Thursday, August 10, 2017

First Day of School: 2017

Even though we do some gentle learning most of the summer, we've had some downtime recently, so I wanted to have an official transition into our new school year, to declare new "grades" and to make it clear we're transitioning back into a regular schedule!  We had our First Day this week, and we're easing our way back into a traditional schedule.  I fully admit, however, that I don't do spectacular or over the top activities (not my style) but we did do a few little things.

We had Star Wars pancakes for breakfast, then they had some free time.  I started walking them through our schedule, showing them the grid I made for the routine I would like to put into place.  During the first block we did our First Day of School pictures (two days before haircuts lol!) and they did a First Day of School Questionnaire.  It included things like height, weight, how they write their name, and a lot of favorite questions for them to fill in.  Here are a few of their answers.

Elliott is our analytical thinker that loves all things technology.  I asked him what he meant by "a builder" but he just shrugged and gave me nothing.  He's casually mentioned being a LEGO master builder and an architect in the past, so I can only guess it's some reference to one of those.

Emory is definitely our imaginative, outside-the-box thinker!  He's the type that asks for "antique" toys that daddy played with as a kid or a "worm house" for his birthday.  He usually says he wants to be a zoologist, but apparently he currently wants to explore the jungle and look for exotic plants and animals!

Eleanor is our spunky, fun princess.  My husband asked her why she wanted to be a mom, "So I can be like momma and take care of kids."  The boys asked her how many kids she wanted, and she said "Four, like us!"  Of course, in the past she has also said she wants to grow up to be an old lady and have a bunch of cats.

Eloise is our spirited, wild child!  She's full of energy and laughs and loves "muddy puddles" and purple nail polish.  We obviously aren't doing anything formal with her, but she insisted on being in on the action, and I expect she'll tag along with Eleanor most of the time.

Then a few more random pictures, just because I can!

An honorable mention for our day was when we stopped to watch a helicopter trim trees.  We've had a lot of tree and brush clearing out here this summer, but this is the first time we've ever seen something like this.  Apparently it wasn't just my kids who enjoyed watching it - I could see the neighbors watching and it made an appearance on Facebook too!

We'll have to continue to smooth out kinks as we work back up to a full schedule, but I am excited to see their interest in "new" subjects, and I'm hopeful for the new year!

First Day of School Signs
First Day of School Signs
First Day of School Questionnaire

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  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.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Peek into our Homeschool: Summer 2017

Even though the summer is not officially over, our "summer break" for school is winding down.  We've had a very low-key, casual summer, but that's not unusual.  We've almost always stayed close to home in the hot summer months.  When we travel, we typically do it in the offseason (one of the best benefits of homeschooling!) so I can't say we had anything super exciting going on this summer.

Here are some things we have enjoyed:

  • plenty of outdoor time and nature study
  • Vacation Bible School
  • learning how to use our new microscope
  • fireworks and firecrackers
  • later bedtimes and more stories
  • popsicles, smoothies, homemade ice cream and other summer treats
  • fresh fruits and veggies from the garden and yummy recipes
  • visits from the neighbor's pigeon (we live rural and they're actually not common around here, so this was a shock to the kids, LOL!)
  • water ballon fights

These moments . . . the laughing hysterically as I push them on the swings, or the pouty face when she got sprinkled with the water house, walking to the grandparent's farm for popsicles, baking together, finding a turtle after a summer storm.  These are the things they talk about, the memories I love making.

As to the homeschooling side, since we never really "stop" learning - we worked through our Summer School, slow and steady, just to give us something structured to do occasionally.  Some math review and (mostly) daily reading, with some reviews.  Here are the reviews completed in June and July.
USA Activity Bundle
Wonders of the World
Lightning Lit Grade 3
Marsh Media
Trust Fund (a movie I reviewed, not the kids)
Math On the Level {coming soon}

While they had their relaxed summer, just enjoying simple summer fun, I've been planning our fall trip, as well as planning "back to school" for the 2017-2018 year.  So many fun things to come!

Family Studies Part 1
5th Grade Homeschool Reading List
more posts to come soon!

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

In the Reign of Terror {review}

In the Reign of Terror is another fabulous release from Heirloom Audio Productions.  When the opportunity to review this first came up, I knew I would be approaching it differently.  Usually I pop the CD in and we dive straight in.  This time, however, I was in the midst of planning a World History course, and decided only I would be listening to the story and utilizing the guide at first, so I could study it myself and work it into my lesson plans.  Let me tell you, I love listening to my kids enjoy a good story, but it's quite a different experience listening to something for the first time without the exclamations of excited kids - almost peaceful to just listen quietly and take it all in.

