Saturday, March 25, 2017

Crazy Season

I'm beginning to think that every season is a crazy season at my house.

Right now we are smack in the middle of high school soccer season. That means practices every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday for The Boy and Soccer Girl and games every Tuesday and Friday night.

Soccer season for Sassy is still going on as well - practices on Mondays and Thursdays and games most weekends at least an hour away. Today she played with one of the other teams in our club and she'll have 2 games for her own team tomorrow.

Most days I'm not sure if I'm coming or going. I keep reminding myself that this is just a season in my life, and that one day I will miss all of the craziness.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Circle C Stepping Stones Books Review

Kregel Publications

My girls love to read, which makes me extremely happy. Finding wholesome books for them to read, however, can sometimes be difficult. Sassy has been enjoying reading Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top by Susan K. Marlow from Kregel Publications. These books about faith and family definitely qualify as quality reading material that I feel comfortable allowing her to read.

Andi Saddles Up
Andi Under the Big Top
For this review, we received Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top. Both of these are softcover chapter books written by Susan K. Marlow with black and white illustrations done by Leslie Gammelgaard.

These books are the first and second books in the Circle C Stepping Stones series. This series is aimed at ages 7 to 10 and is set in the late 1800s. To begin the series, Andi is nine and her horse Taffy is three. This series includes six books in all and is a continuation of from the Circle C Beginnings series that focuses on Andi at age six. There are also two other series that focus on Andi and Taffy - Circle C Adventures for ages nine to twelve and Circle C Milestones for ages eleven and up. Ballerina had the opportunity to help me review the first book of the Milestones series - Thick as Thieves - a couple years ago.

To accompany the Circle C Stepping Stones books, there are coloring pages, activity pages, and lapbook activities. The coloring pages are in downloadable PDF form, and there are six detailed pictures for each book. The activity pages include vocabulary, comprehension questions, maps, writing, math, history, hands-on projects, and more. There are twehty-six pages of activity pages for Andi Saddles Up, which include topics on cinquains, circus train routes, horses, obedience, and ballads. There are twenty-seven pages of activity questions for Andi Under the Big Top, which include topics on circuses, how God wants us to approach fear, and telegrams.

My Thoughts
I like how these books address issues that are age-appropriate and show how to make good choices. For example, in Andi Saddles Up, Andi has to work through a friendship when her family and her friend's family are arguing about land boundaries. This was a sweet way for Sassy to read how a character who is her age worked through a difficult situation.

I also like the variety of activity pages available to accompany the books. It allowed for us to expand the topics that were discussed in the book to do more in-depth learning. I also appreciate that the activity pages offer opportunities to discuss character issues - obedience and relying on God during times of fear.

Sassy's Thoughts
I like these books. Andi faces things that are difficult and gets through them. She also helps people become friends.

You can learn more about Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow and the Circle C Stepping Stones books on social media:
Facebook (Kregel Publications)
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Twitter (Susan K. Marlow)

Are you interested in what others have to say about the Circle C Stepping Stones books? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.
Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Creative Freewriting Adventure Review

Home School Adventure Company

It is important to me that my children be able to write well since that is a communication tool that will assist them in all areas of their lives. So many times, though, I am met with comments like "but I don't know what to write" or "I don't know where to start." Ballerina has been exercising her creative writing skills using Creative Freewriting Adventure, which includes the Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition, from Home School Adventure Co.

Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition

For this review, we received
  • Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey into Freewriting
  • Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey into Freewriting Coloring Book Edition
Creative Freewriting Adenture

Both of these are downloadable PDF files. The only difference between the two editions is the availability of coloring pages in the coloring book edition. We chose for Ballerina to use the coloring book edition because she enjoys coloring and adding illustrations to her writing.

The Creative Freewriting Adventure book contains ten freewriting exercises. Each exercise includes background on a philosopher, story background to help set the stage for the freewriting activity, a freewriting assignment, a page on which to write, and (in the coloring book edition) a page to color that accompanies the assignment prompt.

Some of the philosophers she learned about were Democritus, Xenophanes, and Thales.

Ballerina used these freewriting activities to balance out her regular writing curriculum. I found that, by allowing her a couple of days a week to depart from the structured writing assignments to complete a freewriting activity, her structured writing became less tedious for her. It sort of helped her to know that she would have some days to write "from her heart."

The premise of Creative Freewriting Adventure is for the student to simply write - not worry about punctuation, grammar, etc., but to get pen on paper and allow ideas to flow. Ballerina would read through the background information and the assignment. Each assignment provides several questions to facilitate the imagination. These questions helped her to establish a background, to think about possible dialogue, and to incorporate her senses into her writing. After reading through all of that, she would set a timer for 15 minutes and start writing. 

I have loved seeing the creativity that has flowed from her freewriting. She has incorporated various voices into her writing; for example, in a couple of the exercises she addressed it in first person, a couple were written in second person, and a few were in third person. 

Once the timer went off and she completed her writing, Ballerina would color the coloring page to help illustrate her story more. In this one, she wrote about a world where everything is bathed in a purplish tint and animals can talk. 


Ballerina's Thoughts
I like the fact that this gave me mostly free range to write whatever I wanted in response to the prompt. The exercises were inspirational and helped me think of story ideas that I might not have thought about before. The coloring pages gave me a broader view of what I was writing about and helped me get into the story more.

You can find out more about Home School Adventure Co. on social media:

Are you interested in what others have to say about Home School Adventure Co. and some of their other products? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}
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Monday, March 13, 2017

D.E.A.R. Monday - March 13

Between time change and the freaky weather we've had this weekend, I'm all messed up! (Who'd have thought we'd have snow in SC in March???)

I apologize for no post today for Drop Everything And Read. I have nothing new to share and my morning escaped without time to get it done. I promise to have one next week!

Monday, March 6, 2017

D.E.A.R. Monday - March 6

Sadly, this week looks just like last week. 😔 I'm still plugging away at these same books. I am at least making progress on them.


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