This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 8th year of homeschooling using a Classical approach.

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



Friday, March 23, 2012

TOS Review ~ Action Alert

 

PhotobucketWe all know that the internet possesses a dangerous threat to anyone who searches on it.  One mis-slip of spelling and you can be in for a whole world that you did not bargain for.  With our advanced technology, we are inundated with opportunities for our children to search the web, from there cell phones to tablets…internet access is everywhere!  Action Alert can help combat the internet world.

Action Alert has eight different tools to help you combat the internet world safely on your family computer. 

Photobucket           For many parents, it is a struggle to balance the benefits of the internet with the potential dangers to their children. Action Alert was designed so that your family computer can be kid safe in just seconds.

Creates a kid-safe PC - with web site blocking and filtering
Control Computer Use - with comprehensive time controls
Get alerted - know if anything suspicious occurs and review activity

~ from the website

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Action Alert offers two options for protection, a free protection and a Maximum protection that costs $29.99. The company offers a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee. If you try Action Alert in your home for 30 days and  you decide you are not satisfied with it, Action Alert will refund you 100% of the purchase price. Currently Action Alert is the only internet safety solution endorsed by The Child Safety Network and they have been featured on television and won many awards.  The internet is a scary place…protect your family with Action Alert today!

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Product ~ Action Alert

Price ~ Maximum Protection $29.99

Platform ~ PC or Mac

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I received a subscription to Action Alert, 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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Marie!


Happy 15th Birthday Marie! 
Wow, where has the time gone? 
So glad that we are lucky enough to be your parents. 
Happy Birthday and many more!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring

saige blooming

Madison is becoming quite the little photographer these days. This is her photo that she submitted for a blooming assignment.  The world is waking up and things are starting to bloom, which is all very lovely and refreshing.  Unless of course you suffer from allergies.

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 19, 2012

TOS Review ~ Progeny Press Literature Guides

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Our family has a fond affection towards good books and let me tell you literature guides make reading even more enjoyable! Have you ever checked out the  literature guides from Progeny Press? Progeny Press has been a family owned and operated company since 1992. They produce high quality literature guides from a Christian worldview ranging from lower elementary years through high school. They literally have 100+ guides and add 3-6 new titles each year ranging from lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school. They have got you covered!

At Progeny Press we are committed to teaching good cultural literature, examined from a Christian perspective. We believe in the equation "Biblical Truth + Cultural Relevancy = Effective Christians." Take away biblical truth and Christians become no more than a religious subculture-- salt without saltiness. Take away cultural relevancy and Christians become isolationists with no impact on the world-- lights hidden under bushels. We believe in looking at the world clearly and openly with the Bible firmly in hand.

Our purpose is not to bring you only "safe" fiction, but to teach literature that is well-written and that will help students develop and refine how they deal with man's philosophies in relation to God's word. Progeny Press examines literary terminology and technique in good, cultural literature to equip students for understanding the craft of writing and to enhance their joy of reading. With these things in mind, we promise to bring you good literature, provide good literary analysis, and measure it by the light of scripture.                          ~ from the website

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We received a downloadable interactive PDF copy of the study guides for the novels Across Five Aprils and The Screwtape Letters. The suggested length of time for finishing a study guide is 8-10 weeks, however you can adjust this on your reading voracity. The first week is used to read the book and then each study guide takes the reader through two chapters of the novel at a time and focuses on several different literary concepts. Vocabulary is addressed in many ways to make sure the reader has a full grasp. First students are required to define several words, determine word meaning from its context and then double check their guesses in a dictionary. Vocabulary words and definitions are also presented to be matched and there is a vocabulary activity in multiple choice format. Using a thesaurus to study definitions is also taught.

 
Also included are several comprehension questions which ask the student to recall events from the book and analyze them. Literary devices such as similes, synonyms, foreshadowing, hyperboles, juxtaposition,metaphor, personification, and idioms are reviewed and how they are presented and used in the text are studied. Character studies include studying personalities, reactions to events, and events in general in light of Scripture passages relevant to the storyline. I love that each guide takes care to draw the student back to the Bible.

As you can see each guide includes a variety of elements, depending on the level of the study. Check out the sample of the types of questions and information contained in the guides at the website. To make navigation on the website easier, literature guides are categorized by both genre and grade-level. The guides are extremely user-friendly and are currently available as a print version, CD in PDF format, and email as a PDF attachment. The new interactive format allows the student to type in the answers directly on their computer screen which is awesome! I also love that there is no limit on copying pages for use within our home/school.  Progeny Press Guides are economically priced from $10.99 to $27.99. Check out the online catalog for individual pricing on all the available guides.

We enjoyed our literature guides and will be purchasing more in the next few months for summer reading and next school year.  Check out what my Crewmates thought by clicking, HERE.

Progeny Press would like to thank our active military by offering 15% off all orders for active military personel.

