Saturday, November 23, 2019

Getting Stuff Done

Hello, my friends!

It's Friday night and I'm sitting on the corner of my big comfy couch at the Parsonage. The Muffin is watching Green Bay football highlights on Youtube and Josiah is tearing it up on Guitar Hero in his room. I'm guessing that he should be an expert about now.

I'm soaking up this last little bit of sluggish and slacker homelife that we will have for a while. Basically, I could happily live as a hermit all snug in my house until spring. The Muffin needs more people interaction than I do. At least a little more. Josiah plain gets stir-crazy. He needs people, random Wal-mart trips, and fast food to feel truly alive.

The Holidays (if I'm not careful) tend so soak all the life out of me. In fact, I''m giving some advice over on the Homeschooling With Heart blog at The Old Schoolhouse site today. Actually, it was published yesterday, but I'm a little behind.

Anyhoo. I'm trying to get my ducks in a row for the Holidays before somebody comes along and decides to roast them with an orange glaze and serve them with pilaf. Some of you know how I feel.

I did accomplish a few things today.

1. I ordered Josiah's birthday present. Our boy is turning 18 the day before Thanksgiving. I can't even think about it. We are going to celebrate with family on the day, but we are throwing a shin-dig for him with church folks a few days later. The boy always wants Walking Tacos to eat for his party so The Muffin picked up a box of single-serve Doritos at Sam's today. I feel pretty accomplished at my progress so far. None of this last-minute party planning for me! No sir.

Josiah and I also went and ordered a cake. He picked out a Scooby-Doo cake.😂😂😂 He thought it would be funny.

2. I cleaned out my pantry. Woo Hoo! I am feeling especially accomplished. My pantry was beyond messy. I still need to clean up my spice cabinet. There is some cayenne pepper that has formed into some sort of meteor rock. At least, I think its cayenne pepper.

I do have a list of other stuff I need to be getting done, but I can't look like I'm too efficient. For now, I'll content myself with opening up a pantry cabinet door every time I walk by and gaze at all that organizational goodness before its gone.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

LitWits (A Homeschool Review Crew)

I'm about to share with you a product I have had my eye on for YEARS. In fact, my son (who is a senior in High School) isn't even in the age range for this product, but I begged to review it.

What is it?

The incredibly creative LitWits Kits from LitWits. Today I'm going to focus on the LitWits Kit for Treasure Island. I do have a few others (equally delicious) I'm going to talk about.
LitWits is a company that provides hands-on ideas, academic activities and much, much more for a number of great books. They started holding "immersive" literature workshops for kids in California and it grew into passing these wonderful ideas on to us.

This is a web-based product. You aren't going to get an actual kit in the mail. I'll show you more in a minute. The kits we received were mostly intended for ages 8-12, but you will see that they can be modified for a wider group of ages.

Our homeschool has always been focused on Literature. We read living books on about everything we study. I had the hardest time deciding which LitWits Kit I wanted to request. That being said, you don't have to be especially "bookish" to get the most our of the Kits. In fact, the team at LitWits has done all the heavy lifting for you.

I got to pick out four Kits. Yay! I wanted all of them. I wanted all of the Kits.

I received...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

In this Kit, students will paint red roses (using the illustrations as inspiration), make a bossy refreshment,  discuss conflict using a fun interactive project, create poetry and much more.

The Tempest 

Students tackle Shakespeare with this fun, theatrical kit. Shakespeare can be kind of daunting for the homeschool family and this Kit is perfect for all of us who are hesitant to tackle The Bard. Students create masks, perform to their heart's content and try local dishes of the day.

The Secret Garden

I had to get this one. Students help things grow, talk about "neglected things, create a beautiful collage and even talk about healthy bodies. They also explore the Yorkshire Moore. It's all just lovely.

All Kits encourage the creation of a focal point...complete with props. In the Kit, Treasure Island, we are encouraged to decorate with maps, a treasure chest and plenty of loot.

The students also learn about cartography. One thing I love about LitWits (among the thousands of things) is that they also provide so many wonderful links and resources to outside sources. There are links for some pirate shanty singing to enjoy while creating maps.

We talked about real treasure and the treasure the pirates searched for.  I also purchased a tiny treasure chest to be painted as we talked about that real treasure.

We enjoyed raisins and apples and a wedge of parmesan cheese. We also watched someone tie knots (as opposed to the proposed actually tying of knots).

