Sunday, September 30, 2012

Music Together - Bringing Harmony Home!

Photobucket 

I remember when I was in elementary school. I loved the music teacher that would come once a week to do music with us. Miss Owens was awesome. She would sit in front of the room playing a little portable keyboard and we would sit at our seats with our music books. I really liked those music books. They had songs in them of all different musical forms. There were songs from our music heritage. There were songs from other countries. There were songs with different rhythms and beats. That firm musical foundation from those early years in school were what drove me to excel in music in high school and college. Music opened many doors for me and allowed me to do many things (including tour Europe) which I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise and I owe it all to the great musical training that began with Miss Owens.

I am very blessed to have had a great musical background and I have used it with my kids. I have tried to introduce my kids to music from the day they were born, and even before that while they were still in the womb. I would sing songs to them when they were just babies and would tap out the beat softly on their backs to sooth them to sleep. As they grew older, I would make up songs about them and I still, heaven forbid, sing songs from back in my day. I try to sing and make up songs from different genres and with different beats in order to give them a good musical background.

I was blessed with a good musical background to pass on and give my children, prayerfully, a good musical background as well. But, what happens when you homeschool and you don't consider yourself musically inclined? How do you teach your younger children to have a love for music? Older children can take private music lessons or sing in the youth choir at church but what about that firm foundation of music that I was talking about above?

It is true that many churches have wonderful music programs and many homeschool co-ops also have music groups. What if you don't have access to those type things, though. Even if you do have access, what if you want to go beyond the traditional church music that is often taught. I'm not talking about wild unwholesome music, I'm talking about music of different (wholesome) styles or from other countries. How do you teach that to your children?

Photobucket  

I think I've found the solution to your problems. It's called "Music Together Family Favorites" from the company Music Together. The byline for Music Together is "Bringing Harmony Home" and they do just that. It is a simple but fabulous program that I think anyone can use and teach.

So, why do I think that this program is fabulous? Well aside of the fact that this program was written by some excellent musical professionals from different backgrounds, and that the Music Together headquarters are in Princeton, New Jersey, it's the wonderful and all inclusive approach that they have. Well, I guess the Princeton part is a bit prejudiced. But, my sister lives near Princeton and I've been to Princeton many times and I've found very few things in Princeton that aren't done well, if any. I suppose there are some, but Music Together isn't one of them.

I almost used the word "different" instead of wonderful in the above paragraph because this  approach is different than what I've seen in many music programs in the past 20 or so years. It isn't very different, however, from the way Miss Owens taught music when I was in school, though, so I chose the word "wonderful" instead. It is wonderful to find a music program like this one.

It's wonderful that it includes songs with different beats and of different styles. It has traditional songs, then it has songs, like "Biddy Biddy", the one I just listened to, that is a traditional song from Jamaica and the upbeat "Stick Tune" where everyone is encouraged to use sticks (or hands and feet) to keep the rhythm.

Which brings me to the next reason why it this program is wonderful. It encourages the use of all of your body, all of your senses, and different methods to learn and experience different types of music. One song may encourage creative dance, while another might have you using dramatic play to act out the song. Still another song may suggest using artwork  to work on a theme and then sing about that artwork. Those are just a few of the neat activities that you'll find yourself using with "Music Together Family Favorites".

It's all inclusive because it it includes suggestions for infants, preschoolers, older children and even parents. You might find yourself holding your child in your lap while they experience the thrill of "Ridin' in the Car". Or, you might find yourself "Playin' in the Kitchen" with your child using different kitchen "instruments".

To be quite truthful, the thing that really impresses me about how all inclusive this program is is that each song has a complete section on how to use that song with children with special needs. Since I have two children that are on the autism spectrum, I was very interested in this section and am very impressed with the many suggestions. From using deep pressure with each song to using a song to teach speech and communication, to using physical activities to enhance the experience, there are many many ways that "Music Together Family Favorites" uses to include the special needs child.

