Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More photographs today - :)







The photos are in the reverse order of age development - the youngest pic is at the bottom here. All 3 boys are just so cute!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Brendon's "Angel" Anniversary Day








It was exactly two years at 1245 am this morning when our dear little 5 year old passed across to the heavenly realms. It has been a challenging week full of memories and tears. Today I woke up feeling refreshed a little and with a little smile.

I have put some new pictures on this blog for those who have never seen his younger days before. They are up above this writing.

We miss you darling Brendon. We know you are okay and with all your friends who had cancer and many other children too who left earth way too early. Thank you sweetie for 5 1/4 wonderful years in our family. Your brothers talk about you often and so do we.
Lots of love
Mummy and Daddy, Daniel and Andrew.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Obedience to Christ

Our Bible Study Devotion for school today out of "Morning Bells." Does this speak to you - share with me!


John 2:5

"Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it."

How are you to know what He says to you? Ah, it is so easy to know if we are really willing to know, and willing to obey when we do know! He has spoken so plainly to us in His Word in that He tells us, tells even little children, exactly what to do. It is most wonderful how He has said every thing there for for us, told us every thing we ought to do. When you read a chapter or hear one read, listen and watch to see what He saith unto you in it. There is another way in which He tells us what to do. Do you not hear a little voice inside that always tells you to do the right thing and not to do the wrong thing? That is conscience, and He speaks to you by it.

Another way is by those whom He has set over You. he has told you once for all to "obey your parents," and to "obey them that have the rule over you." so, when they tell you to do something, it is the Lord Jesus himself that you have to obey in obeying them.

Now "whatsoever He saith unto you, do it!" Yes, "whatsoever," dear little one, whether easy or hard, do it because He tells you; do it for love of Him, and it will be a thousand times better and happier to obey your King than to please yourself. And He himself will help you to do it; only look up to Him for grace to obey, and He will give it.

"Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." Do not just thing about doing it, or talk about doing it, but do it! "Do it!" Do the exact thing He would have you do, not something a little bit different, or something which you think will be very nearly the same, but "do it."

And "do it" at once. It is so true that "the very first moment is the easiest for obedience." Every minute that you put off doing the right thing makes it harder. Do not let your King have to "speak twice" to you. "Whatsoever" He saith unto you, do it cheerfully, exactly, and instantly.

I need to continue writing about Brendon and his legacy, to share what the Lord has done, can do and continues to do through a small 5 year old boy.

"DON'T GIVE UP!"

National Museum of the United States Air Force







Wow this was an amazing place for boys - especially those who are interested in flying machines, war and such things. Of course that does not really include myself but I still went anyway. My favorite part of this museum was the humongous planes outside on an old runway/parking lot. As the day was about 90 degrees in the shade this was a warm venture to visit.

The museum inside has air conditioning and is enjoyable and HUGE. There are many different parts to this museum and a gift shop for those knick-knacks and reminders or just to purchase postcards because your camera can't do it justice.

The stories that are told through the history of the aircraft is amazing. We even saw Kennedy's Air force One. Fancy that. Yes it was interesting and good to go back to again in a few years when perhaps my little guy is not so tired!

The galleries are filled with places, gliders, the Wind tunnel example that the Wright brothers used to work out how to fly/build their plane. One of their planes is on display too - exciting to see especially once you have studied flying! there are the Cold War and Missile Galleries too - not to be missed. Mannequins and other props are used to make this museum more friendly to visit.

The boys and their Dad paid to ride in the the Cockpit of a 'bomber' I think. They 'flew' over the mountains, down the valleys and had a 5 minute ride of fun. My oldest could not stop talking about it afterwards and the little guy said they nearly crashed into the mountains! He thought it was real!

We had an enjoyable time there and as it is not too far of a drive from home can be visited from here in one day too. It is free with a huge parking lot. During school times I am sure there are plenty of school tours but you can pick to get there later in the morning to avoid the crowds I think. This museum is open 7 days a week and is staffed mostly by volunteers which is amazing too.

I hope you enjoyed walking through our vacation to Ohio with us this year and some of our memories for years to come. I like sharing them with you too.

Here is a link for their website:

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ohio Caverns






On the morning of our fourth day of vacation we ventured Northwest of Columbus to where Ohio Caverns is situated. It is 4 miles west of a small town called West Liberty. I assure you it is long, windy, cool and our group of about 20 people took at least an hour to venture through here. There is time to take photographs during the tour but it is better if you have a professional camera or photographer with you to use them instead. I found that a lot of flash photography with regular digital cameras in the semi dark is definitely not good quality.

Our boys loved this cave experience and think it is a pretty cool thing to be 100 feet underground and see this rock formation in different colors. they have one stalactite and stalagmite formation that have joined together to form the shape of a water pump. Another humongous formation looks like a baseball bat and still other larger ones like pillars holding up buildings. The original owner of the land preserved these caves haphazardly until someone bought the land from him and then the next owner begun to stop visitors from touching the stalactites and stalagmites to prevent deterioration. I'm glad this happened as we probably would not have this natural wonder to enjoy if someone had not taken the care to preserve the natural history on this farm. Andy is above pictured next to a big icicle shaped stalactite.

We came out of the caverns at the end of our tour and had thoroughly cooled off with the temperature underground about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, to a whopping 95 degrees outside. It was a dramatic change! We picnicked on the grounds and there are shelters available to do that under too.

We later drove through the countryside on our way to an Amish restaurant (Family style) to partake of a late lunch early dinner in their buffet section. That was probably a mistake for two of us as the food did not entirely agree with us almost immediately. We are also not used to so many additives in what we eat. We will not be doing that for a while either. Photo above of the boys in the Amish wagon!

We drove slowly back to Columbus, OH for to tumble everyone into a bath as they were filthy from the caves. (Tip: wear old clothes) The fresh country air makes one weary too. So ended the fourth day of our mini-vacation.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

COSI Museum and Historic Roscoe village





On waking up on our second day we ventured downtown Columbus to the phenomenal and kind of big COSI Museum (http://www.cosi.org/ ). This Museum is definitely geared towards children of all ages but after visiting all the levels, and most of the museum, except the 3D movie theatres it was worth the visit. We were blessed to not have to pay admission due to being members of the Indiana State Museum. There is a link between some state museums called the Passport Program (link here: http://www.cosi.org/files/File/ASTCPassportProgram.pdf ) . This sure helped us out. There were 2 3D movies at the time of our visit but we did not have the time in our 8 hour day to watch either of them. One was on Whales and Dolphins and the other on The Titanic. We hope to visit the Titanic exhibit when it comes to the Indiana State Museum.

COSI Museum had a special area for the toddlers and no child over 3 was allowed to visit. There were lots of interactive things for Andy to participate in in this area. When about an hour had passed and it came time to move to the next exhibit we had a few tantrums to get through.

I can not honestly remember all the different things that we saw in there, although there was a special exhibit that only teachers who attended that day got to see. As I had registered for the teacher conference that day we got the opportunity to visit the Valley of the Unknown. Inside here we were given a map and clues to find, and tried to solve each part of the ancient language message on our map. At the end we entered the Temple and found the treasure. My son Dan was in his element as he searched for the clues, and eagerly looked for anything else we needed to know. He had fun. This exhibit was a trial run that was officially being opened to the public later this year.