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Company ~ Progeny Press

Product ~ Across Five Aprils, The Screwtape Letters

Price ~ $10.99- $27.99

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I received two interactive PDF downloads from Progeny 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.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TOS Review ~ The Art of Argument

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Have I mentioned before that we are Classical Homeschoolers? Well now you know and knowing is half the battle :-) Currently we have students in all three levels of the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.  Recently we were offered to review the Art of Argument  from Classical Academic Press.  We were sent the student and teacher books as well as the DVD disk containing fallacy discussions  of the first 7-8 fallacies ($88.95).

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“Logic is a fascinating subject for students in middle school or high school. As a fundamental part of the trivium, logic study will impart to students the skills needed to craft accurate statements and identify the flawed arguments found so frequently in editorials, commercials, newspapers, journals and every other media. We regard the mastery of logic as a “paradigm” subject by which we evaluate, assess and learn other subjects–it is a sharp knife with which we can carve and shape all manner of wood. Mastery of logic is a requisite skill for mastering other subjects.”                      ~ From Classical Academic Press

Thoughts from Marie:

I liked the examples of the different types of arguments and thought the examples were funny.  Overall it was easy to learn and fun at the same time. 

According to the Classical Academic Press website the Art of Argument text contains the following in order to teach the 28 fallacies:

  • Dialogues
  • Worksheets
  • Real-World Applications
  • Phony Advertisements
  • Dialectic Discussion Questions
  • Tests
  • Fun extras such as a humorous skit for students to perform, and the famous short story, Love is a Fallacy by Max Shulman

The Art of Argument has been revised to include:

  • Improved chapter and unit organization for greater ease of use
  • Fallacy explanations rewritten for clarity
  • Many added and updated examples
  • Ten new and revised advertisement illustrations

I used this study of Logic with Marie and it was fantastic! We were able to complete about two fallacies a week and she seemed to enjoy it which is always a plus! We will continue to use this book until the end of our school year and hopefully continue on with the next book.  We would recommend this program to anyone looking for a fun way to learn logic! Check out what my Crewmates thought by clicking, HERE.

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Company ~ Classical Academic Press

Product ~ The Art of Argument, basic bundle

Price ~bundled price $88.95

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  I received the Art of Argument basic 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 product provided.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up ~ Wk 22: 3/5 girls sick

wk221It has been a bad week, but I know it could be a whole lot worse. So I am thankful.

Thankful that my girls are now on the mend. Thankful that the 103.9 fevers have left their bodies.

Just.plain.thankful.

School went on as usual on Monday only. Above is one of Madison’s vocabulary cards/words for this week.  I love how she puts so much detail into her work.  Montana struggled to finish her lessons that morning but when we went out to recess with our  neighbors look what she did!

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She wrote her math double facts 0-5 and wrote 3 sentences.

The cat ran.

Montana had dog Mason.

Montana has a dog Mason.

I think we need to take advantage of the weather and use the driveway as our chalkboard for learning.

  Tuesday eveningsickness 005

Friday afternoon

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The rest of the week was spent just nursing the girls back to health. As I write this on Saturday evening, Mikayla’s fever has come back so she will  be getting another dose of Motrin soon.  McKenzie is feeling better too and she has been her normal 2 year old self while Madison seems to be on the mend.  Everybody is eating again which is really good. They are all very lean as it is they don’t have much body fat to lose.

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The girls friends and coaches from our homeschool group and gymnastics are great!  Several have called or messaged me to check on them and see how they are doing and if we need anything. I got a personal message from the head coach on Friday afternoon and it warmed my heart with the kind words she has about my girls.

wk225 It is Daddy/Daughter time again in our house.  Marie is up first this time and the she and the Lt. are sprucing up her room.  As much as it pains me to let them paint, especially when I hear, “Babe, where’s the Resolve?!?” 2 minutes into starting the project {YIKES!}, but I let them do it, ALL! Marie picked out a Turquoise color called Nautical from Lowes.  It is a little bright for my tastes but it is growing on me and I am trying to just go with the flow. I will do another post once the room is all spruced up and perdy.

That is how our week went, how was yours? Consider linking up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and see how other’s weeks went as well.

P.S.  Montana wants me to let you know that at gymnastics today Coach Scott said she was the “Beam Queen”, she is over the moon on cloud 9!

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 3in30 Goals

February flew by and I missed linking up my goals…but now that March is upon us I am ready to get back at it.

 1. Finalize curriculum plans for 2012 ~ 2013:

FlibraryA decision needs to be made as to whether Marie is going to High School or staying home.  I prefer the latter, but the ultimate decision is in the Lt.’s hands. I have given my input and all I can do is wait for the decision and keep praying. My budget is set so I need to finish finalizing curriculum choices for the younger girls.

 

2. Link up TOS Reviews sooner:

BlogRoll I am a procrastinator by nature.  I do my best work under a deadline.  Stressful at time, yes! My goal is to have my review written and ready to go no later than the third day that posting begins.

3. Menu/shopping:

Grocery shopping is not at the top of my list of favorite nor fun things to do, by far. Currently I go to the grocery store weekly erasmus-booksand I have to really psyche myself up for that.  A few weeks ago I read on Mrs. Taffy’s @ My Life on a Taffy Pull about her grocery groanings. The post spoke to me on more than one point. So for the month of March I am going to do grocery shopping twice and I am going to make the drive to the commissary.  I plan on going shopping either on Saturday or Sunday depending on our competition schedule because during the week practice schedule is too hectic.

