Learning Greek with “Andrew” (Greek ‘n’ Stuff Review)

Greek n Stuff review

A couple of months ago, my two oldest kids created their own secret code using the “Ancient Greek” alphabet as their guide. They practiced and practiced their handwriting, assigned each Greek letter an English equivalent, and then started writing messages to each other. I thought this was both interesting and clever of them. Not long after that, we were given the opportunity to review “real” Greek from Greek ‘n’ Stuff, so I asked them if they’d be interested, and (not surprisingly) they said yes.

Teach me some GreekFor this review, we were sent the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 3 Set student worktext and full answer key, as well as the pronunciation CD. Once we got started with it, it became very clear that Munchkin was much more interested than Seahawk, so after the first few lessons, he continued alone.

Even though this was our very first exposure to Greek (not counting the boys’ Google searches to find out what the letters looked like), after looking at the website, I learned that it was best to start at Level 3. This is where it’s suggested kids in upper-elementary and older begin, even with no previous experience. The first several lessons are all about the alphabet, which technically should be review for this level (and in fact, that’s how it’s treated). But it was easy enough to slow it down and make 6 lessons (plus tons of flashcard practice) instead of just two. Because we got Level 3, the flashcards that are included start with vocabulary, so I had to find some alphabet ones online. This wasn’t a big deal, though.

Greek Alphabet reviewOnce he’d mastered the alphabet, Munchkin moved on to the vocabulary lessons, which start out slow and steady. Greek ‘n’ Stuff uses a translation method, so at the beginning of each lesson, the Greek word is written big at the top of the page, along with a phonetic transcription and the meaning of the word in English. Then there are a few activities using the word (write the word in Greek, draw a picture of the word, match all the words you’ve learned so far with their English translations, and more). There are definitely enough different types of activities to keep the learning from getting dry or boring. Each day is a little different.

Greek worksheet 2We had another advantage while working through this, too – the kids’ grandfather (Will’s dad) is fluent in Greek due to all his time going through pastoral training, so he was able to help out with the extra tricky pronunciations, and he offered up random pop quizzes occasionally. These usually looked like a Greek word written down, and Munchkin had to give the correct pronunciation and translation.

So far, Munchkin has really enjoyed his Greek lessons. They’re a nice change from our regular foreign language study (Rosetta Stone French), and because it was his idea to learn it, he does it mostly on his own without ever having to be asked. He has learned about a dozen words so far, and his Greek handwriting is quite good. I’m glad he’s taken the initiative to learn Greek; it will definitely come in handy as he gets older and becomes a man of God to be able to (eventually) read the Bible in its original language.

Greek worksheet 1Members of the Homeschool Review Crew are reviewing several different products from Greek ‘n’ Stuff this week:

Make sure to click the banner below for more information on all of these products.

Blessings,

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Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews}
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Book Club: The Dragon of Lonely Island

Book Club with Lori

Lori recommended this book, and it’s been a really fun read. I need to borrow it from the library again to read aloud to my boys (not that I don’t have enough of those!).

Three children, Hannah, Zachary, and Sarah Emily, find themselves on a small, lonely island for the summer while their mother writes a book. The family borrows a house from Mother’s aunt, Mehitabel. Aunt Mehitabel has left a skeleton key and confusing note for the children, and they spend the summer trying to make sense of it all. In their quest, they find themselves face to face with a three-headed dragon who teaches them all about the myths of dragons, as well as some history surrounding the creatures.

Lori suggested these questions from Sweet on Books.

How would you describe the siblings’ relationship?

They seem to get along okay – about as well as normal siblings, I’d say. They’re at a tricky stage, though, with Hannah (the oldest) being at a point where she’s starting to outgrow her siblings. Zachary and Sarah Emily seem to be really close, though.

Which sibling do you relate to the most and why?

I think I relate to Hannah the most because I don’t think I’m much fun (lol). I’m definitely the kind of person who wants the kids to do kid things and to be left on my own to do grown up things. Obviously I fight this in order to spend time with my children (whom I adore, and I don’t mean to suggest that it’s a chore to spend time with them – it’s not).

