KidCoder Web Series: Beginning Web Design {a review}

Homeschool Programming's KidCoder Web Series - Beginning Web Design review

Oh, how I love getting to review things! This is another review with the Mosaic Reviews team. I received the materials needed to do this review via downloads in exchange for my honest review. So, that is what you are getting here, an honest review.

I chose to review the KidCoder Web Design course because that was the only one that I had a student old enough for and I have been DYING to get my hands on this program since I first heard about it in another blog’s review/giveaway (I didn’t win their giveaway…boo).

Why? Because I have a son who is very interested in computers and has discussed various ways he could have a career in programming or video game creation. If you know anything about computers, you know that they ain’t cheap. However, one of the things I love about homeschooling is the flexibility to work with a child’s interest. But that is a different post, on with the review…

Homeschool Programming

Homeschool Programming is the company behind KidCoder and TeenCoder. They have created computer programming courses for both kids and teens.

They offer these programming courses (in parentheses are grades recommended):

Each course is intended to be a semester, but the course is self study. This means you can go at your own pace, taking more or less time as needed.

KidCoder is NOT required before TeenCoder. Each series is an independent course track. The first semester is an entry-level course suitable for students with no prior programming experience.

You receive a printed and bound student text and a CD-ROM to load the program, activities, review tests, and extras onto your computer. You can see sample pages and view demo videos on their website.

Pricing options range from $70-$85 per course or you may purchase full year courses which range from $120-$145. You may also purchase instructional videos for those who need that extra audio-visual guidance. These are $20/course or $30/year.

Homeschool Programming can be found on their website and on Facebook and Twitter.

KidCoder Web Series

I reviewed the Beginning Web Design course. This course is designed to teach kids the basics of HTML by building their very own website. Don’t worry, the site is all on your computer and isn’t available on the internet unless you were to buy hosting and put it there.

The course requires either a Windows or Mac OS based computer with a CD-ROM drive. The full system requirements can be found here. Your student does need some computer experience before using these programs. You can find those details here.

Beginning Web Design Review

Let’s get to the nitty gritty. My honest opinion. Long story short, I am still in love with this program. Now to the extended version.

This program is very thorough. It starts with the basics like how the internet works, web browsers, and defining terms for the student. This is great, the only problem I ran into was that the terminology was over my 4th grader’s head and he bored rather quickly.

I would say that this would probably be more suited for students starting in the 6th grade, like the other KidCoder programs are listed. As it were, I ended up continuing with the program on my own. We will revisit this in a year or so when he is more able to sit and focus.

I would pay the asking price for this, and probably will for more series in the future. The videos are awesome for audio-visual learners. I can not speak to the quality of the physical student text because I was provided all my materials electronically. However, it is logically laid out and all the activities, tests, and starters are easy to find in the digital files.

The installation is also laid out in multiple locations and included on the first video, in case you have issues. I did not contact customer service, but the information to do so is very easy to find.

Here’s the thing, this program is great for ANYONE who wants to learn HTML, regardless of age. I fully intend to finish the series myself and look forward to when they release the Advanced course, which covers things like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. This really is a great resource for bloggers who want to understand how this stuff works.

I think this quote from the student text section on why you should bother learning HTML sums it up nicely:

Imagine you get your first bicycle for Christmas. You hop on the bike and ride off into your neighborhood without first figuring out how the different parts of a bike work together. As long as you know how to ride the bike, you’ll probably be fine for a long time. However, if you ever got a flat tire, or your chain slips loose, you might not know how to fix it.

I’d like to be able to change my bloggy flat tire myself. I’m cheap, er, frugal like that. Plus, I just think it is really cool.

Other Mosaic Reviewers reviewed different courses and you can find those reviews here.

3 Reasons Tell Your Time is Awesome

3 reasons Tell Your Time is awesome! Final post of the How Do I Teach Organization & Time Management Skills...When I Have Neither? series.

Previously: why I need to change, how I can change, when do I teach this, and some places to start.

