Friday, July 31, 2015

Week 7 - 4H and Relaxing schooling

If you noticed...I am running a few days behind right now on each weekly review.  We are currently remodeling an area of our house and turning it into a family room.  Between camps, swim lessons and schoolwork, I am trying to paint and get the walls ready so that we can move into it in a few weeks.  So the "weeks" will not be matching up for a few weeks.

So This week we started a more interest led week of learning.  Last week while we were still in Maryland I let the kids pick out books to use this week while we were at Barnes and Noble.  I knew I would be busy with things around the house, and with 4H judging this week I really needed things to be simple.  So armed with the books that they picked out, our week started.

Last week I mentioned how we bought a new book that allows you to turn any book into school curriculum.  Each day the student is supposed to read a few pages from their library books and then do 10 pages in this book.  Some are writing activities, and some are just fun doodling activities.  It's a great concept.  So the girls started these this week.

I kind of created my own version for the boys to use, while I see how the actual books go, since they are a bit pricey.  And I do have 4 kids to be buying for.

It was a busy week, Caty had swim lessons every day.  She knows how to swim, but I wanted her to learn more technique.  She had a really good time, and enjoyed working with the teacher.  Now Lydia wants to take some lessons too.  Caty is very proud of how she is learning new strokes.

It was also 4H judging week.  Lydia has 5 projects, Joey has 3, Brayden had 2 and Caty could make a project board of what she learned in Cloverbuds.  So yes...count it...that's 11 projects to have ready.  Eleven judges to switch everyone between.  I nearly lost my mind this week, but all in all it was a great experience.  I seen a shy side of Lydia that I was hoping was improving, but it didn't.  I also saw how this shyness hindered her getting an even better score at judging.  But I also saw a side of Brayden that made me smile big.  I have been so depressed lately about a few things in his development, that I had to just smile.  He didn't enjoy the whole judging experience because of the noise level.  But he was smiling ear to ear when he was showing me how he "Got 2 outstandings!!"  That was great.  He actually opened up and spoke with the judges with no problem.  Caty had no problems either.  Joey was pretty anxious, but he made it through with 3 Outstanding ribbons.  Up to the date of this blog post, Lydia has earned 2 Outstanding and 1 Good.  She still has two projects to have judged and the Style Review Fashion show next week.

 So I know I have a ton of food allergies, but the kids not so much.  I have shown then box mixes and now teaching them about from scratch.  This week they made homemade brownies.  I am hoping this helps Lydia with her fractions also.  Lydia has been working on cooking a few things this week.  She made apple cinnamon oatmeal muffins, homemade brownies and even blender pancakes this week.  She also made spaghetti and meatballs.  I broke down and showed her how to make my homemade sauce to go with the meatballs she made for her 4H project.  She was a very busy girl.  We are going to keep on with the momentum of her cooking.  I just keeping making project lists.  Caty wants to do more also.  So I'll be including more snacks and lunches for both of them to prepare.  Brayden wants to learn a few more things also.  So lots of time in the kitchen for me.  But he just wants to make box desserts right now, very easy for him.

 Lydia participating in Skill a thon at her Horseless Horse judging.

Lydia is working on her DIY Summer Cooking Camp.  I think she is enjoying it, but unfortunately there are a few issues technically that I do not like.  I hope they can make the changes and adjustments because I won't be signing up for more until these are fixed.  Joey is enjoying his Minecraft Camp also.  But again the same technical issues exist and it is making it difficult to report projects.  I like easy, especially when I have 4 kids to help out.

 Most of the kids liked them.  I thought they looked more like crepes than pancakes.  They ate them all though.

The kids finished up the Summer Reading program at the library near us.  They all earned a minium of 60 Super Hero Bucks to buy prizes with.  Caty was very happy to earn enough to buy the two prizes that she really wanted.  They all did really well.  But we kept up with our reading while we were in Maryland.  Now to keep that momentum running.  I have to get our program up for next week.

