Today's Wisdom

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 6/22

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In my life this week…
Princess of the King dance camp was by morning for Sarah and then we ended with a Princess of the King slumber party at our church!  It was so awesome and one of the oldest girls  whispered in my ear and thanked me for all I had done to help to make it happen.  Now, they want an annual event. :)

So, this week was all about the princess!

It all started with Princess nails...

I am so thankful for our teenage girls that helped!  There was no way we could have pulled this off without them!

Next up princess make-up...

Yes, we used the whole church for this event!

Next, princess hair...

And finally time to get dressed for the ball...

Each princess received their princess sash, introduction and made their trip down the pink carpet...

to their spot at the table for dinner...
after dinner, we all went out for ice cream and the girls were not expecting all the attention they would receive but they enjoyed their ice cream...

Then back to the castle for pajamas first, then games, crafts, devotions, movies, and more!

Each girl had a blast but they could also tell you the reason they had true beauty and that's because they were Princesses of the King of Kings, His treasured creation, His Daughter, His Girl!

Finally, an air mattress where I could rest my weary head at about 3:00am but then my princess is kind of a bed hog. :)

Things I’m working on…
This week we will be headed to Georgia for summer camp!

I’m grateful for…
My God who loves me and calls me His treasure!

I’m praying for…
strength and good health for us all as we go through the next few months including several summer camps and vbs

Friday, June 22, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: IXL


IXL is a fun and graphic rich math enrichment site that offers practice in unlimited questions in over 2000 different skills ranging from pre-K to Algebra.  Students can excel (IXL) in math!

Membership benefits include:

  • Questions that adapt to your child’s ability, increasing in difficulty as they improve.
  • Immediate feedback and question-specific explanations to solidify understanding of each concept.
  • Audio for all Pre-K through first-grade skills.
  • Weekly e-mail updates on your child’s progress.
  • Informative, detailed reports pointing out successes and trouble spots.
  • Awards and certificates for you and your children to print out as they reach important milestones.
  • Family memberships
  • complete user guides
The questions given are fun and colorful.  As your child answers each question correctly, they will see their percentage score on the right of the screen go up.  There is also a timer keeping track of how long the child works.  You have the option of hiding the timer if this flusters your child.  If they miss a problem, their percentage will drop and they will be given the option of choosing an explanation for the problem missed. 
IXL Screen Samples

In our family, at first I set a goal for each child to practice their grade level skills until they reached 100% mastery.  Well, that was quickly changed as some frustration began to set in.  As soon as they missed a problem their percentage would go down, then they would get close again, and bam - missed problem - lower percentage.  So, we then changed our goal to 15 minutes or 100% - whichever came first.  That helped tremendously!  Sometimes, we also had to change levels because they just were not getting the concept fully.  I love the fact that IXL allows you to hide grade levels so instead of doing 3rd grade practice problems, they would be doing Level E and not feel like they were behind.   I think IXL has really thought about the options available to meet different needs for different children.  

Be aware of the fact that there is no teaching before you begin.   As I said, when you miss a problem you can choose to have an explanation given to you but you start with no lessons before hand. So for our family, it worked best to start at a lower level and use the questions as review and practice.  I guess you could use it as your main math curriculum if your child excels in math but for us it would have to be a supplement.  It is a superb program to use all year long but especially if you take a summer break like we do.  We try to get in at least 3 days worth of fun each week.  

Also included with your membership are fun games that your children will earn as they continue to "play."

IXL Awards and Games

Another great feature are the reports available that offer users access to progress reports, which provide detailed information along with visual representations, historical reports, and the ability to print certificates. These easy-to-read reports can identify which problem types and skills a student needs more work on.  IXL even makes state standards assessment easy. Standards reports help students prepare for the test by showing which skills they should practice more to improve standards proficiency.  While your child practices, IXL's sophisticated SmartScore technology analyzes their answers and determines their current level of understanding, at every step along the way. SmartScore is based on such factors as the number of problems completed, number of problems correct and incorrect, problem difficulty, and consistency. With SmartScore, IXL is continually reassessing your child, so you can rest assured that you will always have up-to-the-minute information on their progress and can accurately predict their performance.  So, if you are required to test annually - this would be a great way to practice beforehand!
IXL Family Reports
One of my favorite features were the weekly emails sent of our family report and the individual emails I would receive as each child mastered a new concept.  I thought the price for a family was a good deal as well.  Pricing for family memberships starts at just $9.95/month or $79/year. Each additional child costs $2/month or $20/year. For more information or to purchase a family membership, go to and select your desired membership option to view pricing details.

IXL Fee Buttons

Be sure to check out what my fellow crew members thought about IXL.

**Disclaimer: As a member of The Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a free IXL membership to use with my 3 children to review. The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Pearson Homeschool enVisionMATH

In the midst of summer break, we still try to fit the 3 R's into our daily schedule several times a week.  The crew was given the opportunity to review several homeschool subjects from Pearson Homeschool.  Since we now have a new 6th grader in the house, I chose enVisionMATH 6 to review.  Stephen, my 6th grader, is like his mama in Math - we both love it and find it fairly easy to learn.  

What stood out to us both in this curriculum were the stories included in the text.  
For example, in Topic 1, there is a beautifully illustrated picture of a coral reef with this question - 

Coral reefs are formed by tiny marine animals, known as coral polyps, that live in colonies.  About how many coral polyps could form 1 square foot of of coral reef?  You will find out in Lesson 1-5.

This really peaked Stephen's interest as he headed into Topic 1 - Numeration.  There were other story intriguers as well.  Each topic included them.  The student text comes in a hardbound, non consumable, text book.  It even smelled like the textbooks I remembered from school.  Not sure that is a good thing though.  :)  The book includes 20 topics which are broken down into sub-topics and those sub-topics are your daily lessons.  The topics include...

