Friday, December 30, 2011

the countdown begins...

                5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1

Well friends, for us here in New Zealand it is a little less than 25 hours away from the New Year.

2012 is around the corner. The sun will set for the last time on 2011 tomorrow evening.

Some people will be celebrating, watching displays of fireworks.
Some will be dancing.
Some will be drinking ... a lot.
Some will celebrate the New Year with friends.
Some will be alone, maybe crying.
Some will be praying.
Some will be working.
Some will be sleeping (don't laugh! I've done that before)

What will you be doing?

Some will be relieved that 2011 is over and smile.
Some people will feel sad, reflecting on a difficult year.
Some might be very excited about welcoming 2012.

Here are two questions ...

~ If you could sum up 2011 in one sentence or even one word what would it be? 



~ At this moment, what would be your greatest desire for 2012?
I'd like to learn to be content in all things.

Let me know your thoughts!

A blessed New Year to you all. May 2012 bring peace and joy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reflecting on the last few months - A glass half full

"It's been a hard year"

This has been the 'end of year sentence' for me for the last 3 years. It is of course so much easier to pick out the difficult, the bad, the uncomfortable, the not so nice parts... you get the picture. If you've read some of my previous posts, you might have read my post about my "Now that I'm 40". One of the things I want to change (and yes, I'm working on it) is to be more optimistic / positive about life. Trying to see the glass as half full.

Just for fun - I found this image scouring the internet - thought it was rather funny : )



So here is the glass half empty (and in a nutshell):

We've been struggling with immigration issues and it's an ongoing stress.
Other family stresses including relationship difficulties and financial issues.
Having to give up our foster baby after nearly 7months.
Dynamics at home that is not always easy.
It's been very difficult to be consistent with our lessons every day.

But we want to see the glass as HALF FULL - in fact, as in Psalm 23, we want our glass or cup to RUN OVER not just be half full.

Every time immigration has extended Mum's visa it has been against many, many odds, so this glass is more than half full! Thank you Lord!

Despite financial concerns we have been blessed with friends who have assisted us in paying for lawyers fees [for immigration]. This cup is RUNNING OVER! Thank you Lord!

After wondering if we'd ever see Starfish (our foster baby) again, we have been invited to visit the family on Christmas Eve! This cup is RUNNING OVER! THANK YOU LORD!

Although the dynamics at home are stressful at times we love each other. Even though my girl (11) and boy (8) have to share a room, they adore each other and we have the privilege of having my mum with us. This cup runs over with love and forgiveness. Thank you Lord!

It is such an honour to teach our kids at home and although being consistent with academic lessons has been a challenge our kids have learned so many life lessons. They know how to be flexible, what sacrifice is and in all of this they are still giving and caring for others outside our home. God has blessed us with fantastic children. My cup runs over. Thank you, Thank you Lord!

How is your cup half full or overflowing this Christmas?

Blessings, 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An agent for change.

Reflecting on the meaning of Christmas ...

He came to earth a vulnerable baby - God becoming flesh.

During His ministry years He challenged many beliefs and ways of living. He sat with the tax collectors and the prostitutes, with the widow and with children. He performed miracles but did not heal everyone. Instead He challenged people to live differently, to live for their neighbours. He wants us to make a difference in the lives of others.

Watch this clip ... not what you might expect.

Blessings,

TOS Review - Fractazmic - fraction fun

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WHAT? FUN? - FRACTIONS?

Could this statement indeed be true?

It is a well known fact that you can't believe everything you read. So for now the above statement will be treated as suspicious until proven true. And really, WHO will believe a wooden figure anyway?

With any thorough investigation we need to first examine all the evidence. What do we have in front of us?

Exhibit A

Deck of 60 cards - 20 green, 20 blue, 20 red

Green cards appear to be the tenths suit. 
Blue cards appear to be the twelfths suit.
Red cards appear to be the sixteenths suit.

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Exhibit A

Although the package states this is for 'Grades 1st-8th and the cards seem to be sturdy, are brightly colored and have interesting pictures on them, there is no conclusive evidence that this is fun. Statement still remains suspicious.

