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Wordless Wednesday~First Week Using IEW


Lincoln’s Mothers

My latest read is a book that use to be my mom’s. My mom loved, loved, loved, to read. I would often find her nose in a book.
I had a hard time putting the book down it was so good. I loved how the book would tell you what would happen a 100 years later. For instance when Nancy Lincoln was looking back at their log cabin (they were moving again) the book would mention that little did she know the cabin would still be there (after being moved a few times) with a plaque in front of it reading: Abraham Lincoln was born here.

The book brought many emotions including happy ones and sad ones. Lincoln’s Mothers is a good read.

Even after reading the book I kept pondering the hardship both mothers endured and how letting go of places and watching their children grow up (sniff, sniff). As a mother my heart ached when theirs did and rejoiced with them as well.

Sally out lived her husband and most of her 5 kids. Oh I can only imagine how happy she was to go home and be with them all in heaven.

I have seen the book often through the years sitting on my shelf.  Eventually I packed with many of my books. Last weekend I pulled a few boxes of books from storage and Lincoln's Mothers happened to be in one!

I can't believe I didn't take the time to open and read it before.

What book are you all reading?

Summer Countdown Review

Amy Puetz has a wonderful series she’s been working on called: Countdown Series. Here latest being Summer Countdown.
Countdown Series
I love the idea of a countdown to a holiday in American history. Many times I want to read or teach the kiddos about Flag Day or Independence Day. I’ve explained why we celebrate those days but I didn’t really do much more.

 This year will be different with Amy Puetz Countdown Series. In the Summer Countdown you will be able to read encouraging stories and help your children understand the meaning behind Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Father’s Day, and Independence Day.

Review Item: Summer Countdown book in E-book format. This book is also available in a physical copy. The ebook comes in color and the physical book is in black and white.

My review helpers: Caleb 14, Brent 13, Ethan 12, and Lance 10

What is Summer Countdown: Each holiday there are three days in which you will read a story and some days do a simple activity with the exception of Independence day. Independence day is a two week countdown. Now don’t let the words “two week” scare you. Amy knows we homeschooling moms (and dads) are pretty busy just trying to get our core stuff down.
Summer Countdown Review
How Summer Countdown works: Again, I love the concept of this because it’s so doable! Each holiday you simply read one of the stories on the appointed day. Really, Amy made it that simple. For example with Mother’s Day you will read a story titled “Mother’s Day” and below the title it says, “Second Sunday in May”, which means that is when you will read the story to your family.

The next story for Mother’s Day is to be read the Friday before Mother’s Day. Also included is a few game suggestions you can do with the kids.
The Saturday before Mother’s Day you will read another story and the kids will make a Mother’s Day card.

On the day of Mother’s Day you will read two short stories and there is a little (non-threatening) quiz titled Famous Mothers which can be done orally or you can give each child a their own to complete (if you purchased the download) and have them complete it. It’s a match the question type quiz.

Sprinkled throughout the pages are quotes about mothers.

With the Independence Day unit you will read daily  for a total of 14 days. Included in these reading are a few short stories. Within the the story pages there may be a short article about one of the signers.
Signers of the Declaration
What I like about Summer Countdown is the activities don’t require a lot of time and are very doable for this mama of 6! Some activities or games are:
  • Make a Fruity Flag (flag made from fruits!)
  • Find the Cards: you simply print and cut some cards with the first sentence of The Declaration of Independence, hide them, have the kids find the cards, and arrange them in order.
  • Oral Quizzes
  • Make a Cocked Hat
  • Make a Star Sandwich
and more. As you can see they are not huge projects that seem daunting and overly complicated. The activities are not a daily thing but every few days.

How we used Summer Countdown: Since we were reviewing this we did this three times a week along with our regular school. During the review period we completed Mother’s Day,  Flag Day, and Father’s Day. Each morning before the children started with their daily school studies we would sit on the porch, thankfully the weather has been really nice, and I read the  passage. 

For the Mother’s Day activity which was to make a card for mom, because Summer Countdown is flexible, instead of making cards (think 4 boys) I am having the boys buy cards for Grandma and Great Grandma. The boys will sign them, add a picture and send them off.

Final thoughts: I really like the idea of a countdown to the holidays. Amy Puetz has created a wonderful way for families to have a deeper understanding of the American holidays. I think she picked some really touching stories to go along with each holiday as well. There were a few that had me holding back the tears!

The kiddos enjoyed the stories and the activities. Surprisingly their favorite was the quizzes because they like to compete with each other.

I look forward to using some of the other books in this series.

