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Monday, 4 April 2011
Haven't Been Very Active But...
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General

A new series is coming!

We just got back from the MidWest Homeschool Conference and I have a series of three or four posts about our adventures. The first will appear tomorrow and it has something to do with "The Clampetts Go To Cincinnati"!

Should be interesting Surprised!

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:45 PM CDT
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Wednesday, 30 March 2011
My Son the Linguist! Another Reason not to Worry About Retirement!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


When we first began to homeschool, our oldest, was going in to fourth grade and the other two weren't in school yet. We wanted John Allen to have the best education possible. One that he couldn't get in the public school system. I did some research and found a great Latin program that was geared toward elementary kids. He liked it so much that I planned on teaching all of my kids Latin when they were old enough.

Unfortunately it was about that same time that we began noticing major problems with our middle child, Joshua, and began the process of trying to find out what was wrong. After a couple years of misdiagnoses or incomplete diagnosis we finally were thrilled to finally get to the bottom of what was was causing his difficulties. He had asperger's syndrome - which is on the autism spectrum. However, although we were relieved, we also knew that our son would never learn the same as other children his age. One of the furthest things from our mind was trying to teach him another language. That just seemed out of the question...until this year.

If you remember, about a month ago I wrote a review on a great online Spanish program that Joshua loved. Nevertheless, when we had an opportunity to review a Latin program by Classical Academic Press that was on his level, I had reservations. He loved Spanish and wanted to continue with the program that I reviewed. Could he handle Latin as well? Could he handle Latin at all? We decided to try it and find out. We were not disappointed.

Although we aren't as far in it as we had hoped because of the death of my mom and the illness of Sarah's mom, we have had a lot of fun with Song School Latin and are planning to continue with both the Spanish program and his new Latin program.

One of the biggest helps with the Spanish program was the great songs that went with the new words that he was learning. Well, sure enough, Song School Latin is true to its name. The back bone of the program is it's catchy songs. The songs, the wonderful, easy layout of the program, and the fun workbook are what has sold us on this curriculum that is geared toward Kindergarten through Second Grade students. The fact that he has loved it helped alot of course!


There is really no set number of days that you have to do this program. I will tell you that each of the 31 Chapters has three to five workbook pages that the student works with so it would be very easy to take a week for each Chapter. Every four or five chapters is a review week (seven total) and those usually have more workbook pages and could take more than a week to do. Therefore, if you wanted to work quickly and do more than one workbook page a day, you could easily complete this in about half of a school year or, if you took it at a slower pace you could use it as a whole year study.

We have been taking the first day to go over the new words (each chapter has up to five) and listening to the songs (most chapters have one but some have more). Then, throughout the rest of the week, we will listen to the song (s) again, and do one of the workbook pages. The instructors manual has copies of the workbook pages with the answers and has extra practice pages that you can copy for your student if you feel he needs more review. By the way, if you have a preference of Classical or Ecclesiastical Pronunciations, the song CD has all of the songs sung with both pronunciations. So, just click on the one that you want your child to learn!

The following video is not of my son, but this could very well be my son singing one of the catchy tunes during the day.


Each of the regular chapters has some type of matching or filling in the blank section, but they all have a place where your student can practice his printing skills by doing a "trace the dot" where they trace the new words or phrases for the chapter. They also have a really neat section that's called "Grow Your English" where your child learns what English words came from the words that they are studying in that chapter.

The review chapters have the matching and fill in the blank questions to review the previous words but also has a really fun chapter story where a familiar story is told but with some words replaced with Latin words. For some reason the three little pigs asking "Quid est tuum praenomen?" (What is your name?) and getting the answer "Meum praenomen est wolf." (My name is wolf.) struck us as funny.

