Monday, January 31, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Last Week's Library Loot Reviews

Goose Girl by Joe McLellan and Matrine McLellan, illustrated by Rhian Brynjolson (Canadian Authors and Illustrator)
The illustrations in this book are very nice.  I'd love to have some of them as artwork in my house.  It tells the story of a Cree girl and her special connection to geese and how she found her special calling in life.  Overall I liked this book but it does have some spiritual ideas that I don't agree with.  At the back is a page of information about Canadian geese.  Would be a good addition to a social studies lesson on native people.

Night Flight by Mireille Messier, illustrated by Carl Pelletier (Canadian author and illustrator)
Every night when Lucas goes to bed his imagination takes him on wild adventures.  In rhyming text we are told of some of his adventures.

Bear in the Air by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Amy Bates
Very cute story about a bear that falls from a stroller and ends up having all kinds of adventures before it is found and returned.  Love the illustrations too.

Emma's Treasure by Gerald Mercer, illustrated by Jillian Nicol (Newfoundland author and illustrator)
Loved it!  Emma found an old trunk that once belonged to her grandfather.  The trunk led to all kinds of fun learning for her and her friends.

Emma's New Game by Gerald Mercer, illustrated by Jillian Nicol (Newfoundland author and illustrator)
Love this book and actually featured it on my 365 Days of Children's books blog.  Emma and her friends learn about a game that her grandfather and his friends used to play.  The game was called conkers and involved making your own playing peice from a chestnut.  The story ends with the children and their grandparents having a competition with the conkers they make.

Newfoundland And Labrador ABC Alphabet Book story and original paintings by Dale Ryan
The paintings in this book are beautiful!  I actually featured this book on my 365 Days of Children's Books blog.  We loved it!

Sadie And The Snowman by Allen Morgan, illustrated by Brenda Clark (Canadian author and illustrator)
Sadie has great fun building snowmen all throughout the winter, though she is a little sad at first when the animals pick her snowman apart and the snowman starts to melt in the heat.  A really cute story.  She keeps using different things to make the snowman and in the end places what's left in a bowl and when it melts puts the water into a bag and keeps it in her freezer until winter comes again.  I featured this book on my 365 Days of Childen's Books blog

Do You Still Love Me? by Charlotte Middleton
Dudley the dog has a great life with Anna, his owner, until Anna gets a new pet and Dudley wonders if she still loves him.  Dudley is not crazy about this competition but before long they find a way to all be happy together.  Cute story.  Of course Anna liked the fact that the girl's name was Anna.

Freddy's Hockey Hero by Susan Chalker Browne, illustrations by Hilda Rose (Newfoundland Author, Canadian Illustrator?)
Freddy is really excited to be going to a hockey game and is convinced he's going to see his favorite player there.  Not only does he get to see him, but he gets to take shots with him!  Kind of cute story but I bit too wordy for me.  Some repeat phrases on some pages that werwe kind of cute but once again a bit too wordy for me.  Maybe it was my mood when I read it.

The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills
Minna longs to go to school but can't because she doesn't have a coat to wear in the winter, until the Quilting Mother's come up with a plan and make her a very special coat.  Unfortunately the children at school make fun of her coat, but soon Minna helps them see how special the coat is.  Beautiful watercolor pictures of a time past.

The Tooth Book: A Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums by Edward Miller
I wasn't crazy about this book, but Anna liked it.  It is an information book about teeth and how to take care of them.

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt, illustrated by Cyd Moore
As Mama tucks her little one in bed and tells her/him? she loves him the little one asks a question, "would you still love me if..."  A cute book.

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Charlie likes school, but he doesn't like being the smallest one in his class.  One day Charlie's teacher gets his students to do an activity with pumpkins and Charlie learns that size alone is not the only important thing.  Lots of chances for learning in this book.  Great for a fall activity.  Helps teach observation, estimating, counting by twos, fives, tens.

Hog-Eye by Susan Meddaugh
Little Miss Pig decided to skip her bus ride to school, because her bus was too noisy, and ended up being caught by a wolf, but she outwitted the wolf and got away.  Anna and I both thought this was a pretty good book.

