Monday, January 31, 2011

Homeschooling High School Options

Ok High School is coming.....

and the two things that are on your mind are:

How in the world am I going to get a Dissection done for Biology? 


There is no possible way I am going to be able to teach upper level Math.....

Relax... I have ya covered.

Stop with the premature panic attack... go refill your coffee cup.... get a few good clean breaths... and come back and finish reading when you are ready.

We will start with Science...
I have found this great resource that you can use to supplement any curriculum that you choose.  OR you can use it as your curriculum.

Go and sign up for the Landry Academy Newsletter.  Before you tell me you don't need another newsletter sent to your inbox, you do need this one for science.  It isn't overwhelming, but it will keep you informed of all the upcoming free classes that he offers.... and get this.........

HE DOES THE DISSECTION....  can a get an amen from moms across America?!!?  This is great news for kitchen scientists everywhere!....  No more dissection trays in the kitchen sink when there is dinner to prepare.  No more scalpels falling into the wrong hands and them reshaping the more of that "smell" on your counter tops and in your sponge.... uggh!

To get a feel for how they are.... there are two recorded dissections available for you to look at right now!

As for High School Math......  You need to read the reviews I have written on several of the top online, and textbook curriculum's that are out there.  There are free trial options that are available, and you can spend some time this winter trying out a new curriculum, or over the summer try on a few programs to see if they are a fit for your family.
Really tho, remember that you can teach High School.  I really believe that anyone who lived through those years comes with automatic qualification to teach about those years.  High School is only an extension of what you have done in the past.  I am surprised daily at what I understand and remember about Algebra, and how I am able to explain it in a way that  makes sense, simply because I know my kids, and how they think.  I even understand some stuff about Algebra 2 ( and I never even took that class! ) 

I speak from experience... I have 2 in High School now, and we are making it just fine....  I know you will too!
Hope these resources help !

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Upstatemomma...  you are the winner of a Free Schoolhouse Expo Ticket!!

email me so I can pass on your email address  to The Schoolhouse Expo folks....
They will be contacting you with the link for you to sign up for FREE!

I am so glad a free ticket will be a blessing to your family.... I remember just starting out ....  I hope you get some wonderful tips and encouragement at the Expo!  Your  blog is great! Anytime you have a question or want to vent...  stop on by!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Ten Marks ~ Online Math Curriculum

Ten Marks is an online math curriculum designed to teach Elementary ( starting at grade 3) , Middle and Highschool Math.  It is subscription based.  It is available for $10 a month, $49 for six months, $89 for 12 months.  You can access a free trial by clicking here, or you may click here to see several videos about the program. 

Their website describes their program as:
"TenMarks is the only online math program that helps students refresh, learn, and master math concepts - in their own time, at their own pace. Each child receives a personalized curriculum to help them master the concepts quickly."

"Intuitive, interactive, and fun way for students to practice, learn, and master math. Builds confidence. Drives success."

It is a multiple choice worksheet based program, that offers your child worksheets to complete each week.  The default number of worksheets the program will provide is 4.  In the parent profile you can choose as few as 3 worksheets per week, and up to 7 a week.  The default setting seemed to be just right for both of my children.

A child can work at his or her own pace to complete the worksheets.  The goal is to get a 10 out of 10 correct (hence the Ten Marks name...) on each worksheet.  At the end of a sheet, the child is given the opportunity to correct the missed problems once.  If they are still wrong, it will show the student why the problem was wrong.  When a child misses 3 problems after correction, the program will automatically generate a "Do-over" worksheet to be completed.  Concept Mastery is clearly the goal of the program.

The parent page is easy to navigate.  When you log on you see your child's name and worksheets.  Under the worksheets, the program will show the percentage of concept mastery your child has shown.  You are able to see at a glance, your child's score, how many videos were watched, and hints used for each concept.

You are able to view report cards for each of your students.

It was very easy to see at a glance how my kids were doing in the areas that they had been working on.

There was also a very nice breakdown of work that was completed each day.

Any text that was hyperlinked, would take me to the exact worksheet that was worked on.

The student page is equally easy to navigate.  My children could easily see the worksheets they had completed, were working on, and what the upcoming concept would be.  There are little people on the page that help visually indicate concept mastery on specific topics.  They can see how far they are from the next reward that the program would generate for them.  ( Math related video games ) Parents have the option to enter personal rewards into the program as well, to further motivate their child to success.

There is the option to suspend the automatic generation of worksheets, and I must admit I should have remembered to do this for the week we took off at Christmas.  I forgot to do so, but the kids didn't have any trouble catching back up. 

Students are able to view and print certificates of Mastery, and access their game rewards from the Rewards page.

Our Experience:

We used Ten Marks as our Math Curriculum for both of my High School Students;  specifically Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.  From my perspective, sitting with them to watch the video lessons that the program provides, it reminds me of my own High School Algebra class.  The teacher introduces a concept, and then discusses one version of the problem, and assigns homework that is full of questions that are not anything like the modeled equation.  This was a great source of frustration for both of the kids.  They often felt like they were totally guessing at the answers, and didn't feel like they fully understood the concept, even if the program said they did. They both often expressed the desire to see immediately if they had answered a question correctly.  Several times they both thought they were really understanding something, and when the grading happened they missed over half the problems.

The program does offer practice sessions, for the children to work through at any time.  When I reminded my kids of this feature,  I received typical teenage eye rolling.  To my knowledge, my children did not avail themselves of this option.  Possibly because of their frustration with the initial worksheet, they did not desire to willingly choose more frustration. 

In order to better grasp concepts and definitions, my children would seek other sources to help them understand.  They would flip back through their textbook, or look up YouTube videos for help.  Many times I was called over to help explain and talk them through the questions.

The things they did like were the games that they were rewarded with after completing their work.  They also very much enjoyed only having 4 worksheets to do a week.  They could complete them in one day, and be done with Math for the week, or they could stretch out the number of days, and complete them one at time.  They also liked how if they had to leave a worksheet, the program saved their previous answers so they didn't have to repeat any work.  In most cases they said that the hints were helpful.

My daughter says, " the program is growing on her", and as she completes more worksheets, she is understanding how the program works better.  She is pretty sure her frustration is with Math in general, not the Ten Marks Program.