Now through May 2nd you can grab Summer Countdown for 26% off.

Schoolhouse Review: Spelling You See

Are you wanting to add copywork and dictation to your homeschool? Is this something you tried but just never kept up with it? Have you read why copywork is so important but just haven’t made the plunge yet?!?! I have answered yes to all of the above questions. I had read about copywork and dictation but just never got around to implementing it. That is until I started using Spelling You See with my boys.
Spelling You See
Review item: Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements (Level F) Instructor’s Handbook, 2 Student Workbooks, and erasable colored pencils

Review helpers: Caleb 8th grade and Brent 7th grade

About Spelling You See: Spelling You See is a unique program it doesn’t have the child learn a list of weekly spelling words with a test on Friday nor does it focus entirely on phonemes. Instead your child is learning to spell by integrating copywork, reading, speaking, and listening.

By writing via copywork Caleb and Brent are visually seeing how words are spelled (copywork), reading the passage aloud (reading and speaking), and listening (dictation).
Another unique aspect of Spelling You See is the research based 5 stages by Dr. Holinga which are:
  • Stage 1: Preliterate
  • Stage 2: Phonetic
  • Stage 3: Skill Development
  • Stage 4: Word Extension
  • Stage 5: Derivational Constancy
To find out where to start your child, Spelling You See has a Spelling Readiness Guide that you can download.

The Instructors manual has all the dictation passages, answer key, lesson-by-lesson instructions (my favorite part), and detailed instructions with how to use copywork, dictation, chunking, overlapping, etc.
Spelling You See Book 2
How Spelling You See (Ancient Achievement) Works: Ancient Achievement Level F is for the student who is at the end of the skill development (stage 3) and gives an introduction of the next two stages. This level continues with providing skill review. Once the boys have completed Ancient Achievement they will be ready for Stage 4: Word Extension.

The three core spelling activities are: Chuncking, copywork, and dictation. Most of us know what copywork and dictation are but some of us may wondering what in the world is chunking?!?!

Chunking is simply having the child find patterns of letters like the Bossy R, Vowel Chunks, Consonant Chuncks, Tricky y Guy, and so forth in the passage and mark them using a highlighter or the colored pencils provided with the program. Each combination of letters will have a specific color: Vowel Chunks-yellow, consonant chunks-blue, etc.

Ancient Achievement has a total of 36 lessons. Each lesson uses the same passage and will follow the same A-E format (like Math-U-See). The lesson for that week will indicate which letter combinations the child needs to chunk.

The first 8 lessons will have the child concentrate on one combination. For instance the first week Brent and Caleb only needed to find the vowel chunks, the second week (lesson 2) it was consonant chunks. By lesson 9 the child will begin to chunk more than one combination.

Lesson 19 starts with Split Review. This means that the first 3 days Caleb and Brent will mark (with the appropriate colors for each combination) the vowel chunks, consonant chunks, and Bossy R chunks. On days 4-5 the boys will mark Tricky y Guy and the silent letters.

How a week looks using Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements:
Day 1, the child will read the passage aloud and then have him mark the vowel chunks indicated using the correct color pencil. Use the Answer Key to check his/her work and go over any chunks that were missed. Once the passage has been corrected then have your child will copy as much as he can without rushing in 10 minutes. Have him mark the chunks using the model passage. Don’t worry if your child didn’t copy the whole passage.

Days 2 and 3 will look the same as Day 1 with the addition of the Spotlight. The Spotlight calls the attention of one or more words in the passage. The Instructors Manual will give you ideas with how to flesh out the Spotlight information.
 Spelling You See Ancient
Day 4 you will dictate the passage and offer as much as needed. Offer help if a word is misspelled. Stop after 10 minutes. Count the number of correct words and record it at the bottom of the page. The child doesn’t have to complete the whole passage.

Day 5, again you will dictate the passage but this time you will not help him spell any words. You may help with punctuation and capitalization. Stop after 10 minutes.

The reason for the 10 minute rule is you don’t want your child to become frustrated and/or discouraged.

How we used Spelling You See: Ancient Achievement: As soon as I found out I was selected for this review I purchased a second set of the student materials. I like keeping my two middle boys (they are only a year apart) together with using Spelling You See!
We used the program pretty much the same as I outlined above. Instead of stopping after 10 minutes I had them copy the whole passage. For the most part they were able to copy it in 10 minutes so it wasn’t an overwhelming task. If I found that it was too much I would definitely have them stop after 10 minutes.

Everyday I had the boys read the passage aloud. We alternated the days. One day Brent read the next day Caleb read the passage. Then they completed the chunking, copywork, and chunked their copywork.

