Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week Ending 4/22/17

This week has really been a ROUGH week! Seems like everything in the house is falling apart (LOL) The dryer already wasn't working, the washer started leaking now, the keyboard messed up and then the printer (LOL) I switched the printer back out, but somehow turned in the cord to attach to the computer (LOL) It's suppose to connect wirelessly, but it's not (LOL) Seems like all the basics are falling apart (LOL) Trying to remember the saying about turning lemons into lemonade (LOL) I need to order out end of year testing and get that done. I usually do it mid-April, but it hasn't happened yet. We did have our Spring Formal Friday night. The first one we've done and it turned out fairly well. There were a few issues, but I'm taking notes (LOL) Issac's birthday is in a week, so that's on the schedule for this week :) Trying to figure out what to get him and to have a good school week :)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon

Ex-con Adam Stone just wants to be left alone. When a string of vandalism starts happening at his house he doesn't even bother to contact the police because he'd like to stay as far away from the police as possible. When police chief Lexie Graham finds out about the vandalism she contacts Stone to try and solve the case. She understands with his rocky past that he doesn't want to deal with the police, but he's not the only one being vandalized.  Stone reluctantly agrees to help Chief Graham and when his dog is injured that's the final straw for him.  When a local boy, with a history like Stones, is linked to the case the chief asks Stone to mentor the boy. She feels that maybe if he spends some time with someone that went down the wrong path that he might chose another path.  While working this case Stone and Lexie both start to develop feelings for each other. Stone isn't sure as an ex-con he can have a relationship with Lexie. A book is always good, in my opinion, when it has both romance and mystery.  Irene Hannon has delivered both of those yet again to us in another wonderful book.  Check it out at Amazon.

Review: Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth)

I hate to admit that I hadn't heard of Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) before this was listed as a review item.  I have, however, heard of Apologia Educational Ministries. We have used many things over the years from Apologia and their curriculum is known as top notch. I'm not sure how I missed out on this homeschool reading curriculum from Apologia, but I'm excited that I know about it now! My oldest never enjoyed reading and it was something that he and I struggled with every school year. My youngest has had lots of difficulty with reading, but has finally made great strides. I've always felt that there was more I could have done to help my oldest. When I checked out RIR it looked like a great program to try with Issac.  We haven't really done too much with the elements of literature, so I knew that he would learn those with this program.  We were able to work on vocabulary as well as being able to think critically about what we were reading. Comprehension is something that Issac has worked hard on during his therapy over the last few years. I felt this program would be a good fit for where is he.

I knew when I first sat down and looked at the book that Issac wouldn't be able to read everything himself. He's in fourth grade, but probably more like third grade or late second in language arts.  RIR is geared towards 4th-6th grades, but I felt we could make it work for us.   I figured we'd pick and chose what he read and what I read. Even though his reading is going well he can still get frustrated or even just tire easily.  I was super excited that we were starting off reading Sarah, Plain and Tall. I don't ever remember reading this book and these are the type of books I still enjoy reading as an adult.  Issac read the first chapter and then we started on the assignment. Depending on the day he would read the chapter and I would read what we needed to do or vice versa. Issac was very anxious to get the book started, but there were a few things that we needed to do to get started. I really like that there is a plan because I always like having a preset plan. If I need to make adjustments I can, but I personally like an idea of what we are going to do. There was a suggestion about doing a book club, but that wasn't something I thought would be workable for us right now. We were able to go over the grading, talk about what it means to actively read, talk about the clues on the book cover as well as different genres. After we had spent time going through all of these it was time to start! One thing that I enjoyed was the activities.  They ranged from making book covers, doing a comic strip and character maps. I felt like all the different lessons were great and helped Issac in a different way. I personally enjoyed the ruminate section because then I could tell what he was really understanding.  Debra Bell has developed Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) to complete your current language arts program.  RIR includes vocabulary, reading comprehension as well as literature. Here are some examples of what we did:

If you aren't familiar with this program check them out on social media!

Instagram:   @apologiaworld
Twitter:   @apologiaworld

I'm very thankful that we were able to spend the last few weeks working on Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth)  I feel like Issac has started learning some new tools for his toolbox in reading and we've enjoyed a great story as well.  

