Today's Wisdom

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TOS Review: Latin For Children Primer A

Today's review product is from Classical Academic Press.  It is Latin for Children Primer A Mastery Bundle.   At the beginning of this school year, neither my children nor myself knew anything about Latin.  And today, well, we have not mastered the language yet but we sure know a whole lot more!  This bundle comes with the Primer A Textbook , the Primer A Answer Key, the DVDs and Chant Cd's, the history reader, and the Activity Book!

My children are in 2nd, 4th, and 7th grades and we all used this to start our Latin curriculum.  Let me start by saying that this series makes Latin so easy to learn and fun too!  My children loved watching the Latin reenactments on the DVD.  It reminded me so much of something they would do!  The whole series is written directly to the student so very little preparation was needed to begin.  We would just pop in our DVD, CD, open our books, and begin.  Classical Academic Press has a page full of free resources for you to use along with their programs.  We used the suggested weekly schedule on the website because it worked well for our family but you can certainly go at a slower or faster pace!  We also made up flashcards for reinforcement and also free!  This curriculum is designed for children in grades 3-6 but I had children in, above, and below that grade level and it worked for us all!  This is the perfect book to begin with if you are like me and know nothing about Latin but want to learn it along side your children!  They also have a great article on how to teach Latin.  

I'd like to take each part of the mastery bundle and break it down for you.  First up are the DVDs and Chant Cd's.

To me these are an invaluable part of the program.  Imagine having an experienced Latin teacher walk right into your home and sit down to teach your students. With this DVD set, your students will be receiving just that kind of one-on-one learning experience. The author Dr. Christopher Perrin and his Latin students give clear grammar lessons using the student-led Memory Page,  and comes complete with motions and songs. Pronunciation will become a breeze and don’t be surprised to hear even your youngest children picking up the catchy chants and songs. Each lesson (average twenty minutes per lesson) corresponds to the weekly chapter in the Primer, and features the chanting and singing of vocabulary and paradigms along with clear grammatical explanations by Dr. Perrin. The actual text from the book appears on the screen as the material is presented, making it easy to follow along.

Next up is the Primer A textbook and Answer key.  These are two separate books.  The textbook does not include the answer key so if you want to be sure of the answers you will need the answer key as well.

Here you will find the "meat" of the program.  It includes 32 chapters and is complete with lessons, worksheets, and quizzes.  It also includes one page from the activity book in each lesson.  You can check out a few sample pages here.

The next two items, I would consider extras.  However, if money allows you will definitely want to add these!  The first of the two is the history reader.

Latin students can begin to translate and read a selection of simple Latin stories at their own level. The stories are integrated with the grammar and vocabulary of Latin for Children, Primer Aand also correspond with the Veritas Press History Card series featuring stories of Ancient Greece and Rome. The History Reader contains glosses for new words in each chapter and a full glossary at the end of the book.  You will not need this until you are about half way through LFC Primer A.  You can check out a few sample pages here.

The second item in this group is the LFC Primer A Activity Book.

Included in this book are over 100 pages filled with games, puzzles, and more than go along chapter by chapter with the LFC Primer A textbook.  These will aid in helping to master Latin and be fun in the process!  You can check out a few sample pages here.

The mastery bundle costs $99.95 and can be purchased here.  They also have a basic bundle that includes everything but the history reader and activity book for $76.95 here.  Each item is also available for sale individually.  The individual items are currently on sale too!  But it is still cheaper to buy the bundle if you want them all.

Would our family purchase this?  Absolutely, and we already have!!  This one was free but we will be moving on to Latin for Children Primer B next year!

Classical Academic Press has lots of other products they offer as well as choices of other language curriculum including Spanish and Greek.  Be sure to stop by their website for more details!


Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of this and other Classical Academic Press products.

**Disclaimer:  I received a free copy this mastery bundle in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 10

In my life this week...

Dare I say it?  We had NO sickness!!!  Praise God, we had a week with no sickness! 

In our homeschool this week...

We are wrapping up week 22 of Classical Conversations.  I can't believe we only have 2 weeks left!  We will miss our CC buddies!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We will be attending our local theater for a production of "The Diary of Anne Frank"!  I can hardly wait!  I love our local performances.  The plays are all done by youth!

My favorite thing this week was...

NO SICKNESS!!!  Yes, I am screaming that through the roof!  You certainly don't realize how great you feel until you don't feel so great anymore!

What's working/not working for us...

Uhm, note to self:  You cannot use every curriculum there is out there!  You must make a decision!!  

