Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up - Summer Begins

Week one of our summer break was a full one.   I spent all day Monday redesigning our sun porch/dining room/class room area.   I did the spring cleaning, window and curtain washing and moving of furniture around and adding a new computer work station.   My back was achy, but I was really happy with the results.

Olivia worked 8 hours both Tuesday and Thursday at the museum.   While Olivia was working, Lindsey and I worked on laundry, grocery shopping and more spring cleaning.   On Tuesday Lindsey had a friend over to practice a song for their church camp talent show.  The goal is to play a duet of  "Amazing Grace", Lindsey on piano and the other child on guitar.    Individually both sound fine, collectively, not so much.

We've had rain 22 out of 24 days here.  We finally broke that rain cycle, for two days in a row.   It was glorious!   I was able to work in the vegetable garden and a few of my flower beds.   Here are a few shots of some of my perennial gardens.

I've shared a few product reviews this week.   First there's Science Shepherd - Introductory Science.   We'll be using this as Lindsey's curriculum for the upcoming year, and working on it over the summer a bit too.   The second review is a math game called Sunya The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying and Dividing....yes that's the full name, and the instructions are just as wordy and confusing as the title.

I'll be out of town all day today (Friday) and possibly Saturday, depending on how things go today.  I'll do my linking up when I return.

Hope you've had a good week!
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sunya The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying and Dividing (TOS Review)

Today I'm sharing our experience of reviewing  Sunya The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying and Dividing from Sunya Publishing.   This game is intended for children ages 9 and up. We received the parent/teacher guidebook, 2 packs of cards (one containing 60 number, wild and operation cards, the other containing 30 fact and riddle cards), and a number line to help with multiplying and dividing.

"Sunya" is a word from the ancient Sanskrit language of India.   The word itself actually means empty or void.   When playing the game, a player must say "Sunya" (pronounced as "soonya") before laying down their last card, indicating they are without cards.  This is the simplest direction to the game.

The 25 page, black and white teacher/parent guidebook covers rules for playing, the meaning of Sunya and the math facts and riddles.   The majority of the book is the instructional part, and I've got to say it was VERY confusing.

Truthfully, we all got very frustrated with the directions, and I don't know that we ever really played it the way it was supposed to be done.     What we did was have the dealer set up a problem (ex: 6x4=24) and then we dealt each player 4 cards.   The player to the left of the dealer then tried to make a new (and correct) math sentence based on the numbers already in play and the ones in their dealt hand.   If a player could not make a new number sentence, they then began drawing cards until they were able to make a new play.   We also played the game in reverse as a division problem such as 89 divided by 9=9, following the same procedure and rules described above.

The fact and riddle cards were used to quiz each other here and there, and the girls used them to try an stump my brother, as he's always giving them riddles.    They enjoyed having new riddles to use against him.

Despite the fact that we aren't sure we were playing it 100% correctly, we still had a great deal of fun.   I was surprised (and secretly very pleased) to see that my youngest was quick to find ways to make math sentences, often seeing ones that her father and I were missing.     We have yet to get to anyone going out and saying "Sunya"....we typically are on the same round for 40 minutes or more and by then we're all just done.

This is a great way to work in math facts/drills and make it fun instead of rote memorization.    Individual students can also play the game solo, working through the deck of cards and building new math sentences as they go.  Great review and speed builder for math facts!

To read reviews of other TOS Crew members, click here.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Science Shepherd - Introductory Science (TOS Review

Today's review features the online Introductory Science from Science Shepherd. Because of Lindsey's age and grade level, we are using the Level B workbook.

This curriculum is unapologetically Creation based.   Chapters 1 and 2 are introductory and focus on God's Word being true, and that He truly created all things by speaking them into existence, and then moving into the 7 days of creation.   Chapters 3 and beyond then move into a systematic 35 week science study.

Each lesson begins with a brief (2-5 minute) online video, and Lindsey really likes those.   One reason that I shy away from online classes is because of the slow buffering that sometimes happens for those of us with slower speed Internet.  This has been an issue with this product, but since the lessons are so short, it's not as agonizing as I'd expected.

The online instructor has a pleasant voice and as both girls stated "He seems quite knowledgeable."   The student workbook is very straight forward, black and white with an occasional lesson related graphic.  Each lesson has a related Bible scripture at the top of the page.  For example Day 1 Week 1 has "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1 listed.

The workbook works as a review for the video.  Whatever topic the video covers for that day is in the student workbook.    There are fill in the blanks, word searches, circle the best answer and matching questions.   The weekly reviews are crossword puzzles.    There are also activity pages, some of which have corresponding activity videos, that reinforce the lesson.  For example, in week 4 the video activity shows the student how to make a bird feeder from pine cones, nut-butter and bird seeds.   The workbook lists the items needed and numbered steps to complete the activity.  You can then watch the video and complete the activity.

