For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Curriculum Line up 2017-2018

It is the end of August and School for us is starting this coming Monday. Planning for this upcoming school year has been on going since May, and hopefully I have settled on what we will be using. This year I have a 9th grader and a 7th grader. I cannot believe I will have a high schooler in the house. Time really flew by....


So what are our curriculum choices for this year?

A couple of notes before I lay the choices out:

*****Last year we switched from online Math to paper Math. Hubby did not like the idea of doing Math online and wanted the boys to do paper math, so we switched to Alpha and Omega Lifepac (which is a curriculum he has used when he was in school).

**** I am planning for my high schooler to be homeschoold all the way, so am working on a 4-year high school plan that will allow him to be well equipped to take the ACT and some AP classes comes 11th grade (which are what universities in Canada look for). Some outside grades will be nice too, so I will be thinking on maybe adding some of those in grade 12. A post on our High School plan will be forth coming in the next few months.

*** We will continue copywork from selections from The Great Books Reader.

Grade 7

Math: Alpha and Omega Lifepac grade 8 and Life of Fred Algebra with Biology.
Grammar: Continue with Analytical Grammar
Writing: Writing and Rhetoric Common Place Book 6
Science: Explore the World of Physics from Masterbooks
French: French Smart book 7 and Duolingo
Bible: Veritas Bible
History/Geography/Literature: Tapestry of Grace year 4: 20th Century
Logic: Still undecided
Electives: Piano lessons still ongoing, just started grade 7

Grade 9

Math: Lifepac - Finish grade 8 and complete grade 9
Grammar: Michael Clay Thompon Magic Lens II (maybe)
Logic: The Discovery of Deduction from Classic Academic Press
Writing: Writing and Rhetoric Common Place Book 6 and 7 Sister's Guide to High School Essay Writing series
Literature/English: Learning Language Arts Through Literature gold book - American Literature
Science: Explore The World of Physics
French: French Smart book 7 and Duolingo
Bible: Veritas Bible
History/Geography/Literature/Government/PhilosophyTapestry of Grace year 4: The Twentieth Century
SAT/CAT prep:  I-pad app and library books, as well as online prep tests from PrepScholar, the ACT website, PowerScore Test Preparation, Beasley College Prep.
Electives:
  • Violin and Music Theory
  • Film series videos from Crashcourse. Completed Film History over the summer and moved on to Film production


And there you have our curriculum line up for the year 2017-1018!



Monday, January 23, 2017

Social Science, Science and Exploring our World - Our Path

Week 4 of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair is here, and it is time to talk about History, Geography, and Science. You can check Homeschooling Hearts and Minds our host for this curriculum fair to read more about it.


Social Science has been the easier school subject to cover since grade 2, when I stumbled upon Tapestry of Grace. There has been no turning back and will not be. I invested in the four years of this curriculum which is rotation based curriculum. This is our 7th year using it and we are at our 2nd rotation of year 3 (The Exploration Age).

With TOG the boys have been able to explore the World from past to present from a Geography and History perspective. The advantage of repetition offered by this curriculum is that they get to look at time from different perspective when they go over certain periods of time again. Also with TOG you cover civic as well and government which allow for the kids to really understand the world around them.

My oldest has always been into History, so it has not been a problem for him to connect the material being covered to present day events and places. He has mastered his Geography through TOG. My youngest on the other hand is not a History or Geography fan, but is learning to appreciate its value and relevance. I actually had to supplement Geography for him as he just was not into it. I used various workbooks and ESA.

I have written a lot about Tapestry of Grace on this blog, so have a look for more details about this program, especially my evaluation post about it.

When it comes to Science, I have a different story to tell. I have yet to LOVE a curriculum. A reason for that might be that I am not the science girl (even though hubby is). We have covered Science using different curriculum up to now, but with my oldest almost in High School I feel I need to be more intentional about this. This year I stumble upon ClassiQuest Science Biology, but am having trouble following through with it. Biology has been the one branch of Science the most neglected in our school. I also have Mr Q Classic Science Adv Chemistry which is next on my to do.

Here for a brief overview of our path in exploring the world around us!

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:

Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.
Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Social Science, Science and Exploring our World - Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Learning History Through Fiction by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Beyond the Books - Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time
Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully
What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Math and Logic in Our Homechool - What do we Use

Week 3 of The Virtual Curriculum Fair hosted by Homeschooling Hearts and Minds is all about Math and Logic, discovering patterns. How did (do) we tackle this in our homeschool? Read along!


