This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TOS Review ~ Classical Academic Press, Latin for Children


It was like Christmas in February when I found out I was selected to review Latin for Children, Primer A by Classical Academic Press! I’ve had my eye on this program for a few months and I was ecstatic when we were selected to review. I will sing praises to everyone who will listen about the Latin For Children program! Yes, it’s that great!!! There are so many adjectives to describe this Mastery bundle set, but I will just pick one, Amazing! latin_primerA

Latin for Children: Primer A  is the first book in the three year book series. This exciting program is designed for use with children as young as third grade. (I was able to use it with Mikayla, a 2nd grader this year and she just needed extra time to memorize). Your student will be introduced to Latin vocabulary, grammar and English derivatives in a fun and interactive manner. No previous Latin knowledge by the parent/teacher is necessary to give your children exposure to this wonderful, but often forgotten language of Latin.  

All 32 lessons in the Primer are recorded on DVD in 15 minute lesson segments.  The very relaxed and informative lessons are taught by Dr. Perrin who is also accompanied by some of his Latin students who sing and chant the weekly. The hardest part for me was choosing whether we would do the Classical or Ecclesiastical pronunciation.  Both of which are included in the book, CD, and DVD.



We received the mastery bundle of Latin for Children: Primer A which retails for $99.95 and designed for 3rd-6th graders contains the following items:


•LFC Primer A student text and workbook ~ The foundation of the curriculum, everything you need to learn. 230 page, soft bound book.


LFC Primer A Answer Key ~ includes the actual text with answers in bold 

•LFC A DVDs & Chant CD ~ includes chapter-by-chapter training by the author and a set of 5 children who sing the chants. The chant CD contains all 240 vocabulary words  in both the Classical & Ecclesiastical pronunciations.

•LFC A History Reader ~ A book of Latin stories from history using the grammar and vocabulary learned in the Primer.

•LFC A Activity Book! ~ Fun games and puzzles to do that help students master the Latin vocabulary and grammar from each Primer.

I used this program with Madison & Mikayla with Montana listening in. The first day we did Chapter 1 my girls had memorized the Chapter Maxium chant and couldn’t wait to get to gymnastics to tell it to their friend who also studies Latin. The great thing is that she knew what they had said and repeated it back! That really made the girls want to come home and learn more words!

The Classical Academic Press website has a wealth of free resources to compliment your lessons including worksheets, lesson ideas and articles. There is also a free website that helps keep Latin alive and fresh in their minds while playing fun games. I find myself having to set the timer so that each of the girls can play for at least 25 minutes. It is such a fun website! 

I have been wanting to implement a classical approach to homeschooling and this program has helped me to see that I can teach them Latin. I recommend this program hands down, 2 thumbs up! We are enjoying our study of Latin everyday, in a fun and exciting way! I plan on purchasing the Song School Latin for my Kindergartener for the upcoming school year and continuing with this program for my girls for many years to come.  Thank you Classical Academic Press for such an Awesome program!!!

Check out what my crewmates thought and by clicking here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of Classical Academic Press, Latin Primer A mastery bundle  in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free

Friday, March 25, 2011

TOS Review ~ Big IQ Kids


Have you heard of Big IQ kids? No, well neither had I until I was given the opportunity to try out their learning program from TOS review crew. Big IQ kids is geared towards students in grades K-8 and is an online learning programs that covers a wide range of learning topics, including spelling, vocabulary, math, and U.S. geography.

From the Big IQ website:
" provides true, self-learning applications without the need for parental oversight. All our material and instructions (each word and sentence) are delivered to the young learner by interactive characters with phonetically correct lips so even children with limited reading skills can utilize our e-learning applications."

What I loved about Big IQ Kids is that it is a learning program with interactive tools that  work together to help create individualized lessons around a student's own pace. Their advanced 'engines' allow children to comfortably work through each lesson, without pressure.  Advancement to the next lesson is not reached until mastery is held on that particular subject.


The Spelling Program portion of Big IQ kids gives the  student access to a 40,000 word dictionary and 40 lessons/word lists. You as the parent also has the option of creating a custom word lists for your children based off of your own spelling word lists. After you have typed in the words you wish your student to work on, the program automatically customizes a week’s worth of lessons, quizzes, and tests! How sweet is that!


