Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Three Amigos Take 2

More new life on the farm.  One of my Easter Egger hens that kept going broody last year went broody again this year.  She lost both hatches last year so I deemed her an unfit mother (I suspected her to be the cause of death of her chicks).  She was on the cull list but never got culled.  She was adamantly going broody again this year so I decided to give her another go.  I let her sit on 3 eggs.  She hatched them and is being a great momma.  I am so happy I gave her another chance.  There is just no telling what happened last year.  Maybe she is just older and wiser now.  At any rate, she is doing a great job.  One of the eggs even got cracked (by me!) about a week before hatch day and it hatched just fine.

Lesson to learn.  Do not give up.  Grace rules and second chances are not overrated.  I am excited that we had a 100% hatch rate on this batch.  We have had too many chick losses this year so I hope this last batch continues well.  The first 4 chicks are doing well.  They are growing and feathering in.  I think we have 3 cockerels and 1 pullet, but hoping we have at least 2 and 2.

3 of the 4 first hatch babies (2 are enjoying the sun!)

A heat wave just hit us so keeping everyone cool is going to be challenging.  I'm grateful for some insulated coolers that I have to help keep the water cooler longer.  I need to get a few more and definitely need to get my water misters installed around the runs.  Hope you are enjoying your summer.  Many blessings!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Puddle Ducks

The ducks are growing! They are still only about 9 weeks old!  We have had a LOT of rain again lately and there is a LOT of mud!  Rosie, the female Pekin evidently had a blast playing in the mud.  She patiently waited (or maybe not so patiently) for me to bring her some clean water to bathe in.  Their water was mucked up pretty bad.  I change it about 2-3 times a day to try to keep it fresh for them.

They currently have a big bucket and a shallow dish to play in. Yes, it makes things muddier, but they enjoy it so much.  I love watching them play in and bathe in the water.  They are quite entertaining.

Dabbling Ducks need water to wash their food down.  They also need water to clean out their nares (nostrils) and wash their eyes out.  If they can submerge their head past their eyes, they are good.  I really don't need the shallow dish for them, the bucket is all they need to stay clean and healthy, but I enjoy watching them be so happy in the water.

Rosie is so noisy and lets me know how unhappy she is in the morning when I take to long to let her and Rowdy out.  Oh yeah, forgot that update!  Allie is now Rowdy.  I'm still pretty sure he's a boy.  Although he is still not molting out any male feathers yet.  Hmmm.  I'll give it a few weeks and see.  

Friday, June 21, 2019

Jump In Composition REVIEW

What do you do when you have a reluctant writer?  You jump for joy when you find a program that can help snap them out of it.  I was so happy to give Jump In, 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson a try.  It is written and intended for Middle School but can be adjusted down or up depending on your student.  I received physical, softcover copies of the Student Workbook and Teacher's Guide. The Student Workbook consists of 285 pages and is pretty much self-guided. Your student can work independently with the instructions given.  The Teacher's Guide consists of 115 pages and includes schedules, random facts, assignments, teacher tools, sample evaluations (for grading), 10-minute plunges, answer keys, and grading grids (rubrics).

Teacher's Guide

Random Facts of what is covered

There are listed schedules for One, Two, and Three Year plans.  It is written to be completed in two years but can be adjusted to be done in one or slowed down to stretch to three years.  It can be used in homeschool, classroom, and co-op settings.  This curriculum is written for all levels of writers including reluctant, eager, beginning, and experienced.  We went with the two-year plan so we could cover everything.  The one-year plan does not have everything in the book scheduled.  There are 98 daily lessons (skills) with an additional 19 skills through other assignments.  The lessons take from about 5-20 minutes to complete (not counting writing the papers).  The Random Facts page gives you a full synopsis of what to expect but a few important ones I would like to mention that your student will learn are:

  • writing paragraphs and different types of paragraphs
  • topic sentences
  • main ideas (thesis statements)
  • writing 9 types of essays (opinion, persuasion, cause and effect, newspaper article, how to, biography, compare and contrast, book report, and book response)
  • one research report (including in-text citations and citing their sources)
  • how to proofread
  • Five different types of poems (there are no grading grids for these)
Brainstorming skill

Opinions skill

Reasons skill

She mentions that you need a separate grammar course and then gives links to some resources.  Everything is broken down into bite-sized pieces for your student(s). Each lesson teaches them a new skill they will use.  When they get to writing the papers there are schedules and checklists for them to go over to help them make sure they are not missing anything and that they cover all they need to.  The grading grids in the Teacher's Guide helps you to easily grade the assignments.

