Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Exhilarating to be a Mom to a Six-Year-Old

I have an amazing six-year-old daughter.

Her eyes sparkle when she smiles.


The fascination and love for God's little Creepy-Crawlies is something He put into her little soul and it must make him so HAPPY to see her staring at a snake or squealing over a dragonfly.


Her laughter is that honest-to-goodness "infectious" laughter you read about in good literature. It's the kind that catches you in the middle of a serious sentence and throws you into deep belly laughs of your own, unstoppable, intensifying with hers until she stops.


Having Emmy in your life feels sort of like riding a roller coaster. Once you step on and are strapped in you're not sure which way you'll go next or what the next drop and roll will feel like. Any chance of being bored? Absolutely not!


Some days I'd still like to replace "exhilarating" with "exhausting" but those days are few and far between, now, where they were the majority of my days when my little Emmy-girl was 3. Yes, 6 is much easier, much more fun, much more rewarding than life with 3-year-old Emmy. But those days had to be fought through to get here.


And here is where I learn that despite all of my mistakes with 3 year old Emmy, 6 year old Emmy still believes in me. Forgives me. Grants grace to me. Loves me. Thoroughly. With that infectious laugh till your sides ache sort of thoroughness. I will always need her in my life. I need her laugh, the growth she brings to my soul, the exhilaration of being her Mom.


Friday, June 15, 2012

TOS Crew Review: Pearson Homeschool EnVision Math

Pearson Homeschooling offers complete build-your-own core curriculum packages for grades Pre-K - 12 at affordable prices for homeschooling families. On the home page of their website you can choose your state from a pull-down menu that links directly to your state's homeschooling requirements!  The Program components Pearson offers are all well-researched and proven effective. On the website, for each element there is a heading called "Research and Validity" that lists the specific studies done proving its effectiveness.


When I opened the package from Pearson with the gorgeous enVision Math Grade 3 book in it, I was really excited.... and a little nervous. You see, all year long we'd been using a math program that was a completely different format than the typical public school math book, and the enVision book, while colorful, looked kind of like...standard PS fare. 

Joshua had been doing so well with our chosen curriculum that I was hesitant to add confusion with such a completely different approach. I really shouldn't have worried.

At all.

He opened the book to the introduction/test prep pages in the beginning and dove in. My son is 8 years old and a very strong reader, who loves (LOVES) history, and this little Math book is stuffed full of interesting historical facts like I've never even *imagined* a math book could possibly be. He was lost in the book, reading through it, searching for the little boxes to tell him more, more, more facts, then popping his nose up above the edge of the book to tell me things like, "In 1818 a law was passed that the flag should always have 13 stripes and there should be one star for each state!", and "The Space Needle is 605 feet tall!", or "A giraffe weighs 4,255 pounds!!!". Really? Giraffes?! Wow.

What an interesting way to get my son excited about doing his math lesson: "You can't read ahead until you've finished this page, Joshua!"

As this is a standard, non-consumable text book with no corresponding workbook, it took him a while to get used to writing his answers on a separate sheet of paper, but once he got the hang of it he did fine. The Teacher's Edition CDROM also give you the option of printing out each page so the problems can be worked on the page, though we didn't opt to go that route ourselves.

In the beginning of the book is a little 12 page "Problem-Solving Handbook" with specific strategies for problem solving, including detailed work-throughs, pictures, and examples. Strategies include: draw a picture, make a table, look for pattern, act it out, work backward, and solve a simpler problem. No matter how your child learns, there is something useful in the PSH to help them help themselves when stuck on a problem. It is meant to be used through out the course as a handy reference tool.

For my son, who is a strong reader and very interested in the real-life fact-based problems used in this format, enVision Math Grade 3 works very, very well. We will continue to use this as our 3rd grade math curriculum for Joshua even though some of it will be review material that he has previously covered. I know the addition of real-life problems will only reinforce these math facts in his mind!

I do, however, think the layout and bright colors could be distracting for a special needs child, one who is on the spectrum, or one who is easily overwhelmed with busyness. If your child is not a strong reader, the reading comprehension in this book might be adding too much at one time.

We received the enVision Math 3rd Grade bundle, which includes Student Edition text book, Teacher Edition CD-ROM, Parent Guide, and Mind-Point Quiz Show CD-ROM. This bundle is available here for $99.99

Click on the link below to read what our other Schoolhouse Review Crew is saying about enVision Math Grade 3 and other Pearson Homeschool products!


Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.



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