Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Philippians in 28 weeks: a review

Home School Adventure Co.
Home School Adventure Co.
publishes a book to help with the memorisation of the New Testament book of Philippians: Philippians in 28 weeks. I reviewed the Authorised Version (King James Version) format of this book as an ebook. The book is 165 pages in length. A Bible is needed to use alongside the book.

As the title suggests the aim of the book is to learn the book of Philippians in 28 weeks. This is accomplished by various methods. The book says that the most important part of the memorisation process is to read the book of Philippians though every day.


The book uses 6Rs


  • Read
  • Record
  • Repeat
  • Review and Recite
  • Retain


The book of Philippians is divided into weekly sections with a review week for each chapter. As well as reading through the whole book each day, other methods are used to help with learning:

Record
  • writing out the book. The section to be learnt that week is copied.
  • questions on the book to be completed
  • a section entitled What have you learned this week about the love of God through reading the book of Philippians?
Repeat
  • cards which can be printed out to help learning. I printed mine out and laminated them so that they could stand frequent use.

Review and recite
  • The portion for the week is recited to someone else.
Retain
At the start of each week, the previous week's memory work is reviewed and recited. At the end of each chapter is a review week,

There is a section for recording and even grading the items. I did use the chart for recording although didn't use the grading system.

The book is designed for use, as a family, by 9-11 year olds and for use more independently, or in a family group, for children aged 12+.

How we used the book
I used the book to help me learn Philippians but also concentrated on learning selections from Philippians with my 5 and 7 year old. They are not yet at the stage where they can read Philippians independently.

What we liked about the book
I had been very uncertain about reading Philippians each day. I can read quite fast and was concerned that if I added another four chapters into my daily reading I would just skim read. In practice, reading the book daily didn't turn out this way. Reading it each day was helpful and I found new riches. There were a few days when I didn't get though the whole book.
Writing out passages always works well for me. In many ways, I would have benefited from doing this more than once.
The children have become much more familiar with portions from this epistle and know some verses quite well.
The log was a useful reminder.

What we didn't like about the book
The complex grading system didn't seem to fit in with how we want to learn God's Word. 
The graphics depict someone who I assume is meant to be the Lord. We do not usually use books with pictures of the Lord as this seems to be contravening the Second Commandment. I didn't print out these pages. There were four pages of these pictures between all the memory card pages. I assume that they are meant to be on the back of the memory cards.

Cost
Philippians in 28 weeks is available from Home School Adventure Co in print and e-book format. The KJV form of the book is currently only available as a print book for $28.95 (about £17.25). It is also available using the ESV where an ebook version is also available at $14.95. Stacy Farrell, of Homeschool Adventure Co has offered a 10% discount on any download purchase  until 15th May, using the code CREW-10. This includes the other titles:

  • Philosophy Adventure
  • Mere Christianity: Critical Analysis Journal
  • The Wise Woman: Literacy Analysis Journal.
Home School Adventure Co.


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Friday, 18 April 2014

April Inspiration

Not only has April arrived but is half over before I post this. 

We've had plenty of time outside and the first visit of the year to the sea. Certain people are hoping for more.

Lego is popular here but all those models tend to get taken to pieces and the pieces move round the house. One of my favourite blogs has a post on organising all those little pieces when there are several children who play with Lego. I think we need to keep completed models and instructions in one place and odds and ends in another. 

Jamie at The Unlikely Homeschooler has written about her system for managing buying birthday gifts and not breaking the budget. Definitely worth reading if your children are invited to multiple birthday parties!

The Simple Homeschool blog has posted some ways of making home educating harder than it needs to be. Some of these are more helpful for parents of younger children but some are applicable to us all.

Over our Easter break, Youngest Daughter has been pushing on with phonics. We are using Logic of English Essentials. I'm very impressed and Youngest Daughter has been very keen not to miss days. We have been known to work on this six days a week. A review is due in May.

