Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keyboarding for the Christian School - Elementary Version

With the increasing use of the computer in today's world. It's even more important that our children learn how to use the keyboard quickly and accurately without finger picking. There are all sorts of programs out there to teach your children some with big fancy programs and others that are down to earth like Keyboarding for the Christian School.

Our family reviewed this product for the author Leanne Beitel and was very impressed with how amazing this book was. I especially loved the use of Bible verses in the lessons. To me that made this book even more valuable as not only would my children be learning how to type, they would be meditating on God's word as they were learning!!

This amazing e-book can be yours for only $12.95 and is designed for children K-5 grade. She also has other e-books for older children as well.

VISIT THE CHRISTIAN KEYBOARDING WEBSITE




This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kinderbach is Music to My Ears!!

Bang, Bang, Bang went the piano and up went the mom's frustration as she tried to show joy in her child's interest in music. She wanted to teach the child to play the piano, but most of the piano books just were too difficult for her budding musician to understand. She searched and she searched until an e-mail came in from the Crew that saved her aching ears and set her little boy into the start of his musical journey.

Our Crew had the amazing opportunity to review Kinderbach an online keyboarding lesson program. I have to say that this is absolutely the best piano/keyboarding program that I have ever found.

I took piano lessons as a very young child and even then, the books were boring and the notes and where they were on the keyboard were really difficult to understand. Kinderbach takes those hard to grasp topics and puts them in terms and visual pictures that children can understand. I absolutely love the associating the keys on the keyboard with animal friends!!



In addition to the great workbooks above, Kinderbach has fun and exciting videos for your children to enjoy. Fun characters and bright graphics draw your child's attention into the screen and the best part is you can hook your keyboard right up beside the computer and let your little musican learn at his heart's content.



Online lessons are available for $7.99 per month when you purchase a year’s subscription in one payment of $95.88 for the year. Or, $19.99 per month when billed monthly for a year. You can try this amazing program out for two weeks for absolutely FREE! I highly recommend it if you are like me and would like the pounding on the keyboard to become music to your ears!

VISIT THE KINDERBACH WEBSITE

This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.

Apologia - Review of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling


If ever there was a need for a how-to-manual, it would be for homeschooling. Every day it seems that an issue arises that you didn't think about and when you want to make your children's homeschooling education more fun and stiumulating it's very time consuming to do internet searches to find all the answers. That's where The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling can be an absolute life saver!



Our Crew had the amazing opportunity to review this absolutely outstanding homeschooling guide. I was thrilled with the amount of information that is in this book. Almost every issue that you could possibly think of is addressed whether it is homeschooling highschoolers or how to select curriculum. The author, Debra Bell, has an amazing writing style that not only informs you, but is down to earth and friendly. It's like talking to your best homeschooling mentor when you open this book.



The resource guide at the end of the book is absolute phenomenal! There is everything from homeschool curriculum publishers to lists and contact information of homeschooling associations by state. I highly recommend this book for anyone that is thinking about homeschooling or for families like myself who have been homeschooling for awhile but are always looking for new and creative ways to make your children's education even better.


This book can be yours for only $20.00 from the Apologia website. It's a very reasonable price considering the abundance of information that is in the guide.

Get Your Copy of This Book Here

This book was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this together.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What About Socialization?

One of the most dreaded and most often asked questions to homeschool families is how our children are taught socialization if they are not in public schools. It amazes me that people actually believe that teaching your children at home hinders them from being productive and active members of society.

Do they not think that we talk to our children or that they do not play with other children? Do they think we lock our children up for 18 years only to throw them out into society unprepared for all the things that the world will challenge them with? I'm sure there are thousands of questions that pop up in the head of the inquisitor.

The first thing that most people do not understand is that one of the primary reasons that most of us choose to homeschool our children is to keep them from being socialized into the negative aspects of a public school education. Public school may teach raising your hand before you speak or how to get in a straight line to go to lunch, but it also opens the door for foul language, bullying, and peer pressure that often begins in the 1st grade.

My oldest was in public school in Kindergarten and 1st Grade. He was constantly bullied and the teachers and staff did absolutely nothing to stop it. I repeatedly was called to the office because they said he "talked to much" in class. They would tell me that he had trouble engaging with the other children. He was so educationally advanced above his peers that he was bored. He was behind in socializing with others and this was a child that had been in a daycare and preschool prior to going to public school. We finally decided to homeschool him hoping to give him not only a Christian Education, but also wanting to challenge him.

