Again created by KM and AM!
Feb 26, 2010
Feb 25, 2010
BigUniverse.com is an award-winning education website for grades K-8. This engaging web community uses beautiful picture books to instill the love of reading, writing and learning, while providing an anywhere-anytime, standards-based, education resource that connects teachers, students and parents.
Our products and features include:
- Big Universe Reader™ - Read hundreds of fiction and nonfiction children's books from today's best publishers and take optional quizzes to assess comprehension.
- Big Universe Author™ - Create, print & publish animated e-books using an easy-to-use writing tool and 7000+ images.
- Big Universe Community™ - Safely share your bookshelf, recommendations and published books with your peers only or thousands of other members.
Sounds fantastic doesn't it! The concept of the site is a really appealing one and the site is easy to maneuver and get around for the most part. Some of the icons are a bit confusing, but you can get to understand them quick enough. I checked out quite a few books on different levels and there are some aspects that I liked, but some that I really didn't. I liked having the books instantly available. I also liked the create and share features area. My daughter had a good time making little skits and using the clip art to create comic strips. There were however some serious flaws in the Read section.
In my opinion here are the biggest problems -
- The site is listed as having materials for K-8 - there is one title listed for 7th & 8th graders. That's it one! I can understand that if they are hoping the future to have more content available for the 7th & 8th graders, but really the site should be promoted as K-6 with more grades to come, or something along those lines. This one book is not secular in content, has no quiz or assessment for it and is listed in the 6th grade level as well.
- Irrelevant questions on the quizzes - I tried out a quiz on a book that was at a 1.3 level, the topic of the book was weather and I was astounded when one of the quiz questions asked like - "How many kids are on the float on page 3?" and "The animal on the rain coat on page 5 is a ______ . " Why on earth would you ask these questions. MAYBE, I could understand if you had the book in front of you and you wanted to see how perceptive the child was being, but you can't even look back at the book while taking the quiz. It is like they are asking for the kids to get frustrated with it!
- Content of User Created Books - While they do distinguish between the user created books an publisher books, if the kids are looking to find information it could be very easy for them to get confused. After looking at some of the user created books that are listed as non-fiction, I would not feel comfortable allowing any child to use this area for research or educational purposes.
Feb 23, 2010
This is KM's favorite ~
This is MY favorite ~
We had paper ALL over the work room for quite a few day -
Feb 22, 2010
but I have to say....IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!
This is one of the best movies that I have seen in a long time. Unlike many movies that have been made from incredible books this one was as close to the mark as I think it could get using living actors. The graphics and special effects were incredible. Medusa's snakes were the pinnacle of the movie for me, it truly looked like Uma Thurman had snakes crawling out of her head!
I don't want to be a spoiler so I will just say that the few tweaks that they did for the movie were understandable in my opinion. KM was a bit annoyed that Annabeth was not blonde, but really she had NOTHING else bad to say about the movie.
It was truly spectacular and we REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, ~ oh did i say REALLY, ~ hope they make the rest of the series!
I will also mention that CJ - who did not read the book ~ also thorougly enjoyed it and hopes for sequels!
Feb 20, 2010
Feb 18, 2010
Feb 16, 2010
and gave it a go, following the directions on the bottle....
Now I know she has dark hair, but I was a bit against bleaching it to begin with. I consulted a few hair dresser friends and they suggested that I try a chunking kit. So for take 2 the process was a bit longer....
and she got a bit impatient!
Here was the results after nearly 2 hours!
And here were the results the next morning:
Feb 15, 2010
Feb 12, 2010
I took Hands of a Child up on an offer that they had made a few months back to review a project pack for them. Having used their products before I was very excited to try something that would boast KM's interest in this area. Here is my review -
I was very hopeful that my reluctant writer would really be engaged by this method of presentation. However she quickly found many issues with the product including, spelling and grammar errors, poorly written examples and while some activities were extremely simplified others were far more advanced at an earlier stage than it seemed they should be. The format has you writing full paragraphs before the process has been completely explained. My daughter became very frustrated with the pack before she was even halfway through it.
I was greatly disappointed with this product. I submitted my review to Currclick as per my agreement with the Hands of A Child representative that had contacted me. I also attempted to submit the review to the Hands of A Child site, but it is not allowing me to for some reason. I have used many other project packs from this company and have liked them all, so please don't let this one review deter you from the publisher completely!
