Essential Skills Advantage Review

My, my, my… the online curriculum options just keep getting better and better.  We were recently given the opportunity to review Essential Skills Advantage and it is AWESOME!

ESA Logo

Essentials Skills Advantage (ESA) is designed to help kids in K – 6th grades build and strengthen foundational Language Arts and Reading skills. ESA retails for $9.99 a month for a premium membership of 24/7 unlimited advertising free access.

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You can try out a free trial of the full version before you buy to see how this wonderful program will work for your family. ESA has just started a free version too that is sponsored with advertising if you don’t mind the ads popping up while learning. For a limited time, you can use the coupon code TOS50 and receive a 50% discount on the full advertising free Premium Membership version, and with your discount your cost would only be $4.99 per month as long as you remained a member.

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By strengthening their “essential” skills, and building a strong foundation, kids can learn to master any other curriculum. ESA has over 20,000 learning activities and teaches 38 phoneme sounds, progression from phonics to complete sentences, 220 English words to help your student master the English language that make up to 70% of the words we use in our daily life, learning the meanings and comprehending the outcomes of stories they read, and grammatical rules of spelling.

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Both kids and parents can keep track of progress. Kids are encouraged to progress and can earn virtual silver and gold stars and printable certificates to keep them motivated to learn.

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I have set the program to allow each child to work in their current grade, plus work on lessons that are a grade below and a grade above for both review and additional challenge. Both the kids and I are pleased with their progress.

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ESA is online, but is designed to appeal to all types of learners including visual, auditory, and kinetic learners and works well for on level learning, remedial practice, and is also flexible for those with learning disabilities. The majority of kids can learn to master the essential skills with ESA.

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I usually have the kids spend 20 to 30 minutes each day doing a spelling, reading comprehension, and vocabulary activity each day on the ESA curriculum. They have their own dashboard on ESA and can choose from several options: vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension, word puzzles, fill in the blank, grammar, and so on.

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Once they have completed their lesson they can see the stars they have achieved by answering correctly. Most of the time, the program will not let them progress until they have answered the problem correctly. This method allows them to make mistakes, but also ensures they have learned the correct answer before moving ahead.

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All of my kids love ESA and can’t wait to get on the computer each day. I have them work on two or three assignments per day. It is quick and painless (no whining, no drama, and no tears), and lots of fun. With six kids all waiting for their turn, and excited about their schoolwork, I just wish we had more computers in the house! While one is on the computer the others are doing book work or hands on learning. But even though they have to wait on each other and take turns, they stay excited and motivated to for their opportunity to do their online learning programs. I am thankful!

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You can follow ESA on their social media links and learn more about the product, news, and updates too.
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Happy Kids Songs Review

We have been having fun finishing out the end of summer and getting started back to school with a review of Happy Kids Songs.

Happy Kids Songs Review
 

 

Sometimes my younger kids are impulsive and not so happy. Happy Kids Songs has a lot to say about our attitude and how we treat each other. This is a great tool for parents to teach younger kids about behavior and focussing on the right things. This product is geared for kids 4-8 years old, but I had my 2, 5, 7, 9, and 11 year olds do the activities and had the 14 year old assist as a teacher’s helper. He helped me set up a play list on the computer and print off worksheets and organized the craft materials. This way I was able to include all 6 of my kids in using this product. We all can use some lessons in how to be happy, no matter what age.

Happy Kids Songs was created by Dr. Mac who is the song writer of the wonderful TV program for kids called Jay Jay and the Jet Plane from PBS Kids. He is a talented song writer, accomplished musician, child psychologist, school consultant and has won numerous awards for his talents and skills. He has won the iParenting award, Teacher’s Choice award, The National Parenting Center’s Seal Of Approval award, and many more.

Happy Kids Songs currently has 8 Volumes to choose from. Each Volume contains 5 songs, and retails for $4.95. The lyrics to each songs help your kids develop good character trates, treat others the way they want to be treated, and become happy people. For this review, we received three Volumes as a download, pdf lyrics and worksheet for each song (download), and a physical workbook /songbook was mailed to us for this review.

