Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New books already?

For the past few years, we've homeschooled on a year-round plan.  Jude was struggling to catch up, plus had physical, occupational, and speech therapy appointments. It made sense to plan on twelve months to accomplish things instead of just nine - it gave us a buffer for missing days due to appointments. When you'd ask what grade he was in, he'd tell you the one that corresponded to his age.  It was good enough. Anybody asking him and making small talk really was just interested in trying to figure out how old he was, while anybody who needed to know where he truly was academically (doctors, therapists, etc.) would be asking me and giving me the chance to qualify "this grade on paper, using that grade level books." While we have chosen to "officially move up grade levels" in September, following the "regular" school calendar, we have run our learning year from June to June. Up until this year, Jude was as much as three or four years behind, because his language skills were so delayed. It took a full calendar year to finish things. However, this year, he's been closing the gap at a lightning pace.

When  I planned out his curriculum last fall,  we began a formal grammar program.  I wasn't sure if we'd start with Level 1, or jump in higher.  Ultimately, I decided to start at the beginning, and just go at an accelerated pace.  He finished the Level 1 book by Halloween, and Level 2 by just past Christmas!  There was a lot that he already knew but didn't realize.  For example, he knew what persons, places, and things were, but didn't realize they were called "Nouns." He was aware that if he wanted help spelling "here" or "hear" he'd need to use them in a sentence to figure out the context, but not that they were called homophones.  He's just begun Level 4 - he's nearly caught up to grade level! Woo hoo!

He also has been zooming through other areas.  For last fall, I decided on five full-length novels for reading/literature, and while I was certain it would last us until Christmas, I fully expected them to last us through to spring.  However, he zoomed through them, too, and was not struggling at all with the content and studies.  I'm proud of him, but I'm left thinking, "Now what?"  I planned on him needing more time than he did.  Based on his track record, June Meg never thought to warn March Meg that she might need to be ready with more stuff!  Oops.  I've decided that homeschool curriculum is kind of like kids' clothing: things are the right fit for so long you think you'll never outgrow, and then one day kiddo wakes up, and nothing is right!

Technically, he's Grade 4 (if anyone asks), but whatever we pick now will likely last him until at least the beginning of "Calendar Grade 5." My checkbook is kind of hoping it will last him a little farther, but at the speed he's going, I think it's best not to count on it.  Crew curriculum reviews will stretch things, but our core program definitely needs assessment and re-planning.  I'm finding that while hands-on/interactive programs still work very well for him, he's also responding very well to activities with a classical-style format.  Based on that, I think I have a plan for the next six moths or so:


Ignatius Press Faith and Life - Our Heavenly Father


Math U See Epsilon

Language Arts

      Growing with Grammar - Level 4
      IEW Fix It! Grammar  - Level 1

      Memoria Press Literature Studies-
               Mr. Popper's Penguins, Farmer Boy, A Cricket in Times Square, Homer Price, and Poetry for the Grammar Stage

      Independent Reading: interest-led new and classic books in a Lexile Range of 650-800

      Read Aloud: classic books in a Lexile Range of 730-880

Spelling: Spelling You See - American Spirit

Writing: Memoria Press - Fables

Copywork: IEW Poetry Memorization

We reviewed this last year, and Jude struggled because it was a standalone thing for him.  This time, we're going to turn each into a unit study, using copying, chunking, etc.  It's also going to double as speech/articulation practice.


Sassafras Science Vol. 1 Zoology with SciDat Logbook

Social Studies

Veritas Press - Old Testament and Ancient Egypt
Evan Moore - Daily Geography

©2012- 2016 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://adventureswithjude.com

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March Adventures!

This post contains affiliate links.  Purchases through these help fund more field trips!  Thanks! 

We've been busy! So busy that I've fallen behind on blogging.  By the time we're done for the day, my brain just is done.  I thought I'd post a "what we're up to these days" update.  When I first started blogging, I wanted to use it as a way to keep tabs on what we were doing.  My goal is to post at least monthly updates again.


