Category Archives: Uncategorized

High School Literature Class – writing a biography of a secondary character

write bio of 2ndary charac

As she approached the final two books of the year, Miss E was unsure what she was going to do for her final required written work. She had two final projects, one of which had to be a written project of some sort. After reading the next to last book, she still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She asked permission to read the last book. And then the brainstorm hit.

“Can I combine the last two books and write about the wives?”

“Of course!” was my reply. What a great idea. So she quickly set about getting her research figured out. Searching the library site for books to request (we can make requests and pick them up curbside during this virus shut down). Ordering a book off of Amazon (that she paid for herself because she thought it sounded really interesting). Looking up websites and images. It brought a lot of excitement.

As soon as she received the email that her library books were ready, she was asking to pick them up. She had a Venn diagram in the works. She was reading and comparing.

Y’all – this is a fabulous project that has brought excitement and enjoyment. This is what learning is about!! This is the reason I wanted her to choose her projects, with some guidelines to focus it. She found something she wanted to do and has been at it full force for a week and a half now! She is reading more books, reading more articles, searching out information, and finding out more. Times, places, people – they all come more sharply into focus when the student has some direction to the search.

I can’t wait to see her final product but I know it will be great! I had planned to do a formal writing project with her meteorology course as a final project but does not need to happen now. I am able to watch and guide this research and it will be a better final product because she chose it and is interested in it. She will write a cover page, a table of contents, a bibliography. Get all that stuff in, do the editing, and we will have checked off a couple of huge items from the “need to know” list. All because of an interest that developed and she was allowed to run with it.

This is a beautiful part of home education. We had hoped to reignite a love of learning for her when we brought her education home. I know now that we have been successful in that.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

write the bio of secondary character

 

Just A Few More Days ~ hymn

I’ll exchange my cross for a starry crown

We sang this upbeat tune today in services. It was a joy to be in person with many and virtually with many more. It was so nice to know that I was worshiping with my parents who are in a different state. It was a joy to know that others, around the globe, would see and be able to participate in making a joyful noise to the Lord and that He would be glorified through it.

At Home Dad led singing this morning at services and said he had been humming this for a few days. I wasn’t surprised because I had evidently heard him and not realized it. I have been humming it, too. It’s a good one.

Here’s a nice audio. It is on YouTube but there is no video.

Just A Few More Days 

words and music: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1917)

1 Just a few more days to be filled with praise,
And to tell the old, old story;
Then, when twilight falls, and my Savior calls,
I shall go to Him in glory.

Chorus:
I’ll exchange my cross for a starry crown,
Where the gates swing outward never;
At His feet I’ll lay ev’ry burden down,
And with Jesus reign forever.

2 Just a few more years with their toil and tears,
And the journey will be ended;
Then I’ll be with Him, where the tide of time
With eternity is blended. [Chorus]

3 Tho’ the hills be steep and the valleys deep,
With no flow’rs my way adorning;
Tho’ the night be lone and my rest a stone,
Joy awaits me in the morning. [Chorus]

4 What a joy ’twill be when I wake to see
Him for whom my heart is burning!
Nevermore to sigh, nevermore to die–
For that day my heart is yearning. [Chorus]

 

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Who likes gifts? 19 of them? from SchoolhouseTeachers

 

Disclaimers: In return for this post, I will receive the same 19 gifts that are included in this promotion from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links. If you click through on one and choose to purchase, our family will receive a small commission. Thank you for your support.  

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If you don’t already know, we have been using SchoolhouseTeachers.com since almost the beginning of our homeschooling journey. We go there often for a supplement, a partial lesson, a full class, helps, recipes, tips, encouragement, and more. It is a site that is jamb packed with helpful information. Membership gives your ENTIRE family access to a complete PreK-12 curriculum with over 400+ courses, videos, World Book content, TOS Print subscription, and so much more. Sign up NOW to receive your tote filled with goodies before they run out!

They have a special going on right now for new subscribers that would be really beneficial for you, especially if you are new on this home educating thing yourself. With gifts from high quality vendors that will introduce you to their company plus the access to SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you will be well on your way to success. (And remember – you define success for your own family!)

Languages are something that have recently become of great interest to the girls. One of the girls has been watching a Spanish series on a streaming service and wants to learn more. Guess what is included in these gifts? Yes! A Spanish class! There are 2 months of access to an online beginning Spanish curriculum through Spanish Education Solutions. And it is taught by a certified Spanish teacher. Going for this one!!!

