Friday, January 30, 2009
After that, we spent some time in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Playground (which I helped open many years ago) and then caught the High School Musical show while waiting to go into the car stunt show.
Mimi said it wasn't very good because they didn't use the real people from the movie :-).
I'd never seen the car show before, and it was good, but loud. Scott was already having a horrible Sensory day, and it was not pleasant for any of us, so that show, while he did enjoy it, was not the best pick in those circumstances. We finished off with The Great Movie Ride, which we rode twice so we could do both the "A" and "B" shows. The kids all agreed that they like the gangster best. So do I, although that's where I sprained my ankle and broke a bone in my foot. It still bothers me on days I'm on my feet a lot.
We left Disney by 3:30 because we had to be home by 5. Our life insurance guy came at 5 to discuss our coverage. Our old term policy expired and we needed new coverage, so we have to revamp everything. I like our insurance guy a lot, which is good. He understands our needs (both for future provision and for being able to pay the bills now). Since my husband is self employed and I am a homeschooling mom, we feel life insurance is important for both of us so if one of us dies the survivor is not facing a huge change in life circumstances.
It was a busy day, but worth it.
Anyway, to show you how crazy it is, the finish line is electronic, and measures the time to the ten-thousandths of a second. Yep, you read that right. And in some heats like the one below, all four finishers had the same time until you went to the hundredths of a second.
TJ came in second in his den by 5 THOUSANDTHS of a second. Oh, and they dropped your lowest speed, so really he won his den because his speeds were all very uniform, but the boy who won in the den actually lost to TJ when they raced each other. Lost by 5 tenths of a second. But that was his lowest race, so they dropped that score. Oh well, it's all meant to be for fun anyway.
Here's TJ's car winning one of his races.
And did I mention there were sibling races? So my husband had to do this whole process 3 times? ARGH!!!! Below are our 3 cars.
Sunday, of course, we had church. I was serving as our "Children's Ministry Counselor", or what we call the Dorcas (after Dorcas in the Bible, but our husbands have talked about getting shirts that say, "If my wife is a Dorcas, does that make me a DORK?". Tee-hee, how many can I order??? Basically, the Dorcas just takes kids to the potty, helps calm crying little ones, gets snacks ready for the toddlers, etc. It's a floating position, and I enjoy doing it. My husband was, as always, in the sound booth, although this time he ran the sound and someone else did the power point. I can't remember what we did the rest of the afternoon. Mostly little projects around the house like replacing lightbulbs that require ladders, etc.
Stay tuned for each installment :-).
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I know what I'm watching tonight ;-).
Four months ago, a movie opened in 839 theaters across the country. A team of 1,200 volunteers from a church in southwest Georgia came together to create an action-packed love story with a heart to impact marriages.
Then a team of passionate fans took over. While most in Hollywood didn't even take notice of the opening of FIREPROOF, Action Squads were buying out show times and purchasing enough tickets to bring it to their towns.
While the Hollywood blockbusters were playing on 2,500 screens or more, FIREPROOF still opened as the No. 4 movie in the country and had the second-highest per-screen average. And that was only the beginning. By the time the film ended its theatrical run, more than 4 million people had seen it, and it was the No. 1 independent film of 2008.
Starting today, FIREPROOF is available at your favorite store!
Monday, January 26, 2009
My grandfather was an amazing man. The older I get, the more I appreciate him and wish he was still alive so my children could benefit from his influence as much as I did. He was a man of many passions, but the one that stands out clearest to me is that he felt learning to think critically and analyze a problem to find the solution was the most important skill you could develop. To that end, he constantly challenged us with brain teaser to figure out, puzzles both physical and mental to solve, and games that would force us to really think about our every move if we had any hope of beating him, or even holding our own. He was not a man to hand a youngster a win to spare their feelings, he wanted them to earn it with critical thinking skills.
