Sunday, August 31, 2014

Finally Getting Back To Some of Those Passions

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Pursuing Your Own Passions and challenged myself to getting back to some of my own passions. Well, it took me this long to actually do it. First I visited the library and checked out a couple of books about photography. I settled on this short little book that shows lots of tricks and Apps to use through your iphone to take great pics. Since I always have my phone with me I thought this might be the way to start off. The current camera we own is new but hard to figure out. All my pictures turn out blurry. I am committed to taking a few pictures a day and using them on Instagram then once I learn a little maybe buying a camera just for me, one that I can actually use.

Next I picked up my quilting materials and went to work. Yesterday afternoon I started and haven't stopped. My sewing machine is old and broken so hand sewing it is which for me is very therapeutic. I love hand sewing even if it takes much longer than a machine. About five years ago I created a small lap quilt for ever member of my family for Christmas. I also started a bigger quilt for my bed a few years ago and it has been collecting dust for a good while. This is the one I started back up. Right now I am finishing up all the squares and by next weekend I should be able to start putting it all together.
Tomorrow we are taking a trip to Wal-Mart to look at sewing machines. Thinking about purchasing some easy patterns to get both me and Grace started.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - School Work, Reviews, and a Doctor's Appointment

This week in our educational pursuits has pretty much been like every other week with the exception of not getting as much accomplished. On Monday Grace got a good bit done but with Cooperative on Tuesday it is always up in the air how much she can get done by the time we must leave. Wednesday started out good even with having to go to the hospital and get a radiograph performed for the following day's appointment but her stomach started bothering her (which my long time readers will recognize as her GI issues) after lunch and that laid her out for much of the rest of the day. That brings us to Thursday. I scheduled a recheck with her GI specialist about a month ago and Thursday was D-Day. This doctor is located 1 1/2 hours away toward Atlanta. Since we don't get out that way very often we decided to make a day of it.

We left at 9:30 in the morning and did not return home for 12 more hours. First stop was one of our favorite libraries which is located 50 miles from our home. As you can see from the picture below we came home with about 50 books. Some for me, some for hubby, some for Grace, and some for the three girls I tutor. We also visited Petsmart and purchased some new goodies for the birds and the ferret. Lunch and dinner were both out. Steak and Shake for dinner was yum yum. Grace got a smores milkshake for dessert but I was holding out for Starbucks coffee.

After the doctor's appointment we headed back home with a stop at most teenagers dream places a big mall. She wanted to visit Hot Topic, Rue 21 and a few other stores. Believe it or not we didn't come home with much. As we were walking through the mall we came to the Disney store which we had not visited in many years. Grace found a Jack Skeleton shirt that she had to have and then her eyes landed on the classic Disney princess dolls. They were on sale and with her own money she purchased two of the dolls that she dresses up as for her Birthday Parties by Grace business.
It was a great family day even if we had to revolve it around a doctor's appointment. She is improving but still has symptoms a couple of times a week. The doctor has added another medication to the pack that will hopefully in short time get rid of all symptoms. Not only is it uncomfortable for Grace to have the symptoms but also very disruptive to school or anything that is on the schedule when she doesn't feel well. We need to get her back on track.

Maybe I should say a little something about what Grace is studying this week. I believe in history she is still doing work with the early colonies. Science has her finishing up a lesson on cells and we watched a couple of videos off of Crash Course about Mitosis and Meiosis. Grace is sooooo ready to be done with cells and move on to something else. She has worked very hard with her Spanish vocabulary words and will be dropping by Ms. Christy's this afternoon to take the quiz as she missed class yesterday to go to her appointment. Grace is still loving The Outsiders and can't wait to see what happens next in the book but doesn't want to read too much ahead of her class. She is producing some work for the October art show and finishing up the first two chapters of Mothering/Daughtering for the first book club meeting next Friday. We are working on three reviews including IEW Fix It! Grammar, Fortuigence, and some books from Apologia. Again it is very busy on the review front.
This brings us to today. Not a lot of school this morning - seeing as we all slept in after our adventure yesterday. This afternoon is the Spanish quiz and picking up homework for the week for Spanish and Literature. While we are in that area going to run some errands and if Grace has anything to say about it we will stay in town for a little dinner. We eat out way TOO MUCH!!!! We have gotten into the habit of eating out Wednesday - Sunday because hubby isn't home for dinner and sometimes it is just plain easier than cooking for two. Anyway getting way off track here. At this point I see some Saturday school in our future for tomorrow to catch up on regular work and review work.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Art for the Myths and Legends Art Show

Grace is currently working on new pieces for the October art show. The theme is fairly broad with the title Myths and Legends. With the show being held in October and the theme that was picked I told Grace this Manga style witch could probably work.

