Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Math-U-See Stewardship

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Math-U-See is our math of choice around here. We have used this pretty much since the beginning of our homeschooling years, from Alpha through Geometry so far. I am excited to review one of their secondary math products, Stewardship: A Biblical Approach to Personal Finance.

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Stewardship teaches the principles of using money in everyday life. The package includes the instructor's manual, student text, test booklet, lesson by lesson DVD, and the Biblical Foundations book. It is also recommended for for anyone with a good understanding of math, though Algebra is helpful, and can be used individually, in a small discussion group, or with adult ministries.
The lessons are divided into four sections.
  1. Personal Finance covers such topics as earning money, taxes, banking, interest, budgeting, credit cards, and more.
  2. Automotive covers the purchasing and operation of an automobile along with information on mechanics and insurance. 
  3. Buying and Maintaining a Home cover real estate, contracting, painting, rent, plumbing, electrical, and more.
  4. Miscellaneous section covers such topics as traveling, printing, postage, and many more topics.
They also offer loan and investment calculators on their website under their E-Learning page.

Caleb used this and did one lesson per week. He followed the schedule that was suggested in the book: Watch the DVD, read the instruction manual, and then do the first two pages. Then to complete the lesson he read the corresponding chapter from the Biblical Foundations devotional and completed the final two pages in the student text. When the worksheets are completed, checked, and discussed them if necessary and then he took the test. He was able to work through it very well on his own and when he was stuck it only took a few minutes with Dad to get it figured out.

Caleb told me he found it interesting and liked learning on how different financial concepts worked. He also said it was a lot easier than Geometry (which he is trying to finish up).

I really like how this program is put together. The financial concepts taught include all the usual things you would expect, but he also covers some rather unique, but practical scenarios as well. Things like buying carpet or plumbing. It even covers shipping using USPS or UPS! I noticed many topics covered that  I never learned about except through trial and error after becoming an adult. The DVD is engaging and interesting.

The math is applying what the student has already learned in algebra, but in a real life situation. There are also plenty of opportunities for the student to ask the parents questions about their own financial habits. Also, this is math that I can do, which makes it a big plus!

I think what completes this course is the Biblical Foundations devotional. This book is filled with financial principles from the Bible and personal life stories. Topics covered in this include being a faithful steward, honoring the Lord with your substance, marriage and money, praying before purchasing, and so many other great topics.

Overall, I found Stewardship to be a very practical, down-to-earth financial curriculum and the addition of Biblical principles is like icing on a cake!

You can also see a short video clip with an overview of the program, a sample lesson from the DVD, the scope and sequence, and a sample lesson from the instructor's manual and student book all on Math-U-See's Stewardship page here.


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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Read-Aloud Thursday: Coot Club by Arthur Ransome

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos
Coot Club - Exodus Books

Book Description:
It all started with a coot's nest. Dorothy and Dick meet Tom Dodgeon, Port and Starboard, and three pirate salvagers — all members of the Coot Club Bird Protection Society. When one of the coot's nests is disturbed by a shipful of "Hullabaloos" — rude holiday boaters — trouble begins. Frantic chases, calamitous boat collisions, and near drownings fill the pages of this exciting fifth addition to Ransome's classic children's series.
My thoughts:
Coot Club is the fifth book in the Swallows and Amazons series. In this book we meet up again with Dick and Dorothea, who we first met in Winter Holiday. They are taking their spring holiday at the Norfolk Broads and going to stay with with a friend of their mother's who is vacationing on the Teasel. Since their last holiday with the Swallows and Amazons they are very keen on learning to sail. Then they find out that they are not going to do any sailing.

Enter the Coot Club--Tom, the twins, Port and Starboard, and the three pirates. When Tom finds himself in an sticky situation with the "Hullabaloos" after protecting the a coot's nest, Mrs. Barrable, otherwise known as the Admiral, suggests that he along with the twins take the Teasel out on a small trip. Thus they begin an exciting trip that involves the twins trying to catch up with the Teasel, escaping from the "Hullabaloos", being grounded, and a shipwreck.

At first my kids were upset that the Swallows and Amazons were not in this book, but eventually they made peace with it and started to enjoy the story. Coot Club still has great storytelling and has plenty of humor included. Though we missed the Swallows and Amazons we still found Coot Club a satisfying read. We look forward to continuing the story of Swallows and Amazons in Pigeon Post. Destini is counting down the days until we head to the homeschool store to buy it, but I'm holding off.  I have it hidden in my drawer as a Easter present--shhh, don't tell!

