Sunday, March 24, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Classical Academic Press - Discovery of Deduction

I was given the opportunity to review the course The Discovery of Deduction by Classical Academic Press. Though we've long joked about Maestro being our little "lawyer", the truth is that some of his arguments fall a little... flat. In taking this review, my hope is that he will learn how to better form his thoughts and come to a stronger expression of his position.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Going No Meat During Lent: What's the Point?

In most of western Christianity, Lent - which means fasting from "some-thing" - is coming to an end. In some Christian groups, the individual chooses that "thing" more than having it proscribed by the Church. In the Roman Catholic church, there are a few more "rules" that most people seem to follow - I can't say what those rules are, I've never been Catholic, but it seems to be a little more than the pick-your-own variety.
(image from
In the Orthodox church, we have only just started Great Lent and its fast yet, but the overlap of the western Lent and that practiced in the Eastern Orthodox church has brought up discussion about the differences between the two. One particular point that has been commented on is the point of fasting from meat.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Best Way to Use Essential Oils: Dilute, Breathe In, or Apply 'Neat'?

I went to the Women's Expo at CCBC in Catonsville, MD, this past weekend and had a Young Living vendor table. While there, I talked to a trained Clinical Aromatherapist who really knew her stuff. She knew the chemical components of the oils and how to mix them for the best results. I was really impressed by her - but our discussion brought out the question of the best way to use Essential Oils. Her contention was that only three oils should ever be applied neat (that is: undiluted) to the skin and that they should really never be taken internally. 


Panaway is an oil blend that we use for
muscle pain, headaches or even general
bumps and bruises. In our house,  it is
frequently applied neat, and diluted when 

we want to apply to a larger area. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Homeschool Review: Essentials in Writing - Grade 7

Writing... an essential skill frequently overlooked in homeschooling circles. Just as Jeff and I were reviewing the skills we might need to revisit with the Gang, the chance to review the Essentials in Writing course popped up, so I jumped at it.

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Some of our children write eagerly and often, while others have been more reluctant. I thought we had mastered the basics quite some time back  - and while we covered many of the technical aspects, there were some I seem to have missed. One of the blessings of teaching ones own children is sometimes getting a do-over!

Essentials in Writing is a program that comes with four DVDs. Three are instructional and one has all of the worksheets to print off for practice with the lessons of the day. As a money-saving feature, the fourth DVD, with the worksheets, will be sent as a downloadable PDF in the future, or for $20 you can purchase the sheets already printed out to save ink and time. There are courses for every grade level from K-12. We used the grade-7 course, I had both 13-year-old Maestro (avid, early reader, reluctant writer) and 11-year-old Chef (later to read, writes constantly) work on the course together.

Each video clip was about 15 minutes long and very simple - the lessons took one piece of the writing puzzle and covered it in detail. The worksheets usually included a one-page overview of the lesson that day and two or three pages of practice exercises of about 20 - 25 problems each. The amount of writing increased, of course, as the boys went further into the class, but the early exercises alternated between the underline/circle-the-answer variety and the write-out-the-sentence variety.

The boys liked the program well enough but felt like the instructor talked as he would to a younger audience - like a Mr. Rogers clip perhaps, asking a question then waiting for a "response." That irritated them a bit; I assumed he was teaching in front of an actual class even while filming, and it didn't bother me in the same way, but I could see Maestro's point.

What I noticed was that they were getting it: a few days ago, I was reviewing a story Chef is working on and mentioned something about the sentence being incomplete and I used the wrong term and called it an independent clause or something. Chef was able to tell me the correct term and how it should be used and the finer points of the lesson it came from.

What all that says to me is, irritating (to the kids) or no, the lessons are successful and worth turning the TV (or computer) on for - so though we are not yet finished with the course, the lessons are here to stay - and at $40, it's a good deal!

Click on this link to see what other Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers had to say about Essentials in Writing!

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Try a New Essential Oil: Highest Potential

Each month I make a new order with Young Living to replace the oils I've used throughout the month. One of the best parts is getting to try out an oil I haven't purchased before. I love being a guinea pig when it comes to my oils!

This month I bought two new oils, Myrrh, to help strengthen our teeth and gums, which you'll see in a future blog post, and Highest Potential. Highest Potential I got in the spirit of assessing whether an oil blend might help inspire me to reach my "highest potential." 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Words Have Meaning: Know Your Greek and Latin Roots

As a true "Language Geek", Jeff has often talked about how useful it has been to know something about the Greek and Latin root words when studying other Romance languages like French - and also in studying English! So when the opportunity arose for our family to review the Greek and Latin Root cards provided by the Lonestar Learning company, I jumped at it! 



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