Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Math U See Review

Today I will be doing a review on the Math U See curriculum, namely Pre Algebra. For years I have struggled with grasping math and all of its components. I have tried multiple curricula including: Rod and Staff Math, Teaching Textbooks, Saxon Math, and I have even tried Life of Fred. I at last simply settled with Rod and Staff Math, working through the large amounts of work and struggling to get it all finished while still keeping track of all I was learning. A friend of mine recommended Math U See as a way she found to conquer her math problems. I thought I would give it a try.

I started with Pre Algebra to give myself a refresher on what I had already known, to be able to get used to the new curriculum. Each level in the Math U See curriculum come with a DVD, teacher's text book, a student workbook, and a test booklet. For older students, the manipulatives are optional, I found them handy for certain problems, but not necessary. At first, when I received all of the components, I was a little confused. After reading through the introduction and watching the first video on the DVD, I started to understand how it all works.

After watching your lesson on the DVD, you will go to your workbook and start work page A of the lesson you are on. There are worksheets leading from A to F. If you think you have the concept of the lesson by D, then you take the lesson test. If you pass the lesson test, you move on to the next lesson and repeat. If you happen to not pass, go back and start work page E and move on from there. It is slightly confusing to understand at first, but once you understand how the system works, you will fly through it.

For practical purposes, I have found storing and keeping everything together is more difficult then using just a textbook and workbook. For older students who can watch the videos themselves, it is easier and fine. But when dealing with younger students who need to work with a parent, they may find it hard to be able to make time to do it. Especially if a parent has multiple children who need them to watch it with them as well.

For me personally, I have found the videos to be incredible for helping me grasp concepts. Even having the manipulatives helped me to physically see and understand how something works. The workbook was handy as well with many of the concepts I had already grasped long ago. I was able to get through the tests easily and move on the next lesson at my own timing. Rather then having me work one lesson per day, this gives me the freedom to work longer on a lesson that I may be struggling on, or continue to do multiple lessons in a day that I already have down.

This system in genius. The DVD is perfect for listening and watching learners. For reading learners, the text book has the DVD's lesson written down. Physical learners can use the manipulatives to form the problems with their hands and fully understand. All around, the system was designed for every learner and is perfect for families that have children with multiple learning forms.

I have found Math U See to be very helpful for me in my education. I appreciate the quality and creativity of the system and I am enjoying it as my new math curriculum. I would like to thank Math U See for the complimentary Pre Algebra system that they gave me for my honest review. It is a wonderful curriculum that is perfect for every person's learning needs.

Monday, October 6, 2014


With bitter frustration I fell under the push up. I had tried, I failed epically. Knuckle push ups had always been hard, worse when you woke up at five in the morning and dragged yourself to work out at Karate by six. I felt so weak, so pathetic, so ridiculous, a sweaty mess, face first on the floor of the Dojo. I just wanted to be strong, I just wanted to feel good about my body. I was failing.

If I couldn't feel good about my body, maybe I could feel good about my mind. I was determined to push myself to doing everything I possibly could. If I couldn't be strong and gorgeous, I would be smart and sharp. Reading and researching, I pushed, pressed, and struggled. Seeing my math grade made me crumple to the floor in a puddle of messy failure. So much for that plan. All I wanted was to be sharp, brilliant, and smart. 

Starring at the mirror, I stopped. What was I doing? Why did I have to be strong or beautiful? Why did I have to be brilliant or sharp? What was I trying to do. It clicked. I was trying to find worth. What? Worth? I already had worth, all my life I was told how I was worth so much. What was I doing? I shake my head, trying to clear the fog. 

Peer pressure. Was I really breaking under it? I didn't even know I really experienced it, until I began to panic when I had to leave the house. What did I wear? What did I bring? Should I wear make up just in case? Should I bring multiple books that I am reading, just to be sure people can tell I am intellectual? Should I keep my hair down to help mask the acne on my face and back? What if I have to talk? Should I come off as bold and funny or smart and proper? 

I was really letting it take a hold of my life. I needed to be reminded of something. Something I have been told all my life, but I fail to understand day by day.

I am worth more than the entire universe to Jesus.

I still can not fully fathom this. I feel like I have to earn this kind of love, this kind of true value. When I receive peer pressure, I fail to understand how I am worth anything. It drains me of any valuable feelings I once had. Through this pressure, it made me think God could never really value me without me proving my worth. I was unconsciously doing it. I didn't realize what I was doing until I finally asked myself why.

God doesn't need me. He wants me. Because He loves me. He never needed to make me. He never needed to do anything for me. He did it because, He loves me.

He just loves me. Nothing I did or ever will do will change that fact. I can't make Him love me more by doing good things, he already loves me more than any person is capable of loving.

My value is immense.

