Monday, May 23, 2016

Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up- May 24, 2016


Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily Reviews, Shelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways on  Tuesday's Giveaway Link Ups. 

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Make sure you stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so.

Featured Giveaway

Diana's White House Garden (hardcover children's book) US only Ends 6/5


Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily ReviewsShelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.


Diana's White House Garden Children's Book Review {and giveaway}

We just recently finished our G:Goat unit with our My Father's World Kindergarten curriculum. The reason I am bringing this up is because the arrival of a new children's review book fit this unit quite nicely. We received a newly released hard cover copy of Diana's White House Garden by award-winning author Elisa Carbone and illustrator Jen Hill from Penguin Young Readers. This book is based upon the true story of Diana Hopkins who was a ten year old child during World War 2.


Of course, I loved that I could read it during our G unit, seeing as Garden starts with the letter G. Plus we read a book about a goat who wouldn't get out of the garden. However, I am sure the real-life Diana wouldn't have appreciated goats in her garden (though she did find something else in her garden). Unfortunately, we weren't able to plant a garden at this point, though we are looking forward to it soon. We have also been learning about American history, though we are still learning about pioneer days and the expansion of the country to the west. So, learning about something that took place during World War 2 was a bit of a jump for us, but to me that is the beauty of homeschooling (especially relaxed, review homeschooling), we can learn about what interests us at the moment.

Anyhow, on to the book. I don't know about you, but I had never heard of the White House Victory Garden. This garden came about thanks to the efforts of an very ambitious little ten year old girl who just happened to live in the White House with her father who was President Roosevelt's chief advisor. Diana wanted to do her part to help win the war, but she wasn't sure what she could do. Unfortunately, all of her ideas didn't quite pan out the way she thought they would. At first. She tried being a spy, a city official hanging important signs, and even a superhero who tried to keep enemies out of the White House by putting pins straight up in the chairs. As you might be able to imagine, these endeavors didn't go very well and she might have gotten in a bit of trouble.



However, she wasn't daunted. She knew she wanted to help America.

She happened to be playing in the Oval Office when the president was talking to her father about his plan to have the citizens of America help the war effort by turning every back yard and vacant lot into a garden. In this way the food the farmers grew would be able to provide food for the soldiers while the citizens were fed by the Victory Gardens. President Roosevelt planned on setting the example by starting one on the White House lawn. Diana volunteered to help plant this garden and tend it.

She worked hard helping to get the garden planted and then tending it. Even though she had to deal with a bit of a setback and then had to learn patience while waiting for it to grow, she knew she was doing a great thing. She helped to inspire the country.



We found Diana's White House Garden by Elisa Carbone to be quite the inspiring story. Personally, I love reading about true stories from our history. I especially appreciated that this story was meaningful for the older girls because it was about a child who was around their age. I felt it was quite empowering for young children to see that they can make a difference in our world. They don't have to wait until they are grown up.

The book was based on interviews with the real-life Diana, who is now living in Virginia. She has continued growing a vegetable garden as she has lived her life. I also appreciate that the illustrations were filled with details that were historically accurate, and they even included a photograph of the real Diana with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.



This is a great book to help inspire children to take initiative, to see where they can help others. It is also a great addition to a study of American History. I definitely recommend Diana's White House Garden.

The book is recommended for children 5-8 years of age. All of my children did enjoy it, and they are 4, 6, 7 1/2 and 9, putting them just about in the recommended range. It wasn't too long for my youngest, and it kept my 9 year old's attention, because as I mentioned above, the book is about a 10 year old girl.

You can purchase this hardcover book for $17.99.

Great news! I have been given the opportunity to offer a giveaway for one person to win their own copy of Diana's White House Garden

All you need to do is enter in the Rafflecopter form below. 
There are only 2 simple mandatory entries, with the remainder of the entries being optional. 
Remember, you do not have to do the extra entries, but they will increase your odds of winning. 

