Our Family

Our Family

Friday, June 28, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Matific Galaxy

During the summer months we stop using our regular math curriculum but try to do some math to keep our skills fresh.  Sometimes we do a little bit of book work or play math games, or sometimes we do some work online.  Over the last several weeks, Christian has had an opportunity to use and review Matific Galaxy, an online math resource.

 Matific Galaxy has hundreds of mathematics games and activities designed to help children in grades K-6 boost their confidence in math.  It can be played on your computer and they also have apps for Android and Apple devices.  Children work through the episodes and activities at their own pace, repeating skills as needed.  Parents can easily log in and see what their children have been working on in the parent zone.  Matific is available in over 40 languages and can be used at home or in the classroom.

Christian (12) has been working on the 5th grade math skills.  Math is his most difficult and dreaded subject so I started him down a grade level.  In the 5th grade there are 44 skills in the areas of : division, mixed operations. basic fractions, decimals, arithmetic with fractions, geometry, coordinate planes, volume, measurement, data analysis, and problem solving.  We have been using the program on our computer for around 15 minutes a day 3-4 days per week.

When Christian logs in he sees a screen like this.

Our internet is pretty slow so it takes some time to load this page.  Next he sees this screen.

And once he hits play gets to the screen that shows which planet he is on.

Even though he has played all of the games on this planet, he cannot move on to the next planet until he plays the ones he didn't get enough stars on again.

You click on the game to play.

The instructions are in the bottom left corner.  In this game he was supposed to tap the shapes the game told him to.  By clicking on the question mark over the word parallelogram he could see the definition if he didn't know what it meant.  On this game he was a bit confused because he didn't realize he had to hit done when he had clicked all of the parallelograms.

When you finish your game you see how many pixels you have earned from that game. Then you can go back to your planet and choose another game to play.

In the Parent Zone you can see reports on what topics your child has completed, their weekly activity, the percentage they have completed, practice results, and suggested games.

Under reports you can see results by topic and results on the specific planets.  You also can see the total trophies they have received.  

Emails are sent to parents notifying you if your child has not met their weekly time goal to work on the game or if they have met their goals.  Weekly progress reports are also emailed to parents.

We thought the games were fun and interesting and used a lot of relatable examples to teach the skill.  For example in a percentage game there were birds sitting on a tree and a birdhouse beside them and you had to put a certain percentage of birds in the birdhouse.  There is a good variety of activities and skills for the different grade levels.  I do think on some of the games that there needs to be more directions that what is given.  To get a better feel for the program I sat down and played a few of the games on my own and there was one that I had no idea what they were asking me to do until I started clicking on some things to make a mistake so I could figure it out.  Parents do not have the ability to assign specific tasks or print worksheets, those features are for classrooms only.  The reports were thorough.  I could easily see what Christian had been working on and what he had trouble with. 

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Review: The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

I love to read, especially Christian Fiction and Historical Fiction.  I enjoy most of these types of books but there are a few authors whose stories I absolutely love and will read multiple times.  Rachel Hauck is one of those authors.  Her book, The Wedding Dress is one of my absolute favorite books.  Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wallstreet Bestselling author.  She has won several awards and one of her books, Once Upon a Prince was made into a movie.  She is an author whose books I cannot wait to read and I was excited to have an opportunity to review her latest release, The Memory House.

The Memory House shifts back and forth in time from present day to 1953.  Two women face terrible tragedy 50 years apart, but their lives are connected.  Beck Holiday lost her father in the 9/11 attacks and also lost her memories of him.  She becomes a police officer and during a time when she is struggling to get her life together receives a letter telling her she has inherited a house in Florida.  There she reconnects with Bruno Endicott a sports agent who remembers Beck from when they were children but she does not remember him or anything about being in Florida on vacations with her family before her father died. 

More then 50 years before, Everleigh Applegate had tragedy strike her life when a tornado ripped through the town of Waco Texas and destroyed her dreams.  She lives a quiet and uneventful life with her also widowed mother.  When she reconnects with an old high school friend she desires for her life to change and wants to love again but a secret and her fears keep holding her back.

The Memory House is a great story of love and life and loss, overcoming your fears and finding your faith to move on.  Every person faces hard times in their life and even though they may not be as tragic as the characters in this book it is something we can relate to.  I love when Ms. Hauck writes a book that links two sets of characters through time.  Even though the time and characters shift back and forth she writes the story in a way that is not at all confusing, it is easy to follow.  The characters are real and well developed and the plot will keep you engrossed in the story to the end.  I was really not sure as I was reading how all of the things in the story would be resolved but it was all done very well and I loved how it all ended. 

