Friday, 13 September 2013

I'm Baaaaackkkkk!!!!

So I've been gone for a while now.  First my laptop decided that it was done, taking with it not just every single book I own, but also all the stories I've personally written.  Can you say Christina was one very unhappy camper?  But those losses are just the beginning of the tidal wave of misery that my destroyed laptop took with it.  Photos, Projects, Home School materials, the works all just gone.

BUT, since I am the perpetual optimist, or slightly insane as my dear hubby keeps telling me, I decided to make lemonade with the lemons my life handed me.

So I bought a new PC, OMG she is beautiful, I am pretty sure I am in love!  Isn't she pretty?

But then I open her up and what do I see but Windows 8.  I sat there staring at the start-up screen saying well I'll be, how the heck do I log in?  After a few moments of confusion I realized I just use my xBbox log in.  Okay I can handle that!  I log in and stare for a few more minutes at the beautiful and complex screen in front of my face.

Then reality hits, oh no, all my programs gone! So I anxiously dig through the piles and piles of as my hubby says crap in my desk and finally find some of the programs I desperately need to not only run a successful home-school, but to read and write and paint.  Then once again I am stuck because quite a few of them don't work with windows 8.  At this point my optimism has taken a huge hit, and I sit there mumbling to myself about the insanity that is Microsoft.

In the end I get my programs installed, I figured out how to get apps working, and I learned an entirely new operating system.  Then I say to myself "Well since I'm starting fresh, how about we take a whole new approach to Conmans home education."  So the research began.

And here is what I've decided:

First of all I am switching to something that not only interests the Conman, but also myself.  

Ancient History! 

We will be using a few books but the main one will be The Story of the World: Volume 1: Ancient Times.  So this will be the spine of our new program.  We will be using the workbooks and activity guides along with many other fun things, but the best part of this will be at the end we will have a giant 42 chapter lapbook covering an interesting time in History.  Well for Conman I think the best part is that he gets to watch videos with me, and he gets to read along with me whatever story we choose.  I'll compile a reading list soon and post it here so you can see how stories can be added for a complete Language Arts program.

I also discovered lapbooking, and for the last two weeks Conman has been working on lapbooks.  We used the ready made one week unit from Amanda Bennet and he loved it.  ( has actually learned and retained the knowledge which tells me I am moving in the right direction.  I personally always love to scrapbook or do art in a book, so this is like an extension of that which is an absolutely brilliant idea.

But while the Ancient History program covers, Language Arts, History, Art, and even Music, what it doesn't cover is Math and Science.  Then I had an epiphany.  If we are starting with Ancient History then how much more Ancient could the Big Bang be? So BAM like a bolt of lightning I realized that my science curriculum is actually already built into my History Curriculum.  We just need to think outside the box a bit and use great scientific discoveries along with the timeline.  I practically did the jig?  *scary thought there*

That still left Math.  Oh how much I hate Math.  So after much soul searching and struggling, I decided to keep using the Mammoth Math's program that I currently use, but not stress that aspect as much as I have been.  Conman hates math, and he struggles so much with it.  I've also decided to give the Life of Fred series a try with Conman.  This series is a Language based Math Program, so I decided to buy the first 4 books.  Yes they are below his current needs, but it will help build his confidence and also give us a taste of the books.  We also lucked into my getting some of the Math-U-See books.  So we will be using some of those worksheets as well.  And I have a bunch of Logic Puzzles which Conman will use.  I know he hates puzzles, but I'm hoping that the Logic Puzzles will slip by his hatred of Puzzles.  I also discovered an absolutely PERFECT and I do mean PERFECT online Math's program that is FREE!!!  Yes FREE!!! BigBrainz is a Math Game that is actually a GAME!  Conman is loving it!  They also offer a paid version which has more places the kids can go, but I'm currently using the Free version, and he is loving it because he gets to pick his character, explore the world and do battle by doing maths.  How much fun is that?  Here is a link for those of you who are still searching for a math game that won't cost you a fortune. ( )

Now here in Australia, foreign languages are not mandatory until Grade 7.  However,I never follow the rules, so Conman chose Spanish (Japanese is taught in the schools here) and last year he used Rosetta Stone.  He loved that program, and we are going to keep using it for him, but we have also found a FREE online course.  Duolingo is a fabulous site, I've tested it out and played around with it, and I have to recommend it to any Home Schooler who can't afford to pay for the Rosetta Stone program.  Conman tested it out, and he is loving it more than Rosetta Stone because he gets to earn coins.  Here is a link for all you mom's out there who want to either learn a new language or have your children learn one. (

Now you would think that this curriculum is enough for the HEU (Home Education Unit)  Well surprisingly not, they asked about Technology.  Which seriously made me laugh since we will be using the Computer and Tablets and the like to do our research into the History or Science.  What is even more confusing it they KNOW my son keeps a blog.  I felt like I was going to scream, because the only two things they have an issue with seemed to be PE and Technology.  Okay I feel a rant coming on so I'll steer this off that now.  So for them and for you guys reading my long winded ramblings I am giving you the fabulous websites that we use.  

