Sparky and the Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms App

We love books on our iPad and were recently introduced to the Sparky apps, specifically Sparky and the Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms!

{disclaimer ~ we were compensated for this post}Sparky and the case of the Missing Smoke Alarms

 

This is a free app, with a fun focus on fire safety.  I honestly wasn’t sure what Ladybug would think.  I never know with her.  Sometimes she is totally UNimpressed with apps and books on the iPad.  I was excited to see how much she enjoyed the Sparky character and the story itself. Not too sure our dog was impressed.

Sparky App -1100

The story is longer and was totally appropriate for her, she’s 5.  She listened to it read aloud and then interacted with each page. The kids and Sparky solved the mystery of the missing smoke alarms in the end! It was silly, fun, and educational.

As with most iPad books there are little places in the pictures where you can tap to interact. She loved putting the smoke alarms back where they belong!

Sparky App -1109 Sparky App -1115

There is also a video and a game in this app, she enjoyed those too.  Many giggles  were heard throughout the entire book as I watched her listen to it and interact with it. “Look, look Mommy!” was said a lot!

Sparky App -1122

My opinion is that it would be best for ages 4-7, but since it’s free be sure to try it out even if you have a younger or older child. You can download IOS or Android here on the Sparky website! There are also many other fire safety activities on the Sparky website and other resources for you as a parent to explore. 

Sparky was such a big hit with Ladybug, she asked if there were more Sparky books and I was happy to tell her there was another! We downloaded Sparky’s Birthday Surprise also and she had me make a “Sparky” app folder for her.  I’d say that’s confirmation for me, she likes the books and the Sparky character! You can grab the other Sparky book on the website also!

With Fire Prevention Week coming soon {October 5-11, 2014}, it’s a great time to bring some of this fun and free learning into your homeschool or classroom!

Download your FREE app here!

Sparky App -1128

Speekee Spanish for Homeschoolers

Speekee Spanish is a great Spanish program for homeschoolers! We are loving it and are excited to share our thoughts as well as a great giveaway with you!

{disclaimer ~ Speekee is a blog sponsor and I was given a membership to use for this review}Speekee Spanish for Homeschoolers



Years ago we used Speekee, and we kept our monthly subscription long after our initial review in 2011.  Want to see how long ago?  Here’s a photo, aren’t they cute?!

Speekee

Eventually I let the subscription go, but then Jim from Speekee got in touch with me recently to come back on board as a blog sponsor. I knew they had redone the Speekee website and was excited to see the changes and if it might work for my family.

I was mostly interested in the Fast Track, which is a 40 week homeschool Spanish program with lessons! I figured we would like it but wasn’t sure how much.  We are going through a lot of changes this year and I wasn’t really looking to add another subject to our day.  I figured we could review it for a month or so and then put away for another year.

Boy was I wrong.  There’s going to be NO putting it away, the kids LOVE it!  Seriously, these two beg for the daily lessons!

Speekee Spanish -0886

 

Speekee_Advert[1]

What is Speekee?

Speekee is a multi award-winning Spanish learning program​ for 2-11 year olds. It’s the most comprehensive Spanish program for children ever to appear online. Games, videos and challenges are all part of this super fast way for kids to learn Spanish!​ There are 40 videos that form the backbone of this program tailor made for homeschoolers.

 

What is Speekee Fast Track for Homeschoolers?

Speekee Fast Track is a 40 week program for young learners of Spanish, targeted for ages 2-8. It focuses on the first ten episodes in the Speekee series of videos. Each week 4 activities are suggested, with corresponding worksheets, videos, and other activities.

Here’s a peek at the first 4 weeks {clipped from the Speekee website, scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click on the words “Fast Track” to see this}.

Speekee Fast Track Week 1-4

 

How Much Does it Cost?

Speekee is an online subscription service, giving you access to all of the materials with your membership.  You can see current prices here {scroll down to the bottom}.

