Saturday, August 19, 2017

Family Studies: The Enrichment Studies

In the past, I have not been the best at doing Enrichment Studies.  Well, some things I did regularly, some were hit and miss, and some I have never even attempted.  I felt like we were missing out on so many chances to imprint beautiful images and words onto our hearts and minds, so much of the broad feast that a Charlotte Mason education offers.  So this year, as I'm really trying to swing back towards a Charlotte Mason approach, I just decided to dive in head first!

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I'm working really hard at doing short lessons and really mixing up subjects, and having these enrichment subjects has already helped break up the heavier core subjects.  All of this is on a loop schedule, and some of the quicker activities are being done over snack or lunch while I have their attention, so we're not even extending our day much by adding them.  However, this means since everyone is present, I'm trying to choose a variety to appeal to wider ages (2, 4, 8, 10) and interests.  I do try to squeeze the more hands-on, involved activities during the toddler's nap when I can!

First Term is already underway, but the rest of the year is still subject to change.  I'll expand more on the individual subjects and how this is going for us as we get further into it, but for now, I'm pleasantly surprised with their responses so far!

Ergermeier's Bible Story Book - I read to all kids together
AWANA - Each child is in age-appropriate classes, and I work one-on-one with them reading passages, studying and memorizing verses.
We aren't using a "curriculum" during school time right now, but we have in the past and I'm not opposed to something appropriate.  

Picture Study
Term I:     Monet
Term II:    Leonardo da Vinci (we're studying him in science this year)
Term III:  Rubens

A Midsummer Night's Dream
   Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
   A Midsummer Night's Dream from Folger Digital Texts
   How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig

Term I:  AA Milne When We Were Very Young and possibly Now We are Six
Term II:  Shel Silverstein  A Light in the Attic or Falling Up
Term III:  undecided - perhaps Rudyard Kipling or Emily Dickinson

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization
This will help us work on imprinting quality language into our minds, as well as give us broader exposure to poetry.

Folk Songs - Ambleside Online
Hymns - Ambleside Online

The works are already chosen and playlists created!  

Composer Studies
Term 1:  Mozert (Emory's request)
Term 2: Beethoven
Term 3:  Handel

Foreign Language
Husband wants to learn a foreign language together, and picked French, though I still think Spanish is more practical.  This is the only thing I haven't actually worked into our schedule yet.

Art & Handicrafts
Okay, so I haven't fully implemented handicrafts either.  This is going to be kind of a crossover area, but we'll be focusing on drawing, as that will be beneficial for art, nature journaling, book of centuries, etc.  We'll primarily use See the Light Art Class, though we'll occasionally use ArtAchieve (review) or ARTistic Pursuits (reviews: book 1, book 2, and book 3) to correlate some geography or history.

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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

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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!

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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.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

5th Grade Homeschool Reading List

This year for 5th grade literature, I am focusing mostly on fiction, primarily because we already use living books for history and science, and the boys often choose non-fiction for their independent reading.
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I am aiming for an overall average of one book per month, with full flexility to adjust as necessary.  I also have a separate short list of higher-level, but age appropriate living picture books to "fill in the gaps" if necessary.  So anyway, these are some of the books I have in mind for this year, though this is definitely a rough draft.  I'm always open to changing the order or removing/replacing books as we go along.  {Most of these choices are from Beyond Five in a Row or Ambleside Online, plus a couple I chose because we own them.}

I'll continue to require narrations, but I'll also try to do something different with each book as paper "assessment" for portfolios.  I have one study guide scheduled, and that'll probably be the only one.  The rest of the assignments will be variations of a written narration -- I want to change it up a little (probably using pages from for each book so he doesn't always feel like he's doing the same thing, but I still want to try to keep it fairly Charlotte Mason friendly.

August - September:  Charlotte's Web by  E.B. White
To be honest, this wasn't on my list until we had the opportunity to review a study guide for this book for 4th-6th graders from Progeny Press.  We don't even normally do study guides, but I want him to be comfortable with them and the types of information generally present in them, so I figured a lighter read with a familiar story would be a good way to practice and start the year.  (I'm giving this one more time because of the study guide and because we have a trip planned during this time.)

