Monday, June 30, 2014

Menu Monday for 6/30/14

Here are my menu plans for this week:
Sunday (6/29/14):
Rotisserie chicken (vegan chicken patty), mashed potatoes, broccoli

Monday (6/30/14):
Beef pitas (garbanzo bean pitas), salad

Tuesday (7/1/14):
Salmon, potatoes, green beans (potato stuffed with vegetarian chili)

Wednesday (7/2/14):
 green chili enchiladas (substitute soy crumbles), salad, chips

Thursday (7/3/14):
grilled chicken sandwiches (Fake chicken veggie patty), salad

Friday/ (7/4/14)
Independence Day cookout planned - steaks (Amy's Quarter Pounders), corn on the cob, summer slaw.

Saturday (7/5/14) 
Pizza, Salad, french bread

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up for Friday, 6/27/14

Sorry this is late! Yesterday was my daughter's birthday, and the days have been busy!

Today's weekly wrap-up will just be one photo of Miner from Boy Scout Camp, which he arrived home from yesterday. He was so happy to be home! He missed us; he missed taking baths; he missed air conditioning. He does not miss the mosquitoes!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Veritas Press Omnibus I - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

In May we learned that the Schoolhouse Review Crew would be reviewing products by Veritas Press. I looked at the various products we were reviewing, and I let the Crew leadership know that we'd love a chance to review Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus I Primary Books.

I was delighted when I learned that we had been selected for the review. We'd been working on the Middle Ages, but had never started at "the beginning" in our history studies. Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus I starts at the beginning - creation - Genesis ("The Book of Beginnings").

We received Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus I in the form of a digital download of the textbook, combined with on-line access to the self-paced video program.

Veritas Press is a company dedicated to the idea that a classical education is the best education for a child to reach their God-given potential. What is a classical education? Well, this is not a question I can answer here, in a review of limited words, but Veritas describes a classical Christian education within their blog pages, so you can go there to learn more. If you chose not to click the above link, suffice it to say that a classical Christian education is a rigorous education, spanning K through 12 in an age-appropriate manner. A classical education includes Latin and Greek, Logic and the study of the "Great Books", the study af artists and their great art, composers and their great music, and includes the developing of a Biblical worldview throughout your child's education, starting at the very beginning and building year-upon-year until high school graduation.

Classical education divides educational stages into grammar, dialectic and rhetoric, according to the child's developmental stages. This is the way education was taught in the earliest days of education. Then in early American public education, the method and focus of education gradually changed its goal from being education for the purpose of learning to a goal of educating the populace to enable the citizenry to be able to get a job!

I have long had one foot in classical education and one foot in Charlotte Mason style education. Now, if these do not sound like a complete contradiction, I'd have to say that I agree. Nevertheless, my efforts with my son, with the Charlotte Mason approach, have been a much "gentler" approach, not a rigorous approach. Now, with Miner starting 9th grade, I am hoping I can ramp up his educational efforts and encourage him to embrace a more rigorous approach to his education and his preparation for life.

Several years ago I learned of Veritas Press, when I received some Veritas materials from a friend. However, at that time I just didn't "get it", I didn't understand the Veritas program or method. Fortunately digital technology has progressed, and now I can get just about every question I have answered in the form of a video answer! And while that can be time consuming, it makes an amazing difference in enabling a home schooling mom like me to understand and teach in the Classical way.  

So, assuming you now know what a classical Christian education is, a few more definitions. The company name, the word "veritas", comes from the Latin word for "truth". Self-paced means that your students can take the course at the speed that suits them, however there will be a subtle pressure to get through all the lessons of the course during the normal 36 weeks that make up a school year for most families. Next, the issue of Primary books verses Secondary books - I read the definition, but quickly forgot what I had read. I was on the telephone with the kind people at Veritas and they patiently helped me understand. "Primary" source books are books written by individuals alive at the time the event occurred. "Secondary" books are books written about historical events, but written at a later date, by someone who was not alive when the historical event occurred. Omnibus means "all encompassing".