The Math Portion allows  students to work on mastery of fundamental math skills. The program is highly interactive and monitors the child's progress and advances the student based upon proficiency.  Students can work on whatever area they are currently working on in their regular math programs or whatever they need remedial help on. Lessons can be generated for your student according to their grade level or specific subjects.


The Vocabulary program includes lists of words for 3rd grade through adult and SAT words. Custom lists can be created with this section just as  with the spelling portion of the website. You can save up to 40 custom word lists at a time.


The U.S. States program lets your children participate in interactive lessons that teach U.S. state facts.  Achieving mastery of all 50 states’ location, their capital cities, correct spelling and associated abbreviations is done through lessons and quizzes.  State’s nickname, landmarks, economy and commonly known fun facts are also learned, a great addition to any U.S. State postcard swap.

After  completing lessons students are rewarded with coins that they can use to play games.  The arcade style library has over 35 games to choose from.  The games section was my girls favorite place to hang out, and who could blame them, the games were fun!  There were many a time I had to remind them to get back to playing the “learning” games.  The “dress up” game was their favorite, however, I especially enjoyed playing the sandwich game.  

So, you are probably thinking this program costs an arm and a leg for all you get, right? Nope, it’s affordably priced !  BigIQkids offers all four programs (mentioned above) in two versions, free and premium.  Premium memberships range in price from $19.99 per month to $99.99 for 12 months for all four programs.  Subjects may also be purchased individually for as little as  $7.99 a month.  Their is a 7 day trial period, so head on over and check it out. If you only need to use one program instead of all 4, they offer pricing packages for that too.  Complete pricing information can be found here.  Find out the difference between the free and premium programs by clicking HERE

Madison and Mikayla have been using Big IQ Kids for several weeks now and give it 2 BIG thumbs up! And I second that with two thumbs up! We were given a generous offer of a one year subscription to the Premium portion of Big IQ Kids, THANK YOU!!! This subscription gives us access to all 4 programs.  The girls would jokey for position of who gets what computer to play Big IQ Kids on. They are able to log onto the program and get right through the lessons without any prompting from me.  The lessons are very independent minded, something we are working towards with my girls, and the virtual “tutor” walks the girls through each section in the program. We will definitely be using this program for the rest of the year, especially throughout the summer!

Want to know what others think? I encourage you to hop on over to the TOS crew blog, HERE, and see what my fellow TOS crew members are saying about Big IQ kids.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of Big IQ Kids program  in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

081 ~ 365

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Don’t eat it, it’s for the birds!!!


Monday, March 21, 2011

080 ~ 365 Happy birthday

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Happy 14th Birthday Marie!!!

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Do you know how much you mean to me?

As you grow into what you will be.

You came from within, from just beneath my heart

it's there you'll always be though your own life will now start.

You're growing so fast it sends me awhirl,

With misty eyes I ask, Where's my little girl?

I know sometimes to you I seem harsh and so unfair,

But one day you will see, I taught you well because I care.

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The next few years will so quickly fly,

With laughter and joy, mixed with a few tears to cry.

 As you begin your growth to womanhood, this fact you must know,

You'll always be my source of pride, no matter where you go.

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You must stand up tall and proud, within you feel no fear,

For all you dreams and goals, sit before you very near.

With God's love in your heart and the world by its tail,

You'll always be my winner, and victory will prevail.

   R. 14th bday 064

For you this poem was written, with help from above,

To tell you in a rhythm of your Mother's heartfelt Love

~ Kay Theese

R. 14th bday 071 Happy 14th Birthday Marie!!! Hope you had a great day today and this past weekend when we celebrated your day. This year instead of a party you decided you wanted to just go to the mall and go shopping. We spent 1.5 hours in one store, Forever 21, but it was fun nonetheless. Daddy and McKenzie couldn’t take the fun of shopping so they walked the mall while your sisters and I shopped. This year your sister’s spoiled you and picked out cute little gifts when you were not looking.

