Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Week 5

 I laughed so loud because of #4. See last week he got stung...


Fix It Grammar { Review }

I have a great product to tell you about today! I was so excited about this review from Institute for Excellence in Writing provided through the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

I actually first heard of Fix it Grammar back in May while attending a workshop by Andrew Pudewa which is the founder, director and author of many things from IEW but not for Fix It Grammar. I was at my state homeschool conference and was pleased to meet and listen to his sessions. I learned a lot listening to his speaking and I must say he is so funny to listen too. He makes everything comical and I really appreciated him keeping my attention.

The author of Fix It Grammar is Pamela White. She teaches online for IEW and has taught in classrooms for years. She actually came up with this program out of frustration while teaching high school grammar. 

Personally my family has had experience with IEW products before and really have loved them and that is one reason when this item came up for review I was thrilled to be apart of it!

My family received book 1 of the Fix It Grammar Series, The Nose Book, 1 Physical Teacher Manual $19.00 and 1 Physical Student book $15.00. There are 5 books in this series at this time. These books are for 3rd grade and up.

My oldest son is using this review and he is 14.

Is this hard to get started in?

NO! This is such an easy method to use. I was a little worried it would be in-depth and I would need to prepare a lot but no. You simply open the teacher manual and get familiar with the layout and read the introduction so that you understand everything you need to before starting with your child.
No stress!

How we are using Fix It Grammar:

The suggestions to start with are 15 minutes a day for 33 weeks. So far we have used Fix It Grammar for 5 weeks and we are in week 8.

The method behind this grammar is very friendly; you simply are presented with a few grammar rules/skills for the week to work on. The student has to locate the errors within the short passage and fix it. Then each week the repetition helps to build mastery of the editing skills and grammar skills.

Here is where I think this grammar is great because my son isn't actually writing anything through the week; he is editing the content provided. So for my reluctant writer this grammar has been a huge hit! 

I explained to Kyle that at the end of this program he would have a really great story to look back at and be able to see his editing skills completed a story. He really enjoyed this idea.

Every week on day 1 you talk about the instructions and concept being taught because each week there is a different concept to master. After he understands the new context  I have turned him lose. Normally, we read over this in under 10 minutes. Personally for my son who is 14 I have expected him to go at a faster pace after the first 2 weeks which is why we are in week 8.

The student book has a Learn It section (which is what you teach on day 1).

Then there is the Fix It section. This is where the child has instructions and help to complete each small chunk for his day.

You first will read the sentence. Then we talk about the vocabulary. 

I like, that on each page for the week, the child has a small guide at the top of the paper that serves as a check off list. My son actually marks through this because he doesn't want to forget any steps. It has been a great help for him to not get frustrated because he may forget something expected but that just isn't the problem here.

So as you can see day 1 is actually the one that takes me the longest with my son. Day 2 - 5 he actually completes by himself.

However Day 5 is different than the rest. Day 5 is the rewrite day. This day he puts all his editing skills to use in writing the passage from his week into his own personal notebook. Each time he adds to his notebook he likes to use a different colored pen to show it was a different lesson.

I really wanted to show you his notebook but he really hates his writing and asked me not to post that picture, so because I love my son I decided not to post his awesome notebook.

Our final thoughts:

Kyle has really enjoyed this method to grammar. I can personally totally see where Pamela had such issues with high schoolers because that is exactly what I am working with here! I love that this is small enough daily to keep him focused but still challenging to him.

I actually think I am going to order another book for Alexis. She is having a few small issues with her grammar (mainly my fault because I skipped her a grade but I have faith in her) and she has watched Kyle for several lessons and wants to try it!

Last but not least I love that this is truly well rounded. Grammar, vocabulary, editing, glossary skills and then some writing practice all thrown together.  Totally have enjoyed using this and will continue on with it for the rest of the book.

So if your interested in getting started in this series from IEW you could take this placement test to see where you can start and you could watch this Webinar introducing Fix It Grammar!

You can find IEW all over the social media world Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+,and 
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up 4 {Late}

Last week I had computer issues and am just now getting that fixed, so this is up late but always better late than never! 

I can't believe we are ready in week 4!! Where has the time went? Only 2 more weeks and we have a break coming! 

The weather at the beginning of the week was gorgeous so the kids had a little fun with some water! 

We had a great art project to welcome Autumn.

Huge news for Zachary - He finished All About Spelling Level 1! I am beyond thrilled for him because this has been a huge challenge for him. I am so very proud.

Zac is moving right along in his Brain Food book and enjoying every moment of it.

Alexis was so scared to start her new math level this year because she said it looked so hard but I am so happy that she has changed her mind. She is doing wonderful with division and she said it actually wasn't that hard after all.

Some more awesome Nancy Larson Science 2 projects. I love the hands on approach and that everything is so easy for me to teach!  

Zac writing with the help of some wonderful prompt cards from WriteShop. He loves writing stories from these cards but the pictures that he draws to go with them can be hilarious. 

Last but not least some awesome history fun with Mystery of History. I love this history curriculum and so glad we decided to use it again. We are half way through volume 1. 

