Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's the Final Countdown to Performing Aladdin

We are one week away from performing Aladdin on three nights. Today was dress rehearsal. In the above picture Grace is in the gold and blue, front row on the end. This is only about half of our cast. Today was exhausting. Almost 4 hours of rehearsing. For anyone who has worked in theatre you can imagine all the last minute details that are being ironed out. The last two weeks are always the hardest and most stressful. Looking forward to performing and moving on to another semester in the Fall but will miss all these kids like crazy. They are a great group of kids.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Grace's New Art

Grace has been busy as usual creating new characters and different sketches for possible posters to be printed for the art festival coming up in May. She really enjoys blending humans and animals to create her characters. As you can see the above characters has feathers but still looks human.

TOS Review - Home School In The Woods - Hands-on History Activity-Pak: Composers

 photo HSitW-NewLOGO-website_zps0d8de564.gif

Home School In The Woods is a company run by Amy Pak and her family. Amy was a graphic designer early on and has brought forth her designing and illustrating skills to create products that bring history to life. Home School In The Woods offers many history related products, such as: Timeline Figures, Record of Time, Maps, Time Travelers History Studies, Project Passport History Studies, Lap - Paks, and Hands-On History - Paks. This review we will focus on Hands-On History Activity-Pak: Composers which we were asked to use and review through the TOS Review Crew.

What You Need To Know

Recommended Age:  3rd - 8th grade

Price:  $18.95 Download Version (what we received)
          $19.95 CD Version

This LapBook consists of 6 hands on projects that will introduce your student to 42 different composers. Included in the Activity-Pak you will also find 90 minutes of music in MP3 format that highlights periods of music from the Middle Ages up to Modern Day. I feel like a commercial, "But wait, there is more." Also included is The Orchestra Folder Display section and composer cards that can be used for games, etc. 

A page of additional resources is provided to take the Composer Study even more in depth. This includes book, audio, and video recommendations. Each activity section has detailed and illustrated easy to follow instructions. After finishing all the activities there is another illustrated and detailed instructional to put the LapBook together.

 photo ComposersGroup-SMALL_zps73a0d718.jpg

How We Used The Product and What We Thought

The Composers Activity-Pak was sent to us via download. I printed all the materials and placed them in a binder for easy referencing. Printing the materials seemed harder than it needed to be. All the individual files was sometimes confusing in the initial process of downloading which was why I chose to go ahead and download everything at once. Up front I feel I need to state that Grace does not like working with any type of LapBook. She doesn't mind reading and answering questions but cutting and pasting is not her thing. With that being said, we tag teamed this material - Grace pasting and me cutting. We looked over all the activities and decided to start with The Orchestra file folder activity. The Orchestra activity showed us how different the setting of instruments looked during the different eras of classical music. This way as we went through the remainder of the composer activities we could set up the orchestra for that particular time frame of music. Once this was accomplished we systemically worked our way through
each activity. 

In grades 3-7 we were pretty strict Charlotte Mason learners. I say this to emphasize the fact that we did composer study once a week by reading biographies and listening to samples of their music. This Composer Study from Home School In The Woods would work so perfectly with Charlotte Mason learning families as well as any other family wanting to incorporate music and composer study into their schedules. Two of the projects stood out to us. The first was the Composer Timeline which I feel will come in very handy over the years as we study more and more history. Second we enjoyed the Music Appreciation project. Grace chose Tchaikovsky because she is rather partial to the Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Plus this activity probably appealed to the artist in her. The graphics and illustrations in this pak are quite beautiful. Many children I'm sure would enjoy coloring these to make their LapBooks look quite nice. Unfortunately Grace was really not that into it. In my opinion the grade level recommendation is good and the product is very economical. Even though this product was not a good fit for our family I still feel it is a good product and would work well with LapBook loving learners.

Please be sure to visit Home School In The Woods to check out all their products and especially take a peek at Hands on History Activity Pak: Composers.

Also hop over to TOS Review Crew to see what other families thought of this product and others from Home School In The Woods.

