Monday, April 30, 2012

A Little of This and That

I know, I know, I haven't been keeping up with my blogging lately.  It's not my fault I've been busy homeschooling and tending to my  kingdom on Castleville.  For realz.  It's not easy running a kingdom.

Since I only did a wrap-up for Kayleigh last week, I was planning on doing one for Mackenzie this week.  The weekend got busy and I didn't get to it.  I haven't even taken the pictures off of my camera in over a week.  I'm feeling daunted by the amount of editing that I have in my future.  Oh my!

Since Mackenzie's schedule for the year was blasted by the Winter Promise Joke debacle, I'm trying to decide when to end the school year.  I think we're going to end our Sonlight studies when we finish our current study on Russia.  Then we'll pick up where we left off in August or whenever I decide to start back up.  We will definitely continuing on with science and math until they are finished.

I'm torn about grammar.  We just started Growing With Grammar a few months ago, when Susan Wise Bauer crushed my dreams and decided not to publish Advanced Language Lessons.  Ugh!  Those first 15 weeks she let us all use were wonderful.  To tease us with the first 15 weeks and then snatch it away was too, too cruel.  I'm leaning on continuing on with it  through the summer, so she can be on grade level for our new school year.

We had a busy week of outside activities.  A field trip to Ripley's Believe It or Not.  There are photos but they are on my friend's camera and I'm awaiting their arrival to my inbox.  She's remodeling three bathrooms so she's busy.  But take my word that we had fun.

Friday, we headed out to Busch Gardens.  It was a last minute trip and it was a totally awesome and chill day.  Mackenzie even took Kayleigh on as many rides as she wanted.  For once Elmo Land wasn't packed with strollers.

In other news...

The new Winter Promise Joke catalog came out.  Can you believe they actually had the nerve to mail one to me?  I'm actually thinking of writing them a thank you letter because there is blogging gold in that there catalog.  I'm thinking of doing a little series on it because it is jammed packed with little gems that I have opinions on.  Just so you don't have to wait forever, I'll share this one with you.

Hardy har har har!!  They are offering to grade your student's written work.  Bwaaa haaa haaa haaa!  Have they read any of their own publications???  Ever???  Clearly not based on the amount of errors you run across in them.  I'm going to go more in detail with the ludicrousness of this "service" at a later date. Please know it will include plenty of examples of their own work including one of their very own language arts programs. It's going to be EPIC!!!  


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tot School: Changes

There are some changes happening here for Kayleigh and her education.  As I mention in a previous post, Kayleigh has been making a lot of progress in the area of reading.  I guess since she's actively learning to read, she's really not a tot schooler any more.  I might have to officially call her a pre-ker.   Darn her for growing up!

Raising Rock Stars

This week in, Raising Rock Stars Preschool, we were working on K and Psalm 34:13, Keep your tongue from evil.  That is a good one for Kayleigh as she can have a very sharp tongue.  She was happy because she loves the letter K, for the obvious reason. LOL  Here are her highlights.  My favorite is her reaction to the cutting/taping of the verse.  Definitely not long enough to suit her tastes. LOL  And maybe the verse itself hit a little to close to home?  ;o)

She had a grand old time painting her RRS craft.  So much fun that she totally covered over the lines and I had to redraw them once the paint was dry. lol

Kayleigh was doing her "sassy pose."

 Reading, Reading, Reading

Since her reading is taking off, we are now going to be doing her All About Reading at a faster pace.  The second half of the program focuses more on phonics and I'm anxious to get there.  But I want to continue with the first half because it contains some great pre-reading skills that I still want her to be familiar with.  This week we worked through K & L.  We worked on some more rhyming activities, made our letter crafts, and made our letters out of pipe cleaner.  

We finished up with our second You Can Read unit.  She has officially added I, can, me, you to her list of known words.  When I get around to remembering, I'd like to make her a a portable word wall.  One day I will get around to it.  This week she played sight word bingo with her sister and found her words in sentences.

To give her more phonics practice, I have added in the Get Ready for the Code series.  So far she loves the book.  She's worked through about 12 pages this week.  I'm sure that won't last. LOL  She does great with the phonics portion but struggles with all of the writing, so we skip some of that. I'm going to switch her over to Handwriting Without Tears for handwriting in the near future.  We own all of the manipulatives already and I really love the program.


All of our reading came from the 20th Century Children's Book Treasury.  Kayleigh loves it as much as Mackenzie always did.  She often reads it to her babies.

The Rest

She's been having some fun with some of my Pinterest finds this week.  I saw some great ideas and we had to try them out.