  • Topic 1: Numeration
  • Topic 2: Variables, Expressions, and Properties
  • Topic 3: Operations with Decimals
  • Topic 4: Solving Equations
  • Topic 5: Number and Fraction Concepts
  • Topic 6: Decimals, Fractions, and Mixed Numbers
  • Topic 7: Adding and Subtracting Fractions and Mixed Numbers
  • Topic 8: Multiplying Fractions and Mixed Numbers
  • Topic 9: Dividing Fractions and Mixed Numbers
  • Topic 10: Integers
  • Topic 11: Properties of Two-Dimensional Figures
  • Topic 12: Ratios, Rates, and Proportions
  • Topic 13: Solving Proportions
  • Topic 14: Understanding Percent
  • Topic 15: Equations and Graphs
  • Topic 16: Measurement
  • Topic 17: Perimeter and Area
  • Topic 18: Volume and Surface Area
  • Topic 19: Data and Graphs
  • Topic 20: Probability

Each topic consists of 5-11 daily lessons.  Each lesson contains the concept being taught, guided practice problems, and  independent practice problems.  Some of the lessons also include social studies, science, and algebra connections as well.  The teacher edition CD-ROM which is included in the homeschool bundle, guides you through each lesson.  It includes scripted questions to help you engage your students.  It also has printable worksheets on it such as an assessment at the end of each lesson.  Depending upon your child's assessment, you are then given further instructions including reteaching strategies and more practice problems if necessary.  You do not move on until your child is ready!  At the end of a topic, the student is also given a test containing questions from each of the lessons in the topic to ensure complete mastery.

I found having to refer to the teacher manual on CD quite time consuming for me.  I would prefer a print edition but the CD is filled with so much information that I can see why they chose that route instead of print.  You do not need every sheet that is available so it will save you money in the long run and it is FULL of information.  It makes it very simple for the teacher to teach their child math.  The concepts are explained and you are given many teaching strategies.  It really is a gold mind of information but it does take some time for navigation.

Also included in the homeschool bundle is the Mindpoint Quizshow CD-ROM which allows your student to compete against the computer, siblings, or even you!  It is fun way to reinforce what your child is learning and is broken down by the same topics.  It is also a great reward tool.

Your student can certainly read this curriculum and do the work independently but it was not designed to be used that way.  My thoughts are this seems to be an advanced math curriculum and if your child struggles even in reading, you will need to have a more hands on approach.  We actually implemented both ways and found both easy to do but as I stated earlier, Stephen is strong in math and also in reading.  Also, being the homeschooler that I am - didn't assign all the independent practice problems.  I chose which ones and if he struggled then we would complete the rest.  If he didn't, we moved on!  So, for us some lessons were completed in a day and some it took several days to complete depending upon his mastery level.

The homeschool bundle of Envision Math 6 will be $99 for the 2012-2013 school year.  It includes the student text, teacher edition CD-ROM, and the Mindpoint Quizshow CD-ROM.


Be sure to check out what my fellow crew members thought about Envision Math - different levels and other subjects available from Pearson Homeschool .

**Disclaimer: As a member of The Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a free homeschool bundle of Envision Math to review. The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation.

Summer, Summer, Summer Time

During summer, we lighten our load.  One thing I try to stay intentional about is at least an outing every week.  These can certainly be called our summer field trips.  I recently saw this photo on facebook from Vision Forum and I totally agree!!

When You Homeschool...
When you homeschool, all of life becomes opportunity for education. You begin applying Deuteronomy 6:6-8 — the daily discipleship of your children — in the kitchen, the car, the office, the garden, the backyard, and everywhere in between. You are not bound by the mass education learning limitations of “when” and “where,” as you find teaching moments in every conceivable scenario and environment. And you embrace the role of teacher to your children in all areas of life: academically, physically, and spiritually.

When you homeschool, the world is your classroom.

So, even though we take a summer break for our "normal" school routine - we continue to learn through life itself.

One example of life learning would be a trip to putt-putt. This is a place where you can teach math, good sportsmanship, patience, kindness, etc. You will never see your children want to do math so much. Adding scores inevitably leads to a lesson on good sportsmanship. When one of our crew scores a hole-in-one, well, let's just say the whole park pretty much knows about it. So, cheering each other on 
(encouragement) is a great virtue to have under your belt.

On our recent trip, we even saw lightning bugs and raccoons while we were putting!!

Pictures were taken with my phone so they aren't that great. Can you see them - it was a family of 4 raccoons!

Other ideas I have in mind for our weekly outings include...
  • a trip to the local spray park - where I'm sure a lesson in modesty will come up
  • the local science museum - so much to learn there
  • an ice cream/milkshake outing - a lesson in frugality - shakes at Sonic are half-price on June 20th!
  • a picnic at the park
  • camping trip
  • summer bowling
  • summer movies
  • beach
  • blueberry picking
  • volunteer at the food shelter
  • more putt-putt - we have over 50 free games :)
Where do you go with your family during the summer?

See where my fellow crewmates go for field trips!


Friday, June 15, 2012

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 6/15

See other journals here

In my life this week…
Projects, projects, projects!  (see below!)

We are gearing up for a pretty in pink princess of the King party at church next weekend.  This is what I do when I create - make a mess!!

Things I’m working on…

I’m grateful for…
The opportunity to stay at home and help with all these projects!

I’m praying for…
strength and good health for us all as we go through the next few months including several summer camps and vbs

Life in photos…
~Recital 2012~