Star's Island by Margaret O'Brien, illustrated by Veselina Tomova (Newfoundland author and illustrator)
Star the pony loves his small island in the middle of the ocean, but one day Cordell, a big white bird, convinces him to check out the big island where Cordell insists everything is bigger and better.  Star goes to check it out and enjoys himself, but he longs to get back to his little island again.  In the end Cordell and Star decide that even though the both prefer different places they can still both be best friends.  A cute story that makes me think about how many Newfoundlanders feel about thier home.  Found a YouTube video of the book's launching.

Duncan's Way by Ian Wallace (Canadian Author)
It looks like Duncan and his family might have to follow the steps of many of their friends and leave the island they love to find work, until Duncan comes up with an idea that just might make it possible for them to stay.  Many Newfoundlanders will relate to this story.

Brave Jack and the Unicorn by Janet McNaughton, art by Susan Tooke (Newfoundland Author, Canadian Illustrator)
The story in this book reminded me of a folk tale that I had read before.  An old lady has three sons, one who's handsome, one who's clever, and one who seems to be no good for anything, but is very kindhearted.  The kindhearted son goes through a series of circumstances that shows his true worth.  What makes this particular version of the story different is that it is set in Newfoundland.  The illustrations are of 15 different locations in Newfoundland and Labrador.  There is a list of these locations in the beginning of the book.  One complaint I have about the book is that the page numbers are not on the pages, making it a bit of a pain to find a particular page.  It would be great to us this book in a study of Newfoundland and us the different illustrations to learn about different places in Newfoundland and Labrador.  I featured this one on my 365 Days of Children's Books blog

The Blue Door: A Fox and Rabbit Story (A First Flight Reader) by David McPhail, illustrated by John O'Connor
Fox invites Rabbit to go with him on a visit to his Uncle's place, but there is one problem, Fox doesn't have an address for his Uncle's place he only remembers that he had a blue door.  Fox and Rabbit set out anyway and eventually find Fox's uncle.  It is a cute story.

Count Down to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee, pictures by Harry Bliss
Honestly, I wasn't real crazy about this book.  I'm just not a fan of a book that tells a lot of the story with speech balloons.  Being a book about getting ready to go to public school for kindergarten it is also not a book that goes along with our philosophies.  That being said, it wasn't too bad and it would be a cute book to read to a child that was preparing to go to Kindergarten.  The little girl in the book has been told that kindergarteners have to be able to tie their laces by themselves and she is very worried because she doesn't know how to do that.

Adele And Simon by Barbara McClintock
Love this book! The story is cute and the illustrations are wonderful. The book tells about the struggles big sister Adele has trying to get her little brother Simon home without losing all his things along the way. She's not too successful with that task and it is fun to find hidden on each page something else that Simon has lost along the way. Set in the early 20th century Paris, the illustrations in this book make for a great social studies lesson.  In the back of the book the author shares the inspiration for each illustration, giving information about many historical places in Paris.  I featured this book on my 365 Days of Children's Books blog.

I'm Sorry by Sam McBratney, illustrations by Jennifer Eachus
Beautiful pictures in this book which tells about the friendship between a little boy and a little girl.  They have so much fun together, but there are also times when they need to say "I'm sorry."

Where Are You Bear?: A Canadian Alphabet Adventure written by Frieda Wishinsky, illustrated by Sean L. Moore (Canadian Author and Illustrator)
Sophie is excited to go visit her Grandma in Vancouver but she can't find Bear and has to leave without him.  Bear sets out on his own adventure to get to Sophie and both Sophie and Bear see all kinds of things as they travel across Canada.  Each double spread page features a different province or territory and different letters of the alphabet.  Kind of cute but a little too contrived for me, or maybe I was just in a bad mood when I read it and I need to reread.  The inside front and back pages show a map of Canada and a chart showing what Sophie and Bear saw in each province.

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (Canadian Author)
Scaredy Squirrel never leaves his home because he's afraid of everything, until one day he accidently leaves and finds out the big wide world is not quite as scary as he thought it was.  I wasn't a big fan of this book, mostly because of the style of it.  Anna, however, thought it was great.

Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland (Canadian)
Bear loves to hug everything, until one day he sees something that makes him angry.  He decides to put his anger aside and hug anyway.  Cute story.  Featured on my 365 Days of Children's Books blog.

Maggie and Hero by Margaret O'Brien, illustrated by Veselina Tomova (Newfoundland Author and illustrator)
Maggie the puppy is always getting in trouble and feels like she's no good for anything, until she meets a big dog named Hero. and Hero convinces her that she is good for something and with Hero's encourgement Maggie herself becomes a Hero and rescues a boy.  Cute story.

Heroes of Isle aux Morts by Alice Walsh, illustrations by Geoff Butler (Newfoundland author and illustrator)
Tells the true story of how a Newfoundland dog helped save passengers from a grounded ship of Isle aux Mort in Newfoundland in 1832.  Featured on my 365 Days of Children's Books blog.

P is Puffin: A Newfoundland and Labrador Alphabet written by Janet Skirving and illustrated by Odell Archibald (Newfoundland author and illustrator)
This book can be read and enjoyed as a simple alphabet book by reading just the main text on each page, or it can become the jump off point for some great social studies learning by reading the additional information on each page, making it a book applicable to many age groups.  To be perfectly truthful, I found some of the rhyming in the book's main text to be difficult and contrived, but I do see us coming back to this book again as a basis for some social studies learning.

Johnny and the Gipsy Moth by Deannie Sullivan-Fraser, illustrated by Hilda Rose (Newfoundland author)
Inspired by true events in the author's father's childhood.  Johnny has trouble fitting in when his family moves from the big city to a small community, but a special visit from his uncle changes things.  His uncle arrives in a Gipsy Moth aiplane and takes Johnny for a ride, stirring up envy and interest from the young boys that liked to make fun of Johnny.  The story is sprinkled with Newfoundland words and sayings and has a one page glossay in the back to explain some of them.  It is a nice book to read just for fun but it can also be used to initate some social studies lessons about dialects and also about the history of flight in Newfoundland.

Two books for me:
Be Safe Little Boy and Stay Close Little Girl, both by Karen Kingsbury.  I cried my way through both.  They would make great graduation or wedding gifts for adult children.  The kind of reminded me of I'll Love you Forever by Robert Munsch.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Get Your Ticket NOW for the TOS Spring Expo Coming up May 16-20

Chance to win a free ticket below!

The TOS Expo is an online homeschool conference.  You get to sit in the comfort of your home and connect with homeschoolers around the world and hear homeschooling experts share their expertize.  If something happens and your schedule doesn't allow you to enjoy a session when it is scheduled, there's no need to worry about it because you get recordings of all the sessions to listen to at your own leisure once the Expo is over.  Also, during the Expo there are free gifts and door prizes offered during each session.

I took in my first Expo this past Fall and I will never miss another if I can help it.  I was so inspired and encouraged by the speakers and I enjoyed the interaction with homeschoolers around the world, all while sitting in my own living room!  I was also the lucky recipient of a couple of great prizes offered during the sessions.

Tickets are on sale now for the TOS Spring Expo (to be held on May 16-20). There are a limited number of tickets available and right now they are having an early bird sale.  You get a package valued at $419.87 for just $19.50!  Here's what you get:
Live Schoolhouse Expo Ticket—$39.99
Free Gifts Package—$211.73
Bonus Freebies—$103.15
HLA Membership—$65.00

February 10th the price goes up to $29 and you don't get the bonus freebies so you get a package valued at $316.72.
Febuary 27th the price goes up to $39.99.

Susan Wise Bauer, of The Well Trained Mind is one of the speakers this time around!  One of my favorite speakers from last time was Carol Barnier.  She was so entertaining and encouraging.  I am thrilled that she is speaking again this time.  Another speaker that I learned a lot from last year was Dianne Craft.  I won one of her books in her session last time.  I'm excited to learn more from her this time around.  I'm also really looking forward to the devotionals with Deborah Wuehler.

Check out all the speakers and the topics at the Expo Site.

