Oct 212014

I'll Be Me Review and Giveaway

I am honored to be able to review “I’ll Be Me”, a movie portraying the life of one of America’s greatest performers, Glen Campbell, and how the power of music helped him and his family keep his identity during a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The movie opens this fall in theaters. You can see a preview here.


Glen Campbell won “Entertainer of the Year” award in 1968 (just one of his many achievements), the year I was born. I remember hearing his music growing up. I even remember my parents having vinyl records of him that we would listen to. My dad played the guitar and since Glen Campbell is undisputedly one of the best guitarists ever, it was only natural that he would be part of my life. There were so many songs of his embedded in my memory that as I watched the movie, the words came flooding back although it has been years since I’ve heard some of them. The impact that he has made on so many lives is evident throughout this movie.

In 2011, Glen Campbell and wife Kim receive the confirmed diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The news is received during the same time that “Ghost on Canvas” is being released and as a family, they decide to go public with the diagnosis and a final Goodbye Tour. “I’ll Be Me” takes you behind the scenes of that emotionally charged 151 concert tour.

As the tour starts, you get to see how love and music tightly binds this family. Kim is an unsung hero as she is constantly by her husband’s side, helping him in anyway that is needed. Their children, sons Cal and Shannon and daughter Ashley, all play in the band on the tour. They have amazing patience as they help this tour to be successful and the memories that are made I know they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

There are concerns as the tour begins (and rightly so) that perhaps Campbell would not be able to perform and the tour would be a disaster. And of course there are a few hiccups – like the concert where he played the same song twice. But to be able to see this songwriter, singer, musician who is deeply woven in the tapestry of American music perform, who cares if you hear the same song twice??!! I would consider it a double blessing. Occasionally he would forget a key. But he never forgot the melody. The audience was able to witness this great man singing, smiling and laughing, not hidden away somewhere suffering with this disease in silence. Even in Nashville, when there were some technical difficulties with the teleprompter, Campbell rolled with the punches. 

Music helped Campbell hold onto his life. While Alzheimer’s affects cognitive skills. Since music was so deeply embedded in his brain, Campbell was still able to remember those things. When he performed, he was more like his true self. I think, and the doctor also mentioned, that being able to perform and doing what he loved, seemed to slow down the advancement of the disease.

In 2012, Glen Campbell won a Lifetime Achievement Award. He sang on stage with Blake Shelton and The Band Perry at the Grammys. It was a truly moving performance as you could see the admiration of current county music superstars show appreciation of this great man. Glen Campbell affected so many lives as the movie is peppered with interview clips of so many talents from different musical genres, all proclaiming the impact Campbell had on their lives and showing admiration. Towards the end of the movie, many of these also share how they have personally been affected by Alzheimer’s as it touches their own lives by loved ones fighting the disease.

One of the most important performances was that for the Library of Congress as the family helps to bring awareness of the effects of this disease on families and the urgency to find a cure.

Eventually, it becomes harder and harder on the family when Campbell is not performing. He would get fixated on things, forgetful and belligerent. By the last show in Napa, it is apparent that the tour is, and should be, coming to a close. The great Glen Campbell struggles at the beginning of the show until eventually music does it’s medicinal magic and he slips back into being the great performer. Regardless, as shown throughout the entire tour, the fans embrace him, knowing they are witnessing history as this legend performs on his last tour.

Two months after the tour ends, Glen Campbell recorded his last record, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” with the legendary Wrecking Crew. 

Whether you are a fan of country music or not does not matter. I promise you will not walk away from this movie untouched. The rally of love and support from fans, family and friends is touching but most importantly, you can see how even though a disease like Alzheimer’s will try to destroy a person, the essence of who they are will always remain. Throughout the movie, you see Glen Campbell as a man who loves music and loves his family. His memory may fade but that love never does.

I would like to be able to share a part of this great legend with you. I am hosting a giveaway for a 5 song EP soundtrack from the film for you. This is open for USA and Canada.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Oct 202014

SDA Review

Are you familiar with Standard Deviants Accelerate? We had already explored many of their DVD’s that our local library has and loved the quirky fun lessons. When the opportunity became available to be able to use Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses for a review, we knew we wanted to take advantage of it. For this review, we were given an annual subscription.

About Standard Deviants Accelerate

As I mentioned earlier, Standard Deviants had already been producing videos and now they have taken those videos, added activities to them and made them available as the perfect online supplemental course. There are several courses available.

SDA_coursesThese courses and suggested grades are as follows:

  • Earth Science (grade 6+)
  • Nutrition (grade 6+)
  • Biology (grade 7+)
  • Chemistry (grade 9+)
  • Arithmetic (grade 3+)
  • Fundamental Math (grade 4+)
  • Algebra (grade 7+)
  • English Comp (grades 9+)
  • US History (grades 9+)
  • AP Biology (grades 11+)
  • AP Chemistry (grades 11+)
  • AP US Govt. & Politics (grades 11+)
  • AP US History (grades 11+)
  • AP English Comp (grades 11+)

For each subject, you can view the available chapters (so you know what’s covered) and there’s also links to view how the course compares to State, National and Common Core standards.

