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Don’t Miss the Inaugural National Math Festival

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015

  The inaugural National Math Festival will take place on Saturday April 18th on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and will include more than 70 events for all ages.  The festival is organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), Smithsonian Institution and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS).  This is the country’s first math festival and is free with learning events for every age, hands-on activities, demonstrations and lectures by top mathematicians. Attend a lecture by a top mathematician or programmer.  Participate in a math treasure hunt on the National Mall or play an interactive game-show in the Enid Haupt Garden and a chance to win cash.  Create Platonic geometric figures, go on a self-guided tour of the Solar System from the National Air and Space Museum to the Smithsonian Castle, explore interactive Discovery Stations at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and so much more! Highlights for the National Math Festival Include: “Knots and DNA” by Dr. Mariel Vazquez.  This lecture discuses “How Not to Be Wrong” by Dr. Jordan Ellenberg.  This lecture discuses how math touches everything we do including baseball, artificial languages, non-Euclidean geometry, the invention of calculus and more.  Smithsonian Ripley Center. “Early Math Learning with Technology:  Gracie & Friends Apps and Activities.”  Learn about this app used for subitizing and equipartitioning. Ages 2-7.   Smithsonian American History Museum.   “Cash Prizes for Everyone” take a chance all day long with this interactive game-show in the Smithsonain’s Haupt Garden.  Huge prizes offered to anyone that can “beat the house.”  Ages 14 and up.  10-4 pm. “Math Midway!” Presented by The National Museum of Mathematics consists of 20 interactive exhibits exploring shape, pattern, numbers and the world of math.  Come and see the Square-Wheeled Tricycle and Ring of Fire.  Smithsonian’s Haupt Garden. “Sort, Organize, Count, Categorize:  Collect!”  This hands on early childhood activity allows children to create and display their own collection drawing upon inspiration from the Smithsonian collections.  Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center.  Time: 10-2.  Ages 2-4. “Geometric Origami” is a building workshop presented by The Bridges Organization.  Learn about Platonic solids.  Make a mathematical origami octahedron and a dodecahedron.  All ages.  Smithsonian Ripley Center, Concourse. 10-4. “Math on the National Mall” A self guided tour.  Learn about math during this math treasure hunt!  Locate trapezoids, Mobius Strips, pyramids and more as you complete your search among the buildings, museums and art galleries along the National Mall.  Math map provided.  10-4 pm.  Meeting Place:  Smithsonian Ripley Center.  Ages 11 and up. Smithsonian’s Ripley Center (meeting place).  10-4. “Celebration of Mind: Mathematical Games, Magic and Puzzles”  Come out and cut, color, fold and glue mathematical illusions.  Explore hands-on puzzles with the Julia Robinson Math Festival.  All ages.  Smithsonian Ripley Center. 10-4. Learn about the fundamentals of Aerodynamics, decoding starlight, black holes, exoplanets and more at the interactive stations at the National Air and Space Museum.  Ages 8 and up. Watch a local team of experts build a hyperbolic star — a stellated icosahedron with embedded hyperbolic surfaces. Come listen to Stony Brook University math professor Dr. George Hart lecture about how “Math is Cool!”  Smithsonian Ripley Center Room 3037b.  3-3:45. For more information about the festival:  National Math...

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SAVE UP to 84% OFF Curriculum for Homeschool Families

