Monday, February 28, 2011

Goal Planning Monday--Week 3

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A quick update on last week's goal. I did get the linen closet cleaned out and got new towels for everyone. The kids were excited that they got to pick out their new towels--when you are 3, 5 and 9 it really is the little things! Of course, even at my age, I love getting new towels! My goal of walking didn't work out because Molly was sick much of the week. So, I didn't make it to baseball practice which is when I am trying to walk. I did send a couple cards out this week. I also did really well with staying off of the computer. To be honest, I do have an iphone so I can check my email and the Crew Forum on that--I couldn't live without that! But my goal was just the computer and I did that--YAY--that was a big one for me because I spend way too much time on the computer. My hobby is looking for new curriculum on the computer as well a reading blogs about homeschooling and parenting. I didn't do very well with my Bible reading this week either--When you have a sick little one lots of things get put off--I know this one should not, but it did this week. I got through Mark 12.

Now, this week's goals:

1. Organize Hall Bathroom--If you know the layout of my house you may have noticed I was going from back to front in organizing, so if I stuck with that the boys' room would be next. Well, that's just too big of a task to tackle, so I am skipping their room as well as Molly's room and moving to their bathroom. The boys are going to be out of town for a few days in April so I will tackle their room at that time! For now, it's the bathroom-this one should not be hard. I am hoping that Steve will have time to finish the floor trim in their too this week. We will see how that goes though, since the boys have baseball practice every night this week and opening day is Saturday!

2. Walk 3x --Hopefully I will make it to baseball practices and be able to walk this week. As long as no one is sick I should be good!

3. Read Mark 12 - Luke 16

4. Lesson Plans -- We have 8 weeks until our standardized testing and I like to be finished with our curriculum at that time. So, I am planning on sitting down and finishing rough lessons plans for the next 8 weeks, to make sure we finish on time. With Paul this is fairly easy. He moves along at a pretty steady and predictable pace. For Zach it's a bit more of a challenge. I never know if he is going to get a new concept immediately or if it is going to take a few days. I am going to try to plan it out roughly though so I will have an idea of what we are doing. I am expecting a new reading curriculum in the mail for Molly any day now (I am so excited about this one that I am getting to review through the TOS Crew--can't wait to get it and I will tell you more about it after we have used it) so I am going to try and work through that with her over the next 8 weeks as well!!

5. Have boys try on summer clothing -- Since Molly was still sick she and I stayed home from church on Sunday and I took advantage of the extra time and went through a couple boxes of the boys' clothing from last summer. I took out what I don't like and what I know doesn't fit. So now I have two piles of clothes that Paul and Zach need to try on to see if they fit so I will know what they still need for spring/summer. I am hoping to get to that this week. They HATE trying on clothes so this is a definite challenge!

So there's my week...what does your's look like! I am really enjoying this meme and it is really helping me to stay on task.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where do you "School"

When we first started this homeschooling adventure 4 years ago we both thought we had to do it just like a regular school. We have been very blessed with a large home with some extra space so we took an unfinished room upstairs and finished it as a "schoolroom". Paul had a small desk/table, I had a small section with items for Zach to play with and I decorated it like a schoolroom. It wasn't huge but big enough for the two students I had at the time. Steve worked really hard on getting it all finished like a schoolroom.

That first year proved to be very challenging. My Dad passed away in September of that year and he was the one family member that supported our decision to homeschool. We found out about Molly in November and yes that was a HUGE blessing but it kept me very busy getting ready to go to China. But, I continued to think that education needed to go on in a schoolroom and we needed to be in that schoolroom a certain number of hours each day and that is how it was supposed to be. When that didn't happen--because I had a two year old to care for, we were preparing for Molly, and Paul was only in Kindergarten--I was stressed. I thought I was doing something wrong, actually I thought I was doing everything wrong. I still have days that I feel like everything is going wrong, but they are fewer and further between now.

Later that year I finally figured out it was ok to not school every day--especially with Paul because he is very bright. But, when we did do school it was in the schoolroom. So, we left to go get Molly in March of that year and that was the end of school for the year. Paul had finished his curriculum and we had to focus on our new family member.

