Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Review: More on The Adventurous Mailbox incl Teacher's Lounge

Recently we received The Adventurous Mailbox pack.

We love it. Love, love, LOVE it! 

My first review can be found here to give you information about the pack. 

We have progressed now to:
 Book 2: Taiwan
How is it?  
My son is still loving it, still wanting to read it and still keen to keep going.  
That's a great thing.  Some products you buy or are given to review just don't hold the child's attention past that initial few weeks.  However this product still 'has it' for us.  

It's taken us a while to get through book 2 as this time my son has wanted to read the whole thing himself.  The first book he was so desperate to know what was in the book that I had to read parts aloud to him to help speed through it.  This time he is still hooked but willing to go at a slower pace and read it himself with me helping with bigger words etc. For a homeschool mum, the fact that the child is willing to read it themselves (especially if they are a reluctant reader) is an indicator of a great product.  We are also covering Reading, Reading Comprehension, Grammar and English as well as Geography so it's ticking lots of boxes for me.

Book 2 is more of a "Getting to know you" book, letting us know more about the main character.  I think this is important though as it will help the child connect with the series and continue reading each of the books. Without writing a spoiler, can I also just say that my son thought it was awesome and hilarious when even how you use the toilet was covered in the book LOL.

The other very cool aspect of this product is the:
(which is free for a limited time - see SPECIAL OFFER below).  

From a visual perspective it's such a great looking area. It is uncluttered, easy to use and in logical flowing format which I liked.  The content is awesome! 

You can either download full workbooks and teacher books for each book in the series, or just sections of them depending what you prefer for your child. There are options within Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Academic Writing, Critical Thinking including projects, group work and country specific lessons.  There are links for Student Research and also links for additional lessons.  File types are in both PDF and Word format to make life easier for us Homeschooling Mums! 

The actual workbooks are clear, well laid out, have colour (but not too much to distract), have a good content level and I feel they provide what you would need from an English Curriculum perspective.  Being able to use these downloads to cover English is such an added bonus with this product.

The amount of information and material available PER country, is fantastic.  Sooooo well worth purchasing the Teacher Lounge addition.  Even better when you can get it FREE with the special offer listed below before June 30th 2015. 

For the kids (and us adults!) Crameye's World is a fantastic area of the website. There is a forum, blogs, information, music and games. You can download the books as eBooks, you can take on a writing mission and enter a contest.  My son does not see this as school work yet he is learning and having fun which is why I love this product so much.

To view the contents of Crameye's World, you can use a visitor login. I don't know of many websites that you can look around before paying so a great initiative by the creators. 
Use 'visitor' for the username and 'TouristVisa' for the password.  
While you cannot download anything under the visitor login, you can at least get to see what is on offer.

Look out for our next instalment in coming weeks, when we get through Book 3 and tackle some workbooks! 

Before then however - DON'T MISS OUT ON THE FREE TEACHER'S LOUNGE OFFER and DISCOUNT OFFER listed below!!!!!   LIMITED TIME - Ends 30 June 2015! 



Head over to The Adventurous Mailbox and 
using the code HSadventure at checkout,

 you will get the Teacher's Lounge free

as well as $10 off the Adventurer Package 

(the Teacher's Lounge upgrade needs to be in the cart for the coupon to work).

This special is running till 30 June 2015 so be quick!!!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Busier than ever - Homeschooling Life is FULL!

This term has been our busiest yet.  It's been our most social.

It's been our most structured AND unstructured term in 4 years. 

I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to sit for 5 minutes and write on this blog.

But that's ok.

I think it's part of the ebb and flow of day to day life. I think most homeschoolers would agree that there are busy periods, relaxed periods, cycles and patterns with learning and that we all get through the day however works best for our family.  

This term I relied heavily on daily appointment schedules, phone alarms, lists, lists and more lists, and more planners and schedules!  Not for lessons though.  I am happy to say this term it was all about being social!  A big challenge and nice change for my son who has Aspergers.  

This is a basic overview of my week:

Monday - 8am The Music Bus arrives for a one hour session. At 10am the Occupational therapist arrives for one hour.  At 12 we head to a homeschool families home for group Piano lessons for an hour then Art class for an hour followed by some play time.

Tuesday - Fortnightly we have sessions at our local hardware store where the kids make all sorts of projects (toolbox, bird house, boat etc).  The opposite fortnight we have excursions.

Wednesday - Every week we head to Riding for Disabled and my son has an hour horse riding.  By the time we drive over and back the morning is gone and we try to get errands done in the afternoon.

Thursday - We have a Science session with the Mad Scientist to do experiments etc.  Lots of learning but not structured lessons. 

Friday - is our only full 'at home' day to get into school work.

** Plus all our medical appointments that I've managed to fit around everything!**

School work for us this term (as a result of being so busy) has been a lot less formal and unstructured.  We still do bookwork and lessons on Fridays but a lot of learning has been done via reading or watching DVDs between appointments. I've noticed a big change in attitude from my son (for the better!) which has been great too.  As a result of being so social, we've needed a lot of downtime (essential for someone with ASD) and we've had a lot of other issues to deal with which has taken it's toll and meant we've needed a much more relaxed approach to lessons than we have in the past. 

As a homeschooling mother I feel conflicted.  On one hand it's been a great term, we've done a lot, made friends, attempted things we wouldn't have before and I've seen lots of smiles on my son's face.  On the other hand I am having to reel in my own anxiety and OCD over not keeping to my planned work schedule.  

I just have to remember that for us, the colder months (this term and the next) are our months of good health.  So being able to get out and be social is a good thing.  We can so more bookwork throughout the summer months when poor health means we are restricted to indoors and air conditioning at home.  

Does your homeschooling have cycles of busy months too? 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Week 1 Making Sessions: Building a Toolbox

This morning we went to our local hardware store (Bunnings) with a group of other homeschooling families.  Usually there are craft activites and to be honest, it doesn't excite my boy at all.  He isn't a crafty type. 

But today was not craft.
  It was woodwork!
  The kids got to make a toolbox and paint it to take home.

Then they got to take home the hammer they used during the construction and a homework project as well! 

Big news for us - was that my son CHOSE to use the colour GREEN to paint his toolbox.  Now that might not sound like an issue, but friends and long time readers will remember that my son (who has Aspergers) had a severe aversion to the colour green for many many years and while he is ok with it now, it's not a favourite.  So to see him pick this was really awesome!  

Next week the kids will start a long term project - making boats!  Sounds interesting and I have a rather excited son.  THIS is HIS kind of craft LOL 

As I sit here and type this, I have also just updated our weekly schedule with our new found activity - wow talk about busy weeks!

Thanks to Bunnings Warehouse, staff member Sam & homeschool mum Fiona for organising - was a great morning.