Madison picked out a cute ring that you had showed her online. The funny part of the night was when you got the ring stuck on your finger right before cheer practice, whew, we got it off with a little bit of elbow grease.

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Mikayla chose some snazzy earrings that are right up your alley and hers for that matter.  Be aware that she will be trying to wear them in the next few years… you two have similar styles.

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Montana spent her hard earned money on a cute little tote bag for you. She picked it out and knew just what she wanted to get you when we got into the store. It’s a perfect little bag for you to use for cheer practice too.  I love how she wrapped it all by herself in the Halloween theme bag… too cute!

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McKenzie really enjoyed spending time with you today and she really loved the cupcakes.

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JgtntoXKW28JDaddy and I spoiled you big time this year, but you deserve it.  You asked for an iPhone and will get one when the iPhone 5 is released. You have had your current cell phone for over 4 years, so it’s time to upgrade. I just hope that Daddy spoils me so on my birthday…after all who are you going to have facetime conversations with if I don’t have an iPhone too (hint, hint) :-)

Love you always Miss R. Marie!!!

TOS Review ~ Brill Kids – Aesop’s Fables


Earlier this school year I had the opportunity to review Brill Kids Little Reader program.  Well, now they have an additional way to help promote literacy among young children through  a series centered around Aesop's Fables.  I was given the Volume 1 set of two to review.

books-aesops-01-01_thumbVolume 1 includes the following titles:

The Turtle and the Rabbit                                                                        The Fox and the Crow                                                                           The Boy Who Cried Wolf (our favorite)
The Lion and the Mouse 
The Fox and the Grapes

So, what’s so special about these books? Well,  the illustrations are bright and eye catching with rhyming text to capture and hold the child's attention. Each book has a special flap which is used to cover the illustration, so that the reading is concentrated on. Once the words are read then the child is rewarded with the picture.  I really liked this concept, it gives the child's imagination a chance to wander and get a picture in their head of what they are reading or being read.

books-aesops-01-08_thumb4aesopsFLAPopen-01-09I read these books to my younger girls and we all enjoyed them, the baby a little too much as one of our books has bite marks and drool warped pages. Everyone enjoyed the hide-and-seek flap design and it made the stories even more fun.  If you were trying to use these books with a beginning reader you would find that they are not phonetically graded readers, so your child may find several words that they do not know. However, the beauty is you could take your time focusing on learning the  new words and learning the moral of the story.

The 5 book set of Volume 1 costs $37.50 (normally $50). For me that price is a little steep for paper back books that have to withstand the hands of a book loving toddler. Honestly, it would be hard for me to justify spending nearly $40. on this set of books.  Did these books help my babies read? No, but they introduced them into the world of Aesop’s Fables and for that I can unconditionally recommend them for your family too. Two thumbs up!!!

You can read what my Crewmate’s thought of this series here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of Brill Kids – Aesop’s Fables books in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

078 ~ 365


Have I ever told you how much I love my Odyssey? Love. Love. Love! Yes, there are times when I reminisce of our days of driving our Denali, but then I am jolted back into reality when I pass the gas station and have no regrets of making the trade. Do you see that average fuel consumption? Yes, your reading that right; 22.3 MPG !!! And I still have a half a tank of gas left. Seriously I love it!!!


Friday, March 18, 2011

077 ~ 365


Aahhh…in our very near future, X’s 3 (this round).  We had our dentist/orthodontist appointment bright and early today. Things went well for check ups and  McKenzie tolerated the 2.5 hour wait as well as expected. Montana loved getting her teeth cleaned, no pictures for her this time.  I don’t blame her though, those x-rays a a bit uncomfortable.  End result is that Marie needs her 2nd phase of braces and bands, Madison needs her mischievous tooth extracted and the first round of braces treatment on the top, Mikayla needs to brush more diligently (we’ll just leave it at that) and needs two baby teeth extracted to make room for the permanent teeth along with some fancy spacer. Mikayla thinks she is getting the sparkly gold platted bands (bottom left), not!!!!

I am off for now, because I have to find the perfect place in the yard for my money tree to go, LOL!!!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

076 ~ 365


enjoying the sandbox at co-op.  McKenzie loved it so much she even had to taste the sand, yuck!!!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

074 ~ 365

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TOS Review ~ Apologia- Who is God?