The next school year (Paul was in 1st grade, Zach was 3, and Molly was 1). We purchased a kidney shaped school table and got chairs for all three kiddos and I was "set". We still had the school room upstairs and still primarily did school upstairs. Molly had 3 surgeries that year so I began to pull some of Paul's schoolwork downstairs (where the main part of the house is) to make sure he was not getting behind. Zach was a maniac and in to absolutely everything and hated being in the schoolroom. Molly was still "attaching" to her new family and needed alot of Mommy snuggle time. There was simply not enough time in the day to do it all and spend 4 hours/day in the schoolroom. We plodded through that year and all was good. Paul was progressing along wonderfully--not because I was a great teacher--or even a good one, but because God always take care of us and He knows I am not capable so He intervenes!

Paul's 2nd grade year....Zach went to preschool 1/2 days, Molly was 2 and I thought "this is going to be the year that things go smoothly"--any homeschooling Mom knows that there is never a year where everything flows smoothly for the entire year. There are days when things go smoothly, maybe even a week that everything goes as planned--but never a year! At the beginning of that year I discovered "workboxes" and they REALLY, REALLY helped us get more done and helped me and my "organization-challenged" self stay organized. Paul loved them, I loved them, I was so thankful that God had led me to workboxes. The other thing we did 1/2 way through that year was pull our school room in to the dining room on the main level of our home. This was the BEST thing I did for our family. Paul got more done, Molly was happy playing in her room or livingroom close by and doing her workboxes in the dining room, and if Paul was working on something independently I could put a load of laundry in or start lunch.

So, why in the world did I not stick with that--I don't know. Something about it being ingrained in me since childhood that school needed to happen in a "schoolroom". So, that summer (last year) we were finishing part of our basement -- one large room (30' x 30'). It was to hold a play area for all the kids' toys, a "media" area mainly for the Wii, and then a school area. We brought the kidney shaped table down both flights of stairs, I decorated, bought new bookshelves, moved all the curriculum in to the basement, we were set--again! This year I had Zach in Kindergarten, Paul in 3rd grade, and Molly was 3 but really, really wanted to do school like her big brothers. I set up our workboxes in the new "schoolroom" and we were ready to go--again.

The beginning of the school year I was so excited to have an area the two little ones could play after finishing their schoolwork and I could continue to work with Paul. Many homeschoolers would love this set-up. We did get alot of schoolwork accomplished those first couple of months but the kids were also easily distracted by the toys ten feet away and if I needed Paul to finish something while I started lunch it was too hard for him to focus while I wasn't their and the little ones were playing. Plus, I was getting nothing done in my house. There were times when I would just be sitting downstairs waiting on Paul to finish something and I could have been starting lunch or putting in a load of laundry. So, upstairs to the main part of the house we came, and that is where we will remain. I did move us out of the dining room where we eat most of our meals and in to our "breakfast room" where there is a table that seats 4 and it is attached to the kitchen and right beside the laundry room. We are so happy here and we get so much more done. The kids love it, Mommy loves it, school is getting done, housework is getting done (sometimes) and all is well with the world. Now, don't get me wrong, our days are far from perfect. The kids still complain some days about having to do school at all. Zach hates writing, Paul hates Math, Molly, well Molly loves anything school related. But everyone is learning and working way more than we ever have.

Our goal is to educate our kids throughout the day, not just at the school table, so this setup is more conducive to that environment. If the kids have a question we can go straight to where all of our books are and find the answer, without it being a separate area of our home. We are trying to create an environment of always teaching and always learning.

My sweet wonderful husband just looks at the school stuff wherever it happens to be and smiles, and says "don't ask me to finish another area of the house for school!"

It only took me 4 years to figure out what works best for our family. Does what works for us work for every family--absolutely NOT. I know many families that have a school room and they love it that way. I know some families who school in their living room. I know a few "unschooling" families who educate wherever they are--we are moving more toward this everyday, but that is another post altogether!

