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Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Alphabet Beats - I've Got a Secret...Oops...I've Already Used that One!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


I guess you've already heard about me being an educational therapist in the past. I worked with children who had learning problems. One of the many techniques that we used was called "Rhythmic Writing". Rhythmic Writing uses a series of rhythmic strokes to form cursive letters. The technique is used for so much more than learning how to write, but good cursive handwriting is a nice bi-product.

When I first saw Alphabet Beats from The TV Teacher, I was very intrigued because it looked very similar to Rhythmic Writing but for printing instead of cursive. When I finally got Alphabet Beats, I found that it was so much more! It not only teaches you how to write better, it also teaches you letter sounds and social skills. All in a very entertaining way! Take a look at this sample video for the letter p.

That's just a fraction of what you see when you watch the real video for each lesson. Isn't Ms. Marnie hilarious? You can see why Joshua likes watching so much. Let me describe how we work through each lesson. 

  1. The first thing that we do is watch the video for a specific letter together. During that video we will trace the letter on the screen or in the air along with Ms. Marnie.
  2. Then I give Joshua a slate with some chalk, a pencil with a good eraser and a copy of the paper that you see Ms. Marnie using. You can find a link to download and copy the paper on the Alphabet Beat website. 
  3. I then let Joshua go at it himself. I have already taught him the proper posture and way to hold the pencil, but I do check on him periodically. We use my laptop to watch the video, and he knows how to stop it if he needs to. He loves it!
  4. After he is through with each step, he will show me the slate or show me the paper and I will help him to make any corrections that are needed.

This is what I do for Joshua. Now, keep in mind that Joshua already knows how to basically make all of his letters but has a very difficult time remembering how to make them, and just plain old making them. With a child that is just learning how to write, you may have to stay in the same room with him the entire time.

I really like Alphabet Beats because it teaches your child how to make each letter in a very rhythmic way. Your brain likes rhythm. It helps you to learn. Remember how kids learn their letters? By singing the alphabet song. Do you recall how your child learned the days of the week or months of the year? By using poems or songs. All have rhythm and rhythm helps you to learn. I have read many studies on how beneficial learning is.

Another plus for me is that it is very visual and repetitive. You see the letter and draw the letter in many different ways - tracing it in the air or on top of a picture of the letter, using a piece of chalk on a chalk board, and using pencil and paper. If you have a child that is just learning his letters, but may not be ready to begin printing, you can just have them trace the letters with his finger as he watches the video. Or perhaps you have a child that has small motor problems. Have him trace the letters on the chalk board (small slates are easy to find and fairly inexpensive) before progressing to the pencil and paper.

That brings me to another reason I really like Alphabet Beats. It is a short five minute lesson on a CD. Believe me, the five minutes goes by quickly because it is so entertaining, but if it is too much for your child, watch it in two or three parts. If your child doesn't quite "get it" the first time, he can watch it over and over again or even repeat the lesson for several days. Is your child a quick learner? Do two or more letters in one sitting.


The program is very flexible and easy. You can use it as your regular curriculum or as a supplement to another curriculum. You can use it if your child goes to public/private school and just needs more help in his writing. They are very inexpensive as well. You can buy either the Lower Case DVD or the Upper Case DVD separately for just $35 or as a set for $64.99. If you would rather have workbook pages instead of the downloads, they are available as companions for either DVD at $4.49 for the Beginning Writer's Workbook or $4.99 for the Advanced Writer's Workbook. They also sell a DVD entitled "Strokes, Shapes and Scenes" that helps with pre-writing skills ($24.95 DVD, $4.99 Workbook). Several package deals are also available. To check out this fantastic program just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Some of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed the Upper-case letter CD and some reviewed the Lower-case CD. To find out what the other Crew members had to say, click here. Happy Home Educating!    

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of The TV Teacher's Alphabet Beats Lower Case Letters DVD in order to try out and review on my blog.



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Posted by tink38570 at 11:53 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 April 2010 11:55 PM CDT
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Monday, 19 April 2010
Reading Quiz - This Was Kind of Fun!
Topic: General

Have you ever gotten one of those "answer these questions and then send it on to all of your friends to answer" type things? I enjoy reading them and answering them to myself, but very rarely copy them. This one, however, caught my attention since I like to read. Unfortunately, although I do enjoy a classic every once in a while, I don't read them often enough. I only scored 19 real points on this one. How about you? My "x's" along with some comments will be in blue.

Book Dare
The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read. Tag other BookNerds.


1 Pride and Prejudice-

2 The Lord of the Rings -
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - X Yes, I actually read Jane Eyre and Liked it!
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling -  X I read one to find out what it was like. Does that count as one? I didn't count it in my 17 though since it says "series".

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee -
6 The Bible - X Can I count it two or three times?
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - 
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell - X Who wasn't required to read this in high school?
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman -
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens -

Section 1

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott -

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy -
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller -
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare -
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - 
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - X Love it but haven't gotten around to the Lord of the Rings yet.
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher In The Rye -
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger-
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot -

Section 2

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell- X I know! Another crazy one that I've read and actually enjoyed. 

