Friday, March 27, 2015

Q & A with My Girls

This week's prompt from The Mahogany Way  was "interview".  I had no idea what I would write about so I followed her lead, and interviewed the two lovely ladies in my life.  When I told them that I was going to interview them for the blog, they were thrilled. 

One thing I really appreciate about blogging is being able to look back at pieces that I've written.  I am sure this one will be on the list of favorites.

On to the interview:

What is your favorite color?

D (10): Purple
R (7): Turquoise

What is your favorite food?

D: Anything.
R: Ketchup! And nachos.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?

D: A children's museum
R: Paris

What is the best part about being a kid?

D: Homework because I learn about new stuff.
R: Playing.

What is your favorite toy?

D: Dolls
R: Barbie dolls

What is your favorite word?

D: Device ... I like technology.
R: Crazy because I am funny.

Share your favorite scripture.

D: John 3:16 because God loves me.
R: Romans 5:8 because God loves us even though we're sinning.

I will admit that I was surprised by a few of their answers.  I had no idea that homework would make the list for being a childhood staple even though she is diligent about getting book work completed, and looks forward to it on most days.  I still wouldn't have thought that would be her answer.  Oh, I really didn't know that Romans 5:8 had been absorbed into our youngest daughter's heart. I was pretty surprised that she didn't share one that I have heard her say several times.

I hope you all enjoyed learning a little bit more about our girls :)

The girls would like to know what's your favorite scripture.

This post is a part of the What's Your Story? Series hosted by Darcel at The Mahogany Way.

Be blessed,
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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

20 Reasons I Enjoyed Teaching Them Diligently Nashville

This past weekend my family and I experienced our first homeschool conference together.  It was a pleasurable experience.  I learned some new things while I was being edified in other areas.  If you have never been to a homeschool conference before, and are considering attending one I would highly recommend TTD.

Here are 20 Reasons I enjoyed Teaching Them Diligently Nashville:

1.  Seeing our friends.  We moved last month so it was nice to see friends from our old town.  The girls were in pure bliss.

2. Experiencing the convention with my husband.  Vic has always let me do my thing when it comes to teaching the girls so it was nice to have him involved.

3.  It felt like a vacation.  Although we only stayed one night, it felt like we were there for several days.  We came home exhausted.

4.  Devouring a pizza that I couldn't taste.  The walking and sitting in workshops must have made me extremely hungry.  Vic and I both agreed that the pizza may have been good, but we couldn't taste it because we were too hungry.

5. Being edified in the area of motherhood.  I struggle at times with being a stay at home mom. There are so many things that I want to do so being surrounded by women who choose to stay at home really does something for the soul. 

6. Being edified in the area of being a wife.  It was nice to hear Rachel Carman talking about loving on your man during her Have a H. E. A. R. T. for Your Children workshop. In her talk about having a heart for your children, she emphasized enriching your marriage.

7.  I was blessed during Sonya Schafer's ( talk.  I had never been to her website before, but after her talk I feel the need to check out some of the things she has to offer.  Her talk was the Five Gifts of Intentional Parents. This talk edified me in homeschooling.  Sometimes I wonder if I am on the right path.  Are the choices in line with God's desire for us?  She really helped confirm that we aren't off, and also gave me new things to implement in our doing life together.

8. Getting tips in areas that I had really been praying about just days before such as praying with my girls.  We pray together, but they often say they do not know how to pray alone.  During the Real Refreshment Retreat, I met another mom that actually lives in our new town and she shared Praying in Color with me.  It's funny because I have prayed this way by myself, and I didn't know that it was a book or anything.  Well, I implemented it with the girls this week.  So far it is going well. 

9.  Notebooking!  It's funny when you go somewhere to learn something, and you realize that you are already doing it.  Most of the time I don't realize that what we do has a name.  When I went to the notebooking workshop, I realized that we actually implement in our learning.  I did get some new ideas from Jeannie Fulbright such as investing in higher quality color pencils.  I'm not sure why I didn't think of that since most of our other art supplies are higher quality. I also got a better understanding of what notebooking does for retention and confidence.

10.  Laughing with my husband.  So we went to a workshop that just wasn't for us so we decided to leave a little early and check into our hotel.  Well,  I thought it was a good idea to go out the exit closest to us.  Wouldn't you all think that was a marvelous idea? This exit took us to the back end of the Opryland Hotel.  I mean it was just concrete walls and employees.  You know, we couldn't go back into the talk because it was already rude that we had left out so all we could do was keep moving forward.  Luckily, an employee spotted us and led us back to the guest side of the hotel.  He said, " No one has ever kept going, but you guys did."  That was our adventure and we were laughing for quite a long time.

