Monday, July 29, 2013

R is for...Rest and Relaxation

Rest and Relaxation

We were able to go and spend sometime with family at my parents lake house.  So nice to get away from everything!!!

All the cousins.

Cousins playing cards.

Enjoying the volleyball net.

Preparing the fishin' stuff.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: Homeschool Programming, Computer Programming Courses for Kids & Teens

Are you looking for a good and thorough computer science course for your middle schooler?

Check out Homeschool Programming. We recently were asked to review their KidCoder Visual Basic Series. It is designed for 6th - 8th graders, but 4th and 5th graders could work through it with more assistance.  The series offer Windows Programming and Game Programming.  Each course can be covered in one semester.  Windows Programming is for the first semester and the Game Programming is used for the second semester.  This program is a great basis for programming and teaches the Visual  Basic language to computer programming. The student will learn to create computer programs that they can use everyday.  The only pre-requisities are that your student needs to have basic computer knowledge and you will need to download the Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 Express.  You will need to check to see if your computer has everything needed check it out here.

You can order each course separately or in a Year Pack. 
Windows Programming course only $70, course and video $85, and the videos only $20
Game Programming course only $70, course and video $85 and the videos only $20
VB Year Pack course only $120, course and videos $145 and videos only $30

Semester One-Windows Programming covers 
  • Introduction to computer hardware, software and programming history
  • Using the Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 Express development environment
  • Managing numeric and text data
  • Making decisions about program flow
  • Obtaining and validating user input
  • Working with numbers and math operations
  • Working with strings (text)
  • Learning how to debug (find errors in) your code
  • Learning how to write loops to execute sections of code many times
  • Working with arrays (sets of data)
  • Publishing your programs to other computers
  • Putting it all together – write a simple graphical game!

Semester Two covers:
  • Game design concepts
  • Drawing shapes on the screen
  • Responding to keyboard clicks and mouse movements
  • Displaying and animating images
  • Object position, movement and acceleration
  • Collision detection
  • Playing music and creating sound effects
  • Artificial "game" intelligence
  • Saving and loading games
  • Game physics
  • Printing screens to the printer
Honestly, I was concerned about my daughter (7th grade) working on this course.  She hadn't done any computer courses before and I thought she would have to much trouble.  She did struggle a little through the beginning, but once she got the hang of it she did really well and really enjoyed it.  With the course we had access to the videos to help walk her through the course which I highly recommend.  Each chapter leads you step by step through the process of creating the different programs. The "Your Turn" sections at the end of each chapter is a great way to see how much she understood through the chapter.  Having the solutions helped her (and me) make sure we were understanding everything.  

She were taken step by step through basic programming.  Moving through the course slowly, a chapter a week.  Each chapter is sectioned into lessons so you see when you should stop and start. She worked through very basic programming like adding a button, labels, checkboxes and adding text. She worked through chapter eight where she made a Pig Latin Translator.  That was really neat.  Once the Windows Programming course is finished she will start Game Programming.

In the Game Programming we will continue some of the things we learned in the first course and add onto those.  We will cover things like Game Design, Screen Coordinates, User Input, Graphics and Drawings, Images and Animation, Sprites, Sound, Artificial Intelligence, Saving Games, Game Physics and Text Printing.  Looking forward to getting started on the game programming.  


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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: Picaboo Yearbooks

Have you ever wanted to document your school year?  

Have you ever thought of making a book to show all the fun things your child has done through out the school year?  

Would you like a easy, fun way to make a yearbook for your school?

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With Picaboo Yearbooks you can just that.  With Picaboo Yearbooks there are no minimum orders, no deadlines and only three week turnaround.  You can order either a hard copy starting at $18.99 for 20 pages or soft cover starting at $8.49 for 20 pages. Then you can add extra pages for only 22 cents each.  Hard and soft copies come in two sizes 9"x15" or 8.5"x11" and both offer Photo Wraparound Covers.  Each school receives a free ebook of their yearbook.  It only takes three weeks to receive your yearbook.  The shipping for my book was $10.99, but it looks like they have lowered the shipping price to $8.99. Either way, the book was around $20.

I don't have time to create fancy scrapbooks and I don't want to print out picture after picture and then put them in a generic photo album. What I can do is set down at my computer and create a very unique, fun yearbook for my school!  I spent about five hours working on our 20 page yearbook.  This is such a great idea and I was so excited when this review came up.  This would be a great space saving idea too.  Instead of keeping all those art projects, lapbooks, science projects, etc. you could take pictures of them and make a book.

The website is really easy to use and they offer a Getting Started video. You set up your yearbook however you want.  You can add photos, stickers, change backgrounds and add text.  Downloading pictures was really easy. You can download them from your computer, Facebook and Flickr.  They download rather quickly too.  You can then assign them to any section, ever adding them to multiple sections.  As you work through the book you can preview it to make sure everything looks right.  Once you are finished editing your yearbook you will go through and "lock" each section.  They will bring any issue to your attention in case you missed it, like spell checks.  Once you have finalized everything and order your yearbook it will arrive in only three weeks!!

I am excited to work on our yearbook for next year all through out my school year.  I will also be working on a book for my son who will be graduating next spring.


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Q is for...Quiet Time

Quiet time hasn't always been important to me or maybe I should say it wasn't something I made a priority. Over the last few weeks I have worked really hard to have quiet time.  And I have learned a few things; the day goes a lot smoother when I spend time with God first, it makes me feel blessed and I will no longer start my day without God!!!

