Monday Musings for May 7, 2018l

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So last week was an interesting week, to say the least.  During the week our air conditioner for our house twice.  The first time, the company came out and replaced a capacitor and it seemed to fix the problem on Monday.  By about 3:00 pm on Tuesday afternoon, the unit stopped working in the exact same way again.  So the company had to come back out on Wednesday to fix it again.  This time they replaced the motor in the outside unit.

Because we live in southeastern Texas, not having an air conditioner is a major issue.  It is not something we want to have any time in the near future.  Fortunately, since they came out the second time, it seems to be working fine.

This past weekend was also the weekend my husband had to take his annual physical fitness test for the army reserves.  He passed with no problems, I am glad to report.

It was also the week we received our books from Memoria Press.  We planned on starting them the day after we received the books, but life happened with the air conditioner.  When it is hot and humid, schoolwork tends to be a lower priority than staying cool.  So this week we will be diving into the course full-force.

We also received from Silverdale Press a course that our 17-year-old son and I will be doing together for another review for the Home School Review Crew.

So how are things where you are? I would love to hear from you.

if you would like to check out what other members of the Home School Review Crew are writing about this week click here or on the graphic below.

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Tasty Tuesday – May 1, 2018

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Our family loves being able to sit down and eat together.  One of our favorite style of meals is grilling food.  With the addition of our cowboy grill along with our regular grill that includes both a gas (propane) grill  as well as a charcoal grill.  Often we make shish-k-bobs.  Another thing we like grilling is fish.  Ribs take a high place as well.

Here are some pictures of food we have cooked on our grills.

One of the benefits of living in Texas is that we can basically grill year round.  So we frequently enjoy fish, meat, hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwursts, sausages, chicken, pork, shrimp and more on our grill.  I am blessed to have a husband and sons who love to cook on the grill for me.  When we use the grill, typically everyone takes part in preparing our food.

So what are you eating now?  I would love to hear from you.

The topic on the Home School  Review Crew Link-up for today is “Homeschooling with the Brain in MInd”.  I always try to do this.  I tend to like and excel at different things from our children.  When it comes to my children, all of them are as different as can be.  None of them plan on doing the same thing in life.  They also do not share the same interest.  Nor do they enjoy the same style of materials.  So I try to take those things into account when I make curriculum choices.  Our daughter loves anything to do with art, so I try to find things that excite that part of her brain.  Our youngest son enjoys anything to do with music, so we are exploring ways to build on this for him.  So if you homeschool, how do you take your childrens’ brains into account? Or how do you take into account your brain when making curriculum choices?

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If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are posting about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up

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So two weeks ago at church, our pastor talked about the story of Jacob and Esau and the “red pottage”.  Esau had come in from the fields and was famished so he asked Jacob to share the food Jacob had prepared.  In exchange, Jacob asked for the birthright.  Our pastor referred to the “pottage” as “red stuff”.  Then it transferred into a discussion of the “red stuff” actually being red lentils.

So this past Saturday when our family went grocery shopping last Saturday, while we were in Sprouts we found the “red stuff” – as in red lentils.  So this week we fixed them for dinner.  Here are two pictures – one of us cooking the lentils and one from when they were finished cooking.

This was also the week we reviewed HelpTeaching.com’s Help Teaching Pro and you can read that review here.

Also, we discussed selections for another upcoming review from Memoria Press to determine which one our 15-year-old daughter would want to do.  The choices were either Logic or a composition course on Aesop’s Fables.  After reading the descriptions of the two courses and then looking at the sample pages for the logic course, our daughter decided she preferred the course on Aesop’s Fables – so we will see whether we get selected for that product or not.

So what is going on in your life? I would love to hear from you.

Review of Presidents of the United States Video-Based Unit Study from Paradise Praises

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I am always on the hunt for great homeschool resources. I  am especially excited when those products come from online friends, so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the Presidents of the United States Video-Based Unit Study from Paradise Praises by Katie Hornor.  I received a copy of this product for my fair and unbiased review. So all opinions expressed in this review are my own.  One of the incredible things about this product is that it can be adapted for any age – from kindergarten through high school.  As an adult, I found the videos enjoyable and educational to watch.

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This video-based product is meant to be completed over the course of one 9-week period, meaning one quarter.  The product contains a suggested nine-week schedule.  Each day the students will learn about a different president while completing activities and reading assignments.

