Friday, May 24, 2019

My First 5K

Last Saturday, I ran my first 5K.  After losing over 40lbs and working out for the last year, I felt it was time to try my hand at the race.    I had registered for this race back in Feb, and shortly after, we found out my husband was going to be at NCOA for 5 weeks and would not be there to run with me.. I almost backed out, but I decided to run anyway. 

For those who don't know, a 5K is a race that is 3.1 miles in length.  It use to take my over a half hour just to walk 1 mile, and here I was about to try to do over three miles. 

For my first race, I picked the Run With History 5K that was held here on base.  This particular race allows runners to run on the flight line as well as the dry lake bed, areas that are normally off limits.  While I only ran the 5K, there was also a 10K as well as a half marathon being ran this morning. 

Half Awake at 630am, waiting for the 710 run time.

These races are all Out and Back races - the Start line is the finish line as well. For me, I would run a bit over a mile and a half, turn around and run back to where I started. 

 The air traffic control tower in the background.  Yes, we were on the actual tarmac for the flight line.

And we're off.   We were the last group to begin our race, as the Half Marathon and the 10K runners were all sent off before us.  We started our race at exactly 10 minutes into the clock. 

Blue skies surprisingly, as it had been rainy and very windy for the last two weeks leading up to the race and it got rainy and windy later the afternoon following the race.   God gave us some beautiful weather just for the event.

 The Run With History aspect of this race is that the runners are able to run past various military aircraft, both past and present, as well as on the very flight line that great names like Neil Armstrong, Alan Sheppard, and Chuck Yeager have taken off and landed on.

And here ya go, my moment of glory as I was heading in to the finish line :)   Not the best video, as my daughter was video taping and I had run over to slap hands with my kids as I came across the finish line. 

Post Race, wearing my tshirt and holding my participant coin (instead of a metal).  Very hot and sweaty.

I went into this race hoping to Walk/Jog the entire 5k and finish in under 52 minutes.  I admit, I was slightly disappointed when I crossed the finish line and the timer read 55:17.  I totally forgot to remember that the 5K started 10 minutes after the clock started.   When I typed in my bib number and saw 45:17, I was completely in shock.   My fastest pace prior to this race was a 17 minute mile, so a sub 15 minute pace really thrilled me.. And I'll be honest, if I hadn't had to stop to start my fitbit (i forgot to set it for my run til a half mile in) and slow down to restart my phone, I could have easily had a sub 13 minute mile.. LOL  

And to celebrate, the kids and I went to a local Mexican restaurant and had a nice dinner. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

EdAlive (A Homeschool Review Crew)

Over the last few weeks, Ashleigh and Garrett have been working on their typing and math skills using Typing Tournament Online and Maths Invaders Online, two browser based programs from EdAlive.

Typing Tournament Online

Typing Tournament online is a browser based ten-finger typing course for ages 6 and up.  Using a medieval theme, the program progressively introduces the student to properly using the entire keyboard as they advance through 128 lessons.  Each lesson level includes various games and drills that help the student develop muscle memory between their eyes and their fingers. As they progress thru the map, they earn certificates and badges as their typing skills improve.

Each section of the map is pretty straight forward.  The student must complete the current section, including a speed/accuracy test before being able to move on to the next section.  Each level builds upon each other - in Level 1, students learn the home keys that are typed with the left hand,  section 2 the student learns the home keys controlled by the right hand, ect.  Typing proficiency is achieved over the course of 16 levels.

The lessons themselves are straight forward.  Students start with the instructional lesson, practice drills and a few fun games to help the student build the skills needed to pass the test with a high enough proficiency to meet the set word per minute goal.

Ashleigh working with Typing Tournament Online

Ashleigh has struggled a big with the typing.  It took her a bit of typing to pass the test for Level 1, which was a bit frustrating for her.   Partly because she did not realize that once she made an error and the letter turned red, she could hit the backspace button to correct the error.

We saw this screen a number of times 
She did eventually pass the first test.  Once students pass the speed/accuracy test, they are given a certificate that they can print out.  

Maths Invaders Online

Without a doubt, the Maths Invaders Online program was a real hit with the kids.  This program is also browser based math program that uses a spaceship blaster theme to engage students to practice their math skills.   Designed for ages 5 and up, Maths Invaders Online helps students to practice skills with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percentages, square roots, powers and more.  

There are three options that students can select from.  

First is the Galactic Campaign  which players must shoot math invaders down before they descend upon  the players space ship.  Using the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard to move across the screen, students answer math problems by typing the answer and then hitting the space bar (enter key works as well) to shoot down the invader.  If the answer is correct, the problem explodes.  Bonus questions also cross from left to right across the top of the screen - students can try to play their answer shots to get these bonuses.  Students continue this process until they completely defeat the wave of the invaders.  

