Thursday, April 25, 2013

Old School

The kids were playing and Ken was telling DJ where his car went that he was racing she said " It is under there." DJ didn't hear her clearly and said "It is underwear?" They were laughing their pants off and while they were laughing I was reminded of a fun game that I was introduced to in elementary school.`


It has been fun watching them all come up with words that will work. I was thrilled to be able to take advantage of this teachable moment.

For the life of me I cannot remember what this type of word play is called. Did you play this game at home or school? If so do you know the proper name of this word play?

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Why Can't We All Just Get Along"- Rodney King 1991

I don't believe that any of my kids know the story of Rodney King. It is a part of history that we haven't yet talked about for many reasons, mostly being it hasn't ever been brought up by anyone of them. Unfortunately they do know that there is violence in this world, and right now they are at the point in their lives that they want to know what causes violence, what causes wars.  Sometimes I am able to come up with a response, not entirely appropriate. For example the devastation that happened at Sandy Hook. I was so upset that I responded by saying sometimes people are just crazy, and people can be evil. They know for sure that any crime that happens against a child just makes me an emotional wreck. They have witnessed me on my best behavior when two children are not getting along and another may have hit another child. They have also witnessed hearing this momma's roar when a family member had put their hands on one of them. Sigh! I am just sharing a little more about me so that you can follow this story a little better. So no my life isn't perfect, and sometimes it has fallen beneath normal. However I am a non- violent person even though unfortunately I have been a victim of repeat violence in more than one way.
The other day while DJ was working with the toobs of The American Revolution Figures. I observed him acting out a bit of the war. I remained silent because I didn't want to interrupt his focus, or jump to conclusions.  After about a minute of two I heard him reciting some of the Bill of Rights.

 There was other things going on around me too which made me get a bit distracted so I wasn't able to pay as close attention as I wanted to. I snapped this picture and then the words rolled out of his mouth " Why can't we all just get along".

In a matter of one second he announced a truce and then the Colonist and the British Soldiers were hugging. Of course my heart was smiling and most importantly I just witnessed right before my eyes with my son how blessed we are to have been afforded the knowledge of Cosmic Education.

I can say how beautiful I have been as a mom, and how great of a role model I have been for them. But the truth is I am not perfect and don't close to being a perfect mother.  I did make one great decision that I will never regret and that was bringing Cosmic Education into their lives. It is the Peace Education that was created by Dr. Maria Montessori that has been the best thing yet. None of the materials that I have ever shared with you can compare to this, and I will be forever grateful for God sending me in the right direction in finding the Montessori Method.  Incorporating Cosmic Education into my children lives has even lead them to want to know God!

If you are ever in doubt that your curriculum isn't working, that maybe your children should be in school, or that your children shouldn't be in school I strongly encourage you to pick up this book ( it is out of print but your library may have it, it is available for a free download here) and pray.

This again is just a testimony of how this single parent mother has had success in our family, no two families are the same, but I think we all share this commonality that we want peace, and want our children to peaceful and to grow up to become peaceful adults.

 "Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education," Maria Montessori       
Yes people nasty violent generations of vicious cycles are being broken and being replaced with the future of healthy peaceful people, at this very moment.                    

Write This Book

My personal goal in requiring my kids to do language art activities is that they have the ability to communicate their ideas effectively. O.K really it may be deeper than that. LOL. All three of them right now have strong interest in enrolling in an University. Which means that I must add more goals into the mix like the ability to write a research paper, know and follow the guidelines of a five paragraph essay, etc.

Recently Ken and DJ have expressed interest in wanting to write and publish a book. This new goal of theirs probably comes from Michelle who is always writing some kind of story or report. Thanks to a lot of work with Montessori language materials and applying their knowledge while doing lessons in Write Shop they are well on their way. Like everything they express interest in I run with it and research the best way to guide them to help them be successful at the task at hand. I researched long and hard! I came across some awesome resources, but mostly they were all aiming at a high school age group. 

