Archive for September, 2010

Horse lessons in Antioch

September 10th, 2010

Christian Based Home School Equine Program

Let us share your child’s passion for horses with a safe, fun-filled, equine program. Use our program to meet your home school PE requirements.

Sharon says, “The primary goal for my program is to introduce and instruct adults and children of all ages in the wonderful world of Horsemanship. I want to share my passion and open the world of horses to my students to share one of God’s most magnificent blessings through lessons, summer camp, trail rides, horse shows and all of the other special events that Heavenly Horses offer.”

Lesson Program:
Mon ‐ Thurs: noon ‐ 4:00pm

Purchase 6‐week package for $165 (new students only)
save $45 or $35 per lesson

Additional lessons:

  • 5 for $165 (a savings of $10)
  • 10 for $330 (a savings of $25)

Please feel free to contact
Sharon Casares for more information.
Phone: 847‐867‐6656



TOS Crew Review– America’s Math Teacher

September 10th, 2010

“I got a new math teacher this year.”

Kind of an odd thing to hear from a homeschooled student, but it is true. My girls get to listen to someone else during math class, at least for now. We didn’t join a co-op or enroll in an online math course, we found America’s Math Teacher.

They use this site to work through their math topics at their own pace. They watch brief instructional videos, complete worksheets, and even take speed drills online as part of their daily math assignment.

Math Essential

Product: America’s Math Teacher
Details : America’s Math Teacher is produced by Math Essentials and offers online math instruction through videos, worksheets, and tests. The one year subscription allows a whole family to use the site as much as they would like at any or all of the four levels which span fourth grade through Algebra.
Price : $195 for a one year subscription to the site

What we loved . . .

  • Broad use. Students from fourth grade through Algebra can take advantage of this website for one annual fee. They can move around as the parent directs rather than being tied to one level of work. Multiple students can use the program, even at the same time if you have multiple computers.
  • Easy to navigate. The kids can find what they need, or the parents can help them through it, but either way, they can easily find the worksheets, teaching videos, and tests that they need to complete their work.
  • Proven results. Rick Fisher has taught math for many years and has used these same techniques and lessons to bring about dramatic improvement in struggling students. He works primarily with older elementary students to get them “Algebra ready.”
  • Free Sample. On their website you can watch some of their videos and view some of their worksheets (which come with the answer key once you subscribe) even before paying. Definitely take a look and see if this program might be what you are looking for.
  • Good balance of computer and paper. Some programs rely too heavily on computers, but many students enjoy a change from just pencil paper work. Here they print off worksheets that have a reasonable amount of work on them, and also have speed drills they can complete online.

Some considerations . . .

  • Still getting established. The site is still fairly new, having just gone live a few weeks ago. However, despite its newness it packs in the information and has lots to offer. Parts of it are still experiencing glitches, so it might be best to wait a bit before considering this as a viable option. You can definitely use it for teaching and worksheets, but the evaluation portion of the site (tests and quizzes) was still not working for me at this time.
  • May not be usable as a comprehensive math course. It covers a lot of topics, but says of itself, “This award winning program compliments all basic math textbooks, so it is a perfect partner program for schools.” Presumably it is best used in conjunction with a main text, not in place of it.
  • Still math. I can’t say that this program made my kids love math. It’s still math. They still don’t enjoy worksheets and speed drills and listening to lessons. But, it does make it easier, and they definitely have found it easy to grasp the concepts that he presented in the videos. It is still math, but it is math well taught.
  • Doesn’t record or track info. You must keep records of what your child is doing. Since you have a family log in, there are not individual records kept online at this time.

America’s Math Teacher has taken what they do well and put it in a new package that is more easily usable. This is a well designed program for homeschoolers to make sure their students are ready to succeed in high school and beyond.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This web based subscription was provided to me free of charge through Math Essentials as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

TOS Crew review — Math Tutor DVD

September 8th, 2010

I distinctly remember pre-algebra. It was eighth grade and a small class. I don’t particularly remember the material, but I remember the boredom of it all. I also recall giggling over the students that fell asleep in that class. The drool, the nodding heads, etc.

Now, my kids don’t sit in a traditional classroom, and they have not yet fallen asleep on me in class, aside from the four month old. We do now and then struggle with the boredom of a particular topic, and I am always on the lookout for new approaches and materials.

Math Tutor DVD offers a helpful resource for either parents that struggle with the teaching or students that struggle with the learning of some of the more challenging math concepts.


Product: Math Tutor DVD — Pre-Algebra and the calculator tutor TI83/TI84

Details: The Pre-Algebra offers 5 hours of instruction on important pre-algebra topics including real numbers, absolute value, working with integers, and the order of operations. The Calculator tutor takes you through 8 hours of how-to’s from a basic overview to matrices and interest calculations. These calculators do far more than most people are aware of or know how to use them for.

