Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #55

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  For those of you who are new here today, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.


Featured Post


I am going to shamelessly promote one of my posts this week.  I have a review and giveaway going on for enJoy Movies Your Way that ends today.  It is really a great product that you can use to cut out little parts or entire scenes from movies that you don't want your children to see or hear.  I think that the possibilities with this product are so great that any family could benefit from it.  The cost is so reasonable too, only $2-3 per month or about $20 for an entire year.  Won't you go enter my giveaway?  Then you can try it for free!  I'm giving away FIVE 2-month subscriptions, so your chances of willing are high!


Most Clicked-On Post from Last Week 

By far the most clicked on post from last week was Don't Waste Your Time from Blue Manor Education.  Janine talks about teaching/learning the tough, accelerated type courses like higher math and whether or not it is worth it.  What do you think?  As classical homeschoolers, this is definitely something we need to think about.  We tend to want to teach our children a lot of information.  Do you ever step back and make sure that each thing your child is learning is worth it?  What is your reasoning behind what you choose to teach or not teach?  I think this is a really good discussion topic!  Thank you, Janine, for making us think about this!

This Week's Link-Up


Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

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Monday, April 29, 2013

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Review and Giveaway


Doesn't it just make you feel good when you find something that your children can't wait to do for school every morning?  That is how both of my children feel about A Journey Through Learning lapbooks!

This is our first year studying history, and I'm not following a 'box' curriculum, so I'm mostly piecing things together from a few sources.  I read out loud to my children a lot and then we do projects, notebook pages, copywork, timelines, etc. to reinforce what we have been reading about.  As we finished up studying ancient Egypt (to go along with the end of Genesis and beginning of Exodus), I was feeling like I needed to do something to review what we learned.  I had confidence that my son learned many things about Egypt, but thought it would be nice for him to have something to reference that had a lot of the information all in one place.

In absolutely perfect timing, I was contacted by A Journey Through Learning asking if I would review their lapbooks.  I took a look at their website and saw that they have many different topics for lapbooks, including ancient Egypt!  I expressed my interest in a few of their books, and they ended up sending me Exploring Ancient Egypt and The Earth.  

We jumped right in and got to creating our lapbooks!  We started with the Egypt one, and I loved that it covered all the main topics that we studied, plus more!  Each lapbook piece was preceded by a page teaching about that topic (Egyptian dress, mummies, etc.)  This was a nice feature because it allows you to use this product as a complete study if you would like, or just as a supplement to what you are studying.

My children's most favorite part about these lapbooks was...

Head on over to The Curriculum Choice to find out and read the rest of the review.  Also, you can enter to win a lapbook of your own!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

enJoy Movies Your Way Review and Giveaway

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Have you ever had someone ask you if a movie you had watched was good, and then follow up with the question "Was it clean?"  Have you ever answered, "Oh yeah! Well...except for this one part..." or "Sure! But there was a bit of swearing now that I think about it."  Don't you hate how a good movie can be ruined because of that one part (or those few little parts)?

When I was presented with the opportunity to try enJoy Movies Your Way, I thought it was a great concept and was excited to give it a shot!

Disclaimer: I used this product during a free trial period, but was compensated for my time in writing this review.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own!

What is enJoy Movies Your Way?


Now, my husband and I are not frequent movie watchers, but our children really enjoy watching movies and we let them watch limited amounts.  It seems like even in children's movies, there are parts that I don't care for my kids to see.  I thought it would be neat to see how enJoy Movies Your Way could help!  So, I checked out their website and this is what I learned:

  • enJoy Movies Your Way is movie filtering software that allows YOU to decide what parts you want to see (or not see) in a movie
  • you can either create your own custom filters or use ready made filters (the list of available options is growing all the time)
  • you set a profile for each person in your family, so what gets filtered out is different depending on who is watching
  • scenes can either be muted our skipped completely
  • the software only works on your computer, so you connect your computer/laptop to your TV if you want to watch a movie there

Creating Filters


I decided that I would try to make a filter for one of my kid's favorite movies, Snoopy Come Home.  Generally, this is a really cute movie, but like just about everything, there are a few things that we do not like in it.  The biggest thing in the Charlie Brown shows is that they use the words 'stupid' and 'dumb' a lot.  It's not the worst thing in the world, but I don't like when my preschool aged children start saying those words after watching these shows.  Why not just eliminate them from the movie?