When we first took him out of school, everyone was so worried that he wouldn't have friends and that he wouldn't develop proper social skills. We lived in a neighborhood filled with children and he played with them daily. Some of them were even jealous that he got to stay home and do his work. He participated in sports and Awana. Now that he is older, he is in Youth Group and sports. No matter where we moved or where we went to church, he always had a group of friends.

This year we enrolled him into 8th grade so that he could prepare for high school. He wants to play football and unfortunately in our community and state you can't play sports or participate in extra-curricular activities, if you are not an enrolled student. We had a lot of reservations remembering how many times we had to go to the school to discuss his "talking" issues, however we gave it to God and asked him to help us through it.

I have to say that when we had our first parent/teacher conference that the teachers all raved about how respectful and articulate he is. They said that one of the most impressive things about him is that he treats all peers and teachers with respect. He opens doors for people, he shakes with a firm handshake, and he knows that there is a time and a place to be quiet and listen to your teachers. These things were not taught in a public school, they were taught at home.

We still worry about the poor influences that he has at school, but because we have spent several years building his faith and knowledge of God's word, it has made this transition very easy for us. Our youngest two are still at home and we will homeschool them until they graduate or decide at 8th grade that they want to go to high school. While it is not popular among most homeschool families, we have asked God to help us individually make that decision for each one of our children.

The one thing that I do know whether you send your children to public school, homeschool for a few years or homeschool from birth to 12th grade, home is the best place to teach socialization. It is the parent's job to teach children how to respect and honor others. It is a parent's job to teach children how to listen and to ask questions when you do not understand something. It is a parent's job to teach children what kinds of things are and are not acceptable when selecting friends. I think that if more parents took this responsibility more seriously and didn't lay it on burden of teachers, that our society would be in much better shape.

When homeschooling parents are involved in their community and church it's no wonder that their children turn out to be strong Christian members of society. These children have grown up in a loving and secure environment, safe from the pressures of dating, alcohol and drugs. They have been able to learn without the fear of being picked on in the lunch room or playground. They have made friends with families that share the same values whether through homeschool groups, sports activities or church membership. They have been allowed to learn at their own pace and explore things that they wouldn't have been able to do in public school.

Our family looks at homeschooling and having a Christian home like building a house. If you do not lay a strong foundation, the structure is going to topple when it goes through a strong storm. When we educate our children in a loving and supportive environment built on the love of Jesus Christ, we will help them stand when the world gets tough.

I am hoping that God helps me to build the foundations in my children's lives and that no matter how many times I have to ask the "socialization" question, that I can handle it with grace and love. I'm not against my friends and family that have children in public or private schools, because I know that is the decision that they have made that is best for them.

I also know how hard it is to have a child who you have homeschooled and to let them venture on to public school. It also has been hard for us within our homeschool peers because many believe that we have caved into the sports thing and should have just said no.

I think the "socialization" thing has become such a controversy amongst parents that it is right up there with stay-at-home moms verses working moms and the whole bottle or breastfeeding controversy. We need to support and love each other not judge each other's choices on how we choose to raise our children. God wants us to pray for each other, spend time learning from each other and also "socializing" with each other. God Bless my friends!! Have a Great Week!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Math Score/Accurate Learning


Our family reviewed Math Score/Accurate Learning for the Crew this month. I really like this website and would recommend it to any parent that has a child in school and wants to supplement their child's math eduction or for those who are homeschooling and are looking for a full online curriculum. While it does not have all the graphic hype that a lot of online math sites do, it stimulates a child to learn through worksheets and assessments.

I love the calculator and the fact that the mouse can be used to enter the numbers. My boys are still learning typing skills so this proved to be quite beneficial for us. The best part about this program is the fact that you receive an e-mail of your child's daily progress.

Math Score is $14.95 per month and provides all the lessons and assessments necessary for an entire years worth of Math. It is set up for Grades 1 through Algebra 1. The website gives you a free trial so that you can try the product and see how beneficial it will be for your children's math education.


VISIT THE MATH SCORE WEBSITE
This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jonathan's Exploration into Architectural Design

My middle child is absolutely certain that he wants to be an architect when he grows up. My mom and dad bought K-Nex for him and since that time, he was been continually using their books as well as his own imagination to create some of the most amazing things. This particular design is a double-ferris wheel that comes as a "kit". He's put this together twice and the last time it only took him a day with the help of his willing assistant "Grandma".
video

Worship Guitar Class for Kids



If you are wanting to teach your children guitar, but are having a hard time teaching at their level or getting them interested. Worship Guitar Class for Kids is absolutely perfect for you. Jean Welles takes your child step by step through the process of learning to play the guitar with her amazing DVD series. Our children were absolutely thrilled with this series. I have been wanting to learn guitar myself and so this was a great way to for my children and I to learn to play together at the same time.

