Monday, March 30, 2015

Meet em' Mondays ( The Howard Family)

Welcome to our 2nd Meet em' Mondays.

This Meet em' Monday family is a family friend who has been homeschooling for several years.

Family: The Howard Family

How long have you been homeschooling? 13 years

How many children do you have? 3 daughters

What are their ages? 18, 16, and 13

What made you initially decide to start homeschooling? My husband and I agreed before we got married that our kids would never go to public school. We originally thought they might go to a private Christian school (although Homeschooling was always in the back of my mind) but God gifted us with a third child.  That settled it for us - no way we could afford private school for 3 kids. 

What does homeschooling mean to you?  A chance to spend more time with the children God gifted me. The opportunity to individualize curriculum based on learning style and needs and the ability to ensure my girls are taught about God and teach them about the world in a safe environment. 

Do you think homeschooling is for everyone or child by child? I'm sure there are some people that shouldn't homeschool, but I certainly feel that is a minority. 

What resources are available if you do not understand how to teach the material you are supposed to teach? We have really appreciated Teaching Textbooks for math. We have also utilized our local co-op for science classes.

How does a homeschool student receive credit for classes in order to get into a college? My oldest is attending a 4 year college as a freshman this year. My second is taking college classes concurrently with high school classes at a local community college. 

I created a transcript modeled after one I saw online. I ordered the diploma from HSLDA.

Thank you to the Howard family for answering our questions for our Meet em' Mondays! Stay tuned for the next Meet em' Monday where I will interview another homeschooling family. 

* these answers are from the howard family and these are their views.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wednesday, March 25th (day 2)

After our long day and scavenger hunt around Downtown Dallas, I awoke to my husband still home. This does not normally happen as he likes to go into work early. I was in for another surprise.

Wednesday, March 25th was our 9 year anniversary. Married 9 years. I can not believe it has been that long as it does not feel that way.

Well my husband had another day in Downtown Dallas planned for us. We were going to spend a family day at the Perot Museum and Klyde Warren Park.

Monster back on the Dart. He really loved riding this! 

This was a favorite of Monsters. This was in the lobby. The air molecules would repel when you walked under them. Monster thought this was amazing! 

Photo spot! 

In the bird area you get to build a bird and fly like a bird. 

We left and went to lunch at the Renaissance Tower. This is really neat because you eat under ground but the tower is a pyramid and it is all glass to see outside. After lunch, we walked back over to the Perot Museum.  

The boys being scientist together.  

Monster jumping off the frog. 

Klyde Warren Park allows you to rent board games and play them. They also let you rent books to read while you are down there. 

This was the only picture I actually got on our first day in Dallas with my real camera. I love how it turned out. 

We enjoyed the Perot and plan to get a membership. However, I will say it being a Science Museum they believe in Evolution. They tell you to start on the 4th level and work your way down. We just skipped over the whole big bang stuff, I was a little disappointed that Monster was too old for the children area. He loves hands on activities like they have for them there, but that area is for 5 and under. I can understand that being a little kid area and just wish they had a area like that for older kids as well. 

Overall it was a great way to spend our anniversary. Next year will be 10 years married. Can't wait to see how we spend it as a family. 









Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lord Heritage Home Office Review

HomeSchool Office Review

I was recently given the chance to review the HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage.

Lord Heritage is an web based program to help you organize, plan and schedule your homeschool lessons. You can use this program with any homeschool curriculum of your choosing. It also works for one or more children you are homeschooling. 

We received a full year of this program to try out. 

The program is biblically based and uses the acronym P.O.W.E.R

P is for Plan- this is where you can plan goals for each subject, set up lessons for each child, create projects, keep up with your homeschool budget, and stay on schedule. 



O is for Order- this is where you can schedule lessons for your child, place reminders for upcoming activities or events, and create customized list for your family. 


W is for Work- this is where you provide student access to their daily schedule, you can also print them from here. Manage your daily to do list and follow along with the daily lesson plan.
 
E is for Evaluate- this is where you can track your child/children daily attendance, hours they are working on lessons, maintain their grades, and manage any requirements your state might have. 



R is for Report- this is where you will comply with state regulations ( if you must), generate transcripts, and customize any reports you must do.
 
