Physics 101 from The 101 Series ~ Our Review

We have just had the opportunity to use and review a quite captivating science course, complete with teaching videos:  Physics 101 from The 101 Series.  This was a brand-new way for us to experience science and we learned a ton while truly enjoying ourselves!   (You really have to love it when you can say that about schoolwork.)

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The 101 Series

The 101 Series was created by Wes and Tammy Olson.  Homeschoolers themselves, the Olsons researched and created The 101 Series when they didn’t find high school science curricula that was just right for their family.  Wes Olson, who worked in corporate filmmaking for over 15 years, also has a deep interest in science.  Working together with scientific experts, Wes brings his own filmmaking expertise to produce excellent, understandable science from a Christian worldview.  The Olsons have produced three high school science curricula thus far:  Physics 101, Chemistry 101, and Biology 101.  (I understand from their website that they’re currently working on a general science curriculum as well!

 

 

 

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The 101 Series’ Physics 101

Physics 101 is a 4-disc DVD set which contains 20 chapters of video material.  It’s designed for high school students, ages 15 and up (though my son is a bit younger than that and enjoyed and understood it well).  Each chapter, or lesson, teaches about a specific area of physics, in videos which last from 20-40 minutes apiece.  The video lessons are taught by Wes Olson, who’s an engaging and often funny teacher.  The chapters are divided into 7 different areas, with 1-3 lessons in each chapter, covering:

  • The Physics of Light
  • The Physics of Sound
  • The Physics of Heat
  • The Physics of Electricity
  • The Physics of Motion
  • The Physics of the Weird (hilarious, I know–but that’s really the section title!)
  • The Future of Physics

However, this DVD set is not only teaching videos.  One disc also contains a printable student guidebook, quizzes for each lesson, and a lesson plan for the teacher to use.  Students use the guidebook and the videos to create a physics notebook, complete experiments, do further research on various topics, and write papers on what they learn.  It’s an excellent program which utilizes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning methods, as well as helping students refine their own research skills.

 

 

physics-101-pic-2How we used it

Physics is something that I always wish I had learned more about.  I have a decent background in optics—and while that is awesome, it still leaves out sound, motion, electricity, and heat.  (Probably more than that, but that’s what I am aware of at the moment!)  Anyway, I was very excited for us to use and review Physics 101, and my son Jackson (who’s 14) and I worked together on the various lessons.  The teachers’ plans for each segment are fantastic, and give clear instructions on how the student should complete each segment.  We simply followed those plans.  First, we’d watch the videos.  The student guidebook serves as a sort of textbook that goes along with the videos, and could either be used alongside the videos, or read after we viewed them.  There are discussion questions which will also deepen and expand the students’ understanding of the various physics lessons and applications.  Following that, we completed the labs (a.k.a. experiments) which are included in each segment.  Jackson then did the research and wrote essays on the topics listed (e.g., why is the sky blue?  Why is my face upside down in a spoon? etc.).  To close out the learning for each segment, students watch the teaching video once more and then take a quiz, which is included in the guidebook.

 

physics-101-pic-4Our experiences

I can sum them up in one word:

Wow!

Wes Olson takes the sometimes ephemeral truths and lessons about some non-tangible scientific principles—and makes them clear and understandable.  Really!  Did you ever think about how God created light first…but the sun wasn’t created until the 4th day of creation?  Hmm!  That’s very interesting, isn’t it?  And there is a scientific principle behind that that I have never, ever heard before.  I’m not going to spoil it for you by telling you what it is, but I’ll give you a key word that might be in the answer:  electrons.

Or how about that sky that is so blue…what makes it that way?  (Hint: it’s not the oceans.)  Or why exactly are the things in your driver’s side rearview mirror closer than they appear?  There is a reason for that and it has to do with convex mirrors.  Or…why do oil and water refract things differently?

All of those questions can be answered by….physics!  And it is truly fascinating.  Jackson and I were amazed and so interested in the videos.  We always enjoy experiments, and I appreciated the way that all of the labs more deeply teach the principles taught in the videos.  Jackson says:  “He is a good person to be (teaching) it because he can add good humor to a situation.”  I think that might be my son’s way of saying that Mr. Olson makes physics both fun and fascinating, never dry or boring.

One thing in particular was a learning experience I believe my son had that was influenced by the great teaching on the videos (as well as the additional research he did on his own).  There were two times when we would be watching the video teaching when he made a leap of understanding; where he took the information that he was learning from the teaching video and was able to extrapolate, or draw further conclusions about scientific principles.  That was so exciting!

I also appreciated the extra research Jackson had to do.  Both websites and library books, or other reference materials, can be used for the research.  Jackson wrote his essays on the computer, then printed them for his notebook.

