Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Squeal! We're on Vacation!

In our regular life this week…

This was a pretty regular week for us. Monday night Eli had Scouts. While we were there Kyndal took Brynne to the sand volleyball court at the park so Brynne could practice serving. Then Tuesday night we went to our town's Lion's Club Kids Night. The kids participated in various races for ribbons. (I participated in this Kids Night when I was a little girl.) Eli defended his title and won the blue ribbon in the foot race! Eli and Brynne also entered Chloe in the pet parade.

On Wednesday night Brynne had a volleyball game. Her team played 5th and 6th graders and they won! Brynne also got 5 serves over and scored 3 points with her serves. She did awesome!

Immediately fter Brynne's volleyball game, my mom, Eli, Brynne, and I are drove all night to Pensacola, Florida, for our 8 day vacation! Kyndal and Dawson are home holding down the fort.

In our homeschool this week…

We only had three days at home this week doing our normal studies, but they were very productive!

Bible - We finished up our study of Samuel. The kids got new Bibles presented to them at church a couple of Sundays ago, so starting this week the kids are looking up their own verses and taking turns reading from the Bible. They are loving doing this! It's a challenge to find the right book, chapter, and verse, and they feel so "big" reading from their Bibles.

Grammar - We completed Lesson 6 this week learning about comma placement in a series of objects. We also did some review and Eli came alive this week yelling out answers in our review. He's usually quiet about it, but has obviously been paying attention.

Spelling - We finished our words this week using oar, ore, and or. They both got 100% on their spelling tests.

Reading - We finished reading George Washington: True Patriot by Janet and Geoff Benge. We loved it! Be looking for my review of this book and it's accompanying Study Guide coming up soon.

Math - We finished Week 5 of our Multiplication Teaching and Learning Made Easy book.

Handwriting - We continue to write cursive sentences and learn capital letters. We also added in some sentence writing this week using some Key Quotes from the George Washington: True Patriot Study Guide. I printed the quotes in the whiteboard and they copied them in cursive.

Writing - We continued to learn about acrostic poems this week. Eli made an acrostic poem using "UNDERPANTS" (representing Captain Underpants since he has read 9 of the 10 books in this series) and Brynne's poem used "PUPPY PLACE" because she has read many of these books, and was reading one of the books in the series this week. Then together we worked on an acrostic poem using "WASHINGTON". And then they each wrote their own acrostic poem using "FLORIDA".

Geography - We finished up New York by reading and learning about the building of the Empire State Building.

Extra - Chess occupied MUCH of our afternoon school time. They are LOVING learning how to play chess. It is definitely a highlight of their days right now.

Homeschool Tricks and Tips ...

We put in about 90 hours of schooling in the months of June and July this summer so that we could take off some extra days this fall and winter. Believe me, today I am so glad we did that! We are needing a relaxing break after 6 weeks of working VERY hard at school. This was a great plan because I saw us wearing down and needing a break! And now we are soaking in that break!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

It was fun to compete with and against friends at Kids Night on Tuesday night! It was also the one year anniversary of Eli meeting his friend, N., who introduced him to Scouts.

A favorite thing this week was…

Coming home from Scouts on Monday night to Kyndal cleaning the kitchen from dinner. I don't think the kids get how just a small bit of help (without being asked) can make things so much easier for me and make me so happy! The bonus for her was that I got done with my nightly activities early enough that we could sit down together to watch a new series she wants us to watch, Hostages.

What's in the kitchen this week ...

I feel like just taking this part out as I am in a REAL funk with cooking, so we are just eating our favorites which are as easy as possible. Food is just so uninteresting these days.

What we're reading ...

Mom:  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (finished) and now reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (I've almost read all of it in one day ... GREAT book!). Next on my list is Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and then Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. My mom and I are also listening to The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh while traveling.

Eli: Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers by Dav Pilkey.

Brynne: Diary of a Real Payne by Annie Tipton.

Read-aloud: George Washington: True Patriot by Janet and Geoff Benge (finished).

