Friday, October 28, 2016

Adjusting Dual Enrollment Plans

It's time for my son to request his classes at the community college for the Spring semester 2017. I pulled up my blog entry from March to see what he should be registering for next semester.

The plans were for him to take SPAN101 and ASTR101 (Astronomy).

Sophomore Year

ENGL 101 (3)
ENGL 102 (3)

ENGL 201 (3)

COMM 121 (3)
ENGL 264 (3)

MATH 115 (3)
PSCI 101 (4)
COMM 220 (3)

ASTR 101 (4)

110 (3)
CMSC 140 (3)
CMSC 243 (3)

HIST 114 (3)

[GEOG 240 summer]
POLI 101 (3)
SOCY 100 (3)

SPAN 101 (3)
SPAN 102 (3)

HLTH 100 (1)

ARTT 112 (3)
MUSC 110 (3)

Looking at the college catelog I realize ASTR101 has a prerequisite requirement that he hasn't met. Maybe I need to rearrange plans. Well, he just took ENGL102 -- I don't want him to have to take ENGL201. He can't take SPAN102 because he is taking SPAN101. GEOG240? Unmet prerequisite again.

So looking at Geography (GEOG240), I see two things:
1) It was supposed to meet a BSSD requirement (Behavioral and Social Science Distribution), but it doesn't, and
2) He doesn't need the 200 level class. He needs 12 200 level credits, and he has that without GEOG240.

So I investigated BSSD classes and decided he will take SOCY100 (Sociology) which meets the BSSD requirement and does not have any prerequisites my son hasn't met. So here's the adjusted dual enrollment high school/college plan. He still needs to work one class in to have one year of college completed when he graduates high school.





101 (3)
102 (3)

201 (3)

121 (3)
ENGL 264 (3)

115 (3)
101 (4)
COMM 220 (3)

100 (3)

POLY 101 (3)


114 (3)

[CMSC110 (3) summer]
CMSC 140 (3)CMSC 243 (3)

101 (3)
102 (3)

112 (3)
HLTH 100 (1)

101 (4)

MUSC 110 (3)
(3 credits)
   (6)                 (6)            (6)     (3)    (7)                    (16)   (13)

ENGL 101: Introduction to College Writing
ENGL 102: Critical Reading, Writing and Research
ENGL 201: Introduction to World Literature
ENGL 264: Introduction to Creative Writing of Fiction
MATH 115: Mathematical Ideas
SOCY 100: Introduction to Sociology
CMSC 110: Computer Concepts
CMSC 140: Introduction to Programming
CMSC 243: Systems Analysis and Design
COMM 121: Public Speaking
COMM 220: Introduction to Group Communication
ASTR 101: Introductory Astronomy with Lab
HIST 104: The World in the 20th Century
POLI 101: American Government
PSCI 101: Physical Science 1
SPAN 101 and SPAN 102: Spanish 1 and 2, college electives
HLTH 100: Principles of Healthier Living

Thursday, October 27, 2016

CrossTimber - A TOS Homeschool Review

Review Crew
In mid September I learned the Homeschool Review Crew would be doing a review for CrossTimber.
We were offered the opportunity to receive a 5" X 7" Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse, or we were allowed to upgrade to a larger frame, or get a cup, as long as we paid the upgrade difference over what we were originally offered. I mention this because it was a nice feature of this review. We don't normally get to alter our order; we get what we get. I opted to upgrade.
Initially I was not certain what I wanted to order. I received an email from John of CrossTimber. The email sent me to a page set up just for the Review Crew. This page contained a lot of information for the reviewers. One of the items was an invitation to ask for the name meanings of my family. I was intrigued!
Thus began a chain of emails between myself and John Dehnart. Initially by email we discussed the full name of one of my children. John wrote back with definition and Bible verse for both first and middle name. Then John wrote back defining my first name and asking my husband's name. I wrote back giving him my husband's first and middle name. my middle name, my other children's names, my father's name, my mother's name, my mother's mother's name...

Meanwhile John was having similar email conversations with many of the 90 Crew members on this review. His head must have been spinning!

I eventually decided whose name I wanted a name plaque for, and that I wanted first and middle names (which was an upgrade because it needed a larger plaque). I began looking through photograph art for the backdrop of the plaque. There are, seemingly, hundreds of photos available, but I was finding looking through the choices exhausting, particularly as I was not finding what I wanted. I knew what I wanted -- I just didn't know if I could get it. I finally picked up the phone and just called to ask.

I learned that what I wanted was available, but because of copyright issues there was an additional $5 fee, which I was glad to pay. We put the order together, and John created a draft of the plaque to me. I approved it. I paid, and  the order was placed.

Days later the plaque arrived, and it was beautiful.