As you can tell, I am really thrilled about this beginning Latin curriculum. When he is finished, Joshua will have learned over 100 Latin words that deal with such things as manners, people, pets, weather, the body and even Christmas. And, you really can't beat the price. The bundle price, where you get the Student Book and CD, the Teacher's Book and a fun matching game called the Latin Monkey Match Flashcard Game, is only $64.95. You can find out more about this and levels of Latin curriculum by clicking here or on any of the hi-lighted links above. Speaking of other levels, some of the other TOS Crew Members reviewed other levels and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a Student Copy (including listening CD), Teacher's Copy and a partial set of the Latin Monkey Match Flashcard Game in order to try out and review on my blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:28 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, 1 April 2011 10:31 PM CDT
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Tuesday, 29 March 2011
God's Healing Words - A First Wild Card Blog Tour Book
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Book Reviews

God works in mysterious ways. You may not know why things happen, but God does. You may imagine how something small will be used for His glory, but God knows.

When I first read the email from First Wild Card saying that God's Healing Words: Your pocket guide of Scriptures and prayers for health, healing, and recovery by Siloam was being offered to us for review, I felt drawn to review this book but didn't know quite why. Life has not been easy the past few years. Many things have happened that could very well be faith shakers and, although I'm not mad at God, I have had very angry spells. I thought that perhaps this was why I was drawn to this book. Perhaps I was drawn to it because I needed to be healed emotionally and learn how to recover. 'Maybe I was drawn to it because recently I have seen the great value of quoting and memorizing scriptures that pertain to a particular subject or problem area. Whatever it was, I asked to review it write away and was blessed to be chosen. I have not been disappointed. It has truly been a blessing.

The "mysterious" part of God's plan was what happened when I received the book in the mail. I just happened to be working over at  "The Mission" (our ministry building) when the mail ran. I went out to get the mail, opened up the package in the mailbox and pulled out this book. When I set it down on a table inside, one of the ladies, a frequent attendee and a great help to us, saw the title and picked it up. I didn't realize that she had done this until a few days later when she asked me to do something for her. Her son-in-law is seriously ill with cancer and she was making him a photo album. She asked me if I would print out some verses about healing that she saw in "that book" that was lying on the table a few days before. She wanted to include them in the album. Just the little that she had read - and she can't read very well - had really touched her. Of course, I printed them out.

So, you see, this book has blessed not one but two families in many ways. I won't go great detail about the book. You can read all about it below. I will say, however, that it is well worth the small price. Who can really put a price on God's words anyway - healing or otherwise? Buy this book and be blessed.


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

God's Healing Words: Your pocket guide of Scriptures and prayers for health, healing, and recovery

Siloam (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


With more than four million books sold, Siloam is the undisputed leader in Christian health publishing with over two hundred published books. The combined experience of Siloam’s authors represents more than three hundred years of experience, research, and wealth of knowledge. Now we are pleased to offer you this inspirational book on healing.


This insightful little book provides you with what the Bible has to say about healing, allowing you to meditate on healing scriptures, and then pray for yourself and your loved ones to receive the precious promise of healing God has given us in the Bible.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Siloam (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781616381554
ISBN-13: 978-1616381554
ASIN: 1616381558


I am the Lord who heals you.

—Exodus 15:26

The three-year-old girl was asked by the reporter to tell him her father’s name. She looked bewildered, grasped her father’s hand more tightly, and then replied softly, “Daddy.” Her father—a five-star army general and highly decorated, powerfully influential man—smiled tenderly at his daughter upon hearing her response. To her young mind, he was not a man in her life with auspicious titles, honors, or even a first and last name. He was only a very special person she called “Daddy.” In that title resided all she needed in her young life: love, provision, protection, fun, security, and comfort. To others he might be “General” or “Sir”; to this little girl he was simply “Daddy.” What’s in a name? According to Webster’s dictionary, a name is a “designated distinction of a person or thing.” It describes the character, quality, status, location, and significance of whatever it is attached to. Names of persons in biblical cultures had much greater significance of meaning than they do in our modern culture. They reflected an aspect of the nature of the person. Often a child was named “prophetically” according to a defining characteristic, divine destiny, or a significant event surrounding his or her birth.

