Wednesday, August 29, 2007

EduLinks 08/29/07

Hello my fellow educators and thank you for stopping by for another week of EduLinks and Blog of the Week. I hope everyone has a great day today. I am very glad to say that I have been working on many new things for you including a very long list of reviews that I will be bringing to you over the next few months. I have met so many fantastic people from so many companies lately and I can honestly say I am very proud to know them.

Please always remember the small business and new business owners when you do your supply and curriculum shopping. These companies are working hard to succeed and you honestly wouldn't believe just how hard unless you've been there yourself. It takes a lot of strength to say the least. Thanks to people like them though, this is going to be great!

On with this week's EduLinks and as always, if you've got a link you'd like to share then please email me and I'd be happy to include it.

Last week we started with the letter "A" on our "back to school" links so this week I've got the "B" list for you. ;)

BiblioCat- Resources for Librarians, School librarians, Library/Media Specialists, Teachers, Parents, and Homeschoolers. Wow, when they say resources they mean RESOURCES!!

BBC's "Ancient History"- Not only is this a great resource on Ancient History but they also have several era related games your child can play while learning. It's really a lot of fun!

Boost For Readers- FANTASTIC resource and all they ask is that you sign the guestbook before using the materials. How easy is that?!

Book Adventure- If you haven't signed your kids up at Book Adventure yet then I definitely suggest you do so now! Book Adventure is a FREE reading motivation program for children in grades K-8 and motivating is exactly what it does.

Biology In Motion- Really, need I say more? Bookmark it people because it is most definitely a keeper!

My Blog of the Week is one that I have had bookmarked and used as an invaluable resource over the last few years. I think she was another one of the first few who took notice of my homeschooling blog and always passes on the Link Love to me.

Sara Sellers Homemaking, Home Education, and Other Stuff contains resources on homemaking, home education, Montessori materials and so much more. The Montessori materials she has created herself and has been very sweet in allowing people to use them for free. Unfortunately she has had a few people criticize some of her materials which baffles me because, they are FREE people why would you complain?? Quite rude!

So visit Sara this week and show her some much deserved love. Thank you Sara, for being such a fantastic example when it comes to homeschooling. I for one am very thankful for all you do.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Reviews Are "How We Roll"

This post is to let companies both big and small know that my family and I do review products of all kinds including but definitely not limited to- educational games, fun games, educational toys, science toys, fun toys, books, DVDs, CD-Roms, and even edible items if you think they taste good. ;)

Review Process:

~ Once we receive a product we, as a family and individually, test products for the various companies.

~ We then contact the company to let them know what we think of the product.

~ After that I post an honest review about the products on one to three of my blogs.

~ I then send the company the URL to the review post so they may read it and give extra feedback to the companies that request it.

~ If for any reason we felt your product was just too poorly made/boring then I will tell you beforehand and you can choose whether or not to have the review posted. I will not attack the company or the product if this is the case. I will just point out the flaws, possibly make suggestions, and thank the company for the chance to review for them. I will not however lie about a product just to make a company happy. From what I've seen so far though I have no worries about the products. Sounds fair doesn't it?

If you are a company with a product that you would like some exposure on or a review of (small businesses especially welcome), feel free to email me at jocoiner[at] (email broken up for spam reasons. Please see sidebar for complete email).

To visit my Reviews Page (which contains my reviews to date), please visit HERE.

Family Stats and Information:

2 adults (1 male, 1 female)
Big B- 18 year old male
Sis- 15 year old girl
MonkeyBoy- 7 year old boy

Likes/Preferences: We are actually pretty mellow and open so whatever you've got, just send it our way and we'll make it fun!!

Thank you,
Jolene Coiner Burzycki

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

EduLinks 08/22/07

Despite allowing myself to get behind on some of my other blogs, I wanted to make sure this EduLinks post went up today since people are actually reading it now. :) I hope the links are useful to you and as always, if you have a favorite site or homeschooling blog that you would like to share please let me know. I'm always more than happy to hear from readers.

Let's start today's EduLinks and Blog of the Week post shall we? In honor of "back to school" I am posting links that all start with the letter "A". Can you guess what next week's theme will be?

Art History Resources On The Web- This site has art resources for probably every era, civilization, country, and genre you could want. I still haven't made it through the whole site yet!

ABC Teach- Over 5000 free printable pages and worksheets in all kinds of subjects! Members get access to even more great stuff.

A+ Math- developed to help students improve their math skills interactively, this site has games, a homework helper, flashcards, and worksheets. We've used this site a few times and the worksheets especially have been helpful.

African Studies Center- Plan to study Africa this year? This site by the University of Pennsylvania is a great resource and guide to use. We will be using alot of their stuff when we do our own Africa studies this year.

