Monday, March 31, 2014

Nitty Gritty Monday- Learn to Make Lists That Clear Your Mind

Next week I'll be participating in another 5 Day Blog Hop sponsored by the Homeschool Review Crew. My Crewbies and I have been planning, prepping and posting, in order to bring you another week of fantastic reading on a plethora of topics ranging from Educational Apps, Organization, Field Trips, Mnemonics and so much more. My topic will be
The Working Woman's Guide to Homeschooling.
Homeschooling is growing - and for good reason- and those of us working while homecshooling are growing by leaps and bounds as well.
If you work seasonally, part time or full time, I hope this series will speak to you. I've interviewed several working Homeschooling Moms for this series to bring btdt wisdome to you!
To whet your appetite for what's to come I wanted to introduce you to my blogger buddy, Mystie. We "met" on-line last year in a fantastic thread on Getting Things Done, inspired by the book of the same name by David Allen.  Mystie took the concepts in Allen's book and made them accessible and do-able for homeschoolers.  When you are done reading, take a minute to stop by Mystie's blog- she has tons of resources and helps for homeschoolers!
Learn to Make Lists That Clear Your Mind
I first read the time-management classic, Getting Things Done, about eight years ago, and implemented a few of its strategies. Almost three years later, after my fourth baby turned one, I returned to it again, because four children and a lack of sleep severely affected my brain power. Following his instructions, even though they are targeted at business people, yielded amazing results in mental clarity. We all go through seasons that feel like we are perpetual drowning. Sometimes, no matter how much I do, it never feels like progress is made.
Going through the steps outlined in Getting Things Done helps me to overcome that feeling and slowly climb back into the driver seat of my routines, my stuff, and my responsibilities. The book is all about “black-belt” list-making. I slowly worked at implementing a more complete GTD system, and every step yielded significant improvement in my peace of mind by banishing that awful, constant nagging sense of things unknown left undone and that sense upon entering any room or glancing any direction and seeing only things that you should do, but aren’t.
“Anxiety,” claims David Allen in Getting Things Done, “is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation, and action.” He posits that most people know how to plan and they know what to do, they just don’t do it. So his book is a step-by-step coaching towards doing completely and well what most people only do in crises or in a scattered manner. Getting Things Done is about managing your stuff and your actions, and once those are under control, your mind is left more free and clear to focus on the present moment with your family. In GTD for Homemakers, I take his principles and make them practical for our situation as involved, busy mothers, giving examples that relate to our lives, rather than assuming an office setting.
GTD for Homemakers is not about turning our homes and families into a well-oiled machine, but about being in control of our tasks and stuff rather than letting them control us, so that instead of running around like chickens with heads cut off, we may be more free and calm to clearly see what the right "next thing" is to do.
If you’d like to try this process for yourself, explained step-by-step by someone who knows what life at home with littles is like, check out GTD for Homemakers.  This week only, use discount code laughing to get 30% off! bio: Mystie Winckler is a wife, mother, homemaker, and home-educator. Mystie has been married for twelve years to her only sweetheart, Matt, and both are homeschool graduates themselves. Now they raise & educate their five young children at home. Mystie blogs at Simply Convivial on homemaking and home-educating and at Simplified Organization about organization and productivity for intentional moms. You can receive her ebook, A Quickstart Guide to GTD for Moms for free! –Mystie
"The business done in the home is nothing less than the shaping of the bodies and souls of humanity." – G.K. Chesterton Simply Convivial: Weekend Reads Simple Pantry Cooking: What’s for Dinner? Menu Plan Monday
Stop by all next week for more great posts!

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Around the World in 80 Days

\Jill R. Ehm-Creator's photo.
For our first Poppins Nook Club book review the theme is Where in the World.  So, it just made sense to read, Around the World in 80 Days. Great stuff.

