Monday, April 22, 2013

Post-Friday Monday Round-Up

I didn't get to the Five Friday round up thing this week because I had so many reviews due in last week. Whew! It was hectic trying to get all of those in, but I did it! So I am doing my Fast Friday Five now instead. Before you go today, please go to the bottom and look at the five pictures there. I had new head shots done last week and am trying to decide which to use. Give me your thoughts in the comments? Thanks, All, and have a great week!!
  1. We have reached the point in the garage where we're doing the last few boxes of papers. Oh, loathsome papers! So I am determined to get them knocked out as fast as I can to get it over with. THEN I have to figure out what I'll do with those papers I have to keep. Yikes! Really. I have A Plan (insert echo here... PlanPlaPLP...) My grand plan is go through it all once and get out everything that can be thrown away or shredded. Then I'll have to go through again to figure out where to put the stuff that's left. I know - it's more time consuming this way. It would be better to "touch it once and then deal with it." But I'm more of a whittle it down sort, so I have to do this in stages. But at least we're nearly done.
    We took a break to go look at a Civil War
    display at the nearby library. It was a 3/4-
    mile walk each way but worth the time. The
    gun closest to Bruiser there is original and
    the barrel is longer than my arm! It was huge!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Progeny Press - The Hobbit

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We don't do as many read-alouds as we did when the kids were younger (and fewer in number), but I have been trying to increase how often we read classic literature with them. Even the youngest kids can benefit from hearing longer books read, if only because they're learning how to quietly do their own thing while others in the room are listening, and eventually they get into the stories too. We had recently finished The Hobbit again when The Old Schoolhouse put out the chance to review Progeny Press' Hobbit interactive study guide. It was a chance I jumped on right away!

Progeny Press bills itself as creating "Study guides for literature from a Christian Perspective." They have study guides for a wide range of literature that covers all the grade levels, K - 12. I will get into my opinion of the guide I received in a minute, but wanted to point out a rare thing in Homeschooling curriculum publishers - they give permission for teachers to print/use multiple copies within the same home or classroom. That is not always - or even usually - the case. But it makes me glad that I can reuse the same curriculum with my younger children, as they reach the appropriate skill levels, without having to be concerned over breaking copyright laws (however inadvertent.) 

The guide for The Hobbit is a pdf download that allows the user to fill in the blanks virtually. It does not include the Hobbit book, only the study guide. The download is $18.99, and can be purchased as a CD, an instant download or for $21.99, as a printed book. The Hobbit Study Guide is aimed at the high school level. Maestro's reading skill level is easily at high school range so I kept an eye on what he was doing but did not feel like I had to sit side-by-side with him for every step of the way. Even better was that he enjoyed most of the study guide enough that I didn't have to!

I was very impressed with how thorough the study guide was. It started out covering JRR Tolkein's life, and included a wide range of subjects and skills: map reading, nature and science, music, literature (of course!), language arts (grammar, etc), biblical studies, dictionary use, vocabulary, historical perspective, etc. 

I did stay close at hand for any discussion of the intent and meaning in various Bible verses. Being Orthodox, we do use the Bible, but sometimes our understanding of certain verses does not mirror that of the rest of the Protestant world-view. Because of that I used the various sections relating to the Bible as a means of opening discussion. The questions relating to the Bible were open-ended though and did not "push" a particular interpretation on the student.

The guide breaks the book up into sections, with the student advised to finish one section each week; the sections are then broken down so the student is doing a page each day, so the student is not overwhelmed by the work involved.

I liked the Progeny press study guide and plan to buy more - not all are the same price, but the price is certainly worth it!

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Knowledge Quest - Sacagawea Interactive E-Book

Somehow I scheduled my homeschool review dates pretty close this month, but there were so many good programs being offered all at once that I couldn't help but ask for the chance to join the fun! So for the third review this week, I present to you Knowledge Quest's Sacagawea Interactive E-Book.

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Schoolhouse Review Crew: Math Rider

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For Maestro and Chef, the decision on which math program to use in their earliest years came easily. We used a program that fit in with how I wanted them to learn their facts. Bruiser has struggled a little bit more with the same program and I've been looking around for ways to help him reinforce the basics. 

