Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sick Day for Little Helpers!

Another weekend of sickies and softball.  Thankfully my throat could handle homemade french toast this morning.  Yes, I have to have the flu or something really debilitating to keep me away from the breakfast table.  Breakfast is my favorite eating time.  There is absolutely not one thing on a breakfast menu that I don't like.  Most of my kiddos are the same way.  
I like to start the day with an iced or hot coffee.  Then I usually ask Kaden what he wants and the norm is sausage in eggs.  But, sometimes I can get him to entertain the idea of french toast, omelets or biscuits and gravy.  Mmmmmmm biscuits and gravy, sounds heavenly!!! 
I love having little helpers in the kitchen, Kaden is my sweet helper most of the time.  Since he's been sick, I've missed my little guy bumping into me in the kitchen.  Hopefully soon him and I can whip up something yummmy together. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tales from the Circle C Ranch Book and Lap Book~REVIEW


http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/-2015%20CREW/Tales_200_zpsg6g28vw9.jpg Once again our Family has been given the chance to read and review a book written by Susan K. Marlow from Circle C Adventures.  The book is called Tales from the Circle C Ranch.($7.99)  It is a little different then most of her books, because it's a collection of short stories based upon questions sent into the Author about other books she has written in the Circle C series and not just one long story.  We were also given a PDF lap book, Andrea Carter's Tales from the Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook from A Journey Through Learning that goes alongside Tales from the Circle C Ranch.

I feel so Blessed to have children that Love to read, they are just like their Mom. :)  I'm always on the look out for wholesome books for my kids to enjoy.  I hit the jackpot when I found these books about Andrea Carter and all her wild adventures.  I wished I would have had these for Mahala when she was younger.  Mahala has enjoyed reading a few of the books so far, now to introduce Kaden.  I'll be honest the main reason I like her books is the way she writes.  It's very much like sitting around the campfire and telling stories past down through the generations.  And I love that the characters deal with real life problems, not gossiping about who likes who or superficial worries.  I mean have you looked at some of the books for youth and teens out today?  It's scary people, I know I don't want my kid to pick up a book and drift off into LaLa land like they would if they switched on the tv screen.  In Susan's books your kiddos will read about characters that have to weigh out pros and cons about right and wrong to make the best decisions.  They will be able to see themselves in many of the characters too.  Learning how to deal with kid tough obstacles never seemed so entertaining before.  Around the Circle C it's cool to follow the path towards God and to listen to what your Parents have to say.  Passing that on to my kids through Susan's books makes me one happy Momma! :) 


So, earlier I said that I wanted to introduce Kaden to the Circle C Ranch.  This is the most perfect way to do it too because the Tales from the Circle C Ranch offers 11 short stories that explains the answers to Fan Questions.  
Here are the short stories included:
Part One: The Early Years:
1.) Britches Are Not for Little Girls
2.) The Best Gift of All
3.) Aunt Rebecca and the Hat
4.) White Christmas

Part Two: The In-Between Years:
5.) Prince Loco, Chad's Crazy Horse
6.) Hurrah for the Forth of July!
7.) A Matter of Honor
8.) Snakes Alive!
9.) Virginia's Riding Lesson
10.) Where the Trees Meet the Bay
11.) Adios, Jeffrey Sullivan



Other Must Have Books from Susan K.Marlow
So, it's a different kind of a book.  I thought Kaden would like the flow of it and having this secret info about some of the other books I thought would be extra exciting for him.  And I was right, he already has a list of books he would like for me to order for him.  Being that we live in CA and that he loves History Andrea Carter was speaking right to his little soul.  
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As for the Lapbook I was super excited to do this with him.  We have had very little success before as far as lapbooking goes.  But, given that it was so easy on my end to prepare for actually doing the lapbook itself it made it doable to tweak it here and there to work for us instead of against us.  We just did it in a different way.  He decided to do a notebook instead of folders.  And he didn't want to color or cut anything out.  So, how did I get it into the notebook?  Very carefully.....no actually we just printed and paper clipped everything into the notebook where it should go and he wrote some notes and answered questions right in the notebook.  A little different, but that's why we homeschool.  I was just happy that he was into it and was learning while having a ton of fun.  His favorite activity in the lapbook was learning about General stores in the 1800's, about state fairs, the History of fireworks and the section on limericks.   My Child LOVES Limericks......who knew????

