O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Homeschool Spanish Academy- Schoolhouse Review

 photo shield120x160_zps644d7b08.pngI have mentioned before I want my kids to learn another language. Sometimes it is hard to find a good program that is affordable and quality. Tiger was recently given the opportunity to review the Early Language Program from Homeschool Spanish Academy.

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Languages are best learned through interaction. Homeschool Spanish Academy uses native speakers to teach students in a one on one or one on two environment via Skype. The instructor is able to tailor the lessons to the student and speed up or slow down as necessary using the Homeschool Spanish Academy lessons.

Homeschool Spanish Academy has several different levels of classes from early language to adult. Tiger was enrolled in Early Language. The Early Language program is designed for students ages 5-12. The Early Language program is divided into two levels. Tiger covered the material found here. For other curriculum samples, go here and click on the applicable curriculum preview.   There are several options for class plans from once a week for 7 weeks to twice a week for 15 weeks. Price depends on which option you choose. For the purpose of this review, I was offered once a week for 7 weeks. The cost of this plan is $59.99 which works out to $8.57 for each 25 minute class. It is also possible to enroll two students within 3 grade levels as long as they each have their own headset. The cost for 2 on one is $89.99. for other options, please see the price list found under Early Language.

Once a plan is selected and a student is enrolled, it is really easy to choose your schedule lessons. After selecting morning, afternoon, evening, night, weekend, a list of available teachers pops up. Once you click on a teacher, the teacher’s bio comes up with experience, fun facts, and a picture. Then you select the teacher, select a date, and select a time. spanish_imageIf you have a busy schedule or one that fluctuates, it is easy to schedule a lesson on Monday this week and one on Wednesday next week or maybe Thursday the week after that. Any time a lesson is scheduled, an email is sent to remind you.  

24 hours before the lesson is scheduled, a reminder email will be sent as well. I loved this when we weren’t meeting at the same time each week! During the lesson, the teacher talks to the students, uses slides, and asks the students to respond. Homework is assigned within the Homeschool Spanish Academy website. For Tiger, all his homework was review only and none was completed outside of class. He did, however review the vocabulary each week. I would download the pdf file and email it to my kindle fire so he could review it.

Customer Service with Homeschool Spanish Academy is excellent. Before the first lesson, I received a phone call to test run all my equipment through Skype and to make sure that the equipment wouldn’t cause problems during the lesson. Any questions I asked were answered extremely promptly, either by the teacher or by the technical support department. 

For most of his lessons, Tiger had Rosa. Tiger really enjoyed her. One time we had a lesson scheduled and received an email that she would not be able to teach the class due to a doctor’s appointment. She then told us who the substitute would be and offered that we could either continue with the class or reschedule. We chose to use the substitute. He was just as professional as Rosa, knew exactly where he was in his lessons, and when Rosa returned, the transition was seamless.  Tiger didn’t mind the substitute but did prefer Rosa because he found her to be a little more playful. One of her strengths was relating the content to him personally. For example, when learning numbers, she asked ages of people in the family or how many sisters he had. She also shared how old her children were or how old she was. July  2013 137July  2013 138

Tiger is really enjoying Homeschool Spanish Academy. He looks forward to his lessons and always turns off the computer with a smile on his face. I have also noticed an improvement in his pronunciation just over the few short weeks of taking Spanish. His first few lessons his pronunciation was pretty bad, but patiently his teacher has been working with him and he has been improving steadily.

Overall, I have enjoyed Homeschool Spanish Academy. Tiger has been able to utilize some of the new words he has been learning. I would like to see his lessons cover a little more. At 11.5, I think that the elementary level might be a little slow for him and when we continue on after our half semester is over, I think I will ask about placing him in the middle school course.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Lights!

Our house had some very ugly impractical lighting when we bought it. After the fluorescent tube lights died, we ripped out the boxes and started to replace the lights in the kitchen. The pendant lights above the peninsula has take a while to get done but finally it is finished! All the kids did a little bit, but most of the work was done by B and Tiger.

After clearing the counter and taping everything, B drilled a hole in the ceiling.

Strawberry was mesmerized. July  2013 064 July  2013 066July  2013 085    July  2013 073

In order to move the wiring, several holes needed to be drilled in the 2x6s. Tiger worked on that. The drill bit was inferior quality and wasn’t working right, so they used a ratchet to drill it! July  2013 074    

After drilling holes, they fished the line through the holes with the help of some rare earth magnets and string. B guided Tiger’s blind hand to connect the washer on the end of the rope to the magnet he was holding…July  2013 079  


July  2013 081Next step is the read directions… unfortunately, the directions said to hire a qualified “electercian”  to install the lights and gave no further details.July  2013 082 July  2013 083 

Lights installed, happy kids.