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015

  Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op is a great resource for homeschooling families, allowing them to purchase curriculum at terrific discount group rates.  It’s free to join, however, it’s only available to families that homeschool.  The registration process is simple and it only requires your e-mail and a few minutes of your time.  Every month the co–op presents curriculum at sale prices — sometimes at a huge percentage off.  When you make purchases through the co-op you earn “Smartpoints” — which can be used for future purchases. Here are Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op’s March specials that are about to expire, so if you are in the market for some new curriculum, check out the following.  You might find something great for your child or children that will help their learning progress. A few Highlights from Homeschooling Co-OP’s March Sales: Kaplan Test Preparation for ACT & SAT 83% OFF.  Regular Price: $299.  Group price:  $49.95.  This is an online program. IXL online practice preparation 25% off.  We use this and though it does not teach the concepts, it’s great for practice.  It does, however, explain what your child did wrong when they answer a question incorrectly.  This is available for both math and language arts. Reading Assistant for dyslexic students.  84% off.  Regular price is $800.  Member price:  $129.00. Zone Geometry 47% off. Rosetta Stone 60% off.  Homeschool foreign-language curriculum version 3 is now available in 19 languages, including Spanish, German, Chinese, and more.  Regular price $479.00, member price is $191.00 FableVision‘s award-winning “Mapping the World by Heart” is 36% off along with 42% off “Animation-ish”–  a program for teaching children to illustrate. “Stationary Studio” is 43% off, another good program for teaching writing. Singapore Math’s “Math in Focus” is on sale with free shipping for orders over $50.  Huge “Smartpoints” available with purchase. Highlights Magazine 30% Off. WordlyWise 3000 is now 89% off.  Online version grades K-12.  Regular price is $375 — member price is $39.95. Save 20% off Stanford University’s Gifted and Talented online courses (i.e. the first three months).  Save 20% if you sign up for automatic renewal.  Grades K-7. Typing Pal is 46% off and this price includes up to 5 students. Math Mammoth up to 50% on PDF workbooks. Choose from four series packages either as an electronic download or CD product.  Also included is a Soft-Pak. Grades 1-9 ________________________________________ Many more phenomenal deals are available through the co-op and too many to list here.  We hope you find this information helpful!  Amy      ...

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Atlanta Science Festival

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015

The second annual Atlanta Science Festival takes place March 21-28th and celebrates science, technology, math and engineering.  The festival was founded by Emory University, Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce with over 30,000 people attending the inaugural festival in 2014.  The festival combines top organizations, museums, schools and companies such as Google and IBM. The science festival offers a free family oriented  EXPO taking place Saturday March 28th from 11-4 at Centennial Olympic Park.  Come experience a “Farmer Scavenger Hunt” on a real organic farm Sunday March 29th at Gaia Gardens in Decatur, Georgia.  If you live in metro Atlanta, this is a great learning opportunity for your family.  Here are some highlights for the festival: hands on activities facility tours presentations performances throughout metro Atlanta FREE family Expo including hands on activities, demonstrations and stage shows. “Earth in Twilight” presented by Georgia Tech 6-9 pm.  Come and learn about how scientists are illuminating the Earth.  Teens 13-18. “How Not to Be Wrong”  Learn from Jordan Ellenburg as part of Georiga Tech’s “Science Matters Lectures” about the many hidden and chaotic sources of math.  Ellenburg will teach students how math surrounds us everywhere.  FREE.  Thursday 3/26.  Ages 13-18.  The Clary Theater inside the Bill Moore Student Success Center, Georgia Tech, 190 North Ave. NW Atlanta, GA 30332 “Making and Tinkering:  How Play Develops Social Awareness” for Educators and Adults.  Learn about play while attending this workshop at The Children’s School.  FREE.  Thursday 3/26.  7-8:30 pm.  The Children’s School Gym, Atlanta. “Nerd Nite:  ATL/ASF”  This event features three talks about the brain.  Adults $5. “STEM to STEM”  Mentoring program for teenagers interested in pursuing a science career.  International Google Science Fair. Teens ages 13-18.  FREE with advanced registration.  3/27 10-2.  Canadian Consulate General in Atlanta 1175 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA. Michael Green the Science Machine presents “Science for Everyone.”   This event features amazing experiments.  Children ages 5-12.  Friday 3/27 6-7:30 pm. FREE.  Little Shop of Stories 133A East Court Square Decatur GA 30030. “Cosmo Camp In” $20.  If you like rockets and space missions this event is for you!    The Cosmic Camp In takes place at the exhibit hall at the DCSD Fernbank Science Center.  Come out and see the Apollo 6 Command Module, launch rockets and prepare liquid nitrogen marshmallows.  You will have the opportunity to watch demonstrations of smart material resistance. Students will have the opportunity to examine a sample of the layers arranged for protective suits and design and assemble fabric into a space suit model.  Students get their own cosmic t-shirt. For children and families.  Friday 3/27 9pm to 12 am.  DCSD Fernbank Science Center, 156 Heaton Park Drive, Atlanta, GA 30307. Many more lectures and events available. Highlights of Saturday’s Expo include: 11-4pm March 28th at Centennial Olympic Park. Open to adults, families and children of all ages. More than 100 interactive hands-on exhibits, hands-on experiments, demos and performances. Meet local scientists and engineers Explore the Bio-Bus and STEAM Truck Design a paper airplane Touch a brain Explore the Biotech Tent and Maker Village Main Stage Highlights: “Matter Matters” by the Tellus Science Museum “From Fire to Ice: Chemistry Demos” by ChEmory “Take Flight” by Big Thinkers “The Circle of Life” by The Children’s School “Animal Encounters” by Zoo Atlanta “The Sand Princess and Friends” by the Georgia Mineral Society “Roob & Noob Theatre for the Very Young” by...

