Saturday, March 31, 2012

Homeschool Mothers Journal - Week 43

In my life this week.....
I know that I have not posted a Journal in a couple weeks.   I have gotten way behind in a lot of things.  And unfortunately the blog suffered.  I am going to work on catching it up this week.  

We have been chugging along at school.  I have been trying to not overdo  There is so much that we could cram into our weeks.  So much to teach.  Caty is now officially working through more books.  And she is doing wonderful!!!

My goal is to do some more massive organization in our storage room.  It is one huge mess!!!  I cannot emphasize how messy it is. Oh and the basement too.  I have a week to do it, and that's it.  The rest of the month will be impossible to include any extra projects.

I have fallen behind in my 5K training...again.  Just haven't been feeling well.  Too many fibro issues or something, jogging has been far from my mind.

In our Homeschool this week.....
Caty is loving her Explore the Code Book A.  And we are including some of the Letter activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  We are working on patterns and number recognition.

Joey is working on his writing.  His typing skills are being challenged also.  We are using an actual writing curriculum, but also just some daily topics to write about.  As he gets more comfortable with this project, we will work more intensely on his sentence structure.  He is using Reading Eggspress for comprehension and grammar.  He started back his Rosetta Stone Spanish also.  We had gotten away from it, and now he has requested to start it again.

We are all working on learning more about Spring including why the weather is getting warmer, storms and weather, worms, what weather warnings mean, and rainbows.  This next week we will be learning more about birds and baby animals.

Lydia finished her Math U See Primer book and has started the Alpha series now.  She is so proud of her certificate hanging on the wall.  She is trying to learn cursive, and so is Joey.  I would just be happy if Joey can read it.  He is having alot of trouble with it.  Handwriting has never, and will never be an easy task for him.  So with all the frustration the last couple weeks, that is why we are concentrating more on his typing.

Brayden is sitting in on most everything.  He refuses to do his Teaching Textbooks, so I have been sneaking in math games software.  Ughhhh....never a dull moment in our house.

Places we are going and people we are seeing.....
Too many to almost list.  We have been on a Glass blowing tour at the Toledo Art Museum (soooo awesome!!!).  Basketball games, the park, Bat class, nature walks. I will start posting pics to catch the blog up.

This next week, an old friend who works for the Henry County EMA is going to show the kids about his job and what they do to keep our area safe and coordinate with the authorities.  He is going to show them the radars they use also.  They are all pretty excited.

Things I am working on.....
Planning our study of Kirsten for American Girl Club.  We had a project for Josefina that we didn't get finished.  So might do that this week.  

Also working on our Ecuador/Galapagos Island plan for World Travelers.  

We are heading back to Nashville for a week soon and we are all getting excited about a week in the Outer Banks in May!!

I want to clean the basement....will have to tackle it one day this week.

What I am cooking....
Lots....we had hm fried breaded shrimp (breaded with rice flour) w/ hm shrimp cocktail sauce and zucchini fries for lunch one day.  Had a really yummy chicken stir-fry.  I didn't add any sauces, because was out of coconut aminos.  But it still turned out yummy.  Had chicken brocolli with rice one day too.

Today I made steak with mushrooms and peppers.  Have been dying for some steak, so having those on the grill tomorrow with sweet potatoes and asparagus.  Also making lasagna rolls, and an April Fool's Day feast.  Going to also make hm corn dogs.

What I am reading....
This is the new book for a local TV Stations Book Club.  I downloaded it today to start reading.

Product Details
I have been reading this for about two weeks now.  (I don't get much free time reading where I can concentrate...and this book requires that!)  But got to get prepped for Season 2 which starts tomorrow!!!

A photo to share.....
I have taken a couple hundred the last few weeks......

Our little fish jumping in the deep end of the pool at our hotel in Jackson Michigan last weekend.  She of course ended up with water in her ears and a fever the next morning.  But she had a blast that figure.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How are you protecting your kids on the web?


