Monday, August 30, 2010

Labor of Love

A Very Special Offer from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Homeschooling is generally a full time commitment to your childs education and upbringing. Often entailing sacrifices to give your family what you believe is the very best possible education. Some days it seems like it is not worth everything required and we just want to give up. A fellow homeschooler is a great help in those dark moments, but sometimes that isn't possible. For those times, it helps to have encouragement and ideas at your fingertips. That is where The Old Schoolhouse Magazine comes in.

The Old Schoolhouse magazine is a quarterly publication filled with inspiration, ideas, and encouragement for the homeschool journey. Each issue has articles which relate to several different subjects, with many teaching ideas and activities. There are also homemaking ideas included also. You can also find reviews from homeschooling parents who have used many of the products advertised.

I have received the magazine for just about a year and in each issue I have found multiple articles that are worth my time to study and implement the ideas in my teaching. My children enjoy the artist lesson each time. Although I spend the most time reading articles geared to teaching elementary ages, there are also articles addressing the unique aspects of homeschooling High School students, also.

The people who work so diligently to put together a quality magazine recognize what a job homeschooling is, as many of them are also homeschooling parents. So they understand what parents are looking for and need in a homeschooling magazine as well as the need to be frugal, so occasionally they have special offers to help people have the Old School House magazine without blowing the budget. Right now they have one of those very special offers.

Here is what they have going on right now :

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is extending an extraordinary
subscription offer to homeschool families. Receive a one-year print
subscription for just $7.95 or a one-year plus current issue
subscription for $12.95. One-year subscriptions start with the winter
issue. The one-year plus current issue starts with the fall issue.
Only 5000 of these special subscriptions are available from August 31
through midnight on September 15. Once the 5000 are gone, they'’re gone!
Hurry and grab this crazy price today!

Where can you get in on this phenomenal offer? Just click on this link and you will get there in a jiffy! If you are even slightly interested in, check it out now as this deal won't last long!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I will be receiving a set of mp3 downloads in exchange for my post regarding the Labor of Love promo from TOS. I have not received any other compensation and the thoughts expressed here are fully my own.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peterson Directed Handwriting TOS Crew Review

Peterson Directed Handwriting

Snail Mail 315 S Maple Ave. Greensburg PA 15601

Phone 724 . 837 . 4900

ABC's and 123's cursive Cursive Step 1 (for Kindergarten)
Cursive Step 2
Cursive Step 3

I was given these three to review, all of which are e-books.

An Individual License is $19.95. This gives the purchaser the rights to download the purchased book and make as many copies as needed, thus eliminating the need to prepare practice pages or make copies for other students in their homeschool. It's possible to view the entire E-Books online before purchasing them, but printing is not possible until after purchase.

Hard copies of the books and Teachers guides are also available for Kindergarten through 8th grade level. These include Step 4 and two books of Word Masters.

Peterson also offers a CD called Animated Letter Cards which shows the strokes and method for writing each letter. They also offer a wide range of handwriting aids from triangular shaped pencils and special pens as well as guides to help position the paper on the table. The prices vary for item. There is an order form that can be opened which shows the full product line. While these products look to be very helpful, they are not necessary to implement the writing program.

Peterson also has several products to teach print handwriting.

The idea behind Peterson Directed Handwriting is to fully engage the brain as the process of handwriting is learned. This is done with encouraging the student to make the shapes in the air with their finger while saying the name of the shape, finger tracing the shapes and the letter on the page and then using a pencil to write the shapes on lined paper. The practice of tracing with a crayon or pencil is discouraged. There is also a fairly amount of attention to fluency, or the speed at which putting words on paper occurs.

The Peterson website is a treasure trove of information about Handwriting instruction and research. They even have a detailed article about helping left handers learn to write nicely. I have spent time looking at the site on several occasions and have found so much information, but have had trouble remembering where I found some specific information. That is probably due to the abundance of information presented.

The customer support is excellent. Mr Nelson is very willing to assist customers understand the reasoning behind the program and help them implement the program to reap the most benefit for the young writer. The website lists Mr. Nelson's email address in several as a way to contact him with questions or comments. He also makes use of a meeting room which allows for immediate answers of questions and information.

As the titles suggest these three books are progressive in what they introduce. ABC's and 123's introduces four basic strokes and shows them in use in the letters. When the letters are formed a different color is used to help differentiate the strokes. The Step 2 book reviews the basic strokes and has some practice of individual letters as well as beginning short word practice. It also begins to join letters. Capital letters are practiced after small letters. Step 3 briefly reviews common letter strokes and joining strokes before moving onto more joining strokes. There is lots of practice with words, as well as continuing capital letters. There is also a review of which capitals join and which do not. Each of these books begins with several pages explaining the reasoning behind the way the program is set up and gives info regarding how to assess a students writing and how to correct a specific problem which in turn will likely improve the overall quality of writing. Also stressed throughout the program is proper pencil grip as well as arm and paper position. Paying attention to these mechanics will cause less stress and make the act of writing less laborious.

