Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September's What We are Reading?

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Since the kids are reading a lot more books on their own this year. I figured I'd share what they are reading each month. This list will include books for history, English literature, and free time reading. I figured I add in what I'm reading too!

This month is a little light since we are just starting school!

My list... 
The Summerhouse
The Book Thief
The Red Badge of Courage

**I have 3 books I working on since I'm reading the books the kids are too.

Michael's List...
The Red Badge of Courage

Therese's List...
The Book Thief

What are you reading this month?

Till Next Time,

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Review~ Vocabulary Builder from Roman Roads Media

Learning Latin and building a strong vocabulary is very important to us. When we were asked to review Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder from Roman Roads Media, I was thrilled. I was hoping this would help with those dreaded PSAT and SAT tests that are looming right around the corner for Michael and Therese. I was also hoping they might actually enjoy learning Latin.

Roman Roads Media are publishers of classical Christian curriculum. Their goal is to make high, quality curriculum that is accessible and affordable for the Christian homeschooling family. Roman Roads Media has used the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of many masters and teachers in the classical education community. Working together, they now are able to offer students a fantastic curriculum. The curriculum uses a variety of materials: books, the internet, and videos to help students learn. They offer a wide selection of courses for students of all ages.

For this review, Michael, Therese, and I were given the opportunity to work through Picta Dicta~ Vocabulary Builder. This course is geared for students in junior high school, high school, and college. Students will learn over 1,000 Latin words and concepts. They will focus on reading various vocabulary words. The words, they will work through, include nouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositions. By working through the Vocabulary Builder course, students will be able to read Latin proficiently. This will help them with their language skills. The course uses a variety of tools to help students learn.... pictures, sounds, contexts, definitions, translations, lexical information, and so much more.

The course includes a few variations allowing for different degrees of difficulty. This allows students to find the right level for them. This allows students new to Latin and students more familiar with Latin to find the right path for them. Every student will be able to find the course challenging, but yet achievable. 
The course cost $79, price is subject to change so please check the website for the most accurate pricing. Each additional student is $15.This fee covers a 14 month time period, so students get a little over a year to complete the course.

How We Used Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder?

I set up an account for Michael, Therese, and myself. Each of us were able to have our own account that would keep track of where we were in the program. The program is broken up into campaigns. There are over 120 campaigns for the student to complete. Each campaign covers a specific topic. The first five campaigns, for example, cover the map. The next four campaigns cover Back to School. After these campaigns, students are then given two campaigns to review the vocabulary learned in the previous campaigns. 

When learning about The Map, we worked through five campaigns.
Campaign 1~ Learn
Campaign 2~ Choose
Campaign 3~ Spell
Campaign 4~ Forms
Campaign 5~ Test Forms

The Learn section is were students are introduced to the word, the part of speech it is, various forms of the word, and of course, the meaning. Students should spend plenty of time reviewing this section. Reviewing and getting this section down will help them in the later sections.

The Choose section is were students get to put their knowledge to work. Students are shown a word and then have to select the correct picture the following page. If the student get the match correct/incorrect they will know immediately. If the word match was incorrect, the student will get more opportunities to get the match correct as the lesson goes on. The progress of the lesson is noted in the upper right hand corner. Students will know instantly where that are at. If they need a break no problem, just hit the arrow in the top right corner, save, and exit.

The next section is Spell. This is the most challenging (and frustrating) in my opinion. Students are expected to look at a picture and then be able to spell the Latin word. This is were working on the first campaign for a few days will come in handy. Some of the words are fairly easy. Students see a picture of water and have to spell aqua. Others are not so easy, especially for my non spelling kiddos. My suggestion is if they get frustrated just stop for a little bit. Just be sure to hit save when you exit. 

Forms is the next section. This is were students will get to write the various forms out for the vocabulary word. This again requires some studying of the vocabulary words. I'd love to see an option to be able to print out the vocabulary words in a flashcard form. 

The final section is Test Form. This section test what the student has learned. Once this section is completed, the student can move on to the next topic.

Students need to work through the lessons as they are scheduled. I haven't found a way to skip sections or to jump ahead. Students can go back a review sections that have been previously completed for further practice.

What Did We Think of Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder?

Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder is a solid course to introduce students to Latin. It immediately jumps students into the program. It's a little different from other Latin programs we have used.The first campaign seemed a little odd at first. Students were given words like man, small, sea, river, island, and a few questions thrown in. This was a little odd to me. After a few times working through the campaigns, it seemed perfectly fine. I think we just had to get used to a different style.
I do wish they had an option for the vocabulary words to be printed out, either in a flashcard style or a note page. This would be helpful for families with limited internet capabilities and for those crazy days when storms roll in an knock out the power. We've had a lot of that this summer and are currently facing the affects of hurricane season right now. Fun times!

