Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Biomes~ Diving into Marine Waters

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Next stop is the ocean. 
We didn't spend much time on this biome at home since the kids were doing Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day with our local homeschool group. A fantastic mom in our group volunteered to teach the kids. It was wonderful. The kids had a blast in class, learned a ton of information, were able to do some cool experiments, and see their friends every week. Us moms were able to have 2 hours to do whatever we wanted!

One of the projects she had them do was to create an ocean biome. Here's what Therese came up with. 



and Michael's creation...


We did check out A Journey into the Ocean (Biomes of North America) from the library. This series is amazing and the books are incredible. They are filled with lots of information and stunning pictures!



Till Next Time,
Monique




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Friday, June 8, 2018

E is for the End of the Year {Blogging Through the Alphabet}

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Blogging through the Alphabet





It's the END of the Year! The school year that is!

It's hard to believe another school year has come and gone! I'm thrilled to say that we have finished up all our classes, except math. Math we do year round for multiple reasons....to help stay fresh and on top of it, to catch up to grade level, and to practice areas where the kids may have struggled.

This year seemed like a busy one, but in reality it was probably one of our less busy years. Our local co-op had most of it middle school and high school kids head off to school last september, so most of the events were geared for children 10 and under. This obviously was not a great fit for my two teenagers. This shift in activities has forced us to look elsewhere. We've discovered a few things, but are still on the lookout. What type of activities are your teens in? I'd love to hear some new ideas!

Overall, I pleased with how the kids did, but both could use improvement in certain areas. We will definitely focus on time management and planning next year.

So What Worked?

Religion
Faith and Life 8
Baltimore Catechism
The Case for Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Confirmation Prep (for both kiddos)
CCD~ Religious Education classes at our parish

Religion was by far the easiest course for us. No book changes were needed. Both Michael and Therese passed their Confirmation tests and Michael will be confirmed next fall. Therese has one more year of prep and then she'll be confirmed.

English
Easy Grammar Plus
Daily Grams 7

This was the most loved English curriculum. Both Michael and Therese learned a lot. The lessons were easy to follow, understand and complete. I would recommend this program to everyone!

Math
Therese-Rod and Staff Grade 5
              Rod and Staff Grade 6
              Rod and Staff Grade 7

Therese completed grade 5, is almost done grade 6, and will start grade 7 over the summer. She will be completely caught up for high school. I am so proud of all her hard work. She's worked hard, by doing 2 lessons a day and completing lesson on the weekend.

Michael- UnLock Math Pre-Algebra
               Teaching Textbooks Algebra 
               Saxon Algebra 1/2 
               No-Nonsense Algebra...WINNER!!!!!
             

Michael had a few issues with both these programs. UnLock math had to many changes occuring in the beginning. Just when Michael would start to figure out how things were laid out, the system would change. He got to frustrated and then admitted he really dislikes doing math online. He prefers a book and paper. So we switched to Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra. He hated this! I know lots of homeschooling kids love it, but he thought the explanations were overkill. He quickly got bored, started out the window, and ending up wasting too much time. For our third switch, we went back to Saxon Algebra 1/2. I knew this was not going to be a hit, but we had it so I figured we'd try it. Half way through the book, I was tired of fighting, loudly encouraging (yelling), and pulling my hair out.I pulled out No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials from our shelf. We had started it, but stopped when his other math course was taking to long. I can't tell you how much I LOVE No-Nonsense Algebra. Math has become so much easier. No fighting, no tears(mine), and no blow-ups. Math is done and done correctly. He understands the lessons explained in the book and if he doesn't he logs into watch the video lesson. He loves the instructor. He's no boring and doesn't drag out the explanations. This is perfect for the advanced math student. Neat, simple lessons. No frills, no drawn out explanations. I need to see if they offer geometry!

Latin
Memoria Press First Form Latin
Chant CD

I'll admit it. We gave up on First Form Latin. The kids didn't really want to learn it. I wasn't the strongest in it and I figured if we we focused more on word roots and vocabulary, the kids would do fine. The can choose what language they want to learn when they start high school. Michael is currently deciding that right now.
We continued learning our Latin hymns.

