Memoria Press Literature ~ Review

When I was in middle school and high school I really enjoyed literature. We would spend about a month on a book and by the time we were finished we learned so many things. We talked about all kinds of literary terms and often would spend an entire class period marking up passages in the books. Since I loved diving into good books I wanted AJ to have the same kind of experience as I did. Unfortunately, I hadn’t found a great literature curriculum that I could afford, so I decided to make up my own literature guides. I enjoy doing it and she loves them, but they take a long time. I knew I need to find a few well written study guides before next year, but I didn’t know where to look.

 

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
 

As I began looking for literature curriculum to use with AJ next year, I came across Memoria Press. We enjoyed a history study from them last year, so I thought that AJ would enjoy their literature. A few weeks later I was blessed with the opportunity to review the Eighth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press. AJ is in 7th grade right now, but the books in the 8th grade set looked like ones that she would really enjoy.

 

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

 

I was thrilled when I opened the box from Memoria Press. It included Student Study Guides and Teacher Guides for; The Wind In the Willows, As You Like It, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Treasure Island. Each Study Guide was a little bit different.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island Literature Guide

The Student Study Guide for Treasure Island is 89 pages long. It begins with two pages of directions explaining how to use the literature guide and then a two page introduction about the author, Robert Louis Stevenson. The guide is broken into lessons that cover either one or two chapters. Each lesson follows a similar layout.

  • Reading Notes – This section gives information about unknown characters or terms.
  • Vocabulary – In this section your child gives definitions for an average of eight to ten words. Then they are asked to do additional dictionary work for two of the words.
  • Comprehension Questions – Your students answer five or six questions about the reading in complete sentences.
  • Quotations – A quote from the chapter is given and your student writes which character (or if it was the narrator) said the quote.
  • Discussion Questions – A few questions are listed for your student to discuss orally. Some of the questions are opinion based where others focus on morals or the reasoning behind a characters action.
  • Enrichment – The Enrichment section is not found after every chapter. It includes additional activities to go along with the reading. Some of the activities include; drawing, map work, finding definitions, research, and composition activities.

After about every six chapters there is a Mastery Word Review where your student completes vocabulary activities based on vocabulary that they learned in the previous chapters.

At the end of the book there is an Appendix of Nautical Terms. This section is really neat. It not only has terms, but types of knots, parts of a ship, and sailing directions. I think this section would really come in handy while reading the book.

The Teacher Guide is an exact copy of the student guide with all of the answers filled in. The back of the guide includes answers to some of the discussion questions. There are also six reproducible quizzes, a final exam, and answer keys.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Adventures of Tom Sawyer Literature Guide

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Student Study Guide is 79 pages long. While it is similar to the Treasure Island Guide there are some notable differences. This guide starts with a short one page guide about how to use the book and then it goes into a section about how to mark a book. This section made me smile. It is very basic, but it shows the student how to read closely and mark important things in their book.

After the section about marking the book the student is instructed to read the preface of the book and answer some questions about it in the Study Guide.

There are 36 lessons in this book, one for each chapter in the book. Each lesson follows the same layout.

  • Reading Notes
  • Vocabulary – They are only asked to define about 5 words, there is not any extra dictionary work.
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Quotations – This time they are asked who said the quote and who it was spoken to or about.
  • Discussion Questions
  • Focus Passage – In each Focus Passage the student is asked to find a certain paragraph in the chapter and answer questions about it. The first few have simple comprehension type questions about the paragraph. As they move through the book they are asked to list words that describe mood, or for phrases that show certain things about a character. At times they are asked to paraphrase parts of the paragraph or to describe what was going on.

Like Treasure Island, this Teacher Guide has all of the student pages with the answers filled in. It also has six quizzes and a final exam.

As You Like It

As You Like it Literature Guide

The Student Guide for As You Like It is 42 pages long. Since this is a play by Shakespeare the Student Guide is a little different than the others. It begins with a two page introduction to Shakespeare followed by a two page introduction to the play. Following the introduction is a Character Log with the name of twelve characters from the play. The student has to describe each character and their strengths and weaknesses as they read the play.

The rest of the Student Guide is divided into seven lessons, a question about the Epilogue, and 80 short answer review questions.

