6th Grade Language Arts Recap

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I can’t believe AJ finished 6th grade this year. I saw a lot of growth in some areas, and hope for a few areas that she still is struggling with. Before I share our 7th grade curriculum plan, I want to share how her 6th grade year went.

I was blessed to join the School House Review Crew for the second half of our school year, so a lot of our plans changed, but I still think it was a wonderful year.

A recap of our 6th grade year - What worked and what didn't

6th Grade Reading

We didn’t use a premade 6th grade language arts program. The plan was to read 13 books, practice reading comprehension, literary elements, and gain a love of reading. To say I was over scheduling us is an understatement! AJ doesn’t like to read, but I was going to have her read 13 novels along with her other reading? We didn’t finish them all. She read:

In addition to those books she also had three from the Review Crew that she read.

She ended up reading 11 books in all. Most of them included book studies or lapbooks. We did a lot of comparison with movies and comparing different characters from the same author. I feel we really made progress with her reading this year. It has been a long road, but she no longer despises reading!

6th Grade Writing

Writing has been the most dreaded subject of all! But we had some big breakthroughs this year. Honestly for the first part of the year we didn’t focus on writing by itself. She wrote in every subject, but we didn’t practice writing. It brought tears, frustration, and irritability – and she didn’t like it either!

We focused on copywork quite a bit. It seemed to help with her spelling, penmanship, and writing. She started writing more on her own, but we needed more.

Thankfully, we were able to review a writing program from IEW. It was the perfect fit for AJ. She learned a lot from the lessons and seems to enjoy the writing process now!

6th Grade Grammar

The year started off with good intentions. I had a plan for grammar and this was going to be the year that we were strict with it. That didn’t happen. We finished the first 2 chapters in her grammar workbook and then took it in another direction. I figured she needed to understand writing before she tried to pick apart sentences.

She started working on Daily Grammar from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. It was a simple approach that AJ enjoyed. The best part was that it was quick. Once she finished the level she was working on though, we quickly realized she needed more practice before she could move to the next level.

We reviewed a few different grammar programs over the last few months and I think I have found a good fit for us in a Grammar Workbook from Brookdale House|A Homeschool Curriculum Publisher

6th Grade Spelling and Vocabulary

The first part of the year I pulled spelling and vocabulary words from our reading. It worked fine, but when I was able to review Spelling You See she really began to flourish. Her spelling has improved quite a bit and I notice her fixing mistakes before I point them out.

I feel we had a rocky start with language arts this year, but we ended strong. AJ has improved in all aspects on language arts, and I look forward to a great 7th grade year!

 

 

7th Grade Reading List

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I can’t believe AJ is going to be in 7th grade this year! She is going to officially be in middle school. Middle school was when I really fell in love with books and I can’t wait for AJ to have the chance to read some of the amazing books that I did. Most of them will wait until 8th grade because I want to take her 7th grade year to fall in love with the world of Narnia. She hasn’t read any of the books or watched any of the movies so this will be her first visit into the magical world. 7th grade may seem a little old for Narnia, but we will be diving deep into each book, studying different literary elements, comparing and contrasting with different movie versions, and tracking character development over the books. Narnia has a lot to teach. We will also be reading my favorite book from 7th grade.

Here are some of the books I plan on having AJ read during the next school year.

  1. The Magician’s Nephew
  2. The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
  3. Horse and His Boy
  4. Prince Caspian
  5. Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  6. The Silver Chair
  7. The Last Battle
  8. The Giver – We will read the first book for sure, and possible the others.

Those books will be read with study guides (that I am making)  and really picked apart. The plan is to spend about a month on each book. We will also work on poetry from CS Lewis. I have others I want her to read, but realistically those 8 will probably be all that we get to.

She will be reading for at least 20 minutes a day on her own as well. Usually I let her pick whatever books she wants, but this year we will be changing that. I am sure her choices will be animal or mystery related, and will more than likely be at a lower reading level. I am fine with her reading any chapter book she picks, but this year her choice will be alternating with a book of my choice. Some of the books she will be reading on her own (no reports or anything required) are listed below.

  1. The Westing Game
  2. Bridge to Terabithia
  3. Indian in the Cupboard
  4. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
  5. Holes

She may read a few more novels, but I haven’t decided on those yet. I haven’t read 3 of the  books above, but I will read them before she does so that we can talk about them.

What is your Middle School Student reading this year?