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tweaking Recipes

Lately I have enjoyed just like everyone else on the planet with pinning lots of recipes to pinterest. I am partial to baking but I am trying more and more dishes too.  I love tweaking recipes to make them be a little more healthy and less calories. Currently my favorite products to use as substitutes are: Greek yogurt, ground flaxseed meal, natural applesauce, and lower calorie sugars. I really like the sugar/stevia mixture but have not been able to find that in brown sugar yet.

Today was a quiet day at home, which for me meant baking. During the week I have very little time to bake. So when I have an entire afternoon I like to try different recipes then once they have cooled put them in the freezer to bring out later. Otherwise I would eat everything in site and then gain back all the weight I have lost.
This is cinnamon bread which will be used for breakfast this week. Grace even gave it a resounding thumbs up and she really doesn't even like sweets. So that is saying a lot.

Next we have the 58 calorie muffin that is so moist it tastes like a piece of chocolate cake. This was a winner with everyone in the family. You can find this one on pinterest easily.

Last but not least is peanut butter pound cake. Scott has been asking me for ages to make this. I found a new recipe and did much substituting. He can taste this when he gets home from work tonight. 

Sunday Morning Worship

This morning found me and Grace watching a message online from North Point Church. Powerful message and Grace loves listening to him preach. She gets so much out of watching these.

North Point Community Church - Follow 

Have a very blessed day!!!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up and Home School Review

What We Discussed or Studied
Old Testament Review
Human Anatomy
Infectious Diseases
Living in the White House
Interstate System
Presidential Libraries 
Spanish Grammar 
Percents, Decimals, Fractions
Commutative and Associative Property
Herb Study - Chickweed

What We Are Reading
America the Beautiful
God's World News Magazine
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

What We Are Watching
CNN Student News
World War II Video
The Guardians
Courage the Cowardly Dog

Classes Grace Attended
Recital Night - Choir
Drama Class - Lots of Aladdin practice
Pond Life Class
Beginner Essay Writing Class

Computer Websites and Apps We Are Using
Free Rice
Have Fun With History
SAT Vocab Quiz
Science News for Kids

Products We Are Reviewing
High School Genius Prep
Luke's Lists
Home School In The Woods Composer Study
See the Light
Spanish For You
Making Math Real

Some of Grace's favorite things she did or used this week would probably have to be the newer websites we are exploring. She really had fun with Free Rice.

Educational Websites and Games

Recently I have been on a hunt to search for interesting ways for Grace to learn history, science, math, current events, etc. Ways other than just reading. Most if not all of the websites below I have found from other blogs. I thank each and every one of my fellow bloggers for putting lists out there that I can then research and find out which will work best for our own family. So far here are some we have started using this week:

Free Rice : Free Rice is not new to us but in the past Grace was somewhat resistant to using it or even considering it fun. Well, I am happy to report that this week she liked it and we have tried just about every subject they have available. Her favorites have been Spanish, Human Anatomy, and World Landmarks.

Have Fun With History:  We have just touched the surface of what is available on this site. This week she was a short video about the history of WWII. Even though we have moved on up the timeline of history, she still finds WWII interesting and likes to learn new information about it. I plan on using the many videos that are available to enhance whatever history we will be studying in the future.

Cool Math :  Of course Grace hates everything that has to do with math. I have tried just about everything textbook wise to teach her and mostly she grasps concepts at the moment of learning them but a couple months down the road she can't remember how to perform the same function. This does not apply to the basics like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and some fraction work. I hope to also start using Khan Academy to explain certain concepts to her for many subjects, not just math.

Story Bird :  This one I plan on handing over to Grace and let her explore. It looks very interesting. Putting words to illustrations and creating stories.

Arkive :  This is a website all about animals. You can find articles, videos, and lessons. Yesterday we watched a power point presentation about species discovery targeted for her age range. I plan on incorporating this to her lesson plans along with Khan Academy.

Science News For Kids :  Another Science website with articles about all kinds of things. This week Grace went on the sight and picked an article to read about infectious diseases that are spread by animals. I hope to have her find an interesting article to read once a week from this sight.

CNN Student News :  I will have to say the CNN Student News is probably her favorite thing we do each day. Watching a 10 minute news segment that updates her in kid/teen speak what is going on in the world. We do not have cable and typically do not watch any news programs. Up until a month or so ago, unless we told her about it, she really didn't know what was happening in the world.

