Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shatto Milk Company-Part 2

More of the Shatto Milk Company.  Like I said, we got to sample many wonderful flavors of their milk.  The kids liked a flavor called Orange Dream, it tasted exactly like froot loops, exactly!  Pretty cool!
Mom is lactose intolerant, but decided she was going to taste everything anyway.  Bet she regretted that!  Here she is, sampling the bouquet of the milk, she declared it a good "hour".  Ha Ha!
They showed us how they milk the cows and then let each of the kids 'get milked'.  They put one of the suction cups on their thumb for demonstration. They offered it to me, but having breast fed 4 kids; I felt strongly that I've been milked enough.
Next, we got to meet Fuzzy the cow; who very patiently let everyone try their hand at milking.  Sissy wasn't sure about it, but finally she gave it a try.  Great Job, Sis!
Finally, we all bought some milk for the drive home.  Here everyone is enjoying their milk and lounging for the 1 1/2 hour drive.

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Shatto Milk Company-Part 1

We had an excellent opportunity to visit a local dairy farm.  Grandma was able to join us on this really fun day.  Shatto Milk Company is a family owned dairy farm, that provides milk, cheese, butter and ice cream to local grocery stores and whole food stores.
Their popularity has grown so much they are in the process of building a new Country Store and viewing area.  This milk truck was parked in the new area, it was really cool and had a fun cow mooing horn.  This was the area where we got to sample a lot of their flavored milks.  We sampled Chocolate (my fave), Root Beer, Banana, Orange Dream (Hunter and Dakota's fave) and Strawberry (Ry and Sissy's fave).  It was so good and I don't even particularly like milk.

This is Leroy Shatto, he and his wife own and operate the dairy.  It was so cool to see another family business.  Our political climate is so against small business and family owned business that it's really hard to succeed these days.  As a family, we have decided that wherever we can, we cultivate the small businesses in our area.
This is Pat, the Root Beer cow.  She seems to be the farms mascot, I think they said she was 16-17 years old.  No, she isn't getting milked anymore, they just bring her up to let the kids pet her.  She was humongous, I can't remember what kind they said she was, but it was a really big variety.

More to come.............

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Schleich figurines-TOS Homeschool Crew Review

 As a member of the Old Schoolhouse homeschool review crew,  we sometimes get to review products that are not necessarily for homeschoolers.  When I found out we were on the list for Schleich figurines, I was really excited.  These are not just your regular farm animals, each of these figurines are crafted to be the most accurate and detailed figurines that you'll probably ever have.  Everything about these figurines is accurate from the silver shoes on the horse we received to the line on the donkey's back and front legs.  My children were so excited to see the donkey at our local zoo actually had this line on it's back.  My 13 year old is a Zoologist in the making and was absolutely in love with the detail and accuracy that was shown on each animal that we received.

 If you click on the logo above, it will take you to the Schleich website where you will enter a whole new world.  From Farm animals to zoo animals, Knights to Princesses, Imaginary worlds to Imaginary beings; you will find a Schleich figurine to help nurture an imagination and broaden a horizon.  The product line is not limited to just the figures either, they also have fences, pens, trees, vehicles and buildings to help round out any playroom.   These aren't available at the online Schleich site, you'll actually find these at many local stores, Target, Hobby Lobby, and many others that you can find on their retail store finder.  I also found them available on many online toy stores.

What I love about it the line is that you can spend as little or as much as you want.  Figures range from a few dollars to as much as $150,  the larger the piece of course the higher the price.  But you could literally build an entire Medieval village or an African Veldt depending on how much you want to invest.  It really is an investment in a great product though, these toys seem pretty indestructible.  I had four kids ranging in ages from 5-15 playing with these and they have not a scratch on them, they are a great, durable product that will last a child a lifetime.

Head on over here to see what other families thought about these great toys.

{Disclaimer: I received this product free as part of TOS Homeschool Crew to review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.}

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday!-Random Thoughts

I linked up with Our Homeschool Reviews for Wordless Wednesday!

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up! or should I say......

Monthly wrap-up or even bi-monthly wrap-up.  I am so sorry, it was never my intention to be away for so long.  We have had an extraordinarily busy few weeks.  We moved our family to the edge of nowhere, okay not really, but sometimes it seems like a whole new world.

