Wednesday, December 29, 2010
When the vender list came out to show who would be reviewing some different products from The Institute For Excellence in Writing, I quickly scanned the lists to see if my name was on one of them. I laughed out loud when I saw that I would be getting a DVD called, Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day. Does anyone think that this DVD might benefit me at all? Me? With 8,7,5 and 3 year old boys (and two girls.) I was very intrigued to watch this DVD and see what Andrew Pudewa had to say about the differences between boys and girls (other than the obvious) and how we can use this knowledge to do a better job teaching them.
Boys and girls were created differently, so it makes since that they will learn differently. In this 80 minute lecture, Andrew Pudewa talks about some of the big differences between boys and girls and how these differences will affect the way that they learn. He backs up his statements citing several credible sources. For example, did you know that it has been scientifically proven that boys and girls hear differently? Can you think of how this might affect the way that they learn?
Have you ever found yourself bored with a topic because it was not relevent to you? How many times have you tried to teach your child something they could care less to learn? It is much easier to teach your child something they are interested in. From the back of the DVD, "Children like to do what they can do, and they hate to do what they think they cannot do." Another fascinating part of this talk is the insight that is offered into ways you can create relevency for your children, not just in academics but also with life skills.
I found this DVD very interesting. Andrew Pudewa is a very intersting speaker and the lecture was packed full of useful information, not just to me as a homeschool mom, but as a person that works with children in many different capacities. It also explained quite well why it is normal for Alex to stand up and yo-yo while I am reading to him. Building up our children's emotional bank is VERY important and I found the reminder of how and why we need to do this a very important part of the DVD.
Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day is one of the many products offered by the Institute For Excellence In Writing. It is available in both DVD for $1o.00 and MP3 Format for $3.00. You can click here for a PDF file listing Books for Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day arranged by grade level.
I received a complimentary copy of this DVD for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.
To see what other crew mates thought about this DVD and the Phonetic Zoo program click here.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Nicholas ran into the kitchen and grabbed several brown paper bags. He turned each of these into gift bags for each person in the family. In each bag he took something that belonged to him that he knew the other person would appreciate and gave that item away. For example, he gave Lily some sill bands, Alex some army men, and me a New Testament Bible. Then when the other boys saw what he was doing they did the same thing for each member of the family. Anthony even took a picture of his Nana and Papa and made a paper frame for it to give it to Christian. It really touched my heart to see the boys putting forth that effort to be a giver and not just a receiver at Christmas.
Friday, December 24, 2010
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Thursday, December 23, 2010
1,3 (with some 5 and 3 yo tag alongs)
Bible-Enjoying God's Gifts-review to come soon
Math-Abeka - Alex is measuring and adding and subtracting. Nick is multiplying and dividing with remainders. Nick is having a bit of trouble with remainders. His mind wants every Math problem to come out evenly.
Math Facts Now-review to come soon
Times Alive-review to come soon
Reading-Abeka reading program for 3rd grade, Dr Seuss for 1st grade
Science-Abeka 3rd Grade Science I'm planning on taking a break from this for awhile and doing a lapbook from www.homeschoolshare for a few weeks. Topic to still be decided
History-We just finished up Time Travelers Revolutionary War CD and completed our lapbook. In January we will start using Abeka's 3rd grade History
Spanish-Speekee TV-review to come soon
Home Ec-sewing project completed-cooking next semester
Math- Algebra -Tenmarks (review to come soon)
Bible, Science, Geography, Literature, Spanish-Abeka- Truthfully not my favorite curriculum, but it was free and Chelsea really likes it which is important
Every other week we pick a book off of Sonlight's reading list and do a book report. next semester Chelsea will pick a topic for a research paper. She really needs more practice on long term projects and managing her time.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23 NIV
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sat 12/18-chicken patties, french fries, peaches
Mon 12/20- deer steaks, baked potatoes, mixed vegetable
Tues 12/21-broccoli and cheese soup, biscuits
Wed 12/22-Italian Beef Sandwiches, carrots, fruit
Thurs 12/23-Turkey and rice casserole
Sat- Merry Christmas!-ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, corn, Birthday cake for Jesus
Have A Merry Christmas!