There are several  suggestions that we would like to offer:
  • Notifications on the Student Home Page of tests and parent email notification of tests.  There is a tab that says 'Tests' but we were so busy completing worksheets, that we never clicked there to see them.  Consequently we missed many tests.  The program does a GREAT job of sending out email reminders to the parent that new worksheets are available, but it doesn't notify the parent that a test is ready for the student to take.
  • Glossary of Terms.  We often didn't understand what in the world things meant.  Not being a Math professor myself, didn't help our cause either.  It would have been wonderful to have terms linked to clickable definitions, possibly located with the hints that are offered with the questions.  Even a separate Glossary Tab for the students would be nice.
  • Assessment integration.  The company does offer a math assessment.  It is located on their homeschool tab on the bottom right side. It is optional to take this assessment, and frankly we missed seeing it altogether.  As a parent, I would like to see that become something that every child is required to take at the start of the program. I think that integrating it as the first set of worksheets that a child does would be beneficial.
Ten Marks is a great program for supplementing current math curriculum, and will stay right on track with your state standards.  I would definitely recommend it for publicly educated students who need extra reinforcement.  It compliments that style of teaching very well.

The company is very open to feedback, there is a feedback button on the right of every page.  They encourage you to contact them with questions, problems, and concerns.  You can also contact them by email for more information at

As always, opinions on curriculum will vary from family to family.  Much depends on the learning style of the children.  Please take the time to read the other reviews that have been written by my TOS Crew Mates.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Reveiw Crew, I received a free 6 month subscription to Ten Marks, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All of the above opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

School ID Cards

Just in case you ever want to take advantage of school student discounts at museums and other places, but you think... " I don't have one of those cards, guess I will miss out.."

I just printed out a free on for my kids, and it was easy as pie.

Check it out ( that is not my kid.... but you get the idea of what they look like.)

and for only 6.95 you can get them on hard plastic like the public system uses.  Or just be like me and print it at home and laminate the bugger.

Get a FREE
Homeschool ID Card!

Vacations on the brain

Yesterday,  I felt sort of yucky.  queasy really.  I am not sure if it is a bug.... because I had one throwing up most of Tuesday evening, or... ??

Anyway, because I was highly unmotivated to get out of my sweat pants or put on any shoes besides my slippers...  It quickly morphed into a video school day.

We got a Wii for Christmas.  This means we have access to streaming Netflix...  which we promptly bought a subscription too...  I love that thing.

We started with a documentary on Lewis and Clark, by National Geographic....  moved over to one about Disneyland, flitted over to one about the Appalachian Trail....  You get the picture.  A day of learning, just on a crazy set of topics. 

NOW, I can't stop thinking about Vacations....  All of these videos... ( save the one about Disney, we have already been there lots) have me thinking about these amazing field trips.  I mean, how cool would it be to DO the Lewis and Clark Trail????  We live right on a part of it....
Then listening to the Appalachian Trail one.... I now want to do that too.........

There are so many places in our own country, where history has happened, that we read about, but never go!  I lived in California for YEARS.... and I have never been to Yosemite...  Right now I am ready to jump in an RV and get lost for awhile.

Which leads me to another crazy thought I have always had.  Wouldn't it be cool to just travel the country and live in an RV?  My husband thinks I am stone cold crazy.  He traveled lots for work before we met.  Life on the road to him does not sound appealing.... but me.... who lived in the same place for 35 years... I am ready to hit the road and explore!  I know there are people that do it...  I have read some blogs, and seen some TV shows....  It IS completely possible.

Here is the part I need you for.  Tell me what great historical things are to visit in your State....  Or what places have you been, that I absolutely MUST visit?

I really want to do this....  help me plan!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Curriculum for a DOLLAR?

Short on funds?

Need to get some tricks and tips?

I like to homeschool on a dime.  We use an online free curriculum...  and when you can't get free, Curriculum for a dollar is the next best thing.  Use that big old button up there and see what is on sale in this virtual dollar store!

Tickets on Sale NOW! + a giveaway!!!

Are you ready?

Tickets for The Schoolhouse Expo.....go on sale TODAY!!! 

From today, January 26, 2011 until February 9, 2011 the price is only $19.95.  Mark your calendars now to attend this great time of learning and encouragement.  The Expo is held from May 16th - 20th.

I live at the corner of the Middle of Nowhere and the Boondocks.  Going to a traditional homeschool convention is not an option for me.  I am 5 hours from the nearest one in my state.  To attend, I have to factor in the cost of fuel, hotel, and meals.  It just adds up, and it would be a financial drain on our family's resources.  The Schoolhouse Expo helps me be a good steward of our finances; it is just a wealth of encouragement and information.  I can attend the Expo without ever leaving my home.  We don't need to take time off of school, I can still oversee lessons as I listen.  I can drink as much coffee as I want to, and even stay in my pajamas!  I have made dinner, and cleaned the kitchen all while listening to the streaming audio.

Another reason I like the Expo is the exposure to new products.  Listening to the Vendor Workshops, helps me evaluate the curriculum I am using, and keeps me up to date on new products that are available.  Even if it might not be a product I will purchase, I have had the opportunity to learn about it, and can offer it as an option to someone that it might be perfect for.

Hopefully, I have inspired you to head on over to the Schoolhouse Expo webpage, and check it out for yourself.

You will never guess what is coming next........

I feel so important..........

I actually have a giveaway.......  (something I always thought was reserved for FAMOUS blogger like type people..... and I am SO not famous.......but having a giveaway makes me feel famous)

sorry about the inner monologue...

Back to the Details.

I have one FREE ticket to the Schoolhouse Expo and it includes all the freebies that they are giving away for all the folks who take advantage of Early Bird Registration.
Isn't that exciting? 

.... it is to me....I love free.  It is one of my favorite words!

To enter the drawing for the free ticket you need to  leave me a comment letting me know why attending the Expo for free would be a blessing to your family. 

I will choose the winner on Friday evening at 6 pm PST by using one of those randomizer thingys ( I guess I will have to figure out how those work eh? )

I will notify the winner by blog post, Saturday morning.  Make sure you are a follower of my blog so that you don't miss the notification, and I am able to contact you and let you know you have won!!

****Important considerations****

A very fun part of  The Schoolhouse Expo, are the door prize giveaways.  It is always a collection of physical prizes that are mailed, and downloadable prizes.  For those that live outside the US/Canada, and attend the Expo, you would only be eligible to win the downloadable prizes.  ( unless your Aunt Sally lives in Kansas, and is willing to receive the physical prizes, and then mail them to you in Malaysia....  if that is the case, you can try for ALL the prizes!)