So, in a nutshell this is a terrific book for any child's collection.  These stories are wonderful in the ears of both girls and boys.....parents too.  But, don't just take my word for it go ahead and read some of the other Reviews from the Crew.  
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers~REVIEW

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As you know we just went on a vacation to Malibu and Disney and that means a long car ride for the Family.  I normally have a no technology rule for the car trip and once we get to our destination, but we changed it last year to only eliminate technology once we arrive at our destination and just limit it on the car trip itself.  It actually works quiet nice for us, we get all the Family time we want on the actual trip.  And on the car trip we can relax to music or listen to books or shows on CDs together or separately.  Kaden hates the time in the van, it's like a punishment for him.  We try to distract him and this year he has his tablet for added entertainment.  What I don't like is the worry of pop ups, ads and any other nonsense garbage that creeps in through the Internet.  I have forever wished for a Family Friendly website to let Kaden wonder and learn from without me having to be over his shoulder the whole entire time.  Well, wish no more.....when I found out there was a Review opportunity for a product that would offer just what I was wishing for I couldn't sign up fast enough.  Honestly this review has been the most anticipated review ever.  I had BIG hopes and expectations!!!  SmartKidz Media has gave our Family a whole year subscription to SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers.  

SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers is a video-streaming website that offers Homeschoolers a huge spectrum of topics from Fine Arts, the Animal World, all things History, Cooking, Exercise, Science and so much more....I could be here all night.  The Terrific news is that because this treasure trove of knowledge is all through their website, it is easily accessed and viewed on any device 24/7 that you have Internet available on.  So, that means you don't have to use up all of your computer or devices memory by downloading the things you want to watch.  I can't tell you how much I love and apreciate this.  My computer at home is soooooo filled with homeschool programs, games and a ton of other printables and books.  Whenever you want to watch, it's easily available no matter where you are.  Kaden's tablet is a learning machine right now....love it!!!  All the way down to Malibu and Disney he watched numerous videos, some only 15 short minutes and some were almost an hour.  What was nice is that not only did he learn a lot of interesting new facts, but we were interested and entertained also...this would appeal to ALL ages.




 On the main screen you will see 10 categories divided into 2 sections.  The Family Media Section offers the World of Discovery and Music and Fine Arts.  It provides you with several collections of Animals and Wildlife.  You will also find Action Sports(coming soon), Documentaries and Culture, Health and Fitness, all kinds of History, amazing Science, Lifestyle and Cuisine, Travel and Adventure, Fine Arts and all kinds of Music.  Kaden watched almost all of the History collections and a lot of the Science.  He has been showing an interest in cooking lately.  So, we have started a new Tradition....Friday Tryday.  It's a day that we watch a cuisine video, mix in a little additional culture study and after we shop for ingredients we enjoy a new adventure via yummy food.  Okay, sometimes yummy...but a ton of fun no matter what happens in the kitchen. 
 
As if that's not enough you still have the Reading and Learning Center.  The Mighty EBook Collection is nice and I found books for up to 8years old.  Kaden looked through a few of them, but his reading level is much higher then his grade level and wasn't interested in spending a lot of time there.  
The Baby Signs Program was very interesting....this would be great for little one.  We watched several of them and really liked the options with the different videos.  You baby or little kiddo can learn right along with you too.  
The My Animal Family Section is full of videos that teach about Family Values and how to have Respect for Animals.  Kaden truly enjoyed learning about these sweet animal families!  
The next section is by far our favorite I think....at least if I had to pick just one.  The Quick-Finds Study Guides is where you will find a ton of study guides that will teach your child different topics like various Spelling Basics, the 50 States, the Presidents, all things Science, Math from basics and terminology all the way to Trigonometry, Accounting, Different Languages and more to come!  I'm floored by all the goodies here....I feel like I'm sounding like a late night infomercial, but it's truly that amazing. :)  
Ok another Favorite is the Learning Special Needs area they offer.  It was designed for children and individuals with disabilities and various special needs. The themed books and lesson materials were created by special needs educators and therapists and offer Hear the book and Interactive options.  You will also have printed materials available too.  We used this option for our car trip so he could see, touch and hear.  You will find basic language help, Holidays and Celebrations and the Going Places collection amongst many others.  The Going Places was very useful on our trip and we watched the whole collection twice!  One in particular was the Amusement park video and the one about vacations.  Very helpful and help him understand a little more about what to expect. :)  
The Living Skills program is "coming soon", there are several "coming soon portions, not a ton, but enough to give me excitement for when they unveil them.  Love the things to come, and you will too I'm sure of it.   The Living Skills section will be a place where your Kiddo can learn little songs to help them learn how to take responsibility for themselves, relationships with others in their life, and the world around them.  
Ready Set Sing is a Fun area filled with over 200 sing along songs.  Basically Karaoke for Kids.  We didn't use this section, but if Kaden was more introduced to this section he might give it a try.  I know when Mahala was his age she would have said this was one of her favorite sections. :)  
The Fun Zone is just what it says a fun zone filled with educational games, jokes and puzzles.  Kaden was repeating jokes so many times that we didn't find them funny anymore....I think it's safe to say though that he liked this section. :)

