What I read in September

I am getting back in the groove y’all! I finished more than one book this month! I haven’t gotten a library card at the new place yet and I didn’t bring any extra books with me from the old house…so one of those things has to be fixed soon! I am still way behind on my Goodread’s Challenge…ugh. But, here is what I read in September!
What I read in September 1
The Reader by Traci Chee – Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book–a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed–and punish the people responsible.

What I thought: This was a pretty good book, it did get me in right away and it was even better once I figured out what was going on. There were points were I was confused at the point of view. I am interested in reading the sequels!
What I read in September 2
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy – It is 1792 and France is in the grip of a seething, bloody revolution. Mobs roam the Paris streets hunting down royalists, barricades block any chance of escape, and every day hundreds die under the blade of Madame la Guillotine. But in the hearts of the condemned nobility there remains one last vestige of hope: rescue by the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel. Renowned for both his unparalleled bravery and his clever disguises, the Pimpernel’s identity remains as much a mystery to his sworn enemy, the ruthless French agent Chauvelin, as to his devoted admirer, the beautiful Lady Marguerite Blakeney.

First published in 1905, The Scarlet Pimpernel is an irresistible novel of love, gallantry, and swashbuckling adventure.

What I thought: Y’know, I was having trouble at first, but this ended up being a good book! Again, it is one that I think most people have probably read already. I liked the second half better than the first half.

What I read in September 3
The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury – In 1793, when Marie-Antoinette was beheaded at the guillotine, she left her adored eight-year-old son imprisoned in the Temple Tower. Far from inheriting the throne, the orphaned boy-king had to endure the hostility and abuse of a nation. Two years later, the revolutionary leaders declared the young Louis XVII dead, prompting rumors of murder. No grave was dug, no monument built to mark his passing. Soon thereafter, the theory circulated that the prince had in fact escaped from prison and was still alive. Others believed that he had been killed, his heart preserved as a relic. The quest for the truth continued into the twenty-first century when, thanks to DNA testing, a stolen heart found within the royal tombs brought an exciting conclusion to the two-hundred-year-old mystery.

A fascinating blend of royalist plots, palace intrigue, and modern science, The Lost King of France is a moving and dramatic tale that interweaves a pivotal moment in France’s history with a compelling detective story.

What I thought: The first part of the book was a lot of back story. It was interesting. Then came all of the scandal and conspiracy theories. It got a little repetitive. The ending was just kind of sudden. It was still an interesting book, just wish it was a little different.

So, that’s what I read in September, as always, let me know if you have any title recommendations! Hopefully I can get a library card soon!

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Easy Grammar Ultimate Series: Grade 11 {Review}

We haven’t done a lot with Grammar this year in our homeschool. I was excited to receive Easy Grammar Ultimate Series:  Grade 11 from Easy Grammar Systems recently.
Easy GrammarWhen I first took the books out of the box, I appreciated that the covers were a great quality. One of those that you just can’t tear. Trust me, we all took a turn trying to tear them, ha! But that is such a great thing to include in curriculum, especially something like a workbook that is going to be used often!

The book covers are very easy on the eyes. The wording is very simple and not distracting. We got the Teacher Edition and the Test Booklet. As you flip through the book, the font is a bit basic, but once we started using the curriculum, it didn’t bother me.

I love when curriculum makes it easy for me. Especially in high school. This is definitely easy!
Easy GrammarEach page is just one days work. They are labeled as Day 1, Day 2, etc. So easy for me as a parent!

And definitely easy for the child as it isn’t overwhelming. It shouldn’t take them very long to do that days work at all! And that means they won’t get burnt out on it either! They mention that it should take around five minutes to do, and five minutes to go over, if you choose to do that.

I like that they suggest doing it how it best fits your needs. They have suggestions, but allow for differences, which is nice.

Each worksheet is pretty similar in how it is separated. For the most part each page has four sections:

  • Capitalization – There is a sentence that doesn’t have any capital letters, so it needs to be fixed.
  • Punctuation – Depending on what punctuation is being learned, that is what needs to be fixed.
  • Parts of Speech – Could be adjectives or conjunctions or any other part of speech, and there are different exercises to do in those sections.
  • Sentence Combining – There are a few sentences listed and they need to be combined into just one sentence.

