Tuesday, April 1, 2014

K5 Learning Review


Sometimes you just can't say no...

I was recently approached by the K5 Learning team to do a review of their program which includes math, reading and spelling. I really haven't done a review of something that I wasn't sure that I would love it. Fortunately or unfortunately sugar coating isn't something I have had much practice with. The customer service gal was so nice and sweet so I went for it. 

My little Cam Ditty, 5, was attempting to teach himself to read. He isn't in Kindergarten yet and wanted to go to school, but with this new fangled garbage known as The Common Core (frankly it makes me want to type those words with my big toe because I don't want to touch it) Cam isn't going to public Kindergarten. Many of you do not know that I am a homeschooling mom too. My oldest homeschools at the High School level, she started in 8th grade and has been back and forth and she was a product of Everyday Math. You will know in about 5 minutes why that is important. 

That being said, I actually loved the K5 Learning Program! Here is why:

Unclutter your desk, unclutter your mind. We have used some other online tutors and the colors were bright and the pages were so cluttered that it made it hard to learn, with K5 that is a non-issue. The program picks the lesson, the colors are traditional and the page is clear. The child gets to focus on the work without being concerned about everything else they need or want to do, to me that is genius. In keepin the page this way, it encourages diligence on the child's part and when walking away from the screen the child isn't overwhelmed wondering what the heck just happened.

Math Drills. This is huge. Remember how I said my daughter was a product of Everyday Math? Everyday Math does not drill math facts. It works in a spiral so you hear about it and come back to it, but the kids never actually know it as quickly as necessary, or possibly at all. My 8th grader did not know her multiplication tables, yet she passed math with flying colors up until the 8th grade. Had I not homeschooled her, I would have had no clue how insufficient the program was. Math drills are a must, and K5 has a fantastic way to achieve that, read below.

Not everyone can get a trophy. This is the fundamental basis of my whole parenting philosophy. Children need to know that everyone should not be praised for a sub-par job. K5 lets the child know in an encouraging way that the answer is simply not correct. K5 doesn't give a high five for a wrong answer, it expects the right one and therefore the child must think about the problem and answer accordingly. On the math drills it shows how many were right AND how many you completed quickly enough. Encouraging, but not a high-five for less than what was expected.

Life isn't always fun and games. This is the second rung on the parenting ladder. Life can be fun but before that you better be ready for some hard work. K5 prides itself on being a program solely based on education. It is known that when you log on you will learn something or practice what you already have learned. This is another way K5 really gets it right! Teaching kids that learning isn't always a fancy video game should be pretty high on our parental list of musts, in doing so our children not only learn that getting a job done is the reward but to also to find joy in what you already have. Cam found it HILARIOUS that his "teacher" used voices in reading the story, he was giggling and it kept him wanting to come back- he found joy in what he had.

How well do you spell? Incorrect spelling, regardless of intelligence, makes a person appear uneducated. Spell Check doesn't work when you don't know that you need it, or if you don't click on it. My children's public school, which is in the top 1%, cut their spelling program. I knew several kids that had already graduated from the district that had severely poor spelling. My kids still can't spell. My husband has reviewed resumes from recent graduates who had terrible spelling. It is really sickening seeing young adults go into the workforce without the fundamental skills to communicate correctly and efficiently. Imagine a doctor who can't spell, where will that get you? One word, dead. K5 has a spelling program, just like when we were kids. It never occured to me that we could be the last generation of spellers. Spelling is necessary! If your kid can't spell, it will impede his or her learning which will affect their ability to get a job forcing them to live at home longer than socially acceptable.

Read me. After the reading lesson is a set of questions. When I first heard the questions for my pre-K/Kindergartener I was worried that they were a little complex for his age. It seems like K5 planned for this and showed the picture from the story with the question. You don't need ridiculous, fuzzy questions or explanations and lessons on context clues! K5 puts them there, on screen without explanation, for a child to use when they are ready. This really shows the high expectations from K5 with the research and keen understanding of children behind the program that makes independent learning achievable.

Do you copy me? Worksheets. K5 has a bunch of worksheets, they are organized neatly and easy to find. I didn't print any but looked through them and there seemed to be plenty for all grades.

Cash, Check or Charge. K5 has a 14 day free trial. And by free I mean FREE. No credit card required, it doesn't get any freer than that, folks. After the trial it is $25 per month for the first child, $15 each additional it is a pretty good deal! Now if we could talk them into a family rate and have some high school level courses I would stand on the side of the road with a sign as a human advertisement. Not really, but you get the point!

