Lesson Planning: Arrest Me!
When it comes to writing weekly lesson plans for our homeschooling, my views have morphed a lot over the last 13 years.
I think you're gonna have to arrest me.
Especially if I lived in London.
(Just read that article, above, if you don't believe me.)
In 1990, I graduated from college and began teaching fourth graders in a public school in Small Town, U.S.A.
Every Friday after school, or Sunday night at home, you'd see me hunched over my desk or card table in my apartment, spending at least an hour - and sometimes much more - writing down lesson plans for the following week.
They were required to be handed in to our principal every Monday morning.
Yes, sir. Get 'er done.
Every Monday morning, I'd faithfully hand in my newly written lesson plans. No matter if I couldn't go out for lunch with friends on Sunday afternoon because I had to stay home and work on lesson plans. No matter if I probably should have had physical therapy every week due to lugging such a huge bag of teacher's guides home. No matter if I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning to write them because I'd been ill all weekend.
Now, you might ask, "Why couldn't you have finished these lesson plans at school, during the work week?"
The easy answer to this is that I have a very hard time focusing and making detailed plans about anything unless it's absolutely quiet. Even to this day, I still have to either stay up late or get up early when everyone else is asleep to do any kind of detailed planning or thinking. Sadly, I just need peace and quiet to think. I think this is one of God's ways of keeping me humble! Ha!
And my classroom before, during, and after school, was full of interruptions: announcements over the intercom, phone calls, students needing extra help, grade level teacher meetings, and on and on. Plus, sitting at my teacher's desk facing stacks of papers to be graded or papers to be filed was depressing. God made me to be a slow worker and slow thinker who needed it quiet!
Often, I felt like doing this to my lesson plans:
When I married my husband, Elmer, I asked him if he would mind if I found a different job. I enjoyed working with children, and I normally don't mind doing paperwork, but working 70-80+ hours each week as a teacher was killing me. I got really burned out on the schedule, and lack of time to be at home as a new bride. I've never been a "career woman" at heart. :) Thankfully, he didn't mind at all, so my pay was reduced by one-half as I began working in a local special education office.
I didn't miss the lesson planning at all. :)
Eventually, we decided to begin homeschooling.
When Kelsi, our oldest, was a little tyke doing preschool work at home, I didn't see a need to do any planning. She learned so much just playing and doing little activities I had available for her. Lesson planning seemed silly when I could just grab the playdough or paper and scissors or help her learn to write her name. Her Sunday School teachers and Awana workers told me that she was well socialized and cooperative with other children, and her skills were advanced, so whatever we were doing at home and at playdates with friends was working well.
The "real" work begins.
Then, Kelsi began first grade at home. Oh, so now we're down to some "serious" business...or so I thought.
After a couple of months, it dawned on me that it was quite silly to be writing down detailed daily lesson plans for her little first grade schoolwork!
Our second born, Brittany, had a completely different learning style and personality, so I figured I might not even be using the same curriculum with her when she began first grade in a couple of years.
So, by the time Kelsi began second grade, I developed a yearly planner where I'd write down what we had actually already completed week by week instead of day by day.
It was SO much easier!
Feel free to download and use the master yearly planner I used:
After Kelsi finished the fourth grade at home, I abandoned the whole concept of public school lesson planning altogether.
That doesn't mean that I don't make any plans for our schooling at home. What it means is that I don't keep a detailed account of what we are planning to do or what we have already accomplished. I do keep a grade book of their scores and grades, and I do keep samples of their work, plus a record of attendance. Now that Kelsi is in the 8th grade, I'm having her build a list of books that she is reading this year for her literature studies.
But what I've noticed over the years is that homeschooling curriculum has become more structured and organized, as a whole, for the home educating parent. Instead of having to muddle through curriculum and try to figure out "the plan", most of the curricula we already use is either the type where the student works through it, page by page, or it is already structured in daily or weekly plans.
For grammar, spelling, math, science, Latin, and literature, we just continue to work through the material at the girls' pace and abilities. Easy! No lesson planning needed there. While only their grammar is the typical "workbook" style, the rest of it still requires no advanced planning from me.
The only school subject that requires some weekly planning from me anymore is our history studies. I just take notes on the planner that comes with the program, and sometimes transfer this information to a little weekly planner form for the girls to use in their independent studies during the week.
Help yourself to the weekly planner we sometimes use:
Other than that, you'll just have to arrest me. I don't see the benefit of spending a couple of hours each week writing lesson plans in advance.
