Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Last Box on Moving Day {Scripture & a Snapshot}

When her daddy found the box he'd been looking for . . . the last one.



It was a full day.  From last minute cleaning of their first home together, shopping for the Eagle Scout's trip to Boy's State, a wedding celebration, and the last load to the new house, we did it all.   There was applause and shouts of joy throughout the day.  It was a good, good day.



I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot



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Friday, May 27, 2016

Random 5 of Friday (May 27)



1.  This is the life.  I love this picture of most all of my family hanging out together in the yard this week.  It reminds me of a Spring day when they were all little and toddling around in the same yard.  It was a day I was intentional to remember and brings a smile to my heart.  This picture shows how our family is growing -- and how we enjoy each other's company still.  There's baseball and boomerang and puppies and fun in this picture.  It was a good night.



2.  When everyone has their copy of GOD's Word in hand for Bible study, pizza is perfect.

3.  The first step is often the hardest.  He likes the idea of outside but is afraid to take that first step.



4.  The best of friends . . . 



make celebrations perfect.



5.  Puppies are good therapy for whatever ails you.





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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: Science ShepherdBiology #hsreviews #homeschoolscience

Science Shepherd Review
It was seriously time to up the ante in sciences for my Princess this year, so as soon as she completed her Health and Life Science courses, we were ready to jump into Biology.  Specifically, she has been using Science Shepherd Biology from the Science Shepherd family of sciences and I just have to tell you that we LOVE it.  For starters, this is REAL science (directly from the mouth of the Princess).  I asked exactly what she meant by that and this is what she said:

It's REAL, mom.  It's not easy -- but not so hard that I can't do it.  It's different from anything else I've done before.  I know it's real HIGH SCHOOL work.  There's just a different feel to it from other stuff we've looked at and used-- and I think I'm learning more than I ever have before and what I'm learning is a good foundation for what's coming in college and Med School over the next several years.
Now, I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty high praise for a high school Freshman who wants to be a doctor.  She takes her science classes seriously and I'm super proud of her for that.  When our box of curriculum resources arrived from Science Shepherd, I was a little afraid that it would intimidate my girl.  After all, it intimidated me just a wee bit.  It really is totally different than anything we've used before -- and that has turned into a huge positive.  We needed to "shake things up a bit" and Science Shepherd Biology has blessed our socks off.

Science Shepherd Review

First of all, this is a complete Biology course -- text, tests, and labs included.  We haven't reached the dissection portion of the coursework, but it's coming and so is our dissection kit.  My girl can't wait for that portion!  It's a fairly rigorous program designed to take a full year (36 weeks) and there's no fluff.  The student text alone is 754-pages that begins with Chemistry and moves through Cells, Genetics, LIFE, the Kingdoms, Human Anatomy & Physiology, and Ecology.  The textbook is similar in nature to the college textbooks my Occupational Therapy grad student is using in class so it really is REAL.  Obviously, we haven't completed the entire course yet, but my daughter is well on her way because she'd like to finish it before the end of the summer.  It's do-able, but it requires self-discipline on her part in a major way.


Written from an unashamedly Christian worldview/perspective, this Biology text begins with scripture and references the majesty of our CREATOR throughout.  It is definitely directed to older high school students (10th grade - 12th grade) but has not been too difficult for my daughter in the final months of her 9th grade year.  I would NOT recommend it for younger students as it is extensive and requires much dedication to study.  Chapters are lengthy and involved.  Students are expected to read and study and learn and retain.  This is a good thing.

