Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fix it Grammar ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review.


IEW is an acronym for Institute for Excellence in Writing.  They have products for all things writing from full on courses, including teacher training to writing supplemental books.  We have used a few IEW products before and we were so excited to be able to review Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] Teacher Manual ($19) and Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1]  Student Book ($15). This program is recommended for grades 3 and up.

The Teacher Manual has all 33 weeks worth of lessons, and a very organized scope and sequence with what will be learned each week as well as each day’s vocabulary words.  The manual is set up to look just like a condensed version of the student manual with notes along the margins and the corrected sentences.

The Student Manual is set up very simply.  Each week there is a Learn It Section and a Fix It Section.  Then on the adjacent page is 4 sentences (one for each day) that throughout the book make up a story.

The lessons are to be done 4 days a week.  In the Learn It section will be the grammar rule you will be learning about and a quick explanation of when to use it. Then the Fix It section which tells you to read each sentence (one a day).  Look up and write the vocabulary words.  Next it tells you what to do daily, as in the first day you will go over the first sentence and fix it with the students.  Days 2-4 the students will mark the remaining sentences on their own.  The abbreviations being used for the week are at the top of each weeks pages to make a quick and easy reference.

Then finally at the end of the week the students will rewrite the entire passage (all 4 sentences) into a separate notebook. 

In the back of the student book is flashcards that you can cut out and use for review each week. 

There are 6 books in the Fix It! Grammar series. 

The reason why I chose to start with the very beginning level is because I could use it with my 3 oldest kids.  My 4th grader has only had very basic grammar training.  My 8th grader has had some grammar training along with a writing curriculum, but nothing that focused solely on grammar.  She is also an avid reader.  My 10th grader has done 2 grammar curriculums.  I was still able to include all of them in this.  We were able to do it daily as a family.  While some of it was easy for my older two, I was glad for them to get the review.

It literally only took us 10-15 minutes a day 4 days a week to get through this.  My kids were so shocked at how little time it took that they were not always ready to stop.  I did end up letting the older two do one whole week at a time and move on with out my 4th grader as she wasn’t ready for that.

I do recommend this grammar as it is simple while being effective on both the teacher and the student.

IEW can be found all over social media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinwriting
Twitter: https://twitter.com/iew
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/iewriting
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Iewriting/posts
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/iewtv
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/iewtv

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Friday, September 19, 2014

My Student Logbook


I was able to review the My Student Logbook, which has turned homeschooling with my 4th grader around.

About The Company:

My Student Logbook is a company owned by a homeschooling family. They know how time consuming planning can be. 

They created a student planner that takes very little time on the part of the parents and it actually works week after week. 

They can also be found on the following social media sites:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MyStudentLogbook
You Tube -https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMxzpy91vov8a8nDpyp2ihQ


About The Product:

My Student Logbook is a fairly simple format (YAY!!).  The very first set up took me about 5 minutes.  Each week I spend about 5 minutes (or less) updating it. 

It consists of a checklist page.  Which I call the subject flap. and a calendar page.  You take the checklist page and write all the subjects on it and attach it to the calendar page.  Then you just check off each day as you go. 


Watch this quick video that explains perfectly how to set it up

These are available in printed spiral bound format ($15) in undated, dated beginning with the school year (July) or dated beginning with the calendar year (January). The dated versions are also available as a PDF yearly license.  A single use license is $10 and a family license is $20.

The My Student Logbook can be used by kids of all ages.  I currently use it with my 9 year old.  I had originally got it to use with my oldest.  When I was planning out the school year I realized that my 9 year old had no planner at all.  I went scouring the internet for one for her and everything was too complicated, either for me, or for her.  I decided to let her use the My Student Logbook.

A day/week in our life:


When setting it up I first filled out each subject she does. Then I crossed out with a pencil what days she doesn’t have that subject.  In the little time box, I either wrote the time that the subject would start for things like outside classes or family school.  If there wasn’t a specific time like reading then I just wrote in that box how long she was supposed to read for.  Some subjects we just spend how much time we need to and they also don’t have a specific time, I left those ones blank.


The next thing I did was under what I call the subject flap is write notes about each subject.   On the same line as reading we list each book she reads as she finishes them.  On the same line as spelling we write down our goal lesson to be at by the end of the week. The same goes for math.  Under science I just write what topic we are learning about that week. 

Our thoughts and feelings:

This planner has given me just the right amount of flexibility mixed with the right amount of structure.

I believe this is something that I will purchase year after year for her and others.  It worked that well in our family.

