Monday, September 21, 2020

Rise Up!

 This morning I woke up singing the lyrics to the song Rise Up! Wasn't quite sure why this was on my mind this morning. Maybe because I've been struggling with some things. Maybe God was telling me I need to rise up and push through! I so easily get down on myself because I feel like we are always getting hit with the negative junk. My husband's had some health issues that are putting more on me than normal. I'm struggling with schooling a child with special needs, trying to finish fixing a house, taking care of my husband, thinking and praying for my older children, grandchildren and relatives. Dealing with joining a new co-op after 10 years in our previous one. Trying to make friends and worry about my son making friends.  Mostly thinking of him and how he fits in, handles the difference of the co-op etc. Add to that all this Corona virus junk and it just keeps pushing you down. I'll be honest that the virus stuff hasn't added as much heartache to my life as it has to others.  I just don't think the same about it as some. I do worry though about how it's causing us to move further and further apart rather than joining forces and being supportive! I think back to when Carl and I got together and mixed relationships weren't thought of very highly. I remember the stares we would get. A good friend even heard a family member of my husband's saying AT OUR WEDDING that she couldn't believe he was marrying a white women (LOL) When we moved to Ca it was so eye opening to me because we only had each other to depend on for support. I worried less about those looks, if I saw them, and more about my husband and later on kids. I noticed over the years with kids that moms didn't support each other like they could or should. If you used formal then you were blamed if you spanked they didn't like you etc. I couldn't understand why just because I breastfed and a good friend used formula why we couldn't still support each other. As the years have gone on it seems there is more and more of that happening. 



When we moved back to NC it seemed like such a different place. We were so near family compared to in CA, but yet we weren't "close" to family.  It amazes me what some people will say. We were told that we were going to make Issac "stupid" by doing sign language with him! They didn't seem to understand, even thought it was explained, that he couldn't talk and at that point we didn't know if he ever would. That was the only way we had to communicate with him.  As the years have gone on we've done what we thought was best for our kids as I think all parents do. I know there are plenty that disagree with things we've done, but those that are truly supportive just support and don't say the negative. As the kids got older it's harder to know if you've done enough, prepared them for the big, scary world and how much to let go and when. When our oldest son got married and joined the military at a young age we were questioned as to "why we ALLOWED him to make those choices?| That's just it they were his choices and we supported because we love him. Those that were truly supportive responded with they'll be in our prayers. It makes me sad because it seems more and more there are those that are there in the good times and leave when it gets rough. We all have opinions, but we have to decide if giving our opinions to others will change their mind in any way or if it will cause more hurt than good.  


I'm in this weird time of life for being a mama. I've got one child that has married and has 2 babies. Another newly graduated from high school, living at home and figure out her life plans. Then I have just the one that I am still schooling. The one that I still struggle with knowing if I am doing enough, what else I can do, how much should I push etc. The one I struggle with understanding how to talk too and make understand the simplest of concepts sometimes. Then I have a husband who I have always depended on for everything. The one I expected to always depend on and now I feel that I am the one that everyone depends on for everything. It's daunting, scary, frustrating and I struggle with it every day. There's nothing else to do, but rise up! I have to be the one that everyone relies on, the one that keeps track of everything for everyone, making sure they take their meds, go to their appointments, etc. Try to figure out how not to be upset when I'm yelled at when things can't be found or are forgotten. It's sad seeing your husband struggling and dealing with this situations, but this is life. No matter what others thought, the ones that thought we shouldn't marry due to race differences or those that thought we shouldn't marry because of the age difference. He chose me and I chose him for better or worse! The 3 ladies I spent the most time with when I was younger were all great role models. I remember my grandmother living alone and independent until she got sick. My mom has endured much during her life, but has always pushed through and moved on too. My aunt dealt with health issues from birth and was always a hero to me for just getting through her daily life with a smile on her face. 


There's nothing else to do today, but Rise Up!!



