Archive for Foreign Language

Jun
14

Art Ditto by Birdcage Press ~ A TOS Review

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It never ceases to amaze me what one creative, motivated momma can accomplish when she has three young children, and wants to teach them that learning is fun!   In this case, the woman is Wenda O’Reilly.  Her first game was published by Birdcage Press in 2000.  There are now more than 30 award-winning games available!

 

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“Classic card games with an educational twist.”

I recently had the opportunity to review Art DittoIt is a memory game, but it is so much more, too!

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There are 48, 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″, high-gloss, heavy-duty tiles of famous museum-quality paintings.  The paintings depict birds, boats, cats, flowers, horses; and music.  They are gorgeous!  There are also 8, 5″ x 10″ cards that can be used for collecting art sets.  Designed for ages 4+, it is a wonderful game for family play with multiple ages.  You’ll find it on the website for $24.95, and possibly in your local art museum’s gift shop.

Because Art Ditto is a memory game, it promotes visual processing, matching, memory, taking turns; and sharing for young children.  The pictures are vibrant, and hold a child’s attention.  This game is not just for wee ones, though.  The cards list the subject of the painting, the artist; and the name of the painting and the date.  The text is written in four languages!  English, French, Spanish; and German.  (I do wish there was a pronunciation guide included, because it took me some time to look up the proper pronunciations so I could read them aloud.)  This game could easily be used, with older students, as a supplement to their art studies, history; and language.

I played it with a 4 year old.  Just me and my granddaughter.  She loved the art!  We spent at least 15 minutes just enjoying the paintings, and discussing what we saw in them.  48 cards seemed a bit overwhelming for a memory game, though, and it took us forever to match them; so after the first game, we chose themes ahead of time.  One time we chose the tiles with flowers and tiles with the color green on them, another time we chose tiles that had something “living” on them, and so on.  Each new game, we mixed up the set of tiles and played with the smaller set, making it quicker and a little more enjoyable for her age.  It’s a game that can easily grow with her, and future grandchildren.

My Crew mates reviewed several of the products that are available at Birdcage Press, and if you click the banner below and follow the link you’ll find them there.

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 Blessings,

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Disclaimer*   I received the game, Art Ditto, 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.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from 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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May
15

Spanish for You! ~ A TOS Review

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One more time, I have the opportunity to learn, and to teach my children Spanish.  Let me just tell you now that I think this program might actually work for us!

 

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Spanish for You!  is a full-year Spanish curriculum built around a theme, instead of grade levels.  It’s actually designed in a way that I can use it with all of my children at the same time.  Created by Spanish teacher and author, Debbie Annett, for grades 3 – 8, it is concise and simple to use.  Currently, there are two themes available:  Fiestas – Celebrations, and Estaciones – Seasons.  Another theme, Viajes – Travels, is expected this summer.  Our study is based on Estaciones Seasons.  We enjoy each of the four seasons, the outdoors, and the dramatic weather changes we sometimes experience; so this seemed a perfect place for us to begin!

 

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 Curriculum includes:

Soft-bound text, Parent/Teacher Guide

Lesson Guides for Grades 3 – 8 in PDF format

MP3 audio download for each Lesson

Printable worksheets in PDF format

Flashcards, to download and print

and

Audio download of the entire book, recorded by a native speaker

Spanish for You Curriculum

 

This course is set up for 30 minutes or less a day, 4 days a week, consistently; and most importantly, following the specified order of the lessons.  However, the author encourages you to have fun, don’t stress, and modify your schedule if needed.  The Lesson Guides include clear instructions and a complete plan for the entire curriculum.

There really isn’t a lot of prep work for Estaciones.  I downloaded the files for the audio, worksheets, etc. and then I read a few pages of the text and Lesson Guides to familiarize myself with the course.  The Lesson Guides tell you what audio you’ll need to listen to, what worksheets you’ll need to print;  and which flashcards to use for each lesson.  I chose to print mine all at one time and put them in folders.  I also printed all of the flashcards.

