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Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Update on BCM International's Haiti Efforts
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: BCM International


Just received another email from Marty Windle, BCM (Bible Centered Ministry) International's President, regarding BCM's Haiti recovery effort. Here it is in full:

Greetings from the President’s Desk.

Several of you have been praying for the Haiti situation. Our missionary Tommy Gambrill has safely returned. We are currently reviewing our findings, and will be deciding the best course of action and strategy in the next short while. We have been able to connect with several local churches and pastors, as well as the director of the Seminary in Port au Prince. Our efforts will most likely focus on helping the local church as they rebuild in the coming days. 

I will keep you updated as to our plans, and hopefully will have some pictures for you in the near future.


Marty Windle

BCM President

Thanks for all that you have done so far in assisting BCM International in this endeavor. Your prayers and contributions have been greatly appreciated. If you would like to contribute to BCM's Haiti relief fund or would like further information on BCM, please click on the BCM Haiti relief banner at the top of this post and it will take you to their website. 


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Posted by tink38570 at 11:26 PM CST
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Monday, 22 February 2010
Math Mammoth - A Behemoth of a Curriculum
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

I have really appreciated all of the math products that I have received to test this year. They have really helped my boys in many ways. The only problem is, that they were all supplemental programs. Either a game or a video to assist in the learning of math concepts. What I have really struggled with this year is a regular math curriculum for each of my boys. I have tried this and tried that but have not found anything that I really liked...until now!

I was excited just be getting a full curriculum to try, but now that I've tried it, I know that this is where we belong. Before I talk about what I really like like about Math Mammoth, let me tell you about my past experiences with homeschool math curriculum.

When I first took John  Allen out of school I searched and searched for a quality math program that would get John Allen ready for upper level math. I read about a program that didn't believe in spiraling. Spiraling is when you continue to review concepts year after year. You may begin addition in 1st grade, but you continue to review and build on it the next year and every year after that. The folks who like it, like the idea of reviewing things often. It keeps things fresh in their minds.

The folks that don't like it as well feel that there is too much fragmentation. They feel that a student never has enough time with one math topic. They are always moving on to something new. And, when it is finally time for them to get back to a math element, they have to spend so much time reviewing that they only have enough time to advance a small amount before they have to move on to something new again. They think that you should stick with one topic and learn it thoroughly before moving on to something else.

After doing a lot of reading on the latter approach, I was really intrigued, and thought that it might be perfect for John Allen. I was not disappointed. He really enjoyed the approach and seemed to excel. Until, the year that we couldn't afford the curriculum that we had been using. When we tried to find another cheaper curriculum, all we could find was the spiral approach. We had to pick and choose things from several Goodwill and Thrift shop purchases in order for him to get the information that he needed. There had to be a better way.

Enter Maria Miller's Math Mammoth Curriculum. Boy do I wish we would have found this sooner. She see's the value of both approaches and has found a way to combine the two. What she does is use the spiral approach, but doesn't include so many things in each years texts. For example, she chooses to include the basics in her first grade curriculum, but chooses to wait until a later grade to begin other. That allows for her to cover the things included in grade one more thoroughly without having to move quickly through each topic in order to get to something new. In fact, the Math Mammoth website states:

"I often introduce somewhat difficult topics in two grades. A few topics are "introductory" in one grade and "in focus" in the next."

This has been just what we needed for John Allen and the perfect curriculum for Joshua. Things are laid out very nicely in both the younger and older. The explanations for new things are done very well, with a lot of examples and with a lot of problems to practice on. Also, because Maria Miller doesn't have to move quickly to a new topic, she can go a little slower and be a little more thorough in her teachings. There pages are also not cluttered with a lot of cutesy visuals that I know would distract my children. It has been a win - win situation for both kids. 