One aspect of the Kit I utilized the most (simply because of time and necessity) were the academic handouts. These were so handy. They weren't overly exhausting to work through and still focused on important aspects of literature.

I can tell you that these Kits are priceless. They are also reasonably priced. The literature that is featured is easy to find and worth every minute of precious school hours. The web pages are also easy to navigate. You are able to print a PDF of any section. I also loved the real-life examples of the literature workshops. You will too.

So now. You must immediately go check them out. Post haste. There are lots and lots of wonderful options. Look at your school year's booklist or better yet, ignore the booklist and go find a kit at you think you kids will enjoy first. And then move on to the next one.

You will not be disappointed.

You can read more reviews by clicking on the banner below.

LitWits Kits {LitWits Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Alebra I with Thinkwell (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I recently had the chance to review Algebra I, part of the High School Math from Thinkwell.  

I don’t know about you, but finding a math curriculum for my high school student has been a thorn in my side. And many years have passed since those heady days of College Algebra. I have forgotten more than I ever knew in the first place.

I have told this story before, but my College Algebra teacher was a Russian nuclear physicist. I had to pay more attention to be able to understand him (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). But he made it clear that “Americans make math too hard.” He told us we just needed to learn how to do it the easiest way and just do it. Such wisdom.

Thinkwell, I feel, has a similar approach. In fact, one of the first lessons talks about how Algebra transfers to the real world. 

Thinkwell is a self-paced online math program that offers 20 courses. They range from 6th to 8th grade, all the way up to High School math.

Before digging in, the student needs to take a Placement Test. It is free and will stick your student right where he or she needs to go.

For our review, we took a look at Algebra I.

My son has struggled in math. He needs it modeled in front of him. He needs to see it. We were so excited to see a real life face on the screen complete with a whiteboard explaining what in the math is going on.  After the video lecture given by Professor Edward Burger (no jumping around…we must do these things in order)…there are downloadable worksheets to accompany the lesson.

Following that lesson, the students are given a “Thinkwell Exercise.” This is basically a quiz with multiple-choice answers. We were able to print out the problems and work them on paper before answering the problem on the computer.

So here is another great part about Thinkwell. The video lessons are less than 5 minutes long. Yes siree! They are quick and to the point. We tend to get kind of squirrely in our house when the math lecture is too wordy and lengthy. I could have used Thinkwell with Josiah’s earlier math grades.

Another BIG plus for us is that Professor Burger is just plain awesome. He is engaging, easy to understand, and as entertaining with Algebra as one is inclined to be. He is not Russian...nor I think a Nuclear Physicist, but he is pretty smart. Keep in mind that there are different professors working their magic at Thinkwell. I am sure they are all just as awesome. 

Thinkwell is very well organized and easy to navigate.  You can check out Thinkwell by taking taking advantage of their 14-day FREE trial. Have your kiddo take the placement test and see what you think.

You can read more reviews by clicking the banner below.

6th to 8th Grade Math (Pre-Algebra) and High School Math  (Algebra to Calculus) {Thinkwell Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, November 15, 2019

God's Mail (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

Do you enjoy inspirational readings and poetry? Recently, I had the chance to review God’s Mail Volume 3.  This paperback book contains 96 poems intent on inspiring Christians throughout every season and struggle in life and can be found at God's Mail

The author, Ron Hardin, had some hard knocks and made some poor choices. After he found his way back to the Lord, he felt called to share his experience of God’s mercy and forgiveness through poetry as a way to lift others.

I’m not a poet, but I have spent a good many years exposing many of my vulnerabilities and struggles to the public. It takes some fortitude and a lot of God’s leading to share some of those things that we feel embarrassed, ashamed or confused about.  Ron deals with topics that are prevalent in our society today.

I was excited to read that Ron and I share a Pentecostal heritage (my husband is also an Assemblies of God pastor). The book itself is attractive. It is not a small, tuck in your purse, kind of book. Across the page from each poem are a number of Scriptures that pertain to the topic at hand.

Ron doesn’t sugarcoat his message.  The poetry has a prophetic tone to it. One of my favorites is the poem called Do It Now. If you have read my blog for any amount of time you know that I have dealt with chronic illness most of my adult life. This poem reminds me of what I need to do right now.

“Whatever it may be, live for Him like there is no tomorrow
Take care of business today and you’ll leave behind far less sorrow”

Awesome and timely advice.

