Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 35

It's a wrap!  Our 2017/2018 school year has come to a close!  We will work on some things over the summer such as reviews (I just got some great items to review and will get more over the summer), reading, and math.  But our schedule is very different in the summer and we only work on school stuff for a brief period of time every day.

Nick finished his class at public school on Friday.  I cannot believe how fast the year went by.  It doesn't seem that long ago that I was counting down the first semester.  He had a good experience (I am planning on writing a post about our experience with the Tim Tebow Law in Arkansas) and will be taking one class each semester next year.  He will not have to choose his class until the schedule comes out sometime in July.
1st and last day of school pictures

Not exactly what I had in mind when I told Alex I needed a photo

Week 35 in our Homeschool

Bible: We finished Vol 3 of Answers For Kids and completed 4 lessons in Vol 4.  At the end of the week I received some review products from Bible Study Guide For All Ages that we will be working on over the summer.

History: We finished Vol 2 of America's Story.  Each Vol is designed to take a year, but we finished 2 Volumes this year.  There are 3 Volumes in the series.  I have not decided for sure if we will do Vol 3 for the first semester next year or if we will just jump right into The Mystery of History Vol 1.

Art: We made initials using gold origami paper and construction paper.

Math: Emmie finished MLFLE Level 1!! I am going to order her Level 2 to start working on a bit over the summer.  Lily has about 30 lessons left in Level 3 and Christian has about 90 lessons left.  It is set up for 5 days a week and we only work 4 days.  Christian is more behind because we stopped working on it for awhile while we concentrated on memorizing multiplication.  I am planning on ordering Level 4 for Lily for next year, but I am still undecided on what to use for Christian.  Anthony is almost finished with Lesson 2 in Critical Thinking Co Pre-Algebra, and Alex finished lesson one in MUS Pre-Algebra.  Nick completed MUS Algebra 2.  He will be doing MUS Pre-Calculus next year.
Found this in Nick's math book.  Very unNick like

Language Arts: Emmie is working on Explode the Code Book One and will work on that over the summer.  Lily started Grammar and Writing 3 from Hake Publishing (same as Saxon Math.) We only did the first lesson since it did not arrive until Thursday but so far it looks good.  She will be using it a couple of days a week through the review period and if all goes well will pick it back up in the fall.

Other Activities this Week:

Monday was the last day of gymnastics until fall.

Wednesday ballet was cancelled and Thursday the piano teacher was sick so we did not go to lessons. 

Which meant I had three days in a row that I didn't leave the house! Liam and Chelsea stopped by on Thursday.
this poor car has made it through Anthony, Christian, Lily, Emmie, and now Liam!

Christian was working on a picture of a LEGO set he designed for a photo contest.  He couldn't get it to look just right though so went back to reshoot.  When he got everything set up, a rain storm blew in from nowhere and he never did get to get the photo!

Nick and Christian spent some time practicing BB shooting for the 4 H competition coming up in a few weeks.

For months Nicholas has been looking for some Netherland Dwarf rabbits to raise and breed.  Right before Easter we found some but there was a misunderstanding between the husband and wife.  I spoke to the husband who said he would hold them for me until we could drive up there (2.5 hours away and I had to wait for Nick to get home) but the wife had someone show up and sold them(they did catch us before we left.)   So they promised me the pick of their next born at the end of May and $10 off the rabbits to make up for the misunderstanding. Well long story short a litter died and something else happened so all they had was one rabbit to sell us instead of 2 but told me they should have more before the first of July.  Art drove up with Alex (Nick was at work) to get the boy rabbit (which ended up being $20 more then I was told not less!) before they could sell it to someone else. We got him home safely.  In the meantime I found another lady (2 hours away in a different direction) that breeds Netherland Dwarves and she has an 8 week old female.  Nick and Chelsea are going to get her on Tuesday.

Rocket a blue Netherland Dwarf

Our swimming pool was ready to go today and the children spent hours in it!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Home School Navigator

Home School Navigator
Over the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review a brand new language arts curriculum from Home School Navigator.  I have been exploring the Red and Green levels along with the interactive notebooks for the blue level.  There is a lot to discuss with Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum, so stay with me this review may get a little long!
Home School Navigator

Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum is an online language arts curriculum for elementary aged students that teaches reading, writing, word study, grammar, and vocabulary using books, videos, and printable worksheets.  There are 6 different levels that are color coded and based on skill level not grade level.