One of the other girls wants to learn French. Guess what else is included? Nallenart is one of the vendors for the 19 gifts! They are offering L’Art de LIRE which combines beginning conversational French with phonics to get students started. With workpages, teacher key, flashcards, and audio, this looks like a great start to French!

There is also a chess game being offered! Yes! The youngest giggly girl really enjoys playing chess. This pocket sized chess game from Chess House will be able to go with us in the car during the many hours each week we have to wait on sisters to get done with dance classes. (The social distancing thing has stretched our schedule quite thin now!)

There are so many more – art, guitar (another we’ll use!), writing, literature, Brinkman Adventures audios (the girls LOVE these!!), a sturdy tote (I use the one I have ALL THE TIME), music and more and more and more!!! This is a fabulous steal!

About the 19 Gifts Promo –

SchoolhouseTeachers.com and The Old Schoolhouse® have teamed up with over a dozen homeschooling and family-friendly companies to provide a tote bag filled with gifts (visit the site to see the list) when you sign up for an Ultimate (PreK-12) Annual Membership during May for only $139 (reg. $224.97). Use coupon code: 19GIFTS to lock in your rate and receive your goodies! Only available through June 1, 2020.

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How to redeem your gifts:

After checking out with coupon code: 19GIFTS, you’ll have immediate access to your Ultimate Annual Membership and all that SchoolhouseTeachers.com has to offer. Your beautiful, sturdy tote bag from The Old Schoolhouse® filled with gift cards for the additional 18 gifts will arrive in 6-8 weeks. No credit cards or purchases are required to redeem your items. Just follow the instructions on the gift cards. Supplies are limited, so sign up today. Questions? Hit the CHAT box during business hours on the home page of SchoolhouseTeachers.com to reach a live rep.

I’d be pleased to answer any question you have. We could not go without our SchoolhouseTeachers.com subscription. The gifts are a definite bonus!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

“That’s not something Jesus would say.” – Comparison Girl ~ a book review

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

Comparison Girl - a challenge to listen to Jesus and learn to _pour out_ rather than _measure up_

Right from the start, Shannon Popkin has me nailed. And probably most of us. We compare ourselves to others – all over the place, in all sorts of situations. We are listening to the wrong voice because we are under attack. Jesus would not ask us to measure ourselves against someone on this earth to decide if we are good enough, right enough, or any other kind of enough. Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up
World tackles each of us – this comparison girl – and guides us to hear a different voice. (There is a giveaway link at the end of this review to win a copy of the book.)

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Comparison Girl is a brand-new publication from Shannon Popkin, published by Kregel Publication. It is about 200 pages of Jesus-focused study. Using the Bible to help guide our thinking and understanding, we visit the words of Jesus to learn to listen to His voice. Designed as a 6-week study to be using individually or as a group study (recommended by author), there are also videos to accompany the book for those interested.

Mrs. Popkin describes learning to hear Jesus’ voice by reading what she calls his red-letter comparisons. See, as she reminds us, Jesus himself uses comparison to direct our thinking to the type of attitude that chooses to “pour out. rather than the type of attitude that constantly compares to see how we “measure up.” Looking at the red-letter comparisons Mrs. Popkin found some of these “pouring out” attitudes:

  • The greatest among us is she who serves.
  • She who exalts herself will be humbled and she who humbles herself will be exalted.
  • She who is first will be last. She who is last will be first.
  • and more

The teachings of Jesus are where we need to find our comparisons because Jesus leads our thinking to be like His thinking. And isn’t that the goal? When you know the voice of your shepherd, you follow none other. This is what Mrs. Popkin found in her studies of the red-letter comparisons of Jesus. So, she wants to direct us to hear Jesus’ voice and to recognize the lies of the hiss coming from Satan.

The analogies used are strong and really get the point across well. (in lesson 1) I especially enjoy the picture of the measuring cup. After talking a bit about how we tend to measure ourselves against others, Mrs. Popkin then has us mentally tip the cup so that you are now “pouring out.” When you are pouring from the measuring cup, the lines are no longer of any significance. We can no longer “measure up” because we are too busy “pouring out.” That image resounds well with me. And this is just one example of how practical application is woven throughout this study.

