Families Again
Families Again
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Families Again
Friday, 2 April 2010
Critical Thinking is Right Down My Alley
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

My wife always says that I am too analytical. I watch a commercial, or music video a few times, and start seeing the irregularities. Things that most people wouldn't see. It drives Sarah up the wall. A few years ago, when we first began to homeschool, I received a copy of The Critical Thinking Company's catalog and said "Now that's the catalog for me!" When I found out that we were going to get to review a product from that company, I was thrilled.

The Critical Thinking Company sent me Language Smarts Level C - their second grade Language book. I was really glad to get it because Joshua was struggling in that area, but I have downloaded some of Critical Thinking's free materials and was very interested in what they were going to do with Language. You see, this company has a lot of products that really make you think. They exercise the brain. There are all kinds of logic and thinking puzzles and techniques that they use and although exercising the brain is good, I wondered how they were going to teach Language in the process. 

What I found when I got the book was that, yes, they still use many puzzles to give you a brain work-out but, they also teach you 2nd grade (and more advanced) language arts. However, here is the kicker. Most of the time they do it both at the same time. As they are teaching the language skills, they are teaching the student to think and analyze. That is exactly what Joshua needed.

This very well made, high quality book has everything you can think of that should be in 2nd grade language books plus more. Along with pages on proper grammar usage, compound words, contractions, writing and reading skills, they had pages that talked about mnemonics and palindromes and sections on comparing and contrasting and deductive reasoning. This book really makes you think, but they do it in a fun way, and with very clever and colorful illustrations. The author does encourage you that, although they want the student to work independently, you should be around to point them in the right direction and give them hints (not answers!). Here is a sample page on subject/verb agreement for you to see what I mean:

Critical thinking has never been one of Joshua's strong suits, and this curriculum has really helped in this area. And, for the suggested price of only $39.99 it is a real deal. The Critical Thinking Company began by publishing books to help a child think...well...critically but in recent years have begun to publish books for the entire curriculum. The Language Smart books are part of their "Core Curriculum" series, but they can also be used as a supplemental curriculum. If you are looking for books that really make your child think I would head over to The Critical Thinking Company's website. You can get to their by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Some of their other books were reviewed by the other TOS Homeschool Crew members and you can read their reviews by clicking here. I would even recommend these books for public/private school kids. They are so fun that your kids don't even know that they are learning. Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of The Critical Thinking Company's book - Language Smarts Level C in order to try out and review on my blog.



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Posted by tink38570 at 11:46 PM CDT
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Autism Awareness Month
Topic: Autism Awareness


Many of you may not be aware that this month is National Autism Awareness Month. In fact, today is World Autism Awareness Day. Most of you know that this syndrome has effected our family deeply. We have one child, Joshua, that has been diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum with Aspergers Disorder, and another child, Jacob, that has shown many of the same tendencies as Joshua and has thus far been diagnosed with sensory disorders, low muscle tone and speech difficulties. I am going to be highlighting many aspects of Autism in the coming weeks and have a surprise announcement that I can't quite make, yet, because it is still in the planning stages. This month, won't you make it a point to become aware of this affliction that effects 1 in every 110 children. If you don't have any relatives or friends that you can make yourself more awar for, do it for Joshua and Jacob.




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Posted by tink38570 at 9:40 PM CDT
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Topic: General
As you go through your Good Friday activities, reflect on these.

Thanks to my blogging friend, Marine Corps Nomads, for the idea.


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Posted by tink38570 at 1:09 PM CDT
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Thursday, 1 April 2010
Men's Monday Meme - Hot Topic Question
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Men's Monday Meme



I saw this on Blog Frog the other day but of course Blog Frog is mostly made up of women (although a few more men are joining up Laughing). Since I wanted to hear a men's perspective on it, I thought it would be an interesting question for the Men's Monday Meme. It was a Hot Topic question for the women, and I'm sure that there are going to be some interesting perspectives from their male counterparts as well. Are you ready? Here it is -

When Does Life Begin?

Some folks say at conception, others say at birth, and still more have answers that are in between. What do you think? I'd love to hear from you. You're supposed to have until Monday at midnight to answer, but many times, like this week, I run behind.

