Tag Archives: writing

Fix It! Grammar . . . A T.O.S. Review

In all of the years of working on the education of my kids here at home, we have never, ever actually used a formal grammar program. Or, for that matter, ANY written grammar program, to be honest! I have basically practiced an informal method of correcting their spoken grammar as a part of our daily life, something I will continue doing, as I believe it works quite well for SPOKEN grammar. However, “The Artist”, who was the student reviewing a fiction writing course last year, really wants to go back to it, and to learn to be better at writing stories, so I thought that the opportunity to review Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Teacher Manual] (Book 1), along with Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Student Book](Book 1), would perhaps be a good thing for him. I took a look at how it worked and decided to give it a chance.

This grammar program is from the very well known Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).

IEW is a company I personally have never really taken the opportunity to really check out, because I was afraid it would be too difficult for my special needs guys. However, I am extremely glad we were blessed with the opportunity to review Fix It! Grammar, because it really works, in just minutes a day!

Here is the basic concept . . .
Method: modeling proper grammar within stories. Instead of being taught a grammar rule, and then being forced to practice it with a bunch of exercises, followed by the next grammar rule, over and over (Lather, rinse, repeat, so to speak) in Fix It! Grammar, the grammar rules are taught as they are needed, within the context of a story that builds upon itself until, at the end of the lesson book, the student has written correctly, the entire fairy tale used at that level.

The Process: 15 minutes per day. The level we received is giving us 33 weeks of grammar instruction and practice, in only 15 minutes per day, and 4 days per week.

This program is incredibly easy to set up and to work through! If you have the student book, then your student will need a note book divided into two sections, which are Rewrite and Vocabulary.

On day one of each week, your student will read and correct ONE sentence. Yes, one. He or she will read the sentence, look up the bolded word in a dictionary and write the best definition which fits within the context of the sentence, and write that into the vocabulary section of their note book. This will be built on each day until at the end, they have their own vocabulary dictionary to refer to. Then, he or she will copy the sentence for that day into the rewrite section of their note book, using double spacing.

On days two through four, the student will use the abbreviations at the top of the page, as well as the provided grammar flash cards to help them remember how to mark the section. As with day one, the student does their “rewrite” in the notebook, writing with double spacing. They are to use their best handwriting, so this is also a nice addition to the day in giving them that particular practice!

While we received both the Teacher book and the Student book (both are very nice, spiral bound books), If you prefer, you CAN just purchase the teacher book at the cost of $19.00. The teacher book comes with a license allowing you to download the student book and print as many copies as needed for use within your own homeschool family. The Student book, available for $15.00, is well worth it though, depending on how much it costs for you to print, and whether or not you have more than one child. I happen to have four boys, so knowing that I can print it as needed when each of them is ready for this, makes this a bargain for me.

A placement test is provided if you are unsure where to begin your student, however, like many people, I chose to begin with book one, so as to create a good foundation upon which we can build with the levels which follow. There is also a webinar available to introduce you to Fix It! Grammar, along with how this program differs from traditional methods of teaching grammar.

Fix It! Grammar is intended for 3rd grade and up, but as I said, I personally think that if you, like us, have not done a formal grammar program, it’s best to begin at the beginning.

What did we think of it? Well, I find it incredibly easy to use! “The Artist” really does not enjoy being MADE to write, although he enjoys writing on his own time, so this was the perfect choice for him. I mean, really? One sentence per day? Even my lazy writer who constantly complains about his hand cramping from too much writing, is fine with this! He really doesn’t mind giving up 15 minutes out of his day, and when he is finished, he will have completely written the entire fairy tale himself, with correct grammar! The only real problem we have is keeping him from reading ahead to see the rest of the story, lol!

You will find IEW on the following social media:

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Bottom Line? Not only do I very highly recommend Fix It! Grammar from IEW, I think we will be continuing with it level by level. It is a very painless way to learn written grammar, and frankly, I like that. There is no reason education HAS to be dreary, if there is a better way, and this is definitely a better way, in my opinion.

