Christian Focus Publications: God Is Better than Trucks

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}

Books, Books, Books…

One thing I believe you can never have enough of are books. Anyone that knows me, knows I believe books are one of the best investments you can make in your child’s education at home.

So when we had the chance to work with Christian Focus Publications, and review one of their book, God is Better than Trucks, we jumped at it.

God is Better than Trucks

God is Better than Trucks, is a fun and easy to read book that combines learning your ABC’s and learning truths from the Bible.

Many times, it is hard for young children to relate to the stories they hear in the Bible. However author Sarah Reju, uses the subject of truck and other machinery that many young boys are naturally interested in. This draws the child into the story, and has them open to learning how God is better then these things.

My son has gone through many vehicle stages. For a while it was school buses, then semi truck, now it is a tie between submarines and race cars. So God is Better than Trucks, was a home run in our home.

How Can Families Use This Book?

When we received this book, the first thing my son and I did was read it cover to cover. But when we were done, I couldn’t help but think this book could be so much more then just a story books.

As a homeschool mom I begin to realize that God is Better than Trucks could be used as a Bible study for younger kiddos.

In the first week families could read the books from cover to cover.

Then between weeks 2-27 they could focus on one page per week. Memorizing the Bible verse, and talking about the topic in more details. Some families might like to have their child do copy work, writing out the verses. Other children might like to do draw their own vehicle pictures and recreate their own book. Now you have Bible Study, Penmanship and Art class!

If your family uses a 36 school week schedule, you could spend the next 8 weeks rereading the books and going over your child’s favourite verses.

Who Is This Book Written For?

In my opinion, this books is best for the 3 to 7 year old crowd. But don’t think this is just for boys! I know as a little girl, I loved being around my dad and uncles while they built and raced their RC cars. I was also right next to my dad on Thursday nights watching the car and truck races.

God is Better than Trucks is also a great resource for children like my son who have autism. Teaching kids on the Autism Spectrum about God can be difficult since it is not a black and white subject. My son really enjoyed seeing each of his favourite vehicles, yet then hearing a verse from the bible explaining why God is better then that vehicle.

What Did We Think?

Over the years, I’ve become pickier when it comes to children’s books. I use to like almost everything we read. It had to be pretty bad for me not to say it was good.

As the years have gone on, and we have been exposed to more and more great books, I’m starting to have a stronger opinion on what is a good children’s book and what is not. I’m no longer afraid to giveaway and donate books that we didn’t love. There are too many good books to waste time with subpar ones.

This book made the cut. God is Better than Trucks has earned a spot on our bookshelf. It was pleasant to read. The content was pure and valuable. Most importantly my son truly enjoyed it.

Thank you Christian Focus for allowing us to review one of your great children’s picture books!

What To Read What Others Thought?

Be sure to click the banner below to see what other homeschool families thought of this book, and others from Christian Focus.

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}
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180 Days of Spelling & Word Study Kindergarten: Review

Homeschooling Workbooks for Students with Autism

As a homeschool mom to a little one with autism, ADHD & fine motor skill delays, finding workbooks that my son enjoys doing can be difficult to say the least. However around Christmas, another homeschooling mom introduced me to the 180 Days of Geography for Kindergarten workbook. While ordering it, I discovered 180 Days of Science as well. So I added that to the cart too.

As soon as those books arrived on our doorstep, I knew they were perfect for Z. They provided him a way to do Science & Geography, without tons of writing. Sometimes its as simple as circling an answer.

Because of our great experience with these two books, I was so excited that Teacher Created Materials agreed to team up with me for a review of several of their 180 Days of Practice products.

180 Days of Spelling & Word Study for Kindergarten

Over the last month or two, we have noticed that Zakari is turning into a good little speller. He most certainly did not get that from his mother. However I wanted to find away to help him practice and improve this skill.

So when I saw, 180 Days of Spelling & Word Study for Kindergarten, I thought “That just might work!”

The lessons in this book are short, quick and engaging for students. The books is designed for classrooms, but I have found they work well for homeschoolers too. Not just for my son, but another friend of mine with a son with autism swears by these books.

Activities include:

  • Picture match
  • Read, match, write
  • Change a letter and letter search
  • Rhyming words and tapping sounds
  • Color and trace and color and search
  • First sound, middle sound, and last sound

While there is writing the student needs to complete, my timid writer did not find it overwhelming at all.

Week 1 Day 1

On Week 1 Day one Zakari was required to color the words that start with the letter M. After which he was expected to practice writing the letter M. One thing I noticed with the 180 Days of Practice books, is the there is a lot of place to practice your letters. For the average child, this type of practice could double over as penmanship program.

Week 1 Day 2

What I loved about this page was Zakari did not just pick out all the letter M’s. He had to color the lower case one color and the upper case another. Sometimes kids with autism have trouble following directions, so I was glad to see places where he could proactive his listening skills.

Then he was to read the words at the bottom of the page and trace the letter M in each word. Once again penmanship practice.

Week 1 Day 3

Today we moved on to practicing the letter F. I like that this book seems to follow a pattern of activities. That way my son can learn what is expected out of him. I find this is especially important when working with kiddos on the Autism Spectrum.

Week 1 Day 4

Once again he had to color the lower case one color and the upper case another. Then trace the letter if in the words listed on the bottom of the page.

Week 1 Day 5

Finally on Day 5 of Week 1, Zakari had to write in the first letter of each word.

Our Thoughts

After just one week, Zakari knows just what to expect. As the book goes on, the lessons of course get more difficult. I think the progression of this is perfect for kiddos in kindergarten.

It is also a great fit for students like my son with some fine motor skill issues. It provides lots of writing practice, without leaving the child feeling overwhelmed.

