Sunday, August 31, 2014

Finally Getting Back To Some of Those Passions

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Pursuing Your Own Passions and challenged myself to getting back to some of my own passions. Well, it took me this long to actually do it. First I visited the library and checked out a couple of books about photography. I settled on this short little book that shows lots of tricks and Apps to use through your iphone to take great pics. Since I always have my phone with me I thought this might be the way to start off. The current camera we own is new but hard to figure out. All my pictures turn out blurry. I am committed to taking a few pictures a day and using them on Instagram then once I learn a little maybe buying a camera just for me, one that I can actually use.

Next I picked up my quilting materials and went to work. Yesterday afternoon I started and haven't stopped. My sewing machine is old and broken so hand sewing it is which for me is very therapeutic. I love hand sewing even if it takes much longer than a machine. About five years ago I created a small lap quilt for ever member of my family for Christmas. I also started a bigger quilt for my bed a few years ago and it has been collecting dust for a good while. This is the one I started back up. Right now I am finishing up all the squares and by next weekend I should be able to start putting it all together.
Tomorrow we are taking a trip to Wal-Mart to look at sewing machines. Thinking about purchasing some easy patterns to get both me and Grace started.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - School Work, Reviews, and a Doctor's Appointment

This week in our educational pursuits has pretty much been like every other week with the exception of not getting as much accomplished. On Monday Grace got a good bit done but with Cooperative on Tuesday it is always up in the air how much she can get done by the time we must leave. Wednesday started out good even with having to go to the hospital and get a radiograph performed for the following day's appointment but her stomach started bothering her (which my long time readers will recognize as her GI issues) after lunch and that laid her out for much of the rest of the day. That brings us to Thursday. I scheduled a recheck with her GI specialist about a month ago and Thursday was D-Day. This doctor is located 1 1/2 hours away toward Atlanta. Since we don't get out that way very often we decided to make a day of it.

We left at 9:30 in the morning and did not return home for 12 more hours. First stop was one of our favorite libraries which is located 50 miles from our home. As you can see from the picture below we came home with about 50 books. Some for me, some for hubby, some for Grace, and some for the three girls I tutor. We also visited Petsmart and purchased some new goodies for the birds and the ferret. Lunch and dinner were both out. Steak and Shake for dinner was yum yum. Grace got a smores milkshake for dessert but I was holding out for Starbucks coffee.

After the doctor's appointment we headed back home with a stop at most teenagers dream places a big mall. She wanted to visit Hot Topic, Rue 21 and a few other stores. Believe it or not we didn't come home with much. As we were walking through the mall we came to the Disney store which we had not visited in many years. Grace found a Jack Skeleton shirt that she had to have and then her eyes landed on the classic Disney princess dolls. They were on sale and with her own money she purchased two of the dolls that she dresses up as for her Birthday Parties by Grace business.
It was a great family day even if we had to revolve it around a doctor's appointment. She is improving but still has symptoms a couple of times a week. The doctor has added another medication to the pack that will hopefully in short time get rid of all symptoms. Not only is it uncomfortable for Grace to have the symptoms but also very disruptive to school or anything that is on the schedule when she doesn't feel well. We need to get her back on track.

Maybe I should say a little something about what Grace is studying this week. I believe in history she is still doing work with the early colonies. Science has her finishing up a lesson on cells and we watched a couple of videos off of Crash Course about Mitosis and Meiosis. Grace is sooooo ready to be done with cells and move on to something else. She has worked very hard with her Spanish vocabulary words and will be dropping by Ms. Christy's this afternoon to take the quiz as she missed class yesterday to go to her appointment. Grace is still loving The Outsiders and can't wait to see what happens next in the book but doesn't want to read too much ahead of her class. She is producing some work for the October art show and finishing up the first two chapters of Mothering/Daughtering for the first book club meeting next Friday. We are working on three reviews including IEW Fix It! Grammar, Fortuigence, and some books from Apologia. Again it is very busy on the review front.
This brings us to today. Not a lot of school this morning - seeing as we all slept in after our adventure yesterday. This afternoon is the Spanish quiz and picking up homework for the week for Spanish and Literature. While we are in that area going to run some errands and if Grace has anything to say about it we will stay in town for a little dinner. We eat out way TOO MUCH!!!! We have gotten into the habit of eating out Wednesday - Sunday because hubby isn't home for dinner and sometimes it is just plain easier than cooking for two. Anyway getting way off track here. At this point I see some Saturday school in our future for tomorrow to catch up on regular work and review work.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Art for the Myths and Legends Art Show