Maybe that's why I LOVE The Critical Thinking Company so much. I've never met a product of theirs I didn't like. Many years ago, I received one of their books as a freebie (I think it was with my subscription to TOS :-). I was sold when I opened the first page. That book was Mind Benders, and features a bunch of those problems like "A boy, a girl, and their dad each have a pet dog. The girl's dog wears a collar and is smaller that her dad's dog. The dad's dog is not the biggest or the smallest." Then it has a chart with pictures of the dogs across the top and of the people down the side, and you fill in Y or N to figure out whose dog is whose. I worked through them with Scott back then, and he enjoyed them. I liked that the chart was already there, so all he had to figure out (at that age level) was the "yes" or "no".
Fast forward a bit to Scott's therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder. His therapist showed up each week with all sorts of pages for him to work on to strengthen his visual discrimination skills and fine motor skills. Where did those worksheets come from? Critical Thinking's Visual Perception Skill Building.
Then this past May, I picked up their Beginning Word Roots to work through with Scott because I tink he really ought to know some basic prefix/suffix/root meanings since that aids in vocabulary comprehension. We've been doing a section or so a week, and he has enjoyed it. It's not too much written work, which he really likes.
Given my love for Critical Thinking's offerings, I was thrilled to receive their Building Thinking Skills books for Level 1 (2-3 grade) and 2 (4-6 grade) to review. To quote Critical Thinking's website, through these books, "Children learn to analyze relationships between objects, between words, and between objects and words as they:
|Observe, recognize, and describe characteristics.|
|Distinguish similarities and differences.|
|Identify and complete sequences, classifications, and analogies."|
On the "pro" side, these books are BIG. Level one is 363 pages, and Level 2 is 408-that's a lot of bang for your buck. Both are available in software form for slightly more than the book price. There are lots of different activities in these books, and my kids begged to do "just one more page". They didn't view this as "schoolwork" at all, just something fun, like a puzzle to solve. And critical thinking skills are so vital, but something that tends to be overlooked when you just focus on the 3 R's.
I suppose the $29.99 price could be a bit of a stumbling block for some people, but these are beefy books chock full of activities. The price would be the only "con" I have. And I do want to point out that not all their books are $30. In fact, most are between $10 and $20. And they have a ton of offerings, as you can see below.
The bottom line for me is that this is a no-brainer. You must try these books. I can't emphasize enough the importance of the skills they teach. These are life skills. Things they will use in every aspect of their life. Even simple things like figuring out which product is the best deal at the grocery store use critical thinking. If you want them to manage money well, they must learn critical thinking. If you want them to do well on standardized tests, they must learn critical thinking. If you want them to develop sound reasoning skills, they must learn critical thinking. Yet it's one of the subjects we spend the least amount of time working with our kids on. These books will help you bridge the gap, and your kids will have fun doing it. I can't recommend them enough!
To see what other TOS Crew members have to say, go HERE.
A fly and a flea flew into a flue,
said the fly to the flea, “What shall we do?”
“Let us fly,” said the flea.
Said the fly, “Shall we flee?”
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
So what does that have to do with this review?
At 240 pages long, All About Homophones is very comprehensive. It is divided into sections, and features everything from basic worksheets for the word and its definition to fill in the blanks to homophone cards and tons of games to play with them to crossword puzzles, limericks and tongue twisters (like the one above), and riddles.
To me, this book has lots of "pros". It's unique in its singular focus on homophones, and it covers them with far more detail than any other resource I've seen. The homophones are divided into suggested grade levels to give you some guidance as to what to introduce when. The use of crossword puzzles, tongue twisters, and riddles adds a ton of fun to something that must be learned by memory and will be a lifelong struggle if it's not. And to covers all learning styles, from visually seeing, to kinesthetic game playing, to hearing them in the riddles. It also covers different teaching styles, so if straight forward presentation is more your thing the worksheets and word/definition pages will be great for you, but if you teach in a more laid back way, the tongue twisters and riddles may be more your style.