How we used this program: I will admit, I really struggled with this one. With having the one child and being almost completely done with our homeschooling when I got this did not help. I am also more of a pen and notebook type when it comes to mapping out our day and schedule.  I really like the idea of this program and being able to use it if I had more than the one child. 

Logging in and setting up was pretty easy. I found that because we did not have much left with our schooling, there was not much to put into the system. We don't schedule a lot of outside activities other than our co-op, piano lessons and field trips here and there. Again, I would rather have those in my planner than on a computer. When I am out and about I want to be able to look and see if I have anything scheduled. As for work, since Monster is completely done with his 2nd grade work and moving onto 3rd ( and we have not received our new set yet), I am just letting him do review work. 

We don't really have a schedule that we set. We don't do work from this time to this time. We plan our day, day by day. Another reason this program did not really work for us is I had nothing to schedule. Monster is also not really of age ( or grade) that we keep grades. We also do not keep attendance or hours as our state does not require any of this. Monster is also not of age to even begin to worry about transcripts, so that was of no use to us either. I could not do to much with this program as it did not fit our needs.

I really feel if I had more than one child, was starting this at the beginning of a school year, had a child in a higher grade level or had state regulations we had to follow, it would be more helpful to us. 
And just because it was not a good fit for us does not mean it would not be a good fit for your family! 

Please research and check out the other reviews by clicking on the banner below! 

They offer an annual subscription for $79 and you can try it out for 30-days free! 

HomeSchool Office Review

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday ( Day 1)

The last two days ( Tuesday and Wednesday) Monster and I have hardly been home. We were surprised Tuesday with my husband walking in the door and handing me a note for a scavenger hunt. We had 20 minutes to get ready.



After getting ready and figuring out where we were going we headed to the Dart station. One of the items on the list was the ride a train. Well in Dallas, TX the closest thing to a train is the Dart. So we got our tickets and hopped aboard!



Monster LOVED the Dart. He was excited to be able to stand up. Since we left in the middle of the day there was hardly anyone on the train. We had the whole cart to ourselves for most of the trip. 

Our first stop: eating a cupcake! My husband and I love this place called Smallcakes. If you live or visit anywhere near Mockingbird Station, please stop and get one. They are amazing, like melt in your mouth amazing. 

We all ate one. 

Next back on the Dart and off to Downtown Dallas. 

Monster got off the Dart and said " We are in New York!" No sweet love, we are far from it. He really wants to take a trip to New York. 


We walked a few blocks and headed towards the park. On the way I spotted this and was able to check metal sculpture off my list. By the way, this is at the Dallas Art Museum which is free. The only thing you need to pay for is their special exhibits. We did not go in this trip, but I plan on taking Monster back soon! 

Next we arrived at one of our favorite parks. Klyde Warren Park. 


Food Trucks! Yum. We got a snow cone from one to try it out. We got a small and it was huge! 

Inside the park, they have tables all around, a dog park, restaurant ( Savor), games you can borrow to play, books you can borrow to sit outside and read, water fountains, a childrens park, and over all a wonderful environment. There is also living spaces right on the other side of the park and I told my husband about 100 times how amazing it would be to live downtown, even if just for a year. I would love that experience. 


I mean look how amazing this is. This is the entrance into the childrens park. 


Monster enjoying the nice weather and the water play area. 

After the park, we walked around several other places getting more items checked off our list. Then we got back on the Dart and headed all the way to North Park Mall for a picture of turtles, Yes, we went all that way just for turtles. 


On the Dart bus. The Dart train doesn't go all the way to North Park Mall, so we hopped on the bus to take us there. Monster loved riding all the Dart services! 


And then there were turtles! 

Then we headed back on the bus, then the Dart train, and finally home! Where we made homemade pizzas! 


Day 1 of our family fun day was over, but we had no idea when we woke up that day 2 of our family fun was about to start! 

Stay tuned.















Monday, March 23, 2015

Meet em' Mondays

I have decided to try something new on the blog.

I am introducing Meet em' Mondays.

 Meet em' Mondays will be where I introduce other homeschooling families that I have interviewed with a few questions. I know new homeschooling families tend to look for others and have questions. I figure this will be the perfect place to introduce new families to families who have been homeschooling either a year or several years. It is always a good idea to get involved in a homeschooling community and I figure this might be a great way to do that. After all, everyone who homeschool's is part of this wonderful community already.

