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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UberSmart Math Facts~ REVIEW 

I was able to get in on a Great Math Flash Card program a few weeks ago and now I get to share my Review about the product with you.  UberSmart Math Facts from UberSmart Software was created by Homeschooling and Computer Programming Dad, David Kocur when he was given the task of finding a Math Flash Card Program by his wife for their Kiddos to use.  After looking and not finding exactly what he wanted he decided to make one on his own.  This was really inspiring to me and I could not wait to see what he had come up with.  One of David's Daughters has a learning disability and she has grown leaps and bounds.  So, could this help solidify the Math Facts Kaden already knows?  I was ready to find out....not to mention one of my older Kiddos could use a little refresher on her Math Facts also!  :)  

Back to some of the details- UberSmart Math Facts is a downloadable Windows program to help your Kiddos learn their math facts.  Get this...when You download it once it is yours.  And the BEST part is it's only $24.95 for up to 8 Kiddos.  I alone have spent twice that on flimsy flash cards and countless sheets of paper and time writing them out over and over.  David Kocur designed his program to help Kiddos in grades K-6 ( even older if you have a Kiddo that needs to freshen up) be successful in learning their math facts.  You will see that it gives the Kiddos time to soak it all in thoroughly by teaching the Math Facts one group at a time beginning with adding 0's, then 1s and so on and so on.  This helps Kiddos build their confidence up as they complete and master each fact group solidify an amazing foundation for the rest of their Math Lives.   That might have been a bit Dramatic, but honestly once you get behind in Math it can really drag a Kiddo's self confidence down.  So, getting them strong right from the start is the way to go in my book!
 There are 2 options for you to pick from: Beginner and Intermediate. Your Kiddos will only be able to learn Addition and Subtraction in the Beginner Option and it only shows Dot Flash Cards, no numbers.  The Dot Card option looks like they are huge dice. The Intermediate Option offers addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and uses typical looking Flash Cards.

There is a Practice tab that is kind of like the Learn tab option, except that the Kiddo will have to manually enter the answers in themselves before moving on to the next question. Kaden had a really hard time with this because his coordination with the keyboard stinks and the 10 seconds or so goes by real fast and then the answer pops up and he would freak out.  But, we did this together and that was ok too...a little teamwork.  But, he preferred the Learn Portion overall.
There is also a Test portion of the program which offers assessment tests and mastery tests. The assessment test is not timed, the mastery test is timed.  Guess which one Kaden decided to do each time?  If you said the assessment test, you would be Correct!!  I did have him do both though, I would just quickly enter in the answer as he told me during the mastery tests.

 The Compete tab is a spot where you get several kinds of problems on flash cards as you Compete with other UberSmart Math Facts users around the world to see how well you do against their skills. Finish all of the questions then you get to see your score and rank against the competitors. Lot's of fun and oddly this was Kaden's most Favorite portion of the whole program.  Hours he would do this, hours!!!

The Report tab was a big help for me and aloud me to see reports from each of my Kiddos.  Straightforward and easy!!!  I like that there is just enough bells and whistles but, not overly done like some things I have used in the past.  This was very easy to get the Kiddos to use almost every single day of the week.  I just told them to complete a Math 15, which is basically 15 minutes of Math Flash Card time.  Never was it just the 15 minutes, at least an hour each time, sometimes like I said earlier Kaden would play for longer on the Competing section. :)

Would we continue using this?  Yes we will be continuing this product in our Homeschool.  It's so important to get that Math Foundation down!!!  This is a product that will give your Kiddos the tools to accomplish just that!  Check it out, it's worth your time to head on over to their website.  They even have a Free Trial.

UberSmart Software offers a 30 day free trial so you can see if UberSmart Math Facts is for you and your Family.
UberSmart Math Facts is a Windows program.  It will run on Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP. 

Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Pretend Wednesday

I used to post the 7 whys of Wednesday. Let's pretend today is Wednesday and that I have 7 things to share...

1. Why can my Son read the whole "Twilight" series (4 huge books) in 6 days, but takes a whole month to read half of "A wrinkle in time"? Ok, I guess I know why...I just had to get that off my chest.