So, my question to all you homeschoolers out there--where do you homeschool? I know we all educate our kids wherever we are and that education is a journey not just a set time of day, but where do you do the main part of your "schooling" If you are not a homeschooler feel free to comment anyway!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MathRider Review

Practicing math facts has never been a very fun task around here. We have tried various methods and some have been more successful than others. Now that we have MathRider I don't have to worry about any math fact practice. This fun math game uses artificial intelligence to adapt to your child and help them to master all math operations for 0-12. Your child can go on a magical ride on their horse through the "Enchanted Mathlands" while solving math problems. MathRider comes as a downloadable product and is very reasonably priced at only $37. Considering I can use it for all of the kids to learn all of their math facts--addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, for one price I think that is quite a deal! And the added bonus is that they LOVE it!

You decide what set of facts the child will be working on (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) and they are given a "quest". There is a short story about something they have to go find in the "Enchanted MathLands". As the child moves through the MathLands their horse must "jump" an obstacle. In order to jump the obstacle the rider has to answer a math fact. As the child moves through the program the program customizes itself to the rider. If a rider misses a "jump" the fact is quoted very clearly for the rider to hear.

Also, after each ride the child sees how much progress is made on their quest. The red line shows where Paul is on his current quest. He is working through his multiplication and division facts. He knows most of them already but this is great fun and keeps him sharp on his skills. He asks to play it daily!


You can view your child's progress and mastery level at any time. As your child masters one set of facts they are automatically moved on to more difficult facts but the game still practices the easier facts. Zachary's progress is below. He is only 5 and just starting to learn addition and this program has helped him make more progress in a short period of time than I ever could have with flashcards! I have Zach look at the progress he is making with me and if you click on the facts the fact is quoted, so we go over the ones we are struggling with together. Again, I am amazed at how much progress he is making and he doesn't even realize he is learning! He can't wait to master all the addition facts and save the princess!

System Requirements: "MathRider uses the Adobe® AIR™ runtime. This means our Math game runs on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. Your computer requires about 80MB of available hard disk space. Your monitor (and graphics card) need to support at least a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels."

There is no recommended age range on the website. Zachary is 5 and he is doing well on it, but I don't think he would have until recently. Paul is 9 and loves it as well. I am thinking it is probably appropriate for ages 5-12

Take a look at the program for yourself at MathRider's website And take a look at this portion of the website for more information on how the game works to help your child master all of their math facts!

And stop by here to see what other crew members have to say about this great program.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review

Blog Walk

Each week the TOS Crew does a "blog walk" featuring 10 Crew Members and their blogs. It gives us a chance to visit new blogs and get to know some of our fellow crewmates. This week I am on it--YAY!!! Here are the rest of the blogs featured on this week Blog Walk for you guys to visit! ENJOY!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekly Goal Planning--Week 2

For some reason I can't get the image to show today so sorry there is no image or button for this post--I will work on that!

I really enjoyed having some weekly goals last week and I did "ok" on keeping them. I did get our Master Bedroom organized which feels great. I went a little over on grocery budget but not too bad considering the new foods I have to purchase for Zachary. Steve and I decided on where to go for our anniversary trip but I didn't get anything booked yet. Zach ate the right foods all week and I let him have a special treat on Friday since he is handling it so well we allowed him to have a burger for lunch on Friday. It's really tough for a 5 year old to not be allowed to have a long list of foods that he really likes; we are doing the best we can.

Steve is taking a class for work about keeping goals "SIM"ple. Goals should be "simple", "important" and "measurable". So here are my "SIM"ple goals for the week...

1. Organize Linen Closet--this is my next room on my overall goal of getting the entire house organized one room at a time. This one should be fairly simple. The closet contains towels and sheets as well as many of our family games at the top. We are in desperate need of new towels and Steve said I could go get some this week so that will help with the organizing when I can jut get rid of many of the towels. I am wanting to "color code" our lives a little bit so each of us is getting a certain color and those towels will be that persons. Paul--blue, Zach--green, Molly--purple, and then I haven't decided on what color towels Steve and I will have.