Now some miscellaneous stuff within our week!

So about Thursday the weather was totally COLD! Autumn has really showed her cooler air and I love it but because it was chilli that day I made hot cocoa and this was the first for the year. 

Kyle trying to beat Daddy at a game of checkers!

 Sweet notes from Zachary!

Saturday my family and a few from church participated in a Walk for Life to help support our local pregnancy center and praise be to God there was over $20,000 raised for them! Walking was the least I could do for such a worthy cause. 

Alexis enjoyed getting her face painted while walking.

Sunday I made an old fashion apple cake for desert at my grandparents and my family enjoyed it! Fall is here so apple and pumpkin everything is too!

Sure hope you had a great week last week and are blessed this week too!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New York City Trip!!

Oh my I don't know where to start. 
We had the best time ever exploring NYC. 
We had never been to New York before. We took my family plus my momma. It took us 12 hours to drive and we left at night so the babies could sleep but momma and daddy couldn't sleep! My momma was a trooper she stayed awake and helped the person driving stay alert because it was difficult some of the time!

 On the way we needed a little break so we stopped in Hershey Pennsylvania and explored. It was still early morning and not much was open. We had hoped to go inside the museum but it was closed. We loved the entire towns atmosphere! Everything was tied to the chocolate theme! The street lights was the cutest!

We arrived Wednesday in New Jersey which was where we had our hotel booked. It was a wonderful place to stay, roomy and very clean. The desk people where very  helpful with all our questions. I highly recommend the Hyatt Fair Lawn.
Once we got checked in our room we went roaming around. The shuttle took us to the NJ train station for us to go into NYC for the first time. The train ride was about 40 mins and we ended up at Penn Station. I can't explain the excitement and fun we had. 

Wednesday we made a trail run because we had paid a lot of money for a 9 hour tour Thursday and we didn't know anything about the train ride, streets and where to even meet, so we tried everything out because we didn't want to waste the $900 on our tour by missing the bus! 

We enjoyed NYC pizza that day and it was awesome! 

Thursday we made it in time for our tour. It was a 9 hour tour of the city and New York Shuttle Tours did a great job! We saw lots of sites that we had only imagined before going. 

Times Square was awesome to see simply because we watch the ball drop every New Year! We have a tradition on New Year's Eve, game night/movie night until midnight then sparkling grape juice. Love our family traditions and because of that it was great to be there.
Saint Patrick's Cathedral  was beautiful but we really would have enjoyed it better if there hadn't been so much construction on it.

Grand Central Station was awesome! You see it in so many movies and it was awesome to just be inside of. Moms favorite.

Empire State Building
 Little Italy and China Town where actually one of my favorites. I wish we could have had a whole day for China Town. We actually hope to make it back in a few years just to dig in deeper there. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Paesano of Mulberry Street. Kevin and mom had Lasagna, Zachary Cheese Ravioli, Kyle had Vegetable Primavera and I had Chicken Parmesan. Lexi had a little of all of ours we shared and all of us was beyond full. Best Italian food we had ever ate.

Statue of Liberty was breath taking. I had always wanted to see this personally. This was the one reason Kevin decided to take the trip to NYC instead of DC... Me. I wanted to see her with my own 2 eyes, not from a book or tv. Not only did we love the ferry ride over but we enjoyed being able to go onto the island and climb up the pedestal inside. I know the kids can't appreciate the history or importance of her as well as Kevin, Mom and I can but they can remember the trip and remember seeing this. Mom was very excited because she had never been either!

Wall Street

Federal Hall

Trinity Churchwas amazing! The architect was beyond beautiful.

9/11 Memorial & Memorial Pools was a sobering experience. I remember almost every detail of that day. Kyle was only 1 and Kevin and I can both recall that moment. Because of that my dad had to go to Iraq and it changed my family. Being able to see the site and stand there knowing the historical background was bittersweet. The memorial was beautiful, I would highly recommend going to see it.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Beautiful Sunburst Art Project

I already have expressed several times since our school year started about all the art and drawing that my children requested for this year. This is another wonderful project that I found on Pinterest that we decided to complete.

You need watercolor paper ( I didn't have any and we used regular paper) watercolors, ruler and pencil. 

I personally prepped the paper with the ruler and circle simply because I didn't want them to get "too perfect" with everything and not have fun. 

I just divided the paper up first with a large X from one side to another and kept going from there, making smaller portions until I was satisfied.

 I took a small bowl and made a circle in the middle of my paper and erased all the lines within the circle.

Now it was ready for the kids to paint away! 

Painting is one of their favorite things to do so that was one reason I knew this project would be a great fit.

Everyone loved the way their piece turned out and I love them so much I am getting a frame to place them in and I have found the perfect place for them in our home!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up 3

Guys I sure hope everyone had an awesome week! We sure did.

Monday is honestly a blur, Tuesday my heart was broken with some sad news about my grandpa (please pray for my family and him) and Wednesday was the last day I personally was able to relax because Thursday, Friday and Saturdays are always full speed.