I'm reading to and 5/6th grader and an 8th grader-  logic stage kids who read voraciously. I've read this out loud before, which I vaguley remember, but Feeche did, in living color.
Poppins Book Nook - Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
The story was written by Jules Verne in 1864. His father disowned him for pursuing a career in the theater rather than in law. Adversity caused Verne to write- often and well -as he churned out Five Weeks in a Balloon, Around the World in 80 Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in a matter of a few years. The concepts are brilliant given the time period in which he wrote.

As always I'm stuck by the brilliant wordsmithery of Jules Verne. He is a master craftsman. If you want to expose your kids to beautiful words, brilliantly rendered, look no further than Verne;

"The mysterious habits of Phileas Fogg were recalled; his solitary ways, his sudden departure; and it seemed clear that, in undertaking a tour round the world on the pretext of a wager, he had no other end in view than to elude the detectives, and throw them off his track."

Phileas Fogg places his trust and financial future in the hands of modernity as he races to beat the clock and travel round the world in 80 days. He, while dispassionate and mechanical, travels with a Passepartout, his loyal and passionate valet, picks up a few strays along the way and sees the world. Well, he would see the world if he'd ever leave his seat. In the end, he finds the most valuable treasure of all, without even realizing he was looking for it.

It's rollicking good fun. A grand adventure- when the world was newer and not so wholly connected as it is now. Totally appropriate for kids and adventurer es of all ages. This would be a terrific book to study as a unit, create a lapbook with, put on a play over. Or just read out-loud, laughing at the antics of good-hearted Passepartout, and re-reading the lovely word-play of Verne.

For more great books from this months Book Club. And for tons of creative lapbooking and globe-trotting fun check out Poppins Book Nook  as well as  these other creative blogs to find more “Where in the World” themed books and activities.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Faith and Good Works ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~World for Learning ~ The Kennedy Adventures ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~Mom's Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Noah Goes Mosquito Coast

We read tons of reviews - good, bad and mediocre- and went to see Noah. At it's best it was boring. There were moments- rare and brief, but there, of real brilliance- in both story telling and rendering- Methuselah is likable. I mention this because nobody else is- Hannibal the Cannibal was more compelling than, say, Noah; the cool dog in the opening scene, the Creation story, as told by Noah on the ark(until the end of the 6th day-um, did you invent the Internet too, big guy?),  when the land animals are flocking to the ark, and when Ela is healed. This movie had the makings of greatness.

I don't even mind the rock monsters (best line in a review so far, "Galaxy Quest called, they want their rock monsters back"). It makes sense that Noah might have needed some divine intervention. The rendering and the back story of the beasties was too far gone- especiallyafter seeing the trailer for Transformers moments before. Seriously, why do movies just blur together anymore. Certainly there's more creativity to be had in the world than Ancients and Transformers!

But the thing I minded more than anything, more than the unlikeable protagonist, the lack of believability, the apocryphal desolation, the hipster clothing and the tree huggeryism that went way beyond stewardship (look, I'm Crunchy- I care- but this was ridiculous)- was the dystopian nihilism from beginning to end. I like a good dystopian work of lit- but good Dystopian Lit must be redemptive or it ends up being capricious, therefore NOT believable, and therefore NOT good Literature- dystopian or otherwise. Which Noah did; end up being capricious that is. So, this is a movie that explains to us why Noah goes all Mosquito Coast on us. It's his nonsensical commitment to the "innocents" (i.e animals)- wait- they eat each other- they are innocent why?- while denying his very own instinct for survival and legacy.

Here's how NOT believable this was (one of the non-negotiables of good writing); Ham desperately finds a wife in a concentration camp pit of death They run, willy-nilly to the ark, followed by hordes of dark (but hiply) dressed beserkers. His wife-ish (of 4 min, per Matt Walsh), gets caught in a bear trap. Noah throws Ham towards the ark, leaves the girl in the trap, in the mud, pleading for help and the next thing we see is her being trampled to death by the horde. Um, what? Shorting out here. My brain did not compute this scene. I seriously wondered how they were going to go back and get her and make this scene right. The point was? Who is innocent? What? Wait? Huh? O.k. It makes no sense, I no longer care and why must the movie drag on and on and on and on-u-ah-ah-on?

