Thursday, March 31, 2016

A TOS Review: Memoria Press

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

I was asked to do a review of a 7th Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press. They were so gracious to send us the entire year's program - the student guide and teacher's guide for four different novels: Anne of Green Gables, The Hobbit, The Trojan  War and The Bronze Bow. Chloe has been working through the student guide for Anne of Green Gables.

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

Memoria Press believes in challenging students. They often encourage parents to have their children try books slightly above their level to stretch their abilities. They pick quality literature that engages and sharpens the mind, and requires the reader to think beyond themselves. I really appreciate this, and it was a perfect fit for Chloe.

The Student Guide's daily lessons or chapter reviews are broken down into four components: vocabulary, spelling, comprehension and composition. The review questions require the reader to remember important details to the story, but to also work out deeper meanings. They may be stretched to learn empathy, puzzle out the WHY behind the actions, and to look at the overall picture behind the story.

There is a lot of dictionary work to the Student Guide. I must say, Chloe did not enjoy that at first. But I think she is seeing the reasoning behind it already. She is already a very eloquent speaker, but her vocabulary has definitely increased in this short time - words she thought she knew the meanings of have proven to mean something else entirely! It's been slightly comical for me to see her realize some of them!

Reading is second nature to breathing for Chloe. She simply devours books, and she has already read the complete Anne series. But when we got the student guide, she dove right back in! She said it was like revisiting an old friend, and she enjoyed it very much. I think the vocabulary section in particular has given the reading a much deeper understanding of the characters and the mood of the stories.

She will be finishing this guide in the next few weeks, and she is looking forward to beginning the next one. She hasn't read the other three books, so I look forward to hearing all about them!

To follow Memoria Press on social media, go to any of these links:
Go check out what else my fellow Crew members got to review! Follow the link here:

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

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A TOS Review: Logic of English

Logic of English Review

In our house, English and Language Arts is that subject that is the dreaded one. In ten years of 

homeschooling, we have tried so many different curricula and techniques that I've literally lost count. 

It seems like we struggle every year to decide on and to implement a successful program for each 

of the boys. That's why I was so interested in reviewing Logic of English. We reviewed Essentials 

2nd Edition.

Logic of English is a comprehensive Language Arts curriculum that strives to teach the REASONS 

for the many curious spellings in the English language and gives educators the tools to teach these 

concepts successfully. While the primary goal of the program is to strengthen spelling and reading, 

 it does an excellent job of teaching grammar as well. And of course, the more competent and 

confident one is in spelling and grammar, the better writer they will become.

The Essentials program is a multi-level reading, spelling, grammar and vocabulary curriculum. You 

are able to teach at three different levels with the same curriculum. Levels and lesson sections are 

labeled A, B, and C so you know how to break the lessons down. The teacher directions are clearly 

written in a script form, so all I have to do is look at my daily supply list, gather those materials and 

start teaching. I used the program for my 2nd (Level A), 6th (Level B) and 9th grader (Level C).

The Essentials kit comes with so much stuff! I was truly blown away by everything they sent and, I 

admit, a bit overwhelmed. But after a few days of going over the material and all of the supplies, I 

found it to be very manageable. The 1st semester set comes with all of the following:

  • Essentials Teacher's Guide, Volume 1
  • Essentials Student Workbook, Volume 1
  • Spelling Journal
  • Morpheme Cards, Set 1
  • Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Spelling Rule Flash Cards
  • Grammar Flash Cards
  • Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Phonogram Game cards: Bookface
  • Phonogram Game cards: Manuscript or Cursive
  • Phonogram Game Tiles 
  • Spelling Analysis Card 
  • Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference 
Logic of English Review
It is difficult to say how each day will look because, frankly, each day is organized a little bit differently. There are so many things that Logic of English strives to teach, and not every component is covered each day. Some of the topics covered are the obvious ones, like Spelling Lists, Grammar, Vocabulary and Review. Other topics taught are Phonograms, Exploring Sounds, Spelling Rules, Dictation and Composition. The workbook gives extra practice for these topics, and some games are thrown in often to make the learning process even more engaging. The spelling journal is organized into phonogram lists, and the students are to keep their lists in their journals.
There were so many things I liked about this program. I believe the boys are getting a firmer grasp on their spelling. I can see them thinking about them and have heard them saying the spelling rules to themselves as the spell something out. I am seeing improvement, and we are only 5 weeks into it. Connor has done a great job learning the vocabulary (a Level C section), which is broken down into roots, prefixes and suffixes. It has been very good for him to have this extra practice.
While there are so many components to Logic of English, I don't find it overwhelming. The teaching approach is very low key and engaging, and it is nice to be teaching all the boys at once. The only drawback I've found is the lack of independent learning. To be more clear, I can't have one work on his Level work and be working with another one on their level at the same time. The way the book is laid out, I am needed at all levels. So when Connor is working on his spelling test, the other two are waiting for their turn...and for anyone who has boys, you know that this can lead to chaos quickly! I have had to be diligent about keeping them in line while waiting for their Level lesson to come up.