Our day at the Museum was so fun and over too soon. We will go back on another mini vacation and see what they have changed and enjoy what has not!


Roscoe Village, Coshocton, Ohio

We travelled a few hours NorthEast from Columbus to Roscoe Village ( http://www.roscoevillage.com/ ). Here is a small colonial town which dates back to the 1800's. There are Living History Exhibit Buildings all over the tiny town but we did not have time to purchase the tour through all the buildings that they visit. Our toddler would not have done very well with all the walking too. The buildings look interesting but are only opened with a tour guide especially during out of season times. The main tourist office for the village does have a small shop attached to it , as well as an educational center inside. The children tried on hats and clothes from the 1800's and played with some of the toys that would have been popular in that day and time.

We walked across a park area to the place where we boarded our Canal boat for an hour's ride on a restored boat from the 1800's. This ride was quite a treat for my son and I as we had studied the Erie Canal last fall and enjoyed reading about the families and businessmen that had built and used the canal. It cemented a lot of the information that we had read about. the walk between the Visitor's Center and the Canal Boat Ride is far so it is advised to drive especially if you have small children.

Once we had returned to the Visitors Center a storm was brewing and we had to walk back to our vehicle. This entailed more walking as we were parked at the other end of the village. Of course we took it in turns to carry an extremely tired 3 year old. He then started eating his lunch in the van and promptly fell fast asleep in the middle of his third bite of food, and no sooner was he asleep than the heavens opened, and we were all rocked around in our van by thunder, lightning and rain. We were reasonably safe but on driving out of the village realized how severe the straight line winds had been in that storm. Giant trees, medium sized trees and debris were everywhere on the roads - it was amazing what power the winds had that day!

Roscoe Village is somewhere to visit if your children are studying Colonial America, the Erie Canal, or life in the 1800's. We wished we had more time to visit but glad that we saw what we did!

Ok the pic at the top of the post is me all dressed up in Colonial clothing - whew it was hot!


On the way home we stopped by an amazing Ice Cream shop. Velvet Ice Cream (http://velveticecream.com/ ) make their own ice cream on site, with a viewing window to see into the processing room, as well as a cafe to sample some of their wares and they ship all over the USA too.

It was a fun and exciting day filled with learning experiences and some fun ones to fill our bellies with!

Vacation Highlights August 2010
















We decided to stay at a Homewood Suites Hotel in Columbus located on the Northwest side of the city. It was fairly central to all the places we had planned to visit. We like these hotels as there is a light evening meal provided between 4-7pm, especially for the businessman or family I presume. Breakfast is a full breakfast with a cooked selection as well as the usual cereals and breads. We figure that the cost of eating dinner out with 4 of us ordering plus a cheaper hotel and dingy Continental breakfast, equals or or is more than staying at Homewood Suites. The evening meals I must say are only Monday through Thursday. The breakfasts are great no matter what and definitely fresh fruit is a big draw for our family. We had a King Suite with sofa bed. The suites are ideal for a small family like ours, we could fit nicely and could utilize the kitchen that they provide in the rooms too.

Our first day we drove down to "The Wilds" situated near Cumberland, Ohio. We had visited this game park before when Daniel and Brendon were much smaller. It is a touch of Africa in the middle of Ohio for me. Hopefully we can go back every few years. The Wilds has a wide range of animals, insects, amphibians and birds to see. No two days are the same say the bus and game truck drivers. One can tour on an air conditioned bus, an open-air safari or an individual jeep ride, depending on your level of comfort and pocket book!

There are animals from Africa, China, other Asian countries, and others found in the United States that have become endangered. I love to see my favourites like giraffes, zebras and rhino in the wild. I do not like seeing them caged in a zoo. At The Wilds you can view them in a natural setting with trees, grasses, birds, and insects all around them! It is an awesome place to visit.

There are camping experiences that you can have there too, stay in a yurt, or perhaps next summer book your child in for a really educational week to stay at The Wilds in a tent, and help them gather data on their animals and birds. We have found the day visit is a good start and really educational. We hope next time to be able to ride in an open air jeep to give our children more of the feel of being in the wild. I am not sure if I will ever get them back to my wonderful Africa. There are Family and Adult Camps available too throughout the year

Here is a link to their website if you want to go on over and peruse it http://thewilds.org/ . I put a picture at the top of my boys with the overlook and view behind them.


This is the first day and there is more to come!

Vacation Summer 2010

I decided it has been forever since I updated everyone on our lives. It has been a busy summer with us continuing to homeschool throughout only taking breaks for our week of vacation during August and a week in June for VBS.

Our vacation/holiday this year was overshadowed by a very sad event. My husband's stepmom passed away on our first day that we were away. We knew she was very ill as her cancer had progressed substantially this summer, but thought she would fight a little longer. She declined quickly the week before we left and somehow the Lord prompted or warned me that she was not going to make it. We decided to take our family away even though we did not know when she would pass away.

On arrival at our hotel in Columbus I checked my email briefly after taking our oldest son out to dinner for his birthday. The dreaded message we had been waiting for was right there in front of my eyes to see. I wished I had had no access to the email that week at all because we were in the land of should we/shouldn't we go back for the funeral. This funeral was in Monroe, Wisconsin jsut a few days later which would have been a 14 hour drive for us with 2 young children!

We heard when the funeral was the day before and decided we would not have time to drive all the way and be exhausted. We think it was a good decision and we are blessed to know that even though we were missed, no-one was mad at us!

I will post about our vacation spots in the next post so keep on reading if you are interested.

Friday, July 30, 2010

How Much Time Did you Give Him Today?

James 4:17 was the scripture I read a few weeks back probably 2 months ago. It prompted me to do some soul searching, thinking and challenging myself.

I found these notes that I had written out of my daily QT reader.

Reprioritize how you use your time, bringing new life to yourself and those around you.

EVERY DAY, YOU TOO LEAVE BEHIND LASTING FOOTPRINTS ALONG THE PATH OF YOUR LIFE. WHAT DO OTHERS SEE IN THEM? MANAGE WELL THE TIME YOU HAVE; DON'T LET TIME MANAGE YOU.

God has placed you in this earthly realm for a brief season, and you need to use the knowledge that you have to deliberately order your steps. make them count in the lives of others daily.

If you have difficult circumstances Seek the Lord - then Worship Him in unwavering trust that He will rescue you! He does know, He can see you all the time. He can touch your heart, and life right where you are now, whether it be at work, in your home, in a coffee shop, or sitting in your car. He loves you, He needs you to love Him back.

UNWAVERING WORSHIP FOR YOUR GOD AND KING! That is all He asks you to do....

I hope the above Word from the Lord blesses you as much as it did me.

Thank you God for the wonderful gift of your son Jesus Christ.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rhema Marvann

I just listened to the most awesome little girl on You Tube. I was referred by a friend of mine's post. It is so beautiful to hear a young child praise the Lord with a pure heart and not because she is told to do it.

http://www.rhemamarvann.com/


There are some songs on her website and some on You Tube as well. She blessed my heart today to hear her singing. Be Blessed!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Farmers Markets

Hi there,

We are homeschooling, playing in the pool and are done with VBS as well as all our tennis and swimming lessons too. It has been a busy June and July. We are leaving for vacation soon for a week but I would like to post about some things I love best.