Look for more information soon....  now enter the drawing and leave me a comment!!!

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids is a wonderful resource.  I have always wanted a Bible Dictionary, and having one that is easy for the kids to use, makes it perfect for our home. 

You can purchase this hardcover, brightly colored, well indexed, and illustrated dictionary through LifeWay Christian Stores.  The cost is  $14.99.  Simply click on the picture below to be taken directly to their store.  You may also cut and paste their web address into your browser

How we used this in our homeschool:

Sometimes it was used as breakfast reading material.  It was often on the kitchen table, which doubles as our homeschool study spot.  Even thought the product is geared to help children ages 5-10, better understand  Biblical terms; my oldest son ( 16 ) often flipped through it, as he was eating his cereal, or having lunch.  We kept on the table so that it was easily accessible to anyone who needed it. 

The Dictionary found use with Sunday School lessons and with our Bible Curriculum.  It was the first place we looked up a word.  Flipping through, even just looking over the pictures, spawned several impromptu geography lessons, and deeper discussion on something that seemed interesting.

Here are some photos of the inside of this wonderful reference tool:

Don't forget to stop by and see what my fellow Crewmates thought of the product and to see how they used it in their homeschool.

****legal stuff****
As a Member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given a copy of the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.  This product was provided through Lifeway Christian Stores, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All of the above opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Good Deal on Unit Studies

Every so often I get some great deals sent to me in my in-box.   The other day I got one from TOS Store, letting me know they have made a CD bundle of some of their products.


Both the Curiosity Files and the Wanna Be Series, have been put into these great CD formats.  For only $49.00 each!

If you are new to homeschooling and have no idea where to start, these unit studies are a great place to begin.  They offer a comprehensive view of one subject at a time.  We use these as a break from traditional study, and through the summer so we don't forget how to do school!

To view samples of these studies Click on the picture below and visit the Old Schoolhouse Store and see for yourself all your child will learn.

Freebie for Facebook Expo fans!

Just a quick note to let you know about a great Freebie that is being offered by Schoolhouse Expo over in Facebook land.

Like their page and you will be eligible to receive the free e-book "College Success Begins at Home:  Seasoned Homeschoolers Share Their Experiences."  I don't know about you, but I am always looking for encouragement with homeschooling my High School kids.

and psst.........

for their FB fans... you can order your May Expo " Homeschooling With a Heart" tickets today!  ONE day early!!!!

now get over there and click that "Like" button! 
I want to see you at The Schoolhouse Expo this May!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Guard your heart from burning out

Ever seen a teacher that is Burnt Out?  I remember them from my own school daze. 
In High School, they apathetically walked back from the teachers lounge with their cup of coffee, and flop down into their squeaky swivel chair with a sigh....  look out across the class, and just hope they can make it through the next hour with out mutiny.  In Elementary School I have seen the burnt out teacher, happen as early as the first year.  Ever seen a Kindergarten Teacher look like a scared cat?  Those fast moving eyes, ever growing look of panic, praying that they don't over run her....  Realizing that nothing they ever taught her in College prepared her for THIS!!??!! ....  yeah, not pretty.

Please, don't get me wrong....  it doesn't happen everywhere, or to every teacher.  I think that teachers that avoid burnout, within the public or private school systems, have found out the key.  They have found the joy of their job.  They look for things to be joyous about.  That morose high school boy, that just bared his soul in an English paper....  they are touched by the tenderness that was revealed.  They rejoice over those "click" moments that happen when a student starts to read.  They look for smiles, in the classroom and hallways, they look for ways to encourage, motivate and inspire.  Not just collect a check.

This translates over to we homeschool mom/teachers/doctors/cooks/housekeepers too. 

Practically speaking, I will say that changing up things that are a struggle, or moving around the times of the day that we do certain subjects, helps to keep us all from becoming bored.  But, more and more, I find the key to not getting burned out is me, or rather my attitude.  If I project apathy, it gets mirrored back.  If I am excited about something, so are they.

I need to find JOY in my job as teacher.  Without it, I am like the teacher sighing in the squeaky swivel chair.  Just wishing and praying for the day to be over.  My kids deserve better than that.

Let me give you a homeschool paraphrase of Philippians 4:8-13
"Moms, look for these things in your day...  whatever is true, noble, just, pure.  Do you look for the lovely things in your children?  Do you want to have good things to say about their behavior?  Then look for the good!  Praise them, let them know when they have behaved virtuously.  Remember these wonderful things..............Go about your many duties in a day with contentment.  Whether it is laundry, or band-aids, or Phonics, be content with the jobs God has given you to do.  Remember, that you can do all these things, through Christ who strengthens you."

I try to evaluate things through this lens.  Yes, even curriculum.  Is it good, is it praiseworthy, is it virtuous....  does it cause me to honor God with my thoughts about it, or am I muttering, and groaning, and wishing I didn't have to use it.  Does it fit into the day well, or stress us out to get it done?    We do the same thing with our Extra Curricular activities.....  Sometimes those are a contributor to burning out more than anything.  Always rushing place to place, can be stressful!!!

Cruise on over and see how others combat the issue of "Burn out"

Contests and Counselors

I just wanted to let you all know about an opportunity for some summer fun for your recently graduated High School student.  The Landry Academy is looking for counselors for their summer camps.  It looks to me like the pay is pretty good.  Here is the link for all of the information.

Does your child just love science?  Is research their favorite thing?  Digging in to find all there is on a subject?  Then this is the contest for them!

Twice a year...  Landry Academy hosts a Creation Research Paper Contest.  The first prize is a 15" Laptop!
The theme this spring is:

"How does the Human Anatomy and/or Physiology Support the Biblical Account of the Creation of Humans? "

For all of the contest details and deadlines use this link:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Q & A: Autism

I would like to introduce you to someone.

My cousin Erin.

Not only is she amazing, funny, and way smarter than me....  She has a burden, a passion, to come alongside families with Autistic Children.  She has a Masters in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis, and is waiting to receive certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. 

In her own words she describes her work:

Throughout my experience I have aided families in providing a comprehensive approach for their child in order to ameliorate* deficits in social, academic/pre-academic, daily living and self-help skills (feeding, toileting, meal planning, shopping, self-care, etc), fine and gross motor skills, language/communication and lastly (I feel most importantly!) behaviorally. Each program was tailored to fit the child and family's direct needs, whether through homework support, making a simple snack, trying a new food, decreasing a maladaptive behavior (tantrum, self-injury, assault, protest, repetitive behavior, etc).