With her love of Greek mythology she had to include something for the art show from that category. Medusa was the first thought that popped into her head and out came a sketch a couple of hours later. It is hard to see the detail in the snakes in a photograph, so I took a close up at a different angle to try and show but still doesn't do it justice.

What would you like to see Grace draw for the art show that is from a myth or legend?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

In the Meantime - A Message From Andy Stanley

So much has happened for the past couple of weeks that might make people question if God really loves them and knows that they are hurting. Families are losing loved ones, individuals are struck down with illnesses, addictions, doubts, etc. - this message from Andy Stanley is very timely. For those that doubt if God is with them during their times of trouble, this is the message for you.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - Independent Work On All our Parts

This week found each of us working very independently. We all had tasks that needed to be accomplished. Hubby had lots of loads of wood to unload and stack with more on the way next week. This is the first time in 13 years that we have had to purchase wood for the winter. With hubby working two jobs (his real job and tattooing) he is only home two days a week and that schedule has been the same for over a year. This doesn't leave much time for cutting down trees and seasoning the wood like we have done in the past. So much of his free time was spent working with wood and helping me a little at Cooperative.

New review product for the next six weeks - Fix It Grammar
My independent study time was devoted to lesson planning, writing two reviews that were due this week, cleaning the house, meal planning, reading and Cooperative business. I failed miserably at working one of my hobbies back into my down time. Mostly because I have been watching to much television, The Killing on Netflix to be exact.
We have gotten back on the exercise bandwagon and both me and Grace have tried to do something active every other night. This is a process and after not exercising for six weeks my body isn't wanting to cooperate. It is hard to get back in the groove. It is true what they say about making exercise a habit, and making anything a habit takes about two weeks.
With Grace growing up and starting 10th grade a couple of weeks ago I have had to come to a couple of realizations. One - these years just roll by way too fast. Two - she doesn't really need my help anymore with her school work. She takes everything into her room and every once in a while I will get a call or text message for a clarification of what to do then I don't see her for a few hours. It makes me sad that I am not as involved in her learning for this year as the past 8 years. I should be proud though that she can do it and that is the road I am trying to take at this point.
This week in history Grace started the fifth chapter in Dave Raymond's American History. This chapter involves information concerning the reformational colonies. In science she is learning mitosis, meiosis, transcription, DNA, RNA, and cell reproduction. She is so ready to get past the study of cells and into more human body information. Grace continues to watch CNN Student News each morning and I am so bumming that I don't get to watch it with her. Last year it truly was the highlight of each school day. She started the Bible over from the beginning and is reading a chapter from Genesis each day. In personal finance Grace read about filling out a resume and cover letter then did her own. She also reviewed some basic fraction problems in her map skills review workbook. This week Grace attended her first classes with Ms. Christy (Spanish and Literature). Grace loves the first book, The Outsiders. I knew she would as I loved it the first time I read it in middle school. I told her after she finished the book we could watch the movie off of Amazon from the 80s. Spanish is the class that is probably going to kick us in the gut each week. Lots of vocabulary words to learn and copy multiple times. This is an accelerated class which means she will get through two years of Spanish in one year - then we are done with foreign language requirements. Grace came to me a few days ago and was very stressed about the extra writing class we had signed her up to take. She felt with the other two classes outside of the home that it would be too much work on her. At first I was very bummed because I really wanted her to have this experience with this particular teacher, but the more work I see from the other classes I think she made a very grown up decision. Grace is also currently getting ready for an art show in October and finished a piece of Medusa this past week. I forgot to get a picture but will soon. The choice of Medusa may seem odd but the theme of the show is Myths and Legends so that kind of explains it in a nutshell.