For some great menu inspiration go to http://www.orgjunkie.com/
Friday, December 17, 2010
Over the last several weeks, the children and I have been enjoying exploring the Tiny Planets Universe. Tiny Planets provides safe, award winning, educational entertainment geared at children ages 4-12 in the areas of space exploration and discovery. I remembered watching Tiny Planets on TV when Chelsea was a little girl but did not know that it was still around or that they had a website and (you'll really like this part) the majority of the website is FREE!
To begin using the website, all you have to do is create a free parent account and then a cadet account for each child and add them to your parent account. It really is simple once you figure it out, but could use some clearer instructions on the website. They assign the cadet a name and you pick the password. After creating the accounts you are free to explore the different areas of the Tiny Planets Universe.
To read some of the books, watch TV episodes, or add extra items to your ship or planet you have to purchase KEYS through the Parent Account with a credit card. Once you purchase a TV shoe episode, book, or accessories for your planet your ship, you don't have to purchase the same one again. It is "yours" to keep. The cost of the Keys are as follows:10 for $1.95 , 25 for $3.95, 85 for $9.95, 250 for $25.95, and 600 for $49.95.Here are the different areas you can visit on the website:
Tiny Planets TV-You can choose different episodes of Tiny Planets to watch. Some are free and some require KEYS to be purchased.
My Tiny Planets- Children choose their spaceship,navigate through space, adopt and care for their own planet, solve missions with Bing and Bong, help care for neighboring planets, and play mini games while earning points and badges as they go along.
Tiny Planets Fun-has games, puzzles, coloring books, and comics
Tiny Planets Books-Interactive story books featuring Bing and Bong you can read to your child or they can read themselves. Some are free and some have to be purchased with KEYS.
Tiny Planets Learning-for parents, homeschoolers and educators. Has printable puzzles and worksheets for preschoolers (around 3-5 years old) plus over 65 Science related lesson plans with questions and suggested learning activities to go along with Bing and Bong story books.
Tiny Planets Labs-new games just created for kids to test out.
Tiny Planets Blog-where parents and cadets can go to explore tips, science experiments, and astronomy facts.
The Tiny Planets Universe is a safe place for children to play, learn, and explore. The site is completely ad free so there is no worries about what could "pop up" while your child is playing. Even though you can interact with other people on the site, there is no place for children to type in their own text. Cadet names and planet names are auto generated so you don't have to worry about your children reading anything inappropriate. You have the ability to talk to other ships that are in space but can only choose from speech bubbles that have been programmed into the game.
My children really have loved playing on the Tiny Planets website. They enjoyed flying their ships through outer space and playing the games. They have requested to play Tiny Planets every day for their computer time. My two younger boys (5, 3) really enjoy the books and TV episodes.
I like the safety measures that are in place so I don't have to worry about who they are talking to or what is being said. The lesson plans linked with the books are a wonderful science resource for preschoolers. The books and printable worksheets are great.
A few things to consider on this one. TV shows where the characters don't talk bother me. I remember thinking the same thing when Chelsea watched it on TV but the children really enjoy it. Most of the educational value on this site is for preschoolers but I think the Science Activities can be interesting for older children too. A lot of the games seem to be geared for the older children but Christian and Anthony could play with help.
To see what other crew members are saying click here.
I received complimentary access to Tiny Planets for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
I got two days off of cooking this week. One because I was away for the week-end with my husband (will post about that later) and the other because of a pizza party later in the week. Here's what's on our menu for the week. My grocery week runs Friday through Thursday.
Sat 12/11- grilled cheese and canned soup made lovingly by nana
Sun 12/12- spaghetti and bread
Mon 12/13- steak, noodles, green beans
Tues 12/14- potato soup and biscuits
Wed 12/15-stacked burrito pie
For menu inspiration go to http://www.orgjunkie.com/
From the website: "Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS offers truly individualized instruction that meets the student at her learning level and instructs her on the exact topics that she is most ready to learn. As a result, no two students will experience the same learning path while working in ALEKS."