Things we're working on…

Relaxing and enjoying some time off. We've been to the beach every day and to the Pensacola Lighthouse. Brynne is finally tall enough to climb it, so we ascended the 177 steps for a spectacular view!

I’m grateful for ...

enough time to do nothing but READ! I am in Heaven! My mom is grateful, too. She has a book with her everywhere!

What's coming up this week ...

A much fun, sun, and relaxation as possible! And a trip to Fort Pickens to tour the fort and to go to the beash there.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

We are happily linking up this week at the following sites:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Peek at Our Weekend ~ The One With Lots of Kid Activities

What was in the kitchen ...

Saturday dinners tend to exist of Italian meals with a salad and breadsticks these days. This week it was spaghetti. Then tonight we had to head out of town for a bit so we grabbed McDonald's. We haven't done that in a long time!

An activity we did away from home ...

We have lived here for a full year and haven't been to a particular nearby town at all, until this weekend. Different members of our family were there twice in two days! Brynne had a volleyball tournament there on Friday night and Eli's Scout den attended a Mozarkite show and swap meet and mineral dig on Saturday.

Rick and my mom took Brynne to her tournament while I went with Kyndal to a jewelry party she was co-hosting with Collin's mom. I ordered a new silver ring and a cool necklace.

Then today I ran Dawson "to town" so that he could pick up a video game he has been wanting.

What we learned at church ...

This weekend was Serve 2013 for the United Methodist Church. The children from our church went with our pastor and helped lead service at the nursing home where my grandmother resides. My grandma was having a good day so we got to enjoy some time with her.

Things accomplished at home ...

Rick did a great job of getting the yard mowed and trimmed while I vacuumed and cleaned the bathroom. Then I did loads (no pun intended) of laundry.

My favorite moment ...

Watching Eli crack a large stone with a rock hammer, right down the middle, and open it to see beautiful Mozarkite!

Ways we relaxed ...

After dinner on Saturday night, Rick, Kyndal and I watched the Missouri Tigers football game (Go Mizzou!). I sat in the Sitting Room with the sleeping doggies and got caught up on my pictures and blog while sipping some hot green tea. Then today Rick and I watched World War Z, and then watched a couple of DVR'd episodes of Cedar Cove.

Preparations for the week ahead ...

Tonight I worked on lesson plans for the first part of the week. We are only having school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday because we are leaving for our 9 day trip to Pensacola with my mom! Oh, I am ready for that trip!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Diggin' Life

In our regular life this week…

Brynne had a volleyball tournament last night. Rick and my mom took her while I went to a jewelry party Kyndal and Collins' mom were hosting. Her team won second place out of four! Rick said they did so awesome!

Today I took Eli's Scout den to a Mozarkite show and dig. We did not know what to expect, but were so pleasantly surprised! It was a lot of fun!

In our homeschool this week…

We only had two days at home this week doing our normal studies because of our super fun Lake School days earlier in the week.

Bible - We are not moving forward in Bible this week, but plan to finish up Samuel Monday through Wednesday next week.

Grammar - We took a little break from Logic of English this week because of our trip to the lake. If you missed my review on this amazing product, you can go HERE to read all about it!

Spelling - Our words this week all use oar, ore, and or. We will finish up this lesson Monday through Wednesday next week.

Reading - We are reading George Washington: True Patriot by Janet and Geoff Benge. We will finish this book next Wednesday.

Math - We started Week 5 of our Multiplication Teaching and Learning Made Easy book. We will finish this set of lessons next Monday through Wednesday next week.

Handwriting - We continue to write cursive sentences and learn capital letters.

Writing - We continued to learn about acrostic poems this week.

Geography - We planned to finish up our New York studies at the end of the week, but because of a circus trip for Kyndal and Brynne on Thursday afternoon, we didn't get around to it.

Science - We learned LOTS of science at Lake School.

Nature - Again, Lake School provided us with some amazing nature opportunities!

Computer - We are counting down the days to our new Minecraft Castles and Cannons class. They just opened up a 7 Wonders of the World class, but I imagine the class will fill up quickly!