 

Fast Track is what we are using and what I am focusing on in this review. My kids are ages 5 & 8 so this is a perfect fit.  My oldest is 12 and although he listens in sometimes, he is not participating with us regularly.

Each school day, the younger two work with me on the day’s assignment.  The Fast Track plan does not say to watch the video each day but my kids insist.  So, we do the activities, plus the video each day.

Speekee Spanish -1700

 

On day 2 of week 1 you are told to help the kids make puppets to represent Dino and Lupi ~ the adorable puppets in the videos.

Speekee Spanish -0884

 

Honestly I didn’t not want to do this.  I wasn’t in a crafting mood.  However, I am so glad I ignored my feelings and just did what the lesson plan said.  They LOVE these puppets.

We now have Dino and Lupi sit with us for each lesson and they have REALLY helped with encouraging natural dialogue.

Speekee Spanish -0891

 

Below you can see a bit of the screen showing the puppets in one of the videos.

Speekee Spanish -1746

 

They also each have a Spanish notebook.  This is for the printables from the Speekee lessons and a few more I have created on my own to enhance their learning.  I will share these later on my blog, I am not done with them yet!

Speekee Spanish -1743

 

I am so glad Speekee came back on as a sponsor and that I was required to dig back into it.  It truly is a perfect fit for my two youngest and they are begging for the lessons each day. We will be continuing on with the Fast Track program this entire school year!

One of you is going to win a 40 week membership to Speekee so you too can enjoy the full Fast Track program!!

Use Rafflecopter to enter to win below.  Giveaway is open worldwide and ends 9/26/14. Be sure to click over to the blog to be able to see the widget if you are reading via email or RSS.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s in the Bible Coloring Book

We have loved What’s in the Bible DVDs for years.  In 2012/2013 we used them for our homeschool Bible curriculum, and are using them again this year!

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links used below}Whats in the Bible Coloring Book

I was SUPER excited when I was asked if I wanted to review the new What’s in the Bible Coloring Book and jumped at the opportunity since I was looking for a new way to supplement the learning this year.

We are using the DVDs and the new coloring book for a no-prep, simple, yet very effective Bible curriculum for my three kids.  Currently my kids are 5, 8, and 12 and ALL love the What’s in the Bible DVDs and now the new coloring book.

Here’s amore about the new coloring book straight from What’s in the Bible ~

Introducing the What’s in the Bible? Coloring Book! Color through the WHOLE Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – with over 200 reproducible pages. Start at the beginning with the stories of creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah, and find all your favorite Old Testament stories – including Ruth, David, Esther,and more. The New Testament starts with coloring scenes from Jesus’ ministry and then you can color through Paul’s letters and even a few pages from the book of Revelation! What's in the Bible Coloring Book

It’s a comprehensive, chronological journey through the Bible your kids will love as they experience each story in a new way by expressing their creativity through coloring!

The coloring book comes in standard book format {which we received and you see in my photos} or as a PDF digital download.

 

How We Are Using What’s in the Bible?

We use one DVD per week and watch 1 of the 2 episodes from the DVD each day during lunch. So, each week, they will view each episode on the DVD twice. We will rotate through all of the DVDs and then begin again.  The kids begin coloring while watching after they finish eating each day.

Here’s a peek from one of our days, which I shared on Instagram here.

What's in the Bible Homeschool

 

This has quickly become a favorite part of the day, with the little two often begging to color during their free time.  They love these books.

What's in the Bible Coloring Book-9958

I am asking my kids to choose pictures to color from whatever DVD we are currently watching.  There are many to choose from which means when we go back through they will be able to go back and color those!

It has been a great way to reinforce the concepts they learn from the DVDs.  Personally I need one LESS thing to prepare each week and the fact that this is just so simple makes me love it even more.

What's in the Bible Coloring Book-9955

 

Lessontrek ~ Review and Giveaway

We have been testing out a new lesson planning tool for awhile now and I really like it.  Lessontrek was introduced to me by a blogging friend and I agreed to a review after I completed their free trial and liked it!  I now have a discount code for you and a giveaway, as well as my review.  Keep on reading!