I don't really have everything figured out, but right now I quiet time begins with the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which has been a great blessing. I follow my pastor Kyle Idleman's #Adorationprayers, which he posts on his Facebook page. I write them down in my journal and the sermon notes, scriptures and prayers. I just started a 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge through Revive Our Hearts. Doing these simple things EVERY day makes me feel so much better. 
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
                                     Psalms 46:10
"Let us then approach Gods throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."            Hebrews 4:16

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: Ed Douglas Publications, 25 TRUTHS

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Like many other parents out there I want to instill Christian values to my children.  This isn't always an easy job in this world of ours.  So when the book 25 TruthsLife Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us by Ed Douglas Publishing came up for review I saw it as an opportunity to help  teach my children.   I have five children between 17 and 7 and we were able to use this book to discuss some really important things. Some of them were a little over my seven year old's head, but with explanation he understood. The suggested age range is for 6-12 years, but I would great with all my kids.

I love this book!!  Each and every truth that I discussed with my kids turned into a great discussion. From being truthful to setting goals we discussed lots of great things.

The book is built around Christian principles, which was very important to me. Each truth is written in short easy to read sections. He explains why each truth is important and uses personal experiences to reinforce each truth.  We are very busy this summer so we're riding in the car a lot.  Where better to share some great life truths?  While I was driving to volleyball practice, Holiday World or church I would have one of my children read a chapter of their choice and we would then spend some time going over the questions. It always was a good discussion.  A few of the truths are; Protect Your Reputation, Tell the Truth, Set Goals and Write Them Down and You've Gotta Believe. All of these truths are relevant to our lives today and have really inspired my older children to try and practice many of them.

The book sales for $12.95 on their website.
Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

O is for...Old Age

I always said I would not struggle with getting old, but last week gave me a glimpse of part of aging. The part where your children grow and you are no longer the most important person to them. The fact that they can go days without needing to talk to me was really hard. I know this is God's plan, but it is still hard. I'm just glad it is a gradual thing. 
These are my two oldest, Tyler at 2 years old and Samantha at 3 months.  Seems like it was just yesterday!!!

This is them just this summer at Holiday World.  They do still like to do things with there family.  Most teenagers don't but they do. 

Here they are going to the Homeschool Prom.  Aren't they pretty!!!  Me and a friend of mine plan the prom and chaperon it each year and my kids don't mind me being there.  

So glad that we placed these two beautiful kids in God's Hands many years ago! 

P is for...Pursuing Meekness

I have discovered an area in my life that needs work, I know there are many areas I need to work on, but this is the one I'm going to focus now, Meekness. I want a meek and quiet spirit. None of us are naturally meek, but it is something Jesus has called us to be.

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." Matt. 5:5

I stumbled upon Revive Our Hearts Radio Ministry online (we don't get the program in our area) and started reading through The Beauty of Meekness programs.  I was humbled and convicted.  Of coarse we all have areas we need to work on and I have found that meekness can be the root of most of those areas. 

At first I thought, meekness wasn't a quality I wanted.  It seemed to me that people who are meek are walked on.  If you look at a definition of meek you get; patient, long-suffering, spineless, compliant. That is exactly what I thought.  Now let's look at the Bible's definition of meekness from the Easton's Bible Dictionary.  Meekness-"a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked (James 3:13)".  That is what I want.  Believe me I have to remind myself daily usually many times a day to be meek. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has joined me in this challenge.  

                                       A heart of meekness....

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

N is for...NASCAR

I love NASCAR, it is one of the only things I treat myself with.  Which means I usually set aside Sunday afternoons to NASCAR and napping.  Isn't that what God intended Sundays to be?  A day of rest?  Most people don't get why I like it so much, but I do!!  Can't explain is, but it probably has something to do with the speeds.  Whatever it is, I LOVE IT!!!!

Tyler and I at Kentucky Speedway
The family before the Brickyard in 2008

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: Classical Conversations' PreScript Cursive Letters and Coloring

There seems to always be a debate whether or not to teach cursive handwriting in schools.  In our homeschool we do teach cursive handwriting.  I don't have my children write everything in cursive, but they do need to learn to write it and read it.  I was planning on starting my 2nd grader in cursive this fall then we received Classical ConversationsPreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring for him to work through for a review and I am very pleased with this cursive writing book.  Along with the cursive writing letters there is included drawing and coloring.  

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Only $12.99

PreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring introduces children to the beginning of cursive writing and drawing.  Evan is a kid who loves to draw and color so practicing his cursive letters is just a bonus! The tracing with his finger and pencil helps with his fine motor skills.  Then he spends time coloring the pictures from medieval and modern world history.  He likes to search for the picture on the internet so he learns about the picture and how it should look.  Evan has struggled with some of the letters, but he is quite a perfectionist so he works really hard to try and get the letters just right.  I had him do four pages a day, four days a week.  That includes the upper and lower case letter, a drawing page and one of the coloring pages.  

PreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring is for children 3 to 7 which may seem a bit early to start cursive, but I have found that most of my children write better in cursive  then manuscript.  I don't think he I will have him write a whole lot in cursive right now, but this book has given him the beginning skills needed to keep working on it.   
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