Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Sweet 16 Kind of Day {Wordless Wednesday}

Birthday Banner to greet the Birthday Girl

Breakfast at Waffle House
All-Star Breakfast
The Famous Girl Scout Masterpiece
What a day to remember
16 Trefoil
Tres Leches Cake at our favorite restaurant
Happy Birthday to You!
The Book of Letters  . . . speak LIFE
Because you are LOVED
Forever and ever.  AMEN.     

I'm never really wordless, am I?  It was a beautiful day to celebrate my beautiful girl.  My favorite part?  Presenting her with her Book of Letters.  She took it to her room when we got home from dinner to read through the letters and notes all by herself.  What a fun way to share LIFE with my girl -- through the words of those who love her and have influenced her most.  

Let's all speak life together.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Soul Refresher {Scripture & a Snapshot}

Such beautiful girls with hearts of service.  I am happy they have each other.

I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Homeschool Review: SpeedyPrep #hsreviews #collegeprep #clepprep


It's been a tough year at our house and I was excited for the opportunity to try out SpeedyPrep and see if we could use it to fill in some gaps that I'm finding in our homeschool journey. Although SpeedyPrep is designed to offer prep work for students that want to take College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams to earn college credit from home before college, it can also be used to help make sure that your kids are learning what they should be learning.  That's how we are using the program right now and it is offering a bit of sanity for this mom's heart.  I don't know if you've ever felt the self-doubts of homeschooling and wondering if you are doing right by your kids, but this year has been one of grand attack on me.  My third child is graduating and my last one is a Sophomore.  Never before have I felt so inadequate.  SpeedyPrep is helping me help my children and I'm secretly hoping that it will help some of their standardized test scores as well.

Now mind you, this isn't an easy "jump on the computer and pass some stuff off" kind of program.  There are 24 different courses to choose from and they are advanced placement work.  It is preparation to pass college level tests so the questions are college level questions.  In a mastery learning approach, students work through digital flashcards of questions.  If they answer correctly, they move right on to the next question.  If they answer incorrectly, the program shows the correct answer.  Students then have an option to watch a video that further explains the question/answer before they proceed.  The videos act as supplements to the information presented in the flashcards so students do not need to know all of the correct answers.  The beauty here is that the flashcards teach you how to learn.


For purposes of review, my son has worked through flashcards in College Composition, Spanish, American Government, College Mathematics, United States History 1, and Western Civilization 1.  Can you tell what subject we like best?  It is not easy work for him (nor is it designed to be), but he is enjoying what he's studying.  Typically, a student should do extensive study in a particular subject before they begin the SpeedyPrep course.    Each subject begins with an Intro that spells out exactly what a student should know before they begin.  The Intro explains what the specific topic includes, what college requirements it fulfills, how many questions are on the CLEP Exam that the SpeedyPrep Course coincides with and how long a student is allowed to take that specific exam, and outlines the exact parameters that the College Board uses for the exam.  It even explains the makeup of the exam so that students are as prepared as possible for the types of questions coming from the discipline itself.

I took Advanced Placement classes in High School and know full well the advantage of being able to CLEP college courses.  I also understand that each college allows for different things to count for credit and am glad to see that SpeedyPrep explains that up front.  It was always strange to me that I received credit for English Composition II instead of English Composition I and that my junior college wouldn't accept my College Algebra CLEP scores but my senior college did.

One of the things that I find important to note is that students are not required to complete a course in one sitting with SpeedyPrep.  The beauty of the design is that you can step away from you work and come back to it as you are ready.  That is great for the crazy lifestyle that we lead.  The progress bar tells you where you are in your actual MASTERY of a subject and that is absolutely PERFECT for accountability.  Students can't just watch videos and consider themselves "done."  They actually have to show that they have learned or know content by answering the flashcard questions correctly more than once.  As a matter of fact, students will need to provide correct answers seven times before they are considered "mastered".  Then (and only then) will the progress bar move.  Don't you just LOVE this?  There is no "lucky guess."  Students will actually know what they know.