Extra - We are reviewing a great product that is teaching us how to play Chess! The kids are loving it so far and it's going to be a winner in our home!

Homeschool Tricks and Tips ...

Take learning wherever you can get it .. and COUNT it toward your hours! Homeschooling hours do not have happen in the home between the hours of 8 and 3. We logged some hours this weekend learning some incredible stuff!

The Mozarkite dig site. The bottom right photo shows what Eli found.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

After a busy beginning of the week with friends, Eli and I were glad to finally have an evening at home on Thursday. Kyndal and Brynne, however, went to the circus. Brynne got to ride the elephant!

A favorite thing this week was…

definitely our three days at the lake. I mean, really, school and fun with friends? It doesn't get much better than that!

What's in the kitchen this week ...

On Thursday we made New York Style Pizza for lunch. Then this weekend we had some good ol' spaghetti, salad, and french bread.

What we're reading ...

Mom:  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst. 

Eli: Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers by Dav Pilkey.

Brynne: Lucky (Puppy Place) by Ellen Miles.

Read-aloud: George Washington: True Patriot by Janet and Geoff Benge. 

Things we're working on…

Getting packed up and ready for another trip! We are cashing in on our summer school hours and going to my parents' house in Florida. We'll be gone for 9 days of sun, beaches, reading, and relaxation. We LOVE our trips to Pensacola!

I’m grateful for ...

my parents' lifetime of hard work so that we can enjoy the fruits of their labor by visiting their lake and Florida homes. We wouldn't be able to afford these types of vacations without these homes. They allow us to go without really spending any extra money beyond what we would spend at home on food, etc. Really, just a little extra in gas money and we have free vacations.

In the garden…

I'm about ready to call it quits for the summer. I've got a few more cucumbers and peppers to snag for salads, but that's about it. I do plan to get some tulip bulbs planted in the next couple of weeks.

What's coming up this week ...

We will be finishing up this week's lessons next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Brynne has a volleyball game on Wednesday night and then we are leaving after her game to drive overnight to Florida. I'll be packing and getting the house ready for us to be gone. I've already got my stack of books packed and ready!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

Someone needed some relaxation time on the porch swing today. I couldn't get him to come inside.

We are happily linking up this week at the following sites:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lake School

My long-time blogging and now in-real-life friend, Jodi, and I took our combined five children to my parents' lake house at the Lake of the Ozarks for three days this week. I had really been looking forward to this trip! It did not disappoint!

Jodi's children are amazing! Her 12 year old son was a pure delight to have around, and Eli and Brynne were instantly best buds with her 8 and 6 year olds.

We brought the necessities for a lake trip with kids, like swimming suits, board games, and ... the Wii. The lake house is a small house, but the kids played so well together that it never even got loud. It was wonderful! They fished, swam, played with toys, played games, played lots of Wii, watched t.v., ate snacks, and just enjoyed their new friendships.

Jodi and I did the same, minus the swimming, fishing, toys, games and Wii. In otherwords, we relaxed in the living room watching television, reading, eating, sipping wine or coffee, and doing LOTS of talking! We knew we wanted to make the most of the three days because in just over a month Jodi and her family will be heading back to their home in West Virginia. We will miss them, terribly! In fact, Brynne started crying as they were leaving and cried several times on the way home. She is devastated that our in-person friendships with them will be so short.

Why is this post called Lake School? Because we decided to take advantage of our surroundings and do some unit studies with all of our kids while we were together. That was awesome!

Our first lessons were about the lake itself. We started by reading the book Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean by Arthur Dorros.

Then we studied all about lake stratification, or the "layers" of the lake. We read the books What are Lakes? by Mari C. Schuh and What's Inside Lakes? by Jane Kelly Kosek.

To demonstrate the layers, we made a stratification dessert. We also did a food coloring and water stratification demonstration. The visuals were great!

Next we talked about the food webs in a lake from birds to fish to macro invertebrates to algae. It just so happened that the buzzards were out in full form on Monday. Then we pulled up the catfish trap and noticed some type of gel-like algae growing in the trap (at first we thought it was living creature). When a small fish, eating on the algae, jumped through one of the holes in the catfish trap, we all screamed. It was hilarious! We took a sample of the algae and a sample of the water surrounding the algae to look at under the microscope. We got to see all aspects of the food web, which was pretty cool.

