Friday, April 21, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Anniversary Week

We took our first trip to the National Zoo over this past weekend, and as promised, I do have a few good photos to share.  Before I do, let me say that while we had a great time, my girls were quick to realize that while they like visiting the city, there's nothing like living in our small town.   We drove part way, then took the metro train the rest of the way.   This was both the girls and the husbands first time on the train, so it was a wide eyed time for them early on.  

Tuesday was our annual eye exam.   Since the appointments were late in the day, and we had volleyball at 5:30 I opted out of having our eyes dilated.  I figured this was a safety risk both with me driving to volleyball and with the girls trying not to get smacked in the head during practice.   Lindsey still doesn't need glasses, Olivia gets contact lenses again, and I've opted to go back to single vision lenses instead of the bifocals.   I've realized (through volleyball) that the bifocals have really cost me a lot of depth perception.

We're wrapping up some of our subjects.   Lindsey has completed history, language arts and science.  Olivia has completed language arts, and will be finishing geography next week.

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary.  We'll be going out to dinner this evening to celebrate.   Here's one of my favorite wedding photos, it always makes me giggle as I try to figure out what was being said or happening that caused these expressions on our faces.   And yes,  I really am that much taller than the husband.
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This week on the blog, I've shared our review of Readers In Residence (Sleuth) from Apologia.   This is not a "how to read" as in phonics, it's a more of a "how to study what you read" as in literature, and is great for 4th grade through middle school, so it may be worth your time to check it out.

Have a great weekend!  Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up!
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Reader's In Residence - Volume 1 (Sleuth) - Review

Apologia Educational Ministries is famous for their science products, and they are beginning to launch out into other subject matter.   Today I'm sharing our review of Reader's In Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth), the newest edition to the Apologia language arts program.

Let me start off by saying this is a whopping big, spiral bound, student book (564 total pages).   Do NOT let that freak you (or your student) out.   The pages have fairly large print, color graphics and sidebar notes that take up a great deal of the space, see the graphic below for samples.   So, while there are a lot of pages overall, it's not as daunting at it first appears.  Also included in those 564 pages are a 4-day a week - 32 week schedule (if you choose to use it); information/ideas on hosting 5 different book club meetings throughout the academic year, meet the author pages and rubrics for grading.   One final item is the "Sowing Seeds" section.   Here, you'll find teaching on character traits found in the books, followed by discussion questions and scriptures references to go along with the topic at hand.
For the required book studies, you'll need specific copies of Sarah, Plain and Tall, Charlotte's Web and Because of Winn Dixie.   The reason you'll need the specific version of the books is because the student is asked questions, and specific pages are listed for finding the correct answer.  You can of course use other versions of the reader's but it will make that part of the process a little more involved for your student.   The student/parent will also pick three other books to study throughout the year as well.  Not to worry, there is a suggested reading list that you can pick from for each genre, or you can combine reading for another subject and kill two birds with one stone.

The teacher's answer key has all the answers to the questions (printed in a different font color from the question), the same 4-day/32 week schedule, as well as rubrics and check lists to be used to guide the student and grade their work.   There is enough information given here to help the student if they are truly struggling, but this is not a teacher's guide, as the program is student directed.

While working through the first book study of Sarah, Plain and Tall, we were surprised at how much more information the book has than the movie, even though it's not a long book.   Lindsey liked how the curriculum helped her to know what to look for, and what questions to ask herself as she read so that she could better understand the characters.   She also love that there wasn't tons of writing each day as she worked through her daily assignments. 

Lindsey and I both liked that the book was spiral bound.   This feature allowed for much easier use of the book without having pages flip and close on you.  This is also a plus for left handed students as it allows them to get the binding out of the way easily when working from left to right.

This curriculum is geared for grade 4 and up.   Older students (middle school) who struggle with reading comprehension would also benefit from this thorough teaching approach, without feeling like they are doing a "little kid" curriculum.

To read other TOS member reviews, click here.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - The Hectic One

I swear, some days/weeks I feel like a hamster on a very quick moving wheel of life.  This was one of those weeks.  Yes, I know I'm the one who sets the schedule, but somehow this week seemed just a bit crazier than it should have been.  I may have been a bit stressed by all the busyness.