I wanted to post some verses for Good Friday but came back to these verses that I first posted over three years ago. They were written by the hymnwriter Joseph Irons and are well worth reposting.

What sacred Fountain yonder springs
Up from the throne of God,
And all new covenant blessings brings? 
'Tis Jesus' precious blood.

What mighty sum paid all my debt,
When I a bondman stood,
And has my soul at freedom set?
'Tis Jesus' precious blood.

What stream is that which sweeps away
My sins just like a flood,
Nor lets one guilty blemish stay?
'Tis Jesus' precious blood.

What voice is that which speaks for me
In heaven's high court for good,
And from the curse has set me free?
'Tis Jesus' precious blood.

What theme, my soul, shall best employ
Thy harp before thy God,
And make all heaven to ring with joy?
'Tis Jesus' precious blood.




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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit

One warm day, last summer, the two youngest children and I went to a book signing by Judith Kerr. This was part of a round of signings in honour of her 90th birthday. We came home with two more of her Mog books and the memory of a lady who was happy to chat the the children about their cats and her cat.

At the time, I vaguely remembered reading When Hitler stole pink rabbit as a school girl. More recently, I found this autobiographical book, in the library and decided to reread it.



Judith Kerr was brought up in a secular Jewish family in post World War I Germany. Her father, Alfred, was a well known anti-Nazi journalist who wrote and broadcast against the Nazi party which was gaining ground. Just before the 1933 elections which brought Hitler to power, Alfred's position was becoming risky and being warned, by a sympathiser in the police force that he was at risk, he suddenly left for Switzerland. The rest of the family soon followed as the election was taking place.

When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit follows Anna, otherwise known as Judith, through life in neutral Switzerland, Paris and eventually to England. The time must have been traumatic for the parents: their income disappeared as newspapers in Switzerland refused to publish Alfred's work; the Germans burnt his work and put a price on his head. They managed to protect the children so that Anna and her brother thrived on their changed circumstances. 

Paris wasn't any better for the parents and initially, wasn't great for the children either. The description of going to school in an unknown language is worth reading but gradually, both children managed to excel. Max, the brother, really hadn't worked in school in Germany but rose to the challenge of learning French and did far better academically, in Paris. One gets the impression that he had been rather bored before. Judith Kerr says in her note at the end of the book that the years of sudden exile in Switzerland and then in France

It was more difficult than our life in Germany, but for my brother and me it was also more interesting and I thought at the time that on the whole it was an improvement.

The book ends as the family arrive in England in the rain.

One of the reasons that I read this was to see whether it was a potential read aloud for an interwar years history unit that we hope to do next year. I plan to read this to my children, currently 5 and 7. It is a particularly useful background to what was happening in Nazi Germany but isn't written in a frightening manner. It does mention a family friend who, in very reduced circumstances because of his background,  takes an overdose and dies. Beyond this, whilst the threat to Jews and the Kerrs, in particular, is firmly in the picture, what comes across is Kerr's love for her family and zest for her new surroundings.

Recommended.

Disclaimer: I borrowed this from my local library to read.


Every bed of Roses

Saturday review of books at Semicolon.

Friday, 11 April 2014

5 days of England: the countryside

Welcome back to the last post in this series on learning about England. I hope it will be useful for those of us who live in England and want resources to help our children learn more about their native land as well as those from abroad who may want to visit either in reality or virtually.

Day 1: Introduction
Day 2: History
Day 3: Food
Day 4: The language

Today, I'm writing about the lovely countryside but really mean any green or seaside outside space. England might not be large but there are green areas everywhere. Cities have plenty of parks, allotments and other green spaces. 
This is on the outskirts of London

Morden Hall Park is less than ten miles from Trafalgar Square, in central London.
A London park

Not everyone will agree with me but, in my opinion, the weather is such that it is possible to go out most days. Warm, waterproof coats and wellie boots are part of my essential home education equipment. We wouldn't go out if there is a severe weather warning but otherwise try not to let weather deter us.

