Friday, May 26, 2017

First Trip to Evansville

After 10+ hours of driving, Kelly and I were greeted by a thunderstorm over our new, soon to be, hometown. The above picture is a shot that a local news channel caught of the lightning.

It is definitely a town in recovery from the economic downturns of late.  It has lots of great older homes, most in need of some help, with great craftsman architecture.  We are excited about that, as we both love that style, and are okay with doing some updating and repairs.

Evansville is a great little town located on the Ohio River near many other great cities.  It has a beautiful new, growing river district. With it's location being like a center hub to other cities like Chicago, Louisville, and Indianapolis, we are definitely looking forward to many road trips that we can include in our homeschooling lifestyle

There are also some really cool locations, like the Willard Library, and Bru Burger.  A burger joint in a converted Greyhound bus station.  We are excited to explore the rest of Evansville. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Learning to Type - A New Homeschool Review!

About a month ago I was looking at the newest review that we could be a part of and it was for The Typing Coach Online Typing Course. I was reading about it out loud and my eldest daughter ran over to look at what I was looking at on the screen. When she realized she saw the video commercial of The Typing Coach she jumped at the chance to use the program and we were blessed with the review.
The Typing Coach

So what is The Typing Coach? It is a program designed to help anyone learn how to type quickly, accurately, as well as with proper posture so it is also comfortable. The big push of the program is to be able to type without looking back and forth at a screen while you type words from a paper. It is also so you can have mastery of the keys of the keyboard (or typewriter).  Here's their commercial - check it out!

Typing by touch is so much faster then the 2 finger method that a lot of people use. The Typing Coach has a goal that by the end of the course they will be able to type 10 words per minute with only 1 error. They are really big on mastery so they give lots of practice sheets for you to work on getting each section correct. You are also taught how to sit properly with good posture and positioning as well as use all of your fingers, not just 2 or 4.
As you take the course you are able to work at your own pace following the directions in the audio instruction. They suggest at least one lesson per week over 10 weeks. We have tried to stick with this, but Arianna wanted to be sure she had each lesson down so it's taken her a little longer to complete each lesson. There are also videos as well as written instructions which is helpful so that all learning styles should be able to use the program. Not only are there practice assignments, there are also tests and work tasks to help you practice your skills.
Each of the tests are both timed  and have an end objective. Once a test has been taken the parent gets an email with the results. If they do not pass the first time with the requisite score (only 1 word wrong for every 10 words) they will have to wait 2 days before they can take the test again. This allows the student to have more time to practice and work on their accuracy and proficiency.

Since my daughter was the main student and she was working independently I asked her to tell me her thoughts on the program. Here's her review:
If you listen and open to everything he says you will become an excellent typist. After the audio lesson is finished if you had any mistakes you will want to re-listen to the audio again. Once you complete the audio instructions without any mistakes you will take what is called a Learning Check for the lesson you are on. 
I highly recommend this program. I have used other programs and in 2 to 3 weeks I have not felt they had helped me to learn anything other then the placement of my fingers. The Typing Coach can be used for anyone that is willing to take the time and effort to do the lessons and practice. By the end of the program you should be able to type like 20 to 40 words in one minute or less with 1 or even no mistakes! Happy typing! Oh and be sure to type at your own pace. Don't worry about being slow - slow and steady wins the race.

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming more proficient in their typing skills then I definitely would have you check out The Typing Coach. The cost of a one year access is $17 per typist. I also like that my daughter is learning how to type by typing and not playing typing games. She has greatly improved from the beginning of this course and she looks forward to her lesson each day. If you'd like to read on how others on the Review Crew used The Typing Coach Online Typing Course in their home then click on the banner below.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course {The Typing Coach Reviews}

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

No Mess Art with Thin Stix - A New Homeschool Review!

Our latest review of the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc., was a big hit in our family, especially with my art loving daughter! The only thing is that I don't like the mess that usually comes when she wants to paint. These magical little wonders are tempera paint sticks that are solid and look like what a marker looks like. However, the bottom twists so the paint comes up, kind of like lipstick. You do need to take off the cap before doing that ... only the cap can't be attached to the bottom of the "pen" because it twists. So we've been putting the caps in the plastic holder that the sticks came in.
Thin Stix by KwikStix
Thin Stix by KwikStix
Oh! Did I mention that the Thin Stix are non-toxic - which means that even pre-schoolers (the box says age 3 and up) can use these paint sticks. The thin sticks can be used on paper, posters and even on canvas. We even tried to blend the colors, but you to had move quickly since the paint dries in 90 seconds! And that is a great selling point for sure! We even timed it to make sure and usually it was dry in less then 90 seconds. You also do not need to use any water.  You can also purchase these in bigger packs (of 24) and they have neon and metallic! My daughter and son have already added these to their birthday/Christmas wish lists. ;)

The Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors are red, yellow, green, blue, brown, and black and are super simple to use. They feel like a marker, but then they paint like you are using a brush. On paper they come out smooth and the colors are bright. I even had some fun dabbling with them when I could steal them away from my children. I think they are great for making pictures with not firm details or words. Even though they are thinner the tip isn't like a pencil or marker tip. They have a circular tip like glue sticks or dot markers.

