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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TOS Review Latin Alive

Foreign languages don't always work out very well at our house.  We have tried numerous times for a certain language and we just can't seem to make it work.  I think we are foreign language stunted at our house!

We did happen on Latin a year or so ago and that has actually worked pretty well.  We haven't been as faithful as we should be but we are doing it and the kids love it.  So, when I was assigned to review the latin program fro Classical Academic Press, I was pretty excited.  I was assigned to the High School level and that was a little daunting but I was thrilled none the less.

From the Classical Academic Press website:

Classical Academic Press produces superlative educational materials to advance the revival of classical education. We specialize in subjects such as Latin and logic, presented clearly and creatively, to equip and engage both students and teachers. These programs are the continuing, collaborative effort of distinguished scholars, teachers, and designers.


More specifically, we were set to review Latin Alive!  The website has this to say:

Latin Alive! is a series of Latin texts for junior high or high school Latin study. Written by experienced and enthusiastic Latin teachers, Latin Alive! is an excellent introduction to the classical language. With an emphasis on grammar and solid understanding of the language, it goes on to frame the study of Latin in Roman culture and mythology, and also to remind us of the many ways Latin is present in our culture today. Latin Alive will be a three year series.  

After perusing the website I was even more excited to get this product and start using it.  There is so much information on their website, I strongly suggest you roam around it and read everything you can find.  There are even some freebie games and such to use in conjunction with the programs.  I'll tell you more about those later!  

When the package came, I opened it up to much oohing and aahing from the kiddos.  The book is appealing and the the DVD's were terribly attractive to them!  We pulled it all out and looked through them all.  That's when the panic set in.  For me anyway!  

This is Junior High/High School material and my oldest is just in 7th grade so I was a little concerned with how we were going to figure this out.  It all seemed like it was way above our heads and I didn't think I would ever figure it out.  I wasn't so excited anymore. 

I sent the kids away and decided to read through the Teacher's Book completely and watch the first lesson to see if I could make heads or tails of it. 

The good news?  I did! 

Between the Teacher's Book and the Introduction on the DVD, I was able to decipher the instructions as well as feel confidant in leading my children through this program.  I was ready to begin.  

We started the first lesson but only watched the first section.  We then talked about what was in that section to be sure we understood it.  We did each section that way and were able to do the exercises at the end of it without too much trouble.   We weren't completely comfortable with it but we understood it!  The DVD's are an invaluable tool that give this program an extra benefit by adding in the visual experience as well as the auditory.  Being able to see what the instructor is writing on the board and having that visual representation of what she is saying is almost like being in a classroom with her.  It was extremely helpful to all of us.   Sometimes being able to see a person as they are saying a word helps you to know how to form the word yourself.  

Now, since I have younger children that the intended audience of this program we are working through it at a slower pace than would be required for older students.  However, Latin Alive! is easily adaptable to the schedule we set up and I am sure that it would be for just about any other schedule a family needed.  This program is definitely worth a look see if you are interested in a Latin program.

Also, your student wouldn't need to have a previous knowledge or experience with Latin.  Our family has only had about a year with another program that was designed for much younger children, so our experience was limited.  But we didn't have any trouble understanding or jumping right into Latin Alive!.  I may put this away until next year when I will have two students old enough to benefit from this curriculum with a little less intense involvement from me.  Although, I am learning so much we may just keep doing it together and all learn Latin!  
Latin Alive! Student Book can be purchased for $24.95 and the Teacher's Edition for $29.95 as well as Bundle options.  You can also go here and see some samples of what is in the book and how the lessons are set up. Just scroll down about half-way to find the links for sample pages.   Here is a video to give you a little more information on Latin Alive!

Head on over to Headventure Land to check out all the freebies this company has to offer.  There are flashcards, books, games, and more!  This is a fun way to supplement your class time activities as well as reinforcing what they have already learned.

Classical Academic Press also offers other language programs as well as Logic programs and others.  Check out all this company has to offer.  I know I can't wait to read what the other Crew members had to say about the products they used.  

If you want to read what the other Crew members thought, head on over and check them out.  There are reviews for younger students as well as the middle and high school levels. 

**I received a Bundle Set of Latin Alive! from Classical Academic Press through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Long Weekend

and I don't mean that in a good way. It wasn't bad just long.

