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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Writing in the Wardrobe: Narnia Handwriting Workbook

Writing in the Wardrobe: 
Print Handwriting Workbook
IT IS FINALLY HERE!!!  I had a lot of requests for a print version of Learning Cursive in Narnia, and I am happy to annouce it is finally ready to order on Amazon!

Writing in the Wardrobe is print handwriting workbook designed to give meaningful handwriting practice through copywork of beloved classic literature. Includes Print Alphabet Reference Chart, upper and lower case practice, Narnia related word practice and quotes from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe for copywork. This book is perfect for use in homeschool, classroom, during summer, or anytime your child needs handwriting practice.


 My original Learning Cursive in Narnia has quotes from the entire Narnia series, but words and quotes in Writing in the Wardrobe are based solely on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The words and quotes are perfect for a child just learning to write, or for any aged child who need to work on his printing skills.

Due to the success of the Learning Cursive format, which build and scaffolds on skills, I have chosen a similar format for the print workbook.

Part One-Letter Practice
The letters are in traditional print.  Children train their eye as well as their hand by circling their best letter on the page. I have also created has large illustrations with arrows on how to create each letter. Each page combines repetition of tracing and copying with the meaningful words and phrases from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  




Part Two- Word Practice
Children learn best when their work is meaningful to them. Part Two includes words to copy that have meaning from the book, covering every letter of the alphabet.

Part Three- Quote Copywork
Part Three includes quotes from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  The quotes start with easy sentences that only contain a few words, but progressively get longer as children learn. 

LOOK INSIDE WRITING IN THE WARDROBE





Please enjoy this latest book, and be sure to check out the rest of the Learning Cursive Series:
 



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

You are mine.


Recently I was sitting next to my husband at our church's monthly prayer meeting. As he began to pray he spoke with wisdom and humility, lifting up concerns and praise to God. I was struck in that moment with an overwhelming feeling of pride as I thought how this man is MINE. The feeling of pride was so strong it sent goosebumps all over my body, I felt it all the way down to my toes.

He is MINE, and I am HIS.

This response wasn't just a symptom thankfulness for this man, because I feel that all the time. It is truly easy to be thankful for my funny, caring, hard-working husband. He makes my life easier and more fun, for which I am thankful.

No, this wasn't thankfulness, it was a fierce pride. This man is MINE. The pride I felt was not the possessive version of pride that is a symptom of insecurity, but joy of deep abiding security in my position in his life. I know where I stand with him and he knows where he stands with me.

I am his, and that is secure.

He is mine, and that is secure.

As I reflected on that moment of overwhelming pride, I of course began to wonder, do I feel that same sense of security and pride with the bridegroom of the church, my Savior?

When God prompts a questions in my heart, He is always faithful to answer it. As I took communion this week, God whispered to my heart,
"Robyn, take this cup and eat this bread.  Remember it signifies the same thing that the wedding ring does in your marriage, but even stronger. It is a symbol of a fierce love and commitment that nothing can break. I am yours and you are MINE."

Pros and Cons 1850 to Modern Times


The last year of the Family History Cycle!  We will be repeating ECC next year for 8th grade, but it feels so surreal, and awesome, to have studied history from creation to modern times as a family!   You can see pros and cons from all our other years on the MY FATHER'S WORLD Page  of this site (I am not affiliated with MFW).

The beauty of My Father's World curriculum is the core teaching is done together, with additional activities or supplements suggested for older students.  You teach ONE science, history, and bible to everyone, and then split for only individual subjects of Math and English. Since the curriculum is designed for a multi-age classroom, some resources hit may resonate more with younger  kids, some middle elementary, and some for older. Don't get discouraged if a resources seems over their heads sometimes, they will retain more then you expect. It is OK if your youngers don't retain all the details from every book, they are still learning at their own level.

My second favorite part of MFW is the flexibility to make it work for our family.  Throughout the year, you will need to assess if a book suggested works for all your kids. For those of you like to check all the boxes, you need be OK with sometimes not doing something listed because it is too old or too young for your kids, or doesn't fit into your schedule.

Below are descriptions of why a book did , or did not, work for our kids or schedule.  Your kids are different, so your cons may be our pros, and vice versa!  Please leave a comment on what works for you!


