Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Memoria Press


I had the privilege of reviewing the Third Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press. Memoria Press produces Classical Christian educational material for Pre-K through 12th Grade. 


The books included in this set are:
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder 

These books can be purchased through Memoria Press if you do not currently own them. For the review I did not receive the books, I only received the guides.  

Great literature is like food, it nourishes a child's mind and takes them on a journey of imagination to places that are new and exciting. My 7 year old was excited to begin. She chose to begin with A Bear Called Paddington. Most of this review will focus on this book since each book takes approximately 6-7 weeks to complete. 

A Bear Called Paddington is definitely a favorite children's classic and I was anxious to share this journey with my 2nd grader. This is her very first chapter book to read on her own. She did really well and it was fun for both of us. 

A Bear Called Paddington Student Study Guide 
The guide was divided into 8 chapters the same number of chapters included in the book. Each chapter in the study guide is broken down into 6 sections:
  1. Reading Notes
  2. Vocabulary
  3. Comprehension Questions
  4. Quotations
  5. Discussion Questions
  6. Enrichment

Before reading it is suggested that the parent review unfamiliar vocabulary. For instance, a few of the words that I had to explain were pence, rheumatism, bush hat, and toggles. These words are found at the beginning of each chapter in the study guide labeled, Reading Notes. Both the unfamiliar terms and words are given as well as a definition. 

Next, after reading I went back to the study guide with my daughter to complete the rest of the sections. In the Vocabulary section the child is supposed to try and figure out what the unfamiliar vocabulary means within the context of the reading. For instance, "It was very rickety." As my daughter read each chapter I notated where the vocabulary words were located within the chapter. For each of the vocabulary words listed I went back and read the sentences before and after and then had her give me a meaning in a word or two. 

Comprehension Question were next. I opted to have my daughter read the questions aloud and then give me an oral answer instead of her writing out the answer. For us this just worked out much better. My 2nd grader tends to be very wordy and I did not want to bog her down with trying to figure out how to write what she was thinking. This also turned out to be a great discussion time. Many times she would compare the movie to the book. 

I love quotations from books, movies, and famous people in history. I loved the Quotation section and so did my daughter. For some reason quirky, funny, and insightful quotations tend to stick with you. Some of my daughter's favorite quotations in the book were:

"I'm sure you must have had lots of wonderful adventures."

"It's nice having a bear about the house."

"Yes, I like Paddington as a name. Paddington it shall be." 


The Discussion Questions are a great opportunity to discuss not only thoughts pertaining to the book but also provides the opportunity to introduce concepts that may be new and unfamiliar to your child. For example, one of the discussion questions talks about Paddington's strong sense of right and wrong. As my daughter and I discussed how Paddington displayed these attributes it led into a great discussion about how important it is to listen to our conscience because often times it alerts us when we are making decisions of importance. 


My daughter's favorite section was the Enrichment ideas. These hands-on activities are fun, educational, and further build upon events, places, and other interesting stuff in the book. My daughter had fun coloring a picture of Paddington. She located London and Peru on the map. We researched the currency in Europe. My daughter had fun retelling her own experiences at the seaside after reading Chapter 7, Adventures at the Seaside, and reading about Paddington's experience. 

Included in the study guide are quizzes, each covering several chapters, and a final test. This is the perfect opportunity to see how well your student comprehended. The multiple choice and matching portions of the quizzes and test I had my daughter do on her own. For the short answer and essay I had her do orally. 


I cannot wait for my daughter to begin reading the other books in the 3rd grade bundle. Memoria Press has truly chosen some of my all time favorite children's literature. I have six children and I have fond memories of reading all of these books with them. Thank you Memoria Press for making my sixth go around so enriching!!! 

Charlotte's Web
As I browsed the Student Study Guide I was drawn to the Appendix and the amazing resources added to the study. There is a great Biographical Sketch on Elwyn Brooks White (aka E.B. White). We are all familiar with the heartwarming story the unique friendship between Wilber, the runt pig, and Charlotte, the barn spider. 

If your child is fascinated by spiders, Memoria Press, has a full page about Spiders as well as a labeled diagram of a spider in the Appendix.

The Appendix also has three poems that fit perfectly with the Charlotte's Web study. One of my favorite children's poems, The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Hewitt is listed. 

The Student Study Guide has some features that I really liked. I was drawn to the Elements of Literature and Storyboard pages. The student analyzes a character, setting, and plot and then uses the storyboard page to draw the particular scene from the book.


Mr. Popper's Penguins
Who doesn't love the story of Mr. Popper's Penguins! The story is about Mr. Popper who is a house painter. He is surprisedly gifted with a penguin from a South Pole explorer. This is only the beginning of the craziness because soon the one penguin turns into twelve!!!!! Mr. Popper starts a stage show with the penguins to help pay for their upkeep. 

