Our Family

Our Family

Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekly Shopping Trip With Coupons-Brookshires and Walmart

I have a review posting in a couple of weeks called Christi the Coupon Coach.  To go along with that review, and because I would really love to not have to raise my grocery budget after the last price increase, or even better lower it, I have started using coupons again.  Today was the first time in a long time that I have used several coupons while shopping.

Our first stop was Brookshire's.  The last time I had been in our local store, it was still Alps (several years ago now.)  I was pretty pleased with the deals that I got there and the overall appearance and cleanliness of the store.  It did not take me long at all to find what I was after and they even bring your groceries to the car for you.

Everything I bought (except the bananas) at Brookshire's was on sale and most of it I also had coupons for. I bought the bananas because they were less per pound what I normally spend at Walmart.

Oscar Meyer lunch meat was 2 for $5 (plus $1 off of 2 coupon)
Kraft BBQ Sauce .88 (plus $1 off of 2 coupon)
Capri Suns 2 for $4 (plus $1 off of 2 coupon)
Kraft Singles 2 for $4 (plus $1 off coupon)
Kraft Shredded Cheese 2 for $4 (plus .50 off 2)
Miracle Whip 2 for $5 (plus $1 off 2)
Jello Pudding .60 each (plus $1 off 3)
Kraft Cream Cheese 2 for $3 (plus .50 off 2)
Kool-aid packets 10 for $1 (plus coupon for buy 10 get 3 free)
M&M's .60 each (plus .50 off 2)
Kraft Dressing 2 for $3 (plus $1 off 2)
Bar S Franks .99 each
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts $1.99/lb
Real Deal- buy pork loin and get pack of paper plates, can of baked beans, carton of potato salad, loaf of bread and 2 liter Dr. Pepper free

Total before coupons and Thank You card sale prices $ 107.87
Coupon discounts $8.75
Sale Price Savings $43.19
Total $55.93

Then were were off to Walmart.  I am not going to list everything I bought (because I bought a LOT), just the items that I bought with coupons.  Hopefully after a few weeks of using coupons I will get to the point that almost everything I buy will be with a coupon.

Almond Milk $2.98 (plus .75 off coupon)
Pull ups $8.97 (plus $2 off coupon)
Baby Wipes $1.97 (plus .50 off )
Pampers $8.97 (plus $1.50 off)
Truvia Sweetener $2.98 (plus $1 off coupon)
Dial Soaps $3.97 each (coupon for buy 2 get one free)
M& M Ice Cream Bars $4.12 (plus $1 off coupon)
Trash bags $7.48 (.50 off coupon)
Cereal $2.88 each (plus $1 of 2 coupon)
String Cheese $1 (plus .75 off 2 coupon)
Turkey Franks .97 (plus .55 off coupon)

Coupon savings $13.52

Not bad for my first attempt at couponing in a very long time!  I am definitely motivated to see what deals next week will bring!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

All About Reading Free Summer Reading Activity Bundle

All About Reading Activity Bundle

Click on the banner and you can sign up (name and email only so it is quick and easy) to receive 6 downloadable PDF's with fun reading activities for your children to use this summer!

*this post contains an Affiliate Link

You Are Interested in Homeschooling But . . .

You are afraid you are not patient enough.

You are afraid you are not smart enough.

You are afraid you are not qualified.

You are afraid your children won't listen to you.

You are afraid it costs too much.

You are afraid you are going to mess your kid(s) up.

No one is the perfect mom or homeschool mom.  Everyone is afraid at some point that they are not good enough to do something.  Don't let fear stop you!  Over and over again in the Bible, we are told "Do not be afraid", "Fear Not."  Don't let your fears stop you from homeschooling your children.

I think it's funny when people assume that because I homeschool and have a larger than average family, that I must be amazingly patient.  NOT TRUE.  I am by nature an impatient person, but I have learned patience by the grace of God through parenting and homeschooling my children.  If I had waited until I thought I was patient enough, I never would have been able to start homeschooling.

You do not have to have a PHD to homeschool your children.  I have know homeschool moms who were successful homeschooling their children that didn't even graduate from high school.  I always worried about not being smart enough to teach subjects I had never taken or not had taken in a long time.  With technology being what it is today, there are all kinds of options you can use in your homeschool; online courses, classes via skype, DVD instruction, etc. . . Also you teach your children to teach themselves and be there to support them.  I have learned so much through homeschooling my children.  If you wait until you know everything to start homeschooling, you never will start.

