Thursday, May 30, 2013

See The Light God's Runaway Review

     My girls love Art, and they love Bible too; and what better way to combine both subjects for a meaningful lesson. 

     Last month I received a copy of God's Runaway { on CD } from See the Light for review purposes.  It has been fun to try out new artistic skills.  

{ What's on the CD }

     The CD has a full 268 minutes of content.  Easy to use, just pop it in and you're ready to go.  You could be doing your first Art lesson within a few minutes - if you don't get captivated by the story of Jonah first, that is.  It also comes in a nicely presented CD case too.  Age target is 6+.  I used it with Chloe { 8 } and Phebe { 6 }.

     The Story of Jonah is delightfully retold while artist Gloria Kohlmann draws a black light interpretation of the story.  There's something very appealing to watching an artist bring a picture to life right before your very eyes.  Definitely geared to keep your child's interest.

     Then there are 3 different Art lessons on the CD from which to choose from.  Obey, Released, and Salvation is from the Lord.  Each lesson is taught by a different artist. 

Obey uses the artistic skill of creative lettering.

Released uses the artistic skill of using chalk pastels.

Salvation is from the Lord uses the artistic skill of mixed media.

     In each lesson the artist gives a list of materials required to complete the lesson. So you'll always know what you need, and when to use them.  Additionally, you can find a list of needed art supplies for this CD on their website.  

     The lessons also use a black light to see the additional features that are incorporated into their art work.  If you don't have a black light, not a problem, each lesson can still be completed or modified for a great finish.

     Additionally the CD also includes several Bonus Features.  
  • Revel, an original contemporary music performed by "Breathing Room" while watching Gloria Kohlmann draw the story of Jonah.  
  • Watch and Hear the plan of salvation.  This would work well for children with evangelism in mind.
  • Hear a commentary as you watch a story scene being created.
  • Meet the See The Light team.

     A lovely addition to any Art curriculum.  There are a number of other CD's also available that you could easily build a nice little library of Art curriculum with from See The Light.

{ How We Used It }

     We were quite keen to jump in and get started with this CD.  So, we just popped it in and opened it up.  It was very easy to navigate.  

     Our first visit ended up being the Story of Jonah.  My girls were "wowed" by watching the story come to life.  They've never seen a picture drawn by a chalk artist in real life before.  This set the tone for the lessons to come. 

     The first lesson that we chose to do was Obey.  Since we're not really good artists in the drawing department we just followed along with the CD.  I also sat in and did the lesson with the girls as an additional model for what was required.  We would stop the CD when we needed the more time to complete each step.

     The lesson went a little longer than the girls concentration and we did end up with a couple of tears because they couldn't just grasp that it was for fun and not perfection.

     Nevertheless, I thought they gave the lesson a great initial go.  We can always come back to this lesson again next year to try again and compare their progress.

The second lesson that we did was Released.  We didn't have any chalk pastels so we improvised and used oil pastels instead.  

I think this was much harder to do than it looked.  The artist made it look so easy.

     The third and last lesson left to do on the CD was Salvation is from the Lord.  A mixed media - requiring a thick based texta { I used a double ended copic marker } watercolors, and Crayola Extreme Fluorescent crayons.  We got the coloring and watercolor parts completed, but since we didn't have the crayons available we just left it and figure that we'll come back and add some nice writing in the whale at a later date.

I liked the idea of coloring a whole background and it was nice to get an idea on how to do this.  The CD does recommend that you do this piece in an A5, but we of course wanted to do ours in an A4.  We used a good quality watercolor paper for this lesson.

Here's Phebe getting hers done.

After Phebe finished her coloring.

After Phebe had watercolored her whale.

This is Chloe's piece after she had watercolored too.

The inside of the whale will make a great place to put a memory verse.

{  How much does it Cost? }

     The CD retails for $14.99.  Easy purchasing available through Paypal, which is super handy for international customers.  { I'm in Australia and I had my CD in less than 2 weeks. }

     Thanks for visiting, and don't forget to visit See The Light for additional information about God's Runaway and other products that they have available.  Oh, and please do check out some of the other awesome reviews done by my fellow crew members on the different products by See The Light as well.