October:  Homer Price by Robert McCloskey and Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
Homer Price is one of his choices.  I will focus on some of the language arts elements and the Writing questions from Beyond Five in a Row for this book.  At this point, I'll offer Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price for free reading, or let him save it for later.  These are also "lighter" free reads for Years 4-6 on Ambleside Online.

Rip Van Winkle is mentioned in Homer Price and there is a related lesson in the Beyond Guide. Since Homer Price is only six chapters, I thought this would help fill out the month.  We may also end the month of Oct. with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Both of these short stories are AO Y4 literature selections.

November:  The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty
I bought this book to go with our Early American History last year, but didn't get to it.  I think it'll be good for him to go more in-depth and refresh his memory.  So unless we find something else to go in this month, it seems fitting, and gives him at least one non-fiction book.  This is used in AO Y3 and Beautiful Feet Books Intermediate (4th-6th) Early American History.

December:  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
I remember reading this book in school!  I just have a feeling he will enjoy it.  It's a fairly short book, which works well for the month of December since we're usually busy with extra activities and holiday preparations.  This is one of the few I chose simply because we have it and it seemed to fit his personality, but I do think it's listed on AO's holiday page as well.

January:  The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I just happened to see this book at the store, and grabbed it on a whim.  After reading a little more about it, I think he will appreciate it.  It's probably one of the longest books on this list, so I put it in January.  January is always a slower month after the holidays and before co-op starts back up, so we'll have more "home" days.

February:  The Cricket in Times Square by Garth Williams
This is another Beyond Five in a Row book.  I don't have the manual yet, but intend to get it before then and work through some of the language arts/writing assignments.  He usually likes books like this (Stuart Little) so it seemed like a good choice.  This is also another AO "light" free read for Years 4-6.

March:  Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
This is a short read, but I think that's appropriate sometimes.  I thought it would be interesting to read close to the Iditarod.  (Since it is so short, we'll either fill in with some of those quality picture books, or move on to our April book.)

April:  Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The seems like another relatively easy read, and will give us a "beloved pet" story.  It also has a movie, so we can do a movie night and later do a compare-contrast for part our assessment.  This is one of the only other ones I chose that's not on a curriculum list I use for reference.

May:  The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
Another Beyond Five in a Row book!  Again, I plan to utilize some of the language arts and writing assignments to fill out his language arts.  I think this is also an AO free read.

This doesn't include the family read-alouds I do with all the kids, and the evening readings with just the boys, so he will be getting more poetry and literature that is not listed here.  I haven't decided if this list is too ambitious for a "meh" reader, but we'll take it one month at a time and see how it goes!

©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, July 25, 2017

Crafty Classroom: USA Activity Bundle (review)

I have mentioned before that although we carry a lighter load during the summer months, we do not refrain from all educational or schoolish activities.  Learning is a lifelong adventure, and we don't stop just because it's hot outside.  During the summer months, I love to look for learning materials that are fun and light, but can be used to go more in-depth as desired.  This summer we were offered the opportunity to review a USA Activity Bundle from The Crafty Classroom, and it's a great tool for many different types of studies, and can certainly be used all year!

The USA Activity Bundle is a actually a combination of three smaller packs, each of which could be used individually, but can also be combined for a fun geography study.

U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook
This pack includes an activity page for each state.  The activity page includes a US map to mark the state, and a state map to mark the capitol, landmarks, major rivers, or whatever you would want your children to include.  Obviously older children could include more details.  There is also a picture of the state flag, bird and flower to color.  There are small text boxes to label the state's abbreviation, nickname, number of admittance, and to label the flower and bird.  There are also blank lines to write interesting facts or other notes the learner finds pertinent.  You'll need to provide your own atlas or resource for finding the information.  Older students could certainly do a supervised internet search.

At the end of the State by State file are two games:  USA Bingo and Roll Across America.  These are great to use with any geography study for multiple ages, and are a unique resource for children motivated by games.  They would easily help build visual recognition of states.  I suggest printing on card stock and laminating for durability.