We had previously lived in what my family refers to as ghetto-lite.   I bought the house 15 years ago from my grandfather, with the hopes that I could raise my children there for the long-term.  It was not even really on my radar to homeschool, all that changed after my kids started school.  My sweet boy would come home crying because his name was made fun of or he was teased because he was white, this child had no preconceived notions of color.  He just wanted people to be his friend and his best friend in Kindergarten told him that he couldn't be his friend anymore because Hunter was white.  The final straw came when Hunter was spat upon on the bus, Hunter retaliated by punching the kid and was suspended from the bus.  The other child was not punished in any way.  That was it, I drove the kids for the rest of the year and they finished out the year.  The next fall we started this homeschool adventure, that was 6 years ago and I've never been happier.

All of this to say that we have moved to an area with a great school district and I'm still not going to put my kids in public school.  You see, that while I began homeschooling for one set of reasons; I will continue for a whole different set of reasons.  I'm not prepared to give my kids back into a system, any system, that teaches to the median or in some cases the lowest common denominator.  That is what the US Federal Government will do to our schools, they will continually dumb them down and weaken our children's future.  I want to empower my children to learn on their own, utilizing their own resources and not have knowledge spoon fed to them.  I want to teach my children about God and our Savior Jesus Christ, without having the ACLU poking their nose into whether or not my children pray before, after or during their day.  I am saying all of this, because I've been asked (read encouraged) to put my kids back in school.  I say emphatically, "NO!" I won't do it and you can't make me.  Real mature, huh????  Oh well, I've never been particularly mature.
We also celebrated 2 birthdays during the month of August, Ry turned 7 and Sissy turned 5.  My mom made some great cakes for the kids and we had a wonderful meal.  They didn't get a whole bunch of presents, but they truly enjoyed time spent poolside with their family.  Early in August all 4 kids decided to dye their hair.  I didn't get a tone of great pics, but in the slide show you can see the results of at least 3 of the kids.  Tanyn decided on hot pink streaks in her bangs and sides of her hair.  Rylan wanted all over blue, this one was a bit of a disappointment; it washed out almost immediately.  Hunter and Dakota decided to bleach their hair, thankfully their hair grows really fast and I was able to shave it off this week.  The only one I truly liked was Sissy's, the hot pink was just really fun and sassy looking.

Now on to the monthly wrap-up.  We started school 3 weeks ago and everything has been going great, no we are not doing everything I intend for us; but we are definitely getting there.

Hunter and Dakota are doing Heart of Dakota Resurrection to Reformation.  We are absolutely loving it, the teachers manual makes it so easy for the kids to work independently and check in with me when they need to do oral narrations or have any questions.  They have art projects every week that help cement their history learning in their mind.  In the slide show are pictures of their stain glass artwork.  In science they are working on Apologia Biology and Geometry in math. Not truly excelling but plugging away.  I wish they were more excited, but I'll settle these first few weeks.

Tanyn and Rylan are still working on Little Hearts for His Glory from HOD.  We love this curriculum.  They are working on place value, the tens place and the ones place. We found an easel at a garage sale and the kids have been using it on our back porch a lot.  We are reading "Grandfather Frog" and Ry and Sissy love it.  We are working right now on memorizing the Lords' Prayer, difficult;  but definitely worthwhile.  In Bible,  we are working on learning about the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We are learning about the events leading up to the crucifixion, burial and Resurrection.  Finally, Ry is continuing to work on phonics with ClicknKids.  He's not in love with it but I haven't found one he is in love with, so he'll just have to keep plugging away.  Rylan is doing great, Tan is struggling a bit.  We'll probably end up going back to the beginning and starting over with Little Hearts for Tan when we start Beyond Little Hearts for Ry.  Technically she is still a preschooler, so we mostly focus on what she wants to do versus trying to shove her into an uncomfortable mold.

Well that's it head on over to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others spent their month week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

TOS Review: Vocabulary Cartoons, SAT Word Power

As any homeschool mom would tell you, a good vocabulary is important to prove that maybe you are doing something right!  When someone talks to your child you want them to know that they are not only well read, but they know how to use the knowledge they've been given.