Exhibit B

One Rule sheet

Exhibit B
Having read Exhibit B it suggests that you play the game in the manner you play the well known card game "Rummy". It also offers more options of how to play by referring the investigator to a website: www.fractazmic.com


Exhibit C

No investigation is thorough without a trip to the source (the aforementioned [web] site). There we uncovered another set of rules which is included in a downloadable document [direct link (quite slow)] of 28 pages written by the mastermind behind this suspicious operation, Dr. Ron. The document explains the rules for many different games created by this organization including something called Pyramath™ and Prime Bomb™. You can read an investigation report about Pyramath™ (read previous review) HERE


Having read all these rules it became clear that we can't come to any clear conclusions without doing interviews and engaging in the activity of actually playing at least one hand ourselves. There is thus no conclusive evidence that this statement is either true or false. 

So on to the interviews:

Interview one:

PI: Have you played Fractazmic™ before?
L: No.
A: No.

PI: Did you follow the rules the first time you played it?
L: No

PI: So what did you do instead?
L: We looked at all the cards to get to know how it works first. 
A: Mum explained how to play the games and then we played with one color only.
L: Yes, that was ok, but we wanted to play the real game.

PI: Did it help to look at the cards first?
A: Yes, but it was more fun to play the game.

PI: How easy was it to play the game?
A: It was kind of easy for me, but a little bit hard too.
L: Yes, it was a little tricky at first but now it is lots of fun!

PI: Now, I need you to be very certain about your next answer. Is this a fun game in your opinion?
L: Oh yes!
A: Very!

PI: Would you play it again?
L: YAH! We have! We played different ways too. And Dad played with us. That was fun!
A: Yes, it's even more fun when Dad plays too.

PI: So you think it is fun and easy to play? Do you think you learn anything?
L: Yes, we learn about fractions and how to figure out that 2/5THS are the same as 4/10THS.
A: And 1/4 is the same as 3/12.

PI: Is it a game you'll be able to play all day long?
L: Hmm. I don't think so. It kinda makes me feel a bit tired after a while. And I like Trap better than Rummy.
A: Yes, my brain gets full. I also prefer to play Trap.

Interview two:

PI: You've played the game with your family?
Dad: Yes I have.

PI: What do you think of it?
Dad: It's a good game, but it takes up quite a bit of energy because you need to concentrate and calculate throughout the game. I've noticed that the kids got tired if they played for long periods.

PI: Do you think that this is a fun game despite the concentration it takes?
Dad: Yes, I do. I enjoyed it and the kids certainly did too. 

Based on the above interviews is seems that a reasonable conclusion can be drawn about the statement under question: Statement is most likely true.

Personal experience:

First I stopped by the source again. Here I found an online version of the game called Fractazmic™ Speed where you can win a FREE deck of cards! This was suspicious because why would they give away several decks of cards? (unless they believe that enough people will buy their product @ US$6.96).

I played the online game (DISCLAIMER: no I did not win a free deck, although for the purpose of this investigation I was given a free deck by the company to provide this report) and I played it again and again and again ....

I also played the game with the other investigators on the case (my 11 and 8 year olds). I did enjoy (still do) playing the different versions of the game. The game Fractazmic™ Trap is the easier game to play as all the players build the same hand by taking turns to discard a card from their hand and adding it to the cards on the table. The aim is to add the same suit until the fractions add up to 1. If you add your card and it makes 1 you 'trap' that hand and gain 1 point. If  the card you play takes the total over 1 then you forfeit that 'hand' to the previous player. 



If you are the kind of person who would rather watch a movie than read a book (or in this case rules on paper) you can follow these links HERE (Fratazmic™ Rummy) and HERE (Fractazmic Trap) to see a video clip explaining how the games are played.

Conclusion: Taking all the above mentioned evidence into account I can only come to one conclusion: The Statement "FRACTIONS ARE NOW FUN!" is true and accurate.

As the TOS investigation bureau wants to be thorough in their investigation of this statement several other investigators were asked to investigate and write their reports - you can find these HERE.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Only two weeks to Christmas ...


The Christmas trees have been decorated in the shops for a long time already ... but I don't like shopping so I don't often see it.

I don't have the radio on a lot so I don't hear 'Christmas' songs all the time.

We don't watch much television so I don't see a lot of advertising trying to convince people to spend money they don't have on stuff they don't need during Christmas they don't truly celebrate.

This morning in church we were again reminded to get back to Jesus who was born to us and who wants to connect with every single one of us; Jesus who is available to each on of us. 