Authors: John Hay & David Webb
Publisher: Apologia Press
Phone number: 765-608-3280
Format: Textbook
Prerequisites: None
Target Age: 6-14
Price: $39

Let’s face it, from fun stories, questions and answers, or study guides Bible curricula comes in many different shapes and forms.  Apologia Press has developed a new way to learn about God and develop a Biblical Worldview, simply by having conversations with your child in their new book, Who is God?

Our children are bombarded on a daily basis with competing messages. Every song, movie, book, TV show, blog, and game is full of ideas—ideas about truth, morality, beauty, identity, faith, and more. Not all of these ideas are true. Some are wrong, some are deceptive, and some are outright destructive. It is more important than ever that young children be equipped to discern among competing ideas and stand in the truth. This is why Apologia has teamed with Summit Ministries to bring you the "What We Believe" Series. The "What We Believe" Series is an outstanding way to teach your child the essential beliefs of the Christian faith, but it’s so much more! With this student-directed, Bible-based curriculum, your children will learn how to use Scripture as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it—and know the truth.

~excerpt from the book, from the Apologia website

This hard bound book is the first in a series called What We Believe.  Don’t be misled at first glance because there are only 10 chapters in the book, they are big lessons!  This series of books were created for 6-14 year old and can be used either individually or together as a family devotional.  Each chapter is broken down into smaller manageable sections to include the following:

  • The Big Idea ~ An introduction to the new topic 
  • What You Will Do ~  Lesson Objectives
  • Short Story ~ A short story that gives a glimpse of characters around the same age as your child with differing world views to reinforce the lessons in real life circumstances.
  • Think About It ~ Critical thinking questions  to check for understanding of the lesson.
  • Words To Know ~ Vocabulary words and definitions to write into student notebooks
  • Hide It in Your Heart ~ Two Bible verses to be memorized and written in the student notebook. 
  • Integrated Learning ~ Ties the lesson concepts to interesting articles with other subjects, such as history,art, math, and science.
  • What Should I Do? ~ Highlights a specific character trait and applies it to the child’s life.
  • Prayer ~ Each lesson ends with a prayer that can be adapted to use as a family.
  • Worldview Study ~ gives children a concrete way to remember who they are in God’s kingdom and teaches them how to begin to recognize their own Christian worldview and start to understand why people believe differently from they do.   
  • House of Truth ~ As an optional hands on memory aid the children build the foundation, walls, and roof of the house. All the while getting to see a real life picture of their life in God’s kingdom. In this book the foundation and one wall are completed.  
  • Lesson Plans ~ Daily guides are provided to complete each lesson within two weeks.

    To see a preview of a lesson, click  here.

    Apologia has 3 additional books in this series and they all sale for $39.00 each.

    Book 2, Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? Available now

    Book 3, Who is my Brother? And Why Do We Need Each Other? Fall 2011

    Book 4, What on Earth Can I Do? Available 2012

    Also available are the additional add-ons including a 64-page coloring book ~$8.00, audio mp3 CD ~ $15.00, and a notebooking Journal ~ $24.00.  Another great bonus is the wealth of information found on the website to support each lesson. In addition to notebooking pages, there are teacher helps and answer keys. 

    We worked our way through the first 4 chapters of  Who Is God? with my three older girls (13, 10, & 8) with my preschooler (4) listening in.    Since we are currently using Apologia science programs we were familiar with its easy, conversational read.  This book is an excellent starting point for heart to heart conversations and to get the girls point of view.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the activities and learning.  The quality of the book is superb, it withstood the little sweet toddlers grip, and that is saying a lot!  Bible time was relaxed and thoughtful and the girls loved the notebooking activities.  We would recommend this book with two thumbs up!

    Find out what my other crewmates thought by clicking here.


    I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of Who is God by Apologia Press in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

  • Monday, March 14, 2011

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    072 ~ 365

    misc March2011 086I am down and out with food poisoning from our celebration yesterday. If I ever eat a buffet again, just kick me in the stomach…for REAL!  This is a pretty lame picture, but it’s all I could muster for the day…