Price:$26.99 each DVD set

What we loved . . .

  • See it before you buy it. On the site you can find recorded testimonials and sample videos so you can get a feel for the teaching style and format of the videos.
  • Thorough. These video sets are long, but they pack in the information. He starts basic and grows from there to explain complex topics easily enough for most upper elementary students (and most middle aged non-math minded students) to grasp.
  • Not stuck in his topic. Clearly, the teacher, Mr. Gibson, has a vision for teaching beyond just a video series. With a background in engineering and working for NASA he understands the real need to master math. He teaches not just to get through a subject, but for real life learning.
  • Broken down into good sized segments. The bite-sized chunks these lessons come in are just right for a daily math lesson or to pull out when you need a little help.

Some considerations . . .

  • No-fluff. These videos involve a math teacher and a white board (albeit with many colors of markers). No flashy movies or cartoons, just real life, teach ’em how it is math instruction. Some kids might view this as boring, since you can make any school subject only so exciting.
  • Not a complete course. And not priced or marketed to be. These products can help you with targeted areas in conjunction with your regular math program.
  • Long. Eight hours of calculator instruction is a lot of teaching. I never knew all you could use this for, so it isn’t wasted time, but WOW, that’s a lot of time spent on a calculator.

Math Tutor DVDs cover many topics with the same solid teaching. If you are looking for a supplementary help for some tricky areas in math, check out these and other videos that they produce.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: These DVDs were provided to me free of charge through Math Tutor DVD as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

Wikki Stix guessing contest

September 7th, 2010

Enter a contest that could boost your art supplies! Guess how many Wikki Stix are in the photo and you could win them.

While you wait to see if you won, check out some of their great craft and educational ideas. If you already own Wikki Stix, I would guess you aren’t utelizing them as much as possible. Have you thought of using the for maps, diagrams, models, prewriting activities, and phonics games?

Their website offers ideas that touch many different academic subjects. Your child will be glad you took a look.

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Homeschool sports

September 6th, 2010

I stumbled on this site recently that lists homeschool sport activities by state — Homeschool SportsNet.

They don’t have a lot listed, but they may have some in your area. And, if you run a homeschool sport group this would be a great place to let others know about your group to help them find you.

Team sports are difficult to teach on your own, so they are one of the few activities that we “outsource” in our homeschool experience. This website could be a great place to connect with others doing the same and help gain some experience in developing good sportsmanship skills.

Check ’em out!

Labor Day

September 6th, 2010

Whether you school or not today, take time to learn about the holiday. So often holidays simply mean another barbecue, a relaxed schedule, or time with extended family. If you want to learn a little more behind this “end of summer” final fling, check out these links:

The Department of Labor shares some of the history behind the day.

Or, check in with for some videos and more visual background of this holiday.

Create some labor related crafts — collages of people performing different jobs, a thank you card for a community helper, or make a life size outline of your child and decorate them in a favorite uniform.

The popular way to celebrate is taking some time to rest from the normal labors of everyday life.

Whether you are laboring or not today, enjoy the day. This year it is truly our end of summer as we head back to “the books” tomorrow with our first official day of school in over a month.

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Writing mini-workshop

September 3rd, 2010

Last year I met Sarah through the writing of Jim Baumgardner and now he is helping others in their endeavor to write well or teach their children to write well. This is the third and final installment of the series ‘Fundamentals of Story Writing” by Jim Baumgardner of the Sarah Books Series, hosted over at Creative Learners.

Mr. Baumgardner, an award winning author, has shared with us over the last 2 months free lessons in story writing for our homeschool students of any age!  Thess articles have blessed my family, and many more! You can see the original articles by clicking here for #1 and here for #2.

For today’s third and final installment in the series, check out Creative Learners.

Swimming classes

September 3rd, 2010

Elgin and Elk Grove have homeschool swim and/or gym classes. Other park districts offer theses as well, or are willing to if you just ask and have a small group ready to enroll.

Many of the classes I come across started because a homeschooler asked or initiated it. It is amazing what people are willing to arrange for you if you just ask, so grab a couple other homeschool families and explore your options!

Elk Grove:
Home school swim lessons are starting up again at the Elk Grove Park District in September!

The fall session will be 8 weeks, beginning the week of 9/14 and ending the week of 11/2.
The cost is $58 per student (which is a great deal at only $7.25 per class).
New this session will be an open swim in the Lagoon for all the kids enrolled in the lessons.
This open swim time is included in the cost.
That means you are getting a 40 minute lesson AND 30 minutes of open swim. Not to mention a great opportunity to make new friends and meet up with old ones. (Thank you Deb D’Onofrio ).

