Monday, August 18, 2014

The porch...The porch!

Today was our first day back to Classical Conversations for all of us (Captain C started last week so his pics are from last week and the group one is from today). We have such a wonderful community in CC and love going so much that the kids want to go everyday.

Here are my annual back to school pics of my 9th grader, 6th grader, and 4th grader. It's amazing that I have kids this old since I'm pretty much fresh out of college, right? 



I love these kids more than words can say. My people!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blog slacker!

Finishing up summer has tried to suck the life right out of me and I've been a major blog slacker! Please forgive me.

We are back in full "Back to School" mode here now - midway through week two. Captain C had his first day of Challenge I on Monday and I hosted my back to school parent meeting last night for the Foundations and Essentials families. We have our back to school swim party tomorrow for the kiddos and then dive in all the way on Monday with week 1 of CC. We can do this!

I love Cycle 3 in CC. It is based around the United States, which happens to be my favorite country. :) The kids will learn all the states and capitals, rivers, regions, mountain ranges, etc and 24 awesome history facts about our country. They will also be learning anatomy and the periodic table. And don't forget John 1:1-7 in English and Latin. I love it!

P will join T this year in Essentials {yikes!!!}. I started them both doing a little Essentials copy work last week and they are both doing great. I think having them both in there will be good - iron sharpening iron. It's hard to get lazy and complain with little sis/big bro is sitting next to you cranking it out. A little healthy competition is good for everyone. I hope.

And our precious little spitfire left us today after 2 1/2 months. There is a DEFINITE void in our house tonight. The silence as I write this is a reminder that she isn't was never silent with her around! I keep thinking someone needs to wake her up or she will never go back to bed tonight. But alas, she isn't up there napping today...she took a long road trip to her new home, in another state. We were blessed to get to know her and honored to be able to pray for her by name for years to come. She was hard to let go, because her future is totally us. I'm so thankful that God knows exactly where she is headed and who she is going with and pray He continues to bring people into her life that will build her up and not tear her down. People who will love her, flaws and all. We will always love her and she will hold a special place in our hearts forever.

Well, before I start crying, I'll wrap this up. I have started the kids back to school pics on the porch and will post those next week when I get T and P done too. In the mean time, feel free to click back to see the first back to school pics I posted after moving over to this blog. Man, they were just babies!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Still oiling it up

July was a fun and busy month. We had an awesome trip to Colorado and of course, took oils with us. T, P, and I get motion sickness pretty badly so I was prepared this time. P had her seabands on, but a few times, she still started getting sick. I pulled out the Peppermint and DiGize and she just smelled them and felt better! I ordered a new car diffuser, but it didn't come in until after we had left for vacation. Bummer. On the bright side, I had it for C's first week of football. I had Purification diffusing in the car when I picked him up and it totally covered the football funk. :)

Several times this month, I went to bed feeling icky...sore throat and stuffy. I oiled up before bed and woke up fine the next day. Love waking up refreshed and cleared up!

I also co-hosted my first Young Living class this month. And it was a blast. Who knew? You don't actually have to know everything to share these amazing oils...just sharing how they have helped us and where to get more information. Once we started sharing how they work so well for us, everyone wanted to try them. The awesome part is that then THEY have their own stories because they really do work. I have a completely anonymous, skeptical friend who texted me last night that as much as she hated to admit it, the oils worked for her! haha.

This month, I also cashed in about $300 in Essentials Reward...meaning FREE products. wahoo.

If you are ordering Young Living each month, you might as well be on the Essential Rewards program and earn free products! I decided to stock up on winter germ busters here - Thieves hand soap and hand sanitizer, RC (great for coughs and congestion...and bone spurs apparently) and DiGize, another staple at our house. I also thought I would try some Clarity for back to school time...I've been diffusing it while the kids do school. I'm not sure why exactly I got Geranium and JuvaFlex. JuvaFlex is a great liver detox and anger is stored in the liver, so I threw it in thinking if we have any angry little elves, we can detox that. BUT a friend at church said she went in last week and her liver is acting up, so I gave it to her to use. I think I threw it in "for no reason" for her - love how God takes care of things. I'm praying it helps her numbers go back to normal quickly.

I'm ordering tomorrow if anyone local wants to take advantage of my wholesale membership (24% off retail) and free shipping (I'm already paying it for my order so won't charge you since I get the ER points off of you - it all works out). If you want to sign up to be a wholesale member too, leave me a message and I'll hook you up.  I really don't think you will be disappointed if you try them!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review - Visual Latin