I could have just tried to see what the software was like by making just this one filter mark, but I decided to go all out and make a filter for the entire movie.  The website provides a very detailed Scene Intensity Rating Scale that makes it easy to know what to filter and how to classify it.  I suggest that you check it out for yourself, but to give you an idea, here is a summary of the non-graphic violence section:

  • Non-Graphic Violence
    • 1 (low) - friendly punches, accidental mild violence
    • 2 (mild) - comical action scenes, unrealistic cartoon violence, etc.
    • 3 (moderate) - car chases, vandalism, emotionally charged fights, etc.
    • 4 (strong) - aggressive conflict, physical abuse, life-threatening medical situation, etc.
    • 5 (extreme) - killing at a distance, battle scenes with low blood, etc.

That is just to give you an idea.  Each time you create a filter mark, you tell it what type of scene it is, and then which rating it is (low, strong, etc.).  So, in Snoopy Come Home for example, there is a silly fist fight between Snoopy and one of the other characters.  I set a filter mark at the beginning and ending times of the fight and then marked it "Non-graphic Violence, 2(mild)"  because cartoon violence is listed there on the rating scale.


This is a screen shot of how you make the filter.  You can fast forward, rewind, set and edit the times of the scenes you want edited out.  On the right hand side is where you choose which type of scene each mark is for and what the intensity rating is.  That is also where you choose if you want the scene edited out or just muted.


 Setting Up Profiles


Now, maybe I think it's ok for my children to see this fight scene, or maybe I don't think it's ok now, but when they are a year or two older I think it will be fine.  That is where the profiles come in.  When you set a profile for each member of you family, you are telling the program what ratings for each type of scene is ok for that person.  I may say that my 4 year old is allowed to see only 1(low) scenes under non-graphic violence, so when he watches a movie, I would click on his profile and every scene with a rating higher than 1 (low) for non-graphic violence would be edited out.


Here is a screen shot of the 'Edit Profiles' page.  You can see that in my son's box I am allowing no scenes with any rating for bad language of any kind.  You can also notice next to my husband's name (Tim), you can even create your own Custom Categories in case there is a type of situation that is unique to your family that you want edited out.


I want to take a minute to say that this might sound confusing, and it took a little while for me to figure out, but once you work through the program one time it really becomes quite easy.  You just have to take a few minutes to get it all straight in your head!  Thankfully, enJoy Movies Your Way offers lots of help.  They offer video and written tutorials to walk you though every step of the process, from downloading the program to creating your filters.  They even have a youtube channel where you can conveniently search through all their video tutorials.


Example of a Filter


Here is a video of what it looks and sounds like when something is filtered out of a movie.  In this scene, I chose to mute the word 'stupid.'  You can choose to just must the word, or mute a certain amount of time before and/or after the part you do not want.  I probably could have been a little more precise, but hey, it was my first time making a filter!  Let me know what you think!


I am looking at this program from the eyes of a mother who has young children, but I can only imagine how great it could be for when my children are older!  Just think about how many movies you could allow back into your home if you had the confidence that those scenes would not be played in front of your children's eyes?

Cost of enJoy Movies Your Way


If you are wondering how much it costs to be able to use this software, the great news is that it is priced extremely well!  There are two levels of membership (check out their Subscription Plans for the details).  You can either subscribe on a month-by-month basis for just $2-3 per month, or save a considerable amount by signing up for an entire year ($17-22 per year).  If you are a movie-watching family, this is a very reasonable cost.  Remember, if the filter creating process sounds like too much for you, you can use their ready-made filters which makes it so simple!

Please note that you must have a computer with a DVD drive to use this software and it only works on Windows Vista and Windows 7!  It does not work on Mac or Windows 8, although a Windows 8 version will be coming out in the future.

What enJoy Movies Your Way comes down to is truly being able to control what you want your children (and yourself!) to see and hear.  I love that.  You can make the program as simple or complex as you choose, and at such a minimal cost, it is a great investment to your family's entertainment.

Giveaway Time!


If this sounds interesting to you, please take a minute to learn more about it on their website, enJoy Movies Your Way, and connect with them on facebook and twitter

Would you like to try enJoy Movies Your Way for free?  They are generously offering FIVE 2-month subscriptions to my readers here at Living and Learning at Home!  Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #54

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  For those of you who are new here today, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.


Featured Post from Last Week


Speed!If you did not check out Highhill Homeschool's post from last week, you absolutely have to!  She made up a song to remember the information they have been learning about Mesopotamia and this isn't just a line or two jingle...this baby has TEN four-line verses!  Wow!  She even has a video of her kids singing the whole thing.  Whoever you are reading this, I have a feeling that you won't be making up a Mesopotamia song anytime soon, so if you are going to be teaching your kids about those people in the future, I recommend bookmarking this post!  Kudos to the Highhill Homeschool!  Seriously, they are always so creative over there.


