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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Photo Quick Takes: Summer Recap Edition

I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that my summer is indeed over. The kids are back at school (or homeschool) and LMCA starts this week. Soccer is back on, Girl Scouts starts soon, SVC started back, and even the weather is starting to feel less like summer and more like Indian Summer.
Here's some of our best times:
Savannah was hot, very hot, but we still enjoyed walking around. 
It's such a neat city!

And we did find a splash pad to cool off in!

Cooling off at Isaac's Godparent's house was another fun treat!


We took our annual trip to Lake Edinboro. We told the kids this would be the last summer to do the trip, but truthfully, it is such a wonderful time we'll be going back next year.

The weather wasn't fantastic, but the lake and friends were perfect nonetheless.

We enjoyed a wonderful visit from Grammy and Grandpa Bob.
A new member of the family joined us this summer! I became a great-aunt again and my kids gained another second-cousin! Although I haven't met her yet, she is just as beautiful as can be!
The oldest and the youngest members of my family together. June 2014.
It was one of those summers that was truly unique and so much fun. It has made the transition back to regular life that much harder. The nice thing is that summer comes every year!

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School!!!! (Round 1)

Isaac started back to school today. First day of 5th grade!

The others start back to LMCA next week, but the Littles wanted to get in on the photo action.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Product Review: UberSmart Software

UberSmart Math Facts Review
Oh the math fact question! Flashcards or speed drills? Daily or weekly? What age to start? How long each time? What factors determine they are mastered? These are all questions that I ponder each time I have a child begin to advance in their math studies. Different kids mean different approaches work or don't work. Thankfully I am always finding new and fun products to try to get those math facts mastered. UberSmart Software offers a program to get kids to know that math facts. Designed for students in grades K to 6, or anyone interested in sharpening their math skills, they offered me the program for free in exchange for an honest review on this blog.
UberSmart Math Facts Review
UberSmart Math Facts is not a online math program or a subscription program. If you are anything like me, then you've tried those programs before and they work for a while, but then you get busy, your routine gets interrupted, and before you know it you've paid for six months and logged on once. This is a downloadable program for Windows users that will be there when you need it. Because sometimes your student needs to practice for a week, and then not again for a month. With UberSmart Math Facts, you won't be paying for time you aren't using it.
What makes UberSmart Software different? Besides the one-time payment of $24.95 for one family, UberSmart Math Facts challenges students to learn math facts in a meaningful way. There are no high scores, just advancement based on learning. The learning will stay with them and make advanced mathematics easier.
Not all kids are made to be math geniuses. My kids enjoy math, but we have had our struggles. Learning math facts is one of them. Let's face it, flashcard practice, although effective, is somewhat boring. And unless I am sitting there completing the flashcards with them, they can breeze through the cards, missing almost all, and be done. "Did you do your math flashcards?" "Yes, Mama." Repeat daily and after a month they will be right where we started: bored of flashcards and frustrated by math. This was what was happening with my Henry.
Henry was struggling with math. Not struggling to understand, but struggling to get the problems correct. He understood the "how" but because he didn't know his multiplication math facts, he would make simple mistakes in the process and get the wrong answer over and over. UberSmart Math facts seemed to be the answer.    
UberSmart Math Facts Review
The program was easy to install and get Henry set up as a user. Once I did that, my involvement was done. This is a huge bonus for me because I needed an engaging program that he could complete independently. The tabs at the top of the page were pretty self-explanatory and Henry could practice what he needed. I liked that he could practice multiple skills including counting (dot cards), typing (number cards), addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
I really liked learning mode because I could hear him saying the answers out loud and time wasn't wasted on him trying to find the numbers to type the answer (Henry is currently the slowest typer ever.Think of the one-finger typing method. Then add at least a minute between key strokes. That's Henry).
We used the program several times a week. Having a shortcut icon on my computer meant that Henry could get onto the program without my assistance. He would do between two and three practice sets. These would take him anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to complete. I liked how when he missed one it would show the correct answer immediately. It also worked on the "twins" as I call them: 12 X 4 and 4 X 12 in the same practice set.
Did he stay interested in the program indefinitely? No, of course not. Math fact practice is repetitive and can be challenging. Even a well-designed program like this is going to lose it's appeal over time. The nice thing about having it as a permanent download is that it's available to us again, after a break, after he bores of the speed drills or paper flashcards. We can always come back to this program.
Overall, I thought this program gave you a lot of bang for your buck. It may not be what you need forever, but it is definitely worth investing in it to add to the rotation of math fact practice items.
UberSmart Math Facts is available on the UberSmart Software website for $24.95. Lot of other folks on The Schoolhouse Review Crew gave this program a try in their home. Click here to read those reviews, or click the banner below:
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Theme Thursday

Theme Thursday's theme over at Clan Donaldson is "Google Image Search." Type your name in the Google image search bar, and grab the first image that comes up. Here's mine:
Not really that interesting. If I had to choose I think I would go with this:
Or this
It'll always be a mystery why these images are associated with my name on Google.
You know you are dying to do it yourself. And then do the name of all your friends. You can thank me later for wasting an hour of your day. 
Check out more over at Clan Donaldson.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Farm in the Summer, Part 5

The most wonderful gifts I have ever been given.
Thanks to A Joy Photography for the wonderful photos.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Farm in the Summer, Part 4

We took a little trip to Savannah and Hilton Head.


Thanks to A Joy Photography for the wonderful photos