Red is for students who are starting to learn letter recognition.

Orange is for students who are beginning to write and can read simple words and sentences.

Yellow for students who can write simple sentences and can read short stories.

Green is for students who can read short chapter books and write longer passages.

Blue is for students reading chapter books and writing paragraphs.

Indigo is for students able to write longer works using paragraphs and reading longer chapter books.

Lessons are set up for a 36 week school year.  All of the planning is done for the teacher.  All you need to do is print the worksheets out for your students and gather the books if you have access to a good library.  Home School Navigator uses a lot of different books for their lessons.  They recognize that some people (like me) will not have access to a library that will have all of the books available so they provide links to YouTube videos of the books being read aloud so your child will be able to complete the assignments even if they cannot get the books.

Once you create a parent account, you create user names and passwords for each of the children who are using the program.  You have to log in through the parent account and then log in the child.

Once they are logged in you are taken to a page showing all of the weeks in the level.

You choose the week you are on and it shows each day of that week.  It shows how many assignments are shown for each day.  You do not have to complete all of the assignments, you can pick and choose.

When you click on the drop down for each section it gives you the assignment, has the video (if there is one) and tells what worksheets you have to complete.

When you finish that day's assignments you can either upload photos of your child's work to submit to an online portfolio or you can check a box that you have completed the lesson.

You can then log out that child from the dashboard and log in your next child, or the parent can log out of Home School Navigator completely.

Within each level is a Master Book list that breaks down what books are used by level and by month that you can print out.  At the beginning of each week there is a Weekly Guide for the teacher that you can print out or read from your screen showing which books are being used, what materials you will need  and what the assignments will be for each section.  There is also a section that allows you to print out all of the handouts that you will need by month.

Supplies you will need to use Home School Navigator will vary.  Besides access to a computer or other electronic device and a way to print the worksheets you will need some basic school supplies such as pens, paper, glue, tape, and a 3 ring binder to hold your papers.  You will also need something like a composition notebook to do the interactive notebook studies and you may want one for your Writer's Notebook.  For some activities you will need some special supplies.  For example one of Lily's activities was to make craters using flour, cocoa, and different size balls.

My main user for Home School Navigator was Lily.  She is in third grade and a very strong reader but not a strong writer so I decided to start her at the beginning of the Green Level.  We have a 4 day a week homeschool schedule but even though they schedule 5 days a week often the last day is a catch up day so that worked great with our schedule and on the weeks where it wasn't a catch up day we combined or rearranged to make it work.

We live in a very small town with a very small library.  Our library had none of the books for the first two months.  Inter-library Loan is not a good option either because yo never know how long it will take to get the books in and we have to pay to ship them back. This was disappointing to Lily because she is a reader and wanted to have the books in hand, but I appreciate that Home School Navigator includes the links for the books being read for those of us who cannot get the books. The main sections for her lessons included :

Read Aloud
Phonics/Word Study/Vocabulary
Independent Reading
Understanding Reading Skills and Strategies
Poetry Extension

The Read Aloud section just lists the book that you are focusing on.  The link to the YouTube video is included in the Literature Section along with any assignments or the video that teaches the lesson.  Writing/Grammar has directions to write in your writers notebook or gives the instruction for the grammar assignment. Phonics/Study/Vocabulary has a worksheet to complete.  The Handwriting section sometimes has a specific assignment or suggestions for practicing handwriting, many of Lily's were optional cursive writing practice.   Independent Reading reminds you to read for 30 minutes from your Just Right Book (a book your child chooses to read on their own there is a video on choosing these books) and will sometimes have an assignment in that book.  The Poetry Extension gives you the title of a suggested poem and author but you have to find the poem on your own due to copyright laws they cannot include them.  They are easily found online. There is an activity related to the poem.

Lily's first month started with Fairy Tales which she loved.  We had an opportunity to listen to several stories we had never heard before and compared and contrasted them.  We learned about different elements of fairy tales, how to write a paragraph using a paragraph sandwich, banishing boring verbs, and more.  In our second month we started listening to books by Patricia Polacco and learned about adjectives, contractions, word attack strategies, plot, and more.

I started Emmie at the beginning of the Red Level.  She is 7 and reading short stories but has not done much at all with language arts so I started her a level down.  We did not do the writing activities, instead she used her handwriting book. She was under the weather when we first got this review so she started later then Lily. We started with circular stories like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Dog a Donut, etc... I was able to find a few of these at the library, but she enjoyed watching the videos of the stories being read.  She loved the activity where she was creating her own circular story.  She wrote and illustrated a several of those!

