Archive

Archive for February, 2012

Review and giveaway — Cooper and Me and the Military

February 10th, 2012
Many kids struggle with the separation of a parent or other family member due to active military duty. Monique and Alexa Peters brought Cooper and his friend Trooper to the rescue in wading through this difficult time.
The story helps open up conversation for kids who might be hurting and gives them some ideas to put their worries to work. The story is cute, but my favorite part comes after the story. The authors broaden the application to include dealing with any type of separation. Talking points can give you the springboard you need to encourage your child in this area. The end of the book also includes some questions to recap the story and the lessons taught through it.
Kids will also find a fill in the blank letter they can use to begin their own letter of thanks to service men or women along with a website to look for more information on encouraging our troops.
**Please note this copy for review DOES NOT have the FINAL cover, but the winner giveaway copy will.
Their summary of the book:

Meet Trooper, Cooper’s best friend, and learn how he was adopted by Gracie and Joe and their parents, who both serve in the military. Find out how this family stays close despite being separated.
A must-read during patriotic holidays and for anyone with friends and family in the military, this book helps children know, that even when loved ones aren’t with us, they still love us and think about us. This book, along with all the other books in the Cooper and  Me series, includes these interactive features:
• A Special Memory Creation
• Life Lesson
• Connections
• Learning Together
In addition to a fun adventure, each Cooper and Me story teaches an important Life Lesson and features interactive materials at the back of the book to drive the message home.  Included are activities that help children name and process their own feelings about what they’ve read.
Not just do I get to share a review of this helpful book, I also get to give a copy away to one of my readers. If you would like to enter to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment with this post. Make sure to leave an email that I can reach you at to let you know if you have won! The drawing will go through next Friday night, February 17. You can earn additional entries by sharing about this giveaway on facebook or other online networks and then come back and leave another comment saying you did so.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Learning Vine Open House

February 8th, 2012

If you are interested in The Learning Vine Academic Program for homeschoolers, you are invited to attend their Information Meeting this Friday, February 10,  at 1:30 PM in room 2A/B (lower level) of Community Christian Church on Emerson Lane in Naperville.

They will be presenting an overview of what their academic program offers and have time for Q and A. This meeting is meant mainly for families who have not enrolled previously in the program.

To learn more about the program online, please see their website:
http://www.thelearningvine.org/academic.html

Events at Midwest Museum of Natural History

February 8th, 2012

Got this information via email, and looks like some intriguing events! Note that with this first one if you mention that you heard it here, at the Chicagoland Homeschool Network, they will let one adult attend for free! Be sure to tell them thanks from all us homeschoolers.

“Hoo’s” for Dinner: Owl Pellet Dissection

Thursday, February 23, 7-8:00 pm

$7/person, Members: $5/person (adults and kids)

Space is limited, call to register: 815-895-9777

It’s almost time for owlets to begin appearing! And we’re celebrating by dissecting owl pellets. Owl pellets are balls of fur and bones that the bird cannot digest and coughs up. We’ll walk through the dissection of pellets and identification of the remains found inside. Each person gets their own pellet. Designed for ages 6+. Special offer: Mention this blog and get one free adult!

Jack Hanna: Into the Wild Live

Sunday, March 11, 2:00 pm

$20 adults, $15 children and students, premium seats available

Show will be held at the Egyptian Theater in DeKalb: 135 North Second Street, Dekalb, IL 60115

Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live show features many of his favorite animal friends, as well as fascinating and humorous stories and footage from his adventures around the world. Everyone from the youngest child to the oldest adult will be entertained and inspired. Tickets on sale now: http://www.egyptiantheatre.org/

The Natural History of Coffee

a lecture by Gene Powers

Thursday, March 15, 7-8:00 pm

$4/person, members free, ages high school to adult

Big Run Wolf Ranch

Saturday, March 31, 1-2:30 pm

Ages 8 and up

$10/person (kids and adults), fee includes Museum admission for the day

Member rate: $8/person

Space is limited, reservations required: 815-895-9777

Big Run Wolf Ranch is a non-profit, federally licensed, educational program which specializes in education and conservation of North American wildlife. During their presentation you’ll meet a live coyote, skunk, groundhog, porcupine, and wolf. Space is limited and reservations are required: 815-895-9777. Ages 8+ by request of the presenter.

Safari Sprouts

Wednesday, March 28, 10:15-11:15 am

4th Wednesdya of every month

Ages 3-5

$8/child (or purchase a 4-class card for $28), adults free

Call 815-895-9777 to register (walk-ins welcome too)

Spend a morning discovering nature at the Museum through games, crafts, stories, and songs, plus a live animal visit each month! Designed for ages 3-5 with an adult.

