10 September 2014

Books to Share ~ From April 2014

Dusting off an old (!) post and hitting publish :)
C.S. Lewis at War: The Dramatic Story Behind Mere Christianity (Radio Theatre)
This set includes a dramatised (Focus of the Family, Radio Theatre Quality!) life of C.S Lewis and the story behind the creation of Mere Christianity.  Highly recommend!
C. S. Lewis at War: The Dramatic Story Behind Mere ChristianityI haven't listened to the Mere Christianity reading yet.

Review from the web: Mere Christianity  is touted as one of the greatest Christian books of the twentieth century and was created as a series of radio broadcasts in a time of great conflict and adversity. England had gone to war with Germany. It was a time of strain, heartbreak, and weariness.
The leaders at the BBC knew the nation needed a moral underpinning to face the crisis and embarked on an aggressive program to provide it. So they commissioned some of the greatest Christian minds to step up. C.S. Lewis agreed to help, resulting in the now-famous Broadcast Talks that became Mere Christianity.

Beorn the Proud ~ Madeleine Polland  (800's)
Beorn the ProudBeorn, a pagan Viking from Denmark, becomes a better ruler as a result of the influence of Ness, a Christian girl he took from Ireland as his slave. 
We didn't enjoy this as much as we thought we would.
We preferred The Story of Rolf & the Viking's Bow ~ Allen French - perhaps because the children are older, and the Viking Bow is a grittier read with lots of opportunity for discussion.

Wicked Will: A Mystery of Young William Shakespeare ~ Bailey MacDonald
Wicked Will: A Mystery of Young William ShakespeareSet in 16th-century England, this fresh and original historical mystery introduces a young sleuth named Will Shakespeare, a boy from Stratford-on-Avon with an active imagination and a penchant for trouble.


The King's Equal ~ Katherine Paterson

The King's EqualDaisy enjoyed this very short, easily read chapter book. This is a small chapter book that is big on character lessons!
 In order to wear the crown of the kingdom, an arrogant young prince must find an equal in his bride. Instead, he finds someone far better than he currently is.

Invisible Illness, Visible God ~ Merry Marinello

Merry has written a devotional styled book that takes us along on her journey of learning to trust in God as the Marinello family strives to navigate through the maze of living with a debilitating illness.
I'm sip reading this set of devotional excerpts - 101 in total - and am appreciating the encouragement  this book offers: though no one else may see or understand what we may be going through, our hope is in Christ - who is with us - through all trials.

The Sings My Soul: Book 2 ~ Robert J. Morgan

We are enjoying reading this collection of stories behind the hymns.  It's  the perfect book to have tucked into our sip reading book basket, we've been pulling it out to read from during family reading time in the mornings.
The hymns are in chronological order, which makes it helpful if someone was wanting to schedule them into a history study.
As a go-along to the book, we try to listen to the hymn online. 

Lorna Doone ~ R.D. Blackmore

I'm {still} going through this romantic classic as an audiobook, to see what the content is like before I hand it to Daisy later this year... maybe.  Some of the content in it is mature, and I want to discuss those portions before Daisy starts the book, either this round through the 1600's or her next time through.
So far, I'm enjoying the wordiness of this book! And Jonathan Keeble reads it so well.

An amazon customer wrote this very help filled review:
{clip} The story is told by John Ridd whose father is killed by one of the Doones when John is 12. One day John accidentally wanders into Doone Valley, where he meets 8 year Lorna. He is immediately smitten and what seems an impossible romance develops several years later. The brutal Carver Doone wants Lorna for his wife, so John must rescue her. The Doones, of course, want her back. John and Lorna also have to overcome differences in rank (she has it, he doesn't), money (she has a lot more than he does) and religion (she's Catholic, he's Protestant).
Blackmore's book vividly describes the Devon countryside in which the novel is set, and the lifestyle of a yeoman farmer. Some people may find all these details unnecessary, and a distraction from the central story but I really enjoyed learning about the lifestyle of late 17th century rural England.
The story is set against the historical backdrop of the death of King Charles II, the Monmouth Rebellion, the brutal suppression of that rebellion by Judge Jeffreys known as the Bloody Assizes, and the short-lived assent of the very Catholic King James to the throne (and fears of 'Papist' rule). I recommend doing some brief research on these events on the Internet before reading this book. An understanding of the historical context will make this an easier and more understandable read