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

I have a debate going with myself, lol.  Does anyone else do that?!?  I think we may go ahead and start MFW - ECC after we finish up with Classical Conversations.  I am leaning toward going with Exploration to 1850 in August.  We have studied the other time periods leading up to this and CC will be doing American History for the next cycle.  We could then do 1850 to Modern Times after next year's CC finishes.

It would be a lot though so I would need to do some tweaking and the whole point of using MFW this year was to simply my planning!! 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

I am sure everyone already knows this link but it is full of resources, advice, wonderful ladies, used curriculum, you name it!

And don't forget to check our other homeschool mom's journals for the week at Sue's!  I just love reading how other homeschoolers do things!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

TOS Review: Artistic Pursuits


My review item today is Artistic Pursuits Grades 4-6 Book One called The Elements of Art and Composition. This is a great book to start drawing basics with.  My observation before starting this book would be to tell you that my children nor myself are what I would consider great artist but we enjoy art.  With the assistance of this book we are beginning to discover and observe art in a whole new way.  The beginning process is teaching us how to focus on one element of art at a time and block out all the others.  This is giving us confidence to just explore our creativity.  I have always purchased simple "how to draw" books that take you step by step on how to draw a certain object.  With this program you decide on many of the objects you would like to draw and focus on just the outline and then add in other elements as you progress in your abilities.  I love the fact that you are retraining your brain to see in an "out of the box" sort of way!

Here are a few sample lessons from Book 1 - grades 4-6.

At the beginning of each lesson you begin by building your visual vocabulary.  Students are shown which topic to focus on and this is explained through words and pictures.
Then the student is presented with a master artwork and shown how to look for the topic they are on in that artwork.

Students learn about artists and the times they lived in through art history.
Students learn different techniques and tools of art.
Students do a final project incorporating the new techniques and application of the topic.
To get started with the program you will need to have a few art materials.  These materials are available at a discount here and also at the Artistic Pursuits website.  You do not need the all of the materials to begin the program.  The lessons are written to the student so no parent preparation is needed.  There are 64 projects in each book and they offer books for preschool, K-3, and 4-12!  You can click on each book to see what is included in each.  The recommended scheduling is one hour with two classes per week.  These are only recommendations - this program is very easy to tweak to fit many different schedules.

The cost of Book 1 for grades 4-6 is $42.95 plus s/h and can be purchased here.

Would our family purchase this book?  Yes!  The cost is awesome.  I was able to use this book with all 3 of my children who are in grades 2, 4, and 7 with no problems at all.

Here are a few of our masterpieces!


Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of this and other Artistic Pursuits products.

**Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 9

In my life this week...

Another start with sickness.  First Jonathan - stomach bug.  Then everyone was well for a few days and then it hit ME!  It's my first time being sick and it was NO fun I tell ya!  I'm still fighting fever but feeling much better Praise God.  I just don't know what to do about all this sickness!!  

In our homeschool this week...

Our curriculum for next year arrived!!!  We are adding My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures.  I also got a great deal on Rosetta Stone's Homeschool Latin 1 program.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

No where to go except the normals this week and that all depends on our health!

My favorite thing this week was...

Our field trip in between sickness :).  It was also St. Patrick's Day :).

What's working/not working for us...

Still researching language arts for next year and trying to decide what we want to do.  Everything else seems to be going well!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

I'm just starting to ponder the high school years of homeschooling.  Not enough thought to even have questions yet but still thinking ahead.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

Ahhhh, there's nothing better than porch rockers!

And don't I look healthy?  That very night - the sickness came!  I had so much energy that day.  We walked all day and then I came home and played basketball with the kids!  The next day - I slept all day,lol!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOS Review: Apologia's Who Is God And Can I Really Know Him?

Today's review is from a company that I love - Apologia.  Our family has used the "Young Explorer Series" for science for the past 3 years.  But today's review item is a bible curriculum. It is Apologia's Who Is God And Can I Really Know Him!  This is the first book in a series of four called the "What We Believe Series".  It is written from a biblical worldview and helps students learn and discern the truth about their Christian faith using scriptures to answer their questions.  It also gives them the confidence to answer those same questions for their peers.  This book is student directed and written is Apologia's easy to read style that you may be familiar with if you've used their Young Explorer Series before.  It is recommended for ages 6-14.

In the front of the book, they have provided a sample lesson plan that you may use.  We used it for our plan and it worked out well for us.  One unit usually spans over at least six days.  Bible is our foremost subject of the day.  It is the most important subject in our school and one of the main reasons that we began homeschooling.  If my children grow in their knowledge of God's Word, I will feel we will have met our ultimate goal.  

