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Itty-Bitty Bookworm Giveaway!!

The Itty-Bitty Bookworm

I’ve been blessed to be able to host several giveaways for you all, but this one is for a full year of Itty-Bitty Bookworm‘s preschool curriculum (a $300 value!!). Please read through this review to see how to enter to win!

Before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling, I was a preschool teacher. I know how much time and effort goes into planning a week’s worth, let alone a year’s worth, of curriculum in both the classroom setting and at home. I wish that I would have had Itty-Bitty Bookworm YEARS ago because it would have saved me so much time and energy! I have been 100% impressed with all that has been poured into this preschool curriculum and what it offers for both teachers and children.

Itty-Bitty Bookworm is a literature-based curriculum for preschoolers ages 18 months to 5 years ~ and everything you need is provided for you! The plans would work well in any teaching setting, from homeschooling, in-home daycares, or large school settings. It was developed by several early childhood educators and is extremely well-organized. The literature used as the base for the curriculum includes great books such as The Itsy-Bitsy Spider, The Wheels on the Bus, The Best Mouse Cookie, Silly Sally, The Gingerbread Man, and Mouse Paint.

Bailey’s curriculum (ages 18 to 36 months) focuses on two different books each month and Bo’s curriculum (ages 3 to 5) focuses on four books each month. The activities and projects for the lessons revolve around the stories that are being read with the children.

Each month of curriculum includes:

  • 4 full weeks of lesson plans for a 5 day week
  • activity sheets/mini books
  • full-color clip art
  • learning center ideas
  • long term and short term objectives
  • morning meeting plans
  • poem pages
  • shared reading ideas
  • and so much more!

Just to give you an idea of how complete and thorough the plans are, the lesson plans for the month of February (Year 1, Bo’s Curriculum) are 265 pages. The plans provide an abundance of craft ideas, games, rhymes, finger plays, printable books and activities. In addition, the curriculum provides supply lists, newsletters for parents, monthly objectives, milestones for children, daily report forms for children, and observation record sheets.

The lesson plans are laid out in a simple-to-follow format (you can see a pdf sample here) and you have the option of using as many or as few of the ideas as you want. The lessons are completely flexible. When we used them I was able to adapt different projects quickly to what we had on hand, but had the great framework that Itty-Bitty Bookworm provided.

Curriculum calendars for both levels:

If you’d like to see how we used the curriculum during our homeschool day, you can find pictures and more details in a few of my Preschool Corner posts: the letter S and the letter W.

Itty-Bitty also has Bible Story Units that can be used a supplement to your curriculum or as part of a Sunday School curriculum. The Bible units include a verse coloring sheet, mini poster and 3 days of lesson plans along with other activity ideas. Tara, the founder of Itty-Bitty Bookworm, also has a blog, Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms along with free resources for parents.

If you are interested in ordering Itty-Bitty Curriculum, you can choose to download a month of lesson plans ($20 each month) at a time or order a CD-rom ($25) of plans. Itty-Bitty also offers a 10% discount if you purchase a subscription of 3 months. Yearly subscriptions receive a 15% discount. You will get your money’s worth out of this curriculum and will not be disappointed!

The Itty-Bitty Giveaway!!

The Itty-Bitty Bookworm has kindly offered to give one of my readers Year 1 of Bo’s curriculum on CD. If you would like to enter to win this great curriculum, leave a comment here letting me know what you like most about this curriculum. If you would like to earn an extra entry, create a post on your blog to let others know about the contest and then come back here and leave another comment letting me know about your post.

The giveaway is open until Thursday, April 2nd at 8pm and I will announce the winner on Friday the 3rd. Please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you, otherwise I will draw another winner.

This giveaway is now closed – thanks so much!


Critical Thinking: Building Thinking Skills

~ This review also includes a giveaway at the end of the post! ~

I love puzzles and games that help ‘sharpen’ my mind. Because with four kids 7 and under there are some days when I feel that I have zero brain cells to offer and anything that keeps my brain in action makes me feel wonderful. *grins* Our kids also enjoy puzzles of any kind, so we were very excited to receive Critical Thinking to review!

Critical Thinking is a company that provides lessons teaching standards-based reading, writing, math, science and history. Their lessons help children analyze what they are learning by practicing critical thinking skills. Critical Thinking is “committed to developing children’s critical thinking skills for better grades, higher test scores, and success in life.” Their company provides books, software, puzzles, games, and dvds for children grades Pre-K to 12+.

We received Building Thinking Skills (Grades 2-3, $29.99) along with the included Answer Guide to review with our girls. Even though McKenna is the first grade, she wanted to do the activity sheets along with Laurianna – and she is doing great!

The activities in Building Thinking Skills are developmentally sequenced. Children learn to analyze relationships between objects, and between words in the areas of reading, math, writing, and science. {There is also a software version available for both PC and Mac – $36.99}. The girls worked on 1-2 pages of Building Thinking Skills each school day, and would remind me if I forgot to include the pages in their morning work. They loved them and have worked on:

  • describing shapes and other objects
  • comparing figures
  • identify differences in objects
  • following directions
  • describing position
  • writing directions
  • combining shapes and more

A HUGE plus for me: you are allowed to reproduce (print or duplicate) the copyrighted pages for use in your home, so I can make a copy for both of my girls – LOVE that!

Each year we use the IOWA test (ITBS) as a year-end evaluation for our children and this curriculum is a great prep for their test taking (I’ve already let my husband know that we’ll be getting these in the years to come!). Critical Thinking guarantees better grades and higher test scores – or you can get your money back. That is a great guarantee!