Thinking back of the Christmas story Jesus was born to a young ordinary servant girl - a connection to the young and the ordinary. He was born in a manger - another connection to the ordinary, everyday person. After Jesus was born an angel appeared to the shepherds in the field  -a connection to those who did hard work and did not mingle much with others. A star appeared in heaven that alerted the Magi from the East - a connection to the learned and to those from other cultures and other religions. Simeon, an old man at the temple saw Jesus when He was taken to be circumcised. He recognized Jesus as the long awaited Messiah and praised God - a connection with believers and to older people. 

You can read the sermon notes HERE.

How will you spend your Christmas?

Blessings,

Monday, November 21, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 21

Today is 21 November, 2011 - I had to rethink how I was approaching our home education. It's not been the easiest of years and I've been frustrated for much of it. Time ruthlessly marches on and I've realised again how easy it is to miss precious moments with those you hold dear and how short a time we have our kids with us. My eldest turned 11 recently and some are starting to ask me 'when are you going to send her to school'. :)

We have our difficult moments, but I love homeschooling the kids, they love being homeschooled (YES they tell me) and so today I am extra thankful for being able to home educate my children who are so precious to me. We will do this for as long as we possibly can! 

What are you thankful for today?

Join us for the rest of the month by visiting Brenda's blog @ Garden of Learning.

Blessings,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I am thankful for ...

Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband and celebrating 18 years of marriage!

What are you thankful for?

Blessings,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I am thankful for ...



OK, so I'm a few days behind, but I was away and had no internet connection.

Today I am thankful for being able to spend a few days away with my family.

We went to a friend's bach (Kiwi for holiday home). Well, it's more of a barn close to the sea. It is self contained, running on solar power and has tank water. There is no phone line, no television. It was amazing!

You overlook 25 acres of lawn dotted with grazing cows and in the distance you can see the ocean.

We played pool, dodge ball, Uno, Cranium, word games, did sudoku puzzles, did flax weaving (my girl and I), did some shooting (Daddy and the kids) and I managed to do some reading and painting.

Sweet rest and relaxation!

Thank you God.

Blessings,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I am thankful for ...



Today I am thankful for the friends I count as family.

Having moved countries, I've learned that you need to have people around you. People who will laugh with you, cry with you, pull you up if you are acting out, people who are there with sound advice or just a listening ear. We all need people.

I have a large group of really good friends - people who I know I can ring at 2am and they will help any way possible. These friends are closer than some of my family to me... they ARE family to me.

I am thankful for each one of my friends who I count as family. It is an honor to share my life with them.

What are you thankful for today?

Blessings,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 6



Today I am thankful for God's protection.

Our daughter turned 11 yesterday! For her birthday we took the family on a 2hour horse trek which started off with great excitement.

In the last ten minutes (on the home stretch!) my horse got spooked by a loud, unexpected noise on the beach and took off on a full gallop. This cause the horse our son (8) was on to take off too. None of us are experienced riders - this was my 2nd time riding and the first time for the kids! -

I came off the horse on a bend, but my son amazingly held on. When he realized that I was not on my horse anymore ... he JUMPED off his horse to come and see if his mummy was ok! What amazing courage. In the process he nearly got stood on by the horse. I watched helplessly while he disappeared on his horse in full gallop, accompanied by my and another horse (without its rider!) around another bend prior to jumping.

I am SO thankful for LIFE and God's protection on our family today!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 4


The alarm was set for 5:45 - yawn - I dragged myself out of bed this morning to go to gym ... while I was doing my stretches I thought; I CAN stretch, I CAN walk

I am thankful for the health and abilities that I have.

I have both my feet, legs, hands and arms.
I have two eyes with which I can see [even if I don't have 20/20 vision ;)]
I can hear.
I can smell.
I can taste.
I can touch.

For the most part I am in good health, I don't suffer physically and I'm not in constant pain. I am thankful for that. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 3



Today I am thankful for peace.

Peace in my heart.
Peace in our home.
Peace in our country.

Above all, I am thankful for the 'Peace that passes understanding' that only God can provide.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 2


Today is November, 2nd. The second day of the Gratitude Challenge that I'm doing with Brenda from Garden of Learning.

Do join us if you can and let us celebrate the many things there are to be thankful for. 

So, today I am thankful for ...





God's written word. 

I am especially thankful for the fact that I live in a country where I can freely, without fear of persecution, worship God and buy a Bible. In our house we have at least 6 Bibles and they are all different translations! 




How precious is the Word of God!

Sometimes I (we) don't appreciate what we have at all.

