Daddy-Daughter Dance

Lifetime Fitness hosted a wonderful Daddy-Daughter Dance this weekend.  Rachel has been talking about it for weeks and the day finally arrived.  She was excited to wear her princess dress and have a fun night with her Daddy.

The whole event cost just $30 per couple.  Stuart was excited to learn that dinner wasn't just pizza but they had steak and chicken skewers.  Pretty fancy!  Rachel loves buffet style dining so she had a little bit of everything and even went back later in the night to munch some more.

There were horse-drawn carriages!  Isn't that just perfect for a special night for little princesses?

I love these two so much!  But I especially love that Stuart is such a wonderful father to our children.  He makes time for each of them and he lets them know just how special they are.

Rachel loved that the horses had glittery pink polish on their hooves!

There was dancing and a special photo booth.  Then Rachel got her decorated with a special colored washable hair spray.  She was so excited!

It was a magical night for our little princess and her Daddy.  I'm so grateful for our gym for having such wonderful programs for the kids.

HISTORY Through the Ages World History Study Project Passport: Renaissance and Reformation {Review}

I love the Home School in the Woods company so I was very excited to be able to review this hands-on history product for them as part of the TOS Home School Review Crew.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study is a history curriculum that teaches history by allowing your kids to travel back in time and experience history in the making.  Project Passport includes a travel plan with itineraries for what you will find at each stop along your trip, a project to make your own passport and luggage folder to use throughout your travels, audio tours, corresponding lapbooks, recipes, timeline, maps, crafts, and more.  
Kids aren't just learning by reading and memorizing.  They are learning by doing and experiencing too.

We have already been studying the Renaissance and the Reformation with our regular history curriculum so we used the Project Passport: Renaissance and Reformation as a supplement to what we are already using.  It is suggested for grades 3-8.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

However, there are also three other Project Passport products covering Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, as well as The Middle Ages.  Another Project Passport covering Ancient Rome is scheduled for release sometime in 2018.

My kids love hands-on projects because they bring learning to life for them.  With Project Passport we read about our "stop" on the itinerary and learn about the events happening there.  Then my children complete some activities.  Sometimes it is a recipe like Springerle Cookies or an art technique project like learning about linear perspective.

My daughter especially likes projects with cutting and gluing.  Here she is preparing match book style cards describing the different classes of society during the Renaissance.

In minutes she was able to create this wonderful page with pictures and explanations for the different classes.  She is young so I let her use the text box explanations as provided with the material but older children could be challenged to fill in the information on their own as a review.

We learned about the battle of the theories of planetary motion.  Ptolemy first theorized that the Earth was the center of the solar system and the sun and planets orbited around the Earth.  The kids made a fun little card where the sun and planets actually spin around a brad which represents the Earth.

Then many years later Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong and correctly declared that the Sun is at the center of the solar system and it is orbited by the planets.  The children added another spinning page to their card to demonstrate this theory.

We also learned about Galileo Galilei and his invention of the sliding telescope.  Both kids loved the way these turned out!  I asked my daughter to hold hers so I could take a picture of it and she pretended to look at stars through it!

We used the download version of Project Passport which costs $33.95 or you can purchase a CD for $34.95.  Either way you will have to have a printer and paper, preferably colored card stock, in order to print the itineraries and activity pages so make sure to include time for this in your teacher planning time.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance and Reformation.  I only wish we had know about them earlier when we were studying the Egypt and the Middle Ages.  Home School in the Woods recently added Ancient Greek to the Project Passport lineup and they are scheduled to release the Project Passport: Ancient Rome edition in 2018.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

Want to learn more about Home School in the Woods? Follow them on the social media contacts below:

Twitter: @HSintheWoods

Would you like to read some more TOS Home School Review Crew reviews on History Through the Ages World History Study Project Passport including some from the other editions like Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Middle Ages?  Click on the banner below:

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews

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Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed at the Perot Museum {+ Free Tickets Giveaway}

Elaborate royal tombs, ancient languages, human sacrifice, sports and extraordinary architecture. All define the fascinating Maya civilization that is the bedrock of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s traveling exhibition – Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed. The largest traveling Maya exhibition ever to tour the U.S., the 10,000 square-foot display brings together more than 200 authentic artifacts and immersive environments to explore the astonishing accomplishments of one of the most powerful indigenous Mesoamerican civilizations, which still has millions of living descendants today.

