Showing posts from January, 2011

TOS Review: Times Alive!

As a member of the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I received a download copy of the software Times Alive! by City Creek Press. Times Alive is a fun, interactive way for children to learn their multiplication tables.  It is based on the book. TimesTables the Fun Way! (Also available from City Creek Press) Times Alive! uses a variety of methods to teach the multiplication facts from 0-9.  City Creek Press refers to these as Lesson Types.  These lesson types are: Movie: students watches a narrated, animated story.  The words also appear on the screen so the student can read along. Song:  A music video where the characters re-enact the story. Paint:   There are 4 fun pictures total from the stories. You use your mouse to color the paintings. Test: The program starts with a pretest and ends with the same test to measure progress.  There are also 4 progress check tests and about 4 tests for specific math fact sections. Quiz:  These scores are not recorded.  Quizzes ar

TOS Review: TenMarks Math

For several years I’ve been hunting for a math program for one of my daughters that would engage her, challenge her and yet not frustrate her.  One that would give her mastery of math concepts, yet not bore her with excessive repetition and at the same time be easy for her to understand.  We think we’ve found what we are looking for with TenMarks . TenMarks is an online math program that can be used as a curriculum or as a supplement to your current curriculum.   The program is personalized and mapped to state standards.    For parents and home schoolers the premium program offers: A Parent Account— linked to an email address, the parent is given an access.  The parent can check the student progress and make changes to the student program Parent Rewards— the parent can set up rewards.  I have not used this feature but can see how this would be helpful to motivate students Helpful Hints— if a student needs help she has access to 3 hints per problem.  Using these hints DOES af

Those pesky “Good Intentions”

I think I’ve got a half dozen or so blog posts in draft form with subjects ranging from laundry to marriage. My life seems so full of good intentions but lacks the follow up.  I *intend* to write more but I don’t.  I intend to read more,  but I don’t.  I intend to call that friend and go out and get some coffee, but I don’t. I don’t want my life to be full of good intentions.  When I die, I don’t want people to say “she had good intentions.  Too bad she didn’t follow through.”. I want to adapt and then embrace Yoda’s philosophy “Do or Do Not.  There is No Try”  would become “Do or Do Not there is no Intend”. Somehow I think it relates to procrastination and maybe even laziness.   I put off doing those things I intend to do because other things come up or because I’m tired or because I’m waiting for a more perfect time. Ah…. yes…. there it is…. perfectionist…. I intend to do it but I want to do it perfectly.   I intend to organize that closet but I don’t have time to do it perfectl

TOS Review: Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids

My girls have always been full of questions.  What does this mean?  Who was that person?  What does that thing do?  Sometimes my husband or I would get frustrated at reading aloud because of all the questions! For questions about the Bible,  I can now send my children to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids .   Questions like “what exactly was the Mercy Seat?” or “What is Horeb?” do not have to send panic through me as I scramble for an answer.   The Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids is a beautiful hardbound book measuring approximately 8”x12” with 212 full color pages. Inside this reference book you will find: Reconstructions —drawings that show you how buildings and cities may have looked then Illustrated Charts —charts that provide “at-a-glance” views with brief descriptions and biblical references Charts —information such as names of God, names of Jesus, lists of Apostles, or musical instruments of the Bible Entries include KJV words --- words such as e

TOS Review: Life of Christ Bible Study

Until the Crew, I had never heard of Positive Action for Christ.  I wasn’t exactly sure what their studies were like and I was very hesitant about a product that seems geared for the classroom. I did however like what they said on their website: We received the Life of Christ study by Frank Hamrick  which is a study from the Gospel of John and I am thrill ed to say I am loving it.  I received a a beautiful LARGE 3-Ring binder with the teacher materials and a beautiful softcover student book. THE TEACHER BOOK:   Is a valuable source and is more than just an answer key.  The Foreward gives information on how to teach the course.  It describes the features of the program.  It includes a section on the format and grade level including three charts detailing the different options for teacher.   Lastly, it contains information for a suggested BIble Memorization plan to go with the course.   Just after the Foreward is a Recommended Reading List and then the Lessons begin.  Each lesson

TOS Review: Virtual Nerd

Do your junior high and high school level children struggle with Math?  Do you sometimes wish there was someone else who could come alongside you and explain a concept to your child?  Do you wish you could hire a tutor for your son or daughter but just can’t seem to find the money or the time?  Then Virtual Nerd just may meet your needs. We’ve just had the opportunity to review Virtual Nerd . What is Virtual Nerd ? It is an online subscription service that provides video tutorials for math and (some) science topics. Currently available levels for math include:  Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.   For science, Virtual Nerd   currently has available Physics.    If you click here you can find at the bottom of page one a chart listing the courses they are planning to add during 2011. Before I get much farther let me explain what Virtual Nerd is NOT.  It is not a complete math program.  It is not a math course.  There are no worksheets.    Virtual Nerd is to be used as a tool to

A cool date!

