Friday, September 24, 2010

Schleich Figures

On the day that I received the Schleich animals, it just so happened to be the same day that I was watching a friend’s son.  My son and his friend were busy playing with one of Cole’s train sets and they were so excited to see the Fedex guy drive up.  We opened the package and they immediately took them to their train set and started playing with the animals.  
When I was able to see one of the animals up close I was truly amazed.  Can I say that these animals are WONDERFUL!  They are very life like, and the detail is amazing.   Great care has been taken to make these figures the best around and they take pride in the quality that they offer in each figure. 
I turned it over and noticed that each figure has a Schleich embossed label in an inconspicuous place to signify that it is indeed Schleich.  Schleich lists all of their animals on the website and in their collectors brochure, that way you can insure that you have a quality product.  In fact, I went online and I noticed that someone was trying to pass off a figure as Schleich and was called on it.  The person said that they didn’t recognize one of the figures and the seller said that it had gotten mixed in with the others.  So you definitely know exactly what you are collecting. 
One of my first reactions were to gather them up and set them on a shelf to look at and protect.  But I decided that was too weird to do with toys and let them boys continue to play with them.  They still look great even after being tossed around for several days. 
They have all the animals that you can think of and even some that you may not have heard about.  The animals that you do know about are the many varieties of dogs and horses.  I think a niece of mine would probably like a few of these for her birthday next month.
One animal that I thought was interesting was an animal called the Okapi.  It is said that it has a blue tongue and eats fruit, leaves, and fungi.  What a great way to teach your children about the animals on our wonderful planet.  
Another animal that I thought was interesting was Przewalski’s horse.  As soon as we opened it my son said “Isn’t this the horse that grandma went to the Smithsonian to the lecture and brought me the shirt?”  Wow! My son actually remembered the horse, not the name though, which is fine, it’s a hard one for me too!  So we went on the web and looked up more information.  Not only are these figures detailed and perfect for imaginative play, but also a good learning tool.  Cole loved holding the figure while we discussed where the animals came from, what they ate, and whether they were endangered or not. 
You can see what’s new on the Schleich’s website by going here
They have a playground on their website that you can look around to see what’s happening in the different worlds that they have created.  The world’s are Bayala, World of Knights, and the Wild Life World. 
You can’t buy their figures from Schleich directly, but you can find them at many retailers including Target and Toys R Us.   There is a wide range of prices, but they are definitely worth the investment to your collection. 


~I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences on the products and services that I receive.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Can you play only one time?

A few weeks ago a wonderful package came in the mail.  It is  called Pyramath, a math card game that is so much fun that you will be hooked immediately.  Trust me! 


Do you remember when you first started playing with regular cards?  How they felt when they were all shiny and new?  How about when you first learned how to play Solitaire, whether on the computer or with a deck in your hand?  Do you remember the challenge that you felt when you were trying to beat it, and finish the game?  Pyramath is just like that, it draws you in and challenges you to finish the pyramid. 

There are 54 cards and each card is clearly labeled in English, Spanish, Chinese, Roman numerals, French, and Arabic translations and symbols on the front.  What a fun way to help with your second language!  Cole and I are using the cards to refresh our Spanish and Roman numerals. This is what the cards look like. 


How d0es it challenge you?  To play the game you use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  But you only use the number in the ones digit to solve the problem.  For instance if you layout a two and a six.  You can use the following numbers to build on your pyramid. ( I would show you in a picture, but my camera is having some issues…)

  • 8 because 2+6=8  
  • 4 because 2-6=4
  • 2 because 2x6=12, using only the two in 12
  • 3 because 2/6=3

So these would be the only numbers that you could use on those two numbers.  You continue with each group of numbers and build your way to a pyramid.  Like this…


This game is a great way you can “polish” up your math skills all with the challenge of winning.  Cole has learned multiplication and division up to the sixes, so I was able to help him with the rest of his multiplication so that he could play the game and he has a lot of fun with it.  Each time we go over it remembering becomes a little bit easier. 

I also played several 2 player games with my son, my 16 year old nephew, and my husband.  We had a lot of fun trying to build our side of the pyramid before the other.  They are so competitive!  {ahem}

To try out the online 5 card version of the game you can go here, or the online 7 card game here.  When placing your cards make sure that they are properly aligned or it won’t accept it, even if it is the right answer.  But if you are anything like me, you will enjoy having the cards your hand.