The better we know Jesus, the more we are convinced of the magnitude of His redemption! We have done nothing to deserve it, and we can do nothing to repay Him for it. [His redemption] was born in Love, cradled in Mercy, and imparted in Grace. It covers body, soul, and spirit! It touches every part of man. It permeates his will. It transforms his nature. It converts his disposition. So wonderful is it in its operation that not in doctrine, but in actuality, we are made new creations in Christ Jesus! —Charles S. Price

For example, Jacob, which means “supplanter or cheat,”2 characterized the deceitful nature of this son of Isaac who stole the birthright from his brother and tricked his father into giving him the patriarchal blessing that belonged to his twin. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (“God rules” or “a prince of God”) after Jacob’s redemptive encounter with God.

A son of Phinehas the priest was born when the ark of the covenant was being stolen from backslidden Israel in their defeat at the hands of their enemies. The ark was the habitation for the glory of God’s presence to live among them. So his mother named the baby Ichabod, which means “no glory.” His name characterized the tragic event that occurred at the time of his birth.

Joseph was a follower of Christ whom the apostles nicknamed Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement or consolation” (Acts 4:36). He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for those in need (v. 37). And he was the first to befriend Saul of Tarsus (later called Paul) when the other apostles were afraid of him.

Barnabas defended Saul and helped convince the churches that he had truly been converted and was no longer a danger to believers. Barnabas’s life reflected the meaning of his name; he was known for encouraging and consoling those in need.

In that same way, God reveals His character by the names He designates to Himself. His predominant name is Jehovah, which occurs more than six thousand times in the Bible.4 Jehovah signifies one supreme God and Lord, the one true God, the “existing One.”

When God told Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt, He instructed Moses to tell the people, “I AM has sent me to you” (Exod. 3:14). To our minds, “I AM” begs for a qualifier, a limiting description to follow the present tense of the “to be” verb: I am . . . what? Without that qualifier, we must understand that God has no limits; He is supreme over all—Creator, God, Lord, ruler of the universe, and a thousand other “qualifiers”

that reveal to us His character and nature.

Awesome is the only word that describes this great, infinite, all-powerful Lord God, Jehovah. As finite creatures we feel insignificant and powerless before such infinite greatness. Though God is the great I AM, without limitations, it may seem astounding that He prefers to be known to us as “Daddy.”

This revelation of God as our Father is the greatest insight we can receive into the nature of the loving heart of God. His entire premise for creating mankind, according to the Scriptures, was to have a family—sons and daughters who would learn to know Him as “Abba Father”:

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

—Romans 8:15–16, kjv

What caring parent does not suffer when they see their child in pain, sick, or distressed? Many have said they would rather be enduring what their child is enduring than to see their little one suffer. How much more does love Himself (“God is love”—1 John 4:8) suffer when He sees one of His children in distress? It stands to reason that the I AM would have a solution to the misery of His children. He desires to fill our hearts with His joy.

One of those wonderful qualifiers of I AM that God gave to His people Israel is Jehovah Rapha, which means “I am the Lord who heals you” (Exod. 15:26). Rapha’ means “to heal” in a broad sense and can refer to being the physician of men literally, as He meant it here when He first revealed His healing nature. It also refers to healing individual distresses, hurts of nations, restored favor, healing bitter waters, and any other situation that requires restoration to wholeness.

F. F. Bosworth explains the significance of the healing name of God: “Jehovah-Rapha is the name given to reveal to us our redemptive privilege of being healed. This privilege is purchased by the Atonement. . . . This is as sacred and binding on every church today as the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Christian baptism. Jehovah-Rapha is one of His redemptive names, sealing the covenant of healing.”7 Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. —Corrie ten Boom 8 You cannot divorce God from His names and expect to know the living God, the I AM. He is who He says He is, or He is not God. And God never changes. This principle of His unchangeableness repudiates any false claim that He is one kind of God in the Old Testament and another in the New Testament.