To bring this series to a close, I could walk you through time management 101, tips, tricks, and some tools to get you there. In fact, that is originally what I was going to call this post. As I started writing though, the thought kept popping up that I never reviewed an ebook that I read and loved so much on the subject of time management.

So, instead of me sharing MY tips. I am going to share the resource that finally made a lot of things “click” for me in this area. And as an added bonus, I am going to gift a copy to one lovely reader. I am keeping this one super, super simple. More on that below.

Friendly disclaimer: I use affiliate links in this post.

The ebook is called Tell Your Time and it is written by Amy Lynn Andrews. Amy writes an awesome blog about blogging called Blogging with Amy. She is also a wife, homeschool mom, and a virtual assistant. In other words, she’s busy. She was kind enough to share her time management wisdom with all of us the ebook.

Three Reasons Tell Your Time is Awesome

1. It is a quick read.

Anyone who needs time management help doesn’t need a novel to wade through on the subject. Amen? The ebook is organized well and without a lot of fluff.

2. Two words, common sense.

She lays the concepts out in a very sensible way. She isn’t revealing or promising to reveal anything “revolutionary,” which is rather refreshing in a world that overflows with marketing buzz words like revolutionary and new!

I appreciate that she took me step by step and made me face some truths that I needed to face. Like the simple fact that you can’t do everything all at once.

3. Making a schedule has never been easier.

You know me, I love my lists and schedules. Well, making them anyways. After I read through the book and did the exercises, I sat down and put our stuff on paper in a schedule that actually reflected our REAL life. I can’t tell you how profoundly this impacted me.

I spend so much time thinking I’m spinning my wheels and getting no where. Seeing our schedule on paper helped me to realize two things:

  1. We have a LOT on our plate. Seeing it on paper actually helped me make some cuts in our activities and empowered me to say NO when I needed to. I could physically see that I simply did not have the time to commit to one more thing.
  2. I was wasting a lot of time. Ouch. That one still stings and is a constant battle for me. Facing the fact that I have enough time to get everything done if I will just put my mind to it was hard because it meant admitting that I was being lazy in some areas.

Now, I want to pass along the blessing that is this ebook to one of you.

To enter the drawing to win the ebook Tell Your Time, answer this question in the comments below:

What is one thing that you want to do, but never seem to have the time for?

Be sure to use a valid email address, I’m not adding you to any list or using the info for any deceitful reasons. I just need it to contact you if you win. The giveaway will end August 31, 2013. If you do not want to wait that long to win the ebook, you can buy it for $3 on Amazon. Seriously…$3.

Typecrush Word Game {a review}

Typecrush (a word game) review

Typecrush Word Game Review

Typecrush is a new game with very simple rules, or rule, really. There is only one rule. Whoever guesses the word gets to choose the next word. That’s it. You can add any rules you want to change it up, which brings me to the first thing I love about this game…

Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, I need to tell you that I received a free game from Typecrush in exchange for my honest, awesome (ha!) opinion. I also would like to tell you that you can see what my fellow Mosaic Review bloggers thought of the game, too.

About Typecrush

From the company:

“Typecrushâ„¢ is a word game based on letter frequency analysis—how frequently letters appear in the English language. It’s kind of like a color-coded hangman, but way more entertaining and educational. Best for players age seven and older, Typecrush is as simple or challenging as your imagination decides.”

Each Typecrush game is made and assembled in the United States of America (I love this fact!) AND it is made with 100% recycled materials. Pretty handy dandy. The game costs $25 and they currently offer free shipping.

You can connect with the company several ways to learn more:

Typecrush (a new word game) review

How to Play Typecrush

Each letter of the alphabet has been placed on a set of round chips. Each colored circle represents a letter from the corresponding color bar in the chart. They are color coded by how often they are used.

You choose a word (don’t let anyone else see it!) and lay the chips face down. Then everyone else tries to guess, using the charts that come with it. You can print more if you have a lot of players.

We played with just two all the way up the five of us that can read. You can set themes to make the words easier to guess (states, capitals, household items). You can use small, three and four letter words with your beginning readers or longer vocabulary words with older students and adults.

