7/2/17

Still Learning Latin! {Crew Review}

While I have always considered myself more of an eclectic style homeschooler I do have some classical leanings such as teaching Latin.  There are many benefits to teaching Latin but rather than discuss that I want to tell you about Memoria Press and their Latin programs.  Well, specifically I want to chat about the Third Form Latin Complete Set.

Third Form Latin from Memoria Press #hsreviews


I have to begin at the beginning though.  Many many years ago we started with Memoria Press's Latina Christiana Complete Set which by the way has been completely revised including new DVD lessons.  We still laugh at Honeybear's joke about amo. We'd be practicing our recitation amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant and Honeybear would interject you have a ma moose, but what about the pa moose?

A few years later we had the opportunity to review First Form Latin and we were hooked!  We loved First Form so much that I purchased Second Form Latin.  Turtlegirl was thrilled to find out that we now own Third Form and Fourth Form!

Cheryl Lowe, the author of the Form Series who recently passed away, had a passion for Classical Education and teaching Latin.  She co-founded Memoria Press.  In her letter "To the Students and Parents" - Discipulus et Parentibus she writes:

As I have said many times before, mastery is the key to success in Latin.  Students enjoy what they have thoroughly learned. They do not enjoy what they have half-learned and half-understood. The seriousness of this advice becomes more obvious with every lesson. Grammar is added to grammar, and vocabulary is added to vocabulary.  The work of mastery and review must  continue and not let up.

In Third Form Latin, Ms. Lowe continues to build upon the grammar and vocabulary she taught in First and Second Form Latin.

Since Turtlegirl has been using Third Form Latin I've enlisted her help with writing this review. Let's take look at each of the parts included in the complete set.

The Student Workbook


One of the first things Turtlegirl noticed about the student workbook is that it is spiral-bound now. It was not spiral-bound before when she studied First and Second Form. She loves that they changed the binding because it is much easier to work with now.



Third Form Latin Student Workbook Pages #hsreviews



As for the format, there are 7-9 exercises per lesson. These exercises involve practicing grammar, the lesson's Latin saying, vocabulary, several form drills, and translation exercises. If there are derivatives for that lesson, there will be an exercise using those. The exercises are sometimes broken down into Drill A, Drill B, etc. It should also be noted that the pages in the Student Workbook are numbered with the lesson and "Worksheet #". The Worksheet numbers reset for each lesson. However, the different exercises could start on one workbook page and end on the next.

Generally, the lesson starts with grammar, then the Latin saying, then vocabulary, then the form drills, and then translation and derivatives.


The Student Text


The course is divided into 5 (V) units. Each unit has a specific focus. Generally, the unit begins with a review of the grammar and vocabulary learned in the previous Forms that relates to the unit's focus. The unit ends with a review of what was covered in the unit.

Third Form Latin Student Text with Flashcards #hsreviews


Each lesson in the unit has a Latin saying.


Instructional DVDs:

For the lessons, the session begins with a recitation of the conjugations and declensions that the student has learned. Afterward, the instructor goes over the vocabulary for that lesson, saying the Latin first, then the English, and then the Latin again. The grammar for that lesson is discussed.

The Student Materials for Third Form Latin #hsreviews

Pronunciation CD


The Pronunciation CD also serves as a review of all of the vocabulary, since the instructor goes over the Latin pronunciation and the meaning. If a verb has irregular principle parts, the instructor says all of them. There is also a mini-quiz at the end of each track to help the students' comprehension and memory. There is no quiz for Lesson 1 since Lesson 1 did not have any new vocabulary and instead reviewed what was learned in First and Second Form. Lesson 2 is heavy on review but has some new vocabulary.  With Lesson 3 you are off and running with Third Form. The length of the tracks depends on what was covered in the lesson. This means that the track could be as short as two minutes or as long as 12 minutes.

Quizzes and Tests

The quizzes have the same look as the workbook pages with fill in the blanks and fill in the charts.  Generally all the quizzes will have sections on Vocabulary, Conjugate, Decline, Translate, and Grammar. Quizzes are 2 to 3 pages long.