For this review, I will be sharing my son’s experience with the Biology course.

What’s Covered

chapters_in_biologyWhether you are in the teacher’s portal or the student’s, it is very easy to access the chapters being covered. Ready? Let’s get started.

Setting Up Your Account

After you decide on which course(s) you want, you need to decide on your membership. For the regular courses, you can choose between monthly ($24.95) or annual subscription ($99). This will give you access for one teacher, one student, for one subject. For the AP courses, you get a monthly subscription for $14.95, also for one teacher, one student, one subject. If you have a special need, you can always call them. I had several opportunities to email their customer service department and received very quick resolutions.

Once you place your order, you will receive information to access your account. There’s even webinars (group or one-on-one) that you can watch that will answer all of your questions. When you sign into your teacher’s account, you just need to click on the given subject and “assign” it. You will be given a invite code for the student to use to access the course.


The above screenshot was taken after my son had already started the course so that’s why there’s a grade listed.

From the teacher’s portal, you can follow your student’s progress and you will need to grade the questions when answers have to be written out. You can also edit the rubric. If there’s anything that needs your attention, there will be a little red flag to alert you of a message (you and your student can send messages back and forth), when an assignment needs to be graded, or to notify you when the student’s grade drops.

For the Student

All the student needs to do to get started in the course is to go to the website, click log-in, enter their email address (the student does need an email address) and the invite code that you were given when you assigned the course from the teacher’s portal.

The student now has access to their course(s).

desktop_in_student_portal(Yes, I got a little happy in assigning courses because we wanted to view as many as we could.) So, we are doing Biology so you click on that to start the lessons. For Biology, there are a variety of lessons:

  • 141 vocab words
  • 46 critical thinking questions
  • 245 multiple choice questions
  • 22 drag-n-drop graphic organizers
  • 262 minutes of video with scrolling transcripts (this allows the student to copy and paste to a virtual notebook

This is what a lesson will look like:

a_lesson_in_biologyAs you can see, there is a written transcript of the video that the student watches. My son just highlighted pertinent information, copy and pasted to the notebook at the bottom. “Send to locker” will save the text so it can be read later.

Here is the student’s locker:


After the lesson is completed, the student takes a quiz.

biology_quizThe auto-grading feature is such a time-saver for me. The written questions are the only ones I need to worry about grading. When an answer is incorrect, the student is given feedback and is allowed to watch a video.

In conclusion

We will keep using this program. Why? I think it’s a great supplemental course. There’s just enough variety to keep it interesting for him. And it doesn’t add any more to my workload. But most importantly, because he wants to and having a lesson that my son is willing to work on without any complaints is more than enough reason for me!

 Stay Connected

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SDAccelerate
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SDAccelerate
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SDAccelerate/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Sdaccelerate/


Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Oct 182014

It’s another weekly wrap-up. So let’s talk homeschool.

Monday was Columbus Day. Do you take it off? We did a little but not as much. Mostly I had my kids work on some of their online courses that we are doing reviews for – IXL, Standard Deviants and Middlebury Languages. I had every intention of doing a study on Christopher Columbus but it seems we do it almost every year and now with the older boys, I just feel like I’m running it in the ground. So I think I will just do a highlight of it every other year. We had already discussed him in history this year so I didn’t want it to feel like I was going to review something we went over a month ago!

We are in full swing of football season. This week we played our biggest rival…and lost our first game of the season. Booooo. Our guys played pretty well (Connor got two touchdowns!) but these other guys all were like Mr Stretch and kept pulling flags (our Christian sports league plays flat football, not tackle) and getting interceptions. Once Connor tried to pull a flag with both hands and the guy literally pulled him down the field several steps before the ref blew the whistle…and the flag belt still never came completely off. Oh well. At least I found a Bojangle’s nearby and go to bring home some Boberry biscuits. (There’s no BoJ’s near us). This coming week we play them again on our home field. We also played another team and won by a landslide. I almost felt sorry for the other team, especially since they are probably the nicest ones in the league. We even all sit on the same side and cheer each other’s accomplishments. Of course, it might be because that was where the shade trees were.

I am trying to find sports for Jeremiah. Even went and visited the Y again. I just hate driving that far and they have practices twice a week and then a game every Saturday. I really don’t have much free time (if any!) so this will really be a sacrifice. I haven’t made a final decision yet. There’s a church almost walking distance that does Upward sports but nothing starting soon. We’ve played Upward twice – one great experience and one terrible that we didn’t get past 3 practices. It was just chaos. At least with the Y, it’s a family friend that would be his coach and Jeremiah could play with one of his best buds. One that I know he will be playing alongside once he gets in middle school. And unfortunately, that will be here before I’m ready for it.

