Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weeks 6 & 7 in Review

Oy!  These were a rough 2 weeks.  Week 6, we were fighting colds & sinus infections. I don't remember who wasn't feeling well, but I was on an antibiotic and was just kind of fuzzy headed.  Week 7, we had a follow up with Jacob's neurologist because his headaches have been worse (requires almost 4 hours of driving roundtrip), I had an eye appointment that took up 3 hours (they'd had an emergency in the morning, so there was a longer wait time), Ezekiel fractured his hand (required the trip to the pediatrician to be sent to x-ray, and then a trip on a different day to the ortho for casting), and finally I had a follow up with my rheumatologist.  I counted the days they weren't at their enrichment program as half days, so we got about 5 days of school work in over the two weeks.  But this is life, right?

I will not let perfection get in the way of the good.

We got bits of math and Greek and reading and grammar and Latin and spelling and phonics and history done (I almost typed science, but I'm 95% sure no one actually did any science, unless you count studying the x-ray of Zeke broken hand).  We did spend one afternoon finishing our read-aloud book, Escape Across the Wide Sea.  I haven't had as much time to read aloud as I did last year, and I miss it and the boys miss it.  I miss the shared stories, but we're so busy that is is hard to justify it.  I listened to a lecture by Andrew Pudewa, though, and was reminded of the importance. Craig will be home in the evenings more now that he's out of class, so we'll restart family read-alouds in the evening (we've all missed it), and I'm going to try and read-aloud during the day on Thursday and Friday.  I figure that's better than not at all.

I will not let perfection get in the way of the good.

As I sit here surrounded by piles of incomplete assignment sheets and stacks of papers to check, I'm reminded that my boys learned lessons that weren't in textbooks.  I'm also reminded of a great benefit of having them home together.  Zeke's hand was fractured when he and Luke were play fighting on the couch.  Luke kicked, they heard a pop, there was a lot of pain.  Luke felt awful.  Zeke's biggest concern was that when people heard how it happened, they would think Luke did it on purpose when they were just playing.  His mind wasn't on revenge, as many people we encountered speculated, it was on the fact he didn't want his brother to be mischaracterized. Sure, they fight and argue (this is bound to happen when you're together as much as we are), but they love each other and are very close.  All five of them.  When we started this adventure 9 years ago (10 if you count preschool), it was for academic reasons.  That is still a very high priority, but now that they are almost7 up to just13, their relationships as brothers and our relationship as a family is at least as high a priority as academics.  It's such a blessing to watch these relationships grow and develop.  

So, I will not let perfection get in the way of the good.

Green & Gold cast in honor of the Packers

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Pilgrim Story

Dayspring Christian Academy is a Christian Academy that utilizes the Principle Approach, and is located in Pennsylvania.  They also operate an online school, and they provided a 6 month subscription of their self-paced course,  The Pilgrim Story to the Crew to review.


This review came up at a perfect time, with Thanksgiving just around the corner.  We're currently studying Egypt, so this program was an easy way to get in some teaching about the pilgrims before Thanksgiving gets here.  This program is intended for students in 3rd through 6th grade, and Jacob (5th), Micah (3rd), and Nicholas (1st) all watched the lessons.

The program is broken down into the following lessons:

Unit One:
  • King Henry
  • Geneva Bible
  • Life in Scrooby
  • Liberty of Conscience
Unit Two:
  • Leaving England
  • The Second Escape Attempt
  • Leiden
  • Preparing to Go
Unit Three:
  • Leaving Leiden
  • Conditions on the Mayflower
  • Building Christian Character
Unit Four:
  • The Mayflower Compact
  • Exploration
  • The First Winter
Unit Five:
  • Spring, 1621
  • The Wapanoag People
  • The Rest of the Story
Virtual Field Trip
The lessons are presented in slide format, and there is a narrator that reads the slides to the student.  There are activities and games in some of the lessons, and some live-action slides as well.  These lessons take about 30-45 minutes to complete, though any enrichment activities will extend the amount of time needed for each lesson.  At the start of each lesson, you are instructed to print out various worksheets for the lesson (note taking sheets, maps, vocabulary sheet, and any other resources needed).  The Principle Approach relies heavily on notebooking, and all of this information is intended to help your student create a notebook for this course.  The notetaking sheets are fill in the blank worksheets; these are easy to complete because the text is underlined on the slide so it's easy for the student to copy.  Each lesson begins and ends with a review, so the student gets repeated exposure to the information.  There is a unit test at the end of each unit.

All three of my sons that did this program really enjoyed it.  Jacob found the notetaking sheets helpful, and he enjoyed learning about the Pilgrims.  Micah thought this course was fun, and he liked the activities and games.  Nicholas liked that he learned about the Pilgrims sneaking away from their homes.  None of the boys  liked the tests, but that is to be expected.

The only complaint (other than the test) was they didn't like having to listen to the instructions to download the worksheets at the beginning of each lesson.  They did this program mostly without my help, and Jacob was able to get to the website and easily navigate each day's lesson on his own.  They asked daily to do this course, and it's always encouraging to have them ask to do schoolwork.

