Saturday, January 24, 2009

All About Homophones

Earlier this year, I told you about All About Spelling. Our family simply enjoyed this great spelling curriculum by, Marie Rippel. Well, Marie has done it again! She has now given us All About Homophones! And let me tell you, my children and I LOVE it!

Marie's love of language comes shining through this product! As with All About Spelling, All About Homophones is very hands on in it's approach!  

In your toolkit, you will receive:

     Graphic Organizers, this reminds me a bit of notebooking, with a place for a picture, the word and a sentence.

     Homophones Worksheets, these are divided up by grade, though to be honest with you, all my kids of all ages worked through these and had a great time! Though the words on the upper grades sheets, are indeed more advanced.

    Crossword Puzzles, the puzzles use the words the children learned on the worksheets. And helps to reinforce what they learned!

     Homophone Card Games, we are a game playing family, so this was a huge asset to us! We had a great time playing with homophones!!

   More Teaching Tools, is a great section with additional books, pages for your student to list their homophones, answer keys and a "mega" list of homophones!

   All About Homophones, would compliment any Language Arts program beautifully. And the price is right!

  It is available in two formats, either in softcover, $29.95 or the E-book version, $27.95. We received the E-book version and I have been very pleased with it. I went ahead an printed out the entire book. And then made copies for my children as needed.

  This just in,  to celebrate the launch of All About Homophones, you
can get $10 off any order at! To receive
the discount, visitors to the site need to enter "FUN" in the customer code box during checkout. The coupon code is good for one week, through February 2, 2009. 

You can get your own copy of All About Homophones for $17.95 (e-book version) or $19.95 (print version) through next Monday.

  Take some time and check out their website to find some awesome resources available.


Molly's Money Saving Digest Febraury 2009

As part of the Homeschool Crew, I was able to preview the February Edition of "Molly's Money Saving Digest". Have you met Molly Green yet? She is the newest edition to The Old Schoolhouse.

I first heard about Molly earlier this month, when a group of friends were discussing how to live on the cheap. One mom, mentioned Molly Green and  When I checked out the website, I was impressed! And I purchased the January 2009 Edition of Molly's Money Savings Digest on the Spot!

As homeschooling families, most of us have become very good at stretching one income, (for most of us), to not only cover family needs, but include our homeschool budget as well.

Include now, that the economy is so "scary". Now, the Lord did not give us a spirit of fear. So, that is why I put scary in quotes. We are to not live in fear, however, when we look around today, there is an air of uneasiness.

I had been doing a search on the internet, I wanted to find information on the Great Depression and World War II.  Knowing full well, that the wives and mothers of that era, knew how to stretch everything they had. However, my search was quit fruitless to my disapointment.

However, in Molly's Money Saving Digest, February 2009, there is a great article by, Lisa Vitello on this very topic. Thank you Lisa for an awesome article! It is not simply historical, there are everyday ideas for each of us. And what she teaches is us, is that really it is a way of thinking, not just a 3 step process!

There is also an awesome article on Homemade Cleaners, that are both non toxic, and cheap!  Garden basics, coupon organization, decorating on a shoestring, what;s on sale this month and recipes, just to name a few of the wonderful things you will learn this month.

This edition is being touted as a "huge" edition, and let me tell you it is! And I LOVED every word of it. This is the kind of E-book, that you will not be sorry you purchased! The articles are fabulous and the down to earth, help given to the beginner or even the veteran homemaker are priceless!

When you find Molly's Money Saving Digest February 2009 on the "shelf", don't pass it by, toss it right in your shopping cart! You will not be sorry!

Happy Homemaking!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Spears Art Studio

Do you have a subject that you absolutley love, however you feel so inept to teach? For me, that is Art! I love Art. I even loved taking Art Classes in Jr High and High School, however, I am at a loss of how or what to teach. I have given it the good ole college try!  And I think my kids have gotten a little bit out of it, but I was unaware of how to move them to the next level.

Enter, ( stage left) Spears Art Studio.  I had the priveledge of reviewing both the K-8 and the High School Curriculum. WOW! is all that I can say!

Let me start with the creator, Diane Shields Spears, Doctor of Christian Education. She is state certified for both elementary and secondary, has been an educator off-and-on for thirty years, in both private and public school settings. She is recognized in the Art World as well,  including featured artist exhibits, acceptance into juried shows, receiving first place cash awards, free-lance work, illustrating children’s books, and is represented in many private collections.

