Some Sports Are Not Seasonal or Competitive

Often we think of sports only with the idea of team sports or seasonal sports. But stop to think about it. What sports are there that are not seasonal? Lots of them! Yoga, strength training, running, gymnastics, dance, and so many others do not require a season. Not all sports are competitive!

For our family, we each have a favorite sport to be involved with. At Home Dad is a runner. He tracks his running miles and hits several hundred miles a year. He enjoys it a lot and it not only helps him stay in shape but his stress is managed, too.

For me, I do walking and stretching and am trying to get back into some yoga. I walk about 2 miles each day, 5-6 days a week. Most of the time right now, it is on the treadmill or around the dance studio. But I get it done! I don’t require a certain time of year to do this and I don’t need a team for it. That is one of the great things about both walking and yoga!

The girls? Well, they dance. A lot. At the studio or at home, the girls dance. Ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical – the enjoy it all and will dance as much as we let them. I cannot speak highly enough of the benefits of dance. Confidence, strength, understanding, team work, independence, growth, taking instruction, and on and on.

The two oldest girls also have the benefit of being selected as student assistants at the dance studio. They help the teachers in the classes they assist. They are helping out in a wide variety of ages this year and what a great opportunity this is. While still get the exercise and “sport,” they are learning how to instruct and teach, give and receive constructive feedback, handle responsibility, manage time, and more.

Sports are not just the team sports that people tend to think of and they do not have to be seasonal or competitive. Those have their place but they are not for everyone. I am thankful for these other sports options that still allow for health and activity without the competitive nature so often associated with “sport.”

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Linking up as part of the social media challenge from the Homeschool Review Crew. Head over to the Crew blog to read about what some of the other bloggers had as a take on the topic of “Fall Sports.”

High School Curriculum – 9th Grade

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Miss L has started her high school work as a 9th grader for the 2020-2021 school year. She actually started it back in June because we were working on the review for My Father’s World, which is the curriculum we have settled into for 9th grade. It is working well.

My Father’s World is a Christian based core curriculum for history, Bible, and literature. They had other subjects you can add on to make it a full boxed set curriculum with math, science, and electives. You can read a full review of the program and what we thought about it from our previous review. Today, I just want to talk a bit about how it is working.

We are not following the lesson plans exactly as written. It doesn’t allow for additional interests and passions but the plans are well written and thorough. We have created two sets of curriculum from My Father’s World and the other subjects: a daily set and a looping set.

The daily subjects that Miss L does include math, violin, dance, and foreign language (French). For math, she is using CTCMath (read the review) and working on Algebra I. She finished up her pre-algebra work with CTCMath, also. We are working on finding a violin teach that will do in-person classes but that has proven difficult at this time. She is working in one of her Suzuki books for the time being. She is taking a number of dance classes locally and working as a student assistant, also. She takes ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and is part of the company group. She is working with Duolingo for her French class. These are what she does every day and she will likely add debate in a month or so.

The classes that she loops include Ancient History, literature, writing, logic, science, and Bible. Because of the way the lesson plans for My Father’s World are written, she actually does Bible in several ways and places, so she does work on Bible every day. The lesson plans have a place to check off when an assignment is done so she just loops through the work with the assistance of the check boxes.

She is using Notgrass World History, though the plans do not go straight through it; rather they pick and choose the topics that align with their designed schedule. She is using the Ancient History Literature Supplement that goes with the MFW lesson plans for her writing and literature. Logic is a set of books by The Critical Thinking Co and she is loving these. She actually worked ahead a lot during the recent break we took in August. She is using the Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science. Bible includes reading through the Old Testament and using several books to go along with it. 

This has given her a lot of independence and she has done well with it. The lesson plans are a big help for her and help show a lot of progress. The lesson plans have the student “checking in” with the teacher in several different ways so I can stay up with her in her learning without being fully involved in each step. Additionally, we have chosen for her to do a discussion of questions for some of her Bible lessons, which has been a good and helpful way to approach the topic and ensure that she is getting truth in the discussion.

