Friday, September 21, 2012

Preschool Cutting

I have a very active 3 year old who makes it difficult to do home school with my 1st grader, so for his birthday I requested Kumon My First Book of Cutting and my son LOVES it. It occupies him for a long time and helps his eye/hand coordination with the scissors. It starts out with very basic lines for the kids to cut and then gets more interesting. Today he got to cut apart train pieces that we taped together and he played with the train for quite a while.

Here is my son cutting one of the pages today:

Here is the train after he finished it:

Phonogram Parking Lot

I saw an idea on Pinterest of a car parking lot to learn sight words. I'm not really into sight words, but decided to try it to help my son learn the 70 Phonograms (combinations of letters that make different sounds) in the English language. We use the Spell to Write and Read curriculum for reading/writing and LOVE it.

My son really enjoyed this game and I think it will help him be more willing to work on his phonogram sounds! This could be tailored for any number of activities, and I have numbers written on the back of the page for math.

And here is my simpler parking lot for my 3 year old, who is currently learning "a" "m" and "s".


I love the idea of journaling as a learning tool, so I have been having my 1st grader draw a picture and write a sentence after each history lesson (we use K-12 History) of either something he liked about the lesson or a sentence about what the lesson was about. Here he is writing about Archaeology. He wrote, "Archaeologists find things from the past."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Over the Edge by Mary Connealy

I am a reviewer for Bethany House. They send me books to read and I post a review on Amazon and on my website. This review is for Over the Edge by Mary Connealy.

I have read most of Mary Connealy's books and have enjoyed most of them, but I had a hard time with this book.

The beginning is really interesting and caught my attention. I really liked the toughness of the heroine, Callie, as she almost single-handedly fights off four bandits and then takes a shot at her "husband" when he is the first to happen upon the scene. I enjoyed most of the characters in the book, but I found that the middle just seemed to drag. I also kept getting annoyed at Seth, the hero of the story. With the description of the book, one expects him to have some memory problems, but I was annoyed at how many issues he had. Since it is fiction, I like heroes to be strong men who know who they are, have solid morals, and who take care of others. From the beginning Seth lacks all of this. His character is a little dimwitted--for example when a ten year old half brother surprisingly shows up, Seth has no idea what to do and can't figure out why his wife asks him to buy an extra horse and supplies. Callie insists that the boy come with them, and Seth doesn't really like it but doesn't seem to have any ability to make decisions of his own. Throughout the book, Seth often feels a wildness inside him that he struggles to shove away so that he can attend to his responsibilities. He seems to lose his head and want to run off in the wilderness, and who knows what would happen if something didn't just happen to draw his attention back to those he is supposed to take care of. We never really did figure out how or why Seth high-tailed it home right after he and Callie got married... what is to keep him from leaving again? I got really annoyed with him at one point when he was shaky and scared in the cave and Callie was in trouble. Eventually Seth seems to make peace with himself in the cave, and we can hope that his character is changed after that, but we don't really know if it is a long-term change. In the end, Seth finds "the safest, sanest place he'd ever been" but with his history one wonders if he will stay sane.

I enjoyed the writing style and the other characters. I have not read the first two books of the series, but I may have to pick them up since I liked the characters of the brothers in this book. Honestly the only thing I didn't really like about the book was Seth. If you are drawn more to heroes who aren't really strong guys but who have potential, you would probably enjoy this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House to review. The content of the review was my own.