Saturday, April 18, 2015

BookLook Review: Motivate Your Child written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller

I am so glad that the BookLook Bloggers Program offered me the book titled, Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need To Do Without Being Told to review. This 288-page paperback parenting book was written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. It was published by Thomas Nelson. It explores tools for teaching your children about their internal voice and motivation. 

As a parent, I often wish that my child came with an instruction manual - something to guide me as I train her to be a daughter of God. But, it doesn't work that way! We don't have any major behavior issues at this time, but I've been using external motivators lately more than I probably should. My daughter used to do things because of her internal drive, but I've been hearing myself remind her quite often about completing her chores and attending to other daily expectations. I'm glad that I had the chance to read this book, because he gave me the opportunity to adjust my ways and gave me the tools needed to train my daughter using a heart-based approach. I have a strong desire for Alyssa to be driven by her conscience and for her to develop an internal motivation to do what's right without constant prompting.

Author Biographies
Dr. Scott Turansky - has been a pastor and missionary for more than 33 years. In addition to pastoring full time, he also conducts parenting seminars on Saturdays (http://www.effectiveparenting.org/). He is the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting (www.biblicalparenting.org). Turansky is also an author of several books and has co-authored four books.

Joanne Milleris a pediatric nurse with 26 years of experience. Miller is the the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. She is also the coauthor of seven parenting books.

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, teach parents how to help children form the internal strength they'll need every day as they grow older. Parents have the greatest influence on their children's character. Mom or Dad's words, choices, actions, and reactions mold a child's view of almost everything. It can be a terrifying thought. But there is hope. 

Book Summary (Taken from the Website)
Most parenting approaches end up encouraging children to ask the wrong questions about life: What’s in it for me? Are you going to pay me for that? What’s the minimum I need to do to get by?
But God’s Word gives us a better way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children. When parents change the way they parent, kids change the way they live. This practical book explores a theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for life.
Open the book’s pages to learn . . . 
  • How to parent in ways that build internal motivation so that kids don’t have to rely on you to get things done
  • The four promptings of the conscience and how to coordinate your parenting to take advantage of them
  • Ways to energize your spiritual training with fun and creativity
  • How to help children respond to mistakes instead of blaming, defending, or justifying.
The greatest gift you can give your child is strong moral and spiritual development—this book shows you how! Every chapter includes practical examples of families applying the Bible to their current issues.
Book Description
Motivate Your Child is a straightforward guide that emphasizes the idea of the healthy "conscience" and how it should guide your child's behavior down the right path. It gives you practical tools based on Scripture to compassionately teach your children how their actions should be based on integrity and honesty. It teaches them to take initiative to do what's right both inside and outside the home. The book is chocked full of advice from real families and experts applying God's Word to their situations and lives. Would you like to get your children to do what they need to do without constant nagging or being told repeatedly? 

The book is divided into two main sections which address both moral development and spiritual development.

Part 1 covers the following moral development topics:
  • Internal Verses External Motivation
  • Parenting Requires Strategy
  • What is the Conscience? 
  • Helping Kids Choose to Do What's Right
  • When Kids Make Mistakes
  • Learning to Value Integrity
  • Compassion: Thinking Beyond Oneself
  • Kids Taking Initiative
  • What About Consequences?
  • Putting the Conscience to Work Outside the Home
Part 2 addresses the following spiritual development topics:
  • God's Plan
  • Family Time Once a Week
  • Relationship is Foundational
  • Scripture + Creativity=Impact
  • Practicing Faith Teaches That It's Real
  • Prepare for Resistance
  • Leading a Child to Christ
  • Children of the Holy Spirit
  • Connecting Children to the Bible
  • Going It Solo
  • Will You Take the Family Challenge
My Thoughts
Motivate Your Child is an interesting read that reminded me that parent-based training doesn't occur overnight. It'll take time and patience to reap the results I am so desperately searching for at times. It also reminded me that I need to role model appropriate behaviors and attitudes. 