Other Review Crew members have been reviewing this and other levels of Fix It! Grammar, so please click on the banner below to find out what they thought!
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Filed under education, Fix It! Grammar, Grammar The Easy Way, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Institue For Excellence In Writing, Language Arts, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Review, writing fiction

Fundanoodle . . . Putting the FUN into Writing! A T.O.S. Review

Often, when we receive review opportunities from the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we get things which really add some fun to the day. Fundanoodle, another product that I had never heard of, was just one instance of that sort of thing!

We received two books . . . I Can Write Lower Case!

and I Can Write My Own Stories!

Both of these tablets are suggested for ages 5 – 6, or K – 1st grade. Because of their developmental delays, along with other special needs, these were the tablets I chose when asked which products I would like to review.

“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” were adopted four years ago at the age of 8, and could not read or write much at all, something we’ve very slowly been working on, along with other things that had to be made priorities. Now, though, they have progressed to the point that they can sit and do this, so we wanted to give this product a try.

With cute characters such as Max the Monkey and Alphie the Adventurer, Fundanoodle has been putting the “fun” back into writing practice around here. 🙂

“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” our twins, have been working with these two books during the review period. What I have chosen to do is have them work together on the same page, by alternating lines, as you can see below . . .

“Mr. Loquacious”
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“The Puzzler”
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The Fundanoodle Handwriting Program was actually developed by two pediatric occupational therapists, Michelle Yoder, OTR/L, CIMI, and Amy Bumgarner, MS, OTR/L. Between the two of them, they have over twenty years of experience, with therapy specialty areas such as:

– sensory processing disorders
– autism and
– therapeutic listening
– the interactive metronome method
– TAMO and
– the SOS feeding approach

BOTH “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” have sensory processing issues, and “The Puzzler” is on the autism spectrum, which definitely caused this product to be of interest to me, when I read that the specialty areas of the developers of these products included both of these disorders, something I didn’t realize until I fully explored the Fundanoodle website.

We really liked the special instructions at the top of each page in the I Can Write Lower Case Tablet, words like “Zip” (make a straight line), “Zoom” ( make a diagonal line), “Buzz” (make a curved line), “hop” (hop on the page), “Bump” (curve the line down), and “Dot” (make a dot). These illustrations words really helped “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” to “see” what they needed to do when they are making different letters.

The letters are taught in a logical progression, having been sequenced according to a child’s development of visual and motor skills, with letters grouped according to the way they are formed. For example, l, I, & t all have similar movements, and so they would be taught in order before moving on to letters such as o, c, & a. There are also extra practice pages in the back of the tablet, along with a page on the website where you may download extra practice pages by entering the numbers from the upc code on the back of the tablet.

In the tablet I Can Write My Own Stories, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are practicing handwriting and writing concepts, including creative writing, sentence completion, story sequencing and more.

Story sequencing is a big thing for them to work on, so I really like that aspect of this tablet. In the very first story, they were given four pictures that told the story, and had to place a number within a smaller square on each picture to show which order the pictures belonged. After that, they were to write out what Alphie was doing, in order, to tell the story.

On a different page, they had to write a number next to the pre-written sentences to show what order they belonged in, and then draw a picture of what the story was about.

One of the things my boys most enjoyed, of course, was that for each completed page, there is a corresponding “I did it!” sticker to place at the bottom of the page. Since “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are doing these tablets together, they are taking turns applying the stickers as well. Here is “The Puzzler” attaching the “I did it!” sticker to a page from the I Can Write My Own Stories! tablet . . .

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These are spiral bound tablets, and in my opinion, one of the really nice things is that they are top bound, making them both left and right-hand friendly. I have an older child who is left-handed, and this would have benefitted him greatly when he was at the stage of learning to form letters.

Another great thing about Fundanoodle is that it takes very little time to do a page, so (at least in the case of MY boys), this product is beneficial when your kids have a very short attention span. Anything that takes “too long” becomes a battle around here.