As far as "cons" go, the biggest one I can see is the price. The print book is $29.95, and the e-book is $27.95. At 240 pages, printing the e-book, even just the pages you need, would add to the price significantly, and therefore I don't think the e-book is priced low enough. True, e-books give you a non-consumable resource, but still, I feel there should be a more sizable difference in the price. And while this resource is meant to cover grades 1-8, it still might be a hefty price for one topic in one subject, and certainly one that will be supplemental to whatever other curriculum you are currently using for language arts.
Luckily, I have a special offer if you are interested in the product, but want it at a better price! FOR THIS WEEK ONLY, you can get $10 off either version! Simply go to All About Homophones' website HERE and enter the word FUN in the customer code box when you order. This offer is only good through February 2nd, so be sure to order now to get the best deal!
So what's the bottom line? I think this is a really well put together book. It has tons of activities and I definitely need to cover this material with my kids because these are some of their most common spelling errors. BUT, I'm probably too thrifty to buy it full price. I would consider getting the e-book at the $10 off price though. I like the e-book format because there is no shipping and it's always there and you can print the number of pages you need.
To read what other members of the TOS Crew have to say, go HERE.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The dog was at the vet since we had been out of town and they were closed by the time we got back. And that night was going to be in the 20's. So first we set up this cozy abode for the cat, but he decided being an indoor caged kitty was HIGHLY overrated and whined until we let him back out. So I went and brought the bunny in instead. And he stayed in for 2 days. He's litter trained, and so easy and quiet and nice. Maybe we'll keep the bunny inside and throw the dog outside, LOL.
(That's broken up ice on the bottom of our slide...the kids used a steak knife to break it up. OIY!) This was our third hard freeze night in a row.
But by the afternoon we were doing this
Yep, that's them filling the small turtle pool with water. Their "unique" attire is from the circus they dreamed up to perform for me (it was really quite good). TJ and Sari both ended up getting wet, but by this time the temp was in the 70's and they did not seem to mind.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
We encountered what will probably be the first of many challenges with Sari's name. Those of you who know us know Sari isn't her real name. She has one of the double first names...like Mary Jane...that always leaves people feeling unsure whether you really mean Mary Jane or whether Mary is close enough. I can totally relate. I feel the same way. Especially when the names are, well, odd. And seemingly don't go together. I mean, Mary Jane is acceptable; old fashioned and sweet. But if someone introduces their daughter as Justine Elizabeth, you know your first gut reaction is to assume that the name she is called by is Justine, and not Justine Elizabeth. Or Alexis Macaiah. Do you really call her that? And isn't one of those usually a BOY's name? But once you know the child, and get over that initial weird feeling, you realize that their name is their name, and it fits them.
Anyway, all I can say is that God gave me Sari's name. I mean that earnestly. I knew the moment that she was conceived that I was pregnant, it was a girl, and her name was to be the name she has. And neither name had every been a consideration for any of our other kids. It was a God thing.
So at the Pastor's Conference one of the wonderful teachers in her class just didn't get the double name thing and constantly referred to her by just the first name. Sari doesn't answer to that. Honestly, she doesn't even realize that people are talking to or about HER if they just use the first part of her name.
So there's the quandary. Do you correct the nice lady who keeps saying "Mary" to her instead of "Mary Jane" and writes "Mary" on her paperwork and belongings? Or do you just let it go since the other volunteers seem to get it and you are only there for a short time? For the record I did just let it go because I abhor awkward situations, but then I felt bad because I was perpetuating her ignorance. On the flip side, today someone introduced Mimi as Elizabeth, and I did correct them, and felt even worse because I abhor awkward situations and correcting another adult is one of those too.
So what to do?
Somehow I think I'm going to have lots of opportunities to figure it out over the next few years :-).
Sunday, January 18, 2009
So I'm blogging and reading blogs instead.
Yea, that'll help :-).
Okay, off to bed so I can get up early and get it all done.