Physics 101 covers the equivalent of one year’s high school science study.  For our purposes it was very, very effective.

 

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Where can you find The 101 Series?

You may purchase Physics 101 from The 101 Series, simply by clicking the links and heading over to the company’s site.  In fact, you may also purchase other excellent science curricula, like Chemistry 101 or Biology 101, from the same website.  Would you like to find out more about those other courses?  Many Crew members reviewed one of these three courses, and you can find out more about their experiences by clicking the banner below.

You can visit The 101 Series at their social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/the101series
Twitter: https://twitter.com/the101series/ @the101series
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/the101series/

Enjoy!  –Wren

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}Crew Disclaimer

Learning Calligraphy with “Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting” ~ My Experiences And Review

If there were ever a language arts curriculum that could be described as multi-purpose, it would be Everyday Education, LLC‘s Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting.  I have just had the great pleasure of reviewing this program in its digital version for the Homeschool Review Crew.  With it, I’ve been able to progress on a goal I’ve had for years; learning and perhaps more importantly, being able to successfully write in calligraphy italic!

 

everyday-ed-bannerWhat is Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting?

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting is a program which can be used to teach children to read and to write.  It’s available in printed form, as an ebook, or in a combined form of print and ebook.  In 60 days, you can teach your children to read using this program!  And, as your children are learning to read with this resource, you’ll also be teaching them to write beautifully.  Because it’s based on phonics, even children as young as 4 or 5 can learn to read with their parents.  Or, if your older child needs some extra help with reading, Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting can strengthen his ability to utilize phonics and read more effectively.  This program can also not only teach children to write for the first time, but to learn to write more legibly or beautifully.  Or, as in my own case, it’s great for adults who wish to improve their handwriting by learning italic calligraphy.

The writing program starts with single italic letters written in a vertical format; then, progresses to writing in a slanted format; and lastly, to writing with the letters connected to one another.  If you’d like to see an actual lesson, you can download a PDF of lesson 31 from Everyday Education, LLC’s web page Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting.  Just click on that link and scroll down until you see the red download link, and you can see, download, and practice it for yourself.

 

 

everyday-ed-1How I used Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting

We are years past our times of learning to read in our homeschool.  However, when I discovered that Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting could also be used as a calligraphy learning program, I was thrilled!

Since we received a digital version of this program, I saved it to my computer and printed the first 59 pages (of 218) to start with, which I  placed in a folder. The handwriting program begins with italic handwriting written vertically, and starts with the vowels.  Because children are able to learn best when they look at what they’re writing, author Caroline Joy Adams provides examples of each letter at the top of each page, along with lines for handwriting practice.  This isn’t only helpful for children, though; it really enabled me to be able to form the italic letters!

I worked on one page at a time.  I used either a gel pen or a fine point Sharpie to practice my letters.  First, I’d trace the example letters in both upper case and lower case.  Then, I repeated those letters on the lines below.  Next, I’d continue to practice the letters on a separate blank sheet of handwriting paper (included in the ebook).  In addition to the first learning pages, which have generally two letters and several practice lines on each one, there are reference pages with the entire alphabet.  Later on there are pages with printed words to copy and practice, and sentences as well.  There are just a lot of practice pages for every level of the program.

 

 

everyday-ed-2What I thought about this program

This is the second time that I have tried calligraphy.  I bought a book years ago and tried to follow its directions.  But, I really never felt that I “got” its instruction well enough to feel that I was writing the letters beautifully or correctly.

This time—it has been completely different.  Caroline Joy Adams’ program is extremely simple and easy-to-follow…with almost immediate results!

I found the writing font fairly easy to master.  The most difficult letter was the letter A, which was the first one I attempted.  I don’t think it was difficult because the letter was challenging, but because it was teaching me the new method of writing and the new font.  Unlike normal writing, when I (as a right-hander) slant the paper to the left, I wrote on the paper as it was placed vertically on my writing surface (so that it was straight up and down, not slanted).

I haven’t mastered the entire alphabet yet.  I still require practice to shape the letters the same way each time I write them.  (I have, after all, been printing differently for many years!)  But once I have, the curriculum provides pages with actual letters and sentences, so that I may continue to improve and write more naturally.  Eventually, I’ll be able to progress to writing slanted letters, and then to connected italic letters (which will look more like cursive).

Although I haven’t always been a fan of printables in the past, I loved having Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting in digital form.  That way, I was always able to print additional practice pages when I needed a little more help on a letter.

I have found the entire process so enjoyable.  I love the font, I enjoy writing the letters, and I love that, as I continue to practice, I’ll gain the ability to write beautifully in calligraphy!  It’s also fun to have something to practice on during homeschool while my son works on his handwriting.

