Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review ~ Happy Kids Songs

Our family loves music and our children are always singing or humming a tune as they go about their work and play.  So I'm always on the look out for great music programs for them.  I was excited to have the opportunity to review song sets from Happy Kids Songs.  I received three sets to use Friends & Sharing, Happiness & Attitude and Manners & Character.   Along with these I received Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills.

Happy Kids Songs Review

Who Is Happy Kids Songs?

Happy Kids Songs is run by Don MacMannis and Brian Mann.

Dr. Mac aka Don MacMannis is a singer, songwriter and producer of children's music.  You might be familiar with his work as he was the music director and songwriter for the hit PBS series Jay Jay the Jet Plane.  He has won many awards for his song writing talents.  He is also a family and child psychologist.
Brian Mann is a songwriter and partner with Dr. Mac.  Brian has been writing and performing music since the age of 4!

Happy Kids Songs has produced 8 albums.

  • Friends & Sharing
  • Social Skills & Bullying
  • Feelings & Fears
  • Practice & Success
  • Talking & Listening
  • Manners & Character
  • Happiness & Attitude
  • Respect & Responsibility

I received 3 sets to use and review, they are Friends & Sharing, Happiness & Attitude and Manners & Character.  Each of these contain 5 songs.

Happy Kids Songs Friends-Sharing-CD

Friends & Sharing

Sailing on the Seven Cs ~ This song is about the ingredients of friendship.  It mentions caring, consideration, commitment, communication, concern, curiosity and cooperation.  It doesn't teach about each of these things, it only mentions them as being important to friendship.

Everybody Wants to Find a Friend ~ This song teaches that everyone wants a friend and that to  make friends you just need to reach out to others.

Sharing Friends ~ This song teaches that it is ok when your friends want to play with other friends.  It tries to help with the feelings of being the "odd one out".

Happy as Happy Can Be ~ This song is about how friendship makes you happy and it feels good to be with a friend.

Together ~ This is similar to Happy as Happy Can Be in that it deals with friendship.  Except that this song tries to teach children that even when your not with your friend your still best friends.

This is a music video of the song Together.   Audio samples of Friends & Sharing can be previewed on their site.

 

Happy Kids Songs Happiness-Attitude-CD

Happiness & Attitude

Shake It Out and Dance ~ This song is about trying to give things a chance before you decide you can't do something.

Who Knows What's a Kudo? ~  This song is about how to give a complement and noticing good things in other people.

I Don't Understand ~ Is a song about how to handle limitations and that it's okay to ask questions to learn new things.

Be Good to Yourself ~ This song is about being kind to yourself and saying good things to yourself and others.

Better Together ~ This is another song about how it's nicer to be with a friend.

Samples of Happiness & Attitude.

Happy Kids Songs Manners-Character-CD

Manners & Character

H-o-n-e-s-t-y ~  As it's title says this song is about how it's important to tell the truth and shares the reasons why.

The Magic Word ~ This song is about saying please when asking for things.

Quirks ~  This song is about learning to appreciate the differences in other people.

The Golden Rule ~  This song is about teaching consideration for other people.  It tries to teach that we shouldn't name call and tease people.

Six Little Kids ~ This song uses a story of little children feeling different parts of an elephant and having to guess what they are feeling.  It is about how people have different perspectives.

Samples of Manners & Character.

happy kids songs workbook We also received the Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills.  It is 128 pages long, the first part of the book contains the song lyrics as well as coloring and activity pages for the 40 songs. The activity pages include drawing activities and mazes the type of activity you would expect from a children's workbook. The back section of the book is for parents and teachers and contains a collection of activities to do with children to help reinforce the message of the songs. 
The workbook pages are reproducible!

 

How Did We Use Happy Kids Songs?

I wasn't sure how our children would react to these songs.  While we do listen to some children's music, we largely listen to a wide variety of adult music.  I started off by playing the songs while the kids were doing chores and later added some to our circle time.  Our older children (ages 8, 10 and 12) felt the songs were a little to "young" for them, but our 7 year old loved them!  Our youngest age 5 was fairly neutral on the songs.  Just not his style I guess.

