When It Hurts To Breathe

When It Hurts To Breathe

I don’t get knocked down by sickness very easily; but when the doctor calls and says the X-ray showed Pneumonia, it’s time to stop trying to be so strong. I’m now on the 7th day of antibiotic, and I’ve done pretty well with working on stuff for a while, resting for a while. It has hurt to breathe. Each breath, each cough, seemingly bruising my fluid-swollen lung… more. The parallel is amazing. Life has sucked the breath out of me lately. It’s been hard to breathe figuratively, and then it became hard to breathe literally. Some days I so want to quit. Stop trying. Just cry. Then I feel like a failure. And cry some more. Just worn down. Life is hard. Harder than I ever imagined it would be. So this morning as I was driving, God took my mind to the crucifixion. Asphyxiation. The fact that Jesus endured the most awful hard-to-breath experience. With each breath, He must have felt that He was dying… even though it wasn’t time to let go. He went through the unimaginable for me… for you. He died, but then He came back to life! Who am I to be beaten down by a little pneumonia? Who am I to be beaten down by the cares in MY life? So here it is. I have hope today. Not because of me or anything that I have done. I can get through this because HE is in me. He is WITH me. He is my STRENGTH. Does it hurt for you to breathe? Is life so overwhelming that you want to quit? Don’t....
RE:FOCUS – The Armored Home

RE:FOCUS – The Armored Home

  I wrote this a few years ago and realized this morning that it is an extension of last Monday’s post, so it’s time to share again. This is an area in which I (and I’m sure we all) need to revisit often. Satan is attacking our marriages and families HARD! Let’s keep each other accountable to protect the very gift that God has given each one of us. —————- Armored cars amaze me. How they make those vehicles to withstand bullets, explosions, accidents, etc. is beyond my realm of understanding. These specialized cars serve a purpose… to protect what’s inside. Our homes need to be built with specialized armor, as well, to protect the marriages inside. We live in a fallen, stressful world. Kids, money struggles, out-of-whack priorities, stress, and so many other day-to-day things distract us from ensuring that our Ephesians 6 armor is in place in our homes. But when we put that armor in place, it will change us. It will change our marriages. It will change our children. It will change our lives. So how can we establish this armor in our homes? Here are some practical tools for protection: Pray “without ceasing” for your marriage. Choose your words to each other carefully. Words hurt and can cause permanent damage. Date nights are a must, but so is “couch time” everyday. Carving out some time for each other everyday, just to talk, is imperative for a protected marriage… an armored home. Ask each other regularly, “What can I do to be a better wife/husband?” This opens up communication and gives more opportunities to meet each other’s...
Fun-Time Phonics! – A Review

Fun-Time Phonics! – A Review

For my last project for the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family was given the opportunity to review Fun-Time Phonics!, a systematic phonics and comprehension reading program by The Critical Thinking Co. It is a 320-page book for grades K-2, full of colorful pages that help children learn to read in a fun way. This program ensures complete phonemic awareness mastery because it focuses on vowel isolation – their individual sounds. Before a student can become a proficient reader, this very basic and important piece must be mastered. Because my daughter has recently been diagnosed with Dyslexia, I was excited about trying this fun curriculum with her. She specifically struggles with phonemic awareness/vowel isolation, so this was the perfect type of stimulating program to try with her. The emphasis of Fun-Time Phonics! is on patterns, not rule memorization. Here is a listing of the components and strategies that are extremely effective with all levels of readers: Builds from students’ natural speaking abilities, developing their auditory awareness of vowel sounds; Incorporates multisensory instruction for introducing the alphabet and short vowels; Provides cognitively-engaging connected text for practice; Utilizes co-articulation to introduce consonant sounds, eliminating traditional stumbling blocks and ensuring a successful reading start; Involves multiple regions of the brain – analytical as well as artistic and language-providing various pathways to long-term memory and automatic word recall. Fun-Time Phonics! is literally an open-and-go program. You sit down with your student, open the book, and easily teach the concepts without any prep work at all. Since we are no longer homeschooling, it is helpful to have a curriculum like this that we can add to our homework routine...
Reading Kingdom – A Review