U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards

This fun set includes 27 different birds that have been officially named state birds.  Each page includes multiple options.  A full-color bird fact card for children to fill in, a card to color, and a small bird and the name for memory/matching.  These are realistic birds, not cartoonish, which I really appreciate.  All of the states which use the specific bird are listed in a lighter font under the bird's name.  You'll need to find a field guide or other resource to fill in any facts.

These can be used alongside a geography study, but are also useful in other ways.  My younger song loves birds, and has spent the last several months pouring over field guides, reading bird books, listening to me read about birds, identifying birds with me outside, and so on and so forth.  This is another great addition to his bird journal where he is slowly drawing various birds as he learns about them, and the different cards means he can put whichever size fit best.  Sometimes he draws two birds to a page, so the smaller picture fits in nicely.

U.S.A. 50 State Mazes
This is exactly what it sounds like -- an outline of each state is filled with a maze!  This is just a fun tool for state studies, but is a great way to help with identifying the shape of states.  I think recognizing a state by its shape is just as helpful as seeing it "in place" on a map for overall recognition.  This has a K-3 age recommendation, but my boys are 3rd and 5th, and they are great for their ages.

My Thoughts
Combined, these three resources can be used to introduce a state or as a gentle state study for primary students.  Older students will want to go more in-depth, but this is a great starting point, or would make a great review.  This is definitely a "worksheet" based curriculum, but it's fairly casual and easy to implement, because there are no schedules or lesson plans.  In other words, this is not a set curriculum, but rather it is a flexible resource for you to use in whatever way works best for your family!

In addition to the USA Activity Bundle, crew members are reviewing Preschool and Kindergarten level alphabet and reading programs, as well as a K-2 paragraph writing program.  Be sure to check out their thoughts!

Crafty Classroom

Crafty Classroom {Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Family Studies Part 1: History, Geography and Science

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that my children can learn many of the same topics together.  Of course they each have their own individual skill based subjects--math, spelling, grammar, the like.  However, there's something special about that one room schoolhouse feel that can be provided with a living education.  Many subjects are less dependent on age and sequential skills and can be enjoyed together, giving us more to discuss and share with each other!  That means, our history, science, geography, literature and more are all done through living resources, and we do them together!

Curriculum Choices - History, Geography and Science
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I think this is our lineup for the year.  I have honestly changed my mind a few times over the last several weeks and bounced back and forth a little on this decision, but I think I've figured out loosely what I want to "do" this year!  These are the subjects that my 5th and 3rd graders will be doing together . . . though I'll be adapting as necessary to make them all more Charlotte Mason friendly. {For the record, I would call us eclectic with a CM influence.}

A History of Science - Beautiful Feet Books
When I first saw this course, I knew I wanted to try it.  It just looked delectable!  When we started Early American History last year, I found myself on the website looking at it, and Elliott said "I want to do that one!"  The boys love science.  Their favorite book from history last year was the Benjamin Franklin biography.  I'm really excited for this course.  I just had to wait until Emory was old enough for it.  It is written for 3rd-7th grade, with a suggested pace of 3 lessons/week for middle schoolers, but a slower pace for younger students.  We're going to loop it with the geography, so it might take us longer than a year and I'm okay with that.  It's a pretty heavy course and I'd rather go slow and enjoy it, then feel we have to cram it all in by some arbitrary deadline.  We will get a lot of history through the biographical approach, while still studying the scientific principles of many scientists.  It appears to cover a wide variety of topics, giving us a general overview year (or more) for science.  History and science, all rolled into pretty living books?  Yes, please!

A History of Science from Beautiful Feet Books

Geography through Literature - Beautiful Feet Books
I've been wanting to try this one for awhile too!  We already own a couple of the Holling C. Holling books and they are great, but I haven't been able to use them to their full potential.  I think the boys will love the mapping, so I ordered them both a set of maps.  This is a robust course if completely fleshed out, and could easily be expanded into a history/science/geography literature study if you wanted.  It very much reminds me of Five in a Row, in that sense.