I Can Write Lower Case! (52 sheets + sticker page) can be purchased here for $5.99, and I Can Write My Own Stories! (50 sheets + sticker pages) can be purchased here, also for $5.99.

I think “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are both enjoying I Can Write Lower Case! and I Can Write My Own Stories!, which makes them worth the price to me. I’m fairly sure that we will continue using these tablets as a fun addition to our educational time, probably twice a week, unless they ask for it more often.

To read what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of the various products from Fundanoodle, please click the graphic below!

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As always, I would LOVE it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and follow directions. Never miss an update again! 🙂

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Budding Authors Workbooks & 6 Weeks to Understanding Grammar . . . a TOS Review

Three of our four boys have been helping me to review some products from author Joyce Herzog for a few weeks now. My twins, “Mr. loquacious” and “The Puzzler” have been using the Budding Authors Workbooks, and one of my older boys, “The Artist” has been working with the book 6 Weeks to Understanding Grammar.

I’m going to talk first about the Budding Authors set. This set was different from what I expected it to be, as it is simply a set of workbooks with minimal instruction for the parent/teacher. Don’t let that scare you off, however, because they are quite easy to use!

I had my twins working in the first book, which is titled Step Into Writing. In this book, children will be taking first steps in writing sentences and stories. Since my twins have some developmental delays, along with educational delays that resulted from several years in foster care before coming to us for adoption, this was an appropriate beginning point for them. You may download a sample from this workbook here.

At the very beginning of the book is a page and a half section of instruction for the parent/teacher, primarily describing the kinds of pages you will find in the workbook, and how to use them. The first one listed is Copywork, which is exactly what you would expect it to be. Your child will have a short story to copy, the first one consisting of just one easy sentence. Eventually, the short stories for copywork will be five sentences in the Step Into Writing Workbook. Each day, the student’s work should concentrate on perfection, not on time spent. The idea is that the child is to use his or her very best printing, spacing of words for ease of reading, and remembering to include all capitals and punctuation. The author says that at this level, 10 minutes is a reasonable working time for the copywork each day.

The second type of workbook page in this workbook are the dictation pages. There is a page at the beginning of the book for the parent/teacher which will give you the short story to dictate to your child for each page. In my copy, the page giving me the dictation to read to the child began with dictation for page 9, but the first dictation page for the student to complete was actually page 6, so we skipped that and began with the next set of pages. You will be given a very short, simple story to read to the child, and they will then copy it on their workbook page. My boys really had a problem with the way the writing pages are laid out, though. I like them, they are formatted with two lines, similar to another handwriting program I’ve used with my oldest son, but the twins just couldn’t grasp how to write with this type of lines, and asked me to please allow them to use regular primary paper, so that’s what I did. Each workbook page has thin column sections at the far right with the headings “C” for capitalization, “P” for punctuation, and “S” for spelling. There is a fourth column that you can use for whatever other category you feel your child needs to work on. For my twins, I used a ruler to make the columns on their primary paper.

Next, there is the “Experience Story” page after each dictation page. For this page, you and your child discuss the picture at the top of the page, and decide what the story would be about. Then, your child will dictate the story to you, as you write it down for him or her.

My book says there is also a dictionary page, but it was missing from my copy. It is included in the second workbook “Step On Into Writing”, which we will move on to when we have completed Step Into Writing.

This set of workbooks is very nice, although as I said before, my boys didn’t care for the format of the lines for writing. If we continue using it, we will use regular primary paper for their writing. This set of workbooks is, in my opinion, perfect for anyone who enjoys the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. In our family, we use a mix of Charlotte Mason, unschooling, unit study and lapbooking, so the idea of this set is one that works for us at this time. You can purchase the set of Budding Author Workbooks at the following prices:

Step Into Writing – $10.00

Step On Into Writing – $10.00

Adventures In Writing – $10.00

Then And Now – $12.00

Writing US History – $15.00

As I said before, I had “The Artist” going through Joyce Herzog’s 6 Weeks to Understanding Grammar.

