Tuesday, March 31, 2015

{Schoolhouse Review} Greek Morphemes Lessons

All through my years of teaching my children, the one skill that I thought was the most helpful was learning word roots.

And Ready to Teach has a wonderful curriculum to help your older students learn their Greek morphemes, titled: Greek Morphemes Lessons (It's NOT Greek to Me!)

Ready to Teach Review

What It Is And What You Get:

This vocabulary program will give your students the tools they need to understand our complex language. Over 60 percent of all English words contain either a Greek or Latin morphemes (prefixes, suffixes, and roots), so knowing their meanings is very important. I received a Student Book and Instructor's Manual, plus a CD that contained the PowerPoint lessons.

Ready to Teach Review

I also received a thumb drive with the lessons on it as well; beginning in April, Ready to Teach will be including thumb drives only. You can ask to get a CD if that works better for you.

There are twelve lessons in the program, each lessons taking up a week of study. There is also a mid term (after lesson 6) and a final at the end, so if you followed the above schedule you could complete the program in about 14 weeks, or 1 semester. Perfect for high school students.

The Instructor's Manual does come with a suggested five-day schedule, which is super handy. I modified the schedule to fit it into our own and tweaked their suggestions to make it fit into three days of study a week.

Each lesson focuses on 16 words, and works through the Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes. For example, from the word anarchy we learned that:

  • an =  not, without
  • arch = govern, rule
  • -y = makes abstract noun (something you cannot sense with your five senses)
And by knowing these roots, you can figure out that anarchy means without government. 

Through each lesson, the student will watch the PowerPoint and do various activities. Some of these are creating sentences, creating your own words from the roots and suffixes, and writing definitions of other words based on the morphemes they know. They are also encouraged to make flashcards of the roots and their meaning, and are reminded in the text to spend time working through them.

At the end of each lesson is an interactive test or review on the thumb drive. You do need to keep track of your score as you go through the questions if you want to record a grade.

How We Used This And What We Thought:

I decided to have Bookworm do this course. She has a lighter load this semester and I really want her to have a solid knowledge of morphemes. She divided the week of work into three days:

Day 1: She watched the PowerPoint presentation. The first time she started it, she was manually going through the slides. If you know anything about PowerPoint, you know that if you do this you are basically seeing all of the information on the slide all at one time. I helped her out and we viewed it as a slide show, and by pushing the forward arrow key, moved through the presentation. The presentation is engaging, humorous, and walks the student through the first assignment in the Student Book.

On day 1 she also completed both Assignments A and B. These assignments have the student find the morphemes in 16 words. Then based on the meaning of the morphemes, they guess what the word means by giving an M.D, or My Definition. They also look it up in a dictionary to get the D.D., or Dictionary Definition.

Day 2: She completed Assignment C in her Student Book. And again, the PowerPoint led her through it step by step so she knew exactly what to do. This section had her writing sentences with the words she had learned, and coming up with a couple of new words too. She also spent time going over the flashcards.

Day 3: Today she completed Assignment D. She was given words and then broke them down by morphemes to come up with the definition.

She also did a fun activity, and chose words to match with different phrases.

For example, she had to match this phrase:

would cause you to never visit an old folks' home

and used this word:


(archae + ancient; demo = people; phobia = a fear of)

She would spend between 20 to 45 minutes a day on this; I am thinking that after the first six weeks I will give her a week to study all her flashcards before the midterm test. Each lesson does build on previous lessons so the morphemes they learn in the first lessons are reviewed throughout the program.

 One thing we did run into: since you control the speed of the Powerpoint, Bookworm did tend to move pretty quickly through the lesson part. When I realized what she was doing I told her to read aloud the words as they came up. That slowed her down enough to understand the lesson even better.

I really, really liked this. So much so, that I am very seriously considering getting myself a workbook to go through this as well. Mr. Lego already has his last semester of high school planned out, or else I would have had him doing this program too. I was also excited to see on the Ready to Teach website, the same type of program for Latin morphemes. I am thinking that would be a great addition to Bookworm's next year of schooling.

Other members of The Crew reviewed Greek Morphemes Lessons; check out what they thought by clicking below.

Koru Naturals Review

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That while everyone else seems to be having Spring break this week, I am making my kids plug along with school. (What a meanie.) But then, the last two weeks of May, we'll be taking off for all the craziness of county fair, while everyone else all still slaving away in their classrooms. Home schooling rocks.

