Sunday, March 31, 2013

Celebrating Easter in a Non-Traditional Way

I want to try and explain this in a way most people can understand why we decided not to spend Easter in church like most Christian families across America. There are two main points I would like to make that helped us make our decision about today:

  • First me and my husband have been thinking over the past year that church doesn't have to occur in the four walls of a building. Church can happen when any number of people congregate together to worship, learn, and study together. 
  • Next comes the most difficult statement for me to make. Our home church that we have attended for almost nine years is in major trouble. We are a small church of about 130 and up until this year has been a wonderful experience for our in entire family. Over the past six - 8 months the feel or vibe of the church has changed, many leaders have stepped down, members of the church have left for greener pastures, our fill in Pastor of 6 years abruptly left with his family(no bad feelings on their part), and to top it off we are financially struggling. So it just doesn't have that happy, wonderful feeling when you walk in the doors like it did at one time. We have stuck it out because they are our church family and I would not walk out on our regular family in a time of struggle. But we are increasingly missing Sunday Services to "do" church at home. 
  • Here is a bonus reason, since I said I had two. My father has never attended church and he recently turned 77 years old and is not in the greatest health. I really wanted to spend the day with him and the rest of my family.
Okay, so for all of these reasons and more, this is what we actually did today to celebrate Easter.

This morning we met at my parent's house with my sister's family to have brunch. This was a feast actually. Cinnamon roll cake, crock pot french toast, omelets, biscuits and gravy, turkey bacon, sausage, and home fries. Delish!!!! 

Next we all gathered in the living room in front of the television to watch two episodes of The Bible miniseries. Since my family does not have cable we haven't watched any of the episodes yet. I set up my mom's Roku box with the Amazon channel and we bought the two episodes from Amazon named the "The Mission" part one and two. Of course tonight the finale is airing and me and Grace plan on purchasing it tomorrow to watch on Amazon. 

All in all it was a wonderful day spent with the family eating, fellowshipping, and reflecting on what Jesus did for us so many years ago.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up and Homeschool Review Link Up

What We Studied or Discussed This Week
Sharks and Rays
Astronomy - Pluto & Asteroids 
Manatees/Red Tide Sickness
Adjectives and Adverbs
Route 66
Petrified Forest
Martin Luther and the Reformation
History of Baseball
Exponents and Powers
Greatest Common Factors

What We Are Reading
Margarethe - Review Book
The City of Ember
God's World News
Who Am I Series
Eagle of the Ninth - Review Study Guide

Classes Grace Attended
Pond Life 
Beginner Essay Writing 
Mixed Media Art 
Art History
Acts of Faith Traveling Drama Ministry Group

Reviews We Are Working On
Computer Science for Kids - Review Post on Monday
Eagle of the Ninth Study Guide by Progeny Press
Composer Study Lapbook from Homeschool In The Woods

What We Watched
Good Luck Charlie
Eagle of the Ninth
Medical Mystery Documentaries
CNN Student News
Liberty Tree House

Every week it is really hard to pick a favorite subject/material that we have used through the week because quite frankly Grace doesn't enjoy any school work. But I would say the things she looks most forward to during the day are: CNN Student NewsLiberty Tree HouseGod's World News Magazine, and drawing with her Bamboo Drawing Tablet. These items may not seem very educational at times but she has actually learned a lot of current events that she wasn't aware of before starting to watch the above programs.

I am linking up with Kris over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Homeschool Review.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reading Aloud Challenge with Footprints in the Butter

Reading aloud happens a lot in our house. We read aloud history, literature, fun fiction, and some science occasionally. Also many of our review books end up as read alouds for use to share in the process together. Here are some current read alouds for us:

