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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Weekend Meal Planning (Late Edition)


I'm posting this a few days late (okay, a lot of days late - as in a few minutes it will officially be Friday lol )  but Sunday was not a good day.. After waking up at 330am and driving to the Los Angeles airport, I once again put my husband on a plane and sent him off for military training.   We will be separated for yet another month (he just got back from a 6 week training in Texas back in June), having him return in mid October. 


So, while he's gone, we will again be eating fairly cheap.   While the military takes care of his hotel and even rented a car for him while he's there,  we have to pay for his meals out of pocket until we are reimbursed.  This means having to budget for twice the amount of meals.  I'm trying to keep things fairly healthy (although  I admit hot pockets don't fall into that category) but I'm sticking to very simple meals while he is away.


Sunday - Lasagna with french bread and salad

Monday - Hot Pockets with Chips (Garrett's request)

Tuesday - Tostadas with mexican rice and Salad

Wednesday - Steak Bites with mushrooms and tomatoes with Baked potato and broccoli



Thursday - Personal homemade Caprice pizza with salad  (pepperoni and cheese for kids)



Friday - lemony tuna and olive oil pasta with salad

Saturday - BBQ chicken sandwiches with chips




Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Moparty on the Blvd 2019



This year, I was honored to be asked by the Antelope Valley Mopar club to be the offically photographer for the 20th Annual Moparty on the Blvd.  Moparty is a large car show that showcases Mopar vehicles (Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep) from today and yesterday.  With nearly 200 cars, I had my work cut out for me.  Here are some of my favorite shots from the show.  























Tuesday, September 17, 2019

City Creek Press (A Homeschool Crew Review)



I'll be the first to admit, I never really memorized my multiplication tables.  As much as it was drilled into me, I never could get them stuck in my head for quick recall.  Years later, it does appear that my kids are falling to a similar fate.  However, for the past few weeks, we have been using Online Times Alive , an online, browser based program from City Creek Press, Inc. that teaches students their multiplication tables in a fun way. 




Based on the popular book by the same name, Times Alive Online teaches students all the multiplication tables started with the 0's on to the 9s using animated stories, songs, matching games and speed drills.  As the student learns the story associated with the visual representation of the multiplication fact, they then have a brain-picture that will help them to remember the multiplication fact.   The stories use characters that look like the number they represent, while the story helps the create the association of that number with the picture.  In theory, when the student then sees the numbers on their homework, they will remember the visual picture from the story and then come to the correct answer for the problem. 

The program keeps track of your student's progress as they work thru each lesson.  Once the student logs into the website, the lesson list is visible and shows which lessons have been completed and which ones are still needing to be done.  Lessons utilize the animated stories and  songs that reinforce the multiplication fact story as well as painting activities and repetitive activities to help the student to remember each fact. 


Times Alive also provides a Student Progress Report that tracks when the student has completed each lesson, and how they did on the practice quizzes/speed drills. 


The kids have worked their way thru the Times Alive program and are both nearly thru with it, with only a few lessons left to go.  And it does seem as if it has helped significantly with their memorization of their multiplication tables.   However, I would not say full retention has happened from just one time thru the lessons.  While they do remember the stories, they often need a verbal clue to remind them of which story they need to remember when doing their multiplication work away from the Times Tables program.   For example,  they have done the lesson that covers 6x8, however, when they come to that problem on their math homework, they usually draw a blank.  However, when I say something like "birthday cake", they remember the "Cake is Four the Eight"  and come up with the correct answer. 


I don't think this is a problem with the program, I think this just shows why the program's lessons should be repeated more than one time with the student.


Online Times Alive has been received quite well with the kids in our house.  While it's been a slow process for them, it has been making a difference, but I think we will continue to take advantage of the full 6 months of the subscription that we were given to allow the kids to continuously review the stories and multiplication facts to really cement it into their head.


For more information about Online Times Alive and City Creek Press, Inc., be sure to visit their website.  You can also find more in formation on the following social media platforms:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LearnMultiplication/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesTablestheFunWay
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/citycreekpress/

Don't forget to click the banner below to read what other members of the Review Crew thought about Online Times Alive. 


Online Times Alive {City Creek Press, Inc. Reviews}

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Easy Grammar Plus (A Homeschool Crew Review)


Members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given their choice of 7 grammar instruction books from Easy Grammar Systems.   For our own homeschool, we opted to review Easy Grammar Plus, a middle school level book, for Ashleigh and Garrett to work thru together.  Easy Grammar Plus is written by Wanda C. Phillips, Ed.D.


Easy Grammar Plus is most often used for 7th grade students, however, it would be good for most middle school level students as well as anyone who would like to improve their understanding of grammar. 


With 694 pages and 14 sections, this book presents a very solid grammar foundation.  With easy to follow lessons and cumulative tests following each section, students won't feel overwhelmed but will still end up with a good understanding of the structure of the English language and the rules that govern it.

