Monday, April 27, 2015

SpellingYouSee- TOS Review

Spelling You See is, hands down, one of my favorite new curriculums and by far my favorite spelling curriculum of all time!  We first reveiwed it last year, which you can read about here. When the opportunity presented itself to review the more advanced books for this program, I jumped at the chance. And now? 
I super love Spelling You See
Spelling You See Review

Flower took a spelling test to check her placement. Her spelling has improved so dramatically since using Spelling You See  last year (starting with Wild Tales) that she was placed in Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements, Book "F" in the series. The Instructor Manual is a slim guide and includes the Philosophy, the 5 Developmental Stages of Spelling, Getting Started and Lesson by Lesson Instructions. There is also a Weekly Activity Guide, FAQ and Resources. Everything you need to understand the program, how to implement and succeed at it. 

The Student Workbooks are 8 1/2 by 11 and come 2 to a level and contain 36 sections. Each section contains "chunking" (identifying vowel words and chunks, along with consonants and endings) which the student then color codes with a colored pencil, copywork and dictation. Each section has 5 days worth of activities, previewing the same source document for the entire week. Each "chunk" is color-coded so if your student stays with this program long term, they'll automatically know what color the vowel chunks, consonant chunk, etc are. Each text has a theme, with engaging text and beautiful, full color pictures.

The Program by the Week:
Day 1, 2, 3 the student chucks the groups by color, then copies the source text.
Day 4 the student chunks the groups by color, then the parent dictates the source text to the student, helping as needed.
Day 5 the student chunks the groups by color, then the parent dictates the source text to the student, offering no help. There is a place at the bottom of each page to write down number of words spelled correctly.

As Flower gained confidence and spelling skill, we speeded up the days, so that often she would be doing 2-3 or more lessons a day and 2-3 sections a week. Because she is loving having the SKILL of spelling as part of her life, she is highly motivated. Plus, there are erasable colored pencils invovled, which completely appeals to her inner artist (and as a side-note, these pencils are totally reserved for her spellling program. In her mind, that's what they are for and she NEVER uses them for anything else- I would recommned this for anyone using the program- the colors are integral to the success of gaining visual spelling mastery and they are erasable so the student can correct any mistakes while still maintaining the visual integrity of proper spelling).

This is a fantastic program.It is THE spelling program I am recommended, regardless of learning style or age. Why? Because it uses so many neural pathways to teach spelling: copywork (visual), colors (kinesthetic), dictation (auditory). We basically haven't stopped using Spelling You See since we were first introduced to it last year. My spelling challenged, now 12 year old, has improved dramatically in spelling, going from unsure about basic spelling to writing words like, "preserved" and "ancient" and "Egyptians" with ease and confidence. When she falters during dictation, I'll ask her if there were any "chunks" in the word at all. From there, she mentally "sees" the word and can, more often than not, spell it correctly. 

Did I mention that I love this curriculum? Love, love, love it. It is perfect for any speller who lacks confidence or ability, any type learner (auditory, kinesthetic or visual) and a perfect tie-in to classical ed (copywork, dictation). Not only that, it's FUN and painless. My daughter readily gets spelling out and has even been found working ahead on her own. 

If you have a faltering or poor speller (or are one yourself) do yourself a favor and gift them with Spelling You See . It will allow them to gain mastery and confidence at a rate that will astound you.

For more reviews from the imitable Crew, click here: 

Spelling You See Review

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!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Dinner/ Dance

The Spring Dinner/ Dance is always a highlight of the year. In fact, Cub gave up going to D.C. with us to stay home for this event. Mr. Will spent the week-end with the men at our house, Feeche chauffeured and chaperoned and a great time was had by all. 

The decorating crew and wait staff (parents and older sibs) go-over logistics, led by the talented and lovable Mrs.McL and Mrs. J, whose youngest is graduating this year. We've been so blessed by both of them for their community service and outreach! 

Kids are invited based on if they participate in any events sponsored by an area homeschool group and have to be high schoolers. The parents prepare and serve a mystery dinner. It's a riot and eating exploits are gleefully entertained long after the evening is over. 
Love this kid. (he's hiding the cast)

Drinks for everyone! 

Dress is dressy and that's part of the fun of it all! 

Most of these kids have had way to much dramatic experience- lol! 