The Memory House was another outstanding book by Rachel Hauck!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance to the FTC regulations.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Our Week in Review (June 17th-23rd)

Monday I had to take Nick and Alex to a meeting about their upcoming Citizen Washington Focus 4 H trip to Washington D.C.  This is the best 4 H trip and I know they will have a wonderful time and learn a lot!  We started planning for them to go on theis trip over a year ago, way before they won the SeaPerch and found out nationals was in D.C.  This trip will be longer and focus on completely different things.  They are looking forward to it.

After that the boys went and worked on a community service project, packing backpacks filled with food for the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen.

Tuesday was 4 H District O' Rama.  Lily competed in Junior Instrumental and won 2nd place.  She also received her trophy for her Home Environment Record Book.  Emmie is not old enough to compete yet so she sat with me to watch the instrumental competition. 

Christian and Anthony both did talks in Innovative Technology.  Christian did a Stopmotion Demonstration and Anthony did a talk on drones.  Christian won 3rd and Anthony won 5th and they both got their trophies for their STEM record books.

Alex competed in Bait Casting and won 2nd and got his trophy for Animal Science.

Nick competed in BB Shooting and won 3rd.  Nick and Alex are eligible to go to State O Rama in July and Nick will receive his State Record Book Award there.

Wednesday and Thursday were mostly stay at home days.  The boys went to youth activities and the girls and I went grocery shopping on Thursday.

Friday Lily had a sewing workshop.  They made a zippered pouch.  All of the girls did a great job!

We worked on some math, reading, and some writing this week on the days that we were home.  I did some curriculum research but did not make any definite decisions.  The girls and I did some embroidery on the machine but since those are gifts I am not sharing those photos. 

I hope you had a great week!  Next week will be a busy one for us!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Jump In, 2nd Edition Midddle School Composition

One of the hardest subjects for me to choose curriculum for my boys is language arts, especially when they passed the elementary years.  One of the skills we want them to have is to be able to communicate effectively, and writing is a big part of that.  Writing is not their favorite thing to do and learning difficulties make it even more challenging. As we were finishing up our curriculum for the 2018/2019 school year I started looking for ideas for next year.  I had used other products from Writing with Sharon Watson with my older boys and was very excited to see that her Middle School Composition curriculum had been recently updated.  Then I discovered it was an upcoming review item and I was thrilled to be chosen to review Jump In, 2nd Edition.  

Jump In, 2nd Edition  is a writing course for middle school students in grades 5-8.  The course contains 98 daily lessons called skills, plus an additional 19 skills that are the assignments and checklists.  The lessons vary in length from 5-20 minutes. Students will learn about constructing a paragraph, topic sentences and main ideas.  They will learn to write persuasive essays, exposition including how to and compare and contrast paragraphs, descriptive essays, narration, and poetry. The course can be completed in one year or spread out over two or three years.  Different word counts are listed for each assignment for more experienced writers. 

There are two components to Jump In, 2nd Edition:

Teacher's Guide ($10) : This book is a 115 page paperback book and contains everything the teacher needs for the course including: suggested schedules, Teacher's Backpack with information to help your students along the way, Sample Essays with suggestions on how to grade, 10 Minute Writing Plunges and guidelines, Answer Keys for questions asked in the book, Essay Assignments and Suggested Writing Schedules, and Grading Grids for all of the assignments.

Student Guide ($40): This book is a 286 page paperback book.  It is consumable and you will need one for each student taking the course.  Each lesson has sections for the student to read and then spaces for them to record answers to questions they are asked.  Essay assignments and suggested writing schedules are also in the book. Checklists are included for writing assignments so they can check off tasks as they complete them and evaluate their assignments after they complete them.

Digital versions of the Student and Teacher's Guide are also available.  The Student Guide is $35 for the digital version and the Teacher's Guide is $8.

I have been using Jump In, 2nd Edition  with my 13 year old son who just finished the 7th grade.  Writing is very difficult for him.  He has dyslexia which makes writing and spelling a very big challenge and he also has a very hard time coming up with topics to write about.  He struggles with organizing his thoughts about topics and getting them down on paper.