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Pottery Barn Warehouse Sale Ending Soon

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015

The Pottery Barn Warehouse Clearance Event is a large sale ending tomorrow.  Now’s your chance to stock up on essentials like curtains from $22.99 a panel down from $59 a panel.  Throws from $59 to $34.99 and items like embroidered shams and duvet covers from $39.50 to $14.99 and many more finds if you take a few minutes to search.  Sale ends March 25th Up to 60% off hundreds of items Up to 40% off beds and more Lamps starting at $79 20% off lanterns and more Rugs, drapes, curtains, window treatment accessories on sale Pillows, throws Bedding:  pillows, duvets, blankets, sheets, bed skirts and more. Bath, decor, organization and more all on sale For sale info, click here: Happy Sale...

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Homeschooling 101: How to Begin Homeschooling

Posted by on Mar 18, 2015

  If you are contemplating home schooling or have recently made the decision to homeschool, you probably have many questions regarding this important decision. Deciding to take complete responsibility for your child or children’s education is a huge undertaking, but fear not, it can be done and it’s not as complicated as some individuals may suggest.  You may be wondering how to withdraw your child from public school or how to notify the local school district about your decision.  Perhaps you have questions regarding the legalities involved with homeschooling in the state you reside, how to select the best curricula that meets your child’s needs, where to locate learning activities, and much more.  If this sounds like you, and you aren’t sure where to begin, I’ve outlined below my top tips for transitioning to homeschooling. Legalities of Homeschooling  The first place to start is with the law.  Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, though each state has different laws and regulations.  States vary with their regulations with some like Massachusetts and New York requiring more from homeschool families (i.e., in New York, you must file a letter of intent, homeschool for 180 days, file quarterly progress reports, teach specific required subjects, submit an annual assessment) vs states like Michigan (No notice of intent required along with end of year tests or number of days mandated.).  Before you do anything else, you will need to understand your state laws well.  Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has outlined the laws for your state here: Essential Homeschooling Laws The following are some of the questions you will need to address before beginning homeschooling: What are the homeschooling laws in your state? Does your state require a letter of intent? When is this letter due and where do you send it?  (If you join HSLDA, they will walk you through this and provide you with a form letter to give to your school district). What qualifications are necessary to teach your child?  Do you need a B.S., high school diploma, etc.? Does your state offer religious exemptions and is this something your family should pursue? Does your state require proof of progress in the form of standardized tests, a portfolio of your child’s work, or a professional evaluation? Does your state require attendance records or a certain number of homeschooling instructional hours per year? What is the required attendance age (usually six but can be five) for starting school? What subjects are you required to teach? If applicable, are there any regulations regarding homeschooling a special needs child? All of these questions can be examined by studying your state laws.   Sometimes a quarterly report is a simple compliance like submitting a basic progress report and although your state may require you to teach certain subjects, you can choose the curriculum that best meets your child’s learning styles and or needs.  If you choose to join HSLDA, members enjoy guidance with 24/7 legal assistance ranging from answering small issues like how best to send in a letter of intent (If you are a member, they can provide you with a form letter on HSLDA letterhead for you to fill out and send notifying your district),  an attendance issue or what types of proof of progress (i.e. professional evaluation, types of standardized tests, acceptable scores, etc.) and any other legal question or issue you may...

