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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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littleBLAST ~ Review and Giveaway

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{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.

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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.

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

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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!

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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Fort Magic Review and Giveaway

Fort Magic Review and Giveaway

{Disclaimer ~ we were given the Fort Magic kit free of charge for our review.  Fort Magic is also a blog sponsor.}

When the Fort Magic box was opened for the first time there were many ooohs and ahhhhs!

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We unpacked it all together, as the kids anxiously awaited the moment they could get busy building!

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It wasn’t long and they were hard at work, each building their own fort.

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This was only the first 30 minutes!

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The kit does not come with covers, but that’s fine, we used flat sheets for ours!

Fort Magic is a unique fort building kit, which includes all you see below…

刀线

Every Fort Magic kit includes 382 Pieces:

  • 165 Straight and Curved Sticks in seven different sizes!
  • 87 Connector pieces in five varieties of shapes and sizes!
  • 130 easy to use fabric and accessory Clips! Securely fasten sheets or fabric to ANY shape design your child invents!
  • A full color Instruction Manual with over 20 designs to build!
  • A high quality Storage Bag that securely holds all of the Fort Magic pieces – so clean up is quick and easy every time!
  • A 30-day Money Back Guarantee!
  • Full Manufacturer’s Warranty on all parts!
  • Fabric Covers are not included.
    There are many ideas for building included in the kit …
    Fort Magic 6Forts Frames

 

It isn’t just forts my kids are building, they also built a “telephone” that went all through the house.  Here’s Ladybug in the living room…

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She’s talking to Krash who is up the stairs in another part of the house!

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Here’s a couple of the forts they have built using their own imaginations {not the guided models}…

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This one Krash made alone, it has a little hallway entryway {the pink part} that turns to go into the main part. Inside he had a whole room set up and hung out in there for hours.

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They also chose one of the designs from the included guide to build,  the castle.

Fort Magic Castle

We worked on some character development during this process.  It isn’t always easy for two boys to both be the boss. This kit builds forts and character, all at the same time!

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They LOVED it!  They set up house in it and have played for days.  I even overheard them talking about how much better this design was than their original designs.  They loved how big it was to fit them all and their stuff, even strings of lights and a glow light build they have strung from the ceiling!  As you can see, both K and L can stand in it.

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Overall we are very pleased with Fort Magic.  I expected it to be a bit flimsy and was blown away with how sturdy it is once built. The only downside {according to my kids} is cleaning up the forts. My kids built a new fort a day for about 2 weeks straight and then they stopped for a bit.  When I asked them why they stopped, clean up was the answer.  It takes awhile! Cleaning up is a good character quality to instill, so this complaint from my kids is not a complaint from me! The kit comes with a nice bag to hold all of the pieces so it doesn’t take up much storage room when taken apart. 

You can see more reviews and photos from other families here!

You can purchase Fort Magic for $199 from their website here, or from Amazon.

We are giving away a complete Fort Magic kit valued at $199!  Use Rafflecopter to enter to win below.  Giveaway is open to US and Canada and ends 6/25/14. Be sure to click over to the blog if reading in RSS or email.

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Learning Resources Counters Review and Giveaway

 

Learning Resources Counters Giveaway from www.1plus1plus1equals1.net

We love our counters from Learning Resources!  We were sent Garden Critters and Dinosaurs to review. Ladybug LOVES these, I mean loves.  She brings them places, plays with them all over the house {and outside}. They are a big favorite already!

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I gave her the Garden Critters first, awhile back and she fell in LOVE {here’s the original post these photos are from}.  She loves bugs so these have been played with a lot!  Here you can see her playing with them in her Wheat Berries.

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She is a color sorter, always!

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Adding other toys into play with counters is always a good thing.  I gave her the dinosaurs a couple of months later and they were just as big of a hit.  I can’t begin to tell you how much she asks to play with these! She used our color blocks to sort the dinos by color.

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Here she was putting the pterodactyls  to sleep, the babies are lined up and she’s holding the mom and dad.

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Below she was making a leveled house for the dinosaurs and I got a whole story about this creation. 

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The Learning Resources Counters come with a definite recommendation from me and from all 3 of my kids {I asked them}. Ladybug loves them the most but Krash plays with them a lot too.  These are well made, durable and adorable. Counters are good for free open-ended play and also can be used extensively for early math. Counting, patterning, sorting and more becomes much more fun with special counters! I am so thankful to have these 2 sets!

You can purchase many of the Counters here from Amazon here, and also directly on the Learning Resources website. Below I will link to the different ones they carry…

Garden Critters Ocean Counters Jungle Counters

Farm Counters Transportation Counters Dinosaur Counters

See all of our Learning Resources reviews here

Want to win a set of your own?

If you are the winner, you pick the set you want!

Enter using Rafflecopter below, if you don’t see the widget, be sure you are reading on the actual blog and not in RSS or email. Giveaway is open for US only and ends May 28, 2014.

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Learning Resources Geometric Shapes Building Set Review and Giveaway

Learning Resources Geometric Shape Building Set Review and Giveaway


We are in love with the new Geometric Shapes Building Set from Learning Resources!  I was sent this toy to review and have one to giveaway to one of you!  I got to choose our review items {we have another coming soon}, this set appealed to me for many reasons.  Mostly I loved that all 3 of my kids would love it. We have played with it a LOT since it arrived, but one day we had an outside play session and I grabbed these pictures!

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This set includes 90 sticks in 3 sizes (2¼", 3½", 5¼"), 32 curves, and 48 connectors (approximately 1" in diameter). Below are samples of each item…

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They have all had fun creating things. 

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P made a head scratcher, and L is showing off her umbrella.

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The Geometric Shape Building Set comes with a definite recommendation from me and from all 3 of my kids {I asked them}. They all love building toys and will play and build for hours. There are enough pieces to build all sorts of items as an open ended free play toy.  You can also use this set for math instruction, showing 2D and 3D shapes, like those shown below and more!

Learning Resources Geometric Shape Building Set

Learning Resources has a similar set called, Dive into Shapes! A "Sea" and Build Geometry Set which we also have.  It comes with less pieces but has instruction cards.  We love both sets. If you are looking at these sets, be sure to look at both to see which would be a better fit for your family or class. Dive into Shapes is on Learning Resources here and on Amazon here.

You can purchase the Geometric Shape Building Set on Amazon here, and also directly on the Learning Resources website.

See all of our Learning Resources reviews here

Want to win a set of your own?

Geometric Shapes Building Set

 

Enter using Rafflecopter below, if you don’t see the widget, be sure you are reading on the actual blog and not in RSS or email. Giveaway is open for US only and ends April 30, 2014.

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