Kristen

Jul 132017
 

 

Borax SnowflakeI did the neatest Christmas craft project with my 6 year old this week.  We made a snowflake out of pipe cleaners and Borax. Here is a direct link to the printable instructions for making a Borax snowflake.

Materials:

    • pipe cleaner
    • string
    • boiling water
    • wide mouth jar
    • Borax
    • pencil
    • blue food coloring (optional)

 

The first step is to cut a pipe cleaner into 3 pieces.  Then twist them together in the middle to form a 6-pointed figure.

Borax Snowflake

Next, take string and wind it around each of the points of the pipe cleaner. Leave a long piece at the end.

Borax Snowflake

Tie the end of the string to a pencil.

Borax Snowflake

Next, get your wide mouth jar.

Borax Snowflake


and your Borax.

Borax Snowflake

Pour 1 cup of boiling water into the jar. Add 3 tablespoons of Borax and stir.

Borax Snowflake

Add a couple of drops of blue food coloring if desired.

Borax Snowflake

Lower ornament into the jar.

Borax Snowflake

 

Borax Snowflake

 

Leave ornament in Borax solution overnight. Remove from solution and you will have a beautiful snowflake covered with crystals.

Borax Snowflake

 

Jul 082017
 

Creation versus Evolution

Evolution is taught as basic fact in schools. It is what all “scientists” believe. Only uneducated, brain-washed Christians believe that God created the universe and everything in it. Right?

It seems that there is a lot of division in the US and the world today. Creation versus evolution is just one of the issues dividing us. But is creation only for people who have “blind faith” in the Bible? Is evolution science, but creation religion?

Is Genesis History? seeks to show that a belief in creation does not require “blind faith” but is an entirely reasonable conclusion when viewing the evidence from a Biblical perspective. In the 101 minute film, Del Tackett visits 13 different PhD scholars in fields like geology, paleontology, microbiology, astronomy, archaeology, and Hebrew to discuss the Genesis account of creation and how the evidence that we find on earth is consistent with what we read in Genesis. In the discussions, they compare the ways that evolutionists and creationists look at the same data and come to different conclusions based on their starting assumptions. They also point out many of the inconsistencies in evolutionary theory.

The film is divided into the following sections with each one featuring a discussion with a different scientist.

creation versus evolution

  • Changing Our Perspective
  • What do the Rocks Tell Us?
  • A Question of Paradigms
  • What Does the Text Say?
  • How Do You Measure Time?
  • A Brief History of the World
  • The Origin of Fossils
  • When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth
  • Soft Tissue in Dinosaur Bones
  • The Genius of Design
  • The Potential of Created Kinds
  • The Purpose of the Stars
  • Where was Babel?
  • Genesis and Our Culture
  • A Changed Perspective

Our thoughts on Is Genesis History?

The film is well-made and interesting. It does a nice job of displaying beautiful scenery while explaining key concepts. I think the graphics are nicely done and are helpful. I like that the chapter divisions on the DVD  allow for a quick review of certain topics. The film flows well as a whole and does not seem a pasting together of individual chapters.

Our family is not new to the study of creation versus evolution. My husband and oldest son are especially educated on the topic. We have a relatively large home library of books and videos dealing with the topic of Biblical creation and evolution. So with that in mind, they had a couple of criticisms of the film.

First, neither my husband or son liked the conversational style of the video. Both of them felt it made it seem scripted, and somewhat disingenuous. I personally wasn’t particularly bothered by the conversational style, but it may grate on some. My son was particularly frustrated by the section on stars and the universe. He felt that in an attempt to keep things simple, they glossed over some very important ideas and current creationist hypotheses about how we can see starlight if the universe is only thousands of years old.

Considering that this film is intended as more of an introduction to the various topics discussed, I think that it fulfills that role nicely. It should inspire someone less familiar with creation versus evolution issues to do further research into areas that don’t seem as clear, and seek out resources that more fully address some of these difficult topics.

You can purchase a copy of the film in DVD or Blu-Ray format. A DVD/Blu-Ray combination package is also available. You can view the various options at Compass Classroom.

Are you interested in science curriculum from a Biblical creationist perspective? Try Apologia Science .