Overall, I believe that K5 is essential to build a foundation for your child's learning- especially if the child attends a public school. I have said over and over The Common Core is like putting a kid without balance and fear in roller skates on an escalator. Without the skills and knowledge to know better, someone is bound to get hurt. K5 gives kids the skills and knowledge necessary to combat Common Core, and quite possibly be a step ahead of their peers by having their math facts memorized.

Next fall when Cam is homeschooling for Kindergarten, there is a 99% chance that K5 Learning will be part of our educational plan. I am seriously contemplating it for my second and fifth grader too, and will probably use it as a supplement if I can convince the hubs to let me homeschool all of them!


I did not get paid for this review, although I did receive a 6 week free trial, to review the site. The opinions are my own and not sugar coated. I do not normally do reviews and this is not a review blog, it is a humor blog. I do not find humor in uneducated or under-educated children, therefore the nature of this blog post is serious and I stand behind my opinions posted in the article as they are my own and what I consider to be the truth. 



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Announcement

Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages I have an announcement to make.

Nope. Not preggers. Carter isn't walking and I am NOT running for president. Here is the scoop:

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program. 

Now before you think I have turned to the dark side and started putting cash in front of my peeps, you are wrong. While I am getting to use this for free, I will be completely honest. Since we are being honest I get review offers fairly often and I always decline, but here is the catch: I need this. Cam ditty is about to cross the line and get himself signed up for the big K. I really want to homeschool him and keep his crazy antics and hilarious little spirit all to myself, BUT, there is one thing that is holding me back. The R word. It is, in my opinion, THE most important factor in education. Reading. And it gives hives, for real. I have been doing a free  homeschool Kindergarten program I found online with him since the beginning of the year but it doesn't seem to really be teaching THAT much.

Cam is trying to teach himself to read but I am afraid, because I am clueless as how to teach him. CLUELESS! I read and read all these blogs and books and everyone has a different approach, by the time I am done I am chugging Benadryl to clear my unsightly rash. 

I am truly excited about this.  I homeschool my oldest right now, Cam and possibly 4 ( he's the spitfire) next year. 2 and 3 maybe the year after that, if I can convince the husband that they are getting a quality education.  Don't worrry folks, I won't let you down. Give me about 6 weeks and you will know how it went.

Now I am off to help a 4th grader make a 3D Under Armour Valentine box. It includes working with sharp objects, tape, glue, paper, and paint. I can feel your jealousy...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hoping for Herpes

The moment when you know something is going to be bad so you hope for the lesser of two evils. That is where we are now. Herpes.

My daughter K, is 12. This poor girl has been through some shit. Mono,constant strep and sinus infections. Delays. Sensory issues. She hates change. She hates people. Eczema. Food allergies/intolerance. Joint pain. But it all changed around 6. It was like her little body went to rehab and got it's shit together. Almost.

She has been getting these sores in her mouth. She is a preteen girl. Complaining is as natural as breathing. Without thought, and constant.  I love the kid, but wow. 

When her sores caused her enough grief that she stopped eating, I took her to the doctor. Lucky for us we got the NP, the very one who told me not just 3 months before that my son's episodes were normal (turns out seizures are normal because he has epilepsy). There have been a few other times that she blew something off and it actually turned out to be something.

Anyway, K went in and the lady said she had herpes. Granted they were all inside her mouth and nobody else had any, but whatever. We went on to explain she had had these sores for years straight. 

She didn't believe it.

She told K to make a journal and if she had a sore everyday for the next month then she would call infectious disease.

She did the diary. Multiple sores. Everyday.

I called the NP. She didn't even remember what she said. I refreshed her memory and she gave us the number for infectious disease.

Months later, we got an appointment. We see the ID doc, on our own dime because our insurance sucks.

Surprise.  Probably not herpes. She sends K for bloodwork. 

It's autoimmune. 

I am just sick over this. I hate it. I was reading this diary/log of my daughter's and she has pain everyday. Everyday.

I feel like a Grade A asshole. I was so used to her complaining, I never really heard her. I took her to a rheumatologist when she was young, she got diagnosed with something- which they do nothing for and I don't even remember the name they gave for it, it's in paperwork somewhere.

Hopefully whatever it is has not been wrecking havoc on the inside of her body for the past 8 years.  I heard so many ailments for so long that I just stopped listening, and I shouldn't have. This girl, my sweet little girl, has been walking around in pain and has had nobody to help her. I feel absolutely terrible for it, for her. I thought I had all the answers I needed to form an opinion of hypochondria. Maybe I didn't.

