Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August is coming to an end!

I must say this month has been a tornado. We started back to school this month. Which put lots of work on OCD mama trying to make sure we had everything and had things ready to jump right in.  But we made it through, still trying to eat into a routine though.

This month has also been full of appointments. We found out we are having a baby boy! This excited Micah and he told us he already knew. The girls wanted a girl but decided that having another boy would give Micah someone to play with and leave them alone. We also have had many dentist appointments for us all. Everyone got their teeth cleaned and now some are getting those dreadful fillings. Though I must applaud our dentist office because they are a great support for me being the only person who keeps my kids. We are all allowed to go back and they allow them to watch things. When I had my teeth cleaned and scrapped for tarter build up the kids got in my face and watched as they explained everything they were doing! How's that for a lesson on teeth!! 

We also had a more serious appointment for Kiya. She is seven years old and still struggles with paying attention and its really made her fall behind in her reading. After trying everything that I knew how; diet, curriculum, glasses, and tutor programs, I had her evaluated for ADD. Well she has it and a behavior disorder which I think that this point is just her release for her frustrations of not being able to focus and learn like the others. So she was given a script and though I have been hesitant to try it I will be having it filled today and giving it a go. We are a natural family and don't generally do meds or anything so this is a huge step. Though after lots of prayer and thinking I cannot allow my daughter to suffer because of something I don't like if it will help her. I it doesn't I don't have to continue giving it to her either. 

I pray September brings us progress and some fun learning. I pray God continues to bless us at the new church we found. I pray that we can enjoy the last of the warm weather before fall hits us and we get smacked with all the holidays and the new baby coming to change our world. I also thank God for how far he has gotten us as well.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 1 and 2 of back to school

Well we have survived day one and two of our back to full time school routine.  It was bumpy for little man yesterday and today it was bumpy for the girls.  Hopefully tomorrow everyone will be good to go.

Little man started on his letter A.  His first project was to color in the letter.  He got outside the line and instantly got upset and said I quit school.  I said just try again.  He did and then quit again.  He ran off and I have him about 20 minutes while I worked with the girls and then got him to come back.

Busy at work.

Without any prompting he decided to write the whole word.  This kid has never wrote any letter before yesterday and I was only having him to keep writing A.  I think he did awesome!

Then my I CAN"T girl.  I love her still.

My 3rd grader hides from the camera so none of her today lol.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

In the Hands of A Child Review

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Product: Pond Life
Age: K- 2nd
Price: Regular $12.00 currently on special for $5.00

We are new to the whole lap book world so this was defiantly a new challenge for us.  Pond life teaches about ponds and the things in them and around them.  It helps teach that the ecosystem it makes that homes animals and plants and how these things help each other live as well.  The packet comes with a 5 day planning guide, reading list, hands on activities, and a 7 page research guide.  This was nice to have pretty much everything laid out for you. 

 You first learn about how ponds come about, which really interested the kids.  It tells about the animals in the ponds as well, lucky we live next to one and got to see some for ourselves. I liked that some parts went more in depth like having the scientific classifications of frogs.  Though this was over the younger kids heads it was goo learning for the higher end of the age range.  They also have a vocabulary list.  Those I thought made some good bonus spelling words as well.

The packet is 70 pages long so be sure to look it over and only print the pages in the middle so that you do no waste paper or ink.  The instructions can easily be read from the computer.  However the good thing with this is that all instructions are very well detailed.  There are also picture images to show you how to set up the folders as well to get started.  These were all things we loved since it was our first.  We followed the plan that was given in the instructions on what sections to work on each day as well.

This was a really fun thing to work on and we learned so much.  We are going to save it back and revisit it when we get to life cycles again in our new science curriculum.  I think it is a great learning tool all on its own as maybe a unit study activity or even an add on to what you are learning in another curriculum.

The parts that I didn't like or that I thought could be different are just a few.  I think that it would have been nice to save ink and paper to not have the traceable words on the same page as the pre-written. I think if they were separate I would have only had to print part of it and save the ink, versus printing it all and throwing the one I didn't use away.  Also the pictures were all nice an fun but also ink drainers, especially in black and white as they were not very clear anyways when printed.  Those would be my main suggestions from me since I school on a tight budget and saving ink and paper is a big deal.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Family Hope Center Review

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VendorFamily Hope Center
How to OrderTo order the DVD, please call 610-397-1737 or you can order Understanding Child Brain Development from IEW.  Direct link to the DVD: http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/CBD-D Price for this DVD is $19
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Who are they?
Family Hope Center travels around giving seminars to families that have children with special needs.  However the DVD is not only geared towards those that have special needs children but for everyone, as it helps give a better understanding into brain development in general.  The DVD goes very in depth about the technical parts in the brain and parts are a big hard to grasp at times.  The best suggestion is take notes as it soon becomes clear what they are trying to get across with the technical parts.

