Ramblings

Guitar 360 Method {Review}

I have always loved music; I have played for as long as I can remember. So I’m always excited when my children expressing interest in music. I get especially excited about opportunities for my kids to learn child’s play but also to be inspired Guitar 360 Method and the Guitar 360 1st Semester Course is an online course in learning to play guitar. Created to give you a firm foundation for creating music on your guitar and making sure you have fun too! This is a fun and affordable way to learn how to enjoy that guitar that is hiding in the closet. 😛

Krisz Simonfali, of Guitar 360 Method, began learning at an early age, isn’t that the best time for us to learn anything really? I love how he speaks to learning but also experiencing boredom and frustration. For a time, he quit altogether and then he began to create this class he determined to build a program that would be fun as well as practical, that would build confidence and encourage creativity. Because that stuff matters too. My oldest son is notorious for this very thing! He is very musically inclined but struggles to stick to it. I don’t know how many lessons and teachers we have gone through and I just know when he can follow through, when he can learn to really express himself, and enjoy the music experience, he will gain so much from it.

So when we learned that we would have the chance to review this one, we hurried to sign up for the free guitar course he offers for absolute beginners. As you can see there is also Bonus Song Lessons 1 and 2. If you are looking for something that will make learning to play the guitar a real treat, this is a great opportunity. Be sure to check it out for yourself. We are learning everything you can imagine from rhythm, to ear training, chords and scales, dynamics and textures, music theory, solo playing and how to play in any key. Can I add that for my younger son it was really awesome but one of the songs he could learn to play was a song we sing at our own church? Awesome!!

The Semester 1 course is approximately 13-weeks long and picks up right where the free course leaves off. This is great program for beginners (my younger son) and also to refresh your skills (my oldest son) if your guitar is a bit dusty. ( I think when I last played I was the same age as my oldest daughter).

Since my oldest son has to be a part of our church’s worship team I thought this was a great opportunity for him. Younger son and my older daughter were excited about this one too (all three of them have guitars).

While this course does not recommend any specific age, the instructor I saw children from 9 on up and recommends this for those who are 15 and older. That’s said, I use this with my daughter who is 7, and my two boys who are 9 and 13.

Want to know something really neat? This course is also college accredited at the Visible Music College. They will have dual enrollment for homeschoolers in 2019 too! How exciting is that? We aren’t there yet but it is good to know.

I love the enthusiasm and the excitement my boys have about playing since we received this course. In fact as I write this review, they’re watching and learning with this course. My oldest son has even told his youth group leader that he is learning guitar so he can play with the worship team downstairs “in a few weeks.” Only time will tell but he fully plans to be the guitarist for their worship team and I do love that he is motivated to do something for the Lord.

This course really does cover so much! I was amazed at how well he teaches not just the chords, but the other stuff too. He is an amazing teacher and while we are not done with this course yet, we are enjoying working through the lessons one step at a time. My younger son said this is the best teacher he has ever “met” and he is really starting to progress with his guitar (even though he refused to let me video him to show you). Also, right now, Guitar 360 Method is offering a 20% discount to home school families, using the coupon code: HOMESCHOOL20. Don’t miss out! There are so many amazing benefits that come from learning and playing music! Let’s encourage and engage our kids. 🙂

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Ramblings

Good News for Little Hearts {Review}

One of my favorite companies is New Growth Press. if you are not familiar with them I really encourage you to check them out sometime. They have so many amazing books for every age.

We recently received a couple new ones to enjoy with our children. And these were not just any children’s books. Rather be is really spoke to our children about topics like fear and anxiety; with sweet little characters these books are meant to help our children in difficult times.

All three of these books are meant to help guide our children when they’re angry, when they’re anxious, when they fail.

These are based on CCEF’s model of help and hope. Each story has the most beautiful illustrations. And sweet little animal characters that are having real life troubles.

Certainly children younger and older can relate to the challenges the characters in these books face. We see in each page the value I was leaning on God in every situation.

We see the value of learning to lean on God all the time. So so of scriptures what the word of God has for us because every word is given for instruction and correction and to help us be more like our Lord.