2. Why do I love coffee soooo much, but after half a cup I have to go to the bathroom? And I'm not talking about going to tinkle.

3. Why doesn't Subway have a drive thru?

4. Why does cotton have to shrink, even when it says that it's pre-shrunk?

5. Why do people have such a hard time at 4-way stops. It's just like what we learned in Kindergarten.....take turns. You go, then you go and I go.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy Kids Songs ~ Review
I Love Music and having Kiddos gives me an excuse to listen to not so "grown-up" tunes!  :)  Shhhh, don't tell anyone! 
One of my recent products to try out and Review this Summer was from Happy Kids Songs.  They sent me Three downloadable song sets (15 songs total) and the Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social and Emotional Skills ($12.56).  Why wait till the end of the Review....can I just say that I am Thrilled, Impressed and totally over the Moon in Love with this product..... 
Here are the Different Sets we had a chance to Review.  Remember that even though these Songs are geared for kids ages 3-8, I'm sure your whole house will be singing after you listen to them.  Each set has 5 Exciting Songs that can be bought as a set for just $4.95 or downloaded as single songs for only .99 each.  You can then burn them onto your own CD if you want to.  You will also receive a free download of all the song lyrics and activity sheets.  You will have some Happy Kiddos!  The songs are written by Dr. Mac, he is a child psychologist, school consultant, lecturer, and award-winning songwriter.  He wrote and directed the music for the PBS hit kids show Jay Jay the Jet Plane.

Friends & Sharing (Set 1)

Sailing on the Seven Cs
Everybody Wants to Find a Friend
Sharing Friends
Happy as Happy Can Be

Happiness & Attitude (Set 5)

Shake It Out and Dance
Who Knows What's a Kudo?
I Don't Understand
Be Good to Yourself
Better Together 

Manners & Character (Set 6)

The Magic Word
Quirks The Golden Rule
Six Little Kids

Other Song Collections include
Social Skills and Bullying
Feelings and Fears
Practice and Success
Talking and Listening
Respect and Responsibility

We decided to start each morning with one of the Songs just about every single morning, even on the weekends.  We actually used the Fun Workbook and Songs along with most of our Bible studies.  The Kiddos took to the activities and crafts right away.  We even found some homemade gift ideas to share with Friends and Family.  The Kids made Puzzle picture frames, Memory trays, name mobiles, and helper coupons.  They played charades, completed word searches, mazes and writing pieces....not to mention some really good coloring pages!  So, getting my Kiddos to do this part of their homeschool was easy to say the least.

I have used other Character Building programs in the past and even still do.  I wouldn't say this would take the place of those, but it will add a Special touch to what I am already doing.  Like a bright star sticker at the top of your "A" paper.  This is something I will use time and time again.  Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think about Happy Kids Songs.

Stop on Over to see what they are doing at Happy Kids Songs on social media:
Twitter: @howsyourfam

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wizzy Gizmo ~ Review

Have you heard of Wizzy Gizmo?  I haven't until I was given the opportunity to Review one of their products a few weeks ago.  And I'm so thankful I was given one of their awesome products to use in my homeschool. 

Wizzy Gizmo is an Amazing Inventor that's a Genius who Loves God and the Bible. He's a Wiz when it comes to technology and you can always find him making some kind of Gizmo.

The Product we were given to try was the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament Cards. ($14.99) They are recommended for Kiddos 2yrs and up.  Each of the cards are double sided and made with quality, heavy card stock.  Nothing is worse then flimsey flashcards, no worries here in that department.  :)  I know you will also find it incredibly helpful that each of the cards are 5 by 9 inches.  So, not only are they physicaly sturdy and pretty, but they are substantial in size which makes it easy to use them no matter the age of your Kiddos.