Monday was a typical homeschool day.  Piano lessons at 2:30pm and government class at 7pm.   Nothing overly exciting.

Tuesday the girls had their six month dental appointments.   Our dentist and pediatrician are still in the town we moved from almost nine years ago, so we loaded up the car at 7:30am and headed out.  Appointments went well, no cavities or issues.  To celebrate we ducked into the new Krispy Kreme shop, since the "Hot Now" sign popped on as we were driving by....pure heaven ya'll.    We came home finished school work, I pulled together a devotional for the volleyball teams and then we headed out to volleyball from 5:30-8:15.

Wednesday morning was co-op.   We had a low turnout out this month since several people were out with the flu and one family is on vacation at the Outer Banks.  Interesting timing with world events, as we were studying North & South Korea this month.  Co-op ended at noon and we headed home to get our school work done.      On Wednesday nights I'm head of a ministry at out church, we arrived at 6:45pm to set up for the 7pm class, only to find the doors locked and nobody in sight.  We finally got someone to come open the doors (there had been a miscommunication over who was unlocking), and then we found there was technical difficulties with the computer system/sound.   We finally got it going and were able to get class started, albeit a little bit late.

Thursday Olivia and I had a chiropractor appointment at 9am, then we grabbed the groceries for the week and headed home to do school work.   I also picked up pansies and petunia's while we were out so I had a bit of garden therapy while they worked on math.

Friday (today) we're heading out to the National Zoo in Washington, DC.   This will be the girls first time riding a subway, and their first time in the city of D.C.   The weather is supposed to be perfect for an outing, so hopefully that doesn't change.   Hopefully, I'll have some good photos for you next week!

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up. 
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Friday, April 7, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - The Post Birthday Week

I turned 49 over the weekend.  My brother was quick to point out "enjoy this year, next year you're officially a senior citizen".   Hardy har har, says I.   Despite creeping closer to old age (ahem), it was a good weekend of celebration.   My hubby got me a lovely bouquet of flowers, and various folks gave me items for my flower gardens.   There was cake (my brother makes the best cake), there was dinner out, and there was a family dinner as well.    Good stuff ya'll!

We started wrapping up a few classes this week.  Lindsey finished her study of the Middle Ages, and Olivia completed her language arts for the year.  We have a couple of weeks before we finish up the next grouping of classes.

Extra curricular activities are starting to wrap up as well.   Archery concludes after tonight's tournament.  The awards ceremony will be held later in April, but this at least frees up our Friday nights.   Volleyball still has a way to go. IEW will end the last Friday of April.

I shared two product reviews this week.  For those who love historical Bible fiction, I highly recommend Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer, and for those looking for a classical approach to teaching American History I recommend 200 Questions About American History  and the Story of the Thirteen Colonies.

I'm hoping to have my curriculum picks for next year posted in a week or so.  I've already written the post, I just need to take some photos to add in.

Have a great weekend!

Wrapping up with the Weekly Wrap Up.
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer (Book Review)

Today's review covers the book Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer by  Peggy Consolver - Author.    This book is softcover, with forty-six (46) chapters covering the story of the Gibeonites from the book of Joshua chapters 9 and 10.   Additionally, the author has included a "Characters and Relationships" section at the beginning of the book to help the reader connect the dots between all the hard to pronounce names.   There is also a 10 question discussion section in the back of the book for small group study. 
 The book is written as a historical/Biblical fiction story based on the book of Joshua.  Consolver spent a great deal of time and research both through scriptures and archaeological research to make the story line as authentic as possible.  You'll follow the young shepherd boy Keshub as he goes about his daily tasks of tending the flock, becoming a spy watching the Hebrews, and eventually becoming a defender of the Hebrews.   I like that the author worked prayer into Keshub's daily life throughout the story, showing his continual conversation with God, not just ritualistic prayers.

This is a great book for middle school/early high school to read alone.   Younger students will probably have some trouble with the names of people and places, so it may be best suited for family read aloud time if you have younger students, or for those who may struggle with reading a bit.

If you find that you or your student really wants to go in depth with this book, the author also provides study guide links on her website.  Here you'll find research links and videos that will help readers of all ages get a deeper understanding of the time period, culture and daily life as well as survival skills.  You can also purchase a study guide download through Amazon.

To read other reviews of this product, click here.

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