2. Walk 3x this week--I need to exercise and the best I can do right now is walking while the boys have baseball practice so I am hopeful to be able to do that 3 times this week. It's not alot but atleast it's something

3. Write a Letter or Send a card--I love email and texting but it can make life so impersonal sometimes, so in an effort to change that I have a goal of sending a HAND written letter or card to someone this week. Paul wrote a letter to his cousin Jake last week and I was thinking how special that will be to Jake and it made me realize what a lost art cards and letters are.

4. Stay off the Computer--until the kids are in the bed. This one is really tough for me. I love my laptop and it's home as alway been on my kitchen counter so I can look something up whenever I need/want to. However, it is such a time killer. I find myself spending way too much time "researching" stuff online when I should be loving every moment of the time I have with my kiddos while they are young. So, I have moved my laptop to our bedroom so it is not as easily accessible and my goal is only to get on when the kids are in the bed.

5. Read Mark 1- Luke 4-I just finished Matthew and started Mark this morning. I am trying to read 20 chapters/week so I should be through Luke 4 by the end of this week. I love having my morning devotion with God and spending time in His word and in prayer. It makes my days go so much more smoothly! I am still looking for a great devotional book for homeschooling Moms but can't quite find what I am looking for so I am just reading my Bible daily and finding so much comfort in His word!

So, there are my goals for the week. Don't forget to head over to Mama Manuscripts to see everyone else's goals and link up with your own goals for the week!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution -- Review

My oldest son is not and never has been a "reluctant reader." He had no trouble learning to read and he has loved it from day one. Now, in 3rd grade, he is reading the Chronicles of Narnia series. He loves to visit the bookstore and browse the books and choose a new book to read and gain knowledge from. He reads everything from crazy nine-year old boy stories to historical novels and everything in between. Now, I don't think I am going to be as fortunate with my 2nd son. Zach is doing well and learning how to read but it is NOT a favorite activity and he does not see the purpose in learning to read. Zach would much rather play outside or with his little sister. So, since I do have one up and coming "reluctant reader" I was eager to try

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The "solution" comes in 2 parts.

365 Kid Scoop Worksheets
A full year's supply of worksheets to get your kids reading. These 365 worksheets come in packets of 5-7 pages on one topic. There are so many topics there is bound to be something your child wants to read about. I chose not to give Paul a choice on which ones he did but instead I chose for him. He would have wanted all of them printed out. Some of the topics we completed were baseball (of course), germs, Valentine's Day, bubble gum, and frost. These worksheets include puzzles, games, word searches, and so much more. They also include activities that get your child looking in the newspaper for information.


12-full color issues of Kid Scoop News Online.
These are online and are full of fun games and activities that relate to the time of year. These newspapers are full color and very attractive. You can navigate through the pages online which makes it even more fun and less like work for most kids. The puzzles and games are not online so you must print out the newspaper in order to do those. There is also an option to listen to the articles which is great if you have an auditory learner. The voice is a bit robotic but my kids enjoyed it.
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I must admit that my thoughts on this product are a bit mixed. Paul loved the worksheets and they kept him entertained for long car rides, waits in doctor's offices and as "fun" work in our workboxes. They were very educational and he learned alot from them. I loved having a central theme and I would just put one packet in his last workbox and the entire packet had to be completed by the end of the week. He worked at his own pace and really enjoyed it. So, he gives the product rave reviews and is looking forward to see what topic I put in there next week!

However, to me it does not neccesarily solve the"reluctant reader problem." There is not a great deal of reading to be done in the packets. There is some, but not enough to be considered real reading (atleast in my opinion). I want my kids to want to read novels, real literature, and not just magazines or newspapers. I do think there is a place for reading periodicals, and I think that the Reluctant Reader Solution is a great "periodical" for kids. I do know that some kids just aren't going to ever enjoy reading novels and "real" literature so this is a good way to get them reading something!

So, yes, Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution is a GREAT product and a really good deal at $97 for a whole year's worth of fun, engaging and educational material. This works great in workboxes for an "extra" activity or to go along with a full unit study on a particular topic. It would also be great for kids in public or private school to keep their skills sharp over the summer or during school breaks!

