I am Getting Older… And the Questions That Go With It

Just a few days ago, I saw 3 strands of white hair. It doesn’t really bother me that I have white hair but it does make reality become undeniable: I AM GETTING OLDER.

 

With that realization, these questions come into mind:

1. Have I done what God wants me to do ?

2. Am I still doing what God wants me to do?  If not, what change should I make?

3. Am I closer to God than before?

4. Am I continuously learning?

5. What else do I want to accomplish for God?

 

Life is short, and with the days that God gives us, we should not take them for granted. As we age, we should number our days and be mindful of how we use the time given to us. Let’s ask these questions and truly reflect on how we want to spend the remaining days of our lives.

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Hospitalized Again for Dengue

After 4 years, I was hospitalized once again for Dengue. I had a low grade fever last weekend and by Monday, I really felt weak and couldn’t eat properly anymore. I had my blood checked and my platelets were already 91. Upon the doctor’s advise, I was admitted to the hospital and had to be confined for the next 5 days. My platelets continued to drop until Wednesday, where the count was now just 29. Thankfully, by Thursday my platelets were finally rising at 35 and on Friday, it was finally 74. Though far from the normal platelet count, I was discharged and rested at home.

This 2nd Dengue episode was far worse than my 1st one in 2010. I am thankful to God for the healing and recovery He has once again given me. I am also thankful for my husband who never left my side and took care of me during this difficult time. For the church who kept praying and took care of my kids while I was away, I will forever be grateful.

In moments like these, I realize that life is fleeting and really beyond our control. It is of utmost importance that with every breath that God gives us, we use it for His glory and be mindful of how we use the life He has given us.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Chinese Course Review

Learning foreign languages is an exciting learning experience. We have been learning Chinese informally as a family for a few months already when I was given a full semester course access to Middlebury Interactive Languages for 6 months as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Middlebury Interactive Languages offers interactive and immersive online language courses in Chinese, German, French and Spanish. We were given access to the Chinese Courses Elementary Level 1 for Grades 3 to 5.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
Designed by Ph. D. level academics and linguistic experts, Middlebury Interactive Languages uses immersive approach in developing one’s fluency in foreign languages. The different rigorous online training courses have passed the standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. This ensures that authentic materials are being used which translates to actual reading, writing, listening and speaking activities in every session. There is also a No-English Spoken Here policy making the student encounter real life scenarios when training elsewhere in the world.

The Chinese Courses are developed for the K-12 curriculum. This is a self-paced program and it is ideal for 3rd Grade to 5th Grade students, though one can start even without any prior knowledge of the language.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
Since this is an online course, all you need is to have a stable internet connection and a web browser like Safari, Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer and your child can start studying by herself. My daughter is currently in 5th grade and I had her login and do lessons 2-3 times a week.

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Upon log in, you have the option of viewing the Calendar where there is a suggested lesson each day or going to the Table of Contents. Both can lead you to the actual lesson for the day. For the Elementary Chinese Level 1 course, the student will learn about numbers, greetings, family members, home, colors and adjectives, school and food. Every unit focuses on one of these topics. Each topic covers 6 lessons. Depending on the level of fluency of your child, you can do 1-2 lessons per day in my opinion.

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Each unit begins with a video about a Chinese legend or myth surrounding the lesson being taught. Then there are a few games and lab exercises which allows you to explore, practice, remember and speak the language.  For the speaking lab, the student will be asked to speak and record herself saying the new words she has learned. The microphone should be enabled for this exercise.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

The learning isn’t limited to the speaking and listening area. There are also some video lessons on Chinese culture like social customs, home customs and being a good host. Chinese character formation and stroke order is also taught throughout the lessons.

For every practice and test activity, there is an automated checking. Then the program automatically records the results and you can view the results when you click on Gradebook at the menu upon log-in.

The lessons are being sold per semester for a single user at the price of $119 without a teacher. There are 45 lessons per semester for the Chinese Courses.

What I Thought of the Product

I understand Chinese because I came from a Chinese family and studied in a Chinese school growing up, it is a different story with my kids. They don’t understand Chinese since we don’t speak Chinese at home. Hearing the spoken Chinese language with its complicated sounds and its rhythms, I salute the accuracy and the quality of the language program.

I also like the systematic approach throughout. With the step by step procedure every lesson,  I am confident that with the consistent usage of the program, my daughter will be able to speak basic Chinese words and understand them as well after one semester. If needed, she can easily access the old lessons and watch them over and over again.

The engaging learning environment provides a holistic approach and helps the student not just to read, write, speak and listen to the language but also understand and appreciate the culture surrounding the language.

This is a wonderful Chinese language online program which needs minimal parental supervision.

For more information on Middlebury Interactive Languages, check out their social media accounts at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Middlebury-Interactive-Languages/141015515949753
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MiddInteractive
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/middinteractive/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/b/110371351490550861545/110371351490550861545/posts

To read more reviews about this certain product or reviews on other languages, check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew posts!

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On Those Kind of Days

There are days that I just wonder if I am doing the right thing. Choosing to homeschool the kids rather than sending them to school or getting a job which gives our family additional income. There are days when I think we should take steps of change.

On those kind of days, I choose to pray and seek counsel from the Word of God. God speaks so clearly and most of the time, He encourages and leads me in the way I should go. I just need to pause and be sensitive.

On those kind of days, I also ask those who have gone before me in the road of homeschooling and ask for their advice. Support and knowing that others have been through the same crossroads help me face the choices I need to make.

On those kind of days, I choose not to be selfish but to think of Jesus, and afterwards, I realize that the choices I need to make are those that He would choose since I have surrendered my life to Him.

On those kind of days, I need to be still and trust in Him. Don’t let fear overcome trust and faith in Jesus.

One Rainy Afternoon

A few weeks ago, the country was hit by a typhoon. The schools have cancelled their classes and as homeschoolers, we continued with our lessons. Instead of our usual lessons, we decided to read about typhoons and storms.

We took out our reference books and discussed the weather disturbance our country was experiencing. Afterwards, I asked my daughter to create a booklet about what she has learned.

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It was Arts, Social Studies, Science and Reading in one! Learning doesn’t always have to come in worksheets, books and notebooks. Encouraging creativity and research work is equally important.

Learning never stops.