Posted in Reviews

An Affordable Online Tutor – Review

Whether you homeschool or your kids are in public or private school, you’ve probably found yourself wishing you could afford a private tutor at one point or another. You can’t be an expert in everything, but the cost per hour most tutors charge … yikes! And if you’re a homeschooler, tutors may be busy during the day (in their day job) when you need them most. I’m happy to share that there’s a solution – an affordable online tutor for middle school through college, available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, GradeSlam!

affordable online tutor

My two kids have been using GradeSlam when they needed homeschool help for the last few weeks. It’s so easy to access a tutor! Your child can simply login and click on the subject they need help with:

affordable online tutor

 

Once you’ve chosen a subject, a tutor will pop right up and ask how they can help:

affordable online tutor

 

Then your child and the tutor can type back and forth about what they’re working on, whether it’s a paper, a concept, or a specific question. (I recommend registering under your child’s name instead of your name though, as the tutors kept calling my kids Kimberly *grin*).

affordable online tutor

 

I found GradeSlam especially useful because I work from home full time and don’t have the time to painstakingly go over concepts when it isn’t my strength – science and math for instance. GradeSlam can be so valuable for giving your students help in your weak subjects, or when you just don’t have large chunks of time to devote to their weak subject.

My only criticism of GradeSlam is that for math they could benefit by a whiteboard. Hopefully they will provide one in future so they don’t have to express exponents in potentially confusing ways.

If you have a child in middle school, high school, or college, you need to give this affordable online tutor a try. It would make a fantastic gift for your child starting college or university this fall! They provide tutoring in all subjects, even many foreign languages. Educents has two amazing GradeSlam specials to choose from!

3 Months of Unlimited 24/7 Online Tutoring (all subjects) for only $20 US. That’s less than half price!

One Full Year of Unlimited 24/7 Online Tutoring (all subjects) for only $99 US. Save $81!

Educents offers a number of different tutor options for you to explore. Check out Expert Online Tutor for college tutoring or Tutor Doctor for one-on-one tutoring for children and adults. If it’s times tables your child is struggling with, we LOVE Times Tales for learning them in a fun, easy way in our homeschool.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Please note: This review contains affiliate links. If you click through and buy I make a few pennies to keep up Homeschooling in Nova Scotia. Thank you for your support! This review was sponsored by Educents in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Posted in Resources

Volcano Experiment for Kids

Volcanoes are fascinating. They’re a reminder of the awesome power of nature. There’s nothing like watching a new land mass form from a volcano. Have fun in your homeschool sharing fun facts about volcanoes and this volcano experiment for kids!

Volcano Experiment for Kids

Volcano Facts for Kids

Before you jump into the volcano science experiment, share these interesting facts about volcanos with your little learners:

    • There are about 1,900 active volcanoes on the earth. This means they have erupted recently or they might erupt. Some volcanoes are extinct. Over 80 volcanoes have been found in the ocean.
    • Most volcanoes happen on fault lines, or cracks in the Earth’s surface.
    • Most of the earth’s volcanoes are in the Pacific Ocean, in an area called the Ring of Fire.
    • The word “volcano” comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
    • Lava from volcanoes can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Volcanoes spew out ash and toxic gases, as well as lava and lava boulders.
Volcano experiment
Infographic from Visually

Volcano Science Experiment for Kids

Teach your kids how to use household chemicals to recreate a volcanic eruption!

Using the Volcano Kit from the video, little scientists are asked to mix chemicals to make the volcano erupt! This is an experiment that Young Scientists will want to repeat again and again!

Want to get a discount on science experiments for kids? Save 50% on the Magic School Bus Science Kits on Educents!

Magic School Bus Science Kits

Get an exciting new Magic School Bus Science Kit delivered to your doorstep every month for a YEAR! These science experiments for kids include hands-on experiments with magnets, water, bacteria, fungus, lights, rainbows, and more! Wow! My kids loved The Magic School Bus when they were little and this would have been a big hit!
Educents has the award-winning Science Kit subscription for 50% off (Get free shipping within the U.S. and international shipping, including Canada, available too)! Check it out!

volcano experiment

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Homeschool Information, Things to Do, Places to Go

Nail Art Fun for Your Homeschooler

My 9 year old daughter is very artsy and she’s always drawing or cake decorating, or looking for something else artistic to do. She saw a great video on Always Ice-Cream that she wanted to try. It showed how to make swirly, marbled patterns on your nails. It can be fun to do non-traditional art activities in our homeschool, so we watched it together, got out what we needed, and gave it a try.