Tuesday, September 1, 2020

August 2020 Reads

We had family in town in August as well as we started back to school. Not as much time for reading, but I still managed to get in a few good books :)





Beneath a scarlet sky by Mark Sullivan ⭐⭐⭐ I really enjoyed parts of this book, but some parts seemed to just be dragging. I know it was full of information, but at several points I just felt I needed to push through just to finish.





About Your Father And Other Celebrities I have Known by Peggy Rowe ⭐⭐⭐ I was super excited about this book, but it just didn't do what I expected. Was it a good read? Yes it was, but it just didn't keep my captivated like I thought it would. 





The Crow's Call by Wanda E. Brunstetter ⭐⭐⭐ I usually love Wanda's books, but the plot in this book just didn't flow well for me. There is a little mystery in the book, but it's almost an afterthought and not really the main plan for the book. It was a nice read, but just didn't keep me that captivated. 



The Trustworthy One by Shelley Shepard Gray ⭐⭐⭐ I always love a good Amish book! They are easy reads and I'm never disappointed.  



The Penmaker's Wife by Steve Robinson ⭐⭐⭐ This book was kind of dark and twisted, but I didn't always realize that during the story. Not usually my favorite kind of book, but turned out pretty good in the end. 




Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ My absolute favorite book this month. What an amazing story about transformation. A true story of how faith can move mountains. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Review: Laser Chess

 I was so excited to be able to try out Laser Chess from Timberdoodle's 7th Grade Kit recently.  I learned how to play chess when I was a child and taught my husband how to play on our move from NC to Ca many years ago.  As our children were growing up my husband taught both our boys how to play and they all enjoyed playing against each other. When I heard about this game I got so excited thinking our youngest son would love it! I mean what's better than chess and lasers? (LOL)



Laser Chess is a two-player game that combines the strategy of chess with the fun of the laser beams.  The players take turns moving or rotating one of their mirrored pieces on the board and then firing their laser beam in hopes of striking one of their opponents pieces.  The ultimate goal is to light up the other person's king and win the game.  26 playing pieces are included in the game with the game board, instructions and 5 different board setups.  Those 26 pieces include 2 Kings, 4 Switch pieces, 4 Defender pieces, 14 Deflector pieces and 2 Lasers. One part of the game that is super tricky is that if the laser hits one of your own pieces that token is eliminated from the game. You not only have to strategize to take out your opponent's pieces, but to not hit your own in the process.  



 


My husband and our youngest tried playing the game first. They both were struggling to understand how to play it. I read the instructions, went over them with them and left them to play and go to the book for any help they needed. They still struggled with how to play the game. I tried playing with our son as well and was a bit confused myself. We tried playing through the game with the instruction book to look through as we played. We understood the ultimate goal of the game as well as how to move or rotate the pieces. We seemed to continue to hit our own players with the laser beams and struggle with the best moves to make to try and win the game. The more I thought about it I wondered if our knowledge of chess was making this game harder for us. Our son, 13, kept wanting to know which pieces was like a rook or knight and got a little frustrated that they weren't similar.  Ultimately I realized that while this game is super cool and many kids would catch on easily and quickly it just didn't work that way for our family.  




Thursday, August 20, 2020

Review: Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level A

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.









