Monday, November 21, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 21

Today is 21 November, 2011 - I had to rethink how I was approaching our home education. It's not been the easiest of years and I've been frustrated for much of it. Time ruthlessly marches on and I've realised again how easy it is to miss precious moments with those you hold dear and how short a time we have our kids with us. My eldest turned 11 recently and some are starting to ask me 'when are you going to send her to school'. :)

We have our difficult moments, but I love homeschooling the kids, they love being homeschooled (YES they tell me) and so today I am extra thankful for being able to home educate my children who are so precious to me. We will do this for as long as we possibly can! 

What are you thankful for today?

Join us for the rest of the month by visiting Brenda's blog @ Garden of Learning.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

I am thankful for ...

Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband and celebrating 18 years of marriage!

What are you thankful for?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I am thankful for ...

OK, so I'm a few days behind, but I was away and had no internet connection.

Today I am thankful for being able to spend a few days away with my family.

We went to a friend's bach (Kiwi for holiday home). Well, it's more of a barn close to the sea. It is self contained, running on solar power and has tank water. There is no phone line, no television. It was amazing!

You overlook 25 acres of lawn dotted with grazing cows and in the distance you can see the ocean.

We played pool, dodge ball, Uno, Cranium, word games, did sudoku puzzles, did flax weaving (my girl and I), did some shooting (Daddy and the kids) and I managed to do some reading and painting.

Sweet rest and relaxation!

Thank you God.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I am thankful for ...

Today I am thankful for the friends I count as family.

Having moved countries, I've learned that you need to have people around you. People who will laugh with you, cry with you, pull you up if you are acting out, people who are there with sound advice or just a listening ear. We all need people.

I have a large group of really good friends - people who I know I can ring at 2am and they will help any way possible. These friends are closer than some of my family to me... they ARE family to me.

I am thankful for each one of my friends who I count as family. It is an honor to share my life with them.

What are you thankful for today?


Sunday, November 6, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 6

Today I am thankful for God's protection.

Our daughter turned 11 yesterday! For her birthday we took the family on a 2hour horse trek which started off with great excitement.

In the last ten minutes (on the home stretch!) my horse got spooked by a loud, unexpected noise on the beach and took off on a full gallop. This cause the horse our son (8) was on to take off too. None of us are experienced riders - this was my 2nd time riding and the first time for the kids! -

I came off the horse on a bend, but my son amazingly held on. When he realized that I was not on my horse anymore ... he JUMPED off his horse to come and see if his mummy was ok! What amazing courage. In the process he nearly got stood on by the horse. I watched helplessly while he disappeared on his horse in full gallop, accompanied by my and another horse (without its rider!) around another bend prior to jumping.

I am SO thankful for LIFE and God's protection on our family today!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 4

The alarm was set for 5:45 - yawn - I dragged myself out of bed this morning to go to gym ... while I was doing my stretches I thought; I CAN stretch, I CAN walk

I am thankful for the health and abilities that I have.

I have both my feet, legs, hands and arms.
I have two eyes with which I can see [even if I don't have 20/20 vision ;)]
I can hear.
I can smell.
I can taste.
I can touch.

For the most part I am in good health, I don't suffer physically and I'm not in constant pain. I am thankful for that. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 3

Today I am thankful for peace.

Peace in my heart.
Peace in our home.
Peace in our country.

Above all, I am thankful for the 'Peace that passes understanding' that only God can provide.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I am thankful for ... Day 2

Today is November, 2nd. The second day of the Gratitude Challenge that I'm doing with Brenda from Garden of Learning.

Do join us if you can and let us celebrate the many things there are to be thankful for. 

So, today I am thankful for ...

God's written word. 

I am especially thankful for the fact that I live in a country where I can freely, without fear of persecution, worship God and buy a Bible. In our house we have at least 6 Bibles and they are all different translations! 

How precious is the Word of God!

Sometimes I (we) don't appreciate what we have at all.

My husband is on the board of the 'Bibles In Action NZ' and some time ago I heard the story of how some remote villages have to share a Bible - where people will get up way before dawn to use the Bible during their church service, then one person will run with the only Bible to the next village so they can have their church service using a Bible and then someone from that village will run to the next and so forth! 

No, we don't appreciate the fact that we have a complete, printed copy of the Bible!

I pray for us who do have this privilege, that we will truly be thankful for it.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I am thankful for ...

Today is the first of November. For the next month I'm going to join Brenda from Garden of Learning in her Gratitude Challenge. 

Day 1:

Each morning at the breakfast table we take turns to say what we are thankful for.

So today, I am thankful for the family who God so blessed me with.

I am thankful for my loving, committed husband. He is diligent in serving God, in providing for his family (and others), loving his wife (ME), being a blessing to our children and being a fantastic friend and mentor to many. 

I am thankful for my children. They are both passionate, smart, cheeky and strong willed. I am a blessed with children who are loving, caring, compassionate and who are good friends to each other. 