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Thanks everyone for lighting my peninsula. I love it!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Learning about the Flag

Butterfly and Pumpkin Pie are Pioneer Frontier Girls. We have several Pioneers in the area who sometimes get together for group activities. One mom did an Our Flag activity with the girls. All the girls learned about the history and respect of the flag as well as how to present the colors.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time with Poppy

Monday night my kids got a big surprise… Poppy arrived to manage a construction project near our home. He is staying with us this week while he works. Monday night he made his famous salmon… This time he had 4 helpers.


Tonight he is reading books to the girls he found in Glacier National Park.


I love that he gets to spend some time with the kids even though he is working all day.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Let them buy Ice Cream

Tiger started a business this spring making lunches for co-op and selling them. As soon as he started making money, we talked about budgeting and how to allocate his money into different categories. One category was for fun. 10% of his income could go to just for fun. (Other categories are long term, education, big ticket, tithing, and necessities) He decided that he wanted to buy himself some ice cream with his fun money. He waited for a sale at the grocery store and then selected his choice- vanilla. After dinner, he went and got his ice cream and ate it joyfully right out of the carton.


Ah! The sweet rewards of running his business :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Chef Tiger

I have to say that having a budding chef in the house really has its perks. Yes, sometimes the messes created drive me nuts, but there are days when I am so grateful to have someone else do the cooking. He is really good at making omelets and even taught me how to make them. The other day I came downstairs to find breakfast had been served… 


Omelets stuffed with beans, cowboy caviar (salsa), and topped with avocado. Yum!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I put Little One down for a nap. He was sound asleep as he should have been… 10 minutes later I heard a sound. As I looked in my room, this is what I saw:


So much for naptime! At least he was happy.

Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder- Schoolhouse Review

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Growing up I loved all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember watching the TV show when I was just a preschooler with my mom. Later, I loved watching reruns and then reading the books. My children also love the Little House series. Recently we were given the opportunity to review a documentary Legacy Documentaries called the Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

 photo legacyoflauraingallswilder_zpsafffba0c.jpgDean Butler, the actor who played Almanzo Wilder in the TV series, produced this documentary. Through photographs, actor portrayals, interviews, and artwork, the story of how Laura Ingalls Wilder went from a poor girl on the prairie to a famous author.  The documentary primarily chronicles her adult life as a wife, mother, and writer. Where stories from her childhood are related, they are done so in relation to the books she wrote. It highlights successes, trials, and failures in her life as well as some of the creative decisions she made in her story writing.

Documentaries can be hit or miss with how interesting they are to elementary age students. We really enjoyed this one. It captured the attention of Tiger, Butterfly, and Pumpkin Pie, but especially the older two. I think it helped that they were familiar with the Little House series. As the film made references to various books and stories within them, both Tiger and Butterfly kept commenting on the books being discussed and reminiscing about the books.

I loved the way the documentary showed not only the growth of an author, but also how Laura went about becoming a strong writer.  It clearly showed how much effort was put into writing her novels including editing decisions and the elements of fiction. The comments made about writing apply to all budding writers. What an inspiration!

I also liked the small snippets of truth vs. fiction that were highlighted. For example, Nellie Olson wasn’t one person in Laura’s life but a compilation of various people. I also learned about parts of Laura’s early life that were skipped in the novels. In addition to the setting straight of the records, interesting facts were presented about how the books have been used, relationships between people and nations, and themes of the works. Did you know that The Long Winter was translated into Japanese to help the Japanese understand American values following World War II?

So, what did my children think?

Pumpkin Pie said, with a smile, “I enjoyed it. I want to read one of those books.” (She has had them read to her but hasn’t read them to herself. This is just one more inspiration to get her reading more!)

Butterfly said, “I liked it. I want to see a movie about The Little House in the Big Woods now.”

Tiger said, “I thought it was cool. I liked it depicted the life of Laura while she was writing rather than depicting her childhood.”

There you have it! The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder costs $24.95. It is intended for the whole family but especially 8-13 and up. In addition to The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the crew also reviewed another documentary: Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Strawberry’s First Haircut

Strawberry will be 4 in late September and had never had a haircut. She was born with a HUGE amount of hair and it grew and grew and grew…

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When brushed out, it was past her waist and elbows. It truly was beautiful when it was brushed but it had reached the point where the ends tangled very easily. A couple of days ago, I saw to Strawberry I needed to brush her hair or else we needed to trim her hair. She smiled and said, “OK.” I thought she went to get the brush. Instead, she came back with the scissors. She wanted her hair trimmed.

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I love that a friend who is a beautician taught me to cut my girl’s hair. Not to be outdone, Pumpkin Pie consented to a trim. Her hair was past her waist to her bum. It was so long that I was beginning to insist on the eternal braid. We were done in a few minutes and off to play at the park. July  2013 024(That brush is about 4 inches wide and the top edge is about at her waist.)July  2013 025July  2013 028  

Even after her trim her braid still comes to her waist!July  2013 030