Each Lesson has:

  • Vocabulary – Ten to fifteen questions where they are only asked for the definitions.
  • Journal Prompts – Three to five activities including some fun activities like; making the family tree of a character, comparing and contrasting characters, diary entries from different characters, monologues, pictures, and more.
  • Quotes – The student is given three or four quotes. The need to tell who spoke it, who it was spoken to, the situation, the meaning, and the reaction.
  • Comprehension Questions – There are about fifteen questions in each lesson. Many of the questions have multiple parts.

The Teacher Guide is similar to the others. It has the Student Guide with all of the answers filled in. Well, almost all of the answers were filled in. The Character Log was left blank. I wish that it would have been filled in because Shakespeare is a hard topic to teach. Having those filled in would have helped me explain things to AJ a little easier. At the back of the guide there are answers to the Review Questions along with a Midterm Exam and a Final Exam. The exams both include required essay questions.

I think that this guide will make teaching Shakespeare a lot easier for me. I have not read this play yet so I think it will be helpful to have the basic answers at my finger tips.

The Wind in the Willows

Wind in the Willows Literature Guide

The Student Guide for The Wind in the Willows is 53 pages long. It has twelve lessons, one for each chapter in the book. This guide didn’t have any directions or introduction. It just starts. Out of all of the guides, this one seems a little all over the place. But it provides quite a bit of variety.

Each lesson is a little different and may have:

  • Reading Notes – These are not already filled in like in Treasure Island or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Instead the name of a character, a place, or an unknown term is listed. During the reading the student is to fill in information that they find. Often the information was not found in the book and we needed to look it up.
  • Vocabulary – The student only writes a short definition.
  • Comprehension Questions – Some lessons only have a few while others have twelve or more.
  • Quotations – The student lists who said it, when they said it, and who they said it about,
  • Discussion Questions
  • Activities– These range from drawings to reports. There is room right in the guide for most of these activities.
  • Focus Passages

The Teacher Guide is similar to the others and has answers to almost every question. It also includes five quizzes and a final exam.

How We Used It

Since there was no way AJ could finish more than one of these during the review period, we had to pick one to start with. AJ decided to start with The Wind in the Willows, after I told her that Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disney Land was based on a character in the book. I ordered two copies of the book from the library and after receiving abridged and junior additions, we were finally on the way home with two copies of the the original version.

When the box arrived AJ was anxious to see what was in it. At that time I didn’t look at the other guides. We opened the guides for The Wind in the Willows and looked over them.

Memoria Press

I was disappointed that there wasn’t a schedule or pacing guide at all. There wasn’t even any instructions. When I tried to find out how long the study would take I couldn’t find information for this guide, only for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. After looking at that I decided that we would take the study slow. AJ has improved a lot in her reading and writing, but I knew it would be too much for her to read the entire chapter and answer all of the questions at one time.

I decided to have AJ look up the vocabulary words and then we would take turns reading for about thirty minutes. After the reading she did any written work (except for the activities) that she was able to based on her reading. Following that schedule she was able to complete about two lessons and the quiz each week. On the day that she took the quiz I would also have her do a few of the activities from the chapters. At first I was a little uncomfortable taking that long on a book, but AJ was learning a great deal. I felt that the questions were well written and on an eight grade level. One thing that I really appreciated is that the Study Guide gave plenty of room for AJ to write.

What We Thought

The one thing that really frustrated me was that the quizzes and tests are all in the Teacher Guides? The only guide that states that the quizzes and tests are reproducible is the guide for Treasure Island. After reading the copyright on the front of the other guides I assumed that they were not reproducible. Since I didn’t want AJ to have the Teacher Guide I ended up giving her the quizzes orally and that was very time consuming. When I read that the quizzes and tests in Treasure Island were reproducible I assumed that the other ones were probably too. Knowing that would have made the quizzes easier for AJ.

At first I thought that reading four novels in a school year was just not enough. This year I planned to have AJ read eight. I quickly realized that these four Study Guides made for a very complete curriculum. The vocabulary in each one is challenging but doable and I think it will stretch AJ’s abilities. For each book the student focuses on a different element. This makes each guide unique and will keep the work interesting.

AJ’s favorite part was the Quotations section. She enjoyed hunting through the chapter to see who said each quote. I found that having her look for the quotes made her read closer. There were even a few times that she asked to do the work by herself. Normally she doesn’t enjoy study guides unless I create them, but she enjoyed working on The Wind in the Willows.

I love that this set has her starting to read closely and having her mark up the books. I think it is a great skill to learn.

