Friday, September 13, 2019

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #273 {This Week as Flashback Friday}: September 13, 2019

Welcome back to... 

This Week as Flashback Friday
(seeing as I completely forgot yesterday}

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 September 13th, 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.

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.)

Please make sure to share from the past as instructed above.  The spirit of Throwback Thursday Blog-Style is to share posts from the past. Please follow the guidelines. I would hate to have to delete your link.
Thank you

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
(This year I am going to focus on looking back at past reviews):

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

Gale from Imaginative Homeschool 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.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Throwback Thursday Blog-Style permalink please.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

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Click here to enter

Working on Grammar with Easy Grammar Systems {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

Grammar. The subject I would prefer to avoid. The subject my daughter doesn't see the use of. And the problem is, mom doesn't know how to explain the necessity either, seeing as I get along just fine without understanding all the ins and outs of grammar. However, now that I am the teacher and not just the mom, I need to be able to teach grammar to my children. So, when we are offered the chance to review a grammar curriculum, I jump at the opportunity. I figure we can learn together. Even though Tabitha was less than thrilled with me, I welcomed the opportunity to review Easy Grammar Plus from Easy Grammar Systems

We received an email with the link to the Easy Grammar Plus eBook PDF. It was quite simple to click on the link and download the file to my computer. And from there, we were ready to go.

This 720-page  book is actually the Teacher Edition, which includes teaching instructions, reviews and tests (both unit and cumulative), plus answer keys. As we had the downloadable files, I was able to easily print out the exercise pages and give them to the children to work on, without having to worry that they would have access to the answers. I say "worry," because the answer pages are on the left side and the exercises are on the facing page in the physical book. If we had received the book, which I had originally thought I wanted, I would have had to use  photocopied the pages for multiple reasons. One, I ended up using the book with both Tabitha and Amelia. Two, I probably would have photocopied them anyway so I could use it in future years with the younger children. And three, I would have wanted to make sure the children didn't see the answers. So, even though it wasn't my original choice, I have to say I am glad we received the book as a downloadable eBook. 

I will add, if you don't want to photocopy or print, and also don't want your child to write in the teacher edition, there is a physical Easy Grammar Plus Student Workbook available. There is also an Easy Grammar Plus Student Test Booklet, seeing as tests are not included in the Student Workbook.

Let's look at what is contained in Easy Grammar Plus

The book begins with the Table of Contents. There is then an eight-page pre/post assessment test and an introduction before getting into the lesson pages. The book concludes with the answers to the pre/post assessment test. 

Here is a list of the topics covered in Easy Grammar Plus:
  • Prepositions
  • Verbs
  • Nouns
  • Interjections
  • Conjunctions 
  • Adjectives
  • Types of Sentences
  • Sentences, Fragments, and Run-ons
  • Phrases and Clauses
  • Adverbs
  • Pronouns 
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Letters
The Introduction explains the purpose of Easy Grammar Plus, which is to provide grammar TOOLS to the student. The author also explains the two most important guidelines for using the book. The parent/teacher is to insist on MASTERY learning (making sure the student fully understands the concept) and ensure that the student first memorizes and learns the list of fifty prepositions.

Unfortunately, this first directive completely turned Tabitha off of this book. In the past she had been told that it wasn't important to memorize lists such as this. Additionally, she is not good at memorizing lists. When it comes to passages, such as Bible verses for church or Bible Quizzing, she can memorize with no problem. Of course, because of the overwhelming amount of memorizing she is currently doing because of Quizzing, she didn't want to have to memorize more. So, yes, she balked. She said she couldn't do it. Amelia, who I wasn't originally going to include in this review because she is in sixth grade, actually tried harder than Tabitha did. I honestly didn't like that this had become such a point of contention in our day. I mean, as I mentioned above, Tabitha already complained that she didn't see the need of learning grammar. I even tried telling her, just read through the list a few times a day, don't worry about sitting down and memorizing it, just familiarize yourself with the prepositions. 

