1.10.14

IEW Grammar: Fix-It

The following product was provided by Institute for Excellence in Writing for the purpose of this TOS Schoolhouse Crew review.




There are currently six books in the Fix-It Grammar series by Institute for Excellence in Writing. We received their recently updated Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts [Book 3] (Teacher Manual $19) and Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts [Book 3] (Student Book $15). They arrived mid-August which gave the girls time to get started with the complete grammar program before taking the ACT for the first time in September.

How we used Fix-It! Grammar: 
My oldest daughter is the one I initially thought would benefit the most from this. With plans made for her to take the ACT in September, I thought it would provide a different approach in preparation for the grammar portion of that test. Both girls ended up registering for the ACT, and both used Fix-It! Grammar with me. We received one spiral bound student book and teacher guide but also were given access to download additional student guides for our family's use. Heather used the spiral bound one, Emily used the printed sheets, and there wasn't much difference except for the nice presentation of the cardstock grammar cards already printed with the bound copy. Instead of printing an additional set, both girls shared those. The simplicity of the lessons surprised me initially, but after using it for just a few days I was convinced of its value. In using it I've been reminded how all of the "bells and whistles" aren't necessarily what is needed for a successful lesson.


The girls are both learning. Fix It! Grammar has been the most accepted language arts lessons ever by my girls. They are learning proper grammar techniques using editing skills in short passages each day. Some days they have even voluntarily completed 2-4 lessons instead of just one. Their writing apart from these lessons is continuing to improve. 

My ninth grader shared that the story format is much more interesting than just random sentences. Even though most of the mistakes are clearly evident, attention to detail is required to fully complete each lesson. Doing a small passage each day is easy and is not overwhelming. Vocabulary words are incorporated into each passage; many are new/ seldom previously used words to my daughters. One vocabulary word is introduced in each lesson. At the beginning of each week, the lesson specifies which new editing techniques will be covered. Grammar cards are included on card stock at the end of the spiral bound book or available to print with the PDF version. My ninth grader refers to the cards (divided by week) as she corrects each passage. 

All of us have incorporated the editing marks taught in the Fix-It lessons into our writing. After correcting each passage, the girls review them with me, then rewriting it correctly provides reinforcement of the proper grammar corrections as well as an opportunity for handwriting practice. Because the new skills are learned in context, they continue to be applied to their work more easily than just bare facts. 

My 11th grader was just a little less enthusiastic than her sister. Her view: "The normal corrections such as capitalization and punctuation are easy, but I don't like doing the parts where you have to label the types of words and clauses. I like to write, but I don't really feel that knowing what type of clause that I am writing helps me. The story was very entertaining. The grammar glossary and review cards are helpful, and provide clear, easy to understand instructions." 

Fix It! Grammar books are available for grades 3-12. I already plan to start using this with my son and hope the format will be as quickly accepted by my self professed grammar hating child as it is by his big sisters. 

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Jennifer 



30.9.14

Lifepac by Alpha Omega for 5th Grade Language Arts

The following resources were provided by Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division for the purpose of this review. 



Lifepacs aren't a brand new thing for our family. Years ago, I worked full time and a friend kept the girls when my husband and I were both at work. That year we chose to use Lifepacs for several reasons. One simple reason was that they were lightweight and easy to pack and take with us wherever we went. Our schedules changed and we left behind the boxed set the next year, but this year my son got to try out Lifepacs for himself. 

 Jumping right into it, this Lifepac 5th grade language arts program looked challenging for my 5th grader. It was. But with a few changes to how we use it, we are both happy, and he is learning.



The entire year's worth of student and teacher books and tests are conveniently provided in one box. Parents are instructed to remove the tests from the center of each of the ten student books. I read through the teacher's guide and discussed with my son how it would work. The first lessons actually incorporated the scope and sequence into his reading and he quickly realized it might be a little more than he had anticipated. Each of the ten student books is 49-69 pages and includes spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension, grammar, and more. 