Unfortunately, the frame had been damaged in shipping. We could see daylight through two corners.
I contacted John to let him know. Not to worry - it was insured! He wanted to know if the name plaque was okay, so I examined it. On looking at it, my husband and I both thought the words on the Bible verses did not show well -- too dark on dark. I asked John about doing the letters in white. I also looked at different photos. I surprised myself when I fell in love with a different photo! John changed photos AND color of print. He sent me a draft of the new plaque again; I approved it and we started again.

Days later plaque #2 arrived, and I was delighted.

I showed it to my husband, and he found that, again, there was a problem with the frame. 

It doesn't show well in a photo, but for the value of the gift my hubby wants it to be perfect. I contacted John again, and a new frame is on the way.
As Christmas approached, my hubby and I began to doubt the name plaque as a gift for our boy. Seventeen, he was asking for knives, machete, and parachute cord for making bull whips. What was I thinking when I spent extra money to upgrade from the 5" X 7" size. We began to see the name plaque as something he didn't want, and I only hoped he would be polite when he opened the gift he hadn't asked for and didn't want.

Boy was I surprised! My son was so delighted with the name meaning plaque!
He examined its every detail. He loves the jets in the picture. He loves the Bible verses selected for his name, especially the way the Isaiah 40 verse dove-tails with the flying theme ("They shall mount up with wings like eagles"). He was even a little surprised that there is a Bible verse that says that. (It's long been one of my favorite chapters...) So, five stars here! It's a big hit! He now has it proudly displayed on his computer desk.

So, in conclusion, this company bends over backward in customer service! Their products are wonderful. They work hard for folks even without an order -- they'll send you your name meanings if you ask!

You might be interested in  How we research name meanings. You might also be interested in their Order FAQ page: In addition, through December 4th they are sponsoring a name gift giveaway.  Your can enter their giveaway for a chance to a $10 gift certificate towards their products! 

These make great Christmas gifts! I hope you will go to their site, enter the giveaway, look around and maybe buy some Christmas gifts. These are great folks! Tell them I sent you!

Other members of the Review Crew also reviewed this product. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Middlebury High School Spanish I - A TOS Homeschool Review

Review Crew

In early September I learned I had been chosen to be part of the TOS Crew team reviewing Middlebury Interactive Languages. 

I can't tell you how happy this made me because I myself was permitted to be the student for High School Spanish I

I really wanted this opportunity because I've been wanting to succeed at learning Spanish. I've been trying half-heartedly for years, but really felt that this time I had/have the time to apply myself and stick with it. Learning Spanish important because of the growing prevalence of Spanish as a language in my world. In addition, my son is taking Spanish I this year (through dual enrollment at the local community college) as one of his high school subjects, and I want to be able to support and assist him, and help him practice.

I received an email from Middlebury with my Spanish I log-in ID and password, with a PDF attachment with "Quick start" instructions on how to log in and proceed through the course.

When you first log in, you land on the "Dashboard". On the right side is the assignment you should be on if you are following the assignment that has been pre-scheduled for you by Middlebury. They set my schedule to cover two lessons a day, to cover the one-year course in six months. I wasn't able to go that fast. If the student (like me) cannot keep up with the schedule that is preset by Middlebury, the mom/teacher is not able to change that schedule (which is preset on a calendar feature of the program). 

The way around that is to click on the menu, then select the Table of Contents.

When the student enters via the Table of Contents, they are taken to the lessons. To locate where the student is, click on the lessons. Green check marks show sections completed. It's very easy to see where to start back up even if the student left off previously right in the middle of a lesson.

The program is set up in "Units". Each unit has five "Lessons". Ideally the student will cover one unit per week, one lesson per day. Each unit has a general focus, with each lesson building on the content of the unit while reinforcing information covered throughout the course. Material is presented and reinforced/tested in a variety of ways including videos, PDFs to print out, matching, fill in the blank, audio to listen to, repeat and record, etc.

Graded assignments are graded immediately.

When the student does not know the correct answer and wants to know what the correct answer is, there is a way to get to that information. You get to the information through "Gradebook" on the drop-down menu.

When you select "Gradebook" you get to a couple of features. First, you can see how well the student is doing and how many units, lessons, and sections of lessons the student has done.

Second, you can get to the assignments that the program does not grade that the teacher is supposed to grade.

This one part of the program needs a boost for us homeschoolers because if the parent does not speak the language the student is studying, how can the parent correct or grade the papers? That's why we are using Middlebury in the first place!

The third thing the Gradebook gives you is a grade report for the report card/transcript. Great feature! (Does not include the grades for the "Need to be graded" assignments.)

I want to add one thing here. Even though there were pages to print out, "SCRIPT"s of lessons, vocabulary, etc., I was really struggling to remember the information being presented. I thought back to my middle-school French to remember how we learned and to decide if there was more I could do to help myself remember things.

What is missing is actual writing. When I write things down I make better neural connections. So I started writing EVERYTHING down. I started a notebook of my notes. It really helped me start remembering which words always have an accent, how to spell things. It really made a huge improvement in my learning.

So my final "verdict" is that I LOVE Middlebury Interactive Languages High School Spanish. Maybe you will, too!

Other members of the Review Crew also reviewed various language programs by Middlebury Interactive Languages. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.
Click to read Crew Reviews

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Menu Monday for 10/24/16

Here's my menu plan for this week. Sorry for posting late.

Finished Week 1 on Jenny Craig. Did not like how processed the JC food is, but I did lose weight -- almost three pounds. In January I was 170 pounds at 5'3-1/2". My goal for 2016 was to get my weight to a place where I am no longer "overweight" on the charts. I started Jenny Craig at 160.4 and this morning I was 157.0 -- I think I'll make my 2016 goal! Either way I'll post before and after photos in January.

Here is this week's plan (for my family -- I am eating Jenny Craig food):

Saturday (10/22):  Dinner out

Sunday (10/23):  roast chicken, green beans, potatoes

Monday (10/24)(Boy Scouts):  sizzleburgers, carrots, noodles

Tuesday (10/25):  grilled chicken breasts, broccoli, French fries

Wednesday (10/26):  spaghetti and meatballs, salad, TX toast

Thursday (10/27)(CAP): grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup

Friday (10/28):  Hamburger baked bean casserole, salad, muffins

Saturday (10/29):  leftovers

Saturday, October 22, 2016

What if Your Homeschool Curriculum Were Free?

So, I've been homeschooling since before some homeschool moms were born! I understand trying to provide a quality education but not having funds to purchase quality materials. I had to make due for many years.

We used library materials extensively. We joined other homeschoolers for co-op classes and field trips. Anything we purchased was used. Math "counters" were milk bottle lids. (M&M's didn't work because "B" ate them without counting!" Oh how I envied folks who purchased new materials each year! Oh how I coveted the things I saw in those homeschool catelogs that arrived in the mail!

As the years passed we gradually budgeted and spent more money on our homeschooling, but it always felt like we were spending too much, and yet there was always something (many somethings) that I wished I could buy!

Do you ever fantasize about homeschool materials? Could you imagine having so many choices that you can't keep track of them all? All for free? Well, in exchange for using them and then writing a review to tell people what you thought of the materials?

Well, I would like to invite you to apply to The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew! As a part of the TOS Crew you could, potentially, homeschool every one of your children with the very latest materials, in every subject, for free! All in exchange for writing a review!

Through Homeschool Review Crew, I have received materials to homeschool my last student (and myself) in every subject I needed, and then some! I have received materials for English (composition, handwriting, literature, grammar), Science (elementary, middle school, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science), Social Studies (history, geography), Math (elementary, middle school, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry), Art (artist study as well as instruction in doing art), Music (composer study, music appreciation, piano, guitar), Physical Education, Health, and foreign languages (Spanish, French, German, Finnish, Latin, and the opportunity for a lot of other languages including ASL and even "Pirate"!).

From the email I received from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine:
Some requirements for being a part of the Crew include the following:

* First of all you must be a homeschooler. You don't have to homeschool all of your children, but you must have at least one homeschooled student, preschool through highschool.

* You must be willing to use the review products with your students for about six weeks in your homeschool, before writing your review. We feature reviews from people who actually use the product. Review periods have deadlines and requirements for the reviews. 
* You must have an active blog on which to publish your reviews. By active blog, I mean that you should be blogging regularly about your family and homeschool. We like bloggers who like to write and enjoy the social media aspect of blogging.

* Speaking of social media, activity on at least one social media platform is also a requirement. Which one is up to you - Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest. You will need to commit to promoting your reviews in social media.

* You must be willing to check in on our Review Management forum. This is where we communicate with our team. We do everything possible to make things easy for you, outside of writing the actual review, but you need to be willing to participate by checking in nearly daily and completing required forms when reviews become available. You will also be required to post your reviews in prescribed windows of time.

* Sample reviews are helpful. If you've never written a review on your blog, go ahead and write one for curriculum you are currently using in your homeschool. This will help us see how you approach writing reviews. 

The Homeschool Review Crew experiences transition all the time. People join the Crew, people leave. People decide not to homeschool. People run out of students.

I'm nearing the end of my homeschool journey. I'll be "aging out", if you will. My last student is a high school junior. The bottom line is that we are trying to grow the Crew. With more folks on the Crew, the vendors can get nice big reviews, with 100 reviewers of their product, even if (for instance) it is a high school product. 

We need you! Please consider applying to the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. Please let them know you were referred by Diana M. at the Homeschool Review blog! Read more about applying to the Crew HERE. Then fill out the New Crew Application.

I hope you'll be joining us soon!