For more information:

Midwest Museum of Natural History

425 West State St, Sycamore IL 60178

815-895-9777 www.mmnh.org

Tues-Sat, 10-5:00

Sunday 12-5:00

closed Mondays

Works for me Wednesday — Homeschool Tracker

February 7th, 2012

This year with the advent of high school for my oldest I really needed a method to keep  better track of, well, everything. Grades, attendance, transcripts, course materials, book lists, etc.

During the summer I got really serious about finding a workable method for record keeping and what I found was exactly what I needed, in Homeschool Tracker.

We first downloaded the free version to make sure that I liked it. Played with that for about 6 weeks of summer school and I knew it was a keeper, so we jumped in and bought the full version, and now I tell everyone I meet about my new brain.

Why I love it so much:

Does way more than I ever need it to do. This is a good thing. Because, some day I might just get the urge to put all my homeschool books in one list or write out detailed lesson plans or have a weighted grading scale. But, for now, I can pick and choose the features that I choose to use, and the rest just sit there quietly until I decide to use them or not.

Prepares my assignment sheets for me. At the beginning of the school year and again over Christmas break I put in a bunch of hours logging all their assignments for the months ahead. Yes, that was a monumental task. Think 5 kids times about 7 subjects each times about 200 days of school. Yeah, a little crazy, but the program makes it as easy as possible. Now, all I do is select all the students and print out the sheets two weeks at a time. I could print the whole year, but I like to do a couple at a time because invariably I change something over the course of a week or two and I would hate to have to hand-write all those changes. Each weekend, or Monday morning depending on how things go, I print out everyone’s sheets, punch holes in them and they put them in their binders. Then, as I come around to work with them individually we pull out the binder and know exactly what needs to get done today and all week.

Easy to reschedule. Life happens, sometimes a little too often. Kids get sick, relatives drop in, an assignment takes longer than anticipated, a concept needs extra teaching, kids fly through what you thought would take a week, books get lost, and sometimes the teacher gets sick. With a few clicks you can reschedule all assignments for all the kids or pick and choose what subjects and what kids need some rescheduling.

Grades are figured automatically. All I needed to do was each week spend about 20 minutes (for all 5 kids, if you have fewer in school this would be even quicker, it takes me less than 5 minutes per kid) putting in their grades for the week and I have report cards ready made at the end of each quarter to go get their rewards from Chuck E Cheese.

Not just about grades. As I mentioned this program does way more, and you can use any or all of the following features: track attendance, keep a reading log, record assignments and grades, write lesson plans, track goals, record school info, catalog your home library,  and print reports for any or all of those things.

This program has surpassed my expectations for a record keeping program and made it so painless. Yes, it took a little bit to get the hang of it, but they have an online forum on their site that can answer all of your questions and then some. I also made some silly mistakes while learning and spent extra time fixing said mistakes and getting back on track. But, now it is such a huge time saver and I have all their records in one place, saved and backed up every five days without another thought.

Why you should definitely try the free demo first:

– I will readily admit, there is a huge learning curve with this one. There are so many features, and it is a little old school in its on screen presentation, but it can do anything you want it to, you just need to learn how to work it.

I’m sure it’s not for everyone. Although for me it was love at first download, it might not float your boat. So, check it out, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It is amazing!

I can’t say enough about how much I have enjoyed using Homeschool Tracker Plus. I am thrilled to pieces with this program.  You can check out the basic edition for free, and you can try the plus edition for $5 for 30 days. If you do decide to buy, pleas use my referral code: U33EH and I’ll get a little bonus for referring you. 🙂 Hope it is a help to you as much as it was for me.

Check out more wfmw.

DuPage Engineers Week

February 5th, 2012

Last year I heard about an event geared toward K-8th grade students that would help them understand and explore the various worlds of engineering. I had no idea how much we would enjoy this event.

Here’s the info on the event for this year:

Join us for a fun, free, family interactive event with displays and presentations that will excite children about science and engineering. The DuPage Engineers Week Expo includes cryogenic freezing with a few controlled explosions, model airplanes and a wind tunnel exhibit, robots, bicycle power, load testing and destruction, static electricity, levers and pulleys, building molecules and hands-on activities with ZOOM®, Design Squad, LEGO® Robotics, and the DuPage Children’s Museum. See a list the free public events.

You do not have to be an engineer to enjoy the 28th Annual DuPage Area Engineers Week Expo. The Expo is geared toward children in K-8th Grade, however, all ages will enjoy this event!

Details:
When: Saturday, February 25, 2012 from 10:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Where: Illinois Institute of Technology: 201 East Loop Road, Wheaton, IL (Directions)
Cost: Free, and open to the public

Lunch and snack items will be available for purchase as a fundraiser from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

IIT Alumni – Call for information on a special Alumni-only Breakfast!