I could go on and on about how wonderful and all inclusive "Music Together Family Favorites" is, but then this post would be too long and most people wouldn't want to read it. You'll just have to purchase the curriculum to see everything that is in it. There are too many great things that I just can't include them all. But, don't worry, all of the suggestions and directions are very well written, explained and easy to follow - even for the not so musically inclined.

Oh! And I almost forgot to mention the fantastic CD that is included in the songbook/CD set. Although the songbook can be used as a stand alone item, with all of the music and guitar cords written out for you, I would suggest buying the set that includes the CD as well. All of the songs are included on the CD and are wonderfully arranged and performed. For those of you who can't read music, the CD is invaluable. I love it because I can just pop in into the car CD player to play the music while traveling. My kids love the music and so do I.

So, how much does all of this cost? You will be surprised to find that the award winning, information packed "Music Together Family Favorites" songbook is just $29.95 when purchased by itself. The songbook/CD combo is only $39.95 and an educators kit that includes a pair of egg shakers and a pair of rhythm sticks is just $47.00. We love this curriculum and I'm sure you will as well. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above for more information.

As usual many of the other TOS Review Crew members reviewed Music Together and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Schooling!



 As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent the songbook/CD set of Music Together Family Favorites in order to use and give my honest review on this blog.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Traveling with Lewis and Clark

Photobucket 

Well, okay, we didn't really travel with them, they traveled with us. No, they didn't personally travel with us. I'm not that old, and we didn't reincarnate them...oh bother...I'm not doing a good job at explaining myself am I? Let me try again.

A few weeks ago my family went on one of our super trips up to our annual missionary conference in Pennsylvania and then on to New Jersey to visit my sister. It is always a grand trip. We enjoy the scenery, historical sites and tourist attractions along the way, and we enjoy our time at conference and at my sister's home. Unfortunately, despite all of the fun times, we have never taken a trip where there hasn't been some restlessness and conflict among the natives (aka. my children) in the back seat. That's why we bring a lot of things for them to do along the way including DVD's to watch and wile away the hours.

Recently we received The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark, a DVD from Marshall Publishing, to review. I thought it would be a perfect DVD to bring along and watch on our recent jaunt. Since we are all history and geography fans, I was hoping that it would keep the aforementioned natives' interest for at least a little while. We had reviewed other DVD's from Marshall Publishing in the past and really enjoyed them, so I knew that this DVD had the potential of being something that they might like. I just wasn't sure about the historical content. We do like history, but sometimes historical films can tend to be more like boring documentaries than interesting movies...at least for school aged kids. I just wasn't sure how the kids would react.

Well, I worried for nothing. I really should have trusted that the same quality that was in the other Marshall Publishing movies would also be in The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark (I call it Lewis and Clark for short). From the time the movie began until the time it ended the boys, especially our middle aspergers child, Joshua, were enthralled. Then, after it was done, Joshua said that he loved it and asked to watch it again. How many historical films do you know that eleven year olds like so much they want to watch it again right away? I was so intrigued by his enthusiasm that I couldn't wait to watch it myself (although I wasn't driving, I was in the front seat and the movie screen was behind me).

Photobucket 

When I finally got to watch it later on, I could see why Joshua enjoyed it so much. The makers of Lewis and Clark filmed this on location throughout all of the nearly 8000 mile trail using historically accurate costumes and models of the boats that were used. As the movie progressed, the narrator and the back ground music made us feel as if we were actually on the trip with Lewis and Clark. And, the scenery was breathtaking! One could see why they were so excited about the things that they saw and the specimens that they collected. Interspersed in the movie were drawings and illustrations of the journey along with footage of historical places along the way that mark significant events that happened on the journey. It made me envious of the men that went on the actual expedition and made me want to travel the same route to visit the places that they visited and see the historical monuments and parks that are now there.

Although I love history, I am by no means an expert. However, nothing in the movie would lead me to believe that it is not historically accurate. The other movies that we have reviewed were all very well made and entertaining and this one ranks right at the top. We really enjoyed Lewis and Clark and even I was fascinated watching it.

