Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: See the Light Cartooning

My latest review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew is Cartooning by See the Light.  This DVD is $14.99 and is about an hour long.  It can be used with all ages.

See the Light is the brain child of Dave and Pat Holt.  Through art and music, they share the truth of th gospel with children.  In addition to this Cartooning DVD, they have other project based art DVDs available.  Pat Knepley is the Master Artist on the Cartooning DVD.  She'll guide you and your children through classical cartooning, along with the art elements line, space and shape and the concept of exaggeration and movement.

We spent a Monday afternoon doing art.  All five boys worked through the lesson, and their ages are 13, 12, 10, 9, and 7.  At the end, everyone had a few pages of characters they had drawn.  After we watched and cartooned along with the DVD, I gave each of my boys an index card and told them to write down three opinions of the program.  The didn't talk to each other before they wrote down their opinions, but they all had similar thoughts.

  • Fun
  • Learned some new techniques
  • Helpful
  • Learned new ideas for characters
  • It was long
  • Concepts were over-explained

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience.  If you're looking for a something fun to add to your homeschool, I'd check out the DVDs from See the light.

For more reviews of See the Light, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


 photo Disclaimer2_zpsff718028.gif

Saturday, May 25, 2013

2013/2014 (Rough Draft)

And it begins.  It seems like I was just planning for the 2012/2013 school year, and now it's time to get ready for the 2013/2014 school year.  I'll be teaching 9th, 8th, 6th, 4th, and 2nd this year.

A few things are still up in the air.  I've decided to skip from Ancients to US History for this year, which I'm planning to keep in in the context of world history. Our pattern has been wonderful ancients, pretty good middle ages, decent early modern, and hurry-up-we-need-to-restart-ancients-to-keep-on-schedule modern.  Jacob, Micah, and Nicholas will be together, but I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do with Luke & Ezekiel.  There are some outside options I'm weighing, but it's very possible I'll just teach them US History & Literature at home.  Regardless, I'm excited to spend some time on America and more modern history.  Also, I might scrap the So You Really Want to Learn Science and BJU Science 3 and do Christian Kids Explore Physics with the younger 3 boys.

Here is what I've got planned:


  • Saxon Algebra 2
  • Conceptual Physics
  • Rod & Staff English 8
  • Rod & Staff Spelling 7 (word root study)
  • Argument Builder and/or Rulebook for Arguments Workbook
  • Henle/Lingua Latina/Visual Latin
  • Elementary Greek 3
  • American History & Literature
  • Windows to the World

  • Saxon Algebra 1
  • Conceptual Physics
  • Rod & Staff English 7
  • Rod & Staff Spelling 7
  • Argument Builder and/or Rulebook for Arguments Workbook
  • Henle/Lingua Latina/Visual Latin
  • Elementary Greek 2
  • American History & Literature
  • Windows to the World

  • MCP Mathematics, Mathematical Reasoning, & Patty Paper Geometry.  Once these are done, we might do Knowing Mathematics Green Level.  We're filling in some gaps, and once this is done, I'll have him take the Saxon placement test.
  • So You Really Want to Learn Science Level 
  • American History & Literature (I'm building off of Veritas Press' last 2 card sets & Sonlight's D & E reading list)
  • Mosdos Silver
  • Rod & Staff English (finish 5, move to 6)
  • Rod & Staff Spelling (finish 5, move to 6)
  • Fallacy Detective
  • Visual Latin
  • Greek Alphabet Code Cracker & Elementary Greek 1

  • Saxon 5/4
  • BJU Science 3
  • American History & Literature
  • My Book House books
  • Rod & Staff English (finish 3, move to 4)
  • Rod & Staff Spelling (finish 3, move to 4)
  • Writing With Ease (finish 2, move to 3)
  • Prima Latina
  • Various Logic workbooks & games
  • Draw Write Now

  • Saxon 3
  • BJU Science 3
  • American History & Literature
  • Sonlight Readers & My Book House books
  • Rod & Staff English 2
  • Rod & Staff Spelling (finish 2, move to 3)
  • Writing With Ease (finish 1, move to 2)
  • Prima Latina
  • Various Logic workbooks & games
  • Draw Write Now

I'll be doing Trail Guide to US Geography with Student Notebook and Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Writing Intensive B with all five boys.  They'll continue with piano, Judo, and gymnastics.

We'll be doing school over the summer:  3 weeks in June and 3 in July.  During this time I plan to have Luke and Ezekiel read Study is Hard Work & go through Super Star Student again, in addition to finishing up what work we can from this year. I've also got How to Read Literature Like a Professor for Kids for the boys to read (this turned out to be just awful.  You can read my Amazon review here).

Next year is my first with a student in high school.  I'm nervous, but excited.  It's so amazing to watch the boys grow and learn!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Schoolhouse Library

I've written before about, a wonderful, comprehensive, online resource for homeschoolers by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has now developed the Schoolhouse Library.