Rather, we understand that God’s unfolding revelation of His person, character, and nature were partially revealed in the Old Testament. God’s nature was revealed perfectly through His Son, Jesus, in the New Testament. Jesus taught His disciples that He came to reveal the Father. He said, “If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (John 14:7).

We can only conclude that since the time God revealed Himself to Israel as Jehovah Rapha—“the Lord that heals”— He has continued to be the healer to His children. He has not changed His name. Jesus confirmed that fact by performing wonderful miracles of healing when He walked on the earth.

As our loving heavenly Father, God offers us His very nature, the divine attribute of His healing love. He cannot change His character. He declared through His prophet, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not a human, so he does not change his mind” (Num. 23:19). Today God says to you, “I AM Jehovah Rapha—the Lord, your healer.”

Smith Wigglesworth, world-renowned British evangelist known for his powerful healing ministry, is credited with raising at least fourteen people from the dead. He and his wife founded a mission in the poor part of town and reached out to needy people all their lives. Wigglesworth’s ministry took him to many nations, where the blind would see, the deaf were healed, people came out of wheelchairs, and cancers were destroyed.

As a believer, you will receive your ultimate healing in the context of being prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2). You will be fully satisfied with the greatest intimacy with your blessed Savior that is possible. —James P. Gills, MD

Wigglesworth, known as the apostle of faith, placed all his faith in the power of the name of Jesus. In his book, Smith Wigglesworth on Healing, he tells the story of a church leader who was very ill; he was bedfast and too weak to walk. The minister sent for friends to come and pray “the prayer of faith” for him (James 5:14–15). They came and anointed him with oil according to the scriptural pattern, but nothing happened. When they left, sadly, their leader’s condition was unchanged.

Once outside, one of the six said, “There is one thing we could have done. I wish you would all go back with me and try it.” They all went back and began to whisper the name of Jesus over this clergyman. At first, nothing seemed to happen. But as they continued to whisper “Jesus,” they saw that God was beginning to work. In a few minutes, the man rose from his bed and dressed himself, completely healed. Their faith grasped the power in His name. Smith Wigglesworth exclaimed, “Oh, if people would only appreciate the power in this name, there is no telling what would happen.”

As you rejoice in the fact that healing is available in the name of God and that His desire to heal is reflected in His very nature, you can live life as a recipient of God’s covenant of healing.

Principles for Your Healing

[God’s name, Jehovah Rapha, reveals His identity as the God who heals:] I am the Lord who heals you.

—Exodus 15:26

God is not a man, so he does not lie.

—Numbers 23:19

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

—Proverbs 18:10, kjv

Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord—rejoice in his presence!

—Psalm 68:4

Promises for Your Healing

I am the Lord [Jehovah], and I do not change.

—Malachi 3:6

You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

—John 14:13–14

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

—Hebrews 13:8

Prayers for Your Healing

You are my refuge, O God, and I rejoice in You. I will sing joyful praises to You forever. Protect me, so that I will be filled with joy. I will love Your name forever!

—From Psalm 5:11

Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my body is in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until You restore me? Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of Your unfailing love. Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my

body is in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until You restore me? Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of Your unfailing love.

—Psalm 6:2–4

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but I will remember the name of the Lord my God. Save me, Lord: let the king hear me when I call.

—From Psalm 20:7, 9

Blessed be the name of the Lord forever and ever. Who can be compared with the Lord my God who is enthroned on high? He lifts the poor from the dirt and the needy from the garbage dump.

—From Psalm 113:2, 5, 7

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!

—Mark 10:47

Praise for Your Healing

The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake! The Lord is great in Zion, and He is exalted above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name; holy is He!

—Psalm 99:1–3, nas

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.