Anthony and Christian worked on the interactive notebook for the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret which was included in month 2 of the blue level.  I chose this book for their study because we had never read it before and I knew they would be interested in reading it.  The book study book is not read aloud so you will have to get a copy of the book in order to complete the study.  While the books chosen for the lessons are picture books that are under the reading level of the child, the interactive notebook books are at the reading level for the child.  The notebook is available as a PDF download that you print.  Answer keys are included in the back.  To complete the notebook your child will need something to glue it in such as a composition notebook, glue, scissors, pen or pencil, dictionary and thesaurus.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret interactive notebook download is 16 pages long.  Each page in the study tells you where the questions will come from such as chapters 3-5, 6-8, etc.. There is a variety of things the children will do such as define words, give examples of foreshadowing, make predictions, list character traits, answer questions, find similes, and more.  For each section of the book there are 2-4 activities to cover in the interactive notebook.

The boys loved the book.  I thought the activities in the interactive notebook were age and appropriate and did a great job having the boys look for insights without doing so many activities that it would make them loose the enjoyment of reading the book.  They thought the notebook was a lot better then having to write a book report.  We will definitely be doing more of these.

Overall I was very impressed with Home School Navigator!  I loved the book choices.  We had a chance to read some of our favorites again but we also read several stories we have never heard of that were fantastic. I think using picture books to teach the concepts is a wonderful idea. I loved that they provided the links for them being read aloud because without those I would not have been able to use the curriculum.  I thought the activities that went along with the lessons were great and well though out. The program is very flexible.  You do not have to complete all of the activities for each day, you can customize so it works for you.

There were some sound issues on some of the teaching videos.  Even with the sound all the way up, it was very hard to hear.  Also I wish they would zoom in more on some of those videos and focus on what they are talking about rather then keeping it a wide shot with the teacher in the video.  I wish that were true in the read aloud videos too.  The shot is wide with the teacher in the video looking at the page as she is holding it.  I wish they would focus completely on the pages of the book while they are reading (maybe placing it flat on a table) as sometimes it is hard to see and appreciate the illustrations.  I wish that instead of having the worksheets available to print out by the month that they would have them available to print out by the week. You can print them by going into each daily activity if there are some activities that you will choose to skip.  There is a lot of printing with Home School Navigator, especially if you are using it with multiple students.  I wish the log in was different.  I would rather have a way to be able to log the children in without needing to go through the parent account.

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: T is for Tree: A Bible ABC

Reformed Free Publishing Association
We recently had an opportunity to read and review a sweet alphabet book, T is for Tree: A Bible ABC from Reformed Free Publishing Association.
T is for Tree: A Bible ABC
Reformed Free Publishing Association was founded in 1924 and is a private non profit organization dedicated to "witnessing to the distinctive reformed truth." They publish bible study guides, devotionals, commentaries, theology and more.

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC is geared for ages 3-6, but it can be used with children a little bit older or younger.  It is designed for an adult to read to a child. It is a 32 page hardcover book.  Each page focuses on one letter of the alphabet.  The entire page is illustrated.  In the top corner is has the letter and what it stands for such as "A is for Ant."  Next there is a little rhyming saying, "Though weak and small in size, They gather food all summer. May God make us as wise."  Then at the bottom of each page there is a Bible verse related to the topic on the page along with the Scripture reference.  The Scripture passages use the King James version. For the "A" page the Scripture is Proverbs 30:24-25 "There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise;the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in summer."

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC
I read this book with my 7 year old.  Even though she already knows her alphabet we still enjoyed reading this delightful ABC book together.  The illustrations are beautiful.  I love that they cover the entire page and even though they are colorful the colors are toned down and not at all overwhelming to look at.  In addition to the main illustration in the middle of the page there are beautiful illustrated frames around each picture. Emmie's favorite part of the book were the illustrations.  The rhyming sayings for each letter are easy for young children to learn and remember.  For the letter "x" the theme is "X is in Foxes."  I thought that was well done.  X can be a tricky letter in an ABC book.  I love that a Bible verse is included on every page and is related to the theme of each page.  