We have started working through the next few weeks, and my son can easily get a few pages done in one sitting now. He enjoys learning with 180 Days of Spelling and Word Study for Kindergarten. We plan to continue using this program from cover to cover through the summer.

Have you and your children used any of the 180 Days of Practice series? If so what did you think?

I received a FREE copy of this product in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


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Happy 7th Birthday Zakari!!

May 5th was a special day, but I couldn’t find the words to express myself.

Zakari turned 7.

I don’t know how my sweet little firecracker is already 7 years old. It hasn’t been easy to be this guys mom, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world. His laugh, his smile, his sassy personality, all of that keeps us going.

Whenever I look at him I see so much potential, and I know how smart he is. I will stop at nothing to help him come out of his shell called Autism.

This last year, so much growth and changes has been happening with him. Any autism parent knows that the fight is real. It’s the child’s parents against the world. His father and I are starting to see the fruits of this great fight. I see things that were hard coming to him more easily now.

Exciting Things We Did This Last Year

Six years old was such an amazing year, I love that we are getting to do more and go to more places with this awesome kiddo. He was able to attend his first Jets game, go to the Red River Ex, loved his trip to the fire hall, blew out his birthday candles for the first time and started to be able to running with his dad.

For a little boy crippled with anxiety and impulse control issues this is so huge in our world.

Getting here was not a smooth process. There were many bumps in the road.

Birthday Party

This year Zakari had a joint birthday party with his cousin at a pool the next city over. We had celebrated his birthday the year before and it was just perfect for him.

Sparky the Fire Dog was such a hit this fall at the fire hall, Zakari’s

Things We Tried Between May 2018-May 2019

Somethings we did with Zakari this past year was some

  • DNA testing and other lab testing.
  • New Supplements
  • Ionic Foot Baths
  • ABA therapy: This year while I figured out Zakari’s genes and supplements according the DNA tests and other lab work we took a break from the IAHP. It was the last year we were able to access school age ABA. So we decided to take advantage of that while we decided where we wanted to go. I talk about it in the video below.

Big Plans for This Year!

Doman International: I plan on sharing more about this over the next few months, but we are having an Evaluation done with Doman International in August. I’m excited to be able to work with experts of the late Glenn Doman’s work that are open minded to other approaches.

If you want to know more about why we decided to leave the IAHP and go with Doman International, you can check out this video.

Bowling: We started taking Zakari to Kids Bowl Free once a week with his brother. My goal for him is to be able to participate in group settings that might be overstimulating. I want him to learn how to play a game with his siblings.

School Plans: Another post and video will be coming out about our Grade 2 homeschool plans. But that being said, this year I want to be adding in a lot more hands on manipulatives. Reading of course will continue to be our cornerstone.

Happy Birthday Little Z!

Your mom, dad, brother and sister love you so much. Here’s to being 7 years old!!

Raising Bookworms: What We Read in April 2019

Another month gone by…

Does anyone else feel like 2019 is just flying by?

So once again this month I got laryngitis yet again. I’m really not to sure why I keep getting it. Usually I get it once every year to year and a half. But so far I have gotten it twice in 4 months.

So as you can image, losing my voice put a damper on our homeschool and read aloud time. However we still managed to read 16 chapter books and 70 picture books.

One thing we tried this month was binge reading series. I usually try to read one book from each series that we are reading through. But what I found was we had so many series on the go that we were not hitting them all. So we started binge reading some of the series we were close to done. Now when a new book in that series comes out, we can preorder it and anticipate the release date.

I’m happy to say that I still am debt free with the local library. We have really been utilizing it, and the Library app has made managing our account so much easier.

What We Read in April…

Without further ado, you can find the video of the chapter books we read below. And below that you will see the list of the chapter books and picture books.

Chapter Books

1)Mike’s Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries) Honestly the Boxcar Children never disappoint. I’m really hoping that once we finish the original 19 books written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, that we will still enjoy the rest of the series. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the books after #19.

2)The Magic Tree House 29: Christmas in Camelot This is the first book in the Merlin Missions series that we have read. At this point the books are a bit longer. But overall, just as good as the original 28 books in the series.

3)The Story of Doctor Dolittle When I think Doctor Dolittle, I think of the 1998 Eddie Murphy Movie. So I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The book is nothing like the movie. It is a lot more enjoyable. I highly recommend giving this book a chance. Both my son and I enjoyed it, and I am looking for more from the series. (Yes its a series, and if you’ve been here long enough, you know how much I love book series!)

4)Penny and Peter (Odyssey/Harcourt Young Classic): Earlier in the school year, Bookshark introduced us to Here’s a Penny, and we needed to read the next book in the series. I was so happy when I saw it become available for sale from one of the ladies I buy used books from on Facebook. I’m also happy to say, it did not disappoint! Only issue is the 3rd book in the series has not been reprinted, and I can only find vintage copies. Question is do I spend $20 on an used book?

The Swamp Robber (Sugar Creek Gang, Book 1) This was a reading fail for us, and we did not finish it. We did not care for it at all. I found it to be too preachy. A lot of talk about who is a good Christian and who isn’t, not enough of a story line. It took all of me to put it away. I always like to finish a book when I start it, no matter how much I dislike it. But I decided that it is more important to foster the love of reading.

I have almost the whole series, but I will be packing them up. I’m debating back and forth about selling them or keeping them to see if we want to try them again. But the more I think about it, the more I think I should sell them.

5) Shine of the Silver Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters 11) We had preordered Dragon Masters book 13, and it was suppose to arrive on April 30th. Well it landed up coming two weeks early! So we decided to binge read the rest of the books, so we could finish book 13 before it’s release date.