What's doing me in is all of the read-alounds, I think. The boys seem to do much better listening to stories read aloud than trying to both read and comprehend at the same time.  Of course, that means that means Mama is trying to keep all the plot lines straight! Our current read-alouds include:

A Bear Called Paddington
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Adam and His Kin
Mary Poppins
The Illiad

We also just finished reading Charlotte's Web (yes, there were tears...) and Prairie School.

Independently, the little boys are reading the Magic Tree House series (Jude) and Geronimo Stilton (Damien).  Matthew is a bit behind on his "for fun" reading at the moment. He's reading Gallatin: America's Swiss Founding Father for American History. He picked that up when we went to Friendship Hill, Gallatin's Pennsylvania estate, last summer.


Math is one area where we always seem to keep up!  All of the boys like math, so it's a preferred subject!

Jude and Damien are both working with Math U See.  Jude began level Epsilon a few weeks ago, and is currently zipping through finding common denominator fractions. Damien is more than halfway done Beta.  I have a feeling that he will be moving pretty quickly for several of the next lessons. Since he had a crash course in some of the upcoming subtracting with our recent Math Mammoth review, he will probably move quickly.

Matthew is three-fourths of the way through Algebra II.  I'm hoping I don't jinx him...but after 10 of 14 units, plus the midterm, he has a perfect grade.  I may be mama, but I'm still impressed and proud!

New Stuff

The younger boys have started Sassafras Science.  We opted for the logbook version (there's also a lap book).  I chose it since they are big fans of Magic Tree House. My plan was to use the two-days-a-week lesson plan, but I have a feeling we may be doing a little more -- everybody wants to know "What happens NEXT??"

Jude is studying ancient history with Veritas Press' self-paced Old Testament and Egypt.  He is nearly done their Bible course and loved the format.  He is enjoying the new course -- and telling me lots of things he's learning.  If you want to know about Ancient Egypt, he's your Pharaoh.

A grateful Matthew has finished Latin, rounding out his foreign language credits.  That space in his schedule is now filled with US Government.  He's also begun working on the same cooking techniques course (The Everyday Gourmet: The Lost Art of Cooking from The Great Courses), so I'm hopeful soon we'll have another good cook in the kitchen.


Matthew's gotten a jump start on his Junior year literature with The Illiad and The Odyssey from Memoria Press.  That review will be posting soon.  He's also watching Drive Thru History's The Gospels as well.  We are really enjoying that one! After we finish The Gospels, we're planning to watch The Holy Land as well -- the two series' will form the base of his next Theology credit.

I highly, highly recommend Bessie's Pillow. You can read my review, or you can just go find the book.  You can curl up with it for a long afternoon, or take advantage of short chapters and read it in "I have a spare moment" increments.

Celia recently worked on Creating a Masterpiece - that review is here.  She's still itching to try out other things from the program, but is now working on Art Achieve.  Last spring, she reviewed Level II, so she's excited to move on to the next level.

Luke is back on the review circuit!  He is using SpeedyPrep to study for his college placement exam, and is considering a few CLEP exams as well.  We'll let you know how it goes - fingers crossed.

©2012- 2016 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://adventureswithjude.com

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bessie's Pillow (A Homeschool Review Crew Review)

Bessie's Pillow is based on the true story of  Boshka "Bessie" Markman Dreizen, who flees the terrors of turn-of-the-century Lithuania for America.  While her brothers are in danger of being conscripted by the army, her parents send her to America, knowing that when the soldiers start coming, being a Jewish girl is dangerous in its own way. It is written by Linda Bress Sibert, Bessie's granddaughter, and published by Strong Learning, Inc. Interviews between Linda's mother, Ann Dreizen Bress, and Bessie are the basis for the book, with assistance with specific memories provided by other family members.  It marginally fictionalizes Bessie's life -- while the events truly took place, the names of some of the secondary characters for privacy's sake.

