Monday, August 8, 2011

Homeschool Buyers Coop
Homeschool Buyers Co-op
#1 Way to Save

Howdy! I hope you are all having a great day! I just recently posted our curriculum choices for this year so if you are interested in seeing what we are using click on the curriculum link above.

I have to tell you about one way that I save money on Alyssa's curriculum.  I came across this website one day called the Homeschool Buyers Coop.  Even though I was hesitant at first to create a FREE account because it was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard of before ... I did after contacting the co-op with several questions. I don't regret making the decision to join.  I highly recommend you participate and become a member in this co-op opportunity.  My family and I have personally benefited from our membership.  I can't tell you how much money they have saved me just this year.  The cost for curriculum was much lower than the retail prices so I had the chance to purchase a variety of curriculum within our school budget. Alyssa will be exposed to different teaching methods and can learn in many ways.  I am soooo grateful to Brett Walter and his co-workers for dedicating their time to this project.  It's WONDERFUL!

This is how it works: School districts have purchasing power when buying curriculum and homeschooling families DO NOT since we buy items as individuals.  Brett has created a homeschool co-op so that homeschooling families can also have access to affordable curriculum reasonably priced with discounts ... DEEP discounts at times. Membership to this co-op gives us even more purchasing power! So why not join and then let the world know!!! LOL!

The Homeschool Buyer Co-op is a free homeschooling organization for both new and veteran homeschoolers.  Co-op membership is free and confidential, and entitles homeschooling families to discounts from hundreds of educational suppliers.  The Co-op also sponsors "Group Buys" for curriculum packages that can save homerschooling families lots of money. On the site you'll find lots of free information, such as databases of free curriculum, field trips, and educational contests and scholarships. 
Click here for more information.

Free Membership Includes:
Exclusive Discounts from Suppliers
Group Buy Discounts
Free Homeschool ID Cards
Free Homeschool Resources
Free Classifieds
Smart Points and the Reward Center

You can find out how to earn Smart Points and what you can do with them by clicking the links above.  Make sure you read all the terms so that you understand the process well.  I purchased my husband's promotion books through a company listed under the Smart Points Get Em' tab - scroll down to the bottom.  I was awarded Smart Points and they were used for a recent Art purchase.  I definitely plan on utilizing this feature around Christmas time. Last year I purchased most of my gifts online ... because I just don't like crowed areas and the seasonal shopping attitudes.  This year I can do the same thing and receive Smart Points for purchasing items from popular shops I already use.

You REALLY SHOULD check it out soon! Right now, they have some pretty amazing deals including but not limited to:
1.) Rosetta Stone until August 11th, 2011
2.) Family Time Fitness until Aug. 29th, 2011.
3.) Little Passports until August 17th, 2011
4.) ABC Teach August 29th, 2011
5.) Math Mammoth until August 22nd, 2011
6.) IXL Math
7.) Let's Go Learn DORA and DOMA
8.) Atelier Art until August 2nd, 2011
9.) Intellego Unit Studies K-8th Grade
10.) Discovery Education Plus
11.) Teacher File Box until August 31st, 2011
12.) Explode the Code Online
13.) Click N Read Phonics (Lifetime)
14.) Home School in the Woods

Others offers posted include companies such as BJU Press, Alpha Omega, Brain Pop, Critical Thinking Company, Simply Music, Door Posts, etc. You know that you are already drooling - so just go and see what I mean for yourself.  Click on the logo or link above.  It doesn't hurt to look ... mull it over and decide for yourself but if your interested in one of the time sensitive discounts above join before the deals end. There is no guarantee that deals will be back at another time.  Certain curriculum offers have expiration dates while others are ongoing (for now). 
Possible Offers Coming Soon
1.) Reading Eggs
This deal will be super sweet and save you a bundle!  Alyssa absolutely LOVES this website. She enjoys earning eggs and their cute critters.  I purchased my subscription from the actual company in February.  I wish I had known this deal was coming! I can't transfer or extend Alyssa's progress or subscription otherwise I would jump on this deal in a heart beat.  I tried the two week trial to see if Alyssa would be interested in this program ... and she was.

2.) Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett
They are currently working on an agreement to launch this one in possibly a couple of weeks.  Be on the look out! 

Those programs are just the ones that am interested in ... YOU should see if they have any deals listed for your child's age group.  

