Archive for January, 2012


Maestro Classics

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We love music.  I encourage my children to develop an appreciation for the art, beauty, and talent in every genre.  I’ll admit, it’s a little harder to find in some, more than others, but it is possible.

In December, I had the opportunity to take my children to hear the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  The youngest, especially, were amazed to hear and see the instruments at the same time.  I loved watching them, as they heard a new sound, searching to find the instrument it was coming from.  It was a wonderful experience.

“Listening to symphonic music allows a child to listen to the sounds that various instruments make and then make an informed decision on which instrument they might like to try playing.”  It’s true.  My child could envision herself playing the flute.  Actually, she mimicked playing it throughout the entire concert.  I don’t know if she had even seen a flute before then.

Maestro Classics is classical music for kids.  It is geared for children ages 6 – 12.  The music is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.



They have 9 productions available:

Peter and the Wolf

The Soldier’s Tale

The Story of Swan Lake

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music

The Tortoise and the Hare

Casey at the Bat

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Juanita the Spanish Lobster

Each CD is $16.98 or purchase a MP3 download for $9.98.  Nearly an hour of music, by brilliant composers, narration and background information.

Comments or Questions?

email ~

write ~

Maestro Classics

P.O. Box 688

Falmouth, MA  02541

call ~






Read other reviews by clicking the banner below.


This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Categories : Art, Award, homeschool, Music, reviews, TOS
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It’s a Wrap!

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At our house, a school day might begin something like this…

A Younger Child:  “Hey, Momma, did you know that all of the Anderson’s have the flu?”

ME:  “I didn’t.  When you talk to Katie, find out if they need anything.”

Younger Child:  “Okay.”

An Older Sibling:  “Did you know that our great-great-grandmother died from the flu?  Nana was born in 1912, so she was only six when her mom and her little brother died in 1918.”

ME:  “The worst plague in America was the Influenza Epidemic of 1918.  More people died from the flu in that year than died in all of World War I.”

Younger Child:  “She was younger than me.”

ME:  “She was.  Then, her dad died when she was just 12.  She was your sister’s ages living through The Great Depression.”

Older Child:  “1929-1939 or 41, or something?”

Younger Child:  “What’s The Depression?”

ME:  “I’ll tell you what, after breakfast, I’ll show you some pictures of kids during The Great Depression.  I’ve got a book, someplace.  I’ll find it.  It’s called Children of the Great Depression.  Just the photographs will give you a good idea of what The Great Depression was, but we’ll talk about it, too.”

At this point, my brain is charging ahead with plans for today and tomorrow, and beyond.

THINKING:  “I’ll make breakfast a little hardier than I initially planned, so I can just give them bread & water for lunch.  Seriously, hunger was real during The Depression.  Maybe we’ll follow a bare-bones-potato-soup recipe for dinner and eat by the light of an oil lamp.”

I know my older ones read The Great Depression, America 1929-1941, by Robert S. McElvaine, but the mids haven’t, yet.

THINKING:  “I’ll pull that out and we can read excerpts from it, to everyone, but they can work on reading the whole thing, themselves, over the next week.  They’ll definitely need to start a vocabulary/spelling list.  I have some Penmanship/Copywork pages I can add for the younger ones and an essay assignment for the oldest.”

DANCING INSIDE MY HEAD:  I can download an instant e-Book from Zeezok Publishing!  One of their Z-Guides to the Movies for the Depression era.  I’m pretty sure they have one for Kit Kittredge, and since we already own the movie we could actually work on it this week.  They love that movie, but with the Z-Guide they’ll see it in a whole new light.”




Books, movies, the internet.  The library, Netflix, museums.  I use them all.  Anything and everything that I can get my hands on and afford, that will stimulate my children’s desire to learn and successfully educate them.

Zeezok Publishing has been providing materials for the homeschooling community since 1993.  They’ve published government and history texts, and sixteen classic biographies on the great composers.  In 2010 they introduced us to Z-Guides to the Movies.



Each Z-Guide is developed for a specific movie.  We’ve found many of the movies at our local library; most are available for rent on Netflix, Zeezok sells a few and some you may already own.  There are more than 30 Z-Guides available, now, and another 25 are due to be released in the spring.


$12.99 gives you access to an instant e-Book download, of your choice, or you can have a CD shipped.  Many topics and time-periods are covered –

 Ancient Civilizations

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

Medieval Europe

16th, 17th, 18th & 19th Century Europe

American and French Revolution

Westward Expansion

War Between the States

The Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression

World Wars 1 & 2 and Post-WW2

and the Vietnam War

You’ll get a topic, time-period overview; a movie synopsis, giving you an understanding of the relationship between characters, events and situations.  A list of review questions to be discussed and answered as the movie is being watched, and additional activities prompting research and writing.  My favorite section of every Z-Guide is the Filmaker’s Art and Dramatic License Activity.  I do not have the ready knowledge that I find in this section.  Even as my children are learning, so am I.