Unit tests are longer ranging from 3 to 5 pages in length. Unit Tests also include sections for Latin Sayings.  A Final Exam is also included.

These are perfect bound and perforated.  We tear them out as needed which makes it easier to write on the pages.

Third Form Latin Teacher Resources from Memora Press #hsreviews


Teacher Manual


If you as a parent are teaching this course the Teacher Manual is invaluable. Even though I rely on the Instructional DVDs to do the teaching, I find the Teacher Manual valuable.  In addition to laying out what you should teach (and sometimes how to teach and what to say!) it has several appendices full of reference material.  The Teacher Manual includes teaching guidelines, which also include a sample lesson plan.

The Student Text pages are embedded in each Lesson.  This is a handy feature as it means you can reference the student pages while preparing to teach the lesson without having to hunt down the Student Text.



The Teacher Manual is also a valuable reference tool for students like Turtlegirl who are working through the program independently.  She can watch the video lesson, read through the student text and then if she is still having a bit of trouble, she can reference the Teacher Manual.   There are nuggets of wisdom such as 
Say each word aloud with its meaning, and have students repeat after you. Begin every day with this oral drill of the week's new vocabulary. These are the hard little words in any language. They require extra attention. (Lesson V page 19 Teacher Manual).
There are no answers to student workbook pages in the Teacher Manual so there is no worry that students will just copy the work. While I am not using Third Form Latin for high school credit, if I were, I would gladly hand my independent student the Teacher Manual to aid them in their studies.  My one complaint though about the Teacher Manual is that it is perfect bound. I wish it was spiral bound. 

But what about the answers to the workbook pages, quizzes and exams?  There is the Teacher Key!

Teacher Key 


The Teacher Key is spiral bound.  It is simply the student workbook pages, quizzes and tests with the answers filled in.  When we were using First Form and Second Form for high school credit these were my lifeline to grading.  I did not have to know any Latin at all.  Even Honeybear did some grading and he had less Latin exposure than I did!

Third Form Latin Teacher Key from Memoria Press #hsreviews


To save space each two page spread of the Teacher Key has 4 student pages.  This does make them a little harder to read but it also makes it so that key is not so huge and unwieldy.

Turtlegirl's Thoughts:

 
Turtlegirl loves Third Form Latin from Memoria Press! Read the review at CirclingThroughThisLiife.com #hsreviews

I love Latin. That's no secret. So, of course, I was super happy to work with Third Form since I'd already worked with First and Second Form. I found myself a little rusty, so the review in the first few lessons was very helpful. I love the spiral binding on the workbook. It made my life much easier. I also found the instructional videos very easy to follow. It was nostalgic for me to recite the conjugations again. I recommend Third Form Latin as well as the other forms because it's easy for self-study as well as a formal study environment. 

My Thoughts


I love that the Form series is so complete and thorough.  I think learning Latin is more fun when learning in a group but with the instructional DVDs this program works very well for driven independent learners.   When folks ask me what do I recommend for Latin?  I answer Memoria Press.  Supergirl is loving Prima Latina.  Boobear is refreshing her memory of Latin and I'm learning right along with Supergirl.   If you are just starting high school and just starting Latin, I encourage you try First Form Latin.  You may find yourself like us wanting to continue with Second Form, then Third Form and yes I know we'll be doing Fourth Form as well and my girls are college age and beyond now!


Memoria Press

In addition to the Latin Programs, the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed The Book of Trees and Nature's Beautiful Order

Latin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}

Check out Memoria Press on Social Media! 
Crew Disclaimer

5/22/17

Homeschool Computer and Technology Courses from CompuScholar, Inc. {Crew Review}

In this day and age the ability to use a computer is nearly essential for so many of our daily activities.  Our students need to be familiar with computers and many students enjoy programing and coding.

Recently the Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to use and review their choice of one of three online courses from CompuScholar, Inc.  As a crew leader I was blessed to receive teacher and student access for all three courses:  Digital Savvy, Web Design, and Java Programming.