So, how much is this video? You can find it for just $19.95 by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Trust me, it is well worth it. Many of the other TOS Review Crew members reviewed this DVD as well as other DVD's from Marshall publishing and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Schooling!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent a free copy of  The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark from Marshall Publishing in order to watch and give my honest review on this blog.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's Speekee on Steroids!

Photobucket  
Do you remember this clip from the movie Shrek 2?

 
 
 
In the movie, Shrek needs help to get into the castle so he and Gingy go to the Muffin Man's house so that he can make a giant Gingy named Mongo (If you've never seen the Shrek movies you really must. They are hilarious,). Well, Mongo is like Gingy on steroids! He is much bigger and better than the original Gingy.
 
When we found out that we were going to review Speekee (a great method for young kids to be introduced to Spanish) again, Joshua was ecstatic! He loves Speekee. He was so thrilled about it that he watched all of the episodes without being prompted. He is so excited about Speekee that Jacob now wants to watch all of them.
 
I knew Speekee was excellent because we had reviewed it before. What I didn't know was that the creator of Speekee had taken some of the suggestions given by the previous TOS Review Crew reviewers along with others and made a new "Speekee TV" that is like Speekee on steroids!
 
Oh, don't worry, all of the great stuff that was in the original version is still there. You'll still find Speekee, the main puppet character. There's still, Dino and Lupe the cute sock puppets. And,  of course, you'll still find Jim and all of the great children. All of the catchy tunes are still the same and still just as catchy. The really neat downloadable worksheets to reinforce what the children learned are still there as well. As is the ability to turn on or off the English subtitles since everything in the videos are done in Spanish. In fact, none of the episodes or the great things from the website have changed.
 
Speekee TV still introduces Spanish to pre-schoolers through elementary students much like Sesame Street introduces letters and numbers to their young watchers. Only Speekee TV has a little slower pace and not so many things are introduces at once in each 10-20 min. episode. And Speekee does it well! the things that are included in the different themed episodes are reinforced several times, and Speekee TV uses the "spiral approach" where each episode builds on the previous one and the concepts and new words learned are constantly being brought back up and practiced in later episodes.
 
Photobucket 
 
So, what is new, exciting and "on steroids" about Speekee TV? One of the major things are the new lesson plans. Before, there were the worksheets and the videos and many suggestions, but nothing was put down in a format that was really conducive to a homeschool setting. Now, Speekee has what they call "Fast Track". With Fast Track, you spend four weeks on each episode. Each week you access either the free Fast Track section on the Speekee TV website or you can sign up to get a Fast Track email once a week. The emails tell you what to do day by day for four days a week. The first day often includes watching the video episode of the month, then the rest of the days are used reviewing things taught in each episode in a fun way. You might make a sock puppet, do a worksheet, use some flashcards, or you might use the sock puppets to review a song or perform some other activity. All of the activities are very fun, and many of the items needed are available right on the website. All you have to do is print them out! Other items, such as the sock puppets or other crafty things may need additional materials that you will have to provide. I am really impressed with all of the fun activities and ideas.
 
Another change on the new Speekee TV website is the addition of clips of different pertinent songs or teaching sections from each episode. Instead of watching the entire episode to find the an interesting or needed clip, the section you need is often right there for you to click on and use. If your child really likes a particular song then he can just play it over and over again. On second thought, if we are going to have to listen to a song over and over again, maybe the addition of the separate clips wasn't such a good idea after all! Just kidding, the separate clips are really quite handy to have.
 
Finally, the third big new thing that I saw was the "email" and reward section. The emails aren't really emails, but as your child watches the different episodes or completes an activity, different characters or children that appear in the videos befriend them and their picture appears at the side of the page. Periodically these friends will send a short message (in Spanish, of course) to your child that reemphasizes what has been learned. These are not real messages sent by real children, but generated messages that the child gets when he completes an activity. Also, the child gets points when he completes activities. These points can be used to buy different things for his sock puppet character that also appears on the side of the page. It all reinforces the fun that the kids are having.
 
