Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Easy Grammar Review

Easy Grammar Review pic 
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This post contains affiliate links to curriculum that I love!

Last year I wrote a review of Primary Language Lessons. I love its gentle, Charlotte Mason type approach to language arts, but the one thing that it doesn't have is lots of practice for the different topics that are introduced. Most of the time when I want something a little different than what I have, I create my own. Sure, I could write lots of practice sentences, and in fact I was copying sentences from his McGuffey Reader for him to edit, but sometimes the effort is just more that I'm willing to make. Then I stumbled upon another blogger talking about Easy Grammar. I looked at the website and realized that it was exactly what I needed!

Read my review of Easy Grammar over at The Curriculum Choice!


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trivium Tuesdays - Classical Link-Up #122


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Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  For those of you who are new here today, 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 follow my Pinterest boards that are a part of the All Things Classical List!

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Also, please remember to only link up posts that have to do with homeschooling using the classical model of education.  Thank you for understanding this link-up's theme.


Featured Post from Last Week



I usually try to not feature the same blogger two weeks in a row, but this week I just have to.  This post, Are You Doing Too Much?  Simplify the Curriculum, was the most clicked from last week and I just loved it too!  I think we all need these reminders sometimes.  It is so easy to want to keep adding all the neat looking activities, curriculum, books, etc. to our schedules, but those things are often counter productive.


Your Favorites from Last Week



Once again, everyone was linking up and taking a look at others curriculum choices!  I've pinned them all to my Pinterest Board, Classical Education - Curriculum Choices.  Take a look if you want to see what other classical families are using!


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 link back to this post in some way. You can use my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) if you'd like so others can learn about this link-up! Button code: <a href="http://www.livingandlearningathome.com/" target="_blank" title="Trivium Tuesdays"><img alt="Living and Learning at Home" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZNtNfqeG_W4/U0qj7mUZCfI/AAAAAAAAFbo/vhEStFGbogw/s1600/Trivium+Tuesdays+-+button.png"/></a>
  • 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 reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         

If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

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 =)


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Kiwi Crate - Crafts, Experiments, and Activities for Kids!

Kiwi Crate - Creations, Adventures, Discoveries, and Experiments Delivered Right to Your Door!
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 I received this product for free in order to review it.  I was compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own!  Don't miss the discount code and free trial link at the end of the post!
 
My kids always get super excited when I say that I have a special project for them to do.  It could be a craft, a science experiment, or really anything out of the ordinary.  Are your kids like that too?  The problem is that I just don't always have fun ideas, or the time and energy to get something together!  Any fellow mamas know what I'm talking about?

Enter Kiwi Crate.  Have you heard of them?  I had only recently heard people talking about the company and was excited to be able to try out one of their crates!
 
Kiwi Crate - Around the World Review

I was a little skeptical as to whether or not the service would be worth the money, but they proved me wrong!  Essentially a Kiwi Crate is a box of fun, shipped right to your house (designed for kids ages 3-8)!  Each box has all the materials you need to do 2-3 activities (art, science, games, etc.) and there are lots of different themes to choose from  (like Robots, Fairies, the Rainforest, Wind Power, etc.)!

The theme for the crate that we got was Around The World.  We got a craft where we made 5 flags out of felt to hang on a rope to make a banner, a board game about the continents, an activity book, and even a pair of scissors!  Each activity within the crate is bundled separately, making it super easy for the kids to do (mostly) on their own.


Hours (and Days) of Fun with Kiwi Crate


My only real concern with Kiwi Crate was wondering if the price of the boxes would be justifiable.  So, I decided to keep track of the time that the activities occupied my kids.  In my eyes, the major benefit of these boxes is providing my kids with engaging fun where I don't have to be right next to them (freeing me up for a few minutes to do luxurious things like wash the dishes ;)


Making Flags with Kiwi Crate

 
making flags with Kiwi CrateMaking Flags with Kiwi Crate

Our first activity was making a flag banner.  All I did was open the materials and then let the kids have at it.  Once they were done, I strung the flags on the rope to make the banner.  Total time: 30 minutes.

