Archive for vocabulary

Oct
17

A Foundation for Thanksgiving

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Every Thanksgiving I am abundantly blessed to gather with my immediate family, extended family and friends in celebration of all God has done for us and our country.  This year my children and I will have a deeper more thorough understanding of one of the most important times in America’s history, thanks to Dayspring Christian Academy and The Pilgrim Story.

 

 

If you’ve already watched the short clip above or clicked on the links I included then you have an idea of what The Pilgrim Story is about and you know that the cost of the course is $99.  What you don’t know is that, if it is possible to fit this into your budget, it is well worth it!

This is a self-guided, self-paced, interactive online course.  This means that after you enroll you will have access within 48 hours, and then for the following 6 months you can view it whenever it’s convenient for you.  It doesn’t meet at a specified time.  This has been a huge bonus for my family!  Technically it is designed for grades 3 – 6, but the writer, Mary Stauffer, has led over 20 guided tours of Plymouth, Massachusetts using “the words of our country’s forefathers to teach the Pilgrim’s Story” and I personally believe students of all ages can gain insight from this study.  I’ve been able to use this course myself, ahead of my younger children, because I wanted to and not because it is a necessity.  I’ve only had to assign it to my older ones and nothing else is required from me.  They don’t even have to view it at the same time or at a designated time each day.  They have the freedom and flexibility to fit it in and around their individual schedule.

 

 

The heart of Dayspring Christian Academy is Psalm 78:1-8.  “It is important for children to learn about their history, so they do not forget the great things God has done.”

The Pilgrim Story teaches and preserves the truth of our nation’s past.  It highlights the Pilgrim’s dedication as Christians, well-grounded in The Word of God.  It clearly displays God’s hand of providence in their lives and the life of our country.  It reinforces the fact that “this nation has enjoyed freedom because it was founded on principles found in The Bible.

Because Dayspring Christian Academy teaches using The Principle Approach of Learning, there are Principles of Christian Character and Biblical Principles of self governance, hard work, perseverance and Christian Liberty throughout the presentation.  The course is organized in 5 Units of 3 or 4 Lessons each, with a Virtual Field Trip to Plymouth, MA at the end.  Each Lesson is 30 – 45 minutes long, plus an optional 60 – 90 minute Enrichment Activity.  

A Lesson consists of:

  • items needed for activities
  • documents to download
  • description of contents
  • review of previous lessons
  • vocabulary words
  • a student worksheet for notes
  • enrichment activities
  • lesson review and
  • suggestions for further reading

 

A Student Notebook is a key component of The Principle Approach and is a valuable record of their learning.  You’ll need a 1-inch binder and 5-tab dividers, one for each Unit.

 

Unit 1 – Introduction

Unit 2 – Preparation

Unit 3 – The Journey

Unit 4 – The First Winter

Unit 5 – 1621 – 1623

 

I copied the list of Recommended Books, chose which ones I wanted by grade level and then requested them from my library ahead of time.  Open Source Books, with free online access, are also listed.  Reasoning Questions for Writing Practice or Oral Presentation are included, along with Answer Keys, Grading Rubrics, and Activity Guides.  Review Questions provide a great Recall Assessment and there is a Unit Test at the end of each unit.  Dayspring Christian Academy will actually grade, record and maintain the Unit Test grade for one student, when the multiple-choice test is taken.

I do wish the video clips were closed-captioned, so my students would have the added benefit of reading along with the narrator, otherwise I am absolutely thrilled with The Pilgrim Story and the knowledge we’ve gained!

 

 

Comments or Questions?

 

Contact:

 

Dayspring Christian Academy

120 College Avenue

Mountville, PA  17554

or Call – 717.285.2000

 

Also note that several of my Crew mates had the opportunity to review this course and you can read their opinions when you click the graphic below and follow the link provided.

 

 

I hope your Thanksgiving is especially blessed this year.

 

Blessings,

 
Disclaimer*   I received 6 months online access to The Pilgrim Story, 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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Oct
10

What’s Black and White, and…

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What’s black and white and red all over?  Remember this one?  Okay, so it’s really what’s black and white and read all over?  A newspaper, of course!