Vol. 1  Friends And Sharing
Retails $4.95

 

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs include:
Sailing on the Seven Cs; Everybody Wants to Find a Friend; Sharing Friends; Happy as Happy Can Be; Together

There are a few YouTube Videos of some of the songs being made, some interviews with Dr Mac, and a couple of music videos too. Here is a video of the song Together from Volume 1 Friends and Sharing:

Volume 6 Happiness and Attitude
Retails for $4.95

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs include:
Shake It Out and Dance; Who Knows What’s a Kudo?; I Don’t Understand; Be Good to Yourself; Better Together

Volume 7 Manners and Character
Retails $4.95

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs Include:
H-O-N-E-S-T-Y; The Magic Word; Quirks; The Golden Rule; Six Little Kids

Songbook / Workbook Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands On Activites To Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills
Retails for $12.56

Happy Kids Songs Review
The workbook has over 100 lessons.  It includes all the lyrics and worksheets, coloring pages, and lesson plans and activity ideas for all 40 songs in the Happy Kids Songs 8 Volumes.

Our family has enjoyed sitting together at the table and listening to the songs, learning the lyrics, coloring pages and completing corresponding activities (word puzzles, coloring pages, arts and crafts).

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We downloaded the songs to our computer to listen to at home, and also burned them on a CD so we can take them on the road in the van too.

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The workbook has all of the song lyrics organized by Volume at the front half of the book with a corresponding worksheet. In the second half of the book, it has lesson plans also organized by Volume.

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For me, the workbook was indispensible and very easy to implement. You just find the lessons for the Volume you are listening too, learn the lyrics, do the activity sheets, and optional activities and arts and crafts.

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The kids really enjoyed making crafts while listening to the songs. Here they are making a friend puppet.

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Happy Kids Songs products are great! Kids enjoy using them. The songs are catchy and easy to remember. They are handy for adults because they have everything organized in the workbook and come with a license to re-produce the lyrics and coloring pages and worksheets, and you can use them in your family or group settings with multiple students. This makes them a great option for Sunday School, clubs, and Homeschool Coops too.

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Be sure to follow Happy Kids Songs on their social media links for all the latest news and updates.

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And be sure to sign up for the monthly news letter and receive a free song of the month and other special information. Samples of songs and more are also available on their web site.

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Check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using Happy Kids Songs products in their home.

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Wizzy Gizmo Review

If your kids love to read, then they might like to learn about biblical stories and truth of God’s word with Wizzy Gizmo.

Wizzy Gizmo Review
 

My family was blessed to a review the first book in the Wizzy Gizmo series called Book One: Who Created Everything?   Wizzy Gizmo is a Christian curriculum collection of resources including books, audio, and flashcards centered around a group of kids and a Professor, named Wizzy Gizmo.

Who created everything (2)

Wizzy Gizmo Book One: Who Created Everything?

Ages 4-12
Retails $12.99
and currently offering a 10% off your order.
Check web site for more details.

Professor Wizzy Gizmo invented a machine called the Gizmovision.  The Gizmovision machine brings books to life, telling the readers and listeners the “who, what, why, and how” of the story.  Though the characters are fictional, they are relatable for kids, and explore true life events with real questions that kids (and adults) want answered.

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Wizzy Gizmo Book One: Who Created Everything? is a fun fictional story that looks at true events in the bible.  It explores biblical history during the first six days of creation.  Wizzy Gizmo places the bible on his machine and he and the kids head off on a fun exploration into learning about Creation in Genesis chapter one.  The story is continued in Wizzy Gizmo Book Two: In His Image.

For the purpose of this review, I had my oldest son read the book aloud to the younger children.  They were all fascinated with the bible adventure.  On of my sons is an audio-visual learner and he drew out parts of the story as he listened too.

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There are bright colorful illustrations in the book and dialog between the characters. The kids really enjoyed the pictures and it helped the kids imagination to follow along and keep their interest. I appreciated the book contained a lot of scriptures from the bible and then explained them to the kids.  The kids really felt like they were part of the story.

The book contains study questions and also a huge list of vocabulary words.  I really liked the vocabulary words for furthering their understanding, spelling, and questions.  This was a handy resource.  This book would go along great with a unit study of creation where you ad in science, history, math, literature, art, field trips (Creation Museum, farms, zoos, science lab, planetarium, machine shop, etc.), and hands on application of the learning.  Perhaps let the kids build their own Gizmovision machine to travel back in time to learn about biblical history.