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Motivate Your Child Action Plan

Back in January I was given the amazing opportunity to review the book, Motivate Your Child a Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told. The book was great and gave me a lot of incite on AJ and on my parenting style. Recently I was given the chance to review a wonderful resource that goes along with the book, Motivate Your Child Action Plan. It is written by the same authors, Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN – the founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.

About Motivate Your Child Action Plan

Buy the Motivate Your Child Action Plan before May 31 2015 and get 25% off

The Motivate Your Child Action Plan is a 162 page soft covered book, broken up into 12 chapters. It is really a workbook to help you as the parent identify specific problems in your child and form a plan that is unique to your child. Throughout the book there are questions for you to think about and answer. In chapter 1 you are introduced to the 5 step plan that should help you to motivate your child in 40 days.

When I first read that change was expected in the first 40 days I was a little skeptical. As I continued to read I came to understand that the book wasn’t claiming to change AJ completely in 40 days, but to make improvements. Page 16 really says it best,  “It’s not about taking solutions from another family or finding an easy fix. This book is about developing a strategy for change.”

Chapter 2 has you figure out what character traits your child needs in order to grow in the area of their life that they are lacking. They may need honesty, responsibility, or respectfulness. There is a long list, but what I like is that your are not asked to only focus on the negative, but the positive as well.

Throughout the book you are instructed to have meetings with your child. I really like this approach because you are working with your child to help them change their heart.

Like Motivate Your Child a Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told, this book focuses on parenting to the heart and focusing on the conscience. Along with sound parenting advice and practical tips it is full of Biblical values and helpful verses.

There is so much to this book! Although the two books can be used separately, in my opinion they are really best used together. Throughout the Motivate Your Child Action Plan you are pointed to the chapter in Motivate Your Child a Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told that go with the section you are working on.

What Did I Think

I have not completed the 40 plan with AJ yet. This month has been really busy for us so I decided to wait to implement the plan completely. Even so, just reading the book and putting some of the advice into action has helped me a lot. I have noticed a lot of changes in AJ. She is more thoughtful, considerate, and honest, when she wants to be. She can be the best kid in the world and help me do the things that need to be done. There are days that she feeds the dog, puts away the dishes, does her school work willingly, and takes out the trash without being told. Then there are days I can tell her five times to take out the trash, and when she finally does it she doesn’t put a new bag in.

I am seeing progress, but I need to take the time and fully commit to the plan, not just take bits and pieces of it in order for it to work completely.

Coupon Code for $5 off of Motivate Your Child Action Plan

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely in a heart beat! I think it is full of wonderful advice, and numerous examples of families in different situations. I think that the two books together are really a great set to help motivate your child! If you are looking for a way to motivate your child, check out this book!

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Pippi Longstocking Literature Study

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I didn’t read very many chapter books as a child. In elementary school we didn’t have read-alouds. The closest we ever came to being read to was an Encyclopedia Brown Mystery a few times a week in 5th grade. We went to the library at school every two weeks, but there was never any direction given about what to read. Often those books sat in our desks and we never touched them. Sixth grade was my favorite year, and the year I learned the most. But we didn’t read a single book as a class. We didn’t have book reports, and the only things we read were nonfiction.

Seventh and eighth grades were wonderful. I went to a prep school and we read a lot! I fell in love with books in 7th grade. I remember reading The Giver and a few other books. We read a lot in high school as well. When it came to reading with AJ, I had a lot of books that I wanted to read with her in her high school years, but I had no clue what to read with her before that.

Get your FREE 29 page Pippi Longstocking Literature Study.

Since she is a reluctant reader I tried to find books that were fun, classics, or books that I had always wanted to read. One of those books is Pippi Longstocking.

The story of Pippi Longstocking always intrigued me, so I thought it would be fun for AJ to read. After looking all over though, I couldn’t find a good literature study for Pippi Longstocking. I decided to make one for AJ. I took it farther than just comprehension questions. It includes sequencing, true false questions, short answer, characterization, and more.

If you read one chapter a day the study will last 12 days. We do a 4 day school week  so we stretched it over three weeks.

I hope you enjoy your FREE Pippi Longstocking Literature Study! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for another freebie!

 

Free Fantastic Mr. Fox Study

Post Contains Affiliate LinksOne of the many books we have read this year was Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl. We read it as part of a unit study about Roald Dahl. We ended up reading four of his books and comparing his writings and the types of characters in his books. I was able to find free studies for all of the books except for Fantastic Mr. Fox, so I made one myself. AJ enjoyed the book and the study. She even enjoyed the movie even though it was nothing like the book.

