Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Crazy Week #BeforethePen ~ Planner Love

It has been a crazy week this week, so my planner lay out had to be something quick and easy. I decided to go with washi and stickers. Simple, quick, and easy!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Garden Update ~ Wordless Wednesday

So this week for Wordless Wednesday I wanted to do a garden update! If you go back to the first pictures that I posted a couple of weeks ago, you can tell that our garden has grown by leaps and bounds!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Gavin's Birthday Week ~ Planner Love..Before the Pen

I was super excited about this week's #Beforethepen. It's Gavin's birthday week, Yay!! I let him pick out stickers and paper that he wanted me to use to decorate my planner, and I think he did a great job. I got the stickers at Hobby Lobby which are around $4 full price, but I was able to use my 40% off coupon to get them for around $2.40. Not bad because I think there were around 5 sheets of stickers of various sizes. I think it came out super cute!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Digital Savvy by CompuScholar, Inc. ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I don't think that computers are going anywhere anytime soon. We live in a time where computers are used for everything, so learning about them is crucial.  When I read that a computer course was up for review, I knew it would be something that we needed to add to our homeschool. So for the past few weeks, Gavin has been using the Digital Savvy course from CompuScholar, Inc.

About CompuScholar, Inc. ~

CompuScholar, Inc. was formerly known as Homeschool Programming. The founders Chris and Andrea Yust have a love for computers and programming, but were frustrated with the lack of resources out there to teach students about them. They set out to teach courses on a professional level, but to also make sure that it was still fun and easy to learn.

In addition to Digital Savvy, they offer Web Design and Java Programming. We had several members of the crew reviewing one of these three wonderful programs. If you would like to learn more about the Web Design or Java Programming, just click on the banner at the bottom of the review.

About Digital Savvy ~

Gavin is 11 years old and although he knows how to do a few minor things on a computer, he by no means is knowledgeable about them. Digital Savvy is geared towards grades 6 - 12, so it's perfect for him. I love that this course covers a multitude of topics including:
  • Hardware, Software, and Operating Systems
  • Managing files and folders
  • Basic networking
  • Online safety and computer Security
  • Using Word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation programs
  • Creating simple databases
  • Image editing
  • Using social media and email communications
  • Introductory website design
  • Simple computer programming concepts
  • Exploration of computing careers
If you would like a complete list of what's included, you can click on the "course syllabus" tab on the Digital Savvy page.

How did we use this in our school?

Getting started with the program is easy. You will have a parent/teacher log in and also a student log in. I always like when teacher/parent and student are separated. It makes checking grades etc so much easier. 

After logging into the teacher's account you can check on your student's progress. Just click on "View Gradebook", and it's all right there easy to see. I only have one taking this course, but this would be perfect if you had a number of students to keep up with. You can see their grades for each lesson, and also any test scores. 

When it's time for the student to start, they will have a dashboard that's similar to the teacher/parent side. They will be able to access their courses that are arranged by chapter from this page. They can also view their grades, and edit their profile from here. 

When they go to the chapter that they are currently working on, it will take them to the page where it is broken down into lessons. It's laid out so that they can easily access and work this program with very little assistance. I did sit next to him most of the time, just so I could get a good overview of what the course was about, but from here on out, he can do it pretty much on his own. 

The way that he works a lesson is he first watches the video that coincides with the lesson he is on. The videos are engaging and informative. They go over each topic in detail, but not so much detail that it would be over his head. 

He will then go and read the text part. This is mainly what the video covers, but it's a good way to make the information stick. When he's done the studying part, he takes the quiz for that lesson. If he doesn't do very well, he gets up to three attempts to better his grade. We have had to use these a couple of times because it's a lot of information to take in. 

After all of the chapter lessons, he will have a hands on activity to do. This was definitely his favorite part! At the end of the chapter he will have a chapter exam. He will then move on to the next chapter. 

We tried to do this as a chapter a week. Sometimes we had to extend it, just because life gets in the way, but it's easy to do a lesson a day. They aren't long lessons, and normally takes him about 30 minutes to complete it for the day. 