It started with soccer on Saturday. At least it would have but for the weather. We woke up early and being the great desperate mom that I am I made them eat whatever they could find before they expended vast amounts of energy on the field. I'm certain pretty sure guessing that they ate something mostly half-way nutritional edible.

I spent some quality time putting my hair in a pony-tail before scavenging for hats and gloves for everyone in the known universe. I dug in the bottom of the hall closet and came up with 6 left hand gloves and 8 right hand gloves. Oh yeah, that made me happy! But what made me even happier was when said stinky awful children of mine said, "I don't like any of those, aren't there any others?" To which I graciously patiently shrieked, "If you don't like the ones I found, find your own!"

I stomped back to my room while screaming reminding the kids to dress in layers because it was very cold out. About an hour before we were to leave one of the rugrats children of my loins asked if she could just wear a jacket. (I must admit that I almost went Xena on her. It was not a pretty picture. truly.) instead of yelling one more time, I dodged diverted the question to my wonderful hubby who had been hiding out getting ready and had no clue about the previous yelling matches conversations. I'm certain he handled it better than I would have. ;-)

We finally had everyone and everything rounded up and coralled strapped in buckeled up when we got a text. No game. The first game had been cancelled due to weather. Niice. Do you know what happens when you have four kids swaddled up for sitting in 40* weather and they don't get to go out in it? That's right, Momma gets cranky! Why? Because they all came in and like Pigpen, they sloughed off their outer layers and left them where they dropped. Seeing the carnage that those layers wreaked on my house threw my crazy radar into overdrive. It didn't help that the oldest was pouting since it was her game that was cancelled.

When it was time to get ready for the next game, the above process was repeated almost down to the last glove. This time, however, we successfully made it into the car and to the soccer fields. Progress! Steven and I set our chairs in our usual spot and bundled up. We had already decided to spare the little ones the cold and left them in the car. Yeah, we are those parents that leave our kids in the locked car. But seriously, they had water and snacks. And the windows were cracked open so they had air...don't you judge me!

Anyway, after sitting in the fuhreeezing cold for thirty minutes the game was called. The other team hadn't even shown up. Yeah, isn't that great? We thought so too. We loaded the car back up and tried not to talk to eachother. Trust me, it was better that way. Hey, at least the car ride home was peaceful!

After we returned home I had high hopes of just being together as a family. Bwahahaha if you don't know why I'm laughing re-read the first part of this post again then come back. I'll wait. ......See what I mean? Yeah, I was dreaming. But a girl has to have dreams! We sat together for a while downstairs until the arguing between my offspring brought out the crazy lady again. Then I had to go and hide.

We finally came back together again as a family long enough to go out to eat with good friends and all was right with the world. Visiting with friends is like a balm to the soul. Then it ended and we had to take the beloved offspring back home. No, the other family wouldn't take them...we asked! (just kidding-mostly!) for some reason getting them to bed that night was pure torture a little more work than usual. I am pretty sure that several of them went to bed in the clothes they wore that day. Huh, I seem to be okay with that!

The bright spot was church on Sunday morning. We are loving our church and can't wait to go on Sundays. I am so glad the longing to be in church has returned.

The mood in the house didn't last long when I came home to a totally wrecked kitchen and was expected, by said children, to make them lunch. Momma say what? Oh I don't think so. Let me just say that I was not the only one in the kitchen cleaning or cooking. They earned their lunch that day! Heehee

Naps were had by momma and daddy-who knows about the kids. Lol We did watch several movies together and then long about the time they were to go to bed the oldest two remembered some assignments that were due the next day. They hadn't finished them. Oh joy.

Yup, you guessed it-I stayed up helping them. I guess help might be a strong word since I kept correcting their grammar and made them re-write things more times than was probably necessary. But it was sure fun!

By the time I went to bed a cold had set in and I was miserable. I didn't wake up this morning in any better mood than I was the day before and it showed. :-( it got better-mostly. Now, I am sitting in a quiet house nursing a crazy sore throat and counting up the days until Sabbath Week! Lol

Friday, March 25, 2011

TOS Review Big IQ Kids

"Where's your sister?"  "She's doing her schoolwork."  "It's not time to start school yet."  "She didn't want to wait."