On day 3 we would discuss the Spotlight information and sometimes flesh it out with an activity suggested in the Instructor’s Manual.

Day 4 we completed the first dictation. Before starting I would ask if there was a word that was difficult and we’d go over it.

Day 5 the final dictation! The kids loved the challenge of this dictation. I’ve been blessed with boys who actually find this fun. Their favorite part was counting all the words that they spelled correctly and recording it at the bottom of the page.

Caleb and Brent enjoyed competing with each other in a positive way.

Our thoughts: This is our second year using Spelling You See and we love it. I absolutely love that copywork and dictation are getting done. The boys are slowly improving with their spelling and reading too!

I like that the program focuses with how many words the child gets right when done with the dictation passage. My boys are on the older side and love counting the corrected words. 

Spelling You See Review
Crew Disclaimer

IEW Deluxe Combo Student/Teacher Package Level A is Here

I guess you can say I’m super excited about this!
IEW Deluxe Combo Set
My box had all kinds of goodies including the Portable Wall and A Word Write Now.
IEW Extras
Fix it! Grammar Teacher Manuals for The Nose Tree and Robin Hood.
Fix It! Grammar
IEW Teaching Writing
I really like the case that holds the DVDs. 
IEW Teaching Writing
And Student Writing Intensive Level A.
IEW Student
I plan to use this with Ethan and Lance. I can’t wait to get started. Hopefully Monday we can start our first lesson.

Crew Schooling

Our 3rd day using Latina Christiana and so far we are liking it.
Latina Christiana
We started with the cards. I showed him the Latin word and he had to guess the English translation.
Latina Christiana
Next he worked on writing the Latin word using the Vocabulary Drill worksheet.  He suppose to do this 3x a week. He writes them on a reproducible worksheet provided in the Teacher’s Manual. He also used the Grammar Drill. On this sheet he wrote the conjugations.

Ethan completed his Latina Christiana workbook page yesterday so today he did two sections in his Review Worksheets. Parts A and B.
We also used the Cd to listen to Christus Vincit and recite the Latin saying, vocabulary, and grammar forms.

Next week I might add Famous Men of Rome as suggested in the teacher manual. I misplaced my teacher guide to that so I have to reorder another one. It was brand new too. I think I threw it away accidentally. I had put it in a box because I was in a hurry to get out of the house. That box was thrown out! And I haven’t seen the Famous Men of Rome teacher guide since.

The kids and I started week 3 with studying the books of Moses.
Firmly Planted Bible Study
And I was checking Lance’s cursive.
All the kiddos completed A+ Math as well.

And that’s a little peek into our school day.

Review Schooling

It was storming this morning. Lots of thunder and lightning. The thunder was so boomy that our windows and doors shook. Majorly loud.

Ethan and I completed another Latin lesson together. I’m so thankful he likes it. He remembered the Latin vowel sounds and a few other things from previous Latin lessons.
Note about my picture: they came out a little on the dark side. I dislike when my camera does that. I apologize. I do try to have decent pictures. 

Some of the extras came today. I ordered the Review Worksheets and the Latin Word Games. I thought the extra practice would help.

I was enjoying my delicious butter coffee with XCT Oil and Kerrygold butter.

Here is Ethan completing his first Latin workbook page.

Here he is writing the Latin word and its meaning.
We are wrapping up week 2 and starting week 3 in Bible.
Studying Genesis
History has been fun with Homeschool Legacy. We started week 3.
My kiddos and I like We The People Our Constitute Rocks! Makes learning the constitution more fun and enjoyable.

The kids also completed A+ Math.

Lance is working on three digit addition. He completed his lesson three times. The first time he missed 4 out of 10. The second 3 and the last 2. So tomorrow he’ll watch the next video on addition with 5 digit number and do the corresponding online worksheet.

Here is Ethan’s progress.
A Plus Tutor Ethan
He understands multiplication but sometimes misses the bigger 3 digit with 3+ digits. It’s good practice for him.

Look What Arrived Saturday!

And today we started the first lesson. It was a little long because we watched the introduction and lesson 1. I assured Ethan that not every lesson will be this long.
I purchased some of the extras for this and I’ll share a picture as soon as they arrive. Can’t wait!

Critical Thinking Co. Review: Understanding Algebra 1

Understanding Algebra 1
It seems like yesterday when I was looking for a kindergarten math program for my eldest son. Now it’s Algebra, yikes! Thankfully there are a lot of great math programs to choose from like Understanding Algebra 1 from The Critical Thinking Co.