Then Jodi brought a Camelbak All Clear Microbiological UV Water Purifier with her. She put lake water in it and put it through the purification process. Then the kids all decided they wanted to take a drink of it. We told them that within hours we would know whether the purification process worked ... either they would all be fighting for the bathroom, or they wouldn't. Thankfully, they didn't. The water must have been clean!

The last thing we discussed was eutrophication and what we can do to help keep our lakes at a healthy level of phosphorus and other nutrients so that they aren't too clean or too dirty. Either scenario would kill the ecology of the lake and it would eventually dry up.

On Tuesday we had a special field trip planned for the kids. We spent the morning reading the two books Exploring Caves by Melody S. Mis and One Small Square: Cave by Donald M. Silver.

And then we went to Jacob's Cave in Missouri. We had an awesome tour guide named Marvin. He took us on an entertaining half-mile walk into Jacob's Cave, showing us so many interesting sights and sounds. We saw stalactites, stalagmites, stalagflats, soda straws, salamanders, calcite formations, "bacon", columns, "spiders", and even got to play music on one structure. It was so incredibly fun and well worth the time and cost of admission.

The kids all did a little shopping in the gift shop and then we headed home with lots of great memories!

On Wednesday it was time to say goodbye to our new friends. It was such a neat way to learn some fascinating things and the company absolutely could not have been any better.

What a great trip.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Peek at our Weekend ~ The One with Cleaning!

What was in the kitchen ...

After a busy day of golf, organizing, and cleaning house on Saturday, we just wanted an easy dinner. I cooked a large frozen lasagna, some french bread, and salad.

An activity we did away from home ...

On Friday night Brynne had her first volleyball game and she did awesome! She still needs some power behind her serve, but otherwise she played very well! She even returned a serve for a point for her team. I would say that it was beautiful but, shhhhh .... I missed it! I was talking to Taylar's mom about the homecoming dress we got Taylar and didn't know the new set had begun! I am praying this isn't the only big play she has all year. Daddy, Dawson, Taylar, and Grandma saw it, though. We were so proud of her!

Yesterday Rick, Collin, and Brynne went to play golf. Brynne is loving these Saturday morning excursions with her daddy! And Eli is loving the peace and quiet of him and I home alone together.

Today the little kids and I packed it up to go to the lake with my friend Jodi and her kids for some lake school fun. I'll be posting about that this next week because we have no internet at the lake.

What we learned at church ...

In Sunday school we learned about the covenant God made to Abraham. And in church, the 4th graders officially moved up to my classroom. They were presented with new Bibles. So, I am ready to help them start using them!

Things accomplished at home ...

Kyndal worked in her room to get her clothing organized and tubs emptied. I did a power clean at home. I mean, a true power clean from one end to the other. It's amazing how dirty this house gets in a week! But now it is nice and clean and smells so good! It won't last, and will be dirty by the time we get back from the lake on Wednesday, but it sure felt good to see it so clean for a couple of days!

I got Eli's room put back together by taking out the futon where Kyndal has been sleeping. It was taking up so much of his bedroom. Now his room is clean and open and airy and ready for lots of playing!

Oh, and here's a simple thing that thrilled all of us .. we got a new squishy toilet seat for our toilet. We all had to take turns sitting down on it to try it out. Our other one was old and icky. This one is so white and clean. It makes the whole toilet look brand new. Yeah, we really need to get a life.

My favorite moment ...

Was waking up cold on Saturday morning! I absolutely detest being hot. And it was so great to wake up to the chilly mid-50's morning air. Ahhhh .... come on Fall!

Ways we relaxed ...

Last night Collin, Kyndal, Rick, Brynne and I watched Water for Elephants. Kyndal and I had been talking about the difference between the movie (which she watched) and the book (which I read), so she picked it up in the $5 bin at Walmart and we watched it together.

