Sunday, July 29, 2012

Water Hose Fun

While I was soaking in some sunlight in my lounge chair yesterday the two little ones decided to play with the water hose. They thought this was the best game ever!

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Bed rest Day 11

I think doing a little journaling as this bed rest thing lingers on will help me pass some time, as well as work through some of my own anxieties. These post will most likely be a lot of rambling. Some may have a central theme, but most probably won't.

Today, first I want to address what I have had many people ask, "why don't you put your kids in school while you're on bed rest?". I know everyone that says this is well meaning, but I really don't understand this question. I'm on bed rest so I'm going to give up on educating my other children, I am sacrificing for one baby, but not for the other three children that are already here. All of our children are our world. Steve and I feel that raising this family is our calling from God. My kids are my ministry at this point. Why would I throw them into a school system just for a little convenience. What is that telling them? I want to teach my children that when things get tough we lean on God. We don't give up on God's calling for our lives because it's a little tough for a. We want to teach them that this time of "inconvenience" is when we need to depend on our family the most. We need to lean on each other, support each other, help each other, and grow closer to each other and to our Lord and Saviour!

Secondly, on a lighter note, bed rest is SO boring! I have read every blog I can find on anything that I am interested in. I have played countless games of Sudoku. I am an Olympic official for the last two days and am so tired of watching volleyball. I sure wish they would show a little more gymnastics! I am not usually a big Facebook person but I have checked it more times then I care to count over the last 11 days. I have looked at Pinterest until I can't take it anymore, because I can't do any of the fun projects I would love to do! All in all, I'm bored! But, I know I am also very blessed, so I'll quite complaining and lay here and pray that God moves time quickly and that this sweet little one will continue to grow inside of me for many weeks to come!

And a picture of what the kids have being doing a lot of with Daddy....riding 4 wheelers to the creek and playing in the creek.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Super Duper Publications - a review

Auditory Memory is a skill that every child needs. I think most kids struggle in this area in todays world. They are so inundated with hundreds of sounds each day they often tune out what they don't want to hear. They get really good at this, and honestly it makes it more difficult for them to remember anything they do hear. We work on auditory memory quite often with my three kiddos, but I have one that really, really struggles with it. Zach cannot remember two step directions.

So, we were super excited to review a product from Super Duper Publications called "Hear Builder--Auditory Memory". This is a CD-Rom designed for Kindergarten - 8th grade students. It is designed to increase a child's auditory memory.

Hear Builder has the child work on a mission with "Recall Agents". They are trying to save the people of "Memory Town" from Dr. Forgetsit. The software is designed to work on 5 key activities.

Memory for Numbers (3-7 digits)
Memory for Words (3-5 words)
Memory for Details (1-4 details)
Auditory Closure ( sentence completion)
Memory for "WH" (who, what, where, when, why) information (2-3 sentences, 2-4 questions)

Each of the different skills is worked on on a different mission. Your child can move at a different pace and progress differently for each skill. This was important for us, and built some confidence for Zach. Because even though he was not able to progress very quickly in the "Memory for "WH" information" he was able to progress very quickly in the "Memory for Numbers".

I ended up using this with Zach and Molly. Molly loved it, possibly because she's very good at it. Zach tolerated it, but it was very good for him. Now, if I can only get him to transfer the skills worked on into real life. Molly asked to play it daily and loved progressing through the levels very quickly. Zach never asked to play it, and sometimes groaned when I told him he needed to, but he didn't want to stop when I said his time was up. The program is said to be for K - 8th grade, however, I did not have Paul work on it at all. He would have been extremely bored with it. I would think, for a non-special needs child about age 8 or so is the oldest a child would find it fun. However, it could definitely be useful for an older child, just not fun!

Check out Super Duper Publications website for all their products.

You can purchase the home edition of the software for $69.95. And currently they are running a special for 30% off if you use the coupon code BLGAM30. This code is good through August 31, 2012. This also gets you free shipping!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this software in exchange for an honest review on my blog. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions are my own, honest opinion.

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Bed Rest with 3 Kiddos....should be interesting!