Set Up was fairly easy. We did mess up at first. I couldn't figure out how to change in between the three of us. I had all of us working under my name. I finally realized how to get them logged in under their own names, so now they need to go back and complete the lessons under themselves. This will just allow for more practice, which I admit they need. 

Want to learn more about the courses Roman Roads Media has to offer? 
Check them out on social media....

Be sure to stop by to read what the other crew members had to share! The crew members also reviewed Picta Dicta Natural World and Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric.

Till Next Time,

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wordless Wednesday~ Fall is here

Happy Fall!

I have to admit that these are old pictures of our fall trees. It keeps raining here so it hasn't been a very pretty fall yet. 
Hopefully things will change after this storm we are getting hit with right now.
How's your fall going so far?

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Fall is here....

Till Next Time,

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Review~ Online Grammar Program from GrammarPlanet

The kids and I were given the chance to review a new online Grammar program from GrammarPlanet. Today, I get to share with your our review of  this grammar program.

What is GrammarPlanet?

GrammarPlanet is an online, comprehensive grammar program for students of all ages. The program is geared for students ages 10 and up, but you know your child so you can be the judge. I will say that the student does need to have a strong understanding of grammar to work through this program. If they don't, they may find the program a little frustrating. Students will learn grammar, punctuation, and the proper usage of the English language. Whether the student needs to learn what a noun is or just have a refresher course about how to use quotation marks, GrammarPlanet can help. This fun, fast, and free grammar program can help any student master the ins and outs of the English language, which all know can be tricky.

The course is currently broken up into 13 units. More lessons are being added weekly. Each unit will cover an important grammar topic. Nouns, verbs, conjunctions, clauses, punctuation, and agreement are just a few. They even offer review units after after a few lessons. The lessons do need to be completed in order, no jumping around. 

GrammarPlanet is free, but you can purchase a subscription so that you don't have to worry about ads that pop up. For this review, we received subscription to the ad-free version. The lifetime, ads-free subscription is $39.

So How Does GrammarPlanet Work?

Each student logs into their own account. They start at the beginning and work their way through the units. So for example, Unit 1 is about Nouns.
The lessons contain a teacher led video, a note sheet to print out (this is highly encouraged), and exercises to complete. Once the exercises are completed, the student will be given a test to complete.

So once Therese logged in, she printed out the PDF note page. I had her store the note page in her English binder for future reference. 

She then started each lesson by watching the video. The videos for the lessons vary in length. Most are few minutes to about 10 minutes. The longer videos are usually the lesson that are teaching a more difficult concept. After the video, she completed a few activities. 

The nice thing about GramamrPlanet is that it's a learning program. So, the amount of problems given will vary for each child. Don't worry though, if your child knows their stuff, the program will move them more quickly towards the test. If you child is struggling a little, the program will work more slowly and allow them to master the concept before testing them. 

What did we think of GrammarPlanet?

The set up process was fairly easy. It took me a week to be able to log in and set up the account because of our horrible internet. Once our month reset, things were great. I was able to set up an account for both Michael and Therese after I set up a teacher's account for myself. The teacher's account is a great way to keep track of the work they are doing. GrammarPlanet even sends updates to you with the students progress or if they haven't logged in for awhile. This leads me to my next point. 

 This was a difficult review for us. We had a very hard time with logging in. At first, I thought it was because of our internet, but other members had issues with the program too. I do know the company did a fantastic job helping them out and trying to get things corrected. For us however, our internet was the main issue. Each month, we only get so much download allowance. Well, the last 2 months have not been good. We've used up our "unlimited allowance" and had our speeds drop considerably. For some reason, the GrammarPlanet site was greatly affected. I would try to load the page and the little circle would just spin and spin! After waiting 10-15 minutes for the page to load, we'd just give up. Most sites will load eventually, but GrammarPlanet just wouldn't load. The kids were just frustrated, which I understand completely. No one wants to spend an hour trying to work through a 15 minute lesson. Our internet last month was wiped out in 4 days, so needless to say we were not able to work through the program like I wanted to. 

Our internet just reset, so I'm hoping to have the kids each work through 2 lessons a week. The site currently is loading exceptionally well and the lessons are working out great. I figure this will be a great way to reinforce the grammar curriculum we are already using. Now that school is officially back in session, their internet use for frivolous stuff is limited and of course dad is back to work too. Both of these will help with our horrible internet. This is just one of the the few downfalls of living in the sticks!

O.K., so we are  little behind for this review, but from what I have seen I have to say it's a fantastic program. It's a strong, comprehensive program. I know if they work through a few lessons each week, their grammar understanding will improve greatly.

Discover More About GrammarPlanet...

Be sure to read the other reviews posted by the Review Crew Members. 
I know they have a wealth of information to share.

Till Next Time,

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Our Favorites Things for School

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Back to School Blog Hop

Where to begin! We have so many favorite things for our homeschooling journey it will be difficult to share it all.

