Having a resource that helps teach young children important social tools can be so helpful. That’s why I was excited to review resources from Happy Kids Songs. For our review we received Friends & Sharing (Set 1), Happiness & Attitude (Set 5), and Manners & Character (Set 6) as well as the Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills.
Happy Kids Songs offers a variety of song sets regarding building character, social and emotional skills that is ideal for ages 3-8, though I think children a little younger or a little older may enjoy it and benefit from it as well. We have been listening to (and singing) the songs all together as a family. Our children are ages 4, 6, and 8 and have been absolutely enjoying the songs.
I am a strong advocate for learning in ways that children enjoy, and I believe children learn a lot through music. The Happy Kids Songs have songs that are really catchy. The kids were catching onto them quickly, and before I knew it, they were singing them without the music and knew every word! I love this because it means they are retaining what they’re learning as well!
What I appreciate most about Happy Kids Songs is it such a flexible yet helpful resource. We can listen to the songs while we are working on pages in the workbook or even while we’re going about our day. The kids are still listening and learning! The songs are available through download, so they can be played straight through your device or burned to a CD. We listened to them on the laptop.
Friends & Sharing is the set we started with, and our preschooler was singing the first song Sailing on the Seven Cs the entire day. So I knew right away this was going to be great for them!
Friends & Sharing addresses various topics regarding friends. Examples are what it means to be a friend, reaching out to others, sharing with and including others, being happy, and sharing time/saying goodbye. All of the songs have a positive message about friendship, and they are all catchy and fun.
Happiness & Attitude is the set I was most curious to check out. This is an area that can be challenging for our children, and some approaches just haven’t worked well for us, so I was definitely excited for a positive approach in a form they love – music.
Happiness & Attitude covers a variety of topics regarding attitude from giving compliments to self-encouragement. Other topics are handling limitations, ways to happiness, and being together and apart. It has really made our children consider not only how their attitude is in regards to others but to themselves as well, which is so important!
Manners & Character is the set that might be my personal favorite, though the kids seem to like them all equally. I just love what is covered in this set, though. I feel sometimes these topics are easily overlooked yet they’re so important. Manners & Characters covers topics like honesty, being considerate of others, learning manners, appreciating differences, and respecting other perspectives.
Having three special needs children, I have gotten questions from other children that don’t understand our children’s differences. I decided I wanted our children to know and understand differences because everyone is unique. I feel like this is a great resource.
In addition to listening to and singing the songs, we also discuss them. I gauge this on how receptive the kids are at the time. Having children with social/emotional special needs, I always appreciate resources that support positive social and emotional skills.
The Happy Kids Song Workbook is a great complimenting resource. It has activities for all of the music sets (125 pages). If you have multiple children like we do, they also allow copies for the family, which is really nice.
The Workbook has a variety of activities from color sheets to word puzzles. Some of the activities were too difficult even for our oldest two children because they are still beginning readers and have challenges with word related activities. All of them can color, though! Plus, beyond just workbook activities, there are also hands-on activities as well! It was a great way to reinforce what we’ve been learning in the songs!
Overall, we have really been enjoying Happy Kids Songs, and our kids are learning a lot in a way that they love. They sing, dance, and learn important life lessons at the same time! The song sets can be purchased for $4.95 each, and the Workbook can be purchased for $12.56.
Many members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have also share their Happy Kids Songs Review. Read their reviews by clicking on the button below.
Progeny Press Review
We had the chance to review the Frog and Toad Together Study Guide by Progeny Press. It is an E-Guide to compliment the book “Frog and Toad Together” by Arnold Lobel. It is recommended for grades K-2.
I used it with all three children ages 4, 6, and 8, though primarily our oldest two children with our preschooler jumping in to be part of what we’re doing. We used the study guide 3-4 times per week in addition to our Language Arts Curriculum. Each lesson was around thirty minutes for us, so it was simple to fit it into our homeschool day and it was very easy to follow.
The Frog and Toad Together Study Guide breaks down the Frog and Toad Together book by chapter, which with the kids’ young age as been a perfect break down. Because our children are delayed readers, we read the book aloud together before beginning the study guide. The actual book is not included as this is a study guide to compliment the book. I noticed most of the books they use for the study guide are popular books. We chose to purchase the Frog and Toad Together ebook, though it can be found at many libraries.