We enjoyed book one, and I would love to have the additional resources and keep going with the learning. Book two is available and new books are being developed.  There is also currently an audio drama of book one with more on the way. The flashcards New Testiment Series look amazing!  The cards are BIG and have tons of bible study and historical helps on them.  All of this curriculum would make a great program for a homeschool, a Sunday school class, or bible club too.  I think kids of all ages would really enjoy them.

Follow Wizzy Gizmo on social media for all the latest updates and news.

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Blessings From Praise

Did you know that offering praise to God can bring blessing?

God inhabits your praise, and exchanges  your praise for blessings.

God inhabits your praise, and exchanges your praise for blessings.

We frequently speak by faith that Jesus said “where two or more are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst of them”.  We speak this forth knowing with confidence that Jesus is wtih us when believers gather together and he hears our prayer and intercedes for us.

But did you know that Father God also said that he inhabits (dwells/lives in) the praises of his people? God is there with you and he is physically dwelling inside your praise.

There is also an exchange that happens when we praise. An exchange is when you give something and receive something back. There is a promise of blessing according to Psalm 112:1 “The Lord will bless EVERYONE who praises him and gladly obeys his teachings.”

That is awesome! You can receive blessings today, right now!

There are at least 477 verses in the bible that mention praise. That is a whole lot and it is very clear that God wants us to know about praise and what pleases him.

My earnest prayer is that you will take time today, and each day, to give him PRAISE and be BLESSED!

 

This post will be linked up with Raising Homemakers, Sharing Time,

Find P&G Products At Walmart

I am really excited to tell you that I was asked to review P  & G Products at Walmart. I was sent a $100 gift card from P & G (Proctor & Gamble) and asked to pick out three or more P & G products at Walmart.com that my family could use. How awesome is that? It was like Christmas in July!

Walmart.com

Walmart carries a huge list of P & G Products. There is no way I could tell you about all of them, but I am sure you know most of them because P & G has been around for 175 years and has been a household name for generations. Most of us grew up with several P & G products in our home such as Tide, Pampers, Mr. Clean, Charmin and more.

Products       (photo of Proctor and Gamble products brands).

Our family of 8 people has big needs for household items. I appreciate the convenience, variety and savings for the typical household items offered at Walmart.com. I needed diapers, toilet paper and paper towels, so this was a perfect opportunity to stock up on those necessities and try out Walmart’s new online ordering app for the smart phone.

For the purpose of this review, I used the gift card to purchase online:

Charmin Ultra Soft Mega Rolls Toilet Paper

Charmin

Bounty Select A Size Paper Towels

Bounty Select A Size

Pampers Sensitive Wipes

Pampers Sensitive Wipes

Technology just keeps changing constantly and Walmart is keeping up with the demands of shoppers by offering an online ordering service at Walmart.com You can order with your smart phone, or you have the option to order from your computer. You can have items shipped to the store for pick up for free, or to your home (or vacation location) for free if you order at least $50 or more. Orders that are less than $50 incur a shipping fee. It really can’t get much simpler than ordering right from your phone and having the things you need shipped right to your door.

I am so glad to know about this service.  I have six kids and it can be a challenge sometimes to take them all to the store.  Inevitably someone will have something on backwards, is fussy, or someone will have a messy face by the time we make it inside the store.  Now I can skip all that drama, and order the household things we need, and shop in my pajama’s while I drink coffee if I want to.   How cool is that?

With the Walmart Mobile Smart Phone App, you can check prices on products from your home or in the store by scanning the bar code, you can speak or type your shopping list, you can re-fill prescriptions, check out the shopping ads and specials, order and pay for items you want, and also read product reviews.

If I go on vacation, I will definitely keep this new mobile phone app in mind.  A few years ago we took a trip to the ocean and stayed at the Isle Of Palms in South Carolina. Being able to order items right on my phone that I had forgot to pack for our trip like laundry soap, and extra diapers and have them delivered to the location we were staying would have saved us a mind boggling trip with fussy kids, into the big city of Charleston where we got temporarily lost on the freeways as we tried to navigate a city we didn’t know and find some household items we really needed. Being able to use your phone to order what you need and have it delivered to you is a wonderful modern time-saving convenience for families.

It is so easy to order P & G products your family needs through Walmart.com

Would you like to win a $25 Walmart gift card to buy what you need at Walmart.com? If so, please enter the giveaway by leaving a comment letting me know one P & G product you use in your home, and liking us on Facebook.