Photobucket 
 
I am really pleased with all of the changes made to Speekee TV. It has only made it better and Joshua is loving Speekee even more than before. I can't wait to start it with Jacob very soon!
 
So how much does Speekee TV cost? Well, let me tell you, I have reviewed a lot of online homeschool websites that teach anything from math to reading to typing. Many of these sites cost in the 100's of dollars. When I saw all of the changes that Speekee TV had made, I thought that surely they had raised the price to a higher amount. And, in my opinion, it would have been worth it to pay a higher amount. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found that they had not raised the price at all! It is still $7.50 a month or $60 a year! And, just to make sure that you like it before you buy it, they offer a free two week trial subscription! Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to get to the Speekee website. You will not be disappointed with this one!
 
As usual, many other members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed Speekee TV and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Schooling!
 
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent a free limited time subscription to Speekee TV in order to try out and give my honest opinion on this blog.
 
 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hello? Math911? This is an Emergency!

Photobucket

Cast of Characters:
 
Desperate Mother (DM)
911 Dispatcher (911)

One morning around 10am:
 
DM: Dials the phone. *Ring* *Ring*
911: Hello. This is 911. What is your emergency?
DM: Hello 911! I need help!
911: Stay calm, ma'am. What is the state of your injury?
DM: Oh, I'm not injured. It's my son!
911: Is your son in a safe place ma'am?
DM: Well, I suppose he is...as much as a kitchen chair can be safe, at least.
911: Does he seem to be breathing.
DM: Well, I can't really tell. Let me see. (Looks closely at her son) I believe he is taking breaths between the gulps of his cereal.
911: Is he bleeding anywhere?
DM: No. I don't see any blood.
911: Does he have any pain?
DM: Hold on and let me ask...(muffled voice) Dear? The nice lady on the other end of the phone wants to know if you are hurting anywhere. (back to regular voice) He says he feels fine.
911: Well, then ma'am, what exactly is the state of your emergency?
DM: Well, it's his math. He is having a horrible time of it. Nothing we've tried works. I was talking to a friend and...(interrupted by dispatcher)
911: (in exasperated voice) Ma'am! Ma'am! You do realize that this is 911 and is to only be used for real emergencies, don't you?
DM: (in huffy voice) Are you saying that my son's math education is not an emergency?
911: Well, no ma'am, I'm sure it is, but this is supposed to be used for...
DM: (interrupting) I mean, my friend, Babs, said to call Math911 and they could help. Is this not Math911?
911: No ma'am, this is just regular 911 and is supposed to be used for emergencies that are of a life and death nat...
DM: Babs told me that this is a wonderful program that you download on your computer. She said that the TOS Review Crew reviewed it and that hunk, Tim Tinkel, was one of the reviewers. Tim Tinkel is a real hunk you know?
911: Well, I'm sure he is, but...
DM: She said it would help my Johnny with his algebra. He's having a horrible time. He's always been good at math, but all of a sudden highschool advanced math has really stumped him. Babs said that Math911 is wonderful and could actually be used as a the main curriculum or as a tutorial along side of another curriculum.
911: That sounds wonderful, ma'am, but we really must free this line for...
DM: And I just can't seem to help my Johnny - math was never my thing you know? He has a terrible time Graphing Linear Inequalities in Two Variables and...
911: Really? My Sarah has a difficult time with those as well but it's the monomials that really...
DM: Oh! Don't you know it! Babs said that Math911 could help with all of that! She said that this program goes from Introductory Algebra all the way up to Trigonometry, Pre Calculus and Statistics.
911: WOW! That sounds wonderful! Sarah gets so discouraged when she sees her grades and the big red x's over the wrong answers.
DM: Well, that's the thing that Babs said was so wonderful about this program. The student doesn't get graded for wrong answers, they only get graded for the right answers. If they answer something wrong then that type of problem keeps coming up until they master it. It's so neat.
911: But is it easy to use? Some of these programs are so convoluted and hard to use that you get even more upset and discouraged by trying to use them.
DM: Oh, don't I know it. But Babs said that this was super easy to use. The student just logs into his page...multiple students can use the same program you know?...and they just click on the section that they want more help on. They can go in order or skip around. Each section has eight levels in it going from easy problems to difficult problems. The only thing that they can't do is skip around levels. They have to master that level before they can move up.
911: That does sound easy. I wonder if they have to have any special equipment...you know...some of those math symbols can't be recreated on a regular keyboard.
DM: Not according to Babs. I asked the same thing and she said that if you can't find a symbol on the keyboard then they provide it for you on the screen and you just click on it!
911: But what if they have difficulty in an area. Do they explain how to work the problem or just leave the student to fend for themselves.
DM: Babs said that Math911 has thought of everything! All the student has to do is click on the "See Solution" button and it tells you step by step how to work it out! They even provide a calculator if your computer doesn't have one. I know that this will be so wonderful for our homeschool.
911: Oh! There you have it! I knew it was too good to be true. My Sarah goes to public school and...
DM: Not a problem at all! Babs said that they have something called a "Flash Drive" version that you can take with you to school. Everything is kept on a little thing that you plug into your computer. You can work on it at home and then take it to school with you and work on it there. Nothing goes on a computer, so you don't have to worry about that. It's all kept in that little Flash Drive gadget.
911: Wow! they have thought of everything. I'll have to get that for my Sarah. I'm sure they are super expensive, though.
DM: That's just the thing. I called to see if you could help me find the web address.
911: (gasps and realizes where she is) Well, ma'am, I'm sure if you google it you can find the address. I really must go. Another emergency call is coming in.
*click*
Photobucket