Disclosure: The links provided are affiliate links. If you purchase through the links on this post, I will receive a small commission. I received a free copy of Is Genesis History? in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Jul 062017
 

This post was written 8 years ago, but I find that it still rings true.

GASP!!!

Could there be such a thing as too much planning? Who hasn’t heard the quote –

He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

I love to plan. I plan to plan. Planning is one of my favorite activities. But yesterday I started thinking about all my planning in a different light.

On Tuesday I gave my older children (11 and 9) a fun and creative history project. I assigned them to make a model of a Roman villa. I’m not talking about anything fancy. We have a great assortment of cardboard from our recent gas grill purchase, so I thought they could use that. We looked at a few drawings of a Roman villa, then I brought them downstairs and showed them the cardboard. I pointed out the piece that would make a good base, and then the assortment of boxes that could be used for different rooms in the villa.

Then I let them get to work. They started laying out boxes and thinking about their project. My daughter started thinking about how to decorate the inside of the completed villa and how to use Playmobil pieces as “accessories”. Then my son said, “I think we need to sketch a plan so we’ll know what we’re building.” (I wonder where he got that from???) So he disappeared and came back a while later with a nice sketch.

Fast forward to Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, I reminded them of the project and mentioned that I would like to see some cardboard cut and glued today. They got back to work laying out the project according to my son’s plan.  They even located the scissors, tape, and glue. Then I heard my son say, “We don’t have the right boxes to use this plan. I’d better make a new plan.”

WHAT??? Will you quit all this planning and BUILD something please?

Did I just think what I think I thought? Thankfully, I did not say my thought out loud, but I was immediately struck by my thought. How often do I spend MORE TIME PLANNING than DOING?

I’m not advocating just “flying by the seat of your pants” so to speak. After all, Jesus said in Luke 14:28

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

We are building towers in a way. We pour out much of our lives into teaching our children. We absolutely need to have both long-term and short-term plans for “building” our children. We need to make sure we have a plan for teaching our children math and reading for example. We need to make sure that we’ve got the materials on hand to do our science experiment on Friday.

But I think those of us who are “planners” need to be sure that we’re not PLANNING so much that we miss out on actually DOING things with our kids. Ask yourself some questions.

  • Are my plans so rigid that I can’t tolerate any deviations?
  • Have I spent so much time getting my plans “perfect” that I don’t want to change them?
  • Have I made so many plans that I never get around to doing them all?

Just make sure that your plans are serving a purpose and really helping you to accomplish your goals. I especially like this quote:

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”—A.A. Milne

Feb 242017
 

Roman Numeral ResourcesYou may think that Roman numerals are unimportant, but for something so “outdated” they are still used in many areas including

  • Clocks
  • Movie copyright dates
  • Superbowl numbering
  • Outlines
  • Numbering pages in prefaces of books

Roman Numeral Resources

You can teach Roman numerals alongside your history, math, or Latin program. Here are some free resources I found to help.

Dad’s Worksheets This site includes a Roman numeral chart and converter as well as multiple worksheets to practice sequencing and converting between Arabic and Roman numerals.

The Notebooking Fairy If you use notebooking in your homeschool, you need to check out The Notebooking Fairy. You’ll find free Roman Numeral notebooking pages there to use with your history, Latin, or math study.

Make Free Roman numeral worksheets These worksheets are customizable. You can choose either to convert from Arabic to Roman numerals or Roman to Arabic. It also allows you to select how many problems.

Roman numeral worksheet generator Another customizable worksheet. In addition to customizing as above, you can also set the difficulty of the conversion and have addition and subtraction worksheets.

Roman numeral worksheets These worksheets are not customizable, but there are cute coloring pages for younger children that show Roman numeral I, V, and X.

 

Feb 112017
 

Disclosure: I received Thin Stix by Kwik Stix to review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Reality of Art Projects

“Mommy, can we paint?”

In my head –  “Ugh.  Not paint. I will have to find newspaper for the table. And where did I put those shirts we were using for smocks? And then there’s the wet paint on everyone’s hands.”

What I say –  “Wouldn’t you rather play outside? Or color with crayons?”

“No, we want to paint.”