After we purchased Rosetta Stone for the family we used those Smart Points and ones I had saved up from previous purchases to buy Meet the Masters.  This may not be available anymore but you can always ask the HSBC or make a curriculum suggestion to them.  I make suggestions all the time!  I only paid a service fee of $1.95 for their time and service to set-up the account.  Meet the Masters is a 3 year online art curriculum and I am super excited about trying it with Alyssa.  We have made several other purchases from the HSBC including the Right Start Math curriculum and Explode the Code online to name a few. Alyssa enjoys the online Explode the Code subscription and I can track her progress to learn how to meet her needs better.  We both love the math program and I am happy to say that she is not stuck doing seat work all day. The math curriculum teaches mental math and we play lots of games to practice concepts.  I am blessed to have found this co-op.  It was easy, secure, and safe! I hope to one day purchase Discovery Education Plus from them ... but just can't afford it right now.     

Disclosure: I will earn Smart Points if you join through my blog ... that gives us the opportunity to purchase additional curriculum for Alyssa next year.  You are also awarded 100 points just for joining.  So if you decide to think it over please return and join through my links. I would really appreciate it and of course there is no obligation to join.  I won't know who joined and who didn't unless you personally tell me. Thank you so so much!  Have a great day!  

Thank you,
Tracey M.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Curriculum 2011-2012

Eclectic Curriculum Choices
This year I wanted to participate in the Not Back To School Blog Hop hosted by Heart of a Matter.  This is the week that everyone posts curriculum choices for the year.  I love hearing about curriculum choices and I really enjoy seeing how different people organize their school materials.  Yes, I am also a curriculum junkie and I am completely addicted to teaching and the learning process.  My curriculum choices are very eclectic - curriculum choices were made based on Alyssa's abilities, interests, and learning style.

I have been racking my brain for a couple months (well, it has been longer than that) trying to decide how I want to organize our school time, how to organize the classroom, and what curriculum I should use with Alyssa. I have been making purchases and looking for deals for over two years.  I have FINALLY made some choices. Several of you will probably think I am CRAZY, but I am following Alyssa's interests and abilities. Please do not judge me.  I would NEVER EVER force learning on my daughter nor am I in a rush. I am sure that things will change over the year so things are not set in stone - these are tentative curriculum choices. We will probably eliminate curriculum - I will adjust things as we go because I always plan too much. We will also continue using the workbox system by Sue Patrick to organize her subjects. It works well for us and has since Alyssa was 15 months old.  I will be putting one subject in each container for her to complete.

All About Alyssa
Right now as I type this, Alyssa is 3 years and 8 months old. She absolutely LOVES school and literally begs for school on a daily basis. She would do it ALL day if I let her. I am serious!  She is an avid reader. She loves everything reading, singing, dancing, art, math, etc! I believe her favorite subject right now has to be either Reading or Spanish. She is currently reading Aesop's Fables by Sheila Carroll and Reading Literature: The Primer by Harriette Taylor Treadwell (Yesterday's Classics).  These two books are read by her almost every night.  Her favorite story from the Primer is "The Pancake."  I love the way she reads it and hope one day to record it.  Daddy had the pleasure of hearing it last night.  

So here are our choices for this year ...

1.) Horizons K Reading and Phonics ... so far too easy ... hoping it will challenge her soon so that she doesn't get bored with it.  I also didn't realize it was so workbook intensive. She is in the phase where she likes worksheets, so we are good for now.  I place the worksheets in sheet protectors and use things like bingo chips and wikki sticks to give it some flare.  I am still on the search for an appropriate curriculum for her - no luck yet!  She adores the little readers. We snuggle up in a bean bag chair. I have her look at the title and picture to predict what the story might be about. Then, she reads the story for the day. There are currently no comprehension questions but I always make up a few and she does well with them. I have been adding in activities here and there to compliment the lessons to make it more hands-on.
2.) Itty Bitty Bookworm (Literature-Based Author Study)
We will try to study one author per month instead of the two listed to make it last longer and for a more in depth study.  This is the Year 3 Bo curriculum.  I waited and purchased during one of their BOGO offers.  
3.) Reading A-Z
4.) Read Alouds (Book Lists Available Online)
     MFW Kindergarten Literature Collection
     Sonlight Read Aloud Book List (Core A)
     Living Books Curriculum Book List K
     EpiKardia K
     Simply Charlotte Mason
5.) DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read)
6.) DORA Reading Assessment