Two Weeks Later:

911: Hello, 911 what is your emergency.
Not so Desperate Mother anymore (NDM): Hello, I'm looking for that really nice lady that I talked to a couple of weeks ago.
911: Ma'am, we have a lot of really nice folks that work here. Can you tell me what your emergency was. Tell me who was injured.
NDM: Oh, no one was injured.
911: Well, ma'am, we only deal with emergencies here. Can you tell me what the emergency was?
NDM: It was my son Johnny. He was having a terrible time with algebra and I needed some information on Math911...
911: Oh, your the Math911 lady? Well, the person you talked to was Mary Ellen and she quit working here about a week ago saying she was going to go around telling everyone about some wonderful math program. She said that when she went to look at the price she couldn't believe it! A limited time offer of only $9.95 for the Algebra Flashdrive. She said that they also offer a free download of the Intro Algebra program with the option of paying $49.95 for the Premier Version that contains all of the Math911 upper level math courses!
NDM: I couldn't believe it either. It was so easy to download and use. I was a bit skeptical about the whole thing until I read that it has been used since 1989 in schools! That's a long time. But then I downloaded it and it has made a world of difference with my Johnny. He is now understanding algebra better than ever. We've been using it alongside his regular curriculum and they are working hand in hand wonderfully. I just wish that my cousin Freda could use it with her kids, but they don't have a computer that runs Windows and Math911 only comes in a Windows version.
911: Well, we do have windows and I was thinking about getting it for my Tommy. He...

Yes, you too, could enjoy the wonders of Math911 with your family. All you have to do is click
here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to find out more. Other members of the TOS Crew reviewed Math911 and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!
 
The story you have just read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
 
Oh, ok, it's about John Allen and there really was no 911 call. We do, however, love Math911 and everything that was said is true. It really is a fantastic program!
 
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free download of Math911 in order to use and give my honest review on this blog.






Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Everyday Family Chore System - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Photobucket 



I know...I know...Clint Eastwood has been in the news lately. However, when I was thinking about a theme for this review, I happened to think about what I thought was just a phrase - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I guess maybe in the far reaches of my mind I knew that it was a movie, but that had been forgotten years ago. I was, remember, only five years old when it came out! And, since I didn't even remember that it was a movie, I didn't know that Clint Eastwood was involved in it.

