Saturday, September 29, 2012

Box Of I.D.E.As. Pearl Harbor

History is one of my favorite subjects to teach. And now that I am in a co-op where another mom is teaching history (and doing wonderfully at it, I might add), I jumped at the opportunity to review a history product for The Crew. And what made it even more timely? We are studying the 20th century this year in co-op, so studying World War II and Pearl Harbor as we used this product was perfect.


What It Is:

Box of I.D.E.As., which stands for Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities, produces boxes filled with fun, hands-on ideas for you to use to teach your children. Each box comes with at least 10 modules that offer a variety of exercises and activities about a certain topic. The World War II Pearl Harbor box comes with these modules:

Before Becoming a Base
Beginnings of Naval Presence
A Week Before the Attack
Day of Infamy
Day After the Attack
Weeks After the Attack
Six Months After the Attack
A Year After the Attack
Victory Over Japan - VJ-Day
Decades After the Attack

Each module begins with a cover sheet, which gives a quote (this can be used as memory work or copywork), the contents, and the PDF instructions. The first component is a short reading section to introduce the module. This part describes what specifically is being studied and gives background information for the student. Extensions are next; this section has a variety of activities and suggestions for study. These include research ideas, experiments, further study activities, and essay or writing suggestions.

The next section in each module are the web links; below each link is a suggested activity. These range from studying pearls, to watching war footage, to learning about journalism. The modules also include other activities; there are matching games, memory games, puzzles, and worksheets. The worksheets are called portfolio pieces which, after your child completes, can go into a notebook to record what they have learned.

What You Get:

I was given the PDF version for Pearl Harbor; there is also a physical box which you can purchase from the website. The PDF version is $49.00 and comes straight to your email in box. An answer key is included for all of the portfolio pieces which is very helpful. There is also a timed summary test for your student to take when they have completed all the modules; this can either be used as a formal history test or a verbal review. The websites suggested for each module are conveniently linked in the PDF version.


How We Used This:

 Since we were not quite up to World War II in our co-op, I decided to start with the first module and see how far we could get in our review time. My kids had so much fun with it that we went all the way through the Day After the Attack. I printed off the copies I needed for each module and then we sat down to study. I am the kind of teacher that likes to teach as the moment arises and not stick to any textbook reading, so the loose format was perfect for us. For example, in the module titled A Week Before the Attack, we learned about military convoys; specifically the convoy that brought supplies, airplanes, and ammunition to the South Pacific in the days before the attack. We learned about the different vessels that made up this convoy and talked about the many things you would need to survive if you were a soldier in southeast Asia. We went online and learned about ship camouflage, saw photos from the war and photos from a re-enactment. The portfolio page in this module was about military acronyms and G.I. jargon which was fun to figure out, and the activity was a card game matching all the different branches of the military. The kids kept a score sheet for each hand they played and tried to match the cards. Each card had a fun fact about that particular branch. (Did you know there were only 36 Medal of Honor recipients in World War II?)


What I Thought:

I really love this kind of educating. The kind where your kids are having a ball exploring, playing games, understanding, and you know that they are learning. That real learning that gets filed deep down into their brains. My son especially loved the web links; when we studied The Day of Infamy we saw live footage and an interactive map of the tragedy. The games and activities were easily modified for all my children; 7 year-old Nutsy could play most of the games and answer questions, while if I desired, I could have given writing assignments to my older children. As part of our homeschooling journey, we have been a part of a co-op for the last 4 years. This product would be a perfect fit for that type of schooling and a great way for a group of homeschoolers to learn. And Box of I.D.E.As. makes it very easy; aside from printing off the necessary worksheets and game cards, with a pencil, paper, and your computer, you have everything that you need.

 I think my only complaint about this product was that I was given the PDF version. It is suggested that you print out the game cards and boards on heavy cardstock, and most all of them also need to be printed in color. This can get expensive, so I would recommend purchasing the physical version; which is sold for $79.00 on their website.

I was also excited to see other Boxes on their website to purchase; Laundry, Salt, Eleven (really curious about that one!) and Quilting.


Other members of The Crew reviewed the Pearl Harbor Box along with me, as well as the Salt Box...check it out by clicking above.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, for my honest and humble review. All opinions are mine.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two Wittle Piggies Went To School.....

Yesterday was a Wednesday, which is our co-op day.

And we had a couple of special visitors.

Can you see one of them below?

 Mrs. D was doing our science lesson...we were learning all about Saturn and its rings. (Did you know that Saturn is the only gaseous planet whose rings are visible through binoculars?)

Here is another photo where you can't miss our little guest....

A cute, wittle piggy!

