even if you're stuck indoors! But some were brave (or crazy) enough to play - even in the rain!
Friday, May 27, 2016
It's finally here! The day we've been waiting for! What would it be? A boy or girl? We were excited to see!
|The Sisters were ready|
|The brothers were ready|
|Preparing the troops|
|Dad thought he had it figured out, be we had a surprise for him!!|
Who had the pink cans?
who had the blue?
He thought he knew...
but we got him!
|That's PINK silly string, people!!|
|It's a girl!!!|
|This lucky charm is pink! Baby Girl Quinn - we're catching up!|
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Memorial Day - taking the time on this busy 3 day weekend to remember why we even have it is important to our family. That's why we are thankful to be able to honor our fallen heroes by placing flags at the Veteran's Cemetery in Springfield. Our Scout troops are a blessing to our family all year long, and we are always glad to participate in this yearly tradition - a very small way to give back to those who have given everything for us.
To all who have served, and to all who have been lost...we will remember you. Thank you for your service. May God bless our troops, and may God bless America.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Science Shepherd is an online science curriculum for grades K-12. It is taught from a biblical, Young Earth Creationist perspective and is directed by a homeschooling father of 6, Scott Hardin, who is also a medical doctor. During his family's homeschool journey, Dr. Hardin found that it was difficult to find quality, bible-based science curriculum, so he knew others must struggle with the same problem. So Science Shepherd was born. They offer four courses: Life Science, Intoductory Science, Biology and Creation Science. We reviewed the Introductory Science course. Introductory Science gives you two options for workbooks: Level A for 6-8 year olds and Level B for 9-11 year olds. We reviewed Level A.
Introductory Science is a complete, 35 week curriculum for 6-11 year olds. It contains daily 3-5 minute video lessons and has a corresponding workbook with follow up questions and activities. Every few lessons, there will be a science experiment video you can view and choose to reenact at home.
When we received Science Shepherd, Caleb was very excited to get started. We went to the site and logged in. The videos begin with Dr. Hardin sitting at what looks like a news desk. There are screens behind him that will work as power point presentations, short videos, key words, and so on.
|Quick facts about Oceanography|
|The girls are conducting an experiment on apple seeds.|
We had quite a bit of trouble with the videos buffering often, but were glad they were only short videos! The first two weeks of lessons are of the creation story, so we went through those pretty quickly- two or three lessons a day. The corresponding workbook pages were extremely simplistic. Each worksheet had about 3 to 5 questions covering the day's video. There were also activities like word search puzzles, instructions to the video activity, word and picture match sheets, and many others.
|Just an example of one of the worksheets|
The 35 week lessons cover a wide range of science topics:
- Underwater, Flying and Land Creatures
- Human Beings
- Physical Science - Matter, Energy, Motion and Magnets
Because this is an introductory course geared for younger elementary grades, none of the material goes very in-depth. I look at it as a jumping off point, engaging the student on many topics to whet their appetites, but not a full course meal on any subject.
|Caleb working on his worksheets|
While going through the lessons, we skipped around because he had already covered a lot of this material. Caleb loves science, and this is a very basic course. He was definitely at the top of the curve coming into this curriculum with only a few weeks of 2nd grade left. I think the lessons are definitely at the level of Kindergarten to 1st grade with what it is covering. However, I am not sure if the video lessons would hold the attention of a very young student. While Dr. Hardin is very informative, I don't believe he is engaging to his audience's age level.
I think Science Shepherd's courses definitely fills a gap in the homeschooling world. A biblical worldview in the science world is an essential need today. The introductory material Dr. Hardin has compiled will be a great beginning to a solid science education that will both give the student a solid foundation and honor the Lord.
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Friday, May 20, 2016
We are ending the school year soon, and I was thrilled to top off the boys' studies with something fun that they would really enjoy. I was so happy to review Memoria Press' curriculum on D'Aulaires' Greek Myths. We received the Teacher Guide, the Student Guide, The Greek Myths book, and flash cards.
My boys (and daughter) are fascinated with Greek myths. They love the stories, and are pretty well versed in the more modern spin on these ancient tales. So it was a real treat to break down the stories of the gods and goddesses. The Greek Myths book gives you a personal insight and character review of each god, goddess, and family. To see the relationships between them and the interactions between them and humans give us many entertaining stories and a greater understanding of how the ancient people who worshipped these gods explained the events in nature and in their lives.
While I reviewed this curriculum for my 2nd and 6th grader (the recommended age for this study is grades 3-6), I was not surprised by the fact that my 7th and 9th grader always showed up on the couch when this book was pulled out. Since it was the end of the school year, I didn't make the boys do the writing in the book - I did it for them. So we would go over all the questions orally, and I would write in their answers. We were very hard pressed to keep the older ones quiet and let the younger ones answer THEIR questions! I did love seeing all of them so anxious to give their answers, though, so it was all a lot of fun!