Do you have any goals you need to accomplish?  Consider linking up with the 3in30 and get them done!

3in30 Challenge

TOS Review ~ Reading Eggs

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Need a little bit of fun to spice up learning to read for your children?  Check out the online program Reading Eggs.  Reading Eggs introduces beginner readers to the world of reading through interactive stories and games with fun characters. Your children aged 3-7 will learn everything from letter recognition, phonics, to reading early readers while using this program. To capture and hold a young child’s attention and make the reading experience multi-sensory there are also puzzles, games, and songs to make the process F-U-N! Do you have an older child?  No problem, Reading Eggspress {a sister part of the Reading Eggs World} is geared towards older children, aged 7-13, to encourage fluent reading.

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Learning to Read with Reading Eggs:

Learning to read is an important skill for all children, we wanted to

make it an enjoyable experience for children too. Children love

working and playing on the computer and the Reading Eggs

program is all about bringing out the best in each child.

We created Reading Eggs as a unique online world where children learn to read. It supports each child’s learning by offering individual, one-to-one lessons that allow children to progress at their own rate.

                                                                  ~ from the website

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When you first sign your child into Reading Eggs, the first step is for them to take an assessment test. This “test” consists of 40 questions multiple choice questions. Once your child has missed 3 questions, the test is over and your child will be placed in the appropriate level.  There are three levels of play with 4 learning boards in each level. Level 1: Lessons 1- 40 Starting Out for the beginner; Level 2: Lessons 41-80 Beginning to Read for the emerging reader; Level 3: Lessons 81-120 Building Confidence for Early Readers. No need to worry about your child skipping ahead lessons as they are locked so you follow the natural progression of the program. As your child progresses through the different levels you  can track her progress on the map.

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So, you are probably wondering how much this great program costs, right?  Well, there are a few different way to purchase  Reading Eggs.  A 12 month subscription is available for $75.00;    6 month subscription is $49.95 or you can also choose monthly at $9.95 if you do not want to make such a lengthy commitment. To coincide with the levels of the program, Reading Eggs also offers book packs, however, the book packs were not a part of this review.

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We had a great time using the Reading Eggs program! Montana would ask to “play” before doing her formal school work. After completing the assessment, Montana was started on the 5th learning board on lesson 41.  She has quickly progressed to lesson 50 and will be jumping to the next learning board. McKenzie loved to sit and watch and she even tried to get into the action by playing the bubble pop game.  All in all, we recommend Reading Eggs for anyone looking for a fun and exciting reading supplement.  We received a 3 month subscription for the purpose of this review and have enjoyed it.  However, I do not know if we will continue and renew our subscription, solely based on cost factor. It has nothing to do with the program because it is superb, it is just my budget. I do however, recommend you try out the 14 day free trial and see if it is right for your child.  You can’t go wrong with that.  Check out what my crewmates said about Reading Eggs, here.Photobucket

Product ~ Reading Eggs

Price ~ A 12 month subscription is available for $75.00; 6 month subscription is $49.95 or you can also choose monthly at $9.95.

Ages ~ 3-7 years old

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I received a 3- month subscription to Reading Eggs, 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.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Coming back

I am starting to narrow down our curriculum choices for next school year.  A task that brings joy and stress all at the same time.  However,  I welcome it as I see it as a time of reflection of what worked this school year and what did not quite work for our family. Let me share with you some of the changes that I know we will be making.


Sonlight Customer Heirloom Level Sonlighter Club
Core IGs:
Core P3/4 Core B Core D Core G
Core H
Language Arts IGs:
Language Arts 1 Language Arts 2 Language Arts D Language Arts G
Science IGs:
Science B

Tapestry of Grace to Sonlight:

While the thought of having all of my girls studying the same history time period brought joy to my heart…it just did not work. Period. Marie had switched backed to Sonlight, Core 100 in October and upon reflection for Madison and Mikayla I was tailoring the TOG to be just.like.Sonlight.  I love the concept of TOG, I really do! The book selection and the craft activities are awesome for my craft loving girls, but it just did not work for us. With that said, we will be switching back to Sonlight for the 2012 school year knowing full well that the girls will all be in different History time periods.  And I am O.K. with that! Come August we will be studying Cores D, F, and 200 {if Marie is staying home…more on that later}. As of right now, I am anxiously waiting for the new Sonlight catalog to hit my mailbox.

Latin for Children to First Form Latin:

Can I just say I really love Memoria Press materials! The way the material is presented and taught appeals to me and the girls learning style. Latin for Children is a great program too, don’t get me wrong, you can read my review I wrote last year.  The girls have learned a lot from it and I will continue to use them for Montana and McKenzie’s Latin learning. Madison and Mikayla will be learning FF Latin while Marie will continue with Henle {if staying home}.

Rosetta Stone to ???:

Hmmm…can anybody recommend a Latin American Spanish program?  I am not displeased with Rosetta Stone, I just wonder if there is something else comparable to it?

So, that is what I have for now.  Are you making any curriculum changes to your homeschool next year? I would love to hear what you are planning.