Archive for March, 2010

Live Butterfly Garden Rising to Be a Top Educational Toy

Live Butterfly Garden

Live Butterfly Garden

One of the educational toys on the market that is gaining huge popularity for its creativity, learning aspects and entertainment is the Live Butterfly Garden for kids by Insect Lore.

With a live butterfly garden you can explore the life of insects with live butterfly, ladybug, ants and other insect kits for education and home use. Insect Lore (a creator of live butterfly garden kits) lets kids witness the wonder of the butterfly life cycle with child-and-insect friendly habitats. Kids can see the caterpillar’s transition as it grows, changes into a chrysalis, and finally emerges as a lady butterfly.

A live butterfly garden comes with a mesh cage and 5-6 larvae that will turn into caterpillars and then into butterflies. All of the food that will be needed is provided.

with this educational toy, kids watch the progress of the larvae turning into a caterpillar, the caterpillar spinning his cocoon, and then the butterfly emerging in just a few weeks time. Kids will then have to let the butterflies go after 3 days so they can find food.

The live butterfly garden and other Insect Lore products teach kids about science and nature and the process in which different insects go through. It also teaches kids to learn to let things go for the benefit of nature and others.

I bought this educational toy before for my 4-year-old niece and it has been one of her favorite gifts to date. It is something that most people do not think to give and is very exciting for kids.

Live Butterfly Garden Rising to Be a Top Educational Toy

Live Butterfly Garden

Live Butterfly Garden

One of the educational toys on the market that is gaining huge popularity for its creativity, learning aspects and entertainment is the Live Butterfly Garden for kids by Insect Lore.

With a live butterfly garden you can explore the life of insects with live butterfly, ladybug, ants and other insect kits for education and home use. Insect Lore (a creator of live butterfly garden kits) lets kids witness the wonder of the butterfly life cycle with child-and-insect friendly habitats. Kids can see the caterpillar’s transition as it grows, changes into a chrysalis, and finally emerges as a lady butterfly.

A live butterfly garden comes with a mesh cage and 5-6 larvae that will turn into caterpillars and then into butterflies. All of the food that will be needed is provided.

with this educational toy, kids watch the progress of the larvae turning into a caterpillar, the caterpillar spinning his cocoon, and then the butterfly emerging in just a few weeks time. Kids will then have to let the butterflies go after 3 days so they can find food.

The live butterfly garden and other Insect Lore products teach kids about science and nature and the process in which different insects go through. It also teaches kids to learn to let things go for the benefit of nature and others.

I bought this educational toy before for my 4-year-old niece and it has been one of her favorite gifts to date. It is something that most people do not think to give and is very exciting for kids.

Homeschooled Kids Rank Above of Average

Homeschooled Kids

Homeschooled Kids

Growing up, I remember a really good friend of mine getting pulled out of school to start getting home-schooled. I remember how all of our friends talked about how sorry we felt for him and how he was going to miss out on so much. What about prom, sports, talent shows, or even more important friendships and a great education? It was not until I met up with him later that I realized a lot of my perceptions were false.

These days there are all sorts of ways homeschoolers get with other home-schooled kids and they do get to experience prom, sports, and more! And then I read the following studies written by a newspaper columnist out of the Seattle Times newspaper.

According to a study of 7,000 homeschooled young adults by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, “74 percent had attained some college courses, compared with just 46 percent of other young adults — and 82 percent said they would home-school their own kids. On the social front, almost twice as many home-schooled adults as those in the general population were active in their community (71 percent to 37 percent) and “very happy” with life (59 percent to 28 percent).”

In 1998, a Home School Legal Defense Association’s study of 20,760 home-school students found that: “In every subject and at every grade level (on standardized tests), home-school students scored significantly higher than their public and private school counterparts.” Younger home-schoolers performed one grade level higher than their public and private school counterparts, and by eighth grade, “the average home-school student performs four grade levels above the national average.”

Homeschooling is not for everyone, but who is to say that home-schooled children actually miss out? My friend had a great personality and wonderful manners unlike anyone of his age and was very thankful for being home-schooled.

