Friday, April 29, 2016

Thinking Tree Review

     This is the journal Fox has been using for almost 3 months now. It has been a journey LOL. First let me start off by saying he has finished multiple chapter books during this time, just so I am clear HE HAS FINISHED MULTIPLE CHAPTER BOOKS DURING THIS TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope I made that clear enough!!

Just in case that wasn't clear here is a picture of him reading!!!! HE IS READING A BOOK!!!!!!!!!! Those of you who know Fox know what a MASSIVE deal this is for him. Fox hates school, he hates to read, he abhors writing and reading for enjoyment is OUT of the question. There is always one in the bunch and this is my Fox. He challenges me in every situation possible. When he is in a good mood he is the most loving, talented wonderful kid you could ever have the joy of knowing. When he is difficult best just to leave the house...kidding kidding almost!

The introduction of the journal kind of went like this. "Fox we are gonna use these really cool journals for school"!!! I remembered he mumbled something not sure what it was hmmmm. Anyway, "You are gonna pick books and read 4 a day for 15". I got no further, he laughed. I showed him the book he kind of breezed through it and said "oh you want me to draw"? He also mentioned using Godzilla as a movie. So we had our first day where they picked books. He refused the library trip. He would just use books here because as he said they all were crummy anyway.

Then he got to really looking in our books and found all kinds of treasures. Hey this is WW1 and this is about the middle ages, and we went from there.

So it began, what my kids call journal school.

Keep in mind He HATES TO WRITE! But he tried and he attempted many more times. Telling me a story he goes on for hours, write me a story and he has NO clue. But he agreed to keep trying.

So these are the first nature drawings he gave me. This is supposedly one of the trees outside. Well can't tell him he is wrong, but a bit more effort could have been made!

These he likes for the most part. He has always been a problem solver. That must come from the lego stuff he builds. Hours upon hours of lego builds. Lego was a GOD send when he was small and I needed to make dinner!

Okay wait a sec... Did he attempt a paragraph!!!!!!!! YES YES HE DID!!!!!!!!!! YAY FOX. He even asked me how he could make it better! Ok these journals are getting somewhere now.

WOW! There are lines and color!!! I am seeing results and for Fox that is HUGE! So in my opinion right there it works. Did I also mention he has finished numerous chapter books? I really want that point across because he cannot be the only kid in the world who hates to read. So roughly I spent $23 bucks, Fox reading, finishing and telling me about books? This is priceless for me!!! So last night we sat down and I asked him about journal school.

What are three things you like about journal school?

1. I like it because it is different than the stuff we used to do.

2. I like it because it is interesting since I get to read about things that interest me. He went on to tell me many things about both world wars and the era that mammals ruled the earth.

3. I want to try to make my pages look better than what they did in the beginning.

Now can you tell me 3 things you don't like?

His answer, my book is half way done it needs to be longer and I need more activities!! Well those are his dislikes! If you can call them that.

When asked if he wants to continue with journal school he said this is all he wants to do for school.

So there you have it! Our review that we are giving because we think this is a great product and it can help many boys out there just like Fox!!!

Peek At Our week! Week 8 semester 2!!

I found the coolest pencils!! They are magic pencils and I love them! They shelf sharpen, self feed and are just plain cool! My kids are hard on pencils and like me they cannot tolerate writing without a perfect point. We go through many many pencils. I saw a facebook ad about these little babies and I am sold! I got them on sale so not sure how long that price is gonna last. 

Fox is still cruising on in his math and so is Skyler. I will say math u see fractions is way different than I remember learning them! We are of course still using our Thinking tree Journals and doing really well with them! Also Stella Luna doing school with Skyler has become the norm. 

All the kids are still moving through their dyslexic games, I have to remind Damian to slow down! I have also noticed that Fox is asking less and less which way a b or a d face. I still get asked but not as often. So progress progress!!! For whatever reason Stella Luna decided to stand in the corner several times this week so Skyler decided she was doing it because she is naughty!! 

We are still moving on with playing our Language Arts game as well. I try to do this daily it doesn't always happen. Life happens many days!! On this day Fox was the winner!!! YAY Fox!!! I have also decided that handing out prizes of their choice was going to get costly so after this week I am buying a bunch of mini candy bars and that will be good enough.

We also are still doing our co-op! This week was all about wheels and axles. They had fun. Ok I had fun. The amazing momma who does this knows that while I can teach groups I don't enjoy it much. I help where needed and play with all the wonderful tiny kiddos. I love kids all kids but I truly enjoy toddlers. They are so fun and hyper! Again all of her lessons are on her site but this is what we did this week. 

Damian won't sit on a floor but that is all right.

Edible screws!! What fun

This is a home made Archimedes screw and it was cool. The directions for making one is on her site in the lesson plans. 

Check out that little kiddo lift his momma!!!

The kids also built catapults for marshmallows and had a competition to see who's would go the furthest. 

We did many cool things this day I cannot possibly put up all the pics but I did take an awful lot of course. 

