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Teaching Textbooks Will Prep Your Kids for College (and a GIVEAWAY!)

{disclaimer ~ this is a sponsored post in partnership with Teaching Textbooks}

Any of our long-time readers know that we have had a staple in our yearly homeschool curriculum. It’s a program we love and recommend whenever we can – Teaching Textbooks. As dedicated users of the program since 2010, we’ve had the opportunity to use every one of their math levels from Level 3 through Pre-Calculus.

One of the questions/concerns I’ve had from several parents over the years has tied into Teaching Textbooks and preparing their child for college. Will Teaching Textbooks be enough for college entry? And SATs? 

Here are some of my honest thoughts and opinions on the issue – and the short answer is this: I do believe that YES their program will prepare our children and is an incredible resource to homeschool families

Before I jump fully into things, I would invite you to read a little more about our switch to Teaching Textbooks back in 2010 and the overall reasons we recommend their program.  

When we first started with Teaching Textbooks, I heard and read various criticisms by some about their program. A few said it was behind other programs or that their kids used it and didn’t test well. Of course, criticisms like this are common with any widely-used math curriculum. But we had several friends who had no problems whatsoever, so we decided to move ahead because we needed a program that our kids enjoyed using – and that would help them learn.

Out of our four children, we currently have two children in high school, a child who has taken and done well on the SAT (and successfully graduated), and have had no issue with college acceptance or with Teaching Textbooks being our math curriculum. 

After the tenth grade, our oldest daughter took entrance tests in language and math so she could register for classes at our local community college (she did great on the math potion, by the way). Math is quite honestly her least favorite subject – just because she would rather delve into a good book, dissect a specimen, or learn more about human anatomy. She’s wired that way. BUT she did well on the math portion of the SAT as well, using zero outside prep other than Teaching Textbooks. (Side note: as we have completed standardized testing over the years, our children have tested highly in math each year).

Whatever criticisms we have heard have not proven true. We have seen success with Teaching Textbooks as our primary math curriculum for the past nine years. Teaching Textbooks will prepare for college – and it has!

Teaching Textbooks is a MUST for high school homeschool. 

For those who struggle in math themselves, Teaching Textbooks is an amazing curriculum to have on hand each year. The lessons are all taught via the program, meaning you as a mom get a break and don’t have to remember al the concepts you may not recall from your own high school days. Each lesson has an instructor who walks kids through the concept being taught, works through sample problems, and then kids work on daily problems and/or periodic tests.

One of my favorite features, especially in the high school years, are second chances. Parents can allow the program to offer a second chance for a correct answer. For kids that get frustrated easily, this can be a huge help. Let’s face it: sometimes kids try to rush through a problem or enter an answer too quickly. If they make a mistake, they could take a second chance and try again to get the problem correct. 

On top of second chances, the program SELF-GRADES. For those of you working with high schoolers, this is an amazing mom-help. Yes, we definitely want a program that works well for our children, but the benefit to parents cannot be overlooked either. 

We started with the textbook and CD-Rom versions of the various levels and a little over a year ago we moved over to Teaching Textbooks 3.0, a fully-online version of the program (meaning access anywhere you have WiFi access – no disks needed).  

Something I do want to note: as with any other program/curriculum, parent participation/oversight is necessary. Our family has a policy that if the kids score a 90 or better on a lesson, they can move on to the next lesson. If they are having difficulty and/or score below a 90 on a lesson, we sit down with them to review the concept they are struggling with until they understand and are ready to move on. 

You CAN Jump Ahead (or stay on grade level)

All of our kids started at their appropriate level, and we gave our youngest a placement test before he started. As our kids progressed through and enjoyed working on math, we let them work ahead. Instead of tears, our kids enjoyed doing math. 

Now granted high school can mean differences in attitude (because not all kids enjoy doing school – grins), but as our kids have been able, they have worked at the level they are able to. For both of our girls, they started Algebra 1 in the 8th grade. When our oldest reached the Pre-Calculus level, she decided to break it up over a two-year period (her 11th and 12th grade year), and that worked well for her and her school schedule.

Currently we have a 9th grader who is finishing Algebra 1 (he started it in the 8th grade), and he will move on to Geometry when he completes Algebra 1. Our 11th grade daughter started Pre-Calculus this year and her goal is to complete by the spring, wrapping up her math for high school. 

