Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 ~ A Review

My daughter helped me review the Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 from Hake Publishing. With the built in concept of continual review in addition to new concepts being introduced along the way students are set up to be effective communicators. The program covers grammar, writing, spelling, and vocabulary. 

There are a total of 111 grammar lessons, 22 tests, and 21 writing lessons in this curriculum. The set-up of Grammar and Writing is similar to Saxon Math for those that are familiar with that set-up. It is very important that lessons are started at the beginning and are not skipped. The program in designed to build upon previous lessons and therefore skipping lessons would not work. Each lesson begins with a Grammar Meeting that is scripted in the Teacher Guide. This is more for a classroom setting and doesn't really apply or work well for a single homeschool child so I skipped this part. I did go over the Vocabulary section with my child. Next, is the Lesson portion of the program followed by the Review Set. In the Student Workbook lesson portion students will have opportunity to practice the new concept being taught in addition to examples shown. The Review Set gives the student more practice of concepts learned in previous lessons as well as what was just learned. Repetition, repetition, repetition!!

The Teacher Guide is very user friendly and easy to follow. It is definitely set-up for a classroom type set-up but can easily be adjusted for the homeschool setting. 

A basic overview of what is covered in Grammar and Writing 3:
  • The Paragraph
  • Self Evaluation of Essays
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Personal Narrative
  • Descriptive Essay
  • Chapter Summary
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Eight Parts of Speech
  • Sentence Structure
  • Diagramming
  • Usage
  • Spelling Rules
  • Vocabulary Development 

A full Scope and Sequence of not only 3rd grade but also 4th-8th grades can be looked though to see in greater detail what all is covered. 

Grammar and Writing 3, Writing Workbook is used at various points, usually after a chunk of lessons are completed. It is suggested that students keep at daily writing journal for daily writing practice. Becoming an effective writer is critical and in this years curriculum students will be guided in developing the tools to develop those skills. 

This curriculum was not a great fit for our family. With that said, I always encourage others to please go and explore the site for themselves. What doesn't work for one family or child might be the perfect fit for you. I think that it does a good job at covering the skills and concepts needed to prepare the student but doesn't quite give enough practice problems to ensure that the student has fully grasped the concepts before moving on. Even though concepts are continually reviewed I do not feel it is enough. I was a bit underwhelmed by the Writing Workbook and would have liked to have seen more in the way of content. It does not really draw the student in and get them excited to write. 

To read more reviews click here.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Runtamuffin Tale

A Runtamuffin Tale is a charming farm tale about farm owner Lasse, barn girls, fourteen chickens, a very protective dog named Bodo, and a prize-winning horse named Mariett. This hard cover children’s storybook is 57 pages in length. The illustrations by Marc Beauregard master painter and muralist add a sense of endearment to the story.

A Runtamuffin Tale begins when fourteen baby chicks come to live on the farm as a birthday gift for Lasse. The barn girls insist that each chick needs a name. The smallest of the chicks, a small, tiny little speckled brown hen needed an extra special name. They decide to name her Runtamuffin, Runti for short. Runti soon becomes a favorite and gets lots of special attention. The barn girls learn how to build a hen house in order to protect the chickens from invaders such as coyotes, snakes, and raccoons. Bodo the dog soon becomes a loyal watch dog for the chickens. As the chickens grow and are let out to explore the farm they soon discover the horse barn and are very intrigued. Upon further inspection, they met Mariett, a very special horse who tell the chickens fascinating stories about her many travels. Mariett is a show horse. Some of the chicks become jealous and want to be just like Mariett. A big surprise is on the way when Mariett comes home from one of her trips.

My daughter said, “I really enjoyed reading this book. I love animals and “A Runtamuffin Tale” made me wish that I could visit that farm. I would love to meet all of those chickens, especially Runti. I would love to brush Mariett and watch her race.”

This is definitely a book that I would recommend to others. After reading the book it would make a great tie in for visiting a local farm or petting zoo for a field trip. Young children will be drawn to the illustrations as well as the storyline.

I reviewed this book for The Old Schoolhouse ® Magazine, LLC, February, 2018 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Navajo Code Talkers

The Navajo Code Talkers played a vital role in WWII. With the recent death of 
Samuel Tom Holiday, one of the last remaining Code Talkers, 
let us not forget the important role that they played. 

Navajo Alphabet

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Brain Tap

This past week I downloaded a new session entitled, Nourishing Family Love. "In this session, Dr. Porter will help your child nurture the most consistent source of love and gratitude--the family.   They will acknowledge how family inspires them to greatness and to understand that family is the most constant source of loving fulfillment.  They will go to sleep each night knowing that family supports and nourishes them every day in every way and can help build their self-esteem with strong and noble ideas.  Your child will go to sleep each night knowing that family love is eternal."

I had all five of my kiddos take the 11 minutes out of their evening to listen to this amazing session. 

So what exactly is Brain Tap? 

Check out the amazing AUDIO LIBARY!

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

While my husband is away serving his country for a year I continue to closely follow the work being done by The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts where he is employed. I am in complete awe by the amazing work being accomplished by the team, under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Wallace. You can follow them on Facebook and online at CSNTM. I am in awe of the manuscripts that they find and are able to preserve for all to reference and enjoy for generations to come. Look at some of some of their recent finds.

Marginal drawings in a 13th century manuscript. 
(pictures taken from the CSNTM Facebook site)

Part of Jesus' genealogy from Luke 3

Check out their pages and sites to find out more about the amazing work they are doing. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Memoria Press ~ A Review

Classical Composition I: Fable Set from Memoria Press. This curriculum is for grades 4th-12th. In Fable Stage: Discovering the Skills of Writing, students begin learning how to use words to engage the imagination of the audience.