At the end of each book 2 a few pages so I can help to guide us in helping our children to trust God in their weakness. And of course they are Bible verses to share with our children. It is good to hide the word of God in their hearts!

Ramblings

Trust

What a difference when we move from trusting in the Lord to a place where our trust is the Lord. “Trust in” or “trust is”? When our trust is the Lord, we have a relationship with him that will penetrate every area of our lives. When our trust is the Lord, every decision will flow from the knowledge that he has a plan for our lives; he provides for our every need; he cares for us; and he loves us more than we can love ourselves.

Ramblings

Transforming

It is the time of year when everyone is beginning to focus on being thankful.

This year I feel rather guilty leading into this season because I hear I have been less content. I have a lot of my home and children to be a place lacking in contentment.

We got a bit of snow the other day and all of my children were so excited. In fact they had so much fun playing in the snow we missed my oldest son’s class that afternoon.

Moments like this remind me what’s the value of a thankful heart.

If only we could always grass to hold of one simple thing and be so full of gratitude and joy.

I admit that for a time I think I almost stopped praying. I did a bit more murmuring and complaining. Much like the Israelites no matter what was in front of me I wanted something else, something better, something more.

Too often I look at my children and I see an unfinished work. Instead of seeing all that God is doing in them, I see but I expect to receive. I see the fighting and the whining, I see the stack of unfinished worksheets…

I forget to see (or maybe I stubbornly refuse to see) that’s really neat car that my younger son fashioned out of cardboard for his sister’s dolls.

I I see my oldest son doodling some amazing and very inspiring artwork. I learn but he’s been practicing what are assistant pastor, the art of preaching. He is a teacher.

And and my little girl to dance and sing and play dress up. They love helping others. It is all the practice in living the fruits of the spirit.

We are blessed. It isn’t always in those big things. More often than not it isn’t in things at all. ❤

TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Review}

As a stay at home mom, wife and home educator, there are many hats that I must wear. There are schedules to keep, plans to make, children to feed and there just are not enough hours in the day. For awhile now I have considered adding a “work” at home something but when I feel like I am barely above water most days, I wonder how it is even possible. This season with its many struggles, has encouraged me to look for another way to do things and because of that I was more than happy to have the chance to review Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing.

This course was designed with busy mommas in mind and so I was very eager to explore all that was offered here. I see so many mommas who are home educators, do amazing home businesses, are community and church involved and I have no idea how they do it all. I think most of the time our house looks like a tornado blew through – only one of me and too many of “them” (that’s how I feel some days honestly!). With eight lessons, I figured this was something I could easily fit in to my day. I will admit, in the first lesson alone, I got a bit teary eyed – I have let *some* things slide myself (and not because I am writing an amazing course or anything) – the truth so clearly spoken, from the very beginning, was crystal clear. Something (I) need to change. In fact, the other day I realized myself, the joy and excitement, its been missing for some time. I cannot just sit around wondering what happened, or waiting for it to appear, I need to begin that work within myself and my home.

I admit I got sidetracked a bit. I signed up for another course of her’s, we because when the question was posed: What HAD to get done every day? I have been a mess lately and I had a tough time answering the question. Hallelujah; here is one more course for me to complete: “Balancing Life’s Vocabulary.” That was not at all a part or purpose of this review I am writing, but I thought I would mention it because, if you are having one of those seasons, like I am, it is sometimes good to scrap it all and have one big do-over!

This course gives you a lot to think about as you go along. It isn’t just simple instructions but rather advice, examples and then action steps to take. Because let’s face it, without firm direction lately, I am afraid we don’t get nearly as much done. It is so easy to read and listen to podcasts and trainings online – great ideas and inspiration – too often leaving you with no idea where to go from there. This is not that. I admit, there are some things that have been hard” for me to read. Things like the constant need to be willing to change; to be flexible and organized. To stick to the plan.