All in all a very busy week for everyone in the household. Now to veg out over the week and get as many naps in as possible.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday, August 22, 2014

TOS Review - UberSmart Math Facts

UberSmart Math Facts Review
Math is definitely not a favorite subject in this household. I think it started all the way back in early elementary years when Grace had trouble memorizing addition and subtraction math facts. For some reason she didn't have as much trouble with multiplication and division. Regardless, it is incredibly important that early on your child learn a solid foundation of all the math facts to help them as they get older to work with higher math. My family was offered the opportunity to review UberSmart Math Facts from UberSmart Software through the TOS Review Crew. This is a new product that your family might be interested in checking out so that your students can get a good grasp on all those pesky little math facts that can sometimes be hard to remember.
UberSmart Math Facts is a downloadable software program available to computer systems containing Windows Vista, XP, 7 and 8. Once it is downloaded to your computer and your license code is entered it is yours to keep. This program is recommended for grades K - 6, but could be used by any aged student wishing to brush up on their basic math skills. This was actually the case for us. Grace just started 10th grade. I found last year that allowing her to use a calculator with Algebra for all the basic functions that some of the memorization starts to fade a little. So we concentrated on multiplication and division, especially using the compete section of the program. Currently this software retails for $24.95 and allows you up to 8 students to use it.
UberSmart Math Facts is not a game with lots of graphics and rewards. In these days of everything being entertaining, even education, this may put some students off. It really shouldn't. There are many kids and parents that would rather use the computer for one reason or another. Sometimes kids will do something on the computer that they won't do otherwise. Also this frees up time for the parent if they have other children in the home to teach as well. The UberSmart program has four sections for the students to utilize and two sections for the parents.

The learn section has beginner and intermediate choices. The beginner starts the younger students out with dot cards like domino flash cards. The intermediate choice will give the student traditional flashcards for the parameters that were chosen. At this point the student says the answer aloud then hits the show button to check it as opposed to typing the answer in.
UberSmart Math Facts Review

This section has more of the same with a choice between dots and flashcards only this time the student can enter the answer through the keyboard.
UberSmart Math Facts Review

This section provides the student with an assessment test to gain insight for a starting point. After much practice in other sections of the program the students can then test themselves by inputting the skill (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) and the number group.
UberSmart Math Facts Review

This was actually our favorite section. After choosing age range and skill the student can compete against other students also using the program. 
Report and Maintain

Parents will appreciate this section which allows you to check on your children's progress at every step of the program. The Maintain section helps the parent with maintenance and settings.
I did notice that clicking on the ? button takes you to the help pdf files that are currently under construction. This will eventually answer all questions that arise while using the program. We found the software very easy to navigate and had very few questions about how to use. In other words, it is pretty user-friendly. Even though this program was a bit young for a 10th grader to use (in my opinion), I do feel it is a useful tool for reviewing math facts at any age. I definitely would have loved to have this about five years ago when Grace was struggling with math facts. 
Please be sure to visit my Fellow Crewmates and see what they thought of UberSmart Math Facts.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Am Reading

First on the list is Mothering and Daughtering by Sil and Eliza Reynolds. Actually Grace and me are both reading this book. We are doing a book club with a couple of other friends that also have teenage daughters. The great concept about this book is the front of the book is written from the mother's point of view and the back of the book is from the daughter's point of view (actually written by the daughter). We start the book club in a couple of weeks.

Of course I am still crazy about the Outlander Series but am currently just on book 2. Each book ranges from a measly 700 pages (I say this sarcastically) to close to 1000. Only read a couple of chapters a night is a slow go, but I still enjoy it very much.

Lastly is When Children Love to Learn which I got on sale for 1.99 from Amazon. Again this one I am slowly reading through to review all the reasons I love a Charlotte Mason style education.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pursuing Your Own Passions

As a parent many times our own passions/hobbies/loves get pushed to the wayside and we start focusing on our children's passions. I don't think that is a bad thing but I do think we should work out a way to let them both coexist. Sometimes I do admit that it is easier to kind of live vicariously through my child but that can be dangerous. What happens when they grown up and leave home? At that point what are we doing with our own lives? I am sure that may be where the empty nest term started coming into play. I don't want to be one of those moms. I want some things that are completely my own.