You may already be familiar with CompuScholar, Inc. from their old name: Homeschool Programming.  We loved Homeschool Programming and I even wrote a review of their TeenCoder C# Series which included Windows Programming and Games Programming.

CompuScholar, Inc. provides courses for Homeschoolers, Individual Students and Small Groups!


Topics Covered in Digital Savvy:


While I have learned my way around computers, there is still so much I don't really know or understand so I've been working through Digital Savvy for myself!  Digital Savvy is a great introduction to computers and technology.  It starts with the basics. In the lessons in the first chapter explain what "hardware" is.  You'll also learn a bit of the history of computers and you'll be able to define "peripherals".  In the following chapters you'll learn about software, operating systems, and computer files. One thing I really appreciated about Digital Savvy is that it included information on Linux and Android not just Mac and Windows! In addition to these computer basics, you'll learn about Search Engines, Computer Networks, and Computer Security.

Digital Savvy is the perfect introductory course for students new to computers, computer science and technology!


What I am looking forward to though are the chapters that cover Word Processing, Spreadsheet Programs, Presentation Programs, and Database Technology.  I am hoping that the chapter on Database Technology will give me enough skills to start playing with creating a database to use for church library! (Yes, Honeybear and I have volunteered to do the Church Library!) There is even a chapter that covers Project Management and Teamwork.  Oh goodness but listening to BooBear as she worked with many teams to do project presentations in her different classes she and her classmates would have done well to study this chapter!

In the second half of the course students move into working with the internet.  There are two chapters just on Social Media. I think I might have to skip ahead to the chapter on Digital Images. Also covered are Web Design and Internet Communication.  Digital Savvy also introduces Programming Concepts and Digital Logic. The last chapter before the Final Project covers Careers and Professional Skills.

How the Course Works


These courses are online and students work can work through the materials independently. Students and teachers log in to their account and are taken to their dashboard or home page. To get to the course material click on the course title. This will bring up the page with the list of chapters. Click on a chapter to see the individual lessons, chapter activity, and exam. Unfortunately the program does not remember where you left off.

Digital Savvy has 25 chapters plus a "chapter" of Supplemental Lessons.  Each chapter is divided into Lessons.  The number of lessons varies from chapter to chapter with as few as 3 Lessons to as many as 6.  Most chapters have 3 Lessons.  All Chapters include an Activity and a Chapter Exam.




Each lesson contains Video, Text and Quiz.  The same information from the Video is presented in the Text however, there is more information in the Text.  Ideally, the student would watch the video which gives an introduction to the lesson and then read through through the Lesson Text.  If a student is only going to complete one or the other, I strongly recommend choosing Lesson Text over Lesson Video as the text includes additional information and for many of the lessons a Work With Me Section that includes discussion questions or an assignment.



The Chapter Activity provides hands on experience with the skills or topics covered.  For example in the activity for Chapter 4 students create folders, copy, move, and delete folders, and create a zip file. When I get to Chapter 12, I will create a Music Database and I hope that will give me the experience I need to create a Book Database!

Grading


Lesson Quizzes and Chapter Exams are graded automatically by the program. In Digital Savvy and Web Design students may attempt the quiz up to 3 times.  We noticed though that in Java Programming it was only 2 attempts.  Chapter Activities must be graded by the teacher.  These can be submitted through the course and the teacher can access them through their Dashboard.  The grading is easy! CompuScholar includes a Rubric so I just have to answer "yes" or "no".  The course calculates the grade for me.



Our Thoughts


Turtlegirl is home for the summer and she's been working a bit with Web Design and Java Programming.  Here are her thoughts:
First of all, I am a Computer Science major. I know my way around computers. I was doing this for fun. I decided to play around with the Web Design and Java Programming because it's been awhile since I studied Websites and I have never learned Java. One of the things I noticed and appreciated was the inclusion of Linux and other operating systems besides Windows in the first chapters of the Java Programming. I also greatly appreciated the time they took to introduce the history of computers and operating systems, as well as the discussion of computer ethics. I like having both a video to watch and a lesson to read. I did find that I could skip the video and not miss any information. I like the submission format, and I like that the program gives the student the grading rubric. I find that very helpful. I did not like the fact that with the quizzes, the wrong answers are not clearly shown in the review section. I found it very difficult to find where I went wrong and it was very frustrating. Overall, I liked the program a lot and I recommend it to students and those who are just studying computer science for fun.

