Currclick deals through midnight tonight

JUST 9 HOURS LEFT to take advantage of Cyber Monday!

You’ll find 20 TOTALLY FREE homeschool resources. PLUS, Visit us on Facebook and find 2, 100% OFF coupon codes for a Christmas-themed, 21st freebie, and a Holiday Crafts, 22nd freebie.

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With our Season of Giving Benefit Sale, you’ll get up to 70% off AND 5% of your purchases will be donated to World Vision.

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I recently received a copy of a sweet little story. This video gives you a clear glimpse:

Little Star by Anthony DeStefano draws the child’s attention to the real meaning of Christmas can be an effective springboard to meaningful conversation. My little guy loved it and I’m sure it will be a favorite in your house as well.

This book is for sale at your local book store and online, and one person will win a free copy from this post as well.

How to enter:

– Leave a comment on this post.

– You can also receive a second entry by sharing about this book and contest with others either via email, facebook, twitter, or your favorite social media. To receive the second entry, just come back and leave a second comment letting me know where you shared it.

The contest will close on December 10th in the evening. I will post the winner at that time.

TOS Crew review — Bright Ideas Press

Last year we discovered the quality products Bright Ideas Press puts out with Mystery of History 3. We all enjoyed it. The projects, the well written book, the graphics, etc. This year we got to follow that up with a start into Illuminations.

Illuminations is to be used in conjunction with MOH 3 and provides additional resources to get the most out of history by tying it in to your other subjects. Through dynamic read alouds and intriguing read alones, the kids can really sink their teeth into the time period more than just the 20-30 minutes a day spent on history. Last year I spent a good bit of time digging around for books that we could enjoy together to correspond with a topic or time period that piqued our interest. Illuminations does the looking for you, and provides in depth study guides to make the most of it.

ProductIllimunations 3
Details : A supplementary guide for Mystery of History users to tie in Language Arts and other subjects to the time periods and topics being covered in the MOH 3 book. We received the materials geared toward 3-8 grade, but there is also a high school level product.
Price : $82.50 for first semester, $165 for full year when it is available (January 2011)

What we loved . . .

  • Lots of information to get started. Within the product itself there are instructions, summaries, tips to get started, and links to videos and such. There are also a number of online helps including reviews, Yahoo! groups, book lists, and companies to buy additional books through.
  • All in one, or not. Illuminations includes lots of subjects (mostly Language Arts related), and provides room in the planning pages for those not incorporated into the material. Geography, science, literature, spelling, and of course history are all part of the plan. But, you don’t have to use it all. Whatever you want you use, and if you don’t you can write right into the lesson plans how you plan to change, delete, or supplement the plans they put in place.
  • Great product. As with just about everything that Bright Ideas Press puts out, they have created a high quality product. This is a great resource that seems to have thought of everything. And, it is huger than huge. The amount of materials, schedules, lesson plans, etc. is a bit mind boggling at first. But they walk you through how to make the most of it. We have really enjoyed the books that they recommended to go along with MOH 3 and the conversations they prompted as a result. And, since we could find them at our library, there has not been an additional expense to enjoy these books either.
  • Quality study guides. Reading good books is a huge part of our homeschool. But, just to read them and walk away, loses some of the benefit. The study guides help prompt real conversations and grasp the meaning and lessons of these pieces.
  • Huge time saver. Yes, you could do this all on your own. You could dig through online book lists and your library’s card catalog, and various homeschool curriculum sites and catalogs and find the books. Then you could spend weeks coming up with comprehension questions, digging up background materials, brainstorming activities, compiling copywork passages, and divvying up the work over a school year. You could. But, they have done all that for you, and done it well.

Some considerations . . .

  • Requires other materials. In order to fully enjoy all that they have taken the time to lay out for you, you would need to purchase some other books. These include read alouds as well as science and English academic books.
  • You should take some time prepping before diving in. While the schedules and structure is all done for you, it still takes time to get ready to use this product. They give you a handy checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything from ordering materials to setting up notebooks. It will take an investment in time to start this off properly.
  • Somewhat costly. Illuminations is a massive project. They give you lots of material and ideas. And, they obviously put an enormous amount of work into creating this helpful tool. So, it only makes sense that you would have to put out a good chunk of change for it. However, because it is so adaptable to various ages and is reusable it will likely be worth the investment over time, especially if you plan to use the grammar and science that they have designed their materials around as well.

Even with over a month to explore Illuminations and begin to use it in our homeschool, I feel like I have just started to scratch the surface.  I look forward to continuing to read the books and use this in conjunction with MOH 3. If you think this might be a fit for your family, I would encourage you to read some more reviews, and watch some of the videos to see if it will click with your home’s teaching and learning styles. It is an up front time commitment to pull it together, but then is a daily time saver while still providing a high quality education for your kids.

Take some time to read some other TOS Crew reviews on this product, over at the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Bright Ideas Press 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 — Corps of Rediscovery


With the boom of the computer and information age has come an accelerating slide in the area of traditional crafts. Knitting, quilting, sewing, leather-work, and even baking are not very popular pastimes any more. I try to restore a sampling of those activities in our household. There is something so peaceful about huddling around a sewing machine, reading books aloud to the click of the knitting needles, or laying out quilt pieces with my kids.

Corps of Re-discovery understands this desire to reclaim our history and has put together some special kits to help parents and children in that pursuit. We received a kit that came with everything we need to make a doll size patchwork quilt. We enjoyed working together to construct this cute little blanket, but the jury is still out on who gets to enjoy it — the baby, or the dolls it was intended for.

