Monday, November 22, 2010

For Sale

I have updated my previous For Sale post with the items I still have left for sale.  As I sit decluttering our schoolroom I have come upon several more items that I simply can't take pictures of nor look up prices for right now but I wanted to list them here for anyone who might be interested in anything.  If you see anything you'd like a price on just let me know and I'll get back with you ASAP.  (At some point I plan on coming back and editing this post with prices, descriptions, links, etc. but for now just a quick list will have to do.

-Easy Grammar, Grade 4
-Easy Grammar, Grade 6
-Time Travelers, New World Explorers
-The Mystery of History, Vol. 1
-Christian Kids Explore Physics
-Abeka Western Hemisphere Geography Studies & Projects, Grade 8, Student Text and Teacher Key
-Abeka Phonics, Reading, & Spelling Lesson Plans, Grade 2

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Ben Franklin Download -N- Go

One of our family's favorite people in American history is Ben Franklin.  What a fascinating and complex man he was! 

As a homeschooling family we have always loved doing unit studies to learn a vast array of things about a particular subject. 

So when I saw that The Old Schoolhouse had a Download N Go on Ben Franklin I was anxious to use it with my children, not only for them but for me as well!  If you haven't used a DNG before I really encourage you to take the plunge and try one.  (Personally speaking I think Ben Franklin is an excellent choice to start with!)

What exactly is a Download N Go, you ask?  Well, they're only just about the coolest thing in the homeschooling world!  Talk about easy... and fun!

Download N Go's are a creation of Amanda Bennett, the queen of unit studies!  When you purchase a DNG it is instantly accessible on your computer.  Each DNG includes five days worth of lessons surrounding one particular topic (and boy do they have the topics to choose from!).  These five days worth of lessons can be done within a week's setting or could even be spread out over the course of a couple of weeks if you so choose.  Throw in a bunch of good books to go along with your DNG (which, of course, Amanda has listed a ton of great ones to choose from) and you've got yourself enough material to last as long or as short as you need it to. 

Throughout the five days of lessons your student will be doing hands on projects that, when finished with all the lessons, he or she will put together and make a fun, fact-filled lapbook with all the different things they have learned throughout the week.

The five days worth of lessons for the Ben Franklin study are:

•Day 1: Who Was Ben Franklin?

•Day 2: People and Places in Ben Franklin’s Life

•Day 3: The Accomplishments of Ben Franklin

•Day 4: Lessons to Learn From Ben Franklin

•Day 5: Remembering Ben Franklin

While we were familiar with some basic knowledge of Mr. Franklin our eyes were really opened to some fascinating facts we didn't know.  One of my favorite parts of Ben Franklin was reading over pages of his famous quotes from Poor Richard's Almanac.  What a wise man that Ben was!  My children didn't realize that a lot of the popular sayings they hear today originally came from Ben Franklin.
What I loved about this study is that it showed my children that you can follow your dreams and do the things you love and that you can stand up for what you believe in and that you can make a difference in this world!  Ben Franklin did all of those things, and usually all at the same time!

I wish I could show you pictures of our lapbooks and all the fun we had with this study but unfortunately we've had issues with our camera as well as our internet this week and I am currently unable to add personal pictures.  However, you can view a sample of the Ben Franklin DNG for yourself here!  Want to read what others have to say about this DNG?  Visit the Blog Tour and see what other think.

All Download N Go studies usually sell for $7.95, but right now you can purchase Ben Franklin for only $6.25! 

*As a member of the DNG review team I received this product free of charge in exchange for my review and honest opinion of it. As a believer and follower of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I promise you that all my reviews are honest and contain only my own true opinions...'cause He told me to not lie!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Update on Fran's Quilts

I find myself thinking of Fran quite a bit these days.  It's fast approaching the holidays, my very favorite time of year.  It was also Fran's favorite.  She loved Christmas.  I mean she really, really loved it! 

Like Fran, in my book once November gets here it IS the holiday season.  (Of course, the season of celebrating officially begins in October for me because my birthday is in October-is there any better month to have a birthday?  I think not!- and we have our annual Harvest party in our back yard with all our family and friends).

This will be the first Christmas of our married life that we have not had a real tree.  It was a hard decision, but for the past couple of years hubby has burned our live tree after Christmas and as soon as a spark hit the tree it went up instantly, nearly disintegrating right before his eyes.  Not much scares him, but that did.  He said it was the fastest, biggest, hottest fire he had ever seen and if that ever happened inside our house that there wouldn't be any time to save our house.  So, an artificial one it is, and we're good with that!

But because we have to do our decorating in spurts this year so daddy can get in on the fun (his job is keeping him working crazy hours) we have already set up the tree but we haven't gotten any other decorations out yet.  So here we sit, pre-lit Christmas tree sitting up in our living room along with all our fall/harvest decorations all over the house.  That's what has me thinking of Fran.