 

What Do I Think Of Happy Kids Songs?

Happy Kids Songs are well written and preformed professional songs.  We enjoyed some of the songs, but I think it’s important to mention they are not Christian based songs.  While they teach good manners and try to instil good character I believe that you need to take it further and teach WHY God teaches these things.  I do think that many of these songs would be a good introduction to a character study.  I didn't find anything offensive in the songs that I listened to and it is nice to have "clean" songs for little ones to play!  I think these would be a good fit for anyone looking for early childhood songs in daycare and kindergarten groups.  They will continue to be part of our younger children's music mix, since dd7 enjoys them so much.

You can buy each album containing 5 songs for $4.95 or download the songs individually for .99.  Each song has free downloadable activity pages.  The Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills is $12.56.   Happy Kids Songs are intended for children ages 4 to 8.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Review ~ Wizzy Gizmo's Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything?

As a Christian mom I'm always on the look out for great resources to help teach our children about God and his creation.  So I was excited to have the opportunity to review Wizzy Gizmo's Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything?

Wizzy Gizmo review @ Homestead-Acres.com  

Who Is Wizzy Gizmo?

Wizzy Gizmo is a company that produces amazing products for children. There is a series of books, Bible audio dramas and flashcards.  All are Bible based!

But who really is Wizzy Gizmo?  He's a cool inventor who creates a variety of interesting gadgets and uses them to help children explore the Bible.

wizzy_gizmo-logo-crew-small12_zpsca1cc40e  

What is Wizzy Gizmo's Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything?

In this audio drama Wizzy Gizmo has created an amazing invention "Gizmovision".  It is an invention that takes any book and recreates a life like world inside of a bubble.  This brings the story to live in that you can touch, taste, feel and see the story as if you were right there when it happened.

When the story starts you are introduced to Eli, a new child in town.  He meets some friendly neighbourhood children who take him to see an inventor Wizzy Gizmo.  Wizzy Gizmo loves to create all kinds of cool things like dancing toasters! 

But the children can't wait to try out Wizzy Gizmo's new invention Gizmovision!  Their first trip takes them back to the beginning of time.  The children, Wizzy Gizmo and some silly animals watch through each day of creation in the first chapter of Genesis.  Each day you hear the words of the Bible and the children use all their senses to observe what they are surrounded by.  From the darkness to light to the creation of birds, fish, animals the children can watch and explore and ask all the questions little ones often do!
At the end of the story there is a "Giz Quiz" that a few questions are asked to the children to answer.  Then there are a number of songs to play.

Wizzy Gizmo's Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything?  Is suggested for ages 4 to 12, but I'm sure that younger children would love it to!  You can listen to a sample here on their website.  The story is about 35 minutes long but with the songs and bonus tracks the CD runs close to an hour long.
The CD is available for $14.99. 

 

What Did We Think?

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Our children absolutely LOVED Wizzy Gizmo!  We listened to it with our children ages 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12.  From the moment it started they were completely captivated by it.  Through out the story there are also a number of songs that they enjoyed.  I've lost count at how many times these have been these have been replayed.  Our son just loved that they included the dinosaurs in the creation story!  This is left out in so many books and videos, but as a real dino kid he loved to hear the big "boom" sound as the dinosaurs walked around.  He jumped right up and started stomping around with them.
They've been asking for the other audio dramas (not yet made) and books, so I'm thinking these might make some great gifts this coming year.

 

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Friday, August 15, 2014

A Late Summer Nature Walk & Blood Moon

Last Sunday it was a very hot day I was so glad there was a strong breeze to help cool us down.  We decided to hold off on our hike until after supper as it would be much cooler.  We had a wonderful time and I thought I would share some photos.

hiking

Virginia creeper starting to turn purple.