05 September 2014

Writing With Skill ~ Our Experience

I get asked from time to time about how we've used Writing With Skill and what we think of "it".
This post has been sitting in draft mode for months so I thought I'd toss in a few pictures and hit post ... then I can just refer anyone who may ask us about WWS here
(J is currently 1/2 way through Writing With Skill 2).
Sorry, my post is a little long.

This is not an intentional advertising post for Writing With Skill   - I don't feel motivated enough to want to write affiliate posts or reviews for return , whatever that means ☺ -  this is just a type up of J's experience using book one in the series Writing With Skill (WWS) by Susan.W. Bauer during 2012 and 2013.
To use WWS effectively from the go get, in my opinion, having a student who has solid chronological narration skills is a must.
I'd suggest definitely backing up and getting 'that' writing skill working well first, and before I get into talking about Writing With Skill, I'll have to start back a little bit and chat about the style of narration being taught in Writing With Ease (WWE):
In my opinion, many of the elements that WWE looks for in narration – especially in WWE4 - seem to be in teaching the student to more effectively use the 5 "W" questions (who, what, where, why and/or how) and, ideally, relaying those 5W’s in a chronological fashion using a directed style of narration.

We use two styles of narration:  a more creative, freer style, of narrating,  along with a directed and chronological style of narration outside of WWE's lessons .
(Daisy prefers the less directed, freer style of narrating as this gives her the freedom to be very creative, and verbose ☺, about minor details that have caught her attention. I digress.)

The progression from using the 5W guide lines in WWE and then employing them in WWS was less of a stretch, for J, than if I’d only taught with a less “directed” style of narration.

J employs those 5W’s as a check list with many of the writing assignments in Writing With Skill.
Sometimes one of those "W"s is not included in the portion of literature being studied.
He mentally crosses it off and moves on.

Writing With Skill is/was not an easy program to use, as in effortless and light - it's a good solid writing course that requires the student to think and work.  I like it, and I appreciate the results this writing course is helping J to achieve.

During the first half of 2012 the ongoing effort was to write with more fluidity; often that aspect remained at the *almost* level. (grrr, says J!)

So to be sure my son was getting a fair chance in WWS, away from the influence of my inability to write well, and to ensure he’s safe from my knee-jerk streak of perfectionism - I relied on the rubric Susan Bauer provides to go with each WWS  'assignment'  which helps me ascertain whether J has met the writing requirements, or not.

Sometimes I was requiring more than was being asked for, or J was submitting less than the rubric required.

We worked slowly, steadily, and solidly through WWS1 as I was in no rush to have J complete book one, just so we can get to the next book (which was not out, when I started typing this review).
We took our time using the instructions in WWS1 as solid lessons in learning to write, not just inside WWS but across our other subject areas too.

We kept the lesson times shorter than the hour most would use with WWS – I required that J work for up to ¾ of an hour diligently or complete one lesson (which ever comes first).