I have been hearing that around our school a lot lately.  At least since we started reviewing BigIQKids!  The youngest two have been reviewing this website and they have been asking to do it each day.  There has been no whining or arguing when it comes time to get them to do their schoolwork.  Since the two that were helping to review this website are younger, we just added it onto their regular schoolwork and it worked out nicely.

Big IQ Title Banner

But before I get too far into how we used it, let me tell you what it is.  BigIQKids is a website that has Math, Spelling, Geography, and Vocabulary lessons for grades 1-8.  BUT I used this with my Kindergartner and it has worked out very well.  I would also use this for my 7th grader to work on Geography without any problem. turns your computer into an online learning academy by providing daily academic lessons for young learners in an interactive, easy to follow format. For the best results, children should log into daily and complete their lessons and quizzes. This “daily” strategy builds invaluable study habits, leads to better grades and greater self confidence. 

The lessons are set by the program but are interactive and change according to what the child learns and knows.  It is an adaptive program that guides the student to more practice or less practice based on the questions they get right or wrong.  BigIQKids also sends out progress report emails that state what the student did and how they scored on it.  It is a great way to keep tabs on what they are doing and monitor their progress. 

Spelling: With a over 40,000 word dictionary, SpellingTime comes pre-loaded with 40 lessons for K-8th grade appropriate word lists. Or, as a parent or teacher, you can easily enter your own word lists and SpellingTime will automatically create a week’s worth of lessons, quizzes and tests around your own list with the goal of achieving 100% on the Friday spelling test. --My thoughts: I didn't input any of our own lists, I just let the girls use the pre-loaded ones and they had plenty of practice with their lists.  The Kindergartner was challenged but not beyond what she could handle.  The third grader had enough of a challenge with her words to keep her interested and asking for more!  Each time they would log on they could practice the words, take a test, or participate in a spelling bee.  This was so much fun for my girls and their spelling has improved to boot.  :-)

Math: You can set up a child's lesson to mirror what they are doing in their current curriculum. For example, if the child is on double digit addition and single digit multiplication, the program can focus on just these two areas providing invaluable practice and reinforcement that is certain to provide them with the tools to ace their next test. Or, BigMathTime can automatically generate grade specific and subject specific lessons as per your requirements. --My thoughts: The Math portion is just practice on the facts.  The program generates problems based on what they are learning.  You can choose to have all addition, or subtraction, multiplication or division, or a mix of any of them.  You can set up how many problems are

: With an extensive library of elementary through SAT prep words, BigVocabTime comes pre-loaded with word lists OR, as a parent or teacher, you can easily enter your own word lists and the program will automatically create a week’s worth of lessons, quizzes and tests around your own list with the goal of achieving 100% on the week’s vocabulary test.  --My thoughts: The vocabulary was a little too difficult for my Kindergartner as it puts the Kindergartners as a group of 1st and under.  It was too frustrating for her so we just skipped it unless she had help from an older sister.  My 3rd grader enjoyed the vocabulary section and learned a lot about words and definitions.  One thing that my Kindergartner did learn was what synonym and antonym were, so that's pretty cool!

U.S. States
: Every elementary student will be confronted with the need to know their US State facts to mastery. BigStatesTime is the ultimate tool in learning the state's location, capital, spelling, abbreviations and general state facts. The program allows parents/teachers to add additional facts which will be included in the child's lessons and the program culminates in a “State Mastery Exam” that, if passed with 100% mastery, awards the child a State Master Certificate. 
--My thoughts: The States program is a little confusing at first but after you get used to it it is pretty cool.  First you try to locate the state on the map and for my youngest one it would highlight the state to help her out.  The more she practiced the less it gave her hints.  There is another section that gives fun/interesting facts about the state and then asks questions based on the facts they just heard.  It's a great way to learn the states!

We have really enjoyed using BigIQKids and will continue with it for the next year.  Even through the summer!

The pricing of this program is a little confusing so I would recommend going to the website
and checking it out.  Basically this website is Free but there is also a Premium Membership as well.  The Free version does not include all of the bells and whistles that the Premium Membership offers so it might be worth it to check it out.  You can get a Premium Membership with all four programs for $19.99 a month.  Or you can get individual programs like Spelling, Vocabulary, or Math for $7.99 a month.  The States program is available for $39.99 for the year.  Check out this page for all the different options there are for pricing.

Want to know the difference in the Free Membership vs. the Premium Membership?  This page explains it really well as well as showing you everything you get in one snapshot.  There are some great benefits from the Premium Membership but the Free version would be a great option as well.