Do you think that inequalities for girls still exist today?

I think things are different for boys and girls. But different is not the same as unequal. Instead of working hard to be “equal” (which by definition means “the same as”) boys/men, girls and women should embrace who we are and appreciate our gender roles.

Do you believe in dragons? Would you like to meet one?

I believe dragons used to exist, but I don’t think they still do. I think they’re really just a variety of dinosaur, and from what I’ve read in the Bible, it seems to support this view. I don’t think they were ever “wise” or able to talk or anything, though. Would I like to meet one? Probably not. I’m not one for creepy things πŸ˜‰

What would you do if you were stranded on an island? Name three things you don’t think you could live without.

I would be just fine relaxing in a cozy chair and knitting somewhere. The rest of my family would be all about the walking around and exploring. Three things that would be difficult to live without: my phone (some sort of communication with the outside world would be nice); yarn and knitting needles (can’t cozy up and knit without those!); and a pan to cook some good food in.

~*~*~

We haven’t decided yet on a book for next month; I’ll do a short follow up post once that decision’s been made.

Don’t forget to check out Lori’s thoughts on The Dragon of Lonely Island here.

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Blessings,

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A New Audio Drama from Heirloom Audio Productions (review)

“This one was really good!” ~ Seahawk

Review of In the Reign of Terror

We were blessed once again to get to review an audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions. This time it was In the Reign of Terror, a story that takes place during the French Revolution. Because I didn’t actually listen to the CD (I’m more of a visual person), I’m going to turn the review of the actual audio production over to Seahawk…

From Seahawk:

When the story starts, the main character (Harry) is a young kid. He is headed to France to live with noble family so that he can learn more about French culture. As he’s living with them, the heat starts building in Paris over the French Revolution. Chaos breaks loose. Harry and the family he’s staying with find themselves victims of the revolution. Their family is split up, and many of them end up imprisoned or worse. Harry is trying to get the family reunited and safe from all over France.

I think that this gives a very accurate depiction of what the French Revolution was like if you were a nobleman. I enjoyed this one very much, and I think they just keep getting better and better.

Back to Mom:

in the reign of terror coverIn addition to the physical CDs, we also received a membership to the Live the Adventure Club website, a new thing from Heirloom Audio. The site has so much to offer! There is a forum where you can connect with other members over all sorts of things (homeschool, the audio dramas, family life, and more). Live the Adventure Club is also where you’ll find the study guides for all of Heirloom’s productions. In the past, they’ve been available as a download with purchase of the CD, but now they live on the new website. (You can still download them from there.) Also under the “Education” tab is a whole series of lectures giving a biblical perspective on the U.S. Constitution. I haven’t had a chance to go over that yet, but I can imagine it would make a great government/civics course for a middle or high schooler. Also on the Adventure site, you can stream mp3s of any of the audio dramas you’ve purchased. This would be good if you’re somewhere with internet access but no CD player (it’s not available to download).

study guide snippetBefore I wrap up, I want to talk about the study guide itself for a few minutes. It starts as any study guide should – with biographies of the important players (in this case, G.A. Henty, the author of the story, as well as important French Revolution figures Robespierre and Marie Antoinette). From there, it moves on to specific things from each track of the CD: comprehension questions, critical thinking questions, and vocabulary. Sprinkled throughout are some paintings from the time period and “Expand Your Learning” boxes, which include extra information that’s more about the time period than the audio drama itself. For example, one of these is all about French fashion at the time. As you near the end of the study guide, there are several pages that are meant to be done after listening to the whole production. These are the spiritual learning pages, and they’re mostly a guide for a parent (or pastor) to work through with the student(s). They offer specific points that can be learned from the audio drama and have an outline with Scripture references to back them all up. The study guide closes with a brief timeline (all written out with tons of information) about the French Revolution.