As I have worked through this course I have had to admit that my family has been allowed far too much freedom. Where we could (should) work together when it comes to chores and pet care – often this falls to momma. I spend more time cleaning messes I didn’t make and taking orders from my little “minions” who I clearly need to give more responsibility than I have. Play is important. It is how kids learn. Certainly I want to give them as much time “free” as I can? Yet if I am honest, this is just a piece of what they (and I) need for us to have a peaceful and contented home. Power and love and sound minds come from everyone being in one accord. 🙂

The action plans given make so much sense. None of it is difficult except perhaps in the way that it will stretch you; you might squirm and get uncomfortable. Who really likes change? Are – n’t we all, honestly, creatures of habit? Yet being able and willing to see things from another perspective, to consider that there could be a better way. For example, having a Plan of the Day. I usually “assume” because we have a fairly regular routine, that everyone just knows by now, what to expect from each day. Yet, when we discussed each morning what the day held, what our “plan” was, it really did make a difference most days. (My younger son loved, when things got off the rails, saying, “Stick to the plan” like Iron Man says).

My oldest son really liked the idea of meal planning. And I admit that I do as well. I am not much of a chef; I think I see food more as something that must be had, than something to enjoy and share with my family. Here’s that need for some “change” she talks about. How we see things, our perception, makes all the difference. Needless to say, we are working on meal plans now; my older son taking a day or two each week to cook a meal. Not just spaghetti or macaroni and cheese either. We even found a couple cooking shows (for kids) to work in there so that they can watch a show and then make the stuff at home. And I have learned my kids want dessert. Maybe not every day, but they really feel that this is an important part of family meal time.

When there are struggles – UPDATE THE KIDS – this is vital. Of course it is. Why did I need to take a course to learn this? ha-ha So many humbling moments for me as I went through this. By the way.I loved how much this caused me to dig down a bit deeper and to explore my self and my ways, even more. As someone with a background in psychology and social work I am a *ashamed* to admit that there are some things that are necessary, that I have just foregone through the years. Things like I am a big proponent of self improvement. 🙂

One of my favorite (and my kid’s least favorite) phrases in this house is “work/figure it out.” I think most of my day is spent trying to solve problems, break up fights and many other things that my kids, as they are getting older, need to be able to learn how to do. We have a great new program to help, as a family, learn how to be peace keepers. Because right now we are in a place where it is really important for us to focus on the relationships we have with one another. And because that requires more time, intentional and focused time, this course and all that it offered really helped me to find ways to manage all the other “stuff” that so often gets in the way of us enjoying our home and our time together.

Thanks to this course I have really taken a wrecking ball to our home and our current way of doing things. I feel encouraged and inspired. I really do. I am very slowly completing this course. And then revisiting many of the lessons as I go along (again) to get some fresh insight; gain some momentum when I feel like I am slipping back a bit. I really amazed at how thorough this is. It really does cover everything that a momma at home is responsible for and perhaps overwhelmed or weary of. This provides so many fresh ideas; it reminds me to value and include my children in all things. And to help them learn to have the right attitude about it all. I have heard it said that “if momma isn’t happy, no one is happy,” but I beg to differ. When my kids and my home are out of order, there is not enough chocolate and coffee to bring me joy.

The joy of the Lord is our strength; we are promised His peace, a peace that is only from and of Him. Yet there is so much more we can gain in this life we have been blessed with, if we are willing to consider our ways and be wise. I have learned so much from this and I am still learning (as are my children) the way that we should go. There are certainly times we grow weary; this work we are given can be tiresome. Some seasons will have more trials and tests; we need to be sensitive to our needs and the needs of those in our family, so that we will be aware of the season we are in. We can then plant, reap and sow with less weariness knowing the time we are in. Personally, I needed every one of these reminders to encourage me and help me to stay the course. 🙂

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Product Review

Chris Tomlin Holy Roar CD {Review}

 

Who isn’t familiar with the name Chris Tomlin? I don’t think I have ever been disappointed by his music, in all the years I have been listening.

His newest album is just as impressive and powerful as I expected!