They also have many other products designed to get your kids reading. You can purchase individual downloads and you can see samples online. You can also sign up for their email newsletter and get "30 knock-your-socks-off fun activities over the next 30 days so your child or student never gets bored" . There are some great ideas in there to get you and your child engaged in reading and spending time together!

One more awesome thing about Kid Scoop is they offer a 365 day money back guarantee!! I don't think you will need it though. The activities are fun and engaging and with so many topics (almost 60) there is going to be something your kids will love!

The website does not mention an age range for this product but your child/student should be able to read independently. I would think 2nd grade would be the youngest I would start this.

So, head on over to Kid Scoop and take a look at the Reluctant Reader Solution as well as all the other great products they offer.

Don't forget to take a look at what other TOS Crew Members have to say here

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekly Goal Planning--Week 1

I am trying to get more organized and set goals for myself and my kids each week. I ran across a meme that is designed to help with that. So, I am going to give it a shot. I really feel like if I write my goals down I am more accountable. So my goals for this week (February 14-20, 2011).

LIVE FOR OTHERS MORE-- "Others, Lord, yes others, let this my motto be, help me to live for others so that I might live for thee." This is an ongoing goal for me. I try to teach my children to do things for others but I often find myself wrapped up in my own family life and the things that revolve around our little family of five. In order to teach my children to live selfless and giving lives I must do the same. I have a friend who lives so unselfishly it is amazing. She is constantly doing things for others--bringing people meals, watching other children, making special cards and all kinds of things. And, she has the sweetest kids you will ever meet. I know her kids are this way because of the way she lives her life. And, I know that this is how God would have us be. So, goal #1 this week, and every week is to live for others more!

ORGANIZE THE MASTER BEDROOM-- Last week I wrote out a schedule for organizing the house, room by room. My goal is one area each week. I don't want the goal to be overwhelming, just a little something towards organizing and living a simpler, more minimal life. Last week, my goal was my closet. I was able to get the closet and the master bathroom more organized--I was so pleased that I got more done than I had scheduled! This week is the Master bedroom. I did put several things in there that came out of the closet and bathroom so I guess it is a continuation of last weeks goals! I am also hoping to find a good deal on a small desk to put in there.

NO YELLING-- My three kiddos are all very loud. This is actually more of a goal for the kiddos but I wanted to add it in here. My kids tend to go straight to yelling when there is a problem. Steve and I don't argue and yell at each other so I am not sure where this comes from. I do occasionally yell at the kids but not very often. So, again, not sure where their yelling comes from. Our character traits we are learning in our devotions are gentleness and kindness so with that comes no yelling at our siblings. So, for this week (to start with) no yelling or screaming of any kind is allowed in this house!

STAY ON BUDGET FOR GROCERIES-- Steve does most of the finances in our home. We discuss the budget for each area and then we try to stay in it. Groceries is the one item I often go over on. This is the last week of the pay period so this is when I have to really watch it. And, Zachary has new dietary restrictions so I have to try a few new foods which can make it more difficult to stay on budget.

HAVE ZACHARY EAT ALL THE RIGHT FOODS-- As I mentioned above Zachary has some new dietary restrictions. They include the following: wheat/gluten, oranges, corn, peanuts, mushrooms, shellfish, beef, walnuts, and cheese. We are pretty used to the wheat/gluten thing and he doesn't typically complain about that. We have found lots of gluten free foods that he really likes. However, some of those foods are now banned. He loves peanut butter covered bananas and eats this almost daily. Well, now he can't have peanuts, so no peanut butter. We have tried honey soy-nut butter, but he didn't like that, so today I will buy another "butter" to try and find something he likes, I think we are going to try almond butter. Beef is another tough one. I plan on buying some ground turkey and just using that instead. The biggest thing is what does he eat when we go out--he would always just get a burger without the bread. Cheese is also difficult. Cheese was a great snack with protein, but no longer. So, another goal for this week is to keep him off of these foods. If we do really well with all these restrictions and the supplements he is on then this will only last for a couple of months.