  • Margarethe by Emma Leslie - This is a book for TOS Review Crew about church history with lots of emphasis on Luther and Zwingli. Can't say a lot about this one yet. We have about one more week with this one and it will be finished and then the review will be up.
  • Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff - This is another TOS Review Crew book that takes place in Roman History. We are on chapter six today and I have ordered the movie from Netlflix. It should arrive by Friday so we can do some compare and contrast with the book. Can't really say anymore about this one either the review will post in April.
  • What We Believe Series from Apologia - Who Am I? and What Am I Doing Here? - We use this for devotions every morning. I absolutely love these books. This one is second in the series and we are almost done. Will order the third as soon as we are finished. Grace loves the stories in this series and they are packed full of wonderful information for young people about living your life for Jesus Christ and how to do it.
  • I just finished Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray - A small book about Amish life and how one  young woman decided to take on that life for love.
  • I have just started reading Dream Big by Todd Wilson - We purchased this little book at the Greenville Convention and hubby has already finished it. This one fits in nicely with our life right now. Hubby is training for a career/life change and he is dreaming big to make it happen.
  • Grace is reading many manga type books because of course she is an anime fanatic. She has also picked back City of Ember to finish for her independent reading time. 
Join in the read aloud challenge by visiting Debra over at Footprints in the Butter.

The Greenville Convention Part 2

Day two of the convention found us eating from the breakfast buffet at our hotel. After a pretty sleepless night for us at the hotel (loud people walking around at night and trying to sleep in a strange bed) added up to us being up early. The convention hall opened up at 9:30 and we were waiting at the doors to get in. One of my objectives at the conference was to talk to some vendors and entice them to come be a vendor at our State Conference. I am volunteering on the vendor hall committee this year and vendor registration is down due to use choosing the same weekend as another very prominent conference that is being held. Anyway off we went to talk to some vendors, about ten in all. After a lot of conversations with vendors we went to another seminar/workshop held by Todd Wilson. Again I had never seen him or heard him talk in person. This talk was about things you need to teach your daughter before graduating her from home and it was a real treat. Hubby really liked his talk and him. We actually went back to his booth and purchased his new small book "Dream Big" because we are actually in the processes of some life changes and require dreaming big. He has already read the book and passed it on to me and Grace to read. By this point it was lunch time and quite frankly the food court left something to be desired plus it was pretty expensive. We decided to leave the convention center for lunch and actually found a wonderful hole in the wall type of eatery with great home made pizza. Delish!!! We chilled for a while and headed back to the convention center to go see and hear Laurie White speak about her book King Alfred's English. Of course I loved this book and Laurie is from my home state. She gave a wonderful talk and I can't recommend her book enough. So much wonderful information about our English language than many people have never heard before or even knew. By this time it was about 3:30 and we needed to start wrapping things up to get on the road back home. I made a few more purchases consisting of an interesting algebra book, and a dvd from Growing Up Wild. After leaving the convention we made a deter to Krispy Kreme Donuts to purchase a gift card for my brother-in-law's birthday and also bought ourselves their new oreo doughnuts (fab and very tasty). One hour and a half later we were home and visiting with the new chicks that hatched while we were away. It was a super short but great weekend away with the hubby. We definitely need to do this more often.

Monday, March 25, 2013

B is for Bird Inspired Art

Last week while visiting the art store we found a 2012 bird calendar marked down to $2.99. I planned on bringing it home and using the pages for collage work in my art journal. But Grace got her hands on it first and starting creating. 

The calendar inspired her to create a set of characters inspired by the birds in the calendar. 

It also inspired her to create a set of bird cards for the art festival. 

We are participating with Marcy over at Ben and Me. Join in or see what other families are posting.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Creek Edge Press Review - Medieval World Task Cards

I started researching the company Creek Edge Press over a year ago. Creek Edge Press Task Card Sets is what really caught my eye. This looked like a very interesting way to have kids follow a scope and sequence in a chosen topic, research it, then write summaries and create projects about the information they learned. The task card set Medieval World Task Card looked very interesting, and it was a time period we had not studied very much in the past. When I contacted Amy Kate Hilsman, the author of the product, she graciously sent me the Medieval World Task Card Set to review.