Although it’s recommended to read the book in its entirety before beginning the study, we took a slightly different approach. We read the book in its entirety before beginning but then also read that specific chapter we were going to be discussing that day. Our kids have challenges with memory, so this really helped to jog their memory about the chapter we were covering.
Although the study guide is set up for written answers, we again did everything orally together as this is what was the best approach for our family. The kids enjoyed it so much and did so well, we actually went through it pretty quickly!
The study guide takes the information from each chapter and asks questions that make them think about how it is applicable in our lives while also helping the children recognize and reinforce what we read. It was definitely a good fit for our kids and encouraged them to not only retain the information but see how it applies as well.
I also love that the study guide not only helps us consider behaviors and choices but also offers Bible verses to help us relate these choices and behaviors to what God says about them. We discussed temptation, fear, and more.
In addition to the questions for each chapter, at the end of the study guide it also has various projects that relate to what we learned in the study guide such as a word find, venn diagram, and a hands-on project about dreams. They also suggest further reading, but what I appreciated most about the suggested further reading is that it broke down the further reading by grade as well. So as the study guide covers K-2, it recommended additional reading that may be more appropriate for grades 1-3 and others for grades K-3. The Answer Key was included at the end as well.
We all enjoyed the Frog and Toad Together study guide, and I can definitely see us going through it again in the future for reinforcement. It can be purchased for $11.99.
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Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed a variety of study guides from Progeny Press for all grade levels. Check out all the reviews by clicking on the button below!
Science4Us.com is an online interactive science curriculum for grades K-2. For our review, we received a six month membership to the Science4Us.com Online Subscription. Science4Us.com teaches the foundational science skills that are important for young children to learn and build upon for their science education. It teaches science in a way that is fun and easy for kids to understand and that doesn’t require parents to have in-depth science knowledge so any parent can feel comfortable using the program.
Something that I find unique about Science4Us.com is they have been adopted here in Texas! Science4Us.com is inclusive of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade science. As Texas homeschoolers, we are not required to take statewide tests or bound by specific standards, but like many parents, I like to do check-ins on our children’s progress at certain intervals, and TEKS is what I use to do so, which is definitely convenient for us!
We have been using Science4Us.com four times per week with our two oldest children (ages 6 and 7) as our main second grade science curriculum. There are different ways you can use the program as there is both a teacher log-in and each student has their own log-in. It covers Science Inquiry, Physical Science, Earth Science (and Space), and Life Science as well as many sub topics.
As the teacher, I can choose and assign specific modules for each child or both children. Since our children are learning at the same grade level and are learning other subjects together as well they are both assigned the same modules. If you have children of different ages/grade levels, though, you could also assign them different modules. I chose to start in Physical Science with Matter as I felt this is something they have learned about and needed additional reinforcement. You can choose to assign them anything, though, as you have complete flexibility. Assignments can be full modules or individual activities.
I appreciate that each module has a thorough description, Teacher Support PDF, and a “Prior Knowledge Activity” PDF for each grade level to prepare children for the module. Each module also lists expected time frame, which is nice if you like to know in advance about how long the lessons will take. I found for us, personally, though, our children were done in a shorter amount of time than the lessons suggested, but I would prefer that rather than the other way around!
The Teacher area also has helpful videos if needed, which I found was great for getting started. Once I got started, though, I felt it was pretty easy to walk through everything. The videos definitely lay things out in a nice step-by-step manner. They even have a section of “Teaching Strategies,” which I found helpful!
From the Teacher area I can not only assign modules, but I can also view progress on assignments, saved work, and grades.
In the Student area they have access to the different Science “books,” which are the different subject modules. If they have assignments, they will be shown right in the middle of the screen in a very easy to see area. When they first log in, it does have a video that walks them through how to do the assignments by recommending they start with the top left and go in order. Although they don’t HAVE to do it this way, I asked them to do so, and since the video told them to do so, that is how they do the assignments. Both of them are very “by the book,” so if that is what the video said, then that is what they will do!
Although it said most lessons would take around 30 minutes, we found that was rarely the case, and they usually did 2-3 lessons each day. If they ever get stuck or confused there is a box called “My Tools” that has Notes, Reports, Assignment Details, a Glossary, and more. I like this feature because although I most definitely welcome my children asking me for help, I also like that this gives them the opportunity to explore help on their own. As they get older they are wanting to do more independent work, which can be hard for delayed readers, and I felt like Science4Us.com really offered that opportunity for them to seek out help independently.
