Zoey and Sassafras Book Review and Printables

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{disclaimer ~ we were sent these books to review and affiliate links are used in this post}

Oh my word. I can’t say enough about Zoey and Sassafras!. When my blog friend Asia asked if I would like to review her new chapter book series, I took a look, saw a dragon and a cat and said YES! I figured with two of my daughter’s VERY favorites on the cover, it was likely she would enjoy them. Plus she LOVES to read. The photo above shows moments after she opened the package that Asia sent us with the first book, her smile says it all.

She sat down to read it after we came inside from playing that day and she finished it all at once!

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I just happened to be sitting near her as I noticed her on the last page so I started filming so I could get her live and authentic reaction. I’ll let the video speak for itself.

A post shared by Carisa (@1plus1plus1) on

 

 

About the Series…

Zoey is a smart and sweet little girl with an adorable pet cat, Sassafras. Science, adventure and fantasy are woven together in the delightful tales. The books are funny, educational, and just simply enjoyable. I HIGHLY recommend them!

There are 3 books in the series {we are really hoping Asia will write more}, and they all feature larger font size, and black and white illustrations on many pages. The books are written at a 2nd grade independent reading level, but would make a great read aloud for a younger child. Honestly the stories are so well written that older kids will enjoy them too. The recommended age is 4-10, my daughter is almost 8 and these are perfect!

 

The Printables…

She also loves to color and asked me if I had any Zoey and Sassafras coloring pages! Thankfully we were given permission from the fabulous illustrator, Marion Lindsay, to use her images to create some printables! I first put together some simple coloring pages for her, which she also used as tracing sheets. She loves to practice her drawing skills.

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She is in 2nd grade, and I wanted to create a couple of activities to work on some skills also. First, I made a sheet for her to draw and write about her own magical animal. She loved this and I just love her creativity. After this she asked me if she could use one of her small notebooks to be her magical animal book. She has since written about several made-up magical animals all on her own!

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I also created a printable activity to work on some grammar skills. We came up with verbs and adjectives to describe Zoey and Sassafras!

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The words she chose to describe Zoey give a good picture into the type of main character this little girl is ~ creative, smart, and helpful. All traits I love to see in my own kids! Zoey likes to ~ investigate, explore, and play!

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She is BEGGING Asia to write more books, but she said she will reread these for now, she loves them so much!

 

You can download the free Zoey and Sassafras coloring pages and printables here!

Zoey and Sassafras Coloring Pages and Printables

 

Grab the books here on Amazon!



Mid Year Review of Teaching Textbooks Math 3

Teaching Textbooks Math 3 Review

 

{disclaimer ~ TT is a sponsor and affiliate links are in this post. We used TT long before they ever became a sponsor, we are grateful for our new partnership!}

I am simply in love with Teaching Textbooks. Using level 3 with my daughter this year has only solidified that love. My boys have been using TT for 3 years now, but this is her first year and my first year seeing it from the beginning. Now that Ladybug is over half way through I wanted to do a review and answer some questions I have gotten this year!

First, I want to take a minute and explain a bit about what makes TT different from other homeschool math programs.

Teaching Textbooks were designed specifically for independent learners. Each Teaching Textbook has approximately 700 pages of text and 120 – 160 hours of teacher instruction on CD-ROM, and is both a teacher and a textbook combined into one. There are audiovisual step-by-step explanations for every single one of the almost 3,500 problems in the book. Using a Teaching Textbook is like having a tutor available at the push of a button, which means I do NOT have to know it all!

I made a video to explain and show a few things and want to share that first. I expand on some of it in the post below, but in this video you can see a peek at the program on the computer, some ways I help her} my sticky note method}, inside of the book itself, and some of my rambling thoughts about this awesome program.

Table of Contents

You can download a PDF of the table of contents here to see it in full. Look for this graphic, you’ll also see the link for the TT 3 placement test there too!

TT3 TOC and Placement

Our Lesson Checklist

In the video I show our personal checklist and you can download a copy here if you’d like to use it.

TT3 Plan

Does she work independently?

She works by herself most of the time but I am always nearby. Sometimes she uses her headphones and just pauses if she needs me. Other times she leaves the sound so I can hear and I follow along and help as needed. Honestly after about a month she was mostly independent.

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How is the review?

I am a BIG fan of cyclical review in math, kids can’t be forgetting things! Teaching Textbooks does a great job of this in my opinion. The review is scattered in but not overwhelming.

 

How are the multiplication lessons presented?

Multiplication is introduced in level 3 and you can see the order of the lessons in the screenshot below. I talk about this a bit more in the video if you haven’t watched it yet.

TT3 TOC Multiplication Lessons

 

Do we supplement at all?