We usually have pretty strict rules about using the kids using the internet.  The boys have discovered watching videos on YouTube....that freaked me out a bit.  So we watched the best we could, and Joe added a rating system to keep them from hopefully having something bad pop up for them to see.  But all of that is a huge pain and takes a while to do.

So when I got the opportunity to try this program, I was very excited.  Action Alert includes everything that you need to create a safe environment on your computer for your family.

You can create a family-friendly computer environment by setting up web-site blocking and filtering.  After you have set up this program, you will be contacted by email or receive alerts on your cell phone if there are any threats to the parameters that you have set up.  You can actually suspend services on your computer from your phone.

I was shocked after installing this program, I received an alert just 15 minutes after I started surfing with it. I was not even trying to truly "test" the software, but some sort of issue with a regular website I was trying to visit.  But because there was something suspicious it sent a warning.  I really liked that feature!!!!  It woke me up to what may be hiding, even though we are in the room with the kids the majority of the time they are on the computer.  Of course, I did have to try typing in some keywords.  And sure enough, I got warning emails that someone had done this.

This software took no time to install on our computer.  It was up and running within a few minutes.  Very easy to set up the account also.  So it does not take a big effort to help protect your family from predators.

Choose which version is right for you:

Free Parental ControlAction Alert
Free Protection
Everything you need to setup a
kid-safe computer in seconds.

Totally Free
Action Alert Maximum ProtectionAction Alert
Maximum Protection
Protect kids onlineMultiple User Protection
Custom Control SettingsFully Customizable
Social network monitoringFull Social Network Monitoring

Only $29.99

The Action Alert Maximum Protection Plan does come with a 30 day money back guarantee, just in case you are not satisfied.  But if you are looking for a super easy software to help protect your family on the internet, you can't go wrong with Action Alert.

I do wish there was a platform for the boys iPads.  I would love to have those mobile devices that the walk around the house with protected as well.  But other than this small wish, I am happy with this product and give it two thumbs up.

Be sure to check them out on Facebook.


Check out what other Crew Mates thought of this product.

*****I received Action Alert free of charge for the sole purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The views I have expressed are my own and are real experiences with my family. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255>:"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring...

What beautiful spring weather we are being greeted with!!  How many of you already have this sight lined up outside.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What we are up to this week.....

Spring is here!!!  And our weather is perfect right now!

This week we are learning a little about the history of Saint Patrick's Day, and we will finally finish our Viking unit.

In Science we will be starting a new Chemistry unit for Joey and Brayden.  The girls can sit in on this.  But we will also be discussing a unit on Spring and talking a bit about weather, baby animals and spring science. That unit will last a couple weeks.

In Math Lydia will be learning early subtraction.  Joey and Brayden will be working his way through Teaching Textbooks.

Lydia will still be working on Headsprout for Reading and also Reading Eggs.  Joey and Brayden will be working on Reading Eggspress.  Caty will be working on Reading Eggs also.

In American Girl Club, we will be finishing up with Josefina.

We are taking most of Friday off.  Lots of outside time this week!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

How to Argue with Respect...

Should I be teaching my child with Aspergers how to argue with respect.  Well not arguing with me, or an outright shouting match that I am referring too.  But I would call it really good negotiation skills.  Fallacies are everywhere around us.  We are all fallable because we are human.  So what is the best way to help children learn to interact with these arguments on a daily basis.


The Art of Argument was designed to teach the argumentative adolescent how to reason with clarity, relevance and purpose at a time when he has a penchant for the "why" and "how". It is designed to equip and sharpen young minds as they live, play, and grow in this highly commercial culture. 

I was pretty excited to review this material with Joey.  I actually thought this would be a wonderful resource for Joey since he is very argumentative due to his Aspergers.  He gets very upset when he feels that items or people are misrepresented due to wording or an image flaw.  He can usually get into some pretty good rants.  

The Art of Argument provides a wonderful resource to allow children to discuss, explore and apply  fallacies that we see in our culture.  The set that we received included a teacher edition, student workbook and DVD set sample.  