I finally decided we couldn't spend so much time focusing on the memorization of a list of words, so we moved forward in the book. I figured they could have the list of prepositions in front of them while working, if needed. My sneaky desire was that they would still learn them as they used the list, viewing it several times a week. 

I think the girls did have fun playing the Bingo game that was designed to help them familiarize themselves with the prepositions.

Though they weren't as fond of having to unscramble them.

Now, let me just say, I do understand the idea behind memorizing the prepositions. However, I believe children can learn them, get them in their heads, by diving right into the lessons and having the list in front of them to reference. I understand that this book uses a "prepositional approach," where the student works in a sequential manner, starting with the basics of the sentence, identifying the subject and verb by crossing out the prepositional phrase, and then working on more challenging topics. I understand this. I just question the need to memorize the list and make it a mandatory first task.

I like how the girls began by looking at simpler sentences, just needing to identify the subject and the verb, but then the sentences became more complex as they were to also identify such things as compound subjects, helping verbs, and infinitives. Of course, then they were taught that a word listed as a preposition wasn't always used as a preposition. It might be used as say, an adverb. Which got an "I told you so" from Tabitha, because that was one of her arguments when she fought memorizing the list. I did explain that that doesn't negate the fact that the words are still used as prepositions.

Here's a look at how the lesson is laid out. First there is a short instructional page with examples:

Then comes the answer page: 

And finally, the actual exercise page where the child is to follow the instructions on what to cross out and single or double underline:

So, you can see where having the prepositions memorized would help with this curriculum. In order to quickly identify the prepositional phrases, a student is going to have to know their prepositions. Of course, I assume you can see, as I did, how a child can still work through the exercises by having the list in front of them. So yes, our little modification for this book. As I looked ahead in the book, I did notice that prepositions don't always come into play in the exercises for the other topics. However, there are times when students are still asked to work through the sentences as they are taught in this first section, before working on such things as labeling types of verbs or adverbs.

How did we use this book?

After our time of trying to memorize the prepositions and playing the Bingo game, the girls have been working their way through the book at the rate of a few lessons a week. I will read the short lesson information, and then I have them give me the answers orally to the examples. Then I hand them their page and have them work through the exercises. This takes them, at most, 15 minutes a day.

The Preposition section concludes with a review and test. The Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, and Pronouns sections also end the same way. The Punctuation and Capitalization sections go straight into a test. And when a child finishes the entire book, they are supposed to retake the assessment test to see how they have improved. 

All in all, I think Easy Grammar Plus from Easy Grammar Systems is a great grammar curriculum that helps a child really look at a sentence and understand the different parts. 

You can find Easy Grammar Systems on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Don't forget to click the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of this, plus other products, from Easy Grammar Systems.

Easy Grammar, Daily GRAMS & Easy Grammar Ultimate {Easy Grammar Systems Reviews}

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Littles Learning Link Up: September 10, 2019 First Week Back to School

Each month you will find:
  • A seasonal round-up (usually toward the beginning of the month)
  • Posts where I share what I have been up to with my elementary-age children and the preschoolers I work with at our homeschool co-op (including occasional highlight posts where I share how we used ideas that have been linked up here on Littles Learning Link Up).
Each week, I will host a link up, where you can share either what you have been up to recently, or old posts that may go with the theme.  Feel free to link up more than one post.

Each week I will continue to feature a couple of posts from those that have been linked up. 

I hope you will continue to share your wonderful posts, and I hope you will find something new to try with your child(ren).

It would be great for everyone to stop by and visit the other linked-up posts as well. Check them out, leave some comments, pin those that interest you. Let's make this a real party and socialize with each other.

Here's a peek at what we have been up to in our homeschool.

We started our year by learning about different European explorers who discovered America. We started by talking about Leif Ericsson, then moved into Christopher Columbus and John Cabot before talking about some Spanish explorers: Ponce de Leon, Balboa, and De Soto. These were just brief looks at each of the explorers. We will be working on creating notebook pages and building onto our timeline, plus we have map work.

While reading the one day, I did allow the children to make the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Then we sailed them in the sink. Not near as elaborate as what we did a several years ago during our Adventures in US History, when we took a tub of water out to the yard and had construction paper continents on either side. But, at least it kept them busy while I read and gave them something hands-on to do. We still have to make our World Cake.

