Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What's On Your Nightstand - August

What's On Your Nightstand

Sadly, my summer has come to an end. When it came to reading it didn't feel very productive, but I'm okay with that since my summers tend to be busy and I don't spend a lot of time sitting around. We also had a very hot summer and it is hard to believe that it can be too hot to read, but yes I experienced quite a few days like that.

For September I have kept my reading on the light side. I am still in the progress of planning school which will lead into actually getting started and finding our groove for our new school year.
For September: 

From July's Nightstand I read:
  • The Question by Leigh A. Bortins - Good read. Definitely a book I'll have to read more than once.
  • Now and Forever by Mary Connealy - Just because.
  • Celia's House by D.E. Stevenson - Another enjoyable read by Stevenson.
I also read:
  • Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman - I picked this one up since I enjoyed Saving CeeCee Honeycutt so much. Unfortunately, I felt this story fell short and I didn't care for it very much.
  • Maggie Bright: A Novel of Dunkirk by Tracy Groot - I found this story riveting. Groot does a great job of telling the story of Dunkirk with a cast of odd, yet charming characters. This book was hard to put down! Highly recommended!!
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma - Another World War II story that tells the story of a man who was shot by the Nazis and survived. Some of the events were based on a true story. Interesting read though I found it not as captivating as the above mentioned book.
 I listened to:
  • The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees - I honestly have mixed feelings about this story. I enjoyed (to a point) the historical information based on Alcott's true family. I found the fictional story disappointing. I suppose this means I'll need to find a good biography.

See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Brookdale House's Grammar Workbook

I recently had the opportunity to review the Grammar Workbook from Brookdale House. This workbook which is for middle school and older offers grammar and composition exercises for students that are ready to move on to more advanced grammar and writing.

This workbook covers the eight parts of speech and problem verbs, clauses and phrases and how they function, and the basics of punctuation. There are also sentence and paragraph writing included along with the option of adding an additional workbook, Diagraming Sentences (aff), to provide practice with sentence diagramming.

The introduction explains the different sections of the book and how they are used. There is also an schedule laid on how to implement the book. The schedule is laid out for a five day week. Most of the weeks did have a small portion schedule for everyday with a few days off here and there. If you choose not to use the Diagraming Sentences (aff) this would leave some days open. This could be changed to meet the requirements of your student based on how fast or slow they worked.

The grammar lessons are short and the work involved is not overwhelming. Each lesson starts off with learning a new grammar concept followed by putting the concept into practice. It then leads into the writing instruction which covers two types of assignments. The first involves the student composing their own sentences and paragraphs. The second involves the student learning to imitate the style of the sentences. This can be done in several ways--through copywork, dictation, recreating the sentence, or rewriting the sentence changing the content but keeping the style.

We worked through this the best that can be done during summer break. I chose to skip the diagramming exercises. I really believe that the Grammar Workbook would provide great review for a student who has had solid teaching in grammar. If they have only learned a few parts of speech then this may not offer enough repetition to solidify what is being taught. If anything stood out to me was the imitation writing exercises. I think these exercises are great especially for a child who really struggles with writing and needs a little push to branch out. I worked through many of these myself and felt challenged many times.

The Grammar Workbook is available at Brookdale House and is offered in ebook ($20.95) or printed ($25.95) book format. Also available is the Grammar Workbook Answer Key which includes answers for the grammar sections. This is available in ebook ($8.95) or print ($13.95). Head on over to Brookdale House to find out more information about the Grammar Workbook and see samples.

 Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product Brookdale House in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write an honest review, not was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: The WordUp! The Vocab Show by Compass Classroom

A few years ago while looking for an economics program for my son I came across Economics for Everybody (review) from Compass Classroom and from that time on I have been impressed with everything I've seen that they produce.

I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to review their vocabulary program, Word Up! The Vocab Show. Word Up! teaches vocabulary Latin and Greek roots and English words using an unconventional approach.This will help your child build their vocabulary to help them with vocabulary from literature, science, and standardized tests.
Word Up! covers 10 video lessons that included 20 Latin & Greek Roots, 200+ English words, and links to Online Vocabulary Flashcards. These lessons are hosted by Dwane Thomas who also does Visual Latin. Lessons include:
  1. Water - Aqua & Hydra
  2. Write - Scribo & Grapho
  3. Earth - Terra & Geo
  4. Many - Multus & Poly
  5. Place - Ponere & Thesis
  6. Time - Tempus & Chronos
  7. Good - Bonus & Eu
  8. See - Video & Skopeo
  9. Throw - Iacere & Ballein
  10. City - Urbs & Polis 
I received the download version and worked through this program throughout our school year. I used this with my 12 & 15 year old kids (the 6 year old joined, too). We would watch an episode and then they would work together on the iPad using the online flashcards. The online flashcards offered a variety of ways to "test" their word knowledge.

Of course, watching these prompted a lot of discussion and several times I found many of the words being thrown around in casual conversation. My kids never minded sitting down to watch an episode since they really interested in what Mr. Thomas was going to do or say. In fact, we enjoyed it so much my daughter will be using Visual Latin this coming year.

I will admit that we have never done a separate vocabulary program except what has been included in a spelling workbook and haven't been interested in adding one, but Word Up! is just different enough that I won't hesitate in using it again or doing any other available volumes that may be produced.

I did discover that I would have benefited having Word Up! in DVD format just because for me I kept forgetting about it since it was on my computer--out of sight, out of mind--I jjust couldn't remember it even when I wrote it down. I also know with the DVD my kids wouldn't hesitate to sit down and watch Word Up! just for fun.