Let us know your experiences!!

Obama Student Loan Bill Helps More Stay Out of Debt

Obama promoting new education loan

Luke Sharrett/The New York Times

What does Obama signing a new student loan bill mean for you and your kids? And what are the positive and negative effects?

On a positive note, the bill could possibly mean the difference in you paying on a ridiculous loan for the rest of your life or having college almost fully funded for you. According to the White House,

— Pell Grants will rise from $5,550 for the coming school year to $5,975 by 2017.

— More eligible students will be able to get a full Pell Grant. Currently, most grants only go to students with family income below $20,000, but students with family income of up to $50,000 will also be eligible.

— Some college graduates will have an easier time repaying loans. The government will essentially guarantee that workers in low-paying jobs will be able to reduce their payments. Current law caps monthly payments at 15 percent of these workers’ incomes; the new law will lower the cap to 10 percent.

A White House press release spells it out this way, “All new federal student loans will be direct loans, delivered and collected by private companies under performance-based contracts with the Department of Education. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, ending these wasteful subsidies will free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years.”

On a negative note, some officials are angry over this bill. Why?

Free market analysts estimate that the bill will kill around 35,000 private-sector jobs – work that would be assumed by federal employees. Republican lawmakers said that, the plan will make the government charge other  students more for the loans to help pay for the nearly $1-trillion health care bill, which was signed into law on Tuesday, Mar. 23.

What are your opinions?

The Importance of Homeschool Record Keeping

Homeschool Record Keeping

Homeschool Record Keeping

It’s every homeschooler’s nightmare. A local school district official knocks on the door and asks to see your homeschool record keeping. However, after a brief moment of panic, the realization dawns that this isn’t a nightmare after all. You’ve done your homework and are prepared for such a visit. After spending a few minutes looking over your records, the impressed official heads for the door, satisfied you are in compliance with the law.

It rarely happens, but what if it would happen to you? Would you be prepared? Record keeping is a critically important part of a homeschooling parent’s job. However, the importance of homeschool record keeping goes way beyond being prepared for an unexpected visit from a school official.

Why?

Why is record keeping so important? The documentation of your children’s Christian homeschool education can serve many purposes beyond simply proving compliance with the law. Children applying for scholarships or other honors may need school records in order to satisfy eligibility requirements. The college application and admission process depends heavily on the existence of detailed homeschool record keeping. In addition, a child entering or re-entering a public or private school can be placed more easily and appropriately if adequate records have been kept. Homeschool records also help provide the opportunity for personal and/or professional evaluation of student progress and planning for future academic pursuits. Finally, some families may elect to keep records for nostalgic reasons or for the purpose of providing a way to showcase a child’s homeschool experience for family and friends.

Still, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Since no two homeschool experiences are the same, it’s impossible to design a record keeping plan that works for every family. This guide is intended to provide the information you need to assist you in developing a record keeping system that meet your specific needs.

Who and When?

Whether you’re a first-time home educator or a veteran who has never made homeschool record keeping a
priority, every homeschooler should start keeping detailed records now! While you may never need to use some of what you collect, the benefit of having comprehensive records far outweighs the time invested to create them. Besides, it doesn’t require much time in the first place? While the time required will vary from family to family, most homeschoolers must invest relatively little time in order to create and maintain a well-designed record keeping system.

What?

Now that you’ve decided you should keep records of your family’s homeschool, what should you maintain? The
answer to this question is determined to a large extent by the consideration of several important factors

  • Where do you live?
  • With what laws must you comply?
  • How old is your child?
  • Will your child be entering a public or private school in the future?
  • Is your child college-bound?

Where you live plays a significant role in answering the question of “what,” In the United States, state laws
govern the education of all children, including children who are schooled at home. Since failure to comply with
the laws of your state can result in the loss of your right to homeschool, knowing and understanding your state’s laws is vitally important in determining what records you need to keep for your children. An online search for your state’s homeschool laws can help you determine records you are required to keep.