I’m very glad I was able to request this for Seahawk to review. He’s listened to several Heirloom productions in the past (see our reviews for Beric the Briton and The Cat of Bubastes; he also has In Freedom’s Cause), and he always loves them. I’m glad to have something that keeps him busy and engaged that I don’t have to worry about. I know that there will be nothing questionable in an Heirloom Audio Productions drama. (Some of the content can be a bit intense, especially for the under-6 crowd, but intense is not the same as questionable.) I love that he’s learning bits of history through these dramas, as well as developing a taste for older literature. Maybe someday he’ll feel inclined to read a Henty novel. Probably not, but a mom can dream!

Blessings,

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In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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Recent Knitting (and yarn) Projects

I haven’t talked much about my knitting lately. This is partially because after we moved, I went through a period of feeling like I didn’t really know how to adapt to my new circumstance (we don’t currently have our own home – we’re living with my husband’s dad and stepmom). There were even a few weeks when I felt like I was losing part of my personality. I took a few steps, though, and I’m feeling (mostly) great right now. I’ve redeveloped my hobbies, and even finished up 2 fairly large knitting projects. Here’s what I’ve been working on recently.

First, I have this sweater for Seahawk. I love the way it looks, but I really don’t like the act of making it, so it tends to fall to the bottom of my “to do” pile. It will eventually get done – I just hope he doesn’t outgrow it before I finish making it.

jones sweater

I’ve done 2 or 3 washcloths since we moved; those are one of my favorite projects to do. They’re small, easy, and useful. When I was in the yarn store on my birthday (they give a 25% discount if you shop on your birthday), I picked up some “scrubby” yarn. I’d been wanting to try it for a while, so I used the opportunity to get some. My first project with the scrubby yarn was a washcloth that’s part scrubby, part cotton. Seahawk and Munchkin (the official dishwashers) were so impressed with it that they asked me to do one that was just scrubby, so I did (I don’t have a picture of that one, though). That has taken the place of all sponges since then. They don’t even like sponges anymore!

washcloth

Next up is this blue sweater. I entered a giveaway on another blog and won 5 skeins. It’s from Lion Brand, and it’s called Jeans. The name refers strictly to the color; it’s not made of denim or cotton. It’s a 100% acrylic yarn, which I don’t normally like because acrylic is an artificial fiber, but I’ll never turn down free yarn! 5 skeins is enough to make two sweaters – one for Dragonfly and one for Small Fry – so that’s just what I’m doing. (I may even have some left over at the end!) I love the idea of them having matching sweaters this fall. The one in the pictures is Dragonfly’s; I always start with the smaller sizes because they work up so much quicker. I chose the buttons for this one; I thought the idea of forest animals was just perfect with the tree motif on the sweater. It turns out I was right ;). For Small Fry’s, I let him pick his own buttons. He chose watermelons. It won’t complement the sweater quite as well as the “forest babies,” but it will definitely be something unique for him.

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old growth 2

Back in February, I went to a “Knit Along” at my local yarn store. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, a Knit Along (or KAL as they’re commonly called) is where a group of people, either in real life or in an online forum, get together and all knit the same pattern. For this one, the pattern was called “Illegal Triangles.” It was named this because the designer said “this pattern is so much fun to knit that it should be illegal!” I chose a pink, purple, and brown yarn for that project, and I knit it as a gift to have on hand. In March, we were invited to a party for my dear friend’s daughter who was turning 12. I packed up that scarf and gave it to her, and have been told several times since then that she loves it. That just warms my heart πŸ™‚ After we moved, when I was feeling pretty down about myself (and my knitting), I remembered how much fun I’d had knitting that scarf, so I decided to knit another one. It was just as pleasurable as I’d remembered, and I’m really glad I made the decision to knit it again. Here is my second “Illegal Triangles” scarf.

illegal triangles

Besides knitting, I’ve also dabbled in dying my own yarn over the past few weeks. I wanted to do a teal yarn with pink, purple, and blue speckles. Here is my first attempt:

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It’s not exactly what I was aiming for, but it’s still quite beautiful, and I’m looking forward to knitting something with it. I envision it turning into a cowl and hat for someone for Christmas.