What’s blue and red and eats rocks?  That’s simple.  A blue-and-red-rock-eater!  Now, what’s pink and green and eats rocks?  A pink-and-green-rock-eater, you say.  No way, I say, they only come in blue and red!

What’s fun, educational, motivating, interactive; and affordable?  No riddle here, it’s ZooWhiz!   The “online, curriculum based motivational learning system” with more than 17,000 educational activities for children ages 5 to 15.  Affordable?  Yes!  It’s Free, with a limited Keeper Account!

 

 

Want a Free Keeper Account?  Follow the Keeper Account link above, click Create a Free Keeper on the bottom left; and let your child choose a [Zoo] Keeper from a variety of pre-designed avatars.  These are all they have to choose from, at the moment, but my kids are hoping they’ll have a little more freedom in the future to design their own avatar Keeper.

 

Choose a Keeper

 

Once they’ve chosen their Keeper they sign in with their first name, or a code name if they’re anything like my son, and a parent’s email address to get permission to use ZooWhiz.  You can then use that same email to create a Free Parent Management Account, which will be connected to your child’s account; giving you the ability to keep up with his progress.

ZooWhiz is lively and engaging, with graphics that are bright, crisp; and bursting with energy!

Learn and Earn generates activities that move your child to practice math, reading, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling; and phonics according to the Age Floor you select for him, and earning coins for every correct answer given.  Two chances.  Answer the question correctly on the first try and you earn 20 coins.  If you miss it and try again you’ll still earn 10 coins with a correct answer.  Miss the answer and 10 coins are taken away and the correct answer is supplied.

The coins can then be spent in the Arcade, on games, or in the Biodome at the Zoo Animal Shop.  Keepers can choose from and collect many different animals, viewing them and learning more about them from a detailed flash-card-type graphic My children choose animal collecting 9 times out of 10, over playing games in the Arcade, and it is the highlight of the ZooWhiz online program!  It should be noted though, that the website says, “Create a Free Keeper Account and start building your very own zoo.”  This idea is compounded when you select the Biodome tab under Information for Kids, the opening tagline reads, “Enter the Biodome to choose your animals and build your very own zoo.”  As Keepers students build collections of animals, but there is no Zoo to build.  There is no place to organize or view the animals in a zoo-like setting, and there is no visiting or care giving.  My students, ages 8, 11, and 14, were all truly disappointed in this aspect of the program.  Milestones keeps track of student progress, and seeing progress is something we all need!

 

Click the graphic to see a full Animal List

~

  ZooWhiz is all about “reinforcing learning and rewarding effort!”

My 8-year-old says it is all about “fun, fun, fun!”

 

 

When you discover, as I did, that ZooWhiz is an outstanding supplement to your current curriculum, you can choose to upgrade to a Premium Zoologist AccountCurrently, a 1-year subscription is just $14.95.  Seriously.  I don’t know how long this dramatic savings will be available, but what-a-deal compared to the regular price of $59.95!  The Premium Zoologist Account entitles you, as the parent, to more management, anytime access; and detailed customization to your child’s age or learning pace.  The Premium Kid’s Account opens more games and an exciting choice of animals to collect, including rare, endangered, dinosaurs and mythological creatures.  My son earned and saved 5000 coins to add a Sasquatch to his collection!  That’s a lot of learning and this seems like an ideal place to slip in a “well done, Son!”

~

ZooWhiz has a website full of information.

I included several links to it throughout this post and I hope you’ll make use of them.

You can email your Questions and Comments through the Contact link,

or if you’re in the United States call – 1.866.215.4620.

You can also write to:  P.O. Box 658, Armidale, NSW, 2350, Australia;

or instantly connect on facebook.


My Crew mates are eager to share their ZooWhiz experiences with you, too.

