TOS Crew Review ~ Ooka Island

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We had the opportunity to review Ooka Island which is a computer based learning program geared toward PreK thru 2nd Grade. You can view the official trailer HERE. We used it for Pre-K and my son LOVED it! I loved it too as it caused him to slow down and actually listen (something that is VERY difficult for him to do).

The graphics are amazing and the music is fun. Overall we really enjoyed using this program…and quite honestly I really do feel that ds3 learned from the time he spent. That is a great feeling – knowing they are actually learning (especially when they think of it as playing).

This is a picture of “the map”, it shows all the different play areas.

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This is a picture of where the “student” is supposed to pop the bubble of the sound instructed.

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This is the “cake factory”…as the cake comes down from the top, the “student” is told a sound. They have to click the letters that match the sound. If they get it right, it goes to the right. If they get it wrong, it goes to the left.

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Here they hop up the hill alphabetically. Once they get as far as the computer wants, they get to ride a “skateboard” back down the hill. DS3 *loved* this. There are also ramps to do tricks.

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One thing that is VERY IMPORTANT to mention is that this is a DOWNLOAD and is a little over 2 GIGS. It took over an hour to download onto my computer (and I have a pretty fast computer). Hopefully they will consider offering it on a CD in the near future.

Something else he didn’t really like is that he couldn’t pick and choose where he went, he HAD to follow where the robot went ~ and he has to work for 20 minutes straight. Once he finishes the 20-minutes, he is given an 8-minute “free time” to go wherever he would like (that he has progressed through). My son is three and 20 minutes is a long time for him to stay focused, but he did do it several times with this program. YAY!

Overall, we would give this a thumbs up. DS3 enjoyed playing it and I enjoyed watching him learn…he really seemed to learn quickly using this.

With regards to pricing: they have multiple options, I only have one child therefore it would be $12.95 per month, $59.95 for six months or $99.95 for one year. The other options are for up to four children and can be seen HERE. As is often the case, I feel the pricing is a bit high for just one child, however if you have several children, the pricing and use of the program, is much more justified. If you are interested in trying it – you can try it out for 14 days FREE!

They also sell actual books for Emergent, Beginning and Fluent Levels. You can see a sample of an Emergent level book, titled “The Little Puppy” by clicking HERE. Or THIS PAGE gives you samples of each leve.

For more information:
Ooka Island
3630 Woodbine Rd
Woodbine, MD 21797
877-307-3616
info@ookaisland.com

or Canada!

119 Kent St, Suite 155
Charlottetown, PE C1A 1N3

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

This product was reviewed as a part of the TOS Homeschool Crew…I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. Everything stated here is my own opinion. You can see the direct posting with the TOS Homeschool Crew and what my fellow crewmates thought by clicking HERE.


Being a SAHM ~ Proverbs 31 ~ Pt 1

I am sitting here alone, praying and talking to the Lord, asking him about this “stay-at-home-mom” thing we are venturing in to. (I’ve been a SAHWM – working mom for the last three years but we’re getting ready to make the full plunge of me no longer working. You can read more about it HERE and HERE.) One would think this would be a wonderfully exciting time in my life…as THIS is what I’ve been wanting FOR YEARS. But honestly, I’m scared. LOL I’m not scared like “a horror movie” scared, I’m scared like “I don’t know what to do” scared. Weird, huh?

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This picture is courtesy of ChristArt.com.

So, as I’m taking and praying to my Heavenly Father, I’m led to Proverbs 31 (not surprising, I’m sure). Which reads (vs 10 – 31):

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. 
She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. 
She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. 
She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. 
She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. 
She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. 
She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. 
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle. 
She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. 
She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. 
Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. 
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. 
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” 
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.

What do these verses mean to you? How do you apply them to your everyday living? Are there other verses that you hold close to your heart? Please share!

Have a wonderfully blessed day!


