Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
MARGARET SLEPT THE WHOLE NIGHT IN HER OWN BED!
This is the first time this has EVER happened. Ever. Of course I think it had something to do with our day yesterday...
I volunteered to teach a sewing class for a Hearts at Home Girls group. There were six girls ages five to ten. The arrived at 10:00am to sew a cute and very forgiving purse. Each girl did awesome and went home with their own purse to show off. I didn't have to make to make lunch or supper because in addition to the girls I was teaching, the moms and and siblings came as well loaded down with food for every one's lunch and dinner for my family. So from 10am until 4pm (the girls finished sewng around 1:00pm) my house was filled with five moms, six sewing girls, and 13 additional children. It was the most fun we have had all winter!
So the day tired Margaret out, and she fell asleep shortly after everyone had left until 7pm when we woke her up for dinner, She was asleep again by 9pm until Michael got her up for breakfast.
That was our Thursday.
On Wednesday I had my weekly sewing day and it snowed a great deal and gymnastics was cancelled (again) for the boys. They don't offer make-up classes for weather related cancellations and this was the second one since Christmas. Sigh. Not exactly a cheap class to have multiple cancellations. Times two for two kids.
Tuesday was quiet with only Blue Knights and no scouts. Monday was just working hard on weekly school assignments. As much as I love co-op weeks, I also adore weeks that we spend time at home just being together.
Are you looking at the title of this post and deciding to skip reading this entry? If you have a child in third grade math or higher, you may want to take five minutes and learn about this unique on-line math program.
What is TenMarks?
TenMarks is the only online math program that helps students refresh, learn, and master math concepts - in their own time, at their own pace. Each child receives a personalized curriculum to help them master the concepts quickly. TenMarks offers lessons and specialized programs to cover the breadth of the core math skills your child will cover in school. The program covers mathematics in grades 3 through high school, and is mapped to state standards in each area.
How it works:
Your student gets assigned four worksheets each week. Each worksheet contains ten practice problems and focuses on a skill or area to be mastered. The program only allows the student to complete the assigned worksheets for the week, and to practice skills learned on previous worksheets. There is a "Fast Track" option where your student can choose to receive four more worksheets for the week if they are really into completing the program or they are about to earn rewards or unlock games.
Each worksheet offers a video tutorial with a real person narrating the lesson. You student is also offered 'hints' that will help them solve a problem. Although they are allowed to skip a problem and return to it later in the worksheet, the worksheet will not be considered completed until all the problems assigned are completed and correct.
The program has it's own "Reward Zone" where students unlock short computer games to play after successful completion of work and skills learned. These games are really short and on average the play would last two to five minutes. As a parent, you can also set up larger non-computer rewards for the student. For example, I set up that James earns a small LEGO set after every 16 successfully completed worksheets (one per month). Then I went to Target and stocked up on those little $3.99 LEGO sets in the bags by the check-out (the ones in the Christmas aisle were 50% off after the holidays). Every month he earns one of these and this helps keep him motivated.
Pricing for this program is extremely reasonable when you consider those benefits. The program costs just $10 per month, with discounts for buying a six month subscription ($49) or a year subscription ($89). This prices are the "per student" rate. If you shop around at all for a similar program, you will definitely see the 'price advantage' of Ten Marks.
*An on-line math program that won't break my budget! This is definitely something we will continue to pursue in addition to our regular math curriculum.
The only real complaint I have about the program is that although the video tutorials are extremely helpful, sometimes the person narrating can be extremely annoying. In one video, I counted the tutor saying the word, "Okay?" at least 15 times before I had to leave the room. Taken into account that the video lasts about 5 minutes, that is a lot of repetition- almost as annoying as listening to a speaker say the words "Ummmm," and "Errrrr." It may sound like a minor complaint, but it makes a difference when your student hears it over and over and then picks up on this awful habit in their own language patterns.
We have had a great time using this on-line math program. I wish they offered a level providing practice in basic math skills for Isaac (first grade). As stated above, we will continue using this program past the review period for extra reinforcement of skill learning.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Home School review group, I received a free subscription to the TenMarks math program in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
This rack is perfect over a kitchen island or above the sink. It is strong, durable, and puts cookware and utensils right at hand. Special design ensures that pot rack hooks won't slide off of the bar.
Gourmet Hanging Bar Pot Rack w/ Optional Additional Pot Rack Hooks
The Perfect Addition to Our Kitchen!By Modest Mama from Western, PA on 1/25/2011
We have been talking about getting one of these racks for years, but with our kitchen in a constant state of remodel we never got around to it. Now that we have it, I don't know how we got by without one!
It is very sturdy and we hang all our cast iron pans from the bar. The heavy silver chains make adjusting the height super easy. The bar itself is simple and attractive for any decor. The hooks are solid and we haven't had any trouble reaching up to hang or grab the pans. We aren't tall (under 5' 8") but we hung the bar tall enough so that people don't bonk their heads. Instead of over an island or sink we chose to hang it a couple feet from the doorway next to a wall of exposed brink. It looks amazing and no one has had any trouble with the height we chose.
