Thursday, March 28, 2019

Memoria Press ~ A Review

Over the past weeks my daughter has been working through and learning great poetry with Poetry for the Grammar Stage Set, Third Edition from Memoria Press. Included in the set is; Poetry for the Grammar Stage Student GuidePoetry for the Grammar Stage Teacher Guide, and Poetry for the Grammar Stage Anthology. The Grammar Stage encompasses grades 3-7. Poetry for the Grammar Stage is intended to be a supplement to the other academic curricula in the Memoria Press academia line of study. With that said, it can be used as a stand alone curriculum. 


There are a total of 32 poems in the anthology. Many of the poems you will be familiar with such as:
  1. The Lamb by William Blake
  2. All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Frances Alexander
  3. The Brave Old Oak by Henry Fothergill Chorley
  4. Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  5. O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

Student Guide

The poems within the curriculum align with the Memoria Press Classical Core Curriculum. The Student Guide includes the 32 poems found in the Anthology along with The Dwarves" Song by J.R.R. Tolkien. For example, The Happy Farmer by Unknown and The Hayloft by Robert Louis Stevenson align with reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder in Memoria Press Literature. Again, you can use Poetry For The Grammar Stage as a stand alone curriculum without feeling like the student is missing an extra component. 

So how exactly is the student guide laid out? Each poem has 4 pages dedicated to its contents. The first page has the poem written out and a space for the student to illustrate a portion of the poem. On the second page the student is to copy the poem in their best handwriting or cursive. The third page consists of likely unfamiliar vocabulary that the student might find within the poem, poetry analysis, 
and rhyming structure. Finally, on the fourth page the student will answer comprehension questions about the poem. 

My 5th grader worked through a handful of the poems in the Anthology and completed the pages in the Student Workbook. My daughter actually really enjoyed working through these poems. Some were definitely more challenging with regards to their meaning than others. After breaking the poems down and discussing them it was like a lightbulb went off in her head and they made sense. She really enjoyed illustrating a scene from the poem. Writing out the poem was great practice for perfecting handwriting and cursive. I really enjoyed the time that the two of us had together working through each poem. On average she spent two days completing all work for a poem. If I had her memorizing the poem I usually gave her about a week. 

Some examples of Comprehension questions asked are:
  • In The Lamb by William Blake the student is asked, "What is a lamb's 'clothing of delight'"? Answer ~ A lamb's wool because it is like their clothing. 
Gave thee clothing of delight, 
Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
  • In Try, Try Again by William Hickson the student is asked, "What are the reasons the poem gives to keep trying"?  Answer ~ You should keep trying because you will conquer, prevail, finish the race, and be rewarded. 
For if you will persevere, 
You will conquer, never fear,
Try, try again.

Once or twice though you should fail,
Try, try again;
If you would at last prevail,
Try, try again;

If we strive, 'tis no disgrace
Though we do not win the race;
What should you do in the case?
Try, try again.

If you find your task is hard,
Try, try again;
Time will bring you your reward,

Teacher's Guide
  1. Select a poem that moves you or your student. 
  2. Read the poem aloud while your student follows along. This allows your child to hear how the poem is to be read properly with sound, rhythm, emphasis, and enunciation.
  3. Ask your child to read it.
  4. Discuss the poem, it meaning, what is going on in the poem.
  5. Discuss how the title fits the poem. 
There are instructions given for how to teach a classroom setting as well. 

The Teacher's Guide includes the same exact pages as what is found in the Student Guide as well as pages written out with answers. 

Overall, I would highly recommend Poetry For the Grammar Stage to others. I really think that the curriculum does a great job of helping the student understand poetry. 