You do not need a teaching certificate to teach your children.  You ARE qualified!  As a parent there is no one more invested in your child then you.  There is no teacher anywhere who loves your child more than you do.  God has entrusted YOU with the care and raising of your child, this includes their education.  God thinks you are qualified, should you question HIS judgement?

You are already a parent.  Homeschooling is just an extension of parenting.  Discipline is part of parenting and therefore part of homeschooling.  If you are sending them to school to correct their behavior or because you have a hard time with discipline, it is not going to get better.  Children have to respect and submit to their parents or they will never submit to God.  If there are discipline issues than you need to work on those whether or not you choose to homeschool.  If you are in a situation where you are bringing them home from school, it might take a little time for them to adjust to seeing you as a "teacher."  When I first started homeschooling, we had our difficulties for the first few months, but once we got into a routine and Chelsea knew what to expect it got better.  People ask me all the time how I get the children to listen to me, or to do their work.  It's pretty simple.  It's not a choice.  They are required to obey.  One of my favorite verses, "Children, obey your parents in all things because this is well pleasing to the Lord." If they choose not to, their are consequences they face.  When they complete their required work on time they earn 30 minutes of media time.  My children are not perfect and they do mumble and grumble over their work sometimes (they are kids!) but they know that school is something they have to do.  It is just a natural part of their day.  If there is a specific issue they have with an area of their work like not liking a particular writing program for instance, I do listen to their "complaints" and if they are valid, will find an alternative.  I also find areas to study that interest the children (delight directed learning.)  School can be fun and not just a chore!

Cost.  I hear from ladies all of the time who are afraid to homeschool because of cost.  If you are already living on one income, or will be going to one income, the thought of adding homeschool expenses can be scary.  The cost of homeschooling varies greatly.  You can homeschool for free if you are determined and have internet and a library card.  You can also spend $1000's if you want to.  Generally speaking it is less expensive to homeschool younger grades and gets a little more expensive to homeschool high school.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  If you want to homeschool, don't let the financial part stop you.  God is able and does provide for all of our needs.  Sometimes it takes sacrifice on our part to do so.  Trim the budget, have a garage sale, start couponing, whatever it takes to do your part and let God do the rest.  I have a great story of God's provision for our homeschool during a difficult financial time:

" The summer I was pregnant with Lily (#6), our insurance changed and required a whole lot more money to have a baby.  Money they wanted up front of course.  At the same time, one of our children needed stitches (ER visit), and one needed their tonsils out (overnight hospital stay.)  We also had a few other unexpected expenses (something broke) and I had next to no money for homeschool curriculum.  I could've probably charged it on a credit card, but we had enough debt with the medical bills.  Well, a friend of mine had an entire curriculum (an expensive one) that she wasn't using for the grade Chelsea was going into to.  She offered to loan it to me!  Wow!  All I had to buy was something for Math which I picked up cheap on ebay. At the same time, she had found some Abeka curriculum at a local thrift shop.  The lady had twins so there was two of everything for only $5 for a complete year's curriculum.  She gave me a set and kept a set for herself.  Amazing!  A few weeks later, a lady contacted me who was moving and no longer able to homeschool.  She had a garage full of curriculum that she had to get rid of.  She didn't want any money, I just had to pick it up that day."

 I had everything I needed to homeschool that year and more.  God will provide for your needs. It may not be the way you think He will, but He will provide.    

You will make mistakes.  I make mistakes everyday as a parent, wife, homeschool mom.  But, you are not going to mess your kids up by homeschooling them.  You may not do things the same way the public school does (NOT a bad thing), they may learn at a different pace then their friends down the road (that's ok), you may decide halfway through the year that your Math curriculum is not working and switch to something else making them "fall behind " (that's ok too.)  But, if you have desire and determination  to home educate your child, you are not going to" mess them up."  They will be much better off than they would be in school, even with any mistakes that you might make.

Don't let your fears stop you!  You can successfully homeschool your child!

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."  Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Moving Beyond the Page

 photo title_zps55bc9663.jpg

I had never heard of Moving Beyond the Page before the company appeared on the list of vendors for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I am so glad I have heard of them now!  We have had a wonderful time while reviewing  the Ben and Me Language Arts Unit along with the Magnetism and Electricity Science Unit.  