6)Treasure of the Gold Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters 12)

7) Eye of the Earthquake Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters 13) Now we are all caught up in the Dragon Masters series and have to wait till

8)Adventures in Flatfrost (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

8)The Witch’s Curse (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

9)Beneath the Stone Forest (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

10) The Hundred Dresses(Bookshark Level K Book): Wow! I really feel all children should have this book read to them. If you are looking for a book to help explain bullying, this is the book to do it. Even though it was written 60+ years ago, and the main characters are girls, this books is relatable to modern day life and to boys as well.

11) Let the Games Begin! (The Kingdom of Wrenly Book 7)

12) The Secret World of Mermaids (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

13) The Bard and the Beast (The Kingdom of Wrenly Book 9)

14)The Pegasus Quest (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

15) The False Fairy (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

16) The Sorcerer’s Shadow (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

Picture Books

Easter theme. Max and Ruby obsessed

  1. The Very Busy Spider
  2. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Board Book)
  3. I Love You, Mouse
  4. Color Zoo Board Book
  5. Big Red Barn
  6. The Runaway Bunny
  7. Waves in the Bathtub
  8. Blue skidoos to the beach (Blue’s clues discovery series)
  9. Franklin Is Messy
  10. Pete the Cat: Rock On, Mom and Dad!
  11. Oscar, Cat-About-Town
  12. Peek-A Who?
  13. Brian Wildsmith’s Animal Colors 
  14. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  15. Time to Sleep 
  16. Silly Little Goose!
  17. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
  18. In the Small, Small Pond
  19. A Penguin Pup for Pinkerton
  20. Max’s Chocolate Chicken (Max and Ruby)
  21. Nuts to You!
  22. Brian Wildsmith’s ABC
  23. Where Once There Was a Wood (Rise and Shine)
  24. Eating the Alphabet
  25. Have You Seen My Duckling?
  26. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
  27. Time for Bed
  28. Easter Parade
  29. What Is Easter? (Lift-The-Flap Book)
  30. Max and Ruby: Max and the Easter Bunny
  31. Llama Llama Easter Egg
  32. The Easter Egg
  33. Spot’s First Easter Board Book (Spot Lift the Flap)
  34. Max’s Easter Surprise (Max and Ruby)
  35. Jane Foster’s Easter (Jane Foster Books)
  36. Peter Rabbit: Easter Surprise (PR Baby books)
  37. Happy Easter, Mouse!
  38. My Easter Bunny!
  39. Funny Faces: Easter Parade
  40. Alphaprints: Easter Fun!
  41. Easter by Miriam Nerlove 
  42. Market Day: A Story Told with Folk Art
  43. Easter by Gail Gibbons
  44. Happy Easter Day! (Celebration Series)
  45. Happy Easter! By Liesbet Slegers 
  46. Good Night, Gorilla
  47. Goodnight Moon
  48. Alphabet City
  49. A Tale for Easter (Tasha Tudor Collection)
  50. Mini Tab: Easter
  51. Easter Surprise
  52. I Love Easter! (Noodles: Beginning Reader, Level 1)
  53. Easter Mice! (Green Light Readers Level 1)
  54. ABCs of Easter
  55. Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion (Inventions and Discovery)
  56. Happy Easter, Davy!
  57. The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
  58. Ollie’s Easter Eggs (Gossie & Friends)
  59. Otter Loves Easter!
  60. Color Dance
  61. Guess How Much I Love You
  62. Minerva Louise at School
  63. Where’s Spot?
  64. Minerva Louise: The Mixed-up Hen
  65. I Went Walking
  66. In the Tall, Tall Grass
  67. The Everything Book
  68. Pete the Cat’s Train Trip (My First I Can Read)
  69. The Jacket I Wear in the Snow
  70. What’s Opposite?

What did you read with your kiddos in April?

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Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Review

Universal History,  The Middle Ages,  US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}

Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum

The best thing about being part of the Homeschool Review Crew is getting to try out different curriculums I have not heard about yet. Two months ago I was introduced to a “new to me” company called Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.

My family was given the chance to try out and reviewPathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, and we chose Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History, Year 1/ Level 1.

We were also sent Chain of Liberty ebook. We however chose not to use that portion as many talks about understand the founding principles of the United States. As Canadian homeschoolers, that is just not what we need. However I did give it a flip through, and I think it would be a great book for US Citizens “who desire to understand the history of liberty and play a role in preserving and advancing liberty in their lives, business, community and nation.”

Who Created This Program?

I’m always interested to know who created the curriculum I’m looking to use with my children. I think its important to know what angle everything is being presented at.

Pathway to Liberty was created by Jayme MacCullough. She is a Christian homeschooling mom of 5 boys. Jayme is also a speaker, she has written and leads Bible studies, educational seminars, and conferences. This curriculum was created using her 20+ years of homeschooling experience, to help simplify the homeschool day.

What Does The Week Look Like Using This Program?

Multi-level lesson plans: Each week contains 4 lessons, each taking about 20-60mins to complete. Each week also contains a link to a Youtube video about the topic.

Scripture: Students will write the scripture, principle and leading idea throughout the week.

History with lesson plans, maps and vocabulary Writing Assignments: Everything is laid out for the teacher to present to the student, but it is all designed to be adaptable to each student.

Word Studies: Jayme explains that when a student masters the language, by doing word studies, it opens up so much more to the student. They begin to understand the information at a new level. Word studies help illuminate understanding & increases reading comprehension just to name a few benefits.

What Materials Are Required?

We were sent the digital teachers guide, and digital student guide. If you would like, you can instead purchase the physical guide. Do know that the physical guides are intended to only be used with one student, where as the digital copies can used for your whole family.