This is a small book, 40 pages in length, and much to my surprise turned out to be mostly review for “The Artist”, so what I ended up doing with it was to read it myself, simply to learn how to teach basic grammar to my younger boys when they are ready. The author has made it extremely simple to teach using this little book and some writing paper! You may download a sample of this book here. From the website, This book “follows the teaching style of a hundred years ago: state it simply and give an example.” This little book very easily clears up grammar confusion, and is available here for $12.00.

I think these books are at a good price, and will help your “Budding Authors” on their journey as writers!

Here is “The Puzzler” doing copywork . . .

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And “Mr. Loquacious” doing the same!

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And a quick shot of “The Artist” working on grammar! 🙂

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To see what other crew members thought of this and other products from Joyce Herzog, please click on the graphic below

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Essentials In Writing . . . Where Students Learn to Write T.O.S. Review

Recently, I had the chance to use and review a writing curriculum called Essentials in Writing with my younger children, who are chronologically almost 12 years old, but who, for varying reasons, have had some significant delays.

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Essentials In Writing was founded by Matthew Stephens. He was a middle school English teacher in the public school before he created the Essentials in Writing curriculum, and has taught at nearly every grade level.

Since my twins “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are just at the beginning stages of being able to focus on any formal academics, I chose the grade 1 curriculum, which is intended for aged 6 – 7.

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The grade 1 curriculum is $40.00, and includes the DVD lessons and a PDF file with all of the worksheets and answer keys, should you need them. There is an option to purchase a pre-printed workbook offered during the checkout process for $20.00. I chose to print the worksheets a few days at a time, rather than printing them all out at once.

From the website page about the grade one curriculum:

“In First Grade, your child will learn: how to use words to make complete sentences, basic grammar, capitalization and punctuation of sentences, compose a friendly letter and a paragraph, and other topics.”

The grade 1 curriculum covers the following basics of written communication:

•Review Letter Formation and Sounds
•Introduction to Complete Sentences
•Capitalization Rules: Beginning of sentences, names

•Punctuation Rules: period, question mark, & exclamation point

•Basic Grammar: Subject/Predicate, Nouns, Action Verbs

•Parts of a Personal Letter
•Writing a Personal Letter
•Parts of a Paragraph
•Writing a Paragraph
•Other Forms of Written Communication: Lists
•Introduction to Narrative and Descriptive Paragraphs

•Text Features of Poetry

You may view a sample lesson here by scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” were not very enthusiastic about trying this curriculum at all when we began. They said “Mr. Stephens talks to us like we’re little kids!”. The plain fact, though, is that they were learning things while watching the lessons that they had not learned when they WERE age 6 – 7! They did not come into our family until they were age 8, and were not yet at that time reading, let alone writing in sentences.

This curriculum is SUPER easy to use, especially for the home schooling mom who finds herself either too busy for, or not comfortable with planning out lessons. The student watches each lesson on the DVD, and then does the assignments related to that lesson (which you, the parent, have either printed from your PDF file, or purchased in the pre-printed workbook). Some of the lessons have just one assigned worksheet, while others have two or three, labeled by letter (lesson 8A, 8B, 8C, for example). So, depending on the particular lesson and the child/children involved, one lesson can take anywhere from one – three days. So far, the most assignments my children have had from one DVD lesson has been three. I generally let them watch the lesson and then do one worksheet on the same day, with the remaining pages done one per day until completed. Because of their developmental delays, it is definitely taking longer to do each lesson than it may take your child.

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“Mr. Loquacious”, “The Puzzler” & “The Batman, watching Mr. Stephens teach lesson number 10.

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. . . and now they are doing worksheet number 10 A.

“The Puzzler”, my perfectionist, gets exasperated whenever Mr. Stephens goes even slightly outside of the lines on the board when he is teaching the lessons, and even more so whenever he himself makes a mistake in spacing, or capitalization, etc . . . but he is getting more practice at doing these things than he was before we began using this curriculum.