After reading this book, I've discovered that I want my relationship with my daughter to be even stronger. I really don't want to look back in life thinking she only behaved because she doesn't want to face the consequences. I want her to have Godly character and allow her conscience to lead her down the righteous path with regards to her obedience, attitude, and behavior. Not to mention, I've realized that my current parenting strategies aren't working the way they used to work. I was inspired to reevaluate how I approach discipline and make sure that my words are encouraging and uplifting not demanding and commanding. I plan to have a family meeting with my daughter where we discuss the rules, clearly lay out our expectations, and plan our goals for the future.

The "Going It Solo" chapter was relevant to my situation and filled my heart with hope. It's difficult to raise my daughter while passing on my faith when the other parent isn't always on the same page and there's a lack of support with regards to my efforts. My daughter's father is a believer but after our recent divorce it seems to be even more difficult for us to work together in order to teach Godly values. Things changed dramatically even though I was under the impression we had the same goals and beliefs. I will stand strong focusing on my personal, spiritual influence over my daughter and I pray that she'll continue to choose a Godly value system based on the Bible. The author states that, "God works through our weaknesses. He often uses limitations and challenges to fulfill his vision." This statement helped me realize God has a bigger and better plan for our life and how important it is that we trust in Him. I do wish that this chapter contained more advise and suggestions for single parents.

Chapter 5 titled, "When Kids Make Mistakes," discusses the difference between guilt and shame. The chapter also emphasizes forgiveness of sins and wrongdoings while providing parents with scripture help related to the topic. This chapter has great content that will help any parent value correction by giving children an understanding of God's purpose for correction and how they can learn from it to increase their quality of life. The parent is told to have margins in a day for corrections and to develop a plan for correcting behaviors, because these positive, non-reactive conversations are most important and lead to heart changes. The author provides the parent with a memory card game idea that may help the family work on the habit of forgiveness. The book also covers how to discipline with a positive conclusion which consists of three questions and a statement.

I benefited from reading many of the chapters in this book, but I can't tell you about all of my experiences because my review would be too long. The practical ideas found within the book's pages can be immediately implemented into your life. The authors captured my attention with Biblical truths and informative content. I will most likely need to reread this book in the near future to absorb all the practical advice and wisdom scattered throughout the book. I'm not one to mark up the pages, but I sure have a lot of post-it notes peeking out the sides. Skimming my notes will remind me of my action plan and family goals.

Price
Faith Gateway Store $16.99
Amazon $13.48

Note: All prices are subject to change without notice. 

Recommendations
This is one of the best self-help parenting books I've read so far this year! I highly recommend Motivate Your Child to all Christian parents wanting practical ways to instill and teach their child about internal motivation. I believe it is an absolute must read for EVERY parent and grandparent. The Biblical knowledge packed into this book will profoundly impact and deepen the relationship your family has with each other and God.

Disclaimer
I received a complimentary, free copy of this book from the publisher as part of the BookLook Blogger Review Team Program in exchange for an honest review on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

I review for BookLook Bloggers


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fly By Promotions Review and Giveaway: gMovies Subscription

Fly By Promotions recently contacted me to review gMovies and even though this April was one of my busiest months, I couldn't resist. I am one of those mothers . . .  you know the one that doesn't allow her child to watch "certain" shows that many people don't find offending or repulsive for children to view. I am disgusted by what I see on the television today and can't believe the cartoon options available for children to view. gMovies has brought our family movie night to a new level! I am ecstatic to have good movie selections that don't make me want to cringe. 

What is gMovies?
As part of Fly By Promotions, I reviewed and received a FREE 6-month subscription to gMovies powered by UP, America’s favorite TV network providing uplifting entertainment. UP offers the best in faith conscious entertainment. The Parents Television Council™ has twice awarded its Entertainment Seal of Approval™ to UP for being “an authentic family-friendly cable network.” UP is the ONLY television network to be so honored. 

gMovies is similar to Netflix except that they offer mainly faith-based and family-friendly content. The company has over 2 million monthly viewers that enjoy the content in their subscription. You’ll gain instant access to OVER 300 Christian movies in addition to broadcasted TV shows. New titles are added on a monthly basis which provides fresh and new viewing choices. Check out the most popular and featured movie titles below! 