So, last week I was put on bed rest indefinitely! I am allowed to get up for short periods of time and eat or take care of small things, but for the most part i am to stay in bed "as much as possible"! We are really praying that things look better when we go to the specialist in 3 weeks. But, for now, we are preparing to do this for the long haul! Whatever it takes for this baby to be as close to full-term as possible, and healthy!

We were supposed to start our full school schedule this week. My plan was to start now so we would be able to work really hard for a few months and then take a couple months off before and after baby! Well, as always, God laughs at MY plans! So, new what we can while I am in bed, take time off for baby, and then catch-up later. I had Steve and Paul move all the workboxes in to our bedroom and I worked on putting books in them a few minutes at a time this weekend. I had big plans to really get our schedule laid out and had lots of fun things to add to the schedule this year, but that's not happening! The kids have workbooks and books in their boxes and that's just how it's going to have to be for now.

Today was the big day to start homeschooling from the bed! Then Paul got invited to go to Six Flags with a friend, so off he went, and it was schooling with the 2 little ones.

Zach was thrilled with his new 2nd grade workbooks and worked happily!

Molly moved to my desk for her handwriting practice.

And then to the floor for some educational iPad time. We are in love with the "Teach Me" apps.

Zach loved his new books and read two chapters to me.

And overall it was a great morning. The kids worked on their Math, reading/phonics, handwriting, spelling, and of course Bible.

And so as not to exclude Paul, last week, when Zach was at a friends Molly, Paul and I played some board games from the bed.

We are doing our best to make the most of this. Friends and family have been huge helps, and it's been so appreciated!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Professor B - a review

Math has always been difficult for Zach. He just doesn't get the concepts. Numbers simply don't make since to him. We have worked and worked with manipulatives of all kinds and have drilled math facts until we both wanted to cry. I finally gave it a break and just worked on it a little each day and decided not to stress over it. However, when summer got here I knew we couldn't just stop Math altogether. So, when we were given the opportunity to review Professor B, and computer based Math program we jumped at the chance.

Professor B is not like most computer based Math curricula where you sit the child down and all the teaching is done for you. Instead, it is a tool for the parent to use to teach Math. Zach was not expecting this. When I told him he had a new Math computer curriculum I am sure he was expecting Mommy to leave him alone to do his thing. He was shocked when I sat down beside him and started reading everything the little bee that buzzes around the screen was "saying".

There are 3 levels of Professor B. We used the first level for Kindergarten-2nd graders. I decided Zach, although technically a rising 2nd grader, could really use the review of starting from the beginning. So, we started at the beginning of Level 1. It was very basic with counting on fingers. We moved through these lessons very quickly and moved on to addition, skip counting, and subtraction. Professor B is based on mental Math which Zachary just does not "get". So, he really struggled. He cannot do the Math in his head and needs manipulatives. A computer based program just does not work for him. He needs more hands-on. I would love for him to be able to work on mental Math but he is simply not ready for that.

There are a total of 3 levels for Professor B.

Level 1 is for Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
Level 2 is for 3rd - 5th Grade
Level 3 is for 6th - 8th Grade

All the levels will work for older learners as well. It would make a great summer program for kids to catch up between school years. It would be great for Zach if he were a bit older, and possibly a bit more ready for mental Math.

You can see how you like the program by checking out the Sample Lessons.

There are several pricing options and you can check them out on the website

They also offer physical products you can find here.

Disclosure: We were given a free trial of Professor B in exchange for an honest review. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions are my own, honest opinion.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pregnancy Week 16

I am now 16 weeks pregnant! Wow, I hope the next 16 weeks goes by this fast! I am feeling a lot better and have a good bit more energy! Baby is getting bigger and doing well! We hope to find out the gender in a couple more weeks!

Several people want to see how big I am getting so here is a lovely picture of my belly! I am HUGE! No, I am not having twins! Just have a couple fibroids that have helped my belly get bigger faster! Oh well, it's the one time in my life I don't have to hide my belly!

It's becoming more and more real to us, and we are settling in to the whole thought of having 4 children! We know this child is such a gift from God and couldn't be happier!

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Bittersweet Endings

Paul decided 3 years ago he wanted to forgo Spring soccer and give baseball a shot. He didn't know which hand his glove went on! But, he learned quickly and baseball became his love! The boy eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. Often at dinner he will have his left hand in his lap and we will ask what he has in his hand and he will pull up his baseball glove! He is in love with anything to do with baseball. This is strange to Steve and myself because we are not baseball people! Steve knew the basics of the game, but that's it. Oh, now, we know so much more!

