Friday, April 28, 2017

A Peek into our Homeschool: April 2017

So hard to believe that April has flown by already, but I am finding that writing a monthly recap is much easier to keep up with than writing a weekly wrap-up.

In our Homeschool
Emory is progressing along fine in math.  He finished his language arts at the very beginning of the month (I was splitting lessons in half to stretch it, but that could only last so long) and unless something specific comes along from the Crew, I will just let him do independent reading for the rest of the year.  I've noticed he's started reading more in his free time, even if it's not always a book I would suggest.

Elliott was still doing TT for math, but we've mostly put it on pause as we are reviewing a very interesting program called Algebra for Breakfast.  He enjoys it more than his curriculum, so it's a nice diversion from traditional math.  If you're looking for an interesting supplement for 3rd-6th grade, watch for the review in a couple of weeks.

For our other subjects . . .

We finished up Beautiful Feet Books - Early American History!  The study ends with Abraham Lincoln and Buffalo Bill, so you'll see some recap posts of those coming up soon.  I'm anxious for us to sit down and really go back through their notebooks and evaluate the year, especially since we're still in discussion about which curriculum to use next year, and I have my eye on a few of their other guides.

To go along with Abraham Lincoln, we rowed Who Owns the Sun? and They Were Strong and Good, as they both fit the general time period.  (I'll share that row soon too.)  We've also been continuing with ArtAchieve, which has been fun, and is another upcoming review.

Eleanor rowed The Runaway Bunny from Before Five in a Row for preschool, and of course has had plenty of art, outdoor fun and free time.

  I learned that dwarfs are good farmers.

Emory has been really interested in birds and asked to study them, so we're using a study from Simply Charlotte Mason called Learning About Birds with Thornton Burgess.  It's kind of been "our" thing.

I wanted to find something similar to do with Elliott, so when the opportunity to review a Milton Hershey biography/unit study from YWAM Publishing came up, I thought that would be a fun study since we're nearing the end of the traditional year anyway.  Some of Elliott's favorite books have been biographies about "fun" people.  You know . . . Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas--people who have created things he likes.  Well, we like chocolate!  We're just getting started with it, but it looks promising!

In Our Life
Granny celebrated her 90th birthday!  This is my husband's grandmother.  She's a retired nurse, paints, has published three books, makes quilts and jewelry and paints . . . She's smart, caring, generous, and such a beautiful person inside and out.  We are very lucky that our children have her for a great-grandmother and neighbor.

{My sister-in-law arranged a photographer, but I haven't seen those pictures yet.  This were taken by a very patient friend of mine, but it was on my phone, which is why it's not the greatest quality.}

And . . . one last family picture!  With four kids, one of them a spunky, tired toddler, it's hard to get a "good" picture.

Homeschool Coffee Break

©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, April 25, 2017

Planet 316 {review}

Planet 316: Daily Bible Jigsaw

I don't use a lot of game apps on my electronic devices, but when I do play games, I prefer puzzles of some sort; something to stretch my brain a little.  I recently had the opportunity to review an app called Daily Bible Jigsaw, from Planet 316, which sounded right up my alley.  For once, I asked for a review just for me.  The app is available on iOS, Google Play, or as a Facebook game.  As part of the review, I was given 500 Puzzle Coins (worth $39.99) to use in game play.  I downloaded the app on both my iPad mini and my iPhone 7 and can play it on either, since the account is email based.   (You can also connect to Facebook through the app and play against friends, but I have not done that.)  These aren't just puzzles, though. You finish with an inspirational Bible verse each day.

Planet 316: Daily Bible Jigsaw

As the name of the game suggests, there is a new puzzle offered every day.  You can play the puzzle and use different tools to make it easier.  These tools require the use of two coins each, and include:

Rotate - Orients all the pieces into the correct position.
Guide - You can peek at a picture of the completed puzzle
Sweep - Brushes all pieces to the sides the screen
Magnet - Connects two pieces
Edges - Removes all but the edge pieces until you have the frame of the puzzle complete

Planet 316: Daily Bible Jigsaw

My favorite is Rotate.  It's so much easier to start the puzzle with the pieces in the right orientation.  Otherwise I have to tap and turn the pieces up to three times to find the correct position.  If I use a tool, it's this one.  Another feature is the Power Piece.  During the puzzle, you'll see a random piece light up, and if you connect it to any other piece during the time it's temporarily glowing, you'll earn a coin.  Once the puzzle is complete, you'll see the full picture with an inspirational Bible verse.