In my head – “I really should let them. Kids should be allowed to experiment with different art media. It’s ok if they make a mess. If they were in school, I bet they’d have more chances to paint.”

“OK, Give me a few minutes to get everything set up.”

15 minutes later…

“Everything’s ready. You can paint now.”

5 minutes later…

“Thanks Mommy! Do you like my picture? We’re going to play outside now.”

Sigh.

Art Time

Does anything about my story sound familiar? I want my kids to have fun doing art projects. I want to be a “Yes” mom. But extra work and extra mess goes against my nature. Sometimes I just say yes and deal with the mess. But other times I just say no. Not now. And that’s ok too. However, I have found a solution to those times when the kids want to paint, but I don’t want the mess..

Thin Stix by Kwik Stix

Thin stix

The solution is Kwik Stix! Kwik Stix are tempera paints in a stick. There are no brushes to clean and no liquid paint to spill. There is no need for smocks. It dries in 90 seconds so there’s no running, smearing or smudging.

I received a package of Thin Stix by Kwik Stix to review. I opened them up and gathered my review team. They immediately went to work creating a variety of pictures.

The paint goes on smoothly and evenly. The colors are vibrant and the stix are easy to use. You just twist up more when needed, like chapstick.

Is it painting? Technically, no. But it is art.

These are great for school projects like posters. It is so much easier to write letters with Thin Stix than a paint brush.

Interested in trying Kwik Stix? You can purchase at Amazon.com and select retailers such as Books A Million and Target.

Thin Stix Art Gallery

Abstract Art by Lizzie, age 10

Flower by Anna, age 16

Rainbow by Andrew, age 6

Bob and Larry by Andrew, age 6

Sunny scene by Anna, age 16

 

 Posted by at 7:26 pm  Tagged with:
Jan 232017
 

VCF Exploring our worldThis week’s topic for the Virtual Curriculum Fair is Exploring Our World. I’ve been looking back through old posts about some of the ways we’ve studied history and geography. One of the things that I love about the Virtual Curriculum Fair is that it encourages me to look back over old posts. There is a lot of our homeschool history on this blog. I found that my Virtual Curriculum Fair posts are some of the best.

Last year I wrote Encouraging Curiosity About the World which focused on my oldest son and our years homeschooling him. The year before I described Unschooling Science and the previous was Raising Map Nuts. I looked at these and thought, “What can I add to this?” (Don’t worry, I thought of something!)

There is one activity that has been especially helpful for learning history in our home – reading historical fiction. Both of my girls have read many historical fiction books that they have chosen themselves from the library. I’ve let them read about a variety of historical topics in no particular order. In that way, they’ve built up a basic history knowledge with essentially no effort from me. As a result, they’ve developed an interest in various historical time periods and had a desire to learn more.

Literature-Based History Curricula

While just reading historical fiction is helpful, the love of historical fiction can be built upon with literature-based history curricula. I’ve used a couple of different history curricula that utilized historical fiction and provided a more systematic and logical approach to learning history than random library checkouts. By the way, you can read how I keep track of library books, if you have trouble turning books in on time.

The first one, Truthquest, provides books arranged by topic for specific time periods. You can read my complete review of Truthquest.

The other literature-based history program that we’ve used is Tapestry of Grace. We used it for several years when my older children were younger. We’ve started back with Tapestry of Grace this school year with my 5th grader, Lizzie. Here’s my review of Tapestry of Grace. I also have all the posts on Tapestry of Grace tagged. In addition, I have compared Tapestry of Grace to two other popular literature based history curricula: Sonlight and My Father’s World.

Historical fiction is not just for the kids. I’ve found that reading historical fiction inspires me to learn and study more about particular time periods. There are a couple of  mystery series set in World War I that I have enjoyed so much that I keep looking for more books about that time period.

 

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:

Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.

Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Social Science, Science and Exploring our World – Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Beyond the Books – Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time

Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres

Jan 152017
 

Virtual Curriculum Fair teaching mathThis week’s topic for the Virtual Curriculum Fair is math. I love math. However, my love of math doesn’t equal a love of teaching math. I have written quite a bit about math during my years participating in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. In fact, I’ve written so much, that I don’t have anything further to add to this topic today.