{disclaimer ~ I was given a year of Lessontrek for this review, they are a blog sponsor, and my affiliate link is used}Lessontrek Homeschool Planner Review


 

I love simple, I love colors.  Lessontrek had me with those two things right away. I needed something very simple, and straightforward to plan our lessons.  Lessontrek is an online planner that is very easy to use. You set everything up online and have the option to print out weekly checklists, which is one of my favorite parts {probably my very favorite part}. I spent time setting each child up, giving them a specific color, and then each subject of theirs a specific color. Once initial set up is done, it is easy to navigate. I also love the flexibility it has. I can add assignments by typing in specifics, or add recurring assignments with a click {once I have entered in the list of recurring assignments}. Once you get started playing around I promise it isn’t too hard to figure out! I have 4 different categories; one for each child {keep reading to see those}, and one for our All Together subjects. Below is a screenshot of our All Together subjects planned out for week one.  Each little colored area can be drug around easily, and also copy/pasted if needed.

Lessontrek All Together Subjects

We do school intensely for four days a week, Monday-Thursday.  Friday is our family day off, and Saturday is a lighter day, with catch-up and extra subjects.  This particular week we took day 3 off to go to Six Flags, that’s why it is blank! I have been sharing a bit on Instagram and people have asked to see more details about how we are using Lessontrek.  I took screenshots of each planner from week one and then a photo of the printable checklist at the end of the week so you can see how we did! The screenshots are from the print mode, which produces the checklist format that you print. It looks different in the compose mode {which you can see a glimpse of at the top in my all together screenshot}

 

PacMan’s first week of 7th Grade…

This is what he got on Monday, with my expectations for his week.  See his 7th grade homeschool curriculum here.

Lessontrek Weekly Plan

Here’s what his printable plan looked like at the end of week one.  I gave some grace on a few things, and just transferred them over to the next week.  I do not put the plans in far ahead so it is easier for me to adjust each week.  It stresses me out to think we are behind, so instead I go with the flow and just adjust.  For now I am only doing one week at a time.  Setting up their plans on Sunday afternoon to print and be ready for Monday.

Lessontrek -0072

 

Krash’s first week of 3rd Grade…

Lesontrek 3rd Grade Plans

Here’s what his looked like at the end. He finished all but one math lesson, since we decided not to do any school on Friday {our family day}. See his 3rd grade homeschool curriculum here.

Lessontrek -0077

 

Ladybug’s first week of Kindergarten…

Lessontrek k Plans

Here’s hers at the end of the week. You can see we have a lot of circles, meaning we didn’t get to those things and I am totally fine with that.  I am completely flexible and will just carry over. I create a plan for her and we do what we can. See her Kindergarten homeschool curriculum here.

Lessontrek -0075

 

Our All Together Plan…

As you can see we got almost our entire weekly plan done. We all REALLY enjoyed our all together time. See our all together homeschool curriculum choices here.

Lessontrek -0082


I could keep this post going forever telling you exactly how I did things and how to set it up, but honestly it’s one of those hands on things you have to do to understand.  They have a wonderful totallyfree two week trial so you can play around and see if it works for you.  I did the trial before even agreeing to the review. Here is a list showing what Lessontrek is capable of doing now…

Lessontrek Current Features

 

Below are the features in the works! Lessontrek Future Features

 

A Discount and a Giveaway!

Get 30% off now through September 30, 2014

using code AUG30BLUECAR

Details you need to know ~ You can sign up for a free trial for 14 days to see what you think, but if you decide to purchase and use the 30% discount you will have to set up a new account.  So, don’t do anything too time consuming during your free trial since it won’t transfer over. Any questions?  Contact the Lessontrek team via their contact info on the site.