Some of the questions covered are....

Where am I building my life?
How can I know what is true?
What is God like?
Who are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
If God created the world, why isn't it perfect?
Why did God create me?
Will God meet all my needs?
Why does sin keep me from knowing God?
Is Jesus the only way to God?

As you can imagine, after examining these questions with your children they will definitely have a root planted firmly in the Word of God if not many roots.  In the units you will find great notebooking ideas, experiments, recipes, prayers, memory verses to learn and questions to think about and lots more!  Just  a few of the projects we completed were making brownies and getting a corn seed to sprout.  

You can purchase your copy of Who Is God here for $39.  This is a wonderful made hardback book.  Once you have your copy, you also have a special password inside your book that will lead you to many more additional resources.  You may also check out a sample and the table of contents before you buy.  You may also want to check out their list of FAQ.  

Would our family purchase this book?  Absolutely, without a doubt.  We will purchase the next books in the series as well.  It fits completely with our beliefs and we have enjoyed it so much.  We are not finished with this book yet and it will probably take us through the rest of this school year but we will be looking into getting the other books in the series which include Who Am I And What Am I Doing Here, Who Is My Brother And Why Do We Need Each Other (available 2011), and What On Earth Can I Do (available 2012.  

If you are wondering about the beliefs taught - here is what they say about the denomination it is written for.  

What denomination is the curriculum written for?
Who Is God? and the What We Believe series are nondenominational in content and are suitable for families belonging to any of the evangelical or mainline Protestant churches.  The authors of the curriculum, who come from different denominational backgrounds, have intentionally omitted from the course minor points of doctrinal difference that separate denominations in order to focus on the larger issues that inform our faith. You may choose to adapt the book’s terminology or expand on its lessons to cover what your church teaches about such doctrinal distinctives as water baptism or spiritual gifts.

We used this as our current bible homeschool curriculum but I can see it being used as a Sunday School resource and for family devotions as well.

Here is a picture of our corn sprout necklaces that we made which is simply a corn seed on a cotton ball placed in a bag and hung on the window.  Hopefully we can transport it to our garden.  :)


Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of Who Is God?.

**Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 8

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

The rash continues......  Stephen started with the rash on his tummy this week so now all 3 children have been to the doctor.  I added call/visit doctor on my daily to/do list this week!  As of right now, everyone is feeling fine, praise God!  Jonathan's rash is better, Stephen's is still there but not bothering him really, and Sarah is back to full health!!  Woohoo!

In our homeschool this week...

We had a productive week!  We accomplished what was on the agenda and we went to see our Wolfpack play basketball.  They lost unfortunately but we still had a great time!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We went on a fabulous field trip to The Historic Yates Mill.  My children had such an awesome time there and declared it the best field trip ever!

My favorite thing this week was...

Definitely my children feeling better!  I also loved the field trip too! 

What's working/not working for us...

I'm looking into a new Language Arts for us to have daily practice.  What we are doing now just isn't sticking.  

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

I bit the bullet and ordered My Father's World - ECC for us to use next year.  I'm excited and can't wait for it to arrive!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

A picture of the water mill!  I brought home some corn meal for some yummy cornbread!

Would You Like To Join The 2011/2012 Crew?

Being a member of the crew this year has been such a blessing for our family.  We have received so many wonderful products to review and use in our homeschool.  There are a few new guidelines this year so be sure to read those and pray over signing up to join the crew!

As a first time member this year, I must add that it may take you a while to find your groove.  You will receive many products and knowing how to fit them in can be hard sometimes.  You also have strict deadlines so flexibility isn't always an option.  Also, be aware that this will not be for everybody!!  

With that said, it has been wonderful for our family and a blessing to lots of other families too!  Click here for the 2011-2012 application form!  Not everyone who feels out the form will be selected as spots are limited so don't wait too long!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time4Learning FYI

As Sarah was getting ready to work on her Time4Learning lessons today, she kept getting error messages and couldn't log in.  I emailed for support and the issue was resolved extremely fast.  Not only that but they also called me to let me know the issue had been resolved!

How cool is that?  Gotta give a shout out to that kind of customer service!

Don't know what Time4Learning is, check out my review here.  Our family is loving it!!!

And if you decide you love it and want to sign up - don't forget to show some love and tell them I referred you.  You will be helping out our homeschool family!