Geography through Literature from Beautiful Feet Books

Five in a Row - Mixed Volumes 
We will continue to intersperse FIAR as desired.  These books are just lovely for all ages!  It makes me a little sad when I hear parents say their child is too old for picture books.  Surely we are never too old to appreciate a well-written and beautifully illustrated book!  I'll probably also use some of the other books that we aren't specifically rowing for the basis of some of our literature/language arts as well, especially Beyond for Elliott.

Five in a Row and Beyond Five in a Row

World History

We are using A History of Science for science, but because it uses the biographical approach and includes so much history, I don't want to overload the kids at this age with another full history curriculum.  I feel like the better option is to start with some "overview" living books and see where that takes us.  I bought this book, A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich, to use as a spine. I found good reviews and felt like it was the best choice for our needs. If we find specific interest in a topic, I have plenty of resources (Great Empires, ARTistic Pursuits, various reference books, etc) to expand, and of course we'll add living books and documentaries.

Elliott will also be keeping a Book of Centuries for all subjects, and this will help with the cohesiveness of study.

Nature Study
I reviewed this awhile back for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (I need to get my review posted on the blog!) but I've been inconsistent with using it. It has weekly nature study ideas, discussion starters, and journaling ideas.  Just a few of the extras include book suggestions, a poem, an art print to look up, and several craft, journaling or observational extension activities.  Although nature study is an all-ages endeavor, and this curriculum is adaptable for all ages, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this for someone who wanted a "curriculum" for Pre-K or Kindergarten.  I have not been the most consistent with nature study, but I'm adamant to buckle down on all of the enrichment subjects that make a Charlotte Mason education so rich.

Small Adventures Journal by Keiko Brodeur
I bought both boys one of these journals, because we do a lot of impromptu nature study through our outdoor time, but as I said, I struggle with intentional studies.  The journals have some interesting prompts to help us get started, but I think the boys can do it fairly independently without much guidance from me, so this is something they can do on their own if they wish. Since some of the activities will need to be recorded in a separate book, they'll use these in conjunction with their regular nature journals.

I have more to share - more literature, fine arts and other enrichment studies, as well as the boys' 3rd and 5th grade curriculum choices, but I have already written about Eleanor's Pre-K Plans.

Pre-K Plans

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Trust Fund {Movie review}

I don't often do movie reviews, but I was intrigued when I learned that the movie Trust Fund has ties to the homeschool community.  The producer and cinematographer, Issac Alongi of Mapelle Films, was a homeschooled student in the early 1980s, before homeschooling was even legal in many states.  Now, as a modern homeschool parent enjoying the benefits of homeschooling pioneers, I was happy to watch this movie by a homeschool graduate and share with my readers!

Trust Fund Movie

Trust Fund is a contemporary Prodigal Daughter story.  Reese is a young, aspiring writer with a free spirit.  She could have a job working for her family's publishing company, which you might think would be the dream opportunity for someone who wants to be a writer.  Yet, that isn't the life she dreams of for herself.  Her older sister Audrey, however, is a Type A personality.  She dutifully works for their father, assumes the role of responsible sibling, and doesn't understand her sister's carefree ways.

When Reese finds out that her father has been keeping a secret, one that is life changing for both herself and even her sister, she impulsively takes things into her own hands in order to live the life she thinks she's missing.  While she is chasing love and dreams in Italy, Audrey is bewildered by her father's behavior and attitude towards Reese's decisions.

It doesn't take long for Reese to return home with heartache and regret.  As the story continues to unfold, we see older sister Audrey struggling with anger towards her sister, Reese struggling to understand and forgive herself, and a father trying to help them understand each other through his own forgiving love.  The Prodigal Son is a Biblical parable often mirrored in literature and media, so the story line is fairly predictable, but there were still a few plot surprises here and there.  In the end though, we see a father's compassion and forgiveness teach his children about unconditional love.  Just like God's love.

The movie is rated PG for mild thematic elements and smoking.  While Reese is off living her life, she witnesses some illegal actions, and it is assumed that she is living with a man, but there are no indecent scenes.  There is no foul language, wardrobes are modest and there aren't any innuendos or other objectionable content.  It's not something that would interest my elementary boys, but I would let them watch it.  It's clean, family-friendly entertainment.  I'd say teens and adults, and likely some pre-teens, are the audience to enjoy the movie the most.