Now onto the curriculum. Whether you are using the K-8 or the High School course, each week has a theme.  In the K-8 course, the lessons are set up for each month of the year, so some weeks have themes that go along with the seasons or holidays. You can use the K-8 program as a year long study or choose activities to do throughout the year. Another really awesome thing, is that the curriculum is not cosumable, so you will be able to use this curriculum with all your children, or even with the same child, over again!

One of my favorite aspects, is that in both levels, there is a scripture reference to coordinate with the theme. In the high school curriculum the scripture is copied into the students journal, they are to meditate on it and write a response, which, in essence, gets them to applythe verse to their life. Something that was really good for my high schoolers.

In the high school curriculum, Dr. Spears lays out objectives, scripture reference, vocabulary, art history, sketchbook exercises, visual memory exercises, as well as, listing materials needed and the main activity. Even my high schoolers who have very little knowledge and experience were able to grow both in their appreciation of art and their ability.

In the K-8 curriculum she lays out objectives, vocabulary, motivation and focus, materials and the activity. My younger children, as well as, my son who has autism, all enjoyed th eart activities they did. It was a real joy to work with them and watch them as they made their projects.

As a mom, it was wonderful to have an art curriculum that came from a biblical worldview. And not one with just a verse slapped onto the bottom of the page! Thank you Dr. Spears!

You can click here to view free sample lessons. 

When considering how long you will be able to use this curriculum, especially if you have more than one child, the cost is very reasonable! Actually, very affordable! K-8 cd is $39.95, the K-8 printed version with CD is $119.95.  The High School level for the cd is $29.95, printed version is $69.95 and the printed version with cd is $89.95.   If you have the ability to print, then the cd version is all you need. No need to spend the extra money.

I pray that you will give Spears Art Studio a try. I know that you won't be disappointed!



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Old Schoolhouse Digital Magazine Turns a Year Old !!

Happy 1stAnniversary to the Digital Edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!!!

In honor of their Anniversary, instead of receiving gifts, TOS is giving them to YOU!!!!!! Click here to see how you can get a great discount on the already affordable subscription price, plus order today and also receive 5 FREE E-books! As time goes on, the price goes up, and the number of E-books goes down, so order yours today!!!!

Are you asking yourself, so what it the Digital Issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Please allow me to share with you, my thoughts.......

I am a long time subscriber to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I have been promoting TOS, from the moment I recieved my first edition! The paper edition.  I had heard they had a digital edition, but, to be quite honest, I had NO INTEREST! Afterall, I have a current (actually my subscription doesn't expire until 2013!) subscription, so why in the world would I want a digital subscription.

However, I have subscribed to the digital edition, and you know what, I LOVE it!!!!  I was expecting to look like the email newsletters that we get from TOS, you "The Homeschool Minute", but alas, it looks JUST LIKE THE PRINT EDITION!!  It is so crazy cool, that is like reading the paper edition! The pages even "turn"!  You have the ability to change your viewing options!  You can view them in a single page layout or two page. You can "turn" the pages, or view as thumbnails!  One of my favorite features is you have the ability to email an article to a friend! Or you can add it to your blog.....

I have found myself many times telling my friend about a great article that was in TOS, now I can share it with them!

Let's be honest, times are hard! We can't all afford to go out and get a new subscription to a magazine, however, with the digital edition of TOS, you have the best of both worlds. The Homeschool support that we really do need! And it is affordable to boot! You really can't go wrong! And if you subscribe today, you can get a year subscription for $10.95 and 5 E-books! Won't you subscribe today??

Happy Homeschooling!!!!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From Hands and Hearts CSPIA

From another homeschool company that cannot continue because of the CSPIA.  Please go to their website,

Thank you for supporting the homeschooling community!


It is with the deepest possible regret that we must announce that we are discontinuing production of our Hands and Hearts History Discovery Kits.  We, like so many other small business in America, are simply unable to afford to get in compliance with the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act.We know that these kits have blessed thousands of homeschoolers around the world, and we have prayed, wracked our brains, and sought council in hopes that we would not need to take this step.

As of today, the prices of our kits are discounted. We will discontinue the sale of these kits on February 9th, or when current stock is depleted, whichever comes first.