My husband is on the board of the 'Bibles In Action NZ' and some time ago I heard the story of how some remote villages have to share a Bible - where people will get up way before dawn to use the Bible during their church service, then one person will run with the only Bible to the next village so they can have their church service using a Bible and then someone from that village will run to the next and so forth! 

No, we don't appreciate the fact that we have a complete, printed copy of the Bible!

I pray for us who do have this privilege, that we will truly be thankful for it.

Blessings,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I am thankful for ...



Today is the first of November. For the next month I'm going to join Brenda from Garden of Learning in her Gratitude Challenge. 

Day 1:

Each morning at the breakfast table we take turns to say what we are thankful for.

So today, I am thankful for the family who God so blessed me with.

I am thankful for my loving, committed husband. He is diligent in serving God, in providing for his family (and others), loving his wife (ME), being a blessing to our children and being a fantastic friend and mentor to many. 

I am thankful for my children. They are both passionate, smart, cheeky and strong willed. I am a blessed with children who are loving, caring, compassionate and who are good friends to each other. 

I am thankful for my mother who lives with us. She blesses me with her love, her courage, her endurance and practical help.

These are the people I wake up to in the morning... Thank you God.

Why don't you join us in sharing what YOU are grateful for?

Blessings,

TOS Review - Excellence in Literature

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DISCLAIMER: A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have received a free downloadable e-book version of Excellence in Literature: Introduction to Literature from Everyday Education for review purposes. In exchange for this free product that I've used with my daughter, I provide Everyday Education with an honest, personal opinion of their product. 

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Janice Campbell is the brains behind 
Everyday Education. She is a veteran homeschool mum, the author of many articles and books (including e-books) and a conference speaker. She hosts her Blog here and you can also receive e-zine newsletters from her to further help you on your homeschool journey (especially with teens).


Excellence in Literature is a literature study series suggested for students in Grades 8-12. As my daughter is turning 11 in one week and hasn't done much literature study before, I wasn't sure how she would take to it. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it went and how much she enjoyed it.

In Introduction to Literature, the first of five books, the text is mainly written to the student, since this is a self-directed course, and normally does not require too much input from the parent / teacher. Although it is written as a 'college-preparatory literature and composition course' for high school students, it can be used with younger age groups (with some parental input). This, I believe, is in part due to the excellent way this study guide is laid out and how well concepts are explained. 


In this book you will find the following:
  • A thorough introduction, explaining what is laid out in this course and what is expected from the students, what they might find helpful and why certain contextual work is included. It encourages students to work on time management and other organizational skills. 
  • Chapters on: How to read a book, The different Literary Periods, Formats and Models of what the completed assignments should look like (with examples of each)
  • Context reading/work which includes biographies, music, art and poetry amongst others
  • 9 Units which take four weeks each to complete.
  • Excellent literature
  • Great quotes
  • Excellent links to online resources within each unit. 
  • Evaluation Rubrics and more

This first book in the series is a suggested one year course, although you can take it slower if necessary. 

Before the student takes off and dives into the first story, Janice expects her/him to read some of the chapters from 'Introduction to Literature' FIRST. This will help the student to view the literature through different eyes and look for specifics, such as character names, formats for different chapters, etc. As I've done this with my nearly 11 year-old daughter, I have learned right alongside her. I've mentioned that you could take it slower and that's what we did. Learning to look at a piece of literature in a different way makes you realize how rich it is with hidden treasures. Although we have only done Unit 1 which focuses on short stories, Janice encourages the student from Unit 2 onwards to listen to music and look at art and poetry from the era when the works were written. This provides an understanding of the context behind the story. 

Before we started the stories, we read the Chapter on 'How to read a book' where she was introduced to the 5 elements of fiction: plot, theme, character, setting and style and then we then read some of the mini biographies of the authors. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories together and I appreciated her re-telling the stories to her dad in the evening. As this unit contained 5 short stories, we did the first assignment together and she eagerly worked independently on the other assignments.

For the first short story she did what is termed an 'approach paper' (see below)


For the next 5 short stories we completed a 'literature summary' for each (as shown below).

The next assignment that she will do is a 300-word essay comparing two of the short stories.

Each lesson is laid out step-by-step so it is very easy to follow. So easy in fact, I plan to use this format with other books we read and I'm even considering using it with my 8 year-old son (with some tweaking). 