Students master 28 fallacies (such as begging the question, the straw man, ad hominen, et al) by studying many pertinent examples. The text features a variety of:
  • Dialogues
  • Worksheets
  • Real-World Applications
  • Phony Advertisements
  • Dialectic Discussion Questions
  • Tests
  • Fun extras such as a humorous skit for students to perform, and the famous short story, Love is a Fallacy by Max Shulman
We received DVD Disc 1 to review with our set.  And let me tell you that this is a wonderful resource.  We will be purchasing the full set for Joey and I to watch together.  We were able to sit down and watch a student and teacher discussion on the fallacy.  This helped because it wasn't just me talking to him, but he was able to watch others discuss the material in each section.  (Sometimes it just works better when they don't always hear it from  

We have started out pretty slow moving in this set.  Even though he will slowly learn how to argue his points more effectively, this program seems to be a bit over his head yet. He has gotten a bit frustrated trying to understand.  He is at the minimum age recommended of middle school, since he is 11.  But Joey does have some learning delays that attributed to him being a bit confused during some of the discussions.  Unless your student is advanced, I would stick with the recommendation of Middle School age.  Don't try to introduce this in elementary.  But I think even high schoolers who have not been introduced to a program of this topic would benefit very well.  I only wish we would have had a class like this when I was in high school.  I know myself as an adult will continue to learn from this set also.

Did I mention to those who are learning'll find lots of opportunity to review your vocabulary using this!!

I would highly recommend this program to any family striving to prepare their kids for the world.  It is one that you can easily go through several times, and each time that they study it with you...they'll learn even more.  This is an excellent program to encourage advancing critical thinking skills.  We will continue to work our way slowly through this program and then repeat it to help him learn how to protect himself from the inevitable personal attacks that he will receive.  And hopefully this will help him to think twice if he wants to verbally attack someone also.

You can view sample chapters here.  

Here is a sample from the video series:

If you are interested in purchasing this set, visit Classical Academic Press.  You can purchase the above bundle for $88.95.  Or individual pieces including the student workbook for $21.95, teacher edition for $24.95, and the DVD series for $54.95.

Check out what other Crew Mates thought of this product.


*****I received the Art of Argument from Classical Academic Press free of charge for the sole purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The views I have expressed are my own and are real experiences with my family. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255>:"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Busy Bag Swap.....

What's a busy bag?

A busy bag is just what is sounds like.  A bag of activities that keep younger or even older kids busy.  You can pull them out in the car, when you are working one-on-one with another child, or any other time a child needs a distraction in the right direction.  Most of the time the activities include various educational opportunities.

Money saving Mom has a great post with pictures on busy bags.

Brenda @ Unsolicited Advice also has a great post.

Moms Town has instructions on completing some activities.

Training Happy Heart blog  has some wonderful ideas.

These might work well in a bag, too, with a few props:

As could these:
Or these:

If you would be interested in swapping or finding out more, joint our Facebook page and let us know!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal - Week 40

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week....

I had a last minute change of plans in our school work path.  Bug was not feeling well Monday and Joey was manicky.  So we actually did very little "educational" stuff on Monday or Tuesday.  I spent those days cleaning out my 1200 emails, cleaning off my desk, cleaning up in the house, and catching up on paperwork and scheduling for our Special Olympics activities and homeschool activities.  The laundry isn't folded, and Joe's office area needs a serious snowshovel taken to it....but you can see the top of my desk and we can use our kitchen table again.  Because there are roughly 400-500 letters off my table and finally in the mail for our upcoming bowl-a-thon fundraiser for Special Olympics.

I also realized this week just how fast the 5K that I signed up is approaching.  This is the first time I will be running in a race.  So I am just not sure how to really train and am actually very nervous.  But today Joey decided that he would like to sign up for the Kids 1 mile marathon on the Saturday before the race.  So I signed up with him for that.  I will consider that my workout the day before my big race.  Let the training program kick into full gear!!!