Here’s how it looks:
12:30 – 1:10 Lesson A: #71935
*1:15 – 1:45 Open swim for those enrolled in lessons A & B
1:50 – 2:30 Lesson B: #71936

1:00 – 1:40 Lesson C: #71937
*1:40 – 2:10 Open swim for those enrolled in lesson C

Register online @
Or call 847/593-6248 –pool office
Or the Pavilion Front Desk 847/437-9494

*You don’t need to register for the open swim since it is included in your lesson cost.
Please note that we do need a minimum of 10 students per lesson and a minimum of 4 students per swim level (maximum is 6 students per level/teacher). Classes and/or levels may be canceled or combined due to low enrollment.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Deb D’Onofrio at 847/690-1406.


Hey Home Schoolers—we have the perfect way to add physical
fitness and socialization time to your curriculum. Our Gym & Swim
program features a one-hour swim lesson and one-hour physical
education class each week. A variety of sports and cooperative
games will be played in our gym time. Meet in the gym on first day!!
Fee: $54R/ $64NR
Time: 1:00—3:00pm

9/14-11/16 Tues

9/15-11/17 Wed

9/16-11/18 Thu

This program is for youth ages 5-15 years

Creation Museum Homeschool Days

September 2nd, 2010
  • Dinosaur Den Dinosaur Den

    Dinosaur Den

  • Natural Selection Natural Selection

    Natural Selection

From: “Eddie Lutz” <>
Subject: Fall Home School Days at the Creation Museum

Summer is over, and by now I’m sure your Homeschool classes are back in full swing.  One of the best ways to reinforce what you are teaching in the home (in Science, History, Bible, and more) is to take a trip to the Creation Museum (located in the Greater Cincinnati area).
The Creation Museum presents a unique and unparalleled experience, a walk through time portraying significant, life-altering events from the past, illuminating the effects of biblical history on our present and future world.  Be prepared to experience history in a completely unprecedented way.  Our state-of-the-art exhibits, Stargazer’s planetarium, life-sized dinosaur animatronics and beautiful outdoor gardens with paved walking trails and petting zoo make this an exciting addition to every homeschool curriculum.
For the months of September and October (Sept. 7 – Oct. 28), the Creation Museum will be running a special promotion especially for Homeschool families.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday’s are Homeschool Days. Admission to the Museum is only $10 for adults (13 and up) and $7 for children (5-12).  The Stargazer’s Planetarium is also specially priced at only $4.
To take advantage of this special Homeschool offer, simply present the printed PDF form at the Creation Museum on the day of your visit.  This pricing is ONLY available with the PDF coupon.
Please pass this along to any, and all, homeschooling families you know. This is not a group rate.  It is available to ALL Homeschool families.  When you forward this message on, please be sure to include the attachment.  You can access it here:
If you have any questions regarding the Fall Homeschool Days, contact Eddie Lutz at 888-582-4253 ext. 377 or email
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LEGOs in the classroom

September 1st, 2010

Check out these free resources for teaching your young ones. They do request that you order for your whole school rather than just one classroom at a time if possible. So, check with your co-op or support group and see who else might be interested, and order for the whole group!

Here’s all the details:

LEGO Club Fire ImageLEGO® Education and LEGO Club are proud to offer exclusive LEGO Club Jr. School Edition Magazines and LEGO Education Teacher’s Guides to first-grade educators this fall!
These special publications continue the LEGO philosophy of providing children with products that promote imagination, pique curiosity, and enhance learning. Both focus on fire safety and provide important information on what these young learners should know in case of an emergency.
The LEGO Club Jr. School Edition Magazine is designed specifically for first graders. The edition includes exciting puzzles, comics, and games with a fire safety theme. These activities focus on basic reading, math, and critical-reasoning skills.
The LEGO Club Jr. School Edition Magazine combines the thrill of LEGO building with content that will help your students learn important safety tips – and best of all, it’s FREE!
In addition, a custom LEGO Education Teacher’s Guide will be sent with each magazine order. The guides are filled with hands-on activities, classroom tidbits, and articles about how you can create a LEGO SmartTM classroom for your students!
To recieve complimentary copies of the LEGO Club Jr. School Edition Magazine and Teacher’s Guide, simply complete our online request form located at
For additional information or to inquire about other LEGO Education promotions, contact Debra at
Orders will be processed weekly. Shipment of items will begin in October 2010. Magazines are packaged in groups of 50, 100, and 200 for easier distribution. Please consider ordering for your school’s entire first grade and not just your first grade class. Any specific ordering or delivery directions should be noted in the Comment section of the order form.