Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Things are so different from when I grew up, since I didn't have email and social media when I was a kid. But Kids Email has created Kids Email Safe Email for Kids to help parents keep their kids safe online.
The boys have basic gmail accounts, and Lydia does too. But it's harder for me to monitor their interactions. Generally they only use them to email me, but that's where Kids Email Safe Email for Kids can come in.
Kids Email Safe Email for Kids offers parents several options that sets them apart from typical email accounts. They make monitoring your kids very easy. You can authorize who can email them. They may only be allowed to send emails between you and maybe grandparents. If someone tries to email them that you have not authorized, you can see who this is and what the email is. There are no inappropriately placed ads. You can also set time limits, so that kids are not using their email during certain times.
Caty is our only child that does not not have email account. We have truly not had a real problem with our other three kids, but she has a bit of a problem with self-control online. So I have been putting it off, even though the other three kids use their accounts really just for schoolwork with me. So Caty was very excited to get started.
Safe Email for Kids allows kids to set up their own email screens. She really had a lot of fun with this option and changes it a lot.
Her biggest thing is sending me funny memes that she likes. She is working on typing more, which goes hand-in-hand with her spelling and writing struggles.
I am able to email her with information like logging into her accounts (she needs constant reminders about online class information). I can also email her a daily list, etc.
As Caty grows though, I can also adjust her settings. Internet safety is the whole reason that you want to start using Safe Email for Kids. But as kids learn and show their new responsibility, settings that you initially set up for them can be adjusted.
As kids grow and become teenagers, you can also adjust their address to go from @kidsemail.org to @kmail.org. You can still monitor their emails, but their email address is more for teenagers.
Safe Email for Kids also offers a Read It feature for students who are still learning to read. This is a great option for students who may struggle for certain words. It wasn't a feature that Caty used, but she knew it was there if she needed it.
There is also a fun Drawing Board feature that lets children be creative and send out cute emails to family and friends. (Sorry I can't find my email from Caty when she was playing with this feature.)
Caty is really enjoying having her own email now. She keeps her screen open on her laptop, to watch when I email her with assignments for extra links. You can choose a monthly fee to try it out, or pay annually for all the features that Kids Email has to offer. It's very budget friendly, and really does help keep our kids safe on the internet.
Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email. Click on the link below to see what they felt about this program.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
We recently had the opportunity to review three books from author Kayla Jarmon. The stories were A Boy and His Dog, Don't Forget Me (Discussion Book Series), and Dying is Part of This World (Discussion Book Series).
There is such a bond between children and their pets. In most cases, their pet is really their first best friend. It usually doesn't matter whether it's a reptile or a dog. They feel the pain their friend feels. In the story, A Boy and His Dog, the young boy wakes up each morning with his best friend right by his side. And like most of our dogs, his best friend stays at his side and is up for almost all the adventures that the boy wants to go on.
A Boy and His Dog is a very cute story of adventures that many kids do not even get to do in our modern age of technology. Kids just do not get outside and play in the dirt. I really liked this aspect of reading this full-color story. Lydia looked at me and asked why they would dig for no reason...lol. A Boy and His Dog is written for elementary aged kids, but I could really see this being a great gift for older boys and their best friend. I'm envisioning putting his dog's paw print inside the front cover and dating it as a memory book for when he becomes an adult.
A Boy and His Dog is a great reminder of the strong bond between pets and their human!
Kayla Jarmon also has started releasing a Discussion Book Series. These stories are meant for story times together with parents and children. They open up discussions about tougher topics. Don't Forget Me is the story of an unborn child who is having conversations with God. As we were reading Don't Forget Me was a cute tale of this baby who is learning about all the sounds it is hearing from inside the womb. The baby is speaking with God and having discussions about the parents and even about the new room that they will be gaining soon. But most of the conversations that the baby was having ended up God telling him....
Even when the mother was giving birth to the baby, God reminded the baby that even though he was listening to both the baby and his Mom at the same time, God has the ability to hear all. And he doesn't leave people alone, even if we feel like we are all alone. This was a great lesson and discussion to have with the kids. That's why I took a screenshot of the above page....it's a great reminder for us all on a daily basis.