ALEKS is a comprehensive Math program for grades 3-12 with a complete course library ranging from elementary Math all the way through to complex subjects such as PreCalculus. No textbook is required for this program. ALEKS is web based so you have unlimited usage from any internet capable computer and is PC and MAC compatible (JAVA does have to be downloaded.) It offers indiviualized instruction and students can learn at their own pace. The program starts with an assessment to find out what topics the student has already mastered and what they have yet to learn. Students receive immediate feedback and step by step explanations are provided for each problem. Worksheets and quizzes can also be generated and printed out. Parents receive in depth reports for each student so you can see exactly what your child has been working on and for how long. Also included are Quick Tables a complimentary Math Facts program for Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction. Interactive games help reinforce what is being learned. During your subscription period, your student will have access to the full course library so if they finish one of the courses they can move on to the next one without having to purchase another subscription. A subscription starts at $19.95 a month, $99.95 for 6 months, or $179.95 for 12 months for one student. They also offer a family discount program in order to use the program with more than one student.
Through the link below, Homeschoolers who have never tried ALEKS before are eligible for a one month free trial!
I have 2 students in the 3-12 grade range, so Chelsea and Nick both had an opportunity to use a 30 day trial with ALEKS and we set aside our regular Math program during the trial period. Chelsea (9th grade) was working with the Algebra 1 program and Nicholas (3rd grade) was using the LV 3 with Quick Tables. Chelsea really enjoyed using the program. She prefers to work independently and at her own pace. The teacher explanations made it very easy for her to understand how to work out the problems step by step. She also liked that it didn't make her keep going over and over stuff she already knew. I liked not having to teach Algebra for a whole month (she didn't come to me with one single question!) I also liked the reports so that I could see exactly what she was spending her time on and for how long, and how many areas she had mastered.
Friday, December 10, 2010
I recently received the sweetest book in the mail to review Good Morning, God by Davis Carman from Apologia Press. The story is about a 4 year old boy as he goes through a week with his family showing the ways we can enjoy the Lord with our whole being and worship God daily from sunrise to sunset. There are daily prayers meant to inspire your children to consider their own relationship with Jesus and respond with childlike faith. The age range intended for the book is 1-8 years old and the cost of the book is $14.00. There is also a Good Morning, God 32 page coloring book that you can purchase for $4.00. To see a sample of the book click here.
The book can be used in many different ways. You could simply read the story to your children. There are also suggested questions and activities in the back of the book for each day of the week that you can do with your children. To get really in depth, you could read the book every day from Sunday to Sunday. For each day after reading the book you could read the suggested scriptures listed, ask the questions and do the recommended activities for that day. Studying the book in this way would make it a mini-curriculum and a literal application of Deuteronomy 6:6-7. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
We loved this book! I had all of the 9 and under crowd reading it with me (even Lily 21 months) and they all enjoyed it. It is a sweet little story about an active and curious 4 year old boy and his family. The story is realistic, the prayers are sweet, and the illustrations are absolutley adorable (some are in color and some are in black and white.) The black and white illustrations make you want to grab some crayons and color them in when you are reading so I would like to get the coloring book to go along with it too. I like that the book emphasizes family and the mom and dad teaching their children. My boys loved the illustrations with the boy jumping, climbing, and running (things they can easily relate to.)All of the questions and activities listed in the back of the book are very age appropriate. To be perfectly honest, I cannot think of any negative things or considerations about this book at all!
To see what other crew members are saying click here.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
This book was listed as a gift book. I have to say it is a beautiful, very portable book that I would definitely recommend to give as a gift or buy for yourself. In our day to day life, we find ourselves working hard to do our jobs, take care of ourselves and our families, and we often forget about all the promises God has made to us and that His resources are unlimited. This book is a great reminder of those promises. It is not full of someone else's commentary or personal opinions of what The Word says. Instead, it simply lists Scripture for each of the categories in the book. A few of these are: God's Plan for Women is To, God Teaches Women to Walk in His Word by, God Delights in Women Who Are, God Walks with Women, God Encourages Each Woman to, God Teaches Woman How to....and several more. The book ends with a chapter of Dynamic Women of Faith and includes scripture for Mary-mother of Jesus, Elizabeth-mother of John the Baptist, Sarah-wife of Abraham, Hannah-mother of Samuel, Ruth-great grandmother of David and Lydia-seller of purple. There also is a section in the back of the book for recording verses that are special to you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in order to write a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.