Word Up! The Vocab Show is available in DVD, Download, or Streaming formats and is normally $25.00. Right now Compass Classroom is having their Back to School Sale and it is on sale for $17.50 until August 12, 2015. You can also download the first lesson for free.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product from The Compass Classroom in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write an honest review, not was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What's On Your Nightstand - July

What's On Your Nightstand

Normally, I feel like the month has flown by, but July seemed slow when it came to reading. Yes, I did get quite a bit read, but some of the books seemed to take up quite a bit of time. I do have a book from July's Nightstand back on for this month, but I couldn't renew it and had to wait for it.

August is looking to be a very busy month for me, so I am keeping my reading selections on the light side.

For August:
 The Question - Exodus Books 

From June's Nightstand I read:
I also read:
I listened to:
  • The Secret Adversary: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery by Agatha Christie - While working my way through the Hercule Poirot Series I came across the Tommy and Tuppence books and with a name like that how can I not read it? What a fun story. These are definitely a lighter read than Poirot. I am looking forward to reading more in the series. 
  • Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott - I have to admit I was a little over my head with this story. I persevered through it. Maybe one day I'll go back and revisit it, but for now I am sticking with Ivanhoe which is a much better read.
 See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Update - Part 1

2015 Summer Collage 1
1. We started our summer break with a visit from my mom and dad (pictured) and my in-laws. Back in March my in-laws along with my BIL and SIL moved to Minot, ND. They came back for my nephew's graduation so it a short and sweet visit. My parents spent about 2 1/2 weeks with us and even stayed a day or two longer to help with church service since Shade ended up suffering with a bout of kidney stones (including an ER visit). Even with all that, we had a lot of fun just being together.
2. Delani getting quality time with Papa.
3. Delani was trying to survive our hot weather that we had. I love hot weather, but this seemed to suck the brain cells out of my head. I think this is due to the fact that we don't have air conditioning. Oregon doesn't normally get very hot in June, but this year that wasn't true. So we had to suffer with our allergies plus the heat this year. Thankfully I think we are through the worst of the allergy season and we have had a break in our temperatures, but high temps are heading shooting up to hover close to 100 degrees this week. 
4. & 5. Chantry turned 13 years old!!!! For the next six months I will have three teenagers in the house. :)
6. "The Coach"--We finished up another season of baseball. Chantry has had his dad as his coach since we started which I think is pretty cool. 

7. After a 10 month break, Destini started piano lessons again. 
8. Yes, that is a lot of candles on that cake. Too many as far as I'm concerned!!
9. After our intense heat and I found that I could think I headed to my sewing room to get some sewing done.  This is one of the new skirts I made Delani. I will have another post sharing more of my completed sewing projects.

I notice that I didn't have any pictures of Caleb. He finished up a CAD class at the local community college and he also completed a non-credit welding class along with working at McDonald's. He works the counter and cooks along with unloading the truck twice a week and cleans several of the machines several times a month. He also helped his dad with coaching baseball.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesdays with Words (The Princess Bride)

My quote today is not deep at all. I have jumped out of my typical reading box and have picked up something a genre I normally avoid and am reading The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman. I saw the movie years ago and thought it was so stupid, but so far I have found the book way more enjoyable and it is quite funny. I found this section tickled my funny bone and faintly has the feel of a scene from Don Quixote.


 "There is probably a more logical explanation," the Sicilian said. "But since no one in Guilder could know yet what we've done, and no one in Florin could have gotten here so quickly, he is definitely not, however much it may look like it, following us. It is coincidence and nothing more." 
 "He's gaining on us," the Turk said. 
 "That is also inconceivable," the Sicilian said. "Before I stole this boat we're in, I made many inquiries as to what was the fastest hip on all of Florin Channel and everyone agreed it was this one."
"You're right," the Turk agreed, staring back. "He isn't gaining on us. He's just getting closer, that's all." p. 101

Monday, June 22, 2015

What's On Your Nightstand - June

What's On Your Nightstand

June ended up not being too bad when it came to reading. I did do a lot of my reading in the end of the month since my parents were here in the beginning. Sleepless nights always help my reading list, though I can't say they help me very much.

I have four books down for the month of July. I intend on reading more, but right now I'm at a loss at what to read. I have books sitting on my shelf, but they just aren't grabbing my attention. So for right now I am leaving it as it is and will read as the spirit moves!

For July:

From May's Nightstand I read:
  • Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass - Thought provoking and deep. This is one that I'll definitely need to read again.
  • French Leave by P.G. Wodehouse - Enjoyable. Not my favorite Wodehouse, but a bad Wodehouse is much better than a lot of other things out there.
  • The World of Pooh: The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne - This was a read-aloud with my kids. While Winnie-the-Pooh is great for the younger ages, I think you get more out of it when your older. My youngest enjoyed the stories, and though my 15 and 12 year old  were kind of skeptical at first it wasn't too long before I could hear little snickers and by the end loud laughs.
  • Just David by Eleanor H. Porter - If you have read Pollyanna, or even watched the film, you can see the author's hand in this book. Some of the same themes from Pollyanna run through this story also. This was a very a great story with a very sweet end.
I also read:
  • The Blue Sapphire by D.E. Stevenson - A good little read.
  • The Duke's Dilemma by Elizabeth Chater - I read another of Chater's books last month and felt so-so about it. I didn't think I would read any more (My version is a four story pack.) Well, for some reason I ended up reading the next one, which I found to be a much better story.
  • The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge - Wow, Goudge is a wonderful writer. Beautifully written story.
I listened to:
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens - To be honest I really didn't have much of a clue of the story of David Copperfield beside the fact that it is considered autobiographical. I found about two-thirds of the book to be kind of tedious, but then it seems that in the last third of the book it all of a sudden got very interesting. This was a book for The Classic Club so I will have a more thorough review coming up.
See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.


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