Thoughts ~

I as a mother/teacher think that this is a fantastic course to help your student really improve their computer skills. I think it's important to have good computer skills because there's a very good chance that they will have to work with computers no matter what job they have. I asked Gavin what he liked about it and he said that learning the different parts of the computer has been his favorite part. He didn't know what peripherals were until he took this course! I can't wait to see what all he will be knowledgeable about when he's done with this course. I highly recommend Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc. if you are looking for a thorough yet easy guided course for your student!

Make sure to follow along on Social Media!

Homeschool Programming

CompuScholar, Inc.

CompuScholar, Inc. was generous enough to let 100 of us review their products. If you would like to read more on Digital Savvy, or their other products Web Design and Java Programming, just click the banner below!

Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Planner Love

At the end of last year, I was introduced to the world of planners. I mean I've always had a love of planning. There's something about getting a new planner at the beginning of the year to signify a fresh start. Blank pages to be filled with not only your appointments, but thoughts, memories, and even journal entries if you decide to.

I had no clue what world I was stepping into. Washi, stickers, clips, page flags, pins, and more! I was so excited when I learned that you could decorate these planners and make them something you love. It almost takes me back to my childhood when I had a totally awesome sticker book that I showed to anyone who wanted to see it. Planners aren't just for writing down appointments anymore. They become diaries and scrap books plus so much more. There are stickers for everything you can imagine. You can make your planner as gaudi and wild or as simple and sleek as you want.

Two of my planners.
There are so many planners out there, it can be hard to choose. Let me be the first to say, you don't need an expensive planner to join in on the fun. I got the Happy Planner from Michael's when they were on sale around Christmas. I think I paid $15 for a complete set that included the planner, some stickers, and a pen. Of course, I needed one for my purse, so I went back and got a small Recollections planner that is like a 3 ring notebook for my purse. Good excuse to have two right? I couldn't believe the different styles and layouts that planners have. I always thought it was just boxes thTat you wrote appointments in. No way! They have notebook styles that have smaller notebooks that go in them. It's a great way to organize your bills, journals, weddings, or even recipes.

There are plenty of accessories to go with them. I could spend hours in Michael's or Hobby Lobby picking fun things for my planners.  Don't even get me started on washi tape and stickers. I love them both SO. MUCH.
Only a small sample of my washi collection...yes I'm addicted!

So I decided to start a little space on my blog for planners or even paper crafts in general. Have you heard of pocket letters or flip books? I've been making those too. It's a great way to be creative, but also have somewhat of a pen pal.

On Sundays I'm going to be posting pics of my weekly layouts, and I would love to see yours too! You can also check them out on my Instagram! Check out the hashtag #beforethepen for all kinds of ideas. There are so many totally creative layouts, you will enjoy looking through them!

This week's #beforethepen ~Easter Fun

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Our Container Garden ~ Wordless Wednesday

We started our container garden this week. This will be my first time trying a garden, so it will definitely be a learning experience! We plan on keeping a journal so that we can learn from our mistakes or our successes. We have green bell peppers, 3 different kinds of tomatoes, banana peppers, zucchini, and lettuce. We will try and keep it updated through the season!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History Set ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

One thing I wish I could change about my education is my knowledge on American History. I absolutely hated it growing up, but now I have this passion to learn all about it. I really want my kids to have that same fire to learn about it too, so we decided that this year we were going to really concentrate on nothing but American History from the beginning. Memoria Press very generously gave us two wonderful products to review over the past few weeks. Both, The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History Set, have been so much fun to add to our history lessons this year.

A little background on Memoria Press ~

If you're familiar with the homeschooling world then you have probably heard of Memoria Press. They are a classical Christian educational company that was founded in 1994 by Cheryl Lowe.

Memoria Press prides themselves on a classical education, and their products are characterized by simplicity, quality, and affordability. They specialize in making sure that their products are easy to use by parents who are not familiar with the subject being taught. 

What did we receive for this review ~ 

  • The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic text
  • The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic Student Guide
  • The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic Teacher's Guide

  • 200 Questions About American History Student Guide
  • 200 Questions About American History Teacher's Key
  • 200 Questions About American History Flash Cards
**Both of these are recommended for grades 5-8**

How did we use it in our homeschool?