A couple of years ago Fran couldn't wait any longer to get her Christmas tree out, so since it was before Thanksgiving she turned it into a Thankful Tree.  I LOVE the idea, and as I sit here looking at my new, bare (except for the white lighes that came on it) Christmas tree surrounded by fall colors and decorations I keep thinking of Fran's tree.  I want to do this, in honor of Fran, with my children and our new tree!  Sadly, I should have done it a few days ago when we actually set the tree up because when daddy gets home tonight he's getting the rest of the decorations out and the tree will be bare no more.  Oh wait!  I just remembered!  We have an extra tree that will be coming out tonight that we usually put our Five in a Row ornaments on each year!  We can use that until thanksgiving!  YES!

Here's one of my very favorite quilt squares I received for one of Fran's quilts.  It represents her Thankful Tree.  This one made makes me cry.  It was made by Christi in Virginia for Ed's quilt.  Isn't it a beautiful representation?

Which brings me to the main reason for this blog entry.  Fran's quilts.

Mary Lou has finished putting together all three quilt tops!  Now they are ready to head to the lady who will do the actual quilting, and she says she will get them done before Christmas!  I can't WAIT to hand deliver them to Ed, Emma, and Eden.  What a Christmas this will be, for Ed and the girls, but also for Marcy and I who will have the honor of presenting them to the family.

For all those who contributed, and for all those who are coming along on this precious journey with us through this blog, here are the three quilt tops. 

They are, in order, Ed's, Emma's, and Eden's...

For anyone who would still like to contribute to the quilts, now is the time when we will need to have the funds for the quilting so any monetary donation is greatly needed and appreciated.  We have had some FIAR sisters contribute but I'm afraid more will be needed.  Any extra money left over, along with a note with the names of all who participated in one way or another, will be given to Ed when we deliver the quilts. 

If you are interested in contributing just leave a comment here and I will get in touch with you.  (Please leave your contact info, whether that be email, blog, whatever.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: The Write Foundation

The Write Foundation was developed by Rebecca Celsor, a former public school teacher and homeschooling mother who sought to develop a writing curriculum that teaches children how to quickly organize and write an essay "with excellence".  Mrs. Celsor's statement summons up the whole reason for The Write Foundation and is very true to what I have found throughout our homeschooling years...

"Many writing curricula focus on the different types of writing, such as creative writing, story writing, poetry writing, persuasive writing, argumentative writing, informative writing, descriptive writing, book writing, fiction writing, novel writing, but the basic foundation of writing is assumed. The Write Foundation begins with the writing process, how a student formulates a topic, then a thesis, then supporting points, and by incremental teaching drills in the basics. In most grammatical subjects, we have found that failure is almost totally because the basics have not been learned."

I'm so glad to have finally found something I can use with my younger children to help them learn how to write before they reach the age of their older sister who didn't have the priviledge of using The Write Foundation.  We are still struggling in 9th grade because of her not having the basics of writing down pat.

The Write Foundation is set up into the three following levels and suggested age range:

Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing Ages 11 – 13
Start at the Sentence to Paragraph Writing Level 1:
•If your student has any run ons or incomplete sentences when he writes on his own.
•If your student hates writing.
•If your student primarily writes simple sentences.

Level 2: Paragraph Writing Ages 12 – 15
Start at the Paragraph Writing Level 2:
•If your student understands the writing process of basic brainstorm, outline, rough draft, edit, final copy.
•If your student usually writes descriptive sentences, which includes adjectives, adverbs and participles.
•If your student can follow directions.

Level 3: Essay Writing Ages 14 – 17
Start at the Essay Writing Level 3:
•If your student understands and knows how to effectively use the writing process of brainstorm, outline, rough draft, edit, final copy.
•If your student knows how to write a proper, standard outline for a 3-4 paragraph paper.
•If your student uses a variety of words and minimizes repetition.
•If your student has been introduced to transitions.
•If your student is familiar with basic figures of speech.
•If your student is familiar with writing in third person only.

Each level consists of 30 lessons which can be completed over one or two years.  (You can read more about what level to place your student in here).

Although we reviewed the first 15 lessons of Level 1 for ages 11-13 I actually used it with all three of my younger children, ages 11, 10, and almost-9 and they all did really well with it.  The lessons are well laid out and easy to understand and require little to no preperation time for the teacher.  My children are well on their way to having a strong foundation in writing and I'm considering going back and using The Write Foundation to reteach the basics to our oldest daughter as well.

If you are interested in learning more about The Write Foundation or would like to purchase one or more levels, you can do so here.

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received this product free of charge in exchange for my review and honest opinion of it. As a believer and follower of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I promise you that all my reviews contain only my own honest opinions...'cause He told me to not lie!