Instead I will share some of my previous thoughts.

In From Counting to Calculus I discussed much of what I’d learned about teaching math during my first 13 years of homeschooling.

I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t have the answers in The Post Where I Admit I was Wrong.

For some background on my math background, see How I Choose Math Curriculum.

Even though I didn’t have much new to add to this topic, I’m sure that the other participants can add a lot more to this topic. Be sure to check out their posts below.

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Discovering Patterns: Math and the Mathematical Sciences this week:

Finding Our Math Equilibrium: Our Plan for 11th, 7th, 5th, and 2nd Grades + Free Printables! by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Math Resources and Programs for All Ages by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Math (doesn’t) Stink! by Jennifer King @A Peace of Mind

When Math is NOT Your Thing by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

Math U See and All the Supplements by Laura H @ Four Little Penguins

Discovering Patterns in Our World: STEM Studies by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Junior High Math by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Science & Math for Struggling Learners by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

Maths: a subject in progress by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Taking Mathematics out of the Textbook by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acre

Maths for a Very Maths-y Boy by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Practical Math by Annette @ A Net in Time

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Math, How I Loathe Thee by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Math and Logic in Early Elementary and Preschool {virtual curriculum fair 2017} by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos

Low Stress High School Science and Math by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Are these toys or manipulatives? This is math? by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

When You Don’t Have a Math Plan by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Clear Horizons by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

 

 

Jan 082017
 

playing-with-wordsI would like to begin this week’s submission to the Virtual Curriculum Fair with a disclaimer. I am not an expert on special education, and I have no training in teaching children with reading delays. What I have is experience with my own 14 year old son who is on the autism spectrum. However, we have not found any perfect solutions to his reading delays, and we’re still plodding along this educational journey.

Letter Recognition

We knew that William, our 3rd child, was different from our older children by the age of 3 or 4. There were several little clues. (For the sake of brevity and keeping to the topic of reading, I’m only going to discuss differences in the area of reading and reading readiness.) One is that William was a late talker, but not alarmingly late. He liked to look at books and be read to, but at the age of 4, I realized that he wasn’t learning things that my older two had learned naturally. For example, he could sing the alphabet song, but he couldn’t  recognize the letters and didn’t know any of the corresponding sounds.

Decoding

We worked on letters and sounds for a while, waiting on further reading instruction knowing that a child must be ready developmentally in order to read. When William was about 6, I started trying various phonics programs to teach him to read. All About Spelling finally seemed to crack the code and get him started reading. (The companion curriculum, All About Reading didn’t exist at that time.)

Reading comprehension strategy

Reading Comprehension

However, reading is not just decoding. William is a pretty good decoder. What he lacks is reading comprehension. Sadly, his reading comprehension level has not improved very much over the years that he’s been successfully decoding words. His lack of comprehension has negatively impacted all his other school subjects because reading is an integral part of most curricula. Even in math, he struggles with understanding the instructions. Word problems are a big issue. A huge portion of history and science knowledge is most easily acquired by reading.

audio-and-video-curricula for reading comprehension

Moving Forward

This delay has left William with deficits in all areas of his education. I’ve tried a few different strategies and ideas over the last several years, but the main thing that I’ve done is wait. I work through his math word problems with him. He’s learned science through videos and a small amount of history from audio books. I guess I’ve been hoping that one day the reading comprehension will just be there.

reading delay strategies

I’m not saying it wasn’t a good idea to wait. However, the time has come to revisit some of the former things we tried briefly and give them more time to see if they help. I think that I tend to expect results quickly or at least some indication of positive results and am discouraged without that. I doubt I’m alone in that desire.

Strategies

Here are some things that I am or will be trying. I haven’t decided how much to do at once. Right now, I’ve only started on number one.