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Disclaimer: Walmart Gift Cards and information was provided by P & G for the purpose of writing an honest review of my online shopping experience.

Praise

Did you know that PRAISE is mentioned in the bible 477 times?   Praise is very important to God.  The bible says that God inhabits the praises of his people.  Imagine that for just a minute.  God inhabits…your praise…

Webster’s dictionary says that inhabit means “to occupy as a place of settled residence” and it means “to live in”.  source

Webster’s dictionary also says that praise is an “expression” and it means “to glorify”; “to esteem”; “to express a favorable judgement, or to commend”; and that it is an expression of “love, thanks, appreciation, respect, in spoken or written form”. source

Praise is God’s home.  Let me say that again, just incase you missed it.  Praise is God’s home.  God dwells in praise. God lives in YOUR expression of praise whether you vocalize it (speak, sing, shout, pray, mutter, mumble, groan, hum, etc) or write it out.  How awesome is that ?!

Do you celebrate when you offer praise?  I noticed a key theme in researching the bible about praise.  It should be filled with celebrations!

Praise should include:  shouts of joy, shouts of praise for all that God has done for us, prayer, offerings, lift your hands to God, praise him by dancing, playing instruments, play the harp and the tambourine, trumpets, stringed instruments, and woodwinds, cymbals and clashing cymbals, new songs, thankful heart, celebrate God’s wonderful deeds and victories over evil and enemies, sing songs and praise his name every day and announce “He has saved us”, sing praises to God in every nation of the earth, and so much more.   If you don’t believe me, do a search of the bible’s 477 verses that contain the mention of praise and find out for yourself.

In addition to telling us He lives in our praise, He also offers us a promise.  He will bless us because we obey Him and because we praise Him.

“The Lord will BLESS everyone who PRAISES him and who gladly obeys his teachings”.                      Psalm 112:1

One of the most amazing leaders of praise and worship of the Lord God mentioned in the Bible is King David. David sang, wrote, danced, layed prostrate, prayed, and played instruments in his worship of the Lord.  The bible says that God was pleased with his praise and worship.  Even so much that when others mocked him praising God, they brought a curse upon themself.  His own wife mocked him one time when he sang loudly, clanged cymbals, and danced naked before Lord in public and she was cursed. God was that protective of David’s praise.  Wow!

My dad was a Praise and Worship leader most of his adult life.  I loved growing up watching him lead the assembly of believers in praise.  It was really special to be a part of the congregation singing praises to the Lord with him.  He was so gifted in music and could harmonize in any key.  He died when I was 25 and I cherish those memories of my youth singing with him in church.

I too have served the body of Christ as a Praise and Worship minister.  I joined a Praise team in Kansas City when I was just 14 years old.  I continued participating in church choirs, high school and college choirs, and served on Praise and Worship teams for most of my adult life.  It has been one of my greatest joys in life.  My heart was and is always to lead the assembly of believers into a place of true worship of God as David did. To sing and praise and please God in our worship of who He is.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He never changes.  His love for us never changes.  His mercies are new every day.  He is the beginning and the end.  The is the creator.  He is the author.  He is the provider.  He is the healer.  He is the king.  He is the warrior.  He is the savior.  He is the deliverer.  He deserves our highest praise everyday that we are blessed to take a breath.

Do you need help getting to a place of praise?  First of all, pray and ask God to help you in your praise of him.  Then spend some time learning about what God says about praise in the scriptures.  You will truly be inspired, and maybe even shocked if you have never praised him before, or if you have been part of a religious culture that has rules and limitations regarding praise.

Get encouraged by the example and testimony of other believers who are offering praise and worship to God…

One of the most amazing Praise and Worship Leaders I have ever witnessed in my lifetime is Rick Pino.  I was blessed to be in the crowd of Christian worshipers in August 2008 at Greenville, SC at a Youth Conference with over 5 Thousand people, both young and old.  That is OVER 5,000!  The songs we sang rang out to the heavens!  He led us for hours in the most sincere atmosphere of praise of Father God that I have ever experienced in my life.  His genuine worship of God was contagious and everyone caught it.

That must have been what it was like to praise and worship Father God when King David worshipped.  The bible says David was a man after God’s own heart.  God was pleased with David’s worship.