It seems I am not the only parent out there who felt like her child needed a fun way to get the facts down cold - enter Math Rider, a computer-based math facts game that covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division through a series of "Quests."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Leadership Garden Legacy

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When I first saw the notice go up about reviewing the Growing My Leadership Garden series, I was intrigued. In the course of homeschooling the kids, I have watched them as they tried their hands at leadership, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not so much, but always putting in the effort. They've made me proud to watch them, my kids have, but was I doing enough to help them learn skills that would help them be good and effective leaders? Maybe. But I'm always looking to learn something new to share with them, so I asked if I could be one of the Crew to try out Leadership Garden.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Recipe Day: Vegan Chocolate Crepes with Fruit Compote

These were vegan (egg- and milk-free), my own creation, and amazingly tasty. There really isn't much more to say - so on to the recipe!

Monday, April 8, 2013

How to Evaluate the Quality of an Essential Oil

Use this checklist to evaluate the quality of your essential oils...
Used with permission from Stacy McDonald of Common Scents Mom.

Most essential oils on the market are not "therapeutic grade," and most are not 100% pure, regardless of how they are labeled. The problem is that these terms are not regulated by anyone. So, all we can do is tell you what we mean when we use the term "therapeutic grade," and then invite you to compare that definition to other companies. In fact, as far as I know, Young Living is the only company that has its own farms and distilleries. That alone potentially disqualifies other companies.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The True Quiet Strength (of adulthood)

When I was younger... junior high age, roughly... I took to cussing. I remember vividly the first cuss word I ever intentionally said (after the initial, really-young, soap-in-the-mouth variety, that is). I remember where I was, why I said it, who I was with - and I have to tell you that it is a-maz-ing for me to remember all that detail, because my memory of such things is not always so hot. 

I'm the one on the front left in the oversized blue jacket - I was never one of the "in" crowd, but I had my friends.
Two of my four brothers are also in this shot
I won't identify any of them out of kindness.

Friday, April 5, 2013

5 Quick Takes Friday

Okay, I don't know that I'll do this every Friday, but I do have three other posts that I'm percolating on and I want to keep in the habit of posting so here I go joining another Internet Fad. Just for grins I'm going to throw in random pictures from our week too!

    More brotherly love as Maestro shows Bruiser a new duet
  1. This week has been the first in a long time in which I have not had to keep the car even once! (Well, I was going to keep it Thursday for a service at the Langley Chapel, but there were issues that kept that from happening.) But there were no classes or clubs for Maestro to go to, nothing pressing on my own plate from church. It has been a refreshing week!
  2. chocolate pancakes with fruit compote
    The White Knight (TWK) has been plowing ahead on getting the organization done on the garage this week. That means that his tools are now out of the extra space in my laundry room. I am beside-myself-happy that I finally get to put some order to that area. I suppose this means TWK's organization-bug is rubbing off on me!
  3. Brothers DO work together (sometimes!)
    I led my 2nd-ever Dave Ramsey class this week. As I listened to him talk on the video, I found my mind wandering to all of the OTHER places in life that his words also applied to. This class is going to be very, very good for me and our family!
  4. Unquestioned yumminess - homemade sopapillas
    The Dave Ramsey classes also showed me that I am a "Nerd" only when it comes to finances; otherwise, I'm a "Free Spirit" and TWK is evenly split down the center. Who knew?!
    I know she showed this in the last Review post, but she's
    just so proud of it! I'll miss these years later even as I'm
    enjoying the events to come!
  5. And the kids - especially the younger kids - are going to have a rough time following DR and understanding why we're doing it. So this morning, as I told Buttercup we cannot go horseback riding, we came up with a plan: anytime we have something we want to do or buy, but can't until we're debt free, we'll draw a picture of it to put on the wall in the hallway. That will be our Dream Wall. At the end of our getting-out-of-debt journey, we'll pick some things to try out and go for it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks

I was given the chance to review the Lapbooks available at A Journey Through Learning  to review recently. Maestro and Chef did a lapbook with me about two years ago that we really enjoyed, so I was happy to see such a great opportunity open up for me to look at!

I had access to four of the books that Journey Through Learning offers:
Maestro helped Buttercup work on Letters, Numbers and Shapes while Chef and Bruiser worked on Knights and Castles. I stayed on hand to provide direction, but for the most part, with the older kids involved, the need for me to be there was pretty minimal.


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