Games, fitting with the theme- this year, Academy Awards! 

Part of Jannell's crew (whom I blithely stole the pics from). They have hearts as big as their smiles. Love these peeps! 

Most of these kiddos go ballroom dancing every other week so they come prepared to dance, and have a blast doing so! 
But it's not a requirement!

Dance Fever.

Tango, baby! Bob and sweet Miss. M
Rocking the Cotton Eyed Joe! 

Cutie Pies! 
It's the Cha-Cha.

Great party! Great peeps! 

@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, April 25, 2015

Home Again

Compared to the last several weeks, this one was fairly non-dramatic. We arrived home mid- Monday and Dr. Dh immediately left for an appointment in town. Tuesday, I had all day CC Director training and the kids spent the day batting at homework and enjoying the crisp spring weather.

We had our almost last co-op class and the kids dissected a frog. One of the frogs had legs and wings behind its tongue and a full blown beetle in it's stomach. The kids were grossly compelled by the sight.
Pop-quiz for poetry and we went over 25 poetry terms we've learned this year, including 10 tropes and 4 meters. The older girls are putting together a yearbook and everyone is contributing 5 poems to include. We've done a ton of poetry writing, reading, reciting and laughing. Love this class, love this curriculum (Grammar of Poetry, in case you didn't know)
Water color painting continues to inspire and Flower spends time daily water-coloring, using the various techniques she's learned. It's been a wonderful co-op. Next week, it's party and potluck! So blessed to have these friends this year!

Cub's cast came off this week and he is one happy camper- just in time for another round of ballroom dancing. He feels 20#'s lighter and a whole lot cleaner!

Scripts for Shakespeare Camp were handed out today- Love's Labor's Lost is up this year and Cub is cast as Ferdinand. He's pretty thrilled.

The kids are taking a Cartooning class next week-end at our regional homeschooling convention. Flower's been gearing up by working through the Cartooning book she got for her birthday.

Reviews aplenty coming up, including my favorite Spelling Curriculum- SpellingUSee. Until then,
Veritas Self-Paced Omnibus
Learning Palettes
Apologia What Can I Do?
Artistic Pursuits Sculpture
and a How To: Memory Master- How & Why

As always, I think summer will be a break, when it's just a different kind of busy. We have camps and Praticums and planning and work and house stuff to do that we never get to during the school year. I've already started spring cleaning by getting rid of 8 bags of clothes, a mattress and box spring and tons of curriculum. N & L didn't help much by loading us down with more gorgeous clothes for our girlie and awesome sweaters for Dr. Dh. It's nice he has a bro with great taste (maybe that's my sil!) who wears the same size and neices with modest, lovely taste in clothing. Their generosity of spirit and heart bless us in so many ways. 
@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, April 24, 2015

Memory Master- Why & How?

Last week I posted about Flower achieving the status of Classical Conversation's Memory Master.
What exactly is that, you ask?  Memory Master means that a student has mastered the 24 weeks of memory work in 7 subject areas to the point that they can recite it word- perfect, not just once, but multiple times.

In order to achieve Memory Master, kids go through 4 proofs. Week21- parent proof, Week 22 other parent proof, Week 23 Tutor Proof, Week 24 Director Proof. The third proof is actually the most rigorous as the student must go through the entire year's worth of memory work with 100 % accuracy. The first three proofs take about 2 hours each. This is a test of knowledge as well as stamina and performance!
What did we do? CC Cycle 3
This year the kids memorized over 400 pieces of information
160 point Timeline that includes people and events
24 History Sentences based on the cycle (this year was Cycle 3 so Age of Exploration to the present), including the Bill of Rights and Preamble to the Constitution
44 Presidents
120 geographic features and locations in the U.S.- states and capitals, rivers, mountains, deserts, bays, canals, great lakes, historical trails, territories, prominent features
24 science facts, focusing on Human Anatomy and Chemistry
Latin rules and vocabulary and John 1:1-7 in Latin
English grammar- focusing, on verbs and John 1:1-7
Multiplication tables through 15 X 15, squares, cubes, geometric formulas, unit conversions and algebraic rules.
Word Perfect. 
It's a big deal. 