Social Media Links

To read more reviews click here.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Drive Thru History ~ A Review

My children and I have been navigating our way through another great adventure from Drive Thru History®. This is not our first time traveling with Dave Stotts, via video field trips exploring history or the Bible. This time we enter into the world of the first Christians as we study Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation". Drive Thru History offers multiple courses for students - Ancient History, American History, The Holy Land, The Gospels, and Acts to Revelation. Unlike most history curriculums Drive Thru History takes students on adventures as they travel with Dave Stotts, via video field trips exploring history. This curriculum is geared for students 6th grade and above. Younger students can glean from the curriculum from watching the episodes and answering the more simple questions with their parents. Older students can be challenged more by doing research outside of the curriculum on topics of interest, writing research papers, completing projects, and digging deeper into subject matter of interest from within the episodes. Acts to Revelation consists of 3 disks. The total running time is 495 minutes. The 124-page study guide is bound, like a book, in between the discs. This hardback like book fits nicely in the sleeve and will look nice on your bookshelf. 

So what exactly will your student be doing during their "adventure with Dave Stotts" each week or however often you choose to watch episodes? Well, here is a short run down list of what they can expect:
  1. Students will watch an episode adventure - each episode has short written summary 
  2. Answer Discussion Questions
  3. Side Road
There are a total of 18 30-minute episodes in the Drive Thru History "Acts to Revelation" study. Here is the breakdown of the study by episode:
  1. The Gospel Shared at Pentecost
  2. The Church Grows in Jerusalem
  3. The Gospel Spreads to the Gentiles
  4. Saul of Tarsus & the Road to Damascus
  5. Paul's First Missionary Journey: The Island of Cyprus
  6. The Journey Continues: Pamphylia, Galatia & Asia Minor
  7. The Jerusalem Council & Paul's Second Missionary Journey 
  8. The Second Journey Continues: Philippi and Thessalonica
  9. A Road Trip to Athens
  10. Ancient Corinth
  11. Paul's Third Missionary Journey: Ephesus
  12. Paul's Final Trip to Jerusalem & Caesarea
  13. Adventures at Sea: the Island of Malta
  14. A Final Journey to Rome
  15. The Martyrdom of Paul & Peter
  16. John and the Island of Patmos
  17. The Seven Churches of Revelation
  18. The Book Closes on the New Testament Period
What draws me into Dave's way of teaching history is the fact that he takes his students on REAL adventures to the actual places where history took place. Unlike history books that only give its readers visual pictures and LOTS of words to be read, Dave brings an intimacy to history, a relatability. He describes the events of history at the actual sights describing in detail the historical significance, the background, while bringing it all together. In each episode not only do you get to see the sights of where history took place but Dave uses maps, historical pictures, and captivating background music to draw the viewer in. After watching an episode of Drive Thru History you cannot help but want to watch more. It it truly a fantastic way to learn history. 

Here are a few of the episodes that we watched. 

The Gospel Spreads to the Gentiles (episode 3)

Philip proclaiming the Word of God. Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. First record of an African being baptized. St. George the Dragon Slayer of Lydda, follower of Jesus. Beheaded for his faith. Dragon Slayer - the dragon he slayed was satan, legend. Peter went to Lydda and performed a miracle, lame man, Anayas. Peter raised Tabitha from the dead in Joppa. Acts 8, wild vision, Peter. 

Discussion Question
How long was an ancient Roman mile? 
Answer - The Roman mile was supposed to be 1,000 paces. This is where we get, mile, or mille, which is Latin for 1,000. The old Roman measurement of a mile is estimated to have been around 4,860 feet, which is 420 feet shorter than today's American mile of 5,280 feet. 

A Road Trip to Athens (episode 9)

"Paul, Silas, and Timothy escaped Thessalonica and set-up shop in the remote city of Berea, where they preached the Gospel. Once again, the mobs got violent, and Paul want sent ahead to Athens for his safety. Dave takes a 300-mile road trip from Berea to Athens in present-day Greece, visiting ancient sites such as Mount Olympus and Thermopylae along the way. In the epic city of Athens, Dave investigates the accounts of Paul, including his work as a tentmaker in the Agora and his preaching of the Gospel at the Areopagus."

Various screenshots from throughout the episode. These shots do not do justice to
the actual footage at all. 