Just a few notes before I direct you to the Crew blog. I mentioned that the poetry written deals with all manner of heady topics. This being said, it probably isn’t one you want to throw in your morning basket if you have a house full of littles. Some of the poetry is raw. Not obscene or objectionable…just raw and plain-spoken.  

On the other hand, it is perfect for my teenage son who needs a little raw and plain-spoken advice in his life.

You can read more reviews by clicking the banner below.

God's Mail: Volume 3 {God's Mail Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Catching up...

Shew. It's been a long while, my friends. I've had just a few things going on. I promise I will fill you in some time.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to lay low and give myself a good break. I've read 1,000 books, drank 425 cups of tea and visited a doctor's office more times than I can count.  There is nothing too serious...though I did have a little stay in the hospital.

Don't worry. I am not in imminent danger of expiring. Though by that last sentence you can guess that I have been reading entirely too many mysteries set in historical Britain.

The crazy past few months has allowed me to have time to think about my priorities and what I consider to be important. I have come to realize that I have not been taking good care of myself. I also have neglected my own mantra to "live a beautiful life." 

We all have things. Things that distract us from the important parts.

Anyhoo. More of the beautiful things need to be happening in my life. And I'm responsible to see that they show up.

Speaking of distractions, my son has been explaining to me the draw of his current 80's rock band obsession. While I am most certainly a child of the 80's I find I don't speak the language of hair bands. Any guy who used more hair spray than I did in 1987 just isn't my type.

Sweet dreams, my friends.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Drawing with Creating a Masterpiece (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I've got a brand new review for you! This time I am reviewing On-Line Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece.

You can catch my entire review in the video below, but for now, here is the important information.

This program is an on-line program. It is taught by the lovely Sharon Hofer. There are a total of 4 different levels; Beginner Drawing, Drawing 1. Drawing 2 and Drawing 3.

This course covers pencil, colored pencil, charcoal techniques. There is a list of supplies available for you, as well as links to Blick Art Supplies (if you wish to purchase supplies online.

I imagine the age level has more to do with the interest and fine motor prowess of your student. I enjoyed the lessons I am well-over %&$. Josiah is a senior in High School but struggles with his handwriting. He still enjoyed the lessons.

After you watch my review, head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew Blog. You can check out more reviews there!

Learning to Draw {Creating a Masterpiece Reviews}

Thursday, October 17, 2019

College-Ready Writing Essentials™ (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Any of the juniors or seniors in your homeschool heading to college? I had the chance to review College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetor. This just might be what you’re looking for.

I don’t know about your college experience, but mine required a lot of writing. A WHOLE lot of writing. Did you know that the majority of students who are heading off to college aren’t prepared for college-level writing? It’s true. I have heard it first-hand from college professors.

College-Ready Writing Essentials™ was developed by William Bryant, PhD. Dr. Bryant knows what he’s doing. He spent ten years as part of the ACT Test Development team, which included the position of Director of Writing Assessments.

So what is College-Ready Writing Essentials™? It is a self-guided online program. The program is available in two packages, Full or Premium. The Premium package offers personal feedback by Dr. Bryant, himself. We chose to review the Full package.

The program is intended to be a 25 lesson/five-week program. Of course, the beauty of homeschooling allows the user to go at his or her own pace.

The whole goal is to help the student go through the whole process of writing a 3-5 page college-level essay. This process is broken down into easy to inhale steps.

I want to take a few minutes to highlight the basic bones of the program.

The CRWE lessons are divided into 4 Stages.


Each portion has a certain number of lessons that gently lead the student through a particular process.
For example, Lesson 3 (under the Planning section) is all about Topic. I, myself, have had “topic remorse.” There was that essay I wrote on the hidden symbolism of Our Town.  That experience was miserable. I had a much better time writing about the impact female spies had during the Civil War.

Dr. Bryant helps the student take into consideration a number of factors, including the audience and purpose of their potential topic.  You can imagine that no one was really interested in reading my poor attempt of analyzing Our Town, including me.  Dr. Bryant has terrific advice for this process.

The Drafting portion of the lessons takes the student through the actual writing of the essay. Lesson 16 deals with how to explain your position and provide supporting arguments.

Example essays and other links are provided all throughout the lessons. I personally think it is helpful to have those resources available and included in the lessons. There are also downloadable worksheets that are editable included in each lesson.