Next Year I Am Definitely Going To......

There's an awesome little linky party happening right now on the internet.  I've been busy reading some of the link ups already, which of course made me want to come and link up as soon as possible.  Now that I've actually found a little time this afternoon I thought that I'd jump right on in and link up.  I'm a planner and tick list maker by nature, and as such, I am permanently organizing things for the future, so this little linky is PERFECT to map out those really big ticket ideas that I want to do next year.

Kim from Finding Joy in 6th Grade is hosting this awesome, interesting, and fun linky party.  What things are you definitely going to do, or change to next year?

Now, while it is true that my situation is a little bit different from you all, in the sense that I don't have 30 students, or a nice big classroom, however we are all similar in that we all still teach - albeit I just do it at home.

We're homeschoolers, but I'm very happy to hang out with you all { and pick up teaching ideas too - most appreciated }

So, first up:

Yep, the Progymnasmata~!!  I am sooooo excited.  We are going to start the long journey through classical composition.

I am shocking at keeping reading logs.  My girls read so much that I can't be bothered with keeping track of it all.  I know, bad.  I sort of do need to keep track of it all though.  So I am hoping that I can do that better next year.

This year we are taking Latin and Greek in the slow lane.  Real slow.  So next year we'll have to pick it up a bit.

Last, but not least - Little Miss Hannah { 4y1m }.  She's the first one I drop when my plate gets full.  I just put all her school work on the bench for "later".  Which isn't really fair to her because she has an ability and aptitude for a lot more than what her age would otherwise dictate.  She is currently half way through Grade 1.  She's terribly desperate to get to Grade 2 maths just so that she can catch up to Phebe - as it turns out she's also a little competitive.

Yeah, so that's my top 4 things that I want to definitely do next school year.

I hope you will join us { for the linky party } and if you ever wondered about homeschooling and what we do, please feel free to drop in any time.  :o)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Secret Garden

Have you ever read The Secret Garden?  Perhaps you even went and saw the movie as a child.

Either way, for some reason, this particular book captivates young children's minds, and my girls in particularly loved it.  They loved it so much that as soon as I was done reading, at the very suggestion that they could watch it as a movie, they became overcome with excitement.  It also made for a very nice relaxing quiet afternoon as I folded up the washing.

  • Author/s:  Novelisation and adaption by Jan Carr.  Original story by: Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Ilustrator:  Color photographs from the movie included.
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 90
  • Vendor: Fantail Books
  • Publication Date: 1993
  • Ages: 7-12

  • When Mary arrives all alone from India to live in her Uncle's forbidding house on the moors, she finds herself surrounded by mysteries.  Then she discovers the key to a secret garden that has been untouched for years.  As the garden weaves its magic spell, a new exciting world opens up for Mary and all those who enter it.

    I did have to puddle jump a couple of tiny lines, but overall a nice, quick, and easy read.  

    Hopefully all these quick and easy reads will lay the foundation for a greater love of classical literature that they will want to read the originals from when they get older.  

    Sunday, May 26, 2013

    Workbox Task Cards

    A couple of weeks ago I was out watching a homeschool video of a mum using cards for her children to mark off which subjects they had completed and I thought to myself, " I wonder if this type of thing would help my girls cycle through their school workload a bit better / quicker".  So I made each girl a set of cards.

    { So here's my version of it all: }

    A collection of different subjects / items that we might need throughout the day in a Frog Surfing theme.

    I simplified the list for actual use for Chloe.

    For Phebe I used a Cowgirl theme and did likewise.

    { How I set it up to use: }

    First, I found some really nice scrapbooking paper and laminated them - for durability.  Then I added some 2 piece velcro circles - which come sticky - so you just peel them off and adhere them to whatever surface you are working with.  I put one side of them on the laminated sheets.

    I then stuck the other side of the velcro circles on the task cards { which had also been laminated / cut } and voila, they now could stick to the laminated paper / task card board.  They come off easily and pop back on easily.