Medieval World Task Card SetA little background about the task card system will begin this review. The task card approach of learning leans heavily on three methods of education: Classical, Charlotte Mason, and Montessori. Many of the assigned tasks are open ended which encourages the child to research and think. The instruction booklet states, "The focus is on investigation and the experience of discovery." Some students may feel overwhelmed with this approach and need an adjustment period to get a handle on how it all works. Something I found was that in the beginning I had to sit with Grace and show her the process and how to actually "do research". As time has progressed she is doing more and more on her own. Amy Kate recommends placing the task card in the learning environment with all the needed materials. The task cards are meant to be used one per week, but can vary according to your child's ability and schedule.

The Medieval World Task Card set retails for $22.00 and is recommended for students K-8th grade. The younger students will need more hands on help and reading the material aloud while the older students will learn to research and record information on their own. This task card set covers the time period of The Fall of Rome through the Reformation and Renaissance. The cards are arranged chronologically and topically showing the students how history has unfolded over time by directing them through 32 weeks of learning. The author of the product recommends using one card per week. The task card set also comes with an instruction guide that guides the parent and student through using the cards. Also included in the guide is a list of books, movies, and tips to further your student's study of this time period.

Here is a list of the types of tasks you will find in the sets:
  • Encyclopedia research
  • Further reading
  • Define
  • Internet activity
  • Map Work
  • Ongoing Art and Projects
  • Picture Study
  • Summarize
  • Posters
  • Collages
  • Lists
  • Timelines or Book of Centuries
This is the second set of task cards I have reviewed from Creek Edge Press and it does not disappoint. I love the Medieval time period and can't wait to share more of it with Grace. For this review I decided to highlight one of the cards and show how we implemented it into our daily studies. Grace is crazy about all things Japan, so for this review post I chose to share her work from card #9 all about Ancient Japan and specifically Yamato Dynasty of Japan.
This task card had us researching Samurai, Shinto, Buddhism, Shoguns, and Noh Plays.

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Grace decided to create a small poster of what she learned about Yamato Dynasty of Japan by using the task cards for guidance. The guide book that is included with the cost of the cards is invaluable. All the information for implementing this in your home is in detail.  I feel so blessed to be learning alongside my daughter with this program. Anyone who has ever wanted to put together their own comprehensive unit study about a particular time period can now stop and go purchase this one. All the work is already done for you at a great price. I would even venture to say that the cards could be tweaked to use as high school history courses with adding some additional reading and writing which is what we actually plan on doing. Another option would be to add the task cards as a supplement to the history curriculum you are already using. That is one of the things I love most about home educating my child, if you like a product but need to tweak it, add to it, etc., then do it. This is a wonderful company with wonderful products.

Please go take a visit to Creek Edge Press and check out all the wonderful product they have available to make your home educating life easier.

Disclaimer: Creek Edge Press graciously sent me The Medieval World Task Card Set at no cost to me for my honest opinion. All review are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lamplighter Winner Chosen

J.J. from Making a House a Home has won the two audio discs from Lamplighter. I have left her a message to contact me. Congrats to J.J.

What We Did This Week

Today I will be linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up and Homeschool Review.

What We Discussed or Studied
Albert Einstein
New York
The End of WW II
St. Patrick
Ancient Japan
The 1940's
Adverbs and Adjectives
Poetry Paragraph 
Factoring, Divisibility Rules, Prime and Composite Numbers

Classes Attended
Drama Class - Practicing Aladdin
Choir Class
Art History Class
Pond Life Class

What We Are Reading
The Eagle of the Ninth
City of Embers
The Mystery of the Periodic Table

What We Are Watching
The Hobbit
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
CNN Student News
Liberty Tree House

Book marks and Note Cards for Art Festival
Lots of Sketching and Drawing

Reviews We Are Working On
The Eagle of the Ninth Study Guide from Progeny Press
Computer Science for Kids
Creek Edge Press Medieval World Task Cards

Exciting Events From the Week
First baby chick hatching of the Spring
Birthday parties for three family members
Convention in Greenville

Our favorite resource this week as been watching Liberty Tree House on The Blaze.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Day In The Homeschool Life - Photo Style

 Next week's Blog Cruise theme is "Our Homeschool Day in Pictures." Below you will find a typical/non typical day for us. Normally on Thursday's you will find Grace attending two out of the home classes, but her teacher was sick so we adjusted. Here is our day in a nutshell.
Muffins for breakfast