In science we are starting with creation, focusing on animals at this point. We have been looking at dinosaurs a bit more in depth for now, and are learning about the classification system. 

And of course the children are still working on their review materials. 

Let's take a look at that review schedule real quick:

Last week I shared my review of the 200 Essential Math Skills for Second Grade workbook from Reading Eggs (which Harold has been using),.

This week I will share my review for Easy Grammar Plus from Easy Grammar Systems (which Tabitha and Amelia have been using). And later this month you will find reviews of Online Times Alive from City Creek Press, Inc (which Amelia and Hannah have been using), plus the HiGASFY Art History Video Series.

And then in October I will be bringing you reviews for Elephant Learning Math Academy, the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece, plus Fun Family Chess and Wooden Building Planks from Brain Blox.

Here are some things I would like to share with you:

Don't miss this year's NOT Back to School Blog Hop posts. 
This year I shared A Peek into Our Homeschool.

Also, I invite you to check out these round ups from the past:

Next week I hope to share an ocean themed round up. Sorry this keeps getting postponed. If you have any posts you would like included, please leave a comment or contact me via the contact information on my About Me page.

Now onto:
Littles Learning Link Up Features

On my last Littles Learning Link Up post, there was 1 wonderful post linked up. I will be sharing two randomly selected posts, as there were no clicks last week.

Please, don't forget to stop by other posts that are linked up. See what catches your eye, stop by, pin the post to a relevant board, and perhaps leave a comment to let the author of the blog know you have been by for a visit. I know I appreciate others commenting and letting me know they have read my posts, so I am sure others do too.

This week's first randomly selected post is:

Leah from Simple. Home. Blessings shared Preschool Gathering.

Join the Party!

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your young children? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on one of my relevant boards, and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up.

Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our school time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your child, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Monday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Littles Learning Link Up permalink please.

I am sharing over at

Homeschool Coffee Break

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Monday, September 9, 2019

Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up- September 10, 2019

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!

Featured Giveaway

Disney's Aladdin Prize Pack US only Ends 9/20

Featured Reviews

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

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

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Friday, September 6, 2019

Improving Math Skills with 200 Essential Math Skills for Second Grade {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

Have you heard of Reading Eggs before? My younger children, Harold (my 7 year old) and Hannah (my 9 year old), have used the different sections of this great educational website in the past, and we have currently been given a four week free trial again in order to facilitate this review. The review itself is going to focus on one of the workbooks that is now available from Reading Eggs to supplement the site. However, these workbooks can also be used independent of the site. Harold has been working in 200 Essential Math Skills for Second Grade for the past several weeks, and he loves it!

This 259- page, softcover workbook begins with a look at the Contents.

There are 10 "maps" that a child will work through. These maps actually refer to the maps on the Mathseeds educational site. In the workbook, each of these is highlighted by a different color on the two Contents pages. 

The Year Planner which spans the next five pages goes into more detail to help guide you and your child through the year. 

The Year Planner section is divided by the different maps: 21 through 30. You will find the lesson numbers, the teaching focus for each lesson, plus the pages used in the workbook, skills learned, and the Driving Tests that cover the material. Again, these Driving Tests can be found at the Mathseeds site. These Driving Tests give a child extra practice with the material, so they are not required, but are quite helpful.

Before getting into the lessons, there are a few pages of hands-on Learning Activities which contain ideas for working with your child to reinforce the lessons being learned. 

The majority of the workbook is devoted to the actual lesson pages. Each map section has five lessons which supplement what is learned on the website, though, as I mentioned, they can be used independent of the site. I would, however, encourage you to make use of the free trial so you can see how well the workbook actually supplements the website. Here is what the map looks like on the site:

As they complete a lesson they are rewarded with a new animal and their avatar moves along the map. They then are advanced to the next map.

In the workbook, each lesson spans four pages. Once a student has completed five lessons in the workbook there is a quiz to take. . .