You can read their reviews when you click the banner below and follow the link to the

Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received 1 year access to a ZooWhiz Premium Zoologist Account, for three of my children, 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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Oct
05

A Box of Ideas

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You might remember that I have an affection for Unit Studies.  The Unit Study Method of teaching allows me to incorporate every aspect of my focus topic, covering many subjects.  This method usually allows for a lot of hands-on learning, and often improves my child’s ability to transfer skills they learn during school to real-life situations.  Where do you get the ideas for activities that will enhance your student’s learning?  I might talk to another parent/teacher that has experience or an expressed interest in the theme of our study.  I have several home resources, an exceptional local library; and access to an array of online resources.  I have a standard bag-of-tricks, but my latest discovery is Box of IDEAs

 

 

 

There are not many boxes available, yet; but the future potential is great!  Designed for ages 9 – 16, with the flexibility for use with even younger or older students, each Box of I.D.E.As. is filled with topic-focused activities and information.  There are at least 10 modules per box that might include games, puzzles, portfolio pages, experiments and explorations, well researched web-links; and more.  All of the activities in the box are complete, but if any additional supplies are needed, like a pencil, they are listed on the module label and can be acquired before the module is even opened.

Presently, there is a Box of I.D.E.As. for World War Two, SALT, Laundry, Quilting; and the number Eleven, with Olives, Pine, and Cemeteries coming soon.  Supplementing our current study of Early America, the SALT Box of IDEAs fit well into our schedule.  The branch of interest I pursued was early means of food preservation, and there’s a module for that – Preserving with SaltAfter introducing the topic into our curriculum, I let the box of modules lead the way.  The “SALT Box of I.D.E.As. is a comprehensive look at salt and how it has helped shape history, nourish our bodies; and even build and destroy empires.”  We were prompted to dig into History, Geography, Science, Language, and Political Systems; while using math, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills among others.

Contents of the SALT Box of I.D.E.As.

The single most difficult thing about using Box of IDEAs was choosing which module to start with first!  So, I read the label on each module bag: Title, Contents, Materials Needed, and Related Quote; and pulled out the one that “struck my fancy.”

The Wall That Salt Built – “While most people know of the Great Wall of China, most people don’t realize that it was essentially paid for by salt.”

Salt of the Earth – “Although, most of the world’s salt comes from the US and China, there are salt producers in many countries around the world.”

Very Salty – “A plethora of hypersaline lakes exist all over the world.”

Need for Salt – “For human and non-human alike, if we didn’t have salt, we would cease to live.”

Nelson Mandela quote ~ “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”

Producing Salt – “Finding Salt – It is something we see and possibly use every single day, but where does it come from?”

Science of Salt – “Salt is the combination of two elements – both somewhat volatile.”

Preserving with Salt – “Pre-dating the birth of Christ, salt has been utilized to make food safe for future use through preservation.”

The Game of Preservation by Salt

Salt Peppers Our Words – “Salt provides the root for many commonly used words that proliferate still today.” The Salt March – “In March of 1930, Mahatma Ghandi chose to protest, peacefully, the salt tax.”

The History of Salt – “Salt has had a profound influence on human civilization from the beginning and in all parts of the world.”

(45) 2″X3″ Salt Timeline Cards, initially used with the Salt Chronology Game

This is one of the simplest systems I’ve ever used!  I could easily assign a module to one of my middle school or high school students for independent work.  Just take the module bag out of the box and begin.  I gather pencils and make copies of the portfolio page for each of my children participating in the activity.  I also have notebook paper available for copywork and expository writing.  I read the printed material out loud and we discuss the content.  Portfolio pages record lab results, ask fill-in-the-blank questions; and prompt essay writing, etc.  Each module includes a list of 3-4 Extensions that encourage delving deeper into the topic.  The Extension activities are varied and I tend to choose two out of a list.

Here are five of over 30 Extensions suggested:

  • Find references in The Bible to salt.  It is mentioned approximately 30 times, see how many you can find and make a list.
  • Watch the 1982 movie “Ghandi” which chronicles Ghandi’s life and fight for Indian independence.
  • Make your own solar evaporator using household items…
  • What happens if a person eats too much salt?  Set up an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician to talk about salt in your diet.
  • Pick one of the top salt producers and find out how much revenue salt production brings to that country.

 

As time allows, I have the older students follow selected Web-Links for additional reading and oral presentation.  I make age appropriate writing assignments to be done after we close the module.  We normally wrap-up with one of the games or card activities included in the Box of IDEAs.