“Mr. Loquacious” is my speed demon . . . he wants to skip ahead of the instructions and do things his own way. He is discovering, though, that when he slows down and listens, he remembers better how to form his written sentences. He also sees how much neater his printing is by slowing down and paying attention to the task at hand.

“The Batman” didn’t really need the beginning lessons, but I brought him in with the others once we got past beginning letter formation and into proper capitalization, spacing of words, and punctuation. All three boys (and I’m considering having their brother “The Artist” join us too) will benefit from everything we are getting to at this point, and continuing on with, especially when we get to the sections on writing letters and different types of paragraphs. We have good friends in Michigan where we used to live, as well as family members there and in other states. All of my boys would very much like to be able to write proper letters. Or, maybe it’s me who would like them to be able to do so, LOL!

What I really like about Essentials in Writing is how simple it is for us to use. All I have to do is print out the worksheets, put the DVD in, and we are good to go! Really, it could not be any easier. I also do think that Mr. Stephens is a good teacher, and he is good at giving the lessons in a basic, easy to understand manner. One of my boys, “The Puzzler”, functions much younger than his twin, and he is having no problem understanding the lessons while watching Mr. Stephens teach. As I said before, though, he doesn’t like it when Mr. Stephens’ writing is not perfectly lined up. 🙂 I like that the lessons are very short, and that the written work is broken up so that it can be spread over a few days before moving on to the next lesson. The lessons are apparently filmed within a classroom setting, because when Mr. Stephens asks questions, there is often a child’s voice giving an answer. My kids noticed that before I did.

I do feel the production values of the DVD lessons could be better. The video recording did not seem to have been professionally done in either my husband’s opinion, or my own. It sort of looks like it was done by a person holding a video camera, as opposed to even having the steadiness of a tripod. There is visible shakiness in spots, and we can at times see what looks like the shadow of the camera person reflected on the white board that Mr. Stephens is using as he teaches the lessons.

Over all, I can say that Essentials in Writing Grade 1 IS giving my children the basics of written grammar and communication, and we will continue to use it, at least through the end of this level, although I would like to see the company revisit the quality of the filming in future editions.

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Crew members reviewed this and other grade levels of Essentials in Writing . . . click below to find out what they thought!

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Handwriting Without Tears!

HWT

Many, many years ago, we tried using the curriculum Handwriting Without Tears with our oldest son (The Batman!). Can I just say that it was an absolute disaster at that time? In fact, we had Handwriting with FLOODS of tears, from both our son and myself, lol! This was NOT in any way a problem with the curriculum, in my opinion. He was simply not ready yet, he didn’t (and still does not) have the fine motor control needed for printing, plus, one of the problems he has as a result of his special needs is very bad shakiness in his hands when attempting to print.

When given the opportunity to review both the 3rd grade student workbook

HWT student

And the 3rd grade Teacher’s Guide,
hwt teacher

I jumped all over it!

The Handwriting Without Tears 3rd Grade Teacher’s Guide can be purchased for $9.25, and the Handwriting Without Tears 3rd Grade Workbook can be purchased for $8.25, and I believe these are very fair prices for what you are getting.

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Let me say right here that it is working so much better for him now. As you can see in the picture above, his printing is still (and very likely always will be) just terrible. “The Batman” loves to write notes and stories based on books he’s reading, or about his Nintendo DS games, and you can see what they look like in the picture above . . .

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However, THIS is what he is doing in the workbook! This is page 16. We are going quite slowly through the curriculum, because he does need to go at a slow pace.

While the student workbook is not overwhelming at all (maybe 15 or 20 minutes per day), I did find the Teacher’s Guide to be a little bit overwhelming at first, until I realized that a lot of it really is geared to a much younger child, and was not necessary for “The Batman”

There are a good 45 pages of material for the teacher to read before you even get to the actual lesson plans for the student workbook, most of which will be very helpful to the parent of a young child, but were upsetting to my 20 year old developmentally delayed child.