......Ultimately, I believe that parents are the most important component of their child's success. For many children they spend hours at school and there is not enough support (and lack of funding) to provide them with what they need. The greatest change that I have seen in a child's life has been because parents/caregivers heeded the advice of professionals and implemented suggestions. While the work is tedious and can be difficult for a parent (seeing their child exhibit unwanted behaviors in the face of change) they will reap the greatest reward with consistency and follow through; and waiting out the unwanted behavior which is often exhibited in a bell curve (must go up before it comes down).

I am confident that the greatest change can come from the home, because this is where a child spends the majority of their time. Many children can exhibit different behaviors and successes in different environments because they are aware that various agents (teachers, peers, siblings, caregivers) have different expectations. Sooooo...this is why home schooled children with ASD can make tremendous strides!!! How exciting! :) Parents just need the right resources. I wish that I had the means to go to each and everyone's home that need help and consult with them personally. :(

See, I knew you needed to meet her!
As I become more involved in the electronic homeschool community, I see a need;  to answer questions, to provide encouragement, and simply to listen to the struggles that are so much a part of life for families that have children with ASD.  I am not sure where this introduction will take us, but I am excited to find out...

So let's get to know each other. Tell us about your child, and homeschool experience.  Ask some questions.
How can we encourage you today?

*( ummmm...  I had to look this word up... so I thought maybe I should put the definition :  ameliorate : to make better, or improve upon.  see, I told you she was way smarter than me...)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog Walk Week 13 : January 24-28

Hello fellow blog walkers......... WELCOME!!
I am on the walk this week and I am excited about all the people who might be stopping by for the first time.
On Saturday, I hope to post an introductory post for what I hope will become a place to ask questions, and get encouragement for families that homeschool their children with ASD.
Make sure you stop by Saturday ( the 22nd) to meet Erin.

Does everyone have their favorite beverage of choice with them?
now get to clicking and meet some amazing homeschool mommas!

1. Clark Clan Craziness
having a clan that is full of it's own craziness, the title immediately draws me in.  A fellow mom of 4, she shares her tips on parenting, and has lots of great reviews. 
2. Doxazo Prep Academy
her "about me" section says she is an eclectic homeschooling mom and she doesn't own a denim jumper...hee hee.... that made me laugh out loud!  it was good I had swallowed my coffee mere seconds before, or my monitor would have needed cleaning  : -)  lots of great reading, and encouragement here.  AMEN to the marriage musings :)
3. My Elastic Life
seriously, I don't need to say anything... blog title says it all.  She says " Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape" I love it!
4. Fun in the Sun
Mom of 4 boys... bless her heart.  I myself have 3 and totally understand what it is to homeschool boys!  There are days you feel like you may lose your mind!  She has a great weekly wrap up post, and great reviews
5. A Teaching Heart
IT"S MEEEEEE!!!!  and you have already found me...!!!   Welcome all to my little part of cyberspace.  I am so looking forward to meeting each of you that stops by.  Leave a comment and let me know what things interest you!  You can also check out my other life... and more personal ramblings at A Day in the Life.

6. Mindful Ramblings
Mom of 2, lots of great stuff.  An absolutely great photo meme ABSee...  I will be coming back and getting lost in this blog.
7. Simple Thoughts
Lots of great reviews from this homeschoolblogger mom.  I look forward to reading more!
8. Joy in Our
Precious mom of two.  Great helps with teaching Latin. Recipes, and other homeschool helps are there for FREE! Former public school educator, now homeschool mom.  Shares a passion for raising Godly children of Character.  Stop by... there is lots to read!
9. Crazy Homeschool Mama
This momma lives near me, by that I mean our states touch.  But I am sure she is hours from me by car..  A Charlotte Masoner, and fellow Ambleside online Curriculum user, her blog is full of lots of information, and just random sharing....  I love random sharing.  It just makes me grab a cup of coffee and get lost in the blog for a post or 10.
10. Walking Home
Mom of 3.  She bakes some cakes, and  the look delicious!  Enjoys scrapbooking, and she is a fellow follower of Living on a Dime.  Lots of Unit Study information here.


Speekee logo

Hola Speekee, Dino y Lupi.  Son marionetas hablan Español sus niños.


Hello Speekee, Dino, and Lupi.  They will be the puppets that speak Spanish to your children.
They join with Jim, and a handful of Spanish children to make learning fun!

Speekee is a Spanish Language program targeted to teach children ages 2-10.  It is produced by Lingua4 LTD in the United Kingdom.   It is available in a boxed DVD set, or (and my personal favorite) online as Speekee TV.  In either version, you receive 10 separate 18 minute videos, completely in Spanish. 

These videos are colorful, and engaging.  They are filled with music and easy to learn songs.  They are subtitled in both English and Spanish, so not only does your child hear Spanish, they can learn to read it as well.
Speekee TV offers worksheets that coincide with every lesson, that are instantly downloadable in PDF format.  It also contains lots of hints to help parents reinforce the language skills the child(ren) are learning.

It will give your child a working base of conversational Spanish. They will learn, colors, beverages,foods,  hot, cold, numbers, common location names, names of different vehicles, and much, much more.  Having spent some time this summer in Mexico, I personally could have used this video system before going... it would have helped me remember some of the Spanish I took in High School!

How we used Speekee:

In our house, Speekee was asked for most often by my 3 year old.  He has the cutest lisp, and can't say half of his consonants correctly in English.... so to hear him ask to watch this program was amusing.  He can't quite say Hola correctly...  so... he made his own word for it....  Ooo-Ah....  so he would come to me, about 6 times a day asking to watch "Ooo-Ah Spee-tee".

Hunter, who is 8, also sat in on the videos.  At first he thought them a bit babyish, but I knew he was hooked after I caught him singing the "Donde vamos" song, while he was getting ready for bed one night. 

This is usually what it looked like when we would watch......

 Then you have to pan back and see who else is sneaking in to watch..........

VERY often... I caught the big two (15 and 16 ) lingering around the computer, being a shoulder lizard to their younger siblings, while they were watching.  Yes, they sang the songs too......  they are catchy.... it is impossible not to sing them....

I would say that by far, the person in our homeschool who benefited the most from the Speekee TV language program would be Jeremiah, the three year old.  Simply because he was the most entranced.  He didn't see it as learning at all.  To him it was a show.... he just sang along and talked back to it.  If you say to him " ¿Cómo te llamas?"  He will answer you...  "Soy Jeremiah."  This week (after 3 consistent weeks of watching) he has begun to ask us how to say other words around the house in Spanish.  His repetition of the words spoken on screen, has also increased.