The month of August is known nation wide as the harvest month, and bumper crops of zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes and corn are coming in by the droves. When selecting at the farmers markets be sure to get the least bruised looking items. Sometimes the vendors if I know them well will give me a reduced price for the produce if it is damaged and then I just blend it up into fruit or veggie rollups. I have a dehydrator so after the produce or fruit is blended I put it in the dehydrator and about 6 hours later I have a preserved harvest. Of course it usually gets wrapped in plastic wrap(yes I do use it occasionally), and stored in the freezer. When we leave on a day trip I have a handy snack which is nutritious and healthy and yummy for the boys.

Our local farmers market in Cumberland, IN is having a Arts Festival in August. Here is a link to the page where you can find the information.

http://cumberlandfbc.org/Cumberland%20Arts%20goes%20to%20Market%202010.htm

Our family attended last year. We found some neat deals on Christmas gifts, as well as did our usual shopping at the Farmers Market at the same time. The boys and I listened to some neat classical and jazz music in the big tent whilst snacking on our lunch. It does not have to cost anything to attend just don't buy too many things when you are there. You will get an idea of the local vendors in and around Cumberland and Greenfield, IN and enjoy some time with your family.

No I don't get paid for this but just would like you to have an enjoyable day! I met some wonderful people who had exhibits up last year and the boys had a fun and exhausting day.

I will put a button somewhere on here on the blog soon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Change, change and More Change

It has been a very busy month for us. We have experienced lots of running around to swimming and tennis lessons, park dates with our Homeschool friends, a fabulous ride on Thomas the Tank Engine in Connersville, In and also some changes.

The church that we were attending is now closed. The pastor felt led to close the church down for various reasons. It has been a difficult two weeks adjusting to the thought of not seeing folks who we have become friends with over the last 3 years. This church is also the last place where Brendon attended services before he passed away. The thought of not being in touch regularly is difficult as that is a way for us to remember Brendon. People say they will never forget him but I do know from experience that does not last.

My husband and I are on a new journey now to find a church home which is a family orientated church. To us, that means a place where the children are in the service with us and not separated. I believe the children are supposed to be with their parents as their teachers and monitor what they are receiving from others. That is hard to do if you are not in the same room as the child!

We have been a family that is careful what our children watch on TV, Video and DVD, and where they go on the Internet. I have noticed my children are aware of more of the sin that is around them than I thought. My oldest has pointed out that David and Bathsheba definitely did the wrong thing before getting married. Now it looks like I am going to have to look into some early adolescence counselling and training.

My grief journey is very slow at the moment. I go over one hump and back over two. I know I am progressing but ever so slowly and then I get frustrated with that. I have made a start on the book that I am writing, its on paper for right now and will transfer to the computer sometime. Yes I do know that heaven is going to be manifested soon and so will be the opportunity to see my child there, but I am living every day with a huge gap in my home that I am still getting used to.

We are due to have a family vacation sometime soon, whilst also praying in anticipation for Walt's step-mom who is going through the final stages of fighting ovarian cancer. We do not know when she will pass on but we are thinking it may be sooner than we thought. I do not like attending funerals at the moment but at least we have talked a few times on the phone and she seems to be okay. Some days are harder for her than others. She does live on her own. Please pray for Pat that she would not have pain but that when it comes time she would recognize the Lord's angel sent for her.

All these changes are taking place during a very hot and sweltering summer through which we continue to homeschool and enjoy the outdoor activities later in the day or earlier in the morning. I miss my work with the Homeschool crew but know that is was for a season, just like our church, and we are moving into a new stage of our lives.

My desire for the rest of this year is to not get caught up in the necessary evil of everyday tasks but to enjoy each day for itself. My boys would love it if I would not be so sticky to the schedule...especially on those cool summer days we could play outside all day. We look forward to a week of VBS with friends coming up and no school for those days. Thank you for your continued prayers over our family and our ever changing hearts.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

B and Andrew






This photo above was taken 3 years ago when I had 3 living sons. Hope you like the old photos of my boys.

Tomorrow will also be about 12 years since my own Daddy passed away from Pneumonia. I loved him very much and still miss his wisdom and wit!

Hold your children and your family close.

Monday, May 31, 2010

My ride with TOS Crew is done!

Wow it has been an amazing, taxing year riding with the TOS Homeschool Crew of 2009/10. It has been exhausting at times and yet fun at others. Deadlines to meet have made me think back to the days when I used to have to study for exams with 'swot' cards (index cards with facts written out on them) and cramming late at night and early in the morning.


I have been able to use some products at pleasure and others in a fast period of time. Products that we received at the beginning of the year and that we are still using are All About Spelling, Mammoth Math, Rays CD of Math, Critical Thinking, Quarter Mile Math, Math Galaxy, Children's Bible Hour Books, Nutrition 101, Sue Gregg Cooking Breakfast Foods Cookbook, StudyPod, Super Star Speech, and Guardian Angel Publishing. Most of the online subscription websites we had access too the time has now expired for us to have access.

I have many things to use and work with for the next Homeschool year that in essence will be free. Being on the crew has enabled me to 'meet' many wonderful women and men across the country and to see how their homeschool works and their families mix their school and family life together. many of us have experienced crisis in our lives and even during this past year. We have had the chance to pray for each other and support each other during those times. There are of course those days when our children or programs just aren't working right (Do children ever work just right?). We have been able to assist others through computer glitches as some crew members were more computer savvy than others like myself. Thank you to my fellow Crew Members and all the best to those who are staying on as leaders and guides for the new crew that begins in June.

If you keep tabs on The Old Schoolhouse Magazine then you will see the ads early in January/February next year come up for try-outs for the next crew for 2011/12. if you wish to try out for that then keep your eyes open. It is an enjoyable experience that I will value for years to come. It has shown me the tremendous variety of curriculum available out there and even some products that are only for personal use too.

Thanks to Heidi and Brenda for their encouragement and especially for all of their hard work. I know that each of them has had a difficult year in their personal supplies but it has not really slowed them down from doing their Crew work. Thank you Ladies.

Yes I will end by saying that I am going to start work during the summer on a book about my transfer to the USA to live and work, as well as Brendon's life and death, the grief process, and how to live through all of those changes it entails whilst homeschooling. Thank you my friends for encouraging me through this process as it will entail some difficult days and nights.

I just love writing so here goes for the summer! Oh yeah we will still be homeschooling most of the summer as well as doing swim lessons, tennis lessons, and some fun and vacation in between. Talk to you soon.

Thanks to all the soldiers I know personally who are serving today and in the past in the military. I think of Jim right now who is in his last month, and Matt who served a few years ago overseas.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review: Cerebellum DVD's : US Gov and Politics












Well Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the very last review I am doing for TOS Crew for 2009/10 and it has proved to be a rather intriguing and perplexing one too. I received a DVD and CD ROM package giving you a crash course on the U.S. Gov & Politics for the AP Exam. Now I have done tests on the US Government and it's structure before so that I could become a citizen of the USA , but this is intense. I am glad that I did not have to learn all this information for my US Immigration test.

The DVD covers the Headline information that you need to know for the Test as well as how to work through the actual test on the day you take it. The information for the US Gov and Politics test is presented on the DVD is a very efficient and entertaining manner. The students that present this information are dressed well and definitely not sloppy and are representatives of all nationalities I noticed. They are reading off of a teletype I presume but they seem to know what they are talking about. This does help the non-student enjoy this DVD a little more I would say.

