Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Awesome Science DVDs Review



I was recently given the chance to watch and review Awesome Science: Explore Yellowstone and Awesome Science: Explore the Grand Canyon. These DVDs approach science from a Biblical worldview and share how these natural wonders align with an accurate reading of the Bible.

Modern science would have you to believe that natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone needed millions to form, but the Bible tells a different story.  Noah Justice, the narrator of these DVDs explains how an event like the great flood of Genesis 7 would be able to cause such disturbance as to form these amazing sights.

I love how the DVDs are completely set on the accuracy of Scripture.  They state that they use the Bible as their history guideline, which is rare to find and perfect for teaching your children science from a Creationist viewpoint.  I also appreciate the amount of information contained in these DVDs.  I can honestly (and somewhat shamefully) say that I knew very little about the Grand Canyon, and absolutely nothing about Yellowstone before watching these DVDs and now I know much more =)  There is so much information that I think anyone would have to watch them more than once to digest all of it.

The only thing I do not like about these DVDs is that they sound pretty much like a textbook (but with decent narration) put to pictures.  It is info and data galore, jam packed into 30 minutes.  I appreciate that it is short and to the point, but it would be nice to be able to sit an absorb the info before moving onto the next point.

I definitely would recommend these resources to any family wanting to learn more about the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, I just probably would want to also use a medium other than DVD as well, so that your child would be able to slow down and absorb the great info that is presented here!  If you plan on studying these subjects with your children this coming year, definitely check the Awesome Science series out as an addition to your curriculum!

Happy Watching!

I received these DVDs from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of this review.  I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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Trivium Tuesdays - Classical Link-Up #8

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

I'm excited to see this link-up starting to grow!  Last week, we had the most posts to date.  Thank you to each of you who share about Trivium Tuesdays by linking back to here, putting the button on your site, or however.  I really do appreciate it!  I feel like I always say it, but it is always true...I love learning from each of you and always inspired by what you share each week!

This week, I was most inspired by Hope is the Word's post on notebooking parts of speech.  That doesn't sound like a very interesting topic =) but I loved getting a glimpse into what they include in their notebooks.  She points out how important notebooking is because it is created by the child and is a great tool for them to go back and look through as they review what they have learned.  If you didn't see it last week, take a minute to head over and check out her daughters great notebook!

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Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!


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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Starting a Nature Journal

Yesterday we went on our first 'official' nature walk of the season.  Of course we have been outside many times already and have observed many things, but this time we went equipped with our two new fun resources...our nature journal and our Fun With Nature field guide!


I can never get a great picture, but I promise BOTH of them were really excited!

We met  with a few other homeschool families and walked a trail for a little while and then ended up at a little river.  It was fun watching all the kids kneeling on the ground looking at ants, leaves, tracks, etc.  Being that the majority of the kids were age 5 or under, we were not focused for very long, but it was a fun activity.  I'm hoping to go on at least one 'official' nature walk (with journal and guide in hand!) per week.

I think they are looking at a deer track they found in some mud.
The kids were able to get really close to a squirrel and some ducks near the river.


Above is what one of Trevor's pages looked like in his nature journal (keep in mind he is 3 years old!)  He drew (very small) and labeled a flower, a stick, a leaf, and a rolly poly.  He also tried to make a leaf rubbing on the bottom, but that doesn't work so well with a pencil.

I thought Trevor did a great job for his first experience with a nature journal, but I would love to try to encourage a little more order next time around.  I have visions of ONE item per page and hopefully some color.  I thought it would be neat to find a picture online to print off of the actual item when we get home.  I also want to encourage more writing, for the purpose of better records and also for writing practice.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when helping your young child create their nature journal:

  • What color is the _____________?
  • How many inches long is the _____________?
  • Where did you find the ______________?
  • Does the ______________ make any sound?
  • Can you think of anything else based on what you see around the ____________?

If you're looking for a page to help you on your nature walks, try the page I made below!  There is a large rectangle on the bottom for your child to draw in.  A smaller one on top to put a picture you print off from the internet, or a picture you take with your camera.  Then there are many lines on the side for your child to write his observations or facts about the object they drew.

download

Happy Journaling!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays - Classical Link-Up #7

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

Did you notice a little theme woven amongst the posts from last week?  It was the theme of feeling like we are not being enough, or doing enough for our children as a (homeschool) mom.  I love that we can help each other with these insecurities that inevitably pop up from time to time!  I hope that this can be a place to encourage one another and spur each other on to continuing the journey of homeschooling.