Preparations for the week ahead ...

I prepared lessons for us to do at the lake, packed food and clothes, and got the house cleaned. Then I spent some time Saturday night getting Thursday and Friday's lessons prepared for when we return. We plan to take those two days to get caught up on some lessons where we have gotten behind. We just have a little to do in a few subjects for us to be completely caught up and ready to move on.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

PeopleKeys {Schoolhouse Review}

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Is your child determined, influencing, conscientious, steadfast, or a combination of a couple of those? How do you know? And, if you do know, what can you do with that information to help your child grow to his or her full potential? PeopleKeys can help. We had an opportunity to review "The Children's Profile" from PeopleKeys.

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"This profile was developed for children ages 9-13 to introduce them to the concept of personality using the theory of DISC Personality Style (DISC). Written in simple language, this profile was designed to help young people understand who they are and why they, and others, think and act the way they do."

We received The Children's Profile and immediately got to work. The profile had the children complete statements, such as: "I like to ...", "When upset, I ...", and "When I want something, I ..." They put an "x" on the answer they thought best described them, with each answer falling in a column under the letters D, I, S, or C. After the were done, we looked at "Your Personality Style Graph" and counted the total number of D, I, S, and C answers. The most answers told us if the kids' personalities were Determined, Influencing, Conscientious, or Steadfast.

Eli's scores showed that he is Influencing and Steadfast. Brynne's scores showed that she is Conscientious.

What do you do with this information when you get it?

The Children's Profile doesn't just leave you with the results. It gives you detailed information for each personality type, telling you what they are bothered by, motivated by, and controlled by. It lists how a child with that personality type acts with people and at school. It explains what a parent needs to do to help that child grow and how the parents and child can grow together. The Profile goes even further to detail how a child with each personality trait communicates with adults with all four of the personality traits. (Therefore, it's pretty important for each parent to take the profile, too.) Finally, the Profile gives tips for interacting with a child with each personality trait.

The Children's Profile was very interesting and insightful. There were some things I knew, but many others I did not. I can see how applying this information will be helpful in helping the children with their relationships, in their schoolwork, and in every aspect of their lives.

The hardest part for me was letting the kids answer their own questions. I found myself wanting to say, "I think you are like this." But the key was to allow them to answer the questions as they saw themselves, so that we could understand them better, not who we thought they were.

The Children's Profile can be purchased from PeopleKeys for $15.00 and it comes in a magazine-style paperback book. It is very user friendly and the information is worth more than money can buy.

PeopleKeys has many other products available such as the DISC Career Style Report (online), the StudentKeys Student Binder, and the Perpetual Learning Style Workbook. The other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed many of their products, so be sure to read what they thought of them.



Weekly Wrap-up ~ My Quiver is Full

In our regular life this week…

I am enjoying the last week of "normalcy" as the next few weeks will be cra-cra around here. I am happy to report that my quiver is now full as Kyndal has officially moved all of her stuff back into our home. Although she has been here for several days a week since May 1st, she is now here full time getting ready to start cosmetology school in a few weeks. No more bunking with Eli and Brynne in their room. On Tuesday night Kyndal and Brynne slept their first night together in their own room downstairs. It felt so good to go to bed with all the kids under one roof, settled in their own beds.

On Thursday afternoon I took the Kyndal and Dawson to the dermatologist for a long-overdue mole check. Unfortunately for them, they inherited moles from both their dad and me. The good news is they are all healthy moles so nothing to worry about! Taylar went with us so that we could go shopping for her a homecoming dress, and Collin met us so that he could spend some time with Kyndal. We found an adorable dress, on clearance, and Taylar will look so pretty in it. Then we stopped and had dinner together. The little kids stayed with grandma and papa, so it was nice to spend some time with the older kids for a few hours.

Last night Brynne had her first volleyball game. There are only 6 girls on their team so they have to play the whole game. They won both sets! I was so proud of them, as they are truly beginners. Brynne even scored her team a legitimate point! (most points are based on the serve ... either it hits the net or the receiving team fails to return it) She actually returned it for a point!

