Thursday, March 27, 2014

Read-Aloud Thursday: Oliver Twist & Abraham Lincoln's World

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos
Life has been very hectic around here and there hasn't been much reading aloud except that which we read-aloud for school. I have resorted to using quite a few audio books to keep my kids busy. Here's a look of what has been happening lately.


Both Oliver Twist and Abraham Lincoln's World are selections from Ambleside Online Year 5. I have been reading these books over the course of many months and I recently finished reading them to Destini and Chantry.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens was a literature selection and a very enjoyable read. I have to admit that it wasn't the easiest read-aloud I've ever done. Dickens sure comes up with some extraordinary words! The story also deals with some pretty serious topics which gave us quite a bit to talk about.  I found that Destini was able to follow the plot a little better than Chantry. At times I did have to stop and make sure he was following along. Overall, I felt this was a successful read-aloud and wonderful introduction to Dickens.

Abraham Lincoln's World by Genevieve Foster was their world history book for part of this school year. Last year I read George Washington's World by the same author and it was a big hit. Abraham Lincoln's World did not disappoint either. This is the way to learn history!

I also thought I would share what the kids have been reading and listening to.

King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table - Roger Lancelyn Green
War Inventions by Charles Gibson
 Lad: A Dog by Albert Terhune
Geronimo: Wolf of the Warpath by Ralph Moody
The Story of the Treasure Seekers - E. Nesbit (audio)

Destini (who has listened to a pile of audio books while sewing or doing cross-stitch):
The Story of the Treasure Seekers - E. Nesbit (audio)
The Wouldbegoods - E. Nesbit (audio) Destini has raved so much about these stories that they have been added to my TBR list.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (audio)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Kate Douglas Wiggen (audio)

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Mr. Standfast by John Buchan
(I'm sure Caleb has a few Louis L'amour that he could add to this list.)

I decided to introduce Caleb to Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse. Destini immediately picked up the audios when he was finished and listened to them and I usually found Chantry hanging around to listening. I can always tell when they are listening to a Wodehouse book from the giggles coming forth out their rooms and oh, the discussions that have taken place over a Christie book!

Here is a sampling of what has been listened to:
And Then There Were None - Christie
Murder on the Orient Express - Christie
The Mystery of the Blue Train - Christie
My Man Jeeves - Wodehouse
The Girl on the Boat - Wodehouse

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesdays with Words (Les Miserables)


Yes, I'm still reading Les Miserables , but hopefully will have this book finished by the end of the week. In my humble opinion Hugo was in need of an editor, but if he had this little gem probably  wouldn't have survived the final cut.
...For a long time now, in his [Marius] state of torment, he had ceased to work. Nothing is more dangerous than to stop working. It is a habit that can soon be lost, one that is easily neglected and hard to resume. A measure of day-dreaming is a good thing, like a drug prudently used; it allays the sometimes virulent fever of the over-active mind, like a cool wind blowing through the brain to smooth the harshness of untrammelled though; it bridges here and there the gaps, bring things into proportion and blunts the sharper angles. But too much submerges and drowns. Woe to the intellectual worker who allows himself to lapse wholly from positive thinking into day-dreaming. He thinks he can easily change back, and tells himself that it is all one. He is wrong! Thought is the work of intellect, reverie is its self-indulgence. To substitute day-dreaming for thought is to confuse a poison with a source of nourishment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What's On Your Nightstand - March

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What's On Your Nightstand

March has ended up being a good month. I was wanting to have Les Miserables finished by today, but that didn't happen. Right now I am aiming to have it finished by the end of March. April is gearing up to be an incredibly busy month, so I am making my Nightstand a little lighter. If I get more read I will be more than thrilled.

April's Nightstand:

From February's Nightstand I read:

I am currently reading and almost finished with:
I also read:
  • Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie - Another Poirot.
  • Miss Buncle Married by D.E. Stevenson - A fun follow-up to Miss Buncle's Book. I think I liked this book a little better than the first.