Virginia creeper starting to turn purple.

caterpillar cocoon

Caterpillar cocoon, I don't know what this one is.

Evening hike in the woods

The edge of the woods near sunset.

Evening hike in the woods

Evening trees and medow

river and logs

kid's hiking

kid's hiking 2

berries

tree

kids

blue flowers

feeding a silver phesant             

Feeding a silver pheasant.

baby girl

Baby girl almost a sleep.

sunset

hydrangia flowers

Hydrangea flowers

park slide 

Play time!

IMG_3464geese

Blood Moon   Blood Moon

 Blood Moon

Just as we were leaving the park the blood moon started to become visible!  The kid’s thought  it was amazing to see.  We missed the other ones this year because it was cloudy.

Sunset

Sunset 

Sunset

Blood Moon, love this one behind our trees.

Blood Moon, love this one behind our trees.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Loons & A Great Nature Study Resource For Birds

Common Loon, Blue Sea Lake, Quebec, Canada Fra...
Common Loon, Blue Sea Lake, Quebec, Canada Français : Plongeon huard, Lac Blue Sea, Québec, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The other day dd10 asked me what bird was on our "Loonie" also known as our one dollar coin here in Canada.  I giggled inside when she thought the bird was a Loonie. ;)  I explained to her that that was close but it's called a Loon.  She wanted to know more about the Loon and if we had any around here.

No we don't but there are loons further north.  When we visited the Sudbury area a few years ago we were able to watch and hear loons at the lake.  Oh my more then a few years she was a baby!
I decided to see if there was any good videos on YouTube showing a loon so she could hear its song. Then I discovered a great YouTube channel!  The Lab of Ornithology has a lot of wonderful bird videos.  This will make a great addition to our nature studies!



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review ~ Economics For Everybody Curriculum From Roman Roads Media

Roman Roads Media

Economics has been a special interest of my husband and I for a number of years now.  So I was really excited to have the opportunity to review the Economics for Everybody Curriculum from Roman Roads Media.

 

Who Is Roman Roads Media?

Roman Roads Media is a Classical Christian homeschool publisher.  They produce an number of affordable, high quality video courses for homeschooling families.

 

What is Economics for Everybody?

Economics for Everybody Curriculum

As it's title says Economics for Everybody, is an economic course made for the whole family.  Although it is geared more towards middle school and high school children, churches and small study groups and any adult who would like a better understanding of how economics work.  Younger children can watch along but lessons 2, 7 and 11 have a warning in the course that there could be scenes not suitable for younger children.  So far the scenes I've found show clips of starvation, concentration camps and old movie clips of robbery.
Economics for Everybody is a 12 video course taught by Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr.  Each video class ranges in length from 15 to 27 minutes.

The lessons are:

  1. And God Created Economics ~ Stewardship in God's Image
  2. The Economic Problem of Sin ~ Law, Liberty & Government
  3. The Path from Work to Wealth ~ Production, Property & Tools
  4. The Route From Scarcity to Plenty ~ Money, Markets & Trade
  5. The Role of the Entrepreneur ~ Capital, Calculation & Profit
  6. A Tale of Two Theologies Part 1 ~ From God to Politics
  7. A Tale of Two Theologies Part 2 ~ Economic Philosophies & Systems
  8. Government Intervention ~ Basic Principles & Education
  9. The Two Mysteries of Monetary Policy ~ Inflation & Depressions
  10. The Welfare & Corporate States of America ~ The Costs of Redistribution
  11. Economics Has Consequences ~ The Real Effects of Sin
  12. Kingdom Economics

High School Credit

This course can be used as a 1/2 credit in economics for light study in grades 9 and 10 to cover the basic concepts of economics.  For a more in depth study for grades 10 and 12 with a world-view training you can uses this program along with another economics textbook.  Basic Economics, Third Edition by Carson and Cleveland is recommended by this program.

Cost

$45.00 for 2 DVD's and a 236 page spiral bound study guide. (Download coming soon!)

