Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Homeschool Science Camp: Garden in a Glove

* I was provided with the items for Homeschool Science Camp free of charge.  Please see my disclaimer at the bottom of the post for more information.

Last fall I was given an opportunity to participate in a once a month Homeschool Science Camp for the first half of 2016.  We are a science loving family, so I happily accepted.  The projects rotate from a mini activity one month to a big activity the next.  The literature is provided to us along with a video to watch.  For the mini activities I have to provide my own supplies, but for the bigger activities the supplies are provided to me.  Back in December we did an activity called The Earth is an Apple.  January's main activity was Ecosystem in a Bottle. In February we did The Dirt Beneath Our Feet edible activity.  

March's activity is called Garden in a Glove.  We have had A LOT of fun with this activity!

When our kit arrived it contained everything we needed except for water.  These items are easy to find for you to repeat this activity in your homeschool.

If you would like to follow along by video, you can find a video of the experiment here.

A PDF of the parent guide can be found here.

A PDF of the Experiment Guide can be found here.


plastic food service glove
5 seed packets
10 cotton balls
twist tie
containers to plant the seeds in once they outgrew the glove

The Process:

First you need to label the fingers of your glove with the names of the seeds you will be putting in each finger.

Next dip 5  cotton balls in a cup of water and squeeze it out so it is wet but not dripping.  Place your wet cotton balls into each of the glove's fingers.

Drop two to three seeds into each of the fingers making sure you match the correct seeds with the labels :)

Dip 5 more cotton balls into the water squeezing them out as well and place them in each finger over top of the seeds.

Blow some air into the glove and tie it with a twist tie or pipe cleaner.

Hang the glove in a sunny place.

Within 3-5 days your children should be able to see their sprouts!  Some of ours started sprouting the next day. This is a great journal opportunity for your children.  Each day they can draw pictures or describe what their seeds look like.

After 9-14 days, your seeds will be ready to be transplanted.  We transplanted ours into the biodegradable containers that were provided for us.  You could also plant them directly outside.

I thought this was a great experiment!  It was inexpensive and easy to do.  The most difficult part was dropping the seeds in to the fingers, but if your child has trouble with that you could put the seeds on the cotton ball, cover with the other cotton ball and place it in the fingers all at once.  The bean seeds that we planted grew the fastest.

I am a club leader for a 4 H group and every spring I try to do something different with gardening or seeds.  I thought this was such a great project I had my club members do it at our last meeting.  Everyone enjoyed it and reported great success with their seeds!

We can't wait for our next #campSci project next month!

Disclaimer: I received the products in this kit complimentary from Monsanto as part of their #CampSci Homeschool Science program.  I received no other compensation and all opinions in this post are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance to the FTC regulations.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Memoria Press 8th Grade Literature Guide Set

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
Memoria Press produces easy to use, classical, Christian materials for home and private schools. Memoria Press products require no previous knowledge of the subjects being taught but are designed with high academic standards.  I have always been very pleased with the products we have received from Memoria Press and was excited to have an opportunity to use and review their 8th Grade Literature Guide Set.
Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
The Memoria Press Literature Guides teach students to become active readers.  The guides focus on vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, comprehension, and composition skills.  Students will learn to identify important content in the stories they read. Their minds will be challenged by quality literature and they will learn to think critically while becoming superior readers. 

The 8th Grade Literature Guide Set includes:

The Wind in the Willows Student Study Guide and Teacher Guide
Treasure Island Student Study Guide and Teacher Guide
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Student Study Guide and Teacher Guide
As You Like It Student Study Guide and Teacher Guide

The Student Study Guides are consumable books.  In these guides students will find an introduction to the book and then assignments broken down by chapters or acts.  At times, the assignments will span more than one chapter but that is noted for the student.    

The Teacher Guide contains the entire student guide with the answers for each chapter's assignments included.  In the Teacher's Guide you will also find chapter quizzes that are allowed to be reproduced for classroom use, a final exam and answer keys for discussion questions, quizzes, and exam.  

I have been using Memoria Press 8th Grade Literature Set with my 14 year old 8th grade son.  The books do not need to be done in any particular order so we decided to start out with Treasure Island.  