The website contains a variety of family entertainment genres to explore including:
  • Animated
  • Bible
  • Adventure
  • Documentary
  • Thriller
  • Romance
  • Comedy
  • Christmas
  • Kids
  • Drama
  • Sci Fi
  • TV Shows     
gMovies also includes the bible-based animated series “Pahappahooey Island;” a teen drama “Much Ado About Middle School” starring Bill Cobbs, Lee Meriwether and Amanda Waters; and the “Left Behind” drama series starring Kirk Cameron which is based on the New York Times bestselling books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

Technology Requirements
Adobe Flash Player is the video player you’ll need in order to view the content on the gMovies website. Make sure that the web browser you are using will run the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. Your internet download speed should be at least 3.0 Mbps. An internet speed test can give you the information you need before subscribing. You can stream from your iPad, Android, and even your PC or MAC computer. Just make sure you download the gMovies FREE app to watch gMovies on your Android or ipad tablet.

Price
gMovies is a reasonably priced option for streaming videos online. Rather than exposing Alyssa to distasteful television shows and movies; gMovies serves as a wonderful alternative. The cost for a subscription is $4.99 per month. No contract is required and you have the ability to cancel anytime. But . . .  once you view a few movie selections, you may be hooked like we are!

Note: State sales tax will be added to monthly subscription fees for customers with billing addresses in the state of CA, GA, TN, IL, MD, NY, and NC.

Our Experience and Thoughts
This review came at the perfect time since we recently had to cancel our cable. We are movie lovers and enjoy snuggling on the couch together at the end of the day. Finding family-friendly movies can be difficult at times. gMovies made this process quite easy. My seven-year-old daughter could easily navigate the website to find a movie we could watch together. So far, many of the movies and shows we've seen have been appropriate for children containing no foul language or inappropriate scenes. I want the shows my daughter watches to be valuable and clean cut. However, some of the options we have on television and at the theaters are terrible. gMovies provides us with a solution to this dilemma. There's also a SEARCH option enabling you to find or search for particular titles. 

I can't tell you how excited I was to find several "Friends and Heroes" episodes available for viewing. I've entered giveaways in the past in hopes to win their DVD's but never won. This movie series became a huge hit and newfound favorite with my daughter, Alyssa. She'd watch an episode every night if I would let her. I found them to be Biblically accurate and of high quality. She's learning a lot by watching them.

"Friends and Heroes Episode 15 Over Walls" was the perfect show for us to watch, because my daughter could make movie connections to her Bible History studies. Another popular animated series I found available for young children besides "Friends and Heroes" was "Davey and Goliath.

Several of our favorite gMovies movies so far were Marriage Retreat, Raising Izzie, My Mother's Future Husband, Finding Normal, Heaven is Waiting, Meant to Be, What If, A Cross to Bear, and The Carpenter's Miracle.

A couple of the movies mentioned above were on my list to watch, but I couldn't find them at the library or at movie rental locations. I did a little happy dance after finally seeing a few of the shows I wanted to see. Many of the available movies are feel good movies that teach valuable lessons.

I can't wait to further explore the documentaries in hopes to match movies up with my daughter's history studies. I saw a neat "Faith of Fathers" documentary that would be great to utilize this year. I even found a documentary on gMovies that is mentioned as a resource in one of our American History unit studies titled, "The Role of Pastors and Christians in Civil Government."   

"Pieces of Easter" had a good plot but the film quality seemed poorer than the others and the movie was slow. It was the only movie that I wasn't 100% pleased with during the review period. However, Alyssa liked it because it had a good message in the end. Other available Easter shows to watch are "Max Lucado's Resurrection" and "At Jesus' Side."

I will say that the "Max Lucado's Resurrection" movie did contain a few quick flashback bloody images of Jesus' injuries, but that is to be expected considering the plot of the story. They weren't too graphic and didn't seem to bother my daughter.

Special Note: Of course with any movie, including those on gMovies, you should consider watching the movie in advance to determine if your child should view it.