We do honestly believe that amendments will be made to the CPSIA, and it is our hope that these amendments will be reasonable enough that we will be able to offer our kits again at some point in the future.  We want to absolutely walk in integrity, so we want to be clear that while we HOPE to be able to offer these kits again, we simply cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.  Only you can decide if you want to buy a kit now so that you know that you will have it, or whether you are comfortable waiting and hoping with us.

It is also our hope and  intent to leave our store open after Feb. 10, but the loss of revenue from our kits may force us to close our business entirely.  If it is important to you to purchase anything from us, please consider doing it now or you may be unable to do so in the future.  This law affects MUCH of our inventory, and there are many, many products which are being discontinued by their manufacturers.  As a result, we will not be able to reorder any of those products once our current stock is depleted.  We would like to urge each of you not to buy in a panic, but to pray about what you need to do.

Please read this article that I have written.  It contains an overview of the CPSIA and a detailed action plan with steps that we can take to try to get this over-reaching law ammended. 

Please let other homeschoolers know both about the above article and about our sale.  It saddens us to know that we cannot reach everyone and that there will surely be many homeschoolers that come to our site too late and are unable to purchase kits.  We will be continuing to send updates and breaking news about the CPSIA and the status of our company through our newsletter, so if you are not a subscriber please use the form in the left-hand side of our website to subscribe. 

IMPORTANT:  Shipping times WILL be delayed due to this sale.  If you need your order within a certain time frame, let us know and we will try to accommodate you.  As we sell out of kits, they will be removed from the website.
Jeff and Kate Estes

News from Hands of a Child CSPIA

The people at Hands of a Child ask that if we have a blog to post the below post.  Please read and then go to their website. This new CPSIA law is affecting every small business that sells products for children 12 and under. Please help these business help recoupe some of their losses while you can. And please contact your Senators, Congressman, and sign petitions and spread the word. We do not want all these wonderful businesses to close.

January 12, 2009

Dear Valued Customers,

Due to the new CPSIA law In the Hands of a Child, for the time being, is discounting our Kit Pack inventory in order to lessen our possible loss in the event that an exemption is not granted.

While we are still praying for this situation to work out for all small businesses we feel that it is in our best interest to lessen our possible loss.  And what better way than to pass the savings on to you, our wonderful customers, who are praying with us through this difficult situation!!

Please help us clear our shelves and enjoy a 35% savings on all Kit Packs!!  Savings will be automatic!  Spread the word and help us empty the shelves!!

This sale will continue until our Kit Pack inventory has been exhausted, so purchases will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

Once they are gone, they are gone!

In the event the law is modified, In the Hands of a Child reserves the right to bring back Kit Packs in the future at full price without any discount, implied or expressed, during this sale.

Cannot be combined with any other offer, special, discount, coupon or sale.
Super Member discount DOES NOT apply to this sale.
Tax and Shipping not included in calculating discount price.
Not valid toward prior purchases.
No rainchecks.


Help us spread the word by posting the above notice on your blog.  Then place an order for at least 1 Kit Pack, email us the link to your blog where the notice is posted along with your order number and your choice of Kit Pack and we’ll add it to your order.            How easy is that?*

*Please note customer is responsible for shipping costs for free Kit Pack, shipping will be combined with original order if email is received same day as order is placed notifying us of blog posting.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Creative Nature Study

   As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given the opportunity to review a brand new E-book that will be available shortly from the fine people of TOS. It is called "Creative Nature Study".  The book is written by several homeschooling mothers, who have many years of homeschooling experience.

   By nature, I am a hands on homeschooing mom. While homeschooling our five children, I learned that my children are most successful when they smell, taste, feel, perhaps even become what they are learning. So nature studies have always been a part of our lives.

  With that said, this book is an awesome resource, whether you are a veteran  or brand new homeschooler. Everything you need to know about how to conduct a Nature Study is included in this guide.  What is really neat is the fact that it is written by several different mom's, so you are getting the perspective from several sources.

   The book includes chapters on;

                   "What is a  nature study and why do it?"

                    "How to get started, where to go and what to pack."

                    "Creative Walks"

                     "Creative Projects"

                     "Creative Writing in Nature"

                     "Nature Journal Ideas"

                      "Scavenger Hunts Galore"

If that doesn't whet your whistle, I am not sure what will. I should tell you that the sub chapters are so jammed packed with good information that you can really sink your teeth into the material. 

I walked away from the time I spent reading this book, feeling reinvigorated to get outside with my kids. And inside this book, you have the blueprints to create wonderful learning opportunities  for your children.  Everything you need to know from supplies, to location ideas.