Most Clicked-On Post from Last Week


Just for fun, I thought I would start sharing the most clicked-on post from the previous week too.  A little extra exposure for a worthy post and a little incentive to you to take good pictures and write good titles that encourage people to click on your link =)




The winner from last week was Logic: Puzzles and Games from Trivium Pursuit!






This Week's Link-Up


Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Birthday Thank You Note Copywork



My baby girl turned 3 this past weekend!  How did she get to be so old?!?  We had a really nice time celebrating her young life and she was so excited about the whole thing =)  We had some close family members over for dinner and they were more than generous, showering her with many PINK gifts.  Yes, I've got a girly girl, which I love!

Mackenzie got about a dozen new dresses, a play table to go with the kitchen in her room, lots of bracelets and hair clips, some wooden dress-up dolls, a puzzle, and more!  With all these wonderful new gifts, we've got some thank you notes to write!

I made up this "Thank you for my gift!" copywork page to help her be involved in the appreciation showing too.  If you have a beginning writer with a birthday coming up, you might benefit from this too!  Please feel free to use download and print this page all you'd like.

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  • Write the recipients name on the top line
  • Have your child copy the sentence "Thank you for my gift!"
  • Use the lines below to write anything else you would like to include (We just loved seeing you and your new little one!  Thanks for bringing a salad!  Lulu just LOVES her new doll!  Hope to see you again soon!  etc.)
  • Have your child practice writing his or her name on the bottom line



I think taking the time to write thank you notes is such a great way to show appreciation to the gift-givers.  I always love hearing that the child I give a gift to actually enjoys what I gave them =)  Possibly most importantly, it is a great opportunity to have your child slow down and truly be thankful for each gift and each gift giver, learning the skill of thank you note writing along the way!  



Friday, April 19, 2013

The Joys of Springtime

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Yesterday was a beautiful day.  It was the first day with temperatures in the 70s here in Michigan.  In the afternoon it rained, like any good spring day should =)  My children got to go out into our yard when the rain calmed into a sprinkle and do what children love to do...play in the mud!  After a few minutes, my son came running to the door, popped his head in, and said this fine bit of wisdom to me...


"Mom, I've got two situations.  1: rain makes the flowers grow.  That is situation 1.  The other situation is this: mud is fun for playing in."


  • LOVE these observation (er, 'situations') from a 4 year old boy.
  • LOVE the learning that comes when children can get their hands dirty playing outside!
  • LOVE the joys of springtime!




Happy Spring!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #53

Welcome to a new year of Trivium Tuesdays!  Anything different you'd like to see?  Or are you happy with what we have going on here?  Each week I learn something new, am encouraged, or am inspired...really all three!

For those of you who are new here today, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.




Today I am featuring Growing in Grace's post on Fun with Maps.   She shares with us some of the things they have tried over the course of this year for their mapwork, and what they are doing now (hint: it uses magnets!)  I think her idea is great and fun for the children.  How do you do mapwork with your kids?Do you simply have them fill in blank maps, or have you thought of a creative way to help them learn?





Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)


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Play and Exploration Revisited

 
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This past summer I wrote a series called Early Grammar Stage Focus.  In it, I took a close look at the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10  from Trivium Pursuit and challenged myself to do better in the areas that they highlight.  It has been a few months, and school is in full swing, so I want to check back in and see how I have done in each of the areas.  Today's post brings me to the very last one in the series!  If you are interested in what you see, make sure to go back and read the earlier installments.

You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.

Today we are going to re-visit the subject of Play and Exploration.  If you didn't see the original post this past summer, or just need a refresher, take a minute to go read it first.

I wrote the first post on this topic at the end of last summer, right after my family moved into our first house (from a condo with no yard).  It was the perfect time to talk about Play and Exploration then, and it is the perfect time to revisit it right now!  Spring is here, summer is around the corner, and we are ready to get out and play!  Not that we haven't been planing and exploring all winter long, but nothing is quite as good as the summertime =)

The '10 Things' article I linked to above talks about giving your young children lots of time to play, mostly with tools they can use for creating and exploring.  It talks about traditional type toys (blocks, dress-up clothes, dolls, etc.) and how they are great because they foster creativity.  All of these types of toys and tools are so much better than the heaps of plastic, noise making, blinking toys I know we all have sitting around.  Those toys may be intriguing for a while, but they essentially do all the thinking for your child, leaving them nothing to do but stare.