Some other books that are required for Year 1 Level 1 include:

  • Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary
  • NIV Bible-study Bible is recommended.
  • Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Ruth Beechick
  • In the Days of Noah by Gloria Clanin
  • Usborne World History: Ancient World by Fiona Chandler
  • In the Days of Noah by Gloria Clanin
  • The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky

What Will We Be Covering with Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History, Year 1/ Level 1?

During the 26 weeks in Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History, Year 1/ Level 1, you will be covering Creation to Ancient Greece. This program is created to help teach your child to think and engage biblically.

How Did We Adapt This Program To Work For Our Special Needs Child?

When working with a child who is extremely bright, but has limited communication and fine motor skill issues, I am always adapting programs.

I used the Doman Method approach to present the materials in this curriculum. Using Google Drive, I created word cards for my son using the vocabulary works for each lesson. I also created homemade books using the course content. Because asking him to answer detailed questions is like asking a penguin to fly, its not fair to go about his education this way.

Carefully I made sure I had not dumbed down the program at all. However I present it to him and trust that he understands what we are talking about and them move on to the next thing.

As for the YouTube videos, we skipped them. The ones we tried did not hold my son’s interest at this time. Honestly I felt like they were created for much older children then the K5-Grade 3 crowd this program was created for.

Warning for Sensitive Children

While I don’t often sugar coat things for my children, and I’m pretty straight forward with them, I did find some of the images used in the program on the scary side.

My Overall Thoughts

In my opinion this program is designed for a more studious child. I’m not sure I agree that this program is designed for K5 to Grade 3 age range. As a mother of 3, who also runs a home daycare working with children on a daily bases. None of my children or the ones I have cared for would be ready for this program at 5 years old. Even at nearly 7 years old, this program is still very heavy for my almost 2nd grader. We have had to pare it down greatly.

However if you have a precocious child, and want to teach them a heavily biblical based history curriculum, Pathway To Liberty might be the way to go for your family.

What To Hear More?

50+ other Homeschool Review Crew members were given the chance to review several different levels of Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum. Click the link below to read about how other families used the program!

Universal History,  The Middle Ages,  US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}
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Homeschooling on a Budget: Children’s Hospital Book Market Haul

Homeschooling on a budget.

As most parents who have even looked into homeschooling, it can be EXPENSIVE! But I have discovered over the years that if you shop smart, you can get everything you need for much cheaper, some times even free.

Why We Buy Books Used When We Can First

One thing you’ll find is common books often don’t retain their value. So you may buy a chapter book for $4.99-$9.99. But then land up at a thrift store and find it for $.50, $1, or even sometimes $1.79 at more expensive thrift store like Value Village.

It literally makes me sick to pay full price for a children’s chapter book, only to see it at a garage sale for .25cents. So I try to avoid buying books new.

Why We Support The Children’s Hospital Book Market

According to their website:

“The concept of Book Market is simple. Members of the community drop off used books at our various outlets and volunteers sort, mark, pack and price books in over 65 categories that are then sold at two annual sales, April and September.

Since its inception, the Book Market has raised over $8 million in support of child health care in Manitoba.”

As a parent in Manitoba, I hope we never have to use the children’s hospital, but when the time ever comes I want it to have the best machines and resources possible to help my child.

Over the years my eldest had his tonsils and adenoids taken out, which required an overnight stay in one of the wards at the Children’s Hospital. Both boys have received speech and occupational therapy there. Not to mention a few emergency room visits when they were younger. I was always grateful that all of the machinery, supplies, and resources were always available to give my children the best possible treatment.

This month the semi annual The Children’s Hospital Book Market is running from April 25th-27th at St Vital Centre.

In September 2018 we found tons of awesome books like:

  1. Kitty Corner: Guide to Kittens
  2. The Puppy Place 31: Molly
  3. Jake (The Puppy Place 47)
  4. The Lying Postman (Jack Russell: Dog Detective)
  5. The Buried Biscuits (Jack Russell: Dog Detective)
  6. Sprite’s Secret (Pixie Tricks 1)
  7. Sporty Sprite (Pixie Tricks, No. 6)
  8. Double Trouble Dwarfs (Pixie Tricks, No. 7)
  9. The Wicked Wizard (Pixie Tricks 8)
  10. No 3 The Pet Store Sprite (Pixie Tricks, No. 3)
  11. The Greedy Gremlin (Pixie Tricks)
  12. Puppy Puzzle (Animal Ark Pets 1)
  13. Chick Challenge (Animal Ark Pets 6)
  14. Kitten Crowd (Animal Ark Pets 2)
  15. Rabbit Race (Animal Ark Pets 3)
  16. Foals in the Field (Animal Ark Series 24)
  17. Sheepdog in the Snow (Animal Ark Series 7)
  18. Hound at the Hospital (Animal Ark Series 33)
  19. Hound on the Heath (Animal Ark Hauntings 6)
  20. Terrier in the Tinsel (Animal Ark Series 34)
  21. Beagle in a Backpack (Animal Ark Holiday Treasury, No. 45)
  22. Pup at the Palace (Animal Ark Series 30)
  23. Puppy in a Puddle (Animal Ark Series 28)
  24. Husky in a Hut (Animal Ark Series 36)
  25. The Midnight Mystery (The Cul-de-Sac Kids 24)
  26. The Upside-Down Day (Cul-de-Sac Kids Book 23)
  27. Fred on the Ice Floes (Formac First Novels)
  28. Maddie in Trouble (Formac First Novels)
  29. Maddie Wants New Clothes (Formac First Novels)
  30. Fred and the Flood
  31. Will and His World
  32. Maddie Needs Her Own Life (Formac First Novels)
  33. Toby’s Best Friend (Formac First Novels)
  34. Marilou, Iguana Hunter (Formac First Novels)
  35. Disney’s Doug Chronicles: Funnie Haunted House – Book 6
  36. Ghostville Elementary 1
  37. Beware, Pirates (Canadian Flyer Adventures 1)
  38. Hoppy Easter (Little Apple)
  39. A Christmas Carol: The Junior Novel (Disney’s a Christmas Carol)
  40. Rio 2: The Junior Novel
  41. This Little Pig (Janette Oke’s Animal Friends)
  42. Christmas Around the World (Young Reading Level 1)
  43. Cam Jansen: the Mystery of the Gold Coins
  44. The Runaway Racehorse (A to Z Mysteries)
  45. Snowflake and Sparkle (Best Friends, Book 1)
  46. Skipper and Sky
  47. Lily Finds a Friend
  48. Who Killed Mr. Boddy? (Clue, Book 1)
  49. Nate the Great Goes Undercover
  50. Nate the Great and the Hungry Book Club
  51. Zoe’s Rescue Zoo: The Playful Panda
  52. Ready, Freddy! 6: Help! A Vampire’s Coming!
  53. #12 Ready, Freddy!: Stop that Hamster
  54. Ready, Freddy! 26: The Giant Swing
  55. Wild Paws: Lonely Wolf Pup
  56. Wild Paws: Cubs All Alone
  57. A Wild Paws: Bunnies in Trouble
  58. Wild Paws: Orphaned Beluga
  59. The Boy’s Book of Positive Quotations
  60. Mini Manners (Little Steps Books)
  61. Map Skills Grade 1 (Practice Makes Perfect)
  62. Canada from A to Z (Alphabasics)
  63. Gifts Kids Can Make
  64. Our Favourite Stories: Children Just Like Me Storybook