For $99, you'll get a 6 month subscription to The Pilgrim Story.  You can watch the lessons on your timetable during the 6 months, which makes it very convenient.  If you're looking to study the pilgrims, I would recommend that you check out Dayspring Christian Academy.


For more reviews of The Pilgrim Story, go here.


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


KinderBach is a music program for ages 3 to 7 that can be done in your home.  It's available as an online subscription, as an iPad or iPhone app, or on DVD.  I was given a 6 month subscription to review.  


I cannot play the piano.  I played the flute from the 6th grade through the 9th grade, but I have completely forgotten how to read music.  However, despite my lack of musical knowledge, I am convinced that learning to play an instrument is a wonderful way to engage and train the brain, and I think piano is a great instrument for learning to read music and learn music theory.  My older four sons are in piano lessons, and it's about time to start the youngest.  I was very happy to receive this product to review, and so was Nicholas.

KinderBach teaches piano through adorable cartoon characters.  Dodi the Donkey (pictured above), Frisco, Carlo the Caterpillar, Edward the Eagle, Felicity the Frog, Gracie the Gorilla, Alan the Alligator, and Bob the Bear (along with Ms. Karri, the founder and lesson instructor) will guide your young child through learning to play the piano.  In addition, Miss Diddle and Bruno will help teach your child to play different music note patterns on the piano, and the Beat Bug Brigaide will help your child learn rhythm.  In Bach Talk, your child will learn tips and techniques for making their own songs.

There are 6 levels, with 10 weeks of lessons in each level.  Each week is broken down into 4 short lessons.  The short lessons are wonderful because they keep the attention of a young child, but are long enough to teach the concept in a fun manner.  Throughout the lessons, the student is often moving around and interacting with the lesson (beating a homemade drum, for example, to work on rhythm).

Each lesson is in video format.  Ms. Karri teaches your child the fundamentals of playing the piano.  She's energetic and entertaining, and Nicholas really enjoyed the lessons.



In addition to the online lessons, there are PDF worksheets to download and print.  You can print out the entire book for each lesson, or you there is an option to print individual pages for each lesson.  These range from coloring and activity pages to do along with the lessons to music to practice with.  The activity pages were a little bit young for Nicholas, and he doesn't really enjoy coloring, so we skipped doing many of them. I can see where they would be very helpful with a younger student, though.


KinderBach is a hit with Nicholas.  We've only had our subscription for 6 weeks, and I already see a huge improvement with his ability to keep a rhythm.  He loves to practice the piano like his older brothers.  He asks daily if we can do a lesson, and often tries to talk me into doing additional lessons.  I'm happy that he's getting exposure and developing a love for making music before we start more formal lessons.

To use this program, it's best if you have a keyboard to play.  You don't need anything fancy, just a basic piano or keyboard is recommended.  You'll also need basic craft supplies.

The online program is priced at $19.99 a month (billed monthly) or $95.88 for a full twelve months, and you can try the first two weeks of the program for free.  The iPad app is $26.99, and there is a free version to try the program out.


For more reviews of KinderBach (both the online subscription and the app), go here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Week 5 in Review

We got a lot accomplished on Monday, even though Luke slept late because he wasn't feeling well and even though I ended up at the doctor for a sinus infection.

Tuesday was kind of a bust.  I had a nagging headache and sore throat all day, Jacob spent the morning in bed not feeling well and Micah slept late.  I did some Kinderbach lessons with Nicholas, and sent them outside to clean up the yard so I could mow it for (hopefully) the last time this season.

The headache and sore throat continued, and Wednesday wasn't great.  Oh, who am I kidding?!  Thursday wasn't great, either, and we ended up doing most of our work on Friday and Saturday.

We did accomplish some things, though, so here they are:

Luke & Ezekiel (8th & 7th):
  • Finished Lesson 2 in Elementary Greek 2, and started Lesson 3
  • Did Exercises 15-18 in Henle Latin
  • Read 4 chapters in The Ancient Near Eastern World and completed the study sheets.  The lessons were on Hammurabi and Mesopotamia.
  • Rewrote The Stag and His Reflection, and began the process of rewriting a fable of their choice.  I'm not even sure what they chose.
  • Took the Lesson 6 test in Rod & Staff's Spelling 6.
  • Reviewed the chapter 1 of Rod & Staff's English 7 and took a test.  
  • Finished reading Gilgamesh.  We still need to discuss it.
  • Watched session 1 of Teaching the Classics.
  • Completed Lessons 7 and 8, Lab 4, and Quiz 2 in The Rainbow science.
  • Luke finished Chapters 4-5 in Painless Algebra, and Ezekiel took a test and finished Lesson 41 in Saxon 8/7.

Jacob (5th):
  • Finished Chapter 2 and started Chapter 3 in Latin for Children A.
  • Read Chapters 7 and 8 in Shadow Hawk, and chapters 10-13 in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • Sort of started Classical Writing Aesop B.  
  • Completed Lessons 6 and 7 in Rod & Staff's English 5.
  • Spent time on the Math Blaster app, did fact practice sheets for multiplication and division, and worked on flashcards.
  • Completed Chapters 4-6 in Life of Fred Farming.
  • Worked on Math Mammoth's Introduction to Fractions and Place Value 3.
  • Completed Lessons 9 and 10 in Rod and Staff's Arithmetic 5.
  • Finished Lesson 3 in Rod & Staff's Spelling 5 and took the test.