Poetry
The Harp and the Laurel Wreath
Shakespeare

We finished reading The Harp and the Laurel Wreath. We've enjoyed the variety of poems included in this book over the years.
For Shakespeare the kids read Macbeth and worked through the Macbeth study guide from Progeny Press.

Geography
Map Trek CD
Mapwork will be based on our history studies.

History
American History~ 1920's to the 1990's
Home School in the Woods The Industrial Revolution Through the Great Depression
Home School in the Woods World War II
Great Literature
Collection of my own resources

We spent a lot more time on World War I and World War II. We briefly got into the 1950's-1990's. I know both the kids will get this history again in a few years, so I'm not too worried.

Science
Biology for the Logic Student
Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology

Both these science books were a little too easy for the kids. After working through high school level courses, these seem like they were too simple. We ended up working through both books at a faster rate and I added more to the lessons. The best part of either of these programs was all the hands on activities and experiments.

Government
Founding Fathers~ A co-op class with our homeschool group. The kids will learn all about the 13 colonies, the founding of our government, and our government now. I'm very excited about this class, since it's being taught by a mom who used to work down at the Capital before she had kids.

Electives
Therese
    Photography

Dance & Drama~  Therese tried out for the play but didn't make it this year. There's always next year.
Sewing

Michael
    Cooking
    Life Skills & Outdoor Survival Skills (Bush Crafts)

Art
ArtAchieve
I'm still working on this one.

We love this program.....Great lessons that are fun to do!

Music
Listening to various music form our history time period

Clubs
4-H (we're trying out a new club for homeschoolers that was created this summer) 
~4-H was a no-go. The group was mostly little kids. There was just not enough teens to keep the kids interested in going.

Saint Zita's Home Ec. Club (Therese only)

~We finished up the year in May with an Ice Cream social. It has been fun the past few years, but is interested n=in bigger and better things!


How did you year go?



Till Next Time,
Monique





Kirsten @ DoodleMom
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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Review~Classical Composition I and Classical Composition II from Memoria Press


Memoria Press Review

Writing is an area in our homeschooling that my children still struggle with, so when we were offered to review a writing curriculum from Memoria Press I was beyond thrilled! Michael and Therese were given the option to work through the Classical Composition I: Fable Set and the Classical Composition II: Narrative Set.




Memoria Press is a leader in the classical christian homeschool curriculum.  Over the past few years, we have been blessed to use a wide selection of the curriculum from Memoria Press. We've studied Trees, Birds, States and Capitals, Literature, and Latin. You can read my review for.... First Form Latin and 5th Grade Literature Set.

Classical Education


For this review, we received the Classical Composition I: Fable Set, the Classical Composition II: Narrative Set, and the Classical Composition Accelerated I Fable and Narrative Stage Lessons Plans.
The accelerated lesson plans allow students to work through the material at a quicker pace. This lets them complete both programs within 34 weeks. Students would spend 18 weeks on the Classical Composition I: Fable Set and 16 weeks on the Classical Composition II: Narrative Set. 





The Classical Composition I: Fable Set comes with a Student Book, a Teacher's Guide, and Instructional DVD. The course is geared to students in grades 4th through 12th. Students will begin to learn how to use words to write engaging stories and bring to life the imagination of the reader. It will help students write more creatively and have less boring stories.

Classical Education


The Student Notebook is spiral bound. The beginning of the book contains instructions for teaching the lessons, an introduction to the Fable Stage, and a Definition of Terms used throughout the book.The Student Workbook is broken up into 20 lessons. All the lessons deal with a different Aesop Fables. So for example, Lesson 6 is the tale about The Flies and the Honey-Pot.
The Lesson is broken up into 5 sections. Students will work on plot components, word variations (synonyms), how to create an outline, paraphrasing, and rewriting sentences to learn how to 
vary their sentences when writing. An appendix at the back of the book provides students with descriptions of the figures of description they will learn during the course.





