Friday, May 26, 2017

Cedar Point is in the Air, GS Bridging, and a Great Sports Banquet

When we got home from the All American Youth Show, we had some extra kiddos with us.  My niece and nephew were here while their dad was at the dr.  So we took them to Cedar Point and had a great family day.

Selfies with my nephew

The next day we all had Cedar Point hangovers.  But all the kids had a schoolwork packet to work on during the week.  The Girls had their Girl Scout bridging ceremony, so we headed to the park and did some of our schoolwork there while waiting for our friends.

Nature study... our niece missed her bridging, so our troop was sooo sweet to let her bridge with us.

She was very excited and happy.

The older girls helped hand out patches and awards to the younger kids.

Then our troop had a mad science camp where a couple of our scouts had created gross concoctions for our troop.  They led activities making a cool Koolaid playdough

And a really neat slime with contact solution.

The next day after Lydia was done at horse class, we headed back to Cedar Point to play.

And on Wednesday we had Cedar Point hangovers again, but Brayden, Caty and I were still able to attend a Master Gardening program at our local library put on by a dear friend of ours that works for the OSU extension office in our county.  We learned a lot about various plants and important insects.

Lydia and Joe put together one of the chicken's nesting boxes.  We still have two more to put together.

While they were putting that together, I finished painting the shed.  Or I should say, I ran out of paint and almost finished the shed.  But the important parts are finished.  The garden areas.  I was able to plant our lettuce, kale, radishes, beets, eggplant, and sweet onions.  I only need to plant the zucchini, which they were selling when I was at the greenhouse.  So I'm going back this weekend to pick up those plants.  So our garden is 100% in the ground.  Even Joey is helping to water it, although he won't touch a single bite of food from

Then the next day, (and yes...this was a busy week).... was our Sports Banquet.  The kids earned pins in all the sports they participated in.  The girls had a very long list... a very long list.  They did tennis, swimming, soccer, competitive cheer, and basketball.  Caty also earned an award for Hustling during Basketball.  Brayden earned the Most Improved player on the School Aged Basketball team.

Lydia missed the banquet because of her programming class.  She earned the 2017 Player of the Year Award.  So proud of her!!

I was honored to receive the 2017 Volunteer Parent of the Year Award.  I was very humbled.  I love working with all the athletes!

And it kept busy.... the next day I had helped to coordinate a Homeschool Used curriculum sale.  It last two days.  I managed to get a few things gone.  I didn't make as much as I spent, but at least I am set for almost all subjects.

During the Homeschool Sale, Lydia and Caty set up a table to invite new troop members.  It helped them earn a new patch.

To keep our busy week going..... our 4H club volunteered at the stables to help them get ready for the competition next weekend.  Lydia, Caty and their friend Bradie were cleaning up around the pens.  Lots of hard work.

The curriculum sale was two days.  It took up a lot of Time and then when I finally got home on Saturday it was time to clean up around the house from all the craziness from the last couple weeks.  But I also had to pack because the girls and I were heading for a wedding out of state the next day.

The kids all finished their practice worksheets for the week.  We'll be starting back to regular schoolwork again next week.  I'm working on making a plan for summer also.  We won't be doing full-time, just part time in certain subjects.  It going to be a busy summer.  Joey, Lydia and Brayden will be doing volunteer hours at the library every week.  Lydia is also increasing her time at the stable, and going to horse camp.  Lydia also has 4H Science Camp.  Both girls will start competitive cheer again.  Caty has Farm Camp at a local metro park also.  Joey will be working 2 days a week with a local company to learn what it's like to develop a work schedule, as part of a summer youth program our county offers to kids with special needs.  I have a feeling I'm going to be in my van a whole lot!!  But I'm excited for all the opportunities the kids will be getting.  More on summer soon.....

Hope everyone had a wonderful week!!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Typing Coach - The Typing Coach Online Typing Course Review

We recently had the opportunity to review The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course is an online course that introduces your student to the very basics of keyboarding skills.  They can work at their own pace using video, audio, and written instructions to learn classic keyboarding skills.

Proper keyboarding techniques are shown through both video and easy to print course materials.  Students will learn about how to sit properly for keyboarding (which is great to avoid wrist injuries later in life) and how to use their full hands to type first characters and then work their way up to full words by learning the entire keyboard.

Students will use both the Typing Coach Online Typing Course along with whatever work processing program that you have available.  An online testing area is available for student's to try out the new skills.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course is a great approach to classic keyboarding skills.  It works out great, especially for elementary level kids that may have outgrown cutesy cartoon character programs.  It was created to be used by both younger students, but could easily be used for students who are older.

I didn't learn keyboarding skills until late middle school, early high school.  The Typing Coach Online Typing Course is similar to the approach that I learned when I started learning how to type properly.  This approach allowed me to eventually make my way to professional typing in an office position, as well as winning various office skills competitions while still in school.

I have actually been looking for this type of program to help improve Lydia and Caty's keyboarding skills.  Most kids today start on computer keyboards at such a young age, that they develop their own style of typing.  We have been using The Typing Coach Online Typing Course with Lydia and Caty both.  Lydia has developed some not great keyboarding habits.  She can type well, but I wanted her to improve more on her skills.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course has been doing well with this.  Each lesson can be about 20 minutes in length for the audio lessons.  She follows along in her student guidebook.

I have noticed changes in a few of her keystrokes.  Her typing has been becoming more accurate.  Her trouble is watching the screen.   When I learned typing, we were literally always translating and watching a page, but now she is translating thoughts from her brain to the page.  So she obviously watches the screen more.  I wanted her to use The Typing Coach Online Typing Course as more of an accuracy improvement.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course has been working well for Lydia in this regard.  I like that it's the "old-fashioned" way of learning.  Learning to type doesn't need all the extra bells and whistles that some programs throw in.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course offers timed testing also, which you can have the results emailed to you.  Great item to have in their annual portfolio for assessment time.