We learned how the Maya built towering temples and created an intricate calendar system while discovering what archaeologists have uncovered about the once-hidden ancient Maya and the unresolved questions about why these ancient cities declined so rapidly. Through hands-on activity stations complete with video and simulations, we deciphered hieroglyphs, learned cultural and architectural techniques, and explored an underworld cave, ancient burial site, mural room and more.

At the beginning of the exhibit is a wonderful interactive display that teaches about Maya numbers and writing (glyphs).  We even learned that a 15 year old boy studied glyphs and realized that they represented a phrase rather than just a single sound as had previously been thought.  Never underestimate the brilliance of youth.

We saw several replica large-scale carved monuments, or stelae, that were erected in the great plazas of Maya cities.

Their inscriptions have given scholars valuable insight into ancient Maya history – from royal succession to political conflicts and great battles.

The kids played archeologist and worked to recreate a broken pot that would have been found at an ancient Maya site.

The broken pieces called potsherds would have been collected at the site and brought back to the lab to be examined and put back together.  Rachel loves puzzles so she put together both available pots.  The taller one is a bit trickier.

They both had fun creating a Maya name for themselves.  Nicholas chose Fire Bat.

Rachel created the name Princess Flower.  They got to print a card to keep that included their name written in Maya glyphs.

There are more than 200 authentic artifacts including spectacular examples of Maya artistry made by masters of their craft, along with objects from everyday life. Examples include an inkpot made out of a seashell which still retains the dried pigment colors hundreds of years after active use, numerous vessels and figurines; and more.  I particularly like the turquoise earrings in this case.

The Maya made balls from a rubber tree and morning glory vine.  They were a bit heavier than balls we use today but they used them in sports and games.

We got a glimpse at a cross-section of Maya life – from divine kings who ruled powerful cities to the artisans and laborers who formed the backbone of Maya society.

The kids learned about Maya architecture and their use of corbeled vaults like this one.

Then they were given a challenge to create their own corbeled vaults.  Rachel took the easier challenge.

Nicholas went a little wild but you will notice that there is a corbeled vault in there.

We learned that the Maya buried their dead underground.  We also learned about their belief in ritual and human sacrifice as a means for them to speak to their gods.

The Maya developed an amazing calendar and this interactive station let us explore how it worked.  It was fascinating.

We studied some Maya bones and learned about what they can tell archaeologists about how the ancient Maya lived.

The ancient Maya believed in beauty.  We learned how they used a bow drill to make a hole in their teeth in order to place a jeweled inlay - just for decoration!! It makes me cringe just thinking about it!

They also had beautiful headdresses and jewelry.  The kids got to use an interactive computer to see how they would look dressed in Mayan garb.

PROGRAM EXTENSIONS. The Perot Museum will offer a myriad of Maya-related programs and events including First Thursday Late Night: Archaeology on May 4, the adults-only Social Science: Patterns on June 23, and the family-fun Discovery Days: Architecture on July 8.

HOURS. General hours of operation for the Perot Museum are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. On the first Thursday of the month, the Museum will stay open until 9 p.m. for its First Thursday Late Night public events. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Museum stays open until 6 p.m.
Member mornings.
From 9-10 a.m. every Saturday and 11 a.m.-noon every Sunday, members can enjoy exclusive access to the Perot Museum and Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.

TICKETS. Museum general admission is $19 for adults (18-64), $12 for youth (2-17), $13 for seniors (65+) and free for children under 2. Museum general admission is free for members. Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed requires a surcharge for a total admission cost of $29 for adults (18-64), $20 for youth (2-17), $21 for seniors (65+), and free for children under 2. Member tickets are $5 for all age levels.

The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field Street in Dallas, Texas. For parking information and other details, visit or call 214-428-5555.

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Happy Valentine's Day!

We had a nice Valentine's Day.  It started with a "heart-y" breakfast and finished up with a party and treats with friends.