In our homeschool this week…

We had a nice steady week getting to all of our scheduled subjects.

Bible - We have moved on to studying about Samuel. Our discussions have centered around how we always have a choice whether to obey God or not. If we don't, He will discipline us (like he did Eli the priest). If we do, He will bless us (like he did Samuel's mother, Hannah). In our life, we have the same choices. As kids, they can either disobey their parents and be disciplined or obey and be blessed.

Grammar - This week is a review week in The Logic of English. They played a fun game of "Phonogram Slap" where they used their phonogram cards and said their letter sounds and then slapped the pile when the "slap" card was played ... just like Slap Jack. They had a great time playing!

Spelling - Our words all used the long vowel a using a, ay, ai, and eigh.

Reading - We are reading George Washington: True Patriot by Janet and Geoff Benge. It is an e-book we are reviewing and we LOVE it! I was so reluctant for us to read a long biography chapter book, but so far it's been a highlight of our day. My full review will be coming up in a few weeks.

Math - We finished Week 4 of our Multiplication Teaching and Learning Made Easy book. We also did another page of MEP over the coarse of two days. While they are waiting for me to make copies of worksheets, I have them do skip counting in their heads.

Handwriting - The kids are writing full sentences in cursive now and practicing their capital letters. Brynne has found herself accidentally writing in cursive in her regular assignments. Isn't that just like a girl?

Writing - We have been learning about acrostic poems this week. We have worked on them some, but found another outlet for writing that I talk about later in the post.

Geography - This week we studied New Jersey and New York. My Study America Saturday post will contain all the details. We did watch Episode 6 of Liberty's Kids to reinforce learning about "The Shot Heard Around the World", as we are also studying the Revolutionary War in our Road Trip USA studies. Well, the kids were hooked and now want to watch the whole 40 episode series! So, each afternoon we are hoping to watch an episode, even though we'll be ending our "official" study of the Revolutionary War very soon. The episodes can be watched on Youtube.

Science - As part of our Road Trip USA study on New Jersey, we spent some time learning about Albert Einstein. We read the book Albert Einstein by Lola M. Schaefer and watched a couple of biographies about him. We also conducted several optic experiments using Einstein's theories regarding light. We did Make Money Appear Before Your Eyes, Release the Rainbow, and Black is Black, or Is It?

Nature - Our butterfly habitat now contains seven black swallowtail caterpillars! They were all over my parsley in my garden and would have annihilated the entire crop had I not scooped them out. Now I can't hardly keep them fed! They eat a small handful of parsley every few hours. I hope they get into their cocoons soon or I'm going to be out of parsley!

Computer - We have signed up for an AWESOME Minecraft class! The kids are SO excited about it, and I am excited to see them put their gaming to educational use. The creators of this are simply brilliant, in my opinion.

Homeschool Tricks and Tips ...

Let your kids start a diary to get them excited about writing. Eli, I have mentioned before, does not like to write. He has the hardest time coming up with his topics. He has been reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and watching the movies. So, he said he wanted a diary.

I made him and Brynne each one with blank paper and a construction paper cover. They wanted to know if they could write in them for writing one day. That led into every day this week. But what I noticed is that Eli would sit down and happily write away for a long period of time. He was really engaged. So, I decided to back off our writing program until he gets bored with doing that. At least he's writing, right?, and enjoying it!!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Eli is selling popcorn for Cub Scouts. He and I have gone door-to-door a few different times this week, and he has sold some at church. He has already sold $8 over the goal that was set for him by his den leader and needs to sell $317 more to reach his personal goal. His REAL goal, however, is to beat the usual high seller ... his good friend, N. However, N. sold $1,100 worth of popcorn last year. I don't know if I have the stamina to help Eli sell that much. I think we might work towards a happy second place instead!

But I have been so proud of Eli. He goes right up to the door and says, "My name is Eli and I am selling popcorn for Cub Scouts. Would you like to buy some?" He is so mature and helps people hold the brochure. He always thanks them, whether they buy or not, and tells them to have a nice day. One lady had already bought some from someone else (N., as it would turn out), but she complimented Eli on what good manners he had.

