Monday, April 25, 2011

Start Marriage Right!!!...but how?

You've seen them too haven't you? The fairy tale endings I mean. All of those "chick flicks" end the same, all of those stories finish with a *sigh*. The handsome leading man and beautiful leading lady although odds surmount and they experience crazy event after crazy event and close call after close call, they finally end up walking off into the sunset together. They're dreamily in love and "all is well" with the world. And the viewers, well we are left with a feeling of happiness for the lucky couple but also an...emptiness?

Why an emptiness? Well because for most of us we know what happens after that dreamy sunset walk. We know what it's like to wake up years later and wonder what happened to that sunset? Where did the love birds go? Where did all that romantic music run off too?

You see, real life, a real marriage, doesn't end when the bride and groom leave for the honeymoon. Yes, that's climatic and worth a hundred daydreams at least but real life is about what happens after the "credits roll." Movies don't go there do they? They don't show us how that lucky couple fairs after 11 years of marriage, children, a mortgage and numerous misunderstandings. Why don't they by the way? I'll tell you why, because those scenes are not always pretty and unfortunately in our day and age they don't end in happily ever afters.

So, what's a couple to do? Well, unfortunately many decide that they would be better off going their own ways, splitting up the family and trudging down the rough road. But it doesn't need to be so. God instilled the union of marriage and He intended it to be a beautiful thing. But since it involves two sinners it often isn't an easy thing. And for many the option of just giving up and going separate ways seems all too easy.

I was recently asked to review a new website entitled Intrigued with the title I quickly began to browse the site. Honestly, I was expecting some shallow articles and not much help but can I tell you that's not what I found!

I was immersed in some great articles that even challenged and encouraged to become a better mate to my husband of 11 years. Inspite of the title I believe that there will be treasures here for any one; whether about to get married, considering marriage or married with some years behind ya.

Just take a read at this quote from Dr. Tony Evans' article entitled "Complementing, Not Conflicting in Marriage."

"Oneness doesn’t mean sameness. Oneness means demonstrating a willingness to work together toward the same goal."

That statement drove home to me the reality that I had been wrong in some of my thinking these past 11 years. And that was just one article. There are many more articles available to readers such as

And many more!! There are suggested book lists for three different stages; dating, engaged and married. There are helpful links and an option to discover your love language!! (That was an interesting one!!) You can also submit any questions that you may be having or read questions from others.
I've come to the conclusion that is a great tool! Not only for those who are considering or preparing for marriage but for those who've been married for a while and find some of the struggles to be a little overwhelming.

One thing that I have often wished for is that hubby and I would have had marriage counseling. Oh sure, we met with our Pastor...once....but some steady, consistent, "let's get down to the nitty-gritty" of marriage information and wisdom would have been so helpful. Start Marriage will do some of that for those considering marriage! What a valuable tool!!

But whether you spend some time on the site or not I would be remiss if I didn't leave you with one last thing: in order to "start marriage right" you need to be sure that you are starting with Christ. Go to Him with your questions and concerns. Ask Him to lead you to your future husband. Take that argument to the Lord and ask Him to open your eyes to your own faults. Cause, you see, although the website I've just reviewed is one of the best I've seen in a long time it's still a man made tool and shouldn't be used as a substitution for Christians seeking God in their own relationships. So, seek God first, then!!!! I believe that you will be well prepared if you do!!

Go on, pray and then check it out!!

Lovin' Learnin'

Progressing with Progressive Phonics

What do you think of when you hear that word? Flash cards? Drill after drill? For a long time that's all I thought of when I heard that little word. But the Lord has grown me these last, oh I don't know, how long have I been homeschooling? Five years? Has it really been that long?


My thoughts and opinions about phonics and how to approach it have really changed since I started homeschooling but today I want to share with you what I am using with Brother and what I think about it.