Product: Patchwork Quilt
Details : A complete kit to create a doll sized quilt — precut squares, yarn, thread, batting, backing material, and detailed instructions. You just need an iron and a sewing machine to finish this project.
Price : currently listed at $11.99, regularly $14.99

What we loved . . .

  • Complete. Everything you need is in this one kit. We preferred to use our own thread rather than rethread the sewing machine, but even the thread was included in the kit. I love the colors that came together, too. I cannot match colors for these types of projects well at all, so an all-in-one was important to me.
  • Unit-Study supplement. This project, along with others from this company, would fit easily into a study on pioneer living, Little House on the Prairie, or other studies of a similar era. Helping kids see in a very hands-on way how families worked together to provide for their basic needs. The instructions included some basic background into how and why these types of quilts would have been made in days gone by.
  • Group project. While an older child could really do this on their own, especially if they have some sewing experience, this was a fun group project. I did a bit of the sewing, and kept things going when they found the work tedious (good thing our livelihood didn’t depend on cranking these out on a daily basis . . .) Each one found a role — ironing, sewing, laying out squares, and seem ripping (yes, there was a little of that, too, despite the clear instructions).
  • Clear directions. With good images and descriptions of the many steps involved in creating this quilt, we had no trouble assembling it. We did rush ahead at one point and ended up redoing a section, but we slowed down and completed it correctly then.
  • Beautiful, useful finished product. The blanket is perfect for a baby doll or American Girl sized doll. I’m not sure whose bed it will end up on, but they all agreed it was a beautiful end result. I just might need to order another kit.

Some considerations . . .

  • Detailed work. This is sewing, plain and simple. If you have a child that struggles with that tedious work, this might not be a great independent activity. It only took us about 2-3 hours of work to put it together, with me doing most of the sewing. But, it could easily be done a little at at time over a few weeks as a sewing class or free time activity. Having the squares pre-cut is a huge time saver.
  • Pre-created. This was perfect for me, but for those of you that like to pick your own colors, and start from scratch you might not have as much fun with this kit. It comes with pre-selected colors so you don’t have a choice in the matter. They put together beautiful colors and we all loved it, but I know some people like to do their own.

This was such a great project to share with my girls. We have spent a bit of time in the past learning about pioneer days and to really dig into even a small project that represented that era was a real eye-opener. And, now I have my eye on their fringe pouch, coin purse, and corn husk doll. Lots of great stuff, all ready for the making.

Each family will have a different experience with a product (and different people received different products for this review), so I would encourage you to check out some other TOS Crew reviews on this product, over at the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Corps of Re-Discovery 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.

Free TOS download

From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine . . .

It is here! Our new Digital Holiday Supplement is finished and ready to enjoy–just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We hope you will find it to be a heartwarming, fun, and festive addition to your seasonal celebrations.

This  FREE 176-page digital magazine is packed with all new content for 2010 and takes you around the world to explore Christmas in other lands. Inside you’ll discover festive ideas, fun crafts, special recipes, and activity pages for your children.

Plus, as a special bonus, we’ve included articles full of homeschooling advice and encouragement from our 2010 Fall Schoolhouse Expo speakers.

Feel free to forward this email to your friends,  use the Facebook and Twitter links at the top of this email, or the Facebook link on the download page to bless your family and friends with this FREE gift.

Forward to a Friend

If you have an email list, a support group, or want to place the link on your blog, just have fun passing this FREE gift to everyone you know. There is a graphic and html on the download page to help you quickly place the banner on your site or blog.
Download your gift here: The Old Schoolhouse® Digital Holiday Supplement. Then spread the cheer, and tell your friends about this exciting holiday guide.

Bible Bee this weekend

The National Bible Bee

Way back when I posted about the Bible Bee coming to this area, and the time has arrived. That post has consistently drawn numerous hits, so I wanted to make sure all interested readers were aware of the opportunities this weekend right here in the Chicago area.

Event begin on Thursday and roll through Saturday. Even if you did not prepare to participate in a Bible Bee, everyone can join the activities surrounding this national finals event. Tickets for various events and meal can be purchased online in advance.

In addition to the actual bee, activity bands are sold that cover admission to the other games and activities. Their website offers this description:

Please purchase one for each sibling, relative or guest for their unlimited access to the following exciting activities during open hours Friday and Saturday:

Lego Experience by Legoland

Join in a team challenge to build a replica of Chicago’s Sears Tower, or to build a useable Lego chair!  Make and take small projects, build and play with more Legos, and purchase additional Lego sets.

Laser Quick-Draw

This two-man, quick-draw competition will challenge the speed of your reflexes.  First come, first serve; each turn last 5 to 7 minutes each.

Craft Room

Come express your creativity together for a quieter activity.  Make and take a variety of small craft projects.  Appropriate crafts available for all ages from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Family Fun Area

Explore the park-themed place to play with a huge inflatable crawl-through caterpillar, park benches, tables set with chess and checkers, foosball and more!

Little Bee Playroom

Filled with age-appropriate playthings, the Playroom offers a safe space for the youngest members of your family to have fun with parents and older siblings.

If you can’t make it in person, their website says it will offer a webcast beginning with events on November 11. This might be a great opportunity to motivate kids for next year to begin learning their verses and hide God’s Word in their hearts.

Check out all the details on this soon to begin event at the Bible Bee website.

HSLDA sale

from HSLDA:

HSLDA: JOGO—Join for One Year, Get One Free!

Wondering if you can afford HSLDA membership? Here’s an offer you can’t afford to miss!

For two weeks only, new members can join for one year and receive a second year free. That’s two years of expert legal protection for your homeschool—along with all the other excellent benefits HSLDA offers—for less than you would pay for a just one hour of an attorney’s time anywhere else!

Click here to take advantage of this exceptional offer. But hurry—offer expires November 22!