The flotillan scene was just painful. Painful writing. Painful characters. Bad lighting- and by the way, where'd the little magic crystals come from- no matter 'cause we no longer believe or care about much in this movie- they give light, fire, pregnancy tests, curatives, bazookas, flame throwers, angel murder weapons- in other words- whatever plot device is needed at the time, but back to the painful flotillan scene- The bad guy (why is Tubal Cain bad? I've always kind of liked him) speaking truth. Noah, channeling his inner Mosquito Coast crazy guy, speaking Gore-ism-ishs. Oy vey. What a mess. His people are pissed. Um yeah, why wouldn't they be. He's a leader in desperate need of some good anti-psychotics. He hears from God, not in a personal caring kind of way- but because God is going to use him because God only cares about His creation and needs Noah's help to save it? I think I'm back to being confused. Why is Noah included at all? - According to Noah, God's plan doesn't include man, because they sinned, but he'll take the fallen angles back if they defend Noah. Did I mention that I'm so confused. Wait. I forgot, I don't care anymore.

So, the ark crash lands and cracks like an egg. We find Noah drunk (why?) and naked (Huh?) on the beach. And where's the rainbow? Wait, my 14 yo just explained that the prismatic mushroom cloud at the end- psychosis on a good day?- missed the symbolism there- was the Rainbow.

Dystopian Nihilism. Bad writing. Bad movie. Bad philosophy. Horrible theology. No wonder Noah's drunk on the beach. Someone mentioned survivor's guilt. Which is a point to consider. But for now, please, just let it end.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Critter Fest Report

I have always held hands with my kids-even as they get older and even my boys. It is one of those sweet little connections that say, I am sure of you, I have you, you are mine.  Today as Flower and I were going in to our little local grocery, I wiggled my hands at her, like I've done since she was barely toddling, and she caught up with me and held my hand walking in. We stopped in the foyer and looked at Easter thingamajigs. A gal, not much younger than me, walked up to us and said how sweet it was to see us holding hands, Momma and Girlie, how seeing us walk together like that blessed her.  And then she said, catching her breath and looking away, "I really miss my Mom."
School this week consisted of math- Cub is at the point in Applications of Algebra where it's very helpful to have Dad around to check problem set up. I'm great at working Algebra but kind of short out on the set-up. The More Perplexors are just that- MORE difficult. Spelling cruises along with Spelling You See and IEW's Spelling and Vocab. History of the Medieval History on CD, and Flower is about done with her American History for the year, too. Cub is on the last chapter of Biology- we are at that point in the year of finishing up some stuff. Love that.
Tons of reading this week as we read Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne- which is incredibly entertaining from the vocabulary point of view alone. Master wordsmith, that Verne. Flower fed her King and I obsession by cruising through Ana and the King. A bittersweet story of a woman and a forward thinking King who brought emancipation and education to their world.
In other Musical news we did watch Frozen- not once, but twice. Short on plot, but strong on song.

We are still totally, completely, enthralled with The Greeks by Roman Roads Media. If you are even remotely interested in classical education, ancient history, a superior understanding of a culture that formed our own or learning from one of the best in their field, you must get this series. It is, hands down, superb.


Samples of the sweet little thumbprint animals, people and pictures, Flower has been designing. Aren't they adorable?
Current reviews:
Tons more to come! 
Along with another 5 Day Hop. 
I'm working hard on my series, so stay tuned! 
April Blog Hop

Dolphin sighting, way out here in the Territories.