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DISCOUNT BROADWAY: Roald Dahl’s Matilda Discount Tickets

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015

Roald Dahl’s Matilda on Broadway up to 45% Off This New Yorker may live south of the Mason-Dixon line, but still loves a good Broadway show now and again.  Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors — I’ve read the entire collection to my oldest and am in the process of transferring the stories to the other three. Matilda is a fantastic story about a precocious gifted student who loves to learn and with the help of her beloved teacher, Ms. Honey,   overcomes trails and tribulations at her elementary school.  At the moment it’s showing on Broadway for as much as 45% off the original price for TravelZoo members.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Travel Zoo, it’s a FREE online travel company that offers phenomenal discounts and promotions to their members. Over the years I’ve used TravelZoo to book first class trips for my parents at the Fairmont Hotel in Hamilton, the five star Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin (They paid for them, I just found the deals and helped arrange the logistics), gorgeous 1/2 price hotel rooms in Boston, Southampton, Atlanta, and Florida.  I’ve also utilized their discount services for four star Jean-George restaurant deals in Washington and New York, picked up Nationals baseball tickets for as low as $11 and much, much more.  As of this writing Broadway tickets can be had via TravelZoo for a fraction of their price.  So if you happen to be in New York this spring and are looking for something fun to do with your family, check out the following promotion: Promotion Performance Details: Performances are held at the Shubert Theatre between now and May 31st. Balcony seats (Rows E-F) are $37 (reg. $72) Mezzanine Side (Rows G-K) are $59 (reg. $72-$102) Select Orchestra and Front Mezzanine are $89 (reg. $89-$137) Saturday & Sunday discounts available $47-$99 (reg. $77-$147) Not available March 24th Seating is limited and may sell out How to Purchase Matilda Broadway Tickets up to 45% Off: If you not already a TravelZoo member, sign up for free with your e-mail here:  Travel Zoo Sign In/Sign Up. Once you are a member, click here:  Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical on Broadway. You may purchase tickets online or through the phone with the TravelZoo discount...

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Using American Express Premier Rewards for Decorating

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015

Decorating Your Home with American Express Premier Rewards Card   American Express Premiere Rewards Gold Card  Who doesn’t love to decorate?  Okay, yes, there are some people out there that really despise the task (I live with one of them).  However, if you can earn points with a charge card for items you would buy anyway, and subsequently use them for purchases to improve your living — why not?  Ironically, my husband introduced me to this card a few years back.  For a while I only used my points for restaurants and clothes until one day I realized I would much prefer items that would last longer than a meal or season.   The possibilities were endless:  A new set of dishes or knives from Williams Sonoma?  A Restoration Hardware floor lamp or linen drapes for the family room from Pottery Barn?  Bright, colorful PB Kids bedding for one of the children’s rooms?  A near-perfect crystal vase or bowl from Tiffany’s?  Too many purchasing choices, and not enough points! Soon I was using my card for tedious purchases I had to make anyway, like paying for groceries, plumbing repairs or a new hybrid heat pump for our home that yields nothing to the aesthetics of decorating, yet one of those essential Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that can’t be ignored.  Previously I paid cash for everything, and although it doesn’t create any credit card debt, I need to spend the money anyway on our everyday necessary expenses, so it’s better to benefit from the purchases with points and gift cards then just paying cash and receiving nothing more. The American Express Premier Rewards charge card is not a credit card and there are no interest charges because you pay your bill in full every month.  That aside, there is an annual fee of $175 with this card for the first user and $35 for each additional family member, up to five people.  So, it’s only worth it if you are going to use it and reap lots of rewards.     How You Earn Points You can use your card for everyday purchases.  The values assigned to purchases are the following: 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines 2x points at US gas stations 2X points at US supermarkets 1x points for all other purchase 10,000 points equals one $100 gift card, unless it’s on sale (different cards go on sale throughout the year). Points have no expiration date Card has other benefits that can be found here: Premier Rewards Gold Card Note:   Amex will change their points June 1, 2015 so that dining earns 2x points.  They are also adding a $100 incidental airline credit that may be used for baggage fees, on-flight meals and other incidentals.  (The fee is increasing by $20 in June to $195).     American Express Premier Gold Card offers the following gift cards for decorating: Saks Fifth Avenue Pottery Barn Pottery Barn Kids Pottery Barn Teens Williams Sonoma (Can be used at Williams-Sonoma Home) Restoration Hardware Home Depot Crate & Barrel Neiman Marcus One Kings Lane Tiffany & Co West Elm American Express Visa (can be used most anywhere).   Electronic E-Gift Cards or Traditional Gift Cards Available You usually receive your eGift Card within a few minutes, though American Express states it can take up to 3 hours If you choose an...