All of that, however, doesn't matter because this blog post isn't about a movie and isn't about Clint Eastwood, it's about a great book called The Everyday Family Chore System - part of The Everyday Homemaking series. When I was thinking over The Everyday Family Chore System this phrase "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly came to mind. Only, it came to mind in a turned around way - The Ugly, The Bad and The Good - so that's how I'm going to write this review. Under each heading, I'm going to have a bullet point list on why I thought this saying was perfect for this post. You'll notice that "The Good" has many more bullet points than the rest because it talks about this really neat book. So, here goes:

The Ugly -
  • Me before I've had my first cup of coffee in the morning, but we really don't want to go there.
  • The way our house looks with two autistic children and a teen-age boy living in it. Not to mention two parents who absolutely hate to clean. But, don't we all?
  • Me or Sarah when we get frustrated with our children because of the way the house looks.

The Bad -
  • Autism and the way it effects two of our sons. You see, both of them, but especially our middle child Joshua, have a hard time processing information and following directions. It's a common thing with many autism spectrum kids. They tend to be very literal thinkers. They are also creatures of habit. They don't take change well. They are very smart, but they have a very difficult time thinking through things and thinking logically. You would think that a simple task like going and brushing their teeth would be easy, but it can actually be very difficult. They can't remember the steps to accomplish the task and they can't think logically and figure them out. To top it all off, Joshua gets frustrated easily and becomes very angry with himself which then tends to lead to him lashing out at those around him. Needless to say, if it's a chore to just brush his teeth, then how in the world can I teach him how to properly clean his room or perform other everyday tasks that are critical tasks so that he can someday live independently? Enter The Everyday Family Chore System which brings me to "The Good".

Photobucket

The Good -
  • The Everyday Family Chore System!
  • The Everyday Family Chore System is turning out to be a Godsend to our family. So, why do I say "turning out to be"? Well, remember, our two kids that are on the autism spectrum don't like change. Even the oldest one, John Allen, who is not on the autism spectrum, doesn't like change if it requires more work. This system is going to require change. It even has made me look at things in my life that I need to change. We have been able to slowly implement one part of this plan, but haven't even touched another part. I'll explain in a minute what the two parts are, but, I'm going to tell you now that I want you to read some of the other reviews for The Everyday Family Chore System, because some of them have been able to implement a lot more than we have been able to. I'm not going to give you the link to the other reviews yet, though, for selfish, reasons. I want you to read my review first!  Smiley
  • This book, written by a homeschooling mom who also had foster children is divided in to three sections. Part One: Laying the Foundation, Part Two: Implementing the Plan, and Part Three: The Actual Chore System. Let me briefly tell you about all three and then I'll tell you how it's worked with our family.
  • Part One: Laying a Foundation. I really enjoy the author, Vicky Bently's, heart. The very first thing that she writes is The purpose for implementing a family chore system are (1) to train your children to be responsible members of a family and to diligently serve one another, and (2) to disciple or apprentice them in living skills. I very rarely quote from books or websites when writing my reviews, because they are supposed to be my reviews and not just a bunch of copies and pastes. I felt that this quote was important, though, because it really struck me as something that I wanted for my children. With our two asperger's syndrome kids, it's going to be a challenge for them to assimilate into society. Well, what is a family? It's a little society, and the family is a first step into a bigger society. If I can train them to be responsible members of the family, then it is going to be much easier to train them to be responsible members of the world. The author then lists four basic principles for doing this: (1) Have realistic and age-appropriate expectations. (2) Establish rules or standards. (3) Have a working knowledge of family discipline. (4) Tie strings to their hearts. And she goes on to explain each principle before venturing into part 2.
  • Part Two: Implementing the Plan. OH MY! What a packed section! I am not going to be able to nearly get into everything that this section has to offer but let me give you the basics and a few other little tidbits. Before I do, though, let me tell you that this section is excellent and gives many ideas for putting the principles listed above into action. The first fantastic tidbit is the "Life Skills Checklist" where the author has a very comprehensive list of what life skills should be taught at different ages and when they should be mastered. For example, a three year old child could start being taught how to wipe up a spill but may not master it until the age of nine. Although comprehensive, this list is also flexible because no child is the same. There is then a section on how to decide what around your home needs to be done on a daily basis and what needs to be done on a weekly or even monthly basis. She then goes on to tell you how to make really cool charts and systems to help you accomplish those things. Don't worry, it all sounds complicated but it really isn't. It is step by step and easy to follow. We haven't moved to the chart making stage yet because we are still teaching our kids to follow the third section which, I think, is the neatest section which is...
  • Part Three: The Actual Chore System. I think this is really neat because it contains step by step cards for about any chore that you can think of. From dusting to vacuuming to loading and unloading a dishwasher to setting the table to cleaning cupboards to...well, I could go on and on. Anyway, this is just what we needed. All I have to do is hand my kids a card and they just need to follow it step by step to be able to complete the task! For my aspies, who tend to get overwhelmed, I might just have them complete the first two steps and then we will take a breather before going back to complete the rest, but, I'm getting into the next part:
  • How is it going with my family: Well, it has taken some getting used to - both on my part and on the part of my children - but it is beginning to work. We are still introducing how to use the cards at this point (remember I said that it is slow going with us) but we will, hopefully, soon begin to implement the whole plan soon and I will try to blog about it when we do. I can really see this working with my children. Again, I am so excited because this is the perfect plan for our family. And, if The Everyday Family Chore System can work with our family, I know it can work with yours!
 