  • Dreams, Plans, Goals by Ken Gaub - Most of this I've heard or read before, but I did walk away with a tid-bit or two to jot down and dwell on.
  • Handoff: The Only Way to Win the Race of Life by Jeff Myers - Offering how-to pass on your values and your belief's to your children. Small book that packs a powerful punch.
 I listened to:
  • Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer - Not Heyer's best, but still enjoyable.
I also finished up reading as read-aloud to my kids. These were books we started back in September:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Time for Sewing - March

Time for Sewing

I didn't get any sewing in, but Destini has been working hard on her quilt that she will turning in to a competition at the end of April. She is up to the point of putting the quilt top together and then it will be on to quilting the top. Here are some pictures of what she has done so far.

Quilt Collage
1. Sewing. 2.Spool quilt blocks. 3. Finished quilt blocks.
4.Laying out the spools for her quilt top. 5. Quilt top strips. 
She has sashing to put on the sides and then she will have a 
completed quilt top.

Linking up:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - Busy Times

Life has been happening around here, though I haven't done a very good job of recording it down. Life has been very busy and I don't see it improving anytime soon.

On the homeschooling front we have been plugging away. We just finished up Term 2 for our school year. My biggest problem is that I am not prepared for Term 3. Our kids have participated in a competition the past few years and it time to start preparing for it and trying to find the balance between school work and competition projects is not an easy task. Here is just a few things we have been doing.

March 22 Collage

1. Delani recited Psalms 23 for Presentation at our co-op. You can see the video clip below. I thought  she would never get this, but one morning she got up and just said it. I did resort to recording it on the voice recorder on my phone and then let her carry it around and listen to it. That worked really well and what kid don't like carrying around mom's phone?

2. We have been reviewing Spelling You See, a new spelling program put out by Math-U-See. He has been enjoying this program. Look for my review in a couple of weeks.

3.  I was blessed with sixteen sets of luncheon snack trays. I like using these for small parties that I have and after the baby shower I realized I didn't have enough. A lady that volunteers at the library where I work gave me these and I feel very blessed.

 4. Philosophy Adventure is another review we are working on.

5. A lot of reading has been happening around here. Chantry and Destini finished up one of their history books, Abraham Lincoln's World and literature books, Oliver Twist and King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.  Abraham Lincoln's World and Oliver Twist were a favorite reads and poor King Arthur was tolerated. They also finished up their biography reads. Chantry read Geronimo: Wolf of the Warpath by Ralph Moody and Destini read The Tale of Beatrix Potter by Margaret Lane.

Caleb finished up Endurance - Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and Mr. Standfast by John Buchan. He also finished up Bridgeway English Book 1. He is working really hard on Algebra II and Stewardship. His biggest thing he needs to do yet is government, but we are putting that off for a week or two yet. He also listened to some Poirot mysteries, which as soon has he was finished were taken by his sister.

Chantry finished reading War Inventions by Charles Gibson as a science read. He also finished reading Lad: A Dog for a free read and has recently started Good-Bye, Mr. Chips.

Destini, who has been working on a cross-stitch project and putting together a quilt  has been putting audio books to great use. Here are just a few titles she has listened to:
-Anne of Green Gables
-Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm
-The Story of the Treasure Seekers
-The Wouldbegoods
-Poirot mysteries
-My Man Jeeves

I am hoping to find time this week to plan out our third term. Maybe one day I will actually get my whole school year planned at the beginning of the year!

Delani's reciting the 23 Psalm:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesdays with Words (The Pleasure of Books) 
While looking for a famous speech for my son to memorize for an upcoming competition, I came across "The Pleasure of Books" by William Lyon Phelps and of course, I had to read it. Unfortunately it won't work for him, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and wanted to share. Here is an excerpt:

Everyone should begin collecting a private library in youth; the instinct of private property, which is fundamental in human beings, can here be cultivated with every advantage and no evils. One should have one's own bookshelves, which should not have doors, glass windows, or keys; they should be free and accessible to the hand as well as to the eye. The best of mural decorations is books; they are more varied in color and appearance than any wallpaper, they are more attractive in design, and they have the prime advantage of being separate personalities, so that if you sit alone in the room in the firelight, you are surrounded with intimate friends. The knowledge that they are there in plain view is both stimulating and refreshing. You do not have to read them all. Most of my indoor life is spent in a room containing six thousand books; and I have a stock answer to the invariable question that comes from strangers. "Have you read all of these books?"
"Some of them twice." This reply is both true and unexpected.
Read the the whole piece here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mango Homeschool Edition by Mango Languages (TOS Review)

