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#BloggingAtoZchallenge – “G” is for….

G

Here is another installment in my #BloggingAtoZchallenge.  The letter for this post is “G”.   “G” is for God and growth and genuine.  First and foremost for our family, God is at the center of everything we do.  So homeschooling ensures our family includes that with almost every subject we do (with possibly the exception of Math).  We talk about God throughout our day.  This is a wonderful freedom to have.  Since my husband has been an ordained minister for over 24 years, this is important to our family.

G is also for growth.  I love seeing the growth in my children’s minds through homeschooling.  It allows them the freedom and flexibility to explore what interests them.  They are growing as members of society through various volunteer activities and our church involvement as well.

Finally, “G” is for genuine.  My children are able to express a genuine interest in something and have the opportunity to explore things for themselves.  For example, my daughter has a genuine love of drawing, so she is able to spend a portion of her day working on her art.  Because we homeschool, she can draw things that genuinely interest and excite her.  Here is a sample of her artwork.

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As another example, my second son plans on eventually going into law enforcement, so he is able to take that genuine interest and do coursework relating for Criminal Justice and Forensic Science.  Things that capture their hearts and minds are able to be included in our school day.  As part of an upcoming review we are doing, my daughter is able to use a Science book from Memoria Press that is all about Trees.  Listening to her in the afternoon or evening as she gives a dissertation to her father is exciting to me.  I know she is genuinely learning and genuinely excited about the material we are using.

Of course, it is not always perfect around our home and with our homeschool, but when it works and our children are excited, it brings a sense of satisfaction.

Posted in family, Homeschool Review Crew Posts

Review for Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316

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For the last several weeks, I have been enjoying playing Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316.  This amazing Bible game requires the player to connect puzzle pieces together to form a picture that once completed displays on the screen with the Bible verse for the day.  Planet 316 offers various options to play, including

 

For this review, I used my email address to play on the Apple app.  I have to say I really enjoyed the puzzles.  I enjoyed challenging myself to improve my scores.  There is an option to compete against friends, if playing on Facebook.  Also, playing on Facebook offers the player the ability to share completed puzzles.

Within the game, there are tools that allow the player to rotate all the pieces, sweep pieces to the side of the screen, use the magnet tool to connect two random pieces together, view what the final picture looks like, as well as separating the edges from the center pieces.  When first entering the app, there is an option to either login with email or login with Facebook.  So I would login with my email address, such as dailypuzzleplayer@….. The next screen to display tells the player that a new game has been prepared to play, if it is the first time entering the game for the day.  Using the tools significantly improved my scores.

Then, a screen displays with the tip for the day.  Today, the tip of the day explained about the rotate tool.  This tool will rotate all the puzzle pieces to the correct position needed to complete the puzzle.

These next pictures illustrate the rotate tool, displaying what the completed image should look like, sweeping all puzzle pieces to the side so there is space to work, Then the magnet tool connects two random pieces, Then I used the edges tool to move all the center pieces to the side.

I have to say I found all these tools useful.  The sweep tool and edges tool are the ones I found most useful.  Sometime while I was completing a puzzle, a random piece would start to shine, blink and otherwise grab my attention with the words indicating a power piece.  If this piece is connected in time, the player earns bonuses.  I found myself frequently replaying a game so I could get connect the power piece in time.  The more puzzles I completed the more awards I received.  These awards varied based on total number of puzzles completed, total number of puzzles completed on a certain day of the week along with other categories.  Also, there is an archive tool that allows playing games from earlier days and months, which I also used.

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this game and will definitely be buying more coins so I can keep playing and I will probably allow my children to register on Facebook for my almost 21 year old and my 18, 16, and 14-year-olds will probably play either on Apple devices on using the Apple app.

If you wish to read more reviews on Planet 316‘s Daily Bible Jigsaw, either click here or on the image below.

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Posted in Blogging A to Z Challenge, Faith, family

#BloggingAtoZchallenge – F is for

F

So here is another installment in my #BloggingAtoZchallenge.  The letter is “F”, which for me represents family, freedom, flexibility, faith and fascination.

First, “F” represents family.  Our family is a lot closer than we were before homeschooling. My children enjoy spending time with each other and with us, their parents.  Before we began homeschooling our oldest son was in the fifth grade and 10 years old.  His friends preferred avoiding their own family at all costs it appeared; so they certainly did not want to be around our family either.  Within about a month of beginning to homeschool, our oldest was becoming closer to his siblings – and especially his 4-year-old sister.  It was an amazing transformation to watch.

Second, “f” is for freedom.  We have the freedom to decide what curriculum to use.  We also decide how often certain subjects need to be done.  We can change curriculum when we see it absolutely is not working.  If the day is too beautiful to stay inside or we just need a “mental health” day, I have the freedom to change the calendar.  If we want to take off and go somewhere, we can.  We can take a vacation when public school students are still in session.  So ultimately, homeschooling provides all kinds of freedom.