For purposes of review, we received each of the following:
  • Biology Text -- hardcover, 754-pages, full-color, divided into 34 Chapters.  Each Chapter is subdivided and ends with sections on the People of Science that correlate to what has been taught, Key Chapter Points (bulleted guide to the most important ideas from the Chapter), Definitions/Vocabulary, and Study Questions from the Chapter.  This text is written to students and tells them when to take each test.
  • Biology Lab Manual --softcover, comb-bound, 90-pages, black and white copy.  There are 19 labs to be completed throughout the course.  Each lab is explained in detail and there are pages on which to draw and answer questions.  Answers are provided in the back of the Manual.
  • Biology Lab DVD -- hints and helps provided for each of the 19 labs.  This is a HUGE help and although the labs could be done without it, we recommend that you utilize this resource.  Being able to see and hear what is to be done has proved to be invaluable to my daughter.  It also helps to keep her on-task and she is not tempted to just "skip the lab" has she has been in the past.  The DVDs help to keep her fully engaged.


  • Biology Test Booklet -- softcover, 48-pages.  There are 15 tests that students are directed to take as they read and study through the text.  The tests vary in length depending upon the Chapters studied.  Tests contain True/False statements and Short and Long answer questions. There are Why, How, Describe and Explain questions that truly do take forethought.  Students are required to think about what they have studied and are not just repeating facts memorized to pass a test. 
  • Biology Answer Key & Parent Companion -- softcover, 241-pages.  This book contains all of the answers for the Study Questions from the text and all of the test answers from the Test Booklet.  It has a detailed schedule for students to follow and offers parents a "quick look" at what students are learning throughout the text.  There are questions that parents can ask to make sure their students are grasping the material as they study and notes that help refresh my mind on the basics of Biology.  Whew!  It's been a while since I've taken a Biology course so this is much appreciated.  
What I like about this course is that my daughter can do it on her own by following the schedule provided.  She is happy to go to her room and work on Biology and she is learning as she does so.  It is "plug and play" for the most part -- aside from me making sure that we had the lab materials needed on hand -- she was able to begin the moment the materials arrived.  There are "catch up" days built into the weekly schedule which makes it easy to not fall behind when life gets hectic and outside things pull on our days.  As a homeschool momma, I appreciate knowing that stepping away from "school" will not throw us into despair.

School has taken on an entirely different flair now that we've added Science Shepherd to the mix.  The Princess said it best when she called it real.  The material covered is the same as in most traditional Biology courses, but there is a maturity to it that has called her to step up and is allowing her to fall in love with learning once again.   Unfortunately, she had begun to slip into the "this is boring" routine, but now is being challenged once again.  As the traditional school year winds down, my girl is excited to continue on course.  Science Shepherd Biology is working for us.  The text draws her in and keeps her occupied and she devours the written word as she moves through the hands-on labs.  This is a winner for Long Leaf Academy.

You can find out even more about Science Shepherd by visiting the following Social Media sites:







Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review the Science Shepherd Biology by Science Shepherd as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Science Shepherd Review
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Celebrating Life {Scripture & a Snapshot}


Happy Birthday to our eldest!



I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot




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Friday, May 20, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: Traditional Logic by Memoria Press #hsreviews #classicaleducation

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

Memoria Press is always a favorite classical component of our homeschool and I was excited to add the Traditional Logic I Complete Set to our repertoire this semester.  Here's the deal:  I was introduced to Logic as a course of study in college as part of my Political Science degree plan.  I'd never heard of "Logic" and was not the least bit sure of what I was walking into for that class.  I may have even made a snide joke or two when it appeared on my class schedule.  I mean, how in the world to you teach and regulate "logic"?  I assumed that everyone could think "logically."  Oh, boy, was I naive.  And just plain wrong.  For many students in my class, Formal Logic was the class that wiped out their GPA.

Not so for me.  From the moment the professor began explaining the course, I was hooked.  I "got" Logic.  I understood the concepts and could easily wrap my head around the explanations given.  Give me a Venn diagram and I could figure anything out.  It all made perfectly good sense to me and I was shocked by those around me who struggled with this "science of right thinking."  Bring on the GRE.  I could handle the reasoning behind it.   Study TRUTH?  I was all in.  But whose truth was it? I didn't attend a Christian college and the course was not taught from a Christian perspective.

That's the problem with education sometimes.  The truths taught can sometimes be a little false, a bit skewed.

