Visual Latin

1/30/2011

We have been laughing, I'm mean learning Latin with Visual Latin.

Why learn Latin?  Download the introductory lessons for free to find out!

I discovered that Latin opens the door to other languages and helps us improve on our own language. I can already see why!



A simple explanation tells you why Visual Latin is a great way to learn Latin.



So, why is this a great way to learn Latin?

"It’s video. Everyone likes video.
It’s self-paced. You can go through as quickly or as slowly as you want.
It’s bite-sized. We’ve kept everything short to make it easier to digest.
It’s simple to repeat a lesson. If you missed something, just watch it again.
It’s portable. You can watch it on almost any device anywhere at anytime.
It’s fun. Latin is dead, but we’re bringing it back one laugh at a time.
It’s great for aspiring comedians. (Ok, not really.)"



Mr. Thomas is rather funny. . . in his own funny sort of way.




He makes these videos what they are.




He is a natural teacher. Comfortable. Relaxed. Interesting. Funny.




He knows Latin, too. He's been telling jokes teaching Latin for 15 years.

And he's a homeschool dad!



Each Latin lesson covers:
  1. Grammar
  2. Sentences
  3. Reading

First you watch a short video, then you do a worksheet. You can try a complete lesson for free to see more.  



I love that Dwayne Thomas does all the teaching. I don't have to know a thing about Latin! In fact, I am learning too! You "just hit play and start learning."


And they don't mind doing the lessons! In fact, I think they are hoping to learn enough to tell a few jokes. :-) I'm hoping they will learn some English too, and maybe even be inspired to want to learn Spanish. 


Geared towards ages 9 and up, Visual Latin costs $25 for 10 lessons. You can order a DVD or download the lessons to watch on your computer or even on your iPod.

So, far we have been watching them on my computer as a group, but my iPod is synced and ready to go. It will be a great way to review the lessons on the go ~ because homeschoolers do that. They school in the car. My kids still remember singing "the Southern border of the United States..." you know, "California, Arizona, New Mexico..."

Sorry. Dwayne has that affect on you. Don't be surprised if you start rambling on about things after you watch the videos. Or start talking to yourself. He's kind of funny that way. The kids like that. But, maybe if they can remember that...

Which reminds me. Visual Latin is not only visual, it is multi-sensorial. You hear it, see it, speak it and write it.

We like it. We are still working our way through the first 10 lessons, but I am hoping to see more Visual Latin in our future!

Isn't he looking so grown up? He looks like a high-schooler ~ and he's happy to be learning Latin. 

Thanks Visual Latin guys for letting me try this out for free in exchange for an honest review! 

Tropical Traditions Coconut Peanut Butter Review

When you think of peanut butter, you think, what? The classic PB&J, right? 

Unless you are allergic to peanuts, of course. If you are allergic to peanuts, please just skip this post because this product contains peanuts. 

But, anyway...

Me, I think of breakfast. 


Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Peanut Butter goes great on whole grain toast along with with TT Coconut Hot Cocoa. But, I bet the Coconut Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa would be good too! 


This was the very first thing I tried from Tropical Traditions! So, I already knew that I liked it. 


I like to stir it to soften it before I spread it on my toast. It's so creamy that way.


And melts to a velvety smoothness on warm toast. It's naturally sweet, but not too sweet. 

It's peanut buttery goodness... with a coconut flair. 

Perfect for an easy, quick breakfast to jump start my day. And right now, I need easy and quick! (Not to mention good for you!)

Want to try it?

Buy it: Organic Coconut Peanut Butter  45% off until Feb. 3rd!

Win it: Leave me a comment for a chance to win a 16 ounce jar! *Giveaway is now over. Congrats to:

Commenter #1! 



For additional entries:
  • Is there one for Coconut Peanut Butter Cookies? Leave me a link for an extra entry. 
  • If you subscribe or follow my blog give yourself an extra entry.
  • Subscribe to Tropical Traditions Sales Newsletter. {Watch for the free shipping coupons!}
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a link to your status. If you want, you can use this tweet: @dlhomeschool is hosting a giveaway for a 16 oz jar @Troptraditions Coconut Peanut Butter. Enter here: http://goo.gl/fb/jfhf6
  • Blog or post about this giveaway on Facebook for 3 entries.
  • Place an order with TT as a first-time customer ~ see my referral page to read how. This is worth 10 entries, so please leave me 10 separate comments if you do this! Note: I am not paid for referring customers, but I will receive a free jar of coconut oil!
Your comment is your entry, so please leave a separate comment for each entry! I will choose a winner using random.org and contact you by email so be sure to leave your email. If you win, you will then have 48 hours to contact me with your information or another winner will be chosen.