We also have flexibility.  We have the flexibility to set our start and end times based on our family’s own preferences or even a specific child’s preferences. If one of the children want to do a week’s worth of a particular subject in one day, he or she can do that.  We also have the flexibility to decide when a child has mastered a particular concept.

Next, “f’ is for faith.  In everything we do, everywhere we go and everything we study, our faith provides a key component in what we do.  Our children know what we believe and have the ability to ask questions to see our faith put into practice.  We pick textbooks that illustrate our faith and values.

Finally, when our children find something that fascinates them, they can choose to study that subject until they find out what they wanted to know.  If something they read about fascinates them, we can choose to build a unit study about it.  Also, the children have some flexibility to pick textbooks that capture their interest, imagination, or otherwise inspire them to complete the subject.

So what comes to mind for you when you see the letter “F”?  I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Blogging A to Z Challenge, Homeschooling

#BloggingAtoZ – “E” is for…..

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Well, I am back today with another entry for my #BloggingAtoZ challenge – even if it is several days late.  Being a homeschooling family, “E” for me represents enthusiasm, energy,  excitement, and eagerness.

Some days our children show great enthusiasm for what they are studying that day.  They also show enthusiasm when I schedule something special for them to do.  They show enthusiasm when they get to do something they picked out for themselves also.

“E” is also for energy.  My children exhibit an unbelievable amount of energy.  They love spending time with each other.  The limits of their imaginations show no bounds.  They truly are amazing at what they can do and how long they can do it for.

“E” is also for excitement – like the year Dad had to go to one of the resort hotels at Universal Studios and we traveled with him.  Sometimes excitement comes in the smallest forms, such as doing their homeschool lessons in a different location or by my decision to change the daily requirements once in a while.  It also comes from getting to tell someone what they have learned – especially if it is something unusual.

“E” is also for eagerness.  They show eagerness to complete something so they can move onto something else that interests them more.  They show eagerness for learning about something they chose personally.  They also show eagerness to share what they are learning with others.  They also show eagerness to lend a hand and volunteer in various capacities.

So what does “E” bring to mind for you?  I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Computer Coding for Kids, Computer Skills, Homeschool Review Crew Posts

Review for CompuScholar’s Web Design

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In these days where computer technology, blogging, and websites becoming more and more a part of life, I was thrilled that our family was selected to review Web Design by CompuScholar, Inc.  As a blogger and owner of a website relating to our homeschool, I felt this course would be an incredible source of information for me if not for our teenagers.

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The topics included in Web Design include fundamental web design skills such as:

Basic website layout, HTML5 symbols and elements, Text styles, Hyperlink and Navigation Bars, CSS effects, spacing and positioning, Graphics and image editing, Tables, Page Design principles, Dynamic menus, Embedded audio and video, JavaScript and jQuery.   The course includes 28 chapters that are broken down into several lessons with individual quizzes to test the material covered in each lesson along with an activity for the chapter and a test that reviews all the material in the chapter.  By the time students complete the course, they will have created two websites.  There is also a mid-term project that is meant for more than one student to do together.

For our family, my youngest son and I worked on the course together.  Because of his other subjects, I decided to devote one week to each chapter.  So each lesson was basically done in a day.  Each lesson consists of a video that is well done and very informative, lesson text to be read by the student, and the lesson quiz.  The only exception is the days for the activities.  Those include reading about the assignment and then actually completing and submitting the activities.


My son is defnitely enjoying the course.  He found the activities to be fun.  He appreciated the fact that instructions are provided for both MAC and Windows computers.  He is finding the course to be very informative.  He likes the way the lessons are laid out.  He has been very successful with his quizzes, activites, and tests.  He took great pleasure in telling me his grades were “100” for every quiz and test he has taken.  I look forward to actually doing the coursework with him.  He actually is excited about doing the lessons, which is fantastic for a teenager.  My ultimate goal in us using this course is to be able to make improvements to my website eventually.  And he seems willing to help me with that endeavor.



Although we have not made it to the midterm project, I definitely plan on continuing the course.  I look forward to gaining knowledge I can utilize for my own websites.  CompuScholar, Inc. also offers other courses as well including Digital Savvy and Java Programming.  They offer the choice to purchase courses by the year or by the month.  There is also options for either self-study or teacher-led courses.  Once the initial log-in is completed, additional siblings can be added.

I would recommend this course to anyone who is looking for information on designing websites.  It definitely works well for an individual child or a group to do together.  There is a parent/instructor login that allows the parent/instructor to view the course material, check the grade book,  and even includes a section with tutorials on using the materials.

