We are blessed to have our in-laws visiting us for about a month.  We have a week long trip to Orlando planned that hopefully includes a lot of Disney fun.  The rest of their visit will be spent painting our house.  Crazy as it sounds, my in-laws enjoy helping us with some project or other.  We had thought of replacing our floors, but the paint is in a more desperate state.

I don’t forsee myself posting a lot during this time.  My mother-in-law will be helping the children with their espanol and we are still chugging along as usual.  I hope to finish out most of our subject plans for the year some time in November.

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I am definitely a person that loves to plan, and also needs to plan.  I find that if I don’t gather the materials ahead of time that we need then things just don’t get done…even read-alouds.  We all know how important it is to read aloud to children and I have chosen 12 classic selections that I hope my son and daughter both enjoy.   **Updated with our thoughts on the books that we read/attempted to read**

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne Uncle Wiggly's Story Book by Howard GarisThe Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White Thomas the Tank Engine by Wilbert Awdry Socks by Beverly Cleary The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi Paddington by Michael Bond The Mouse and the Motorcyle by Beverly Cleary The Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting Charlotte's Web by E.B. White Capyboppy by Bill Peet Brer Rabbit by Joel Chandler Harris

 


Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne – we read it and now my dd reads it for fun…it was much better than I thought it would be

Uncle Wiggly’s Storybook by Howard Garis – I tried reading this, but I have a hard time getting past the first few stories.  I’m not quite sure why I have such problems with this book, but I’m looking to check out an audio version from our library.

Pinnochio by Carlo Collodi – enjoyed it, and the original is so very different from the Disney version

The Classic Tales of Brer Rabbit by Joel Chandler Harris – also a difficult read for us

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond – did not interest my daughter, but I think we will try it again soon

The Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting – we read it….dd loved it, but it wasn’t my favorite

Capyboppy by Bill Peet – enjoyed it

Thomas the Tank Engine – the treasury edition is 400 pages long, my children didn’t tire of it, but I did

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary – read and enjoyed

Socks by Beverly Cleary – we didn’t finish it as neither of us was really enjoying it

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White – read and enjoyed

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White- read and enjoyed

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
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Time 4 LearningTime 4 Learning is an online educational curriculum that is available for grades preK through high school.  This self-paced program covers everything from language arts to math to science and social studies.  I was able to review this program two years ago at the first grade level and this year we were able to explore the second and third grade levels.

When we first set up our account I tried answering the placement questions to see where my daughter should start at, but I could never figure out what the results were.  So, we began with where most of her current work is at: second grade.  My daughter was able to easily log on for herself and she quickly completed all of the science and social studies lessons in just a few sessions (there are only about 20 activities in each of these learning areas at the 2nd grade level).  When she went on to the language arts and math sections she complained that they were too easy – most likely because we are just about at the end of our year.

3rd gradeThe nice thing about Time 4 Learning is that you can easily go into your parent’s account and change the grade level for any of the individual components.  I decided to change everything to third grade since she has already finished the science and social studies portions and we were amazed at the difference.  In the second grade level there are usually short videos on each of the topics and just about all text is narrated to the child.  In the third grade level the child is expected to read quite a bit more and the words are much smaller.

My daughter was not thrilled at the changes and decided that she was not going to do the social studies or science topics because they were too difficult for her to read.  I was a bit disappointed since at the 3rd grade level there are many more activities for children to complete in these areas (almost 200 a piece) and they really seem to be her favorite.  However, the language arts and math were at a much more suitable level for her.

For those that would like additional support there are printable lesson plans available and reporting tools available to track how much your child is using the program.  In addition, there is a parent forum that seems to be lively enough so that you can ask questions or get ideas from others that are using this program as well.

Although we thought that this was a light curriculum (rigor wise), I can see how I could use it during extended breaks or when life events just wouldn’t allow me to school the way we currently do.  Again, as I noted in my previous review I wish that it was iGadget compatible, but alas it’s not.

Price: $19.95 per student, per month for the preK through 8th grade levels

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Greene Bark PressGreene Bark Press is a (new to me) family company, established in 1991, that is based in Pennsylvania.  According to their website they only publish books that they feel are “original, colorful, imaginative, and have some value to add to the growth and learning process of young readers.”  I was able to review one of their newer books entitled Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again, authored by Ginger Pate.

This board book is aimed at ages 3-8 and is all about teaching children the appropriate way to cross the street so that they don’t get hurt.  At 22 pages of large text, this is a quick and easy read that only takes a few minutes to get through.

The story centers around a young duckling named Wally Waddlewater.  He really wants to go into town to mail a card that he’s just made for his grandmother, but he is nearly run over when he tries to cross the street.  Luckily, his mother pulls him to safety and then begins to teach him the “look left, look right, then look left again” mantra.  After practicing many times with his mother he is eventually allowed to cross the road by himself, at the end of the book, to visit his grandmother.

When this book first arrived my son (3 years old) was immediately drawn to the bright colors.  He asked me to read the book several times to him in the first week that we had it.  I really liked the premise to the story…our young duck really wants to do something nice for his grandmother at the beginning of the story and then he is off to spend time with her at the end of the story.  And, I liked the repetition of the mantra throughout the story, including having to wait for emergency vehicles, cars, buses, and the crosswalk signal.  But, I wasn’t enamored with the cartoonish look of the book and the unusual scenario of having to wait for an elephant to cross the road seemed odd.

While my son asked for the book several times in the first week he essentially ignored the book after that.  Although he already knows how to responsibly cross the street I was surprised that he never once repeated the mantra from the book.  Perhaps he would have been more intrigued with it had he been younger; I am a bit surprised that the recommended age range was so high (ages 2-5 seems more appropriate to me).

Overall, though, I think that this book would be a worthwhile read for anyone that has children that have not learned how to cross a road safely or just need the lesson reinforced.

Price: $8.50

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