After two weeks, he dreaded this portion of his lessons each day. "I don't like grammar." As vehemently as Dr. Suess's Sam did not like green eggs and ham, my son equally disliked grammar. I did tell him that being able to follow directions is even necessary for Lego designers and to consider these activities training for his future dream job.  He didn't have a complete turn around like Sam in the story, but I stopped requiring every blank to be filled and let him answer some questions aloud, and he worked with me to master the material.

When he asked "Do we have this book?" after starting to read the excerpt of Call It Courage included in his text, I knew that he was hooked again. I had to tweak the lessons in a way that worked for him, and that made such a difference. He read aloud to me then we discussed the lessons. Misspelled words were added to his spelling list. Unfamiliar words were looked up, often those were the vocabulary words so the definitions were in the lifepac. New objectives and vocabulary words are conveniently listed at the front of each student book. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations. 
Jennifer 
We are blessed to bring you an amazing giveaway from Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division. The winner will receive one subject from each of the main product lines plus a $50 Amazon gift card. That could be a retail value of $450! To enter, please use the form below.

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29.9.14

The Wild Wild West

Affiliate links are included in this post. 


The theme for this month's Poppin's Book Nook is "The Wild West."  



One of the book series that my son has checked out repeatedly from our library is the Adventures of Tintin books. Our library has these compilations that include several stories in each volume. The very first one The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1 includes Tintin in America which unexpectedly (at least to Tintin) turns into a Wild West adventure.


Earlier this year we were delighted to review Diana Waring's Experience History Through Music collection including Westward Ho: The Heart of the Old West. Read that review here.



Visit the other Poppins Book Nook bloggers and read their kids responses:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual MayhemPreschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama
Jennifer

Wild West Learning Bundle Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky cowpoke will strike gold and win a bundle of fun for the theme of the Wild West. This bundle will include a copy of the storybook Westward Ho!: An Activity Guide to the Wild West (Hands-On History)  and one Safari Ltd Wild West TOOB. So mozy down to the corral for your chance to win today!
 

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/disclosures/}. Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:
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27.9.14

Scripture & A Snapshot

Isaiah 26:3-4


"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

     My friend Dana and her children visited this week, and she agreed to me sharing this picture of one of her sweeties. Thank you for joining Scripture & A Snapshot. Leave a comment with a verse that God has placed on your heart this week, or leave a link to your own post sharing a Scripture and a snapshot. Take time to visit  some of the other links, too. If you would like to join our group Pinterest board for Scripture & A Snapshot, simply follow the board then let me know your Pinterest name or email used there so that I can add you to it.
Jennifer

Scripture and Snapshot





Follow Jennifer Miller's board Scripture & A Snapshot on Pinterest.

25.9.14

The Virtual Refrigerator


Welcome to another week of the Virtual Refrigerator. Our weekly blog hop is co-hosted by Angels of Heart, Every Bed of Roses, Homeschool Coffee Break, and a Glimpse of our Life. Link up your art tutorials or projects that your children have been working on. Then visit some of the other blogs that link with us. Join us at the blogs of any of the four bloggers who are hosting the Virtual Refrigerator. Link up, visit others who join us, try something new, then come back and share that, too.

Our art this week has been graphic arts. All of us are learning more about the Corel Draw program which works with the laser cutter. Each of the kids are showing little glimpses of their personalities in the projects that they create. My son eagerly creates and teaches us how to use the program. These are some of the construction vehicles he made and a fire truck.



Heather has tried a few things and now wants to focus on miniatures. These rope beds are1/36 scale. She also made tiny mattresses and is working on a quilt for the bed that she is planning to keep.  



Emily wanted to create a tea box, and it turned out just the right size. She even made one for Grandmommie's birthday. I'll have to add a picture of one later. 

Before too long we will be able to share an online store link with you.
Jennifer

Click these links to visit the co-hosts' blogs.      