The 30 major questions that you will be asked in the US Gov and Politics exam are covered in basically 30 answers in about 30-45 minutes. The detail is presented on the screen as the presenter is reading it, and it can also be found on the CD Rom which may be in your computer at the same time as you view the DVD. The origins of our government, constitution, civil liberties, courts, Congress (including House of Representatives and Senate), Special groups, and much much more is all covered in this presentation and its notes.

I did enjoy watching this. My husband did watch with me and we both realized how far this country and it's government have moved from how the government is supposed to be run - no matter who is in power. We did observe that more than one of these procedures that is supposed to be how the government is formed and supported does not really happen. How sad for the USA.

After having reviewed this product I am certain it would be of some help to a high schooler who needs to take this exam whether they are homeschooled, private or public schooled. I only have an elementary child and a pre-schooling toddler who were both not very eager to watch this show! The easy going manner of the presenters does make it an enjoyable watch even for perhaps a middle schooler who is just learning about the Government and politics. This DVD/CD ROM set from http://www.cerebellum.com/ (Cerebellum Corporation) is an effective tool and can be purchased for $14.98. The prices are running about 20% less expensive than normal at this current time. The other titles in this series are Chemistry, History and English Language and Writing, AP Exam Prep. They are all priced the same.

The link to the reviews for the remainder of the TOS Crew who did receive a variety of the above DVD's is as follows:

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/782672/
I have reviewed this product as a member of the TOS Homeschool crew for 2009/10 school year. This is my own opinion of this product and I have not been paid for this review.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review: Lobster Network







LobsterNetwork makes it easy to share your stuff.
Do you have extra school stuff to sell or possibly loan out for a while over the summer? Do you have too many books weighing down your shelves. perhaps your friends are waiting to read something that is on your shelf but they are living in another state and don't know what you have! You can change that with Lobster Network and their fairly interesting site or unique if you think so. The statement below is from their website (http://www.lobsternetwork.com/ ):


Share your videos, books, video games, audio, tools or anything else.
Let your friends see what you have to share. Find out what they have to share.

Lend it. Borrow it. Trade it. Sell it. Give it away.
All with the click of a button and only with whom you choose.

How LobsterNetwork works:
It's simple. Create a personal library of your stuff.

It's easy. Create friendships with the people you know.

It's fast. Browse your friend’s stuff and request to borrow something.

It's flexible. Approve or reject any request for your stuff.

It's controlled. Decide who sees your stuff. Even create "communities" of friends that only share stuff with each other.

It's helpful. It tracks your stuff on loan and automatically reminds your friends when to return your stuff.

It's secure. Keep a private inventory of your stuff online for insurance purposes. Include pictures too.

It's free. Best of all it's free.



This is a fun site and also practical from what I have seen. The Crew were able to try out their services, which are also free to the public, for a few months. I am still signed up and perhaps am going to put an inventory of our homeschool books in there over the summer. This is one way of checking that you never buy two of the same book again unless it's on purpose.

I would also think that if you know far enough in advance that you are moving house or having to move to a smaller home that you can use this website as well. The TOS Crew have signed up and are now looking at what each other has posted in their items for lending or selling, and then possibly looking over what each other may/may not for the coming school year.

I did research some children's books on here too and have not found anything yet except curriculum. You may start your own community with your Homeschool group, your family or even your neighbors perhaps. You can then enter all the items you wish to trade, borrow, sell or just give away. once you have done that you can send a note out to your friend's email addresses and invite them to join, as well as at the same time, once they have joined they can see what you have to sell.

I know the owners of the site have had fun setting this up, and their son has earned some Wii games with some of the things he has sold or traded through their site. I will end with just a little ad from their site too which is attractive and great to add to your blog. OK the ad saved at the top of the blog post and not down here. Oh well, do you see how fun this all looks. During the summer instead of garage saling then why don't you sell some of your used stuff in good condition through Lobster Network's system. This way you know that trusted friends in your network are going to be grateful for your things. Of course if you sell or loan them junk then they may never visit or talk to you again!
I have reviewed this internet product for my opinion as expressed above in this blog post. I am part of the 2009/10 TOS Homeschool Crew. Please link to Lobster Network's site or to the Crew blog where my fellow crewmates have expressed their opinions too:

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/779750/

There are even a few video links on the Crew site and on Lobster Network. Just one more post and I am done with the Crew!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: Ideal Curriculum




For a few weeks I have been looking over Month 1 of the "Ideal Curriculum" package I was sent to review as part of the crew. This is a curriculum geared towards the new homeschooler and one that is perhaps a little fearful of what to teach their Pre-K students. I have seen some things that would work for our family and some that would not. As this curriculum is definitely cheaper if you purchase the download version that is what I would advise. With the download of a product you do not need to print every file or folder or book.

Month 1 of this Curriculum consisted of some Reading, Music, Teacher Guidance and Printing files. The curriculum is sold in a one month at a time package or a full year package. Month one files included the early teaching of the sounds and shapes of words using both the printed out letters, sounds in the 2 different ABC songs heard from MP3's and various fun games that the children play to familiarize themselves with the way words and letters look. It focuses on how the letters are shaped with horizontal, vertical, and curved lines with practice pages in the student manual for those lines.

I found that my Preschooler who only just turned 3 was really only interested in the reading books. He is already recognizing letters and doing sounds/phonics all on his own by listening to his older brother. For a new homeschooler though this method may help you teach your child a methodical way of learning the sounds.

The Teacher Manuals are very thorough about why you are teaching the child the concept of letters and sounds in different ways in order to capture the child's many different learning ways and keeping them active at the same time. Jumping forward one jump at a time when sounding out the letters in the alphabet, or taking a giant step for each letter perhaps.

For Math they use Picture cards and actions to learn the concept of time (fast and slow), about following directions, comparing between two different objects at how fast or slow they move etc.

For Science the Month 1 Curriculum also involved looking at different modes of transportation and comparing them again. the student is encouraged to act out and/or retell the stories that you are reading to them either from the fiction or non fiction books that connect with the subject they are learning. They practice making cars go faster or slower by building ramps. They make collages and other art projects too. There is a book list at the end of the Science Manual on other books that can be borrowed from the library to help reinforce the concept of transportation. The students would definitely have a fun time with all the experimentation on this one I think.

As I mentioned earlier this curriculum can be purchased individually by months or as a whole. the themes of the units are as follows : Transportation, Color, Weather, About Me, A Healthy Life, Animals, People in my community, Traditions in our Country and The World Around Us. That is a broad spectrum of subjects in the Science/Social Studies section. The most positive aspect of this curriculum is that you do not have to print out or do every activity. You may leave out a few if they are too much for your student/s.

There is a one week trial of the Week 1 Month 1 Curriculum available on the site if you sign up for it and you can decide whether this will help you teach your preschooler or not.

A One Year complete Preschool Curriculum costs $526.00. The various curriculum's for Literacy is $270.00 or a Math Program for $60.00. The monthly kits are for Printable $55 per month and $30 for downloadable. The Printable ones will be shipped to you at the correct time of the year depending on when you begin the program. The downloadable product for 9 months is priced at $240.00 if purchased per month (I think that is what it says). More details of all the different packages can be found at http://www.idealcurriculum.com/.

