TOS Review: Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!)

Ready to Teach Review

As a former English teacher, I am a firm believer in how important vocabulary instruction is. However, as my kids get older, I struggle to find programs that provide solid, challenging instruction for my kids. So I was very excited to get a chance to review the Greek Morphemes (It’s NOT Greek To Me!) vocabulary program from Ready to Teach. The program is designed specifically for secondary level students in grades 7 and up to prepare them for the vocabulary they will see on the SAT and ACT and in college.

Ready to Teach Review

First, let me say that this is a very thorough and complex program. I received the student book, instructor’s manual, and the electronic resources on a thumb drive. The activities really get the kids working with the morphemes and using them in a way that truly makes the definitions stick with them. I like the way the program reaches multiple learning styles using study cards, auditory lessons, and viewing the words through power point presentations. The program comes with a student workbook, teachers guide, and power point presentations.

Students will need a notebook or three ring binder and an unabridged dictionary and laminator also come in handy as well. Lessons follow a similar pattern, with students being introduced to the morphemes through the power point, breaking the word down into parts, and figuring out the definition. There is a model lesson plan in the teachers guide that is pretty straightforward and lays out activities for each day of the week. Now, when we started we had to move a little slower because my 7th/8th grader found the work a bit challenging. We generally split each lesson into a week and half to two weeks based on how he did with the words.

On the third and fourth day of the lesson, students create context clues for each word and write definitions in their own words, break the words apart, match the words to humorous definitions, and work with the included study cards for practice. These pre-printed cards are a nice addition to the program. They are color-coded to match the lessons, and you can laminate them and cut them out so they can be handled over and over. My son and I actually spent about two days per lesson working with the cards, playing various games and using them as flashcards.

The Instructor’s Manual includes a list of the morphemes for each lesson, as well as an answer key, which I appreciated because some of these words were even challenging for me! There are also review activities and tests for each lesson. The Power Point presentations included with the program are very easy to follow. I did the first lesson with my son, just so I could see what they were about, but then he was able to do them on his own. Each slide offers a new definition the students take notes on and the slides introduce each part of the lesson.

Greek Morphemes includes 12 lessons total, but I think we will take about two weeks for each lesson, so it should cover a good portion of the school year. There is also a Latin Morphemes program you could add as well. I feel like this is a very solid vocabulary program. I like how easy it is to use, and how in-depth it is. I really think that my son is getting a very deep knowledge of these words, and he is going to be able to use this knowledge a lot in the coming years. The Greek Morphemes program costs $69.95 for the instructor’s manual, student book, and the Power Point presentations. You can also purchase individual products, so if you wanted to use this with more than one student you could just buy a second workbook. I am so happy with this program, I am seriously considering getting the Latin one when we are finished.

To find out what other members of the crew thought of this program, click here:
Koru Naturals Review

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Baked Garlic Butter Salmon

Okay, so I do not cook a lot of fish, but I am trying to add more of it to our diets, because of its health benefits. So, I started with these easy salmon recipe. It came out very moist and delicious, and both of my boys loved it!

Ingredients:
4 salmon steaks
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp.chives
1 tbsp.parsley
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 tbsp. butter

Directions:
1. Place the 4 salmon steaks on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
2. Place the butter, herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, and Parmesan in a microwavable bowl.
2. Microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until butter is melted.
3. Stir ingredients together.
4. Pour the butter mixture over the steaks.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees or until cooked through.

That’s it! Super easy right? Now I think I will definitely add more fish to our menu! Thanks for stopping by. Check out other great recipes here:

Menu Plan Monday 3/30/15

 

Life was a little bit crazy last week, but I am happy to be back for Menu Plan Monday this week. Incidentally, I made this awesome Irish Toffee for St. Patrick’s Day that everyone loved! Right now, I am working on planning our Easter dinner. This is what’s on the menu for our house this week:

Monday: Creamy Cheesy Chicken

Tuesday: Grilled Steak with Cauliflower Casserole

Wednesday: Tacos

Thursday: Chili

Friday: Baked Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week.

TOS Review: Lord Heritage : HomeSchool Office

HomeSchool Office Review

 

Are you a planner by nature? Do you love looking at a color-coded calendar that helps you keep track of all those appointments, co-ops, baseball practices and church activities? Do you enjoy handing your kids a printed schedule of their activities for the day including their chores? I admit, I am a “planner mom”. Its just in my nature. So, I was excited to give the HomeSchool Office program from Lord Heritage a try for this review. It’s an online program that allows homeschool moms to do all of that and more!

The program is based on the POWER strategy which stands for:
Plan
Order
Work
Evaluate
Report

Once you log into your home page, these words work as tabs on the top of the screen, enabling you to move through each step. Once you set up your homeschool and student information, you move on to the planning. Here you set up your master schedule, subjects, goals and objectives, and even create a homeschool budget! You use the information you create here to choose and select activities in the other sections of the program.

In the Order you section you get to set up your calendar, but not just for homeschool activities. You can also add doctor’s appointments, group meetings, church activities and anything else you need. I really liked this portion of the program because each type of activity receives its own color. This made it very easy for me (as a visual person) to look at our calendar and know exactly what we had going on that week. You can choose to view the calendar on a monthly, weekly, or daily set up. Parents also have the ability to create custom lists like chore charts etc.