We dived in to Jump In, 2nd Edition  a few weeks ago. He hasn't complained one time about the assignments because they are short and to the point.  Plenty of space is given in the book for the student to write down their answers. Sharon Watson writes the text to the student in a conversational tone that they can relate to and adds bits of humor throughout.  Anthony has a very interesting sense of humor and with the book being written in the tone that it is it has made him feel like that is ok for him to use too.  When brainstorming the advantages of owning a pet in the Get Your Feet Wet section one of his was: "Protection: Anteaters eat termites." ( how many people do you know that own anteaters?)

I love the examples that are given in the books, they are very kid friendly, and the way the lessons are broken down.  Reluctant writers wont feel like they are working forever and those that love writing can complete the assignments and move on if they want to.

I like the way the lessons build up to the writing assignment  preparing the student for what they will be writing.  Several options are given for each assignment.  This is great for reluctant writers!  I am not focusing on assignment length right now, just working through the assignments in the book and organizing thoughts to get them down on paper.  Here is a first draft on an opinion piece of why pizza is the best food ever.

I think the writing plunges are a fantastic idea.  These are split up into four weeks over each month of the school year.  They are designed to be given to your student on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday writing for just 10 minutes.  Then they can choose their favorite and hand it in for a grade or you can skip that part and just use it for writing practice.  You can also choose to skip these on days they have a lot of writing they are already doing.   

I LOVE the checklists for the students to break down the writing assignment and to take a look back at their work.  There's something about checking off a little box that can make you feel so accomplished and the checklist gives students great ideas of what to look for in their writing.

From a teaching standpoint, Jump In, 2nd Edition  is very easy to use.  The teaching part is done for you.  The Teacher's Guide has a lot of helpful information and examples for grading your child's work.  The grading grids for each assignment is a wonderful tool for teachers.

We will be taking a summer break until Mid-August, but I like Jump In, 2nd Edition  so much that I am going to purchase a second book to use with one of my other boys who will be going into 7th grade.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: The Kingdom Code

A few months ago, my children had an opportunity to attend a half day Entrepreneur Camp.  They were excited about what they learned there and wanted to learn more so they would be able to start a business of their own.  I was trying to think of a way to create a class to do at home when we were offered an opportunity to use and review  The Complete Starter Kit from The Kingdom Code.

 The Kingdom Code is a hands on program that teaches children in grades 3-6 money management and how to create and run a business.  It is Biblically based curriculum that helps children have a good attitude, positive work ethic, and confidence.  The class is designed to be used for 45 minutes twice a week for 34 weeks but this schedule is only a suggestion, the pacing and scheduling is very flexible.

For our review we received The Complete Starter Kit.  This kit includes:

Textbook- The textbook is a 244 page full color spiral bound book.  This book has the 27 lessons with  graphics,  photos, and text.  The course has a medieval theme that carries through the text.  The course focuses on how to be an entrepreneur but the lessons also contain information on history, Bible, economics, math, life skills, and budgeting.

Teacher's Guide- This is a 131 page pack of loose leaf hole punched papers that contain the step by step teaching instructions.  The 27 lessons in the course are split up into 68 teaching days with the idea of completing 2 days per week. Answers for the worksheets and activity pages are also found in the Teacher's Guide.

Student Packet- The student packet contains all of the consumable materials to the program.  It has a worksheet for each lesson to reinforce what has been taught, TKC Treasure Map to mark your progress through the course, flashcards with all of the vocabulary words taught in the course, three 8.5x11 posters, 2 pages of stickers, and KCK Receipt Book to keep a record of customer's payments.

We also received

The Kingdom Code Coloring Book - A coloring book to use with younger children (or older children who like to color) that has 32 pages of knights, Bible verses, and the JOEYS budget (Jesus, Others, Education, You, and Savings.)

Jr. KCK Budget Kit- This kit is for younger children and contains one poster, one sheet of JOEYS stickers, 6 coloring book pages, KCK Budget Percentage Page, and instructions to make your budget binder.

Other items you will need to use The Kingdom Code Curriculum include: 2 one inch 3 rind binders, set of divider tabs, folder with brads and pockets, 6 zippered pencil pouches, and a container (like a ziplock bag) to hold your flashcards.

