6/26/16

Graduation! We have our second home school graduate!

Turtlegirl is the second of our students to graduate from home schooled High School!
It seems such a short time ago I was freaking out because she taught herself to read and was asking me all kinds of embarrassing questions about the headlines on magazines in the check out lane.  Boy I was grateful for the family friendly check out lane but I do wish it didn't have to replace magazines with candy.  

Unlike her older sister, Turtlegirl, didn't want a big huge celebration. She's a quiet introvert.  Our church has a tradition of honoring graduates.  It was the perfect way to acknowledge Turtlegirl's achievement without forcing her to be in the spotlight alone.

Father did a lovely prayer for the graduates at church!
After liturgy, Father called the graduates forward.  He prayed for them, spoke a short mini-sermon and gave them each prayer book.  It was beautiful.  I have no idea what happened the day church honored graduates with BooBear as that is the infamous heart attack day.

The parish house was decorated and there was cake! It was very sweet to see four graduates! No they were not all home school graduates but that made it more beautiful.

Graduation Cake with our church!


A few days later, after the grandparents had arrived, we had a small graduation ceremony.  Ceremony isn't the right word but Turtlegirl wore her Cap and Gown from HomeschoolDiploma, Dad made a speech and we presented her with her diploma.  {You do need to read my review of HomeschoolDiploma.com. I love the two diplomas we ordered and I will be getting one for Tailorbear next year!}



With permission from Honeybear and Turtlegirl I am going to share the little speech.  It warmed my heart.

I will ask up front for a little understanding, as I don't get to do this very often. In fact, this is only the second time I've done this. Graduating from high school is one of the first major milestones people hit. There are birthdays of course, but those become less of milestones and more of uncomfortable reminders.  Certainly wouldn't want to  do without them but still . . .
Anyway, we're here because we are celebrating this milestone with [Turtlegirl]. She wasn't the first, so the amount of experimenting we had to do was a little bit less, but only a little because in education one of the the biggest difficulties is keeping students challenged. I know in my own education that was often an issue. If I wasn't challenged, then I didn't give it the appropriate level of attention. But that that's a story for another time. Trying to find the right level of challenge for [Turtlegirl] was probably the biggest concern we had. Whether it was reading (holds up very thick book) three hours for this one, math or even science trying to challenge her was, well, a challenge.  Now, you've hit the finish line, and you've acheived something you can be proud of.  It is definitely a milestone for you. 
Since it's your first milestone, right now it's pretty big.  You're moving into a higher level of education and bigger challenges. And as you reach those other challenges, you'll hit other milestones, but hopefully, you'll look back on this one with warmth and pride.  Congratulations!


My heart swells with joy and love as I see how she has grown. My heart aches when I think of her leaving for college but if she studies and works as hard at college as she has to finish her high school requirements she'll be fine.  She has a hunger and a thirst for knowledge and a desire to learn.


Turtlegirl all dressed up for graduation!


Congratulations sweetheart!

6/15/16

Improve your speech, concentration, and even your singing with Forbrain!

 {This review made possible by Forbrain -  Sound For Life LTD and the Schoolhouse Review Crew}

When I found out that the Crew would be reviewing a bone conduction headset from Forbrain - Sound For Life Ltd I was more than just a little curious.

Having worked with a neurodevelopmentalist and speech therapists with Supergirl, I am familiar with the importance of audio memory to brain organization and optimal function.  Forbrain - Sound For Life Ltd states that this device can improve memory, attention, and speech.  The more I looked over the website the more convinced I was that Tailorbear and Turtlegirl would benefit just as much as Supergirl.


Reading aloud with Forbrain can increase memory, focus, and concentration!

Forbrain is a device that maximizes the natural audio-vocal loop that every person uses to analyze, assimilate, perceive and adjust information received and produced through sound.  For details on this loop and how Forbrain works check out these links: The Auditory Process, and Forbrain's Audio Technology.

Tailorbear was my primary focus during the review period. She wears the device for approximately 20 minutes a day. We aim for 5 days a week. Sometimes she stands. Sometimes she sits.  Sometimes she walks around. Most of the time she reads aloud from her novel for her literature study. Sometimes I hear her singing.

She shared with me that when she uses Forbrain she is better able to focus and concentrate.  Turtlegirl and I both noticed that Tailorbear's singing has improved. Though she has a lovely singing voice she doesn't always stay in the right key.  Now she is much more likely to stay on key.


Forbrain!  Read the Review at www.circlingthroughthislife.com



She stopped using Forbrain for a week and I noticed that she did not get as much school done.  She was more prone to be distracted and failed to stay on task.  I am making Forbrain a requirement for every school day for her because it helps her.