Wow, that was a lot....I know there is something for every single Family to use and learn from while they have a lot of fun doing it.  The price is affordable and worth Kaden's weight in gold.  Not just because of all the content, but because of what it doesn't have....ads, pop-ups and redirecting links that could be to something totally inappropriate or unrelated.  You can give this experience to your Kiddos for $10 a month or $99 for the whole entire year.  I know that this is something I will be renewing after my 1 year subscription is up.  There is just too much to miss out on.  We will continue using it because I enjoy having something at a moments notice that the kids can watch while I make dinner or if the day has been super busy and I want them to relax and watch something, but have it be at least a fun educational program.  It also limits their watching time because most of the videos are fairly short so they can watch several, feel like they have watched a lot more then they did and I'm totally happy with the length of time they have been starring at the screen. :)  I will admit we have all gathered around the computer after dinner to explore a new topic more then twice a week.  But, mainly we used it during school and before dinner time and of course on our vacation! :)

Check it out right now, you can try it for FREE for 14 days and have plenty of time to have it for the new school year or get it right now for the rest of the Summer.  Visit SmartKidz Media Online and through Social Media!

 



SmartKidz Media Review

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

We have a Popsicle Farm

What a week we have had last week....Kid's Camp at church, softball practice and the hours of coughing up a lung has kept us more than busy.  Kaden and I are still coughing.....I'm scared it will never end.  It was super nice to be able to have one on one time with Mahala while Kaden was at church.  We were able to complete 5 weeks of English in just 4 days.  I mean she was determined and I was just along for the ride. :)  I love that I can do whatever works for us at the moment.  Sometimes we focus just on one or two subjects and sometimes we spread the love amongst the normal 5-6 different subjects a day.  We like to do more of a course study hands down.  It's less planning on my part and I feel that the kids retain the new information better. 

Four days since I started writing this post....

Kaden is still coughing...poor little guy has been throwing up and has pink eye in both eyes since Saturday.  He is so agitated and at the sound or touch from anyone sends him into a raging fit.  And that brings on more coughing and then that brings on the projectile vomiting.  So, we have been laying low and trying not to disturb the beast while still taking care of him.  Lord, when will the coughing in?????

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kid's Camp, Coffee and Dog Toys

Working with Mahala today one on one because Kaden is at Kid's Camp this morning.  He went last year and he did pretty good, a few meltdown moments here and there.  But, I'm expecting this year to be totally different and I'm optimistic that he will participate more this year.
Today was Glasses day....it's a Science theme this year and that makes him super excited!  When we pulled up he was jumping around just at all the balloons in the front entrance.  After we dropped him off Mahala and I enjoyed a coffee and a short trip to the neighborhood dog store for a few treats for Homer and Rocco.  I Love finding time separately with each of the kids.

We hardly ever buy anything for Homer because he tears everything up as soon as you give it to him.  I've seen him slice open Kong toys.  Yes, Kong Toys in his mouth sliced open.  And he's a service dog....Mahala said she wouldn't want to mess with him in a dark ally.  When we were at the store the lady suggested this Tuffy Toy......so we bought it, gave it to Homer.....and 20 minutes later we find this. 
Yeah, he's not getting anymore toys, an occasional bone maybe.  But, other then that we are going to be a dog toy free zone.  :)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Discovering Nature on Vacation

Oh what a fun exciting vacation we had!!!  We went to Malibu for 5 days and then spent 5 days at Disneyland.  We were greeted by familiar squirrels at the campground, it was like we had never left.  That's why Malibu is so magical to our Family.  We haven't been in about 5 years, I know sooooo sad!  But, for the 5 years before that we had went every single year.  I plan for us to continue now and to not skip another precious year. 

Since Kaden was like 3 the last time we camped there it was like a whole new world to him.  He was in his element that's for sure.  Not once did he say he wanted his tablet, computer, tv or that he was bored.  He climbed trees, played with sticks, found bugs and made friends with the squirrels.  He was on an adventure from the moment his eyes opened and he was usually the first to crawl into the tent at the end of the day.  That boy was worn out every single day!

Seeing him so engaged with nature and truly having fun with little to nothing I have been inspired.  I am going to try and bring the outdoors indoors.  It's hard, because we have no back yard at all, just a bunch of dirt, rocks and weeds.  But, that kind of describes the campsite too.  We just need to add some sort of shelter from the sun and we are going to be good to go.  I want to try and be outside more then inside, not counting night time though.  

