Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chumbuddy Jr from Hammacher Schlemmer #giftguide2014

Hammacher Schlemmer still provides the fun of looking through a catalog and marking your favorite items for Christmas! It brings such nostalgia to be able to set the kids loose to see all of the unique and fun items to put on their wish list. Not just for kids, Mom made sure to mark up the catalog as well! Of course with technology you don't have to have the nostalgic experience of the catalog, they have their complete collection online. In business for 166 years, Hammacher Schlemmer has brought the best unique gifts for years.

I chose the Chumbuddy JR Shark Bait Sleeping Bag for review for inclusion in the Holiday Gift Guide. What young boy wouldn't love to be attacked by this soft and snugly shark sleeping sack! Fall is among us and this shark is not only perfect for sleep-overs, it is great for hanging out in the evening and watching TV all snuggled in.

It comes vacuum sealed in the box and has a reusable storage bag. 59" L x 26" it is great for ages 3 and up. Here my 12 year old models being shark bait, and you can see it still fit him well for getting cozy.

Too fun to play with!! It is so soft and warm for the winter. The dorsal fin comes off and can be used as a pillow as well. Simply velcro it back on for full shark effect.

I love that when you aren't using it for a sleeping bag, you can put it in your collection of stuffed animals for display. I am fairly certain though that it is going to used nightly!

Be sure to check out the great products at Hammacher Schlemmer for your Holiday Giving. There are unique and fun gifts for adults and  kids of all ages. Sometimes finding that "just right" gift can be hard. I personally love to give gifts that people have never even seen before. Well Hammacher Schlemmer is the perfect spot to find those gifts!

Find them on these social media sites
Facebook Hammacher Schlemmer
Twitter @Hammacher
Pinterest Hammacher

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Standard Deviants Accelerate Core elearning *Review #TOS

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

Standard Deviants Accelerate is an online learning system for core subjects for junior and senior high students.
Each class has varying grades recommended. The youngest being for the Arithmetic course beginning at Grade 3, and the AP Courses beginning at Grade 11. Something for every age in between. We utilized it for 7th and 10th grade.

We were given Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses  with access to all of these courses for an entire year! A huge blessing to us to help aid in our review process. Homeschoolers can purchase the course for use by one student for $99 for a year, or $24.95 per month. This is for the regular courses. AP courses are available for one student for $14.95 per month.

Earth Science
Fundamental Math
English Comp
U.S. History
AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP U.S. History
AP U.S. Government and Politics
AP Eng. Composition

You can click on each icon on the page for Homeschool Courses and get a course description and what the topics will include.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

I decided to try this with 2 of my students to gauge how well it worked for both a Junior High and High School Student.

We tried Earth Science with my 7th grader. He has his own log in information and it keeps track of his progress and class that he can log into. Each student will need his/her own email address for access. I just used one of mine and assigned a different one of my personal ones for each student. They aren't typically online for using email and this worked out best for our family. This would be a very easy system to run a couple courses at one time for your student. I do wish there was a way to have an arrow pointing to where we are in the list of videos. My memory isn't that great and I sometimes have to click on previous ones to see if we had already watched that video. Even highlighting the ones we have already watched would be helpful.

 Each lesson includes a video, vocabulary words, diagram, quiz and written answer. You have the option of printing out a transcript of the video as well as the the other areas. This works nicely if you don't want to spend less time online and improve some writing skills.

The videos are very engaging! They definitely seek to entertain and educate the student. They use a variety of multi media to keep their attention, and to visually help the student remember the facts that are being taught. They include joking around and humor that is geared toward that age group as well. I thought the videos were very well done and were great for keeping us watching. Definitely not your boring science style video!

I was forewarned that the Earth Science course did include some evolutionary style teaching. I let my son know before we began and we were ok with that in small portions. Earth Science begins with the beginning of time, and there was mention of the Big Bang Theory on several occasions.  I personally would have liked to see some additional theories stated for sake of Science.Once we got through the first 2 modules we didn't run into the evolutionary input as much.

My 10th grader really struggles with writing, and has much of his schooling days. As he gets older I am finding it critical to find a program that really works for him. We tried English Composition, being he is more of a visual learner than listener. I set him free to work on the program and he came up short. We are restarting it with Mom near by to drill the key facts that are being taught. I see it as a good program that if he can grasp it, will really give him a core for learning to write basic papers. He however is not motivated to pursue it on his own and will need the constant reinforcement of my help. I think that is a good thing to find out with this  program. As my 7th grader could easily become engaged and be successful, my 10th grader is just not able to with this specific program. Can we still utilize it? Yes for sure, and I am looking forward to his skills increasing by using the Standard Deviants Accelerate English Composition, and maybe we will even be able to move on to AP next year!

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

What courses are you interested in? Check out and see if any of the review crew tried out those courses. Learn more by clicking on the link below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SDAccelerate
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SDAccelerate
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SDAccelerate/
Google+: google.com/+Sdaccelerate

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Technical Difficulties

There are days I long to be Mennonite.. the carefree ways of my neighbors who do not have to deal with computers! I have recently had one laptop crash, and really have no clue how to fix it. The 2nd laptop we purchased for the boys for school is basically a lemon with anything internet related. At least it will run the basic Switched on Schoolhouse and Rosetta Stone languages programs since those are not computer based.

Do you know how tough it is to try to write a blog post on a Kindle?  Not easy.
What would life be like without the stress and torture of computers? Trying to remember back oh, 12 years, when I was anti computer, and didn't even have email. We got by. Used the library and books for school. Ordered from catalogs or at the actual store. Called people on the phone rather than seeing their 'status' on facebook or twitter.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of positives with the internet and computers. It sure makes blogging a lot easier.. Ok..well you can't blog at all without out. It makes research much easier. It opens a huge world of curriculum for the kids. It even allows one of my kids to take college classes from home.
Oh the frustration we endure to have this open world...

The only thing I can open on the laptop is the photos so I can at least back up the ones I haven't burned to disc yet. Then I am really not sure what I will do. It will not connect to the internet to download any kind of fix. Something is wrong with it's wifi connection I guess. A whole lot of who knows..

Sometimes you just need to take a step back and reflect on the important things. I am going to fire up the dinosaur PC and pray we can get some things done.  Otherwise I am going to play with the kids, take some nice fall walks (short ones of course since I get winded so fast), and start nesting for baby to come :)

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