In addition to the movie, crew members had the option to receive the book Love Was Near, written by Sandra Martin, that is intended to be read afterwards.  It is targeted at girls ages 12+ and shows kind of a "behind the scenes" look at Reese and her thoughts about this chapter in her life.  You can also find a downloadable study guide to use in small groups.

About Mapelle Films
Trust Fund is the creative fruits of husband and wife team Issac Alongi and Sandra Martin.  Issac Alongi is a cinematographer and producer.  He has over 20 years of experience in feature films, television, documentaries and more.  He has worked with major networks like National Geographic, ABC, and the History Channel.  His work on a series of historical films won him two Emmys.  Sandra Martin is a writer, director and producer, and has authored three books.  Her experience spans film production, film edition, post-production and marketing.

Mapelle Films

Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pre-K Plans 2017

I can't believe my little girl will be in Pre-K (Year 0) this year!  Eleanor is four years old and a bit more precocious than my big kids.  She will still be 4 when the year starts, so my only intention with her is to continue to expose her to good books, encourage a love of learning, and let her develop her skills as her interests and developmental needs dictate.  She is the child that asks, begs, pleads and demands to do school like her big brothers.  We do need some structure, so I'm carving out a spot in the mornings to fill her love tank and her imagination through gentle learning opportunities.

Additionally, I have Eloise, who will turn 3 about halfway through the year.  My hope is that she will want to join in and get her little love tank full first thing too.  If not, that is okay too, and we will adjust as we go, but she is always welcome to participate.  

Before Five in a Row
This will be our primary "curriculum" for the year. It covers quality literature, but also gives us the opportunity to explore early literacy, introductory science, math concepts, art, and more. It's such a gentle and lovely introduction to the world, and although she has done a row here and there, my plan is to (hopefully) row them all this year. If not, I'll just roll some over into her K year. I am fully aware that Before is not meant to be "rowed" in the same sense as FIAR, but we just do what works for us, one book at a time. We actually still have 16 books we haven't done yet, and she probably doesn't remember the earliest rows, so we're basically starting fresh!

I have been slowly collecting the books, and now own all except two out of print books, and I hope to grab those last two by the end of the year.  I am hoping to go through them all, so I'm kind of starting over, but doing the few easiest ones early on--Yellow Ball, My Blue Boat, Goodnight Moon all come to mind--since Eloise will probably want to sit with us, but can still have a short attention span for books sometimes.  Then we'll do others based on seasons and interests.  There are a few that are lengthier, and I'll probably save those for the end of the year to give Eloise time to mature and be able to sit through them.

The Real Mother Goose Coloring Book
Eleanor loves to color, so when I saw this coloring book, I just knew it would be a fun go-along for my favorite nursery rhyme book.  There are 30 coloring pages, so an average of one page a week will last us all year!

(I think we'll do this with the fairy tale coloring book for Kindergarten!)

Art Appreciation
I have had these I Spy . . . Art books for years, and they're great for this age.  One or two pages a week is great for beginning art appreciation and attention to detail.  There are several in this series, and we've picked up some from the library before too.

I know you can see several little workbooks in the first picture, so let me explain.  This child loves them.  I'm not going to lie.  I keep them available because I simply cannot give her all the "school" that she wants some days.  Developmentally appropriate workbooks are not parent-intensive and often satiate her desire for more.  I actually keep a variety of them available, more than what's in the picture, so that she has different "subjects" to allow her to explore different things as she's interested.  I listed these last though, because they're completely unnecessary, but are an easy go-to in a pinch.  

Finally . . . 
We do a lot of family style subjects during meals and snacks, and she's often present for their poetry, art, Bible, literature and more, just absorbing everything like a little sponge.  (I'll be sharing more specifics on these subjects later.)  She will return to Cubbies, continue in her Preschool Sunday School class, go to co-op, and she's interested in taking dance.  So there are lots of opportunities for her to learn and grow outside of the home too.

All of these resources are just that - only resources.  They are meant to be used in an informal, exploratory way.  She has access to these learning aids with my guidance, but first and foremost, we want her to have tons of free time to play, explore, imagine and create on her own terms!  

©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.