Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today is a migraine day

I made a decision recently.  Migraines aren't going to ruin my life.

I know, it seems like I should have made this decision a long time ago.  I've been getting them since college.  And thanks to medication and learning what my body wants when I start to feel a migraine coming on, they are not nearly as bad as they used to be.  But they still knock me out.  If I get a migraine, it's a guaranteed three days until I feel normal again.

Having said that, most of those three days are spent in a sort of "functional" migraine, as I call it: I can do stuff (clean, cook, teach the boys) but if I let myself get agitated or stressed, it gets worse.  Of course, NONE of my daily activities agitate or stress me, right?

 But what I realized in the last few months is that I use my condition as an excuse.  I can't volunteer for that - what if I get a migraine?  I can't have people over for coffee - what if I get a migraine?  And God does not want me to live my life on what ifs.

I have prayed, asking God to take these headaches away.  I prayed this with complete faith that it would happen.  It hasn't.  But what has happened may be better.  I have learned to do what I can do while I feel well enough to do it.  I waste less time doing silly things with no eternal value.  I'm not saying I waste NO time, just less.  I have learned to take time to slow down when I need to.  I am trying to reach out to other people.  And I am learning not to feel sorry for myself.  Just reading about what Paul went through in the Bible is enough to make me feel like a petty whiner for complaining about a migraine headache, even when it's really bad and has me vomiting and in so much pain I can't sleep.  This is my thorn in the flesh, and really, it's just a tiny little one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recently I was given a free month of in exchange for a review.  I was really excited about it, because I'd seen so many positive comments about it in the past.

The first thing I discovered was that time slows down in the Time4Learning universe.  And not in a good way.  After signing my two youngest up on the website, I received a message saying it would be (trying to remember here) either 24 or 48 hours until the account was active.  A week later it still said the same thing.  Just when I was ready to call customer support, the account finally went live.  But I was already ten days into my free trial.

Now the good news: the boys really liked it.  They weren't interested in the math section, so we did quite a few science, social studies, and reading lessons.  The lessons were cute, although somewhat repetitive.  The quizzes at the end were EXTREMELY repetitive.  The animations/stories are what really sold the kids on it.  We were all laughing out loud at some of the discussions between the animated characters.  There was also a lot of interactive clicking involved in the lessons, which keeps the kids engaged and learning.

So overall, I was pretty happy with the website.  I would definitely consider adding it to my curriculum for next year.  It would be great to let the two younger ones do some of their work online while I work with the older two.  I don't know that it's complete enough for a stand-alone choice, but I liked what I saw.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Language Arts - My Personal Choice

Here's the thing... You're going to notice a big difference in tone, style, and amount of unrestrained gushing when I get to the curriculum choices I am currently using and love. It's only natural, I suppose. You have been warned.

My personal choice for language arts is the Learning Language Arts Through Literature series (LLATL). I have used every grade level now except 1st and their American Lit course, and I love them all. This is what I was looking for when I got so frustrated at having separate grammar, spelling, usage and literature books. It's all here in one handy volume. All you need is the teacher book, the student workbook, and four or five novels a year. It's pretty affordable, especially if you can find the teacher's manuals used and get the novels from the library.

PROS: Everything is broken down to daily lessons, for 36 weeks total. All language arts subjects are covered in one book. The literature is maybe not the best known, but it's all good.

CONS: The literature is not the best known out there. I have supplemented with additional books that I want my kids to read. The Gold Level (British lit), however, was fantastic. I didn't add a thing.