Beyond that, what makes me mad also is that if the NP would have looked in her chart for 30 seconds she would have seen that she had other issues. She would have seen that at 4 she had bloodwork that was off. She would have pointed us in the right direction months ago. 

We visited the rheumatologist. They swabbed her sore and sent her for probably another several grand worth of bloodwork. 

We were informed that another lab was slightly elevated, too. One that I don't want to talk about. It's an ugly word and an ugly disease and she doesn't have it. She just can't.

So we wait for results believing some dipshit in the lab had to have spilled the blood and was just winging it with the numbers. The technician may be dyslexic. Maybe foreign and reads from right to left. I'm hoping for herpes.....


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Grinch on the shelf...

I wouldn't call myself The Grinch. Maybe his drinking buddy/conscience that rarely tells him when he has gone too far. I mean, we have a tree. It is decorated. I made the kids do it and it looks like the Grinch and I decorated it blindfolded drunk and left handed, but it is done.

I am fine with people and their holiday cheer. For the most part. Its like herpes... probably a good idea to let people know you have it but not so much to rub it in some one's face or to share panties with.

Christmas sweaters are good. Saying HO HO HO instead of hello, strange but acceptable- unless that person is actually a Ho and then you have just taken things too far. Wear a Santa hat to Wal-Mart, you will probably be asked where the restrooms are more times than you would like, but that is your prerogative. Putting some antlers on your car is sure to prove you're a Christmas badass.

And then there is The Elf on the Shelf. I am just not THAT kind of mom. I will jump on the couch with you. I will listen to you practice the same song on your violin 386 thousand times- there is bound to be a drink break, but it will still happen. I will watch every Home Alone with you,except 5 that one is stupid. I will throw a ball to you until I can't move my arm for the next week. But I will not buy a tiny little elf and have it do stupid shit to prove that he is real. Stupid stuff happens all the time. For instance, I just found a turd in the shower. I could blame it on the elf, but we all know the kid with poor wiping skills just took a shower.

Anyway, I had a little run in with a lady yesterday. Of course the elf came up. I think that all the pics on Facebook are cute. The blog posts, all of it. I just am not willing to take the time. I will forget or loose it and then kids are crying and I am destroying the house trying to locate the miniature derelict and my patience is fried by 7 am. NOT WORTH IT..

Here is the scene:

The youngest boy, girl and I walk in. The lady immediately walks over to talk. I attract the crazies, people, it is like my bra has a magnet in it. She comes over and is talking about Santa. And then the conversation goes south.

Lady: What is your Elf's name?

Boy:  looks at her like she is bat.shit.crazy

Lady: Oh you should get an Elf. Blah a blah... gag me with a stick blah blah I am the most amazing mom-ish creature on the face of this earth and you should do everything like I do. I should write the ten effing mom commandments, gag gag blah.

Breathe.

Lady: Why don't you have an Elf of the Shelf?

Me: That little bastard would hitch hike straight to hell because hanging out with Lucifer is less work.

Lady:  looks down at Cam and says "you want an Elf on the Shelf don't you?"

Bitch has crossed the line. I am pissed, not willing to go to jail pissed, but seriously STFU pissed. So I am just keeping my mouth shut. barely.

Lady:  Seriously, that doll is life changing..

Me: So was Chuckie...

And I just walked away.

Seriously, lady. I had three kids before you found your first pubic hair. Don't tell me what makes a good parent. The only people who can tell me that is Jesus and Child Protective Services. And if either of them tell me I need to get an Elf. I will walk through every damn neighborhood in the state of Missouri to track down your antler raped mini van and steal yours...


Friday, December 20, 2013

Fly on the wall: December

Karen's brainchild, my family. You are officially a fly on my wall...
Don't forget to check out all the other fabulous walls, I hear some of them bring food- or recipes at least...

Who we are...
Me- Fat Amy (Duncan)
R-A 15 year old teen girl.
K-An 11 year old girl
G-A 10 year old boy
Griff-7year old boy
Cam Diddy-5 year old boy
Carter-7 month old girl

We have been battling illnesses and ridiculous schedules so it may be a little lame...well, lame for my house...

We hosted Thanksgiving, it turned out fine. Except the hubs decided to put the turkey carcass in the garage fridge. Well I wasn't privy to this information and found it a week later when I went to put a gallon of milk out there. Cam Diddy thought  there was a robber in the garage and brought a broom out to protect me.

Carter had her first ear infection. She didn't handle the antibiotics well. If you feel the need to know more about her crap crusade scroll down a little further. At the very least it will help out your diet.

R has a thing about bad friend choices. This extends to boyfriend choices. It may have been mentioned that a certain friend choice was a one way ticket to the Maury  Show.