I agree with Turtlegirl that for Web Design and Java Programming, which are set up exactly like Digital Savvy with Chapters that include Lessons, Activity and Chapter Exam including Lesson Video, Lesson Text, and Lesson Quiz, do not have the same easily visible "this answer is right" or "this answer is "wrong".  I really appreciate that Digital Savvy shows the correct answer.




I love how easy it is to use the courses. These are solid programs and the Java Programming is an AP level course! I recommend Digital Savvy for all students as an introductory computer science course and for students who discover a love of computers and programming I would suggest moving on to Web Design, Java Programming or any of the other courses offered. The courses offered by CompuScholar, Inc. prepared Turtlegirl so well that she was bit bored in her computer science class at college!

CompuScholar, Inc. Java Programming

Don't just take our word for it! Go check out what other crew members had to save about these courses!

Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}

Social Media Links:

Homeschool Programming
Facebook – www.facebook.com/HomeschoolProgramming
Twitter – https://twitter.com/HSProgramming   @hsprogramming

CompuScholar, Inc
https://www.facebook.com/CompuScholar
https://twitter.com/CompuScholar   @compuscholar


Crew Disclaimer

4/24/17

Menu Monday: Using up Left Overs: Broccoli Cheddar Soup!

I don't have any idea how regularly I will do a Menu Monday post but I like the idea of sharing a menu, recipe, or meal idea on a Monday.

Today I want to share a lunch idea using up leftovers. Not so much a recipe, but sharing what I did to use up left over broccoli.

If you were to ask my family if they like broccoli I am fairly certain they would look at you like you had two heads.  Like broccoli? I don't think so.

They might say "well I'll eat it," or they might respond with "I prefer it raw."

I've discovered though that Supergirl loves broccoli with cheese. Since I'm trying to get her to eat more veggies and we we are trying to get her to eat more protein we eat broccoli a few times a week.  Steamed.  For Supergirl I might sprinkle some Parmesan or shredded Cheddar on it.  Sometimes I splurge and buy those "microwave-in-a-bag" broccoli with cheese sauce.

Don't let them fool you though.  They like broccoli.  They just seem to think that they must hide it.  Maybe they are afraid if they admit it the world will explode.  People are not supposed to like broccoli right?

There is one way though that my family seems to LOVE broccoli. In soup.  Cream of Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

Using up leftovers! Broccolli Soup #MenuMonday @CirclingThroughThisLIfe.com
I almost forgot to take a picture! So you get a messy half full bowl. It was that good!

Sometimes the bag of frozen broccoli (okay okay most times!) is too much because there are only 4 of us eating instead of 5 or 6. I end up with leftovers.  Not quite enough to serve as a side dish for another meal but too much to throw away.

So the other day I made it into a soup.  I took the left over broccoli chopped it up a bit more and threw it in a pan and barely covered it with some chicken broth.  It was already tender from being steamed the night before so I wanted to be careful that I did not over cook it but I did want those steams to be even more tender.  Brought the broth to boil and then turned the heat down.  I stirred in some cheese and some half and half.  Decided it was a little too thin so mixed some cornstarch with water (not too much) and stirred that into it.  Creamy, cheesy, broccoli soup.  It fast.  It was easy.  It used up leftovers.

I have been told that I need cook broccoli this week.  A big bag.  You know so we can have some left overs to make soup.

What's on your menu this week?

4/2/17

Old Fashioned Reading Lessons ~ Eclectic Foundations a Crew Review

I have been teaching reading in one way shape or form in my home school for nearly 18 years. I have tried so many different reading programs with each of my daughters that I have lost count. Most of those learn to read programs I used with Supergirl. I've learned that I really prefer a phonics based approach. I've learned reading is complex skill that is as much about a child's developmental readiness as it is on the program you use and, that no matter what program you use, fluency seems to come best when real sentences and stories are used.