Kiwi Crate Craft Project

I really liked this activity because it used materials that I don't usually have on hand, so the kids thought it was special.  Both my by 4 and 6 year old really enjoyed the project.  I have a feeling that the folks at Kiwi Crate know what they are doing when they design these kits =)  For this particular project, if you have a 3 year old, you could just let them design any kind of flags they wanted.  If you have an older child, you could have them replicate real flags and then find the countries on the map.  I like how it is able to be customized to your child's abilities.


Learning About Continents with Kiwi Crate


The next activity in our box was a game about the continents.  This one really impressed me!  The map it came with is huge and the deck of cards is really great quality.  The game required a little bit of time on my part to set up, but after that the kids were able to play themselves.

Kiwi Crate Continents Game for Kids

In this game, the kids take turns picking a card and visiting key places across the globe.  It is a really great way to familiarize little ones with the continents and landmarks!  The best part is that both of my kids LOVED it.  They played for about an hour the first time we got it out, and then have asked to play it multiple times since then.

I was seriously starting to get board because they were occupying themselves for so long =)  I would hear, "I won!  Ok, let's play again!" over and over.  A really neat game.  If I would have thought ahead better, I would have laminated the map and hung it up, because it is a really big, nice looking map, but it's just made of paper so I'm sure it's life span won't be more than a year being used as a game. 

Fun Continent Game for Kids by Kiwi Crate

Here's my son, not loving the 'lose your turn' card he just picked up =)


Is Kiwi Crate Worth the Money?


My final conclusion is YES!  If you get the yearly subscription, each month's crate is just over $17 (shipped free!) In the particular crate that I got, I would break down the value this way:

  • Scissors: $2.00
  • Craft Supplies for Flags: $5.00
  • Continents Game: $10.00
  • Activity Book: $1.00
  • Time and Gas Saved: $5
  • Kids getting to do something fun and different: BONUS!
  • Mom not having to come up with an idea for once: BONUS!

That totals up to more than the cost of the crate for me!  Now, you may be different.  You may put different monetary values on things.  If you are seriously living paycheck to paycheck, I would not recommend spending your money on this, but if you spend a few dollars here and there doing fun things with your kids anyways, Kiwi Crate is a worth while choice!  Who do I think Kiwi Crate is especially good for?

  • Homeschool moms of multiple kids, who need a way to keep the younger ones busy while teaching the older ones.

  •  Homeschool moms of preschool and lower elementary aged kids who want to add a fun, creative component to their learning.

  • Any parent who wants a fun, etc educational activity to do on weekends or days off of school.

  • Working moms who want creative activities to do with their kids, but don't have the time to come up with ideas and gather materials.

  • Pregnant moms, or moms with newborns, who just don't have the energy to come up with crafts and engaging projects for their preschool aged child. 

  • Grandparents who want fun activities on hand for when their grandkids come over.

I also think that a Kiwi Crate subscription would be an awesome gift for a 3-8yr old child!  Think of how much fun that child would have knowing that they have another box of fun coming in the mail for them for the next 3-6-12 months!


Kiwi Crate Discount Code and Free Mini Crate!


Kiwi Crate Subscription Delivered Right to Your Door!

Speaking of subscriptions, let me explain a little better how you can get Kiwi Crates coming to your house.  You can simply purchase a single crate of your choosing for $19.95 (plus shipping) if you have a special occasion you want one on hand for, or if you are interested and just want to try it out.  

If you want to give Kiwi Crate as a gift to someone, or if you want your child to be able to look forward to receiving their own Kiwi Crate each month, you can choose a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription (and save a few dollars while you're at it!)  As a bonus, shipping on the subscription plans is FREE!

If you would like to give Kiwi Crate a try, I have a great discount for you!  New subscribers can save 25% off of their 1st month, plus receive a welcome kit and free shipping with code:

BTS25


Or another option is to try a mini crate for only the cost of shipping ($3.95).  Learn more about this option here!