Since Kaden has very little interest in things he tends to sit in corners and read or play on his tablet.  The tv is kind of new to him, some time late last year I was flipping through the channels and he saw Spongebob.  Life has never been the same, he can recite every single episode......oh the horror!!!  So, in order to give him another look at like I really want to bring him away from technology and back to nature and all things unplugged.  We will see how it goes....say some prayers.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Field Trip Journal from Apologia ~ REVIEW


 
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Do you take your kids on Field Trips through out the year?  I do and I love every little part of the process from planning to rehashing about it on the car ride home or the day after.  Due to some events within our Family the past few years, Field Trips have been kind of on the back burner.  Only a few here and there and not a lot of rehashing going on.  I've missed this part of our Homeschooling experience so much and had vowed that this Summer was going to be different.  The start of new experiences and exploration along with many visits to some Family Favorite locations.  Since this was on my heart for awhile now I was thrilled and my heart skipped a beat when I saw that Apologia Educational Ministries was offering me the opportunity to Review their New book, Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal ($22).  Seriously, how cool was that and at the most perfect timing possible! 

Once I received the Journal I was so impressed with the products look and quality.  But, I wasn't surprised really because I have Never been disappointed with any thing I have ever used in my Homeschool from Apologia.  They have only the best curriculum and resources to offer their Homeschooling Families!  The Journal is Spiral bound with a glossy front and back along with heavy pages to write on.  This book has a scrap-booking, collect and keep look to it.  It's bright, fun and It's divided into easy to use sections with directions for you to use completely or tweak to fit your needs. 


Here are a few of the Sections in the Journal:
  • Places I’ve Explored in your State, the United States and in the World – Here you can record all the places you have seen from locally and far, far away. 
  • Field Trip Pages – This section is the bulk of the book where you get to share details of all your field trips.
  • My Special Spot – This is very unique and I wasn't sure the kids would even use it, but surprisingly they had their own ideas on what to put down on those pages before I had come up with a bribe to get them to do it.  I was Happy about seeing them unleash their creativity!  This section here you can share details of your special spot in nature in  each of the different Seasons with details.  It's a way for you to stop and recognize subtle and not so subtle changes to your special spots.
  • As I See it – Here you can record your special thoughts, ideas and drawings. Some pages have words and pictures for prompts while others are completely blank to give your kiddos room to let their imagination take them where ever they choose to go!
So, this is how we used it.....we decided to have both Mahala and Kaden collectively use the journal for this review period.  We knew we were going to Malibu on a camping trip and we were going to Disneyland for 5 days during the review period so we had a perfect opportunity to use this new resource. I almost forgot to mention that you will have at your finger tips everything you need to prepare for your field trip in a section of the Journal called Preparing for a Field Trip.  Checklists for the week before the actual trip, the night before, on the way to your trip and at the field trip.  Lot's of information and tips to make your experience more fun and less stressful!  Love it!!!!  



Also, I found that the grids filled with over 100 Field Trip Ideas...."off the beaten path" and "from your backyard to half way around the World" was more then helpful.  And it added a few extra stops to explore on our to-do list this Summer! ")
We went through and filled out a few of the pages in the Places I've Explored Sections.  Mahala just went on a Mexico Missions trip so she was excited to fill in that info.  Afterwards we went to the Special Spots section and even though we couldn't get to them during the review period we have them on our list to go to through out this next month.  I had each child pick a season, luckily it just worked out for us perfectly, but I can see that I'm going to have to get another one so that they can each have their own and they can personalize it how they want.  

Mahala did a page on Disneyland and Kaden did one on Malibu.  I loved how it prompts kids to write down key information, but still leaves the door wide open for their own style to shine through.  They can add a little or a lot to their pages.  I think having the kids write out what they want to see or do for sure during their trip helps them have focus and gets them to think about the event before hand.  My Favorite part is the section "Story of My Day"....it's not a book report or a list of 20 questions.  Just a place for the kids to recreate a section of their day.  To sum things up instead of dragging out a long 6 page essay on what they got out of the field trip.  Mahala really connected with the section"Something I Never want to Forget".  How sweet and Special.  Just a few lines for a moment during the day that your kiddo never wants to forget.  I mean let's face it, with age things start to look a little fuzzy! :)

Did I like this resource?  Yes, like crazzzzzy I did!  Where has this sweet Jewel been all my ears of homeschooling???  I think this is a great addition to your school because we all go on field trip, maybe not as much as you want, but they do still happen.  And when we go we like to document and make sure they kiddos actually got something out of the experience.  This combines the both of those into one neat little book.  It would work with any homeschooler with or without Special needs.  There is no rules to follow, just add what you want and totally personalize it as you explore your world together with your children.
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Book of Ancient Romans~ REVIEW




