Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Week In Images

 My Week.....

These bean seeds.....

because I am glad Bookworm has the green thumb, because I sure don't.

My Sweetie.......

because the girlies loved going biking with him.

These Learning Wrap Ups.......

 because they make school fun, and that is a good thing.

This homemade granola......

because now I am planning on not buying anymore processed cereals.

These happy faces.....

because God is good and gives us friends.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{Crew Review} Middlebury Interactive Languages

In my state, high school students are required to have a year of foreign language to graduate from high school. I took a year of Spanish (eons ago) but really, expect for a few words have forgotten most of it.

And this is where Middlebury Interactive Languages is so helpful for getting those language credits.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

What It Is:

Middlebury Interactive Languages offers courses in French, German, Spanish, and Chinese. We decided to get the Spanish Course (Spanish I) which is at the high school level.

You can see what levels are available in which languages below.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

I received a semester of work, which includes 18 units of instruction. Within each unit are 5 lessons.

Each lessons consists of:

Vocabulary Guide: This page lists all vocabulary words (in Spanish) that will be covered. You can click on any of the words to hear them pronounced correctly. There is also an option to print out all the words as well.

Warm-Up: This exercise isolates half of the vocabulary words and has the students practice pronouncing the word. And if you hover over the word, the translation is given.

Matching: These same words are then listed on one side, with photos on the other. Your child will then match the words to the correct photo.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Speaking Lab: This page has numerous sentences with the vocabulary words in them, and the students are encouraged to speak each sentence aloud.

This cycle is repeated another time, until all vocabulary words have been covered.

There are also....

Grammar: In this section there are videos that are 2-5 minutes in length and cover things such as subject pronouns, definite and indefinite articles, and the "to be" verbs. There are also pages that practice and review the grammar concepts.

Synthesis: These activities are varied, and range from filling in the blank, Listening and writing what was heard on the page, or reading a paragraph and answering comprehension questions.

Cultural Tidbit: These pages share some of the cultural aspects of the Spanish culture and help students to understand moer about Latin America.

There are unit quizzes, a semester midterm, and a final at the conclusion of the last unit.

The final consists of 112 grammar and vocabulary questions, and two writing exercises, where your student will, in 6-8 sentences, answer questions in Spanish.

What You Get:

This foreign language learning course is available for $119. You also have the option to purchase a version that includes interaction from a teacher, which is a total of $294 per semester. Throughout the course are many opportunities to use a microphone and repeat words; I am sure that with a teacher listening this would be all the more effective.

There is also a calendar available, which tells you what you need to do each day to finish the course in a semester. You are not able to edit the calendar and cannot change any of the assignments. Middlebury Ineractive Languages does recommend that you do one lesson per day, and shows this on their handy calendar.

There is also a grade book that records what your child gets on the quizzes and tests.

And if you choose the With Teacher option, there is a place where you can communicate with your instructor.

How We Used This And What We Thought:

I gave this to Bookworm to do for the review period. With our state requirements, I was hoping that she could fulfill a semester of Spanish. She used the program 4 days a week, completing a lesson each day. I also had her write out any of the vocabulary words that she was learning, along with their definitions in a separate notebook.

She was frustrated at the beginning of each lesson, since they introduce vocabulary words in Spanish but did not give the translations right away. In a few of the exercises they are asked to read words and try to determine their meaning just by hearing or seeing them, and that was very frustrating for her.

But usually on the next page, the translation was given. She liked the Cultural Tips, and found that the Synthesis activities were varied and interesting. She did struggle at times when she needed to listen to the audio portions; it seemed like the speaking was a bit fast, and she would need to listen multiple times to understand what was being said. There is only one page that reviews the vocabulary words for the lesson, so I had Bookworm make up flashcards with the meanings on one side so that she could practice.

Since I had some Spanish in high school I skipped ahead to Unit 8, and was surprised that I did remember a few words. The format was much like the earlier units, but also included some flashcards, which we very helpful. I reviewed Spanish days of the week and months, and did the matching activities. I watched a short video segment on Mariachi Music, and then took a quiz and only got 2 wrong. :)

I appreciated the variety in this course; there were journal entry ideas, pronunciation practices, Conversation Stations (where you record yourself saying Spanish phrases), and teacher tips. I do wish that they gave more time or exercises to review the vocabulary and sentence structure; maybe printable worksheets or more pages reviewing vocabulary?