I'm sure many of my readers will say, "You do have your own passions, like blogging". Have you every noticed though, that most of my blog posts do revolve around my daughter and our homeschooling adventure. Believe it or not there are some things that I want to learn on my own or passions that I used to have that I want to start working on again. Up until a few years ago cross-stitching was a big passion of mine. Every night I would watch television and cross stitch. Same with crocheting. At some point it ceased to happen and I never really picked it up again. I loved quilting and spent all my spare time with it about five years ago. My old sewing machine went kaput and I never tried to do anything else with it. Last year I started art journaling and did really like it. My main problem with this is I don't draw well and would get frustrated fairly easily. I love taking pictures for my blog and now for Instagram but again I am not very good at it and I never really learned how to use our new camera.

So this is where I stand. I want to pick up one of my old hobbies and go back to it. Tonight I will sit down with each and see where I get this most creative juice flowing. My next challenge will be to learn something I am not currently proficient at like sewing, art journaling, and photography. I will tackle one challenge at a time. This means I need to buy a new sewing machine and start watching lots of tutorials on Youtube as well as hit one of my best friends up for basic sewing technique tips. I recently found an ebook that I am very interested in trying to get the juices flowing with art journaling at this website Bare Branch Blooming. The last one will be a little tricky but I would love to attend a photography class to learn how to use our new camera better and to take exciting and beautiful pictures.

What kind of passions have your left by the wayside in your life? What would you like to get back creating? Please tell me your struggles with time and keeping passions of your own alive. I would really love to hear about them.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - Where We Get Back To It

Sunday was our last performance of The King and I. It was bittersweet - after seeing the cast every day for nearly weeks on end it is kind of a let down to now be doing other things. Anyway, Monday we hit the ground running.

Grace started back doing most of her school work on Monday. Not a complete full load but close. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday she did history, math, science, and Bible. The only thing missing right now is Spanish and Literature which will begin next Thursday. Then the writing class will begin in three weeks. All in all everything went well and she is mostly working independently on everything. I think so far the only subject it is taking some time to get used to is Biology because it is a research based type of program. For the first week going into it blind though I think she did an awesome job.

Still loving the American History program by Dave Raymond.

She has begged for months to color her hair black and add either purple or blue tips to it. We comprised and currently she got the black which she is very happy about.

We also received another wig in the mail this week for her Birthday Party business. This one will go with her Belle costume that should be here around the first of September.

Grace spent some time working on portraits. During the performances she did a couple of the kids in the play but we didn't get any pictures of them.

We took Thursday off to run errands and catch our breath. Looking forward to a fairly quiet weekend with a girls day out tomorrow. I almost forgot, Cooperative started back this week also. It was a good but chaotic first day. I think drama will be great. We have 11 skits to memorize, block and work into a vaudeville type show for Christmas. Lots of work but also lots of fun.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What Happened to Trim Healthy Mama

Well it started with straying one time a week then that turned into two times a week and then the rest was history. We did so well for almost five months and ended up losing 10 pounds each along with many inches. It is so easy for the SAD (Standard American Diet) just weave it's way back into your life. Most of your friends and family are not on THM so if you go to eat at their house then your off plan. For some reason all "going out" or "getting together" seems to revolve around food. It got to the point that every time we walked into a grocery store we were spouting off what we missed eating until quite frankly we couldn't take it anymore. Here comes the big "but" (no pun intended) after eating off plan for 4 - 6 weeks I feel gross. Tired, not sleeping as well and exhausted. I know that no exercise is playing a part in this as well.

So here is the plan. Now that we are back on somewhat of a regular schedule I hope to put us back on THM 80 percent of the time. Once or twice a week we will cheat to keep our sanity, especially Grace. She doesn't understand why so many girls and women out there can eat what they want and stay stick thin. For all the girls like Grace it can be frustrating.