See you Wednesday evening.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Sari and I went yesterday to one of my husband's website clients to take some pictures for their website. Sari modeled some of the clothes and fell in love with this dress. She's hoping Nana and PopPop will buy it for her to wear for Easter. I have to say, I was really expecting the prices to be much higher than they were. This dress was $38 I think...not bad for a she-she shop in Downtown MD.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Who are these visitors?
The Robins. No, not a family called the Robins. The birds. Apparently, they view our camphor tree as an all-you-can eat smörgåsbord. Other than the challenges in painting a wall under the tree when berries and, well, berry eating bird by-products are constantly falling on it, they are wonderful to have around. There are literally HUNDREDS of them. Their song is amazing to hear. Scott called it a symphony, and that's truly what it sounds like. Here are some pictures of a few of our friends :-).
Friday, January 9, 2009
I am choosing this photo for a few reasons. First, we were at this grove gleaning and the homeowner was unaware that this hive was even here...it was NEW since the last day or two. But also, this type of hive is apparently rare. It's an "open" hive-it has no outer walls, and it was totally NEW to me. I've never seen, let alone heard of one before. It was amazing to see. (Click on the photo to see it better.) It almost looked fake-the combs are so white-but it was very real, and they were calling someone to move the hive a.s.a.p. Open hives don't last long since they are especially susceptible to the weather so getting them relocated quickly was important for the safety of anyone in the grove and for the survival of the bees.
To participate in Thematic Photography, go HERE.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Exciting News from TOS!
Grab your pencils and get those creative juices flowing!
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is hosting our second Storytime Writing Contest! We have two creative fiction categories: adults (16 and up 2,500 words or less) and children (15 and below 1,500 words or less). Deadline to enter is March 16, 2009. $7.95 fee per entry.
Grand prize winners in both the adult and child categories will receive prize packages valued at over $1,000, publication in the Summer 2009 issue of TOS, and publication in our Storytime 2009 Compilation E-Book. Eleven Honorable Mentions from each category will also be included in the E-Book in addition to receiving gifts from top homeschool companies.
We look forward to reading your entries!
For a detailed list of prizes, official contest rules, to meet our judges, and to upload your story, please visit: www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com/Short_Story_Contest.php.
Need help teaching writing? We have over 200 writing products in the Schoolhouse Store!
Mimi and H. in the skate park Dec. 2006. Mimi had just gotten her Heely's for Christmas.
This is my maternal Great Grandmother (her name was Alberta Minerva...NO ONE is named after here, LOL), my mom's mom, my brother in front of her, me, my mom, and my sister circa 1981-2 ish. It's four generations of ladies in our family. Those of you who know my nephew Bam-Bam will probably see a huge resemblance between him and my sister in this picture.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
SO let me tell you a little about good, and bad, customer service.
Companies with good customer service generally make good products and stand behind them. Companies with bad customer service are out to make a buck, and once you've given them your money, your happiness is not their concern. Companies with good customer service recognize the value of human to human contact. Companies with bad customer service have endless phone trees with no hope of ever reaching a real person.Companies with good customer service believe the customer is always right and empower their employees to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. Companies with bad customer service teach their employees to apologize endlessly for your situation, but leave them incapable to do anything for you other than offering sympathy.
I could go on, but I'll give you an example.
Today, I was on the phone for close to 2 HOURS with Sears. Yep, 2 HOURS. I got hot flashes from the heat of the receiver being held up to my head that long.
Why the long call? I realized today that we purchased our Fridge around a year ago, and that our warranty was, or would be, up soon. We've had to have the ice maker/dispenser fixed FOUR times this year, on our new, $1200 Fridge, so I was a bit concerned that things might get costly now that we had no warranty, and I wanted to know what Sears was willing to do about it. (I refuse to buy the extended warranty to have coverage-I shouldn't have to PAY extra for a warranty for a product with a proven track record of breaking.)