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STEM: Science & Engineering Festival 2015

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015

  USA Science and Engineering Festival & X-STEM Symposium 2015 Last year we had the pleasure of attending the USA Science & Engineering Festival along with the X-STEM Symposium in Washington, D.C. and, as expected, it did not disappoint. USA Science & Engineering Expo The 4th annual USA Science & Engineering Festival is the largest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education event in the U.S. and includes hand-on demonstrations, lectures given by top industry speakers, free information sessions and hands-on interactive lessons.  Many top universities and colleges participate including schools such as Johns Hopkins, M.I.T. and Carnegie Mellon University.  Parents and students have the opportunity to interact with exhibitors and speakers, engage in lessons and collect information regarding numerous scientific educational programs. This year’s festival is sponsored by Lockheed Martin with the X-STEM Symposium sponsored by MedImmune.  The festival will again take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D. C.  Unlike in years past, the free Expo will take place the weekend of April 16th & 17th with X-Stem concluding the festival on April 28th, 2015. X-STEM Extreme Symposium The X-STEM symposium offers incredible Ted-Style talks for middle and high school students.  This one day program consists of lectures and workshops given by top speakers in the science, math, medical and engineering professions.  Speakers hail from top universities, government agencies, corporations and non-profit organizations. Subjects include: Space Exploration Paleontology Bio-inspired robotics Marine Biology Mathematics Geoscience Computer Science Photography Pharmacology Medicine Astronomy Physics Chemistry   Fun Learning Events Include: Meet the creator of StoryBookMath, Ms. Vanessa Thompson, and learn how she makes learning math exciting for students. Listen to Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa tell his story of how he transformed his life from an immigrant picking weeds to a neurosurgeon and researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Attend Oracle Academy Workshop and learn how to get started programming using Java with Carnegie Mellon’s Alice program (For those of you that remember the remarkable Randy Pausch from “The Last Lecture” — he helped create this program). Take an adventure with PaleoQuest and explore the ocean for new species of sharks, whales and other marine mammals. Listen to famous mathematician Dr. Frank Morgan known for proving the “Double Bubble” conjecture, discuss his techniques for motivating students and teaching mathematics. Listen to a lecture by Mr. Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway human transporter. And many more lectures and hands-on workshops — too many to list here in this post. Logistics: Location: Walter E. Convention Center, Washington D.C. 801 Mt Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC 20001 Date:  April 28th from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm. Registration is still available to attend X-Stem. If you are an HSLDA member please contact them for the FREE admission code valid for up to six people for the X-STEM Symposium. Sneak Peak Friday will take place Friday April...

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Audible © “Winnie the Pooh” by A. A. Milne for $0.99

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015

Audible Daily Deal for March 4th 2015 until 11:59 pm E.S.T.  For those of you that have Audible memberships today’s daily deal is  “Winnie-the Pooh” by A. A. Milne for $0.99 — a great classic to add to your child’s audiobook collection.  Unabridged two hours and forty-six minutes.   This audiobook, performed by Peter Denis, consists of ten stories from the unabridged version of “Winnie-the-Pooh” by A. A. Milne including: In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin In Which Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Place In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One In Which Piglet Meets a Heffalump In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents In Which Kanga and Baby Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet Has a Bath In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole In Which Piglet is Entirely Surrounded by Water In Which Christopher Robin Gives a Pooh Party, and We Say Goodbye This title is also Whispersync for Voice-ready....