“The Filmmaker’s Art activity helps the student recognize the tools being used to influence the viewer.”  Without the Z-Guide, I don’t always discern these as clearly.  “The various guides discuss how filming techniques, music, lighting, humor, character development, irony, foreshadowing, and even character names are used by the director and producer to influence the viewer to get their agenda across.”  Z-Guides to the Movies has changed the way we see a movie and that’s their goal.  They “want the student to be able to discern not only the agenda of the movie, but also how they are being influenced by it. The goal is that when the student goes to the theatre and watches a movie, he walks out not thinking it was an entertaining movie, but understanding the bigger message behind each film.”

My children are enhancing their critical thinking skills.  Besides movies, they now look at reading material differently, and also examine the influence and impact they may have on others with what they personally write or visually and musically produce.

I think  Z-Guides are impressively thorough.  In 2011, I used one with The Hiding PlaceClick the link to read my review.

Recently, we did, indeed, use the Z-Guide for Kit Kittredge.  Written for elementary and middle school, it was easily adaptable to include our K5 through high school and adult.

Topics and Activities covered ~

The Great Depression



Family Unity

and Hobo Life

It was a perfect wrap to an interesting study!

The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew has had the opportunity to review several different Z-GuidesClick on the banner below to read what my crew mates thought of each one.

Comments or Questions?

Contact Zeezok Publishing

email –

write –

P.O. Box 1960

Elyria, OH  44036

call –






The next time you study, tie everything together with a Z-Guide and a family movie night!




This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


I am not affiliated with Netflix and I receive no compensation for references.


*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.



I appreciate your encouragement.  Thanks for your comments.  PK



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A Little Fickly

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When I was just a few years married, about a year after my husband and I bought our first house, and just weeks after we sold most of our possessions, had put everything else into storage, and rented out said house, so we could buy an itty-bitty travel trailer, pack up our children and hit the road, my younger, unmarried, brilliant, well-educated brother dared to call me fickle.  I cried.  I was so hurt that he would think that of me.  Where did it even come from?

I was doing my best to make carefully thought out, prayed about, researched and counseled choices and decisions for my family.  What I saw as flexible, open and, willing to follow the leading of The Spirit, my brother perceived as irresolute, not constant and likely to change frequently, suddenly or unexpectedly.  Not a favorable light.  It was incomprehensible to me that he could think that lowly of me!

It was such a big deal to me, and yet, it was only a short time, a little maturity and, a dab of life experience that had him clearly understanding what I hadn’t been able to explain, as I had tearfully defended my battered honor.  Thinking back to 20 years ago, to the heart-drama of it, makes me smile wistfully.  It is amazing, the mole hills that we can make into mountains!  Such a simple issue, especially, in light of the vein of truth I’ve discovered in my brother’s observation.

I am fixed and steadfast in my commitment to homeschooling my children, but I am of a changeable mind; often fickle, as I seek out the best curriculum for each of them.  I might be sure I’ve found the best math program available, and six months later be able to honestly tell you I’ve discovered a new best.  Each child is different, time and circumstances change, and it seems there is a product being developed and released nearly every day.  I am firm in my purpose, but might appear fickly in my opinion of curriculum choice.  I’m okay with that!  I’m looking for exceptional and every time I find it- I’m sharing it with you.

Recently, I’ve found the best  R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish program!  Developed by Dr. Karyn Williamson-Coria, a mother, with her doctorate, on a quest to find the best foreign language study for her children.  This is “a program that enables parents to learn along with their child, a program that is easy to use and enables a home educator to help children use the language.”



“Most programs work on reading, writing, listening and pronunciation,” but have little interaction with others; rarely using the language.  “This program is built upon a conversational Spanish foundation” that promotes interaction and immersing the entire family in the language learning journey.  I found it easy to integrate into our already scheduled programming.  Notice the initialism ~


Relax.  Enjoy.  Aspire.  Learn.

The goal, of learning Spanish and teaching it to my children, seems attainable, with R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish.  The education is apparent, but surprisingly, I also found encouragement and inspiration.

10 Units

covering 33 Vocabulary Clusters [groups of words that relate to each other]

with 15 Idea Sections [prompting ways to further learning]

and A Huge Activity Book [games, puzzles and more, to reinforce each lesson, with a minimum of stress and a lot of fun!]

Complete Audio Files

and A Daily Curriculum Guide.

Order the Book Bundle download for $49.95 or the hardcopy for $89.95.

For more information, follow the links highlighted throughout this post and click the graphic below to read what my TOS crew mates have to say about Homeschool Spanish.

Comments or Questions?


Will 2012 be the year your family learns Spanish?



This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Thanks for sharing your comments.  I appreciate you.

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.



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