There are 6 chapters plus an introduction and a conclusion. Each chapter is designed to take a week, with five parts in each. Each part has a good bit of scripture woven in. There is a reading to start each day. Don’t skip these as they are the foundation of the thoughts for the day. Woven throughout each day’s lessons, there are many more scriptures. I pulled each one up to read and follow the thinking. Sometimes reading the greater context of the scripture, more than the single verse or part of a verse quoted, I got a greater understanding. Looking up and reading the scriptures drawn on for the lesson really does help push that lesson deeper into your heart.

The conversational tone and practical application, plus the raw revealing of the author’s own insecurities and failures in the areas she is talking about make this a very easy to read study. It draws the reader in and help you feel comfortable opening your own heart a bit and taking a look at which voice you are truly listening to. What a good study this is.

About The Author:

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 9.24.28 AMShannon Popkin is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who loves pointing others to the truth of God’s Word. She combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She regularly speaks at Christian women’s events and retreats, encouraging women of all ages to put their hope in God.

Popkin is also a regular contributor for the Revive Our Hearts True Woman and Leader Connection blogs. Her articles have been published by Family FunFocus on the Family MagazineMOMsense and others. She is the author of several books, including Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the BibleInfluence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), and Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World.

Popkin and her husband, Ken, have been married for more than twenty years and live in West Michigan. They have three children—one in high school and two in college.

Connect with Shannon Popkin by visiting www.shannonpopkin.comfollowing her on Facebook (shanpopkin)Instagram (shannonpopkin), or Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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Visit the link to enter to win a copy of Comparison Girl by Shannon Popkin, hosted by “I Read With Audra.”

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Bored? Game Ideas

One of the things that has come out of us having more time at home is a night game of some sort. Mostly it is Miss J and I but we are sometimes joined by others or even the whole family. I just thought I’d share a few of the games we enjoy for a quick round before bedtime.

Bored Game Ideas

OK Play – A quick game of strategy for 2 or more players, similar to connect 4 (or 5 in this case) using square colored tiles on the table top.

Tabletop Curling – Miss J came home from Christmas with a tabletop curling game where you use little “curling stone” set on marbles and a curling lane of slick plastic. It is a fun little game and make a fun game before bed.

Boggle – This is a word find game where each person is looking for their own list of words from the letter dice. You can make words from letters that touch but you can’t use a letter more than one time per word. The whole family will get involved in this game.

Blink – This is a fast paced card game for 2. You each have half the deck of cards and start with one card each face up in the playing space between you. Each person is trying to get rid of their stack of cards first and you do so by matching the playing cards as quickly as possible. You can only have 3 cards in your hand at a time and you have to match by shape, number of shapes, or color. Lots of fun!

War – This 2 person game utilizes a regular deck of cards. You each have half the deck and turn one card over at a time, at the same time. The highest card gets to keep them and the goal is to get all of the cards in your hand. If you both turn over the same card, you then have a quick battle of three face-down cards with one face-up. Whoever has the highest face-up cards gets all of the cards on the table.

Go Fish – This game can have 2 or more players and uses a regular deck of cards. I think most people know how to play this traditional game.

Monopoly Deal – I do not like the regular Monopoly game but this one I’ll play. It is a card game and it doesn’t generally take too long to play. Look it up. Lots of fun! We can often get at least one sister to play this with us.

Forbidden Island – This is a collaborative game that Miss J enjoys a lot. It is one we have to have at least 30 minutes to play and often it takes longer than that. But it is a fun one of strategy, with a good bit of luck. It can be just 2 players but it is a bit more fun with more.

Chutes and Ladders – This classic game is one that my sweet 11 year old still enjoys. It is a fast play and we can laugh a bit before bedtime. A good one.

Candy Land – Again, this is a classic but is fun and simple and makes a good pre-bedtime game.

Tenzi – This is a very fast game played with sets of 10 dice each. If you buy it, it comes with sets of colored dice. Similar to Yahtzee, you are trying to get the same number on all of your dice as quickly as possible. The first one to get the same number on all of their dice wins.

These are just a few that I came up with off the top of my head. Our game closet is packed and it has been fun taking time many evenings to play a game to send us off to bed in good spirits.

Does your family have a favorite board game that doesn’t take too long to play?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Linking up with some other Review Crew for a weekly linkup hosted by A Net In Time. Head over there to see more boredom buster ideas.

 

 

Mastering Essential Math Skills ~ 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.