If your student is more of a visual learner, like our Caty, they may struggle a bit.   You will not see the keys they need to hit on the screen.   I let her try one of Lydia's earlier lessons, and it didn't work out very well.  I think with a little more familiarity with the keyboard, she may not struggle as much.  So we will be trying The Typing Coach Online Typing Course with her in the future also.

But this is no big deal.  The Typing Coach Online Typing Course is a very affordable option for families.  It's only $17.00 per user for an annual access pass to the program.  This is a great value, and since it's a self-paced program, if  your student needs to go over a few lessons to continue to improve, it's no big deal.  They do not need to be stressed to catch on immediately.

We will be continuing with The Typing Coach Online Typing Course and I encourage you to check this great program out.  Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course {The Typing Coach Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Pencil Grip, Inc. - Thin Stix 6 pk of Classic Colors Review

Some days, no amount of creativity forgives the mess that painting can make in our house.  It just wears me out.  We were very excited to get a chance to review Thin Stix 6 Pk of Classic Colors - Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Kwik Stix are a Solid Tempera Paint stick.  They take the mess out of painting. The special formula allows them to dry in roughly 90 seconds.  You can use Kwik Stix on any type of paper or canvas.  

The Pencil Grip, Inc. came out with a Thin Stix 6 Pk of Classic Colors ($8.49) version of the Kwik Stix.  They are a thinner version of the larger Kwik Stix.  The formula is the same, but they allow kiddos make more line type drawings.

Caty loves art and loves to paint.  But I hate the amount of paint brushes we lose and the abuse that my table usually takes from the creative juices flowing.  One day during her online art class, I handed Caty her Thin Stix instead of the normal paint brushes and paint.  Her art teacher saw what she was using and was shocked.  Caty was creating away, and she was able to get further than the other students that day because she wasn't waiting for paint to dry.

The Thin Stix were very easy to open.  Caty sometimes struggles opening markers, so I was wondering if the Thin Stix would be a problem.  But she was off and designing quicker than I could snap photos of her.

I love how the Thin Stix formulas paint brightly, and it dries brightly also.  The paint you are painting with is the true color.  

These were two of her masterpieces.  The Thin Stix paint very smooth, and she chose to leave white she said because it's a cloudy day.  

I asked Caty what she thought of the new Thin Stix 6 Pk of Classic Colors versus the Kwik Stix that we already have been using.  Caty thought that the new Thin Stix painted the same.  She could control thin and thick lines easier.  Her only suggestion to The Pencil Grip, Inc.  She wants them to create an even thinner Kwik Stix, so that she can add more details to drawings.  She also can't wait to see more colors!

She said she loves that she can now layer the paint.  She can use the larger Kwik Stix to make her main drawing, and easily layer on details with the Thin Stix.  

Thin Stix 6 Pk of Classic Colors are now added as one of our favorite paint markers, right along with our Kwik Stix.  They are great for travel.  No mess in our van and no mess in a hotel room.  They go on smooth and we have not had any streaking as of yet.  Caty hates using traditional tempra paint because of the smell.  Fortunately, that smell doesn't seem to carry over into Thin Stix.  Because she can leave them laying open where she is working and doesn't say a thing. 

I pull Kwik Stix out when we have littles visiting also.  They are great for all ages, especially littles since they do dry so quickly and the clean up is easy!  

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out Thin Stix 6 pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  Take a few moments to see how they used this product in their homes and how it worked for them.  You can click on the link below.

No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cedar Point Opens!!! Science Fair ... oh and we are Unschooling this week.....

It's been three years since we have been to Cedar Point.  It's a local Amusement Park near us that is known worldwide for their coasters.  We decided instead of doing a big family vacation this year, we would get season passes.  The kids (and Joe) were very excited for our first trip.  We are trying to go as much as we can this month before schools let out.  We have a lot of trips planned, weather permitting.  Our first trip was the day after opening day.  I seriously thought it would be packed and planned on only staying for a few hours.  But we ended up staying all day.  The park was basically empty.

Lydia's on this ride.

Everyone but Brayden on the Valraven

We ended up staying all day.  We all were exhausted.  Brayden fell asleep for a bit in the van on the way home.  Caty was asleep.

The next day we all had Cedar Point hangovers.  But Joe had to leave for Nashville to run to his office.  So the kids and I tackled some outside work this week and "unschooled".  Some good old-fashioned life-skills.

We started scraping the shed because it needs repainted.

Lydia and I finished covering the roof to the coop area.  There are a lot of stray cats in our neighborhood.  So we are making sure they stay out.  Just one more area to tackle here, and that's their nest area.  Bring that on next week.

Brayden and I got his tomatoes in the ground.  Slow but sure the garden is coming along.

It's been a year since we got the dogs.  Look at the difference in their sizes!!!

During all this though, we had to finalize their Science Fair projects this week.  We have been slowly working on them.  But had to get their poster boards ready for display.  This was not an easy task.  It was actually a massive pain.  But we survived getting all the projects done.

Caty finished the one on our chickens.
 Brayden did his on popcorn.
 Lydia's on Hydroponic Gardening
 Joey's was on Tobacco use.
 He did a good job explaining his project to people.  This is also his 4H project.  This is what his lung from last week was for.

We survived the shed, and almost have it repainted.  The chickens are getting bigger and I'll share pictures of them next week.  I hope everyone had a wonderful week!  See you next week as I try to catch my breath and get ready for Lydia's competition this weekend!