I highly recommend this for anyone who is tired of reaching into cupboards to retrieve heavy cast iron pots and pans.
Disclaimer: As a member of the CSN review group I was compensated with this product in exchange for an honest review on my blog and on the CSN site. I received no other compensation and all views expressed here are my own.
Monday, January 24, 2011
I have always enjoyed this series of Saints books for children. We were given some from a friend and I appreciate how they aren't childish and 'watered down' like so many you find nowadays. The illustrations aren't dated and are easier for the reader to identify with. This particular title starts with the birth of Saint Andre and details the events of his life leading up to his death in 1937 and his canonization in 2010.
This book is appropriate for all ages if used as a family read-a-loud. Due to the longer text and higher level vocabulary used (a glossary can be found in the back), I would suggest that a child be in at least third or fourth grade before reading this on their own.
James enjoyed reading about Saint Andre and the miracles he performed. He especially liked it when the little girl was cured and when Saint Andre walked through a closed door.
This entire series is an excellent and inexpensive way to add to your child's saint library. The copy we received retails for only $7.95. It is so rare today to find a quality children's book that is affordable. Click here to find other books in this series from The Catholic Company.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Saint Andre Bessette - Miracles in Montreal . They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.
Disclaimer: As a member of The Catholic Company review program, I received a free copy of Saint Andre Bessette: Miracles in Montreal in exchange for my honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
They had these neat walkers to help the kids get started.
Isaac didn't need one for long!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
We already own a copy of Peter and the Wolf, but it was on record. When I say record, I mean an actual black round LP. Perfect for a snowy day at home, but not ideal for a road trip to Georgia or to carry on an airplane to Oregon.
The Maestro Classics website is filled with resources to help parents build on the music their children are listening to. There are lesson plans*, articles, access to program book answers, and a list of awards and reviews*.
Our CD had lots of extras on it such as the life of the composer and talks with the conductor, but my kids weren't really that interested in those parts. They enjoyed the full narrated version of the actual story (a shorter un-narrated version is also on the CD).
I am absolutely thrilled with the quality and educational value of the product. The only thing holding me back from ordering more from Maestro Classics is the price. Individual titles are marked at $16.98, and they have a special where you can get three titles for $45. I understand that is pretty standard CD pricing, but it is hard for me to spend $17 on a disc that I am going to find without it's case behind a bookshelf. I have seen how my kids treat their audio books and stories. Again, this is unique to my family, and as the kids get older they will gain more respect for their items. If it wasn't for that, we would have already ordered at least two more of the titles. I encourage anyone looking to expand their listening library to check out the selections at Maestro Classics.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS homeschool review group I received a free copy of Peter and the Wolf from Maestro Classics in exchange for a review on this blog. I received no other compensation.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
As a busy mother, I found this book especially helpful. It only took a few moments of my time to read one page, and yet I reflected on what I read several times a day. For example one of the sayings states, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them (page 48)." How many times a day do I judge others or let my past experiences reflect how I view or treat them? A man came to my door looking for work. He had a snow shovel and wanted to remove the snow in front of my house. I quickly took in his missing teeth, messy appearance, darting eyes and turned him away. I had made my decision before I even opened the door. There was no room in my heart for love, only judgement. This man is some mother's son, could be a father, and is searching for a honest wage. Although I have never had any experience with him personally, I immediately took in his disheveled appearance and judged him.
I highly recommend this text for anyone who wants to explore aspects of Mother Teresa and anyone who is looking to deepen their spiritual understanding but believes they lack the time and ability to do so. The book is published by Our Sunday Visitor and is available at The Catholic Company for only $14.95.
Disclaimer: This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Listening to God with Mother Teresa . They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.
Monday, January 10, 2011
How did I use this schedule in my homeschool?
-pencil box to hold:
1 Binder: 3” 3 ring binders
5 Dividers (if not already purchased)
-OT and Ancient Egypt
-NT Greece and Rome
-Middle Ages, Ren. and Reformation
-Explorers to 1815
-1815 to Present
-About 40 sheets of 12” x 18” colored
construction paper, string, ribbon or twine, stapler, and
-Other supplies are noted on the schedule the week
Another bonus that was a big hit around here were the drawing instruction sheets. Step-by-Step instructions on how to draw items from the past such as canons or old-style sailboats. The simplicity of the instructions was perfect for my "drawing challenged" boys.
My only regret about this program is that we didn't find out about it sooner. It would have saved me a ton of time in terms of lesson planning and organizing the school year. I am currently researching programs for James for next year and this is definitely one of the programs I will be looking more into. The complete schedules for Kindergarten to six grade include every subject from math to Latin and are only $89.95 for the notebook version. Very affordable for everything that you get!
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Group, I received a free copy of Easy Classical's Early Modern History Schedule in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Decorating our little Christmas tree. Something about trying to buy a Christmas tree almost a week after Christmas really limits your options.