Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Books 3 and 4

Last year we were very blessed to receive the first two books of a new series for children ages 6-9, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls.  We loved the books and were very excited to see WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group on our vendor list for this year and that the two newest books in the series were now out.  For our review we received paperback copies of:

The Great Escape (Book #3)
Journey to Jericho (Book #4)

 The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls books were written for beginning readers who are ready to read short chapter books, but the stories can be enjoyed by older or younger children as well.  In the series, Peter, Mary, and their dog Hank go to stay with their Great Uncle Solomon who is an archeologist.  Solomon discovered some ancient scrolls that have the ability to send who they choose back in time.  Peter and Mary are chosen by the scrolls and in each book travel to a different time in Bible history.  During their journeys they are helped along the way by the angel Michael.  There are three rules they must follow on their adventure.  They cannot tell people they are from the future, they cannot try to change the past, and if they don't solve the mystery on the scroll in a certain number of days (14 in books 3 and 4) they are stuck in that time period.

The Great Escape has 12 chapters and is 120 pages long.  In this book, Peter, Mary, and Hank are whisked back in time to pharaohs palace in Ancient Egypt right at the same time that Moses arrives with a message from God to Let His People Go.  There have to deal with pharaohs Great Magician, an attack by a panther, be accused of being thieves, and see the plagues as they are happening.  In the home of Moses and Zipporah they await the angel of death passing over and later make an escape across the Red Sea.  They manage to solve the secret of the scrolls and return back to Uncle Solomon's house.

Journey to Jericho has 13 chapters and is also 120 pages long. Peter Mary and Hank find themselves in the tabernacle in the desert right after Moses has died and Joshua is to lead the people into the promised land.  The children and Hank go into the city of Jericho where a man is convincing its citizens that they are safe and the city will not fall. They tag along with Caleb and Phinehas as they are spying for Joshua and are hidden in the home of Rahab.  They take refuge in the mountains and end up loosing track of Hank who later returns.  They return to the Israelite camp and are there as they walk across the Jordan and take Jericho by following the Lord's command.  They solve the secret of scroll and return to Solomon's library.

I read these books aloud to my 7,9,11, and 13 year olds.  My 9 and up could have easily read them on their own, but we do a lot of reading aloud in our house.  The books would have been challenging for my 7 year old beginning reader to read on her own.  The really interesting thing about reading these books aloud was that even though I didn't plan it that way, they coincided with our history lessons perfectly.  We are studying ancient history right now and the lessons go chronologically.  The week we were looking at the plagues in Egypt in history we were reading The Great Escape.  The day we read the lesson on the Tabernacle  was the same day we started reading Journey to Jericho.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series is a wonderful mystery series for children based on great Biblical events with some fiction and fantasy thrown in.  The stories allow children to put themselves in Peter and Mary's shoes and experience the events as they are happening, allowing them to better remember these stories.  Each of the scrolls teach an important lesson.  It can be hard to find great books for young children to read without having to worry about the content.  There is nothing that parents have to be concerned about in these book.  We love these books and cannot wait for future books to be released.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 25

I'm writing this post backwards because Saturday was a very exciting day for us!

Other Activities This Week

Saturday was the regional SeaPerch Competition.  I took over as club leader for our STEM Club last fall when the other leader stopped being a 4 H leader.  One of our 4 H agents had participated in the SeaPerch before and thought it was something our club would enjoy doing.  I am NOT great at building things or designing or engineering, but I was willing and the children were interested.  Our agent was very excited and willing to help out.  We were able to get a grant to buy the kits we needed, so we were on our way!

We started building the ROV at the end of January.  Once we got the basic frame built we had to design an arm for it.  Then practice driving them in the water.  Our local hospital allowed us to use their therapy pool and thankfully our club had a parent volunteer who is good at fixing and building things and was more then willing to help coach the boys.  We had three teams of three, two junior and one senior.  We worked 2-3 days a week preparing for the contest.  It was a lot of work (for adults and children!) but our kids learned so much.

The contest had 4 parts: Presentation, Engineering Notebook, Obstacle Course(driving through 5 hoops and back), and Challenge Course (completing tasks like lighting a beacon, opening a gate, and transporting objects.) Our kids worked very hard preparing for all of the parts of the competition.  Saturday morning was pouring down rain and then the lightning started so our contest was delayed until it quit (thankfully we were at an indoor pool and at least we were dry.)  We had some technical difficulties we had to overcome once we got started (smoking controller, tangling up the cord around hoops in the obstacle course, and a propeller falling off were the big ones) but our kids hung in there.  I was so proud of them!  At the end of the day, awards were given for all four parts of the contest and then overall winners in junior and senior divisions.  Christian's team (junior) won 2nd place for their presentation.  Our senior team (Nick, Alex, and Anthony) won 3rd for presentation and notebook, 2nd for obstacle course, and 1st for challenge course.  They won 1st place overall in the senior division and have qualified to go to Nationals at the University of Maryland in June!