Each day, as you complete your puzzle, you're awarded a puzzle piece to fill in a calendar.  If you miss a day, you can use coins to go back and complete missed puzzles.  At the end of the month you'll have a completed calendar.

Planet 316: Daily Bible Jigsaw

Let's talk about the coins for a minute.  You get a handful upfront, and you can earn them "free" by watching ads for other apps.  The ads are short, but are usually advertising games I would not let my children play, and some of the promos are less than tasteful.  This advertisement problem isn't specific to this app though, as I've seen the same ads in other apps.  It's just unfortunate.

This app is rated 4+ and is very family friendly.  Although I've kind of been hogging the app for myself, I would certainly allow my children to play the app; they would just not be allowed to earn "free coins" through watching the ads.  Having the bundle of Puzzle Coins solves that problem, and also allows you to use more of the helps as desired.

Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316

The puzzles are quick and easy, and only take a couple of minutes each day.  I actually find it kind of soothing to sit in a quiet spot and play a few puzzles with music playing softly.  I don't remember to play daily, so will go back and play missed puzzles.  I also like to see if I can beat my personal scores, and it's also interesting to see which verses they will pair with the finished picture.  I like this app, and would certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys puzzles and wants a little inspirational, uplifting game to play.

Daily Bible Jigsaw {Planet 316 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.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Before Five in a Row: The Runaway Bunny

We've been fans of Margaret Wise Brown books for awhile, and this one is no exception!

This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure for more information.

Eleanor was so excited to start The Runaway Bunny.  It's such a sweet little book about a mother's love!  As I read, she took the book and examined the illustrations.  She immediately noticed the alternation between black and white and color page spreads, so it was easy to discuss that lesson with her naturally.  She also caught on to and started imitating the repetitive language as I continued through the book.  She liked doing the "If you become . . . " lines for me.

Another art lesson actually happened in an impromptu way.  Eloise had dumped the crayons out, and Eleanor went through and picked out all the purple crayons.  It made me think of the lesson in the manual, so I sat down with her and showed her how we could look at all the different types of purple.  I did it with green (an easy color to do with the pictures in the book) and she decided to do a Green Rainbow while I read the book again.

We also compared the illustrations and looked at the corresponding pictures in The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon.  She loved pulling out another beloved book.  (Goodnight Moon was our very first row.)

We played with various pattern block mats from PreKinders.  She has a sailboat, rabbit, and flower that all go well with this story.

I also found Eleanor making variations of this flower on her own without the mat at other times, which I thought was interesting.

Eleanor loves "worksheets" so I chose a few different pages from these bundles:
Homeschool Share Runaway Bunny
The Runaway Bunny Printables from Homeschool Creations
Five in a Row Fold N Learn

I tried to find her favorite types of activities.  She did patterns, beginning sounds, a maze, and a few other activities that allowed for scissors, glue and dot markers.

We got outside for some nature walks, and were able to find dead trees . . . just like in the illustrations.

For free play, I set out random toy bunnies.  Some were stuffed, some where from $1 store games, etc.  She had fun playing with them, feeding them toy carrots from her play kitchen, and making this one Queen of the Bunnies.

I had a special snack, some go-along books and a few other activities planned, but sometimes things don't go as planned, and that's okay.  Sometimes we deviate from the plan so we can enjoy the moment.  It's not Pinterest perfect.  I don't even remember to take pictures of half the stuff we do.  But the moments are pure and memorable, and that's what matters to me.

©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.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Five in a Row: Who Owns the Sun?

A young boy's wise father explains how nobody can own the sun, the stars, the wind, the flowers, the rain . . . but what happens when that boy overhears a conversation that makes him question everything his father has taught him about owning the most precious things on Earth?

Five in a Row: Who Owns the Sun?

This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclaimer for more information.

I chose to row Who Owns the Sun? when we reached the Abraham Lincoln biographies with Beautiful Feet Books, because of the obvious correlation.  Before we started, I really didn't give any specifics as to the content.  I just started reading this book.  For having been written by a 14 year old, it's very powerful.

We had previously discussed slavery when we reviewed With Lee in Virginia, and Elliott was very disturbed by the audio drama.  So we followed that with a Follow the Drinking Gourd row to show a different side of humanity.  It was still a difficult topic.  As for this study, Emory especially got invested in this story.  As we got to the end, you could see the sadness and confusion in his eyes.  We had a lot of heart talks during the week, especially about sin and human nature, and learning from past mistakes.

Social Studies
History/Geography - Slavery/Civil War
We discussed more about slavery, slave vs. free states and the prominence of slavery in the south.  They placed the story disk in the south.