Another important factor to consider when determining what records to keep is the age of your children. While it is strongly recommended to keep records for all children, it is especially important to keep meticulous records for high school aged children. These records can significantly impact the college and/or job application process of your teenage child. In addition, if it’s likely your children will eventually be placed in a public or private school, detailed records will make the transfer process much easier, potentially eliminating the need for extensive placement testing.

Though some families have very few requirements to satisfy, they still choose to keep records of their children’s homeschool experience solely for personal and/or sentimental reasons. So, even if all you want to do is show off your child’s academic abilities to family and friends, homeschool record keeping is a great idea!

How?

There are as many different ways to keep homeschool records as there are reasons to keep them! Exactly how you keep your student records should be determined by many of the same factors considered above and may change as your homeschool journey progresses. Factors like location, age of children, academic goals, and others also affect how you should keep your records.

While there are many possible record keeping methods, one of the most effective and efficient ways to compile academic records for children of all ages is to create a portfolio, a collection of documentation intended to demonstrate a homeschool child’s academic progress. The contents of a homeschool portfolio will vary from family to family according to specific legal requirements, as well as personal preference. However, a comprehensive portfolio always contains some variation of many of the following items:

• Student data page: General student information, such as name, birth date, address, etc.
• Medical records required by law, such as immunizations
• Documentation of compliance with state requirements that may or may not include the following items:

– List of specific goals and objectives for each academic subject
– Documentation of communication with local school district officials
– List of educational materials utilized, including author and publishing information for all books,
curriculum, DVDs/videos, and software
– Sampling of student work in all subject areas, particularly those required by law like math and
science: Samples should be representative of both type (workbook pages, written compositions,
quizzes, and tests) and quality of work completed by the student.
– Documentation of required and/or voluntary assessment: Assessment can be measured and reported
through a variety of means, including report cards, standardized testing, professional evaluations,
grade reports, and transcripts.

• Report of extracurricular activities, such as field trips, homeschool group or church activities, sports, music, drama, etc. These can be presented in journal format and may include photographs and student assignments specific to the activity.
• Documentation of special awards, honors, accomplishments, and achievements earned.

A portfolio can be compiled completely from scratch or can be created using packaged record keeping programs available in a variety of formats. Electronic curriculum options, such as online or computer-based curriculum can provide easy access to much of the documentation needed to put together a complete record of your children’s home education.

So, why are you waiting? Wherever you are on your homeschool journey, don’t wait for a knock on the door to begin your homeschool record keeping. Start creating a record of your children’s homeschool experience today!

Summary
Record keeping is a critically important part of a homeschooling parent’s job. However, the importance of
homeschool record keeping goes way beyond being prepared for an unexpected visit from a school official.
Wherever you are on your homeschool journey, learn how you can begin your homeschool record keeping and start creating a record of your children’s homeschool experience today!

Source: Alpha Omega Publications

Don Colbert’s New Release “Get Fit and Live”

Get Fit and Live by Don Colbert

"Get Fit and Live" by Don Colbert

Combining Dr. Colbert’s medical experience with his son’s personal training expertise, Don Colbert’s new book, “Get Fit and Live” workout guide offers pictures, illustrations, and a 25-minute down-loadable video of personal instruction for both beginner and advanced routines. They’ll help you lose weight; improve your energy level; replace fat with lean muscle; and prevent or manage diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and more.

Dr. Colbert is the best-selling author of over 40 books including What Would Jesus Eat, The Bible Cure Series and The Seven Pillars of Health, that together have sold over 4 million copies. Many of Don Colbert’s books are required reading at many medical schools around the world. Dr. Colbert is on the Medical Advisory Board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Don Colbert, M.D., is board certified in family practice and anti aging medicine.  He is the Medical Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida where he has treated over 40,000 patients.  Dr. Colbert is an internationally known expert and prolific speaker on integrative medicine (a combination of traditional and alternative medicine).  Dr. Don Colbert has become affectionately known as “The Doctor to God’s Generals.” He has been featured on Fox News, ABC World News, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, BBC, Readers Digest, News Week, Prevention Magazine and many others.