Friday we had our final SeaPerch driving practice, and Lily had piano.

We gave cookies as a Thank You for letting us use the pool
Thursday Emmie had dance and we worked on presentations for SeaPerch.

Wednesday We had Kid's Club.  Liam thinks he is one of the big kids!

Lily accompanying Children's Choir.  She played for them in church this morning!
Tuesday Trap was cancelled because of rain.  Lily, Emmie, Christian, and Nick attended a 4 H muffin workshop.

Monday we worked on SeaPerch presentations and Lily had her make-up piano lesson that we had missed from the Friday before.

Week 25 in our Homeschool

Monday was a local public school holiday so we took it off at home too so I could try to catch up on a few things.

Morning "together" school 2-7th grade

Bible: We completed 3 lessons in the 10 Minute Bible Journey.

Read Aloud: For our morning read loud we finished Book 3 of The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls and started book 4.  We also read Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures.  In the evening we finished Voyage of the Dawn Treader but are still making our way through Dragon Quest.

History: We watched 3 episodes of Drive Thru History Acts to Revelation (upcoming review) and read lessons 19-21 in The Mystery of History Volume 1.

Science: We finished reading lesson 12 on the skin in Apologia Human Anatomy.

Art: We did lesson 2 in our new ARTistic Pursuits Book Art of the Ancients.  The project was to use pastels to do cave drawings.

Individual School 2nd-7th

Emmie completed 3 lessons in Singapore Dimensions.  In Homeschool Complete the theme for week 2 has been maps.  She has had fun reading maps, coloring maps and answering questions about maps this week.  She also completed less on in All About Reading Level 2.

Lily 4th- Lily completed 3 lessons in MLFLE, did 3 days of IXL language arts and math (15 minutes per day of each) and finished her pages for chapters 6 and 7 of Little House in the Big Woods.

Anthony and Christian (6th and 7th)- They both completed 3 days of their Rod and Staff Math books and finished writing their stories to go along with lesson 10 of SWI A.  They also completed Step 11 in AAS Level 6.
Christian worked so hard on the engineering notebook!

Nick had an opportunity to take the ACT free on Wednesday.  The school he attends for one class offers one ACT for free to juniors.  I had not planned on him taking it again until next fall, but it was free so I told me to take advantage of the opportunity and take it so he did.  We won't get the results for several weeks.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: IXL Learning

There are times during our homeschool day while I am working one on one with each child that I need something for the others to work on independently.  Over the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review the annual membership of IXL from IXL Learning and it has been wonderful for Lily, Christian, and Emmie's independent learning time.

We reviewed IXL way back in 2012 and they have made some big changes since then.  When we reviewed it the only subject it covered was math.  Now IXL covers math and language arts skills for grades pre-k-12,  science and social studies skills for grades 2-8, and even introductory Spanish.

IXL is an online course that is accessed by your web browser or by using the IXL app (math and language arts only.) You can create a family account for multiple users, including a parent acoount and then create a secret word for each child to be able to log in.

When using IXL, each child has access to all of the available grade levels in all of the areas.  This is a wonderful feature!  Children who need work on 1st grade language arts and second grade math can do that easily.  Or if your child is struggling in an area and you want to build their confidence you can have them working in a lower grade level.

You do not need to complete the topics in any particular order.  You can pick and choose the skills your child needs to work on.  There is a diagnostic you can do that can tell you where they need to start but I did not use this feature.  IXL does not teach the skills, it is used to reinforce what the child already knows.  I knew the areas my children were weak in and what I wanted them to work on so I had no need to use the diagnostic.  The parent can star certain topics for the child so it highlights for them what they need to work on or let them choose their topics themselves.

After completing a certain number of questions the children earn awards and certificates.  My children think it is a lot of fun to see what they will win next.

I used IXL math and language arts with my 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders. The first few times we used the program, the children wanted to keep going until they hit 100 percent, but if you get a question incorrect you loose points so it was taking a long time and causing some frustration to try to get to that hundred.  So I had them work for a certain length of time, 15 minutes in math and 15 minutes in language arts instead and it worked much better for us.  The program keeps track of where you left off so if you leave a certain skill area you can go back to it a later time.  Each day I chose the subject area, made sure they understood what they were supposed to be doing, and then they were able to work on their own.  Emmie (2nd grade) is not a very strong reader yet, but there is a read to me feature that she could use if she could not read the question herself.  If the user gets an answer wrong, they get a detailed explanation showing how to get the answer correct.