Grab your FREE Fantastic Mr. Fox Literature Study, part of the 30 days f FREE Printables!

I hope you enjoy our day 5 of Free Printables the Fantastic Mr. Fox literature study. Remember t come back tomorrow for another free printable!

Firmly Planted Bible Study Review

I feel the Bible is a very important subject in our day. This year we have made it a priority to study the Bible a lot more often. We have been looking at in in a historical way, but haven’t gotten to the New Testament yet. AJ knows the story of the birth of Jesus and how he died on the cross for our sins, but she has a lot to learn still. When I learned that Heidi St. John had created Bible studies, I was excited to try one out!

A to the point Bible Study that has things for every member of the family.

We were able to review Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 1 from Real Life Press. We were given a downloadable PDF of both the Family Study Guide and the Student Book.

What is the Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 1?

The Study Guide is a 127 page PDF that is broken up into ten different lessons about the life of Jesus. Each lesson follows the same basic format. It starts with a passage from the Bible in the ESV version. Then it gives the big idea of the study, memory verses, a section called Watering the Seed where a little story is given to help understand the importance of the main idea, and then the Daily Study.

Real Life Press Review
Each day for the Daily Study you are instructed to read part of the passage then read a few paragraphs that explain the Bible reading and make you think about it. After each daily study there is a digging deeper section that explains even more and gives additional details, and a Taste the Fruit section. The Taste the Fruit section is a place where it shows how the passage is applicable to your daily life. There are 4 Daily Studies for each lesson.

The Student Book is a 225 page PDF. It is full of activities for a variety of ages to help with the main idea of the Bible Study. Some of the activities included are; mazes, word searches, crossword puzzles, fill in the blank passages, nature studies, journaling pages, copywork, mapping, and more. Each lesson has between 20 and 26 pages worth of activities.

While the two products go together and complement each other, there is not a set schedule given to use them together.

How did we use it?

The first week I printed off the study guide for the week and about ten different activities that I thought AJ would enjoy. We read through the passage, went over the main idea, and then went on to the first daily study. When we were done reading and discussing she did a few of the activities.

It seemed like a lot of printing, so after the first week we would read through the lesson on my computer and then have her do some of the activities. Some days she would look up the vocabulary for the section and then da a maze. Another day she would look up the passage and do a fill in the blank puzzle. Other days she would look up verses in the Old Testament that showed how events from the New Testament had been prophesized. Each day was a little different.

She enjoyed the mazes, word searches, crosswords, and fill it in puzzles. She also liked the vocabulary. The nature studies didn’t seem like a good fit for us, so we skipped them. We also decided to skip the coloring pages and copywork sections that seemed to young for AJ. Each day she did between two and three pages of activities. The daily work seemed to take about 15 minutes.

What did we think?

The Firmly Planted Gospels, Part 1 has a lot of great features!

Pros

  • The lessons are short enough to keep kids attention.
  • The student workbook has activities for a variety of ages, making a family study very easy.
  • It is broken up into 4 daily study sections giving those who school with a four day schedule an easy way to fit it in.
  • The print quality is nice in both black and white and color.

There were a few things that we didn’t enjoy.

Cons

  • There was a lot of printing. Even with only printing out the desired pages from the student workbook, I was printing between 8 to 12 pages a week and that was with one student.
  • There were a few theological differences in beliefs between the author and myself. This may or may not be a con for you. There was nothing outlandish or wrong, but a few small things that I didn’t agree with. It was easy to leave those points out of our lessons.
  • Our biggest complaint was that the study was just not enough. Each day we went over a few verses, I thought that there should have been more Bible reading each day. While the short lessons do provide a quick study with the family, I would have liked to see more. Maybe it is because we are use to studies where we study a few chapters a day, that this just didn’t seem like enough.

Overall I think that it is a good study, and if AJ was younger or I had more kids it would have been a really good fit. Right now I feel AJ was too old for a lot of the activities and that she needed more from a Bible study. There are a few activities that help an older child did deeper into the study, but they just didn’t seem to fit with AJ’s hands on learning style.

I would recommend this study for those with younger kids who would like a variety of activities to pick from. If you are looking for a short to the point Bible study, this may be what you are looking for. I was one of many who reviewed products from Real Life Press, click the graphic below to read what others had to say!