11.  The children's event was nice.  It was a little rocky in the beginning because of it being the first conference for the season, but once things got settled it went well.  The girls talked about all the things that they learned, and how they really enjoyed Incrediworld.  They even told us they wanted to go back next year.

12.  Our family was not only blessed by the scheduled events, but also by the unscheduled.  In our new state, we have new regulations.  One regulation is being under an umbrella school or registering with the school district.  This was causing me a little stress because Illinois has new regulations what so ever.  So just a little change felt overwhelming to me.  I contacted the district because I didn't want to be illegal, but no one called me back.  I contacted umbrella schools, but I didn't feel comfortable paying several hundred dollars for just two months especially since funds are limited now.  Well, I went to Home Life Academy's booth at the convention because a mom in the notebooking workshop recommended them.  I'm not going to make this a long story, but what I will tell you is that they included the rest of this year in our registration for next year.  So we only paid for the upcoming school year, but we are now legally homeschooling for the rest of 2014-15. 

13.  The girls enjoyed spending time with their friends, but it did my heart good to spend time with my friend.  Even though it has been less than a month since we saw each other so much has changed.  It was really good catching up, and praying for one another. 

14.  I can't forget about the curriculum when it comes to a homeschool conference.  We decided to change the girls' math program to BJU Press.  The explanation and color in the text was the primary reason.  After five years of homeschooling, this was our first curriculum selection together.  I would change it just because Vic offered his opinion and that isn't something he normally does when it comes to our books.

15.  The convention was at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort.  The environment was beautiful.  I loved the greenery and the sounds of the waterfalls.  If you ever get to visit, I don't think you would be disappointed.

16.  Making a new friend.  Some people think that I am outgoing, but I am not really.  I just tend to make myself available.  I decided long ago that I wouldn't let my introvert personality hold me hostage as far as meeting new people.  So I don't.

17.  Learning that a safe is not a microwave.  The safe was right above the refrigerator, and my mind automatically assumed that the safe was a microwave.  It didn't go so well when I tried to microwave some oatmeal.  My lovely husband and daughter asked where is the microwave.  I pointed to the safe, and I learned that it was not a microwave :)

18. Even though we are still in the midst of adjusting and finding employment getting out did our entire family some good. It gave us time to connect.  It gave us time to be refueled. It just gave us time to just enjoy ourselves without pressures.  It was really a beautiful gift from above as if He knew we would need those days during this time.

19. Bible scripture memorization. I've mentioned before that I didn't have any scriptures in my heart when I became an adult. God gave me music.  I always had songs to lean on.  Since I didn't have scriptures, I see the importance in giving that to my daughters.  They do know some scriptures and pieces of others.  After attending Sonya Schafer's talk, I decided that we would implement her method for scripture memorization. We started it on Monday, and the girls look forward to it.  They remind me which feels good because they desire His word as much as I want to share it with them.

20.  Just being with my family and enjoying God's abundant blessings.

We are making plans to go back next year because we enjoyed it just that much. 

Do you attend homeschool or mom conferences? 

Be blessed,

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Can I say we just love GPALEARN! I wasn't sure if I we would participate in this review initially, but I am glad that we did.  GPALEARN provided each of my daughters with one year free access to their math program at each girl's appropriate grade level. 

GPALOVEMATH is an online math program that provides instruction, practice, and assessment of grade level skills. The program is geared towards students in grades K-5.  Every grade level has a different animated coach.  We were not fond of the coaches computerized voices.  Both girls agreed that the voices were a bit annoying, but we remedied it by reducing the volume.  Although the girls often had the volume off, they were able to complete the activities by reading the text for themselves or I would read it for them if it was lengthy.  There were times that they would listen to the learning coach if they decided not to read it.

What I liked most about the program was the variety of math activities that were available to each of the girls.  The program did not focus on only one concept.  We used the second and fourth grade levels, and each level had three paths. For both grade levels the paths were Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Numbers and Operations in Base 10 & Fractions, and Measurement and Data & Geometry except second grade does not have Numbers and Operations- Fractions.

One great thing about the program is that the child can choose which path that they decided to work on during a session.  I chose for the girls to follow the recommended program versus unlocking lessons before they reached them.  I chose to do it this way because I thought it would be a perfect review of the math concepts that they have learned and mastered.  It worked out nicely because both girls were able to see the concepts explained differently, and they were able to use formerly learned information in a different way.  I don't know about your children, but my girls and I can find ourselves doing things from rote memory so seeing it a different way really does cause us all to think.