Fast forward 25 years to Long Leaf Academy.  It has always been my desire that my children learn to think logically as they stand for the truth that is only found through CHRIST and Martin Cothran's Traditional Logic:  Introduction to Formal Logic is the perfect tool to teach them the science of right thinking.  Taught from a Christian view of TRUTH, Traditional Logic is exactly what I wanted in my children's arsenal for life.  Through the pages of study, they are gaining valuable tools to understand the world around them.  And that's a good thing.

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

So, what's included, how does this work, and why is it perfect for our homeschool environment?  Appropriate for 7th - 12th graders, the Traditional Logic set includes a Student Guide (146-pages), a Teacher Key (56-pages of answers!  Yes!), a 2-disc set of Instructional DVDs (one video lesson for each chapter), and a Quizzes & Tests book (33-pages of short answer quizzes -- one for each chapter -- and a final exam).  It is easy-to-use with little-to-no advance preparation and its success is not pre-determined by the amount of formal logic the teacher/parent has previously studied.  As in, if you've NEVER had a Logic course, you CAN use this set.

Traditional Logic begins with an Introduction which explains what Logic is and why you would want your children to study it.  It is further broken down into sections and chapters.  There are 14 Chapters divided into 3 sections (Apprehension, Judgment, and Deductive Inference) and each is laid out in four days worth of work.  Students are instructed to read specific portions of the book and work through the correlating exercises each day.  If you choose to follow this pattern, you can finish the entire course in just 15 weeks.  That is a one-semester introductory study of Logic that would conceivably have you ready to move into the more difficult logic lessons.  Whew!  It is very do-able, but because this was our first foray into formal logic studies and the vocabulary introduced is akin to a foreign language for my children, we are taking it much slower than recommended.

Due to the nature of the course, I would highly recommend that you use this study for true high school students.  Yes, it is appropriate for 7th and 8th graders and can be used successfully with them, but in my opinion, the abstract concepts work best for older students.  My 9th and 11th graders are enjoying the work, but there are still quite a few discussions of "what does this really mean?" and "hey, can we listen to that one more time?" as we walk through the instructional DVDs together.  We have found that watching the DVD and reading the chapter helps with mastery of each concept.  And please, don't let the idea that this is an introductory course fool you.  There is a TON of information to take in and study contained in this first book.  This very in-depth study and the DVDs have proven invaluable to us all.  Mr. Cothran's use of slides and illustrations offer the ah-ha moments that strictly reading through the chapters did not.

Is this an easy course to study?  Absolutely not.  But it is a necessary course to study as we help prepare our children for the world in which they will live.  Together my children are learning about clear judgment and gaining the ability to see through emotions and they are learning to evaluate the claims of others, looking for validity through deductive reasoning.   In my opinion, these are the very things that will help them move successfully through life.

You can find out even more about Memoria Press on the following Social Media sites:
Instagram (@memoriapress)




Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review the Traditional Logic I Complete Set by Memoria Press as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: IEW's Poetry Memorization #hsreviews #readingreadiness #poetrymemorization

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

I have long loved all things that come from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) and I was super-excited to review Mr. Pudewa's newest revision of Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization.  I fell in love with poetry as a child and actually kept notebooks of poems that touched my heart. I still have all of those notebooks and enjoy looking through them to this day.  My Senior English teacher fostered my love of poetry and recitation by having us memorize poems and literary passages and stand before the class to share them aloud.  After all of these years, that repetition of learning sticks with me still.  It is not uncommon for me to begin reciting the Canterbury Tales, in Old English of course, at the craziest times or share a soliloquy from one of Shakespeare's plays.  I wanted to introduce this same learning technique to my children and share with them the beauty of literature, but was unsure how to do so.  Once again, IEW came to my rescue.

Having committed poetry to memory as a teenager, I have often longed for the beauty and simplicity of it through adulthood and pondered how to best instill that same love in my children.  This mastery learning approach is the perfect way to introduce your family to the beneficial rhyme and rhythm of memorization.