There are other sections sprinkled throughout the book as well. Analogies, Compound Sentences, that sort of thing.

They base the book on mastering..so what they learn will eventually show up again and again throughout the book, just in a different way. This helps student learn thoroughly.

The book can be written in if you have just one student, or if you have more than one like I do, you can just make a copy or two.
Easy GrammarAll of the answers are listed in the back of the book, with coordinated Day numbers. You can see that they are all squished into each Day, but there aren’t that many questions/answers that it bothers me too much.
Easy GrammarThe other book, the Test Booklet, has 18 tests included. It is based on the ten lessons previous.

This book is perforated and can be torn out and given to the student. Or like the other book, can just be copied if you have more than one child.

One thing is, the answers to the test are just to the left of the test. So if the student is taking the test in the book, the book should be folded over so that they can’t see the answers. We just made copies anyway, so we didn’t have to worry about that, but I wanted to mention it anyway.

I have really enjoyed this Grammar curriculum so far! Easy Grammar Systems  have a great thing going! And honestly, I wish I had started using this when my kids were younger!

If you want to see what others thought about their experience with Easy Grammar Systems  that includes different grade levels, feel free to click the banner below! They have so many options to check out!
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I lied..

With all of the moving and craziness that came along with getting this house, I looked at the calendar and was amazed that we had only 11 weeks left of school! Well, I lied. I just looked at it again and now it is more like 15 or so. Ack!
i liedThe funny thing is, I haven’t told the kids yet.

I am hoping that they forgot how long ago it was that I said we had 11 weeks left. I mean, we took over a month long break so they probably forgot, right?

For some reason I think I thought that we only had a 30 week school year.

Oops.

So it really wasn’t me lying….I just forgot! lol

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College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetor {Review}

The kids have been taking a few college classes the last few semesters. As you know, there are a lot of papers that need to be written in these classes. I was very excited to get the chance to review College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetor. It couldn’t have come at a better time!

BetterRhetor logo

College-Ready Writing Essentials™ will work for many different people! I suggest it for kids that are in early to mid high school. Although you can also use it as a senior or if you are already in college. And in fact, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to use it as an adult!

We received the Full Package. There is also a Premium Package. The difference between the two is that the Premium Package includes some extras, the most exciting is personalized feedback on your essay by William Bryant who is the founder and CEO.

When we first logged onto the program, my daughter had just been assigned a paper in her English class. She gets overwhelmed just starting the paper. Once she gets going it is easier for her, but she gets a definite mental block at the beginning.

As we started moving through the lessons, we came to lesson three which was Selecting a Topic. You guys, this was such perfect timing. There are so many tips included in each lesson, this one included.

It broke everything down in very easy to understand terms…and she understood. She understood something that her father and I were trying to explain to her and not having luck with.
BetterRhetor worksheetIncluded in lesson three were worksheets…they are also available as a download that you can print off or you can just type on the screen to answer the questions!

While this essay topic wasn’t what her assignment was on, just this one chapter helped her immensely on being able to pick the topic out of her choices given.
BetterRhetor paperAs you go further along, there are examples of papers. This really gives the student an example of how these essays should be written. One of the papers was actually on one of the topics of her assigned essay! Seeing one out on paper also made it not look so overwhelming to her when she is assigned a certain amount of words!

There are a total of 25 lessons and they are broken up into sections.

  • Overview – just a basic overview with one lesson.
  • Planning – covers lessons 2-11 and helps pick out a paper topic
  • Drafting – covers lessons 12-19 and goes through each section of the paper (Introduction, body, conclusion)
  • Revising – covers lessons 20-23 and gives tips on revising your own paper
  • Finalizing – covers lessons 24-25 and goes over the formatting of the paper. Since we used it for college papers, they mostly used MLA format and that is covered.

We took a lot of time on the beginning lessons. That’s where Lauren got stuck the most is just beginning. The rest of the program is so very helpful, but I wanted to make sure we took our time with it.