Although you would not absolutely have to have both of these products, I think they really do compliment each other, and both play different roles while learning American history. For example, the 200 Questions About American History Set includes a well thought out weekly schedule for both products. It includes the reading selections, drill questions, any time-line questions, quotes, or Presidents that you will be working on that week. The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic Set includes not only the text, but vocabulary and comprehension questions. 

First lets talk about The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic Set. I absolutely love the text book. It is divided up into short chapters, but they are jam packed with plenty of info about each subject. 

We actually have been following the weekly schedule that I talked about before. First Gav and I turn in our workbooks, and go over the vocabulary and "facts to know" sections together. I have found that this helps him comprehend more as we read the text. We read the chapters that coincide for that week, and then we go back to our workbook so that we can do the comprehension questions. I have found that we if we do these together, we can talk about it more in depth than if I just have Gavin answer the questions alone. 

The Teacher's Guide is easy to understand and gives very in depth answers to the questions. I love having it right in front of me while we are working on it, so that if I forget an answer, I can quickly refer to it. 

Next, I want to talk about the 200 Questions About American History Set. This is Gavin's favorite thing to work on. It is literally 200 drill questions about the reading that you're doing. I have found that this is where Gavin is retaining what he's learning. 

In the Student text you have the drill questions, but also a time-line, notable quotes, Presidents, and even some important songs. We always fill out the drill questions after we have finished for the week, because this is what he will study the most. Again, the Teacher's Key is easy to understand and nice to have in front of you while your student is answering the questions. 

Another important component to this set is the Flash Cards!! I can't tell you how much fun we have using these! My older daughter even sits in while we are reviewing them to see what she knows! It's always fun, and I get so excited when he remembers important people and events!

My thoughts ~ 

I love these two programs. They are so much fun to work on, and Gavin is learning a lot. He's retaining so much more information because he's enjoying it! I highly recommend getting both The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History. It is definitely worth every penny!

Don't forget to follow along on Social Media!!

There were 100 of us on the crew that were blessed to review some of these products. To read more reviews, some on different products by Memoria Press, click on the banner below. 

First Form Greek, Iliad/Odyssey and American History {Memoria Press Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Update on Gav's EOE

If you haven't read my previous updates on Gav, he has a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. It's a food allergy that does not immediately present itself, but causes a delayed reaction.  We found out about this due to him swallowing a piece of plastic that he was chewing on, and it getting stuck in his esophagus.

The Dr. put him on a very strict diet and Protonix after that event. No wheat, no soy, no dairy, no corn, no peanuts, and no sesame. We had him scoped again back in November and the Dr. gave us great news that it had significantly improved with diet restrictions. This was very comforting because had it gotten worse, then we would have had to restrict his diet even more. I'm sure you can understand how hard it is for a child to drastically change their diet. I mean this kid loved PB&J sandwiches and we had to cut them out completely! After the scope, the Dr. said that he could have everything in small amounts or spread out except dairy and wheat. This did make it a bit easier to feed him. We went through a period that I wasn't even sure what to feed him!

After the visit today, the Dr. did not think that we needed to scope him again anytime soon! He was super excited to see that Gav has not had any issues with food getting stuck at all since the diet changes. He is going to keep him on the meds for another 6 months and we will decide to go from there. Gav does have a lot of acid reflux, so we will need to see if that improves.

It has not been easy trying to make sure that he follows the diet to a T. I mean he's 11 and sometimes he doesn't pay attention to ALL of the ingredients. I have to constantly check ingredients because sometimes foods contain things like wheat and dairy, and you would never even think about it. Although it can be a struggle sometimes, it's not the end of the world. At the end of the day, Gav can have any kind of fruit, vegetable, and meat he wants. He's just picky! Thank goodness he loves apples because for awhile that's about all he would snack on! We have been able to find great substitutes for treats such as coconut milk ice cream. We have also found that Lara Bars are perfect for him. They are also healthy, so I don't mind him eating them. Finding things he likes has become a little easier now that we've been dealing with this for awhile, and have learned a few things about it.

So, we go back in six months and we will update then. I know that if he wants to add in foods a little at a time, the Dr will scope him to see how he reacts to each. It may be something we consider later on. It just depends on how things go in six months.

Thanks for all of the prayers!