—Psalm 138:1–2


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Posted by tink38570 at 10:06 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 29 March 2011 10:34 PM CDT
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Monday, 28 March 2011
My Son the Computer Programmer or Honey Don't Worry About Retirement!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Last year we had the great opportunity to review a couple of beginner computer courses. One was on how to design a web page and the other was on how to make your own games. Both were great and John Allen loved them. This year, when we heard that we were going to review another computer programming course, John Allen and I were both really excited. There was only one problem. I had to pick which course to review. The KidCoder course, designed for students in 4th-8th grade, or the TeenCoder series, written for 9th-12th graders. John Allen was in 8th grade, so the KidCoder course made sense, but after I read the descriptions of each, I felt that John Allen was ready for the older TeenCoder course. The fact that the final project was designing a computer chess program, a game that John Allen loves, really helped seal the deal. I'm glad I ended up choosing the older course. John Allen is really enjoying it.

Homeschool Programming Inc. has really done a great job in preparing this course. The teacher's manual says that it is written by actual software programming professionals but, although it is very thorough, it is very easy to use and understand. Each of the 17 chapters has 3-6 lessons in it along with a chapter review and an activity. The chapters start with the very basics. Chapter one is an "Introduction to Window's Programming" and it's project is how to install Studio C# Express Edition. C# is the "language that they will use to write all of their programs in. Chapter 17 is all about the final project, which I've already mentioned is the Chess game. Along the way they will learn all about such things as an "Introduction to C#", "Working With Strings" and "Inheritance and Polymorphism". In fact, here are some of the topics covered (taken from the website):

  • Introduction to the C# programming language
  • Creating Windows Forms
  • Using dialog controls
  • C# data types and variables
  • User input and flow control
  • Math functions and string operations
  • C# debugging and exception handling
  • Object-oriented programming concepts
  • Classes, inheritance, and polymorphism
  • Collections, sorting, and recursion
  • File Input/Output

Now, when I saw the chapter titles, I thought that this would be cinch for me. After all, I was a pro at making things with strings in school. I could make a mean "Jacob's Ladder" and "Cat's Cradle". In high school I was really into music and knew all about C#. And, I went to Bible College and learned about Polytheism. That's a lot like Polymorphism isn't it?


In fact, I was soon to find out that none of the things that John Allen was learning had anything to do with the things I learned in school. And the meager computer course I took back in '86 and the HTML stuff that I dabble with on my blog don't hold a candle to what is contained in this course.

What was I to do? Was I up the creek without a paddle?


Really, this course is written so well that you almost don't need the teacher manual at all. In fact, most days I just told John Allen to do the next lesson or activity and left him to work on his own. Only once or twice did he ever call for my assistance. But, I say you "almost" don't need it. The Teacher's Edition does include a Chapter Summary, Activity Solution and Chapter Test for each chapter, and the computer disk that comes with the manual has printable "Hint Files" that give extra helps to a student who may be having problems with an activity. It also has printable versions of the tests if you wish to print them out to use them.

There's also a student disk that has some activity starters and other things to help the student along.

Thankfully, I didn't need to know much (if anything) about computer programming for John Allen to use this course and, besides, it is written so well that even if I did know something about it, my knowledge wouldn't be needed much.

John Allen is having a great time with this and can't wait until the second part of the course.


What? I haven't mentioned a second part? OH YEA! The Windows Programming stuff that I have talked about above is only the first semester of this year long program. The second semester is all about GAME PROGRAMMING! Yep! John Allen will learn how to make games complete with animated graphics and sound effects. His projects will include multi-player games and even games with artificial intelligence. Here are some of the other things that he will be learning (again taken from the website):

  • Introduction to the XNA Game Studio
  • Game design, game engines, and timer loops
  • Screen coordinates and color concepts
  • Drawing, scaling, and rotating images
  • Handling keyboard, mouse, and XBox 360 Gamepad controller inputs
  • Creating Sprite objects
  • Collision detection
  • 2D animation techniques
  • Playing music and sound effects
  • Game physics
  • Maze generation and solution algorithms
  • Menus, overlays, and deployment models
  • Multi-player scrolling games
  • Game artificial intelligence (AI)

We only began reviewing TeenCoder in November, so, even without a major death in the family and computer problems, we wouldn't be quite done with the first half of this course anyway. Truth is, we are about half way done with the Windows Prgamming section, and hope to finish it this school year so that we can start the Game Programming part in the fall.