Turns out my warranty ran out 4 days ago. And since I was neither a) currently under my 1 year warranty or b) under the extended warranty, the general song and dance was that they could do nothing for me. Never mind that with 4 service calls in one year, the repair tech was meant to recommend they replace my Fridge, but since he didn't we are out of luck on that front. Seriously. I first called the repair department and explained that I wasn't currently having a problem, but I anticipated I would when the weather turned warmer and I wanted to know what they were willing to do. I suggested that I'd happily swap this fridge for a different one, and probably pick something more expensive, and be more than willing to pay the difference. I also said in lieu of that, I'd happily take a FREE extended warranty so Sears could demonstrate to me that they had faith in my product even though I did not.
My conversations went something like this:
Call Sears repair. Talk to phone tree (I HATE TALKING to the phone tree-some child always walks up right then and confuses the computer and I'm back at square one). Wait on hold for 10 minutes. Talk to the Hispanic lady in the service dept. who probably arrived on the boat yesterday. It was that bad. After explaining my above situation, she apologized immensely, said she couldn't help me, and transferred me to the warranty dept. Wait on hold 15 minutes. Speak to an Asian gentleman who also had a... language challenge. Explain the whole situation. Have him put me on hold for 3 minutes 3 different times, only to have him come back with, "I'm showing you purchased your refrigerator in 1993..." (Yep, I did, but not THIS one...this one was purchased last year, hence my complaint...THAT one worked FINE until it died 14 1/2 years later...I'd happily take it back now though.) Tell him he's looking at the wrong fridge. Wait for him to put me on hold twice more for 3 minutes each, only to come back and try to SELL me the extended warranty. When I said I'd love one, but I want it for FREE, he said he couldn't help me and transferred me to National Customer Relations. Wait on hold there for 15 minutes. Speak to someone who seems to have a decent command of the language, but horribly lacking a grasp on my problem. He listens to my whole story, and then tells me I need to call a department called "One Source". He patches me to them. I again wait 10 minutes for someone to answer. They listen to the whole story, apologize over and over, sympathize, but say they are unable to do anything for me. They do call the "Lemon Law" dept. who informs me that had the warranty not expired FOUR days ago, AND had I purchased the extended warranty, they could help me, but I'm out of luck without that extended warranty, lemon or no. They transfer me back to, are you ready for this? The National Customer Relations. I wait over 15 minutes, someone picks up, and must have hit the disconnect button on accident, and the line goes dead. ARGGGGGGG!!!!!
I call the home repair number again. I wait 15 minutes again. The guy answers and gives me the national customer relations number, but can't transfer me there. I want to cry. I hang up and call the NCR. Over 15 minutes later, a wonderful girl named Emily FINALLY gets my problem and gets me to the right place. She puts me through to the Blue Ribbon Department at the Executive Office where I speak to Sandra. Sandra totally feels bad about the whole thing and offers me.....
a FREE extended warranty
for 6 months
Are you KIDDING ME?????? Two hours on the phone. A $1200 year old fridge with 4 service calls already. And the best they can do is 6 months of free warranty. I am SO not buying any appliances from Sears again. Very disappointing, but at least it was something. I figure if it breaks in that time I will pursue them doing more for me. If not, we'll cross that bridge in June. At least now I know what department to ask for.
Here's an example of good customer service. TJ had a Rescue Hero whose hand fell off. I called the company, and they sent us a new one, no questions asked.
Also, we received as a gift a Little People farm. One of the chicken figures didn't get molded correctly and only had one foot, although it still worked fine. I called just to let them know there might be a problem. They sent me a $15 coupon to buy a whole new set. For a wonky looking but totally functional figurine. The company in both situations? Fisher Price. I am a customer for life. THEY stand behind their products 100%. They know what customer service looks like and then they take it to the next level.
So there you have it. Two big brands. Two good old American companies. Two different approaches to customer service. Time will tell, but Sears hasn't been doing well in recent years, and I'm sure their pathetic customer service is a large part of that. It's disappointing, but it's their choice where they place their priorities, and customer service clearly isn't one of them.