PLAN ANNIVERSARY TRIP-- In April Steve and I will have been married 15 years!! We are wanting to take a small trip (without the kids) to celebrate. We can't decide where we want to go. So, that is another goal for this week--make a decision and book somewhere to stay!

So, there are my goals for this week (and beyond really). You can head over to Mama Manuscripts and see more goals and link up if you would like to be a part of this meme. Also, don't forget to leave a comment here - I love to see that someone is actually reading my blog!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saving Peyton

One of my newest followers has a new blog she started last month and she is trying to help save a little boy that is orphaned in Europe. She is not able to adopt him herself but the Lord has laid it on her heart to try and raise money for this child to be able to be adopted by someone who needs the financial help to do so. We know what it is like to want to be able to adopt and know that financially it is really a stretch. God can provide--He did for all three of our adoptions! And He sometimes used fellow bloggers to help us raise the funds we needed. So, I am asking any of you that can to visit the below blog and help Kathy help Peyton!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Curiosity Files!


Science has always been something that I have struggled with teaching. It is not something I ever enjoyed in school or know much about. The kids love to do science experiments so we often just do an experiment that doesn't really go with anything we are doing and learn about that particular experiment. Paul has completed several Science workbooks over the last 4 years but we have never found a curriculum that we really like.
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It all changed when we welcomed "Professor Ana Lyze, Professor in Outlandish Oddities" into our home through a new ebook/unit study -- Curiosity Files. There are many different topics available through the The Old SchoolHouse Store. Topics such as Quicksand, Dung Beetles, Zombie Fire Ants, MRSA, Puffer Fish, Red Tide, the Blue Footed Boobie and more are available for yours and your child's enjoyment! You can purchase the ebooks separately or in a downloadable bundle of 9 for $46 or on CD for $49. The studies are designed for 8-13 year olds but can be tweaked for older and younger students. Even my 3 year old learned something and enjoyed it.

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We were given the Quicksand study to review and my boys were super excited to get started! I was immediately impressed with the 82 pages of information and activities in the unit!

Anytime we start a new study I try to start wih something fun so after reading a little about quicksand we made "quicksand goo", just one of the many great hands on activities in the study! I blogged about our gooey afternoon here. The kids loved this activity and it whet their appetite to learn more about quicksand. Paul, of course, learned the most, but the other two definitely enjoyed tagging along. On more than one occasion the kids have come running inside telling me all about finding quicksand in the woods! They remembered learning that quicksand can be found almost anywhere and since we do have a small creek in our woods they were convinced their was quicksand back there...and there probably is!

The unit offers a Bible Study component and Bible verse (KJV) copywork (manuscript and cursive). There are writing,spelling, and vocabulary activities for all ages, arts and crafts, science experiments and so much more. There are also math activities that make a great supplement to any math curriculum. According to Paul "everything in it (the unit) is fun". You will also find internet links to go further with the study and suggested book lists.

We finished the study with a delicious "quicksand snack"



You can check out what other TOS Crew members have to say about this study and all the Curiosity Files here

And don't forget to head on over to the Old Schoolhouse Store and get ready to have a blast with Professor Ana-Lyze. You can also view a sample here. I am sure you will be impressed with all the information packed in to these studies. Don't forget that the best deal is to purchase all nine at once in their bundle pack found here for only $46

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Follow Up to "Blast from the Past"

As a follow up to yesterday's post from 3 years ago here is a more recent post of Molly. She is doing her best to quote Psalms 23 and Psalms 100.