Five in a Row:  Who Owns the Sun?

Then we mapped out slave states vs free states.  (I just pulled a freebie from online, obviously they'll vary depending on the time period as states were admitted to the union.)

Five in a Row:  Who Owns the Sun?

Additional Books
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
Beautiful Feet Books Abraham Lincoln study - more to be posted soon

Language Arts
The boys made lists of things too wonderful to own . . . here are a few things that they listed.

Question Mark/Questions
Question marks were a review for Emory.  Then we made up our own questions.  Instead of writing a story, though, Emory and I ended up looking up videos for his.  He specifically wanted to know how the fortunes get inside fortune cookies.

We discussed this briefly, though it's all review.  We did look for signs of spring on a nature walk that week.

Simple Machines
Per the lesson, we had a discussion about simple machines and the boys examined the pictures to see the examples.  Elliott went a bit further by completing a simple machines worksheet and playing around with the book How Machines Work: Zoo Break by David Macaulay.

Five in a Row:  Who Owns the Sun?

We talked about the 14 year old illustrator and how children can work hard to reach their goals/dreams.

Another art lesson in the manual dealt with watercolors and layering colors.

Emory ended up doing a flower and rainbow painting, but he did do some color mixing with the greens to get the shade he wanted.

Extra Art
This was for ArtAchieve, which we are reviewing right now.  I was looking through the supply list for the upcoming projects and realized Four Suns with Four Faces would go along well with this row, so we skipped ahead to it.  Just as nobody can own our soul, nobody can own our uniqueness and individuality.

Five in a Row:  Who Owns the Sun?

Five in a Row Cookbook
While the boys were outside working hard with dad one afternoon, just like Big Jim would have worked hard in the fields, I made the biscuits and sausage gravy from the cookbook.  (I made the biscuits smaller than intended, but overall I still think I liked the biscuits from The Bee Tree better.)  I added sausage and fruit, and daddy came in and scrambled eggs at the last minute.  Breakfast for Dinner was a huge hit with the kiddos.

Five in a Row:  Who Owns the Sun?

We followed this row by continuing the Abraham Lincoln study, along with a  row of They Were Strong and Good, so I'll be sharing that 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.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Peek at our Homeschool: March 2017

The past several weeks have been a blur.  So much going on, so little time to write about it.  The first two weeks of March flew by . . . we chose to have a quick turnaround on the return home, so it was a flurry of packing and unpacking, to say the least.  Then our first week back was the week that never ended.  Let's just hit the major stuff, shall we?  A clogged pipe led to flooding, which led to soggy (yet to be unpacked) boxes.  Three major appliances died back to back to back.  The toddler found a sharpie, and my brand new refrigerator.  You can't make this stuff up! (Luckily I found the magic combination to remove the sharpie--rubbing alcohol and magic eraser!)

I think our household is almost back to normal though.  Well, I can't decide how I want to organize my bookshelves right now, but that's a little bit of a personal problem more than a house imploding problem.  I can live with that.

Math is math, as usual.  One kids moves through without complaint, and one does well despite the grumbling.  Language arts is progressing along well.  Elliott is reviewing Easy Grammar 5 so we've been focusing on that for him.

We did a brief study of Lewis and Clark with Beautiful Feet Books.  It was short, and I would have added more to it, but it was our first week back, so I kept it simple.  Simple can be refreshing for me sometimes, though, and it was still effective.

We're still working on a review of ArtAchieve (first sneak peak) I'm enjoying it along with the boys!

Sometimes after doing art lessons, the boys go off and do their own thing for art.  Elliott has never been much for coloring, but sometimes he will find a drawing book or some tutorials and draw a few pictures.  (Papa Smurf from Art For Kids Hub.)

Last week we rowed Who Owns the Sun? to go along with BFB's Abraham Lincoln study.  So we're getting back into a routine.  To start off April, we're continuing with Abraham Lincoln and also rowing They Were Strong and Good (because of the Civil War tie-in) so you'll see both those rows being shared soon!

I also got a book order in!  You know that feeling you get, when you open a new box of books?  *happy sigh*  We already owned A New Coat for Anna, but my paperback copy had seen better days and this one was so inexpensive that I just added it to the order.  All of the other books are also part of FIAR, either because they are in a one of the volumes from Before to Beyond (or online as a digital unit), or they are excellent go-along books.

Of course, there's the whole playing on the swing set, digging for rocks, climbing trees, taking walks on the farm and in the woods, chasing bubbles, splashing in puddles . . . we are loving the spring weather!

Homeschool Coffee Break

©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.