How was your week? 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Spelling You See- TOS Review

brought by the good folks who brought us Math You See, is, hands down, FANTASTIC.
We reviewed both  Wild Tales (Level C) and American (Level D
I have some natural spellers, some o.k. spellers and some "shoot me now, 'cause I'll never be able to figure out this spelling," spellers. I would almost count myself in that last category and Thank-God regularly for on-line dictionaries, and the creator of Spell-check.
My mathy girl struggles greatly with spelling. We've tried other spelling programs and they've left her in tears. She is a good writer but a hurtful comment by another girl in co-op about what a miserable speller she was and her own insecurities about spelling left her with wounded confidence and the belief that she just wasn't ever going to "get" spelling. We've tried several programs, with success ranging from terrible to hopeful moderate.
Enter Spelling You See. Frankly, I wasn't sure what to expect. What we received was a very slim teachers manual, 2 workbooks and a well and strategically packaged set of erasable colored pencils. Both Cub and Flower were curious about the program straight off given the pencils.

I had originally signed up to review American (level D). Flower is a solid and confident reader. Due to a shipping snafu we receive Wild Tales first, and then later on Americana. Flower and I looked through Wild Tales and decided to give it a go. Oh, I am so glad we did!

Each lesson is formatted the same, and divided into 5 sections, A, B, C, D and E. Each lesson focuses  on identifying and learning one of the following: vowel chunks, bossy r chunks, consonant chunks, endings or wise Y's. The genius of this program is that the kids identiy these areas and circle them. The vowel chunks are always yellow, the consonant chunks blue, etc. In this way, the kids learn to see the words in phonetic "chunks" versus individual letters. There is tons of repetition built in to each lesson and by the end of a lesson, the kids are writing it from dictation.
You can see how Flower circled the consonant chunks and vowel chunks by color- vowel chunks yellow and consonant chunks- blue.
Wild Tales begins with nursery rhymes and has an animal theme. The lay-out is simple, but bright and colorful. Each picture coordinates with the text. While Flower is far beyond the reading level of Wild Tales, this was a perfect place to start with spelling. From Day One her spelling improved. Not just a little, but significantly. She started writing letters to friends again (something she's been avoiding since she realized she wasn't quite up to speed with spelling), leaving little notes around the house and in her Dad's lunch. What joy to see her confidence grow by leaps and bounds!
American focuses on all things American. Part 2 even has Mt. Rushmore on the cover (we live in the Territories, y'all!). Each days worth of spelling reiterates some small snippet of American History. Part of Flower's history for the year is to finish reading an American History book used in Co-op last year. Spelling You See's American ties in beautifully, reiterating simple stories.

Spelling You See: Wild Tales (Level C)
Spelling You See: American (Level D)

One of the things that makes this so successful is that the program is not "grade level" dependent. The student starts wherever they are, gaining mastery quickly and painlessly. Flower did several components of a lesson a day, blazing through Wild Tales, gaining spelling mastery along the way. In no way did she feel that she was behind or less than. The sentences and stories are complex enough to engage even those way beyond reading wise. Each section of a lesson takes about 10 minutes. We did spelling every day because Flower was highly motivated and enjoyed the lessons. The copywork and dictation are something she's done for English for years, so this was nothing new. Also, the spelling has to do with words the kids would use in every day language. The focus is on spelling mastery; so there's not a lot of bells, whistles and extras thrown in. And for that, I am grateful. I'm all about the simplistic, straightforward and effective!
Spelling You See: Listen and Write (Level A)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $20

Spelling You See: Jack and Jill (Level B)
Instructor’s Handbook $16
Student Pack $30

Spelling You See: Wild Tales (Level C)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $30

Spelling You See: American (Level D)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $30

Spelling You See: American Spirit (Level E)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $30

This program is geared for elementary students, or for those who need remedial help in spelling.
Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Are You a Stuck at Home Homeschooler?

We've homeschooled for a long time. We homeschooled in a mega-tropolis, in a dusty cow-town, in military housing, in the far north and the southwest and the Midwest, in the car, going coast to coast and at living history museums, science museums and about every where in between.
What about you?

