Tuesday, October 31, 2017

No AC/Rhett and Link/Austin

October has been a crazy month. It honestly feels like it's been a full year, a full 365 days, since October started. On the evening of October 5 our air conditioner went out. That's a problem in Texas because it's still hot here in the beginning of October. We have one of those wonderful home warranties. They did the job, but the customer service was very poor and it took a solid three weeks to be able to get our AC repaired. Three weeks of everyone living downstairs, including two dogs and a hamster, with two tiny window units.

During our time of no AC, we took the kids to see their favorite YouTube stars, Rhett and Link, in Austin. It was a wonderful day, but it was very long. We waited in line to get in for four hours, and it was hot. It was well worth it because we ended up on the third row. The kids were excited and the smiled spread from ear to ear the entire time.

Here's some pics from our day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sex by Design from Abby Ludvigson ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

If there is one subject that can be stressful to discuss as parents with our children, it's sex. Add in the fact that we are trying to teach them to lead a lifestyle that involves purity, and it becomes more than just a talk about the "birds and the bees." We have had the chance to review a home study course that helps you tackle this sensitive subject called Sex by Design written and taught by Abby Ludvigson.

We have a very open floor when it comes to talking about sex with our teenage children. I have always said that I want them to feel comfortable in coming to us with any questions that they might have. Teaching them to wait for marriage and backing it with Biblical support is something that a lot of parent's are faced with. Right now we have a 16 year old daughter who is just starting to date so this topic has been at the forefront of a lot of conversations lately. Abby Ludvigson helps parents approach this subject because she not only teaches about it, she has lived a life of purity herself.

Who is Abby Ludvigson? Abby is an urban missionary who had a strong desire to understand the issues youth are faced with today. She is also very passionate about living out the life of purity for herself, and to be a role model for today's youth. She understands what it's like to wait for your true love and the trials that come with that. Abby decided to design a curriculum to support and encourage parents of teens to help them along with this important topic.

I know as a parent that this can be a sensitive topic. Every day our children are exposed to sex. It's on TV, all over the Internet, in books, and certainly talked about in their schools. As parents, we want to make sure our children are prepared for this as they come into their teen years. We want them to have a plan before they are put into situations that require them to make what we call adult decisions. With Abby's help, we can put a plan in place, and hopefully arm them with knowledge to help them focus on purity and feel prepared.

Sex by Design is made up of multiple components, but the three main parts are the video series, the Parent Edition, and Teen edition books. Abby is very open with parents about what is being taught, and that she isn't trying to replace them, but support them. She gives parents a video to watch beforehand and tells you that the first thing you should do is watch her videos and get a feel for what the program is about.

The curriculum is broken down into seven segments or topics.

  • Segment 1 ~ Plan Ahead: Living Pure in a Sex Saturated Culture
  • Segment 2 ~ Counting the Cost: Every Decision has a Price Tag
  • Segment 3 ~ Dating: Doing Relationships God's Way
  • Segment 4 ~ Sex: God's Purpose and Plan
  • Segment 5 ~ Modesty: God Cares What I Wear
  • Segment 6 ~ Pornography: Its Deception and & Steps to Get Out or Stay Out
  • Segment 7 ~ Secondary Virginity: Running Back to God
Some of these topics may seem a little intimidating, but honestly Abby is very sensitive in how she covers each topic. This program is not meant to be something that is taken at a fast pace. Abby wants you to take time to cover each topic in depth and really dig in to it. There are two approaches to it. You can do a run through of all topics and then go back through it a second time and dig deeper. Or, you can take the approach we are, and take it slow on the first round, digging deeper into topics that you feel are most important as you go. 

We have worked through the first two Segments. We are still actually on Segment 2 because I feel it's a very important topic. When we sit down to have a lesson, we first talk about what is going to be discussed, and then we watch the video. I love the videos because the teens get to hear Abby herself teach each topic. Like I said before, Abby does a great job in covering the topics in a sensitive manor, but also really grabbing the teens attention.  

While watching the video, Edyn likes to use the Film Outline in her book to take notes. This gives her something to look back at for quick references. The book even has a full Film Script that she can go back over and read again if she needs to. We then move on to the Follow Up/Discuss It questions. This is where you can really dig deep and foster some great conversations with your teen about the subject that is being discussed. The next part of the segment called Personalize it is where your teen can take what was being taught and apply it to their life. They can take some time to themselves and work on the Bible study that Abby includes in the back of the book. It even gives them time to really read, apply, and memorize some of the scriptures that are in the book to apply it to their lives. Lastly Abby has a section called Apply It. There are additional resources added in, and even other books that Abby suggests that follow along with the topic at hand. 

Here's a little overview of what we've done so far. In Abby's first Segment she talks about planning ahead. She wants teens to have a game plan before they are put into difficult situations. She talks about when she was 12 and making a personal pact with herself to live a life of purity. She even took steps to make it more concrete in her life such as signing a purity pledge, getting a purity ring, and even having a special picture frame for her future husband. Edyn had already started this process herself, because she too at a young age decided that she wanted to live a life of purity. She has a purity ring that she wears daily, and it means a lot to her. It says True Love Waits, and it's a constant reminder to her WHY she wants to wait for marriage. 

