Well the kids love http://www.time4learning.com/ and so do I.
I'm always looking for ways to make things easier so I wanted to share what we have been using in case it could help some one else too. We have been using http://www.time4learning.com/ for a little over a week now and my kids are going nuts over it. They want to do "school" everyday. It's very cartoon like and TV like so some parents may not like that, but my kids love it and are really excelling and learning in all subjects. It's cutting my work and prep in more than half because it's all preplanned and taught online. (The best is that the site actually teaches not just gives work.) I help them when they need help and we have verbal discussions etc.. It also tracks (by day, week, or month) hours, subjects completed, lessons, quiz "grades", and so forth. Sage, who I have mentioned before hates every reading program or attempt I try loves this and is really thriving with the phonics section (finally something clicks and works for him)! The cartoons are actually pretty hilarious. There is also a story builder section (and writing program for older kids) and to my surprise Ethan is bringing me 2-3 sentence stories daily that he types up by himself with a picture. A "reward" system is set up within the site also. You can go to the "playground" and play games when you finish your work. (Parents can set the work and play time limits to whatever they want.)
I'm thrilled with Sage's progress. Sage is easily frustrated and bored with other reading/phonics lessons/workbooks. Ethan excelled with http://www.clicknkids.com/ but Sage couldn't get past the lessons after around lesson 13 or 15. He hated it.
So anyway it's really exciting that they all love it SO much! It's a great way to get school time in when I'm busy. I can also listen for when they have problems with a lesson (makes a sound when they make an error so then I know when I need to run over and help them). I find my self watching and participating in the lessons quite a bit. They are creative, engaging, and some are just funny. Charlotte just got signed up for http://www.spellingtime.com/ and I think that is going to work really well for her. We will see soon.
Today Sage wanted to know what a metaphor was and conveniently http://www.brainpop.com/ has a video about similes and metaphors.
This summer the kids will be attending a week long drama camp for 6-11 year olds. Their cousin will be in town and will also be going. It should be fun for them. Sage is a little nervous (and wants nothing to do with being on stage) but he is going because everyone else is. I really hope this is a fun experience for him. He is shy and doesn't like direct attention on him. OTHER We have spent several nice relaxing days inside and out. The kids are a tiny bit bored because we didn't go to playgroup last week and we have been staying in and saving money for our trip on Thursday. We leave for Las Vegas (my "home town") to visit family and attend my youngest brothers wedding. (I am the oldest of 5 kids.)
I'm really happy with how our kids are doing. I have been seeing a lot of learning going on and with little effort on my part. Ethan and Charlotte are reading a lot out loud to each other and their siblings. (Ethan and Charlotte read to Sage). They have a monster book (mythical beasts) and another book called History's Grossest, Wackiest Moments. They have been discussing everything from Dracula to Foo Fighters (I informed them that is also a band:) They also have learned about vikings, life before toilet paper and so many other things I can't recall now.
We recently learned how to make darling faries out of pipe cleaners, felt, flowers, and wood beads. My dear friend Molly taught us this craft and we have been having fun ever since. I didn't capture the best photos the other day but here are some samples. Pictured below is a group of fairies & fairy babies in buntings, a close up of a boy fairy Ethan helped make, and a purple haired fairy Layla helped make. They are now all happily housed in our wooden dollhouse.
Today Charlotte learned the art of massage (and pampering lol) as we got treated at a day spa. We had an hour massage, and a spa pedicure/manicure! Oo-la-la! :)
ANIMAL SCIENCE & BIRTH!
Did you know opossums are marsupials? I did not know that. I'm going to ask the kids if they knew that and tomorrow we are going to watch animal births on http://www.youtube.com/ Here are some we picked out for the kids:
Orangutan birth (Orangutan one is mine and Ricky's favorite)
3-D simulation of human birth (they've seen me give live birth more than once :) This simulation is very neat though.