While we read through this book together I think that she should be able to complete the guides for Treasure Island and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with very little help from me. I was very reluctant to teach her Shakespeare already, but the way the guide is written makes me confident that we will be able to read and understand it.

These guides look like they will make a great literature curriculum. We are going to set the other three novels aside for now and use them next year. I am sure that with just one or two more books added AJ will have a very full year of learning.

If you are looking for a solid curriculum, that is easy for the parent, and has plenty of variety, then I think Memoria Press is something you should check out.

Other Members of the Crew reviewed different levels of the Literature Guides. Find out what they had to say by clicking on the graphic below.

 

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
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Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Book Study)

The middle of last year Home & School Mosaics, a website that I reviewed and wrote for, decided to shut down. One post that I wrote was part of the monthly book club. Since it is no longer available  on Home & School Mosaics, I’m sharing it here.

This month we are focusing on the book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard and Florence Atwater.  I will be sharing my thoughts on the book as well as activities to do for each chapter. There is also a downloadable study guide for the book.

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What was the book about?

The book was about a family man who was very unhappy with his job as a painter and decorator. His true passion would be exploring the world. One day he gets a surprise in the mail, a penguin from Antarctica. The penguin causes some minor funny issues but becomes a member of the family. Unfortunately, after a while, the penguin starts to get sick because he needs companionship. After another penguin arrives at the Popper’s home the first penguin starts to feel better, but then the family has to figure out how to keep two penguins happy. Trouble and craziness continue when Greta, the female penguin, lays 10 eggs. After a while, they are able to train the penguins and they become known as Popper’s Performing Penguins. Fun and excitement follow as the penguins go on the road to perform.

Mr. Popper's Penguins book study and study guide

Did the book fulfill your expectations?

Having watched the movie, I was expecting a totally different story. The movie was over the top and had us laughing all of the time. The book and movies share a few similarities, but overall the main storylines are very different. That being said, I think I liked the book a lot more than the movie. It was funny, exciting, and a great story. I really liked that it wasn’t a book that I could easily tell what was going to happen next.

Did the book end the way you expected?

No, the ending was totally unexpected. It was fitting of Mr. Popper’s character, but I was definitely surprised by his decision at the end.

 

How realistic was the characterization?

The characters themselves, and the way they interact with each other, are very realistic. The situation they were put in was obviously unrealistic, but their handling of the problems was realistic. My favorite – and least favorite – character was Mr. Popper. He loves his family, but has his heads in the clouds and doesn’t seem to take bills and responsibility seriously. He is kind of selfish and likes to keep to himself. His wife on the other hand was down to earth and a worry wart. She was very practical throughout most of the book. I could definitely relate to Mrs. Popper.

Would you recommend the book?

Absolutely! The book was full of comedy, with a few unexpected surprises thrown in. It is a simple read that I am sure would be enjoyed by all ages.

Activities

There are so many fun activities that you can do with this book! Doing a unit study on penguins would be a great idea. Embracing Home has an amazing penguin unit study. There are dozens of activities, games, videos, and printables to help you learn about penguins.

Below are a few ideas I have come up with that go with the book..

Chapters 1 and 2

  • Write a letter to Admiral Drake
  • On a map label the North and South Pole
  • Find Antarctica on the map and color it. You can find free printable maps at  Your Child Learns.com

Chapters 3 and 4

  • Label the parts of a penguin
  • Make a Penguin Fact bookmark

Chapters 5 and 6

  • Study penguin habitats
  • How many words can you make out of the word “PENGUIN”? ( downloadable worksheet) There are 40 possible words.

Chapters 7 and 8

  • Make a bird nest
  • Write a newspaper article about Captain Cook

Chapters 9 and 10

  • Draw a penguin

Chapters 11 and 12

Making fake snow is just one of the fun activities in the Mr. Popper's Penguins book study.

  • Make fake snow
  • Build a house out of ice cubes or sugar cubes

Chapters 13 and 14

  • Penguin money math (downloadable worksheet)

Chapters 15 and 16

  • Make a comic strip showing the penguin’s act

Chapters 17 and 18

  • On a map, color all of the states that the penguins visited
  • Research what seals eat

Chapters 19 and 20

  • Write a book report
  • Compare and contrast the book and the movie

We were able to find an instant snow kit at the store; we just added water. AJ had a blast playing with it. It isn’t quite like real snow, but it was close enough. If you don’t want to buy fake snow, you could also make one of the numerous recipes on Pinterest.

