Saturday, May 31, 2014

E is for Evolve

Evolve - develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form

I have decided that I need to de-volve.  We have many challenges that face our family on a daily basis.  All of our children have unique special needs that need to be met.  Some days there are very few waves and then other days I feel like I have been hit by a hurricane.  

One of the areas that I see lately that has become like a hurricane is our schoolwork.  Our oldest daughter has been an emotional roller coaster lately.  The mention of schoolwork sends her into a fit.  So I have been racking my brain to see why.  I have tried having conversations with her, but she would say there's nothing wrong.

Well recently Joe and I started an online server for Minecraft and it has been taking a lot more time than I bargained for.  Although he tries to help, Joe has been really busy with work and there are just some things he cannot do...I have to.  So I openly admit that we have been gradually switching to textbook learning more and more each week.  It was easier for me to plan.  Two of our kids like that style, but Lydia and Caty are not loving it.

So I have decided that I need to de-volve, since I want to adjust from complex to simple.  I finally got a little talk in with Lydia about what she would like to do.  Of course she said she wants to start learning more about animals.  

I decided to see if this works.  So now I am going to take on the challenge of planning out new lessons for her over the next few weeks that center around animals.  Last night I ran over to the local bookstore (we are on another trip), and I dug through shelves trying to find books on animals and cats for her.  

I came up with this temporary fix to keep her steadily improving on her reading and writing skills.  It's got a long way to go, but I need her working with the materials to see what she wants and likes and what I need to adjust.

So I won't give on math.  We just do that a little different.  We are working on topics with and without worksheets in this area.  Also going to use games to keep the learning continuing.

So this week, we played Boggle.  I hadn't attempted this game with her yet, but she has greatly increased her vocabulary and spelling skills playing a game called Animal Jam online.  She is also learning more using the Chatbox in her Minecraft game.  She has a notebook she writes down words in that she doesn't know or wants to remember.  It cracks me up, but it works for her.

I bought her a cool notebook she would like to keep as a daily journal.  
 Yesterday we saw a movie on Great White Sharks.  I told them to remember 3 facts from the movie.  When we got back to the hotel, we attached her movie stub and then worked on the 3 facts.
 The day before she read about giraffes in the animal book, and did a short paragraph about them.  
I also have a page a day we are doing in this book to help her with her spelling skills.  She whines, but then as soon as she realizes how she knows the answers she gets very excited.
This is the book that she is working on reading.  A HUGE difference in the past few months.  

It'll be a journey to go from complex to simple, but if it's what she needs to keep a love of learning.....that just shows another reason we homeschool.  

Have you looked at what's not working for your child lately?  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Our Week - Week #51

It was a very busy week.  Joe was in Dallas this week, and so I had to finish or attempt to survive the week without our normal tag-team style.  Oh what a week......I survived, the kids survived.  It actually wasn't horrible.  We have had worse weeks, but I definitely felt outnumbered all week.

Caty's allergies bugged her horribly, and now Brayden's have really kicked in too.  Unfortunately Caty's ears were not handling the congestion well enough, so she now has a double ear infection.  It explains her mood this week.  I knew she wasn't feeling well, but she doesn't always tell me when and where she is hurting.  She'll argue with me, so I just kept asking her.  Knew something was wrong, so I made her an appointment to just get checked out.

We spent the week learning about North Carolina for State Geography.  We didn't get it all done, so we'll continue next week.  I absolutely love this State Geography drawing series I bought a few years ago.

 We got out a map and colored all the states that we have been in the last few years.

 We made North Carolina BBQ and sweet potato pie to go with our State Geography study.
We studied Noah and the Ark and discussed what we would do if Jehovah asked us to do something that everyone around us would make fun of.  Then Caty and I built an ark.  Joey tried, but the glue drove him crazy.

Not perfect, but she really enjoyed doing this.  Next we'll start learning about Abraham.

I broke down and took them to Chuck E Cheese.  When we lived in Indiana, our mom's club met there weekly.  We lived 5 minutes from a location, so went there to play a lot.  But Caty and Lydia were raised an hour from the closest one.  So Caty has been begging to go back and play.  We went after their med checks, they were so excited!

 The place as almost empty.  So I actually got to play with each of the kids on some games.  

 Of course Brayden wanted nothing to do with socializing.  So he stayed happily at the table with his iPad.
We planted some snap dragons that Caty picked out.
 A great homeschool mom planned a field trip to Petco to learn about the various habitats that we need to set up for different pets.  The girls did a scavenger hunt to find what new pets need and how much it costs to start.
 Caty started riding lessons again.  She was in love.

 We went with daddy to the Park Friday evening.  They missed him and he missed them while he was gone.  They had a lot of fun.

We had a nice week.  I am working on a less structured educational style for the girls, who don't want the extreme structure.  Yet I have Joey who crave that structure and checklist.  So as we adjust to our new life the next few months, watch our adventures and the changes we have coming.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trident Case - Kraken A.M.S. Case for iPad Mini Review

Company:  Trident Case 
Cost:  $59.99
Ages:  All Ages

Our kids are hard on tablets.  They use them all the time.  Needless to say I was extraordinarily nervous when Caty received an iPad mini for a gift.  We had bought a cheaper case, but accidents happen.  And we have a lot of accidents that happen in our house.  So I was excited to get a chance to try the KRAKEN A.M.S. CASE FOR APPLE IPAD MINI 1/2 from Trident Case.

When we first received the case in the mail, it took a little while to figure out how to get the case open.  My husband is very tech savvy and it took him a little bit.  He said he finally found the instructions on how to open the case, inside the case once he got it open.  There were no instructions on the outside of the box.  He got a little frustrated, because he was afraid to break the case just opening it.

Once he got the case open, the case was extremely easy to put on.  It took just about a minute to "armor up" Caty's iPad.  

It is very easy to use this case, once you figure out how to open it up.

I will openly admit, I am cheap.  I could not believe that the case was 20% of what the iPad mini actually cost.  Plus I am skeptical of any cases that say they are the ultimate in protection for a tablet.  I mean....I know my kids.  They are rough.  

Sure enough, while we were on a recent trip.....she dropped her iPad.  I was fully expecting to pick it up off the concrete with a broken screen.  I held my breath as I picked it up, and it was fine!  It fell screen first on the concrete!!!

The biodegradable plastic is very tough, as it has of course, made it's way to the ground a few more times.  The inside has a cushiony silicone "netting" on the inside that seems to cradle the iPad and absorb the impact that happens when it hits the ground.  

I was worried about the very flexible front shield.  It didn't seem that it could take much, but I was also very surprised.  It does not interfere with her iPad usage, and even when she throws her tablet in her backpack it keeps the dust out.  

We had an incident of car-sickness on another recent journey, and we thought that the iPad was toast.  But believe it or not, the case kept all the mess out of the iPad.  It was easy to clean up, and ready to go again.  We used some basic cleaning wipes, and it was ready to go.

Am I still cheap?  Yes, but am I looking to purchase one of these cases for my son's new Galaxy Tab....OH YEAH!!!  It seems like a lot, but that investment really can extend the life of your tablet by helping to keep dirt and dust out, as well as helping to protect it from accidents that inevitably happen.  So I have seen the past few weeks the benefit of spending the money on the Trident Storage Cases.  These are military-tested cases that have shown me the importance of spending a little to protect your investment.  

Trident cases are being purchased for all of our devices in the future. 

Several other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out various cases from the Trident Cases line.  Please take some time to see how these products worked for their families.

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