One of the places that Dave Stotts visited was Mars Hill. This was a small mountain, not sure why they called it a hill, where men would gather to discuss and debate ideas. Wow, if only that mountain could talk. The wealth of information it saw over the years! Some of the greatest philosophers, scholars, and officials of Athens spoke on that mountain. Can you imagine? 

The Seven Churches of Revelation (episode 17)

1.Ephesus. The choice to follow Christ comes at a great cost, even today in some places. 2.Smyrna, once a thriving port city, known for its wealth and prestige fell. The Christians, warned by John, would in Revelation 2, would more than likely be presecuted and be imprisoned. They would greatly suffer for their faith. 3.Pergamum, worshipped idols, had the largest open are theater. 4.Thyatira, hometown of Lydia. Part of the Roman Road has been found there. Pagen city. Jezebel, false prophet. 5. Sardis, stronghold city. Military strength. Gymnasium and bath complex. John said that the Christians were alive but dead. Revelation 3. Great earthquake. 6. Philadelphia, brotherly love. One emperor military route. The only church that was not criticized for anything. 7. Laodicea, neither cold nor hot. Rev 3:14-20. 

Discussion Question
What city had the steepest theater in the Roman Empire?
Answer - Pergamum had the largest open air theater. It was told that if one fell from the higher seats to the bottom that you pretty much would be dead. 

Look at this amazing picture of the theater in the study guide. 
Can you imagine being in the crowd?

My children said, "Acts to Revelation was great just like the other Drive Thru History Adventures that we have watched. It is really cool to hear about the historical background of Scripture. I love seeing the places that Dave visits and how they make you understand history and the Bible so much more."

I would definitely recommend Drive Thru History to families and educators. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

ARTistic Pursuits ~ A Review

Over the past weeks my daughter has been enjoying creating art with the K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8 by ARTistic Pursuits Inc.. We reviewed Art in America, K-3, Volume 8 (pencil drawing instruction using graphite and colored pencils). This book is geared specifically for 8-10 year olds who want to learn how to draw better. Book eight has drawings and paintings by American artists from the 18th through the 20th century, with a focus on Modern Art. The book is hardcover and includes two disks. One disk is Blu-ray and the other is a DVD. There are 18 lessons included in the curriculum, the equivalent of one semester. 

Art in America, K-3, Volume 8

Here is a list of the lessons and what is covered in Book 8.

 A list of materials that is needed for all lessons it listed at the front of the book. 

This drawing is from Lesson 1 ~ Drawing is Moving. 

This is from Lesson 13 ~ Layered Colors. 

This drawing is from Lesson 3 ~ Drawing a Good Line. 

This drawing is from Lesson 6 which features Arthur Davies (1862-1928). 
Drawing an animal from real life. 

This drawing is from Lesson 9 which features John James Audubon (1785-1851).
Searching the internet or books for birds to draw. 

Unlike most drawing curriculum that takes the student step-by-step through a drawing project, this particular book requires the student to branch out and use the techniques taught in the video lesson and then apply those techniques as they draw their own unique drawings. This is a bit like jumping off of a zip line for the first time. You are scared, have no confidence in your ability to do it, and wonder what will happen once you take the leap of faith in your ability to do it. Yes, you may not look like an expert but that is not what matters. It is the same with art. Yes, your artwork is not going to look like what is found in the book. That is okay! It takes years to develop a skill. Some people have natural talent. It is more about having fun and trying your best. 

Here are some of the things your student will learn how to do:

  • Draw lines that show edge
  • Draw features like face, hair, wrinkles on clothing
  • Draw good lines
  • Using big shapes to start your drawing
  • Using light and dark
  • Using lines to show the edges of an object
  • Making light and dark areas by changing pressure with the pencil
  • Using stand out colors
  • Using layering 
  • Draw shadows
  • Fill light and dark spaces
  • Using patterns
  • Layering colors
  • Overlapping objects
  • Shading and light
  • Drawing with a ruler and compass

My 10-year-old found some of the lessons to be not too hard while some of the lessons were quite challenging. My 12-year-old daughter jumped in and did some of the lessons because she absolutely loves to draw. In my opinion, I would say that this book would be quite challenging and maybe even a bit frustrating for the average 8-10 year old student. Why do I say that, because if something is too challenging or above a child's ability level they tend to either refuse to try, or they get extremely frustrated when their finished product does not turn out. If I were to put an age range on this book it would be more around 10-13 years old. With that said, this is just my opinion.

