Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Song School Latin- A TOS Review

I received Song School Latin from Classical Academic Press for review. First the info about the program. This is the first in the Latin series from them. There is a teacher's manual, student text, a CD and flash cards. We received the first three with a sampling of the flash cards. You can buy these as a bundle for $64.95 or purchase each individually.

If you recall, a few months ago we reviewed a Spanish language program and Andrew took to it very quickly. This was no different. This is CD versus a video but each lesson has a song to sing along with the words in the book. And sing Andrew did... the ditties stuck in my brain as he would walk around the house singing the song. They were a great way to get to learn the words.

Each lesson had the vocabulary words to learn and then various other ways to cement them in the brain including copy work, stories where you wrote the words in and Q&A. The monkey who was pictured through the book cracked Andrew up! The fun cartoons did definitely help make the Latin more appealing.

I must admit that I don't understand the difference between ecclesiastical versus classical Latin. I also thought that Latin was not spoken so I didn't quite understand why one would go to the trouble of learning to pronounce the words but several friends who have children who have learned Latin either in home or private school have said that this is how kids typically start out learning the language. I think it helps cement the roots in you brain.

There are, from my understanding, a wide variety of choices out there for Latin curriculum. I have not researched them at all. We will finish this initial program and then take a peek at the next lesson. Other crew members reviewed Latin for Children and Latin Alive from Classical Academic Press. Take a peek at the banner below to see these.

I received this program in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Easter Colors- Lent post

I went scrapbooking this weekend. First time in MANY years. Here is one of the pages I did from 2009. It includes the Easter Color poem. I think many people apply it to jelly beans but it works for Easter Eggs too! It is a wonderful way to tie in Jesus while you are coloring your eggs. (Just don't forget to boil them first. Not saying I have ever done that....just reminding you.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

BigIQKids- a TOS Crew Review

Big IQ Title Banner

I had the opportunity to review the premium edition of BigIQkids. They have both paid and free versions of the program which provides grade level instruction and practice for spelling, math, vocabulary and spelling. The pricing varies depending on the length that you purchase the product for and which ones you purchase. You can find all that information on this chart here.

First overall, I find this program very adaptable. Andrew is a wide age range for his skills and I did not have to commit to one grade level for all subjects and could vary what we were doing in each subject. I did not need to contact them to do this and it was accomplished in the parent section of the program.

Before I go into each subject, I wanted to mention that basically the way this works is that you do the school item, you are awarded a 'coin' and then you can go and play games in the game section with the amount of coins that you have. You can change this to be able to only use the coins on the weekend or turn it off entirely. You can also save them up and play more games at one time.

There are also timers in each section that you can turn off when the student is doing the work. I find this helpful for those that try too hard to beat the clock.

I liked the spelling the best. You are presented with words at the beginning of a week/lesson. They then take you thru spelling bees, word scrambles and pop quizzes with a test at the end. FYI: For the hearing impaired, they typically present written sentences so if you are familiar with the words, you can gather what word they are asking for even with the sound turned off. The sound is a tad Stephen Hawking but Andrew could understand it most of the time. I also liked in the spelling that the parent can bypass any of the lessons, add words and assign what is to be done next.

We mostly used the timed practice for math. I believe there were tests in that section but we used it just for practice. If you have read this blog for any length of time you know we don't love tests. The timed practice is nice because you can turn off the clock for the child so they don't know they are being timed. I liked that this got Andrew to do 50 math problems at a time. (That number is flexible as well in the parent / teacher section of the page.) We seem to have issues with ANY online program with clicker speed...Andrew wants to see HOW fast he can click the answer without any regard to accuracy. So at the beginning, when this was new, it was great. Then he wanted to make a 'game' out of lesson versus working on the math, and all heck broke loose. If your kid doesn't have this issue, this is a great way to practice your math.

On the states section, we again had clicker happy problems. It starts out TELLING you where the state is, and then later on you have to find it. Andrew just wanted to click away. We have found that we (parent/teacher) needs to control the materials when working on learning items and it is just so very hard to do that with a computer program. I think I will be using this program for myself for a refresher! It truly is a good way to practice your states.

Andrew has a giant, colossal, enormous, whale of a vocabulary. Doing this section at grade level would be for pure show. But I did like the format, and how they went about presenting the material. Then I found that I could do a level for SAT vocabulary. I am not one to do academics just for the sake of it but when some areas of work are not up to grade level, it does both Andrew and I some good to do something completely above where he is 'suppose' to be at. It was great fun and he did quite well on this section. That is one thing I really love about BigIQKids. You can toggle between grade levels very easily.

As usual, you can click on the banner below to see what others thought of this product. I think this is at least worth a peek with the free options. Depending on how much you use it it could be worth the dollars as well.