This week my favorite post from from Harmony Art Mom.  Her post, Homeschool Art Appreciation, gave the specifics of how they handle art during the high school years.  I love when people share the specifics of what they do =)  She talks about doing art in home vs out of home,  art history, learning with your child, grading work, and much more!   If you are in or approaching the teenage years, I'm sure you will get some good ideas from her post!

Art Supplies - acrylics and cray-pas

Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!


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Monday, May 21, 2012

Early Grammar Stage Focus - Hearing and Listening

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This is part four of my series based on the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10.  To learn more about what I am doing, read my first post on Reading and Writing.

You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.

This week's focus is on Hearing and Listening.


Every parenting book, magazine, blog, etc. I have seen highly recommends reading to your children, starting at a very young age.  The article sited above is no different.  What I love is that they put a very specific recommendation with it...that you should read aloud to your children at least 2 hours a day.  At first glance that sounds like a lot (to me at least!) but if you think about all the different things your read to your children, it makes it much more manageable.  The article says you do not need to read for 2 hours straight and that your reading can come from all different sources.  So just think if you are reading from the Bible, a history lesson, and a science or nature story each for 20 minutes, that is an hour right there.  Then add to that reading a good piece of literature together and you'll soon be at 2 hours!

I have tried to be much more concision of this since I first read this article.  Reading aloud is something that has been a part of our schooling this year.  We have been slowly making our way through chapter books (so far we've read Little House in the Big Woods, Charlotte's Web, and now Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), we read character building stories, nature stories, and the Bible with daddy.  I am certain that we are not at 2 hours a day, but I think we are moving in the right direction and love the goal to shoot for!

The article has some great advice, like to not be afraid to read young children books with long chapters and to not expect your children to sit perfectly still while you are reading, as well as thoughts about audio-books, non-Christian books, and abridged books.  There is so much good information, please go check out the article to learn more!

I'm not sure why it is under Hearing and Listening, but the article also talks about starting a timeline and a history notebook with your children.  I love these ideas and plan on starting them next year.  The timeline is essentially a long, blank paper that the child adds information and dates to as they encounter it in their studies.  What a fantastic way to give your child a big-picture perspective on history!  I'm not exactly sure what goes in a history notebook, but they said they would talk about it it later on, so I'm looking forward to reading more about what they recommend!

Goals to work on:

  1. Consciously increase read-aloud time to 2 hours
  2. Not be so strict about making Trevor sit still while I read =)
  3. Begin a timeline
  4. Begin a history notebook

See how we are doing on these goals in my follow up post, Hearing and Listening Re-Visited.

Do you make reading aloud to your children a priority?  How long do you think you read to them every day?  I'd love to hear how you do it or what you'd like to work on along with me!


This post is a part of the following series:



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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review - American History


I recently received American History: Observations & Assesments from Early Settlement to Today, a high school textbook written by James P. Stobaugh, to review from New Leaf Publishing Group.  I have been thoroughly enjoying reading through this text and am happy to recommend it!

First of all I love that it is history written from a Christian perspective.  I have personally never seen this and it is very refreshing!  God was a part of history, so it only makes sense to include him and the people's thoughts about him =)  The text addresses issues and philosophies of the times and helps the reader to think about them Biblically.

Probably what I love most about this textbook is the assignments.  They are mostly questions that actually make you think and write about what you have learned, as opposed to just guessing at multiple choice questions that do not prove a child has learned anything.

My only problem with this textbook is that it is, well, a textbook =)  The information is good, but it can only touch the tip of the iceberg on each subject and is not the most engaging read.  I think that this text paired with great living books on many of the subjects would make for a great American history curriculum!

Happy Reading!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays - Classical Link-Up #6

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

I am excited to see some of you commenting on each others posts! I hope that we can build some sort of community here, and leaving comments is a simple, yet effective way to do that =)

This week my favorite link-up (from last week) was The Potter's Hand Academy's post on Why Mythology Matters.  As I'm writing this, Kristi's website seems to be down, so I can't share with you any more, but I will try to update this as soon as I see that her site is up and running again.  I just remember being so inspired that she took the time to think so deeply about why or why not to teach this particular subject that some find controversial.  Thank you, Potter's Hand Academy, for reminding us to go back to the Bible when thinking about even what subjects we teach in school and why we teach them!

Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!



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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Early Grammar Stage Focus - Memorization

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This is part three of my series based on the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10.  To learn more about what I am doing, read my first post on Reading and Writing.