For example, there are activities like the one on page 29, “Stomp Your Feet”, in which you show the child how to stomp his/her feet and wave his/her arms, shout “Na, na, naaaah, na, na, naaah” with you while waving and stomping. You would then have them push and pull their hands, and hug themselves. At the end of the exercise, the child raises the shoulders up, pulls the shoulders back, and lets them down. At this point, the child should be sitting in a more upright position, ready to write.

Throughout the Teacher’s Guide, you’ll find a smiley face icon to visit “A Click Away”, which is a password protected site that is a wonderful resource exclusively for teacher’s guide users. On this site, you’ll see plenty of downloads which are great supplements to handwriting instruction and practice.

On page 23 of the teacher’s guide is a chart giving the scope and sequence of cursive which covers 2nd grade through 5th grade. There are a number of pages giving information from Pre-Instuctional Stages to Instructional Stages, to Posture, Paper & Pencil Grip, the afore-mentioned Stomp Your Feet, to my favorite, The importance of Cursive, which talks about why we should teach cursive in the age of technology.

My son is a lefty, which has always been an issue in writing for him. From page 7 of the Teacher’s Guide, “Our workbooks are lefty friendly. Teaching pages provide models on the left and right so that left-handed children can easily see the model they are copying. Lefties never have to lift their hands or place them in an awkward position to see a model. Children always make their best letter directly beside a model. This design encourages excellent letter practice for both left- and right-handed children.”

My son did, however, copy the models on both provided lines, out of habit, and I can see that his copy on the left is usually better because he can see the example given, whereas when he copies it on the blanks at the far right, he cannot see the model.

I do like the way the curriculum builds in letter groups, giving cursive warm ups for each different concept, such as under and over, up and straight down, up and loop down, and descending loop. These are all movements needed for specific letter groups. The workbook pages goes in the following lower case teaching order:
c, a, d, g
h, t, p
e, l, f,
u, y, i, j
k, r, s
o, w, b, v
m, n
x, z, q

Within each of these groups the letters phase easily from one to the next, allowing the child to see how easily they can form each letter by beginning with the previous one. There are little phrases to help them remember the formation of each letter and/or connection, such as “zip the tent” to remember the bottom of the lower case t should be closed, not spread apart. These things are really helpful to my son.

I especially like that the letters are all very similar to printed letters, but adjusted to cursive.

The student workbook is simple, black and white, and uncluttered, another helpful thing when you have (as I do) a highly distractable child. The lessons are fairly short, meaning “The Batman” is willing to do them, and he can see immediately the difference in how his writing can look.

My son and I really like this curriculum, because it is finally something that he can work within. We will continue to go through the 3rd grade book, and he has expressed a willingness to continue on through the subsequent grades as well, which we believe will help him make a major improvement in his handwriting, and if he can remember to go SLOWLY whenever he is writing something, will help him to have legible writing. He is looking forward to writing letters to close friends we haven’t seen since moving here to New Mexico from Michigan this past summer.

I recommend this curriculum for anyone with a child who needs an easier way to learn cursive, whether they be the normal 3rd grade age, or an adult developmentally delayed child like mine.

disclaimer

I reviewed the third grade Teacher’s Guide and the third grade workbook. Check out other crew reviews on K – 3 teacher’s guides and workbooks, along with both Apple apps and Android apps.

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Homeschool park days, in November! :-)

Yet another very cool thing about having moved from MI to NM, Here in Albuquerque, we are still doing homeschool park days, in November, in summer clothes! Today was our weekly park day with the ABQ homeschoolers group,the kids were having a great time, and so was I! I was very included in the conversations with the other moms, and so caught up in the enjoyment, it was 4:00 before I even realized it! We usually leave park days by around 3:00 – 3:30, and do at least one errand on the way home, leaving time for me to get supper going so we can eat shortly after my husband gets home. Fortunately, today I made use of my slow cooker, because even without an on the way home errand, we got home about 15 minutes before my husband did. It was a fun afternoon! Now, if I can just find the time to get to the MVD and get my driver’s license changed to a NM license, then we’ll be able to get library cards, and it will help if any of the museums have lower prices for local residents.

