Homeschool Programing – Review

When I was in school there was a required class called Computer Lit. Basically it taught you how to use a word processor, make spreadsheets and do power points. That was the only computer education I ever had, everything else was kind of trial and error. I know that in todays world that will not be enough for my little one. When I was given the opportunity to review a program that was designed to teach kids and teens computer programing I was excited. Homeschool Programing is an amazing curriculum written by homeschool parents. The curriculum actually teaches kids (and their parents) how to write their own computer programs, games and websites. There are a variety of courses available.

  • KidCoder Beginning and Advanced Web Design
  • KidCoder Windows and Game Programing
  • TeenCoder Windows and Game Programing
  • TeenCoder Java and Android Programming

    We were given the opportunity to review the KidCoder Beginning Web Design Course.

    The KidCoder Web Design course is for kids in grades 4 to 12. It is a year long course (2 semesters)that teaches in a step by step way, how to use HTML and how to design a web page. The course can be purchased a semester at a time for $70 for the course only, $85 for the course and videos, or $20 for just the videos. As of the writing of this review, the KidCoder advanced web design is not available yet, but it is coming soon. Click here to see sample pages and here to see sample videos.

    The course comes with a textbook and a course cd. For this review however, I received everything downloadable on the computer. Along with the course there are solution manuals and help available if you need it. The best part of the program is that you don’t have to be a computer wiz to teach it.

    How did we use it?

    For each lesson you read the lesson in the textbook (and watch the video) and then do the activity. My little one is in 5th grade now, but she is not a confidant reader so I read through the lessons with her. For a strong reader there probably would be no problem, but my little one found the vocabulary used in the lessons and the amount of reading to be a bit overwhelming. We continued to push through and honestly she showed little interest in the program. When I told her she was going to learn how to make a website she thought that she would just get to pick colors, fonts, and pictures, not actually learn how to write code and learn the wonderful information that was being taught.
     I decided to complete a few more lessons on my own. I found the lessons to be very interesting and overall very helpful. At first I was a little overwhelmed by the thought of learning how to write computer code, but I learned a lot of things that I hope will help me to spruce up my blog. When I first downloaded the program the videos were not yet available. Once the videos became available I had AJ watch some of them and she did enjoy them. The videos definitely add a great element to the program and were helpful for a visual learner. If I were to purchase the program in the future I would buy the course and video option.

    What did we think? 

    Overall I think that the KidCoder Beginning Web Design course is a great course. My little one is just not ready for it yet and that is okay. I think in another year we will try it again. With the ever changing technology in todays world there is a great need to know and understand how computers work and this course will help her to learn a lot. I feel that it is a good, program that is hands on, easy to teach, and very informative. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to teach your child more about computer programing.

    One Day at a Time

    Grandma soaking her feet in the pool

    It is so hard to believe that a little over 2 months ago my grandma was fairly independent. She would walk to her neighbor’s house, take out her trash, and pretty much was able to walk and do most anything. In the last two months she has been in the hospital and a nursing facility, been put on and then taken off of oxygen, and gone from being unable to walk in a wheel chair to walking with little assistance. Each and every day is a new adventure. Here is a little taste of the last few days.

    We went home on Friday evening for some much needed rest. Friday was a bad day. She was feeling better so she didn’t think that she needed her walker, but she did. She didn’t want anyone at her house and was angry all day. She got so mad at the fact that there was a potty chair in her bathroom that she slapped me hard right across the face. I know that it is not her, that it is the Alzheimer’s, but it definitely doesn’t make it any easier.

    After we left for the weekend my aunt stayed with her. On Saturday and Sunday she refused to eat or drink. She only has one kidney so if she isn’t drinking it makes her very sick. She ended up wetting herself and throwing up. After she was cleaned up she ended up wetting the bed. By the time we came back on Sunday evening she was in very bad shape. She was still refusing to eat or drink and was not making sense when she was talking. She was babbling and just staying, “no, no, me oww, no” She wasn’t able to move at all. She looked so helpless. After hours of coaxing we finally got her to open her mouth so we could drop water into it. After a while of doing that it almost seemed as if she snapped out of her delusional state. She recognized me and said how she liked my curly hair.