I was given this product to review and my colleagues at the TOS Homeschool blog have posted their reviews too. Click on over there to see who wrote what and compare it with mine I guess too:

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/782452/

I have reviewed this product after receiving a one month curriculum for Ideal Curriculum so that I could blog about it here. I have received no payment for this review.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review: Kregel Publications






I read this wonderful, exciting, fantastic and thrilling book published by Kregel Publications last week. Of course when it got to Sunday afternoon I usually take a nap, but last weekend I had my eyes glued to this book. The title of the book I read is “Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure.”

This book has a cute couple of teenagers on the front looking at a treasure map. I also had read the back of the book for a description of the story. I was curious even though I have not read a book like this for years. “Trouble with Treasure” is part of a series of 4 books about a young lady called Andrea Carter and her adventures. She gets herself into some sticky situations. The author of these novels is Susan Marlow.

Andi and her friend Jenny decide to ride along with Andi’s older brother and a friend for a few days whilst he goes to visit a logging camp in the mountains. Their first day begins with a freak accident with a snake involved and it caused different problems through out the rest of the trip. One exciting adventure after another happens on the riding trip, during their panning for gold in the rivers along the way, eating fresh fish out of the river, and of course just enjoying the scenery. They bump into some really mean people along the journey and you have to read the book to find out exactly what those mean guys did and did not do! The book is also set in the late 1880’s so sheriffs and villains abound!

I was literally glued to my book and loved it. If you have a pre-teen or teenager who likes these adventure kind of stories then I would say this series of 6 books is for him/her. The “Circle C” Adventures have a website in which you can visit to see Andi’s blog and hear about what she and her friends are up to next. Here is the link: http://www.circlecadventures.com/ .With each book a literature unit study is available and there is a link in the back of each book for this.

This series of books are being sold at http://www.circlecadventures.com/ and click on over to Andi’s adventures when you get there and click the Order books button. A brief description of each book is on the site, as well as some information on some Early Reader books coming out in the series during 2010. This will make it easier for your younger readers to join in on the adventure. I just noticed that there are Lapbooks available for some of these titles too. (see above Picture of the Lapbook for this particular adventure!)

The cost of one Circle C Adventure book is $8.00 but the set of Books 1-5 in the series will cost only $30.00 plus shipping and handling. I think this is a decent price for 5 paperback books that will also provide a learning experience for your children. The age level recommended for Circle C Adventure books is 9-14 years. This could even be a book that can go on a Christmas wish list now so you can save money to purchase it later in the year.

The other TOS Crew members have their reviews at this link:


I am a member of the Homeschool Crew for The Old Schoolhouse magazine for 2009/10 and have reviewed this product in exchange for my opinion. I have received no payment for this review.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: BeeYoutiful




Yeah - Yeah Yeah, I shouted when I was selected to be one of the members of the TOS Crew to try out the BeeYoutiful products. The reason I was excited was because I know what an awesome company this is. Their ethics and work standards are great and their products, in my opinion are excellent.


The product that I was sent in the mail is called Tummy Tuneup. This is a supplement that I have not yet tried but of course after using a few times on both myself and my son I am content to promote it. Tummy Tuneup is full of Lactobacillus acidophilus (and 2 other types), as well as Bifid bacterium (3 types). If you are questioning those big words well don’t. these are healthy bacteria that re-boost your stomach and the your intestinal system. They are probiotic and anti yeast V-caps that can be taken, or the powder from the capsule mixed up with applesauce or liquid for children. The bottle does indicate to take before eating. This definitely does help in the case of if you are about to indulge in rich fatty foods of any kind like Pizza, Spaghetti, and probably cheesecake to avoid the effects that may happen after this kind of meal. One thing I do need to point out is that you can take this product with you anywhere, but do not leave in a hot vehicle or anywhere that it may get overheated at any time.


I have used this for my oldest son particularly as he is partial to getting virus bugs from other children and it has been phenomenal in preventing them. If the digestive system is in good working order then the body can fight back against virus’ of this kind easier. Tummy Tuneup restores the environment to the intestines where it is needed before it is upset. In this country and overseas in 1st world nations it is easy to get a disrupted stomach from rich food when eating out, or even when traveling from a different water supply. I know this from experience. When I was younger I used to get cramps from the hotel tap water whenever we traveled. I do not experience that any longer.

From testimonies on the BeeYoutiful website and from other crew members they have used this when their children have had the diarrhea and vomiting bug during this past winter. It has worked like a charm. I would recommend this product to be something you do not travel without this summer if you are taking a vacation. It would also be handy to have on hand in your home during a long snowy winter where viruses abound.

I love BeeYoutiful products and currently our family is using SuperMom and SuperDad tablets/capsules, Cod Liver Oil capsules, different essential oils like Peppermint and Lavender (for headaches and peaceful sleeping), Ultra Immune and Berry Well. Ultra Immune is an amazing product and is taken between meals to help support the Immune system and keep it functioning. Some key ingredients in it are Elderberry, Oregano Oil and Allisure (Garlic). These 3 are important in preventing your body in catching those colds and chest infections. I take this due to the stress level in my life being extremely high. It certainly helps to keep the stress loads down to a minimum. BerryWell is a Herbal Dietary Supplement for people 1 and over (contains raw honey) to help build up a strong immune system. It has been very effective in keeping colds to a minimum this winter in our home - recovery time from a fever or cold is now down to 2-3 days instead of a week. My toddler has no qualms about taking a teaspoon of this every day if I want him too. I call that a successful product.


I could talk for a long time about how wonderful BeeYoutiful products are. They are all tested in a safe environment, and do not come from a manufacturer that is bent on destroying your body, or world in the process. I do feel that during this current minor depression of mine I would not be feeling as well as I do if it were not for BeeYoutiful supplements and oils.


The cost for a bottle of Tummy Tuneup is $18.00 and has 60 capsules. If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a sensitivity to spicy or rich food I would suggest trying it out. If your children are susceptible to infections or getting colds when exposed to other children think about adding this to your medical aid kit and tossing out some store bought stuff! It is definitely healthier.


Some of my fellow crew mates enjoyed other beauty and/or health products from BeeYoutiful and their review links can be found here:

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/781123/


If you want to skip the crew stuff then click on over to BeeYoutiful directly and enjoy their site with articles and heaps of information. They have a catalog that comes out quarterly too. Here is the link:


I have received this product in exchange for my review, as I am part of the TOS Homeschool Crew for 2009/10.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: Lesson Planet


During the month of March 2010 our family received a subscription for 6 weeks to an online Teacher’s lesson Planning and worksheet website called Lesson Planet. (http://www.lessonplanet.com/ . ) This website gives the teacher access to over 225,000 lesson plans and/or worksheets as well as information on the standards of education for grade levels in each state within the USA. I did not see anything on the site about International States for countries outside of the United States.


A teacher has the ability to pick a theme/subject or math concept and choose the grade and rating level as well as whether you need an advanced lesson or not. Once this is selected the search mode clicks on and finds lessons from websites and/or individual educators from across the United States. These can be detailed Lesson Plans for anything from 1 lesson to 3-4 weeks worth of lessons for the subject.