Finally I came across a really neat book that goes about teaching a child how to write a book in the most interactive way imaginable. 


What Ken and DJ are doing with this material is writing a mystery with help from the brilliant, hilarious pseudonymous bosch. I would call it the Life of Fred of language arts, in fact I am willing to bet that if you have a child who is 8 and up which is the recommended age, and they like Life of Fred they would love this book.

Concepts that they have been introduced to and understand so far..
What is a pseudonym?  They write and apply all of the information right in the book where the information is to be applied.
                                                  How to write a Dedication Page.    

 What is a Epigraph? This was a really fun activity for them. They really enjoyed searching and thinking about the best quote from one of their favorite authors. Ken chose "Don't Judge a man until you walked two moons in his moccasins"- Sharon Creech. DJ chose "Don't cry because it is over. Smile because it happened"- Dr.Seuss.     

They also have learned more about the copyright page in a book, what a footnote is, and how to write a preface. There are 17 chapters that cover everything there is to know to write a book in a format written to the child.                   

I had to slow DJ down a bit, because he is all over this book and eager as a beaver to keep writing! He decided that he could get closer to the book and "become as one" as he put it by removing the book jacket.

Right now, I am trying very hard to work side by side with them while they do this activity, but I am finding it very hard to do because they really enjoy this book and want to work on it as much as they can.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Improving Reading Skills With the Classics

It's that time again! We are back to one on one reading time and improving oral reading and reading  comprehension skills with the classics.

DJ is reading The Jungle Book and it is just perfect for my animal loving boy.

He really loves the illustrations and the different fonts of print that are used throughout the book

Mostly DJ has been engrossed with learning the Law of the Jungle right now and has even done research work involving this. In his research he has found that the Boy Scouts of America were founded on this law. He has learned the Boy Scout Oath and unfortunately he is not an official Boy Scout. It is definitely something I am seriously looking into. .

Through his inquiries he found out that there is a big thing called a Pinewood Derby Race and has begged me to get a kit from Hobby Lobby, especially when I showed him this kiddo's  trophy winning derby.


 He built this all on his own and has put other projects aside to investigate how he can make his derby go faster, also he has taken the time to learn the rules of the Pinewood Derby Races.

When he picked this book from the Classics selection as that was the only requirement that I made on their reading selection I had no idea that this type of learning would transpire.

Ken is reading Oliver Twist and loving it. I truly am happy that she picked this one, it is challenging her comprehension skills at just the right level, and WOW has her use of vocabulary grown already.

I am pleased that they are now challenging their taste of books and finding out that reading is just so much fun!!

Learning About Wars

Ken and DJ have really fallen head over heels in love in regards to learning about wars and what causes them.
The other day they read through these two Magic Tree House books and haven't stopped asking questions. I love Magic Tree House books especially for children who are ready to read independently and who love history, science, and geography. I do not like the audio versions!  Anyway this unit of history was inspired by the unfortunate circumstances that happened at the Boston Marathon that they were not shielded from. As our conversations went deeper in talking about this tragedy, they began to wonder about anything related to
Boston that they had background knowledge of. By the time the day ended they declared that they wanted to research wars. O.K. fine by me.

Except! I wasn't really prepared and to be honest maybe that is a good thing:) So I asked them if they could be specific about a particular war so I could possibly have some materials ready for them or could send them in the right direction should they have to ask me for any help. They shouted the American Revolution.

I also asked them if they could write any questions that they had about this war.

Here are some of the questions they wrote down.

What is the Stamp Act?
The Boston Tea Party, really wasn't a PARTY?
What was the Boston Massacre about?
What happened in Lexington?
What does DAR mean?

They have been finding out some of the answers to their questions while reading this lively written choose your own adventure book. I seriously believe that I would of been more engaged in my history lessons about The Revolutionary War had this book been my textbook that was given to me when this time of history was first introduced to me.