Photo source

This story piqued my interest because of a personal connection with Bessie's general history, through my husband.  His grandmother's family is from Lithuania, where Bessie's story begins. Both of Mom Mom Woody's parents, also from Jewish families, emigrated to the United States in the late 1800s. Ironically, both families were from the Lithuanian city of ┼áiauliai (Shavel),  but met here in the United States. From what I've been able to learn, Jacob Dubins, her father, arrived in America around 1899, as an 18-year-old adult.  Her mother, Freida Cartun, came as an infant with her family in 1884.  I admit that I only have a passing acquaintance with the history of Lithuania, but from what I can understand, it was a trying time for Jews even then, and America held hope of a better future.  I imagine that the Dubins and Cartuns faced similar fears about remaining, and hoped for better things if they traveled to a new country.  They met and married in Philadelphia, and like Bessie and her husband, Nathan, worked to build a business.   I smiled a little at Bessie's days as a sales clerk in a hat shop; the Dubins owned a haberdashery in Camden when Mom Mom Woody was a child.

Although Neal's grandfather Benjamin Broselow was born here in 1911, the Broselows came to the United States (from Ukraine) in 1905, entering the country through Ellis Island.  When Bessie Markam came to America, her immigration was processed at Ellis Island as well.   For all of them, their first sighting of America would have been "Liberty Enlightening the World," more commonly known as "The Statue of Liberty."  Silbert writes of Bessie's approach:

"There she is!" someone yells from behind us.

Everyone falls silent.  On an island in the middle of the harbor is a massive statue of a woman wearing a corwn and holding a torch...we see an American flag blowing in the wind.  Tears stream down my face. (p. 35) 
Even as a native-born citizen, it is nearly impossible to remain stoic when viewing the Statue of Liberty from the New York harbor.  While there was still so much more to endure for these immigrants, with the fear of being sent back very real, clapping eyes on the Lady in the harbor meant that they had survived the overland crossings, the first round of inspections before the trans-Atlantic sailing, and the sea journey itself.

Bessie's Pillow is a beautifully written story.  It avoids the sugar-glazed reminiscences that many memoir-style books often drift to, and, like Bessie, avoids focusing on the struggles she encountered and faces them with a similar pragmatism.  It reflects the balance that Bessie managed with the pull of so many dichotomies: the different cultures of Glebokoye and America, the differences between the Upper West and Lower East sides of Manhattan, and societal expectations of being a Jewish woman and suddenly finding herself a widow with young children.  She is adamant about keeping Kosher, horrified at the extremes of both wealth and poverty, and pragmatic when she needs to provide for her family.  She is as hardened or soft-hearted as she needs to be in the moment, and while she doesn't forget what she has experienced, she doesn't allow herself to wallow.  The pillow that provides the title and the icebreaker between Bessie and her future husband is an example of this balance.  At his mother's request, she is the courier for the pillow her future mother-in-law made from to Nathan.  It is a tie to the old that she holds to dearly, yet she bravely navigates Grand Central Terminal to get it to its destination in New Rochelle.

I can understand Bessie feeling overwhelmed when faced with the size and chaos of the building called "Grand Central."  Having traveled through on many occasions, and being a native English speaker, I can only imagine Bessie's fear and fortitude at soldiering on to New Rochelle. This is only the main hall, and it is enormous. There's a veritable rabbit warren behind all of those doors!  The pillow remains a tangible symbol of her journey and her relationships until after the death of her husband. She delays bringing it to him until she feels strong enough to be ready to leave the old behind and again delays putting it away until she feels strong enough to move on from mourning her beloved husband.

