Here are a couple collages of different flowers that are in bloom right now. The colors and variety are simply amazing!
Monday, May 13, 2013
There are times that my kids just make me shake my head in wonder. Sometimes I wonder in amazement of their insight or their memory. And then there are times that I just shake my head and say, “You must take after your father because I would never have done anything like that!”
Saturday night Rebekah comes up to me and says, “Hey mom, look what I can do! I can blow up this balloon with my nose.” Then she proceeded to put the opening of the balloon in her nose, plug the other nostril and blow it up. I stood there just shaking my head, then snapped a picture and said, “You are your father’s daughter.” Then she said, “Well, Ben showed me how.” I turned to Ben and he quickly said, “I didn’t want you taking my picture like that.” So here is Rebekah with her new “talent”.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
It is late Spring. Temperatures are getting warmer. Spring sports are over, other activities are slowing down or over for the summer as well. Because of all this, my kids think they should be done with their school work as well.
This week we have been slogging through. I have been pushing Ben and Rebekah to get their work done. To give them some incentive I have been trying to do something fun, outside, as a reward for working hard. One day we went to the small zoo in town. One day we went with friends to the skate park.
I find that taking small breaks when the weather is beautiful and spring fever is at its highest is very effective. I do have some trouble bringing Rebekah back on task, but I just consider it good practice for her for later. Life is not always run by a strict schedule and learning how to deal with interruptions for fun and then getting back to work is a good challenge for her.
Because of the different homeschool products and curriculum we review, we are going to be doing some school throughout the month of June and then pick it back up again late July, early August. With just Ben and Rebekah at home for school now, it does not take very long to get done, if we knuckle down and do it.
I am excited by the prospect of a slower, but worthwhile summer schedule. We just began a Geography review from Memoria Press that we will be working on. Ben and Rebekah love maps and learning countries so this is not going to be too challenging for them. We will be getting an excellent writing curriculum from Institute for Excellence in Writing. The last plan for Ben and Rebekah at the moment is to also continue with their math. Sarah has summer work as well. Even though she is attending a Christian School now, I received an e-mail with English work to be done over the summer and turned in for a grade the first day of school. I am quite impressed. She has to read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and complete five pages of work. The work is a pretty in-depth analysis of the book. No multiple choice questions here, it is all short answer/essay.
Two weeks and Spring Fever will be over and Summer will begin for us. I am going to be tough on my kids and push them through till Summer work begins.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Home School In the Woods Publishing is a company established by the Pak Family. Amy Pak, mom the of Pak family, was looking for a way to teach history to her kids and make it interesting, She was afraid her kids would find history boring as it had been for her during school. She began by creating timelines and then finding classic and realistic timeline figures. Since that beginning the company has grown and offers a variety of history timelines, activity paks, activity based World and U.S. History studies, Lap Paks and more.
- The 20th Century in America Lap-Pak
- Grades 3-8
- $21.95 Download version $22.95 CD version
The 20th Century in America Lap-Pak is a jam packed study on important events, discoveries and culture during the 20th Century. This is a complete “all-in-one” study. It includes a printable booklet with all needed reading material.
The projects are what make this study come alive. There are 22 projects included in this lap-book. They incorporate a wide variety of skills such as creative writing, drawing,and research. The masters are detailed and ready for printing. There are also detailed instructions for putting each project together as well as instructions for assembling the entire lap book.
The 20th Century was a decade filled with vast changes. This lap book chronicles those changes with projects focusing on a single topic. Accomplishments in Architecture and Various Medical Advancements are studied. Authors and their Literature are explored. Research authors such as Laura Ingalls Wilder or L. Frank Baum and others. Discover various movements within this century, such as the Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Suffrage movement.
We are a history loving family. Ben (11) and Rebekah (9) were just completing a study of American History. So when this review came out I decided it would be a great way to reinforce and review the history of the 20th Century.
One of the strengths of this study is the amount of detailed information included in the printable booklet. We were able to read a section, then work on the project for that topic. Some projects we could complete in a day, others took several days. We usually worked on this lap-book about 3 days a week.
I quickly found that printing the projects ahead of time made life a lot simpler. If I tried to print while we were working, it was a mess and I ended up frustrated.
The projects include very good instructions on putting them together. By reading, looking at the diagrams and pictures, even the most complex project goes together easily. Each project is different. The fashion project, looks like a closet. The medical advancements project is shaped like a needle. Some projects have the information printed on it, such as the Movements booklets. Others, such as the Wars project require the kids to write a mini-report.
This Lap-Book has been a study in contrasts for us. I (Mom) was excited to get started. I thought the projects looked fun and the history was fascinating. We would read the history portions out loud together, then work on the project. What I realized using this study was why I do not normally use Lap-Book type projects: my kids are not very excited by them.
Ben did each project as asked. He said he preferred to just listen to the information and tell it back to me. Coloring, cutting,and gluing are just not his favorite things.
Rebekah, who loves to color, cut , glue etc. had a hard time with this Lap-Book because she, should I say, marches to the beat of her own drummer. She does not always like to follow directions, or she plows ahead without listening to instructions and made mistakes so I had to re-print some things and have her do them over.
I think this is a very well put together, well thought out study. I was disappointed that my kids did not particularly enjoy it. I kept up with the study hoping they would get into it, but really they only had sparks of interest.
I would recommend Homeschool In The Woods Lap-books to anyone who has 1.) either never done a lap-book before, or 2.) already know they enjoy lap-book type studies. This would be a great study for the first-time Lap-book user. It is very thorough and detailed, yet includes great instructions for putting everything together. It would also be a great study for a seasoned Lap-Book user because it includes a wide variety of projects and makes it easy for mom to teach a fascinating history unit.
The Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed three different products from Homeschool In The Woods. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about their products.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
We have been very excited by our garden and how well it is growing. We are growing some things from seeds and bought plants for others. From seed we are growing; basil, summer squash, zucchini, green onions (scallions), radishes, cucumbers and green beans. We bought plants for: tomatoes (3 kinds), Red and Yellow Bell peppers, watermelon and cantaloupe.
Everything is thriving except the watermelon and cantaloupe. Both of those plants have died. I have heard two theories about why. One was that they take a ton of water and two is that the soil is not sandy enough. I am not sure what I believe about why, but I told the kids we are not going to try them again we are going to plant something different. So I have decided to plant butternut squash. My grandmother assures me that butternut squash grows well around here. We bought the seeds at Wal-Mart this evening. I am going to soak them in water tonight and then plant them in the morning.
It is getting quite a bit warmer now, so I am expecting the garden to grow quickly now. Most days are high 80’s to lower 90’s. It has been extremely dry around this region, so I have been watering every morning. With this shape garden, it does not take much water.
Matt did his part by making me a cage to keep the birds and cats out. I get very upset when the neighbors cats come over and dig in my garden. But, that problem is solved now, thanks to Matt.
Monday, April 22, 2013
About 3:00 pm each and every afternoon comes the inevitable question: What’s for dinner, Mom? On my best weeks, I have a menu, have all ingredients for said menu and know exactly what is for dinner. Other weeks, well, not so much. It is a, let me check the refrigerator and pantry to see what I can pull together. And if it is a really bad night, with lots to do, it may just be Taco Bell.
But tonight was a good night. I pulled out pizza crust dough that I had in the freezer to thaw. I browned hamburger with onions. Then I rolled the crust out and par-baked it for about 10 minutes. I pulled it out and spread a can of petite diced tomatoes over the crust. I then put on the browned hamburger and onions, spread green chiles over the hamburger and sprinkled cheddar cheese over the top. I baked it for about another 10 minutes and Voila!
Green Chile Cheeseburger Pizza
It was a hit. All four kids and myself loved it. I am going to have to make it again soon, since it is completely gone and Matt, who was at work, did not get any.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Progeny Press specializes in literature study guides. They offer over 100 guides ranging from kindergarten to high school. The guides concentrate on critical thinking skills, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. Progeny Press also offers “everything literature”. On their website you can find novels, study guides, and unabridged audio books.
The literature guides offered by Progeny Press teach well-written literature and help students develop and refine how they deal with man’s philosophies in relation to God’s Word. They equip students to understand writing and help enhance their reading enjoyment.
- Treasure Island Study Guide
- Written by Joy Hardin
- Middle School age range 5th –8th grades
- $16.99 CD or Instant Download, $18.99 Printed Booklet
Adventure! Danger! Treasure! these are just a few of the many reasons that Treasure Island is an enduring classic book. The Progeny Press study guide will help your student go in depth into the book, pulling out various themes and bringing greater understanding to the material.
Ben, 11, is the one who reviewed the Progeny Press Treasure Island Study Guide. He had been wanting to read Treasure Island and this was a good way to get him into it. I will say, this book is not for a struggling reader. The reading level that I gleaned from several places says this is about a 7th grade reading level. Ben is an excellent reader and has been reading through the book, although it is taking more time than other books, due to the difference in language from 1883 and today. I downloaded onto his I-pod an audio version of Treasure Island, so he could listen and read along, but he has not done that. He said he prefers to just read the book and then will go back later and listen to it. We found Treasure Island for Ben’s Kindle reader. One reason I had him read this on the Kindle was so he could quickly find the definition for any unfamiliar word, using the dictionary feature.
The Treasure Island Study Guide (either the CD or download format) is an interactive guide. This means that answers to the questions can be typed into the actual study guide. Then saved and printed out, if desired, or just graded on the computer. We did not use this feature. I printed the entire guide out, comb bound it, and Ben used this as a “workbook”. This was the best option for us as Ben was not tied to having to have a computer available to work on his Study Guide.
The first thing we did to start the study guide, was to read over the pre-reading activities and pick a few of the activities. We went over various coins, not in usage today. We looked at different types of ships and talked about how words change meaning over time.
Next, I had him take a couple days and read through Chapters 1-6. Then we picked up the study guide and worked through the Part 1 section. Ben did most of the work on his own, asking questions when he needed help. The first section is vocabulary, then there are comprehension questions, a Thinking About the Story section and finally a Digging Deeper. I let Ben take the study guide at his own pace, working on it for about 1/2 hour each day. When he finished Part 1, he then stopped and read chapters 7-12 for Part II and then completing the study guide. This approach worked well for us so the amount of information and questions in the study guide did not overwhelm Ben. We have continued on in the same manner and plan to continue until the end of the book.
I would recommend the Progeny Press Study Guides to others who would like an in-depth guide to good literature. They are very academic, no fluff and a lot of thinking involved. Because I had reviewed a Progeny Press guide with my older daughter, Sarah along with one for Ben, I knew I liked them (you can read that review here). So, when I received this review, I also bought a study guide for Rebekah, who is 9. She has been steadily working through the study guide for the book A Cricket in Times Square.This is a challenge for Rebekah, I think a good challenge, in that she can not just give quick one word answers, but has to process her thoughts to get them down on paper. This is hard for her, but we are taking it slow and she is getting it.
Many of the Schoolhouse Review Crew also reviewed literature study guides from Progeny Press. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about their guides.