This book provides a great opportunity to get in some geography. At the end of the story Mr. Popper moves to the North Pole to establish a penguin colony. This offers a great opportunity to continue your students knowledge into this cold arctic region as well as learn some more about penguins. 

The story of Mr. Popper is truly a dream come true in most children's eyes. The study guide asks the student to come up with their own "wish trip". We all know that children's imaginations and dreams are BIG and this is the perfect opportunity for them to draw, write, and tell about their wish trip.  

Need a bit of music appreciation? One of the suggested activities is listening to Schubert's "Military March" and Franz Lehar's "Merry Widow Waltz". 

Farmer Boy
As a child I read through the Little House on the Prairie series more than once. I was so happy that one of these books was included in the 3rd grade pack. 

The Appendix contains some really fun stuff. Not only will your child learn a bit more about Laura Ingalls Wilder's life but they will learn about 19th century education. Most children have little or no knowledge of farm life and equipment. Well, Memoria Press has drawings and descriptions of some of the common farm machinery of the 1800's. When your child reads about a "fanning-mill" in Farmer Boy they can go to the Appendix and see just what it looks like and how it works. 

Your child will be introduced to many unfamiliar works in the book such as: poultice, whetstone, and "tan your jacket". Before reading each chapter you can look through the Reading Notes and Vocabulary so that as your child reads they understand these terms. 

In one of the Enrichment activities you student will learn a very interesting literary term, ONOMATOPOEIA. Now that is a mouthful. For those unfamiliar with this term it "occurs when a word imitates a sound or sounds like what it describes." Using sentences found in the reading your child will underline words that are examples of onomatopoeia. 

In Chapter 22 your child will read about candle making. In the Enrichment activity for that chapter your child will list out the steps for candle-making. I am almost certain that most kiddos will then want to try it out "for real".

Which of these books my daughter will choose next!!! I will be sure to blog about each of our next three experiences with Farmer Boy, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and Charlotte's Web. Stay tuned.....


Final Thoughts
I absolutely LOVE Memoria Press and their literature sets. I will most definitely continue to use these in the future with my children. I would highly recommend these sets to others. Go check them all out. 

To read more reviews click HERE

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Logic of English



I had the opportunity to review Essentials ~ Multi-Level Reading, Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary, 2nd Edition, by Logic of English with my child. This new, improved, and expanded curriculum covers three levels of instruction. This curriculum is designed for children 7 and up. 

I will say that when I first began looking at all of the components to this curriculum I was COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED!! There was so much stuff to look through and figure out. As I began sifting through the material, I soon realized that even though there were many components to the curriculum it all fit together in an easy to use system. Each component is kind of like a helper. 


I received the following:
  • Essentials Teacher's Guide, Volume 1
  • Essentials Consumable Student Workbook, Volume 1
  • Consumable Student Spelling Journal
  • Morpheme Cards, Set 1
  • Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Spelling Rule Flash Cards
  • Grammar Flash Cards
  • Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Phonogram Game Cards - Bookcase
  • Phonogram Game Cards - Manuscript
  • Phonogram Game Tiles
  • Spelling Analysis Card
  • Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference Guide
  • Essential Reader Set (pdf download)
This PAGE provides an amazing overview of the curriculum!!

Logic of English Essentials guides the student and parent/educator step by step through each of the 15 lessons and three levels of difficulty (A, B, & C), with EASY to follow daily instructions. 

For the Student
Logic of English truly sets the student up for success! Placement Tests ensure that your child is placed exactly where they need to be to be successful in the program. Whether your child is beginning with phonics, and phonemic awareness or they are ready to master morphology, grammar, and composition, they will gain a great foundation. Since my daughter started with Level A, it was reassuring knowing that for three years my daughter would be able to build upon her knowledge using ONE style and method of learning. My daughter eagerly worked through Level A without any tears. This program utilizes a multi-sensory approach. Every day the student hears the lesson being taught, interacts through speaking, writes, reads, and uses hands-on learning tools. 

For the Teacher
Logic of English makes the teacher's job easy and uncomplicated. From the Introduction which thoroughly explains EVERYTHING you need to know to successfully teach Essentials to the Placement Test and Pre-Lessons, I was confident in my ability to teach. Each scripted lesson is broken down into detailed, color coded instructional material for the teacher. Each lesson also includes side margin Optional Practice and Teach Tip boxes to further aid the teacher and student.


Morpheme Flash Cards
Morphemes are the smallest meaningful linguistic units of a language. In Level A there are 10 morpheme cards. The front of the card gives the morpheme and the reverse side gives the part of speech, language origin, and two examples of words containing the morpheme. While we only utilized Level A cards, in all, there are 109 total cards between the three levels.



Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
"The heart of Logic of English curriculum lies in teaching the phonograms." So what are phonograms? Phonograms are a one letter or group of letters that make a specific sound.


Phonogram
(phono, sound + gram, something written)

Phonograms are foundational elements of written language. There are 74 basic phonograms that make up 98% of the English language. Essentials comes with two sets of phonogram cards, Basic Phonogram Flash Cards and Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards. Since my daughter is working through Level A we only utilized the Basic Phonogram Flash Cards




Spelling Rule Flash Cards

The English language can be really frustrating for the student. Basic phonetic rules teach the student one thing but then there is the exceptions that do not follow. This set of cards are wonderful reference tools to help the student remember as well as reference on their Essentials journey.



Spelling Journal
Phonogram & Spelling Rule Quick Reference Guide
One-Syllable and Multi-Syllable Words Spelling Analysis Quick Reference Guide 
The Spelling Journal is an empty dictionary that the student creates using Logic of English phonograms. The two reference guides give students the ability to reference essential information without having to search through the lessons to find rules and phonograms. I had my daughter review these tools daily before starting her lessons. 


Grammar Flash Cards
Beyond learning to read, write, and spell students will spend the rest of their elementary, middle, and high school years learning GRAMMAR!! Starting with the basics of nouns and verbs to how and when do I use a comma, your student will build a solid foundation in grammatical usage. I have always loved flash cards for helping my kiddos learn important information. We took grammar cards with us in the car and to appointments for her to read through to further reinforce grammatical rules. The cards made it easy on me because she was able to sit and work on these on her own. 


Red Manuscript & Blue Bookcase Phonogram Game Cards 
Phonogram Game Tiles
Does your child loves playing games!! Learning phonograms is a bit more fun with this game. Each deck of cards contains 74 phonograms. We played the game a couple of times but my daughter had more fun just sitting and making words out of all of the tiles. 



The Essentials Reader, Essentials Reader Student Activity Book, and the Essentials Reader Teacher's Guide were accessed through pdf downloads. I printed two of these and put them in 3 ring binders. Due to the cost of printing the Essentials Reader due to needing color copies I decided to access it using the laptop and iPad. My daughter liked that the reader was on her iPad instead of being in book form. I really liked the corresponding activities that followed the reading selection in each lesson. 


Using Essentials
My 2nd grader used Level A. Each lesson is broken down into 5 days lesson plan. Due to our family dynamics, I opted to take 2 weeks to complete each lesson. The slower pace was definitely for us. My child really enjoyed the variety of activities. She quickly became familiar with the layout and what was expected with each section. My daughter's least favorite section was Spelling Rules. According to her, "There are just too many rules. Why can't they just be spelled the way that they sound." My daughter's favorite sections were Dictation, Reading and Vocabulary.  The 5 days for each lesson are broken down into similar daily activities:

Day 1

  • Exploring Sounds
  • Spelling Rules
Day 2
  • Review
  • Spelling Journal
Day 3
  • Review
  • Grammar
  • Dictation
Day 4
  • Review
  • Vocabulary
  • Dictation
  • Reading
  • Composition
Day 5
  • Review
  • Check Your Understanding


Final Thoughts

Overall, I was impressed with Logic of English. The curriculum is very user friendly for both student and educator. Having 3 levels in one curriculum was a huge draw for me. I would definitely recommend this curriculum to others. For those using the program for more than one child this would be a great program due to the multi-level set-up. It would be easy to teach multiple levels at the same time, therefore cutting down on time. The one drawback is that this curriculum is intensive. There is a lot going on in the curriculum and it does take a good chuck of time each day to complete. This may not be ideal for all students. 


Essentials, 2nd Edition, Volume 2 will be coming out January 2017!!

To read more reviews click HERE.


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Monday, March 28, 2016

Homeschooling when not at HOME

Homeschooling can be quite a challenge when you have kiddos with chronic health conditions. Sometimes our house seems more like a pharmacy/hospital ward than an actual home. Some weeks we spend more time in hospitals and doctor's offices than we do at home. The wonderful advantage of homeschooling is that you can take your work where ever you go. My kiddos have learned to be flexible with where schooling takes place. If they are not feeling well we focus on one or two subjects and let the rest slid. Eventually everything gets done but it is on our timeframe and at their individual pace. 