By the Revising and Finalizing Stages, students are making adjustments, getting feedback from others and polishing up their work.

This is really a great resource. It is easy to navigate and the student’s progress is easy to track. Most importantly, this is a resource that we have access too for any writing project now and in the future. It can be used for paper writing about multiple topics and disciplines. It is invaluable.

My goal is for my son to enter the world with the ability to express himself. Not only verbally, but with the written word. I want him to sound informed and able to write about things he cares about in a thoughtful and persuasive way. My only complaint about CRWE is that I wish there were some video or audio components available.

Be sure to check it out! Other families reviewed College-Ready Writing Essentials™. Click on the banner below to read more reviews.

You can connect with BetterRhetor via the following social media outlets.


College-Ready Writing Essentials™ {BetterRhetor Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Library and Educational Services LLC (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I have a saying that I like to remind my husband of repeatedly.

A Homeschooler can never have too many art supplies and books.

Amen and amen.

I recently had the chance to review products from Library and Educational Services LLC.

Library and Educational Services LLC is a wholesaler of books, DVDs, and CDs. They have been in business for 40 years. They sell their products at 30% to 70% off the publishers' prices.

AND this is the best part. Homeshoolers are eligible and welcome to receive the same discount schools receive.

Below you can watch my review of the products I received. I am going to tell you what I got in my big box of goodies that came in the mail in just a sec. They are fantabulous.

I got to choose a selection from the Who Was....series. I chose Who Was Charles Dickens. I also got to choose a Lifehouse Theatre CD series selection. This is a selection of audio dramas. You KNOW how we feel about the audio drama. They have an honored place in our homeschool.

I chose Pride and Prejudice for a couple of reasons. It's Pride and Prejudice! And it's on Josiah's book list this year.

I also got to choose a selection of books from the Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction books category. I picked out the:

American Revolution Through Primary Sources - Set of 4 (which include)
  • American Indians and African Americans of the American Revolution
  • The Making of the United States From Thirteen Colonies
  • Washington's Crossing the Delaware and the Winter at Valley Forge
  • Why We Won the American Revolution

AND Uncovering American History - Primary Sources Set of 7 (which include)
  • The Alamo
  • Ellis Island
  • The Erie Canal
  • The Gold Rush
  • The Salem Witch Trials
  • The Underground Railroad
  • Women's Suffrage

I did not mention the "Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction books category" in my least that particular phraseology, but I did show you all the lovely books I got from the sets I named above.

I can't believe what kind of savings are on the Library and Educational Services site. I show all the goods on my video. They are definitely on my go-to-resource list from now on.

Good stuff, my friends.

Don't forget to head on over to the Crew Blog to read my reviews (you can click the banner below).

Watch my review!

Wholesale Books for Your Homeschool {Library and Educational Services LLC Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Slime Time

Where in the HuHot have I been? 

I know. I know. I teased you with Cousin Camp announcements and then left you with homeschool product reviews. 

Not that they weren't completely awesome. 

Anyhoo. July has been a looong month and I spent a good portion of it at the farm. In fact, Josiah is still at the farm. The Muffin and I are keeping the home fires lit. 

Princess the Cat is really missing her boy. He carries her around on his shoulder like the queen she is. We still have a few more weeks or so before we bring him home. She will just have to be content with me and The Muffin...and she LOVES The Muffin. 

Cousin Camp was a blast. It was a little bit different year. We didn't plan quite so many activities. Our theme was The Movies and the Cousins created a few videos. I am still in the editing process. I only have one video completed. And honestly, I don't know when the others will be ready for viewing. 

I am that far behind in life. 

I thought I would share the little video that is completed. SOOO CUTE!!!!  Enjoy, my friends. I'll talk at you soon. 

Exploring Creation with General Science (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

My very first review for the Homeschool Review Crew (which had to be back somewhere in the Middle Ages) was for Apologia. My only taste of Apologia had been drooling over the beautiful books at a Homeschool Convention. It felt like I had one some sort of Homeschooler’s dream lottery…not that I play the lottery…but you get the point.  Because I am a faithful and loyal creature, we have used Apologia science curriculum ever since.  So I must tell you that what I recently had the chance to review/look over filled my heart with song. Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. It’s really good stuff, my friends.

If you aren’t familiar with Apologia, you must go over to their website and quickly introduce yourself. They are an award-winning company…mainly for their excellent science curriculum. Of which, I have quite a collection of. 

