Smash This Nature Journal Review and Giveaway

I am super excited!  Smash-This-Nature-Journal-Review-and-Giveaway-@handbookofnaturestudy-1-768x1024

Barb over at Handbook of Nature Study has posted her review of my Smash This Nature Journal and is offering her readers 3 free copies of Smash This Nature Journal #1.

Please pop over to her post to enter.   She writes,

“Don’t miss this giveaway which will end on Thursday night at midnight. I will randomly choose three entries to win their very own copy of this download and announce the winners on Facebook on Friday. I will also contact you via Rafflecopter (email) in order to deliver your electronic prize.”

Pop over to my Packages Page to order your downloads.  And when your children have completed their pages, please email them to me to share here on the blog!



K5 Review

About 6 weeks ago, we started our free trial of K5 Learning.  

Butterfly girl FT

My daughter loved to work on all the programs and especially enjoyed the creative activities.  She (recently turned-12-years old) said this,

“I enjoyed the options the program provided and the fun activities.  The lessons were very helpful and gave me a boost in Maths.”

Let me start from the beginning ~

Their initial assessment was excellent. The results were detailed and clear, and for the first time in our homeschooling career, I had an accurate breakdown in my child’s Maths and Reading skill levels and abilities.

My daughter loved the Maths Facts section – mental maths “designed to help kids develop instant recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts”. She worked positively to maintain high scores and loved to see her mastery results on the K5 Math Fact Matrix display. What impressed me was that the program constantly adapted to reinforce specific maths facts which she missed or took too long to recall.  

The Maths program has excellent explanations of new maths concepts with good, clear examples of the work, followed by the exercises.  Without too much fuss, K5 gave a quick sound effect to indicate success or mistake.  After the exercise series, my child was given time to play on an “arcade game” which gave her a few minutes of  fun as a refreshing break.

The Reading and comprehension was thorough and very comprehensive. I was impressed with the comprehension questions and the vocabulary extension.

We struggled with the Spelling program because there was no “teaching” or pre-learning component on the spelling lessons presented.  The program presented the vocabulary test and practice almost blind.  Despite trying to change the grade levels, we didn’t seem to find our level and so we did not enjoy the spelling program. 

My only regret was that we didn’t have reliable, speedy Internet service during our free trial period and so we missed several days each week of online learning.  But I highly recommend this program to any homeschooler!  It is excellent and very effective! From an educational perspective, it is outstanding and their methodology is excellent.  From a parent’s perspective it is very easy to use, log in to assess and keep in touch with the child’s progress.  For the child, it is simple to log in and work on his or her own.

K5 learning badge125x125

K5 Learning has a referral program, which pays participants $25 for each new subscriber that clicks over to K5, so my daughter and I will be very grateful if you click here to go start your free trial!


Free Trial K5 Learning

I seldom promote products and have never done reviews, but an invitation to try K5 Learning caught my attention.


K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I’ve been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

After receiving this invitation, I popped over to check out their website and I was very impressed.  Their demo videos looked so inviting and their approach and methodology seemed excellent.

My initial thoughts were that my youngest is already in grade 5 & 6 and up in most her subjects and that this might not fit into our homeschool schedule, but their Math Facts heading caught my eye and I thought that this would be worth doing the free trial.  They explain ~

“Learn math facts online and say goodbye to counting fingers”

“Recalling math facts efficiently is critical because it allows a student to study more advanced math topics without being bogged down by simple calculations.”

So, I hope to use K5 Learning with my youngest and trust that she will both enjoy and learn a lot more than she does with my Mental Maths fun worksheets and Bananagram spelling games.

For more information please go to  I will be back with my honest review in 6 weeks time.


Closure and Review of our Year

We have officially closed our 2011 academic year.

No more ‘formal’ school until January 2012.

Notebook pages are filed.

Books are sorted.

Wall charts are packed away.

Our crowded timeline pictures have been taken off.

We smile as we review the year’s work.

I love to have closure at the end of the year.

We are encouraged to see how much we covered.

I am amazed at the thick files full of my children’s unique notebook pages!  Every page is one-of-its-kind.  Each child wrote their own narrations and illustrated what they understood from the information studied.  The narration process is quite remarkable. I am truly pleased to see how each child matured during the year.

I smile at my children’s enjoyment as they review their own notes and lapbooks.  They are proud of their achievements.  This is such a good way to end the year.

I make my own (mental) notes.  What worked well?  What did we spend too little/ too much time on?  What methods (notebooks/ timelines/ minibooks/ hands-on projects/ lapbooks) were the most effective?

What did we miss?  Does it matter?  Do I go on?  Do I skip it?

But homeschooling is not about learning information.

Subject matter missed now does not matter.

My kids can catch up any time.

I purpose to train character.

Real education is ongoing …

This year I re-used my Sonlight curriculums.  It has been a good “fit” and this time round I stretched it out to fully enjoy everything.

Next year I plan to re-use my South African literature-based History curriculums.

My 9-year-old starts middle school with Footprints on our Land.  My 12-year-old starts Junior High using Footprints Into 21st Century and my eldest continues on to Grade 11 with Delta Education.

For the first time since my early years of homeschooling, each child will be on their own core/ curriculum.  And each child enters a new phase in schooling.

This will be stressful – especially for me.

Each child will need my help to settle in to a new approach.

We will all need grace.

Right now I am grateful for time to





How do you wind up your 2011?