Thursday, February 25, 2016

10 Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas for Boys




1. Legos

If you have boys, you have Legos! This Easter sets are a great way to add some fun to the Easter basket.

2. Binoculars




Anything that has to do with the great outdoors is always a hit here. Boys love to explore and go on adventures. With these binoculars maybe they will spot a bird, a snake, or even a rare beast in the jungle.

 3. Parachute Men


These are a hit in our house. I feel like I add this every year. The cats love them too!

4. Mad Libs



Silly and fun. The best part they are learning English and they don't even know it.

5. A Hex bug

Both my kiddos have these. They are neat little things to watch. The cats and dog even get into the action of following them. I remember when a certain dog was a puppy and she was afraid of them.

6. Hot Wheel Cars



Cars, trucks, dinosaurs, and bugs all seem to be hits with boys. I love hot wheels because you can fit many into Easter eggs. Perfect for an Easter egg hunt!


7. Action Figures



Here you can add a variety of characters. Turtles, Superman, Iron Man, Captain America, etc. Pick a favorite and add to the collection. Marvel Avengers are a favorite in our house!

8. Bug Cathing Kit


This will be a hit! Michael loves bugs and anything that is creepy crawly. We have so many bug catching kits that we can have a bug zoo. Our only rule is they have to stay outside. We did make one exception and that was for Hercules! We once rescued a Hercules beetle in the winter and kept in a fish tank. We released him when the weather got warmer. He was a neat school pet!

9. An Excavation Bug Kit


Have a paleontologist in your house? Any excavation kit will be a hit. We've had quite a few over the years.They are always completed with a lot of enthusiasms.


10. Classic Card Games




Classic games = classic fun!


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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

TOS Review~ Pro Plan from HelpTeaching.com


Today, I get to share with you all about the Pro Plan from HelpTeaching.com! The kids and I have been using this online site for the past few weeks. For this review, we received the Pro Plan. The Pro Plan is a yearly online membership for $24.95 a year. With the Pro Plan, we received unlimited access to all of the resources on the website.


HelpTeaching Review

HelpTeaching.com is an online website for students in Preschool to 12th grade. It's a great site for teachers, homeschoolers, and tutors. It offers so much and will make lesson planning a lot easier, especially if you create your own curriculum every year. This site will give you a break from planning by offering you a helping hand. It will definitely help you teach! 

The site offers 3 different levels of membership....Free, the Pro Plan, and the Group Plan. The type of membership you choose will determine the resources you will have available. 
The Free Plan is free of course, but offers the least amount of options. With the Free Plan, you will have access to some worksheets, but many are only available to full members. 
The Pro Plan offers unlimited access to all of the worksheets and tests. You will be able to use the online lessons and online tests. You will be able to add pictures to test or worksheets that you create. You can chose from their selection of images or upload your own. 
The Group Plan is for schools and businesses. With the Group Plan, you'll have the same benefits as the Pro Plan but you'll be able to have up to 30 different users. The Group plan would be great for homeschool co-ops.


So What Does HelpTeaching.com Offer?

A ton of stuff! When first logging one, you will feel overwhelmed and have no idea where to begin. Just spend some time searching the site and you will quickly see all that HelpTeaching.com has to offer.
  • Worksheets
  • Test
  • Test Maker
  • Games
  • Online Lessons
  • Test Room~ Online Test

I'm still discovering new things! The website is easy to follow and is laid out well. It's organized very well. HelpTeaching.com offers a variety of resources for elementary, middle, and high school students. You'll be able to print worksheets, tests and answer keys, and activities. Over 1,000 worksheets are available. 1,000 worksheets and they are adding more every day. You'll find that there are worksheets available for a wide range of subjects. You'll be able to choose worksheets for English, Art, Science, Social Studies, Math, Life Skills, Seasonal, Holiday, and Early Education! There's a worksheet for everyone and everything. At least it looks like that so far. 



The Pro Plan allows members to do online lessons and take tests in the Test Room. The lessons are to help students become more independent in their learning. This option provide a great way for students to build confidence in their own abilities. It allows them to work independently and as a bonus mom can spend a few minutes cleaning, taking care of herself or focusing on the little ones. The online lessons are perfect for those days when mama is sick (we've had a few weeks of that here lately).