This program is definitely a huge benefit for her and we are well pleased with MFW. It is as rigid as you need it to be and we have been able to make it even more flexible to work with our schedule. That’s a win-win for sure.

You can read about the 11th grade curriculum and, soon, the 6th grade curriculum choices for the 2020-2021 school year.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

If you are looking for more options and want an afforadable option for the entire family, check out SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This is a full curriculum with over 400 classes for all levels. The Mama Bear Sale is currently going on.
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High School Curriculum – 11th Grade

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for SchoolhouseTeachers.com. If you visit the site through these links and choose to purchase, I will receive a commission.)

I realized the other day that I haven’t yet shared our curriculum for the current 2020-2021 school year, even though we are in week 7 of it. We actually started it back in July, took a chunk of August off, and restarted the day after Labor Day. So, I will fill you in. This post is for 11th grade. 9th grade and 6th grade will come in separate posts.

Miss E is 11th grade this year and busy as ever. I enjoy seeing her grow and mature. She worked hard to get herself set up for Dual Credit classes at our local community college and she is working as a student assistant at the dance studio. These are two very large amounts of time and commitment she has added to her curriculum and she is handling it all really well. Her organization is strong and her determination is even stronger.

Dual Credit – US History – This is the first part of US history and is an online class with a tough text by Eric Foner. She is finding it super interesting and enjoying it but the text is a high level of writing and comprehending.

Dual Credit – Music Appreciation – This music appreciation class is a joy for her and she is thriving with it. She is have a great time, love the discussion boards and getting to listen to music. It is also an online class.

Math – CTCMath – Miss E is finishing up Algebra II with this program. She had started in geometry last year but switched to Algebra II after about 6 weeks. So she should finish Algebra II up here in the next couple of weeks and move back to Geometry, also with CTCMath. You can read our review of it here. We may head over to a geometry class on SchoolhouseTeachers.com if she struggles again with it because there is a pretty highly recommended geometry class on there.

Literature/Writing – When Worlds Collide by Sharon Watson – We have used a course from Sharon Watson before and it included a lot of excellent literature, good writing, and interesting discussions and projects. That led us to purchase the other high school literature program from her. It has been enjoyable for Miss E so far and she just finished Pudd’nhead Wilson today, with just the project to go with the book to complete for that unit.

Science: Biology – Experience Biology from Journey Homeschool Academy is the course she is using for this class. Experience Biology does include labs so it is a bit more intense than previous science classes. In addition, she is having labs and some of the work checked by the company and they are requiring a different style of work from Miss E. It is good challenge for her.

World History – Before she chose to do a dual credit history class, Miss E had started the world history course from Notgrass. She thoroughly enjoys it so even though she is doing another history class right now, she didn’t want to give this one up. That is the mark of a truly interesting class, isn’t it? Because she is enjoying it so much, it isn’t a trial for her to complete both classes.

Spanish – Spanish 1 on SchoolhouseTeachers.com is the course she is using for this foreign language credit. She is still highly proficient with ASL but since some colleges will not accept that as a foreign language, she decided she would enjoy learning Spanish. She is working through this class at a decent pace to date.

PE – Dance – She is studying several styles of dance at JSOD, where the girls have danced for 10 years now. She enjoys dance a lot and was able to begin pointe class this year, which is very exciting.

So, that is a high school class run down for 11th grade. Quite a bit but she is working hard and responsibly at it all.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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Living Book for the Civil War era

Are you studying the Civil War era this year? Do you enjoy living books? Then I highly suggest you read Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott.

This is a story she wrote based on her own experiences as a nurse in a war hospital for several weeks, before becoming so over worked and ill that she had to leave her post. There is a lot of interesting information packed into this short 100 page book. In between the information about the hospital itself, there is interesting insight into Washington DC and the people (and animals) there.