Each lessons follows a similar format.  You have your proclamation which is an important statement recommended to be said out loud such as , " My heart plans my way, but the Lord directs my path."  Then the Check Your Path section tells you which worksheet you will need to answer questions about the lesson.  The Quest for the Clue section gives information on what the theme and goals of the lesson will be.  The length of this reading varies but all of them end with the clue which will be something like, " To be successful, KCK's know their strengths, study the competition, and have a winning strategy!"  Then we have the Code of Honor, which teaches the skill of the lesson with a character code.  Treasure Seeking students learn and practice skills.  At the end of this section they find their "treasure." KCK's use common sense, knowledge, God's wisdom, and experience to make good decisions."  Next you find the On Your Own section with additional activities and projects.  To wrap up each lesson you will find The Kingdom Keys which reviews the lesson using Key to the Lesson, Key Ideas, and Key terms.  Following this there is a congratulations page and Bonus Code Work activities.  There are other additional components sprinkled throughout the curriculum such as history highlights and Letters from Aunt Jimmi.

I have been using The Kingdom Code with my 8,10, 12 and 14 year olds 1-2 days per week over the last several weeks.  I read the lesson from the text aloud to all of the children and they completed the activities and worksheets.  We live in a very rural area (our neighbors are cows) around 20 minutes from town so starting some of the typical service businesses for children my children's ages is not very practical for us.  But, they are working very hard on some business plans and ideas.  My daughter Lily plays piano and during the school year helps to accompany a Children's Choir at our church and makes a little bit of money with this.  She hopes to expand this by teaching introductory lessons to children with less experience then she has.  She also was gifted recently with an embroidery machine and is using the knowledge she has gained by working through The Kingdom Code to make plans for a future embroidery business.  My children also raise animals for 4 H .  We currently have chickens, rabbits, goats, and a pig.  To start their own business here at our family farm, my children have started building their flock and herds and breeding to sell their animals.  They came up with several other business ideas over the course of the last few weeks and we have had many conversations about the law of supply and demand especially the part where you shouldn't build a business around things that people are not interested in buying.

The children and I have enjoyed going through the lessons in The Kingdom Code.  I love that the curriculum is Biblically based and includes great character traits and Bible verses.  I love the vocabulary that is included in the course.  I think it has given the children a better introduction to economics then I got in high school.  I love the variety of activities and steps they take to build and maintain their business.  One of our favorite parts have been the historical information that is included.  Did you know a man named Mr. Goodnight and his partner Oliver Loving took cattle 600 miles to sell beef in a new market in the 1800s?   I also loved that it talked about some business failures and having the courage to start over again when you do fail. 

The Kingdom Code can be used with the entire family and a wide range of ages.  You will have to make some adjustments depending on the ages of your children.  The information that is presented is fantastic even for older children but you may have to make some changes in how it is presented because it is geared for children younger then 6th grade. 

I love the textbook.  From a practical standpoint it is spiral bound and lies flat!  It is beautiful and sturdy.  The lessons flow very well from one step to the next and I love the Kingdom Keys wrap up at the end of each lesson going over the highlights of the lessons and reviewing the vocabulary.

The Kingdom Code is offering a coupon for 10 percent off of their products purchased online!  Use code 10TKC32.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Our Week in Review (June 10th-16th)

We were thankful for cool weather this week and no rain until Sunday night.

Monday we had Liam whole his mama went to the doctor.  It was a beautiful day and we played outside for most of it.

He was not impressed with the pig!

Tuesday Nick and Alex headed to Six Flags early in the morning.  The rest of us went to the Eh House for the Jam and Jelly workshop.  We made strawberry freezer jam, blueberry jam, and blackberry jam.

Wednesday Art and I headed to Little Rock with Nick and Alex and an extra teenager that needed a ride.  It was the first day of 4 H Teen Leader Conference.  We dropped the kids off and hung around town for a few hours.  Nicholas was chosen as an Arkansas Teen Star this year!  and we were invited to the Teen Star Banquet and Awards Ceremony.

Thursday Lily and Emmie had a painting class and a music lesson and we kept Liam while his mama was at work. 

Friday morning we had to go back to pick up the boys from Little Rock so we left  early to spend two hours at the zoo before we had to get them.  It a two hour drive so we left at 7 so we could be there as soon as it opened.  We had to pick up the boys at 11:30.  It was really nice getting there right at 9.  It was not crowded and the weather was perfect.  We did have to rush a bit because of the time limit and I told the children we could not see everything this time and some things were blocked off because of updates they are making but it was a nice visit.

Saturday Liam had his birthday party.  He will be two this week! 

I hope you had a great week!  Happy Homeschooling!