One more thing:

Even though I ended up using this for my 4th grader when I had intended to use it for my high school age student doesn’t mean it doesn’t work there.  They have two full pages in the front of the book explaining how to use it to track and create high school transcripts. There is even a page on their website discussing this.  The planner style that I ended up going with for my highschooler just isn’t holding him accountable enough so I do plan on ordering him one as well. 

This will fit the bill for both accountability on my son’s part as well as transcript creation on my part.  For that I am grateful!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rainbows, Hamsters and Birthdays. Oh, My!

In my life this week:

This week started off with a court appearance.  It  was just over a speeding ticket. While we were waiting there we saw the most beautiful rainbow.


We had Emily with us.  I really feel like this was a great learning experience for her.  After I saw her looking up the requirements it takes to be a judge.

Tuesday night was fun. My husband and I don’t get much time together.  Since he was home that night, we decided to have a midnight snack.  Our typical go to midnight snack is BLTs .  We made the bacon and cut the tomatoes (that we picked from our garden).  We went to get our bread to toast and we were out of bread.

IMG_5640[1]Paul had his on a hotdog bun and I daringly tried mine on Blueberry Eggos.  It was actually really good!

The rest of the week was filled with volleyball games, birthday parties and music lessons.

Katey had a friends birthday party at the pool. 


We also had a bon fire birthday party for Emily.  It was a fun teen party.  We even played night games like kick the can.




In my homeschool this week:

My 10th grader began his co-op class.  The only outside class he is in right now is Foundations. It’s a Dave Ramsey personal finance class for teens. He also works part time and has been hunting. He is keeping up in all his other subjects.  He did figure out how to hack a game and put in a cheat code so he has unlimited money.  He said it was similar to when he was using Small Basic.


My 8th grader has been slightly falling behind in her schoolwork.  She is my busy child.  She attends 4 co-op classes as well as private music lessons for guitar and piano. She is also active in 4H.  We have put in place a plan for her to get “caught back up” over our week off in a few weeks.  This makes me so glad we are trying this new homeschool schedule.


My 4th grader has done amazingly well at keeping up with her schoolwork.  We learned all about Urban Habitats in science this week.  I made the mistake of checking out some pet books from the library and she has read tons of them.  She has now decided that she wants a hamster.  She has read and researched them at the library and online.  She has even been watching how to talk your parents into letting you get a hamster video on You Tube. She had me take her to the pet store to price out her shopping list she made.  Then she came up with a plan to earn the money for a hamster.  As of now we have said not right now.  It’s just not something I have a place for.  Maybe when we move in a few months.  I am very proud of all the effort she has put into this and really her heart was only broken for a few days.  She’s moved on…

My Kindergartener has been doing his daily workbook that I made every day.  It is almost to a point where he can do it all on his own. IMG_5657[1]We have decided to add in Explode the Code book Get Ready for The Code.  He has also been loving science with The Magic School Bus.  IMG_5652[1]This week we made bird feeders and he loves looking out the window to see birds eating off of his. 

He also got his first very own library card. 


Books we read:

I’m reading Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman and Parenting the Ephraim’s Child by Deborah Talmadge.  I finished reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. 

Tommy and Emily are both reading in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson for Literature.

Emily is also still reading Hunger by Michael Grant.

Tommy has done all his personal reading in magazines like Backpacker and Field and Stream. This works for both of us.  He has a hard time getting into books but really enjoys magazines.  Hey, reading is reading.

Katey has read a ton of Blast off Readers on Backyard Wildlife and Caring for your pets.

Tyler has just been read to by us.  His favorite book this week was No, David.


Resources we used:

Video Text Math

Teaching Textbooks

Math U See

All About Spelling

Lightning Lit

Bridgeway Grammar


Moving Beyond the Page

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. There are also freebies. There are also just links to products without affiliate links. I'm trying to show what we did and where you can find it, not to sell you a product...although if you decide to buy one of them, please feel free to use the links and support a fellow homeschooler.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3rd Week of School:



In my life this week:

This week started off a lot better than last week, other than the fact that sickness keeps trying to creep in. My oldest was diagnosed with strep throat on Saturday.  I decided to treat it naturally while I waited for the culture to come back. Which meant Tuesday since it was a holiday weekend here.  It worked!  The strep was gone by Tuesday and he never had to be on antibiotics.  I also oiled up the rest of my family with some On Guard and no one else got it.

IMG_5534I spent some time make some of my mom’s famous homemade chicken noodle soup. She taught me to make it in big batches since it is so good people will eat the leftovers for days.  

So I did.

Mine was a flop. 

I must have done something terribly wrong.

At least it looked good, right?