Even if I had a larger family, I'd just have my children move their post-it note bookmarks from one lesson to the next, every day or week, as they worked through most of their curriculum.
So, arrest me!
What does your family do for lesson planning? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Unit studies? Yearly? What method works best for you?
Some of my favorite classes in school were my English classes, although until 11th grade, the literature selections and coursework didn't move fast enough for me.
I loved reading the classics, for the most part, even though sometimes they were tough reads. Well, except for maybe Moby Dick. Hmm. I'm not going to get started on that one!
What I found to be disappointing, though, was that often my grades in those earlier high school English classes were based on a multitude of short quizzes used to determine if we had actually read the chapter selections or not. We were rarely asked in-depth questions that required actual reasoning skills. Usually, it was the typical "who", "what", "when", "where", questions.
And I dreaded those. Since I read quickly but don't have an incredible memory, I'd forget what the main character's mother's name was. Or what time of day he was supposed to meet someone at the park. Those types of questions caused me to never receive a 4.0 on my report card.
But I could tell you about the emotional connections I had with the story and why the author chose to write with a particular perspective. Unfortunately, until my 12th grade AP English class, we weren't asked to write papers or answer questions that required us to use our brain cells in a deeper, creative way.
Since my oldest daughter is in 8th grade, I've been contemplating which high school curricula to purchase for her for next year.
We have a solid history program that combines classic literature with the various eras of history. While I like that program, I find the weekly preparation times to be murderous. If I had 5+ children using that program at the same time, I'd be willing to put in the extra time to plan and prepare. But even after attempting to use it for three years in a row, I'm not succeeding very well.
I heard that some of the members of the TOS Crew were going to be able to review Everyday Education'sIntroduction to Literature program. I was open to giving something like this a try, especially since we've never needed or used a stand-alone literature program other than reviewing a couple of different literature options a few years ago.
When I found out I was selected to begin using the 8th grade year Introduction to Literature curriculum from Everyday Education, I was elated! And I was not disappointed. Kelsi and I are loving this!
What does Introduction to Literature cover? According to Everyday Education's website:
Introduction to Literature is a college-preparatory literature and composition course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, and for their place in the historical development of literature. Context readings provide background information about the author, the historical period, and the literary and artistic context of the focus work.
Students will gain an understanding of the development of literature and will practice the skills of close literary analysis through essays, approach papers, and other evaluative writing. You may learn more about how I chose the literature for Excellence in Literature in this blog post.
By the end of the course, students will:
Students are to complete one unit per month, independently. Of course, as with all homeschooling curricula, this can be modified. Extremely fast readers and writers can complete each unit in less time; students who need additional time can easily stretch each unit over two months.
Here's what I like about Introduction to Literature. After I printed out the year's curriculum and placed it in a 3-ring binder, I tabbed each unit for easy use, read through the intro and Unit 1, downloaded the free classic books for our Kindle, printed out the short stories for Unit 1 using the links provided by Everyday Education, and gave the entire 3-ring binder to Kelsi.
She was easily able to pace herself through reading the introduction and how the curriculum works. She read the first short story and understood how to write the required Approach Paper to accompany each short story.
Each unit is broken up into four weeks of study, and the directions are very simple and easy to follow. There is very little to prepare ahead of time.
After the literature selections are read, the author has provided links to internet resources that discuss and demonstrate the life of the author, links to additional readings by that author, poetry, stories in audio MP3 format, possible videos to watch, visual arts, music, and other online resources.
I find this so helpful! I don't have to do the searching for these additional resources that will help Kelsi understand the historical era of when the book was written and when the book's setting takes place. This is already provided!
The writing instructions are simple and easy to understand.
Honors level materials are also provided (additional reading; additional resources).
I guess what impresses me so much is that this is written in such a straightforward manner that most junior high aged students could easily work through the entire curriculum on their own.
And there are no "waste of time" pop quizzes with those silly WWWWW questions to see if our children have actually read the book selections. You won't find "busywork" in this curriculum.
Right now, I'm leaning toward using this company's literature curriculum throughout our high school years. The material is solid, contains grading rubrics to help grade student work, and provides a multi-sensory study for each unit in the binder.
If you'd like to view and download a free sample unit from Excellence in Literature, you'll find that HERE. That will give you the best feel of whether this type of curriculum is for you or not.