My second attempt was more what I had in mind. The thing I didn’t fully realize until I’d dyed this yarn, though, was that that color scheme is what Sully from Monsters, Inc. looks like. When I pulled the yarn out of the steamer after adding the speckles, it became quite obvious to me that I’d just created “Sully yarn.” Because Small Fry has been asking for a “Sully hat and mittens” since last winter, this yarn will end up being turned into those for him. I even have some Monsters, Inc. buttons to accessorize them with when they’re done. I’m looking forward to that project a lot!

monster yarn

Blessings,

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The Crafty Classroom (Preschool curriculum review)

Preschool and Kindergarten is a magical time for children. They’re excited to learn, and there’s so much to teach them. The main things they need at this age are letters and letter sounds (to prepare for reading) and basic counting and patterns, shapes and colors (math). Small Fry and I have been working on all of these things together over the past couple of months, and today I want to focus on a product that helps make letter learning fun – the Bible ABC Curriculum Notebook from The Crafty Classroom.

The Crafty Classroom Review

As an early 5 (his birthday was about two weeks ago), Small Fry is just beginning to learn to read. We’ve been working on things for a few months now, and he’s getting a bit more maturity each day. To this end, I’m working with him frequently (not every day, but often), and having lots of options keeps things interesting for both of us.

Rough weekly outline

Rough weekly outline

The Bible ABC Curriculum Notebook is a PDF that contains over 650 pages (!) of printable activities for your preschooler. It’s designed to be kind of a combination letters and Bible curriculum; the way it’s set up, you introduce one letter per week (in alphabetical order), and each letter corresponds with lots of Biblical vocabulary (C is for Commandments) as well as teaching young children the attributes of God. The first 8 pages offers a general overview of what’s included and a sample schedule for the different activities. The following 649 pages are all the different printable pages (and a specific guide for the week), and the final page gives options for further study with your preschooler when you’ve finished this pack.

IMG_0415While this would be really good to use as an introduction to the different letters for your child, we already had a reading/phonics program that Small Fry is doing really well with, so I opted instead to use these printouts as a supplement to that. Instead of printing out the entire 658 page PDF and putting it in a binder (even though we have an “INKvestment” high yield printer, that would be pretty extreme in terms of paper and ink), I looked at the PDF at the beginning of each week (roughly – I’m not pushing him too hard yet since he’s not quite Kindergarten age until this fall) and printed out just the pages that I thought Small Fry would enjoy that also went with the letter of the week from his other reading program. This allowed us to have some fun with the worksheets without getting overwhelmed.

Using just the pages we wanted made this a really great thing for us. We didn’t feel a lot of pressure by the program, and I didn’t feel overwhelmed by all the printouts. We used just a few of them here and there, and it was a really nice way to reinforce what he was already learning. For a kid who really likes worksheets, this was great! Some of his favorite pages were:

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Chart the different items that start with the letter of the week.

Basic Math

Basic Math

Find the letter within the letter and then count how many there were.

Find the letter within the letter and then count how many there were.

Race to the Top game

Race to the Top game

Overall, we’ve really enjoyed having this to work with his other letter program. I like that he’s enjoying the learning process (and that I can give him a couple of pages to work on while I need to do something else for a few minutes and he works his brain during those times), and he likes having fun “coloring pages.” Overall, this is a definite win, and something we’ll keep using for the next few months as he pushes on in his journey to learn to read.

Members of the Homeschool Review Crew are reviewing lots of different things from The Crafty Classroom this week, including a non-Bible version of the ABC pack, the Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook, and for the older crowd, the USA Activity Bundle and How to Write a Paragraph curriculum. Click the banner below for more information on all of those.

Blessings,

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Crafty Classroom {Reviews}
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Ladybug Sighting (July 24)

My husband had a great idea for incorporating my blog name into a larger theme: finding ladybugs in my life and documenting them here. I don’t know how regular this feature will be, but hopefully I can post them fairly consistently πŸ™‚

For the first Ladybug Sighting, I have one on Munchkin’s hand. He found it and brought it into the house, so I took the opportunity to photograph it.