This giveaway is open until February 10th and is only open to US residents. {TT will ship internationally, but not for giveaways.}

Thanks to TT for sponsoring this review and giveaway!

Disclosure: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

10 Days of Homeschooling Blog Hop

1/24/2011

Heart of the Matter Online is hosting a 10 day homeschooling blog hop and I get to play. Let me just say up front that I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I thought I was being asked to write one post about homeschooling preschoolers. . . but I was being asked to write 10! As in 1 a day for 10 days.

I think sleepless nights with a newborn might have something to do with it, or maybe the fact that I don't drink coffee in the morning while I read my email?

Well, one of the nice things is that I get to write about whatever I want about homeschooling preschoolers.  My passion is of course "delightful learning." I could write a post on that. But 10?

Help!

Please, dear readers, tell me what you would like to know about homeschooling preschoolers!

Please leave me a comment or join the discussion

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Be sure to visit these brilliant women in this 10 days adventure between February 7th-18th! We love these ladies and we know you do too.

10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling tots | Mama Jenn
10 days of preschool |† Delightful Learning {that's me!}

Critical Thinking Press ~ A Timberdoodle Review

1/20/2011
I've heard rave reviews about Critical Thinking products, so when I had the opportunity to review a few of their products for Timberdoodle, I jumped at the chance! 

First up is Building Thinking Skills, by Critical Thinking Press. These books are touted as "The #1 selling thinking skills program in the world!" Indeed, they are chock-full of reasoning activities designed to improve vocabulary, reading, writing, math, logic, figural-spatial skills and visual and auditory processing, and are definitely worth digging into!

The activities are sequenced developmentally. Your child is gently led to analyze relationships between objects, between words, and then between objects and words as they:
  • Observe, recognize, and describe characteristics.
  • Distinguish similarities and differences.
  • Identify and complete sequences, classifications, and analogies.
Timberdoodle Price: $29.99 each


I reviewed Building Thinking Skills 2 with Dylan, who is 10. Designed for ages 9-11, or grades 4th-6th, this book is a perfect fit for him! At 408 pages, the size of the book was a little intimidating to him at first; however, it is proving to be a wonderful addition to his daily independent work.

In Dylan's words:
  • It takes you through step by step. 
  • I like the picture descriptions. {Describing Shapes activities}
  • It gets you thinking. 
  • It's not too hard, so I enjoy doing the activities. 


Check out the samples to see more.

I love that he enjoys the activities, but I mostly love that he is challenged to think!


I reviewed Building Thinking Skills 3 with Nathan, who is 12. Designed for ages 12 and up, or grades 7 and up, this level is proving to be a great fit for Nathan.

At 378 pages, the size of the book was a little intimidating to him, too. The first question he asked was, "How many pages do I have to do?" Since the first section on antonyms and synonyms involved using a dictionary and thesaurus and took extra time, I only had him do one page a day. He willingly did them, but didn't enjoy these activities. However, when he got to the pages on Sequences, he was hooked!

He said, "I could do this all day."


In Nathan's words:
  • Every activity has directions that are easy to follow. 
  • You have to slow down and follow those directions to complete the activities. 
  • They are challenging, but fun and engaging which makes you want to do more. 
  • Can I do this instead of {enter daily grammar curriculum}?
The scope of this book is broad and includes activities on Reading, Writing, Math, and Science. So, no, he is not getting out of his Grammar lessons. :-)

This book is also meant to be used verbally, not just with pencil and paper. The nice thing about that is that the activities are easy to discuss! I enjoyed sitting down with him as he worked and talked with him about how he solved the problems. It is fun to watch him think them through. 


The samples are a great way to see what is in this book, but they don't do the book justice. They are developmentally sequential as each activity prepares the child for the next one. I love this step by step introduction to analytical thinking! It truly "builds" on itself and gives the child confidence to proceed. 

It is not often that I add a review item to our curricula, but I'm happy to add Building Thinking Skills to our regularly scheduled programming!