Covered in Easy Grammar Plus:

Prepositions
Verbs
Nouns
Interjections
Conjunctions
Adjectives
Types of Sentences
Sentences, Fragments, and Run-Ons
Phrases and Clauses
Adverbs
Pronouns
Punctuation
Capitalization
Letter Writing

Also included is an 8 page pre/post assessment test. It is requested that students take the test before beginning any lessons.  This assessment is then scored (a rubix for grading the assessment is included at the back of the book) and the student then beings the lessons.   The same assessment is then give to the student once they have completely the book.

Lessons and activities are pretty black and white, literally. But that's okay.   There's no crazy illustrations to distract, it's just the information needed in order to teach the lesson.  Example are given in the lesson, making it easy for me to write the example on our dry eraser board and have the kids walk me thru what they need to do.


The first section of this book focuses very heavily on working with prepositions.  Students are asked to be able memorize and recall from their memory a total of 53 common prepositions before beginning the activities in the book.  This took us a bit longer than I would have liked, as we spent a good three weeks going over those prepositions and writing them out.  We even posted them on our wall and I told the kids each time they walked past the sheet, they needed to stop and recite the list.   However, after three weeks, they knew them by memory.

Ashleigh was thrilled when she was able to recite her prepositions from memory. 
One the kids had memorized, we started working on the activities in the book.   I simply print out the assignments for both kids, teach the lesson included in the book, and then the kids and I would work on the assignment.   The directions for each activity is pretty clear and conscience, with examples included in the lesson so the kids aren't left trying to figure it out. 

Ignore the horrible copy - my printer cartridge was on it's last leg at the time. 

I really do like this book, and I am looking forward to using this over the next year and possibly longer.   However, I do find that the bulk of this book makes it a bit more difficult to use when making copies for both of my kids.  With so many page, the printer cannot close over the book and the weight of the book causes it to want to slide down off the printer.  Luckily, the border closest to the binding is quite expansive, so I am considering taking the book to an office supply store, have the binding trimmed off and then have holes punched in.  That way, I can put the pages in a large binder and then easily pull the desired pages out to copy when needed.  However, a digital version of this book is available, as well as a physical student workbook that can be given to the student to avoid having the print from the book. Both of these options would eliminate the need to balance the book on a copier.

#hsreviews #grammar, #curriculum, #languagearts, #homeschool, #easygrammar, #dailygrams

For more information about Easy Grammar Systems, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media sites:



Members of the Crew were given their choice of 7 offerings from Easy Grammar Systems, covering a wide range of Grade Levels from early elementary, middle and high school.  Click the banner below to find out an option that might work for your student's needs.

Easy Grammar, Daily GRAMS & Easy Grammar Ultimate {Easy Grammar Systems Reviews}


Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Weekly Wrapup


Summer is officially over for the kids and they are back in school full time now.  Monday marked day 1 of our new school year.

For this year, the kids have a full load.  Both kids are starting the day with using "A Gentle Feast" - Cycle 1 Morning time, followed with Apologia General Science,  CTC Math, and Mammoth Math Grade 5, IEW's Fix-It-Grammar: The Nose Tree, and American History: Columbus to 1914 for their core courses.  We are also currently using the Little House on the Prairie Literature study from Progeny Press for these first few weeks of class.  We are also using several supplements - Elephant Learning ( an upcoming review item) and nature studies using the Handbook of Nature Study.

Individually, the kids both have their own electives and instrument lessons.  For foreign language, Garrett is using Elementary Greek 1 from Memoria Press while Ashleigh is continuing with Latina Christiana , also from Memoria Press.  Garrett has requested Introduction to Architecture for his elective, Ashleigh has begin with Introduction to Photography.  Ashleigh is also using drawing lessons from Creating a Masterpiece and Renaissance art history using HIGASFY (both upcoming review items). Finally, starting next week, Garrett has chosen to continue with Violin lessons while Ashleigh is starting with the piano. Both will be using the Suzuki method and are beginning with the Twinkle Twinkle variations. 

One thing different is for this year is that we have moved to the kitchen table to do our lessons.  Why it's taken us this long, I don't honestly know, maybe because when we started schooling they were so small and had to actually sit on the table to do anything.. So we always just did lessons in the living room.  I'm glad to move to the dining room


Experiment regarding buoyancy of an egg in salt water. 


Garrett working on his first Greek Lesson


Listening to Music with Soundsory (another upcoming review item)
Working on questions from Little House on the Prairie 


Thank goodness Picket can not understand what we are reading!!!!



In addition to starting school for the year, the girls also started AWANA for the year.  Alyssa is once again going to be a leader for the Sparks while Ashleigh is in T&T again.  



Until next week :)
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