Friday, July 3, 2015

Day 3: My View

Day 3 of the blogging challenge is what my view is today. Here's a few snapshots :) 

Working on planning field trips for the homeschool year coming up and getting a little work done.

This is outside my front window...

She's pondering how she can get that pesky squirrel that is bothering her outside the window. 

Don't forget to check out the link up and join in on the challenge!!!

Visit Jennifer or Lynn at their blogs.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Blogging Challenge Day 2: Quote

Today we are talking about our favorite quotes on the July blogging Challenge over at Lynn's blog and Jennifer's blog. So, do you wanna know my favorite quote? This one has gotten me through many times of struggle and wondering where in the world was this event taking us.

Are you ready?

No matter what happens in the world around us, we have this promise. No matter what the news says. No matter what it looks like through our eyes. We don't always see what's coming BUT... God does. He knows the plans He has for us. He knows why those trials and struggles come. He's teaching us and molding us for His plans.

He wants us to prosper and give us a hope and a future. That's awesome!

Remember this today as you go through your day, week and month. Don't forget that God has a plan and a purpose for your life!

Check out the other amazing quotes from the bloggers joining in the challenge. You can hop in anytime as well!

July Blogging Challenge

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Who am I?

This month I'm joining up with Lynn at This Day Has Great Potential for her July blogging challenge. Today's challenge is introducing us to the world! So here goes. This is who I am!

I'm Jen and I'm blogging from the Sunshine State. I'm a transplant from good ol' Alabama and am truly enjoying living in Florida. It's a funny thing about telling God things you'd never do. (like live in GA AND FL. ) He has a way of showing you, yes you will when it's His plan ;).

First and foremost I'm a daughter of the King. I love God with all my heart and strive to live in His plan He has for me. His dreams and plans for me are so much more than I can ever imagine. Living in His plan is much better and less bumpy of a road than when I take the wheel ;-).

So, anywho! I have been married to my sweetheart for 12 years this year and we have a 9 year old boy who I call Boo Bear here on the blog. Here we are...

We also have an amazing Golden Retriever who came into our lives when we needed her most. She's Molly and she's a never disappointing ball of fun, laughter and joy.

We have been homeschooling since Kindergarten and love it! It has it's ups and downs but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. This time to build relationships, teach and to experience life with my kiddo is something I'll never regret.

I work from home as a writer and we all stay quite busy. I play the piano and sing with my praise and worship team at church and my husband helps with the manly building things at the church.

Boo Bear loves theater and drama so we are about to start a new adventure with that hopefully in the fall. Between homeschool,blogging, writing, fun outside activities and life itself, there's never a dull moment around here!

On the blog you'll find a variety of topics. I work with the Schoolhouse Review Crew this year again and you'll find lots of great homeschool finds on the blog. I write each Thursday a Thankful Thursday post where we are counting to 1000 Gifts. Being thankful and seeing the little things can help the big picture come into focus.

One of my favorite verses is found in Isaiah 40:31:
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
 They will soar on wings like eagles:
They will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint"

So that's pretty much me in a nutshell. I'm bubbly, giggly, outgoing and silly. I'm still a kid at heart and honestly I hope I never change. 

Click on over to Lynn's blog and join in with the July challenge. Get to know the other bloggers and let's see where this month takes us!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thankful Thursday

400.Wow! Up to 400! That's something to be thankful for!

401. Returning back to normal routine. Normal routines are great!

402. Rain. Even though it has brought some serious storms with it, we needed the rain.

403. Sunny days after the storm

404. Support from our church family at the play this past weekend. We don't have all our family nearby so it's great to have a Pastor and congregation/friends that can come support Boo Bear during his plays.

405. Reading a new book that keeps us both giggling throughout.

406. Seeing continued improvement in Boo Bear's reading. We had struggled so when he was little and everyone kept telling me it'd click. Boy what I'd say to myself if I could go back...

407. Fun building days at the library with friends.

 408. Fun science! Hands on science is the best. It's a good thing my kiddo likes science. :) He'd be out of luck since his Mama LOVES it!