TEACHER RESOURCES

Pros
  • 1850 to Modern Times Teacher's Manual I pretty much use My Father's World for the teacher's manual.  The schedule for History is essential.  There are so many resources our there that is overwhelming. The work that goes into tying it all together into a  easy to follow manual, that is structured yet flexible, is amazing to me.
Cons
  • Student Sheets for 1850 to Modern Times While I have mixed feelings sometimes, overall I have used and enjoyed all of the MFW sheets up until this year. Almost all of your student sheets this year are copies you have to make from the SOTW activity book, so don't bother with the student sheets, in my opinion. The student sheets are only state coloring pages and blank sheets that are for President note pages (there are stars around the edges, but other than they are blank).
ALTERNATIVES TO THE STUDENT SHEETS
  1. State Sheets- I printed State Fact pages  and we looked up the birds and flowers
  2. State Videos- Instead of the cards, we just looked up the bird and flowers, and sometimes watch a kids video online for each state. 
  3. Presidents Sheets- I had my kids type their President sheets, but you can just use blank paper. I also printed the pictures of the presidents with this PDF.
  4. History Notebook pages You will have to copy your own notebooking sheets them from the SOTW Activity book 4-that is truly what makes up the bulk of your student sheets this year. If MFW had included those in the packet, it would have been worthwhile to buy them.
N/A-Didn't Use
  • Synergy Group Guide: 1850 to Modern Times

HISTORY
*NOTE FROM MFW FOR SECOND AND THIRD GRADERS: The history content for 1850s to Modern Times is difficult for younger children. The books are written at a higher comprehension level than in our other history programs.  This history content itself is often troubling- describing wars and human cruelty- and not suitable for younger students. The author of Story of the World does not recommend using Volume 4 for 3rd grade or younger, and we agree.  However, 2nd and 3rd graders can still join you for Bible, science experiments (easier section) and president and state studies. Your 2nd and 3rd graders will have an opportunity to repeat 1850s to Modern Times in 7th and 8th grade when they will have the maturity needed to full comprehend the complex information. 
There is a 2nd & 3rd Grade supplement package available through My Father's World. 

Pros
  • The Story of the World, Vol. 4 * We have really enjoyed using the SOTW books the past few years.  It is a living book textbook almost.  The stories have details, but are told with a story feel to them.  The chapters are not too long or short.  I would recommend using the teacher's manual schedule, because reading cover to cover would be a bit confusing. (see above note for age restrictions)
  • Story of the World, Activity Book 4 * The activities are great, but if you are a check list person, be OK that you may not do all the activities in a section.  Sometimes we did none (gasp!).  The Map Work is a must do, they were EXCELLENT and very helpful for comprehension.
Story of the World Maps
  • Creation to Modern Times Timeline Book The timeline has always been a great visual.  This year had a LOT more pieces, way more than our wall can fit. The books is easier to use.
  • States and Capitals Songs, CD My kids really liked these songs, especially when memorizing the capitals! Everything is easier to memorize with a song! 
  • American History - a visual encyclopedia Great visuals and concisely worded American History.
Mixed Feelings
  • The U.S. History Cookbook (DELUXE) We didn't use this at all, and all the recipes could easily be found at the library or online. If you have tag alongs, 3rd grade and younger, who are not able to participate in other History readings due to maturity level*, this would add to your state studies. 
N/A-Didn't Use
  • United States Map Sheets We printed out our own State Sheets from above link.

READ ALOUDS

Pros
  • Across Five Aprils (DELUXE) Loved
  • Corrie ten Boom (DELUXE) Loved.
  • Courage To Run (DELUXE) Loved.
  • Sousa to Satchmo (DELUXE) Loved.
  • Sergeant York (DELUXE) Loved.

Didn't Read
  • Brother Andrew (DELUXE) Didn't read
  • Hudson Taylor (DELUXE) Didn't read


SCIENCE

Pros
  • Exploring Creation with General Science, 2nd edition  We really enjoyed this book.  My favorite part of this book is that the author teaches critical thinking skills alongside science.  He teaches the children how valuable Science is in all parts of life, but also the limitations and bias of scientific research. If they forget all the terms, and just remember how to employ critical thinking in regards to science, then this book is a high success.

    The only bad reviews I have seen have been from moms who have their children do this book completely on their own.  I am not saying that is wrong!  I am just saying this was a good year to learn together. As 7th graders, they still needed me to read with them and teach them the note taking and study skills they will need for truly independent study in high school.  I felt that if I had just given them the book without guidance it would not have ended well, it is a lot of information to take in.
Cons
  • Exploring Creation with General Science, Notebook We were given one copy of this, but we ended up not ever using it. There is no need , in my opinion, because all the experiments, questions, and study guides are in the 2nd Edition textbook.  I don't know if the 3rd edition is different. The schedule isn't really needed to much either, because the chapters have natural stopping points in them for reflection questions. We bought a 10 cent BLANK notebook from Walmart and it worked just fine. 
Didn't Use
  • Chemistry and Physics Exploring Creation N/A  I have two seventh graders, so we started the 7th to 12th grade science cycle.