The Ben and Me Language Arts Unit is for students in the 8-10 year old age range.  It can be used as a stand alone literature unit or used alongside the Magnetism and Electricity Science Unit.  The listed prerequisites for this unit are to be able to read and comprehend chapter books at a 4th-5th grade reading level and to be able to write an organized paragraph. Through this Language Arts Unit your child will learn about the life of Ben Franklin through the eyes of a rodent named Amos by reading the book Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, answering comprehension questions, and completing hands on activities.  They will learn about the elements of historical fiction and what the difference is between fact and fiction.  Children will have an opportunity to design and fly their own kite and discover information about early inventions and the invention process.

The Ben and Me Language Arts Unit contains both parent instruction pages and student activity pages.  It has 10 lessons and is designed to be completed in about 3 weeks.  Chapters Include:

  • Lesson One: Ben Franklin and the Colonies (2 days)
  • Lesson Two: Setting the Record Straight
  • Lesson Three: Swimming
  • Lesson Four: Electricity
  • Lesson Five: Electrifying
  • Lesson 6: War
  • Lesson 7: France
  • Lesson 8: Amos's Account (2 days)
  • Lesson 9: The Rescue
  • Lesson 10: Back Home
  • Final Project: An Interview or Party for Ben (2 days

The Ben and Me language arts unit is available as  a physical package for $33.18 which includes: Ben and Me Curriculum,  Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, and a pocket sled kite kit.  Or you can purchase the unit for $29.12 which includes online access to the Ben and Me Curriculum for 3 months once activated, a physical copy of Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, and a pocket sled kite kit.  Each of the components can also be purchased separately.

You can see samples of both the online and hard copy units on this page.

The Magnetism and Electricity Unit can be used on its own, but it was designed to go along with the Ben and Me language arts unit and to be used by students in the 8-10 year old range who are able to read chapter books at a 4-5th grade reading level and write an organized paragraph.  Students will explore magnetic forces and observe how magnets and electricity are used in daily life.  They will make their own circuits and experiment with different materials to see whether they are conductors or insulators.  They will learn about the relationship between magnetism and electricity.  This unit uses Electricity and Magnetism by Peter Adamczyk and Paul-Francis Law, comprehension questions, and many hands on science experiments.  Magnetism and Electricity contains both the teacher notes and the student pages and is designed to be completed in about 3 weeks.  Chapters include:

  • Lesson One: The Power of Magnets
  • Lesson Two: Experimenting With Magnets
  • Lesson Three: Magnetic Fields
  • Lesson Four: Magnet Action
  • Lesson Five: Magnetism on Earth
  • Lesson Six: Exploring Electricity (2 days)
  • Lesson Seven: Conductors and Circuits
  • Lesson Eight: Motors and Batteries
  • Lesson Nine: Products of Electricity (2 days)
  • Lesson Ten: Sources of Electricity 
  • Final Project : Magnetism and Electricity

The physical package is $89.92 and includes:  Magnetism and Electricity Curriculum, Electricity and Magnetism by Peter Adamczyk and Paul-Francis Law, Force and Power Science Kit, and Science Wiz Electricity Kit.   The online option is $85.86 and includes the same components as the physical package with the exception that the curriculum will not be a physical product but instead you will receive online access of the unit for 3 months once it has been activated.  Each of the components can be purchased separately as well.

You can see samples of online and hard copy units on this page.

Moving Beyond the Page offers many individual units for language arts, science, and social studies for children ages 7-13. They also offer full year curriculum packages for ages 5-13 with a 4-5 year old and 12-14 year old curriculum packages being added soon.  You can go to this page to see their full year curriculum packages or this page to see all of their individual units.

I chose  Ben and Me with the corresponding Magnetism and Electricity Unit to use with my almost 8,9,and 11 year old boys.  I started looking for something in the 8-10 year old age range so I could use it with all three of them.  My boys are particularly interested in science and Ben Franklin and his inventions which made this the perfect unit for them to study.  We did all of the readings as read alouds, did the comprehension questions orally, and worked on the activities together.  We received all of the components to both units to review.  The Language Arts Unit we had online access to and the Science Unit we received a physical copy of.