Okay, so I have told you about all the superficial stuff...let's move on to the meat and potatoes of the product.  You can go online to get extra ideas on how to use these cards depending on the age of your Kiddo. (Scroll all the way down)
Front of Card

Here is what each Card has on it:
  • The Theme of the Book
  • Summary of Book
  • Number of Chapters
  • Short Author Bio
  • Date Book was Written
  • An Outline
  • Key Chapters
  • Key Passages
  • Key Doctrines
  • Key People

Back of Card

On the Front of the Card you will find the Summary and Theme of the Book.  Kiddos will get a numerical number for each card that teaches them what order the books on the New Testament is in.  They will get a brief look into the lives of the Authors of each of the books, the date written and how many chapters there are.  If that wasn't enough info, just flip it over....the real meat is right there for the taking.  On the back your Kiddos will find an Outline at the very top with the Key Chapters, Passages and Doctrines right underneath.  Those are all color coded for easy reference and easy to read for even the younger Kiddos.  I Love that Key people are included separately at the bottom, once again these cards are so easy to read and the layout makes learning the Bible easier and more thoroughly.

I wanted to just give a rough weekly schedual of activites that we did while using this product.  I used this Only with Kaden for the Review, he is 7.  Starting in September I will be adding Mahala who is 14.

First what I did with Kaden is Read through the front of the card.  Then we took out our notebook and wrote out the first 5 books in the New Testament (NT).  Every single day I had him write them out 3 times each, we eventually added 5 more.  So as of right now he knows the order of the first 10 books of the NT.
After that we made our own Timeline for the NT Dates and Authors.  Day 3 and 4 of using the cards I had him draw a picture of what he thought the Author looked like based on his Bio.   
 Day 4 we started reading in the Bible.  We kept the card right there so we could highlight each Key Passage.
Around day 7 or 8 we looked up the Book's Key People in other parts of the Bible and added them to our timeline.
As a Bonus we made crafts, period food and even looked into Projects involving each of the Themes.  Matthew's Theme is Jesus is King, so we made crowns and gave them to friends and family with a few Key Passages.  For Mark the Theme was Jesus as a Servant so we decided to volunteer in the community and spread some smiles.

The sky is really the limit when you mix these fantastic Cards with a little creativity.  We will definitely go through all of these cards along with Mahala too.  I look forward to checking out Wizzy Gizmo's Website because they also have a series of interesting Books designed to help Kiddos ages 4-12 explore the Bible with audio dramas and books.  Great products...I see some Christmas gift in the near future!!

Check out Wizzy Gizmo on these social media sites:

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pluck and Toss!

This look should say it all...Kaden has lost so many teeth that he literally just plucks them out and lays it on the table and walks away.  My other two Kiddos would make this huge production, talk about what they were going to do with the money.  Even show of their prized tooth to everyone that dared to walk within 20 feet of them.  Three teeth were tossed in the trash before I even got to see them.  Luckily I caught this one in time!!!!  So, I had to Boy is growing up way to fast!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Looking for New Stars and Lady Bugs

A talk Kaden and I recently had:  

 He tells me almost everyday that he is different and that it's ok.  Just last night he said to me..."Mom, my brain sees this activity different then your brain.  I see it as a way to touch planets we have never gone to yet.  I see groups of stars that you don't see because your brain's eyes are closed"  That night we were using a fantastic App called Google Sky Map!!!  I love that Boy, he is so precious to me and he surprises me everyday.

The other day we went for a walk.  Looking at nature, as close as Suburbia will allow.  HAHAHAHA

He found a ladybug.  "Come here little fella....I will help you find your Momma".  He couldn't be any cuter.  :)

It took forever, but he finally got the ladybug to crawl up his arm.  Every time it would flutter back to the ground he would dive back down and try to get it back on his arm.  I love to see him be so gentle.  Life is precious and I want him to learn to love and embrace all that God has put on this earth.  
Kaden is always flapping his arms and spinning.  So, having his body still for a moment to enjoy the ladybug was monumental for the older kids and I. 

After he successfully found a branch to call this lady bug's home he was off and ready to find another adventure.  The kids and I just tagged along for the ride.  :D

Thursday, August 7, 2014


A few weeks ago we decided to have a StayCation.  Sometimes you just want to skip over all the traveling, reserving and packing to just head straight for the super fun part!  That was us this year, we knew we needed to get away and reboot our Family connection.  But, we wanted to spend all that time and money on the actual act of doing it not the place we were sleeping and gas in the van.  It was so much Fun that we decided to do it twice a year every year!