A Few Other High School Notes

  • Each level of Teaching Textbooks high school math is equivalent to a full high school credit and they currently offer Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus. 
  • A quick look at the gradebook will show you if a lesson is FULLY complete. This is one of my FAVORITE new features that has been added to the program. Prior to this update, the parent had to do a little more digging in the grade book to see if a lesson was 100% completed, but now – there isn’t any hiding if a kiddo “forgets” to do a problem.
  • Print gradebooks anytime.  Maybe I’m not the only one who struggles to keep up-to-date records on subjects, but Teaching Textbooks grades it all for me, and grade books can be printed off at any time for quick and easy record keeping.
  • With the 3.0 version, Teaching Textbooks stores your grades for you, even after your subscription is over. You don’t have to worry about where that grade book disappeared to – they’ve got you covered. 
  • All of the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 programs work on MAC, Windows, and Chromebooks.  For our family, the Chromebook aspect was HUGE since we didn’t have a disk drive. The full Teaching Textbooks 3.0 was one of the few programs we didn’t have any issues with! 

Prior to starting high school, Teaching Textbooks was a lifesaver for our family, allowing the kids a chance to work through math at their pace and independently, while also enjoying the process of learning. As we’ve moved into high school it has continued to be a benefit to our family,

More on Teaching Textbooks

Try Teaching Textbooks 3.0 for FREE


If you’d like to test out the 3.0 version, you can start a Free Trial of the complete program, up through Lesson 15. The trial includes lectures, solution, eBook, and grading on each of the products. If you decide to purchase the full version, everything transfers over for you! 

And bonus – you can try ANY and EVERY level. They are that generous! Learn more HERE. 

Not sure where to start? Download and print a placement test online. 

 

Win a Subscription to Teaching Textbooks 3.0

Teaching Textbooks has generously offered to give ONE FREE SUBSCRIPTION (any level) to Teaching Textbook’s new 3.0 version to one of my readers!! The Rafflecopter widget below will give you instructions below, and includes the option of the free trial as well. :) Because it is an online platform – everyone can enter, provided they are 18 years of age or older.

Giveaway ends Monday, October 7th at midnight EST. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

This year we’ve changed up (yet again) a few areas of study with our youngest, even though we’ve used different programs with our older kids at this stage. 

If there’s ANYTHING I’ve learned in the last 13 years of homeschooling, it’s that the best plan is to follow where your child is and not try to fit them into something they aren’t. While there may be things they never enjoy doing, sometimes it means switching things up a bit so it’s at least a little more manageable. 

Kaleb 100% dislikes most anything related to writing and/or extensive conversation. Unless it involves a favorite video game or he is with his best friend, much of his life has been overshadowed by rather talkative older siblings. He is emerging from his shell some and branching out a bit in some areas as he gains confidence, but many of his subjects this year, even though seemingly below “grade” level, are targeted so he can do as much INDEPENDENTLY as possible: reading, answering questions, etc. 

The primary goal is focusing on his reading, writing, and spelling skills – but sneaking it all in via the other subject areas. He is a boy who appreciates a good (and concise) layout of a workbook, so we’re taking advantage of that. That said, here’s a peek at what we’re using this year with our youngest.

7th Grade Curriculum Choices

 

STEM and Swim

I’m hoping to add in a few additional “fun” activities for Kaleb this year as we go along. Right now we’re trying to get into a good groove with the new subjects/format and also balance the boys’ swim schedule. Currently Kaleb has the opportunity to practice 2 early mornings a week and six additional afternoon/evenings – so a whole lot of pool time!

This year we will continue with our small Lego League group. Last year the boys took first at the regional competition and went to States where they were awarded first place in robot performance and second for robot design. They are working on some major robot redesigns and have started on the challenges in preparation for the regional meet in November! 

Overall, it’s a full year with all the extras, including Boy Scouts, and there are literally very few days/evenings free so we enjoy the down time when we have it!

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Kaleb the past few years:

 

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

 

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

11th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

The fact that we’ve already had two kids in the ninth grade would make it appear that picking out curriculum would be a piece of cake. But one of the huge benefits of homeschooling is that we can tweak programs, switch up the grade level we teach a program, or even completely change to a different program. As I mentioned in this post – each of our kids has been different in their likes/dislikes and focusing on individual strengths is a definite plus!

Last year Zachary started work on several high school credits and about 3/4 of the way through the year we realized that his current swimming times may shift our academic focus as we delve into the world of NCAA course approval (because life just isn’t fun enough!). 

We’ve slowed down the pace a little bit for him (which is GREAT) because his swim practices will really be intensifying this year. Last spring something really clicked for him in several events, and he made some incredible jumps in time and technique. Our mantra through this entire process has been to let the boys lead us in their desire to swim – we don’t want to push them too hard because we want them to enjoy what they are doing. Yes, work needs to be put in, but we also don’t want them to burn out. 