    The next morning she still couldn’t walk and she had wet the bed again. After she got cleaned up she ate a really good breakfast and had a serene attitude. We ended up putting her in adult diapers and overall the day went well. Then when night hit things changed. She thought we were trying to poison her and wouldn’t eat her dinner until we all ate it first. She thought that some big catastrophe had happened and that we were all sick in a hospital most of all she didn’t like the fact that AJ was with us. Then she wanted to go home. We explained over and over that it was her home, but she insisted that we were not at her house. By bed time she was able to walk to her room with the walker.

    She got up about three different times through the night last night because she thought that someone was knocking at the door. At 8am we found her about to go out her back door to check if someone was in the back yard. All day she has been agitated and very confused. At one point she thought she was in jail. Then she said we had to hide everything in the house so that the neighbors don’t come in and rob us. Right now as I am writing this post she is in bed wanting to know who the dog in her room belongs to and why the cats are chewing on the snakes. (She doesn’t have any animals.)

    Each day when she wakes up it is a surprise as to how her brain is working. Her mobility, attitude, and aggression level vary day by day and sometimes hour by hour. She can be so sick one day and then the next day be okay again. Some days she is so mean and then other times she is nice. It is a big job to stay with her and answer her never ending questions but the few good days make the many bad days a little easier. I do have a feeling that tonight is going to be a long night.

    A week of Learning

    We have slowly been continuing with our Prairie Primer unit study. Here are a few of the things we did last week.

    We read through a couple of books from the library about Yankee Doodle. AJ learned how the song that was originally used as an insult ended up being a song of patriotic pride. After reading she then used a free app on her Kindle Fire to learn how to play the song on the piano. There are numerous verses to the song, so we watched a few different ones on YouTube and then read a children’s book that had a few different verses in it. To finish out the study of Yankee Doodle she did some copy work out of the book, and drew a picture to go along with it.

    She also studied light last week. Since it was a subject that she learned about last year we just did a quick review. She watched the Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow video and read the book to go along with it.
    Density was another subject that we studied this week. We did a really neat experiment that was suppose to make a rainbow in a glass, but it didn’t work. You can see the experiment here. Basically she dissolved sugar into water and created different colored sugar water solutions that each had different densities. Then she poured the densest liquid into another glass and the less dense liquids on top. Well instead of a rainbow she ended up with a glass of black liquid.

    The fact that the experiment didn’t work was a teachable moment. Our guess is that when she poured the liquids together the liquids mixed since they were all made of sugar and water. Since our experiment didn’t work out we watched a few different ones that did on YouTube. Then we tried another experiment.

    The experiment was easy and fool proof. She had 3 glasses of water. One had just water, one had 10 TBS of salt mixed into the water, and the last one had 20 TBS of salt mixed into the water. She then took a raw egg and dropped it into each glass. It sunk in the plain water, somewhat floated in the 10 TBS of salt, and sat at the top of the water with the 20 TBS of salt. She had a lot of fun with that quick and easy experiment and really understood the concept of density.

    She also did a few different art projects. After reading a book and  learning about Jack frost she did a neat painting. Over the stove I heated Epsom salt and water until the salt was dissolved. Then she painted with the water on black paper. Once the picture was dry, the salt crystals looked like snow on the black paper.

    Then we learned that in the Little House books Laura’s dog Jack was a brindle bull dog. I found a free lesson on how to draw a bull dog. Her drawing turned out cute, but it didn’t turn out too well for a picture.

    While there was a lot of fun last week I think one of the main highlights would have to be when she made butter. She poured some heavy whipping cream into a mason jar and shook it. She kept shaking and shaking and eventually the butter and buttermilk separated. We rinsed off the butter and tried it on bread. She really enjoyed making it and it was very simple.

    We had a great week and plan on doing more fun and learning this week.

    Corncob Doll

    One of the projects for week one of the Prairie Primer that I was not looking forward to was the corncob doll. I am allergic to corn so I try to stay away from it as much as possible, but I felt that this project would be good for AJ to complete.

    After buying the corn and putting off the project for a few days we decided to get started. We used the Little House Craft Book as our guide. It was very simple and AJ had a lot of fun working on her doll.

    First she took off all of the cornhusks and I cut the corn off of the cob. Then she washed the corncob, husks, and silks with soap and water.