 

TRANSFORM YOUR PRAISE

Do you want an experience of praise and worship like that?  Do you want to be so overcome with praise of God that nothing else matters?  Do you know that if you don’t praise God, that rocks will cry out in your place?  He is that holy and deserving of our highest praise, that all creation including rocks will praise him!  AMAZING!

He longs for our sincere praise.  He longs for our hearts to worship him in spirit and in truth.  He wants to encourage “normal people”, you and me, to live supernatural lives, to receive supernatural blessings, and experience supernatural praise and worship of the only supernatural God.

My three favorite songs from Rick Pino’s albums I purchased back in 2008 at the youth conference are “Mighty Warrior” , “We Have The Best Dad” and “I Can Hear The Sound”.  I love these songs!  They truly transform your perspective and your praise.

Mighty Warrior: The Lord is with you mighty warrior, so rise, mount up, mount up on the wings of eagles, mount up, so rise, the Lord is with you mighty warrior”.

We Have The Best Dad: We have the best dad in the whole world!

I Can Hear Can Hear The Sound: This song is absolutely one of my most favorites. He sings in this song that he “can hear the sound of the river coming down.. its coming down…your sons and daughters will prophesy…it satisfies…come and drink from the rock…I can hear the sound.”

ABBA:  Abba, I belong to you…you wont leave us as orphans…Abba…I belong to you…

 

PIONEER: I love this song called Pioneer.   “There is a wilderness calling you, and you are the pioneer to keep pressing forward, only a fire (of the Lord) goes before you, your own frontier, you are a pioneer.”

 

You and I are pioneers on the path of life, telling those in our circle of influence (our wilderness) about God.  And if we don’t cry out with praise to God, the rocks will do it in our place.  Yikes!  I don’t want a rock to do what I was created to do!  God longs for me and for you to praise him.  He longs to dwell with us in our praise.

Are you ready?

When you transform your praise, and worship in spirit and in truth, you please the Father, He will dwell with you, He will bless you, and your life will be transformed through your expression of praise.

Give praise a try.  Lift your hands, lift your heart, celebrate, pray, worship the only true living God, and sing out…”Abba, I belong to you…”

 

 

Mathletics Review

What’s that you say?  Math?  During the summer?  Yes we did!

logo for Mathletics

Why should we step away from math for the summer months just to get behind?  No Way!  The kids love Math practice when they use Mathletics by 3P Learning.

So do you want to know what all the excitement is about?  Would you like to see your kids excited about Math practice too?

mathletics

Mathletics

Ages/Grades:  Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. 

Online Math Subscription: is able to be used anytime day or night any day of the week.

It is recommended to use Mathletics three days a week for twenty minutes each sitting. 

Retails: $ 59.00

Contains over 1200 different learning activities; interactive games, learning achievement certificates, incentives, weekly reports sent to the parent, a parent dashboard,  printable workbooks, and more.

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Our Experience:

My third and fifth grade kids have been using Mathletics online learning program this summer.  We were given two individual subscriptions for the purpose of writing an honest  review of our experience.  They use the program three days a week for skills practice as a supplement to their daily Math curriculum.

Third Grade:

joseph student center

I was really happy to receive this program.  We had planned to continue our Math study all summer, but I hoped the kids wouldn’t get tired of it.   Why should we step away from Math for the summer months just to get behind?  Kids forget how to do Math really quickly when they take a long break.  It just didn’t seem worth it this year.

Fifth Grade:

John student center

If we were doing book work all summer, practicing Math skills would have been boring!  Yeah, that is how I remember Math, just boring books filled with numbers, and almost as soon as I learned what to do with those numbers, I would soon forget too.  But my kids are not forgetting what they have learned and even more exciting is that they are getting really good scores while they play (ahem), practice their Math.  They can practice alone and they can also compete with other players in a multiplayer format.  They can earn certificates and virtual gold too.  Mathletics offers three printable certificates levels your student can achieve too.

Joseph

Thanks to Mathletics, we are doing awesome online math challenges, and it makes learning math FUN, and that makes all the difference!

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The kids literally fight for (oh a wait that sounds bad), beg for (no that’s not the word), look forward to their computer time online with their Mathletics.  They want to use the computer! They are not bored.  They don’t care that it is MATH!!! They want to do it. Seriously, where were these great learning programs when I was a kid?