I will first start by saying that I have two children who approach Math very differently. One loves it and the mechanics of it, but sometimes struggles with the logic of it (he's got his own logic, which he gets from me unfortunately). That said, he does pretty well and is actually ahead of his grade. My other son does not like the repetition and practice aspect of math, though he most often has little difficulty to understand the concepts. He is doing fine and is at grade level.

In the elementary levels we have used Singapore Math (grade 1 and 2), which I would highly recommend. It is a strong Math curriculum. The boys got strong foundations from it. We ended up settling for Math on the Level, which attracted me because of its cost effectiveness. MoL covers everything you need for grades 1-8. You can check my evaluation post of it for more details.

Also up to this year I was blessed to be part of the TOS Review Crew and got to review lots of wonderful Math curriculum. Check out my Review tab on this blog for a complete list of those. My favorite, and the one we used most has been CTC Math. It was easy to use and the boys reasonably liked it. So, between all of these, basic Math has been well covered! Thank God!

Now that the boys are in middle school and tackling Pre-algebra and Algebra courses, my husband, who has always disliked online math programs, required them to do paper Math. To that end I decided to give Alpha and Omega Lifepac a try. My hubby who is a chemistry graduate grew up on these so I figured let's try that. They are both covering grade 8 this year, and so far so good. Because of the departure from online teaching, I gave my hubby the job of teaching Math when issues arises. AOP Lifepac is pretty self-teaching,which is what I like, given that the boys are pretty independent..

In the last couple of years, to address the paper math issue, I had complemented CTC Math with Kumon books and Life of Fred, so we will be continuing with these as well as extra practice.

As for Logic, check my previous years' Curriculum Fair posts to see what we have done up to now. This year  my youngest started The Fallacy Detective and my oldest finished up The Art of Argument and is about to start the Discovery of Deduction.

And that is it, check the other posts in the series!

Monday, January 9, 2017

How We Cover The Language Arts in our Homeschool

Welcome to week 2 of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair hosted by Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. This week we will be talking about the Language Arts.


When it comes to the Language Arts, it is a very important subject in our homeschool. As a classical homeschooler, mastering the Language Arts is a very important step and component of our study.

Reading:

Both the boys read at a young age with minimum teaching from me. I had to catch up in teaching them some phonics so that they could learn to read well. I do believe both whole language learning and phonetic learning are essential for a good reading education. They both read above their grades and have good comprehension. I am very thankful to The Logic of English as it helped me fill in the gap of whatever they lacked in the area of phonetic awareness. I used the Essentials program then and would recommend both the Foundations and Essentials, as a worthwhile reading and spelling curriculum. Read my review of it to learn more.

Spelling:

This area, along with Writing has been the most neglected aspect of our Language Arts course of study. I have struggled to find a program that worked for my boys, one reason being their reluctance to writing which lasted until the last couple of years. Using the Logic of English helped a lot in improving their spelling skills, and then, thanks to my time as a reviewer with the TOS, we had the privilege to try a few spelling curriculum that also added to their progress. Most recently we have been using Essential Skills Advantage. You can read my review of ESA  to learn more.

Grammar:

When the boys were young we did First Language Lessons as their foundation. This worked very well for them. After FFL 4, I moved Zach to Michael Clay Thompson Grammar series, and this is what he is doing right now. We are using the Ibook interactive version of The Magic Lens 1 which Zach is enjoying.

With my youngest, because he thrives on workbook, unlike my oldest, I used a variety of curriculum such as Simply Grammar, with him. Now that he is in grade 6, we have settled for Analytical Grammar, which seems to be working well for him.

Writing:

As I mentioned earlier, Writing has been a bit neglected as well, but about 3 years ago I found Writing and Rhetoric and have stuck with it. We stated with level 1: Fable and are now at level 5: Refutation and Confirmation.  This program is really good in teaching the content and different styles of writing, but the boys still need lots of practice with Essay writing. This is one of my goals for this year and next year, as Zach enters High School. I am hoping to use the Writing curriculum from Tapestry of Grace, but am thinking I might need to add another, except I am not sure what yet! I did review Writing and Rhetoric in the past, so feel free to check it out!

Literature:

The boys love reading and have been reading a variety of books for pleasure. That said, I have also required them to follow the Literature thread of Tapestry of grace which has served to expose them to classic works of literature and which contains literature study. With this program they will cover the different aspects of literature analysis. They do this as part of an online co-op, which makes it easier for me.

Homeschool Copywork Membership Banner - Vertical
A couple of things I love adding to our Language Arts line up is copywork and dictation. Copywork has a lot of benefits attached to it, such as improving spelling and penmanship as well as memorization. we like to use products from Homeschool Copywork where you get to copy Bible verses or quotes from artists. As for dictation, I have done it on and off and have been wanting to get to it, so this is another one of our goal for this year.