I received a subscription to BigIQKids in return for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Three Trees - Lent Post

Sometimes I find a resource and I sit there and wonder, how did I miss this before? That is the case with The Tale of Three Trees. This is a wonderful book about God's purpose!

And, because you can find (almost) anything on the Internet, I dug up a lapbook. is free! You can do everything on the linked page or just print out the lapbook which is one of the first links. I had forgotten about the entire link I posted and we kept it very simple.

If you want to read the entire story you can go here. But I highly recommend getting the book for the pictures. The link above is the edition I purchased. There are others but I liked the art in this one.

I haven't posted much this week. First, I am trying to STAY ON TASK. That is not easy for me. Also, I am going scrapbooking this weekend! First time in 6 years or so and my mind is focused on that. And, I am spending time preparing for a Seder meal! Andrew has requested it. I am excited!! I will be posting on that for sure.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lent Meditations

I have started to post several times this week and the posts are just to 'personal' even for me! We had a wonderful example of sacrifice from my son on Friday. It is good to know God is working.

I just read a great poem from a Lent book I am reading. the book is Devotions for Lent and less than $2 on the Kindle. Even though it is two weeks into Lent I do recommend. If you don't have a kindle it is under $3. I was going to post the poem that 'hit' me but that was 'just for me' I think.

If you don't even want to spring for the book, or even if you do, I highly recommend hopping over to House Up The Rock which you can find via the button on each day I do a Lent post. She has some terrific ideas as do the folks that are linking up. There is one she just posted based off another person's blog regarding lighting candles and naming them as sins and then snuffing them out. What a wonderful word picture for kids. Hop over there though..she is a great photographer and has pictures to go along with the post.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Self-Denial"...Lent Day 7

For those of you that don't know I'm participating in a 40 days of Lent blogging for lent. You can find other posts over at A House Upon The Rock. Each day I have a button for you to click on over!

Sorry no post for a couple of days. Feeling under the weather. I have more thoughts on my day 5 post but I found a great quote this morning. This is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Discipleship and the Cross.

I think it speaks volumes for me. We can deny ourselves (the Bible is full of the form of fasting and other sacrifices, even to the point of death.) But we come up against the fact that in the end, it is, our should be, all about Jesus. All about... relationship. Here is the quote:

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself." Just as Peter, in denying Christ, said, "I do not know the man," so also should each disciple say this to herself or himself. Self-denial can never be defined as some profusion - be it ever so great - of individual acts of self-torment or of asceticism. It is not suicide, since there, too, a person's self-will can yet assert itself. Self-denial means knowing only Christ, and no longer oneself. It means seeing only Christ, who goes ahead of us, and no longer the path that is too difficult for us. Again, self-denial is saying only: He goes ahead of us; hold fast to him.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Apologia Press - a TOS Review


I feel that I have had a bit of time off from The TOS Crew. It has been a few weeks since I have done a review for them. Rest assured we have some really good stuff in the pike for the next few weeks! The first among them is a book from the What We Believe series by Apologia Press. There are four in the series and I was able to review Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him? This sells for $39.

This is a 10 lesson textbook that covers the 'big' questions such as, will God meet all my needs? or.. Why did God create me? You can see the table of contents here and it shows all the questions presented and covered in the book.

The book is beautiful and it is difficult to describe all that is included. Each chapter contains scripture, an overview of the topic, a fictional story, perhaps some art work, life application, prayer and maybe a project. You can see a sample here. and this is the entire first chapter. They are all laid out in a similar fashion.

So, how did this work for us you are wondering?? I did not show the book to Andrew because the topics were quite heady for him. I spent time going through the book myself and presenting material based on what I read. He is an avid reader and if I did show it to him, he would hunt it down and read it from cover to cover without my knowing. This is a good thing on many levels, but for Andrew, he doesn't always voice his questions. I wouldn't want unknown questions festering in his head on this subject. I have considered taking it to a copy store such as Kinkos, getting the binding taken off, putting in three hole punches and putting it in a notebook so I could just pull out pages for him. I have done that with other books where I don't want to read the whole book to Andrew. This text could be considered a curriculum or a reference product for when your children have those 'tough questions.'

We always adapt every piece of curriculum and this would be very easy to do that with even without literally dissecting the book. The age range listed on the book is 6-14 but it also mentions that it is a "family-inclusive study of biblical worldview." I can see us using these in about two years as a family Bible study once a week or perhaps even a co-op class on Biblical worldview. I adore the way that, although a 'textbook' it is filled with a variety of ways of presenting information. It is both right and left brained in the activities through the book.

The next in the series is called "Who Am I?" and there are two other books in the mix. I can see myself purchasing all of these as the years go on.

You can read what others wrote about this on the banner below.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Disabilities and Leviticus- Lent Day 5

Disclaimer: I am not a Biblical scholar and I don't play one on TV.