******************

As much as I loved the above books, I really wanted to love this next book.


I was hoping to use this for our 1st grade math curriculum.

Mathematical Reasoning B Grade 1, also published by The Critical Thinking Co., is a 264 page, full color, consumable workbook designed to be a core math curriculum or a supplemental resource for grade 1 students. The focus of the book, as the name suggests, is to build math reasoning skills through problem solving and computation.

Timberdoodle price: $32.99

I reviewed this with Malachi, who is almost 6. The book is full color and visually interesting. The pages on money immediately caught his eye and he asked to work on those pages first. He then wanted to skip ahead to work on more money pages. This meant that he had to skip multiple pages at a time. I didn't like this part. I like to work through a curriculum sequentially, page by page. I don't mind skipping pages, but it is harder to tell where he is at in his workbook this way.


He had to skip ahead because concepts are presented in a "spiral" method - introduced briefly, then covered again later giving the child some "time to develop and mature before dealing with more complex aspects of the concept." I didn't care for this method and didn't think enough instruction was given when a concept was first introduced or enough practice was given before moving on. I much prefer a sequential program that lays a solid foundation and builds on a concept before moving on, and then continues to reinforce and build on that concept as new concepts are introduced. Note: The samples offered are a good indication of the scope of math problems you will see in this book, but not the sequence of the book. 



What I liked:
  • The visual effect of full color pages and interesting graphics.
  • The use of accurate vocabulary and notation (numbers vs. numerals and line segment vs. line for example).
  • The story problems, Mind Bender and Thinker Doodle activities that challenge your child to think. 
What I didn't like:
  • The concepts as presented in a "spiral" method as mentioned above.  
  • It seemed more of a drill and practice with some reasoning skills thrown in, rather than a polished tool to develop math reasoning and thinking skills.
  • It lacked a natural progression from semi-concrete (pictures of objects) to semi-abstract (tally marks to represent objects) to abstract (use of numerals only). Note: concrete activities using the manipulation of objects are not included in the book. 
  • The pages are semi-glossy and difficult to write on and erase.
  • An answer guide is not included with this book, but there were only a couple times that I would have liked to see the authors answer and reasoning for a problem {or how to solve a problem!}.
I still cannot figure out the following problem:


It says "Start & Finish here. Connect to the nearest answer." (note arrow) How do you solve this? The numbers do not go in sequential order. ??

I would consider this for a supplemental resource, but not for a main math curriculum. However, Malachi seems to like it. He has asked to work in it whenever we do math, so I am sure we will get some great use out of it! 


Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of these books in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening {FI♥AR}

1/15/2011

What's lovelier than a poem to ease us into our Five in a Row learning? Especially on the first day of winter.

Winter is here and we have been getting lots of snow so I thought this one would be a great way to ease into our Five in a Row learning adventure. The lessons for Stopping By Woods on a Snowing Evening are short and meant to be used with the Review Week plans, so I thought it would be a nice and easy row while waiting for baby to come.

"Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer 
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake. 
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.

We focused on poetry, animals (as illustrated in the book), winter time and snowflakes.

Simple Animal Poetry



by Malachi
"Owl in a forest." by Eliana

All my poem ideas come from Amy @ Early Bird Homeschool, but her blog is no longer available. 

Animals in the Story


Writing animal names
Animal Tracks ~

Whose Footprints?
Animal Tracks Booklet (I added this in this week because it is such a great go-along for this book.)


Animal Classification

Birds and Mammals
Winter ~
"The darkest evening of the year."
We read this book on the first day of winter ~ "the darkest evening of the year," so I talked to the little ones about seasons and length of days and explained that the days will start to be longer now by pointing out that sunset will be a little later each day now.

Our Winter Acrostic Poem ~

Winter
Icicles
Nature
Tree covered with snow
Evergreens
Roads closed

Snowflakes ~


Making snowflake prints.






Make a crystal snowflake






Sorting Snowflakes




Snowflake Necklace



Edible Snowflakes



Catching Snowflakes


I'm really not ready for our next row or to even jump in with FIAR, so I will close my eyes, hold my breathe and have someone push me. . . who's willing?

Delightful Links:

Audio of the poem and Soundscape video of the poem ~ we liked the sounds of crunching snow, jingle bells and horse clops.
 
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