How did we do it? 
1- Flower made the decision to do it. This was a huge part of the task, because without internal buy-in, you will be kicking and screaming and so will they (because, believe me, even with a highly motivated child who memorizes well, this will take intentional time and effort on the part of the parent).
2- We jumped ahead on memory work by weeks, going through week 24 by week 12.
3- Then, we followed the weekly review schedule on 1/2 Hundred Acre Woods, going over 2 subject areas, in their entirety,once a week. We also went over John 1: 17 in Latin and English and the Presidents 3 times a week,
4- The CD's were integral to our program, as Flower listened to the Subject CD each day that she proofed that subject areas, went through the Timeline at least twice a week and did the weekly CD 3 times per week. That's a lot of listening!
5- We formed a Memory Master wanna-be study group with others in our community and met several times together to drill, play games and offer encouragement- all 3 participants succeeded in their goal of attaining MM!

Why did we do it? 
1 -There is the obvious answer is proving that you can. Some kids are ready for a rigorous academic challenge. Some kids want to know that they can go up against something hard and win.
2 - As is proved to me in living color each year during Shakespeare Camp season, there is deep and meaningful learning that takes place by the very act of committing information to long term memorization. One's understanding grows and develops, even if the only thing you do is memorize (that's why Memory is the Mother of learning).
3- Your kids will learn what it takes to work for and accomplish something difficult
4 - Along with #3, your kids will always have this as a benchmark in their lives that they can refer to and draw strength and courage from
5- It prepares students for the rigor and fun of the Dialectic and Rhetoric stage, as they have vast amounts of knowledge committed to memory- they own it and it is theirs to draw from and refer to at will, for the rest of their life! What a gift!
6- You will have the added benefit of younger kids learning more than they would have if there wasn't a Memory Master student in their house and the added benefit of older students (including Momma- redeeming 2 generations at a time, baby!) reviewing material they've already over viewed or mastered- either way, it's a two-fer! 

What if they work hard and don't make Memory Master? Celebrate the time on task anyway. Perhaps they accomplished 1-6 subject areas perfectly. Do something to reward that. Take the first two proofing's very seriously and if the kids can't pass them, re-focus, celebrate what they've done and commit to next year. 

What if they work hard and do make Memory Master? In our community that means community recognition and a Memory Master's t-shirt. In our house, that also meant a reward of choice- for Flower that's a trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo (complete with brothers in tow!). Road trip, animals and family are where it's at for our happy, talented Memory Master. 

@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, April 22, 2015

D.C. in Five

After a  full day of hotel snafoos and conferencing. 

 It was a crazy fast trip and we crammed a lot in, including a Crab-fest at Abners on the Chesapeake (yes, Flower was as tired as she looks in the picture above). Her comment, when dinner was served, "We just dissected this in Science- I can't eat that!- She proceeded to prove her distaste for seafood by projecting her entire dinner across the hotel room in the dead of night). 

The weather could not have been more perfect- high 70's and blooming everything- trees and flowers galore- it smelled and felt wonderful!

Flower left the Lincoln Memorial saying, "Lincoln was a great man." 

We couldn't have asked for a better CC Cycle 3 Field Trip-fun times! 

And a different river-front- we had just enough time to say "Hi" to a few Midwestern peeps.

@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, April 19, 2015

Fast and Furious

(Cub as George Washington. I think the blue cast adds a particularly authentic flavor).
Monday the kids spent the day putting the finishing touches on their Faces of History Presentation. This consisted of participating in a "Wax Museum," handing in a research paper, and presenting, in costume, a 5 minute presentation of their History Person of Choice. Cub choose George Washington and Flower, Shirley Temple. Her super thick hair and our crazy life left much to be desired in the 50 curl department. As I mangled her hair in the women's bathroom of the church over lunch-time, she looked at me woefully and said, "Nailed it." We left it at that and she did Shirley in costume, sans curls.

Tuesday we had our End of Year Celebration for CC which included a community wide-Review, presentation of our 3 Amazing Memory Masters! (Way to go Miss, P, Miss. D and Flower!). So very proud of all of them!- the Chicken Dance ala Essentials Class, the Wax Museum, lunch and Faces of History for Essentials.

The Tutors met for Dinner that night- we had a  great time sharing successes, challenges and laughing our heads off! What a FUN and talented group of women to have hung around with all year!