I also am working on helping Joey get his first business up and running.  He is going to work on selling molded crayons for party favors.  We have a possible store to place the product in.  I just need to get more up and running.  We opened the Facebook sure to like it.  So you can get all the's Krayon Kreations.  This will actually help him in Math for the next couple months.  He is pretty excited.  We will probably set up at a few craft shows in our area too.

In our homeschool this week....

We didn't stay on track.  We need to actually finish our World Travelers project.  We missed today because of doctor appointments, but I still want them to finish up what they were trying to learn.  It was a fun topic on elephants.

Lydia is super excited to be learning cursive.  Print has become a real issue with her, so I thought we could try something new.  Since I am working with Lydia, I threw Joey in the mix too.  They both did pretty well their first time today.  Joey has done cursive before, but didn't enjoy it well.  So giving him another go at it.  I just reminded him that it's easier than print because you don't have to lift your pencil as many times.

Lydia also had her first violin lesson this week.  She really...really liked it.  She is actually practicing.  

Places we've been this week....

Violin lessons, med checks with psychiatrist, post office....lots and lots!!, oh yeah and Mommy got to go to Traffic court.  I got my first ticket in like 14 years.  I was clocked doing 42 in a 25.  I didn't realize the speed limit dropped that quick there and I sneezed.  I had let off the gas, but our van does not decelerate very fast.  I went through the whole court process, and by doing that the judge was super nice and lowered my fee by $40.00. Not a lot, but it is right now.  Every little bit of money is needed.

Next week is a full week with zoo class, a cool program a local book store, Girl Scouts, and their last ballet until summer camp.

I'm cooking....

Not much this week.  My allergies have kicked up in the last few days due to the up and down of the early spring weather.  We had hot dogs a couple times (I buy the good nitrate free kind and they are yummy).  We had steak burgers one night.  I did make hm steak and potato soup tonight and yesterday made chicken N noodles (the kind that is like noodles with gravy) that they enjoyed over toast.  Sunday I did make a big kettle of beef veggie soup.  That lasted us a couple days.  Tomorrow they want thought that sounded yummy.  Haven't decided on next week's menu yet.  Work on that tomorrow.

I'm reading....

Actually some new curriculum.  We are so fortunate to be on the TOS Review Crew, and we got three cool packages this week to try.  Two new Science items and one English.  Joey is going to love the new Chemistry program since he is not enjoying what we were using.  Lydia still likes Earth Science, and we were fortunate to get a cool Earth Science book to review.  

But the biggest thing I did was finish Book 1--Hunger Games.  I really liked it...and would like to point out how much I hated that final page.  I had to start Book 2--Catching Fire right away.  So am working my way through that book.  My parents bought me a Kindle Fire for an anniversary present (14 years in a couple weeks), and they let me have it early.  Since we are prime members, I was able to borrow Catching Fire free.  I figure at the rate of free time that I actually have...I'll be able to borrow MockingJay for free too. (You are allowed one title a month for free as a Prime member if you own a Kindle.)  I also have a new Downton Abbey book to read.

Product DetailsProduct Details

Questions that I have....

What do you think of this blog background?  I like the dots...but think it may be hard on the eyes when you are reading.  What do you think?

My favorite thing this week....

Next to getting all those letters mailed and off our kitchen table, it would have to be getting use my Kindle Fire.  Trying to use it as much as I would like.  I have my appointment calendar downloaded on it.  I can update it on my computer and it downloads directly to the Kindle and vice versa.  Joe has access to my calendar then also.  I also have discovered some really great educational apps that include site word Montessori games and some critical thinking puzzles for Caty and Lydia.  We are seriously considering getting them each one of these...if we ever get any  I have to hide it because the girls are enjoying using it so much.  We also have been reading lots of kids books together on it.  

Joe has one of the original Nook readers from Barnes and Noble, but I am amazed how much they have changed in the last two years.  The scary thing.  This Kindle was $50.00 cheaper than what I paid for his Nook for our anniversary two years ago.  (And that figure doesn't include the rebate that lowered the price of my Kindle Fire.)