Vendor Suggestions
  • I do wish that the ratings for each movie were clearly stated. If the summary sounded questionable in any way, I would always do a quick search for the movie trailer and rating to be on the safe side. This wastes precious time that could be spend with my family.   
  • Each movie should also mentioned somewhere near the summary age ranges or notes about the content in the movie so that parents can make a more educated decision about what they want their children to view especially since we all differ greatly in what we allow our children to view. 
Would you like access to the subscription content? 

gMovies is offering my readers a two-week FREE trial subscription. Click on the link below for more information. Don't forget to enter the READER CODE.
  1. https://vod.gmovies.com/gmovies/secure/signup?productid=38   
  2. Enter Reader Code: FREETRIAL38
Recommendations
I highly recommend this subscription to families looking for Christian faith-based movies and shows to watch during family movie night. It would make a great gift for relatives and friends. I am going to watch as many movies as I possibly can in the next six months and I may consider renewing my subscription in the future. I also think this would be a great subscription for libraries to offer guests if that option is available.

Overall Experience
Reviewing gMovies was a pleasant experience often bringing laughter into our home. Several movies even triggered thought-provoking questions for us to consider and discuss. The movie messages had good hearted intentions. We could relax during a fun-filled family movie night knowing the choices were safe for our family. The movies reminded me of a few selections we've watched on the Lifetime or Hallmark channels which were two of our favorite television channels. I can't wait to see which movie titles and shows are added in the next couple months! 

GOOD NEWS!

Fly By has agreed to give away a FREE 6-month subscription to ONE LUCKY reader of my blog. 


Disclosure or Disclaimer - In accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Easter at the Trattoria Lisina Winery

We are soooo grateful for friends and family! Thankfully, our friends invited us to the Trattoria Lisina Winery and Restaurant in Driftwood, Tx for Easter this year. I wasn't exactly sure what we were going to do for Easter lunch until they invited us. Every meal served was absolutely delicious!

My sister from New York also visited us. Her birthday fell on Easter this year so we celebrated part of it at the restaurant by sharing a yummy piece of drool-worthy chocolate cake.

I hardly ever post photos of myself but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone a little this year so here goes . . .
Max, Pam, and Alyssa
The Gang
My Life and Love
Sisterly Love
Max's Do-Rag History Story
I pray that your Easter was also blessed with love, laughter, and happiness. 

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! 

I will link this post up at Life at Rossmont's Wordless Wednesday Linky.
Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Monday, April 13, 2015

TOS Review: New American Cursive Penmanship Program by Memoria Press


Memoria Press Review

I believe that it is very important that we continue teaching cursive to our children which is why I jumped on the chance to review the New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 published by Memoria Press. Read this Psychology Today article or the Top Ten Reasons to Learn Cursive for information about the benefits of teaching and learning cursive.

Are you teaching cursive to your children?

Many schools today are eliminating penmanship from the curricula or not teaching cursive until 2nd or 3rd grade which often leads to the formation of bad habits. Not to mention, children tend to struggle during this transitional period. I have a strong desire to make sure that my daughter can write legibly and accurately in cursive. This workbook program was created for teachers in hopes that they'd consider teaching cursive first rather than manuscript to avoid transition problems with cursive in the later years. Looking back, I wish I had taught Alyssa cursive before manuscript writing.

Product Description
The consumable book consists of 114 black and white pages and is part of a cursive penmanship program written by Iris Hatfield who has 35 years of experience with teaching handwriting. This flexible cursive program is suitable for children in grades 1-4. It is NOT reproducible so you'll need one book for each child. It has a spiral binding at the top. The book is printed in landscape format and lays flat on the table making it easier for both right and left handed students to use. The binding doesn't interfere with their writing.

The book teaches both upper and lowercase cursive letter formations in alphabetical order using a multi-sensory method designed for beginning writers. Additionally, a few words beginning with the focused letters are taught and connections are practiced increasing in difficulty over time. Children are encouraged to say the name and sound of the letter. Younger children can air write or walk the letter on the floor which helps develop large motor skills. I asked Alyssa to trace the larger letter with her pointer finger since this wasn't her first time working through the cursive letters.

The book's guide or fun mascot is an animated cartoon character named Mr. Meerkat. He demonstrates each letter formation with a step-by-step approach using directional arrows which provide guidance to the writer.