Wednesday we packed and Flower, Dr. Dh and I headed east with a short evening and then a super long day of driving. D.C. here we come. Dr. Dh loved his conference and then we took a trip out to Chesapeake Bay, ate Crab and walked in sand.The next day we did  quick blast through several Memorials before heading east again where we stopped at our favorite Aunt and Uncles, ate a quick lunch with the newlyweds at the Riverfront and then kept going.

We got home about a day late, did massive bed-bug de-tox and proceeded to immediately go to work. Meanwhile, the boys had gone dancing, attended the annual Spring Dinner Dance and attended graduation parties in our absence.

Flower was thrilled that we actually touched the places she's studied so hard this year in Geography.
Missouri River, Mississippi River, Ohio River, O & E Canal (o.k., not one we studied but a canal, nevertheless), the Great Valley, the Allegheny Mnts, Chesapeake Bay, Cumberland Road, Eastern Woodlands, Plains, along with 9 states, as well as the District of Columbia. Not a bad end of Cycle 3 field trip, though she is still counting on her Zoo Day as reward for MM>

We say 3 semi-accidents, including an overturned truck on a mountain pass, late at night, in the rain (o.k., closer than saw- we almost hit the truck). Flower ended up sick as a dog (projectile vomiting) every bite of sea-food she ate and declared with resolution the next day that she hated sea-food. It rained and rained and rained and rained until we hit Iowa. Then clear, open skies all the way home. The flower trees and balmy spring weather on the east coast were lovely.

@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, April 15, 2015

My 2 Lefties

We've had 2 Southpaws in the house this month; 

one by birth, one by break. 

This is what happens when you ask brothers to pose for a picture. They can't just stand there, looking nice and all, they have to wrestle, man-handle and probably end up in a pile on the floor. 
@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, April 11, 2015

The End in Sight

It was another busy week. Tuesday Flower did her final Memory Master proof, and along with 2 other crazy hard workers in our CC community earned the imitable title of MM! Way to go, kiddos! (Way to go, MM Mommas!)
We went right from that to putting on the finishing touches to the Faces of History paper and presentation. One more week, 2 more papers and our 20 paper, zillion chart Essentials year is over. It's been good. Our diagramming skills have improved. Our grammar mastery has improved and we get what makes a correct sentence. Coupled with IEW, we get what makes a GOOD sentence!

Challenge A is right around the corner and I am gearing up. Can't wait to jump in. This is going to be one of my big curriculum purchases of the year. Basement wall, get ready!
Cub is almost through the History of the Ancient World. His recent comments have ranged from, "EW, Ancient Greeks were disgusting," to "EW, Ancient Scythians were disgusting." Yeah, pagan societies tend to curl ones toes. Even with that he is a total SWB fan-boy.

Thursday we did more dissection- a starfish this week. Ew. Gross. More water color techniques (Flower has turned into a watercolor fool), and poetry. This week I had the kids divide up in to groups. On group wrote a Trochaic refrain, then gave their refrain away. The next group wrote a stanza, using the refrains theme, in Iambic. We are having a great time in Poetry- which might seem crazy but the kids laugh and laugh. I love how we have a group of 8-16 year olds, of all sorts of talent and ability and the amazing writing they are doing collectively and individually. It is really thrilling to see them in the room, tapping out meter, wrestling with words and laughing out loud, every single week. Love that. 

We had rain this week and it is budding and greening up around here. Of course, 'cause it's spring, the wind has to blow, so we've had plenty of that too.
We watched The Imitation Game. A brilliant mind and a tragic ending. Bizarre how Bruce Jenner is willingly undergoing the same type of treatment that pushed Turing to suicide and is willingly castrating himself, complete with media fan-fare. What is considered torture in one age is considered privilege and enlightenment in another.

Roman Roads Media: The Greeks
Veritas Press Self Pace Curriculum,
Artistic Pursuits- Sculpture
Grammar of Poetry
As you look at putting together High School Homeschool, check out
Homeschooling High School
Cause the news, you know, can't report anything not politically correct. These students were sorted out: Christian/ Non-Christian. The Christians were then murdered in cold blood. This was an attempt by Muslim fundamentalists to incite retaliation so that the blood flowed. Praying for the families left behind, for the students who watched their classmates slaughtered, for the murderers- may their hearts be changed and may God bring new life in the midst of this destruction.