The second Segment is all about the cost of having sex before you're ready. Abby covers topics such has pregnancy, STD's and even the emotional toll sex can take on you if you're not ready. One of the things that has embedded itself into Edyn and Gavin's mind is the "Sexual Exposure Chart" that Abby shows. This chart gives you numbers and what it looks like to have multiple sexual partners. It's pretty scary to see it like that. Every decision that's made involving sex can have a consequence whether good or bad.

The five Segments following continue to talk about important topics in a teen's life. I am looking forward to digging into the next one because it talks about dating someone with the same values and sticking to your convictions. 

Sex by Design has been a very welcoming curriculum, and couldn't have come at a better time. Taking the time to talk to our teens about the importance of waiting and living a life of purity is so important in this day and age. I love having the support from Abby Ludvigson in the form of this program to help the discussion move along a little smoother, and help me to give my teens the knowledge they need to live the life that God designed for them. 

Be sure to follow along on social media!

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Sex by Design {Abby Ludvigson Review}

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Time at our favorite park...

We love to take a day and head out to our favorite park! It was a beautiful day today so we decided to ditch our books and get out into nature!

This next series of photos is me trying to get them to look out at the water...you can see how well it went. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Reading Eggs ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Every once in awhile we will do a review for a product that I didn't even realize we would use every single day. Gavin has had so much fun playing online learning games using Reading Eggs.

I'm always looking for anything that is educational, but also fun. Unfortunately Gavin isn't a big fan of reading, so I love to introduce programs to him that he can use to reinforce his reading, vocabulary, spelling, etc. Reading Eggs does all of this plus so much more. I thought Gavin would be too old for this program when I first read about it, even though it said that it went up to age 13. I was very wrong because each lesson that he has done has not been easy, but challenging for him!

Reading Eggs is available for ages 2 to 13. The levels are age appropriate with different engaging games, songs, and activities. In addition to the online activities they have just released their new program guides for grades K - 2nd grade that specifically support homeschoolers! These 36 week guides provide week by week detailed overviews so that you are able to track your child's learning. They can be found in the Parent Dashboard under the Bonus Material section.

The program is broken down as:

Reading Eggs Junior ~ This is what they call First Steps and it is for ages 2 to 4 years old. Games, videos and even books will help your toddler start building their pre-reading skills.

Reading Eggs 4-5 years ~ The skills here are geared for your child as they get ready to start school. It will include phonics, sight words, and essential reading skills that are age appropriate.

Reading Eggs 6-7 years ~ At this level your child will have lessons that focus on spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Reading Eggspress for ages 7-13 ~ This is the level Gavin has been working on. Here they will have more structured comprehension lessons, spelling, and live games. We also LOVE the library that comes with it.

They even have an additional program called Mathseeds that they offer to reinforce your childs math skills! Mathseeds is geared for ages 3-9 and teaches your child the core principles of math using fun and interactive lessons.

How did we use this in our school?

Like I said, we have been using this every day. Gavin loves to do it and spends about 30 to 45 minutes on it a day. When we first started Reading Eggspress, I had Gav take the placement test, and it set him right up where he needed to be. He soon figured out that he had an avatar that he was going to be able to design and personalize. He loves doing this sort of thing so he dove right in. His avatar has an apartment that he can also design and personalize. The way it works is he will do his lessons for the day and he is rewarded with gold eggs. The gold eggs are used as currency to continue personalizing his apartment with decor, pets, furniture, and more! He LOVES this!

The dashboard that he starts with each day is brightly colored and easy to navigate. He can get to where he needs to be with the click of a button. As you can see he's already got 567 gold eggs saved up to buy some cool stuff at the mall!

He starts his day with the English Skills portion and right now he's working on spelling. The spelling takes him through different spelling rules such as homophones, plurals, vowels, and more. He's a decent speller, but has definitely been challenged with some of these words!

Next he moves on to his lesson. Each lesson is broken down into parts talking about a main book in general. It will take him through all kinds of different skills. He may look up a word in a dictionary and learn what part of speech it is. He may read an excerpt from a book and then answer reading comprehension questions about it. When he's done with that day's lesson, he will continue on down the path until he gets to the end where he will take a quiz. After each section of the "map" he will get a reward of gold eggs. This of course is the part he loves!

When he's finished with all of the lessons on that "map" he moves on to the next one.

When he's done with his lesson for the day, he heads to the library. This feature is super cool! There are hundreds of books here that he can read to earn more gold eggs! They offer different genres such has comedy, adventure, myth, Earth Science and so much more. He can even start a book and if he doesn't finish, he can book mark it for the next time he comes back. They even give you suggestions for the Book of the Day!

When he's finished with everything, he can go to the mall and spend his eggs, or he can save them which is what he's doing now.

I have to say again, this is an absolute amazing program. It is not only completely educational, but also so much fun for your child. Reading Eggs challenges your student and will improve their reading skills with fun and adventure! Right now they are offering a FREE 4 week trial, so you can test it out yourself! We love Reading Eggs and I am so happy we have found it!

Be sure to follow along on social media!!

Instagram (handle): readingeggs  

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Reading Eggs
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