Last but not least she has started messing around with SAT a Day Questions and a free app for our phone that gives her a SAT Vocab Quiz each day. Ten words for each quiz. Next on the agenda we hope to get her blog back up and running to help market her art that she hopes to start selling in May.

Do you have any interesting websites/games/apps that you recommend for teens? If so please let me know in the comment section so I can go and check it out.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Herb Study - Art Journaling Style

We just finished up the Herb Fairy book Stellaria and the corresponding activities. The books are a little young for Grace but we are learning so much with the additional activities and Herbal Magazine. Of course any study of ours deserves an art journal page. So we sat down tonight after dinner to create an art journal page with some of the information we had learned and a poem that was also included in the materials. The page above was created by Grace and below is mine.Of course, as usual Grace didn't want to do anything but the art portion.  Next week we hope to start the next book about violets. We happen to also have wild violets on our property as well as the chickweed. Next week will find us making some candied violets.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

F is for Fellowship

Last night was Creative Christian Cooperative's Recital Night. The elementary drama class performed four skits, high school and elementary choirs each sang three songs, and we held an art show. 

Myself and a close friend co-direct this cooperative and it is a true labor of love. Each Tuesday for four hours we get to hang out with these wonderful kids and meet their families in the process. Last night after all the performances we invited the families to the fellowship hall for the art show and to partake in the refreshments. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
I am linking up with Ben and Me for Blogging Through the Alphabet.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up and Homeschool Review

Topics Discussed or Studied
Spanish Verbs and Alphabet
Norman Rockwell
1960s - Kennedy and Cuban Missile Crisis
Ratios, Percents, and Proportions 

TV Watching
CNN Student News
Liberty Treehouse
Ice Age Continental Drift

Life Skills
Creating a New Blog 
Created a Business Name - Ne0n 1nk (Neon Ink)
New Email Account for Business
Selected Cards to Print for Festival
Creating a Web Page

What We Are Reading
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
God's World News Magazine
Who Am I Devotions

Classes Attended
Art History
Pond Life

Playing Ball at the Park

Reviews We are Working On
See The Light
Homeschool In the Woods
College Prep
Spanish For You
Luke's Lists

This week is all about getting ready for cooperative recitals on Monday night and the Aladdin performance in just under three weeks. May will be a crazy few weeks with three performances of Aladdin, volunteering for three days at the state homeschool convention as a family, and Grace's first arts festival. This week I would say that Grace's favorite thing was her Pond Life class. She is really enjoying this and learning a lot.

We are linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Homeschool Review.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

E is for English - Curriculum 2013- 2014

I am linking up with Marcy at Ben and Me with Blogging Through the Alphabet.

My first choice for English this year is something I reviewed last year, King Alfred's English. I thoroughly loved this book and recommend very highly. Last year I read it and shared some of the interesting parts my family along the way. In the Fall I will have Grace read through this by herself and use the corresponding worksheets and tests that are provided free on the Shorter Word website. It is a fascinating book about how the English language came to be throughout history.

Another one of my favorites is Story Starters. We used this some for 7th grade but since Grace took a Beginners Essay Writing class for 8th grade we didn't do a lot of writing at home. So this coming school year we will focus more on creative writing with Story Starters again.

Marie's Words is a new product that we will be using for vocabulary. I am really excited about getting into these cards and having some fun.

I have chosen some books to read for literature off of our shelves. I hope to have her at least write a written summary of each book once she finishes reading them. As many of you know, Grace is not fond of writing. The above choices are: The Twenty-One Balloons, The White Dove, The Little Lamb, A Year Down Yonder, Gentle Ben, and Huckleberry Finn.

Last but not least Language Lessons for the Secondary Child from QueenHomeschool. We are currently using this book and won't finish it before the end of the "school year". We will continue with throughout next year until it is finished. Many of the picture studies, written narrations, and poetry segments need to be accomplished.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Herb Study

Yesterday we started a year long Herb Study through Herb Fairies. The actual program is probably a couple of years younger than Grace with the recommended age of 5 - 12. Each month we are sent a short chapter book, recipes, herbal magazine with activities and information, and other great materials. The story part of the program is definitely too young for her but she will still read them because actually this gives her ideas on how to maybe create her own series of children's books in the future. The illustrations alone are inspiring. The "meat" of the course that we are most interested in is identifying the herbs in the wild, creating recipes and medicinal properties with the herbs, and getting a little whimsical in the process with a make believe fairy land. So, yesterday we started the first book that deals with chickweed. Luckily we have a big patch of chickweed right in our front yard that we have been collecting from over the past few months to give greens to the chickens during the cooler months.