409. Fun summer programs at the library, the movies, summer bowling...

410. Getting progress made on our school work. Yes we school year round.

411. This time I get with my kiddo. I'm so thankful we can homeschool. I get to see his progress first hand. I get to see his growing up/maturing first hand. While it's way faster than I want it to be, I'm seeing all those amazing changes and they are just mind blowing.

412. Being able to have days at home.

413. For upcoming fun and adventure

414. For a wonderful job that I can't say thanks enough for

415. For a hard working hubby

416. For new journey's ahead with our praise and worship team

417. Fresh laundry. Sometimes it's all you need to sniff that right out of the dryer, still warm, goodness.

418. The five seconds that all the laundry baskets are empty

419. For the dirty laundry and the people that produce it. Without those people my life would be very dull and boring!

Monday, June 22, 2015

SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers Review

SmartKidz Media Review
My son loves all sorts of science videos. He watches them for fun and I love that! Recently we got the chance to check out a new product from SmartKidz Media called the SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers
What it is... SmartKidz Media library for homeschoolers is a large group of a variety of media options for you to use. It includes items such as videos, ebooks, games and more to engage your children and even you. You'll find a variety of topics and subjects covered including items such as:
  • Solar System
  • History and Wars
  • Science topics
  • Exercise Videos
  • Cooking tips and more!

You can stream the videos using a variety of devices such as your computer, tablet and we even used our Wii U to stream it on the television. Your child ages 13 and over could use this site independently while younger children can use it with supervision. 

How we used it... My son loves all things to do with animals. He watches science videos about animals over and over. When I signed on and the first four rows were about animals, he was ecstatic! We would typically pick one or two movies to watch throughout the day. This would be our science lesson for us as we mostly watched science videos. 

They are always adding more selections to the media library. A few they added while we were reviewing include World War II history and The Cold War History. I love that they are adding history to the collection as that is something I struggle with getting in. They also have an upcoming section on American History that will fit right in with our topic we are covering this year. We are both excited about that addition!

Here's a selection of what you'll find when you sign on in the video section of the library.

The videos are categorized together and are usually 30 minutes to sometimes an hour long. He watched several of the animal videos himself and we watched a few of the others together. As with any video watching, I recommend you screen the topics you have chosen before your children watch it. Just as a precaution as there may be some topics you wish to avoid or go over with your children before or as they are watching the videos. 

You'll also find a selection of exercise videos, which I liked. They are fun to work out with your children or by yourself. I love Yoga myself so it was nice to see some new videos. There's topics in there that Mom and Dad might enjoy including learning how to cook a variety of cuisine like Italian or French. 

Other items that are included in your membership are things such as games, ebooks and music to stream. The ebooks are animated and interactive so it adds a new dimension to reading a story. You can choose from topics ranging from the Classics to Bible stories and songs. 

What we thought... We both enjoyed the video selections we chose from the media library. I like the fact that he doesn't have to sit just at the computer but we can get them on the go with our tablet or on the Wii U. You can also stream through your Roku if you have one. I think this offers a nice selection for you to add to your current curriculum. You could even do a study on the cultures or themes they offer and add the videos to help enhance your study. 
There's a variety of options to choose from on this SmartKidz Media Library and they are continually adding topics and subjects to enjoy. You can watch it just for the fun of it or make a whole lesson out of the information they offer. 
You can check out SmartKidz Media on social media and see what's coming up this summer. You can check them out on both Facebook and Twitter
Be sure to click the link below to see how others in the Review Crew used this site. 
SmartKidz Media Review  
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thankful Thursday

380. This week I'm thankful that I work from home even more so. I have gotten used to not having to drive somewhere every day and when I do.. Oy...

381. I'm thankful for Boo Bear's theater camp week almost being over. I love how he loves it but Mama is ready to stop driving. :)

382. I'm thankful for the excitement he has over his awesome part. Can't wait to see the play this weekend!

383. I'm thankful for an amazing bible study group. I can't say this enough. Every week there's a new gem of encouragement that touches us all. It's nice to have a group we can open up to.