I ended up on Leviticus 21 today. Here is a passage:
16 The LORD said to Moses, 17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the LORD. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. 22 He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; 23 yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy.’”

Lovely. Made me cringe. So those with disabilities can't even offer up a sacrifice even if they want to? What does God think of those with disabilities? The questions continue...

First, I am glad to be a Christian. The veil has dropped and all have access to God. I have seen Andrew 'in action' when he is close to God and it is real. He hears from God, even in the area of sacrifice and giving. (That is another day's post.)

Second, I DO think disabilities are not the original intention of God. They were not in the Garden of Eden. There will be no disabilities in Heaven. Jesus healed the sick and those with a variety of disabilities..physical and emotional as well as spiritual. So why do we think, "that is the way God made you." (This is a pet peeve of mine.) Yes Andrew is made in God's image. But we ALL have disabilities, which can be physical, spiritual or emotional. These disabilities are something to be healed and while God always has a purpose and a plan that was not the ORIGINAL intention pre-apple eating era.

I started googling for interpretations. Most were less than insightful and I probably should have stuck to just listening to God for revelation. The Christian websites pretty much said my first comment above. The Jewish websites commented on Leviticus without the light of Jesus on the cross were not hopeful. I had to 'x' out several before reading too closely because they made me sad. I get the "why" of it. They were not 'perfect' and therefore could not get 'close' to God. I wonder though, how did they feel? What did they think? Do our kids today think of themselves as 'less than' and how do we build them up? Did they feel less loved? Were they angry that others could get close to God? Did they wonder how 'Bob' could get 'close' to God when Bob harbored ill will in his heart and all they had was a physical disability? Why did God place these limitations on just physical and outward appearance? I think He cares much more about heart / internal issues today.

So I need God to speak to me personally on this a bit more. The verse that comes to mind is that God desires mercy, not sacrifice.

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’a]"[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13

This verse too reminds me who Jesus came for. Some might apply this verse primarily to the spiritually sick but I think that in light of the Old Testament and how God does not view disabilities as 'perfection' one could say that he came for those both spiritually and physically (and emotionally) sick. But that we need not focus on the sacrifice... but on mercy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent-Day 4

Well, I went to Bible study last night and was blessed. I had to warm up to it, and it had its moments. But I ended up being one of the last to leave.

One of the themes last night was that our Daddy is the King of Kings. And we are holy..why? Not because of what we do, but BECAUSE our Daddy is Holy and he makes us holy. He both makes us holy but also calls us to be holy. Then...this morning... I was on Leviticus 19.

The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the entire assembly of Isreal and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the Lord your God am holy." Leviticus 19: 1-2.

I find myself wondering, did God arrange that to be read exactly today by me? hmmm....

I will leave you with this wonderful video about who my God is. Do you know him?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lent - Day 3

Well I spoke about fellowship yesterday. With a special needs kid..especially when it manifests itself in behavior.. it is so hard to find a church. We have kind of given up going as a family- for now. But I am starting in a 'Bible Study' / Home church by myself- for now. We meet every other week on alternating Friday or Saturday nights. Tonight is the night. And I don't want to go. I want to pull up the covers and watch the 10 hours of NCIS I have on the DVR. It has been a rough day / week / month / year / decade. But I am going...partly because I know in the past I have been fed by going. And because, well I do NEED to go. So I will consider this my fellowship offering of the day.

A friend just wrote on her Facebook that she knows she is not alone. She too has an autistic son. And we are not alone- it just FEELS like that sometimes. And sometimes we truly ARE from a human standpoint. Here is a song to that end. I wanted to embed it but that is not allowed so you can click and listen on youtube. It is You Are Not Alone by Meredith Andrews.

Be blessed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lent - Day 2

I am reading Leviticus. It seems so 'old' sometimes. Then again so did much of Exodus when the temple was being described but then I 'happened' to be at a Bible study and the teacher was talking about how the temple can be described as worship, each section being a different part of worship. It became alive for me. That is another post. But I asked God to bring alive Leviticus to me....and He did. I realized that I 'happened' to be reading this at the time of Lent in preparation for Easter. Lent is all about sacrifice.

I did find something very interesting in reading about the various sacrifices. Let me preface this by saying that I am no Biblical scholar and I don't play one on TV. But sometimes God brings together the Bible, something else I read and His voice to my spirit. I felt he was doing this in talking about the Fellowship/Peace offering.

The Fellowship / Peace offering isn't compulsory. Most of the sacrifices are but this one is voluntary. Why? One thought is that God wants us to come to Him on our own, even in the Old Testament. This morning I read Leviticus 17 and God gives specific instructions on how He wants this offering not to be done in the open fields as it was being done but at the Tent of Meeting. Perhaps to be closer to Him but also closer to others so that worship can be done together.