So if you own a company, take this to heart. Treat your customers like you'd want your favorite grandmother to be treated. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Positive experiences will spread via word-of-mouth like wild fire. But so will negative ones. And you don't get a second chance, especially not in the internet age. Do what is right the first time, and your business will prosper. Don't treat your customers right and you will reap what you sow.
Wow! This is another product I had never even heard of, but when I did, I figured it would be right up my son's (and my husband's) alley. Insight Technical Education offers a series of books and/or CD-ROMs that guide students in an introduction to, and a honing of, technical art. They also offer products that teach accounting, drafting, and graphic design, but I did not look over those.
The first product we looked at was called Vision-Dexterity-Focus. It was developed at the request of parents and teachers specifically for challenged learners. It features thicker lines and less detail than their higher level products and is recommended for ages 5 and up. I can't say enough good things about this. Not just because the kids produce some really cool drawings, but because it provided a tremendous boost in my son's self esteem. He kept saying things like, "I can't believe I did it. It looks great. I'm going to show all my friends." To hear my eleven year old son say those things is amazing. To thing it is all because of a little sketch is even more dumbfounding. My son had done chalk pastels before, and produced some really nice work, but when it come to pencil and paper, he is limited to stick figures...and not good ones at that. To see him flourish as he did these technical drawing was great. The Vision-Dexterity-Focus book is a great introduction to this type of art whether your child is challenged or not, and it provided an introduction to basic shapes as well as orthographic projection, isometric projection, and perspective; all things that are vitally important to drafting and graphic design. But they are introduced by way of having students complete the sketch, so while they SEE the difference in the projections (2 dimension vs. 3, and differences in how many faces of the object you can see), they don't have to figure it out themselves, so it's not intimidating.
The other product we reviewed was the Advanced Complete-A-Sketch. This one is for ages 10 and up/middle school, and it is a CD. It does everything the Vision-Dexterity-Focus book does and WAY more. As you can see from the cover of the CD (above) the students learn to draw some really cool, and really intricate, designs. The sample page doesn't show up as well because the guide lines on these really are smaller and thinner. In addition to lots of cool machines and structures to draw, there are also 3-D models to print out and assemble. And the CD has bonus features with over 100 files to look at related to CAD (Computer Aided Design) technologies.
I can't think of any "cons" for the products that we tried. The products are non-consumable (unless you chose to consume the book). You are allowed to make copies for personal use and your child is encouraged to practice completing the shape free-handed, drawing the shape free-handed, and also drawing it using tools like a ruler, protractor and compass. My son preferred using the tools to complete the sketches. I figured he would :-).
To play off a popular commercial slogan, for me, it's like this:
Purchasing Complete-A-Sketch Vision-Dexterity-Focus $18
Hearing my son say, "I did it mommy! I finally found something I'm good at!" Priceless :-)
Go HERE to see what other TOS Crew members had to say about these products and some of the others that Insight Technical Education offers.
Monday, January 5, 2009
KinderBach has a printed piano series, but what we were asked to review was their online curriculum. Their target age range is 3-7 and they seek to introduce them to many fundamentals of music over the course of 60 weeks of lessons which you student works through at their own pace. Each lesson involves watching a short video on the computer and usually doing an accompanying activity. The activities vary; sometimes it's a worksheet, sometimes it's clapping the beats to a song, sometimes it's playing short pieces on the piano.