Things I'm working on...

Lots and lots of Special Olympics items.  LOTS!!  I have to say that was the majority of one of my office days.  I also getting the basics of Joey's business venture going.  So I can have my mind set going as we start working on this together for him to learn.  Oh yeah and there has been some homeschool group stuff this week.  My mind has been in overdrive thinking of cool field trip opportunities to take in the future.  Have 3 possibilities to work on right now.

Photo for the week....

I love the color of the case...bright.  And when I'm done with this post...will be reading more Catching Fire!

Linking up with other moms at The Homeschool Chick.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Joey makes a basket!!

This is from Homecoming Game Friday night.  Got to love his little dance...

Monday, March 5, 2012

What we are up to this week....

Feeling a bit of spring fever coming ready for those cold wind storms to be over for the year.  I know I should be grateful for the mild winter we have had, but those cold high wind days....I find myself dreaming of spring!

We are going to continue with our regular math programs.  Lydia is 2 lessons from finishing her MUS Primer and then we'll move right in to Beta.  Joey still has a few lessons to finish his Teaching Textbooks and then we will be concentrating for a few weeks on basic math facts.  Emphasizing addition, subtraction and division.

Our big project though we need to finish is Joey and Lydia's project for World Travelers.  They have chosen the same subject, and will be presenting two different parts of it.

They will all continue with Reading Eggs.  Lydia will do 2-3 lessons on Headsprout Phonics also.

Joey and I are going to finish our Iditarod reading and hopefully be able to track some of the race this week.

We won't be officially "rowing" a Five in a Row book.  We are going to do a Hansel and Gretal unit that I have been wanting to do with them.  But we will do it FIAR style with vocab words also.

In History, we will be watching a belated movie on Vikings.  And reading more about Christopher Columbus and discuss the confusion of where he actually discovered.  It was North America, not the US as seems to be shown loosely by most.

Science we will be watching some videos from Bill Nye on Motion and Gravity.

If we have time, we will be working on our library essay.  And even try and fit in our more US Geography unit that we missed last week.

Everyone have a wonderful week!!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our weekly triumphs and accomplishments

It was a week that swung between obnoxious whining and cooperation.  But I guess it wasn't a week too much different from

We worked our way through our Math lessons.  Lydia has started to conquer counting by 5s.  I was doing a little happy dance with her when she starting counting the spaces without even realizing it.  Goooo Lydia!!!

We worked a bit on Thailand.  We started our project.  Lydia and Joey are doing a cross-project on the same subject. Each one is going to talk about a different area.

We learned a bit about the Age of Discovery in history.  We finally got our Vikings DVD from Netflix, so we are going to finish up a bit more on Vikings this weekend.  And then we will learn more about Columbus next week.

We rowed our way through Robert Frost poem.  The kids had fun.

Caty is trying a finger guide on her pencil.  She is still learning grip and struggling.  I found these and they seem to work great for her.  Just a soft guide with a star where her finger and thumb go.

 Here she is working on her counting bears.
 Lydia is super excited to start her violin lessons next week.
 Here is Lydia's Girl Scout troop delivering food donations to a food pantry in Toledo.
  Joey's final basketball game of the season was Friday night.  Here he is coming on the court.  It was fun, and also their homecoming.
 Joey with another player and a counselor from his summer camp, Barb.
 They had their team picture taken too.
 We let Joey stay at the dance for a little while tonight.  It's a big deal, and it was fun!  Joey took Joe and I's picture.
 On Saturday, we had another field trip.  We visited an eye doctor's office to learn more about eye care and how important it is to take care of our eyes.

Of course they had to try on glasses.

 Here's a picture of the inside of Lydia's eye.

 And then we headed to a pool party hosted by their friend Amelia and her mom Deb!!!
 Even Brayden got wet.

 There is a gym attached and they played and played until exhausted!!

And now to start another!!!