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We love History around here.  It wasn't always like that though.....It took a lot of fun exploring deeper into the lives of people from the past and several independent projects and lap books, but I can certainly say we enjoy History a lot in our home.  Several weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to Review The book of Ancient Romans, originally written by Dorthy Mills and Edited by Memoria Press.  We received a Beautiful Textbook, a Student Guide and Teachers Guide. (All 3 pieces~ $39.95 and is suggested to use with Kiddos in 6th-9th grade)

I was thrilled to see that the text book reads just like a story.  I love this way of teaching, I think that kids retain more and are able to relate to it better then staring at a list of dates and facts.  So, this was very appealing to our Family.  If you have a student that's reluctant to learn History or who loves a good action story this is for them.  They will learn all kinds of knowledge regarding the Ancient Romans, along with some hidden gems that you probably had never heard of. :)  The Textbook has a sturdy cover, my kids spent several minutes rubbing their hands across it, because they said it was so soft and smooth.....I agreed with them.


http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/-2015%20CREW/Book-of-the-Ancient-Romans_zpsp9dro2jj.pngThe Student Guide is very simple, not all junked up with extra, unneeded pizazz and very to the point.  My kids eat that up, they are not bells and whistle kind of people.  It starts out each chapter with Facts to Know and Vocabulary.  What we did here is we did this part first before we would read.  We worked through this program 3 times a week.  So, the first day we did that and then on Wednesday we would Read and complete the comprehension questions.  Towards the end of the week we would complete the extra Activities they listed.  This is a great way to wrap up your week and add some fun into your school week.  Through out the program you will have Reviews and Drawing Pages.  We LOVED doing the Drawing pages.  I wished I had some to share, but right now we are at Disney and I can't get access to my pics.  When I get home next week, I'll edit and add them.

What I truly Loved about the Teacher's Guide is that it is sooooooo simple to use and it's fool proof as far as using it for grading and checking your Kiddo's work.  I have used programs in the past that lists just answers and are so confusing to keep track of where you are and what you are actually grading.  I'm thrilled to say that you will not have that problem here.  The Teacher's Guide is simply just like the Students, except with the answers written out right underneath the questions asked.  Super simple and easy.....can't ask for anything better! :)
So, would I use this program again or with my other Kiddos.  Well, yes I would.  I already have my little guy looking at it in his free time.  I will continue the rest of the book and will use it with Kaden.  There are many other programs to look at too with Memoria Press, you should check them all out!  Let me know what you think, I just know that you too will think this is an affordable History course that will make teaching History even more enjoyable then ever.


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Saturday, May 30, 2015

PianoWithWillie ~Review

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I never played an instrument growing up unless you count the rhythm sticks.  But, it was a dream of mine to have my kids take some sort of instrument.  Skylar played violin and Mahala is our piano player.  She started lessons several years ago, but after a year or so we had to stop taking her due to the long drive, short class time, long wait in the car with Kaden for her and the cost to do it all.  Last year I was Blessed to have the opportunity to Review a Piano Program called Homeschool Piano.  And this year JazzEdge has given us a Studio Access Membership to Review for a full year to Willie Myette's amazing Piano program called PianoWithWillie. ($49 a Month or $99 Quarterly or $399 Annually)

This program is for people who have had the basics and who need to move on to the next step.  There are other programs available for beginning learners and for the Drums.....I encourage you to check them all out. Willie attended and graduated from the Berklee College of Music.  Both of my Kiddos found it exciting to learn that he toured and preformed across America and Europe. And that his music has been played on almost 100 different radio stations across the country.   Mahala loved the Homeschool Piano program and Kaden still uses it today, but she needed more of a challenge.  And this program absolutely delivers just that.  First I'm going to share what I love as a parent about Piano with Willie and then I'm going to let Mahala speak a little about what she thought.

First of all I love that Willie is the Instructor, he is Amazing.  You can feel his passion through the computer screen.  He has excitement in his voice and he beams with enthusiasm when he teaches.  For me that's great for both the experience musician and the beginner.  Kaden needs the motivation and encouraging words.  And to me Mahala seems to respond nicely and has a desire to learn because Willie is so engaging with his students.
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I Love the ease of using the program, he offers a tutorial that takes you through the basics and where to get to everything at your initial set up.  I will admit I had to watch it and go through it twice.  :)  But, once I got situated it was a breeze and with each lesson it's just click click click boom....all done! :)
I super Love that you can access the lesson from your computer, phone or tablet.  I can not tell you how awesome that little feature has been for us.  We were over at a friends the other day and we might have stayed a little longer then what I thought we were going to.  And the kids were bored.  I said to the kids to take their tablet and head out to the sunroom where they have their piano and take turns doing their piano lessons.  My friend was so impressed that both of the kids didn't complain, knew how to log in and get themselves all logged on and the music was beautiful.  
I Love that you have over 3,000 lessons to pick from and you can learn something new every single day!  And the Forum, It's a nice addition, we didn't really use it during the review period.  But, as Mahala continues on it may be a great additional tool for her to use.
I asked Mahala to comment on the things that she Loved about PianoWithWillie.  She said there were three main things she Loved the most.
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1.  The Split Screen!!!  She said that it feels as close to a live one on one practice then any other online program because you get to see Willie up-close and get an aerial view of his keys as he is playing.  
2.  The sheet music is right there and available to print or just bring it up and download on your tablet or computer and follow along.
3.   The ease of keeping up with the lessons you have worked through already and feeling confident using the site.  It's very user friendly and you don't waste time clicking through lessons trying to figure out where you were last.