I had been looking for something to use with this boy that was different than what I used with Biggest and Big Sis. With Biggest I used a drill intense, flashcard based program that was great but a lot of work and a little much in my opinion. Big Sis basically taught herself to read with little to no training at all. Brother is a different story. He is almost 6, doesn't know much about sounds, is dying to learn, but wants the learning to NOW. I knew that I needed something that showed results pretty quickly, was not overwhelming and was-above all else-FUN. He's a fun loving guy ya know!! :)

I asked advice from some of my Crew Mates over at the Homeschool Crew (*sigh* I just love those ladies!!) And I was given quite a few suggestions. I really wanted to find something that was inexpensive since we are anticipating another baby, a move and are trying to put all we have into paying off debt. And with having to school 3 children this fall I know that buying for each will be difficult.

One of my fellow Crew Mates suggested a program called Progressive Phonics and finally decided to check it out. This is the first line of what I read over at their website:

"Progressive Phonics is an all-in-one reading program that is easy, fun, and totally FREE---that's right, totally and completely free!"

Is that not what I was looking for?! The program can be started at whatever level your child is at, we started with the Alphabet books as they are the very beginning level books. They also have the following levels; Beginner Phonics, Intermediate Phonics, Advance Phonics and even Handwriting.

The program offers FREE online books that can be printed (we just read from the screen) that are really like your lesson plans and reading work all in one. You can read more about the Alphabetti approach here. I will just tell you what we do here.

Now, I've only just been using this for a few weeks so our work is beginning but exciting.

I sit down with an excited Brother and open up the book we are working with (on my laptop) we go over the sounds of the new letters, the first book covered o, d and g. Then the books talk a little about how to form those letters. They do it in a great way that works wonderfully with my guy. The have pictures of hands and show how to form the letters with our hands. For example 'o' is just a hand with round fist and 'd' is the same round fist (left hand) with a straight, flat right hand pressed against the left. I can't tell you how much I love how they teach letter formation!

I then review the sounds of his new letters and we are off reading. Progressive Phonics uses the shared reading approach. The parent does most of the reading but there are words in larger, red print that the child reads. So, in the first book Brother read the words dod and dog. This shared reading takes away the dullness of reading a book with two or three words only. Because we are both reading from the book there is a feeling of "true reading" going on. Not only that but the story lines are hilarious! He is always laughing throughout the stories and always wants to do more. That is great!!

There are also worksheets that can be printed out for every book. Each new letter has it's own "circle the picture that begins with the '*' sound" page, some handwriting pages, coloring pages, a neat page on letter formation and then a sheet cards with the words learned on them that are to be printed, cut and played with. 

I also have created a salt box for more letter recognition practice, I am making play dough for him to form letters from that and I use our All About Spelling letter tiles to review during the week. (He loves those things!)

Brother has painlessly and almost effortlessly learned 5 words in the last two weeks or so. Doesn't get any better than that!!

So, all in all I am impressed and excited with the results from the first three books that we have used. This program is fun, colorful, hits many skill areas and effective.

So, if you are on the hunt for a phonics program for your little ones give Progressive Phonics a try. I think you just might be surprised!!

Update: We have now made it through the first 5 books and things are still going great! Inspite of some confusion with 'b' and 'd' (normal stuff) Brother is doing great! He can now read the following words:

dod (the main character's name), bob, bag, bad, dog, and bab....I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two...I've also taught him God since he's learned all the letter sounds.

Brother still loves his phonics time and honestly it feels too easy! I am always thinking that I need to add in more but this simple approach and the addition of the salt box, play dough and letter tiles is showing results! Go ahead and check it out for yourself!!!  

Lovin' Learnin'

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TOS Crew Review: Growing Healthy Homes

The Product:
Today I am reviewing something very different from my other reviews. Today's review is a nutrition and health curriculum for the entire family. The company, Growing Healthy Homes, is a family-owned company started in 2007 by a mom, her oldest daughter and daughter-in-law. Isn't that great?! The birth of this book came about from a desire to do better for their families and offer a way to teach their children in a way not offered before.

Nutrition 101-Choose Life 448 page book is available as a hard copy book, a CD-ROM or as a combination of  CD-ROM (to print out certain pages) and hard copy book. (I would prefer the hard copy but that's just me.)
Why would you need both? The CD-ROM and book contain the same information, so the value of having both is the flexibility to use the CD-ROM to reprint individual copies of the recipes, shopping lists, charts and any other relevant pages and still have a bound book to enjoy. 