I am thrilled that I have been given a ticket to the Expo to give away to one of my readers!  I'd love to see more Canadians take part in the Expo so if you are a Canadian Homeschooler and are interested in getting a free ticket, with all the extras, to the Expo, just leave a comment and tell me what it is about the Expo that interests you.  I will put the names in a bag and get my daughter to pick a winner Thursday night and announce the winner right here Friday. If you blog, twitter or facebook about my free ticket and leave me a link to check it out I will put your name in a second time.

So, leave a comment, pass the word around and be sure to check back to see if you won.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Schoolhouse Expo Freebie for Facebook fans Starting Today

Go to the Schoolhouse Expo on Facebook and "like" the Expo to recieve a freebie - an ebook called "College Success Begins at Home:  Seasoned Homeschoolers Share Their Experiences." Hurry before it sells out and the offer ends.

Besides getting the freebie, liking the Schoolhouse Expo on Facebook will mean that you will be notified of all exciting happenings in preparation for the Spring Expo which starts May 16-20.  Tickets will be going on sale very, very soon.  Stay tuned!  :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Bloggiesta time again!

Not sure how much time I'm going to get to put into it but I'm hoping to sneak in some.

Don't know what a bloggiesta is?  Basically it's an online blog improvement challenge party.  This is the 4th Bloggiesta that Maw Books has hosted.  This time around some of the mini challenges and lessons are about Google forms and Mr. Linky, but there's lots more.

Why not check it out?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Watch for Canada's Own Homeschool Magazine soon!

Homeschool Horizons, Canada's Homeschooling Magazine, is expected to launch in September of 2011.  It will be by and for Canadian homeschoolers.  Join the Homeschool Horizons facegroup page to be kept up-to-date about the status of the magazine and to be the first to know about special happenings.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Last Week's Library Loot Reviews

The first few are I Can Read Books but I actually like these.

Little Critter: Going to the Sea Park (an I Can Read Book) by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter has great fun when his class makes a visit to the sea park.

Little Critter: To the Rescue (an I Can Read Book) by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter comes to Dad's rescue by calling 911 when Dad gets stuck in the basement. A good resource for a unit about what to do in emergency situations.

Little Critter: Just Saving Money (an I Can Read Book) by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter needs a new skateboard.  Dad tell him he needs to save his money and helps him set up a savings account at the bank.  A great book to get children talking about money matters.

Little Critter: This is My Town (an I Can Read Book) by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter takes you on a tour of his town.  A great resource for a social studies theme about important places in the neighbourhood.  I had every intention of using this book as inspiration for Anna and I to make a mini book about our neighbourhood, but we haven't gotten around to it yet.

Little Critter: Going to the Firehouse (an I Can Read Book) by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter is thrilled when his class visits the fire station.  A good addition to a social studies themed unit about firefighters or neighbourhood helpers.

Little Critter: The Fall Festival (an I Can Read Book) by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter and his family have a fun filled day at the Fall Festival.  Good addition for a science themed unit about the fall. Could be inspiration for putting together your own fall festival.

Just Go To Bed by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter tries everything he can to avoid going to bed.  Anna could really relate to this one.  ;)

Just Big Enough by Mercer Mayer
After a rough experience at school, Little critter longs to grow bigger, but he soon finds out that there can be advantages to being small.

George  And Martha: Full of Surprises written and illustrated by James Marshall
Apparently this is part of a series of books, but this is the first one we've come across.  Anna was pretty excited when we turned to the first page and discovered it is a chapter book with Two Stories About Two Best Friends.  Story one starts with George scaring Martha and Martha vowing to get back at him and resulting in him not being able to relax for the rest of the day.  She finally gets her revenge when George least expects it in chapter two.  A very cute story which we enjoyed all the more because I frightened Anna when Martha frightened George.  :)

Out Of the Egg written and illustrated by Tina Matthews
This book is a little twist on the story of the Little Red Hen.  Very cute.

Piggy And Dad Go Fishing by David Martin, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
Piggy is so excited because he is going on his first fishing trip!  He's so soft hearted, however, that he can't bare the thought of hurting the worms or the fish.  He comes up with his own kind of fishing - "feed the fish fishing"!  Anna and I both got a kick out of the story.