Reading a "legend".  She had to put the correct color sticker on number according to the legend.  She really liked it.  She did not like having her picture taken.  lol  I made printables for numbers 1-10 and I'm going to work on 11-20 soon.  Click the picture to download.

Work those fine motor skills by weaving on a cooling rack.
She loved it and did it for a few days.

Cut a straw and the string the pieces.

Huge it.  She's worn it all week.
 I found this on Rock-a-bye Butterfly.  So cute and versatile.  You can just switch the number of bears to coincide with the child's abilities.  So I made a printable to go with it.     Kayleigh had a blast.

Stacking foam blocks with tongs.  HUGE hit!



Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: God's Great Covenant

We really enjoyed reviewing Classical Academic Press's Art of Argument , so when we saw their name pop up on the vendor list again, we were excited! This time around we were given the opportunity to review one of their Bible programs, God's Great Covenant, New Testament 1: A Bible Course for Children.

About God's Great Covenant, NT 1

In God’s Great Covenant, New Testament 1: A Bible Course for Children, students will follow the story of Jesus, the Messiah and King, as He is born and fulfills all God’s promises. But Jesus does not arrive as people expected. The people were looking for a mighty warrior to deliver them from the oppressive Roman government. Instead, He came as the suffering Savior, who would die as the sacrifice for sin and death. He was building a kingdom that was not of this world—it was the kingdom of God. He is the Son of Man, God’s Servant, the Messiah, and the Son of God. Each of the four units in this text emphasizes one of these names of Jesus. God’s Great Covenant, New Testament 1 teaches the Gospels to students in fourth grade and up, using stories, worksheets, memory verses, devotional guides, quizzes, and a little boy named Simon. In the introductions to the text, students will also learn about the historical, cultural, and geographical setting of the New Testament. This book is a most comprehensive and heartfelt study of the Gospels, and many parents and teachers will find themselves learning along with their students. 

We received the student text, teacher's edition, and a MP3 audio file.  I so love the audio file to help with my "Sonlight throat."  (Those of us who use Sonlight read aloud.  A lot!  To put it mildly.)

The study includes:

  • 36 weekly chapters, divided into 4 themed units
  • Each chapter contains:
    • A memory page that includes a weekly memory verse, key facts chart, fulfillment of prophecy section
    • A thought-provoking “Think About It” question that encourages children to consider how to relate to God in their own lives
    • A worksheet and quiz
  • Unit reviews that contain a memory verse worksheet, devotional guide, and a fun short story of life in Simon’s world
The teacher's guide contains the complete student text along with answer keys and extensive notes that expand upon historical, cultural, and geographical facts that are included in the study.  We are talking TONS of background information.  

Our Experience

Once again, Classical Academic Press did not disappoint us.  The texts are bright, clean, and easy to read.  The text starts with a lengthy introduction that covers historical, political, geographical, and religious information of that time.  You then read about Simon's World.  Simon is a fictional child who shows your student what it would be like to live in Jesus's world.  Fun!

After the introductions, you dive into the lessons.  Each lesson includes memory work, key facts given in the form of an easy-to-read chart, beautiful period maps, and review sheets.  The maps really are lovely and are one of our favorite parts of the study.  And they're accurate.  (If you've ever read my blog, you know that accurate maps are a pet peeve of mine. lol)  The review sheets offer a variety of activities: fill-in-the-blank, crosswords puzzles, unscramble the words, etc.  Always a variety to keep it fresh for the student.   The end of the unit contains a devotional to help the students apply the lessons to their lives.  After all, what good is studying the Bible if you're not going to apply it?

I'm going to mention the notes in the teacher's guide again.  They are just fabulous!!  I learned so much about the Bible from them myself.  And they are improving my ability to teach the Bible to my children. They are jam packed with background information.

According to Mackenzie:

I like the simplicity of it.  I feel like I get a lot done without having to do a lot of work.  I like to highlight the verses they mention in my Bible so I can apply them to my life.  I am understanding the Bible better.

What mom wouldn't like to hear that about their child say that about their Bible Study?



Age Range:  4th grade and up

Pricing:  Student text $26.95
   Teacher's Guide $29.95
   MP3 Audio $9.95
   Bundle $56.95

Click the Crew banner to read more reviews.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this program for review purposes.  All opinions are my own or that of my daughter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Here it is, almost May, and I thought I'd do a quick progress check.  We've had a lot of progress. Some things are progressing quickly and others are not.