I came across this book when we visited the Clara Barton museum a couple of years ago but it got buried under other books somewhere along the line. I was excited to open it up a couple of days ago and get started. I found the writing to be very easy to read and enjoyed immensely the combination of frivolity and intensity that wove themselves into the story.

These are sketches, rather than a direct, chronological retelling of her day by day life, and that is part of what made it so interesting. We get the highlights without the repeated drudgery that she must have experienced day after day in her few short weeks of being able to nurse “her boys” at that hospital.

A beautiful story that is definitely worth adding to your Civil War study.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

My Reading Lately – July/August 2020

I realized the other day that I never shared my reading from the last couple of months. Definitely time to do that! Several of these books are coming from the required reading that the girls will be doing this year, either on their own or with me. So, I have been trying to get a couple of steps ahead!

July 2020

  • Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

    This was an interesting look at the life of the young Lady Jane Grey who was turned in as a traitor at age 15 after being queen for only a few days. The House of Tudor was in unrest and there was a lot of infighting going on for the crown. It was a sad but interesting historical novel looking at King Henry and all his wives and the political situation that surround the House of Tudor during the sixteenth century. There were a couple of scenes that would have been better written less detailed; it was clear they were included in this manner for shock value. They are easy enough to skip over, though. I will probably read another of this author’s historical novels before too long. There are a lot of them.

  • Helen Roseveare: When Lions Roar by Mary Beth Lagerborg

    This is the biography of Helen Rosevear who was a medical missionary to the Belgian Congo in the mid 1900s. Her life was difficult at best but she served God and the people of the Belgian Congo with all her heart. While placed in danger many times, she still returned to serve. It was an inspiring read.
  • Alive In The Spirit by Jimmy Jividen 

    We were studying this book during our Wednesday night Bible class time during the summer. I would listen to the class and the follow up by reading the book. It is a theological discussion, for sure, and having Bobby Wheat’s lesson first allowed me to get a lot out of the book. I learned a lot and had many good, enriching discussions with others at church following the classes each week and with my husband. You can find the Bible studies on the Lake Shore Drive church of Christ Facebook page. (This is the first recorded one; it looks like lesson 1 on June 10 was not shared, likely because of a recording issue, as those occur sometimes.) There are quite a few lessons on there since we are live streaming all services and adult Bible classes. But these were the Wednesday night classes from June through mid-August. 

  • Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle

    Set in Medieval Germany, Otto is born into a warring family and is not strong as a young child. Due to unfortunate circumstances, he is sent to live his childhood with a brotherhood. When he reaches the right age, his father comes for him in order to bring him up along the lines of the household and his father’s desires. Caught up in the middle of the warring factions, the story of Otto is one of warning and of perseverance. This has become one of those “legendary” tales.

August 2020

  • Alive In The Spirit by Jimmy Jividen – finished the book

    See above. I finished the book early in the month. 
  • Madeline Takes Command by Ethel C Brill

    Madeline is a 14 year old girl when her home is attacked by raiding Iroquois. With most of the adult away and the garrison of soldiers that was supposed to be protecting them shirking their duty to go hunt for pleasure, Madeline takes on the command of the few remaining people capable of protecting her, her siblings, and the women and children left in the fort. This was a pleasant read on life in Colonial French Canada during the 1690s. 

  • Bridge to the Sun by Gwen Terasaki

    Set in the 1930s and 1940s of America and Japan, this is a beautiful story of love and marriage between a Japanese man and an American woman. Their difficult life is shared beautifully and presents a view of the political situations before, during, and after WWII that both countries experienced. The life of a Japanese diplomat in America before the war transforms to the life of a married Japanese diplomat returned to his home country with his American wife and child. Full of strife and difficulty, love remains the constant in this beautifully told true story.