$90 total $1.40 per book

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Autism Life: 6 Tips to Make a Blood Test a Little Easier

Autism Blood Test

Blood Test and Book Hunting

What a wild goose chance. We decided to do some blood work through Zakari’s naturopathic doctor. I want to make sure we have the right doses of the supplement that we are using through the Dr Amy Yasko Protocol. I also needed to get my blood work done from my physical appointment. So we got Wesley off to school & Zakari and I went to my home town to pick up my mom. I was fasting for my test, so I was in a hurry to get it done so I could eat.

Test We Were Having Done & Why

Back in 2017 when we had blood work done for the IAHP. There were a few levels that were borderline and because Zakari is so tiny we decided to redo the test because the threshold should have been lower due to his age and size.

Lab Visit #1

We arrived at the lab and I went in to place us in line. My mom stayed in the van with Zakari. Its just a lot easier then trying to manage him in the lab. I knew as soon as he figured out why he was there he would get upset. So they called me up and I had my blood drawn. Once I was done, I went the car parking lot to get Zakari while they prepped the tubes they needed.

When I came back in with him I saw the two lab techs frantically calling other labs on the phone. Turns out they didn’t have one of the tubes required to take blood for one of the test we required done. We were told we needed to go to their main lab on the other side of town. However my mom had a dentist appointment we needed to take her too, so it would have to wait till the afternoon.

Lab Visit #2

After my mom’s dental appointment and lunch, we drove to the other end of town and found the lab. I ran in and explained the situation. I would need help restraining him, but once he was restrained they should be able to get the blood no problem. Of course her lab partner was out for lunch. We were told to come back in 45 mins.

Killing Time Book Hunting at Once Upon A Child

So back to the van I go. Its not a lot of time to do much. So I decided to go to Once Upon A Child and quickly look through their books. I’m glad I did as I found the many cheap books for Wesley & Zakari.

Full Book Haul can be found here at Once Upon A Child Haul .

Lab Visit #3 Finally Getting Somewhere

Once again we drove back to the lab. I was told by one of the lab techs that we would try to take the blood, but if it got too dangerous they would have our form transferred to children’s hospital, but there I would have to pay them directly. She wasn’t sure how much it would cost. I didn’t like that idea, I like knowing what I’m going to pay before I go. Nor did I want to drag him to children’s hospital. If I had known that was an option I would have went there first thing that morning. I would have called ahead to have the prices confirmed.

But they agreed to try, so we went back to the room. The woman I had been talking to seemed confident, but her partner seemed very nervous. The confident tech asked the nervous one if she would like to take the blood or help hold his arm still. She said she’d rather take his blood.

Drawing Blood

So I got him into the position and the confident tech held his arm still. Before the nervous tech started she asked us 3 times if we were sure we had him. We assured her we did. Zakari was screaming before she even touched him. She was able to get the blood first poke using a butterfly needle, which was a blessing in itself. I rotated between comforting Zakari and praising the nervous lab tech.

Zakari looked at the nervous tech and screamed, “I’m crying you know!!” Leave it to my kid to know which tech to make feel bad. Overall he was not thrashing or fighting too hard. He knew we had him so he had given up. But he was going to make sure we knew how he felt.

We were just about to fill the last tube when the confident tech told the nervous one to pull the tube out because the blood coming up the long tube was partially clotted. We now had to poke the other arm…

Can She Do It Again?

The confident tech asked me if I would like to give Zakari a break, I told her I would love to but it wasn’t a good idea. I would never get him back in the position again if I let him go. We needed to just get it done so we could leave. But now I was nervous, the nervous tech was visible shaken. Could she get his blood on the first poke again?

The confident tech grabbed his other arm, I made sure I had his body still and my legs wrapped around his legs. Once again we assured the nervous tech we had him. Lone be hold she got him again the first try. We were able to get the extra tube we needed of blood.

All Done, Time To Go!

Once we were done and I let Z go he started calming down right away. I always feel so bad holding him down for blood work, but its for his own protection. He said thank you and I brought him to the van. My mom stayed back and waited for my health card.

The Blood Work Was Done! Amen!

