Posted in Resources, Reviews

Always Icecream: For girls only – Review

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Always Icecream is an online learning site for girls only, in grades K-8.   Girls earn $coops by participating in learning activities such as practising math, geography, language arts, science, typing and more. They can then use these $coops to have some fun playing games, decorating their very own homes in MiniWorld, and feeding their virtual pets on Pet World.  We received a free membership to Always Icecream in exchange for an honest review 🙂

My 7 year old daughter has been thoroughly enjoying Always Icecream.  It is the first thing she wants to do when we start our homeschool day.  Whenever my daughter is on Always Icecream, she always ensures she has an atlas beside her, so she can identify countries and states for geography…
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She has also started to learn to type using the “Ice Cone Machine”…
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And of course, besides the educational content, she enjoys a lot of “fun stuff” too.  My daughter loves the virtual pets that hatch out of eggs.  She spends quite a bit of time drawing pictures of her special pets as well…

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One of my daughter’s favourite elements of this site is the educational videos.  She has spent endless hours watching how-to videos on cake decorating, and we made two fancy cakes in our homeschool in one week as a result!  I convinced her to take a break for a little while LOL, we can’t do that every week.  And she spends a lot of time drawing along with how-to-draw videos as well.

Another of my daughter’s favourite parts of her Always Icecream experience is the social part.  She is absolutely tickled pink by all the friends she has in her “Neighbourhood”.  She is able to “friend” other girls and chat with them, visit their mini-homes, and shop in their stores for virtual items they have designed.  This setting is optional, as are a lot of things on Always Icecream, through your parent account.  You can turn on and off each category from “Christian Education” (i.e. Bible Quizzes) to “Math Drills”.  You the parent can also award $coops, whether just because, or as a reward for doing her chores if you like.  Once a week you will also get an email updating you on your daughter’s progress.  Or you can view it online anytime – it shows Your Daughter’s Recent Learning Progress, Moderated Communication (who your daughter has chatted with – all communication is moderated), Educational Videos Watched, and Artwork Created in the past 90 days.

My 7 year old daughter sums up Always Icecream in a word, “awesome”.  I know she’ll be using and enjoying this site for years to come!

Always Icecream has a number of payment options: $0.99 US for the first month, $4.99 US per month afterward or $9.98 for 2 months, $29.99 for one year, or a Lifetime membership for $99.99!  Discounts are also available for multiple children.  You can try it absolutely free right now by going to the Always Icecream website and clicking on “Try It Free”.

To see how other daughters of TOS Crewmates liked Always Icecream, click below:

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Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Information

Homeschooling in the Summer?

There are many homeschoolers who homeschool year round.  While we officially take a summer break, we find the learning continues over the summer anyway 🙂  Besides the camps, museums, books being read, and learning about France from our French students, there have been some great moments with my 7 year old daughter especially this summer.

A few weeks ago, we were at the store just to pick up some milk.  When we placed the milk bags on the counter, they made the counter all wet.  My daughter asked why, so I explained about condensation and the water in the air.  She had a big “aha” moment and started chattering on about the concept of condensation.  The clerk stared at us and exclaimed “But you’re on vacation”.  I laughingly replied that we’re homeschoolers and we’re always learning 🙂

We’ve also had some great “car-schooling” moments.  One day, while travelling Cape Breton’s beautiful Cabot Trail, my daughter insisted on being given words to spell – she loves to spell!  Another day in the car, she did some spontaneous addition.

I really love how much both my children love learning, even when we’re not “officially” learning.  So do you officially homeschool over the summer, or do you find your children spontaneously learning even if you’re not?

Love, Luck &

Laughter,

 

Posted in Homeschool Information, Parenting

Learning From Our Children, Every Day

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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As a parent, and as a homeschooler, you just can’t help but learn from your children, every day. It is amazing the kind of insight and perspective that children have, and the inspiration they can be to us as adults.