384. Being able to sleep in in 3...2...1...

385. Coffee. It helps me get going on these long days.

386. Lunch with my honey while the kiddo is at camp.

387. Getting homeschool stuff planned out and ready to reboot in a couple weeks.

386. Looking back at pictures of camp from last time to this time. Here's one of the last times at theater...

 Here's this week's photo of going into camp. I'll share more next week of him in his costume...

387. My crockpot. Whew! On busy days the crockpot is a lifesaver. I love that I cooked one night and fed us for two nights without heating up the kitchen!

388. Coming up with new "recipes". (It was basically throwing things together and it tasted really good)

389. That our routine will be back in a few days.

390. Seeing all the kiddos excited at church about shooting water bottle rockets off last night.

391. A summer thunderstorm

392. Good music while I'm driving

393. Hearing the stories of Boo Bear's experiences at camp

394. Getting together with friends we haven't seen in awhile.

395. Reading a good book

396. New projects I have in the works

397. Fun new reviews for Science that'll be coming your way

398. Laughing with my two boys

399. Surprising Boo Bear with a treat to see Jurassic World this past week.

Monday, June 15, 2015

CTC Math : 12 Month Family Plan Review

CTCMath Review
Recently we received the CTC Math online program called the 12 Month Family Plan. We used the U.S homeschool program for several weeks during this review. The product offers grades K-12th in math , including those higher tough subjects such as Algebra, Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. 

How the program works...
Working with CTC Math basically gives you an experienced math teacher in your home. Each day your child can work at their own pace with the Australian math teacher, Pat Murray. Mr. Murray goes over the concept in a video tutorial with your child before they work on problems of their own. 

The 12 Month Family Plan offers access for up to ten students under the one program. This works great if you are homeschooling several students of different ages. You can pay one price and have math set up for the whole family!

Each lessons teaches your child a new math concept in around five minutes or so. Your child can pick the concepts they work on or you can have the go through each concept in a particular order. 

How We Used It... 
Since we are almost to the end of our school year, I had Boo Bear start working on the topics we were currently working on. He would sign in each day and here is what his screen looks like:

He is working in the 3rd grade level. There are different topics under each "Stream" that he can work on. His streams included:
 - Number, Patterns and Algebra
-  Measurement
-  Space and Geometry
-  Statistics and Probability

Each morning he would sign in to the section I had chosen for the day and would work on a lesson or two. Typically he could do two lessons in a short period of time as long as he understood the concept. 

Once he got into the selected section for the day, his screen would show him the topics left in that section. He would pick the next topic and proceed with that lesson. Each lesson consists of Mr. Murray teaching on a video and then the test to practice the skills learned. This photo shows what a completed section will look like on your students sign in. Your student can see all their progress and what level they have achieved. 

The program also offers math games where your student can have some fun testing out their new skills. These speed skills are done in 60 seconds and just add another element to reinforce the new topics, or past ones, they have learned. 

For the teacher...
Using this math curriculum is easy for you as you do not have to prepare the math lesson yourself. Each lesson is already done for you and your student can sign on and go at their own pace. When  you sign in under your screen name, you can set up as many students as you need and what grade they are in. The parent sign in also includes reports for your students to see how they are progressing. Here is a shot of the Detailed Report which shows the classes worked on and the grades received.

You can also choose the Summary Report which shows you the sections of math completed and how their progress was going.

What we thought...
I loved the fact that this program is online and can travel with us. During this review my son was visiting grandparents and he could work on this while there. I could also make sure he was working on it and see his progress as I could check his reports on a daily basis. Another factor I love is that when the parent signs on you can see a log of when your students signed in and out. This lets you know when they were working and how long each lesson took them. 

My son liked the fact that the lessons were shorter than what we do normally. He could sign in and be finished with a math lesson in just a few minutes. I also like the fact the lessons are prepared for you and if it's a concept you struggle with, you can learn right along with your child. 

I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a great online math homeschool program that you can use on the go. It's a great addition to your math student to allow them to learn at their own pace. If you're looking for a great core curriculum math program, then you should check out CTC Math

Be sure to check out what other TOS Review Crew members think about this program by clicking the banner below!
CTCmath Review
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