Although Unit 1 focussed on short stories written by different authors in different eras, Units 2 - 9 use complete books for their focussed reading. Each unit also has an 'honors' section for students who want to do more: For the honors students there is added reading, biography study of the author, approach papers and a research paper at the end of the year. 

Literary works included in these units are:


Unit 1: Short Stories by- 
• Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
• Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This one is not scary, if you're concerned about that.) • Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
• O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
• Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
• James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne 
Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw 
Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot
Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Honors: 1984 by George Orwell
Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare 
Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan


To view a Free Sample of 'Unit 3' from 'Excellence in Literature: Introduction to Literature', click HERE

Cost:
You would think that a year-long, in-depth course like this will be expensive, but it is NOT! 
I received the 132 page e-book which retails for a mere US$27.
You can purchase a printed copy for US$29 + $4.95 Priority Mail shipping; 8.5 x 11"; 132 pages.
Each book in the series retails for the same price as above if you purchase them individually. 
The complete curriculum retails for US$135 (digital copy) or US$139 + shipping (printed copy).
All orders go through a secure site. (CLICKBANK)

Other books in the EIL curriculum include:


(download a quick overview of the entire curriculum HERE)
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Janice has also written other books and you can view a complete catalogue of all her products HERE.

As with any other review / opinion, mine is but one of many. 

Please visit the Crew Blog HERE to see what others thought of this product.


You can contact Janice via:
e-mail - jceved @ comcast . net (without all the spaces)
snail mail -
Janice Campbell
Everyday Education, LLC
P.O. Box 549
Ashland, VA 23005
USA


Blessings,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011 Gratitude Challenge for November



I've been invited to participate in a Gratitude Challenge for the entire month of November. 

It is so easy to complain about what is going on in our lives, about things that aren't 'right', about the lack of money, 'stuff', etc., etc.

Starting the 1st of November, I'm going to try (with Brend from Garden of Learning) to post something I'm grateful for every day. 


A couple of years ago our family started doing this at the breakfast table: while having breakfast we'd take turns to say what we are thankful for that morning - this is a good reminder to keep on doing that and to do it every day!

Now I'll extend the invitation to you too : )  Why not join us in being thankful? Simply go to the original post HERE and follow the instructions.

Hope you'll join us :)

Blessings,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Black day at Church

It was Sunday. 

A not 'out-of-the-ordinary' day for attending church. Except, it was Sunday night close to 9pm. Several figures dressed in Black were moving around the main auditorium looking for a seat. A sense of anxiety filled the air....


ALL BLACKS



vs


FRANCE

in the

The Rugby World Cup Final!




Two teams.
One winner.

Yes, our church hosted screenings of several of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) matches as a different option to the pub scene, but still have the atmosphere of a crowd cheering for their team. 

It was fun, it was stressful, it was ... the final!

I must admit I thought to myself that I'm taking rugby a tad too seriously as I was sitting on the edge of my seat ... nearly biting my nails (yes, I had a finger pressed firmly against my lips) ... feeling way to anxious about this game - nearly dreading the possibility ... no, I wont say it! ... mmmm... Yes, maybe a tad too seriously.

Be it as it may ... it was time. Two amazing teams going head to head - The Men in Black and The Men in White ... (as France kindly gave up their colours so 'we' can play in our Black Jerseys) 

The National Anthem was sung - loudly!
The HAKA - ELECTRIC! 
The Crowds (at the stadium, at church and I'm sure everywhere else) were swept up with emotion.
The whistle was blown.
The game was on!

I am an ALL BLACK supporter ALL THE WAY, but I must say France was a worthy opponent! I think BOTH TEAMS are to be congratulated. It was a CLOSE game. Really, how much closer do you get than a one point difference? 8 - 7

After all that though, the ALL BLACKS walked off the field as the winners of the Rugby World Cup 2011! Well done boys! 

Oh, sweet victory.

Now ... I should BREATHE!





Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook






FOR TODAY


Outside my window...
Right now it's dark so I can't see much : )


I am thinking...
Of Starfish... our foster baby who, after 6 1/2 months is with her 'new' mummy


I am thankful...
For my amazing family and friends.


From the learning rooms...(if this applies)
Kids are building a mechanical car from Mechano with Daddy.


In the kitchen...
It is clean (thanks to my mum tonight) ... that reminds me, I need to turn on the dishwasher! 