I teach a Speech class for the high schoolers in our homeschool group and we always begin with memorization.  I can share with them pieces and parts of what I memorized in school and have them begin choosing pieces to learn and share.  For example, the very first assignment I give is for students to commit to memory The Gettysburg Address.   In doing so, they realize that YES, they can stand before a group of people and speak aloud.  I encourage them to add feeling and "ham it up" as they step back to the hallowed ground.  The second assignment I give is having the students choose a favorite poem to share with the class.  It is a great way to ease nerves and break the ice for what is to come and Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization lets me know that these assignments were right on target.  Now, I have an arsenal of great poetry and important speeches to add to this year's class.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
For purposes of review, I received a physical CD set that includes 5 CDs of the poetry and speeches to be memorized read aloud by Mr. Andrew Pudewa, a DVD entitled Nurturing Competent Communicators that has tons of great information to help me help my kids, a spiral-bound Teacher's Manual (200-pages), access to 7 audio MP3s and a downloadable Student ebook (170-pages).  I also received a copy of the physical Student Book.  Although the physical Student Book does not come as part of the Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization set, you would do well to purchase the spiral-bound book for your student(s).  It is super helpful and makes it even easier to begin the study.  No copying/printing necessary and the pages are together in one place.  You are going to want to make sure and listen to the four talks on the arts of language entitled On Listening, On Speaking, On Reading, and On Writing.  They are simply phenomenal and Mr. Pudewa is such an effective communicator.  He teaches me how to be a better teacher for my children.

So how does this work in the read world of homeschool?  Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization is divided into five levels.  The first four levels contain 19 selected poems each with a 20th spot for personal choice.  The fifth level contains 20 short speeches or speech exerts to be memorized.  There are additional suggestions of longer speeches to be memorized, as well.  All students begin with the very first level and learn the simple poem Ooey Gooey:

Ooey Gooey was a worm,
A mighty worm was he.
He stepped upon the railroad tracks,
The train he did not see!
Ooooey Goooey!

How fun is that?  Yes, it's a little gross, but it sure is a great way to grab the attention of kids who may or may not think poetry is BORING.  Students read the poem, recite the poem, listen to the poem being recited on the CD, and practice, practice, practice.  As students learn poems, they are instructed to highlight them in a list and check them off as they recite them daily.  There are illustrations for some of the poems studied throughout the Student Book that can be colored (My girl is definitely a part of the current coloring craze, my boy?  Not so much.)  Students are also encouraged to illustrate the other poems in the book which serves as visual clues when they are practicing to recite.  The selected poems for memorization get more difficult as students progress through the different levels.  Daily practice (or as close to daily as possible) push my kids as they improve their communication skills and strengthen their vocabulary.   Certificates are provided at the end of each level that can also be used for positive reinforcement.

At our house, this simply means we block off 10-15 minutes a day to study poetry.  Both of my high schoolers are working at their own pace and I tend to keep it low-key.  I want poetry memorization to be a fun activity and not be deemed as busy work.  I know the benefits they are reaping, but I keep that to myself.  I have them read through a poem, listen to it on the accompanying CD, and recite it as they are ready.  They are building a repertoire of cool things and having fun in the process.  If I made it too much like "work," they would automatically hate it and balk when asked to study.

The Teacher's Manual contains lesson enhancements for each poem and speech selection that offer suggested ways to include the study of poetry elements and integrate additional subjects as you memorize the poetry.  Writing, vocabulary, science, literature, social studies, and geography are incorporated into the poetry studies.  The mastery learning approach of repetition, review, repertoire expansion helps students retain what they set out to know.  This lets me know that my approach to our Speech class is right on target.