Breakfast and dinner today will be on plan for both of us. Lunch unfortunately was not and I already feel bad about it. Not eating right and not exercising for the last 4-6 weeks has reeked havoc on my body. Exhausted!!! No energy!!! There is definitely truth to the information that if you put the wrong fuel in your body your body will start rebelling. Starting over again at least 2 on plan meals a day with the third being a cross over, but not fast food. day at a time......will get us through.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What I Have Missed Over the Past Two Months

As I may have mentioned a couple of times - or like a thousand times - this play has taken over our lives. There are many things me and Grace have missed out on these past two months of intense practices and performances. Yes we have enjoyed our selves and yes it has been a great learning experience, but it is time to get back to our real lives. Here is what I have missed most in no particular order:

  1. Home cooked meals - We have eaten more fast food in the past two months than I care to really own up to. Also eating at odd hours. If you must be at the theatre by 6:30 in full makeup and hair then you are eating an early dinner which means by the end of the performance you are again eating a snack around 11:00. I miss cooking and eating better.
  2. Exercise - I tried to keep up with exercise in the beginning but then completely lost all focus and determination by the beginning of July. Most of all I miss Zumba class which is a huge stress reliever. I am sure between no exercise and all the fast food I have put back on at least 5 pounds of what I lost with Trim Healthy Mama.
  3. Family Time - Let's just say this has been non-existent. Every night me and Grace at the theatre and hubby at the house, tattoo shop or work = no family time. This also includes she your family outside of your immediate family. Both my son and mom and dad have moved to new places during this endeavor of mine and Graces. I felt like I was little help to either of them.
  4. Routine or Schedule - Again this is kind of gone as well. If you are a very structured person - like I am - then this can get old real fast. Whatever you need to do needs to be accomplished by a certain time each day so you have plenty of time to eat dinner, get makeup and hair done and then travel time to the theatre. Everything...and I mean everything is scheduled around the play.
  5. Rest - We are all so tired. Exhaustion has definitely set in. Sleep patterns are all out of whack due to late nights and sleeping in every morning after a performance. 
  6. Dirty House - Housework just hasn't happened. Only the easy daily chores get handled. Deep cleaning is definitely in my future.
Today is our last performance. A matinee which means we are actually home for dinner. It is bittersweet. I really like all the people in the cast and have enjoyed working together as a team to pull off this show. It truly takes everyone working together like a well oiled machine to make the magic happen. Now we go back to the real world. Family, school, Cooperative, and home life. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. Of course a few months of recovery is needed before tackling it again. The King and I will always be a wonderful memory of the something I shared with Grace that we can always look back on with fondness.

Friday, August 8, 2014

New Obsession - Instagram

A couple of other online friends had mentioned how they had fallen in love with Instagram and they blogging had suffered some. I can totally identify. Instagram is addictive, easy, and convenient. All I need is my phone and reliable service while out and about. Anywhere you go - snap a pic - write a couple of sentences - done. That is easy. I will still blog but definitely Instagram has captured my attention. If any of you are also on Instagram here is a link to my account knechtslodge. I would love if you started following me.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

When Your Child Has Multiple Passions

Well my child has so many sometimes that it is hard to keep up with them all. Currently we are talking about drama, art, costuming, stage makeup, manga, and starting her own business. All of these can really keep a mother busy.
Because of her love for costuming, makeup, and drama we really discussed and researched a way for her to bring all those together. Also I needed a way to justify purchasing all the wigs and costumes she wanted. That is where her new business, PRINCESS PARTIES BY GRACE came into the picture. We are just now getting that rolling. Each costume and wig costs in the neighborhood of 100.00. To keep it all in the budget we purchase one each month. It has taken us all summer to get a good selection together (Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Ariel from the Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Merida from Brave, and a generic fairy and princess). We are still working on an Elsa and Cinderella costume.

Of course she still has a passion for art. She draws daily mostly stuff she just thinks up in her head. There is an art show coming up in October that she will start working on with a really cool theme, Myths and Legends. We recently purchased her new markers which is her media choice for most projects at a really great price.