I personally have enough knowledge of Spanish, to get myself into some serious trouble were I left alone in a Spanish speaking country.  I can understand all of what they are saying on the video, and a bit more conversationally.  With this...  ( admittedly lousy ability...) I can ask a few questions of the kids through out the day, and conversationally reinforce the topic that they watched.  The big kids try to answer me in Spanish ( going to Mexico made them, and me, a bit braver ), the younger children comprehend my question that is asked in Spanish, but they still answer me in English.  I think if they watched and practiced with these videos, their confidence would increase over time.

How Do I get Speekee?:

The Boxed Set  of DVD's is available for  £95.00.  (Roughly $150.00)  It comes with a 70 page guide, 4 DVDs, and a 34 track CD.  I am sure there would be shipping costs also.

The easier option, for those of us that live outside the UK, would be to visit  and order the Speekee TV subscription.  It is available instantly for only $7.50 a month.  There is no minimum amount of months to purchase.  Go HERE to get a free 2 week trial!  According to a Twitter update that I read on the website contact page.... you can even use your Wii to watch Speekee!

This is a great way to introduce Spanish, without needing to commit to some of the more costly programs that are on the market.  You could use this as a summer learning program, or over holiday breaks to keep the momentum of learning going. 

As always, opinions on products may vary, so...... please don't forget to check out some of the many reviews done by my fellow TOS Homeschool Crewmates, and see how they used Speekee in their homes.

and for now...I will just say....
Adiós, Adiós......Adiós mi amigos, Adiós...

**** the legal stuff****
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given access to the Speekee TV Spanish Language curricula, online for one month, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Christmas in January?

Well, I am sure you all will be so pleased to know, I have at least kept up.... with my chores.

My Christmas tree is still up.... and we shan't discuss it. 

But the top of my dresser is clean, my floor is still picked up, and I decluttered my side of closet, and gave away 5 grocery bags of clothes. 

but, my Christmas tree is still up.


I think tonight I will see who I can talk into bringing up the ornament boxes, and getting the tree put away and out.  If my friend comes over and teases me one more time about the tree, I might just die

I know I will see her tomorrow....

guess I better get it done.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Maestro Classics ~ Peter and the Wolf

I think I need a Thesaurus for this post.... hang on....

Ok... here we go....

Wonderful, outstanding, pleasant, stupendous, phenomenal, terrific, tremendous, enjoyable and just plain ole' swell.......

That would be what we thought of Peter and the Wolf, by Maestro Classics.  A product that is for all ages.

From the CD cover:
It is the musical story of a boy named Peter who disobeys his grandfather and climbs over the garden wall.  When he encounters a wolf, with quick thinking and the help of his friends, Peter captures the wolf and it is taken to the zoo.  Music written by Sergei Prokofiev, Narrated by Yadu, and played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Simon.

I had experienced the music of Peter and the Wolf  as a child.  I knew that my younger kids had never heard it before, and I was excited to play it for them.  

How we used Peter and the Wolf: 
Hunter, the 8 year old...  almost fell over laughing as I put facial expressions and body movements to all of the characters as they are represented instrumentally.  Yes I flittered around the kitchen like a bird, when the flute played, and waddled like a duck when the Oboe played....  It was really quite humorous.  I am just glad he laughed the hardest after he swallowed his cereal.  Probably wouldn't have been as funny if he blew Chex out of his nose....  No, it would have been funnier....

how easily I digress....

Maestro Classics, has a wide variety of Musical Stories available. All for the very reasonable price of  $16.98.  That price includes the CD and a small booklet with games and information.
Available titles are:  Peter and the Wolf,  The Tortoise and the Hare, The Story of Swan Lake, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Casey at Bat, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and  Juanita the Spanish Lobster (which is also available in Spanish) .


Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and Casey at Bat are also offered as separate gift sets  for the cost of  $24.99 ea.   Additionally a family gift set, is offered ( Mike Mulligan gift set + a biography of Virginia Lee Burton)  for $29.95

Where to Buy:
You can order directly through their website.
through these retailers :, Borders, Barns and Noble, Children's Book Store - Canada...  but click HERE for a complete list of retailers.

Please take the time to visit Maestro Classics.  Their website has lots of information.  You can purchase sheet music.   They have educational lesson plans for a few of their CD's and they could be used from grades K-6.   It really is a wonderful way to inspire a love of music in your children.

Other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew also reviewed this product.  Make sure you check out some of their reviews and see how they used this product in their homeschool.

***The legal stuff ***
As a member of the TOS Homeschool  Crew, I received a copy of Peter and the Wolf, from Maestro Classics free of charge, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received. blah, blah.....blah, blah....  blah.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

War of the Words

There are a zillion cliche's........

Many of them in my life, start like this....  "You know your a homeschooler when..........."
and you can just fill in the blank...

Friday we had a case of  " You know your a homeschooler when.... your children have an argument using SAT vocabulary words."

We are reviewing a product that is targeted at helping students grasp these big ole' words.....  I am happy to report, that 2 chapters in....  it is working....

It went like this.... ( Don't worry... I will put the definitions at the end of the post )

Evan:  "You know, I don't think I could like a girl that wore Neon colors like that..." ( referring to a person he saw in the parking lot wearing NEON pink.) " It is just a bit superfluous, don't you think?"

Tayler: " Gosh Evan! You don't have to lampoon her just because she is wearing bright colors."

Evan: " Geez Tay, you don't have to harangue me just for having an opinion."

Tayler: " Vilify, vilify, that all you know how to do?"

Evan:  " You just baffle me sometimes.."

I completely lost it.....  I mean laugh out loud LOST it, when she said , vilify, vilify, vilify.....  They mock argue often... and sometimes it gets loud... but it is always done as a war of wits, to see who can come back with the best one liner... never to be mean or hurtful......  I sort of liken it to our homeschool version of debate team.

It was absolutely hilarious to hear them incorporating these new words into their war of words....
Can't wait to hear what my wordsmiths come up with next.


Superfluous: being more than is required, excessive.
Lampoon: to make fun of or mock
Harangue: a long blustering speech or a rant
Vilify: to criticize harshly or to defame
Baffle: to confuse or frustrate someone


I signed up...