The second option is the Space Rescue.  This is a multiplayer game where the player competes against three other students currently playing as well. This game works very similar to a digital battleship. There is occasionally a wait while players are paired together to start a game.  We did not play the Space Rescue portion beyond testing to see how it worked.

The final section is the Practice section, which works much the same as the Math Invaders portion but doesn't advance as the student clears each wave of invasion.  Students can select a particular skill to practice in this section.  This has come in especially useful for Garrett who needs extra practice with his times tables.  I can either select for him to work on one particular table (for example, x3s which he struggles with) or I can have it give him multiple/all skills.

In addition to the online program, the Maths Invaders site also has a worksheet generator. Parents can select what skills they would like their students to work.  These can be printed out and used away from the computer.

Both kids have really enjoyed using Math Invaders.  However, we started at the very beginning of the campaign, which started with very easy addition and subtraction problems.  I recently learned that students can skip further into the campaign to more advanced skills.  With this knowledge, the kids are now able to work on their times tables for extra practice.

For more information about both Typing Tournament Online and Math Invaders Online, as well as other programs offered by EdAlive, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media programs.

Be sure to click the banner below to read the other reviews from the members of the Crew. 
Typing Tournament & Maths Invaders Online {EdAlive Reviews}

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Big Bible Science (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Members of the Review Crew were offered their choice of four books ranging in subjects and targeted ages - Big Bible ScienceElizabeth PrentissGod is Better than Princesses, and God is Better than Trucks.   Each of these books is published from Christian Focus.   Christian Focus has been publishing books with the purpose of spreading the Gospel throughout the world by publishing Christian based books in different language for all ages. 

Since my family enjoys anything that has to do with science, we opted for the first choice – Big Bible Science.

About The Book

Big Bible Science: Experiment and Explore God's World is written by Erin Lee Green.

Toolbox of what's Needed
Targeting students 5-11 years of  age, the book is a 96 page, full color softback book that introduces students to various science concepts such as Newton's laws of Motion, Static Electricity, Combustion Reactions, the Water Cycle, the Human Body, and Animal Classification.

With 21 different units, students perform experiments that help them understand the concepts being taught  as well as a tie in to a biblical perspective.

Each unit follows a similar format.   At the start of the unit is a box that shows what materials will be needed in order to complete the experiments and activities for that unit.   This is very much appreciated as you can quickly see what you need, without having to read through the lessons to and possibly miss an item.  I can't say there's anything more frustrating to be in the middle of an experiment and realize you overlooked something crucial and don't have it in the house.  This book eliminates that frustration by putting it all right in one place.

Each unit then breaks down into four sections.  First is "The Big Idea" -  this section introduces teh student to the scientific principles involved in the lesson and how it correlates with biblical perspectives.  This section also contains a memory verse for the child to memorize that relates to the lesson.

Next is the activities for the lesson - each lesson has a few different activities or experiments that help to demonstrate the concepts being learned.

The Apply It section asks the student to pay attention and discover the concept in their everyday lives.  Finally, the "Go Beyond" section invites the student to do their own research and learn more about the topic at hand.

How We Used It

As soon as I had this book in hand, I began marking various units I wanted to work thru with the children.   Unfortunately, after I went out and purchased a few items for us to use, we dealt with some severe weather for the last few weeks.  Many of the experiments that I had hoped to work with required us to visit the park behind our home to use a slide (coefficient of friction, static electricity).

So, we had to replan and start doing some of the experiments that we could do in the house.

The instructions for each of the activities are clear and easy to follow. Most of the time, Garrett and Ashleigh were able to read the instructions, step by step, and complete the activities.  The reading level wasn't too advanced for them and they were able to understand well.

We’ve done a few different experiments but probably our two favorite have been making the model demonstrating the respiratory system.  There are actually four activities in the respiratory system and this particular activity was in regards to the Structure & Function of the Diaphragm. 

Using a few simple items that we already had around the house (most of the experiments in the book do not require any specialty items).   This was a project that the kids were able to build on their own by just following the directions without help from mom.

Garrett demonstrating how the Respiratory model works

The second experiment that the kids really enjoyed more than others was the unit on Combustion Reactions:  How a Fire Burns.  This particular unit helps students to understand combustion reactions.  This unit had a lil bit of basic chemistry, again, using basic ingredients already in the home, as well as playing with fire – always a hit with the kids.

This lesson started with a really nice lesson in regards to the fiery furnace and Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego.   Following that, we had a discussion about combustion and how different environments (CO2 and O2) affect combustion.