There you have it; our Language Arts curriculum line up. Do not forget to check out the other posts this week:


Delight Directed High School English by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Act Your Part Well- 2017 VCF by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
The Search For Language by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
Our Top Picks for Language Arts by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Multiple Approaches to Language Arts in 2017 by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
How We Cover the Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Use Your Words by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
The Art of Perfecting Macarons by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Loving Languages Every Day by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Speech Therapy & Elementary Latin by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
The Readin' and Writin' Part of Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Children Who Love Books by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Customizing High School Language Credits by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
A Poetry Feast by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Language Arts without Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
I know your pain and it is worth it! by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Language Arts: Our Style by Annette @ A Net in Time
Words! Words! Words! by Lisa M @McClanahan 7
10 Wonderful Word Games (+1) by Lori @ At Home: where life happens

Finding the Right Words by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
What About Reading Comprehension? by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
Teaching Grammar and Writing Through Discussion by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

You can add your Language Arts related posts as well if you want to join in the fun:




Monday, January 2, 2017

Homeschooling - A Glimpse into How We Do it



2016 was a pretty skimpy blogging year for me. Ask me why, I am not sure I have an answer for you beside life happening and writing inspiration fading.

With a new year upon us I will try to get back on the blogging scene and what best topic to start the year with than giving you a glimpse into what homeschooling looks like in our home with now two teenagers.

In the past 4 years I have enjoyed participating in the Virtual Curriculum Fair hosted by Homechooling Hearts and Minds, so I am happy to start my year participating once more.

For those who are not familiar with the Virtual Curiculum Fair, it is a month long series of posts, where over 20 homeschoolers share about their homeschool curriculum and how they homeschool.

The weeks will go as follow:
Week 1: See How We Learn/Welcome to the VCF
Week 2: Playing with Words
Week 3: Discovering Patterns
Week 4: Exploring Our World
Week 5: Seeking Beauty

So how do we learn here? this is the topic of this post.

As  mentioned before on this blog we are relaxed classical homeschoolers. this means that we follow a classical philosophy of homeschooling but in a more relaxed way than most classical homeschoolers do. More on this in my series Relaxed Classical Homeschooling.

Now that my kids are older, independence is the key word in how they learn. They each have a set of subjects that are supposed to be done daily and a loose schedule that they also follow daily and weekly. I do not require them to do such and such as such and such time, only that certain subjects be completed in a week at a certain pace. That said, I am always available and ready to explain or teach something when they need me. I am more of a coach and facilitator in this new stage

This plays out very differently between my two boys. One is very organized and spaces his work out very evenly  with time of day and days in the week. The other is more of a last minute type of child. I am working with him  on learning to be more proactive and organized.

Curriculum are a big part of our homeschool routine. The boys have curriculum for every school subject on their schedule: Math, Science, Spelling, Writing, Logic, Bible, Social science subjects.

An added element t our homeschool life is the fact that we are a ministry family (dad is a pastor). As such life can be very busy with church activities and a lot of our time is spent at church or participating in church or ministry related activities, so the boys have had to learn to jungle their school load. Also, because takes his day off on Thursday, Thursday is a quasi-day off for us too. When they were younger it used to be  a full day off, but with their load increasing they end up having do some school on Thursday.

All this turns out to be that every day is different here. Most days start late, some days are heavier than others, some days the boys are still doing school late in the evening. I do allow them to take their break at their own schedule and pursue their interest, given that my rule is the work need to be completed within a weekly time frame.This is where the relaxed part of our homeschool comes in.

So this is a very succinct glimpse of how we school here, in the next few weeks we will go in more details as to what we do, meanwhile read about how others run their homeschooling by following the links below:

The Evolution of Our Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Us-School Because We Are Us, Not Someone Else by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
It's All About the School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Setting the Stage- the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair! by Lisa N. @ Golden Grasses
New Year, New Goals, New School! by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Spotlight on How We Learn in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Our Unique Eclectic Homeschool  by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
How We Learn on the Go by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Home Education - 10 Ways We Make It Work by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Schedules, where would I be without them? by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Education at Our House by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Starting the Day Well by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Making a Change - Accountability and Responsibility Through Routine by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
A time to be encouraged is coming.. the Virtual Curriculum Fair by Annette @ A Net in Time
Loving the Moment! by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Keeping Our Homeschool Organized by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Homeschool Goal Setting – Looking Forward, Looking Back by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
How We Choose Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
This Is How We Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
How we don't learn in our homeschool & how I don't plan {2017 Virtual Homeschool Curriculum Fair} by Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
Learning Our Way by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Limping Along: Our Semi-Eclectic Approach to Homeschooling by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair: See How We Learn by Dana L @ Luv'N Lambert Life




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Accountable2You -TOS Review

For my last review this year, I have a very timely and important product for you. We live in such a technological and advance era that it can be scary to hear about all the things our kids can be exposed to using internet devices. As homeschool children especially, the use of devices is a daily occurrence, and we cannot always be right next to our children to see where they end up on the Internet. The product the crew got to review this past month is one that will help you monitor just that threat while at the same time teach some accountability.