Have you tried Kiwi Crate?  Do you want to try Kiwi Crate?  Let me know what you think!



If you want to get lots of inspiration and keep up with everything new at Kiwi Crate, make sure to follow them one (or more!) of these ways:
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Classical Education with no Daily Lesson Plan?

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This post contains affiliate links to products I use and love.

I am probably like most homeschool moms when it comes to scheduling...I've tried almost everything!  Sometimes I have tried making detailed plans in a teacher's lesson book, other times I have tried writing the lessons in a planner for my son.  I have had weekly check lists, lessons on post-it notes, and everything in between.  Everything works to some degree, but nothing has felt quite right yet.

I am the type of person who loves to loves to make schedules.  I love planning every lesson and coming up with a minute-by-minute plan for the day.  The problem comes when the slightest snag happens.  I have a hard time adjusting =)  I know that a schedule is not supposed to master me, but I also know how I am!


The Master List in lieu of the Daily Lesson Plan


Click picture to view what our list looks like.
 Just to give you an idea =)
I hang it vertically on the wall like this.
So, this summer I tried something different.  I wrote down a long list of every lesson I wanted to get
done before our small summer break (we school year round, but I like to take a couple weeks off in August), then whenever we got something done we would simply cross it off.  There were no scheduled days or times.  We had the freedom to do as much or little of a subject that we wanted to at a time, and my kids were motivated as they saw the massive list getting smaller and smaller!

So, I am going to try the same thing for the new year.  I am splitting the year up into three parts and writing a master list for each trimester (I hang a long list right on the wall for each kid).  We will have the freedom to take days off as we see fit, and when we get the list all done we get to break until the next trimester starts.  The breaks will fall nicely around Christmas, Easter, and the mid/end of summer.


Our Daily Routine


With all that said, here is what our first trimester is going to look like:

8:00am -
  • Kids wake up
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Morning Time at the table while the kids eat
    • Read aloud from living history books 
    • Memory Box Review
    • 1 activity related to our Classical Conversations material (copywork page, a page from Draw Write Now, or something else to review the week's material)

 9:00am - 
  • Move to the school room table
  • Quickly review the new Classical Conversations memory pegs for the week
  • Complete the Saxon meeting book together

9:30am -
  • Kids pick what they want to do from our master list and cross it out when they are done!
  • Subjects on the master list include: math, Latin, grammar, reading, etc.
  • Get ready for the day (get dressed, brush teeth, make bed, tidy room) when there is a time they are waiting for me because I'm helping the other child.

 11:00am -
  • Play time!
  • Mom cleans, gets lunch ready, etc.

12:00pm -
  • Lunch
  • More read aloud time!

1:00-3:00pm
  • Reading and Resting time (everyone gets some down time by themselves)

3:00-5:00pm
  • Afternoons free for practicing music, playing games, and other fun stuff

As I write this all, I know it still sounds pretty scheduled.  Really that was just for the sake of getting it into an orderly blog post.  The idea is that we will be together first thing in the morning for reading aloud and reviewing memory work, then an hour or so will be left for doing schoolwork off the master list.  Rest time is something I have always prioritized, then the afternoons are free (Charlotte Mason style).

Each day I am going to try to have my son write down what he did (lessons, books read, extra classes, etc.)  I don't know if this will turn out a I'm thinking, but the idea is that it would be a reverse lesson plan.  A record of what we did instead of what we planned to do.

Tuesdays will be different because they are our Classical Conversations day.  Thursdays we always visit my parents, so this flexibility will work well for that.  At some point in the year the kids will be taking swimming lessons or some other kind of lesson.  Having a master plan instead of a daily plan will hopefully help us to be flexible and enjoy the year, while still being super productive and being able to take advantage of lots of neat opportunities!


Does a Classical Education have to be Regimented?


When most people think of classical education, they think of students sitting in rows (maybe wearing togas ;) chanting Latin phrases in monotone voices.

