Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Diagramming: A lost skill in the school system

When I was a teacher in the public school system, I always taught my students how to diagram. No other teachers did this. My students loved it and really understood the parts of a sentence and the different parts of speech. I learned to diagram in school and it seems like it has become a lost art. Ten years later, my son is now at the age where he is ready to learn this and I wanted to find a program that was homeschool friendly. The website English Grammar Revolution is awesome! You will find a wealth of information on grammar for free, as well as wonderful materials you can purchase. There's a video course your child can take and learn how to diagram if you have no idea where to begin.

The newest addition to the site, and my favorite, is a subscription called Daily Diagrams. It is a paid service but worth it. You receive an email each week which includes a PDF file with everything you need to teach one specific area in diagramming. There are also five sentences the student will diagram. One for every day of the week and an answer key is provided as well. This literally takes five minutes to do but is a great way to introduce or reinforce grammar. This subscription comes in two levels: Get Smart for the student just starting to diagram and Stay Smart for the child who needs to reinforce the grammar skills already learned.

If you have not heard of this site, you need to check it out. I am glad I found it. Perhaps you will be inspired to teach your children to diagram as well.

The Skinny About Skin Map

This is the first book in a new series by Stephen Lawhead. Skin Map is a fictional time travel story about a man named Kit Livingstone. Kit leads a very boring and uninteresting life. I actually felt depressed reading the first few pages and was happy for him when something as exciting as a long lost supposedly dead relative shows up and engages him in a case that involves time travel, mystery, and a treasure hunt.
Kit and his grandfather must find a map made from skin. A traveler had tattooed his body with a map - this map is one piece of the 5 book puzzle. The historical and geographical descriptions are rich and one can learn so much through reading this book. The characters are interesting but it does take time to build a relationship in the book with them. The story can feel scattered at times, but I am thinking that things will tie in together with the other books in the series when they become available.
I have never read any of Stephen's other books, but am thinking they are worth a try- from a library. Considering the cost of this book, I would have to recommend a library check out rather than a purchase. You won't read it more than once, and I am funny about spending more than $18 on a book you will not lend out much or read again. I could use this book for school easily if I used a time line and a map. For that alone, I recommend having it available for your homeschool teens.
3 Stars.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pockets of Time for Little House on the Prairie half off!

Don't miss out on our reading comprehension activity that goes along with the classic book Little House on the Prairie. Get Pockets of Time for Little House on the Prairie (ebook) half off for one day only. Use code littlehouse50 during checkout. Offer good through 9-29.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wisdom from the Wardrobe Unit Study (ebook) Half Off!

For one day only, get our Wisdom from the Wardrobe Unit Study (ebook only) for half off! Use coupon code unitstudy50 during checkout. Good through 9-28.

Homeschool Freebie of the Day

Probably many homeschoolers are aware of Homeschool Freebie of the Day, but if you aren't, this is a wonderful resource to get lots of free materials. Each day there is something new to download. It is not available after that day so make sure you go and get it. If you sign up for their newsletter, they will send an email giving you a heads up for the week. Today there are some great living books you can listen to from Be sure to check this out if you never have. You will find yourself going to the site often to download and save some great materials for future use.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Here's The Story

Ever wonder how Fortunately For You Books came to be? Well, here's the story, but you must sing this to the tune of the Brady Bunch theme song.

(Shannon, Kelly, and Heidi)

Here's the story
of three lovely ladies
who were bringing up some children in their home
there were 9 of them
these precious bundles
and they were all alone

'cuz they were hands on
vis-u-al learners
and they needed some paper for their files
so the moms planned
and made together
resources all their own

The moms then tried out
their hands-on ideas
on the children who thought learning was a bore
they started learning,
scho-oo-l prospered
they must share with all the
moms out in the world

so skimming started
of grocery money
blogs and websites, taxes, licenses were bought,
hard work, late nights, laughs, oopsies lived out
we then picked a business name to call our own

success was granted
the Lord has blessed them
they help the children who learn differently than some
they touch and feel it,
commit to memory
now scho-ol is not suffered anymore!

the FFYB (say quickly) bunch, The FFYB bunch,
That's the way we became the FFYB bunch!

Okay, that was fun and maybe, just maybe I had a lot of coffee tonight! That was the quick look at Fortunately For You Books. While the song diddy makes it sound like it was all fun and easy, let me assure you it wasn't. It was a mission that we worked hard and diligently on. We do this for those little ones who snuggle up with mommy on the couch and listen to a story. Those same little ones who have a hard time comprehending and remembering what they just heard. Sometimes the little visual helps, sometimes they need to handle the time cards and put them in order as they hear the events. These students aren't slow, they just don't have the right tools. I can't tell you how many times we have been written to and told by a mommy that the child now enjoys story time- because they are not dreading the coming assessment!

We have just finished up with our vacations and are now refreshed and ready to buckle down again and work hard to provide inexpensive and quality products that have a foundation in literature. We will be making some business meeting trips to Starbucks (YEAH!!!!) to plan our holiday ideas. So many books, so little time!