Last time, I set a few goals I wanted to work towards.  They are listed here with an update as to how we have been doing:

Goals:


  • Provide more tools for exploration
  • Make good toys accessible in the house
  • Drastically limit TV time (no more than 1/2 hour a day?)

I am happy to report that we have done well in all of these areas!  My son's birthday came shortly after that last post was written, I asked family members for things like a butterfly net, magnifying glass, bug catching jars, etc.  We got a ton of those great exploring type toys and my kids both loved them!

When we got everything settled into our new home, I wanted to make sure that good, quality toys were easily accessible for the children.  I also wanted to hide some of the bulk of the plastic, noisy type toys away =)  We kept essentially all of the books in the kids rooms, puzzles on the bookshelf along with scissors, glue, paper, stickers, etc. for creating, a game closet full of games for them to choose from, and some gender specific creative play toys in their room.  My son has lots of cars and trains along with a growing supply of legos.  My daughter has dress-up clothes, dolls, a play kitchen, and other role play type toys in her room.  We still have the rest of our toys, but they are in the basement.  The kids still go down any play with them, but not nearly as much as they play upstairs.  Most of their free time is spent building with Jenga blocks, making patterns with dominos, doing puzzles, reading books, drawing, etc.  I'm sure as the weather gets nicer, much of this free time will be spent outside.

We have been very purposeful about limiting TV/electronics time.  Both kids still really love it, but they are learning to not ask for it so much =)  Sometimes we slip back in to using those things more than we would like, but quickly get back on track because the kid's attitudes change so obviously when we do.  I honestly like to let them enjoy a TV show or a video game, but we find it usually isn't worth it except for short periods a time or two per week.

So, are you ready for summertime like we are?  How are you planning on fostering your children's creativity this summer?  Do you limit your kid's electronics time (or are mine the only ones who ask way too often?)


This post is a part of the following series:



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Friday, April 12, 2013

Teach Your Child To Write - A Beginner's Writing Notebook

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This post contains an affiliate link to a product I love.

My little girl is turning 3 this month.  For the past year she has loved coloring, cutting paper, gluing things, etc.  She has incredible fine motor skills.  These two things coupled together led me to begin teaching her to write letters a little over two months ago.  She is doing an amazing job, and I wanted to share with you what I have been doing with her.

This is a simple, no-hassle, no fancy curriculum needed, way to help your child (at whatever age they are ready!) learn to write.  It is the very first form of copywork; simply mimicking correctly written letters.


Just before I began teaching Mackenzie to write her letters, I bought a really simple book binding system (that I'm in love with!) so I just HAD to make up a writing notebook for her.

The idea was to have her learn a new letter each day we did school work, practice previously learned letters, and also master letter sounds along with it.  So, I printed these {free!} A-Z Handwriting Worksheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler and on the back of each page I printed these {free!}blank Beginner Handwriting Sheets from Classical Copywork.



Here is what we do

  1. Review the previously learned letters by looking at each page in the book she has already done.  I turn the pages and she tells me the name of the letter and what sound it makes.
  2. Learn how to write the letter by tracing over the letters and letter parts on the A-Z Handwriting Worksheet for the day.  
  3. Practice writing the letter on her own.  I write one uppercase and one lowercase example for her on the blank Beginner Handwriting Sheet on the opposite page and she does her best to copy it across the line.  Some letters she caught onto quickly and others took practice over many days.
  4. Review writing previous day's letters.  I write letters on the rest of the lines for her to practice with.  Sometimes I pick the more difficult ones that she needs extra practice on and other times I let her pick which ones she wants me to write.
 


This process does not take long each day and it is really working well!  In just two months, she can write and give the sound for almost every letter.  I love the idea of having it all in a book like this because it is easy to review the previous letters, everything is in one place, and I don't have to print out a new sheet every day.  I'm going to have a post up soon about the book binding system I've been using and how simple it is to use!


I encourage you to try making up a notebook like this for your child if they are ready to begin learning how to write!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #52

Welcome to Trivium Tuesdays!  Wow, this week marks one entire year of this link-up!  Thank you to all of you who have been around since the beginning, and also to those of you who pop in from time to time or have just linked up for the first time recently.  I truly love learning from each of you every week and hope that you have been encouraged and inspired as well!  What do you think, should we keep this up?  If you benefit from it, I'll keep be here!

This is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.