The one approach I hadn't tried yet was the old fashioned curriculum idea.  How about using McGuffey's Eclectic Readers to teach reading? I was excited to see that Eclectic Foundations would be offering their Language Arts Levels A, B, and C to the Homeschool Review Crew.  Let me start by telling you how I settled on using Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A with Supergirl.



Because I am a crew leader, I received all three currently available levels. I wasn't sure exactly which level, A or B would be the best fit for Supergirl. Looking at Level A, I was concerned that it would be too easy for her as the focus is learning the alphabet. The McGruffey's Eclectic Primer is not used until nearly the middle of the program. Supergirl already knows the phonemes of the basic 26 phonograms as well as a few more phonograms such as ai, ch, and ck.  Level A at first blush looked like it would bore her.

According to the Which Level Should I start With page, a child who knows how to read basic CVC words should be fine to start with Level B but when I looked through my copy of Level B, I wasn't comfortable starting her there because the first lesson includes a word list with the silent e pattern. This is covered towards the end of Level A. Also I didn't believe she was reading fluently enough to feel confident with Level B.  The First Reader starts out simply enough with CVC words but does move quickly into longer more difficult words.

I was worried that I would not be able to use either level with her so I sat down and paged through the Teacher Guide of Level A. There is definitely material in the second half of the program that she has not been introduced to. She has not learned the "silent e" rule and this is part of the scope and sequence of Level A.

I decided the *best* plan was to start at the lesson when the McGuffey Primer began: Lesson 65.  This was the perfect fit and the perfect place for Supergirl to start



The Program


I highly encourage you to read the company's perspective on Why Eclectic Foundations.

In addition to using the Revised Editions of McGuffey's Eclectic Readers, Elizabeth Ratliff based the phonics portion of the program on Word Mastery. She also includes daily Mother Goose rhymes from a 1916 version of the Real Mother Goose.

Eclectic Foundations Language Arts is designed to be used 4 days a week for 36 weeks. There are 144 lessons. The first 26 weeks or 104 lessons teach the alphabet 1 letter per week. They are not taught in alphabetical order but instead in an order to facilitate reading real words as quickly as possible. Blending of two and three letters begins in week 2 and in week 3 reading practice includes reading two CVC words.

The Overview in the Teacher's Guide lays out four sections:

 


McGuffy's Eclectic Reader ~ Students begin to read the McGuffey's Eclectic Primer starting in Lesson 65. Students will study the picture, read the selection, and color the word cards. The selections typically have a few words for practicing and then a few sentences. Every 5th lesson in the McGuffey's reader is a review passage. These are longer and incorporate the words the student has been reading in previous lessons.  Ms. Ratliff suggests reading the selection at least 3 times. Students can and should use the flashcards for more practice.

This is a sample page from the Primer reader.


Phonics ~ For most of Level A the phonics lessons are basically learning the letters, one letter at a time, but this shifts with lesson 105.  Beginning with lesson 105 students will have a list of words to practice reading.  These words are not related to the McGuffey reading section.  There are a variety of activities in Lessons 1-104 to teach phonemic awareness, tracking, and the sounds of the 26 letters of the alphabet. There is no instruction other than to help your student read the words for the lessons for lessons 105- 144.

Handwriting ~ For the lessons through 104 handwriting focuses on learning how to print the letters.  A variety of activities are offered each week from building the letter with playdough to writing it in sand to actually practice writing the letter in the student workbook handwriting page.  Lesson 105 the handwriting becomes copywork as students practice writing by copying a sentence from the day's McGuffey Reader selection.

Mother Goose ~ For Level A simply read the daily rhyme to your child and enjoy it together.  Ms. Ratliff suggests that if your child is artistically inclined she may want to draw a picture to go with the Mother Goose reading.

Grammar ~ While not stated in the Overview there is a fifth component woven though out the program: Grammar.  Grammar lessons are gentle introductions of topics that will be studied more in-depth in later years. The flashcards are used, not just for reading practice, but also for a gentle introduction to the parts of speech. As part of the McGuffey Reader part of the  lesson, the student will cut out and color the words from the reader.  These words are color coded according to their parts of speech.  Red for nouns, Green for verbs, etc.