I have decided to ask Bookworm to push through this through the rest of semester. I liked the depth of this high school program, and if she finishes it, would have no problem giving her a semester credit of Spanish.

Other members of the Crew reviewed French, German, and Chinese courses; see what they thought by clicking below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

{Crew Review} Standard Deviants Accelerate

Online learning can be extremely useful as homeschoolers, especially for those high school years.

Standard Deviants Accelerate is an online learning website that covers a wide range of subjects meant especially for homeschoolers.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

Here are the Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses, some of which include:

  • Arithmetic (Grades 3+)
  • Earth Science (Grades 6+)
  • Algebra (Grades 7+)
  • English Composition (Grades 9+)
  • Nutrition (Grades 6+)
  • AP Chemistry (Grades 11+)
  • AP US Government and Politics (Grade 11+)

 While I was given full access to all classes for one year, I decided to have Bookworm take the Nutrition class.

What It Is:

The Nutrition class covers many aspects including:

  • Cells and Macro nutrients
  • Micro nutrients
  • The Food Industry
  • Digestion and Metabolism
  • Nutritional Disorders
  • Making Healthy Choices
  • Food Spectrum
  • Psychology of Eating

Within each of those chapters are lessons.

Inside the lessons are five components:

Video: This is a 7 to 9 minute video that explains the concepts in the lesson. The video uses college age actors that dramatize a lot of the content. On the left side of the video screen is the transcript of the video; the student can scroll down and read it as the video progresses.

Vocabulary: On this page each of the words are listed with the definition and an icon they can click to hear the word pronounced and the definition given.

Diagram:  This page is an interactive activity based on what was covered in the video portion of the lesson. Students can drag and drop or fill in the blank; depending on what types of questions are being asked.

Quiz: This is a multiple choice quiz on all the material in the lesson. If you get an answer wrong, a "see video" icon comes up. Your student can then watch the section of the video that addressed that question.

Written Answer: This page asks a deeper thought question based on that lesson. There are also a couple of prompts that can help the student answer.

 At the end of each chapter is a Chapter Review. Within this section is a Group Activity, meant for multiple students. Some of these were coming up with fun ways to tell pirates about dietary supplements, using acronyms to show strategies for preventing heart disease, and creating a comic strip showing the difference between a complete and incomplete protein. There is also a Post Test, where all the questions from the quizzes are re-asked, with a focus on the ones your student answered incorrectly.

What You Get:

Meant for ages 8 through adult learners, Standard Deviant Accelerate is available to purchase in a couple of different ways. First, you can purchase a single course for one student for $99 a year. Or, if you have a fast learner you could purchase a monthly subscription for one class which is $24.95. The AP classes, which are helpful for advanced learners are $14.95 per month.

There is no downloading at all; the courses are entirely online. Your child will also need an email address and password to register.

Your child also has a tab at the top of their home page labeled "Locker". Here, they can see their progress in the course, any written answers, and the diagrams they did. Another neat feature is the Notes option. While your student is watching the video, they can take notes in a space below. These notes, they can then save to the Locker, and refer to them for studying purposes.

How We Used This And What We Thought:

Bookworm used this three times a week, doing one lesson per day. This got her well into the third chapter; she would spend between 20 minutes and a half hour on the lesson. I asked her to write out her vocabulary words with the definition in a notebook because I do feel that writing out the words versus typing them is a better way to retain information.

She is a very straight-forward learner, and was not impressed with the silliness and humor of the videos. And that is why I very much appreciated that all the videos had transcripts, so towards the end of the review period I let her just read that instead of watching the video. She did use the Notes area often and would refer back to them before her quizzes.

She liked the diagram parts and felt that those helped her to learn the concepts. Sometimes these were very simple ones, and other times they were more complex and made her think. I also really liked that the post-test at the end of each chapter would review those questions on the quizzes that they had missed.

After using this for the last month I asked Bookworm if she would want to continue and she said no. Her reasons were purely because of the learning style of this program and not the content. She learns best by reading books and taking notes, and so the videos did not appeal to her.

I did think that the information covered in this course was up to par for a middle school level, semester long nutrition course, and was complete and covered all of the basics of nutrition.

Now Mr. Lego does learn best with videos and would probably really appreciate this program. I especially thought of him when I saw some of the creative assignments in the Group Activities; we could easily adapt these activities for a single student. Right now he is taking a class at our local college so his school schedule is full, but next semester I plan to have him take the AP Government and Politics course, which would give him a semester of needed Government.