I definitely recommend this book! And, what's even more encouraging is the price! You can purchase a spiral bound glossy cover version for $19.99 by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. That link also tells you about a way where you can purchase The Everyday Family Chore System in an immediate download fashion for just $17.99. You'll also find all of the other titles in The Everyday Homemaking series there so click through and check it out.

Other members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed this product and other titles in The Everyday Homemaking series and, finally, here is the link. Smiley Happy Homeschooling and...err...Happy Cleaning!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent a free ebook version of "The Everyday Family Chore System" in order to use and give my honest review on this blog.





Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Peru and Priorities - What do they have to do with each other?




I've been pretty quiet on my blog for the past couple of months. It's not that I don't love my blog and, as I jokingly say, both of my blog readers, it's just that I have been extremely busy. It's just that when one (especially me) is extremely busy, one needs to reevaluate priorities and usually something (re. this blog) has to take a back seat for a little while.

While rethinking my priorities in life, though, I have also been thinking about what should be my priorities on my blog when I get back to a more normal blogging schedule once again. I've come to the conclusion that my blogging should never become a chore. If it's a chore, then it defeats my purpose for having a blog. I want my blog to be fun to write, not a drag. So, I also began to think about what I was writing about. I want those things to be exciting things that are special to me.

"What would those things be?" you may ask.

Well, homeschooling and reviewing homeschool products will continue to be one of them, but I can't allow that to be the one and only thing I blog about. My family is very important to me, so I need to blog about them more often. My faith, my ministry and the mission (BCM International) that we minister with are all important to me as well.

I realized one day recently that I blog more about homeschooling than I do my family. Doesn't that seem to be switched around. I homeschool for my family. I don't have a family just to homeschool! I still want to blog about homeschooling, but, once again, I need to get my priorities straight. I also realized that I write about Compassion International more than I write about our ministry at Good News Mission and the mission that we are with BCM (Bible Centered Ministries). I love Compassion International and the children that we sponsor, but, again, I need to make sure that I put first things first.

So, today is the start of my prioritizing. I posted the below message (with a few alterations) on my facebook page recently and wanted to share it here on my blog as well.

As I mentioned above, you all have seen how Sarah and I serve as BCM missionaries in Livingston, TN, but BCM (Bible Centered Ministries) International (the mission organization that we are with) is much bigger. We are just a small piece of what BCM's 700+ missionaries are doing all over the world.

In the next few days and weeks I want to show all of my friends some of the things that BCM is doing. Today I am posting some pictures from BCM Peru. No, not Peru, Indiana where I used to live, but the country Peru. As you look at the pictures, please pray for the BCM missionaries in Peru and, while you are at it, please pray for all of the BCM missionaries around the world, including Sarah and I in Tennessee.