Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I Know It (A Homeschool Crew Review)

For the last few weeks, the kids have been using I Know It, a completely interactive browser based math practice program that combines fun animations and attention catching audio to encourage students to practice their math skills.  We were given a one year subscription for both Garrett and Ashleigh.

Designed for elementary aged students, I Know It offers a wide variety of activities to practice math skills for grades Kindergarten through Fifth Grade.  Math skills are sorted by grade level, starting with counting by 2s and single digit addition in Kindergarten all the way through operations with fractions in 5th Grade.

I Know It is very simple to use. The parent is given a list of various math skills, listed by grade, which they can assign to their students.  Each activity also includes a Common Core link that shows which common core standard the activity meets.  The student is then able to log in and are presented with those activities assigned to them.  Parents are emailed weekly progress reports that show what assignments the child has worked on, how the scored on those assignments and how much time they have spent working with I Know It.

I would not recommend this program as a stand along math curriculum and it is not intended to be used as such.  When a student gets a problem wrong, they are given the correct answer and a very brief visual on how to arrive to the answer but there is no actual math instruction given.  This program is strictly practicing the skills that students have learned elsewhere in order to achieve mastery of the skill.

I Know It has been a wonderful addition to our school day.  We've used it as a supplement to our current math curriculum.  After teaching a lesson, I simply go into the I Know It contents, find a practice activity that complimented the material they had learned and assigned it to them to practice.  With the various math skills broken down by grade level skills as well as the type of skill it practices ( Fractions, multiplication, measurements, money, ect), I can just quickly scan the list of skills, add the practice I want to add to the kids to-do list and it's waiting for them when they log in.

When they log in, they simply find their name and icon and it brings them to their home screen with a list of all the assigned activities for them.  As you can see below, we are currently working through fractions, so Ashleigh's assignment list has a large majority of fractional activities on her list for her to work through.  She also needs extra practice with her larger digit addition and subtraction, so I try to keep some activities on the list for her to work on just to help build those skills better.

The kids simply pick out one or two activities  from their list to work on.   For each activity, they are given 15 problems over the skill selected for them complete.  A graphic on the side shows the students how many questions they have completed.  As they answer the questions, a cute animation graphic (for us it was usually a robot but on a few activities it has been a cute little astronaut) reacts to their answers.

They are actually able to use this program pretty independently, giving me the opportunity to fix their lunch while they work.  This makes it easy for me, because I don't have to be over their shoulder all the time, Some activities, like the larger addition and subtraction problems, the kids have to pull out their paper and pencil and work them out the old fashioned way to come up with the answer, as there's not a way to work the problems out on the program.  I actually prefer this myself to having them work it out with a calculator or on the computer so they get the practice of actually working the problem out.

I also like that if the kids turn off the computer or close the browser window, the activity keeps track of their progress, starting where they left off.  If they forgot to answer question 15 for example, the activity stays on their dashboard until they go back and complete the activity and answer the final question.   One they complete the activity, it is removed from their dashboard and they can either move on to another activity or I can reassign it if I believe they need more practice.

Overall, this program has worked really well for us, most especially with Garrett. The cute animations and sound effects, along with the randomness of those animations, really catches his attention and keeps him engaged.  Finding computer based programs that work with Garrett is always a hit and miss, but this one has definitely been a hit for him.  Garrett enjoys math to begin with, because of the finality of it. Add a cute robot that does crazy things like blasting off to the moon or blowing bubble and he's more than happy to work on his math assignment.

One particular animation has a dog parking, which is always a hit when it happens because our dog will begin barking in response and starts looking for the dog.  Both Ashleigh and Garrett do their work in the hopes that that particular animal occurs because they think it's funny.

For more information regarding I Know It, be sure to visit their website.  Interested homeschooling parents as well as teachers can sign up for a free 60 day trial (no credit card needed) by clicking here https://www.iknowit.com/sign-up.html.

#hsreviews  #math #MathPractice

You can also find more information on the following social media platforms:

Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade {I Know It Reviews}

Monday, September 24, 2018

Weekend Meal Planning

I meant to get this posted over the weekend and totally dropped the ball.. I've been doing that a lot these past few weeks.   Been a hectic few weeks with my mother being admitted to ICU for pneumonia and then diagnosed with an annurism in her brain (not a good combination with her high blood pressure), Grandmaw being admitted to the hospital for another stroke, and then worrying about our family in North Carolina with this hurricane.   Seems like my family just dried out from Harvey and now our friends and family in Fayetteville are dealing with flooding..

I did manage to at least head to town and get some grocery shopping done for the week.  I only shopped for one week this time around and will fit another shopping day in next Saturday, since we will already be heading to town to celebrate Garrett's 12th Birthday at Chuck E Cheese..  