We reviewed the online streaming class as well as well as the e-book with all the music and lessons to review. I highly recommend it for any musical family like ours!! The only mistake that we made is trying to teach with the adult sized guitar. We will be getting a smaller guitar so that our youngest can learn and finger the chords better.

The Worship Guitar Class for Kids is $29.97. There are also packages available to purchase child-sized guitars and other materials that will help with your child's music eduction.

VISIT THE WORSHIP GUITAR CLASS WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION

This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.

Ray's Arithmetic Review for Dollar Homeschool


Our family received the Ray's Arithmetic lessons from the Dollar Homeschool website to review. Ray's Arithmetic provides lessons for mathematics from beginning counting all the way to calculus. This series includes a total of 28 books. Which includes 12 core math textbooks complete with answer keys, teacher's editions, and even math books that have specialized interests such as astronomy or bookkeeping.

This is the perfect purchase for that family that wants to give their children a quality math eduction but who is on a limited budget. I particularly like the fact that I received the e-book version of this series so that I can easily store and print pages for my children right at my computer. While my boys are partial to their bright textbooks, I like the fact that these are in black and white which saves my color ink cartridge for other things besides workbook pages.

You can get this entire series for only $59.00!! I can't think of any textbook type series where you can get this much core math material for all grades. In fact for many of the series that we have used the textbook and teacher's edition for each grade are much more than the price of this amazing CD.

While my boys are very satisfied with the series that we are using, these workbooks provide excellent supplementary activities for my family as well as the higher math books that will be able to be used to challenge their math skills as they get older.

I encourage you to visit the entire Dollar Homeschool website to see the other amazing items they have available. As I mentioned earlier, if you are trying to pinch pennies but want to give your children a quality eduction, this website is perfect for your family.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT RAY'S ARITHMETIC AND OTHER DOLLAR HOMESCHOOL OFFERINGS

This product was provided to my family as part of my membership in The Old Schoolhouse Crew review team. The opinions expressed in this review are mine after our family has had a chance to review this product together.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Getting Back Up....When "Life" Hurts!!

What do you do when life hurts and it's incredibly hard to eat or even get out of bed in the morning? What do you do when you feel like you are all alone and the world around you is just crushing every dream that you ever had? What do you do when even the pastor at your church rejects you because you are going through a hardship?

I know the easy answer seems....give it all to God. He will provide right? He will comfort, guide and make the boo-boo all better right?

It just seems so simple and while my family spent the entire year of 2009 going through financial struggles, I kept trying to rely on my faith and relationship with Jesus to keep me on solid ground. We were one of the many families that have been going through hardships due to the economic recession. When your friends or family are going through it...you pray you help where you can...but when you are the ones going through the hardship it is a totally different story.

When you are going through the hardship, you see a different side of people especially in the Christian church. It was even harder when after we questioned the actions of certain members in our church and were "called" out in a pre-collection message that if you were going through a hardship that you were not tithing or praying enough. Then there was a pastor who was thought to be a friend who rather than gave a hug or said how can I help said "Bear your cross brother!". Then after we objected to something that happened at a children's night along with some other issues, and wanted to take a break, we were called unforgiving.

I have grown up in the "Christian" world all of my life. I was saved at a very young age and really can't even imagine my life without Christ. I know full well that Christians especially pastors are not perfect and make mistakes. I also know that sometimes you have to just walk away and let God lead you to a safer place for your family to fellowship and worship. I've spent so many hours crying and praying and asking God why this? Why our family? I know that God didn't do this to us because of anything that we did or didn't do. What I do know is that God is the method by which we get through hard times. I know that God loves all his children deeply even those that do not even accept him.

My family took a break from attending church for awhile and during that time we evaluated what Christianity and church really is and should be about. I actually had a really deep debate and conversation with several unbelievers to find out why they are so against Christianity and Christians as a whole. One of the biggest misconceptions they had is that the Bible says that Christians are supposed to be perfect. We aren't supposed to lie, cheat, steal or do anything wrong. Those of us who know full well the story of David from the Old Testament know that there really is no such thing as a perfect Christian.

You can live your whole life from birth to death and never break a law or do something that mainstream Christianity considers "sinful" and still will be a sinner. You also can be a sinner all your life, have no interest in God's word or plan and if you accept Jesus before you die and ask for his forgiveness, you will get to sit right by me and my Christian brothers and sisters in heaven. It's such a hard concept for non-believers (and some believers) to grasp.