Before we started, I did pre-read what Susan writes about her intended/hoped for outcome from using this book/course.  Having those outcomes clearly laid out helped to settle my anxious feelings, a lot.  I am not a writer, which is glaringly obvious in my post here, so I appreciate some hand holding when it comes to 'teaching' a student to write.
(SWB's write up is detailed inside the Teacher's guide .. I'm not sure if it's part of the sample.)
Another encouragement for me was listening through Susan's, very help filled, audio lectures on The Plan for Teaching Writing.  (available over at Peacehill Press)

WWS, in our home, is being used as instruction time, not as a semi test – so if a lesson seems way too hard we’ll refer to the rubric Mrs. Bauer gives to go with each lesson, together.  Definitely not what Mrs. Bauer intended, but I like to use teaching tools the way that will work for my student and me ☺
This approach ensures J has less of that dread feel that some students may start to generate when they hear the words writing assignment ;)

It's now 2014, and we have long since finished WWS1 and the end research assignment.
J chose to write on The Beginning of the Periodic Table.
I was really happy with the end result - which J does not want me to share online -  and the skills he learnt while using WWS1 - J met the rubric, writing in a clear and engaging style, citing all his reference tools correctly, typed his assignment up in double spacing, and didn't complain too much at the 'need to fix' side notes I scrawled on it before he handed in his final pieces of paper.

We are going to use - we are using it :) J is 1/2 way through - WWS2 this year, 2014, as my son likes the way Mrs. Bauer writes: directly to him, as a student who wants to learn, and in a style that appeals.  And as he noted, if a student was a really gifted writer - one for whom writing came easily and naturally, who also had a good grasp of writing research papers and turned out good solid essays - WWS detailed, incremental, instructions might be annoying.  For J, and me,  those instructions are not annoying - they are necessary.

For our family, using WWS, at an older age has been a good fit for us: the student is able to work, mostly, more independently and the level of writing being produced, for my student, is of a more pleasing quality - and doesn't feel like a tooth extracting session which it may well have been if we'd used it during the pre-teen years.  Your experience may differ.

Extra Comments:
WWS is not the only writing 'course' J is using for his highschool years, we are also using Greenleaf's literature study/writing guides as well, and really enjoying Cyndy Shearer's teaching style.
Susan shared a pdf over on TWTM about progression scenarios/options for those using WWE & WWS; we seem to fall into the 3rd option catagory :D

03 September 2014

Free Download - Time Sensitive

The free download for this week over at Christian audio is Francis Schaeffer's How Should We then Live?   

I'm not sure of the content of this book  - I've been interested to go through this title, for quite a while, after listening through Schaeffer's book Art & the Bible (Art & the Bible is currently on special for $4.95) - so to have a wish list title available as a free download is a blessing.

{Waving hello to my dear homeschooling friends ♥}

25 August 2014

Free Audio Books from Naxos

Here is a link for the current free audiobooks from Naxos: Current MB4 Downloads
Titles are:
Famous People In History, Volume 1
Northanger Abbey ~ Austen
The Call of the Wild ~ London
And for those going through any of Charles Dickens works ( British Literature), you may want to check out the podcast links here

16 August 2014

Daisy Posts What We've Been Reading in the Last Few Months

Hi, Daisy here again.
Quite a few of mums friends keep asking what we have been doing lately.
Here is what we’ve been reading. 
We just copied and pasted from mums big list.
The green typing are books we read that are not on mums list.
Mum’s helping me do this, only a wee bit she says.


Dad just finished reading this book to us and we all liked it.  {mums says:It does contain some content that may need to be edited out for young or sensitive readers. (The book starts with Sam's mother dying, and describes floggings on board the Orpheus).}  It's based on the sinking of the Orpheus in New Zealand in 1863 where 189 men, out of a crew of 259, lost their lives.  It may seem like a boys book, but it's not it's a very good story for girls too.