Here are some pictures from when my daughter was working on her Girl on a Horse picture as she experimented with the colors included in our Thin Stix pack.
Because of their mess-free, dry in 90 seconds true claims I think these will be great for us to take along with us when we head to Indiana for another visit in early July. I better order some more colors and make it a surprise for them to open when we get going down the road.
Thin Stix by KwikStix
And as I was writing up this review my children were working on some new works of art. Aren't these amazing?!? They look just like you'd expect a painting to look - but there was NO MESS and easy clean up! Go get you some of these!!!

Check out the other reviews from the Crew by clicking below. You can find The Pencil Grip, Inc. on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest if you'd like to connect with them.

No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Homeschool Rescue - A Homeschool Crew Review

It's rare that there's a product just for us moms, but this is one of the few. I was glad to be a part of the review team for this new online program - Homeschool Rescue - created by a fellow homeschool mom, Heather, from Only Passionate Curiosity, which has been full of encouragement, advice, worksheets, and so much more designed to help us "Breathe New Life" into your journey in homeschooling.

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

So what exactly is Homeschool Rescue? It is an online e-course that currently has 5 modules that contain 20 lessons plus some Bonus content. Each module is broken down into lessons and an overall introduction. The lessons all include a video of ~20 minutes in length. These videos are slides that include both seeing and hearing Heather speak to us moms, but there's also an option of downloading the audio so you can listen on the go or you can print a transcript of the lesson (great for those who are visual learners). There are also homework assignments, printable note pages, worksheets, and gobs of resources for more help in each and every area that Heather discusses.

One of the great things about this course is you can decide how quickly or slowly you go through. She also encourages you to stop and evaluate whether this is an issue and if it is to take the steps needed to address the issue - whether that be physical or mental disabilities, marital problems, or other HUGE family issues. 
Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
Not only do you have access to the e-course with over 5 hours of content, but you can also join her Facebook support group and work through the course with other like-minded homeschool moms who are feeling exactly how you may be feeling. You can even get paired up and have an accountability person or two as you work through the program - one of my favorite parts of the course was being able to chat with another mom who was "in" the same place that I was, since I am kind of a veteran homeschool parent now. And in the group Heather is actively participating in the group and readily answering questions, chatting, and giving more encouragement.

While going through the course there were times I needed to carefully consider and pray about my responses to the homework worksheets. You also may find that you have to say NO to certain commitments and she helps you work through what you can stop immediately and what you may have to finish, but will stop in the near future. Heather also helps you realize that you may get seriously behind in a necessary subject, but that the point isn't to blame someone for why you got behind or off track. The point is to realize that you are and then work diligently to get back to the heart of WHY you homeschool. That was one of the things I learned by working on our very own Homeschool Mission Statement and the dreams I have for each of my children individually.

It has been a true breath of fresh air into my homeschool life. We've been homeschooling now for about a decade and a piece and lately I had felt I was in a rut ... out of the preschool years and now into the teenage/high school years, but even with those changes we've been just 'getting through' the days. I am known locally as the 'go to gal' when you are new to homeschooling. I even help co-lead a local homeschool group and coordinate field trips, events, and classes with a small volunteer group. But lately, that rut I told you about has even bled into my leading of that group as well. 
Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

This course has really helped me to evaluate what all I do and what I need to let go ... especially in light of our soon to be uprooting and moving to help plant a church in a totally new state. I am so thankful to Heather and Homeschool Rescue for putting all her energies into this e-course. Homeschooling is HARD work and sometimes we need to really take time to KNOW that and take the time to evaluate what we may be doing that is impeding our journey forward. The struggle is real and Heather recognizes that we can not go it alone.
Heather was clear that even though this course is designed to do in a short amount of time that there is no "behind" as long as you are working toward the goal of really knowing what your homeschool needs without adding stress to your life. And since I have my lifetime to use this course I can spend a little extra on the purging and getting rid of clutter and extra curriculum and move through the course at my pace. And it helps that you have homework to finish before you are ACTUALLY done with a lesson or module.

Right now there are registrations for sign-ups for the next "class" session through the end of the month of May. The 'class' will run from June through July. And your registration will allow you lifetime access to the course including any updates in the future. With summer just around the corner I think this would be the PERFECT time to sign up for this course and get a handle on your homeschool. There is also a 30 day money back guarantee So please, check it out! You can find Only Passionate Curiosity on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.  You can also check out what others on the Crew thought about the course - just click the link below.

Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}

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