  • The first is iKnowthat, ( and it is fabulous and if you purchase it through the Homeschool Co-Op very very affordable.  As the teacher/parent you can choose what you want your child to do.  They earn things and can play tons of games. Conman loves it.  We used it last year, and he will continue to use it this year.  I love the fact that I can set certain tasks for him to complete in certain subjects.  This allows me to give him freedom to play but also control over what things he can use.
  • But I have also sprung for another website called Clever Dragons.  It is a great site for kids!  They have the main subjects and you can set what things he is to do.  For doing them he earns coins which he can use to buy pets and to take care of their needs.  What a fabulous idea for a child who struggles to remember to brush his teeth or wash. Clever Dragons is for Boys but if you follow that link you can choose to go to the girls site which is exactly the same as the boys only set up with a more feminine theme.  I like that as the adult I can set up which grades to allow him access to, and what things he has to do.  I love things where I have a bit of control over what is being taught.  It even offers a Christian and Jewish Religion classes which while I won't be utilizing now we may in the future as we move onto the Religions of the world part of History.
  • And the last site that we belong to is called BrainPOP. ( take a look at it for yourself but I actually think its a nice site with a lot for Conman to do.  They offer Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Engineering and Tech, Health and Arts & Music.  Lots of fun videos to watch and games to play.  Conman just started using it so I'm not sure how much he likes it but if the fact that he is sitting there watching, and playing has anything to show I'd say its a good one.  What I like is that I can set up what I want him to do. This site has an educators area which is really good because you can compare where your child fits in with the standards.  Very much like iKnowthat and Clever-Dragons so I think his Technology is more than covered along with fun things to do on off school times. 

So now we are left with PE/Health.  This is a constant struggle in our home.  Conman doesn't like to do anything other than computers or TV.  So getting him to even ride his bike proves to be a chore.  So we decided that we would try an exercise program.  It begins with a rousing game of Dance Central on the xBox.  Yes I know its a gaming system but wow does that get your heart pumping.  But that isn't the only thing we use.  We have a number of other exercise games to play on the xBox.  Our favorites would include Zumba fitness, UFC Personal Trainer, and Nike+Kinect Training, but our ultimate winner hands down is Your Shape Fitness Evolved.  Wow do these programs get your heart pumping and your muscles burning.   What's so good about this is we are all playing, and laughing and having a good time while we exercise.  The other program we are using is called Family Time Fitness.  You can find it here  there is a free two day trial so you can test it out for yourselves.  They offer a complete workout program with videos of how to do the exercises.  

Our new curriculum will officially start on October 1st and will continue on through the next school year.  We are seriously excited about it.  Especially since we get to read tons of stories and we get to watch some fabulous Discover Education videos.  It's mandatory for children to attend school for so many weeks per year, and our program actually has Conman in lessons of some sort for three extra weeks per year, but it works out well for us all and if the last year is anything to judge by it works for him.  Probably because of his learning issues, but that an entirely different kettle of fish.  

For those of you who don't know Conman was classified as having Tourettes, NVLD/Aspergers, Dysgraphia and ADHD.  The doctors wanted him on drugs, and we did break down and give them a try but they simply don't help and they make him a different kid than he normally is.  So for our family they simply don't work.  On them he was more subdued, and he would have break downs and the tics and verbal sounds were worse, he also had trouble sleeping and he seemed to be depressed.  Off them he is a happy, loving little boy, who rarely cries but does throw a mean tantrum if he doesn't like something and his tics are more controllable.  Either way he has the attention span of a hyperactive gnat.  Luckily we can deal with that with one on one attention.  All in all,I do recommend doing what is best for your family, sometimes drugs help, sometimes they don't, what works for you is the best bet.

I've added links to just a few of the great things for Home Schooling.  I know there is a ton more out there, but these are just the ones I thought of while typing this all up.  I'll be keeping an online record of our Home-Schooling success's and failures online.  That way maybe I can help other mom's with special needs children or perhaps find help for issues I am struggling with.

Thanks for stopping by this mad-house I call my life...

Sites I've mentioned in this update.

Some Extra sites I love!

Tons of Great things for Home-Schooling at a fabulous discount!

Great things for the Home-School

Wonderful things on this site especially the lap book materials and ideas.

This one looks interesting and we are probably going to give it a try.

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