14: Life & Times: Chaucer & The Middle Ages~Ross (N/F)
18A: The Settlement of Australia: from Colony to Nation ~ Hatt
18A: The Story of New Zealand ~ Basset/Sinclair/Stenson (our, highschool level, New Zealand History Spine)
19: The Mongols ~ Nicholson SLF

Read Alouds/Audios
11: Otto of the Silver Hand ~ Pyle (SLG R/A)
Captain Blood ~ Sabatini
Moonfleet~ Faulkner
Rhiannon ~ Grove (Audio) still listening
swapped in NZ book   Where the Flag Floats ~ D.C. Grant.
16:    1: Homeless Bird ~ Whelan  

Morning Family Reading
The Bible.  We are reading through Paul’s letters to the churches, we are up to Philippians.
4: Treasury of English Verse: New & Old  (selections) ~ University Tutorial Press
21: A Glorious Age in Africa~ Chu (SLF)
King Alfred’s English ~ White

Daisy My books.
I like reading and I listen to lots of audio books while I do crafts.
10: Adam of the Road ~ Gray (SLG R) We tried this as a read aloud but only dad was in the mood for this book, so we never read it all. we just skipped to the end to see what happened.
12: A Cathedral Builder ~ Caselli
17: The Great Wall of China ~ Fisher (SL1) (PBAS)
17: Li Lun, Lad of Courage ~ Treffinger  (China) SLF
16:    1: Homeless Bird ~ Whelan  
18: Crowns of Fire ~ Morrow (PBS)
18: The Voyage of the Poppykettle ~ Ingpen (Aust) (PBS)
18B: SeeSaw Girl ~ Park  (SLF)
19: The Big Wave ~ Buck (Japan) SLF (read with mum) opt
10: The Castle Diary ~ Platt (large pict bk) (PBS)
11: Kingfisher Tales from Russia ~ Mayhew (Selections) PBS
13: Robin Hood ~ Howard Pyle (audio opt)
13: Reformation Heroes ~ Kleyn Ch.1: Peter Waldo
14: A Florentine Merchant ~ Caselli (1300s AD)
18B: Tales of a Korean Grandmother  (Start) (SL Core F) I only read about 2 thirds of this book and then asked mum could I read something else.
Shakespeare Stealer ~ Blackwood   I really liked this book!
11: (onwards) The Great & Terrible Quest ~ Lovett (SLG R) (discuss before reading)
16: The Silk Route 7,000 Miles of History ~ Major (repeat read)
18: The Samurai Warriors ~ Steele
(1600's) The King's Equal ~ Paterson
The Phantom Toll Booth ~ Norton Juster (WWE4)
Eight Cousins ~ Alcott
Rose in Bloom ~ Alcott
And some Lois Leppard books
22:The Dog Who Wouldn't Be ~ Galdone I am reading this now

J (14)
(Greenleaf Guide to Medieval Lit, reading through selections of:  The Canterbury Tales)
12: Saladin: The Muslin Who Defended His People~ Macdonald
12: The Magna Charta ~ Daugherty
13: Robin Hood ~ J.C. Holt (selections)
14: Girl in a Cage ~ Yolen    Robert the Bruce (Scotland) (1380AD)
18A: Favourite Maori Legends ~ A.W. Reed
19: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World ~ Weatherford N/F  
(J says very mature adult content in this audio and he and mum say to discuss it with your student.)
10: Cadfael title by Ellis Peters (audio)
Made You Look : How Advertising Works… ~ Graydon (SL200)
10: Unfinished Tales of NĂºmenor and Middle-earth ~ Tolkien
16: The Samurai's Tale ~ Haugaard SLG (opt)
17: The Silmarillion ~ Tolkien (opt)
18: The Girl in A Cage ~ Yolen
20: The Prince Across the Water ~ Yolen & Harris (opt)  (the Stuarts series)
21: Dido & Pa ~ Aiken  (Wolves of Willoughby Chase series)
The Westing Game ~ Raskin (SLG R/A)

The Year 1000 ~ Lacey  942.01 Lac  (audio option)  contains mature content, and curse words. editing out needed
9: 1066: The Year of Conquest     audio (modern times work, about 1066) J and I thought this was pretty boring
8: Gawain and the Green Knight (c. 1400)     audio/book  GGuide
11: Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (selections)(c. 1400) GGuide
16-20: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1600) BBC production/guide we are about to start this