The Work section is where the daily schedules come into play. Students can access this part of the program to see their schedule for the day, or you can print out their schedule for them. I chose to print the schedules and put them in a binder for each child. This way they could just check things off as they went. At the end of the day, I compared what they did to the master list to confirm that all of their work was done. You can also access to-do lists and other lists here as well.

In the Evaluate section, parents enter grades based on the grading scale they choose. You can even adjust the weighting if you want. Now I know that many homeschool parents do not give grades at all, and that is fine. I think you could still use the other parts of this program and just skip the grading part. But for those of you who live in states where you do have to track attendance or keep information regarding grades for compliance, this part comes in particularly handy. You have a digital record of all of your assignments, student progress, and attendance at your fingertips!

Finally, the report section allows you to run reports based on your child’s performance. These are similar to the regular report cards they receive in school. For high school students, they offer the added benefit of generating a transcript, saving parents the headache of having to make one themselves.

In general, I found HomeSchool Office to be pretty helpful. While I found the interface a little confusing at first, once I figured out how everything worked it was pretty easy to navigate. They also have support for those who need it. I loved the calendar option and the grade reporting/transcripts. The program costs $79 per year, but that is for an entire family and offers free updates and as much support as necessary!

To find out what other members of the crew thought of Lord Heritage, click here:
HomeSchool Office Review

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Creamy Cheesy Chicken

 

This is a delicious and quick recipe that does not require a lot of ingredients. Serve it up with a salad and another side and you are ready to go for dinner!

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 slices Swiss cheese

1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded Parmesan

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

 

Directions:
1. Place chicken breasts in baking pan.
2. Cover each chicken breast with a slice of Swiss cheese.

3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan.
4. Spread the sour cream mixture over the chicken.
5. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the chicken.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

 

That’s it. Easy and yummy! I am definitely adding this to my regular rotation! To check out other recipes, click here:

Irish Toffee Bars

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have my corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot, and I figured I would share a recipe for one my family’s favorite Irish desserts, Irish toffee bars.

Ingredients:
4 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
5 tbsp. good quality maple syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag chocolate chips
sea salt to garnish

Directions:
1. Cream two sticks of the butter and 1/2 cup sugar together until smooth.
2. Beat in the flour on low speed until the dough gets crumbly.
3. Spray an 8X11 pan with cooking spray and press the dough into the bottom.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and set aside.
6. Mix the butter, 1 cup sugar, maple syrup, and condensed milk in a saucepan.
7. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
8. Stir the mixture while boiling for another 7-10 minutes until the mixture thickens.
9. Pour the toffee over the shortbread.

10. Cover the pan and place in the refrigerator overnight.
11. Melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan or the microwave.
12. Spread the chocolate over the toffee and then sprinkle with the salt.
13. Place the pan back in the refrigerator until it cools.

We make this for our St. Patty’s Day feast every year and my kids love it! It was also very popular at International Day for our homeschool group!

Feel free to share your favorite Irish recipes in the comments! Check out other new recipes here:

TOS Review: Pattern Explorer (The Critical Thinking Co.)

Critical Thinking Company ReviewDo you enjoy playing those brain training games or doing crosswords? Me and my boys love that stuff. I think there is a lot of value in puzzles and other activities that get your brain to think in unusual ways. For this review, my youngest got to check out Pattern Explorer Level 1 from The Critical Thinking Co. Aimed at grades 5-7, it provides a number of different activities that help children recognize patterns and develop mathematical reasoning skills.

Critical Thinking Company ReviewThe book is set up around five themes, with eight activities per theme. Typical activities include Number Ninja where students complete Sudoku-like puzzles or work out equations to make the answer correct. Pattern Predictor asks students to find the pattern with numbers or shapes. Other themes include Equality Explorer, Sequence Sleuth, and Function Finder. The activities are similar as far as how they are done, but they get progressively more complex as time goes on.

When my son first started working in the book, I did each activity with him, going over the instructions and working the first problem together. After introducing him to each of the themes, I let him take over. I checked his work using the answer key, and was available to help him out if he got stuck.

I usually assigned him one to two pages a day that he did before his regular math as sort of a “warm up”. Generally, it never took him more than 10-15 minutes to complete the activities and he enjoyed doing them. I will say that as we got further in, the activities became more challenging, and there were times I needed to refer to the answer key in order to help my son. He was particularly good at the sequence and number activities and probably struggled most with the function and equality activities.

I feel like the activities in the Pattern Explorer book are great preparation for algebra. Kids really have to play with numbers to get them to fit and learn how to recognize the patterns, much like they do when solving equations. Determining the functions and balancing the equations are also excellent preparation for upper level math. The hints for each activity were also very helpful, since you can use them to give your child clues when they get stuck, without revealing the answer.

I think you could definitely use this book as a supplement to a math curriculum, or as some quick and fun practice during school breaks. We also found it very helpful for those busy days when we are doing “car schooling”. It could also be used to provide an extra challenge to younger students who are really good at math. Pattern Explorer costs $14.99, which seems reasonable to me. To find out more, connect with the Critical Thinking Company on social media here:

The Critical Thinking Company on Facebook

The Critical Thinking Company on Google+

The Critical Thinking Company on Twitter

The Critical Thinking Company on Pinterest

To find out more about this product and the others that my fellow Crew members got to check out, click here:
Critical Thinking Company Review

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