Sight Words
Note: Since she can already read most of the sight words ... her goal this year is to learn how to also spell them and use them in context.
1.) Rainbow Words (more on this later)
She has already learned to spell the first color level of words and has received her reward.  The second color level is just as easy so I am sure she will complete that one soon. I plan to purchase the second level upon completion of Level 1.
Other Sight Word Resources:
2.) Ready2Read from Moffatt Girls
3.) Spell City
4.) Sight Word Games and Activities
*I would love to purchase Heidi Songs Sing and Spell!
1.) Explode the Code Book 1
I have a feeling she will zip through this book since she uses their online program. She passed their pretest in the book with flying colors. She is currently working on Lesson 6. She reads the directions to me and completes the pages without help.  I do supervise and watch for correct letter formation so that bad habits are not formed early. We place the worksheets in the Crayola Activity Center (used a Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon to purchase). 
2.) Explode the Code ONLINE (K-4)
She is about to start book two online.
Other Phonics Resources:
1.) AlphaPhonics 
2.) Frontline Phonics
*I wish I could try Rocket Phonics.

1.) All About Spelling Level 1
She knows most of the sounds represented in Lesson 1 and we are currently working through Lesson 4 to assess letter formation.  We play lots of games to help her learn the letter sounds represented in the AAS lesson and we use a lot of hands-on activities from HWOT to practice letter formation.

2.) Rainbow Words (see above ... more on this later)
3.) Spell City

2.) Handwriting Without Tears Get Set For School Pre-K (T, Th)
I believe Alyssa can already write almost all of the letters both capital and lowercase so I think she will zip through both of these levels if we consistently use them)
handwriting.gif     GSS.jpg

1.) Sentence School (HWOT - 3X  per week)
2.) Wordly Wise K (daily)
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1.) Grammar Tunes (McGraw-Hill Reading and Language Arts)
2.) Grammar Tales (books)
3.) Sentence School (HWOT)
4.) Morning Message
5.) First Language Lessons Year 1 (Focus on Nouns/Poems)        
My hope is to find games and activities that compliment the
lessons taught.  Any suggestions?
6.) Homeschool Creations Poems for FLL

Poetry Binder
1.) K-1 Poetry Notebook created by Busy Teacher Printables
2.) Homeschool Creations Poems for FLL
3.) MFW K Theme Related or Seasonal Poems

Poetry Basket
2.) Idea borrowed from My Montessori Journey

Tentative Daily Poetry Activities
Mondays - Pocket Chart Choral or Shared Reading
Tuesday -  Highlighting Work
Wednesday - Cut Apart Envelope Work
Thursday - Retell with props
Friday - Share with Daddy (read or memorize) 

2.) Math U See Primer (Th, F, Sat. or Sun.) 
3.) Calendar Time (Spanish and English)
4.) DOMA Math Assessment    
index.asp.jpg     primer-instruct.jpg

Other Supplemental Math Resources:
1.) Math Mammoth Complete Curriculum or Light Blue Series
2.) Saxon, Mathematics Their Way, EB Singapore
3.) Math Tub Exploration and Discovery
4.) Math Games, Center Activities, and Gross Motor Acitivities
5.) School Bell's Number Tubs 

Bible (History and Science) - parts of each curriculum
1.) My Father's World K (M, W, F ... Science Animal Units) 
2.) Weaver Interlock (T, Th, Sat./Sun.)
3.) Little Hands to Heaven (supplement or morning devotional)

Nature Study 
1.) Nature Walks and/or Hunts
2.) Research and Living Books
3.) Anna Comstock Nature Book
4.) Handbook of Nature Study for Young Children
5.) Charlotte Mason Nature Study or Ambleside Nature Study
6.) Nature Narration, Journaling, or Scrapbooking

Holiday Study (9 Historic American Holidays)
I Love America Volume 1
I Love America Volume 1.JPG.jpg

Spanish (M, W, F)
1.) Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum
This curriculum was recently updated and released in July.  I have been blogging and posting pictures about our experiences with this curriculum.  See posts here. Check it out!
2.) Thursday Bilingual Story Time at Library
3.) The Complete Book of Starter Spanish (Pre-K-1) and The Complete Book of Spanish (Grades 1-2).
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Other Spanish Resources:
1.) Little Pim (DVD 5) We won this last year from their blog!
2.) Spanish Champs Level 1 - may use after or at the same time as Sonrisas (not sure yet).
3.) Muzzy (Alyssa likes this ...)
4.) Rosetta Stone Latin America
She will sit in while her father learns Spanish for his job. We found a deal at the HSBC - it continues until I think Aug. 11th.
5.) Mango Languages
This is a FREE online program available through our library (Check to see if yours has it or Rosetta to save money! This may
also be listed under computer or Accountable Kids ticket time.
Sign Language Resources (T, Th, S.)
1.) Signing Time Classroom Edition - Unbelievable Ebay deal!
Other Sign Language Resources:
1.) Wee Signs (ABC, Nursery Rhymes, Colors, Numbers, Animals)
OMG! I was at our local teacher store searching through their
60% off piles and I found three Wee Signs DVDs!
2.) Starfall Alphabet Sign Language
4.) Sign Language Wall Charts (in binder) and Books 
Centers (on days off or whenever time allows)
1.) Fine Motor Skills - Montessori Methods and 1+1+1=1
2.) Math Games
3.) Reading Games
4.) Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Fluency, and Comprehension