You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.

This week's focus is on Memorization.


Memorization sharpens and strengthens a person's mind. The above mentioned article says that this is so important for the early grammar stage because it prepares a child for more rigorous studies as their education progresses.

The article says that everyone should work on memorization, even the youngest of children.  We started having Trevor memorize Bible verses at the beginning of this school year, just as he turned 3.  I really didn't know what to expect from him, but his abilities have blown me away, so I definitely  agree with the article on the starting young point!

The article also says that time should be spent every day practicing memory work.  Honestly we started off the year dedicated to this, but as the weather has gotten warmer we have gotten lax.  A goal for next year is to be more focused in practicing out memory work every morning (and probably Bible verses again with daddy at dinnertime.)

You can have your child memorizing things like Bible verses (even in Greek or Latin), passages of literature, poetry, factual information (dates, lists, etc.), or whatever else you decide is important for your child to know!  This year all we did with Trevor was Bible verses (well, I guess also phonograms for reading if you want to count that).  Next year I would like to continue learning more Bible verses, but also add literature, poetry, history information, etc.  The planner in me really wants to schedule out exactly what I'd like for him to memorize by the end of the year, but honestly I have no idea what to choose at this point.  I think I will pick passages out of books that we read and maybe add some math or history facts as we come to them.

If you are new to memorizing, or if you have been doing this with your children for a while, but don't have a good system, I highly encourage you to check out the Charlotte Mason style memory box.  We have used it this year and it is fantastic!  It's nothing amazing in and of itself.  It's quite simple actually, but it works fantastically!  Take a look at my post on it if you'd like to learn more.

Goals to work on:

  1. Set a pattern of practicing our memory work every morning.
  2. Include other things to memorize (besides the Bible)
  3. Start including Mackenzie in memory time (even if it is just repeating what Trevor is memorizing)
  4. Have Trevor practice reciting his memory pieces in front of people (grandparents, homeschool group, etc.)

To see how we are doing on these goals, check out my follow up post, Memorization Re-Visited.

This post is a part of the following series:



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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review-The Charlatan's Boy

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I recently received The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers to read and review.  The book seems geared for young teens and would be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.

The story is about a boy on his quest for truth.  He doesn't actually actively try to discover what he is looking for, but it is a constant theme in the back of his brain.  He travels around with a man who is not his father, putting on various shows in villages trying to make a living.  Everything they do is a lie, trying to con people out of their money, but none the less he is generally proud of what he does because he doesn't know there is any other way.

The main character is quite loveable and you hope the best for him all throughout the story.  The plot is mildly entertaining, but honestly nothing that is truly engaging.  I got pretty bored about half way through, but kept pressing on in hopes of a big finish!  The last few chapters were interesting, so I'll give him credit for that =)

I did not like that the whole premise of the book (finding a way to con people out of their money and going out of your way to lie to do so) was never explicitly looked down on as being wrong.  I would have liked some "ah-ha" at the end for the main character, but that did not happen.  For that reason I would not recommend this book as reading for anyone who does not have a strong moral compass themselves yet.

One other thing to mention is that the grammar of the book is (purposefully) terrible.  This definitely helps put you in the time and place of the story, but I would caution having any young one read this who wasn't already a good writer.  Reading something incorrectly too many times leaves an impression!

This book is a fun, easy read, but it really gives you nothing to think about, nothing to challenge or inspire you.  If your child is regularly exposed to great literature and just wants something simpleas extra reading, I would be happy to recommend this book.

If you'd like to find out more:


 I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

 Happy Reading!


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Monday, May 7, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays - Classical Link-Up #5

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

Each week I am so inspired by what I see in this link-up.  Thank you to all who contribute your wonderful work!  The link-up I am featuring this week, I picked because it taught me something I may have not otherwise thought of.  The post is Resources from Shakespeare's Henry V from Tea Time with Annie Kate.   The title of the post really explains what it is about, and one thing she mentioned was that they watched the movie of Henry V before reading the play.  My first thought was "Hey! My teachers always made us read books/plays first and then watch them."  I left her a comment to that effect and this was her response...

I suppose you wouldn’t watch the movie of a novel first, but Shakespeare wrote PLAYS. They were meant to be watched, not read.
That’s one thing the schools tend to get wrong; first they read a play, bit by bit, so that the students don’t even get the story line and are focusing on meanings of words. Then, when everyone is thoroughly sick of it, they watch the play.
By watching it first, as Shakespeare intended, students really learn to enjoy the story and then have a context for the themes, words etc.