SpeedyPrepMy guy is seeing firsthand that college isn't going to be easy, but he's also learning a new way to study.  I am learning myself.  By looking at what is required, I am able to see holes in what we've studied and can make future changes accordingly.  I would suggest that you check it out for your children and see how to make it best benefit you.  How exciting that there is a program designed that will help our kids as they transition to college.

You can find out more information about the SpeedyPrep subscription program by visiting the FAQ page and by visiting the following Social Media pages.  Please do so.

And one more thing:  SpeedyPrep is now part of the Home School Legal Defense PERX program.  That's a win for us all.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review SpeedyPrep as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this Unit Study and other resources we reviewed (or just click on the banner below.)

College Level Examination Program Preparation {SpeedyPrep Reviews}
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Message of the Cross {Scripture & a Snapshot}

I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Homeschool Review: Java Programming by CompuScholar, Inc. #hsreviews #computerprogrammingforkids #codingforkids #computerskills

CompuScholar, Inc.
It is my goal to be raising children who are great thinkers.  That said, I know that it is important for them to have great computer skills and to be comfortable in the realms of technology.  Computer programming helps kids learn to think.  My tech-guru husband makes sure that we all have hands-on access to the latest and greatest and encourages us all to learn to use it in a beneficial way -- not just for social media and gaming.  A few years ago, we had the opportunity to review some beginner coding technology and this year we've had the opportunity to review more advanced technology through the Java Programming course from CompuScholar, Inc.    (This may seem slightly familiar to you.  CompuScholar, Inc. is in the process of rebranding.  They were formerly known as Homeschool Programming and you might remember that we reviewed the KidCoder Visual Basic Series.  That series is now called Game Programming with VB.  Fun, huh?   I mean, who doesn't want to create their very own games, right?)

CompuScholar, Inc. offers quite a few computer courses and my Crew Members and I have been reviewing three of them.  Some Crewbies have been reviewing Digital Savvy (a great course for 6th - 12th grade students beginning their journey into technology and computer knowledge), some have been reviewing Web Design (the perfect place to begin learning how to create your very own web page), and then some of us have been reviewing Java Programming (an advanced high school course which will help your students prepare for the Advanced Placement Computer Science A Exam, but is beneficial to anyone who wants to know more about programming regardless of whether they plan to take the AP test or not.).  At our house, we were most interested in Java Programming because it is super important in our world of robotics.  JAVA is what the team uses to make the robot do what it does.  That's the oomph behind the "life" of our robot, so my son was particularly excited about getting his hands on this course.

CompuScholar, Inc. Java Programming

A program for high school students who have more than a basic understanding of the world of computers and how they work, the Java Programming course is divided into 27 Chapters. Each Chapter is broken down into Lessons (3 - 5 Lessons per Chapter) with a Quiz at the completion of each Lesson.  The Chapters each include hands-on programming Activities and conclude with a Chapter Exam.  It is all self-study with guided videos and text provided so that students can optimize learning.  Did I mention that this is GOOD because this momma knows next-to-nothing about programming?  I like that my kids are smarter than me and that's okay.  CompuScholar, Inc. makes it easy for me to follow along with what they are learning.  The Teacher Account offers me the opportunity to see exactly what my student is learning and acts as an accountability tool where I can  make sure that he is completing his coursework in a timely manner.

Java Programming begins with a basic introduction to computer programming languages and makes sure that your high schooler understand the terminology needed to follow along.  Of great interest to my son, the course teaches students how to use strings of data -- the very strings used to program autonomous robot function for competition.  I'm thankful that it addresses the need for actual mathematics in programming because the guys on the robotics team tend to take a "hit and miss" approach to engineering and fail to focus on the technical science and math approach.  That has been our biggest struggle.  Java Programming backs me up as coach and reiterates to my son the importance of follow-through.