I was quite impressed with the concept of Moving Beyond the Page the first time I visited the website.  I loved the idea of teaching subjects around a correlating theme using great books and interesting hands on activities.  I was VERY impressed when I received my package from Moving Beyond the Page (pictured above.)  All of the supplies from the Force and Power Science Kit were in separate bags labeled with the lesson!  How convenient!  Everything we needed to complete the science unit was included with the exception of a hammer for an optional activity and a D cell battery for the Electricity Kit.  The Language Arts Unit did require a few easy to find supplies like scissors, glue, colored pencils, magazines, a globe, tape, dictionary, journal, biography of Ben Franklin etc.. The supplies are shown with the corresponding lesson number so you can easily see what you will need when.

We have loved the book Ben and Me.  It has been a great read a loud for my family.  I think the variety of learning activities is wonderful.  I do not assign "busy work" to my children.  If they are doing worksheets I want them to be worthwhile.  The student worksheets are not just mindless worksheets but instead have a purpose and make children think.  My favorite worksheet was "Something New" where the children designed a new invention from a list of objects.  The children thought it was really cool when we lit a light bulb using a balloon and the static electricity from my hair.  And of course, the kite flying was a big hit!

The Magnetism and Electricity Unit has been a LOT of fun!  The boys have learned so much through the readings and hands on activities.  Having all of the necessary equipment already on hand and divided into labeled bags ensured that we would actually do the experiments.  Many times in science I start out with good intentions of completing an experiment but discover we are missing one of the things we need.  With Moving Beyond the Page, I didn't have to worry about that.  I did many of the experiments with the boys, but one day that I had a conflict I handed them the book, told them which lesson to complete and they handled it all on their own with no problems.  The Science Wiz Electricity Kit was definitely the boys favorite part of the unit!

Pros and Cons of Physical Copy vs. Online Access

Online Pros

  • instant access and no shipping (but honestly if you are ordering other items from MBTP this won't really matter)
  • less expensive
  • the copyright for the online curriculum allows you to make multiple copies of student pages for your family
  • links to websites and further information are only a click away
  • can complete worksheets without printing them out (I did this using Notability on my iPad)
  • it checks off each lesson as you complete it
Online Cons

  • you only have access for 3 months once the unit is activated (if something happens and you need it longer the company will extend this time)
  • you have to have internet to access it
  • you need to have a computer or other device (I used the iPad)  with you to read the teacher's notes (student pages are PDF's and can be printed out)
  • I felt very disorganized for the first few days of using the online unit.  Once I got all of the student pages printed out and divided by lesson and started accessing it on my iPad so it was more portable, It got better.

Physical Copy Pros

  • physical copy that you get to keep
  • very portable
  • you do not need internet to access teacher's notes (you may need internet at some point to access listed websites to complete some assignments)
  • spiral binding allows book to lay flat and keep hands free
  • I felt more organized because everything was all in one place
Physical Copy Cons

  • cannot make copies for multiple students additional packs of student pages are $4.99 each
  • teacher's notes with the answer keys are in the same book as student pages
  • teacher cannot read through their notes while students are working on worksheets
  • little more expensive

My Wish-  I would like to see a PDF download offered.  This way you would not need to have internet to access it and you could print out the whole thing including teacher's notes if you wished, or keep it on a device if you chose.  You could print as many copies as you need for your family, but still keep it forever.  You would still have immediate access and save on shipping costs.

One other thing I wanted to mention was the listed prerequisites.  How you are planning on using the units will help you determine how important it is that your child meets this.  If you are expecting them to do it on their own, they need to be at the recommended ability.  If you are planning on working with them then I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Neither my almost 8 or 9 year olds were at the recommended reading level but have really good reading comprehension.  I read the book aloud and they completed the activities with no problems.

We will definitely be looking at completing another unit from Moving Beyond the Page in the future!

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed a variety of products from Moving Beyond the Page.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review: Chronicles of Dinosauria

Millions of years ago. . . is the start of most of the books, television shows, movies and other resources available that discuss dinosaurs.  Many people just accept this as fact and don't even question it.  Dinosaurs are the most used animal to promote evolutionary thinking and the earth being millions of years old.  But, a lot of evidence exists to prove that the Biblical account of Creation is true, the earth is only thousands not millions of years old, and dinosaurs and man co-existed on the earth.  I was very excited to have an opportunity to review Chronicles of Dinosauria, The History &; Mystery of Dinosaurs and Man  from Master Books.  