The flashcards are not my favorite.  Ms. Annett even says that you might want to “use your computer to make cool flashcards.”  I haven’t figured out how to do that, yet; so I used the flashcards she includes with the curriculum.  Making my own flashcards in this way was time consuming.  Each sheet of flashcards must be printed and cut apart.  They’re black and white sketches, so we decided to color them.  Then we glued them to 3″x 5″ cards, giving me a place to write the Spanish/English words that correspond to each drawing.  The biggest issue for me is that, since I don’t already speak Spanish, it seems to take forever and a day to write the phonetic pronunciation of the word; so I know whether or not my student is pronouncing it correctly.  I’m sure I’ll get quicker as I learn, but presently I have to refer to the guide numerous times for each word.  I’d like to be able to print the flashcards in color, and I’d like the Spanish word and pronunciation set up to print on the reverse side; or separately, so I could cut it out and glue it to the back of the card.

 

Spanish for You flashcards

 

Our first week we followed the Lesson Guides as they are set up.  We moved along, but didn’t feel like we retained much by the end of the week; so we chose to use the author’s modified schedule suggestion.  Our Day 1 is covered on Monday and Tuesday.  Day 2 on Wednesday and Thursday; and Friday we review.  Day 3 is covered Monday and Tuesday of the second week, with Day 4 on Wednesday and Thursday.  Again, Friday is a great day for review and testing.  The Audio files are an invaluable assistance.  The Teacher’s Text includes Ideas for Using Flashcards, and a variety of Games and Activities that we use for lessons and review.  Playing Charades is one of our favorites!  Flashcards are mixed up and stacked in a pile.  A card is chosen from the top of the stack, and acted out.  The correct word or phrase must be shouted in Spanish to win!  It’s noisy, but great fun!  So, we are spreading one week’s worth of instruction over two weeks of time; but I think we’re getting it and keeping it.  It is the easiest Spanish curriculum I’ve ever used!

 

We are still in Lesson 1, but we have covered a lot of material —

  • The Months of the Year
  • The Days of the Week
  • Commands:  Look, Write; Draw
  • Weather Conditions:  Cold, Hot, Windy, etc.
  • Verb Conjugation
  • and Grammar

We are learning to speak, hear, read and write Spanish!

 

A complete packaged curriculum for all grades, 3 – 8 can be purchased for $64.95.  Complete, select packages for grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8 are $39.95 each.  You can find all of the available themes on the Spanish for You! website, under the Purchase Curriculum tab on the left.  If you’re still not sure if this curriculum will work for your family, please take some time to read the reviews written by my Crew mates.  Just click on the banner and follow the link below.

 

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Bendición,

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Disclaimer*   I received a complete package curriculum of Spanish for You! theme Estaciones, 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.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from 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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Sep
14

Revisiting Speekee

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Generally, life is so busy for everyone.  Have you noticed?  I try to keep ours fairly simple, but it still seems like it’s going to spiral out-of-control on occasion.  There are people at church or at the park that I meet and think, “I’d really like to get to know them.  We’ll have to make plans to get together.”  Then, life happens and the connections don’t.  There are old friends, relationships once established, and even acquaintances that I’d like to catch-up with because they cross my mind or I find them heavy on my heart. I pray for them, but I rarely make the time to call them. I have blog posts, products, and reviews I’d like to revisit, amend or update; but I seldom do it.  Maybe, it’s forward motion and I have a hard time going back or maybe, the truth is, my time’s just not as organized as it should be.  Nevertheless, none of these are situations that I like and I figure it’s up to me to make change occur in my own life.  I’m not going to wait until Monday or the ever-elusive-tomorrow.  Now is the only moment guaranteed, so…

Today, I want to revisit SpeekeeSpeekee is a Spanish language course for children, ages 2 to 10.  My initial introduction to Speekee, the purple puppet that stars in the program, was in the beginning of 2011.