That said, below you’ll get a peek at our 9th grade homeschool curriculum choices – a look at the new (and favorite) programs we are using for the upcoming school year. An * depicts curriculum/programs that are new to us this year. 

*feed readers, please click over to the blog for some of the additional links to curriculum

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 6


Co-op Learning

We have a small group of high schoolers that will be meeting weekly to work on personal finance. Zachary will also be getting together with one friend to do the lab part of biology (because any dissection is better with a friend, right?). 

Math

We have the paper version of Geometry, but this year Zachary will be working on the online version of Teaching Textbooks Geometry (3.0). It follows along with the book, and I’m excited that I can log in on my laptop and see what he is doing since everything is stored online! (He’ll earn 1 credit for this class.)

Confession: boy wonder still has about 20 lessons of Algebra 1 to wrap up before he can jump into Geometry. Keeping it real, people! 

Geography

Zachary is continuing to work through North Star Geography.  Last year we opted to follow the two year plan included with the book so we could “ease” him into high school work. When completed, he will have earned a full credit as a high school class. 

Writing & Literature

Zachary will be using a brand new program from Compass Classroom for grammar/writing this year: Grammar for Writers. He will be watching the lectures online and working through the workbook (we have the print version). Last year he worked through the Grammar of Poetry (1/2 credit), so these classes will be combined together for essentially an “English 9” class for him. 

We will also be continuing with All About Spelling Levels 6 & 7 for spelling. He is sitting down with me this week to choose four main books for his reading over the year. 

Biology

We’ll be working through The Riot and the Dance  biology this year and have a local friend to complete our lab activities with each week. This program is one we switched to with McKenna and really enjoyed the layout and the way things were explained in the text. We mix up the labs a little bit from how the book presents them and added more dissections (because they really are fun!!) to the mix as well. 

Reading

We aren’t focusing on a dedicated literature program this year, but there are a few books Zachary will be reading through over the course of the year. It’s a fairly eclectic list, but some are ones he chose and a few are ones I am reading along with him. 


Swimming

This past year Zachary decided to swim year round. For those of you with swimmers, he not only competed in short course (25 meter pool) but also long course (50 meter pool) this summer. He is now measuring in at a bit over 6’3″ and essentially has flippers for feet. He has been dropping even more time and really loves most everything about swimming (his parents are not as fond of the early morning practices!). :) 

Quite honestly, swimming is a mixed bag for me personally. It does mean quite a bit more running around in the evenings, especially as Zachary is in the top practice group and expected to attend a high percentage of practices each week. But he is WILLINGLY putting in over 12 hours of pool time in each week as well as multiple dryland practices weekly, so his physical activity is beyond admirable.

Sidenote: this is the boy who will now come home after practice and eat about a dozen eggs for breakfast. Our grocery budget is about ready to go nuts again.

Boy Scouts

This will be Zachary’s last year participating in Scouts. He is currently ranked as a Life Scout and our troop will be disbanding next June as our current troop leaders retire. Zachary is working hard to complete the remaining four merit badges he needs to earn and deciding on his Eagle Scout project (ideas welcome!!). Our troop has been such a great outlet for Zachary, and he has really loved it over the last four years. 

Personal Finance

One of the best things that happened for Zachary this past summer was getting his first job at our local pool. He helped serve in the snack area, and it’s been a great jumping point for teaching about saving and spending. The Foundations in Personal Finance class is one of my favorite electives to go through with the kids because it really has helped shape how they view their current and future finances (McKenna saved up and paid cash for her first car this summer and has a $1000 emergency fund!). We’ll be working through this class with a small group of kids – and it will be fun! 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Zachary the past few years:

Planning the Middle and High School Years

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

One thing that has been a huge help to me in mapping out the upcoming years with our kids  is this middle school and high school planner. Essentially I am able to get an extended view and map out the future years to see what we need to work on and when it might fit in best -and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall. 

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

11th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

 

 

11th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

The last few weeks have involved a bit of scrambling (if you will) to pull together all of our curriculum for the upcoming year. As I mentioned in this post – each year for our various kids has been different. While we may use some core curriculum pieces from one child to the next, other components may be different.

So far, McKenna has earned a total of 20 credits toward her high school diploma. At the end of her 11th grade year she will have completed 5.5 more credits, making a total of 25.5 credits toward her diploma. 