Our Control flame - which burned itself out within 59 seconds
The CO2 environment about to burn itself out in 29 seconds

The O2 environment - it took nearly 2 and a half minutes to burn out
These have been our favorites so far, but we have enjoyed all the different experiments that we have done so far.  We really are looking forward to the weather permitting us to do some of the outdoors experiments.

For more information about books from Christian Focus, including Big Bible Science, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms:

Members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given their choice of 4 different products from Christian Focus.  Be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews including the books not reviewed here.

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

Sharing a few of my daily white board pictures that I have been waking up to each morning.

This one was hockey inspired.. First you have the Sharks, representing the San Jose Sharks.. But, it's the Baby Shark song - baby, momma, pappa, grandmaw and grandpaw shark..  Then there's the Colorado Avalanche logo,  whom the Sharks defeated the night before I found this one.   And the other one is the Carolina Hurricanes Logo..   LOL

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Pattern Explorer Beginning (A Homeschool Crew Review)

The Critical Thinking Co. understands that students need to develop their critical thinking skills in addition to just memorizing information.  Members of the crew have been reviewing their choice of 8 different workbooks from The Critical Thinking Co. with their students to work on these valuable skills.  Our family chose to review Pattern Explorer Beginning to use in our homeschool.

About The Critical Thinking Co.

Established in 1958, The Critical Thinking Co. has set a goal of producing award-winning products that help students to achieve better academic results as they sharpen their reading, writing, math, science and history skills while improving their critical thinking abilities.  By creating lessons that require the student to analyze what they are reading and learning, their hopes is that students improve both their grades as well as test scores as they learn to analyze information and use higher critical thinking skills to apply that information to their classwork and lives.  The Critical Thinking Co. does not believe in drill and memorization but instead believe that the development of these critical thinking skills produces better results.

About Pattern Explorer Beginning

For this review, we were given the Digital download version of this workbook.  Upon downloading the file and installing it onto the computer, the software must be registered using the license given to the user upon purchase.  Once registered, the user has complete access to the full workbook which can be printed out easily for one or more students.  The digital workbook is the same as the physical workbook of the same title. 

This workbook is targeted for students Grades 3-4th and use various math skills to solve: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and more. 

There are 5 different types of pattern problems that students will be asked to solve in this book:

  • Pattern Predictor  
  • Equality Explorer
  • Sequence Sleuth
  • Number Ninja
  • Function Finder
Through the course of the book, the students will be asked to solves these five type of problems, with each type being rotated throughout the book.  Each type of pattern problem will be repeated 8 times over the course of the 40 activities found in the book. 

The workbook itself is 88 pages in length. The first 4 pages of the workbook consist of the title page, table of contents, author information and introduction.  Following that are 48 page that cover the 40 different exercises for the student to work.  The remaining pages contain the key for the solutions for the exercises as well as hints for each activity to help encourage and guide the student to figuring out the solution when they hit a dead end.

How We Used This

We have been using Pattern Explorer Beginning as strictly a supplement to our math assignments and the kids love it.  After installing the EXE file onto my computer, I simply opened the program and then printed two copies of the first 20 pages.  These I keep in a folder and a few times each week, I give a page to the kids work on.   The kids routinely asked if we could work on "Pattern Math" and would celebrate when I grabbed that folder.  I didn't pick any particular day to use them - just scattered their usage throughout the week when I thought the kids needed a fun activity, such as after a long reading assignment or when they were having a bad morning.

And to be perfectly honest, some of our silliest moments in our school lately have revolved around working out one of the activities together..   Here's the kids telling me how much my drawing skills suck - just as an example of the silliness we've had together using these worksheets.

 Each activity uses and builds upon the skills they already know but don't like to practice, in a fun way in which they seem to forget that they don't like doing it.  I guess algebraic expressions seem much more fun when you're figuring for half moons and stars rather than X and Y.

Each sheet would take us roughly 10-15 minutes to complete and typically, we would work it out together with me writing the problems on our dry eraser board and having the kids walking me step by step through solving the various problems.

While we have gotten through a good percentage of the book, I have no doubt that we will easily be able to reprint pages and repeat the exercised without the kids objecting (or even realizing they are repeating them). Once I feel comfortable with their skills, I'll most likely purchase the next book of this series from The Critical Thinking Co.

#hsreviews #TheCriticalThinkingCo #EmpowerTheMind

For more information about The Critical Thinking Co. and the vast library of resources available for purchase, including Pattern Explorer Beginning, be sure to visit their website .  You can also find them on the following social media sites:

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Members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given their choice of 8 different products from The Critical Thinking Co. that covered language and math skills for different grades.  Be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews and see if any of them might be a good fit for your particular student.

Critical Thinking, Math, Vocabulary & Writing Skills {The Critical Thinking Co. Reviews}
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