 

Meet Speekee.

 

Since then, Speekee has made some changes.  Speekee TV is an online program, which means you have to connect to the web to use it, but now Speekee can travel!  Thanks to the creation of a new app for mobile devices, access to Speekee TVSpeekee and sock-puppet friends, Dino and Lupi – is never far away.

 

Dino and Lupi

 

There are 10 episodes filmed on location in Spain, with Spanish children and their friend, Jim; along with Speekee, Dino and Lupi.  Utilizing the Immersion Method, SpeekeeTV is in 100% Spanish, although subtitles are available in Spanish and English.  This helps me because I’m more of a write-the-word-and-its-phonetic-pronunciation-so-I-can-see-it, and then I’ll say it out loud -kinda girl; but my 4 year old granddaughter, who can’t read, is all-in.  She’s immersed in it, clearly not distracted by subtitles!  Each video, 15-20 minutes in length, follows the same basic format and students excel because of this consistency and repetition.  By the time she regularly visits the el parque, el cafe, le clase, el zoo; y el mercado with her new “friends,” she may be the first one in our family to actually learn the language.  Virtually, she spends minutes at the park, in Spain, playing and singing with Speekee; and then she bops back into the living room and says, “Listen to my Spanish song!  I’m singing Spanish.”  She’s excited to use Speekee and the learning is effortless!

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Speekee TV is always available, flexible to any schedule; and parent or student-paced.  When I previously reviewed it, the outstanding FastTrack curriculum for homeschoolers was not an option.  You can now access FastTrack from the website or signup to receive a weekly email.  I get an email every week, for 40 weeks, that includes 4 activities that correspond to a specific Speekee video clip; plus other downloads, printable worksheets and flash cards that I can use for reinforcement.  One of the first activities we did was make Dino and Lupi sock puppets!  Every craft idea is not that involved, but they are fun and engaging.  We still have the freedom to pick and choose what we want to do, but I appreciate the fact that the creators of Speekee spent the time to assemble a curriculum that will accelerate my child’s and grandchild’s understanding and use of Spanish.  “Gracias, Speekee!”  This program is better than ever with the compliment of FastTrack.

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Try it FREE for two weeks.  If you’re not satisfied within that time, you can discontinue it and you’ve risked nothing.  On the other hand, if you find your children asking to play Speekee and speaking Spanish to each other while they play, you can subscribe for $7.50 per month; with no long term commitment.  You can also go all-in, like my granddaughter, for $60 per year.

 

Click the banner to subscribe

 

The entire program is also available for purchase on 4 DVD discs, 34-track audio CD plus a 70 page guide.  Read the fine print – because of the format the DVD’s will play on most US players, but not all.

 

 Click for DVD Package details

~

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

 

email ~ customerservice@speekee.co.uk

phone ~ 01422 820263

or write ~

Lingua4 Ltd

Swift Cross Farm

Ripponden

Sowerby Bridge

HX6 4LQ

United Kingdom

~

 

You can find Speekee on facebook

 

 

and read Speekee’s Blog

You’ll note, I’ve included several links to the website in this post, and I can tell you that my Crew mates have shared their opinions on the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.  You can read those when you click the banner below.


 

 

Now, I think I’ll call that new family from church and see if we can arrange a play-date for our children this weekend.  Don’t you just love the Grace of a new day and a fresh start!

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received an online subscription to Speekee TV  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.

 

 

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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Jan
06

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 ~

R.E.A.L.

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?

email:  support@realhomeschoolspanish.com

Will 2012 be the year your family learns Spanish?

Bendiciones,

 

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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Nov
03

The Look of a Multitasker

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I consider myself, as a momma-to-many, to be a somewhat proficient multitasker, but I think the flip side to that, on my rare off day, is scatterbrained.  Efficient multitasking is methodical, steady, holding one’s thoughts captive, where as scatterbrained leans more toward having a screw loose.

