Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hewitt Homeschooling

Hewitt Homeschooling Review
When my older two were little they went to public school. So I am on completely new ground with my youngest. We are doing really well and he loves to listen to stories, learn about science and history, he is cracking on with math but apparently 'writing' is schoolwork. So when I had the opportunity to review a product from Hewitt Homeschooling I was really excited. We follow a Charlotte Mason schedule and my heart is definitely tied to literature. I was intrigued with the first grade Lightning Literature and Composition for Grade 1 and was very excited when I received the student workbook ($49.95) and teachers guide ($29.95). Little J was very excited too as he LOVES me to read to him.

The program uses well known children's books (36 in total) and Aesop's Fables for children. I actually already had every book that we have needed so far (including Aesop's Fables) and so this has been very easy to implement. However most of the titles would be easily found in a library if you don't want to buy them.

This program is very easy to use. There is very good instructions at the beginning of the teacher's guide to walk you through how the program works. There is a new book every week and you read it at least twice Monday and Wednesday (unless of course you have a child like mine then you may read it 5-10 times each day because it's his new FAVORITE and then as soon as Dad get's home he has to read it, and of course that's not counting the multiple times he has got the older siblings to read it to him!) Little J is not quite ready to read the books to me. He knows most of the words but still enjoys being read to more that reading himself. The program says it's OK either way. I personally love reading books to Little J so that's what we did.

Here's the breakdown of how the teachers book recommends breaking down the work;

Mondays -
Introduce and read the new book and ask comprehension questions about the reading (record answers in the teachers book).
Grammar and Mechanics - (usually multiple choice in the student workbook)
Composition - brainstorm

Tuesdays -
Choice whether to read the book again.
Grammar and Mechanics (similar to Mondays or editing)
Reading Journal

Wednesdays - 
Read book - more comprehension questions
Grammar and Mechanics

Thursdays -
Aesop's Fables

Friday - FREE DAY (or complete any left over activities)

The teachers manual is split up into weeks, each one starting with an 'at a glance' page. I found this extremely useful as it tells you;
The book of the week, the Aesop Fable being covered, optional material, what topic of the alphabet page, what topic of the grammar and mechanics section (eg: capitalization, exclamation points etc), and what supplies will be needed to aid in the composition section.

How we used it;

At the beginning of each week I pulled the new section out of the workbook and added it to our ring binder. Little J couldn't work in the book, it make his writing awkward. Since the book is perforated it worked better for us this way. Plus he didn't seem overwhelmed when I just gave him the sheet for the day we were working on.

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON was Little J's favorite of the books we have read so far.

As I mentioned earlier Little J loves listening to stories. So this part of the program was easy to implement. I would read the story and then ask him the comprehension questions recording his answers in the spaces provided in the teachers book. He had no problem answering these questions, he loved this book.
We then moved on to the grammar and mechanics and I introduced the concept of the week which was that a sentence starts with a capital letter, as do people's names. Little J didn't have any problem understanding this. We then moved onto the composition section we only spent a little time on this section as Little J is not ready to write too much, our planning was done verbally (I wrote down his ideas).

Little J was able to narrate Harold and the Purple Crayon almost perfectly. It didn't surprise me since by this time he had gotten nearly everyone in the house to read it about 10 times to him. For the Grammar and Mechanics section Little J worked in his workbook and corrected a paragraph by underlining the words that needed to begin with a capital letter. Because Little J is not a great reader (he's only 5) I read most of the sentences with him. He was able to correct the capital in the word at the beginning of each sentence, however he couldn't spot the names that needed to be corrected unless I read them. For today's composition we brainstormed together and I wrote down his ideas again. Little J however wrote his own sentence about the story in his reading journal section.

On Wednesday we reviewed the story again, I asked Little J the 2nd set of comprehension questions after reading the book again. Today for the grammar and mechanics section we talked about 'color' and we thought of as many color names as we could matching them with letters of the alphabet. (We used a box of crayons for inspiration!) Then Little J wrote the rough draft of his paper. I had to convince him not to do this in his composition book.

Today we read the Aesop Fable 'The Boy and the Nettle'. I let Little J tell me what he thought it was about. For grammar and mechanics Little J completed the blanks in a sentence, with two names. He used the capital letter without being reminded! Finally Little J was able to use his new comprehension book. He had drawn his picture earlier in the week and was really pleased to write his little sentence. I can see this comprehension book really being something to treasure as the year goes on.

Because Little J is only 5 still I decided to give him a free day.

I will definitely be using this complete course. Little J loves the book choices. I like the introduction of the Aesop Fables. So far I like the introduction of the grammar and mechanics. It seems gentle but relevant. Little J hasn't had a problem understanding the concepts. The program starts slow which is great for us as Little J is a younger than most first graders. I have never used any Lightening Literature products before but we have really enjoyed using this and will definitely use it for the rest of the year! As far as I understand the younger age products are new and so you may be more familiar with the older grade products. After using grade one I know I will be more interested in other products for my older kids!

If you want to connect with the company here are their social media links - FacebookTwitter, Pinterest,
Google Plus, and Hewitt Blog.

Check out what others on the crew thought by clicking on the link below - there are SO many products to read about, I am going to read a lot of these reviews myself!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Eternal Argument {A Schoolhouse Review Crew review}

I teach English at work, and home school so you would think that grammar would not be something that scares me, but it does. I was excited to be able to read a book published by Analytical Grammar called The Eternal Argument ($24.95). This book was written by Robin Finley a 34 year veteran teacher of English, and trust me it is very interesting and well worth the read.

My plan was to read this aloud to my family chapter by chapter, but it didn't quite work out as planned. I actually read most of it myself because to tie everyone down to my schedule wasn't happening. However I did discuss this with anyone who would listen to me A LOT in fact I re-read multiple parts to my niece who was visiting from England, my husband, and my older two kids.