I am wearing...
Jeans and a sweater - October in NZ and it's raining and cold :(


I am creating...
A painting for a friend of mine


I am going...
To go through the clutter sitting on my lounge floor at the moment ... soon... I promise ;)


I am wondering...
If I will ever be as organised as I want to be.


I am reading...
Diary of a Bereaved Mother and Treasure of the Snow.


I am hoping...
That tomorrow will be sunny so I can take the kids for a picnic at the park.


I am looking forward to...
Summer!


I am hearing...
'Living next door to Alice' by Smokie and DH and the kids chatting about their project.


Around the house...
It is quiet (apart from the above mentioned sounds) as it is nearly 10pm. 


I am pondering...
Where will everyone sleep this weekend as we've got a guest coming and my kids already share a room as mum lives with us... : )  A full house with lots of love! Maybe I should pitch the tent ... in the rain ... or maybe not ...


One of my favorite things...
My family.


A few plans for the rest of the week ...
Getting ready for term IV of NZ school year.

Watching the RUGBY WORLD CUP FINAL on Sunday night! GO THE ALL BLACKS!


Here is picture for thought I am sharing...




We hand reared this sparrow (2009). It is a wild bird so did not keep it as a pet, though it still flies into the house looking for seed : ) He's called Harry.


If you'd like to join in on 'The Simple Woman's Daybook', visit Peggy's page HERE

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My 'Now-that-I'm-40' list (in progress)


On September, 29th I officially turned the big 4 0.

My birthday card from my daughter included these words: 'Even though you are the big 4 0, you are still very young to me'. What a sweet girl she is :)

I've looked forward to turning 40 for at least 2 years, so I had great expectations of what it would be like - big party ideas and everything. However, life does not always go as planned (Yah I know, big surprise there).

The day was bitter sweet. We were in the process of farewelling our foster girl whom we raised from birth. It was stressful, but my amazing family made it a special day.

A lovely, lovely breakfast was made for me while I received my cards and gifts. I know they love me as I got plenty of chocolate! (Lindt which is my favourite). Got a stunning pair of earrings from the kids and a trip to White Island (Active Volcano here in NZ) from the love of my life. (I will blog more about that a bit later). My friends treated me too with all sorts of amazing gifts. One of our friends came around specially in the morning to make me a cup of coffee :) If friends are the riches of life, I am a very wealthy woman!

Since I'm 40 I thought I'd make a list of some things I'd like to do or do differently. As I was pondering this (and I still am) I stumbled onto this post HERE by Tasha. It is her response to a list of things to do before 40, however, I might add some of that to my own list : )

OK, so back to my list. What is on it?

Well, as I said it is something I am still pondering, so it's a 'work-in-progress' (like me).
This is my list for now:  (Please feel free to leave me a comment with suggestions - even outrageous ones!)

1. Be more fun 
2. See the bottle as half FULL (yeah, I'm a bit of a pessimist) 
3. Learn another language (busy learning LATIN)
4. Stop multi-tasking and do and finish one thing at a time! (see this post of Tasha HERE)
5. Learn more about politics ... (does that counter no. 1?)
6.
7.
...

Ok, I'm off to go and play with my kids!

Blessings,

Visual Latin US$10 off!

Salvete!

If you've read my review on Visual Latin then you'll know that we loved it. You can read it HERE.

Visual Latin is giving away a US$10 gift.

This is from Dwane Thomas (the teacher of Visual Latin).


"I love getting money in the mail (don’t you?) so here’s a gift for $10 you can use on any Visual Latin product. If you haven’t purchased the Visual Latin series yet, this will help you start; or if you’d like to get the first set of Latin 2, use it that way. Just use it quickly: it’s only good through Friday, October 21."
  
Gift Code: OCT$10 

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Monday, October 17, 2011

E Amoris 'Visual' Latinum - TOS Review: Visual Latin

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WHY would anyone want to learn Latin?

That is the WRONG QUESTION!
The question without a doubt should be:

WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU NOT LEARNING LATIN?

Latin is the basis of what is known as the Romance Languages. It is said that there are 25 of these languages. Amongst them are the 6 most widely spoken languages which include: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian and Catalan ... then there is also Walloon :)
Latin paves the way to so many languages. As it is either the basis of a language or influenced another language, learning Latin can only help if you want to learn other languages and/or to better understand English that is heavily influenced by Latin. 
Apart from Latin having influenced MANY languages, Latin is also used in the medical and other sciences fields.