MATH



BIBLE
  • Bible Study Fellowship We do not use MFW Bible curriculum because My kids and I attend Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) that has a school age program, and they have their own daily homework to complete.
Didn't Use
  • A Young Person's Guide to Knowing God- N/A
  • Tales of Persia N/A  

LANGUAGE ARTS

Pros
  • Progeny Press (MFW Recommendation) We all really enjoyed these guides, a great resource for  reading comprehension.  They were independent enough for my kids to do most of them on their own, but challenging in good ways. I will caution you that the first guide your child does, you will need to more hand holding as they learn.
  • Learning Cursive in Narnia  Only one of my sons had to do this, but it was a HUGE success.  He had completely forgotten the cursive he had learned in third grade, and had to relearn it all.  
  • Easy Grammar Plus  I am VERY glad we introduced grammar gently through LLFT, but they needed this year of repetition through Easy Grammar. It was a little  dry and repetitive compared to our past Language Lessons for Today, BUT I would recommend it because it was simple to execute and my kids really learned their grammar.
  • Writing with Skill Level 1 (MFW Recommendation) This is done independently, and my kids enjoyed it. It took longer than I expected to finish, each week in the books took about two weeks to finish, which is why MFW recommends you only do the first half of the book this year. 
Cons
  • Applications of Grammar (MFW Recommendation) We read a ton of reviews that said MFW recommendation of Applications of Grammar was way too hard and not able to be done independently. We looked at another friend's book and knew it would not work for us. 

Didn't Use
  • Collegiate Thesaurus 
  • WorldTEEN Magazine


ART & MUSIC
  • Draw & Write Through History We are again using Draw and Write through History alongside My Father's World for Homeschool Art! I am amazed at how much my children have grown in their drawing skills using these books for the past four years! I can not recommend these books enough!
  • Hoffman Academy- Free Music and Piano   MFW has some learning materials for Music appreciation, but the practical playing is not covered. Unfortunately I am not a musically talented person, so I am not capable of teaching themselves, and for  lessons are just not an option financially. Thankfully, we found a solutions three years ago with free music lessons through using Hoffman Academy. 
Didn't Use
  • The Best of George Gershwin (DELUXE)  
  • The Stories of Foster and Sousa Music (DELUXE) 


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Learning Cursive with Anne of Green Gables

Robyn with a Y presents Anne with an E.

Learning Cursive with Anne of Green Gables


Learning Cursive with Anne of Green Gables is available to buy on Amazon!

 This is my fourth Cursive Workbook, and I thought nothing would top the process of looking for quotes Learning Cursive with The Hobbit and Learning Cursive with Narnia......until Anne

As a child, I was a pale freckly talkative girl who used big words for big ideas, and spent most of her time being told, or telling herself, to just stop talking. To be honest, I wasn't introduced to Anne of Green Gables until I was an adult.  The first time I saw the Anne of Green Gables play, I remember joyfully crying  as the quiet Matthew and stern Marilla fall in love this overly chatty little girl.

"Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it."Anne of Green Gables

  As I matured I have been "pruned down and branched out"  like Anne, but I am still me. For the most part I have learned when to filter and how to externally process in a healthy way, but I am still a freckly talkative girl who loves big words for big ideas. 

"I’m not a bit changednot really. Im only just pruned down and branched out. The real meback hereis just the same." Anne of Green Gables
THESE BOOKS WORK!
My son went from HATING writing to asking for cursive practice with my original Narnia Cursive workbook, the same format as the Anne Workbook. Kids learn through MEANING, and every meaningful word and quote will make your kids forget they are practicing their handwriting. 


The Learning Cursive Series is designed for many ages; children just learning cursive, for older preteens and teens who need penmanship practice, or for adults who want to copy these beloved quotes.  They  can be used alongside a book study or as Charlotte Mason Copywork.
All quotes are written in D'Nealian Script.





Part One-Letter Practice
The letters are in D'nealian script. Children train their eye as well as their hand by circling their best letter on the page.


Part Two- Word Practice
Children learn best when their work is meaningful to them. Part Two includes words to copy that have meaning from the book, covering every letter of the alphabet. It would be tragical to miss out!