~

Box of I.D.E.As. and their complete learning modules are an outstanding benefit to our homeschool, aiding in the retention and recollection of the topic matter covered.  I think it is a good value in the combination of physical materials supplied and the time saved with immediate access to the thorough research that’s already been done.  A physical Box of I.D.E.As. is $79 and printable PDF format is $49.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Call – 333.506.9411

or

Write –

Box of IDEAs  LLC

7115 West Calla Road

Canfield, OH  44406

and

follow on facebook

 

 

My Crew mates have written reviews of two of the current boxes that are available from Box of I.D.E.As.SALT and World War Two – Pearl Harbor.   Click the banner below to read their well expressed opinions.

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received the physical SALT Box of I.D.E.As., 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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Sep
07

A Lighter Burden

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Taking Galatians 6:2 literally it says, “Help carry each others burdens.  In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.”  Dr. Marion Blank‘s desire to end illiteracy motivated her to extensively research how children learn to read.  Her years of study has produced multiple books, including  The Reading Remedy, and the award-winning  Phonics Plus Five reading program.  Her direct contribution to my life has been through the online learning program that teaches children how to read and write to a third-grade level –

Reading Kingdom.

 

Click the banner to read Why It Works

 

Dr. Blank believes, “Phonics is THE path to reading.  It’s why children for generations have been taught to sound out the ABC’s once they enter first grade.  But traditional phonics is not enough.  It’s great to be able to figure out the sounds of words, but by itself, it makes reading unbearably slow and tedious.  At some point, sounding out has to switch over to instant word recognition.  That means doing what you are doing now – looking at words and immediately recognizing what they are saying.  And that skill also is not enough.  In fact, success in reading calls upon five other essential areas.”

 

 

Reading Kingdom vs Other Reading Systems

 

I have taught several children how to read, phonetically, and sometimes it has been more trying and less successful than other times.  Now, I have a better understanding of the process.  Reading Kingdom, designed for ages 4-10, begins with a skills survey for each child.  According to the results, they are placed in one of 6 levels:  pre-reading or a reading level 1-5, honing their skills with the mouse and keyboard; learning to recognize, read, spell and type words and sentences.  As one progresses through the levels the six skills necessary for reading are strengthened.

  • Sequencing
  • Motor Skills
  • Sounds
  • Meaning
  • Grammar
  • Comprehension

 

It is expected that a child will be reading, with confidence and enthusiasm, at a 3rd grade level with the completion of  Reading Kingdom.  Generally, this will take 12 – 18 months.  After the first few weeks, most children can navigate the program on their own.  Reading Kingdom allows me to share the responsibility of teaching my child how to read, making it a lighter burden and not nearly as overwhelming.  Because it is interactive, it customizes each lesson for my child.  Each 15-30 minute session teaches her reading, spelling, punctuation, and writing. 

 

 

 

 

I can watch her progress and clearly see her successes, and so can she.  Reader reports —what they’re doing, how they’re doing and what is coming up– are available to the parent and track a child’s progress.

 

 

Reading Kingdom is lively, appealing and inviting!  My child wants to play it, but it has not always been gumdrops and lollipops.  I’m pleased that it has raised her reading level, but I am also quietly thrilled that it has significantly improved her level of patience!  Let me explain.  To me, instant gratification is the bane of our culture.  Reading Kingdom requires my child to slow down, focus; paying attention to directions and details.  She must type when directed to type using the keyboard and click when instructed to click a letter on the screen.  The word focus has deeper meaning to her, now.  If she concentrates and responds correctly she can progress through the levels, but if she doesn’t know an answer or is just distracted the program will re-teach the word or concept; which can get quite repetitive.  I consider these simple but important life lessons.  Plus, the positive by-product of the repetition is that it inevitably builds her confidence.  Whereas, I appreciate these perks of the program; some parents do not.  Since I reviewed Reading Kingdom in 2011, one of the changes they’ve made to the program is the ability to adjust the response times for your child.  For some, this makes the difference between tears and smiles; or discontinuation and completion.  I think the best thing to do is to take advantage of Reading Kingdom‘s offer –  FREE for 30 days  –  and monitor the results for yourself.  It’s truly risk free!