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lilla Rose Review and Give-Away

Lilla Rose

True Confessions. The picture below is a display of what has been my hair wardrobe for many years.
Nothing fancy, lots of function, inexpensive and enough hair style possibilities to change it up every once in a while.
Highly functional and totally bling-free.
Recently, I was presented with the opportunity to try out some Lilla Rose products. 
Not only try out some Lilla Rose myself, but give a GG reader the opportunity to win a fantastic Lilla Rose hair piece as well.
Flower and I had a great time pouring over the on-line catalog and decided on Flexi-clips- Lilla Rose's masterpiece of sorts, based on our consultant, Allison's, recommendation.
Perfection in a hair accessory.
The genius of the flexi is multi-fold.
Give me a minute to sing it's Praises!
For starters, every single Lilla Rose piece I looked at is beautiful.. Flower and I had spent a couple of hours looking at the on-line catalog because there are tons of styles to choose from, and each one has something to commend it. You could create an entire hair accessory ward-robe from the Lilla Rose catalog.
There are no pesky parts to lose.  All of the parts of the flexi stay together. The "stick" moves freely, but is cleverly attached, so that it can never get lost; it's all just one flexible piece.
Hard core- durability. These are not wimpy, plastic, poorly made hair accessories. These are hardworking hair accessories to keep your style going and your hair up.
Cost effective bling- who doesn't love that? The flexis that we chose were around $16 each. I've worn mine countless times in the past 2 months. I mean, seriously, a $16 accessory like this will cost me just pennies per wearing by the time all is said and done. I can see these hair pieces lasting for years.
These beautiful babies are comfortable. I've worn my flex-clip to the gym. Have you ever tried to use weight lifting machines with a hard plastic clip in your hair? -frustrating because the plastic is unforgiving, meaning you can't lean your head against the mat and just concentrate on breathing and lifting. Rubber bands aren't uncomfortable but if you have long hair they don't always keep your hair out of the way. With the flexi-clip, you seriously won't even notice you have something in your hair if you lay down on it. It really is flexible- cue the Incredibles music and pretend you are Elasta-Girl!
So, really for sports enthusiasts with hair that needs to cooperate, Lilla Rose is a company you are going to want to check out! Wouldn't coordinating hair clips or flexi's be the cutest for a team to wear?
There are different sizes to choose from. I chose the medium size because I have very fine hair but a ton of it. Flower has my hair times two, so she chose the large.
 There are tons of ways to use the flexi and we've tried a couple of different styles. My fav is just a bun twist. The picture above is the real thing. I might have even taken this picture after I worked and worked out, so while you can see fly-aways, please notice that my hair is still up and in place after a full day of my taking my glasses on and off (meaning on the top of my head and then on my face), leaning against gym mats, etc. Flower got a bit more creative. This girl plays hard, outside and up trees, and the flexi stayed in place.
Allison Friedrich is the Independent Lilla Rose Consultant I've been working with to give you this fantastic give-away. She was incredibly helpful about the products, and a joy to work with. She has graciously agreed to give one GG reader a free item of their choice ( up to $16). The most difficult thing for the winner will be deciding which Lilla Rose item they want to make their own.

Let me say, too, that they have a fantastic hostess plan. If you see lots of hair accessories that you want, host a party; Allison can do this for you even long-distance. Hosting a party would be a wonderful idea for a bridal or baby shower, a little girls birthday (or an older Moms one!), for a sports team wanting to show team spirit or just for a fun get together.

Lilla Rose features a Flexi-of the month, meaning that there isn't going to be a shortage of beautiful designs. Not only does the company offer flexi-clips, but there some gorgeous pins, beautiful headbands and even badge holders - need a great gift for a teacher or nurse? Look no further, Lilla Rose offers badge bling. Check out the entire Lilla Rose Product Line

And if you are looking for a fantastic business opportunity, touch base with Allison about signing up to be a Lilla Rose Consultant.
So, how do you enter to win? I am so glad you asked!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

The Scalpel Report

This week was full of trips to town, a 1/2 hour spent with a man with a scalpel and stitches with an admonition to not talk for a few days. Boy howdy, I wish I could have videotaped Dr. Dh's reaction (along with a few other un-named personages who know who they are!). I thought he was gonna need a hernia repair from laughing so hard.