A favorite thing this week was…

getting back to Wednesday night handbell choir practice at church. I was a little rusty, but it sure felt good to play again and be around my bell ringing friends! And, we are short a couple of ringers this year so Kyndal played with us this week! That was fun!

What's in the kitchen this week ...

More cookies! We made oatmeal raisin cookies for New Jersey. We were supposed to make oatmeal craisin cookies, but our little town doesn't carry crazy items like craisins, so we used raisins instead. I found a GREAT recipes and they turned out awesome! I'd show you a picture, but we ate them too quickly!

What we're reading ...

Mom:  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst. 

Eli: Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers by Dav Pilkey.

Brynne: Finished New Home for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher and has now gone back to her Puppy Place roots and read all of Princess by Ellen Miles this week.

She was so proud of her reading accomplishments with the Lily Lapp books. She has read the first two in the series which consisted of 75 chapters and about 550 pages.

We have really seen the improvement in her reading since May. Before summer, she would only be able to get through about 1 chapter of the Puppy Place books each day, so it would take her 10 days to read one of them. She read Princess (10 chapters) in two days this week.

** And we hit a milestone. Yesterday I was actually in a quandary. They wanted to KEEP READING instead of moving on to their regular school work. What do you do??

Read-aloud: George Washington: True Patriot by Janet and Geoff Benge. 

Things we're working on…

Getting packed up and ready for three days of "lake school" with my friend Jodi and her kids. We have some great stuff planned, and I cannot wait to spend the evenings sitting on the deck talking face-to-face with Jodi!

I’m grateful for ...

Collin and his family for taking such good care of Kyndal while she stayed with them off and on this summer. I know that Collin was sad to move all of her stuff here to our house, although his parents might be happy to have a little less chaos in theirs. She has had some topsy-turvy months, really the past year, and they have been wonderful to help her have some stability when it was necessary for her to stay there so she could finish high school and to work. I think we have made a pretty good team to get her ready for the next chapter of her life.

In the garden…

there isn't much to report. There are some new cucumbers, so I am happy about that! But, otherwise, things are drying up. I'm about ready to call it a season and hope that I get some spinach and lettuce soon.

What's coming up this week ...

Eli, Brynne and I are leaving on Sunday afternoon to go to my parents' lakehouse to meet my friend Jodi and her three children. We have some lake-inspired lessons planned, and plans to visit a local cave. Otherwise they will be playing and swimming and reading and relaxing. The weather is going to be perfect, so it is going to be a great few days!

We'll come back Wednesday night for church and handbell practice. Kyndal and Collin are taking Eli and Brynne to the circus on Thursday night. Then Friday night Brynne has another volleyball game. On Saturday I am taking the Scouts to a Mozarkite mineral show and dig. Sunday we'll have church, and then will start getting ready for our trip to Florida!

It's going to be an action-packed week!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

We are happily linking up this week at the following sites:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Logic of English {Schoolhouse Review}

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This is going to be one of those reviews where I have a hard time getting specific because all I really want to say is WE LOVE THIS CURRICULUM! We have just piddled along through our grammar studies every year. We have changed programs so many times that about all my kids have gotten through is nouns, verbs, adjectives, and punctuation. Then we figure out that we don't like the curriculum so we move on to another one and start over with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and punctuation, just to do the same thing again and again. Out of desperation I signed on to review Logic of EnglishAnd we hit the jackpot!

Logic of English is recommended for ages 4 and up. They have a program called Foundations A for children age 4-7. We have had the pleasure of reviewing Essentials recommended for children ages 8 and older. And I mean it when I use the word "pleasure". Grammar has become pleasurable.

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Here's the odd thing. We do not like "textbooks", especially large ones. It reminds us of school. And we like to do school without feeling like we are doing school. Know what I mean? So, when the box arrived and we took out a large hardback textbook and a large paperback workbook I thought, "Oh no." However, it was beautiful! And, strangely, I felt very calm. As I read though the introduction and the beginning pages of the book it hit me ... grammar is just one of those subjects that needs to be taught from a textbook. It just does.