Other members of the Crew reviewed other courses form Standard Deviants Accelerate; check out what they thought by clicking below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That we had a wonderful trip beach camping with our friends this last week. We left on Thursday and stayed three nights and enjoyed beach volleyball, yummy camp food, and late night games.

What I'm listening to: The laundry has been going non stop today and I feel like I have barely put a dent in it. All of the blankets, sleeping bags, towels, and sandy clothes are in piles to get washed....

What we're learning: This week I am teaching the older kids about genetics. I have some fun things planned, including some interesting activities showing them what traits they have that are passed down from their parents. The older kids are writing essays comparing Islam to Christianity.

What I'm watching: The clouds rolling in. We are expecting a little rain tonight.

What's cooking: This week I am making Cheesy Chicken Chowder, Chicken Pot Pie, and a Japanese feast with maki, buckwheat noodles, and Kabocha. My crock pot meal for the week is barbecued chicken.

What I'm buying: We got a package in the mail today....for PTC strips. In co-op this week we are all going to taste these strips. Some people taste bitterness, for others it is tasteless. It all depends on your genes.

What I'm creating: This week it is my goal to get ahead in my co-op planning. I have been planning week by week, but really need to get ahead so that I can research videos and experiments and not feel rushed.

What I'm planning: I started a Bullet Journal! I am loving the simplicity of this system and how it is reminding me to do things. I can easily give myself tasks on any given day and then if they are not completed, roll them into the next one.

What we did this last weekend: This last weekend we just enjoyed ourselves. (See photos below.)

What I'm looking forward to: Even though I love the sun, I am looking forward to hearing the rain tonight. And probably curling up with a nice cup of hot tea later on.

Pictures to share:

We have been.....

Wave Jumping

Castle Making

Kid Burying

Boogie Boarding

 Hugging and Smiling

Sun Gazing

Raccoon Chasing

Yummy Making

Late Night Gaming

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Week In Images

 Photos of my week....

This evening.......

 because the card game, wine, and friends paired perfectly.

Our little bird.......

because he is a silly guy and makes us laugh.

This yummyness......

because Tabbouleh and Falafels were on the menu.......

These books......

because I love reading aloud to my kiddos.....

This day at the park....

because laughter is precious.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

{Crew Review} iWitness Books

I love reading about history.

I don't think I could ever get tired of learning more about things that happened in the past. As I look through my bookshelves of history resources, I notice that we tend to have lots of resources for American history. The Renaissance and the  Middle Ages have a few, but Ancient times, namely Biblical times, are sparse.

This is where these iWitness books from Apologia Educational Ministries are a welcome addition to my library.

Apologia Review

What They Are:

I received three books:

Old Testament iWitness
iWitness Biblical Archaeology
New Testament iWitness

Apologia Review

Written and designed by Doug Powell, these well made books are a wonderful historical resource.

All of these books focus on proofs, or historical and archeological facts, that prove the authority of the scriptures. Some of the things covered in each book:

  • The Old Testament iWitness book: Septuagint, Major and Minor Prophets, Dead Sea Scrolls, Canonization, and the Intertestemental Period. (The time between the Testaments)
  • New Testament iWitness: Athanasuis, Church Fathers, Apostolic Fathers, Hymns and Creeds, and Copies of the Testament.
  • iWitness Biblical Archaeology: The Flood, House of David Inscriptions, Hadrian and Constantine, and Jesus' burial shroud.

Apologia Review
As you can see, the subject matter covers everything that pertains to scripture, and continues beyond Revelation and into the second and third centuries.

Some of the interesting things we read were that there were actually rejected books of the New Testament. Books written after the Apostolic Age, (when Christ's disciples were still living, and could correct any other teachings) were dismissed and a few were forged in the name of some Apostles. I found the stories of the Dead Sea Scrolls fascinating; I doubt my children would remember, but about ten years ago we were able to see the Dead Sea Scrolls when they toured through our area. It was thrilling to learn about these amazing documents and how they proved the infallibility of scripture.

I also read aloud section of the Biblical Archaeology book to the younger girls; it was fascinating to see how stories of the Flood were recorded in other cultures. There was even a section on the location of Noah's Ark, and the difficulties that man has had in trying to find this elusive ship.