  • Perfected: God’s Best Reserved for You, a study of Hebrews by Erynn Sprouse

    I am working my way through this Bible study on the book of Hebrews. I have found much make me think and have shared a couple of lines from the book on my Facebook page. The message is solid and clear and Erynn is clear in her writing. It is a solid study.

  • The Eternal Argument by Robin Finley

    Robin Finley puts forth the idea that in all of history and literature, there is a single argument that is being addressed. That idea never wavers, though the way to approach it might. It is always about who holds the power in any given situation and how that is gained or held onto or transferred to another. This was a very good read and one that I wish I had read years ago. It would definitely make my list for an 8th grader, before the students get into the depth of reading in high school. I plan to have both of my high schoolers read at least the 5th chapter, though I wish we had time for them to read the whole book.

  • Weird Things Customers Say In A Bookstore by Jennifer Campbell

    This was just a fun little read to lighten the day. It is short snippets that the author has recorded from her time working in a bookstore. She also recorded a number of exchanges from other book sellers she has known from across the globe. It is one of those books that just makes you smile, doesn’t take a lot of brain power, and can be picked up or put down at any point because it isn’t a storyline that propels you forward and compels you to keep reading.

  • The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

    This is part of one of the girls reading for this coming year so I am trying to get ahead (as with Otto and Madeline, and Bridge to the Sun). But what I am finding is that these books are solid, enjoyable reading all on their own. The Golden Goblet is set in Egypt during the time of the Pharoahs. The young boy has lost his parents and is forced into an apprenticeship with his abusive half-brother, a stone cutter. He would really be better served in the long run by being allowed to continue at the goldsmith’s shop. By keeping his eyes and ears open, and with the help of an unexpected couple of friends, a mystery is solved that could just change his life. I have really enjoyed this one and am glad it was required reading for my girl so that I could experience it, too.

If you have read anything lately, please share it in the comments. I am constantly adding to my reading list and enjoying trying to read more. I have learned a lot these last couple of months. Can’t wait to see where I go from here.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Reading Eggs for all things reading (plus some math) ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Reading Eggs is an online program that many are familiar with. It is hard to go very long in the online education world without coming across this program from Blake eLearning Inc. There is a reason for this – their products do a very good of just what they are supposed to do: support students in the many different aspects of reading (aka language arts) and math (for their math component). I was so pleasantly surprised last time we used the program and we were pleased to take a look at it again this summer.

Reading Eggs site has programs for ages 2-13, depending on the child and family choice. These programs can be accessed through an internet browser or their new app, including iOs and Android apps. We typically use the browser but I have downloaded the Android app and it works pretty well. There are five programs in the Reading Eggs company:

1: Reading Eggs Junior – ages 2-4: toddler games, songs, and activities designed to build pre-reading skills such as alphabet knowledge and phonetic awareness

2: Reading Eggs – ages 3-7: games, activities, and books to work on reading and language arts skills such as reading comprehension, phonics, spelling, and vocabulary

3: Fast Phonics – ages 5-10: helps instruct students in all 26 letters of the alphabet and the 44 sounds in English while reinforcing reading and spelling (Note on site says it moves more quickly than Reading Eggs so they recommend not trying this any earlier than age 5)

4: Reading Eggspress – ages 7-13: students build skills in reading comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary while reading real books

5: Math Seeds – ages 3-9: students work on their core math skills and problem solving skills

There are so many highly engaging activities that the students really seem to stay involved in the learning process and are motivated to do their best by an integrated reward system. This reward system allows them to earn eggs for payment towards upgrading their avatar, the avatar’s home, and pets. This is a safe online place for the student to learn while playing.

Miss J has used this some this summer to keep her “thinking cap” on. She is working at a 6th grade level and is 11 years old. She has worked in the Reading Eggspress portion of the program. As you can see, she was on 150 for this screenshot.

She enters and chooses the lesson to work on for the day.

We required one lesson to be completed each time she logged in before she could do any of the other games or spend time on her avatar and home. These lessons could be really quick (15-20 minutes) if the book she was working with wasn’t too challenging. Most times, though, it took a bit longer than that.