Materials:

Toothpicks
Cotton swabs
Nail polish remover
Small bowl with warm water
Scotch tape
Dark nail polish (black was recommended, we used dark purple)
Light nail polish (white was recommended, we used bright pink)

1) Use the scotch tape to cover the skin around your nails. You will not be able to cover it all, so don’t worry about it. And make sure you leave an overlap or tab so that you can easily pull off the tape afterward – make sure it isn’t so tight that you will end up smearing your nail polish while removing it. (After we did this, I read that petroleum jelly all around your nails works even better).

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2) Take your dark nail polish and let a drop drip into the bowl of warm water.

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3) Let the dark nail polish spread a bit (jiggle the bowl a bit if you need to), and then drip some light coloured nail polish on top of the dark.

Light on top of dark

4) Let each layer spread a bit, and then add more dark, then more light. Layer the nail polish quickly, so you don’t end up with a solid mess. Then swirl into a design you like with a toothpick.

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5) Lower your nail into the nail polish, nail down, and leave it there for 5 seconds. While your finger is still in the bowl, take a cotton swab and swirl all the excess nail polish around it onto the swab.

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6) Remove your finger from the bowl and gently peel off the scotch tape.

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7) Dip a cotton swab in the nail polish remover and swab around your finger nail to get rid of excess polish.

Remove excess polish

8) Repeat until all your nails are done!

Marbled nails

Just a note, that this can get very messy, so it’s great to have Mom’s help. Excess nail polish does come off eventually 🙂

If you like, once you’re done, explore the science of why the nail polish is suspended in the water (density, just like oil and water), and maybe even experiment with making your own nail polish colours.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

 

Posted in Resources, Reviews

What Makes A Fish A Fish DVD – Review

PhotobucketAnnie Crawley (known to the children as “Ocean Annie”) is an underwater photographer, cinematographer, dive instructor and boat captain.  She is on a mission to show children and parents all the wonders of the sea and how we should protect them, through her company Dive Into Your Imagination.

What Makes A Fish, A Fish is the first in a series of Dive Into Your Imagination DVD’s which includes titles such as Who Lives in the Sea? and Dive Into Diversity. Beautiful visuals of all kinds of fish from around the world are shown in this video.  The DVD is recommended for Pre-K and up, and I would say it’s geared mostly toward ages 3-5.  My 8 year old found it really young for her – the adults speak slowly and repetitively as if to very young children.  We can however watch the DVD without the sound and just enjoy the great visuals. PhotobucketAnd in addition to English, you can watch the DVD in Spanish – perhaps a good exercise for those learning Spanish in their homeschool.

The chapters in this DVD include:

  • What Makes A Fish, A Fish
  • Sea Anemones and Their Friends (A little pet peeve – on the onscreen DVD menu, they misspelled anemone).
  • Hide and Seek on the Reef
  • Frogfish are Funny Looking Fish
  • Bathtime for Fishes
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Sharks
  • Dinner Time for Fish
  • Fishes, Fishes, More and More Fishes

And in a special section at the end, Annie also talks about how she does her job and what each piece of equipment is for.  Then the musician who wrote and performed the score chats about how he watches the footage and comes up with music to complement it.

There are two educator guides available for this DVD, one for Preschoolers and one for Grades 1-3.  While designed for the classroom, they are easily adapted for homeschool use.  Each full-colour guide is hundreds of pages long.  They cover everything: science, literacy, math, geography, and character education.  Ocean Annie is a little cartoon character in these guides.  There are many black & white printables included such as puzzles, games, and notebooking and colouring pages.

Each DVD in this series costs $19.95 US.  Go to the store at http://www.anniecrawley.com/store to receive free shipping for the months of May and June.  The guides are available in print as a set for $299 or as individual PDFs for $69.95.
When you buy a DVD, in “note to seller” make a note that you’re a Homeschool Parent to receive a FREE set of guides to go along with your DVD 🙂

To see what other TOS Crew Members thought of Dive Into The Imagination, click HERE.

I was given this DVD & guides in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Resources, Reviews

The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book – Review

PhotobucketI have been a big fan of Teresa Bondora and How To Teach Science for years, first as she sent out her e-newsletter, and then as she launched her website and e-books.  She is fantastic at demystifying Science and even making it FUN!  I was delighted that she published The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book, and recently we received it in exchange for an honest review.

