Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spanish for You Reveiw

I really wasn't looking for a foreign language curricula, so I didn't have an opinion either way on this. Once I received my download files of Spanish for You! Fietas, I was still not too excited as it didn't make sense to me as I don't know a bit of Spanish. It wasn't until I listened to our conference call with Debbie Annett that it all started to fall into place. She has been very helpful!

1. Easy to use. (Once you know what you are looking at.)
2. Debbie gives you both a native speaker audio file and an audio file of her speaking. This really helps as it's hard to understand the native speaker if you don't know the language. I use the native speaker file the most because that is what I want my kids to hear and learn.
3. It had all of us, including my 5 year old, speaking and understanding Spanish the first day!
4. At only $39.95 per grade level, this is a really affordable curricula!

1. If you aren't familiar with Spanish at all, you may have to take some time to figure it all out. 

For my review, I received "Spanish for You!" Fiestas in a download format. In this package I received;
1. Spanish for You! textbook.
2. 30 week lesson plan for grades 3-4.
3. Self-checking worksheets.
4. Audio files of the entire textbook.
5. Flashcard/activity pictures.

I had everything I needed, once I figured out where to start. Like I said before, I did not speak a bit of Spanish so I had no idea what I was looking at. Part of it could have been that I like to have a physical book in my hands. It helps me make better sense of things. To remedy this, I printed out both the textbook and the lesson plan files. It still took me a bit to figure it all out though. This is most definitely an "open and go" type curricula! 

Once I had it all figured out, it was a snap! I had my 1st and 3rd grade children do this with me. I know that 1st grade is a bit below the target age, but I figured I could help him along. He has done very well! I have to help a bit with the worksheets, but I'm not too fond of worksheets anyway. What I'm impressed with is that it had us speaking Spanish the very 1st day! The flashcards are a huge help. We use them to play games, not just memorize.

We have been moving slower than Debbie suggests, only doing 2 days a week instead of 5. I don't want to fill our schedule so much that we burn out! Next school year I will add more days of Spanish though, as we are enjoying it so much! Even doing just 2 days a week, my children are retaining what they have learned! 

Overall, this is a great curricula! I plan on purchasing the other package, Estaciones, when we finish with Fiestas.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day plan.

We are taking the week "off" from our usual homeschooling routine, so I can get ready for the big birthday party! Hurricane and Raindrop will be celebrating their birthday's together due to some really bad weather in March. Hopefully all of this snow is gone by this weekend. Yes, it's snowing again. Don't ask me how I like it. I'm likely to start yelling.

Anyway, because we are taking the week off from our normal routine, doesn't mean we are stopping everything. It's Earth Day today, so I thought we could do something fun today! We are going to read "It's Earth Day" by Mercer Mayer. We will discuss some of the issues raised in the book. Such as; turning off lights when we leave the room, walking when we can, using the clothesline in the summer.

Then, I thought we could watch "The Lorax." Netflix has is available in streaming! Yea! To go along with this, I thought we could do some of the activities from Homeschoolshare.com. We won't do the whole lap book in one day. After all, this is supposed to be a light week.

So, what are you doing for Earth Day? Anything special? Is is just another day for you? If you do something special and want to share, be sure to put the link in the comments section! Have a great day!

Friday, April 19, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 39 & 40!!!!

Well, here we are at the end, or beginning, of our journey. I say that because you can look at it two different ways. We are at the end of our 40 day challenge, but the beginning of a new way in our marriage. Over the last 40 days I have had some easy days and some pretty challenging days. It's been an interesting journey.

I have noticed that my husband doesn't seem as irritable. This may be in part because I committed to speaking his love language as much as I possibly can. I am trying to make sure that he is "hearing" that I love him every day. In turn, he has been doing the same for me. It's been wonderful!

Last week I went through a very trying time in my personal life. G.I. Joe really stepped it up and protected me from the "blows" the just wouldn't stop. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life.

Without further ado, here is the last challenge for this 40 day journey.

Day 39
Watch a sunset together and reflect on the highs and lows of this 40 day journey.
Day 40
Commit to continuing to strengthen your marriage daily. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 38

Is there something that your husband needs today? What about a project that they've been working on? Or a daily task that he would love to have done for him? This is what today is all about. If we can sacrifice a little of our time and energy, it could go a long way in our marriage. Try it today and tell me how it went.

Day 38
Meet a need that your husband has today. Big or small.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 37

Today is all about touch. Physical touch is not one of my man love languages, but I still feel a need for it. Touching helps us connect. I relate it to dealing with children. When they are doing something and we want them to stop, the best way is to get on their level and gently touch them. That way, we know that we have their attention. Sure, we can yell, but does it really work? In my house, I am the one who yells. I am working on it, but it's hard. My kids are used to my yelling voice and can easily ignore it. When I take the time to gently touch their shoulder, I have their attention.

