Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kids Bowl Free!

On the last day of co-op a parent was telling me about something she had been doing with her kids over the last few days and I wanted to share! Kids Bowl Free is a nationwide summer program that offers 2 free passes per day, per child to your family! There is no catch! You may still have to pay for shoes, but other than that all of your children (there is a limit of 6 on one account but the FAQ says all you need to do is create a second account!) can bowl free. On top of that awesome deal, they also offer a Family Pass for $24.99! The family pass allows you to put up to 4 adults on your account and each day each of those adults will also receive 2 passes to bowl. This is excellent! When we bowl it normally cost us around that price per game. Now we can bowl all summer!
If you decide to sign up I would love it if you would use for the referal. Each referal enters me to win a Disney World Vacation!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

3 Ways To Make Science Fun and a $30 GC Giveaway to Home Science Tools

God's world is amazing. I can't count how many times I have stopped to marvel at a sunset or research a new scientific discovery. If I find it that amazing, imagine what the world must be like through the eyes of a child! If it's one question I know well its "Why?". Why is the sky blue? Why does the sun go down? Why did God make bees? Why does it rain? Why do bubbles pop? Home Science Tools is here to help you answer those questions and I would like to give away a $30 gift card to, but first I would like to give you a few ways to make science fun!

1. Watch it!
Have you ever been asked how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly? Most of us can answer this question but why not watch it instead? This Butterfly Garden Kit was one of my children's favorites. We not only got to talk about how this miraculous change happens but we got to see it! Interested in watching some other interesting insects? Try Ladybugs or try Hatching Frogs. You can even Hatch Quail Eggs! For your middle schoolers and up try Growing Bacteria in Petri Dishes.

2. Touch It!

What could be more fun than doing Experiments with Slime? Try building your own circuits with this Electricity Investigation Kit, try Dissecting or make a crime scene and solve it using Forensic Science.

3. Make It!

Science and Chocolate? Sounds like a winning mixture to me! Learn how chocolate is made while making your own with this Chocolate Making Kit! Is your child wondering why certain mixtures fizz? Try this Fizzy Foam Science Kit. What about making ice cream with this Ice Cream Kit for a fun way to learn and cool down at the same time? With Rock Tumblers you can smooth out stones and make your own collectible rocks and minerals.

On to the fun stuff:

This give away will be a $30 gift card to To enter all you need to do is follow my blog HERE and post a comment! It's that easy! Want a second and/or even a third chance to win? Follow me on Twitter or join Molding Minds on Facebook! Please post one comment for each entry. I will use a random line picker to draw a winner on Saturday June 12th!

I was not compensated for this giveaway. The prize was donated by and the post written above is my own personal opinion and not that of

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm still here!

Just letting you all know that we are finishing up the end of our spring session and I will be back and blogging again in a few days! I have a great review for K'nex coming up as well as a giveaway!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

6 Reasons to Homeschool Year Round

The descision of how to plan your school year is one of the first you will make. Most new homeschoolers assume that going with the public school year, roughly September through May, will be the template they will follow. However, after starting, many of us find out that there are many advantages to NOT following the public school year model.

1. No big gaps means no need for tons of review over last years work. I'm sure we all remember with less than fond memories the amount of review that was required at the beginning of each year. What we learned the previous year was almost always lost during the weeks of no application over the summer holidays. Year round schooling eliminates this by eliminating the huge gap over summer break, keeping concepts fresh in your child's mind.

2. Working at a pace that is best for your child. Most of us have at least a general idea of what we would like to accomplish during a school year, but what if our child needs more time on a particular concept? This is not possible when you are in a rush to finish on a self-imposed deadline. Year round schooling gives you the flexibility you need to spend days or even weeks helping your child fully grasp concepts that they struggle with.

3. Things happen. Let's face facts. Stuff happens. Kids get sick, relatives pass away, cars break down. All of these things can interfere with schooling, but schooling year around gives you the option to put off school without having to worry about playing catch up.

4. Not having to vacation with the crowds rocks! What is worse than paying for a vacation to Disney World only to get there and be held hostage by the long lines at the It's a Small World ride? Let me tell you from experience that Disney World is so much better in August after school starts than in June when all the summer crowds are there. Not to mention most hot spots for vacations will run specials during the off seasons.

5. Flexability. Besides just simply beating the crowds, being able to plan your vacations or time off when you want is just convient.

6. No back to school blues. Well, I think this one speaks for itself. No having to fight the kids to get back on the school schedule. No having to recover from one day being able to do what you want, to the next day having to get back on track.

Year around school looks different for each of us who use it. Some will use a 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off schedule. Others simply take off time when they feel like it. We personally use, a mix of taking off when we feel like it and scheduled time off, taking off all of December. Trying to school during the chaos of the holidays is all but impossible for us. What does your school year look like?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fabulous Freebie From Fry's!