Thinking about using this in a co-op setting? Great idea! Check out their FAQ for co-ops here.

This book is written for elementary ages as well as secondary students. Check out a 27 page sample!!

McMama's Opinion:
This review opportunity came up at a great time! We have been studying the human body in science so the lessons in Nutrition 101 have meshed wonderfully. I am thoroughly impressed with the amount of material and quality of information available here. I tell ya, these ladies know their stuff!! Each lesson is jam packed with information, facts, pictures, activity ideas and great recipes. They all tie together to make for a memorable experience.
Checking her pulse during our study on the heart.
For example, when working through the lesson about the digestive system not only was the material that we had learned from our regular science program reinforced but it was enhanced and we all (yes, myself included) learned how to better care for your digestive system and even tried a recipe that promotes a healthy and smooth operating system. Just think, fruit salad, green apple bean salad, quinoa vegetable risotto and spice cookies. Not only is this a health course but its cooking class as well!! The digestive system unit talks about acid/alkaline balance, water, enzyme supplementation and the importance of fiber, cleansing and probiotic supplementation. And after you complete the recipe there are more activities that relate directly to it. For the Fruit Salad recipe Elementary students have the option of choosing a fruit used and find out how it grows, looking up the word antioxidant, finding out what organic means and preparing an oral or written report about one of the fruits used. There is more than enough here to keep everyone busy for years to come!
Her play dough model of a heart.
Each chapter ends with discussion questions such as, "What Scriptures support the information we have learned about digestion?" "How many times do you chew each bite?" "How can you help your family to remember to chew slowly?" Activities follow with options such as tracing your child's body and butcher paper and drawing and labeling the parts of the digestive system, testing taste buds with different types of flavors, and finding out how much food your stomach can hold. (It's 1 liter by the way, just over a quarter of a US gallon.) There are also more options for secondary age students. Yes, this is a "hey, let's get the family together and learn at the same time" kind of a program. It fits across the board.

Honestly, I had to paraphrase quite a bit simply because some of the information was a bit heavy for my young children but it did not change the effectiveness or fun of this program. And because the authors have reading, comprehension questions, activities and recipes I think that Nutrition 101 would suit any type of learner!

Here's a sample suggested weekly schedule:
  • Monday-Read over chapter and discussion questions, choose activity.
  • Tuesday-Review the chapter highlights and pick up items for power recipes.
  • Wednesday-Prepare the recipe for a snack or meal.
  • Thursday-Choose activities related to the power recipes.
  • Friday-Discuss what has been learned throughout the week during a family meal time.
A sample of the first page of chapter 1.
The Breakdown:
  • Available as a CD-ROM, a hard copy book or in combination with the CD-ROM.
  • Current price as of the time of this review is: CD-ROM: $79.95, Printed book: $99.95 or the combo: $129.95
  • Great to use as a family health/science/cooking course. But be prepared to do some paraphrasing for the younger set. Mom will have to look at the material ahead of time.
  • Plenty of extra activities and questions. Great pictures.
  • Fun!!
  • Here is a 15% off code: TOScrew11. This is the same discount you would receive at a Homeschool Convention.
If ya want to read what my Crew Mates thought of Nutrition 101 click on the banner and read away!!

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.**

Lovin' Learnin'

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Our trip to the Patch...

Here is another video I had worked on that never got posted...guess I got too busy with reviews to finish them. This was us back in October '10 spending some time as a family down at the pumpkin patch.

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Lovin' Learnin'

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Semi-Organized Homeschool #2

Here is my 2nd installment of My Semi-Organized Homeschool. You can read my first post on mini-offices here.