This week, I'm featuring a post from Sharra (of The Homeschool Marm) over at Homeschool Mosaics.  Her post from last week, History in the Classical Home, gives many great idea for how to immerse your children (and yourself!) in the history period you are studying.  One thing she talks about is reading quality living books about the time period.  She mentions Heritage History as a resource, which I completely agree with!  If you have not checked out their re-formated ebooks for Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Early America, etc. you really need to!  Go read Sharra's post for more details and lots of other great ideas!


Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)



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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Discipline Re-Visited

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This past summer I wrote a series called Early Grammar Stage Focus.  In it, I took a close look at the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10  from Trivium Pursuit and challenged myself to do better in the areas that they highlight.  It is been a few months, and school is in full swing, so I want to check back in and see how I have done in each of the areas.  Every few weeks I will re-visit one of the 10 topics, so come back for more!

You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.

Today we are going to re-visit the subject of Discipline.  If you didn't see the original post in the summer, or just need a refresher, take a minute to go read it first.

In the original post, we talked about why discipline is so important.  If your children do not obey you, you cannot expect to get much done in the day.  Especially if you are homeschooling, where you really do need to get a ton done each day.

As I looked back on the first post about discipline, I noticed that I didn't set any goals, so I don't have anything to check back in on...bummer!

I can tell you that our form of discipline has changed a bit in the past year.  This is mostly because Trevor is nearing 5 years old and as children grow, they think differently and respond differently.  Most of the things that he gets in trouble for is not thinking of others (namely his sister) and not following instructions.  The following instructions part is not so much disobedience as it is distraction and not focusing.  We work on that every day, but not in a disciplinary way.  If there is punishment, it might be in the form of extra work (like if he gets distracted and doesn't help clean up with his sister, she gets to stop and he has to tidy up extra).

We are trying to focus a lot on virtues these days.  The past few weeks we have been talking about Humility and Love.  We printed out a few of the pictures from Blue Manor Education's free Book of Virtues and read them multiple times a day.  We talk about thinking of others ahead of ourselves, not drawing attention to ourselves, and encouraging others.  Sometimes when Trevor does not act in these ways, he has to spend time by himself in his room.  We really want to have a great atmosphere in our home and if he (or anyone!) doesn't want to act nicely and respectfully, he gets to hang out by himself for a little while until he is ready to enjoy family life again.

With Mackenzie, we are trying to be consistent with her, but honestly it is harder with the second child.  Also, she has always been a really enjoyable child, so it's easier to let something slide when she does disobey.  We do need to work on that.  There are a few areas that she has been struggling in lately, and we have been trying to be more consistent in her discipline as to stop the bad habits before they root too deep.

Last post, I talked about how important it is for the parent to be in control of themselves when administering any form of discipline.  I am happy to report that, by the grace of God, I have been doing really well in this area.  I have been trying to whisper instead of yell, be the adult instead of acting like a child in my reactions, and bestow more grace.  My husband is a wonderful example of this and I am thankful to be able to learn from him.  Obedience is very important, but even more important is being loving and extending grace.

I still have a lot to work on, but we are learning every day and hopefully we will raise wonderful children in the end =)

I'd love any advice you might have to share.  What kind of discipline methods have you used as your 'babies' started growing into older children?  How do you actively display grace while still requiring obedience?  How do you work on capturing your children's hearts so that they love to please you and discipline is less of an issue?


This post is a part of the following series:



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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #51

Welcome to Trivium Tuesdays!  This is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Have you been, or are you going to a homeschool convention this year?  I have not.  I actually have never been to one.  I really aught to.  Pam, from Everyday Snapshots, shares with us her thoughts about the Great Homeschool Convention she just went to.  She was able to catch many classical-related seminars and they sound great!  Does every convention have these kinds of seminars?  I just assumed they would be generic type topics, but of course I don't know anything since I've never been =)

Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Time4Learning - An Online Educational Program - Review and Giveaway

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I love to teach my children.  I love to see them grow, learn, and understand new concepts.  With that said, teaching my children is tough work!  There are always multiple things going on at the same time, children that need individual attention, and concepts that I can't figure out how to teach in a way that my children will really understand.

When I got the chance to review Time4Learning (thank you, Time 4 Learning, for the opportunity to try your curriculum and for compensating me for my time to write this review), I was excited because I thought it would be a great help in many of these areas.  Boy was I right!

 

What is Time4Learning?