Teen CERT – Part 2

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Well, we did it! We finished our training! We did 20 hours of training over the last two weekends…and it was a BLAST! We learned about how to care for people who are hurt, how to “take charge” in a disaster, how to mark on the outside of a house or building to let rescue workers know if a structure has been searched or not, we learned about different types of fires and how to put them out (and we even got to put out REAL fires!), we learned about terrorism and disaster psychology [and a lot more!]. WOW! A lot of information!

Search & Rescue:
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Med Ops:
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Fire Safety:
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Final Exercise:
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The training was FREE as well as the amazing “disaster prepared” backpacks we received (but the free part may depend on your area and their funding), Some of the items in the backpack were: a helmet, reflective jacket, goggles, gloves, flashlight, masks, tarp, etc…a lot of really good stuff!

Our jobs now?

  • Get the rest of the items we need in our bags.
  • Put good shoes and a flashlight next to our beds.
  • Prepare and practice family escape routes.
  • Contact our local police and fire agencies letting them know we’ve completed the training and are available if needed.
  • Contact our county EMA (Emergency Medical Agency) to find out what practices have been put in place in preparation for different disasters, and how we can help.

These are the main things. Overall, we are now trained to help ourselves, our families and our neighborhood – without being deployed…we are not allowed to self-deploy (which means we can’t just show up at an accident or a disaster and help, we need to be called by first responders – fire, police, etc.).

Here is our group pic:
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Getting Certificate:
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Mom and Son:
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Certificate:
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Misc pic:
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If you have the opportunity, ds15 & I both HIGHLY suggest taking this training, even if you aren’t interested in joining a “CERT group”. One can never be too prepared to help during a crisis.

You can also stay up with what’s going on by “joining” the “Official Teen CERT” facebook page by clicking HERE.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them, or find out what the answer would be.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!


Six Word Saturday ~ 10/29/11

This post is linked to ShowMyFace – click the link to see how creative other folks got…or, to join in!

~ So much change, but it’s good ~

I am not one to shrink or run from change ~ as a matter of fact, I normally run head first toward it ~ I enjoy the excitement, challenge and learning involved…but sometimes it is a little scary too. Like now. The Lord opened my eyes to some things the other day, which you can read in my post from yesterday, and dh and I agreed to move forward with making some changes. This is a little scary for several reasons:

  • I have worked a regular state recognized job since I was 14.
  • I was not raised in a Christian home.
  • I was not raised in a home where the mother cared for her children.
  • I was not homeschooled.
  • I was raised in a wasteful home (meaning if it’s broken just throw it away and buy a new one).

“So what!” you say…well, us too - with the Lord’s help…but I’m still nervous. For all the above reasons – and another – money. It always comes back to that, doesn’t it? We’ve calculated it out and since dh got the afterschool tutoring position, mixed with the kids he’s tutoring through his tutoring company, if we cancel a few things (which we’re working on…we don’t want to “loose money” by canceling them before the time we’ve already paid for – like Netflix) and watch our pennies (literally) we should be ok. But, bottom line, we know this is what the Lord would wantour boys NEED to come first and we NEED to learn to live off the provisions dh makes. So…here we go! Prayers appreciated as we jump into this new journey!

Have a wonderfully blessed day!


The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ 10/28/11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
This post is linked to The Homeschool Mother’s Journal over at The Homeschool Chick.
Make sure you hop over to see what other homeschool mom’s have to say!

In my life this week…
I think the biggest and bestest thing is dh and I talked and decided I would no longer work from home…I would no longer work (except maybe Saturday mornings, outside the home…waiting to hear back if still wanted / needed there or not). The Lord REALLY opened my eyes the other day. Here is what I posted on FB:

Oh my gosh – I have had a HUGE breakthrough this morning! I definitely have not processed it all yet BUT I am *so excited* to FINALLY have SOME kind of understanding as to what has been going on in my life. And, this may not make much sense to anyone else but it makes HUGE sense to me (but I hope it makes sense to others too).