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Blessings,

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Recipe: Taco Rice

One of the things I’ve struggled with the past few weeks is meal planning for people who have severe dietary limitations – no poultry, limited dairy, allergies to several fruits and vegetables, and a distinct hatred for most others (no, none of these issues are my kids – it’s the other grownups we live with right now causing the “problems”). Most of what we’ve been eating is pork chops and salad or tacos. I was looking for something different the other day to use up some ground beef I had on hand when I remembered one of my favorite simple meals – something I made up a while ago that I call “Taco Rice.” It fit the dietary guidelines, and is really yummy. Plus, it’s a one pot meal! Today, I’m sharing the recipe here. Enjoy!

One Pan Recipe Taco Rice

Taco Rice (serves 6-8)

  • 1.5 pounds ground beef (or turkey)
  • 2 packets (or equivalent homemade) taco seasoning
  • 4 cups water (instead of the amount listed on the seasoning packets)
  • 1 jar nacho cheese
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice (or 4 cups instant rice)

Cook and crumble the ground beef until no pink remains; drain fat. Return to pan and add seasoning, water, and nacho cheese. Stir to dissolve the seasoning and melt the cheese. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 20 minutes. If you’re using instant rice, follow the directions on the box for timing once you add the rice to the pan. Gently fluff the rice and serve.

I like to eat this either plain or scooped up with tortilla chips. It’s also good with a super simple salad, and would make a wonderful tortilla filling.

Blessings,

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Trust Fund (movie review)

I recently had the opportunity to watch a new movie from an independent film company, Mapelle Films. It’s called Trust Fund, and it offers a new perspective to the biblical story of the prodigal son.

The Synopsis

Reese is a free spirit. She grew up rich, and never had to worry about anything financial. Even as a young adult, her father deposited a hefty sum of money into her bank account each month – which she readily spent every single month.

Audrey is the responsible sister. She works for her father’s publication company, is engaged to a man who also works there, and focuses hard on being “good.”

One day, while snooping through her father’s desk, Reese comes across a copy of her late mother’s will. She learns that her mother, wealthy in her own right, had left 10 million dollars for her and Audrey to divide equally. Her father had never told her about this money, and Reese feels cheated. She tries to convince Audrey to help her confront their father about it, but Audrey refuses. Reese tries to confront him on her own, but chickens out. What she does instead is really horrendous – she hacks into the company’s accounting software by guessing Audrey’s password and transfers $5 million to her own account. She then leaves for Italy, where she meets up with a man she’d met while visiting the country just before the opening scene of the movie.

Trust Fund Movie Review

She spends a lot of energy – and money – in Italy, shopping and generally living the high life with Milo (the Italian boyfriend). When he has difficulty making the money to “invest” as he wants, Reese offers him her money. He tries to decline – in the kind of way that someone declines when they really want to say yes. She insists, and he eventually takes the money. All of it. He buys stolen diamonds, and as soon as Reese finds out that this is what he’s done, she leaves. Fortunately, she runs into a private investigator (hired by Audrey, close friend of her father) who was tracking her. He helps her get home from Italy.

Just like in the biblical parable, her father is thrilled to have her home. He throws a party celebrating her return. And just like the parable, the older sibling (brother in the Bible, sister in this movie) wants none of it. Audrey is furious with Reese – and for good reason. She didn’t just take her inheritance (although that would be pretty bad, considering she didn’t have permission to access that money), she actually stole from the company.

This all happens in the first half of the film. The second half expands on what could reasonably happen from there: Does Audrey ever forgive Reese? Does Reese ever face any legal ramifications for what she’d done? Does she ever get her money back from Milo? Does Milo ever get caught for being part of a diamond smuggling ring? How does Reese’s life change once she gets back from Italy? All these questions are answered in the second half, but to avoid spoilers, I’m going to leave them as questions.