The sea is always relatively close: never more than 70 miles away from any point in England.

Some websites about nature in the UK:
Nature Detectives: this has many activities for children. There is a paying section but there are also many free activities on the site.
RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) has a bird identification section, nature reserves and an annual Garden Watch.
London Wildlife Trust runs nature reserves in London as well as having a section, on its website, about different habitats and species in London.
Woodland Trust has information about woods around the country.

Some of my favourite outdoor places:
The Long Mynd in Shropshire
North Downs in Kent
Morden Hall Park in London
Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door in Dorset
Lake District (definitely best out of season)
The Cotswolds

This is just a short list: there are so many more beautiful places. Please write about your favourite outdoor places in England in the comments.

Some of my fellow Schoolhouse Crew members are also taking part in the 5 days blog hop, this week. Do visit these blogs
Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story ~ Making Homeschooling Fun!
Marcy @ Ben and Me ~ Helping Children in Uganda
Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness -- International Meals
Melanie @ FinchNWren ~ Finchnwren's Fabulous Family Movies
Sarah  @ Delivering Grace ~  learning about England
Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart ~  Connecting with the Creator through Nature Study
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama ~ 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas ~ A Happy, Peaceful Home
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses ~ Homeschooling 4 FREE resources
or click on the banner for even more topics.
April Blog Hop 


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Thursday, 10 April 2014

5 days of learning about England: the language

Welcome back to this series on learning about England. I hope it will be useful for those of us who live in England and want resources to help our children learn more about their native land as well as those from abroad who may want to visit either in reality or virtually.

Day 1: Introduction
Day 2: History
Day 3: Food
Day 4: The language


It didn't dawn on me for many years that I might have an accent. After all, isn't the way that I speak normal? When I went to medical school, I was teased about my Kentish accent particularly dropping the last g on words so, for example, working became workin. My children still notice that I say yer rather than year.

Still, I was a bit shocked when I listened to an audiobook version of Anne of Avonlea. Surely, Anne couldn't have a Canadian accent?


More recently, using some US curricular materials and working with the mainly US ladies on the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I have become a bit more aware of my British English and yes, there are a fair few differences (US/UK):

  • pants/underpants
  • chips/crisps
  • jumper/pinafore dress
  • sweater/jumper
  • -ize/-ise
  • silverware/cutlery
  • flashlight/torch
  • color/colour
  • favorite/favourite
  • check/cheque
  • store/shop
  • airplane/aeroplane
  • truck/lorry
  • freeway/motorway
  • trash/rubbish
  • eraser/rubber
  • dishwash/washing up liquid
  • all purpose flour/plain flour
  • gas/petrol 
I still am a bit puzzled about SUVs. I know they are some sort of car but what? Any answers from US friends?

We happily used the Five in a Row study guide and books for sometime but when we looked at Truman's ant farm the play on the words ant and aunt just didn't work. We say aunt as unt and ant as, well, ant! This didn't stop one of the children loving the book but he had to have the issue with words explained.

Do you have an accent? What version of English do you speak? Please feel free to add to my list. I know there are many more words that aren't quite the same.

Some of my fellow Schoolhouse Crew members are also taking part in the 5 days blog hop, this week. Do visit these blogs
Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story ~ Making Homeschooling Fun!
Marcy @ Ben and Me ~ Helping Children in Uganda
Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness -- International Meals
Melanie @ FinchNWren ~ Finchnwren's Fabulous Family Movies
Sarah  @ Delivering Grace ~  learning about England
Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart ~  Connecting with the Creator through Nature Study
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama ~ 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas ~ A Happy, Peaceful Home
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses ~ Homeschooling 4 FREE resources
or click on the banner for even more topics.
April Blog Hop 


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Supercharged Science

Hands on science is something that my children enjoy so we were pleased to be able to review e-Science Premium Membership from Supercharged Science.