I have been sharing my desires for a “school room” with the Lord for quite some time. He, as always, listened and gently reminded me to
1. “be content with such as ye have”
2. be patient
Although difficult at times I did try to remain that way. Well, for whatever reason, this week I began to feel very claustrophobic  about having all of our school stuff mixed in our living/dining/kitchen space (it’s an open space.)  I wasn’t really experiencing a complaining spirit – for once – just felt like I needed to do something.
I kinda mentioned it to my hubby and then said, “Ya know, we could just combine the kiddos-3 girls, 1 boy-into the bigger room and use the smaller one as the school room.” He said  yeah he thought we could. I kinda stopped for a minute wondering if the boy would even survive in a room with 3 girls or if we would be ruining him for life etc. etc. My hubby later reminded me that it is probably more common throughout the world to have family members all sleep in one large space…why be so worried about it? That was Tuesday…by Thursday I had a mission in my heart.
The kids and I slaved diligently worked all day to get the job done. I can tell you that although it was back breaking work (and I made myself promise not to buy any more books for a little while…we’ll see how long that one lasts) I feel so excited, fufilled, renewed!! Working in our new room today was so nice!
Now, it’s not a large room by any means, a little more on the small side and with four kids and me in there it did get a little tight but the Lord finally gave me my school room and we didn’t even have to move!

I painted the Noah’s ark mural for my little guy when he was born. We’ll paint over it eventually. Kinda breaks my heart!! The black bookshelf homes all of our books and some math manipulatives. You can see a part of the table and I put the chalkboard between the table and the wall for easy access, better view for kiddos and it saves space. It worked out great today!!
This shot is to the right of the door as you walk in. The armoire will be explained later. The animals will be gone a little later. The boards have our artist study painting, lit. theme, character trait sheet, memory verse cards and there is a nifty map underneath.
We also have a picture of our favorite President. (That is now framed!)
This is what you see when you walk into the room (I know, my pics. aren’t in order…it’s late). The board above the easel now has my kiddos lovely and colorful artwork hanging from it. This art easel has a homey spot by the door so and can roll out and away from the wall so that another child can use the other side. The containers underneath hold paper, art books and foam stickers. Our art caddy is also tucked in there…no, there’s no paint in here…we have carpet.
This is a shot from the door looking at the far corner of the room, across from the armoire. You can see the table and chalkboard better here. The shelves hold games, my narration basket and our flags and Bible. The toy shelf is to keep Littlest occupied. There are about 8 bins with a few toys in each (nothing major so I won’t have a hurricane of toys to clean up after we’re done).  The basket and pillows are for a quiet read.
This is inside the armoire. You can see our workboxes, baskets with color coordinating pencil boxes, index card boxes, rulers etc. We have our computer subjects kept in the cubby on the right (i.e. forgien language and typing CD-ROMs). The cubby on the right holds my folder. That is where the girls put their work when they are done so that I can go back later to check it. It is an 8 tabbed accordian style folder so they each have their own section. I also have extra report covers in there so when I put their completed work in their portfolios they are within easy reach. I also have stickers and a red color pencil for marking and rewarding.
The drawer on the bottom left holds all of our audio cassette books and our tape players. The bottom drawer on the right hold felt letters and numbers, felt board, craft items etc.
I just LOVE it!!! The Lord does give us the desires of our hearts doesn’t He?! God is good.
Tune in next time as I talk about how color coordinating the McKiddies school items has saved my sanity!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

TOS Review: Science Weekly

The Product:
Science Weekly is a science newsletter for kids. You can subscribe via snail mail (which I LOVED) but they also have a new online interactive area where you can access the newspapers from your computer.

The creators of Science Weekly understand the importance of science in the academic career of our little citizens so they have created a fun and age appropriate newspaper for kids grades K-6th.

Included with each newspaper bundle is the all important Teacher's Guide. This guide includes notes on all levels along with helpful information. Think, already completed lesson plans!! Let the angels sing!!! :)

The pricing for Science Weekly is as follows:
  • Classroom Rate is $4.95 per student for a duration of 15 issues.     
  • The individual rate (or families) is $19.95 per student for a duration of 15 issues. 
  • Each has a minimum order of 20.
So this sounds pricey for homeschoolers right? I mean I have 3 that I could use this with. At $19.95 each that would be $60! Yikes!! However, upon checking out (and according to the email I received in response to this question)  I noticed that at the classroom rate, as long as I have a minimum of 20 orders then I can choose from any grade levels. Say you go and ask some other homeschooling (or non-homeschooling) friends and they become interested and they pass it along etc. As long as you have at least 20 different levels being purchased you get the classroom rate. THAT makes it MUCH better!!!

