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Sunday, June 24, 2018
Friday, June 22, 2018
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Homeschool Review: White House Holidays Unit Studies #hsreviews #UnitStudies #LaborDay @silverdalepress
Way back in the day (when there were still four children learning together), we did some of our best school via unit studies and I loved it. I really liked being able to combine several different grades of learning while sharing activities as much as we could. I've always enjoyed having us work on projects around the kitchen table and discuss topics in the living room, but now that there is only one scholar left at Long Leaf Academy, it is not always so easy to find high school appropriate unit studies. What I like about the White House Holiday Unit Studies is that they are written by a homeschooling momma who gets that whole "group learning" thing and knows that we want easy. Jill Hummer has walked in our shoes and she understands what we want and need. She even walks the extra mile by making her studies interesting for high schoolers and she pushes them into excellence with extra discussion. Jill combines the fun of holidays with the history and traditions of the many American Presidents they are tied to using historical narratives, primary source documents, and easy-to-find supplies (which is mostly stuff that you already have on-hand). How's that for perfection?
There are currently six holiday unit studies available: Christmas, Labor Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, and Veterans Day -- and a George Washington study is in the works. Each of these unit studies are suitable for use with students ages 5 - 18 because Jill has written separate lesson plans for K-6th grades (elementary) and 7th - 12th grades (middle school/high school). I'm down to my very last homeschooler and my daughter is completing her Junior year of high school, so for review purposes, our focus has been on the high school lesson plan, BUT . . . if your family is like mine used to be, you can easily utilize each of the studies in a group learning environment. The different sets of lessons (K - 6 vs. 7 - 12) in each Unit Study cover similar information, share the same titles, and contain some of the same pictures, but the high school lessons offer a much more in-depth study than do the elementary plans. For example, in the Veterans Day Unit Study the elementary lesson plan is 4 1/2 pages long, while the high school lesson plan is 8 pages long. Each Unit Study is comprised of 3 - 5 lessons and each lesson in a study is followed by suggested worksheets or activities and many of the activities can be used with children of all ages.
All studies are available via download as a PDF file and each study has a separate Answer Key document. You can utilize them right off of your computer or iPad if you choose, or you can print the file, 3-hole punch, and add the sheets to a binder if you prefer a hands-on copy like me. I printed each of the Veterans Day (49-pages) and Labor Day (53-pages) studies in their entirety. I did NOT print any of the Answer Key files, choosing instead to check answers right off of my computer.
After working through the pages of the Labor Day Unit Study, we chose to begin looking at the Veterans Day Unit Study as a way to honor the many veterans in our family. Did you know that Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and that it will be 100 years old this year?
The three lessons that make up the Veterans Day Unit Study include readings, crossword puzzles, study questions, pictures, maps, and practical ways to be involved in your community on Veterans Day. This study was especially fun for my girl as she was served as the County Veterans Service Officer at Girl's State. She enjoyed sharing with the girls in her county the many ways that they could actively observe Veterans Day in November. One of the suggested activities was to attend a Veterans Day parade or event in your community and we did just that when we held posters and cheered on the soldiers at the farewell parade of our local National Guard unit when they were deployed overseas.
My daughter enjoyed studying President Wilson's Fourteen Points Speech and completing the Armistice Day crossword puzzle:
You can find out even more about Silverdale Press LLC on the following Social Media sites:
I was given the opportunity to review the White House Holiday Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew. Make sure that you visit the Crew Review to see what other members of the Crew thought of these unit studies and the Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers ages 14-18 course, too. You can click on the picture below to jump right over there.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Homeschool Review: Memoria Press Classical Composition #hsreviews #memoriapress #classicalchristianeducation
Modeled after the classical methodology known as the Progymnasmata, the Classical Composition series aims to produce students who not only write and speak well, but who write and speak well about GOD and HIS creation. Students are taught the mechanics behind excellent composition through the Classical Composition curriculum and it is laid out in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-follow format. My daughter is using it independently with no issues at all by following the Fable & Narrative Stage Lesson Plans.
I’m sure you’ve heard the oft-quoted statement that “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” Classical Composition I: Fable Set encourages students to imitate good writers so that they can become good writers themselves through variation and paraphrase while Classical Composition II: Narrative Set encourages students to imitate the ideas in passages making sure that they understand and comprehend the meaning behind a particular passage. This is done through writing and re-writing and writing again.
For our review, we received the following:
For our review, we received the following:
- Fable & Narrative Stage Lesson Plans (9-pages, softcover, combbound)which gives a day-by-day checklist of work to be completed
- Classical Composition I: Fable Set which includes the Teacher Guide and the Student Book (both are 101-pages, softcover, coilbound) and the Instructional DVDs that coincide with the Fable lessons. There are 4 discs that cover all 20 lessons.
- Classical Composition II: Narrative Set which includes the Teacher Guide and the Student Book (both are 156-pages, softcover, coilbound) and the Instructional DVDs that coincide with the Narrative lessons. There are 6 discs that cover all 20 lessons.