I spent a lot of time reading a page and then putting the book down to Google. So many places and things were described in a way that made me want to say "Oh!  What was that like?" You certainly could read the book from start to finish and not feel clueless -- the retelling of Bessie's memories are bright and vivid.  However,  I found myself searching for the places described in the books because these descriptions piqued increasing interest and questions. I googled maps to see the path of Bessie's journey and searched for places mentioned like Glen Island.  Considered the precursor to Disney-style theme parks, it played a prominent role in the courtship and early part of Bessie and Nathan's marriage.  I also found a trove of information in Strong Learning, Inc.'s Bessie's America.  There are family photos (including the one above), and pictures and information about places and the current events that played a role in Bessie's life.

This book is written at least in part for the teen/young adult audience, but as an adult, I never felt talked down to.  I think it is a worthwhile addition to a student library, especially of a student who is studying American history.  When Luke studied history, he tried to look at it not just as dates and events, but as a story of the people who became the fabric of America.  After reading it, he wishes had known about this book when he was studying post-Civil War immigration!  It's definitely one I will be assigning to Matthew when we get that far -- and the Teacher's Guide provides an excellent frame for discussion of both this book and the era.  Celia claims to have been waiting for us to finish the book, but based on the frequent and mysterious relocations of both book and bookmark, I have a feeling that she hasn't been particularly patient.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It ends as Bessie literally closes the door on her life with Nathan and prepares to move forward with her life. The afterword, written by Silbert, ties up many of the loose ends -- about what the Dreizen children grew up to be, her relationship with Lou, and announcement of Bessie's triumphant achievement of American citizenship.  The only question that remains in my mind -- does anybody know what happened to David? I wish I could know if he found what he was hoping for in Chicago.

There are 89 other reviews of Bessie's Pillow.  Click the banner below to read about them.

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}

©2012- 2016 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://adventureswithjude.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece (A Homeschool Review Crew Review)

Celia is our resident artist.  All of the kids enjoy art to some degree, but I've learned never to take her with me to the craft store...or else half the cart will be filled with paints and canvasses.  Recently, she hasn't been able to attend her usual after school Art Club, so when she found we might have the opportunity to review Creating A Masterpiece, the begging commenced.  Lucky for her, we were chosen to receive a Monthly Plan membership, and our little artiste got to work.

Creating a Masterpiece is produced by Sharon Hoefer, a master artist herself.  After spending more than fifteen years as a studio teacher, she wanted to bring the ability to create art to a larger audience.  She stressed technique over product, which I think a perfect way to instruct. She often repeats that it's not about copying the work she's producing but using it as a guide. This is a great philosophy.  Many educational styles stress reading and/or copying passages of quality literature to come a good writer - the exposure helps a child what is worthy of emulation, but to develop his own style.  I think often creating art gets caught up in "recreating the inspiration exactly" rather than allowing a vision to be shaped by the artist.

Projects are offered in many art media, including some that use a mixture of these:

  • oil and chalk pastel
  • oil, acrylic, and watercolor paint
  • charcoal and ink
  • clay

We worked on the Caribbean Lighthouse (Level 1) acrylic work.

Acrylic is Celia's favorite medium, so after clearing out her painting shelf, she thought she was ready to go right away.  However, after checking the materials list, we realized that while she had the correct paints and brushes, she didn't have the proper size canvasses.  For this work, Sharon recommends a larger 16" x 20" size, and we only had smaller 8" x 10" student canvases (not even the 11" x 14" smaller version she shows as the sample project). As I said, I've learned NOT to take her into the store if I want any semblance of keeping my budget intact, so Amazon it was!  While she waited for the new canvases to arrive, she decided to see what would happen with a smaller one.

She found that while it wasn't impossible, it did require some scaling, which she realized she wasn't really prepared for.  It wasn't quite as nice as she had hoped it would be.  Considering I struggle with drawing a straight line with a ruler, I thought it wasn't that bad.

In the long run, it was actually kind of good for her to create a "practice" work, because when she got her hands on the larger one, she was ready to work in a new-to-her scale.  She also had worked out some of the kinks with the lessons.