Order Now

Gallery of Children Appreciation Letters

I love my job!! I love that I work with products that have such a positive influence on others. One of the greatest rewards is when we receive letters from kids telling us how much they love our products and how they have impacted their lives. We would like to start posting any letters that we receive from your kids below. The letters can be about anything to do with one of our products that they had the chance to view. We really appreciate you as our fans and our customers!!

You can fax your letters to the attention of Amy Upton at (800) 221-8729, scan them and e-mail to nfblog@nestfamily.com or by mail to:

Nest family

Attn: Amy Upton

1421 S. Beltline Rd. #300

Coppell, TX 75019

Letters will be posted by the end of the week after receipt!

Displayed below are actual letters that we have recently received from a 2nd Grade classroom of students who were donated our hero classics DVD collection to educate them on historical figures such as Marco Polo, The Wright Brothers, Helen Keller, and many more.

Camryn at Brentwood Elementary

Camryn at Brentwood Elementary

Lucas of Brentwood Elementary

Lucas of Brentwood Elementary

Greg of Brentwood Elementary

Greg of Brentwood Elementary

Kailey of Brentwood Elementary

Kailey of Brentwood Elementary

Austin Molketin at Brentwood Elementary

Austin Molketin at Brentwood Elementary

Laura Timms of Brentwood Elementary

Laura Timms of Brentwood Elementary

Ethan Evans at Brentwood Elementary

Ethan Evans of Brentwood Elementary

Marquel of Brentwood Elementary

Marquel of Brentwood Elementary

Jordan of Brentwood Elementary

Jordan of Brentwood Elementary

Ryan of Brentwood Elementary

Ryan of Brentwood Elementary

Sam of Brentwood Elementary

Sam of Brentwood Elementary

Gallery of Children Appreciation Letters

I love my job!! I love that I work with products that have such a positive influence on others. One of the greatest rewards is when we receive letters from kids telling us how much they love our products and how they have impacted their lives. We would like to start posting any letters that we receive from your kids below. The letters can be about anything to do with one of our products that they had the chance to view. We really appreciate you as our fans and our customers!!

You can fax your letters to the attention of Amy Upton at (800) 221-8729, scan them and e-mail to nfblog@nestfamily.com or by mail to:

Nest family

Attn: Amy Upton

1421 S. Beltline Rd. #300

Coppell, TX 75019

Letters will be posted by the end of the week after receipt!

Displayed below are actual letters that we have recently received from a 2nd Grade classroom of students who were donated our hero classics DVD collection to educate them on historical figures such as Marco Polo, The Wright BrothersHelen Keller, and many more.

Camryn at Brentwood Elementary

Camryn at Brentwood Elementary

Lucas of Brentwood Elementary

Lucas of Brentwood Elementary

Greg of Brentwood Elementary

Greg of Brentwood Elementary

Kailey of Brentwood Elementary

Kailey of Brentwood Elementary

Austin Molketin at Brentwood Elementary

Austin Molketin at Brentwood Elementary

Laura Timms of Brentwood Elementary

Laura Timms of Brentwood Elementary

Ethan Evans at Brentwood Elementary

Ethan Evans of Brentwood Elementary

Marquel of Brentwood Elementary

Marquel of Brentwood Elementary

Jordan of Brentwood Elementary

Jordan of Brentwood Elementary

Ryan of Brentwood Elementary

Ryan of Brentwood Elementary

Sam of Brentwood Elementary

Sam of Brentwood Elementary

Getting Started Homeschooling

Getting Started Homeschooling

Getting Started Homeschooling

Know Your State Law

  • Homeschooling is legal in every state in the United States.
  • Obtain information about your state home schooling law.
  • One source is to contact your local school district who can provide a packet of information concerning home schooling, including a synoptic paragraph about legal requirements. Inquiries can be made with no strings attached.
  • Another source of information is to contact your state home school organization which also can provide information about home schooling in your state. Other home schoolers can provide you with the proper telephone number.
  • In addition, those interested in home schooling can contact Home School Legal Defense Association, a national home school legal organization. They can provide information regarding legal requirements as well as membership into their organization.
  • All of these suggestions are made as points of reference and are not necessarily considered to be endorsements.
  • Learn more about your state’s homeschooling laws: http://www.hslda.org/laws/