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - 
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens -
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy -
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams -
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck -
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - 
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame - X Many moons ago!

Section 3

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy-

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens- 
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - X Can I count this as 7? Guess not.
34 Emma - Jane Austen -
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis -  X At least I get an extra point because this one is listed separately. I wonder why.
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden -
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne -

Section 4

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell -
X Another high school read.
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - Didn't read but must comment - a classic? Why would it be on the list?

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving- 
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery -
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy -
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood -
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - X Actually kind of enjoyed it. In a twisted way I guess.
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

Section 5

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel-

52 Dune - Frank Herbert -
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons-
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen -  X Jane Austen's my hero. Not, but I do enjoy some of her books.

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens -
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - X Yet another high school read.
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon - 
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez-

Section 6

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck -

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov -
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt -
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold -
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas - X Another good read.

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac -
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy -
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville -

Section 7

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens -

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker -
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - X Read it after I saw one of the many movies of it.
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce -
76 The Inferno – Dante -
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt -

Section 8

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - X Read the book and the play. Many times. 

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker -
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert-
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - X Really young read.
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alb-
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - 
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

Section 9

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad -

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery -
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - X Can't remember what happened, but remember it was good.
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - X I've read at least one Shakespeare play.
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- X Another very young read.
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

This was rather fun. It took my mind off of something I'm kind of upset about. Why am I upset. It's nothing big and kind of dumb really but something happened today on Facebook that really aggravated me. I'll wait until I'm calmed down then tell you all about it.



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Posted by tink38570 at 10:51 PM CDT
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Sunday, 18 April 2010
Men's Monday Meme - Late Again!
Mood:  blue
Topic: Men's Monday Meme

The only reason I'm "Blue" is because I am once again late on posting a new question. Therefore, I will give you a couple of extra days to answer this one.

Speaking of being blue. I have an interesting question this week that may be a Hot Topic question for some. It's one that I have struggled with for some time. I used to be totally against most medications. I didn't like ADHD meds. nor meds. for things like depression etc. Well, as I often say, the Lord has a sense of humor. I have a child on two types of medications (working toward the day that he can be off of them, but on them still nonetheless) and after two significant life changing things that happened in our lives, both my wife and I have had bouts of depression and have used anti-depressants. So, obviously, my views have changed. Do I still think they are over prescribed? Yes! But I am no longer totally against them. So, here is the big question for this week.

How about you? What do you think about those types of medications? Are they over-prescribed? Do you think that we should be totally relient on God and not use such things? I'm anxious to hear your answers!

Let me 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. 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 7:55 PM CDT
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Saturday, 17 April 2010
John Allen Places Third (Maybe Second) in the sitting postion at States but it's Bittersweet.
Mood:  sad
Topic: The Kids

Yesterday Joshua had to learn a lesson the hard way, and today John Allen had to learn a lesson the hard way. No physical injuries but hurts just as badly.

Today was the Tennessee State BB Gun Championships. John Allen was wanting to do well after having a great season last year, and coming in fifth this year at the pre-state match.The only problem was, he didn't want to put as much of an effort in this year as he did last year.

Last year we practiced a lot. We went every Saturday to regular practice then went one or two days to the range to practice more. How many days did we go this year. NONE! It was not entirely his fault. With all of the problems we've been having with Jacob, there wasn't as much time. But, we did have some. Unfortunately every time I had the time and urged him to go, he didn't want to go.

Well, is showed today. Today was probably one of his worst matches. Amazingly enough, he has never placed in an individual position before and today he did. The one position that he did well in he placed either second or third. They are going to recheck the targets and let us know.

Oh well, we had already said that we were going to sit the International competition out this year so that he could go next year ~ the last year he's able. The rules say that you can't go two years in a row, so if he went this year, he couldn't go next. He feels bad, but hopefully he's learned his lesson. If you want to excel at something you have to put forth the effort.

Pictures will be posted when we get them.



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Posted by tink38570 at 10:31 PM CDT
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Friday, 16 April 2010
Never a Dull Moment at the Tinkel House!
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: The Kids

Notice my mood says "accident prone", but it really isn't me that is the accident prone one it is Joshua, our middle child. If you follow me on Facebook you will know that Joshua was in the "Forbidden Forest" behind our house. The kids are not allowed in it because of all of the trash that has been dumped in there over the years. Well, you guessed it, sure enough Joshua went back there and stepped on a piece of glass. Three stitches and a tetanus shot later, he is back home with a bandaged foot (pictures of said foot will be posted soon). Hopefully he, his brothers and the neighbor kids have learned their lesson.

I always hate it when one of the kids get hurt. I guess I have the father syndrome that wants to protect my family and hates it when something happens that is out of my control. I was probably as nervous as Joshua was...and that is pretty bad. Sarah said that he was brave for the most part.

Please be in prayer for the next couple of weeks. It is going to be hard to keep our hyper child down and off his foot. Your prayers are coveted. As I said, I will post pictures soon.

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:02 PM CDT
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