through the lessons in order.  You, as a parent, can put as much time and effort or as little as you desire into actually planning the lessons.  The program is very adaptable to your needs.

While doing homework and practice questions, my son has several help methods available to him.  If he is unable to solve a problem on his own, he can always click a "Textbook" button, which will take him right to the section of the e-text that covers that concept.  For some sections, there is also a "Video" button, which will play the video that teaches the section.  He can also "View An Example" of a similar problem, or click "Help Me Solve This," and he gets a step-by-step tutorial on solving that problem.  The practice exercises will provide him with more of the same type of problem to make sure he understands.

Pros and Cons:  I really like the Pearson Algebra I course itself, quite a lot.  The explanations in the text and videos are thorough and understandable.  Math is my son's weakest subject, and I need a curriculum that will help make Algebra make sense to him.  So far, I like Pearson better than any other I've seen.  I really like the fact that my son can use the written text or the videos at any time during the practice exercises.  The "View An Example" and "Help Me Solve This" tutorial options offer even more support.  If he does not understand something one way, he can keep trying others.  Having audio, visual, and a walk-through application from which to choose are very helpful.  I like the fact that he can work through some on his own, but that I am still involved as the teacher.  Most of all, I like the fact that he is understanding the lessons, and while I don't know if he'll ever like Math, it has become more palatable to him.  He is in favor of continuing to use Pearson throughout the next school year.

The "cons" of MyMathLab all center around the computer operation.  I had a difficult time getting the program set up and working correctly.  Much of this was my own error, but the layout of the course does not seem user-friendly to me, and it took me a while to figure it out.  I feel like I spent much more time during the review period figuring out how the program works than actually doing Algebra with my son.  It seemed that every time he got started, there would be another question that it would take me some time to figure out.  Now that I've spent that time, however, I feel that we are at a place now that we could continue using the program smoothly, should I decide to use it for the coming year.  If you decide to get this program, I would recommend that you: 1) carefully make sure that you have the computer components necessary, and 2) give yourself and your student a few practice weeks before starting the course to familiarize yourself with it and make sure everything is set up properly.

At this point, there is only one thing that may keep me from continuing to use MyMathLab this year, and that is that in order to get it working properly on my computer, I had to "allow all cookies" in the computer's browser settings.  I must say that Pearson's customer service was very helpful once I contacted them, but they said that I will have to allow all cookies.  I had my computer set up to accept cookies from this site, but for some reason, that was not enough.  I feel this is a security problem, and I have not decided whether or not to continue using the program because of it.  For the time being, I am using it, and deleting cookies from my computer frequently.

Would I recommend this program?  For the Algebra course itself, absolutely.  I think it is a good program and a good value for your money.  The only reservation I have is the fact that I have to "allow all cookies" on my computer.

UPDATE FROM THE VENDOR:  After posting my review, in answer to an email I had sent, I received the following information from the vendor about using the Firefox browser, which may solve my "cookie" problem.  (I have been using Safari.)  As I said, Pearson's customer service is very helpful:
If you use Firefox you can set up the settings to clear your browser when you close Firefox. That way cookies are enabled, but you don’t have to manually clear everything. ToolsàOptionsàPrivacyàcheck box “Clear history when Firefox closes” and set the Cookies section to “Keep until: I close Firefox”
The Important Info:
Product:  Pearson MyMathLab Algebra I
Company:  Pearson Education
Pearson has a number of educational products for different subjects and different levels.  You can find more information on the Pearson Homeschool website.
Ages:  The Algebra I program is intended for middle school or high school students.
Price:  MyMathLab Student + Parent: $49.97 + $30.  You may purchase the program for Algebra I or Algebra II here.

My Schoolhouse Review Crewmates reviewed several different Pearson Education products.  Click the banner below to see what they thought!




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Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the Parent & Student Access Kits for Pearson MyMathLab Algebra I in exchange for a fair and honest review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"My Dad" by Dandelion Dust Designs

Father's Day is coming up, and Dandelion Dust Designs is ready with the brand new kit "My Dad."  I made a page of my husband and one of my own dad with it.  I really love this kit for those heritage photos!



Dandelion Dust Designs is in a brand new store!  Click preview below to get "My Dad" exclusively from ScrapTakeout!!


Click these images below to download your Quickpages from Mediafire!



Happy Father's Day!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the "My Dad" kit in exchange for layouts using the product.





Friday, June 8, 2012

Sunflower Cake - With Pink

Yes, it's that time again.  We are getting ready for yet another military move, and we need to clear out the pantry.  Cans of tomato sauce, canned pears, cake mixes, etc.  I'm trying to avoid too many sweets these days myself, but fortunately, I have a 10-year-old girl who loves baking up those cake mixes, and a 13-year-old boy who loves eating the resulting goodies for me!