IEW pushes my children to THINK in fresh, new ways as they gain independence in learning and work to develop their own personal styles.  We have learned so much through the writing, grammarclassic literature study, and spelling programs of IEW.   I have thoroughly enjoyed adding this poetry curriculum to our school days and can't wait to use it in other ways as well.  It truly is a great addition to an already positive educational experience.  The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is a special friend to Long Leaf Academy and I recommend you check them out for great resources in your homeschool, as well.  For even more information about IEW and all of their wonderful homeschool curriculum, please visit the following Social Media sites:





Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
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Friday, May 13, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: CONSTRUCTing with ARTistic PursuitsInc. #hsreviews #homeschoolart #artinstruction

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

I am always excited by art offerings in our homeschool and Sculpture Technique: CONSTRUCT by ARTistic Pursuits Inc. does not disappoint.  We've had the opportunity through the years to review several of the ARTistic Pursuits books, but this one is our favorite hands-down.  I love that my girl is super creative and doesn't mind making a little mess to see her ideas come to fruition.  My mom was a "no mess" kind of momma, so I never had the opportunity to get dirty.  My girl is happy to dive right in and see where it takes her.  I love it.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. ReviewThis comb-bound book contains 83-pages of instruction on the elements of structure and guides students how to use a variety of materials to simply "create" with their hands.  Divided into four units of study, Sculpture Technique:  CONSTRUCT is a self-paced manual that is written directly to the student.  There is no set time for most projects -- students simply work as long as they like unless directed to wait for materials to dry.  The hands-off icon lets them know it's time to take a break.  I like this unique approach as it allows my daughter to self-regulate.  What a great skill to learn for LIFE!  The instructions provided for each activity are easy-to-understand and are accompanied by full-color illustrations as visual guides.    Each unit begins by explaining what the student will learn, shows example from real life works of art, contains multiple projects using the media discussed, and ends with an evaluation so that students can reflect and understand what they have been studying and doing.  
  • Unit 1 teaches students how to create form in papermaking.  (4 projects)
  • Unit 2 teaches students how to create planes in cardboard.  (7 projects)
  • Unit 3 teaches students how to create motion with papier-mache.  (9 projects)
  • Unit 4 teaches students how to create volume with wire.  (12 projects)
There are answers to the unit evaluations included in the text, templates for some of the projects, and a 36-week classroom schedule if needed.  Each unit can serve as a stand alone study so students do not have to move through the book in order.  

This was perfect for the Princess.  She read through the introductions of each unit before choosing where she wanted to begin.  Unit 2, Creating Planes in Cardboard, was her first pick.  After studying about planes and looking over several architectural models, she was excited to begin her sculpture.  

First, there were supplies to be gathered.  Luckily, most of the supplies can easily be found in stores that are local to us.   The supply lists call for normal, non-expensive things that you can find in Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart although ARTistic Pursuits also sells kits that will keep you from leaving home.  

With the cardboard sculpture, my girl was able to combine several of the projects in the unit to create her final masterpiece.  She painted her cardboard base, used templates to create three dimensional cubes out of cardstock, and glued pieces and parts together to form the coolest hospital ever -- complete with outdoor landscaping and a parking lot.  






The Princess says what she likes most about Sculpture Technique:  CONSTRUCT is that the instructions are easy to follow but they allow you to put your own twist on the project.  She says the wire sculpting is going to be her next "big thing" but that the molding and papier-mache look pretty cool, too.  I anticipate many hours of creativity ahead.

What I like best about this study is that while she's being creative and having fun she's also passing off requirements for high school art credit.  You just can't go wrong with a combination like that.

It's been a fun adventure -- and the best part is that it will continue.  We're learning to relax and enjoy the process more and more these days and ARTistic Pursuits is a great tool for our exploration.

You can connect with ARTistic Pursuits through FaceBook and be sure to check out some of the other reviews.  Many of my fellow Crewbies have had the opportunity to "create" a myriad of cool things through the pages of the many different ARTistic Pursuits books, so please be sure to visit their reviews and see for yourself how many different ways you can introduce an art program into your homeschool. You'll be glad you did.

This day has the potential to be your most creative day yet . . .



Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Sculpture Technique: CONSTRUCT by ARTistic Pursuits as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
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