Again, we are so blessed to be her parents! As well as the parents to our two wonderful boys! God is SO Good!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blast from the Past! Molly 2008


Debbie at Debbie's Digest had a great idea for a "Blast from the Past" meme so I linked up and here is my "Blast from the Past"


This was almost 3 years ago and I shared it on my adoption blog while we were in China. Molly had been a part of our family for about one week. Now it has been almost 3 years and she has grown by leaps and bounds! We are so blessed to be her parents!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Roman Town Review

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We were recently asked to review a computer game called "Roman Town- Dig It". The website states it is the "premier archaeology computer game for kids". It is available for purchase at a reasonable price of $39.95. But, for a limited time (until February 21) you can use the coupon code TOS2011 and purchase the game for only $19.96 making it an awesome deal! This game would be great to add to a unit on archaeology or Roman times. However, it is also just a great, fun game that kids will love even without any previous knowledge of either of those subjects

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Though the website says it is the "premier archaeology computer game" it is so much more than that. My 9 year old has learned so much about Roman living in his "playing".

Each level has different artifacts to "dig" and after digging out each artifact you learn about that artifact and how it was used in everyday life in Roman times!

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At the end of each level there is a report that must be completed to move on. The report was a big part of the learning aspect of the "game". I didn't tell Paul that this was a "learning game" and just presented it to him one afternoon when he was on the computer playing his normal games (that are also "learning without knowing it" type games--we seldom have games that aren't educational around here). He flew right through the first "dig" and then came to the "report". The report is a paragraph with missing vocabulary words and the words are listed in a "word-bank" at the bottom of the screen (see image below). You have to drag each word into the correct spot--he was stumped because he had not taken the time to learn about each artifact. We went back through it together and he was amazed at how much there was to learn and how interesting it was to learn about Roman life! I never had to remind him again to read the information about each artifact. He was so happy when he was able to complete the next report without any help from Mom and on the first try!

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After each "dig" there are also learning games and puzzles for the student to play that reinforce what was learned during that "dig". Paul loved this aspect and stayed on each level longer than needed because he enjoyed the games.

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One aspect of the game that I wasn't expecting was that there is no sound. I really thought I wouldn't like this, at first, but then I figured out what a great feature it is! Paul had to read all the information. Also, with my 3 very loud kids I was glad to have a game that was silent! Since he is a fluent reader it was not a problem but if your child is not a fluent reader take that into consideration before purchasing. There is a great deal of reading and the words are not easy. I would think it is written on atleast a 3rd grade level. The website states that the game targets 5th-8th graders, but Paul is a strong reader and did well with it.

As I have stated in previous reviews of computer learning programs we are not big fans of games with high graphics and fast moving images. Kids don't need to be constantly bombarded with that. That is one of the things I love about Roman Town. Though the images are highly detailed and show what Roman life was like, it is not a fast-paced "crazy" game that is more play than education. It is a truly educational experience! It's great to teach problem solving and critical thinking skills on top of the facts your child will learn while playing!

There is also an educational guide available for download. The guide gives information on Archaeoloy and Roman life making it a valuable tool for those who wish to incorporate Roman Town in to a study on archaeoloy and/or Roman times. It also includes fun activities and ideas for lessons to expand your studies. The educational guide is full of great ideas but the game can be fully used and enjoyed without the guide, and without any additional g studies on Rome. We are currently studying American History but this was just an extra activity.

Don't forget about the coupon code TOS2011 to save 50% on this game. Only $19.96 is a great deal on this great game!

Don't forget to take a look at what other TOS crew members have to say here

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A WEDDING!!!!


On Monday evening, our nephew, Jake, proposed to his girlfriend and she said YES!

We are so excited for Jake and Stephanie. Unfortunately, Jake currently lives on the other side of the country so we haven't gotten to know Stephanie but I am sure she is perfect for Jake. He can't stop talking about how in love he is and how wonderful Stephanie is! He says she is not like any other girl he has ever dated and he can't believe he gets to marry her.

When he told me how he proposed I was in tears. He is such a romantic guy. The picture below shows how he proposed....he had a waiter write it in chocolate on the dessert plate. The whole restaurant knew it was going to happen (the waiter was as excited as Jake was and told everyone!)

And the ring.... (he did a good job)
So, Congrats to Jake and Stephanie we are so happy for you and love you both!

And here is the beautiful couple!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blog Hop




This is a great way to discover new blogs. Visit the The Coupon Scoop for some great deals as well as to see lots of "Mom" Blogs!

Wordless Wednesday

According to the groundhog Spring is just around the corner....