Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Charlotte Mason Made Easy - Lesson one

Last year I signed up for a course through The Broad Room called CHARLOTTE MASON MADE EASY, written by Stephanie Walmsley. 

Charlotte Mason Made Easy is a 3-month course during which Stephanie sends you weekly lessons to help you make your homeschool journey easier. 

As I mentioned I received this course last year already, but was doing a preaching course so had to put this on the shelf so to speak. In my quest for more organisation over the last few days (with Term I only a week or so away) I decided to open up the first pearl of wisdom (also known as lesson 1). And wow! I now have a better timetable for Term I and it's already helped me to plan better what I'll teach the children. It's given me focus!

My aim is to share with you what I've learned as I do this course. 
Do go and check out The Broad Room for yourself for some amazing inspiration ... maybe you can even join me on this course! follow this link : )  Charlotte Mason Made Easy


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Two weeks into the "New Year"!!

It's been more than two weeks since we clinked our glasses saying "Happy New Year" to several close friends in our living room. During the last 14 + days it feels like I've lived several different realities. It's been a good two weeks. Sometimes busy, sometimes productive, sometimes .... well not productive at all!!

On the 1st day of January my true love said to me....Happy, happy New Year!!!

On the 2nd day of January my true love said to me.... Preaching then off to camping :)

On the 3rd day of January my true love said to me ... let's be off to the beach for swimming

On the 4th day of January my true love said to me ... I'm so glad to see you reading

On the 5th day of January my true love said to me ... night walk to see the glow worms

On the 6th day of January my true love said to me ... how's your sermon prep going?

On the 7th day of January my true love said to me ... ice cream with the kids darling : )

On the 8th day of January my true love said to me ...

So yes, after my dear husband preached on the 2nd we were off camping for a week with good friends of ours. We had amazing weather and the kids had a blast! Then we headed back to the city so I can preach.

I've actually managed to start and finish a novel in less than a week!! First one in ages. It was delicious!!

The second week of January was mostly spent at home. Although we did go the MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) one morning with friends. The kids enjoyed learning about creating a "Super City". They got to create their own flag, 'vote' for who they think should be the mayor, painted some polystyrene bricks to 'build' a town hall for the MOTAT Super City and engage in some other fun activities.

Wednesday morning at 4am!!!! we headed off to the wharf to try our hand at fishing! Well, I don't think that fishing will become a hobby, but it was a fun morning. It was fun (and fairly easy to catch the bait), but then it came to the actual 'catching the big one'.... it was more like....feeding the ducks at our local lake...the fish came, nibbled on the bait (or ate it out right) and then left! .... no, I think I'd rather read a good book, but hey, at least I've given it a go. Who knows, maybe I'd sing a different tune if I actually catch a fish : )

The rest of the week was a lot of R&R (reading & relaxing)... some might call it lazy? But it was fun to be able to sit or even play a game or two just because I could.

Today (Saturday) Mum took the kids on the ferry for a lovely day out with Grandma. I HAD to get new shoes as I literally had NO shoes for summer and I was treated to 3 pairs of lovely sandals and a trip to a bargain shop where I got 5 skirts and a top for under NZ$50!!

I am keen though to start my planning for school for this year and I think the kids (well at least one) aren't too upset about starting soon again. The other morning I asked them what they wanted to do for the day and my son said...School!!! We started workboxes last year and it has worked a treat!

Monday is my Mum's birthday and we are taking her out for dinner and then I'm taking her to see 'Cinderella the Pantomime'. I'm looking very much forward to that.....

but for now, I'm off to bed as it is nearly 3am.

Happy New Year everyone, may this be the best year ever.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

TOS Review - Math Facts Now!

Math Facts Now! (http://www.mathfactsnow.com/) is a great program for kids to learn their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. It is simple, short and effective. There are no games – just learning facts in a fast, effective way.
Math Facts Now!is a program that you purchase as a CD-ROM or download and install onto your computer. At the time of writing this review, this program was NOT available for MAC computers, but installation was easy for Windows.

Start by ‘creating’ your own lesson for the facts you want your children to practice.
Step 1 – Maybe your child needs to learn their 3 times table. Then you’ll choose Mulitplication, 3’s.
Step 2 – Decide on how many questions need to be answered to complete the lesson.
Step 3 – Decide on how much time you want to allow your child to think about the question before he needs to answer it? Set the time.
Step 4 – Decide on how many times your child needs to repeat a problem if it was answered incorrectly / took too long to answer. (The minimum for this is 3).
Step 5 – Decide if you want there to be a reward for completing the lesson without mistakes.
Lesson created!
Step 6 - Now create more lessons if you want.
Step 7 – Print out a list of facts your child struggles with if you want to.

Your next step is to simply assign an ‘account’ for your child by typing in their name. Once that’s done they are ready to go.
Your child now simply chooses his / her name from the list of names (if more than one child use it), and click on the lesson they need to practice. Simple as PI…. ; )

The wisdom in this program is that for all the incorrect answers the child needs to type out the problem in full. EG. If 7+3= is answered incorrectly or doesn’t answer the question within the given time frame, then she / he will need to type out 7+3=10 three times.
The kids did not at first like this at all, but soon saw the wisdom in this when they remembered that fact the next time it was asked. Math Facts Now! remembers which problems your child is having difficulty with and these problems will be asked more often. During the rest of the lesson a warning will also pop up saying ‘be careful’ when this fact comes up.

Initially the program expected the kids to answer 50 questions minimum for each lesson, but the staff of Math Facts Now! listened to our pleas and allowed us to decide for ourselves what number of questions would be good for our kids.

Math Facts Now!has a permanent place in our math curriculum

How much does it COST?:
This product comes at what I think is a very reasonable price.

Math Facts NOW! 2.0
US$15.95 NO S/H!)

Math Facts NOW! 2.0
US$15.95 + US$3.95 S/H)

Math Facts Now! runs on Windows 2000, ME, XP, Vista and Windows 7. 4.5 Mb of free hard drive space required.
Free Trial
I just love creators of products who have such confidence in their program to allow you to trial it out before you buy! Math Facts Now! does not disappoint in this area. You can visit the following link to try it out for yourself before you decide to buy it.
Contact information and licensing information can be found here:
Visiting the following link provides you with contact details as well as details on licenses for schools.

In this, as all reviews, it is one opinion that I’m offering – my own. Why not visit my fellow TOS Crew Mates who also had the privilege of using and reviewing this product HERE to see what they think of it.
I received a FREE download of Math Facts Now! for use of review purposes in exchange for my honest, personal opinion. I did not receive any other compensation… except for my kids doing better in their math facts now ; )