The home page features some of the major lesson plans by subject as follows: Art/Music; Health and Nutrition; Math; Geography; Science and Technology; Language Arts and a few more. For example, in Geography there are over 11 000 different lessons available for browsing but when you choose the grade level and difficulty rating then the amount narrows down fast. I did find that a lot of these Lesson Plans that I searched were definitely geared towards a regular school setting. I of course did not like that so found them difficult to adapt to a child that does not sit still for long. To find applications that would work for my child who is not a sit down, be quiet kind of child was more challenging.


Many of the books used in the lessons were ‘school’ type books that are usually available only through companies like Scholastic books. I do not have access to this type of book at the current time. There is also a Curriculum calendar with important dates listed on virtually every day - you can click on a date and do a lesson about the important item listed on that day.


There is an extremely wide variety of topics and themes covered. I found it hard to narrow down exactly what I needed from so many choices and was also disappointed that many of these sites are government school programs. I do not like using programs like this but once in a while. I have saved some word searchs and poems to use at a later time.


The cost per year for using Lesson Planet is $39.95. This is a reasonable cost for access to the many thousands of lesson plans and worksheets. I personally will not be using this but am thankful to have had a chance to see what the website is all about. There is a 10 day Full Access Trial of the website available if you would like to see what they have to offer. If you cancel before the 10 days is up then your credit card will not be billed.

Here are 2 links for you to visit from Lesson Planet:

lesson plans



My other Crew members this year have experienced using Lesson Planet with their families and you can visit the Homeschool Crew Blog at this link:

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/779692/


I have been able to access the above website as a member of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew for 2009/2010.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: Sue Gregg Cookbooks




The last 6 months that I have been on the crew I have been using a really neat cookbook which is also a nutritional diary of sorts. Of course this is right up my alley as it were. I love, love, love dealing with books and products that teach or help you learn how to eat, live and exercise correctly to get the best nutrition and life possible.


I have known about Sue Gregg and her cookbook series for many years and have applied many of her methods over time. The recipes that I did get to try from the “Breakfasts….with Blender Batter Baking & Allergy Alternatives” book were different and new to me. On the website there are a few trial recipes for you to try out. As part of the Crew we went to the site and picked a recipe, made it and did a review and then requested which book we would like to try. I picked the above one. Breakfast is my favorite meal.


I have always loved, and am known to serve a good and healthy breakfast. Eggs, Grains, fruits and vegetables can be used in this meal. It can be balanced and it can be healthy. Yes it takes more work to make a good meal than just pulling out a box of cereal. Last night I placed a cup of oatmeal, and a cup of warm water and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and some whey from the yogurt in a saucepan, 12 hours later I added more water and a little milk and cooked the oatmeal. It was so yummy with added raisins, and chopped up apple. Train your children to like cooked cereals for breakfasts and not to always want the store bought stuff.


The first 40 pages of this book are detailed information for ‘Planning for Breakfast’ on different kinds of milk to make or buy, eggs, dairy alternatives, fats and oils uses of nuts, different sweeteners, and methods of making breakfast foods. Sue also does provide some sources for the ingredients that you may not be used to but, the Internet has a vast array of stores selling these items. There are menu planning helps, recipes galore with alternative for grain and milk allergies included in many of them, as well as biblical truths and folk remedies scattered throughout the book.


I have been a promoter and user of the “soaking grains” method for making breads, muffins and pancakes for some time now and Sue outlines this method clearly in this “Breakfasts” book. Sue does have at least 5-6 other recipe books available on her website and even a Children’s Cooking Curriculum for the “Lunches and Snacks” book with a CD ( book not included )full of photos demonstrating the processes she uses. I do think that teaching your children to cook and care for themselves at a young age is a bonus as they will take care of you when they are older. They could even cook 2-3 dinners per week whilst you take care of the younger children.


The “Breakfasts” cookbook sells for a price of $23.00. I also do own the “Soups and Muffins” book, which has been an incredible help over the years and that sells for $8.00. I found sometimes that starting with a less complicated recipe of making muffins and then move on to making bread integrates you into changing your diet for the better. Making small changes really does make a difference in your health and eventually you will find yourself much healthier and happier than the previous year, perhaps there will be even less of you too!


Some of the recipes we tried were Build-an-Omelet, Oatmeal Surprise, Hot Oatmeal, Mango Smoothie, Blueberry Shake, Wake up Carrot Shake, Blender Molasses Muffins (wonderful), Good Morning Muffins, Sunshine Muffins, Blender Banana Muffins, and homemade English Muffins (so soft and yummy.) I have been using her waffle and pancake blender recipe for 6 plus years and it always succeeds unless I mess with the ingredients too much. Pineapple Coffee Cake, Cowboy Coffee Cake and Almond Coffee Cake have become some of my favorites to serve for Sunday morning breakfast as they can be made the night before and reheated in the morning and served with fruit. We all go out the door full to the brim and last all through church without snacking!


I can not say enough about Sue Gregg and her way of using grains. I have yet to discover her “Meals in Minutes” cookbook or the “Lunches and Snacks”, but will do so in the near future. For those who read this and know me personally I can recommend these cookbooks as becoming a part of your weekly menu planning if you are willing to give these a try. We have even used some alternative grains with surprising results that they do not taste much different from regular grain. Please do go over to the TOS Homeschool Crew site to find out what other Crew members tried out and read their reviews too - don’t just take my word for it.


*I also just noticed on the website there is a link to download a PDF of some of this “Breakfasts” book in the new version. It will give you some idea of what you will find.* I also spied there a try out recipe for “Taco Chip Ole.” It is a great nutrition filled recipe made with tortilla chips and other yummy things like sour cream, avocado and of course some salsa and lettuce. Check it out please!!!!


Please link through this way directly to Sue Gregg’s site for some sample recipes to try out at http://www.suegregg.com/.


This is my opinion that I have done for the above product and have not been paid for this review.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Bubby Boo- Andrew!







It is my dear sweet little guys birthday. He is three today and was born rather quickly or slowly. We went into labor after being side swiped in a hit and run accident on the main raod home from the hospital. Our sweet second son was in there for his stem cell transplant. We knew that the baby would be born close to the stem cell transplant time but not in the way he was. Some of you who read this blog know our story and some don't.
I went into labor as a result of the accident and then Andrew was born about 20 hours later. it was a very long night. He was due a few days later though. Thankfully I was almost 9 months along. He has been a wonderful blessing to our family. Some days we just wonder what life was like without him. He is so like his brother "B" that has passed away. He also just inherited all of B's Thomas Train set, and all his little cars. We have kept these up and put away for at least a year and now are ready to see them used again. I think Andrew is truly blessed by all that his brother left behind for him. Even days before he died Brendon was giving away his stuffed animals and toys to his two brothers, almost like he did know he was not staying on earth but graduating to heaven.
That is a hard thing to imagine that a 5 year old knows that kind of stuff. I will never understand but as I read today in my little Grief book " We are never promised freedom from flood and fire, from any kind of disaster, or freedom from death. What god is promising here is that we do not walk through these terrors alonge and that, diffiult as they are , they will not destroy us."
The Lord sent us a blessing ahead of time and he is so precious. Hold your little ones just a little bit longer each night.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010






BE THERE OR BE SQUARE !



The above Expo is here - It begins May 3rd through May 7th. It is online. The tickets cost $39.95 but even whilst you are waiting for the ticket to be processed you can be a part of the daily classes and chats. The Expo has many new teachers and Homeschool Moms sharing their stories and they accomplish their daily lives, chores and living! Click on over!




