Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Kids Email That's Safe ~ A New TOS Review!!

My children, especially my older two girls, had been asking about getting their own emails for a little while now. So when we had the chance to be on this review where they could all get their very own kids email account AND now they have a one year subscription to Kids Email Safe Email for Kids! They have REALLY enjoyed it and I'll let them tell you why in a little bit. BUT first, let me tell you a little bit about the system and why it is different than just any old email account.

The BIGGEST thing about Kids Email is that it allows for tons of parental and safety controls. Here are just a few that I was really pleased I could utilize.

  • You can monitor both incoming and outgoing mail for all children.
  • There are time restrictions you can place for each account separately.
  • You can make custom mail folders to separate and log emails.
  • Customizing your email background.
  • Filtering for spam and offensive content.
  • Removal of links and images.
  • Activity logs.

There are a TON more controls and such, but these were the ones I was very happy about seeing and using!

Another great thing is that you can use this on most everything that supports Apple or Android, even Kindle devices. Hubby is still in process of putting it on the girls Fire's, but I'm sure they will enjoy that more then having to ask to see their email on our computer.

It's been fun seeing my children's reactions to whether they have an email or not. And they've been able to be pen pals with other kids on the Homeschool Review Crew, which they have LOVED! They've also been able to email family members and tell them about their school days during the week.

They couldn't wait to get all set up and ready to get emails. I did put restrictions on their emails so they wouldn't be checking it too early, too late, or when school should be getting done. I also took out the entire day for Sundays so we could focus on the rest that day should hold for us all.
They tried to login when they weren't allowed.
There's also an older version that shortens the email address to so that teens can use it without feeling like they are little kids. But they still can have the same safety features. You can try Kids Email Safe Email for Kids for free for 30 days or choose a monthly or yearly option.

Arianna's Thoughts:
This email is different in that it has parental controls. So everything I sent or received my parents also saw. That means nothing bad can get to me (like inappropriate text or pictures). You get to choose your own background and design your inbox while making folders for your emails.  I also was able to check into a "teen login" page that is called kmail instead of Kids Email which made it 'look better'. There was also a cool way to attach drawings you could make and send with your emails.
During the review I had pen pals from other kids my age on the Review Crew. I found it fun to talk with others my age then just sending emails to my parents and siblings. I was also able to have my Bible App email me the verse of the day and I can click on the reading plans and such. I can't wait until my dad is able to get this on my Fire so I can use it without having to borrow one of my parent's computers. I've also been able to use the email to type up school assignments and send them to my parents. That was cool! So you should check it out!

Audrie's Thoughts:
I was very excited when I found out that I would be getting my own email account. It has been fun to have people I can talk to that I've never met - my email pen pals. Some lived SO FAR away, but we could talk every couple of days. I was able to change the size of the letters you write in  -- I made mine bigger. And you can make it write in different styles of handwriting. You can also change the color of your typing! That was fun. I was able to pick my own background (I choose horses because I love them.) I may change mine again sometime ... there's this computer one that looks cool.
See the horses?
You can even send photos to your friends and family. And I think if we end up moving for our church plant I can still be able to talk to my grandparents and cousins and friends that I have here even though I won't be so close. It's been really cool! My mom and dad also see every email I get or send out. They also set up times when I can actually use the email or not. So there are times I am not allowed to check or write emails. But they can be changed and each of us have different times that goes with our schedule. I know I will be sharing this program with my friends ... then we can write more to each other and still be safe.

Seanan's Thoughts:
I like having an email. My mom asked if I wanted a pen pal. I didn't know what that was. But now I do. A pen pal is somebody you make friends with by writing letters, but you may never meet them in person. On Kids Email you write to your friends or pen pals or family members. When you open it up I was able to change the background to one of the choices. I chose race cars at first. After I read my email I hit reply to write answers. I change the font and the letter size since it seems so small.
A new message!
Sometimes I even change the color. One of my pen pals sent me an attachment (a picture) of a 3D X-Wing. You can attach pictures and drawings and videos with your emails. That is so cool! I think this is a safe way for me to have an email and I will tell my friends. I like that mom and dad see the emails going in and out. That way if anyone sends a weird question or something they can know about it.

I know you will want to check Kids Email out so be sure and check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. And be sure to check out what all the other Crew members thought about Kids Email Safe Email for Kids by clicking the link below!

Safe Email for Kids {Kids Email Reviews}

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Reading Kingdom ~ A New TOS Review!

Both my son and my youngest daughter (who has struggled with reading) have been enjoying working through the online reading program called Reading Kingdom. This program was created by an expert on literacy, Dr. Marion Blank. Reading Kingdom is different from other learn to read programs because it uses a 6 skill model for teaching how to read.

Reading Kingdom was created for ages 4 - 10 and for students who have not yet started to read up to those who have and even for those still struggling to read fluently. The program teaches six skills to help teach reading without the need for memorizing a huge amount of rules. These skills include, sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar and comprehension, and incorporate phonics learning alongside whole language to help with both reading and writing.

At first your child takes a reading Skills Survey which helps customize the program for your child. They do not have to start at the beginning and move on from there. Instead they use this survey to assess where they should be and places the child at the right level for their particular reading skill level. It skips over areas a child shows they know already. At the end of five levels there is a Progress Check to assess if the skills have been mastered in reading and writing. If they pass they move forward, if not they will get a set of review activities to help bring the student to the current level.

There are also emails that come to the parent which report where your student is and if your child needs additional attention to an area they put that in the report as well. You can also log in to the program and see how your student is doing. If you want to read more about the inner working of the program I encourage you to go here -- it goes into much more detail then I could do it justice.

