Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Curiosity Files - Snow Rollers

This week, I had the opportunity to escape with the kids into a winter wonderland. And believe me, with this rainy weather, it was great timing - we didn't even have to leave the house! We started a new unit study called Curiosity Files: Snow Rollers and other Snow Phenomena. :)

The Curiosity Files are unit studies published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Your guide through the study is Professor Ana Lyze, Expert in Outlandish Oddities (think Mrs. Frizzle from Magic Schoolbus). With Professor Lyze, we learned all sorts of new and interesting things about the cold, white stuff - most importantly, we learned about snow rollers. Do you know what they are? I sure didn't! I love it when I get to learn right alongside the kids!

I've always been a fan of unit studies. They are a great break from the daily work, and they can also be incorporated into whatever you are studying. This was our first time to use a Curiosity File, but we all really enjoyed it. It compiled science, math, language arts, bible, art and music lessons, all geared toward snow! It's also a great thing for a family like mine, who has preschoolers to upper elementary. Even a teenager could have learned something new! I really enjoyed the way it was written. It's like a teacher or parent and a child are having a conversation. There is red font for what the student would say or ask, and the black font is how the teacher would respond. Chloe wanted to "be the student" every lesson!

Connor is all about hands on learning, and building something or experimenting is always a bonus for him. He was not disappointed; there were plenty of things to work on and observe in this study. There was a barometer, a weather observation chart, and several art projects.

One thing that was missing in my opinion was a schedule. I often find this with unit studies; and while I understand that they are meant to be flexible and fit with whatever your particular family needs, I'd love it if they provided a sample or recommended breakdown for you. It's definitely not something you can just pick up and start on without preparation. And for a mommy of four little ones ages 3-9, it would be nice to have it ready to use with minimal planning.

I found The Curiosity Files to be a nice break for me and the kids. And you can't beat the price - they are only $6.95 and can be purchased on the TOS website found here.

I'm sure we'll be doing more of these exciting lessons in the future - you should try one, too!

**I was given this product free of charge for review purposes. The opinions stated are mine alone.

TOS Homeschool Crew

Okay, followers, I have exciting news: I've made it to the 2nd round of the TOS Homeschool Crew application process! YAY!!! TOS is a well-known homeschooling magazine and website that helps and supports homeschool families with all areas of their family and school lives. TOS Crew is a group of moms and dads that review products and give their testimonies on how their family used the product. I love reading these reviews because it gives a true view of the product I'm reading about. So enjoy my first product review! :D

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Christian Concerts - Not for the Faint of Heart (AKA - Connor's more like his dad than his mom!)

So Springfield has really moved up in the Christian music scene. I remember a few years ago that it was like pulling teeth to get quality Christian rock groups to visit our neck of the woods. Now here we are barely into April, and there have been at least 3 major concerts this year. Some of my favorite singers and groups have been here, and I've been wanting to go to all of them. Sadly, I am married to a wonderful man who just happens to hate crowds, loud music, crowds, flashing lights, crowds, and...oh, yes, crowds.

My friends are so sympathetic, too. They text me from the concerts. They post pics from the concerts and tag me in them. "Wish you were HERE - we are!" They talk about the concerts when we're all together: "Yeah, remember when Chris Tomlin sang this live? Oh, yeah, YOU didn't come!" Yes, people, these are my friends. I'm so blessed. ;)

So finally I get my chance. Winter Jam was in town last night. Newsong, Jason Castro, Red, Kutless, Francesca Batistelli, and Newboys - I know I'm missing a few. The kids have been really wanting to attend a concert because all our friends have taken their kids to some this year. They've been hearing about how great they were, and couldn't wait to go to their first concert. Kelly was willing to keep the two little ones, so I decided to take Connor and Chloe...finally, 2 somebody's to share this fun with! Well, that's what I hoped for, at least...

We got in line about 3:30. The concert started at 6, and the doors were scheduled to open at 5. The kids did good with waiting, there were plenty of things to distract them. We got great seats, and we headed to get snacks. WOWZA!! I knew I'd been couponing for a reason - this must have been it. Twenty dollars later, we had a pretzel, some popcorn, a big drink to share, and 2 kids that wanted light up sunglasses. Sorry, kids, this bank is closed!

We were ready to hear some great bands, and I was so excited to share this with them. Unfortunately, the great seats afforded us some extreme decibal levels, which the kids were not prepared for. Connor was stressing before the first band was through. I'll remember cotton balls next time...if there is a next time. Chloe was enjoying it, though. She was standing in her seat dancing and screaming...when she fell and hit her knee. She cried for the first set. Connor wanted to play Angry Birds on my phone. REALLY?!? This is what I'd been waiting for???

We did have a good time, and I am glad we went. Connor really enjoyed the fire effects, and Chloe loved the confetti cannons. We got to see Jason Castro from American Idol, one of Chloe's favorites from a couple seasons ago. We sang our hearts out for Jesus with some of our favorite songs. I just didn't prepare them for the noise level very well, and I should have warned Chloe that even groupies have to be safe and not stand on the folding chairs! It was a little overwhelming.

We got home and Kelly asked how it was. Connor's first words were some that I rarely hear, luckily: "Dad, you were right! It was so loud!" He just smiled at me and said, "I told you so!" More words that I hate to hear! But Chloe gushed enough for the both of them and said she couldn't wait to do it again. However, I think it will be a while before we share this experience again. :)