6 Tips For Taking A Child With Autism For Blood

Don’t go alone: 

Try and recruit someone to come with you to be extra hands. Even if they can’t physically help when it comes to drawing the blood. They can wait in the car with your child while you go in to talk to the lab tech. They can help you with your belongings, or wait for documents you need while you get your child out of the lab as soon as possible. Now if they can stomach helping you thought the actual blood being drawn that is a BONUS.

Have the child drink lots of water:

Have your child drink lots of fluids before you go, clear water if they need to fast. This will make the veins easier for the lab tech to find and easier to puncture. You do no want your child to have more pokes then necessary or veins collapsing before they have the blood they need.

Explain the situation to the Tech before bringing your child into the lab:

Run in or call before your child goes in. Explain to the lab that your child has autism and they will likely need more then one tech to help. This way they can plan to have at least two people available to help before you bring your child back to the blood draw room.

Go to a Children’s hospital if you Can: 

If I knew this was possible for these blood test I would have call our local children’s hospital and found out the prices. These techs are use to working with sick children in the hospital that often have their blood drawn daily and are scared to death. They usually have way more experience and are ready for all situations when it comes to children with autism. Very little explanation is needed with them.

Social Stories: 

Now with this one you have to be careful. If I had prepped my son with social stories it might have made the situation worse, as he would have expected it. Some kids this is very helpful. If they understand, how and why they are more likely to cooperate.

Setup A Reward & Make It Good:

Explain to your child you will go to get a treat, see a movie, play at their favourite park, etc. For us we took my son for French Fries after.

What do you do to make a blood test a less traumatic experience?

Homeschool Review Crew: Stopmotion Explosion Review

Stop Motion Animation Kit {Stopmotion Explosion Reviews}

Stop Motion Animation Kit

For the last few weeks Stopmotion Explosion has become a new obsession in our home. Through the Homeschool Review Crew, we were sent the Stop Motion Animation Kit for our big kids to try out.

I knew they would like the set, but I thought that it would be fun the first time and then they would lose interest. But that was not the case at all. Since we have introduced it with the kids, my oldest has been spending 1-2 hours a night creating his own videos.

Do You Ready Need A Kit To Make Stop Animation?

Well I guess you don’t really need a kit to create stop animation. But I can say from experience its a whole lot easier with the kit!

I remember fondly back when I was in Grade 9, my friend and I created a stop animation/claymation for our project on The Lord Of The Flies. We used my dad’s old video camera and worked for 12 hours straight filming. That didn’t even include the hours we spent creating the figurines.

Each frame had to be done perfect, and one bad frame meant we had to refilm the whole scene. Watching the film while we worked was also not possible, because stopping the tape at exactly the last scene was next to impossible. Needless to say after many retakes, by the end of that Sunday we were frustrated and glad it was over. However we were proud of our work.

What Comes In The Kit?

When we opened up our kit we found it included:

  • a HD 1080p Web Camera
  • Software CD-ROM (Don’t worry if your like me and don’t have a CD drive. There are also instructions on how to download the software)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • A book called: “Stopmotion Explosion: Animate ANYTHING and Make Movies”

OK, But How Is This a Homeschool Product

I was a bit confused when I saw this product in the upcoming list from the Homeschool Review Crew. But once I had the product in my hand it become very clear to me.

The book, “Stopmotion Explosion: Animate ANYTHING and Make Movies” can basically be used as a Elective course for your homeschooler.

Your homeschooler could spend 2 weeks or so per chapter, learning and experimenting. Starting off with the history of film, script writing, editing and so much more.

In today’s day and age, learning to create and edit videos will became a good skill to have. Especially for kids that would like to dip their foot into the world of YouTube.

How Did We Use Stopmotion Explosion’s Kit?

Because we only had about a month to explore the product, I did not have time to really have the kids go through each chapter of the book “Stopmotion Explosion: Animate ANYTHING and Make Movies”. For now that will be a summer project. But they did reference it when they needed help.

But that’s OK! If your kids want to dive right into things before you have had a chance to figure out their lesson plan, they can do what my kids did and start with the “Quick Start Guide.”

In the Quick Start Guide, you will find help to set up the kit components and get started right away.

I let my kids play around with the camera and software, trying new settings and experimenting with props. They could not get enough of this, and it even started to suck in the attention of their Dad and Uncle.

Why Do I Think Time To Experiment with This Product is Important?

If I had jumped into the project with that big old book, and told my kids for the first week would would be learning about Film History, and then week 2 animated actors, then week 3 creating a story, I would have lost them.

However giving them time to just play with the camera, and creating their own props lit the fire of creativity in them. How that they know what they can do, they want to know how to do it better.

Also now that they know how they make animation, hearing about how the first cartoons were created is even more interesting for them. It creates a common ground between what the book is teaching and what they are already interested in.

What Did My Kids and I Think?

My kids loved it. The first Friday night I gave them free access to the program, they were downstairs for 4 hours working together. Nearly every night after that my oldest son has be working on creating videos.

I think Wesley has found a new creative outlet, and I’m anticipating that our family will be entertained with many stop motion videos created by him for many months to come.

What did I think? Since my son is a techie kid, I’m so glad to have found a creative outlet for him using technology. Slowly but surely I know I can use this to lead him into the world of script writing.

Check Out Some Of The Work My Kids Did!

Want to see how other families have used Stop Motion Animation Kit ???

Click the link below and read what 40 other families thought!

Stop Motion Animation Kit {Stopmotion Explosion Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Homeschooling On A Budget: Why We Buy Books Used & A Book Haul

New Children’s Books Are So Expensive!

Purchasing children’s books can really break the bank if you are trying to create a large library for your children using only new books. One thing I learned quickly is that children’s books rarely retain their value.