Sample grading grid

I also really like the 10-Minute Writing Plunges Program in the Teacher's Guide.  There are many ways you can use it and they are suggested to you in the guide.  I like to cover skills on Monday through Thursday and then take a break and do a 10-Minute Writing Plunge on Fridays if it works out with the schedule.  There are 98 lessons but keep in mind that the writing assignments will take more time, thus the two-year schedule.

Teacher's Guide TOC (partial)

I love the content in the Teacher's Guide.  Especially the Teacher's Backpack section.  There is even a section for suggestions for reluctant writers (did she write that just for me? LOL).  It also includes templates that can be copied for your student(s) to use in their assignments (i.e. creating your own paragraph). The Backpack is full of suggestions and explanations to help you and your student succeed.  Do not fret if writing is not your strong point, Sharon helps you get it done with as little pain as possible.  The grading grids (rubrics) help you assign grades with ease.

Sample checklist teaching a skill

Keep in mind that my 9th grader is a struggling learner, slightly dyslexic, and extremely dysgraphic.  Writing is pure torture for him, but we must get it done.  With many challenges, we are getting through this curriculum one day at a time and I think he is kind of liking it.  He won't admit it now, but I see him getting into some of the assignments.  The fact that they are focused and so short make them completely doable and he is not getting frustrated like he usually does.  I am excited as we progress and I have high hopes for what this can do for him.

I cannot say enough about Jump In, 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson.  If you are needing a good, solid writing program I HIGHLY recommend it!  I will definitely be checking out some of her other programs.  There is evidently a follow up to Jump In for the high school level that I'm sure we will be using in the future.  You can connect with Sharon Watson on FACEBOOK and PINTEREST.

Please be sure to also check out the other reviews from my fellow Crew members by clicking on the graphic link below.

Jump In, 2nd Edition {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Kingdom Code REVIEW

Do you have an entrepreneur on your hands?  Do you wish to teach your child some business sense that they can use in the real world?  You may want to check out The Complete Starter Kit from The Kingdom Code.  It's a Biblically-based hands-on curriculum.  It is written and recommended for 6-8th graders but can certainly be adapted up or down depending on the maturity of your child.  I received the starter kit (which is on sale right now!) that included the textbook, student packet, and teacher's guide.  I also received a JR Budget Kit and The Kingdom Code Coloring Book as bonuses.

KCK student guide cover

KCK Teacher's Guide cover

Be aware that multiple students can share the textbook but you will need to buy individual student packets for each student.  There is so much to say about this curriculum.  First and most important is that if you purchase the Complete Starter Kit you must be sure to FIRST read (out of the Teacher's Guide) Part 1: What Supplies Do My Students Need? and Part 2: What Needs to Be Organized?  Part 2 is critical in properly setting up your curriculum.  I got excited when I got the packets and just started opening everything up.  Then I wondered how in the world to organize it.  Well, it was all spelled out in Part 2 which thankfully I found before I got the pages too messed up!  The set up was pretty simple and helps to keep everything in order.  It can be assigned as part of a lesson if your child is able to follow the directions.  The additional supplies you will need to purchase are:

  • Two - 1 inch 3 ring binders with clear inserts on the front and back
  • One - set of five divider tabs
  • One - folder with brads and pockets
  • One - red pencil
  • Six - clear pocket pencil holders
  • One - quart size ziploc bag or container to hold 2" X 3" flash cards
Instructions for setup

tabbed dividers

KCK budget folder

KCK Budget pockets

The suggested schedule for lessons is twice a week and the sessions are approximately 45 minutes long.  The standard lesson includes a Proclamation, Check Your Path, Quest for the Clue, Code of Honor, Treasure Seeking, On Your Own, Kingdom Keys, Congratulations, and Bonus Code Work.  Some lessons have extras including Action Time, Historical Fiction, History Highlights, Letters from Aunt Jimmi, and Share Your Thoughts.  Educationally the lessons include an Essential Question, the Learning Goal of the lesson, a Target Skill, Vocabulary Words, Reinforcement/Review, KCK Treasure Map, and Enrichment Projects and Reward Stickers.

Teacher's Guide

TOC for Teacher's Guide

Everything is spelled out for you in the Teacher's Guide so there is no lesson planning needed.  It is all done for you!  The Teacher's Guide includes all the instruction you will need to be successful and it explains how everything works and how to use everything. As you proceed through the lesson there are page references to the textbook which also helps the student when they are filling out their lesson worksheet.  