 

 

Reading Kingdom is $19.99/month (one child) with no monthly minimum or $199.99 per year (one child).  Each additional child is $9.99 per month.  If you take the time to directly compare Reading Kingdom to other reading programs you might find that this one costs a few cents more per day, but you will also find that the benefits of Reading Kingdom, as one of the most complete reading programs available online, far out weighs the extra pennies.

 

 

Dr. Blank and her team are “passionate about promoting literacy and believe that every child has the right to learn to read.”  There is a scholarship application program set up, making literacy a hope for everyone.  If Reading Kingdom works for your child and you know he needs it to succeed, then ask for it!  “Nothing is impossible for God.”

 

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact through the website

~ or follow on Facebook 

 

 


Dr. Blank can also be reached through email:  BlankM@childpsych.Columbia.edu

 

 

Please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post; and click the banner below to get a well-rounded view of Reading Kingdom  by what my Crew mates have to say about it.

 

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   Reading Kingdom gave me a generous, 1-year license 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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Aug
20

It Takes a City…

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You’ve heard the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”   Well, in my case, it would seem that     it takes a city to raise a speller.  Many of my children are good readers, but that doesn’t make them all good spellers.  They often face a predicament not unlike the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, A. A. Milne’s, “My spelling is Wobbly.  It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”  I have searched for and tried different ideas, games and disciplines, to teach spelling, with most ending in discouragement, until now.

 

 

 

 

VocabularySpellingCity.com  is an educational, fun, remarkably successful in-our-household, interactive, game-based website!  It works!  It’s affordable!  Please, pardon my bit of gushing enthusiasm, but I assure you I am quite sincere.  We will continue with this program until my last child enters college!

 

The VocabularySpellingCity mission: efficient game-based study of literacy skills using any word list. 


 Watch this brief video for a detailed description of VocabularySpellingCity.com

Covering “Elementary, Middle, and High School Vocabulary, Spelling, Writing, Parts of Speech, Handwriting, Alphabetical Order” and more.  Register for a FREE Basic Account and your child can start using it right away.  Input your own words or import words,  with customizable sentences and definitions, from lists already created:

 

 

When you choose to upgrade to a 1-year Premium Membershipwhere families can register up to 5 children, for the reasonable price of $29.99, you’ll reap the benefits of full access to VocabularySpellingCity.com.

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership Features

 

 

I have created lists for my earliest learners through college-prep age students:  Sound-Alike Words, Number Words, Months of The Year, Three-Letter Words, Six-Letter Words, 500 SAT Vocabulary Test Prep Words, Biology Words corresponding to a  Zane Education course, and several others.  As the parent/educator, it takes me just minutes to set up a week of assignments that will be taught, graded and tested by the program!  It’s easy, and it allows this busy momma to teach and trouble shoot other subjects.

The website for  VocabularySpellingCity.com   is easy to navigate.  I’ve included several links to it in this post, and I hope you will thoroughly explore the marvelous potential it holds for you and your students.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Write ~

VocabularySpellingCity.com, Inc.
6300 N.E. 1st Ave., Suite 203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334

Email ~ info@spellingcity.com

Call ~ 954.357.1150

or

 follow on facebook

Makes practicing for spelling tests fun

As always, you’ll find well-written, honest Crew reviews of this product when you click the banner below.

 

 

 

 

“When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible.  But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations.”    ~ Marlyn vos Savant, American Author

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

Disclaimer*   12 months Premium membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com 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.

 

 

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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Aug
17

Wanted: Education Without Compromise

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Psalm 1:1-2

“Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
 But his delight is in the law of The Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”

Instilling a desire for The Lord’s blessing, and teaching the steps that one might take to receive it, is of the utmost importance to me as a parent and home educator.  Presenting a consistent, Biblical worldview to my children is a priority in my life and home.

Next, I am responsible to see that they are academically equipped to be their best self.  Teaching them the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic, or finding the resources that can.

Vocab Videos are designed to build literacy, improve reading comprehension, and raise test scores.