As they progress through assignments, the completed assignments are marked with a star and removed from the main Student Page so the next time they log in the assignment at the top will be the next assignment they need to complete.
Overall, we’re pleased with Science4Us.com. Our kids have really taken off with it, and I was actually taken by surprise. I enjoy that it is online yet engaging in a way that our kids enjoy at the same time. I like that it also offers the offline hands-on activities as well. Being able to assign the lessons is definitely important to me because our kids need (and do better with) structure rather than free reign. In this way I can also be sure I know what they are learning. As I am not certain yet how certain subjects we haven’t gotten to yet may be approached, I like that I will be able to view them in advance, so I will know how I want to address it.
Science4Us.com is $7.95/month per child.
Many members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew also reviewed Science4Us.com. Click on the banner below to see how they used it and how it worked with their families!
Math Mammoth Review
We had the chance to review products from the Blue Series of Math Mammoth. For our review we received Clock, Money, and Measuring 1. I thought all of these would be a great supplement to our current Math curriculum! Each are designed for Grades 1-3 starting with the more basic topics at the beginning and advancing as you go along. Since our children are at the 1st grade level we started at the beginning of all 3 books and rotated a lesson from each book during the week. So, we would do one lesson from each book every week.
Math Mammoth Clock covers telling time and reading the clock, telling time intervals, and understanding the calendar. It also lists helpful resources and websites to assist in the learning process. It starts with telling time using just the hour hand without the minute hand present. I have never seen this approach before, so I was definitely intrigued. It does clear up the confusion of explaining the difference between the hands. Then it went into “half past” using this same technique in the first lesson as well, and that was extremely confusing for them to learn. By the end they finally caught on, but we really had to muddle through it, and it took a lot of patience on all our part! The lesson also had them write the time in words. As I’ve mentioned, both have fine-motor concerns and writing can be difficult – particularly in the small spaces given. I really had to modify the lessons more to their learning level, and Clock turned into a more verbal lesson because the reading was far too difficult for them as well as the writing in small spaces. Verbal, hands-on learning is a good way for them to learn, though, so it adapted well for us! Clock can be purchased as a PDF download for $4.00 or a black and white printed copy for $10.85.
Math Mammoth Money covers U.S. money-related topics. It also lists helpful resources and websites to help assist in the learning process. It starts with pennies and dimes and builds up from there. You are encouraged to use real money in many of the exercises. I was really excited about this because learning money concepts, counting money, etc. is such an important part of learning! Money really simplifies it, and was perfect for their learning level! We were able to work together on the worksheets as well as hands-on with real coins, and fill in the answers on the worksheets. It did get a little harder when the Quarter was introduced, but I felt it was introduced perfectly and explained simply! It also used problems that could be interpreted as real life examples such as purchasing items for a certain amount leaving a specific amount of change. I love that Money does use real-life examples to teach kids about money. Money can be purchased as a PDF download for $3.25 or a black and white printed copy for $9.50.
Math Mammoth Measuring 1 covers measuring length, weight, and volume. It is very hands on from the beginning as we started by measuring objects with “little shoes” and “big shoes.” It was a blast, and it really made the kids think! After we measure things they are given a comparison problem that asks if something was measured with a larger object how many of the smaller objects would it take to measure it? I love problems that make them think, and so do they! We also measure weight using our scale, which was pretty funny because after they both got off the scale our cat sat right on it, so we got his weight, too! We needed a couple of additional weights, so that worked out for us! We also measured water using various containers to do comparisons. Then, we moved on to using a ruler! Again, I feel like measuring is an important life skill that needs to be learned! I love that Measuring 1 took measuring far beyond just using a ruler to using different objects as a comparison as well as containers for the liquids. I also love that it was very hands-on. The kids really enjoyed the lessons because they made a game out of guessing what the answers would be, and they really retained a lot of the information since they were enjoying it so much! Measuring 1 can be purchased as a PDF download for $4.50 or a black and white printed copy for $10.90.
Math Mammoth offers a variety of products including a full Math curriculum and other supplements. Check out more reviews by clicking on the banner below!