While they have been researching this time in history using their questions as their guide. More questions have arrived like who exactly led the red coats.


Noticing how army and military uniforms have changed over time.

I put together a box of  materials for them to look through and hopefully offer age appropriate materials for both of them. I don't expect them to know every thing about The Revolutionary War, especially since this is truly their work. I also know that they tend to come back to things and add on more knowledge when the opportunity presents itself.

For just $6.30 I purchased this toolkit and made it shelf ready for them, all  I had to do was open the package and place it in the box it has been a huge hit!

That's it and they having been learning about the The Revolutionary War like mad! I'll be sure to keep you updated as they dig deeper into this time in history.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Got Books?


The first thing that was a necessity to give the kids a jump start to schooling after their break was a trip to the library. Here are a few pics of their books they chose to check out.

The history buff who loves all things that contradict the feminist perspective chose a book about the history of Barbie. I think this book was inspired by some Barbie play her and Ken was involved in over Spring break. I love the fact that Michelle's social and emotional skills are what is expected of a fifteen year old, but she indulges in doll and barbie play often.  In the past Michelle has done research on the effects of what Barbie may have on little girls, she lives to defy the odds.
 She also picked out some polymer clay project books.

Ken the lover of all things theatrical chose books around this theme.
 She also checked out a biography of the Berenstain siblings and several Berenstain Bears picture books.

DJ picked animal books of course. DJ has a personal goal to read all of the animal books in the library available in the children's section.

We also checked out some cool history books that I will share with you all later.

In the meantime school has been looking pretty much like this.
 It is a season for workbooks right now. The kids have found a lot of workbooks that they are attracted to while sorting through my learning materials.

 This book was intended to be used by Michelle ages ago. DJ has fallen in love with the picture study and copy work in this workbook.

Right now I have only required language arts, math and product review materials to be done daily, since we are busy with the starting up the studio. I am so blessed with three kiddos that happily learn independently while chasing their own rabbit trails. Life is good and I am so blessed!!                                                          

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Did You Know?

Did you know that our review of God's Great Covenant, Old Testament Program 1 was featured in the April   Issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine? The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is jam packed with wealth of information for homeschooling parents, or parents who seek to be a defining role in their children's education. If you haven't taken the time to read this gem, I highly recommend that you do!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ABeCeDarian Company: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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The ABeCeDarian Company sent me some reading manuals to review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. During the review period I was able to find out exactly what is offered in the Student Manual A-1 and the Teacher Manual A-1 and implement the program for roughly four to five weeks with a child who is 4 years old, and will be turning five very shortly.

Before reviewing this researched-based reading program I had never heard of this company, and I really don't understand why. This reading program is outstanding and I wished I had known about this program sooner when my children were learning how to read, or before I spent countless hours on other programs just to put them aside because of the clear gaps that were showing up as the child progressed in the program. As a former reading tutor in a charter school it is a relief to know that there is a company that has researched their material and how children learn to read. Unfortunately while working as a tutor I witnessed the reading program was what was hindering the student's success at learning to read, rather than the child not being willing and ready to read. In this reading program there isn't any cute stickers to offer the child, and to be frank no bells and whistles. But if you want your child to love to learn to read and be motivated by their own hard work at becoming a reader, well this reading program is for you.

This has been a difficult review for me to write up because there is so much packed in this reading program that I want to share, and I don't really want to miss anything of importance.

From their Website:

The ABeCeDarian Reading Program

ABeCeDarian Company publishes and distributes the ABeCeDarian Reading Program, a research-based, explicit, comprehensive, multi-sensory decoding program developed by Michael Bend, Ph.D. The program efficiently addresses the key areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency. It provides the depth and structure necessary for tutors, interventionists, and special education teachers to help the weakest readers from age 5 to adult make outstanding progress. The beginning levels of the program also make an outstanding program for a regular education teacher to use with her whole class.  Upper levels of the program provide excellent word study materials for students in grades 3-6.  The comprehensive and straightforward organization of the program make ABeCeDarian an excellent choice as well for home-schoolers.