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Basket Fun

Scientific Explorer
Ice Age Creator Kit

For Easter I got my 9 year old daughter the Scientific Explorer ~ Ice Age Creator Kit. My daughter loves animals and it an inquisitive child. It was a hit!!! She absolutely loves it and now wants more kits. With the Ice Age Creator Kit your child gets to:
  • Grow A Crystal Tree
  • Make Instant Snow
  • Make Snow
Some of the fun transforms right before your eyes while some of the other stuff takes hours or days.





I would highly recommend this kit to other parents. 
Educational and Fun!! 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pickled Picasso


Today three of my kiddos got to be artists at Pickled Picasso




"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint.' then by 
all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." 
~Vincent Van Gogh~


Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Good Friday



This 3 year old tells the wonderful story of Christ and His sacrifice for mankind.


Easter is about Christ's sacrifice for us!! He willingly took 
upon Himself the sins of the world while on the cross. Because
of Christ's sacrifice the free gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal
life is ours if we acknowledge our depravity, that we are sinners 
deserving of death, repent, acknowledge that it is only through 
Christ that we can receive forgiveness and eternal life.


Good Friday with the kiddos.





Tuesday, March 22, 2016

FishFlix.com



Our family got to review Superbook: A Giant Adventure - David and Goliath from FishFlix.com. Superbook brings Bible stories to life through their Emmy nominated series. This DVD is 25 minutes in length. FishFlix.com is a one stop online source of great Christian movies to inspire as well as entertain.

A bit about FishFlix.com:

  • both DVD and Blu-ray collections available
  • a wide variety of genre
  • gift cards are available for purchase
  • FREE shipping on orders over $40
  • movie reviews
  • competitive prices 

A bit about Superbook: A Giant Adventure - David and Goliath
Join Chris, Joy, and Gizmo the Robot as they travel back in time to learn about David's bravery fighting against, Goliath. As the story of David and Goliath unfolds, Chris learns about courage and bravery. If David could stand up to a giant like Goliath, Chris surely can face his own fear of playing his guitar in front of a crowd.


Family Discussion Guide is included with the DVD. After viewing the movie the guide provides a great discussion opportunity. Using scripture references you and your child can further discuss how God used David to slay Goliath. There are three divisions to the guide:
  • A Special Gift
  • A Fierce Battle
  • An Amazing Victory
God not only saw something special in David but God also sees something very special in each of us. Even in battle, God uses destruction to bring about His glorious plan. When we succeed in anything we do in life we need to be sure to give God glory.

The study guide has questions and scripture references to help guide you in finding the answers according to what scripture has to say.

Just like David, we all face adversity and challenges. On question that is asked is, "What are some ways God can help you with them?" Using 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 you can see just how God helps.


I am always happy when I know that what my children are watching is wholesome. This video not only retold a classic Bible story but it taught a great lesson that my children can carry with them in life. Even though this video is for kids the adults watching were entertained as well. 

What my movie critics had to say.


Phoebe, age 7:

"I really, really liked the movie. My favorite part was at the end when Goliath was shot down. Chris was scared and nervous but after he saw what David beat Goliath he wasn't scared anymore. I thought the movie was going to be longer. I was surprised at how short it was, but that is okay."

Karis, age 13:

" The video was pretty good for a kids video." 

Asher, age 6:

"I like the robot. I like David and Goliath."

Liam, age 3:

"David got Goliath."

Megan, age 9: 

"This video reminds me a lot of a certain storybook collection we have where someone goes back in time to the Bible days. I think it taught a good lesson. Kids always like Bible stories like David and Goliath. I would watch it again."

Final Thoughts
FishFlix.com is a great source for family friendly movies and videos. You can find many other Superbook DVD's on FishFlix.com. Head on over to the site and check out all of the amazing media. 

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To read more reviews click HERE.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Exploring Nature and Culture

My daughters and I enjoyed an amazing night watching
The Little Mermaid the Musical. 



Most of my daughters are dancers and so this performance
was a very special treat. The production was amazing!!





Enjoying the beautiful Spring weather. 






Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day ~ Irish Prayers and Blessings





An Irish Prayer
May God give you..
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.


Remembered Joy
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free!
I follow the plan God laid for me.
I saw His face, I heard His call,
I took His hand and left it all...
I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss...
Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.
My life's been full, I've savoured much:
Good times, good friends, a loved-one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief—
Don't shorten yours with undue grief.
Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,
Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.

Bless This House
Bless this house, o Lord, we pray.
Make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout,
Keeping want and trouble out.
Bless the roof and chimney tall,
Let thy peace lie over all.
Bless the doors that they may prove
Ever open to joy and love.
Bless the windows shining bright,
Letting in God's heavenly light.
Bless the hearth a-blazing there,
With smoke ascending like a prayer.
Bless the people here within...
Keep them pure and free from sin.
Bless us all, that one day, we
May be fit, O lord, to dwell with Thee.