Quick Overview, "Every legend is said to include some grain of truth, and for years co-author Dave Woetzel has sought to separate fact from fiction as he explores mysteries related to dinosaurs, mankind's history, and the biblical time-line. Teaming with artist and designer Richard Dobbs, the two have created a visual archive of expeditions and intriguing clues to explore, all of which highlight the connection to the authority and reliability of Scripture."

Chronicles of Dinosauria was written by Dave Woetzel and illustrated by Richard Dobbs.  It is a hardcover book that is 86 pages long.  The book is divided into 8 Chapters:

The Creation and the Dinosaurs
The Flood and the Dinosaurs
Fossil Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man
Historical Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man
Artistic Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man
Cryptozoology Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man 
Biblical Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man
Apologetics and Conclusion

You can view a sample of the book here.

View the book trailer here.

You can purchase Chronicles of Dinosauria from Christianbook.com, Amazon.com, BN.com or nlpg.com.  Prices will vary.  At the time of this posting the Christianbook.com price is $12.99.

I would highly recommend Chronicles of Dinosauria for adults and children of all ages!  Those who already believe in Creationism will find some of the facts and information interesting (I know I did!)  Homeschoolers can use this book as a teaching tool for their children.  People who are not sure what to believe on the Creation/Evolution debate would enjoy reading through it.  Even those with an open mind who believe evolutionary theories may find it an interesting read.  Adults and older children can read and enjoy it on their own, while younger children can enjoy the illustrations and photographs while an adult summarizes the readings for them.  The illustrations are simply stunning!  The book is full of fascinating factual evidence and beautiful photographs of artifacts , artwork,  and fossils.  I learned many things I never knew before reading this book.  The facts and evidence are presented in an interesting way.  The author has done a very thorough job with his research and evidence and has personally visited each of the locations multiple times that are spoken about in the chapter on Cryptozoology.  I found the chapter on Artistic Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man very interesting because I have never seen anything like it before.  Most of all, Chronicles of Dinosauria doesn't contradict what the Bible tells us in the book of Genesis.  It honors the authority of Scripture while showing us evidence of man's interaction with dinosaurs.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of Chronicles of Dinosauria for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Homeschooling and Copyright Laws

Homeschooling and copyright laws has been a hot topic lately.  Many homeschool families are one income families with a stretched budget already.  It can be hard to stretch it further in order to purchase homeschool curriculum for your family.  Reusing curriculum, sharing curriculum with other homeschool families, and reselling curriculum are all ways that can help you to save money or stretch your homeschool dollar, but how do you know when this is OK to do?

Although there are some general "rules" you can follow, the best thing to do is to check each companies copyright policy before you purchase from that company.  Especially if you plan on using it with multiple children, or reselling.  If you cannot find a copyright policy on their website or catalog, email or call the company to find out.

Some general rules (but remember to check with the publisher first):

Computer software, ebooks, PDF downloads, audiobooks,or other digital files cannot be resold or shared with other households. This includes curriculum in the form of computer software.  Two popular examples that cannot be sold are Switched on Schoolhouse and Rosetta Stone.  Even free PDF files that you download should not be printed out and shared.  You can, however share the original link to the company you found it from so others can download their own.  Many companies do allow you to print multiple copies of downloads for use within your own family, or allow multiple users on computer software.

Consumable workbooks cannot be copied or resold.  Workbooks are intended to be used by one child.  You cannot copy even within your own family.  I used to think it was OK to have my children do work on a piece of paper and then either reuse, or sell the workbook.  After doing my own research on copyright laws, I no longer believe that to be true.  If you use the workbook in any way, it is used even if it has not been written in.

Textbooks, and Teacher's Guides can be used multiple times, shared with other homeschooling families, and resold.

For example:

If you were using a curriculum like Math U See, the Teacher's Manual and DVD can be used with multiple children or resold when you are finished.  The Student Text has to be purchased for each child that uses it.

A PDF download of a lapbook allows you to print multiple copies for your own family, but you cannot print copies for friends, or print copies to sell.