Real Life Press Review

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Motivate Your Child Action Plan – Giveaway

A few months ago I was given the chance to review the amazing, eye opening book, Motivate Your Child. It really changed how I thought about discipline and motivating AJ. After reading it I changed some things and honestly life has been a little bit better. We still have issues, but not as many as before. When I was recently given the chance to review the Motivate Your Child Action Plan, I was sure it would be amazing. It is like a workbook to help you make changes. It helps you focus on your child’s strengths and areas that need improvement. You will be able to read my full review in a few weeks, but until then, enter this giveaway and join me at the Facebook party!
Motivate Your Child Action Plan Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Motivate Your Child Action Plan, we are joining other members of the Launch Team in a wonderful giveaway filled with an iPod Touch, $50 iTunes Gift Card and several biblical parenting products! A value of nearly $350!

Here’s what you could win:

Apple iPod touch 16GB Black/Silver  ($195 value)

  • In the Box – iPod Touch, Apple EarPods, Lightning to USB cable, QuickStart guide
  • Brilliant 4 Retina display with Multi-Touch IPS technology
  • Front-Facing FaceTime camera with 1.2MP photos & 720p HD video recording.
  • iOS 6 features – Siri, Apple Designed Maps, Integrated Facebook, Shared Photo Streams, Passbook & more

iTunes Gift Card ($50 value)

Because you’ll need apps and music for that iPod Touch!

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide ($56.95 value)

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.

The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step. Each lesson contains advice from Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in a 5 minute audio tip and then offers teaching, an assignment, a Bible verse, and a prayer to help you apply each idea or strategy in your family. The tips are available to you as MP3 downloads and access to them comes in the workbook.

Family Time Activities Book Bundle ($45 value)

Your kids will have fun learning about God’s Word and how it applies to their lives. Science experiments, art activities, and games are all designed to reinforce spiritual truth. Each lesson is clear and simple, yet profound even for parents! You’ll teach kids how exciting it is to learn about God and his ways. Your kids will love these books, but more importantly you’ll build spiritual memories of Family Time in your home. Titles in this giveaway include:

Seeing Is Believing 

Playing for Keeps 

Running the Race

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter below! This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY to those 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited by law.

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Join us for the Action Plan Facebook Party on Wednesday, May 20 at 9:00PM ET. There will be even more prizes and giveaways there and the authors of Action Plan will be present to answer your questions! The winner of this giveaway will be announced at the Facebook party!

RSVP here for the Party!

Action Plan Facebook Party

VeggieTales Super Comics – Review

This is a sponsred post, I was provided with some form of compensation for writing it.

Do your kids enjoy reading comics? AJ does, and she really likes VeggieTales. Combine the two, and she is a happy camper. We were given the chance to review two VeggieTales Super Comics. AJ was excited to get her hands on them!

VeggieTales Super Comics are a fun way to get your reluctant reader to read!

The VeggieTales Super Comics each contain three stories. Volume one has Dave and the Giant Pickle, Lyle the Kindly Viking, and LarryBoy and the Prideosaurus.  It has lessons all about bravery, sharing, and defeating pride. Volume two has League of Incredible Vegetables, LarryBoy and the Reckless Ruckus, and Josh and the Big Wall. Lessons from volume two include, handling fear, saying your sorry, and obedience. At the end of the comic there are discussion questions and verses to go with each story.

The stories have the same morals and values you have come accustomed to from the VeggieTales name. Your favorite vegetables lead you on fun-loving adventures. They run into problems and try to do their best to solve them.

The illustrations are vibrant, and full of color. The pages are thick enough that you can’t see through them, and the text is easy to read. The drawings are the new version of the VeggieTale characters, AJ didn’t seem to mind, but I know a lot of people are not happy with the new look. I didn’t like it at first, but I am getting use to it.

We found the stories to be cute and a lot like the videos. They don’t follow Bible stories to a tee, but the overall idea is given with a VeggieTales twist.  Overall AJ enjoyed them, but we had one complaint. The comics were very confusing and difficult to read. It was hard to tell if they should be read a page at a time or across the two pages. Some of the time it seemed as if they would work either way.

If you have a comic book lover, I would recommend checking these out!

The VeggieTales Super Comics are available from Family Christian. They retail for $12.99 each. I have a set of the two comic books to giveaway to one of my readers. Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

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Adventures of Pajama Girl – Review

AJ loves picture books! When we were given the opportunity to review a cute picture book, The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen, I thought she would love it.

The story is exciting and easy to read, making it the perfect read aloud book!  #PajamaGirl

About the Book

A cute, illustrated story about a girl’s imagination and her magical pajamas. In this adventure, Ellie’s cupcake pajamas pave the way for she and her Sis to take a journey to a land filed with all kinds of sweet treats. Their journey quickly turns into an adventure to help the Cupcake Queen find the missing sprinkles needed for her coronation ceremony. In searching for the missing sprinkles, Ellie and Sis uncover a life lesson that is important for every child to learn.