So, this year, Paul was thrilled when he was picked for the All-Star team! And, we were thrilled for him! It has been a summer filled with baseball!

He has pitched his little heart out!

He has become the best 10 year old short-stop I've ever seen! He uses his goalie skills from soccer and doesn't let anything get passed him!

He is quite the catcher too!

And, he is hitting 1st or second in the lineup! He can slug the ball, and last night, it almost went over the fence!

His passion is stealing bases, and he rarely gets caught!

He loves to cheer his team on to victory! This was right after a teammate hit an over-the-fence GRAND SLAM!!!!!

And he just flat out loves playing baseball!

They had their last game last night. And though we were sad to see the season end, we are glad to now have our life back! We have played baseball every Saturday since February! And many nights during the week have been consumed with games and practices!

It was a great experience and Paul made some great friends, and learned some life lessons! Sports teaches kids so many things about life!

His best friend on the team, and fellow speed demon! These two were maniacs on the bases! Batting first and second they were pretty well un-stoppable! Paul is, of course, talking in the picture, but it's the only one I have of the two of them together!

Here are the boys getting their last post-game talk after a hard-fought battle! We were so proud of these boys and the fight they put up! They were such a great group of boys! They fought every game to the very end, and never gave up!

Thanks goes to all the coaches that put so much in to this team and these boys!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Homeschool Spanish Academy - a review

I took 3 years of Spanish in High School and knew it pretty well. However, that was almost 20 years ago! I remember the basics and have taught some to the kids. But, Paul is ready for more. We have tried a couple of Spanish programs, with little success. Mainly the problem is pronunciation. Reading words in a book doesn't help when it comes to a different language! You need someone who really knows the language to teach you, if you really want to learn it! So, we were thrilled to review Homeschool Spanish Academy!

Homeschool Spanish Academy is an immersive, online approach to teaching Spanish. Your child has their own personal Spanish teacher to teach them Spanish via Skype. Paul did not want to start this, afterall it's summer! But, he had no choice and after the first lesson he looked forward to his lessons and was using words in Spanish all the time! He truly loved it! He had a wonderful tutor named Rosa. She is from Guatamala and thus a native speaker of Spanish.

Before the first lesson we got a call from the tech-support team at HSA and they made sure we were set up on Skype and ready to go. They made it super easy! All you need is a high speed internet connection, a microphone, and a webcam. We actually did not use the webcam and didn't have any trouble. Rosa could not see Paul, but Paul could see Rosa. I think later in the lessons, and perhaps in the upper level a webcam is necessary. The lessons are scheduled by you at your convenience. HSA uses Schedulicity which is a very easy scheduling programing. You (or your student) just logs in through the HSA website and selects when you want your lesson and it is then scheduled for you. You do not have to schedule it for the same time every week, and you do not have to schedule all of your lessons in advance. Our summer schedule is ever-changing so I often scheduled his lesson the night before. The times and days of the week varied greatly, but he got his lesson when it worked for us.

Paul has completed 6 of the 7 lessons and has learned so much! He has learned the alphabet, numbers through 1,000, family, greetings, and farewells. There is a scope and sequence as you can see below, but the instructor tailors the lessons to each child so they may not go in that exact order, and they may skip some lessons if they already know the material. All lessons and any homework is sent to you via email in a pdf. Paul completed his lessons in class so he never had written homework. However, we did try to go over his lesson several times during the week.

There are multiple levels and multiple ways to set up how many lessons you want to start with for your student. HSA starts at age 5 and goes through adult! The pricing for the elementary level is as follows:

If you have two students in the elementary level you can have them work together. The pricing for that option is as follows:

There are also middle school and high school and adult levels with different pricing options.

It truly is like having your own personal Spanish tutor for your child. We will be continuing this program for as long as we can afford it! Knowing a second language is important in today's world. And what better way to learn it then from a native speaker with one-on-one lessons!

Disclosure: We recieved 7 online lessons of Homeschool Spanish Academy for free in exchange for an honest review. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions are my own, honest opinions.

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