An introduction discusses the development of the New American Cursive Penmanship Program. It also explains the reasons and importance for teaching cursive in the earlier years. The three-page teacher guide that follows these pages at the beginning of the book doesn't provide daily lesson plans. However, it does contain valuable teaching tips with regards to the 3 P'sPaper PositionPencil Position, and Proper Posture. The guide also discusses the goals of penmanship which are to write legible, fluidly, and automatically. Paper placement and pencil position reminders are noted at the bottom of many pages. Cursive letter and number charts are found on the inside of the front and back covers as seen below.

The simplified font is legible, appealing to the eye, and promotes easier formations with fewer strokes. These strokes aid the child's writing for speed and accuracy. Memoria Press states that "There are 26 fewer strokes than the top three most common cursive programs." Several letters (F, T, and Z) were similar to the manuscript form. One thing you should be aware of is that some letters don't start at the baseline.

Distracting, flashy images don't clutter the lesson pages of the workbook. The lines naturally slant to the right which reduces hand fatigue. The line explanations are first seen on page 26 using the "Letter House" terms: Attic, Second Floor, First Floor and Base to aid the parent when verbalizing the letter formation directions.

Additional lined reproducible pages using line size 36, 42, and 48 are included at the back of the book for extra worksheet practice. For example, these lined pages are used when children are working on legibility of their handwriting. They trace the "Pledge of Allegiance" into two parts and then write the entire passage on a separate sheet.

In the beginning, Alyssa quickly reviewed the three basic forms for cursive writing:
  1. Dot
  2. Straight Line
  3. Curve  
Three detailed pages cover letter connections which are taught using three easily remembered forms: A Smile, a Grin, and a Jump. A whole page is dedicated to understanding and practicing these forms. Helpful clues are mentioned to help you remember the difference between each one.  

She even had the chance to evaluate her own writing. At the end of the practice page, she was asked to "Circle the best letter." You'll also find a useful handwriting evaluation checklist on page 109. There's space for you to write additional comments for improvement. The educator can indicate which lowercase, uppercase, and numbers still need improvement by circling them on the list. The handy checklist evaluates the child's handwriting with regards to:
  • Style
  • Size
  • Line Spacing
  • Letter Spacing
  • Pressure
  • Margins 
  • Slant
  • Speed 
  • Word Spacing.
Evaluation Practice Can Be Given Weekly or Cumulatively
Handwriting Educator Checklist

How We Used It
I used New American Cursive 4-5 times per week for a minimum of 15-20 minutes each day with my daughter, Alyssa (Age 7 1/2) who was eager to learn a different way to write in cursive. I taught the letters in alphabetical order in the beginning, but we eventually decided to jump around (following a non-alphabetical order) to change things up a bit. Some days . . . I allowed her to choose the letter of the day just for fun.

Before beginning the core lessons we reviewed the 3 P's. Occasionally, classical music was softly playing in the background. My daughter covered one letter each day. Three exercise pages were supplied and completed for each cursive letter:

Instruction - Letter formations are taught on two larger line sizes.

Practice - She traces letters and will practice writing them twice on 1/2" lines. There's plenty of room to practice writing most letters in between the dotted, traceable letters. Two practice lines are given for both capital and lowercase formations. 

Play - She can attempt new letters in the space given. White space was also provided for free art time to develop fine motor skills and add her artwork creations. My daughter didn't utilize this feature very often. She would have been more interested and considered these pages fun had there been an artwork exercise lesson provided.  


The Fun Exercises and Artwork Pages promote handwriting and fine motor skills. There are a variety of exercises to complete:
  • Large Instruction Page Letter Formations 
  • Letter Connections
  • Individual Letters (Uppercase and Lowercase)
  • Short Sentences
  • Connecting the Letters of the Alphabet
  • Connecting Letters to Form Sight Words or Word Family Words 
  • Writing Your Name and Age
  • Writing Numbers and Number Words
  • Write the Days of the Week
  • Cursive Sentences
  • Thank You Note


Review and Practice pages occur after three letters have been taught with the exception of last two letters (Y and Z) being reviewed in one sitting. Alyssa was introduced to three new letters covering one letter each day and on the fourth day she completed a review and practice sheet. We continued with the next letter in alphabetical order when we worked five times per week unless of course we didn't work in alphabetical order.