OK. Are you still not convinced. Do you still like the single topic approach better? Is your student still struggling in a specific area and you need help on that topic? Here is a secret that I have been hiding from you. Maria Miller's Math Mammoth has something for all of the above. She actually has many different "series" of texts that you can buy depending on your needs. If you like the modified spiral approach, you can choose the grade leveled "Light Blue" series. If you would rather study using the single topic approach, look at the "Blue Series" which is very similar to spiral books but with a single topic in each. If you need more work on a specific topic, use the "Green Series"  (worksheets by topic) or the "Gold Series" (worksheets by grade). The worksheets contain many of the same problems as the Blue and Light Blue curriculum but with out all of the explanation. Depending on the series, Math Mammoth is available for grades 1-5 (full curriculum) and subjects from grades 1 - algebra one for the subject series. More grades are expected to be added in the near future. Those would be perfect for public or private school kids that just need some extra help.

Still not convinced? Don't worry, Math Mammoth has you covered with that as well. There are two ways that you can receive 280 worksheets Surprised! Yes, I said 280 free worksheets! Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to go to the Math Mammoth website to check it out. There prices are very reasonable and range in price depending on what you get. For example, there first grade curriculum is divided into two halves. The first half is priced at $11.90 + shipping for a printed copy to $15.50 for the downloadable version. I like the downloadable ones because you can just print out what you need and you are also allowed to use them with multiple kids in multiple years if you would like. They also have package deals that give you a discount if you are buying more than one grade level. Did I mention that they even have a downloadable worksheet maker for you to make your own worksheets if you want? This company has everything. Don't take my word for it only though, check out the reviews of the other TOS Crew Members by clicking here. Happy Home Educating. 

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent free downloads of Math Mammoth's Light Blue Grade One and Light Blue Grade Five in order to try out and review on my blog.


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:21 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 23 February 2010 12:02 AM CST
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Sunday, 21 February 2010
Viva La Patria Bolivia
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General

I put "General" down as the topic for this post because I couldn't figure out which Topic was really the best to put down. Do I put "BCM International", because BCM has a very large and fruitful ministry in Bolivia? Do I assign it to the "Compassion International" category because that is where our compassion child, is from? Should I put "Ministry" since everything we do we consider it to be ministry, including sponsoring Marcelo? I couldn't decide so I just put general.

Anyway, on to what this video is all about. I got the link from my friend Kee's who sponsors many Compassion International children in Bolivia. It is of a famous patriotic song from that country. First the video featuring the song and scenes from all around Bolivia.


Now for the translation:

Viva mi patria Bolivia
una gran nación
por ella doy mi vida
también mi corazón.

Esta canción que yo canto
la brindo con amor
a mi patria Bolivia
que quiero con pasión.

La llevo en mi corazón
y le doy mi inspiración.
Quiera mi patria Bolivia
como la quiero yo.


Long live my homeland Boliva
a great nation;
for her I give my life
as well as my heart.

This song I sing
I dedicate with love
to my homeland Bolivia
which I passionately love.

I bear her in my heart
and give her my inspiration.
May you love my homeland Boliva
as I love her.

For more information on BCM International or on Compassion International just press on their names and it will take you straight to their websites. For more information on our ministry here in Livingston, please click here to go to our prayer letter blog.



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Posted by tink38570 at 2:07 PM CST
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Saturday, 20 February 2010
Men's Monday Meme - I have failed!
Mood:  down

Yes, I have failed. Not only have I been late, again, to post my new question, but I also haven't answered the past two questions myself! Ah, well, I will try to catch up someday. This does bring me to what I might consider the question of the week. To try to make up for being late, this is an easy question and I will leave it up until Tuesday at midnight. At that time I will post a Hot Topic Question!

So what is the fitting question for this week? Here it is:

What is the biggest blunder that you have made in your life?

Now to remind you of the rules.


  1. This is a man's meme, so the answers must be the answers from a man. Either the man can answer on his blog, or a wife can interview her husband for her blog. However, if the wife puts it on her blog, she must stay true to what her husband said.
  2. You are encouraged to put one of the Men's Monday Meme buttons found to the left on your blog. Just copy the code below the button of your choice. The more folks who link, the more readers you may have to visit your blog.
  3. You may answer the question any time during the week up through next Monday (Tuesday for this week). After you answer the question, add the address to your post to the Mr.Linky below. If you could, please only add the direct link to the post to make it easier for readers to find the entry.
  4. My answer along with a new question will be posted next Monday. The new Mr. Linky will be added at midnight Monday night.

