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Families Again
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Thursday's Child - A New Picture of Marcelo!
Mood:  happy
Topic: Compassion International

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I saw a new face on my Compassion International profile page. I thought maybe they had added a new correspondent child even though I hadn't asked for one. But, Lo and Behold, it was an updated picture of Marcelo! I was so excited that I wrote to him right away. Then, this morning, I thought maybe there had been some mistake. Surely this tall skinny handsome young man couldn't be our Marcelo. I actually thought about calling Compassion and asking if there had been an error. Instead, though, I asked a few of my friends that sponsor kids and showed them the above before and after picture. Most said that yes, they thought that it was the same boy. They noticed many similarities of the facial features. So, I thought I would do my own facial comparison and came up with this:

Sure enough, if you look closely you will see the same nose and the same eyes. It is our Marcelo all right. They only update the pictures every two years, so, unless we go to visit them or the Compassion center happens to send a picture for some reason, then the only visual we have is the latest one that we have been given. I knew Marcelo had turned 13, but it was hard to imagine him with anything but fat little cheeks and that type of haircut.

I was thinking today how much that picture even effected my letters to him. Now that I have a new visual image of a young man and not a boy, I'm sure my letters will change.

It is such a joy be able to sponsor and write to children that are way less fortunate than we are.  We have so much, and we take for granted some of the luxuries that we do have. Have you ever thought of sponsoring a child through Compassion? Have you been praying about it? You can check out some of the children's profiles and read about the children without any obligation to sponsor them. Just click here to get to the Compassion website. If you have any questions about sponsorship, please ask by leaving a comment below.



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Posted by tink38570 at 9:07 PM CDT
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Don't Turn that Dial! Yes, It's Another Math Review, but It's Out of This World!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Okay, okay, it's a play on words. The excellent math program that we got to review is called Math Galaxy from the company Galaxy of Education but, it really is "out of this world". You won't believe everything that is available, and it is fantastic! Now, when you see the screen shots that I'm going to show you, you may think that it looks technologically blase, but, never fear, it really isn't. My kids love it.

The folks on the Crew were able to download anything that we thought would be helpful to our kids. I chose to download their Whole Number Fun program for Joshua and the Pre-Algebra Fun for John Allen. Since it would take too long to explain both programs, I'm just going to focus on the Whole Number Fun program that Joshua tried out. Now, just because they have the word "fun" in them does not mean that the programs are all fun and games. Each program is actually a tutor that you can use with your child for a whole year. Here is a list of the rest of the great computer programs that you can download:

  • Decimals, Proportion, % Fun
  • Fractions Fun
  • Whole Number Fun
  • Pre-algebra Fun
  • Word Problem Fun

The followin is a picture of all of the different things that are included in Joshua's Whole Number Fun program. This is an actual screenshot of what you first see when you enter their program.

As you can see, this program covers everything. And, it's fun to use! I wanted to begin Joshua on basic adding because I wanted to make sure that he had the basic concepts down pat. When I clicked on the "adding" button, I expected the screen to go straight to some problems for Joshua, but there was yet another screen with more choices. We could choose Addition Tables ~ choosing a number and practicing all of those single digit number facts either in order or randomly. Or we could choose adding on a number line, 1, 2, or 3 digit addition, or if your child is having problems learning addition using the traditional method, you can even choose an alternative method. They had it all covered! That was just what you could choose after clicking on the addition button The other buttons had similar choices! Here are a couple of the screen shots from one addition problem that was given. The first shot is of the problem as it first appears on the screen. The second shot is of of the completed problem. When completed, the program automatically regroups and numbers appear to help cement the process in the child's mind. I really like that.

It may be a little hard to see because I had to resize the pictures in order to fit them in my blog, but I think you get the idea.

But that is just the regular program we are talking about here. There is so much more that Math Galaxy has to offer. There are reward programs that students can play that are just as fun. Joshua loves the Riddles game. Here is a screen shot of it. I think you can figure out how to play. Give it a try!

But, that's not all!!!! If your kids can't get enough of the computer games, there is a worksheet maker where you can print more riddles out to take with you or use during non-computer school time. What fun! There are worksheet generators for Decimals, proportions, %; Fractions; and whole numbers. 

Okay, are you ready? That's not all that Math Galaxy has to offer! They also have workbooks that you can download! Presently there are two ebooks that you can download - Math Galaxy Fraction Riddles; Math Galaxy Whole Number Riddles; Math Galaxy Decimals, Proportions, %; and Math Galaxy Pre-Algebra.

This company has everything and everything is well done. By this time you are probably asking how much all of this cost. Well, it isn't as bad as you think. Each stand alone computer program and worksheet generator is just $24.95. Remember, they are stand alone programs, so there is no monthly on-line fee or anything like that. Once you buy them they are yours to use for years to come. The ebooks are only $12.95. They as well can be printed out for multiple children and used for years to come for your whole family.

