Monday, November 22, 2010

Young Scholar's Guide to Composers

Young Scholar's Guide to Composers, by Bright Ideas Press, is the next on our review list.  It can be purchased as a CD-Rom book ($29.95) or a 298 page Paperback Book ($34.95).  Some other products offered by Bright Ideas Press are The Mystery of History Series and Illuminations.

Young Scholar's Guide to Composers is a 32 week chronological study of musical periods and composers.  It has been written for children grades 4-8, but could easily be adjusted for both older and younger kids.  Each lesson is either a musical period (Baroque, Classical...etc) or a famous composer.  And includes text, note-taking questions, creating a Composer Card (a great study guide with composer information), mapping where the composer was born, adding to a timeline, and of course, the music.  There are a list of online links in the book for each musical period and composer.  Also included in the book are games, coloring pages, folderbook instructions, glossary, website links, and a book list of recommended additional reading. There is some preparation needed for the use of this book.  There are copies to be made and it is a good idea to look up music links ahead of time and bookmark them.

Both the kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed this curriculum and look forward to completing it this year.  Logan has loved classical music for many years now.  He mostly listened to Mozart, Bach and Tchaikovshy.  This has been wonderful for him to get to listen to and learn about many other composers.  Isabel has never really been into classical music, but she has been having so much fun with this.  Their favorite piece, so far, is Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Spring movement.  They want to listen to it each day before we listen to whichever composer we are learning about for the week.

This has been great fun and full of so much wonderful information, presented in an easy to learn, yet not in an elementary manner.  I would recommend this to anyone who would like to add some Fine Arts to their school year.

*Disclaimer* I received this product free of charge for the purpose of this review.


Monday, November 15, 2010

We just had our family pictures taken, late October. Now that we got them back, I am so excited to create our Christmas cards from

We have ordered Christmas cards from Shutterfly for the past 3 or 4 years. This year there are so many great card options!  I have actually created 10 different cards and I am going to have my family vote on their favorite.

There are new story cards, which you can do a mini Christmas letter, and let everyone know what your family has been up to this year.  Shutterfly has tons of great photos gifts.  Photo books are a great way to remember a vacation or a homeschool year.  They have ornaments, mugs, mouse pads and much more.  I think my favorite photo gift has to be the calendars.  I sent one to my niece last year.  She was so excited to see herself and her family members on the top of every month.  Plus, I was able to add all of her important dates, so she won't forget a birthday.  She is really hoping that I make her another this year.

Now, I am off to start the Christmas card polling.  Hopefully each family member won't choose a different card!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Write Foundation

We have been working hard on our review products.  The next one up is The Write Foundation.  The Write Foundation, as you may have guessed, is a writing program. It is designed to help children 'become well thought-out and organized writers'.  The program comes in three different levels: Level 1- Sentence to Paragraph Writing, recommended for ages 11- 13, Level 2 -Paragraph Writing, recommended for ages 12-15, and Level 3 - Essay Writing, recommended for ages 14-17. 

Each level was designed to be taught in a 1 or 2 year format and is comprised of 30 total lessons.  The cost of each complete 30 lesson level is $100 + tax and shipping, and cost of 15 lessons is $65 + tax and shipping.  This curriculum uses Mind Benders by Critical Thinking Company as an additional, but highly recommended option.

Both Logan and Isabel have been working together (something they rarely do) on Level 1 - Sentence to Paragraph.  Before we began, I went through the curriculum and was a little confused.  Once we actually sat down and started working on it, it became easier (although I am unsure if we are doing the program as intended by the author).  They have been working on exercises that have been encouraging the expansion of their vocabulary and using the thesaurus.  It has been very helpful in getting them to realize the need for more descriptive words, rather than the same standards all of the time.  It has added a  much greater interest to what they are writing.  I am looking forward to the outlining portion of this program.  I really want them to be organized in their writings.

After spending several weeks with this program I like what it has done for the children's creativity.  In spite of that fact,I do not feel that the sentence quality is very good.  For example, the kids are rewriting sentences that include more descriptive verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, but the sentences do not seem much improved.   Although it has been helpful, I really do not believe I would pay $65-$100 for this program.

*Disclaimer* I received this product free of charge for the purpose of this review. 


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Isabel's First Horse Show

One of Isabel's first lessons on Foxcene

I haven't had much time to blog as of late.  Things get really busy this time of year.  I wanted share some pictures and videos of Isabel's riding lessons and her first Horse Show. 

Isabel has been a horse lover for years.  Each year, when the kids spend part of their summer with their grandparents, Isabel gets her Auntie Cait to take her riding on Papa's horses.  Last summer she went to Horse Camp at the local Girl Scout resident camp.  Finally a month ago she started riding lessons.  She is learning Western Pleasure, but hopes to switch to English soon.

She was so excited to find out that her stable was hosting a Fall Festival Show for all the kids who participate with them.  They only hold two events per year, so the timing was perfect for her.

Isabel signed up to participate in three events or classes.  The first was "On the Rails Class" (I think that is what they were saying, lol), where she rode along the outside of the arena and had to follow verbal directions to walk, trot, lope, stop, and reverse.  They were judged on posture and I am not sure what else (hey, I am new to all of this).  She placed 5th out of 5 competitors in this event. 
Her next event was the "Pattern A Class".  For this event she had to memorize a pattern to ride around the arena.  She placed 2nd out of 6, and was not happy with the end of the pattern where she was suppose to back up her horse, instead her nearly 30 year old horse decided to turn.  Isabel still managed to get her to back up.

Her final event was "Ride-A-Buck".  This was a 'fun' event.  The girls had a buck ($) under their backside sticking out of the back of their saddles.  The objective was to keep your seat to keep the dollar in place, and the last one to loose their dollar won and got to keep the dollar.  No one lost their dollar.  They put the buck under their left knee next, still they all kept their dollar, so each girl won and went home a Buck richer.  All of the instructors also found a great tool for future lessons. ;)
After all of the regular events, the kids divided into groups and dressed their horses up for a costume contest.  Isabel's group, The Fillies, dressed Foxcene as a Unicorn Princess.  Poor thing!  She won first prize for her costume!

Every week Isabel counts down the day until her next lesson!  She is hoping to start English very soon and her main goal is jumping!

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