Category Archives: Kids

A Day With The Horses!

The Puzzler spent some time with a friend from our churchΒ this past weekend, who happens to own some horses. He was SO looking forward to it, too! Of course, he didn’t realize until our friend picked him up, that he was going to get the FULL experience, LOL!

First, cleaning up after the horses!

And now, the reward, riding Will . . .

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And riding Cowboy!

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Thank you to my wonderful husband who helped me to figure out how to get the pictures from a text message into something I could use!

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Digital Science Online: Visual Learning Systems (My Review)

My four boys and I have been having lots of fun using Visual Learning Systems as a group for a little over a month. We received a subscription to both the Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) and the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12)

The Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5), is divided into two sections. One is primary, which would be the grade K through 2 collection. This included well over 50 units of study, contained within the following subjects: physical, earth, life, and health. This is a great section if your children are in that age/grade range, there are tons of beautiful videos, animations, photos, and activity sheets, etc.

WE did not use this section, because my kids were beyond it, for the most part, but I really wanted you to know that it is there, and that it’s GOOD.

We HAVE been using the elementary a lot, because, frankly, I thought it was the best way for us to work as a group, something which many of my readers know that we enjoy doing. The elementary section of Digital Science Online has subjects like physical, earth, and life, with subtopics or units within them. As with the Primary section, there are lovely, well made videos, animations, photos, worksheets, and hands on activities in some areas. It’s meant for grades 3 through 5.

We have, for the most part, enjoyed this, except for having to crowd around one computer (something I will also address a little later). It was very impressive how, when we would choose a subject, there would then be a list of sub-topics within that subject, effectively giving us a unit study, already all organized for us! The reason I like this aspect so much is that all four of my boys really, really enjoy watching science and nature programs on television. The problem with that though, is it’s hard to put together a group of programs at the same time which would work together as a topical unit.

Eventually, though, with the exception of “The Puzzler”, the boys really wanted to have a go at the higher level, which I’ll talk about in a bit, because truthfully, I thought only “The Artist” would be able to handle the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

How wrong I was!

As I mentioned back at the beginning of this review, we were also given access to the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

The Secondary Edition has considerably more units of study, with a great number of sub-topics. My kids liked the longer videos, which, once again, I must complement. They are quite beautiful.

I have asked them to stay away from some sections of the biology units, after they pointed them out and said they didn’t think they should look at them. I was very proud of them for this actually, as it shows they have been listening to us and to their teachers at church when we discuss what is or is not appropriate for them.

There are also areas in which evolution is used as a given, where we believe, and teach, from a Creation world view. It was very interesting, however, to listen to everyone of our boys, at different times while watching different sections, saying things like “That’s not true, there’s no millions of years” or “Evolution isn’t real, we know that”. πŸ™‚

The Secondary Edition also has worksheets and such, but these are really beyond any of my boys other than “The Artist”. I DO find that “The Batman” and “Mr. Loquacious” can do a lot of them orally, though.

AS I told you above, I really thought it would be better to use this program as a group, because as often as possible, I prefer it when we can do that. This DID work, for a while, but lo and behold, just today, they asked me two questions:

Will this work on our tablets?
Can we do it separately so we can choose our own topics?

Well, guess what, it works on the tablets! I hadn’t even tried, because I’m used to things like this being mostly for iPads, which we do not have. WE have Android Tablets. SO, I told them I would try it on mine first to check, and if so, we’d see if it would work on theirs. It did! πŸ™‚ Since I had never actually set up separate student accounts because *I* wanted this to be a group learning thing I thought my kids would love to do this together, I chose to call customer support, given that I had forgotten how to set up separate log ins. Guess what found out? Well, while yes, I CAN do that, I don’t HAVE to! They can all log in using the information I used for the one log in, and they can all do it at the same time, on their own tablets or a computer. YAY! The customer service is wonderful. The first person I spoke with was named Louise, and the second was Emily, because they handle different aspects within the company.

One of the reasons I was so pleased to discover that this could be used on their tablets, all at the same time, and that they could be doing different subjects at the same time, as well, is that now, we don’t have to have a “discussion” about what we will learn about “today”. Being able to use the tablets in this way is a definite plus as well for the family who travels, because their children will be able to take this beautiful program along, and learn science their way. It would be great if you’re staying somewhere with provided wifi, and much better than spending all your in room time just watching television.

ALL in all, we really, really like this program. I even had one child come back inside from playing to ask if he could do some more science on his tablet! What better rating is there than that, right?

Want to see what my fellow Crew members think of Digital SCience Online? Just click on the banner right below!

Visual Learning Systems Review

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Filed under education, family, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Homeschooling Science, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post

Learning About The Partial Solar Eclipse . . .