Roman Roads Media Review
When I heard that Roman Roads Media was offering Visual Latin 1 and 2 up for review, I jumped at it. A friend had mentioned in the past that she liked it, but I needed to see it for myself. Captain C does Latin with his CC class, but the other two are a little (understatement of the year) hesitant about Latin. Visual Latin is recommended for 4th grade and up, which Princess P is starting 4th and Terrific T is starting 6th. I've been looking for a way for them to be introduced to Latin, and like it. Enter Dwayne Thomas! What can I say about Mr. Thomas? He makes learning Latin fun and easy! The kids never once complained about doing the Visual Latin. He's so funny and it makes Latin not scary at all. When he said he was from Oklahoma in one of the lessons, we knew we were hooked.
Roman Roads Media sells homeschool curriculum that is classical and Christian. Hmmm...right up our alley! I was sent the downloadable link for Visual Latin 1 that is currently on sale for $70 (normally $100). They were updating the DVDs when my review period started, but said they will send me that now too - sweet! It is on sale now for $85 (also normally $100). I feel like I can teach most subjects pretty well, but Latin...not so much. Having this on DVD was a big seller for me. I was happy to let Mr. Thomas take over these lessons and I became a student along with the kids.
Roman Roads Media ReviewThere are 30 units in on the DVD - each divided into 3 lessons. There is also a free workbook that you can download to go along with them. I printed this out, thinking it would be 30 pages (30 units...follow my logic here?) but I wasn't thinking that each lesson would be a page so I printed about 100 pages. lol oops!  Oh well, better to have them all printed ahead of time so we are ready for the year. 
The videos are short - like less than 10 minutes each and the time flies by when you are watching them. There are 3 of them for each unit - one for grammar, sentences, and reading. We would watch the video, and do the worksheet together. Since I was teaching two kiddos at once with this, we did most of the worksheets orally, or I would write what they answered, but we did them all together. I like to let them do the translating pages with each other - translating every other sentence. Then we go over them together.
I love that while there is a lot of great, deep teaching, it's done at a level that kids understand and relate to. I mean, what better way to teach about predicate nominatives than with the sentence "I am a ninja." That got their attention. haha. The grammar page really teaches the lesson. The sentences page is where you use what you learned in that lesson and previous lessons (He made a point to say that you are now responsible for what you have learned and it will appear in future lessons after you learn it). Then the reading section. This is a cool addition. Mr. Thomas reads from the Latin Vulgate. He reads a few verses once. Then reads it again and we repeated it. Then we did the 3rd worksheet where we translate the Vulgate. I'm amazed at how much vocab the kids are learning through these three lessons each week. Using the words over and over is making them sink in and they aren't even doing vocab drilling. The translation pages has a word box of vocab words on it but most of them they already knew if they paid attention in the videos.
The entire lessons take about 20 minutes a day for us to do. It is a small investment of time for big returns. We did this three days a week during the summer, but started this week back to school so doing it 4 days a week. We should finish up Latin I and be able to start Latin II this school year.  I can't wait to see how much they learn.
  I can't say enough good about this program. It is simple - no frills learning. It's pretty much Mr. Thomas and his chalkboard. They put all the writing up on the screen so we can see it and hear it while he is teaching which is helpful. And I love the repeating the Vulgate together so you are learning how to pronounce the words. I know that Latin is called a "dead language," but I disagree. It is very much alive and living in so many of our other languages.  It is such a beneficial language to know! The kids are learning so much (and we are only on unit 5...took a vacation in the middle of this review!) and it's done in a way that makes you forget that you are learning such a hard subject. People hear "Latin" and shiver and assume it's too hard for them, but this really makes it doable. Check it out! I don't think you will be sorry. You can check out sample lessons here to see how great they are before you buy them!

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to school time!

I know I say it all the time, but time is flying by. Summer is over and today, we started 4th, 6th, and 9th grades here at the E household! WOW. Did you catch that...a highschooler?!?! Dang!

We are starting our 8th year of home educating and 6th year of Classical Conversations. That's crazy too. I think back to the days when I was longing for them to all be in Kindergarten so I could have some free time and wonder what I was thinking. I love having my people around. I really do! I can't imagine them being in school all day. I'd miss them.

This year, Captain C is a freshman and in Challenge I. One thing I love about being in CC is that I don't have to plan his curriculum and worry I'm missing something.Wahoo...his was easy. Buy the books and follow the guide. He is doing a higher math than his class so we just adjusted that and he will have the conversations in class about Algebra 1 and doing Algebra II at home during the week. Another thing I love about CC - a perk of homeshcooling is being able to customize their curriculum to them, and I still can. He is also starting football this year and loving it. I'm praying for his safety!!

Terrific T is starting the 6th grade this year and Princess P is starting 4th. It's a good thing we keep rotating toddlers in to keep my young. ;) They will both be in Foundations and Essentials this year at CC and are so excited to get back to their friends there. At home, we are starting workboxes this year. Crazy to start something totally new 8 years in? I think not. The more I read about them this summer, the more I think they will work for these two.  The idea is that I have an 8 drawer rolling cart for each of them and one subject per drawer. They start at the top and work to the bottom...and then are done. We started using it today and it was great to be able to see how many things are left. They also know what's left to do so if I'm busy or something, they can go to the next subject and not have to wait around for me to tell them what to do next. I hope this works!