So, we got a little creative with school. Lit is my fall back and basically the kids took turns reading aloud Around the World in 80 Days, my first Poppins Book Club review. This book has some particularly fantastic verbiage to it's credit, even if you don't make a complete geographic unit study out of it (which would be easy to do). School also included lots of soaking in the sunshine and walks to the river due some of the 50 degree days, personal reading with some math thrown in and I'm calling it good.
Check out these beauties! You know how I've mentioned that my kids rue the fast approaching day when Perplexors are done? A visit to the Teacher's store and guess what, More Perplexors. So we picked up C's and D's. These babies are not for the faint of heart. We left with a bag full of 'em and smiles all around. Love that.
Watched some of History Channel's Noah. Right off, the heavily English-accented announcer, a must have for any History Channel production, says, "Noah was an Ancient Renaissance man." Did I just hear that right? Yes, yes I did.  My inner history timeline function just shorted.

So the locust/weed child that we live with (you know the type, they go through your kitchen like a flock of locusts eating everything in sight and then sprout like weeds before your very eyes) can't even fit in the jeans I bought for him at Christmas. Thankfully, shorts season is about here, which is about the only retaliation the Mother of above said child has.

One of the office applications I use, like daily, has a serious ninja function. Basically, if I'm looking for something- something I get, that I've done, that I did years ago in former jobs, it is impossible to find. Ninja-like. I need anti-ninja spray or something. 

Lit love, baby.
Both Sarah Addison Allen and Malcolm Gladwell have new books out. Cue library search. The wait list is a bit long, but it'll be worth it. Mystical fiction. I just love the sound of the genre, and Addison Allen can dish it up with panache. Maxwell is every sociologists dream writer- pithy, witty and wise, and with that hair, seriously why wouldn't you want to read what he wrote? Even if you don't agree with him, it's mull-worthy stuff, every time.

Listened in on a friend mulling over classical ed, beauty and children's birthright this week.In response to utilitarianism I went in search more color, discovering some glass beads, river rock and a sweet flat dish, done up in crackle finish. I might spray it antique white, but for now I like it as is, with the addition of a few candles hidden in the depths of my buffet.

Speaking of beauty- you ARE going to want to read my Lila Rose review and sign up for the give-away. I love their flexi-clip. Function and beauty all wrapped up together.

So, I moustache you, how was your week?

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Filling in the Blanks

I'm really grateful today for people who fill in the blanks in other people's lives.

A friend got a hold of me yesterday, seeking help for someone who needed surgery 6 hours from home. She has no car, not enough food and is relying on others to get her from here to there and back again. While she is here- 6 hours from home- she needs to get to her specialist, get the hospital, get to her hotel, have someone pick her up from surgery, help with meals, and someone to assist her as she waits for her ride back home-6 hours away.
Several phone calls and explanations later this friend of a friend will have transportation, food, concern and love bestowed on her because Monica cared enough and Susan, Beth, Laurie and Derek took the time, sacrificed really, their time and money to show love to a stranger.

Instead of "Everybody's awesome," a truer rendition of the song should go, "Everybody's busy." But I consider what it could be like to need surgery- actually that's up close and personal as I have a surgical "procedure" scheduled today- without resources and just trusting oneself to the care of God with no obvious "net." So today I'm thankful for the many "nets" I live with, along with the good folks above who are filling in the blanks for someone in need.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Carnival of Homeschooling- Still Winter Edition

It's been a long winter 'round here. And it's still happening- today was a day full of blowing snow, school closures and other winter nonsense. So, yeah, we are all about a change of season, and soon Till then, we are getting lots of school done, including tons of reading, read-alouds, CD-listening, DVD watching, and texts gone through.
In that vein, Not a Stepford Wife talks about something we're probably all feeling about now, even though it's March; given the cold and snowy winter we've all experiences:February Blahs
Henry Cate of Why Homeschool shares an essay: University essay from a homeschooler, a letter his daughter wrote which helped her be accepted to the university of her choice.