Turtlegirl ran into some difficulties with using Forbrain. She is prone to migraines and after using Forbrain for a few minutes she does begin to get a headache.  She uses it for a much shorter period of time and only once or twice a week.  Even without using it for the prescribed amount of time she noticed some positive changes.  Here's what she had to say about her experience:
 Even after the first time I used Forbrain, I noticed an increase in my ability to focus. It was a little weird how after I took off the headphones, everything sounded different, but I'm not sure what that means. I have noticed a positive difference after using Forbrain. I am more aware of the way my voice sounds when I talk. (Example: I can hear that I'm kinda monotone and don't emote well with my voice.) And when I hum, I can actually hear when I go off tune. I'm no longer as tone deaf as I used to be.

Forbrain is easy to use! One suggesion is to read or sing poetry aloud.

I recently started using it with Supergirl. Since she cannot do it independently the way her sisters can, I needed to make sure I committed to working with her.  Supergirl has DiGeorge Syndrome.  She also has brain injury from in utero strokes. DiGeorge affects many different areas including speech. I knew that I wanted to use to Forbrain with Supergirl because she is a "poster child" of sorts for the type of therapy this device can provide.

She is developmentally much younger than her chronological age so I have her working for 10 minutes a day rather than the 20 that a typical 18 year old would do.  Currently we are using Forbrain while we do our Poetry Memorization.  She recites the poems she has memorized already and then we work together on memorizing the current poem.  I will say a line and she repeats it.  I will often repeat words that I knew she struggles with so that she can practice them with the device.  Certain sounds are nearly impossible for her but my hope is that by using Forbrain her speech will be come more clear.



I plan to begin using Forbrain with her during her phonics lessons with Logic of English.  We will be working with phonemes and phonograms and I think she'll be able to improve her speech patterns while improving her reading fluency.

Forbrain is an asset that I think every speech pathologist and speech therapist should have access to.  I see this tool as being a way to continue to work on brain/neurological development and improvement with Samantha.  I also see this helping Tailorbear to improve her focus and concentration which will help her with studying for her senior year and preparing for post high school education.

I am very impressed with this device and the improvement I see in my daughters.



Click on the banner below to read what other members of the Crew had to say about Forbrain!

Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review

Crew Disclaimer

6/12/16

Making Time for Reading by Listening!

How did it get to be June already?  And nearly half way through at that!

I have lots of things I want to write about but today I want to talk about reading.  About what I've been reading actually.   At some point I want to talk about reading aloud and how important it is and how reading aloud to older children and teens is just as important as reading aloud to your toddler, preschooler, and early elementary kids.

I suspect that reading aloud to other adults and being read aloud to as an adult has benefits as well.  Benefits beyond being able to use an audiobook to multi-task.

Making Time to Read by Listening at Circling through This LIfe


Speaking of audio books and adult multi-tasking let's talk about the fact that I am making time for reading by listening!  I have three books on audio right now that are in my  "currently reading listening" pile:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ~  Yes, I have read this book before and yes I have seen the Colin Firth version of the movie (mini-series!) multiple times as well as a few other versions.  Supergirl is very familiar with the story because she loves the mini-series.  We're listening to it together.  Well she started listening to it and I was reading it but we've switched to listening to it.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett ~I have never read this book but I know it is a classic.  Supergirl and I started listening to this one together.

Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews ~ I started out reading the Kindle version of this Meg Langslow mystery but my loan ran out before I was finished with the book.  I was able to pick it up as an audio book for just $4.99 so I did.  I am thisclose to finishing it.

And one that is in my Finished Pile:

Beric the Briton ~  G.A, Henty ~  well actually we listened to an Heirloom Audio Production which is like an audio drama and is an adaptation of the book.  The crew will be reviewing this later this summer.  We finished this one in three sittings!   We plan on listening to it together again.  I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would.

I do still have several "real" books in my currently reading pile but I'll talk about those some other time. I want to mention that I am reading the third book in the Atlantis series.  If you like science fiction combined with action and adventure then you will enjoy this series but make sure you clear your calendar as these books are next to impossible to put down once you've started reading!

5/25/16

Sunya Publishing ~ Two Fun Math Games {Crew Review}

If you are a long time reader of my blog you may remember that we are a game loving family.  We play games just for fun as part of our family holiday traditions but I also like incorporating games into our home school.

Learning math facts can be boring. Math drill can be boring.  It doesn't have to be that way! Sunya Publishing has two games that make mastering your facts fun.  Members of the Schoolhouse Review crew were sent their choice of Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting or Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing.  As a crew leader, I received both games.