And last but not least is her passion for performing. The King and I literally took up our entire summer. She has learned a lot. Cooperative starts next week and there will be a Christmas program titled Little Town of Christmas to immediately start putting together. In December we will have auditions for Peter Pan and start practicing in January. In the picture below you will see Grace surrounded by some of the kids in the production all watching her draw in between scenes and asking her to draw something for them. So cute! Which actually brings us to another something she is starting to be passionate about that might eventually turn into something also - she really likes working with kids. So working all the passions into a bursting schedule sometimes can be daunting, but you know what...these passions usually lead to what your child might want to do with the rest of their life. Don't you think it is worth a little of your time and effort to help them see if it is?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Little Randomness

Some random thoughts from the past couple of days:
  1. Is anybody else a little freaked out about having an Ebola patient so close to home. For us it is really close as Atlanta is only 1 1/2 hour from our house. I do understand the families wanting their loved ones to have the best treatment available and they are Americans. So I'm not saying they shouldn't be here just that it makes me a little nervous.
  2. Today we took a day off. Total craziness for the entire month of July and the past two days of August. Originally I was going to help my mom move some things to her new home today but Grace really wanted to go off for the day - so that is exactly what we did including my mom. First we had lunch out then shopping for some well needed clothes. Lastly we visited a big book store, had a delicious frappe and then headed home. Good girl's day out.
  3. I met with the teacher's for our Cooperative on Tuesday and it was so good to see them all after the summer off. We are all excited about getting back to it. I am especially excited about my two classes (drama and Mapping).
  4. Monday we took care of some well needed business of a trip to the dentist and orthodontist. The dentist used a baking soda spray that really burnt her mouth up. She still has sores on the roof of her mouth today. I will for sure need to tell them not to use that again.
  5. School for us starts back on Monday and boy do we have a weekly packed schedule. There are so many wonderful opportunities available this year that it is hard to walk away from a lot of them, but I have restrained myself to a certain extent. Overall though, I feel like Grace will enjoy the choices we have made together for her 10th grade year.
  6. Performances start back tomorrow night. We are as ready as we will every be. These last four performances will be bittersweet. We are excited about getting them all done and getting back to real life but on the other hand I will miss seeing most of the cast when it ends.

Monday, August 4, 2014

TOS Review - Roman Roads Media - Dave Raymond's American History Part 1 and 2

Roman Roads Media Review
The past six - eight weeks have found us enjoying a wonderful product from Roman Roads Media titled Dave Raymond's American History. We like it so much that I will go ahead and tell you up front that we plan on using it the remainder of this school year for Grace's high school American History credit.
Roman Roads Media Review
US History Part 1 - 4 DVDs, student reader, teacher's guide - Retails for $75.00
US History Part 2 - 4 DVDs, student reader, teacher's guide - Retails for $75.00
Each part contains 13 lessons. Part 1 and 2 used together will fulfill an  American History high school credit. This course is recommended for ages 12 and older. Part 1 will start the student off in Meso-America and end with the Constitution. Part 2 begins with George Washington and ends with Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington.
This curriculum consists of daily lessons in the form of video lectures from Dave Raymond that last approximately 10 minutes each. The daily lesson is extended through note taking, building a scrapbook-like portfolio, projects, readings, and a list of books to help round out the year even more. At the end of each lesson you will find a ten question assignment/quiz in an essay format. You will find a sample here of the lessons about Christopher Columbus. I would now like to go in greater detail about each facet of this course.
Video Lectures
Dave Raymond is the teacher and lecturer of this wonderful DVD series. He lives in Tennessee with his family where he also teaches with 10 years of experience to his credit. Mr. Raymond is very easy to listen to and his lectures are never boring. I find myself learning so much that I did not know and it is all taught through a biblical worldview. I will be so disappointed when school starts back next week because Grace will be "doing" history independently and I won't be participating. On second thought I think I will listen to the discs at night on my own to stay abreast of what she is learning. So far the lectures have taken us through orientation (how everything works), Meso-America, and Christopher Columbus.
Scrapbook Portfolio
This part is a favorite of Graces. Keeping a scrapbook or notebooking portfolio allows her creative side to shine through as well as producing something nice to show off at the end of the year. When each section is finished the student creates a page describing what they learned. It can include quotes, poetry, original artwork, graphics, clippings from the Internet or other sources. The sky is the limit on this one. The student is encouraged to make this their own and take great pride in what they produce.