Why does paying attention to copyright laws matter?  Some people might say it matters because many companies are homeschooling families themselves and are trying to make a living. This is often true. Some might say it matters because publishers work hard to make curriculum and we need to respect them and their efforts by following the laws. And we should.  Some will argue that these laws do not matter and once they purchase something, they should be able to do whatever they want with it.  This is not true.  By purchasing from a company you are agreeing to abide by their copyright laws.  My personal opinion is that we are commanded to "Love the Lord your God with all heart and with all your soul and with all your mind", and to, "Love your neighbor as yourself."  We need to respect copyright laws because by doing so, we are obeying God and loving our neighbor.  We are also abiding by the things we try to teach are children like not to lie, cheat, or steal.  This is why we need to be diligent, and to find out the laws so we can do the right thing and teach our children to as well.

Money is a concern for homeschooling families, but you can be mindful of copyright laws and be a frugal homeschooler.  If you need to use something with more than one child, don't purchase materials that does not allow this.  Find and buy from companies that allow for copying within your families.  To save printing costs buy a laser printer, or if you have an iPad or other tablet, have your child do their written work on it.  Instead of using workbooks, have your children answer questions orally with you reading aloud from a Teacher's Manual.  When you need to use workbooks (like Math) buy from a company whose newer workbooks are compatible with older Teacher's Manuals so all you need to buy each year is the workbook.   Purchase used curriculum that is allowed to be resold.  Sell your curriculum that is allowed to be resold to buy next year's curriculum.  Share books that can be shared with other homeschooling families.  If there are several families interested in the same curriculum, check into a co-op license and divide the cost.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Memoria Press

 photo mp_header_zps9aa8d9dc.jpg

Memoria Press   is a publishing company that produces easy to use classical Christian education materials for private schools and homeschools.  Recently we had an opportunity to use and review Prima Latina, An Introduction to Christian Latin Teacher Manual, Student Book, Pronunciation CD, Flashcards, and Instructional DVD.

 photo PL_completeSet_zps91680a55.png

Prima Latina is a preparation course for Latin Christina.  It was written for children in grades 1-4 who are good readers, but still becoming familiar with English grammar.  It was designed to be able to be taught by teachers with no background in Latin.  Students will learn important English and Latin grammar concepts, vocabulary, prayers, sayings, hymns, and constellations.

The text contains:

  • 25 different lessons including grammar designed to complete one lesson per week
  • 5 vocabulary words per lesson along with English derivatives
  • practical Latin phrase for each lesson
  • one line of prayer for each lesson with entire prayer being completed after 5 lessons
  • constant review with a test taken after every 5 lessons to ensure mastery

The Student Goals for Prima Latina are to:

  • Learn the basic Latin alphabet and pronunciation of vowels and consonants sounds.
  • Pronounce, spell, and translate 125 Latin words.
  • Learn 25 practical Latin sayings and 4 complete prayers
  • Learn numbers 1 to 10
  • Learn the names of popular constellations
  • Learn and understand what a derivative is

You can view the Table of Contents here.

See a sample lesson here.

View a sample of the Teacher's Manual here.

The paperback Teacher's Manual ($14) contains the entire student text (with answers), a vocabulary appendix, teaching guidelines, tests, and test keys.

The paperback Student Book ($14) is a consumable workbook.  It contains the Practical Latin saying, the concept being taught, vocabulary, Latin Prayers, and derivatives for each lesson.   It also contains the written exercises for each lesson.  Every lesson has review questions, questions about the new concept that was learned, words to translate, a Speaking Latin section, a place to write vocabulary words and their meanings, and a fun practice exercise.

The Pronunciation CD ($4.95) includes pronunciation direction for each lesson and four hymns from Lingua Angelica.  The student workbook tells you which track to listen to in the Speaking Latin section.  Your child can listen to the words and then follow the directions to speak them themselves.

Latin Christina I-Prima Latina Flashcards ($14.95)  are simple flashcards with black ink and printed on white cardstock.  The front of the cards contain the word and its derivative and the back shows the meaning and part of speech.  The flashcard set is the one that is used for Latin Christina, but every word that is learned in Prima Latina is contained in the set

The Instructional DVDs ($45) contain 9 hours of instruction by Leigh Lowe on 3 discs.  Each of the lessons in the book is gone over step by step on the DVD.  The DVD shows the teacher teaching while allowing the student to see and hear what is being taught in the lesson.   You can view a sample lesson on this page (scroll down to DVD section.)