Creating during our read aloud of Margarethe

Note card for festival

Book marks for festival

We now watch Liberty Treehouse every morning on the Blaze

Working on our review of Computer Science for Kids

Learning about New York with American the Beautiful

Picking out two new copic markers at the art store

Spending way to much time in the afternoon pinning

Looking forward to what other folks share about their days. Follow this link to TOS Blog Cruise and see what other families do during their homeschooling days.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Great Homeschool Convention - Greenville - Part 1

So this past weekend me and hubby traveled to the great state of South Carolina to go to The Great Homeschool Convention. Upon arriving the very first thing that impressed me was that our hotel was walking distance to the convention center. The second was the convention center was surrounded by wonderful grassy areas that families were using for play time with their children and just time to chill out in the beautiful weather we were blessed with this weekend. We arrived on Friday after lunch. Of course the first thing any self respecting homeschool mom wants to do is hit the vendor hall, and it was the same for me. This conference did boast lots of vendors and some of them I haven't had the pleasure of seeing or meeting before this weekend. I had already told myself that I would not purchase anything until Saturday after taking much time and consideration over what I saw in the vendor booths. Two hours after arriving my first choice of speakers to go and hear was about to commence. I have home educated for almost 8 years and never had the pleasure of listening to Andrew Pudewa from IEW. Great speaker, great message! Next we headed back to the vendor hall to continue pursuing educational items and ooohhing and aahhhing over everything we saw. There wasn't actually a lot that I needed this year due to the many wonderful products I am blessed with through the TOS Review Crew. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to touch and look at everything in sight. By this time it was 5:30 and the next speaker I wanted to see was about to start. Again I Diana Waring is one of those speakers you hear so much about but I had never had the pleasure. The talk was to be about "Why We Went to War". The talk started with information about William the Conqueror and Napoleon and then about 10 minutes in to the talk the fire alarm went off. That meant every one had to leave and the fire department had to clear the entire convention center before letting anyone back in. We later found out that a door was propped open that shouldn't have been and that set off the alarm. Since it was so close to dinner time we decided to go check into our hotel and get some dinner. Of course anytime there is a Red Lobster with spitting distance it wins out. It was crowded but delicious. They have a special going on at the moment for a four course meal for 15.99. We were so full that a walk was called for around the outside of the convention center (remember we were a three minute walk away). We do not have cable TV at home so Food Network was on most of the night with a marathon of Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. I did actually make one purchase from the vendor hall on Friday, breaking my rule. In blogland one of the hot products is Maries Words created by a brother and sister team. We spoke with the brother and he was just a great guy with lots of enthusiasm of the product.
Looking forward to using this product next year for 9th grade. This was the first time me and hubby had gone away for the weekend by ourselves in ten years. Much needed time away. In a couple of days I will complete our weekend adventure with part two.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A is for Algebra

Over the weekend myself and hubby visited The Great Homeschool Convention in Greenville, South Carolina (more posts to come). One main product I was searching for was a math for the upcoming new school year. Over the years we have used/tried many math products.

Life of Fred
Right Start
Teaching Textbooks
Math Essentials

Teaching Textbooks is probably our favorite but I just couldn't see spending almost $200.00 each and every year for it. We have no other children to pass the product down to and these days resale you would be looking around $50.00 in our area. Next on the list was Math Essentials and I do like these books - we just finished Geometry. Well, while in the vendor hall I came across some inexpensive, no-frills Pre-Algebra and Algebra books made by Straight Forward. These we will start right away. The book I am most excited about using is "Real World Algebra" by Edward Zaccaro. This book was created for students 4th-9th grades. The material is presented in comic book fashion with easy to understand instructions and examples. The Straight Forward books were purchased for $4.95 and Real World Algebra for $24.95. Can't wait to see how Grace does with these.

I am linking up with Marcy over at Ben and Me. She is starting up her Blogging Through the Alphabet Posts. Be sure to join up and have some fun along the way.