When you accept Jesus Christ into your life it doesn't mean that you automatically have to be perfect and never do anything wrong. The difference is when you do (and you will screw up) is that you have a GPS (God Positioning System) that will set you back on the right path when you start steering the wrong direction.

My family turned our GPS systems on full speed and we are headed back where God is leading us and can't wait to see what he has for us at the end of our travels this year. God has showed me new ways to help bring in a little more income for our family as well as how to educate and guide our two younger children who we are currently homeschooling. He's also helped me to deal with my teenager who is in public school and how to continue to be the programmer for his GPS system that will hopefully lead him into a life of being a strong Christian example for his peers and a strong husband and father in the future!

Things in 2010 are looking up as God is providing and restoring our finances and little by little. God is healing the hurts that we have been through in 2009 and in our past. He's restoring us in ways that I never even imagined. When I look back through the days when we didn't even know our future and didn't want to get out of bed, I have one very fond memory. My husband and I sat together every day during his furlough and read the Bible, and prayed together. It wasn't always easy to do, because sometimes I was just so down and depressed that I didn't even want to move out of bed let alone have a cup of coffee. Once the caffiene hit my veins and God's word poured into my heart, it made the day much easier to get through. It's a little harder now to have all that free time together now that he's working again, but we still do what we can to keep our marriage strong and healthy. My husband rocks and I'm so glad to be married to someone who is not only strong in the Lord but is my best friend!!

I'm so thankful for my friends and family and even new homeschooling friends that have embraced our family through our hardships. I'm thankful to God who has opened my eyes, my heart and my spirit to his awesome power!! Happy 2010 Friends!! May God Bless all of You!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Maestro Classics - Review of The Tortoise and the Hare

As a enormous fan of classical music, I was absolutely thrilled to receive this CD to review for Maestro Classics. Each member of the Crew was given various titles to review. Our family reviewed The Tortoise and the Hare. This is one of my favorite fables and so it was great to have it animated with music by the London Philharmonic Orchestra!! It reminded me of the joy and excitement I had the first time that I had heard Peter and the Wolf animated in the same manner. I think my favorite part of the CD is where Stephen Simon talks about how an instrument and tune was picked for each character in the story. It made listening to the story even more fun as the children were listening for the various animals and their tunes. I would recommend this CD for any family!

They have several titles available:

  • The Tortoise and the Hare (the title we reviewed)
  • Peter and the Wolf (a favorite of mine)
  • The Story of Swan Lake (would be perfect for the little girl in your family)
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice (a classic that would be perfect for any family)
  • Casey at the Bat (would love to hear this one with all the boys in my house)
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (love the book would be perfect for any boy!)
  • Juanita the Spanish Lobster
  • Juanita la langosta espaƱola (the above title in Spanish)

Each CD is $16.98 a very great price for something that your family will want to listen to over and over again. Even better you can get THREE CD's for $45.00 using the coupon code MAESTRO 45. I highly recommend any of the above titles for your family. If you travel a lot like we do, this is the perfect thing to plug into the DVD or CD player for the children to listen to.


VISIT THE WEBSITE TODAY!!

Our family was given this CD to review as part of our participation in The Old Schoolhouse review team. The opinions are mine after reviewing this product with my family.

Kregel Publications - Review of Bertie's War


In the fall of 1961, the world goes crazy-and takes a young girl with it Bertie wants to be a good kid, but her fear keeps tripping her up and she finds herself tumbling into embarrassing, and sometimes dangerous, situations. By the time Bertie enters seventh grade in the fall of 1961, it seems like the whole world has gone crazy-and taken Bertie along with it. As news of the Cuban Missile Crisis throws the nation into a panic, Bertie will be forced to confront her fears face-to-face, both at school and at home.

The Crew had the amazing priviledge of reviewing Bertie's War by Barbara Blakely. This book was about the time period in which my mother was a young girl so it was great to kind of see what it would have been like to had a childhood during the Cuban Missile Crisis and all that was going on during that time. Roberta, Aaron and Tami and their parents are captivating characters in this book and you want to keep reading to find out what exciting adventure is next in Roberta's world.

This book was provided to our family for review in participation with the Old Schoolhouse review team. The opinions are mine after reading this book.

The book was provided to us by Kregel Publications and can be purchased for $7.99. I encourage you to browse the website for more books as well as there are books for everyone in your family!!


GET YOUR COPY OF BERTIE'S WAR HERE!!