Follow the Virtual Refrigerator Art board on Pinterest and let one of us know if you would like to be added. 

24.9.14

Back in Time at Oakley Plantation ~ Jane Austen Homeschool Day

Oakley Plantation

Last week Oakley Plantation offered a Regency era Jane Austen day, and the day before the big event they offered a free homeschool day including many of the same activities. We signed up as soon as we heard about it.

Oakley is well known for the four month long visit of John James Audubon who was hired to tutor the family's daughter Eliza. Mornings were spent with her, and afternoons were spent sketching his famous series The Birds of America. The surrounding hardwoods, swamp, and soft pines provided three different areas of woodlands, so Audubon was able to see the huge variety of birds here.


Stations were set up around the plantation, and many provided hands on history activities. This outdoor kitchen was used from 1806 to 1942. Audubon talked about eating Scotch eggs (boiled eggs wrapped in sausage and bread crumbs then deep fried) with the family here. Two full time (paid) hunters provided game for the family and specimen for Audubon. Two cows for milk and butter, herbs grown, herb and vegetable garden helped the plantation be self sufficient, but they also had supplies delivered on the three river boats which passed from New Orleans to Natchez every day. In 1840, one of the young girls on the plantation got strawberries, chocolate, and oysters from New Orleans on a steamer boat for her birthday celebration. 

Scones made in the plantation kitchen were baked in the Dutch oven.  

Toys and games were set out on the lawn for the kids to try. Hoops, zuzus, dolls, Jacob's ladder, racket ball (the birdie was cork and real feathers), marbles, and yo-yos were available.

"Graces" was played by girls without them having to run around in their big dresses.


"The Game of Graces was considered a proper game benefiting young ladies and, supposedly, tailored to make them more graceful."

game of graces

Writing with quill pens and the "language of the fan" were also practiced. "The fan for hundreds of years was an extension of their hand like phones are today." I did not realize that both men and women had fans; they were not considered feminine, though women made them a fashion accessory.


Audubon Oakley Plantation Homeschool Day

The kids were all offered the opportunity to try the spinning wheel, and both girls attempted it. Though the owner of this spinning wheel claimed that this style is easier compared with the ones with a needle like in Sleeping Beauty, it was still difficult to keep their foot pumping while controlling the wool with their hands. 

"Spinning was a woman's job, weaving was a man's job. "
Oakley Plantation

Oakley Plantation Homeschool Day

The hunter was one of the highest paid employees on the plantation. 

side view of Oakley Plantation

Oakley Plantation

This "pit" was for growing vegetables and other plants during colder months. I wonder why this is not still done today.

We all enjoyed the day and are looking forward to their next event for homeschool families. 
Jennifer




20.9.14

Scripture & A Snapshot



"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)


     Thank you for joining Scripture & A Snapshot. Leave a comment with a verse that God has placed on your heart this week, or leave a link to your own post sharing a Scripture and a snapshot. Take time to visit  some of the other links, too. If you would like to join our group Pinterest board for Scripture & A Snapshot, simply follow the board then let me know your Pinterest name or email used there so that I can add you to it.
Jennifer

Scripture and Snapshot




Capture A Special Moment With A Free Mug!

The following post contains ad links to Tiny Prints. 


That picture was taken of my oldest daughter over seven years ago. It was an ordinary day. A dear friend visited us and taught us how to braid a crown which you can faintly see on Heather in the picture. My daughter was swinging on the tire swing in my parent's back yard. It was an ordinary day, but that picture brings back so many memories. The years have flown by. My little girl has grown up. The dear friend who braided her hair has moved around the world to serve in the Marshall Islands. I pray for her now when I take Heather's mug out of our dishwasher. 

What picture would you feature on a mug? Today, you can order your own for free! It could be a gift for someone special.

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Disclaimer: Affiliate links are embedded in this post.
Jennifer
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