Grace is currently working on new pieces for the October art show. The theme is fairly broad with the title Myths and Legends. With the show being held in October and the theme that was picked I told Grace this Manga style witch could probably work.

With her love of Greek mythology she had to include something for the art show from that category. Medusa was the first thought that popped into her head and out came a sketch a couple of hours later. It is hard to see the detail in the snakes in a photograph, so I took a close up at a different angle to try and show but still doesn't do it justice.

What would you like to see Grace draw for the art show that is from a myth or legend?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

In the Meantime - A Message From Andy Stanley

So much has happened for the past couple of weeks that might make people question if God really loves them and knows that they are hurting. Families are losing loved ones, individuals are struck down with illnesses, addictions, doubts, etc. - this message from Andy Stanley is very timely. For those that doubt if God is with them during their times of trouble, this is the message for you.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - Independent Work On All our Parts

This week found each of us working very independently. We all had tasks that needed to be accomplished. Hubby had lots of loads of wood to unload and stack with more on the way next week. This is the first time in 13 years that we have had to purchase wood for the winter. With hubby working two jobs (his real job and tattooing) he is only home two days a week and that schedule has been the same for over a year. This doesn't leave much time for cutting down trees and seasoning the wood like we have done in the past. So much of his free time was spent working with wood and helping me a little at Cooperative.

New review product for the next six weeks - Fix It Grammar
My independent study time was devoted to lesson planning, writing two reviews that were due this week, cleaning the house, meal planning, reading and Cooperative business. I failed miserably at working one of my hobbies back into my down time. Mostly because I have been watching to much television, The Killing on Netflix to be exact.
We have gotten back on the exercise bandwagon and both me and Grace have tried to do something active every other night. This is a process and after not exercising for six weeks my body isn't wanting to cooperate. It is hard to get back in the groove. It is true what they say about making exercise a habit, and making anything a habit takes about two weeks.
With Grace growing up and starting 10th grade a couple of weeks ago I have had to come to a couple of realizations. One - these years just roll by way too fast. Two - she doesn't really need my help anymore with her school work. She takes everything into her room and every once in a while I will get a call or text message for a clarification of what to do then I don't see her for a few hours. It makes me sad that I am not as involved in her learning for this year as the past 8 years. I should be proud though that she can do it and that is the road I am trying to take at this point.
This week in history Grace started the fifth chapter in Dave Raymond's American History. This chapter involves information concerning the reformational colonies. In science she is learning mitosis, meiosis, transcription, DNA, RNA, and cell reproduction. She is so ready to get past the study of cells and into more human body information. Grace continues to watch CNN Student News each morning and I am so bumming that I don't get to watch it with her. Last year it truly was the highlight of each school day. She started the Bible over from the beginning and is reading a chapter from Genesis each day. In personal finance Grace read about filling out a resume and cover letter then did her own. She also reviewed some basic fraction problems in her map skills review workbook. This week Grace attended her first classes with Ms. Christy (Spanish and Literature). Grace loves the first book, The Outsiders. I knew she would as I loved it the first time I read it in middle school. I told her after she finished the book we could watch the movie off of Amazon from the 80s. Spanish is the class that is probably going to kick us in the gut each week. Lots of vocabulary words to learn and copy multiple times. This is an accelerated class which means she will get through two years of Spanish in one year - then we are done with foreign language requirements. Grace came to me a few days ago and was very stressed about the extra writing class we had signed her up to take. She felt with the other two classes outside of the home that it would be too much work on her. At first I was very bummed because I really wanted her to have this experience with this particular teacher, but the more work I see from the other classes I think she made a very grown up decision. Grace is also currently getting ready for an art show in October and finished a piece of Medusa this past week. I forgot to get a picture but will soon. The choice of Medusa may seem odd but the theme of the show is Myths and Legends so that kind of explains it in a nutshell.

