Archive for English

Aug
10

What is King Alfred’s English?

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Can Vocabulary delight you?  Can one be captivated by Linguistics?  Have you ever found yourself enthralled by our English Language or beckoned by History?

King Alfred’s English ~ A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do  is a delightfully woven tapestry of History, English, vocabulary, grammar and linguistics.  The author, Laurie J. White, is knowledgeable about the History of English, and passionate about sharing it with others.  “King Alfred’s English provides a guided tour of forces and events, conquerors and writers that have shaped, simplified, matured and expanded English into what it is today – the first truly global language in history.”

 

Travel through time…

Beginning around 55 BC, in Pre-English Britain, learn of the Celts, and Christian Romans in London, through Old English, Middle English, and A Time of Transition.  1526-1611 AD finds you in The Reformation, moved by the contributions and sacrifices of Wycliffe and Tyndale, during The Making of the English Bible.  “The publishing of the English Bible had an unprecedented affect on the development of English.”  Meet Shakespeare and Modern English, traveling from 1500 to today.

Laurie is articulate and witty, and this book is a pleasure to read!  King Alfred’s English is clearly written from a Christian perspective, highlighting the influence of Christianity across countries and continents, through language.  It is educational, conversational, and enlightening.  Presently, I am reading it as literature, out loud, to my children.  In just the first chapter, they were fascinated to learn that the Biblical book of Galatians, which they remembered as a letter written by Paul to the Galatians, was actually written to a group of Celts.  The Celts had settled in what is now called Turkey.  They were related though, to the Celts in Gaul, and were hence called Gaul-atians.  Tidbits, like this, scattered throughout this book, give it irresistible appeal.  We are captivated!

The Shorter Word.com, Laurie’s website, includes lists of free resources that correspond to each chapter in the book.  Worksheets and Tests, along with suggested books and movies, to enhance a setting or time frame, or more clearly define a person of interest, plus website links with additional information, make King Alfred’s English a full semester course.  Written for ages 12 – Adult; designed for grades 7 – 12, it’s on our schedule for Fall classes!

Christianbook.com has the best price for King Alfred’s English, as of this writing, at $14.89, but you can also find this soft cover book, over 150 pages, at Amazon.com and Rainbow Resource.

~

Laurie would love to hear from you, and you can send her an email with your comments and questions – laurie@theshorterword.com, or visit her facebook page.

I hope you’ll also take a few minutes to read what my Crew mates think of King Alfred’s English.  Just click the banner below and follow the attached link.


 

 

 

I love the English language, even when I have found it frustrating, as I was teaching a child to read or spell.  It always seemed to break the very rules I was trying to teach!  I have already gained more understanding and a new respect for our language, in light of  the multitudinous changes, through invasions, illuminations and edicts, that English has gone through since its inception.  It is easier to teach when I know why a word is pronounced one way, instead of another, or where the 100 most common words used in our language originate from.  English has such a rich heritage, “linguists estimate that as much as seventy to seventy-five percent of our English vocabulary is foreign,” and King Alfred’s English encourages me to be thankful for every word of it.

~

If you are interested in purchasing this book, I have a code for a 50% discount, good through September 2012, that I will give the first 5 of you that comment on this post.

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   An e-book edition of this product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review, as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

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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Feb
13

Much To Do About Spelling

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I think I’ve told you, a couple of times, how much I love to read.  I’ve shared with you my love of language, wanting to learn Spanish and Latin.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, even diagramming sentences.  I like the rhythm of words.  The cadence of their syllables.  I think spelling bees are wonderful!

Some of my children share my love of reading.  Some of them write and develop story lines, fleshing out characters.  They’ll watch The National Spelling Bee with me, amazed at the difficulty of some of the words given, but none of them actually enjoy spelling.   I think it’s because they lack confidence in their ability to spell words correctly.  They recognize a word when reading it, but cannot always spell it when using it in their writing.  They know the meaning of a word, and can use it properly in a sentence, but inevitably will forget how to spell it.  I’ll admit, this is no small frustration for me.  We own more than one dictionary and have utilized spell check on the PC, even when something is being written by hand.  Grumblings can sometimes be heard when one is sent to heft the cumbersome, intimidating dictionary off the shelf, to “find the word yourself,” and the computer is not always accessible; so, they often ask me how to spell a word.  Even then, the usual response is, “spell the word, the way you think it is spelled, and then ask me if it’s correct.”

We’ve done vocabulary lists and spelling words for the week.  Using rote and repetition.  And, it’s a good thing I like words as much as I do, because we’ve been playing word games, like Scrabble and Boggle, for 30 years!  Educational fun and reinforcement, you know.  Yet, spellings escape them.