The Treasure Island Student Study Guide is 89 pages long. Each chapter assignment for Treasure Island has:

Vocabulary Questions: Students write the definition of the bolded word used in a sentence and write synonyms and alternate forms of a few different words
Comprehension Questions: Students answer the questions from the chapter in complete sentences
Quotations: Students identify the person speaking
Discussion Questions: Questions to discuss aloud
Enrichment Activities: A variety of activities that may include composition, copywork, dictation, research, mapping, drawing, poetry work, literary terms and more that can be completed as time and interest allows

A Mastery Word Review is included after every 5-6 chapters of reading.  There is also an appendix of Nautical Terms.

The other guides are similar in format to Treasure Island but have different study focuses.  Tom Sawyer's guide contains questions on vocabulary, comprehension questions, quotations, and focus passages.  In the focus passage students are asked to find a certain paragraph and answer questions about it.  It also has an instruction page on how to mark a book.  The Wind in the Willows has the student writing short notes on character/places in each chapter as well as answering vocabulary and comprehension questions.  Discussion questions and activities are also included and focus passage questions.  The As You Like It guide starts out with a character log.  For each assignment the student will answer vocabulary questions and comprehension questions.  There are also quotes that they have to tell who is speaking, you the speaker is speaking to, the situation, the meaning, and the reactions. Each assignment also has 3-5 journal prompts. 

The Memoria Press 8th Grade Literature Guide set is a wonderful literature program.  There is a good variety in the books that are covered and they will appeal to both girls and boys. The study guides will challenge students minds and teach them to think about what they have read.  The program is flexible allowing you to go at your student's pace and include additional activities or not completed all of the activities as you see fit.  The student can work independently with very little guidance needed from the teacher.  The Teacher's Guide makes it easy to check over the student's answer because the entire Student Study Guide is included in the Teacher Guide.  

I know as a homeschool teacher I don't always feel completely qualified to teach certain things.  One of those things is Shakespeare.  Even though we have not yet started The As You Like It Study guide, looking over it gives me complete confidence in covering this play.  Memoria Press has done a great job making even difficult subjects each for the homeschool teacher to teach.  

The Teacher's Guide does not include a schedule.  Teachers will need to decide how much they want their students to accomplish in a period of time.  You will also have to have a copy of the books. Memoria Press does offer them for sale, or you can purchase or borrow your own copy.  I bought mine on Kindle so Nick could read it on his tablet.

The work is challenging and does take a good amount of time every day, especially if you want your student to read the chapter and answer all of the questions every day.  We had to take a slower pace with ours and have had my son read 2-3 chapters per week and answer some of the questions.  After finishing Treasure Island I am planning on him completing the rest of the guides next year and will be counting them for a high school credit.  If your child is not a very strong reader, you may want to go down a grade for your literature choice.

Members of The Crew reviewed several different grade levels of Literature from Memoria Press.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Logic of English Essentials 2nd Edition

Logic of English Review
Our latest review has been Essentials 2nd Edition from Logic of English.
Logic of English Review
We received the complete Volume One set that included the following components:

Essentials 2nd Edition Teacher's Manual
Essentials 2nd Edition Workbook
Spelling Journal
Spelling Analysis Quick Reference Card
Phonogram Quick Reference
Basic Phonogram Cards
Advanced Phonogram Cards
Spelling Rule Cards
Grammar Rule Cards
Morpheme Cards Set 1
Phonogram Game Tiles
Phonogram Game Cards Blue
Phonogram Game Cards Red

We also received PDF copies of:
Essentials Reader
Essentials Reader Teacher's Guide
Essentials Reader Student Activity Book

This review was not my first experience using Essentials.  I reviewed the first edition back in 2014 and was very interested to see what improvements had been made to the program.  If you have never heard of The Logic of English Essentials program before, it is a muti sensory spelling, reading, grammar, and vocabulary program that teaches children the skills they need to understand how English spelling works.  The Teacher's Manual is scripted and instructs the teacher exactly what to say and do for each of the lessons. The spelling journal is a place your child can record commonly misspelled words or words they are having trouble with.  The workbook and spelling journal are consumable and you will need one for each of your students. Logic of English offers a download option for these that I think would be a great buy if you have multiple students. This page has all of the products.  The flash cards are used to teach the phonograms, grammar rules, spelling rules, and morphemes.  Game cards and tiles are used to play a variety of games. 

Day One of each week's lesson is titled Essential Concepts and teaches the phonograms, sounds, and the spelling rules.  Day Two is Building Words and has a review activity, spelling journal entries, and spelling analysis.  Day Three is Words in Context and has a review activity, grammar lesson, and dictation exercises.  Day Four is Words in Action and has a review activity, vocabulary, composition, and dictation exercises.  If you are using the Essentials Reader, this is also scheduled on Day Four of each week. Day Five is Check Your Understanding and reviews the concepts learned. 

