Thursday, May 17, 2018


In April I learned that the Homeschool Review Crew would be reviewing a product for a company called PandaParents.
Panda Parents Kindy Curriculum



I received six months' of access to the program in digital format. 

If you have been following my blog long, you might realize I do not have a student in the range that this product targets, which is 3 to 6 years of age. I have, however, had a cumulative decade of years working with students in that age range, so I am qualified to give you my opinion of this product! Here are the 3 to 6 year old students I have taught in my home school:
When I received my email from PandaParents I opened it immediately followed the instructions to receive access to the courses. I went through a purchase process and received access to my downloads and videos.

The videos are password protected, and it is not immediately clear how to get the passwords. If you look at this screenshot of the access page, you'll see a link titled, "About PandaParents + Video Password". This link takes you to the passwords for your courses.
So I received access to the following courses:
  • A Jolly Jingling Journey
  • Mommy's Baby StoryBook, and
  • Scotty Skunk hears a Scary Sound
Each of the courses is designed to be used over the course of one month with the student, spending about 30 minutes per day three days per week. The course contains a video, a story book, and a work book. (Just a reminder to you -- I received digital copies.)

Each story weaves an adventure while integrating educational value through introducing letter sounds and advanced vocabulary. A Jolly Jingling Journey focuses on words that start with the letter "J". Scotty Skunk highlights the letter "S". Mommy's Baby doesn't focus on one specific letter but is a sweet bedtime story focusing on "big" and "little".

Each title can be thought of as a "course" or a "unit". Each title is intended to be focused on for one month. There are three segments to each course:
  • read the story
  • watch the story, and
  • story-time activity time
Right now all material is available only digitally, but the physical program is planned to be released starting in December, 2018. The entire program is filled with vibrant color. The disadvantage to this is that I would not, personally, be inclined to print out the workbook pages for my child. Plus, part of the activities involve stickers -- I would not be inclined to print out stickers on sticker-backed paper, either. As an alternative, I would work our way through the book orally. This has the disadvantage that you are not working on those fine motor skills, but there are other activities that I would do with my child during any given day, so I wouldn't worry about that, and the printed materials should start in December.

I focused primarily on A Jolly Jingling Journey during this review period. The ideal method is to work on your PandaParents story three days per week, about 30 minutes per day. I wasn't sure, initially, how one would do that, but as I worked, the divisions became more apparent, although still not completely clear. I suggest this means you can do it many ways, settling into the method that would work best for you!

One of the first things I noticed was that the story is broken into Book 1 and Book 2. My mind immediately suggested to work on Book 1 during weeks 1 and 2 and Book 2 during weeks 3 and 4. I was thinking each week would start with reading the story on Monday, watching the story on Wednesday, and working on the activities on Friday. Some children might do better working on the activities while the story is fresh in their mind, though. So for some kids it might look more like:
  • Monday: read, do activities; 
  • Wednesday: watch or read, do activities;
  • Friday: watch, do activities.
You would want to read the activities in advance and schedule them out so you know when you are doing what.
At the end of the story book there is also a page full of "extra credit" ideas that are also very fun. I look forward to the printed version of this program. A lot of kids are going to find this program a lot of fun!

So I highly recommend you take a look at MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS by PandaParents. At the very least, go to their website and check them out. Also, click below and read more reviews! 
Messylearning For Preschoolers and Kindergartners {PandaParents Reviews}

Monday, May 14, 2018

Menu Monday for 5/14/18

This week my oldest is visiting from Denver for part of the week and helped/wanted to plan part of the week with vegan food. Those meals are reflected in the Monday/Tuesday plans, and Max heads back west on Wednesday. Here are the plans:
Saturday (5/12):  chicken enchiladas, salad, Tostitos

Sunday (5/13):  rib eye steaks, baked potatoes, Caesar salad, fried onions

Monday (5/14): French lentils and wild rice, salad

Tuesday (5/15): sweet potato black bean tacos

Wednesday (5/16): sizzle burgers, noodles, carrots

Thursday (5/17)(CAP): salmon, yam, green beans

Friday (5/18):  Date night

Monday, May 7, 2018

Menu Monday for 5/7/18

I'll be having some company this week, someone who leans toward a more plant-based diet. I'm using this opportunity to plan and serve more plant-based meals -- not entirely plant-based, but more than we might have planned. Here's the plan:

Saturday (5/5):  spaghetti, salad, TX toast

Sunday (5/6):  smoky corn chowder, salad, rolls

Monday (5/7): hot dogs, beans, cole slaw

Tuesday (5/8): Chicken tortilla soup, salad, Tostitos

Wednesday (5/9): Leftovers

Thursday (5/10)(CAP): cheeseburgers (veggie burgers) on home-made whole wheat hamburger rolls with lettuce and tomato, salad, and potato chips

Friday (5/11):  chicken enchiladas, salad, Tostitos

Monday, April 30, 2018

Menu Monday for 4/30/18

This week my menu plan is a combination of healthy, easy, and family preferences. That means meals are not all healthy, because sometimes the easy meal or the preferred meal is not as healthy, and most of the healthiest meals are not easy. Here's my plan:

Saturday (4/28):  ribs, kale salad, noodles

Sunday (4/29):   Chicken Caesar salad, rolls

Monday (4/30): Slow-cooker spaghetti sauce over linguini (zucchini noodles), salad, TX toast  

Tuesday (5/1):   Teriyaki chicken, rice, broccoli

Wednesday (5/2): leftovers (guys eating out)

Thursday (5/3)(CAP): salmon, yams, green beans

Friday (5/4):  dinner out (date night)