 

everyday-ed-3Where you can find Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting

You may purchase Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting from Everyday Education, LLC.  It’s very reasonably priced at $29.  I recommend it most definitely for anyone who’s interested in learning beautiful handwriting!  Other Crew members reviewed other curricula from Everyday Education, LLC, and you can read about their experiences by clicking on the banner below.  You may also visit Everyday Education, LLC at their social media sites:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/janicecampbell/
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinlit/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janicepcampbell
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JaniceCampbell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/everydayedu

 

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}Crew Disclaimer

“If You Were Me and Lived in…” Books by Carole P. Roman ~ A Review

 

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Recently we were blessed with some wonderful books to review!  Brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com, the If You Were Me and Lived In…  series vividly opens worlds of the past to children.  We received four wonderful softcover books:

cp-roman-pic-1What are the If You Were Me and Lived In… books?

Author Carole P. Roman has created a wonderful collection of books for children in the If You Were Me and Lived In…  series.  In each one, the stories of life as it was in different parts of the world and in different historical eras are described as if she were talking to a child.  Even more interesting, she talks as if she were describing that child’s actual life in those historical times!  Bright and expressive illustrations accompany the text, and the daily life, foods, transportation, housing, and education are described in fascinating ways, so that the reader (or the child being read to) can experience what life was really like.

Carole P. Roman generously provided four books for us to use.  Let me tell you about them!

eliz-england-romanIf You Were Me and Lived in Elizabethan England

What was life like in under the rule of Elizabeth I of England, in 1578?  If you lived during this era, you lived in a rich and exciting–though challenging–time.  William Shakespeare was penning his exciting plays, Elizabeth I was a powerful and influential queen on the world stage, and both art and architecture were flourishing.  However, you might have been poor, rather than a wealthy ruler.  You might have cleaned homes for a living or grown up on a farm.  Or, you might have lived in London, which, while glamorous, was also quite dirty and sometimes dangerous!

How did you dress?  What kind of money did you have (or not have)?  How did you worship?  All of these questions are answered and accompanied by wonderful illustrations.  A glossary plus a listing of important people of Elizabeth I’s era round out the book.

 

am-west-romanIf You Were Me and Lived in the American West

After we finished our book on Elizabethan England, we embarked on a journey to the American West.  This book is written from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy, whose family traveled to Oregon on a Conestoga wagon from Ohio.  A covered wagon took his family and all their most important possessions (not that that many could actually fit in the wagon) on a 5-month long trip.  What did the boy wear?  How did they get milk?  (They brought along their own milk by way of a cow, along with some goats and a pig!)  Each family member had jobs to do along the trail.  Food was limited, Indians were feared, and illness sadly took the lives of some on the trip.

But finally, the boy’s family made it to Oregon.  But they couldn’t move into a house; they had to build their own with the help of other new settlers.  And then they settled in, and became farmers, students, and sometimes (at least, the boy hopes!) cowboys.  Ms. Roman finishes this book with a list of important people from the settling of the American West, and a glossary of important terms.

More students might be familiar with this era.  But Ms. Roman makes it fascinating!

 

ancient-greece-romanIf You Were Me and Lived in Ancient Greece

This is a quite incredible children’s history book.  It has more text in it than the first two we reviewed.  Yet, it’s just as interesting and I believe that children will be equally as engaged with it.  Ms. Roman covers Alexander the Great, the Olympics, ancient Greek philosophers, the Greek pantheon of gods/goddesses, clothing, daily life, the agora, and more.  Children will also learn about the homes, jewelry, food and drink, and even hairstyles of ancient Greek men, women, and children!

 

viking-europe-romanIf You Were Me and Lived in Viking Europe

It has been a very long time since we studied the Vikings in our homeschool; seems like it was first or second grade!  So it was fascinating to pick up Ms. Roman’s book on Viking life.  Like her book on ancient Greece, this has smaller text and covers much interesting information about life for the Vikings.  Where did they live?  Whom did they worship?  (If you’re a Marvel fan, some of these names might sound familiar!)  The daily work of families, the names they called each other, the food they ate, and the three classes of Viking families are all introduced here.  Lovely and colorful illustrations accompany the text.

 

late-summer-2016-and-ninjago-poster-images-117How we used these:

This year, we are studying American history again, so I was happy to receive If You Were Me and Lived in… Elizabethan England (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 3) and If You Were Me and Lived in…the American West (Volume 7) to review.  Because our current history book started with native Americans who lived in what would become North and South America, and because England did eventually send explorers to the New World, the book on Elizabeth I’s time was ideal, as was the book on the American West.  We used them as an adjunct to our regular history studies.  Both these books would be fantastic for reading aloud, but because my son is 14, he read them on his own over a period of several weeks in our school time.  We both found it quite interesting; the way Ms. Roman writes makes it quite easy for the reader to put him- or herself into the time frame and imagine what life was like.  (Much harder, I’d say, than life in 21st century America!)  We particularly enjoyed the illustrations as well.  Both Ms. Roman and the various illustrators work together to make reading these books a truly enjoyable, as well as educational, experience.