Computer Time (limit 30 minutes per day)
1.) Explode the Code Phonics (M, W, F) Book Two
2.) Reading Eggs (T, Th, S/Sun.) First round almost finished!
3.) Click n' Read Phonics (lifetime subscription) Please mention
my name Tracey Masters and they will pay a small referral fee so that I can eventually purchase Click and Spell.  Sorry I had to ask.
4.) Starfall (FREE sections)
5.) Mango Languages (FREE - any and all languages)

Creative Art (T, Th.)
1.) Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book 1
2.) Atelier Level 1 Module A, B, C
10_k-3_1.jpg     level-1-curriculum.jpg

Theater, Museums, and Galleries 
1.) Magik Theater Productions and Guides (plays on stage)
So far she has only seen Pinkalicious, but the plan is to purchase a family membership in August to save money in the long run.
2.) Field Trips

Art Appreciation and Picture Study
1.) Meet the Masters (3 Year Access)
2.) Child-Sized Masterpieces (AKA Mommy, It's a Renoire)
3.) Come Look With Me Series

Music (W, Sat. or Sun.)
1.) Music for Little Mozarts 
2.) Music Made Easy - Guitar Alpha Omega
3.) Pfeiffer Music Curriculum K-6 (lesson once a month)???
4.) Introduction to Classical Music with Art (Part of MFW K)
*I would love Kinderbach or the Pianimals curriculums!
Note: I am super excited! I made curriculum purchases with the credit card and then paid my hubby for it out of the school budget. When we use our TOYRUS credit card we earn cash coupons back.  I have been saving them up for months. Last night, they had 20% off all musical instruments so I took all 8 of my cash back coupons ($80) in to buy my daughter a keyboard for lessons for the first curriculum listed and eventually to use with Kinderbach once we can afford it. We got it for FREE! I love it when things like that happen.

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Physical Education (M, F, plus daily outdoor activities)
1.) The P.E. Challenged Mom (Activities and Sport Study)
2.) Family Time Fitness Core and Workbooks K 1-4
3.) Learning in Motion K, 1: Teaching LA and Math through Movement (found these both 50% at our Education Station)
4.) PE Connections by Thomas M. Fleming
5.) Ready-to-Use P.E. Activities (K-2) By Joanne M. Landy
6.) Swimming (Daddy is trying to teach her how to swim)
7.) Gymnastics OR Dance
*NOTE: The first two are on sale for a limited time now at CurrClick!!!! Family Time Fitness is also on sale at the HSBC this month only. 

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Typing - Considering Read, Write, and Type or Word Qwerty by Talking Fingers for use at a later time. What did you think?

Library Options (1X - 2X per week)
Choices depending on our schedule that week
1.) Canyon Lake Preschool Storytime (W)
2.) New Braunfels Storytime (T)
3.) Bulverde Storytime (M)
4.) New Braunfels Bilingual Storytime (Th) or
5.) Bulverde Bilingual Story Time (Th)

Chore Chart (Teaching Responsibilities ... Save Spend Donate)
1.) Accountable Kids ( I think they also give referral fees)
I really wanted to purchase this new and personalized, but when I found it on Ebay for a GREAT deal I couldn't pass it up. We may personalize it later. My daughter has been completing her chores off and on depending on how many tickets she already has on the board. She has been pretty consistent with it so far. She uses the tickets she earns after scripture time, after school, as a break from school, or before bed. I really just watch her and see how she is doing. We do not have the full system in play yet.  More later!


Ha ... ha ... ha ... I wish - That's so funny! This girl NEVER wants to nap and really never did when she was a baby. She has quiet time which is a time when she reads or plays with her other toys.

Now, if I only I could find a weekly lesson plan (planner) that works for me.  Satori Smiles recommended Homeschool Skedtrack on her blog.  I like the fact that it has an automated scheduling feature that enables you to easily reschedule everything once a lesson is missed.  I also LOVE her blog! I might try that?????? Suggestions?

I hope to hear from you soon!!!!
Thank you, 
Tracey M.