Math – Should I Homeschool Again

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Two of my sons go to a small, private school where social distancing, mask control, and temperature taking is not as big a deal. They will start classes on August 26th. One son, though, loves his public school. This One is so social, has so much charisma, loves his three sports, his resource teacher, his speech therapist, his place in the world of Middle School. You don’t get that every day. He is beautiful in his rising 8th Grader place.

And yet…

His start date for school will likely be postponed, again. So I’m determined to see him start school on August 26th as well even if that means returning to homeschool.

With that in mind, I thought I would review a few of the curriculums we are considering. Years ago we homeschooled all four of our sons. My experience with Math curriculums included Math-U-See, Teaching Textbooks, and Horizon Math.

What I like about Math-U-See is the manipulatives. It really helped our elementary students grasp what an 8 in the hundred’s place meant vs. an 8 in the one’s place. There are online drills, worksheets, and such all aimed at math mastery. The program has print-at-home placement tests to direct you to the correct level for your student. My students aged out of the usefulness of the program around 5th Grade. They didn’t find it as engaging as they had before.

Horizon Math worked really well for our beginners. The workbooks had lots of colorful pictures and repeated concepts while adding new information in enough detail for our learning-English sons to make steady progress and retain what went before. Great for K-2nd grade. Then the repetition got to be too much, the time required from me as the teacher to prep, teach, coach got to be a bit much. $79.95 for kindergarten year.

Teaching Textbooks (TT) became our go-to Math curriculum. Each lesson taught the concepts, had practice problems, on-computer homework, periodic quizzes, and automatic grading. If you have an independent learner who loves being on the computer, this curriculum is terrific for 3rd through Pre-Calculus. Subscription for Math 4 is $43 for 12 months, and you can turn it off if you take a break/vacation. They also have books and CD’s of the courses, but those are more expensive if you complete a level of Math in 12 months. Placement Tests are provided, and there are Free Trials of each level. TeachingTextbooks strives to update, answer calls and is the most service-friendly place I’ve found. Yes, you can talk to a real person when you call. They even have a large-family plan! If you have 4 to 8 kids, the max online rate is set at $199 even if every one of your students is in a different level of math.

What will I do for our One? I’ll probably do placements for both and Horizon. Then I’ll choose one. Even though you can tell I am a big fan of TT, if his public school opening is only delayed another month or two, I might go with Horizon since I can buy one workbook that covers the Fall Semester.

There are tons of other Math programs like Saxon, Right Start, Singapore, Abeka etc. If you want an in-depth review with a chart comparing all these and more, visit homeschoolon for another mom’s perspective. She has a lot more experience, information, and even a video!

And if you happen to sign up for Teaching Textbooks, tell them the best way for them to improve in the future is to let students move up through the levels within a one-year subscription. That would put their option light years ahead of others.





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Doc said “Limit screen time,” then I saw this…

Three boys in one exam room made for more laughs during our school/sports physicals, but when the doctor told them to limit their screen time to two hours a day, jaws dropped. As parents, we probably gave our sons smartphones too early and have yet to find a solid approach for limiting their use other than turning their devices in to us at a set time each night.

Any more will be a battle, and quite frankly, it’s one I’d rather avoid.

Then I saw this article in The Atlantic: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

Check out these excerpts:

More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been….Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.

The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy. There’s not a single exception.

The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression….Teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide…

Children who use a media device right before bed are more likely to sleep less than they should, more likely to sleep poorly, and more than twice as likely to be sleepy during the day….Watching TV for several hours a day is only weakly linked to sleeping less.

Sleep deprivation is linked to myriad issues, including compromised thinking and reasoning, susceptibility to illness, weight gain, and high blood pressure.

Link to more here.



Posted by on August 9, 2019 in Parenting


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How to Turn Off the F word #PredictiveText #autofill

screen shot 2019-01-23 at 10.50.38 amI selected the Contact for a text this morning, and before I had typed one letter, my new Samsung recommended the F-word. What the heck?

Now I know how to remove words from that pesky autofill recommendation list and wanted to share this with you.

I recently made the switch from iPhone to Samsung and have been pleased for the most part. It took me awhile to train my brain to recognize the different app icons, and I have asked for help with my few issues and gotten them straightened out in short order. My only complaint about my Samsung now is “predictive text.”

My iPhone learned my most common words, like the names of my sons, really quickly. In fact, I can’t remember my iPhone ever recommending to autofill a word like “fun” into the F-word. Never recommended it to me…or any other swear words. That was one smart, smart phone.

Today I’d had enough and went searching for how to block profanity. What I found were tons of sites telling you how to get rid of phone “censorship.” Most people want to be able to swear and have complained and found tons of work-arounds. As a parent I really appreciate that some companies have auto blocking going on which can then be turned off by more mature users.

Today I learned that I can touch and hold any of the recommended words and get a prompt to “Remove” that word from my predictive text settings.  Simple as that. Yay!

As I’ve tossed around this problem in my mind today, I realized that Samsung might not be at fault. In fact, I’m pretty sure they aren’t. My son borrows my phone to do Snapchat sometimes and made use of it a good bit over the weekend.


Makes me wonder.

Maybe my next step should be to look into how to check that.

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Posted by on January 23, 2019 in Random


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In the Midst of Woes, #Messiah

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The lee stone from The Secret of NIHM.

Praising through the Bible book of Isaiah, chapter 32, verses one and two (in parentheses my words).