Lessons are about an hour each, between instruction and activity.  Beginner level projects are one lesson per work,  while Levels One through Five average three to four per piece. For the Caribbean Sunset, the four lessons were fairly short - two were 15 minutes each, and two were half an hour of video time.  Painting time varied, but the stumbling block for Celia was drying time. When she did her smaller painting, it took her a few weeks to complete the project.  On the one hand, this wasn't a big deal -- the paint had time to dry between lessons, and she fit the lessons in when she didn't have other work.  (Since she's in private school instead of homeschooled, she has homework and other projects that take up most of her evenings.) However, she decided to work the larger canvas on a Saturday afternoon.  Having completed the lessons, adding up the time to watch and paint, she estimated she'd need about two hours to finish.  I feel like we needed those little cards they hold up in SpongeBob episodes that say "Six...hours...later..."

She finally finished after dinner, because she had to keep waiting on drying paint.  I think she was lulled into a false sense of speed because much of the work on this piece can be done with paint still wet.  You can see there are many blurred edges, which lend both depth and reality to the work.  However, as she learned, it's not a good idea to try to paint a firm black edge into wet yellow/white paint.  I would definitely plan to factor in drying time with any of the painted works.  There is a "Helpful Hints" section with each lesson; she wishes it had given her a heads up on spots where she should have planned on taking a break.  I can see her point because while younger students might need more supervision and more frequent breaks, an older student could definitely spend an afternoon working alone and just get caught up in the rhythm.

The other thing Celia told me was there was never any mention of prepping the canvas.  Sharon talks about what types of paints to use, but never about any priming.  According to Celia (and since she's almost thirteen with four years of Art Club membership, I'll consider her the leading expert - ha ha), you can say "primer" and artists will know what you're talking about, but saying "Gesso your canvas" is the same as saying "Xerox this paper," or "Hand me a Kleenex, please."  Gesso is a brand of primer, but it's also become a synonym for "prep your canvas with a primer."  The first video spends a long time discussing paints, brushes, having an easel, etc., but never mentions "Make sure your canvas is primed."  She has found that while most student-level canvases are primed, not all are, or they're not primed well (especially if they're less expensive).  When Jude and I tried working on this piece, I struggled with getting the paint to cover smoothly.  I asked Celia what was I doing wrong, and she said (in a tone that only a tween self-appointed expert can deliver), "Clearly, you didn't Gesso first."  I could only laugh -- because she was right.  I didn't prime my canvas.

In my defense, she picked out the canvases on our last art supply binge, and I remember her saying, "Oh, good, these say pre-primed!" I admit I wasn't sure what it meant, other than she put back the large bottle and swapped it for a smaller one -- apparently she figured she could get away with a smaller bottle of Gesso for "just in case" rather than a massive "I know I need to prime all of this" sized bottle.  Apparently, that particular package of canvases wasn't well-primed (she found out the hard way she should have just gotten the larger bottle after all), and as a total newbie, I didn't know that it didn't "feel right" to the touch.  She showed me the difference between those and the one she primed herself: a well-primed canvas will be much smoother than one that isn't, kind of like the difference between a piece of new drywall and one that's had a coat or two of primer to seal it.  That batch still felt rough. If you start to paint, it should apply evenly.  You can see where mine still has a lot of texture, and the paint didn't blend well.  Lesson learned.  But she then realized that if she didn't already know what it was supposed to feel like, somebody (like Mom!) could buy a canvas that wasn't truly ready for painting and think they did a bad job.  She thinks there should be "Before You Get Started" video with the Acrylics,  or even a link on the supplies page that addresses properly priming canvases.