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The kids really are enjoying it.  I am looking forward to Mathletics helping them improve their Math skills.  Mathletics has won educational awards and has numerous studies showing how well kids who practice with their program improve their Math skills.

I am so thankful we will have this supplemental program to practice Math in a fun way for the upcoming school year too.  This is a real blessing and I am greatful that such a great program exists and we get to use it.  Yeah!

Be sure to follow Mathletics social media links to learn all the latest news and updates.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mathleticsglobal   
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mathletics_usa 

Crew Disclaimer
 

Be sure to check out what others on The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using Mathletics in their home.

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Summer Grilled Chicken Pecan Salad

A salad is a great way to eat a healthy meal, if it is topped right.  You can convert a plate of lettuce into something amazing with just a few ingredients.

Besides veggies and fruits, be sure to include proteins and healthy fats when making your salad too.  There are vitamins and minerals in greens such as lettuce, kale, and spinach that require healthy fats to make them extractable and usable by the body.

A great thing about salad is that it can use up leftovers from a previous meal, and it can be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated and still taste fresh when you go to eat it. That makes it a wonderful convenience and budget friendly food too.

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One thing I really like about summer is cooking meat outside over hot coals.  It gives meat such a delicious smoky flavor.  And in my opinion, no meat on the planet tastes better with a side salad, or on the main entre salad than smoked meat!  And a little goes a long way too.  So go ahead and have a nice dinner with your grilled meat, but save a few extra pieces for leftovers to use as toppings on salads to enjoy later during the week too.  Here is a delicious salad I made with leftover smoked grilled chicken breast.

 

Summer Grilled Chicken Pecan Salad

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Ingredients:

Grilled Chicken  2 oz  cut up

Romaine Lettuce  1 cup shredded

Baby Spinach Leaves 1/2 cup shredded

Romano or Plum Tomato 1 cut into small pieces

Pecans broken into large pieces 1/4 cup or 1 oz

Lemon 1/2 cut into wedges to squeeze out juice as dressing over salad.

Directions:

Wash, chop, cut, and toss!!!  Your salad is now ready to serve!  It just can’t get any easier other than if you made it up a day ahead, and all you had to do was walk to the fridge and pull out a delicious prepared salad when you are hungry.

Nutrition:

Calories 214 g; Carbohydrates 15.7 g; Net Carbs 12.4 g; Fiber 3.3 g; Protein 10.4 g; Fat 13.2 g;               Vitamin A  6025 IU; Vitamin C 34.7 mg; Vitamin K 134 mcg;  Niacin 3.9 mg; Folate 113 mcg; and a good source of manganese, magnesium, selenium, iron, potassium, zinc, and so much more.

Optional: a drizzle of good quality olive oil and a sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt would provide even more great nutrients to top off this salad with.

This is a delicious meal anytime of day.  Lunch, supper, or split it into two side servings to go along with another meal.  I would even eat it for breakfast too.

Enjoy!

Hewitt Homeschooling Review

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Hewitt Homeschooling has some great products for homeschool families. We are reviewing My First Reports: Bugs and Worms by Hewitt Homeschooling, and we are learning lots of great information and having fun at the same time.  If you are in the process of putting your curriculum choices together, I would encourage you to add products from Hewitt Homeschooling to the list.

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My First Reports

One unique product Hewitt Homeschooling offers is a curriculum supplement called My First Reports.  My first reports uses a step by step approach to help elementary age children learn about a subject they are interested in and write a report about it.

Skills used in My First Reports include:

Research
Organizing
Sorting
Writing
Penmanship
Vocabulary
Reading
Critical Thinking

There are several My First Reports to choose from and they are geared for different ages, but all are flexible and can be used for grades 1 – 8 depending on the skill level of your student.

My First Report: Music
My First Report: Transportation
My First Report: Weather
My First Report: Me
My First Report: Famous People
My First Report: Wild Animals / Large Mammals
My First Report: Wild Animals / Small Mammals
My First Report: Pets/Farm Animals
My First Report: Bugs and Worms
My First Report: Birds
My First Report: Reptiles/Amphibians
My First Report: Plants
My First Report: Solar System
My First Report: Marine Life
My First Report: Olympics
My First Report: Outdoor Activities
My First Report: Sports
My First Report: My State
My First Report: Eastern United States
My First Report: Western United States
My First Report: Middle United States
My First Report: Southern United States
My First Report: Lewis and Clark Expedition
My First Report: Focus On The World

You can purchase My First Reports individually for $8.95 , or buy 14 titles as a bundle for $69.95 and save nearly 40% off retail.