Caleb and I also got to review the Essentials Readers. The pdf they sent me was a little hard to 

follow, but we muddled through. We got to learn about some interesting sports we'd never heard of, 

and Caleb got to learn how to recite some simple poems. This wasn't exactly his favorite thing to do, 

but he ended up doing very well.

Overall, I was very satisfied with Logic of English. I hope to see even greater improvement in the 

boys' abilities before the school year ends by using this program.

To keep up with Logic of English on social media, go to any of the following links:

Logic of English gave the Crew a few other items to review. Go check my fellow reviewers and their products out here:

Logic of English Review

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, March 28, 2016

Another Year Gone By...

Today another milestone, another birthday. Thirty-eight years under my belt, and I still feel like I'm the learner more than the teacher...the novice in most subjects rather than an expert. One needing mentored rather than being a mentor. I've been an adult as long as I was an adolescent, yet I still have a hard time reckoning the fact I've been out of school for nearly 20 years!

I remember my mom turning 30. I was only 4, but I can recall her tears, her depression , her feeling middle aged. Again, I have a hard time record reconciling myself to those same feelings. I'm in the middle of raising my family - dealing with teen angst, toddler tantrums and morning sickness in the same day! I don't feel like 38 is too old after all, even if I may have 20 years ago...

The kids and Kelly have blessed me today. My secret sister at Co op did, too, as well as numerous calls and messages and texts from friends and loved ones. I can't say anything extraordinary happened today. Just life, daily events, and a few extra hugs and "I love you"s . Who could ask for anything more? I'll take my ordinary, Abundantly Blessed life over most others' lives any day of the week.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Counting Down to Resurrection Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. I can't say I had thought about it much this morning, until I picked up Castle from Sunday school. Our small group lesson had not been following the Easter story, and Pastor is in the book of Genesis right now. So as much as I hate to admit it, the day almost passed me by without even thinking of Jesus' triumpant entry into the Holy City.

Castle's classroom was loud and full of activity, as usual. But the joy echoing off the walls was especially exubreant today. When the noise fog cleared a bit, I saw what they were doing, and tears filled my eyes. These precious, joy filled toddlers were running, hopping, dancing about their table shouting "Hosanna!" to the best of their 2 and 3 year old ability. The teacher had helped them make "palm branches" out of their handprints.

They were waving their branches and singing, praising Jesus with their whole hearts. I was so touched. These teachers do a lot for our children. They love them, they pray for them, they invest in them. Being a preschool Sunday school teacher is not always the easiest job. Between the meltdowns and potty accidents, I know it's not where I prefer to serve. But these beautiful lessons are just the planting of seeds. These beginnings of truth, of the Gospel, are so very important. Cas could be ready in just a few short years to accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. He may never remember making this palm leaf, but I will. Somewhere inside him, a seed of knowledge of who Jesus is and what he did for Castle has been planted. It's going to grow. It's going to impact him. And I am so thankful.

"The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, 'Hosanna to the Son of David!' Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' 'Hosanna in the highest heaven!'" Matthew 21:9

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Do YOU Have the Luck O' the Irish??

Do You have the luck o' the Irish? Well, the Quinns certainly seem to! God has chosen to bless our little clan with lucky number 7! We will meet the lucky charm in early October. and we couldn't be more excited. Shocked, to say the least, but so very thankful for His mercies and blessing. 

The name game has begun...what shall it be this time?? We'll keep you up to date!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

My Buster turns 8 years old!

This freckle faced little cutie made his way into the world and my heart 8 years ago is that possible? I am so thankful for Bus - he is a true joy. He loves life with such a passion. His orneriness keeps me on my toes daily. His (mis) use of language keeps us all in stitches often. He is a rotten little brother who gets his way, but they all let him. He has enough charm to keep him out of major trouble. He is the sweetest big brother to Cas and Cadie. He loves Jesus and sings praises with his whole heart.

He has a plethora of nicknames: Buster Brown, Opie, Troll...I could go on and on. To know Caleb is to love him. He'll worm his way into your heart and good graces before you even know it!

We celebrated his big day with lunch at Golden Corral, just him and me. Then we picked up an ice cream cake to share with the family. He asked to go to Sky Zone with his siblings and his best friend, so we did that, too. We topped the night off with Godfather's Pizza. He got his birthday present from us a few days early, a new bike and helmet, and he has been on it pretty much nonstop since Monday! 

I am so thankful for this little bundle of boyness. He has brought so much joy into our life. How I ever thought our family was complete at 3 is a mystery to me. Our #4 makes our lives so very special each and every day.

So Happy Birthday, Caleb Ryan Quinn. You are a blessing to me and all who know you. May God truly bless you in a special way this year!