So, how did my "poorly gessoed work" come out?  Actually -- I was rather surprised how good it was!  I don't think it was bad, in this case -- because the uneven paint added a bit of dimension to the picture. However, it would definitely not have worked as an "Oh, yeah, I meant to do that, ha ha ha!" with the darker and more stylized Van Gogh-esqe painting. I don't think I'm ready to paint for the Royal Academy, and it's not going to hang in the Louvre, but for a person who has to stretch to draw a stick man, I think it's pretty good.  In this lesson, Sharon focuses on the Rule of Three, focal point, and allowing yourself to say "I feel like putting this here...I think there should be more red there..."

What I wanted to see was how well a student with no experience could do, or a student like me who has no innate painting and drawing skills. (When I had to do a semester of set building in college, I begged the shop director to let me just build and not do finish work beyond "coat with primer.")  I was impressed that we could actually follow along and have a picture that looked like the sample! You can see that while we each have used the same inspiration, there are clearly individual takes on it.  I haven't decided if I'm going to go back and add the palm trees or not...I rather like the open space.

Jude also gave this painting a go.  He didn't enjoy the program as much, but he isn't exactly a fan of painting and drawing. However, with a little help, his painting looks a lot like the original.

Sharon asked us to share this picture of one of her students with readers, to show that a student of any age can create a masterpiece.

Creating a Masterpiece

Celia and I are looking forward to doing more projects.  We are considering the "Spring Flowers" for next.  (And yes, I'll be sure to check if my canvas is primed or not!)  To read more reviews (and see more masterpieces), click the banner below!  If you'd like to try a lesson on your own, Create a Masterpiece offers a free sample lesson.

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}

©2012- 2016 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://adventureswithjude.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Happy Birthday, Daddy! (Wordless Wednesday)

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

PS - if you'd like the cake recipe, it's here - Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting.  Double the recipe for two layers.

©2012- 2016 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://adventureswithjude.com

Circle C Stepping Stones (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Have you ever read a book series and felt you were "missing" part of the characters' lives? Up until now, the Circle C stable of books featured protagonist Andi Carter at age six in the Circle C Beginnings series, and then jumped to Circle C Adventures, where she's twelve years old.  But what about when Andi went from learning to ride to riding the range? Susan K. Marlow and Kregel Publishing have begun to answer those questions with a brand new Circle C series, Circle C Stepping Stones, where nine-year-old Andi is finally old enough to ride both without her big brother's supervision AND with a saddle.  We received the first two books of this six-book series,  Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top.

Andi Carter is an old friend of ours. Two years ago, we reviewed Thick as Thieves, the first book in the Circle C Milestones series.  This set is for older readers (ages 9 to 12), but I loved Marlow's style of writing. Not only was it a well-paced read, but it was well written and age appropriate.  Finding books that are both are hard.  With Jude, books that are at his reading level tend to be more juvenile in content, while at the same time, higher-reading Damien isn't ready for the content of many harder books.  And, even when we do find a book that works for either boy, once he's finished, the hunt is on again.  I'm so excited to find a great series of books for kids in the 7- to 10-year-old reader range!

Chapters are a reasonable eight to ten pages long, while entire books are just over 100 pages.  Beautiful charcoal-style illustrations by Leslie Gammelgaard give concrete pictures to help anchor images in readers' minds, but they are spread out enough that they don't become the only way they "see" the action.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking, "Wait, Andi is a girl. Isn't this series for girls?" Nope.  Sure, it appeals to girls -- Celia grabbed the books and ran off before I had a chance to even say "These are for a review and I need them back!!" The protagonist is a 9-year-old horse-loving girl, so it is perfect for girls.  However, it's also a fantastic series for boys as well - Andi is a horse lover who happens to be a girl.  It's not a series "for girls" In the first two books, there's horseback riding, a boundary dispute, wild adventures (including a broken bone!), a circus, and a stolen (and returned) horse.   Damien has been reading them as well, and can't wait for the next day's reading.

Andi Saddles Up begins with birthday girl Andi, ready for her own saddle and the privilege of riding without supervision.  However, Andi learns that as much as she thinks she's now grown-up enough to do things her own way, she still needs to listen to adults guiding her -- they're not trying to be mean, but instead want to keep her safe.  She pays for her pride with a broken bone.