Ms. Roman also very kindly included two of her other books (that I shared a bit about above): If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient Greece (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 1), and If You Were Me and Lived in…Viking Europe .  I used these on my own, but I expect we’ll pick them up in our homeschool as soon as we cover those periods of history again.  Lovely!

 

 

late-summer-2016-and-ninjago-poster-images-118Carole P. Roman has some excellent free printable materials which go nicely with these (and other!) books at her blog.  Simply visit Carole P. Roman to access and print these for further study.  These include great questions and worksheets which will deepen the understanding of the student.

I only wish that we had run into Ms. Roman’s work when my son was much younger!  He might have felt, at age 14, that he was almost too old for these books, since they include illustrations.  However, we both did enjoy them and learned things we hadn’t known.  (Or that we’d forgotten but needed to revisit!)

We definitely recommend these beautiful, useful books for families and homeschools.  They’re a gentle and beautiful, and engaging way, to learn history!

 

late-summer-2016-and-ninjago-poster-images-120Where to purchase these books

You may purchase these books at the following links:

Be sure to check them out.  You’ll really enjoy them!  In addition, other Crew members reviewed other titles in this series.  If you click on the banner below, you’ll be able to read about other homeschoolers’ experiences.

You may also visit Carole P. Roman at the following social media links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CarolePRomanAwardWinningAuthorAndBooks
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/caroleproman/
Good Reads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5854108.Carole_P_Roman
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/caroleproman

 

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}Crew DisclaimerEnjoy! –Wren

The Only Pencil Sharpener You’ll Ever Need ~ Review of the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

Yes, it’s really true: I believe that the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener is the only one you’ll ever need, whether you’re looking for one to use in your homeschool or your classroom!  Classroom Friendly Supplies very kindly sent me and Jackson a Cool Blue Classroom Friendly Sharpener to use and review in our homeschool.  I can only say, “Where has this sharpener been all my life??”

 

ClassroomFS Sharpener banner

Why we needed the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener:

We don’t use pencils for every single thing we do in homeschool.  But we DO use them for math, for journaling, for art, for nature drawing, and for handwriting.  I personally use one for lesson planning.  And as many people do, we prefer a nice sharp point on our pencils for writing or drawing.  However, that became a point of frustration over the years.  We have used a battery-operated electric sharpener….that died.  We have found manual sharpeners that really worked well….until they didn’t when the sharpener’s blade dulled.  Then we’d end up with pencil lead that would *almost* be perfectly sharp.  The, the nice tip would break off in the sharpener and we’d have nothing but a pencil that needed sharpening again.

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This was so frustrating for both me and my son.  Finally in desperation, I switched to a mechanical pencil.  But that didn’t take care of the problem for Jackson, or for me when I wanted to journal or create art using colored pencils.  Then we just ended up with a bunch of nubs.

cfs-sharpener-pic-3The Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive this sharpener to use.  As you can see, we received the Cool Blue sharpener, although It’s available in a variety of colors (blue, green, purple, red, pink, black).  It’s made of metal, with a few plastic pieces.  It also comes with a clamp for affixing the sharpener to a countertop or bookcase, but it’s stable enough without the clamp, and we never needed to use it.  It’s very sturdy and has a good weight, but it’s not overly heavy.

It doesn’t work exactly like the pencil sharpeners you might remember from your own elementary classroom.  However, it’s actually quite simple to use and operate for both children and adults.  You can see a video or directions on how to use the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener at the company website.  But I’ll describe them for you here as well!

First:  Pull the silver portion straight out into a locking position.

CFS Sharpener Pic 4

Second:  Push the two black square knobs together and insert pencil fully into the sharpener.  Release the knobs.

CFS Sharpener pic 5

Third:  Hold the top of the sharpener lightly but firmly and turn the handle clockwise.  In just a few turns, the pencil will be sharpened.

CFS Sharpener pic 6

Fourth:  Pinch the two knobs together to release the pencil.

 

CFS Sharpener pic 7

Finally:  Ta-da!  A gorgeously-sharpened pencil!

How we used it

I mentioned above how many ways we use pencils in our homeschool.  So, Jackson used the Classroom Friendly Sharpener for his pencil school needs.  You can see his hand in the pictures above in my step-by-step directions.