My friend is raising a couple of American Guinea Hogs. These wee ones are only a week and half old and need their milk every hour or so and since co-op is at my house, they brought along the baby piggies too.

When their Mommas weren't holding them they went into their wittle home.

It is funny how everyone's speech changes when there is a baby around; be it human or animal, we all feel the need to baby talk.

After science, Mrs. K taught our history lesson which was super interesting....we listen to two descriptions about the Scopes Trial, one from a Christian worldview and the other from a secular view. We compared the difference and then also learned how scientific evidence supports Creation.

Just a side note: the kids you see above are only half of our group. The younger kids were sitting behind me at the table. We have 14 kids in our co-op, ranging from 7 to 18 years.

Then it was time to feed the piggies lunch.

Outside, of course.

Because these little buggers were messy eaters.

But so cute!

After they were done it was time for their Momma to clean them off...and they certainly let her know that they didn't care for their bath. Those things were seriously putting up a real pig fuss.

My neighbors probably thought that those crazy homeschoolers were going from 4-H rabbits to swine....

So stinkin' cute!

And since we are homeschoolers? We went back inside for a piggy anatomy lesson.

I gave our music lesson; we learned more about chord progression and practiced rhythm. Then we sang and worked on harmonizing parts for a couple of hymns we are learning.

 Then the kids went outside to play and I decided to hold a piggy....they sure knew who had fed them and cared for them. When I tried to hold this one he squealed for a good 5 minutes before settling down and accepting his fate of letting me hold him.

My kids had a blast learning about Saturn, creation, music and American Guinea Hogs. Another reason why I love homeschooling....

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: Well, My Sweetie is challenging me to start working out with him this month. He swims during the summer, but in a couple weeks will go back to his biking. My workout routine is usually a 25 minute session with either Jillian Michaels or Leslie Sansone (and I'll be honest here) maybe three times a week on a good week. So I am a bit daunted by a 50 minute bike ride with my husband right behind me, pushing me to go faster, 4 days a week. Oh and the icing on the cake? This is all happening at the lovely hour of 6:45 AM. No pain no gain, I guess.

What I'm reading: I am finishing up my library book on gardening....since I have to return the book I am thinking to quickly re-read it and take notes on what to do. Her advice about tomatoes was good stuff, since we have the same kind of clay heirlooms, don't over water, mulch and compost...

What we're learning: This week the older two are starting their literature study of Treasure Island, I am starting a new math curriculum with Nutsy that uses lots of manipulatives, and Dasher is moving right along with her online spelling lists, reading and phonics.

What I'm watching: Over the weekend we watched the movie Hoosiers with the kids. They really enjoyed it. Our DVD also came with some special features and one of them was footage from the actual basketball game from 1954 that the movie was based on. And let me just tell you that basketball has come a long way since then....

What's cooking: This week I am making a stir fry, Chili Verde, and a new Cooking Light recipe called Penne Rigate with Spicy Sausage and Zucchini in Tomato Cream Sauce. Sometimes I get a kick out of recipe names....I would have probably just called it Sausage Tomato Pasta.

What I'm creating: I have a couple of reviews to write in the next couple of of them is a super fun one that I was excited to try out.

What I'm planning: I need to do some research and planning for my part in our co-op...I am teaching music and we are learning about chord progression, which I really don't know much about. And with the wide age range that we have (7-18) I don't know how in-depth I want to get. I'll say it again, homeschooling has taught me just as much as it has taught the kids.

What we did this last weekend: We did some work around the house and had our movie night on Saturday. Yesterday we went to church and Sunday school then home for grilled chicken with corn and a tomato-cucumber-grilled bread salad. Our games of choice are usually cards or Speed Scrabble; for a change yesterday we played Normal Scrabble. Totally different and certainly stretches your brain. We finished off the evening with a crazy game of Cocktails with the kids.

What I'm looking forward to: Just a normal week ahead. We have co-op, our first goat project meeting, and I am hoping to meet up with a friend for her birthday lunch.

A picture to share:

~The girls outside with the cat. We are going to try to keep him and break him of his crazy habit of attacking dogs. A couple things about this photo: first, we have now named the kitty and the kids all decided on the name Vader. Second, don't let Dasher's jacket fool you. It is in the low 60's right now and is supposed to hit 90 degrees today...I just have wimpy Californian children.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Homeschooling 2012

Another school year is upon us. We started a couple of weeks ago, and so I thought I would share with you some of the things I am doing this year.


We are going through Apologia's Who Is My Neighbor all together right now; I reviewed this book over the summer and love it. The older kids have a student notebook they fill in, the younger ones color in their coloring books, and we are also memorizing the suggested Bible verses. We will be finishing this book up in January, so I am looking into doing God's Great Covenant at that point.