BigIQKids has been a lot of fun to use and the girls particularly like the way the characters talk to them.  The voices are computerized but that didn't bother us, we just like the things they say!  There are also games to play after the lessons are completed and coins have been earned.  These are just fun games like putting make up on a girl or dressing her up.  There is a bunch of others including one with a naked guy in it.  It didn't show anything but it was just the idea of him being naked creeped my girls out.  Other than that one game, they have enjoyed them all and I like the fact that they have to earn coins by doing schoolwork before they play.  :)

If you want to know what other Crew Members thought of BigIQKids, head on over to the Crew Blog and check them out!

**I received a subscription to BigIQKids through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Lessons

Tonight Steven and I spent an hour with eight other couples learning to salsa! Two weeks ago we had a private lesson where we learned a little samba and east coast swing but I think I liked the salsa more. It was fun to learn in the group setting and not worry about messing up. Although, Steven's death grip on my hand made it hard to do the turns and may cause soreness and bruising tomorrow! Lol

Next week I think we are going to try country and western and then the week after that we may try the west coast swing. choices, choices...

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Christian Home

Check out the latest edition of The Christian Home hosted by The Legacy of Home.

Want to get involved and write an article? Head on over and check out how you can do that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

This week I have decided to join this meme. I have read other blogs that are participating in this and it is a great way to document our weeks. So, here goes!

In my life this week...well, it was my birthday on Wednesday ao the week was full of celebrating and surprises. My Dad took me out to lunch on Wednesday and my dh took me out to dinner the same night! My girls gave me the new Liz Curtis Higgs book, Mine is the Night, and my dh gave me an ipad! I had been saving up money for one so technically I paid for a portion of it but I didn't know he was doing it.

In our homeschool this week...We started a new Unit of our Tapestry of Grace curriculum. We 'got behind' the typical schedule but it is what we needed to do and it is working for us. We are continuing with our review work and enjoying the products we have. Our youngest finished her Kindergarten books and is now an official First Grader!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...we make a point of having dinner on Saturday nights with another family each week. It is a great time of fellowship and fun. We also have our homeschool group on Monday's. Then there is gymnastics on Friday's and soccer on Monday's and Thursday's with games on Saturday's.

My favorite thing this week was... Listening to my youngest dd read.  She has really taken off with her ability to sound out words and is reading like crazy!

What's working/not working for us... Chores are not working at the moment and they need to be.  Steven and I are trying to figure out some ways to encourage the girls to do their chores without having to be reminded.  It could take a while!  We are currently loving all of the school curricula we are using and plan on using all of them again.  At least at this point anyway!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have... I am starting to look to high school for our oldest and it is a little intimidating.  It is making my head spin, honestly.  We take homeschooling year by year for the most part but I am starting to feel that we are in this for the long haul so I had better start making some plans to finish strong!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share... Our pastor was preaching out of the book of James this morning and the verses were from chapter 5.  It was a whole sermon on patience.  Seriously.  I'm pretty sure that God was talking to our pastor and telling him that my entire household needed to hear this!  There were several quotes that I wrote down.  Here they are:  "Grumbling is the pre-cursor to losing your temper."  ouch.  "Patience is taking a long time to boil up."  He focused somewhat on anger and your temper but it translates into many different areas.  The last quote I think I am going to type up and post on the fridge for all of us to read daily.  "Besides being the right thing to do, patience will make our lives-and the lives of those around us-better."  Yeah, we need to be reminded of that daily!

Visit thehomeschoolchick to see the other wonderful bloggers that are participating this week!
Soccer has started again and I am already tired! I might as well be out there playing with them for the workout I get on the sidelines. Lol sometimes I jump uo and down, but I am always yelling. I can't help it, I just have to yell. I have tried to sit quietly and just observe...I can't do it. It physically hurts me to be quiet during a game. It doesn't even have to be my kids playing, either! If there is a game going, I am yelling. Now, in years past I am ashamed to say that I wasn't always the most encouraging in what I said. I would let my frustration get the best of me and it would slip out my mouth.

Steven started putting his hand on my arm when that would happen and I would know that I was crossing a line. I have worked very hard to only say positive things and to be encouraging to the players. We have tried to learn all of the players names on our girls' teams so that we can call them by name. I also try to compliment and encourage the other teams' players as well. If they make a good play, I say so. Everyone likes to be told that they are doing a good job, right?