Scroll down to download the Mr. Popper’s Penguins study guide. It includes vocabulary and questions for each chapter. Most of the questions are simply plot based, so if your child is able to read the book I think they would be able to complete the study guide.

Craft

A Penguin Bookmark

Throughout the book there are a lot of penguin facts. Make this book mark to keep your place while reading, and jot down facts when you find them. It is very simple.

Supplies needed for the Penguin Bookmarks

Materials:

  • Card stock, or a file folder
  • 1 sheet of black, white, and yellow construction paper
  • googly eyes
  • glue
  • scissors
  • ruler

Instructions:

This penguin bookmark goes perfectly with the Mr. Popper's Penguins book study!

First, cut out a piece of card stock or file folder into a rectangle the size you want your penguin bookmark.

Then, glue that piece onto the black construction paper.

Glue googly eyes near the top.

Cut out a beak and two feet for your penguin. Glue them into place.

Next, cut a white oval out of the construction paper. Glue it on your penguin.

Finally, round the head of your penguin. It is finished!

Other Penguin Resources

AJ loves the Magic School Bus series, so whenever we do a unit study I search to see if Ms. Frizzle has a book or video related to what AJ is learning about. Thankfully there is a Magic School Bus Chapter Book about Penguins! Penguin Puzzle is the 8th book in the series, and it didn’t disappoint. AJ loves that she can go on an adventure and learn new things at the same time. If you haven’t checked out the chapter books, you need to. They have more details and facts spread throughout the book, but they are presented in an older way. They are about a third to fourth grade reading level, but AJ still loves to read them.

March of the Penguin is a good video that has breath taking shots of the emperor penguin.

Penguins Book for Kids –  This is a fact filled picture book all about penguins.

This American Girl Sew and Stuff Penguin Kit looks like a lot of fun. We haven’t tried the penguin one yet, but AJ enjoyed  a few other ones. Make sure you keep all of the pieces together or you might end up loosing a vital piece.

Mix your love of penguins with even more science. In this crystal growing kit your child can grow a penguin crystal. We have grown quite a few crystal animals and objects and they are always a great learning experiment.

I hope you enjoy this study of Mr. Popper’s Penguins. It is free for my subscribers. If you already are a subscriber you will find this printable study in your email. Haven’t subscribed yet? Enter your email below to get access to this and all of my other subscriber only printables.


 

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Printable Pack

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an inspirational man who helped to change the world. Throughout our homeschool journey AJ has studied some fascinating people, from biblical characters to kings and queens. Unfortunately, we have only gotten as far as the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery when it comes to recent history. Next year our focus will be on history from the Civil War to the present, but right now we are in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.

Since there have been so many influential men and women in the recent years, I have decided to spend a little time having AJ learn about some of those people a few times each month.

Martin Luther King Jr. printable pack - free for subscribers

Since Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up, I decided to start our new study with him. AJ has learned a little bit about him over the years and knows that he fought for equal rights for all people. It was hard for her to understand why he had to fight for the equal rights though. It is hard to try and explain how people use to believe when I have a difficult time understanding it myself.

Normally I would go to the library and check out a bunch of books for AJ to look through and research. I still can’t drive for another month at least, so our research was limited to the internet. I am still not comfortable with AJ searching the internet by herself, so I found a few good websites that I knew would be appropriate. I used information from those sites (and a few others) to make a printable pack about Martin Luther King Jr.

The four main websites I had her visit were:

Ducksters

Social Studies for Kids

Kids Play and Create and

National Geographic Kids

Martin Luther King Jr. Printable Pack includes:

Word Search

Fill in the Blank Activity

Quotable Quotes Page

Writing Prompt

and a page to write about Martin Luther King Jr.’s character traits

This printable pack is avaivable for free to all of my subscribers. If you haven’t signed up yet, enter your email address below to subscribe to my newsletter and get access to all of my subscriber only freebies.



 

 

I hope you and your child enjoy learning all about Martin Luther King with this printable pack. Which influential person would you like to learn about next?

 

Grammar Workbook ~ Review

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Grammar is not a favorite subject in our homeschool. To be honest we have put it off quite a bit. We normally stick with a grammar book through sentence structure, then we end up putting the book on the shelf and never look at it again. I think the problem with a lot of the books that we tried previously, was that they were too repetitive and AJ easily became frustrated.