One cool thong we’ve done since moving here is to go to the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Tons of fun, and educational, too! There was a Nasa tent, where we watched a good demonstration of why one would have to have a space suit in space. The demonstration was done using peeps, which was kind of fun. 🙂 There was a hot air balloon simulator that all four kids got to go in and “fly” the balloon, seeing on a big screen everything that was happening. We got to meet some of the balloon pilots, and watch all the balloons being inflated and set up for the balloon glow. After that, there was an awesome fireworks show, better than any we’d ever seen, anywhere. Next year, we plan to try to go to both a morning session, when they do the mass ascension of all the balloons, and an evening session, to see the glows and fireworks again. It was an awesome evening, and I highly recommend that if you ever get to Albuquerque during the fiesta, you should make it a point to go. My kids liked it so much, we purchased from amazon.com two books about the first hot air balloon flight and plan to do a lapbook about it.

They’ve also asked to do a unit study about Route 66, because it runs right through our city(Albuquerque), and because the original Cars movie was based on Route 66, so now that we’re getting settled in here, I will find the unit study I had saved on the computer, and they can do it. I’m saving some of thos stuff, though, so that if I can find someone to sit with the kids next month when my husband has surgery (I will need to be at the hospital all day with him), they’ll have something to do. I don’t know any unschoolers who might be willing to keep them that day, so if I find anyone, it will likely be regular homeschoolers, who will have their own kids doing school, so mine will need something schooly to do, too, even though we generally are relaxed/homeschoolers. Lst resort will be having to bring them to the hospital for the day with me, which would NOT be my first, or the best choice.

Another educational thing they want to do is learn about New Mexico, along with each state we drove through on our way here to NM, so we’ll do that before continuing on with our study of all 50 states. My two youngest, for about the past year off and on, on their own, have been making notebooks in which they draw and color each state flag, then label it with the name of the state, the number (1st, 2nd, etc…) of state, and the year it became a state. They are enjoying that, probably because it was their own idea. My stepson has for some time been writing stories for the Fossil Fighters DS game, and drawing pictures to go with them. He’s keeping them in a notebook. Our oldest is most interested in playing baseball on DS, sorting his sports cards, and reading.

I have been considering getting the Write an Adventure Novel in a year curriculum and doing it myself! I had made a goal to learn to knit this year, but then we found out my husband was being transferred to NM, so my time became cosumed with packing and getting us moved. Now it’s November, so if I’m going to meet my goal I will need to find the DVD set I purchased from a homeschool catalog and get going on it, hadn’t I? But first, I need to complete a baby gift I’ve been working on for a new grand niece.

We have my cousin and her teo boys from Ohio coming the first part of next week for a short visit on their trip out west, so the kids and I will be getting the house in order as best as we can (we aren’t completely unpacked as yet) tomorrow and Monday, and while I run errands tomorrow, they’ll be doing their Saturday chores under their dad’s supervision. I think I will call my cousin tomorrow and ask her if she will teach me how to make omelets while she’s here. That way I can buy what I need for them on Saturday while grocery shopping.

Next on my list is getting desks for the computer room, so I can have back the tables I need for cardmaking/stamping/scrapbooking workshops. I’m a consultant for Close to My Heart http://lorimoffit.ctmh.com and am really trying to get my business off the ground now that we are finally here. If any of my readers enjoy scrapbooking, stamping and/or card making, please consider me for your papercrafting needs, and go to my website. I have a current party going, so if you go to the site and scroll down, you’ll see a link for hurricane sandy aid gathering. Click on that to begin shopping. In November, everyone who gets the stamp of the month set can also choose another stamp set for 50% off, plus, with every stamp of the month set, Close to My Heart will donate $1.00 to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief. Get a great deal, and help others at the same time! You can also order when there is o current party, but I do try to have one up each month. If you are interested in having your own party, you can email me at lorimoffit@gmail.com and I’ll set you up with an EZ invite so that you can have your own online gathering, earning free and half price product for yourself. I will also be happy to mail you catalogs to show to your local friends, and your non-local friends can order from your personalized link on my website. Their online order will be sent directly to them, and you still get the credit! 🙂

Well, I think that’s all for today!