The Omnibus I textbook contains all the material for both the Primary and Secondary book courses (Primary at the front of the textbook and Secondary at the back of the textbook). There is a video course available for both the Primary books and the Secondary books, but I was only given the video course for the Primary books, and that is what this review focuses on.

The books covered in Omnibus are: Genesis, Exodus, Epic of Gilgamesh, Code of Hammurabi, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, Odyssey, Histories, Oresteia, Plutarch's Lives, Theban Trilogy, Last Days of Socrates, The Early History of Rome, Luke and Acts, Aeneid, The Twelve Caesars, and Revelation. To me this is a daunting list to get through in a school year, but like I said a classical education is a rigorous education. This is why I thought the Omnibus 1 would be a good fit for my son, even though he is older -- because he has not previously had to follow such a rigorous schedule. He would not be ready for the course normally assigned to 9th graders. 

During our time reviewing Omnibus I, "Miner" and I worked our way through the first two primary books (Genesis and Exodus). I read the assigned Bible readings out loud, and when each assignment was completed we watched the video portion together. There are sections in each video where the student is asked questions, and my son answered these. Some days he did better than others. It is summer, and he was definitely distracted at times.
So, here is where I report to you what we thought, and any praise, criticism and/or suggestions for improvement.

First, the video component: I thought this was amazing! I loved it! I was stunned, though, at the pace at which the course goes through the material. I am so, so accustomed to reading a book the way you might sip a cup of hot tea: you sip, pause, enjoy, swallow, breathe, sip again... And this course goes at a pace more like you are at a pie-eating contest, where you are in a hurry to finish. The reading comes first, and then the video, so I guess my analogy breaks down there. I'll try to think of a different analogy, because it's like I really enjoy the video session, and you have to hurry up and read the assignment before you are to watch the video session, which is your goal. It's fun.

My son, on the other hand, hated the video sessions. This caused me to begin looking at the textbook that I also received (in digital format), but that I wasn't seeing reading assignments for. The textbook is rich! It is beautiful! It is enhanced with related paintings and photos of related architecture and other wonderful items. But there are no reading assignments. So I called the help line to the vendor to get help figuring this out, because aren't we supposed to read the book, too, before watching the video? (And I was also thinking, "Oh my! This is already so much reading each week!")

The vendor got back to me later in writing, answering my question as follows:
1. Although the reading passages are built into the SP Program, most students will also want to keep a copy of the text that they can read even when the computer is off.

2. Although the reading passages are built-in to the SP Program, they are more extensive in the actual text book. Therefore, the student will actually have extended material in the book.

3. For posterity purposes, most students taking this type of course like to reference the textbook from time to time, even after it's over. So, this is a valuable bookshelf item. 

4. Although used for reference and resource information, the web links built inside the textbook are not in the SP Course. The web links are a helpful learning tool outside of class time.
So, my recommendation to Veritas would be, please, for the Mamas that are overloaded and feeling like we don't have time to sit down and figure a single thing out on our own, please, please create a schedule that says, "Lesson 1: Read Genesis 1-13; optional: read Omnibus Text Chapter 1" or whatever. Please.

Now, the opinion of the student. I have a very smart student, but one who is beginning to recognize, let's call it a "weakness" in himself to be distracted by electronic methods of conveying information. Either he doesn't learn well from it, or in various video classes he is less able to concentrate on the information because the teacher has a beard, or is wearing glasses that have a glare from the light, or that has crooked teeth, or whatever. Maybe my son even just doesn't like the particular teacher, I don't know. I'm not sure. He seems to consistently dislike doing video courses. It's not fair to the vendor of any product to say that it is the product's fault that my son doesn't like using the videos, but he doesn't. So, no, he didn't like the video portion.

