Greene Bark Press ~ Review

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Greene Bark Press has a cute little board book, Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again, which is recommended for ages 3-8. This book is available for $8.50.

Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again tells the story of Wally Waddlewater and his journey to mail a letter to his grandmother. He starts out on his journey, but his mother notices he has a little trouble crossing the street. His mother decides to help him get to the mailbox safely. When they come to a crosswalk, she helps him to remember to look left, look right, and look left again. In the end, he has learned the important lesson and is able to cross the street to his grandmother's house.

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When we received this book, my 2 year old was excited, because she loves board books. I sat down and read this to her along with my 7 year old daughter. The book was able to keep both of their attention with the colorful images. My 2 year old is too young to fully understand the concept of crossing the road, but my 7 year old was able to learn something new. She always looks left and then right, but never thought to look left again. My 7 year old has re-read this book several times to her little sister. And my 2 year old also enjoys "reading" the book to herself. I really enjoyed reading this book to them as it taught an important lesson. I thought the illustrations were colorful and it was not too wordy.

We live in the country so we don't cross the road very often (our mailbox is on the same side as our house). When we go to the store or visit someone, we are able to remember to look left, look right, and look left again.



Wordless Wednesday

Our nearby park has a fossil digging area. The kids love it.


Free (or almost free) North Carolina Field Trips

I have found a few places, mostly in Eastern NC (since that is where I live), that offer free or discounted admission to homeschool families and groups.

NC Zoo: You have to call ahead 15 days before hand. You and your children (K-12) are allowed free admission. Any additional adults and children have to pay regular admission. They even offer a discounted rate to out of state homeschoolers. Click on the link and scroll down to find out more.

NC Aquariums: You need to pre-register 24 hours in advance. Free admission for children and 2 adults. Homeschool Day at Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium is usually in September.

USS North Carolina: One adult is free, children are charged a discounted rate. You need to call or email in advance.

Marbles Kids Museum: Discounted rate for homeschool families. One adult is admitted free.

I am always on the lookout for places that offer a discount to homeschoolers. I will make another post when I find more places to visit.

Thanks to a post on North Carolina's Home Educator's Facebook page, I can add more places that offer a homeschool discount.

Great Wolf Lodge: Call or book online and enter promo code HOME.

Biltmore Estate: Homeschool days are in September.

Old Salem: Homeschool days are in September.

North Carolina Transportation Museum: Homeschool Day is at different times during the year. They update the link.

Rural Hill Farm: Homeschool Day is in October.

Latta Plantation (click on Educational Programs, then click on Homeschool): They have homeschool days throughout the year.

Here is a neat tool I found, put in what county you would like to visit and it lists what you can do in that county.

This is also a great site to look for field trips.

Field Trip Inspiration 2016


Reading Kingdom ~ Review

I was given the opportunity to review Reading Kingdom with my 7 year old daughter. Reading Kingdom is an online program that is designed to teach children, ages 4-10, how to read and write. The program was developed by Dr. Marion Blank. It uses a six skill integrated method, meaning it “teaches the reading and writing in an integrated fashion so it complements and reinforces each other.”

6 Skills

Here is a guide that explains a little more how the program works. This program is designed for early readers, struggling readers, and accelerated readers.  Once you register for the product, your child is given a skills survey (assessment). After completing the skills survey, they are then placed in the appropriate level. 

The child is able to use the mouse and an on screen keyboard or they can use the physical keyboard.  In the above picture, the child must use the mouse and click on the correct letters to form the word that is shown. In the level my daughter was placed in, the child is shown some letters on the screen and the child must either click on the correct letter with the on screen keyboard or use the physical keyboard and press the correct letter.

As you can see, the on screen keyboard looks exactly like the physical keyboard. It helps the child learn where the letters are  on the keyboard.

How we used the program:
My daughter, age 7, sat down for about 10-15 min a day and went through the program. She kept getting frustrated in the beginning because every time we logged on she was still doing the assessment.  It took her a few days to get through the assessment, but once she got through, she started to like it more. She was placed in the Letter Land level. She then did one session a day 4-5 days a week. Each session lasts for about 10-15 minutes.  During her sessions, I allowed her to use the on screen keyboard for a session and changed it to using the physical keyboard the next session. She preferred using the physical keyboard.

What we thought:
I liked this program for my daughter because she does lack in her spelling. It helped her to see the word and hear the word at the same time. I also liked that the parents were emailed a report of the child’s progress. I also liked how it showed how much the child has completed in each level and the total program. I thought this was a good program even though my daughter can read at a higher level than 3rd grade. I know it helped her with her spelling, but it did also help her with her reading. She is able to read faster now and doesn’t hesitate much when reading out loud.  We give this program 4 stars.


Reading Kingdom is available for a monthly fee of $19.99 ($199.99/year) for the first child. Each additional child is $9.99 a month ($99.99/year).  You are able to try out the program for 30 days for free.

Signup for the Reading Kingdom

Check out what other crew mates had to say about this program.


Great Products Giveaway

Great Products is having an awesome sale right now on several homeschool t-shirts. They have shirts ranging  from a size 2 (toddler) up to size 3X-Large in Adults. The best part is that these shirts are only $5.99! Note- 2X and 3X are $7.99, but that is still a great price. They are also offering several color shirts and several cool designs. Make sure to get your order in fast since these are first come, first served. Also, the sale ends on September 15.


Be sure to check them out at Great Products, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

I'm able to give away one homeschool t-shirt (any size, color) to one of my readers. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Another Preschool Coloring Freebie

Click here (or the picture above for the new preschool coloring freebie ~ purple, orange, brown, and black. Enjoy.