So, we kicked off our week with a trip to Our Kiddo's Favorite place to play...Dave and Busters.  It's like a Chuck-e-cheese for older Kiddos and adults.  I decided to have our first activity to be a Big deal, to create excitement for the week.  

Looking back now, I would probably used this as a midweek outing.  Just to break things up.  I had only planned 2 bigger outings for this StayCation, so I guess it still worked out fairly well.  

The very first game right off the bat Kaden won 1,000 tickets.  He was so thrilled he could hardly stand it.  All the other kids were now on a mission to get just as many if not more....when I say kids that includes Daddy too!  I was the official ticket holder that day, I needed 4 huge cups and my purse to hold them all. :)  Believe it or not we walked out of there with No prizes.  The kids have accumulated thousands of points on their card over the years.  They say they are just saving them for something really cool to cash them all in.  I think they just love getting the tickets more then the prizes themselves.  Which is fine with me! :)

One of the things that I love about D&B is the amount of space in the game area, it's not super crowded with mazes of games, booths and coin machines.  Which is why when the Kiddos beg me to go every few months or so I can usually be bribed with just a hug and kiss.  While we are there we usually split a few appetizers or we head to a nearby park for a picnic.  This particular day we all drank frilly drinks and had appetizers to celebrate the start of our vacation.  

Once we got home that night we relaxed a bit and went over our plans for the week.  The rules were simple...No TV or Computers unless it was a Family Movie together.  And all Activities had to involve the Whole Family.   Short, Sweet and Simple!  We had the Best week ever, I'll go over how I planned it out in my next post.  Look out for my StayCation~2 post tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mathletics ~ REVIEW 

Who here Loves Math???  In this house that's a loaded question, you'll find those of us with Math fears and sad stories and then there are 2 people in the house that Math comes to them as easy as breathing. :)  Luckily we were able to try a Online Math Curriculum called Mathletics from 3P Learning.  To Review, we received a full year enrollment for both Kaden (4th) and Mahala (Algebra 1).  Thank You!!  Mathletics is designed to be a Supplemental math activity for your Kiddos in K-12th grade.  There is a wide variety of activities that gives Kiddos tons of math skill practice while having fun doing it.  I just found a day or two ago that they also provide an App available for iOS and Android, need to download that asap! :)  

The Cost for Mathletics is Currently $59 per year for online accessYou also get access to their printable workbooks found in the Parent login section for all grade levels.
 Pop on over and check out a  FREE trial of Mathletics

As I said above, both Mahala and Kaden received access to the program.  We have mixed feelings about it, because Mahala has never really used a program like this before and Kaden having Autism posed a few unique challenges.  During the review time I would say Mahala's biggest complaint was just getting familiar with the program.  She thought there was a lot of options.  She is very plain Jane I guess.....So what were her Favorites? She loved that she could go on and do a few things and get off without worksheets and the help of me sitting beside her interpreting the directions. :)  She is extremely excited for the App on her phone...I am too.
Kaden was a different story, but I think as he is exposed more and more to it over this next year I bet this will be one of his Favorite learning tools ever!  The problem he had was over-stimulation, the background is so cool and bright.  I would have LOVED this program as a Kid! 

He enjoyed making his Avatar and loved earning points to go spend on new accessories for it or backgrounds.  I think for him his Favorites thing was the Live Mathletics, but his hand and eye coordination is not so good.  It required me to type in the numbers and that was frustrating for him.  Even though he knows his times tables he loved hearing the songs over and over again.  Ohhhh, did I mention Over and Over again? :)  

For us, since it's Summer time we used the program about 3 times a week.  I can see us using it more once we download the App.  I had both of them use it as a replacement for Math on those days.  Kaden required more attention while using it, but Mahala is 14 she was way capable of being independent.  I plan on using Mathletics for this new school year and keep it as a Special replacement a few times a week.  I also forgot to mention the Parent Reports for each Kiddo.  I found those very helpful, especially if you have a Kiddo working independently.  They come right to my email inbox.