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thankful Tuesday 4/18/2017

Somehow I forget half the time to post on Tuesday (LOL) I'm thankful for many things, but this week is for friends that pray. Maybe I should even say people that pray because often times complete strangers will pray for others. It's nice knowing you have people that will just pray even if you don't go into details.  Prayer truly works and it's comforting to many to know that others are praying for them. Thank you to all those that have ever prayed for me. It's always been a blessing and comfort. Thankful today for those that pray!

Review: SpeedyPrep

In our state our 11th and 12th grade kids have the option of dual enrollment. My oldest took advantage of that this year and I want our middle to as well. Something I've heard a ton about in the last year is CLEP testing. If you pass the CLEP test then you've just earned college credit from home for that subject. What a COOL way to earn credit and keep college costs down. SpeedyPrep has come up with a way to help the need of knowing how to study for those CLEP tests! SpeedyPrep teaches by the mastery learning principle. You repeatedly need to answer questions correct to see your progress bar growing. They are making sure that you understand the information by teaching this way. They are so sure that this way of learning is best that if your progress bar is between 90-100% and you do NOT pass your CLEP test they will refund your subscription charge.If you have any questions about the program then check out this wonderful VIDEO that explains how the program works.

For $19.95 a month you can access ALL the classes that they offer. They offer the following courses:

* Biology
* Natural Sciences

* Introductory Business Law
* Information Systems
* Principles of Management
* Principles of Marketing
* Principles of Macroeconomics
* Principles of Microeconomics

Foreign Language
* Spanish

History & Social Sciences
* American Government
* US History I
* US History II
* Western Civilization I
* Western Civilization II
* Humanities

* Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
* English Literature
* College Composition

* College Algebra
* College Mathematics

Psychology & Human Development
* Introductory Psychology
* Introductory Sociology
* Human Growth and Development

The program keeps track of all the time you've spent in each class.  This way you can see how much time your child is spending on the program.  It keeps a separate list for each class.  Here is a shot of one that my daughter spent some time on. Our original goal was for my daughter to work in the program 3-4 times a week. My daughter found that sometimes she preferred working on the program multiple times in one day!

My daughter actually worked on a few different classes to see if she preferred one over the other.  She worked on Introductory Psychology, Analyzing & Interpreting Literature and United States History 1.  The main part of the program are the flashcards. Your asked a set number of questions for each section.  Quite a few of the questions had a video that goes with them that goes into great detail about that answer as well as other similar information.  My daughter really enjoyed the video part of the program.  She felt that the videos really helped her with her understanding. All children are different and my daughter  really didn't care for fill-in-the-blank type questions because she felt she struggled a bit.  She would have preferred multiple choice, but SpeedyPrep feels the fill-in-the-blank style questions help the student really know the material.  The fill-in-the-blank method is part of the mastery learning principle that Speedy Prep feels is the best method of teaching for mastery of the information.  Exact spelling does matter in this program, so make sure you share that with your child.  If you have a child that struggles with spelling that could be an issue. My daughter actually missed several because of spelling. She hadn't really thought that she could go out of the program and check the spelling. She figured it would seem like she was looking up the answer (LOL) Although she had a few minor struggles she did find the questions and the information interesting.  At this time she's decided that she doesn't want to try for a CLEP test, but I hope that in the future she will change her mind. SpeedyPrep feels so confident in their method that they offer a money back guarantee when you've completed 90-100% and as a parent that speaks volumes to me.  When my daughter is ready to try for a CLEP test we will use this program to help her study.

College Level Examination Program Preparation {SpeedyPrep Reviews}

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Week Ending 4/14/2017

We took this week off because EVERYONE is on Spring Break according to my two younger children (LOL) I hadn't planned on doing a break because we have less than 8 weeks of school left. It was nice though to not worry about doing lessons and being on a schedule like we normally try to do.  I asked Issac if he wanted to hard boil eggs to dye and he told me he didn't know what I was talking about! It amazes me sometimes what he doesn't remember and then how quickly that changes! I sure wish he would have had some issues remembering things at his TEACCH evaluation :) We are taking Monday off as well. Again, I hadn't planned that, but dd was invited to the lake with friends, so she won't be here. I figure Tuesday we'll attempt to get back in the swing of things. We have to go to Duke for an appointment on Wednesday and Friday is the formal dance, so I guess it's just another "normal" week :)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: Color My Conversation by Northern Speech Services