The Teacher's Guide has all the same pages as the student book, but includes answers and suggestion for answers. The book also provides teaching prompts for parents or instructors. The appendix in the back of the book provides examples of the figure of description taught during the course.



The Instructional DVD is geared for the students. The lesson are well explained and lead the students through the writing process. The videos allow older students to work more independently.
You can watch a sample video of the DVD here.






The Classical Composition II: Narrative Set comes with the Student Workbook, Teacher's Guide Book, and Instructional DVD. The course is geared for students in grades 5th-12th.


The course is set up in the same way as the Classical Composition I:Fable Set. The student and teacher books are slightly thicker than the Fable Set. Instead of focusing on fables, this course focuses on narratives. Just a few of the narratives covered are The Song of the Vineyard, The Frog Prince, The Good Samaritan, and The Foolish Rich Man. Students will work on sentence variation, outlines, paraphrasing, and descriptive writing. This courses helps reinforce all that was learned during the Classical Composition I: Fable Set. Since the students will be reading longer pieces, their outlines and writings will be longer. This will help them begin to write more in depth work building their confidence and writing skills.

How Did We Use Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set?

For this review, we received one full set for one students of each course. I purchased an additional student workbook for each course. I wanted both Michael and Therese to work through the program. Since the kids were older, we are following the accelerated lessons plans I describe earlier. For our normal 34 week school year, the kids will complete both the Fable set and the Narrative set.



The recommended schedule is spending 10 days on each lesson, which means about 1 lesson should be able to be completed in 1.5 weeks. We found this pace to be very easy to follow. There were a few days were we had outside engagements, so we did double up on a few days. Again, we found it very doable. 


What Did We Think of Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set?

I LOVED it and surprising the kids enjoyed it too. Usually they hate any writing course we use. There was no complaining from the peanut gallery!

I found the course to be well-done and easy to follow. The instructions were great. I loved how it focuses on increasing the students vocabulary, which will help them grow in their writing standards. No more boring, simple sentences. In the few weeks we have already completed, I have seen a tremendous improvement in their writing abilities. The first lesson, both Michael and Therese, struggled to come up with sentence variations. They ended up using a thesaurus, a dictionary, and some help from mom. By week 5, they were becoming pros at it. I was impressed with how much they had already learned in 5 weeks!

Both Michael and Therese found the instructions easy to understand. The prefered the outline explanation a lot better than another writing course we had used in the past. I'll be honest they hated the other one. The outline instructions from Memoria Press were clear, concise, and made the whole process make sense. This was their own words. 

This curriculum was a huge win for us. I am already looking into the next two courses. I love how Memoria Press has a suggested scope. It even offers suggestions, that are completely doable,  for students that start the program later. My only regret is not giving this program a try when the kids were younger. I honestly believe they would have been stronger writers. I know that if we continue with the Classical Composition courses, my kids will be stronger writers!




Click on the picture below to read more great reviews about curriculum from Memoria Press!






Till Next Time,
Monique




Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Biomes~ Traveling through the Tundra & and the Arctic


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. 



Our next two stops for our biome study are the Tundra and the Arctic. We choose to do these two envronments together since they are very similar. I'll admit Therese and I have no urge to visit either of these areas. Michael would love to see the ice caps and Polar bears.


Michael said all the animals, like the arctic fox and snow hare, are camouflaged so that's why no one can see them. I personally think he just didn't want to finish his diorama.



A few books we found at our local library about the arctic and tundra are.....

Arctic

Tundra



Till Next Time,
Monique

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Review~ Understanding Pre-Algebra

Pre-Algebra Review


Recently, Michael and I were given the chance to review Understanding Pre-Algebra from The Critical Thinking Co™.. Since he was already learning Pre-Algebra, I figured he could give this book a try and see how he liked it. And who knows, maybe Therese could use it next year.




The Critical Thinking Co™. offers parents and students a huge, yet wonderful collection of materials to help a child's learning. The have learning resources for the struggling learner, the gifted learner, special needs students, and test prep. We've used a few of their products in the past and even reviewed Editor in Chief for the crew.