My 7 year old son has been using the program for a few months now. My 3 1/2 year old daughter has "audited" it-she has done and watched much of what he's done, but she has done it on her own with no help from me. KinderBach has many "pros" going for it. First, they have hit their target audience very well in terms of how the materials are presented. I hear my youngest repeating things she's learned when she sits down at the piano to "play" just like her siblings. I'm impressed with the musical concepts she's picked up just by being exposed to the information in a very child oriented way. And my son has really enjoyed it. He does about a week's worth of work at each sitting, and doesn't even think of it as "school" but as a fun thing he gets to do. KinderBach is good about telling you what materials will be needed for each lesson, and is very multi-sensory. The kids cut and color things, march to the beat of songs, and tap rhythm instruments in addition to sitting at the piano/keyboard or at the computer for their lesson. The lessons are short enough to cover each topic but not exhaust a young child's attention span. Also, parents do not have to know anything about music for their children to be able to use this program successfully. And the price can't be beat. If you pay by the month, it is $14.95 a month. If you pay for a year at a time, it is $85.95 a year which makes is $7.16 a month. ("Real" piano lessons run between $15 and $20 a half hour.)
The bottom line for me is that my son wants to continue doing KinderBach and he's never shown an interest in piano before despite (or maybe because of) having a brother who plays well. I think KinderBach is definitely best suited to the 3-7 age range, but it impressive that they even try to reach so young since many piano teachers won't take on Pre-K'ers. KinderBach is an amazing value. I know, because I write checks out to our piano teacher every month.
And KinderBach use some creative and easy to remember ways of introducing notes and their "homes" on the keyboard (see above) which has really worked for my son. KinderBach offers a FREE two week trial, so you might as well check it out and see what you think. I'm sure you won't regret it. Go HERE to try KinderBach for yourself.
To see what other TOS Crew members think, go HERE.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
It's kind of like the never ending project. We have a LOT of house. And in some places, it has three different levels to paint. Even with Kiwi's husband's help, we are still only about half done.
Here you can see the upper level over the roof on the right, the middle level, and the still white lowest level. It's a lot to paint...
I'm not photogenic under the best of circumstances, but I'm publishing this because it shows the level of sheer exhaustion we are at...this was about 12:30 New Year's Day. All three of us girls sat down under the quilt for a short break before going to my mom's and were asleep in no time. Oh, and I still LOVE my quilt :-).
It was funny that these Kids Wealth Money Kits were actually being discussed by several members of my homeschool group the day they arrived on my doorstep. One mother had seen them at the homeschool conference but not bought them and was now trying desperately to remember the name of the program so she could order them online. Another mother chimed in with not only the name, but a glowing review. So you can imagine I was excited to open the package and dig in when it arrived on my doorstep later that day!
I was not disappointed. Kids Wealth is exactly what I have been looking for and more. For years, I had been looking for a system of allowing the kids to allocate their money into different categories. My sister even saved her formula containers for us so each kid could have 3 piggy banks-"bank", "church", and "stuffmart". Bank was obviously for long term savings, church was their tithe, and stuffmart was for spending on whatever they wanted. The problem? I have 4 kids, and 12 formula canisters take up more room than we have anywhere. The kids were too young to keep them in their rooms without me finding money everywhere, so unfortunately, our system fell by the wayside.
Below is some information directly from their website since they explain the kits better than I ever could:
The KidsWealth™ Money Management Program is a roadmap for parents striving to teach their kids the value of money and have them form wealthy and successful habits around managing money. This program will provide you with a quick and easy three-step plan that will guide your kids toward a wealthy future – one that they deserve. The KidsWealth™ Money Kit contains everything that you need to help your kids develop successful habits that are a foundation of financial success.Kids Wealth is a totally different idea from any other money system you've ever seen. The idea is to actually teach kids how to manage their finances from an early age. Their five wallets are divided as follows: Wealth-30% of their money goes into a wallet (and then eventually into some investment mechanism of your choice) for long term provision, Learn-20% goes into their Learn wallet and is meant to be spent every month on some educational based product like books or zoo tickets or field trip souvenirs, etc., Fun-20% goes into their Fun wallet for them to spend on whatever they want like a new toy or candy at the checkout line, etc., Plan-20% goes toward planning for a "large ticket" purchase-something they have to save up to buy, Angel-10% goes toward an Angel fund whether it's tithing to your church or giving to a favorite charity or buying a toy for Toys for Tots, etc. All these wallets, and the calculator, pencil, and other program materials fit into the portfolio so they are stored neatly. Each child MUST have their own Kit for this to work.