My newest acquisition and the one I want to feature today is, of course, Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. It is designed to be the very first course taken during Middle School. It is intended to be used for around 7th grade. This edition has been rewritten to help students transition from the teacher-led elementary science to more independent work.

I received:
Student Notebook
Solutions and Test Manual
Set of Test Pages (included with manual)

This curriculum includes the following models:
1. The History of Science--Search for the Truth
2. Scientific Inquiry and the Scientific Method
3. Documenting and Interpreting Experimental Results
4. Scientific Analysis and History
5. Earth Science--Astronomy
6. Earth Science--Geology and Paleontology
7. Earth Science--Meteorology and Oceanography
8. General Chemistry
9. General Physics
10. Life Science
11. General Biology
12. Marine Science
13. Environmental Science
14. Science and Creation

There are at least a few lab experiments included with each module with a variety of supplies needed.  The lessons are also intended to be done four days a week. If you are familiar with any of the other Apologia Sciences you know that the Elementary School curriculum is set up for only a few days a week and the High School curriculum features 5 days a week. So this curriculum sits nicely in the middle.

The textbook is GORGEOUS.  It reads conversationally and has beautiful photographs, graphs, charts and plenty of good, meaty discussions and information for students to enjoy.

The Student Notebook is also really nice. I noticed immediately that it is heftier than its Elementary counterparts. It also is set up in a way that guides the student to check off their own progress. It features journal and question prompts, vocabulary lists, lab charts and places to record notes. I believe this Student Notebook is really essential to get the most out of the curriculum.

The tests are typically a little bit of everything, multiple-choice, short answer, etc. You, of course, will love the solutions.  Solutions make the homeschool parents' life much easier. 

As always, there are book extras located on Apologia’s website to help your student further explore each module. You only need an account and the password located inside the book. I was also really excited to see that this course has not only an audiobook feature (which we use) but has a thumb drive available with video instruction. That alone could be a game-changer for many families. I was thrilled to see that addition.

I do need to tell you before I send you on your way that I plan on using this curriculum this next school year for my High Schooler. He is actually taking a class at our co-op that is using the High School version of Apologia’s General Science. He is dyslexic and has struggled some with independent work. I think this will be an excellent product to use on his own. I love how Apologia has created such versatile products!

You can connect with Apologia via the following social media outlets. Don’t forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews.


Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. {Apologia Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Heart Changer (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I am most assuredly a bookworm. One of my favorite genres is historical fiction. I recently had a chance to review The Heart Changer from Jarm Del Boccio, Author

Jarm is a fellow writer so I was extra excited to get my book in the mail. I received a physical copy, but it comes in an ebook, as well.

The story is based on 19 verses in 2 Kings. The story is of Naaman and his wife's maid. Namaan is the commander of the Syrian army. He has leprosy, which is a horrible disease of the day. His wife's maid, who is unnamed in the Bible, tells Naaman of the prophet Elisha. Naaman travels to Israel and is given the instructions to bathe in the Jordan river seven times. The end of the story is that Naaman does so and is healed.

The central character in The Heart Changer is the maid. The account of Naaman in the Bible does not reveal her name, nor does it give any details about it. Obviously, the author has built a fictional story about the girl, but I didn't find anything in her story to give me pause. I think it was very true to the time period and was so encouraging and heartfelt.

In the book, the maid is given the name of Miriam. She is a slave who has been captured during a raid and given to Naaman's wife. Miriam struggles with being taken away from her home and family. She has to deal with the jealousy and bitterness of a fellow servant. She wonders how God could have placed her in Namaan's household.

When it is revealed that Naaman has leprosy, God uses Miriam to point Namaan towards the prophet Elisha. Through Naaman's healing, Miriam is reminded of God's love and sovereignty.

This was such a great story. And even though it is intended for middle-school students, it resonated with me. I needed to be reminded of God's love for me and purpose for me....despite my circumstances.

There is also a great teacher's guide on the website for your use, as well. It features an interview with the author, Jarm. It also gives a short interview with Miriam. There are questions included that promote those issues brought up in the book. How does one deal with circumstances outside our control? Is it right to question God? There is also information about Syria and some recipes to try out. The guide is only 12 pages long and is a good addition to any study.

This is really a precious book. It is a short book and reads easily. The message is invaluable. There was a portion at the end of the book where I truly felt the Holy Spirit and was encouraged that God knows about all of us and He loves us. He is a miracle working God!