Click here for red, blue, yellow, and green if you missed out on it from earlier.

This post is part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew Free Printables Roundup:

Free Printables Round-Up


Legacy Documentaries ~ Review

When I was a child, I loved to watch The Little House on the Prairie series. My mom bought me the books one year for Christmas and I read all of the books and re-read them again and again. I loved Little House so much that I introduced the books to my children. My younger son actually became more interested in them than my other children. I was thrilled when we were picked to review Almanzo Wilder: Life before Laura from Legacy Documentaries

This DVD tells about Almanzo Wilder’s life before he met Laura, as described in the book Farmer Boy. It takes place on the farm he grew up on in New York. This DVD is a 50 minute documentary that describes Almanzo’s life in the 1800’s. Dean Butler, who played Almanzo on the Television series, is also the narrator of the film. This documentary is filmed onsite at the homestead Almanzo grew up on. It also has colorful images used from the book.

Since my younger son had already read the book, Farmer Boy, I went ahead and let my children watch this DVD. We picked a day and all sat down and watched it together. My other children, 11 and 7, have not yet read Farmer Boy, but they really enjoyed this DVD. Some of my children’s favorite parts were learning about the weekly bath. My daughter also loved learning about the horses that the family raised. My 10 year son who had already read the book said he enjoyed actually seeing the places where Almanzo lived and played. His favorite part was when Almanzo was old enough to finally have his own horse. 

This is a great DVD to use during a history lesson of the 1800’s. If I had received this during the school year, I would have tied it into our history lessons for the day or week. In fact, my younger son did learn about American history last school year, so it went well with something he had just learned and read.

Here is the trailer for the DVD:

We really enjoyed watching this documentary together and learning more about Almanzo Wilder. I have re-watched the DVD already and I’m sure we will all watch it again sometime during the school year. We give this DVD 5 stars!

Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura is great for everyone of all ages and is $21.95. 

Be sure to check out what other crew members had to say about this DVD and also The Legacy of Laura Wilder DVD.



Wordless Wednesday

My boys found this tadpole outside. They think it is albino. We set it up in an aquarium we had and will watch it grow the rest of the way.


First Day of School

Yesterday was our first day of school!

My oldest is in 6th grade:

My youngest son is in 5th grade:

My oldest daughter is in 3rd grade:

My youngest is 2 1/2 years old:


BrainFood Learning ~ Review

BrainFood Learning was started by parents who were looking for stimulating and interesting content that also educates. We were given the opportunity to review The Fascinating World of Mammals. My children love anything science, but especially are interested in mammals more than anything else.

They were so excited when we received the DVD. They wanted to watch it right away. When we first turned on the DVD, we were given the option on the menu of the DVD to play all the content, go to a specific mammal, or review the content. 

Since it was summer break, we just went ahead and picked a day to watch this DVD. Normally, I would try to tie it in with our science curriculum. Our first time watching the DVD, we chose to play all. My 2 year old was so excited while she was watching. When the bear segment came up, she growled like a bear. The animal segments were fairly short and were able to keep the attention of my 2 year old. My older kids (7, 10, and 11) also loved watching the DVD and learning some things about the animals they did not know.

The mammals that were covered on this DVD are as follows:
  • Giraffe
  • Moose
  • Lion
  • Dolphin
  • Elephant
  • Beaver
  • Chimpanzee
  • Bat
  • Kangaroo
  • Bear

In between each animal segment, a word and its meaning are introduced.  Words like ruminant, habitat, and migration. My sons, ages 10 and 11, said they knew what some of the words meant, but there were some they didn't know and were glad to have learned them.

When we finished watching the animal segments, we did a quick review. Some of the review are questions that the child has to answer. I would pause the DVD and allow my children to pick the answer. Then when I un-paused it, they could see if their answer was right.

The review section has the following:
  • Mammal Flash Cards
  • Review the Mammals
  • Features of a Mammal
  • Review Mammal Facts
  • Review the Big Words
You can also find lesson plans for each DVD on the website.

Overall, my kids really loved this DVD, even my 2 year old. They have re-watched parts of this DVD and have done the review at the end again also. We all learned some new facts from this DVD.

The Fascinating World of Mammals from BrainFood Learning is geared for all ages and is available for $14.99.

Here is a sneak peek:

Don’t forget to check out what my fellow crew mates had to say about Mammals, Birds, and Insects.



Vacation 2013

Back in December of 2012, my nephew asked his then girlfriend to marry him. Of course she said yes! The plan was for them to get married in Oklahoma in July 2013. They also asked us if our 2 year old could be one of the flower girls.

We began our trip on Tuesday, July 16. It was an 18+ hour trip from North Carolina. We were also traveling with my brother and sister in law and their children.

Finally made it to the Mississippi River:

After traveling all night Tuesday and all day Wednesday, we finally saw this sign about 5 PM:

Since we arrived Wednesday night, we were able to take Thursday as a sight seeing day. We headed to Tulsa and visited Oral Roberts University. We also drove a little ways on Route 66.

On Friday, we helped my brother and sister in law get ready for the rehearsal dinner.
Here is my 2 yr old at rehearsal:

Saturday, July 20th, was the big day! We arrived at the church and everyone was getting ready and taking pictures.

The bride curling my daughter's hair:

Flower girls walking down the aisle:

My daughter being silly at the hotel later that evening:

We went to church the next morning and left Oklahoma at about 6 PM. We knew we had a long trip ahead of us. We traveled all night on Sunday and all day on Monday. Monday, July 22, was also my youngest son's 10th birthday.

It was so great to finally be back in North Carolina!

Since we were traveling the day of my son's 10th birthday, we had candles and cake when we returned from our trip:



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