Showing posts from September, 2010

Let’s Talk Language Arts

This week’s Blog Cruise Question asks: What are your favorite resources for the ages and grades that you are teaching? I’ve decided that I want to explore my favorite resources for Language Arts. Language Arts as a subject might better be expressed as the Art of Communication.   As a subject LA strives to teach the skills necessary for communication.   We can categorize these skills into two very broad areas:  Receptive and Expressive. Within receptive language skills we find reading and listening skills.  Forms of expressive language skills include writing and speaking. For years I’ve tried to find a comprehensive Language Arts Curriculum that covered all the skills my girls needed to communicate effectively.   After 14 years, I still haven’t found the one single LA program that “does it all” in a way that works for us. Instead, I’ve found that it has really helped to break down those skills and then seek products that work best for my family to teach those skills.  Some areas l

One Year Later

Today is the Sunday of the Exaltation of the Cross.   One year ago, on the Sunday of the Exaltation of the Cross, I attended my very first Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox Church. A year ago, I wasn’t sure if I could be Orthodox.  Incense?  Icons?  Crossing myself?   I don’t think so.  I remember thinking, “Can I be Orthodox and not do the whole icon thing?” (um, no) I knew that theologically, I needed to be Orthodox.   The whole concept of Theosis just resonates within my soul.   I had come to realize that my view of salvation was Orthodox!  I was saved.  2,000 years ago Christ suffered on the Cross so that I could be redeemed.  My faith has made me “right with God.”  I am being saved.  Right now,  I am being conformed to the image of Christ and I strive to be more and more like Him.   Lord have mercy,  I will be saved when I stand before Him and behold His glory!  But even though I my heart sang with joy at the discovery of Theosis, my mind struggled with such things as icons and inc

TOS Review: “Vocabulary Cartoons”

Near the beginning of the Cruise year, our wonderful Vendor Liaison, Brenda, posted a list of upcoming vendors.  I saw New Monic Books on the list and I waited in anticipation for the list of names to be posted.  I knew that I had at least one daughter who would devour this book! There were cheers from everyone in our house when mommy found her name on the list. Turtlegirl is my language girl.  She has always had a love for words, so it was no surprise to me that she disappeared with the book moments after it arrived.  I heard her giggle and laugh.      Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power ($12.95)from New Monic Books is not just entertaining; it’s educational.   While giggling and laughing, Turtlegirl, along with her sisters, increases vocabulary knowledge.  The book also helps to expand writing skills as the girls seek to out do each other making up sentences with the words.  How does Vocabulary Cartoons Work? Vocabulary Cartoons uses  mnemonics, a device used to help you reme

Does Mom get free time too?

It’s Blog Cruise time again.  This week’s question is How do you find free time? Is it okay to take time for yourself? If so, how?  As I ponder these questions, I can’t help but answer “it depends.”    Is it okay to take time for yourself, yes, but how and when, are going to depend on a lot of factors. I know when my girls were little I really struggled with whether or not I was being completely selfish for thinking I needed a break.  I love my girls.  I enjoy being with them.  I was haunted by the words of a mom of many.   She and her husband came by themselves to bring us a dinner when my 4th baby was born.   I made the comment that it must be nice to get out without the baby (their baby was a few months older than mine) and she responded with something like “I like being with my children.”    She was older than me; she had more children than me.  Surely, she must then have more wisdom and clearly I was missing something. But was I?   I didn’t mean nor did I imply that she didn’t

TOS Review: America’s Math Teacher

Though my daughters seem to thrive in social studies and language arts, they do not all thrive in mathematics.   The longer I home school the more I appreciate the need for supplemental math programs, so I was excited to receive a 2 month online subscription from America’s Math Teacher . What is America’s Math Teacher? America’s Math Teacher is online math education developed by the same classroom teacher that created the award winning Math Essentials workbook program.   For $195  America’s Math Teacher offers one year access to their web based program.  The heart of the program is located in the Learning Center which offers 4 levels or courses:  Basic Math Course,  Advanced Math Course,  Pre-Algebra and Algebra.   Students watch video lessons from the Learning Center and follow up with practice by using written exercises that you can download and print.  From the Website: Basic Course —designed for 4th and 5th graders Advanced Course - “This course is designed for middle g

A Planner Update

Recently, I blogged about the The TOS Planner .   With this post, I want to share an update on how my planner set up is going.  First let me refresh your memory about the TOS Planner with some excerpts from my previous post . “ The TOS Planner is an electronic planner that you can print out or save on your computer.  It is a PDF file that allows you to type in your information *and* save it!   All of the forms that you would need to make your lesson plans and plan out your school year are right there and some forms have different layouts so you  can pick the style that you like best.  Also included are forms for tracking grades, reading logs, memorization items and a form for a high school transcript.” “The Old Schoolhouse Planner is packed with over 600 pages! Before getting to the the hundreds of pages of useful forms you are given a rich tool to enhance your home school experience.   There are 12, what I think of as enrichment sections each coordinating with a month and loosely

Home School Burn Out

If you are expecting to find a post about how I’ve got all the answers and I can tell you how to cope and get through it, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. This is a post about me feeling the burn out and exploring in myself why I’m feeling burnt out and maybe discover what I can do to cope and overcome this debilitating state of mind.  I’ve just invited you all to come along for the ride. It could be that I’m a perfectionist. I struggle with the difference between realistic expectations and expectations of perfection.  While I know, at least with some sense of reasoning, that I can not do it all and that the more I have to do the less of me I can give, I just can’t seem to completely overcome the part of me that seems to think I should be able to do it all and do it all perfectly with a smile to boot. It could be my own lack of self-discipline.  You know the inability to make myself do what I know needs to be done.   Sometimes I just don’t wanna!  I don’t want to make myself do it

Great Deal on The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

As a home schooling parent I know that teaching my children can be a labor of love.  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is celebrating the Labor of Love with an extraordinary subscription deal. From now until Midnight PDT on September 15, TOS is offering home school families a one year print subscription for only $7.95 or choose the one year plus current issue for $12.95.  The One-Year subscription begins with the winter issue whereas the One-Year Plus Current subscription starts with the fall issue. I am anxiously awaiting my copy of the fall issue so that I can read articles by Ruth Beechick, Todd Wilson and Molly Green.  Each issue is packed full of information and encouragement and at this unbelievable price, I just might have to add another year to my own subscription.  But we’ll need to hurry.  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine only has 5000 special subscriptions available and they are only available until midnight (PDT) on September 15.  Once the 5000 are gone they’re gone! Hurry a

TOS Review: My Access

When I saw my name on the list for the notification for this product, I literally shouted out loud! I was afraid I was going to wake the children because I was so excited. I had heard of My Access before and the more I heard the more intrigued I became.. What is My Access ?     My Access from Vantage Learning is an interactive online  subscription that utilizes artificial intelligence to provide instant feedback to students.  The students use this feedback to improve their writing skills.  It is intended for students ages 8 to 18.   The writing topics (over 100 of them!) are first divided by age groups: 8-11, 11-14, 15-18.  The topics are further divided by purpose: informative, narrative, and persuasive.  My Access teaches students to approach writing as a process.   Each 12 month unlimited access subscription includes one parent-account and either 3 student-level accounts ($99) or 6 student-level accounts.  ($129). How does My Access Work? I was given the subscription for