I am thankful for my mother who lives with us. She blesses me with her love, her courage, her endurance and practical help.

These are the people I wake up to in the morning... Thank you God.

Why don't you join us in sharing what YOU are grateful for?


TOS Review - Excellence in Literature


DISCLAIMER: A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have received a free downloadable e-book version of Excellence in Literature: Introduction to Literature from Everyday Education for review purposes. In exchange for this free product that I've used with my daughter, I provide Everyday Education with an honest, personal opinion of their product. 


Janice Campbell is the brains behind 
Everyday Education. She is a veteran homeschool mum, the author of many articles and books (including e-books) and a conference speaker. She hosts her Blog here and you can also receive e-zine newsletters from her to further help you on your homeschool journey (especially with teens).

Excellence in Literature is a literature study series suggested for students in Grades 8-12. As my daughter is turning 11 in one week and hasn't done much literature study before, I wasn't sure how she would take to it. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it went and how much she enjoyed it.

In Introduction to Literature, the first of five books, the text is mainly written to the student, since this is a self-directed course, and normally does not require too much input from the parent / teacher. Although it is written as a 'college-preparatory literature and composition course' for high school students, it can be used with younger age groups (with some parental input). This, I believe, is in part due to the excellent way this study guide is laid out and how well concepts are explained. 

In this book you will find the following:
  • A thorough introduction, explaining what is laid out in this course and what is expected from the students, what they might find helpful and why certain contextual work is included. It encourages students to work on time management and other organizational skills. 
  • Chapters on: How to read a book, The different Literary Periods, Formats and Models of what the completed assignments should look like (with examples of each)
  • Context reading/work which includes biographies, music, art and poetry amongst others
  • 9 Units which take four weeks each to complete.
  • Excellent literature
  • Great quotes
  • Excellent links to online resources within each unit. 
  • Evaluation Rubrics and more

This first book in the series is a suggested one year course, although you can take it slower if necessary. 

Before the student takes off and dives into the first story, Janice expects her/him to read some of the chapters from 'Introduction to Literature' FIRST. This will help the student to view the literature through different eyes and look for specifics, such as character names, formats for different chapters, etc. As I've done this with my nearly 11 year-old daughter, I have learned right alongside her. I've mentioned that you could take it slower and that's what we did. Learning to look at a piece of literature in a different way makes you realize how rich it is with hidden treasures. Although we have only done Unit 1 which focuses on short stories, Janice encourages the student from Unit 2 onwards to listen to music and look at art and poetry from the era when the works were written. This provides an understanding of the context behind the story. 

Before we started the stories, we read the Chapter on 'How to read a book' where she was introduced to the 5 elements of fiction: plot, theme, character, setting and style and then we then read some of the mini biographies of the authors. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories together and I appreciated her re-telling the stories to her dad in the evening. As this unit contained 5 short stories, we did the first assignment together and she eagerly worked independently on the other assignments.

For the first short story she did what is termed an 'approach paper' (see below)

For the next 5 short stories we completed a 'literature summary' for each (as shown below).

The next assignment that she will do is a 300-word essay comparing two of the short stories.

Each lesson is laid out step-by-step so it is very easy to follow. So easy in fact, I plan to use this format with other books we read and I'm even considering using it with my 8 year-old son (with some tweaking). 

Although Unit 1 focussed on short stories written by different authors in different eras, Units 2 - 9 use complete books for their focussed reading. Each unit also has an 'honors' section for students who want to do more: For the honors students there is added reading, biography study of the author, approach papers and a research paper at the end of the year. 

Literary works included in these units are:

Unit 1: Short Stories by- 
• Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
• Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This one is not scary, if you're concerned about that.) • Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
• O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
• Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
• James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne 
Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw 
Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot
Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Honors: 1984 by George Orwell
Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare 
Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

To view a Free Sample of 'Unit 3' from 'Excellence in Literature: Introduction to Literature', click HERE

You would think that a year-long, in-depth course like this will be expensive, but it is NOT! 
I received the 132 page e-book which retails for a mere US$27.
You can purchase a printed copy for US$29 + $4.95 Priority Mail shipping; 8.5 x 11"; 132 pages.
Each book in the series retails for the same price as above if you purchase them individually. 
The complete curriculum retails for US$135 (digital copy) or US$139 + shipping (printed copy).
All orders go through a secure site. (CLICKBANK)

Other books in the EIL curriculum include:

(download a quick overview of the entire curriculum HERE)
Janice has also written other books and you can view a complete catalogue of all her products HERE.

As with any other review / opinion, mine is but one of many. 

Please visit the Crew Blog HERE to see what others thought of this product.

You can contact Janice via:
e-mail - jceved @ comcast . net (without all the spaces)
snail mail -
Janice Campbell
Everyday Education, LLC
P.O. Box 549
Ashland, VA 23005