Mastering Math Skills

Math is a subject that we strive to be consistent on – consistent in our choice of curriculum, consistent in our daily requirements, consistent in our approach. It is easy, especially with math, to say “This isn’t working. I need something else.” Much of the time that something else is just a bit of practice and changing up how you do that practice can be very helpful. Enter Math Essentials. They have several products but for practice, we have been using Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 Middle Grades/High School.

Mastering Essential Math Skills

Mastering Essential Math Skills is not a complete curriculum in itself but is meant to supplement something else and provide practice on skills that need refreshing or strengthening. That is how we used this book with our 11 year old, rising 6th grade student – practice on the things that need reviewed and/or practiced for speed and accuracy.

The book is set up simply:

  • introductory notes to the teacher or parent and on using the book
  • table of contents, skill by skill with page numbers – includes whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percent, geometry, integers, charts and graphs, and word problems
  • workbook pages (5-127 are the student work pages)
  • answer key (128-148)
  • glossary, important symbols chart, multiplication table, common prime numbers chart, square and square root chart, and fraction/decimal equivalent chart

The plan? One page a day should take approximately 20 minutes and then on to the regular curriculum lesson for the day. Designed to fit neatly into a classroom schedule, it works beautifully in a homeschool setting. Actually, it may fit even better because when we found a skill that was stumbled over, we always corrected work with the student talking about her mistake or we repeated the page when there was a good bit missed and it was clear something wasn’t understood or remembered. This ability to customize the use of the book is just one more reason homeschooling is so student focused and Mastering Essential Math Skills fits perfectly to this customization.

So what does a page look like? There are five sections to each page.

  1. speed drillsSpeed Drills – These are two sets of problems, one is an addition set and one a multiplication set. The teacher chooses the number of the day – say 2 – and the student goes around the circle as quickly as possible, adding 2 to each number and writing the answer in the outside ring. In the other circle, the student multiplies each number by 2. We would set a timer for this section and see how quickly Miss J could complete it. If it took her longer than a minute, we used the same number the next day.
  2. Review Exercises – 4 problems that review much simpler concepts and should not take the student long.
  3. helpful hints sectionHelpful Hints – Tips and ideas that will help the student solve more quickly. These can be as simple as a reminder like “find the difference” means to subtract (p 7) or “Add as many zeroes as necessary.” for dividing decimals (p 63). Some of the tips could also be a reminder to draw a diagram or find a formula to help.
  4. Problems – There are two sample problems for the teacher and student(s) to work together and then 10 problems for the student to work individually. There is an answer box on the right for the student to put the answer in to make grading easier if the teacher has a large number of books to grade.
  5. Problem Solving – Each page has one word problem related to the concept for the student to solve. This is a great way to include word problems without the overwhelm of a whole unit just on word problems.

completed page

Each day, Miss J completed one page. We would correct it together, talking about her mistakes. The pages did not have tons of room on them for her to work her problem so she often had to get scrap paper to work on and then transferred her answer to the worksheet. If your student writes small and neat, there is likely plenty of room. We are still trying to reach that point, though. We did have several times where we repeated a day but we have finished the whole numbers section of the book.

working on a page

We are going to be using this a piece at a time, not the whole book all at once. But as Miss J works through a sections, such as the decimals that she just finished in her main curriculum, we will pull this book and use some of the pages to review while she moves on in her other curriculum. Once she moves past the geometry in her main math, we’ll move to that section and use the pages that fit what she knows.

A different options would be to use this as your main math but to complete more than one page each day in it, taking time to teach and review any concepts that are not already known. But since these are skills that should be understood by high school, a semester of solid review is not a bad thing. And some sections could easily be flown through, like adding and subtracting with whole numbers.

No Nonsense AlgebraOne note – there are videos available to accompany this book. We did use them since we were in the whole numbers section but they might be helpful in some of the other, more advanced sections. There is a video set for each main concept section of the book and the information on how to access them is shared in the front of the book.

We have used products from Math Essentials before. We reviewed No-Nonsense Algebra a while back and Miss E used it for her algebra I class. Miss L will use it next fall when she begins algebra I. We like the easy and simplicity of the books and definitely recommend them where they fit your need.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews on Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 Middle Grades/High School but to also find reviews on No-Nonsense Algebra and on Math Refresher for Adults. Click on the banner below.