So, last week there was a partial solar eclipse, which was visible here in NM. When I showed my kids how easily we could make a pinhole projector, they were totally on board!

Here is our pinhole projector!
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We went outside at about 3:40 our time, and watched it for a while, and then went back out close to 4:30, which we’d been told on the news would be peak time.

We tried doing it with the blank card stock on the ground, but it wasn’t working very well . . .

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So we ended up having one child hold the pinhole projector, and another hold the blank card stock. They took turns, so that everyone who wanted to, got a chance to do both, and everyone got a chance to just look, as well.

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Their dad got home from work while we were still outside and decided to get in on the action, too!
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Here is a short video of the action for your enjoyment!

addendum: I totally forgot to mention that one of the boys next door got off the school bus (arms full of books and homework) as we were doing this, and stopped to see what we were doing. he thought it was pretty cool, as did the lady on the other side of our house, who was leaving to go somewhere, but wandered over first to see. Homeschooling rocks! πŸ™‚

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Filed under Homeschool Science, Kids, NM, Partial Solar Eclipse

Weekly Wrap Up . . . Family Crusade Time!

This has been a VERY busy week, but a good one, as well. Our church held a Family crusade, beginning this past Sunday morning with OUR version of balloon Sunday. It was the last day of this year’s International balloon Fiesta, and on that morning, we release helium balloons with our names, and the plan of salvation on an attached card. It was quite windy, and I could not get a photo before they were too far away, sadly, but it was fun! πŸ™‚

From Sunday evening through Thursday evening, we had the wonderful Ed Dunlop as our speaker, and dare I say, entertainer? Everyone, children, teens and adults alike all just loved his ventriloquism with his little buddy Andy, and loved watching the kids participate in different Bible games.

I tried to get a video during the last evening, but looking at it on the computer, I can see that I really messed it up . . . it’s sideways! So instead, let me share a photo of Bro. Ed, Andy, my boys, and several of their friends who were also still at the church after everyone else had left . . . 1016142044e One of my boys, “The Batman”, specifically asked if Andy could come out and be in the picture with them, lol!

My boys tried so hard to get visitors to come with them, but they were not successful. This is the first time we have lived where there were other kids right next door that they play with (since moving to NM), and they asked them every day, with no results. They were disappointed, but we explained to them that they did their job by asking, and that God knows this.

I think this was a WONDERFUL alternative to the traditional summer VBS. I liked it a lot better. VBS has always tended (in my opinion) to get kids so very revved up and make it hard for them to be self-controlled, especially kids like mine, with special needs, yet, I hate to deny them VBS. Therefore, I was so very happy that our church chose to do this instead this year. We had a great time! πŸ™‚

This post is being linked up at Weird Unsocialized homeschoolers. Write about YOUR week, and link up too! For the guidelines, click the banner below:

Weekly Wrap-Up

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Feeling Sad and Nostalgic Today . . .

Two years ago, I left my very best friend “Annie’s” house for the last time, because we were getting ready to move from Michigan to New Mexico, for my husband’s job. At the time, she and her children lived about two and a half hours west of us, having moved to be near her family about a year after the death of her husband. We had for years, spent our kids’ birthdays together, either at her house or at our house. It was the best thing, too, because she and her children love my kids, no matter what their differences and difficulties have been, and always treated them the same as any other kids, even though they aren’t. That has not always been the case in the lives of my children. Kids can be so mean, once they realize another kid is different, you know?

So anyway, we realized that there was no way we would be able to go there in June for the birthdays of her two oldest, which are two days apart, and since “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” share a birthday in May (being twins, you know), we decided to go and spend a few days at our friends’ home in May, and just do all four of the kids’ birthdays over a couple of days! Over the years, we were often able to visit for 3 or 4 days at a time because we both homeschool.

We did my boys birthdays on Tuesday, the 15th.

My friend is really awesome at making themed cakes. This is what she did for “Mr. Loquacious”, who really wanted a Lego themed party . . .
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For “The Puzzler”, who loves all things Thomas The Train, this is what she made . . .
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Here I am with the kids, waiting for the candles to be lit . . .
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And here is my dear friend, getting the candles ready for the birthday boys. The picture is a little blurry, though!
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My boys, very happy with their the cakes . . .
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Later, after presents, because we ALWAYS do “Pin the something on something”, I had ordered a pin the Lego shark in the water kit and a pin the smokestack onto Thomas set. Here are all the kids with the Lego mask blindfolds on, trying to hit the right spot.

“Mr. Loquacious”
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“The Puzzler”
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“The Batman”
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“The Artist”
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Next up, we have my Friend’s children . . .

