Today's Wisdom

Friday, July 31, 2015

Please Don't Think I'm Perfect!

**Disclaimer:  This post may contain affiliate links.  I love supporting small businesses and I thank you and them for the opportunity to help out my own family!

I have recently jumped on the Periscope bandwagon - not so much scoping myself as interacting and watching others scopes. If you don't know what that is, check out Melanie's post which is where I found out about it myself. Word of warning though: It IS Addictive! Over and over again, while I watch I hear different scopers saying that the blog world often portrays people as staged or unreal. So, let me put this disclaimer out now although if you are a regular reader I'm sure you already figured this out - I am not perfect!
I am the queen of inconsistency!  When one area of my life is going well, another one is falling behind.  I am only human and there are just not enough hours in my day to accomplish everything that my heart desires no matter how well I plan my time!  When I give up on one time sucker, I fall into a new one - ie: periscope!!

My personality definitely has some type A tendencies. However, I can easily just push aside whatever plan I've taken the time to come up as well.  I love the planning process! It's the follow through that I've always had problems with.  I'm currently taking Mystie Winckler's Simplified Organization course and love her quote - "What is the point in having a list, after all, if you never look at it?"  - so true!! 

So currently just some of my inconsistencies include...(I started to type fails but I really don't look at them as failures or that would cripple me from moving forward.  I just look as them as life!)

  • losing weight
  • menu planning
  • sticking to the cleaning schedule
  • keeping up with the grocery budget or the budget at all
  • spending quality time with my children
You know what keeps me keeping on despite my life re-directions - God.  He knows just how imperfect I am but He keeps sending me friends to encourage and inspire me to get back up and do it again and more importantly He loves me despite it all.  

I truly believe that the only failure is quitting!  So, I'm off to add to that brain dump and finish getting the school area ready for the year!  We can do this - just never give up!

Summertime Planning Is Underway!

This is what is going on around here this weekend.  Some is complete already!  YAY!  Back to our fall school year August 11th.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review of With Lee In Virginia Audio Adventure

Our family was first introduced to Heirloom Audio Productions last September when we had the opportunity to review Under Drake's Flag and again in February when they produced In Freedom's Cause. This time around they have captured one of America's most historical moments of Civil War times With Lee in Virginia.

We received the two CD set with over 2 1/2 hours of audio adventure adapted from G.A. Henty's Book, With Lee In Virginia and a downloadable study guide. The first CD contains 12 tracks and the second has 14 tracks. The study guide gives you discussion questions to aid in the comprehension of the lessons learned. It also has thinking deeper questions and vocabulary words as well.

If you are thinking audio book here, this is nothing to me like an audio book which can sometimes be very dry and boring. This is definitely an audio adventure and you can tell in the character's voices just how much passion they present through their characters. Watch this fun video to see a short excerpt of the cast in action. I want to know how I can sign up to be a cast member because it looks like so much fun!

In this historical fiction audio adventure, you will follow along with 15 year old, Vincent Wingfield, as he joins the cavalry and fights along side Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. He watches their dedication to God and grows up before your eyes as he struggles with his own beliefs especially those regarding slavery.

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

We cannot say enough about these and the other audio adventures from Heirloom Audio Productions! They absolutely bring history to life and have you sitting on the edge of your seat to see what will happen next. The advanced sound effects place you right back in history and make you feel like you are riding right on the back of a horse fighting along. 

Canons blasting, gunshots blazing, battle cries, horse neighs, and prayers of some of the strongest men in battle are heard all throughout With Lee in Virginia. Victories, defeats, friendship, character, love, strength, duty to country, and devotion to God are just some of the many characteristics found in the characters of With Lee in Virginia. Heirloom Audio Productions takes great care in immersing their reader in the story.

Here is a lineup of some of the all star cast involved in making this historical audio adventure come to life!

We usually listen to the audio stories during our school time, but for the summer we were able to take the adventures on the road with us. My mom had double bypass surgery so we spent a week driving back and forth with an hour and a half drive each way. What a blessing this was to be able to hear and enjoy during such a scary time in our life. It also gave us a new perspective on the Civil War and what an ending! I'll have to leave you hanging on that one. 
There are several sets available for you to purchase and you can see those here. This adventure is recommended for ages 6 and up. Some of the additional options available include a MP3 download, ebook, printable poster with Lee's famous quote (see below), and more.

From the words of Robert E. Lee in a letter to his son, "Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less."

That sums up the overall theme of With Lee in Virginia.

Find out more by visiting Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review of UnLock Math

Unlock Math Review

**Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links

UnLock Math currently offers online Math courses in Pre-Algebra and they are releasing Algebra 1 soon (release date is set for August 3, 2015). They are also adding in Algebra 2 coming in 2016. We had the opportunity to review UnLock Pre-Algebra

UnLock Pre-Algebra Details

This is a complete online math course that takes the stress out of Math. Since this is an online program, be sure to check out the computer and internet recommendations here. (scroll to the bottom)

The course includes 16 units along with a final review and exam for a total of 159 days worth of Math lessons. It includes a pacing guide in PDF format for you and your student with suggested schedules to choose.  It suggests from 4 days a week to 5 days a week. Since it's summer time for us we went with a 3 day per week schedule but the way the course is laid out that was no problem whatsoever. Your student's progress is also tracked and graded in the online program immediately which this mama LOVES!