If you are free and looking for something to keep your kids engaged, I would encourage you to check this out. It was packed last year, but we still managed to navigate our stroller through the hallways somehow. Our whole family enjoyed the event immensely, although our then 8 month old did not like Mr. Freeze’s explosions. If you have seen his show there or elsewhere, you can probably understand why.

Expect parking to be a nightmare, and the building to be crowded, but also prepare for your kids to enjoy themselves and not want to leave. We all learned a lot of new information.  Some displays have kids helping out, but many are staffed by engineers eager to share about their background, their education, the career choice, and their displays. They want to engage your student and help them learn about engineering and the various fields it encompasses.

The program for the event is now available online, so check that out to get a good idea of what to expect from the displays.

Free science classes

February 2nd, 2012

I received the following information via email. Please contact the teacher at the bottom of the invitation for more information.

A Special Invitation!!!

Dear Parents of Home School Students:

I am an instructor in the Teacher Education Department at Judson University
and would like a pre-service teacher that I am instructing to have an
opportunity to work with a multi-age group of students. I would like to invite
you and your second through sixth grade home-school students to come to
four special science/math learning experiences.

Mr. Matt Langston and I will be preparing four hands-on integrated science,
mathematics, and language arts experiences. There would be no charge for
the lessons but parents must attend with their students. (Please do not bring
children who are younger than second grade.)

Where: Judson Teacher Education Building – (Creekside)
Located at the bottom of the hill on Jerusha Street, Elgin, IL

When: 8:30 – 10:30 Monday, February 13

8:30 – 10:30 Monday, February 27
8:30 – 10:30 Monday, March 19
8:30 – 10:30 Monday, March 26

Thinking Like a Scientist – Process Skills
Ramps and Rollers – Physical Science
Fractions and Geometry
Height and Hands – Life Science

Please RSVP at lfiggins@quixnet.net. I need to know the dates you can attend
and the number and grade levels of the children who will be attending with
you. It is not necessary to attend all sessions but I think the experiences would
be very beneficial for all learners. (Please include the names of all participants
as well as a phone number.)

Feel free to call me with any questions of clarification.

Dr. Linda Figgins
630-319-7913

Steve Demme coming to the area

February 2nd, 2012

Next week! This ICHE sponsored event is coming soon, and if you can’t attend in person you can register to attend online. Steve Demme is an incredible speaker and well worth taking the time out of your weekend to give a listen.

Please join ICHE and CHOSEN, the Freeport area support group, in welcoming
Steve Demme to the greater Rockford area!

Steve will be sharing his unique and encouraging insights on family life.  Steve and his wife have raised four sons by God’s grace.  He has worked as a math teacher and a pastor, but many know him as the author and founder of Math-U-See.

The desire of Steve’s heart is to see a balanced bilblical view of the family restored.  We are very excited to hear from a man who has seen first hand how our homes and families can be impacted by the love and grace of our Savior.

Check out their website for all of the details about this family discipleship seminar.

This event is an exciting first for ICHE.
If you cannot attend in person, we are offering a live webstream of the event!

To view the live webstream, register online and check the box that says live stream at the end of the registration form.  You will receive an email shortly before the event with instructions on accessing the website and video stream.

Essay contest

February 1st, 2012

Midwest Creation Fellowship, PO Box 952, Wheaton, IL 60187  PH: 847-223-4730

Have you entered the essay contest? A couple months still to get your entries in. Take advantage of being stuck indoors by having your kids do some writing with a purpose. All the details below and at Midwest Creation Fellowship’s site.

Here’s some info to get you started (but, fyi, I think their ages are switched on their categories):

Purpose:
To encourage the development of skills in research, analysis and logical reasoning through preparing an effective presentation of a thesis in a creation-oriented paper.

Prizes: Senior High Level (Ages 11-14*)

  • $250 First Place
  • $100 Second Place
  • $75 Third Place

Junior High Level (Ages 14-18*)

  • $100 First Place
  • $50 Second Place
  • $25 Third Place

* Entrants 14 years old on April 30 may enter either Junior or Senior division

Topics: must strongly relate to the subject of creation vs. evolution, from a creationist perspective. Suggestions:

  • Why do cultures around the world…
    …have the same star constellations?
    …have very similar legends, such as a gigantic flood?
    …offer blood sacrifices to their god(s)?
  • Reasons why I believe in creation
  • Vestigial organs: a vestigial argument
  • More topic suggestions

Veritas Press free gift card

February 1st, 2012

Veritas Press makes some absolutely amazing stuff and here is an opportunity to get it at a discount.

Every person that signs up with them (email only required), will receive a $5 gift card to use toward their curriculum purchase. Then, share the link they give you with your friends and you will get an additional $5 for each person that signs up through your link. So, this is a way to help us both out! Pleas sign up using the link below and we will both be on our way to some $$ off our next Veritas Press purchase.

http://www.VeritasPress.com/launchrock.html?lrRef=59l8t

Thank you, and enjoy!