Introduction to Literature: English 1 Print Book (hard copy) $29 + $4.95 Priority Mail shipping
Literature: English 1 e-book- $27 If you'd prefer using the book in three-ring binder format, an e-book is perfect for you. It is laid out to be printed double-sided, and each volume is exactly like the print book. Free shipping.
Janice Campbell's blog also has valuable articles and information for use with your junior high and high school students.
I'm excited to find something that is so much better than most of the material used with me in my high school years! And Kelsi is enjoying this study very much. It takes little prep time for me, as it's written so Kelsi can use this on her own. Excellence in Literature: Reading and Writing Through the Classics looks like a winner to me!
Find out what other TOS Crew members have to say about the Excellence in Literature curriculum!
I received one electronic copy of Introduction to Literature from Everyday Education in exchange for my honest review of this product. No other compensation was provided.
I remember reading little bits and pieces about George Washington Carver when I was in elementary school, but we never studied his life and achievements.
In our own homeschooling, we are currently studying the Renaissance and the arts, science, and literature that go along with that era, so we haven't yet delved into U.S. history studies.
That's one reason I was very interested in reviewing this DVD on the life of George Washington Carver. I'd heard that he invented almost countless products, medicines, and chemicals from soybeans, peanuts, cotton, and many other plants.
This 30-minute DVD produced by Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc., is a biographical look at George W. Carver's life. Starting with Mr. Carver's early life and how he received the name, "George Washington Carver" (you'll be surprised!), I found it interesting to learn that he was born only two years after the Civil War.
George Washington Carver: His Life and His Work describes how he received his elementary through high school education, which is far different than most anyone in the United States these days.
And his entrance into college was a bit tricky, as most schools weren't admitting people of African-American descent.
After finishing his college education, he continued learning until the day he died. His life admirably was lived in total service to our nation and especially to the local African-American community and at large.
I appreciate these quotes from Mr. Carver at the beginning of the video:
"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune Him in."
"There's no shortcut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation."
Did you know that Mr. Carver lived on almost no income throughout his life, by his own choice, instead choosing to use his paychecks to help needy students and other admirable causes?
He insisted that he had no need for copyrights, paychecks, notoriety, prestige, or honor.
If you watch this documentary DVD, you'll be surprised at how carefully he lived so he could donate his life's knowledge to others, with no thought of himself.
I should note that the audio and video/film quality of this DVD wasn't as high as I would have expected for a new DVD. My husband and I both commented that it was reminiscent of the older style of reel-to-reel movies we watched in elementary school. I suspect that this DVD has been legally produced or copied from an older reel-to-reel or video film that has now been converted to DVD.
If that doesn't bother you, then you will enjoy this biography of George W. Carver's life. Our family would have enjoyed this DVD more if it had been higher quality film, and if it had been acted out instead of just showing photos or stock film of plants and animals while Mr. Carver's life story was narrated. However, there were a couple of video clips of Mr. Carver speaking or being presented with an award, so I know that those definitely were older clips - necessary there - since he passed away in 1953.
Student questions are provided on the Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc., website for teachers and parents to use after viewing the DVD.
George Washington Carver: His Life and His Work is available at a web sale price of $19.95. In addition, you can get a 15% discount by using the code TOSC1 at checkout.
Want to read more reviews of this DVD? The TOS Crew links are HERE.
Disclaimer: I received one copy of this DVD from Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.
We enjoy games as a family, even though Elmer usually wins and I usually lose.
The winners usually rank like this:
1. Elmer (my husband)
2. Kelsi (oldest daughter - 13)
4. Brittany (youngest daughter - 11)
Sometimes, Elmer and Kelsi will switch places, and sometimes Brittany will switch places. But that's about it.
Last year, we were able to enjoy and review another game by NorthStar Games: Wits and Wagers, Family Edition.
We liked that game, but we've enjoyed the new "Say Anything - Family Edition" game even more!
Say Anything - Family Edition has no questions that need to be removed from the stack because they might not be family-friendly. Nice!
This game is designed to be played by 3-6 people. It's really designed for ages 8+, mainly because the players need to be able to read and write fairly well.
So here's how the game works: A card/topic is selected, and each player needs to write down their opinion to answer the question. Next, the leader of this particular round of questions privately selects which answer they like the best, and keep track of that answer on a small game piece.
All of the players then vote on which answer they think the leader of that question may have selected. Each player can earn points based on how many people voted for his or her answer. A total is kept track of the winning answers. Whoever reaches 20 points first is the winner!