Just a little taste of what this Kiddos had on their screens.  There are several Fun features Mathletics offers.

Live Mathletics – Kiddos get to compete with other Mathletics users from all over the world or the computer.

 Activities – The main component, where your Kiddo completes lessons to earn gold bars or points.

Problem Solving – Fun games that Kiddos can unlock.

Concept Search and eBooks – A Plethora of math terms and videos.

Rainforest Maths and Interactives – An area with different math activities.

Times Tables Toons – Music videos to help Kiddos Master their multiplication facts.
If you ask me I will tell you this is a Program screaming to be in your Homeschool.  I think this is a Tool that you need in your Family's Math Toolbox for sure.  We will definitely continue using it this next year.  Also, I think this would be a Super fun gift for a Homeschooling Family too.  I may be gifting this to a few Families I know for Christmas this year! :)
Don't forget to go Connect with  Mathletics on  Facebook and Twitter


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Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Little Sugar on those Words

My sweet Kaden is such a neat little guy. And those that know him well know that he is the most straight forward, no nonsense kid and his emotions are limited to say the least.  I have been struggling with that for a few years now.  Because it is hurtful to not get hugs when wanted or to have your child ask u to leave his room because it's his "alone" time.  He's very rigid and demanding of himself, he really could care less to ever interact with others unless he absolutely has to. 

I remember like it was yesterday, one morning Kaden came to the table and sat down like he was expecting a response from me.  I was like hey there!!!  He looked at me.....crickets, crickets in the background!!!  So, Kaden do you want to hang out, maybe play a game?  He says, I guess we can, but only because there is nothing better to do right now.  

 Now, a typical child I would think how rude.  But, Kaden said it so dry and monotone, not in a rude, ugly way. He couldn't tell it even bothered me, to him it's the truth and that's why he said it.

I did say to him that he should reword his sentence to be more kind towards others feelings.  I gave a few softer approaches that he could have used.  He replied back to me that there really is no need to waste useless flattery on people in your family. But if I need that then he would try would you like to play monopoly now?

That's my Kaden! :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hewitt Homeschooling ~ REVIEW
This Summer has been filled with some really great Homeschool finds. And Hewitt Homeschooling's Lightning Literature and Composition is no exception.  I was thrilled to be given the chance to check out this program and give a review.  It's recommended for Kiddos in grades 8th-9th, so it was perfect for Mahala.  We were given three products to use and review... Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 8 Student's Guide($25), the Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 8 Student's Workbook($25) and thankfully the amazing Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 8 Teacher's Guide($20).

Lightning Literature and Composition is a complete course that you will be able to use for the whole year.  You will be able to watch your Kiddos fall in love with Literature by exposing them to different books they may not normally pick to read.  Their writing technique will improve too, Mahala needed that big time.  Since we read so much I was mostly excited for her to get the Composition help. 

Books that are covered in the Lightning Literature and Composition 8th grade-

*Stories & Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children 
*A Day of Pleasure
*A Christmas Carol
*The Hobbit
*My Family and Other Animals
*To Kill a Mockingbird
Ok, now for a little glimpse at what each book we received has to offer. The Student Guide breaks each book down into different sections.  Each cover an introduction to what is being read, a vocabulary list (I Love Vocabulary words), comprehension questions that you will actually enjoy hearing your Kiddo's answers to, a literary lesson, a mini-lesson and a variety of writing lessons.  There is a lot packed into every section, you have the options to pick some and not do others.  The Student Workbook is just that....a workbook, therefore it is consumable.  Some of the activities are different, depending on the book that's being read at the time.  Your Kiddo will complete lessons on grammar, analyzing parts of the book being read, figuring out crossword puzzles and completing simple writing exercises. The Teachers Guide is Amazing....I usually get intimidated when it comes to a new year long program.  I always pray for a good Teacher's Guide and I have to say, by far this is one of my favorites.  It has everything you need, it's easily explained, step by step and lot's of extras.  I dread the long hours of prepping and planning for each and every subject.  That's why it's a treat when a Gem like this comes along.  This Guide also gives you different teaching options so you can work with your Kiddo's learning style and not against it. 