What does all of this look like in use at Long Leaf Academy? For review purposes, my daughter (finishing Junior year, heading into Senior year) has been "discovering the skills of writing" through the Classical Composition Accelerated I format. At this time, she is almosst halfway through the Fable Stage and will be continuing with the Narrative Stage until completion. We are utilizing the full 34-week program in its entirety. The Lesson Plans show her exactly what to do each day and the DVDs provide full instruction from Dr. Brett Vaden.
Each lesson focuses on a different one of Aesop's fables and follows the same pattern. Dr.Vaden reads the fable aloud and points out words that may be difficult for the student. He explains these vocabulary words in detail and re-reads the fable. Students then ponder the three plot components of recognition, reversal, and suffering and make note of them in the Student Book. What we like about the teaching aspect of the DVDs is that Dr. Vaden explains concepts in a way that is easy-to-undertand and then directs students to pause the DVD and answer his questions in their book. He is very personable and encouraging. Students learn to use synonyms and write variations of each fable and they learn to create outlines. The variations and outline are then used to rewrite the fable multiple times. Walking through each of these steps teaches proofreading skills and self-correction and empowers my daughter as she realizes that writing is not so difficult.
The Narrative Stage follows a very similar format to the Fable Stage. Students read (or are read) short narratives and discuss vocabulary words found in the reading. They learn to orally share the story (narrate it) in their own words and focus on the nine components of a narrative: recognition, reversal, suffering, agents, action, time, place, manner, and cause. Further practice is given to outlines, variations, and paraphrasing with the culmination of each lesson found in a final draft that inverts the sequence of events in the narrative. This deductive reasoning exercise helps them to understand perspectives and focus on what is essential to the plot, thus strengthening their writing and preparing them for college essays.
As always, Memoria Press has given us well thought out resources that encourage students to focus on GOD's ideas. I love that the writings come from men with a heart to further the Kingdom and our appreciation of all that is in it.
You can find out even more about Memoria Press on the following Social Media sites:
I was given the opportunity to review the Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set from Memoria Press as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew. Make sure that you visit the Crew Review to see what other members of the Crew thought of these resources (and others), too. You can click on the picture below to jump right over there.
Monday, June 4, 2018
Homeschool Review: Critical Thinking Detective Vocabulary (Book 1) #TheCriticalThinkingCo #HSReviews
Written for students in grades 5 - 12, this vocabulary workbook (softcover, 38-pages) offers vocabulary word development in the form of mysteries that need to be solved using your knowledge of words and their meanings. Acting as the "lead detective," students work through 12 different "cases" to solve problems as presented. Each "case" contains 18 - 25 vocabulary words that students MUST define and understand in order to prove the guilt or innocence of the given suspects. They use the vocabulary words to define the parameters of each case, using a process of elimination to make an "arrest." After students determine the guilt or innocence of the suspects and solve the mystery, they have additional practice using the vocabulary words in a separate fill-in-the-blank activity. It's really a fun way expand your vocabulary and prepare for standardized tests. The majority of the workbook is printed in black and white, but the suspects are pictured in bright spots of color for each case. This helps keeps you interested and makes you want to solve the next case.
The deal is, these aren't easy words. Using a combination of the hardest words from the SATs and the top words most commonly looked up on an online dictionary, students are stretched and challenged as they explore synonyms and antonyms and use critical thinking skills to narrow down the "suspects" through a process of elimination. This means that you have to understand BIG WORDS or at least words that aren't used in the normal day-to-day conversation in order to follow the evidence presented in each case. And if you don't understand the words, you've got to look them up, figure them out, and make them make sense.
Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary offers a fast-paced review, but it's tough. The page below shows my daughter's first attempt at solving the case of The Antique Double-Dealer. She thought she would sit down and whiz through the workbook, but was stopped in her tracks and forced to spend some time pondering over each sentence. I love that she's been challenged to learn new words and to make sure she understands how to use them in the correct context. I also like that she's honing a new skill -- using a real-life dictionary. My go-to resource in college was a rather large blue dictionary and I was happy to share it with her. Yes, I know that it would be MUCH EASIER for her to find these words online, but I like seeing her look through the pages to find the words she is unsure of.
For more information about the many resources offered from The Critical Thinking Co.™ please visit the following Social Media sites:
You'll want to also make sure to visit the reviews of my fellow Crew members as we are reviewing 6 different resources that will help empower the mind of our children.
As an added bonus, The Critical Thinking Co.™ is offering the following coupon and freebie to my readers:
Free Critical Thinking Puzzles!
A $75 Value! Delivered weekly to your inbox. Choose PreK – Grade 8. Sign Up Now!
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Free Shipping + 15% Off Any Size Order! Use Coupon Code: TOSCREW18. Expires 12/31/2018.
I was given the opportunity to review the Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary book from The Critical Thinking Co.™ as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew. Make sure that you visit the Crew Review to see what other members of the Crew thought of all of these great resources. You can click on the picture below to jump right over there.
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