Well, at Saturdays game for our 11yo o e of the moms for the other team didn't appreciate that I was complimenting their teams' throw ins or encouraging their players. Everytime I said things like,"Good kick Red team" she would shoot me a dirty look. Now mind you I was not being sarcastic I was truly complimenting them, she just really didn't like it. I guess. I started worrying that I was being offensive and made double sure that I was being positive.

After the game a parent approached me and complimented me on knowing all the girls' names and for encouraging the other team as well as my own. I thanked him but on the inside I was doing the happy dance. It was cinfirmation that was I had been working so hard on was showing. It's nice when that happens!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Curriculum for Sale

I am already starting to think about next fall's curricula so I am going through the shelves sorting out what we don't need or won't use.  I have some things ready and will add to it when I get it together!

For now, here is what I have.  Prices don't include shipping.

Math on the Level Full Set.  This set includes all seven books in the curricula.  This retails for $295.  This is a brand new set that I won on a blog contest that I didn't even remember entering! We are happy with our math curricula and I don't really want to change at this point so I am selling it.  :)  One of the books has some sticker goo on the front plastic cover but other than that they are in great shape. 

Image Image

I am selling this whole set for $200.

Next is  Math U See Delta Teacher Set.  I have the Teacher's book and the DVD.  Both are used and the book is well loved.  ;-D  Some of the comb binding has come undone but it is still very usable.  It is listed for $40 new, I am selling this for $20.  These are the older version with comb-binding not the new hardback ones.

Math U See Primer Teacher Set.  I have the Teacher's book and the DVD.  Both are slightly used and in great shape.  It is listed for $30 new, I am selling mine for $15.

Texas Instruments TI-83/TI 84 Calculator Tutor DVD from Math Tutor.   This DVD includes 3 DVD's and is 8 hours long.  It goes step by step in teaching the student how to use their calculator effectively.  This a great resource for high schoolers.  This set sells for $26.99 on their website, I am selling it for $20.  It has only been watched one time.

Pre-Algebra Tutor Volume 1 DVD.  This set include two DVD's and is 5 hours long.  It has only been watched once and is in great condition.  This set sells for $26.99 new, I am selling it for $20.

I think that's it for now.  If you are interested in any of these email me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What a week

 My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

It has been another long week at our house.  Monday morning I fell.  Not just the simple trip and fall.  Oh no!  I can't do anything half way, I have to go for the big ones.  lol 

I was sitting at the desk and stood up to get something off the printer but when I took a step I was off balance.  I don't know if the room started spinning but I felt myself falling and reached out for the little door on the desk.  I missed.  Next I reached for the box that was sitting there and realized too late that it wasn't solid enough to hold my falling weight.  My hand and arm went through the box as I continued to fall and got tangled up in it so I couldn't catch myself.  I landed on my shoulder and hit my head on the floor.  I must have tried to stop myself from falling because my legs were tangled up in the chair that was upside down and in a different position than it should have been. 

The dog came down immediately and sniffed me, licked me, and laid down beside me.  The girls came down pretty quickly and helped me up.  I knew right away that I had done something to my shoulder and neck.  I couldn't turn my head or raise my arm. 



By Wednesday I was so sore I could barely move!  I felt like such an old woman.  roflol  I decided to go to our osteopath to get an adjustment only to find out that he wouldn't because he thought I had torn my rotator cuff.  Oh yeah, I am that good!

X-rays...waiting...frustration...The doc came back and brought me back into the room and told me the news.  He didn't think the rotator cuff was torn but he couldn't be sure because of the swelling.  But, he said, that wasn't the area that worried him.  He brought out the pic of my neck and said that this was what was worrying him. 

Yeah, you read that right.  The x-rays of my neck had him worried.  Awesome.  Everyone's gotta love hearing that one! 

He went on to explain that blah, blah, blah and my cervical spine is straight up and down not curved and one of them is pushing out the back of my neck.  Awesome.  And oh by the way when it does that it puts pressure on the major artery that takes blood to your brain and that may be why you lost your balance in the first place. 

Sweet.  That just made my day. 

More questions and doctor talk.  Yes, I have been having dizzy spells.  No, I didn't think anything of them because I have been having sinus problems.  Yes, my neck has been hurting for a while.  No, I didn't think anything of it because I thought I was sleeping wrong on it. 