T is For Tree: A Bible ABC is a great book that can be used a variety of ways for different ages and situations. For very young children you can start by reading the letter and what it stands for. Or  you can read the letter, what it stands for and the rhyme.  For those a bit older you can read the entire page including the Bible verse.  You can use it as a Bible study and have your child memorize the verse that goes with each letter.  If you do not usually use the King James version you can look up the verse in the version your family does use. This book could also be used to as a springboard for a more in depth preschool curriculum by reading and studying a letter per week based on the theme for the letter in the book.

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

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter

Book Description

"After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.
Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiance.
Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.
As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find."

Honeysuckle Dreams is the second book in the Blue Ridge series.  The first book, Blue Ridge Sunrise, was Zoe and Cruz's story.  Honeysuckle Dreams is Brady's (Zoe's brother) and Hope's (Zoe's best friend) story.  These types of books can be read as stand alone novels, but to get the whole story about all of the character it is better if you read the entire series.  Ms. Hunter does a wonderful job writing Christian romance stories.  Her stories are very romancy but not inappropriate and have many elements of faith woven in.  Her characters are well developed and believable and her stories carry an inspirational message. If you have read Denise Hunters other books, many elements of this story will seem familiar to you.  This book reminded me of a mixture of several of her other stories such as, The Convenient Groom, Dancing with Fireflies, Barefoot Summer, The Wishing House.  I enjoyed reading Brady and Hope's story and look forward to the third book, On Magnolia Lane which is expected to be released in November.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book 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 the FTC regulations.

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 34

Only one week left in out regular school year!  Then we will take a little time off from school and then we will be working on  reading, math, and some reviews over the summer a few days a week, less then an hour per day, usually during late afternoon when it is the hottest part of the day. We just got a very good Art Appreciation curriculum called The Master and His Apprentice to review and I have Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 coming this week.  Piano will continue all summer and we have several 4 H activities going on this summer.

Activities this Week:

Monday was my Mother's Day with Chelsea and Liam.  Chelsea is off on Mondays so we skipped school to spend some time with them.  We introduced Liam to the sandbox, he was pretty impressed.

The girls had gymnastics Monday afternoon.  Only one week left until we break for the summer.

Tuesday was our wedding anniversary.

Thursday we helped set up for the piano recital and Lily had a piano lesson.

Friday we went back and helped to decorate for the recital. Then we ran errands.  That night was the recital.  Lily did a great job!  For this recital they had to play a piece of music by memory.  It was a late night. I didn't get the girls to bed until 10.

Saturday morning I had to wake them up for a ballet make-up.  After that Art and I went to Texarkana for the day alone!  We went out to lunch and did some shopping.  We had not been anywhere without the children since December.

Week 34 in our Homeschool

As our year has been coming to a close we have finished up a few things and I have decided we were in a good stopping place for a few more things so our work load has gotten a bit lighter.

Bible: We completed 6 lessons in Answers for Kids Vol 3.


Music Appreciation: We completed lesson 12 on The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Science: We finished reading chapter 5 on nutrition.  We will finish up the activities for the chapter next week.  I was thinking about continuing this curriculum through the summer because we have not done as much science this year as we usually do but I think we will set it aside and pick it back up in August.

Art: We wove different beasts together for our ARTistic Pursuits lesson.

Math: Lily, Christian, and Emmie completed 3 lessons in MLFLE.  Anthony started Pre-Algebra from the Critical Thinking Company and completed Chapter One.  Alex started Math U See Pre-Algebra.  We did not finish Pre-Algebra with UnLock Math before his subscription ran out and honestly he wasn't really getting it anyway.  I started him at the beginning of MUS Pre-Algebra and hope that at least the first few chapters will be easy and he will be able to work through them easily.

Language Arts: The boys finished their book study on Hugo Cabret.  Lily did activities based on the book Meteor by Patricia Polacco.  Emmie's story was The Napping House.

Spelling/Reading: The boys are finished with spelling until the fall.  Emmie has completed All About Spelling Level One!  I bought her Explode the Code Book One and she has been working in that some this week.  She will have to read aloud to me over the summer before we start AAR Level 2 in August.

I saw her reading to Marshmallow one day and took this from a distance so she wouldn't see me.

We have a really mean rooster.  Really mean.  I think he has to go but Christian is very attached to him.  He attacks everyone else except Christian.  As long as he is willing to grab the eggs and take care of them he can stay, but if that thing attacks anyone again....

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!