So, speaking of learning Latin... here is a great quote (borrowed from Visual Latin's FB page) - 

‎"I would make them all learn English; and then I would let

the clever ones learn Latin as an honor, and Greek as a 

treat." --Sir Winston Churchill

DISCLAIMER: Recently I was fortunate enough to have received a free downloadable version of the first 10 lessons of Visual Latin for review purposes. In exchange for this free product that I've used with my children, I provide Visual Latin with an honest, personal opinion of their product. 

Quid hoc 'Visual Latin'? (what is Visual Latin?)

Visual Latin is a:

Visual (as in video clips),
Interesting,
Stimulating,
Unique,
Addictive,
Light-hearted,

Laid-back,
Affordable,
Timely,
Interactive
Newsworthy,

... way to learn Latin. It is a full Latin Curriculum that caters to various learning styles.

Meet our teacher - Dwane Thomas:


Well, I say OUR teacher, because I've been enjoying this with both my children (11 & 8).

Dwane is a passionate, inspiring, friendly and fun teacher who you would love to have in your home teaching your children Latin. He is passionate about the Latin language and can speak 4 other languages. Dwane  has a relaxed teaching style, speaking directly to the viewer as if he is right infront of you. He makes jokes throughout the videos and is very easy to listen to.  New concepts are introduced in an easy to understand manner.

To learn more about the Teacher (Dwane Thomas) and the Producer (Thomas Purifoy) of Visual Latin, visit this page HERE.

Currently Visual Latin has 40 Lessons available. Latin 1 has 30 lessons and Latin 2 has 10 lessons at present. These lessons include 3 videos (Grammar, Sentences and Reading) and 3 PDFs (Instruction, Worksheets and Answer pages).

The first video in each lesson has a grammar focus where Dwane introduces a new concept.

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In the second video Dwane uses the new concept in different Latin sentences.


In the third video Dwane reads a passage from a Latin book while the words are on the screen, then he reads it again slowly and the student repeats it after him. This way the student hears, sees and repeats out loud what was learned.



Each video is approximately 8 minutes in duration after which there is a worksheet to complete.

The worksheets are short and my kids enjoyed completing them. Both of the children had a huge sense of satisfaction after completing the worksheets, in particular Worksheet C. Completing Worksheet C means that they understood and translated the passage from Latin into English! WOW! "Mum, this is sooo much fun!", is what I've often heard form my 11 year old daughter.


If you want Dwane to tell you about Visual Latin himself, then just follow THIS LINK to watch a video clip of him explaining what it is.

How did we use it ... and did we like it?

We tried to do three lessons a week. Sometimes we could not quite make it, however, other times we did two full lessons at a time.

During each lesson we would watch the first video while my kids sat with pen and paper / e-pads and write/type up the Latin concepts and phrases that Dwane introduced. (They did this on their own volition). After the video they did the first worksheet. The second video and worksheet followed. In between this I sometimes had to pause the video while the kids tried to string new Latin sentences together with the new words and concepts and what they remembered from the previous lessons. It made for some very fun times. We also tried to guess what some words might mean before Dwane gives the translation of it. Sometimes we were even correct : ) and we had to celebrate with a loud: "OH YEAH!"

We liked it so much that I purchased the next 30 lessons! So it gets a HUGE THUMBS UP from our entire family.

Quanti constat? (How much is this?)

Visual Latin is available in downloadable format as well as DVD format. The DVD formats are also available as a single/family licence or as a group/class licence.

For the first 10 lessons pricing is as follows:

Download version single licence: US$25

DVD version single licence: US$30
DVD version group licence: US$150

We've received the downloadable files for single/family use which retails for US$25 for a 10 lesson package.
The downloads are available as an HD zip file as well as an iPod zip file. 

Check out the other products (including an online class) which are available HERE - both products you pay for as well as free products.

As always I appreciate when people are so confident in their product that they are willing to give some of it away for free. Visual Latin does not disappoint: to download 4 Intro lessons plus 2 regular lessons for free follow this LINK.

If you need to see more, you can go to the YouTube Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/visuallatin

Visual Latin also has a FaceBook page over HERE.

The website is easy to navigate and full of information.

As I'm aware that this review is turning into a mini novel, I'd stop here and let you go and enjoy browsing their site on your own. So go and grab a cuppa, put up your feet and get excited about learning Latin!

To read what my fellow Crew Mates think about this product, please visit the Crew's website HERE.

Benedictio Dei