Not only does the program do a great job of teaching, but it also does a great job of motivating.  GPALEARN offers parents the opportunity to provide rewards for the children working through the online program.  Rewards include extending bed time, baking cookies, monetary rewards, virtual stickers, extra TV time, and more.  Parents are able to choose the rewards that will work best for their child.  The rewards that I specifically selected were rewarded about every eight lessons.  Although parents can choose a list of rewards to be given at different intervals, children can also cash in points received from completing their lessons in the marketplace.  I didn't know about the marketplace until a fellow TOS mom shared it with the group.  The girls redeemed their points for a Target egiftcard and a Toys R Us egiftcard which GPALEARN emailed to them.  I thought that was very generous of the company.  Ramya also redeemed more points for $10 from us.

Their purchases with the gift cards.

One other component of this online math program was the ability to message one another.  I sent the girls messages of encouragement and praise.  I also sent messages to remind them of their lesson goals for the week.

Overall, we really like the program.  It came in handy during our move.  I didn't have to unpack our math right away because a few lessons with GPALOVEMATH was sufficient.  The girls completed most of their lessons on our desktop, but they were also able to use it on the LG tablet and the Samsung tablet.  Since it is a web-based program, they were also able to sign in at the apartment clubhouse before our internet was connected.

Check out the other crew member thoughts about the program by clicking below.

GPA Learn Review
Crew Disclaimer

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Lil' This: Scavenger Hunts

This morning I wanted to add a little fun to our day so I sent the girls on a scavenger hunt.  It was simple.  I found the clue cards on InnerChildFun.  Her website has quite a bit of fun, playful activities for children. I only used three out of the four clue cards.

At first, they weren't certain about the game, but once I gave them a little explanation.  They were thrilled, and had a blast following the clues. The last clue sent them out the front door to find their treasure which was Reese's and AAA batteries for the Playaways that they checked out.

As usual, one thing sparks another,  and the girls decide that I needed to go a scavenger hunt, too.

Here is the clue that I was delivered:

I could only smile when I read the clue.  They don't forget certain things, I tell you.  They remembered the release date of the movie.  Did you guess what I was suppose to retrieve?
If you guessed Annie, you are right.  I don't have a prize, but you were right :)
We went out to grab it today after we finished our lessons. 
How was your day? Do you find that your children remember certain things and forget others?

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Critical Thinking Co. :: A TOS Review

The ability to truly focus on critical thinking skills is one of my favorite things about learning at home so when the opportunity to review Critical Thinking Co. Math Analogies Level 1 came along, I jumped at it.

The program that I received is a Windows based download although there are other formats available such as book, Android, and iOS.

My intentions were to strictly use the program for my second grader since it was for her age range.  When she began the program, she was excited.  She understand the relationships of many of the analogies that were presented to her.  She found the program easy to navigate, and simple to understand.   Not all of the analogies were easy for her to decipher, some of the questions introduced measurements that she has not totally grasped.  This caused a bit of frustration because she does not like getting answers wrong.  This is her nature.

I liked that the format that we used was computer based. It provided a new way of seeing similar activities.  Before we received the download from The Critical Thinking Co. , we had started working through an analogy book to help the girls understand what analogies are, and how words, ideas, objects, etc. relate to one another. 

Once my second grader became not so interested in the program because of missing a few answers, the fourth grader decided she wanted to use it.  So she did.  She really liked the program, and finished about 100 questions in two days.  The program is geared towards second and third graders, but the variety of the questions still offered a challenge for her.  Some of the questions were simple and some were challenging.  Most of them caused her to think which is was the goal.
  The program has a total of 152 questions.   She started where her sister stopped since there can only be one student logged into this program at a time. 

After seeing her sister finish the program, Ramya decided that she would give it another try.  She restarted the program with determination.  There's nothing like a little healthy competition.  I asked her for her thoughts about the program, and she said that it is a good :)  Dania also stated that she would like to try it for age/ grade level.  I believe we will use the Android version next time around so that it is accessible on a portable device.

I liked the program for both girls because it challenged them.  It caused them to used the information that has been stored in their brains outside of its normal usage.  This is a good thing to me.  It gives me confidence that they are able to decipher and manipulate information.  There are times that I have wondered if they are only understanding a particular thing if it is only presented in a particular way.  Math Analogies Level 1 helped me to see that when it comes to math skills they truly do have a grasp on most of their skills, and the skills they do not I was already aware.

This program did not take the place of our math, but was used as a supplement.  The girls mostly used it in the evening or in between assignments as a break. For us, this was the best way to use it.

Crew Disclaimer

Critical Thinking Company Review

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©2009- 2015 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.