Chicken Pot Pie Filling
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups(or more) cooked chicken or other kind of meat
4 medium sized potatoes, diced
1 16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables (or other kinds of vegetables)
1/2 cup flour mixed with 1/2 cup water
Bring chicken broth to a boil and add diced potatoes. Cook until slightly tender. Add frozen mixed vegetables and cook approx. 8 minutes. Add in cooked chicken. Stir in flour/water mixture to thicken the broth and mix well. Pour into 13x9 pan (or pie pan.)
2 cups flour
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk
Cut butter into flour. Add other ingredients with milk being last. Spread over the top of Pot Pie filling. Place in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until biscuit topping is golden brown.
There are so many fun things going on during the holiday season. Everyone is having parties, parades, and festivals. If we are not careful and schedule too many activities, we can end up with cranky, tired children and parents, and no time to enjoy just being together and doing things together as a family. During the holiday season we try to chooses activities that we can all do together and only do 1 or 2 things every week so we are not running around in different directions all week long.
Cooking is kept fairly simple throughout the holidays too. On days where we have something going on I try to do a crock pot meal or have sandwiches so there's no added stress of "What's for dinner?" I love to bake and have lots of little "helpers" so our baking projects are kept fairly simple too. We usually make chocolate chip, m&m, peanut butter blossoms (my favorite) and cut outs. Cut out cookies are probably my least favorite to make and the messiest, so to make my life a little easier, I buy already made sugar cookie dough to use for these. That way the children still have the fun of cutting out and decorating cookies, but we don't have to make a batch of dough that will result in 10 dozen cookies to cut out and decorate. For Christmas Day, I make muffins the day before and buy bagels and fruit for breakfast so the children can eat whenever they are hungry and we have a very light lunch. Our Christmas dinner is ham, potatoes, rolls, corn with a Birthday Cake for Jesus for dessert.
Presents. Who doesn't love getting Christmas presents? Our first few years of being parents, our children got piles and piles of presents and we bought presents for everyone in our whole family and close friends too. If we didn't have the money that was ok, we just whipped out one of our many credit cards. The children would get a pile of toys and most would be broken or at the bottom of the toy box before the week was out. What was the point? Once I became a SAHM and a few more children came along (along with more and more debt) we really had to look at this idea of gift giving and what would be reasonable and meaningful, but still fun for our children (and us too.) We had to stop buying gifts first for all of our family and friends or switch to homemade or baked gifts (enjoyed by everyone!) Then we made a commitment to not go into debt for Christmas. It is not fun or enjoyable when January rolls around with a pile of new bills that need to be paid. Then I read somewhere about a family who gave their children 3 gifts each symbolizing the three gifts that Jesus received and we thought that was a great idea. One present is a "big" present, something that they really want, and 2 smaller presents (one is educational and the other usually clothes.) They also get a few things like candy and coloring books, crayons etc.. in their stockings. I do not spend exactly the same amount on each child but do spend less than $100 dollars on each including their stocking stuffers. Art and I buy a few small gifts for each other and we also buy gifts for 3 angels off the Salvation Army tree and give to other charities during the holidays. All of these things come from money I set aside every month specifically for our Christmas Budget.
A few years a go, I even stopped sending Christmas cards. It wasn't really about the time it took to address and send them out (although that was a factor) but simply the cost. Even though you can buy cards fairly inexpensively, the price of postage keeps rising and rising. I do a Merry Christmas blog post and facebook post and for those of my dear friends who do not use a computer in any way, I will mail out a few cards.
However you decide to spend your holiday season, I hope it is a fun and joyous time spent with your family and friends celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Monday, December 6, 2010
We have a freezer full of deer meat (Yeah!) a free turkey that I am going to cook and split up into as many different meals as I can and the meat that I bought ahead on sale last week so we are in good shape meat wise for the next few weeks. My bread machine however broke after 3 years of using it quite a bit so no fresh bread this week. The good news is I found a barely used one for a great price and will pick it up later in the week. Here's what's cooking up at my house this week:
Sat 12/4-dinner out
Sun 12/5 cheese ravioli
Mon 12/6- chicken pot pie
Tues 12/7- pot roast (well deer roast), potatoes, and carrots
Wed 12/8- chicken, broccoli, noodle casserole
Thurs 12/9- deer chili, biscuits
Go to http://www.orgjunkie.com/ for more menu inspiration.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
How many kids are you gonna have? My answer to this is we know we are going to have at least 7.