. . . and a certificate that you can fill out for your child. 

Before moving on to the next map there is a "Fun Spot" page with an activity for the child to complete which helps reinforce a skill that was previously learned. 

After every five maps there is a four page Review section which covers material learned in the previous 25 lessons. 

(We haven't gotten that far yet, but I wanted to show you what the review looks like.)

The book concludes with a completion certificate and a section of Cut-Out Pages with some images that a child will need to cut and glue into the correct spaces in the corresponding lessons. There are only 11 lessons that have cut outs. The majority of the lessons will be completed with pencil and colored pencil (or crayon). 

So, what topics does the 200 Essential Math Skills for Second Grade workbook from Mathseeds cover? 

Well, your child will be working with numbers up to 1000, counting and even comparing numbers. They will work on different operations, such as adding, subtracting, and multiplying, learning different strategies such as partitioning, grouping, and working backwards. They will also work with word problems. Additionally, your child will work on measurement (working with meters, area, volume, mass, learning about the calendar, time, and money), geometry (moving shapes, the rhombus, 3D objects, and quadrilaterals), fractions, and data.

Each map has children working on a variety of topics. 

For example, in map 21 Harold was working on:

 Counting to 500

Moving Shapes

Measuring with meters

and Partitioning Numbers.

He got to practice addition with the Fun Spot at the end of the section.

In addition to working on more counting, the next map (Map 22) had him working on data with a lesson on chance.

He also worked on odd and even numbers and then worked on measurement with the calendar.

He again worked on partitioning, but this time it was to help with subtraction.

Harold has been working through the workbook at a pace of about two lessons a week. Sometimes he will work on one page a day, other times he can get through 2, possibly 3. It really depends how much work is on each page. If he has to do a lot of writing on the page,  he is not interested in doing more than one at a time. 

We really haven't been using the Mathseeds site very often during this review period, because Harold technically passed the maps he's been working in when we had access previously. However, I wanted him to start at the beginning of the workbook to ensure he understood all the concepts, and I am glad I did, because he has had a couple of skills he was struggling with. He has spent some time working in Reading Eggspress, which we reviewed last year. Both he and Hannah have enjoyed being able to advance in that program. 

So, what do we think of the 200 Essential Math Skills for Second Grade workbook?

Personally, I think it is a great math workbook, and it appears Harold agrees. 

He told me he loves this workbook. When I asked what he has enjoyed the most about it, he stated he really likes the timelines where he has to jump back.

The quality of the workbook is wonderful. I love that there is color to help catch the eye, but it isn't too flashy. I think that it is great that each map offers variety, allowing a child to work on multiple skills as they advance through the program. It is definitely a wonderful resource, especially as it supplements the website, though it's awesome that it can be used by itself. I will say, having access to the online lessons really does help the child get as much out of the program as possible. I admit, there was one time when I was a bit unsure what was actually expected in the lesson. However, I believe this is because the animated, online lessons are where the actual instructions are given. So, as I have said before, I would definitely recommend at least checking out the site, and the free trial period. 

And do I have some great news for you! You can try out the multi-award winning Reading Eggs program for not two, but four weeks! 

Just in time for Back to School:  Sign up today and watch your child become a stronger reader this Back-to-School season! 🌞

A multi-award winning online learning program for children ages 2-13, Reading Eggs supports the essential foundations of reading with its highly engaging lessons, games, and e-books!

Don't miss this offer. It does expire on October 4th 2019.
You can find Reading Eggs on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

Don't forget to click the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about these wonderful workbooks from Reading Eggs. There are actually nine different workbooks available.

240 Essential Reading Skills for Kindergarten
240 Essential Reading Skills for First Grade
200 Essential Reading Skills for Second Grade
200 Essential Reading Skills for Third Grade
200 Essential Reading Skills for Fourth Grade
200 Essential Reading Skills for Fifth Grade

200 Essential Math Skills for Kindergarten
200 Essential Math Skills for First Grade
200 Essential Math Skills for Second Grade 

240 Essential Reading Skills & 200 Essential Math Skills  {Reading Eggs Reviews}

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