I have taken this book everywhere with me this summer and it doesn't look too good anymore. It has been rained on, covered in sand, and dropped in a puddle of water. But believe me I kept on reading.

I took it to the lake to sit in the sun and finish it. It was also a great opportunity to discuss some of my favorite parts with everyone (captive audience in between sea-doo and canoe rides). This book is recommended for grades 8 and up, however even Boo had a great lot to say about the points we discussed. This may be impart to the books she reads but none the less she had no problem understanding the points and discussing them along with the rest of us.

So what is the book about...
The book talks about how there has been one eternal argument basically since the beginning of time as to whether or not man needs God, humanism and theism. The pendulum has swung backwards and forwards between the two. The author explains how the literature of the time shows us not only the views of the author but also the world views of the time. If you can understand the world views of the time period a book is written it will give you further insight into the overall meaning of the book.

The author mentions three things that will help us understand western literature.

1. Greek and Roman Mythology
2. King James Version of the Bible
3. Aurthurian Legend

This was very interesting to me. Jam my major reader LOVES Greek and Roman Mythology and anything about Aurthurian Legend. We also only use the King James Version of the Bible. I have already got Jam on board to read this book so we can discuss it in more detail. However we will only do this for chapters 1-13 the author recommends that chapter 14 be read by the adult.

I will definitely read this book again slowly, reading each of the many books that are discussed throughout the chapters (I will maybe even re-read those that I have read before).

The Republic, by Plato
The Song of Roland
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes
Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane
Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S Eliot
The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes

This book is a VERY interesting read for anyone who loves or teaches literature. Although my copy looks a little worse for wear, it will definitely always have a place on my bookshelves. I have always valued the ability to read and discuss literature. We learn towards a Charlotte Mason type education and so this book has given me excellent insights and new ways to look past the obvious in the books we will read in the future.

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Members of the crew reviewed Analytical Grammar, Junior Analytical Grammar, and Beyond the Book Report make sure click on the link below to check them out.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Jerusalem, by William Blake

My husband and I were talking today about some of our favorite hymns. We both mentioned a hymn we used to sing at school that is actually a poem by William Blake.

by William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land. 
You can tell of course that we are both from England. If they ever thought about changing the National Anthem for England this one would be perfect!

We go to church regularly and so singing hymns is a huge part of my children's lives. I love it when my five year old sings out LOUDLY during church. In fact Sunday he insisted on trying to add funny notes to customize what he was singing. There are already so many hymns he can sing just from being involved at church with us. I love that we can share so much through music.

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author

Bob Books {Review and Giveaway}

Have you ever used Bob Books read on to hear what I think and enter a giveaway for your own set of your choice!

I have only been homeschooling for 3 (nearly 4) years and I am still feel like a newbie. Jam and Boo both went to an amazing little public school. They attended 3 year old preschool two mornings a week and 4 year old preschool 3 mornings a week before going to Kindergarten. They could write their names, say their ABC and count pretty well. All this with just a little help from me. They both asked to homeschool the year Jam was in 4th grade and so that summer we decided to give it a try, and we have never looked back. Both kids love it and are doing really well. In fact they are both now above their public school grade level.

Now lets talk about Little J. This is scares me a little. His brain is a HUGE sponge in fact my niece who is visiting from England told me that she normally takes random facts from a five year old with a pinch of salt. Except for the random facts Little J spills out...honestly it doesn't matter how weird they are, he is normally correct. He can quote movies from a film he has only seen once so well that my Mom thought he must have sat and watched it 50 times. Seriously!

So why does this scare me...well it's not really him it's reading. I have never actually had to teach a child to read all by myself before. The other two went to school, I was sent flash cards and reading books, which we read diligently. We read out loud as a family (and always have). Which it SO much less pressure than actually teaching a child to read from scratch. I mean the 'teacher' was always there to help me - and my kids 1st and 2nd grade teacher were both awesome! (they had the same ones).

So we have started this reading game. Of course being around books is normal but switching it to Little J reading instead of being read too was difficult. Plus we moved and my awesome friendly local library is now in our old town. I have struggled to find the perfect set of beginner readers. Until I found Bob Books Little J really wasn't interested in reading any book. I think he was intimidated with the size and number of pages. The day I introduced the Bob Books his whole attitude changed. I mean this little books are just his size and the length is perfect. I started him with Set 2 Advancing Readers and he loved the little stories.

The fact that all the words can be sounded out is awesome and really helps increase the young readers confidence. Bob Books are the creation of Bobby Lynn Maslen a once school teacher with lots of experience working with 3-5 year old children. These books are really easy to use and there is even a little placement test on the website if you are unsure where to start your child. Each set is available as a paper book set and a kindle edition. We have also been using the new Bob book apps right now they go along with book set 1 and 2 and are available on Google play, App Store, and Amazon app store for android. They also have a cool blog you can check out.

If you haven't tried them yet enter this giveaway to try to get your first set, or if you have used them I am sure there is another set on your wish list. One person will win one set of Bob Books of their choice. (Please allow 5-6 weeks for delivery of your prize).

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Random 5 Friday July 25th 2014

1. I love doing these random five posts. It makes me happy.

2. We spent the whole day at the lake today. It was quite windy and so we didn't notice that it was 99 degrees. We are all a little toasty.

3. Little J is going to his first 'friend' birthday party tomorrow - he is SO excited.

4. Jam caught a fish today.

5. I realized my kids spend most of their summer in some kind of water, and have done since they were born. We LOVE it!

Pop over to the The Pebble Pond to check out more random five.

©2011-2014 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author