You can mark complete the lessons that you are done with, which is nice. We are able to go back over the lessons that we wanted to spend more time on. I love that you can go at your own pace. We just didn’t mark those as completed so that we knew which ones to go back to.

Lauren started taking college classes at 15 and while writing papers was something she enjoyed, she didn’t have all of the college skills right away. That is one reason why I suggested it would be great for early high school aged kids. It can help for high school papers too!

You get lifetime access to this program, which I think is fantastic! There is also a 30-day money back guarantee, but I can’t imagine anyone needing to do that! If you want to read what others thought of College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetor, feel free to click the banner below! I know I am curious how the Premium Package was so I will definitely be reading about those experiences!
BR-better-RHETOR-Reviews-2019College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetor

 

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What I read in August

Oh my goodness.. This month is even worse than last month! I am not sure what is happening to me. I miss reading so much but I just haven’t been able to do it lately! We have been driving back and forth to both houses so often and just busy busy busy at each house. I can’t even read during breakfast, which I love to do. At least school will start up again soon, and that will help! Here is what I read in August!

What I read in August
All the Lost Things by Michelle Sacks – A simmering family drama about a father and daughter who embark on a road trip through the American South — but what they’re leaving behind is as important as what lies ahead.

When we first meet seven-year-old Dolly, she immediately grabs us with a voice that is both precocious and effervescent. It has been a while since her dad has spent time with her, just the two of them, and so when he scoops her up and promises to take her on the adventure of a lifetime, Dolly is thrilled.
The first days on the road are incredibly exciting. Every pit stop promises a new delight for Dolly and her favourite plastic horse, Clemesta, who she’s brought along for the adventure. There are milkshakes, shopping sprees, a theme park, and all the junk food she isn’t allowed to eat under her mother’s watchful eye. And, for the first time, she has her father’s attention all to herself. But as they travel farther south, into a country Dolly no longer recognizes, her dad’s behavior grows increasingly erratic. He becomes paranoid and irresponsible, even a little scary. The adventure isn’t fun anymore, but home is ever further away. And Dolly isn’t sure if she’ll ever get back.
A compulsively readable work of psychological suspense from the first mile to the last, All the Lost Things introduces a remarkable young heroine who leaps off the page, charts a life-changing journey, and ultimately reveals the sometimes heartbreaking intersections of love, truth, and memory.

What I thought: It was definitely interesting reading from the prospective of a 7yo girl. I wasn’t sure how that would go through the whole book, but it added something. I thought that the book needed a little more…something. Not sure exactly what though. It was a good read!

That’s it. One book. Just one book for the whole month. Kind of crazy, right? Let me know if you have any book suggestions for when I can start reading again!!

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What I read in July

Wow.. I am so behind on my Goodreads Challenge you guys! With trying to move, staying in both houses, having all sorts of problems… I just haven’t had the time to read like I usually do! So, this blog post will definitely be short and sweet, lol.. Here is what I read in July!

What I read in July 2
Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran – When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest. India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of one another, seemingly no match for the might of the English. But when they arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, the British army is met with a surprising challenge.

Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies – one male and one female – and rides into battle, determined to protect her country and her people. Although her soldiers may not appear at first to be formidable against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi refuses to back down from the empire that is determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the unexpected perspective of Sita – Queen Lakshmi’s most favored companion and most trusted soldier in the all-female army – Rebel Queen shines a light on a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction. In the tradition of her best-selling novel, Nefertiti,and through her strong, independent heroines fighting to make their ways in a male-dominated world, Michelle Moran brings nineteenth-century India to rich, vibrant life.

What I thought: I enjoyed this book, I didn’t think I would but it surprised me. The perspective of hearing it told from Sita was nice. It was interesting reading about her upbringing and how she grew through the book.

What I read in July1
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon – It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.

Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong….

What I thought: Well, what can you say, it’s another Outlander book.. ha! I wanted to read up to the point that the shows are at, so I stopped here. This is another reason why I am so behind in my Challenge, these books aren’t short! I did like reading about Brianna traveling to get to her mom, especially after watching the show. Reading ahead does not interest me for some reason with this series, I would rather watch it first. Usually that is the other way around for me!