Both the videos and workbook components are brief, easily digestible lessons that aren't overwhelming to young students.   However, for those older student who are wanting to go deeper, there is enough given to spark the urge to research. While Lindsey isn't a "science geek" at all, I do feel like I need to add a bit extra to the lessons.  I asked her opinion and she agreed that while she does like it, it's not very involved.   Hands on projects, outdoor exploration and living books would easily allow older students to explore more in depth.  I'm sure I'll be adding those items as this will be our actual science curriculum for the upcoming school year.

The Answer Key, is a pamphlet style, with the outer cover being made of the same paper as the pages.  This key lists the content by week, with a brief explanation of what is covered.  Here is an example:

Week 6:  Earth Science Meteorology
Storms, thunder, lightning, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, the Great Flood

Answers to all questions, puzzles and diagrams are included in the 41 page teacher key.   There is no instruction in the answer key, only answers to the workbook.

Other Crew reviews can be read here.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up - The End

This has been a week where we've finished up a lot of things.   We officially finished up school.   We'll be working on some things over the summer, and I'll be posting about that soon, but for now our 2015-2016 school year is a wrap!

We completed our year end testing a few weeks ago, but there was a major glitch on the scoring for one of the girls.  The only explanation the company and I could come up with was the test they sent was labeled incorrectly and was a different year/level than what it was supposed to be, or their machine ate the answer sheet.    That student is not at all happy about having to retake the whole thing, and rightly so.   But we finished our testing, again.

Ballet wrapped up for the year.   Both girls were promoted up to Senior Level for the upcoming year.  I've got to admit I'm a bit confused, because Lindsey is still not en pointe, but she's been placed with the high school level dancers (and she's 10 going on 11).   The level under her will be going en pointe...again, very confusing.   they would be dancing 90 minutes a day three days a week and the THREE HOURS on Saturday.   We're evaluating this situation.

I finished up my last term as President of our local homeschooling group.    We had our official transition meeting this week, so I'm officially off the Board after 3 years.  Hallelujah!

The girls IEW class finished up this week as well.   They had a little end of year celebration and water balloon fight to close out the year.

On Tuesday we went  with our homeschool group on a field trip to a local ice cream parlor.  We got to walk through the whole process from sweetened milk to yummy ice cream.   I forgot to take my camera, again, sigh.   But thankfully one of the other Mom's shared a partial group photo.

I shared my review of Traditional Logic I this week.   Let me tell you, this course can make your head spin!   We've also started working on a few new online reviews as well, including MySchoolYear and LearnBop.

How was your week?

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Traditional Logic 1 Complete Set -TOS Review

Today's review features the Traditional Logic 1 Complete Set from Memoria Press.  For this review I received Traditional Logic Book 1, and the corresponding instructional DVDs, Quizzes and Tests, and the Teacher Key (Workbook, Quizzes and Test), as shown below.

A funny thing happened when we received this package.   My youngest daughter said "Mom, why did you order THAT?  You are a very logical thinker!"   "It's for your sister", I responded.  Then there was a brief silence,  followed by "Ooooooh!!"   The irony of this conversation appeared to be lost on her, but then a bit later she said "I guess I'll be doing it too, huh?"  Ya think?

The DVD case contains 2 DVDs.   The first holds the lessons for the Introduction through lesson 7, as well as the slide printables.  The second DVD has lessons 8-13.   The text/workbook has an introduction chapter, 13 chapters divided into 3 units (Simple Apprehension, Judgment and Deductive Inference) followed by Chapter 14 which is a review.   There is also a glossary of terms in the back.

This program is written for grades 7 and up.  Olivia is finishing up her 7th grade year, and while she's no rocket scientist, she is a very bright child.  However, after watching the Introduction video I noticed she had a blank expression on her face.   I asked her what she thought "I didn't understand a word he said."    I kind of gathered that, based on the expression on her face, see what I mean?

We've tried the program a couple more times, moving on to lesson 1 and 2.  However, she's still not getting it.    What I did find, is if we bypass the video portion and go straight to the student book and take it slowly we have much better results than we do when watching the video.     The author, Martin Cothran, is obviously a very intelligent man, with a pretty extensive vocabulary.   I think, for the older student this would work well.   For my particular 7th grader it totally just frustrated her as she really didn't understand most of what he was saying.   To be honest, the video portion of the lessons made me glaze over a bit as well.

Questions such as "Why is the sense perception of a chair different from the chair itself?"   Await the student.   This particular question is covered in the video lesson, but I'm telling you, I still don't know what the guy said.

The student book has a 2-3 page lesson, followed by a list of exercises for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4.    I had Olivia read the lesson and do the Day 1 exercises.  Each consecutive day then  followed the reading and activities as scheduled.   On Day 5, after doing the lesson for all 4 days, we watched the video portion of the lesson and it made a great deal more sense to everyone.   The teacher key has the answers for the workbook as well as the quizzes and tests, so if you aren't certain of an answer, you can find out!

Each chapter has a quiz, and most of the quizzes are 1 page.   The final exam is three (3) pages long, and while that does sound like a lot, there is a great deal of room for writing answers, so it's not nearly as big as it sounds.

This is a product I'd hoped to use, but for now it'll go on my shelf and we'll revisit it during the sophomore year.

To read more TOS Crew reviews, click here.

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