The lessons begin with an Overview of the lesson, an Essential Question (that will be answered as you proceed through the lesson), and a Learning Goal.  Our typical lesson consists of me reading the proclamation and then proceeding through the textbook lesson for my son to fill the workbook pages out as we go along.  You can choose to have your student fill them out afterward as a review or however it best works for you in your situation.  My struggling learner does not do independent work very well (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't) so in this circumstance, I had to be hands-on and walk him through the lessons (mostly because after saying he wanted to do this he decided he really didn't want to).  We continue with the Quest for the Clue and Code of Honor sections.  I LOVE the Code of Honor section because it introduces scripture and character qualities that are necessary for life. It challenges your child to be excellent in all they do.

Sample Activity Page

Textbook page

On Your Own from Textbook

End of Lesson in Textbook with Bonus Code Work

Remember, the schedule is set up for two days per week so there are actually two sections per lesson.  In the second section, day 2, of a lesson we generally cover an Activity, continue with the Worksheet and introduce Key Terms.  The lesson includes Treasure Seeking which can include action time or share your thoughts or any of the others that cause the student to think more about what the lesson is focusing on and the character quality being stressed.  The On Your Own section is when they complete the assigned Activity.  Kingdom Key is for reviewing the key for the lesson, key ideas, and key terms (definitions). You can end the lesson here and have your student place their sticker of completion on the KCK Treasure Map or continue on to Bonus Code Work.

There are so many extras sprinkled throughout the lessons.  You get letters to encourage you from your Mentor Aunt Jimmi, extra blurbs that explain new subjects such as The Law of Supply and Demand, History Highlights and more.  Everything is accomplished in bite-size pieces.  Your student is walked through the process of getting their business going.  They are taught key terms that are necessary to understand the business world and how it works.  The activities help them to take things a step at a time.  It teaches them to think on their own and brainstorm ideas that are possible.  It teaches them to dream big!  Having scripture and the Kingdom Code principles in action is so important to me.  It teaches them God's way of thinking and working for excellence.

Future lessons for us include working on a money plan, reviews and check-ups, discovering his gifts, revisiting what his goal is, visiting a bank, marketing and economics, and using your money wisely to name a few.  I also received the JR Budget Kit and The Kingdom Code Coloring Book as bonuses.  The coloring book includes kingdom keys and the JR KCK Budget Kit includes coloring pages for JOEY and a pie chart to show how it works together.  I plan to use it with my first grader this fall to start to introduce the concepts to her early.  Money management is good at any age and if she gets it now it will click easier later for her.

KCK Coloring Book and JR KCK Budget Kit Bonuses

It has been a struggle with my reluctant high schooler to get through this.  I thought he would really like it and he expressed that he wanted to do it when the review came up.  That being said, I notice he is taking an interest in it the more we cover.  Plus, with only 2 lessons a week it is very doable.  He is at the age where he definitely wants to earn money for things and I think the timing is perfect.  The business he chose was to do commissioned artwork.  There is an increasing desire for people to ask for customized drawings of photos or pets they have.  My son drew me a precious picture recently because I had seen a sign at an auction that I didn't get.  He captured it and I think there are more people who have an interest in "signs" like the one pictured below.  He is a budding artist and definitely has talent.  I think he can succeed well in his business endeavor if he really puts his mind to it.

Sample Artwork

I recommend The Complete Starter Kit from The Kingdom Code.  I think it is better suited for 6-8th graders because of the way it is written and I think at that age they are more inclined to take off with it and not be so reluctant to do the work.  They have graciously given me a 10% off code to share with you on any purchase you make online.  Please use 10TKC15 to get your 10% off any online order at The Kingdom Code.  You can connect with Kingdom Code on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM.

Please be sure to also check out the reviews from my fellow Crew members to get a better idea of what this curriculum is all about by clicking on the graphic link below.

The Kingdom Code Complete Starter Kit {The Kingdom Code Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Farm Updates

I think these are Asiatic Lilies.  Regardless, I love lilies of all kinds. These were such a pretty shade of pink.  The garden is doing fairly well.  I still need to fertilize the blueberries and I think my tomatoes are trying to get blight. We have enjoyed strawberries, asparagus, broccoli and lettuce from the garden.  I also harvested the cabbage and still need to process it.  I want to do sauerkraut. 

The baby chicks are now close to 3 weeks old and growing.  Silly things were roosting in a little tree I have in the run.  They were having a blast.

I haven't had shasta daisies in my flower beds for awhile and I am glad to have some growing well and close!  It is just on the outside of my garden. I just love their blooms.

