Navigating the Rapids of Parenting Review (Parenting Made Practical Review)

When I heard that there was a chance to review something called the Navigating the Rapids of Parenting, I jumped at the chance. First, because is there another metaphor that perfectly captures raising tiny humans? It does feel like being swept away by water sometimes. Also, did I mention that I have a huge fear of boats, boat-ish and boat-like vessels? For some people, parenting is instinctive. For me, it often feels like I’m flailing around in the void. I’m happy to receive any help I can get.

Parenting Made Practical goal is to raise “obedient, respectful, and responsible” children.

The video is by Parenting Made Practical and led by parent-educators Joey and Carla Link. Their expertise stems from 30 years of experience. It examines the different stages of parenting, from babyhood all the way up to the college years.

The video is chock full of information about the phases kids and their parents go through. It is similar to other parenting videos or books in that it goes into detail about the whys and whens of typical behaviors at each stage. What stood out for me the most though is that the video makes the point that some behavior issues take years to work through.

H is turning six next month. Already, we can feel like she’s saying goodbye to her baby-ness.

In the first part of the video, the focus on young children and the expectations of their behaviors. In our case, we have a very clear picture of  how we want H to behave. Of course there are little details, like asking to be excused before standing up from meal or learning how to share her toys without grumbling. But, our goal for her at this stage in life is distilled into one rule: do unto others what you want them to unto you.

The video goes on to talk about how important it is to have independent thinkers, which I wholeheartedly agree with. I’ll be a parent forever, but my child is only a child for a short time. The things I teach my children should allow them to think for themselves. Hopefully, the way we raise them now will lead them to making the right choices in the future.

Parenting videos are tricky, since what counts as gold for one can be eyeroll-inducing for another. There are just so many schools of thought when it comes to parenting that it’s hard to wade through the information. But this particular video has such sincere, practical advice it’s hard to disagree with. Please note though that the video does make use of passages from the Bible when making certain points.

The video itself is well-made. You can tell that this was not a haphazard production. The sound quality is good and the visuals are not distracting. The pace is just right, so that you don’t get lost in unnecessary examples of ramblings. You get what you came for when you watch this video.

All in all, Navigating the Rapids of Parenting is a good purchase for those who are looking for guidance (or even reassurance) when it comes to parenting their kids. It’s a good purchase for families with younger kids since it gives you the advantage of knowing things before it actually happens. For those with older kids, the company also has other products like Dating, Courting, & Choosing a Mate… What Works?

To learn more about the products and Parenting Made Practical, you can connect with them through their social media accounts:



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Homeschool Review: The Art of Cursive

This is my usual handwriting. I am a huge fan of cursive. 

I went to school at a Catholic school that required us to learn a particular kind of penmanship. It’s so distinct that alumna of the school can spot each other just from our handwriting alone. Cursive was so important in my education — the teachers would not check your papers if you didn’t use the required handwriting — that I am floored to learn that some schools don’t even bother teaching penmanship anymore.

Fortunately, this kind of snub is not absolute. I was recently given the chance to view the CursiveLogic Online Seminar on how to teach cursive. My kids are lucky, because my idea of penmanship class is to have nuns hovering over me, barking out, “pointier, pointier!”

The CursiveLogic Online Seminar is a 48-minute long video that teaches practical techniques on how to teach cursive to children, 

This video by CursiveLogic is presented by Linda Shrewbury and goes through practical methods on how to teach penmanship to students. The video is a complement to the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack, which contains a 112-page workbook divided into 10 lessons. The company also offers the Art of Cursive, a book for older students who want to learn, or improve, their cursive handwriting.


The method makes use of a multi-sensory approach to teaching writing.

After watching the video, a big takeaway for me is that certain letters have similar ways of being written out. Using the CursiveLogic method, the letters are grouped by shape and connected by letter strings.

The orange color is not a random. Color is used to help students remember the lesson.

For example, the letters A, C, and D have similar oval shapes. Teaching these letters as a group makes it easier for the child to grasp. It’s simple and logical and a complete eye-opening experience for me.

My kids are very young so we’re at the early stages of writing. H is working on improving accuracy and neatness while R is working on his grip. When teaching them, I’ve always introduced the letters sequentially following the alphabet. Now, I realize that there’s really no need to do it that way. It makes more sense to introduce by similar shape, even when working on print letters. Thanks to this video, I’ve restructured our lessons to make use of these logical groupings. Also, “over, back-trace” has become a staple chant around the house.