So that hardcover picture book you bought for $25, well there is no way you will even get 1/4 of that back when your family is done with it. Plus when I spend a lot of money on a book, I’m less likely to leave it out for my kids to explore on their own. What if they spill on it? Turn the pages a little rough? Heaven forbid it gets wreaked in any form.

I’m not saying you should let your child wreak books. However children need time to learn how to treat a book and accidents happen.

Why We Buy Most of Our Kids Books Used

The main reason I try to find most of our home library used is quite because of the cost. For example I found 43 of the Magic Tree House books on Kijiji for $15 last year. Yes I typed that right, $15 CDN. I looked on Amazon and Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-28 alone cost $93 US.

Even if we hit up the local Value Village and pay $1.79 per chapter book, I’m still ahead of the $5.99-$12.99 price tag the book had when it was first purchased. Especially when we take advantage of the buy 4 books get 1 free deal.

The second reason I buy used is for variety. Now this is a double edge swords because variety is also one of my exceptions to buying used. But I’ll talk about that later. Some of my favourite books to read with Zakari are sometimes out of print.

Why Not Just Use The Library?

Of course we still use the public library! Actually this is a new thing for us. I’m going to be honest. I’m not very good at using the public library. I often have big plans, put a bunch of books on hold and then forget to pick them up. If you forget to pick them up there is a $1.20 per book charge. In the pass I have also been really bad at remembering to renew books. But now our public library has an app, which makes all of this so much easier for me!

However there are perks of having a solid home library. For us, we don’t always know what we want to read. Then just before bed my son will pick a new book to start. That kind of spontaneity just can’t happen if we have to go to the library and pick it up.

Studies that books in a home help a child become more successful. You can read about this more in a post I wrote in 2017: 11 Ways to Build Your Child’s Home Library Without Breaking the Bank // STUDY SHOWS: MORE BOOKS IN THE HOME MAKES KIDS SMARTER!!

You Can Find Great Books at Once Upon A Child

When people hear the name of the consignment store Once Upon A Child, the first thing they usually think about is gently used children’s clothes. Of course, that is the place to go for that, especially on sale days. However the first thing that comes to my mind is gently used children’s BOOKS!

Often our two local Once Upon A Child locations offer a deal on their books, if you buy 10 books, you get the bunch for 50% off! Usually books are ticketed at $1.50-$2.50 each, meaning I’m getting them for .75 cents-$1.25!

Often this store has newer books. Since they are actually playing for the items that come in and they don’t accept really old books, you can often find books that have recently been in Scholastic Flyers.

When Do I Buy New Books?

Of course there are times when I might need to buy a book new. Sometimes I might only be missing a few books in larger series. For example we were collecting the A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy. I never was able the last 3 books I needed used, so we ordered them on Amazon.

Sometimes we might find the one or two books of a larger series by fluke, and get into them. But then find that the rest of the books are too new to realistically find used. So I will often order these books new, if we really love the series.

Another reason I will buy new is if its a book we need for school. Sure I could find it used at the thrift store eventually, but when we need it for school, time is an important thing to consider. Of course I will check Amazon Marketplace, but sometimes the new and used copies are close in price because of shipping cost.

Like I mentioned before, while I buy used for more variety. I also buy new for a different type of variety. Newer books can take years to start showing up in thrift stories. Sometimes by the time that happens, my child might have already grown out of that series.

Ideas When Buying That Book Used Is Not An Option

Book Outlet is an awesome site I always check first before I buy new. The books are new books that may have been over ordered by a store.(Some have had Walmart price tags on them) Some maybe slightly damaged at a HUGE discount(Damaged books are always labeled on the website as so). I have never received a majorly damaged book. Its usually just a little crease in the cover, or nothing that my naked eye can even see. This is the site I have gotten most of our Who Was/Is series.

I keep a list of books we want or need when when family and friends as for birthday & Christmas Gift Ideas. My kids have aunts that would prefer to buy them a bunch of books over a few trendy toys.

Be sure to always check out places like Walmart & Superstore. Sometimes you can get 40% off the cover price of new releases. We have also gotten Dragon Masters books at Walmart for 2 for $10 CDN, which is a few dollars cheaper them and

Where Do I Buy Books Used?

When it comes to buying used books, I usually hit up the:

  • Thrift Store
  • Consignment stores
  • Facebook Buy & Sell Groups
  • Kijiji
  • Garage Sales
  • eBay: On eBay I usually look for lot deals. I also look for the make an offer option to try and save a few extra dollars.

Once Upon A Child Haul

As promised! These are the awesome books I was able to pick up at Once Upon A Child when we stopped in to kill a bit of time. Everything in the video is listed below!

  1. Our Hero (Babymouse 2)(Wesley)
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 11: Double Down(Wesley)
  3. DanTDM: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal
  4. Pokémon Adventures: Diamond and Pearl/Platinum, Vol. 5 (Pokemon)
  5. The Mystery of the Secret Society (Greetings from Somewhere)
  6. The Stolen Trophy (Wishbone Mysteries 5)
  7. The Best Halloween Ever
  8. Saddle Up, Happy! (Big Apple Barn)
  9. Big Apple Barn 5: Happy’s Holiday
  10. Hold Your Horses! (Big Apple Barn)
  11. Cat in the Crypt (Animal Ark Hauntings 2)
  12. Colt in the Cave (Animal Ark Hauntings, 4)
  13. There Goes the Neighborhood (Meet the Kreeps, No. 1)
  14. Vampires Do Hunt Marshmallow Bunnies (Bailey School Kids Jr. Chapter Book,
  15. Merry Christmas, Geronimo! (Geronimo Stilton, No. 12)
Homeschool Collection {Monthly Round UP}

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Raising Bookworms: What We Read in March 2019

I can’t believe another month has past by us. Every month I feel like I have just written our Raising Bookworms post, when really it was several weeks earlier.