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and over. 
The giveaway runs May 23rd through June 5th.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!


 By entering the giveaway, you understand and agree that your contact information will be shared with the sponsor.


Disclosure: I received a hardcover copy of  Diana's White House Garden in exchange for my honest review. No further compensation was given. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Exploring Greek Myths with Memoria Press {A TOS Review}


My children and I have recently become interested in Greek myths because of their inclusion in a show we love to watch. I remember learning a little bit about them when I was in school, but besides a few names, I couldn't remember much. So, I was excited when the opportunity arose for us to review D'Aulaires' Greek Myths from Memoria Press


While we use some aspects of classical education in our schooling, we are in no way classical homeschoolers. Honestly, I am not exactly sure what constitutes a "classical education." However, I do know that I have been happy with the other product we reviewed from Memoria Press in the past, so I was looking forward to enriching our schooling with some classical Greek myths. 


What did we receive? 

We received the D'Aulaire's Greek Myths Set, which includes a soft cover edition of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, the Student Guide, the Teacher Guide, and the Flashcards. 

D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths


We have become quite familiar with D'Aulaires' biographical picture books this past school year, because our core curriculum has included quite a few of them on the reading list. I figured the Greek Myths book would be of similar style and quality, and I was correct. The illustrations are gorgeous and really help to tell the story. The book alternates between full and partial page illustrations, and also includes full vivid color pictures and ones that are in shades of brown and black. 



I enjoyed the fact that each god or goddess in the above picture was holding something to remind us what they were a god or goddess of.

Memoria Press developed a study of the D'Aulaires' Greek Myths book that really helps the student (and parent) delve into the book and glean understanding. This book is meant to be used by one student. 

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths Study Guide


Before getting into the lessons, the authors of the guide look at the question, "Why Study Greek Mythology?" and then explain how to use the guide. There are then 25 lessons with a review lesson after each fifth lesson. Toward the end of the book, after the lessons and final review, you will find some helpful pages. First there are three pages of drill questions, then the "Greek Myths Lists" page that gets filled in as we complete the guide. Finally there are some map pages and a pronunciation guide.

Let's take a closer look at the actual lessons. 

Each lesson is arranged the same way. There are four sections:
  • Facts to Know
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Activities
The Facts to Know will include important characters or items along with a short description.


The Vocabulary section contains 10 words shared within the context it is found in the story. The children are to come up with a definition and write it on the line. Sometimes the meaning can be determined by the context, other times we have to look it up or use the answers in the Teacher Guide. 


The Comprehension Questions are straight forward fact-finding questions. You can figure out the answers right from the story.  


The Activities section goes a little deeper. There are always people, places, or items to identify along with activities to complete. These activities include questions that ask the student to go beyond straight facts available in the story. Sometimes we may need to look toward Biblical knowledge or even history or other modern knowledge. 


The D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths Teacher Guide is just about identical to the Student Guide.



The lesson pages are the same, except for the fact that the answers are included. Also, there are no drill pages, map pages or pronunciation guide pages. 

Flashcards


Flashcards are also included to help the children study important facts from each lesson. There are little numbers in the top left-hand corner to show what lesson they go with. One side shows the name, the other the definition/description.  I store these in my folder until we get to the lesson, and then they are separated and moved to the zippy bag so we can pull them out and work on memorizing the information. 

I admit I was a bit confused initially regarding the facts that are included on the flashcards. It is not exactly the same material that is given in the Facts to Know section. However, I did discover that it is the information that is needed for the drill questions at the back of the Student Guide. 

How did we use D'Aulaires' Greek Myths?

We included the reading of the Greek Myths book in our story time. Due to the fact that we are reading quite a few books at a sitting and I am including the little ones, I have been spreading out the reading of each lesson, taking more than one day to read the pages. I also will reread the pages later on in the week before the older girls and I tackle the comprehension questions. 