HelpTeaching Review


You can create your own Bingo games and word searches. This option can add a lot of fun into your school day. What kid doesn't like a round of Bingo? I know a game of Bingo in our French was always something we looked forward to in high school.

HelpTeaching Review
The site offers the ability to create your own tests. You can choose between Fill-in-the-Blank, Multiple Choice, True or False, and Open-Ended Questions. You can create a test with just one style of questions or use all four. There is even an option for taking online tests that have already been created. 


So How Did We Use It?

When first longing on, I was very overwhelmed. There is so much to see and check out. I was a little confused at first, but after spending some time searching through the site I started to find my way around things. They do have a help section that explains any questions that you might have.

I started looking up subjects we were already studying or topics we will cover this year. For example, in science this year we are covering plants, biomes, and the human body. I clicked on science and then clicked on the links to the topics I needed. I found plant worksheets and tests for a variety of grade levels. I found worksheets about biomes.



I found a great section of worksheets about the human body. These worksheets will come in handy in a few weeks when we start the human body. They will make my lesson planning extremely easy for this unit study.


I created a few worksheets to be used for tests for my kids. I created a Catechism test to review the past 9 weeks of lessons. I added my own images to this test. It was very easy to do.


The kids had been learning The Gettysburg Address, so I created a worksheet to help with their memorization. This was sort of a pre-test for them.


On this worksheet, I used one of the images provided by HelpTeaching.com. They have a nice selection of images for use. I do wish they has a selection of images for history though. Images of various historical scenes, presidents, great leaders, and civilizations would be nice.

I did try out the game maker! I created a word search for Lent.  It was easy to do and is a great way to add some fun to your day.


I spent a good amount of time searching around the website. While poking around, I found plenty of math worksheets that would be great for reinforcement and summer time. The math worksheets would be a wonderful way to keep math nice and fresh in their minds during those long summer days of playing outside and eating ice cream.
HelpTeaching.com offers a nice selection of art worksheets. Art history, art theory, and artistic styles are all covered!


We didn't use the online lessons or test yet. We've had 3 weeks of illness in our house, so things have been a little crazy around here. I did look through the online lessons and I am very impressed! They offer so many lessons in a variety of subjects. I can definitely see us using this fantastic feature in the future.

What Did We Think Of HelpTeaching.com?

I think HelpTeaching.com is amazing! I have been planning my own lessons, my own worksheets and tests, and searching for free stuff online for the past 9 years. HelpTeaching.com would be a great way for me to cut down on my planning. I would be able to get more of my free time back!  For $24.99 for the whole year, you are really getting a bargain with all that the website has to offer.
The selection of worksheets, tests, online lessons, and the fact that you can create your own test is a HUGE selling point. I can see myself using the create your own worksheet/tests for religion, but I know I'll be able to find pre-made stuff in the other subjects.
The only complaint I have, which really isn't a big one, is that the younger kids worksheets and test have more color and are much more appealing to look at. I wish they would offer more colorful worksheets for the upper elementary and middle school age students. Nobody wants boring stuff. It's not a big deal though, definitely not a deal breaker.  I just prefer color!
As a parent to two kids in the middle school years and heading into the high school years, I can see us using HelpTeaching.com more and more in the future. We will be adding this to our list of curriculum choices for next year!

Are you interested in learning more about HelpTeaching.com? 


The Pro Plan is available for $24.99 for the year. With the Pro Plan, you have unlimited access to all the site's resources including the test maker, online lessons, and online test room. It really is a bargain!

Find HelpTeaching.com on social media...

Stop by and visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew and see what the others are saying about HelpTeaching.com....

HelpTeaching Review
Crew Disclaimer

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Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

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TOS Review~ The Climbing Knights from SimplyFun

Educational Games


Does your family love to play games? Do you like games that encouraging learning while having fun? Do you think learning should be fun? Well, so does SimplyFun. Let me tell you all about The Climbing Knights from SimplyFun. I am reviewing The Climbing Knights, one of the four new releases from SimplyFun. The kids and I have been having a great time playing this fun but challenging game. 