Features We Liked
  • Landscape Format with Spiral on the Top
  • Simplified Formations Eliminating Unnecessary Strokes
  • Super Cool Meerkat
  • Directional Arrows with Start Dot
  • Words and Connections Added to the Daily Lesson
  • Weekly Testing or Scoring of Letter Formations to Evaluate Progress
  • Classical Music Reminders 
  • Short Lessons
  • Multi-Sensory Approach for Young Learners Addressing Different Learning Styles
Multi-Sensory Approach: Say, Feel, Write
Stating Letter Sound Aloud
Price
Visit the Memoria Press website to purchase the New American Cursive workbook which costs $22.95. Lesson plans are also available to purchase for $5.00-$8.00. However, New American Cursive does not require a teacher's guide, because the book contains lessons in addition to teaching suggestions which are all pretty self-explanatory. You can view the Sample Pages on the website.

Possible Vendor Suggestions
  1. Parents may benefit from having Mr. Meerkat's directions describing the letter formations more if presented at the beginning of each letter lesson as an introductory page. The teacher instructional help was very limited with regards to letter formation descriptions.
  2. It might be helpful to organize the letters by stroke formations, starting position, or letter connections.
  3. I also suggest one-inch lines for younger children and feel that one practice letter between each dotted letter is sufficient if working with children between the ages of 5-7. 
Our Thoughts 
Alyssa really liked the new workbook and preferred it over the one that we were previously using. We will definitely continue using this book for the rest of the year and throughout summer. I might spread out the exercise pages for one letter utilizing them throughout the week rather than completing all of them in one day. This is actually her third time through cursive letter formations. After this book, she'll move onto more complicated books or levels practicing sentences and short passages. We may purchase the Level 2 workbook with scripture quotes in the fall.

I love the fact that her cursive writing has improved, is more accurate, and is definitely more legible. Her letters connect with ease and seem smoother. We still need to improve and work on her pencil grip, because she holds it with a death grip! Alyssa pays more attention to the details now and isn't as frustrated with handwriting.

She also has the ability to read cursive writing better. We found a few old letters from her Great Aunt. It brought her so much joy to flawlessly read the cursive words. This is an fantastic penmanship program that makes handwriting a positive, pleasurable experience! New American Cursive is user-friendly and very simple to use.

Now that Alyssa is beginning to master the letter formations, we'll focus more of our attention on the 3 S's: Size, Spacing, and Slant. She does rush through the tracing exercises so one goal I have is to encourage her to carefully trace with accuracy.

We eventually decided that writing each letter twice was a little too much. She was squeezing them in the space provided and the letters were too skinny. I'd rather have a few well-formed, neat letters than many that may not be her "best" work.
One letter between tracings

Other Helpful Resources
We found out that Memoria Press hosts an annual New American Cursive Penmanship contest. The company provides you with a practice "Pledge of Allegiance" page at the back of the book (p.108). Alyssa is practicing in hopes to enter next year since we found out at the last minute.   

We also found this video helpful when working on pencil positioning.

Recommendations
New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 published by Memoria Press is an excellent beginning cursive program for children new to cursive or for those with some experience with cursive. I recommend it for homeschool and classroom settings. I want to utilize this program with students I tutor in penmanship. Home educators utilizing a classical education approach will especially like this classical curriculum. I believe that it would be a great introductory book for first and second graders (ages 6-8) learning cursive because of the more simplified approach. Children in other grades (older and younger) may also benefit from using this program if they are beginning cursive or needing a refresher course. There are several workbooks available to choose from in this program.
Memoria Press Review

You may find it helpful to purchase the complementary StartWrite/NAC handwriting software program to create personalized cursive handwriting worksheets or copywork exercises in the New American Cursive font. Additional handwriting sheets can be created to reinforce penmanship and can integrate content from other subjects. I wish the newer version of the StartWrite program ($29.95) worked on MAC computers, because I would consider purchasing it.