Our Typecrush Review

I first played this with my 10-year-old daughter. She caught on pretty quickly and LOVED it. She regularly breaks out the game and invites others to play with her. Unless she asks a busy adult, she usually gets a yes.

We’ve played using names and random words. The kids will guess letters and flip them over until the others guess the word.

You know that thing I was jumping ahead of myself with before? Well, it is flexibility. This game has it. You can play for as long as you want, when my daughter asks to play, I am more willing to say yes because you can literally play for 5 minutes or 50.

You can use this with any subject. Reading about explorers? Try using explorers names or the countries they came from. Learning about weather? Then use words like clouds, rain, or precipitation. Use it to practice spelling or vocabulary words. I love how hands-on and easy this is.

I do have two minor issues with the game. We found the yellow and the green hard to differentiate in certain lights. And the instruction and chart cards are sort of difficult to get back in the tube with the game.

So tell me, what do you think?

Yummi Pouch Review & Giveaway {12 Days of Christmas in July 2013}

Day 6 of the 12 Days of Christmas in July giveaway series :: Yummi Pouch review and giveaway

About Yummi Pouch

I was really excited to be approached by Yummi Pouch to review their product. This was a product I had never heard about before, but really wish I had! Yummi Pouches are the reusable option for those wanting a pouch for portable baby food. But they are so much more than that!

A little about the pouches from the company:

– Dishwasher Safe
– Freezer Safe
BPA and Phthalate free
– Holds up to 6 ounces
– Easy to fill through wide top zipper opening
– Recyclable and fully CPSP compliant

Nice.

Yummi Pouch was created in 2012 by a husband and wife who saw how much mamas were loving the pouch option for baby food and realized that there were no reusable options. See a need, fill a need…an awesome product is born. Read more about the product and company on their website.

My Thoughts on Yummi Pouch

I loved the idea of this product before I ever had it in my hands. I don’t buy much commercial baby food, but when I saw the organic baby food pouches, I did buy some for my little guy. I loved not having to carry a bowl with me to feed him and that any leftover food could be saved in the fridge (I squirted it on the spoon for feedings).

Now that I have a 17 month old, I don’t spoon feed him very much. We both like it that way. I hadn’t actually tried the pouches out since he was mostly feeding himself, but he took right to the Yummi Pouch.

Yummi Pouch review & giveaway

It took him a little maneuvering to get the mechanics down, but when he did, he loved it. My older kids loved it, too! I made smoothies and portioned them out for each kid.

I really like the idea of being able to pack a small lunch box with the Yummi Pouches when we go grocery shopping. Anyone else have kids that are ravenous at even the thought of grocery shopping?

I intend to put applesauce, yogurt, and smoothies in ours. I like smoothies around here for packing things like coconut oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, and spinach in my kiddos. One word of advice, you will want whatever you put in the pouches to be more on the thin side. I got my smoothie a little thick.

See?

Yummi Pouch review and giveaway

Which kind of made a mess when I was filling my pouches:

Yummi Pouch review and giveaway

In the end we still had a yummy snack in a convenient package that the kids loved.

I did have some issues getting them to stand for filling, but that could have been because of how heavy my smoothie was and how it kind of “plopped” in the pouch. In the future, I would like to have the bottle brush for cleaning these, too. I had chia seeds that were a bit of a pain to get out.

Overall, I love the product. It is convenient, saves money (vs. buying the disposable pouches), and you can get flavors that are not available commercially.

Other Yummi Pouch Products

In addition to the Little Munchkin Sets (which is what I reviewed and contains the funnel filling pitcher above), you can purchase the Yummi Pouches separately. There are also attachments, extra caps, ice pop makers, a bottle brush (which would definitely come in handy), and a super cute drying rack. They also sell cloth diapers, babylegs leg warmers, and cloth snack/sandwich bags.

The products are affordably priced, too. The pouches are $14.99 for a set of 6. They also offer free shipping on orders over $30. Not a bad deal. Check out the store for more details.

Giveaway!

Yummi Pouch has generously offered a Little Munchkin set for one of my blessed readers!

12 Days of Christmas in July 2013

Don’t forget to see the other giveaways currently running for the 12 Days of Christmas in July giveaway series 2013!