Apologia Review

What You Get:

Each of these paperback books is approximately 6x9 inches in size.  They are of excellent quality, with all glossy pages. They format is engaging and is not in traditional textbook form, but rather it is a collection of notes, written as historians or archeologists would have record information. The fonts were a little hard to read and when I gave this to Dasher she struggled with reading it a bit, but I was able to decipher the print and we read it together.

Each book is meant for readers 11 years and up and is $14 each. They come with convenient Bibliography's at the conclusion of each book, which could very easily be used for further study on the subject. 

Interspersed throughout the pages are photographs, depictions of art, and other illustrations which bring the subject matter alive. There are also diagrams, drawings, and timelines that aid in understanding.

How We Used This And What We Thought:

I used this two different ways. First, I gave it to Bookworm to read, Last year, we spent the entire year learning Ancient History, with a Biblical emphasis. So these book really did cover all that we learned. She read them over a week, and felt like they gave new insight to what she learned last year. She did comment that at times the fonts were hard to read; but she was able to get through it and enjoyed the books.

I also read portions of these aloud to Nutsy and Dasher. It was fascinating, to watch their minds explore Biblical history from an archaeological perspective. They loved the stories about The Exodus, and how we have proof in the Ipuwer Tablets, of different plagues that struck Egypt. The parallels found in both the Scriptures and archaeology are proofs that the Bible is infallible.

I am excited to add these books to our history bookcase. When we come back around to Ancient History in a few years they will be a welcome resource to our library.

Check out what other Crew Members thought of these books, by clicking below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: Today was a busy day. School, then orthodontist appointments, then errands, dinner, laundry, cleaning.....the day flew.

What I'm listening to: I am listening to some Rich Mullins, Jesse Cook, and Little Big Town. An interesting combination.

What we're learning: In my biology class we are talking about the parts of a cell this week. In writing, the older students wrote reports on insects, and the younger ones wrote a report on human bones. In our own schooling, Dasher is really enjoying her grammar and Nutsy loves Logic of English's Foundations. 

What's cooking: This week I am making Reuben Sandwiches, Peanut Butter Chicken in the crock pot, and BBQ Chicken.

What I'm buying: It is Big Shopping Time at our house, so I am making my lists and heading to Costco, Trader Joe's, and other places.

What I'm thankful for: That my toe is healing. I can now walk normally....I was cautious with it over the weekend and kept it taped. It twinges every now and then but is feeling better.

What I'm creating: I have a couple of harvest crafts I want to do with the involves mason jars, Fall leaves, and Modge Podge. And yes, I got it off of Pinterest.....

What I'm praying: For the pregnant Mommas that I know. That they would be healthy and deliver on time.

What I'm planning: I am planning for a fun day with brownies, gummy bears, friends, and games. A fun end to our week this week.

What we did this last weekend: Sunday we met up with a few families from our church for volleyball. We talked about making this a regular occurrence, and inviting others to come hang out. Then we went home for Pita Pizzas. Yum.

What I'm looking forward to: I am looking forward to hanging out with friends later this week. I am also looking forward to getting a couple of reviews written.....

A picture to share:

~This photo cracked me up. Someone, (who shall remain nameless) took it and then posted it to My Sweetie's Facebook account with the caption, "I love these people!!!!"


Guess who that was?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I can't believe my baby girl is 15. Yes, today is Bookworm's 15th birthday and I am in denial. Where has time gone?

What I'm listening to: The little girls, playing in their make-believe world. They use their stuffed animals, blankets, the sand box outside, and so many other things to create a world all their own to play in. I love it that they still play this way....

What we're learning: This week we are studying about chemistry in biology, and the younger ones are learning about bones in anatomy. I am reviewing an online curriculum again, so the younger two are spending lots of time doing math and language arts on there.

What I'm watching: The temperature creep up today. It is supposed to hit 95 here; I absolutely love it and will miss the warm temps in the coming months.

What's cooking: This week I am making Baked Potato Soup, Chicken Parmesan, and Chimichangas in the crock pot.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful for my 15 year old! It has been such a joy to watch her mature and grow into a godly young woman.....she has a part time cleaning job, loves playing piano and reading, and pretty much does all her schooling on her own. She is a wonderful older sister and is very helpful around the house. Thank you Lord, for giving her to us!

What I'm praying: I am praying that my toe heals quickly. Last week a bookshelf fell on it, and my big toe is badly bruised. But then all this hobbling around is making me thankful that I don't have any long-term problems with my feet.