Logic of English is designed to teach the logical way the English language is put together. The textbook contains 40 lessons and each lesson is broken down into four sections: Phonograms, Exploring Sounds, Spelling Rules, and Grammar. Every 5th lesson is a review.

For us, we wanted to focus on the Grammar section. However, we quickly realized that the full potential of the Grammar section would not be reached without also doing the Phonogram and Spelling Rules sections. My kids are above-average readers and do not have trouble with pronouncing their letters or with reading difficult words. But the logic behind how those words are put together is invaluable. I have also seen the benefits of going through the Exploring Sounds lessons with my son, Eli, who stutters. It allows him to slow down and concentrate on sounding out the phonograms.

What We Received

The Logic of English Essentials Teacher's Manual (hardback)
The Logic of English Essentials Cursive Workbook (paperback with perforated pages)
The Logic of English Phonogram and Spelling Game Book
Spelling Rule Flash Cards
Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
Red Manuscript Phonogram Game Cards (1 set)
Green Cursive Phonogram Game Cards (1 set)
Access to the Logic of English Phonograms App

How We Use the Program

We use Logic of English four days a week. On Tuesdays we do all of the Grammar lessons that include review and new grammar rules and Vocabulary Development. On Wednesdays we complete the Grammar Dictation lessons. On Thursdays we complete the Grammar Composition lessons. And on Fridays we go back and do the entire spelling lesson which includes Phonograms, Exploring Sounds, and Spelling Rules. This allows us to continue to use our regular spelling curriculum that has daily lessons without overwhelming us daily with Language Arts.

Some days we just do the lessons orally, if they are pretty easy. And some days we actually use the workbook pages. We received the cursive workbook, so the kids are also getting to use their newly-acquired cursive handwriting skills!

I can happily say we have moved past nouns, verbs, adjectives, and punctuation. We are coding diagramming words and adding articles and recognizing prepositions. We are building phrases and spelling and learning more complicated phonograms. And, we are only on the 6th lesson!

Know what we are doing that we love the most? Playing games! The Phonogram and Spelling Game book has loads of games to play to reinforce the concepts. One of our current favorites is "Phonogram Slap". It's played much like Slap Jack except that as the kids flip over a card, they recite the phonogram. And the battles get fierce!

I have only one complaint about the entire program. When playing the games, sometimes it calls for using 2-3 decks of the phonogram game cards. I imagine that someone ordering the program would only order one deck. We received both the manuscript and cursive decks, so we actually have two decks. I did check the website to see if it recommends purchasing more than one deck, and it does. In fact, it recommends purchasing three decks of the Phonogram Game Cards and a stack of the Basic Phonogram Flash Cards. But, it does say "suggested" materials. I would say that they are "required" materials if you want to be able to play all of the games in the book.

Another cool extension product related to Logic of English is their Phonograms App. We love apps and downloaded it to our iPad. The kids have used it off and on during the review period, but I find it to be particularly helpful to Eli with his stuttering issues.

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So far every single person I have talked with about this curriculum is loving it, as well. You can visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read some (or all) of those reviews.

I will leave by saying this: We are on Lesson 6, but we will use this program every single week until we finish the book. I cannot wait to see the level of understanding my kids have in reading, spelling, and grammar at the end of the school year. Heck, I can't wait to measure the level of my own understanding, as well. I am learning right along with them.

The Bottom Line

Buy this program.

The Logistics

You can watch a tutorial of the Logic of English Curriculum:

All of the products mentioned above, and many others, can be purchased at the Logic of English website:

The Logic of English Essentials Teacher's Manual (hardback) $95
The Logic of English Essentials Cursive Workbook (paperback) $25
The Logic of English Phonogram and Spelling Game Book $15
Spelling Rule Flash Cards $15
Basic Phonogram Flash Cards $18
Red Manuscript Phonogram Game Cards (1 set) $10
Green Cursive Phonogram Game Cards (1 set) $10
Access to the Logic of English Phonograms App $2.99