All  For Pie Pie For All by David Martin, illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
I loved this book!  Grandma Cat makes a pie and everyone enjoys a piece of it, leaving one piece behind.  A family of mice share the leftover piece with everyone getting a small piece, and they leave behind six crumbs.  Those six crumbs are enjoyed by a family of ants, and then everyone decides to help Grandma make a new pie.  Lots of repeated words in the book make it a great one for shared reading.

Bittle by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Julie, the dog, and Nigel, the cat, name the new baby Bittle, because she's a "little bit of a thing", and they are not impressed with her at first but they soon come to love her.  A very cute story.

Old Mr. Mackle Hackle by Gunnar Madsen, illustrated by Irana Shepherd
Mr. Mackle Hackle is concerned because he has a hen that doesn't cackle and he tries to find a solution, but when the hen has chicks he is soon wishing the cackling would stop!  The story is told with rhythm and rhyme and illustrated with fun pictures. The book is actually based on a song written by Gunnar Madsen.

Angelo by David Macaulay
Angelo, an aging plaster artist, makes friends with a pigeon and soon the pigeon helps him to do the things he needs to do.  It took some convincing and work to get Anna interested in this book  and she was sad when we came to the page where they were carrying Angelo's body into the church.  The story is okay but I don't think Anna is old enough to really get what she could out of it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Read to Me - Picture Book Reading Challenge

Read to Me - Picture Book Reading Challenge

Just found this and thought I'd pass it on. The challenge is to read to your kids in 2011. There are a bunch of different challenge levels. You can pledge to read from 12 to 200 or more books this year.  Why not take up the challenge.

You can check out my 365 Days of Children's Books blog for suggestions as to good books to add to your reading list.  I'd love to hear if you decide to join the challenge and if you read any of the books we feature on our book blog.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

B90 Day 2 SOAP: He is there, even when I don't realize it

Today's Reading: Genesis 17-28

Scripture:  Genesis 28:16  "Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it."

Observation:  Jacob is on the run because of something very wrong that he did.  He had to bunk out in the open with a rock as his pillow and in this seemingly God forsaken place Jacob has an awesome encounter with God and God promises him that He will not leave him.

Application:  Even when I've messed up big time and it may seems like there is no hope, there is because God will not leave me.

Prayer:  Lord, I fail so many times.  I don't understand how You can continue to care for me, but You do.  Thank-You.  Help me, and others like me, to realize that You never give up caring and You never leave.

Monday, January 03, 2011

B90 SOAP: Oh to be like Noah!

Amy at Mom's Toolbox is hosting another Read the Bible in 90 Days challenge, starting today.  I've decided to join her again and this time I'm also going to give her SOAP Bible journal plan a try.

My SOAP for Day 1 of the Bible in 90 Days challenge at Mom's Toolbox

Scripture: Genesis 6:22 "Thus Noah did: according to all that God commanded him, so he did."

Observation: God was asking Noah to do some pretty crazy sounding things, and he did all that God asked him to do.

Application:  Sometimes I feel like God asks me to do something, but I'm not very prompt about doing what He asks.  I'm more likely to make all kinds of excuses as to why it's not a good idea.  I want to be more like Noah.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to do what you ask me, when you ask me too and to stop making excuses for not doing it.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Challenge for 2011

I'd like to challenge you to spend more time reading the Bible in 2011.

Have you ever read the Bible right through, every word of it?  If you haven't, why not make it a goal to do so.  You don't have to read it all in 2011 but you could make a good start and take as long as you need to finish it.

You could use a Bible Reading Chart like one that my children and I have used in the past.  Print it out, fold it and tuck it into your Bible and mark of the chapters as you read them.  No requrement to read a certain amount or in a certain order, just mark of each chapter as you read it.  You'll be able to see at a glance if there is something you haven't read yet and need to make a special effort to read.

If you'd like to take on a big challenge join us for Mom's Toolbox's Bible in 90 Days Challenge which start next week.

Whatever you do, I hope you will determine to spend more time reading the Bible in 2011.  I'd love to hear how you do.