The product contains the Presidential Biography Studies in chronological order, a listing of the Presidential videos, a listing of videos regarding the First Ladies, audiobook ideas, as well as other resources that include a field trip or virtual field trip ideas, art resources, vocabulary lists and more.  Book suggestions include picture books, early readers, and chapter books.

Our three students we are still homeschooling are all in high school, and I love the flexibility of this course.  It lends itself to flexibility and fitting the needs of a homeschool family.  The primary video for each president is only 90 seconds long.  So when your family’s time is short, your family can watch that 90-second video, complete a notebooking page for the president along with adding your Presidential figure to the timeline and be done.  On days where time is available, notebooking pages, additional reading assignments, field trips or even virtual field trips, as well as art activities, can be complete.

I have to say I loved the song for learning the names of the presidents.  I believe this would come in handy for learning the order of the presidents.  Although I have only looked over the materials myself and watched the videos, I know this resource is going to be a great asset to our family.  Whether you use it along with an existing history program or use it as a stand-alone unit study, I am sure your family will enjoy this course.  So visit the Paradise Praises Online Shop and check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

Our Area’s Homeschool Activity Fair – Part 1

 

So we are now in our second year of living in Texas.  This week I became aware that our local homeschool organization was holding an activity fair.  So I informed my youngest two and my husband the four of us would be attending.  As we drove into the parking lot and started to get out of the vehicle, I stated I was not sure how much we would find if anything.

So imagine my surprise when we entered the room the fair was in and found a number of booths that interested my children.  I am going to break this up into two parts.  Today I am going to write about the activities our 16 (getting ready to turn 17 in October) son found at the fair.

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The first activity which really interested him was the area homeschool band.  The benefit of this is that I can also play in it as a parent.  Furthermore, our second son can play as well.  After talking with the representatives a few minutes, I picked up a flyer, added our names to the list and checked one activity to add to our schedule.  So this should be fun for us.

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The next table to catch Nathan’s interest was one for an area Junior High/High School choir.  Nathan has a love of music and of singing, so again I knew this would be a good fit.  So I grabbed the flyer, noted the date of the informational meeting and then we moved on again.

My son then became distracted for a few minutes when one of his friends from church handed him a flyer for the group’s yearbook staff.  Involvement in that is still under consideration.  Then he was distracted by seeing the mother of that same friend.  So, of course, he had to go over and speak to her.

Then we stopped at a table where another one of my children’s friends was sitting.  We spoke to her for a few minutes before moving on to see what else we could find.

The next table to truly interest our son was the one for tennis lessons.  One of the moms we met when we first moved to Texas was on duty there.  We received the information, chatted for a few minutes and caught up a little bit.  I gave a sigh of relief when I realized they provided all the necessary equipment.  So that is one expense I do not have to worry about right away.

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Finally, he asked if we could stop by the table for the area athletic teams – including basketball – something he has wanted to play for years.  Unfortunately, that activity is not a possibility because it will conflict with the homeschool band.  I was glad to see my son was more interested in the band instead of basketball.

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So that is a summary of the activities our son is interested in for the new year.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I will discuss the activities our daughter is interested in for this year.

One of My Favorite Things about Homeschooling

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One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that my children get to spend time doing things they love.  For our daughter, that means she gets to spend time on her artwork.

For my sons, they get to spend time online with cousins and friends in other states (and even another country).  I love hearing them interact with one another as they play games and talk with each other.

Another thing I love is that it gives us a chance to spend time as a family.  Sometimes this means we might go some place, like the trips we used to take each year to Busch Gardens.  Other times, it may mean we go shopping or perhaps just watch a movie at home together. All in all, homeschooling has been a blessing for our family.

So what does your family like to do?

Review of Hewitt Homeschooling’s Lighting Lit & Comp – Shakespeare Tragedies & Sonnets

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With Shakespeare Tragedies from Hewitt Homeschooling high school students develop stronger composition skills while learning literary concepts to increase understanding how to read deeply.  For quite a few years, our second son – age 18 – has enjoyed reading Shakespeare for fun.  So when I saw the opportunity this review for Hewitt Homeschooling come up, I knew we had to take this opportunity.  For the purposes of this review, we receive the Teacher’s Guide and the Student manual that is consumable.  Four additional books are required in the unabridged form.  Those books are Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear.   This course is intended for students in grades 11 and 12.