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Benjamin Moore Aura and Behr Paint up to 80% Off…

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015

How to Buy Luxury Benjamin Moore Aura & Behr Paint for a Fraction of the Retail Price   Easy Decorating:  Transforming a Room with Paint One easy and inexpensive way to transform your surroundings is by painting them with stunning, beautiful color.  Painting is an easy, although time consuming, project that is well worth the effort.  If you can’t afford to hire someone else to do it for you, or alternatively, you enjoy painting and would rather spend your money elsewhere then please read on… Painting can change a space quickly, however, purchasing the best quality paints can add up fast when you are on a decorating budget and need to transform many rooms.  Although I like to pick out my colors based on swatches and samples applied to the walls, sometimes I am willing to forgo this step when purchasing high quality paint for a fraction of the retail price. A while back we bought a house we love that meets our family’s needs near perfectly, however, despite all its assets, it was a definite fixer-upper.  To say the least, when we closed on the house, every room needed a cleaning and paint overhaul, or some other project (Though we believe the house and it’s location are worth the sacrifice).  Shortly after moving in and addressing a few of our home’s biggest needs, I turned to painting. Discovering  Discount Behr Paint  During one of my frequent trips to the local hardware store I noticed a section in the painting area that sold discount pre-formulated paint.  The first time I found this was at a large local hardware store and noticed pre-mixed final-sale Behr Marquee paint for $9 a gallon. This clearance paint section consists of gallons of paints in various colors that previous customers order and forgo purchasing.  I have to admit, the first time I stumbled upon this section, I briefly looked through it and didn’t find anything that fit what I was looking for.  There were bright oranges, blacks, deep browns and other exotic colors and definitely not what I had in mind.  However, once in a while a find could be found among the stacks of metal cans. After rummaging through the multi can selection and asking for paint samples on card stock (the employee happily obliged), I found a gallon in a light pink for our daughter’s room and another in a pale yellow.  Though I hadn’t decided where to use the yellow, I knew I would eventually find a place for it.  It was a gamble, as I couldn’t return it, however at 80% off the retail price and with a large house and every room in need of paint, I figured I could find use for it somewhere. One of my favorite books is “House Beautiful the Home Book:  Creating a Beautiful Home of Your Own by Carol Spier.” This massive eye-candy-for-decorators book offers endless inspiration for creating flawless spaces and rooms.  It’s fun searching through the pages and looking at all the gorgeous decorations and impeccable homes (though of course it would be even better if the contents of the book were all within my price range and mine for the taking!).  It was here that I noticed the editors frequently decorated with Benjamin Moore.  Previously my experience with paint consisted of Restoration Hardware and other slightly less expensive and common ones found at the huge commercial...

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Audiobooks: Build an Audio Library using Audible© Sales & Promotions

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015

  When I can’t find it for free through Overdrive, ClickIt or Hoopla Digital (three online digital subscription services I use with my library card), or I want to own a copy for myself, I turn to Audible. Last year we went searching for an audiobook at our local library and when they didn’t own it, I turned to Amazon and discovered Audible.  Previously we used our local library as our only resource for all of our audiobook needs.  Audiobooks are expensive, and we were interesting in purchasing them for reasonable prices.  Since we are frequent Amazon customers and Audible is an Amazon company, when I noticed the three month free Audible trial, I immediately signed up.  Here is what we discovered: What is Audible? Audible is a subscription service for audiobooks, audio magazines, newspapers, radio and TV programs.  They have over 150K titles as part of their collection.   How Audible Works:   Audible offers several different types of plans: Audible Listener Gold: 1 credit per month.  Cost:  $14.95 per month. Audible Listener Platinum: 2 credits per month.  Cost:  $22.95 a month. Audible Silver Plan:  This plan is bi-monthly. Cost: $14.95 every other month and receive one credit bi-monthly. Audible Listener Gold Annual:  12 credits all at once for $149.50.  No monthly charges, though you are still a member, until one year from when you began this membership. How Credits and Membership Discounts Work: Nearly every book on Audible is worth “one credit” with a few exceptions.  A rare number of Audible’s books are 2, 3, 4 or 5 credits.  These mostly consist of book compilations or courses. An example of this is a German Language course:  “German Phase 2, Units 1-30:  Learn to Speak and Understand German with Pimsleur Language Programs.”  In comparison, the shorter courses consisting of 1-2 units are one credit. Audible Does Not Determine Credits Based On the Length of the Book.  One Credit Books Include:  “War and Peace”by Leo Tolstoy (61 hours and 8 minutes). “Complete Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (70 hours) “The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkein (19 hours) “Watership Down” by Richard Adams (15 hours and 51 minutes) “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway  (2 hours and  30 minutes).   Acquiring Audible Credits: Upon enrolling in a plan you receive at least one credit (more depending on your plan) and are eligible to purchase books at the membership discount price.  You may also take advantage of their promotional sales. Depending on the plan you select, you receive at least one credit every other month (silver), one every month (gold), two a month (platinum) or 12 credits all at once (Gold Annual)(For Gold Annual you are given your credits and billed at the same time for the entire year — you are not billed again nor do you receive credits again until the following year).  Since one credit is worth the same as a book that costs $0.48 or one that is $48.95, it makes the most sense to always use your credits for the most expensive books. Choose A Device to listen to Audible: You can listen to your audiobooks via Audible’s free app on your smarthpone, Kindle, Nook, tablet, computer, mp3, or other device.  Once you’ve made your purchase, tell Audible where to send it and begin listening to your audiobook on your...