I have the girls use the Facts to Know as copy work, or handwriting practice. 



They write the information down in their notebooks. Then we work on the vocabulary, comprehension questions, and activities together, spreading each lesson out for several days. Though I originally wanted this study with Tabitha in mind, I have taken to writing out the answers as we work on this together as my girls are on the younger end of the age range for this study. This also gives me an additional chance to reread parts of the story that are relevant to the question being asked.

What did we think of D'Aulaires' Greek Myths from Memoria Press?

We have been enjoying this study of Greek Myths. I love that the girls have a chance to learn this classic subject and are working on memory and vocabulary development. While we were not instructed to have the children write out the Facts to Know, I felt it was a great way to have the children learn the information.

The girls have been doing a pretty good job memorizing the information that is included on the flashcards and in the Facts to Know section. Sometimes they remember the information that is being asked about for the comprehension questions, but most of the time they need me to reread it. I like to write the answers out in complete sentences so they get used to seeing that done and realize it is what I expect. I have noticed that some of the questions in the Activities section are a bit advanced for them. I admit, I have skipped a couple of questions, such as the one that asked the student to "Explain the expression, 'A revolution eats its children.'" 

I do wish there was a little more room given for the children to write down their answers for the comprehension questions and activities. Though the study is suitable for children in grades 3-6, the spaces provided are definitely more suited for children in the higher end of the range, in my opinion. This is the other reason I have taken to filling in the answers the children give me. 

This has been a wonderful way to include some classical education in the children's school day. If you are a classical homeschooler, this would be a great study, or if you are looking into classical education. Even if you aren't classical homeschoolers, as we aren't, this is a great way to introduce your children to Greek mythology. There is a lot of memorization of facts, just so you are aware. To me, this is wonderful as developing the memory is so important. 

You can find Memoria Press on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the choice of three different products to review from Memoria Press. In addition to D'Aulaires' Greek Myths, the following were reviewed by my fellow Crew Mates: Traditional Logic I Complete Set and Book of Astronomy Set. Click on the banner below to read their reviews. 


Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #100: May 19, 2016

Welcome back to... 


Can you believe it is the 100th Throwback Thursday post?
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been joining in and making this a successful linky party!!

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around May 19th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

I have reviewed some great products in the past (and continue to do so). I thought it would be a neat idea to choose review posts this year and highlight some of these great products again.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Originally posted May 23rd, 2014
Fun Early Learning with ABCMouse.com {A Review}


Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Jen from Thou Shall Not Whine shared



To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

If you would like to help spread the news:

Tots and Me
Happy Throwback Thursday!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Developing Our Linguistic Skills Through Poetry Memorization from the Institute for Excellence in Writing {A TOS Review}


Earlier this school year we had the opportunity to review our first ever product from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I had heard of the company before, but hadn't ever had a chance to get any of their products. When Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization came available for review, I knew it would be perfect for our family, especially because we had enjoyed using Phonetic Zoo. I have heard about the importance of memorization, so the benefits of this program really intrigued me. 



This Linguistic Development program focuses on memorizing poems (and later, speeches) one at a time in a cumulative manner.  All of the memory selections needed for the entire course are in the included materials. The set we received comes with a Teacher Edition, a Student e-book, a set of 5 Poetry Memorization CD's (1 for each level), a DVD called Nurturing Competent Communicators, plus 7 free MP3 downloads:
  • Nurturing Competent Communicators
  • Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
  • Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding
  • On Listening
  • On Speaking
  • On Reading
  • On Writing
Additionally, we were graciously sent a physical spiral-bound copy of the Student Book. Please note, this book is not included in the main set and has to be purchased separately.