I am really pleased with Homeschool Programming's TeenCoder course! John Allen has really had fun with it and, as I've mentioned, it really doesn't need much teacher intervention at all. I'm thinking about ordering the KidCoder course for myself - I probably better start a little simpler than John Allen Undecided.

We got to review the First Edition of this great product, I just found out that the Second Edition is now out and there are some added things that you can get! Starting at the end of May, you can order instructional videos for both Windows Programming and Game Programming. They won't replace the student textbook, but will be an added thing that a student can use if he needs more reinforcement or may need something explained a little bit more.

So, you would think that something like this would cost 2 or 3 hundred dollars at least. Wrong again. The full year course is only $130 without the instructional videos. The instructional videos will cost $45 and can be purchased separately if you think you may need them. You can also purchase each semester separately if you would like. Both Windows Programming and Game Programming can be purchased for $75 each for the teacher manual/student manual set and $30 for the instructional video CD. If you think you will be doing both courses, however, I would suggest purchasing both sets together and save money. You can find out more about all of Homeschool Programming's products by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Others from the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed TeenCoder and KidCoder and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here.

Now, since this product can be used in a school setting, a co-op setting, with a homeschooled student or even with a public school student at home, I will close this post by wishing you "Happy Home Educating"!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent the first edition of both TeenCoder Windows Programming and TeenCoder Game Programming in order to try out and review on my blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:27 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 29 March 2011 1:09 AM CDT
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Saturday, 26 March 2011
Big IQ Kids - I've Got A Secret Part...Umpteen and a Half!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Big IQ Title Banner 

Bet your wondering where the "umpteen" came from. That was one of my mother's sayings.

Anyway - yes, I'm about to reveal another secret. Of course, these days I don't remember what secrets I've revealed and what secrets I haven't. You may already know this, but, for eleven years in Florida, I was an educational therapist. I worked with kids who had learning disabilities. Of course, when you are in the teaching profession, especially in a teaching field that works with some type of disabled child, you are constantly going to inservices and seminars. We went to a lot of seminars on the brain. They were fascinating. I could tell you some hilarious stories - those, however, I will save for another post.

There is one fascinating tidbit that I will tell you now - you can improve your IQ. Many people will tell you that you can't, but that is simply not true. It can be done. It's not easy, but you can do it. Isn't that neat to know?

Now, even though Big IQ Kids isn't a website that claims to improve you IQ, it certainly can improve your learning. And you'll have a good time doing it to boot (another one of my Mom's favorite sayings).

Although the Big IQ Kids website has a lot of fun free things to choose from, I'm going to focus on the four special areas that you get when you purchase a Premium Membership - Spelling, Math, Vocabulary and State studies.

Now, before I start, let me tell you that we had mixed reactions to Big IQ Kids in our home. Joshua loved it, but this was not John Allen's favorite at all. It may be because John Allen is going through a teenage "hate anything that has to do with school" stage or it could be because Big IQ Kids really does challenge you.

The first thing that you do after you've created an account is to make your own "Big IQ Buddy" if you want. It isn't required, but is a lot of fun to create. After that your child is ready to go. When you register your child, you put in the grade level, so everything is set for whatever grade you choose. One thing that was a little inconvenient was that you can't choose a different level for different subjects. Joshua, for example is on different levels for spelling and math, and he has limited experience with working with states. I would have liked to have chosen different levels for different subjects, but I found that it really didn't matter, because the Big IQ website uses an artificial intelligence program that can gauge how your child is doing. After the first couple of lessons with each subject, the program automatically adjusts to fit your child's needs. It won't move on to something new until your child has mastered that particular level.

Another really neat feature is that you can customize each program to match what you are learning. If you have a separate spelling or math curriculum, for example, then you can plug in the words or problems that you are working on in the separate program. So, you can either customize Big IQ Kids or you can use their already set program.