The book is written by, Sandra Hagee Parker and illustrated by, Sarah Bussey. It is an 32 page hard back book with a book jacket. The book jacket is beautiful and the letters on the title are covered in sparkly glitter. The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen is based on Exodus 20:15, “Thou shalt not steal.”

The book opens up with Pajama explaining how she dreams about whatever is on her pajamas. Tonight she wanted sweet dreams so she picked cupcake pajamas. She is taken to a wonderful land full of sweets, but then she finds the Cupcake queen crying and upset because someone stole all of her sprinkles.

The illustrations are beautiful! Each page has full colored pictures that take up almost the entire page. The story is exciting and easy to read, making it the perfect read aloud book! AJ really enjoyed it.

The story is exciting and easy to read, making it the perfect read aloud book!  #PajamaGirl

The only thing that I didn’t care for was the “lesson” that the girls were suppose to learn. The end of the book actually gave the thief what she wanted, to me that doesn’t really teach that stealing is wrong.

Overall it is a great book, but I don’t think it teaches a lesson, it is more of a “just for fun” book to me. I look forward to more books in this series. I think this book will make a great addition to any little girl’s library.

Find out more about the book.

The best part?

Thanks to Propeller Consulting LLC, I have one copy to giveaway! Enter below for your chance to win!

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Real Life Homeschooling – Finishing Out the Week

I can’t believe that this is the final day of the real life homeschooling Blog Hop. Today I will share how we ended up finishing out the week.

We had a successful week, everything was finished and she ended up with almost an entire extra day of Spring Break.

When I looked at the spreadsheet Tuesday night I was happily surprised. AJ had finished her spelling, math,  and literature for the week. She only had Bible, Science and History left.

Tuesday night was a late one. I didn’t get to go to bed until 5am because Grandma had an accident around 1 in the morning and had to be showered and changed. I threw her sheets in the washer and then she ended up wanting breakfast. After a few hours she was tired and happily went to bed. At that point I crashed! Things like this happen quite often around here and that is one of the main reasons we don’t have a strict schedule. I didn’t end up waking up until about 11 am.

I decided to take a shower before even thinking about school work. That is until AJ walked in the bathroom and read the Bible reading for the day to me. She told me that she already finished the worksheet for it, and she was ready to work on her history next. When I got out of the shower I found her, already showered, dressed, and hair kind of done working on her history. (We are working on how to do her own hair so she will be ready when she goes to camp this summer.)

Working on History flash cards - Real Life Homeschooling

A few minutes later she was finished with her vocabulary and we went over the book of Joshua in the Kids Bible Handbook. I have to say that book has made Bible time so much easier! It breaks down what happened in each section and really helps both of us to understand the Bible.

We finished up the day by re-watching the science videos and looking through the library books on weather. At about 12:30 school was over and she was officially on Spring Break.

We had a very successful week, but it isn’t always that way. Sometimes Grandma is up all night and we don’t get any sleep, on those days school work doesn’t really get done.

You may have also noticed that there was not any art, grammar, or writing on our schedule this week. We aren’t doing a formal art program. Art is done as it fits in with science and literature, and is really focused on one week in every history unit. The history program is actually very hands on and fun, but this was the first week in the new unit where we had a lot of reading and listening to do.

We have been using copy work for grammar for the last few months. Spelling You See has taken the place of copywork for now. If we continue with it after the review period (which I am almost positive we will) then we will probably add back in some additional copy work a few times a week. We also use the daily grammar from schoolhouseteachers.com. Once we get more use to the new schedule I plan to add that back in.

Writing, the dreaded subject, wasn’t on the list because we finished the last unit in composition and I didn’t want to start a new one and then have a week off for Spring Break in the middle. I haven’t found the perfect program for writing and am looking for a way to make it more enjoyable for AJ.

A successful week where everything was accomplished!

So that was our week. She finished everything on the spreadsheet and had almost an entire extra day of Spring Break!Thanks for joining me and I hope you were given a real life look into our homeschool!

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop
Here are a few of the other bloggers who are participating in the blog hop, check them out!
Indy Homeschool
The Open Window-An Autism Blog
Creative Madness Mama
Hopkins Homeschool
Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Our Journey
Crystal Starr
A Little This … A Little That
For the Display of His Splendor