They really focus on teaching the parents not to focus on the disability but on the things that their kids can do.  When charting development you need to start a chart on where your child is and try to make progress from there.  Not making progress on a goal that is meant for other children.  I think this is the best advice ever, having worked with special need kids and seeing parents thrive to get their child to a "normal" stage and be let down.  When in reality they need to focus on where their child started and how much they are progressing from that point forward.

There was lots of information on about how what we put into our bodies affects us.  How our food being processed and having additives put into harms those children with things like ADHD.  I know for a fact that this is true as my son has ADHD and if he eats pancakes with syrup he goes bonkers.  Now while I have always know this about him and that the food does bother him it was nice to actually find out the reasons why it does and how it is actually bothering him from the inside.  Even the simplest things as water quality when left sitting out, that is something I never even thought of.

The DVD is 2 hours long which can be a bit much if you try to watch it all the way through and retain it all.  I watched segments of it and went back to it several times so that I could try to concentrate on it fully.  Seeing as it was also a video of an actual seminar that they gave there were spots that were hard to hear and see on the projector.  However there is a PDF form to go along with it so you can see all the slides that are shown on the projector.

Overall this is a great video to watch and get some incite.  I think some of the topics can help typical children just as much as those that have some type of disability.  Be sure to check out the other reviews from my awesome crew.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Reading Kingdom Review

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Vendor ReviewedReading Kingdom
Product Information: Reading Kingdom is meant for children ages 4-10 years old or preschool to third grade level.  Depending on when you start this program it is designed to teach your child to read or to get them reading up to a third grade reading level.  The cost of the program is $19.99 a month with a free 30 trial period.  Or you can choose to pay for a full year up front for $199.99 for your first child.  Each child after that is $9.99 a month or $99.99 for a full year.
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Reading Kingdom screenshot photo readingkingdom1screenshot_zps12d9dd06.jpgHow we used the program: The program suggests using this 4 days a week to get the full benefit of the the program.  We followed suit with this by doing 4 days a week, sometimes all together or we skipped days depending on how well Kiya wanted to work on it.  She was excited at first because she thought it was a computer game and we do not usually allow her on the computer.  She is 7 and can not read, though she knows all her letters and sounds she just cant form the words.  The first part of the program is like an assessment that will figure out the place you need to be.  This part she hated as it was mostly learning the keyboard and sequencing letter (all of which she knows how to do already). You can email the vendor and skip forward but for the sake of the review (in case I wanted to use it later for my younger kids) I wanted to go through the whole process.  The six skills that the program intends to teach are; Sequencing, Motor Skills, Sounds, Meaning, Grammar, and Comprehension.

Reading Kingdom screenshot photo readingkingdom3screenshot_zpsc60cb6fc.jpgThings I liked: I liked the idea of teaching the keyboard as well in the introduction.  Having a child that doesn't get to use the computer much it was a great help.  They offer the option of an screen keyboard so they can click or you can use the regular keyboard as well.  I think that having it asses your child before getting into the actual program is good so that you do not have something to advanced or something that is to easy for them.  The graphics were also great and entertaining.

Reading Kingdom screenshot photo readingkingdom2screenshot_zps523e6256.jpgThings I did not like: Now let me say this is not a bad program overall and we will continue to use it as a supplement because their are benefits.  However there were somethings that were really annoying to both myself and Kiya.  The time that laps between each problem is awful long and Kiya would get bored of it.  It would be nice to have an option to click next.  Also the graphics that come up as the words are being shown are long too and makes for one short lesson of 15 problems to take you a long time to do.  Kiya does not have the attention span to sit that long waiting on things to load and to get to the next probably before she would beg to be able to stop.

Will I continue using the program? Yes, there are some good things about it but it will be less often and not a core curriculum for teaching reading.  She likes the idea of being on the computer but then gets bored with the time it takes her to get through it.  I think for a younger child learning everything from the start this might be better for.  As they would be slower on the computer anyways and probably wouldn't notice the lag between problems.  


Our curriculum choices

Kailea - 3rd Grade

Language Arts - Alpha Omega LifePac Language Arts Grade 3
Mathematics - Math Mammoth Grade 3 Light Blue Series
Reading - She will be reading chapter books of her choice.

Kiya - 2nd Grade
Language Arts - Foundations A & B
Mathematics - Touch Math 
Micah - Kindergarten
Language Arts - Foundations A
Mathematics - Various Online Resources (including Math Blocks)

Together Subjects

Social Studies - Alpha Omega LifePac History & Geography

Science - McGraw-Hill Science Grade 3

Now I am sure there will be other variations throughout the year as we get to working and seeing how things are going.  We also still have our Apologia Swimming Creatures to finish.  TOS review items will also be thrown in here as add ins or to replace each curriculum as needed.