When homeschoolers think of classical education, perhaps they have read a book like The Well Trained Mind, and have visions of their student sitting at a desk for endless hours completing intense amounts of work.  (By the way, I think The Well Trained Mind is a great book, it is just often misunderstood by homeschoolers who do not subscribe to the classical modle.)

The more I learn about classical education (mostly from listening to lectures from Dr. Christopher Perrin) the more I am seeing that it is so much more than a rigorous curriculum.  Yes, we challange our students and expect a lot from them.  Yes, we read countless books and learn Latin.  But we also dive deep into subjects and have good discussions.  We look broadly and contemplate the good, the true, and the beautiful.  I am hoping that my master plan idea will help us to accomplish all of this, both the rigor and the contemplation.



I hope that some of you will join me in making this year a year of understanding classical education even better and implementing new (well, old) ideas into your homes.  Who's with me?  How are you scheduling your day to meet your educational goals?




Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace 

 

$2 off of Sara Mackenzie's book, Teaching from Rest, until the end of the month!  Learn how to implement some of the ideas I've talked about today into your homeschool this year!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Trivium Tuesdays - Classical Link-Up #121


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Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  For those of you who are new here today, 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 follow my Pinterest boards that are a part of the All Things Classical List!

 photo AllThingsClassical-titlepic_zps4a3485e7.png

Also, please remember to only link up posts that have to do with homeschooling using the classical model of education.  Thank you for understanding this link-up's theme.


Featured Post from Last Week



I just loved reading Sara's post last week about The Twists and Turns of Homeschooling.  Sara has a lot of homeschooling wisdom to share and I especially loved the part where she talked about Multum non Multa.  If you don't know what that means, head over and read the post!  You will be encouraged, I am sure!


Your Favorites from Last Week



It's that time of the year!  Everyone was linking up and taking a look at others curriculum choices!  I've pinned them all to my Pinterest Board, Classical Education - Curriculum Choices.  Take a look if you want to see what other classical families are using!



One last thing before you link up and browse what everyone has shared, I wanted to draw your attention to the iHomeschool Network's Omnibus.  There are some great resources in it to use for a classical education that I thought you might be interested in hearing about:

  • 100+ Notebooking Templates
  • 101 Independent Activities for Babies and Toddlers (I always hear people looking for ideas for this!)
  • Many planners to keep you and your students organized.
  • Chalk Art Tutorials
  • Fruit of the Spirit Penmanship
  • Bible Writer
  • Children's History books from Blue Manor Education
  • Famous Men of the Middle Ages
  • Understanding Copywork (That's from me!  The ebook also contains a coupon for 25% off your order at Classical Copywork.)
  • Elementary Book of Centuries
  • Notebooking Success
  • SQUILT Music Appreciation (volume 2)
  • 40% off coupon to Harmony Fine Arts
  • A Jim Hodges audiobook
  • and tons more encouraging and useful resources for everyone in your family!

Plus, if you buy it through my link, I'll send you 3 copywork packs of your choice, just for the asking =)



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 link back to this post in some way. You can use my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) if you'd like so others can learn about this link-up! Button code: <a href="http://www.livingandlearningathome.com/" target="_blank" title="Trivium Tuesdays"><img alt="Living and Learning at Home" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZNtNfqeG_W4/U0qj7mUZCfI/AAAAAAAAFbo/vhEStFGbogw/s1600/Trivium+Tuesdays+-+button.png"/></a>
  • 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 reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         

If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

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 =)


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Monday, August 18, 2014

25 cent EBooks and Free Copywork! The 2014 Omnibus

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SORRY!  THIS BUNDLE DEAL IS NOW OVER!


Once a year, the ladies of the iHomeschool Network pool our resources to offer you a "don't miss" deal. This week only, you can get $545 worth of ebooks (plus a bunch of cool discounts freebies) for just $25!

A Digital Stockpile of Books to Carry you Through the School Year with Encouragement, Practical How-tos, and Resources!