Heirloom Audio Productions - In the Reign of Terror review

The Story
This audio adventure is an adaption of In the Reign of Terror by G.A. Henty.  It centers around 16 year old Harry, who is visiting France to teach English to a Marquis and his family, and to be a good influence on the Marquis's sons.  In turn, he is hopeful the experience will benefit him when he joins the military.  As Harry spends more time with the St. Caux family, he becomes like family and learns French well.  However, it is set during the French Revolution, a tumultuous time of social and political upheaval, which the English visitor could not escape.  Similarly to Henty's other historical fiction adventure novels, we see a boy on the brink of becoming a man, thrown into turmoil and danger.  He struggles with his faith as he tries to survive and rescue people he cares about.  I believe part of Henty's appeal is that he features elements that children love - bravery, courage, adventure and hope.

Heirloom Audio Productions then brings Henty's adventurous novels to a new era.  With talented voice actors and dramatic music and sound effects, we can listen to these audio dramas from the comforts of our own home (or maybe our cars) and feel like we are in the midst of the action!

Live the Adventure Club
Heirloom Audio Productions used to offer a variety of buying options, giving you access to different bonus features.  You can still purchase just the CDs from their website, but they now offer another website called Live the Adventure Club, and if you order through the club, you will receive all of the additional materials.

Read Along Script:  This actually highlights the text as you read!  It's the full script, and it's a great feature for children who love to follow along, or even those who might need to follow along to improve their reading skills.  (I'm not sure I'd recommend for young beginning readers, just because of the French mixed in, though.)
Take the Quiz: A multiple choice quiz where you can immediately see if you got the correct answer. The questions are basic listening comprehension style questions.  Students who are motivated by rewards will probably enjoy the Adventure Badges that can be earned!
Thinking Further - Questions that encourage students to dig a little deeper into the meaning of the material.  (No answer guide, so you will need to be familiar with the story.)
Defining Words - Vocabulary words, and when you hover over the words a text box will appear with the definition.
Bonus Content - Audio content in playlist format, original e-book, official soundtrack, printable cast poster, study guide, inspirational verse poster, desktop wallpaper, and an official script download.

Additionally - Your club membership includes a multitude of treasures that are not specific to the Henty audio adventures, and this includes parenting and teaching articles, devotions, grammar and history textbooks from the 1700-1800's, Kids Activities, and an Old Time Radio Vault of wholesome, public domain content.  That's a lot of fun goodies!

Currently, you can get a three month trial and the newest audio adventure, Captain Bailey's Heir, for only $1!  That's a great deal for for the 2-CD set and to try out everything have to offer online!

The Study Guide
If you are familiar with the original study guides, much of that online content is the same type of content, just in a different format. The original PDF study guides are still accessible, and are the same beautiful study guides as before. Along with the Listening Well, Thinking Further and Defining Words, you'll find many other familiar aspects. There are the biographies of notable people (G.A. Henty, Maximilien Robespierre and Marie Antoinette) and Expand Your Learning boxes periodically throughout the study guide, which are full of recipes or interesting historical facts about France. There's a list of additional reading, which would be especially useful for older students studying this time period. The Bible Studies include "When God Means Evil for Good," "Resistance to Tyranny," and "True Manliness." Finally, there is historical information for the Reign of Terror and a comparison of The French Revolution and the American War for Independence. While the PDF has more content, it's nice to have the core content available in multiple formats, depending on your device of choice and preferences.

Final Thoughts
In the Reign of Terror is a riveting story, and is a great choice for those studying the history of France, or specifically the French Revolution, but it is also relevant to discussions of faith, courage and virtue.  Due to the nature of the events covered, I felt some of the scenes my upset sensitive children, so you should certainly preview and use your judgement with younger family members.

Heirloom Audio Productions brings history and entertainment together for their amazing productions, and I think they are a particularly fun supplement to history studies!  We have reviewed all of the previous releases and have loved them all!
Under Drake's Flag
In Freedom's Cause
Wth Lee in Virginia
The Dragon and the Raven
Beric the Briton
The Cat of Bubastes

The Homeschool Review Crew has 100 total people reviewing In the Reign of Terror, so be sure to check out their reviews for more perspectives!

Heirloom Audio Productions

In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  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.