One of the biggest changes from the first edition to the second is that now there are 3 levels of spelling lists, dictation exercises, grammar lessons and activities for each lesson, allowing you to use the program with students of multiple ages. You also could use it with the same children over 3 years using the concepts they have learned and applying them to the next levels of spelling lists and activities.  The text tells the teacher which parts of the lesson are to be completed by all students, and which activities are completed for levels A, B, and C. The lessons are color coordinated with Level A activities in blue, Level B activities in green, and Level C activities in orange. Level A is recommended for a student around 2nd grade or struggling students, Level B for around 3-4th grade students, and Level C for fifth grade and above, but it will vary depending on the individual student. A placement test is in the front of the teacher's book to help you decide where to place your students. There are also 10 pre-lessons that you can use to strengthen foundational skills before beginning lesson one.  The 2nd Edition Teacher's Manual has a clear, full color layout, more teacher tips, new guide for spelling analysis, and the games are included in the Teacher's Manual instead of in a separate book.

Because of all of the additions, the 2nd Edition has been split into 2 volumes.  It really needed to be because this hardcover first volume Teacher's Manual is over 600 pages! There are 15 lessons in Volume One and 15 lessons in Volume Two.  Volume Two is set to release in January 2017.

When we reviewed the first edition, one of the things that I said was that I really wanted there to be a reading component to the program.  The Essentials Reader was a pre-order at that time so we did not have an opportunity to use it.  The reading portion is optional.  The assignments are listed in the Teacher's Manual but you do not have to use these in order to use the Essentials program.  I however like to do reading and spelling together.  You can choose to add just the Essentials Reader which contains 30 reading assignments based on each of the lessons, or you can also purchase The Essentials Reader Teacher's Guide and Essentials Reader Activity Book.  The Teacher's Guide has pre-reading,post reading, handwriting, and cross curricular activities.  The Essentials Reader Activity Book has activities for each lesson and copywork in manuscript and cursive. 

Another element that is not required but that I have found really helpful is the Phonics with Phonograms App that can be downloaded on any iOS device.  All of the phonograms are on the app and the sounds are spoken very clearly.  It has helped my guys so much to be able to hear the sounds. We use the app along with the flashcards when we are reviewing and learning new phonograms.

Are there any other required supplies?
Colored Pencils
Student Notebook 
Index Cards
Whiteboard, markers, eraser
timer for some of the games

You also will need a way to keep all of your cards organized.  I found this box at the Dollar Tree that I thought was a perfect fit :)  

I also bought some rubber bands for the different sets of cards.  For each set I rubber band the ones that we have covered in one stack and keep the ones we have not yet done in a second stack with a rubber band around them.  

The phonogram game tiles are kept in a Ziplock bag in the box, but honestly a better way to keep them organized might be to put a magnet on the back and put them on a cookie sheet or a magnetic white board so you would not have to dig out the ones you need each time.  All of the supplies for Essentials (Teacher's Manual, student book, spelling journal, notebook, quick reference cards, colored pencils, pencil, whiteboard markers, and box of cards) I keep in a box and bring all of it to the table every day.

I have been using Essentials 2nd Edition with my 10 year old 4th grade son Anthony, who struggles in reading, writing, and spelling.  I started him on lesson one in Level A.  My third grade son joined in some of the activities as well.  We also have been using the Essentials Reader to go along along with the lessons.  We only do school 4 days a week so I have been combining some things and skipping a few activities to be able to complete one lesson per week spending 30-40 minutes per day.

I really like the new look of the Essentials 2nd Edition!  The added content with multiple levels is a definite bonus for the homeschool family.  Even if you only have one child, you will be able to use the curriculum over 3 different years.  To some the Teacher's Manual may look intimidating, but truly once you read through the introductory material and decide what level to start your child in all you have to do is turn to lesson one and begin.  The entire lesson is scripted for you and you are told exactly what to say and do.  If you are used to just handing your child a spelling list to memorize, Essentials will be a bit of a learning curve for you.  It is very hands on for the parent.  You will be there with your child throughout the entire lesson every day.  The concepts may be different as well because the curriculum teaches the rules behind why words are read and spelled the way they are.  It is not just rote memorization.  Essentials is much more then a spelling curriculum.  It also teaches grammar, vocabulary, and if you add the reader you will have reading as well.