I believe our art projects these week are my favorite yet. I absolutely loved both so very much. I don't know how I am going to showcase them but I do see having to buy 3 more frames to display them throughout the house and just change them out! I already have a DIY Masterpiece board that I made and love but it can only hold so much! 

We are really enjoying some of our new additions greatly. Nancy Larson Science has been something that Zac and Lexi are loving. They love the hands on approach of this science and they love the notebooking that is included (which is my personal favorite) want to learn more about our view on Nancy Larson Science? Read my post here.

Zachary is moving right along with Dyslexia Games (The Thinking Tree). This is an item that was provided to me at the very beginning of our school year that I had been hoping to get to use. I have a post coming about it next week but just take a look at what they have to offer if you have a struggling child like I do. He actually loves the work pages. He asks everyday to do them first!!! I believe he loves the challenge of them honestly but I just love the fact that he is enjoying them.

Last but not least Explode The Code. Zac is doing great with this! He actually enjoys this. I believe he likes it because it is very to the point, it doesn't have "busy" pages for him to get distracted and he easily does 3 - 4 pages a day. We started with book 2 because honestly we didn't know where to start but I thought even if it was a little review it would be great! I will have to have book 3 soon!

Just an update on All About Spelling because I absolutely love them tons and tons! Kyle is going to finish Level 4 next week! YIKES. Alexis is working through and is a little over half way in Level 4 at this point. Zachary --- GUESS WHAT? Only has 3 more lessons left in Level 1! I am so proud of him, I am proud of all of them! I love you All About Spelling you have done wonders for my boys, Lexi is a natural speller but needs the rules but I couldn't have done it without you! Trust me I tried!

We did a little mulching this week and the last load guess what started falling? No not money that I always wish for - Rain but we finished anyway!

Lastly some randomness in our home. Love that the Pizza Hut Book It program accepts homeschoolers. Love that my kids get excited for our little pizza outings! 

My beautiful roses got beat to death after a rain early in the week so we cut some and brought them in for our viewing pleasure! They make me happy.

A review item that I can honestly say I love to death. Kyle actually likes it too. I have tried not to say a lot about it but we love IEW Fix It Grammar. We are in book 1 and on week 4 right now. I think it helped Kyle to meet Andrew Pudewa early in the year because he makes reference to it sometimes when he is doing his lessons! Review will be coming around September 29th! 

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Student Logbook { Review }

Do you have a child that needs a little more independence or help with getting organized? 

If so perhaps you should check out My Student Logbook! The Schoolhouse Review Crew was given a physical copy to review for one of our children. I thought it would be best to use with Kyle, my oldest who is 13 and we chose the Freedom Logbook.

There are a couple different ways you can actually pick your Logbook. You can choose the dated version or undated, you get to pick the cover and you also get the choice of instant download or physical copy. These range from $10-$20 however the review item I was provided was $15.00.

So what is My Student Logbook you're asking???

Well actually it is what the name states, a log book or student planner for your child to keep up with everything (task, chores, schoolwork or just overall management). It is already bound for you if you receive the physical product so all you do is just write all the child needs to do and start from there. 

You can use this for any child I believe but it is best suited for grades 2nd and up.

The logbook actually is very durable; this was the one concern that I had about using it because I know that our homeschooling family is pretty hard on books around here. The front is a very durable with a plastic sheet over the cover and the rest of the pages within are heavy paper not to tear easily.

How did we use it?

First, I sat down and read the set up instructions which take a few minutes. Then I spend another few seconds actually cutting the checklist out and placing it where our dates for school started.  Then I sat down and wrote everything that Kyle is responsible for during the day. I personally didn't write out chores because we change chores in our house every 2 weeks. I felt this way I wouldn't have to change the checklist but a few times.

Secondly, I started reading the section for creating high school transcripts using My Student Logbook. If you only knew how badly I needed this because I have been totally freaking out over the transcripts that I need to prepare for Kyle. Keeping up with everything hasn't ever been a problem of mine but I will be honest I don't actually "grade" the way normal schools grade. I grade based on mastery and I was so relieved to see that she acknowledges that. She covered grades, credit hours, course description and outside of class hours! She provided me with some much needed tips at this point in my homeschooling journey. 

Third, I introduced this to Kyle. It is really easy to explain and he understood everything very easily. I explained that I wanted him to use this daily to keep track of his responsibilities and he simply said "alrighty mom". 

Really was that simple.

In the back of the student logbook there is an All About Me page for the kid to fill out. Kyle's favorite has been the Prayers & Goals page although he doesn't really like me reading this (I'm alright with that). There is a Bible Verses Memorized log sheet along with a Reading Book Log and other miscellaneous activities that are completed so that in the setting of my high schooler I can keep up with those outside of school hours!

Our thoughts?

Personally for me as the mother I got so much out of the creating high school transcripts note that it helped me incredibly! I know that wasn't he purpose of the review but I am just telling you that it gave me such a peace of mind on that issue. 

For managing Kyle's daily tasks I believe that it helped him to have a check off sheet. Our household is a very routined home and my children are as well so this helped him have a more structured schedule for him to visually see and go to. 

Overall we really enjoyed this Logbook and will continue using it.

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