    I also put enough velcro dots on the backside of the laminated paper / board for additional subjects.

    I also put a little hole in the middle so that I could hang them up on a plastic hook.  The girls can now turn them over easily to find the other side.

    As the girls do their work they can take their cards off their boards and place them up in the pocket chart above.  When all the cards are off their board - they have finished school for the day.

    This is a nice little addition to our homeschool as it helps the girls to visualize how much work they have done / need to do.  It has also helped to motivate the girls to jump to the next subject more quickly as well.

    Both sets are currently in my TpT store, but if you are quick, and are one of the first 2 people to leave me a hello comment on this post I will give you a set for FREE.  Just let me know which set you'd like - The Frog Surfing theme or The Cowgirl theme.

    That's all for today.  Thanks for visiting.

    Friday, May 24, 2013

    Introducing Marley Eva

    As promised I popped down to the hospital this morning and picked up a couple of photos { a little difficult with 6 little children in tow and the baby in the nursery }.  Here's a quick look at Marley - who by the way was actually LESS than 5 pounds, she weighed in at 4 pounds 13 and is only 42.5cm long.  Small.

    Marley is my 3rd grandchild.

    All the girls LOVE her.

    Places To Visit

    Yesterday provided a really BIG detour in our day.  My oldest daughter had to have an emergency c-section - so I was out with her for most of the day.   It started with me leaving home at 11am to go pick Michelle up for her doctor appointment - she had had an ultrasound the day before and it was clear that the baby was breech, small, and appeared to have slowed down in the growing department, and no fluid { originally I thought they may try to turn the baby but no, it wasn't safe to do so}.  So from the doctors appointment we went straight to hospital where they also confirmed the findings and the next thing you know she was booked in for a c-section.  Yep, for that very afternoon.  She didn't even have time to go home and get anything.  The operation went well, and as it turned out the placenta was on it's way out, and not looking too good, and obviously not functioning well either at this point, so it was a good call on their side.  

    The girls will now be on vacation for 2 weeks as I'll be a little more busy with the grandbabies back at home here.

    Marley was born at 4:54pm.   She is the tiniest and gorgeous little dolly with a mop of dark hair.  5 pounds.  She is doing very well.  I will try to get you all a photo in the morning after this post goes live.  Hoping to have one up by tomorrow night.

    * * * * * * *

    In other news:  this week I traveled to these places.

    I continue to seek to tweak our program and gain additional thoughts and ideas with which to incorporate either now, or in the future.

    All sorts of freebies from homeschoolers, for homeschoolers.

    Worksheet Works
    In Beta testing.

    Latin and Greek materials from:

    Many years ago I had a rather brief love affair with a particular style of composition, the progymnasmata.  However, when additional little girl babies arrived in the house and the boys drifted away from Latin, Greek, and Classical learning I just put this attractive and appealing idea away into the back of my mind.  As of lately, it has now been revived, and I have once again returned to having another, fresh look at it.

    Memoria Press is moving in the direction of adding their own set of books to service the progymnasmata { they have the first 3 books }.  Written by the same author of Classical Composition but given the classic Memoria Press feel and presentation.

    Classical Composition already have a set up and running.

    Classical Composition Intro.

    Classical Writing also have their hand in the pie.

    Have you ever heard of the progymnasmata?  What do you think of it?

    “I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think that the same is true of human beings. We do not wish to see children precocious, making great strides in their early years like sprouts, producing a soft and perishable timber, but better if they expand slowly at first, as if contending with difficulties, and so are solidified and perfected. Such trees continue to expand with nearly equal rapidity to extreme old age."
    - Henry David Thoreau

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Do Tell About the Greek

    As you all know, I've added New Testament Greek for the girls to our classical homeschool program.  This will be my second time around { remember the boys 7 years ago } - so I think that this time I will feel much more relaxed.  I also feel that if we are going to have do Languages { LOTE } and we do Latin, well, we should also be doing Greek - and not just any Greek either, but rather, New Testament Greek because that my dear friends, will keep us learning of God, His Son, and how we should frame our lives and knowledge.  Not to mention that I have on occasion come to a deeper and clearer understanding of particular things by reading from the Greek.  True story.