I know what you are thinking, "Who needs nearly 100 eBooks?"  I know I don't, and I'm sure you don't either.  Here is the thing, though, if even just a few of these titles look interesting to you it is more than worth the cost.  You can download what you want and delete the rest, or do what I do and keep everything in a file on my computer and then it's right where I need it when I have a question or need a resource.

Are you looking for a new planner for this year?

The Omnibus has 10 planners for you to choose from!


Do you have a preschooler in your house this year?

The Omnibus has 8 books filled with resources and ideas to get you all the way through the year!


Are you still looking for materials that you can actually use in your homeschool?

The Omnibus has notebooking pages, a timeline, copywork pages and more!


And that is only a small taste of what is included!  Keep scrolling to see a complete list of resources and bonus deals!



As a bonus to my readers, I want to make this great deal even better!

If you buy the Omnibus from my link (this must be verified with your invoice #) I will give you 3 copywork packs of your choice from www.classicalcopywork.com

Depending which packs you pick, this could be over 500 pages of copywork!




What's in the Omnibus? (Alphabetic Order)






















Additional Resources: Codes and Links Provided After Purchase

WOW!  What an amazing list!  All of that, plus 3 free copywork packs for just $25. 


 Please note these important dates:

- The deadline for refunds is September 5, 2014. NO refunds will be given if the file host shows that you have downloaded any files.
- The ebooks will only be available until September 25, 2014, so please do not delay in downloading them.
- See the FAQ for more information
- Contact the iHomeschool Network for help!
- DVDs (for those who purchase the bundle, but cannot store the files or want backup) can be purchased until September 20, 2014.


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Meet the Students! 1st Grade and K4

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I don't talk all that much about my kids on the blog, but today is a post all about them!  This year I have a first grader and a K4 kid.  My son turns 6 this week, actually, and my daughter is 4 and a half =)  We had a family birthday party for my son this past weekend, so we took the opportunity to get outside and snap some pictures!  Enjoy (or at least humor me)!



First up is Mackenzie.  She is so stinkin' cute =)  Like I already said, she is 4 1/2 and a complete girly-girl.  She is doing a great job learning to read and enjoys taking part in our homeschool days.  Really, though, she would rather be playing house and asks us to play with her all day.  She lives in a bit of an imaginary world, which drives my very logical son a bit crazy =)  You can pretty much always find her making 'crafts,' playing 'mommy,' or singing.  This girl loves music.  I have a feeling that music will be her thing. 



Next up is Trevor.  He is a brand-new 6-year-old!  I love how his birthday falls right at the beginning of a new school year.  That works so well for my structured brain =)  Speaking of a structured brain, this kid is me to a T.  He pretty much shares all my qualities, the good and the bad =(  When I see him struggling with something, I know that he gets it from me.  When I see him soar at certain things, I understand because his brain works just the same way mine does.  He is a deep thinker, a logical thinker.  He does not like to imagine.  He likes to understand why and to figure things out.  He is very smart, but easily frustrated.  He likes to teach others the things he has learned.  You can pretty much always find him reading a book, putting together LEGOs, playing the piano, or playing outside.  This kid will probably be an engineer or something like that.



It is so interesting to see how two children, two siblings, can be so different.  He is a strong introvert (like me), she is a complete extrovert.  He needs to step back when we are at family gatherings just to be by himself for a bit.  She asks me every day where we are going that day.  Even at age 4 she would much rather be out than in.  He is a complete realist.  She lives in an imaginary world.  "I'm having a baby today, mama.  No, really I am!  And my name is Emily.  Really, it is!"  He needs things to be logical.  Truth is more abstract to her.  They both excel at music (him at the piano, her at music in general), but for completely different reasons.  He studies pieces of music and wants to know exactly what each symbol means, and how to play each note.  She looks at any sheet of paper and sings her own song. 


They are very different, but they love each other!  I am excited to see what this school year holds for them!



Here are a few more pics, just for fun =)


 





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Thanks for taking the time to meet my students this year!  Meet hundreds of other homeschool students at the 6th Annual Not Back to School blog hop hosted by the iHomeschool Network! (Starts Monday, August 18th)