For a one time $25 fee, you will gain access to over 175 eBooks and audio resources, including:

  • 2 Study Guides from YWAM
  • Draw Write Now Sampler E-Book by Barker Creek
  • Heroines of the Past-Victorian unit study from Amy Puetz
  • Map Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History sample pack from Knowledge Quest
  • Teaching Writing E-Book from WriteShop
  • 15 audio E-Books from My Audio School in history and literature
  • A Glimpse at Carnivorous Plants Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child
  • Video from Jessica Hulcy on  “Learning as a Family”
  • From Frazzled to Focused: 7 Planning Tools for Busy Moms from Mary Jo Tate

There are 25 topics available, including (but not limited to):
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Grammar
  • Reading
  • Economics
  • Nature Study
  • Organization (with several planners)
Summer is quickly approaching--what a great time to spice up your homeschool with the Schoolhouse Library!

Disclaimer:  I received a free subscription of this product in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Review: Spanish for You!

Spanish for You! is a Spanish curriculum for grades 3-8.  Spanish is taught through themed units, and the units can be done in any order.  I received the Fiestas unit to review, which centers around celebrations (check out the Fiestas samples pages).  The other available full package is Estaciones, and it centers around the seasons.  Viajes (centers around travel) is available as a 4 or 6 week trial, but will be available as a full unit in June 2013.

I received the full grade 3-8 package, which is priced at $64.95.  Included in this package is a softcover book, along with lesson guides for grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8, worksheets, and audio files.  Packages for each level can be purchased individually for $34.95, and extra books are available for $12.95.  The lesson guides, worksheets, and audio files are downloadable products.

Spanish for You - Fiestas photo spanishforyou-fiestas_zpsa80f3c2a.jpg

Spanish for You! is unique in a couple of ways.  First, the fact that each unit is developed around themes, as outlined above.  Second, this program allows you to teach children of different ages and abilities at the same time.  Since the worksheets and lesson guides are broken down by grade level, but all use the same textbook, it's very easy to teach at different levels.  I used this with all 5 of my boys (grades 1, 3, 5, 7, & 8), by using the grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8 levels.  It was surprisingly easy to do.

The Lesson Guides are broken down into weeks (30 for grades 3-4, and 24 for 5-6 and 7-8).  Weekly lessons are broken down into four days worth of lessons. In general, this is how the program worked in our home.  Since we only had one softcover book, I made good use of our large whiteboard.  I wrote all the vocabulary words and translations on the board.  We listened to the pronunciation on the audio files, and recited and worked on our pronunciation while reading the words on the board.  We also worked on Common Words and Phrases by asking each other the questions and answering in Spanish.  I had each boy make their own flashcards for the vocabulary words, and I encouraged my younger boys to draw pictures on their flashcards.  After our oral practice, each child completed any worksheets for their grade level.  The lesson guides also include games to help reinforce and teach the lessons.

While I think this is an excellent concept, there were a few issues I had with the worksheets.  The first is that the worksheets are self checking.  This meant that when I printed the worksheets out double-sided, the answers were on the back of the sheet.  It didn't take long for my boys to discover this,and as my 13 year old said, "This might be for self-checking, but it also encourages cheating!".  My boys have access to answer keys to check their work, but having the answers on the back is a huge temptation when you're trying to finish your schoolwork.  I told them not to flip the sheets over until they were done, but I'd rather have a separate answer key.  The second issue was that it was more complicated than it needed to be to print, since I had to print one sheet at a time, instead of having an option to print the whole workbook.  The final issue was it wasn't always obvious and easy to grab the correct worksheet once they were printed out.  There are no page numbers on the sheets, so you're going simply by the Spanish title on the worksheet.  All of the issues I had are able to be overcome, but they were enough of an annoyance the I felt I needed to mention them.

Now, setting those issues aside, I would recommend this program. It covers vocabulary, grammar, conjugations, and pronunciation.  I liked that there is Spanish to English and English to Spanish translations on the worksheets.  Being able to teach all my boys Spanish together was a lot of fun, and not having to adapt the lessons myself for the wide ability level was wonderful. They learned a lot from the program, and we really enjoyed working together on it.

Spanish for You Logo photo spanishforyoulog_zpsa3fadef7.jpg

For more reviews of Spanish for You!, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


 photo Disclaimer2_zpsff718028.gif

Saturday, May 04, 2013

O for Old or D for Dinosaur?

I took Nicholas out to lunch today.  We ate and played Zeus on the Loose, and had a great time.  He won our little tournament and ice cream.

On the way home he started quizzing me on things that were/were not around when I was little.  I shocked him into total laughter with an answer.  How?

By telling him:  "We didn't even have internet when I was growing up.  If we wanted to know something, we had to go over to the bookshelf, pull an encyclopedia off, and look it up."

He was equally as shocked when I told him I remembered getting our first microwave and VCR.

I wonder if I should look for my picture in the O for Old or D for Dinosaur encyclopedia.  Sigh.