Mango Languages Review
Foreign language has been a subject that hasn't met with much success in our house. One thing I have figured out is that I need a lot of help in this area. The last couple of months Destini (14) and Chantry (11) have been able to review Mango Homeschool Edition from Mango Languages
Mango Languages Review
Mango Homeschool Edition is a foreign language homeschool curriculum, which we used in a Beta form, is for ages 6 to adult. Right now they have available on their site:
  • Over 60 different languages
  • Progress Assessments

  • Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
  • Collaborative learning spaces
  • eNote messaging
/chat rooms

  • Access to embedded/downloadable content
Support from other community members
Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups

In the near future they will be offering:
  • Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring - including seat time (for students and parents)
  • Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)

  • Resume and Portfolio Builder
Each language that we used offered three Journeys. These Journeys cover real-life conversations using vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Cultural notes are also included which help give the student understanding to the language and the people. Also included is the Voice Comparison tool which allows the student to record their own voice and then they can compare their voice and pronunciation to the narrators. Each Journey cover 10 topics or chapters. At the end of each chapter the student was given a quiz. Here is a list of a few of the topics covered:
  • Names and Introductions
  • Numbers and Currency
  • Addressing and Describing People and Animals
  • Foods, Cooking and Dining
  • Culture, Literature and Art
  • Expressing Thoughts and Feelings
Mango Languages Review
To access the lessons I would sign in which would take us to our "school's" dashboard. From there Destini and Chantry could access their own dashboard. From there they would pick their Passport language that they had signed up for. This would open up a new window and from there they then worked through each lesson. If they weren't able to complete a lesson in one sitting the program remembered where they had left off and started at that spot.

Chantry decided that he wanted to learn German. The lessons are quite long and so I let him split up a lesson over several days. The lesson starts off saying a phrase or conversation and then each sentence is broken down into phrases or words and worked on individually. He liked using the Voice Compare Feature which allows him to use your microphone to record his voice saying the word. While enjoyed using this he really struggled with getting the pronunciation correct. He is able to say quite a few German phrases and give the meaning of them, though he admitted he found it pretty hard to learn.

Destini has been working on French and took a break from what she was using to use the Mango Homeschool Edition for French (European). She was able to do a whole lesson in one sitting. Even though there are Course Guides for each level available in PDF, she preferred to write down her own notes instead of using those. She also kept track of her quizzes. One thing she really liked about Mango was that they reviewed words she had learned in previous lessons and she also liked that she could do the whole program with the computer and not worry about any paper work.

 I found I did have several things that I found concerned me. First, I found the Dashboard very confusing. The link to hit for the languages was not in view of the main screen and to access it I had to scroll down the page. Secondly, Mango is very much oriented for foreign travel, so I don't know how far this program would take a student who was really serious about learning to fluently speak a foreign language. The last thing would be the age recommendation. Honestly, I would have gone nuts trying to help a six year old do this program. Chantry is 11 and he found it pretty tough to do. Thankfully, it is self-pace, but a younger student probably couldn't get through as much of the program as an older student could without a lot of help from the parent.

I liked the independence the Mango Languages afforded my kids. Once I figured out where the link to access their lessons it was easy for them to access their lessons and didn't require a lot from me. I only had to monitor what they were doing. They soon will be adding the ability for the parent to check the student's progress and the time they have spent doing it, which will be a very nice asset.

Destini will for sure to continue to use this as part of her homeschool curriculum. I think with the other program we are using it will be a nice compliment to help her in her French language studies. As for Chantry we will see what happens. I think he is having a hard time deciding if he should continue in German or do Pirate instead or both. Who knows?

Mango Homeschool Languages introductory pricing is as follows:

1 subscription is $18/month or $125/year total 
2 subscriptions is $28/month or $175 /year total                     
3 subscriptions is $38/month or $225/year total                   
4 subscriptions is $48/month or $275/year total               
5 subscriptions is $58/month or $325/year total

Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate that will depend on the number in the group.
Social media links for Mango Languages:

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