The Grammar Workbook is a great way to teach your middle schooler grammar!

When we were given the opportunity to review the Grammar Workbook by Kimberly Garcia we were a bit torn. So many of her other products have worked very well for us, and we needed a new grammar program, but I was afraid this one would end up not working for us.

It turned out that the Grammar Workbook was a pretty good fit.

We received a 236 page digital copy of the Grammar Workbook. It is made up of 60 lessons that are divided into 86 exercises. The lessons are broken up into five sections.

  • The Sentence
  • The Eight Parts of Speech
  • Sentence Patterns
  • Clauses and Phrases
  • Punctuation

Lessons vary on length depending on the topic, but most follow the same model.

The lessons start with text about a new topic, followed by an exercise to practice what was learned. Sometimes a new topic if followed by more than one exercise. The exercises are full of variety. There are writing activities, fill in the blank activities, underlining activities, circling activities and more.

After a few new topics and exercises are completed there is a writing lesson. This part of the program is different that other grammar programs we have tried. The student is given a writing selection (a paragraph or more) that has elements that they learned in the previous lesson. They are instructed to study the model and then do one of four activities.

  • Copy it
  • Write it from dictation
  • Rewrite it, keeping the author’s style
  • Create a paragraph similar to the model

The student can decide to do one or more activities.

How we used the Grammar Workbook

We decided to take it slow. I had AJ work on grammar two to three days a week. Each time she did one exercise. I didn’t want to print out the entire book, so we would read through the lesson on the computer and then she would do the exercise. Sometimes I would print out the exercise, other times I would have her write or type out the answers. When she had to make up sentences I often had her give the answer out loud.

As of now she is only copying or writing the models from dictation.

What we thought of the Grammar Workbook

AJ doesn’t love it, but I don’t think she will ever enjoy grammar. She doesn’t see the need for grammar right now. When I asked her what would make it better, her only answer was that nothing could make grammar fun. That being said, she is using it and learning from it.

The lessons are well written and easy to understand. The book takes concepts in a step by step manner and builds off of them. Most days she is able to do the work independently. I feel (AJ disagrees) that the amount of questions for each exercise is perfect. There is enough practice but not too much.

One downfall to this book is the amount of writing. AJ is a reluctant writer so the amount of writing was a turnoff at first. As I explained above, we just did some exercises orally instead.

We both like the variety of exercises, it makes it nice that she doesn’t have to do the exact same thing daily. I think that this program will improve her grammar as she continues to use it.

It is the program that we decided to stick with for her 7th grade year. If you are looking for a well written Grammar Workbook that has a lot of variety this one may be for you.

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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!

 

 

Teen Prasso – Bible Study Review

We have been looking for a good Bible study that didn’t teach Bible stories, but the principles found in the Bible. I wanted something that would help me teach AJ what the Bible says about God, His love, sin, and what being a Christian really means. I was blessed with the opportunity to review a new product from Prasso Ministries. We were given a copy of the Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual and Homework Manual. It is an in-depth Bible study designed especially for teens.

Teen Prasso is a great way for teens to learn Biblical principals

The Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual is a 124 page soft covered, spiral bound book. There is a short introduction in the beginning that explains how to use the book, and then the manual is broken up into 13 weekly lessons. Each lesson includes a teaching outline that gives you step by step directions on what to read, discuss, explain, and pray about. The teaching outline is followed by a story that you are to read as part of the lesson.

The story is very interesting. It is about two boys, Brandon and Derek, who go on an adventure. Along the way they have trials that test their faith in many ways. Each week through their trials we learn more about the Bible and what it says about different situations.

After the weekly lessons, there should be a group discussion on the topics that were learned. The final part of the program is the Teen Prasso Homework Manual. It is a daily student journal that the student works on independently after the lesson and group discussion. It is a 187 page spiral bound soft cover book. It is broken up into 12 chapters that have questions for your student to answer each day for the six days in between the weekly lesson.

The daily lessons are set up where the student is asked a question, they answer it, look up a scripture, and then write what they learned. There isn’t always a right or wrong answer.

Teen Prasso is a great way for teens to learn Biblical principals

Day 2 of Lesson 1 was “God, Your Father”.  It started off by asking what the word “father” meant to the student. Once they answer the question, they are told to look up and write a few different verses, Isaiah 64:8 and Galatians 4:4-7. Then they are asked a few questions about what the verses say and why they thought certain words were used.