That is what I read in July! I am hoping I can catch up a little bit, but I have a feeling I won’t be meeting my Challenge goal this year! 🙁

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Our goat yard..

When we first moved in, this area was all just trees and brush! I love our goat yard!
our goat yard
This is one thing I will definitely miss once we move. Granted, they will have a bigger yard, but it won’t have trees and things to jump on. At least for a while.

The goats have gotten into their groove here too.

Mama Goat was very skittish when we got her, don’t think she was given much attention at her first home. She is like a different goat completely now!

Charlie mourned Mikey for a long time.. Then his horn fell off and he was embarrassed and hid for a while. But he is right in with the other goats now, even though he can’t head butt as hard as they can.

Cody is a monster. I don’t know how he got so big, we were never showed who the dad was, it must have been the biggest goat there though. He’s so awkward too, since he is still fairly young. The other two can run and be crazy, and he tries…he is just so big…ha!

But we love them, and are excited for them to have more room. Everything else will just come in time…

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What I read in June

I can’t believe it is already July! I am so behind schedule with my Goodreads challenge because of just life stuff. Plus, I am reading books in the Outlander series that take me longer to get through.. I am going to take a break after my current one is done so I will be caught up with the shows for a while. 😉 Here is what I read in June, a whole two books!

What I read in June1
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon – Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.

What I thought: This wasn’t my favorite so far, but it started getting better. It was pretty similar to the show so I don’t feel like I missed out on anything.

What I read in June2
The Cartoon History of the Modern World Part 1 by Larry Gonick – The Cartoon History of the Modern World is a wickedly funny take on modern history. It is essentially a complete and up–to–date course in college level Modern World History, but presented as a graphic novel. In an engaging and humorous graphic style, Larry Gonick covers the history, personalities and big topics that have shaped our universe over the past five centuries, including the Industrial Revolution, the American Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the evolution of political, social, economic, and scientific thought, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, the Cold War, Globalization––and much more.

Volume I of the Cartoon History of the Modern World picks up from Gonick’s award winning Cartoon History of the Universe Series. That series began with the Big Bang and ended with Christopher Columbus sailing for the New World. This book starts off with peoples that Columbus “discovered” and ends with the U.S. Revolution.

What I thought: This was a fun way to refresh your memory on things that happened. Some of the cartoons are pretty funny. I had to stop reading them out loud though during homeschool because some are just not appropriate for me to read to the kids, lol.

 

And that is what I read in June. This year has been crazy for reading, I need to take it up a notch for sure! How are you doing on your Goodreads challenge?

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Joy of Discovery with Learning Objectives {Review}

We have used unit studies since we first started homeschooling. I have always been a little envious of those that could make a unit study out of anything! I know a couple people in our homeschool group that can do just that! A couple weeks ago I received Joy of Discovery w Learning Objectives from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources.
Joy of Discovery w Learning ObjectivesThis binder is actually two separate publications just packaged together. You can get each one by itself, but really, they go so great with each other that it just makes sense to get it this way!
The Joy of Discovery TitleThe first part is The Joy of Discovery How to Teach with Unit Studies. To me, this part basically makes it less overwhelming. Because that is how I viewed making up my own unit studies before! I had no idea where to start!

They came up with an I³ method that I think nails down everything you need to do to make up your own unit study!

The first I is ‘Individual’ decides on a topic of interest. If you already have one in mind, this part is easy. If you are just going blindly trying to come up with something, it is a little more tricky! They also have some suggestions on different topics, and if none of those work for you, I am sure that you could branch off of them to come up with something perfect.

The next I is ‘Inquiry’ to define one question. There are so many topics that are quite general, that you should narrow it down a bit. Maybe you find something that is quite interesting and you can go off from there. If it goes a little deeper or more varied than that even, then you can come up with ideas for even more unit studies!

With the first two Is, they are helping you figure out what you want to study…while the last I actually IS the study!

The last I stands for Instruction. This is broken down in to a few parts that will all help you as you make up your unit study. One thing that they touch on that I am glad about is learning styles. Learning styles are so important in homeschool. Or anything really!
The Joy of Discovery WheelIncluded in the binder is a wheel that, once you figure out the learning style, it helps break down on how you should be teaching! This is so great! It is very easy to assemble.