Understanding Algebra 1 is part of their Award-Winning Mathematical Reasoning series. The author Terri Husted has more then 30 years of experience with teaching Algebra.
Critical Thinking Co.
Understanding Algebra 1 uses step-by-step lesson to help the student get a full understanding with how to solve the problem. The program is written to the student, uses full color illustrations, and doesn’t over explain or complicate things.

Understanding Algebra 1 is a full color, 361 page, reproducible workbook. I love that The Critical Thinking Co. gives the option of being able to reproduce the book within the immediate family. We chose to go ahead and have Caleb write in the book. Anything to make math easier and get it done.

There are 12 chapters included covering:
  1. Our Number System: Sets, Operations, and Properties
  2. Evaluating Expressions and Solving Equations
  3. From Words to Algebra: Translating and Solving Word Problems
  4. From Words to Algebra More Word Problems
  5. Inequalities: Compound Inequalities, and Absolute Value
  6. Polynomials
  7. Factoring
  8. Working with Radicals
  9. Linear Functions
  10. Systems of Equations and Inequalities
  11. Other Types of Functions
  12. Working with Algebraic Fractions
In the back of the book there is graph paper that your child can copy if needed. There is also a Reference Chart that you can pull out and laminate as well. And the answer key is also included, yay, no separate teacher manual!

Since everything is explained to the student with step-by-step instructions for each lesson there is no teacher manual. Everything you need to teach Algebra 1 is in this book! By the time Caleb completed Understanding Algebra 1 he should have a good grasp and understanding of Algebra. I’m excited that he has the opportunity to use The Critical Thinking Co. higher math course.

The target grade level for this program is for 7th-9th grade.
Understanding Algebra 1
Each chapter has practice problems, enrichment problems and/or thinking problems, and a chapter review.

There is also a message from the author to the student at the end of the last chapter which I thought was neat. It’s an encouraging note communicating to the student that (my own words) algebra doesn’t have to be scary and hard. The author reminds the student that algebra is all about thinking. Computers and calculators will help perform operations more quickly but they won’t replace your thinking.

How we are using Understanding Algebra: Caleb my 8th grade son is helping me with this review. 

I am having him write directly in the book. Being able to write in the book is usually a requirement here (wink) it just helps with his workload and is one less step for Caleb.

He uses Understanding Algebra 1 several times a week along with his regular math program. Caleb struggles a bit with reading and because of this we usually try to find online programs with tutorials.  I was a little concerned with Understanding Algebra 1 about the reading. I had asked him if he would like me to read some of it to him (thinking he’d comprehend it better) but he said no and so far is doing fine with it.

We both like the step-by-step lessons and love that it’s in color. Something about color makes for a more interesting math program.  I think having color can make it more ‘fun’ than every page being black-and-white when students get to higher math. We also liked that he can write in the workbook and there is enough space to workout the problems. A few times he had to use notebook paper but for the most part there was enough room.

15% Off Any Size Order! Details: Offer expires 5/31/2015 at Midnight PST. Use Coupon Code BLOGR315. Online prepaid orders only. Valid one per customer. Offer does not apply to iOS or Android apps, or manipulatives such as Attribute Blocks, Interlocking Cubes or Pattern Blocks. Offer may not be combined with other discounts or offers, and is not retroactive. Not valid on wholesale orders.

It Put Him to Sleep

Our read aloud books for the week. We are continuing to learn about the constitution via our Homeschool Legacy Once-a-week unit study.
We The People
This week we watched the United States Constitution video and look what happened to Lance.
I guess it was just a tad bit boring for him. Actually all the kids almost fell asleep.
Homeschool Legacy
Thankfully I didn’t buy the DVD but borrowed it from the library.
Real Life Press
We are half way done with the second Bible study lesson. I’m enjoying our Bible time with the kids. I love for us to sit around the table and discuss the verses. Even though it seems I do most of the discussing. I’m finding it hard to get them to elaborate with what a scripture passage  means to them or to flesh out an answer to a question.

I’ve been enjoying my butter coffee in one of my favorite mugs (at least this weeks favorite).
My kids have been staying up way too late. Here is what I find in the morning.
I love his feet!
Lupe is still taking the allergy bomb!
Young Living
Time for a coconut-lemon hair mask.
I saturated my hair with coconut oil with some lemon essential oils.
You can’t really tell in this picture but my curls were really curly after I washed out the coconut oil and let it dry some.

My hubby was thinking of me.
He said it reminded him of me. I’m far from an angel but love my surprise gift.
I stocked up on toothpaste.
Although this isn’t a Week in Review post we did complete week 13.