You can find CompuScholar, Inc.  on Social Media on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CompuScholar or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CompuScholar   @compuscholar

If you wish to read more reviews of the products from CompuScholar, Inc. , click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Blogging A to Z Challenge, family, Homeschooling

#BloggingAtoZChallenge – “D” is for….

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Here is the next post for my #BloggingAtoZchallenge.  “D” is for determination, dreams, and direction.  I have determination to see my children suceed.  For the most part my children are determined to find things they love to do in the future.  They have determination also at times however to not do what is expected of them.  But those are the times, my determination they will do what is required must become more.

“D” is also for dreams.  My children have dreams for their future. They also have times where they dream about what they wish they could do now.  We have dreams of vacations and trips we would like to take in the future. One of those dreams right now is to see the Grand Canyon before we leave Texas.  After all, we may never be this close again.

“D: is also for direction.  We all need God to direct and guide our paths.  He has provided us with gifts and talents that we must use to bring glory to Him.  My daughter, for example has incredible skill at drawing.

Our oldest son has knowledge that his direction in life is becoming a Youth pastor.  Our second son knows what direction he would like to take, but still is on the journey.  Our youngest son is still trying to figure out what direction he wants his life to take.  But I know God has plans fo r them all.  They just need to seek His guidance for directions on getting there.

Posted in 2017 Blogging A to Z Challenge, family, Homeschooling

#BloggingAtoZChallenge “C” is for….

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Well, it has taken several days for me to get back to my Blogging A to Z Challenge, but here is my post for “C”.  “C” is for children, choices, curriculum, conventions and chaos.  Obviously, since we are a homeschooling family, our children play a major role in our lives.  We do not have to send them to school, so they are pretty much around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 365 days out of the year.  I must say I like it this way.  I do not just love my children because I am their mother, but I genuinely like them.  As they are now 14-years-old and up, conversations provide entertainment as well as information.  One never knows what might come up in the course of our conversations.

“C” is also for choices.  I love having the freedom and flexibility to pick curriculum that interests them and works for their learning style, while taking into account my teaching style.  I try to allow my children to make choices for their subjects and sometimes the curriculum we use.  However, there are times when I find it necessary to take over and make the decisions for them.  This remains true especially when Dad find something he feels our children need to do or learn.

I love the variety of curriculum and instructions types available to our family.  But more importantly, I love attending Homeschool Conventions so we can physically see the curriculum in person.  Since we turn these conventions into mini-vacations, it makes it fun for the entire family to go.  When our children were younger, they attended the Children’s Conventions.  As our oldest grew up and matured out of the Children’s Conventions, we allowed him to volunteer at the conventions.  Now that they are all teenagers with one twenty-some thrown in the mix, we allow them to chose what they do.  Cell phones allow us to monitor where they are and what they are doing.  Texting allows us to inform them when they need to meet us somewhere.  So it is a win-win for everyone.  Of course, our daughter is required to stay with one of her older brothers or one of us for my peace of mind.

Chaos invariably reigns as we try to pack up and leave the conventions.  With luggage for seven, pillows, blankets, typically some sleeping bags, a cooler plus all the things we purchased at the conventions loading the van can become interesting.  Fortunately, my husband and oldest son are able to handle this beautifully.

So what comes to mind for you when you hear the letter “C”?  I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Foreign Languages, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review for Memoria Press’ First Form Greek Complete Set

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Memoria Press is my go to for classical Christian homeschool curriculum so we were so excited to receive the First Form Greek Complete Set.  Through the years we have used several over their Latin programs including First Form Latin, so this seemed like it would be a good fit for our family.  The set includes:  the Student Text, Teacher Manual, a Student workbook, a Quizzes and Tests booklet, a teacher key for the workbook as well as the Quizzes and Tests booklet, a pronunciation CD, Vocabulary flashcards, and DVDS with the lessons on it.

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My husband is an ordained Primitive Baptist preacher and our oldest son plans on becoming a Youth pastor, so we felt this program would be an excellent way to introduce Biblical Greek to our entire family.  Several of the churches we have attended have utilized the Greek language in either sermons or other teaching situations.  So we felt like this would be an excellent subject to learn with an excellent program.  And this program does not disappoint in that regard.

Ideally, students need to have two years of Latin instruction plus completed Memoria Press’ Greek Alphabet book.  Having done this without the Greek Alphabet book from Memoria Press, I have to state I definitely agree with that recommendation.  This is definitely a course better suited for high school students.  Parents need to be prepared to spend time with their children when completing the lessons.  The teacher’s manual does an excellent job of telling parents exactly what to say.