The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book doesn’t disappoint.  We love using this book in our homeschool!  I sit down with my 8 year old and my 13 year old and we go over the facts of one of the elements (which includes its history).  I usually quiz them a little bit on the element we discussed in our previous lesson as well.  My 8 year old then gets the pleasure of colouring in the pictures (depicting things made of or producing the element) on the opposite page.  We will periodically refer to the table of elements, included at the beginning of the book, to see the “big picture”, and we fill in the blank table of elements as we learn each one. Photobucket

This 157 page book (much like the Gray’s Anatomy Coloring Book), is suitable for any age.  Teresa includes just the 71 simple elements of the table in the book (omitting the man-made and complex elements), as it is designed primarily for use for elementary through middle school, but you could certainly use it with high schoolers and add on the study of the more complex elements.  There is an overview included on how to use the book with different age groups as well.

You can download a great sample of The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book to see what it’s like, for just 99 cents. The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book costs $25.56 CDN and is available at Amazon.ca (and Amazon.com).  I highly recommend picking up other resources for teaching chemistry as well for just $5.99 US, which includes activity ideas for each element and how to make your own Periodic Table for your wall.  You can also read Teresa Bondora’s article all about this in the current issue of Homeschool Horizons Magazine.  For all sorts of fantastic Science freebies and other resources, be sure to go to the How To Teach Science website.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Resources, Reviews

Bright Ideas Press Physics – Review

PhotobucketBright Ideas Press is the wonderful company that offers WonderMaps, which I reviewed last year. I received the download version of Christian Kids Explore Physics, part of the Christian Kids Explore Science series, with titles on Chemistry, Biology, and Earth & Space as well.

PhotobucketChristian Kids Explore Physics is designed for Grades 4-8.  I used it with my two children, age 8 and 13.  This is the second edition of the curriculum and includes 30 lessons.  It was easily downloaded.  This brand-new edition includes Daily Lesson Plans (each lesson spread out over 2 days), Materials Lists, Bonus Literature Study Guide, and Reproducibles/Printables such as:

  • Colouring Pages
  • Unit Reviews
  • Follow-Up Questions for each lesson
  • Activity Charts

Since I am not a fan of worksheets, especially not fill-in-the-blank worksheets, I didn’t like the “Review” portions of the curriculum.  We stuck to discussion instead.  And my daughter enjoys word searches.

Experiments are included, and materials needed are listed at the beginning of each unit, to prevent that last-minute scramble for things needed.  So far, most of the materials needed were already available in our home or yard, but some are easily purchased at your local craft store or grocery store.

I love that lesson three covers famous physicists.  I always incorporate historical figures in our science studies.  And the Bonus literature study guide is on scientist Ben Franklin, using the book (sold separately), “Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia”.  It is designed as a 2-week study, with daily lesson plans set out for you, including vocabulary, discussion, and activities.

From the title, you can gather that this curriculum has a Christian perspective 🙂  But never fear, it’s based on solid science and nothing has been “dumbed-down”!

To see what the curriculum is like for yourself, you can view sample pages, including the Table of Contents here. Christian Kids Explore Physics is $39.95 US.  The companion Resource Download, containing all the reproducibles for you to print off is on sale now for $9.95 US (regular $12.95).

To see what other TOS Crew families thought of the Christian Kids Explore Physics series, click HERE.

Disclaimer:  This product was received in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Events

How to Teach Science Teleconference Thurs Feb 23rd!

Thursday, February 23, 2012,
8-9pm Atlantic (7-8 p.m. Eastern)

How To Teach Science
With Special Guest…Teresa Bondora
Former High School Science Teacher, Author, Homeschool Mom, and the founder of HowToTeachScience.com.


 

This teleconference is for parents of homeschoolers and unschoolers of all ages (preschool through high school). Teresa will explain what you can do to remove the fear and anxiety about teaching science to help your children gain proficiency.

Teresa is awesome! I’ve been getting her free newsletters for years, and now she has a fantastic book too (look for a review coming soon)!

To learn more, to register for a special price of $6.97, and to ask questions of Teresa in advance go to Homefires Homeschool Teleconference.  This teleconference does require calling in with your phone, but to avoid long distance charges you can use your Gmail account to call free OR just wait for the mp3 file you will receive in 48 hours of the broadcast, to listen anytime and as many times as you like!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Resources, Reviews

A February Guide to the Night Sky for $3! – Review

PhotobucketClassical Astronomy (or Fourth Day Press) was started by The Ryans, a homeschooling family in Cleveland, Ohio.  They believed astronomy texts were limited in their illustrations and didn’t actually help students find their way around the night sky.  They also wanted to go back to the traditional, classical way of understanding the night sky, as it has been viewed, via simply the naked eye and telescopes, since ancient times.  I myself have been subscribed to their Classical Astronomy Update newsletter for a number of years, which has helped us keep up with happenings such as eclipses and meteor showers as they occur, and make them part of our homeschool.  Fourth Day Press just started a new Celestial Almanack series last month, and I received a download of Volume 1, Number 2 in exchange for an honest review 🙂
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The Celestial Almanack Vol. 2, is a 21 page guide to the February night sky.  It is absolutely chock full of information.  My children and I all learned so much!  We have been reading the Almanack during the day, for the last week, and then star gazing at night, on beautiful, crisp, clear nights.  We’ve always loved the stars, and now my children are able to point out new constellations.