WOW!  Maybe I'm a little slow, but I had never considered how plays were meant to be watched and not read.  I'm going to keep that tidbit tucked away for when my kids are older and we are reading (and watching!) plays.  If you missed her post from last week, make sure to head over and check it out!

Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!



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Saturday, May 5, 2012

April Recap

We had a nice April.  We celebrated my husband's birthday and my daughter's second birthday!  And of course there was celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Easter parties that go along with it.  I feel like every day is so busy lately, not in a bad stressful way, but in a way that leaves me wishing I could get to more things I'd like to do.  Do you feel that way too?  Mostly I'm just thankful for this particular (momentary) stage in life where I have the energy to be busy and children who are old enough to easily cart around (well, easily enough anyways =)

Here is my blog recap of the month of April...

Top 3 Referring Sites:
  1. Homeschool Creations
  2. No Time for Flashcards  
  3. ABC and 123
Once again, I am thankful for the great learning-related link-ups on these great sites!  If you are looking for some inspiration for teaching your little ones, go browse their blogs =)


Top 3 Posts Here at Living and Learning at Home:

  1. Paper Hats and Cute Corner Bookmarks
  2. McGuffey Copywork
  3. Painting with Markers

#1 continues to be a favorite thanks to Pinterest =)  I am thrilled to see the interest in my McGuffey Copywork e-book!  Thank you to each of you have bought it (only $1.00!) If you are teaching beginning reader/writers and would like a great resource, check it out!


Featured Blog Post:

This month, my favorite post comes from a new blog I have recently discovered, Homegrown Learners.  It isn't actually a post that I love, but a series she recently did called 10 Days of Teaching Music.  She covers everything from piano lessons to teaching music using living books.  She offers so many resources and recommendations, you'll keep going back to discover new things!  I've been thinking about how to incorporate more music into my (almost) 4 year old's day, so this series was perfect for me to come across right now.   Thank you, Homegrown Learners, for a great series! 

Hope you had a...Happy April!


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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Early Grammar Stage Focus - Oral Narration

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This is part two of my series based on the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10.  To learn more about what I am doing, read my first post on Reading and Writing

You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.

This week's focus is on Oral Narration.


The article starts by explaining that Charlotte Mason was the one who developed narration as a method of teaching.  If you are not familiar with Charlotte Mason and her style of teaching, you should look into it!  She has a lot of good ideas, many of which are shared with Classical education (narration being one, also copywork and studying history chronologically).

If you have never heard of narration, it is simply the act of telling back a story.  You read a story (or part of a story) to your child, then he tells it back to you in his own words.  It sounds simple, but it is harder than you think!  Unless you have been trained to really listen and comprehend, we do not naturally have these skills.  Please read the article mentioned above to learn more about this great tool!

Narration is something that I have been incorporating into school this year for my 3 year old.  Of course his skills are not that great, because he is just beginning to train his brain to have the stamina needed to really listen.  I usually will read a page or so in our read-aloud or a story in Among the Forest People, and then ask him to tell me what the story was about.  At this point I'm usually happy with him just being able to tell me the main character and maybe one thing that happened.

The article says it is good to start narration at an early age, but it says you may have to prompt the child with questions to get them thinking.  This is something I did not do, because I thought it would take away from the point of narration (being able to to recall the information on your own), but the article correctly points out that the child is just developing the skills needed to do narrate at this point.  That was a good reminder for me!  A goal for me is going to be to remember to ask for narration after shorter passages and to prompt with specific questions (not just a general "What did I just read to you?")

The article says that narration serves three functions.  Comprehension is the first is the most obvious.  Did your child understand what you just read to them? The second function is sharpening your child's mental capacities.  And third is teaching your child to write.  I thought this last one was interesting.  Essentially you are teaching your child to tell you a story.  They said that learning that paired with copywork (the physical act of writing), learned by age 10, will give your child the tools they need to be a creative writer.

I had never considered narration as a precursor to writing, but I am going to try to keep that in the forefront of my mind.  My goal related to this will be to help Trevor begin to tell back his narration in more of a story format.  I will have to model this for him and then ask question to prompt him in answering this way.

Goals to work on:

  1. Ask for narration after smaller chunks of reading.
  2. Ask questions to prompt narration (remember that we are training!)
  3. Model narration as storytelling.

See how we did on these goals in my follow up post, Oral Narration Re-Visited.

This post is a part of the following series:



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