The insurance company overturned their denial, so Carter is getting the RSV shots. A HUGE relief.

That being said, I took Carter out in public, real public- not an outside baseball game or hiding in a corner not fully being able to see a kid's game. I got to sit at a restaurant for G's 10th birthday. It felt so weird. The last time I have been in real public was in March before the whole hospital bedrest/preemie shenanigan began.

Carter was cleared by the Opthamologist, her few little issue from being a preemie cleared up on their own!

Cam told me a joke. He informed me that he was going to tell his Grandma (mil) but he was going to tell her it was my joke and see if she liked it first. And if she likes it he was going to tell her it was his, if not "well", and he shrugged shoulders.

Took Carter for a re-check on her ear, and turned out that the antibiotics didn't work and she had an ear infection in the other ear too. But the NP was shocked that she was ten weeks early because of how big she was. 14 pounds even... 10 pound and 10 ounces bigger.

Carter started smacking her lips to blow a kiss and holding her arms out to be held. And accidentally threw a Ma in with her jabbering. Now if she could mix in a little roll over or sitting up...

R finally made a club volleyball team. After so many try outs and a couple of alternate positions she made a team. A team that ranked a lot higher than the others and that I didn't think she had a chance in Hell in making...

I have been trying to convince R that courtship and purity is what we believe in, it's not working. My goal is to keep her from getting knocked up, locked up or turnt up while she is under my roof. If anyone has any suggestions....

K is about to turn 12, somehow the kid lost count because the kid's attitude is like she is 16...

You can see the floor of my closet... It's been a while.

I have been spending lots of time in the boys bathroom steaming Carter, I never realized how nasty those sob's were. Seriously, it's like they squat off the sink to crap in the toilet. I am about 15 seconds from making them squat on the sink to measure and test projectory to figure out which nasty bastard is doing it... Thank God for Clorox wipes.

My chiropractor asked about my mucous plug....

5 days til Christmas and 5% of my shopping is done... 

It snowed here, we live on the corner of a main road and a big subdivision, we get to see all the action. Sobriety tests, car searches and best of all cars sliding in the snow. So the kids and I came up with this game. It's called clean or dirty, the condition of their trousers after their slide...

Go visit the rest of the gals listed below, they won't disappoint....








Friday, December 6, 2013

You would think I would know by now...

           * Weak stomached individuals need to get your shits and giggles elsewhere*

I have done this baby thing six times. You would think I would know by now...

Little Carter has an ear infection. Simple enough. Throw some antibiotics at the kid and its a day at the park. I am very allergic to penicillins, like Violet Beauregard looks anorexic compared to me just from touching it allergic. That means that my kids surpass the easy peasy and go for the big dogs. That is a game changer.

Last chance to walk away, people. Challenge accepted? It's your purse you're puking in...

Carter has a rachet stomach to begin with. The kid doesn't crap. I try to give her solids and she is purple faced for a week. Nurse her, same. Formula, same with a side of projectile vomiting. It's a real prize.

So now that you know her bowel cycle and the fact she is on antibiotics, lets reminise about what happened yesterday. Unfortunately there were sequals today. We are up to a quadrequal- a new word, your welcome.

Yesterday she was fussy and I picked her up. I felt a weird squish on her back. You know *that* squish. Skin on skin with a little moisture between. The look of horrification upon my face scared Carter. As she started to cry the contents of her diaper started to well up and spill out even more all over my arm and farther up her back. I took her upstairs to my bathroom and started the tub. I have a garden tub and a bad back. So I stripped down into my underwears and got in to hold her under the water.

I have no clue what I was thinking. I had taken off her shirt but had missed a very vital thing, the diaper. When a diaper gets soaked it swells and  it explodes. Between the turds and the diaper gel, the bathtub drain clogs.

I am literally swimming in sewage. I am trying to hold her up with one hand- since she is not quite a sitter (add an h and you are spot on) and scoop the crap-laced gel from the tub. I have this thing. I laugh at the most inappropriate times. I can't help it. You hit your head and bleed all over, I laugh until I cry. I am laughing so hard I am crying, but the thought of sitting in a tub of shat with diaper beads makes me dry heeve. So it goes a little like this. Scoop. Scoop. Gag. Laugh. Wipe tear, hoping there has been no oversplash. Scoop. Gag. You get the point.

It was UGLY. And then Carter spit. And by spit, I mean fill a bucket with curdled breastmilk. I looked at her face. When I took off her shirt somehow I had smeared poop all over her cheek and on her lip. All I can say is, I am so glad it was her own...