 

 

“HOLY ROAR is the freedom, the experience, the wonder of worship. It is seeing the church come together, hands lifted to God, pouring out our praise with an eternal song in our hearts. It’s every voice together, changing the way we worship.” ~Chris Tomlin

 

 

There are so many amazing songs on this! My favorite being Goodness, Love and Mercy. My younger son (who is quite how picky when it comes to worship music) absolutely loves Holy Road as well as Resurrection Power. There have been some real challenges our family has been facing as of late. Some bad attitude; some self-centeredness. A lot of bickering and complaning; we really needed some amazing music that would remind us of how important it is for us to be Satisfied. We all needed to be able to answer for ourselves, that question, Is He Worthy? 
One thing that I have always just loved about his music is that there is also so much you can learn from it. There is a deeper understanding you can have. If you listen. When the darkness just isn’t lifting, when we are sure that He isn’t near, He cannot hear…We are reminded that Nobody Loves Me Like You.  When it is harder to see in the darkness, these songs they help us to see that Praise is the Highway. 
Oh How sweet it is, to sing His praises. And to feel the presence and power of God wash over you as you sing, and as you claim the words of every song for yourself.
“Disclosure (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 on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Math-Whizz {Review}

Around here math is something that brings out a lot of emotions (not always good ones either). I have always struggled in math – this is that one area that is scary, I doubt my abilities, help me please – I don’t know how or what I am doing and I just “can’t get it.” My oldest son is a perfectionist, he struggles with attention, focus, impulses – there are so many struggles! It saddens me how math has become one more for him. My younger son on the other hand loves math; he is our “little engineer” and so he loves being able to whizz through his math (with some challenges along the way). This program is recommended for ages 5-13. We used this with both of my boys (9 & 13).

We have gone through so many different systems and programs for math in our family. When we do find one that works for one child, it doesn’t quite fit for the other. Or it works great initially, but wears on them and they become bored, or frustrated with the program. Not this one. Whizz Education has created this amazing system to help find and fix those gaps in learning math. I was so very excited to have the chance to review this one, with both of my boys, (we were given a 12 month subscription) and so I introduce to you, Math-Whizz from Whizz Education.

It is fun, animated, a bit silly, with short lessons, simple straight forward instruction – Thus far we are just loving this! Both of my boys have their own login and password; I also have my own account where I can see their progress and check in for more detail as to where they are struggling and where they are really doing great!

While this is a math tutoring website, I was amazed at how thorough this really was. It is super interactive and engaging – the lessons are short and lots of fun! You begin with a very complete assessment; once that has been done each child is provided with a learning program that is just right for them. Something really neat? This program uses AI; so as your children develop so does their “math path.”

Once they are ready, they will have lots of really neat tools to explore ranging from the tutor to a dictionary, they can replay any lessons they would like to practice, they can even do “challenges” and as they proceed they will earn tokens they can use to play games, buy and feed pets.

One really nice thing about this program is that the lessons are all fairly short. They are very colorful and eye catching; for a kiddo who has a hard time focusing, this really makes it so much easier. The tutoring sessions have ten questions in them; after a very animated and involving demonstration they are given the chance to practice for themselves. If they get a certain number of problems correct, they can “jump” past a portion of the tutorial. My younger son really loves that part of the program. If they are struggling a bit in the practice? There are some great, encouraging tips and demonstrations along the way – if it seems like they are really struggling they are even encouraged to come back to the topic later.

Because my older son is very much a fixed mindset, really struggling in math kind of boy, it is great to see how the program speaks to having a growth mindset. It is also really beneficial, for him, the variety of topics that come up each day.

The goal in this program is for the student to spend thirty minutes per week on the program but I think both of my boys spend far more time on here than that. Granted sometimes its just to decorate their study area; other times maybe they are spending their hard earned coins playing games. Or feeding their pets. My younger son logged in this morning to hear that he needed to feed his pet before they would take it away. LOL

This truly is an amazing program. Whether your kids love math or hate it, this is sure to sparkle an interest in them. Be sure not to miss giving your kids the chance to learn and grow into real math whizzes!

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