Additionally, there is a study guide to the AP Computer Science A Exam and supplemental lessons/activities to enrich the learning experience.  My Senior wants to major in Computer Engineering in college and the information found here about Software Development Careers and Technical Writing are invaluable to him at this time.

He is a man of few words, but shared these thoughts about Java Programming:

The program is good from the start to the reading and then straight to the test.  It really makes you know what you are doing before moving on and that's good for me because I tend to take shortcuts when I shouldn't.  I'm learning, mom.  I'm learning.

You can find out more about technology-based learning and the rebranding of Homeschool Programming to CompuScholar, Inc by visiting the following Social Media sites:

Homeschool Programming

CompuScholar, Inc.

CompuScholar, Inc. really is teaching tomorrow's technology to today's kids in a refreshingly easy way.  You'll want to check them out even if computers aren't your thing.  They make it easy for parents to make sure their children are best prepared for what's to come.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Java Programming by CompuScholar, Inc.  as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this Unit Study and other resources we reviewed (or just click on the banner below.)

Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Lead me {Scripture & a Snapshot}

My favorite son went on his first-ever ski trip last week.  He traveled to Mt. Baker, Washington with friends and they shared this picture with me.

I pray he will always hold onto the ROCK.

I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Homeschool Review: Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the StarNamer #hsreviews #siblingrivalry #geography #Bible #survival

For years I read and studied the Bible as a separate entity in history without connecting the dots to what was taking place in the world during the time frame that I was reading.  In my mind, there were "Bible times" and "textbook events," but I didn't correlate the two together.  Through our homeschooling journey, the kids and I began studying it all as a complete picture and the "ah-ha" moments have made history real for us all.  As a result, I find that we all enjoy seeing the pages of the Bible come to life through books of historical fiction like Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver -- Author.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy and Star Namer (379-pages, paperback) tells the story of the Hebrew invasion into Canaan as found in the Old Testament through the eyes of a 13-year-old Canannite boy named Keshub.  Keshub is a sheep-herder, a potter's son, and even a spy -- but his father shares stories of the hope found in the "Creator GOD, the Star Namer."  Keshub receives the excellent advice to "look into the eyes . . . because they give a look into the heart" and spends his days searching for a truth he does not yet understand.

I love that Peggy introduces us to fictional characters that could easily have stepped right off of the pages of GOD's Word.  She gives "skin" to Biblical stories and helps us to relate even more to the events that took place in history.  Because she has carefully studied her Bible, diligently researched the geography, participated in an archaeological dig, and even visited the setting of the story first-hand, Peggy is spot-on in her imaginative telling of this story of the Gibeonites.  She is careful not to detract from the Biblical account, instead she enhances the understanding for the reader.  For example, I have read and re-read the stories of GOD's provision of manna for the Hebrews as they wandered the wilderness.  It never occurred to me that mamas would prepare it creatively so that their families did not grow tired of the same thing every day, but why wouldn't they?  Mamas have been taking care of families for centuries.  I love that Peggy opens my eyes to the fact that Biblical mamas were real mamas like me.

Sharing ancient customs and allowing glimpses into family interactions and celebrations, Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer offers the reader a choice between good and evil and reminds us all to live a life of integrity.  It also shows us that all of GOD's people are the same.  Family dynamics are the same yesterday, today, and forever -- and GOD loves us all.  Packed with action and adventure, it can be enjoyed as a fun read or explored as a unit study with the companion Study Guide, Digging Deeper Into HIStory.  Research links are provided to make each learning experience unique as students delve into the many topics that have been introduced to them in the novel.  From stars and honey to maps and fire, there is a ton of information to help students dig even deeper as they study and learn that the stories of the Bible are indeed true.  I love that Peggy shares the Gospel unashamedly and presents true Bible study in the form of a novel.  

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer Peggy Consolver

You can find out more about Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer and the Digging Deeper Into HIStory Study Guide by Peggy Consolver by visiting the following Social Media site:

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver -- Author  as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this Unit Study and other resources we reviewed (or just click on the banner below.)

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}
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