 

Lilla Rose Flexi Hair Clip Review & Giveaway {12 Days of Christmas in July 2013}

Lilla Rose Flexi Clip review and giveaway :: Day 5 of 12 Days of Christmas in July giveaway series @ www.vicki-arnold.com

I am really excited about today’s giveaway. I have seen Lilla Rose ads here and there. I thought they were pretty, but my hair is usually in a ponytail and didn’t really think it would work in my hair. When I was presented with the opportunity to review the Flexi clip, I jumped at it.

Mikaela Laverty is the consultant who contacted me. She offered me my choice of Flexi clip. I will tell you it was hard to pick just one.

My Lilla Rose Flexi Clip Review

This is the one I chose:

The Lilla Rose Flexi Clip that I chose. Click to enter the giveaway to win your own!

Isn’t it beautiful?!

Here is a little information that Mikaela sent me about the Flexi clip:

The flexi clip is a patented, one-piece hair clip that works in all types of hair, from baby-fine to extra-long and thick. It comes in seven sizes and enables you to do a variety of hairstyles – everything from a simple ponytail to a complex updo that is able to be secured in seconds.

My daughters and I enjoyed playing around with the clip. I did make a mistake and order a size too big so the clip did not stay as snug in our hair as it should for all day wearing. I ordered a medium and should have gone with a small. I tend to think my hair is thicker than it is apparently. Mikaela did offer to get me the right size, but I didn’t see any point in making her pay for my mistake. We were still able to see how the clip worked and to discover that I want more. 🙂

Here is the clip in my 10 year old’s hair. She has pretty thick wavy hair and it fit her hair the best, especially in our version of the french twist on the right. I still think a small would have been a better fit for her.

Lilla Rose Flexi clip demo

Here is the clip in my 7 year old’s finer, straight hair. She most definitely needs a smaller clip. She wants to wear it to church this Sunday so I guess I should get on that.

Lilla Rose Flexi Clip demo in finer hair.

I don’t have a photo of it in my hair for two reasons. I chopped my hair earlier this spring and it is barely long enough for a ponytail.

The second reason? I am growing out bangs that I also chopped in my hair this spring. This is my second attempt at bangs and I will finally admit, I can not stand things on my forehead. It’s kind of like that crew neck t-shirt thing. Those pinned up bangs make an updo look pretty bad right now. I look forward to when my hair grows out more and I can wear my Flexi clip publicly.

So, no photos of me, but I am wearing the clip right now. I like that it is easy to put in both my own hair and my daughters’ hair. I really like that it is one piece so my 17-month-old doesn’t run off with half of it, rendering it useless.

I appreciated the instructions that came with the clip, complete with real photos. And their packaging is beautiful!

Other Lilla Rose Products

Lilla Rose also offers hair bands, hair sticks, and bobby pins. They also have something called an O-Ring that looks interesting. They have very pretty u-pins (which they call You-Pins), too.

Hair jewelry not your style? Check out their Badge Clips.

Giveaway!

Now the giveaway! Mikaela is generously offering the winner’s choice of product(s) up to a $26 value so you can get your own Flexi clip!

12 Days of Christmas in July Giveaway Series

Do not forget to check out the rest of the giveaways! You can find them all linked here.

How Do We Know God is Really There? by Melissa Cain Travis {a review}

How Do We Know God is Really There? by Melissa Cain Travis :: a review from vicki-arnold.com

How Do We Know God is Really There?

How many of us have fielded this question from our kids? How many of us have even wondered it ourselves at one point or another? I am so thankful that God is bigger than our questions and is faithful to honor even the tiniest faith (mustard seeds, anyone?).

I am also thankful that He provides us with tools to answer these questions when they arrive. The best thing to do when your child asks questions, is to lead them to the Bible to see what God has to say about it. The Word of God is alive (John 1:1) and the more we learn to seek it, the more opportunity we have for His Words to change us.