I feel that this math game would be great for kids of all ages, starting with Kindergarten.  What a better way to teach them addition than to show them little addition pyramids to build.  I know that several people in my family, children and adults alike, will be getting Pyramath for their birthdays.

A deck of Pyramath cards is sold for $6.95 and if you become a Facebook fan of Pyramath you can get a discount.  Plus if you solve one of their challenge puzzles you will get a deck for free!  Go check it out!

They also have a set of all their cards, Pyramath, Fractazmic, Prime Bomb, and "Dr . Ron's Succeeding in Mathematics with Games." in one bundle that you can purchase for $18.95. 


~I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences on the products and services that I receive.

Friday, September 3, 2010


A few weeks ago, we were asked to review a company called Time4writing.  I have to confess that when we started the Time4Writing class, it was in the middle of the summer and Cole politely reminded me that it was summer and that he didn’t want to participate in the class.  I told him to give a try and let’s see what happens.  He grudging said OK. 

What is Time 4 Writing?  It is an online writing class for grades 2-12 that will help your child learn the skills needed to write better and gain the confidence in themselves. 

How do they do this online?  Via multi-media lessons, writing assignments, and quizzes.  When you are finished, the teacher grades the assignment and gives you feedback. 

They have Elementary, Middle, and High School classes for students.  Cole is in 3rd grade so we had these choices.

  • Grammar
  • Sentences
  • Paragraphs
  • Essays

Since Cole knew basic grammar, we decided to go with the Sensational Sentences Course.  He can form sentences, but they aren’t very elaborate.  In fact he doesn’t like to write at all.  So we stuck with something that would improve his sentence structure. 


~I will note here that if you set up an internet connection for them and put parental restrictions on it, it will not work with Time 4 Writing.  Just saying.

In our first two lessons we learned the sentence types and how to distinguish the four types of sentences.  We listened to an audio explaining the all the differences while we followed along. 


The next few lessons covered nouns, verb agreement, punctuation, homophones, and homonyms.  By the last lesson we should be able to create and proofread sentences.  At the time this review is posted, we have only finished through week six and will finish in a week or so. 

After each lesson and quiz we received a grade.  Each grade is cumulative and by the end of the 8 weeks we should earn a certificate of completion. 


There was one little problem that we had with this type of lesson.  Cole  isn’t very proficient with typing on the computer, he’s only 8, playing games is more his thing.  He knows his way around a keyboard, but his frustration just increased.  Partly because it was summertime and he was working on school work!  I mean really mom!  The other part was his hunt and peck typing.  So I offered to type while he dictated to me.  If I hadn’t done that, I think we would still be on lesson one.  

Also while there was a teacher on the other end, we only interacted with her when there was an assignment that needed to be graded.  She then offered encouragement or constructive criticism.  Cole only needed constructive criticism a couple of times, and was always happy to see his grades.   To those students that needed more guidance I’m sure that the teacher would be there for them.  Simply send her a message and correspond through the website. 

Each course is $99 and 8 weeks long, requiring 2 hours per week to complete.   While it is a great idea to get children on the computer and writing, I feel that this type of lesson would be better suited for someone who is older and more comfortable with typing.  For instance, that High school student that needs to improve his writing skills for college.  Or maybe even the Middle school student who needs additional help with grammar. 

I also feel that with a $99 price tag per course, that it would deter some homeschoolers because it’s a bit pricey for only 8 weeks.  They could get an entire curriculum for that price.  I think it will depend on the homeschooler and their learning style. 

To learn more about the different lessons for your student go to  their website at


I am a member of  TOS Homeschool Crew and receive free products and services in an exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, and experiences on the products and services that I receive.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Can You Believe It?

As a homeschooler,  I tend to search the internet for tips and advice from the experts to make our learning experience better.  The best place that I have found for all kinds of information, including curriculum help is The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


Right now TOS is offering a “Labor of Love” sale, because they know homeschooling is a “Labor of Love” and they want to keep you informed, encouraged, refreshed and most of all they want to remind you that you aren’t alone.  Beginning August 31 to September 15, They are offering homeschoolers a one-year print subscription for only $7.95.  Yes you read that right!!  $7.95!  If you would like the current print issue plus the one year subscription it is $12.95. I haven’t seen prices this low, so you must hurry to get this special deal.  They are offering only 5000 subscriptions.  So this special price may end before September 15.    


Don’t miss this low price.  Grab it before it’s gone.   Go to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine to get yours today!


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