The Appendix included  in the E-book, is the most complete listing of both print books and Internet Resources to compliment your studies.

If you have ever had an inkling to start Nature Studies I would invest in this awesome resrouce!

Happy Hunting!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Starting the Year Out Right!!!

     The most important thing that we can do for

ourselves, for our family and for our homeschool, not

to mention the people around us, is to keep our

relationship with Jesus Christ strong and pure.

    The new year is a great time to make sure that we

have our priorities straight. And to implement some

planning and scheduling to ensure that we are giving

the Lord the time that He deserves, and that we

need.  John 15:8 says. " I am the vine, ye are the

branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the

same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye

can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast

forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather

them, and cast them into the fire, and they are

burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in

you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done

unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear

much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

     As Christians, we need to develop our daily walk

with Christ. When we have a strong daily walk with

our Lord we will find His, provision, His protection,

His power and His principles. Those are all things

that will help us live a life that will bring glory

to the Lord. Isn't that what it is all about anyway?

Read in Matthew 7:7-11, in it you will find what the

Lord desires. He desires to communicate to us. We

need that communication! He also desires to hear

from us. He also desires to bless us and work for us!

That's right! God is so good! We serve an awesome,

wonderful, loving faithful God!

      Knowing all of this, why wouldn't every Christian

throw themselves into developing their personal

walk. I believe that the easiest way to put it would

be to say that it is because of sin. However, lets

dissect that a little bit. Often times, when we are

knee deep in our own world, our own flesh, we

cannot see “the forest through the trees”, in other

words, we cannot see that we are in need.

     In our ignorance of our need, there is sometimes an

underlying desire to avoid conviction. Let's face it,

none of us enjoy getting our toes stepped on. However,

this is a gift the Lord has given us. His living Word, that

meets us exactly where we are. So if you are spending

time in your bible and prayer, you can guarantee, the

Lord will convict you of something! I happens to me


     Sometimes, it is because we are not disciplined in our

schedule. I have heard it said, “That which is

scheduled, gets done”. I have found that to be true. I

may have the best intentions, however, if I do not

schedule in the time to get it done, time seems to just

run away from me. And I have found that another

reason that happens, is because, we misplace our

priorities! We busy ourselves with good works and we

do not make the time to spend with our Lord.

Remember Mary and Martha. I have heard the quote

“ If you are too busy to read your bible and pray, then

you are busier than God wants you to be” I have really

tried to remember that. If we are saying yes to, too

many things and our relationship with our Lord suffers,

then something will have to give.

    Okay, now that we have looked at the importance of

developing a daily walk, what concrete things do you

need to do to really start this journey?

    Let's start with your Bible. Bible reading is essential to

knowing God. Psalm 119:11, “ Thy word have I hid in

mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Not

only will we not sin against God, even more, we will

learn how to live a life to glorify Him. Further down in

that same chapter of Psalms, it says, “ Great peace

have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend

them.” (vs 165) Whether we are talking about our own

family, or the people we interact with outside our

family, what a gift to have that “great peace” and not

to be offended when things do not go as they should.

       Next we need Prayer time.  I have become a pro

at the “popcorn” prayers. You know the ones 

 I am talking about. The ones you send up as you need

them, or as you think of it. But, how is

your prayer life? Do you have a

designated prayer time? Prayer place?

Prayer list? Here is a great little acrostic

you can use to help you create a prayer

list. ACTS, A= Adoration, 1 Chronicles

23:30, Tell God how awesome He is. And

how much you love Him. C= Confession,

Proverbs 28.13, God knows, but He wants

you to come to Him. T=Thanksgiving,

Colossians 4:2, how does that song go??

Count your blessings, name them one by

one. The Lord is truly glorified when we

praise Him for all He has done for us! 1 Timothy 2:1-2, in the

S=Supplication, Webster's 1828 dictionary, supplication is

defined as petition, earnest request.

Again, the Lord knows of all of our

needs, but what does that verse say?

“ have not, because ye ask not.” 

  Now the third ingredient to developing

(James 4:2)  

your daily walk, is devotional reading.

 1 Timothy 4:13, “Til I come, giveMy only caution with

attendance to reading, to exhortation,

to doctrine.”

devotional reading, is to remember to try

the spirits. Know the author/s, know

what they believe, so you know from

what perspective they will write. And

always read your devotional material

with your bible in hand, or at least at

your fingertips. If you ever have a

question, go to the bible and see what

the Lord has to say.