Back to School Traditions....

In the past, one of our favorite homeschool traditions was attending Mass with our local homeschool group at the start of the year. Following Mass, we'd head to the church hall or a nearby park to share a yummy breakfast and some quality time with friends. We no longer join the group for this event, since the majority of kids my kids were friends with are no in the local schools. We miss seeing everyone, but understand that each family has to do what is best for them. Other than that, I don't have any back to school traditions. Maybe I'll try something new this year!

On to supplies.....

#1 Ticonderoga Pencils~ No other pencil will do. The erasures are great and the tips don't break off constantly. Ever year, we buy a few new packs! If you ask the kids, there is no other pencil brand.

#2 Avery Binders~ Strong and Sturdy. That last year after year. We've tried other brands only to have them break in the middle of the year. We know pay a little more, but are able to use them for a few years!

#3 Crayola Colored Pencils~ These are perfect for maps and timelines. They color evenly and work great. Again no other brand will do, unless you're creating works of art and then you need "real" colored pencils. That's a whole different list.

#4 Glue Sticks~ With unit studies and lapbooks, we have used our fair share of glue sticks. Elmer's glue sticks are our favorite.

#5 Canon Printer~ Over the years, I planned the majority of our lessons, so our printer has been our lifeline. We had other brands, but the Canon has been the most cost effective for us. Don't forget the printer paper. We buy a big box at Costco and it lasts us the entire year.


Classically Catholic Memory~ A Catholic curriculum that covers Latin, geography, math, science, history, great words, and religion. It's great if you're homeschooling multiple ages.

RC History~ A classical approach curriculum that covers history, religions, and great literature.

Homeschool in the Woods~ A fantastic resource for timelines, hands-on lap books and unit studies.

Rod and Staff Math~ A classic approach to math taught how we learned math back in the day. This program has been a life saver for Therese.

Mater Amabilis~ A free Charlotte Mason Catholic curriculum for all ages! The resources are amazing.

Ambleside Online~ A free online curriculum inspired by a classical, Charlotte Mason style.

I was going to share a few our favorite books, but that would take too long. Over the years, I've shared quite a few of our favorites.  You can read about a few our favorites here.

Be sure to check out these wonderful ladies that are participating in the back to School Blog Hop!

Wendy @ Life at Rossmont Yvie @ Gypsy Road

Till Next Time,

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Why I'm Thankful to Be Homeschooling

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Well it's that time of year! The local schools kids are heading back one by one. As fewer kids are seen out and about, the questions and comments slowly pop again. You know they ones!

Are you out of school? 
Do you go to a private school? 
Why are you not in school today?
Do you plan to homeschool the entire time?

These are just a few of the questions we homeschoolers face whenever we venture out during school hours. In years past, we've been questioned almost ever time we were out. I will admit that last year there were fewer comments and so far this year we've only had one.

Instead this year, we have been met with people asking if we homeschool. It has grown considerably around our area so that may be why. The best part is when we answer yes, we have been praised for our decision. No snide remarks, no quizzing of the kids, or disgusted looks on faces. It's amazing how the times have changed in just the 10 years we've been doing this!

I have to admit that I get very uncomfortable with the praise given at times. People say they admire what we are doing, how we're doing the best thing possible for our kids, and so on. I often find myself at a loss for words. What do you say when you constantly doubt yourself? There isn't a day that goes by that I don't question one or two decisions I've made. I always have that nagging fear in the back of my mind that I am somehow screwing my kids up for life. The sad thing is I know I'm not the only homeschooling mom out there with this fear! I love my kids and want what is best for them, so why would I mess this up. I research and carefully pick everything out, but I still let that little thing called doubt creep in. It would be nice to fully trust yourself, wouldn't it?

Even with all my doubts and fears, I am thankful that I have been blessed to be able to homeschool both my kids. I have been there for all the ups and downs. I've seen the light go one when they finally figure something out, held them when they've cried out of frustration and disappointment, seen the excitement when they create something amazing, and the disappointment when something fails. I've spent everyday of their lives with them. I've been able to see them grow from curious toddlers to independent thinkers. The closeness we have could never happened if they went to school.

I love seeing the way they've grown together. Partners in crime, best friends, and opponents in the ring. No it's not always days filled with roses. We have sunny days and days that feel like we are living in a hurricane, but it is all worth it. I would never trade the joys we have experienced.

So as we get ready to start HIGH SCHOOL, I am both fearfully and amazed. I'm nervous at this knew conjunction in our lives, but excited to see where the next few years take us. My babies are slowly becoming adults....even if I'm not ready for it just yet!

How are you feeling about this upcoming year?

Dot' forget to stop and visit the ladies participating in the 5 Days of Back to School!

Marla @ Jump Into Genius 
Christine @ Christine Howard

Till Next Time,

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