There are some online games and sample things for you to try before buyint on their site, so just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Different TOS Crew members focused on different programs, so you might want to click here to read what they had to say about Math Galaxy. As always, since this is something that can be used by all students homeschooled or not, Happy Home Educating!








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Posted by tink38570 at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 15 April 2010 4:32 PM CDT
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Wednesday, 14 April 2010
All Right Everyone...Time 4 Learning!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Do you remember back to the times that you went to school? Wasn't it always fun when you had a good teacher that made learning exciting? When your teacher said something like "All right children. It's time to get settled for class" everyone was eager to find out what would happen and what they would learn.

Well, I've found a computer program that is so fun to use that Jacob (our four year old - Yes, Jacob!) doesn't wait to be called, he comes and begs me to get on it. AND, it's educational! It's called Time4Learning and it really is a great program for preschoolers. In fact, it's so good, that Sarah and I have promised to purchase it after our trial run is over.

This program has everything. From introducing shapes, numbers and letters to teaching about the weather, food and feelings. In fact, it has twenty topics to choose from just in pre-school level one. Here's a picture of the start page minus the bottom two rows of pictures (I couldn't fit them on the screen).

You begin by choosing a category. I let Jacob pick one himself since we are just now beginning his formal learning. If you are using this to supplement your curriculum, or perhaps as your curriculum, you could do the choosing yourself. When you choose a category, you usually get a screen that looks something like this:


This is the screen for the Space subject. Almost all of the subjects have about five activities to do. Most have "Storybook" and "Showtime". They introduce a new concept in very entertaining ways. "Showtime" also has an interactive activity at the end of it. There are several other activities like "Patterns" where you have to complete the pattern and "Paint" where a picture comes up that you get to "Paint" after you pick up a color with your online paintbrush and place it where you want it to go on your picture. Several of the activities are repeated in different subjects. For example, the Shape subject also has the "Paint" activity. Some of the other activities that are used with other subjects are "Match-it", "Find-it", "Memory Match" and "Syllable Drum". All of the activities are age appropriate and fun but also very educational. When a child has completed an activity, there is a check put on the picture. In the picture above, you can see that Jacob has completed the activies for "Showtime", "Paint-it" and "Patterns". When all of the activities in a category are done, then a check is placed on the subject box in the main screen as well. Don't worry if your child has completed a favorite activity. You can still go back to that activity as many times as you want.

Now, since Jacob is so young, I am usually right there at all times to watch and help if needed, but with older kids (other, age appropriate subjects and activities are included for them) there is a special report page where parents can check on their progress in the different subjects and activities. There are also new features being added all of the time. 

When Jacob is done with all or most of the Pre-school Level 1 topics, then there is a whole set of new topics complete with different activities to challenge him. So, the neat thing about it is that he is always learning a new subject and new, very educational, activities as well. Here is a screen print of some of the Level 2 activities:

Okay! Here's the really neat part. Did you see that extra little circle with the kids playing on the see-saw? That is the playground area. I call it the "Award Area". Time4Learning has linked into a lot of great educational games that other companies and websites have produced and they allow you to play them. What's the clincher? They have it timed so that you can only play them for 15 minutes each. So, you can allow your kids to complete a Time4Learning activity then reward them with another fun educational game.

Time4Learning goes up to 8th grade. When you sign up you have to program what grade level you want your child to start in. But, never fear, if you've signed up for the wrong level, or if you child progresses quickly, they allow you to change grade levels.

As I mentioned before, Jacob asks to do Time4Learning. He loves it! And, anything educational that my kids ASK to do is worth it to me. This is a keeper. So, how much is this great program? It's only $19.95 a month for the first child and $14.95 a month for each additional child! When you think about it, it is really comparable to many of the ridiculous online games that kids play these days and, remember, Time4Learning is educational! To find out more about Time4Learning, just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Some of the other TOS Crew members reviewed other levels, so you can check out there reviews by clicking here. Since Time4Learning can be used as a supplemental resource even kids that go to public/private school can use it at home. So, instead of saying "Happy Homeschooling", today I'm going to close by saying "Happy Home Educating"!






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Posted by tink38570 at 10:12 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 15 April 2010 1:46 PM CDT
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The Lobster Network! - What in the World is That?
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: General
Don't you just love it when I put up a teaser?
LobsterNetwork.com Item Networking 
More on this later!

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Posted by tink38570 at 3:41 PM CDT
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Tuesday, 13 April 2010
This Says It All
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General

The following picture was taken during our visit to the Creation Museum a couple of days ago (thanks, again, for the tickets Barbara!). I'll post more pictures along with some highlights soon. For now, though, meditate on the message.



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Posted by tink38570 at 9:56 PM CDT
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