Answering Children’s Questions About God

That said, there is definitely a place for books with pictures and words on a child’s level. Children often need a visual to help them grasp concepts. How Do We Know God is Really There? is a great tool for answering this very question for kids. I received a copy of this book to review with the other Mosaic Reviews bloggers.

The book is a storybook about a boy and his father. The two of them have a special routine where they share their days and then explore the night sky. One day the son is presented with the phrase that there is “no proof that God is real” from a friend. Naturally, the son asked his father the big question…”How do we know God is really there?”

The father in this story shares about Edwin Hubble and his discovery about the galaxies in our universe. The father then helps the son to understand how this man’s discovery helps prove there is a God. He leads his son through some questions to use logic to answer the boy’s questions. Ultimately, the boy ends the conversation feeling he has an answer for his friend…and himself.

My Thoughts on How Do We Know God is Really There?

This is a fun book for kids. The story is engaging, it is a relatively quick read. The illustrations are good. Most of all, I liked the explanation the author gave. The reasoning used was pretty straightforward and easy for a child to grasp.

The book retails for $16, which seems high for a picture book to me. I did find one thing odd. There is no author or illustrator information. They are credited, but there is no further information. I usually read those and often my kids do, too.

Pretty short and sweet today. You can find Apologia online, where you can check out their other products. You can also connect with them on Facebook.

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Crossroads of Character by Kate Boyer Brown & Marilyn Boyer {a review}

Crossroads of Character {a review} + giveaway

Crossroads of Character: Learning to Make Wise Choices

Crossroads of Character: Learning to Make Wise Choices by Kate Boyer Brown and Marilyn Boyer is the book I am reviewing today. I received a copy of this picture book free so that I could read it and share my all-important opinion with you lovely people. Just kidding on the all-important part, but not the lovely part. And don’t forget that I use affiliate links on this blog, though not all links are affiliate links. Moving on now…

Crossroads of Character: Learning to Make Wise Choices is a picture book written by the mother and daughter team of Kate Boyer Brown and Marilyn Boyer. The Boyer’s family ministry is called The Learning Parent and they produce a character training curriculum called Character Concepts. This book is part of Level One of the curriculum, geared for ages 4-6. You can buy this book individually or as part of the complete curriculum set.

Crossroads of Character Content

Everyone loves a little alliteration, right? Oh, that’s just me? Ah well. Crossroads of Character covers obedience, patience, honesty, gratefulness, respectfulness, responsibility, initiative, diligence, kindness, self-control, contentment, and deference (sharing) with fun little stories about the Boyer grandchildren. Each concept has a definition and Bible verse to go with it. The stories have cute photos of the grandkids that add visual interest to the story.

Character Concepts Prices and Other Products

Crossroads of Character costs $15.95 for the book individually. There are two packages for the complete preschool curriculum, which run $89.95 and $155. Aside from the preschool curriculum, they also have 8 other levels for you to check out.

In addition to the Character Concepts curriculum, they have parenting and homeschooling books, history for patriots resources, and scripture memorization helps. You can see everything they offer in their online store.

Be sure to visit the Character Concepts website and connect with them on Facebook to keep up with the ministry.

What Our Family Thought of Crossroads of Character

We loved the photos of the grandkids playing and working. I especially loved the photos that went with obedience, super cute. I think the stories work very well for the age group recommended. When my kids were that little, and even now, they loved to hear stories about other kids their age. It makes concepts real, especially for my son who is rather literal and needs to see value in why he is learning something. Stories like this make that connection for him.

My 10-year-old daughter said she loved the stories and how they listened to their parents and grandparents. She was also rather intrigued by the fact that granddaughter Lauren looks a LOT like her toddler photos, particularly on page 8. Fun stuff.

One thing I would like to see is a table of contents so I can find the page for a certain character concept at a glance. Of course, the book isn’t that long so I can see why it wasn’t deemed necessary.

Giveaway!

One of my blessed readers will receive a copy of the book I reviewed, Crossroads of Character: Learning to Make Wise Choices! Giveaway ends 6/13/13. Enter in the Giveaway Tools widget below.