In pottery this week the kids finished up painting anything that needed to be painted. Skyler painted her spring theme wind chime. 

 Linking up at Homeschooling 6 for Thinking Tree Thursday!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Thinking Tree Review!!!

This is the journal bought for my 11 year old daughter. We have been using it for almost two months now and I still am liking it!! I am sure by now most people in the home school world has heard of The Thinking Tree Journals. They seem to have taken the world by storm so to speak LOL. 

I really wanted to use them for a good length of time before posting a review on them. I will review the other ones we are using eventually as well. One thing at a time!!!

I am really liking these journals. We started our year amazing but then it had a set back and it seemed to never get back on track. School days were full of whining, arguing and just out right misery. My wonderful friend Linda at Sew Happily Ever After  was like, Look try these out I think it is gonna help! I am so glad I took the advice! The kids had fun picking what library books they would use to learn about what they wanted to learn about. 

Skyler was excited movies were going to become a regular part of her routine and she could watch whatever she chose not just what I had said we were studying. She picked books about animals OF COURSE!!!! She enjoyed learning about guide dog puppies and african cats. She got to add a Gravity Falls book for fun but it counted as school. 

We are half way through this book now and yes we have the next one we are using on the way! This is for sure a keeper!!! The creator of this journal and many others as well as Dyslexic Games can be found on amazon by searching Sarah Janisse Brown. She also has a blog and a website where some of these great books can be bought as a pdf file. There is also yet another blog where she has a few of her books as freebies!!!!!! 

Now to share some pics of my little noodles work!!! 

This was the very first thing she colored and she was very proud!!!

She used an animal encyclopedia to research the snail. She likes learning about different animals!

This is one of her reading pages. She reads each book for 15 minutes then either draws or writes something about what she has read. 

Just a draw the missing pieces page. She enjoys this as well and I think it is helpful for attention span LOL

She picks her spelling words from her library books. We also have spelling books she can pick from. 

This is a drawing she made for her listening page. She usually picks classical music for this. She enjoys Beethoven and Mozart.

This is a currents events page. I usually try to find her kid friendly articles or something to do with animals. 

This is a tell the story type page. There is a picture then you draw the next picture. For this story the shark apparently ate the diver LOL My kids have BIG imaginations.

This is a retelling of a Bible Story. There is a picture on the other page and she reads the story in her Bible and retells it in her own words. All of these are just random pages out of her book. She is enjoying this more than other methods we have used to do school. 

For Skyler I asked her for three things she liked 

1. Listening Time- because I get to draw
2. Movie Time  because it is different than just reading

3. I like the doodles that is in my book, they are fun to do and color. 

Does Skyler want to continue using what she calls journal school ?

With a Big smile Well YEAH!!!

So there you have it! Our review of this journal, not just my review. I like my kids to have an opinion on what they use. I bought this was not paid in any way for my review. I just feel this is a great homeschool option and wanted to add my thoughts on it!!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Peek At Our Week! Week 7 semester 2

We started a co-op this week. It is only 5 weeks and is on simple machines. We have continued on with Thinking Tree Journals and this week I had Damian join doing them as well. It is taking a while to get him on track so to speak! Fox ha finished more books!!!! Skyler moved up a lesson in her math and so did Fox. Damian is still working hard in math he is for sure my math struggler! But we keep on keeping on!!!

Skyler had great fun finding scented gel pens at the dollar tree! It is pink so you know in her eyes that just rules the world!!

They have been getting lazy with their math page in their journals so I told them they needed to use a book or some of our math stuff and do something with the pages instead of drawing a house over and over! This is Fox looking up different types of graphs in one of our books.

Damian is doing the current events page of his journal here.

Fox is enjoying some drawing nature time outside in the yard. We have A LOT of nature out here in the middle of no where. Lately he has been drawing every tree in our yard. This could easily take a year there are just that many! This is just the side of our porch.

The co-op we joined is being led by my amazing friend Shannon. She is a wonderful teacher and my kids just adore her. Sadly Fox wanted nothing to do with it this week. Some times he is a joiner and other days he just wants to be alone. I was pretty shocked Damian wanted to come and actually do co -op. He is not a joiner and usually shies away from groups. So while this isn't his target age exactly I don't care he wanted to go so enough said right there!!! This week we learned all about inclined planes and wedges. Again all of the credit goes to Shannon none is me!!! Her website can be found here and she kindly shares all her lessons plans!! Told ya SHE IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!

It was a very fun day!!! It also happens on Thursday mornings so as soon as it is over we are off to pottery. Today pottery was outside in the fresh air!! We brought along Zeus for company. Zeus is my dog and the kids will tell you that as well but next to me he loves Fox best!! He has no issue picking his favorite either. For pottery the kids finished up their wind chimes. All the pieces were finally put together to make something pretty awesome in my opinion!


This is a math center I own and it sits there and collects dust sadly. Well this week I said NO MORE!!! So no lazy math journal pages. Skyler picked one of these activities to do on her journal page.

She made the design then drew it into her journal! She called it an Indian blanket!! So pretty good week!!