    If my memory serves me correctly I did attempt to start Chloe with Greek when she was in Grade 1 { two years ago }, but it didn't really work after we got through the alphabet.  The alphabet was fine, but it was all the vocabulary and conjugating that threw her - clearly she wasn't ready for it.  I am hoping to make a bit more progress this time.

    Now, before we continue through with my show and tell I'd like to do a quick little detour as I would love to share this little quote from the the mind of Winston Churchill who said, 

    “[B]y being so long in the lowest form I gained an immense advantage over the cleverer boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that. But I was taught English. We were considered such dunces that we could learn only English. Mr. Somervell -- a most delightful man, to whom my debt is great -- was charged with the duty of teaching the stupidest boys the most disregarded thing -- namely, to write mere English. He knew how to do it. He taught it as no one else has ever taught it. Not only did we learn English parsing thoroughly, but we also practised continually English analysis. . . Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence -- which is a noble thing. And when in after years my schoolfellows who had won prizes and distinction for writing such beautiful Latin poetry and pithy Greek epigrams had to come down again to common English, to earn their living or make their way, I did not feel myself at any disadvantage. Naturally I am biased in favour of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat. But the only thing I would whip them for would be not knowing English. I would whip them hard for that.”

    I don't know if that is a case for a formal GRAMMAR or a case against Latin and Greek unless you have your grammar all top notch.  * smiling wide here *  I am also wondering if he was taught the progymnasmata or anything of the like.  I have heard the quote about letting the clever ones learn Latin, and Greek as a treat before, but it was a bit of an eye opener to read it in context to his whole paragraph.  Either way, it encourages me with all three subjects; Grammar, Latin, and Greek. Never mind, I've digressed enough, and it isn't as interesting as my show and tell to come.

    So, I think that I had BETTER get to my point for todays post, as it was to do a little show and tell on what we are using for New Testament Greek.  Let's get to that, shall we? 

    { Elementary Greek by Christine Gatchell }
    Year One - Text and CD

    A sampling of a lesson inside.

    Several memory verses are taught throughout the course in an incremental manner, and I really like that.  Vocabulary is served 5 words a lesson, each lesson lasts a week. Small enough lists not to tax a child.  I really like that too.  

    Grammar is also included.  They only give what is needed, so that is another plus.

    A sampling conjugation of a verb.  { Lesson 4 }  If you look closely you can make out my pencil markings separating the root stem ( verb ) from their endings ( pronouns ).

    The course also includes flash cards - alphabet.  The letter on one side, the name on the other.

    More flash cards - the word on one side, the definition on the other.

    I do have to mention that there is also a workbook available as well.  I have one somewhere, half used no doubt.  I don't plan on using it though.  Not yet, anyway.  Mostly because less is more { at this age }, and slow and steady wins the race.

    There are an additional two levels for this course.  So there's plenty to keep your primary student busy for a few years.  After that you can jump a child to Mounce or Wenham.  Or if you're game, you can try an old time version for FREE from Textkit.

    Additionally, please allow me to add one more tiny little thing; I hear on the wind of the internet that a new Greek course is on it's way by a different company - which, if their current materials are anything to go by - we should be absolutely delighted when it is made available.  Just between you and me, I can't wait!

    In the mean time the alphabet is making a lovely introduction to the course.

    Do you study New Testament Greek?

    Today I am linking up with:

    Living and Learning at Home

    I hope you can join us.

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    A Day in the Life of Me

    Ever wonder how an ordinary day goes by at our house?  How do we get through all our school work?  Do we really finish a full day and get all those tick boxes marked off?  Do we detour?

    Well, just most fortunate for you my darlings, I decided to keep a loose piece of paper out to keep track of the school work.  It went something like this, { don't forget to hang on - it's going to get bumpy and you might find a recurring theme throughout }:

    Let's start the day with Bible.  Copywork of commands.  We are currently working our way through the 1050 commands found in the New Testament.  The older boys and myself do the command and the verse, but I'm soft on the girls and they only do the command.  So, Chloe and Phebe both copy out 2 commands.  Hannah reads her reader to hubby.