Each lesson had multiple parts to it, as you can see on the left hand side of the image below. For examples, on lesson 150, she had to look at the cover of the story and answer questions based on the cover. She had to do a dictionary activity and then work on “who, what, where, and what.” Following that, there was an activity on making inferences and a fill in the blank acticity. Next she had to work on words in context and a reading comprehension activity. Finally, she had to complete a quiz related to all of the previous activities. If she was unable to complete them all during her time, it would allow her to pick up where she left off so no work was lost.

She didn’t mind it too much but it definitely was not as engaging for her this year as it was last time we used the program. She did like the races that she got to do on spelling and word forms in the stadium after she finished her lesson and she absolutely adored getting to play with her avatar’s home. But, she is definitely at the upper end of the appeal for Reading Eggs.

One thing I plan to have her use more often this fall is new to the Reading Eggs family. In Math Seeds, you will find Mental Minute. This is a one minute challenge of math facts. This is an area that most students need to shore up a bit so we will be having her log into this area once or twice a week. She will need to work in both the addition and subtraction section, as well as the multiplication and division area.

Between the programs that have been around for a long time with Reading Eggs and their new ones such as Fast Phonics and the Mental Minute, there is a good bit to continue challenging your student from their very young preschool years up through their middle school years. Add to it the easy access for the parents to see what kind of growth is being made and this is a great program. As you can see, growth is shown from the dashboard in various areas.

The Homeschool Review Crew has had a number of families using Reading Eggs from Blake eLearning Inc. You can read reviews of their experiences with students of all ages by visiting the Crew website and choosing several other reviewers to read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Crayon Cookies

I bet everyone is just like us – a big bag or container of some sort that has all those “old” crayons that aren’t used any more. Since crayons are one of those school supplies that the girls really like to have the pointy tip on as they get older and more detailed in their artwork, we tend to gain more old crayons each year. We decided to make new crayons from the old ones. We call them crayon cookies because they are small and round when made in an old muffin tin, looking like a cookie made of crayon.

We peeled the wrappers off and cut them into small chunks, about 1/2 inch long. We kept colors together so that the girls could have fun deciding what color combos to make. They then placed them into the molds that we decided to use – an old muffin tin, silicon heart shapes, silicon lego shapes, and silicon ice cream cones. Fill them up to just above the level you want them to come out at since they collapse as they melt and fill in the empty spaces between pieces.

We put them in a 250 degree F oven for 8 – 10 minutes, removing them when almost all of the crayon is melted. After allowing them to cool on the counter for a few minutes, we move them to the fridge to set for 10-15 minutes. Then we remove them from the molds.

The girls have been helping teach and monitor the Wednesday evening Bible classes this summer, once they restarted them. They plan to take these for the students as an end-of-summer goody. I also plan to place some of them in my Bible class treasure chest for my students to pick from when they earn enough stars and Bible stickers. (They have to get 10 stickers for a trip to the treasure chest. They get one for each time they attend Bible class and one for bringing their Bible.)

We used to make these a lot when the girls were younger. We would pair several of these crayons with a fun coloring book as a gift for a friend. We also would make them in different shapes to give as “thank you for coming” gifts at their birthday parties. When the older girls were in public school, we also sent them for the baggies that classes sent home at Halloween or Valentine’s day or some other holiday. There are lots of great ways to use these and it allows us to use up crayons that are just sitting around. What other uses can you think of for these?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Battle Belongs To The Lord ~ hymn

This song is not that old, as are most of what I share but I chose this one after singing it on Sunday as it reminds, every time I sing or hear it, of the joy of a child. You might ask why since it is battle song. So, I’ll share the “why” with you.

When we lived in a small town and our oldest child was just a couple of years old, this was a song that was sung fairly often in the congregation that we attended. She picked it up quickly and it became her absolute favorite song for a while. She would sing it at the top of her lungs, with gusto and feeling, whether in services or at home. I can still hear her – And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. . .