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Read other New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 reviews by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog or by clicking on the button below. Several Crew members are also reviewing the First Start Reading books. Keep an eye out for my Latina Christiana review in June which is also another product offered through Memoria Press.
Memoria Press Review
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Fire Station Impromptu Field Trip

After Easter break, we took a trip to Lake Jackson to visit relatives with my sister who flew in from New York. We went on an informal, impromptu field trip during our visit. We visited the Lake Jackson Volunteer Fire Station for a quick fire safety and prevention discussion with my second cousin's husband who is the Fire Marshal for the area. We actually met at the fire station because we were going out to lunch with his family and it was an easy location for us to find since my sister and I are both apparently directionally challenged.



Old Fire Truck
We even had the chance to jump inside and snap a shot. This is a picture of my sister and daughter with me.

 We also climbed on top of a fire truck for another fun shot. Those are pretty steep stairs!
  
They have a really cool vehicle where they teach children about fire safety skills and prevention. Alyssa was taught what she should do in case of a fire emergency. I was so into the conversation that I forgot to photograph that particular experience. 

My daughter learned many things during this short conversation. The vehicle had a door inside that gets hot as it would during a fire. She was told not to ever open a hot door and to feel the door with the BACK of her hands. She shouldn't feel it with the palms of her hand, because it they were hurt it would be harder and more painful to crawl on her hands and knees if smoke were in the room. She was told to start at the bottom of the door when checking for a fire because the door is hotter at the top during a fire. 

We also saw fake smoke come from under the door and from the vents. Alyssa was taught to place a shirt under (in front of) the door where the smoke enters the room. She was also told to get down on her hands and knees if smoke enters the room so that she doesn't breathe in a lot of smoke. 

We learned that it is best to sleep in your room with your door shut because the fire could quickly spread throughout the house. I also need to make sure Alyssa knows  how to break or open the window during a fire.    

Randy encouraged us to have two escape routes or ways out of the house in case there was a fire and to figure out a meeting place. I realized that after building the new house, we still didn't have an escape route or plan in place so this discussion needs to happen ASAP.

Many more fire safety tips were given that day. I just wanted to share a few with you that we learned during our field trip before things get too busy around here. 

I will link this post up at Field Trip Friday.


Chestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! 


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Turtle Wanderer

We were eating lunch and I saw something moving slowly across the back of our property. I don't have the best eyesight so I decided to check things out.

Apparently, we had fairly large turtle wandering around on the property. It didn't stay long and I am not sure where it was headed or where it came from, but it was a neat experience seeing it up close.

I'm definitely going to miss these opportunities when our home sells.

I will link this post up at Life at Rossmont's Wordless Wednesday Linky.

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey!

God bless,
Tracey

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: March 23rd, 2015

It was tough last week planning meals for only one. I ate frozen soups most of the week for dinner. Thankfully, my daughter is back home so I can start meal planning again. We're sticking to tried and true meals this week to make things easier. Visit the linky below for recipe ideas. I am hoping to try more new recipes in the near future.

Monday
Breakfast - Blueberry Oatmeal + Hardboiled Eggs
Lunch - Tune Cheese Melt Sandwiches + Carrots
Dinner - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce + Broccoli

Tuesday
Breakfast - Berry Yogurt Smoothie + Hardboiled Egg
Lunch - Egg Salad Avocado Sandwiches + Red Bell Peppers
Dinner - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce + Green Beans

Wednesday
Breakfast - Cereal + Kiwi Fruit + Egg Milk
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches + Green Bell Pepper Slices
Dinner - Roasted Chicken + Baked Potato + Peas

Thursday
Breakfast - Lemon Blueberry Pancakes + Turkey Bacon
Lunch - Peanut Butter Honey Sandwiches + Apple
Dinner - Chicken Dumplings

Friday 
Breakfast - Fried Egg, Cheese, and Turkey Bacon English Muffin
Lunch - Chicken Salad Sandwiches + Carrots
Dinner - Chicken Dumpling Leftovers or Chicken Quesadillas

Saturday
Breakfast - Smoothie + Pecan Cream Cheese Muffin
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Wraps + Avocado
Dinner - Turkey Burgers + Spinach Salad

Sunday
Breakfast - Cereal + Fruit 
Lunch - Grilled Turkey or Ham Cheese Sandwich + Sugar Snap Peas
Dinner - Turkey Burgers + Spinach Salad

I will link this post up at Menu Plan Monday.