    Then we have our first break.  Yep, I know, we only just started.  But we don't have a long break, and we know that we still have a heap of work to get through.  

    Soon we begin Maths - Chloe, Phebe, and Hannah doing maths { photo insert }.  All different levels { Grade 3, 2, and 1 } out in the lounge room where the fire is going.  It's getting colder here now-a-days so we toggle between the school room and the lounge room.  We keep lap tables available for each girl.  They are super handy dandy things to have when you are desk-less.  For some reason Chloe isn't using hers today.  Please do note that little Miss Charlotte is also joining in as well.   Never mind the pyjama thing happening, that's of little consequence.

    I just keep doing a round robin type of thing, marking the work and explaining things as needed to each child.  My best friend Red Pen and I team up really well.

    Then we have another break.  Yep.

    When I get myself organised for the next leg of the trip we start with Hannah doing copywork, Chloe doing Spelling, and Phebe still working on her Maths.  She's dawdling today.  Hubby steps in to help Phebe finish up.

    Oh look, another break.

    But we quickly resume with Phebe reading.  Chloe still works on spelling, and moves on over to hubby to finish that up.

    As a general rule I start and get things going, do the big ticket items, and hubby helps to finish off the stragglers.

    You also might have noticed that there's a little overlap of where some take a break and jump over while the other children carry on.  Gets fiddly.  Letting them have lots of little breaks helps me to find time to organise the next thing.  It also helps hubby get those stragglers back on track.  

    Now they all have another break.  Are you counting how many we're up to?

    Moving right along - Chloe and Phebe come back to Latin and Greek. A current favourite with the girls.

    And yep, then there's another break.  These breaks can last from anywhere from 5 mins to an hour, but so far today they've been pretty short.

    Now we come to a huge unexpected detour in the day.  We don't normally stop for family movie time - even at nights { but that's another story } but today hubby has a movie.  So....... there's goes a couple of hours.  The children are so excited.

    When the movie finishes it's lunch time.  Who's making lunch?  Anyone got lunch organised?  Oh, anyone at all?  Ok, we'll all go out.  We get dressed and drive to town.  This includes the two highschoolers who missed the communal photo shot at Maths time.  We have lunch.  Then we go shopping for incidentals like milk, and fresh fruit etc...

    Wow, we've lost quite a bit of time today.  Can we get the day saved?

    Once home Phebe starts her Grammar with hubby.  { It's his day off so he's home today. }  
    Chloe copies her spelling words and moves straight on in to Writing Strands with me.

    Break time.  Do a little Hammer dance style if you want to.

    Phebe continues to rest while Chloe does Grammar with me.

    Then yep, can you guess what comes next?  Wow, you are good!  Of course it's break time.  It's getting LATE in the day so everyone is starting to tire.

    Dinner is on it's way.

    After dinner I feel the compulsion to try and get a couple of more things done on my tick list.  So I read a chapter of 'Life of Fred' and move straight over to Science and give the girls each a notebook page to fill in. They think that's great.  For some strange reason they like the idea of doing notebook pages.

    After that I say - I'm out.  My day is done.  If I'm done, they're done.  

    So we toddle round the house with bits and pieces until it's bed time.  I have to tell you how awesome it is to delegate housework and what a blessing a dishwasher can be.

    I'm sorry that you had to miss out on my usual laundry and house work story - but I might have to do another "Day in the Life of Me" for that reality to be played out.  

    Red Pen and I thank you so much for visiting.  :o)

    Today I am linking up with:

    Living and Learning at Home

    I hope you can join us.

    Journey to the Center of the Earth

    { Journey to the Center of the Earth }

    Filled with plenty of lined drawings and illustrations.

    Title:  Journey to the Center of the Earth
    Author: Jules Verne
    Adapted by: Howard Schwach
    Illustrator: Brendan Lynch
    Pages: 238
    Publisher:  Baronet Books

    Another quick two day read to introduce the girls to another classic on the shelves. 

