Saturday, January 29, 2011

The One where Traci has two teenagers in her house......

alternate Title
Happy Birthday Hannah

Today my sweet second child becomes a teenager.  13 years ago she made a grand entrance in the afternoon.  Now she would love to sleep that late!  She has presents from family to open and a full day of activities.  So busy in fact that a party has to be planned later.
Happy Birthday Peanut..... her first gift will be a facebook and gmail account:)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Ten Marks is an online math program that helps students learn and practice math.  There were several aspects of this particular website that I liked.  The first being that it was more than just boring math problem after boring math problem.  The parent gets to set a reward for their student for completing a certain number of worksheets.  That gives the child motivation to keep going.  I was notified via email when my son earned his chosen reward.
But let me back up a little.  The child(ren) has their own account with personal login and password.  When the log in they see a screen similar to this one. This is my son's home page
The highlighted box tells him what his current worksheet is.  He can choose to click on the learn button and will get a new window with a a couple of different video lessons to watch.  If he feels confident in the concept he can proceed straight to the worksheet.  With each question he gets multiple choice answers.  I am not a huge fan of multiple choice on math, well I was when I was a student but not so much as a parent!  However, I felt the choices did drive the student to complete the full problem without giving too much away in the answer set.  For each question the child can request 3 hints and 1 video.  When you take a look at their lesson it will tell you per problem what help they required.  After each worksheet is completed the little persons at the bottom start to fill up.  My 7 year old loved this part.  You can see that he has all ready had some successes with certain concepts. As they work through the worksheets they can also unlock games that are just for fun.  Several times I found my guy logging in just to play the games.  Ten Marks also builds in tests.  My frustration with the test scheduling was that the tests were off to the side and overlooked by my kids, so by the time they realized they had tests in the side bar they had two or three.

Here is a screen shot from my daughters Algebra I lesson.

At just $10 a month, $49 for 6 months or $89 for 12 months it offers a good product for a good price.  I believe that you can use it as either a supplement or a complete program.  My oldest still wasn't convinced it was what would get her through Algebra I and the hints didn't always help her but she was WILLING to sit down to it every other day and do two worksheets, which for her is progress in math and made the product worth pursuing. 
Ten Marks offers its services to homeschoolers, parents and teachers.  There is even a free trial on their website.  So give them a try.

See what my other crewmates thought of Ten Marks here.

Disclaimer: I received access to this website for free in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bless a friend

This week I was blessed by a friend.  Blessed because while grieving a loss she suffered less than 12 hours before she reached out to me, who was having a bad day (week really).  She went beyond her feelings and remembered my hurts.  This friend spent over an hour on the phone with me helping me sort feelings out, sort anger out.  She gave me a revelation about something I am struggling with (that I'm not ready to air publicly) that made me stop my blubbering and praise God in the storm.  Mind you, compared to the loss she was mourning at that very moment my storm was merely a drizzly mist but she took the time to share an umbrella.  She cried with me too, which meant the world to me.  She didn't belittle me or poopoo my feelings, she spoke truth in love.

I used to be a decent friend.  I used to write thank you notes and get birthday cards out on time.  Now I mail my parents Christmas present on January 27 (yes today!) and I stink at being a friend.  Taking my cue from some of the people who surround me now, I want to strive to be a better friend.  May I encourage you this week to pick up a pen, paper, envelope and stamp and write a friend a letter (no emails people).  Tell them thank you, that you love them, what they mean to you, anything you want. .in.the.mail.  I have several notes I want to write, but my first one goes to the friend above.  I don't even think she reads this blog :) but she deserves a note of gratitude for standing with me.

Now GO and do likewise! (leave me a comment when it hits the mailbox)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sports and Scouts and Singing

Our life is busy.  
We have five kids.  
Of those five kids we have 3 in sports, 3 in scouts, 3 in choir and 1 that was taking piano.
Here is a photo post of how we spent our Fall.
Basically any photo with Neil in it will be blurred the boy is in constant motion!
Lest you wonder why Hannah has fewer pictures......she hates the camera and will dodge it.  So I have very few pictures of her doing things.  I am making it a goal to get more pictures of her.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TOS REVIEW ~Virtual Nerd

Photobucket is an online supplement to upper math.  They offer online video tutorials in Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, and an intro to Physics.
We reviewed this product at the Algebra I level for my high schooler.  She found the videos helpful and understandable.  What she found difficult was locating exactly what she needed.  They had a proper search box and a list of topics but it took some trial and error to locate what she needed.  If your student used one of the four textbooks they had listed it was easier to track down what you were looking for.  What I liked about it was the instructors were clear spoken.  They talked through the problem using a white board.  On the right side of the video was the breakdown of the problem.  You could at any time pause the video and check out the right side.  At this time their is no practice sheets for the problems just discussed.  However Vritual Nerd has plans to add practice, quizzes and feedback in Spring 2011.

Full Screen 3 Areas

Virtual Nerd offers several subscriptions.  From $5 for a 24 hour subscription to $49 a month.  It is a fraction of the cost for a private tutor but still seemed quite high for this homeschool parent.

Find out what my crewmates thought of Virtual Nerd here.

Disclaimer: I received a free trial of this service for review purposes only.