Follow our family as we journey through life.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Weekend

With temperatures reaching 100 degrees, we tried hard to stay cool.The Duda's pool helped a lot.

And some other big news is that Margaret moved into a big girl bed. Not that she'll stay there all night, but we can try.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Margaret's week in review

Going places with her babies.


"I put this on mama!"

She looks like a little wrestler.

One must always have on bright pink cowgirl boots.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SportsWorks at Carnegie

They didn't make it to the top, but I am so proud of them for giving it a try.

A year ago they wouldn't have even considered trying this. We've come a long way, baby!

Monday, July 19, 2010

TOS Travel the World Review

I was recently chosen to be on the TOS homeschool curriculum review group. So for the next year I will be receiving free stuff to try out in an exchange for my honest review.

The first item that I received was an e-book titled Travel the World. I was really excited about this item because it covered a topic that I often ignore in our homeschooling schedule: Geography. I received the TOS Travel the World program for free in exchange for my honest review of the program on this blog. I received no other compensation. This stand-alone unit was delivered to me as an e-book.

This is a very general unit on geography. What I mean by that is that your student is going to learn about large concepts like continents, longitude, latitude and the equator. Within each larger concepts are computer links that allow your student to explore areas within that concept. For example, after we learned some general information about each of the seven continents, James, age eight, accessed the links for North America and was able to learn about the locations for countries within North America.

Another great aspect of the program was the lapbooking section. My family loves making lapbooks because they are so engaging and easily accessible. I love how much fun it is to materialize the information learned with fun tabs and mini-books.

The lapbook in this unit encourages your student to think about a place they would like to visit. They research that place using computers and books, then transfer that knowledge to the lapbook templates. James enjoyed writing about what he learned and organizing it into a geography lapbook.

A part of the program we did not access was the highschool expansion. Activities and ideas are included to help you incorporate this program into the curriculum of an older student.

Why this program worked for our family:

*I am not computer savvy, but I had no problem completing this unit with my child. The computer part of this program was simple for even someone as "computer feeble-minded" like me.

*Many of the links within the e-book send you to games. My child loved playing the games over and over to trying to get a 100% score.

*It was not time-consumming. We covered a lot of important information in a short amount of time. The concepts taught were reinforced through the repetition of the games and the ability to return to links of interest.

*The way the material was presented really stuck with my student. Our children are allowed no computer or TV time and so it was no surprise to me that James "lost" himself in this online world of geography. What did surprise me, however, was the wealth of real knowledge that James brought away from this program. In the course of the unit he went from saying things like, "The country on top of the this red colored square," to "It is the small pennisula in the southeast United States."

*Although I received this program for free, it is a very inexpensive way to get some geography learning in. The entire e-book retails for only $7.95. Click here to order.

What was difficult about the program for my family:

*I felt that the lapbooking portion of the program was a little weak. The program offered plenty of links to help you get more materials for the lapbook, but sometimes it's nice to have the materials right in front of you instead of hunting the internet for them.

*There was a lot of coloring included in the program. Maps of countries and oceans all needed to be labeled and then colored. My kids detest coloring. I was able to convince James to outline in color some of the materials for the lapbook, but for the most part all the coloring pages remained black and white.

*I realize we live in an age of technology and many families have accepted that as a way of life. I have not. It was hard for me to have James spend so much time on the computer. I would much rather he was curled up on the couch with a book and an atlas.

Overall, I would say that this program was a success with my student and I will be repeating it with the other children as they get older. If you are interested in learning more about this program and to access sample pages of the program, CLICK HERE. To access similar programs by The Old Schoolhouse, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beam Rocks Hike

After a trip to the farmer's market we headed to Laurel Highlands for a hike. We took the Beam Rocks trail. It ends in an outcropping of rocks on the edge of a cliff. It was definitely a hard job making sure the kids didn't fall off the cliff.

Taken by James

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's that time of year again

When we work on our kitchen.This is our fourth summer destroying, I mean improving our kitchen. Every year it gets a little less like we had planned, but it does improve. At least I keep telling myself that to keep sane. What I want to know is if it is possible for spouses to remain friends after a kitchen remodel? It is the most used area in our house. Even more than the bathroom, which we have more than one of. We only have one kitchen. And we must be in there to sucessfully prepare three meals a day, several snacks, and drinks. Our house revolves around the kitchen. Bread is always rising or baking. Beans are soaking. We are chatting, laughing, and sharing. A large part of our family life occurs in this space.
Don't let me mislead you. Mike and I are doing our best at maintaining our patience during this time. We laugh over remodeling disasters, and spend hours discussing counter tops and cabinet layouts. I hold my tough when fine sawdust covers the cake I just baked for the homeschool planning meeting. And Mike refrains from rolling his eyes when I burst in to the room exclaiming, "I have got the best idea for [enter newest kitchen remodel obsession here]!"

Our dining room is currently home to almost everything in our kitchen that was not nailed down. But without the sink, stove, or fridge, it's just not the same. We think the remodel might be finished this summer. Early fall at the latest. We may just have some minor paint things to do over Christmas. And some kitchen pieces to get from Georgia next spring. And we may have enough money next summer to replace the broken dishwasher with a functional cupboard. And maybe replace the floors...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Night

Pajama party with pizza and a movie.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Freebie!

A fellow crew member turned me on to this freebie. A free copy of the book: Cultivating a Godly Child, by John MacArthur. You can get your copy here.

I honestly don't know anything about the book or author. But if you know anything about me then you are aware that I am addicted to books. I love them. I love to be surrounded by sagging book shelves. I am not endorsing this book, just sharing a freebie with my friends.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More From Idlewild

We have been lucky around here, temperatures have only been in the mid- 90's. We've been staying cool by swimming at Keystone and playing at Soak Zone and Idlewild. Here are some photos from our most recent trip to Idlewild. I didn't take any in Soak Zone for obvious reasons (those being of a 'keeping four kids safe in a pool with a thousand other people and keeping a digital camera dry at the same time' type).