About.Com Free Printables- is always a great place for free printables, freebies, resources, and much more.

This week's Blog of the Week is by another lady whom I have been reading for awhile now. She just recently switched over to this new blog and name but Steph hasn't changed the way she homeschools her kids one bit. Steph is funny, posts pics of the experiments they do, and wait until you see her kids' eyes! Gorgeous I tell you!

So my Blog of the Week pick for today is Steph at Tribe of Autodidacts. Thank you for always commenting on everyone's blogs and for sharing so much on yours. You are inspiring and I'm glad to know you hun. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

EduLinks 08/15/07

Hello everyone and sorry about not posting last week. I've been battling vertigo lately so trying to type with crossed eyes just wasn't working for me. :)

This has been a very good week for me when it comes to discovering new educational and homeschooling sites. Just when I think I've probably bookmarked every site there is I find a few more that I need to save. lol So I will get right to sharing them with you along with the new blog of the week.

Math Night Modules- a site that allows kids and their parents to explore and enjoy areas of mathematics they wouldn't encounter in everyday schoolwork.

OperaGlass (Opera for Everyone)- this site enables opera companies and educators to access and download FREE digital versions of the Opera for Everyone series of Cd's and the Teaching Manual for teaching purposes.

Internet 4 Classrooms- Several large collections of links, assessments, tutorials, and more for K-12 teachers.

Homeschooling With Notebooks- A great site for those who like to use or have an interest in using notebooks as part of your homeschooling. This site does have religious references and pages at times but as always, the stuff you don't need just don't read. ;)

K12 FREE Homeschool Courses- Yes, K12 curriculum actually has "free" courses that your children can take online. These classes are not totally free though because they do charge you $4.95 per course for s&h I think. The variety of free courses is limited but it's easy to find something for just about anyone on the list. K12 is a Christian based curriculum with alot of religiously themed courses but they are clearly marked so you can avoid them if their not for you.

This week's blog of the week kind of gave me a giggle for the simple fact that I had already chosen it without having many chances to talk to the couple who runs it. In the past week though I've emailed with the mom several times so it just solidified my choice even more.

My Blog Of The Week is Atypical Life by Ron and Andrea. This wonderful couple also run Homeschool Journal where you can set up your own free homeschooling blog. Homeschool Journal was started last year partially as an alternative to HSB for those of us who were anti-OSH Magazine (I'm using abbreviations because I refuse to give them "Google Juice"). Now it's just there for anyone who wants to use it and Ron and Andrea are awesome when it comes to fixing glitches and trying to keep things running smoothly.

Andrea has written alot about homeschooling over the years and I even heard someone sing her praises on a podcast I was listening to once! lol. Ron is often overrun with working outside the home but just like Andrea you can always count on him when Homeschool Journal really needs him. I've learned alot from the two of them in the last year and I'm very thankful to them both.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Book Review: Maximum Ride 3

*This review was originally shared on our homeschooling site as part of a MotherTalk blog tour*

For my first Blog Tour with MotherTalk I was given the chance to review James Patterson's Maximum Ride 3: Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports. My biggest worry when I received the book was that since I'm not a big Sci-Fi Fantasy fan, I would end up hating the book and spend two weeks trying to figure out how to nicely say it stunk. Thankfully that was not even remotely the case.

Maximum Ride 3 is the third installment in James Patterson's series (with rumor of a fourth coming out next year) featuring the winged teenage hero, Max, and her flying "Flock". After reading this book I can say my only regrets are that I had never heard of the Maximum Ride book series before and that I didn't read the first two books first. Since finding the books at the local library was next to impossible I was relieved that Mr. Patterson recaps the first two books throughout the story so you understand what's going on now.

Knowing that there is a Maximum Ride website complete with forums, that Fang's blog really does exist, and that Max even has her own MySpace made it even more fun as my kids and I read through each site. Having the characters as part of the "blogosphere" gives them a new dimension that young readers are usually not able to see with their favorite book characters.

My oldest son who is sixteen read the book before I could grab it so I decided to not only give my opinion on the book but his as well. My son loves to read and is very hard to please so I felt his thoughts on this were important. Here are some questions we both answered...

1- What was your favorite thing about the book?

**Jolene**- The story had great imagery, showed teens in a positive light (smart, responsible, and brave), and whenever I read the parts about flying it was almost like you were there yourself. I also really enjoyed Max because her sarcasm and attitude reminded me of myself at her age.

**Big B**- Whenever Max tries to balance the roles of leader, mother, and friend for the whole Flock. Also when Fang, Iggy, and Gasman battle the robot Erasers.

2- What did you dislike about the book?