Last weekend, Jared went in for his sleep study. I wrote a full post about it. Please go and read it and share. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here. I believe that so many kids, and adults, suffer from this and don’t even realize it. Our sleep tech told us that most kids that are diagnosed with ADD probably just has sleep apnea. I know that was the case in my oldest daughter. I am praying that the doctor office will call and move up our appointment – the soonest follow-up appoint is still three more weeks away!

I realize I still haven’t written up my posts for Apologia studies for Lesson 2 or 3. Oh, but I did find some really cool Cheetos that’s in the shape of bones. Unfortunately, they are not to scale at all but my kids had fun putting them in order and laughing that the hands (carpal, metacarpals and phalanges) were actually as big or almost bigger than the skull. We have fun eating them too so I rarely buy them. I’ve been so busy reading for some other upcoming reviews. I have a giveaway going on right now for Majestic DVD that I am sure you will love. The giveaway just opened last night and there’s not a lot of entries yet. Kim Collingsworth’s talent on the piano is breathtaking. And there’s a full ensemble of talent – just go read the review but trust that there is something for everyone on this DVD. It would be a great Christmas present for any music lover.

I have also spent a lot of time at our library and local Barnes and Noble. I’m compiling a book list of some of my favorite books about Fall and also about Thanksgiving.

My husband has also introduced the boys to a new show on Netflix, Mysteries at the Museum. We are always on the lookout of cool (educational) shows. I heard our local museum is hosting a Night at the Museum, complete with a flashlight tour. I’m trying to get more info…my boys might actually enjoy a museum trip like that. All cultural field trips are usually limited to being enjoyed by the girls and me.

Did you see that banner at the top? The 10th Annual Homeschool Blog Awards are getting ready to happen!! Right now, you can nominate any homeschool blog in 20 different categories. Go. Nominate some great blogs. It doesn’t have to be mine, but that would be really cool. And if I get nominated, I just might give you a cookie. Or at least a new cookie recipe :)

We’ve been doing some family game nights lately and tonight, we are carving pumpkins! Gotta go get messy.

 weekly recap 101814This post is being shared at:


Homegrown Learners

My Week in Review


Oct 172014
Majestic DVD by Kim Collingsworth - A Review and Giveaway!

For this review, Family Christian provided me with a free copy of Majestic DVD and will also provide a free copy for the giveaway. I am not required to write a positive review nor did I receive additional compensation. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Regulations. This review may contain affiliate links.     Are you ready to enjoy an auditory celebration of [...]

Oct 152014
Apologia's iWitness Books - {A Review}

Apologia Educational Ministries has done it again. They have produced eye-catching, informative products that are Biblically based. I count it a privilege to have received three of the books from their iWitness series for a review. For this review I received the following three paperback books: (each valued at $14) • iWitness Biblical Archaeology • Old Testament iWitness • New Testament iWitness About the Author These three books were written [...]

Oct 132014
Sleep Apnea and Children - What You Need to Know

Do you know anyone with sleep apnea? Chances are, you do.  They might not even know it themselves. My father-in-law had it. We used to always pick at him for snoring. He would fall asleep in almost every church service. While everyone else would gather around and talk after holiday meals, he would often either go to bed for a nap or end up falling asleep in a chair. Fast [...]

Oct 112014
Homeschool Mother's Journal - Weekly Recap

This has been a great week. I’m finally starting to get over my migraines. Or sinusitis?? It’s taken lots of prayer, cold meds, and colloidal silver. Academically, we finished up our skeletal system and started learning about muscles. Even did a experiment on bones, and if I can gather enough empty milk jugs, we will make a skeleton. We’ve done that before for Halloween, but this time I will have [...]

Oct 102014
Tis the Season for Some New Christmas Music - Sentimental Season by Wayne Haun Review

Ever since we moved to Florida nine years ago, I really struggle to get in the Christmas mood. It’s just so hard without the cooler temperatures, the need for bundling up in coats and scarves, and the scent of evergreens. I have learned however, that with a few tweaks, I can get in that holiday mood. One of the sure-fire ways to get in the good ole Christmas feeling, is [...]

Oct 072014
Do You Want a Real Peek into Our Homeschool Life??

I have always wanted to be a fly on the wall in other homeschool family. You know, the ones where the kids get up early in the morning excited to learn something new, eating healthy meals, the older kids patiently helping the younger ones. I know they have to exist. Right??!!! I just want to know how super homeschool mom does it. Share your wisdom, O Great One. I’ve been [...]

Oct 062014
Sharing My Top 5 Pinterest Pins For October

One of my favorite bloggers and fellow Crew member, Marcy (author of Ben and Me) has started a new blog party. On the fifth of each month each participate can share their top five favorite posts. You can read all the details for 5 on the Fifth here. This is perfect timing for me because a couple of weeks ago, I started some (just so happens….five!!) group boards: All About [...]

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