Sweet Critique: Alpha-Phonics


In my quest to provide you with as many resources as possible, I’m reviewing yet another learn-to-read program.  While we don’t necessarily need this at this point in our homeschool, I’m sure many of you do.

Up today is Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld.  This product is described as “A Primer for Beginning Readers.”  Those of you who are fond of phonics programs will love this one.

Designed for parents, this program provides 128 lessons that require little-to-no prep work.  By introducing vowel sounds one at a time, and the word families that result, each lesson builds on the next.

Extra bonus? Spelling and handwriting can be incorporated as well.

One of the things that struck me about this approach is that the lesson text is really large; something that would definitely catch the eyes of a little person, and wouldn’t seem so daunting.

The back of the book contains the parent handbook which is very straight-forward.  There really isn’t much to complicate this program.  It’s very direct and can be used in as little as ten minutes a day.

At only $35.95, I think it’s a great deal for any parent who is looking to help their child learn to read, supplement an existing program, or just build a better foundation.

I like that you can also purchase a CD with all the phonogram sounds.  You can make sure that you’re teaching your kids correctly!

Definitely give this a closer look if you’re in this stage of educating your child; it just might be the thing you’ve been looking for!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a review copy of this product.  All opinions are my own.

August 24, 2012

August 24

August 13, 2012

August 13

I Have a Photo Portfolio #GrillingisHappiness #SoFabU


Oh, squee!

A real-life, grown-up portfolio of pictures.

This, my friends, is the culmination of weeks of learning the basics of photography thanks to Sears, Social Fabric, and Stewart Cox.

I am so very grateful to them for making this class possible.  I never dreamed I’d be able to take {and edit} the pictures I’ve taken during this course.

And while this may seem a little frivolous, I totally *heart* Sears for providing all 20 of us gift cards to purchase our own grill.  Love!

I am even more proud of my blog now, and excited that I have the basic knowledge necessary to include some killer photos.

I learned how to edit, how to use my camera in manual mode, how to properly use props and lighting, utilize angles, and more.

Here we go, my ten best photos from the past few weeks!

True Confessions:  I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Sears #CBias #GrillingIsHappiness. All photos and opinions are my own.

9 Tips for Teaching Archaeology in Your Homeschool


9 Tips for Teaching Archaeology in Your Homeschool

Archaeology {or archeology, if you prefer; they’re both acceptable} isn’t a common profession.  As such, it can be difficult to run into materials you can use to help you with teaching archaeology in your homeschool.

Babydoll wants to be an archaeologist {and has for as long as I can remember}, so it’s important to me to somehow foster that desire in her schoolwork somehow.

Here is a compilation of ways you can include this in your homeschool, whether you have a child working toward the profession or one that just thinks it’s cool!

  1. Books and magazines:  This is probably the most obvious choice.  On the surface it might seem difficult to find age-appropriate materials, but you might be surprised by what’s out there.  Babydoll is a fan of dig™, an archaeology magazine for kids.  And just take a look at all the results on Amazon when you search for archaeology books for kids.
  2. Put together your own archaeologist kit:  I’m not talking about cheap plastic junk you can buy as a kit.  I’m talking a what-the-pros-use kit.  All you really need is a trowel and you’re good to go, but you’d be surprised at how inexpensively you can put together a base kit.  We got Babydoll started with a couple of different types of trowels {Marshalltown are the best, supposedly}, measuring tape, a folding ruler, a pencil, and a blue glittery notepad, just for some color.  Store it all in a tackle box or those stacking organization bins they sell at Walmart.
  3. Games:  Babydoll loved Roman Town!  It’s a computer game that takes the user through an interactive dig.  She finished it that day, I believe, but continues to play it.  It looks like they have a new game coming out next month.
  4. Join archaeology organizations:  There are international, national, and regional archaeology societies.  You can find a great listing of them on this site.  Many offer low rates for students and send newsletters, invitations to special events, and even information about participating in local digs.
  5. Visit archaeology museums:  Many colleges and universities that have an archaeology program also have museums that the public can visit.  It might even be possible to contact the museum before a visit and arrange for a professor to give your family a tour.  Many also have special events happening throughout the year.
  6. Look for camps:  Several states have resident camps designed to allow older kids the opportunity to help out with a dig, but these are pricey and not located conveniently for many of us.  Search for camps in your area, or in neighboring states.  At one time there was an archaeology camp offered for younger kids here in AL.  I know GA and FL have also offered family-oriented camps.
  7. Find archaeology celebrations:  Believe it or not, there are special days and months set aside for archaeology.  National Archaeology Day is October 20th this year, and the National Park Service offers National Archaeology Month.  Many states also have statewide celebrations, complete with festive events and many learning opportunities.  Having trouble finding them? Start with your local college or university.
  8. Volunteer at field schools:  If you have an older student, they can always ask to volunteer at a local field school.  They just might get the chance to haul dirt all summer while observing the workings of a real dig.  ShovelBums always maintains a great list of worldwide field schools.
  9. Create a full-year curriculum:  This can be downright terrifying, especially if you’re not a history or science buff, but it’s one of the most amazing things you can ever do for your child.  This is what we’re embarking on this year:  an entire year devoted to a real archaeological dig.  I highly recommend picking up Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for Kids by John White {affiliate link}.  Professor White was a big proponent of teaching proper archaeology to young children.  His guide is hands-down the best I have seen for teaching real archaeology.  I didn’t want a kit that we just hacked away at, finding the stuff hidden inside.  This book has actual forms, terminology, everything you need to really teach your child about actual archaeology.

Even if your child isn’t a die-hard archaeology fan, these activities can definitely liven up a history curriculum or many other aspects of school.

Have you found any great archaeology resources you use in your homeschool?

Photo credit: gordontour via photo pin cc