Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Time4Learning - A quick review

Our homeschool was presented with the opportunity to try out Time4Learning free for a month. In return, I promised to write a review.


Sometimes short and sweet is more efficient than wordy and polished looking. I'm going with short and sweet today.

I have heard many good things about Time4Learning (T4L for short during this review). A homeschooling friend of mine uses it for her three children, and they love it. I was eager to try it out in our little homeschool! I have two children, one in 1st grade and one in 7th grade. Each child is "split level" with his or her learning (my 1st grader does 2nd grade math, my 7th grader does 8th grade literature and math). T4L's ability to move up or down a grade level sounded GREAT! It sounded like something I could easily customize for my children.

So, here are my Pros and Cons of T4L:

  1. The kids love playing games to learn. Much of the content on T4L is presented in a fun way. The kids enjoyed that.
  2. Once the kids understood a concept, working through their modules on T4L seemed less tedious than practicing the concepts on paper (a great tool for my kinesthetic learner!)
  3. It was nice to take a break from teaching the kids!

  1. I found setting up everything was not very user friendly. I searched FAQ's everywhere on that site trying to find ways to customize learning plans, and I really couldn't find much other than setting up their initial grade levels. I ended up just having the kids click on areas of their pages that would teach them a new concept (leaving other areas incomplete).
  2. Looking at reports was also difficult. Since I couldn't figure out how to delete certain lessons, I couldn't get the site to recognize the lessons the kids had completed.
  3. Some of the new concepts weren't "taught". I felt that the kids were thrown into the concept. For example, my first grader ran into subtraction with borrowing. The site didn't teach him how to do it. I walked him through the steps and concepts, and then he ran through the exercises.
All that being said, I would only use Time4Learning as a supplement to our homeschool. I think it would actually  make a great supplement to our curriculum. Unfortunately the price tag for the site is higher than I would ever pay for a supplement.

I might have had a better experience with the program if I could have navigated my area in a more efficient manner. I think a more thorough FAQ or help section would be GREATLY beneficial.

Legal stuff:

**I've been invited to try Time4Learning in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so come back and read about my experiences. For more information, check out their online curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review.**

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Busy busy busy!

I have decided that I need to come up with a schedule that allows me to actually blog. I always have good intentions, then this whirlwind I like to call "life" catches me..and WEEEEE...

...I show up a month later with no posting. Egads! I'll be working on that this week.

It's spring break time around here. I wasn't going to take spring break for our homeschool, but I think I am now. We took yesterday off to go to an amusement park with a friend, and today was mainly spent playing "catch up" on the house (the kids DID get a few lessons done, though!). I think I'll take the rest of the week to reorganize everything, and get some schedules laid out.

We are in the process of wrapping up our school year. Our required testing is done (waiting on the results), our books for next year are purchased (lesson planning comes next), and we can see a light at the end of the tunnel for all of our activities. This of course means it's time to start scrambling around making plans for all the activities we are going to do next year.

Or does it?

I have realized something this spring. We are BUSY.


Way too busy!

The funny part is, we don't HAVE to be so busy. We have chosen this madness. Somewhere I decided it was vital to do a little bit of everything (big eye roll).

So I think next year is going to be SLOW. We already have one major commitment, which will be taking up two days of our week. I think that's going to be it (except for our music lessons). Both of these activities lean heavily on either Bible study or serving in the church, so I think that's okay.

But seriously. Do we have to be so busy? Does it REALLY improve our children's lives? I remember always having the free time to go fishing with my dad just about every weekend. Some of my fondest memories come from fishing with Dad. By scurrying around staying busy, we're missing memories like that.

I'm tired of missing memories. TIME TO UNBUSY! (Yes, I made that word up!)

On another note...
I'll be reviewing Time4Learning in my next post (I'll be working on that tonight). Until then...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Time4Learning Review

Legal stuff:

**I've been invited to try Time4Learning in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so come back and read about my experiences. For more information, check out their online curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review.**

^^ I'm going to be reviewing Time4Learning in a month. I'll be allowing both of my kids to try it out. I will be giving my thoughts on it once we're finished.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Focus on the Kingdom

Today was a difficult day for many people at church. Many were hurting from the loss of a dear member.  Although we should all rejoice when a brother or sister in Christ goes home to be with our Lord, there is always a time of grief. This grief was etched on many hearts today. Not just because we lost a friend this week, but also because many of us have personal pains. Some of these pains are new; some have been carried for quite some time. While I sat in a pew listening to the opening song, God struck me with an important revelation. We must focus on the Kingdom – ALWAYS. 

What does it mean to focus on the Kingdom? 

It’s a simple concept, actually. Putting it into practice may take some work. It’s seeing the invisible. It’s looking toward His face, not our own reflection.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

What is the importance?

In a world filled with despair, pain, turmoil, and hate, it’s hard not to get dragged down into a pit. We must remember that we are not of the world. How can we remember this if we do not focus on Him? How can we not drown in a pit of sorrow daily if we cannot see the light of our Lord? It’s impossible. We must remember:

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation…The Lord is the strength of my life.

What are the benefits?

The best way I can convey this is by quoting the lyrics of the worship music today. God knew so well what I needed to hear and He brought it to me in song. This is “In the Presence of Jehovah”

In and out of situations that “tug of war” at me,
All day long I struggle for answers that I need;
Then I come into His presence and all my questions become clear,
And for a sacred moment, no doubt can interfere.

In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace;
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the King.

Through His love the Lord provided a place for us to rest,
A place to find the answer in hours of distress;
There is never any reason to give up in despair,
Just look away and breathe His name, He will come and meet you there.

In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace;
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the King.
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the King.

Did you read that correctly? Troubles vanish. Hearts are mended. In the presence of the King!
What better benefit can you ask for? Are you hurting today? Breathe His name, and He will come and meet you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Encouraging words for a discouraged heart

I haven't been on here in ages. Life has just been busy, and I let too many things slide. I skimmed through my blog earlier, and I realize now that I really miss sitting here and blogging out my thoughts. I can't promise to be consistent, but I shall try going forward.

First...I must find my reading glasses (so I can actually see) and fix some coffee (it's been a rough one!)

Today has been a killer. It's one of those days where when everything is all said and done, I'm left feeling empty and defeated, guilty and failing, or in another word...discouraged.

I yelled today. A lot. If anyone has ever thought of me as a patient person with a gentle spirit...and that person just happened to stroll past my house this evening, then that person either thinks:

a) Shannon must be possessed
b) someone else must live there
c) boy howdy, was I wrong when I thought she was _____

I let my anger get the best of me today when what seems like the 10,000th disrespectful "thing" occurred tonight. Now that my children are in bed asleep, I sit here thinking, "What kind of mother am I?" 

Aren't I supposed to be the picture-perfect homeschooling mom? You know...the one who never raises her voice or loses her cool. Ha....hahahaha.

I have never convinced myself of that lie...but still. Here I sit - feeling a bit broken on the inside.

Then a piece of Scripture was handed to me from my Father.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me.

What sweet, perfect words I needed to hear! Christ's GRACE is sufficient. Period.

Yes, I have a temper problem. I always have. It's my thorn. I try hard to control my tongue, but I fail many times. I am reminded that I cannot do this alone, but

"I can do all this through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13)

I am a work in progress, and that's okay. I know my Lord is here with me eagerly waiting to walk me through the storm. I just need to be willing to give Him the steering wheel.

  Lord, I am willing!