How do you like my fancy alliteration?

To the point. Fry's Electronics currently offering Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum for free after mail in rebate! (thanks Brian!). It is currently out of stock online but you can do a search for availability to locate it in store near you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Blog Design and Magazine Giveaway!!

I am extending this contest to Friday May 21st!!!

Well here it is! What do you think? I had so much fun working with Kristin over at Simple Whimsy Designs. Best of all she did all the thinking for me! All I had to do was say yes or no!

To celebrate my new look I am going to do another giveaway! This time I will be giving away a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!

With information on travel, Biblical flowers, teaching math across the grades, and more, The Old
Schoolhouse® Magazine is warming up to spring already.

Enjoy articles on math, marine biology, and gardening this April when our Spring issue springs into action. Learn about a bit of history with a cast iron campfire dinner, as well as information on camps of all kinds; Christian camps, family camps, even homeschool camps can all be found in the pages of the Spring issue of TOS!

As always, a unit study and drawing lesson from Carolyn Hurst, author of the popular Draw, Write,Now® series, is included.

As the warmth of spring heats up the end of many homeschool calendars, many of us begin to look toward curriculum and supplies for the coming school year. Find information galore in thirty product reviews with our Lab Special Feature revealing details of a broad range of items you may find will be a perfect fit for your homeschool! Our reviewers are homeschooling just like you as they put items through their paces, check them out with their children, and give you an honest rundown of exactly what the item offers for your family. Get a head start on determining your wish list for next school year before attending conferences with the help of this boost of even more reviews than normally enjoyed in every issue!

Teach yourself a little more about Russian homeschoolers in our "Show and Tell" article as we learn what it is like to homeschool in Russia. And enjoy articles providing help for teaching a fidgety child, a drawing activity of marine animals, and be prepared with information about filling your own travel kits! Learn about resources by reading the reviews, sharpen your instructional skills with information in the articles, and get tips on teaching math across the grades. Teach, learn, and enjoy every day of homeschooling with our Spring issue.

Warm the hearts and minds of your family beginning this spring with a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine!

Free Homeschool Resources Every Friday from The Old Schoolhouse Store

Now on to the fun part! How do you enter to win this great prize? It's easy all you need to do is FOLLOW MY BLOG. And guess what there are three ways to enter for up the three entries! You can chose to follow me through my RSS FEED, TWITTER or FACEBOOK!!! One entry for each way you follow(please post a separate comment for each entry)! So what if you already follow me? All you need to do is comment and let me know! It's that easy! On Tuesday I will chose the winner using a random line picker.

This prize was donated to give away. I was not compensated in any way by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: How Does Your Garden Grow?

My Dad has planted a small garden and we went out to check on the progress of the Giant Sunflowers he planted for us. See more Wordless Wednesday Blogs Here!

Honey Bee Swarming Season

I took this picture out at my parents house.

This time of year is honey bee swarm season for Texas. In April we had a small swarm decide that it wanted to stop over in our front yard so what did we do? Took pictures and made it a school project of course! We waited 48 hours in hopes that the bees would move on but then had to call to have them removed. Unfortunately, leaving them, there was risking them building in our attic.

This is the swarm that landed in our tree. The removal guy said that it was very small. Only about 300 bees. These swarms can get huge! Think 25,000 bees or more!

First he had to get through the "guard bees". The queen is huddled deep in the middle with all the other bees protecting her.

This is the lapbook we are using to learn about honey bees. We are loving it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Summer Reading Programs

Summer reading programs are a great way to help keep your child's desire to read by providing them with a fun reward! Your local area may differ a bit from ours, but here is a list of some of the larger summer reading programs.

Barnes and Noble- Read 10 Books and get one free for participating in their summer reading program!

Half Priced Books- Earn a $3 gift card each week during the entire length of their summer reading program that they read for at least 15 min a day! This gives your child the potential to earn up to 9 gift cards!

National Amusements-BOOKWORM WEDNESDAYS - A fun and rewarding summer reading program developed to encourage young children to read during the summer months. BOOKWORM WEDNESDAYS entitles kids to free admission to a select children's film when they present a book report at a participating Showcase Cinemas, Multiplex Cinemas or Cinema de Lux box office. Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report.

Your local library is also a great place to look for reading programs.