 For my first Meet em' Monday I would like to reintroduce myself and my family. I have several new followers and would like them to know who we are and why we choose to homeschool.


 I am Kelli. The mom, mom blogger, stay at home/homeschooling mom, and the wife. I started this blog back in 2013 as a way to document our homeschooling journey. Before that I wrote from my craft blog: Living in a Monsters World. 

 I graduated high school in 2003. Went to college for 2 1/2 years to become a teacher. I wanted to become a teacher after having an amazing Science teacher who gave me encouraging words. Although I never finished my degree to become a certified teacher ( got married and had a kid instead), I started working in childcare and really found my place there. 

 Right before Monster turned 3 I was able to start my stay at home journey with him. I am so thankful that I was able to. This is when I began to really feel like maybe I could actually homeschool my son. 

 When Monster was of age to go to Kindergarten we decided to send him to our local charter school. I have no regrets. I am glad that Monster and I both got to experience him being in a school. It also helped me decided that yes, I can do this homeschooling thing! 

 We have been homeschooling now for the last two years and loving our decision. We live in a very homeschool friendly state. Texas. I also have a very encouraging husband who I am thankful for and the fact that he trust me with our sons education. 


 This is Monster (not his real name I promise!). Monster turned 8 back in February. He is an only child (we have yet to determine if that is permanent or not). He is the oldest grandchild and can be OCD sometimes. But, we love him. 

 Monster is a very hands on learner, yet he does not like to get dirty. His favorite things to learn about are Science, Christopher Columbus ( he said so!) and watching educational movies (again his words!). Monster would be considered 2nd grade this year, however, as of right now he is done with 2nd and working on 3rd grade. One of the best things about homeschooling is moving at your childrens pace. 

 Monster enjoys being outside, playing video games, hanging out with his friends, swimming, playing piano and play Legos. He is also a huge super hero fan! Favorite today is Wolverine. 

 Monster really enjoys homeschooling. I work at his pace and his level. We also are very flexible when it comes to a schedule. Sometimes we start our day when we first get up and sometimes we wait until later in the afternoon to start. This year we began year round schooling with breaks when we feel we need them. Monster enjoys this better than being on a tight schedule. Neither of us like rushing when there is no need for it. 



 This is my husband. The thinker and hard worker. We have been married 9 years this month. 

 He works for an amazing company. They are such a family friendly company. He loves his job and the people he works for. He works hard and really enjoys it. 

 He enjoys being outside when the weather is nice, reading and cooking. 

 He really encourages me in our homeschooling. I am very thankful he does. 


 So there you have it for the first Meet em' Monday. Next week I will introduce a new family and ask them some questions. 

 If you have any questions you have been wanting to ask a homeschool parent, please feel free to either leave them in the comments or email them to me at: monstersmommy021207@gmail.com 

 Your question may be used in one of the interviews! Or if you are a homeschool family and would like to be introduced on Meet em' Mondays please email me and we can set it up! 





Thursday, March 19, 2015

GPALOVEMATH Review

Critical Thinking Company Review
GPALOVEMATH is an web based Math program from GPALEARN. Their online program is for grades Kindergarten-5th grade and provides lessons, practice and quizzes. Each grade level has a cute little character to guide them through their lessons. Right now Monster is using 3rd grade, so his guide is Abacus. 

This program can be used on your computer, MAC, iPad and Galaxy Tablet. 

If you follow the program, your child can complete a grade level in about 10 months if your child/children complete between 4-5 lessons each week. You have three paths to follow and you can't move to some lessons until you complete others as some of them work off one another. 

A neat feature is the reward system. Parents can create rewards on the parent dashboard so their children can earn rewards depending on how many lessons they complete. Parents can create their own rewards or children can earn a reward out of the shop using the points they earn completing a lesson. You can earn 3 gift cards per year, but as many parent rewards as the parent out on there.  

We were given a full year of GPALOVEMATH try out. Monster has been using this daily and completes 5-6 lessons a week. 



What we think:
We love this program! I plan to continue to use this with Monster through 5th grade ( secretly hoping they continue to add through 12th grade!). Monster has done amazing with this program. He does not complain about doing Math. He can even get on himself and start the lesson. I really like that it locks them out of a lesson if they have not completed other lessons first. That really helps to know that they are going in order and learning certain steps first. Monster was frustrated with this because he really wanted to work on multiplication, but he had to work more on the teal path first. This gave him motivation to work the lessons.