We really liked the questions that were asked. It gave us the opportunity to share what we really thought, to be creative, and to try to figure out which answer the leader would vote for. Fun!
I think Say Anything - Family Edition would also be fun to play with teams. We might give this a try at one of our next homeschool jr. high/high school teen functions. They love to play games together!
Some stores carry the Say Anything - Family Edition game, and you can learn which stores do in your state by placing your zip code in their "find a store near you" feature.
To learn more about North Star Games visit the website, like them on Facebook, or follow them with Twitter.
Say Anything - Family Edition costs under $15, and for a fun party game, I think that's very reasonable! What I enjoyed most was being able to provide silly, goofy answers and trying to stump people or get them to vote for my answer. This would be a great game for a birthday/Christmas gift, so if you're having difficulty thinking of a gift for an older child or teen, consider Say Anything - Family Edition.
Disclaimer: I received one free copy of Say Anything - Family Edition for my family's use and honest review of the product. No other compensation was provided.
A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers
My daughter's violin instructor mentioned about a year ago that she'd like us to begin researching the composers and understanding more about them and the eras in which they lived.
I didn't really have anything at home to use for that, but I did remember that Bright Ideas Press had published a book with that in mind: A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers.
We were blessed last month to be able to receive a copy of this book from Timberdoodle in order to use it and review it. We were excited to receive this in the mail! The timing was perfect...although we should have probably been using this a year ago. Oops.
Please don't tell our violin instructor, okay? Deal? Deal.
The first thing I noticed, after reading through the Table of Contents, is that this book was appropriately placed into chronological order. That's just the way my brain prefers to learn, so this is a good thing.
The second thing I noticed was that in the Introduction, it gave a simple outline of how each week's lessons would flow. Their goal was to have this material be presented in a simple way. That sounded great to me!
We worked through several weeks of lessons. I'll be the first to say that they were definitely simple to work through! I didn't need to rush to the library to check out additional books; I didn't need to buy anything to accompany this curriculum. I didn't need to do any further lesson planning. Wow!
For the first two sections of this book ("Ancient Music to Music in the Middle Ages"; and "Music in the Renaissance"), we approached this differently than the main lessons. We sat right by the laptop. Each time a new composer or song was mentioned, we quickly found a sample of it on YouTube and listened to the first 20-30 seconds of the song. I felt this was important to do, because much of that music is not familiar to many westerners' ears, including me and my children. This stretched out the lessons over a couple of days' time (probably 60 minutes each day), but it was worth it. Slowly but surely, the music began to have more of a "western hemisphere" feel to it. We could see the changes that were being made over hundreds of years' time.
If you're not comfortable using YouTube in your home, it is possible to place the YouTube settings to "safe search". You can also place all comments on "safe mode" so that you can view videos and not have to worry so much about viewing inappropriate videos or comments.
The nice thing was that A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers explained all about why the changes were happening. It was actually very interesting!
The girls went from covering their ears to listening with a grimace to listening with interest.
Of course, that took several hundred years to accomplish. Well, at least, in the timeline!
Finally, we were ready to start the first main lesson.
So...on Day 1 of each new lesson, we first sat down with the laptop and listened, via YouTube, to the music selections recommended for the lesson. It was pretty neat to listen to people performing these selections in medieval and Renaissance churches and locations throughout Europe!
Then, we sat down on the couch together and read through the lesson. That took about 15 minutes or so. Sometimes, the girls would have questions, or I'd want to interject some explanation or extra information, so I know we stretched a few of the lessons out longer.
While I was reading with them, the girls filled out the high quality note-taking pages provided by the curriculum. While taking notes isn't one of my daughters' favorite methods of learning, she admitted that she was glad that the note-taking pages were provided for her use. She said that it made it easier to stay focused as I read with the girls.
Here's a sample of the note-taking pages:
On the second day, we listened to the music selections again for that particular lesson, and could do the "hands-on" work to help us learn:
1. Fill out an informational card about the composer
2. Color in a section of the timeline to place composers in the correct era
3. Use provided maps to match composers to their place of birth and work.
On the third day, we listened to the music selections again and tried to memorize the names of the composer and the songs.
If we chose to do additional work and learning about a composer, we could have chosen to make mini-books for a lapbook/folderbook, read a biography about the composer (from the library or separate book purchase), and played a composer review game together. Because this autumn's curriculum list is quite full, we chose not to do those additional activities, but we hope to dive in deeper in the future. Those hands-on projects make learning fun!