I found this fun Valentine's Day food on Pinterest, of course!   Sausage hearts with Cupid's arrow. 

All you need are some Lil' Smokies sausages, cheese, and toothpicks.  Start with cooking the little sausages.

Then slice each sausage in the middle at an angle.  Turn the sausage pieces until they form a heart then skewer them with a toothpick to keep them in place.

Now just cut out an arrow tip and fletching from the cheese and put them on the ends of the toothpicks.  I made some for breakfast along with some scrambled eggs.  Later in the day, the kids made more so they could bring them to their Valentine's Day party.

The party was with some homeschool friends.  We added our treats to the buffet line.

The kids played several different Valentine's themed games.

Then they lined up their Valentine's bag or boxes on the tables.  Then each child went down the line putting candy or a treat in each person's bag.

Even the older boys had fun passing out treats.

Rachel and Nicholas received lots of sweet notes and candy to enjoy and plenty leftover to bring home.

Finally we got to dig into the food and it was all delicious.  All the moms worked hard to make the party a great success.

We might should have taken the group picture BEFORE we let the kids eat the candy that stained their lips blue!

Of course we had to take a silly-faced picture as well.

I love that we have such a wonderful group of homeschool friends and that we get together for parties and fun times every chance we get.  They are each a blessing in our lives.

LEGO Mining Drill Machine

Nicholas is our little engineer in the making.  He loves to plan, create, tinker, and build.  LEGOs are a good outlet for him.  He often uses them to re-create things that he has learned about in school (usually unsolicited!). 

Lately, he is very interested in geology, rocks, minerals, and fossils.  So he built a LEGO mining drill machine to dig for rocks and minerals and collect them in the orange bucket at the back.  What's really cool is that he attached a motor to it so the drill really spins!

Here's a video of the mining drill in action:

I love watching him build amazing creations like this with LEGOs....or sometimes just random stuff around the house!  He is always tinkering!

Learn Multiplication with Times Alive {Review}

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was asked to review the Times Alive online subscription from Times Tables the Fun Way.  I was excited to let my daughter Rachel try it.  She's 8 years old and just starting to learn her multiplication facts.  This seemed like a fun way to supplement her regular math curriculum.

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}

Times Alive teaches multiplication facts through online lessons with animated songs and stories to learn times tables the fun way.  No boring flash cards to memorize here!  
Want to see what I mean?  Take a look at this sample video for learning the fact that 6x6=36.

Rachel enjoyed watching the silly stories and she didn't even realize that she was memorizing the math facts while she watched!  The stories are presented with a colorful video, words to the song, and the words read aloud.  This makes it great for students who are visual or auditory learners.  And with the words being read aloud, even a struggling reader can still learn from this program.

You can begin your student with a placement test to see how much they already know and where they need the most help.  This is also a neat way to go back and test what they have learned after completing the course.  

There are 18 lessons to work through and each lesson contains quizzes and reviews from previous lessons.  It's all presented in a fun way, just like the animated stories.  Here is a quiz asking the child to recall which silly story taught the facts for 7x7.

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}

Then the child tries to remember the story to solve the multiplication problem. They fill in the answer and then they can check their own score to see if they answered it correctly.

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}

It is recommended that a child use the program for 20 minutes a day or one session per day for a minimum of twice a week.  Your child might have so much fun with it though that they just want to keep going.  That's fine because they can go at their own pace.  A student could possibly complete this program in as little as a month.  But if they need more time than that, it is a monthly subscription so you can just extend it for as long as needed at $9.95 per month.

I only needed to use Times Alive for one of my children but if I wanted to use it for multiple children, I could.  I would just have each child assigned with their own log in and then they could each progress through the course at their own pace.  I would be able to track the progress for each of my children individually.  
Here is an example of the progress report.  It shows what the student has attempted, completed, skipped, and how they scored.

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}

We have enjoyed using Times Alive and while multiplication is still new for my 2nd grader, I can see that this program could also be used to help an older child who is still struggling to memorize their multiplication facts or even as a review.

To check out Times Alive for yourself, visit their webpage or Facebook page.

If you'd like to read more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew about Times Alive, click the banner below.

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}

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