Even though it is divided into daily lessons, it still is easy to customize.  You can speed up and slow down as much as your child needs.  You can also choose not to do some of the activities every day.  I really like the built in review.  It helps to ensure your child really understands before moving on. Even though the structure of the lessons is the same, the activities are varied and interesting.

We love the reader.  It has a good variety of fiction, poems, and non fiction that both boys have found interesting.  I liked the included activity and copywork for each story.  

Even after several weeks of using the curriculum, the lessons do not move as smoothly as I want them to.  Part of that is because I am not the best at being organized and even with all of the things I need in front of me I feel like I am scrambling to go from one activity to the next.  It has gotten better since we first started. Anthony has learned quite a bit.  He was writing his own story the other day and was marking all the short and long vowel sounds :)  He says he wishes the workbook could lay flat like a spiral bound book because it is hard to write on the left side of the book.

You can find samples of Essentials 2nd Edition on this page (scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Members of The Crew reviewed Essentials 2nd Edition, and Foundations Levels A, B, C, and D.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Our Week in Review (3/21-3/27)

We took off this week from school.  I decided I was going to try to get some things done around the house that I have not been able to find time to do.  I did NOT accomplish as much as I wanted to this week, it went by too fast.  I did get two closets cleaned out, two dressers cleaned out,spring clothes sorted out, and the school room cleaned and organized.  I made the boys do a deep clean on their room too. So far we have 4 big bags of clothes to donate and 2 bags of toys and from the school room.  Progress is being made!

Christian is writing and illustrating a story.  He was reading it to the girls one night this week.

What else did we do this week:

Monday- Christian had his first soccer game.  The coach was not able to be there, so Art ended up coaching.  In the middle of the game the sole of his cleat started coming off!  I guess that happens when you are the third child to wear them!  I found another pair in the closet that was the same size thankfully.

Tuesday- Alex had his first game.  He played really well. He scored a goal and was the goalie in the shootout tie breaker.  I hate that Nick has to sit and watch, he wants to play so bad, but there is nothing I can do about that.

Wednesday- We did some school.  Christian and Anthony did some Times Tales and Lily did Talking Fingers.  We did some Homeschool Copywork and I went through some new review things that we will be starting on next week.  We transplanted our seeds from our Garden in a Glove experiment.

Thursday- I don't even remember why but I had no motivation at all.  Christian and Alex both had games at 6 and I did not get as much done during the day as I'd planned.  It didn't help that Miss Emmie decided she was going to have a tantrum right before it was time to get ready to go.  We ended up with take out food for supper that night and barely made it to the field on time.

The girls made some cups and spoons out of clay.

And Lily decided she was going to do some painting.

Friday- We had to go grocery shopping.  Pizza and a movie that night.  My husband made it home from work early!  I can't remember the last time that happened!

Saturday- The bath tub had finally come in to Lowes.  We had to return the first one several weeks ago because we found a chip in it when we got it home.  The second time we went to try and buy one, the only one they had in stock that would fit was damaged.  We then ordered one and it took a few weeks to come in so no progress has been made on the bathroom remodel at all.  But, since the tub was in Art suggested we all drive up to get it and that we should take the children to the museum whole we were there.  We hadn't been since last summer.  They were surprised!  It was crowded since it was a Saturday, so we didn't get to do everything, but they had a good time and we will try to get back there soon.

Then we went to Lowes to pick up the tub and some gutters.

We had to go to JCPenney to find some dress pants for the boys.  That was an experience and reminded me how hard it is to shop for clothes with a crowd of children who are already tired.  We survived though and stopped for ice cream on the way home.

After we got home we decorated some eggs.

Sunday- Happy Easter! He is risen!  Sundays are always a challenge.  No matter how prepared I think I am for Sunday morning, nothing goes as planned.  I had clothes laid out for everyone, and shoes.  But somehow one of Emmie's shoes came up missing.  Then Anthony couldn't find any socks. The line for the upstairs bathroom makes it harder for me to get myself ready.  Then when we were already running behind, Anthony ended up sitting in a bowl of cereal his sister had decided she didn't want and put on the couch!  I do not like to be late for anything, ever, but especially do not like to be late when I am teaching Sunday School.  We got there only a few minutes late thankfully. I had 6 sweet little preschoolers and so enjoyed sharing the reason for Easter with them!  We enjoyed the church service as well and ate our Easter dinner when we arrived back home.

I hope you had a great week and a blessed Easter!