Friday, October 21, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Park

I'm joining up at Five Minute Friday over at Heading Home. Each week she shares a prompt, and you write on that prompt for 5 minutes. This week's prompt is "park."

Here I go:

When I first saw this week's prompt, I was stumped. What in the world would I write about? Then it hit me.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, our town was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. Since we're about 70 miles inland, I don't think anyone expected the high velocity winds that we experienced. Add those winds to the supersaturated ground that we're still experiencing from last year's "Thousand Year Flood" and you have many trees that just couldn't hold their ground any more.

Our favorite park held one of those trees. This beautiful old oak tree sat at the side of the playground where my children used to play often when they were younger. During Hurricane Matthew, this tree fell, damaging the fence and playground equipment.

We pass by that park several times a week as I take my children to soccer practices, and it breaks my heart to see the park looking so bad right now. I know that eventually it will be fixed and back to "normal," but for right now, it's a sad sight.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Mail

I'm joining up at Five Minute Friday at Heading Home. Each week, she shares a prompt, and you write on that prompt for 5 minutes. This week's prompt is "Mail."


There used to be a time when I loved going out to check the mail. I'd see the mailman coming down the street, and I would get excited about what he would be putting in my mailbox that day. My mom and my grandmother would often send letters - actual letters!

Sadly, I no longer have that excitement when the mailman has come and gone. My mailbox is usually full of junk mail and bills nowadays. My mom and my grandmother both passed away a few years ago. 

I've often thought about starting the tradition of letter writing back up with my own children, even though they still live in my house. It won't be long before they are all out on their own. If I set up a routine to write a letter, that personal touch of writing it in my own hand, maybe it will mean as much to them as the letters I used to receive from my own mom meant to me. 

Everyone now is so dependent on technology - emails, texts, etc. - to communicate that I wonder if we are losing the importance of hand-writing letters.

Who would you love to get a handwritten letter from?


Thursday, October 13, 2016 Freezer Meal Plan Membership Review

Life at our house is never dull. Between soccer practices, cross country practices, and dance rehearsals, getting a good meal prepared for my family some nights is difficult (or even impossible). Using the Freezer Meal Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy has made freezer cooking so simple that I can get quality meals on the table even on our craziest days. Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

Friday, October 7, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Test

I'm joining up at Five Minute Friday at Heading Home. Each week, she shares a prompt, and you write on that prompt for 5 minutes. This week's prompt is "Test."

(This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this blog and our homeschool by using these links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Here we go...

Right now, the test that seems to be taking up all of my thoughts is the SAT. The Boy is scheduled to take his first SAT in November of this year. 

One would think that all of the pressure would be on him for this test. He, however, seems to be pretty calm, cool, and collected about it. (Although his personality is pretty laid back most of the time, so he may actually be feeling pressure and I just don't see it.)

I, on the other hand, am feeling ALL pressure. In my mind, this test will show whether or not all of our years of homeschooling have been effective. Have I failed him? 

What if he doesn't do well? That's a direct reflection of my failure, or at least it is in my mind.

To be honest, I'm sure he will do well. He has been studying and taking practice tests using the Blue Book and Khan Academy. I've been reading The Perfect Score Project and passing on to him the helpful tips that Ms. Stier shares in her book. He's been doing very well on the practice tests he's taken so far.

But still, there's that ever-present fear that I will prove to be a failure when he takes his test.


Items of interest in this post:

Everyday Education, LLC - Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers Review

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}
If there is one skill that I want my children to have nailed down by the time they graduate our homeschool and go to college, it is the ability to write well. Being able to communicate effectively is crucial to success in college and beyond. We have been using Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education, LLC to help my high school level children prepare for the transition to college.

For this review, we received the Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers - a 420-page PDF download. 

Two of my children are doing high school level English. 
  • The Boy is a junior and is actively preparing for taking the SAT and will probably be doing dual credit English at a local university next year. While the essay portion of the SAT is now optional, I would like for him to be prepared to take that portion if a college he is interested in requires it. Plus the Handbook for Writers gives instruction on many of the items tested on the writing section of the SAT.
  • Ballerina is in the 8th grade but is completing English I this year for high school credit. The Handbook for Writers has been a great supplement to the composition portion of her English curriculum, helping her to make a better transition from elementary level writing to high school level writing and hopefully better preparing her to transition again in a few years to college level writing.
One of the sections of the Handbook for Writers that I most appreciate is the section on The Importance of Defining a Focus. For many students, actually probably most students, choosing the topic or focus of what to write is the most difficult part of writing. This section shows how to start with a general, broad topic and begin to narrow down that topic until you get to a narrow, clearly defined topic. The Handbook for Writers emphasizes that "it is much better to argue in depth and at length about a narrowly defined topic than to offer a superficial cursory look at something much wider." (p.43)

Another section that has been very useful is the one about The Importance of Defining a Thesis. One of the assignments that The Boy will be completing during this semester's English is writing a research paper. After defining the focus, the second most important aspect of his paper will be his thesis statement. The Handbook for Writers offers activities in recognizing useful thesis statements, as well as hints on forming good thesis statements.

Other sections in the Handbook for Writers include:
  • Defining key terms
  • Deduction and induction
  • Organizing the main body of an argument
  • Paragraph structure
  • Paragraph functions
  • Writing arguments about literary works
  • Sample outlines for essays and research papers
  • Usage and style
  • Parallelism/Parallel structure
  • Clarity, logic, and structure
  • References and bibliographies, including MLA and APA citations
  • Formatting for essays and research papers
I am hopeful that, through studying the Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers, my children will become better writers, which will not only help them succeed in college but also in their future occupations.

You can find out more about Everyday Education, LLC and the Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers on social media:

Are you interested in what others have to say about Everyday Education, LLC? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Collect

I'm joining up at Five Minute Friday at Heading Home. Each week, she shares a prompt, and you write on that prompt for 5 minutes. This week's prompt is "Collect"

Here I go:

I used to collect things. When I was a preteen, I collected unicorn items. Everything in my bedroom seemed to have a unicorn on it.

As a college student and young adult, I started collecting angels. The angel was one of the symbols for my sorority - Pi Beta Phi.

Now that I'm a homeschooling mom of 5 not-so-small people, I guess you could say I collect books. There are books filling any possible shelf space in our house - textbooks, notebooks, fiction, nonfiction, juvenile, etc.

Some days/weeks/months, it feels like all I do is just collect books. Finding time to read them isn't always easy. I try to carve out a few minutes here and there throughout my week to actually read the books that I've been collecting.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

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