So, how did we use this program?  Well, 1st we decided where to start.  Mahala decided to start reading the Hobbit once again.  It had been a few years since she had read it and Kaden had been wanting to read it anyway.  Her and Kaden took turns reading daily out loud.  We started by 1st reading the introduction of the current chapter.  Honestly, sometimes she would forget and we would go back and read them. :)  I am a Vocabulary Freak, so we definitely did those and also used them as spelling words, in dictated sentences and to practice her cursive writing.  I told you I was crazy for vocabulary words! :) She really enjoyed all of the comprehensive questions, it sparked a few good family conversations.  I love a program that does that, makes it feel whole and well rounded.  Of course she worked on all the lessons and workbook pages.  There were a few that she thought were not as challenging.  I feel like that is because she is almost 15 and she had read the book prior.  So far we are not having that issue with the book A Day of Pleasure, which she has never read before.  Mahala did enjoy all the crossword pages, writing assignments and the Extra Challenge Pages, those were optional.  She did them, because I bribed her with cupcakes....she gave the thumbs up on it though.

Honestly, this is a product that we will be using in Our Homeschool from here on out!  I Love it and we look forward to all the other products they have to offer.  If I can get Mahala, who hates to write actually enjoy her assignments and write well I say it's a Winner!!!  Head on over now and Connect with Hewitt Homeschooling right now, you will be glad that you did.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beyond the Book Report~ REVIEW 

Mahala and I were given the chance to Review Beyond the Book Report from Analytical Grammar which is a Middle School and Early High School language arts curriculum. This Program was Newly developed by Erin Karl and her Mom, Robin Finley.  They have a true passion for Grammar and Literature and it shows!  They both believe Middle School kids aren't just short Future High Schoolers.  That this is the time to really cover all those previously learned Elementary skills and get them totally prepared for High School Literature and Writing.  

Beyond the Book Report is designed to work along with Analytical Grammar for the perfect, complete Middle School language arts course.  Beyond the Book Report (Seasons 1 and 2) are for grades 6th-8th and (Season 3) are recommended for grades 8th-10th.  Each Season Costs only $24.95.  Or you can buy the whole bundle of the Three Seasons together for just $69.95.  We were Blessed with all Three Seasons for this Review...let's take a closer look at them.

Each Season contains a Teacher Packet and DVD.  My Kiddos and I are very Visual learners so it was Awesome to be able to have video instructions from the Authors Robin Finley and her Daughter, Erin Karl.  The videos were bite sized which made them very easy to listen to and watch.  I felt like they held the Kiddo's attention better then just reading the instructions from a book.  It gave a personable touch too. :)  On the DVDs they also give you a step-by-step schedule, printable handouts, rubrics, examples of the work your Kiddos will be doing and other activities/ideas, like crossword puzzles and reading logs.  I loved that they even have Special print outs for the Kiddos to take notes on.  This has given me the chance to really drive home the importance of good note taking. 

Here is an Inside Look at SEASON ONE (3 Separate Sections)
1. The Basic Book Report-
Your Kiddos will learn how to follow a Rubric,Conflict, Point of View, Climax, Protagonist, Antagonist
    Paraphrase and Plot Summary. 
2.  The Pamphlet Book Report-
 Here you learn about elements of the Plot, Mood, Tone, Setting and Genre.
3.  The News Article Book Report-
The Concepts introduced here include Headline, Byline, Dateline, Inverted Pyramid, Lead
    Objectivity, Bias and Objective Point of View.
SEASON TWO (2 Separate Sections)
1.  The Poetry Book Report-
The Concepts taught in this Section cover Figurative language like (alliteration, metaphor, hyperbole, simile, personification).  They will learn terms like stanza, rhyme scheme and verse.  Kinds of Poetry like a Sonnet, Haiku, Limerick and others.
2.  The Drama Book Report- 
Kiddos will learn about terms like Dialogue, Monologue, Cast, Props, Staging, Aside and Blocking.  They will read about different Genres like Comedy, Drama, Farce and Melodrama.