The older two are going to be doing a writing curriculum which I reviewed; Write With World. I liked the way this curriculum encouraged critical thinking and taught solid writing skills, with a Christian world view. Dasher is still going through First Language Lessons, and I have Nutsy doing copywork a few times a week.


The older two are going through Hewitt's Lightening Literature Guide; this curriculum uses great books to teach literary analysis, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. I was blessed to be able to review this curriculum back in July. Dasher is reading through The Little's stories by John Peterson, and Nutsy has her little Bob Books she is reading through.


All four of my kids are doing four different math curriculums! Mr. Lego is doing an online program called Aleks Math. He really likes the format and I think, is enjoying math for the first time in his schooling. Bookworm does best with textbooks so she is doing Saxon Math, she is my one child who gets and like her math. Dasher is plugging along with Rod & Staff math books, and Nutsy is going through an online program called IXL, which I also reviewed earlier this year.


The three older ones are using Spelling City; the two older ones are doing high school vocabulary lists and Dasher is going through graded word lists. This is also another product I reviewed; I love how there are fun games for them to play and am happy with their progress so far. We are still using the English From the Roots Up flashcards during our Together Time.

History, Science, & Music

All three of these subjects are being taught in our co-op this year. In history we are going to spend the entire year going through the 20th century, in science we are studying planetary astronomy, and in music we are learning basic theory and singing. Each week the children might have worksheets, writing work, presentations, experiments, and reading assignments to do.


This is a new one for us. My high school student needs a foreign language, and Bookworm has asked numerous times to learn Spanish, so when a friend gave me Rosetta Stone, I knew this was the year to do it.


The younger two are doing work in phonics; both Dasher and Nutsy do Explode the Code books, and Nutsy is also doing phonics work with Rod & Staff.  They both do handwriting from Christian Liberty Press which uses the shorter catechism to teach printing and handwriting. I also have the opportunity to review a new phonics/reading/spelling/writing curriculum from IEW in the next month, so Nutsy and I will be working on that.


4-H really does count as school in our house; the older three do presentations each year with visual boards, they give project reports, and do community service through our club. This year Mr. Lego is our club Vice-President, Bookworm is the Corresponding Secretary, and Dasher is a Sergeant-at-Arms. And the projects we are thinking to do? Rabbit and Goat like we did last year, and we are thinking to add Poultry as well. No, we are not crazy (at least I think not), but this opens up options for market animals to bring to auction and will teach the kids all about another small animal.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you,
But to do justly, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

And as I was writing and compiling this massive list, I read a blog post by a dear friend of mine. She reminded me that the number one thing we are going to be working on are our hearts. Specifically, that my children's hearts would do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. A high calling indeed, for a sinner such as me. Only by God's grace, can I even begin to accomplish that, and all those other, less important things that are listed above.

May God grant all of us homeschooling Mommas grace, mercy, wisdom, and patience.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What We Saw Today....

Today, right after breakfast, me and the kiddos got into the car and went for a drive.

After getting turned around a couple of times and waiting in a not-too-long car line, we made it to our destination.

The top of a parking garage.

 With lots of other people.

While we were waiting, we kept ourselves amused by watching the surrounding buildings.

Must be something big.....

These guys were crazy....from our vantage point it didn't look like there was any railing up there.

We watched these people climb up the ladder of their office building onto the roof.

And rumor had it, that people paid to spend a night at this hotel, just to stand on the balcony this morning.

 It was getting more crowded now....

....with so many people we had a couple of these around.

Right in front of us was the Capitol; hmmm, maybe that is Governor you-know-who at the top of the dome.....

What were we all waiting for???

The flyby of the space shuttle Endeavour, piggy-backed on a NASA 747.

Here it comes.

Getting closer......

...and closer....

Then it went behind a building to make a slow turn way behind us.

People were cheering and taking lots of photos (Me included, obviously.)

On its way back towards the Capitol.....

What an amazing sight.  And what a special privilege to see it in person.

One of my dreams was to see a launch in Florida someday.....that is not going to happen now, but seeing this is the next best thing.

Farewell, Endeavour.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This Last Weekend....

 This last weekend....

we swam.....

we ate.....

we honored.......

we shared.......

we remembered....

we talked.....

we mourned.....

we jumped......

 we laughed......

we played....

....we encouraged each other in love.

At the end of our trip when we were getting ready to leave, my dad, taking the place of my grandpa, said a word of prayer for safe travels.

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, 
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us 
an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

II Cor. 4:16-18