So we have been using this program with my 3rd grader and then also my struggling reader who is in 6/7th grade and they have really enjoyed this program and with them both at different places within the program they can see where each of them are at on the Dashboard.
The Dashboard you see when you first log on.
They like the colorful and engaging lessons. The lessons have fill-in-the-blanks, matching of letters and pictures, finding the missing letter or words, write the word, and even writing sentences with punctuation. My son wasn't in the habit of using punctuation so I know that is one of the reasons he was placed in Level One. My struggling reader was also placed in Level One, but further along in the Level. Now after they have been doing the program about 4 days a week they have gotten quite far in Level One and my daughter is about to progress to Level Two.
Passport for every 20,000 points with a little "reward"
I think the big thing I have seen since we've been using this program is that my son has started to really enjoy reading both on his own and with me. It's been quite remarkable to see the reading "light bulb" come on. He does get a bit frustrated when he feels he's repeating and doing words he felt he 'already knew', but I like the reinforcement. Each lesson takes them between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. I try to make sure they only do one lesson a day, but sometimes they like to do a second one.
I do feel that this has helped both of them and certainly for their confidence levels. We do plan on continuing Reading Kingdom throughout the summer and I'm certain I will see more improvement, especially for my son. There is another program called ASD Reading by this same company and I encourage you to check out the reviews for both programs by clicking the link below. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom OR ASD Reading {Reviews}

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tip for Tuesday -- Saving Money

Today I'll be sharing some tips for saving money.

One of the big ones is not going out to eat ... and if you do, use cash not credit.

Couponing can also be a GREAT money saver ... if that stresses you too much, you can certainly just buy the items that are on sale AND take advantage of B1G1 or other such deals.

Any change from anyone at the end of the day can go into a big empty pickle jar. You'd be amazed at how much change you can "earn " in a year.

For big things ... wait 30 days. If it's still a NEED then you can buy it.

For cards (birthday, anniversary, etc.) ... make your own! Save the $5+ that it costs for a card you can create on your own. The sentiment will be worth more, I promise.

Make some short term savings goals -- like $20 a month. Sometimes that will make it much easier then a larger amount that can seem quite daunting.

This might not seem like a big thing, but unsubscribe to any of those mailings of sales and marketing , especially to stores you LIKE to spend your money.

Do you have any other tips on how to save money??

Friday, May 4, 2018

LIVE Computer Coding with CodeWizardsHQ ~ A New TOS Review!

Over the last year my eldest (now 14.5) has shown more and more interest in coding and I was overjoyed to have her a part of a LIVE and online coding class just last week from CodeWizardsHQ! Not only are their classes attended by a LIVE instructor who guides the class, they also have a homeschool computer programing classes for 5th - 12th grades.

So what is coding? Well it's the language of computers ... and probably the future of most careers. CodeWizardsHQ has created courses that are relevant and teaches students in an online classroom with the instruction being led by a teacher who is there in each weekly class where students will build a foundation in programming through hands-on games. Everyone will start in the Wizard 1 level learning the Introduction to Programming, HTML/CSS, and then onto JavaScript.  The student will progress through each 12 week course and then receive a certification at the end showing the completion of the material, which will be mailed to you.

The typical class sizes is 6 to 8 students. All you need is a computer with a microphone and speaker (or a headset/headphones) and a browser like Chrome, FireFox, Safari, or IE, and of course a good Internet connection. You will need an actual computer or laptop - tablets are not supported through their system. And if you will need a quiet place in the home to attend the class so that the background noises don't drown out the class. There is no need for special software since the students will learn to write code in their browser. There is also a 30 day money back guarantee if your child does not thoroughly enjoy the program.

Here's a short video that shows you what to expect in their programs.

When we were chosen for this review we were given some times and dates to choose from and we chose one that worked in our schedule. We then received an email with the class details with the name of her teacher and directions on how to log in, a note with the system and audio requirements, and a link to "test session" to try in advance to make sure everything 'worked.' We used a Chromebook with headphones and had no issues.

This was the Dashboard when she logged in.
The class was lead by Miss Lynn. We were advised to sign on about 10 minutes before the class and that gave time for the instructor to talk to each of the students and ask a little bit about them and their coding experience. The class started pretty promptly and lasted the entire hour.
Start of the comic. On the right is the 'chat' area and the mic you can turn on and off.
I sat and watched while Arianna took her class and she seemed to have fun. When she had an issue she turned her mic on and then asked her question and Miss Lynn helped her figure out what she needed to do. Lynn was able to see exactly where she was on her code and what she needed to do to get 'caught' back up. Here are some pictures and screenshots that I took while she was taking the class.
Coding screen
Listening to the instructor
Laughing at the graphic choice.

Finished comic!
Instructor Lynn started off by telling them a little about coding and that they would be getting an introduction to HTML. Then they started on their coding project which was making a comic strip. Here are some thoughts from Arianna:
The class was easy to understand. I had a little trouble, but Miss Lynn helped me fix it and my comic turned out really cool looking. I think the class was very enjoyable and it helped me understand more about coding. I think this program would be really helpful in today's world especially if you were thinking about a career that used code. I had fun and I hope everyone else in my class did too. Thank you Miss Lynn for helping me."
The "back part" of coding. 
 CodeWizardsHQ is a program for any student, young or old, but they have a great offer for homeschoolers where you have the flexibility to pick the time and day of class and a declining per student cost up to 8 students in the class. And if you miss your homeschool coding class they are recorded and can be viewed at any time since you do have access 24/7.
I also urge you to read the reviews below to see how others felt about the program by just clicking the banner. I'd love to hear from you if you think coding is the wave of the future.  You can also find CodeWizardsHQ on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. They even have a Facebook Group for parents who have students interested in coding where they share tips and resources.

Live Class Computer Programming for your Students {CodeWizardsHQ Reviews}

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