Florida Homeschooling presents Homeschooling for Free (or close to it).- great information about the plethora of resources available to anyone.


Matt and Kristen O'Hara of Little Homies share some - Indoor Winter Crafts 
And Sandbox to Socrates just hosed their first Science Week- tons of posts, links, apps and more!

Next week's Carnival will be hosted by  March 2014 - Janice Campbell Taking Time For Things That Matter
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mango Languages- TOS Review

Mango Languages Review
Our latest review adventure was with Mango Languages  using the Mango Homeschool Edition
Mango Languages Review
You might already be familiar with Mango Languages. They have been the #1 library language learning program in the country for three years running. Our stellar library system offers Mango for free. That is, you have access to one level of one language. A yearly subscription with Mango Homeschool Edition, affords you  unlimited access to as many of the 61 languages offered as you want.
Geared towards students ages 6- 100,  Mango Languages allows you to learn at your own pace; meaning your linguistically literate kids can speed ahead while busy and less language oriented Mom can linger at her own pace. Another fantastic feature is that you can pick up your language studies anywhere, anytime. Mango Homeschool Edition is available to you via PC, Mobile apps for iPhone, iPod touch and Android devices; it is designed to work equally well on whatever operating system you choose to access it from.
Mango Homeschool Edition currently includes the following pprogram features:
Over 60 different languages (including Pirate- Ahoy there, Matey!- how fun is that?!)
Progress Assessments
Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
Collaborative learning spaces
eNote messaging
/chat rooms
Access to embedded/downloadable content
Support from other community members
Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups
In addition, Mango Homeschool Edition will be adding the following features over the next several months:
Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring – including seat time (for students and parents)
Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)
Resume and Portfolio Builders
Mango Languages Review
Once you pick a language, you begin your journey!

Journey 1 covers the following topics:

Greetings, Gratitude, Goodbye
Inquiring About Someones Nationality
Asking What Languages Someone Speaks
Names and Introductions
Getting Around
Shopping and Payment
Drinks and Dining
Numbers and Currency
Getting Help
Asking for Clarification
Mango Languages Review
Mango Languages is a program that teaches language learning through Narration. The student hears and repeats words, phrases and common questions. This is a terrific way to gain familiarity with a language that you have access to through other means (i.e. a grandparent, neighbor, exchange student, etc), a trip abroad that you don't have time for in-depth language study for, or simply want your student exposed to one or more foreign languages. Rock solid overview and auditory familiarity are the strengths of this program.
Because of the structure of Mango, there are no grammar drills, no flashcards, no studying beyond the on-line lesson.  If you are looking for a comprehensive program which allows the student to understand the grammar and structure of what they hear (a requirement of true language acquisition), you will need to look further than this program.
Cub and Flower were the recipients of this review- Cub chose to study Norwegian and Flower chose Russian. They worked very independently, another strength of this program. It does not require any hand holding for the computer literate student. It is very easy to navigate, with beautiful and engaging graphics and full color screens. The lessons are easy and do-able, self-paced and took our kids about 20 minutes each. In other words, the perfect sized chunk of learning to engage and stick.
Mango is a great program for the self- motivated and mature learner. For my kids, who are fairly conscientious students, and want to know what they've learned, the lack of accountability bothered them a bit. It's quite easy to just skip through lessons without having to do the work, and you move forward without any skill testing. In other words, there is no guarantee that you have learned the words and phrases, no guarantee that you have mastered difficult pronunciation, before you can click and move forward. All of that being said, we did have access to a Beta version of  Mango Homeschool Edition and assignments, quizzes, testing and reporting are being re-done. .
In addition this is not a true immersion program, which immerses the student in the language, offering postitive re-inforcement for correct choices, but a narrative program; which familiarizes the student with the sounds of language. For the motivated auditory learner, Mango Languages could be a perfect fit; this program is all about listening and repeating. And too, if you have several students in your  homeschool, or desire for your students to  gain auditory familiarity with several languages Mango Languages is going to give you both, for reasonable price.
One last important note: Mango Homeschool Edition has big plans for the future- including the very near future. They do intend to add film to the program, which would make this a true immersion program, they have plans to add the information necessary to allow students to earn a high school credit by studying a language through Mango, they are working on building an international community of folks who understand languages from around the world; in other words language "tutors" available through the Mango forums.
WhileMango Languages has been around for about seven years, Mango Homeschool Edition is a new product. This is going to be a company the homeschooling community wants to keep an eye one; they are willing to listen to the concerns of the Homeschooling Community and create innovative products (on-line language learning!) that meets the unique needs of the Homeschooling family.
1 subscription is $18/month or $125/year total
2 subscriptions is $28/month or $175 /year total
3 subscriptions is $38/month or $225/year total
4 subscriptions is $48/month or $275/year total
5 subscriptions is $58/month or $325/year total
(Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate that will depend on the number in the group).
Not sure if Mango is for you? Mango Homeschool Edition does offer a 30 day free trial so that you can get hands on experience before investing. Don't forget to check out the Mango Languages Homeschool Edition website.
You can also keep up with Mango through their social media links below.