McKenna spent a few days a week working last year, which wasn’t always the best for her study habits, or life in general. Since she is driving and purchased her own car this summer, that will help out some, but she does still need to work to help pay for her gas and any car repairs. This year I’m hoping to help her establish a little more balance so she isn’t quite as hard on herself, since she tends to stress herself (and those around her) out. 

11th Grade Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 5.5

Pre-Calculus

We’ve used Teaching Textbooks for many years now and this year we will be using Pre Calculus  3.0 online version. We made the switch from the CD version (pictured above) to the online version and loved it, since I can log into the account at the same time and view the lesson, and we can access from any computer, not just one specific (which we had to do with CD-rom version).  

American History

We’ve used Notgrass other years (for different subjects), and McKenna has enjoyed the format of the books in years past, so we’re looking forward to the continuity and familiarity of the layout. 

Spanish

Out of the different programs we’ve tried over the years, Breaking the Barrier has been the best alternative for us in teaching Spanish. We switched to this last year and have had a few hiccups, but overall it’s been more user friendly and easier to follow.

 

Marine Biology

This is a new-to-us curriculum. A friend of ours used it with one of her sons, so we borrowed it all from her. I’ll admit, when she handed me the HUGE dissection tray, I was a little worried! BUT our squid and dog shark dissection specimens were ordered from Home Science Tools and now on the way!! I’m super excited about this class since we had so much fun with our biology dissections. McKenna picked this science herself after I sent her a bunch of options from a homeschool convention. :)

Literature

 

We’re trying something a new to us this year – Lightning Literature, the American literature packs. I’m really intrigued by the format of the program and how it uses various literature to teach different styles of writing (i.e. Narrative of Frederick Douglas to show persuasive writing). McKenna will be working through both of the American Literature sets, possibly jumping over one of the books in one set because she has done so much work in past literature classes. Books focused on in these units include: Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, The Narrative of Frederick Douglas’s Life, The Scarlett Letter, Moby Dick, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Call of the Wild, and The Red Badge of Courage

Drama

This fall our local community college is offering their final youth theatre class. McKenna has participated in this program the last two years and will be participating in workshops, vocal training, and at the end of the semester the group will be performing songs from various musicals. She will earn 1/2 credit for the class. 

 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with McKenna the past few years:

Planning the Middle and High School Years

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

One thing that has been a huge help to me in mapping out the upcoming years with our kids  is this middle school and high school planner. Essentially I am able to get an extended view and map out the future years to see what we need to work on and when it might fit in best -and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall. 

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

 

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

 

5 Reasons to Make the Switch to Teaching Textbooks Online

{disclaimer ~ this is a sponsored post in partnership with Teaching Textbooks}

It’s been nine years since our family made the switch to Teaching Textbooks and just over a year since we started using Teaching Textbooks 3.0, the online version of their program. While the academic content is the same, the 3.0 version offers additional perks to the traditional book and CD-rom method we have grown to love. 

Using Teaching Textbooks was a game changer for our family. We went from went from literal tears and frustration with math to happy kids who thought math was fun. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure if the online version was going to be a good fit for our family (and I may have balked a little bit at that new-fangled option), because I’m typically a pencil and good-old-fashioned-book kind of girl. 

But after a year using the online subscription-based 3.0 version I can honestly say we are even more in love with this incredible program. We have used Teaching Textbooks from Math 3 all the way through Pre-Calculus – read on to see why the 3.0 version has us hooked!

Access ANYWHERE

We’ve had quite a bit of sports-related travel in the last year with our boys and guess what? Math can be accessed anywhere we go, since most everywhere has wifi now (insert an evil *little* laugh here). No need to bring separate books or disks for anyone. One laptop and we are ready to work on math.

In addition, at home our kids typically work from different computers which means (with the physical disks) each year I had to reload the program onto a different computer. There was also the year one of our kids went through two hard drives on her laptop. With the 3.0 version, all the math levels are stored online and can be accessed from any computer in the house, and no disks need to be loaded or programs transferred from year to year. 

No Disks or Books

In the past, our boys were famous for misplacing their math disks. Or wrecking their textbooks. Teaching Textbooks 3.0 has been a fabulous solution for us because there is nothing to lose – everything is digital. This may seem trivial, but guess what we can never find when we need to flip back to a past lesson to review a concept – our textbook!

The 3.0 online version has an ebook that can be viewed in a different browser window or even printed off if you choose. One thing I love about this: I can pull up a browser on my computer, flip back to a specific lesson, and we can review and work on a problem on one of the kid’s computers. More than one person can be logged into the account at a time – hello, wonderful!