SEASON THREE (3 Separate Sections)
1.  The Essay-
This Season covers the Personal Essay, Literary Essay and the SAT Essay.
2. The Oral Book Report- 
Here you will get the DOs and DON'Ts on how to give an Oral Presentation with Power Point.  
3.  The Research Paper-
Easy Step by Step Instructions on how to Write a Research Paper.
I have always enjoyed writing papers for as long as I remember.  But, my Kids would rather go to the dentist and have all their teeth pulled without anesthesia!  Am I, I promise you my Kids have some Paper writing phobia/ illness.  So, a few years ago I decided to let them off the hook.  I had them do Oral book reports only.  And they actually did very well doing the research and organizing their thoughts.  I thought that was enough and figured when they started High School I would be firm about the written papers.  Well, Skylar graduated a year ago and he probably only did a handful of papers.  Now that he's in college he figured out that Mom wasn't crazy, that you have to do a TON of papers in college.  Thankfully he gets by with his writing.  By the end of his 2nd Semester he was pulling A- papers, but it wasn't easy.  I hated to see him struggle, but I used his situation to show Mahala the Importance of Writing papers.  But, since I never had her do them in the past it was a difficult struggle.  And then this little Gem fell into my lap.  Thank You Lord!!! :)  

It was nice to have back up, that's exactly how it felt to me.  It took us almost 2 weeks to get started.  She reads like crazy, so I let her pick which Season to start with.  She chose Season 2 and fell in love with a New world of Literature that she never thought was possible.  Poems were never her thing, but after giving Season 2 an Honest try she feel differently.  I have always been an Edgar Allen Poe Fan and I was excited to see her world open up to his writing too.  Right now as I type she is over on the floor writing poetry.  A Mother's Dream has come true. :)  The Drama Book Report she thought was just Pure Fun!!  That was music to my ears...she said it felt more like an Elective then a Boring English Class.  I will take that as a compliment, actually Erin and Robin should.  

It's recommended to work 3 days a week for about an hour each day.  Mahala worked about 3 days a week for about an hour each day while completing Season 2.  For Season 1 she worked almost the whole school week(5 days) for at least an hour each day.  But, she is a little behind in this department and there were a lot of new concepts for her to take in.

Overall, I think this is a solid curriculum and we look forward to finishing Season 1 and starting Season 3.  I Love that it's Visual Learning and is easy for the parents with Step by Step instructions.  You don't have to play the guessing game and you can be sure Nothing has been left out...It covers it all!
Don't Forget to Check out what is New at Analytical Grammar:

There are a Few other Great Products from Analytical Grammar.  Head on over and check them out! Analytical GrammarJunior Analytical Grammar and The Eternal Argument.


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Friday, July 25, 2014

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms~ Review

I LOVE Books and Trying to get my Life more together then it already is.  So, I was thrilled to be chosen to Review Mary Jo Tate's latest book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms from the Amazing Apologia Educational Ministries.  Even though this Book is for us Moms, I had my Teenage Daughter read it also.  She will have a Family one day herself, so I figured she would get something out of it too.  She found many Gems throughout this book. 
I know I've said this a Million times, but I truly feel Blessed whenever I purchase or receive anything from Apologia Educational Ministries.  Our Homeschool day wouldn't be complete without so many of their amazing curriculum and products.  They are a well-known, trustworthy Company that provides us homeschooling families Amazing, Quality Materials.  

This particular book is Only $15 and is just right for any Mom out there!  If your New to Homeschooling you will find Sanity, Peace and a Plan.  If your a Veteran Homeschooling Mom you will find your path back to your Reason and Balance again or for the 1st time.  Even if you aren't a Homeschooling Mom this book will quench your thirst for connecting dots in your life that you haven't been able to do on your own.  Here is a little of my experience....

With today's lifestyle I think we all can use a little more organization and balance in our lives.  Our Businesses, Kid's activities, Family and Social commitments.  Families that have decided to Homeschool have a whole other reason to get a little more keep some form of our Sanity.  This is where Mary Jo's book comes into the equation, Balance is the key word here.