Monday (9/24)
Poor Man's Paleo Stew (we be poor.. haha)

Tuesday (9/25)
Cheeseburger hashbrown skillet with Salad

Wednesday (9/26)
Texas toast pizzas with spinach salad

Thursday (9/27)
BBQ Beef Cups with mac and cheese and broccoli

Friday (9/28)
Slow Cooker Chicken & Corn Chowder

Saturday (9/29)
Grocery Day – Dinner at Chuck-E-Cheese for Garrett's Birthday

Sunday (9/30)
Fajita Night with Yellow Rice

Monday (10/1)
Cuban Style pork chops with brown rice and broccoli/zucchini

Tuesday (10/2)
Cajun Burgers with fries and salad

Wednesday (10/3)
Sausage and spinach stuffed shells with italian style salad

Thursday (10/4)
Bacon Cheeseburger Chili

Friday (10/5)
French Dip Sandwiches with au jus, baby carrots, coleslaw and chips

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rescue Me! (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Superheroes seem to have a special appeal to everyone.  Who hasn't dreamed about having a superpower at one point of time or another.  There are days I wish I had the power to snap my fingers and have everything in my house spotless or to instantly teleport to somewhere quiet like the pink sands and blue waters of Bermuda.

Or maybe, we like superheros not because we want to be one but because when our lives are falling apart, we need to be rescued.  While there isn't a Clark Kent/Superman or Peter Parker/Spiderman in the wings,  there is an even greater hero who really does exist who can rescue us from our sins and protect us from evil.  This is the theme behind Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, Book 1 of the The Captain Sun Adventures series written by Bryce Morgan and illustrated by Mitch Martin..

This is the first comic book in a series about the adventures of Captain Sun, the alter ego of Derek Duke and a superhero from another world who has come to Earth to defend the weak, help the oppressed, and uphold justise while fighting against evil in Capitol City, a sprawing metropolitis with a large population.

The story followings the standard format of a comic book with colorful, eye popping graphics using speech bubbles and narration text.  At 38 pages in lenght, the book consists of 8 very short chapters of three pages each. Each chapter is followed by a 1 page devotional that reads like a newspaper article from the Captial City Chronicle.  This devotional focuses on various aspects of being a superhero and then shows the parallel between Superheroes and our Savior.

At the end of the book is a list of "Questions To Think About!".  This includes 16 questions, 2 for each chapter, that include one question about what was going on in the comic book as well as a 2nd question that helps to draw a parallel between the story and the Bible.

Finally, an interactive website is available to go along with the book series.  Readers who want to share their own personal fan art or download coloring pages as well as Church Leaders looking for Vacation Bible Study materials can visit the Captain Sun website at www.itscaptainsun.com.

What We Thought:

It's not very often that Garrett will actually pick up reading material on his own, especially outside of school time.  However, Captain Sun Adventures, with it's bright pictures and comic book format really seemed to catch his attention.

The text of the book is perfect for his reading level, although I did have to read the devotional part for him, as it was a large amount of reading.  The comic material is not necessarily Christian based. There's no reference to any religion of to God or Jesus in the comic itself.  The storyline is your typical superhero fighting against evil - in this case a villian who goes by the name Black Out to protect the citizens of Capitol City. 

However, the devotional aspect of the book focuses on a particular aspect of the story, such as the villian or the superhero using their superpowers for good and protecting others, and then shows how that can be shown in Jesus and in our Lord.  Each devotional offers a question for the reader in regards to superheros as well as a Bible verse to tie everything together.

Those who enjoy superheros will recognize some nods to the classics, especially the Christopher Reeves Superman movies.  In one chapter, Captain Sun rescues a school bus full of children falling off a bridge - a scene remeniscient of both Superman and Spiderman.  In one of the Capitol City Chronicles, a story at the bottom mentions Captain Sun rescuing a kitten from a tree while another mentioned Captain Sun stopping a meteor and sending it back to space. Again, a nod to Superman who saved a cat in a tree and stopping a missile and sending it back to space.  Being a huge Superman Geek, I got a kick out of these when I was reading the Chronicles to Garrett.  Also, when Captain Sun realizes that he cannot defeat Black Out on his own, he calls upon the help of four other superheros who make up the Hero Defense League which instantely made me think of the Justice League.

Overall, Garrett really enjoyed this book and with the cliff hanger at the end, it looks as if we will have to get the next book in the series so he can find out what happens with Captain Sun, the Hero Defense League, Black Out and Capitol City.

#hsreviews #CaptainSun #itsCaptainSun

For more information about Captain Sun Adventures  and Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About The Power of Faith, be sure to visit their website. You can also find more information on the following social media platforms:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/itscaptainsun
Twitter: www.twitter.com/itscaptainsun
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/itscaptainsun/vacation-bible-school-superhero/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/itscaptainsun

Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith {The Captain Sun Adventures Reviews}

Monday, September 17, 2018

19th Annual Moparty on the Blvd

Last week, leading into the weekend, my poor husband spent every night after he got home washing, waxing and polishing as much as he could on The Wasp before we headed to the Lancaster Blvd for the 19th Annual Moparty on the Blvd car show . 

While the Wasp didn't win any awards, we had a great time and lots of money was raised for AV Children's Charities.    And where better to head for dinner after a car show then to In-N-Out.. Which also gave for a great photo op ;) 


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