 

Our Experience:

Bugs and Worms

We chose My First Reports: Bugs and Worms for this review.  It is designed for kids in 3rd – 4th grades, but can be used for younger students in 1st-2nd grades or older students in 5th-8th grades too.  My First Reports: Bugs and Worms contains 52 pages including reproducible forms, worksheets, suggested reading and resources, and a unit study.

When we received the packet from Hewitt Homeschooling, I placed the pages into a binder.   The pages come already hole punched so you can put it into a three ring binder for convenience, or into your students completed notebook if you desire.  I am a unit study “collector”, or perhaps a unit study nerd might describe me better.   I guess and I love being able to insert them into a binder and keep them for future use.  If someday I pass along our schoolroom to my own grown kids, or to another family, hopefully all the unit studies we have acquired or created over the years will be easy to just grab and go because they are arranged neatly in their own binders.  You could fill a whole book shelf with them.  Ooohhh Awwhhhh.  Yep, I am a unit study nerd!

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We were very excited about this curriculum.  This package covers information about 12 different bugs and worms:

Grasshoppers
Flies
Ants
Bees
Fireflies
Crickets
Ladybugs
Spiders
Caterpillars
Butterflies / Moths
Dragonflies
Worms

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Unit Study Approach

This set is designed to used for 12 weeks, in a unit study method, covering one bug or worm and corresponding worksheets and suggested activities per week.  Being a unit study, many different ages of kids can enjoy it, and it is cross curricular for many different subjects and covers:

Math
Reading
Social Studies
Music
Art
Language
History
Science
Health
P.E.
Bible
Suggested Field Trips

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During the process of learning about a bug or worm you will also do many activities mentioned in the accompanying unit study.  For example, various activities to choose from might include:  geography you will take a map of your state or a region and list bugs found there.  Younger students might cut out pictures and paste them on the map and older students would likely create a map and write a list of various insects identifying  them and their locations or to add in an art aspect, they might sketch them too.  In the bible they would learn about insects mentioned in various verses.  For reading and literature they would read various books, magazines, news articles, and poems about bugs.   For Language you would learn insect vocabulary words and spelling of each insect, as well as answer the report questions on the worksheets. You might create word puzzles and give an oral report too.  For Math, you put the insects in order based on a category such as length or color or weight ect.  Perhaps you could make a graph for comparisons.  You might calculate speeds and distance traveled or the amount of food they eat.  For Science you will make comparison graphs for body characteristics, learn about habitats and how to classify, catch-observe-release different insects when you are studying each one, etc.  One suggestion is to build a wormery when you study the worms section.  For art and science you might make a kite and then for P.E. you would go outside and fly it.  Also for P.E. you would take a hike through your neighborhood or a park to look for insects and study where they are found, what they sound like, etc.  For music you might study and recreate the sound of various insects, sing songs about insects and songs about creation including songs and praises to God.  Art has so many suggestions like making a spider web, visiting an art museum, making collages or mosaics, sculptures, and various crafts.  Field tips ideas include hikes or nature walks in various locations like parks, nature preserves, zoos, museums, the insect section of the library, a honey farm, or other farms where insects are used in some way, nature store, etc.

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While learning about each “critter”, my 3rd grader completed a worksheet for each bug we learned about.  The worksheet includes a picture of the bug, its class and scientific order, vocabulary words, and several questions to research further.   He is encouraged to write complete sentences when answering the questions.  When the week of learning about the insect is complete, and he has answered all the questions, he can transfer that information into a finished report by using his answers to help create paragraphs for a report about the insect he is writing about.

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I have always loved the hands on aspect of Field Trips.  My kids love the adventure and learning outside the classroom / house.  We took a field trip two weeks ago to the Creation Museum to learn more about the history of insects and see various species in their collections.

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This is a great curriculum resource and I would encourage other homeschool families to work it into their learning adventures this school year.  My First Reports would also be a great adventure for summer school, Sunday School, or afterschool learning adventures too.

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