Then came the next session which stated that often our views of what a father is are based on human fathers and she was asked to read and copy Matthew 7:11 . She was asked to write what she learned from the verse and a few other questions. The lesson ended with her writing down Psalm 68:5.

The homework is designed to be done independently, AJ was able to do a lot on her own, but she did need some help. This is designed for teens and she just turned 12, so I was happy with what she was able to do. She worked on it a few days a week, instead of the 6 days that were recommended. Each day after she did everything that she was able to on her own, we would sit down and discuss her answers. This made for some really good discussions.

What we thought about this Bible Study

I felt very lost in the beginning when I started to look at the book. The chapters in the teacher’s manual and the student’s book didn’t exactly line up. Chapter 1 in the teacher’s manual was, “The Right Beginning” and the student’s book was, “God Your Heavenly Father.”

I also had a little difficulty trying to follow the teaching outline. I soon realized that this program is meant for a group. And as a group study, I think it would be perfect. If each Wednesday night AJ was taught the lesson from her pastor, she came home and did her study independently, and then they discussed what they learned the following Wednesday, it would be amazing. I think AJ would learn so much. It would also be wonderful for a co-op. Unfortunately, I feel there is a lot missing when it is done in an only child homeschool setting.

The teacher’s manual states that Teen Prasso consists of 3 essential features, the daily student journal, a weekly teaching lesson, and a weekly small group discussion. We were lacking that small group discussion, and I think it really impacted the study.

The weekly lesson took us between and hour and  a half and two hours. which just didn’t work for us. I LOVE the way that the homework manual is set up. It makes the student really think about God’s word. AJ and I both like the fact that she is copying down quite a few verses and really digging into the Bible. The story in the teacher’s manual has it all. It keeps you wanting more all of the time.

The study is exactly what I was looking for, but it was not put together in a way that we benefitted fully from it.

But, we have decided to use it as our main Bible study next year. There are too many great things about it, that AJ begged to continue with it. We are tweaking a few things to make it fit our schedule. The weekly lesson will be broken into 6 sections that we will read each day and then AJ will do the independent work. It will take us longer to finish, but I feel it will be worth it. The Biblical principles that it is teaching are invaluable.

I would recommended this in a heartbeat to anyone who is teaching in a group setting. For those who are using it with a single child I think it can be a great study, but there will need to be some tweaking to make it work.

Check out what other members of the Crew had to say!

Prasso Ministries Review
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CursiveLogic Review

Cursive writing is all around us, and I feel that it is important for AJ to learn how to read and write in cursive. Whether she decides to use the knowledge or not will be up to her. I NEVER use cursive other than to sign my name, because my cursive writing is horrible. I remember in 6th grade the teacher would only let the class turn in our final drafts in cursive, everyone in the entire class except for me. I was given extra practice to do, but she said she wasn’t going to try and figure out what I had written! It wasn’t until I started to teach AJ cursive in 3rd grade that I realize I was taught incorrectly! Sure I could write each letter, but connecting them was my problem. I don’t know how no one ever realized that I wasn’t being sloppy, but that I was not connecting my letters correctly.

CursiveLogic-A wonderful way to teach cursive!

AJ seemed to have the same issue, she could write the letters, but connecting them to form words was difficult. Now that she is entering 7th grade I knew that we didn’t have time to go through another program that taught a letter at a time, but she wanted to learn to write in cursive better. Enter CursiveLogic. We were given the opportunity to review the CursiveLogic Workbook – An intelligent new way to teach cursive handwriting.

CursiveLogic is not just another workbook, it is a new method for teaching. Instead of teaching the letters one at a time, they have divided up the alphabet into 4 letter strings based on the shape of the letters. Each string of letters is color coded and has a catch phrase that the student says while learning to write the letters.

Letter strands make learning cursive fun

The 96 page full color workbook includes the teacher’s guide right in the book. It is spiral bound at the top making it easy for both right and left handed children to use. The last three pages of the book are dry erase pages that your child can practice over and over again.

The lessons start off very basic having the student trace the letters with their finger, by the end of the lesson they are writing the letter strings and learning how to connect different types of letters.

The majority of the book focuses on the lowercase letters, but there are lessons on the capital letters at the end of the book.