As always, check out what my fellow Crewbies have to say about this fine product: 
Click to read Crew Reviews
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Classical Ed and Lit Love

Lit lovers unit. Check out this gorgeous dress, made entirely of  Golden Books. 
Did you have Pie for Pi Day? 
Three point one four one
Five nine two six five three five
Eight nine. And so on.
(Disclaimer: I did not write this Haiku and don't know who did to give credit too).

There's a new blog on the block, Sandbox to Socrates, written by some of my virtual and irl friends. This past week was "Science Week" and they published a score of science related posts, resource lists, free apps and more. You are so going to want to check it out. StS also has a Newsletter and FB page; tons of fun resources.
I wrote the Classical Ed Terminology 101, for Sandbox to Socrates so if you are needing to get acquainted with what classical ed is all about, go there first.

Speaking of Classical Education, you are going to want to check out Roman Roads Media. They re-published the Grammar of Poetry, which is on my "must have" list, this time with a video, and are also do an amazing series on Old Western Culture, a Christian Approach to the Great Books. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you want this series. I finally had to limit the kids to 2 chapters a day, or they would just blow right through the whole series. It's not about them trying to get through the program because it's boring. It's about them trying to get through it because they are enchanted and mesmerized by the stories, the intrigue, the history, the literature and Wes Calihan's excellent ability to make history come alive. My kids are a bit under the recommended age for this program but they are thoroughly steeped in history. This program adds depth and substance to the historical framework that they've already established. LOVE IT! 

Funny Holidays Ecard: They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat! Happy Purim!
Went to a Purim Celebration, which was the fun party it was meant to be. The Rabbi had a Megillat Esther that was over 100 years old. In large print is listed all 10 of Haman's sons by name. 
FFOZ has a great CD on Purim and also mentioned the 10 sons in relation to 10 Nazi war criminals who were hung for their crimes during WWII. Fascinating connections!

School. Another week where we can honestly say, "Nailed It!" We finished up a few things this week. Famous Men of Modern Times and Perplexors D for Flower. I still need to find "D" for Cub, but for now he has his hands full with Applications of Algebra. Spelling You See is still a big win for this spring, and History of the Medieval World CD rounds out history.
We started reading Ana and the King, because Flower is so enthralled with the movie and I might just finish Talisen this week, after poking around reading it for 3 months.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!