**Jolene**- One of the deaths was a little sad and it got confusing at times trying to figure out if it was Max talking, one of the Flock, or if it was like Max was writing in her diary. I also thought the ending was kind of flat after all the build up and excitement throughout the book. It just lacked "umph" at the end.

**Big B**- When Max finds out who her biological father is. It was just disappointing who it was.

3- What kind of person or group would you recommend this book to?

**Jolene**- I would recommend it to youth ages 10-15, to teachers for use in the classroom as maybe a Unit Study or project, and to people who are interested in mythical winged creatures already (gargoyles, vampires, angels, etc).

**Big B**- I would recommend it to people younger than 15 mostly but I would still tell my friends about it. After reading this book I put the first two on hold at the library so I can read them as well. It was definitely interesting and a nice change from just Harry Potter books all the time.

4- How was the book different than what you expected, or surprising?

**Jolene**- Since the book is actually for kids I figured the story would be nice but not enough to actually draw me in. Surprisingly, I was just as eager to finish the book and find out what happened to the Flock as my son was!!

**Big B**- It wasn't a little kids book. It actually dealt with the problems that face teenagers such as love, identifying yourself, and wanting to fit in, which was cool.

So all in all we both enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the first two as well. I personally enjoyed having yet another book that I could read and discuss with one of my kids. Hopefully my thirteen year old daughter will take an interest in the book soon and we can all three have a discussion on it.

Previously Featured Blogs

Lapaz Farm Learning / Single Parent Homeschooling Down Under / Get In Hang On / Mom Is Teaching / Eames Learning Project / Atypical Life /

Previously Featured Links

PBS Building Big / Drat These Greeks! / Funschool / A Lifetime Of Color / Homeschool T-shirts & Gifts / / Hippo Harry blog / Sacred Spiral Kids / Unschooling.Info / Wilderness Kids Club / Bravewriter /

Dositey / Spatulatta / Teen Space / Windows Into Wonderland / Webrangers /

Word Game Boards / / Weekly Reader Kids / Thought Audio / Pokemon Learning League /

Library Spot / FunBrain / Fact Monster / KidsFreeSouls / Hasbro Monkey Bar TV /

The Role Model Project for Girls / Wild Monthly / The Futures Channel / The Write Source /

Math Night Modules / OperaGlass (Opera for Everyone) / Internet 4 Classrooms / Homeschooling With Notebooks / K12 FREE Homeschool Courses /

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

EduLinks 08/01/07

Hello and welcome to a whole new month! Wow, this summer is just flying by for me. Where does all the time go? I heard the weatherman on the radio say that we are now officially into Monsoon Season here in NM. Personally, I want to know when it stopped?! It has been raining here in the desert all summer long!

Anyway- here is this week's EduLinks and Blog of the Week. If you would like to have me feature your site or blog then please feel free to email me at jocoiner [at] gmail [dot] com. I'm always looking for news links.

Hasbro Monkey Bar TV- This site has games, videos, comics, and tons of your child's favorite characters. My youngest loves the Transformer games the most and really enjoys playing on this site for his "extra" time.

The Role Model Project for Girls- This site was created to share the notion that girls can grow up to be almost anything--in a wide variety of professional careers--way more than they probably know exist. With a Role Model Registry, information, and resources this site is a great start for any parent wanting to help build their daughter's hopes and dreams for the future.

Wild Monthly- A monthly newsletter with nature notes, activities, recipes and more, to enhance your nature study. While this newsletter hasn't been updated in awhile, the ones listed have some really great information in them. I found them to be very useful in our nature studies. Don't forget to check out the main site as well because there is alot there with a focus on Charlotte Mason too.

The Futures Channel- Awesome movies and videos to help you teach Math and Science to your students. Their goal is "of using new media technologies to create a channel between the scientists, engineers, explorers and visionaries who are shaping the future, and today’s learners who will one day succeed them". I still haven't made it all the way through this site. There is just so much that is fascinating!

The Write Source- A great writing resource. They have books for sell to help your child learn better writing skills but if you scroll down to the bottom of the page they also have alot they offer free like Writing Topics to get your little writer's talent flowing.

As always, we have a new Blog of the Week to share with you. I'd like to introduce you to Tara and her amazing son, Sam at Eames Learning Project. I have "known" Tara for several years on a parenting board that we both frequented and she has always left me in awe. Sam is a very smart little boy and watching him grow over the years has been alot of fun. While Tara and I never had a chance to get close on the forums, I have always read her posts and thought very highly of her.

So visit her blog and you will immediately see how dedicated this mother is to her son! It's also thanks to Tara's blog that I found out about the Hogwart's Summer Correspondence School. We're getting ready to start and it looks like a blast!