Yes! I am still a big fan of hands-on learning especially in the early math years. Adding in some fun is important to me. We mainly use Spielgaben for this, you can see our monthly posts here. We also play math games, like our printable multiplication games here. If I see her struggling to understand at all, I will pull together a hands-on lesson to reinforce and teach differently. Below you can see a photo I shared on Instagram here, showing us playing the Winter Multiplication Games and using the Skip Counting Charts from Homeschool Creations.

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How is this compared to other 2nd grade math programs we used?

We  used a more traditional homeschool math program for PacMan and for Krash we used Singapore. I have never really loved the traditional math programs, but I did really love Singapore. The problem for me was the amount of teacher involvement needed. I simply did not have that kind of time and began looking elsewhere when I finally realized Singapore wouldn’t be a good fit for our family long term. About that time PacMan was moving into Pre Algebra and I was getting a bit nervous. We started Teaching Textbooks then with him and since he was going to be using it, I decided to give Math 4 a try for Krash who was in 3rd grade at the time. We haven’t looked back! Krash is now using Math 6, and PacMan is using Geometry. We plan to use Teaching Textbooks all the way through high school!

What level should my child begin with?

Teaching Textbooks is often different than your child’s actual grade level. My daughter is in 2nd grade and using level 3 right now, it’s a perfect fit. You’ll notice when my boys used each level so far in the list below…

For Krash ~

For PacMan ~

If you are curious about Teaching Textbooks and thinking of making the switch, they have placement tests for you to use to make the process easier!

Teaching Textbooks Placement Tests

See another post about Teaching Textbooks here.

We Love Teaching Textbooks Math



Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits!

Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits

{disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

Our love for Ivy Kids Kits continues! These continue to be the best monthly subscription kits I have seen.

Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

We were sent Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats for this review.  Here’s ALL that was included in this kit:

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  • The humorous and heartwarming book Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. 
  • Read along Bookmark: Use to assist with reading comprehension.
  • Houseful of Cats: Paint the beautiful wooden house and use it along with the cat figures to retell the story
  • Story Re-telling: Use the board and cat figures to retell the story of Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats that have names from A to Z. 
  • Cat Puppet: Create your own cat puppet with a personalized name collar 
  • Cat Bingo: Learn about the different cat species while playing bingo. The person to get 3 cats in a row gets bingo.
  • Houseful of Pets – Roll and Stick: Roll the dice, find the number rolled, and cover the number with a colorful cat or dog sticker. Keep rolling the dice until you have found all the hidden numbers and your house is full of pets!
  • Find Your Way Home Board Game: Players take turns moving the cat pawns along the alphabetical path until each cat has reached the house at the end of the board
  • Kitty Bank: Use the paints to decorate your own cute and functional kitty bank.
  • Cat Fact Boards and Trivia: Learn fun and interesting facts about cats and solve the trivia questions
  • Cat Race – Roll and Stamp: Choose from 3 different racing sheets! Player counts the number rolled and then stamps the column displaying that numerical symbol. Continue rolling until the cats reach the top of at least one column. Whichever column has the most cats wins the race.
  • 100 Cats: What does 100 cats look like? Find out by stamping 100 cats onto the hundreds board.
  • Word Families: The first player to collect all the word cards that belong to his or her word family wins the game.  
  • Cat Alphabet: Color these uniquely formed letters. For silly fun, try to use your own body to make the different letter shapes.
    She was SO excited to open our box and see CATS! She loves cats!
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She immediately asked to go read the book and she loved it! Not so sure the dog loved a book all about cats!

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      Activities From Our Box…

      She chose to do the story-retelling activity first and loved all of the little kitties!

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      She always loves the games that are included, I think spending more time with me and playing together is a highlight!

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      She is a craft-loving girl and this one was a favorite!

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      She loved the Cat Facts game, the pictures were awesome!

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      She is a bit too old for rhyming so we just peeked at it quickly.

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      We played BINGO a few times, which she loved!

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      She loved playing “A Houseful of Cats,” and so did I! I loved that there were varying levels included, we played a few different ways.

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      Her very favorite was the kitty bank craft! She also loved the little cat house!

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      We continue to just LOVE Ivy Kids and are thankful to have these boxes! You can buy this kit here!

      We also loved our A House for Hermit Crab kit, Penguin & Pinecone kit, Gotta Go! Gotta Go! kit and Over in the Ocean!

      A-House-for-Hermit-Crab-Unit-Study-w[1] Penguin-and-Pinecone-Unit-Study-with[1] 

      Gotta-Go-Gotta-Go-Ivy-Kids-Kit-Revie Over in the Ocean Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits[4]

       

      20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

      Use code: IVY20

      A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

      When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!