The Nurturing Competent Communicators DVD is recommended to be viewed first and, in my opinion, it is a must watch! I have watched it twice and have gleaned such great information. It helps to explain why the course is designed the way it is. Some of the same information that is in the introduction of the Teacher Edition is included in Mr. Pudewa's presentation, but the way he explains it is so informative and yes, entertaining. He definitely held my attention. He goes into the reasons why the thought that "Good readers will naturally become good writers" is untrue. He looks at the sources of children's language acquisition and why none of them are sufficient for developing a good writer. Mr. Pudewa explains both the importance of reading aloud to your children and memorized language. Of course, memorized language is where Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization comes in.

Let's take a look at some of the things children will be memorizing with this program.


There are 4 levels of poems to be learned, after which the child moves on to speeches. We started out in Level 1. Below is the list of the poems learned in this level.


The poems are printed out in both the Student Book and the Teacher Edition; however, there are no pictures with the poems in the teacher book as there are in the student book. You will however find little thumbnail images of all the pages in the beginning of the section.


As we received one physical book, I chose to give it to Amelia to use as she hadn't had any review products for her recently.  For the other children I printed out the poems from the PDF download and made them a book in a folder. 


Here is a look at the inside of the Student Book.


And here is a look at the folder books we are making.


As you can see, the children have been coloring their pictures. In fact, they have been quite creative, adding in their own little imaginative details at times. 

This is the way this mastery program is used:

We learn a poem, reciting it at least a few days a week (the more the better) until we really own it. Then we learn another poem. However, we don't forget about the poems we learned previously. We recite them all, every time we do our poetry recitation. On the first day the poem is introduced, we listen to all the previous poems on the CD during our story time and get to hear the new one. During our gathering time, we have memory time. After the children recite their Bible verses, we move on to poetry. I listen as the children take turns reciting all the poems they have learned so far. If it is the first day for a poem, they color the picture and I add it to the book. 


The program comes with a little chart to mark when poetry was recited. We also highlight each new poem so the children can see which poems they are supposed to be reciting, not that they have ever forgotten yet. 



The children have been doing a great job learning these poems. We have taken a little longer to learn the fifth poem because it has 4 stanzas which they get a bit mixed up at times. I may have to break it down a bit more for them, do a stanza at a time. Even Harold has been memorizing the poems.


Once we learn all the poems in the level, there is an opportunity to select a poem of choice. Then the children will earn a certificate.


If you would like to extend your children's learning, there are little tidbits of information in the sidebars of the teacher edition. Additionally, there is a biography section in both the teacher and student books which is listed alphabetically by last name of the poet. Each listing shares a little paragraph of information. Appendix 2 is a bibliography, which is also found in both books. However, the Teacher Edition alone has a third appendix titled, "Optional Lesson Enhancements." These suggestions move beyond Language Arts, giving ideas for extending the poems in the subjects of science, nutrition, social studies, geography, math, and manners (to name some of the subjects).

In a day and age where memorization has taken a back seat or been done away with entirely, it is wonderful to find a program that explains the importance of memorization and focuses on a fun way to build that "database" of the English language. The poetry selections have been fun to learn and just as fun to listen to the children recite. The children just love poor Ooey Gooey. They can get quite dramatic while reciting the poem. I have also enjoyed coming up with little motions to help them remember which line they are up to, like we do with our Bible memory verses occasionally. 

I highly recommend this program from the Institute for Excellence in Writing to help your child get those linguistic skills developed and their brains growing. This program works well with all ages. As you can see, my preschooler is getting just as much out of this as my 2nd and 3rd graders. Older students will be able to work on harder levels, though they can easily start with the beginning levels as well. 

You can find the Institute for Excellence in Writing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought about this program:

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: May 17th, 2016 (w/linky) - Parade Time at the Dogwood Festival

Meeting the grandparents at the restaurant and enjoying a drink.

Then we went out to watch the parade.










Gotta love the candy they throw. Scurry, scurry, scurry, grab up that candy.





And out to dinner at the truck stop. When grandma and grandpa got up to get their food from the buffet, some children may have stolen their seats.



Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.


Tots and Me


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