From lessons 65-104 periodic grammar lessons introducing the parts of speech appear during McGuffey Reader review weeks. Starting with lesson 105, grammar is covered daily. These are simple lessons such as learning about capital letters and starting a sentence with a capital or learning about proper and common nouns and other lessons introduce punctuation.

Using the Program with Supergirl

 

As I stated above we started with Lesson 65.  We do not do all of the activities such as forming the letter with playdough.  Some lessons take us longer than others depending on whether I introduce a new phonogram from the Reader or we choose to use Can Do Letter blocks to build words instead of the laminated appendix.

We follow the suggestion to read the passage 3 times. I thought Supergirl would balk at reading the same passage 3 times but she doesn't mind and I truly see her reading and confidence build. We do use the word cards if there are any words that she really struggles with. We also use letter tiles and letter cubes to build any words she struggles with.

We do the student workbook pages as assigned for the lesson because Supergirl enjoys them and I think they help her solidify skills such as tracking and discrimination.

Two of my favorite worksheets are the letter matching and the maze. With the letter matching students are instructed to match the mama letters (Uppercase) with the baby letters (lowercase). These letters are written in different styles and fonts. The maze has the student trace the path created by the letter of the week.  This teaches tracking and discrimination.

Supergirl completes a letter maze.



Most Lessons include a game.  There are two variations of a "listening game" that develops phonemic awareness, a foundational reading skill.  In the first one,  Starting ? Game, you listen for the target to sound to identify if the word starts with that sound. In Begin, Middle, End? you listen for the target sound and identify whether it is in the beginning, middle, or end of a word.  The target sound corresponds to the letter of the week.

Supergirl and I both love the Word Building Game.  This teaches another foundational phonemic awareness skill: segmenting.  She calls it spelling because when we break the word down into it's segments we are identifying the phoneme and writing down the correct phonogram.


Things I think would make this program even better:

  • I wish that this program included phonogram cards or a cheat sheet of what sounds the letters make. 
  • I think it would really help if there was something in the Introduction of the Teacher Guide that addressed the concept of "sight words" or rather words that do follow more advanced patterns but are introduced now to make the stories more interesting to read.
  • I would love a heads up in the teacher guide about which "sight words" are introduced that day in the McGuffey reader. 
  • I find it jarring to have Supergirl practice reading CVC words in the phonics but reading CVCC and longer words in the Reader. Something in the Introduction or some notes in the Teacher Guide for each lessons would be great.  Something like "today your student will read stand. You may want to introduce this flashcard and practice blending before reading today's McGuffey selection." 

Our Thoughts:

Thoughts from Supergirl:

I like it because I love to read.  I like the word building game because it is like spelling.  I like the reader and I like reading to my mom. It is fun. I am learning to read and write words like frog, cat, Rab, dog, stand, catch, and sit.
Supergirl reads the daily selection three times!

My Thoughts:


I love this program for Supergirl right now. I love how short the lessons are but most of all I love seeing my daughter's fluency improve and her confidence grow.  I like how simple it is.

I do want to point out that this would not have been a good fit for Supergirl a year ago and this would not have been a good fit for BooBear when she was first learning to read at age 4/5.  However, this would have been near perfect to use with Turtlegirl and Tailorbear who understood phonices much more instinctively and both were ready to read at age 4/5.

When we finish Level A we will move into Level B and if that goes as well as Level A, we'll continue with Level C.

Some crew members reviewed Level A, others Level B and a few reviewed Level C.  Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read their reviews!


Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}

Visit Eclectic Foundations on Facebook!

Crew Disclaimer

3/29/17

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Just Chilling

I would have posted this last week but we were in recovery mode and I was too tired:

Last week Supergirl had a cardiac catherization.  She's doing great and all looks well with her heart

I snapped this picture of her chilling on the couch after we got home from the hospital. She needed to lay low for a while longer and keep her leg straight as much as possible.  She thought it was great to lay back on the couch and watch Netflix.


Supergirl chilling on the couch watching Netflix!