I love the magical perspective that our children have on the world and life in general. Just the other day, we went on a walk through our woods together as a family. My almost-7-year-old daughter has turned it into her own magical place, with the help and encouragement of big brother of course.  She pointed out “fairy houses,” a “dragon tree,” and “tentacles.” It was a beautiful walk, even if my feet got thoroughly soaked because of ridiculous amounts of rain we’ve had recently 🙂

Life for a child is so simple, and my daughter regularly reminds me that a hug can solve a variety of ills.  Both of my children are constant reminders to enjoy the simple things in life – all we need do is give them a pen and a piece of paper to keep them happy (my daughter to draw, my son to write).  My daughter is still at the age when everything is so exciting – like tonight when she exclaimed “Mom, Orion’s belt is huge tonight!” while walking from the car to the house and noticing the constellations.  Are we ever going to have fun studying Astronomy in our homeschool in the next few months.  There’s nothing like a child to remind you to stop and smell the roses.

Sometimes things our children do can inspire and motivate us to do something ourselves.  Both of our children have been active in theatre, both through their drama classes and in the drama community.  Well, it had been 15 years since I had been onstage, and my kids inspired me to get back into it.  In fact, my husband joined us, and he’s only ever had one line in a play!  We all appeared together in a dinner theatre production of  “A Christmas Carol” this past month, and we had a blast!  I couldn’t believe how well my husband in particular did – who was this man that I married? LOL.

Another thing that a child of ours has inspired – my husband is writing again.  He used to write novels while we were dating, and I loved reading them, but he got busy and bogged down and stopped writing.  Well, he’s still busy today, working two jobs, but he’s making time for writing.  My almost 12-year-old son has been writing for almost 4 years now and has participated in NANOWRIMO for a few years, and the last couple of years his dad joined him.  Slowly, this turned into writing being almost a daily habit, not only for my son, but also for his dad.  Now I’m enjoying reading his novels again 🙂