I don't know how to tweet.. or twit... or whatever it is...

you can find me @a_teachingheart

i think....

I told you... I have no clue how this works.

I have been trying to figure it out for about an hour....  All I have succeeded in doing is talking to the computer screen, and telling it I have no idea what it all means.......

I am sure if I set Jeremiah in front of the computer.... he would have it figured out in about 15 seconds.

I will try that tomorrow.

for now, I am going to carry my little tweety self to bed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blog Walk Week 12 ~ Jan 17- 21, 2011

Blog Walks are fun.
I get to stop by and meet all sorts of new folks without even leaving the kitchen.
where I am warm...
and have an endless supply of coffee........

Here are the TOS Homeschool Crew Members that are on this week's blog list.  Take the time to stop by, read.... and follow some of them

1. Learning Legacy
a look into the life of homeschooling 4 kids grades 5-12
2. The Blessings Pour Out
Fun, Farm, Family....  seriously check this blog out.  You have to see the Free E-books from Kaplan.  iT's only an offer good till January 17th... so get over there and check it out!
3. Taylor's Mark Orthodox Academylots of great product reviews here!
4. A Day in the Life
Ha!  The title made me smile.  I have a second blog with the same name!  Homeschooling mom of 5 Great blog, there is a new addition to the family.... and he's CUTE!
5. Pecan Prairie
Homeschooling Mom of 2.....  great Reviews.
6. Musing Gracegreat little blog... homeschooling mom of 6... ( ack... i think i just choked on my coffee)   lots of pearls of wisdom here!
7. Milk and Honey Mommy
Recipies, photography, homeschooling....  lots of things to get lost in over here.  And her kids are way cute!
8. Adventures in Unsell Land!Homeschooling mom of 6....  the women who do these 6+ kid families, well I am in awe of them.  Lots of great reviews here of books and such.  She homeschools through the pain of Fibromaylgia...  lots to learn here!
9. Modest Mama
mom of 4 little bundles of preciousness.  We share an addiction with Pelleorino Water....  I can tell we are going to be great friends.
10. Orange Marmalade MamaHomeschooling mom of 5....  lots of keepin it real posts.  One of her weekly wrap up posts for November, almost made me blow coffee out of my nose.  It is good to know, other people have those days too!

Thursday Chores

Yesterday was supposed to be the Bed.  I was supposed to strip the sheets, and make it up all fresh and nice.
I didn't do it.

I didn't even try.

I looked at the bed..... and no matter how much I like to climb in bed to those crisp freshly laundered sheets and the heavenly smell they have.... 

I still didn't do it.

All I saw when I looked at the bed.... was laundry.

I already had a laundry room full of it.

I didn't WANT to do my sheets too.......  ( can you hear the whine?  Pathetic, isn't it?)

So I didn't.  I left the old ones on.... and sprayed them with Fabreeze.

At least they smelled nice.

I would like to point out, however, that two of my children, DID do this chore in their rooms.  Unprompted, unnagged.... they just did it...

Perhaps that is why the laundry pile was so large yesterday....
..... sigh.....

Building Blocks of Character

We have been working on the characteristics of Obedience, Attentiveness, and Self Control for the last few weeks.

In the last weeks there have been challenges, and "wood shed" moments, where consequences have needed to be had.  Over all, I would say that I see an improvement, yet, we are by no means ready to let go of these three concepts.

Last night as I was discussing with my husband which Character Trait to work on next.....  I decided to make up some flash cards with the qualities we are building on, and currently integrating.  The front of the card has the trait, and it's direct opposite.  The back of the card the definition and Bible Verse that goes along with it. 

I tell you what, these verses.... are convicting...!!
It was said in church Sunday, by our Pastor....  You only believe as much of the Bible as you obey.  I can say by reading these verses that are on this list....  wow....  I as a mommy have some work to do, with myself!!

The characteristics we will be working on for the remainder of January are:

Obedience not Willfulness ( yes, again.... sigh.....we need to really camp here!! )
The freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority. ~ verse ~ 2nd Corinthians 10:5 ~  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Reverence not Disrespect
The awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me.  ~ verse ~ Proverbs 23:17-18 ~ do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day.  For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.

Orderliness (oh man.....  do I need this one!!) not Disorganization
Preparing myself and my surrounding so that I will achieve the greatest amount of efficiency.  ~ verse ~ 1st Corinthians 14:40 ~ Let all thing be done decently and in order.

Here is a song that we sing to help with Obedience....  the kids love it, and sing it often in church.  When we are out and about, starting to sing this tune gets everyone back on track.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dresser Day

You know I am only doing this in the name of science....

Or maybe the name of camaraderie....because I know there are other people who live this same cluttered existence....and want out, and have no idea how to do it.

Certainly not in the name of good sense.  No one in their right mind would admit that this is what their dresser looks like... let alone post pictures of it on the Internet..... 

But. ( and I have a big one )

I need accountability.  Without it.... this is the dirty little mess I turn into...

I become a little baby hoarder.  Just one great life tragedy away from living in one big pile....  separated by lots of tiny little walkways.
I spent most of my day, ignoring the fact that I needed to clean my dresser today.  I walked in the room three different times to start, and promptly left in the name of procrastination.

Finally, when school was done for the day... and I could no longer justify the procrastination...  I got the camera, and forced myself it take a picture of this horrid-ness.  The click of the shutter signified the commitment to get it done.... I certainly wasn't going to post something with out an after picture!

Really, I think it looks worse in digital than in real life.  uggh.

After 15 minutes....  I was able to see the top of the dresser, and close the drawer.  Well, maybe 20 minutes after I walked a few things back to their rightful homes.

I found lots of interesting things in there... 2 baby teeth, from which child?  I don't know.  Those remotes were buried in the drawer. There was my daughters reading glasses, post it notes, envelopes, two journals ( musta lost one in the ) and we will not discuss the dehydrated carrot.... the best surprise was the $155 cash that has probably been hiding in the drawer since last Christmas.  Merry Christmas to me!!

(almost) Wordless Wednesday: The Aftermath of a Tornado

Just so you all don't feel discouraged by what seems to be an insurmountable mess.....  I will share mine....
And together we will watch what 15 minutes a day can do for a room.