If you need help teaching your children to write then I recommend checking out Institute for Excellence in Writing® to help you get started.  I've never thought I was a great writer and therefore I have struggled with teaching my children. Thankfully there are great resources that can help such as Structure and Style® for Students. We've recently been working in the Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level A (Grades 3-5). My son is older than the recommended age, but as we haven't done much structure writing it's recommended to start with level A.  Our box arrived and the first thing we needed to do was set up our student notebook. This writing course follows a structure plan and the student notebook is part of that.  There are folders for the source texts, model charts & outlines, work in process, finished compositions,  stylistic techniques, banned words, punctuation & usage and documentation.  Each week has certain goals and then a 5 day schedule.  If you need to shorten your week you could combine a few days together, but we followed the 5 day plan.  The week starts out with the student watching a video, usually about 30 minutes. The videos are actually a taped seminar with Mr. Pudewa, the founder and director of IEW.  Mr. Pudewa interacts with the students in the video, so our students feel a little like they are involved in the seminar. As the lesson is taught, starting with the key word outline (KWO) the student is told when he needs to pause the video to work. There are printed stories included in the lessons and that is what the student uses to make the outline.  The videos are streamed from the IEW website, so they are always available when you need and you don't have to worry about losing disks! They are forever streaming, so you can use this program with multiple children and just purchase additional student packets. If you prefer disks you can chose that option as well.

         


My son is going into 8th grade and has some special needs when it comes to learning. This being our first structured writing course I wanted to try and follow the schedule as closely as I could. He seemed to catch on to the key word outline fairly quickly and was able to retell the stories to us fairly well. Sometimes he didn't quite remember even using the outline, but I felt he was doing well. Week 2 jumped into reviewing the key word outline and then progressing on to writing a summary. For my child that moved too quickly. He's struggled with just writing paragraphs before and so jumping straight into this summary was a little hard for him.  We had to start stretching our lessons out over several days.  He has fine motor issues as well, so he needed more like two days to work on the writing rather than just the one.  The daily schedules are well written, so my son was able to watch the video on his own and complete the key word outline by himself.  During week 3 the checklist was added and that was something we reviewed together for his understanding.  The addition of -ly adverbs was added as well. Fix It! Grammar is recommended, but I chose not to use that program as it was above my son's level. We just reviewed the definition of an adverb and moved forward from there.  I was "hired" as his editor at the suggestion of Dr. Pudewa to compare his draft to the checklist and return it to him for the final draft. This process took him longer than the recommended time.  Due to the extension in time that we needed for the lessons we were only able to get through four weeks of the program.  I feel like for my child that I wished that a few more lessons were spent working on the key word outline and moving into the writing of the summaries a little slower.  I looked through my information and on the website and didn't really see a way to change any of the lessons to make it work better for us other than just giving him more days to do the work. I know this program was made to get students to write, but it just moved a little too quickly for my child. That said I plan to continue moving through this program this year and just going at a slower pace. We will probably use almost 2 weeks to get through one of their weeks, but that's the beauty of homeschooling is being able to adjust how you need for your individual children. 
























As your student finishes up Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level A they can move into Level B and eventually Level C. There are sample videos and lesson plans for you to review in helping you decide which level suits your child best. For updated information follow FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest and Youtube. Also check out which levels the other reviewers used and see how those fit your family.   



Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level A, B & C {Institute for Excellence in Writing® Reviews}

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Review: Wimmelbooks Set of 3



When my children were younger there wasn't much better to me than snuggling up with a book and reading to them. That was something I remembered from my childhood and hope to pass on to my grandchildren.  Recently I had the chance to spend some quality time with my grandsons and the 4 year old and I got to read these books.  He loves books and I, of course, want to indulge him in that love! I thought the Wimmelbooks Set of 3 would be interesting to him, but also help work on things like language development and using his imagination to make up his own stories.  As we read through these books they certainly didn't disappoint.  I've never met a child, let alone a boy, that didn't love all things on the farm, cars and construction related.  

These books are larger than a typical board type book and I think that's great for when kids like to sprawl out on the floor and look through them.  At the beginning of the book there is a list of the characters. As you look through the pages the child is looking to find the character and then tell you a story about them based on what's going on in the page. For example here are the characters At The Construction Site.  




James is the character that you want to help your child find throughout the story.






The child then tells a story about what James is doing in these pictures.






As we moved through the books the each follow the same pattern.  In Cars And Things That Go we have these characters.





We are now looking for Noah and telling stories about what he is doing. 







In the final book On The Farm we have the usual type characters you'd expect on a farm.