“Outrageous plot lines and entertaining characters” are combined to illustrate the meaning of 500 essential vocabulary words in “hilarious, professionally produced short videos.”

“Each video follows a structure designed to make memorizing easier, using both auditory and visual clues.”

A vocabulary word is printed on a blank screen, with the definition, and it is audibly read.  A video demonstration of the word and it’s meaning is presented.  Finally, the word and definition appear on the screen again, and a narrator audibly uses the vocabulary word in a sentence.

There are 11 videos in the Series, 25 total episodes, that include 20 (30 second – 1 minute) clips each; covering 20 words per set.  The videos now play on mobile devices and tablets, in addition to the PC and laptop.

When you browse the website for  Vocab Videos  you’ll find that they’ve included access to Digital Study Tools that aid students in their retention of the words and their meanings – Digital Quizzes, Flashcard Maker, Digital Worksheets, Glossary of Words, and Crossword Puzzles.  There are also Teacher (Parent) Tracking Tools that can be set up for each student.

An Individual Student Subscription  starts at $24.95 for 6 months and is full access.

A Small Educator Account, for 1 – 20 students, is just $74.99 for a 12-month subscription.

The Vocab Videos Workbook, used for review and reinforcement, is a companion to the videos.  It can be purchased for $11.99.

It is evident that so much work and creativity has gone into each video clip.  The concept, no doubt prompted by a genuine desire to help students, is fantastic, but the execution falls short of my expectations.  As the conservative, Christian parent that I am, I am devoted to teaching my children to follow Scripture, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”  The “be in the world, but not of it” school of thought.  These videos are based on parodies of supposedly popular TV shows and movies:  Lost, The Office, 24, Gossip Girl, Rocky, and only after a Google search of  “horror character in hockey mask” I believe, Jason, from Friday the 13th.  Granted, this might be culturally entertaining to some, but the majority of it is unacceptable to me and I am quite disappointed that it is the basis for the video series.

I am definitely looking for a way to improve my student’s  SAT scores.  Knowing that Vocabulary is worth up to 150 points on the SAT, I was excited to use  Vocab Videos  with my high school and college age children.  In hindsight, I am thankful my 13-year-old daughter was not scheduled to use this program until next semester, so she was spared the inundation of inappropriate visuals.

Video clips include, but are NOT limited to:  The use of curse words – h*ll and d*mn, frequent use of The Lord’s name in vain – OMG and my lord, and other words that we find distasteful – p*ss*d.  Borderline bullying – two male co-workers express an attraction to the same female co-worker.  One belittles the other and when that co-worker uses the restroom and forgets to pull up his pants (shown in his boxers, which is unnecessary in itself) the bully proceeds to send a phone pic to everyone in the office.  Name calling – moron.  Hypnosis, chanting, Mystic Dan – his magic powers, foretelling of the future and disappearing into thin air.  Disturbing, scary, weird, violent clips involving the character spoofing Jason, dressed in bloody clothes and wearing a hockey mask – A high school girl is having nightmares.  She does say, “Watching all those scary movies was not the most judicious (the vocabulary word being demonstrated in the clip) thing I’ve ever done.  You watch scary movies you get nightmares.”  The Jason character calls her, shows up at her window, and her barricaded door, and eventually slits the throat of the pizza delivery guy.  She looks through a medicine cabinet that has at least a dozen prescription bottles in it, along with several OTC meds.  She doesn’t take anything, but the hint of drug use is uncalled for, in my opinion.  Jason scares another young girl, in a different clip, noting that her parents aren’t home and she’s alone.  He breaks into her home and she straddles him while holding a large butcher knife to his throat.  Later, they skip through the park together, holding hands and making the Mean Girls jealous…

My 22-year-old daughter said, “There are other ways to learn vocabulary words.  It’s not worth it to have to watch that!”  We don’t use language like this and we don’t watch shows like the ones depicted by these Vocab Videos.

Proverbs 4:23-27

“Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
  Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
  Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
  Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.”

 

The videos are designed to help memorization, often by viewing them repeatedly.  These pictures are not ones that I want imbedded in any of our minds.