      GoldieBlox Review

      GoldieBlox Review

      {disclaimer ~ Educents provided the GoldieBlox for this review. Affiliate links are included in this post.}

      Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres126214

      Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

      Recently we were sent the GoldieBlox Craft-Struction Box from Educents to review! This was pretty exciting since we had never had any experience with GoldieBlox!

      Want to jump straight to the VIDEO review? Click here!

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      The Craft-Struction Box combines the best of crafting and construction for the ultimate open-ended play experience!

      • Builds spatial skills, engineering principles (prototyping), and confidence in problem-solving.
      • Perfect for ages 6+
      • Comes with 275+ pieces, including a poster, new construction pieces, stickers, and pompoms for the best crafting session ever!
      • All building pieces are compatible with existing sets.
      • Perfect gift for a curious and crafty kid.
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      My daughter wasn’t so sure what to think at first since she had never seen this. Once she realized what it was she got busy and spent hours creating!

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      She chose to make the Leap Bot first and absolutely loved him!

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      She made the Pom-Pom-apault next!

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      I took several video clips of her in action and shared our thoughts as we built new creations. She shares her final thoughts at the end of the video. She’s gotten to be quite the toy reviewer!

      My 10 year old loves these too, and sat by her building. When we get review items they are usually intended for one of our children and this was obviously sent for Ladybug. But he soon realized that this “girl” toy is not just for girls. He loves building and creating too!

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      His car…

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      Final Thoughts…

      As we mention in the video, we love our GoldieBlox set! I definitely recommend this kit, but there are a few things to note. My daughter is 7 and had very little trouble putting things together or following the plans. She did have some trouble taking some of the pieces apart and had to bring them to us for help. We had to use a pliers on some, they were pretty tight. This didn’t bother my kids, as they like that their creations don’t fall apart easily. They were fine with needing a bit of disassembling help.

      My daughter ended up making all of the creations outlined in the kit and several of her own creations. I ask her in the video if she would like more GoldieBox and she does! That’s the true test for me.

      As a mom, I love the concept, love the creativity involved, and even love the challenge of sticky pieces.

       

      Save on GoldieBlox and more!

       

      You can buy the GoldieBlox Craft-Struction Box here on Educents.

      See more GoldieBlox sets here!

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      One of their FAVORITE Toys ~ Magformers!

      Magformers Review

      {disclaimer ~ Educents provided the Magformers for this review. Affiliate links are included in this post.}

      Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres126214

      Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

      Last year we were sent the Magformers 30 Piece Rainbow set to review and all of my kids fell in love. Since then, they have been played with SO SO much and my younger two kids have asked for more Magformers to add to their set. Imagine my delight when we were asked to share Magformers again and got two new sets to review for Educents!!! This time we were sent two new sets; Inspire Set and Magnets in Motion Gear Accessory Pack.

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      I think she spent almost 2 hours playing with these on the day we opened them. I tried to take pictures of as many creations as I could, but even these don’t show all she made!

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      You can see she loved adding the gears, I definitely recommend adding this set if you own some Magformers already. It is an inexpensive way to add an entirely new element of play.

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      I took several video clips of her in action and as you will see, she got very into sharing her creations!

       

      My 10 year old loves these too. When he came home from gymnastics the night we got them he was so excited and asked to build for a bit right away! He built this awesome cross!

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      They play with these together a lot and now that we have more pieces, that goes much better! They made matching iguanas!

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      I think my favorite recently has to be the puppy playground. She made a swing, a slide and a rolling ride for her puppies.

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      Oh, and the skates. Love the skates.

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      Final Thoughts…

      I highly recommend Magformers. I was so skeptical in the beginning, mostly because I thought they were expensive for what they were. Now that we have had them for awhile {the first set of 30 we have had for almost a year}, I have changed my tune. Not only has she played with that set of 30 continuously, it was even one of the ‘chosen’ toys to bring to the beach this past summer! We only allow a few toys to be brought on vacation and the box of Magformers was a huge hit! She has only intensified her love for Magformers since adding the extra sets and is begging for one of the themed sets with curved shapes for Christmas, like this Dinosaur Set or this Deep Sea Set. Who knows? Her wish just might come true!

      Magformers are a great gift idea because you can easily start small with the 30 piece set and it truly is fun all on it’s own. Adding to the set over time just makes the fun grow!

      Save on Magformers and more!

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      You can buy the Magformers Inspire Set here on Educents.

      You can buy Magformers Magnets in Motion Gear Accessory Pack here on Educents.

      See more Magformers here!

      Remember ~ use code: GIVETHANKS for 10% off and Free Shipping!

      Magformers at Educents