Join us please - we would love to have you. ( and so would Cindy!) Last year over 300 people 'attended'.


Julie




Review: Super Star Speech



Do you see these two pictures? On the left is the front cover of the
fun and wonderful Speech therapy book that I was sent to review. On the right side of the page is one of the games download that I was asked to review as well.
Our youngest child Andy is almost three and I thought he was having some serious problems learning how to talk correctly. Well it seems that after receiving this book that he seems to be doing better.
Andy was barely putting words in sentences at age two and I was questioning my ability as a Mom in teaching him to talk. My first two children did not have any problems in this area. When the opportunity to choose which curriculum for review out of the Speech Therapy products offered, I chose "Super Star Speech - Speech Therapy Made Simple". This book gave me finally some insight into the development of a child's speech patterns.
I read the introduction a few times and glanced through the rest of the manual before checking exactly what words Andy knew, and what he did not. It is not really about words, but more about sounds and what their tongue is doing when they make those sounds. I wanted Andrew to be able to be understood by someone other than his parents and his brother.
To begin with the parent does an Articulation Test on the child. During this test you mark off on a response sheet whether the 'target' sound has been made correctly or not. The sounds are either at the beginning of word, in the middle of the word, or at the word ending. Once you have completed this analysis you would circle your check marks with whether it was a totally correct sound, an omitted sound, substituted sound or just distorted. I was in the middle of this test and it was beginning to make sense in my head. Andy could handle the p and b sound, but not the n sound which was normal for a 3 year old. When I started testing him he was still only about 2 3/4 years old. Many beginning sounds for t, d, k, g, ch, sh and s were clear but many of these same sounds in the middle and end of words was fuzzy.
I started working with him on individual letters. This was accomplished by making the words with magnets on a board (my idea now) and then working through them one letter at a time giving him the correct sound. He caught on quickly. Now he wants to practice his words every night looking at the pictures in the manual. It is fun for him too to look at the pictures whilst he is learning and the more we repeat the actions the better he will get at saying the individual sounds. Then he will progress to the whole words and perhaps other folk outside the family circle will understand him more.
As he is unable to read yet, only some letters he knows by heart, we will make this a fun exercise. He is putting 5-6 words together in sentences since we started with the Therapy exercises. I notice he listens more for the sounds of words that we say to him. He has picked up on the therapy and correction in his speech quickly. We still have a long way to go I'm sure but I am glad that we are not lost in the fog of not knowing what to do, and figuring out if we should/should not get him professional speech therapy classes. I am sure that now due to this book we will not have to resort to that method. I have begun to read to Andy more and more and he loves it when he gets the sound of the word correct. There are games in the manual to encourage some fun during all of this learning process, and Deborah gives you further instruction on how to work on the child's tongue position to improve their speech.
The "Silly Snail" game is one of the language games I was giving to use and critique too. This game has cards with sentences written on them. One word on the card is in bold print. The first player draws a card and names the part of speech that is the bold word. If correct, they move their game piece along to the first part of the snail's shell stopping at relevant noun, adverb, pronoun or verb section of the snail. It has been fun to see what my older child knows about these words - noun, adverb, verbs, pronouns etc as we have not focused on these too much in our English Language schooling. The first player to get to the snail's tail wins. My son is competitive and loves games even if he has to think more than he wants to. We shall keep using this and adding more of our own homemade cards with our sentences on.
Deborah Lott has other products available on her site or through Currclick. There is a Super Science Bundle which consists of various science games that can be downloaded and printed out. These can also be be purchased individually. Super Star Speech costs $18.95 for a spiral bound Manual. One can also obtain a download of this product for 40% off that price for $12.95 at the Currclick site. (http://www.currclick.com/ ) Deborah's website is http://www.superstarspeech.com/. Deborah Lott also has a blog which can be linked to from her website and there are a variety of questions and lots of information available on both her website and blog. I would check out this manual first before reverting to the regular form of speech therapy for a child which may cost a lot more out-of-pocket for you.
I have found this review both challenging and exciting as well as fun to do. I had a need and the Lord fulfilled it in a supernatural and practical way. Thank you to Deborah Lott for sharing this product with the crew to review and I hope that many people benefit in the future from all of your hard work. My apologies to you that the review is late due to family commitments that had to be completed first.
If you think this is a product that you may be needing for your little ones or older children who are having speech issues then browse on over to Deborah's site and take a look, to see other reviews written by my fellow crew members at the TOS Homeschool crew blog. Here is the link for that page: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/HomeschoolCrew/768114/
Deborah Lott's is also offering our blog readers a 20% discount code on any readers off her site http://www.superstarspeech.com/ until June 30th. The discount code is TOS. Please contact me if you are having problems with ordering and I will try to help out if possible.
I have reviewed these products for the TOS Homeschool Crew 2009/10 and have not been paid for this review.

Spring is Welcome Here!





The month of April has been a nutty one. Of course it is spring and in the Midwest we have had some fantastic weather. There have also been some pretty soggy days and nights mixed into that month.


As far as reviews are concerned I am running about two weeks behind on them and still have Super Star Speech, Lesson Planet, Sue Gregg cooking and a few more to complete. My journey with the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review team for 2009/10 comes to an end during May. I am sad in some respects as it tested my ability to meet deadlines and work for someone else again, but I am also relieved that I will be able to dig into what I have received in more detail other than just skimming the surface. I could probably do with a few weeks off in the summer to do just that. Not quite sure that will happen.


Yesterday we travelled to French Lick, Indiana to visit the Indiana Railway Museum and French Lick Scenic Railway(http://www.indianarailwaymuseum.org/ ). This is a trip we have done before with Daniel and Brendon when they were younger and before Brendon was diagnosed with cancer. It is 5 years since we visited there. It did bring back some sweet and some bitter memories. The countryside is beautiful and the train goes through a 2200 foot tunnel which makes it really dark for about a whole minute. Children hold their breath and the adults make it almost impossible to believe the darkness will go away, and then whoosh we are in the light again. Andrew loved the ride and slept well most of the way home! The picture up above was Brendon travelling on this train in September 2005.


No I am not getting paid to showcase them either but if you live close to this spot, the train does go more often in the summer and children love the ride. It is not too long and even fun. Be prepared for them to try to sell some snacks and drinks on board to raise money for a purchase of a new steam engine though for the railway.


It was terrific to have a family day together in spite of the rain, and you know what, Daniel prayed for the rain to only continue once our train ride was over. As we drove out the parking lot it started to rain! Thank you Lord for honoring my child's simple honest prayer from heart.


The Lord does honor our prayers even as adults. Sometimes we do not like the way He answers. Why did my child not get healed and another across the country seems to be doing okay. I do not know all of that. I don't think I could love my Lord if He was just like me. He is all powerful, all consuming and all loving. We can not 'not' question Him about things but He does not choose to answer all of our questions.


The Lord is also teaching me to "Judge not, lest you be judged." I do not want to get to the gates of heaven and be turned away because of a bitter and contrite heart. I have a few heart issues I am working on, and unfortunately they are not weekly or monthly things, but daily confrontations. Forgiveness is so hard for humans and we have to be willing to humble ourselves and basically 'suck it up." I do not understand either why friends, family, neighbors or associates make decisions that they do but it is not for me to interfere, talk about or judge. Biting my tongue has become a frequent thing to do. That hurts.