Supercharged eScience Review
Supercharged Science is an enormous homeschool science programme designed for children of all ages from Year 1 to older teenagers (US grades K to 12). The programme is online and accessed via password and login codes. It is based around topics and these topics are taught via experiments and activities which can take place at home. There are 20 topics in the K-8 programme. These include motion, matter, biology, magnetism, energy and astrophysics.


Supercharged eScience Review
The premise of Supercharged Science is that if a child starts learning science with an experiment and gets excited about this, they will want to learn more around the subject. The programme is designed to appeal to visual, auditor, kinaesthetic and digital leaners.

Aurora Lipper, the teacher, is a rocket scientist and obviously takes great delight in making science fun for children. Helpfully, the site also has the science activities grouped by grade level which was particularly useful deciding which could be done by younger children. There is also a helpful section called Getting Started which explains how the site works and has links to simple experiments with household materials.

We dived in with some of these activities from the Getting Started section. Each activity has a short written introduction, a list of what is needed and a short video explaining what to do. Sometimes we needed to watch the video more than once to make sure or watch the video and then play it with stops as we did the activity. Most of the experiments have activity sheets with questions.


We microwaved soap

although we didn't have the soap that Aurora suggested and made the microwave smell for several weeks! Moral is to follow the instructions fully!

This is the appearance of microwaved soap!

Other early experiments included a catapult which was easy and a great success with my five year old and flying contraptions which theoretically shouldn't fly as well as paper aeroplanes which were catapulted across the garden.

We then explored the pre-K/K section of the site. There were investigations on sensing temperature: very simple and very effective.

Making clouds sounded exciting but we couldn't make this work maybe because I was a bit cautious about heating up this contraption.
We hid pyrex in oil and went onto some Life science which is what I would call biology where we pressed flowers

 and made a waterscope. I have to say that we failed to make the waterscope work although we had fun leaning over a ditch with it.
We have a terraqua column sitting in our kitchen which is successfully growing basil. We have discussed making more so that we can change variables.

In order to fit in with some science at our home education group, we filled in a tracking traits form which we found on the first grade part of the site. 

Most of the items needed in the sections that we used were readily available at home or at least one which has been home educating for some time! A supply of lolly sticks was easy to find here and was used for the catapult and harmonica but I'm not sure whether many non-home educators have supplies of lolly sticks. For more advanced units, it is more likely that items will need to be bought  particularly for the electricity and electronics topics.

Aurora says, in the Getting Started section that three things are needed to get the most out of Supercharged Science: time to spend on the experiments, realising that it isn't necessary to do everything and being prepared to ask for help. Aurora provides help via questions at the end of the activities. We found that our questions were answered by running through those questions that had been previously asked. 

What we thought
Using hands on activities does spark interest in science. We watched the videos together before going to do the activity and then thought about the how and why. We found that some of the activities the children were quite happy to leave whereas others such as the terraqua column generated interest in how things grow and whether we could design a simpler system to look at what plants need. My five year old is particularly keen to do more Supercharged Science activities.

Supercharged Science is large and can initially seem overwhelming. The getting started page, grade levels and the conversion chart are particularly helpful. The's e conversion chart for 22 different texts shows which eScience units fit with which chapters.

We love hands on science and this is a regular activity with my younger children. It has been helpful to have a resource with so many new ideas to explore, however, if you don't like hands on science then Supercharged Science isn't for you.

Cost
Supercharged Science's e-Science curriculum costs $37 (about £22.03) per month for K to grade 8 (year 1 to 9) and $57(about £33.94) per month for 9th-12th grade (year 10 to 13) where more material is available. Currently, there is a special offer for readers of the Schoolhouse Review Crew of the first month for $1 (about 60p). This page has full details. 

For families who like science activities, I would recommend Supercharged Science. If you aren't quite sure, there is a free five lesson science mini-progamme here



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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

5 days of learning about England: the food

Welcome  back to this five day series about England.