    What books have you read this week?

    Today I am linking up with:

    Every bed of Roses

    I hope you will join us.

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    Another Updated Tick List

    How is it that I can keep updating my tick list?  Well, you see, it takes a little practice to get to something that's going to work. 

    If you want to see it more clearly please feel free to download the tick list.  It's in pdf form.

    No doubt I'll probably update it or tweak it a little more as we settle in over the next few weeks.

    Do you use a tick list?  

    Sunday, May 19, 2013

    Bible Quotes Review

         Have you ever tried Bible copywork in your homeschool?  Not only does your child get to practice spelling, penmanship, reading, punctuation, and grammar, but they also get the scriptures and manual to life as well.  Feed your child academically and spiritually.  What an awesome combination!

         These past few weeks we've had the opportunity to review an ebook of Bible Quotes by Joyce Herzog.

     photo joyceherzog_zps3c5942dd.jpg

    { About the Product }

         Each list of Bible quotes within the ebook are gathered together according to a particular phonetic skill, which is based upon the 'Scaredy Cat Reading System' written by Joyce Herzog { a separate product }.  The ebook is 26 pages in length which includes the cover and introduction. 

    { A sampling of the printed pages from the ebook }

    The rules are clearly and conveniently located at the top of each page.

    The ebook is a tool for parents.  There is no fluff included, or pictures within the text.  It is purely a list of verses that will help you to focus on particular set of phonetic skills.  

    { How We Used It }

         Since we already had a good feel for phonics we went ahead and used this product for cursive penmanship.  That means I simply printed the book out, and then used it to copy out the scripture verses into an exercise book, and then had Chloe { 8 } copy them in her cursive handwriting.

         I choose a normal lined exercise book in which to house our copywork.

    I would write out each scripture verse and then Chloe would then read and copy it.

         I do have to mention that Chloe is 8 years old.  Had she been any younger I might have felt that it would of been more appropriate to use a different style and method of copywork.  I would of also quite possibly used this product in a different manner. This is important to mention because it is the younger audience who are just learning their phonograms and are beginning reading that this ebook and its verses are intended for.

         While the ebook refers to a separate product - namely the 'Scaredy Cat Reading System', and the phonetic skills are based on the { SCRS } as well, one is still able to use the material as a stand alone without any problem. 

         I feel that this product is more for the parent and not for the child in its present form.  It is a homeschooling tool, and not a workbook / worktext that you would just hand over to a child.  This in itself is a needful thing to know.

         Even though the product says that it can be used for spelling it does not give any lists of spelling words.  The parent would have to make such a list.

         Finally, even though I really do love the idea of Bible copywork from Bible Quotes I don’t think that I would use this product exclusively or even long term.  There is not enough material to use it long term. { If you have a Bible - that's exhaustive, and would supply your needs well met. }  It is even doubtful that I would use it for phonics instruction { which is its main focus }.  This is due to the fact that often when we choose a single verse to use for one particular phonetic structure we are also bombarded with multiple other phonetic structures within the very same sentence.  To use the sentence in its entirety the child will have to be able to use a host of other phonograms as well.  So basically, just using it for a single phonogram may not be so beneficial at all.  If the child has not mastered other phonograms before attempting the scriptures this could easily burden or confuse the child all the more.   Especially for example when the focus is on using short vowel sounds but being presented with multiple phonograms like / or, ck, ng, th, ch, er, ou / { on the very first page I might add } in the sentence.  What do we teach first?  Line upon line, precept upon precept – is it not?  Now having said this, I do feel that it would still be quite beneficial to copy the scriptures as a way of practicing and cementing already gained skills, as consolidation.   So if you want a product to help you consolidate and practice – this would work.  If you want a way to teach phonics, there are better ways of doing that.

    { How Much Does it Cost? }

         Download the pdf today for $12.00.

         Thanks for visiting, and don't forget to visit Joyce Herzog for additional information about Bible Quotes and other products that she has available.  Oh and please do check out some of the other awesome reviews done by my fellow crew members on the different products by Joyce Herzog as well.