This one is truly a keeper!

You can connect with Jarm via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews.


The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Dyslexia Gold (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I've talked about my son's struggle with dyslexia in the past. I always am on the lookout for resources that can assist him. Recently, we had the chance to review the Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle from Dyslexia Gold. He has really enjoyed it and I am excited to continue to use it.

My video below takes you through a visual walkthrough of what it looks like, but I thought I would talk about just a few of the highlights.

The program is intended for ages 5 and up. The recommended activity time is about 10-15 minutes a day, five days a week. Most of the programs can be used on PCs, Macs, tablets or iPads. EXCEPT for Engaging Eyes. That program can only be used with PCs or Macs.

A pair of 3D glasses will arrive on your doorstep when you purchase the program and there is also a link for purchasing the glasses on Amazon. 

The program is made up of four different programs. 

Engaging Eyes uses games to help student with vision, mainly tracking and focusing both eyes on the same point. You might know that this is something that struggling readers find difficulty with. It isn’t that they can’t see. My son has great vision. The words sometimes get jumbled and jump off the page. The games include: Eye Tracking, Whack an Alien and Target Practice. The Target Practice game was harder for Josiah to get into…Whack an Alien was his favorite.

Fluency Builder helps students improve their reading accuracy, speed and comprehension. This program deals more with phonological issues. We didn’t use this one as much.

Spelling Tutor was the program that Josiah spent the most time. The students are taught to spell 1000 of the most common words. The program uses a multi-sensory approach, including dictation.  I did find that when I went back to check on Josiah’s progress it didn’t appear he had completed hardly any of it. I found that the student needs to completely complete the lesson before it is recorded.  I am assuming he just spent the time repeating the same group of lessons. I’ll know better from here on out!

I am really excited about the Times Table Tutor. It is based on Singapore math. Josiah has really struggled with math facts. I think this one will help him tremendously. \

I think Dyslexia Gold would be something really great to start this summer. Most of us have an easier and lighter schedule. 10-15 minutes a day could really make a difference with your struggling reader. 

This summer for us has been a wild and crazy one so far and my son hasn't been home and won't be home for a good portion of it. Still, this is something that he can do at his grandparents' house. 

I do need to encourage you that you don't have to have a child with an official diagnosis of dyslexia for this program to work. It is for struggling readers. 

You can watch my video below for a visual overview of the program. PLEASE excuse the shakiness. I tried many different solutions to prevent all the "wiggle." This was the first video that I didn't have my camera (phone) propped up on something. I just couldn't manage it and use the computer at the same time.

 Don't forget to click the banner below to read more reviews! 

Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle {Dyslexia Gold Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Checking In

I've been so neglectful of my blog.

In truth, my house, body, and husband look a little neglected, as well. It's a good thing the Muffin knows how to fry an egg. Now if we could get my house to tidy up after herself

But, my friends.

Next week we start Cousin Camp! Josiah and I leave for the Missouri farm in just a few days. I am just a bit behind in my preparations. I can't seem to get myself together. Hopefully, the cousins will be merciful and flexible. Aunt Beke needs more than just a nap or two to catch up.

I hope to do a little "vlogging" as we go about our week. I don't doubt I will have plenty of good material and willing participants. It's just me getting it up on Youtube. I still have a trip we took to our Minister's Conference I still need to post.

It had been my goal to have an easy breasy summer. Nothing has been easy so far. We seem to have been busier than ever. I am WAAAYYY behind on my current writing job and the calendar for the rest of the summer is as full as it can be.


I don't know about you, but I have found that it takes less and less to entertain me. Just give me a good book and some time on the comfy corner of my couch and I am in heaven. A pedicure thrown in now and again is nice...and occasional date with my husband for sushi.

Would I like a vacation at the beach? You bet your bippee. Vacations for us are non-existent. I just try and find my bliss where I can. One of these days, though. One of these days.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Lightning Lit (British Mid-Late 19th Century) A Homeschool Review Crew Post

We have had great experiences with Lightning Lit from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources previously. When the opportunity arose to review Lightning Literature & Composition: British Mid-Late 19th Century, I jumped at the chance.

What I Received

Lightning Literature & Composition: British Mid-Late 19th Century Student's Guide
This is a thick book (approximately 244 pages). It contains all the necessary material needed for your student to study a variety of works hailing from British Mid—Late 19th Century.