 

Economics for Everybody is not a dry, boring economics class.  I knew from the moment I watched the trailer for the video course this would be something our family would enjoy.  This program includes Bible verses, principles and shows how successful economics cannot be separated from God.  We so agree with this!

Excellent for many learning styles.  Auditory learners will love to listen along with the program, visual learners will enjoy the many video clips playing in the background.  These include old black and white movie clips, news clips and other historical footage.
Children who learn best by reading can follow along in the study guide.

Included with this course is a 236 page study guide.  This gives a wonderful overview of each lesson and what the learning goals for each session are.  There are also multiple choice questions, short answer and discussion questions.
There are suggestions for resources to use for further study including text books and other Christian materials.

 

How Did We Use Economics For Everybody?

When I first read about this program and watched the video trailer, I KNEW it would be a great fit for our family.  I intended to watch it together as a family and then later use it as a high school course for our children.  Our 5 and 6 year olds have no interest in this topic, not surprising!  So we've been watching it in the evenings with our 12, 10 and 8 year olds.  This course is definitely a stretch for the younger 2 but the background visuals keep them interested.  Our 12 year old daughter is enjoying the course although she wouldn't be able to work through it on her own yet.  As a self study I think it would be best used for high school and up.

We would watch one session together and then use the study questions to spur some discussion.  Often these questions come up on their own.  I was surprised at how well some of the topics tied into what we had already been teaching our children.  We've been working with them to help them understand how doing chores around the house helps.  Then when we watched a video class what was R. C. Sproul Jr. using as an example?  His children doing dishes!  He was sharing how long it takes one child to do the dishes alone.  Then how each child is good a different parts of the job, now if each child works on the dishes together doing what they are best suited for the job gets done much, much faster.  This is exactly the principle we kept in mind when we made up a new chore chart this summer.  The division of labour and how it's best used.
Another example our children connected with was about exchanging money for goods.  R. C. Sproul Jr. used an example of his little daughter buying knitting needles and yarn to produce a scarf.  He explained how the needles and yarn were more valuable to her then the money and how the money was more valuable to the store then the goods were.  So it's an exchange that benefits both.

I think that Economics for Everybody is a wonderful economics curriculum for families to use, it’s interesting and Biblical based.  I really liked how he broke down the economic principles used in business to how a family runs.  One thing I should mention is the background scenes from historical footage is a big help to understanding what R.C. Sproul Jr. is talking about.  However this is only true if you have a basic understanding of history and recognize the footage.   If your student is younger and hasn’t seen video of Mussolini or Hitler then he might still be confused.  Because of this and the general topic I would recommend this as a great program for children age 12 and up.

For more information on Economics for Everybody please visit Roman Roads Media.  There is a sample video of lesson 1!

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Nature Study ~ Snake Skin

We often have garter snakes around our property.  They just love all the rock piles near the foundations of the house!  This year we have had one living in the greenhouse and old log beside it.  The kids love to watch him sunbathe in the afternoons.  A few days ago they had a big surprise, they found an intact snake skin beside the house!  They thought that this was very cool. The kids were very surprised to find out how soft it was.

IMG_3371IMG_3372IMG_3373

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Around The Homestead ~ Hollyhocks and Roses

Now that our peony’s have finished flowering the hollyhocks and old fashion roses have taken over the garden.  Hollyhocks are another of my favourite flower.  These are from seeds a dear friend gave me 10 years ago when we moved in here.  I sprinkled a large bag of seeds around our fence line and some came up.  They spread a bit every year.  The only ones that didn’t come back were the black hollyhocks.  I think they are so pretty!  I’ll try planting more of the black ones next year.  The roses in the photos were growing in another raised bed garden here when we moved in.  We transplanted them to the gardens along the fence line so I could use them as support for the long rambling branches.  It also helps to keep people and critters off your fence.  These roses have crazy thorns!

flower

 

IMG_3227 IMG_3231 pink rose red roses on rail fence IMG_3239 One of our sweet garden helpers!

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