Issac has been in speech therapy basically his entire life. Just within the last six months has he stopped. There are still many things we need to work. When I saw Color My Conversation up for review by Northern Speech Services I was so hopeful that we would get this item. Color My Conversation is a multi-sensory approach to teaching children how to have conversations.  The program incorporates auditory, kinesthetic, tactile and visual strategies to teach these conversation skills.  I knew this would be a winner with Issac because he does very well with the multi-sensory approach.  The age range is about 5-12 for both the beginner and intermediate levels.  The advanced level is 8-12 and the expert level is suitable for all ages.  I decided that since Issac is almost 10 we'd just start at the beginning and work through the entire program.  When the box arrived in the mail I was so excited to open it and get started! This is what I saw when I opened the box up :) 
One thing that immediately caught my eye was how colorful everything is. For the most part my kids seem more drawn to anything that is colorful rather than black and white. Issac came right over and started looking at everything and of course grabbed the ball!  The first thing I did was pop in the cd manual, so that I could read about the program. There is a TON of information in the manual.  I actually printed out all the pages that were related to the first lesson, so that I could sit down and read it. I usually prefer to read paper rather than on the computer. After I read the information and watched the training video's we got started.  There are training videos that can be found on the website and I highly recommend watching these.  These were very helpful to me and I watched them each several times.  Here is a list of all the lessons included in the program:

 Beginner Level
  • Lesson 1: The Yellow Conversation
  • Lesson 2: The Short Conversation
  • Lesson 3: The Long Conversation
 Intermediate Level
  • Lesson 4: Who What When Where Why
  • Lesson 5: Yes! No! Maybe So!
  • Lesson 6: Making Comments Count
  • Lesson 7: Topic Changer Pro
  • Lesson 8: Speaking Loud and Clear
  • Lesson 9: Beading
 Advanced Level
  • Advance Level
 Expert Level

  • Expert Level
I sat Issac down and told him we had an exciting new program to start using. When I pulled the ball out he was really excited to figure out how we were going to use it. We talked about how to say hello & goodbye and got started with lesson 1.  He told me he didn't need to know how to say hello or goodbye because he already knew how too! I explained that I knew he did, but I thought it was best if we start from the beginning to get the best understanding of the program! He really like using the ball and actually asked me several times on his own if we could practice. He thought it was really cool to step on the stones and throw the ball in the house :) My plan was to work on Color My Conversation twice a week for about 30 minutes.  We ended up doing that as well having a few impromptu sessions.  I thought that was great because it didn't always seem like a planned activity.  We moved easily into the next lesson-The Short Conversation.  I really like how this program is set up because Issac doesn't seem to have trouble saying hi to someone, but often if they reply back and ask how he's doing he might ignore them.  We talked about multiple things we could say to put on our next stone.  I noticed that as we practiced Issac wanted to use all the ideas that we came up with in the beginning. As we moved more into lesson 3-The Long Conversation he did better.  We really enjoyed this lesson with expanding into the longer conversation.  I was really surprised how easily he took to adding the topics. I did notice he'd stare at the floor to see what topic ideas we had on the stone. As he got more comfortable he didn't do that as much.  I noticed that every time I'd say it's time to do Color My Conversations he'd yell that he'd get the ball. I think the ball is really a great way to engage the students and honestly I enjoyed using it too! It makes it seem more like a game and for my son anything that is a game he's more excited about! We have made good strides in our few short weeks, but I feel this is a program that is well worth putting the time and effort into. I plan to continue to use this for many months. I'm anxious to get to where we can start putting our conversations into practice outside the home. 

Rosslyn Delmonico, MA, RSLP, CCC-SLP has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for over thirty-five years.  She works mainly with children and I can see how the kids would relate to her so well. She was so soft-spoken in the videos and explained everything so well. I felt after watching the videos that we couldn't fail or do the program the wrong way. Rosslyn really breaks it down into VERY manageable and approachable sections.  I know when my son was in therapy they would often try to get other children into groups to have conversations.  I think this is such a wonderful program that I plan to recommend it to his previous therapist.  I really do believe it would be wonderful in a clinical session as well as it's easily used at home one-on-one.  Rosslyn was seeing a need that would help children with conversations and she came up with a solution!   In 2006 she started developing the program Color My Conversation.  I think she has really come up with a winner in this program. It's very engaging, interractive and most important it works!

I would recommend checking out all the social media spots as well as reading what my fellow crew members thought.  

Facebook (company): 
Facebook (product): 
Twitter:   @northernspeech

Color My Conversation {Northern Speech Services Reviews}