I hadn't been using a preset spelling or vocabulary program for either John Allen or Joshua, so that wasn't a problem. I also found that the math that they presented to Joshua was exactly what he was already doing so I just switched to using Big IQ which he really enjoyed. John Allen's math was a bit different. He had already learned the things that they presented, but needed to review those concepts, so instead of customizing his math, I just used Big IQ kids as a supplement to his regular math program. The state program was a plus for each of them. Joshua is just now learning his states, etc. and, although, John Allen already knew most of the things in the state program, it was a good review for him.

I really like the set up of this program. You have your own personal tutor that is pictured right on the screen. They talk to you and their lips actually correctly form the words. This may not seem like a big deal to most folks, but to a person who can't read well, or even a person who can't hear well, this is a real bonus. The only drawback is that the voices are very "computery". You can tell they are computer generated. The pronunciation is clear, but, although it isn't monotone, it isn't flowing like an actual human voice.

Big IQ Kids 

With the spelling, they give you a list of words - Joshua's list was 10 words - that are phonetically similar (dad, lad, bad, etc.). They then give the words very much like the way that a classroom teacher would give the words - say the word, use it in a sentence, say the word again. However, Big IQ Kids has a lot of fun online activities that they give you to help review the words such as "Word Scramble", "Spelling Bee" and even a spell your words with a Robot feature! Joshua really loved doing those activities.

The math program is very similar to a math drill. For Joshua it was working with addition and subtraction. They would give him a list of 20 addition problems that he could either answer using the numbers on his computer keyboard, or clicking on the correct answer using the on the screen keypad, then switch to 20 subtraction problems. They also have printable worksheets that you can print out and use with your child.

In the state/geography section you learn the usual things like the location of the state and the state capital, but you also learn a lot of facts about the states such as major cities, industries etc. They even teach you some fun facts. Did you know that Pennsylvania is considered the weather capital of the world just because of that silly groundhog that appears once a year?

The vocabulary section was probably the most difficult for Joshua. Along with asperger's syndrome, Joshua has ADHD, which makes it very difficult to focus on something if it takes a long time. When Big IQ Kids presents a new word, it is very thorough. They give the word, use it in at least two sentences, give at least two definitions, then give antonyms and synonyms for the word. After that, they spell the word and encourage you to spell it as well. That was just too much for Joshua. He got lost in the process. John Allen did much better, but (typical teen) didn't necessarily like the tediousness. Personally, I think it's good for him Laughing.

The format is very easy to use. I sat down with Joshua to assist him in using it the first time. After that, he was able to maneuver around with very little difficulty. John Allen was able to use it with no help from the start.

Another thing that I really like is that your "tutor" is very encouraging. It never rushes you and gives a lot of "kudos" when you ddo well. AND...each time you complete a lesson, no matter how well you do, you are rewarded with a coin. The coins can be used to play fun online games. You can either go and play the games right away, or save your coins to play games that cost more than one coin to play. The online games are also educational but fun. Both boys really enjoyed them and each had his favorite games to play.

Now, I must say that you can get each of the above things for free on the website, but the premium version has many, many extras that I feel are well worth the cost. The website has a really good comparison of the free version and the premium version.

Which brings me to the big question. How much does all of this cost. Well, you can purchase a premium bundle of all four of the above things for $19.99 a month or $99.99 for twelve months. Each item, except for the US State program, is also available separately to purchase per month or per year if you only want a premium membership for that particular subject. The state program can only be purchased in the bundle or separately per year. There is also a one week free trial that you can choose to see if you like it or not. At any rate, go to the website to check out some of the really neat free things that they have to offer. You can find out more about Big IQ Kids by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. And, as usual, others on the TOS Homeschool Crew used Big IQ Kids and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here.

Now, since this is a wonderful program to use as a supplement for a child that learns in a traditional classroom or for a child that is homeschooled, I won't say "Happy Homeschooling", but I'll close by saying "Happy Home Educating"!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a one year premium membership to Big IQ Kids to try out and give an honest review on my blog.


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Posted by tink38570 at 2:36 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 27 March 2011 1:24 AM CDT
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