I am giving you my heart today which I do not do often if you know me well. I am praying for more children to be welcomed in our home, I do not think it is possible at this age, but for God who knows what is in store for tomorrow!


I have journeyed here from Zimbabwe, Africa and He has been a constant companion in my life whether I was single, married and now a Mom. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother and I sure do need Him on a minute by minute basis.


We get to celebrate our little guy Andy's 3rd birthday this week and we are so blessed by his life. He is learning to talk better daily and is excited to get all the 'Thomas' stuff that he is hoping for. We will see what the Birthday 'man' brings for him to unwrap!


Now I have to another review so will post that later today. May the Lord bring you peace and joy for the rest of today.


"The joy of the Lord is my strength."


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Review: Time 4 Learning










Time 4 Learning is an online curriculum using a combination of multimedia lessons, interactive activities and reinforcing worksheets. We were given access to their website for 6 weeks to test out what they have to offer.

The curriculum covers children from Pre K through to 8th grade. The subjects covered are Language Arts, Math Science and Social Studies. There are Math and Algebra tutorials and printable worksheets available for every subject. The online activities are very varied and on their website is a Lesson Planning grid. On this grid you are able to see a breakdown of each chapter and what it entails.
I also noticed a list of Frequently Asked Questions which will be able to help out any curious future customer of Time 4 Learning. I do understand from the information on the website that you can use this program for one subject, or all the subjects needed, but the price is still $19.95 per month for the first child and $14.95 per month for each additional child. Email help is there for 24/7 and phone support is available 8.30 am to 5.30 pm EST Monday through Friday.
When your child does exercises it puts a time and a date on when he accomplished that task and as a parent when you log in you can see where your child is at.

I do limit the time that my children are on the computer to a minimum of 1-2 hours per week so I would say that I could not fully utilize this program as a full curriculum personally. My toddler who is almost 3 did like the exercises that I asked him to participate in and he was very involved with selecting the answers whilst I moved the mouse. He was intrigued to do something that the Big children get to do too.
My oldest is 8 and as we only had access to the Pre-K area of the site that is what we had to sign him up for. He did enjoy the time earned to play games in the Playground area of the website. There is a facility to set the time allowed for the children to do lessons and then the time for them to ‘visit’ the playground to practice what they have learned.

I personally would not purchase this product as it is not financially viable for me to do so. We also limit computer time and I find it can be better utilized with other activities we already have on our home computer. Perhaps your children or child like this kind of product and benefit from lots of visual and auditory activities, and you allow them more time to work on the computer. This would be a good fit for you. Time 4 Learning has many different options on their site for you to decide if this product is right for you. Here is their website link : http://www.time4learning.com/index.htm

I do know that some of my Crew mates did enjoy this program and will continue to use it. Please flip over to our TOS Homeschool Crew blog to find out who they are by reading their reviews - there are at least 70 of them there! Here is the link:
I had access to this online curriculum as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew for 2009/10. I have written this review as a result of receiving the product and received no payment for it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reviews: All About Reading- "What Am I"














Earlier in the year I reviewed a book called the Beehive Reader 1 for a preschooler. The company All About Reading (http://www.all-about-reading.com/ ) has come out with a second book for sale with effect from April 1st 2010 called "What Am I." This is a Level 2 reader in the All About Spelling program, but can be used in any homeschool or as a reader for a young child learning how to read.

I received this book in the mail about 6 weeks ago and both my son and I read it through in about 30 minutes. It was awesome. My son's favorite story in this reader or collection of short stories is called "The Bake Sale." Some children are making cupcakes to raise money for buying a red bike. They set up a bake sale stand outside their home. Whilst they are selling cupcakes they decide to send the money to one of the children's pen pals from China who has just lost her mother. The children change their goal and decide to bless someone far away instead of pleasing themselves. The children decide to run a bike fix-it shop and raise more money to send to China too. This story definitely has a principle to it that is so obvious. The children learn to care for others more than themselves.
Other titles in this book are:

The Bench
An Elf in the Alps
Broken Robot
Matt the Musk Ox
Skunk Hotel
Champ
Pine Tree Pet Shop
Just for You: Poems for Fun
What Am I

Yes, these are interesting stories throughout the whole book. My son enjoyed the book and has read it at least 3 more times since we received it. It does use words that he has learned in his 'All About Spelling' series. The illustrations are enjoyable once again. The artists have produced such character and perfection in every picture. I do think we will be reading this again and again. I have included a copy of one of the pages in the "Skunk Hotel" story.

I like the 'Poems' at the end of the book which are very descriptive and original. I will be using this book for our homeschool in the future as my little guy grows up and then probably will give it away once we are done with it.
The cost of this hardback reader is $19.95 and well worth it in my opinion. I have just checked the link to their website and hope the reader will be up on their site soon. At the moment it does not seem to be there. Please keep checking if you are interested.
The TOS Homeschool blog has the other crew members reviews of this same book. You can view other's opinions that probably will differ from mine and from other moms that have lots of children or even just one. Here is the link to that:
I have reviewed this product as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew for 2009/10 and have not been paid for this review.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review: Critical Thinking : Language Smarts C






I had never even heard of the company Critical Thinking until I joined the 2009/10 Crew. I then started flipping over to their website periodically to check out what products they sold. They looked interesting and challenging too but did not realize how well planned out and clever they are.

The book that I was sent to review is called Language Smarts Level C. this is for a 2nd grade level student. At first when my 8 year old son opened this and looked through it he was anti because of it being another writing book, until he discovered all the fun stuff it entailed. Sequencing and/or Syllables turned out to be his favorite pages.

Language Smarts covers some of these subjects required for Language Arts Education:
Rhymes and Riddles; Nouns, Pronouns, Synonyms, Antonyms; Compare and Contrast; Deductive Reasoning; Number -Word Expressions; Root words; Prefixes and Suffixes; Sentences; Capitalization and Punctuation; Friendly Letters (the art of Letter Writing no doubt lost in this day and age virtually!);Writing and Editing; Cause and Effect; Real and Make Believe; Poems; and many more ideas. For a full look at what it entails please log on to their site at http://www.criticalthinking.com/ and under Language Smarts C you will find more detail. This Language Smarts Level C book costs $39.99.

Critical Thinking has books that cover Language, Math, Phonics, Science and Logical Thinking. I noticed a book on Teaching Baby Sign too, which would have been useful when my children were younger. Mind Benders seems to be a popular series, especially in some of the other crew members, as it contains tricky logic puzzles for Pre K - 12+ and high school level students to present real life situations and problems that require solving.

As this is my first introduction to this company I will look at using Mind Benders in the future. My son likes to tackle things that challenge his mind and I think it would be perfectly good for him to try too. We have enjoyed this product and will definitely recommend this as a back-up to a basic Language Arts program or it can even be the Core Program that you use.

I would like for you to look into it even if you don’t have the money to purchase it for this year’s curriculum. The site is interesting to browse around too. There are articles on their methods, video clips for children to watch, samples of the products for you to look at. The company has won more than 100 National Awards -winners.

Please do link to the Homeschool Crew page to find out what my crew mates have discovered about all the products they were reviewing with their families this year. Thank you. The link is below:

I have been sent this product to review and it is my own opinion on the product we have used in our homeschool. I have not been paid for this review.