Micah (3rd):
  • Did 3 Callirobics lessons.
  • Finished week 6 in Writing with Ease 2.
  • Completed Lessons 9-12 in Rod & Staff's English 3.  He's doing really well with the diagramming (he had to diagram sentences with an understood you this week), and doesn't really complain about writing when he's diagramming.
  • Read The Whipping Boy and chapters 10-13 in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  We did the comprehension questions from Veritas Press' Narnia Comprehension Guide orally with Jacob.
  • Finished Lesson 3 and took the test in Rod & Staff's Spelling 3 and begane Lesson 4.
  • Spent time on the Math Blaster app and with flashcards.
  • Finished Kumon's Dollars and Cents workbook and happily threw it away.
  • Completed Chapters 4-7 in Life of Fred Apples.
  • Completed lessons 56 and 57 in Saxon 3 Math.

Nicholas (1st):
  • Completed week 4 in Kinderbach.
  • Did 3 Callirobics lessons.
  • Completed Week 3 in Writing with Ease 1 and started Week 4.
  • Read The Cat in the Hat.
  • Read out of Phonics Pathways and Reading Pyramid.
  • Finished Explode the Code 3 and threw it away.
  • Finished Kumon' Easy Telling Time and threw it away.
  • Did some Miquon Orange pages and spent time on the Math Blaster App and with flashcards.
  • Completed Lessons 10-11 in Saxon 2.
  • Began Primary Arts of Language Reading and Primary Arts of Language Writing.

Jacob, Micah, and Nicholas:
  • Completed 3 more lesson in Dayspring's The Pilgrims Story.
  • Completed lessons 16-18 in Veritas Press' Self-Paced Old Testament and Ancient Egypt online course.
  • Completed the "Descendents of Noah" map from Map Trek.

There was also Judo, gymnastics, piano, and their enrichment program during the week.

My stack of papers to check is about 3 feet high.


I couldn't figure out why Micah & Nicholas were in hysterics over a phonics notecard I'd made for Nick covering the one of the /ow/ sounds.

Then I took time to read the card.

Notice the blurred spot?  That's where a tear fell from Micah because he was laughing so hard.

Since Nicholas is the 5th boy I've taught to read, I can't even say it was a rookie mistake.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup

If you know me, this will not come as a surprise.  I am not a girly-girl.  I don't enjoy spending time fixing my hair or applying makeup.  On the other hand, I feel these things are necessary for me to look my best.  My solution has been to simplify this process as much as possible.  I wash my hair, put product in it, and let it air dry.  For makeup, I like to quickly apply foundation, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara.  Just enough to give me some color and at least make it look like I attempted to get rid of the run-ragged-homeschool mom look.  Not surprisingly, I don't enjoy shopping for makeup either, so I was thrilled when the opportunity to review Beeyoutiful makeup came up.  It doesn't get any easier than makeup shipped right to your door!


For this review, Beeyoutiful Skin sent me:

Beeyoutiful created 100% mineral makeup that is all natural and gluten free.  I was a bit nervous about picking colors from my computer screen, but it worked out quite well.  I received samples of my top three foundation choices before I chose my final color.  The color I settled on was the first color I picked as a sample (samples are available for $1 each).  I'm very pleased with my foundation color, as well as the eye color.  

All of the Beeyoutiful makeup is in powder form.  It's so lightweight, I forget I'm wearing it, and it takes just a tiny bit for all over coverage.  The foundation brush feels like silk on my face when I'm applying the foundation.  I have dry skin thanks to living in a dry climate, so I use a moisturizer daily.  After I put on the moisturizer, I apply the foundation (Beeyoutiful suggests you use a toner, but I don't have any so I just used my regular moisturizer).  It does a great job of evening out my skin tone.  If there are any blemishes on your skin, you can also create concealer from the foundation to help cover them up.  

I've never used a mineral eye shadow before, but I have to say I love it.  I chose Cinnamon Sparkle, and apply it over my entire lid (it doesn't get any easier!).  Again, I'm shocked at how little it takes to do both eyes.  Just using the mineral shadow alone creates a very sheer look; you can also foil the shadow by mixing it with water.  This creates a bolder look with the shadow.  You can also use the shadow as an eye liner by using the foiling technique.

I don't normally wear anything on my lips.  For this review, though, I tested the second sample they sent as a lip color.  To apply as a lip color, you can mix the minerals with water or with a lip balm, depending on what kind of coverage you'd like (anything from a sheer lip gloss to a dark lipstick).  The thought of putting powder on my lips was odd to me, but once I did it and covered it with lip balm, I was quite pleased with the lip gloss effect.  

I'm hooked on this makeup.  It looks great, is easy to apply, and holds up through an exhausting day of being a homeschooling mom.  If you'd like to refresh your look, check out the products from Beeyoutiful.


For more reviews of Beeyoutiful products, go here.


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.