Whenever I hear this song again, I consider whether my emotion fits what hers was at that time. No, she didn’t really understand what she was singing about other than she was singing to the Lord. But, she gave it her all to the point of her understanding. And isn’t that what I should be doing? Giving my all to God, to the point of my understanding? Am I? I’ll be considering that today.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Jamie Owens-Collins (1985)

In heavenly armour we’ll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord.
No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand
The battle belongs to the Lord.

And we sing glory, honor,
Power, and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor,
Power, and strength to the Lord.

The power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord.
He’s raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord.

And we sing glory, honor,
Power, and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor,
Power, and strength to the Lord.

When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord.

And we sing glory, honor,
Power, and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor,
Power, and strength to the Lord.

Writing Class for Middle School – IEW ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

One of those companies that I have heard about for a very long time is Institute for Excellence in Writing® (IEW). Their reputations as a strong writing instruction program is just a given in most circles of home education. But I was intimidated! The program was overwhelming to me to look at and think about the required prep for. That has definitely changed! Structure and Style® for Students is their new, redesigned writing program and it is so easy to implement! I am sold.

We received the middle school level of this program for this review. Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B is where we began with our 6th grader and while it took a bit to get into (due to the student, not the program), it has been a good fit. We received everything we needed to get started except for a pen/pencil and some blank notebook paper. The program comes with:

  • student pages and binder
  • teacher’s manual, and
  • access to the streaming video with “forever” access

This is a video based teaching structure with Andrew Pudewa. Mr. Pudewa teaches a class on the video. This is a class with live students that has been recorded for our benefit, to see real students using this material and for our students to get the benefit of a live class setting. Each video is about an hour and a half but is set up in the lesson plans to viewed over 2 class periods.

During each class period, Mr. Pudewa has the students interacting, writing, and taking notes. From there, he gives some specific writing assignments to be completed throughout the remainder of the week. The lesson plan runs for 4 days but can be stretched to 5 easily enough. We have even had to stretch it longer, which I’ll explain in just a bit.

Each week, the instruction is based on well-researched source texts, such as the example below, that IEW has put together. They have done their own research and writing so that parents can know that these source texts are quality materials. There are printed copies of this in the student pages and each week the student is given organization tips to help them learn to keep materials in order and easy to find.

A full piece of writing is completed each week of this 24 week course. This creates quite a strong set of writing by the end of the course. It begins with learning about a key word outline and creating this. Some of the outline is done during the class video and the rest is completed without the video. By the end of the course, the student is writing formal critiques. The entire set of styles that will be addressed in the 9 units includes:

  • Note Making and Outlines
  • Writing from Notes
  • Retelling Narrative Stories
  • Summarizing a Reference
  • Writing From Pictures
  • Summarizing Multiple References
  • Inventive Writing
  • Formal Essay Models, and
  • Formal Critique

In addition to writing, vocabulary is a strong component of this course and is integrated well into the teaching class. No need to separate it out. Additionally, grammar is discussed creating a seamless inclusion of these parts of good writing. If you need more, they recommend adding Fix It! Grammar, another IEW product, to your class day.

Student Pages and Binder –

The student sets up the binder on the first day of the course, following the guidance given. Instructions are written to the student and are clear. Once the binder is set up to start, new organization instructions follow throughout the video lessons and at the end, as needed, to help the student learn to stay organized.