To add Latin to one’s homeschool curriculum, especially one that will afford the student a full 1 year foreign language credit, can be an excellent endeavor or one that throws a wrench in the cog-wheels-of-life and breaks down the whole machine.  It can be impressive or not-so.

Memoria Press and their First Form Latin curriculum is solid.  It builds the foundation of language – grammar first – systematically.

 

Click the graphic to learn more about Memoria Press.

 

Memoria Press is an established name in publishing, synonymous with Classical Christian education.  It is set apart by characteristics of simplicity, quality, and affordability.  It is a dependable, family-run company, founded by Cheryl Lowe more than 15 years ago.  You may already be familiar with her highly successful Latina Christiana I program, an introduction to Latin, beginning in the 3rd grade.  First Form Latin is perfect for all beginners or as a follow-up to Latina Christiana I, and both have been designed for parents and teachers with no previous Latin experience.

First Form Latin is a 34-lesson, comprehensive study written for 5th-12th grades.  The First Form series includes: a Teacher’s Manual (view sample pages), a Student text (view sample pages), a Student workbook (view sample pages), Quizzes & Tests, and a Pronunciation CD, for $55 (view sample recitations).  With my very limited Latin background, I found this study a bit overwhelming.  I am not a confident Latin teacher.  Yes, the tools I need to teach it are included, but I try to maintain a firm hold on my time throughout the day, and because I don’t know enough Latin to begin with, this seems like a time-sucker to me.  I felt like I had to learn a lesson or two, ahead of my students, to enable me to effectively teach it.  The Teacher’s Manual ensures that I can, but I needed a lot of pre-lesson prep.  Maybe, my perfectionistic-bent caused me to make it harder than it had to be (imagine that) but the fact is, I rather someone more qualified teach my children (and me, for that matter) Latin.  An additional $60 ($115 total) adds DVD’s and flashcards to the First Form series.

 

I now have a master private tutor, for seven students, teaching a remarkably effective Latin program, AND  I impressively resemble an efficacious operator of concurrent undertakings.  Thanks to Memoria Press, I am a productive multitasker!

Glen Moore is an engaging teacher, and although he moves rather quickly through each 30 minute lesson, learning Latin seems fairly easy with him at the front of the class.

 

[from the website] First Form Latin features include:

  • Designed for students and teachers with no Latin background
  • 8×8 inch Student Text, small, concise, unintimidating with 34 two-page lessons on facing uncluttered pages
  • Limited vocabulary of 185 words
  • Full-size Student Workbook with 4-6 pages of exercises per lesson
  • Vocabulary derivatives and detailed explanations of Latin sayings
  • Grammar catechism for daily rapid-fire review
  • Milestone markers for each grammar objective
  • Everything-you-could-possibly-need teacher manual
    • Organized for easy access
    • Student Text inset with answers in color
    • Chalk-talk scripted lessons
    • Recitation schedule
    • Pronunciation reminders
    • Workbook with key
    • Unit tests and lesson quizzes booklet
    • FYI section for extra background

 

Memoria Press has a Return Guarantee.  One of my favorite tidbits of their policy is “if a tape, CD, or DVD ever skips, breaks, or is damaged, they will replace it for only a $3 shipping and handling charge.”  So, I make the initial investment, and basically, no matter how many children I have or what they might accidentally do to the DVD, I have an outstanding curriculum that will see me through graduation!  That makes Memoria Press multi-child, big-family friendly, and I am economically savvy!

 

 Browse their website for details of their other subjects:

Greek

Logic & Rhetoric

French

Primary Education

and more.

Contact:

General Questions? ~ online forum

Order Questions? ~ email ~ magister@memoriapress.com

Telephone ~ 877.862.1097 (toll free) or 502-966-9115

Mail ~

Memoria Press

4603 Popular Level Road

Louisville, KY  40213

and

facebook


Read additional reviews of publications from Memoria Press, written by my crew mates, by clicking the TOS link 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.

*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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