What are you guys using this year?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pizza Hut Book It

I was so glad to see that Pizza Hut offers the Book It program to homeschoolers!  

You must sign up by September 1st so hurry up and get enrolled now!

Also do you know of any other offers like this that are available to homeschoolers?  Is so please post them in comments so we can all benefit.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

St. Louis Science Center

So the science center was a blast. I didn't get to many pictures because I think I was having just as much fun as the kids. I love when we have a field trip that we all can enjoy equally.

This thing was so cool, though hard to get rolling. When you got it to roll it made this whole maze thing go off with a ball going through it. It was a cool kid powered activity.
This was the kids favorite part. They thought it was so cool that the dinosaurs moved. Though we did see many scared faces and heard the screams:). 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Legacy Documentaries - Laura Ingalls Wilder Review

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Legacy Documentaries by Dean Butler gave me a wonderful chance to review their documentary Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This one I love as we have went to Laura's house in Mountain Grove, Missouri several times.  It also gave me an excuse to go back again.  The DVD is 70 minutes long and it also includes a making of the video of Dean's journey through this documentary as well as the trailer for Almanzo Wilder - Life Before Laura.  You can purchase the DVD here for $24.95.

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The DVD gave lots of great incite into the real life of Laura which is a bit far from the life we thought she had while watching Little House on the Prairie. I think my biggest shock is how to pronounce Almanzo.  I always have said it Al-Mawn-zo vs the Al-Man-Zo the documentary does.  The next big shocker for me as little Miss Nellie Olsen was not a real person in Laura's life!  She is such a huge role in the show that it was a big shock to find out that she is actually multiple people in Laura's life that was squished into one person for the show.  There are many other facts in the DVD that may shock you as well but I would have to spoil all of them.

The kids and I all watched the movie together, while some parts were a bit daunting for them as it is all sectioned out, but no actual places to stop, we all enjoyed it.  My kids have visited Laura's House when they were younger.  This picture was taken a few years ago in front of Laura's house with my nieces and oldest daughter.  That day they even had a "Laura Lunch" as they called it.  They drank from tin cans and had butter bread.

We attempted to go back the other day and when we pulled off the exit the thunder started to roll so we were unable to go.  We will be going back as it is not very far from our home and the kids are very excited.  Being able to watch the DVD and learn things and then go see it in person is one of the most amazing things!

Have a peek see for yourself with this trailer.


Friday, August 2, 2013

BrainFood Learning Review

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BrainFood Learning gave me the chance to review their DVD Fascinating World of Mammals.  This DVD is for all ages ( I enjoyed it myself as well).  The DVD is priced at $14.99.

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This movie has different areas to it.  The movie starts out telling the viewers what a mammal is and the different types of mammals.  Then it goes on to give examples of each of the types of mammals.  Each one is labeled with the written word to go along with the picture of the mammal. 

At the end of the movie there is a bit of quiz work.  The first part is giving the name of the animal with its picture.  This helps remind them what each animal is called, this is good for the younger viewers. Then it goes on to do vocabulary quizzes that are multiple choice.  This part is more fitting for those older viewers.  I also suggest jotting these down and quizzing the child, or pausing the movie to get the child to answer before the answer is posted.

Here is a neat little teaser video that gives you a glimpse into the wonderful little movie.  The graphics are amazing as well as the clarity of speech.

What I didn't love about the movie is that some of the vocabulary words were a bit over the heads of my kids (8,7, and 5 years old).  It also didn't give much time to answer the questions before the answer was announced.  This is why I suggested jotting them down, maybe during a preview by yourself, or having the remote handy to press pause.  However neither of these kept us from enjoying the overall purpose of the movie.

Now on to the things that we loved.  We have been reviewing mammals in our science curriculum already so it fit in perfectly to our current studies.  I really like the graphics of the movie, it was very clear and easy to hear and understand the speaker.  It kept the attention of all three of my kids which was great!  It was also interesting for me and I had to keep watching and reviewing myself.

An even better added bonus is they offer some worksheet lesson plans!  There are sort names to the picture of the animal, as well more review quizzes.  There is also ideas for other things you can do to add into your study like a zoo trip.  So as an added bonus you get a bit of curriculum work for different ages as well. You can find the lesson plan for this DVD here.

Overall I give this movie an A+!  I think that it is a great addition to any learning DVD collection.  I am very excited to try out the other DVD's when we get to those subjects later on in the year.  If you are looking for a bit of a break day or a bit of a  change of pace in your current lessons it would also be a good short lesson to review.  If you only have younger kids it would be great just to have to teach types of animals.

Also check out the other DVD's that they have on Fascinating World of Insects and Fascinating World of Birds!