Something that did go right was canning!  I canned about 10 quarts of peaches and my husband canned 2 half pints of jalapeƱos and 5 pints of pickles.

We decided to go fishing on Monday.  NO ONE CAUGHT A FISH!  IMG_5539

Well, I did. Winking smile IMG_5543

We all still had fun though.  We completed our ice bucket challenges using lake water. 


We came home from that day and decided to have a camp fire.  That is one of my favorite things about fall, campfires.  It gets dark early enough and is cool enough that we can do a fire in our backyard fire pit.  This is nice because we all just sit around the fire, no electronics (except to take this picture), and talk.  We play campfire games and hang out together.  It is so much fun!


One last thing about me for this week is we had a ton of leftovers this week so I decided to have a leftover lunch.  I put all the leftovers out on the counter and each child had to get approval to use something not on the counter.  Things like condiments were approved, but otherwise, NO.   This worked out extremely well and I plan on doing it again.

The younger kids had a 4H day camp on Saturday.  They did many activities that had to do with rockets. They both loved it!




In my homeschool this week:

My 10th grader has been the sick one this week.   The beauty of this is that he didn’t have to miss anything academically.  He was able to not only keep up on school work, but he worked ahead so that he could take some days of to go hunting when he began feeling better.

IMG_5587My 8th graders schedule fills up quickly.  In addition to her regular schoolwork, her music classes and her Handmaidens of Virtue co-op class she started an art journaling class specific for teen girls and volleyball season started.  Next week (Well this week we add even more into her schedule.)

My 4th grader

Daddy came home from a few weeks away and so Katey wanted to make him a welcome home cake.   She did everything by herself, from reading the directions to getting the supplies out, to making it, to decorating it, to eating it.  It was perfect!



She also spent a lot of time reading books.  This week I realized SHE CAN READ!  I feel like we have been doing reading lessons and that they were never going to end.  She has only read one chapter book this week, but she has read about 7 smaller non fiction books this week. PB263376

My Kindergartener has been working through his daily book that I made him.IMG_5570  His favorite part is singing the days of the week song and the months of the years songs.  We pulled up our favorite ones on YouTube and I saved them to my favorites.  IMG_5572

One of the pages is handwriting.  He is supposed to write his name each day.  He got real whiney and said it was just to hard.  Since I haven’t ever had him do any writing and he hasn’t done much coloring until this year, I decided to lay off slightly and each day he just writes a letter 5 times. He is still building up the dexterity in his hand to write.  IMG_5575

He did enjoy writing letters on the white board with Emily. IMG_5580

While the girls were in their class at the library I took him to story time.  They read a story and do a craft as a group. He loved it. I think we will continue to do this.

Together school.  IMG_5569

Each Monday we have been having a family meeting.  Something special that I decided to incorporated is a fun family activity.  This week we played a gamed called Guesstures.  It’s a quick charades game.  We all had a lot of fun and played for much longer than I thought we would.

PB253371For science the 4th and K have been learning about wetlands, naturally, they made an edible wetlands diorama, naturally. 

I know I should go through and link up my resources, but I am struggling to write this post.  My weekend was extremely full and I am tired.  Maybe next time.  At least I stuck to it and got it written.  In fact I am being so lazy about it that I am not even going to link it up anywhere I usually do…. There’s always next week! Smile

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How our homeschool is organized.


I live in a smaller house and we do not have the luxury of having a dedicated school room.  Here is how we have organized for this year.


Each child has a container for their books and work.  This is where any book they are using on a regular basis goes.  Next to it is our library basket.


Most schoolwork is either done at our kitchen table.

PB183356 Our counter, or on the couch.


We have one main bookshelf downstairs and each of the kids has one or more bookshelves in their room.  I also have a large closet with our curriculum books. I have this small bookshelf next to our big one which is really a catch all, so my counters don’t get cluttered.


Around the corner from that is a 9 cubby shelf.  I have it organized from left to right, top to bottom; mail, random mom books and a pen caddy, my purse, books the older kids share for curriculum, crayons etc., our out the door basket (it has things like a lint roller, a hairbrush, sunscreen, bug spray, kids sunglasses, etc.), nothing, curriculum that we are using but not daily, our science kits from Physics Quest.

On top of the shelf I have my household binder. and some random things that need to be put away.  I have a family calendar hanging on the wall as well as the library calendar and a community even calendar on a clipboard.  The dry erase PB183358board I use for lists of all kinds.

PB183348Living in a small house and homeschooling so many proves to be challenging at times. So I have resorted to using our hallway to teach All About Spelling.  Sometimes we use the hallway to teach other things as well.

What can I say we learn everywhere! 


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