Don’t Miss Out on Free Stuff!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Homeschool Newsletter so you can stay up-to-date on giveaway happenings, free homeschool printables, and homeschool related announcements here on the blog. The newsletter launches in July and you will NOT want to miss what I have in the works. I’ll give you a hint, if you like giveaways, you will LOVE it. You will love it times 12.


Child Training Bible {a review}

The Child Training Bible {a review} + a giveaway!

My Review of the Child Training Bible

I received the Child Training Bible chart set free. I purchased the rest of the supplies myself and received no other compensation. This review is my honest opinion because I’m not interested in being a liar. If I were, I could use the Child Training Bible to easily find verses to change that. I’m giving away a chart set, too. So keep reading!

The Child Training Bible was created by Mindy Dunn. She is the homeschooling mama to four who desired to “train her children in the way they should go”. Anyone who has a child knows that they come with many opportunities for training, add in a sibling or two and you can multiply those opportunities exponentially. When these situations present themselves, we have options in our reactions. Mindy decided that she wanted her reaction (and training) to be turning to the Word of God. Oh, how I wish that was my first reaction to every situation.

So What is the Child Training Bible?

The Child Training Bible is a tool for parents to disciple their children while correcting bad behavior by getting to the root of the problem…a selfish heart needing to be transformed by the grace of God. The front page is a color-coded key to finding just the right scripture for the problem at hand. Whether the problem is anger, lying, or laziness, Mindy has done the work for you and you can easily find a scripture for your child to think on.

For example, your children are arguing and you want it to stop NOW. You open the front page of your Bible, find that Quarreling verses are the blue tabs on the bottom row. You choose a verse (or go through all of them). You can read it to your children or have them read it out loud to you.

Inside cover and index of the Child Training Bible

After you do that, you take out another card. This card has the behaviors and verses on one side for easy reference (see below). There are three of these cards, they correspond with the three sides you will have tabs on. (If you are confused about the tabs, keep reading I’ll get to them.)

An example of the verses for the Child Training Bible

On the other side of the cards are questions to ask your children about their behavior, questions to help them think about how the Bible applies to the situation, and scripture based prayers to pray with your children.

Questions and sample prayers on the back to help you along.

How Do You Set up the Child Training Bible?

The hard part has been done for you, the verses have been found and organized by behavior. You have to get a Bible that will fit the 8.75″ by 5.75″ index/cover card. You also need to buy the matching tabs and highlighters. The Sharpie Accent highlighters may seem a little on the pricey side, but they are pretty dang awesome and you will have leftover tabs. You can purchase your supplies on Amazon via the CBT’s supply page and you will help support the ministry by using their affiliate links in the widgets (doesn’t cost anything extra).

I purchased my Bible at Family Christian Stores because at the time, I could not figure out dimensions for a King James Version online. I bought this one:

The King James Version Bible I used for our Child Training Bible

Once you have your supplies you go through the Bible one section at a time, highlighting the verse, and putting a tab in the correct spot. The instruction card has clear instructions on this.

What Do You Think of the Child Training Bible?

I LOVE it! I love that the work of organizing the verses has been done. I love that it uses the word of God to correct behavior because that aligns with 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” I feel $9 is a good price for these cards, they are worth their weight in gold, really.

Tabbing and highlighting the Bible was a tedious job, but so worth it to be able to grab and go when reproof is needed RIGHT NOW, as is often the case.

I intend to use this in our coming homeschool year as part of our character building curriculum. I happen to be putting one of those together. I am pretty dang excited about that, God has been connecting dots all over for me. 😀 He is so good. And yes, I will be sharing that later this fall. Make sure you sign up for my brand new newsletter so you don’t miss the announcement!


Facebook Giveaway!

Yes! Mindy has graciously agreed to give away a free Child Training Bible chart set to one blessed reader!

To enter the giveaway, you have to head on over to Facebook and click on the Only For Likers tab. Please note that the giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook in any way, it is simply being held there. The giveaway ends June 6, 2013.

Go enter the giveaway!

Where to find the Child Training Bible giveaway!

I’m adding this to the Hearts for Home Blog Hop at Upside Down Homeschooling. Be sure to check out the other blog posts shared!