However, he does love the course. He says we should plan to use this for 9th grade, but he wants to do it from the textbook. ::sigh:: Mom is waving "Good bye!" to the "Easy" button in this home school. But the teacher in this school is telling the student that the 9th Grader needs to take over more of the responsibility for his own schooling this year. There is so much he needs to get done, and it will go faster if he begins to "own" it.  
So now let me go over the product-specific "nitty gritty" with you.
  • Self-Paced Omnibus I Primary Books is designed for students aged 12 and above. It is used, normally, for 7th graders, but the content is rich enough that it would be sufficient to use (in my opinion) to count a credit for high school social studies.
  • Self-Paced Omnibus I Primary Books does not come WITH the "Great Books" content it covers. You can get these Great Books titles on your own, or you can purchase them from Veritas Press.
  • Self-Paced Omnibus I Primary Books costs only $295. After you register for your self-paced course, you will receive a code to get a discounted price for either the hardcover text ($50, normally $75) or the e-book version ($37.50, normally not even available as an option). (I recommend the printed version.)

Menu Monday for 6/23/14

Sorry this is late. Miner left for Scout Camp Sunday, and then hubby and I left town for a couple of days. I had so much to do to get ready that I did not get this posted first. Here's the menu plan for the week just ending:
Sat: Black Bean Soup, Salad, Rolls

Sunday: Leftovers (Mom and Dad out of town)

Monday: Chicken Caesar Salad (M&D Out of town)

Tuesday: Lemon Chicken, brussels sprouts, rolls

Wednesday: Cheeseburgers on flats, steamed zucchini

Thursday: Spinach quiche, salad, rolls

Friday: Blackened catfish, green beans, noodles

Saturday: Spaghetti, noodles, salad, garlic bread

Now, off to plan for next week!

Sorry this is late. Miner left for Scout Camp Sunday, and then hubby and I left town for a couple of days. I had so much to do to get ready that I did not get this posted first. Here's this week's plan:


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friday Wrap Up - 6/20/14

This week included work in products that are in our home for review. Miner is currently taking a break from Math. Studies included:

  • Finishing studies in Genesis and beginning studies in Exodus in Veritas Press's Omnibus I;
  • Studies in Moving Beyond the Page: Einstein Adds a New Dimension;
  • Studies in Moving Beyond the Page: Literature Unit - Language Arts Package: The Age of Discovery;
  • Home School Piano lessons.
We have also been getting ready for Miner to leave for a week at a Boy Scout Camp. Other highlights of our week have been:
  • Monday - no Boy Scout meeting! The troop is on break for the summer;
  • Tuesday - no Cub Scout meeting! The Cub Scouts had day camp this week and did not having an evening meeting.
  • Wednesday - Mom had work done on a crown and left the dentist with a sore jaw and sore gums (from all the Novocaine shots).
  • Thursday - Mom had physical therapy, and some of yesterday's muscle knots were also addressed. Miner got a much-needed hair cut.
  • Friday - Miner had an orthodontist appointment. (This is a big deal because the drive  is about an hour and ten minutes each way.) He got heavier wires and new ligatures. His mouth is now sore. Just in time for Boy Scout camp! Mom mowed a lawn. Miner finally spent some time packing for Scout camp (late into the night). (Mom will be checking the packing. Mom wanted Miner to pack while Mom was in the room--team work, going over the list together. ::sigh::) Oh, and a new book arrived for my enjoyment and review: 
    I've already started reading. Can't wait to get into the real meat!
So there will be no "Weekly Review" next week. Miner will be away, and there will be nothing I can report in the way of "What we did this week..." I mean, if someone wants me to I can write an entry on "What I did while Miner was away...". He leaves Sunday, returns Saturday. I hope he has a wonderful time!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Artist Study, Term 3, 2013-2014

2013-2014 TERM 3

Painting 1:
Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
  Voyage of Life - Childhood - 1842

Painting 2:
Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
   Voyage of Life - Youth - 1842

 Analysis by David Quine of paintings by Thomas Cole.