Lightning Literature & Composition: British Mid-Late 19th Century Teacher’s Guide
This a stapled book that provides the teacher with a recommended schedule, grading suggests and a copy of all the writing exercises, etc.

The books needed are sold separately (some works are included in the Student Guide). The intended grades indicated on the website for the product is 9-12, but we were given an even narrower guideline of 10-12. It is also recommended that the student have completed a previous level of High School Lightning Lit…though that recommendation is not written in stone. I think if your student is a strong writer, he or she should have no difficulty.

Here is the order of the literature covered (I copied it straight from the website)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (selected poems; text in this Guide)
George Eliot (novel: Silas Marner)
Charles Dickens (novel: Great Expectations)
Lewis Carroll: (selected poems; text in this Guide)
Robert Louis Stevenson (travelogue/essay, text in this Guide:"The Silverado Squatters")
Oscar Wilde (play: The Importance of Being Earnest)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (short story, text in this Guide: "The Adventure of the Speckled Band")
Rudyard Kipling (novel: Stalky & Co.)

We obviously didn’t have time to cover the whole curriculum. However, I did already have the required books. This is what comes with shopping those thrift stores for your library!

How We Used It and What I Thought

To be honest, I chose this to review this product simply because of the writers and works covered. I wuv them. I also took a class in college that was very similar to the scope and sequence of this one.

That being said, when considering how I was going to approach our review time I paid close attention to the recommended schedules. You can use this course in a variety of ways. I needed to get through as much material as possible, but if I had to do it again I would definitely go at a slower pace.

This is one of those products that your student can use independently…depending on his writing prowess.

The Student Guide contains all the information (with the exception of the novels) that is needed for the student to complete the course. Each lesson will contain a general reading. This might include the type of literature or a variety of literary terms.  There will be a short biography of the author and some background information.

For example, Unit 2: Lesson 3  - Charles Dickens, gives us some basic information about Mr. Dickens and then proceeds to talk about his literary journey (most of his work was published in serial form). You might remember that Mr. Dickens and his family spent some time in debtor’s prison when he was young. His experiences often show up in his novels. Victorian England could even be one of the major characters in Dicken’s novels.

After the background information, the student is given the comprehension questions to fill out for each chapter. The Literature Lesson covers conflict. There are several pages of reading on the variety of conflict in literature. The final section assigns a variety of Writing Exercises.

We decided to pick one or two to focus on. Josiah chose to the assignment that asked him to write about four summaries of conflicts he has experienced in the past.

All the lessons follow a similar pattern.

Appendix A contains Discussion Questions and Project Suggestions.  The Discussion Questions were fairly meaty and could certainly be used for advanced writing projects and papers.

The Project Suggestions has ideas for across the curricula. Some are more involved, such as creating a Graphic Novel for one of the works. Others are more research-based, like researching the diseases that popped up in the crowded cities of the Industrial Revolution. In any event, there is a little something for every interest. We even listened to some popular music of the time. (Gilbert and Sullivan, anyone?)

Appendix B provides a list of additional recommended reading and Appendix C contains a couple of different recommended schedules. They are fairly easy to follow.

One of the great difficulties that homeschool parents often come across is how to grade a child’s writing assignment. Some of us feel like we are just shooting in the dark.

The Teacher’s Guide provides a good portion of help in that department. I try to make sure before assigning anything that I let Josiah know exactly what I am looking for. I was helped even further by the advice and recommendations in the Guide.

I will say that the end of the traditional school year was not the best time to review a heavy duty lit and composition curriculum. I had a hard time motivating Josiah to pay attention. He is not a strong writer and is dyslexic. This would not be a product I could give him to use on his own.

That being said, it is very well constructed and I love the variety of literature used. I think I enjoyed it more than he did! He had a harder time plowing through. If you have a student like my Josiah, you might consider an easier level.  I don’t care for literature curriculums that analyze the work to death. I felt that Lightning Lit does a good job of helping the student think and applying their thoughts to the written word. I would also recommend to pepper your student’s assignments with some of the project assignments (located in the appendix) as you go along. 

Lighting Lit has many more great products! You can read more reviews of a variety of levels by clicking on the banner below. You can also connect with Lightning Lit via the following social media outlets.

Lightning Literature, My First Reports, State History Notebook & Joy of Discovery {Hewitt Homeschooling Resources Reviews}
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