“J. L.” . . .
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“L. E.”
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“L. A. ”
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Here’s how they all looked in the Thomas blindfolds . . .

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As always, I had ordered goodie boxes with themed favors, so each kid got a Thomas one and a Lego one!
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So, that was the party for my twins, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the 16th, we had a birthday for “J. L.”, and his sister “L. E.”, whose birthdays are two days apart. Their birthday was chocolate theme. You can’t go wrong there, right? πŸ™‚
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Everyone loved their parties, and their presents!

Wednesday evening, we went to my friend’s church, Midland Baptist Church. While we were there, we got somebody to take one final picture of “Annie” and me.
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The next day, the 17th of May, 2012, we had to leave and go back to Port Huron, so I could get to work on packing and readying for our moving sale. I had done absolutely fine the whole time we were there, but when it was time to leave, the hardest thing was to not cry. And I didn’t, until we were out of sight of the house, then the sobbing started, so I pulled over and sat for about 30 minutes until I was OK to drive.

I miss my friend “Annie” so much. For years, we had been each other’s support system, we both have been raising challenging children, although the challenges were and are different. We always knew we could call on each other if we needed someone to keep our kids when we had to do something. In fact, she kept mine for 4 days when I went for my bariatric surgery in 2011.

We began as unlikely friends, who became very close. “Annie” has been my confidante, my Titus 2 woman in my life. I will always love her, and all of her children, so much, and will never stop missing them.

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Filed under Best Friends, Birthdays, Christian faith, Church, family, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Special Needs Children

Weekly Wrap Up . . . More Drama!

As I told you last time I did a wrap up, “Mr. Loquacious” has had a chronic nosebleed problem. Since the Sunday night when he blacked out at church, he’s had a number of new nose bleeds, and so this morning had an 8;00 appointment with the specialist. Well, he will next be having surgery to hopefully correct the problem. Of course, he is very unhappy about this. 😦 Now, we wait for the surgery scheduler to call, and the earliest he can have it will probably be in May.

Other than that, this past week has been slow and easy with homeschooling. We did some science experiments from Supercharged Science, those who are in piano lessons did daily practice, and we’re working on a history curriculum that is an upcoming review. Plus, our homeschool co-op at church had the end of the year creativity fair Friday night, so the two youngest, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” participated in that while “The Batman” and “The Artist” were at a youth group activity that was a pirate theme murder mystery party. Pictures will be coming in a post very soon! πŸ™‚

Hope this week will be a bit simpler to deal with!

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Weekly Wrap-Up . . .Boy, am I TIRED!!!

Beginning Sunday, our church had special conference entitled Solve Family Problems, featuring Dr. S.M. Davis. He spoke for the adults and teens during Sunday School, and again in morning service, then we also had him for Sunday evening service, Monday and Tuesday evening. Monday and Tuesday, as our church generally does, a supper was provided at 6:00 p.m. so that those who would need to come straight from work could still eat. And our church is, as our Pastor likes to say, “the eating-est church in town”, so you know the food was really great! Of course, it IS a Baptist church, and I’ve NEVER had a bad meal in a Baptist church, whether it be a pot-luck or a church provided meal! πŸ™‚ The conference was really great, and we got a lot out of it.

Wednesday evening, I needed to hang around after church to practice with the choir, as we’re singing the special Sunday morning, then after that, I practiced with our piano teacher, who also plays when I sing a special. We WERE practicing for my scheduled special at the end of the month, when the music director asked if we could do it this coming Sunday evening instead. Well, we do feel comfortable with it now, so we told him yes. I’ll post that sometime this next week. Y’all are not getting tired of all my videos of either my kids or me singing specials, are you?

This morning we had homeschool co-op at church, where we had the kiddos split into 3 groups based on age/ability range, who then rotated between rotated the 3 moms who were there for things like string art, writing, younger kids writing, and my station, which was using different color paints to put their hand prints on the big banners for the upcoming co-op Creativity Fair. They also had root beer floats for snack.

Next, we went to McDonald’s (I know, I know, don’t judge me!) for a quick dollar menu lunch before heading over to piano lessons. We have an hour and a half block with our teacher, for me, “The Batman”, and “The Artist”. I got my recital piece last week, it’s really pretty. It’s called Appalachian Sunrise by Michael Schwabe. “The Artist” will be doing Solfeggietto by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and “The Batman” is going to be doing Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin. God thing we have until August to practice!

Well, I’ve been very tired lately, and dealing with some stressful stuff, so I believe I’m going to go lie down on the couch and try to rest for a while. I hope you’ve had a good week!

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Filed under Church, education, home education, Home-school Group, Homeschool Group Monthly Activity, homeschooling, Kids, Mesa Baptist Church, Piano lessons, Weekly Wrap-Up