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Celebrating Womanhood, & what being a woman has meant to me…

When my friend Amanda let me know about this blog hop, at first I just thought it would be something I’d want to read, but I’ve come to realize that perhaps I might have something to contribute to the conversation as well… 

When I was young, I decided I was going to be a famous author. I used to write stories all the time, and I majored in journalism when I went to college. I lost my idealism for journalism though, when I realized that professional journalists are not objective at all, the way we were being taught that they were supposed to be.   I still occasionally wrote stories, but never really went any further than that with creative writing.

I worked for General Motors for several years, first at Buick, in Flint, MI, then a transfer to Pontiac Motors, in Pontiac, MI, until I became ill and began having black outs with no warning, that not one doctor over several years was ever able to diagnose. By the time it was dignosed as a serious thyroid problem, necessitating major surgery, the assembly plant I worked in had been closed during a time of severe downsizing, and I no longer had a job at General Motors.

In the meantime, I had gotten married, at age 32. So, now I was no longer having blackouts, was healthier, etc., and I knew that what I wanted most of all was to be a full time wife, homemaker, and mother. The problem was that we just could not conceive a child. We did realize eventually that the most important thing for us was that we become parents, not necessarily that we conceive, and I give birth, and so our adoption journey began… we quickly discovered that private, newborn infant adoption was not going to be for us. It’s quite costly, at least it was then, and it just didn’t feel right, either, to us. We found out we could adopt a waiting child in foster care, but I knew I couldn’t be a foster parent. I couldn’t handle having to give the kids back over and over while waiting for a child to be available for adoption. Later, though, we found out that we didn’t have to be foster parents in order to adopt, and our first son came to us when he was just under the age of two. He has special needs, fetal alcohol syndrome, mild mental retardation, and is on the autism spectrum. And he is a joy to our lives (most of the time!) 🙂 After his kindergarten year in public school, my life took another turn, and I became a homeschooling mom, something I never thought I would do, ever. I began with straight Abeka, a curriculum for homeschool in a box, with teacher manuals to tell me day by day what to do, which worked well for the first couple of years. After that, we drifted into more relaxed homeschooling, with me putting it together from many different sources, rather than a curriculum in a box. We still use things from many different sources, but we are very relaxed about it, halfway between relaxed homeschooling and unschooling, and my kids are learning so much more now than they did before! 

When my stepson finished kindergarten, he came to stay with us for the summer, and he’s still here at age 15! He loves the way he is able to be educated, learning according to his own passions, not according to what a specific curriculum says he must learn at a specific age. So do his brothers. His older brother, our first child, is now age 19, and still learning, so much more than he would have if he’d been left in a school. His younger brothers, our 11 year old twins who were adopted at age 8, have also learned so much more than they were learning in school while they were still in foster care. Homeschooling has turned out to be one of my best life choices.

My life, like everyone’s life, has been a series of journeys, and choices. I made the choice, with my husband, that I’d be a full time homemaker, then later added being a full time at home mom, then a full time homeschooling mom. I’ve had times when it was not an easy road by any means, for a number of reasons, but honestly, I wouldn’t be anything else. it’s the best feeling in the world to know that I am the person who taught my kids how to read, how to write, how to do so many things. 🙂 

And maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll try writing again, and maybe I WILL be a famous author! Or, maybe I’ll just write, no matter what comes of it, no matter if nobody ever reads it except for me…

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