Using Peterson Directed Handwriting in my Homeschool

We have used the ABC's and 123's book and Cursive Step 2 book and found them to be very thorough. While my children have not been thrilled with the idea of air writing or saying the names of the strokes while they are practicing them, they have seen that it does indeed help them in forming the strokes and words. Several times when they wrote without the verbal references their finished strokes were not as neat. I have also seen (or heard) the verbal cues seeping into other writing activities.

When I first received the e-books and looked through them I was totally overwhelmed. It just seemed so complicated. However, after studying them further and reading articles on the website I became more comfortable enough with them to teach them. After using them it has become easier to figure out.

After using Peterson, my 6 year old son has learned that there is a particular form and method to cursive, not just attaching them with extra lines wherever he thinks they should connect.

My 9 year old was writing in cursive prior to using the program, but I think using the verbal and kinesthetic aspects of Peterson has aided her letter formation and helped her to think about what she is doing. While we have used this program I have seen her speed increase slightly and am confident it will continue with continued practice.

  • I like the option to print as many copies as I need for practice. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt for the student to do well on a particular stroke or letter.
  • The Peterson website is a valuable resource for information and ideas to teach penmanship. There are articles on many topics of interest.
  • The ABC's and 123's book has a page for each letter which shows the Capital and small letters, as well as several pictures beginning with that letter and the word spelled out in unconnected cursive letters.

  • It may be difficult to help the student overcome reluctance to use the verbal cues while writing.
  • The website is not the easiest to use to determine which specific product is desired and the cost for it.

My Summary:

I really like the program and will continue to use it with my children. I have also found the articles on the website to be helpful. However, I am confused with determining prices and products at the website.

See what other crew members are saying here at the Crew Blog.

Disclaimer: I was given the 3 e-books referenced above to use in my homeschool in exchange for my honest opinion. I have not received any other compensation for this review. The ideas expressed here are solely my own.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Homeschool Inspiration and Ideas

Wow! Another exciting event from the folks who publish The Old School House magazine.

Imagine being able to attend a Homeschool Expo or conference from your own home. Sitting in your comfy chair, wearing your favorite clothes, (even if they aren't suitable for public ), not having to worry about what to do with your youngsters and still being encouraged by other homeschooling parents. Sounds just about perfect. Doesn't it?

I have not had the opportunity to attend TOS's expo, but this sounds like the perfect time to check it out. Registration is easy, just click on one of the links after all the exciting info to get started. Now, just having to wait until October is the hard part.

It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes.

Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.

You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!

A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.

Don't forget, MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket.

Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr.
Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16.

The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.

If you cannot make the Live event, then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!

You can visit either of these links to get more information.

I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew and am writing this post to help them get out the word about their Expo. In exchange for my post, I am receiving a free ticket to the Expo. I am not being compensated in any other manner.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ideas, Forms, Inspiration OH MY!

We interrupt this blog to bring you a special message regarding a product for sale that is sure to make a difference in your home and homeschool. Please note that this is an advertisement, not a product review.

Now what is this revolutionary product you ask?
As a homeschool mom, I am so happy to answer that for you. It is the 2010-2011 Schoolhouse Planner from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It will help you plan for home and school and make the most of your resources.

Why will this make a difference?
It is a hefty, jam-packed, collection of over 600 pages of forms, inspiration, information and ideas for many topics covering home and school.

What all is here?
Here are some highlights at a glance:

Science Lab Forms
Convention Plans: Jot down things not to miss
High School Transcript form
Organize your plans, books, supplies, children and even your wish list
Outside activities forms to help your go the right place the right day
Library list: Know what you have checked out and reduce late fees
Health information forms for the family
Online schedule: See at a glance who has computer time each day
Upkeep forms for your house and car
Special Days to remember forms: Don't forget a birthday!
Easier meal planning with with menu forms, inventory and shopping lists

Planning forms for one week to 12 years
Lapbooking tutorials and planning guides
Assignment sheet forms
Notebooking templates
Not enough space here to cover everything that's included
E-Info: A form to list websites and passwords

Facts and Activities:
You can also find lists of award winning books, history and government information for both the US and Canada, science charts, and fine arts facts. There are also ideas and activities to keep the youngest members of your family occupied and learning while working with older children.

Keeping It Together:
There is a section for each month with its own theme, ideas, and resources to keep learning fresh and exciting. There are also links to products in the Schoolhouse store that correlate with the month's theme. The themes aren't specific to the month so you could switch them around to meet the current interests of your learners.

Flexibility with Forms:
All of the forms and charts can first be filled out on your computer before printing or simply printed and then filled out by hand. The planner is available in two forms to choose from so you can pick the one that works best for you. It is available as a PDF download for $39.99 and a CD for $44.00.

See the 2010-2011 Schoolhouse Planner.

A Good Buy!
I hear the frugal homeschool parent ask, "But can I justify spending this much on one product for me?" Well, it isn't just for the teacher. You can make your own personalized, custom planners for every member of the family. No need to buy something different for each person, it is all here.

The editors of the Schoolhouse Planner have compiled a treasure trove of resources and put them at your fingertips.

As a member of the the TOS Homeschool crew I have received a copy of this planner for free to look at and use to assist me in writing this advertisement. I have not received any other compensation. By writing this ad I am also entering a contest that is sponsored by The Old Schoolhouse.