First we went out to the yard to collect the chickweed. It was very easy to distinguish because of the great illustration and description that is included with the Herb Fairies materials.

We learned that chickweed can be used to treat cuts, scrapes, pink eye, and ulcers. The recipe we used yesterday required apple cider vinegar. 

We covered the chickweed in apple cider vinegar. The vinegar will pull out the nutrients from the chickweed over a four week period. Shaking the bottle every day is a requirement. After the four week time frame is up we will be left with a salad dressing and the leftover chickweed can be added to our compost pile. 

So far Grace seems to be enjoying the activities and information provided. Children in the younger age range will definitely enjoy the coloring pages and chapter book. We still have several more activities with the chickweed to do before losing our patch to the summer heat. Next month the material and book will cover wild violets.

I am participating with the Barn Hop. I am also linking up with Teach Me Tuesday.

Monday, April 15, 2013

TOS Review - Progeny Press - Eagle of the Ninth Study Guide

 photo 26018_10150154187290243_4120345_n_zpsd9393f12.jpg
Progeny Press is a family owned business run by Michael and Rebecca Gilleland since 1992. Michael and Rebecca discovered back in 1991, when they started homeschooling, that good literature studies with a Christian view were just not available. Out of this "dilemma" the Gillenland's published their first study guide. Progeny Press has grown from 18 guides to 107 as of the beginning of 2012.

 photo a64736b13871cd6e873942_m_zps5e484c2e.jpg
"At Progeny Press we are committed to teaching good cultural literature, examined from a Christian perspective. Biblical Truth + Cultural Relevancy = Effective Christians."

For this review Progeny Press offered us through the TOS Review Crew an opportunity to use and review Eagle of the Ninth Study Guide.

What You Need to Know:

Recommended Age: 5th - 8th grade

Cost and Type:  18.99 Printed Booklet
                        16.99 CD
                        16.99 Instant Download (we received this version)

What is Needed:  Adobe Acrobat Reader

How to Use Progeny Press Study Guides

These guides are designed to help students work their way through literature by learning and understanding what the author writes and why. It is helpful for the student to have available a dictionary, thesaurus, and Bible to complete the activities in the study guides. Middle and High School grade study guides will take 8-10 weeks to finish.

What is Included in the Study Guide

The beginning of the guide includes instructions on how to implement the material as well as how to use the interactive part of the guide.

There are instructions on how to use the interactive guide for both Windows and Mac users. Next you will find a synopsis of the book your student will be reading. After the synopisis is a section about the book's author. Pre-reading activities are listed if you or your student wish to learn more about the time period that the book takes place. Now we come to the "meat" of the study guide. Our guide had us read three chapters of the book then follow up with the appropriate study guide section. Each section is set up the same, yet different, if that makes sense. Vocbulary, comprehension questions, thinking about the story, dig deeper, and class discussions round out the majority of each section. In the back of the guide, once you have finished the study, is an overview that can be treated as a final test. The guide also provides a list of additional reading resources and an answer key. This study guide can be used by writing the answers on the printed version or on the computer in an interactive fashion.