Capital Letters are practiced at the end of the book

AJ has a tendency to speed through writing practice and not focus on her letters, so I had her work on one page a day and then let her practice on the dry erase pages as much as she wanted. The dry erase pages are perfect for her. I don’t know what it is about dry erase markers, but she really enjoys using them to write with.

CursiveLogic is the first handwriting program that I didn’t have to keep reminding her to work on. Each day she would have it done quickly and neatly in just a few minutes.  She even told me, “This is fun!” She liked learning the different letter strands and was able to remember how to write the letters based on the strand they were in.

Throughout the program AJ’s cursive has improved greatly. She still needs additional practice, but what she writes is legible and written correctly. I saw confidence in her writing while working through CursiveLogic, and can’t wait to see how well she is able to write once she finishes it.

We both liked the method that was used to teach the letters. AJ enjoyed the short lessons and I loved that they focused on how to correctly transition from one letter to the next. The program is short, simple, and worth every penny. If you have a child who is struggling with cursive, or a child who is just learning I would recommend checking out CursiveLogic. It really is the last handwriting book you will ever need to buy.

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CursiveLogic Review

IEW Review

We have tried a lot of writing programs, this is the first one to really work! Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is a name that I have heard since I started homeschooling AJ. I was told wonderful things about the program and that it would really help my struggling writer. The first time I visited their website, sticker shock hit me. The program is expensive at first glance, and I couldn’t see how this program could be different enough from every other program that we had tried, to justify the cost. After a while of other programs not working, and AJ still struggling,  I was going to bite the bullet and purchase the program from IEW. Unfortunately, we hit some hard times financially and that wasn’t possible. A few weeks ago we were given the amazing blessing of being able to review two products from IEW –   Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, and Student Writing Intensive Level B.   The Student Writing Intensive Level B is for kids in grades 6 – 8 while the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style is for the teacher.

IEW Review
I stocked the mail box waiting for our package to arrive. AJ struggles with writing, and since writing always came easily for me, I didn’t know how to help her. Why couldn’t she just write? I opened the box and was amazed and a little overwhelmed  by everything I found!

 

IEW Review
Teaching Writing: Structure and Style came with a nice sturdy folder, over 200 pages of printed material, 12 different dividers, and a black DVD case with 12 DVDs in it. This is the newly filmed and updated version, but since I haven’t viewed the previous version I can’t say if it is any better. I also received year long access to monthly webinars, streaming products and more available online included with my Premium Subscription.

I glanced at the getting started page and quickly put together my folder. I love it when products take out the guess work and tell you what to do!

Teaching Writing: Structure and Style is amazing! It is a recorded seminar taught by Andrew Pudewa that teaches parents/teachers how to teach writing. He teaches a successful method of writing that was developed by Anna Ingham, C.C.M., and J.B. Webster, PH.D. There are over 14 hours of instruction on the DVDs. The folder is full of examples and even more information. The first 9 DVDs cover the 9 different units of the writing program. The last three have demonstration lessons and additional information.  Throughout the DVDs Mr. Pudewa teaches each unit and even gives you writing assignments to help you see what your student will be doing. While you could sit and watch all of the videos at once, I decided to stay one unit ahead of AJ. She is working on unit 3 right now and I just watched unit 4.

To say I learned a lot from the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVDs would be an understatement! I learned more about teaching writing in the first DVD than I have from every other program we have tried put together. I had quite a few “ah ha” moments while watching the videos. Mr. Pudewa presents things in an easy to understand manner, speaks clearly, and even throws in some humor. The time flew by while I was watching the videos because I enjoyed watching them. He explains why some kids have a hard time writing, but he also explains how to help those who enjoy writing. When I was finished watching the first DVD I actually felt empowered and like I really could get AJ to write. I haven’t watched all of the DVDs yet but I have learned so much already.

This program can be used to teach writing as a stand alone program. Each year your student should cycle through each of the 9 units, learning more and more each year. I could really see this program working well that way. I said how the program is expensive at first glance, but when you think about how much use you can get out of it, the price actually seems very good.  It can also be used with the Student Writing Intensives, or many of the other programs on their website. IEW - Everything you need to teach writing!