This time we are looking for Debbie and talking about what we think she's doing on the farm.  










I always thought of picture books as not really something I was interested in looking at with my children because there was no written story. When my youngest was about 4 I attended a seminar that was all about picture books. We had to take picture books and come up with our own story and it wasn't always easy. I learned then how open ended picture books are and that each of us can look at the same pictures and come up with a different story. This helps develop our imagination and creativity.  These books have been really great to look through while spending some quality time with my grandson.  These books are available in the 2020 Preschool Curriculum Kit and that's right in the age of my oldest grandson. As with any books you can take them and adjust them how you need to for them to fit your family.  To keep up with any new items check out Timberdoodle's Website, their FacebookInstagramTwitter or their Youtube.









Thursday, August 13, 2020

Review: Super Teacher Worksheets

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  





Does your student ever have those times when they need extra help in an area and you aren't sure where to go? Well, Super Teacher Worksheets has solved that problem! They have available over 16,000 printable resources for and elementary students!! Our youngest son has had some learning issues where we need more repetition and review work than we did with our other children. Often the work he's doing just doesn't offer that review, so we need to go and find some additional helps. We have found that addition help here at Super Teacher Worksheets.  We received a 1 year membership to review and I was just amazed at all the options.  Here's the basis of what is offered:


Math

Reading Comprehension

Reading & Writing

Phonics

Early Literacy

Grammar

Spelling

Chapter Books

Social Studies

Science

Holidays

Puzzles & Brain Teasers

Teacher Helps

Prek-K

Worksheet Generator



There are so many options here and I know I can find anything I need to help my son review in pretty much any area! Typically grammar, reading comprehension and math are the areas that we need the most review in, so these were the areas I went to first.  My son is going into 8th grade and still struggles with remembering basics like pronouns, adverbs and adjectives. I found some great worksheets for him to review this summer to help not have that summer slump.  One thing I didn't really remember having touched on was fact and opinion, so when I saw a worksheet for that I printed it out. I didn't go over the information, but rather just handed it to my son for him to complete on his own.  My son only missed 1/15 and I was happy with that. Another concept I wasn't sure we had learned was cause and effect. Again I just printed the worksheet out and gave it to him to work through.  Issac seemed to get the concept, but didn't follow the directions quite like he was suppose to have. He was suppose to have underlined the complete cause in one color and the effect in the other. I could tell by what he underlined that he understood the concept, but the directions weren't quite followed the way they were meant to be. That gave me some good information to work on following the written directions more. Sometimes even when I'm not sure we've learned something it doesn't take long to grab one of these worksheets and go through it. Sometimes I'll even just pull them up on the computer and read them out loud to him. It's easy to make this site work for you. 




 







My husband was involved in a head-on collision a few years ago and has had quite a bit of memory issues from it. At his recent visit with his new doctor it was recommended that he do puzzles and activities like that to help his brain process.  I decided to use the worksheet generator to make a special puzzle for him to do with the names of the people in our family. 






This site has so many options that I can't begin to cover them all. I just know that with all of my children there have been times when I didn't feel their main curriculum reviewed enough or maybe the concept was taught quicker than my child needed.  That's why I have enjoyed using Super Teacher Worksheets this summer. It's been a great way to review a few topics we needed to review before gearing up for a new school year. As we go through this year I'll have a site that I can easily access to get that extra help that we need.  The price of $24.95 a year is truly a great bargain for all the items you have access too. I know my kids learn great through games and there are even some printable games on the site.  For more information about the membership or what is offered check out: 






We had 50 reviewers reviewing this product, so I know we all chose different items to try. Check out what goodies the other reviewers found to do with their children.  


Printable Activities and Worksheets! {Super Teacher Worksheets Reviews}

Rise Up!

 This morning I woke up singing the lyrics to the song Rise Up! Wasn't quite sure why this was on my mind this morning. Maybe because I&...