 

CFS Sharpener pic 8I also teach an art class in our homeschool coop.  For an upcoming project, we’ll be using watercolor pencils.  I have a large supply of those, but about half of them were worn down to nubs from use over time.  I wanted my students to have sharpened pencils to work with, but I didn’t want to take the pencils to class unsharpened.  The pencils needed to be ready to go!  So I used our Classroom Friendly Sharpener, and in about 5 minutes, sharpened this huge bunch.

 

CFS Sharpener pic 10I probably could have sharpened them a bit more quickly, but twice I had to fix a tiny issue.  With two of my pencils, a small amount of lead broke off inside the sharpener’s blades.  However, the Classroom Friendly Supplies website has a Help Portal which has instructions for fixing small issues.  By watching their video and reading some instructions, I was able to take the sharpener apart, find the broken lead, and get it out using a toothpick.  Voila!  The issue was addressed and the sharpener was back to work!

I should tell you that I sharpened 23 watercolor pencils in a row before that happened.  🙂

 

CFS Sharpener pic 9Our thoughts

I LOVE this sharpener.  It is so easy to use, it sharpens pencils quite incredibly, and problems are easy to troubleshoot and fix.  It is attractive and I don’t mind having it out in our homeschool study area.  I also really appreciate not having to hunt down the tiny manual sharpeners that we’ve been using!

One does have to apply pressure while turning the handle and sharpening, but it’s not an inordinate amount.  As I said, I sharpened pencils for 5 minutes and only at the end did my arm start to tire.

The Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener met a definite need in our homeschool….and removed a consistent source of frustration.  I love knowing that sharpening broken or dull pencils will never be a problem for us again, either in our home studies or for my art class.  I recommend it wholeheartedly to you!

 

CFS Sharpener pic 11How to purchase

You may purchase the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener at Classroom Friendly Supplies.  I’d love for you to visit their website or their social media sites to see more about the only sharpener you’ll ever need!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Visit Classroom Friendly Supplies at:

www.classroomfriendlysupplies.com
info@classroomfriendlysupplies.com

Classroom Friendly Supplies on Facebook
Classroom Friendly Supplies on Pinterest
Classroom Friendly Supplies on Twitter @QuietSharpeners

Disclosure:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

New Fabulous Music Appreciation for Homeschools: On Sale Thru 8/15/16!

My friend Gena is a talented musician and has taught music for many years in both classrooms and her own homeschool.  Our readers may remember when Jackson and I reviewed her wonderful 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music last year.  (You can click on the link to see our review.)  Phenomenal, beautiful, and so easy for even non-musical-types to use!

 

$20 of the 2-volume set of 20th Century Music Appreciation this week only at ichoosejoy.org/store

Now, for a limited time (just until Monday, 8/15/16), you can get $20 off that curriculum as well as her newest one, 25 Lessons in 20th Century European and South American Music Appreciation!  We’ll actually be using this new one and sharing our thoughts with you all in mid-September, so keep an eye out.  I’m so looking forward to it though.  Have you ever even SEEN a music appreciation course that teaches about South American music before?  Maybe on the college level, but nowhere else!

Here’s a little more from Gena:

Are there any homeschool moms here who are frustrated that they don’t have the time or means to include music in their homeschools? I’m happy to share that Gena Mayo (of Music in Our Homeschool) has two brand new products for sale this week!

First, let me tell you about the great self-paced online course:

20th Century Music Appreciation for High School

If you have a high schooler who needs a fine arts credit, you’ll want to look into this! Once it’s purchased, it’s yours forever, so all of your kids will be able to use it and get a 1/2 credit during high school. But, it can also be used for Mom to guide her kids through the 36 weekly lessons and even to teach at a homeschool co-op!

This week only, get $30 off the course price! Use coupon code LAUNCHWEEK. Head over to the Music in Our Course site to preview some lessons for free.

20th-Century-Music-Appreciation-Course-for-High-School-Students Pinterest

Second, if you’d prefer an ebook curriculum, you’ll want to check out her new one:

25 Lessons in 20th Century European & South American Music Appreciation

If purchased separately, it’s $10 off this week or get it in a Bundle with the previous volume 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation for $20 off! Use coupon code LAUNCHWEEK.

25-Lessons-Music-Appreciation-Pinterest

What’s included in the ebook?

Learn about these composers and music from Europe and South America during the 20th Century:

  • Puccini
  • Mahler
  • Debussy
  • R. Strauss
  • Sibelius
  • Granados
  • De Falla
  • Vaughn Williams
  • Rachmaninoff
  • Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern
  • Holst
  • Ravel
  • Bartok
  • Stravinsky
  • Kodaly and Orff
  • Villa-Lobos
  • Ginastera
  • Prokofiev
  • The Beatles and other pop groups of the British Invasion
  • Hindemith
  • Khatchaturian
  • Shostakovich
  • Messiaen
  • Britten
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber and other composers of musical theater

All links to listen to their music, as well as notebooking pages, are included.