Other's we have read:

See what others are reading aloud over at Hope is the Word.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What's On Your Nightstand - March

What's On Your Nightstand
I actually read more than I thought. Some books just seem to take a long time to read and that gives me that feeling that I haven't read much. April will be an interesting month since my parents are coming to visit, baseball practice will be starting up, and the kids are getting some projects ready for a competition they will be going to in May. I opted for some easier and hopefully doable reads for April. 

For April's Nightstand:

From my February nightstand I read:
  • Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer - Not Heyer's best romance, but it was a fun read.
  • Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott - One of my favorite Alcott books. (review)
  • Emily of Deep Valley: A Deep Valley Book by Maud Hart Lovelace (review)
  • Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson - Well, I'm still mulling about this book. Hopefully, a review will be forthcoming.
  • Marva Collins' Way by Marva Collins & Civia Tamarkin - I was a kid when Marva Collins was making headlines. My mom has always been a big fan of her book and I finally got around to reading it. Wow! What a fantastic story of a teacher who refused to conform to the educational system. If you homeschool or are a teacher you need to read this book.

I also read:
  • Coot Club by Arthur Ransome - Another book read in the Swallows and Amazons series. (review) 
  • Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson - The sequel to Hattie Big Sky. I should really write a longer review, but I didn't find this book as compelling as Hattie Big Sky.
  • Publish and Perish (Ben Reese Mystery) by Sally Wright - I saw this series mentioned at Semicolon. I am really enjoying this series. I may review the whole series when I'm finished.
  • Sandwich, With a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips - Total fluff, but a fun read.
  • A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy - I have heard a lot of good things about this book. I found a sweet little story, though I wasn't wowed by it. Read more about it here (scroll down).
  • Nesting: It's a Chick Thing by Ame Mahler Beanland & Emily Miles Terry - Loved the book title, but that was about the extent of it.

I listened to:

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

A Peek into Our Homeschool Day

Today I am going to have a little fun and give you a peek into our homeschool day. Though most often our days are very routine and predictable it does get pretty exciting and hectic at times trying to keep up with kids ranging from pre-school to high school. These pictures were taken last Wednesday, March 20. I wasn't able to get a picture of everything that was going on since Caleb and Destini do a lot of work in their room by themselves. This was also a day that I didn't do anything with Delani, which goes to show that there I some days I just drop the ball!

1. Chantry doing math drills with MathRider.
2. Caleb reading his biography When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan by Peggy Noonan. He narrated when he was finished.
3. Chantry is reading Basil and the Pygmy Cats by Eve Titus. This is extra reading I require him to do.
4. History, science, and natural history books for Chantry and Destini, which I read aloud.
5. Reading science. 
6. Lunch time.
7. Bible time.
8. Chantry watching his Math U See lesson. 
We had a pause in our day in which I had to run a quick errand. Many days Shade doesn't have to help very much, but on this day all the kids needed help from him. Since he gets home late on Wednesdays we actually did quite a bit more work after dinner. 
9. Helping Chantry with division.
10. Helping Delani with poetry writing.
11. Giving Caleb advice on an essay he is writing.
12. Destini practicing her piano.
13. Chantry and I were working with the KQ TimeLineBuilder app. He is making a timeline of the 13 14. Colonies.
14. We usually end the day with a read aloud. We were reading Coot Club by Arthur Ransome.
 So there you have it. It looks like all we did was work, but they had time to play, read, watch some films, listen to an audio book, or play outside for a little bit. Destini, Delani and I also made a quick trip to Michaels to buy a mat so we can frame her cross-stitch project when it is finished. Overall, we had a very good day!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Apple Pie Day

This week our state homeschool organization OCEANetwork celebrated Home Education Week at our state capital with their annual 'Apple Pie Day'. We have lived in Oregon for 10 years and almost 5 of those years have been in the capital city itself and we have NEVER even visited the capital building let alone attend this homeschool event.

This year I thought it would be a good idea to support this event, plus tour the building and learn more about our state. There was a lot of things we could have done, but we basically just toured the capital, talked with friends, and then we headed home due to raining and the time on our meter was vanishing. (Don't get me going about how much that cost!)