My Thoughts

I watched this movie with Will, just the two of us. Despite it being a “biblical story,” I wanted to see it before committing to showing it to anyone else, including my kids. Now that I’ve seen it, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. The cinematography is stunning; it doesn’t feel like an independent movie at all. A lot of the actors are people I’d never heard of or seen in anything else, but a few of them I had seen in other things (Ana Ortiz, who I recognized from Boston Legal, and Rose Abdoo, who was a regular guest on Gilmore Girls). The only thing that I can even remotely “complain” about is that some of the scenes felt really short. Also, I had trouble working out what exactly Milo was doing. I knew it was something bad, but it didn’t really seem to ever fully explain it. Overall, this is a fabulous movie though.

Finally…

Trust Fund was written in 2013, shot in the fall of 2014, and had a small release in the Kansas City market in 2016. It did very well there, but Mapelle Films didn’t have the funding to offer a wider theatrical release. But they’re releasing it to the home entertainment market today! That means you don’t have to wait any longer if you’re interested in purchasing the movie. It’s available as a digital download or on DVD.

To supplement the movie, there’s a book called Love Was Near. This book is designed to be read by girls ages 12 and up after they’ve seen the movie. It delves into some of the deeper issues behind the Reese character, exploring what she may have been thinking as she made certain decisions. I don’t know much about the book (as a mom of boys, we didn’t have the opportunity to review the book, just the movie), so make sure to click the banner below to find reviews that did include the book, if that’s something you’re interested in.

Blessings,

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Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}
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Our Week in Pictures (July 14)

Here’s a photographic glimpse of our week.

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Seahawk got a haircut.

And he opted to not just go for a shorter version of his old style; he picked something completely new, which we supported since he’s not really a little boy anymore. He needed a new style, and we’re all really pleased with how it turned out.

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I dyed some yarn.

I’d been watching a lot of YouTube tutorials on the subject lately (just for fun), and decided that I wanted to try it myself. I’d picked up a skein of plain white, wool yarn from my local yarn store on my birthday (they offer a 25% discount if you shop on your birthday), specifically to experiment with dyeing. It took several days of thinking before I knew what I wanted my dyed yarn to look like, but once I had, I went to work quickly. I started by dying the whole thing a light teal blue…

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…and then I added spots of purple, blue, and red. It didn’t turn out exactly the way I’d envisioned (I was hoping for more speckles than spots/globs), but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s very beautiful, and I look forward to knitting someone a gift with my hand-dyed yarn.

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We went to “museums” at the Oregon Coast.

My birthday is July 3rd. Will’s is July 5th. Small Fry’s is July 12th. That’s a lot of birthdays, all really close together, so we usually try to do one big trip to celebrate them all (we also do special stuff for Small Fry by himself). This year, we went to the Oregon Coast and picked up my dad (he moved to a small coastal town between two of the bigger ones back in March, and now we don’t see him as much as we’d like), and took everyone to what’s called “Mariner’s Square.” It’s down on the bayfront, and it consists of three small museums: Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, Wax Works, and Undersea Gardens. Will had found a groupon for a set of 4 tickets to all three locations for a reasonable price, so we had fun going to the three spots. The above picture is Small Fry as a “pickled head” at Ripley’s.

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Dragonfly enamored with the mirror at the end of Wax Works.

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Munchkin and Small Fry exploring the “petting zoo” at Undersea Gardens.

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I took Small Fry bowling.

As another birthday treat for this guy, we went on a special “Mommy and me” date. I took him bowling, which he loved! We played two games, and I could tell he was really tired by the end; his score for the second game was about half of what he’d gotten on the first game.

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We had birthday cupcakes

For his 5th birthday, Small Fry chose spaghetti for his special meal, so I made that at the house for him. Afterwards, we had cupcakes topped with orange frosting – his favorite color.

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I read to the little boys.

This is something that happens fairly often, but this time was worth noting because it was Dragonfly’s idea. He found the book (Llama, Llama Red Pajama) in his room, brought it to me, and climbed up in my lap. Small Fry loves to listen to stories, so he quickly joined us. I love this picture that Munchkin took. Not only is it a very sweet moment between the three of us, but Dragonfly has his hands folded so nicely in his lap, and Small Fry has him arm draped over his brother’s shoulders.

So there you go – a little peak into our week.