The Prima Latina complete set can be purchased for $90.90.

I used Prima Latina mostly with my 1st and 3rd graders, but my K and Pre-K listened in to the DVDs.  The lessons are set up so you can complete one lesson per week.  You could divide the lesson up to complete over the course of a week, but I thought doing our Latin lesson once a week was perfect for us!  Instead of trying to carve out time everyday to work on it, I just set aside a block of time every Wednesday for us to work on Latin.  First we viewed the Instructional DVD.  The lessons lasted around 20 minutes.  Then we did each of the sections in the student workbook together.  We did spend some time during the week using flashcards for reinforcement.

I was excited to have an opportunity for my younger children to learn Latin!  My older two are already using a Latin program but it is too advanced for little ones.  I have a little bit of Latin in my background, but even if you know nothing about Latin at all, you can use Prima Latina with your children.  The books have a very clean layout with nothing distracting on the pages.  The program is very easy to use, all you have to do is open the book and go.  While using this Latin program, the children are learning (or reinforcing) English grammar.  I love the inclusion of the prayers and the lessons on the constellations.

While you do not have to have the DVDs to use this program, it is a great resource.  With the DVD, children that can read and write well can use Prima Latina on their own.  The DVD goes through the lesson step by step.  After watching the video, students can complete the workbook exercises.  Young children who are not reading or writing yet can also learn Latin with these DVDs.  My 6 and 4 year olds watched the DVD with us and learned Latin vocabulary.  The instructor is very enthusiastic and has a great presence for young children.  My 9 year old said that he thought he was too old for the DVD because she is a teacher for "little kids."  He thought things like repeating the words and racing to see how fast you could say the sounds were "babyish."

I also wanted to mention that the DVDs and the CD uses Christian (Ecclesiastical) pronunciation rather than Classical pronunciation because that is what you would hear if you are in a church that uses Latin.  This bothered my older children because they are used to hearing the Classical pronunciation.  How you pronounce Latin is really up to you, but young children may get confused if they hear it two different ways.

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Prima Latina and Geography I.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Discovery Museum and Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center

Chelsea needed to be dropped off at the 4 H Center in Little Rock.  It is a LONG drive to Little Rock, and we all had to load up to take her, so I thought it would be fun if we went to The Discovery Museum while we there.  We had never been there before, and because we have passes to MASM our admission was free.

The hardest part for me was finding parking.  When you drive a 15 passenger van, you just can't park it anywhere!  Downtown Little Rock has a few free parking areas, but the ones closest to the museum were already full, so we parked in a parking garage.  It cost $1.50 per hour to park.  I do not like parking garages, but luckily found a spot that I could get the van in and out of easily.

The Discovery Museum was down the road and across the street.  It has a lot of fun hands on exhibits for children.  The children had a wonderful time!  All of the exhibits were different than the ones they are used to at MASM so everything was new and exciting!  There were four main sections.

Upstairs there was a large room, Discovery Hall, with several hands on discovery exhibits.

Here are some of the pictures I took in there.

The next area, Amazing You, had exhibits that were all about the human body.

While I had the boys in that area, Chelsea took the girls into the special area, Room to Grow, for kids 6 and under.  It was really cool!  They had lots of hands on activities for little ones.  There was a story corner, magnets, blocks, an area to dig in, a stage with costumes to dress up in, monkey bars, a rock climb, playhouse, pirate ship, and more.  Plus they even had a room for nursing mothers in there.  Lily and Emelia loved it!

 Chelsea took a few pictures on her phone, but I don't have those here.  I did get one picture when I went to get them so we cold go downstairs.

Downstairs in , Earth Journeys there were more fun things to do!  There were fun hands on exhibits, animals to look at, and a room with a tornado simulation (loud and scary!  not for young children.)

The Tinkering Studio (where you can build special things) is only open in the afternoon so we did not get to go in there.

We spent about 2 hours at the Discovery Museum.  I would not make the drive just to go there, but if we have to be in Little Rock for something else, we will definitely go again!  The children wanted to go back today!!

The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center is right next door.  The admission is free.  My children love all of the programs and activities we have done through Arkansas State Parks and I knew they would want to go in.  It was a neat little place.  The children were impressed, and the price was right :) I was glad we stopped in.  If you are visiting downtown Little Rock, it is definitely worth visiting.