TOS Review - Classical Academic Press - The Art of Poetry


PhotobucketPoetry is one of those words/subjects that strikes fear into many individuals, including myself. I didn't read or study poetry in school because of this fear. To be able to read, understand and enjoy poetry....the reader needs to slow down and read closely. Read the poem aloud more than once. Take into context who the poet was, what life was like in that time frame for him, and what was happening in the world. These are just a few concepts we have learned so far from The Art of Poetry published by Classical Academic Press. The author of The Art of Poetry is Christine Perrin. Ms. Perrin has taught poetry at John Hopkins University and currently teaches at Messiah College. Right off the bat after viewing the first DVD lesson I could tell this woman really knows her stuff and has an incredible passion for poetry.

What You Need to Know

The Art of Poetry Student Text  -  24.95
Teacher's Edition  -  29.95
DVD Set  -  69.95 (As of April 1st)
Bundle Set Which Includes All Above  -  99.95 (As of April 1st)

The student and teacher's edition will come as a physical book.
A sample chapter can be found here - Art of Poetry Sample Chapter.

Suggested Weekly Schedule

Recommended Ages - 6th grade and UP

What Is Included In The Text

Sound and More Sound
Shape: Stanza and Line
Tone: Putting it All Together
History of Form, Movements, Genres
Verse Forms
Shaping Forms
Emily Dickinson
Open Verse
Walt Whitman
Narrative Poems
Growing Your Interest
Short Biographies of Poets
The Art of Poetry Online
Glossary of Terms

How the Author Recommends Using This Book

The very first thing Ms. Perrin tells you is, "Do not let this book overwhelm you." If the only time you are ever able to spend with this product is reading the poetry then you have already taken the first step and accomplished more than a lot of High School students ever do. If an individual can't use this product daily then do it weekly. Ms. Perrin gives us many different ways to utilize The Art of Poetry - daily, weekly, monthly or over several years. If working with younger students shorten the lessons to include key points and skip the more in-depth material. Older students should do well with the curriculum as it is presented. The Art of Poetry is recommended to use as an elective class, cooperative, in home instruction or even in a poetry circle group.

How A Chapter Is Set Up

Each chapter/lesson is set up with an introduction to the subject matter being presented. For example, in Chapter 2 you will find an introduction to metaphors in poetry. Next is Learning to Read Closely which includes a noteworthy poem and explanation. Now the reader will progress to the Anthology Section that includes represented poets with poems depicting the element that is being studied. Each poem has questions and at the end of the chapter is a list of activities to chose from to enforce the presented element. To help the parent and student through each chapter a teacher's edition is available. The teacher's text has applications, extra information, and answers to all questions. To take it even a step further a DVD can be purchased with the exact lessons being taught by Ms. Perrin to a small group of students. 

How We Used the Product and What We Thought

A poem included in the text that we used for a nature study page.
Up front I would say that I was very intimidated about studying poetry. I have always thought that only "deep thinkers" could decipher poetry and enjoy it. We have studied poetry some from a child's point of view, mainly reading Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, etc. Poets recommended for young children, but nothing heavy duty. Once we received the product I the teacher sat down and read all the intro information, the first chapter and watched the first lesson on the DVD (Classical Academic Press graciously included lesson 1-2 DVD with the review materials). My plan of attack was to have Grace watch 30 minutes of Chapter 1 of the DVD one day then 30 minutes the next day to finish Chapter 1. I found out real quick that watching the lesson was not effective for Grace. She found it to be kind of dry and some of it she just plain didn't understand. So.....we took a step back and decided to take it at a much slower pace of me reading aloud the material from the teacher's text and have her try to answer the questions orally. Sometimes she could give some insight and other times we needed to refer to the answers in the teacher's text. I would personally never be able to teach this class without the teacher's text. Neither myself or Grace think in a poetic way, so this product has been a struggle for us. Saying all this, I believe the purchase of the teacher's text is a must unless the parent has a background in poetry. I do believe this is a wonderful product just maybe not for us. This may be because we as a family have not trained classically at all or that Grace is still not mature enough for the material. All the materials are well laid out for a parent to teach this class though. Basically with a mature, independent learner they could run with it, especially with the DVD lessons. It would be like having the teacher right in your home. The bundle price is great for what you get - student and teacher text, plus all the lessons on the DVD set. We do hope to continue using the product but on a much slower basis with maybe one poem every couple of weeks.