3 Thomas Cole's The Oxbow (View From Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm), 1836

   4. Niagara, 1857 by Frederick Edwin Church (1826-1900) also here
Niagara Falls

   5. Heart of the Andes, 1859 by Frederick Edwin Church (1826-1900)

   6. Autumn -- On The Hudson River, 1860 by Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) also here.
File:Autumn--On the Hudson River-1860-Jasper Francis Cropsey.jpg

Monday, June 16, 2014

Menu Monday for 6/16/14

Here's my vegan/carnivore blended menu plan for this week (vegan in parentheses):

Sunday: (6/15) - salmon, (yam) baby white potatoes, green beans
Monday: (6/16) - Steam 'um subs, potato chips, summer slaw (leftover gnocchi)
Tuesday: (6/17) - roasted chicken, rice, mixed vegetables (faux chicken patty)
Wednesday: (6/18) - cheeseburgers w/veggie toppings, steamed zucchini, pickles on the side (Amy;s quarter pounder)
Thursday: (6/19) - Pork loin roast, steamed carrots, (roasted corn and black bean salad)
Friday: (6/20) - Barbecued chicken, broccoli, noodles (faux chicken patty)
Saturday: (6/21)
Black Bean Soup, corn bread, salad

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Wrap Up - 6/13

On Saturday Miner worked with his Boy Scout Troop to help a Scout complete his Eagle project at our local state park. I was able to get photos of the Scouts as they ate lunch after completing the project.

Well, as Monday rolled around, it seemed Miner had checked out his brain some days ago, having thought that the public schools had already let out for the summer and that I was just torturing him with unwanted extra days of school. But public school's last day was today, so I finally realized what he thought and explained truth to him, and he did his best to settle down and work.

On Monday I had my portfolio review signed off. Now I just need to copy it and get it mailed. Also on Monday Miner's Scout Troop held their Court of Honor. Miner received advancement to the rank of Star Scout.
He also received his merit badges for Forestry, Astronomy, and Personal Fitness, and is owed the merit badges that he earned for Communications and Geology.


Tuesday night Miner worked with the cub scout pack where he is serving as Den Chief.

This week we pretty much hung Algebra I up for the summer. We have been working on Veritas Press's Omnibus I (Primary), as well as Moving Beyond the Page's units for Age of Discovery and Einstein. These are pretty amazing products. In Omnibus I we just finished studying Genesis. In Age of Discovery we are reading about Newton. And in the Einstein unit we are reading Einstein Adds a New Dimension. We've been reading about Marie Curie and Poladium and Radium this week.

So, not a day by day account, but that's our week at a glance. We will be continuing school through the summer, but only an hour or so a day, mostly reading. So, tell me about your week.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Manual of Natural History Study - Introduction

I am a lover of antiquarian books, and some of them, although gems, just sit on my shelves. I recently opened one that I have had so long that I don't know where I got it from. It is entitled Manual of Natural History Studies, Pupil's Manual, and it was published in 1898 by Franklin Publishing Company.

Since it's copyright has long since expired, it is something I can post here to share with you all. I was thinking it might be fun to do that. I found that my lovely little tome is actually available on - and I linked it above - but most people won't go there, stay there, and puruse the book, so maybe posting sections of it here on Thursdays will be welcome to my readers. Let me know.

So, to start, I thought that today I would share with you the Introduction, and see if anyone is interested in seeing more. Here we go:

     At the present day nature study is finding a place in the most elementary courses of instruction, and nothing could be wiser or more reasonable, since it is in childhood that interest is most readily aroused and the observing faculties are most easily trained.
      If it were possible to have a menagerie and an aquarium connected with every school, the natural history of animals might be studied with the original objects always at hand, and the ideal method of instruction could be pursued. This, however, is not practicable; and the nearest approach that can be made in the great majority of schools is by the use of pictures which represent with more or less fullness and accuracy the objects that are to be studied.
     The Natural History Studies, for which this manual has been prepared, seek by the use of large and carefully colored pictures to introduce the pupil to a large number of representative animals. Over one hundred of these are shown in the series, accompanied by a descriptive text, presenting in popular form the most interesting features of the animal described. The text referred to is reproduced in the manual, and it is here accompanied by very carefully prepared class studies in the form of questions and suggestions, which must prove of the greatest help to both teacher and pupil.
     The Readings accompanying the text will lighten the labor of the study, and will further impress on the child's mind the lessons conveyed by the text and the pictures. They consist of poetical and prose selections from the works of the foremost authors, and are valuable as a study in themselves, irrespective of their application to the subject matter.
     A combination of the chart and text-book methods, which is made possible by placing this manual in the hands of pupils, is the ideal of many teachers, and it is believed that the best results will follow its adoption in this study.
     The class exercise in this subject should be as frequent as once a week, and it would be better if it could be had two or three times each week. The study is not confined to any particular grade. Any class that uses a text-book in geography or arithmetic can take up this study, and even the younger pupils in an ungraded school will derive a great amount of information from the general class exercise. The ground should be gone over carefully and slowly, several lessons being given to each chart; and many interesting matters in the way of anecdote and side readings may be brought in to give additional interest to the study.
     The selections from Longfellow, Emerson, Holmes and Whittier are printed by permission of, and arrangement with, their publishers, Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Company.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Menu Monday - 6/9/14

Here's my vegan/carnivore menu plan for this week.

We actually Saturday to Friday, so I'll list it that way:

Saturday: Chicken Caesar Salad, leftover garlic bread (salad with beans, no chicken, for vegan)

Sunday: Steak, baked potatoes, steamed zucchini (for vegan, baked potato topped with leftover vegan chili from freezer)

Monday: Boy Scout Court of Honor pot luck (for vegan, taking my vegan main dish of Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., page 145)

Tuesday: Ravioli, salad, bread (for vegan, will be eating vegetarian tonight -- ravioli choices are cheese, cheese with spinach, and cheese with mushroom)

Wednesday: Roast chicken, rice, sweet kale slaw (vegan: Quorn chicken patty, brown rice)

Thursday: Boy Scout District Round Table pot luck (for vegan, will be taking Gnocchi and E2 Basics Red Sauce from The Firehouse 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn, page 192)

Friday: Salmon, yams, green beans (or will be going to youth group pool party cook out and will take an Amy's Quarter Pounder veggie burger)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Life in Balance - A TOS Crew Review

In April I learned that I would have the opportunity to review A Life in Balance, a book by Dr. Frank Belgau, as told to Eric Belgau, provided to me by Learning Breakthrough Program.
As a parent with at least one child with Learning Disability, I wanted to read this book to get further insight as a parent. I never stop wanting to learn, and I especially never stop wanting to learn things that will help my children (no matter what their age). A life in Balance gives insight into ADHD alternative treatment, dyslexia treatment, reading improvement, brain fitness and brain training. But I get ahead of myself...

I received A Life in Balance in late April. I dived in and quickly found the book to be an easy read. The writing style is engaging.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Menu Monday - 6/2/14

Here's my vegan/carnivore blend menu plan for this week:

Sunday: (6/1)
To be determined
Monday: (6/2)
honey roasted chicken, rice, green beans

Tuesday: (6/3)
JD – Cub Scout event, hot dogs, etc. (Amy's)

Wednesday: (6/4)
Beef enchiladas, salad, chips (veggie crumble enchiladas or bean burritoes-no cheese); vegetarian refried beans

Thursday: (6/5)
black bean salsa soup; salad; rolls

Friday: (6/6)
Pork chops; Steamed zucchini; Speedy International Stew

Saturday: (6/7)
Lasagne roll-ups; salad; Italian Bread (whole wheat lasagne rolls (contains dairy); salad

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 2014 Hymn Study

The Ambleside Online Hymn Rotation selection for June, 2014 is, "Fairest Lord Jesus":

My second personal selection for the month of June is "A Mighty Fortress is our God". My church sings a version of this song with "dumbed down" lyrics; I prefer the original words. If you don't know what bulwarks are, look it up. They are sturdy, thick wooden defensive walls on a castle.  The version I selected first below is contemporized. A traditional one follows it.