Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Little Men by Louisa May Alcott (Audio)

Book Description:
The lovable Jo March, introduced to us in Little Women, is now married with two sons of her own and an adopted family of 12 boys. And she couldn't be happier. Since starting an informal school at Plumfield, Jo and Professor Bhaer provide a haven for poor orphaned boys who thrive on warmth, goodness, and the affectionate interest of the March and Bhaer families. Sometimes it's difficult to tame the wild manners and spirits of wild boys who have had no nurturing. But the Bhaers have time for all and are rewarded with the trust of the boys who confide all their hopes, plans, ambitions, and misfortunes.

My thoughts:
I can't begin to express how much I enjoyed re-reading Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. The wild Jo March has been tamed into a wonderful mother, wife and caregiver to her little school of men. In case you think it might be full with the wild romping of boys that are a few little girls involved also. This story is full of delightful adventures, disasters, and learning the boys (and girls) experience at Plumfield.
If you are a mother this book will really tug at the heartstrings. I found as I listened that I could learn a lot from the Bhaers and their parenting techniques, the main one being the unconditional love they showed to their boys. Not only that but I really enjoyed the view from the past of how the children in those days entertained and themselves. It was very enlightening and educational! Overall, Little Men is an enjoyable yet very touching story.

On a side note: If it bothers you that Jo married Mr. Bhaer then I highly recommend reading Little Men. It really helps to see how their relationship works out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

An Infamous Army: A Novel of Love, War, Wellington and Waterloo by Georgette Heyer

"Well!" Barbara said. "You will allow that at least I never contracted a secret marriage!" p. 355

Monday, September 26, 2011

What's On Your Nightstand - September

What's On Your Nightstand

September reading:

From my August post, I read:
These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
Don't Make Me Come Up There!:Quiet Moments for Busy Moms by Kristen Welch

I also read:
Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer
The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer
Young Men in Spats by P.G. Wodehouse
Secrets of the Heart by Jillian Kent
Mom's Ultimate Guide to the Tween Girl World by Nancy Rue
A Positive Plan for Creating More Calm, Less Stress by Karol Ladd
QBQ!The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller

I listened to:
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

I didn't read:
Beyond All Meausure by Dorothy Love - I had to return this to the library before my trip last month and I am now on the waiting list and hoping to read for this month.

See what others are reading over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Mother's Homeschool Journal - September 19-23, 2011

Delani playing with her puzzle.

In my life this week… Life resumed back to normal.

In our homeschool this week… After a 2 week trip seeing my mom and dad and then 1 more week to recover it was time to put our nose to the grindstone. School started back up in force!

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… I just reviewed WonderMaps by Bright Idea Press for Timberdoodle. Check it out here.

My favorite thing this week was… I made it through 75% of Delani's school schedule. She loves her learning chart and the time we spend reading books. I bought the Preschool Package from My Father's World and we have used a couple of the puzzles, but I haven't got around to using them with the activity cards.

What’s working/not working for us…
I dumped Our Mother Tongue with Caleb and for now have pulled out the Easy Grammar Ultimate Grade 9 that we didn't finish last year. Our Mother Tongue looks great, but it is not for Caleb.

Things I’m working on… Ummm, does ironing count? I finally got the kids' schedule's printed off and put in their binders.

I’m reading…

I am linking up at The Homeschool Chick.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Friday, September 23, 2011

Curriculum Review: WonderMaps

Today, I am so excited to review a new geography resource offered by Timberdoodle. I'll be the first to admit when it comes time to look for maps to do geography it can be a real pain. It always seems as though I can't find a blank map or a map with the detail that I need. Enter WonderMaps from Bright Ideas Press!!

Here are a few details about Wondermaps:
WonderMaps is a customizable collection of over 350 different maps. With nearly endless possibilities, WonderMaps makes it easy to regularly integrate map study into a variety of lessons and make the most of every learning opportunity.

WonderMaps is designed with easy-to-use layers that allow you to enjoy great customizable features with just a click. Select:

-historical or modern-day maps
-outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
-black-and-white or color maps
-features including: names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules

WonderMaps includes:

-60+ maps of the world
-60+ maps of the USA
-125+ historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
-The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History Vols. I & II
First, this was incredibly easy to download to my computer. After loading it I immediately went to the teacher resources and watched the tutorial. I also checked out the many resources that are offered, including MP3 workshops.

I then began to work my way through the collection of maps. I played with the layers feature picking a choosing what features I wanted on my map. I also was able to save the map with the layers I picked. For example, we are studying Marco Polo right now and I picked the Marco Polo map from the Middle Ages that is listed under the Historical Map section. Since I wanted my kids to fill in the countries and turned off the labels layer. Here is what was shown:

After printing it off I realized that Chantry, my 9 yr. old son, would have a hard time filling it in, so I enlarged it so it looked like this:

I was able to print the enlarged map off by choosing the "as shown" option in my printer screen. It was much easier for Chantry to fill in.

Wondermaps also has the Maps for The Mystery of History and All-American History. Since Caleb is using The Mystery of History III this is a wonderful feature and it is so much easier printing the map off the program than having to make a copy from the book.

We were also able to use WonderMaps as an atlas. Caleb was working on his map work for Mystery of History and couldn't find a certain city. So I opened the country he was working on and by turning a few layers off it made it easier to find the city. Many times the atlas page can be very overwhelming, especially when you don't have a clue where you are to look at.

Overall, I think WonderMaps is very user friendly and an excellent resource. Because of it's versatility it can be used to enhance any geography and history program. If you are looking for geography resources check out Timberdoodle's great selection.

Legal Disclosure:
As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of WonderMaps in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Young Men in Spats (Collector's Wodehouse)

Young Men in Spats by P.G. Wodehouse

All's well that ends well, felt Freddie.

It was at this juncture that he found that he had no trousers on. p. 77

Back to Life, Back to Reality...

The kids and I with my parents (The little boy by Delani is my nephew, Luke).

As you can tell it has been really quiet around this blog lately. I have been very neglectful, I know. My main reason is that we (me and the kids) were gone for two weeks to visit my parents in Wisconsin. We had a wonderful time!! We spent time with my brother and his lovely wife and then took a quick trip up to Minnesota to visit more relatives.

I was hoping when we arrived home we could get right back into the swing of school, but alas, that did not happen. First, we had to get our bodies back on the correct time. They were terribly confused after having to get up two hours earlier, but staying up until "normal" bedtime. Then there was this crazy cold/sinus/crud mess that I came down with, which I am still trying to get rid of! I did insist on the kids doing math, but mainly we took some time to catch up on sleep, unpack, and get back into our routines. I also worked on printing off the kids' school schedules and try to tie up loose ends for school work.

So this week it is back to life as normal, whatever that is, but school work is full steam ahead. I am hoping to get some book reviews and what we are doing this year in our school posted. I also will be posting a review later this week for WonderMaps by Bright Idea Press.


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