We, used this program 3-4 times a week.  We wanted to use it more often, but with the way things have been lately we decided up front to stick with 3-4 days a week.  It worked our beautifully and without any stress.  I set it all up in a matter of about 10 minutes and then included Mahala in everything afterwards.  She went through the Getting Started, Using the Site and Next Step sections all by herself.  There is a Piano Foundations section that she did also, before she started on the 30 Day Success Playbook.  That was where all the fun began and the music started to flow from her fingertips.  Next will come the individual lessons, she has done a few of the 300+ already, but wanted to complete the 30 Day Success Playbook 1st before she went too deep into that.
Every day that we had piano time scheduled she basically logged on and did her thing.  Even Kaden who is much younger then her that is using another piano program with Willie does the same thing.  It's very user friendly, great for independent learning and I would definitely say it is a huge success in our home.  I will go in every now and then to the dashboard and check on their progress.  But, other then that it's great for independent learning.
So, would I recommend this Piano Program?  Absolutely, and if you can't use it because you don't have a piano I urge you to go out and at least look into buying a new or used 61 Key keyboard.  Piano can encourage self esteem and creativity while creating beautiful music that relaxes the soul.  I think any Homeschool Family or Non-homeschooling Family would benefit from this Piano Program.  It's affordable and a blessing to be able to have a quality teaching experience in the comfort of your own home during a flexible time that is convenient for you!  Check them out, you wont be disappointed.....I promise!


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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Accepting Life for What It Really Is

I don't know if it's because I'm older now....just turned 40!  But, I am so content with my life right now.  Things don't have to be perfect, clean, tidy, over planned or even planned at all.  Life is life and life was meant to be enjoyed.  Not to be avoided and dreaded.  

My sweet Kaden, oh how I LOVE him soooo much, but I know for many nights I laid next to him and begged God to take away his Autism, make life easier for me.....Please!!!  I would struggle with his stims or his milestones not being met.  You know what Kaden....eat with your hands, giggle and laugh as you twirl around, touch our faces until you feel safe and calm, whatever you need to enjoy Your life.  I'm so proud of all that he has accomplished in the 8 years of his life.  I want him to be proud of who he is.  I still pray for his safety because he still has uncontrollable anger through out the week.  But, when I look at where he was 4 years ago and where he is now there is soooo much improvement with his social skills, communication and his ability to take care of himself. 
We have been working a lot on daily life skills.  Like keeping himself clean, cleaning up after himself and making healthy food choices.  He loves helping in the kitchen and coming up with new food creations.  He's working on a new strawberry lemonade recipe right now.  I love his enthusiasm for life, he wakes up happy every single morning no matter what kind of night he's had.  He attacks the day like I've never seen before from anyone I've ever known.  I can learn a lot from him....I think I already have!  Thank You Lord for my Sweet Kaden!!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

More then Half my Life

 




















So, it was another Birthday for me.....yay me!  I am thankful the Lord has given me 40 years and that 21 of them I have been a Momma!!!  We had a great celebration together, especially since my oldest was born on my Birthday.  We both hit milestones this year, I turned 40 and he made it to 21.  Here I am with my Sweet girl who just turned 15 not too long ago.  They grow up so fast and before you know it those late nights don't seem like such a big deal anymore.  I would do anything to be able to go tell my younger self to relax more and enjoy the kids.  No, I take that back!  I did do that and that's why my Son was out with his Family on his 21st Birthday.  Because I did take the time to stay up late and talk with them.  I did play board games, make cool art projects and decided to Homeschool them to tailor their education and be able to spend quality time with them.  We have made cookies just because it was Tuesday and have spent many afternoons dancing in the rain or basking in the sun.  These last 21 years have been the Best years of my Life.....I Love My Family!!!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy~ REVIEW

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I've been homeschooling for almost 10 years....seems like a long time, but to me it has been just a short journey I've taken along with my Kiddos.  I don't know if you are new to Homeschooling, been Homeschooling for years or maybe your thinking about it.  There are a lot of things to consider and to understand.  It may feel a bit overwhelming, but I'm here to tell you that every year I Homeschool my Kiddos I have a list of things I plan to change from the previous year and a list of things that worked and we plan to implement them again for another year.  It's a learning process, but the amazing thing is that you get to experience life with your Kiddos.