Yeah, right!!  I'm just glad my children aren't throwing around the word ain't and calling each other ugly names, teaching them an impressive vocabulary isn't high on the list.  Thank you  New Monics, for picking up where I have obviously failed miserably.  I received this book for the purpose of review, little did they know that I have a 10th grader and 8th grader whose life can be changed by such an incredible book.  

Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power; utilizes mnemonics to imprint words on the memory of the student.  I personally have great memories of mnemonics.  "Pretty Brooks has Lead feet," was the first mnemonic I can remember learning.  If you haven't figured it out, it is the way my 6th grade science teacher taught me the chemical symbol for Lead (Pb).  My last name was Brooks and I can tell you that in the 20 something years since then I have never forgotten it.(OK, I might be fudging that 20 something.)  Well, that is how this book works; it combines cartoons with sentences that will cement the word in your mind.

I love how it links the word, not only with a fun sentence but a truly memorable cartoon.  They are funny, appropriate and truly clarify the meaning of the words.

Now let's talk dollars and cents.  The book is listed at $12.95 and to our family that would be money well spent, it is worth every penny.  It is a totally reusable resource, it contains 290 SAT words to learn and 29 review quizzes, to help test for retention.  If you visit New Monic Books site, you'll find not only books to help prepare your student for SAT tests, but books for your elementary students as well.  What caught my eye was a novel that they offer,  Coffin's Patch. It's an adventure novel that utilizes over 430 highlighted SAT words, with definitions on the bottom of the page.  I'm a firm believer that words you read in context stick with you, that is why I'm a firm believer that Vocabulary cartoons will work for my family and probably for yours as well.  Head over here to see what other homeschool moms have to say about Vocabulary Cartoons.

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{Disclaimer: I received this product free as part of TOS Homeschool Crew to review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.}

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Math Tutor DVD's Review-TOS Homeschool review crew

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a pair of Math Tutor videos.  When we started our homeschool adventure 5 years ago, math was never something I worried about teaching.  I personally always really excelled at math and genuinely enjoyed it.  The problems arose when we reached Pre-Algebra and above, turns out most of what I knew, I've forgotten and the rest I did so intuitively that I don't know how to share the knowledge with my children.  Enter Math Tutor, stage left.   

Before we received these the boys had already begun Geometry, so Pre-Algebra was more of a review of concepts for them.  The older two boys (13 and 15) watched the DVD's and while they thought the delivery was a little dry, they both agreed that it was very informative and helpful.  The DVD's (2) contain 9 lessons, spanning a wide range of topics from Real numbers to Order of operations and everything in between.  The lessons are clear, precise and easy to understand.

I personally watched the TI-83/TI-84 DVD's.  I remember sitting in Calculus and looking at the calculator that the boy next to me had.  Boy was I envious, I always wanted one of those fancy dancy calculators; but I knew that I would never be able to figure it out.  While I had a math mind, I was technologically challenged.  The idea that I could have my own tutor without paying the tutor prices, sold me on these videos.  He explains the calculator in detail within the 37 sections that are on the DVD's (3).  The way that the screen is displayed for the lessons is also very helpful, it is actually a split screen picture of the calculator that he navigates with a cursor.  It is easy to understand and very informative.

Now let's talk dollars and cents.  Both Math Tutor tutorials contain multiple discs and are entirely reusable, making the $26.99 price very affordable.  You can use the tutorials with multiple students and if you're like me that makes it an excellent purchase, I just hate buying something I can only use once.  The other great feature that sets Math Tutor apart from so many math products is that it also has an online version.  For just $19.95 a month you can access just about everything on their site, if you have a large family on many levels; this might be perfect for you.  You would get unlimited access to tutorials of all levels from Basic Math to Trigonometry, it also includes many levels of Physics.

All in all, we would highly recommend these tutorials.  We are ready to rush out and buy the calculator just so we can learn to use it, I would say that's a good sign.  Head on over to the Homeschool Crew site to see what others thought of the Math Tutor tutorials.

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{Disclaimer: I received this product free as part of TOS Homeschool Crew to review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.}