Your value us immense. Don't let the words or the looks from others, change who you are.

I know I will have to be reminded of this again soon. It will probably be a never ending process of having to remind myself of my value my whole life. Knowing how much Jesus really loves can make the biggest difference. We all need to be reminded of it. We forget to easily.

Jesus loves you.

Monday, September 22, 2014

God's Smile

Sunrises. I think we underestimate them. Everyone talks about them, everyone sees them, everyone knows about them, but does everyone appreciate them? we have all seen countless ones. I used to think they were always the same, I underestimated God's masterpiece.

He decided to wow me, he goes, "Same thing every morning? Oh, have I got some pieces to show you." Thats when I started having jaw dropping moments when I watched the sun come up.

I could hardly contain myself, "Guys, do you see that sunrise? Look at all that color, and the clouds! Oh the clouds are gorgeous!"

God just smiled down shaking his head, "You really doubted me?" 

I just stare up speechless. The clouds take on a new shade of color every morning. Bright pink, or maybe a tinge of gold. The suns rays will seep through them casting a golden shadow across the whole display. A deep baby blue peeks through the mix of clouds and light, mixing to create a marvelous display of colors. The picture is need the same, it's always changing. A new burst of light, a cloud moving to reveal another ray of color and light, a shade of pink turning a lighter tone. 

I think God really enjoys watching me staring up awe struck and speechless. My wowed face just makes Him smile. I want to do that more often, I want to bring a smile to his face more often. 

I had a thought the other day... If I was to die today, what would I say I accomplished in my time on this earth? What did I do for Christ? How did I please Him in my short time? After thinking back on it, I finally came up with an answer. 

I have brought smiles to stranger's faces. I have brightened other people's days. I have blessed others in small ways, bringing smiles of joy and gratitude. Never in all my life have I felt more fulfilled then when I make others joyful. 

I have brought a smile to God's face. If all I ever do is make Him smile, I will be satisfied. 

Bring a smile to His face. You would be surprised by the small things you do that make him smile. 


Monday, September 15, 2014

Life at the Moment

Images are so powerful. Some times they can explain things so much better, they can show the full beauty of even the simplest things. I could just tell all I have been up to over this past month, but I find this as a prettier form of life at the moment.
Autumn colors.

Tired Paul napping during lunch.

Writing my heart out.

Loving learning (while staying a child at heart)

Counting those 1,000 again.

Girl time.


Preparing for the autumn months.

Cookies and Star Wars time.

Golden pieces in the Word.

New Karate rank.
Movie and sibling time.

Little brother cuddles.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Growing up: A Combination of Fear and Excitement

Please raise your hand if you have ever had an extreme fear of growing up. My hand is up. It used to never be this way. I remember at twelve anticipating being an adult, I was just dying to be able to drive, get married, and have more responsibilities. Yeah, I was the type of kid who could't understand at all when others talked about wanting to be a kid again. Things are starting to make a lot of sense. I am sure everyone has already come to these realizations, but silly little me took a while to figure it out.
Me and my oldest sister Amy

  I am going to be sixteen in two months. Everyone says, it's only sixteen, don't freak out. I am just panicking at the thought of having to get my drivers license. I don't want to have more responsibilities already, I want to go back and be ten again. Play with Legos and dolls, doodle in my free time, and read fiction. I understand I can still do a lot of these in small amounts, but not without a little guilt as a remember the looming list of responsibilities.

  Why can't I be as confident as I was when I was twelve? I was so determined and set, I knew what I wanted to do when I was grown.
I was already planning and scheduling out what I would do. I had it all figured out. And some how it's not that way anymore. I really don't know why. It's like I got this wave of sudden fear as my time as a kid started running out. 

  Well here I am, turning sixteen soon, and just wishing I had six years of my life back. Life was so simple, not fogged with complications. 

Well, where do you go from here? 

I decide to love my life. The responsibilities and frustrations, the lists of things to do, the crazy busy schedules. Put aside the childish things, yes. But that does not cancel out play time with siblings. I have found such great joy in playing with my siblings. Just feeling young again and letting go, forgetting my problems and issues as I sit down to build Legos with my brother. Dropping the looming list for five minutes to finish dressing a doll for my sister. It has brought me such joy. It has helped me handle my responsibilities well, while still enjoying the little things in life.

I have never felt a better bond with my younger siblings before now. I can understand being in their shoes. We can relate with each other even with a large age gap. 

So growing up isn't as scary anymore. My little siblings are my best friends. I have two awesome older sisters who have gone before me, always ready to give me advice. My parents are always there for me, they are ready to help me and have supported me greatly with any of my hopes or dreams.

Growing up is just another part of life. Everyone says it, but I'm not sure all kids get it right away. I sure didn't. But I'm glad I finally do.