Feb 11, 2010
Feb 8, 2010
We will be taking a break from our History Time Line for a little bit to do a 5 week unit study on Inventors! I will keep you posted and be sure to share links for any useful sites!
Feb 7, 2010
We completed the unit on one of my favorite artists - Georgia O'Keefe this week. The image above is KM's favorite, which is entitled Red Canna and was painted in 1923.
We had a lot of fun trying out her techniques of shading, scaling and watercolors. Here are some examples of the works we did -
KM was a bit creeped out by the fact Georgia collected bones from the desert, but once we got past that fact, she seemed to really enjoy this unit!
Feb 4, 2010
It really isn't that big of a deal, but has made a HUGE difference around here. Instead of switching gears CONSTANTLY through out the day as we go from subject to subject - we have decided to do one subject each day. As of right now it looks something like this:
We are finishing up our math program which is mostly review, so it really isn't anything that needs to be done daily. The next math that she will be doing in our spring session is a new program that I think will also work well with this system. However once she gets back into Teaching Textbook for Algebra 1 in the summer we will tweak it so that she does Math everyday and electives on Mondays so that we will have a four day week - leaving Fridays open for field trips.
So far it has been really productive and gives a good flow to the material! It seems like it was just the right time to switch things up!
Feb 2, 2010
Feb 1, 2010
We are starting out on a new leg of our adventure and some things have changed a bit ~ mostly for the better.
The biggest change is that I am no longer watching the Littles on a regular basis. They are doing wonderfully on their new adventure and I can feel more like an aunt again! KM misses them, but is really enjoying some of the perks of this change.
One of those perks being a much needed change in sleep schedules - KM had been getting a bit spacey and with all the changes going on with her physically at this age, I thought I would check in with her doctor to see what he thought. His first suggestion was to make sure that she was eating, drinking and sleeping enough! Most kids don't get the benefit of being homeschooled and not HAVING to get up at the crack of dawn, so his first suggestion was to go a few weeks letting her wake up on her own schedule. This at first FRIGHTENED me IMMENSELY - I thought for sure she would sleep til 2 in the afternoon and want to stay up til 3 in the morning, but of course her Dr quickly added, that this should not change her bedtime! She should still try to get to sleep at a reasonable hour and then her body should naturally begin to set its own rhythms. Of course I also began researching on my own as well and found a number of articles that went into great detail to explain the differences in the circadian rhythms of teenagers. - Here is one - and another - and one more!
This really made me think - "Okay yet another INCREDIBLE benefit of homeschooling!" When KM first began homeschooling we had to teach her how to acknowledge the needs of her body that she had suppressed for so long at PS. Simple things like drinking when she is thirsty, eating when she is hungry, etc. rather than waiting for the teacher to say it is time to do those things and you better do them or you may not get a chance to do them again for HOURS!
For the first week there were a LOT of late mornings, but she did seem much more awake and refreshed in the afternoons and evenings, with far fewer "duh" moments - by this I mean, "what did I walk into the kitchen for? oh yeah I need to eat!" sort of thing - I also started to see the natural switch and she is now sleeping wonderfully and awaking refreshed and ready to start at a reasonable time. With this extra time in the morning, I can get more of MY things done like chores and exercise and such, before she even gets up! It also gives her more time in the evening to hang out with CJ and I without feeling so exhausted.
Another benefit is that since we don't have the Littles ~ and all that must be brought along with tiny children ~ to haul around with us, it is so much easier to just up and go whenever the mood hits us! We can go for a snow hike today because it is sooooo pretty out and the weather is just right! We can just pop out to a matinee movie because we put the lessons off until tomorrow. We can scrap the history book for the afternoon and get the grocery shopping done so that we can have friends over in the evening. It is just so freeing! It has felt like we were missing this true freedom aspect of home learning because we were always trying to get the hard core "WORK" done on the days that we didn't have the girls so that when we had them we could play, do art and have fun little kid time. However now we get to have fun "tween" time!
Please don't get me wrong I LOVE my nieces with all my heart and would do anything for them, but it was just time for our paths to split for a while! I will however let everyone know how they are enjoying their new journey.
AS ALWAYS we are also tweaking our curriculum a bit, but we haven't worked the kinks out quite yet so I will have to let you know about that in another post! Anyway, thanks so much for hanging in there while it was quiet and all the great emails of encouragement and concern! My readers are so WONDERFUL!