Colonial Map Project
The first project assigned was to reproduce a real map from a certain time period. Again this really appealed to Grace's love of art. At first we had a bit of trouble locating a vintage map that was decorative enough for Grace's approval. Luckily we found an old cartography book at our local library that had what she was looking for. She ended up deciding on a map of the arrival of the English in Virginia in 1585 by John White. The map shows many Native American tribal villages and canoes and the treacherous barrier areas that ships had to navigate to cross. The student is graded on research, following directions, attention to detail, and how much time was spent creating the map.
Research Paper
It is recommended in the second semester or part 2 of the curriculum to chose a topic the student has learned through the course and do further research. Again guidelines are given to the student and teacher on how to accomplish this assignment.
The Hour Project
The most intriguing part of second semester (for me anyway) is the Hour Project. Here the student gets to chose their own project (as long as it relates to subjects studied) and run with it. This might be sewing a period costume, building a replica of a fort, cooking authentic meals, or even writing a short novel. It is recommended to spend 30 - 40 hours of second semester on this project. Something very in depth that the student will be passionate about.
Note Taking
Another favorite aspect of this curriculum is teachimg my daughter to take notes in a lecture setting. This is something she has lacked in and will get lots of practice during the remaining school year. It will teach how imperative it is to take good notes from the lecture in order to answer the essay questions without having to actually listen to the lecture again.
Everything Else- Quizzes, Teacher's Guide, Reader, and Answer Key
The teacher's guide is very thorough in explaining how everything fits together and works. Quizzes in an essay format are available at the end of each lesson. Answer key to the questions are found in the teacher's guide. Last but certainly not least is the reader found in each lesson. The readings are first hand accounts, poems, letters, narratives and more pertaining to each topic studied.
I would be very remiss if I didn't tell you a little about the vendor, Roman Roads Media. Very succinctly the website states, "We publish Classical curriculum, from a Christian perspective, created for the homeschool." They provide materials in both physical and downloadable formats. Roman Roads Media has other products available for study, including: The Greeks, The Romans, Poetry, Latin, Economics, and Music.
This company really blessed my family by introducing us to Dave Raymond's American History. This product has really appealed to Grace's artistic side. I feel it is great for all types of learners, including: audio, visual, hands on, and artistic. We used this about 3-4 days a week. We received this as a 8 disc set. I was very thrilled to learn that they are in production for the modern history set as we speak and it is slated to come out in 2015. I really can't say enough about this course and how much we love using it. Dave Raymond's American History from Roman Roads Media is an educational product any family would enjoy and treasure. Be sure to check out what the other Crew Members thought of their products.
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Review Crew

Choosing Classes Outside of the Home

Grace has gotten to the point where she enjoys classes outside of the home. Classmates of the same age, classes I can't teach, and teachers that she loves all fall under the reasons why this year we have chosen three outside of the home classes - at least for the first semester. As you maneuver through this home school thing people come across your path that you really want your child to spend more time around. Usually these are people that can offer your child different insights on subjects that you personally could not give them for one reason or another. This year Grace has selected Spanish I and II, Analytical Literature, and an Intensive Writing class. The Spanish I and II will last all year with a teacher we love and respect and have taken classes from before. The Intensive Writing class is being taught by a woman we met through the King and I play. She is wonderful and I really feel like Grace could learn a lot from her in the writing department. This individual is a freelance writer with articles in various magazines and our local newspaper as well as experience in teaching language arts in the local middle school. The writing class will focus on one research paper and one narrative writing. Starting in September Grace will go to her house one day a week for 8 weeks, 2 1/2 hours each time to work with 4-6 other students on writing. What thrills me the most is that Grace loves her too and wanted to take this class. It was just something that I assigned to her to take.

Of course I can't forget that Grace is also taking classes at the Cooperative in Drama, Current Events, Painting, and Geography (Mapping the World with Art). So two days of the week will be eaten up with classes outside of our home. That leaves only three days a week to focus on homework from the other classes, Biology, American History, Personal Finance, and Bible. She will definitely need to work harder on her time management skills.