Parents Guide: Teaches you the simple 3-step program to set up the KidsWealth Money Kit which takes only about 30 minutes to get started.
Kid's Guide: The Kal & Pals characters teach your children what each Account Wallet is for and how to use them properly.
Account Wallets: The five account wallets are color-coded, durable and portable; perfect for young kids getting hands on experience with real money.
Kid's Pay Calendar with Kid's Pay Stickers: Because our program recommends parents pay their kids once or twice a month, the calendar and stickers allow the kids to keep track of their Kid's Pay days, decorated with wonderful scenes of Kal & Pals.
Kid's Pay Agreement: An agreement between you and your kids saying that you'll pay them their set Kid's Pay consistently and that they'll allocate and manage their Kid's Pay according to the Program.
The Money Kit also comes with 5 KidsWealth Pencils, a Calculator and decorative Kal & Pals stickers.
Initially, I felt like the one "con" I could see was that the money they are allocating into these wallets is meant to come from YOU, and is supposed to be half of what you normally spend on your child's "wants" each month. They give you a list of these wants in the Parents Guide. I wasn't sure this program would work for us because we don't give the kids any allowance, they don't get money from relatives for birthdays or holidays, etc., and I felt like I don't really spend much on them that isn't necessary. Plus, we are a one income, six person family and we don't ever get to the end of a month thinking, "hmmm, here's an extra $400, what should I do with that?" The examples given in the parent guide was a tad unrealistic I felt, since their easy reference charts are for $50, $100, and $150 a month-NOT going to happen in my house! But the more I reviewed the Kids Wealth list of wants, and then spent a week or so really evaluating my habits, I realized that I DO spend small amounts of money on my kids a few times a month. When we go to Sea World, I typically buy them a snack to share when we are leaving. At JoAnns, I sometimes allow them to get a piece of candy when we checkout. And from time to time we offer financial incentive for helping with extra tasks around the house. But that doesn't amount to much, so my husband and I prayed and decided $10 a month each was do-able. We also are adding to Kids Wealth's program and offering an extra $10 bonus each month for being consistent for a whole month with some task of our choosing-keeping their room clean for a whole month is the first one, but no one has earned it yet.
We are loving the Kids Wealth system and so are the kids. It is so freeing to be able to say "Yes" when they ask for something...but then follow that up with, "How much money do you have in your "..." wallet. Usually for us it's them asking for a toy or candy, and so they have to see if they have enough money in their "Fun" wallet to afford it, and if that is really what they want to buy with that money. Typically, they decide that emptying their wallet for a piece of candy is NOT the best use of their funds. And that's the beauty of this system, it teaches them at an early age the skills they will need for financial security and maturity as an adult.
I can't recommend the Kids Wealth Money Kits highly enough. They are available HERE for $39.93 each. While that may seem like a lot, this is a tool for a lifetime, and $40 now may save you a small fortune in the future! It really is essential that each child have their own kit too, but I think in the long run it is well worth it.
To see what other TOS Crew members had to say, go HERE.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Copy, paste, and bold what you have done!
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Gone rollerskating
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill-I had to call in sick for my WEDDING...they did not give me the day off when they did the schedule!
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon-I worked the Disney one for several years-I walked the same mile over 26.2 times, but I've never run one :-)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors-I'm with Marie...how far back and on all sides or just one? I'm into geneology, so I've done all the US ones and have been to England too.
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Acted in a play or performed on stage
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie-no, but a music video and some ads/publicity stuff
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person-I don't think flying over it counts.
80. Published a book -well, my 3rd grade gifted class did, and I have a story in it-does that count?
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Won money
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury-but I tried...I just didn't get chosen
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Had to put someone you love in Hospice Care
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day