Behold a king will reign righteously (Our Savior)

And princes will rule justly,

Each will be like a refuge from the wind (Jesus our refuge)

And a shelter from the storm (holding us up in the storm)

Like streams of water in a dry country (Living Water for our souls)

Like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land (our shelter forevermore).

Then I read the study note for verse two, “Each is the Lord’s redeemed, as sources of protection and blessing, will reflect Him.” Jesus is this to me, and I am to be and to do this for others.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

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Posted by on January 15, 2019 in Soul Fare


Letting Go of Pretence

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What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavor, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretense of being anything, all claim or being worthy of God’s consideration…Then the Spirit will show us…  (Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest)


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Posted by on January 14, 2019 in Moments


Who Ran the US Elections? #ElectionResults2018

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Our designated Sheriff Election Officer posted all the signs required at our precinct.

Well…I did. See, awhile back the County Clerk’s Office put out the word that they were looking for people to work the election. What were the requirements for this job? Be a registered voter, show up for training, work the polls from 5:15 am till closing duties were done.

So I signed up not knowing what a moving experience it would be.

A couple weeks later I got a postcard in the mail telling me I was chosen to work as an Election Officer. My office was designated as “Judge” which sounded very important. The weight of my responsibility hit home later. My friend Laura was chosen as a “Sheriff,” a job which, sadly, does not come with a badge when it is for an Election Officer.

The day of training I raised my right hand in a room with a few hundred others to take the Oath of Election Officer. It was formal. It was solemn. And it was beautiful.

At training I learned a lot of interesting tidbits. Each voting place had one Clerk that checked everyone’s ID against the registry book, took their signatures and kept official tallies of who voted. Each place also had two judges, one a Republican and one a Democrat, who passed out ballots, gave directions on how to scan your ballot, passed out “I Voted” stickers, and answered the questions we were allowed to answer—which wasn’t very many, by the way. We also had a Sheriff who opened the doors on time and closed them right on time, who made sure no Electioneering was done on or near the premises and ensured orderly lines and movement. We all had other duties as well, but these were the highlights.

Near the end of the day our Election Officer Sheriff reminded me not to get ahead of myself tearing the ballots off the pad they were attached to because sometimes even when a person was in line with the Clerk with their ID out that person wasn’t eligible to vote at our location. Good reminder when every ballot torn from the pad or left attached had to be accounted for.

At about 7 pm when the other Judge and I drove with the Green Bag and the Black Bag to the county courthouse where the County Clerk’s Election Officer took our signed, team tallies from the sealed envelopes and passed them on to be added to others, the heart of the election process of government-by-the-people really struck home.

When we took our oath, the words we said were not the message our raised right hands actually carried. We were really saying we believe in our system of government. We support fairness. We uphold each person’s right to vote anonymously in whatever way they see fit. We will work together without regard for party even if our party designation was why we were given our position. We are the people, and we will vote. We will work. We will uphold the Constitution for every American.

Who ran the US election?

I did.

Alongside millions of others like me and different from me across our great nation.


–Kristin King

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Posted by on November 7, 2018 in In The News, Living In America


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True #Riches


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As I begin to work in an area of calling by putting together a class for handling finances according to Biblical principles, this is on my mind.

Lord help us to focus on the true riches you give to us, to see what we have more than we notice what we don’t have, and to find your best gifts.

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Posted by on September 28, 2018 in Living in Holland


How to Satisfy Our Hunger for Meaningful Work | The Stream

Found this article I wanted to share. This is not an endorsement of this media outlet or other views espoused there. They do have some interesting content. –Kristin

In 2014, the Barna Group reported that 75 percent of Americans are looking for ways to live a more meaningful life. But the search for meaning isn’t new.

Source: How to Satisfy Our Hunger for Meaningful Work | The Stream

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Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Living in Holland


Seasons of Life

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 9.26.26 AMYou find me in a different season for writing where few words come and fewer make them to the page. However, I would share with you faith bites from this season. Some from books, others from sermons or from walking day to day.

From Streams in the Desert, February 19:

It is the branch that bears the fruit,

That feels the knife,

To prune it for a larger growth,

A fuller life.

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. —Jesus (John 15:1-2)


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Posted by on August 23, 2018 in Inspiration


The Lord IS My Shepherd #Inspiration

My grandmother’s favorite scripture was the 23rd Psalm, probably the most popular poem in the history of the Bible. I didn’t understand her choice when I was young. I was so wrapped up in my life, I couldn’t see Grandy’s struggles. We lost her when I was in high school, and it’s only now as a parent that I can look back and see beyond the chicken and dumplings, fried pies, the crochet hook as she taught me to weave one thread, to a few of her trials–and her refuges.

Today I plant flag lilies given to me by my aunt who had them from my Granny. I loosen the clay soil, turn in pine shavings, peat moss, and compost, my recipe to help the plants survive and thrive in a land hard packed, weed strewn, inhospitable.

Today I read “The Lord is my shepherd”

Not was, not may be, nor will be. “The Lord is my shepherd,” is on Sunday, is on Monday, and is through every day of the week; is in January, is in December, and every month of the year; is at home, and is in China; is in peace, and, is in war; in abundance, and in penury. –J. Hudson Taylor

Today I feel my grandmother as near as our God who connects us both in faith, in Spirit, in the garden, in eternity.



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Posted by on July 10, 2018 in Inspiration, Moments


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