Another benefit to using this grouping system is that the kids are able to practice the same movement even when working on different letters. For instance, when they write “C”, they are following the same shape as “A”. They are using the same strokes and patterns. It works to reinforce knowledge. When they get better at writing one letter, they get better at both!

Another technique used by CursiveLogic is the use of multi-sensory tools like color, verbal, and movement to emphasize the lessons. For example, the video uses “over, back-trace” as a chant to help kids remember what to do. This is particularly helpful for younger children, who might find the repetitiveness of handwriting practice a chore.

I mainly use the Montessori method when teaching the kids. Interestingly, cursive letters are introduced first in Montessori. The reasoning behind this is that kids tend to scribble first. It’s more natural for them to use connected letters that use the spacing needed in print letters.

Using the techniques taught by CursiveLogic reinforces this idea that learning how to write should cater to how the mind processes things naturally. In many ways, CursiveLogic lives out the expectations set up by its name. It truly is logical. This smart, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that approach makes teaching penmanship much, much easier.

You can connect with CursiveLogic’s Facebook page here. In addition, if you are interested in trying out this method, CursiveLogic is offering a 20% discount on the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack this month. It features access to the webinar and one workbook. Please use the code CREW2018 upon checkout.





UltraKey Bytes of Learning Review

Since I am a writer, I am pretty fast at typing. But, I confess, I actually don’t type properly. My fingers are all over the place. When there was a chance to review UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning, I was pretty pleased. Not for myself — I’m a dinosaur and set in my ways. I wanted H to be exposed to using the keyboard properly.

A few caveats before anything: first, H is only five. We used this program with the idea of exposure rather than mastery. Second, H is only five. We are still learning how to spell so typing is a definite challenge for her. Third, she’s only five.

On UltraKey Bytes of Learning

UltraKey Online Family Edition
Want to learn how to type better? Look no further than this product!

The program is a comprehensive lesson on using the keyboard properly. It covers the basics such as posture and finger positions to mastery exercises. There are 12 lessons in the program and primarily uses video to teach. The recommended starting age is eight, although it can be used by younger children, as in our case.

Bytes of Learning lets you set up an account with several users, making it available for different family members. Each user can customize the settings, such as being able to use the backspace function or how to move from one lesson to another.


On Our Positive Impressions

One of the best things that I liked about Bytes of Learning is that it is self-paced. This makes it more flexible, allowing my daughter to use it even though she’s about three years off the recommended age. That was really impressive to me — what I thought would be a disadvantage for her turned out to be a non-issue.

H was able to enjoy the program, even though she was not the intended audience. She was able to sit through and learn from the videos. The most specific example is the one of the first ones, which is the video on posture. H diligently followed, because the instructions were clear and concise. The graphics complemented the audio and that allowed her to see what she should do.

Another thing that I liked from Bytes of Learning is that the challenges has a logical progression. You first had to learn individual letters and then words, and then sentences. H was able to use the proper keystrokes for the letters and some words. Sentences were, not surprisingly too advanced for her. But gosh, I was so proud to see her even try.

There was another benefit to using Bytes of Learning that I didn’t anticipate. A lot of the activities or games had H copying words she saw on the screen. Since she was sounding it out as she was copying, H’s spelling and reading skills were practiced as well.

On The Graphics

The interface is easy to use because of the clear icons. 

The graphics has a throwback feel to it. The colors shun the minimalist, subdued shades favored by recent trends. The smiling computer character also reminds me so much of Clippy, the helpful paper clip from the early version of Microsoft Word. By nature, I resist change to I was very much charmed by it.

But, aesthetics are only secondary to how effective the interface is. When it comes to that, I’m going to again emphasize that my daughter is — pop quiz! how old? — and she was able to navigate the program easily. The icons are front and center and easily identifiable. So easy that even a — one more time for the people in the back — five year old can handle it.

We did experience a few issues the first time we tried the product. The audio kept on repeating itself in some sections. We had to reload the page each time that happened to continue using the program. However, that only happened on one day so it could either have been problems with our internet (We’re from the Philippines. Ranked as having one of the slowest internet in Asia. Yay, us.) or a temporary glitch. It was a one-day thing so it’s hardly worth mentioning.

I would say that Bytes of Learning is a welcome addition to a family’s must-try educational sites. Even kids younger than the recommended age can benefit from it. Knowing how to use the keyboard properly is considered a basic skill, since almost everything is done using computers. Bytes of Learning is a straightforward, no-fuss way to develop or improve this skill.

Bytes of Learning on Social Media

Find their Facebook page here.

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