Normally at this point of our school year, we'd be nearing the end.  Due to our curriculum disaster early in the year and our new review adventure, we are not there yet.  We're just shy of the halfway point in our main curriculum.  (Sonlight Core 5 or whatever they're calling it these days.)  And we're good with that.  It's allowing us to take our time and really enjoy Sonlight's best loved core.  I haven't decided if we'll take somewhat of a year-round approach through the summer.   At any rate, we'll probably be looking at a new core around the New Year.  (Which will be weird without Dick Clark to ring it in for us.  Sad. )

Kayleigh has really been making a lot of progress.  (Not in attitude, mind you. LOL)  She has actually reached the point where she is ready to learn to read.  I had figured that she wouldn't be ready, or interested, until she was 5 at the earliest. But she's taken to her You Can Read units like a duck to water.  She's mastered 8 sight words so far.  I guess I'll have to remember how to teach someone to read.  Mackenzie taught herself so it has really been a while. lol  About 12 years, I guess.

We're starting to do her All About Reading lessons at a quicker pace, as the first half isn't challenging her as much these days.   Plus I got her the Get Ready for the Code books.  Boy is she loving those.  Mackenzie always loved those too.

There has been NO progress in my Project Life book. NONE.  I still haven't finished last year's and I haven't started this year's.  I think I'll save this year's supplies for next year. LOL

There has been progress in my digital scrapping though.  Since we're in the process of building a new house, I've started a digital scrapbook documenting the progress of the house.

Of course, this isn't up to date either. LOL  There are actually walls and a roof on it now.  I need more hours in the day!

How are things progressing at your house?


Friday, April 13, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Semi-Spring Break part 2

Seeing as it was just Easter, we took another semi-Spring Break.  Review items only.  For Kayleigh it was huge because she's not involved in any of our current reviews.  Even Mackenzie got lucky.  She only had two to work on.  I had to work on those with her and write three others.  Figures. lol

So the kids mostly loafed around while I wrote reviews.  Some days there was no need to get dressed.  And we did a few fun things.

We hung at the library and went to the "small zoo" one day.  The small zoo is what Kayleigh calls one of the local pet shops. lol  They have a ton of interesting creatures besides the normal pets.  We're going again next week because they're getting a shipment of hedge hogs and we want to pet one.

With all the warm weather this year, strawberry season came early.  So we headed down to our favorite farm and picked two buckets of berries.  We're been eating and baking ever since.  Or really baking and eating.  We'll go again at least once more.

Kayleigh's dance class was the only preplanned activity this week. Art and piano were on hiatus for spring break.  Mackenzie's been practicing like mad on her recital pieces.  She gets to play two pieces this year and one of them is three pages long.  She's so excited!!  Kayleigh raided her dress up bin and went to dance class as a lady bug this week.  Here's a really bad phone shot through the class.  You can still tell she's cute though. LOL

Today we were supposed to go the dollar show with a friend and see that new Disney movie based on The Borrowers book. (I can never remember the long name.)  But it was cancelled.  Boooooooo!!!  So we went to the park for a bit. That was extra fun because we ran into an old friend that we knew in Guam.  We haven't been very good at getting together since we both moved back here. LOL  But they'll be really close to our new house.  Mackenzie and my friends oldest have both been lived in Guam but not the "babies."  Notice that my friends oldest is barely bigger than my baby.  And she's a good 2 years older than Kayleigh.

In other news, our house is really coming along.  We went out there last night, (2 days earlier than we promised ourselves we would lol),
and boy did it look different. We were expecting to see some framing.

It had a first floor and walls.  With window and door holes.  And dudes working on it and everything.  Of course we had to talk to them.  They said the roof would be on by Monday.  Wow!!!  It's a darned shame that we're still not moving in 'til October.

I have to admit I was a tad disappointed that I didn't get a shot of just the framing.  I've started a scrap book of the build and that was going to be a critical layout.  I might have to start going out there twice a week so my book can be accurate.  Seriously!  Maybe the realtor took one.  She likes to take pics of progress to put on their FB page.  I take waaaay more pictures than her.  Waaay more.  lol

Some how the builder found something of his that I pinned on pinterest and commented.  I was really excited because another key layout for my scrapbook will be a shoot of me and the crew.  I was wondering how I was going to work that out since we're not supposed to "harass the workers."  (It's like they knew who they were dealing with when they made those papers. LOL)  Now I've got my in.  Woot!  At any rate, enjoy the off-center, cell phone picture of my walls.  I did get pics with my real camera but I haven't gotten them off my memory card.

And since I've posted nothing but cell phone pictures for you today, here's one more of the girls in their Easter finery.  Peace out!



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