Well, he wouldn't give me an adjustment because the muscles were stuck in a huge spasm and it would have hurt too much anyway.  I got two fabulous prescriptions that make me feel all warm and tingly.  But, they make me drool uncontrollably.  (There's always a down side.)  I get to wait for the spasms to stop before going back in to get an adjustment.  But in the meantime if I have anymore dizzy spells or fall again I have to rush right back to the docs right away.

Marvelous.  That is just my idea of a good time.

So now I get to be freaked out thinking that my brain isn't getting enough blood and that I could pass out in front of the kids.  But then again, I could use this as an excuse for acting stupid or saying embarrassing things!!  I could really make this work for me.  ;-)

Then to top it all off, my oldest got nailed in soccer today.  They were playing an awesome team that was full of girls that could kick the ball more than half way across the field.  They had crazy power.  Well, B was charging up on a girl that had the ball when the girl kicked it with all she had and it sailed right into B's face.  It hit her squarely on her forehead, eyes, and nose.  Her head whipped backward then forward and it was hard enough that it knocked her feet out from under her and threw her to the ground.  She hit her head on the ground as she landed.  She rolled over to get up and collapsed.  Okay.  Some not so nice words raced through my mind, I admit it.  It scared me to death to see her just laying there.

I was holding on until I saw her coach running out to her and the ref bee lining for her as well.  The other teams' coach ran out to her too and I almost lost it.  She just laid there for what seemed like forever.   She did finally sit up as they were talking to her and you could tell she was dazed.  It evidently hit her with enough force that there were lines under her eyes from the seam on the soccer ball!  The ref made her sit out-thankfully.  She sat on the side lines shaking her head and rubbing her eyes.

She didn't sit out long before she asked to go back in.  Seriously.  She played but kept rubbing her eyes.  At the end of the game she was a little glassy-eyed and I could tell that she wanted to cry.  Who could blame her?  Walking back to the car she was staggering and swaying.  By bedtime tonight her face had started to swell and there was some bruising.

I think she might have a slight concussion.  I wouldn't be surprised anyway.  Hopefully she won't have too many bruises.  13 yo girls are pretty particular about the way they look and I think that just might make her too self-conscious to go out in public!!

Tonight I will be waking her up periodically just to make sure she will wake up and we will see how she is acting as to whether we need to take her in or not.  Of course if she does bruise it would make for some great pictures! roflol  And yes, I would post them on here...everything is blog fodder!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Tender Heart

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

A few days ago we needed to take some movies back to the library.  We won't discuss the fact that they were's a sore subject!  Anyway, there were three movies and as we walked out the door the second born dutifully grabbed them and dropped them in the slot at said library.


Until later that evening when youngest born decided that she needed to watch said movie.  Here is where a very dramatic and very pregnant pause happened.

Actually it might have been like the vacuum of a black hole as we all realized that said child didn't know we had returned her movie.  We waited until we could wait no longer and I broke the news to her.

I wasn't prepared for her reaction.  I was prepared for anger, frustration, storming off in irritation.  Any of those I could have dealt with.  But I should have known she wouldn't react like other kids...she's the one that cried when I gave her a movie!

So when I told her that her movie was gone she dissolved into tears.  Her face distorted and she collapsed to the ground in front of me.  She was bawling and saying "No, no, no"  She wasn't being hateful or rude, she was genuinely distraught.  Between her sobs she said, "I didn't even get to watch it."

Okay at that point I felt horrible.  What could I say?  The video was gone no hope of getting it back until the next day and the poor child was sobbing on the floor in front of me.  I scooped her up and snuggled her desperately trying to think of something to say to get her to stop crying.  By this time the rest of the girls came around to see why she was so upset.  They don't like to see youngest born cry for any reason!

When each one came up to her she looked up at them and said, "Why would you take that movie back?  I didn't even get to see it."  Each time I would remind her that they didn't know she hadn't seen it and that they were just trying to do the right thing so we wouldn't get more fines.

A few minutes after the sisters dispersed, youngest born got down and bee-lined for the third born.  I was prepared to come to the defense of the defenseless sister if she got to going on her but was shocked by what I heard.  The youngest born walked up to each of her sisters and said this:

"I'm sorry I was mad at you in my heart.  Will you forgive me?"