For this review, we received a link to download the Understanding Pre-Algebra eBook. Understanding Pre-Algebra is geared for students in grades 6th-8th grade. This book is meant to be a full math curriculum. The book is available in two formats, a paperback book or a eBook. 


Understanding Pre-Algebra is a big book. it contains over 350 pages, not including the answer key. The book is broken up into fifteen chapters. 

Chapter 1~ Family of Numbers
Chapter 2~ Working with Integers
Chapter 3~ Working with Rational Numbers
Chapter 4~ Ratio, Proportion, and Percent
Chapter 5~ Percent Applications
Chapter 6~ Algebraic Experssions
Chapter 7~ Equations and Solving Problems
Chapter 8~ Inequalities and Applications
Chapter 9~ Understanding Square Roots and Irrational Numbers
Chapter 10~ Two Dimensional Geometry
Chapter 11~ Understanding Volume and Surface Area
Chapter 12~ Graphing on the Coordinate Plane
Chapter 13~ Transformation and Conqurency
Chapter 14~ Understanding Functions
Chapter 15~ Probability and Statistics

The book is standards based. It goal is to teach math and critical thinking skills that are needed for the higher maths, like Algebra and Geometry. It does include Final Exam for students to complete once they are finished all the chapters. At the back of the book, they have included a glossary of important math terms, a reference sheet, a table of square roots 1-120, and an answer key. The answer key only gives the answers. It does not show how the problems are solved. 

So How Did We Use Understanding Pre-Algebra?

First off, we are not fans of eBooks. Michael prefers to do math the old fashion way with a book, a notebook, and a pencil with a good eraser. So I printed out the ENTIRE book. I swear it took a whole ream of paper! I hole-punched all the pages and neatly put them in a 2.5 inch binder. A 3 inch binder would have been a better fit. Michael was already working through a Pre-Algebra curriculum (that he hated). I had him stop his current curriculum and start on the Understanding Pre-Algebra. I was hoping for a math program he would love and a program he would understand. Math has become quite a tedious job in this household. I have a child who onced excelled in math, but now hates it. He understands it, but dreads doing it. So my goal is to find a program that brings back his love of math!



To complete the program within a normal school year, students need to complete 2-3 pages a day. The chapters are broken up into section. I had Michael complete one section a day. So for example, chapter 1 had two lesson sections and one review section. It took him 3 days to complete the chapter. Honestly, he could have probably done the chapter in 2 days, but we were still getting the feel of the program. The lessons took him 15-20 minutes to complete the problems. His biggest obstacle was the instructions. He found them too long and slightly confusing. He felt that the instructions could have been explained in a simpler way and in fewer steps. They were too drawn out according to him. This caused frustration similar to our previous math curriculum. With frustration comes the battle to do the work. This is turn caused him to focus less and make very careless mistakes.



So What Did We Think of Understanding Pre-Algebra? 

I thought the book covered everything! It had algebra and geometry. It covered all the basics a student would need to succeed in their high school math journey. The book provided detailed instructions, lots of examples, and plenty of problems to work through. The glossary was fantastic. The answer key was a little lacking. A full answer key with the solutions for the problems could be very helpful for students and parents who might struggle with remembering the higher maths. For many of us, it's been over 20 years!

Michael was not a fan of this particular book. He actually asked to go to his original math curriculum. He felt is was a better fit and I'd have to agree it was a better fit.




Understanding Pre-Algebra would be a great fit for a student who does well in math. Someone who doesn't find math exceptionally easy or someone who struggles. I think it appeals to the average student which is great. That means a huge selection of students could benefit from this program. 

I did look it over to see if I'd use it for Therese, but I think it would just be too confusing for her. I do plan on keeping my binder and using the pages for the kids if they need some reinforcement. 
Practice makes perfect!


Just for our readers!

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Be sure to check out all the other great products the crew members reviewed! 
Just click on the link below.



                             


Till Next Time,
Monique










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