I wish I could say that I'm Super Organized and that I'm Cool, Calm and Collected.  But, that would be a Big lie! :)  I'm just the opposite, I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl.  I procrastinate and rely on my not so young anymore brain to keep appointments and due dates.  So, why would I even consider reading a book like this for a Review?  Because I know deep in my heart that I can't continue living the way I do and be a Happy, Healthy, God Loving Mother and Wife.  I just can't continue to burn the candle from both ends....I need Balance.  Something needs to give and I can't let go of my 3 precious Kiddos.  So, giving this book a good read and some serious thought into it is the way I need to go.

I decided to start reading on a Saturday, that way I could start working the system right away.  I knew I would probably need to buy tons of labels, planners, notebooks, you know the usuals.  Heck, I even thought this time I would get one of those label makers too. :)  I was armed with a Serious handful of highlighters and was ready to take this journey.  Chapter 1 I was given a list of Challenges that I may or may not have encountered in my life.  Wow, so many where taken from a page of my own story.  And then I read Mary Jo's story, I could relate with her on so many levels.  Between the scripture and inspirational quotes I knew that this wasn't about putting together an amazing datebook or labeling everything in your house.  This book was about putting your life as a priority, not just something you add to a list and the scratch off. 

I wish I could grab a cup of tea with you right now and tell you everything I just learned about myself and the art of finding Balance, but I can't.  This is an amazing experience that all women should take for themselves.  Quickly here are the Chapters in her Book.
  1. An Invitation to Flourish
  2. Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  3. The FREEDOM Toolbox
  4. Where Did My Time Go?
  5. Aim High: Setting Goals
  6. What Do I Do Next? Seven Essential Planning Tools
  7. We Interrupt This Program
  8. It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  9. Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  10. Training Your Children
  11. Making Memories
  12. Managing Your Home
  13. All of Life is Learning
  14. Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
  15. Home Business
  16. Moving Ahead
Here are a few things Gems that I have Applied to my Life!
~  We are talking about a movement toward Life Management, not Time Management
(This was Big for me, I had it all wrong) 
~ Mary Jo recommends you log your time spent in 30 minute increments for at least a week
(I did this and Mahala...very eye opening.  I will just say there were tears of realization from my Daughter that I know has changed her life)
~Goal Setting
(Not just life long goals, but daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)
~ 7 essential planning tools to help you get more organized
(This is a have to get the book to get these....Life Changing!!!)
~Adjusting your Attitude!
(My Teen was truly Inspired by this chapter and I was too)
~Proper Nutrition and Exercise
( We all need this....I guess ;) )
~Training your Child
(Very Surprised at this chapter.  I loved how she dives into Responsibility, Kiddos taking Initiative and being Independent.  I would have bought the book just for this Chapter!)
~Having Family time be a priority
( We are Good with this already, but to hear it done another way and with such commitment is Inspiring)
~Tons of Amazing tips on Chores and Organization
(It was like Christmas....we had a Family Meeting right after I finished Reading so that we could all discus some of my Favorites.  A Huge this that I walked away with was the fact that we needed a Routine not a Schedule.  This has changed my homeschool approach!)
~Chapters regarding Homeschool Moms, Single Moms and those of us out there with Home Based Businesses.

At the end of each Chapter is a Take Action Section that gives you a little Homework/Challenge.  Honestly this was my Favorite part, along with the wonderful way it felt like Mary Jo was speaking just to me....thank you Mary Jo! :)  I appreciated all the Charts, Lists and Resources she has included in the back.  She also gave plenty of Samples of her own personal routines and lists.  This was helpful to see how she incorporated her ideas to her own life.  I was truly Encouraged and Inspired by this book, I know of a a few Friends that I will be sending a copy to.  Order your own copy today I know you will be just as Blessed by it as I have. 
Mary Jo Tate is an Author, Book Coach, Editor, and Single Mom to 4 boys.  She's written a few other books... How Do You Do It All?Get Started as a Freelance Editor, and Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. As if that's not enough, she is also a Host of the Flourish At Home show on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. (My Favorite Place to Relax and be Inspired!) 

Head on over right now and Connect with Mary Jo Tate today on Facebook:  and Twitter:

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