Grade Storage

We won’t talk about how many computer issues we’ve had over the years and how many hard drives I have in a drawer (for real).  With the 3.0 version, Teaching Textbooks stores your grades for you, even after your subscription is over. You don’t have to worry about where that grade book disappeared to – they’ve got you covered. 

As a parent of four, I absolutely love that my parent home page allows me to see all of the kids at a glance, including past levels. There’s not logging in/out of different levels because it’s all conveniently in one location. 

Also, did I mention that Teaching Textbooks does the grading for you? The program grades each question as your child completes it, giving instant feedback, and also provides a digital gradebook which can be printed off at the end of each section or as a whole. 

No Disk Drive Needed

When our oldest started taking classes at the community college, we needed to get her an inexpensive lightweight laptop and opted for a Chromebook without thinking that all the way through. With no disk drive or storage capacity, she was working from two different computers until Teaching Textbooks 3.0 Online was released. 

All of the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 programs work on MAC, Windows, and Chromebooks. Tablets and phones can be used as well with the Puffin browser (3rd party browser, support limited). For our family, the Chromebook aspect has been HUGE this past year. The full Teaching Textbooks 3.0 was one of the few programs we didn’t have any issues with! 

Completed Lesson Notifications

A more recent feature that has been added is the lovely “Completed” notification next to lessons that have been finished 100%. I have to say, this is one of my FAVORITE new features that has been added to the program. Prior to this update, the parent had to do a little more digging in the grade book to see if a lesson was 100% completed, but now – there isn’t any hiding if a kiddo “forgets” to do a problem. I’m going to assume it’s not just one of my boys that likes to try this…and maybe this would be helpful in your home too

There are so many other features to love about Teaching Textbooks 3.0 and you can read our full thoughts on it here, but if it’s something that has piqued your interest – keep reading to see how you can try it for free!

Try Teaching Textbooks 3.0 for FREE

If you’d like to test out the 3.0 version, you can start a Free Trial of the complete program, up through Lesson 15. The trial includes lectures, solution, eBook, and grading on each of the products. If you decide to purchase the full version, everything transfers over for you! 

And bonus – you can try ANY and EVERY level. They are that generous! Learn more HERE. 

Not sure where to start? Download and print a placement test online. 

 

12th Grade Homeschool Curriculum UPDATES (2018-2019)

Back in August I shared our 12th grade curriculum that Laurianna, our current senior, would be using over the fall months. The bulk of her classes, with the exception of one, were all done as dual enrollment of sorts. 

(Of course it’s called something a little different in our area, but essentially the same thing). 

This spring she taking some new classes and has completed her fall course load. We spent some time pouring over multiple requirements for nursing programs and finally settled on the below so she would have all of her prerequisites set for the RN to BSN program at James Madison University. 

Over the last year she has been weighing various college options, taking classes at the community college, and we have been talking with advisors at several different universities to determine the best path for her goals. Essentially, her time at the community college has been very productive.

Mid-December though, Laurianna applied for an alternate option: a gap year with Mercy Ships, serving in Africa. If she is accepted, she will be able to put her application on hold and spend the year volunteering aboard the hospital ship (we are anxiously waiting to hear from them!). 

12th Grade Curriculum and Class Additions

All that to say, here are the texts (and classes) Laurianna will be taking this spring, adding three additional credits: 

A quick note: if you are looking at ANY college textbooks, be sure to check out Amazon textbook rental (referral link). One of the books (rental) through the community college was going to be $180 and we were able to get all of her books for under $120 (phew!!) which is obviously a huge savings. We’ve found that Amazon has been by far the cheapest for textbook rentals, but they don’t always have all the books either since the professors sometimes like to choose obscure books. 

12th Grade Courses Completed

Her completed fall classes from the community college are below: 

  • ScienceMicrobiology and lab
  • English CompositionArguing About Literature 
  • Philosophy/EthicsEthical Choices
  • SociologyMarriages, Families, and Relationships

A Few Notes on Transcripts

For those of you who have been following us for some time, you might have noticed that Laurianna is essentially taking a few “duplicate” classes. She took American History and American Literature in her 10th grade year

As I am working on her transcript, we are keeping those classes on her transcript, but making note of which ones are at the college level. There have been a few classes/credits that I have omitted from her transcript because they have been duplicates, but these are ones I feel strongly about keeping on her record. 

Does High School Have You Scared?

If homeschooling high school is worrying you, don’t miss the free middle and high school planning printables and map out your middle and high school years!

Homeschooling in High School Middle and High School Planning How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Laurianna the past few years:

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.