This is not for the summer but the deadline to enroll is approaching so here are reading programs offered during the school year that require summer enrollment:

Pizza Hut Book it!-

Six Flags Read to Succeed


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our Homeschool Room

After doing some research and finding some awesome rooms like this one, Bright and Cheery School Room , I decided it was time to get DH on the ball with painting our school room. We are lucky enough to have a room dedicated to homeschooling. It was the room that sold this house plan to me. Since we moved in in August I have been slowly but surely getting the room to a point that I love. First step was to remove all of the scrapbooking stuff. Before the kids I used to scrap hardcore. I just don't have the time, or if I was to be honest, the desire to devote the time and money it takes to maintain that particular hobby so out it goes! (excuse the bad photos as they were taken with a camera phone)

Here are the pictures of our Homeschool Room finally! Its now been painted and somewhat organized. The pictures are in no particular order so sorry about that :)

This shelf is one I got from Lowes. It has doors but they dont fit on it right. I holds puzzles, board games, Ikea bins with crayons and other small school supplies, and our cookie sheet with magnetic letters.
I am decorating the room with the kids art work. This is a masterpiece by my oldest.

A wide shot of the left side of the room. Can't get the whole thing at once because of the walls. The red table and green chairs as well as the chalkboard are IKEA.
This side has our bookshelves and baskets on it.

My messy desk and a milkcrate full of stuff that needs a home. The artwork is my younger daughters. One of the bookshelves. This one holds the kids books, coloring books, and cute buckets that I got at Hobby Lobby during a 1/2 off sale. The baskets on the top of the shelf and the green one are ones I got 75% off during Walmart's Easter Clearance.
This is a ClosetMaid Laminate Shoe Organizer
that I found. It was perfect for the mini-milkcrates I found on clearance at Walmart. The Red and White bins are from Ikea. These hold various school supplies and a few books.

This shelf holds all of my curriculum and workbooks. The artwork on top was created by using a celery heart as a stamp. Again the buckets are Hobby Lobby.

The color on the wall is Asparagus by Valspar. I know it doesn't look anything like Asparagus does it? It is a great room though. I am so blessed to have the space and a husband willing to put up with my arranging and rearranging of our school space. Tell me about your space!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Yeah, so I haven't been so on top of doing this the last few weeks. We were out to eat way too much again but I am ready to get back on track!

Monday Dinner: Tacos. Quick and easy before I head off to study for my ASL exam.

Tuesday Dinner: Baked Tilapia in Butter Garlic Herb Sauce ( prefer to swap out the paprika with a blended herb mix I have)

Wednesday Dinner: Crock Pot Chicken Soft Tacos (can you tell I have some tortillas that need to be used?)

Thursday Dinner: It's produce day so I am making Shepherd's Pie!

Friday Dinner: Chicken Kiev maybe?

For more great menu plans head over to Menu Plan Monday at!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

HomeSchooling For Free Part 2: Organization and Record Keeping

Preview of my newly painted and reorganized homeschool room!

One of the mistakes I made as a new homeschooling parent was not keeping things organized. Some families can fly by the seat of their pants, but I need at least a basic organization. Not only does it help me keep track of where we are and what we are doing, but it also does a lot to assure my husband that we really do school, hehe. Here are some resources to help you get organized.

Homeschool Tracker- Basic record keeping software. This software allows you to keep record attendance, grades and assignments for multiple children. There is also an option upgrade for a reasonable price.

Homeschool Skedtrack-Homeschool Skedtrack is a FREE online lesson planner, scheduler, and tracking system rolled into one. The heart of the system is the automated scheduling of activities that frees you from the headache of rescheduling everything once an activity/lesson is missed.

Homeschool Inc- Another basic planning site.

I also suggest a milk crate or other file system and a set up like This One at Organizing Homeschool. For a minimal investment keeping organized will help you to save money, by allowing you to be able to keep up with what you already have. There is nothing like purchasing or printing something only to find the one you already bought buried underneath a pile of papers.

Don't forget to check out the previous installment of this series and be sure to sign up for Email Updates or Follow Me on Twitter to get post updates as they happen!

HomeSchooling For Free Part 3: Elementary Math

This episode is going to focus on elementary math. So that you don't have to go searching through the posts looking for the links, I am not going to bog you down with a lot of talking. Below is a list of free resources and a brief description of each:

Math Fact Cafe- Free printable worksheets for elementary math including drill cards on money, time and and more. Also, offers a build it option for a bit more customization.

ABC Teach-Offers a basic variety of printables starting with problems as simple as adding shapes together.

EZ School- There are a few ads to dodge on this site, but the worksheets are offered in color, which is nice if you are looking for something beyond your basic black and white. The site also offers a variety of age ranges so if you have more than one child you can get all their worksheets in one place.

Free Math Worksheets- This site offers some very customizable worksheets.

TLS Books-Scroll down a bit past the ads and you will find a variety of free printables.

Homeschool Math- Sheets for 1st grade up through 5th as well as various themed worksheets.

Currclick- Offers tons of free resources

Free Math Test- If you are looking for a way to gauge how your child is doing, this site offers free math tests.

Apples 4 the Teacher- Math Games

Cool Math for Kids- More Math Games

Well there you have it! There are TONS more free math resources all you need to do is SEARCH.