Last year, as a TOS Homeschool Review Crew Member, I reviewed what-is-now my favorite Reading Tool.   See-N-Read was my introduction to CadenaSmith Enterprises, and it is “a truly effective intervention for reading.”  This year, See-N-Spell arrived at my house, with much anticipation!  It is a 40 page Spelling and Vocabulary Quick Reference Guide.

 

 

In alphabetical order, you’ll find more than 300 most commonly used vocabulary words and commonly misspelled words.  Basically, if you know the first letter or couple of letters in a word, you can find it here, correctly spelled.  Homophones (here – hear, there – their) are listed too (to – two), with a brief definition, so it’s easy to choose the correct one.  Although, it is printed on heavy duty, semi-gloss paper, for repeated use, it is not a heavy, 2 inch thick, hard bound book.  It’s an unassuming, easy-to-use booklet, that prompts my children to use it regularly.   Dr. Sylvia Smith, the author, thought to include a section where you can write your own special interest words, words you might use fairly often, but waffle on when it comes time to spell.  Guaranteed, or is it gauranteed?  Sometimes, after we study it for several seconds it becomes even more muddled.  Easier just to look it up in the See-N-Spell and move on in your creative or constructive writing.

“Writers typically possess a larger everyday spoken (social) language vocabulary than written academic language vocabulary.”  The See-N-Spell – Spelling and Vocabulary Quick Reference Guide facilitates getting that larger vocabulary transferred easily to the written page.  “The need for correct spelling and adequate vocabulary is not limited to English Literature and Composition courses…they are essential components of success in Social Studies, Science, and Math, as well as in the world of business.”

It’s our new go-to spelling guide!  At $9.99 I think it’s a worthwhile investment, plus, I nearly forgot to tell you, you receive my favorite, document sized See-N-Read Reading Tool FREE,  with each See-N-Spell booklet you order!   Please, follow the links I’ve included in this post and visit their website for more information.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

phone ~ 630.236.5592

email ~ info@see-n-read.com

or write ~

CadenaSmith Enterprises

2533 Sutton Lane

Aurora, IL  60502-9461

As always, my wonderful Crew mates have written their own reviews of this product.  If you click on the graphic below you’ll find them on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog.

Blessings,

 

 

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.

 

~ Thank 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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Nov
28

Time Well Spent

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I am especially fond of playing games with my children that teach more than just good sportsmanship or cooperation.  I appreciate games like Scrabble, Boggle, Bible Trivia, and chess, more than Sorry or Parcheesi.  I’m all for fun, but time is valuable, so why not combine fun and learning to make the most of it, right?

If your child is not yet reading, or could use some sight-word reinforcement, I have the perfect game for you!  The Reading Game.

 

 

Designed for children ages 4 and up, it requires two players – the student and a tutor.  It is a fast paced memory game, it’s FUN, and the results are quick and encouraging!

Basically, it consists of 6 story books, illustrated in black and white sketches, and six color-coded decks of cards.  You begin with the cards.  There are 6 games per deck, introducing 5 new words per game or 30 words per deck.  The players match the words, and while doing so, the student-player learns to recognize and master them.

 

This video might give you a better idea of how it works –

 

When all of the words in a deck are learned, all through game play, the corresponding color book can be read.  The stories are well-written, they seem like “big-kid” stories.  The feeling of accomplishment by the reader is palpable!

 

 

 

When the first book, Skunk, is read, it means that 30 new words have been mastered, and 30 more, when the second book, Snake, is read, and so on, through all six books, until your child has a reading vocabulary of 180 words!  22 of the 25 most commonly used English words and 42 out of the top 50.  It’s no wonder children and parents get excited to play this game.

The Reading Game is a well researched, supplemental reading program, that promotes long term retention of words.  It is serious FUN!  It’s $24.95, and time, well spent!

 

For more information, follow the links I’ve provided to the website.

Questions or Comments – emailinfo@thereadinggame.com

call 858.412.3442

or

write Allsaid & Dunn

2727 De Anza Rd., Suite SD21

San Diego, CA  92109


Read other informed reviews of this product by clicking on the graphic below.

Blessings,

 

 

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.

Thank you for your comments. 

 

*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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Nov
02

Striving for Excellence in Literature

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Just a little more than a week ago, I wrote a blog post, a review, and in it I said, “I don’t believe that I have all of the answers to my children’s educational needs, or that I’m even required to, but I can find the answers.”  You thought that I said this, thought it, or wrote it for YOU, didn’t you?  Well, I did; I want you to find encouragement here, but…you would not believe how many times in the course of one school year that I have to remind myself of this!  I still have much to learn.