I struggle with a few things in our Homeschool.....organization, doubting my abilities and staying focused.  That sounds like a we run around in a mess.....some days we do!  :)  Anyway, I was given the opratunity to take a course from Stephanie Walmsley with Successful Homeschooling Made Easy.  She offers the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course which is a 26 week long program.  Stephanie Walmsley is a Christian Mom of 5 Kiddos that started Homeschooling in 1985.  Homeschooling wasn't as popular back then like it is now.  She didn't have tons of curriculum choices, gadgets and gizmos to sort through and figure out what would work for each child.  There weren't as many Homeschool groups and mentorships available like you can find now.  Our resources now I would describe as Unlimited.  Stephanie created this program to fill a need for guidance in the Homeschool world.  Even if your a veteran Homeschooling Family there are a lot of lessons and gems found through out this program!

So, this is how it works....it's so simple.  Once you have signed up for the course you will receive your lesson in PDF format each week.  You can read it on your computer or print them out.  I'm visual and need to hold something if I'm going to get it to sink in my brain.  With that said I printed it out and hole punched it to fit nicely in a 3 ring binder.  That way too I can go back and reference latter on.  And I did do that several times during the review period.

The 1st few lessons help give you a simple 8 week plan to go by.  I love that she dosen't have you teaching 10 subjects on the first day and that is usually what I do when I start something new.  She really explains about the simplicity of your schedule for your Homeschooling.  She asks you questions about you and your Family to help customize a plan that will work for YOU.  Like, what time do you wake up?  Are you a morning person or afternoon?  What chores need to be done or appointments or other commitments that are a regular recurrence?  She also gives you a print out of a schedule for morning and one for afternoon learners.  Even though we tend to do better in the afternoon I want to work toward being a little more productive earlier in the day.  LORD HELP US! :)

My experience has been great with using Stephanie's course.  Even though I have been at this for many years I still struggle here and there.  She has renewed my faith in myself and has given me the little push I need to believe I am capable in making this work.  I do have one successful Son in college already, so why the harsh self talk everyday?  Well, not anymore I feel like I have a plan and the tools to work on some hard truths with our schedule.  



After the first few lessons I broke out the poster board, paper, glue and pens.  I did what she said to do which was to start out with a Literacy Hour.  And to fill that hour with Reading and Writing.  And so I did.....no stress, just Literacy Hour and a few chores, Bible time and lot's of outdoor play.  Then I added Math Hour and the next week we filled in even more time for our garden and so forth.  This slow progression really ensured success for us.  We are a Happy Bunch over here!



Would I recommend this Course?  I would indeed for anyone new to Homeschooling or to someone thinking about it.  And even those of us who may be in a rut or a new season of life.  When my oldest left for college it changed our whole Family dynamics.  It was a huge shift that caused us to need to regroup and get ourselves back on track.  This online course did that for us.  We are only 9 weeks into the program and I look forward to the upcoming lessons!  If you are looking for a Simple Course to help you work through making Schedules and Lesson plans.  Learn how to use your time more efficiently and truly learn how to break free from stress with Organization Choosing your Kiddo's Curriculum and Planning.  Even get tips with Teaching and Housekeeping and tons more!  This Course is super affordable at $10 per month for 6 months, or $48 if you pay for the whole course all at one time.

Stop by and connect with Stephanie from Successful Homeschooling Made Easy on Facebook.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Family Bible Study from Real Life Press~REVIEW

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Do you have Family Bible time during the week or weekends?  We have on and off, but it is something that I have had on my heart for many months to do with our Family.  So, when we were asked to Review a Family Bible Study written by Heidi St. John, Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 1 (Stories from the Life of Jesus) from Real Life Press we were having a Jesus Moment, because it was just what I had been praying for.  We were sent both the Family Study Guide $9.95and Student Book $24.95. (10 week long study)

I don't know about you, but when I walk into the Christian Book store I sometimes get crazy overwhelmed.  I think it's just because I want them all!!  :)  I have to say when I was 1st presented with this review I went to their website and instantly made a wish list.  I urge you to go at some point today and take a little lookie lookie!  The Busy Mom Products     Firmly Planted Products

Real Life Press, created by Jay and Heidi St. John has a passion for the Lord and their mission is to direct people to Him.  Showing people how to have a working relationship with God in all areas of their life.  They have many different products like I mentioned before, you must go see them all for yourself.  They offer affordable Bible Studies, Books and CDs on all things to grow Faith, Homeschool, being Stronger as a Family, and of course Parenting. 