    Then came the hard part, waiting for everything to dry. Finally after a few days everything was dry enough to finish her doll.
    She used the silks from the corn as the hair and then tied the husks around to make a face. She drew on a face and wrapped it up in a handkerchief.

    I think it turned out pretty cute and she is very happy with it. The only problem was that even after there was no corn left on the cob, my hands turned red and started swelling from just touching the cob. I guess next time I will have to use gloves.




    Prairie Primer Day 1

    With gymnastic everyday and helping my grandma we haven’t done too much school work yet. We are slowly working our way back to a normal schedule where we are doing school work at least 4 days a week.

    We started working on the Prairie Primer. This is an awesome unit study based on the Little House on the Prairie series. It will last us at least a year and there are numerous projects and activities to do. I decided to do the Prairie Primer Binder Builder to help us along the way. With the Binder Builder you make little books like you would put into a lap book, but it all goes into a binder glued on cardstock. We have only done day one and part of day two but so far we are really enjoying it.

    Here are some of the things we have done so far.

    For day 1 she read the first chapter of Little House in the Big Woods. After reading that she did four little books, one about where the story takes place, one about Laura’s favorite time of day, one about how to preserve meat, and one about what the girls used to play ball.

    Then we learned all about bears. AJ completed a FREE bear lap book  that you can find here. She used the Zoo Books magazine and some sites from the internet. This was the first lap book that she has completed and she was very proud of herself. I think we have found something that will work for her. She likes cutting out the pieces and filling in each book.

    We have also started reading bits and pieces from a few different books on manners and started our Bible study. It is another FREE resource. We decided to start with Genesis and work our way through the bible, but you can start wherever you want.

    She started to make a corn cob doll like Laura use to have, but it isn’t finished yet. She also tried eating pork rinds, which she liked but I found grouse.

    We started learning about Louis Pasture. I talked about what we were using to learn about him here.

    Day one obviously took longer than one day but we had a lot of fun and learned a ton. With all of these things we also did math, writing, spelling, and logic. I plan to blog our way through the Primer, I hope you will enjoy the journey with us.


    Hospitals, Oxygen, and Needles, Oh My!

    First I would like to say that I don’t think I will be participating in any more daily blogging challenges. Every time I do something big in my life happens and makes it to where I just can’t get to my blog. Now that things are a little bit back to normal I think I should be able to get back into my blogging grove.

    I mentioned before that we were staying with my grandma because she was put on oxygen and could no longer be left alone. Well she ended up having to go into the hospital for a few days because she had gotten worse. When they released her from the hospital she just did not look good. She was in a lot of pain and crying all of the time. One night it got so bad that she asked us to call an ambulance to help her because she couldn’t handle the pain any more.

    It turned out that she had multiple blood clots in both of her legs. It was so bad that she could barley move. You would think that they would have admitted her to the hospital, given her blood thinners and let her get better. No, they sent her home! They said to just give her an aspirin every day and put her on more pain medication. We reluctantly took her home and  a few days later had to call the ambulance again. This time when they said she could go home because she wasn’t sick enough to stay at the hospital, we knew that there was no way she was able to go home. They ended up sending her to a rehabilitation center. I really think that they saw an 83 year old woman who couldn’t move and was hurting all over and thought it was normal. My grandma isn’t like that. Until we had to put her on the oxygen she did everything. She walked around the mall, took out her own trash, made her bed every day and was very independent. Besides the memory problem she was doing very well.

    At the rehabilitation center they started her on the blood thinners, did physical therapy with her, and made sure she was eating. She was so sick when she went in there that we thought she might not ever come out.

    Thankfully we were wrong and she came home yesterday. They took her off of the oxygen because she no longer needs it, she can walk with the use of a walker, and other her legs hurting she is doing well. The only thing that isn’t great about her coming home is that the blood thinners she is on came in the form of an injection. So every morning I have to give her a shot in the stomach and she HATES needles. I gave her the first shot this morning and she was cooperative so we will see how it goes.

    It has been a long process and I am so glad that she is back home. I hope that she continues to get better and stronger each day.