Monday, March 7, 2011

TOS Review: Reading Kingdom

Today's review is Reading Kingdom.  It is an online reading program geared towards children 4-10 years of age that teaches them how to read and write through a third grade level.  Sarah used Reading Kingdom on regular basis in our home.  The site recommends at least one session for at least four days a week.  Sessions usually lasted no more than 15 minutes for Sarah.  She then had the option to do another session or finish for the day.  

When first starting out, your child begins with a skills survey.  Your child will take an assessment to find out where they need to begin.    Listed below are the three components of the skills survey.

Skills Component: Keyboarding

The Reading Kingdom uses the keyboard for many activities such as spelling and writing. To see if a child already has the required keyboarding skills, the Skills Survey asks a child to type letters and words that appear on the screen (as shown below).

If a child’s responses show that he or she needs to develop better keyboarding skills, the first teaching format he or she will work on will be Letter Land.

Skills Component: Sequencing

The next skill in the survey involves visual sequencing. It’s the skill that allows us to see a set of identical letters, like this
w o n

as forming totally different words just because their sequence is different.


(Years of experience make all this “obvious” to an adult. However, for a child, word recognition is the first time that the sequence of visual objects can completely change the meaning.)

To survey a child’s sequencing skills, the program asks the child to match a sample sequence in activities such as these where he or she has to select, in left to right order, the symbols in the bottom row that are the same as those in the top row :

If the skills survey shows that a child needs either the keyboarding or the sequencing programs, the Skills Survey ends.

If a child already has both keyboarding and sequencing skills, the Skills Survey continues by asking a child to read and write words and sentences.

Skills Component: Reading and Writing

Here is a sample of a reading activity where the child hears “kid” and is asked to select it from the choices at the top:

And here is a sample of a writing activity where the child hears the word ‘to’ and is asked to type it:

The Teaching

After the Skills Survey is completed, the teaching can begin. Based on the Skills Survey, it begins at a point that is best for a child’s abilities.

It might be a lesson that asks a child to select the letter in the row of keys that matches the letter at the top of the screen:

Or it might be a lesson where, starting with short sequences of only two symbols, a child begins the process of learning left to right sequencing:

Or it might be a lesson teaching a word using one of the many formats used to teach words in the Reading Kingdom program.

In this example, a child hears the word “walk” and is asked to select which of the choices can be made into that word:

Or it might be an activity where the child first hears a word such as “bird” and has to pick the correct picture:

 Following that, the next step is to type the word:

Or it might be a lesson involving an easy book:

Or it might be a more advanced book:

Some of the books are designed to get the children more actively involved by having them fill in some of the words:

And by the second half of the program, a child begins to work on story comprehension – as shown here:

Monitoring Progress

The Reading Kingdom handles this important issue by having each child, at regular points in the program, take a Progress Check. If the Progress Check shows that a child is doing well, in the next session he or she moves on to new material.

On the other hand, if the Progress Check shows some weaknesses in the learning, then in the next session, the child starts a set of review lessons that enable him or her to get past any difficulties. The review process may take one to two weeks to complete. Once it is completed, the child returns to learning new material.

Surprisingly, Sarah started at the very beginning which was Letter Land.  I really thought she would have done better and started further along.  I must tell you, that part of the lessons seemed SO LONG for me.  She never complained once and enjoyed every minute of it.  Often, she would do more than one session per day.  I, however, grew extremely frustrated with the repetitiveness of this portion.    Honestly, it nearly drove me crazy to let her keep doing the same thing over and over and over everyday!  Why, I don't know!!!  Because she loved it!  Finally, she passed that portion and entered into 1 of the 5 levels of the reading and writing skills.  This portion was more of what I was hoping for out of the program with the sample screen shots of some of the levels shown above.  Reading Kingdom is something she asks to do daily so she really enjoys it. 

The cost of Reading Kingdom is $19.99 per month (with no minimum) or $199.99 per year.  You may also sign up for a 30 day trial period to try it out for yourself!  They also have scholarship programs available.

Would our family add Reading Kingdom to our curriculum?  I would say no from what I have seen so far.  It just does not fit our family for what I wanted it to do. I think it would be a great supplement for reading but definitely not a complete curriculum in my opinion.  We will, however continue to use the program and if my opinion changes I will be sure to let you know!  Sarah, on the other hand, would like for it to be known that she would love Reading Kingdom added to her daily studies :).


Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of Reading Kingdom.

**Disclaimer:  I received a free subscription of Reading Kingdom in exchange for my review.  The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!