Sunya Publishing ~ Math Game!  Review at Circling Through This Life


About the Games


Both games state they are for 1-5 players.  The games come with a Teacher/Parent guidebook, two decks of cards and a special number line.  One deck contains 55 number cards, 2 wild cards and 3 operation cards (e.g. + - =  ) and the other contains 30 Riddle cards.

The basic premise of the game is to build number sentences using cards from your hand alone or combined with cards already in play.  The first person to "go out" shouts "Sunya" and wins the game. After shouting "Sunya" the winner takes a Riddle Card.

The dealer deals four cards to each player and sets up a basic number sentence such as 3 +  2 = 5.  Players take turns trying to get rid of their cards by playing them on the number sentence.

Adding Game laid out to play Sunya Publishing Review at Circling Through This LIfe


The instructions for the game are very wordy and sometimes confusing. However, playing the game and referring to the guidebook when needed worked just fine for my family and we were able to start playing quickly.

About the word "Sunya"


Sunya is a Sanskrit word that means empty or void of any quanity.  Sanskrit is the ancient and classical language of India. Our modern number system was invented by the Hindus in India 1500 years ago and accepted in the Arab world.  It was introduced to the West as the Hindu Arabic Numeral System.

I found it fascinating that there is a connection between the word 'sunya' and our word for 'without quanity',  zero.  Sunya was translated as 'sifr' which then became 'zephirum' which is the Latin name for the symbol 0.  That symbol means "the absence of any quantity." We get our word 'zero' from the Latin 'zephirum'.  It's not a direct connection to the word 'sunya' but it is a link!

My Recommendations


For both games I recommend starting with the basic game and and omit the 0 & 1 Rule. Mr. Latell states that "this rule may be waived when playing with young children just learning addition and subtraction."   I think that omitting the rule for those who are new to the game and adding it in after everyone knows and understands the basic game keeps the game fun and low key. Having played with the rule and waiving the rule, I think it is more fun with the rule.

Our Experience


Supergirl loves the game. We've been playing the Adding game because she's not yet ready to play the Subtracting one. She often needs to refer to the line for help.  Rather than hold our cards in our hands we lay them out on the table as suggested and we help each other create the number sentences.

Turtlegirl and I have played as well but we've played Multiplying as well as Adding.  We played just for fun and fellowship. I think her favorite part was the riddle card.  We even had Dad involved at one point!


Dad played the Dividing Game!  Sunya Publishing Review at Circling Throug This Life

I started playing The Adding game as a form of solitaire in the evenings when I'm trying to earn more swagbucks.  I enjoy the challenge of trying to create number sentences. It's become almost addictive. I tried it with the Multiplication version but I prefer the Addition for my solitaire playing.

My Thoughts


If you like card games, then you will enjoy these games.  I have decided that it is a fun way to reinforce learning math facts with Supergirl but Turtlegirl and I really enjoyed playing it on our mother/daughter date. We were playing just for the fun of it.  It reminds me a tiny bit of Crazy 8s and other similar card games where you need to match the card in the discard and the object is to get rid of all the cards in your hand, but I like this better because it develops thinking skills and for students solidifying their math facts it provides a fun way to practice.

We'll be making this a regular part of our math game rotations with Supergirl.  I also plan on continuing to play it as an alternative solitaire.  

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

Crew Disclaimer

5/22/16

Five Things This Week May 20th

I know it isn't May 20th but Friday is the day I aim for.  Remember several weeks ago I said I would be posting sometime Friday-Sunday.

This actually a Five Things from the past few weeks since I haven't posted a Five Things for a couple of weeks.  (Have I even posted one in May???!!!)

1.  We finally got our van back.  We did not have it back in time for Pascha but we got back in time for Mother's Day.  Thanks to some wonderful, giving, sweet friends though we were all able to make it to the services. We didn't get a a family photo but Boobear and did this selfie on Pascha!

Boobear and Mom on Pascha!

2.  Boobear has finished all her requirements for being a music minor. She will be focusing on her senior year on her new major and a second minor in Religion.  She won't be taking private piano, piano ensemble, or even choir next year.  I'm bummed but I'm glad I got to see her in all the recitals that she did for Freshman, Sophomore and Junior years.

On the night of Boobear's last piano ensemble!


3.  Aren't these gorgeous!  My oldest brought them home for me for Mother's Day!

Flowers for Mother's Day!

4.  Supergirl has been begging to do art like her sisters. We finally got around to starting ARTistics Pursuits.  She is so proud of her vase and flowers.

Supergirl drew a vase and flowers!  Then she colored them in!  Circling Through This LIfe

5.  Tailorbear took some great photos of Turtlegirl.  I think we'll be using this one, maybe, for High School Graduation Announcement!

Turtlegirl ~  Class of 2016!