Here are some of the topics that they have covered so far:
  • Composting
  • Cats
  • Glass
  • Poisonous animals
  • Caves
  • Fractions and much more!!
And in the months to come:
  • Teeth
  • Deserts
  • Green Buildings
  • The Moon
See a sample for all levels and Teacher's Guide on Coral Reefs here. (Please note that the interactive newspapers may not reflect exactly what you would get in your physical newspapers...I think there's more available in the interactive papers.)
McMama's Opinion:
We received the issue on Influenza and it came at a great time because we were just getting over the flu here at our house!

I really like these newsletters! I love the convenience of having all the information on a particular subject ready and organized. I love that with Science Weekly you can sit down with all of your children and study the same topic but have grade level material for each child ready and waiting to be poured over. The Teacher's Guide is wonderful! It gives background information, initiating questions and follow-up questions. The Guide also has notes for each individual level. 

For example, Pre-Level A (the Kindergarten level) has vocabulary which is just tracing letters in the words, weekly labs, math-counting 30 seconds while washing hands, storytelling-the child has the opportunity to talk about a time that he had the flu, and a challenge section-putting pictures in order. Doing one section a day makes this quick and fun!!

My children loved the colorful pictures and the experiments and enjoyed being able to work together. This was a nice change from our regular routine and would be welcomed sprinkled in throughout the year.

The only complaint that I have is the cost. I mean, don't get me wrong, paying $4.95 per student is great but having to gather up 20 orders for homeschoolers isn't always easy. I could easily come up with about 10 but not 20. It would be great if they could lower the minimum number of required purchases for homeschoolers. Yes, there are some who are involved in large co-ops and can easily get 20 orders but there are those of us who would have a harder time with it. It is just my personal opinion on how Science Weekly could be made more homeschool friendly. Also, from what I understand, only 1 Teacher's Notes is sent with every 25 orders (according to their order page.) Great for classrooms but not beneficial for multiple homeschooling families purchasing at one time in order to reach the minimum 20, which wouldn't even qualify for the Teaching Notes as it's not 25.  Maybe contacting them before ordering would change this?

The Breakdown:

  • I really like these newsletters! I think that they are beneficial to homeschoolers in many ways, and at $4.95 (as of the time of this review) per student they are affordable, very affordable!!
  • I think they give a pretty good overview of the topic at hand.
  • If they would maybe work on a more homeschool-friendly minimum for orders many would jump at the chance to purchase these!!
To read the reviews on this Newsletter and other topics from my Crew Mates click here.

**Any opinions expressed in this review are mine alone. I was not compensated in anyway for doing this review other than receiving a set of Newsletters to complete the review. I want to express my gratitude to the makers of for Science Weekly allowing me to review their product!!**

Lovin' Learnin'

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chore Chart FREEBIE!!!

So don't you love all of those adorable graphics that you see in everyone's posts about their workboxes and chore charts?! I know that  I do and I, admitidly, am not tech savvy enough to know how to create my own nor do I desire to spend a lot on something that I'm gonna have to then pay to print out.


Today, I saw a FREEBIEE from Currclick that I'm hoping you will love!! There is a pdf file available here that is filled with clipart covering chores and schoolwork. They even have charts for you as well.

Check em out!! I know I did!!

Lovin' Learnin'

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TOS Review:Kinderbach

The Product:
Kinderbach. Ever heard of it? Of course you have, who hasn't? I remember about 3 years ago I had looked into it for my oldest but never did get beyond the free trial. Well, this was my chance. But now my oldest is 9 and she wasn't interested in this "easy stuff." So, I focused on using this with Brother, 5 and completely clueless when it comes to music and rhythm.
Kinderbach is an online or DVD program that is child-paced curriculum so you are free to go as slowly or as quickly as your child needs in order to truly own the material. Kinderbach that teaches note reading, rhythm, singing and music composition. The basics necessary to move on to any instrument of choice. KB consists of 6 levels that each have 10 lessons. Each lesson requires an activity book (downloadable or hard copy) and utilizes songs, demonstrations by Miss. Karri, and active work at the piano to bring the learning home.

