I am trying to read.

Tablet in hand, snug in my blanket, I click open my Kindle app and start reading a new chapter. From somewhere to my left, I hear random chatter.
“So I was watching this video….”
“Then I remembered….”
“Hey Mom, what was my first….?”
Hey, kiddo. I am   trying to read.
My brain scrambles to figure out what the last question was so I can respond accordingly, hoping that if I answer she will let me go back to reading. 
Fail.
The random chatter and even more random questions keep coming in rapid fire succession. 
This moment. This one right here. This is when I have an internal argument with myself over parenting. It’s a real thing, and anyone with kids knows it’s true. It goes like this:
Why for the love of all that is good and holy can she not see that I am reading and just shut up??! Dude, you shouldn’t say that about your kid. These days are short, soon she won’t want to talk to you. Your book will be there later.  You should stop reading and listen to her. Ya know, quality time. Well, I can’t take care of her if I don’t take care of me and me wants to read this book! Don’t good parents teach their kids about personal time, and make sure they know they aren’t the center of everything? Yes, but you took a shower today AND peed all by yourself so you already had your “me time” lady. No, no no no, peeing alone is not “me time”, I’m going to politely tell her, since she isn’t picking up on the clues of book in hand and ignoring her, that I am reading and we can talk later.
So that’s what I did. She apologized, with the saddest, most disappointed tone in her voice. I went back to reading.
The chatter started again. It’s like a compulsion. Then I heard her say, “I wish I had a friend that liked to talk.”
You’re breaking my heart kid.
I put down the tablet. I turned to her, and said okay let’s talk.
Crickets…
More crickets…
For ten minutes she was completely silent.
Until I picked up my book.
-Just Lisa

A Curriculum Review: Time4Learning

We have been homeschooling for four years. I have been pregnant for two of them. The other two were “new baby” years. As a first time homeschooler we tested out a variety of curriculums, mostly handed down pieces and free online resources.
We bought an all inclusive one for our daughters first grade year and it bored her. It bored me too.
Last spring, we purchased another curriculum, gently used, thinking it would be easier for mom during our “baby” year. We scrapped it in a couple months.
I wanted so badly to be the cool mom with crafty lessons and lapbooks and unit studies and experiments and stuff. I just couldn’t do it. I had one daughter that was desperately trying to tell me she liked the more textbook-y stuff and one daughter that only liked it if it didn’t exercise her brain – at all.
I had a toddler and now a baby and started looking back at all the ideas I had turned down before.
One of them was the online curriculum Time 4 Learning. I had been to the site several times and kept turning away from it because of the cost. At the time I was finding material for free, justifying the monthly fee to our Mr. Daddy Principal Man was hard.
A month ago I found myself at their site again. Now we would have two kids signed up. Now I have a better idea of what motivates my girls. When I did the math I realized that EVEN IF we did school 12 months the total sum of the monthly fees was less than the cost of the last curriculum we purchased! (They do have an option to put your account on hold over the summer!)
I needed to convince Mr. Daddy Principal Man to give it a chance. God provided me an opportunity to show him how great the site was when I received an email invitation to review the site for one month FREE! I posted the disclaimer on my blog (it’s been on my sidebar all month, recently moved to this post), and signed my girls up!
My time is up, we’ve renewed the membership, and now for my official review. Thanks Time 4 Learning for giving us this opportunity!
****************This review is 100% my own opinion. At the time of this posting I am under a PAID membership status with them.

It’s pretty obvious at this point that my review is overall positive, after all I DID pay for another month. There are some highlighted points I do want to make about their program. We are currently working on the first and third grades.
Pros:

  • No commitment. Charges are monthly, cancel anytime.
  • The Backpack and The Parent Login! : The Backpack is a place where my daughter can go to see her work for the day/week/month and the icons let her know what she finished and what her grades were. The Parent Login now allows me to do the same thing from my laptop while they are still logged in and working. Imagine my 9 year old’s surprise when I tell her to go back and finish an activity! “Moooom, how did you know?”
  • When you choose your child’s grade level, you are given access to the activities for the grade level below and above them.
  • The activities are short for those ever elusive attention spans!
  • Many of the first grade activities READ to my child.
  • The child can click the “Resource”link under their activity and print their worksheet.
  • Quizzes immediately show the child their score and what questions they missed.
  • I can use it anytime, anywhere I have an internet connection and a computer and at our own pace.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Blocked “Playground” area, full of educational games, that only unlocks once the student had worked for a PARENT specified amount of time. I can, at any moment, override this for special days or as a special reward.

Cons:

  • The software, at this time, does not have the ability to “assign” students certain tasks on certain days from within the program. I do that on daily lesson pages that I made up. Not a deal breaker, just adds a manual step in my planning. (This functionality is available to classroom teachers only at this time)
  • The added on subjects, like social studies and science, do not read the questions to my non reader for the first grade. They do have information in their forum on a free program that will read to your child but I have not tested it yet.
  • There is only one worksheet per activity. Again, not a deal breaker for me because I know of a dozen great places online for additional FREE worksheets.

My biggest issue is with planning lessons and assigning them. This has been an issue with other curriculums so I have difficulty really blaming it on Time4Learning. I have enjoyed our free month and look forward to using it the rest of this school year and the next!
**************************
I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning is an online educational program that can be used in many ways including as a homeschooling curriculum or afterschool tutorial. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning

I read a grown-up book! 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

You are probably as shocked as I am. Seriously.

The only “big person” book I ever get to read is the Bible and it’s a pretty big deal to get time to do that.

I first heard about Kathy Reichs way back before we had Doodlebug. I was commuting four hours every day to get to and from work.  The place I worked process undeliverable mail and would often end up with books on tape from book clubs.  They always donated it to the local library.  While I was pregnant, I was having a hard time staying awake on the long drive so one of the shift managers used to let me borrow the books before they were donated.  (I realize this was wrong.  It did save my life though.)

I fell in love with Ms. Reichs books right away. 

When the tv series “Bones” began, I was ecstatic!  Finally I could get a little taste of one of my favorite authors! See, once I had Doodlebug I never seemed to have time to actually read anything. 

Ok, I read Dr. Seuss but that is NOT the same thing.  I know moms who fit reading into their day but I just could not. Until now.

Hubby purchased a Kindle for me a few weeks ago and the first book I downloaded was “206 Bones” by Kathy Reichs.   I love reading on my Kindle and I loved this book.  I loved that it gave hubby and I something new to talk about as we now sit and discuss the book vs. the tv show.

 

When I ask my friends for author references they rarely mention her name, which makes me sad. Ya’ll are seriously missing out on some good stuff!  Who is your favorite author? When was the last time you finished a “big person” book?

Short Vowel Sounds: An Alpha Doodles Coloring Book

Teaching my oldest daughter to read was easy.  She wanted to read and she read.  She reads so much and so well that it is becoming inconvenient (she reads other people’s caller id’s). 

Teaching our first grader, sweet Taderbug, is proving to be a bit more of a challenge.  Grabbing a book and just reading it was not working for her the way it did her sister so after looking at tons of programs we settled on “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

She is loving it, so as a treat, and to help review her sounds, I doodled up another coloring book for her.

Click here for the entire book:

shortvowelA

 

Enjoy!