Teacher’s Guide

The Teacher’s Guide is spiral bound and contains all the information the parent/teacher needs to support the student through the video based class. There are clear reproductions of the student pages in the Teacher’s Guide, as well as gray boxes that provide additional information for the teacher. Some of these boxes include complete information on what Mr. Pudewa writes on the white board during the video and I have found these very helpful. I don’t sit down with Miss J for this class without my copy.

example of gray box in the Teacher’s Guide next to the student page reproduction

Streaming Videos

The videos will be found in your online portal through the IEW website. When you purchase the program, you create an account with them. You then have lifetime, 24/7/365 access to the videos through your account. You visit their website, login, and click the tab that includes you SSS videos.

tabs on my IEW account

Mine says SSS-1B Video since we are in Year 1 of Level B. Click that, select the lesson you are on, and off you go. There is a white mark partway through that shows you where to break between day 1 and day 2. You cannot see it in the screenshot below. Each part of the lesson run 30-45 minutes.

Video for lesson 4

Our Use and Thoughts

I have been very pleased. It takes a long while for Miss J to work through the lessons but she has come to enjoy them. Mr. Pudewa cracks a lot of jokes and that is something that Miss J doesn’t love. She calls it “misuse of jokage” but she laughs just the same. 🙂

The Teacher’s Guide claims that it takes between 30 and 45 minutes to work through each day’s materials but we have found it take a lot longer, especially since there is often a bit more to do after the videos are finished and they are often 45 minutes. Our solution is to have her work at completing the day’s materials on day 1 and day 2. We minimize other things if need be and she takes a couple of breaks since writing (the physical process AND getting words out of her head onto paper) has always been a challenge for her. She doesn’t necessarily have a problem, it has just not come easy to her. For the other two days on the lesson plans, she can take a day or two longer if needed. Since there are checklists on her weekly outlines, it is easy to see what she still needs to do for the lesson at any given point.

This is especially important to give her time since she has finally decided that her writing (the physical putting words to paper) is important and she wants to have good cursive. This last writing assignment took her 6 pages to write out. So, I gave her plenty of time to do her best. And it provided good, solid, high-quality writing.

I am very pleased with this IEW product and so glad they have come out with this new version of their writing program. As I said, with the old program, I was intimidated by it all as an adult. I couldn’t bear to share that intimidation with my girls but Structure and Style® for Students is a VERY accessible program that the student can enjoy being a part of. It has been a great fit for Miss J and I am pleased to recommend it to others.

The Homeschool Review Crew has been using this program at all three levels – A, B, and C – with their students for the past few weeks. Those who used Levels A and B are sharing their thoughts about it this week. Level C is going to be delayed just a bit but they should be joining the linkup before too terribly long. Click over to the Crew blog to read more.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

A Bit(e) of History for Morning Time

Bites of history just perfect for morning time

A couple of years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Solomon Schmidt and getting to hear him talk about history. He was a very good speaker. And, he was a teen. Yep, he was a teen speaker at a convention we attended and the girls really enjoyed listening to him. They enjoyed hearing him talk with such a passion about history that they talked me into buying a set of his books: History Bites.

History Bites by Solomon Schmidt are books that give you a bite of history, a small tidbit that you can enjoy without getting too much. Just enough to maybe pique your interest or fill in a bit on someone you didn’t know. Most of the biographical sketches in his books are 4 pages long.

First page includes the person’s name, their birth and death information, any marriage information, and information on any children. Next you get 2-3 pages of biography highlights and maybe a picture or two. The biography tends to end with a fun fact. That’s it.

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These are quick five minute reads that just might be the perfect addition to your morning basket or routine. We used them for a year and thoroughly enjoyed the short history moment each day. There are four main books, set up for this five minute read,  to choose from: In/Famous People Volume I, In/Famous People Volume II, US History Bites, and US Presidential History Bites.

The fifth and sixth books are individual people biographies. The fifth book is about J.R.R. Tolkien and is set up more like a regular biography. There are 14 chapters in the short 67 page book. It was an interesting read. It does appear it was been updated since I bought my copy. The CS Lewis book is 90 pages long according to his website. I have not read it as it was published after we bought the others.

So, if you are looking for a simple bit of history to add, History Bites by Solomon Schmidt might work well for you. He has a website, YouTube channel, and his books are available through Amazon.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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