Unlock Math Review

Each lesson contains 6 parts with different weights for grading:

  • Warm-up (0%) - This is simply a review of problems for the student to get them started with the lesson for the day.
  • Video Lesson - This is a video lesson taught by co-founder, teacher, and former homeschooler, Alesia, who goes through the concepts of the lesson for the day. She has a fun and energetic teaching style and it feels likes she is right there in the room with you.
  • Practice Problems (30%) - This is where your student will put into practice the lesson that was taught for the day.
  • Stay Sharp (10%) - These problems cover concepts learned previously so the student is receiving constant reinforcement with each lesson.
  • Reference Notes - This is a printable PDF document that contains the concepts and vocabulary of the lesson.
  • Challenge Yourself (5% bonus)- This is a bonus question that challenges the student and stretches them to think. If they do not get it correct, it does not count against them but they do receive a bonus for answering it correctly.
When a unit is complete the student will take a quiz (15%) and test (30%).  There is also a midterm exam (5%) and final exam (10%).

The student dashboard is extremely easy to navigate and you launch each lesson by clicking on the rocket to open it.  Each step of the way is recorded so it is so easy to pick back up where you left off. The gradebook gives you how many attempts the student had, how they did, and how long it took them to do it.  There is also a pie chart giving you a fun visual to see what has been completed as well.

The course can be purchased here.  The annual subscription is $299 or you can pay monthly for $49.  There is a 50% sibling discount when subscriptions are purchased at the same time.  You can also save $74.75 off an annual subscription purchase by using my refer-a-friend link (expires August 18th).

Unlock Math Review

How We Used UnLock Math

The first 5 lessons are suppose to be review for a student and as I suspected my son struggled to complete those. I'm not sure where his gaps are coming from in Math but I am sure that he has them! I do think that sometimes he just rushes through an assignment to say it's complete but the beauty of this program is he could go back and do it over and over until he received a satisfactory grade. So, we went at a much slower pace with this program than anticipated but I loved the fact that I could immediately see his progress and ask him to go back over the lesson again because I knew if he didn't get the beginning lessons there was no way he would do well on the latter.

As you reach the units after 5, the program has such a wonderfully unique feature as it guides a student to answer step by step allowing the questions to continue to teach the student. For example, if a student gets the question wrong, the course will guide them back through it step by step starting with giving them the first step and then allowing them to attempt to complete the next step. If they can't, the next step is given and so on. They are then graded according to what they could complete allowing for partial credit for some problems.

This is a very thorough math curriculum and is great for struggling students as well as struggling parents who are at a loss for teaching math.  This program does it for you.  You can clearly see that a lot of time and effort has been put into the lessons and videos.  

You can find out more about by visiting Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, or Instagram.

UnLock Math Review

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lining The Shelves - Yearly Planning Underway!

We've picked the date for our "official" return back to school - August 11th!  We're still working a few things here and there this summer and more importantly cleaning off the shelves and room for the new!

Sarah has been such a big help to me this school year and LOVES to organize so it's been fun.  We're not finished but we're making progress.

Here's a sneak peak at our 9th grade curriculum this year.  I decided not to go with My Father's World Ancient History and Literature this year but we're using some of their resources.  We're going to use Notgrass History as our alone spine this year.  Stephen is getting excited too!

Here's the 5th cycle of My Father's World - 1850 to Modern.  Sarah will be completing it mostly alone this year.  So, here's a sneak peak at 7th grade.

I'm still working on Jonathan's, who will be a Senior this year!!!!  Oh my, where do these years go? He has a pretty light load and is continuing to work 35 hours a week. He's still unsure what he wants to do after graduation but he knows it doesn't involve school.  :) 

Here is a closer look at the read aloud books included with My Father's World that I will read to all.  We love our read aloud time!

A little yearly planning in the works - looks like a bunch of jumbles but I know what it means!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review of Prasso Ministries - Teen Edition

Teen Prasso Review
For the past 23 years, Prasso Ministries has helped many people examine their lives and relationship with God. They offer Bible studies for women, men, and teens and an online course. We had the opportunity to review their teen study which included two sets of books - the Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual and the Homework Manual

“Prasso” is a Greek word meaning to practice, to form a routine, or to perform repeatedly and habitually and that's exactly what this teen study offers. The Homework Manual continually points your student back to God's Word. It is consumable so you will need one for each of your students to fill in. It sells for $15 and comes in spiral bound form.