Back to the topic at hand, our husbands. We want their attention right? We need to touch them. As you walk by, touch his arm. Sneak a quick hug in as you pass in the hallway. Give a shoulder rub after a long day. It's easy to ignore this. I know, I have 4 kids and by the time G.I. Joe is home from work, I am "touched out." It's hard to fill his need for physical touch some days. I am open and honest with him when I just need some space, but I make sure to come back and do those little things throughout the day.

Day 37
Make an effort to physically touch your husband in some small way each day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 36

Wow! Day 36! How are things going? Are you noticing a difference in your relationship? I sure am! I will wait to share the details with you until day 40.

I want to focus on politeness today. I believe it has become a lost art, so to speak. We are all in a hurry and it's so easy to be short with others. Especially, those who are closest to us. Our husband and kids can end up getting the short end of the stick most days. I'm guilty of this myself. It's something I'm working on.

Now, when I say polite, I do not mean doormat. I just mean polite. Miriam-Webster defines "polite" as this:

Definition of POLITE

a : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of advanced culture
b : marked by refined cultural interests and pursuits especially in arts and belles letters
a : showing or characterized by correct social usage
b : marked by an appearance of consideration, tact, deference, or courtesy
c : marked by a lack of roughness or crudities 
I believe that 2 b fits what I am trying to convey in this post. We need to treat our husbands with consideration, tact and courtesy. I learned a long time ago from some very wise women over at Gentle Christian Mothers to always assume positive intent in others actions and words. I strive to do this each day and it really does help. 

Day 36
Be polite in your words and actions toward your husband.

Monday, April 15, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 35

I want to start today with an apology for not posting the rest of last week. I was going through some pretty rough stuff personally, and I really didn't want to think about posting on my blog. Some things I posted on my blog were part of the reason people were questioning me in my personal life. So, I'm sure you can understand why I didn't even want to come here. Anyway, back to it! It's a new week!

Today I want you to commit to starting each day with a kiss. You can brush your teeth first if you prefer. It's so important for us to connect with our husbands each day and a kiss is a great way to do it. We talked about kissing before, and how much fun it can be. That challenge was about making sure you kissed him at least once a day. This challenge is about making sure to START your day that way. Have fun!

Day 35
Start each day with a kiss!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 34

Yesterday, we took a pretty serious look at ourselves. I pray that everyone took the steps they needed to create a healthier you. A healthy marriage is a wonderful by-product of two healthy people. If you would like some extra prayer, just make sure to comment here and I will put you on my prayer list. You don't have to share the specifics, if you aren't comfortable with that. God knows the details.

Today, our subject is a little bit easier. I want you do something special for your husband today. What will be special for him? What would make him feel special? You can do something huge or something simple. It's up to you, just make sure that what you do is for your husband.

Day 34
Do something special for your husband today. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 33

Welcome back! I hope your weekend went well. Last week we started to look deeper into some possible uncomfortable issues in our marriages. This week won't be much different.

Today, we are going to really focus in on ourselves. Specifically, that something that is hindering your relationship. An addiction or influence that is taking your affection from where it needs to be, on your husband and your children. This can be something as serious as a drinking problem or something a little more simple like the internet. Both can create a huge rift between you and your husband though.

So take a serious look at your life today and make sure your priorities are where they need to be. If you do have an addiction, please seek some help to get you back on track. I've heard great things about Celebrate Recovery groups. If it's not an addiction, but something is there, taking your focus and affection, make sure you get rid of it. You may have to take some drastic steps, you may not. Just do whatever you have to do for the sake of your marriage.

Day 33
Remove any addiction or influence that is taking your focus off of your marriage.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review of Apologia planners

I have been excited about most of the reviews with Mosaic Reviews so far. This one made the top of my list when I found out we were going to do a review for Apologia Planners. If you know me, you know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to use planners.

I have taken to making my own, because I am so particular on what I want my planner to do for me. This one is no exception. There are things that I love and things that I would change.

Pros of Apologia's Ultimate Homeschool Planner:
1. It is beautiful!
2. Very well set up.
3. The front and back covers have pocket folders.
4. Has a users guide right at the front, so you know what to do with all of it.
5. The quotes for inspiration throughout are a wonderful touch.
6. Dates are filled in by you, so you can start your year whenever you like.

Cons of Apologia's Ultimate Homeschool Planner:
1. Cost. At $28 dollars, it's a little restrictive when having to budget for the homeschool year.

This planner is truly beautiful! It's almost hard to write in it, it's so beautiful. That being said, I will write in it because it is so well set up and useful! It really walks you through the planning process, so you can have a productive and fruitful year in your homeschool. It starts you out planning your year, then the month, then the week. This makes it so easy to stay on target. The users guide walks you through all of it, so you are not alone. Reading through the users guide gives me the feeling of having Debra right next to me, talking me through it all. 