After learning about the composer for the week, review questions were provided to see what we remembered. This was helpful!
While we haven't been able to work through the entire book yet, we have enjoyed A Young Scholar's Guide to the Composers. I like the way that just about everything is contained within the book itself. No need for me to run out to the library or bookstore or to order anything online.
Using YouTube videos for the music selections was SO helpful!
Everything I saw throughout this curriculum, from the book itself to the maps, timelines, and drawings of characters, was very professional in layout and quality.
The only thing I kept hoping to find in the curriculum were pre-printed mini-books for the suggested lapbooking/folderbooking. While I did read some directions in this book about how to make basic mini-books, I hoped that the mini-books would have been printed already so that we could have colored, illustrated, and written on them for our use. For families who are very comfortable with the thought of lapbooking, this won't be a hindrance, but for families who are new to lapbooking or whose time is very stretched, it would be helpful to be able to print out or photocopy the mini-books and then begin using them right away.
A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers comes in both a paperback format and on CD. For our family, I'd prefer to have the paperback format and then have a CD that contained just the printables for the curriculum. It would be a bit on the expensive side of things for me to buy both the full curriculum on CD and in paperback form, but that is a possibility.
Anyway, we're excited to continue using A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers over the next couple of years, as we approach various composers in our chronological history studies.
You may view samples of this curriculum here, at the Bright Ideas Press website.
A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers is available for purchase at Timberdoodle, for those who want to increase their knowledge and understanding of music history and famous composers. Timberdoodle also has other music supplies and materials for educating our children. I'm looking forward to checking that out, too!
Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team, I received a free copy of A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.
If you're like me, you find meal-planning for your family to be a cinch. Easy. Quick and painless.
Um, yeah. Even though I'd love to tell you that I plan meals well as a homeschooling mama, like I used to do before being a homeschooling mama, that isn't the truth.
Unfortunately, like a lot of other moms, I stand in the kitchen around 5 p.m. and think, "Hmm. I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight?"
Uh, yeah. Not so glamorous, is it? It's not necessarily because I've been lazy during the weekend, and I didn't get any planning done. It's more that my mind is so busy from all the details of life, that planning and organizing one. more. thing. is going to put me over the edge.
Well, almost. Not really.
I was excited to find out a few months back that there are a variety of meal-planning websites these days, to help moms and dads do a bit better in the "planning department."
E-mealz is one of them...and I'd like to share a little bit about using e-mealz in our family.
If you're not familiar with e-mealz, the #1 benefit of this program is that it tracks weekly grocery sales for a number of grocery store chains and matches those sale items to recipes using combinations of those items purchased on sale. The website then gathers those recipes together for you on a weekly basis, and it also includes a shopping list for the week's groceries. Nice!
This makes meal planning as simple as . . .
Okay, so here's where the fun begins. Are you ready for this?
This is what I need to do on a weekly basis with my e-mealz.com account:
1. Log into www.e-mealz.com and my account. If I'm happy with my meal plan, I can make no changes. If, however, I decide that I want to change the type of meal plan I'm getting each week, I can change this up to once per quarter.
2. Download this week's new menu plan with accompanying shopping list, and print those pages.
Instead of this . . .
. . . it's this:
3. Make any adjustments to the shopping list (adding and deleting items I already have or don't need to purchase).
4. Head to the store and purchase the full week of dinners plus some lunches and desserts using the new e-mealz menu.
What I love about e-mealz:
1. Quick, painless, organized shopping list with accompanying recipes. That's about as easy as it gets!
2. The ability to change my meal plan version once per quarter, if I feel the need to do so.
3. The wide variety of meal plans that exist, including:
5. The professional layout of the website, meal plans, and shopping lists.
6. The inexpensive cost of signing up for e-mealz ($1.25 per week; $5 per month). It pays for itself easily in one week's time!
Here's a sample of a WalMart weekly meal plan, if you'd like to check it out. I don't shop at WalMart very often, but you can take a look at it.
What I'd like to see improved with e-mealz:
I live in the Pacific Northwest. E-Mealz is designed more for families who live and shop in the south or the southeastern areas of the United States. Because my town doesn't have a SuperWalMart with full groceries, there really isn't a meal plan that will have prices matching the grocery stores in my area (meaning, the exact items won't necessarily be on sale). I did find, though, that Fred Meyer stores in the Pacific NW are owned by Kroger, so while the sale prices and sale items won't be exactly the same, there was quite a bit of overlap. As well, I can also use their "any store" meal plan.