This month Zakari and I read 15 chapter books. 4 books ahead of our 11 chapter book a month goal! I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t read as many books as we read in February. I mean March has 3 more days right? However I had to remind myself, I was gone the first weekend in March to the USA with my mom. Then mid month our 10 year old Devon Rex cat Gizmo’s health rapidly declined and we had to put her down. So our schedule got mixed up again.

Picture Book Update!

Like I mentioned last month, we have been incorporating more picture books into our Read Aloud time. I’m proud to say we have made it one month and not run up any library fines. I really feel this is because our library now has an app that I can use on my phone. It is so much more convenient to keep track of which holds are ready for pick up, when things are due, and its super easy to renew books if I need to.

I’m happy to say we finished up 42 picture books. Sadly I cannot include them in my video. Most of them are from the library, and we are only allow to have out so many at once. So as soon as we are done with them, I send them back and request a whole new pile of books. But if you want to see which picture books we read, scroll down to the bottom of this post and I have them listed.

So now here is what we read in March!

Chapter Books We Read in March 2019

Who Was Louis Braille? We picked this one out of are growing Who Was collection to continue our study on Louis Braille from last month with Bookshark

A Grain of Rice(Bookshark Level K Book): An amazing rags to riches story.

On the Dog (Andrew Lost 1): This is a series my friend at _little_mama_purple, recommended to us.

Ralph S. Mouse(Homeschool Complete Grade 1 Book) Beverly Cleary Books apparently are another series I was deprived from as a child, right up there with The Boxcar Children. The two books I have read with Zakari from this author(Ralph S. Mouse and Beezus and Ramona )have both been super fun, well written and just plan enjoyable.

Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Twenty and Ten(Bookshark Level K Book) I cannot say enough good things about this book! This is actually the second time Zakari and I have read it. We read it while doing Build Your Library Level 0, last year. However it is so engaging and felt like you were right in the story with the 30 children, it was a book that must be reread.

Laura’s Pa (Little House Chapter Book)(Replacement book for Bookshark Level K) Bookshark recommended that we read “Little House in the Big Woods”. However this was another book we had read in Build You Library Level 0. Since it was quite a long book, and there are so many other Little House books to get to, we decided to start working through the Little House Chapter Books.

Who Was Steve Jobs?

Cody (Puppy Place 13)Zakari and I have always loved Ellen Miles’ books. I have said it before that I am not a dog lover, but I still absolutely love these books.

Cody was the first Puppy Place book we read after we had to put our beloved Gizmo sleep. When we got to the end where Ellen writes a letter to the readers, my eyes filled with tears. Where she usually writes about how her dog Django did something that reminds her of the puppy in the story, this time she shared that Django had died.

The timing of this letter could not have been planned better. It opened up a dialog that I could share with Zakari that others have also lost their pets.

Mary On Horseback: Three Mountain Stories (Bookshark Level K Book) Three stories all about Mary Carson Breckinridge, and the creation of her Frontier Nursing Service. Such an amazing story. I wanted to expand on this and learn more about Mary Breckinridge, but sadly our local library does not have any books at all on her. However, I’m sure if I lived in the USA, there would be a lot more material available.

Kitty Corner 2: Otis

The Adventures of Laura & Jack (Little House Chapter Books: Laura)(replacement book for Bookshark Level K)

Cavemen Do Drive School Buses (The Bailey School Kids Jr. Chapter Book 8)

The Light at Tern Rock (Puffin Newbery Library)(Bookshark Level K book) This was a great story that teaches character and handling being mislead. It is definitely written with a more classical tone.

Picture Books We Read in March 2019

  1. Pete the Cat: Go, Pete, Go!Sugar Snow (My First Little House) 
  2. Going To Town (My First Little House Picture Books)
  3. A Little Prairie House (Little House Picture Book)
  4. Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana (My First I Can Read)
  5. The Berenstain Bears and the Mama’s Day Surprise
  6. The Berenstain Bears and the Papa’s Day Surprise
  7. The Berenstain Bears and Baby Makes Five
  8. County Fair (Little House Picture Book)
  9. Saint Patrick
  10. Laura Ingalls Wilder (Children’s Authors)
  11. Winter Days in the Big Woods (My First Little House Books)
  12. Christmas in the Big Woods (Little House Picture Book)
  13. Johnny Appleseed
  14. The Reasons for Seasons
  15. Johnny Appleseed by Rosemary Benét
  16. Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille
  17. Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman
  18. Pete the Cat: Go, Pete, Go!
  19. A Picture Book of Louis Braille (Picture Book Biography)
  20. The Birds, the Bees, and the Berenstain Bears
  21. Johnny Appleseed A Tall Tale
  22. The Leprechaun’s Gold
  23. St. Patrick’s Day
  24. Daniel O’Rourke: An Irish Tale (Picture Puffins)
  25. Clever Tom and the Leprechaun: An Old Irish Story
  26. Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day! (Lift-the-Flap, Puffin)
  27. The Story of the Leprechaun
  28. The Leprechaun Under the Bed
  29. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf
  30. The Incredible Life of Balto
  31. Annie and Snowball and the Wintry Freeze
  32. First Facts: Seasons (Dk First Facts)
  33. Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons
  34. Four Seasons of Fun: Egg Hunts! Fireworks! Pumpkins! Reindeer!
  35. A Farmer Boy Birthday (Little House Picture Book)
  36. My Little House 123
  37. Prairie Day (Little House Picture Book)
  38. Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger
  39. Pond Seasons
  40. Ducks in a Row 
  41. The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Grownups
  42. Going West (Little House Picture Book)

What did you and your kiddos read last month? I’m always looking for book suggestions!

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Homeschool Collection {Monthly Round UP}