I told you....  it looks like a tornado, a category F5, has ripped through these rooms.
Tuesday's Zone was the floor, and only for 15 minutes.  It is the multiple of 15 minutes over time that will make a difference.
 This is the shared room of the 8 and 3 year old. 
 Not a bad "after"
 The pile of dirty clothes ( that is strewn with clean clothes improperly put away) does that happen to anyone else but me?
 "After" just a few minutes of filling laundry baskets and straightening the shrinking pile.
 I told you I would post a picture of my room....  I wasn't kidding, it is horrid.
"after"  just 15 minutes..... 

.... one small step at a time.......

I'm linking up to Wordless Wednesday @ Our Homeschool Reviews

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How goes the chores?

Well we are in week two of the new chore schedules and routines.  Last night we held an impromptu family meeting over dinner to discuss how we felt things were going. 

I gave the group a 50% improvement rating...  My oldest son, asked for it to be 60%, and my daughter thought we rated a 40%.....  somewhere in there is probably the true answer as to the improvement on getting our tasks done every day.

We discussed the fact that the kitchen table has been taken hostage by school computers, books and papers, and we resolved to make an extra effort to reclaim the territory for dinner time.

Everyone also mentioned that bedrooms were very out of control....  they all sort of look like a tornado has ripped through them and we are waiting for the FEMA management team to show up and do the work.   I told them that we are going back to Zones in the rooms.......  even me.  ( my room is the tornado headquarters!)   The mention of Zones precipitated large sighs, and great amounts of Eye Rolling.... but they know we need a simple way to get back on top of our house.

Zones?  What are Zones?  They are the way we break up a bedroom ( or house ) to keep it clean.  It is a method of cleaning that is presented by the FLYlady .  I have crash landed more than I have flown, but I don't beat myself up for it, I just get back too it when I know I need too.
Our bedroom Zones are done for only 15 minutes a day. 
Each person is required to straighten ( make) their bed everyday, and bring out their dirty laundry before school.
Zone 1 ~ Closet.  Zone 2~ Floor.  Zone 3~ Dresser.  Zone 4~ Bed ( strip sheets and replace). Zone 5~ Personal Choice day.
Once a week they need to vacuum and dust their room.

It only works if you can envision the result and not get discouraged by the work in progress.  Maybe I will take a picture of the boys' room, or even mine ( aack!...  talk about accountability!)  and show you how it works over time...

So that is how it's going....  we are just plugging along...  How are the chores going at your house?

Monday, January 10, 2011

What? I am supposed to have a schedule?

I am blog cruising again.  I fell off the boat...but now I am back!

Today's question is : " Do you follow a traditional school day/ schedule/ time/ year?"

Answer:  Nope.

Let me explain.....

I tried!!!!!!!  really I did!!!!!!  ( yes I am whining.... can you hear it?)  When we first started homeschooling, a ridiculously long time ago....  we followed the more traditional time line and school year....  I was working and  my mom was the supervisor of school work on the days I had to work. I was working for a school district at the time, and it really just worked out well for everyone. 

Now, that I do not work outside the house, we have a very loose schedule.  This currently works better than the traditional schedule, because we have visitation schedules with the oldest two, and with the distance that their father lives, it is easier to have longer visits.  So they will take time to go and visit in September for a month, or extend their Christmas or Thanksgiving visit....  this flexibility is vital to them being able to stay connected.

Our "schedule" has also been affected by terminal illness.  We took off a large chunk of book learning time to compassionately care for their Papa as he died from Cancer.

I would like to follow a more traditional schedule during each day, but that doesn't seem to happen either. Some days, growing bodies need more sleep, so I let them sleep.  The work gets done, whether it is in the morning, or the evening.

I used to beat myself up for not following the traditional schedule. I am over that now, I realize, my kids are learning, growing, thriving.... and excelling in things, and our schedule allows for them to experience things that other children don't.
Sometimes the bigger kids don't think it is fair because they don't get the same days off as their friends do.  I just remind them that their friends don't get to take a month off, or travel to the places we go during the school year. 

Just so you have an idea of how our schedule looks...
We start a new term... or school year around the end of August- first of Sept.
Evan and Tayler may head east and stay for a month.  We try to send some school for them to work on then, but really it never comes back done....  they are too busy building relationships, and school is well... school. ( read as:  horridly boring and to be avoided at all costs )
While they are gone I work really steadily with Hunter, getting in a good start on the year.
We try to take a family vacation in October. So that will take out a few weeks of school. ( we do family field trips then)
Then come Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This is a busy time of year. So here we are flexible!  There are often rehearsals for programs, people come and visit, or we may travel... so we just grab so books to read and go.
January is the start of calm.... 
We get lots of work done between January and June....    The faster we get it done, the faster we go on summer break... 

And that's it.  It doesn't look like the printed calendar down at the school district office, but it works for us.

Don't forget to stop by other Blog Cruise posts and see how other people organize their school year.

Friday, January 7, 2011


See n Read
What is this product?  Well I am glad that you asked.  I sat here and typed up about 30 different explanations that just fell flat, so.... I will let their website describe it far better than I have been able to thus far.

From the See~N~Read website:
See-N-Read® is a practical reading intervention tool....designed to help readers seamlessly see, focus, and remember what they read. It reduces word- and line-skipping and pattern glare.

See: See-N-Read® helps readers to concentrate on and track the text being read while smoothly transitioning between the words that come before or after, thus helping readers to increase their fluency (the capacity to read text accurately and quickly) and comprehension.

Focus: See-N-Read’s clear reading window is surrounded by a non-glare tinted transparent finish that helps readers to focus on manageable “chunks” of information in each line of text.

Remember: See-N-Read® provides readers with a clear reference point that helps control smooth eye movements across the text on a page. Smooth eye movement from left to right and smooth transitions from line to line ("sweeping") enhance retention of information.

See-N-Read’s flexible material makes it easy for readers, young and old, to hold and use it as they read.
See n Read
As homeschoolers, we read LOTS on the computer.  Often books we use are out of print and they are only available online.  Many times reading off the computer screen can become daunting, and it is easy to loose your place.  I was looking forward to using the eSee~N~Read, I hoped it would ease some of these frustrations we had with reading from the computer.
The product was very easy to download.  It was on my computer screen and asking to do the tutorial in under 10 minutes.  It was so cute!  This little floating grey box on my screen!  I would bring up a web page and the eSee~N~Read would be there, right over it.  I could make the tool as tall as I needed or as wide as I desired.  The instructions were easy to understand. 
I definitely enjoyed the product as I read text heavy documents on the computer. It was easy to remove from view if I didn't need it.  I played around in it with a spreadsheet, and it made data entry VERY easy to keep track of.  You could change the reader bar from horizontal to vertical so when working with columns it was easy to track data.  I found it easiest to use when I made it as large as the text area was, kept the reader bar at the top of the page, and just scrolled the page through the reading area.... it was quick, and if I was called away from the computer to handle some crisis, it was easy to get right back to where I left off.