  1. Reading Detective – This is a program from The Critical Thinking Company. I bought this a couple of years ago and tried about 2 lessons then put it away because it was too frustrating. I pulled it out again last week and tried the 3rd lesson. As much as I want this to be an independent activity, I can see that for this to work, I’m going to have to guide him through this for a while.
  2. Immersion Reading with Kindle books – This is something I also started a couple of years ago, but with technical difficulties I didn’t continue to use it. I am ready to start this again. I know immersion reading has been tremendously helpful to other struggling readers.
  3. Visually appealing factual books – I have some great Usborne and other books that I need to subtly encourage William to read. Short snippets of text for gleaning facts that he’s interested in can help him to enjoy reading and increase his confidence.
  4. Brain Balance Therapy – I read Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo a couple of years ago and found that his ideas made a lot of sense. Part of me wants to try the exercises, but another part of me is hesitant. I think, “What do we have to lose?” but then also worry about my trying to “fix” him. I will be looking over the book again trying to decide whether to try it.

Do any of you have experience with teaching reading comprehension? What are some strategies that have helped your student?

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are writing about Playing with Words this week:

All posts will be live by Monday, January 9th at noon EST.

Delight Directed High School English by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Act Your Part Well- 2017 VCF by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

The Search For Language by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

Our Top Picks for Language Arts by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Multiple Approaches to Language Arts in 2017 by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

How We Cover the Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Use Your Words by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

The Art of Perfecting Macarons by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Loving Languages Every Day by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind

Speech Therapy & Elementary Latin by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

The Readin’ and Writin’ Part of Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Children Who Love Books by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Customizing High School Language Credits by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

A Poetry Feast by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Teaching Language Arts without Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

I know your pain and it is worth it! by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Language Arts: Our Style by Annette @ A Net in Time

Words! Words! Words! by Lisa M @McClanahan 7

10 Wonderful Word Games (+1) by Lori @ At Home: where life happens

Finding the Right Words by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Teaching Grammar and Writing Through Discussion by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

Jan 012017
 

It’s January 1st. The first day of a brand new year always brings a level of excitement. For a perfectionist like me, it’s like a clean slate, an unmarked page, or a fresh untracked snow. I’ve been studying about goal setting over the last few weeks and I have learned a few things.

Goals need to be concrete and measurable.

You have to be able to tell if you’ve met your goal.  I may have a tendency to make non-measurable goals because if your goals are nebulous, then you can’t really fail, right? Maybe so, but with non-specific goals, you can’t succeed either. I confess that I am afraid of failure. I hate it. But while that fear may keep me from failing, it also keeps me from succeeding.

goal weekly hands-on

A measurable homeschool goal might be to add 1 hands-on activity per week. NOT Do more hands-on activities.

Goals need to make you stretch.

I could make a goal and to avoid failure, I could set an easy goal. I could set a goal that is measurable, but is something that I’m probably going to do anyway. There’s no benefit to that.

catechism goal

We have gotten stuck in memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism. My goal is to resume memorization of the catechism and memorize through Question 50 by June 1. That is not an easy goal.

Goals need to be possible.

There is a balance between stretching and over-reaching. I could make a goal of making a million dollars this year. That would definitely be a stretch. But there is not a pathway to get there. You don’t have to know every step you’re going to take to achieve your goal, but you do need to at least know how to start in that direction.

The catechism goal that I mentioned above is a stretch, but it is doable. We will have to review and memorize about 2 questions per week to achieve the goal.

Keep the number of goals small.

With a smaller number of goals, you can focus on really accomplishing them. The worst thing that can happen is you achieve them all before the year is up. Then you can set more goals!

I have not completed my goal setting for this year, but I am giving myself permission to work on them more on January 2. I intend to make goals in 5 categories keeping my total number of goals less than 10. 

Since the New Year is a convenient time for setting goals, it is also a perfect time to evaluate how we’re doing with the curriculum and plans I so meticulously laid out in the beginning of the school year (or didn’t, but meant to.)

I have been homeschooling a long time. This year is my 14th year! Homeschooling has become a very natural and automatic part of my life. It’s comfortable. But it has become a little sloppy. There are things that I know I should be doing a better job of.

virtual curriculum fair

Over the next 4 weeks I will be participating in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. This is an excellent opportunity for me to take a closer look at how I used to homeschool and how I’m homeschooling now in very specific areas.

  • Are there things I used to do that I should start again?
  • Should we be moving in a different direction?
  • Am I using the best curriculum for this student?