After the planning section, there is a record keeping section. Though I do not grade my children's work at this time, I will use this section to keep track of our progress. This will just be for me to see, as I don't want my children basing their education upon my evaluation of them. I will use the reading list pages and love that there is a generous amount of room for 6 different reading lists. The Field trips and outside activities pages will be super helpful also. Sometimes I forget to write them down, and I want to be able to remember what we have done throughout the year. 

Also included, is a "Teaching Tips" section. Most of all, I love that Debra wrote this with raising an independent learner in mind. This is ultimately what we need to be doing with our children. I want my children to be able to spread their wings in the world, on their own. Debra included a "Checklist for Raising an Independent Learner." Each family and child will look different, but this is a great list to start with.

As for the cost, that's just something that we all have to decide what is right for our family. Twenty-eight dollars does seem like a lot of money to put into the homeschooling budget, and I am honestly not sure if we could swing it each year. I do feel that it is worth it though. With the amount of wonderful helps and guidance throughout the planner, it really sets it apart from other planners. 

I also received "The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students." This really is part of the system for creating an independent learner. The idea is that the student meets with mom weekly to record their weekly assignments and to mark their progress. 

Pros of The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students:
1.Very well set up.
2. Durable plastic cover.
3. Glow in the dark spiral binding
4. Scripture and trivia questions printed on each assignment page.
5. Area for the student to keep track of grades.
6. Place to record student's reading list. 
7. Informational pages at the back, to include a U.S. and World history timeline.
8. Stickers for use on the calendars. What kid doesn't love stickers?
9. Dates are filled in by the student, so you can start your year whenever you like. 

Cons of The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students:
1. Cost = $19

This planner is really neat! I love how it is set up, with an "all about me" and "the future me I want to be" in the front. It really helps to focus the student on improving and moving forward. Then comes a "Study-Smart Student Toolkit." This is also a wonderful addition to the planner. I like that the monthly and weekly pages are separate, so you can plan ahead easily and you don't have to cram everything into one space. 

The weekly assignment pages have two places to check off each item. One for the student and one for the parent. I love this. That way they get the satisfaction of checking off a completed task, and the parent can still make sure it was done correctly.

I feel the same for this planner as I said above as far as the cost. If you can swing the $19, it's so worth it!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 32

Expectations, we all have them. Rarely does anything go exactly how we expected. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes it's a bad thing.

That's why I want to talk about expectations within our marriage. Where are the areas of expectation in your marriage? Are they set to high? Are they unrealistic? Even if they are realistic, are they needed? These are all questions we need to ask ourselves. Life can go so much better when we don't have unrealistic expectations of others. So today, I want you to pray on this and let those unrealistic expectations go. For the sake of your marriage.
Day 32
Search your heart for any unrealistic expectations you may have of your husband. Commit to letting them go.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 31

Welcome back! I'm so glad you are on this journey with me!

Today might be a little bit harder for some of us. We are going to focus on an area of disagreement within our marriage. We've all been there at one point or another. That one area that we just can't come to an agreement.

Some will say that you just need to default to the husbands position on it. I disagree. I believe that God wants us to come to an agreement. Sometimes that means we step back and let him make the decision. Sometimes that means our husband steps back and lets us decide. Most of the time, I believe, it should mean that we talk it through and AGREE on the plan of action. This has been big in strengthening my marriage because it means that we often have to put ourselves aside and take a good look at the "other side." We don't build up resentment because one side is always getting their way. We have had to learn to communicate with each other. So, take some time to pray on an area of disagreement today and see what God does.
Day 31
What is an area of disagreement in your marriage? Commit to praying about it daily.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 30

We are only 10 days out from the end of this challenge! I pray that this journey has been as fulfilling for you as it has for me and my husband. We've done a lot of different things and hopefully they have brought you closer together.

Today's challenge is simple. I want you to compliment your husband sometime today. Find something that really touched you, or something that he is good at and tell him. You can text him, tell him in person, write him a note, whatever you need to do to get it to him. The more we look for the positive in our spouse, the less we will see those little nagging things that bother us.
Day 30
Compliment your husband today.

Monday, April 1, 2013

40 Days to a Stronger Marriage ~ Day 29

I hope your weekend went well. What did you do for your date? I bet it was a good one!

Today I want to talk about goals. What are your goals? What are your husbands goals? Do they line up, or go in opposite directions? They don't have to be the exact same, but you should both be heading in the same direction.

You should also be supportive of one another in attaining those goals. Think about your husbands goals for a minute. What can you do to help him attain them? Can you pray for that area of his life? How about helping him plan a way to get to his goal? Maybe letting him know that taking some extra time out of his day to focus on his goal is just what he needs.

Day 29
What are your husbands goals? Do something to help him attain them today.