Remember to use coupon code LAUNCHWEEK to get $10, $20, or $30 off (depending on the product). Sale ends August 15!

Endorsements:

“As a music educator, I appreciate the depth and organization Gena has put into her music curriculum. She provides many interesting facts and resources comparable to my college music history classes for high school students to learn about different composers of 20th Century European and South American music.” –Kathy Gossen of Cornerstone Confessions.

“Gena has done it again! This is a wonderfully comprehensive look at musicians from the 20th century, a great addition to her previous curriculum on American artists. There were so many composers whose music I was familiar with but didn’t know their names or anything else about them. I look forward to teaching this in my homeschool!” –Michelle Habrych, homeschool mom of two teens

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

Enjoy!  –Wren

5 Tips for Getting Your Kids Involved with Keeping House ~ Crew Blog Hop “5 Days of Homeschool 101” and a Giveaway, too!

5 Days of Homeschool 101Let’s face it.  When you homeschool, your home = school, classroom, cafeteria, dormitory, principal’s office, supply closet, library.  Not to mention locker space.

Okay–not exactly.  But there is truth to the fact that, in homeschooling, our homes house all of those!  Mom is not only in charge of teaching subjects and directing learning, but also meals and homekeeping.

It is just a LOT to keep up with.  And I’ll freely admit that it is easier for me to teach subjects, rather than to teach how to do home chores!  And over the years (8 years of 1st-8th grade, plus preschool and kindergarten) we have accumulated lots and lots of curricula, games, and educational tools.  As a matter of fact, we’d gotten, by this last spring, to the point that we felt like we were bursting out of our space!

This is the year that we’re seriously working together as a family to declutter, organize, and simplify.  And because I could have used these tips years ago, I’m sharing them with you today as our Crew Blog Hop “5 Days of Homeschool 101” turns to home management!

1.  Set a daily family routine

Or, start back on it when you’ve missed a few!  Here, I’m liking the perspectives of sisters Serene and Pearl of Trim Healthy Mama: “You’re just a few hours away from your next healthy meal.”  Applied to homekeeping, if you miss a day or some chores, just start back on the list where you can, or where you’d start the next morning!

We’re working from a weekly list at the moment.  There are chores we split up every day and a particular area focused on once weekly.  Our daily list (it’s understood that brushing & flossing are included!):

  • Make beds
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Do one load of laundry
  • Wipe out bathroom sinks
  • Clean counters
  • Declutter for 5 minutes
  • Load dishwasher

We don’t do all of that in one fell swoop; rather, we split the tasks up and do some in the morning, some after lunch, some in the afternoon.

And the weekly list?  We’re focusing on one area of the house each weekday.  (Saturdays, for us, are for grocery shopping, catchups, writing, and fun.)  For example:

  • Monday:  Sweep, mop, vacuum, dust
  • Tuesday:  Clean bathrooms/wash towels
  • Wednesday:  Declutter, empty bathroom/bedroom trash
  • Thursday:  Gather library books, wipe down cabinets
  • Friday:  Gather 1 bag of trash and one bag of donations, dust

Would you like help creating a homekeeping list?  Flylady is renowned for helping folks make their homes neat, clean and orderly.  Step by step!

2.  And try an overall schedule for everything else!

What about all those other things, though, that keep a home orderly and neat?  Things you may not do every week but that still need to be done.  Like vacuuming the baseboards, cleaning out the pantry or refrigerator, organizing the linen closet, decluttering the bathroom cabinets.  I can get so busy with regular life that I forget about these things.

For help with this, I turn to my friend Kemi from Homemaking Organized.  Kemi is a homemaking wonder!  I am a subscriber to her site, and she provides the most amazing freebies and printables to help mamas along with homemaking.  Kemi creates a calendar for each month with daily home chores that you can receive via subscription to her site.  Check out her free printables section as well, where you’ll find forms for 36 Weeks of Clean, pages for caring for your home and garden, and time management helps.  Currently, my favorites of Kemi’s are her monthly cleaning calendars (they are even editable!) which she sends to subscribers, and her Household Bucket List, for home projects.

Bountiful April 13.  Meal plan

I am just someone who really benefits from a meal plan; and specifically, from freezer cooking.  What’s freezer cooking?  It’s preparing a number of meals (5-8) in ziploc or slow cooker bags and popping them into the freezer.  All you have to do for dinner then, on any given day, is to pull out the freezer bags, adding a little liquid so that your slow cooker liner doesn’t get cracked, and turning on the cooker.  6-8 hours later you have dinner!  You  might need to prepare a veggie, salad, or grain that evening, but the heavy lifting is already done.