Finally, I want to mention the ducks.  They are growing so fast!  They just turned 8 weeks old and they look like a full-grown duck. We are pretty sure we have a girl and a boy.  Rosie, the Pekin sounds like a girl and we are pretty sure the Rouen is a boy whom we renamed Rowdy (from Allie). They are so comical and so messy!  We are enjoying them.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Lightning Lit & Comp REVIEW

I had not heard of Hewitt Homeschooling Resources prior to reviewing American Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 9-12.  I received a softcover copy of the 170-page Student's Guide and a hole-punched paper copy of the 55-page Teacher's Guide.  I simply placed the Teacher's Guide into a pronged folder to keep it neat and tidy.  The subtitle to the student guide is "Acquiring College-Level Composition Skills by Responding to Great Literature."  I was excited to get this one started with my 9th going into 10th grader.

Product received

Teacher's Guide placed into a pronged folder for safe keeping

There are additional books required for this curriculum that are included in the curriculum package you purchase online.  You will NOT need to purchase them separately if you purchase the package deal. They were not included for me for the purpose of this review.  I will be required to purchase unabridged copies of UncleTom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, and The Call of the Wild by Jack London.  I actually downloaded a free digital copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin onto my Kindle.  The Teacher's Guide has the answers to the Comprehension Questions from the Student's Guide.  The Teacher's Guide also includes schedules, writing exercises, discussion questions, and project suggestions from the Student's Guide.  There is also plenty of information and suggestions on how to grade the student's papers.  In addition to the information, there are checklists to help you grade the papers for:
  • Nonfiction Papers
  • Fiction Papers
  • Poems
I really like that they make a point to mention that it is important to not discourage your student(s) as they grow in their writing and literature skills.  They share how you might correct with constructive criticism, but being careful to not overdo it.

Also included in the Teacher's Guide are Grading Templates.  I really liked this feature!  Of course, they are optional to use, but I know I will find them helpful when it's time to grade.  There are templates for the papers, for the comprehension questions (including how to figure out averages), for vocabulary (if you choose to assign this, it is recommended), and finally for how to figure your quarterly and final grades.

Sample Grading Template for Comprehension Questions

The Table of Contents breaks 8 lessons into 4 units.  There are more literature and authors covered than just the 4 required books.  The additional content is included in the Student Guide and does not need to be purchased.


I really appreciate that they include schedules for both a semester and a year.  For us, it is necessary to use the year-long schedule because language arts is a little challenging for my high schooler.  The guide mentions that the Hewitt English program uses the semester schedule for their Honors English program and the yearly schedule supplemented with other grammar or language arts programs for their Basic English program.  The yearly schedule is recommended for any students that struggle in Language Arts.  Be aware that the extras from the Teacher's Guide are not included in either the semester or yearly schedules.  Extras such as the Discussion Questions and  Project Suggestions (including art, history/geography, religion/bible, and science, health, and nature). You will need to work in any extras that you want to cover as you see fit.

The Student's Guide is wonderfully comprehensive.  It has a wonderful introduction that covers:
  • Why This Course?
  • Why Read Literature?
  • How to Read Literature
  • How to Read Poetry (including figurative language and sounds)
  • Why Learn to Write? (including Paper Writing 101)
    • Covers brainstorming, research, outlines, and paragraphs to name a few
There are also sections in the Student's Guide covering "The Fluidity of Language and Pronoun Confusion," and a detailed section on "How to Use This Student's Guide."  I like that there is a section recommending that the student keep a vocabulary notebook and a reading journal.  We have already encountered a lot of "new" or "odd" words in our reading thus far.

Units typically consist of an Introduction, a discussion on The Selection, some questions to consider While You Read, the Comprehension Questions, a Literary Lesson, and finally Writing Exercises.

Comprehension questions

Literary Lesson

Writing Exercises

I think this Lightning Lit & Comp homeschool curriculum is a very good fit for us and I really like the yearly schedule.  I definitely give American Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 9-12 a thumbs up and look forward to completing it over the next year.  We are of course still reading and covering comprehension questions at this point. We read every day and cover the comprehension questions as we go along. The book has been a little bit of a challenge for my 9th grader due to the language and syntax (he is a struggling learner), but I think he is really enjoying it.  He doesn't enjoy some of the language due to the nature of the subject in Uncle Tom's Cabin, but it is a good classical read for him to be familiar with.

You can connect with Hewitt Homeschooling Resources on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, YOUTUBE, and INSTAGRAM.  Please be sure to check out the other reviews on this curriculum (there is a whole series of Lightning Literature packages) as well as several others that my fellow Crew members reviewed by clicking on the graphic link below.  You might just find your next language arts resource you have been looking for.

Lightning Literature, My First Reports, State History Notebook & Joy of Discovery {Hewitt Homeschooling Resources Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
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