We found this delightful recipe on Pinterest, and when you use all yellow peeps around the edge with the chocolate chip "seeds" in the center, it looks just like a sunflower.  (You can use any type of round cake.  We used a double-layer yellow cake with chocolate icing.)  We didn't have enough yellow peeps in the cabinet, but we did have some pink ones.  And after all, isn't everything more fun when you throw a little pink in??!  So I don't know if it looks like a sunflower anymore, but it sure was good!





Happy Baking!  :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Mobile Education Tools

My email has been inundated lately with little stories, told in my daughters' voices, with funny little endings and giggling in the background.  The most recent one involved a cowboy being eaten alive by a bear and coming out in the bear's - well, you probably don't need any more details.  Let's just say the girls combined a language arts lesson with a science lesson on the animal's digestive system!

The source of the merriment is the Mobile Education Store's Story Builder App.

Story Builder is designed to help children accomplish the following educational goals: 1) Improve paragraph formation ; 2) Improve integration of ideas; and 3) Improve higher level abstractions by inference. Extensive use of audio clips promotes improved auditory processing for special needs children with autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing disorders.

Here's the way it works:  my daughter chooses a story on the iPod Touch App.  She sees a screen similar to the one below, with a picture, a question, and the beginning of an answer.  When she is ready, she touches "Record" and says the answer with her own ending.  When she finishes the whole story, all the little audio clips are integrated into a story, which she can then email to me or a friend.


This fun little iPod App for the 4th Generation iPhone or iPod Touch includes audio and visual stimulation for all learning types.  My daughters can work on their own and at their own pace  - although they usually enjoy working on the stories together!  They feel like they are just playing a game on the iPod, and as they continue to play and have fun with this, they truly are getting better at forming paragraphs and integrating ideas.  The App has lived up to its advertising claims.  I especially enjoy they way they are learning to end their short stories with a punch line or something funny!


I was hoping to post one of their finished stories, but I don't believe I can post an Apple Quicktime file to Blogger.  If you have a child who is age 6-10 and loves to compose stories or needs to work on composing stories, and if you have a 4th generation iPhone or iPod, I would encourage you to try this App out for yourself.  If your kids are like mine, they always want to spend more time on their iPods, and I believe this App is well worth the $5.99 and the time spent on it!

The Important Info:

What it is:  Story Builder App by Mobile Education Tools
Where to find it:  In the iTunes App Store
More information and other Apps:  Mobile Education Tools Website
Price:  $5.99
Ages:  6-10

The Story Builder App is listed in iTunes for ages 6-10, 10+.  That pretty much covers my four kids! My 13-year-old was very excited at first that he would get to play with an iPod App and call it schoolwork, but once he saw it, he thought it was too juvenile and was not interested.  My girls, ages 8 and 10, loved the App and are benefitting educationally from it.  I believe my 6-year-old would enjoy it, but he cannot be trusted with an iPod yet - not even someone else's.  In fact, especially not someone else's!  I would say 6-10 is a good age range for the product, provided the specific children using the App are able to handle an iPhone or iPod.

Mobile Education Tools makes several educational Apps that have caught my interest.  Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had the opportunity to review either Story Builder or Rainbow Sentences for the iPad.  Click the banner below to see the rest of the reviews.


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Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the Story Builder App for the purpose of a fair review.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine: June 2012 FREE Issue


Have you read the new TOS Magazine for June 2012?  If not, see below!  (Reposted from The Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog)

  • What should be on your to-do list? On page 128 Kendra Fletcher reveals reasons why you should ask God that question.
  • What can you do this summer that will make your school year go more smoothly in the fall? Implement summer training with Malia Russell’s advice on page 126.
  • Don’t just devour ice cream; study it with a fascinating unit study on page 92 that provides fun activities in ten subject areas. Learn which famous Greek leader loved snow flavored with nectar and honey, and then use the recipe on page 96 to make your own ice cream.
  • Do your kids love to paint—but you just can’t have the mess right now? Andy Harris shares a method for mess-free painting in his article on page 116.
  • Head outdoors with Angie Wright (a Crew member!) and see what your kids might learn on page 28. An outdoor learning adventure could even teach your kids art, language, Latin, writing, drawing, history, geography, and Bible, too!
  • Try “Rabbit Trail Learning,” a “curriculum” that will help your kids develop a lifelong love of learning new things. Join Carol Barnier on page 108 for tips that will help you create curiosity-driven lessons.
  • Check the table of contents for encouragement and additional ideas for summer learning, teaching art, nature studies, grammar, and more!
Even if you shelve the books for the summer, your kids can keep learning, and so can you, with TOS magazine. Read an article a day on your laptop or desktop or on the go with the TOS mobile apps.
Want even more homeschool help? Join us at our members-only website SchoolhouseTeachers.comfor daily, weekly, and monthly resources. Here dozens of Schoolhouse Teachers provide lessons and assignments in specific subject areas. You’ll even have access to all TOS digital back issues.
Make TOS magazine and SchoolhouseTeachers.com your homeschool partners. Join now!