Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review: IEW Fix-It! Grammar

Fix It! Grammar Review
Oh man, I was SO excited to see this up for review. I love all things Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), but had no idea they had a Grammar program. Wahooo! I was so pumped to be chosen to review Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Teacher Manual) - $19.00  and Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Student Book) - $15.00. 

My kids have been using IEW's writing program for the past 5 years and thriving with it. I love the way they break everything down and make it easy and fun to learn writing. Knowing how much I love their writing, I had high expectations for the Fix It! Grammar books, and they didn't let me down! 

There are 6 books in this series and they are geared for grades 3 through high school. I wanted to use this for Terrific T  (6th) and Princess P (4th) so did the placement test they provided here. I decided it would be best to just start at the beginning, with Book 1: The Nose Tree. I figured this way we would learn how the program works and not miss anything. I received the teacher's book and one student book. In the front of the teacher's guide, there is a page that has things you can download for free off the IEW site. One of those things is the student book if you are going to use it in your immediate family or classroom. Sweetness! I didn't have to order a second student book after all. I downloaded and printed the book, 3 hole punched it and put it in a binder for T to use and P used the spiral book we were sent. Now, depending on how much it costs you to print things, it might be cheaper to just order another student book, but I can print really cheaply on my printer so this was a great deal for our family.

In addition to the student and teacher books, each student needs a notebook. For T, since his book was in a binder, we just added two more sections to the back with loose leaf paper. P was using the spiral book so used a new spiral notebook for her two extra sections. You basically need the book, and then a section to rewrite the passages and a section for vocab.

After a quick and easy set up, we were ready to begin. Each lesson takes only 15 MINUTES A DAY. Love this! Our days are so full that I wasn't sure we could add in a long program but this fits in perfectly. each day, the kids edit a sentence using editing marks and label certain parts of speech. They look up one vocab word to add to their vocab section and copy the corrected sentence into their journal. Each sentence is in order and is writing out a longer story, which will be written in full by the end of the book. 

It's really that simple. There is no grading of the lessons as it is intended to be a teaching tool. We just worked through them together and corrected as we went. This it broken down into 4 days of assignments, which fits in great with our schedule too since we are out of the house one day a week. There is a handy Glossary in the back of the book that is wonderful. It explains everything they are learning about. This is great for teachers who aren't confident in grammar or familiar with IEW. There are also grammar cards in the student book. We cut these out and laminated and drilled on them just a few minutes a day. 

These short lessons are teaching the kids a variety of things, such as: capitalization, punctuation, homophones, grammar, parts of speech, vocab, copying and even giving them handwriting practice. So much in such a short time.  I like that it overlaps with the writing we are using from IEW too. The extra practice on who/which clauses and quality adjectives has been good reinforcement for the kids. We don't normally do a specific vocab time each day. This has been an easy way to add that in and get us talking about new words. They are looking them up in the dictionary and using context clues to decide the proper meaning. 

I like that both kids can do this together, even though they are different grades. They like that it doesn't take much time and the continuing story line is something they look forward to doing. I like the price - totally reasonable for what you are getting and especially love that you can download more for your other kiddos and not have to keep rebuying the workbooks.

Using this for the last month or so, I am extremely pleased with how well the kids are picking up the information in such a short chunk of time. It's easy to fit into our day and they have never complained about having to do it. We added it into our "Essentials" workbox and they never batted an eye. I think being familiar with IEW was helpful for them (they knew not to be scared of it) but I think anyone, even those who have never used their wonderful writing program, can jump right in and have great success with this. It is definitely a stand alone program and we are loving it. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to add this into our schooling.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

No more specs!

Captain C decided he was sick of a) wearing glasses and b) not being able to see when he doesn't wear glasses (!). We decided to give contacts a shot and he is rocking them. It's been two weeks today and he went back for his visit and is doing great so ordered 6 months. He loves them. The first three days were rough and I thought he would be too frustrated but he persevered and on day three got them in and out on his own and hasn't asked me for help since. 
I'm so proud of him not giving up! He's just happy to see people and not blobs on the field now. Lol. 

Attack of the computer problems!