But it doesn’t just cover constellations.  Do you know what an analemma is?  It’s the figure-8 pattern that the sun makes in the sky (from our point of view), over the course of a year!  You may also find this shape marked on your globe at home.  And did you know that Venus and Jupiter are drawing toward conjunction this month?  They are those “extremely bright stars” visible in the sky, and you can watch them draw closer this month, right up into March.

Every single page is full of beautiful illustrations and photos, which really help students (and parents!) understand what’s going on in the night sky.  Everything is also explained in thorough detail, but also in simple enough language that everyone can understand.  My children, aged 8 and 12, both thoroughly enjoyed learning about astronomy with this e-book.  This is a really great way to split up a curriculum, into small chunks that focus on the immediate, what’s happening now, of the night sky.

You can download The Celestial Almanack Vol. 2 for just $3.00 US at Currclick!  It’s well worth the $3.00!  Free sample pages are available so you can see what it’s like for yourself, before you buy.  To see what other products are available, including the complete “Signs and Seasons” astronomy curriculum, go to the Classical Astronomy Website.  You can visit Classical Astronomy on Facebook and Twitter.  And don’t forget to sign up for their free newsletter!

To see what other families in the TOS Crew thought of the Celestial Almanack, click HERE.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

 

Posted in Homeschool Events, Things to Do, Places to Go

World Education Games 2012 – Math, Science, Spelling – Register now!

Once again, World Math Day is approaching…on March 7th!  Along with World Spelling Day on March 6 and the new World Science Day on March 8th, they make up Mathletics’ World Education Games!  We participate every year and my children have so much fun!   And not only do they drill their math and spelling skills (and now Science too) in an extremely fun way, but they also learn about Geography and flags of the world just by competing with other students around the world.  There’s even a world map download on the site 🙂

Each of the World Education Games is free and a lot of FUN!  Register now and you can practice for a whole month on the site.  Be a part of this great education event, whether you’re a teacher, parent, homeschooler, or student.
  • Students take part in real-time math, spelling, and science challenges using the using the Mathletics game engine.
  • Student play live with other students around the globe.
  • Your students will love it! Be part of setting a Guinness World Record!
  • It will create an amazing buzz around Math, Spelling, and Science.
  • Designed for all ages and ability levels.
  • Simple to register and participate. All you need is internet access.
  • Great prizes
  • And it’s absolutely FREE!!

HURRY, registration opened today and you get a whole month now to practice!  One registration gets you access to all three of the World Education Games.

Enjoy!  You might see us taking part – look for “Hidden Hill Homeschool” 🙂  Adults can play too!
Love, Luck &
Laughter,
Posted in Resources, Reviews

AIMS Gr. 3-6 Science – Review

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AIMS Education Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to hands-on Math and Science.  I received their Electrical Connections e-book in exchange for an honest review 🙂

PhotobucketElectrical Connections is a unit study designed to be used by children in Gr 3-6.  My 7 year old daughter was thrilled to be doing some Science experiments (there are 24 in the e-book), and I was delighted that we could just use things already around the house for them.

The 176 pages are divided into four sections—Static Electricity, Circuits, Electromagnetism, and the History of Electricity.  In addition to experiments, there are also delightful little  “rubber-band books” — books held together with a rubber band along the spine.

Students learn about static charges, learn about electric currents while building circuits, dimmer switches & circuit breakers, learn about electromagnetism while building a galvanometer and electric motor model,  and learn about Scientists and history while making an electricity time line.

You can download a free 6-page sample of the Electrical Connections e-book HERE, and more samples of their other e-books HERE.  Electrical Connections is available both as a downloadable e-book and as a book plus CD, each for the same price, $24.95 US.  For the full list of books and resources AIMS offers, and to purchase, visit their store.

To see what TOS Crew’ers thought about this and other AIMS books/e-books, click below:

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Love, Luck &
Laughter,