What exactly is the Fable Stage?
"The Fable Stage is the first of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata (i.e., the "before exercises"). In this stage students read and imitate fables, which are short tales that usually have talking animals or other mythical elements. Fables are a good place to start your writing career. They are short, entertaining, and teach us wise lessons about life. Most importantly, fables are easy to imitate." 

The Fable Stage of Classical Composition includes twenty lessons, each lesson following a similar routine. Many of the fables found in this curriculum are fables that your student most likely will be familiar with from earlier grades such as; The Ant and the Chrysalis, The Hare and the Tortoise, and The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. 

Each lesson has 8 steps which include:
  1. The Fable
  2. Variations: Part 1
  3. Outline
  4. Narration
  5. Paraphrase 1
  6. Paraphrase 2
  7. Variations: Part 2
  8. Final Draft
Each step is explained in detail in the Teacher's Manual. 

In The Fable students read aloud the fable, decipher difficult words, identify recognition, reversal, and suffering, and narrate the fable. In Variations: Part 1 students paraphrase words and sentences. In Outline students will summarize the fable, in outline form, in their own words. In Narration students retell the fable using the outline that they made. In Paraphrase 1 students will use figures of description while rewriting the fable trying to stick to the original fable as closely as possible. Students will then work at paraphrasing their outline using sentences for each point in the outline. Next, in Paraphrase 2 students will work at reducing details from their first paraphrase. This can be tricky. They need to ensure that they do not cut too much but enough that the reader can still follow and understand the story. This is where students learn to work on adding details without the fluff. Next, Variations: Part 2 cleaning up. Final Draft students will complete their final draft to turn in. 

I absolutely love the encouraging words as they start out on their journey before they begin this curriculum. It says, 

"As you begin your journey in writing, do not become discouraged by how big the task appears. The journey has been divided into stages to help you. As you go, make the most of each stage. Enjoy them -- they can be very fun! Do not rush. Rather, follow the example of the tortoise: ' Slow but steady wins the race.' "

Isn't that amazing advice?

Each lesson took my daughter about two weeks to complete. We could have pushed through in a week but with all of her other school work she just felt overwhelmed and I wanted to really get quality work and have her get the most out of the curriculum. Working at this pace has worked well for us. It has given her time to really focus on detail and thinking through the processes of each step. 

I really liked that my daughter was able to plop the DVD in the computer and listen to the lesson and I didn't have to worry about teaching the lesson. My daughter didn't particularly enjoy the DVD lessons as she said that they were boring. I have to agree with her. The teacher is dressed in a suit and tie and is so formal looking and so serious. I would be so much better if the lessons were presented in a more relaxed fashion and not in such a formal, intimidating manner. I would like to see something to draw students interest a bit more and help keep their attention. The DVD's do utilize typed graphics, but again it is very underwhelming. I wish that the DVD's were not so formal. 

I absolutely loved this curriculum and so did my daughter. It not only was a great way to strengthen her writing skills but it helped her work on creating outlines, revising, and focusing on detail. I would highly recommend this curriculum to others. For my daughter who is going into the 7th grade this was the perfect fit grade level wise. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Critical Thinking Co.™ ~ A Review

Over the past weeks my 7th grader has been playing the part of forensic detective with "A Whodunnit Forensic Mystery" in, Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha, from The Critical Thinking Co.™ This workbook is designed for grades 5-12+ grades. 

My daughter had so much fun sleuthing her way through the clues in Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha. To be honest I think that it took a bit of detective work on my part to figure out how to get my daughter started on her investigation work. Ideally, the workbook is set up for students to work in groups of small teams working together to solve the CRIME. 

Something's fishing at Lake Iwannafisha. Human bones in the woods. A dead body in a burning shed. Counterfeit money in the fishing cabin. Throw in a couple of guns and a few bullets and you've got yourself a real mystery. 

So what will you student be doing:
  1. analyze witness statements
  2. analyze forensic evidence
  3. learn about different types of forensic evidence
  4. apply critical thinking skills and forensic knowledge to solve the case
  5. working as part of a team
The Teacher Section clearly states (For Teacher's Eyes Only) because the information in this section contains evidence, reports, and the final case reports as to "who committed the crime" that you as the sergeant (teacher) will need to provide your student if you get in a pickle. 

My daughter was so excited and loved working through this detective "who done it" workbook. She loved reading through the Forensic Evidence Lessons and learning about all of the ways that detectives use to solve forensic crimes. 

What happened at Lake Iwannafisha?

  • Who is the dead man?
  • What happened at the cabin?
  • How many people are involved?
  • What vehicles were involved?
  • Counterfeit Money?
  • Hidden evidence?
  • Who witnessed the crime?
  • Arson involved?

Did my daughter solve the case? YES! I did have to give her some helps along the way but she did it. My daughter took about 5 days, spending about 2 hours or so a day working through playing detective to solve the crime. 

Over the years my six kiddos have worked through many of the materials put out by The Critical Thinking Co.™ Overall, I was quite pleased with this curriculum. Critical Thinking is an important tool and The Critical Thinking Co.™ does an amazing job at preparing the student to be able to think critically. I will definitely continue to use The Critical Thinking Co.™ in the future. I would also highly recommend this curriculum to others.

“If we teach children everything we know, their knowledge is limited to ours. If we teach children to think, their knowledge is limitless.” 
 Michael Baker, President of The Critical Thinking Co.™

To read more reviews click here.

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Confetti Eggs