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.


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