Philippians 4:8

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

~

I highly recommend that YOU utilize the 1 month FREE trial to determine for yourself, whether or not  Vocab Videos  is a good fit for your family.  Personally, I’m looking for education without compromise, and I cannot justify using this program.

Let me remind you though, that the Crew is a diverse group of individuals with varied opinions.  I encourage you to click the banner below to read their reviews of this acclaimed program.

Comments or Questions?

Contact   Vocab Videos via their website

or

through their  facebook   page.

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   12 months access to a Small Educator Account of Vocab Videos 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.

 

Thank you for reading, today.  I appreciate 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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Mar
19

Maintaining Biblical Standards

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I don’t read every book that my older children read, now.  When they were younger I did.  Still, I am mindful of what they’re reading, what music they’re listening to, what movies they’re watching, and who their friends are.  I know their friends by name.  I trust my children, at this age, to make wise choices, following the standards we’ve set, in their reading material, music, viewing habits, and relationships.  They also keep themselves accountable.  I can pick up the current book they’re reading, borrow their MP3 player at any time, go to the movies with them, or sit in on one of their gatherings. 

There are organizations, and companies that assist me, as a parent, in maintaining the Biblical standards that my husband and I set for our family.  They’ve put the time and effort into watching, listening, or reading, and reviewing for me.  Many of these are run by other parents, with similar standards, like Progeny Press.

 

 

 

Progeny Press was started in 1992, and is still family owned and operated.  They present good literature, teaching good literary analysis, measuring all things in the light of Scripture.  There are now more than 100 Study Guides available to instruct writers and readers in grades K – 12.

 

Study Guides can be found for Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School.

They can be purchased Book-bound, PDF on CD, or email with attached PDF file.  The content is the same, no matter the form of delivery.

From $10.99 single guide to $27.99 book/CD set.

I have students using the Middle School Study Guide for The Cay, by Theodore Taylor –

“Eleven-year-old Phillip lives with his parents on an island off the coast of Venezuela in 1942, but when the Nazi’s begin torpedoing ships nearby, Phillip’s mother insists that he and she return to the United States. Their ship is torpedoed by a Nazi submarine long before they reach the U.S., however, and Phillip finds himself marooned on an island with an old, but strong, black deckhand named Timothy. But when Phillip goes blind from an injury, he slowly realizes how caring, wise, and resourceful Timothy really is, and the color of their skins is unimportant.”

AND other students using the High School Study Guide for The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis –

“Screwtape, an undersecretary in the Lowerarchy of Hell, has undertaken the guidance and tutelage of his nephew Wormwood, who has been assigned a human patient to secure for eternity. In a series of letters, Screwtape guides the young demon through the finer points of temptation, the weaknesses and foibles of human beings, and the disaster of his patient becoming a Christian. Though this certainly complicates things, the two infernal beings won’t let it stop them.

From this very skewed perspective, C. S. Lewis digs into the human nature, revealing some interesting, and sometimes embarrassing, tendencies. Touching on everything from sleeplessness to the “absurdity” of God’s love for humanity, Screwtape imparts his wicked wisdom to Wormwood. Though the mirror he holds up to humanity is warped and cracked, it is still painfully revealing. Wit and parody mask a very serious analysis of what makes humans tick; and though it may make readers smile, it will also make us squirm as Screwtape picks at the cracks in our facades.”

With each Study Guide, students need access to a good dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bible, and the internet or an encyclopedia.

It is suggested that the complete novel be read first.  We didn’t know how we felt about this, as opposed to reading the book and the guide together from the beginning, but it actually makes the use of the Study Guide a little easier.  I imagine the creators of the guides already knew this.  After reading the story, the student works through the guide with the book as a constant reference.

Prereading activities are offered –

  • Written report
  • Map work
  • Time line
  • Vocabulary
  • Art work
  • Biography

 

Each Study Guide covers relative information

  • Story Synopsis
  • About the Author
  • Background/Setting

 

Did I mention that Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature are interactive for 4th – 12th grade?  They can still be printed, if you like, but the student has the capability of placing answers directly on the PC and saving his work as he progresses.  The parent/teacher is able to grade the work in the same  manner, on the PC, and leave notes or comments.  My children love it!  Especially, my son, who would rather do nearly anything instead of writing.  The Study Guides are designed so he can clearly work through the questions and vocabulary, give his attention to critical analysis, dig deeper and consider the issues portrayed in the story, while viewing each through a consistent Biblical standard.  In his case, he can give complete answers, because his biggest obstacle is removed – he’s released from hand-writing and has the option to type.  Amazing!