I’ve told you in other posts, that I love reading, English, spelling and writing!  I even thought that I had a decent foundation in these areas.  Oh, woe am I, I recently sent myself back to school, with my students.  Our teacher?  Mrs. Janice Campbell, author of Excellence in Literature:  Reading and Writing Through the Classics, by Everyday Education.

 

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We began at the beginning, with EIL::  English 1:  Introduction to Literature.  The first of 5 college preparatory levels:

  1. Introduction to Literature
  2. Literature and Composition
  3. American Literature
  4. British Literature
  5. World Literature

(Note:  American and British Literature are co-published with the Institute for Excellence in Writing.)

 Introduction to Literature is written for grades 8 – 12 and has options for honors credit.  I find the reading and writing both stimulating and challenging, and we have not even properly used the honors options!

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 Click graphic to follow unit sample link.

 

 The text is written to the student and is designed to be self-directed.  There are 9 units per level, optimally completed within 4 weeks each.  Each unit focuses on a specific piece of writing, or group of writings – novels, drama & poetry.  These are the focus texts.  Additionally, a study of the author is done, including research on the historical time period the author is writing from and the art, music and influences of the day.  These context texts provide an in-depth understanding of the literature, making the analysis easier and more informed.  The student is encouraged to read the honors texts as well, if they desire to take AP and/or CLEP exams.  Finally, a composition, in answer to a specific essay question, must be planned, drafted, revised, polished and presented for evaluation.

Initially, as I read through the course syllabus, I was overwhelmed.  Even though the author says, “reading is a conversation between a reader and an author,” and she successfully writes this way, I have neither taken a course, nor taught a course, with requirements such as these.  That’s why I decided we would do the first units together.  Reading aloud, researching together, pooling our thoughts and openly discussing the essay questions.  We have not written anything, yet, or used the Evaluation Rubric that’s provided, but we are learning.

My high school students are already past eighth grade and they don’t have 5 years left to complete this exceptional literature course; so, we’re being flexible and that actually has Janice Campbell’s blessing.  Yes, each level ideally builds on the previous one, but it is also designed to mix and match, across levels as needed, to allow for – the coordination of literature levels with history studies, time constraints, etc.  My thought is that it is better for a student to complete only two levels in three years, while becoming comprehensively literate and discovering a treasure of great stories, plays and poems, than to strictly follow the lesson plan but never quite “get it.”  Mrs. Campbell acknowledges that each family and student is unique.  She does have a goal for Excellence in Literature.

Her goal is to:

  • Introduce students to great literature from the western literacy tradition.
  • Teach students to read with discernment.
  • Train independent, self-motivated learners.
  • Provide tools that students can use to strengthen their writing skills.
  • Introduce students to sources for high-quality online and offline research.
  • Prepare students for college classes by expecting carefully-researched, well-thought-out material to be presented in standard format, with preliminary proofreading completed.

But even as we are striving to reach these goals, she gives us permission to suit the curriculum to our needs.  (“Thank you, Janice Campbell, I appreciate that freedom more than you may know.”)  I’m more comfortable with the set-up every day, including my adjustments.  I’ve completely cut out a couple of focus texts and substituted a couple of honors texts in place of the assigned texts.  I chose T.S. Eliot’s, Murder in the Cathedral (honor), over Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw (focus) and The Pilgrim’s Progress (honor), by John Bunyan, over Gulliver’s Travels (focus), by Jonathan Swift.  The Pilgrim’s Progress is our first essay.  I have big plans to quickly glean as much as possible of English 1, steadily move through English 2 and maybe scratch the surface of English 3, before the next graduation.

I love this curriculum and I’m looking forward to actually following the prescribed lesson plan with my younger children!

Excellence in Literature is available in print or e-book.  I like this particular product in e-book format.  I had instant access and copyright permission to print as many copies as needed for my immediate family.

~

1 year/level – $29.

All 5 levels, now available, at one time – $139.

~

You can contact Janice Campbell several ways, the woman is everywhere!  =)

email is best ~ jceved@comcast.net

or

write ~

Janice Campbell

Everyday Education,LLC

P.O. Box 549

Ashland, VA  23005  USA

subscribe to her blogs ~

Taking Time For Things That Matter

and

Do What Matters, Make It Pay

or

click logo to follow on facebook.

Read other reviews of Excellence in Literature:  English 1:  Introduction to Literature, on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog.

Blessings,

 

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 your comments.

*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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