In the first lesson, the children are introduced to Dodi, a lonely donkey who lives on the D key. His house is the two black keys that surround D. Other cute characters, including Dodi’s friend Frisco and others are introduced to help children remember the names of the keys. My girls loved Dodi and his friends!There are lessons to watch online but there are also worksheets that are to be printed out ahead of time so that the child can actively complete them along with Miss. Karri during the lessons.
The videos used in Kinderbach are not overwhelming or flashy but very appropriate for the age range. The creating of adorable characters makes it easy for the child to fall in love with this program and retain what is taught.

McMama's Opinion:
Honestly we did not get as far into the program as I had originally intended. Due to a few difficult life circumstances things got out of control for a while personally. I do however think that the parts that we have done with Brother and those that I've gone through on my own are excellent. Even Littlest goes to the piano as says, "This Dodi house Mama." Just last night she was trying to clap in rhythm with Miss Karri while her and Biggest were watching a lesson.

I think musically this is a great, gentle and fun way to introduce music and its theory to young children. I think that, when used consistently and going at the child's own pace Kinderbach can be very effective on creating a long lasting relationship with music.

Both of my bigger girls are already taking music lessons of their own however Brother is not. Kinderbach is something that I am going to try and budget in for him and Littlest for the upcoming school year. I think it's a good way to expose them to music at younger ages without having to pay the big price of two more private music lessons.

If you have been wanting your child to start on the road to learning about music then I would highly suggest taking a long look at Kinderbach. I regret not purchasing it years ago! Please don't make that same mistake yourself.

The Breakdown:

  • Created for ages 3 - 7 years.
  • Online and DVD versions available
  • Online version is $95.88 per year (billed yearly) or $19.95 per month.
  • Find info on the DVD package here.
  • I would recommend this for someone who lacks the confidence to teach their young child themselves, desires a fun, non-traditional way of exposing littles to music, or someone who (like us) has a larger sized family and doesn't have the budget to accomodate more private music lessons. This gets them learning and building a relationship with music but at a less expensive cost.
  • Not sure, sign up for the free trial!
Click on the banner below to see how my other Crew Mates faired with Kinderbach!

**Any opinions expressed in this review are mine alone. I was not compensated in anyway for doing this review other than receiving access to to complete the review. I want to express my gratitude to the makers of Kinderbach for allowing me to review their product!!** 

Lovin' Learnin'

Monday, April 4, 2011

GoGo Kabongo-TOS Review

The Product:
Isn't it nice to find something that makes learning fun? I'll be the first to admit that online learning is not my first choice but GoGoKabongo does bring some fun to learning. GoGo Kabongo is an online world of color, fun, and education wrapped up in one. GoGo Kabongo claims to develop cognitive skills that are essential to reading such as: attention and focus, memory skills, processing, planning, visualization and comprehension. GoGo Kabongo uses games and quirkly alien/monster type creatures to engage the children in practicing these important skills while having fun. The site has three habitats, or lands, and each has 3 games. There are six levels to each game and the difficulty slowly increases with each level. The child moves up to the next level at his or her own pace.

Learning Skills Chart
PhotobucketOkay, so this is just another "online gaming world created to zap the few remaining cells my poor little baby has left due to the high volume of electronics and entertainment available these days" you say? Well read this quote from the website:
"Proven effective. GoGo Kabongo games have been rigorously evaluated by cognitive psychologists in a controlled environment, as well as being field tested by kids and teachers in classrooms across the country. For more information, see The George Mason University Study"

So maybe you can rest a little easier knowing that this website has been evaluated by people who know what they're doing and understand that we, as parents, just don't want anymore mindless electronic games available for our children.

You can meet the Characters of GoGo Kabongo and read about each different Habitat if you'd like.

McMama's Opinion:
So this little website has some great aspects to it. I for one LOVE the details available to the parents at each child's personal progress report page. I can quickly and easily see what skills my children are learning at each level and how things have slowly gotten more difficult. The funny thing to me is that the levels that each of my children excel at are the same strengths that I see in their everyday academics and vice versa. I think there might be something to this place!