I love that the program starts with what they are going to learn about. They are even asked questions during the lesson that they have to think about and answer in their head. Once they get to the practice area they have 3 life lines they can use. Monster has only had to use one and that is because even I was stuck on it. Another great thing about the practice is if you answer a question incorrectly it gives you a little back button instead of the check mark. This lets the child know to go back and try again on that problem instead of letting them just move on. If the problem is correct they get the check mark to move to the next question.

 Once they are on the quiz it only gives them 15 questions. Which to me is perfect. Not too much and not too little. Just the right amount to make sure the student is understanding the problems. At the end, if the child missing any, you can go back with your child and it lets you see their incorrect answer and the correct answer. On the few that we have had to go back on this has been great to show Monster what he did wrong and make sure he understands. I love that it gives us this option and does not make us just move ahead. Also if the child does not get at least 10 problems correct it will still give them a few points, but it will also make them repeat the lesson so they get a better understanding of the lesson. 

One of my favorite things is the emails the parent is sent after the child completes the lesson. I love this because I do not have to sit with him and make sure he understands it. The emails I get after every lesson tells me how long it took for him to get through the complete lesson, how many problems he got correct and which lesson he completed. I love that I can review it all from my email after he is done. Sometimes the lessons only take 20 minutes if it is something he believes is easy. I think the longest lesson he has done was 35 minutes and that was because he kept going back to make sure he understood what it was asking. 

One of Monsters favorite parts is after the lesson and before the practice, his little robot plays some music and dances. This is actually really great for kids who might need a little wiggle time before moving on. Some children don't sit well for long periods and this is a perfect little break in there. Children can get up and dance with Abacus in Math 3. 

I think the only thing we were not hugely fond of was the voice of the robot. He was a little hard to understand at times and pronouncing some of the words. Thankfully Monster can read almost every word in the problem so he could go back and read it himself if he needed. I think if it was just a regular voice it would be easier to understand. Other than that, we love this program and I have already shared this with so many people looking for a great online math program! 

You can order this program for a year at $149.00 or $12.99 per month per child. HOWEVER, right now they have a special going for a years worth of K-5th grade you can get it for the price of $129.00. Just use coupon code: GPAINTRO15

You can find GPALEARN on these social media platforms:

Want to know what others think of this product? Click the banner below to find out. 

GPA Learn Review
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Educational Places in Dallas/Forth Worth


If you live in the Dallas/Forth Worth area or you are planning a trip to the area and need some education, yet fun things to do, here is a list I have put together.

Dallas/Forth Worth:
  • Klyde Warren Park- Klyde Warren Park is a 5.2 acre park located in Dallas. This park is interesting as it was built over an 8 lane highway. This park is open daily from 6a.m-11p.m. They also have a restaurant on site, as well as food trucks. You can check out the park map here. Best of all this park is free ( you just have to pay for parking in Dallas).
(Monster at Klyde Warren Park in 2014)
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science- located in Victory Park, this museum brings hands on learning to life. Ticket prices start at $17 for adults and $11 for children (2-17). There are add ons ( like the special exhibits). Parking for non-members is $8. 

  • Dallas Heritage Villages- Dallas Heritage Villages land was a site for many first in Dallas. The land was the first Dallas city park in 1876. General admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children (4-12). Open Tuesday-Saturday 10a.m-4p.m and also on Sundays 12p.m-4p.m. Closed on Mondays. 

  • Ripley's Believe It or Not- one of our favorite places. The only place in Grand Prairie that you can find shrunken heads, two headed animals, the Palace of Wax, Mirror Maze, interactive hands on activities and a very powerful wind vortex. Ticket prices start at $18.99 for adults and $8.99 for children. 

  • Forth Worth Museum of Science and Nature- One of my favorites growing up was this place. Hosting several exhibits, the Omni theater, and the amazing Nobel Planetarium.  Right now they have several shows playing at the Omni. One even about Tornado Alley which is perfect since tornado season is coming soon! Ticket prices depend on which area you are visiting. Please check out their website for all ticket prices. 
For the next few weeks I will be posting places in the Dallas/Forth Worth area I believe is worth the trip! Please let me know if their are any specific areas you would like to see ( ex: Aquariums, Museums, Places for certain ages). This will help me in finding the best areas for your family to visit!