I did run and purchase a whole stack of 4H curriculum this week.  We gave in and let the kids get a kitten.  I will be suffering a bit with my allergies, but since I have done my best to avoid cats for over  year now I have been fairing rather well.  Hopefully keeping it limited and off the furniture will help me out.  I even picked it up a few times and played with it and didn't have any adverse reactions.  I know sometimes our bodies can heal things, so just maybe this is one of them.   So she decided to use the Purrfect Pals project to learn more about cats right now.  So check off Life Science for her for a few weeks.  All the kids will work on a couple of the science experiment books.  Lydia also will work through the beginning archery book.  Caty will be doing Snack Attack, and all the kids will be working on Let's Start Cooking.  Have you checked out the curriculum?  I really like it.  It's also very inexpensive.  If you are looking for self-directed projects, check them out.  You can visit your local county extension office (at least in Ohio you can) and purchase it.  You don't have to be in 4H to do that.

We are working on remodeling a few rooms in our house to make sure we have no wasted space.  We are still waiting on our new windows and doors.  I hope they are here soon.  The old ones are driving me nuts.  This upcoming week it will be paint time.  I have to start with the ceiling and walls.  I am going for a beach theme with tans, light blues, and a few teal accents.  I also have been shopping for what we will be doing for flooring.  Considering we have a pool and hot tub in the back, I know laminate flooring needs to be on at least 1/4 of it so they don't ruin the new carpeting.  So one more project to work on.  Friday they are sanding the there will be a big mess the next few days to clean up from.

I'll share more pictures of that next week as we our goal is to try and get through this by Joe's vacation week in August.  I am definitely feeling a bit overwhelmed right now with everything going on.  Nothing is  It all has to be done.

I hope everyone has a great week, and see you next week.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Heirloom Audio Productions - With Lee in Virginia Audio Book Review

We are a big audio book family.  Being on the road so much on our travels, gives us a lot of time to listen to books.  We listen to a wide variety of stories.  But since I am a history lover, of course I also want to sneak some type of historical fiction and non-fiction into the listening schedule.  We recently had the opportunity to review With Lee In Virginia ($29.97 plus shipping) from Heirloom Audio Productions.

I was super excited to receive With Lee In Virginia.  This is not just an average audio book.  With Lee In Virginia is more of an audio drama.  It features well-known celebrities such as Kirk Cameron, Sean Astin, Chris Anthony, and Kelsey Lansdowne.

With Lee In Virginia is a story of virtue and valor.  It is full of examples of determination, character and courage.  It's the story of 15 year old Vincent Wingfield.  He is on an exciting adventure joining the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia.  He soon is fighting right alongside famous Confederate generals like Stonewall Jackson and Robert E Lee.  How does he handle this world that he has been forced into?  He has some wonderful examples of generals who remain devoted to God even during the bitter parts of the war.

With Lee In Virginia is a audio drama that keeps the kids attention.  One minute there is normal tones and the next few minutes you could be hearing the cannon roars and you can close your eyes and actually imagine as if you are in the middle of the battle watching the scenes take place.

I really liked this aspect while we were listening to With Lee In Virginia.  Not only were we listening to a wonderful lesson in character development, but it was like watching a movie.  It was not just a boring audio book.  Most kids like watching movies, but With Lee In Virginia was like watching a movie without pictures.  We had to create our own, which kept imaginations going.

Available also to go along with the audio drama With Lee In Virginia is an easy to use study guide.  This full-color PDF is available for download with your purchase of the audio drama.  It has a lot of maps, vocabulary , historical facts and stories, reading comprehension questions, critical thinking questions to get your students really remembering the wonderful story they are listening to.

This PDF can easily be printed and used by elementary through high school aged students.  You could simply print it and have them answer the questions as they listen to each chapter, or have them read them and work through the study guide verbally.  Whatever works best for your family.

With Lee In Virginia is a wonderful, historical story for all ages.  We listened to it as a family while in the van.  But this could easily be used in your home as part of a Civil War Unit study.  You can listen to so much daily and work on the study guide then with your student or have them work on it independently.

I am a HUGE fan of making history more fun and interesting.  With Lee In Virginia is definitely a way to get your student more excited about their history lessons.  I can't wait to see what else that Heirloom Productions has in the works for release.

Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out With Lee In Virginia from Heirloom Productions.  See how they used it in their homes and how it worked out for them by visiting our blog.

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Homeschool in the Woods - Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt Review

I love creating my own unit study programs for our family.  Looking up books that are tailored to our children takes a lot of work, but I think they appreciate it when we sit down to do the work each week.  But there are some weeks where I just am out of time and energy.  Learning must still go on, and that is when I am grateful for pre-made unit studies.  We recently had the opportunity to try out Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt from Homeschool in the Woods.

Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt (Download $33.95 and CD $34.95) is a, 8 - 12 week unit study packed with hands-on project study on Ancient Egypt.  It includes 25 passport stops as you and your students travel throughout Ancient Egypt.  You will learned about religion, medicine, writing, education system, everyday life, the pharaohs, pyramids and so much more.

Your students though are not just reading and filling out a lapbook.  Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt provides exciting writing opportunities disguised as creating a newspaper.  Each stop takes you on fun-filled adventures.  Included also are informational reading, instructions on how to create a folder to collect all your information in.  The pieces are included and easily printed out and assembled.  There are also audio recordings to listen to and really bring Ancient Egypt to life.  One of the kids favorite has been the recording of traveling up and down the Nile River, as told by someone traveling on a boat on the Nile River.

We received the downloadable materials, but Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt is also available in a CD format.  The souvenir postcards have also been a huge hit.  Since we travel so much, we send out a lot of postcards.  The kids thought this was a great feature and looked forward to creating postcards to go along with our Story stops as we traveled through Ancient Egypt.

Here are a few of our projects so far:

Egyptian princess crowns...

Our Egyptian meal..

Learning about Egyptian hierarchy....

The unit study is extremely easy to use.  I felt a little overwhelmed when I first started opening the files.  But I quickly discovered how to print the files that we needed for each lesson.  I was also able to quickly adjust activities to make them work for the kids who had trouble writing.

Book lists and video suggestions are provided with each lesson.  These materials were easily gotten from the library, but I was also able to find other titles if our library didn't have the suggested titles.  These books though really were not necessary because each Passport Stop was chocked full of information.  You could can stretch this material out with a Passport Stop each week or do 2-3 stops a week, depending on in depth you want to study Ancient Egypt with your family.

We have really been enjoying our Traveling tour of Ancient Egypt using Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt from Homeschool in the Woods.  Our Scrapbook of Sights continues to grow each week.  We are working our way through more slowly, so we are doing 1-2 Passport Stops a week, and we are enjoying some extra reading and educational videos.  This is one of the things that I really love about using the  Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt, you can so easily adapt it to your families needs and educational style.

As we finish up  Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt we are looking forward to continue using the Project Passport studies from Homeschool in the Woods.  I can use them with a wide age range from my lower elementary kiddos through my high school kids.  They are easy to use and there is very little work for me to do other than printing.  Even though I enjoy creating unit studies for our kids, I will continue using the Project Passport studies from Homeschool in the Woods to keep my life and planning simplified.

Several members of  the Schoolhouse Review were given the opportunity to try out various products from Homeschool in the Woods.  Take a few moments to see how they used them in their homes and if they enjoyed the Passport stops as much as we did.  Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog below.

Home School in the Woods Review

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Week 6 - The One Where I kind of Gave Up

I spent a lot of time just working on classes last week.  Making schedules and letting the kids chill.  I am very far behind on all my Minecraft work.  I am trying to dig my way out, but I know as soon as we get home there will be tons for me to do there and I will get further behind.  So the only thing I can do is keep trying.

We walked over to the book store a few times.  Barnes and Noble has a bunch of events going on throughout the summer.  I am a sucker for book stores.  The kids like them too.  So we hung out and looked at books and picked books for next week.

I am attempting a less textbook work schedule for a few weeks, just to see how it goes.  I ordered a couple of these books for the girls to start.  I have to take the plunge

I am having a hard time letting go of textbooks though.  In the back of my mind I keep wondering if I am going to mess them up because we are not using a separate language arts program or spelling book.  It's pretty hard.

I will keep you updated.  This is going to take a few weeks of adjustment for the kids and I to get into a new groove.

We did take the kids to Chincoteague Island.  I have always wanted to visit there.  We went to the Chincoteague Museum and saw Misty and Stormy.

 Saw Misty's hoof prints in front of the theater.
 Attempted to visit the light house also.  But we didn't get to climb it.

I actually read actual grown up book....and I forgot that I like to read.  It's been that long since I read something just to read.  So I started this series.  I was soaking up the sun and watching the kids play in the pool.

Brayden was having a really good time in the pool, even though he claimed to not like swimming for two years.

 We watched some educational videos

And did the Magic Tree House event at Barnes and Noble.

 He claimed he wouldn't have fun and would hate it.  He had fun!

Can't wait!!  We'll be home next week!!  But next week is full of 4H activity!