No one even knew she was mad.  She didn't act on it, she didn't say anything to indicate that she was.  But she knew she was and she knew that it wasn't justified.  She came to that conclusion on her own and acted on her own to remedy the situation.  Of course by the third time she did this, I was in tears!

Oh to have that tender of a heart to my own sin. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

TOS Review Reading Kingdom

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

This go around with The Crew we were able to review a reading program on the computer.  I was super excited to be on this review and am pretty happy with it so far.  :)


The program is called Reading Kingdom.  It is a web-based computer program that teaches young children keyboarding and reading skills.  I was a little wary because they don't use phonics and that is the approach I believe in and have taught to our kids.  I have included a little whole language when needed but it has been mostly a phonics based approach.  So when I read that they didn't teach phonics at all I was a little leary.

This character helps guide your child through the process. 

Here is a page that explains what they believe and why.  It is interesting reading but I can't say that I agree with everything they say.  I don't necessarily disagree either, though.  I think there is balance and that we know our children best so we devise plans and curricula that will be best suited for them.  I think Reading Kingdom could fit nicely into that plan for a lot of families. 

At the beginning of the process your student will take a test of sorts see what their skills are and where they would fit into the program.  Each student is placed according to their skill level and the program adjusts to fit where ever they are at.  After the evaluation the program begins.  My youngest started pretty much at the beginning of the program because she didn't have many typing skills.  She can read a little however but that didn't help a great deal with finding letters on the keyboard.  She quickly learned through the interactive lessons and drills and advanced to the next level. 


The next level had her spelling words already like girl or kid.  It didn't teach them why they are said the way they are it just repeated them and had her type them over and over in different patterns to help her memorize them.  Did it work?  Maybe.  She could do it for the program when asked but I'm not sure if she is going to remember it long term.  I have to say here that this is where I would bring the phonics into it to solidify the letter sounds and give a broader base in which to plant the learning.  But that is just me!

This is an example of one of the reading exercises they do.  It tells them the word to find and then they have to click on it.

She memorized it enough to move on to other words and is seemingly 'learning' enough of them to keep moving on.  And she is enjoying it.  To me that makes up for the difference in philosophy.  I am teaching her to read using phonics and this program is teaching her from a more whole language approach so all the bases are being covered!

Here is a sample of the way to check on your child's progress.

Visually speaking this program is appealing to the young student.  It is bright and interactive and doesn't seem like school.  At least that's what my 6yo says!  She asks to do it everyday and doesn't believe me that it is part of her school work.

You can check out Reading Kingdom for yourself and find out if it would be a good fit for you and your family.  You can sign up for a 30 day trial to try it out and then head over here to sign up.  Subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month with no monthly minimum, or $199.99 if you purchase a 12 month subscription. If you have multiple children using the program, the cost per each additional child in your family is $9.99/month.

Learning key boarding skills.  

My feelings about this program?  They are mixed.  On the one hand I am loving it and it is working well for my youngest.  On the other hand I wouldn't use it as our sole reading program since I am mostly in the phonics camp.  I can definitely see the benefits of this program and so thankful that we were able to review it.  We are going to be using it quite thoroughly!

To see what other Crew members thought about this program head on over to The Crew Blog and check 'em out.

** I received a subscription to Reading Kingdom through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Momma Always Said

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

You know when you were growing up and you momma always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."


Well...I'm not going to say anything.

Well, I will just say that I love my kids but I don't particularly like them at the moment.  That may be shocking to some people but I am just keeping it real.  I love them and wouldn't want to be without them permanently.  But right now they are not my favorite people.

So, my lips are going to be sealed and I am going to read a book in a quiet house.  :-D

Thursday, March 3, 2011


My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content. 

Do you ever have those times when you just can't concentrate?  No matter how hard you try you just can not focus on what you need to.  It becomes even more of a struggle the more you try to do it.  Even the simplest thought becomes elusive.

That's where I am right now.  My oldest calls it a neurological episode!  I don't think she is far from the truth.  I am tired, stressed, and distracted by life.

I can't seem to remember from one room to the next what I was going in there to get or do.  I make a list of things that need done and lose the list. 

It's not a fun place to be. 

I think a little more sleep would help.

For now, if you see incoherent ramblings on here that are more than usual just show me a little mercy and maybe say a prayer for rest.