I like how, if I want Brother who is learning his letter sounds to work more on Phonics I can instruct him to spend more time in Galaxy Gardens playing Rocket Racer where he needs to identify letters while maneuvering his avatar through space or I can direct him to the Twister Top habitat to play Desert Dash where he has to associate the letters with their sounds. He has tons of fun meanwhile I know that he's
 not just playing some mindless games but working on some important skills.
Honestly my kids LOVE this site! I wasn't too thrilled with another online site "claiming" to help my children while they play but I've been pretty satisfied with what the kiddos are doing on GoGo Kabongo. I do however limit how much time that they are allowed to spend on the computer. We do about 15 to 20 minutes 3 times a week. With that I feel comfortable and I know (as I've stated) that their little brains are being worked.

When I asked them what they thought about this website a couple of weeks after we began using it Biggest said, "Oh it's fun Mommy and we're learning stuff too." Her own words. So, if they can tell that they are learning and not mind because it's fun then I'm willing to let them go at it!
Kabongo map
I don't really care for the language used by the characters on GoGo Kabongo however. Think California surfer. :)...hope I don't offend anyone!! (I'm from Cali by the way). I thought some of the "lingo" was a bit silly to be honest with you. It's not something that I want my children to start copying.

Also, since the site is currently in its Beta stage (preparing for release but not there yet) there were a few glitches to it. Completely understandable. When emailed customer service was quick to respond saying "Well get right on it." Admittedly we did not have as many troubles as some of my other Crew Mates.

The Breakdown:
  • Although I'm seriously not a fan of online games this one I think we can allow a little more often simply because I see benefits in using it.
  • Most of this site is FREE but you can get two more habitats - Galaxy Gardens and Twister Top by purchasing them for $4.95 each. BUT here is a special offer that is good at the time of this review: Sign up now and you get the galaxy gardens and habitat FREE!! So, you'd pay about 5 bucks for the last two habitats and would be ableto enjoy this place fully.
  • Great emails letting parents know what their children are learning and doing!
  • Extra activity ideas to enhance the skills the games focus on.
  • GoGoKabongo was created for children ages 4-7 (although my 9 year old enjoyed it quite a bit) but they are also testing a website designed to boost reading skills for children ages 7-10. To sign up go to (I know nothing about this particular website but thought I'd throw that out there.)
  • Recommended system requirements:

    • Broadband internet connection
    • Processor speed of 1.5 GHz or faster
    • Screen resolution of 1024x768
    • Adobe® Flash® Player, version 9
    • Internet Explorer (IE) version 6 or higher, or Firefox version 2.0 or higher

  • Click on the banner below to read what my other Crew Mates have to say about GoGoKabongo!
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Why I love RS Math Part 2...finally

A while back I had written this post stating that I would be posting more about why I love RightStart Math. Well, life got in the way of my blogging and I failed to do that. I'm so sorry!! Blogging is a love but not a top priority unfortunately. But, I did just find these pictures in the archives and decided to finish up this post and get it on the blog so those that were interested could see a little into the program. RS uses games as a reinforcement for key skills learned. Although we don't play them as much as we should we always enjoy the ones that we do play!

One of those games is called Corners. This game is used to help children add or subtract by 5,10, 15 and 20. The object is to match up one of the sides of your cards to another card in the playing area that fills two requirements:

  1. The numbers have to be the same color.
  2. The sum of the two numbers must equal 5, 10, 15 or 20.
Here is Biggest playing against me one day a few months ago. She uses the abacus when she has trouble adding the numbers in her head. She has since gotten much better at this and doesn't use the abacus near as much.

Here is a shot of what our game was growing into. I can't remember but I think that Brother was on my team. I guess I needed the help! :)
This is the score sheet. She was only allowed to write the sums down. No math work allowed. Yes, I LOVE the emphasis on mental math in this curriculum!!!

Lovin' Learnin'

Friday, April 1, 2011

Memory Work

I found this sitting in my posts list just waiting to be posted. I'm not sure why I never posted it and I hope the video works but here ya go. This was Brother back in late October of '10 showing us how well his memory skills are...

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Lovin' Learnin'