Accountable2You is ash online service put out by a christian company that wants to help families and individuals to take control of their internet habits by keeping them accountable.


Accountable2You offered the crew four of their plans to check out:

Family Plan: perfect for multiple family members and for multiple devices
Individual Plan: monitoring of one person, up to six devices
Group Plan: perfect for homeschool, or church groups
Business Plan: perfect for businesses that want to keep their employers accountable

Accountable2You is very easy to set up. They guide you through the process step by step. When it comes to OS mobile devices, you do need to use a specific browser beside the standard Firefox.

I opted for our family to review the family plan so I could monitor my boys on their computer and Ipad. When you set up your account and devices you are asked who the accountability person is and how you want the reports. I opted for myself as the accountability person and for daily e-mail reports. So everyday I have been receiving a report.


Accountable2You is a monitoring and tracking device. It does not filter. It tells you if a person has visited questionable websites, so that you can in turn challenge them about it. We already had Open DSN on our devices which filters content, so accountable2You did not record any objectionable activity. You can also set questionable words to be alerted about if you have some things you wish your children not to be exposed to, whatever that may be.

Accountable2You offers a few features such as GPS tracker, which allows you to know where the devices are being taken. Also you can set multiple accountability partners even one for each device. You can set your notifications to text or e-mail, daily, weekly or hourly.

The reports are pretty details, it lists all the websites being visited, which device and what time.

If you are looking for a tool to help you or anyone in your family be accountable, or a help for curbing habits on the internet, this is definitely a tool to check out.

With two rising teenagers, this is a very useful and helpful tool as it allows me to know where they spend their time online and therefore challenge them about it, if I think it could be used better, and then hold them accountable for it.

One of the great thing about Accountable2You is how it works on all devices and platforms: Windows, Apple, Linux, computer, Iphones, Ipads, Kindles, you name it.

Check them out on Facebook and Twitter and read the other crew members' reviews.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}


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Friday, October 14, 2016

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy - TOS Review


My oldest is very interested in movies and film. So, when the chance to review a filmmaking course, through the Homeschool Review Crew, came along he asked to be on it. The course in question is called Online Christian Filmmakers Academy and is put out by Family Gravity Media, a division of Family for Christ Ministries inc.



As you can tell this course is put together by Christians, who love filmmaking, and want to pass on what they have learned to the younger generation.

The course is a set of video modules (5 in total):
  • The Camera - covers everything that has to do with a camera (type, lenses, ISO, support)
  • Cinematography - covers color temp and white balance, lighting and framing
  • Sound - covers equipment, microphone, recording
  • Pre-Production - covers story, screenplay, paperwork, the team
  • Production - covers the crew, etiquette, directing, the slate, and the actual step of the filming process.
Each module in turn contains a set of videos on that topic. The videos vary in length, from 1 minute to 15 minutes. Each modules also come with a quiz at the end of that module.

This course focuses on the cinematography part of filmmaking. My son found the first few videos dry and not exactly what he was expecting. He is more into the producing, story telling part of filmmaking than the actual filming I realized. And we both learned that both are equally important! This particular course focuses on the camera, what to use and how to use it, specifically the DSLR. It is pretty detailed about the intricacies of each topic, lighting, sound and everything that has to do with using a camera and the effect produced. The authors obviously know what they are talking about.

I think my son is looking forward to the production part of the course, since that is what he is most interested in. He wants to do more producing than actual filming (I think he is hoping someone else would do that :-)). Nevertheless he has been going through the course awaiting the part he wants to know. He did say that the videos get more interesting as you move along.

The videos are made by a father and son team combo who have experience in filmmaking. The videos are live, that is one of the team member is actually teaching. the videos include examples and pictures and more.

Overall this course is great for students (and adults) who love photography and want to learn the basics of filmmaking. It is easily set up and equally easy to understand and follow. The main thing being having the equipment to practice. It is online so internet connection is a must as well.

If you are interested, for you my readers, Online Christian Filmmakers Academy is offering a $100 off coupon (original price $299). Use coupon code: FALLCREW16, at the checkout. This coupon is valid until November 30. What a nice deal!  Go check it out and read the other crew members' reviews!


Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}
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