Today’s date is 01/11/11 or 1-11-11 or 1/11/11 or 01-11-11.   I decided I just had to do a blog post today in honor of the date. In addition to being 1/11/11 today I realized that what a blessing it was to have my mother here for 4 weeks.  I live 2000 miles away from her and I can’t do anything for her from so far away. I can’t take her shopping or out to lunch.  I can’t go to church with her or take her to Bible Study.  I can’t help her with doctor appointments or take her to get her hair cut. While she’s been here I’ve been able to do all of those things for her.  We’ve been out to lunch (and dinner LOL).  We’ve gone shopping several times.  We’ve even been to the clinic for blood draws twice.  I’ve taken her to Bible Study and to church.  Today I took her to get her haircut.  Tomorrow, however, I have to take her to the airport.  She has to go home.  I’m going to miss her.  It's been a long time since I spent so much time with my mother. The girls are playing a last game of

Tradtional or Non-Tradtional: Scheduling the Home School Year/Day.

I think i t is rather fitting that the first Blog Cruise of the New Year asks about Trad itional or Non-Tradtional school scheduling.  As I write this we are finishing up our extra long Christmas Break  For the 2010-2011 school year we are following more of a traditional year by starting in August and finishing in May but we are taking a longer break for Christmas and we’ll be taking at least two weeks for Pascha (Easter). Though we are following somewhat of a traditional school year, we haven’t always followed a Aug/Sept through May/June type of calendar.   When the girls were younger, I did a “year round” approach to home education.    We took shorter breaks which allowed better retention.  It also gave more structure to our days which we all needed for sanity! Now that we’ve been homeschooling for years, I find that I really need a summer break.  Education and learning still happen but summer becomes the time when I can focus on other projects and can spend time planning, resear

TOS Review: See-N-Read Tools

We are a book loving, literature based home schooling family and as such we do a lot of individual reading and reading aloud. Because we love to read, I was excited  that  as part of the TOS Crew I received several samples of See-N-Read tools . CeadenSmith Enterprises included a book size (5 1/2” x 3”) and document size (8 1/2” x 3”) of the See-N-Read Reading Tool, a book size Memory Mark and a 45 day subscription to the eSee-N-Read software. See-N-Read tools are great for all ages.   The website states that it is research based and tested for users in grade 2 through adult.  Click here to read about the research and click here to read the story of See-N-Read tools. The See-N-Read and Memory Mark are $2.99 each for the book size and $3.49 each for document size.  The eSeen-Read for the computer is $29.99.  For more pricing info including combination packages and discounts for purchasing multiples you’ll want to start here . See-N-Read Reading Tool: We all used the See-N-Rea

Reading Challenges for 2011

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time is read more books.  I love to read.  I love homeschooling using Sonlight because it gives me the opportunity to read great books to my children.  But reading for myself has been pushed aside and I’d like to do more reading for myself.  At first I thought about just challenging myself to read some books and keep a list (maybe on my sidebar?) but then in the last two days I’ve come across some friends who are participating in some reading challenges.   I’ve decided to join them. First I came across Karla’s blog post where she shared about the challenge What’s in A Name .    There are 6 categories and the challenge is to read one book that fits each category.   I’m looking forward to finding books that fit the name challenge! Earlier today one of my FB friends mentioned a Jane Austen reading challenge .  I *love* Jane Austen.  With this challenge you can read Jane Austen novels, novels inspired by Jane Austen novels or mov

How do you say…?

It is so hard not to take things or people for granted.  Though we all know that all it takes is a blink of an eye everything changes we don’t really *know* it until it does.  It’s like we think “yes my loved ones could die tomorrow or my husband could lose his job tomorrow” but underneath runs a current of “but really that only happens  to OTHER people.  That’s not going to happen to me.  But it does happen to [me] and to those I love. The past 14-15 months have been very difficult as our family has been touched by death so much.   What makes it harder for me is the realization that I struggle with keeping in contact with those I love.  It’s extremely difficult for me and I can not explain why to myself let alone anybody else.  I dislike talking on the phone and I feel I have changed so much and I wonder if I even have anything in common with my friends or relatives. I don’t spend the time writing letters or even email but I don’t know why.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t miss them. 

A New Day, A New Month, A New Year

So today is a new day… though technically it’s half over as it is Noon here now and today is the start of a new month but it’s also the start of the New Year. I like new beginnings.  I like starting fresh.  So I should be thrilled to start a New Year, right?  I’m not so sure I’m as excited for 2011 as I was for 2010.   2010 was a great year for my family for spiritual growth and healing.  There are aspects of 2010 that I could have done without and I’m not sorry to see those relegated to the past but the growth of my faith overshadows all and I can’t say “good riddance” to 2010 but rather I say “thanks for the memories”.  Thanks for the reminders of what is important and what is not so important.  Thanks for teaching me lessons I would not have learned any other way.  Thanks for opportunities and experiences. My hope and my prayer for myself and for you: May God continue to richly bless us with His unending love, mercy and grace.  May I continue to learn to find contentment and joy