What I'm reading: Not much right now....The last book I read was an historical fiction book on Richard I, but I have already returned it to the library and forgot the title.

What I'm listening to: Actually right now I am listening to Dave Ramsey's radio show. He has some great stuff to say about money.

What we're learning: This week I am reading to the younger two about the immune system in anatomy. The older two have a break from writing and history, so Bookworm is doing extra work in her vocabulary program and Mr. Lego is using an online resource to brush up on his algebra. He is planning to take the ASVAB (Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery) early this summer. Yes, he is planning to go into the Air Force Reserves after he graduates.

What's cooking: This week I am making Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Donburi (a yummy chicken and egg Japanese dish), and this weekend we'll grill some chicken and I'll make my homemade Caesar Salad. My slow cooker meal of the week is Vietnamese Chicken.

What I'm buying: I need to order some new blades for our goat clippers. My project is doing an incredible job of fundraising and we have enough for the project to purchase them.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful in the hope I have in heaven. There are trials, pains, sadness, and all sorts of persecutions in this world. But I know I can always find comfort in the age to come.

What I'm praying: Wanting more children is a silent prayer. Over the weekend I talked to two different friends who would love to expand their families. I do pray that God blesses them soon, but that they would also be content with where they are right now.

What I'm planning: We are holding a fundraising breakfast for our goat project next week and we need to get busy selling the rest of our tickets.

What we did this last weekend: Saturday we went to the North Central Sectional Field Day at UC Davis, along with about 150 other 4Hers from No. CA. All three girls presented and did a great job; Bookworm and Nutsy got gold and Dasher got blue. They all did so well! Sunday was church and then we hit the park for a fun afternoon of baseball and fellowship.

What I'm looking forward to: We are helping to feed our goats this week so we'll be out there multiple times to work with them. We have a piano lesson, our financial class, and I am registering all four kids for our county fair this week.

A picture to share:

Our weekend....

 ~ We met up with friends at Sectionals....

~At the park. Baseball and Cards.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Random 5 On Friday ~ March 20

 1. Time is flying. We had a family come over last weekend that had a 2 year old so we got out the dollhouse for her. And ever since Nutsy has been playing with it....someday it will be put away and only come out when little guests come over. Bittersweet.

 2. I love my slow cooker. Last week instead of our weekly pizza, I made Pizza Soup. Super easy.....brown Italian Sausage and place in cooker. Add sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, sliced onions, sliced olives, quartered pepperoni pieces, and diced bell pepper. Add a jar of pizza sauce and three jars of water, and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Top with a bit of grated mozzarella and it is pizza without the crust!

3. We are out at the goat farm at least twice a week, working with these guys....even though this is a busy season of 4H, we all love it.

 4. I got into the backyard this week and did a few things...cleaned up all the beds and planted salad mix, radishes, basil, and pretty flowers on the deck. I also transplanted a couple of stray strawberry plants into the strawberry bed and cleaned up the deck. The tomatoes are going to get planted hopefully next week.

Last Saturday all except one of the kiddos was gone all day. So we had our yummy dinner outside with just Nutsy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

{Schoolhouse Review} ~ Visual Learning Systems

When I think back to when I was homeschooled (and yes, I am getting old and graduated from high school over 20 years ago), I think what a different journey it would have been if we had the technology we have today.

And it is in the internet world that we see most of those changes.

The product I have been using the last few weeks is an online video based science curriculum: Visual Learning Systems.

Visual Learning Systems Review

What It Is And What You Get:

There are two levels to Visual Learning Systems; Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5), and Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

There are actually three levels on the website; the Elementary Edition includes a Primary level as well.

The Elementary and Primary include these science topics: Physical, Earth, Life, and Health (Primary only).

The Middle/High School covers Physical, Earth, Life, Integrated, Health, and Biology.

This digital subscription has four components:

  • Videos
  • Animations
  • Images
  • Teacher Guides

The Videos are well done and range in length based on grade level. The primary videos are around 9 minutes long, the elementary ones are 13 minutes long, and the middle/high school levels are 20 minutes in length. They are also conveniently divided into chapters which makes it easy to pause the video if needed.