The Student Guide consists of two page lessons, usually covering two or more of the short stories from the book. The lesson is broken down into four parts per lesson: Facts to Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, and Activities. The Facts to Know give a brief definition of either a character (ie: Zeus), a place (ie: Mt. Olympus) or an object with significance in the myth (ie: the golden apple of discord). The Vocabulary section gives a sentence fragment with a vocabulary word in bold letters and a space to write what the word means. This is a great time to work on dictionary skills if your children have not used one very much. The Comprehension Questions are pretty straightforward, covering important details and events from that day's story. The Activities section had two parts. The first part was called Identify. We would go back to the Greek Myths book, look at the illustrations and find things of importance. The next part would be some more questions, but they varied. Many times they would have us compare or contrast the myths with Biblical events. Other times, the boys would be asked to draw a picture. Sometimes they would give critical thinking questions. These activities were very good for the kids. It gave us a time to have longer discussions and gave me a chance to answer some of their questions.
After every five lessons, there is a review day. I didn't expect these days to be nearly as fun on their own since I am not required to read to them on review days, so I just began a daily lesson with the review questions when they came up! It was another rocket volley of everyone shouting out their answers. At the back of the book is a final review section. The Activities section would have us go and fill these parts out as we came upon them in the stories. There are 110 drill questions and a final study sheet, as well as maps and a pronunciation guide. We haven't used the flash cards yet, but I know they will be a great help to keep all the information they learned sorted for their final review.
This study of Greek Myths from Memoria Press was so well put together. It was detailed, informative, and it covered so much. I am glad we had the opportunity to use this curriculum. It took something my kids already enjoyed and stretched their language art skills without them even knowing. I hope to have more of this kind of learning with the boys in the future.
|Caleb's favorite stories were about Hermes - I think he felt a kinship with this charming, mischievous god!|
|Canon liked Hephaestus - the gentle smith god who worked with his hands and didn't spend much time with the other gods, preferring the company of the Cyclopse who worked alongside him. Again, feeling a kinship perhaps?|
|Castle loved the stories about all the gods, so he chose the picture of the thrones on Mt. Olympus.|
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016
The boys have had amazing end of co-op experiences, thanks to their awesome PE teachers. The ladies organized a color run, complete with obstacles, awards and LOTS and LOTS of color!! They both had so much fun, and I really enjoyed getting to watch all the kids compete and have a blast. I love the teachers who go the extra mile to teach the subject they are passionate about. Dey, the elementary lead PE teacher, wants to teach kids the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, and she has worked hard to do so all year. The end of year celebration was a triumph, and a well earned reward for the kids learning and working hard in class. I'm so glad my boys have been blessed by her example and teaching. She's just so much fun!!
Monday, May 16, 2016
As a lover of poetry myself, I have always wanted to share that love with my kids. Unfortunately, my boys started from a young age to see poetry as a topic they must suffer through, least of all enjoy. I was hoping to change that for my oldest this year when I was chosen to review Institute for Excellence in Writing's curriculum, Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.
Andrew Pudewa, founder and writer of IEW, believes that poetry and memorization is becoming a lost art form in today's American Public Education system. I wholeheartedly agree. When we become so focused on math and science and technology, but neglect the fine arts, we suffer as a society. The arts do not stand alone. By studying pieces of literature and poetry, we learn about history, perfect our understanding of the sophistication of our language, and become more well rounded human beings. Art is the beauty in life, and poetry is a beautiful category of art. So while my boys don't revel in poetry memorization, they will endure because I know how much it will help them grow in all their other subjects, as well as in the world.
IEW's Poetry Memorization curriculum came with 5 cd's of Andrew reading all 96 pieces of poetry and speeches, a leather bound case to keep them in, a Teacher's Manual (which includes instructions, certificates and poet biographies), and a downloadable ebook of the Student book. You can purchase the hard copy of the spiral bound Student book separately. You are also sent a dvd of Andrew's conference talk, "Nurturing Competent Communicators". And lastly, you are given 7 mp3 downloads of some of Andrew's other workshops. If you have never gotten to be in one of his workshops, these recordings will truly be a treat!
Since we were ending the school year, I thought we would just go through the book and let Connor choose a few poems to memorize. Once he chose one, I gave him a time frame as to when I wanted him to present it to me. At first, he chose really easy ones, thinking he was sneaking one over on me. Then he chose some longer ones. He was very worried that he wouldn't be able to memorize the long ones, but he surprised us both by memorizing over half of a 16 stanza poem in one afternoon!
One thing I found to be true that Andrew Pudewa addresses in his dvd is that poetry is only as exciting as the subject matter. So if you have rough and rowdy boys like I do, you probably won't be teaching them poems about the beauty of a rainbow, of the fluffiness of a sheep. You have to find poems that spark their imagination, and this curriculum does that! In fact, some of them were so shocking that Connor called them morbid - but he said it with glee! We have kept the cd's in the van and pop them in to listen to a few poems nearly every time we are going somewhere. All the kids are picking up on some pieces, and each on definitely has their own favorites!
Here is a list of a few of the poems Connor worked through these last few weeks:
- How Doth the Little Crocodile by Lewis Carroll
- Fog by Carl Sandburg
- The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
- Ballad of the Tempest by James T. Fields
He has four more that he is working on through the end of the month. I am so glad we got the chance to review this product. I will be using it again next year with the younger boys, and I can't wait to hear their deliveries! IEW puts out excellent curriculum, and this one is no different. When I see IEW products, I expect quality, and I definitely received it with this program.
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