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When the program materials first arrived I spent a lot of time going over the teacher's manual it resonated with me and I just shook my head in agreement with the practices it was sharing with me. Level A is intended for early or beginner readers. They need not know any sounds, and it helps if the child has no prior knowledge of the names of the alphabet. See I have a whole lot of experience with helping children learn to read and one of the commonalities in the experience was those children who knew the names of the alphabet had a harder time grasping the phonetic sounds. As the manual unfolded how the program works I felt old school learning how to read and the latest research had finally gotten married. When I finished reading the manual I felt blessed that I would be able to guide a child who would love to read and would know that they could.  

Also once I was into the fifth lesson the script became natural to me and this is the first time I can say that about a scripted teacher's manual.

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Now it was time to implement this with my student. Eric did have prior knowledge of some of the phonetic sounds, and was at the beginning stages of decoding as well . Eric spends a lot of time with our Montessori Sandpaper letters and could care less about any other reading materials. This was just perfect, because truly he could use his Sandpaper letters with this program and it would open a whole new world for him, which it did.

We started with lesson 1 and reviewed his sounds while he played a game that was scripted in the teacher's manual for me to use while manipulating the Sandpaper letters.


In the workbook there are pages for the child to complete word puzzles. in the photo above Eric is decoding the word cat. There are free support materials available here  that offer letter tiles for you to use that can assist with the games, but like I mentioned earlier Eric likes the Sandpaper letters and although they were bigger than the space that was provided it worked for him, and with this program it allows plenty of room to follow the child.
 Within the first three lessons and the pattern continues the child is introduced to 6 letter sounds. At the end of each lesson the child is then shown how to write three of the letters and a word that was one of the word puzzles. Eric is resistant to writing right now and still loves to just use the Sandpaper letters instead of a pencil. This program allows flexibility for a student like him. In Eric's case we just skipped the writing with hand practice pages and continued with his interest of wanting to learn how to read.

 At the end of the third lesson when all of the sounds have been practiced there is a review. Eric didn't have a clue that this was review, but was thrilled that he was able to confidently recognize the sounds. When I said a sound he would point to it.
 Eric also used the Sandpaper letters again to replace writing the sound that I said aloud.
 I never thought that he would love those Sandpaper letters more than before, but he loves doing these pages in the workbook with the letters and does it independently. It is a pleasure hearing him say the sound and match them with the Sandpaper letters all on his own.

As we progressed in the program Eric also fell in love with Turtle Talk, and People Talk. I would sound out the word slowly like a turtle and Eric would repeat the word in regular speech, and this my friend was the tool needed for Eric to blend sounds together, and become an excellent decoder as well.

 Before we knew it Eric was reading his very own reader for the first time. He is a happy reader, and may not really understand how much work he did to become a reader. The lessons were effortless for him and I am so glad that we were able to review this program so that his love for learning continues.

The ten storybooks that we were sent that go along with this program have excellent story lines and are given to the child once the child has shown mastery of sounds that are in the book. These wonderful readers have become the motivation that Eric looks forward to. He has been building a library for his hard work adding  books at the appropriate time.

You can count on reading more about this program on this blog as I will be continuing this program with other children as well. I was also blessed with the following manuals as well  Student Workbook A-2,Teacher Manual A-2,Student Workbook B-1, and Teacher Manual B-2.

Also I was sent this awesome book that includes 11 of Aesop's Fables. Again this book goes along with the manuals and at the right time the child will be able to independently read these enriching stories that will lead them into what the beautiful world that books can offer.

The ABeCeDarian Reading Program that includes levels A1, A2, and B1 are packaged in one volume for $29.95. You will want to purchase the storybooks which cost $21.50, and also the ABeCeDarian Aesop reader which cost $2.50. All the materials can be purchased separately go here for the printable price list and to see what else they have to offer.                                                         
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