The company offers a free printable samples, trial software, and also a newsletter filled with their current special offers and free activities. You can also request a free catalog or browse their website to quickly find the products you need.

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As part of my review, I have a copy of Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Verbal ($29.99) for Grades 7-12+ to giveaway to one of my readers. If you would like to win a copy of this book, leave a comment on this post by Friday the 27th at 8pm and I’ll randomly pick a winner and post the winner on Sunday. Please be sure to leave an email address if you don’t have a blog – I need to be able to contact you if you win!

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.


Think It Ink It Publishing Giveaway!!

Think It Ink It Publishing provides story kits for children to write their own stories to professionally illustrated pictures. Their books provide only pictures that give a ‘framework’ for children to get their creative juices flowing and create a story that only they can tell using their imaginations. Each story is unique!

Our girls were thrilled beyond belief to get a creative story kit in the mail from Think It Ink It Publishing. Thrilled! After the package was ripped open (literally) we had to sit down immediately to look through the books and write their stories.

We received two creative writing story kits that each included 13 pages of wonderful illustrations for the girls to use as a launching pad for writing their own stories. Each kit also included:

  • a pencil
  • sticky note pad for rough drafts
  • creative writing tips
  • suggested vocabulary

Both of our girls jumped right into creating their own personal story. Words were flying so fast I had to pull out the laptop so I could type and keep up with all that they were saying. The illustrations gave them so many different options and choices on how to write their stories. They couldn’t wait for me to copy what they wrote into their books. I was amazed at how much they wrote ~ and trust me, I have the hand cramps to prove how much they had to say!

Each story kit ($9.95) from Think It Ink It provides ample lines and room for your child (or you) to copy their story. They can first write it on the sticky notes provided with the kit and then write their final work onto the actual pages of the book. If you fall in love your child’s masterpiece, you have the option of having the book made into a custom hardcover book ($29.95). It includes your child’s name as the author, the story title, his/her photo, and a biography. You can also create a hardcover book online instead of using the initial story kit.

I am amazed at what these story kits brought out in our girls. They noticed details in the illustrations and weaved them into their stories. Several times they had to re-work their story lines because they realized things ‘didn’t make sense’. The story kits were almost as much for me as they were for them ~ watching the creativity flow was great! Most importantly though, they are so PROUD of what they created. They have been reading their stories over and over ~ and if you are interested in hearing them, there are several clips below of the girls reading their stories.

Think It Ink It has been generous in offering a FREE Creative Writing Story Kit for one lucky reader! All you need to do is check out their story kits and leave a comment here about which one you would choose for your child. The giveaway is open until Friday, March 13th at 8pm and I will announce the winner on Sunday the 15th. Please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you, otherwise I will draw another winner. If over 50 people enter, I will add an extra winner and two kits will be given away!

Their site also has some other great resources too: grade-level writing guidelines, links to favorite websites, writing tips for kids, and real stories that other children have written. Be sure to check out their great products ~ you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s a clip (about 5 minutes) of McKenna reading her book.

Here’s a clip (about 4 minutes) of Laurianna reading the story she wrote.

Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me!


Algebra Tutor Giveaway

Congratulations to Heidi from You are What You Eat! She won the Algebra 2 tutor dvd.


Math Tutor

I loved math growing up. Loved it. But the thought of teaching my kids anything beyond simple addition and subtraction scares me to death. I know that I am able to figure it out and work through problems, but there are some things that are just difficult to explain without additional help.

Math Tutor sent me two instructional DVDs to review: The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor (8 hours) and The Algebra 2 Tutor (6 hours). Math Tutor offers 19 instructional DVDs on their site including basic math, algebra, geometry, calculus, and physics and most of the Math Tutor DVDs are priced under $30.

The DVDs are very simple in their design – no fancy props or over-the-top acting/examples. Just a simple whiteboard and the instructor, Jason Gibbs, who walks you through the problems step-by-step. While I wasn’t too thrilled initially that he uses his fingers for counting at times, I have to admit that I realized this week that I am guilty of the same when teaching our kids. *grins*

I first thought the DVD was a little dry (for my 35-year-old taste), but the problems are explained very well and it definitely grew on me the more we watched it. The DVD is broken up into various teaching segments, making it is easy to skip to the exact area you need to cover. As an added bonus – it isn’t me trying to show something to my kids, so they listen and pay attention!

These are the areas that the Basic Math Word Problem Tutor covers:

Disc 1
Section 1: Adding Whole Numbers
Section 2: Subtracting Whole Numbers
Section 3: Multiplying Whole Numbers
Section 4: Dividing Whole Numbers
Section 5: Adding Decimals
Section 6: Subtracting Decimals
Section 7: Multiplying Decimals
Section 8: Dividing Decimals

Disc 2
Section 9: Adding Fractions
Section 10: Subtracting Fractions
Section 11: Multiplying Fractions
Section 12: Dividing Fractions
Section 13: Percents, Part 1
Section 14: Percents, Part 2
Section 15: Ratio and Proportion

The Math Tutor website has sample videos that you can check out and they have a great guarantee: All DVD courses Guaranteed to raise grades or your money back! Math Tutor also offers DVD bundles to help you save a little money and their shipping is great – you only pay S&H on the 1st DVD. All additional DVDs in the same order ship for FREE. You pay the same S&H price whether you purchase 1 DVD or 10 DVDs!

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner below to read other reviews on the Math Tutor DVDs.