So, for example, if my child were a visual learner we would spend time making diagrams or graphs, or even a card game! If my child was a written learner, they would be working more on journals, essays, or even worksheets. It really helps narrow down what you include in your unit study!

The rest of the information is packed full with answers to questions and ways to help create a learning environment. There are so many questions that are answered, I can’t imagine having one that wasn’t answered!

There are also worksheets that will help you as you are making up your own unit studies. You can copy new ones whenever needed…which is definitely a bonus!
Learning Objectives TitleThe last half of the book is Learning Objectives. This breaks down an example of what each child should learn in a particular grade. These will all help you as you plan your unit studies and see what can be grouped together!
Learning Objectives ChartHere is an example in part of the 8th grade section. Now, this is only a guide, so if they didn’t do something that was in a grade previous, you should make sure they do that first. We all know that homeschoolers don’t always follow a ‘grade’. Remember, this is only a guide, but it is a quite helpful guide!

It also goes over Art, Music, and Character Development. I think that last topic needs to be taught more in schools, just saying. 😉

All in all, I think this is a fantastic resource! Even though my kids are in high school, I really feel that I can make this work for coming up with our own unit studies! And it isn’t so overwhelming as I thought it was before reading this book!

If you would like to read what others thought of Joy of Discovery w Learning Objectives feel free to click the banner below! There are also reviews of other Hewitt Homeschooling Resources that might appeal to you! One of which I have used before and it was fantastic, Speech. But there are some great literature studies in there for all grades! Check it out!
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The Wars of the Jews {Review}

This year, the kids didn’t have a Bible study like they have had for the last couple years in high school. For the past few weeks I have had Kyle using The Wars of the Jews set from Memoria Press. We have used Memoria Press for years now, it is definitely a favorite!
The Wars of the JewsWe received the complete set. It included the books you see above.

The main book is The Wars of the Jews: The Fall of Jerusalem. It was written by Josephus but translated by William Whiston. Thankfully.
The Wars of the Jews BookThis book includes book five and six, and there are 18 chapters altogether. The words are larger, which is nice. I also like the pictures throughout as well!

Since the book was starting in Book five, and in Chapter 6, it just kind of jumps right in. It takes a lot to figure out what is going on at the beginning! I think he read the first few pages a couple times until he figured it out. But once he got over that, the rest made a lot more sense.
The Wars of the Jews StudentAlso included in the set is the Student Guide. Each lesson is set up the same except for the first one, which has a couple vocabulary words included. There is a Facts to Know section and then some Comprehension Questions.

I think the Facts to Know section is great, especially the first lesson. It tells you about people and events that were important at that time. There are also some quotations included.

The Comprehension Questions are all just write in for the answer. There are some decent questions in there! In the image above, you can see that my son didn’t answer one of the questions. It was a perfect opportunity to go over it together.

There is a Review in the back of the book that has quite a few questions to answer. This makes it evident that you really need to have retained what you read!

Also in the set is the Teacher Guide. One of the things that I have always loved about Memoria Press is that the student and teacher guide are set up the same so you can turn to the corresponding page in each book and it will have the exact layout.

Since they are the same layout, I didn’t take a picture of the book. But I did want to mention that included in the teacher guide is a test. It is longer and more involved than the review.

With Kyle’s summer college courses starting up, we have only been able to make it through Book five so far. The first two weeks we worked on it three times a week, and then the last two weeks we had to really slow down to only once a week. But honestly, it almost seems better to go at a slower pace!

We will still be working through this for a while, since their college course load is pretty heavy this summer. But we are all looking forward to getting to book six!

If you would like to read what others thought about The Wars of the Jews set, feel free to click the banner below! If your children are younger, they are also talking about Simply Classical Writing Book One: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) and Simply Classical Writing Book Two: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) Simply Classical Spelling Book One: Step-by-Step Words and Simply Classical Spelling Book Two: Step-by-Step Words The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History set,

There really is something for everyone! You can see our other favorite products by Memoria Press on my website!

The Wars of the Jews

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