  • Homeschool or after school curriculum for grades preK-8th
  • Exciting, interactive lessons that children LOVE
  • Student-paced approach that makes your child feel good about learning

Time4Learning is great because it can be used in so many circumstances.  Are you a busy homeschool mom that is looking for a full computer based curriculum for your children?  Is your child struggling with a particular subject, whether in your homeschool or public school?  Are you looking for something to keep your children sharp during the summer months?  I seriously encourage you to take a look at Time4Learning because it could be just what you have been looking for!




My children LOVE using Time4Learning because the lessons are so fun!  Each concept is taught simply and then enforced by game-like lessons.  Both of my kids wake up asking to do their "computer school" and continue asking to do it until I (finally) tell them it is time!  I think they would do their lessons all day if I didn't stop them =)

Time4Learning can be completely student directed if you desire.  Even my (almost) 3 year old is able to sign herself in and navigate to the correct lesson. You can print out lesson plans if you would like, or you can simply have your child move from one lesson to the next within each subject.  Since we are using this as a supplement and not a complete curriculum, I let me children progress through the lessons as quickly or slowly as they needed and do whichever subjects they wanted each day.  They simply had to follow the arrow, which told them which icon to click on next.  The quizzes at the end of the sections do not let your child progress to quickly if they do not understand the concepts yet.


You can see that the no-nonsense screens make it easy for you child to see which lessons they have completed and which lesson they should click on next (the lesson the arrow is pointing to).  There are a series of these screens within each subject and topic within the subjects.

I wasn't sure which levels to put my children in, but I chose the preK 1 for my daughter and 1st grade for my son.  What is nice, is that you can alter their levels if you find that they are not being challenged enough or if you think they need more practice on easier levels.  My daughter blew through the preK levels, so I ended up switching her to kindergarten, which was a simple process and is just right for her!  My son is more advanced than the 1st grade reading level, but I am letting him stay there just because it is fun for him and helps to build his confidence in reading.  The math lessons, on the other hand, are quite challenging for him and he often has to re-do lessons before he understands the concepts enough to move on.


Why I Love Time4Learning


Like I started out with, teaching children is tough work!  Time4Learning helps with that.  Here are some reasons why:

  • I can work with one child alone while the other child does his Time4Learning lessons.
  • My children get understand concepts better by having them be explained to them in a way different from mine.
  • Some of the topics are inevitably taught differently than what we have already learned, thereby filling in some gaps in their learning.
  • The curriculum simply makes learning FUN!
  • School days don't have to be thrown to the wayside when mom is sick.  The learning never has to stop!
  • I can sign in as a parent and see my children's progression and how they have scored on the quizzes and tests.



Could Anything Be Wrong?


We are using Time4Learning as a supplement to our curriculum, so there really isn't anything that I do not enjoy about the program.  If you were using this as a complete curriculum, I would take care to make sure that you child gets lots of exposure to real books and has ample time with pencil and paper.  Obviously a child's entire life cannot be spent on the computer and I don't think their school day should be either.  I do like that they try to counter that potential problem by giving children ideas of relevant books to look for at the library, activities to supplement what was taught in the lessons, pages to print out to write a story on, etc.

Maybe I am a little bit of a Debby Downer, but I think that the fictional characters in the program are a little too 'encouraging.'  While I appreciate positive affirmation, I don't like telling children that they are awesome when they are not.  If my daughter had to try a hundred times to match two like items, the character would still say things like "You did a GREAT job!"  Well, no, she didn't.  I don't see what would be wrong with saying, "Nice try, keep practicing and you'll get it soon!" or something like that.  My son struggles with diligence and will often do his assignments halfheartedly, so I didn't think the 'encouragement' was helpful to him when he got problems wrong because of haste.  Perhaps encouragement along the lines of "Oops!  That's not it.  Maybe you should look over the lesson again and I bet you'll get it next time!" or something like that.  Once again, I don't mind it for a few minutes a day, but I wouldn't want my child potentially being fed that kind of false encouragement all day long.


Learn More


I've got to wrap this up because my kids just got up from their rest time and are asking to do their 'computer school' (I'm not joking!) but before I go I want to make sure you know how to find out more about this neat online educational program for you children! 


If this sounds like something that you and your children could benefit from (and I'm sure you could!) you have the chance to win a 14-day trial to use for yourself!  Time4Learning has graciously offered 10 trails to my readers!  Please enter the raffelcopter below for many chances to win!  You also have another chance to enter at Cornerstone Confessions.




Disclaimer: I received this product for free in order to write this review.  I was compensated for my time invested.  All opinions are honest and I was not required to write a positive review.


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