The second book in the series was Dying Is Part of This World.
Dying is Part of This World is an easy-reading chapter book. There are illustrations throughout the book, as well as scripture references to read with your children.
The young girl fears the death of her loved ones. Her mother has a discussion with her about her feelings and how she should does not need to have those fears. Even though we all die, we have hope. At the end of each chapter, there are also Discussion Questions to help carry on this hard-to-have conversation with your children about death.
Kayla Jarmon used her very own feelings to write this story. It is written from the heart and the content shows the thought and caring in the pages. The best part of this book, you can actually prepare your children for feelings they may have in the future should they lose someone they care about. It is written with a heavenly view.
Kayla Jarmon is a talented children's author. She writes her stories from a Christian view, as you can see through her Discussion Book Series. I highly recommend checking out her titles with your children. We can't wait to see what else she has in the works!!
All of these books will soon be available with an audio option for struggling readers.
Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review these stories by Kayla Jarmon. Click on the link below to read their experiences with using these books in their homes.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Caty has had some delay in reading and spelling due to her learning disabilities. She loves computer programs for learning, so I was very excited to get the opportunity try out ASD Reading from the creators of Reading Kingdom.
The ASD Reading program from Dr. Marion Blank helps students who are struggling with reading to catch up. It can be used with any child who is on the spectrum that is struggling. They can be verbal or non-verbal and experience benefits from ASD Reading.
If you are not sure if ASD Reading is a good fit for your student, ASD Reading has a PDF file that parents can download to see if this will work for your child. You can start this program as early as 4 years old, if your child is ready for using computer/tablet technology. You can sit with them.
Upon the finish of using ASD Reading, your student should be at a 3rd grade reading level. It takes students roughly 12 - 18 months to complete the program, depending on their skill levels at the start and how much time they spend on ASD Reading. But ASD Reading includes so many more skills than just reading. Students are also learning several other important skills such as decoding and even writing skills.
Caty has been using the program for a few weeks now. She wasn't a fan of the initial placement test. But I reminded her that it was checking where she was at. Caty has learned reading well, but needs help with decoding and spelling skills. This has created issues in her her writing skills, as we try to advance to more upper elementary activities with her. Her spelling has not been progressing well, and even her letter writing skills are a struggle. I wasn't sure if ASD Reading would actually help with these areas. But it was definitely worth it to try, to help her with her frustration levels on writing simple sentences even.
After the initial test, Caty was fine. She loves earning her points, and I am very shocked at how fast she is flying through the program. Lesson length is perfect for her attention span on most days. In fact, there are days where she will sit and work on three to four lessons at a time. She just props her feet up and starts "playing".
I had stopped her simple sentence writing with Caty the last couple months. She had been struggling so bad, and the frustration was too much for both of us. Last week, I pulled out her simple 2nd grade Sentence Writing book. One of the next activities was to take a list of adjectives and create a short story about a make-believe pet. This would have sent Caty into a fit a few weeks ago. She would have been screaming that she could not make sentences. But surprisingly (and even to HER own surprise), she was able to write a simple paragraph using the adjectives provided!!!
ASD Reading has definitely given her more confidence in her reading and sentence writing areas. She has been picking up more books to read, and I'm not fighting with her to work on her reading challenges that I give to all of the kids!!
I know that Dr. Marion Blank has created a proven program. But I do not completely understand how the questions that Caty was answering was helping her to improve reading and writing skills. I am definitely not an expert, so as a parent I am grateful that ASD Reading does provide progress reports to parents to show us "non-experts" how their student is doing. I can check this report randomly to see how far she has worked in the program, and what level she is currently on. And also check to see if she has been skipping work on her to-do list...lol
We will keep working our way through ASD Reading. Since I am already seeing Caty make a good amount of progress in the past few weeks. I encourage you to check out ASD Reading if you have a student who is struggling with reading and writing. You can try it for 30 days at no charge to find out if it's a good fit for your student.
Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out ASD Reading and also the reading program from Reading Kingdom. Click on the link below to see how they used these programs in their homes.