Where do you put all of those kids? We have a 4 bedroom house. The downstairs bedroom we use as a playroom/schoolroom (when the remodel is completed) The boys share a bedroom. We have two sets of bunk beds in there with the older boys sleeping on the top bunks. Lily just moved into the girls room with Chelsea. We have a set of bunk beds in there and a twin bed for Lily. The baby's crib stays in our room until the baby stops nursing and is ready to move to a bed. Our living room has 2 couches (one is a futon) and a love seat so we have room for everyone to sit. We are in the process of remodeling our house and turning the garage into a family room. I drive a 15 passenger van. The last row of seats is taken out (so it seats 11) so I have plenty of room for a stroller, bicycles, groceries, or whatever else I am hauling around.
Do you keep having kids to get money from the government? This was one of the most surprising to me (the fact that anyone would even think it.) But we have been asked more than once. We pay for all of our children and do not get grants or ANY kind of government assistance or funding. We do not live in government housing. We own our home (well in 26 years and 3 months we will.) We do not get Medicaid or food stamps. We do pay school taxes even though we don't use the school system and yes we have to pay for all of our own schoolbooks and supplies to homeschool.
How do you afford all of those kids? My husband works very hard at his job, and I work very hard to stretch that money as far as I can. Somehow, our culture has gotten the idea if you don not buy kids everything they want you are not a good parent. We do not believe this to be the case. Our children have a lot, don't get me wrong but they don't get everything they want. We do not wear $150 jeans and our children don't have cell phones. We encourage them to work for and save money for things that they want. We have a budget for monthly expenses and put away some money into a savings account. I make as much as possible from scratch, use coupons, and shop sales to keep the grocery bill as low as possible. I make Art a lunch every day so he does not have to by one. We do not eat out very often but save that as a treat like for birthdays. We try to buy toys and clothes that will last through several children. We do wear hand-me-downs and shop at garage sales. We put money into an FSA for medical expenses every year.
What about college? Again, many people believe that if you don't spend a fortune and hand your child a college education you are not a good parent. We do not agree with that. We also don't think you should go into debt for your education (the parents or the student.) Art and I started our marriage with over $30,000 in school loans combined (some of those we are still paying on) and it's not a great way to start off your life as an adult with all that debt on your back. Our children who choose to go to college are going to have to work hard and earn scholarships. We will help them find ways to achieve their goals but will they will have to earn it not have it handed to them.
Do you believe in birth control? (yes, complete strangers ask me this question) This can be a touchy subject for some people, remember I am entitled to my own opinions just as you are :).
I do not believe in using chemical forms of birth control. I believe that putting chemicals into your body to stop a natural process that God intended is not a good thing and can cause severe and dangerous consequences for women including things from minor ailments to death (I understand that there are some extreme medical conditions where the benefits outweigh the risks.) I also do not believe in the way many of these chemicals work not just preventing ovulation, but if that fails making the uterus inhospitable for implantation. I believe a baby is a baby at the point of conception so preventing implantation is the same to me as an early abortion.
Why would you want to keep bringing children into a world like this? This one makes me sad. This world is a hard world to live in as it has been ever since the Fall. God sees children as a blessing and so do we. You never know what kind of difference your child can make in this world and for eternity. I saw this quote the other day (I'm not sure who wrote it.) "A baby is God's way of showing that He thinks the world should go on."
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Over the last two evenings, Lily (20 months) has been watching us get her big girl bed ready. The whole time she was watching her daddy put it together she kept saying, "That's my bed." Last night it was all set and ready to go and she happily climbed up into her new bed. At bed time when I told her it was time to go night night, she gave her daddy a kiss, grabbed her sippy cup, and went and climbed into her new bed. I tucked her in and sang her rock-a-bye-baby song and in minutes she was asleep. I got up and checked on her 3 times in the night and her daddy covered her up before he went to work this morning. At 7:15 I heard her hop out of her bed and she came running into my room happy as could be. Her first night in her new bed was a success ! (we'll see what happens at nap time)