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Free Curriculum @ Your Library with Premium Databases

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015

Free Homeschool Curriculum Resources with Your Local Library Part One We are always looking for ways to cut costs while still providing our children with access to the best academic resources.  Investing in your child’s education can get expensive quickly and finding quality free resources is key to reducing homeschooling costs without compromising your child’s academic experience.  Most public libraries offer free access to otherwise expensive commercial services that can help advance your child’s education without the accompanying high price tag. Using Your Library for Free Curriculum: Every library is different and not all offer the same access to databases and other subscription services, however, the following exceptional databases are frequently offered in most public libraries. Here are some of my favorite programs to explore and take advantage of with your library card: Hoopla Digital: Hoopla is an online digital media service available through a large number of libraries.  Patrons establish an account with their library card and can access e-books, audiobooks, films, documentaries, educational and instructional videos, and music albums.  All content is available without waiting, there are no holds.   Each user is allowed to check out 10 items per month (ten downloads).  Lending periods: TV and movies for 3 days, audiobooks for 21 days, and music albums for 7 days. The Hoopla app is available through iTunes or the Google Play Store.  You can download and access your content through Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8 and 9, and Safari. Hoopla is available on any iOS device that run iOS 6 or newer, iPad 2 and newer, iPad Air and Mini, and Iphone 3-6.  It is also available with several Android OS devices that run 4.0 or newer, Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets, Google Nexus, Nook, Motorola Droiz Razr M phone, and more. Some of My Favorite Free Hoopla Curriculum for Students: Examples of Hoopla Digital’s Audiobooks for Elementary Students:  The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything by Maira Kalman Spanish In Minutes:  How to Study Spanish the Fun Way by Liv Montgomery Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll  Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola The Star Spangled Banner by Peter Spier And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz Brave Irene by William Steig Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say A Kiss for Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night by Peter Spier The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde Examples of Audiobooks for Middle & High School: Non-Fiction The Decline of the Fall of the Roman Empire Spanish In Minutes:  How to Study Spanish the Fun Way by Liv Montgomery Classic Fiction: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Little Women by Louisa May Alcott The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Vanity Fire by W.M. Thackeray The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan Moby Dick by Herman Melville The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre...

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FREE Educator Discount Card from Barnes and Noble