I’ve been trying to figure out why things are the way they are in my life. And I’ve known “I’ve never done this before so I don’t know what it looks like” [with regards to being home and homeschooling, both] but what I DIDN’T SEE was…I am trying to make it look like what I am used to…working / busy all day. I’ve had a job since I was 14 (I am now 41) and I’m not talking babysitting…I did that before I got a job at 14. I have only been home for the last three years. I have had to work to help with our income but the majority of it is from home…which I’ve known complicates things in my brain, but I didn’t understand how. Now I understand and the “pieces fit” as to why the pieces aren’t fitting.

Now that I see this, I believe my “job” is to rearrange the pieces so they are more like what I WANT (what Christ wants) vs what I have been used to for the last 25 years.

Prayers appreciated as I continue this process…but praise the Lord for opening my eyes to this…I just really cannot express how good it feels to “understand” what’s been going on.

In our homeschool this week…
I got caught up with grading and ds15 is doing his usual excellent job – A’s and B’s. YAY! 

What’s working / not working for us…
working was not work for us. LOL Yesterday I “took the day off” of both jobs and just enjoyed the day with the boys (for the most part, I think I did work about an hour in two 30-minute sessions) and it was SO NICE to not be stressed and grumpy and thinking about all the things I didn’t want to forget.

Questions/thoughts I have…
who uses coupons? What is / are your favorite sites to visit? Want to share your favorite “trick”? I’m new to this whole thing and could use some help!

My favorite thing this week was…
yesterday – simply enjoying being a SAHM.

I am inspired by…
SAHM.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

I definitely have this skill! :)
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Have a wonderfully blessed day!


Giveaways! Linky ~ Link YOUR Giveaway(s)!

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Here is todays Giveaways! Linky – link up your family friendly G-rated items!

I have two giveaways going on right now…

Click HERE to enter Christmas Lodge DVD giveaway.
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Click HERE to enter Brittany’s CD giveaway.
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Use the below to link up, then leave a comment. Also, go visit – and enter – some of the other participants giveaways!

 Have a wonderfully blessed day!




CD Review & Giveaway ~ Brittany Hargest’s ‘Love All the Way’!

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I had the opportunity to review Brittany Harget’s new “Love All The Way” CD and let’s just say it is a bit different than my taste nowadays. LOL It is a good CD and my ds15 enjoyed the music. It actually made me feel old thinking I didn’t want to “jam out” to this kind of music anymore. LOL

There are ten songs on the CD but don’t let the names fool you – like Slow Motion…yea, it isn’t so slow! LOL But it is a good song. *grin*

Now, for the super exciting part! Not only was I given a copy to review…but I am allowed to give one copy away to one of my readers!

Here are the different ways you can enter to win (one entry each):

Check out Brittany Harget’s website HERE and comment on what you think sounds interesting about this CD.
Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect (or let me know you already do).
Like Guiding Light Homeschool on Facebook (or let me know you already do).
Like Brittany Harget’s Facebook page.
Follow Brittany Harget on Twitter.
Follow my blog via Networked Blogs (or let me know you already do).
Follow me on Twitter  (or let me know you already do).
Tweet about this giveaway.
Share on this on Facebook.

Remember to leave a comment (aka entry) for EACH of the above!

This giveaway is now closed at which time one random winner will be drawn and notified. Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you! If not, another winner will be drawn. The winner will have 48 hours to respond, if not heard from, I will draw another winner.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this video free from Propeller. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


TOS Crew Review ~ Excellence in Literature

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We had the opportunity to review Excellence in Literature: Introduction to Literature (English 1) which can be found over at Everyday Education. This is a college prep class which is an excellent way to prepare your students for “real life” while still having them at home to “nurture along” (if needed). The suggested grade level for THIS curriculum is 8th to 10th depending on grammar and reading level. You can read more about that on her FAQ Page.

Taken directly from their website:

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Understand the process of writing, including the use of tools such as a writer’s handbook, dictionary, and thesaurus.
  • Have specific understanding of selected representative texts by major authors of the periods studied.
  • Have a general understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the works.
  • Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
  • Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics.