All in all a very busy week for everyone in the household. Now to veg out over the week and get as many naps in as possible.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday, August 22, 2014

TOS Review - UberSmart Math Facts

UberSmart Math Facts Review
Math is definitely not a favorite subject in this household. I think it started all the way back in early elementary years when Grace had trouble memorizing addition and subtraction math facts. For some reason she didn't have as much trouble with multiplication and division. Regardless, it is incredibly important that early on your child learn a solid foundation of all the math facts to help them as they get older to work with higher math. My family was offered the opportunity to review UberSmart Math Facts from UberSmart Software through the TOS Review Crew. This is a new product that your family might be interested in checking out so that your students can get a good grasp on all those pesky little math facts that can sometimes be hard to remember.
UberSmart Math Facts is a downloadable software program available to computer systems containing Windows Vista, XP, 7 and 8. Once it is downloaded to your computer and your license code is entered it is yours to keep. This program is recommended for grades K - 6, but could be used by any aged student wishing to brush up on their basic math skills. This was actually the case for us. Grace just started 10th grade. I found last year that allowing her to use a calculator with Algebra for all the basic functions that some of the memorization starts to fade a little. So we concentrated on multiplication and division, especially using the compete section of the program. Currently this software retails for $24.95 and allows you up to 8 students to use it.
UberSmart Math Facts is not a game with lots of graphics and rewards. In these days of everything being entertaining, even education, this may put some students off. It really shouldn't. There are many kids and parents that would rather use the computer for one reason or another. Sometimes kids will do something on the computer that they won't do otherwise. Also this frees up time for the parent if they have other children in the home to teach as well. The UberSmart program has four sections for the students to utilize and two sections for the parents.

The learn section has beginner and intermediate choices. The beginner starts the younger students out with dot cards like domino flash cards. The intermediate choice will give the student traditional flashcards for the parameters that were chosen. At this point the student says the answer aloud then hits the show button to check it as opposed to typing the answer in.
UberSmart Math Facts Review

This section has more of the same with a choice between dots and flashcards only this time the student can enter the answer through the keyboard.
UberSmart Math Facts Review

This section provides the student with an assessment test to gain insight for a starting point. After much practice in other sections of the program the students can then test themselves by inputting the skill (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) and the number group.
UberSmart Math Facts Review

This was actually our favorite section. After choosing age range and skill the student can compete against other students also using the program. 
Report and Maintain

Parents will appreciate this section which allows you to check on your children's progress at every step of the program. The Maintain section helps the parent with maintenance and settings.
I did notice that clicking on the ? button takes you to the help pdf files that are currently under construction. This will eventually answer all questions that arise while using the program. We found the software very easy to navigate and had very few questions about how to use. In other words, it is pretty user-friendly. Even though this program was a bit young for a 10th grader to use (in my opinion), I do feel it is a useful tool for reviewing math facts at any age. I definitely would have loved to have this about five years ago when Grace was struggling with math facts. 
Please be sure to visit my Fellow Crewmates and see what they thought of UberSmart Math Facts.
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Review Crew

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Am Reading

First on the list is Mothering and Daughtering by Sil and Eliza Reynolds. Actually Grace and me are both reading this book. We are doing a book club with a couple of other friends that also have teenage daughters. The great concept about this book is the front of the book is written from the mother's point of view and the back of the book is from the daughter's point of view (actually written by the daughter). We start the book club in a couple of weeks.

Of course I am still crazy about the Outlander Series but am currently just on book 2. Each book ranges from a measly 700 pages (I say this sarcastically) to close to 1000. Only read a couple of chapters a night is a slow go, but I still enjoy it very much.

Lastly is When Children Love to Learn which I got on sale for 1.99 from Amazon. Again this one I am slowly reading through to review all the reasons I love a Charlotte Mason style education.