How We Used the Product and What We Thought

As far as literature analysis goes I have to admit we haven't done a lot of it. Grace is finishing up 8th grade this year and for the most part we read a book and then discuss it orally, occasionally with a small written book narration thrown in. Reviewing Progeny Press Study Guides has opened my eyes to the importance of learning literary terms, etc. that we are missing by not analyzing  literature in the true sense. First off I need to say that we read Eagle of the Ninth as a read aloud. Even as a read aloud the language was challenging for Grace. I don't think she could have read through the book on her own. We did rent the movie "The Eagle" and watched it for her to better understand what was going on in the book. This actually opened up a whole other discussion because the movie is somewhat different from the book. We read one chapter a day aloud until the three chapters were finished so we could then delve into the corresponding section of the study guide. Using the book and guide in this way we were able to finish chapters 1-9 of the book and three sections of the guide. One section of the study guide would take us 2-3 days to accomplish if we decided to do every question and activity offered. Each section found us using it a little differently. For the review we tried it three different ways: written, oral, and interactive. Grace, who is my non-writer, liked the oral and interactive ways of using the product. What we have learned so far: vocabulary, hyperbole, foreshadowing, allusion, metaphor, synonym, antonym, simile, cause and effect, and mood. Hands down my favorite parts of the guide are the scripture references. They are spot on for each section of the story. I found that Grace learned a lot about Roman History through this book and guide also. I definitely feel that I will buy another study guide from Progeny Press in the future.

Please be sure to go and visit Progeny Press to check out all the wonderful study guides that are available, but especially Eagle of the Ninth Study Guide.

Check out what others from the TOS Review Crew thought about their study guides from Progeny Press.

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

What We Studied or Discussed This Week
Conjunctions, Syllables, and Pronouns Review
North Korea
Jackie Robinson
Brown vs. Board of Education
Least Common Multiples
Cell Structure

What We Are Reading
Manga Molecular Biology
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Eagle of the Ninth
God's World News
Who Am I? 
A new project from Grace. We are readying ourselves to print all her stuff for the arts festival in May.

Review In Progress
Eagle of the Ninth Study Guide (post next week)
Papa's Pearls
Composer Lapbook Study
Spanish For You
Luke's Lists
College Prep Genius 


What We Are Watching
Growing Up Wild
Liberty Treehouse
CNN Student News
Science Friday
Miracle At Midnight
Driv Thru History

Classes Grace Attended
Acts of Faith Practice
Drama Class
Art History Class
Choir Class
Writing Class
Pond Life Class

Our favorite curriculum this week is hands down Spanish For you which is a current review for us. Grace just comes alive when studying foreign language. Also she really loves watching CNN Student News, Liberty Tree House and now we have added Science Friday to the mix. She is definitely a visual kind of learner. Life is crazy right now with getting ready for cooperative recitals on the 22nd of April and then three performances of Aladdin in May. 

I am linking up with Homeschool Review and Weekly Wrap Up

Friday, April 12, 2013

Relay for Life Zumba Party

Tonight was Zumba Party in Purple for Relay for Life. Sorry about the zombie eyes in the photo, but we had an awesome time. Two hours of sweating for a good cause. Lots of great music, dancing, and fellowship with Zumba friends. In the photo above is me, my sister and niece, and two friends.

Relay for Life is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. A few years ago my Aunt died of breast cancer and was a huge blow to our family. My mother is a cancer survivor for the past 13 years. She actually still has thyroid cancer that is managed with periodic treatments. Me and Grace have joined a local team with Grace's art teacher. We plan on raising donations as well as working the Relay for Life event in our county in June.
  • Relay for Life

Thursday, April 11, 2013

History Choices for 2013 - 2014

Now is about the time that all homeschooling moms start to post what their plans are for the next year. I plan rather loosely what I would like us to study for each subject. Their is always room to change it up if something else interests us or we get into a rut. This next year for history we will be studying the Middle Ages and Church History. These are two areas of history that we haven't studied very much. Also I have so many pieces of curriculum that I went through my library and put some stuff together. Trying to be a bit frugal and not purchase anything.

Our spine for the year will be The Greenleaf Guide Famous Men of the Middle Ages. I bought this last year at the convention's used book sale. It seems very user friendly and has all the information we need to guide us through nearly a year of history.

I also already had the Famous Men of the Middle Ages book on my kindle which was free from Amazon.

These are the books I already had on my shelf to round out the Middle Ages study. Some of these Grace will read on her own and some we will use as read alouds. The pictures is kind of blurry but includes: The Door in the Wall, Adam of the Road, King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, Ivanhoe, Sir Knight of the Splendid Way.

Church History Set
Photo Credit belongs to Salem Ridge Press

This is the series we will be using to study Church History. There are twelve books in the series. I think it will probably take us longer than one year to finish this series because we will be reading them aloud. I have already purchased the first in this series, Glaucia The Greek Slave.