Here are 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. 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 new Mr. Linky:


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:06 PM CDT
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Wednesday, 31 March 2010
If "Family Mint" isn't Candy, Then What is it?
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

All right folks. I'm going to throw a few questions at you:

Have you ever thought that there had to be a better way to teach your kids about money management?

Do you always dread allowance day because your not sure you'll have the money to cover it?

Would you like a way to empower your kids to keep track of their own money?

Do you wish there was some kind of reliable tool to teach your kids what it's really like to keep a bank account?

Do your children always say "I'm going to save my money for this" or "I'm going to spend my money on that"?

Do you ever long for a way that you can help your kids set goals for their money?

Are you tired of your kids coming to you constantly asking for you to slip them some cash?

If you answered yes to any one of the above questions, then NEVER FEAR, FAMILY MINT IS HERE! Family mint is a really innovative way that you can answer all of the questions above. Here's how it works.

Family Mint is kind of like an online checking account that your kids can use. It has places for them to fill in deposits and withdrawals. It even has a place where they can set up goals. It really is like a bank account but here's the difference. You're the banker!

Now, there are some pro's and con's about being the banker. First the pro's. This isn't a real bank. There is no money kept in a safe. No records that anyone can hack and make money off of or steal an identity.

Now the cons. It really is like a real bank in that you are the banker. You set up the account with weekly automatic deposits for whatever your child's allowance is. They can move their money around in their account and can take out withdrawals if they would like. They can even deposit money that they have earned for extra things like baby sitting or lawn mowing. But of course when they doposit the money they have to give it to the banker. Of course that also means, that they can go to the "banker" - YOU - and ask for some of their money back. Which also means, if you are playing fair, that you need to give them the money for what they want. Still, you are the parent and can approve what they buy but if it's for a large purchase that they have been saving up for with your approval, then you had better have that money on hand.

Everything is really easy to set up. You, as the parent/banker would have to open the initial bank, then you and your children can set up their individual accounts. You can decide how much money to put in each week for an allowance, and, the program even allows, if you want, for you to set up interest that they can earn on their money. That encourages them to keep their money in the bank for longer periods. You can even set up matching funds for their "savings" accounts if they want.

After that, they are on their own. They can set up "savings" accounts for things that they want to save for and name that account whatever they want ~ "Computer Account", "College Fund", "New Bike Savings". The Family Mint program will even tell them how long they will have to wait if they put so much money into their savings account each week.

There is a slightly different look for the younger kids to make it more appealing, but the older kid's "online account" looks just like most online bank accounts. 

Of course, everything is secure. No information is given to anyone else. There really isn't enough information on there for anyone to do anything with anyway. Remember, this isn't a real bank account and there really isn't any money so no one can actually hack into the system and transfer money from your account to theirs. It's really kind of like an online program to keep track of your kid's money.

Want to see what everything really looks like and how it's done. Here's a short video clip from the Family Mint website.


Overview from FamilyMint Inc on Vimeo.


Okay, you might be saying, "But my kids are really too young for this". My answer would be, "Are they ever really too young to learn how to handle money?" Make it like a game. If you don't want to use real money, use play money. Almost all families have point systems or something like that. Revise the point system to use play money instead. They can sit down at the computer with you and see how much "money" they have to buy rewards with. Extra time to watch TV or more time on a video game. Buy a favorite toy or a special treat. It's all up to you how you want to set it up and then they can save up their "money" for something they want to buy.

Now you might be thinking. "Yeah, but how much am I going to have to save in order to buy this crazy program to help my kids save?" Are you ready for this? IT'S FREE! There is a "Pro" version coming soon, but all of the great things that I just talked about are absolutely free! So, what are you waiting for? Check out their website by clicking here or on any of the hi-lighted links above. As always, you can check out what the other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew thought about Family Mint by clicking here. Now, since money management is something that all kids, not just homeschool kids, need to learn, I'll say Happy Educating!  

 As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was asked to try the free version of Family Mint out and review it on my blog.


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Posted by tink38570 at 10:58 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 1 April 2010 12:40 AM CDT
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