One of you is going to win a free year of Lessontrek!  Use Rafflecopter to enter to win below.  If you want to purchase right away and you end up being the winner, they agreed to refund your purchase price! Giveaway is open worldwide and ends 9/5/14.unnamed

a Rafflecopter giveaway

littleBLAST ~ Review and Giveaway

Basic RGB

{disclaimer ~ we received our BLAST free for this review and littleBLAST is a blog sponsor}

We are excited to share something new with you, littleBLAST!

littleBLAST science for young children

littleBLAST offers monthly themed science BLASTs for little scientists! These are created for your preschool aged child or can supplement early education (suggested ages 3-7).  I have a 5 year old and an 8 year old and they both enjoyed our projects immensely!

We were sent the Air Pressure BLAST to review and it came neatly in a package with EVERYTHING we needed.  This is a huge bonus for me, as I am not a science-y person and don’t like gathering tiny materials. The all-in-one feature was very appealing to me.

Little Blast Air Pressure -9308

Each activity in the BLAST includes all the materials needed to complete 3-4 experiments. This includes instruction guides for the adult, all supplies, an adventure map, super achievement badge chart, and badge.  Read more about the BLASTs here.

Ours had what you see below, which was basically all resources for 3 experiments revolving around the theme of Air Pressure.  When I say it was all included, I mean ALL.  I didn’t need to go hunting for a thing.

Little Blast Air Pressure -9313

 

Here’s a detailed shot of all included for the first experiment, Air Cannon.

Little Blast Air Pressure -9317

The guides are very simple and easy to follow step by step.  We were able to clear a table and jump right in quickly.  The kids were blowing the pom pom across the table in no time!

Little Blast Air Pressure -9479

Little Blast Air Pressure -9485

See the holes in the bottom for the experiment?  They were pre cut like that which made me oh-SO-happy!

Little Blast Air Pressure -9500

Little Blast Air Pressure -9490

 

There’s even a recording sheet included to keep track of our results.

Little Blast Air Pressure -9509

 

 

We also completed the Rocket Balloon experiment and this too was a big hit with both kids. Everything we needed was included as you can see, even tiny pieces of tape.

Little Blast Air Pressure -9514

Ladybug was my coloring and cutting helper to get the rocket ready.

Little Blast Air Pressure -9518

This one was more hands on for me so I wasn’t able to take as many action shots.

Little Blast Air Pressure -9529

The only thing not included for this one was our chairs!  We tied the rocket balloon between two of our dining room chairs.

Little Blast Air Pressure -9534

After the experiment was complete, she continued to experiment and play on her own with the rocket.  It was really fun.

We have one experiment left to complete, which is entitled Barometer.  We will complete this one soon, once we officially begin school!

 

Overall Thoughts…

I absolutely love the idea of littleBLAST and it is perfect for moms like me who dislike gathering all of the materials.  They also have a digital download option for those of you who don’t mind gathering materials but just want the instructions for the experiments.  You can save money and use your own stuff, or spend more and get the all in one kit sent straight to you!  I love that there are choices.

My kids loved the experiments but honestly I think they loved the attention the most.  They loved that we had something special to do together.  They know I don’t like science much {sadly} and were thrilled to know this was a box of “experiments.”  Ladybug calls them “experiences” and I think that sums it up for me.  It is about the experience of doing this together, it’s special.

I do recommend littleBLAST and think it would be a great fit for many families. You can see all of the purchasing options here. You can purchase a monthly subscription or buy individual BLASTS {digital or the all in one box}.  They are adding new BLASTs and currently have the following available…

  • Air Pressure
  • Float-Sink
  • Ice
  • Construction
  • Bubbles
  • Magnet
  • Lubricant
  • Seed
  • Ramp

GIVEAWAY!

I am excited to be able to give one of my readers the Air Pressure BLAST we reviewed!littleBLAST AirPressure

Use Rafflecopter to enter to win below {come to the blog if you are reading in RSS or email}

Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends 8/8/14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway