Saturday, January 10, 2015

Product Review: Spectrum Workbooks



I was contacted by a rep of the Carson-Dellosa Publishing group & asked to review some of the Spectrum workbooks. I was already familiar with these workbooks because we have used a few of them in the past but it has been many years and I knew they had been updated, so I said "sure thing".

I received the books sooner than I thought and we quickly dug into them. My kids appreciated doing something different for a little while.  

These books make for a great supplement to what you are already doing. As a homeschooler we often see holes in what our kids are learning & these workbooks can help fill some of those holes and provide extra practice. I also found these books to be great for when I am working and need them to be busy doing something. They kept them busy & were also improving skills. Win-win!



For Sam I had a Phonics 1st grade workbook. It was simple, colorful, but not too busy. I like that because with his ADHD, he is easily distracted so I usually use black & white worksheets for him. But the pages were simple & clean so he didn't seem to have a problem and he enjoyed the work. The pages were not overwhelming which is important also for him. If he looks at it and thinks he can't do it then we get no where. For those still struggling with phonics, this is a great way to supplement the phonics lessons you already have going. When you work on learning the short /a/ sound you have several pages to reinforce what you just taught.


For Gracie, I had several books. Writing, Spelling, and Vocabulary. She loves writing, so I got that one to see if it would help her or if it was boring. She is horrible at Spelling so I wanted to see if she improved in her spelling better than what we were already using. Vocabulary is not an area of weakness for her so I wanted to see how easy it was for her.

She enjoyed the Writing workbook. The activities were fun & she enjoyed the writing assignments in it. Did she improve her writing skills? I'm not completely sure yet as we haven't used the books long enough for me to tell. But she was writing something everyday and enjoyed it, so that is a plus for me. But once again, I would only use these as a supplement to the main writing program, but it makes for some good practice.

Gracie also used the Vocabulary book.  I felt that this was a little too easy for her. The level of words were not challenging enough for her. In the back of the book is a section on test taking. We haven't tried any of that, but we might. In Texas, our kids do not have to do standardized testing so often they don't learn those skills. Personally, when I am sitting next to my child as they are learning something new I don't find it necessary to give them a test. I already know if they have mastered the concept or not.  But, when they get to High School it is a different story.

The last book Gracie used was Spelling. She isn't a good speller so I wanted to see if this helped improve that. Like I said earlier we haven't used them very long so I can't really say yet, but I do like the way the lessons are set up. One lesson a week, 4 pages per lesson, the same list of words are focused on so she got decent practice on the words. I also like that she didn't just learn to spell them, but she had to know how to use them & what they meant. Who cares if you know how to spell precarious if you don't know what it means or how to use the word.
Zach used the Science book. He didn't like it, mainly because we do not follow the Big Bang or Evolution theories and that is what was in the lessons.  He just couldn't get past that. The format was simple though. Read the passage & answer the questions. It was simple & not too in-depth if you are looking for extra Science work.  But like I said, the evolution idea's really were a problem for him and so he only did a couple of the lessons.

In conclusion, I would use these workbooks to help supplement. I like the way they are set up. They are easy to use, answers are in the back (you may want to pull those out if your child has a tendency to peek) & I can just hand them to them & let them work through them. Rarely did I need to explain how to do the lesson. They were able to work independently, which as a working at home mom that is really helpful.
Click to visit their website


Check out their website to see all the grades & subjects they offer.  They have a great variety of resources & teaching aids that are helpful to not just homeschool moms, but public school moms who just want to add a little extra learning at home.

Monday, October 27, 2014

When the Prayer Request Changes



Financial Provision.  It is a prayer request I have had for many years.

I realized yesterday that I don't have that as a prayer request anymore.  God is providing financially for us! In fact, He is providing above and beyond what we need right now. We are finally able to put money away in savings and are working to get enough money saved up so we can move & give my in-laws back their house. They have been so amazing & patient letting us stay here. We don't know when we will move & we don't know where, we are doing this slowly to make sure we don't make any emotional decisions. But for the first time in 5 years we have consistent income! Don't you know I am doing the Praise-Jesus-dance!!

Scott is working for a company called Pilot. They are hired by an insurance company to handle their home insurance claims. It isn't a fun job, but he does enjoy those he works with. The hard part is he works 12 hours a day, 5 days a week and then he has to drive an hour to work & an hour home. So we don't see him much during the week. I hate that part, but it is what the Lord is using to provide for us right now, so we are all thankful for it. And I'm very thankful for a husband who is willing to do what every he needs to do to provide for us.

I am working from home, part time. I blogged about a year ago about how I was about to start pursuing a business with Young Living Essential Oils. I'm so thrilled that the Lord is greatly blessing this & we are now receiving enough income to completely cover many bills and our groceries. And the great part is, this business just keeps growing and getting bigger. Not only has the Lord used these products to change our family's health, but now he is using this company to change our lives and bring about things I had lost hope over.


It's the little things that excite me.


  • Sarah & Morgan went to Ireland this month with our church mission team & we were able to contribute to their fundraising....many times!
  • We bought a car! I finally have my own reliable car to drive for the first time in 3 years.
  • I bought our home school materials, everything the kids needed with out asking for my parents help in paying for it.
  • I met a friend for lunch & I paid for her lunch!
  • I can go to the grocery store & buy whatever we need.


We are not rolling in money by any means, but how refreshing it is to be able to take care of our needs & a few wants without worry. How fun it is to bless others with what God has blessed us with!




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I blinked...and he grew up.



I remember when I first began having babies, a sweet little old lady at church told me,
"Don't blink or they will be all grown up and you will miss it."

I didn't really care what she was talking about because I was drowning in diapers, babies and spit up.

I should have listened.

I blinked.

Little did we know that when our son left for the West Texas oil fields he would meet the girl of his dreams.

I blinked.

He brought her over for dinner and I gave her a good look over.

I wondered, "Is this the one I've been praying for?  Is this the girl God designed, created and loved just for my son?"

I couldn't help but think about these things. As a mom, you hope and pray your son will recognize God's girl for him when he meets her.

Conversations became serious after we met her.

"Mom, she's the one. I know it. I can't explain it, I just know it."

Little did we know that she was having the same type conversations with her family.

I don't remember blinking, but I did.

My little boy is gone. Now a man, bringing her home to meet her future family. Proud & smiling from ear to ear.

I love looking at this sweet girl my son has chosen and thinking, "I've been praying for you, since you were a little girl, I've been praying for you."

I feel like I am meeting an old friend I have known for years even though we have just met.

 
They stood before God and their family and friends and  committed to love each other and be faithful to each other no matter how hard life will be. And life will be hard.



I've gained a daughter of whom I love and adore. I pray for her and for him because now it is them. Instead of praying for a mysterious, unknown girl, I am praying for my son's wife, she has a name, face and a place in my heart.

I will try not to blink as much because I do not want to miss what God has planned for this couple.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just a quick update.

I haven't written anything since May. I can't believe it has been that long, but things have been really busy & there just hasn't been much time to blog. So I thought I would give you a quick update on what all has been keeping us busy.

June came in with an invitation to Scott to participate in a 2 year project with the company he has been working catastrophic claims with since 2011. He accepted & began work in mid June. The drive is long & so are the hours, but we are so thankful for the income. But we really miss him not being here. We look forward to the weekends when he is home. This job has been my first true hope of us being able to get back on our feet & move into our own house eventually. This coming November will be 3 years since we had to move.

Scott has been helping me with my Young Living business, so when he went back to work & had to get used to working solo and that has taken quite a bit of adjustment for me. This is my job now. I officially call myself a "Work at Home Mom". I am excited to be earning enough income to cover many of our bills each month & cover the Young Living products we need.  You can visit out "oily" website to see why I love doing what I do.  I am teaching classes, meeting with moms and helping people find a natural way to improve their health.


July brought us an exciting announcement. Josh & his girlfriend, Chelsea are getting married.  We really like Chelsea & have enjoyed the time we have been able to spend with her & are so excited to have her in our family. The wedding is August 23! Yikes!!! 



The rest of the summer has been full of church camp, family reunions, swimming & sleeping late.

We are starting school back tomorrow simply because these kids need some routine in their day & I need routine also! I don't even have all of their school books yet, but that is what the internet & a printer is good for. :)


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