At the bottom of each page they are working on, there are suggestions showing what the child should work on if the area they are attempting is too challenging.

In the math sections I had the children work on areas they are weak in or places I knew extra practice was needed.  My 4th grader was having a hard time with rounding numbers and working on those sections in IXL has helped her to understand it much better.  For language arts, I picked some topics that our current curriculum did not cover but are great skills to work on that did not require teaching, just a brief explanation of what they were supposed to do.  For example: Christian was recently working on determining the order of events in informational texts and matching cause and effect in informational texts.  Lily was working on identifying similes and metaphors, and Emmie on rhyming words.

Parent reports give you detailed information on each of your children.  You can see how much time they have spent each day, what they have been working on, scores, progress and improvement, and their trouble spots.

I love how easy it is for the children to use IXL independently.  The parent reports make it so easy for me to see exactly how they are doing.  I love that you have access to all of the available grade levels and all of the subject areas and that the program allows you to work at different grade levels for different subjects.  We have enjoyed using the language arts and math portions of IXL and have browsed some of the social studies and science sections as well.  I think the geography questions would be great review for some of the things we have learned and I may use some of the plant sections while we are studying botany in science.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 24

February is always the hardest month to homeschool.  The weather is yucky, it still gets dark pretty early, and there is a lot of illnesses going around.  Children (and mamas) start getting cabin fever from being inside more then usual.  Attitudes crop up more then usual.  Curriculum catalogs start arriving and although it is great to look and dream it can make you unsatisfied with your current choices.  Sometimes your joy disappears.  Despite all of the usual February difficulties, we had a really good week.  It was not without some challenges (there are always parenting challenges whether you homeschool or not!) and some bad attitudes, but overall it was a good school week :)

Week 24 in our Homeschool

Morning "together school" 2nd-7th Grade

Bible: We completed 4 lessons in the 10 Minute Bible Journey

Read Aloud: We finished our YWAM Biography on Ernest Shackleton and read 6 chapters in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Book 3.

History: We completed the folderbook assignments for week 5 and did the readings for week 6 of the MOH Vol 1.

Science: We started chapter 12 in Apologia Anatomy on the senses.

Art: We did the first art project in Art of the Ancients K-3 Vol 2.  Even though the videos are geared for K-3 older children can participate in the projects.  They drew and colored something with wheels using soft pastels.

Individual School 2nd-7th

Emmie 2nd grade- Emmie completed lessons 5-8 in Singapore Dimensions 1 A.  In Homeschool Complete 2nd the theme for this week was apples. We watched two books being read on Youtube (10 Apples Up on Top, One Green Apple by Eve Bunting), filled out a chart on the different tastes, colors, smells, and sounds of apple, planted apple seeds, talked about what happens when an apple is exposed to air and what slows down the oxidation, made a chart using tallies and a pictograph and read a paragraph on Johnny Appleseed and answered comprehension questions.

Lily 4th grade- Lily completed 4 days of MLFLE, 2 days of Saxon Grammar and red chapters 6 and 7 in Little House in the Big Woods and completed the pages for her binder.

Christian and Anthony- 6th and 7th grade- They both completed 4 days of work in Rod and Staff math (btw this curriculum does not show how to work the problems out in the teacher guide just gives the answers :(  ) They completed Step 10 in AAS Level 6.  They also watched the DVD for lesson 10 in SWI A lesson 10 and did an outline of a story of their choosing. 

Other Activities this Week

Monday the girls had gymnastics.

Then I dropped Alex off at the EH house to meet up with Nick and other teen 4 hers to head to Little Rock for the nigh to attend 4 H day at The Capital the next day.

I worked with the remaining boys on the SeaPerch.  We had a controller break and set a battery on fire but learned some very important what not to do lessons while we were there.

Tuesday Nick and Alex had 4 H Day at the Capital.

We had Liam.  I took Christian to Trap ( the girls have to tag along too of course.)

Wednesday there was no Kid's Club because of Mid Winter Break at the public school.

Thursday No dance because of break.  We had Liam while Chelsea went to a doctor appointment.

Lily made this for Chelsea.  They made some gifts for Liam and for Art and I too but I didn't take pictures of all of them.
 Liam put the basketball in a planter and carried it all around the yard.

Friday the girls had a birthday party to go to at the park.  It was not anywhere near as warm as they said it was going to be!! I froze!

Then we went and worked on the SeaPerch and practiced driving.

Saturday we stayed home! Emmie wore this bonnet and apron all day long and wanted to make supper for everyone so she made pancakes.

Sunday Sunday school and church this morning, grocery shopping, and now 3 of my boys are off on a youth pizza and bowling trip (no public school tomorrow either.)

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!