What I'm planning: I need to get started with planning for my goat project. We start meeting next month.

What we did this last weekend: We did some cleaning up and then celebrated Bookworm's 15th birthday. We had fun making minion cupcakes and then had a yummy dinner of tempura. Sunday was church, our fellowship meal, and service at the assisted living center.

What I'm looking forward to: Just a normal week.....4H club meeting, co-op, errands, house cleaning....just the regular.

A picture to share:

~Happy Birthday!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

My Week In Images

 Photos of my week.....

This place.....

 because it it fun to walk through it....and fun to walk out with ONE bag of something for the kitchen.

This bowl of noodles.....

 because I love the nori, wasabi, and shiso leaves in there with them.

This afternoon......

because baseball and cupcakes were the perfect combination.

This cup of coffee....

because even though I don't regularly drink it, I needed no better reason than National Coffee Day.

This friend.....

because I am so grateful for her friendship.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

{Journal Entry} California Adventure

This is my last vacation entry. :-)

We went to California Adventure on the third day of our vacation, and then went back there for half of the day on the fifth day.

First thing, we got our Fast Pass for Radiator Springs in Cars Land. We had been warned that it was popular and it certainly was.

Our first ride was one of our favorite ones - Soarin' Over California. If you have never been on this ride then you need to try to get to CA and ride it; the experience is amazing. And it was great to hear the squeals and laughter from my brood as they experienced it for the first time.

Then we started wandering through the was very un-crowded (except for Radiator Springs) so we followed my schedule pretty loosely.

Grizzly River Run was another good one.....

Nutsy wasn't really that put out because she got soaked.

This was another ride that Dasher wasn't too sure about, but after her SIXTH time on it, she was loving it.

Having fun with the cameras again.....

This ride was another really fun one: Toy Story Midway Mania.

You wear the 3D glasses and then by pulling the gun in front of you, shoot balls at an interactive arcade. It was super accurate; the thing is keeping score between you and your partner and it is fun to see who wins.

We did all the carnival-like rides at Paradise Pier; these swings were one of my favorites because it feels like you are flying.

The kids loved Goofy's Sky School. This thing jerked you around corners so fast that I sat out with My Sweetie and let them go a few times on their own.

Guess I am getting older.

Finally, we headed to Cars Land.

The photos don't do it any justice; this area was very well put together. The kids kept saying that it was like we were really in the cartoon.

And Radiator Springs did not disappoint.

The end is the best part, when you are racing the other car next to you.

The other new ride was Tower of Terror.

{Waiting in line}

This ride was incredible. At one point Nutsy's lanyard was floating in the air in front of us; we were literally weightless for a second.

 Here, we are having fun with the photos taken of us on Tower of Terror.

 The lines in CA were great; the longest we waited was about 20 minutes.

The last day of our vacation we starting noticing something.

People, lots of young people actually, were dressed to the nines.

Seriously, at least a quarter of the people we were walking past looked like this. Was there going to be some kind of flash mob?

After a while we stopped a lovely looking couple, and asked what was going on. And today, was Dapper Day. It is an unofficial Disney event that started in 2011 and has grown to over 20,000 people. Basically twice a year dressed up, stylish people come to the parks.

 It was actually really fun walking around with them all; they were very nice and had incredible costumes. And the lines were still not that long.

 CA at night was so beautiful.

And Cars Land was all lit up. That canyon really looked like the real thing.

We ate lunch one day at Flo's....really fun diner-type food.

 The whole pier shuts down for Wonderful World of Color. We are usually not big show people, so we didn't get Fastpass tickets to it, which meant we had to watch it from the backside.

It was still spectacular, but next time we'll get Fastpass so we can see the whole thing and not hear a funny echo the whole time.

And since this is my last entry I will share what we did on Saturday, our last day there.....we were gifted a trip to Goofy's kitchen! 


We started with breakfast, had some lunch stuff, and then hit the dessert table.

And had some fun characters come by and say hi.

Before we headed out, we walked one last time down Downtown Disney.

And got Starbucks treats for the drive home.

 What a blessing it was to be able to take this vacation! Mr. Lego is 4 months away from turning 18 and is in his last year of high school. Who knows where all the members of our family will be in even 5 years? So I am so grateful that we were able to spend a week together in such a wonderful place.