Teen Prasso Review
The course is designed with a small group setting in mind but we found it to be easily adaptable to our homeschool environment. The Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual contains a teaching outline of the 13 lessons. It is set up to be done in a weekly format but we took 2 weeks to complete one lesson. It also includes tips for asking good discussion questions as well as great tips in how to deal with a diverse group. It can be used over and over again for each of your students. It sells for $35 and comes in spiral bound form.

Teen Prasso Review
The weekly format consists of three elements:
  • The Weekly Teaching Lesson - this if found in your teacher's manual with complete outline details including teaching tips, message goals, discussion points, and prayer reminders. During the 13 Lessons, you will follow the journey of faith between two boys, Derek and Brandon. The stories include some of the same obstacles that teenagers today are facing and offer a great opportunity for discussion with your teenager.
  • The Daily Homework Manual also called the Student Journal - this is where your student will spend the majority of their time. It includes a weekly memory verse and questions of truth to answer and apply in their daily lives. The lessons can be completed in less than 20 minutes per day and often have your student writing out Bible verses. 
  • The Weekly Discussion - This is a time of discussion between you and your teenager. It is a time where they can ask any questions they may have about the lesson and a time to answer how they can apply what they are learning in each lesson. There are also a group of discussion questions listed in the student journal to help you get the discussion flowing. 
The weekly teaching lessons are:

Week 1 - The Right Beginning
Week 2 - The Map
Week 3 - The Bridge
Week 4 - The Storms
Week 5 - The Enemy
Week 6 - Full Testimony
Week 7 - Two Opposing Fears
Week 8 - Anger
Week 9 - Forgiveness
Week 10 - Pride
Week 11 - Refocus
Week 12 - Prasso
Week - Eternal Eyeglasses

In Our Homeschool
I decided to use this study with my oldest who is currently in 11th grade.  He has completed many different types of Bible studies and said, "this was his favorite format".  He liked that we had the opportunity to discuss the questions together and that it didn't take up a large portion of his day.

As I stated earlier, we took two weeks to complete a lesson and that schedule worked great for us. We did the study 4 days per week using the following schedule.

1st Week
Monday - Weekly Teaching Lesson
Tues- Thursday - Daily Student Journal

2nd Week
Monday -Wednesday - Daily Student Journal
Thursday - Group Discussion Questions

I love that I can continue to use this study with my other two children as well by just repurchasing additional student journals.  

Find out more about Prasso Ministries by visiting their Website and Facebook pages.

Prasso Ministries Review

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review of CursiveLogic

Have you struggled to teach your children to write cursive or are you looking for a way to begin to teach them cursive? If so, you will definitely want to check out this new and simple CursiveLogic Workbook designed by CursiveLogic.

The Details

CursiveLogic comes in a 96 page sturdy spiral bound book that currently retails for $29 and comes in full color. It is made in landscape style so the binding does not interfere with the writing. It is a consumable workbook so you will need one for each of your children but. At the end it includes several dry erase pages that are perfect to continue your cursive practice. They also offer additional practice pages by email as well.

It offers a very unique teaching method that differs greatly from your normal copywork type of program.

The CursiveLogic instruction method includes:
  • Letters grouped by shape: Four basic shapes make up the entire alphabet. CursiveLogic teaches all of the similar letters in one lesson, greatly simplifying the learning process.
  • Letter strings: Rather than teaching letters individually, CursiveLogic teaches all of the letters that share a common shape in a connected string. This allows the letters to reinforce each other and means students are writing cursively from the very beginning. 
  • Color coding: Each letter string has a theme color that helps students remember the shape.
  • Catch phrases: CursiveLogic uses “verbal task analysis,” or saying an action verbally as it is performed manually, to aid the development of muscle memory and to give students a mnemonic they can return to over and over. 
  • Real words: Because CursiveLogic teaches a group of letters in a single lesson, students can write real words at the end of the first lesson. For some students, this immediate success is a huge motivator

In Our Homeschool

Having children who have come from a public school background, I can tell you that teaching cursive writing is becoming somewhat extinct.  I knew right away that I wanted to teach my children cursive because I still find it to have a very valuable place in our society today.  So we set out and did copywork sheet after copywork sheet while they were in the elementary grades and then we just kind of dropped it once they reached their middle and high school years.  Time and time again, I have seen each one of them struggle to write and read cursive in the later years.

I used this workbook primarily with Sarah, who is 11, and in the 6th grade.  It was the perfect reinforcement that she needed and takes very little time and effort each day to complete.  We found that Sarah was making her cursive letters but had completely began the habit of starting the letters in the wrong places so when she connected them together, it didn't look quite right.  This is a time for you to sit with your child and correct any of those bad habits that they may have formed already.  Once we got past that, she found the process to flow so much easier than what she had been doing.  She was able to make her words more quickly as well and really felt that she had a better grasp on cursive writing.

I plan to purchase 2 more for my high school boys for the upcoming school year as well so we would highly recommend this to beginners as well as those who might need to brush up on their cursive skills.

You can find out more about CursiveLogic on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
CursiveLogic Review
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