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Hewitt Homeschooling offers this as a complete pack, which includes the Teacher’s Guide, the Student Guide, and the four books.  Or if you already own or can acquire the four books by William Shakespeare, you can just order the two guides.  The Student Guide is consumable.  So if you are going to have more than one student do the course, then each student will need their own student guide.

The Teacher’s Guide includes an Introduction, grading tips, and other relevant information about the course.  Checklists for various types of papers are included as well.  Grading templates are provided as well to help guide the teacher in what should be expected from their students.  I was impressed with the sample page of grading that was provided.  Here are some pictures of the inside of the Teacher’s Guide.

The student will be completing assignments including vocabulary, comprehension questions, and written papers.  Fortunately, the Teacher’s Guide provides a place to quickly and easily record all these scores in one place to make recordkeeping and scoring easy to complete. The guide also provides a weekly schedule for a semester or a year depending on your preference.  Each week the students are required to read and do certain activities. The schedules in the Teacher’s Guide clearly lay out the requirements for each week.

If you or your student prefer a daily schedule, the bullet points for each week will allow your family to adjust the expectations. For week 1, our son read the Introduction and the section on Williams Shakespeare in the guide.  So this could be done on one day.  Then the second day, he read the introduction to Unit 1, Lesson 1 for Julius Caesar.  Finally, the third day he had to read in Julius Caesar and answer the comprehension questions.  So this would easily break down into three days of work.

Here are some sample pages of the Student Guide.

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My son loves reading Shakespeare for enjoyment.  While he thought this course was well done, he would prefer to just read the book without the extra work.  But, my husband desires to learn how to analyze literature.  So this week, he has picked up the Student Guide and started reading it.  I have a feeling he will be the one to actually complete the course.  We also have two other children who may find this course in their schedule in the future.

In addition to this course, Hewitt Homeschooling offers curriculum choices for elementary students right on up to high school students.  They offer courses including Literature, Math-It, Winston-Grammar, State Chronicles and more.   One selection I would like our 14-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son to complete is their Speech Course.

Another service Hewitt Homeschooling offers is a paper evaluation service.  For a set price, your student will get up to 24 papers evaluated.  This personalized evaluation would be a welcome addition for any parents who do not wish to grade their students’ own papers.  This service is available for junior high and high school students.  All in all I have to say I was impressed with this curriculum and the idea of the paper evaluation service- even if my son was not as entralled by it as me.

If you would like to read more reviews for Shakespeare Tragedies or other choices offered by Hewitt Homeschooling, click here or on the image below.

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Blogging A to Z – “J” is for…

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So after another brief hiatus, I am back with my blogging a to z homeschooling challenge.  The letter is “J”, which for me stands for Jacob and Joseph – two of the reasons I love homeschooling and joy.

Our oldest son is about to turn 21 years old, and I can not figure out where the time has gone.  Jacob is the reason our family began homeschooling.  He was placed in a classroom with a teacher who did not care for our child in the least.  With only two fifth grade classes in the school, we did not have any options there.  Transferring him would mean transferring all of our children, which was not an option either.  Private school was an even more unreachable possibility due to finances.  So homeschooling became our choice.  Jacob began to love his siblings again versus the typical anti-sibling feelings of his friends.  He also developed an incredible bond with his baby sister, who was 4 at the time this homeschooling journey began, that continues to this day.  I have watched him excel in AWANAS, scouts (making the rank of Eagle Scout in 2012), and a heart for service that includes plans to become a Youth Pastor.  Homeschooling definitely helped this child in many ways.

Next, “J” is for Joseph, our second son.  This child began his homeschooling journey as he began the third grade, a year after we began homeschooling our oldest.  Joseph was one of those children who for the most part was a pleasure to teach.  He quickly decided he wanted to do the same things as his brother – this included receiving his rank of Eagle Scout the same day as his older brother (even though they are two years apart.  Joseph brings a lot of happiness to our home.

Finally, “J” is for the joy that comes from homeschooling.  I find great joy in being with my children each day.  I find joy in the ties that are between our four children.  Don’t get me wrong, they all have their moments, but let someone else mess with one of them and the other three will have their back.  Also, there is joy in knowing we don’t have to follow a traditional school calendar.  Instead, we tend to homeschool during the summer when it is too hot to be outside and can enjoy days off when the temperature is more pleasant.  Since we moved to Texas in 2016, this is definitely a plus.

So what does “J” bring to mind for you.  I would love to hear from you.