The Animations are lots of fun! They are short clips that animate a scientific process. You can see a seed germinate, the human respiratory process, the water cycle, and bird migration to name a few. Each topic has at least one animation, and many have several.

The Images were extremely helpful. In one of our biology lessons we were learning about simple, non-vascular plants and since I didn't have a photo of liverworts laying around, I pulled up the images for that lesson and my kids were able to identify them. Each topic has multiple images too.

The Teacher Guide is the glue of the program. In the guide you will find learning objectives, assessments, viewing suggestions, the script of the video (this was priceless!) and student activities sheets with answer keys.

Visual Learning Systems Review

You do purchase the two levels separately; they do have special pricing for homeschoolers with up to 8 students for home use.

And you can also view video tutorials to see if this might be a good fit for you.

How We Used This:

This came to me at the perfect time. I am teaching high school biology this year and was finding it a bit dry. My students would look at me with glazed over eyes when I would tell them it was time for biology.

But not the last few weeks.

These videos and worksheets have really rejuvenated our science. As we watched the videos I had them complete the Video Review and Assessment. The video would pause to give them time to answer the questions. I also encouraged them to take notes on the page as they watched.

These review pages really helped to engage them while they were listening. I used both the Pre and Post Assessments to orally ask them questions after we watched the video. Even though this level is both middle school and high school, I found the biology to be at the high school level and challenging for my kiddos in high school.

The worksheets were really helpful in reiterating the topic.

In this worksheet they had to label the parts of a root and answer questions.

One week we soaked different seeds and then dissected them. The worksheets led the students through the dissections, telling them what to look for.

My younger two are learning about human anatomy this year so I had them watch a few videos from the elementary level. They liked this one on blood and circulation.

They also watched one on muscles and movement. After they watched it, I had them do a vocabulary page. They would choose from a word bank and put the word next to the correct definition.

They also had a writing activity, where the student fills in the blanks in a paragraph about the different kinds of muscles, using a work bank. I have one child that really struggles with writing so this exercise was perfect for her.

What We Thought:

This program was a great fit for us. I loved the variety of activities in the Teacher Guides, in both levels. When I first began using this I thought it would only be useful as a supplement, but even for my high school students, if I added some writing and research assignments and we completed all the topics in biology,  I would count as a full biology credit.

The videos were of high quality, with lots of great images and running video. I also loved having the animations; my younger girls spent one afternoon looking through the Life topics and watching animation of moving muscle, virus reproduction, and osmosis. These were much shorter videos, and lasted anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 minutes.

This is from a secular perspective so we did run into a few references to evolution, but I have had many conversations with my kids about our view of creation, and was able to use them as teaching moments.

I am going to continue to use this for my high school biology curriculum. It has really re-vitalized our upper level science this year, and I am thankful that my kids are a little more excited about biology. Best of all I am hearing, "Oh, I get it now!" Lots of time when we see something happening in real life on a video it makes more sense then reading a text in a book.

There are so many other topics that other members of The Crew reviewed; see what they thought by clicking below.

Visual Learning Systems Review

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am LOVING the weather here. Today it was 75 degrees. We have a little rain coming Wednesday (we really need it), but then back into the mid 70's.

What I'm listening to: Lee Brice is playing on Pandora.

What we're learning: We have really been charging through biology and are learning about plant structure this week. We will be dissecting some seeds this coming week to see what they are made of. I am also going through the state capitals this semester with the younger two.

What I'm watching: Last night My Sweetie and I started watching Lost Horizon (1937). Either it was boring or we needed sleep from our missed hour the night before, because we both fell asleep before it was over.

What's cooking: This week I am making a roasted chicken, chicken and garlic, and my slow cooker meal is orange chicken with fried rice. Chicken.

What I'm thankful for: I am really thankful for all of the opportunities that 4H has given our family. I see my kids talking to others with confidence, their awareness of our food sources, and how this program has grown them.

What I'm creating: I am writing a review about a really neat online science curriculum. It has really added to both our biology and anatomy classes the last few weeks.

What I'm planning: I have been busy planning out the rest of our goat meetings....we only have two more until the fair! But we do meet up often with all the kids in my project out at the farm to work with our goats.

What we did this last weekend: We did some major cleaning in the house, then ran a few errands. Sunday was church and then an afternoon of volleyball and games at the park with lots of other families.