It's sad when you walk into the computer repairman's store and the secretary says, "Hi, Leslie." ACK! I've had the strangest computer problems ever lately. My current the blue screen of death. I need a new hard drive and new windows and it was going to be almost as much as a new computer. Not something we planned to do right now, but I guess it is time to upgrade. Ugh

Minor annoyances like this make me thankful though...because I have a computer to break, money to buy a new one, and an old one that I'm able to peck away on, even with no word processing things (yay for Google Docs so we could do the kids papers this week for CC!). We are certainly not roughing it over here with our fall-back devices. It's almost embarrassing....not almost. We are spoiled rotten and ready to make some changes.

How spoiled are we? It's a little humbling. Big Daddy and I have been talking a lot about minimizing what we have. It's time. I feel like Madame Blueberry sometimes. We are so stuffed full of stuff that we don't have time to DO anything. We have to get out of this don't be surprised if you walk by and see us throwing stuff out the door. Big Daddy is anti-garage-sales, but I'm hoping to change his mind and clear this place out.

We know how fortunate we are, but just don't want to start thinking this is normal. It's not. Ready for some changes....and it took a blue screen of death to give me a wake up call!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Let's Talk Oils - Fall Prep

September marks one year since I tried my first Young Living Essential Oil and I'm so thankful that my friend introduced me to them.

We continue to use and see great results with using oils daily in our home. We started this month taking NingXia Red - 1oz a day with various drops of oils added to it. The kids all line up and love it. I'm  honestly not sure what changes we are seeing because we are all feeling good...coincidence? Who knows. C is also taking BLM everyday since he started football. This is supposed to keep his joints and ligaments lubed up. We also visited a chiropractor for the first time this month to have him get checked. I just wanted to make sure everything was lined up correctly as a preventative measure. He found a bone that is way out of place (like he gasped audibly when he saw the xray - nice) - but this might be causing his migraines. We are praying it stays in place and C doesn't ever suffer through one of those again!

So, since I've told you month after month what we use, this month I'm going to tell you what we are stocking up on for fall/winter/germy seasons....just in case.
  • Thieves. Yes, please. Oil, hand sanitizer, soap, household cleaner, toothpaste, mouthwash, spray...we've got it covered. I love it all! I'm a little addicted to all things Thieves. If you don't have any already, this kit is a great start to stock up your house. Ask me more if you are not on Essential Rewards and interested so I can explain how it works. It is how I get so many free oils! ♥
  • DiGize is a-w-e-s-o-m-enfor digesting support. I will never be without this again!
  • RC - This is awesome for supporting your respiratory system. I put this on T's feet last week and diffused it while he slept because he was getting sick. He never needed any OTC meds. Unfortunately this is out of stock right now due to seasonal items in it. I love that YL doesn't just invent ingredients if they are not in season, they wait so it doesn't compromise the quality and pureness of it. Stock up on this when it is in stock. You won't be sorry. For now, use:
  • Raven - I use this and RC almost interchangeably. Sometimes I find that one works better on a particular person. I love this one too.
  • Eucalyptus globulus - ahhh...just the name makes me happy here. I love this smell. Ironically, I always thought I was allergic to eucalyptus. If it comes in a floral bouquet, I always take it out and trash it as I can't stand it. Kinda funny. EG is a great support for any respiratory problems and I love to diffuse it while we sleep.
Those are the big ones I'm making sure we have an extra bottle of (thankfully I got a bottle of RC last month on the couple of days it was in stock!). YL does actually sell a kit with these oils in it called the Golden Touch Kit if you want to try them out. It is in stock right now so hurry if you are interested.

I branched out this month and invested in a Zyto scanner of my own. We have been scanned several times in the past and are convinced that it helps to better target problems rather than to just wing it. It uses biofeedback to tell you what oils or supplements your body needs most at that time. If you are local and want to be scanned, let me know and I will give you the details. It's very cool! Since it's new, I'm scanning us more often than I should, but it was funny the other night. I scanned and it came up for Balance Complete, a meal replacement powder. It was almost time for dinner and I hadn't eaten lunch because I had been busy. Oops! Crazy that it knew that I was hungry. Oh and once T scanned for Parafree - I thought that was odd since it's for parasites, but remembered he had been bit by a tick the day before. Interesting!

Also if you are local, I'm hosting a class this Thursday to share more about how the oils work and are helping our family. I'd love for you to come hang out with us. Message me on here or on Facebook for details. My ER order goes through on the 8th if you need anything or if you would like to sign up to be a wholesale member yourself so your family will be ready for germy season, let me know and I can hook you up. We haven't regretted this a day in the last year!