I love how ARTistic Pursuits has included famous artists along with short narratives about them and then incorporates them into the lessons. Students get a chance to be artists too as they explore each artist and the various art mediums as they work their way through this book. 

Be sure to check out the other 7 books in the series: 

Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary, K-3 Vol. 1 (an introduction to watercolor painting methods, color application, paper cutting and folding for beginners)

Art of the Ancients, K-3 Vol. 2 (strong use of chalk pastels and clay)

Art of the Middle Ages, K-3 Vol. 3 (a variety of paper construction methods, textiles, and collage)

Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance, K-3 Vol. 4 (strong emphasis on a variety of watercolor painting methods including resist and fresco, scratch art)

Art of the Northern Countries, Renaissance to Realism, K-3 Vol. 5 (monoprint and relief printmaking methods, plus watercolor and charcoal)

Art of the Impressionists, K-3 Vol. 6
 (gouache painting, plus carving, modeling, and constructing methods of sculpting)

Art of the Modern Age, K-3 Vol. 7 (acrylic paint methods, foil and plaster sculpting) 

To read more reviews click HERE.

Social Media
Twitter: @ARTisticPursui1  
Instagram: @artisticpursuitsinc

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Fun Figures of Speech Challenge!

Challenge of the Day!
How many Figures of Speech can you find
in this picture?
A list of answers is included below.
If you find more feel free to leave a comment.

I found a few more than 27. Maybe you will be able to add to my list.
Here is the list I came up with so far:

  1. Time Flies When You are Having Fun
  2. Don't Put All of Your Eggs In One Basket
  3. Kicked The Bucket
  4. Cards Close to the Chest
  5. Walking on Egg Shells
  6. Ace Up My Sleeve
  7. Shoe on the Other Foot
  8. Hit the Nail on the Head
  9. Put a Bug in the Ear
  10. Don't Spill the Beans
  11. Silver Platter
  12. Wear One's Heart on One's Sleeve
  13. Born with a Silver Spoon in the Mouth
  14. Cat Got Your Tongue
  15. Piece of Cake
  16. A Red Herring
  17. Tongue Tied
  18. Holding the Cat by the Tail
  19. Held By an Arm's Length
  20. Getting Cold Feet
  21. Cast a Shadow Over
  22. Pull up Your Socks
  23. The Cherry of Top
  24. Rags to Riches
  25. Half a Brain
  26. More Holes than Swiss Cheese
  27. Hole in Your Head
  28. Screw Loose
  29. Put Your Best Foot Forward
  30. In a Nutshell
  31. Bird's Eye View
  32. Turn Over a New Leaf
  33. Bad Egg/Break an Egg
  34. Living in the Shadow/To Cast a Shadow
  35. Make Ends Meet
  36. End of My Tether
  37. In Tatters
  38. Bald as a Cue Ball
  39. As the Crow Flies
  40. Stomach in Knots
  41. Fish out of Water
  42. Cat Got Your Tongue
  43. Can't Make an Omelet without Breaking a Few Eggs
  44. You Cannot Worm Your Way Out
  45. Don't Trust Your Own Shadow
  46. Riding On a Coat-tail

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Wonder Park

Today my daughter and I went to see the pre-screening of Wonder Park.
The movie was wonderful. It is definitely a must see film.
I cannot wait to see it again when it comes out on March 15th!
I will also be purchasing it when it comes out on DVD/Blue Ray. 
We both would give it ★★★★

Here is the trailer.

Confetti Eggs