Blessings,

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Fascinating Chemistry (Review)

Not unlike a lot of parents (homeschooling and otherwise), science is not a subject I love. I never have. Despite the fact that I took several advanced level science classes in high school (forever ago!), I never felt like I really got it. My grades would suggest otherwise, but that’s beside the point. When it comes time to teach your kids, your own confidence matters much more than the grades you earned years and years ago. For this reason, I wanted to give Fascinating Education a try with Seahawk.

When I was in school, biology came before chemistry, but with Fascinating Education, it’s the opposite. Besides that, Seahawk has already had loads of earth and life science classes (I like those better than physical sciences, so I tend to gravitate toward them when I feel like we’ve been avoiding science for too long). For these two reasons, I asked for us to review Fascinating Chemistry.

About Fascinating Education

The firs three lessons. You can see the lesson name as well as the sections for each lesson - video, script, and test.

The firs three lessons. You can see the lesson name as well as the sections for each lesson – video, script, and test.

Fascinating Education was developed by Dr. Sheldon Margulies, a retired neurologist. His background in neurology means he really understands how the brain works, and using this knowledge he developed a system of teaching science that really works. The system consists of video lessons, which are narrated with lots of images including charts and graphs, as well as a downloadable version of the narration for students who are more visual. Accompanying each video lesson is a test to make sure students grasped the information from the lesson. Fascinating Chemistry also has some labs available (though we haven’t gotten to those yet in our time with the program).

Our Experience with Fascinating Education

A sample from the script. The script is broken down into the different slides from the video.

A sample from the script. The script is broken down into the different slides from the video.

Seahawk used this curriculum pretty much all on his own. Outside of logging him in and telling him what to expect, it was completely hands-off on my end. I got the video set up for him on the iPad and left him to it.

Because this was Seahawk’s very first exposure to chemistry, he didn’t do so hot the first time through the test. This wasn’t surprising or upsetting to me at all, although I did have to ask others who had used the program before what to do from there. Obviously I couldn’t have him move on, but it seemed counter intuitive to just have him watch the video again and again and again, expecting him to eventually to pass the test. This is where the downloadable narration comes in. Even though Seahawk is an audio learner, I printed out the narration packet for the first lesson so that he could study it before watching the video again and attempting the test. Thus far, he’s still working on the first lesson – despite regular work over the past few weeks. It’s a lot of information there, and this is just the first lesson! I can totally see how (regardless of our limited exposure) this is a high school level chemistry course.

What we think of Fascinating Education

A sample from the Lesson 1 test. The blue button at the top, "Need help?" takes you to a page that offers a clue to help you figure out the answer in case you're unsure.

A sample from the Lesson 1 test. The blue button at the top, “Need help?” takes you to a page that offers a clue to help you figure out the answer in case you’re unsure.

Our (Seahawk’s and mine) opinions on this curriculum differ a bit.

He doesn’t love it – which makes sense, considering he’s been working on the same lesson for a very long time. He doesn’t hate it either, though. He does well with the video lesson; he just needs to learn to focus himself in order to absorb the information better. This would be a great curriculum to learn note-taking with. If he could figure out how to watch the videos and write down pertinent information rather than just watch and listen, I think he’d do a lot better at it.

My opinion is that this is a really good, solid product for older kids. They need to learn to work independently – this teaches them that. They need to learn science (beyond the “fun” stuff of space and life) – this takes care of that, too. With this review posting, we’re not required to keep using the program, but I’m going to have Seahawk continue doing so anyway, even if that makes me a bit unpopular with him. He needs this program, and for more than just the science aspect. He needs to practice being an independent learner who can figure things out on his own, and Fascinating Education is a good tool for that. (I’m always there to help him through things, of course, but like it or not he’s getting older. The most important thing I can teach him at this point is to take charge of his own life, which right now means his education. I set the expectations, and it’s his job to follow through with them.)

Final Musings

Fascinating Education offers Biology and Physics courses as well as the Chemistry one. Members of the Homeschool Review Crew are writing about various levels this week. Make sure to click the banner below for more information on all three levels.

Blessings,

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Biology, Chemistry & Physics {Fascinating Education Reviews}
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