I ran out of velcro for the labels. I will have all of them labeled soon.
In case you care, here is what we are doing:
Bible - Draw to Learn - I reviewed this last year and loved it and the kids love it so we are doing it again.
Math - Saxon - 54 and 76 and using another fun review item everyday for warm up that I'll be blogging about soon.
Handwriting - CC's Prescripts - Another that I reviewed and got the new Cycle 3 ones and they will continue to do the Math one on off days.
Visual Latin - That review will be posted in the next couple of for it. Love it!
Language Arts - All this is covered in CC's Essentials this year. I'm excited that the kids will be in the same class and we can work together at home. I'm using their spelling lists in the back of the guide too for them this year.
Reading - we have a LOT of US History based reading books here that they will be reading. I also picked up an Abeka reader on each of their level for reading comprehension this year. I'm hoping to get them reading a ton this year and loving it. A girl can dream...and pray...right?
History - Story of the World and CC History Highlights. I found some worksheets for each of them on CC Connected that I added to that box.
Science - God's Design for Science. I didn't review it but love it and blogged about it here.
Geography - they are going to trace the US map everyday. They are learning it inside and out in CC this year and I want them to be able to draw it from memory too.
Memory Work will be added in when CC starts on the 18th.

I think that is all...and all subject to change. LOL.

I love the blank slate that a new year starts. New school supplies. New outfits. New books. New haircut (for me). New attitudes. I love it!

We are praying that our kids grow closer to God and grow to love learning this year. Day one was a success. Bring on day two!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Over the hill...that's me.

Today I turned 40. And I survived. Not sure what I thought 40 would be like but so far it's fantastic. I got to spend the whole day with the people I love most and it was very good. 

T and P started the day by hiding in T's room and cutting up apples for me for breakfast in bed. He wanted to boil them and make applesauce but didn't want to make too much noise and wake me. I'm thankful. His thumb was still bleeding a little bit tonight from the nice cut he gave himself this morning (probably should have glued it, in hindsight) so I'm glad we didn't mix flames and boiling water in the mix before I even woke up. Yikes.

Little Buzz came for a visit this morning (YAY - love that boy!) and then we loaded up and headed to OKC to do some outlet shopping (my fave!!). The kids got back to school outfits and shoes and I got two new pairs of Converse. No better way to pretend you are not old than with new Chucks!  They make me happy. 

It poured on us the whole way there and back, but barely sprinkled at the mall. It was so much fun to take a spontaneous road trip with these peeps. I love them so much!!

I came home to 150 or so birthday greetings on Facebook, which was so fun. I loved reading through them all and thinking about how many seriously awesome people I know. 

Then ended the day with cake and ice cream, then putting little miss to bed and hearing her sing Happy Birthday to me and tell me I'm pwetty.
I am blessed. And a little but old. But mostly blessed. 

review - Junior Analytical Grammar

Analytical Grammar Review
I have heard about Analytical Grammar in the past and had been curious about it for a few years. When the opportunity came up to review their Junior Analytical Grammar curriculum, I jumped at doing it this summer with Princess P (and Terrific T "helping" too because you can learn just as much, or more, from "helping"). I was fortunate enough to also receive their Junior Analytical Grammar Companion DVD.
Junior Analytical Grammar (JAG) is designed for 4th and 5th graders and is intended to be completed in 11 weeks. Now that we have done 5 weeks of it, I wish we had started it earlier in the summer. It would make a fantastic summer grammar program for us! 
You do not need any extra supplies for this, which was perfect since it's summer and I'm lucky I haven't lost the kids yet. If I had to keep up with flashcards or anything of that sort right now, we would be in trouble! LOL. We popped in the DVD and enjoyed learning our lessons from the creator of Analytical Grammar, Robin Finley and her daughter Erin Karl. This set teaches the parts of speech as well as sentence patterns and diagramming. The DVD is very simple - these ladies basically reading the teacher's guide to us, but they also work through some of the problems for you too. After that, they ask you to do a couple of sentences yourself and pause it, then go back and they go over the correct answers.
 The lessons are in both the teacher's guide and the student book so we all followed along with the DVD. I had T sitting in and helping P with the lessons so he heard them to. Sneaky, I know, but we can all use a refresher in grammar, right? I really liked how they taught one part of speech, and then the next week a new part of speech but by learning the next one, you have to review the first one. It all just keep adding on. Each unit has three exercises (front and back of a worksheet) and then a playing with words page. This page was fun and you didn't grade the kids' papers, they graded themselves with a simple point system (see pages below for a sample). 

Seeing how easy it was to get higher points, made P try harder in the next units and I didn't even have to correct her. :) Then there is a test at the end of each unit. I had P take it and T grade it so he was checking her work, which meant he was doing the work too. This book even gets into diagramming, which is awesome. We aren't to unit 8 yet, but I looked ahead at the lessons and like how they talk about "undecorating sentences" to find the pattern so you can diagram them easier. I'm looking forward to getting to that lesson with P in the next few weeks.
I highly recommend doing this during the summer before your 4th, 5th, or 6th grade years!  We spent about 30 -45 minutes, three times a week doing this and I feel like she is getting a good grasp on the parts of speech and how they work in sentences. If you did this everyday (like I would during the school year), you could get through one unit a week but it was taking us a week and a half for each unit so we didn't get as far into it yet. If you were doing this during the school year, you could complete the book easier in a semester.
The set that includes the teacher's guide and student workbook is $39.95. You can also snag an extra workbook for just $19.95. The Companion DVD is also $19.95.
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