Part Three- Quote Copywork
Quotes from Anne, Dianna, and the world of Green Gables will give meaning to cursive practice.


Sneak Peek Inside the Book



Please enjoy this latest book, and be sure to check out the rest of the
Learning Cursive Series:

Learning Cursive Series

 




Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Free Online Coding with Hour of Code



Once again our amazing library introduced us to another free online homeschooling resource! We signed up for an Hour of Code: Minecraft at our  local library.  My kids loved it so I asked the librarian when they would have another, and she said it is a FREE ONLINE RESOURCE!

Hour of Code is a resource that public schools use primarily during a Computer Science Education Week, but it  is available for use to anyone all year long. As a homeschooler, I am thankful that we can have access to such a great curriculum right in our homes.


Free Online Coding for Kids: Hour of CodeTM 

SAFETY NOTES: Anytime you are allowing a child or student to go online, please take basic safety precautions.
  • Passwords on EVERYTHING. Our computer, along with all Internet-capable devices, is password protected, and can only be used while me or my husband is in the house AND have given permission. Use a strong password your kids would never guess. 
  • Safe Search  Filters. Make sure all your search engines are changed to safe search filter, especially your phone.This is good protection for your own heart, as well as your children. You can find these by going into Google Settings. 
  • The best Parental Control is Parental Presence. Do not allow children alone with internet capable technology.  

HOUR OF CODE:COMPUTER LANGUAGES
My first post about coding for kids was teaching kids how to use Scratch, and according to the librarian Scratch  is an HTML computer language. Hour of Code uses many computer languages, including Blocks, Python, Tynker, Javascript and more.  The type of computer language is on the description of each activities.

I am thankful that they get a variety of introductions to differing coding languages. My sons are comfortable with Scratch, but had to do several beginner level activities for Javascript.

TEACHER RESOURCES
Every activity has a Teacher Resource page, including tips for kids, worksheets, lesson plans, and recommended ages for game.

The TEACH page also gives great timelines for different ages, and suggestions for which activities to begin with. If you have several children and would like to track their progress, you can sign up for a teacher portal. 

HOW-TO PAGE & TUTORIALS
You do not a need a sign in for Hour of Code, but most of the follow-on courses require account creation to save student progress. 

My sons watched a short How-To video with the librarian, and they were off!  The How-To page provided plenty of tutorial for all ages. 


ACTIVITIES
No matter what your child's age or interest, there is an activity for them.  The website also divides activities by a few factors:
  •  Ages/Grade (starting at Pre-Reader to Grade  9+)
  •  Beginner or Comfortable levels of coding
Like I said before, my sons didn't know Javascript, so even though they are in 7th grade, they did grade 3 activities to familiarize themselves with the coding language. 
Kodables is for Pre-Readers to 5th Grade

Code with Anna and Elsa for Grade 2+

Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code Grades 2+
Digital Art in Pixels with CodeHS for Grade 6+





Friday, January 10, 2020

Porn In Your Pocket: Why My Kids Don't Have A Smartphone



This is my son's phone.


It is a simple tracfone that costs us $5 to buy at Family Dollar, and $19 every 90 days to put minutes on. He can text me and call, but it has no camera, no internet, and can not receive pictures.  It is also used often to call my phone when it's lost! Tracfone can also be bought on Amazon or at Walmart.


One of my friends calls smart phones "porn in your pocket". While it sounds crass, it's also extremely accurate.  No human being is above temptation, and for me to think my "good kid" is immune to one of the most addicting substances on this planet (brain chemistry of porn addiction is just scary) is frankly naive.

I can't shield my kids from all evil in this world, but while they are still impressionable preteen boys, I can withhold the ability to have porn in their pocket.

If your kids have a smartphone, that is 100% your decision. Do what works for your family. Whatever you choose, be vigilant, but the answer to the question, "When should I give my child a smartphone?" is "Whenever you're ready for them to view pornography."

 For more info on how statistics support this fact (even with smartphone parental controls), and how science proves the neurological harm of pornography, see Fight the New Drug.


EDITED TO ADD:
Some people have responded to this post  with the false assumption that restricting access to porn is our ONLY line or defense. Protection isn't a choice between restriction OR conversation, it's BOTH. We restrict their access to porn during a time of life where they have low impulse control, but we also have a lot of conversations about sex, lust, and pornography. Openness about sex is the most important way to protect your children. If you'd like books to help start the conversation, see my blog post about Christian books to read with your kids about sex.