I LOVE this.  Because honestly, my energy level at night is lower than it is in the morning/midday.  So having my family’s meals planned and cooking makes all the difference in the world for all of us getting a healthy meal.

There are books you can get at Amazon or the library on freezer cooking.  But you can also find amazing recipes and lists of recipes on Pinterest.  Really, you can take any slow cooker main dish recipe (almost) and turn it into a freezer meal.  Just keep back 1/4-1/2 C liquid to prevent that freezer shock to your crockpot, and add it with the frozen ingredients that morning!

Fall2015 1634.  Teach your kids to cook…..

There are so many awesome kid cookbooks out there.  Some of our favorites are the Usborne Children’s World Cookbook, both Eat Your Math Homework and Eat Your Science Homework.  We’re also fans of the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook.  Just select your family’s favorite cookbook and a fun recipe, and work step-by-step through the instructions with your child, assigning them age-appropriate tasks.

 

Summer 2016 2875.  And to clean alongside you!

Did you grow up learning to clean alongside your parents?  What a great gift to give our kiddos!  Of course we can all learn to care for our homes and cook meals.  But if homekeeping is already a part of our children’s lives, that’s one life skill they won’t have to learn on their own.

There are lots of ways to teach kids how to clean.  Just doing chores with them until they know how to complete them on their own is an incredible start.  Lots of bloggers and authors are making kid chore charts (again, check Pinterest for some ideas).  Today, I have a special giveaway opportunity!  I have copies of Times Tales’ Zone Cleaning for Kids and Bedroom Cleaning for Kids to bless one reader with.  This series makes homekeeping so easy for kiddos.  With this system, kids complete a task on a page, check it off with the dry erase marker, and flip the page over for the next day.  Simple, easy-to-understand, and fun to use.

Just enter via the Giveaway Tools form below!  And don’t forget to click through the links below to see what other Crew bloggers have to share.  They’re full of amazing tips and ideas this week!

 

Enjoy! –Wren


http://www.linkytools.com/thumbnail_linky_include.aspx?id=271510

Teaching Exceptional Language through Poetry with IEW ~ A Review

Through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we’ve received yet another amazing product from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).  This time, it’s centered around poetry and memorization–all with the aim of producing speakers, writers and thinkers who use the English language exceptionally.  (Or, one might say, excellently!)

IEW Poetry banner

Institute for Excellence in Writing very generously provided all the resources which make up (plus one!) Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.  There are so many products which comprise this curriculum.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

What is Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization?

How does a student become a great and effective communicator?

Andrew Pudewa believes that for a person to become an excellent communicator, he must have “a large database in his brain of reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns” (Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization Teacher’s Manual, p. 5).  Now what exactly does that mean in real life?  The people at IEW would say that this isn’t accomplished through hours of grammar drilling or filling out worksheets.  Rather, IEW believes that students gain this extensive database through hearing exceptional language spoken aloud.

And where and how can this  happen?

The answer is simple…and it may already be something you do in your own home.  It is just this: reading aloud great books and literature; and memorization of great poetry and speeches, which is where Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization comes in handy!

 

iew poetry 3

What is included in this curriculum?

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization is composed of both physical products and digital downloads.  Here’s what we received:

  • A physical, spiral-bound Poetry Memorization Teacher’s Manual
  • A 5-CD set recording of all the poems and speeches in the curriculum, in a vinyl CD binder
  • A teaching DVD of Andrew Pudewa’s presentation of Nurturing Competent Communicators
  • Downloadable MP3s of the 5-CD set
  • Downloadable Poetry Memorization Student Book, which can be printed at home
  • Downloadable MP3s of the following lessons:  On Listening; On Reading; On Speaking; On Writing; Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding; Nurturing Competent Communicators; Mastering Learning

IEW was also kind enough to send reviewers a physical, spiral-bound Poetry Memorization Student Pages, but normally the PDF download only is included in this set.  You may purchase the Student Book separately, by clicking on the book link.

IEW Poetry 2

The Poetry Memorization Student Pages book contains 5 sections of poems (with 20 selections per level).  Poems start at the very simple and pithy, and progress in difficulty over the course of the book.  For example, in Level One, the student will memorize poems like Ogden Nash’s Celery; Hilaire Belloc’s The Vulture; Edward Lear’s There Was An Old Person Whose Habits; and Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rossetti.  Level Two’s poetry includes such selections as How Doth the Little Crocodile by Lewis Carroll; Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade; Some One by Walter de la Mare; and others.  Through Levels 3 and 4, poems become longer, with deeper meanings and insights to express, until finally when the student reaches Level 5 he’s ready for meaningful historical speeches, lofty ideals, and the best that man can offer in the language of words.  Some of the incredible speeches in this level are Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech (Shakespeare); Elizabeth I’s On the Eve of the Battle with the Spanish Armada; Friends, Romans, Countrymen by William Shakespeare; We Shall Fight on the Beaches by Winston Churchill; and The King’s Speech by King George VI, among many other rich and powerful speeches.