I don't understand God's physical presence in the Old Testament. He is everywhere now with the Holy Spirit. But I think the Holy Spirit was there at the beginning as was God and He CAN be anywhere. But God continually calls people in Leviticus to certain places, specifically to the Tent of Meeting and places in that Tent. I think God could be everywhere but when we have to move to Him, we are making a conscious choice.

I think there are modern day applications for that. We don't hear from God and we have to ask why? Is there something I need to change? How can I get nearer to God. It is our choice to do so. I have found God to be so grace filled that he does help nudge me on the way even when I feel alone. I can look back and see Him there.

The Peace/Fellowship offering is all about Lent for me. I have more thoughts specifically regarding this an current activities I am doing but I will save those for tomorrow..... TBC

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nourish MD...REAL Food 101 - a review

I was given the opportunity to review a new product published by the folks at Nourish MD. It is an introductory course in how to make the move to REAL food. It is called, aptly, REAL Food 101. You can read below what this learning module contains:

ONE: A Slide Show
We hold your hand and walk you through
ALL the details about REAL Food, Fake Food, and Bridging Food.
Plus, examples of ways we get more REAL food into our own kids! Yikes!

Video with Dr. Sue
She explains why REAL food matters for your child's health,
what inflammation can look like in your child, and how food likely plays a role.

THREE: Video with Angelle
She teaches you her secret on how to quickly figure out if a food is REAL
or at least close to it,
and how to
easily teach your child the same.
Plus, she tells you how she uses Bridging food to help her steer clear of Fake food!

No time to watch us? Than downoad us onto your iPod
and learn while you exercise, clean or do whatever it is that you do
when you listen to your iPod!


Filled with information and charts you can read, and reread
or print for your kitchen!

What I like about this is the multi media approach to the presentation of this material. The folks at Nourish MD have a great website where they give step by step instructions on how to convert your family to REAL food but this gives you the information in a variety of different ways (audio, video and print) so that you can really have it sink in. I did ask regarding captions for the video and they do have a transcript for the hearing impaired but the information is already available in printed forms in many places on their website. This is nice for those that either need or prefer to get their information in an audio format as well.

REAL Food 101 includes the first steps to convert your family. There is a follow up called...REAL Food 202. These courses are VERY affordable considering what you pay if you go to a local community class for this type of information. And you can watch it in the comfort of your home, at any time...even in your PJs! This is an excellent first step to move your family to a healthier level.

Nourish MD has a great Facebook group. And they often have specials on their various e-books and even on the REAL Food courses. You can also sign up for their newsletter on their main page.

I was given a copy of all the components of REAL Food 101 in exchange for my honest review.

Lent- Day 1

During November I blogged daily in a Thanksgiving Meme. It was a powerful time for me. Others mentioned they enjoyed my posts as well. Over the past week I have been thinking about Lent...what it means to me, what we should do for homeschooling etc. I was asking God to speak to me on the meaning and I ended up in Leviticus. That will be a separate post on a different day but I did I end up in Leviticus RIGHT at Lent??!! Only God. (For those that have not read it, it is all about sacrifice.)

Many people give up blogging and or Facebook for Lent. As a stay at home mom homeschooling a special needs son, I NEED this for my sanity. If I gave it up it would be just to follow the crowd which isn't the point. (Of course if God is calling you to do that then by all means! You should!) I had actually thought of blogging each day and then Trish from A House Upon The Rock decided to have a daily link up on the subject.

I will be blogging my thoughts, maybe just a verse or two...or a song..I love songs. I also want to blog what we are doing for our homeschooling journey as it pertains to Lent. Join me if you wish!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Testing 1.2.3....

I am re-starting the scrapbooking habit. I don't think I will upload too much here because I plan to print my blogs into books as well as my scrap pages. But I simply must see how these look on my blog!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Have A Dream....

I have a dream...You remember the show Promise Land. No.. I didn't think so. I think it had a cult following and I was in it. The Greene's traveled around the USA in their RV while they homeschooled and found odd jobs in various cities. Well...My brother PROMISED today that if I homeschooled his kids, he'd let us ride the country with him in his new RV.

OK he hasn't bought it yet.

Details Details.

Part of his plan involves me driving. I know I know.. you all think I'll look like the picture above. He assures me I could do it! Especially if he gets a class C RV. I had to google that. I think I could. I really really do. There is one for sale in the picture below.

I asked him if I could handle the hook up of the electrical and plumbing. He said if I couldn't he'd fire me. He asked if I could plug in a fan and hook together a hose. I don't know...I think it might be more complicated than that and he is just good with that stuff. But I'll give it a try. Honestly I appreciate my brother's confidence in me!!!

So anyway E.J. I'm in!!!! Sign me up!!!

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