I wipe her face and just lay her on a towel on the floor so I can clean the tub. Get it clean so we give this another go. I put her in the tub, and get in. The water is running Cam, the 5 year old, is playing on my phone and sitting on my sink and kicking the cabinet below. The phone volume is turned all the way up. My bathroom has vaulted ceillings, so all sound travels. Carter is a preemie, and is over-stimulated very easily. All the sound was too much.

She started to cry. The more tears, the more poop. What does a 7 month old baby do when they are sitting in water? Yep. Turd-drums. Her "music" was everywhere. Her hair, my hair. Eyelashes, arm pits. Window sil, grout. All of it. Droplets of human feces and bathwater. Everywhere.

At this point I figured she was done. There couldn't possibly be more. I stood up with her and just about to get out and clean up the mess. I turned her around and said " What have you done little girl?" She smiled and put her hand in my mouth. She put her muddy water hands in my mouth. I lost it. There wasn't a dry heeve in the house.

So let's put this into perspective. Carter crapped up the water. Splashed it everywhere, put her crap-infected hand in my mouth. I puked, standing in the tub. I am stepping out of the tub and then I hear it. The ahh ahh that preceeds the choo. I turned as fast as I could and held that 13 pound turkey butt over the tub. I will never be able to look at a super soaker the same way again. Same sound, different substance.

It went a little like this: ah ah choo shpaaah splat. aaah choo schplaaaah splat. aaah schoo plllt.

The plllt was a fart. Signifying the end of the war with Carty's intestines.

Mom- 0    Crap- I can't even count, but it made me it's biotch...





Friday, November 29, 2013

Preemie Stories: Audrey Rayne

Gabriela is sharing her daughter Audrey's story. Just like my Carter, her daughter was born 10 weeks early. Sit back, grab some tissues and watch her little miracle unfold....

My daughter Audrey Rayne was born Wednesday July 17,2013 at 30 weeks weighing 2lbs 3oz (990g) and was 13 1/4 inches long. I went in for a regular check up feeling totally fine come to find that I apparently was not. My blood pressure was extremely high(triple digits on too and bottom). I had suffered from high blood pressure before my pregnancy but had discontinued my medicine for my daughters health and had gone through it with no concern. That morning my blood pressure had my doctor very worried and he immediately sent me to labor and delivery for blood work and a sonogram since my daughter felt small. Once down there a sweet nurse took me to a room since everyone else just had me sitting there waiting and she could see how worried I was. She hooked me and the baby up to a monitor and went ahead and took blood. After hooking us up to the monitor she soon realized my daughters heart rate was dropping and she was in distress as well and I was apparently having contractions. My doctor soon came down and told me "I have to get this baby out now or else she won't make it" I freaked out and began crying. Everything I thought I knew went out the window. My hopes for a natural birth, my entire birth plan, my shower, our homecoming, first holidays, everything changed in that instant, I was prepped for my emergency c-section and before I knew it my doctor was slicing my body open to save my daughters life. Then it happens. I hear this tiny kitty cat cry and I begin crying more because she was ALIVE! I was so scared that she wouldn't be alive that I wouldn't hear her cry and I did. She was brought to me after being wrapped for a quick kiss then rushed away to the NICU. My fiancé went with her and my doctor started telling me what happened and what was going to happen. He sat down my my head and said there was a small tear in your placenta and a very tight knot in the umbilical cord that was not allowing her to receive nutrients, then the nurse shows me the umbilical cord, and he tells me she's extremely small and if she doesn't meet the weight requirement she will have to be transferred to a different hospital. I go to recovery and hear nothing and don't see my daughter for several hours until my fiancé finally comes to show me pictures and tells me how feisty she is. I can't help but be happy knowing she's going to be leaving me and be in the hospital for a while. He knew she was going to get transported but didn't want to be the one to break my heart so he waited for a nurse to tell me. I finally get moved to a room and wait several hours until a transport team wheels my daughter into my room in this huge incubator to discuss the details if her transport. I heard them but only to an extent. I could not stop crying and staring at this tiny beautiful baby. They finish giving me details and it feels like the moment last so briefly because they take my daughter away and I don't get to see her aside from pictures until 5 days later when I am released. She was breathing on her own but was put on oxygen for 3 days to ensure she would maintain it. After 65 long days in the NICU my princess finally came home on September 20th 3 days before her due date. She is now a happy healthy 4 month old and at home thriving. It's amazing how far she's come.

Audrey Rayne's first pic
Audrey Rayne's first night in a crib


Audrey Rayne going home!
Look at that little cutie!

Preemie Power!
Awww!