    Joanne’s Cafe

    About five years ago or so we were visiting my grandma and were going out to dinner. We were tired of Denny’s and Coco’s and wanted something different. We happened to find a restaurant called Joanne’s Cafe that was very close to my grandma’s house. (Located at 1141 North Mountain Ave Ontario California 91762.)  So we decided to try it out. We have eaten there almost every week ever since.
    The food is great! Between our family we have tried almost everything on the menu and have yet to find something that we haven’t liked. They have a large variety. Breakfast has all of the great food choices you would usually find, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, steak, bisects and gravy, waffles, pancakes, hash browns, home fries, and even omelets.
    Lunch has great choices as well. Some of our favorites include; the steak sandwich, BLT, tuna or egg salad sandwiches, hamburgers, and a lot more. They have great lunch specials that include a sandwich, drink, and side for a great price. I love their coleslaw, it is sweet and very refreshing. Their seasonal fruit is wonderful as well.  It usually contains a combination of melon, bananas, and oranges. Depending on the season they have pineapple, grapes, and strawberries too all fresh.
    Our favorite meal to have there is dinner. I love their steak teriyaki. The teriyaki sauce is home made (and corn free) and is so much better than any I have had before. You get white rice, steak, 2 egg rolls, and a vegetable. Our favorite vegetable by far are the carrots. They are sweet and melt in your mouth. The meal also comes with a choice of soup or salad and desert. It is a wonderful meal and most of the time I have leftovers to enjoy later.
    A favorite of my moms is the Fillet of Sole. It comes with the soup or salad. My mom loves their salad, it is always cold, crisp, and fresh.

    The fillet of sole is a lightly breded piece of fish that is refreshing. It comes with potatoes, a vegetable, garlic or zucchini bread, and desert. My mom opted out of the potatoes and chose fruit instead.

    There are quite a few options for dinner including, Mexican food on Tuesdays, pot roast, pork chops, steak, fried chicken, different salads, honestly there is something on the menu for just about everyone.
    They have a few different options for desert, the ones included with dinner are either, ice cream, tapioca pudding, or jello. Tapioca pudding is a favorite among our family.

    Not only is the food great but the service is as well. The waitresses are always kind, fast, friendly and efficient. It seems more like visiting with friends than just talking with strangers. Between the great food, great prices, and wonderful service, Joanne’s Cafe is a winner in my book. If you are going to be in the Upland, Ontario, or Montclair area stop by and try it out for yourself you won’t be disappointed.


    Using Pinterest to Plan Lessons


    I know that Pinterest has been around for a while, but I am still pretty new to it. I didn’t really start to use it until a few months ago when we decided to leave CAVA (California Virtual Academy) and traditionally home school. At that time I had the unit study that I had planned to use for the next school year, and I was bookmarking a lot of sites to my computer. The problem was that I was forgetting what I had bookmarked and the list of sites was getting a little long. So I decided to start using Pinterest to plan ahead. Now that we have started school I have gone back through my pins added things and have a unit study ready for a few different things.

    Here is what I did….

    1. I looked at my unit study (The Prairie Primer) and picked a subject that we would be studying. In our case it was Louis Pasteur.
    2. Then I googled the subject with varying words like worksheets, lesson plans, videos, lapbooks, time lines.
    3. I looked at the things that I thought would work well for my learner. She doesn’t like to read and is more of a Kinetic learner, but also learns well with movies.
    4. I pinned the different things that I thought would work well for us to a board dedicated to the Prairie Primer.
    5. This week I came back to Pinterest, finalized my decisions on what we would use and printed things out.

    Here are the things we will be using for our short study of Louis Pasteur:

    First there is this video:

      This is just an introduction to who Louis Pasteur was.
      To go along with the video we will also use this page as a reference along with the encyclopedia. (AJ loves to look things up in the encyclopedia.)

      We will end our study with AJ writing a little of what she learned on a free note booking page found here.

      To finish off the study we will watch Old Yeller. I had a pin of the movie, but unfortunately it is no longer available. The good news though, is I found out I actually own it.

      I think these things will make for a great unit study. I plan to continue to look ahead and pin away to keep all of my resources in one place.

    No Phone Internet or TV

    I signed up to do the ultimate blog challenge, and then of course life happened. I am a few posts behind (5 as of right now) but as long as I am on track by the end of the month it will be fine.