Okay, how many of you actually sang that song anyways?


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Civil War Mini Lapbook has been created!

We have created a mini lapbook for kids who teter between liking and hating lapbooking. Sometimes the hands-on concept of a lapbook is appealing but all the written work required to complete it is not. In this 10 page file you will find an abundance of learning about the highlights of the American Civil War all done in a creative way your child is sure to love. And using ONE page of cardstock instead of three file folders, your child will have created a project to show off the knowledge he has learned about The War Between the States. Be sure to check this out on our Dollar Menu!

IV- A Story About Sacrificial Love

It's not what you will be reading quite a few chapters...hoping it is not what it seems. It isn't. Ted Dekker has woven a tale of sensuality, seduction and redemption into one thriller. I read this book in two settings. I didn't get anything else done. It is Ted's fault!
Dark characters, depravity.....honor and a valiant man. Death...eyes willing to be blinded in exchange for pleasure.....sisters, friends, separated by lust and desire.
While referencing the Song of Solomon, this story will make you want to reread this Bible lesson and see the parallels. It took a genius to take such a story that leaves so many questions and recreate it to see why the lovers are grieving and sorrowing, why they are separated and yearning, and how this love becomes so strong that the bond of love is worth dying for.
What is sacrificial love? It may be easier to say what it is is not selfish, it is not self promoting, it is not vain, it is not hurtful, it is not a love that leaves you feeling worse. Sacrificial love is the love Christ has for his bride, the love Solomon reflects in his Song of Songs, it is the love of the man in this book for his beloved.
I would highly recommend this book for adults and high school students. A follow up of the book of Song of Solomon will add new insight and reflection to this Biblical love story. It is a dark love butterflies, unicorns, rainbows, or happy endings for everyone!
Post a comment about any of Ted Dekker's works or anything related and your name will go in for a drawing for a Spread the Love T-shirt given away free from the Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cast of Characters Book Review

Cast of Characters is a wonderful book that really shows how God has used the common, every day person to do great things. It shows that we don't need to be perfect in order to do His work. If we are just willing, He will mold us into the type of person He needs us to be. Max Lucado uses 22 different characters from the Bible to show just how ordinary the great men and women of the Bible were and how they impacted so many others, were given second chances, or became a model for others to follow.

This book is a very inspiring read and really helps a person to realize we all can make a difference. It also could be used as a devotional because the chapters are fairly short, making it possible to read one each day.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Max Lucado's Outlive Your Life Review

Max Lucado has written another great book! Reflecting on 120 people of ancient Israel, he shows how God can use common, ordinary individuals to do amazing things. Lucado poses the question of whether God can use the people of modern days in the same way He used His first followers to affect the world in a profound way. Wonderful examples are used to explain how we can make a difference. These stories are presented in such a way they are sure to touch your heart. He discusses habits, attitudes, prejudices and more that keep us from acting the way we should. Persecution is something you may run into when going against the grain and the author addresses this as well.

If you are looking to make an impact on those around you and maybe even the world itself, this book is a great read and a good way to get you on the right track.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boy Who Changed the World

I too had a chance to review The Boy Who Changed the World. This is a great book for children to read. It shows that any little thing they do can make a big difference in the world. Their actions can start a chain reaction of events that can have good or bad consequences. This book describes some famous people who made little choices that affected the world in a positive way.

My children enjoyed reading this book. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful! With a great a message and wonderful artwork, you can't go wrong with this book.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Boy Who Changed the World

I was not prepared for the beautiful art work in this book. I am a huge fan of water color and the pages are filled with bright, colorful, and detailed work. the pictures themselves would enthrall a child. But the story......How many times have we labored to water the idea that what you do makes a difference? It can make a difference for good or for bad. This story concentrates on the good of a man, Norman Borlaug, who accomplishes his dream of feeding many hungry people in the world by growing "special" seeds that will have a greater harvest. But Norman was mentored and helped by someone, who was helped and mentored by someone...and on and on.
Mentoring is not a new idea, but it is certainly not a purposeful goal for many adults. It takes time, resources, patience, and a burden to help. the story will speak to adults as well as children.
When reading this book to younger children, it make take a few times of hearing the story for them to make the connection. This story goes backwards in time and that might be confusing to them. I would suggest drawing a stick figure timeline to make that visual and backwards connection.
The "butterfly effect" is explained on the last page ( with beautiful butterflies all over the page!). It is a Scriptural principle and you can use verses to support this idea to give this effect a more Biblical foundation rather a philosophical one. Imagine being able to talk about this every time you and your child see a butterfly!
In bright red letters is the sentence: That means every little thing YOU do matters. And how true. What a difference this could make in your child's life if they really grasped this concept.
Kudos to Andy Andrews for giving us a beautiful book that covers art, history, science, and Bible in a wonderful story!
~ Shannon