What I'm looking forward to: We have co-op this week....I have my different seeds soaking for our experiment. We will also go out and work with the goats and lamb at least twice, and keep plugging along with school.

A picture to share:

~Dinner on Saturday.....Roasted Chile Verde with homegrown pork.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Week In Images

 My Week.....

This tree in bloom.....

because it reminds me that my favorite season is coming.

This sign at my local grocery store......

because I was pleasantly surprised to see Chevon sold there!

This science "quiz"......

because one of the many beauties of homeschooling is "testing" your students with games.

This delicious beet and feta salad......

because I really enjoy experimenting with flavors.

This temperature......

because I love the warmth.

This coffee date with My Love.....

 because time spent with him is precious.

Monday, March 2, 2015

{Schoolhouse Review} ~ Koru Naturals

Every once in a great while, I get to review something that is non-homeschooling related.

And this my friends, is a really great product for hair and skin.

What It Is And What You Get:

Koru Naturals produces high quality skin and hair products using all natural ingredients. I received two things from Koru Naturals; Emu Oil and Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner.

Koru Naturals Review

The Emu Oil is an Australian natural oil and conveniently comes in two, four, and eight ounce bottles with a flip lid. The oil is odorless and a little really does go a long way. I have been using it regularly for the past four weeks, and have not even used a quarter of my 2 ounce bottle yet. The oil itself is milky in appearance; this is because it has not been clarified, and still has all of the active ingredients.

Emu Oil is used primarily as a moisturizer, but can also be used topically on sore muscles, aching joints, and helps reduce scars. 

Koru Naturals Review

The shampoo and conditioner are made from Manuka oil and honey. Manuka oil is the oil from the Manuka bush, native to New Zealand. It is used as an anti-bacteria and anti-fungal oil. The other main ingredients are lavender, chamomile, and rosehip oil. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? 

The shampoo and conditioner both come in flip top plastic bottles that are 8 ounces each. And like the oil, I have been using the shampoo and conditioner for the last four weeks, and only used about a quarter of the bottle. I do condition my hair more often than shampooing, so I did use a little more of the conditioner.

Koru Naturals Review

How I Used It And What I Thought:

The shampoo and conditioner were obviously used in my hair. I usually wash my hair three to four times a week, and can really tell by the oil levels when I have gone more than three days between shampooing. After the first washing I was surprised that by even the fourth day, my hair was still not oily!

You only need to use a little bit of the shampoo; my hair is long and I would use about a teaspoon at a time. The other surprise is the lather. If you have ever put really good, natural products in your hair, you know that they don't lather. The directions say to massage it into your scalp and let it sit in your hair for 3-5 minutes, then rinse. The very first time I used it I washed my hair twice, but since that first washing I now only lather up once. I noticed right from the beginning that my hair was way less frizzy the first day (usually it is a frizzy mess the day I wash), and I could go twice as long before I felt like I needed to wash it again. Last week I realized I was going five days between shampooing. It also felt like I used less products in my hair, because I didn't need them to control the frizz.

I do condition my hair each time I shower and I loved how the conditioner made my hair feel. There were very few tangles, and I didn't have that almost oily feeling I would get with my old conditioner. And the scent of this stuff is amazing. It is seriously like I am doing an aroma therapy treatment in the shower.

The Emu oil is meant to be used as a moisturizer. I also decided to put it around my eyes as it is supposed to get rid of fine lines. (Yup, those are starting to happen.) I used a pea size amount around my eyes the first time, and realized I used too much as my face was a bit oily. After I figured out the right amount, I was really surprised with how long this stuff lasted. I also tend to have dry elbows so I used it there too. I would apply some first thing in the morning and in the evening, I would check it and it was still moist and not dry.

Bookworm also struggles with dry skin especially between her fingers, so I let her use some of it and it really cleared it up. It is anti-fungal, and so not only is it moisturizing your skin, but it is protecting it as well.

The Emu Oil can also be used as a hair moisturizer, which gave me an idea. On those days when I am not washing my hair and only using conditioner, I decided to just rinse my hair with plain water, and then apply the oil, massaging it through my hair. This gave my hair a lovely shine, and didn't make it feel oily at all.

There are lots of other great products that Koru Naturals sells; lip balm, soaps, facial products, and bath salts.

Other Crew members received different products; check out what they thought by clicking below.

Koru Naturals Review

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