 

 

Optional activities include –

  • Presentations
  • Volunteer work
  • Essays
  • Research
  • Interviews
  • Brief report
  • Word search

 

Final essays are provided and post reading activities are discretionary.  High School credits are obtained 1/4 credit per Study Guide in 8 – 12 weeks.

 

(4) Completed Study Guides = (1) H.S. Credit

Click the graphic below to browse the Progeny Press Catalog.

 

 

 If you would like more information, please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post.  Progeny Press has a website that’s easy to navigate.

Also, read other reviews, from The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew members.

Comments or Questions?  Go directly to the source –

Contact:

Progeny Press

P. O. Box 100

Fall Creek, WI  54742

~

Toll Free  1.877.776.4369

or

Phone 715.877.9951 ext. 100

~

Email – progeny@progenypress.com

and


Follow on facebook

 

I have no doubt these will be the first of many Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature we’ll use.  Let me know which guide you choose, and what you think of it.

 

Blessings,

A trial period of 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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Mar
05

It’s a New Day!

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Wow, so much has changed since I began teaching my children at home, back in the dark ages, or so it seems some days.  When we began homeschooling there were few companies that wrote or published curriculum geared toward the unique needs of educating at home.  Now, not only are there several companies on board and promoting materials for homeschool use, but there are also online programs being created for this vast community.  It’s a new day for home education!

K5 Learning is an outstanding, online reading and math enrichment program!

 

Click the K5 graphic above for Sample Lessons 

Geared for Kindergarten through Grade 5, it is a student paced, individualized learning program, based on skill level, not grade level.  Even in light of other online programs we have used, my children agreed that K5 Learning is consistently challenging, but not frustratingly impossible.  I like it because it has repeated spoken instructions allowing even young students to work independently.

There are 1,500 reading tutorials with more than 3,000 activities, and over 1,200 math lessons and activities.  These are not random.  They are sequenced lessons that prompt continued mastery of the subject.  Each session is a 5-10 minute tutorial, then practice, and quiz over new material.

 

 Click graphic above for Math details

K5 Math is comprehensive.  It covers – Numbers & Operations, Geometry, Measurement, Algebra, and Data Analysis.  The Math Facts encourage “instant recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables.  Unlike computerized drill programs, K5 Math Facts does not generate questions randomly.  It records every response a child makes, continually analyses what facts your child has mastered or need further practice at, and generates questions based on that child’s needs.  This makes K5 Math Facts far more efficient at teaching math facts than a typical drill program.”

Click Math Facts graphic above to view demo

The Reading Enrichment encompasses Reading Curriculum & Comprehension, Phonics and Phonemic Awareness, Sight Words, Vocabulary, and Spelling.  K5 Spelling has a 150,00 word database, and “is far beyond your typical online spelling program.”

Additionally, K5 Learning keeps parent’s up-to-date with regular student progress reports.

Subscription rate:

per year – 1st child $199

additional child $129

per month – 1st child $25

additional child $15

K5 offers a 14-day FREE TRIAL that includes a reading assessment and a math assessment.

Click assessment graphic above for more information.

My crew mates have shared their opinions and you’ll find them by clicking the graphic below and following the link.

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

phone – 888.281.2145

 write –

K5 Learning

510-4438 West 10th Avenue

Vancouver, British Columbia

V6R 4R8

or facebook

I’m excited about the new options for home educators and I think you will be, too!  Please, follow the links I’ve provided and browse the K5 Learning website.  Let me know what you think.

Blessings,

A trial period of 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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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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Jan
11

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

Journalism

Prejudice

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 –

info@zeezok.com

write –

P.O. Box 1960

Elyria, OH  44036

call –

800.749.1681

or

440.782.1193

and

facebook

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

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.

 

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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