Posted by on Feb 19, 2015

    Homeschool Teacher Discount Cards with Barnes & Noble As a homeschooling parent I frequently purchase workbooks, books, study aides and more as part of our children’s education.   Curriculum is expensive, especially when purchasing for several kids.  We order a lot of our materials from Amazon, however, we still purchase enough materials from our local Barnes and Noble store. For study guides and other books, I often want to browse the selection in person.  A while back I  stumbled upon the Barnes and Noble Educator Discount card while visiting our nearby store and always one for a sale, I immediately signed up. What is the Barnes & Noble Education Discount Card? Barnes & Noble offers an Educator Discount card for teachers, including homeschooling teaching parents, allowing them a 20% discount on most educational purchases.  Card holders may also receive 25% off Publisher’s List Books during Education Appreciation Days along with other e-mail promotional specials. Who is eligible? If you are a homeschooling parent (or an educator at a public or private school) teaching pre-K through grade 12 you are eligible for the card. How do I apply for the card? You may apply for the card at a Barnes and Noble store.  The application can not be completed online. Are there any Fees Associated with the Barnes and Noble Educator Card? The Barnes and Noble Educator Card is completely free for those that are eligible.  There are no application or annual fees. What Proof do I need? If you are a public or private classroom teacher, you will need a valid school ID or pay stub.  For homeschooling parents, you will need to provide a copy of your Letter of Intent or your current HSLDA membership card, names and grades of children currently homeschooled, a completed application with your address and a valid photo ID.  Despite teaching in public schools for years, I only recently obtained a Barnes and Noble Educator’s Card using my current HSLDA member ID along with the completed  application and my driver’s license. What Purchases May I use with My Barnes and Noble Educator Discount Card? You may use your card to purchase workbooks, textbooks, study aides, educational toys, games and more as long as it is related to your child’s education.  Some exclusions apply including:  “Café items; Music; DVDs; Blu-ray Discs; Gift Cards; eGift cards; periodicals; textbooks; digital content (including but not limited to eBooks, digital magazines, and periodicals); NOOK® or NOOK related accessories; other hardware and electronics; software; Rosetta Stone product; downloadable audiobooks in MP3 or any other format; products or services provided online at via Barnes & Noble BookQuest LLC.” ( May I Combine Other Discounts and Promotions with the Educator’s Card? The B&N Educator’s Discount Card cannot be combined with other coupons or membership discounts. Does My Card Expire?  Your educational discount card is good for two years from activation.  After two years you may renew if you qualify (same qualifications as previously stated). How Long Does it Take to Receive My Card? Once approved you receive your card immediately.  Mine took only a few minutes to process and a short while later I used it to purchase a stack of Kumon books, a Peterson’s Egghead Vocabulary Study Guide and a few picture books. Is there a Limit to the Number of Purchases I May Use with this Card?  As of...

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Enhance Your Child’s Reading with Audiobooks

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015

  Using Audiobooks to Raise Your Child’s Reading Level  As a homeschooling mother of four, I spend a lot of time trawling through curriculum resources searching for ways to enhance my children’s learning.  One of my favorite ways to supplement reading, bring it to life and make it enjoyable for my kids is to add audiobooks to their reading.  Although I read to my children almost every day and we always have a few audiobook projects in the works — it never hurts to add in additional time with the audio version of the book while they follow along with the print version (e-book or traditional).   Audiobooks Model Correct Prosody Audiobooks have a wide array of subjects including fiction, non-fiction, plays, autobiographies and biographies, science, history and much more — we are never lacking in audio choices.  Some of you may be thinking:  I understand audiobooks are fun, but do they really count towards reading?  Yes, they do.  Audiobooks are a great resource that can be used to enhance your child’s reading comprehension, fluency and raise their reading levels.  Some people consider listening to the audio version of a book an ersatz substitution that shouldn’t be classified as “reading.”  While I do agree that audiobooks should not be used as a substitute for reading in and of itself, this incredible resource definitely has it’s merits and place in the literary world.  Audiobooks model correct pronunciation, intonation, reading prosody and offer endless listening opportunities.   Shortly after joining my college cycling team I learned to draft.  For those of you that are not familiar with drafting, it’s a technique used in cycling (and car racing) that allows the cyclist to exert less energy while gently pulled forward by the cyclist or cyclists in front of you (And the more cyclists in front of you, the better the draft).  Depending on which way the wind is blowing, you may line up your front wheel to the right, left, or directly behind the wheel in front of you to latch on.  The Texas sun can be brutal, add to that a New Yorker with little exposure to weather outside the northeast, and a thirty or forty mile practice ride in 102 degree weather could be rather draining.  I think of audiobooks in a similar way to drafting.  Does a thirty mile bike ride count when you are drafting from the guy (or guys) in front of you?  You bet.  Would you be in better shape if you were out in front leading the pack without any benefit of a fantastic draft?  Yes.  Does it still count as exercise?  Most definitely.  The same holds true for reading via audiobooks.  It’s phenomenal if your child reads epic novels day and night, already has flawless pronunciation and perfect reading prosody — but if not, don’t feel bad that he or she is human.  Instead, formulate a plan to add audiobooks to your child’s reading schedule and help them achieve a nice effortless pull forward — some easy help akin to the perfect draft. Signs Your Child Could Benefit From Audio Books Is your child often frustrated when he or she reads aloud?  Do they read too slowly, make too many mistakes and struggle with pronunciation?  If your child is complaining that books are boring, exhausting and a waste of time, consider adding audiobooks to your...

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