With Lee in Virginia ~ An Heirloom Audio Review

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

Heirloom Audio Productions has reignited a love for G.A. Henty books in our family. We have several in our collection, but not enough, I've decided, since listening to With Lee in Virginia, an audio drama about duty, heroic courage, and honor during the Great War between the Northern and Southern States of America - the Civil War.

I'm touched by the main character, Vincent, the son of a plantation owner in Virginia who is against slavery, but learns to make the best of it by treating the slaves on his mother's plantation with dignity, respect, and fairness.  I'm further moved by how much Dan, a slave under his care, admires and respects Vincent by promising, "Where ever you go, I will be there with you." I also have a new appreciation and respect for why the Civil War was fought.

I was very excited to review this audio drama because we are studying American History this year!

We listened as a family, in the car, purely for enjoyment for this review because we are not yet to the time period of the Civil War, but we will not only listen again, but I also received the bonuses to use including a soundtrack, printable quote and poster, e-newsletter, study guide, and the complete Henty story in a downloadable e-Book - so we will likely read the book as a read aloud as well.

I do plan to use the Study Guide, a 52 page guide designed to guide my students through the storyline and it's lessons.

The Study Guide contains three main parts:
  • Listening Well - how well did your student listen and remember? Some are easy, but some may require listening again. 
  • Thinking Further - these challenge your student to think, look up something from the story, draw conclusions, or speculate about the intentions of characters. These questions ask your child to think a bit—to look up something mentioned in the story, to draw conclusions from the characters’ actions, or to speculate about their intentions. 
  • Defining Words - these build vocabulary and dictionary skills. 

It also includes a recommended reading list to learn more about Robert E. Lee and his faith. Then, there are two short Bible studies discussing the Biblical themes of duty and loving your enemy. My kids especially liked the historic photos included in the study guide.

A note from my husband:

In this audio General Lee is depicted as a man of faith whom relies heavily upon the urgings of the Spirit to guide him in times of peace and war.  I always knew from various stories the chivalry of General Lee, but this story captures it well. The narration begins with the story of a boy, Vincent, whose family owns a plantation in Virginia.  During those days slavery was common, but was beginning to change leading up to the Civil War. The story depicts different viewpoints of slavery and how landowners used their "property." The main character despises the use of physical force to subdue a slave and thus the listener is thrust into the world of the Civil War.

The main character, Vincent, is seen as a young man whose life changes dramatically after seeing and being a part of the carnage that was left in the aftermath of the Civil War.  During it, however, he firmly holds fast to his faith and convictions which would on occasion lead him to medals and friendships along the way.

At the end of narrative I found myself admiring the morals and values of the characters, the wonderful voices, and the fantastic tales interwoven within the audio.

I agree! Storyline aside, this is a great audio production full of familiar voices, fabulous sound effects, and wonderful music to make Henty's story come alive. I highly recommend With Lee in Virginia!

To see what my Crew Mates thought please go read their reviews!

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I'm sure to mention With Lee in Virginia when I come back to it this coming school year ~ hope you'll join me for another great year of homeschooling!

Botany, Seeds, Flowers, Pollination & Fruits

Sharing what we've been up to for Science this summer with Exploring Creation with Botany.

This is my second time through this book in my homeschool and it is one of my favorites of all the books in the Young Explorer series that we've been through so far (which is all but the newest one).

So far we are averaging about a week per unit (with a few weeks off for vacation and summer camps), so we need a good 6 more weeks of summer to finish if we stay on track. 

We are using the printable notebooking pages available in the Extras link mentioned in the book. 

Here's what we've been up to. . . 

Lesson 1: Intro to Botany, Taxonomy, Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, Seedless Vascular and Nonvascular Plants

Classifying shoes


Building a light hut

Growing seedlings

Designing a notebook cover

Notebooking for Lesson 1

Lesson 2: Seeds, Monocots & Dicots

Examining a been seed embryo

Labeling the parts of a seed

Learning about seeds

and finding unusual seed coats. 

Creating our own seeds and plants they grow into: "The Bee Plant" and "The Creeping Vinebury"

Doing experiments

Writing up lab reports a.k.a. scientific speculation sheets

Learning about monocots and dicots

Finding examples of monocots

and dicots

Witnessing the start of a strawberry, which led nicely into our next lesson

Lesson 3: Flowers

Dissecting a flower

Naming flower parts

Labeling flower parts

Labeling a flower

Creating flowers ~ the Lion Plant and the Firefly Plant - the flowers light up like fireflies :) 

Lesson 4: Pollination

Learning about pollinators 

We studied butterflies in more depth for Bo's row of Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

Learning about seed dispersal

Learning about human seed dispersal :) 

And animal dispersal

Lesson 5: Fruits

Counting seeds for a spiritual application

Learning one seed produces many seeds, so plant those seeds!

Learning all about fruits.

We are off to a good start on Lesson 6 so I hope to catch up this week and finish leaves and start roots. Then we're off to stems, trees, and gymnosperms! 

You may have noticed that some of our learning tied in nicely with our row of The Carrot Seed. Love that! 

Hope you are having a great summer! Wish I could say I'd be back with some great back-to-school posts, but I can't. We are still very much in summer mode and will be through the month of August.

Shape Whiz ~ A SimplyFun Review

Simply Fun Review

Shape Whiz, A Game of Speed and Geometry, by SimplyFun is a fun, quick, and educational game focused on geometry skills.

About Shape Whiz:
  • Players 2-4
  • Time to play: 10-15 minutes
  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Skills: Geometry
  • Game objective: Be the fastest player to find the Shape Card that matches the Whiz Card. 

Simply Fun Review

I reviewed this with Malachi, my 10 year old. The younger kids wanted to play, but it was too hard so Malachi and I played together. The first time we played, we only used the green cards (the easier set).

This is how it works:
  • each player has three shape cards laid out in front of them
  • a Whiz Card is played and players race to match a Shape Card to the Whiz Card
  • players can search their Shape Cards AND their opponents cards
  • by matching the Shape Cards, you eliminate your cards
  • first player to get rid of all their cards wins
For example:

The Whiz Card turned over reads "Total Area [Less than or equal to] 4" and the Shape Card that matches is a square with an area of 4. We turn over the card to confirm that the area is 4. If correct, he places the card in the discard pile.

Malachi thought it was hard at first, but he caught on after a few rounds. Because he is on the young end of the age range for the game, I decided to go through each concept to at least familiarize him with the principles.

Principles of Geometry in the game:
  • Signs and Symbols
  • Angles
  • Curve
  • Different Length of Sides
  • Line of Symmetry
  • Parallel Lines 
  • Polygon
  • Same or Equivalent
  • Side
  • Area
  • Perimeter
  • Circumference
  • Pythagorean Theorem 
The second time, we played with his dad, and he still thought it was hard, but he played a good round. My husband and I thought it was hard too, in that it was confusing at first to figure out what the card was asking. Typing up this post as I went actually helped me to figure out the game more so I was much more prepared than the boys. After a few more rounds, it wasn't as hard, but still challenging. Keep in mind, we are still using the Blue Cards (the easy ones!). My husband pointed out that it was too easy to make a guess, rather than solve the card.

We all agreed that Shape Whiz is a fast paced, quick thinking game that forces you to learn geometry skills in a fun and competitive way. I think it is a great game to pull out for school, but I thought it had more educational value than "fun" factor - or so I thought. Malachi has asked to play several times and thinks it's a great choice for a family game night. I do think it's a great way to expose him to geometry lingo and concepts, so I'm happy to have had the chance to review it.

Read more crew reviews to see what my Crew mates thought of Shape Whiz or Expanders!

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