    Unit 1: Short Stories by- 
    • Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
    • Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This one is not scary, if you’re concerned about that.)
    • Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
    • O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
    • Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
    • James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne 
    Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

    Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
    Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

    Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
    Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë

    Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw 
    Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

    Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
    Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
    Honors: 1984 by George Orwell

    Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare 
    Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

    Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
    Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Note: Books listed in the table of contents above are focus texts only. Context readings are assigned within each unit.

You can read how she chose the books by clicking HERE. You can see a sample lesson HERE. As a quick, yet important note, a lot of the focus books have a link provided in the text so you don’t have to purchase anything nor leave your house. Nice!

So, what does this book LOOK like? The first 29 pages are general but very important information mostly focused toward the student. Things like: How to Read a Book and Discerning Worldview Through Literary Periods. Then the units start. Each unit only consists of about 5 pages! Why? Because this is a college prep class! She doesn’t spoon feed the information, she shares the assignments for each unit (normally 4 weeks each) in only a few short paragraphs, the students get to do the rest! Again, excellent for the student heading to college!

In all honesty, we did not get very far into this however we are looking forward to using it. The funny thing is, I was looking for a simple grammar item by googling and ended up at her site looking at Grammar Made Easy. It sounded perfect and then I was so excited to realize it was the same person / company! I did purchase it and at this time HIGHLY recommend it for students that are having a hard time with some of the basics. So far it is really helping ds15 figure out parts of speech and sentence structure, things that apparently got overlooked / missed when he was public schooled.

You can get Excellence in Literature: Introduction to Literature (English 1) in print format for $33.95 (including shipping) or as an ebook for $27.00. There is also a 30-day money back guarantee!

For more information:
Janice Campbell
Everyday Education, LLC
P.O. Box 549
Ashland, VA 23005
jceved @ comcast . net  (take out the spaces)

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

This product was reviewed as a part of the TOS Homeschool Crew…I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. Everything stated here is my own opinion. You can see the direct posting with the TOS Homeschool Crew and what my fellow crewmates thought by clicking HERE.


Wednesday Hodgepodge ~ 10/26/11

1. What gives you goosebumps?

Cold weather. LOL Seriously, other than that I have no idea…

2. Halloween-are you a lover or a hater? Okay, that sounds harsh…Halloween-yay or nay?

We do not do Halloween. I grew up in a non-Christian home where we did “celebrate” Halloween with trick-or-treating and decorations. My dh grew up in a Christian home and never did. Actually, when my ds15 and I still lived outside Kansas City, the Lord spoke to my heart one time when we WERE out trick or treating…telling me that was not for us any longer. We have not participated since.

However, my in-laws have an “Octoberfest” which was actually started as a Christian way to let the kids enjoy not trick or treating…this way they don’t feel “left out” when all the other kids are talking about it. Their Octoberfest includes things like (which are all FREE to those attending): food, a bounce house, hay rides, balloon launch, gifts for the kids (treat bags) and the parents (homemade jellys and breads) and a talent show…all with a Christian “twist”.
3. Can you respect someone you do not trust, and can you trust someone you do not respect?

I’ve thought about this since reading it and have answered all the other questions…am answering this last…and I think I would have to say “no” to both.
4. Apples or oranges? Yes, you have to choose.

I guess it would have to be apples because I really can’t have oranges any longer. But, if I could, I would say oranges.
5. What is something you wish was in your town? (shop, restaurant, attraction, etc)

A Christian bookstore. When I lived outside Kansas City and worked full-time, I almost daily (during lunch) went to one of the two Christian bookstores near where I worked. Just being there browsing the books, etc. calmed me and gave me the “strength” to make it thru the rest of the day.

6. What non-food item is in your refrigerator or freezer?

Batteries are in the fridge…I heard it helps them last longer.
7. Are you at all superstitious?

I try not to be but honestly…when a black cat crosses my path – the first thing that comes to mind is…VERY RARELY is a cat REALLY all black. *giggle* Then I think…don’t be ridiculous the Lord is watching over me!
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Some pics from Octoberfest:

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Head over to “Wednesday Hodgepodge” posted over at From The Side of the Pond to read more thoughts on these questions…

Have a wonderfully blessed day!