SimplyFun Review
SimplyFun is a relatively young company, but they are changing the game world! The "Playologist" strive to find the right games for families. They offer a variety of games hoping to create a love of learning in children. The offer challenging but fun games helping children over come a few of those huge hurdles that can pop up sometimes. You'll find games geared for toddlers, preschoolers, early and upper elementary age children, teens, and the whole family. SimplyFun offers puzzle games, memory games, board games, dice and card games. 
SimplyFun Review
The games will help children improve their memory, reading skills, problem solving skills, strategy and planning skills, and  spatial reasoning. They have games dealing with math, social studies, science, reading, and language arts. While searching through their games for upper elementary games, I found games about birds, dinosaurs, Shakespeare, banking, and the stars. There is something for everyone. The little children games are so cute....bumble bees, frogs, etc. I wish I had one a little to play those games.
For this review, we received The Climbing Knights
Homeschool Resources
We were waiting patiently for our game to arrive. We had a little snowstorm (43 inches) hit the week of delivery and the delivery truck couldn't make it to our house.  Our road covered with snow and didn't get plowed for 4 days! The kids were waiting on pins and needles for the package to come. They were extremely thrilled when it finally made it and we could play the game. It would have been nice to have when we were snowed in for 4 days. Oh well, better late than never.
Homeschool Resources
The Climbing Knights is geared from children 8 and up. Two to four players can play the game. The game takes about 30 minutes to play. The object of the game is to be the first knight to reach the top and retrieve their coat of arms. The first knight to retrieve his coat of arms is the winner and claims the title of the King's Climber. Each knight has to scale the castle twice to retrieve their 2 coat of arms, but you have to be careful and avoid the guards patrolling the castle walls!
Educational Games

The game requires some assembly. You'll have to build the castle. It's pretty easy! The hardest part is putting the castle back in the box. We had a heck of a time trying to figure out how it was originally in the box and how to fit it back in. Directions might be nice. I didn't really pay attention to how it was in the box when we opened it. We got it back it in. It may not be right but the lid kind of fits back on.

Once the castle is put together, you'll pick your knight. There are four color choices....red, yellow, green, and a blue teal color. Therese snagged the blue teal color right away. The knights have flat magnets so they cling to the castle walls. We thought this was pretty neat. The whole time I was building the castle, the kids were wondering how the knights would stay on. Players roll the three dice and proceed up the wall. You have to avoid windows and the guards. The dice control the knight, the gray guard, and the black guard.



Educational Games

The guards move around the castle. There are 2 guards total. One guard on each tier. They move in opposite directions so you have to be careful. Sometimes, the guards will fall asleep and you are safe. You can also hid under or above the ledges. 

Homeschool Learning

If the guards spot you, you have to go back to the bottom of the tier. But be careful, if the next guard spots you, you have to go all the way back to the bottom of the castle. 

Moving the knights around safely is where planning and strategy comes into play. You need to pay attention to the windows, other players, ledges, the gray guard, and the black guard!

Family Games


So What Did We Think of the Game?

It was a lot of fun. I know when we first started playing, we all thought it was too easy. As you advanced up the wall, we suddenly realized that it takes a little more thought. You have to pay attention and plan ahead. The first round the kids didn't do that well. Their focus was going up and up. They didn't pay too much attention to the direction of the guards and suddenly were spotted and knocked down. I actually won the title of the king's climber the first 2 rounds. Once they played a few times, they realized that they needed to plan and figure out their strategy in order to win. There were lots of laughs and a few groans, especially when Therese was sent all the way back to the bottom twice in 1 game.  
Overall. they loved it! They both said that they would recommend the game to their friends. They actually can't wait for their next play date to play the game with their friends. So, they give it 2 thumbs up!

Find out more about SimplyFun and all the great products they have to offer!


Be sure to stop by and read all about the other games the Review Crew reviewed.

SimplyFun Review
Crew Disclaimer

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 Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

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