    Why am I behind? Well a combination of things really. First I am still staying at my grandma’s house Monday through Friday to make sure she is doing ok on her oxygen. Tie that in with the fact that I don’t have a lap top and grandma has a computer so old that it can’t hook up to the Internet and you can see the problem. I was lucky for the fact that my mom has a lap top and I was able to check in on face book and see what was going on on the world. I also used AJ’s Kindle Fire a little bit. I did end up writing one blog post while at my grandma’s. Unfortunately, a few minutes after I posted the blog  our Internet, TV, and phone all went out. I did all of the obvious things, rebooted the cable box, unplugged and reset the router, nothing worked.

    My grandma has Verizon Fios. We have a different company at home and most of the time we get great prompt service. That was not the case with Verizon. I don’t know about you, but I hate when I have to talk to one of those automated computers and give them all of my information. It seems to always take forever.

    After telling them I had no Internet, I am told all agents are busy to go online and view trouble shooting tips or speak to an agent via chat. The fact is if I could use the Internet to get to chat, I wouldn’t need to talk to them.  Then it said that the problem had been recorded and that an agent would contact me if necessary. I had no option to talk to anyone and the phone was disconnected. I looked down at my cell phone and I had been talking with the computer for just over 22 minutes and I had gotten no where.

    So I called the number back and went through all of the questions again. Finally the automated voice said she was going to run some tests and I ended up being connected to a real person. That of course was after a LONG wait.

    So the person got on the phone and I had to give all of my information again. He had me unplug some back up wires and reset some things and then said a technician would have to come out. He started to say there would be a fee. I don’t understand how we would have to pay a fee for a technician if the service we pay for isn’t working. We have had to have technicians come out to our house a few different times and have never paid a fee. Luckily my grandma pays some kind of maintenance fee so there was no charge, but no one could be there for 2 days.

    That didn’t sit very well with me because that is basically what my grandma does all day is watch TV. What would she do? I was on the phone for over 45 minutes and still nothing was fixed. Not only could she not watch TV, but we were also waiting for doctors to call us back on the home phone.

    Miraculously at about 4am the cable came back on. Later that day Verizon a called and said since the problem had been fixed they were not going to send a technician. As our luck would have it, about an hour after they called everything went out again. So I did everything that the person I had talked to on the phone had said to do the last time and still nothing worked.

    After calling again and waiting over an hour, we were told that someone would be out in another 2 days. By this point I was so frustrated it took everything in me to remain calm. After a few minutes of me stating that someone had to come the next day and I was not going to accept anything else, they scheduled someone to come out.

    After all of the problems on the phone I hoped that whoever was coming  would be easier to talk to. The gentleman was nice, polite and ended up having to replace both back up boxes. It took less than an hour and everything has been working great since. I just hope I never have to call them again because their phone service is a joke!

    A Better Monday

    We are back at my grandma’s. This will be the second week that we will stay with her and make sure she is doing ok while on her oxygen. After the horrible week we had last week, none of us wanted to come back. But  we sluggishly drug ourselves out of bed to make it here in time for my uncle to leave for work. As luck would have it they decided that doing road construction on the Monday following a holiday would be a great idea. The freeway was at a complete stop. What should have taken at most 40 minutes took over an hour and a half. The day wasn’t headed to a great start, but we had hope that it would get better.

    Surprisingly the day actually went better than I had expected. When we got here we made grandma some toast and coffee and started in on AJ’s school work. Grandma doesn’t agree with homeschooling and has a very bad memory, which causes her to keep getting angry about the fact that she is home schooled over and over again. We have learned from prior days of doing school work that it is better to not mention the fact that AJ is home schooled.  We had to tell a little white lie, and said it was just work she had to finish over the summer.

    We went to the garage and finished quite a few lessons. She did two math lessons, a reading skills lesson, writing lesson, logic lesson, and worked on her lapbook about bears. She was able to do all of that in a few hours while my mom was in the room with grandma. Right now we are only doing a partial school day. Come September we will be back to a full schedule.

    I was so happy to start the school week off well. Although I don’t like lying, we will continue to tell her that it is just homework to be completed over the summer whenever she asks. I see no point in defending our choice to home school over and over when it is not something that I can or will change my mind about. It is amazing how much smoother the day went when grandma was not in a bad mood. I hope that she will begin to accept our help and that we will have more days where she is not angry and mean.

    Monday went fairly well now  just hope the rest of the week follows!