Sunday, July 27, 2014

Memoria Press Curriculum Packages

In the last three years I have been using Memoria Press's all inclusive grade level programs called Classical Core Curriculum.     I have used this with my daughter for Kindergarten, First Grade, and second grade.  I have been extremely pleased with this program.  My daughter has become an excellent reader and has a great foundation for the rest of her school years.

This year I am using the Kindergarten, Third, most of the  Fifth and most of the Seventh grade programs.  I felt like I needed more of my children's planning taken care of through their lesson plans.  The older kids can use the lesson plans as guides and check in with me. 

Example of First Grade Curriculum.

The program is phonics based with a great deal of practice.  When I talked to their representative at the Homeschool Convention they told me it was the same program that they used in their Highland Latin Schools.  I asked what percentage of children come out reading at the end of the program and they told me all of them.  So if your child is developmentally ready to read this is a good fit.  If they are not ready for Kindergarten they have a Junior Kindergarten program that would work well for a year. I ended up using the Jr. Kindergarten program with my daughter this year.  I loved  it and felt like it bridged the gap for her. 

When I heard the writer of the program speak Cheryl Lowe, she was delightful.  She talked about how this is an outline of suggested activities for 5 days per week.   She said as home educators you should feel free to use it how it works best for your family.  They sell all the parts for this program separately as well. They now sell the lessons plans for separate subjects.  That might be helpful for your family.

I think the last thing I LOVE about Memoria is how fabulous they are to work with as a company.  For instance, my lovely lovely children broke our Prima Latina DVD number two.   You know that moment when you are biting your tongue and trying to smile.  Well, I called Memoria to see what I could do, hoping they would let me buy one at a reduced price.  They said no big deal, and for $3 shipping I would be sent a new one.  I was thrilled and so were my children.  They are always gracious and willing to help.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Give-Away and Why Can’t My Child Learn Multiplication? by JK Mergens

The winner has been chosen.  Congrats to Kim M.  Thank you to everyone who entered.  I appreciate it greatly.

I am thrilled with today's guest post and give-away.  Today's guest post is from JK Mergens  the author of the Learn Math Fast System.  At the end of the post JK is giving away one of her books and there is also a code at the end to get $5 off. 

You’ve tried oodles of books, stacks of CD’s, decks of flashcards, and still your child struggles to answer 6 x 4 correctly.  Your older child got it and the younger one is catching on, so why is it that some children just can’t seem to remember basic multiplication facts?  The answer is simple; they can’t add.  That’s right!  Children who struggle to learn multiplication facts actually have difficulties with addition.  I didn’t think this was true at first, but after homeschooling my son through high school, tutoring several other children, and developing my own math curriculum, I know this is true. 

I’ll never forget the day I asked my son, “How much is 4 x 3?”  And he just stared at me.  I said, “You know that 4 + 4 is 8, so how much is 8 + 4 more?”  He continued to stare at me; he had no idea!  I couldn’t believe it.  After two years of using a well-known textbook, he couldn’t add 8 + 4 in his mind.  How could I expect him to multiply numbers when he couldn’t even add them?  After all, multiplying is a form of adding multiple numbers.  I knew I had to do something, so I put that textbook away and I created my own method to teach him how to add numbers in his mind.  Soon after, my son started to excel in math.  He advanced so quickly, by age 16 he had finished high school math, enrolled in college, and taught himself Calculus II.  Today he is a successful engineer.

While my son was in college, I had the opportunity to tutor some other children.  Two of them were 7th graders; one boy and one girl.  Both of them were trying to learn multiplication for years, but just couldn’t seem to memorize those facts.   As I worked with them, I noticed that they both had difficulties adding.  It would take them several minutes just to add the columns of numbers below the multiplication problem.  For a moment, I flash-backed to when my son was younger and had difficulties adding.  So I asked each of them separately, “How much is 8 + 7?”  One tried counting on his fingers; the other one thought for a while and then she said, “14!”  I knew what I had to do; I had to show them the method I used to teach my son how to add and subtract numbers in his mind.  When I told the students and their parents that I wanted to go back to addition, they didn’t really understand.  But I knew that these kids would never be able to advance until they learned how to add and subtract small numbers in their minds. 