The Virtual Curriculum Fair is also going to help me to get started working towards meeting my blogging goals for 2017, which include posting weekly. So stay tuned for more updates on how we homeschool.

 

I invite you to see how my fellow bloggers learn in their homeschools (note: all posts will be live by noon EST, Jan. 2nd):

The Evolution of Our Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Us-School Because We Are Us, Not Someone Else by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
It’s All About the School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Setting the Stage- the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair! by Lisa N. @ Golden Grasses
New Year, New Goals, New School! by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Homeschooling – A Glimpse into How We Do it by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Spotlight on How We Learn in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Our Unique Eclectic Homeschool  by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
How We Learn on the Go by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Home Education – 10 Ways We Make It Work by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Schedules, where would I be without them? by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Education at Our House by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Starting the Day Well by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Making a Change – Accountability and Responsibility Through Routine by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
A time to be encouraged is coming.. the Virtual Curriculum Fair by Annette @ A Net in Time
Loving the Moment! by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Keeping Our Homeschool Organized by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
How We Choose Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
This Is How We Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
How we don’t learn in our homeschool & how I don’t plan {2017 Virtual Homeschool Curriculum Fair} by Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
Learning Our Way by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Limping Along: Our Semi-Eclectic Approach to Homeschooling by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair: See How We Learn by Dana L @ Luv’N Lambert Life

Oct 162016
 

There are a few subjects that strike fear in the hearts of homeschoolers. Advanced math and high school science are a couple that are usually on the list. But there’s another equally scary subject and that’s…

FOREIGN LANGUAGE!

Why is foreign language so scary? The simple fact is that most of us in the US are not bilingual. And it’s really hard to teach something that you don’t know. So by necessity most homeschoolers either look for someone else to teach their students a foreign language, choose a foreign language that isn’t spoken like Latin, or choose a foreign language curriculum that teaches directly to the student with little parent/teacher involvement.

When I was approached by Speekee to review their Accelerate Spanish program for homeschools, I jumped at the opportunity because I’m one of those typical Americans who isn’t bilingual. I’m also stretched for time, so I’m always happy to find educational opportunities that don’t require much input from me. Speekee provided me with 1 year of free access to the program in exchange for my honest review.

Speekee Accelerate Homeschool Spanish

The Facts

Speekee Accelerate is a video-based Spanish curriculum designed for students ages 8 and up. In addition to short videos, Speekee Accelerate includes worksheets, audio clips, and activity ideas for additional instruction. Each of the 40 weekly lessons is divided into 4 parts. On day 1, students watch the entire video (about 15 minutes). This video is completely in Spanish, spoken by native Spanish speaking children. There is very little explanation in the video, rather it immerses the student in the language. For the next 7 lessons, various sections of the video are watched again with emphasis placed on a different topic that was covered in the video like numbers, colors, greetings, etc. There is also an option to receive a weekly e-mail with activities and links for each lesson.

Speekee Accelerate Homeschool Spanish Screen Shot

A peek at the lesson interface

My Opinion

The video lessons are quality productions. We did not particularly entertaining, but these are not designed to be entertaining.  The videos allow the student to hear the language spoken. They have kept the dialogue to a minimum. I think that makes them not as overwhelming as watching a regular television program in Spanish. (We do find it interesting to do that occasionally, just to hear the language, but we could definitely not learn Spanish that way.) It’s really not possible to create a very exciting storyline with limited Spanish vocabulary.

I love the fact that the lessons are short. It makes it much easier to fit into our busy days. The weekly e-mail is a fantastic idea and the activity ideas are extra helpful and add some fun to the program.

Speekee Accelerate is a great way to add elementary Spanish instruction into our homeschool day.

Speekee Accelerate Homeschool Spanish Sample Worksheet

A sample worksheet

The Cost

Speekee is a monthly subscription product. You pay just $7.50/month for access to 4 different learning products. In addition to Accelerate, there is Speekee Fast Track for ages 4-7 and Speekee TV which I previously reviewed here. Speekee Play is an on-line game to reinforce and learn more Spanish. If you’re unsure about Speekee, they offer a 2 week free trial and you can cancel your monthly membership at any time.

If you’re looking for an easy way to add some elementary Spanish to your day, I recommend that you try Speekee.