Please visit Classic Academic Press to see all their products as well as The Art of Poetry.

Take a hop over to the TOS Review Crew and see what other families thought of The Art of Poetry and Discovery of Deduction as well as all their other products.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, not Christmas Time. The other most wonderful time of the year - hatching baby chicks. Yes, Betty went broody all the way back in February, but it was just too cold to try and hatch at that time. Well she stayed broody so the beginning of March I put some eggs under her. Low and behold between Thursday and Saturday we had four precious little chicks. I had to pay a pet sitter to come in and check up on them because we were out of town for much of the hatching. We are looking forward to more hatching once another bird goes broody.

Linking up with The Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

TOS Review - Essentials In Writing Grade 8

Essential in Writing logo photo EssentialsinWritinglogo_zps7affe1cf.jpg

Essentials in Writing Grade 8 photo EIW8thgrade_zps7bfc9469.jpgAsk anyone who knows Grace or reads my blog and they will tell you that writing has become her least favorite subject to tackle. This obviously makes other subjects, such as history and science harder to pursue at times. She will try just about anything to get out of writing a summary or paper. This is not to say she isn't good at writing, because according to her essay writing teacher she is right on target for a 8th grade student. All this said, she can always use more practice and guidance in the area of writing. About six weeks ago we were given the opportunity through TOS Review Crew to review Essentials In Writing Grade 8 from Essentials In Writing. To begin the review let's learn a little background about this company. Essentials In Writing was founded by Matthew Stephens. Mr. Stephens was a public school English teacher before creating this product and has taught almost every grade level of students. Mr. Stephen's goal has always been to teach students to be confident in their writing, have fun with the study of language, be able to communicate with readers effectively, and also to be effective with applying what was learned into the students writing.

Mr. Stephen's Strategy
  • Watch the video of new or reviewed material. Once the video is viewed with a step by step approach students will accomplish activities and writing assignments.
  • Material is presented in small "chunks" that will be built upon for understanding and application.
  • Mr. Stephens will actually show the student "How to apply the new concept in writing". 
Basically the student watches the video lesson taught by Mr. Stephens then progresses to the assignments. Depending on what the lesson is teaching, the student may have one assignment or several assignments to complete on subsequent days.

What You Need to Know

Currently Essentials in Writing is available for grades 1-12. According to the website two new High School courses will be released at a later date. For this review we were asked to use Essentials in Writing Grade 8. Grade 8 is recommended for ages 13-14. Topics covered in the Grade 8 curriculum include: 

Writing Sentences
Additional Grammar
Business Letter
Writing Process
Narrative Writing
Descriptive Writing
Expository Writing
Persuasive Writing
Using Effective Writing Techniques
Multi Paragraph Compositions
Informational Report
Using Figurative Language
and even more

At this time Essentials in Writing Grade 8 retails for $40.00. This includes 64 DVD lessons and corresponding worksheets/assignments, plus answer key. The product we reviewed had printable worksheets off of the DVD, but a letter from Mr. Stephens informed us that this will be changing. In the near future when the product is purchased a PDF link will be emailed to you with all the worksheets to print. If you do not want to do all that printing, they even offer a workbook to be purchased for $20.00. I am including this clickable link to provide you with a sample grade 8 lesson to view. It seems that Essentials In Writing has thought of everything to make this a very easy curriculum to use.

How We Used It and What We Thought

We incorporated this writing curriculum into our daily subjects and used it 3-5 times a week depending on our schedule. We concentrated our time on three different areas of the curriculum. First we used lessons 2-7 (clauses, complex sentences, compound sentences, prepositions, etc.) as review work. Next we tackled lessons 12-17 which dealt with paragraph structure, descriptive and persuasive paragraphs, as well as compare and contrast. It was recommended by Mr. Stephens to watch lesson 18 and 19 which discusses the writing process and point of view. Both were very helpful and informative. Lastly we chose Compare and Contrast in a Business Letter to learn. This is one area of writing she hasn't learned in her current writing class, so it seemed like a perfect choice.