In Andi Under the Big Top, the circus has come to town.  There is lots to see, but most of all, Andi wants to see the bareback rider. She can't imagine anything better than being part of the circus.  However, after making a new friend and being exposed to the seedier side of the business, she finds that it's not quite all she thought it would be.

While I'd recommend the books for any child, Kregel Publications offers ways to transform these books into literature units for homeschool students.  We decided to make Andi Saddles Up into a literature study for Damien.

He's needed a little bit of help with this.  The questions aren't terribly difficult, but he's finding he does need to refer to the text.  This is new to him, so I've been showing him how to skim for what he needs.  I don't think the questions are "too hard" for him; it's just a new experience.  I think he'll be able to do the next one on his own.

Activities include the standard vocabulary and comprehension questions.  However, it also adds in other activities after these.  Lessons in creative writing, map skills, and an introduction to anatomy/science of broken bones.  The Andi Under the Big Top Activity Pages includes lessons that tie into that book -- math via calculating the cost of circus snacks, a biography of French trapeze artist Jules Leotard, etc.

They also include a "suggested calendar" - what to do on a single day, etc.  Damien found he preferred to do them in three-chapter chunks (i.e., Chapters 1-3, 4-6, etc.). He read (ok, devoured) the chapters one day, and completed the activities on the next.

Jude has read the books, but since he's already doing two literature studies, I didn't worry about him doing this one, too.  I also think that while it's perfect for a second or third grader being introduced to might be a little light on content for him (he's heading into fifth grade), but it's perfect for a second or third grader being introduced to literature studies.  If I were going to use these with Jude, I'd probably spring for the accompanying Lapbooks and use them as well.  They are a separate purchase, but very reasonably priced.  They are produced in conjunction with well-known lapbookers A Journey Through Learning. You can see samples of the lapbooks' content here.

Damien has fallen hard for Andi's adventures, and I'm excited to find a series for him to grow with. Celia was happy to find more about what has become Andi's backstory, which just whets her appetite for more of the older series books.  We're delighted to be visiting the Circle C ranch again!

For more about the Stepping Stones series, follow Kregel Publishing and/or Susan K. Marlow on social media, or click the banner below!

Twitter (Kregel Books): https://twitter.com/KregelBooks
Twitter (Susan K. Marlow): https://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles
Facebook (Kregel Books): https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/
Facebook (Susan K. Marlow): https://www.facebook.com/SusanKMarlow?fref=ts

Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}

©2012- 2016 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://adventureswithjude.com

Friday, March 10, 2017

Abandon (five minute friday)

Abandon is a word that goes to extremes.  You can either do something with abandon - gleefully, joyfully, without care - or abandon something or someone, leaving guilt and feelings of loss in your wake

I was kicking ideas around for this post, and decided to find a image while I thought.  When I saw this,  I knew it was the right one for this post.

 It reminded me of Mary Poppins -- a balance of the word abandon.  She taught abandon to the abandoned, then in turn abandoned the children so they could be loved by their father with abandon.

And then because my brain likes to wander off on tangent patterns, it picked up the "ing to on" thread and I had the Prayer of St. Francis pop into my mind.

-to be understood to understand
-to pardon to be bardoned
-in giving we receive
-in dying we're born to Eternal Life.

Back on topic, in abandoning life, we're born into joyful abandon. Back to the image, abandoning an idea that becomes too encompassing leads to a new relationship.

So it's not that abandoning is bad, it's what we abandon.  It's balancing the extremes, and finding the abandoning that can lead to abandon.


Five Minute Friday is a weekly event. Our hostess, Kate chooses a single word to start the free-writing process - this week, it's abandon. It's not about revising your thoughts to perfection, it's about taking 5 minutes to just put it all out there. New writers and readers are always welcome.

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