@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!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together" by Carol Burnett is just as witty and funny as her television show. I was actually lol at one point reading it and the kids asked what I was reading.
" A book by Carol Burnett."
"I'm so glad we had this time together..." and I sweetly sang them the song, complete with ear tug at the end (o.k. admittedly my voice cracked at the "and before ya know it"  part, but still.

They looked at me with their mouths hanging open. Not because I broke into song. I do that more often than you might think. But because I acted like the song should be somehow meaningful. And it was. To me.

See, we seriously need NetFlicks cause then I could bring old re-runs of The Carol Burnett show  into our home and we could all laugh together at the antics of Tim and Harvey and Eunice and Momma. That didnt' really work when I showed them old Steve Martin King Tut routines on YouTube but then that was 80's humor. They just stared at me as I lol with their mouths hanging open asking, "Why is this funny?!"
Carol's humor was more decidedly 70's. And honestly, I don't mind laughing last, or alone. So, yea, we need NetFlicks. I just haven't convinced Viking Man of the need yet. I think I should approach it from an educational pov, like, say, we could stream NOVA. Working out a strategy here....

It's a fun and satisfying read but a true blue funny lady who is just as warm in print as on the small screen.

Memory Master 2014

This gorgeous girlie made Memory Master. Word perfect recitation of over 400 facts, learned in 24 weeks.
3 complete 2-hour proofs and one review proof of 6 subject areas: Latin, Math, English, Science, History sentences, Geography In addition she recited John1: 1-7 in both Latin and English, all 50 U.S. Presidents and a Timeline from Creation to September 11, consisting of 160 peoples and places and events.
Flower and three other hard working young ladies earned the imitable title of Memory Master for our Classical Conversations Community. Good stuff, that. 

@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, April 4, 2015

Image result for symphony image
Monday saw the kids at the Symphony, listening to Holst, the Planets. The symphony does this quarterly as part of an educational outreach, so they stopped the actual playing frequently to teach and explain and show a slide show. My kids wanted to just listen, but it was still very much worth going to AND it fits into our last 6 weeks of Fine Arts study at CC. Two-fer.

Cycle 3 Memory Master - Youth Medium
Flower worked herself in to an exhausted ball of intelligence this week practicing, reviewing, listening, white-boarding and mapping over 400 facts that she needs to know verbatim in order to attain the status of Memory Master. She had 2 (count them, TWO), 2 hour proofs on Friday- one in the morning with another CC Mom, and one in the afternoon with another CC Tutor. She passed, though the 6th to last question with the Tutor- what Bay is this? (on the West Coast), gave her pause. As in, I thought she was going to totally miss it. But then she started at the east coast and made her way through the Bays until she landed on San Francisco Bay- woohoo. And her final proof is tomorrow with our Director-baboom, baby. We go over everything again today but it's only 5-6 facts from each of the 7 subject areas. She said that it was the length of testing that did her in- it's just exhausting being "on" for so long.

MUS Algebra arrived and I think it's going to be a really good thing. Visual, kinesthetic and accessible. I think we're doing the total family cross-over. Flower is game, as she loves Spelling U See, and that's a good enough endorsement for her. Plus manipulative's. Gotta love 'em.

Thursday the kids dissected mussels- full of mud and guts. We divided up into groups for poetry and the kids had to write about Easter in Iambic, with a refrain. Great stuff, that. Loving how they are totally rocking the Iambic world. The week we are doing a round-robin poem with a combo of iambic  and trochaic meter and refrain. And water-color painting. Flower has been water coloring every spare minute. Amazing how a few irl techniques can inspire a kid!

Cub had 1/2 a cast removed on Thursday after x-rays. So, instead of a full arm cast he has a partial arm cast. He is soooo happy about that but c.a.n.n.o.t. wait until he has the whole thing g.o.n.e.. He has been a great sport about it but desperately hopping the whole thing is gone before the spring dinner/dance. It's hard to look snappy with an icky cast along for the ride.

Spent Good Friday at a Passover celebration with a local church/friends. Good stuff.

Did some Practicum speaker training for Dr. Dh and West River Speaker on Saturday. Super great stuff! If you in education, get yourself to a Classical Conversations Practicum. You'll learn so much 
about Classical Education, Christian Education and Teaching Science. Not to be missed! 

@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!