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Art School with Beyond the Stick Figure ~ 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.

art class

One thing I used to think was that art was only for the talented people, those who could do something magical with any medium they picked up. I have recently discovered that doesn’t have to stand true if it brings pleasure. Even more importantly, experience with has shown me that growth can happen in unexpected ways and I am not nearly as “bad” as I thought I was. Beyond the Stick Figure Art School is a program that has helped me see the joy in just creating, regardless of the outcome. And anyone can do it!

beyond the stick figure

We have been using Beyond the Stick Figure Complete Drawing Course PLUS 3 Bonus Courses for a few weeks now and I have found it a uniquely interesting experience. Beyond the Stick Figure Art School is taught by an art teacher with art teaching experience AND homeschooling experience. Sally is familiar with the challenges to teaching in both arenas and combines them together in a video subscription class for all ages that really is quite a bit of fun. The class includes the drawing course, pen and ink instruction, a watercolor course, an acrylics course, and a 3D sculpting course. These are definitely beginner level classes but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more advanced courses arrive on the website at some point.

This online subscription has a simple login and dashboard.

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Just click into the course and find where you are. If you are working through it in order (highly recommended), just go to the next area not marked complete. (The yellow circle with a check shows completed.) If not, you will need to have noted where you left off. Click on the lesson and get started on the next video.

Each video is short – often less than 5 minutes. Sally gives clear instructions on what to do and what materials to use. Each section of instruction includes a video on the specific materials needed for the set of lessons.

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We watched the video and then did the lesson. Sometimes, it was a simple line that needed completed. Sometimes, it was filling in a large space with crosshatches and it took a good bit of time. If needed, it was easy to pause the video to complete an instruction before moving on.

The drawing lessons were quite unique in the start (Drawing Part 1 – 17 topics), when we worked on circles, dots, curved lines, and straight lines. Some of the lessons had downloadable workbooks but we chose not to use those as they didn’t seem to fit the age of my students well. My 16 year old and my 11 year old both enjoyed working on these abstract-style pieces. The practice was helpful and yielded colorful, fun pieces.

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The next set of lessons (Drawing Part 2 – 33 topics) was similar but worked with different sets of lines and spacings. Each one had a template that needed downloaded and printed. Some of these were mixed up, as we found out after saying “this doesn’t quite match up but we can make it work.” The next one we needed to download – BINGO – that was what we had needed in the previous lesson. No worries, though. We did just fine.

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This series is intended to be the prep work for Drawing Part 3, which allows the student to use each of the different shapes from Drawing Part 2 to create a full-sized drawing of a flower. Honestly, we never got there. The lessons in Drawing Part 2 got tedious and we didn’t see a purpose to them as we didn’t know where they were leading. Once I knew that, it made sense but I had lost the girls at that point. So, I continued on without them and jumped to the Pen and Ink lessons.

The Pen and Ink lessons were tons of fun for me. I really enjoyed them. It started with a super small drawing (about 2 x 2 inches), just to get the feel of drawing with the pen. That small drawing had a watercolor wash over it. It was a fun little piece.

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Then, we worked on the tree. I adored this set of lessons and wish there were more like it. I felt like I was accomplishing something and I was fairly pleased with my finished product. I learned how to transfer images, how to use the pen in different ways to get different effects, and how to finish off a piece with a unique colorwash effect. This got the girls interested in the lessons again and we have it scheduled to work on soon.

 

I also started on the acrylics portion. I got the cloud painting done and would like to get a board to do the next part. I might splurge and get some paints, too.

 

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I skipped over the watercolor part because I didn’t love working with the watercolors we had (that I had used for the colorwashes on the pen and ink pieces) and I didn’t have a way to get a better quality. This was the only experience that I had with the quality of materials affecting my enjoyment of learning, where I think it made a difference. While I understand that an artist really feels the difference of the high-quality, expensive materials, it just is not something I am willing to spend the money on when my girls are still trying to figure out what is of long-term interest to them. So, we used the markers we had (often Sharpies), the watercolors we had (from the girls art sets that are not high quality), and the acrylics that we have on hand for craft projects. We used the mixed media pad of paper for some of the projects but the printer paper worked perfectly for the drawing lessons.

Overall, this was a very different style program. It has it’s high points, for sure. If you are looking for a fairly low-prep art class for the home, this is an interesting one to take a look at.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew and read what other families thought about Beyond the Stick Figure Art School, viewing their completed projects.

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