First off I think this is a very comprehensive and thorough program. I like DVD programs. Writing is not my forte and in the long run Grace wouldn't learn much from just me. Having a teacher present for each and every lesson, to show the "how to" is priceless. The thing is though - this is not a pricey product. Purchasing a year long writing curriculum, with a teacher "teaching" every lesson for $40.00 is just plain great. Very economical in my opinion. Mr. Stephens was easy to listen to and didn't become boring at any point. I wish I could say "Grace just loves writing" after using this program. But in all honesty that wouldn't happen with any program in her opinion, although, I think she would admit to it being virtually painless. Grace would like me to also add that she really likes the intro music that was chosen for the beginning of the DVD.

Please go to Essentials In Writing and check out all the wonderful products that are available. The product provides lots of bang for the buck.

 photo Disclaimer2_zpsff718028.gifBe sure to check out what other families on the TOS Review Crew think about Essentials in Writing.


Toys, Games and Puzzles

Currently we are home educating one child and she will turn 14 in June. As a younger student we did play games, work on puzzles, etc. As Grace has grown those types of items have played less and less of a role in our home. One reason may be because we only have one child living at home. Most board games are created for multiple players. Quite frankly only two players does not always equal fun when trying to play a game. At this point in our lives the only type of games that would qualify for this post is Wii games. Even with bringing Wii games to the discussion we only use them for exercise. I have mentioned in many posts about the dilemma of keeping my couch potato daughter active. I mean that last sentence in the most loving way. Wii Zumba Core and Just Dance are the preferred discs. They are perfect for cold or rainy days when going outside to exercise is not a possibility. The Just Dance game even has the option of including workout segments along with the music and dance. This has been a life saver for us in igniting a passion for healthy movement.

Be sure to visit the TOS Blog Hop to see what other families think of using toys, games, and puzzles in the homeschools.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Art Tuesday

Today is Tuesday which means another Art Day Tuesday. We studied two poems from The Art of Poetry (which is an upcoming TOS Review product). The poets we read from today were Emily Dickinson and William Wordsworth. Another assignment was to create some sort of simple nature journal page. So far there are no buds on the trees, no flowers, nothing - Grace decided to sketch a squirrel she witnessed out our front door. Ironically the Emily Dickinson poem was about Spring. I asked Grace to include the poem on her page.
Grace is still working on note cards and such for the art festival in May. This is her newest creation. She is also in the planning stages of a manga book that she wants to create. Currently she is just working on character sketches and hopes to present it to her anime club to see if they want to work on it with her. Grace is also reading Making Comics and loving it. I have to admit that this book is great for budding comic book artists. We have it on loan from the library but it is going on my amazon wishlist.
Next on the agenda for art day was a to finish a unit out of our Artistic Pursuits book about shape.
The assignment we chose to do today was about sketching trees. Drama practice is this afternoon so we also had to practice Grace's lines and solo song. Cooperative will find us also attending classes in art history and choir.

Schooling In The Kitchen

For our family schooling in the kitchen is all about baking. I love to bake and wish to pass that passion on to Grace. In years past we have always had some sort of baked sweet in the house. Since losing twenty pounds and eating healthy - the baking had tapered off. Well, now the focus is to teach Grace how to bake by substituting bad ingredients with better healthy choices.

Our most current "class" in the kitchen saw us creating a cookie that doesn't have a name yet. I took a base recipe from another blogger then tweaked it. We included applesauce to replace 1/2 of the butter called for in the recipe. The white sugar was substituted with a stevia mixture. Other ingredients included - old fashioned oats, natural peanut butter, eggs, nuts, chocolate chips and wheat germ just for the fun of it. If ground flax seed was available I would have added that too. I hope we can continue to tweak this and other recipes together to learn a more healthy way of eating and living. Eating healthy and taking care of her body is on my top five list of items I wish Grace to take away from learning at home.
Go on over and check out all the entries in the Teaching Creatively Blog Hop and see what other families are teaching in the kitchen.