Before I get into how we used this product I have to scream how personal and beautiful this product is.  You can feel the Love and Passion as you read the Note from Jay and Hedi.  The layout and flow from one page to the next is captivating for even the youngest of kiddos, the older ones and even us adults.  And we all know how critical Kaden is.  Being Autistic gives him a few challenges.  One staying captured with the content.  And then there is the opposite problem and that's when the workbooks or program is too busy with lot's of extra unneeded flash and pizazz.  I know it's a crazy middle ground that we try to find and stay at with him.  
And I'm super pleased to say that he LOVED the program.  If you have a Special needs child, they will love this Bible study.  For many reasons that I will go into a few of them in just a minute.  Since I needed a supplement for Kaden's Bible time during the day I decided to do this with just him and I for the Review period and then after we finish our book we are reading during Family time in a week or so we are going to recap what Kaden and I learned and then continue on with the whole Family.  But for the sake of this review I did it just with Kaden and I.

Okay on to the good stuff.....Here is a pic of the Lessons in part 1.  As you see it covers from Mary being visited by the Angel Gabriel all the way to Jesus walking on water.  I went ahead and printed everything out and placed each page in sleeves in a binder.  I wanted to make everything easy, organized and portable anywhere at a moments notice.  I have been working on that a lot lately. :)  

At the beginning of the lesson in the Family Study Guide you find the title and passages that are in the lesson.  Let's take week 1 for instance.  

Gabriel visits Mary~Luke 1:26-38
After you read that with your Family you have some choices.  Here comes a Special needs Blessing.  There are variations for the memory verse.  First of all it's up to you if you want to memorize a verse or not.  But, they give you variations to use depending on the age/ability of your Kiddos.  
Here is an example.You have 3 ways~ 
1.  THE SEED which is basically the Big Idea or Key Concept.  
2.  PLANTING THE SEED is for Kiddos 4-11 
3.  Additional PLANTING THE SEED is a more Challenging with longer components.

*The Seed for Week 1 is The virgin birth of Jesus proves that He is God. 
*PLANTING THE SEED for Week 1 is And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus
*Additional PLANTING THE SEED for Week 1 is And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.

 
We started out with learning just The Seed and then every day or so I went on until he memorized most of the additional PLANTING THE SEED.  Customize the program to fit Our needs! 

Next you find the Watering the seed segment.  Here the concept is basically with a short story it helps "germinate" the seed concept.  Also there are questions here geared for the older Kiddos.  You will find through out the program at the end of the lessons little Apples that represent Tasting the fruit.  Here your Family will be able to apply what they have learned in their own lives.  This is sooooo huge, anyone can memorize some answers, but this is where the line in drawn between listeners of the word and doers of the word.  When you come to the Digging Deeper sections is for mainly the older kids and adults.  But, I have to say Kaden took to it.  

But, he LOVES his Bible, the other day he was talking about Methuselah in the bath tub.  I mean this child Loves his Bible and not just the Heroes or the Action.  He has a heart for Jesus and he has told me before....if you want to know the Lord you need to read his word and talk to him everyday, all day.  Yes, sir!!!  So, the deeper conversation that Digging Deeper evokes was perfect for him.

Now let's chat about the Student workbook, it's a huge!!!  There are 200+ pages that go along with the 10 chapters from the Family Study Guide.  You will find so many fun things to help solidify what your kiddos learned and it's painless for both you and them. :)  They will find everything from crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes, science activities, journaling pages, coloring pages and lot's of extras for deeper study for the older kiddos.  There is so much to choose from that will be a perfect fit no matter their age or learning ability.  Once again this is helpful to have lot's of options when you have a child with Special Needs.  The pics I included doesn't show the coloring/art side, but they are there in the work book....I promise.  They are just not Kaden's favorite thing to do.  So, we were able to work on handwriting, major plus factor to be able to work on skill deficits while learning about the Lord. :)


We worked our Bible study every single Day except Sunday.  Kaden Loved it and I never had to ask more then once to gather his Bible study supplies and Bible.  We worked more some days then others, but we never took more then a week to complete one of the 10 lessons.  

Will we continue this program?  Oh yes, and I plan to purchase all of the other ones and probably a few of the other products available that are not Bible Studies.  I Highly recommend this Bible Study for anyone with a Family.  If you have wanted to do a Family Study or just want to use it with your Kiddos you will see your child start connecting the dots.  And watching them and yourself dive deeper into the Bible and getting closer to the Lord with each lesson is the most Beautiful thing.  Bless your Family today, head on over and pick out your first Family Bible Study.
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