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • AffectionAlicia at I Found My Feet has finally become a hugger and kisser, now she has someone sweet and small to snuggle with. (@aliciafagan)
  • Learning from DanielAmy at Anktangle hopes that she and her husband will always be open to learning from their son. (@anktangle)
  • Kids Cultivate Awareness of Universal Truths � From forgiveness to joy, Amy Phoenix at Innate Wholeness has become aware of deep truths that come naturally to children. (@InnateWholeness)
  • What the Apple Teaches the TreeBecky at Future Legacy has learned about imagination, forgiveness, and strength.
  • A Lesson in Slowing TimeBethy at Bounce Me To the Moon revels in the chance to just be with her baby.
  • Learning From My Children: I Am So Honored � WAHM Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey is learning to choose tea parties over work. (@MyMotheringPath)
  • P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E � Now that she’s a mother, Danielle at born.in.japan is finally learning about a personality trait she lacked. (@borninjp)
  • Top 5 Homeschool Lessons My Children Taught MeDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares what she learned from homeschooling her (now grown) children. (@DebChitwood)
  • Learning to Live in the Present By Looking to the FutureDionna at Code Name: Mama finds the patience to be a gentle parent, because she knows how fleeting childhood really is. (@CodeNameMama)
  • The watchful Buddha boy � At Dreaming Aloud, they are learning to cherish their thoughtful, sensitive child in a action-driven, noisy world. (@DreamingAloudNt)
  • What My Children Taught MeDulce de Leche‘s children have taught her to value herself for the wonderful person and mother she is.
  • Lessons from the First Year � Having a child made Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama realize that her decisions affect more than just herself. (@CrunchyishMama)
  • Lessons from LossErica at ChildOrganics learned so much from the love � and loss � of her sweet Bella, five years ago. (@ChildOrganics)
  • The Socratic BabyErin at Multiple Musings has so-called “identical” twins to serve as a daily lesson in nature vs. nurture. (@ErinLittle)
  • Learning to be a MotherFarmer’s Daughter learned the type of patience that enabled her to calmly eat one-handed for months and change clothes seven times a day, before noon. (@FarmDaughter)
  • A Few Things Being a Mom Has Taught MeHeather at Musing Mommy shares the curious, hilarious, and sometimes Murphy’s Law-like tidbits we learn from our children. (@xakana)
  • I Feel You � Motherhood has taught Jamey from At the Bee Hive empathy, and it extends beyond just her child. (@JameyBly)
  • Lessons From My Child�Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares the inspiring ways she’s learned to expect the unexpected � and have a camera ready! (@imaftmummy)
  • My child is my mirrorJessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama has seen herself in her children � and it’s not bad. (@crunchychewy)
  • There is enough to go around�Kellie at Our Mindful Life learned that love doesn’t diminish when it’s shared.
  • Learning From Our Children, Every DayKimberly at Homeschooling in Nova Scotia, Canada is continually inspired by her children. (@UsborneBooksCB)
  • Life Lessons From My ChildrenKristen at Adventures in Mommyhood has learned that every slug is fascinating, doing the dishes is fun, and sharing a banana is a delight. (@crunchymamato2)
  • Things I’ve Learned From My ChildrenKristin at Intrepid Murmurings uses pictures to share what she has learned from her children. (@sunfrog)
  • Beyond the questions lies the answerLauren at Hobo Mama stopped wondering and started knowing � loving and liking our children comes naturally. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • Learning from ChildrenLily, aka Witch Mom, finds out just how enchanting balloons can be. (@LilyShahar)
  • Lifelong LearningLindsay at Living in Harmony has learned that what works for one kid might not work for another. (@AttachedMama)
  • Walking alongside my daughterLindsey at Mama Cum Laude is learning to give the clock less power over her family’s life.
  • Things my baby taught me about meLuschka at Diary of a First Child is proud of how she has grown as a mother. (@lvano)
  • From my children, I have learnedMama Mo at Attached at the Nip has a litany of beautiful lessons, from selflessness to sleeplessness.
  • The Little Things in Life � In a simple and lovely prose poem, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shows how adults worry about the wrong things and forget the little, important ones: watching ladybugs, jumping in leaves, cherishing each moment as it comes.
  • The Virtues of MotherhoodMelissa at The New Mommy Files has had opportunities to learn from children as both a teacher and a mother. (@NewMommyFiles)
  • My Kids Have Taught Me That It’s Time To Stop BloggingMelodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! has learned that childhoods fly by too fast to blog. We’ll miss your wonderful online presence, Melodie, and we wish you much peace and happiness. (@bfmom)
  • Having Kids Has Taught me a Thing or TwoMichelle at The Parent Vortex learns all day long � from fun facts about hedgehogs to tying a complicated wrap with a screaming child and an audience. (@TheParentVortex)
  • We Could All Learn from the ChildrenMomma Jorje takes time to get on the floor and play so that she can see the world through her child’s eyes.
  • Teaching ForgivenessMrs Green at Little Green Blog has a daughter who’s taught her unconditional love � even when she feels like she does’t deserve it. (@littlegreenblog)
  • Parenting as a joint ventureOlivia at Write About Birth appreciates watching the astonishing way her children learn. (@writeaboutbirth)
  • Beginner’s MindRachael at The Variegated Life learns from a child who builds bridges to nowhere, calls letter magnets his numbers, and insists dinnertime is truck time. (@RachaelNevins)
  • A baby’s presentRS at A Haircut and a Shave presents a short poem on the differences between a baby’s mindfulness and ours.
  • Self-Confidence Was Born With My DaughterSara at Halfway Crunchy learned to trust her instincts by responding to her child’s needs � and saw her self-confidence bloom.
  • The Importance of Being Less EarnestSeonaid at The Practical Dilettante has one list of earnest and one list of silly things she has learned as a parent. (@seonaid_lee)
  • Lessons my children have taught meSheryl at Little Snowflakes learned that attachment parenting was the best way to meet the needs of her child and herself. (@Sheryljesin)
  • Till the water is clearStacy at Mama-Om learns that being present is the best present. (@mama_om)
  • I Hold ItStefanie at Very, Very Fine has learned that the ability to communicate is much more important than the number of words a child knows.
  • What My Children Taught Me About Letting GoSummer at Finding Summer is learning from her kids to laugh in the face of heartache. (@summerminor)
  • Finding My ToolsThe Artsymama has applied some of what she’s learned as a mama in the classroom, with great results!