The other item in our box was the Student Writing Intensive Level B. It came with a DVD case containing 5 DVDs one introduction for the parent/teacher and 4 DVDs filled with lessons for the student. It also came with a folder, five dividers, some different charts and worksheets to be used during the program, and a printed out Teacher’s Guide that is over 90 pages long. The Teacher’s Guide has the printouts for the lessons as well as a suggested schedule, examples, tips, and more. I stuck the Teacher’s Guide in the front of my Teaching Writing: Structure and Style folder, put AJ’s folder together, and watched the Overview DVD. The Student Writing Intensive Level B is a video recording of Mr. Pudewa teaching a writing class to a group of students. The course was originally taught over 4 days. Additional practice passages were added and the course now covers 30 weeks of writing.

Mr. Pudewa is a great teacher!

The next day we were suppose to start the program. I was excited, but AJ wasn’t. She didn’t even want to try another writing program. She woke up “sick” but by the afternoon she was well enough to start school. I gave her the folder and the first printout. We put the DVD in and started to watch it. Mr. Pudewa caught her attention right away, she thought he was funny. He talked about how he didn’t like to write as a child and asked how many kids were dragged to the class and may have even faked sick to get out of it because they don’t like to write. Her hand shot up! The first lesson went well. We had to stop and rewind the video a few times so that she could copy some things, but by the middle of the lesson she was keeping up fairly well. The first lesson had her copy a keyword outline that he had made with the class and then write it into a paragraph. I have never seen her write so quickly and easily. She even said she liked the program! IEW - An Amazing Wriing Program! To really understand how her writing progressed I need to share a paragraph she wrote before the program. Keep in mind she is in 6th grade and that this took over a half hour to get her to write.

Moses lifted his hands and split the Red Sea. The Israelites walked across dry land. Pharaoh’s army chased them into the sea. Then Moses lifted his rod and God closed it. Then the Egyptians drowned and they died.

Here is the paragraph she wrote after the first day of the program. It is not perfect, but it is a big improvement! The best part is that she wrote it in about 15 minutes.

Sea wasps are the most venomous jellyfish. They are poisonous. They are worse than any snake. Sea wasps, which are difficult to see, will sting people and cause the person to die in seconds. They search for shrimp on the beach, which makes them close to the swimmers. There are no sea wasps in America or Europe. They are only in Australia. They can use their neurototin to kill over 50 people. Sea wasps are the deadliest creatures alive!

Each day AJ would either watch the next lesson on the DVD, work on another source text, or edit her paragraph. Each lesson has a check list of things that have to be included in her writing. As the lessons progress more is added to the check list. This is her paragraph from her last assignment she did in unit 3, Retelling Narrative Stories.

Alice was tired of sitting next to her big sister. She was just sitting there doing nothing. Then, Alice saw a white rabbit who was taking to himself yelling, “ I’m late I’m late for a very important date!” The White Rabbit took out a big shinny pocket watch and hurried away quickly. Alice jumped to her feet because she had never seen a rabbit with a pocket watch before. The white rabbit scuffled down the rabbit hole. Alice zoomed down the rabbit hole after him, but how was she going to get out?

I think it is clear to see that her writing has improved. There are still some errors, but I feel like we are going in the right direction. There haven’t been any tears over writing, and she looks forward to the lessons. I have learned how to teach her, and she has learned how to write. I could write an entire post about the things I was doing wrong when I was trying to get her to write. I feel this program really was an answered prayer for both of us!

We loved the short lessons, the fun to watch DVDs, the detailed notes and lessons, and most of all Mr. Pudewa. We are putting this to the side since we only have one more week of school, and will pick it back up when we start school again. When I told AJ we were done reviewing the program, she was upset because she really liked it! Coming from a kid who hates to write, that says a lot! The only downside we have found is that the price may make it unaffordable for some families. You really do get a lot for your money, and I would recommend it any day. IEW is really as good as everyone says, it not only met my expectations, but greatly exceeded them!

IEW Review
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Super Hero Writing Printable

Today’s free printable is a fun Super Hero writing set. It has six printable pages that are sure to spark creativity with young writers. Come back soon for another FREE Printable!

Free Adverb OR Adjective Printable

Welcome to day 8 of my 30 days of FREE Printables! Today I am sharing a simple grammar worksheet. I shared yesterday how AJ has a hard time with adverbs. She seems to think that any word that ends in”ly” is automatically an adverb. To help her understand that some “ly” words are adjectives, and that a lot of adverbs have other endings, I created this worksheet for her.

There are two different versions of the worksheet. The first has a list of 25 words that needs to be cut out and sorted, the second has a word box and the student writes the words in the correct category.

Download your Free Adverb OR Adjective Printable! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for a science printable.