Obtain Homeschool Curriculum

  • Most states expect you to obtain a reliable curriculum, although some states have the authority to approve or disapprove your choice.
  • Many states expect you to teach the academic disciplines such as spelling, handwriting, English, reading, math, science, and history.
  • Most state home school organizations hold curriculum fairs during spring or summer.
  • You should purchase basic curriculum first and then add extras such as charts, globes, maps, science kits, manipulatives, and flash cards.
  • You should look for a curriculum with daily lesson plans that take the guesswork out of what you need to teach your child on his grade level.
  • You should purchase curriculum early (possibly 2-3 months before teaching) in order to become familiar with the format and to prepare lesson plans.
  • Christian vs. secular textbooks (www.christianvssecular.com)

Set Up Your Home School

Begin Keeping Records

  • Many states require a record-keeping system.
  • Store records in a filing system by school year and child.
  • Store samples of your student’s work as well as standardized test results.

Organize Your Time

  • Develop a school schedule based on the number of days your state requires.
  • Consider a year-round schedule vs. a nine-month schedule as well as a daily schedule.
  • Include long-term projects, seasonal activities, ministries, holidays, and vacations in your schedule.
  • Develop a teaching plan based on the number of children you have.

Prepare Lesson Plans

  • Plan at least one week’s lessons ahead of time, gathering materials for lessons, collecting resources for lessons, preparing visuals, etc.
  • Use a daily lesson plan book for lesson number and pages, activities, and student textbook and workbook pages.
  • Review the evening before to refresh your memory and to put materials in place for the next day.

Find a Support Group

  • Attend several meetings to become acquainted with the group and its purposes.
  • Assess group goals and standards to be sure they are in keeping with those you want and have for your family.
  • Inquire of the group or other homeschoolers about how to obtain good magazines and helpful newsletters.
  • Join helpful homeschool specific social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs to help you discuss your needs and concerns with other homeschoolers

Movie Theaters Raising Their Prices

Movie Night

Movie Night

With movie prices increasing to rise between 2.7% and 6.1% a year, it can easily costs teens and parents what once was  $5.50 a decade ago up to $11 a piece for a regular movie and almost up to $20 a ticket for a 3-D Imax film ticket. How are kids even affording to go out anymore making minimum wage. Guess what? Their rising again!

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, due to an increase in popularity of 3-D movies and the ever growing revenue from consumers continuing to buy movie theater tickets, movie theater chains such as Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Holdings Inc. and AMC Entertainment Inc. decide that the demand means they might be able to raise their prices even more and continue to get the same amount of business. With a record-setting year at the domestic box office, with revenue surpassing $10 billion for the first time. Movie attendance in the U.S. and Canada grew 5.5% in 2009, with 1.42 billion tickets sold, the most since 2004. Ticket sales so far this year are running 10% higher.

Tickets are now raising to as much as 26% in many areas. According to the Wall Street Journal, “At one Seattle multiplex, adult admission is rising to $11 from $10 for a conventional film, to $15 from $13.50 for a regular 3-D showing and to $17 from $15 for Imax 3-D.

“The U.S. economy isn’t in the greatest shape, and there is definitely risk here in pushing price too far in a weak economy,” said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG LLC, who issued a research report Wednesday on the price hikes.

Mr. Greenfield said the next month will serve as a test of the strategy. “We’ll have a sense if there is any pushback” from moviegoers, he said.

With this being said, it might be beneficial to figure out alternative plans to go out and have fun. Many may convert to a night stay in for a date night, rather than going out. If this is the case, rising movie theater costs may also increase the price of renting a movie as well as the crowds at the video store.

Money saving tip: Try stocking up on your own movies in advance. Have release parties at home when a new movie just hits on DVD. Order pizza and stock up on popcorn and candy to make it feel like you are getting away in the comfort of your own home. A way to make sure you have your movies reserved and in-hand is to pre-order movies online when possible and then have them conveniently mailed to your front door.

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