Day 1: Introduction
Day 2: History resources

Today, I'm writing about food. My only qualifications are that I'm English and I like food.

Like most national food, English food depends on what is available. So over to some famous foods!

Fish and chips
Almost every town has a chippie and most chippies don't just sell fish and chips but add pies and sausages as well. Fish and chips tend to be one of the cheapest meals bought out. Many people only buy chips which, of course, reduces the price!

The fish is usually caught in the North Sea. Cod is the most common but coley and haddock are almost always sold too. Traditionally,the fish is deep fried in batter.

Can fish and chips be made at home? Yes, of course although I have to admit that I've never made proper fish and chips. I'm a bit scared of deep fat frying having seen a saucepan catch fire as a child. Probably a deep fat fryer is the way to go but then it might encourage us to have fish and chips far too often. Anyway, this is a link to a fish and chip recipe.

Scones
These are easy to make at home. This recipe is similar to the one that I use. Traditionally eaten with clotted cream, they are also yummy with butter and jam. They don't keep well so eat soon.

There is debate about whether they are pronounced with a long or short o. This is partly a regional issue. My contribution to the debate is that the n is followed by a silent e so the o should be long!

Christmas pudding
At Christmas, we eat a heavy fruit boiled pudding for dessert. This is my version of Christmas pud.


Jacket potatoes
These aren't classical English fare but something that is eaten often here and less often elsewhere. Jacket potatoes are so easy and make a great base to a meal with salad, cheese and any left over meat or fish. To cook, clean one largish potato per person and pierce the skin three or four times with a fork. Place in the oven at 180C and cook for about an hour until soft. The cooking time obviously depends on the size of the potato! These are ideal for cooking when the oven is on for some other reason.

Simnel cake
This is a traditional Easter cake. It is a fruit cake cooked with marzipan in the middle and topped with a layer of uncooked marzipan. Traditionally, the top has eleven balls of marzipan on top of the flat layer. These are said to represent the number of the apostles after Judas had left.
This is the recipe that I use:
Ingredients:
8oz (225g) plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
6oz (180g) brown sugar
5oz (140g) margarine
3 eggs
2 tablespoonfuls milk
3/4 lb(340g) sultanas
3/4lb (340g)mixed dried fruit (can be substituted with other types of dried fruit to taste)
1lb (450g) marzipan
small amount apricot jam
Method
Prepare an 8" cake tin. Line the base.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the other ingredients up to and including the milk.
Mix well with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Add the fruit and mix.
Place half the mixture in the cake tin.
Divide the marzipan into thirds. Roll out one third to just less than the size of the cake tin. Place this marzipan on top of the first half of the mixture.

Place the remaining half of the mixture on top of the marzipan.
Cook at 150C (300F/gas mark 2) for two and half hours to three hours. Cover with foil after the first hour. When cooked a skewer placed in the upper part of the cake will come out clean.
Cool.
Roll the second third of marzipan to a circle the size of the cake.
When the cake is cold, turn upside down so the top is flat. Cover with a thin layer of apricot jam to help the marzipan to stick to the cake. Place the circle of marzipan on top of the cake. 
Use the remaining marzipan to make eleven balls to decorate the top of the cake.

Enjoy!

Everything else
In a multi-cultural society, many of us eat a mixture. Our menus will have traditional English, Italian, French and Indian food on a regular basis.

What is your favourite English food?


Some of my fellow Schoolhouse Crew members are also taking part in the 5 days blog hop, this week. Do visit these blogs
Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story ~ Making Homeschooling Fun!
Marcy @ Ben and Me ~ Helping Children in Uganda
Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness -- International Meals
Melanie @ FinchNWren ~ Finchnwren's Fabulous Family Movies
Sarah  @ Delivering Grace ~  learning about England
Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart ~  Connecting with the Creator through Nature Study
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama ~ 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas ~ A Happy, Peaceful Home
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses ~ Homeschooling 4 FREE resources
or click on the banner for even more topics.

April Blog Hop

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