Here are some of the changes I'd love to see happening at e-mealz.com:
1. Add a few key stores from the Pacific Northwest to e-mealz.com weekly menus and shopping lists, like Fred Meyer, Safeway, Costco, and WinCo.
2. Choose recipes that are more typical like what we'd see in the Food Network magazine, or Taste of Home. Maybe it was just the weeks that I was signed up, but some of the dinners were southern food, all the way. I'm not opposed to southern food, but up here in the Pacific NW, we usually don't use as much gravy and butter in our foods. I think, though, that e-mealz.com is now offering a wider variety of recipes on their site.
Note: you can easily cross out a menu or recipe and use something else you have around the house for a meal. Or, if you're wanting to include a recipe on your own, just add it in. It's not hard to do.
3. I'd love to see e-mealz.com sending me an email once a week to remind me to download my newest weekly menu, complete with a log-in link in the email newsletter. It is easy to go to the website on my own and do the download, but it's also easy to forget in my busy days.
4. The #1 thing I'd appreciate most seeing new on e-mealz.com is to have a "whole foods/real foods" menu and weekly pricing goals to accompany that.
So, what's the verdict?
I love e-mealz.com. Easy meal planning; saves money ($75 per week grocery budget for 7 meals each week for 4-6 people); very organized website; my family enjoyed the recipes we used.
You can find out more about E-mealz on their website and see samples of their other menus here. E-mealz charges $15 every three months to your debit/credit card and is automatically renewed every three months unless you decide to cancel before the renewal date.
My TOS Crewmates are also reviewing E-mealz, so you can check out what they think HERE.
What kind of meal-planning do you do for your family each week?
Disclaimer: I received a 3-month subscription to www.e-mealz.com for the purpose of sharing my opinion about their product here. No other compensation was provided.
Is it possible to laugh and have fun...and learn Latin at the same time?
Most people who have been through a Latin language course would say, "no."
I would have said that, too, because I'd taught Latin to homeschooled students in my community for a couple of years, and while our Latin curriculum was solid, it wasn't what I'd consider "fun" or something that students (or my own children) would beg to do the next lesson.
I've looked at four popular Latin curricula programs over the last three years, and thought I had found one that our family would find the most useful.
Until Visual Latin came into our home.
Visual Latin was developed by two homeschool dads who were convinced that there had to be a way of teaching Latin so that it was fun and meaningful at the same time.
There are currently 40 lessons available for Visual Latin - 10 lessons per DVD or download. The lessons are designed to be watched one day, then watched again a second or third time that week while accompanying free worksheets are filled out by the students.
You know what's nice? The Visual Latin worksheets are available for free download, and can be printed off as much as needed for multiple children in the same family. That is such a money saver compared to buying lots of workbooks for one family!
Each lesson contains 3 videos are less than 10 minutes each, so you get between 15-25 minutes of video per lesson.
If you've studied foreign languages in the past, or Latin itself, this outline may be familiar. Here are the concepts studied in each of the lessons in Visual Latin.
A. Why Study Latin?
B. Latin Then & Now
C. How to Learn a Language
D. Stuff You Should Know About Latin
1. Being Verbs Basics: To Be and Not To Be
2. Being Verbs Basics: Predicate Nominatives and Adjectives
3. Gender: Boy Words and Girl Words
4. Singular and Plural / E Pluribus Unum
5. Declensions / Meet the Cases
6. Adjectives Learn to Agree with Nouns
7. The Case Files: Nominative and Genitive
8. Counting to 10 in Latin
9. Active Verb Basics / Indicative Mood
10. The Case Files: Accusative
LESSONS 11 to 20:
11. The Case Files: Vocative
12. Changing Your Moods: Imperative & Indicative
13. The Case Files: Ablative
14. Meet the Pronouns & Question Words
15. Pronouns: Relative
16. Accusing Prepositions of Accusative Case
17. Verbs: Active & Passive
18. The Case Files: Dative
19. Pronouns: 1st & 2nd Person Personal
20. Pronouns: 3rd Person Personal
LESSONS 21 to 30:
21. Pronouns / Demonstratives: this, these
22. Pronouns / Demonstratives: that, those
23. Pronouns: Relative and Interrogative
24. Pronouns: Possessive
25. Nouns: 3rd Declension
26. Verbs / Infinitives - Active & Passive
27. Verbs / Infinitives - Ability, Negation & Indirect
28. Nouns: 3rd Declension - Neuter
29. Nouns: 4th Declension
30. Adjectives: Positive & Comparative
It wasn't possible for the girls and I to finish all 10 lessons on the first DVD we received. However, what we were able to view together was wonderful! We kept looking at each other in amazement - seriously! We kept saying to each other, "Oh, this would have been so much better for last year's class when we had mostly teenage boys!"