Addition is so important in math that even during calculus you will often be required to solve simple addition.  Have you ever heard of The 9’s Trick?  It’s a quick way to recall all the answers to 9 times any single digit number.  If you aren’t familiar with it, watch the 2 minute video below.  It’s a fantastic trick, but if you can’t quickly solve problems such as 6 + 3, even a trick as effective as this one won’t work.

In 2010, I published the method I used to teach my son math and it is being used by homeschooling families across the globe.  Many of them have sent emails telling me how only a year ago their child was struggling to multiply and now, after using my program, their student is not only enjoying math, but they are excelling in it.
The next time you meet someone who struggles to memorize basic multiplication facts ask him/her to add 8 + 7 in their mind.  If you don’t hear “15” within two seconds, you will know it’s time to start over.  But the good news is that it doesn’t take long with the Learn Math Fast System.

I have very exciting news!!  JK has offered to give-away one of her books shown above!  Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter.  She will ship you the book of your choice if you win.  Good luck!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

JK Mergens is the author of the Learn Math Fast System, a series of six books that teach 1st - 11th grade math using the unique methods she created to teach her son.  JK has been married to Mick, her high school sweetheart, for almost thirty years.  Together they homeschooled their only son in the beautiful state of Washington.  Her articles have been published in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Red Deer’s Child Magazine, Edmonton’s Child Magazine, and in the June 2014 issue of the Washington State Homeschool Organization’s (WHO) Newsletter.  Her seventh book, High School Geometry, will be released later this year.  Please visit her website
The opinions she has expressed are entirely her own. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Guest Post by Lisa McAfee Lapbooks


How do you get a student who is a reluctant writer to write more about a topic? Consider creating a lapbook. "A lapbook? What's that?!" you ask. 

A lapbook is a creative way of writing facts and ideas about a topic and using templates to display a student’s knowledge. The templates are cut out, written on,(colored if desired)  and then attached to a file folder that has been divided into thirds. The folder can be rather large depending upon how much you have decided to include, and therefore is read on your lap, thus the name.
Assigning a writing project to your child will most likely come with moans and groans, eyes rolling, and even individuals falling out of their chairs when the words “research paper” are mentioned (it has happened at my house).  On the other hand, if I say lapbook, there isn’t that kind of reaction. I think it is partly due to the fact that there are small bits of information or mini books (minit) that are written instead of a blank piece of notebook paper or a blank page on the computer screen. I think that is invaluable if you have a student who hates to write or becomes overwhelmed with information.  Lapbooks are also terrific for summarizing and picking out details from passages that are read.

So, without further ado, here are some FREE resources for you to enjoy and help get you started:
If you are interested in seeing a step-by-step video of how to create your lapbook, click here.  I love this website because they have a tremendous amount and variety of topics. They have lapbooks according to ages  (toddler through middle school) and also some according to interest. When you click on the website,there is a box and you will find the heading called lapbooks to the extreme right. Here is one that uses Mr. Popper’s Penguins as its focus:
Do you have a student that is interested in well-known artists? Here is one that is about  Leonardo da Vinci. A guide is included and is geared for grades K-6, but I think junior high students would enjoy this as well.
Here are lapbooks for younger students called Preschool Packs.Preschoolers will have a ball with all of the fun topics that are here. I think I will have to invite some friends over who have preschool children so I can make them too!
Have you been inspired and you would like to make your own? Making Books With Children has free book projects that can either stand alone or be added to your lapbooks.
Happy lapbooking!

~ Lisa

Lisa McAfee has graduated two boys in home education.  She tutors and teaches in Cincinnati.  She blogs at  at Schoolmarm Ohio.  She is also a dear friend.  The opinions she has expressed are entirely her own.  

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Pictures to send for Portfolio Review

The old saying is a picture is worth a thousand words.  In the portfolio review process a picture can tell a story and  become a sample that shows what your student has learned.  The following are some examples of the kinds of pictures that would  demonstrate what your child has accomplished during a school year. 

Maybe a gardening project you did for science?

Maybe a K/1st grade book list?
Maybe an intermediate book sample?
Maybe your child's lap book work?

Or the results of a Co-op class?
History Pocket?
A science project?

All artwork for the year?

 Ohio History Work?

So think about sending me a picture via email, putting them in a power point presentation or printing some to send me.   I would love to see them.