My children are ages 14, 16, 18 and 20 who did this program.  I have to say they were not particularly excited by the videos.  But the information was presented in a clear manner.  We wound up spending time reviewing the Greek Alphabet prior to beginning the First Form Greek materials.  Spending extra time on Lesson 1 is given as a viable way to introduce the material if you are not familiar with the Greek alphabet.  Each lesson consists of lessons on the DVD, pages in the textbook and pages in the workbook plus the quizzes and possibly tests at the end of the lessons.  The vocabulary cards are used to reinforce words the students are learning and then to review words they have already learned.  Once the video is watched, if there are multiple family members completing the program together, they can work independently on the textbook and workbook pages.  I found that having everyone complete the quizzes at the same time worked best for our family from our experiences with the Latin programs.

Here are some pictures of the textbook, workbooks, and teacher manuals.  On the introductory lesson, my youngest son even took the time to write his name in Greek.


While having experience with Greek is not a necessity for the parent-teacher, I have to say I think it definitely is helpful.  From our experience, I would also state the parents definitely need to be plan on being involved.  Using this program in a co-op or group setting definitely would be a plus.  This way the students have someone else to interact with and discuss lessons with regularly.  Plus it gives the parents someone else to help teach and explain the lessons.  This program is wonderful for those looking to enrich their knowledge of the Greek language for Biblical study purposes.  This program is rich in the classical education tradition and demonstrates all the necessary characteristics of a classical Christian curriculum.

If you wish to connect with the company, you can find Memoria Press at the following Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/memoriapress/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memoriapress/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MemoriaPress @MemoriaPress
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/memoriapress/

If you would like to read more reviews from the Homeschool Review crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in 2017 Blogging A to Z Challenge, Blogboost, Blogging

#BloggingAtoZChallenge – “B” is for Boys, Bositerous, and blogging

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This is the second post for my Blogging A to Z challenge.  “B” is for boys, boisterous, and blogging.  Obviously, being the mom of three sons, I need to mention boys.  Boys are energetic and constantly on the move.  Our three sons definitely keep things lively around our home.  There is never a dull moment.  Sometimes, it is hard to get a word in edgewise.  I love my sons though.  They defintely keep me on my toes.  There is no way to predict what they will do from one minute the next.

This leads to my second “B”, which is boisterous.  Our sons are definitely boisterous. The Noah Webster 1828 dictionary has this to say:

Boisterous
BOIS’TEROUS, adjective

1. Loud; roaring;

This certainly fits my sons.  When they decide to get rowdy, I can pretty much be guaranteed that at some point our daughter will get involved in whatever mischief they are making.  Sometimes I feel as if there is a constant roar in our home.  But I recognize that all too soon they will be out of the house and our home will be too silent.

My final “B” is blogging.  I began blogging about 8 years ago when we moved from eastern North Carolina to Pennsylvania.  At first it was just a way to hopefully keep our family in North Carolina up to date on what was going on with us.  Then it became a way to also help me record what was going on with our homeschool each year.  Then it became a way to to try to hopefully help other homeschoolers.  While my following is small right now.  I hope to increase that this year.  I have found I love writing on the blog. I also love sharing what we are doing, what is working for us, and what I am looking at changing.

So what does “B” bring to mind for you?  I would love to hear from you.

Posted in 2017 Blogging A to Z Challenge, Homeschooling, Ultimate Blog Challenge

#AtoZChallenge – A is for Attitude

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Welcome to the start of my April 2017 Blogging A to Z Challenge posts.  Since today is my first day writing this series, the letter is “A”.  “A” is for attitude.  When our oldest son was in the fifth grade, we ran into a teacher that made it necessary to change our expectations for schooling our son.  We decided to pull him from public school and start homeschooling instead.

At the time, he was developing a bad attitude towards his siblings and just life in general.  Several people had horrible attitudes towards our decision about homeschooling including my mother.  Within a few weeks, the attitude of my oldest son began to change tremendously.  All of a sudden there was a closeness between him and our daughter, the youngest as well as improvements in attitudes with our other children.  It was definitely worthwhile.

Even though some of his public school friends did not share his views in regard to their own siblings, it did not negatively impact his attitude towards his own siblings.

Over the course of time, his attitude towards schoolwork and having me teaching him improved.  It took time to find the right curriculum to use, but it was worth it.  We were also were blessed to become part of an amazing homeschool group.  The ladies in the group overwhelmingly had an attiude of helpfulness and were always willing to provide information.  Nothing was too much trouble for them.

Our son’s improved attitude led to positive actions as well.  When he finally took his end-of-the–year tests, he scored above average in many areas.  This was incredible to me.

The actions we took to change our schooling plans definitely had a positive outcome for our son.  While in public school, his grades began slipping in second grade.  By the time we reached the end of fourth grade, we knew something needed to happen to help him.  Unfortunately, he was not doing poorly enough for the school to provide any assistance.  This definitely impacted his attitude.  After all, no one likes to feel as though they are not being successful.  But once we began homeschooling and he started experiencing success, it really helped to improve his attitude.

So what comes to mind when you see the letter “A”?  I would love to hear from you.

#bloggingatoz