Friday, March 27, 2015

Fairy Tales Brought to Life

Chloe and I went to see the new Cinderella movie tonight - wow! We both loved it! Cate Blanchett was fantastic, evil and horrid while looking absolutely stunning. Lily James was a beautiful, sweet, but strong heroine that shone with virtue from the inside out. Many vibrant characters made this a memorable story indeed.

It was surprisingly true to the Disney cartoon that we all grew up with. However, this version gave us more depth and insight to Ella's character by focusing in the beginning on her and her parents. One of the most inspiring moments of the movie, that carried the theme throughout, was her mother's dying advice to "Have courage and be kind."

Have courage and be kind. What does that look like? In the face of adversity, stay strong. In the moments of ridicule, stay silent. In the times of abuse, stay true to yourself. And always extend grace and courtesy - not because they deserve it, but because you can. This Cinderella was truly stronger than any I've ever found. I've often been told that meekness was the same as weakness. But Ella shows us that a meek and humble heart is a discipline not always easily honed. To be kind to those who mistreat you certainly takes more strength and courage than most people have.

It was a great movie, one that I look forward to watching again with the family. Chloe and I had a great time, just us girls, and I'm so happy that we got a night to ourselves to see this girly movie...Oh! And her ballgown was to die for! It reminded me of a certain dress a little princess used to have around here... ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

May the Luck O' the Irish Be With Ya

Happy St. Paddy's day to you all! We have had a great day getting ready for co-op, picking out our green, and remembering our (Daddy's) Irish roots. The Quinns are proud to be part Irish, and I love being married into the lot of them!

Kelly always enjoys it, too. Bob often shares an Irish prayer or poem with the family, and I love hearing him talk about his grandfather and his adventure to find freedom in America. I am so thankful that he is here to pass on our children's heritage to them.

So while you were worried about whether or not you were going to be pinched, I remembered the blessing of this wonderful family I married into, and the country from where they hailed. I'll leave you with an Irish prayer:

If you want a short history on the holiday of St. Patrick's day, you can enjoy this little video - courtesy of Bob and Larry! Veggie Tales St. Patrick

And here is one of my most favorite songs. Enjoy the beautiful pictures of Ireland! Danny Boy

Monday, March 16, 2015

A TOS Review: The Critical Thinking Co.

Critical Thinking Company Review

"Hmmm. This is different, Mom. Not bad different, but really different. What's it supposed to be teaching me?" Lol, this was Canon's first reaction to The Critical Thinking Co.'s math software download, Math Analogies level 2. He had never seen an analogy before, and he was intrigued. Being an average but eager math student, I was excited to introduce him to analogies. His mind works in interesting ways, and I love watching him go about a problem to see how he will solve it. It is rarely how I expect him to, but most of the time, he succeeds.

Critical Thinking Company Review

I'm sure you remember what analogies Well, see if this sounds familiar: "This goes to this as that goes to that." Yes, the dreaded section on standardized tests that most people chewed through half their pencil stash on. (Actually, I'm kind of a nerd - I enjoyed them!)

The Critical Thinking Co. has developed a basic program introducing students to these analogies. They started out simple, but gradually ramped up to some pretty difficult analogies. I will admit, I got stumped a few times myself. Canon is a fifth grader, and he had not seen all the math concepts that were covered, but he always gave it his best shot. I was pleased with his interest level and comprehension of the material.

Some pros to the program:
  • It gave Canon a first time look in a non-threatening way to a math process that intimidates many adults.
  • It showed me some areas that we will need to work on in the future.
  • It was a great change of pace right in the middle of a winter slump and gave us something to look forward to in our school day.
  • Canon enjoyed the extra screen time - he doesn't get to do a lot on Mom's laptop!

Some cons to the program:
  • It did not give you any idea what grade level you were working through. I felt the content was a bit higher than Canon was ready for.
  • There were no solutions or explanations when Canon got a problem wrong. As I said earlier, some of the analogies were on concepts he'd not had yet, thus had no experience or ideas on how to solve them.
  • When Canon was in the first attempt set, he had a success rate of 84% at problem 100. Then he declined to a 66%. I assumed they were getting harder or increasing in grade level. However, when we went to the second attempt, it was a random selection of what had been covered in the first attempt set. The second attempt only had 51, the 3rd attempt had 16, and the 4th attempt had 6; the percentages then didn't really give me any certainty that he had improved or understood what he had done correctly.

Overall, I was glad to show Canon what analogies were. We live in a state where standardized tests are not required, so I hadn't even introduced them to him yet. It was fun and eye opening, and I'm glad we were chosen for this review. I am looking forward to going through it again in a few months after he has completed his 5th grade math and see how he does then. It was good practice for him to use his critical thinking skills - always a good thing!

If you would like to connect with or follow The Critical Thinking Co., you can do so here:
The Critical Thinking Co. has many other products that my fellow Review Crew members were allowed to investigate. See what the other reviewers thought here:

Critical Thinking Company Review

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