In addition, IEW has included certificates at the end of each level, so that students can be recognized for their completion.  They also recommend holding a presentation where the students can perform all they’ve learned!

 

IEW Poetry 1

The CD set‘s 5 audio CDs contain every poem and speech in the curriculum, dramatically performed, so that students can hear what the possibilities for performance are, and to aid them in their memorization.  IEW has also included a DVD recording of Andrew Pudewa’s excellent talk, Nurturing Competent Communicators, which will inspire you to pursue the things which will yield excellent results in your child’s education.

The Poetry Memorization Teacher’s Manual includes every poem and speech in the curriculum; meaningful instruction on why memorization and great literature are important; instructions on how to implement this program; and reference materials at the end of the book.  This is a vital part of the program!

The MP3s will equip the homeschool mama or teacher who’s seeking to build fantastic language skills in her students.  They are so inspirational!  In fact, I recommend that you listen to these and watch the DVD before your child begins to memorize his first poem.  They really do provide all that you need to teach this with success!

 

IEW Poetry 4

How we used this curriculum

I have to admit this to you: I was terribly intimidated by even the idea of Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.  My son, the student I homeschool, is 14 years old.  So the idea of a) starting a course entailing the daily recitation of up to 20 poems a day (in the  Level One section) while we were already in sort of an overly-full daily schedule, and b) asking my child to memorize what I was sure he would consider “babyish” poetry to begin with, seemed like a certain “fail.”  And honestly, adding that to my (and his) daily work seemed so stressful that I could hardly contemplate it.

However!

Institute for Excellence in Writing knows that homeschool mamas are already women with a lot on their plate.  So they’ve included in this curriculum not only a great program and very clear instructions on how to use it; but perhaps even more vital, they’ve provided what amounts to a training course for teachers/homeschoolers in the DVD, the MP3s, and the Teacher’s Manual.  These are filled with things you’d go to a homeschool conference to hear!  Topics such as:

  • Mastery, and how it’s built in a subject
  • The reason exceptional language use doesn’t just happen in American culture; and how a parent can circumvent that
  • Why the Suzuki music program is so consistently and tremendously successful
  • What memorization accomplishes in the brain
  • What reading aloud can do for your family
  • What is the best way to build vocabulary
  • and more!

One other very special caveat (and really, this was only a note in the sidebar of “How to Teach the Program” in the Teacher’s Manual) was the other thing that helped me to move past the intimidation I felt.  It says, in essence, to let older students select the first poem(s) they work with.  Once they’ve moved through memorization of that and see the benefits and joys of the program, THEN you can start them back at the beginning with the simple poems.  Oh, this made all the difference in the world for us!

So Jackson began with Carl Sandberg’s Fog (in Level Two), then William Blake’s The Tiger (Level Four).  He truly loved Blake’s poem and enjoyed Sandberg’s.  At this point, he prefers to practice and perform them aloud while I am not in the room (the struggle of the only child), but I know the more he memorizes, the more comfortable he’ll be and the more “normal” the whole recitation process will feel.

I have noticed that he is paying attention to, and pointing out when he runs into it, “sophisticated language” (thank you, Mr. Pudewa, for your Nurturing Competent Communicators talk!  Clearly Jackson was listening while I was watching that!).  He already had a good command of excellent English.  However, I love that as he’s working through this, his mind will continue to build those great pathways of language; and help him to think upon beautiful things.

 

IEW Poetry 5

My recommendations:

Here are some things I wish I had known when I began Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.  May they encourage and inspire you to jump in!

  1. Don’t be intimidated by this curriculum!  Although there is a LOT in it…you don’t have to do it all in a day.  Plus, there is reason and purpose for every poem and every step of action.
  2. ENJOY this!  The poems do start out silly.  But the further you go, the more beautiful and meaningful the poems and language are.
  3. Remember the desired goals of your homeschooling.  Do you desire your children to be masterful users of the English language?  Do you desire beauty and lofty ideals for them?  This curriculum will definitely move them along in those directions!
  4. And last but not least:  start early!  We got this just in the nick of time—as Jackson is preparing to enter 9th grade in the fall—which actually does give us enough time to complete this entire program.  But you can start as early as preschool or grade school, easily!

You may purchase Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing.  I recommend it highly–and don’t put this off!  Memorization of these beautiful words will help your children in every area of their lives, whether intellectual, emotional, academic, or even spiritual.  This is worth the time you’ll need to put into it!

 Enjoy! –Wren

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