We enjoyed ourselves seeing the Senate and the House in session for a few minutes, learning about the different murals on the walls, stopping into the govorner's office, and touring the grounds. I am hoping to go back during the summer time so we can get a more thorough tour. Here is a few things we saw:
  1. The front of the capitol building--the people at the bottom of the picture are all homeschoolers. We were standing out their for the rally they were holding.
  2. Getting ready to enter the building. 
  3. Another shot of the building. You can see the Oregon Pioneer on top.
  4. The Oregon State Seal is displayed right when you walk in the building.
  5. Mural on the wall depicting Oregon history.
  6. The top of the Capitol dome.
  7. Another mural.
  8. The plaza across the street with all the trees in bloom.
  9. A statue on the side lawn of the capitol building called The Circuit Rider symbolic of the many missionaries that came to Oregon.
  10. Delani standing by a pillar left from the old capitol building that burned down in 1935.

I'm linking up:

The Art of Poetry by Classical Academic Press Review

Let's talk about poetry--or again maybe not. You see poetry has been one of those things that just never has made any sense to me, especially when you have to start talking about what it means. For several years I have read different poetry out loud to my kids, but I have always felt that we are still missing something when it comes to poetry. Enter in The Art of Poetry by Classic Academic Press.
We were given an opportunity to review The Art of Poetry, which is a curriculum for middle and high-school students, teaches the practice of how to read a poem and introduces the elements of poetry.
The student book starts with teaching the elements of poetry which includes images, metaphor, symbols, words, sounds, rhythm, shape, and tone. It then next introduces the formal history of poetry covering the history of form, movements, genres, verse forms, shaping forms, open verse, and narrative forms. It also includes a special study on Emily Dickenson in form and Walt Whitman in open verse.
It then has a section called application which talks about growing your interest in poetry. This includes such suggestions as starting a poetry group, a writer's journal, favorite poem notebook, and many more ideas. The book concludes with a section of short biographies of poets, how to have poetry in your home (or classroom), and a glossary of terms.
Each chapter includes a poetry anthology with questions, a list of activities to enhance what is being taught, and vocabulary words.
The teacher's book is exactly like the student book, but includes and introduction to the teacher, explications and answers, plus quizzes for each chapter.
I used this with Caleb (17) and Destini (13) and after perusing the suggested schedule I decided to go with the one year suggested schedule and we worked at completing one chapter every two weeks. I started off with their suggestions, but we just happened to hit our own way of working through each chapter which I think worked well for us.
At the beginning of the chapter we spent 1-3 days reading through the chapter and then we spent the rest of the time reading through the poems and then I would read through the explications included in teacher's manual, answer the question, and then we had a lot of discussion. We did do a few of the activities and referred to the vocabulary words when necessary, but for the most part we mainly discussed the poems.

Our material included a sample DVD from The Art of Poetry DVD set. The kids watched part of one of the lessons, but it didn't really engage them so we just continued on with reading aloud to ourselves. I went back through a watched pieces and parts myself I thing the biggest drawback with the DVDs is the length of the lessons.
Destini reading a poem.

There were times while doing this I just had to laugh, because Destini is truly her mother's child. Every time the book came out her moaning and groaning would start. I think everything she stated about poetry I have said at one time or other in my lifetime, but even in the midst of her sarcasm I could tell she was picking up on the things being taught. Caleb did enjoyed doing this, especially reading the poems aloud and he was quick to apply the chapter's lesson to the poems we read.
The Art of Poetry will be staying around for quite a while in our house. After working through the lessons I've decided we are going to use it more as an poetry appreciation course. (I think that is the Charlotte Mason method coming out in me.) One reason why I really liked about this curriculum is that it made you look at poetry differently. There is so much in this curriculum that your student could go through it several times and learn something new every time.

Will my kids or I every love poetry? Honestly, I don't know, but I do think with this curriculum we can learn to have a better understanding and appreciation of poetry. If poetry is eluding you I want to encourage you to look at The Art of Poetry.
The Art of Poetry is available as a set or in individual books and DVDs.
The Art of Poetry Set - $99.95 (as of April 1)
The Art of Poetry DVD Set - $69.95 (as of April 1)
There is also MP3 files (scroll down to free resources) of the poems being read available for free. There is also a free sample of the DVD lesson available.
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