    Now down to the brass tacks, how to

implement all we have discussed. First,

choose a daily devotion time. For some

that is first thing in the morning or

perhaps the evening works better for


     And please, do not kick yourself if you miss a

day! Pick yourself up, and dust yourself off,

and get right back on that bicycle! The Lord

will be there! Next, define a schedule for

reading. I have some websites listed below

with some great bible reading schedules.

If you have already carved out your bible

reading time, how about starting a journal to

go with your bible reading. You could write

down what stood out to you in your reading

for that day. Or what the Lord is working on

you with. This is something that I am going to

add to my bible reading this year.

      Next, choose your quiet place for devotions.

That arm chair in the living room, or the

kitchen table, or at your desk sipping a cup of

tea. Make your prayer list and begin a prayer

journal of prayers. Write down your prayers,

and then write down how God answered those

prayers. Watch how God is working in your

life and in the lives of those around you! And

lastly, find a Christian friend that you can be

accountable to. Let them know the area you

want to work on this year, and meet with

them for a cup of coffee or a soda, and let

them know how you are doing.

      What is it that is keeping you from creating

that time for God? The TV? The computer?

Magazines? Even shaving just a few minutes

from what you are already doing, or waking

up a little bit early, you will be able to carve

out the time you need to have that

relationship with God. While, it is much easier

to read, when the house is totally quiet, I

would encourage you, to whenever possible to

let your kids see you reading your bible and

praying. In addition to your family devotion

time, or Bible studies for school. The

children's faith grows as they see you live out

your faith.

Praying that 2009 will be a fruitful season

for you and your families!

God Bless You!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Kinderbach is a web-based music program for 2 - 7 year olds. It will not only teach your children piano it will also teach them, Music theory, note reading, rhythm, ear training, hand position and much much more!

Kinderbach is the brain child of Karri Gregor. Years ago when Karri was searching for a piano teacher for her then 4 and 7 year old. She was unable to find a single teacher willing to teach a student under the age of 7 years old. With a music background Karri understood the importance of early music education.

So Karri, began to teach her children herself. Over time, she began to teach others students, with her roll ending up with 150 students. However, after a family move, she lost all her students. After settling in their new home, Karri and her husband began to talk about the idea of teaching via video, and Kinderbach was born!

Kinderbach uses video, printed materials and games to integrate learning for your little one.  While my children are older than the target age range of 2-7, and they each have been in piano for several years, I have to tell you that my 9 year old rather enjoyed watching the videos right along side me.

I would highly reccomend this program for your preschooler!

The Kinderbach program is fun, short and covers everything necessary to learn the piano.  It is slow with lots of interaction.  The children learn without even knowing they are learning.  I believe it is a very solid program.  This is best for parents with a "learn by doing approach" Learning by experience and discovery.  My personal favorite:) 

The down side ( if there is one)  is its lack in aggressive content,  some parents may not feel as though they are being challenged.  Although I believe this to be a preference, some parents may not like the subtlety of the program. These are parents that would prefer a more traditional style of learning, books, study, etc.  With that said, we LOVED the program!

So now... is it worth the cost? Let's take a look at the cost! There are 2 options, the DVD option or the Web Based Membership. The Web Based membership is the most cost effective.

Web Based Membership includes:

Access to all 300 sessions, including the accompanying pdf's.

You can pay in one payment of $85.95, which works out to $7.16 a month.

( A 50% savings)


You can pay $14.95 a  month.

Or if you feel the having a DVD is a better option, here is some of the options:

There are many options, you can buy "activity packages" or "value packages" that include several activity packages and song books.

Activity Packages sell for and include:

Activity Package 1

Lessons 1-5
1 - Instructional DVD
1 - Activity E-Book
1 - Activity Audio CD

In Stock
Price $38.45

**And below you find pricing for the largest value package. This is the best value, but there are smaller ones available.

Bonus Year 1

Lessons 1-30
6 - Instructional DVDs
6 - Activity E-Books
6 - Activity Audio CDs
Patriotic, Everyday, Hymns and Christmas Songbook Package
4 - E-Songbooks
4 - Corresponding Audio CDs

In Stock


Save $100.05
Price $217.75

If you have a preschooler and are interested in teaching them music, Kinderbach is a great option. Please visit their website for more information!