Reading Kingdom – A Review

As part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family was given the opportunity to review Reading Kingdom Online, a complete computer-based reading curriculum for ages 4-10 by Reading Kingdom. This program is fun and colorful, and teaches children to read and write up to a 3rd grade level. According to the Department of Education, 2 out of 3 children fail to become proficient readers. Reading Kingdom has taken a step to help children enjoy learning to read through their beautifully-designed interface.  This program is also specially designed to work well for children who have been diagnosed with various learning disabilities. Children with Dyslexia, ADD, and Autism thrive in this learning environment. The visual stimulation improves their ability to retain information as they learn it. Reading Kingdom Online is broken up into these segments: Sequencing – the process that allows us to read the same letter combinations as different words by changing their order; Writing – using the keyboard to physically type in the spelling of words; Sounds – phonics, creating words from sounds/sets of letters; Meaning – developing an understanding what words mean in their contexts; Grammar – how words and phrases go together in the English language; Comprehension – developing a complete understanding of what the kids read. Benefits of using this program are: Research based and incredibly effective. The program adapts to every child and provides individualized instruction. Kids can use the program on their own. It’s fun so children think they’re playing a game and want to use it. It was created by Dr. Marion Blank, one of the world’s top experts in reading. It works as a standalone curriculum or...
Review of Middlebury Interactive Languages

Review of Middlebury Interactive Languages

As part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family was given the opportunity to review a semester of Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2, a completely online curriculum by Middlebury Interactive Languages. This program is very fun and interactive, and geared to younger students. Each unit takes a story from Spanish culture and uses various types of games and activities to help students learn the language AND the culture at the same time. Each unit is broken into several lessons, and there is a lot of review of the small pieces of information that are given. It is definitely not overwhelming for young students, but instead helps them to really grasp phrases before moving on. The curriculum also includes quizzes and tests that help them see how much they are learning along the way. As someone who learned sign language while immersed in Deaf culture, I know the value of being “thrown in” to the culture in order to learn. In the old days, we learned Spanish by copying words, repeating after the teacher, and we never used many visually stimulating and immersive techniques. Needless to say, I don’t remember a lot about Spanish. However, while in college, I became fluent in sign language by being thrown in and having to learn the language to survive. This curriculum reminds me of that (in as much as an online program can do that). The students watch and listen to stories in Spanish. While focusing on certain phrases, they pick up other words/phrases through context clues and pictures. It is awesome! Here are a few screen shots of how the program works: Here...

Alpha Omega Publishing – Horizons Preschool – A Review

For Joshua’s 3-year-old preschool year, we mostly used play for math, along with listening in on reading, social studies, science, and health with Katherine. We were SO excited to get to try out the Horizons Preschool Curriculum from Alpha Omega Publishing! We received the complete Preschool package for this review. This Christian curriculum teaches math, phonics, language arts, and other subjects with fun activities and games. The set includes two student workbooks (with 180 lessons), two teacher’s guides, a music CD, and a resource packet with tons of manipulatives. Horizons Preschool is the most incredible curriculum your youngest kiddos! It’s not just workbooks… there are so many things taught through this multi-sensory program. It is a great way to introduce preschoolers to “formal” learning. There are Bible stories, science projects, arts and crafts, music, health and safety, social studies, phonics, math, and a lot of other stuff. So well-rounded, yet geared specifically for this young age! Here are just a few things kids learn in this fun-packed year: Days 1-7 of Creation and the Flood (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, light, dark, air, clouds, rocks, soil, grass, seeds, trees, fruits, vegetables, sun, weather, day, night, hour, seasons, Earth’s rotation and tilt, moon, stars, constellations, astronomy, planets, comets, meteors, fish, climate, ocean creatures, amphibians, eggs, birds, mammals, blood, circulation, brain, body parts, occupations, health, safety, music, work, rules, helpers, friends, family, reptiles, insects, man, cells, senses, bones, digestion, breathing, muscles, obedience, flood, and promises; Letter recognition and sounds Aa-Zz, and alphabetical order Colors and shapes Fine motor skills, such as cutting, gluing, stamping, drawing, coloring, folding, tracing, painting, etc. Physical activities, such as running, skipping, hopscotch, crawling, bowling,...