I had my older children use it while they were reading large amounts of text during their school day.  My son, was mostly apathetic in is opinion of the product.  He felt that it did indeed help reduce the glare from a white background with black type.  He found himself fiddling with it more than he was reading, and said he felt he lost time reading, because he said it was an "extra step" to move the reader bar to where he was reading.

The eSee~N~Read is available for $29.99

See~N~Read Reading Tools
This little gem is amazing.  It gets the most use from my 3rd grade son.  The research and recommendations that have been done on this product are too many to list in this review.  Please go to their website and read how this product could help your child.

I remember, once upon a time, in a life I am sure was mine (I think ), somewhere around kid #2 being in Kindergarten, I attended a class at the school I was working at.  In this class they talked about how reading on plain white paper was hard on the eyes, and was even harder for those with learning difficulties.  I remember her quoting a book, and saying how they were encouraging teachers to use colored copy paper to print out student work.  I remember thinking, wow, that is really something to consider for people who may struggle to read....When I first saw this product, all I could think about was that class so long ago.  It is genius! 

My 3rd grader is not a super strong reader, yet.  He sounds things out, and generally reads rather hurkey jerky, and not as fluid as I know he will eventually be.  As soon, and I do mean immediately, as he used the See~N~Read tool, his fluidity improved.  He would just glide through sentences till he came to a more difficult word.  It has helped him gain confidence in his reading ability and increased his reading speed.  If I forget to put it in his book, he is up and finding it before he even starts reading.  He said it makes the page not seem so big, since he only has to focus on one line at a time.

I highly recommend this product for reluctant readers, or ones who don't seem to see more than one word at a time as they are reading.  It is available in two sizes and it is very affordable.
Book Size - 1@  $2.99, 3pk @ $8.99, 10pk @ $27.99
Document Size - 1 @ $3.49 , 3pk @ $9.99, 10 pk @ $29.99
They also offer classroom size quantities.

Memory Mark

This is just like the See~N~Read tool, but the reading window is open to allow for highlighting .  Can I just say........  it is my new best friend.  I use it in my Bible Study.  I have used it to underline important information that I want to question the kids about.  I absolutely LOVE it!  I think I might order a 10 pack to give as gifts to college students.... they really make highlighting and underlining FUN!
You need one of these.  I promise you do.  Really. 

They are available in two sizes.
Book Size - 1@ $2.99, 3pk @ $8.99, 10pk @ $27.99

Document Size - 1 @ $3.49 , 3pk @ $9.99, 10 pk @ $29.99
They also offer classroom size quantities.

As always, experience with, and opinions of products will vary from family to family.  Please take the time to read what other TOS Homeschool Crew reviewers have to say about their experience with this product.

For more information, to read the research or contact the company directly:
Telephone: 630-236-5592
Fax: 630-236-5593

**I received each item in the See~N~Read product line free of charge for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been given. All opinions are my own.**

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Math Facts Now 2.0


PhotobucketI may never need to hunt for a flash card again, thanks to Math Facts Now 2.0!  The company made the downloadable version available to TOS Homeschool Review Crew members, to use in our homeschools and share our thoughts with you.  Math Facts Now 2.0 is available on their website instantly for $15.95. They also have a CD-ROM version available for 15.95 + 3.95 shipping.  The product is targeted for children in grades K-6, but one of my high school students asked me to put her on the list to "play" so she could test her own math fact recall.  The original version of this program was set for children to have a 50 problem minimum every time they practice.  It is my understanding that this number has been lowered, due to TOS reviewer requests. On a personal level, that speaks volumes to me about a company's commitment to customer service!  Download a free trial today.

How it works:
You may download or purchase the CD, and load the product onto your computer.  I think when I downloaded it, it was ready to use in under 5 minutes.  You enter in the names of those who will be using the program, pick what fact families you want to work on, and it will formulate the questions for you.  You are able to control how many questions your child will receive and how many times they need to review the question if they get it wrong.

How we used it in our school:
We used Math Facts Now 2.0, between two and three times a week.  The primary use was as a  reinforcement drill in addition and subtraction.  My son loved it.  He thought it was fantastic fun to enter numbers in on a big screen and find out right away if he was right or wrong. 

Suggestions for product development:
The only thing I couldn't manipulate was the exact questions that were asked. This was not an issue for us within the realms of addition and subtraction, but it did become an issue with multiplication(which we are just begining to learn). Say you selected fives to drill on, the program automatically generated questions for 5x1 through 5x12.  If your child has not yet learned multiplication sets to 12 this can be frustrating.  It would be nice to be able to drill on facts and have the control to only review what your child has already been taught, like paper flashcards.

Overall we enjoyed the product, and we will use it more for multiplication as we learn more of our times tables.  I felt that even using it a few times a week enhanced the recall and accuracy of his addition and subtraction skills.  For the cost, I believe this product has lasting value over the years your children will be in school.

As always, opinions on this product may vary by family.  Take a look at the TOS Homeschool Crew page to see what others had to say about their experience. Make sure to take advantage of the company's "Try it online" option or download a free trial today, to see if this product is a fit for your family

**I received  Math Facts Now 2.0, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion and evaluation of their product.  No other compensation was received**

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gratituesday: Icebox on wheels

Some days, it's the little things.  Like heat.

We realized on the way home from a Thanksgiving Holiday Extravaganza, that the heater didn't work in our Suburban. I recalled it working when we bought it, but somewhere between May and November, a problem had developed.

We live in a small town, and we can usually handle bundling up and going from stop to stop when we run errands.....  until the temperature dropped.  Drastically.

This temperature drop prompted Big Daddy, aka MacGyver, to figure out what was causing our Suburban to function more like a rolling deep freeze, than comfortable family carriage.  He surrendered his day off to the quest, and found a thermostat to be one of the main contributors.

For now we have a paltry warm breeze, and are encouraged by the prospect that true hot air blowing from the vents is just around the corner.

For now, I am very grateful for a husband who is handy and WILL figure this out, saving us hundreds of dollars in mechanic's fees.

Don't forget to head over to  Heavenly Homemakers and link up with your own story of gratitude.
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