And here's the Mr. Linky -



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Posted by tink38570 at 11:04 PM CST
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Friday, 19 February 2010
Write Like a President - Use Zeezok's Presidential Penmenship
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


One of my son, Joshua's main problems is his handwriting. One of the reasons that he has such difficulty is his asperger's syndrome. His small motor complications really hinder his ability to write. We have used various methods and approaches, but it is still hard for him to write legibly.

I was excited when I heard that we were receiving Zeezok's Presidential Penmanship Italic Style to try out and review on my blog. I was very unknowledgeable regarding Italic Style writing until I did some research. Italic Style printing looks very similar to regular block printing except for two things. It is a little more slanted, and it has a "tail" at the end of some of the letters. Here is a small sample from one of the first grade lessons:


You can see that the t's and f's are a little more curved than they are in regular block print. One of the reasons that they do that, however, is to make a better flow into cursive writing. They take the same letters as above, but connect them. Here is an example of Italic Cursive writing.This is where you'll really see a difference between Italic style and regular cursive.


I was really intrigued by this because I was dreading having to teach Joshua a completely different way to write in a couple of years since he is having such a difficult time with print the way it is. With the Italic style, he will just have to learn how to connect the letters that he already knows how to form.

The Italic style of printing and writing is not unique to just Zeezok, however. Any company can put out an Italic Style writing program. Let me tell you why I think Zeezok's is a step above the rest. 

1. I really like the progression. At the very beginning of each weeks writing assignment is the quote that the student will be using for the week. The above are examples of that. The next step is what I really like about their printing pages. The student has to fill in bubbles to learn how to form the letters properly. Here is an example:

As you can see, there is a starting point for each letter so that the student knows where to begin. The writing is also done in very guided balloon type bubbles so that the student knows exactly how a letter is to be formed. 

The next day the begin tracing letters like this:

They do that for the rest of the week until Friday when they are given blank lines for them to write the passage without aids. 

The cursive writing begins in third grade and has a very similar procedure except they skip the bubble step. After all, the student already knows how to form the basic letter. So, the whole week they tracing, until Friday when they must write the passage on their own.

2. The second thing that I really like about this curriculum is what they are writing. Outside of the Bible, I can think of nothing better than to write some of the greatest quotes from our United States Presidents. Along with the quotes above from George Washington, there are famous sayings from many of our other countries leaders. Many of them are very Christian quotes like the following from John Quincy Adams.

 Our Constitution was made
only for a moral and religious
people. ~ John Adams

And the next quote:

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. ~ G. Washington

In this day and age of political correctness, and trying to rewrite our countries history, this is a great way to instill within our children the religious foundations on which our country was founded.

For those of you who don't like this style of writing, Zeezok has the same Presidential Penmanship program available in other styles of writing such as

  • AB (A-Beka) Handwriting Style
  • BJ (Bob Jones) Handwriting Style
  • DN (D'Nealian) Handwriting Style
  • HWOT (Hand Writing Without Tears) Handwriting Style
  • ZB (Zaner Bloser) Handwriting Style

You can access examples of the different styles of writing by clicking here.

One small warning. This is not a writing program that teaches the formation of each letter individually. It does not contain letter a practice sheets, letter b practice sheets, etc. The first sample above is from the first week of grade one printing of the Presidential Penmanship program. If your child is not familiar with the basic formation of the different letters, then I would recommend covering them first before buying this program.

I would definitely recommend this program, and, from what I hear from the other Crew members, any of Zeezok's items. Other TOS Crew members reviewed other items and there reviews can be found by clicking here. Zeezok's Presidential Penmanship is priced very reasonably. You can either purchase ebook downloads of the different grade levels (1-6, Junior High, Senior High) for $9.99 each, or purchase the whole set as an ebook download for $39.99. If you would like, you can also order the whole set on CD for $39.99. There are sample pages for all of the Presidential Penmanship styles that you can download and try out before purchasing by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Again this is one of those products that can be used by homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike so ~ Happy Home Educating.

As a member if the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of Zeezok's Presidential Penmanship Italic Style CD in order to try out and review on my blog.








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Posted by tink38570 at 10:30 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 20 February 2010 12:49 AM CST
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