And they were right. Visual Latin would have been so much better. I wish I had known about it back then. Wow.
We love the short video lessons that are not only captivating and entertaining in their own way, but presented in a method that enables us to begin thinking more in Latin instead of just memorizing endless grammar forms.
Do I recommend Visual Latin? Wholeheartedly! If you have considered doing Latin in your home in the past, but were afraid to give it a try, this is the program for you. Shorter lessons; less expensive on the budget; more entertaining; more effective. We are thrilled to have been introduced to this new program!
Any negatives I can think of yet? Um - nope! Look at the neat handwriting on the board. Some Latin programs we've viewed had horribly messy, hard-to-read handwriting. This program also includes PowerPoint-style visuals, which are easy to read.
The price is right for my family.
The first 6 lessons are free to view on their website, so you can try it before you buy it.
The humor and entertaining teaching is family-friendly and especially appealing to boys and teenage young men, although my daughters and I loved it, too!
I guess the only drawback I saw is that it doesn't come with flashcards, although there are links on their website to free online flashcards that another parent made available.
As of October 2011, there are 40 lessons which can be purchased in groups of 10 lessons each for $25/section (download version). By using the first 30 lessons of Visual Latin combined with the first 17 lessons of Lingua Latina , this would equal a strong first year credit in high school Latin. Lessons 41-50 will be available in January, and Lessons 51-60 will be available in spring 2012.
Take a look here to see what other TOS Crew members had to say about Visual Latin!
For our family, personally, we are loving Visual Latin!
Disclaimer: I received one DVD copy of Lessons 1-10 of Visual Latin for review purposes; all opinions are my own, and no other compensation was provided.
Sarah's Escape, Book 3 in the Sarah Book series, authored by Jim Baumgardner, was published this last year. Mr. Baumgardner was especially generous by allowing my family to read and review the first three books in the Sarah Book series. You can read my reviews of Sarah's Wish (Book 1) and Sarah's Promise (Book 2) for more on the Sarah Book series. We enjoyed reading historical fiction in the Civil War era. We enjoyed the Christian themes that penetrated the story and caused us to reflect as we read. Some of the characters were a hoot! I could just picture Granny and Doc as I read!
I thought you might enjoy reading an excerpt from Sarah's Escape, Book 3 in the Sarah book series:
Inside, Sarah saw him, and her heart skipped a beat. It felt like a giant hand squeezing the very breath from her. Then, color drained from her face and panic came—cold and sudden. Standing speechless, a terrible fear tore at her throat, and for a split second she thought of the will. Only Sam knew the hiding place.
“Sam!” Eliza screamed. “Oh, Sam, Oh, my dear Sam.” She knelt beside her husband, head on his chest, weeping uncontrollably. Sarah rushed to Eliza’s side as Esther flew through the doorway. Seeing her daddy on the floor staggered her, sending her reeling. Her knees buckled, and falling to the floor, she began to pray aloud.
“What in tarnation be happenin’ in here?”
The old lady stepped through the doorway. The sight of Sam on the floor, eyes open, unmoving, gripped her insides. Rushing to his side, Granny placed her hand on the front of his neck, feeling for a pulse. She shouted over the crying, “What happened to him?” The bawling only grew louder.
“Eliza Smith! Git a hold of yerself. Let me try to help the man. What happened afore we got here?”
“He complained of a headache, and his vision was blurred,” she sobbed it out. “Esther was going to get Doctor Baum, and then he just fell over. Is he dead? Is he dead? Tell me, Granny, tell me the truth.”
Granny clutched her friend’s hand. “No! He be alive, barely. His heart’s a beatin’ but weak. Not much breath, either.”
“What can we do? What’s wrong with him?”
“I seen it afore, and I’ll not lie to ya. It ain’t good.” Her body stiffened a little, and she turned squarely to face Eliza. “Appears like he be brain struck!”
Hi! I'm Julieanne!